I recently received email from a woman whom we’ll call Adriana:
I am told I am a very beautiful, intelligent, fun, woman, but that is all subjective. I am 61 years old but pass for late 40’s; good genes. I have been divorced for 10 years and engaged once during that time. I have dated so many men and feel that I have no purpose because I can’t find “him.” I don’t find most men attractive don’t have chemistry with them and I don’t want to settle. I have not been successful in love at all and have tried to look within myself to see my faults but the truth is I just want to love and be loved.
Anyway, I am so tired of dating and getting my hopes up each time I meet someone I really am attracted to. I was setting up a booth for a trade show and a man from the booth a few down came by and gave me a bottle of water (he is a manager for a water company) and I said thanks and did not really pay much attention to him … he was ok looking.
The next day he was all dressed up looked so nice and he came to my booth looked me dead in the eyes and said “so where are you taking me to lunch?” I was so charmed by his approach and of course we ended up having lunch and then went out that night, but he conned me into dinner than back to his apt. Where he put the move on me. I am a savvy woman, but I must have been stupid. We spent the weekend together and he began to change plans on me, would get all emotional and cry but I never saw any tears, anyway bottom line is he is a liar, he never asked me for money ever, but the rest of the stuff on your sociopath list he is guilty of.
Everything is about HIM AND ONLY HIM, I think his cold hot actions were to throw me off and keep me under his control. Anyway my question is how could I have such deep feelings for this man I have known for two weeks, and if he is only like eight out of your 10 markers does that mean he is not a sociopath? He has done so much damage to me that I prayed to die. I feel worthless, unworthy, lonely, and I still miss the jerk.
I tried to level with him and told him no more games, I wanted to be loved and he said he could not give me that now. That was the first honest thing he said to me I think.
Please help me figure out if he is or is not a sociopath …
Adriana’s first question was, “How can I have such deep feelings for this man I have known for two weeks?” The answer: Adriana was the target of calculated seduction.
She didn’t provide a lot of detail about her interaction. But a man who walks up and says, “Where are you taking me to lunch?” has obviously targeted her. So I assume he also employed the rest of the strategies in the sociopath’s playbook, such as love bombing and the sudden soul mates tactic. I explain them all in my book, Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath. The bottom line is that for two weeks, Adriana was probably subject to over-the-top attention, and she responded.
About her second question—If Adriana saw eight out of the 10 Red Flags of Love Fraud, then that’s warning enough. It doesn’t matter if the guy doesn’t completely qualify as a sociopath, he certainly qualifies as bad news, and that’s exactly what I told her.
But reading this email, I was more concerned about Adriana’s frame of mind. She came out and said, “I feel that I have no purpose because I can’t find ‘him.’”
This is precisely the type of emotional void that a sociopath will happily step into.
I am not criticizing Adriana. I know exactly how she feels, because I once felt the same way. I was smart, successful, attractive, looked younger than my years—and none of that made any difference to me because I was without a partner.
The emptiness in my heart was certainly palpable to me—and perhaps to the sociopath as well. James Montgomery quickly figured out that I was an easy target. He complimented me, poured on the attention, proclaimed I was the woman he’d been waiting for all his life, painted a shimmering picture of how wonderful our life together would be—and I swallowed it all, hook, line and sinker.
Sociopaths specialize in preying on lonely people. So if you are walking around with a big hole in your heart instead of the fulfillment of love, imagine that you are also walking around with a big, red target tattooed on your forehead. KNOW THAT YOU ARE VULNERABLE.
Sociopaths have an uncanny ability to sense emptiness. For this reason, if you feel lonely, it is critically important that you know the Red Flags of Love Fraud. Because sociopaths all seem to use exactly the same strategies and tactics, I’m beginning to believe that involvements with these destructive individuals are totally preventable, if you know what to look for, and, if you spot the signs, you get out.
But you also need to know yourself. Sociopaths target vulnerabilities, and there are many more vulnerabilities besides loneliness. You can be overly trusting. You can be wounded from past betrayals. You can be suffering from grief.
Vulnerabilities are not necessarily flaws. We are all vulnerable in some way. It’s part of being human. In fact, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable in order to have a fulfilling relationship. But we must recognize that vulnerabilities also leave us open to exploitation by sociopaths.
Red Flags of Love Fraud Workbook
To help you become aware of your vulnerabilities, and recognize when someone is trying to take advantage of you, I’ve put together a companion for my new book called the Red Flags of Love Fraud Workbook.
It’s a small book—only 40 pages—with checklists and questions to ask yourself, and spaces to record your answers. Its purpose is to enable you to think carefully about your internal reality, so you can strengthen your resistance to predators. And if you’ve already been snagged by a sociopath, answering the questions will help you figure out how it happened, and what you have to do to get out of the involvement.
The Workbook will be available exclusively in the Lovefraud Store, and will be free with the purchase of the printed version of Red Flags of Love Fraud.
The key to keeping sociopaths out of your life is to know that they exist, know the warning signs, and know yourself. The two Red Flags of Love Fraud books give you the tools you need to stay safe and healthy.