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Archive for February, 2012

Lovefraud Romantic Partner Survey results

This time last year, Lovefraud was in the midst of conducting an Internet survey about the experiences of Lovefraud readers who were romantically involved with sociopaths.

A total of 1,352 people responded, and the information that you shared was extraordinary. In fact, I believe that the Lovefraud Romantic Partner Survey probably resulted in the best and most comprehensive data about romantic relationships with sociopaths ever collected. Following are some nuggets of information:

Top three ways that survey respondents met the sociopath:

  • Internet — 23%
  • Social situations, like a bar, restaurant, club, party — 20%
  • Doing business or working together — 17%

Top three characteristics exhibited by the sociopath:

  • Charisma and charm — 91%
  • Blamed others for any problems he/she had — 82%
  • Sexual magnetism — 78%

Top three characteristics of the beginning of the relationship:

  • Individual seemed to share my values — 83%

What is forgiveness? Does it condone evil or defeat it? (Part II)

Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

Special note from the author, Travis Vining:  Some of the content in this article may be unsettling to some.  I would ask that the reader please recognize that the following definition and interpretation of forgiveness is from years of personal experience, reading, learning, practicing and teaching.  It did not come easy, and in the beginning, I was just as unwilling as most to accept forgiveness as a possible solution to my problem. It is very “normal” to experience an emotional response to the idea that we play a part in our own suffering when the pain is still fresh.

If you prefer words like acceptance, letting go, etc., please use them.  They are all valid descriptions of forgiveness.

What is forgiveness?  Part II

Saying “Yes” Without Reading The Small Print

This week my post is inspired by a throw-away comment from my son. We were sitting in the kitchen, eating vegetable soup together while he downloaded a new app for my iPhone that will allow us to stay in contact more easily when I’m in the UK. As is often the case, the carrier has updated their terms and conditions so, before I could complete the download, I had to agree the changes.

“You don’t really want to read the 55 pages of new terms and conditions do you Mum?” asked Dylan, just checking the seemingly obvious before checking the “I agree” box. I laughed and shook my head – of course I didn’t!  And that’s when he said “Did you know that’s the biggest lie that people tell – not just once, but time and time again?”

“What is?” I replied, not quite getting where he was coming from “What’s the biggest lie?”

Is the Chardon High School shooter a budding sociopath?

A 17-year-old high school sophomore, identified by his family as T. J. Lane, allegedly walked into his high school cafeteria in Chardon, Ohio, yesterday and started shooting. Two students are now dead, and three were injured.

It’s too early to know if T. J. Lane actually has a personality disorder. But it looks like his father, Thomas Lane Jr., exhibited sociopathic behavior. He’s been arrested for abusing women. He served time for holding one woman’s head under running water and then bashing it into a wall. The father, and T.J. Lane’s mother, were charged with domestic violence against each other.

T. J. Lane wasn’t living with either of his parents—he was living with his grandparents. And news reports indicate that social service agencies were aware of the family’s troubles.

BOOK REVIEW: Character Disturbance

Character Disturbance—The Phenomenon of Our Age, the new book by George K. Simon, Ph.D., does two things really well: It paints a no-nonsense picture of how people with personality disorders, including sociopaths, behave. And it explains why traditional psychotherapy, in attempting to understand these individuals, gets it so wrong.

The basic problem, Simon explains, is that classic concepts in psychotherapy, like those advanced by Sigmund Freud, propose that people develop defensive strategies against a cruel, heartless world in order to protect their deep, authentic selves. This results in “neurosis,” defined in Wikipedia as “a variety of mental disorders in which emotional distress or unconscious conflict is expressed through various physical, physiological and mental disturbances, which may include physical symptoms.”

Many, many therapists follow the classic psychotherapeutic paradigm, which Simon neatly summarized. He wrote:

Other aspects of crime and mental disorders

I read two interesting articles in the newspaper this morning. The first was about the original mass murderer, Howard Unruh, who in 1949 walked down a street in Camden, New Jersey, and killed 13 people in 20 minutes. Psychiatrists at the time tried to find out why he did it by giving him “truth serum.”

On Oct. 20, 1949, Camden County Court Judge Bartholomew A. Sheehan signed the final order of commitment for Unruh after a team of four psychiatrists classified him as a case of “dementia praecox, mixed type, with pronounced catatonic and paranoid coloring.”

In modern parlance, he was a paranoid schizophrenic, a classification that would appear again and again in Unruh’s records.

Read Inside the mind of a killer, on Philly.com.

The other article discusses an unintended consequence of many criminals receiving life sentences—a growing population of prisoners with dementia. The California Men’s Colony is teaching some inmates to care for the elderly prisoners—and they are succeeding.

Posted in: Laws and courts

Woman who left U.S. with kids faces extradition

After her divorce in 1997, Eileen Clark, 54, left the United States with her three children for the United Kingdom. she now faces extradition back to the United States.

It will be interesting to watch this case—so far I haven’t seen any information to indicate whether this woman or her ex-husband were abusive.

Read: Mother-of-three facing extradition from Britain and a trial in U.S. for kidnapping her children — 15 years after fleeing an unhappy marriage, on DailyMail.co.uk.

Link supplied by a Lovefraud reader.

Teen dating abuse education for Bayonne High School

The best way to deal with sociopaths is to know what they are and stay away from them. That just got much easier for 500 students of Bayonne High School in Bayonne, New Jersey. Yesterday I presented Lovefraud’s teen dating abuse program, called Sociopaths and Abusive Dating Relationships, to the senior class.

I explained:

  • My own experience of marrying a sociopath
  • Traits of a sociopath
  • Difference between real love and empty love
  • The Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath
  • Dangers of Internet dating
  • How sex restructures the brain
  • How abusive relationships form
  • How to break up with an abuser

I had the kids’ undivided attention—which is pretty amazing for an auditorium full of teenagers. I could see shock and horror on their faces as I described typical sociopathic ploys. They asked many, many questions. In fact, I had to stop taking questions so I could finish the program.

Australian love-rat strikes again

Last October, Lovefraud reported that Salvatore Cortorillo of Australia was ordered to $1 million to a widow who he defrauded. Read:

Love-rat ordered to pay $1 million

So what did Cortorillo do? He swindled more women! This time, the media chased him, and cornered him in an airport as he was about to fly out of the country—with tickets paid for by another woman. Watch the videos from the TV show A Current Affair:

Aussie love rat flees

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.

What is forgiveness? Does it condone evil or conquer it? (Part I)

Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

Forgive, as a word, and as an ideal, is very misunderstood in our world. Not only is the idea misunderstood, but the word itself is often intensely disliked.

The act of Forgiveness does not release the perpetrator from responsibility for their crimes, nor condone the behavior. Forgiveness is about letting go, a process that releases us from another’s destructive hold over our lives. It is not about accepting, trusting, or increasing future suffering. To the contrary, Forgiveness is simply releasing pain from the past in order to end future suffering.

Ultimately, forgiveness is not about someone, or something else. The idea that we must forgive someone else is only a step in learning the real Truth about letting go. This step helps to teach us where the real suffering of unforgiveness is experienced…in us. It is ourselves that is released through forgiveness, and until we forgive, we are likely to repeat the past.