A reader who uses the name “Jenni Marie” posted the following comment on Lovefraud:
Learning about sociopaths and what happened to me and the rest of us, is starting to feel a little exhausting for me
I first learned about them in March 2012 and have spent my time from then until now trying to convince myself that what was happening to me was not a dream or my imagination, and was the stark reality of being in a relationship with one of them and that I was dying with him and had to get away from him. He was here again last night at 12:30am knocking on my door, and at 4:00am the night before. I ignored him.
If it’s not too personal of a question for you, may I ask how it is that you still want to use your energy on sociopaths, and more curious to me is how your new husband feels about the time you spend educating and trying to help other victims of sociopaths?
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like you want to just forget about the whole thing and stop having any focus whatsoever on disordered people? They make us sick and tired and confused. How do you find the strength to keep going for us here in cyberspace-land?
I’m in the middle of the final break-up with him and he keeps coming around and I can’t call the police because of the kind of people he knows, no matter what anyone says about getting the police involved. I can’t and won’t unless I am being physically threatened and I’m being careful not to give him any chance to be alone with me.
I know this discard phase will end and he will eventually stay away, but I am so tired of the info that is rolling around in my head about what he did to me and how these people are, and just want it all to stop now, which is not how it works with them. It takes so long to get over them and the stuff we let happen to us as I have read, and I’m a little scared that he might have messed me up permanently in my ability to believe what anyone says.
So, why does Miss Donna want to stay in this sociopathic world of hurt and evidence of pain now that she was able to get her sociopath out of her life? Don’t you sometimes feel that you just want to stop it and move on to a life with your new husband without the traits and sadness that come from dealing with sociopaths?
I want to give Kudos to your husband because I feel that it might not be easy having to continually deal with the sociopathic influence, and Kudos to you for what is your blessed, obvious daily desire to help the rest of us with them.
Thank you both,
I want to apologize to Jenni Marie because I did not see this comment when it was posted almost a year ago. Another reader, Viewpoint, recently replied to it, which is when I saw it. (I will admit, with 200,000 comments on this website, I can’t keep up with them all.)
But back to Jenni’s question. Why do I keep going with Lovefraud? Because this is important work.
Further along the path
First, I want to acknowledge Jenni Marie’s experience and feelings. When she posted this comment, she was in the midst of trying to get away from a sociopath who was stalking her in the middle of the night. I totally get where she was coming from. She just wanted this guy to leave her alone.
I was lucky. Once I left my ex-husband, James Montgomery, I never saw him again. He was already on to other victims. In fact, 10 days after I left him, he married the woman he had a child with while married to me. (It was the second time he committed bigamy. And he was simultaneously cheating with more women.)
But here’s the key point: That was in 1999. My divorce was finalized in 2000. I’ve been away from him for 14 years, so I am much further along the path of healing than Jenni Marie, and many current Lovefraud readers.
Telling the story
While married to James Montgomery, I was working as an independent copywriter. I wrote brochures, newsletters and other promotional materials for casinos, technology companies, and many other customers.
But my training was journalism, and I started my career as a magazine writer. So when I realized what my ex-husband had really done, and what he was really was, I knew I had to write my story.
I also believed that there were likely plenty of other people like me — smart, educated, professional — who had no idea that sociopaths existed. They found out about them like I did — the hard way. The lesson cost me $227,000. (That’s just what I claimed in court. I don’t even know the real total, but it was much higher.)
I realized that I had uncovered a massive untold story. Millions of human predators lived among us. They looked like us, talked like us, but their objective was to exploit us.
Why was no one talking about this? Why wasn’t this in the media? Why weren’t we being taught about these people in school? Even in college? Even in self-help magazines?
The journalist in me knew that this wasn’t just a story about me. It was a story about all of us.
After my own intense personal recovery work, I met the man who is now my husband, Terry Kelly. We met at a blues club in Philadelphia in 2001, and slowly got to know each other. Our relationship turned into a nice, normal romance.
I kept telling him wild stories about my ex-husband, and how I wanted to write a book. A few years after we met, he offered to fund the book. (Love Fraud was published in 2010.)
But around that time the Internet had taken off, so I thought it would be best to first build a website. Terry agreed, so he paid the start-up costs.
That’s how Lovefraud.com came to be. Without Terry, this website would not exist.
Lovefraud.com launched in July 2005. The goal of the initial website was to explain the warning signs of romance fraud so that people could avoid being scammed like I was. Then in January 2006 I added the blog feature, which was a new technology at the time. I kept posting articles, and more and more people commented.
From the very beginning, I invited people to write to me and tell me their stories. That’s when I learned the true extent of sociopathic manipulation. I learned that sociopaths did much more than take money from their targets. This disorder was associated with all kinds of abuse — emotional, psychological, physical, sexual and financial.
The more I heard from Lovefraud readers, the more I realized that mine wasn’t the only story that needed to be told.
Millions of sociopaths lived among us. Millions of people were being exploited. Millions of stories needed to be told.
What Terry thinks
So back to Jenni Marie’s email. To answer her, I asked Terry, “What do you think about me putting so much time and energy into Lovefraud?”
“You’re passionate about Lovefraud, and I believe people should follow their passion,” Terry replied. “I also know that you’re helping people who are going through the same thing you went through, and it’s good to help people.”
Terry and I are a team. We support each other’s work, we manage our household together and we keep each other entertained. We also make time to be together, whether watching ball games at home (this was a rough season for Phillies fans), or going on trips and vacations. We recently spent a lovely weekend in Washington, D.C.
I am eternally grateful that Terry came into my life.
Doing more with Lovefraud
My biggest frustration now is that I would like to do so much more with Lovefraud. People need to know how to spot and avoid sociopaths. And those who have been targeted need help to recover.
One of the big problems I hear about from Lovefraud readers is that counselors and therapists don’t get it about sociopaths. Many professionals don’t really know what a sociopath is, how they behave, and how to help people who have been traumatized due to their involvement with them.
So I am working on a new initiative with several Lovefraud colleagues. We’re developing training for therapists and counselors on how to recognize and help clients who have been targeted by sociopaths. We’ll announce more about the program soon.
Right now our effort just involves time, but soon there will be expenses. If you’d like to help, there are two things you can do:
1. Click on the ads on Lovefraud
Every time you click an ad, Lovefraud earns income, which helps pay the substantial costs of keeping this website running.
2. Donate to the Lovefraud Education & Recovery Nonprofit
Terry and I have set up this nonprofit organization specifically to advance Lovefraud’s mission of education. The Lovefraud Nonprofit is recognized by the IRS as a 501 ( c ) (3) public charity, so your donations are tax-deductible (in the United States). Contributions of any amount are helpful, because in order to maintain our nonprofit status, we need to show that the public supports Lovefraud’s work. Here’s more information:
Making a difference
I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be doing anything like Lovefraud. But this is satisfying work. I know I’m helping thousands of people, because I receive many emails from you, thanking me for saving your lives.
So let’s see. I could quit Lovefraud and go back to writing about casino promotions. Or I could stay with Lovefraud and make a difference in the world.
That’s an easy decision. I’ll keep going with Lovefraud.