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Sociopaths: breaking hearts for fun and power

Lovefraud recently heard from a woman in England; we’ll call her Suzie. Suzie met a man on LargeFriends.com who said his name was Mike. Mike lived in Oregon, which was 5,000 miles away. Yet they quickly developed a rapport, and within weeks Mike was sending Suzie cards, e-cards, e-mails, drawings and stories written just for her. About a month after they first made contact, Mike declared his love for Suzie—even though they had never met.

They exchanged their phone numbers and addresses. They talked on the phone for hours and bought webcams so they could see each other. Mike told Suzie he abhorred infidelity, which was the reason why he wasn’t married at age 45—he intended to marry only once. Here’s what happened next, according to Suzie:

On the OK Cupid website he declared his love for me openly, his “special golden angel.” He sent me erotic stories and poems and told me how much he was looking forward to meeting me, to making love to me for the rest of our lives, how he had searched for 20 years for his “soul mate” and finally found me. He even asked me to marry him. I said I couldn’t answer that until we had met. So we decided it was time for us to meet, and he suggested that he come and visit me at Christmas.

So we carried on chatting for hours daily, e-mails, etc., until three days before he was due to arrive, at which point he announced that he had a problem—that he had been selected for jury service, and that he was trying to get out of it so it wouldn’t affect his visit. He then showed me a beautiful gold locket he had brought me for Christmas and hinted that he had also purchased a matching engagement ring. We finished the conversation with him promising that nothing would stop him from coming to England to see me and he asked would I prefer to honeymoon in Europe or Hawaii—and money wasn’t an issue.

Frantic with worry

Then Suzie heard nothing from Mike for two days. She was frantic with worry and finally received an e-mail—supposedly from Mike’s mother—saying that Mike had been wrongfully arrested for refusing jury duty. But Mike said he would rebook his flight, and they found one that would put him in England on Christmas morning.

On Christmas morning, Suzie drove two hours to the airport to meet Mike. He didn’t show up.

Again frantic with worry, Suzie called the UK police, who couldn’t do anything because Mike never arrived. They suggested she contact the Oregon police. But when Suzie tried to locate Mike in the telephone directory, he didn’t exist. The address he had given her belonged to someone named John. Suzy realized Mike wasn’t Mike; he was John. She sent him a furious e-mail—he was outed.

Another chance

John apologized profusely. He said he had expected to be only pen pals but had fallen in love with Suzie. He didn’t know how to tell her the truth about his identity. John begged for forgiveness.

Suzie decided to give him another chance. Slowly their relationship recovered. Again, John said he would visit her, and come hell or high water, he would be there. Here’s what happened next:

On March 8th I set off for the same airport and guess what? He didn’t turn up again. This time, though, when I tried to e-mail it was deleted, as was his web page and he wasn’t answering his phone. Additionally the e-mail address for his mom and dad was also deleted, so I knew he didn’t want to be found. This made me really angry so I started surfing the web to see if he was to be found elsewhere.

That’s when I found him on another eight dating sites (there could still be more), on all of which he had a “special angel,” “a soul mate I have waited a lifetime for,” “a Betty Boop girl.” Each one was a nice lady, a little lonely perhaps, who was convinced she was the only one in his life.

I found out that the letters and drawings I treasured had been sent to other women. Funny stories and photos I had sent him had been recycled round his harem. Even a drawing I had done for him had been given to someone else. Additionally we all had copies of the same photos of him growing up as a young boy and when he was in the USAF. I also found a site, which he appeared to have abandoned, on which a lady from the Phillipines has added a message asking why he had stopped contacting her that suggested she had bought her wedding dress!

Suzie has not spoken to the guy since discovering his game.

Why did he do it?

Suzie points out that Mike/John never asked her for money. The only thing he asked for was post cards from places she visited through her job. So why did he lead her on? Why did he lead all the women on?

For fun and power.

As Dr. Liane Leedom points out in “How did he really feel?” and “What did he want from me?” sociopaths are in relationships for sex and power. That’s all.

Stringing along several women at the same time—which is easy to do on the Internet—Mike/John had multiple feelings of power. Maybe it even made him feel aroused.

Plus, sociopaths simply enjoy deceiving people. In Without Conscience, by Dr. Robert Hare, a psychopath (the term Dr. Hare uses) is asked why he lies. The answer: “Because it’s fun.”



21 Comments on "Sociopaths: breaking hearts for fun and power"

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  1. janefauq says:

    I agree, Dr. McCoy. It was like being on a permanent high when we were together. I made excuses for him initially – he did not even have to make them himself. I was caught up in the intensity of the emotions I felt and that I thought were mirrored in him.

    But it turned out to be one experience that I could have done without- and that is an understatement.



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  2. happynow says:

    Ex Boyfriend asks for money (5 ladies that I know of)

    Hi there!
    My experience:

    I am a 38 old professional, good looking, nice, moral values, honest and transparent; I have a great credit score, no debt, etc.

    Date No 1: I offered 20 dlls to put gas in his car; his card wasn’t going through and had no cash. Never paid back. Red flag.

    3 months into the Rel. he asks for 100 dlls, he pays back a week later or so.

    5 months: he asks for 575 dlls; when confronted, he gets mad, he doesn’t pay back

    Then, he asks for 600.00 dlls, he begs, he offers to pay back in payments, he doesn’t pay back.

    Then, he asks for another 575, he doesn’t pay back.

    Poor financial situation for him, so I didn’t hesitate and did a *good* act because I loved him and believed him.

    He tells me he has to fly out of state because someone is offering a very good business deal that it seemed very attractive but because he doesn’t have money, he asks me to pay for the flight (my credit card), I pay for it. A few days later I found out that he was going to visit for the first time, a lady he met online 2 years ago prior to our romance. I confront him, he decides to cancel the trip because *he loves me*. He doesn’t pay back.

    During all these months, I started to get suspicious because he was spending so much time online, he even went to the extent of buying a lot top (he has a desk top already), so that he could check his active profiles and chat with the online ladies and *emotional lovers*.

    He would take breaks after breaks at work to check his messages (mind you, he is in a complete financial chaos and went to buy a new 1200 lap top-credit, of course-.

    When came to my house after work, he would go directly to the computer and chat like crazy (emotional distance).

    I inserted a key logger inside my computer and, this is what I found out:

    Active only dating profiles, corresponding with ladies and being flirty; talking about meeting, etc; corresponding with ex lovers and telling them *I miss you*. Visited 2 ex’s while dating me; paid for a hotel room.

    Found out that he met other 2 ladies and asked them for money, he didn’t paid. They were sending him aggressive emails asking for the money, he behaved aggressive towards them and basically, telling them * I don’t have any money I will pay you back when I can and stop bothering me I don’t want to ever see you again).

    I am, from what I know of, the 3rd lady who gave him money.

    He met a few ladies (real life) and visited them for months and months behind my back, HE knew these ladies were after him and this did not stopped him from reinforcing their behavior, he is sick. One lady gave him 600 dlls; I talked to her over the phone, she told me that he liked her, that he wanted to marry her someday, etc. total narcissist

    Mind you, this is the physical stuff; forget about the emotional distance and abusive emotional behavior. Very charming on a superficial level, handsome, etc.

    He believes that online flirting when having an exclusive gf/bf Rel is not a bad thing, they are just friends.

    Now, he accepts the confrontation but again, only on a superficial level.

    I ran out of savings because of him, broke up with him, it was just too much.

    He said he will pay me by the end of summer. He is going to deposit *some* money into my Acc. Next Saturday.

    Good thing that I have proof of the online transfers to his Acc. Went to a lawyer yesterday and I do have a case! I just have to wait until next Saturday, if he deposits, he is virtually *accepting* the loan. If he doesn’t deposit, we write a certified letter and ask him to pay everything by sept and if not, see you in *small claims*!!!

    So, I have to get some justice; 2000.00 dlls is just too much, let alone the *heart and feelings* value of what he did to me.

    Thanks for listening



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  3. hannah1922 says:

    My heart breaks for all the sad stories, pain, anguish, misery, lives destroyed at the hands of sociopaths. I, too, had an experience long ago with one, way before there was an internet; way before there was the kind of support, resources and knowledge so readily available. Ultimately, I walked away from the lies, pathology and drama and eventually married a wonderful man–with whom I still share my happy life. I would be lying if I said I never once think about my sick, long lost love—I do. I sometimes wonder about him, and every once in a while I even hear from him. But his sticky black hold on me was dissolved long ago. Once he realized that, I stopped hearing from him.

    I know some people may take exception to what I am going to write next, but posts like “Breaking Hearts for Fun and Power” beg the question: at what point does one take responsibility for their own poor decisions? I hate this cliche, but the multiple “red flags” were not only flapping in the wind, but lined up like a dancing fire in the sky. How does one “fall in love” with someone one has never even sat across a table from? Is sending a stranger “erotic poems” without a personal meeting ever taking place appropriate, or even normal? How does one believe they are his or her “soul mate” after a couple (hell, even dozens) of frenzied emails or treacly phone calls? When stood up at an airport, when caught in a bold-faced lie about his actual *identity*, wouldn’t anyone with a modicum of self concern and common sense run in the other direction as fast as their legs could carry them?

    Granted, sociopaths are wonderfully adept at manipulation and control, and some are masters—I understand their power and skill. But by God, this guy was hardly masterful in his tale-telling. Some lies, like his, are Windex-transparent and it amazes me that a second chance could be even entertained in situations like these. I can understand falling prey when the lies, domination and manipulation are stunningly clever, well-executed and credible. Or when it’s after marriage and the soulless shell is revealed for the empty cavern it is. Most people would have stopped the charade after that first obvious lie, after being stood up at the airport, and certainly *immediately* after learning “Mike” was “John.”

    I wonder how much time is wasted in therapy talking about the “s” when, in reality, the discussion should focus on why the bullshit meter was ignored, or never even went off.

    I wish you healing and peace, and someone worthy of your love. I hope that you lose the desire to even string together a sentence about him. These mutants have wasted enough of our time, no?

    Hannah



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  4. eliza says:

    Yes thank GOD there is a story like this on here. I was starting to think maybe I was crazy, overreacting or something, because my S never really tried to take much material from me. ALL sex and head games. And I think more about the head games, the sex was a means to an end. I am just left feeling raped, because I would never have slept with him willingly if I had known what he was.



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  5. HopingToHeal says:

    Thanks for this Donna,

    When I first learned of my husband’s infidelity, I hoped he would give up the “Other Woman” and refocus on our marriage. As more and more information has been exposed, there seems to be MANY “other women” in the different cities to which he travels. He delights in the constant drama of them all begging for his over-the-top LoveBombing. He gives it and then snatches it away and moves to the next victim. In withdrawal, these ladies are constantly chasing him down and groveling for his affections. Of course, I have to include myself in that number. What an Ego boost for him-the Adonis of Alabama.



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  6. Hoping to Heal – You’re welcome – and I’m sorry that you understand this phenomenon so well.



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  7. Stargazer says:

    HopingToHeal and everyone: I truly hope what we can all take away from our experiences with players/cheaters/sociopaths is that if we missed all the other red flags first, to RUN at the first sign of infidelity. Hopefully, there will be other signs we can see first. But at very least if we know a man has been unfaithful, K.I.C.K. H.I.M. O.U.T. Granted, there are some marriages that can survive something like this is both partners are willing to put the work into the marriage. But even so, it is a sign of healthy self-respect to separate from the cheating spouse and make him/her earn their way back into our lives – and that is IF we feel we could ever trust them again (if they are not a sociopath). We should be extremely angry at a cheating partner. If we are complacent about it, there is something wrong. We MUST feel all the feelings of betrayal, because this – just one instance of cheating – is a serious betrayal. Sociopaths have their victims so brainwashed as to think that it is the victim’s fault the sociopath cheated. And it’s possible we are just used to being disrespected our whole lives and therefore are predisposed to treating cheating as a minor infraction instead of a serious breech of trust. This is where we need to get clear – on the area of setting healthy boundaries. It feels really good to know what is the last straw. I tell all the men I date with whom I consider becoming serious that there are two things that are instant deal breakers – lying and cheating.

    Though I have never tolerated a cheating spouse, I’ve tolerated a lot of behaviors from dating partners recently that were not really very caring or respectful toward me. I’ve had a hard time separating out the players from the decent men. Recently, I had some energy work – a short “cellular release” session. It shifted my energy to where I got clear that the guy I’ve been dating for the last few months is not really giving me what I want. Prior to the session, I was blaming myself for driving him and the last several men off. Today I can tell you that I’m REALLY clear – crystal clear – that I did nothing wrong – that these men just are/were unavailable. And I finally have the clarity and courage to just break it off, even though there is some emotional pain and disappointment, and emotional attachment on my part. Part of the process involves being willing to let go of the old feelings in my body that keep me addicted to these kind of men. There was some very deep grief I am having to feel to let this go. In doing so, I’m also inadvertently breaking my shopping addiction, food addiction, and even my internet addiction! For anyone who is stuck in the addictive process, I recommend cellular release therapy. It works, and it works quickly. But the caveat is that you MUST be willing to feel the repressed grief or whatever is in there. It will immediately come up, and it may be scary. It doesn’t necessarily take long, but you have to go through it. It’s the buried feelings that fuel the addictions, including the addiction to a bad partner. This is what Donna was talking about in another thread about how energy work can help with addictions. Cellular Release is a form of energy work. It’s not the only form – but it is a very good one. You will clear whatever you are ready and willing to let go of. If you try it and it doesn’t work, I recommend waiting a few months and trying again. You may be more ready a few months down the line.



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    • HopingToHeal says:

      Stargazer,

      I really needed to read your strong urging this morning. I am complacent about his cheating. After a year of trying to work through the hurt of his “sex addiction”, I’ve only come to recognize him as a sociopath since I read Donna’s awesome book LOVEFRAUD. Her book and the advice on this blog have opened my eyes to many of my faulty ways of thinking, however, I still have reacted the same complacent way in the last two weeks after learning that he is involved with someone else. He blames me and I accept the blame. I still take his calls and have done nothing to reinforce my own self worth and self respect. If someone was treating my daughter this way I would explode! He wouldn’t be able to find a safe place to hide. But for myself, well it’s all I know and I cower down. I hate who I am right now. I’m such a terrible example to my baby girl. But I’m trying to break free. I am. He’s just a master at manipulation and has 23 years of knowing my every though and feeling and he uses my past trust to manipulate me so smoothly. He’s always claiming that God is leading him and that I need to listen to what God says.

      Your post has encouraged me to know that I have a right to be very angry and to stop trying to be anything but who and what is best for me and my child. Why I haven’t taken that to heart before is beyond me. Thank you for your wise words.



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      • Stargazer says:

        HopingtoHeal: There is a very recent article on here written by a psychotherapist who works with survivors of sociopaths. He talks about the “pseudopersonality” a victim develops, which is the personality given to her/him by the sociopath. The person believes what the sociopath has told them to believe. There is an entire process of deprogramming to rid yourself of this pseudopersonality, and it helps to find a psychotherapist who understands the process. Just telling yourself you “should” be angry is not enough if you have been brainwashed over many years. It may take some time to undo the programming. But for starters, at least you should know that his infidelity and other gaslighting behaviors are NOT your fault. You have never done anything to deserve that. No one deserves that. You most certainly have a right to be angry. And don’t let him make you feel otherwise.

        I was just remembering a guy I dated about 23 years ago who used to tell me it was MY problem that I’d get jealous. He tried to convince me that I should be okay with him being sexual with other women. All the while, he was jealous and suspicious of my friendships with men, which were very innocent. I actually did believe that jealousy was something I needed to rid myself of so that I could allow my man to love whomever he wished! I fell for that line of crap and thought there was something wrong with me for being so jealous. I know better now.

        I know now that my feelings were valid and served a useful purpose – to tell me my boundaries were being violated. Granted, we had never agreed upon a monogamous relationship – I assumed that when I was with a man, we were monogamous. This wasn’t always the case on the man’s end. I think this is something that needs to be spelled out and agreed upon. Of course, if you’ve taken marriage vows, fidelity is included in the vows.

        I have learned from this to be very clear about what I will and will not tolerate from a man. For instance, if I am going to sleep with a man, I will not tolerate him sleeping with, being romantic with, or dating another woman. Period. And if we both agree to be monogamous and he strays, that is a breech of our agreement, which is basically a betrayal, subject to the termination of the relationship. If a man is not ready to be monogamous and he is honest about it, that’s fine. That is his prerogative. But I will just downgrade him to a casual friend or acquaintance (no sex), and continue dating until I find a man who WANTS to be faithful.



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  8. slimone says:

    Ahhh Stargazer you have said so much. Hoping to heal I really understand about infidelity, and how confusing and painful it can be.

    After 13 years of a pretty good relationship I split with my partner. It was a friendly parting, but quite painful, as we were so used to being together. Too soon I started dating. Mostly on line.

    As a result I was in a spathy relationship. One where he was uncertain, but thought he ‘finally’ wanted a monogamous partnership. His con was that he was realizing how he wanted a solid love, and that, for the first time, he found someone who was so much more than he imagined….where as all the previous women just didn’t meet his very particular standards.

    So, this was part of the love-bombing. Pure flattery. But it set up a competition between me, and all the other women in his past, and every other woman he would meet. It was, as it always is with these types, and double edged sword, made to cut both ways.

    Truth is I just had more cash than any woman he had conned. I was a big fish, and he was willing to pull out all the fancy lures in his tackle box to land me.

    The WHOLE relationship was about him not being certain (i.e., leading me on with false promises). I would jump through hoop after hoop to get him to decide I was worth settling down with. $, trips, no sleep, clothes, flattery. I also pulled out all the stops, figuring he was a one in a million. Boy, was I wrong.

    In the final devaluing phase we took few weeks away from one another to consider what we really wanted. This was all under the guise of being really honest with one another, adult-like, and deeply contemplative about what we wanted.

    Hilarious! He spent this time sleeping with other women. Multiple other women. Of course, we all know he was grooming all of these ‘relationships’, in order to be able to finally sleep with them, when he had created a ‘legitimate’ break from our relationship.

    He told me all of this one evening over soup. You know, because he was so ‘honest’.

    However, I was so confused and emotional at this point I was the one who made the ultimate sacrifice. I was frantic.

    It came down to ME choosing to have an open relationship, just to ‘keep him’. It was, quite literally, sickening. I was nauseous.

    I went home that night and completely melted down. And, I never spoke to him again. For me the act of self-betrayal was a huge slap in my psychological face, and it shifted my focus, just for a few hours, but enough to make a commitment to myself.

    It wasn’t easy to keep my promise to myself. But, with help I did it. In a way it was the hardest thing I had ever done. Not because I had been with a sociopath (though that was part of it). Mostly it was because I had never been good at keeping my ‘self-comitments’. I always flaked out on myself. But this time it felt like life or death. I just knew if I didn’t keep this commitment my life would take a FINAL turn in the wrong direction, and only I could prevent it.

    For me the healing helpers were (are):

    1. No contact 2. Therapy 3. Yoga/massage/exercise 4. Good and loyal friends 5. Educating myself about personality disorders 6. Learning about boundaries, communication, self-care

    6 years later and I am very happily married, financially stable, employed with work I love. Healing is a big commitment. It takes time and energy and a willingness to feel deep wells of emotion.

    It is so worth it.



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  9. HopingToHeal says:

    Slimone and Stargazer,

    I keep coming back to your comments and reading them over and over. The advice you give is so profound and I know that at some point, it will sink in.

    I am so addicted to this man. It is sickening, absurd and disgusting. I know that. He slings me around like a yoyo and is callous when I respond appropriately. It never gets better, in fact it get worse and worse the longer I stay. He says if I don’t like it, I am welcome to do something about it. And I would if I had any self respect or self esteem.

    I have been a stay at home mom for the past ten years. I am completely financially defendant on him. I have panic attacks just thinking of going to the grocery store, much less find employment and being able to carry out a job. And of course, my daughter is so damaged and I hate to leave her. It is a mess.

    When his double life was first revealed, a marriage counselor said it was one of the worst cases he has ever heard of. I so wanted him to absorb that fact and change, but since that time it seems like he is on a mission to destroy me. What I should say is that he IS on a mission to destroy me. I’ve lost 45 pounds, am having terrible panic attacks and my life is just difficult to muddle through. Just through this blog and the wonderful advice I’ve received, I know I will survive this and come out in a better place. But right now, No Contact is not an option so I’m constantly at the mercy of his slimy LoveBombing or his callous rejection.

    I’m reading everything I can get my hands on and it’s all helpful. I’m praying and seeing a counselor. I know I’m just wanting to skip the pain and for the time to pass quickly. Thank you for the encouragement and suggestions.



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