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Archive for December, 2009

After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 15 – Comfort and Joy

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, the turn of the year, the winter solstice and all the holidays of the “dark” time of the year are celebrations of the miracle of renewal. The harvest and colorful leaf fall of autumn is over, and the seasons are turning again to the beginning of the annual cycle of life. Our gifts, all our gatherings, the lights and candles are all expressions of joy in our shared warmth, and our faith and hope in our survival through the cold months to the blooming of spring again.

This morning, reading in bed (Richard Powers’ Prisoners Dilemma), I found this line: “Inside each of us is a script of the greater epic writ little, an atlas of politics so abundant it threats to fill us full to breaking.”

Posted in: Kathleen Hawk

Give yourself the gift of trusting yourself

It’s the holiday season, and many of us are running around doing last minute shopping, trying to find gifts for everyone on our list—and possibly, with this economy, on a limited budget. But what are we planning to give the most important person on our list? That is, what are we planning to give to ourselves?

This year, some of us have been forced to face the fact that the person to whom we dedicated our time, energy, love and money was a sociopath, thoroughly prepared to take everything he or she could from us. Some of us discovered this a year or two ago, and are still processing the awful truth.

When we become entangled with a sociopath, it shakes the foundation upon which we built our lives. Axioms by which we lived turned out to be flawed: No, not everyone can be saved by our love. Yes, when some people say, “I love you,” they’re lying. No, not everyone is good deep down inside. Yes, evil exists.

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Tips for co-parenting with a sociopath

Lovefraud received the following e-mail from a woman who we’ll call “Penny.” She’s been in a custody battle with the father of her child, who she believes is a sociopath. Although Penny has been able to gain full physical and legal custody of the child, and has a restraining order against the father, he still has visitation so Penny must deal with child exchanges. She’s provided the following tips for others who are in similar situations.

1. STAY STRONG IN GOD! I know that this is difficult at times because I myself have been tried so much. Go to church regularly and tell the pastor(s) and counselors at your church what you are dealing with and ask them and the congregation to pray for you. Pray and read your Bible. If you are not religious you might want to try this out anyway or meditate to bring peace to your soul. It is absolutely necessary that you find some peace in a situation that is utter chaos and dysfunction.

Choose to break your addiction to a sociopath in 2010!

The New Year brings you a great opportunity to change your life for better health and well-being. In preparation for a better life, consider how recovering from loving a sociopath/psychopath is like recovering from addiction. Since the New Year is an opportunity, let’s take the time to focus on recovery.

A good friend of mine is struggling with substance addiction. This addiction is very similar to what many of you face because my friend was highly functioning before the addiction which started at mid-life. Before the addiction, he functioned well and was very productive. There is no obvious reason for my friend to be now at the verge of death from stimulants.

Watch out for this defense mechanism

You are involved, say, with a pathologically self-centered personality, perhaps a narcissist or sociopath?

That is, he wants what he wants when he wants it, and he’ll do whatever’s necessary (his entitlement) to get it, or take it.

Key diagnostic trait: he reserves the right to punish you when you obstruct his agenda.

Now here’s the thing: in the heat of the moment, you may actually be pretty good at confronting his abuse. Maybe you stand up for yourself pretty effectively? Maybe, in the moment, you’re even pretty good at setting limits and challenging his nonsense?

So then what’s the problem?

The problem occurs when you step away from these incidents.

In stepping away from them, you potentially risk enacting your own form of compartmentalization, by which I mean that, while in the moment you may address his abuse with some backbone, yet beyond the moment you effectively “drop the ball” by failing to process, and own, the greater pattern.

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Trying to expose the sociopath made matters worse for me

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following from a reader who we’ll refer to as “Tanya.”

I was 35 when I met my sociopath — we’ll call him Dave. I was in a top twenty graduate business program — a magnet for narcissists and sociopaths, by the way! A culture that so prizes appearances, financial accumulation, and power must seem irresistible to people with those disorders.

Dave seemed so great at first — attentive, interesting, intelligent, open, honest, fun. My friends warned that he was too flirty but I only took that as a sign that he was desirable and, hey, I won him over when others had failed.

100-year-old molester still considered a threat

Sociopaths do not change. As living proof, consider the case of Theodore Sypnier.

Sypnier is a convicted child molester. He is 100 years old. He is about to be paroled, and the city of Buffalo, New York, is on edge. According to an article by the Associated Press:

“Whether he’s 100 or 101 or 105, the same person that was committing these crimes 10, 25, 30 years ago still exists today and has an unrepentant heart,” said the Rev. Terry King, director of Grace House, which has twice taken Sypnier in from prison. “He is someone that we as parents, as members of the community, any community, really need to fear.”

The incident that landed him in jail took place in 1999, when Sypnier was 90 years old. He was babysitting two girls—portraying himself as a friendly grandpa—and he molested them. The girls were ages four and seven at the time.

BOOK REVIEW: The Gentle Art of Verbal Self–Defense

By Ox Drover

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense was written by Suzette Haden Elgin, an applied psycholinguist and an associate professor of linguistics at San Diego State University. Though first published in 1980, I think it is a nice, easily read and understood book detailing the “hidden” motives in some conversations with just about anyone, whether they are a psychopath or not. It teaches us easily understood ways of deciphering the unspoken messages in language and easy to remember “come backs” that are appropriate for just about any situation where there are “hidden messages” in conversation.

Ms. Elgin wrote:

For every person in this society who is suffering physical abuse, there are hundreds suffering the effects of verbal violence. For every person who just got a fist in the face, there are hundreds who just took a verbal blow to the gut. And there are major differences between these two kinds of injury.

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Boundaries, zero tolerance, closure, moving on

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by a Lovefraud reader.

It has been about a year since my story was posted on Lovefraud, Not one thing about him was real. It has been two years since I broke off the short relationship with this disordered man. It is a year and a half since he stalked me. I hope to share at least some practical points that have helped me in the healing process. It does get better. And it is a process.

I wish I could say that others may be helped PRIOR to involvement with a sociopath, but as we all know, sometimes the inevitable entanglement occurs before we even realize we have been manipulated. This entanglement would have ended much earlier if I had had clear boundaries, zero tolerance for lies and bad behavior, and the will to walk away alone and create my own closure.

Sociopathic traits in the White House party crashers

From time to time, Lovefraud readers have asked if sociopathic men and women ever hook up with each other. I’d say the answer is yes, and a truly entertaining example of what can happen when they do has been all over the news recently.

I’m referring, of course, to Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the White House party crashers.

Tareq in black tie, and Michaele in a stunning red sari trimmed in gold, waltzed past Secret Service officials into President Barak Obama’s first state dinner on November 24, 2009, even though they weren’t on the guest list. The Secret Service didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be at the party until the next day, when the Salahis posted pictures from the event on Facebook.

A week later, the Salahis insisted on the Today Show that they did not crash the party. “This has been the most devastating thing that ever happened to us,” Tareq Salahi said to Matt Lauer.