Sociopaths are everywhere. I know that now; I wish I knew it before.
I’m a freelance writer from Atlantic City, New Jersey. My background is journalism—I studied at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and I was the first editor of Atlantic City Magazine. Since 1982 I’ve operated my own business, Donna Andersen Copywriting, Inc.
This website is the direct result of my experience with a a man who I believe would be diagnosed as a sociopath, James Alwyn Montgomery, originally from Sydney, Australia. At the time, I didn’t know anything about sociopaths. Unfortunately, I married the man.
Let me tell you—he was smooth. Montgomery quickly figured out what I wanted to hear, and then mouthed the words. He surrounded himself with the trappings of credibility—military uniforms and documents, photos of himself with famous people, enough paperwork to create a fire hazard. He presented himself as the accomplished and connected entrepreneur who would soon have us living in “the lap of luxury”—if I would just help him over the hump.
Montgomery told me two kinds of lies:
- Lies mixed with truth. His story would be plausible, but I’d notice inconsistencies. When I questioned the discrepancies, he would either explain them away or accuse me of being paranoid.
- Totally brazen lies. A normal person, even one prone to exaggeration, would never think of making the extraordinary claims that Montgomery made. For example, Montgomery said he was awarded the Victoria Cross, Australia’s highest military honor, for his heroism in the Vietnam War. Well, he never won the medal. He never served in Vietnam. And even though he walked my dog every morning wearing a Special Forces beret, he never served in the military.
I left Montgomery because I discovered he was cheating on me. But it wasn’t until after that, when I began going through the papers he left in my house and calling some of the “other women,” that I realized the enormous extent of his deception.
It was my therapist (believe me, I had some issues to work out) who first suggested that Montgomery may be a sociopath. I was totally unfamiliar with the term, but in an effort to understand what had happened, I researched it. I found a book calledWithout Conscience by Dr. Robert Hare, an international expert on sociopaths. His book described Montgomery precisely.
Dr. Hare estimates that 1% of the people in North America are born sociopaths. If the percentage holds true for the entire world, in a global population of 7 billion there are 70 million sociopaths. Other experts feel the number of sociopaths in the population is even higher. With so many around, everyone is bound to cross paths with them sooner or later.
Sure enough, as I told people what happened to me, almost everyone knew of someone who had had a similar experience. This was just among my circle of acquaintances. Yet few people understand exactly what a sociopath is, and how many of them are out there.
Why? Being conned tends to make you feel like an idiot, and the last thing you want to do is tell people what happened. Even if you do report the incidents to law enforcement officials, they see a case that is very difficult to prove, so they often don’t bother pursuing it.
The sociopathic perpetrators, in the meantime, move merrily along to new unsuspecting victims.
Sociopaths are everywhere, and they are incredibly destructive. If you become entangled with one of these predators, you will get little or no help from the legal system. You may never see any money he or she took from you again.
Recovery from the broken trust, however, is possible. I have found a wonderful man who is everything that Montgomery wasn’t. We are happily married.
So this is what you need to know: Sociopaths are hazardous to your emotional health, your finances, even your physical safety. Learn to recognize the symptoms of a sociopath, and if you suspect you are dealing with one, get him or her out of your life.
Lovefraud.com is here to help you.