Archive for September, 2009

One man’s lies are not my truth

I was at a seminar awhile ago where the speaker quoted from Gavin deBecker’s book, The Gift of Fear. deBecker writes that the first time someone hits you, you’re a victim. The second time, you knew what he was capable of yet chose to stay. The speaker went on to talk about how in life we always have a choice. We can choose to stay with a man who has proven himself capable of hitting or lying or cheating, or, we can chose to do the thing we fear, leave. Walk out the door and don’t look back. It is always our choice.

A woman in the audience put up her hand and said, “So, you’re blaming the victim. If she chooses to stay, it’s her fault.”

“No,” the speaker responded. “She is never responsible for his behaviour. She is responsible for the choices she makes.”

Disturbing cases of atypical abusers

Last week, Lovefraud readers brought two disturbing cases of abuse to my attention. The cases were disturbing because of the depraved actions of the perpetrators, and because most people would not suspect that they were predators at all.

The Lovefraud reader BloggerT7165 sent me a link to the case of Jessica Banks, a 65-year old woman from Moreno Valley, California, who was convicted in July of 13 counts of child abuse and two counts of sexual penetration by force and fear. Two weeks ago she was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

The Lovefraud reader Ox Drover alerted me to a recent program on ABC’s 20/20 called Handsome Devil: The man who spread HIV. It recounts the case of Philippe Padieu, age 53, who was convicted of intentionally infecting at lease six women with HIV. Padieu, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Jessica Banks

Sometimes “victory” is simply walking away upright

By Ox Drover

Donna’s great article about Victory, of a sort, over a sociopath the other day got me to thinking.

Just what is “victory?”

My wonderful stepfather was a young basketball coach when he got his first real job coaching for a very small rural school which had not had a winning game in over a decade. The team was dispirited and had no real expectation of ever winning a game.

One of the local coaches bragged that he would beat them “by a hundred points!” at the next game. The team thought there was a good possibility that that coach’s team could do just that. However, it is “good sportsmanship” for a coach playing a much weaker team to let their second, third, and fourth strings get a chance to play, and to win over the weaker team, but not “tromp” them.

If he walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, he’s a quack

I address this post mainly to my female audience because, in my experience, the pathology I’ll be discussing, while not exclusively male, is more often than not expressed by men against women.

I revisit here what I regard as an important relationship red flag: When you meet a man who seems to be “Mr. Perfect,” someone “you can’t find anything wrong with,” you need to take a good long pause; otherwise, trouble bodes.

Now I’m not talking about, or maligning, the experience of “great chemistry.” Great chemistry, even electric chemistry, where you hit it off instantly, is a good thing and sometimes a good omen.

But there’s an important difference between “great chemistry” versus the sense of having met and experienced “perfection.” The genuine Mr. Right, in other words, is a very different creature than Mr. Perfect, who almost always will be a quack.

After the sociopath is gone: Our thoughts become our reality

So, it’s over. He’s gone and done the dirty D&D (devalue and discard, also affectionately known as ‘diss and dump’) one last time. You’ve sworn, ‘that’s it!’ a thousand times, cried your eyes out through the night, poured your heart out into the soggy pillow and vowed to get over him. You’ve ripped up all his pictures, thrown out the tokens (what few there are) of his love, including the dollar store ‘crystal’ wine goblets and the fake diamond ring. You’ve told your friends, (what few you have left), that you will never, ever talk to the lying, cheating, manipulative rat bazturd ever again. Never. Ever. Period. Finito. Not until hell freezes over, or the Dow Jones climbs above twenty gazillion points.

You are adamant in your resolve. You are firm. Resolute.

And then the phone rings. You stare at it. Close your eyes. Dare you read the caller ID?

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Taking the red flags seriously

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received this e-mail from a reader who we’ll call “Edna.”

I just had a two-month experience with a guy who, I am convinced, was grooming me for “the big scam.” I had been vigilant after a financial scourge from an ex who was an alcoholic/addict. Recently, however, grieving my mother’s ailing health and in a growing panic from the fires that raged in close proximity to my home, I sought some semblance of levity and allowed myself intimacy with a man, even after becoming very aware of several red flags. He seemed respectable, kind, and generous, was a friend of a friend and he loved the sun, the beach, nice dinners and good music.

I finally ended things last week because I could no longer deny that increasingly tumultuous feeling in my gut. Thankfully, it was soon enough to avoid any financial or emotional fall out. Hopefully this will help your readers.

Victory, of sorts, against the sociopath

Dennis SanSeverino is in jail. Trish Rynn, from whom he scammed more than $350,000, put him there. How did she do it? Legwork and persistence.

Lovefraud initially posted this case on our True Lovefraud Stories page in February 2008. The headline is, First he flashes wads of cash, then he steals her home and inheritance. That pretty much sums up what happened to Trish Rynn.

Unfortunately, Lovefraud has heard from plenty of people with similar experiences. They fell in love with the sociopath, trusted him or her, and lost everything. The difference with this case, however, is that Trish Rynn fought back. She reported him to New Jersey law enforcement authorities and actually got him prosecuted. When the case went to trial, SanSeverino pleaded guilty to taking $275,000 from Trish, his former fiancé. He was put on probation and ordered to pay restitution of $2,000 per month. He complied, sort of, for awhile, and then stopped paying—violating the terms of his probation.

Phillip Garrido: Father?

Phillip Garrido is technically “a father.” He allegedly kidnapped Jaycee Dugard when she was 11, sexually assaulted her, so that she subsequently gave birth to two children. Some have had difficulty attaching the term “father” to Garrido. One news report I saw said, “He allegedly “sired” two children.” These children (both girls), are reportedly 11 and 14. We do not know if Garrido also sexually assaulted the children.

This week I would like to discuss a difficult subject and ask some difficult questions. Because I am using the case of Phillip Garrido to guide this discussion, we are considering fatherhood. However, I believe the same points can be raised regarding motherhood.

Here are the questions:

Dealing with the root cause of the problem

By Ox Drover

One of the first things I learned in nursing school was to correctly diagnose the problem before trying to fix it. I wish I had applied this lesson to my own personal life as well as I applied it to my professional life.

We were taught that when there was a perceived need, for example, when the patient was feeling short of breath, to assess why the patient might be feeling short of breath. Was the airway obstructed? If the airway was clear, then what was another likely cause of the problem? Sometimes a patient who is very anxious will feel very short of breath when they are actually getting plenty of oxygen, (as measured by a “pulse ox”—a little gismo that you clip on the patient’s finger and it tells you how much oxygen is in the patient’s blood). Or they will say “I can’t breathe!” when they really mean, “My nose is stopped up.” (If they are talking, they are breathing!)

After the sociopath is gone: No Contact begins in my head

He was arrested at 9:14 am on May 21, 2003. It was a sunny, blue sky morning. The birds were fluttering and twittering in the trees. The river flowed lazily by, meandering through the forest, dappled with sunlight, sparkling, clear.

We were in hiding. Had been since February 26 when we’d fled the city we lived in 1,000 miles away, heading west, heading to the US, he’d said. “I’ve got money there,” he insisted. “I’ll just leave this mess to my lawyers to fix. No sense hanging around waiting for them to get it cleared up. I’ll let you go once I’m out of the country,” he promised.

Like all his promises, like everything he’d ever said and done, it was all a lie.