Book reviews

Save on ‘The Wise Lesbian Guide to Getting Free From Crazy-Making Relationships’

Wise Lesbian GuideBy Amber Ault, Ph.D., MSW

In the wake of the Gay Pride Month massacre of 49 people gathered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the world has taken notice of the violence and threats of violence lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender people face on a regular basis.  

What’s less visible is that the patterns of oppression we face in the broader society sometimes trickle down into our most intimate relationships.  

Lesbian and gay people need to be able to turn to partners for safety, support, care, and kindness. This is especially important as we face discrimination and invalidation in the broader culture.

Unfortunately, for many people in same-sex relationships, home is not a haven but, instead, because of a partner’s personality disorder, a place of emotional drama and distress, financial exploitation, confusion and chaos.  

What narcissists are really saying

Narc Decoder 200x300Book Review: The Narc Decoder — Understanding the language of the narcissist, by Tina Swithin.

If you’re involved with a sociopath, narcissist or other disordered individual, there comes a time when they attack.

The love bombing has stopped — maybe ages ago. They are through with you, or sense that you are through with them. They either regard you with contempt, or are furious that you figured them out and had the audacity to leave.

They start sending nasty text messages and emails. Here’s one that Tina Swithin, author of The Narc Decoder, received from her ex-husband while they were in the midst of a custody battle over their two daughters:

Tina – The most tragic part is what you are doing and have done to damage the girls. You will have men you date screw you over after they use for a few months. That’s all you are good for. When you remarry, the next guy will cheat on you. 58% of men cheat and you are attracted to that type. Good luck with your life – Seth

Understanding trauma, the brain on PTSD, and real options for recovery

body keeps the scoreBook Review: The Body Keeps the Score — Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

Review by Donna Andersen

Many, many Lovefraud readers say that after your experience with a sociopath, you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even if you haven’t been diagnosed by a professional, you’re probably right. But what, exactly, does that mean? And what can you do about it?

All the answers are in this book. The Body Keeps the Score — Brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma, is the best explanation I’ve ever seen on the causes, effects and treatment of trauma. I strongly recommend that every mental health professional who reads Lovefraud also read this book. And for those of you who are experiencing PTSD and want to understand it, the book will be extremely helpful, although it also may be triggering to your symptoms.

The 5 Step Exit — How to leave your sociopathic partner

Five Step ExitBook Review: The Five Step Exit — The skills you need to leave a narcissist, psychopath or other toxic partner and recover your happiness now, by Amber Ault, Ph.D.

It’s the New Year. Did you make a New Year’s resolution to really, finally, emphatically, get out of your toxic relationship, once and for all?

If your answer is yes, or even if you’re still just thinking about putting an end to the madness, you need this book:

The Five Step Exit

The skills you need to leave a narcissist, psychopath or other toxic partner and recover your happiness now, by Amber Ault, Ph.D.

In this slim, wonderful book, Dr. Ault promises to take you, step by step, through the process of disengaging from an abusive partner — and she delivers. This is the most clear, concise and helpful “how to” for breaking away from a toxic person that I have ever read.

Overcoming the insanity of co-parenting with an exploiter

One Mom's BattleBook Review: Divorcing a Narcissist — One Mom’s Battle, by Tina Swithin

“The only thing more difficult than being married to a narcissist is divorcing a narcissist.” This is one of the first sentences that Tina Swithin writes in her book, Divorcing a Narcissist — One Mom’s Battle. It’s a sentiment I’ve heard time and time again from Lovefraud readers who have faced the same battle.

When Tina met Seth, she didn’t know he was a narcissist. In fact, like most of us, she didn’t know what a narcissist was. But she was 25 years old and felt like she was ready to find a real relationship.

Before Seth, Tina had been in relationships in which the man required “fixing.” She realized that she didn’t want to fix men. In fact, she wanted to fix herself, so she wouldn’t feel obligated to fix others. After a year of self-reflection and therapy, she felt great and ready to move forward in life.

Why betrayal by a sociopath hurts so much

Love and the Mystery of Betrayal

BOOK REVIEW: Love and the mystery of betrayal, by Sandra Lee Dennis, Ph.D.

This post refers to spiritual concepts. Please see Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

If you’re like most Lovefraud readers, you may find it difficult to put into words the depth of the pain romantic betrayal causes. Discovering that your romantic partner, the person who claimed to be your soul mate, proclaimed unending love and promised a future of golden togetherness, was lying all along and totally deceived you, causes indescribable agony.

Sandra Lee Dennis, Ph.D., has put your suffering into words.

I recently read her book, Love and the Mystery of Betrayal — Recovering your trust and faith after trauma, deception and loss of love. It is the best description I’ve ever read of the emotional, spiritual and even physical pain of romantic betrayal.

Author’s story

BOOK REVIEW: Husband, Liar, Sociopath

Husband Liar SociopathMany people equate the term “psychopath” with “criminal,” especially “serial killer.” Although it’s true that many serial killers are likely either deranged or psychopathic, it is also true that most psychopaths never kill anyone.

In fact, there is an entire group of university researchers, led by Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology at Emory University, are investigating the “successful psychopath.”

Scientists disagree on how to define this creature. Some consider any psychopath who stays out of jail to be successful. Others look at career or monetary success.


Is the ‘successful psychopath’ a myth or reality? on PsyPost.org.

Married to a successful psychopath

Even if a psychopath climbs the ladder of career success and makes a fortune, you do not want to be married to this person.

Two Legged Snakes — explaining manipulative people with outrageous cartoons

To bite or not to bite

(Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

They say picture is worth 1,000 words. The 91 cartoons in Dr. Ed Slack’s slender book, Two-legged snakes — understanding and handling manipulative people, communicate the essence of sociopaths, narcissists, and other exploiters. The pictures will plant an understanding of disordered people firmly in your brain:

They are snakes.

Bipedal snakes

Bipedal Snakes (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

In fact, deceptive and manipulative people have been known as snakes for millennia. Dr. Slack points out that the original deceiver, according to Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions, was the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. He says this Bible story “highlights one of our most important tasks as human beings: to choose well and not be deceived by snaky influences.”

In other words,

“To bite or not to bite, that is the question.”

BOOK REVIEW: Combating Cult Mind Control


Combating Cult Mind ControlCult leaders are sociopaths on steroids. For this reason, Combating Cult Mind Control, by Steven Hassan, is packed with information that can help you understand how you, or someone else, fell under the spell of a sociopath, and how victims can escape and recover.

The author himself was once a member of the Unification Church (Moonies). He rose to the leadership ranks of the organization, until, with a twist of fate and the help of his family, he escaped. After his recovery, Hassan made it his mission to educate people about cults and help victims leave them.

Combating Cult Mind Control was originally published in 1988, and is recognized as one of the best books on the topic. Hassan has just come out with a 25th anniversary edition, revised, updated and more relevant than ever.

He includes a discussion of Islamic terrorists — Hassan believes many jihadi organizations are political cults masquerading as religious movements.

BOOK REVIEW: The Wise Lesbian’s Guide to Getting Free from Crazy-Making Relationships

Wise Lesbian GuideExploiters are everywhere. Personality disordered individuals can be found in all demographic groups — male, female, rich, poor, all races, all religions, all nationalities and all sexual orientations.

Amber Ault, Ph.D. is s clinical sociologist and a psychotherapist, and also a member of the Lovefraud Continuing Education team. She’s written a book called The Wise Lesbian’s Guide to Getting Free from Crazy-Making Relationships and Getting On with Your Life.

Reading the book, I was struck by how much exploitative behavior is the same, no matter what community is involved. There are some dimensions to the experience of becoming involved with a sociopath that are specific to the gay community, which I’ll discuss later in this article. But for the most part, the games, deceit and manipulation are exactly the same as among heterosexuals.

So anyone can benefit from Ault’s explanations, like this one: “A personality disorder is a psychological problem that makes *other people* crazy.”