Lovefraud recently received the following email from a reader in Holland whom we’ll call “Anika”:
Today I registered to your love fraud site. Nice that you created it. It is a great help when you are abused by a socio-psychopath whatever you call it. I’ve been divorced from mine almost 30 years. Only 3 years ago I read a book that explained to me why, after my divorce, my life changed from a drama into a hell.
And this blog and sites are very helpful. Knowledge gives power. So I am together with a cousin (who is also divorced her psychopath), working on creating something like this in Holland. In our country it seems to be an unknown subject.
I want to write especially about the troubles the Nps-ers can cause between the children and their mother or fathers. That’s what happened in my case. My ex trained the children in abusive and cruel behavior towards me.
My son doesn’t know the facts of why I divorced his father. His father (who works as a homeopathic doctor) told my kids, when they were in their puberty, that the great drama in their lives was that their mother caused them a lot off harm by having this (so called) depression after the divorce. I only found out years afterward he what did, because he never told me that he was putting this idea in their heads. (And he forgot to mention his messing around with other women and lies about that, which destroyed our marriage.)
When I asked my children if they please can explain to me what happened and how, they most of the times get very angry, start to scream at me, or walk away but cannot give any example. They avoid contact with me most of the times.
I have had no contact with my daughter for several years. One year ago I gave it another try. First by e-mail and then I paid her 2 visits that were 2 very pleasant occasions. I could feel her love, and the atmosphere was very good.
She wrote me this also in a e-mail. And then she started to create distance between her and me.
My son, luckily, has 2 kids and he likes me to be the grandmother. I am very lucky with them that contact is very good, we love each other big time.
Well that’s my story in a nutshell.
Anika’s story is just like many of the 3,600 stories that have been sent to Lovefraud—and that is exactly why I posted it. This story came from Europe. Sociopaths are everywhere—Lovefraud has received stories from all over the world. Sociopaths are in all demographic groups. They are male, female, rich, poor, all races, all religions and live in all communities.
Anika also said that sociopathy “seems to be an unknown subject” in Holland. Well, it’s an unknown subject all around the world. Yes, we’re talking about social predators here on Lovefraud, which is based in the United States, but that certainly doesn’t mean Americans have any more awareness of this personality disorder than anyone else does.
Because Hollywood and the media typically portray sociopaths as deranged serial killers, our “understanding” of them may do us more harm than good. Why? When people believe sociopaths are all deranged killers, it may blind them to the fact that a lying, manipulative, abusive partner or colleague may be a sociopath. Because the individual hasn’t killed anyone, it may be hard to believe that he or she has a serious personality disorder.
The fact that predators live among us is like a giant skeleton in the closet of the human race. It’s a massive problem that no one wants to talk about.
Defining the problem
One reason why this huge problem remains outside of our awareness is that it is poorly defined. Even though people have been talking about evil since biblical times, there is no widely accepted definition of what it is.
In my book, Red Flags of Love Fraud — 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath, I suggest that the word “sociopath” be used as a generic umbrella description for social predators—people who live their lives by exploiting others. Within the framework of “sociopathy,” experts (who disagree on what to call this personality disorder and how it should be diagnosed) can define specific diagnoses, such as antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, narcissism and borderline personality disorder.
Experts estimate that up to 4% of the population have antisocial personality disorder, up to 6% have narcissistic personality disorder, and up to 2% have borderline personality disorder. Add these figures together, and as many as 12% of the people who live among us are social predators.
As of July 2012, the population of the United States was nearly 314 million. If up to 12% are sociopaths, that means as many as 37 million social predators in America.
The world population is almost 7 billion. If 12% are sociopaths, the total is a staggering 837 million. This is a massive problem.
So why are there 837 million disordered people in the world, exploiting almost everyone they meet, and most people don’t know about it? Perhaps the whole concept is just too scary.
Human beings are social creatures. We live in groups and depend on each other. How do we cope with the idea that some of our own species are predators? They look like us and act like us, but their objective is not to live in community with us—it is to take advantage of us and perhaps destroy us.
Maybe we just don’t want to go there. We are, after all, capable of massive conspiracy. Take Santa Claus. I’ve always been amazed that every adult in every country where Christmas is celebrated knows, in the presence of children, to keep the Santa Claus story going. So maybe we’re living with another massive cultural conspiracy that goes something like this: All people are basically good and want the same thing is life—to love and be loved.
It’s a cultural message that we hear time and time again. Unfortunately, it is not totally true. There are exceptions to this general belief in the goodness and sameness of people. The exceptions are the sociopaths.
We need to open the closet and shed light on the fact that 837 million social predators live among us. They look like us, but they do not live like us. These people do not love. They care only about power, control and dominance.
The first step towards protecting ourselves from sociopaths is knowing that they exist.