By | March 29, 2010 276 Comments

Back to school: Talking about sociopaths

Last week, I was invited to participate in a “Women’s History Breakfast” at a local high school. The school asked six local women to speak about obstacles they’ve overcome in their lives and careers to a group of approximately 50 girls.

I used the opportunity to talk about sociopaths.

First, I briefly summarized my story: I married James Montgomery, an Australian, who told me he was a Hollywood movie producer and screenwriter, a war hero who served in Vietnam with Special Forces, and who came to Atlantic City to open an electronic theme park for adults on the Boardwalk. The only thing that was true was that he was Australian.

Montgomery took $227,000 from me, cheated with at least six different women during out two-and-a-half year marriage, had a child with one of them, and then, 10 days after I left him, married the mother of the child, committing bigamy for the second time.

I had the girls’ attention.

Then I told them that my husband began his career as a liar and a cheater in high school. One of the women that I interviewed for my upcoming book relayed to me a story that James Montgomery told her: While he was in high school, Montgomery picked up a girl for a date. As they were on their way to wherever they were going, she said she forgot something and had to go back home. The girl and James walk into the house, and sitting there were six other girls—he’d told each one that she was his girlfriend. He was busted.

Now I really had the girls’ attention.

What was this guy’s problem? James Montgomery was a sociopath. I explained what a sociopath usually wasn’t—a delusional serial killer. I explained what it was—someone with no heart, no conscience and no remorse.

Then I read a shortened version of the letter that Lovefraud posted last year from a 15-year-old girl, I didn’t want to be alone and believed that he loved me. The girl described her involvement with a guy who was two years older than her. It was mostly a phone relationship—he couldn’t be bothered to actually see her. But if she went out, he got mad because she wasn’t paying attention to him. Then I read the part of the letter where he tries to get the girl to go along with his sick sexual fantasies.

By now, the girls in my high school audience were shocked.

I concluded my presentation with points on how they could protect themselves from sociopaths: First, know they exist. Second, know the warning signs. Third, trust your intuition.

The girls asked a lot of questions: How did I recover from my marriage to my ex-husband? (Good therapy.) The guy in the letter was verbally abusive—are sociopaths violent? (Sometimes.) Is there any treatment for sociopaths? (Once they are adults, no.)

I hope that I’ve warned 50 girls to be on the lookout for sociopaths.

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Dear Donna & posters,

I have been reading on here for several months, but this is my first post.

GREAT JOB DONNA – this is right where the education on sociopaths must begin.

My P/S daughter was a senior in high school when she told her two best friends she was dying of AIDS. She had donated blood, made up her own Red Cross letterhead, and printed out a letter stating they were sorry to inform her she was HIV positive. She showed this letter to her unsuspecting friends, told them not to mention it to her parents (they were too distraught to discuss it) and proceeded with this elaborate con game for nearly six months.

These poor girls helped plan her funeral, picked out her grave site and ofcourse gave my daughter everything she wanted.

It ended when a new boy came to town and my daughter wanted to date him. He told her he was concerned about dating a girl with AIDS. She told him that was just a cruel rumor going around about her and produced the REAL Red Cross card to prove it.

Her reason for the con, the friends had left her out of a trip to the mall. Her apology to her best friends – “if they (her friends) were stupid enough to go along with it, they deserved it.”

That was 12 years ago, I am sure those girls would have benefited from your lesson, Donna.


Ox Drover

Dear MiLo, Welcome to LF, glad you have been fortunate enough to find your way to this healing place. Sorry that you “qualify” for our “club membership.”

Donna, if you never accomplish another thing in your entire life, I think you have accomplished more of REAL IMPORTANCE in that one presentation to those 50 girls than most of us will in a life time! Even if only one of those 50 girls learned enough to truly protect herself, it has literally saved a LIFE from becoming a LIFE OF PAIN.

Education about the “existence” of “emotional vampires” and that they are NOT all wearing black capes, or turning into werewolves or serial killers with shining eyes but do look like that boy next door.

I loved the story about James and the other girls, what a wonderful way for him to be OUTED. Of course it didn’t change HIM any, but I am sure gave the girls themselves quite a bit of satisfaction. It sounded to me like the perfect story for illustration to a group of high school girls and one that they would remember forever.

Congratulations! I think this should be a course for every high school girl! TOWANDA!!!!!



50 girls with knowledge and a peer group with knowledge. 🙂


Well done…..I am certain, if not 50….you’ve reached many lives that will take this info and talk about it and share it with parents, teachers, priests, neighbors, friends, coworkers………..
I’m glad your NOT keeping quiet…..the work you are doing is invaluable…..
All we can do is keep on talking!!!!!



DONNA !!!!

How wonderful !!!!! I respect and praise you for your courage to even bring the subject up at such an event !!!!

I’ve mentioned before that programs need to be in place to educate our teens about abuse and what disorder looks like.

My heart sings at the idea our youngsters may yet have a chance to avoid the relationships that destroy so much.

God Bless You , Donna , truly – for the work you do and the courage and determination you prove every day!!!

Ox Drover

I’ve noticed some “movement” on the local news about some efforts made in local high schools about “date violence” and BF/GF violence and intimidation. Apparently the statistics are WAAAAY higher than we like to believe.

Some of our schools in my state (especially the ones that I have been in and done living history events) have the “NO BULLY” signs all over the place, yet, the violence in some schools is so over the top that kids are afraid to go to school, according to interviews on the local news about school violence in our state.

Recently in Little Rock, where the PRIVATE SCHOOL population is like 60% of the school age kids in high school, a coach/principal FROM A PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOL was arrested for MULTIPLE MOLESTATIONS taking place over years and years and he had been REPORTED 10 YEARS PRIOR and the superintendent did not (as required to by law) report him to police.

Donna, every voice raised against “violence” in ANY form in schools is one more voice for REASON and safety! Thank you for raising this much needed education.


tobehappy: where y’at girl? I had a disturbing dream last night and I want to know what you think of it!


I know schools and local womans groups, like business groups etc….invite inspiring women to speak… the kids/women in this environment….sounds like what you did….
I have a freind who survived cancer, divorce and a plane crash and speaks regularly……
So…..No reason those of us with our survivor stories can’t speak up and speak out……to educate this ‘forgotten’ population!

Kudos again!!!


I had a very disturbing dream last night and it is really bothering me.


If you feel comfortable sharing, we are here to give you input darlen.


I am kind of freaked about it because I have been making SO much progress but my dream had red flags in it.

I dreamt that I had sex with a woman. This woman is a young surgeon that I worked with who was mentored by my ex s’path. We all worked together. She is 4 years younger than me and married to a police officer who works for the same PD where I am going to be-hopefully. She and I were buds when we worked together but she appears to be confused about her sexuality and wanted to try out a woman. She wanted ME to be that woman. She hit on me when the ex and I first got together and I turned her down. There was NO way I was going to hook up with this girl who was married to an officer-since I was in love with my ex and I was trying to become a police officer.

I won’t lie and say that I didn’t have chemistry with her because I did. We had a lot of chemistry but I DID NOT want to go there. It changed my relationship with her when I turned her down-maybe damaged her ego. I have seen her twice since January because she is working at my hospital and we aren’t friends. I don’t know why I had this dream.


Hey Erin…are you still up ? I was at my neighbors and didn’t bring my laptop….Home now.


Erin1972 I am gay are you? That would help me analyze the dream.


hens-I don’t think so. I did have a brief relationship with a woman-mainly because I was so tired of being with these BAD mean that I was drawn to. It was like an experiment for me. It’s weird but she turned out to be a s’path too-just like the guys and terribly narcissistic. She tried to rope me back in and I refused.

It’s weird. There are some females that I find attractive. I could kiss one or touch one but the actual act of sex was not good for me. It’s really strange. This particular gal in the dream and I DID have serious chemistry. I was attracted to her, even though I was in love with my man. She tried to kiss me one night when we were out and I wouldn’t kiss her but I could have. Is this weird? I like men.


tobe-I’m up-I’m on call and I don’t sleep well then. I guess I anticipate waking up to the beeper going off.


Hmmm…when you say you had a r/s with a woman…she was gay, I assume?

I’m not sure what that dream meant. But, I heard that everyone in a dream is YOU.

I had a strange dream last night too…and I was asking everyone today what it meant. Its still on my mind….you know how some dreams just stay with you all day?? Like if it was real???

Maybe you are bisexual? I don’t know. I often wish I was attracted to women…because I like women, in general, better than men. Its hard to find a “good man”.


If you’ve seen her recently (Jan), I suspect it has something to do with your processing the ‘loss’ of your friendship in another way…..(having sex), rather than the way it went down in ‘real life’. You satisfied her ‘request’ and the friendship remained in tact.
You don’t sound comfortable with being rejected as her friend, after turnign down her advances…..
I think your psychie is processing the ‘end’ of your relationship.

My 2cents…..


tobe-yes she was openly gay. It’s weird-I have only had this kind of chemistry with two women in my life. One was a good friend of mine who was in a long term relationship with a woman and this doctor in my dream. I just feel that for the most part, you don’t choose to be gay. I think most people are born that way. My friend was definitely born that way. I ended up telling her later that I had a crush on her and we laughed about it. I just told her not to tell her girlfriend.


tobe- I want to know about your dream too-if you want to tell me about it.


erin – you said there were red flags in your dream, but what you have said so far is about your real life experiences, right?

how did you feel in the dream?


ErinB-I was bothered by the fact that she turned kind of cold to me after I turned her down. Sometimes afterward she would still flirt with me. She became very hot and cold with me. Sometimes she would flirt and then she’d get real standoffish with me. She used to get stressed at work sometimes and she would cry. She was always hugging on me then and wanting to cry on my shoulder. I just didn’t know what to do with her. I even told my ex spath about it because he was her mentor and he laughed. She also now knows about my relationship with him and I think he trashed my rep with her as well.


onestep-by red flags- I meant the fact that she was married cuz my ex spath was too and he lied to me to keep me in the relationship


I think EB may be right. When I was twelve I had a dream about this older guy (maybe 15) who I had skated with earlier that evening, he held my hand in a line skate, I instantly fell in love with him…Anyway in the dream he was holding me very tenderly and i woke up with a you know what..That was when I knew I was gay and that is when I began denying who I was, hiding in shame, so sad that such a wonderful dream could not of been a positive for me…my advice to ernin72 is ‘ to thy own self be true ‘ but if you like men and women you are bi sexual and I have my own opinions about that..


hens-what are your opinions about that?


Oh, I agree with you…it is in your DNA. I know many people who are gay and they have been since they can remember.

I agree with ErinB…. Having sex might represent that you want to be close with her, not necessarily physically. And, its also that you are processing your r/s’s now with everyone.
You are seeing people differently, after this last r/s. YOU are changed now.

My dream was weird. I moved back to the house I lived in when I was married and having children. (Second dream like this in the past month). Only, this time, there were alot of people living there and we all were sharing the place…IDK.
It was strange. There was even a class being held there, in the huge living room. (I am a teacher)
The woman who used to live upstairs from us…was living on the same floor now. So, I went back to live in this house..a two family. But, across the hall was a man who was creepy. I didn’t trust him. He was trying to be friendly when I moved in.
Then, Childrens Protective Service came and took a little boy away from him. THe child was crying. He didn’t say what was going on.
It was a strange dream…can’t figure it out. Hmmm…


not good


erin1972 – that’s real life – how did you feel in the dream?


hens-I think I know why you feel that way? What is it?


onestep-I don’t know how to answer that. I woke up saying -wow, I just had sex with G******. Why? The dream was very real.


Donna, A standing LF ovation for you!Much applause!!
I would like to do my part in helping to educate others in domestic violence prevention, and sociopathy. I am going to be attending a womens meeting at the end of the month and would like to bring this subject to the table in hopes to raise awareness- CAN ANYONE HELP WITH THIS….

***Does anyone know of or have any kind of handouts, educational material, etc. that could be used for information for training purposes?(Either in DV and/or sociopathy)

Any suggestions for this would be appreciated. Thanks.


erin you may not know but I was married to a woman for 10 years – the only woman I ever slept with – she is the mother of my sons and a good friend now – but she has a hetero man in her life and i am happy for her..there are bi-sexuals that are very good people i am sure – and my opinions about that are mine and prolly a little jaded, dont straddle the fence, pic a side and go with it


Donna I beamed with pride when I read your article..


hens-that’s how I always felt about it too. Don’t straddle the fence-pick a side and go with it. I picked my side because as a whole, the men are who I’m attracted to. I just don’t know what it is about this PARTICULAR woman.


because dream reality is to some extent separate from waking reality in as much as the ‘rules’ are different.

we may fly in dream states – which we can’t do in real life. i like flying in my dreams – never scares me. if i thought about the fact that I would FALL if i tried this in real life, it might colour my perception of flying in dreams.

so, i am asking what your FEELINGS were IN the dream, and how you FELT about what you were doing while IN the dream.


perhaps this dream is trying to tell you something dont ignore it – but I may be wrong and boink me good if i am but i think alot of hetero women settle with lesbians because of all the horrific things men have done to them – i think it is a security thing..


onestep-I was into it in the dream. I was a willing participant and it was positive. I just don’t know what it is about THIS woman.


hens- I just don’t understand because I am attracted to men and I want to get married and have a child. I just don’t know what the issue is with THIS PARTICULAR WOMAN.


It sounds as if you ‘were’ the go to girl for ‘fix it tickets’…..

By fix it tickets I mean….peeps who are not so stable, or unemotional…..
I would suggest (if you havent’ figured this out already) to remove yourself from that position.

I was the fixitticket girl too…..I put others before myself….I was always there to cry on and fix other peeps issues…..
Now….when people always come to me with the same issues of instablility, I need to set my boundaries…..I offer my advice, then it’s up to them to ‘fix it’…..

This woman was either embarrased at times….or maybe she was testing you with the S…..and trying to stir something up….
If she was married too…..and NOT in an open relationship…..(I won’t judge), then she was acting sly and trying to drag you into it.
But, like tobe said……you are processing ALL relationships….this is what we do after being S’ed…..we delve into ALL relationships…’s just part of the deal…..
Very logical.


erin1972 – i would take a nice time with anyone in a dream as a blessing.

and as it is THIS woman, i would use your confusion about her to remind you to stay the hell away from her. she sounds like a nightmare.

you have been right not to trust her.

some of the most disordered peeps are the sexiest. sad but true. “cause they are MANIPULATIVE. and she seems to fit that bill.

don’t get caught up on her being a girl – i don’t think it means a darned thing.

one step

kim frederick

Here is my take. That woman in the dream was YOU. You are trying to learn to love yourself…but you confuse sexuality with love. So clear in your dream. You have rejected yourself, because you, have made yourself into a sex object, thinking that is all you have to offer…so this woman, (in your dream) rejects you….as you reject yourself. You need to be celebate for awhile, learn that you are more than a body, as we all are, and develope your spirituality. Learn the true value of who you are…quit equating sex with love…learn to love yourself.


well i think what ernin B said is right – if you have not had homo sexual tendencies in the past, if you are not sexually aroused by other women then the dream is processing something..but if you do have sexual feelings for women its another thing – i find some women very attractive and a beautiful women gets my attention but for me to actually have sex with a female would feel very abnormal to me


kim – who keeps saying she is learning to do this. 😉


I think your in a questioning everything period…..

and for whatever reason this dream came about….I don’t think it represents your ‘true’ sexuality…..

Don’t go questioning ‘who’ you are…and ‘who’ you are gonna land up with…..certainly NOT now….

I also think it’s ‘natural’ to be attracted to different peeps at different times in our lives…..for different reasons…..and not all sexual.


hens – starting to feel that way for me, too.


Kimmie, the ‘dream whisperer’ is on to something too……
given what you’ve stated in the past about how you cherish and don’t give up sex easily…..

Now that we’ve completely confused you….

kim frederick

One step, I’m not sure I get what you’re saying? Do you agree or disagree?


onestep you are right on~! i was with a bi sexual spathtard for 3 years and didnt know it – the spaths have the ability to place us under their spell like vampires – erin72 it is erry what they can do to us emotionally – if this woman in your dream is a spath then she fucked with your mind they can do it, maybe do as kim says and just be alone for awhile – i think that is good advice for anybody who was spathed


Kim – I was referring to a joke you made about ‘learning to love yourself’ a few days ago. 🙂

i like all these different ideas about this dream. something in every post that adds something.


I just really had a lot of chemistry with her -it was electric. I am still very attracted to her but I would not get anywhere near her-I know that I would get hurt really bad.

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