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Archive for June, 2008

If our emotions are triggered, there’s more pain to process

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader—we’ll call her Sally:

It’s been almost four years since I left my ex psychopath. He almost had me take my own life through guilt, when it was him lying, cheating, committing fraud, you name it—a textbook case.

The reason I write to you today, however, is I am so sad and disappointed in myself yet again. Four years and I thought I was over the damage done by the psychopath so I stepped out of my comfort zone to contact an old friend I had not seen since before the psychopath came into my life.

I made a decision to visit my male friend and we had a nice time. When I returned I started analysing the situation. Was my friend just after one thing? He had made a few small promises that had not come through (generally that wouldn’t bother me too much). I felt like it was happening all over again. I felt cheated, lied to and manipulated by such minor matters.

After the sociopath is gone: In time…

Hot. Sunny. The slits of the blinds filter the light. Dark. Light. Dark. Light. Birds twitter. In the distance, traffic hums. The city awakens.

I helped my friend’s daughter move out of her house on Saturday. My friend’s daughter who discovered one morning that her fiance whom she was to marry in August was untrue. It was a tough time. A difficult day. Yet, amidst the sadness, a day of hope took shape. A day for new beginnings took seed. New ideas were planted.

JS, the young woman who’s heart is broken, did well. He was there too. The man who has lied and deceived her. The man who promised he loved her, and only her and yet, does not deny the two other women who believe the same lie. How can it be true?

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” said JS.

This was not supposed to happen

I planned to discuss fearlessness and sociopathy this week, but instead I want to share with you a very sad event- the passing of my beloved father. My father, Dr. John M. Leedom was a good man and brilliant physician. This was not supposed to happen now, you see I was hoping to move closer to my parents after having recovered my life. I still have not recovered the status that I lost, and now my father will not get to be there when I do.

I have been thinking about all the things that were not supposed to happen, including the fact that I married a psychopath/sociopath. I am sure you also have your list. Today I spoke to a friend who was overwhelmed facing the loss of her dog. The dog is 15 and has developed paralysis. She does not have the money to treat the dog and is beside herself. There is little hope of the dog recovering any function even with treatment.

Posted in: Liane Leedom, M.D.

PROFIT: A (cancelled) TV show championing a sociopath

Editor’s note: The following essay was contributed to Lovefraud by Kenneth Royce at www.javelinpress.com. Ken discovered that a “friend” was a pathological liar, serial thief and con artist. “Though he made off with over $10,000 of my property in a very complicated scam,” Ken says, “it’s had the ironic benefit of outing him for the sociopath he is, and thus warning many other unsuspecting people.” He previously contributed “Optical illusions, autostereograms and sociopaths.”

A two-hour pilot and seven hour episodes were filmed in 1996. Critics raved about it, calling it one of the best TV shows in years. The writing, direction, and acting were all very good.

After the sociopath is gone: Miracles that set us free.

It was just a simple text message, “He’s a liar”. At the time of its arrival on her cellphone, Sarah* didn’t know its value. But, as the days unfolded and the story of his deceit was revealed, that little text message became a miracle. A gift from God. A sign from the angels that her life was about to change, radically, for the better.

When I first spoke with her, she couldn’t see the miracle of that text message. She could only feel its pain. She couldn’t see the gift of knowledge it presented or the freedom it represented. She didn’t want to see it was a gift for a better future. She wanted his love to be true. She wanted him to be true. She wanted time to rewind and take her back to time before the text message arrived, to time before everything went wrong.

Lessons after the sociopath: Real love is easy

In posts to this blog, and in e-mails that I receive, many Lovefraud readers wonder, after the devastation of a sociopath, if they can love again.

Yes, you can.

I am living proof. In February 2000, I was divorced from James Montgomery, who took a quarter of a million dollars from me, cheated throughout our brief two-and-a-half year relationship, had a child with another woman while married to me, and then married that woman 10 days after I left him, committing bigamy. I was devastated.

After I left Montgomery, I had one nice relationship with a man, although it didn’t turn out to be permanent. He was normal, not disordered, and supportive of me. I was sad when the relationship ended, but it was a step along my path towards healing.

The relationship between sociopathy/psychopathy and bipolar disorder

The subject of the overlap between bipolar disorder and sociopathy is important to me personally and professionally. One of the reasons I did not understand my husband was that I saw him as a “bit on the manic side.” In some of the letters he sent me from prison, he declared himself to be “bipolar” rather than psychopathic/sociopathic. My experience is not unique, in our survey of Women Who Love Psychopaths, Sandra L. Brown, M.A. and I asked about manic symptoms in male partners. Over half of the women attested to the presence of these symptoms in their men.

I first wrote about the connection between bipolar disorder and sociopathy in March, 2007. For more background please read ASK Dr. LEEDOM: What is the difference between bipolar disorder and sociopathy?

When the mask slips on the psychopath

Reading the Sunday paper this morning, this little news clip caught my eye:

“The former fashion writer convicted of sexually tormenting a co-worker while dressed as a firefighter says he’d go on a homicidal rampage if released from an Ohio prison.

“Peter Braunstein told the New York Daily News in a jailhouse interview that he has ‘no desire’ for rehabilitation.”

Back in 2005, Peter Braunstein stalked a woman who worked for the same company as he once did (although he didn’t know her), set off a smoke bomb in the hallway of her New York City apartment, banged on her door dressed as a firefighter, and held her prisoner and molested her for 13 hours. He then fled and police launched a multi-state manhunt. He robbed a psychiatrist in the Cincinnati area, and was eventually caught in Memphis.

Columnist for WWD

Researchers search for “successful psychopaths”

Many people commenting on this blog have expressed the hope that sociopaths/psychopaths will pay in this lifetime for their evil deeds. Well, I am writing to tell you that if this is your wish, statistics are in your favor. You likely just need to wait it out because psychopathy is associated with life failure, as I will explain.

In a recent study, Psychopathic personality traits and life-success, Dr. Simone Ullrich and colleagues examined relationship success and life success in more than 300 men, they have followed for many years, these men are now 48 years old. In their study, psychopathy was not associated with success in any of life’s domains. When they examined symptoms of psychopathy the interpersonal domain (being charming and manipulative) was not related to ‘‘status and wealth” or ‘‘successful intimate relationships”. Impulsiveness and antisocial behavior reduced ‘‘status and wealth.” The authors state “ It is concluded that psychopathic traits do not contribute to a successful life and that the findings cast doubt on the existence of the successful psychopath.”

The psychopath as anti-saint

Consider this extract from a piece by Anthony Daniels in The New Criterion:

In his essay, The Empire of the Ugly, the great Belgian Sinologist and literary essayist Simon Leys recounts the story of how, writing one day in a café, a small incident gave him an insight into the real nature of philistinism.

A radio was playing in the background, a mixture of banal and miscellaneous chatter and equally banal popular music. No one in the café paid any attention to this stream of tepid drivel until suddenly, unexpectedly and inexplicably, the first bars of Mozart’s clarinet quintet were played.

“Mozart,” Leys says, “took possession of our little space with a serene authority, transforming the café into an antechamber of Paradise.”