Editor’s note: The following letter was received from a Lovefraud reader.
Many years ago my wealthy (and elderly) widower father entered into a relationship with a sociopathic woman. She is very charming and beautiful. This was marriage number four for her. Her last marriage had been completely predatory.
My father’s health is good, his mind is sharp but his memory is failing. The more his memory fails, the more his wife isolates him. She does this in brazen and cruel ways too numerous to write about here in this short note. She also encouraged him to drink alcohol and take potent sleeping pills. He was hospitalized several times for overdose. My father has a substantial estate and it was clear that she wanted to clean him out.
My brother legally moved to find him incompetent last year. I couldn’t bear the upset and did not join forces. My father voluntarily relinquished power of attorney rather than go through the whole legal process. It was a good thing though. The hemorrhage of money outflow we later discovered was largely thwarted.
This action caused her to show her true colors when she became desperate for more money. Everyone discovered my suspicions were right about just how vicious she really was. Even the banks were calling Adult Protective Services in response to the disturbing scene of the controlling woman cleaning out her disoriented husband’s private bank accounts.
This year, I was able to get a private nurse to monitor his medications and a private conservator of estate just in time for him to need a pacemaker and a great deal of followup care. I am sure he would have died if I didn’t have these measures in place. She had to agree to the conservator under the threat of the rock solid elder abuse case I had built. Conservators are unheard of in married couples so this was a big win.
My advice to all relatives of victims is:
- Stay in touch with them even though it is an insulting and often painful thing.
- Find a lawyer as soon as you suspect something in order to make the most effective moves. You want someone who has been through this kind of thing. I had to interview three.
- Keep careful records. Collect evidence of any impropriety quietly. I found Turboscan on my iPhone to be invaluable for taking pictures of damning documents and handwritten notes. It allows you to email the document to your lawyer very easily.
- Get a full background and credit check on them ASAP. Consider getting a credit check on your relative to see if they have had their identity abused.
- Be polite, pleasant and reasonable with the sociopath. Be the solution, not the problem. The sociopath will make up stories to suit their agenda. Let your actions show the truth. Maybe bring house gifts when you visit, help their grandkids find jobs, compliment their clothes or makeup. Don’t give them reason to blacklist you and make their inevitable lies look all the sillier.
- Only confront things like phones and internet that don’t work and request that they are functional. Do this in a caring and concerned tone. Keep records when there are communication breakdowns.
- Avoid being alone with the sociopath because they can and will make up lies about what happens (in my case they were so absurd that no one believed her – especially when they read the lawsuit and saw the true colors for themselves). Have a witness you can trust. If all else fails, use a voice recorder or video encounters – just be sure to inform them you are doing it. I said I was doing it for both of us. She never could work around this while I was visiting my dad in the hospital and things went much more pleasant.
- Be careful that confrontations have an outcome you can hope to achieve – if it involves having the sociopath change anything, skip it and put your energy into documenting it.
- If the sociopath confronts or attacks you, politely leave as quickly as you can safely. In the case of physical assault, call the police quickly. Know the number before you need it.
Good luck to all.