By Sarah Strudwick
Editor’s note: Sarah Strudwick is author of “Dark Souls,” and has created numerous cartoons describing the behavior of sociopaths.
When I first got a copy of Donna Andersen’s Red Flags of Love Fraud, my immediate reaction was, “Oh yet another book on sociopaths.” Having been a victim myself, and a fellow author who has read almost every book on the subject, I was half expecting to find a book that was regurgitating old ideas with nothing new to say.
Well how wrong I was, because this is not one of those books. Apart from one other book I have read recently on Character Disturbance, this has to be the best book I have read so far on sociopaths. Donna Andersen combines her expertise based on real life experience, and real heartbreaking true life stories from those people who submitted to her survey via www.lovefraud.com. The book is both eloquent and intelligently written and dispels some of the myths that people have about sociopaths just being Ted Bundy-like characters. It also explains some of the discrepancies between the sociopath(ic) types such as psychopaths, antisocials, and so on.
Donna points out that most sociopaths are everyday folks whose sole aim is manipulation, power and control. Along with providing key tools such as how to spot “red flags” for potential abusers, Donna goes onto explain what types of people are likely to be targets, mostly anyone, and those more “wounded” types who are much more likely to fall prey to the sociopaths’ charms. Donna explains clearly the types of manipulation tactics they use, and why it is often so hard for victims to escape because of the pathological bond. More importantly, she explains why many friends and family may be unaware that abuse is even happening in the first place. Since the book is interspersed with real life stories, data and research, it should hopefully add additional muscle to voices of those victims who have been speaking up for too long without being heard.
In additional to being aimed at those readers who may potentially be targets of sociopaths wanting some kind of help, I would recommend that this book goes on the reading lists of professionals. It might also behoove those friends and colleagues of people who think something is “not quite right” to read it and pass it along in order to educate and raise awareness of this important social problem that is the sociopath.
As a coach who helps people coming out of abusive relationships, this will go on my recommended list of must-reads for those who come and see me in the future.