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Two summer books about sociopaths

Two books about sociopaths could be on your reading list this summer. One of them, already out, is by the “Queen of the Best Sellers,” Danielle Steel. In her 108th book, Matters of the Heart, the main character, an accomplished female photographer named Hope Dunne, meets a man who seems to be too good to be true. He is. The guy is a sociopath.

Read an excerpt of Matters of the Heart here.

The author was interviewed last week on Good Morning America. Although I’ve never read any of Danielle Steel’s books, I did like the fact that when she described sociopathic behavior in the interview, she got it right.

“Sociopaths are interesting because one of the things they do is something called mirroring,” she said. “They suss out what it is that is your dream in life and what you really want and need, and then they become that.” Amen, sister!

If anyone is a Danielle Steel fan, perhaps you can pick up the book and let Lovefraud readers know how she did in portraying the personality disorder.

Matters of the Heart on Amazon.com.

Mary Jo Buttafuoco

Perhaps you remember the “Long Island Lolita” story. Back in 1992, 17-year-old Amy Fisher rang Mary Jo Buttafuoco’s doorbell and shot her in the face. It turned out that Joey Buttafuoco, Mary Jo’s husband, was having an affair with the high school student. The case turned into a long-running media circus.

Many years after the incident, Mary Jo realized what the problem was. This August, Mary Jo is telling her story for the first time, and she comes out and says that her ex-husband is a sociopath. The book is called, Getting It Through My Thick Skull—Why I stayed, what I learned, and what millions of people involved with sociopaths need to know. When released, it will be available in the Lovefraud Store.

Talking about sociopaths

The publication of these two books gives me hope that awareness may be growing about the problem of sociopaths. Finally, it seems that the gatekeepers of popular culture are starting to get the idea that sociopaths are not all deranged serial killers. People seem to be becoming less afraid of uttering the word “sociopath” in public.

This is good. More discussion of the personality disorder should lead to more understanding. I hope it continues, so that when the uninitiated—those people lucky enough to have avoided close encounters with a sociopath—start seeing the red flags of predatory behavior, they’ll remember what they read, recognize the warning signs and escape before too much damage is done.



69 Comments on "Two summer books about sociopaths"

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  1. ErinBrockovich says:

    OXY:
    I agree….and it doesn’t do justice for folks like us to have the public perception of P’s as ‘only’ serial killers.
    It makes it harder for us to be heard/understood our journeys.
    It’s the same with the term ‘domestic voilence’…..it doesn’t explain ‘what it is’…..perception is it’s just that you get ‘beat up’; and land up in the ER needing stitches and give some excuse like I ‘ran into a door’…..
    Domestic V doesn’t address the emotional pain….emotions are unseen on the outside, bruises are tangible to the public.
    We, as a society, seem to want to see some sort of tangible evidence to make it ‘real’….
    This is why it’s so hard to ‘convince’ people of our stories….unless they see the ‘bruising’ and witness some acts from the p’s/S’s that they must question themselves….it’s just not happening….
    Ironic how people believe it when a death occurs…..even though there are a lot of folks that STILL have a hard time believing that their neighbor/boss/brother/son etc….was the ONE to commit these acts, find it shocking that Mr/Ms. good guy, personality plus, award winner…..did THIS? How could it be?
    Media portrayl P’s/S’s as the Charles Mansons of the world…..and really…..how many ‘visual’ charles mansons are there in the world? People tend to shy away from a dirty, unkept person like this….they don’t invite a guy with a tatoo of a schwastika on their forehead over for Easter dinner.
    Hey…..OJ, Scott Peterson, Darren Mack, Ted Bundy all have the same tatoo…….we just can’t “see” it.
    It doesn’t help our case to relate all P’s with serial killers……some just don’t go THAT far….but it doesn’t negate the destruction they cause.
    It’s very unfortunate…..but we can do our part with education.
    I am applying for a position with my states cousiel against Domestic Violence……so I can hopefully represent persons in OUR position and educate the members from this perspective…..I guess at this piont, it’s all I can do…..
    But…I do see the impact I have had from my ‘story’…sharing it with others…..some get it, some do not….but the reaction when they ‘get it’….is always….OMG…..I know someone like this…..this is the reward for me. Catapult them into awareness and self education.
    I agree with your post.
    Have a good one OXY, stay well girl!
    XXOO



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  2. OxDrover says:

    GOOD FOR YOU Erin!!!

    I think the education of the public and even education of the “professionals” is going to be a long, hard, difficult road and ultimately a one-at-a-time effort. We are bucking the media but I also notice that many professionals actually don’t get it about the “snake in a suit” since many times they have the Ted Bundays in the lab and don’t ever see the ones in the “wild” like we do. The ones in cages are like monkeys, they don’t act like the ones in the wild!



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  3. ErinBrockovich says:

    ROSA:
    SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.
    We must always keep a reserve of ‘venom’ for any potential life saving strike we may need.
    We should stay under that preverbial rock, curled up nicely and keeping warm and comfy…..waiting for the right time. Staying postured for protection.
    This is different from ‘fetal position’. Fetal renderes us out of commision, unable to cope.
    Snake strike, this is an analogy of patience. It takes great patience for us to allow them to pass a few times and not strike at the first passing.
    We must be quiet, not give away our ‘secrets’ or game plans by our immediate reactions. (Yell/scream/cry etc..)
    Also says something about ‘shaking it up’…..NOT doing what they expect, WHEN they expect it.
    ‘Calling on our inner sociopath’.
    One thing I have learned is…..S’s know how to react to ‘reactions’….they provoke them……duhhhhh. BUT….when we do not react immediately, it throws them for a loop…..like….always keep em guessing. BUT WE ARE IN CONTROL.
    We do not need to scream and shout……they expect this, they expect the immediate reactions to their acts…..AND THEY KNOW HOW TO REACT TO THIS, they have a plan for this…..this way is never effective, it creates battles we will never win. In fact they call in the trooops.
    If they keep calling in the troops and there is no battle, pretty soon the troops will see they ‘cry wolfe’ and stop jumping….also very effective for us in our battle. When the troops leave, thats when we can strike covertly, from under the rock. Again, patience…..
    I used to tell my S to ‘oh, just let it go’……he got to believe that nothing was worth dealing with for me, because he didn’t get reactions, he didn’t get to ‘see me sweat’.. BUT…..he was OH, so wrong…… I dealt with everything I needed to. Everything.
    I would just curl up next to a nice warm rock and wait to strike…. While up agains my rock, I would take notes, pictures, video and document it all…….gather plenty of information…….then when the timing was right……sssssssssssssssssssssssss strriiiiiikkkke!
    He never saw my reactions, because they were never immediate….but the effectiveness was 10 fold.
    This reaction went so against my inate protection mode and took self control and patience…..but after I saw how effective it was…..it was the only way for me to go.
    Afterall……when we strike to protect ourselves…..we want to be MORE than effective with the strike.
    Stop, think, do not react……YET!
    SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
    XXOO



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  4. Jen2008 says:

    Donna said: “The author was interviewed last week on Good Morning America. Although I’ve never read any of Danielle Steel’s books, I did like the fact that when she described sociopathic behavior in the interview, she got it right.”

    Yes, if you’ve actually been with a sociopath/psychopath you will have already lived thru this type thing so the book won’t be a “learning about sociopaths” book for you. But based on my own experience with a sociopath (or more likely psychopath as I distinguish between the two) Danielle Steel got it SO RIGHT it was freakin amazing to me! She gets it….she really REALLY gets it!!!

    I have read a few of Danielle’s books something like 15 years ago, but I do not read romance novels because they are usually too “formula romantic” for me. Of course this book has the mega money factor, a bit of glitz/glamor lifestyle your average person wouldn’t come anywhere close to having, BUT after all this is a commerical romance genre novel and it has to be saleable and people have to want to read it.

    BUT the meat of the story and the everyday interactions and conversations and manipulations and button pushing and subjects he uses to push those buttons and the way this guy ACTS…………man oh man, NAILED!!!!

    I just finished the book this morning. I admit the first close to one hundred pages I was getting impatient–just more of the same ol’ romantic novel type thang. Then from roughly about page 100 (or maybe a little past that) all I can say is:

    This book is FREAKIN BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT!

    I have read Dance with the Devil and a book by another psychopath victim (can’t recall the name at the moment but the husband was a serial rapist) and of course, lots of Ann Rule’s books about sociopaths, and then the non fiction staples on the subject.

    But for reaching the masses and getting the word out about how sociopaths ACT in REAL LIFE situations, this commerical romance fiction (and romance novels comprise a HUGE % of the book market–something like 50% I believe– which means this book is gonna be read by a helluvalot of women) so closely resembles my experiences (minus all that mega money of course), my conversations (even the manipulation topics) of the sociopath that it was freakin mindblowing for me. Some of the conversations I had with my ex- P were very much along the exact same lines and topics–baby, my age, my being alone with nobody etc. and although the money topics were smaller scale of course, it was stillalong the same lines, the later veiled and not so veiled threats for harm –even some of the same type wording on some of this stuff–change a few words here and there—and so were some of the tactics the same as used by this socio in the book.

    Some of the book (near the end of the relationship) may sound over the top or unbelievable to those who have been with a “milder” version, but the terrorizing and fear and the way she left and her reactions—all VERY real and believable to me.

    IMO the real beauty of this book is it is in a format that people (just your average Joe people who want to pass the time reading on the beach or whatever) will actually buy and read and LEARN from if only on a sort of subliminal level with the seeds off the red flags being planted in their subconcious for future use the –subtle and not so subtle signs of the sociopath and how they operate and also victim reactions etc., and they will read and learn while being entertained, whereas a person is likely not going to pick up a copy of Without Conscience or Snakes in Suits or Women who Love Psychopaths unless they are interested in the field of psychology or have a “reason” to –like they’ve already been badly burned.

    IMO the book covers ENORMOUS ground in explaining the sociopath. I can’t say ENOUGH GOOD THINGS about this book! KUDOS KUDOS KUDOS to Danielle Steele. I feel she has done a WONDERFUL public service by writing this book!

    Jenn



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  5. Jen2008 says:

    I will add there is a good bit of “tell” rather than “show” in her writing of this book, which if she was not a famous and mega book selling author she probably would have never gotten away with, but IMO it is also the reason she gets so much info out on the sociopath (and she calls them what they are). Parts of the info could have been taken directly (with a little changing of words to make it more fitting into the fiction–well, actually I thought she cleverly came up with a way to get it all said in dialogue and make it work) right off some informational sites about socios and their traits and behavior.

    She also touches on brainwashing, cognitive dissonance, and also the female sociopath. A person reading this book is gonna have a pretty good base knowledge of the socio traits.



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  6. Hecates path says:

    “Columbine” by Dave Cullen… was delivered to my mailbox today. I was just flipping through the pages as I settled in to read and was suurprised to find a very well written chapter on psychopathy. I should re-phrase that: I wasn’t surprised to see such a section in that book given that it is now more widely known that Eric Harris was a psychopath… I was just surprised to see the subject covered so well with references and anecdotes from Cleckley and Hare and very good interpretations/synopsis of key information. As I said I haven’t read the whole book yet, but it was (sadly) nice to see the subject is covered so well in the book.

    Hopefully, given wide interest in understanding what happened at Columbine 10 years ago, and this being a well publicized book, more people in the general public/mainstream or professionals without such needed knowledge will get an introduction to the topic of psychopathy… and lucky them to get an intro from the safety of reading about vs. a personal encounter with a member of the psychopath club!

    HP



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