By September 22, 2016 13 Comments Read More →

A Genuine Leader and A Sociopath May Look Identical—At First

Husband Liar Sociopath

Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.

Chapter 24: Paul’s Dream

Sociopaths generally have a high need for stimulation, which experts believe stems from the shallowness of their emotional life. They cannot and do not experience the love, affection, attachment, and happiness that create the rich tapestry of a normal individual’s interpersonal and emotional life. Sociopaths fill the resulting void with action and distraction. They loathe boredom and downtime, so they are prone to making quick, risky decisions and pressing for immediate action. For sociopaths, it is as if the downside of any decision they make simply does not exist.

I am somewhat the opposite. I make decisions by gathering data and considering my options, often overthinking the negative consequences of a decision and wondering about the road not taken. As a result, I admired Paul’s propensity for and comfort with quick decisions, taking risks, and never second-guessing himself.

There are several reasons why sociopaths have unshakable confidence in their quick, risk-laden choices. Unlike mere mortals, they lack fear, including fear of failure. They have no concern for the impact of their choices on other people. Sociopaths also have such a grandiose sense of themselves; they feel superior to others and are certain they will succeed.

This constellation of characteristics—quick decision-making, risk-taking, action-oriented, lack of fear, and complete confidence in oneself in the face of uncertainty—does not scream sociopath to most of us. Instead, it suggests something we admire—leadership. Unfortunately, instead of seeing these characteristics and running in the opposite direction, we are drawn in as if to a gravitational force. This is particularly true with sociopaths, because they are often charismatic and charming, highly skilled at telling people what they want to hear and excellent at getting even the most intelligent, experienced, and capable people to march to the beat of their drum. Is it any wonder that there are countless examples of individuals and groups who have had their lives derailed by a charismatic sociopath?

At first, a genuine leader and a sociopath may look identical—just as one’s true soul mate and a sociopath may also look identical. And for all the reasons noted, since you assume the person who is influencing you is a well-intentioned, talented, dynamic leader—as I did when I first worked with Paul and for almost two decades afterwards—you can often be emotionally and financially past the point of no easy return before you realize the bitter truth. Then, because sociopaths do not play by the rules and are often vindictive and vengeful toward anyone who has seen them for who they really are, getting away from the sociopath and getting on with your life can be a nightmare.

Another consequence of sociopaths’ unique hardwiring to being stimulation-seeking, able to experience pleasure (but not happiness), risk-prone, devoid of empathy, and having no conscience is that they do not constrain their sexual appetite. As a result, they can be sexually promiscuous and adventurous. Not only do they seek sex for the sake of pleasure, they use the illusion of love and physical intimacy to manipulate others.

Those primal feelings when I met Anne-Marie were triggered for a reason, but I suppressed them. Men and women could have mentor-mentee relationships without sleeping with each other, right? Paul was a man of great honor and integrity, right? Back in business school he refused to help me with a class for fear of appearing unethical. An affair would have been far, far worse. There was no way Paul would do that.

The perfect sociopath storm was forming. Not only did Paul want to invest our money in this new company, take on the professional risk inherent in any startup, and take a huge pay cut—all with Anne-Marie at his side, squirreling away an obscene amount of money for someone with her nascent credentials—he insisted that the company be based in Connecticut. It would be less expensive than New York, he argued. This would require us to move as soon as possible. In fact, he had already scoped out office space and put a hold on the first floor of a building.

Paul and I had moved three times since receiving our MBAs several years earlier—our apartment in Minnesota, our house in Minnesota, and our house in the New York suburbs. I did not want to move again. With Paul’s work demands getting the company off the ground, I knew the entire move would fall on me and put my life, my work, and my clients at risk. Yet, relocating to Connecticut would put us closer to my family. And with two young children, being closer to grandparents was something I valued, even if it meant leaving behind my newfound friends and happy life in the New York suburbs. If this were the move, the final move to put us where we really wanted to be, then maybe it was worth it. Reluctantly, I agreed to relocate.


Start from the beginning:

Chapter 1

Go to previous chapter:

Chapter 23


Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.

13 Comments on "A Genuine Leader and A Sociopath May Look Identical—At First"

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  1. Bev says:

    OMG this is so accurate.

    SPs seem success driven and leader-like at first. Only when you get to know them and the mask slips, do we realize what an illusion they were.

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  2. slimone says:


    Right? They can be SO appealing until you get ‘close’, or have an extended period to observe them. It is so interesting watching this happen on the national political stage (NO, I am not interested in debating who is and is not a sociopath or a narcissist). The Donald is so text book, and people’s response to him to ‘familiar’ and understandable, given they clearly do not understand what they are witnessing, it almost gives me PTSD to hear him speak.

    Our country will be paying a very big price for what we have created. It will likely, just like in our personal lives, cost us dearly for many decades to come. If we look at what is happening and parallel that to our own experience, we can anticipate what is coming towards us as a nation.

    My 83 y.o. stepfather told me he is glad he will not be alive to live through the aftermath of our collective naivte. And believe me, he knows. He has lived with my narcissistic mother since they were in their 30’s.

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  3. Delores says:

    Bill and Hillary Clinton are the obvious psychopaths, they both meet every single criteria. Donald Trump is not smooth enough, suave enough, devious enough, mean enough, incompetent enough or a good enough liar to be one. Donald Trump is so very obviously and humanly flawed he cannot have a personality disorder. Compare his children to Chelsea Clinton and you have your proof. Hillary has evil intentions to her own ends. Donald wants to save the American way that allowed him to succeed so any legal American citizen has the same opportunity.

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    • Bev says:

      OMG, seriously?

      Just because of your political slant?

      They may all be disordered, or perhaps only one of them may be. There are differing ‘degrees’, if you will, of P/SPs…in that some are more intelligent, some are less intelligent, some are high functioning, some are low functioning.

      Your adamant statement is without merit. Sorry.

      This site is not for political slants, either.

      Report this comment

    • Bev says:

      I am just incredulous at what you posted on this site.

      DT is so obviously flawed that he cannot be disordered? Ludicrous.

      Compare all of their children and you have the proof? Ludicrous.

      No one can really deem anyone disordered or not disordered.Only a trained psychologist, and maybe not even one of them could diagnose that. An actual brain scan is actually required.

      Sorry about my reaction, but your post is not the right kind of post for this site.

      Report this comment

  4. kalina says:

    Dear Dolores,
    How I wish you had the opportunity to reconsider your criticisms of the Clintons. Imagine, if you will, not one but two Donald Trumps on the podium fighting for our attention! What a world this would become! What do they say, “Be careful what you wish for!!!” The Clintons and their daughter, are only humans not machines. Their actions prove louder than their rival’s words. They have chosen to serve their country rather than exploit it, like Trump. Perfection is an illusion. Choosing the best means considering the facts and not what the candidates say about the facts. Since this is a “love fraud” site and not a political arena, I vote that Donald Trump is simply a gangster in wolf’s clothing. Is this a sociopath, read his lips! Kalina

    Report this comment

    • Jan7 says:

      hi Kalina, you state:

      “….Their (the Clinton’s) actions prove louder than their rival’s words. They have chosen to serve their country rather than exploit it,..”

      Watch these two documentaries on the Clintons and you will see both are sociopaths maybe even psychopaths!! These two documentaries are worth your time in viewing them. You will be left shocked at how blatant they are with their corruption, pay to play racketeering scam and how they are masters at manipulating America citizens as if they are cult leaders.

      1) Clinton Cash everything is for sale (y tube)

      2) Clinton Chronicles

      The reality is there are endless numbers of sociopaths, psychopaths & narcissist on this planet. And one of the places these evil people gravitate towards is politics no matter what Country in this world these evil people usually rise to the top positions in politics i.e. President, Prime Minister, King or Queen.

      What I have learned by educating myself is we are all sheep to these politians if we allow our selves to believe their words and ignore their actions. The Clintons for over 30 years have had one scandal after the next…they are endless scandals. Back in the 80’s it was Bill’s womanizing and RAPING of woman!! YES he has a long history of raping woman. Look this up on the internet there are interviews from his countless victims including a 15 year old young girl who was raped during this time = sociopathic behavior.

      Then there is White Water scandal, Bill Clintons IMPEACHMENT as President!! YES he was Impeached as President for LYING under oath!! Then there is his drug addiction!! I could go on and on with his psychopath behavior.

      As for Hillary I thought that maybe she is a victim of her psychopath husband but the more I read & watched these two documentaries she is an EVIL sociopath!!

      As for Trump yes he is very narcissistic but not a sociopath.

      Are any of these the best choice for America?

      Put your political views aside and watch those two documentaries and then please come back and let us know what you think about the Clintons.

      To me on Lovefraud…it’s about discussing & spotting sociopaths & psychopaths and learning from each other so that we do not get suckered into another con game by one whether in person or by a political politicians.

      Let me know what you think about those two documentaries.

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    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      I learned in 1980, when I was young, naïve, trusting what Bill and Hillary were all about. It was NOT service to their country, it was service to themselves by knowing how to use the rules. It never occurred to the rest of us to do that, we would have felt so scared to get caught, so guilty to take. They’re still doing the same schtick, only on a grander more sophisticated scale. The entitlement attitude, the contempt for those they consider less than, the masks with barely concealed anger (not masked for those they’ve written off or don’t even acknowledge as existing).

      Do I think Trump is our savior? No. But I KNOW what Hillary is about and that she is not subject to checks and balances. Whereas Trump will be scrutinized and he will not have a cakewalk, his own party will hang him if he steps out of line.

      There is NO ONE who will stop Hillary, there’s no standards for her except to retain power in whatever way she decides. Look at how Benghazi has been dismissed, how the emails have been dismissed, how Arab Spring has been dismissed, how the Clinton Foundation has been dismissed, and the list goes on and on. Look at how she treats “the little people”, her contempt is given free reign (for example, people expect her to attack her opponent, but she made personal attacks on the very citizens whom she will govern, and her attitude is one of a dictator, not a representative of ALL citizens.

      Again, Trump is NOT above all that, but his own party will keep him in check; they won’t hesitate to impeach him for the very same things that Hillary has done and been excused for. That’s the difference, as I see the election.

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  5. Redwald says:

    It seems to me that a fair number of people who in the past were all too easily taken in by the blandishments of psychopaths and other slimy, power-hungry abusers are still prone to being taken in by the blandishments of those slimy, power-hungry Clintons. Just like those abusers, that Clinton woman is so eager to control all of us!

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    • Jan7 says:

      Hi Redwald…is Trump the best choice…I dont know but what I do know is he has opened the wizard of oz DC curtain for all to see the rigging of out political process from the rigged system of being brain washed by our politicians, to the rigging of the media, to the rigging of the political dynasty families and also people like George Sores etc.

      Check out the documentary called

      “Brexit the movie” on you tube

      It will wake you up to what is really happening to America & Europe = being sucked into a Communist country where citizens have ZERO right to vote for their leaders or for any input in new laws on the books.

      It’s quite shocking when you are educate on & live the hell of a sociopath wrath and then see the manipulation, gas lighting abuse and all the other tactics these evil people use behind closed doors on a large scale like in political.

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