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Is there any constructive, legal action to take against sociopaths?

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader:

My psychologist referred me to this web site. It’s terrific save one section: How can running away from these people be the only solution? Granted, it’s a stop-gap solution to protect yourself from future abuses; however, it’s not a solution for full/final resolution.

Allowing [them] to perpetuate their endeavors and perpetrate them on others only permits proliferation. Please tell me that there is some constructive, legal way to be proactive and preventative in a more communal fashion. I have visions of: 20 years from now they rule the world. It won’t be survival of the fittest. It will have become survival of the sickest.

To have to swallow this reality would be a further devastating blow to my slowly recovering resiliency.

There simply must be constructive ways to deal with these [people].

We all know this reader’s frustration. It seems like sociopaths are able to lie, cheat, steal, abuse, damage and injure with impunity. How can this be? Isn’t there anything we can do?

Running away

Let’s first address the issue of running away. This is the best thing to do if you are observant enough to see the signs of sociopathic behavior before you become entangled. If you know what to look for and see the red flags, or if your instincts tell you that someone is trouble, get out. You should not knowingly allow a sociopath into your life if it can be at all avoided.

Many of our readers, however, are already caught in the sociopath’s web of deceit. You have fallen in love, married the sociopath, had children with him or her, or given the person money. Or, the sociopath is a family member. Somehow, the predator already has a piece of you.

You may have been emotionally, physically or financially abused for a long time. You’ve been criticized, denigrated and told that you have mental problems. You’ve lost your confidence and your sense of self. You wonder if you are, in fact, going crazy.

At this point, you must break away from the sociopath to begin restoring your mental health. You must take yourself out of the sociopath’s game. Any time you see, talk to or exchange e-mail with a sociopath, you are opening yourself to further manipulation. He or she knows exactly how to pull you in again, and will do it.

You may call it running away; Lovefraud calls it No Contact. It’s the best way to begin healing.

Criminal prosecution

But how can you take action against the sociopath? How can the sociopath be held accountable? How can he or she be prevented from devastating someone else?

Unfortunately, it is not illegal to be a sociopath. Therefore, action can only be taken based on what a sociopath does, and many typical sociopathic behaviors are legal.

  • It is legal to cheat on a spouse or intimate partner.
  • It is legal to lie, except under oath and on some official documents (which never stopped a sociopath).
  • It is legal for a sociopath to talk someone into giving him or her money.

Many sociopaths know exactly where the legal lines are, and manage to stay in the gray area without crossing over them. Their actions are unethical, but not illegal.

Criminal prosecution only becomes possible when a sociopath violates the law—which many of them do. Prisons are full of sociopaths.

So prosecution is possible when a law is violated, but whether it actually happens depends on the seriousness of the crime. Most murder cases get investigated. Most fraud cases don’t, especially if it’s a sweetheart scam.

Lovefraud usually recommends reporting a sociopath’s crime, even if it is not likely to be investigated. If a sociopath is doing something illegal to you, he or she is probably also doing it to someone else. Maybe if a pattern develops, authorities will take action.

Civil lawsuits

The other option is civil court—suing the sociopath. Unfortunately this will cost you money that you may not have if the sociopath has wiped you out. Then, even if you file a lawsuit, win your case and get a judgment, it may be difficult or impossible to actually get your money. Sociopaths are notorious for blowing through money; there may be nothing left for you to collect.

The whole process of taking a sociopath to court will financially and emotionally drain you. The sociopath, however, looks at a court battle as a game—a game that he or she is determined to win. And they’re good at the game. They bend the rules to suit their purposes. They put on a great show for the judge, even as they perjure themselves. They find attorneys who are equally cold-hearted, or who are so dazzled that they believe the sociopath’s lies.

Many judges, in the meantime, are as ignorant about sociopaths as you were. They hear the sociopath say, “I’m only concerned about the welfare of our children,” or, “I never meant any harm,” and believe the hollow words.

Exposing the sociopath

If you can’t take legal action, you may want to at least expose the sociopath to save someone else from being victimized. You may post the sociopath on Don’t Date Him Girl or other websites that name cheaters. You may get away with it. Or, if the sociopath you expose has resources and likes the lawsuit game (see above), you may find yourself in court, accused of libel or invasion of privacy.

Here’s another complication: There are no legal guidelines for when or how it is permissible to say someone is a sociopath. Media lawyers frequently do not allow the publications or TV shows they represent to call someone a sociopath. This may be the case even if the person making the statement is an expert. When his show about Ed Hicks was taped, Dr. Phil referred to Hicks as a sociopath. Dr. Phil certainly knows a sociopath when he sees one, but the show’s lawyers cut the term “sociopath” from the broadcast.

For this reason, Lovefraud is extremely careful with naming names. According to our terms of service, readers may not post the names of the sociopaths they have experienced in comments to this blog. And when Lovefraud does a case study in which we do identify a con artist, every single statement made about the subject of the story is documented with evidence.

Lovefraud does believe, however, that exposing sociopaths is the only thing that really works. In the future, we hope to offer a Con Artist Database to help our readers. But this is a project with many technical and legal challenges (see above). We look forward to the day when we can tackle them.

What should you do?

So what’s the bottom line? If you’ve been victimized by a sociopath, what should you do?

First, take care of yourself. Extricate yourself from the predator’s grip. That’s what No Contact is all about—escape and recovery.

Then you have to evaluate your situation to determine if further action is possible and worth the trouble. Every case is different. What did the sociopath do? Was it illegal? Do you have evidence or documentation? Do you have the money to pursue action? Do you have the emotional stamina?

If you have a good case, and the resources, by all means take action. Or, if you can’t do it now, maybe you can do it later, after you are healed.

As the saying goes, “revenge is a dish best served cold.” It took me five years, but I finally exposed my ex-husband, James Montgomery. He was fired from his job and forced into bankruptcy.

I will admit—it was satisfying.



303 Comments on "Is there any constructive, legal action to take against sociopaths?"

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  1. holly says:

    Thank you! I am glad I got out as well, it took me longer than it should have, but it’s done!

    Ox- i want to be very careful here, because we know how easy it is to get caught up in revenge and I have very graciously learned on LF that revenge against a sociopath can backfire. My friend does have a friend that is a cop, so I told her to talk to him to see what her options are and to ask his advice on how to proceed, to see what resources are available locally. The fact that she was paying him to help her, must mean something.

    Kim-Yikes!! that is really scary! I have often thought that if he was exposed, he would either up and move and start over, or kill himself. I do know for a fact he is very skilled with guns, because he taught me how to shoot one. I can completely relate to the emotional wipe out, I feel like the X sucked all of the life out of me and there were so many days I could barely function. It’s a hard pill to swallow when we devote so much love and energy to someone and we mean nothing to them.

    Louise- I have followed your posts for a while and sometimes I laugh to myself because I will be going through something or thinking something and when I log onto LF, you have posted exactly what I am thinking! So your posts have helped me tremendously, even thought I do not comment. HUGS to you and everyone else!

    What is so maddening about this situation is that so many people think this man is such a good person because he devotes himself to “helping people”. I wish you could see his website, you would all laugh because no one is capable of accomplishing all of the things he has supposedly accomplished in his lifespan, and his ego is HUGE, but so many people believe in him because he has brain-washed so many people. So an extra challenge for my friend, is that there will be a lot of backlash if she does pursue legal action.



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  2. Louise says:

    kim:

    Glad you are OK. Sure wish I could share that soup with you.



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  3. Louise says:

    holly:

    Thank you so much. It makes me feel a bit better today knowing I have helped someone with my silly ramblings. Peace to you today.



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  4. Mincheff Joyce says:

    I’m so glad the question was raised about being silent in the face of devastating cruelty.

    I struggled silently for several decades after being raped-by-fraud. And the emotional entanglements that existed between the predator and myself made it impossible to simply break free when I learned of his treachery.

    I struggled to raise his child as he danced around the legal system, dodging responsibility and gouging his child’s support from my pockets.

    The final blow, being abandoned by my child-of-rape so that he could sit at the table of his ubber wealthy father, threw me into an horrific tailspin.

    I was at the very bottom of endurance. I could barely breathe let alone lead a productive life. Fighting the tears and depression took every ounce of my strength. What turned the tide for me was the recognition that I’d been defiled and like all rape victims, needed to face the bastard in order to empower myself.

    Violent rape victims are encouraged to speak out. Rape-by-fraud vicitms should also be encouraged to speak out. It gives you your power back, regardless of the outcome. While justice may not come your way, you will be able to live with yourself once more.

    I attempted to get my ex and my son into family therapy. That was a joke. It was all too easy for them to live their separate lives without facing the truth and simply gas light me. I didn’t even receive the courtesy of a response.

    Once I sat down to write my book, I began to feel like a human being again. It’s taken almost 2 years and a tremendous amount of soul searching, and I’m almost ready to release it.

    The other concept that occurred to me is that there should be a database folks can refer to when they meet a new love interest in order to get correct biographical information. If there is a way that one can check, it is more difficult to defraud someone in order to seduce them.

    The database I’ve created does not require the donor to identify themself. It simply calls for correct biographical information of individuals, nothing more. It does not speak to anyone’s guilt, innocence or misdeeds.

    Registering information can be done by Googling CAD Alert Blog.



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  5. holly says:

    Mincheff Joyce-

    Kudos to you and your project! I have often thought that something good will come out of my experience with the sociopath, something that will help other people. Now that I have met another victim, who knows what will happen.

    The silence is the worst. I found it easier to be silent because nobody believed me anyways, even when I had solid tangible proof.



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  6. Jacob1986 says:

    I moved on. You can call it escape, i call it : there is no one to fight against. I’ve seen victims fight for years in court. I don’t even hope for revenge. She just doesn’t exist in my expierience and i can be myself again. So why fight. I’d rather spend money on therapy, on people that can help me get trough process of understanding that what happened wasn’t real. I’m happy i can sometimes help people who just ended their relationships with sociopaths. To tell them what to do because it’s a nasty game especially when it’s just over. I wish everyone who sruggles here a lot of luck , peace of mind and love. There is a way out but it’s with a stream and not against it.



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