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ASK DR. LEEDOM: answers to your questions about sociopaths

Lovefraud is pleased to announce a new service for our readers—ASK DR. LEEDOM.

Liane J. Leedom, M.D., is a psychiatrist who knows exactly what it is like to be deceived by a sociopath. Even with the best training in psychiatry—USC, UCLA and Yale—she, herself, failed to recognize the symptoms. She married a sociopath, who is the father of her son.

Does she understand what you’re going through? You bet.

If you have a question for Dr. Leedom, send your question directly to her at [email protected] Your question will be posted on the Lovefraud Blog, along with her answer. Not only will it help you, it will help others who are recovering from a run-in with a sociopath. Please note: all questions are shared with Donna Andersen, author of Lovefraud.com.

Community of healing

I am thrilled that Dr. Leedom has offered to answer questions from Lovefraud readers. I am also thrilled to see Lovefraud evolving into a community of healing.

So many of you are posting thoughtful comments, telling your stories, and responding to the stories of others. I am grateful to all of you. Many times as I read the comments, I am blown away by the insights and caring you express.

Based on the mail I receive, it seems Lovefraud is providing two big services: identifying the sociopathic/psychopathic personality disorder, and letting victims know that they are not alone. All of you are contributing to these services.

I thank Dr. Leedom and M. L. Gallagher for their enlightening posts. I thank all of you for your comments and readership.


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14 Comments on "ASK DR. LEEDOM: answers to your questions about sociopaths"

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Hello, and thank you ahead of time for your help.

I am an ex- Massage Therapy Client of a Sociopath who was Professionally Exploitive. I have done nothing but try to HEAL from the past by looking into what CAUSES a Professional Married Man to exploit the vulnerabilities and TRUST on his client(s), and wife, only to ABANDON them when they fear accountability will be forced on them by thier VICTIMS..I have been through the ringer in terms of answering for my “affair” while i too was married.I was told i was loved, cared for and shown that for 2 years, only to realize, it was ALL lies when i left my marraige to be with this LOVEFRAUD.

I was wondering if you could possibly help me to reach people in general with the differences between dealing with an Affair with a ‘normal” Married man, and being Professionally Exploited by a Sonciopath/Narcissist.

I was EASY prey laying naked on his table, listening to him charm me into some sort of ego boosting lie to get what he wanted from me, SEX. Not love. POWER.Money and ultimately protection from ALL consequences of his own actions against me.

He abused EVERY single aspect of his profession,had zero Ethical Boundaries and felt NO GUILT for exploiting me.
he seemed to feel ENTITLED to doing so…and to this day…i have not reported him to an Ethics Commitee
out of FEAR of him hurting me worse than he already had…Instead..i imposed NO CONTACT.But reality,
…i harbor much resentment and anger towards his DISORDERED MIND.
Nor did i inform his wife..as he manipulated me with GUILT about his family as me and mine suffered for having been honest about my feelings and actions within his “care”.

I have been called everything from a “whore” to an accompliss, to a “willing” victim. Blamed for not having had Healthy Boundaries,Blamed for not having reported someone I loved, blamed for labeling him because it didn’t “work” out the way i “wanted it to”. blamed for my own issues regarding lacking boundaries, staying too long, lying for him out of MERCY, without knowing anything about Anti’ Socials. Now that i DO know..and i am well aware of why i stayed, I was Betrayal Bonded to him in such a way that i enabled him to SHAME me,humilate me with his continued lies, punish me, and harm me all the more with his conscienceless scapegoating of me to save his own image, not his family as he said.

It has been a TRUE wake up call to me regarding Professional’s without ETHICS…and i was hoping maybe to bring some awareness to this issues through my humilating expereince with a Massage Therapist who showed me that without EMPATHY,CONSCIENCE, MoralityOR Ethics, our society is at GREAT RISK for becoming a VERY dangerous place to trust ANYONE.

To this day…i do NOT trust ANYONE in postions of Authority. Let alone men.
I am a BLAMED victim of childhood sexual abuse and abandonment by both birth parents who was raised by an Alcoholic Narcissistic foster mother,…so i know why i was so easily victimized yet again…and why i bonded to him as if i was part of some one on one cult…What i don’t know is..WHY society blames the VICTIM of these people when we are unwittingly targeted by them and ultimately Shamed into silence for “our “part.

They seem to have the market cornered with thier omissions and lies to the point that thier victims end up seeming like the “Morally Insane” ones while they walk off the “heros” in the eyes of the people who are NOT YET WISE to them.

I,for one, am DISGUSTED with HIM more than i EVER should have been with myself.But for years…i BLAMED ME~

I TRUsTED AN unknown IN- HUMAN BEING AT HIS WORD…HIS WORDs were all LIES. His contradictroy actions left me in a state of utter confusion and fear…He was all Approach/Avoidance, all GAMES and all about Triangulation of women…

I was not his “whore” to idealize, devalue and discard without consequenses..but that is how he left me feeling..SHAMED! Used and having served my “purpose” and Thrown out like SO MUCH TRASH.

Back he went to his wife…without so much as an apology to her..as she was NEVER privy to his Exploitation of me..(He saw it as an affair I willingly engaged in, in his OFFICE.)And even THAT i blamed myself for as he consciously held ME to my GUILT about HIS FAMILY…

His motto, i found out WAY TOO LATE was LIE AND DENY and PRETEND……mine was NOT.

Picking up the Shattered Pieces of my being…with fear…that no matter who i DARE to trust can Turn on me just like he did…
Conned by a Professional Sociopath..and living to tell about it.

Sincerely trying to understand…..
No*LOVE* lost

To no love lost:

There is so much here that I’ll start at what I think is the beginning the abuse you received as a child. The feelings of shame and powerlessness set victims up to be victimized again. A powerful sociopath is very attractive to someone who feels powerless. What to do? Fully own and confront the shame and powerlessness. I’ll be writing more on this in the future. Also realize that your “gut instinct” may attract you to sociopaths so make a concerted effort to not act on any impulses of attraction.

You have suffered more than anyone deserves to suffer. Forgive yourself and promise yourself a better life.

In terms of differences between a “normal” extramarital affair and a sociopath. Think about the Inner Triangle http://www.parentingtheatriskchild.com/Inner%20Triangle.html in all of your dealings with people from now on. A person who cheats on his spouse has serious issues. He either himself is trapped in a relationship with a neglectful female sociopath/narcissist-in which case he should own his mistake and get out, not cheat. Or, if he is married to a decent woman he is acting immorally and impulsively at best. Add inability to love and you have a sociopath.

Professionals are not supposed to view patients, clients or students as objects to obtain gratification from- sexual or otherwise. Professionals are supposed to do their job and respect the dignity of the other person. Depending on the state, what you describe is illegal, not just immoral.

I also recommend the book “Courage to Heal” it has been around since I was in training (so long ago!). It has survived the test of time. If you are considering therapy, I highly recommend DBT.

God Bless You! Hopefully you will also write in soon about better times.

No *Love* Lost,
Same thing happened to me…was his name Norman?

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Dear Donna and Dr. Leedom – this is just wonderful. Thank-you for doing this.

Dr. Leedom.

Is there an example of a sociopath seeing a councillor and learns where his inability to feel originated…….works through the issues of his childhood and then learns how to love and develops a conscience?

i dont know if im barking up the wrong tree here..please can someone advise!
been in relationship 14yrs, have 2 children and a liar who is now my ex-partner…
things were ok for the first few years, then when i had my first son, he went away and came back, emaling and texting some girl he had meet while away; promising her the world etc..when i found these emails i told him it was over, he begged and begged to get back, said he wud change,,,little did i know.
a few yrs later, caught him at it again with sumone else, cant even remmeber all details!
enedeed up he talked me round again…i moved to his hometown, away from all my famiuly and friends, and he doesnt have very many friends, so we were quite isolated. he then suggested we start swinging to spice up our love life, i stupidly agreed and then i knew this wasnt right so i ended the relationship…3 weeks later it is all ove rlocal paper about us being swingers..my name, face, pictures etc. never been so ashamed in all my life, however i am now convinced he done this as to get me back. after this period i was very weak and went back to him….
3 yrs on and i get bk on my feet, i told him the relationship was over again, but he finally manipultes me into trying again, then i find all along he is emailing and speakin to some girl on internet…dont know if they meet, jus saw a few messages. want him out of my life for good…he keeps trying to creep bak in, i cant stand all the lies and his seedy ways anymore…
do u think he is a sociopath or is this jus normal relationship problems?

Meg, I don’t know if he is a sociopath or not, but he sounds like he might be, and he’s definately a liar and a cheat. No, I don’t think these are normal relationship problems.
You sound like you want out. What is it that keeps you in it?
Do you still want him? Do yopu feel sorry for him? I’m just curious.

I had an on again off again relationship with spath for 7 years and even though I was miserable, I kept going back. There was a defininate pattern that we followed, time and time again. I just couldn’t seem to stop the dance, even though I wanted to. It’s so crazy.

I think you should kick him to the curb and never look back. Just my two-cents.

Dear Meg,

I’m not sure what to call your ex but he is an unhealthy person to say the least. You went back to him because you bonded to him, so that even if you had the courage to end it, something drew you back to him.

He has a very poor idea of what it takes to be in loving, mutual relationship. It sounds like you did whatever it took to try and make it work even though it made you uncomfortable. NOTHING you did could have made any difference, this man is disordered. You are right to stay away.

Stay strong and keep away from this man! There are many people on lovefraud who will give you heartfelt, caring and insiteful advice. Thanks for posting!

Dr. Leedom,

Thanks for making the advice option available, I know I’ll be using it, I just don’t know where the heck to start! LOL

Dr. Leedom,
Thanks from me also. Where to start is the issue! Thanks Hope for putting that in perfect words!!!

meg, he isolated you, he cheats on you, lies to you, got you in the local papers to make you look like the crazy one… you are unhappy and you know in your heart this is not right. Read, read, read as many articles as you can here at LoveFraud, it doesn’t matter if he’s a sociopath or not (sounds like one) Knowledge = power. You are bonded to him and you need to detach yourself. It’s like an addiction. Don’t believe anything he says, he is a liar, manipulative, it’s all about him and what he wants, he might try to get you back again, they always have an agenda. It’s not normal.

Dear Meg,

He sounds to me like a socio/psychopath, but even if he isn’t, he is a liar and a cheat, and you just have to ask yourself “am I better off with a liar and a cheat for a partner?” I think the answer would be no.

First off multiple sexual partners (swinging and him cheating) opens you and him up for sexually transmitted diseases that cannot be cured and can lead to death and disability. Is it worth the risk?

Do you want your kids growing up in this atmosphere of hostility and lies and I imagine fighting?

Decide what you DESERVE and WANT and then insist on it. If he isn’t willing to provide that then kick him to the curb, and BTW since he is a liar, (we know that don’t we?) don’t believe a word he says when he begs to get back—so I’d START OUT by kicking HIM to the curb for sure!

kim, thanks for the response…he is away but has to come to c kids, well thats his excuse anyway. no i dont feel sorry for him anymore he definately has a problem

i was in same boat as u, keep goin bak, but this time i cant..for my own sanity, id b wondering wat hes up to next!

jus waitin to be rehoused so i can get awa once and for all,

hopeforjoy, thanks to for ur caring words, i am finding it hard to stay strong jus keep wondering y he done it then i get angry and argue with him.
as i said b4 when i am re housed i wont really hav to see him and then these feelings mite go away?

shabbychic, u are so right in that all he cares about is himself, im jus wondering did he ever care bout me or kids?
i realy do need to detatch, jus so hard in current situation, hopefully with time will become much easier. and ur so right hes not normal…i can see that now!!

ox drover..ur words ring true…my kids come first and its not fair on them and i think also i desrve better than a liar and a cheat…hes out of the house anyway..its just keepin him away that is difficult. i think if im strong enough to keep him out of my life he will finallty take the hint that im not takin him back once and for all!

thanx to all of u for ur support
will continue to post and update x

one/joy_step_at_a_time

meg – nothing ‘normal’ about these ‘relationship problems.’ he’s a loser with a capital ‘L’ if nothing else.

don’t engage with him – don’t fight, don’t give him anything to vibe off of. just keep doing what you are doing, and get away from him. he may not go away easily..just deal with it a day at a time. you will gain strength. keep posting and asking for help.

take care.

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