Lovefraud received the following letter from a reader:
I have been involved with a man for the past seven years. We don’t live together but he has stayed at my home on and off. Anything rotten in a relationship I have had to deal with–lies, cheating, humiliation, emotional abuse and financial, not that he took money from me but sponged off a single mother. This man makes good money and has never made a commitment to anyone, lots of broken promises and excuses. He has a problem with breaking the connection with me, always trying to get back in and regain his supply. I believe this man is a psychopath/narcissist. I have reverted to just trying to remain friends but I don’t think for him this is possible. He always tries to get back in. My married ex was also a psychopath and I was involved with another man, he was also a psychopath. How can we change this–always attracting the same?
It is not possible to remain friends with a sociopath (or psychopath or narcissist). The only way to deal with them is not to deal with them. No contact. At all.
But this letter asks a more important question, “How can we change this–always attracting the same?”
How to Spot a Dangerous Man
The first step in avoiding involvement with a sociopath is knowing that they are out there. If you’re reading Lovefraud, you’ve probably already had a painful run-in with a sociopath and are well aware that they exist.
The next step is to figure out why you allowed a sociopath into your life. For women who have been victimized, I suggest reading How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved, by Sandra L. Brown, M.A.
Brown describes eight types of dangerous men—men with mental illnesses and personality disorders that cannot be rehabilitated. Lovefraud readers will recognize most of the types as various shades of sociopaths. Brown describes their behavior, provides case studies of women who were involved with them, and includes red-alert behavior checklists. If you see the behaviors on the list, you should end the relationship.
Overriding our warning system
But many Lovefraud readers have intuitively known there was something wrong in a relationship, yet have had difficulty ending it. This is where Brown’s book will be extremely helpful.
Every woman, Brown says, has an internal system of red flags and red alerts that act as a warning system that someone is dangerous. Unfortunately, many of us ignore the signals.
“Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we have allowed many of our built-in alarm systems to become dismantled. Years of overriding internal warnings with reasons to move ahead anyway, combined with the ability to numb the feelings triggered by our own system’s messages, have deadened many women to the symptoms of being in a dangerous relationship. This perilous cycle can lead women to date four or five dangerous men before they begin to notice the spiritual, emotional and physical messages they have been ignoring.”
Brown then explains why women ignore the signals. Sometimes it is because of society’s expectations that it’s more important for women to be polite than to question the behavior of men. Or it’s more important for women to accept everyone unconditionally than to expect people to prove themselves as trustworthy. Or it’s more important to love the unlovable than to realize it’s not safe to love everyone. Or that it’s more important to believe everyone can change than to accept that some people can’t.
Dangerous Man Workbook
So how does all this apply to you? How do you figure out where you’ve been making mistakes? To answer these questions for yourself, I suggest that you also get the How to Spot a Dangerous Man Workbook.
The workbook prints lists of universal red flags—check the ones that you’ve experienced. It lists family traditions and early conditioning—check what you’ve been taught. And it lists loopholes for downplaying the dangerous behavior of men—check the excuses you’ve used.
In the next section of the workbook, you answer questions about your own experiences with dangerous men. How did you meet? Were they similar to your father or another influential relative? What were your first red flags?
If you honestly fill out the workbook, you’ll see your patterns and where you need to change. Because changing your expectations, enforcing your personal boundaries and realizing that you deserve better are required for you to stop attracting sociopaths.
Both books are available on Amazon.com: