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Sociopaths, at first, don’t act like jerks

When I first met my ex-husband, James Montgomery, whom I now believe is a sociopath, he treated me like gold.

His attentiveness started with our initial e-mail correspondence. Yes, we met via the Internet, but he lived nearby—I wasn’t worried about the pitfalls of a long-distance relationship. During our three weeks of preliminary correspondence—his notes were clever and well-written—he made it clear that he was interested in me.

When we did meet, Montgomery was attentive, charming and entertaining. He asked questions and listened to my answers. He was quick to pay me compliments. Yes, he talked about himself a lot, but he was intelligent and intriguing, so I didn’t mind—I felt like I was getting to know him.

Significantly, when Montgomery said he would call me, he did. Now, before I met him, I spent a lot of years in the dating game. Many, many times, I heard, “I’ll call you,” and then the person who said the words fell off the planet. So a man who followed through with this basic courtesy—well, that scored some points.

Trying to impress me

So, in the beginning of our encounter—I don’t want to call it a relationship—he did everything a man who was trying to impress a woman would do. He wore a sport coat when he took me out to dinner. He brought me little gifts. I interpreted these gestures as signs of his budding affection.

Many Lovefraud readers—both women and men—have told me similar stories about the beginning of their encounters with sociopaths. “He asked me how he could make my dreams come true,” said one woman. “She would do anything for me—nothing was too much trouble,” said a man.

That’s how they get us hooked.

Excellent social skills

Had my ex-husband behaved like a jerk in the beginning—stood me up, acted out in public, flirted with other women in front of me—I would have dumped him. He did none of those things. While he was reeling me in, he was a perfect gentleman.

Of course, I now know that he was on a mission to find a supply, and was simultaneously treating several other women exactly the same way. Apparently, I was the first to bite. He proposed; I accepted. Yes, it was far too soon—but I’d heard all those fairy tales about love at first sight. Why couldn’t it happen to me? I didn’t realize that all his expressions of affection were empty lies.

It would certainly be easier to spot sociopaths if they always acted like jerks. Unfortunately, they don’t, at least in the beginning. Many of them have excellent social skills. But eventually their true, disordered personalities are revealed—they are despicable con artists, out to take what they want, even if it destroys us.

Take your time and pay attention

We can’t allow ourselves to be blinded by Prince or Princess Charming. Under all the sweet nothings, there may truly be nothing, only a hollow shell of a human being. A sociopath.

So what can we do? When meeting someone new, be aware, and take your time. Ask questions. Go slow. Pay attention to inconsistencies. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, listen.



24 Comments on "Sociopaths, at first, don’t act like jerks"

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  1. pokeybanana says:

    I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to respond. It’s been such a tough, tough couple of months for me. My counselor has been wonderful. I’ve always known that I had abandonment issues stemming from my father’s disappearance as a child, but I never realized how much I appear to be emulating my mother’s life. And all I remember is that my mother never smiled, she never laughed. And there’s something inside me that is so afraid that he has just sapped all the joy from my life. And there’s a part of me that knows, instinctively, that I will never love anyone or trust anyone completely again, and if I can’t offer that to someone, what’s the sense? He has destroyed that very essence of me. And that’s where I see my life emulating my mother; I keep hearing her say how she would never trust another man or let another man take what she had worked so hard for. And I don’t want to be that way. Remember Groundhog Day? Well, I feel like I’m in something similar – like I’m in a parallel of my mother’s life and I can’t seem to find my way back to the “real world.” Does that make sense to anyone?

    Anyway, there’s been some eye-opening, painful sessions with my counselor, and as she warned me, we’re only at the beginning.

    On top of everything else, I’ve been trying to cope with some of the financial issues that the sociopath created….and to discover that at a minimum, it will cost me nearly $8,000 just to get my house back into some semblance of normalcy has destroyed me.

    I’ve been such an emotional wreck that I sent my only child to stay with my sister and brother-in-law until next June, and that, too, has devastated me making me feel like a total failure as both a woman and a mother. I know this isn’t true, but I can’t help how I feel.

    Despite the advice from some who say to just let things go and get on with my life, there’s an internal, integrity part of who I am that says I will not let him get away with this. I could handle the broken heart, but I will not let him walk away from the mess he created without some accountability. And I don’t care if all I get is an unenforceable judgment. He has an image he’s trying to maintain, and getting a judgment for taking advantage of a single mother will not go well for him, especially since he has just resumed contact with his son after 18 years.

    I feel especially nuts, though, because I still miss him. And I still long for him. And I know how stupid that is. Some emails I’ve received from him again blame me for everything and focus entirely on what I’ve done to him. Which just makes me crazy with anger and hurt and feelings of absolute revenge.

    I hate to admit this, but I’ve been in such denial….I don’t want to believe that he truly is a sociopath so I didn’t want to read anything else on this website because the stories were too eerily similar and in reading it in black and white, I can’t bury my head in the sand and pretend it isn’t so.

    Anyway, I do want to say thank you to the support messages that followed my initial posting. And to holehearted, let me say that checking myself into the hospital for some intense therapy crossed my mind as well, but my counselor has truly helped me stay sane–even without mood altering medications. But you must do what you feel is best to get you through this tough time.



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  2. peggywhoever says:

    I have a girlfriend who had an excessively abusive husband. I asked her, how did this happen? She said, “He didn’t beat me up on the first date”.

    Yes, the initial hook is the charm…the impeccable manners, the attentiveness, and later the small gifts.



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  3. Louise says:

    peggywhoever:

    Good point! They hook us with the charm, flattery and whatever other tricks they have and then they start their crap.



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  4. DUPED_IN_SOCAL says:

    Oh yes, that web of mass deception begins at ‘hello’. You give your trust is the first mistake. From that point forward, it is a long journey down into that rabbit hole leading to hell itself.

    But we can find our way back out if we truly want to because we are the stronger! The light has finally been laid on them lighting their darkened souls and they slither away like the slime they are. Just evilness, pure evilness, I tell you…from that charming little twinkle in their eye; to the overpowering sex; to all the lies and fantasies it built SO IT COULD GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO DEVOUR US.

    I never took any gifts – I am not a person to be bought.
    It abused my genuine love and loyalty and then it tried to kill me without forethought nor compassion. Just like “Hannibal”. Only if “IT” had eaten me, I would not be tortured the way it has tortured me and killed my soul and my spirit. But you see, I believe we can get that soul and that spirit back for ourselves. Sure, it’s a struggle and it’s a difficult path to walk but when we achieve our goal, THEY LOSE and WE WIN.

    This torture and rumination was also a part of the plan. Their plan. They have mastered the art of manipulation and find no conscious or remorse when using it against the ‘silly’ – those of us who care and show compassion and all of those wonderful and good human qualities because IT HATES those qualities. “IT” can’t have them for itself and it is JEALOUS of us and the more it comes to know us and realizes we are too strong for “IT” and won’t be lead around anymore, they begin their evil and wicked ways.

    Only THIS STORY, over here, is going in a different direction because I can give it right back the same way it was given only MINE is shining the LIGHT and not the DARKNESS. I do feel I am in a battle with evil itself. I plan on winning. I am going to die trying to win this battle, if I must, because I REFUSE to let it take my soul.



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  5. behind_blue_eyes says:

    Mine was all charm on the first two dates but actually on the third I saw the first hint of manipulative behavior, although I did not recognize it then.

    If I knew then what all these subtle warning signs meant, I would have backed off.



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  6. DUPED_IN_SOCAL says:

    🙂 ((BBE)) Yah; me too….
    This must have been my kismet; my karma…

    I AM GOING TO WIN THIS BATTLE IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO ON THIS EARTH. I can promise you that.

    Duped



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