Thanks to the generous support of Lovefraud readers, our high school education program is underway. Over the last few weeks, I made a presentation called Sociopaths and Abusive Dating Relationships to three groups of New Jersey high school students—about 150 kids in all.
I had their full attention, and that’s putting it mildly. As I talked about my experience of being married to a sociopath, gave examples from the Lovefraud case files, and outlined the warning signs of sociopathic behavior in romantic relationships, I could see the reaction on their young faces: Shock. Incredulity. Horror.
In the end, though, the students realized that they had learned something really important: Sociopaths exist, and they can be anywhere.
I asked students to fill out evaluation sheets after the program, and their opinions were overwhelmingly positive. Here are some quotes:
“I think the presentation was very informative and important to learn about at our age.”
“It was very informative. Will benefit students later when and if they come in contact with a sociopath.”
“It was very interesting and educational. It taught me things I would never know and opened my eyes to reality.”
“I really learned a lot from this presentation. I think this should be taught everywhere to help people understand.”
More importantly, about a half-dozen students came up to me after the presentations. After hearing my information, they realized that they already had sociopaths in their lives.
One talked about a sociopathic mother. Another talked about a sociopathic father. Luckily, both of these teens were living with their healthy parent, and the disordered individual wasn’t a big part of their lives. Knowing what the problem was, however, still pained them.
Several students realized they were already involved in abusive dating relationships, and appreciated my advice for how to end them.
One young man was visibly emotional when he came up to me. He just realized that his former girlfriend was a sociopath. He had been so wrapped up with her, he said, that he wanted to either spend the rest of his life with her, or die. Well, thankfully the relationship ended and he was still there. But he shook my hand three times, grateful that I’d explained what he had experienced.
“Now you know what they are,” I said to him. “You’ll never fall for it again.”
Spreading the word
I am really energized about getting this message out to young people. I’ve taken the first step to publicize the program with a new page on Lovefraud.com. The page provides an overview of the program, and has links to 30 student testimonials from the surveys they filled out, a short YouTube video, and a downloadable information sheet.
You can see the page here:
The program is appropriate for high school juniors and seniors. If you would like to bring it to a school near you, please contact Terry Kelly at email@example.com.