Archive for April, 2007

Gaslight: a glimpse of psychopathic manipulations

The word “gaslight,” when used as a verb, means “to manipulate someone into questioning their own sanity; to subtly drive someone crazy.” It’s a term that’s been used on this website to describe the psychological damage inflicted by a psychopath.

I was aware that the word, when used in this way, was a reference to the 1944 movie Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Angela Lansbury and Joseph Cotton. But I had never seen the film. A few days ago, I watched Gaslight for the first time.

The story is set in Edwardian London, where an accomplished singer is mysteriously strangled in her home. The crime is discovered by the singer’s young niece, Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman). … Read more

Book Review: The Betrayal Bond

In the last several months I have written a great deal on this blog about the nature of love and bonding. If you would like to know more, read The Betrayal Bond, Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships, by Patrick J. Carnes. I just read this book and was happy to see so much commonality with my own view.

Dr. Carnes himself survived a Betrayal Bond, and as such writes with the authority of someone who has “been there.” Remember, it is not just women who are affected by love fraud. Normal men bond and are deeply affected by their love relationships.

Dr. Carnes discusses in detail the psychological trauma associated with a relationship with a sociopath, though … Read more

Without the sociopath, a better future does not require a better past

Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”—George Santayana

Imagine a tape running through your head that has all the things that ever happened to you playing on a continous loop through your mind. Now, imagine that every time you look forward, every thought, idea, word, motion is filtered through that tape, again and again. Every time you think about the future, you have to look through the past.

That’s what happens in our heads, every day, when we remind ourselves that something which happened yesterday is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That’s what happens when we don’t question what we learned in the past, and drag … Read more

Posted in: M.L. Gallagher

ASK DR. LEEDOM: What about therapy?

A reader wrote in with the following:

I have a question for you related to the sociopath and the therapeutic relationship, and how to regain trust in the therapeutic process when it appears to have failed you during the relationship.

I have been in therapy with a therapist I trust and have bonded with for more than two years, as well as in group therapy, most of which was also parallel to the duration of my marriage to a sociopath. For a short period of time, the sociopath was in therapy with me in order to try work out the issues in our marriage.

I am currently struggling to regain my trust in therapy, when I view it Read more

Symptoms of a disturbed personality

The United States, and the world, learned in horror last week that a 23-year-old student at Virginia Tech had gone on a shooting rampage, killing 32 people and himself. It was the worst mass shooting in American history.

Amid the shock and grief, we quickly discovered that there were many warning signs that the killer, Seung-Hui Cho, was deeply disturbed.

An article in today’s New York Times—Before Deadly Rage, a Life Consumed by a Troubling Silence—explains that Cho always isolated himself. “From the beginning, he did not talk,” wrote N. R. Kleinfield, “Not to other children, not to his own family. Everyone saw this. In Seoul, South Korea, where Sueng-Hui Cho grew up, his mother agonized … Read more

A deeper understanding of love, ourselves and the sociopath

Although we think of love as an emotion, it is really more like a drive. Emotions come and go, whereas drives, like love, tend to persist. All emotions are associated with distinct facial expressions, whereas love is not. Love (like all of the basic drives I have discussed in this blog) is difficult to control. Furthermore, the most recent scientific research indicates that all drives, including love, are associated with activation of the brain pathway called the mesolimbic dopamine pathway.

Attraction: the first stage of love

Love, like other drives, is associated with wanting to get something. That something we are talking about here is a partner. The first stage of love, then, involves seeking out a partner. … Read more

UK man asks for help in reclaiming his children

A few months ago Lovefraud wrote about a man in the UK—I called him “Tom”—who said his life was stolen by sociopaths. He said he lost his children, home, career and wealth to his ex-wife and her new partner. Tom was arrested nine times on false allegations and has not seen his children since August of 2004.

Tom recently won in the criminal proceedings against him—all charges were dropped. But he still faces a battle in family court. Tom asks for advice from Lovefraud readers as he fights to regain contact with his children.

Update to Tom’s story

Here is the update that Tom sent about his story:

The outcome of the criminal proceeding that was brought Read more

Why you can be addicted to a sociopath

Understanding helps us heal from our painful experiences. Understanding also helps us avoid repeating those experiences. What is understanding? Understanding is knowledge gained by our higher-verbal brain that helps it to manage our lower non-verbal brain. Understanding is, therefore, a path to our own impulse control. In the next few weeks, I am going to present a series on the science of motivation. I hope that a new understanding of motivation will help you in your quest for healing.

Where does motivation come from?

The first thing to understand about motivation is that it does not originate in our higher verbal brain (the cerebral cortex). It originates in our non-verbal, lower brain or limbic system. This part of … Read more

Sociopaths: breaking hearts for fun and power

Lovefraud recently heard from a woman in England; we’ll call her Suzie. Suzie met a man on who said his name was Mike. Mike lived in Oregon, which was 5,000 miles away. Yet they quickly developed a rapport, and within weeks Mike was sending Suzie cards, e-cards, e-mails, drawings and stories written just for her. About a month after they first made contact, Mike declared his love for Suzie—even though they had never met.

They exchanged their phone numbers and addresses. They talked on the phone for hours and bought webcams so they could see each other. Mike told Suzie he abhorred infidelity, which was the reason why he wasn’t married at age 45—he intended to marry … Read more

Love fraud: A spectrum (Part 2)

In Love Fraud: A spectrum, part 1, I defined four types of fraudulent behavior within love relationships. These represent points on a continuum from predatory love fraud, where the intent is to destroy the other party, to adultery. All love fraud has a negative effect on the children produced in these relationships. Here, I will make the case that adulterous love fraud makes it difficult for legislators to write laws protecting children from sociopaths.

A case of adultery and emotional abuse

Jim and Nancy married young and were initially in love. They had three children over 5 years. Nancy took time away from her career to care for the children while Jim stayed in the work force. Jim Read more

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