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Archive for April, 2008

Victim loses to a con artist, and then to the courts

“A victim of crime shall be treated with fairness, compassion and respect by the criminal justice system.” So states the Crime Victims Constitutional Amendment, added to the state of New Jersey constitution in 1991.

New Jersey also has a 14-point Crime Victims Bill of Rights (NJS 52:4B-36), which expands upon the constitutional amendment. Among its provisions, crime victims and witnesses are entitled to:

  • Be treated with dignity and compassion by the criminal justice system.
  • Be informed about the criminal justice process.
  • Have inconveniences associated with participation in the criminal justice process minimized to the fullest extent possible.

The Bill of Rights sounds good, but it hasn’t done much for Trish Rynn, formerly of Ocean City, New Jersey. She was scammed by a seasoned con artist, Dennis SanSeverino, and now feels she is being further victimized by the New Jersey courts. It is a classic case of Legal Abuse Syndrome.

ASK DR. LEEDOM: How can I move on?

This week we received the following email. I am sharing it with you because what she reports is very common on a number of levels that I will discuss.

I was married to a sociopath for 25 years. They were horrible years because most of that time I had no idea I was married to a sociopath. I was deeply in love when we met. He told me everything I wanted to hear. Knowing all my weaknesses and fears he fed them, made me totally emotionally dependent on him. He helped me get great jobs, pumped me up so I would keep making more money, while of course he lived off me. But at the same time kept telling me I was ugly, fat, sickly. He had affairs. All of this and I still kept hoping he would change and someday really love me. He even encouraged me to do some illegal stuff – which I did – just to make him happy.

The opposite of love is … what?

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel is just one person who has said the following: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference”. In other words, the opposite of love is not hate, as might have been expected. We’ve all heard this contention and been struck by it. Yes, we’ve thought, it is terrible to be ignored. (Pretty awful being hated too, of course.)

But I’m grateful to Dawn Eden for mentioning another powerful proposition.

Eden, promoting her book ‘The Thrill of the Chaste‘, is currently visiting Canadian high schools.

The students seemed interested when I told them what Pope John Paul II called “the opposite of love.” It’s not hate, as some of them guessed when I asked them what they thought it would be, nor is it indifference. It’s use.

The sociopath leaves, and her OCD symptoms disappear

Editor’s note: The following story was submitted by the Lovefraud reader who comments as “Free.”

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 13 years. Two years after we started living together, I slowly developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It first started off with a safety issue, where I was going around the house checking to see if everything was locked and turned off, until it escalated that I couldn’t have knives anywhere near me because I was too afraid that I might lash out and hurt someone. I lived in absolute terror because of this. Some instinct told me to hide all of this as much as I could from my husband. But he did find out and he didn’t offer any help, or seek help or to take me to the doctor. There were no hugs or reassurance. Nothing. I very nearly had a nervous breakdown about a year after I started having my symptoms. He used it against me by deliberately “forgetting” to turn things off or lock the door when he went out.

The miracle of freedom after the sociopath is gone

I believe in miracles.

Not the rock your world, holy saints and rising apparitions kind of miracles. But rather, the light shifting, change your life, in this moment kind of miracle that takes you by the hand and guides you home. The kind of miracle that awakens you to the truth that this moment is all you’ve got. The kind of miracle that says, grab me and run with me or lose the miracle of your life forever.

I know about miracles like that. I got one on a sunny May morning five years ago when I had given myself up for dead. Well, not dead-dead, but rather, the walking breathing dead kind of living that leeches all energy from your body and leaves you without hope of ever finding a way back to the land of the living.

ASK DR. LEEDOM: How can I make my friends understand?

Recently a man wrote me saying that his best friend has been more hurtful than helpful when it comes to helping him recover from his relationship with a sociopathic woman. He had the following comment and question. I am sure many of you will relate to this one, especially you guys out there.

I have a best friend who I talked to (of course I desperately needed to get my self-identity back). He instantly tried to help me by seeing my own flaws in the relationship and what I could do better, and stated that I overreacted. Of course, his “help” only contributed to her brainwashing and manipulation because it further fueled my questioning about myself, and further made me believe that I was at fault. This reinforced my guilt and shame in which I can now see that I had no reason to experience.

Dad’s troubles with a sociopathic ex-wife

A Lovefraud reader, whom we’ll call Joe, recently sent the following e-mail. Joe’s ex-wife has custody of their daughter, whom we’ll call Suzie. The ex-wife is clearly using the child to sponge off of Joe.

My daughter’s mother always wants to control me and our daughter. I’m sure you’ve heard of these types of cases before. My daughter’s mother is constantly trying to use my daughter against me to control me like a puppet. I was with my ex for a period of years before our daughter was born, so I blame myself for seeing some of the signs, but not leaving.

I see some change in my daughter’s behavior as of late, so I’m a bit concerned. When I have her, she doesn’t want to go home and every time I drop her off after my custody days, she clings on to me for dear life. My daughter and I do so much together, but when she’s with mom, she sits around the house and does nothing. Would this affect her behavior?

Why did I stay with the sociopath?

I have wrestled with this question for a long time. While with him, I sometimes wondered, ‘what on earth am I doing here’? Since gaining my freedom, I have looked back on those 4 years 9 months and wondered, ‘what on earth was wrong with me that I stayed so long’?

I know there are the physiological/psychological factors that compounded my convoluted thinking causing me to believe that I was incapable of leaving him. I know these factors attributed to my inertia and the resultant trauma bonding that held me pinioned in his unholy embrace. But none of these factors explain why an intelligent, well-educated, articulate woman did what I did – before the trauma bonding, the Stockholm Syndrome, the depression, the pain.

Why did I stay?

Is your ___________ “a sociopath”?

This semester I am teaching social psychology and biological psychology at a local university. This week the issue of human affiliation and attachment came up in both courses. Recently a new understanding of human affiliation and attachment has arisen in the scientific literature and I was very pleased to see that the new insight already made it into both of the textbooks. The new understanding really helps us to understand sociopathy so I will discuss it here with the help of one of my students and one of our readers.

Human affiliation has two levels to it. The first is our general tendency to avoid being alone and to seek out the company of others. The second is a deeper level that involves love bonds.

The paradox of psychopathy, non-psychopathy, and evil

The blogger, Sir William, has a post ‘What is evil? which employs what is a very common way of talking about psychopathy and evil.

Psychopaths do exist but they are not fully human: they are animals who lack one of the qualities which defines our species.

This is a very comforting explanation for those who have been on the receiving end of psychopathy. It seems to answer the question how could someone do something like that? Answer, because they’re not really a ‘someone’. They’re actually and animal, not a human being.

How does this line of thinking account for evil committed by non-psychopaths?