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Archive for October, 2007

“Cybersharks,” on Canadian TV, includes a Lovefraud story

W-FIVE, the top Canadian investigative TV journalism show, will include the story of Liz Cole, a Lovefraud reader, in its Cybersharks episode airing Saturday, November 3 at 7 p.m.

The program reveals the real dangers of online dating. In this episode, W-FIVE’s Victor Malarek uncovers cases where women who met potential suitors through online dating services were later conned for thousands of dollars, and in some cases, forced to endure extensive physical and mental abuse. W-FIVE cameras are rolling as Malarek tracks down one known criminal and online predator.

The show will air on Saturday, November 3 at 7 p.m. (EDT) on CTV network in Canada and will be repeated on Sunday, November 4 at 5 p.m. To check local broadcast times, visit www.ctv.ca/wfive.

BOOK REVIEW: Silent Partner, by the wife of former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey

“At a point in every person’s life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one’s soul and decide one’s unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is. And so, my truth is that I am a gay American.”

That’s how the former governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey, came out to the world in a press conference on August 13, 2004, as reported by CNN. McGreevey announced that he was being blackmailed because of an affair with a man and was resigning.

During the press conference, the governor’s wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, stood at his side, with a weird smile pasted on her face. She was obviously shell-shocked. The McGreeveys had started dating in 1996, and married in 2000. They had a young daughter. Matos says she did not know that James McGreevey was gay.

Sociopathy and psychopathy: The two most difficult questions to answer.

People frequently ask me questions about human behavior, this is natural because I’m a psychiatrist and people hope I’ll have some answers. I’ve observed a pattern in the questions that people ask me. Often, I will give an answer I am sure is scientifically and clinically correct. At some point later, the person will come back to me and ask the same question again, perhaps phrased a little differently. This process is repeated several times until I am able to figure out why the person does not feel satisfied by my answer. Questions about sociopaths and psychopaths are often very difficult to answer in a way that brings closure to the question.

The most frequently- asked questions where the above dynamic occurs is, “Is my _______ a sociopath/psychopath?” and “Why can’t I leave?” I have gone around and around with people over and over again with these. It has recently become apparent to me that these questions are difficult for different reasons.

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: My ex-wife, the sociopath

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent by a Lovefraud reader.

I believe my soon to be ex-wife is a sociopath (Sp). I was the recent victim of an evil plot to move my family to Washington from Texas, but two and a half months before the big move, with my house sold, I caught her, the Sp, in Washington with another guy looking for property, through a series of intercepted emails. This was one of two trips the Sp had taken, lying about the trip, saying she was going on a job interview.

After I confronted her about the infidelity, I filed for divorce and took it upon myself to avoid any further confrontation with the Sp. I vacated the house and set up a visitation schedule with my children until we could get legal custody from the courts. Seven days into my being away from my home, the Sp invites the boyfriend from the Washington trips over to stay the night with my children present in my home for three consecutive nights.

Sociopaths as parents (part 3): Hostility spreads!

Scientists now believe that the set of personality traits that cause sociopathy develops in people with genetic risk. But research also shows that genetics alone cannot account for the presence of sociopathy in our society. Sociopathy is caused by an interaction between genes and environment. In my opinion, many kids are twice cursed by genetics. The same genes that put them at risk also give them at least one unfit parent. This unfit parent creates an environment where the genes that produce sociopathy can become manifest.

In part 1 of this series, I listed several parenting behaviors that foster the development of sociopathy. This week we will discuss the trait anger and hostility that characterizes sociopathy. Nowhere are gene-environment interactions more apparent than in the development of an angry, hostile, suspicious style of relating to others.

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Once upon a time, I would do anything for love, but not anymore

Editor’s note: This essay was submitted to the Lovefraud Blog by a reader who comments as “AlohaTraveler.”

I have thought about this for a long time. I have decided I am not going to tell you my story, at least not today. I have read the stories of other contributors and even more of visitors who have just discovered this site and posted their story in the blog comments. Believe me, I understand the need to tell someone what he/she did to you and your life. You just want someone to understand, because you don’t. You don’t understand why he did what he did. But worse, you don’t understand why you let it happen or why you tolerated the intolerable far beyond reason. You don’t know why you ignored the red flags, neon signs, the sirens, and the atomic bombs going off all around you. Now you are sitting in a pile of rubble that once was your life and you don’t know what to do next. You found this website, LoveFraud, because you have been through HELL.

Telling the truth about being conned, even when I look stupid

Lovefraud receives a lot of e-mail. Usually the people who write the letters are dealing with the trauma of a sociopath, also called a psychopath. They thank Lovefraud for the information we provide, and ask for advice about their personal situations.

Every once in awhile, however, someone writes an e-mail that is less than appreciative, such as this one from a guy named Tim:

I had the misfortune to encounter your website today and must say that after laughing heartily at your story, I find your grasp of mathematics, statistics and psychology to be completely dumbfounding.

Could you please explain how you arrive at the conclusion there are *exactly* 411 psychopaths in the Beverly Hills area? What is it with you and statistics? Reading your assessment of the number of sociopaths, based on the number of internet users in a country is remarkably naive.

Sociopaths as Parents (Part 2): What the child sees matters!

Recent scientific studies show that genes strongly influence the development of sociopathy (For more on this, see Just Like His Father? – A Guide to Overcoming Your Child’s Genetic Connection to Antisocial Behavior, Addiction & ADHD). If we take all the studies together, it looks like genes and childhood environment contribute equally to sociopathy in our society. While we can’t yet alter genetics, we can do something about environment. Parents are a large part of a child’s early environment, so it makes sense to question whether parenting contributes to antisocial behavior.

Parents can transmit antisocial behavior to children any number of ways. The most obvious route of transmission is through modeling of antisocial behavior. Social learning theory teaches us that children learn behaviors by watching adult models. Furthermore, a child’s perceptions regarding the important adults in his life are also involved in the learning process. Within a family, parents may model prosocial or antisocial behavior that their children may observe and imitate.

If someone has most psychopathic traits, it’s reason enough to leave

Lovefraud recently received the following letter from a reader:

My ex has almost all the characteristics I have read on your site. He lies habitually, is financially irresponsible, and lets the burden fall on friends and family, and he started to burden me from the beginning financially on a small scale. I had hints in the beginning that he was a jerk when he disrespected my father (I wasn’t sure at the time if it was on purpose, or inadvertent), but at the same time it was confusing because he seemed so pleasant, helpful and charming. He also cooked for me every night and helped me with my kids, but as far as work goes, he was lazy and lied about working at times. He borrowed small amounts of money from me, which I stopped lending him right away; I was not stupid about him in that respect. At the end he lived with me for 4 months, and never contributed much financially, that’s one reason I ended it finally. And the lying got to be too much; I don’t know what I was thinking. I do not know of any infidelity, but I suppose it’s possible.

Knowledge keeps me aware. My choices keep me safe

It is the rare Saturday morning that doesn’t find me and my Golden Retriever, Ellie, walking up the trail to crest the ridge of Nose Hill Park, 280 acres of rolling prairie grasses that sprawl along the northern edge of the city. This Saturday morning was no exception. Early morning. Cool air. Gentle breezes. The sky a gun metal grey blanket streaked with hopeful blue screwing up the courage to pierce the clouds and send them scuttling away. Ellie gamboled joyfully along the path, her snout quivering in anticipation of the many smells trapped in the grasses lining our path. We were alone in the gentle morning. Happy. Excited. Alive.

As we walked a woman and her dog jogged towards us. Ellie, a people pleaser by nature, bounded over to the woman to say good-morning. The woman and I exchanged a brief ‘hello’ and as we continued on our separate ways, she called after me, “Watch out for the porcupines. I almost ran into three this morning.” I stored her advice in my mind and continued on my way.

Posted in: M.L. Gallagher