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Why I keep writing about sociopaths

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at zoo

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

A reader who uses the name “Jenni Marie” posted the following comment on Lovefraud:

Miss Donna,

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,
Peace
Jenni Marie

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.

Launching Lovefraud.com

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:

Lovefraud Education and Recovery Nonprofit

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.

 



31 Comments on "Why I keep writing about sociopaths"

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  1. 4Light2shine says:

    Please keep up this important work and know that it has made a tremendous difference in helping me sort out the complex web that I was caught up in. I don’t see me ever getting to the point where I won’t want to talk about this subject as if that were some sort of milestone in my healing journey. Others who are far less educated, aware, or even interested in this broad subject will of course dogmatically imply this. Most people on this planet don’t have a clue about the realities that we few are aware of. Even if you never wrote another article, the library of information here is amazing and unique. But there’s so much more that we can all learn by sharing our knowledge. Thank You Donna and Terry.



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  2. OpalRose says:

    4Light2Shine said it pretty well for me too. There are many people who have benefited and will continue to benefit from your particular talent to organize and write material that can be hard to fathom for lay people. I feel that you are a beacon for those of us in the middle of living the reality.

    I make the most progress when I give myself permission to have my own process. So I go back and reread and refresh and reflect. I know I have come so far when I look back at 2009 and the angst and finding LoveFraud.

    Looks like things are working out for me to go No Contact soon. I really liked in your book how you worked James Montgomery to get some of your lost funds back. Now I’m making a $$ contribution to your effort by putting it on the joint credit card. That way he will share in the cost toward your important continued work. It is deeply satisfying for me to have him pay in some way toward prevention / education. 😉

    So – thank you for all your help. You made a difference in my life. Best wishes to all here. Take care.



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  3. donewiththat says:

    Donna,

    Like you, my journey began before “The Internets.” I did have a therapist who talked about gaslighting and the incongruities between words and deeds, the unfairness of two sets of rules laid down arbitrarily by one member of a marriage. No one should hit anyone, ever. Or clean out joint accounts. Or abuse power. But even though I was an educated professional person, I’d never heard of sociopaths.

    Like you, I moved forward and met a wonderful normal fellow five years after the divorce from the spath was finally final. We’ve been together 11 years now, married for 4. When I heard that my spath former husband had found the good sense to die a slow, miserable and untimely death, I wanted some closure. Exactly what kind of beast was he? And it’s all here. Every story is somehow the same. Those guys all belong to the same club and have been issued the same playbook. They have excellent taste in women. They hunt for the sweet and bright and compassionate and energetic and successful, then they ruin us. And yes, someone should shout it from the mountaintops so no one has to walk out of that crazymaking place alone ever again.

    Thank you, Donna.



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  4. truebeliever says:

    Donna,
    I, like everyone else here, am so grateful that you had the passion and courage to start Lovefraud and continue it. I have passed on this web-site and information more times than I can count now. It was a life-saver! I gained my sanity back and am in a career that I love! Attitude of Gratitude! I am so happy for you that you have found love again and have his love, encouragement, and support. I have not found it again,yet. Still working on that part of healing for myself, I guess. It has been four years since my divorce. How did you move past the trust issue? Maybe, I’m afraid to trust myself??? Hmmm?



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  5. Thank you all for your kind words. I am grateful to be able to help so many people.



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  6. Truebeliever – I’m glad Lovefraud has helped you.

    About recovering the ability to trust – the person we most need to learn to trust is ourselves. We need to learn to trust our own perceptions and our own intuition. The way to do this is to fully heal, so that the pain, betrayal we experienced do not interfere with our ability to know and believe ourselves.

    There are many articles in the “recovery” section about how to do this.

    http://www.lovefraud.com/category/hooked-by-a-sociopath/recovery-from-a-sociopath/

    If you’d like to learn more about how I did it, it’s all in my book, Love Fraud.

    http://www.lovefraud.com/shop/love-fraud-how-marriage-to-a-sociopath-fulfilled-my-spiritual-plan/



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