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Barbara Bentley story in the media

Barbara Bentley wrote a book about her marriage to a psychopath. Her husband, “Admiral” John Perry—who of course, was not an admiral—wiped her out financially and attempted to murder her. Then, when Barbara tried to divorce the predator, she learned that according to California’s no-fault law, he was still entitled to part of her assets. She mounted an effort to get the law changed, and succeeded.

For more about her story, read Book Review: A Dance with the Devil on the Lovefraud Blog.

Tomorrow, June 4, 2009, Barbara is appearing on the Barbara Davitt Show on WATR Radio in Waterbury, CT at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. You can listen live on the Internet—scroll down on the webpage for information.

And on Sunday, June 7, her story will be on Dateline NBC. Check your local TV listings for the NBC affiliate and time.

Posted in: Cases, Donna Andersen

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31 Comments on "Barbara Bentley story in the media"

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I haven’t read Barbara’s book yet, but I”ve ordered it.

I am glad that this is happening at the same time as the trial over the kidnap trial of the so-called “Clark Rockefeller.” People who have never dealt with these pathological liars with their dysfunctional agendas cannot begin to imagine what we have survived.

Sandra Boss deserves our support in every way we can give it, because the more the public understands this very real “unreality” the S/P presents, the faster we can get to where judges, juries, neighbors, family court magistrates, school counselors and teachers, and the rest of society can understand that not all “insane” people look insane, and a pathologically lying “conner” can take down anyone.

I am glad that Barbara could write her book, and that she could actually have succeeded in changing the laws in California. She is a true hero.

Hey Rune,

I have this book in the “next” stack next to my bed. Hope to get to it soon. (And to the author: I bought it retail! Yea!) Maybe we can read it and compare notes.

I share your concern about the Sandra Boss case. I am in the habit of listening to my local CBS affiliate in the mornings as I get ready for work, and sometimes if I’m running late, it bleeds into the CBS Morning News. I was horrified to hear the “expert” commentary on this case either this morning or yesterday (can’t remember which). Basically, the designated expert expressed her disbelief at Boss’s testimony.

I find it telling that these same sorts of “experts” don’t have any trouble at all believing that upper crust investors, many of them Ivy League graduates just like Boss, were conned by Bernie Madoff and his ilk. The experts don’t have one tiny reservation about believing that members of Congress (not to mention, supposedly, Bush and Cheney) were hoodwinked into believing that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. No, all that is understandable.

But a woman fooled by a con man? What a dolt she must be! Why, this could happen only to some sort of imbecile!

Quite the double standard. And just as wrong as any other double standard. As all of us here know too well, ANYONE can be fooled by ANY reasonably intelligent psychopath. And God help anyone who comes up against a truly exceptionally intelligent one.

Tood: You’ve got it!

Do you know the part about “Don’t ask him that because it will make him angry, and you don’t want to make him angry”?

That’s a coercive technique that I’m just starting to define. It’s the way they make sure we DON’T quiz them on their lies and inconsistencies. We have this “rock in the stomach” feeling that if we press them for the truth, they’ll renege on any other agreements, or become more abusive — manipulation, control, abuse, control, manipulation . . .

You make an excellent point — people are even now “forgiving” the dupes of Bernie Madoff, but not extending the same courtesy to this woman.

Oh jeez.

When I was in the final years with “my” psychopath, I had become so trained that just a hint of a displeased facial expression was enough to shut me up. I was doing my thing as the female, as the mom, as the good woman, keeping the peace. Just like, I suspect, Boss did. WE WERE DOING WHAT THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF CIVILIZATION TAUGHT US TO DO.

That’s why I sometimes fight so hard against the “what is wrong with ME” mindset. God knows, I realize there is much wrong with me. BUT, we victims who are also female have so many societal, religious, and even perhaps biological, obstacles to overcome in dealing with this…thing…that I am amazed we can even stand upright once it is all over, much less become fully human again.

And because I must trudge off to work again in the morning, I bid you goodnight. Pleasant dreams to all.

Tood: Thanks for finishing my sentences, or paragraphs.

When we finally see this, it’s like the end of the black&white world in “Pleasantville.”

Yes, we can change “ME,” but the problem isn’t originally us, but rather a hwole complex of issues.

That we are here, talking, being — whether female, male, gay, or straight — we are up against the “unbelievable,” and our interaction here shows that our trauma didn’t come from our failure to be “good members of society.”

As Jim from Indiana might say, “Towanda/o!” To our full-integrity and full-of-compassion triumph.

Boss is not naive, she just believe in love that’s all. We believe that love comes with trust. It would hurt the one you love, if you don’t trust them & question them. They get upset. We feel that we are wrong in questioning them, thus we stop.

I don’t think it’s a sin to love unconditionally. It’s more of a sin to take advantage of our unconditional love.

I will tune in to this story on Sunday.

I honestly think that no one in the world is better suited to work with people who have been victims of these kinds of cases than…. US. All of us. We know this tuff inside and out, don’t we?

I just ready “Crazy Love” and it make me feel sick… but it was just another version of our collective story… of how they work… and how it works… between a pathological abuser and his/her object of “affection” if you can call it THAT?!

Nolife: You understand. You said, “I don’t think it’s a sin to love unconditionally. It’s more of a sin to take advantage of our unconditional love.”

Yes, I agree, it is far more of a sin to take advantage of our unconditional love.

How can we save face when someone lies to us like this? Only if we know that he is so far from right, and so far from sane, that we could not have known how much he was lying.

“Nolife” — who is full of life — we could not have known. They can fool anyone, and we cannot blame ourselves for not recognizing how bad they were.

I am so glad that you found your way here. These people do this in cultures around the world. Many cultures won’t even begin to here us.

We need to support each other as we work to tell the truth about people who don’t think like others, and who will use and hurt anyone who gets in their way.

I wonder how you found this place to talk, but I’m very glad that you’re here.

Thanks Rune 🙂

I think I chanced upon LF and wrote to Donna to ask her what she thinks of my situation. It was with her help that I set up to find the truth about him. The discovery is shocking.

That is actually more than a year ago. I know it took me this long to write because I have been in denial. I buried myself in work and activities. But I realized I am in this constant cycle, not getting anywhere.

Thank you for your kind words Rune. It helps alot, which I could be of some help to you too. I hope you will find peace too.

Dear Nolife,

It DOES HELP that yo uare here! Each time one of us shares their story/pain/thoughts, it reinforces to the rest of us (no matter where we are on the “road to healing”) that our vision is true, that it was NOT our “fault” that we were hooked up with a monster….that we are NOT stupid because we got duped…that we are NOT ALONE. Those are important concepts to grasp.

Because the monsters many times isolate us from our REAL friends and those that lvoe us so that they can have complete control over our thoughts and lives, we come to believe the lies that they tell us. Each person CONTRIBUTES to the COLLECTIVE TRUTH of our situations.

Glad you are here. (((hugs))) and God bless you!

Rune and NO-LIFE

I think it was by more than chance that you found Love Fraud.

I thought so too at one point but have come to believe it was a bit more than that.

There is so much support here – people, articles to read – and I found a great counselor by way of this site.

I was thinking I needed a change in counselors – and the opportunity came through this site – and I truly believe it was all directed from praying for guidance – truly praying for information to come and be revealed so I could figure out what was happening in my marriage.

Changing my prayer from God, heal my marriage – to God, show me what it is I need to see – well, I learned more than I ever dreamed my H was capable of. It was revealed in so many, many ways – people, being in the right place to witness myself, phone numbers – getting old records and doing my own research. And – finally this site – and a great counselor.

So – as they say “Be careful what you pray for” and “Nothing happens by chance”

Opportunities for truth and healing will come – we just have to be strong enough to look for ourselves and be gracious enough to let those that came before guide us.

Dear Newlife, YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!! I too have learned to pray for “Whatever YOU know I need” rather than for what I THINK I NEED or WANT…the Bible says “all ALL things work together for GOOOD to those that Love the Lord” I pray for what HE knows I need, and then trust that what I get is what I need (though it may be a trial or a tribulation) The Bible also says that “tribulation worketh patience” and I know, and God knows I don’t have a lot of patience, but I’m LEARNING!

I don’t even know where to start! There is so much truth and wisdom in all of these posts.
Rune said, “That’s a coercive technique that I’m just starting to define. It’s the way they make sure we DON’T quiz them on their lies and inconsistencies. We have this “rock in the stomach” feeling that if we press them for the truth, they’ll renege on any other agreements, or become more abusive manipulation, control, abuse, control, manipulation . . .”
This pinpoints exactly how I felt for years-walking on eggshells and not calling him out on things for fear that he would renege or leave me. The few times I did call him out on one thing, he would break plans and say “Well I *WAS* going to do [blank] before *YOU* ruined it by [calling me on my lie].” Like, “I was going to pay you back the money you lent me before you questioned me about spending my check on booze, you must not have thought I’d pay you anyway, so now I’m not going to.” Like it’s somehow my fault he can’t keep his word.

OxDrover’s response to Nolife’s statement of denial: that we’re here to hear stories that “reinforce that our vision is true, that it was NOT our “fault” that we were hooked up with a monster”.that we are NOT stupid because we got duped”that we are NOT ALONE.”

I need constant reminder of this. I haven’t been on this site in a week, and by last night I was starting to question myself again… maybe he’s not a sociopath, maybe he just didn’t love me, maybe if had lost weight sooner, or kept a tighter leash on him, or given him a longer leash, or not pushed him to quit drinking or WHATEVER then he’d still be here and not with her. And then the questions…what does she have that I don’t have, maybe he’s really happy with her and on and on my mind goes wild. When I come here, I can see that she doesn’t have anything I don’t have, except the knowledge of who he really is, and my new found self-respect. And, maybe if I had walked on a few more eggshells he would still be here, bleeding me dry financially, and mentally.

And to NewLife and OxDrover: I agree that it is not by chance that we are here. I spent years praying that I could make our relationship work, praying for him to see how he makes me feel, praying for him to become healthy, successful, quit smoking quit drinking, treat me right, to be happy, to just love me. The entire time I was with him, I felt my relationship with God suffer, sometimes it would disappear all together, or sometimes it would manifest as a bad feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Over the years, sometimes I would get fed up and try to break it off, but he always would show up again, and I’d always let him come back. One night, I had a ‘dream.’ In this dream, God told me that I was not supposed to be with the S, and that He was not going to tell me again. This dream was sooo vivid. I just couldn’t shake it, and when I woke up I knew it wasn’t a dream. I told him that day he had to leave, and two weeks later he moved across the country.

I thought it was finally over, and amazingly that ‘bad feeling’ lifted, I felt like my life was improving and my relationship with God improved. Sadly, the vividness of that dream faded as dreams do, and some combination of my loneliness and the S’s persistence we stayed in contact and I recently moved to his city. As soon as we were hanging out and things were getting ‘serious’ again that vague bad feeling returned. My relationship with God suffered, and I felt guilty praying for us to be together/work out etc. Basically God had already told me he wasn’t going to tell me again…and even though I didn’t dream that dream again…it crept back into my memory and put a wedge between me and my faith.

About a week or two before my S informed me he wasn’t moving in as planned and was cheating…I had switched my prayers from “please let this work” to “please let me see Your will, and be strong enough to live it.” I’ve basically known for years that something was wrong with my S and that I deserved to be in a better relationship…but never had the strength to sever it, and always held out hope that he would change and things would get better if only [fill in the blank].

Point being, I finally started praying for the right thing…for what God wants for me, instead of what I want for me. And I actually thank God now, that the S left-even though it’s painful-bc if he hadn’t I would likely still be trying to ‘help’ him. God must have known I was serious this time, that I wanted to really be done with this long painful cycle of being in love with someone who DOES NOT FEEL, because I found this site a day or two after. I am certain, without this site I would have continued the cycle. Now I know, that when the S calls again (it’s just a matter of time) I will not answer. And if I feel like calling back, and start to think that maybe he has finally changed…I know all I need to do is get on here.

BTW tonight is exactly 1 month since NC and I feel happy! And one month is the longest I’ve ever gone w/o contact with him, in ten years. So here’s to the rest of my life NC!

Thanks for reading…I know this is long! I hope someday soon I’ll be in a position to give some advice rather than just rant!

Done: What an inspirational story! Good for you! You are already helping others by sharing your own process of coming to terms with the truth.

Tood, I couldn’t agree more regarding the double standard. I think a lot of that stems from the notion that there are always two sides to a story. Most fair minded people try to assume there is a middle ground between the he said/she said, they assume there is a valid perspective coming from BOTH sides. But these assumptions favor the liar invariably.

To Done, welcome, and happy healing. Yes NC is great. It takes some time for the effects of all that “eggshell walking” to wear off and for us to feel whole again. Twisting ourselves into pretzels to rationalize the unrational, coming to grips with the notion that the one who “chose” us, claimed to care, is actually a hollow manipulater.

I remember in the early days of NC having repeated dreams where the exP would be “helping” me with something in a very gentle and seemingly sweet way. In my dream I was torn and thinking about taking him back. The “no-no-no-” feeling always woke me up and I would be so relieved that it was just a dream.

In real life I did take him back after a brief split that I had requested. And he did act all sweet and helpful and caring, for a very breif time. That ended up giving him an extra year to try and finish me off, emotionally, financially and so on. Strangely, I had found and read Martha Stout, the S next Door during that first split, but then decided I had over reacted and he was a troubled but a “good man”. And of course you don’t throw a good man away, right?

Not a day goes by that I don’t check in on the LF blog, to read and learn and share and re-affirm that when it comes to dealing with a P there is no grey area. One must get out, at any price, and deal with picking ourselves up and putting ourselves back together again on our own terms.

I have been through some very tough times since the split, and a great deal of financial stress, but I am convinced had I not leapt off that cliff, I would have broken down from his constant fake stress he had me living in. The layers of deception were truly mind boggling and crazy making.

Rejoice that we are OUT – and like your screen name DONE!

Peace to all

Eyeswideshut,
I have the dreams, too. Fortunately they have resulted more in the “no-no-no” feeling than the “I miss him” feeling lately. When we were together, I always had dreams that I was looking for him and couldn’t find him. Those were just as torturous, and probably due to trying to figure him out, and not being able to. I love how you said we “twist ourselves into pretzels trying to rationalize the irrational.” You say it so succinctly, but I spent YEARS doing just that during my waking and sleeping hours!

Also, I too read the S next Door, last September before I moved across the country to be with my S [and for a good job]. It was eye-opening, but just like you I decided I must be over-reacting and that my S was troubled and that he just needed some stability and reassurance and he’d be fine. I felt badly for him bc he has no one stable in his life, even his family has given up on him. I thought I’d be the one dependable person to show him that not everyone will abandon him. I went as far as to think maybe it was my fault he had these ‘abandonment issues’ since I had left him before.

In reality-everyone ‘abandons’ him bc he’s a thankless a-hole P and they had decided that they’d given him enough. I know I was the only stable thing in his life, and probably the best friend he will ever lose. I’m glad I read that book back then, bc it ended up planting the seed that led me to this site.

I actually confronted my S with the Psychopath Checklist, and we laughed as he was like “check” to pretty much every item on it. I guess they might not even know they are S’s when confronted with it. He always used to say my “perspective” made him laugh. His perspective was so F’d up, but he would insist that he was right and the whole rest of the world was wrong. Anyway–Rejoice is right!

And I appreciate your screen name too-I lived my life like that for way too long.

Done and EWS,

It’s good to read posts that I may have written myself if I could put my thoughts together. I , too, confronted him on his Narcississm thinking he would want help and go to counseling. I must have been crazy – just picture me standing in front of him , books in hand and all my internet material he had taken from the house= all so I could rescue him from his inner misery. I thought he would care enough about me and the kids to want help. I was sure he really didn’t want to toss 22 years away – his second marriage and family. Little did I know he was long gone -there was never a real marriage for him. I was a good investment -took good care of him -made a good salary. He got himself just where he wanted to go – just about. I don’t think he expected me to force him to choose when I did last year. I think it caught him off guard and in more debt than he plaqnned on at the time- serious debt.

Apparently, he was very sure how much I loved him. A friend asked him a few times how much he thought I would put up with his cheating and his answer was always ” T loves me so much – she ‘ll never leave me.” Why not??? I worked very hard to let the hurt little boy inside know I loved him and cared for him.

But it all became so demented I couldn’t take anymore – and I knew – just knew it was not going to be easy. I did not know just how difficult it would be. I was not prepared how much the exchange of divorce financial information would reveal. Outside of his affairs-and I am not minimizing them – but there is so much more I never knew of this man in 22 years. He hid behind a facade of hard work and lived a double life. A sick , f’d up guy =I had no idea.

I have read soo many books that just mirror so close to what I have experienced. But the sharing here is so valuable -so real and genuine. I wish I had found it sooner – but maybe I wasn’t ready either.

Newlife08,
“I worked very hard to let the hurt little boy inside know I loved and cared for him.”

UGH me too! Maybe that is why it’s so hard to recover, bc we put extra effort into these ppl to reassure them that we love them. He really had me wrapped around his finger with all the pity love I gave him. I’m sure he still thinks he does. That is the one reason I can’t wait for him to try to contact me–he will be so shocked that I finally wised up.

It’s funny how things are so crystal clear looking back. Idk how many times over the years I told him “Don’t you have emotions??” I just didn’t realize there was an actual diagnosis for it. I used to stress out thinking “How can I make him feel bad for how he treats me if he doesn’t feel/care in the first place.” It used to be so frustrating that there was no way to win with him. Well he may not cry about it, or miss me, or care if I live or die, but at least he’ll be shocked and frustrated when he finds out I’m no longer at his beck and call.

done and newlife08:

Regarding recovering from an S, recently I’ve discovered that S is taking up less and less space in my head. And I finally realized why. Because I took back my power by turning his creditors loose on him. My fingerprints aren’t on the “crime” and I don’t have to engage with him directly. I have no pity for someone who has burned creditor after creditor since 1991. Everytime he defaults, we all pay for it. I realized by taking back my power this way it lessened his hold on me. And did something to bring about a bit of power in the universe…

should have said “bring about a bit of balance in the universe.” (see what happens when you try to type with 6 hours of sleep in 7 nights?)

Matt,
I’m finding the same thing. Unfortunately before he took up about 99.9% of my thoughts, so even now that he occupies less of them it’s still a high percentage. After ten years it seems like EVERYTHING reminds me of him. The difference is now those memories bring emotions of disgust instead of missing him for the most part.

You are right, taking back control is very freeing. I’ve had a hard time in the past over things that aren’t in my control…and it helps to be able to control those things that I can-like NC. I feel more free now with NC than I ever did when the S was with me.

Matt, hope you get some sleep!

Done

Very inspiring, thank you!

Done,

Regarding the amount of headspace they take up: there was one morning I was genuinely thrilled to find myself writing in my journal “I’m getting better. This morning he was only my second thought after waking.” Ha!

Everyone else: It’s interesting how many of us used the Martha Stout book. I was lucky enough to find it very early, maybe within six months of the Big Reveal, the unmasking. I think I read it a total of three times during the ensuing few years. It was wonderful validation. Stout’s credentials, I must admit, bolstered my faith in my own shaky grasp of reality. If a Harvard Medical School instructor was speaking a truth I could recognize, then hey, my truth wasn’t so crazy after all, now was it?

That first stage of shock and confusion is a real lulu. Glad to see the same book helped so many of us.

Tood: I found “The Sociopath Next Door” about two months after he dropped the mask. I had worked my way through the DSM-IV and another psychology text and then found Martha Stout. The next book was “Without Conscience,” by Dr. Robert Hare.

Without those books, I don’t know how I would have survived the shock and confusion. Yes, they saved my sanity.

Watched Dateline tonight – the John Perry one. It was so classic – made me greatful nothing physical happened, except the P slugged me in the mouth when I was in bed recouperating from having a baby. Barbara’s book looks interesting. I found the more I saturated myself with material regarding the P, as in the above blog from Rune, and I have read the above mentioned books and they are really validating, the more I could relate.

I havn’t read any of the books (not in our library) and lovefraud saved my ass!

Rune:
“That is the one reason I can’t wait for him to contact me”“he will be so shocked that I finally wised up.”
Do you really think he WILL contact you?

Rune:
When you say, “That is the one reason I can’t wait for him to contact me”“he will be so shocked that I finally wised up.”
Do you REALLY think he WILL contact you?

Done,

I used to pray for my P-son, “please God don’t let him be guilty of murder.” But of course the answer I got from that prayer was the TRUTH–he IS GUILTY. Then I prayed fo rhim to not get a long sentence–he got 15 to life. then I prayed for him to “reform” and “see the light” and of course, we know whate the result of that was….he tried to have me killed.

But the last few years I have taken a different look at how I pray. I no longer pray, for example, like “dear god let me get THIS JOB” I pray instead for, Father I know you are aware I need a job, help me find the one that YOU KNOW is BEST, because I cannot know what is best for the long haul.”

One of the most comforting chapters for me in the Bible was teh story of King David and King Saul in I and II Samuel, where Saul was trying to kill David and David hid out in caves for years. I believe God could have stopped Saul trying to kill David and then David would not have had to hidden out, but I also see NOW that there was SOME LESSON that David needed to learn by hiding out for so long.

David actually got several chances to kill Saul during teh time he was hiding, and he refrained from revenge and let God take care of Saul in God’s own time.

Looking back now, I can see in retrospect (always 20:20 visiion) that there were lessons I needed to learn too. I was trying to “play God myself” by trying to FIX the un fixable. I had a skewed visiion of it all, and now I trust GOD t o take care of it all because He promises that “all things work ktogether for GOOD to those that Love the Lord” and Imight add too, “and that don’t try to play God themselves and tell God how to run the universe.”

Humility and patience have never been my “long suits” and in my own arrogance and rushing, I have not slowed down enough to see that my judgment is not God’s jusgment and wisdom. “Tribulation worketh patience” and I’m had my shares of tribulation because I was NOT willing to accept the lesson of “be patient and trust God.”

I believe we must work like it all depended on us, and pray like it all depends on God (which it does) because no matter how hard we “work” to try to fix these people, we are “casting our pearls before swine.”

I read Barbara’s book awhile back and thought it was good and I thought the show last night did a good job, including saying that in Barbara’s opinion her ex husband was a “psychopath”–so at least the word was put out there to plant the seed in the public’s mind that this type of behavior could be linked to psychopathy– and also having that other couple on to sort of back up that Barbara wasn’t the only one duped by the guy. She also has a website, blog, and twitter page.

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