Archive for May, 2011

After the sociopath: Being heard, being validated

Last week I posted two articles related to the Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia. Between 2001 and 2005, as many as a dozen teenage girls may have suffered sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse from a church youth director. This year, the youth director was long gone, but church leaders felt that the wounds had not be properly addressed and healed. So a few months ago, the pastor and church issued a public apology.

Lawyers for the church’s insurance company warned the church not to accept responsibility for the failings of the youth director.  Doing so, the insurance company said, would jeopardize the church’s coverage in case a lawsuit was filed.

The Vienna Presbyterian Church ignored the demands of its insurance company. On March 27, Pastor Peter James preached a sermon that acknowledged the church’s failings.

Donna Andersen and Dr. Liane Leedom present research at psychopathy conference


Dr. Liane Leedom and I spent last weekend, May 19-21, at the 4th Biennial Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy in Montreal, Canada.

Approximately 200 people were at the conference, including the biggest names in psychopathy research: Robert Hare, Paul Babiak, Paul J. Frick, Kent Kiehl, David Kosson, Joseph Newman, Christopher J. Patrick, and many, many more. Also in attendance were graduate students and researchers from all over the world—nine different countries were represented.

It was an opportunity to learn about the latest research going on in the field. A total of 46 researchers made 15-minute oral presentations of their work. An additional 91 groups of researchers presented their work on posters.

Dr. Leedom and I were among those presenting in poster form. We summarized the findings of the survey we did last year in response to the request for public feedback on the draft of the new American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). (See Lovefraud’s comment about sociopaths for the DSM-5.)

Vienna Presbyterian Church gets it right with abuse scandal

Last week Lovefraud posted an article  about the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its evasive response, or nonresponse, to claims of clergy sex abuse. It was actually written by a member of the church review board, who was as dismayed as many of the faithful.

Read Criticizing bishops in the Philadelphia clergy abuse scandal.

The Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia, faced a similar situation when a youth director maintained inappropriate relationships with multiple teenage girls.

Eric De Vries infiltrated their lives and manipulated the girls into what they thought were mutual romantic relationships. They said he drew them in as a trusted mentor, friend and Christian role model before professing his love, saying that he wanted to marry them, imploring them to keep the relationship secret and then progressively increasing sexual contact as they approached adulthood.

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Part 2—“You have to start acting better”

Editor’s note: This is the completion of Lovefraud’s e-mail from “robxsykobabe.” The beginning was posted yesterday: Part 1—Giving him the benefit of the doubt.

He contacted me April 13th, 2010. Three days before his son’s 11th birthday. I didn’t respond as he “dangled the carrot” with texting me simply, “I wish…” Yeah, it was a game. I didn’t contact him because I felt sick to my stomach and severe panic after receiving it. I waited…and he didn’t contact me again. And I responded…and so the story goes.

We met and I was LESS than pleased. This was NOT the reunion where we embraced each other and kissed long, sultry kisses. It was the kind of meeting you’d see in a movie and expect a knife to be jabbed through someone’s stomach. I had NOTHING but contempt, disgust, and anger for him. He took it all. And he apologized, acknowledged, accepted, asked for forgiveness.

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Part 1—Giving him the benefit of the doubt

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following e-mail from the reader who posts as “robxsykobabe.” Read it—and watch as the sociopathic manipulation blossoms.

Here is my story…as I’ve only shared bits and pieces.

My ex and I met on a dating website. We met at a mutually convenient place, and upon seeing him for the first time in person, I was in awe! He was the perfect looking guy, casual, with a tall stature, a beautiful face and such charm. We went into a restaurant but didn’t eat. We sat at the bar, and I ordered a drink. He did not, saying he doesn’t drink anymore. That was fine with me. We engaged in conversation, and at one point, I asked him if he had ever been in prison. Why that came to my mind, I don’t know…but it did. He said no, and the night continued. We left the restaurant and went to a park near my house and talked all night long. He told me of the person he is and what he stands for and what it is that he wants out of life. He painted a picture that seemed “perfect” in a “perfect world” with “perfect expectations.” I told him that night that there had to be something more to him, as NO ONE has things that tightly wrapped up in a package. He assured me this was “just him.”

More psychopath cartoons

Two Lovefraud readers have created animations related to their experiences with psychopaths. They’re posted on YouTube. Take a look—you’ll certainly be able to relate!

But I love you—daily psychopath talk
By Openeyefilms

Be a warrior NOT a psychopath
By Sarah Strudwick

Getting over the relationship that didn’t exist

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader:

How do I process a relationship that had so many lies in it that I don’t know really with whom I was involved?

I miss the person I thought I knew so much, but at the same time, he was involved with someone else, and others, since at least last June. I thought he had had one affair—but not anything to the extent that it looks like now.

How do I process a relationship I never had? Was he lying the whole time — acting out the “I love you’s”, the romantic comments, and the idea that we should be together? Is it all an act?

Most of us are reading and posting on Lovefraud because we were intensely, callously, brutally deceived in a relationship with a sociopath. The betrayal was so deep, and so profound, that all we can say is that the person we thought we knew, the relationship we thought we had, didn’t exist.

Australian “mob” man scams three women

George Kenneth Hopes, of Bunderim, Australia, is sitting in jail, convicted of scamming four victims, including three women, out of $155,000. He led the women to believe that he was in the Mafia, and needed to pay protection money.

Although the guy was sentenced to eight years in jail, he is eligible for parole in June, 2012.

Read ‘Mafia’ man jailed for fraud on NineMSN.com.au.

Link supplied by a Lovefraud reader.

Criticizing bishops in the Philadelphia clergy abuse scandal

In February, a Philadelphia grand jury indicted four priests of sex abuse and found evidence that an additional 37 had also abused. The panel that reviews sex abuse cases for the Philadelphia archdiocese was as surprised as anyone. In an article in Commonweal, a lay Catholic publication, the chairwoman of the review board criticizes the archdiocese, saying it “failed miserably at being open and transparent.”

The problem, writes Ana Maria Catanzaro, was the clergy’s attitude of superiority. She writes:

So why haven’t they gotten it? In a word, clericalism. In his book Clericalism: The Death of the Priesthood, George B. Wilson, SJ, articulates “unexamined attitudes” typical of clerical cultures: “Because I belong to the clergy I am automatically credible. I don’t have to earn my credibility by my performance.” And: “Protecting our image is more important than confronting the situation.” And: “We don’t have to be accountable to the laity. We are their shepherds.”

A real alleged serial killer: Joseph Naso

Joseph Naso, 77, of Reno, Nevada, is charged with killing four women—in 1977, 1978, 1993 and 1994. He’s also being investigated in the murders of three girls, ages 10 and 11, before that. In writing about him, the Reno Gazette-Journal also described serial killers in general, debunking many myths. The first page of this article includes a sidebar about an FBI report on serial killers.

Read Joseph Naso: Understanding an alleged serial killer on RGJ.com.

Here’s an article about him describing what many of us have experienced with sociopaths.

Read Multiple murder suspect Naso accused in ’90s of exploiting Reno woman on RGJ.com.

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.