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Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide: Mary Ann Glynn

First in a series of Q&A articles with members of the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide. Mary Ann Glynn is a licensed clinical social worker based in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Q. What experience have you had dealing with sociopaths or other disordered personalities—personally, professionally, or both?

A. In my professional experience, sociopaths and disordered personalities are usually brought into therapy by a significant other, or by the court system for domestic violence or other charges. Since they are incapable of insight or empathy, they may engage initially in therapy to get validation or support, blame their partner, and/or show what they are willing to do for the relationship. When therapy becomes emotionally threatening, they tend to drop out. If they have a desire to be different than their defended MO, I will see if they are willing to connect with themselves in order to learn empathy, lay out what are appropriate boundaries, and work directively with their crossing of boundaries and taking responsibility for their actions. I have so far not encountered one willing and/or able to do this.

I was involved with a narcissistic personality/sociopath who was leading a double life, and kept his narcissism hidden for a long while. I had tried to make sense of his odd behaviors and worked tirelessly to help a relationship that just got difficult over time. I ignored my body’s distress and my intuition, which made me the perfect partner for someone like him. I had been a confident person who had worked through issues in therapy, but as his subtle control chipped away my sense of self, I regressed into a helpless victim. In working to heal the damage, help the marriage, and in the end to get out, I experienced renewed strength, emotional healing, and spiritual connection to myself.

Q. How do you go about helping clients who have tangled with a sociopath?

A. Since those who have tangled with a sociopath have been traumatized (i.e. threatened, controlled, abused, betrayed) they experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – which can include not feeling safe, a feeling of loss of control, helplessness, obsessive thought patterns. They also experience a loss of self over the sociopath’s exerting his/her need to feel in control. The therapy work is done primarily through attunement with the body where trauma is stored. It includes identifying emotions felt in the body and learning to regulate them through the body, grounding, boundary work, reconnecting with the core self, self-care – there are many ways to accomplish these things. We also can use EMDR and hypnosis, which can expedite significant shifts in the healing process.

Q. What, in your experience, is the biggest issue or problem that people who have been betrayed by a sociopath need to overcome?

A. Forgiving themselves for losing themselves through another’s control, and being in the situation. When love turns out be a fraud, it throws everything into question – identity, judgment, trust and safety. People blame themselves and feel humiliated. It takes time to rebuild the self.

Q. What’s one tip you can suggest for helping Lovefraud readers recover from the betrayal of a sociopath?

A. It’s not your fault! The love you offered deserved love back. So, surround yourself now with loving, supportive friends and Lovefraud support.



13 Comments on "Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide: Mary Ann Glynn"

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  1. Truthspeak says:

    MaryAnn, I very much appreciate your insight, as a LCSW. I’ve engaged in counseling a number of times over my lifetime, and I rarely heard anything that was helpful – most of them nodded, expressed some measure of empathy, but didn’t dive into the deep end of my personal issues.

    My most recent counselor is also in recovery from a sociopathic entanglement, and she was the ONLY therapist that “got it” and nailed it with my core issues.

    SO, I want to thank you, very much, for sharing your insight in relation to your own experiences. It is extremely validating to those of us who are still reeling from our experiences.

    Brightest blessings



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  2. fixerupper says:

    Thank You! shane, kmillercats and slimone, for your kindness and encouragement.

    The way the ‘counsellor’ acted in the so-called couples therapy really shocked me.

    I get a sense that it was either choreographed in advance with the ex-gf or, that the counsellor (Has a PhD) is incompetent and insensitive or, just does not recognize sociopathic behaviour. It just doesn’t make sense, for a counsellor or anyone overseeing a meeting, to let one person slam another that way in any situation.

    But as others are saying, the counsellors need to be better educated and equipped to deal with people with these disorders.



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  3. Truthspeak says:

    Fixerupper, the sad fact is that the only “education” that any professional can apply as a good, strong counselor is based upon their own experiences. Make no mistake that sociopathy, psychopathy, anti-social behaviors, Borderline Personality Disorders, etc. are glossed over in the academia of psychology and LCSW. But, the “Powers That Be” do not base their research on what SURVIVORS of these disordered predators experience. They are familiar with “symptoms,” and that’s as far as it goes unless, by some coincidence, they have had their OWN spath experiences.

    Even trained professionals have a very difficult time with spaths because they can be very, very convincing. They are able to falsify and lie without blinking an eye. They have the ability to “fool” a lie detector. They are absolute chameleons in that they mirror and parrot what they believe to be appropriate behaviors and responses.

    Then, there are those professionals who are of the nefarious sort, themselves. I haven’t encountered a “nefarious” counselor, yet, but they are out there and their motives are of evil origin, to be sure.

    So, your experiences in the “couples’ counseling” sessions were bogus, at the very least, and manufactured, at the very worst. What you experienced wasn’t true counseling and I am SO sorry for that because “true” counseling can be very, very helpful.

    Brightest blessings



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  4. Ox Drover says:

    Having an LCSW, PhD, MD or other degree or certification does NOT MEAN that the person is not also THEMSELVES HIGH IN P TRAITS, all the way up to and including a 30 score on a PCL-R.

    The thing is that we must be aware that if you are in a room with 100 other people there are 1 to 4 of them that would score over 30 on the PCL-R. And there are others who would score 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, etc. so if you are in a room full of People with MD degrees or LCSW certifications, etc. you will encounter some of those Ps there too.

    Yes, EDUCATION is important, judges and lawyers need to be educated but some of them ARE psychopaths, MDs, Teachers, cops, politicians, RNs, LCSWers etc. but some of them ARE Ps as well….so there’s a lot of education that needs to be done, and we alsoo need to educate potential victims.

    While Donna’s program going into schools is good, a VERY good thing, I think it is like PISSING IN THE OCEAN TO TRY TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF THE WATER. Her program needs to go to the national organization of school principals, and the ones for national school counselors, and national teachers organizations and so on AS WELL AS EVERY class room in the US.

    I realize anything is a START but it needs to be EXPANDED. I wish I knew how to do that.



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