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Sociopathic confidence and conviction, even when they’re lying

Downton Abbey was on TV last night, and Terry and I are among the millions of fans. Last night’s episode (Season 3, Episode 4) ended in tragedy because of behavior that looked so familiar to me.

(Spoiler Alert: The following description gives away the story.)

Lord Grantham’s daughter, Lady Sybil, is about to give birth. Rather than depend on the local country doctor, Dr. Clarkson, Lord Grantham has imported a more socially acceptable obstetrician, Sir Philip Tapsell, to deliver the baby. As the birth approaches, both doctors are in attendance at the estate.

Lady Sybil starts acting incoherently. Dr Clarkson fears that she may be toxemic. He recommends that they rush to the hospital so the baby can be delivered immediately by C-section. Sir Philip insists that nothing is wrong—Lady Sybil is experiencing a normal childbirth. The two doctors argue in front of the entire family — and the nature of the argument is why I’m describing the show.

Dr. Clarkson worries that Lady Sybil may be in grave danger, but admits that he doesn’t know for sure. Sir Philip, on the other hand, is totally confident that nothing is wrong. He never wavers. He is pompous in his confidence. He practically sneers at the country bumpkin doctor for being an alarmist, and actually tells him to shut up.

Lord Grantham notes that Dr. Clarkson isn’t sure about the possible danger, whereas Sir Philip is 100% confident that everything is fine. He sides with Sir Philip, and they do not go to the hospital.

Lady Sybil goes into labor and the baby is born. But a short time later, she goes into convulsions and dies.

Argued like a sociopath

Dr. Clarkson was right all along. But Sir Philip spoke with unshakeable self-confidence, unwaveringly certain that he knew best. He argued like a sociopath.

I am not saying that the Sir Philip character is a sociopath.  But I am saying that his extreme confidence, his self-righteousness and his hubris are all traits that sociopaths display when they are pushing to get their way.

I write about this in my book, Red Flags of Love Fraud:

How do they do it? How do sociopaths convince you to go along with their agendas, even to your own detriment?

They command it. This is a function of their charisma — because they command unflinchingly, with complete self-confidence, they get results. Now, this doesn’t mean sociopaths are always barking orders. Often the commands are delivered on cushions of sweetness, or camouflaged as appeals for sympathy. But in their minds, whatever sociopaths want, they are totally entitled to have. Therefore, when they make their desires known, they show no doubt, only certainty. Compliance is demanded, and targets respond.

Those of us who are not disordered usually aren’t as adamant in expressing our views, opinions or desires. We may think we’re right, but recognize that we could be wrong. We may know what we want, but we’re willing to compromise.  So when we come across people who communicate vociferously and forcefully — well, we tend to be bowled over. Because of the sheer force of their words, we tell ourselves that they must know what they’re talking about, they’re telling the truth, and they’re right.

My ex-husband’s convincing lies

I’m soon going to be on another TV show — I’ll tell you all more when I have details. The producer asked me if I had any more video or audio of my ex, James Montgomery. Well, I found some tapes that I had forgotten about — recordings of voice mails, and a recording of our first telephone conversation when I arrived home after leaving him. The tapes illustrate the steamroller tactics with which he argued — even when he was lying.

Let me set the scene. James Montgomery swept into my life, portraying himself as a successful entrepreneur. He invited me to be part of his business plans, which, if I could help him get started, were sure to make us fabulously wealthy. He pressured me to lease a car for him — it was in my name, and I made all the payments. To feed his unending need for money, I drained my savings and loaded about $60,000 in debt to my previously zero-balance credit cards.

Montgomery also told me he was a member of the Australian military who had heroically served in Vietnam, and still acted as a consultant, particularly on terrorism. He often flew to Florida, telling me he was stopping by MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, home of the Special Operations Command. While there, he was able to get around by borrowing the cars of other military members that were parked at the base.

In December 1998, Montgomery dragged me to Florida, saying he had a contract to open a Titanic show in Orlando. We spent money we didn’t have to move down there. A few weeks later Montgomery admitted he never had a contract. Then, while he was flying to yet another business meeting, I discovered that he had fathered a child with another woman during our marriage. I left Florida, and took the car that he had been driving.

So, here’s part of my conversation with James Montgomery when I was back at my home in New Jersey. (Warning: Contains some profanity.)

 

Here’s what I know now that I didn’t know during the conversation. My entire marriage was a financial scam. James Montgomery was never in the military. When he travelled to Florida, he was visiting other women — including, but not limited to, the mother of the child., who probably owned the car he drove.

Yet listen to how he argued about the car. I was wrong for taking the car back to New Jersey, which inconvenienced him. I was wrong about him using cars from the base. And I was stupidly ignorant about the policy for using military cars. Montgomery was adamant and self-righteous in his argument — even though everything he said was a lie.

At the time, the conversation was terribly upsetting. He threw many more accusations and threats at me, which, because of the conviction of his words, made me wonder if he was right.

Later, I discovered that everything he said that day, and practically everything he said during our marriage, was a lie — no matter how convincingly the words were stated.

I didn’t know someone could lie with such confidence and conviction. And that’s how I got into the entire mess.



169 Comments on "Sociopathic confidence and conviction, even when they’re lying"

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  1. Ox Drover says:

    Mending, I a gree with your statement

    I am thinking that maybe I need to go back to my counselor.

  2. mendingthebrokenpieces says:

    Thank you guys.. urgggh I am so confused. My friend that introduced us swore to me that he is a really great guy and that he will treat me right. And I do trust her, so I think that was why I was open to giving him a chance…if I would have just met him somewhere and had not been introduced by a friend and and he had that whole separation thing, I would have said no way. Ox Drover, you’re right..I am going to call my counselor tomorrow and make an appointment. I see what I am doing again..making excuses .&^%#&%$. Louise, I know this scenario all too well too…it is the SAME exact way that my relationship started with my ex spath. Getting divorced soon, all is civil, ugh. and yet, here I am again. He says he ultimately is going to but that it will be expensive and he will have to refinance and that he is just not that concerned about it right now bc he wants to get in a better financial position first..plus he said that they just grew apart and that there was no cheating or anything that made him hate her to the point where he felt the need to go foward with the divorce right this second :/ Skylar, I know :(…I guess I was just really hopeful this time…if you read my one post from the other day..I was all happy and now I am like this. Maybe I am the messed up one now since I was emotionally tormented so long. Maybe this guy isn’t a spath, but just a guy who isn’t ready for a new relationship? idk. He wanted to hurry up and introduce me to his family and all his friends, and I kind of figured he wouldn’t have done that if he wasn’t ready.Seemed like he was so into me and now it is just feeling kind of awkward.

  3. Louise says:

    mending:

    I know you are confused, but another thing I noticed that I failed to mention earlier is the push/pull that he seems to be using on you. You said that he’ll be really affectionate for a few days and then not so much. I am sure he is not a spath, but he purely sounds to me like a man who is not going to get divorced. He is totally giving you excuses of what men say when they don’t really want to get divorced…saying it’s because of finances, he doesn’t hate her, etc. It’s classic. You are right…he is not ready for a relationship…he is still married and it sounds like he is dragging his feet. I would let him go or at the very least, start to keep your distance. If you truly love him, I would tell him to come back around once he is legally divorced. Perhaps he was into you at first, but has thought things through. Let us know what you decide. Good luck to you.

  4. mendingthebrokenpieces says:

    Louise,

    That sounds about right…I would much rather realize this sooner than later though because I def don’t want to end up getting hurt in the long run. Actually, because of him being the way he is being, I feel that I am losing interest..but..I do think it might be worth it to keep my distance for awhile and see what he does? The sex is not even good..it’s not like I would be losing anything there or would be drawn to him for that reason. I am definitely not in love with him…don’t love him either….so given, the sitution, I guess that is a really good thing. I am attacted to him, and I think he is a good guy and I thought there was potential but maybe he just isn’t for me. Kind of disappointing. Funny how so much can change in a few days. It is just awkward small talk with him today. Funny how it can go from crazy good on Thursday night to a weird weekend to awkward small talk. I kind of think what you said is right, he was all gung ho at first, but is maybe changing his mind. He knows how horrible my past relationship was so he might be scared to hurt me and doesn’t know how to tell me that he just isn’t that into me anymore. Who knows. Everyone has so much baggage, including myself, emotional baggage, but still baggage. Guess I will see what he does. If he calls me tomorrow and says goodbye, I will be fine with it…if he starts getting her stuff packed up..maybe there is potential for him. I have tried to give him an out before, saying that if he was not ready to move on, it was ok, but he still insisted that he would not be dating me if he had intentions of going back to her. Could be a lie…I am so jaded. Not sure that anybody will ever be able to hurt me the way my spath did so I guess I’ll be fine no matter what really.

    On another note, has anybody watched the new kevin bacon show, the following? I just finished wathcing it a little bit ago. A whole show of violent spaths. I suppose I like the show, but parts are very disturbing to me.

  5. KatyDid says:

    mendingthebrokenpieces
    I have a rule: Married means MARRIED. He is legally, morally, ethically someone elses SPOUSE. He is committing adultry. As long as he is married, HIS WIFE should be his priority.

    BTW? His behavior is disrespectful to you.

    Require MORE from a man, require that he be AVAILABLE. B/c not only does he need to be divorced, he needs time to process his own journeys in order to be truly available. Ending a marriage is not the same as breaking up with a girlfriend, and too many people behave as if it is. That’s just ONE place where broken hearts come from.

    Wishing you to take more time for yourself b/c something you said is so true. You are not ready for dating. You need to be healed FIRST so that YOU are as emotionally available as HE SHOULD BE.

    Best, Katy

  6. Louise says:

    mending:

    I think you said a couple of very important things…you are not in love with him or even love him. If so, then just get out of it. He’s married anyway. Once he gets divorced and sorts everything out and is available, he will come back to you if he is truly interested. The one thing I have learned if nothing else on this planet is if a man wants a woman, he will do anything to be with her. A man cannot stay away from a woman he truly loves. And not just in a sexual way, but in a true love way.

    Another thing…if it seems like we are forcing something, it will never work. I have found this to be true. Things should be peaceful and good and work out well if they are meant to be…not all this thinking like “maybe he just isn’t for me” etc. When things are right, they will be right without all kinds of other interferences such as wives, drama, etc.

    No, I have not seen “The Following,” but it looks good. Need to check it out.

  7. Truthspeak says:

    Mending, from what I’m reading in your words, it reads that you are simply not healed enough to even entertain a relationship, at this point. That doesn’t mean that you’ll NEVER have a healthy relationship, but you’re involved with a married man (separated does NOT equal divorced), your words are suggesting desperation to fill a void, and I’m identifying with the trust issues and triggers. Sex? Really?! Sex is not going to be “healthy” on any level until serious emotional recovery and boundaries are made.

    There is some core-issue that only a counseling therapist can help you to identify that is causing you to “feel” obligated to fill a void with a man. This void cannot be successfully filled by anything other than your own self-worth, self-esteem, and self-created boundaries. Only a strong counseling therapist that “gets it” has the training and tools to help you to identify this core-issue and assist you in your recovery.

    Brightest and most encouraging blessings

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