Back in August of 2010, I told my story of being defrauded by a sociopath as “star” of the premiere episode of Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?, a TV show that aired on the Investigation Discovery network. Well, since that first exciting night, the show has probably aired 30 or 40 times. It aired in Australia. It aired in South America. On Friday, it aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Hey, I’ve finally been on Oprah!
I never know in advance when the show is going to air—I only find out when I start receiving emails from people who see it and identify with my story. A couple of months ago I heard from a man who saw the show and was beginning to suspect that a woman in his life was using him for money. We’ll call the man “Howard.”
Howard arranged a consultation with me. He told me his story. Listening to him, it was easy for me to see that the woman was clearly a sociopath, and was clearly using him for money. But that’s not all. As Howard told me more about his situation, I realized that he was involved with three sociopathic women at the same time.
One was his wife. They had married in their early 20s, and she was controlling and emotionally abusive from the beginning—and that was more than 30 years ago. Howard was not happy, and a few years ago, Howard connected with a woman from his past, whom we’ll call “Cindy”—she’s the one who is now bleeding his money.
Well, Cindy love bombed Howard, promised him the world, and he started an affair with her. He also started divorce proceedings from his wife. But when he was about to make the move to be with Cindy permanently—supposedly what she wanted—suddenly she didn’t want it any more. Then the wife, who was happy to divorce when Howard gave her all the proceeds from selling their property, suddenly didn’t want a divorce any more.
Howard, essentially homeless, started staying with another woman as a housemate. Based on what I’ve heard about this woman’s behavior, she’s another sociopath.
Howard is wracked with guilt about his wife, even though she was abusive and is using him. He feels obligated to Cindy, even though she discarded him, but still wants his money. And the housemate—well, she’s laying the groundwork to make a move.
All Howard really wants is to find a woman who really loves him. But in one of his emails, he wrote:
“I guess I don’t believe that a woman will love me.”
Changing the belief
Howard believes he is not deserving of love. That belief is the core of his problems.
When we believe that we are unworthy of love, or respect, or even life, we become vulnerable to the sociopath. Why? Because sociopaths prey on vulnerability. They have an uncanny ability to figure out what we are vulnerable to, and hook us with promises that they will make our vulnerability go away.
They promise us the love that we always wanted but feared we would never find. They offer us recognition, praise, validation. At least, they pretend to. And we, wanting what they promise so desperately, fall into their traps. Then, we find ourselves psychologically bonded to them, so we can’t escape.
This is what happened to Howard. On an intellectual level, he knows that the women are using him. But because of his long history with them, he is so wrapped up emotionally, and so psychologically bonded, that he is struggling to see his way out of his situation.
Making the change
So where do these beliefs of unworthiness come from? Often they are rooted in negative experiences during our formative years. Perhaps we were neglected or abused as children. Perhaps we were teased or bullied in school. Those of you who have read my book, Love Fraud, know that I also believe we may have been born with these ideas as remnants of past lives.
But the truth is, where the false beliefs came from doesn’t matter. Looking at the conditions of our lives, we can see that we have them. Our job is to change our minds about what we deserve. This change is never going to come from the outside, from some other person or situation. It is a change that we must make for ourselves.
How do we do it? First, we must make the decision to change our minds. It’s not just going to happen; we must choose to make it happen.
Then we consciously let go of negative beliefs and replace them with positive beliefs. We decide that we are deserving of love, and start treating ourselves that way. We no longer let sociopaths, or anyone else, walk all over us. We consciously remove people who disrespect us from our lives. We start treating ourselves better.
It takes time and effort to change old thought patterns. But when we do, our life patterns will change. We will be able to find peace and happiness. And eventually, we’ll probably surprise ourselves and find love.
Howard is making progress. I believe he will find the strength to remove all of these parasitic women from his life. And, continuing on his healing path, one day he’ll come across a real woman who truly loves him.
All of these positive changes come from believing in ourselves.