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Lovefraud Videos

  • Aren’t there any laws against social predators?

    Aren’t there any laws against social predators?
  • What therapists need to know to help lesbians in abusive relationships

    What therapists need to know to help lesbians in abusive relationships
  • How do I avoid dating a sociopath like my father?

    How do I avoid dating a sociopath like my father?
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Lovefraud Continuing Education News

Leaving abusive relationships is especially hard for lesbians — what therapists need to know

Leaving abusive relationships is especially hard for lesbians — what therapists need to know

Due to shame, fear and hopelessness, anyone caught in an abusive relationship finds it difficult to leave. But for lesbians, who already feel stigmatized, the barriers to seeking help are even greater.

“Therapists may hold stereotypes that intimate partner violence doesn’t occur in same-sex relationships between women, or that in the absence of physical violence, same-sex relationships do not include cycles of abuse,” says Dr. Amber Ault, a clinical sociologist and psychotherapist based in Madison, Wisconsin. “Women in same-sex relationships often hold the same beliefs.”

Plus, lesbians often worry about protecting the reputation of their community — calling attention to dysfunction or violence may reinforce negative stereotypes. They fear that the legal system, dominated by majority groups, will not protect them. They’re afraid to alienate friends, family and community members, resulting in more isolation and danger than if they had remained silent.

“Emotionally abusive relationships in queer communities continue to be very low-profile for a host of social and psychological reasons,” says Dr. Ault. “And in the excitement about the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US, it may be more difficult than ever for members of our communities to seek help.”

Dr. Ault believes that those in the helping professions — police, lawyers, doctors, therapists and clergy — need to be aware of the patterns of victimization created by narcissists, psychopaths and other disordered individuals, and the ways that being in same-sex or queer relationships and communities changes the experience.

“When victims of toxic partners decide to reach out for help, we have a professional obligation to understand not only the abusive strategies of people with personality disorders, but also what it means for a person in a minority community to come forward, to seek help, and, possibly, to exit their relationship,” she says.

Dr. Ault is presenting an online webinar to help professionals meet this obligation.

Helping Lesbians Leave Crazy-making Relationships: Addressing Barriers to Treatment and Delivering Effective Support

October 10, 2016 • 12 -2 pm EDT
Lovefraud Continuing Education
More information

Dr. Ault is author of “The Five Step Exit: Skills You Need to Leave a Narcissist, Psychopath, or Other Toxic Partner and Recover Your Happiness Now,” and “The Wise Lesbian Guide to Getting Free from Crazy-making Relationships.” She works with clients across the US and internationally to help them make sense of toxic relationship dynamics and to move into lives that are happy, abundant, and joyful.

“Minority victims of toxic partners, like all victims, deserve to know that competent help is available when they take the important step to seek help, despite the barriers of shame, fear, and hopelessness.” she says.


By September 14, 2016 0 Comments Read More →
Helping children overcome genetic risk for externalizing disorders

Helping children overcome genetic risk for externalizing disorders


Liane_SSSP_crop copyBy Liane J. Leedom, M.D.

Imagine loving someone, having children with that person, and then realizing that you’ve gotten yourself involved in an abusive relationship.

Imagine suspecting that your partner, the mother or father of your children, has a personality disorder — and then hearing that personality disorders are highly genetic.

If you’re a therapist, imagine this person is your client. What do you do?

I believe we can and should intervene in the lives of children who are at risk of developing externalizing disorders, such as ADHD, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and substance use disorders. If we do, we may be able to prevent these children from developing personality disorders as adults.

When we study large numbers of people affected by externalizing disorders, and personality disorders in particular, we see that about 50 percent of the risk for these disorders is genetic. That means the environment children grow up in, including their interactions with parents, siblings and peers, also strongly influences the development of disorder.

With the right environmental influences, the genetic risk may be mitigated. Most programs to support victims of partner abuse do not address the issue of genetic risk. If we start early, and if we put a little energy into helping children, both the child and the family can be spared a lot of anguish due to emotional and behavioral problems later on.

By and large, programs that teach parenting skills are good. But for this particular group of children, parenting approaches that emphasize rules, consequences and discipline, may not be the most effective.

Research is finding that internalizing disorders, such as anxiety and depression, relate to the inhibition system of the brain, whereas externalizing disorders relate to the dopamine reward system.

What we want to do with this group of children is to train their brain reward system to respond to positive rewards — most importantly a loving family and affection. It’s very difficult to train a child to respond to affection in a good way when you’re punishing the child every five minutes for something the child is doing.

Still, love is not enough. We also have to train the child to enjoy doing things that are productive, like work — because life involves work — and hobbies, such as music and sports.

I advocate a two-pronged approach, although one of the prongs of my approach has not been thoroughly researched.

I believe in teaching the parents and the children — in developmentally appropriate language — what genetic risk is about. In the case of externalizing disorders, it involves difficulty with self-control. I think it’s important to teach children, when they show problems with self-control, to identify their issue, and to help them understand that it’s something they can work on.

This teaching has not been well researched, but it is similar to cognitive behavioral therapies that are used for children.

The other part of my approach is teaching parents to interact with their children in a positive way, and to enjoy their children. Now, I understand that this can be difficult when the children have issues with self-control. But we’re focusing on training that reward system, and if there’s no enjoyment, you cannot train the reward system.

I will explain this intervention approach in a four-part series of online webinars beginning Sept. 14, 2016:

Overcoming Children’s Genetic Risk for Externalizing Disorders

  • Part 1: Externalizing disorders of childhood and adulthood, including ADHD, conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy
  • Part 2: What genetic research says about behavior and the risk of developing externalizing disorders
  • Part 3: How the environment, including parenting, siblings and peers, affects the development of externalizing disorders in children
  • Part 4: Brain systems, social learning, and using the Inner Triangle to immunize children against externalizing disorders

For more information, visit Lovefraud Continuing Education.

Of course, sometimes the genes express themselves so strongly that no amount of loving parenting can overcome the genetic risk. But if we try, we may be able to save many children from a lifetime of disorder and antisocial behavior. I think the effort is worth it.


Liane J. Leedom, M.D., is a psychiatrist and an associate professor of counseling and psychology at the University of Bridgeport. She is author of Just Like His Father? A Guide to Overcoming Your Child’s Genetic Connection to Antisocial Behavior, Addiction and ADHD, and Women Who Love Psychopaths: Investigating the Relationships of Inevitable Harm. She is also author of multiple peer-reviewed studies, including The Problem of Parental Psychopathy, and Did He Ever Love Me? A Qualitative Study of Life with a Psychopathic Husband.


What teachers need to know about sociopaths and abusive dating

What teachers need to know about sociopaths and abusive dating

The smartest way to deal with love fraud is to prevent it, to teach people how to spot it before they get hooked.

That’s why I love presenting to students and teachers. Knowledge is power, and knowledge that sociopaths exist, and that they usually start their lying and manipulation in high school, gives young people the power to protect themselves.

The newest program offered by Lovefraud Continuing Education is geared directly towards teachers and other education professionals. It is a video of a presentation I did last year for the Association of Student Assistance Professionals of New Jersey.

School systems often require teachers and other school professionals to be on the lookout for dating violence. But violence is usually the culmination of an abusive relationship — not the starting point. In this program, I teach educators the Red Flags of Love Fraud, so they can help students avoid dangerous involvements in the first place.

Highlights of this webinar:

  • What is a sociopath? How do they behave?
  • Why high-achieving girls hook up with low-achieving, aggressive boys
  • What to do when a dating partner threatens to commit suicide
  • How to respond when students are suffering from dating abuse
  • How genetics and the environment contribute to personality disorders

If you’re an educator, I urge you to take this webinar. Upon completion of the online course and test, you’ll receive a certificate for one hour of continuing education instruction. Please check with your local authorities to verify acceptance of the credit.

More information:

Love Fraud, Abusive Dating and Sociopaths — Vital information for educators and school professionals