A few days ago on the Lovefraud Blog, readers were discussing the problem of therapists who do not truly understand the sociopath. Here are some excerpts from the online conversation:
That’s the problem — therapists who just do not get it. I saw mine the other day and told him I had posted on this site. I told him how helpful the bloggers on this site had been. He started the “if you would come in more often, our therepeutic relationship would allow you to yada yada yada.”
I finally stopped him cold and told him bluntly “Have you ever been victimized by a sociopath? Have you ever had your life turned upside down by one? Because if you haven’t you don’t have a clue what it’s about. You can read all the medical texts you want and you will still never get it.”
Healing Heart says:
My therapist – who is a highly experienced and well-esteemed clinician in the area (I had to pull some strings to get an appointment with her), does not get it. It’s clear. She thinks I’m “thinking in black and white” and “pathologizing” him by saying things like he’s “a sociopath” and “he’s evil.” She thinks that with treatment, he might get better. He’s been in treatment for years—and it’s made him a better sociopath. He now can use psycho-babble to explain his behavior, and repeatedly refers to the trauma in his childhood as what “makes” him do what he does. It gives him a great excuse, which he uses, expertly, in his pity plays. He does have trauma. Bad trauma. But most people have some trauma, and most with bad trauma are not Sociopaths. They may be troubled, but there’s a big difference between troubled and sociopathic behavior.
About your experience with your own therapist, I think one BIG factor is that the therapist is trained to look at the person in the room as the person with the problem. They aren’t trained to consider that the person in the room for therapy is there because they are the mutilated result of the behavior of a truly disordered personality who is not only not in the room, but somewhere out there merrily violating new victims.
Healing Heart says:
Hi Rune – yes, I that’s right “they are trained to look at the person in the room as the person with the problem.” Absolutely. That was a challenge for me with both my friends and my therapist while I was still in the relationship. I’d be trying to get support, and people would ask me, “What’s your part in this? How can you communicate better?” and even say things like, “you need to worry less about his behavior and be more concerned with your part of the dynamic.” Normally that’s useful advice. But when someone is in a relationship with a sociopath, it’s the worst advice! We need to see them for what they are, STOP doubting, judging ourselves, and get the hell out.
To read the entire conversation, go to Radar not for the sociopath, but for the wrong people, and scroll down to the comments dated Saturday, 20 December 2008.
Normal rules do not apply
Sociopaths are not normal human beings. Therefore, therapy that is appropriate for other psychological issues is totally inappropriate when someone is entangled with a sociopath.
Likewise, divorce from a sociopath is not like a normal divorce. It’s not two people going their separate ways; it’s war, in which the sociopath wants to annihilate his or her spouse. When children are involved, it’s not a case in which both parents really want what is best for the kids. It’s about the sociopath using the children as clubs to beat the crap out of the other parent for the next 18 years.
The rules of normal human interaction do not apply when dealing with sociopaths. Unfortunately, not all of the professionals we turn to as we try to extricate ourselves from these relationships understand that.
When we’re leaving a sociopath, we need help. But we need the right help. So today, Lovefraud is embarking on an effort to locate the professionals who can provide it.
Introducing the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide
For the past five months, Lovefraud has been building the structure of a searchable online database. It includes the following categories of professionals:
- Therapists (psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc.)
- Child advocates (guardians ad litem, child and family investigators)
- Private investigators
- Forensic accountants
- Expert witnesses
- Social service organizations
This will be a database of experts who get it when it comes to sociopaths. How will this happen? The Resources Guide will be based on your recommendations. Every professional listed in the database must be referred by a client or another expert on sociopaths.
Yes, many of you have had bad experiences with professionals who were clueless when it came to sociopaths. But others of you have found professionals who believed you, understood what you were talking about and gave you good advice. Those are the people that we want in the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide.
Cries for help
Just about every week, Lovefraud receives e-mail from people who are looking for these resources. Here are some samples:
“I need a good lawyer who can help me divorce a handsome, charming, Harvard-educated sociopath…someone who would understand, someone who would know how to handle him.”
“She has repeatedly come in and out of my life for the past 17 yrs. whenever she has had the impulse, stating that I am the ‘love of her life’ and subsequently left me emotionally shattered each time. I would like to stop this cycle of appeasement on my end, and heal myself. I wonder if you can recommend any Psychiatrists/Psychologists that specialize in the treatment of sociopath/psycopath relationship victims.”
“I am truly grateful for the information and encouragement your work offers folk like myself. I am from New Jersey, and would like you to refer me and my children to strong custody legal representation, who understand the sociopath and can help me through what has become a bitter battle for our children well being. My son is at risk of becoming his father.”
“I have been to three counselors and to a Domestic Violence Shelter only to find that I am not getting the help that I need. Just last week I was pleading with the Shelter that Psychopaths are the highest manipulators and that I could benefit from group counseling. I had been referred but one counselor indicated that they would not speak about P’s. I know that I need to unravel some items so that I can move forward and I have been to counselors that have helped me in the past on different issues; however, this is so specialized that I can’t seem to find the right place to help me.”
These people, and thousands of others like them, need help. Here is your chance to provide it. If you know of a professional who can be a solid advocate for the victim of a sociopath, please tell Lovefraud.
It doesn’t matter where you are. Sociopaths are everywhere, so resources are needed everywhere. Lovefraud has received requests from all over the United States—Colorado, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, Missouri, South Carolina and more states.
We’ve also received inquiries from Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide will list service providers located in all of these countries.
Please make a referral
Right now, however, the database is empty, except for the Lovefraud author Steve Becker, LCSW.
The database needs your input. So here’s what to do. Go to the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide. On that page, you’ll find a link and button to make a reader referral. Click it, and you’ll see a short online form to fill out. It asks for the professional’s contact information, and why you recommend him or her.
Once we’ve received your referral, we will contact the professional and invite him or her to be part of the directory. There is a low fee associated with participating in the directory—only $24.50 for the first year. This will help defray the expense of operating Lovefraud (advertising revenue doesn’t come close to covering the costs). We’re hoping the Resources Guide will even generate enough money to fund other projects—like mounting an effort to educate people about sociopaths.
Listings for bona fide social service organizations are free. However, the organizations must still be recommended by clients. Even some people running domestic violence shelters, as indicated by the letter above, don’t understand sociopaths. We want the agencies that do.
Many of you have said you want to help other victims of sociopaths. This is your opportunity. If you know of effective professionals, please submit the referral by filling out the form. Make as many referrals as you can. To help even further, please let the professionals know that you’ve recommended them. That way, when our e-mail arrives, the professionals will know what it is about.
Lovefraud has planned more new initiatives for the New Year as well. We’ll soon be launching the Lovefraud Store, featuring books by our authors and other recommended reading. And we’ll have new authors posting on the blog. One of them is Kathleen Hawk, who has offered insightful comments about her own healing journey after involvement with a sociopath under the user name “khatalyst.” You’ll see her first article on Sunday.
Lovefraud has come very far in 2008, thanks to all of you. I hope 2009 will be even better for all of us.
Happy New Year!