I clearly remember the shock of realizing that everything my ex-husband, James Montgomery, had ever told me was a lie. I remember the devastation of discovering the truth: His entire purpose in marrying me was to get a free place to live, take advantage of my good reputation and defraud me of my assets. All the promises, all the assurances, were literally sweet nothings. They sounded good, and meant absolutely nothing.
I remember being paralyzed by my new truth. How could I possibly plan a recovery for my life, when every day I was falling apart? Worse, no one seemed to have an explanation for what happened, or advice on how to handle it.
It’s been 10 years since I left my ex-husband. I’ve now identified what I was dealing with—a sociopath. I read books that explained the disorder, such as Without Conscience by Dr. Robert Hare. But books with practical advice on how to cope with the trauma? They’re hard to come by. One of the best I’ve found, surprisingly, is Legal Abuse Syndrome, by Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T., which is now available in the Lovefraud Store.
Eight steps to recovery
The book was written to help victims cope with the betrayals and inefficiencies of the “justice system” after a violent or deceptive assault. Huffer contends that continuous assault by the legal establishment creates post traumatic stress disorder in the victim.
Well, the egregious assault of a sociopath created post traumatic stress disorder in many of us, whether we got involved with the legal system or not. So in the course of laying out a plan for overcoming legal abuse, Huffer also lays out a plan for overcoming sociopathic abuse.
Huffer identifies eight steps to recovery:
1. Debriefing. That means telling someone what happened, and that person listening without judgment.
2. Grieving. It is legitimate to grieve the loss of possessions, or our lifestyle, or our place in the community.We didn’t just lose things. We lost part of ourselves.
3. Obsession. Huffer suggests coping with obsession by compartmentalizing it—only allowing yourself to dwell in it for specific periods of time.
4. Blaming. This means putting blame where it belongs: on the perpetrator. The guilt, anger and rage needs to directed towards the person who deceived us.
5. Deshaming. The dreadful experience has taught us that some of our prior beliefs are false and need to be changed. When we do this, we change our attitude from “I was a fool” to “I’ve been wronged.”
6. Reframing. At this stage, you can look at your experience, define it differently, and then articulate the wisdom you’ve gained.
7. Empowerment. You take ownership of your problems, determine how you are going to cope with them, and go into action.
8. Recovery. With recovery, you are able to move forward in your life.
I spoke to the author, Karin Huffer, at the Battered Mothers Conference in January. It was the first time I’d seen her since finishing the book. I told her that, in my opinion, the eight steps she defined for recovering from legal abuse would also work in recovering from a sociopath.
Huffer agreed. In fact, she said that her program has now been out long enough to have proven itself. “The protocol works,” she said.
When we decided to add the Lovefraud Store to our website, one of the books that I really wanted to offer was Legal Abuse Syndrome. It explains why other people—even those who care about you—can’t listen to what you’re saying. It tells you how to place blame where it should be—on the predator. It tells you how to handle your obsessions. Oh, yes, and it tells you how to cope with legal shenanigans.
Legal Abuse Syndrome is now available, and I strongly recommend it—even if you aren’t in court with the predator who assaulted you.