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Archive for October, 2008

Overcoming barriers to moving on with adult development

A relationship with a sociopath occurs within the context of a person’s life. People do not stop growing and developing after adolescence. In fact, adult development is lifelong. Developmental psychologists say that early adulthood is the time that people come to grips with their needs for intimacy, love and friendship.

Once this developmental dilemma of “intimacy versus isolation” is addressed, mid life adults move on to the “generativity versus stagnation” phase. Mid life is the time when people build their lives and contribute meaningfully to society. In this phase, adults seek satisfaction through productivity in career, family, and civic interests. Generative adults create a path to meaning and purpose in their lives especially if their intimacy needs are also met.

The reference at the bottom of the page says “Generativity is an extension of love into the future. It is a concern for the next generation and all future generations. As such, it is considerably less “selfish” than the intimacy of the previous stage.”

Storm knocks out World Series and Lovefraud

The violent nor’easter that suspended Game 5 of the baseball World Series also shut down Lovefraud.

Strong winds ripped down phone lines in southern New Jersey—including the lines connecting the Lovefraud server to the Internet. It took Verizon almost a full day to make repairs. If you sent e-mail to Lovefraud anytime since yesterday afternoon, please send it again. It was not received.

Lovefraud apologizes for the service disruption. We will be making technical changes to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Posted in: Donna Andersen

Lost Memories of a Sociopathic Killer

I was on my knees in the family room of our home. It was about 5:00 am and I was reflecting on some journaling that I had been doing for the past few months. It was suggested that I think through everything that I had written down about my past memories to be sure that I had everything.

I had been through a detox facility three months earlier to get off of pain pills a few months after having major back surgery. I had been off of the pills for three months now. I had become addicted to them and now I was “cleaning house” so that it wouldn’t happen again.

Meet the new Lovefraud author: Travis Vining, son of a sociopathic murderer

What’s it like to grow up with a father who is a sociopath—and you’re not?

Travis Vining knows. At least, he knows now, because when he was a child, even a young adult, he didn’t know that his father, John B. Vining, was a sociopath. Travis just knew that his father was fun, charming, the coolest guy around. All Travis’ friends liked his father. Travis, himself, idolized him.

The Vinings were a prominent, politically connected Miami family —Travis’ grandfather, E. Clyde Vining, was a real estate magnate. John B. Vining also went into real estate, and Travis grew up in a house on a lake with all the trappings of privilege.

Fraud and murder

But John B. Vining wasn’t content with real estate sales—he graduated to real estate swindles. He forged land titles and other documents in three real estate cons that could have netted him $1.6 million, but he got caught. In 1983, the con artist pleaded guilty to three counts of mail and wire fraud and was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

Homeless con man bilks women he meets on MillionaireMatch.com

I experienced something close to déjà vu this morning when I read the following story in the Philadelphia Inquirer: Homeless con man sentenced for bilking women.

Paul S. Kruger, posing as a record producer-turned-investor, bilked 13 women out of $102,000, and blew the money in Atlantic City casinos. The guy was actually homeless, living on the streets of Atlantic City, but trolling for women on MillionaireMatch.com.

Last year I wrote a story about another guy who did the same thing, only bigger. Patrick Giblin used a telephone dating site to scam 132 women. He netted more than $320,241—which disappeared in Atlantic City casinos.

Kruger’s victims described him as a down-to-earth, nice guy. He was treated like royalty in Atlantic City. But what the women didn’t understand is that anyone who blows a lot of money in the casinos is treated like royalty. And the money he gambled with was theirs.

Is this person a jerk, a narcissist or a sociopath?

I do my best to read all of the comments on lovefraud.com because I think they are a good barometer as to what people are thinking and questioning. One recent theme/question has been the issue of the realm of jerkdom. Just what is a jerk?

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines a jerk as an annoyingly stupid or foolish person b: an unlikable person ; especially one who is cruel, rude, or small-minded. But how would a psychologist approach answering this question?

Psychologists studying personality tend to fall into two categories, with members of the first category being far more numerous. The first category of psychologists is composed of trait psychologists. A trait psychologist is someone who studies personality by looking at traits. Traits are words, primarily adjectives that are used to describe people.

Exploiters seek partners who dread to displease them

It is no accident that narcissistic and sociopathic personalities will seek, and often successfully attract, partners who have their own issue: a tendency to dread the idea of disappointing or displeasing them.

This is admittedly a generality, but it’s a pattern I’ve observed in my clinical experience, and it makes sense. The exploiter, who regards others as existing principally to satisfy his or her wants on a continual basis, must by definition find in a mate someone who is highly motivated—and especially, highly afraid not—to satisfy him or her.

Thus one often finds the pairing of an exploiter complemented by a partner who is prone, perhaps compulsively, to look inward to himself or herself as the cause of the exploiter’s dissatisfaction.

Clinically the goal is to encourage the over-accountable, overresponsible partner to examine this aspect of himself or herself. This is necessary given the fair assumption that sociopaths and narcissists are unlikely to genuinely reform their characteristically manipulative, selfish ways.

Revisions and enhancements to Lovefraud.com

Most new visitors find Lovefraud by Googling either “sociopath” or “sociopath symptoms,” and clicking on links in the search results to our main website, Lovefraud.com.

We’ve just completed a comprehensive content revision for Lovefraud.com, which hadn’t been done in a couple of years. We’ve updated information, fixed broken links, and, based on input from readers, shifted emphasis. Here are some of the changes:

• Equal play for female sociopaths. Although the original content mentioned a few times that sociopaths were both male and female, the overall tone focused on male perpetrators, and guys who’d been victimized by women rightfully complained. The imbalance has been corrected.

• Larger estimates of the number of sociopaths. In discussing the prevalence of sociopathy in the general population, Lovefraud originally quoted Dr. Robert Hare’s figures. Dr. Hare estimates that 1% of the population of North America may be psychopaths, which is the term he uses (see below). Other medical professionals feel that 4% of the population are sociopaths, which is, of course, a much bigger number. We sure don’t know who is right, so Lovefraud.com now takes both views into account.

Posted in: Donna Andersen

A springboard to a new life with a new mindset?

Last Friday Robin Hoffman interviewed me again on her radio show, The Feminine Soul. We discussed recovering from a relationship with a sociopath. She asked two very important questions, “How do we avoid picking another sociopath in the future?” and “How can we ever trust our instincts again?”

Coincidentally, yesterday I received this letter from a reader:

I got involved recently with a man who seemed to be the opposite of my previous psychopath. All the traits I like, strong, dominant, etc but seemed to have a good heart, and importantly a good history. I checked him out, he had a long service in the police force and a voluntary youth organization, was widely respected and successful.

Recognizing my vulnerability, I kept my eyes and ears open, and my heart guarded.

After 3 weeks I started to spot inconsistencies, tested a bit, and noticed the feeling of cognitive dissonance and didn’t ignore it.

TARGETED TEENS AND 20s: The Marine and the sociopath

My name is Jonathan L. Spear. I serve in the United States Marine Corps. All my life I have considered myself a strong minded person who is kind hearted and loving of the world. I help all I can, I give strangers rides, I take in my friends who have fallen on bad times and help them get back on their feet and am willing to die for those I love and even people I don’t know. I am currently stationed near Baghdad, Iraq and well we don’t have a whole lot to do out here so I was watching a movie and there was this girl in it who said she has been called a sociopath by doctors but before they said that I had noticed that this girl had acted a lot like one of my ex’s. So I decided to do some research on the topic I went online and Googled it and came across this site and one other. Well I read the other one first and it gave a break down of what a sociopath was and it fit her to a glove. Then I came to this one and got more information on it and decided to share my escapade with a sociopath. My story is this: