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Teaching students about sociopaths and abusive relationships

Donna Andersen at HACC

Donna Andersen spoke on October 23, 2013 at the Harrisburg Area Community College, Gettysburg campus.

Last week, in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I did presentations at two more colleges about sociopaths and love fraud. On Tuesday, October 22, I spoke at Rutgers University in Camden in the afternoon. Then I traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I did two presentations at the Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) – Gettysburg Campus, one on October 22 and the other on October 23.

In each of the presentations, there was someone in the audience who knew — far too well — exactly what I was talking about.

At Rutgers, the woman was a Lovefraud reader who saw my announcement about the presentation (all were open to the public). She’d been married to a sociopath, and was trying to decide whether to go after him for what he had taken from her, or walk away.

In the first HACC presentation, a woman who had been in an abusive relationship came to hear me, dragging a friend along. In the middle of asking me a question, she choked up, but was able to ask the question anyway.

In the second HACC presentation, a young woman was very familiar with the Red Flags of Love Fraud — she’d already seen them all because she’d been involved with a sociopath. Three-quarters of the way through my presentation, I talk about what happens when people have a child with a sociopath. At that point, the woman had to leave the room. She returned, and afterwards told me that my words were difficult to listen to, because she was worried that her young son might be at risk of developing antisocial personality disorder.

HACC services

After each of the HACC presentations, Jessica Knouse, coordinator of student life for the Gettysburg campus, talked about the support services that the college offers to students who find themselves in abusive relationships. Students can talk to the school’s professional counselors, who can assist them or make referrals to outside agencies. Students can talk to any member of the faculty or staff whom they trust. They can alert the security office if they have a restraining order against someone, and request an escort to their cars. They can also anonymously report any crime or incident via a form on the college website.

A representative from Survivors, Inc., based in Gettysburg, also spoke about the services that they offer to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

All in all, I was impressed with the actions that HACC takes so that their students can feel safe. And then I saw their efforts in action.

Seeking support

After my program, when most students had left, a woman huddled with Jessica Knouse and the representatives from Survivors, Inc. She spoke to them for a long time. Later, I learned that the woman had been “beaten up pretty good” over the weekend. I was very glad that the HACC staff, and the domestic violence resources in Gettysburg, were on hand to assist her. I hope she finds the strength to leave her abusive partner. The HACC community certainly stands ready to assist her.

So among the people who attended my three presentations were at least four women who had been targeted by sociopaths. All of them were traumatized. That’s why it is so important to teach people about love fraud — so they can recognize the warning signs and escape before too much damage is done.

What can happen when the warning signs are not recognized? Read the Joyce Jaccodie story.

 



12 Comments on "Teaching students about sociopaths and abusive relationships"

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  1. Jan7 says:

    Donna, I am holding back my tears reading this post…you are saving so many people from the grips of a sociopath destruction. I would like you to also know your site not only helped me to know that leaving my husband was the right thing to do but also your site helped me on my darkest days and nights after leaving him… you continue to educate so many men and women about these evil sociopaths…very powerful how one person can make a positive impact on our society. You are a true earth angel.



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  2. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Hi everyone: haven’t been around in a while but I wanted to come and share this with you: wonderful news coming from California!!!!!! I am proud to say I am from California for reasons like this:

    http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=74c992e2-032f-4536-8c9c-ed5d55f850b5



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  3. lagioiella says:

    Donna, I want to commend you for all the work you are doing to protect people from harm. It is admirable. So often people just do not believe me when I tell them the horrors of an ex boyfriend from high school (class of 1981) is capable of or the dimwitted females he lures into his web to join in on harming me. He flatters my girlfriends who believe through his court ordered AA and NA meetings (DUI/possession charges) have somehow made him a changed man. Well, maybe a dry drunk for the time being.

    He tries to friend my family members in hopes in proving himself to be normal. I know he is evil. That is all that counts. His style of an apology? “If you had just been the ideal girlfriend, and kept your mouth shut, I wouldn’t have had to teach you a life lesson. If I had the chance with you again, I would probably do it again because that is who I am.” He tells my loved ones he apologized to me. I never heard the words, “I am sorry.” Not once. Do you hear remorse in his words?

    When I was younger I thought I was somehow deserving of the ill treatment. I would go back to him like a moth to flame because he was my first love. I was just his property. Sociopaths do not love. They see a woman or man, as a sack of flesh with a hole to stick their what-not in. That is all. Sometimes they are used as bait, to get women who have issues with sexually competing with other women to bed them. A trophy to parade around to make others envious of him, and someone to give them stuff and money. This is something we learn after being in a relationship with one. I learned early. My own mother asked me once, “What is it you are doing to make him want to hurt you so badly?” Shifting the blame on victims is a popular and under educated tactic. It is also hurtful and damaging to that relationship as their words make them unsafe as friends and relatives. Making them capable of being manipulated by a societal termite that can harm you.

    Some people are just not equipped to ask questions and are people pleasers. Education or wealth is not a factor. I believe inexperience in relationships and abnormal psychology is a HUGE factor. Did you know in countries where psychology is a mandatory subject for 4 years in high school, that they have MUCH less sociopathic crimes than the USA? I think it is time we start equipping our children…future generations with REAL life tools. Don’t you? Because the present and past are sadly lacking them.



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  4. Great job! I wish I was one of the students learning this so I didn’t have to suffer for so many years.



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