By | November 2, 2015 25 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Husband, Liar, Sociopath

Husband Liar SociopathMany people equate the term “psychopath” with “criminal,” especially “serial killer.” Although it’s true that many serial killers are likely either deranged or psychopathic, it is also true that most psychopaths never kill anyone.

In fact, there is an entire group of university researchers, led by Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology at Emory University, are investigating the “successful psychopath.”

Scientists disagree on how to define this creature. Some consider any psychopath who stays out of jail to be successful. Others look at career or monetary success.


Is the ‘successful psychopath’ a myth or reality? on

Married to a successful psychopath

Even if a psychopath climbs the ladder of career success and makes a fortune, you do not want to be married to this person.

Just ask O.N. Ward, who published the story of her almost 20-year marriage to a man who made millions as a business consultant in her book, Husband, Liar, Sociopath How he lied, why I fell for it and the painful lessons learned.

No, O.N. Ward is not her real name. Even though she was divorced years ago, she is still afraid of this man.

Onna and the man she calls “Paul” met while both were enrolled in a prestigious MBA program. So yes, Onna is just as smart as he is, except for one thing: She did not know about sociopaths.

Paul turned on the charm as he pursued Onna, presenting himself as dedicated, hardworking and wanting all the same things in life that she did. They married. Then Paul began his campaign to tear her apart, piece by piece.

Slowly but steadily, Onna lost herself. In her book, she tells exactly how it happened.

Analyzing the manipulation techniques

What makes Husband, Liar, Sociopath really valuable is that as Onna tells her story, she also analyzes the strategies that her husband used to control her.

At the time that she experienced Paul’s manipulations, Onna didn’t realize what was going on. But now, understanding exactly what a sociopath is, she points out her husband’s tactics, and explains why they worked.

For example, Onna relates that Paul put in superhuman hours at his job as a business consultant, often staying in the office until 1 a.m. and working through weekends.

After their first child was born, Paul agreed to a rare weekend off. He and Onna were going to spend Saturday together, and then go out to dinner.

But Onna was also working, and because a client made a mistake and sent her package to the wrong address, she needed to work on the Saturday that Paul had taken off. Paul was furious. He refused to watch their baby so that Onna could get her work done quickly and they could spend time together. He sat in front of the TV and sulked.

Paul made Onna feel guilty for tending to her career, when he routinely disappointed her, supposedly because he was working.

With the benefit of hindsight, Onna analyzed exactly what Paul did:

If I valued my client and my career, with a meeting scheduled Sunday morning and a package that was delayed, what option did I have but to work on Saturday? If my need was reasonable, which it was, then Paul’s behavior was unreasonable. To prevent me from reaching this conclusion, Paul went on the distraction offensive. He suggested that I misrepresented how long the project would take. Not only did this distraction technique create a temporary blind spot to the real issues, it also undermined my credibility (clearly, I could not accurately estimate how long my work would take) and my integrity (perhaps I misled Paul on purpose). This kept me on the defensive, and defending myself diverted me from Paul’s selfishness, arrogance, and sense of entitlement.

When I pointed out that it took me longer than expected because I had to juggle caring for Jessica and work, Paul accused me of accusing him of being the reason it took longer than expected to complete the assignment. This technique of accusing me of attacking him also put me on my heels and averted my focus from his selfish choices and behavior.

A heartbreaking but valuable story

The longer Onna stayed with Paul, the worse his behavior became. But not understanding what she was dealing with, Onna surmised that her husband’s callousness was the result of all the pressure he was under at work, and resolved to do her best accommodate him.

For years she made allowances, apologized for things she didn’t do, and gave in to his demands. As she did this, she felt herself falling apart.

The day finally did arrive when Onna understood what Paul really was no, he hadn’t been working all those long hours. She realized she had to get out of the marriage. Even though Paul did his best to crush her, she finally did escape.

Now writing for Lovefraud

Onna has learned about destructive sociopaths the hard way. Now, she wants others to benefit from her hard-won education. Onna will be sharing more about her experiences here on Lovefraud. Her articles will begin to appear this week.

If you suspect that, despite the trappings of career and financial success, you are married to raging a sociopath, I strongly recommend Onna’s book. Or, if you feel like you’ve been crushed by a sociopathic partner and can’t figure out how it happened, you may just find the explanation in these pages.

Available on

Husband, Liar, Sociopath How he lied, why I fell for it and the painful lessons learned









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My marriage to a sociopath destroyed my life, in seven years. I have lost everything I worked for for fifty years. I have what feels like post tramatic stress disorder. I have no self esteem, cannot function in life like I used to, and have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every day. I cry every day. I was manipulated. Lied to, and treated like a piece of property or a slave. The hardest thing was finding out that the court system would be on his side. Stealing from and cheating on your wife is not a problem! Just don’t steal from a stranger! Lying in court under oath is also not a problem. I lost more than $850,000. I also lost my retirement,Self esteem, belief in a fair justice system, and twelve years of my life. There is no hope or joy left in my life. A sociopathic con man destroyed me. I am a broken person. I want to write a book.

Denise Bailey

I have been going to a therapist who does EMDR & it has helped me immensely. Please consider trying it.

It has been effective in reducing the incapacity I felt after learning that during my 10 years with a sociopath, he not only lied, stole from me & my family, but had multiple sexual conquests & a full time relationship while claiming the whole time that he “hated cheats, that they owe the decency to break up”. Thank God he didn’t give me any diseases, but the trauma has been intense. People who try to “help” but have not been through it, tell me to “forget about him” “move on” “just stop thinking about him”. That is not possible. I’ve been going to alot of counseling & the EMDR really helps. Best of luck to you!!

Hope Springs

So interesting…my SP son also a very adamant opinion about cheaters and cheating. Extremely ANTI cheating, yet, his relationship with his wife failed terribly and is now over and I think some of the reason it ended it was precisely that…that he was cheating on her.

We may never know. When that whole Ashley Madison scandal broke, said son was ‘all over it’ saying that those cheating bastards deserve whatever they get…hmmm. He was way over the top about it. He simply would not shut up about it. It seemed almost demented.

Sort of makes sense to me now…

still waiting to get my lifeback

Denise Bailey,
My sp would say the exact same thing why cheat when you can just leave the relationship, he would say that’s the worst thing in the world to cheat and to put your hands on a woman. Sheesh…

Hope Springs

Yes, that phony mask that they wear…



I feel your pain, it’s familiar to my experience. After the initial trauma from the SA-Path, I was stricken with horror over the justice system. I was formally diagnosed with PTSD the third year in, which resulted in disability. In my case I meet the criteria for permanent spousal support. Regardless of the disability law and the evidence (not hearsay), real tangible evidence, previous victims coming to my aid, documented interventions…and more, I received nothing. The day after the ruling I was responsible for the $$$ rent for the month. I wasn’t working, and I won’t be working for a long time. It is degrading. I’m completely broken, my life is forever changed. The friends and family that I loved & cherished have been cut from me by way of fabricated slander. He did whatever it took to twist the truth in order to dismantle the dark side I uncovered. He has the resources to cover everything. COURT: He had the records sealed, my expert witnesses striked, my evidence didn’t reach the stand, my disabilty dismissed and he walked away with everything, even the 2nd car. I’m hiding out in less than desirable place, don’t know what is next. My only recourse is a Federal Appeal, I have no way of exercising my rights though there because I don’t have funds. My health is on a rapid decline, the torture has crippled me. He makes a generous income, it comes with perks that feed the SA-Path mind, ego and addiction. You are welcome to contact me, I empathize with you.


I m so sorry for the pain you have had to endure. I feel your pain. You have had to go through so much! Wish we could sit and have a cup of coffe together. Hang in there. I try to remember that life can turn on a dime! You never know what God has in store! I try to believe there that better days are ahead. Please try to remember that too.


I love how the author picked out a situation and then defined it with hindsight. If we all picked some examples and did that it would make a great book. How to decipher the Psychopath.


Great idea. Everyone could contribute their own story, and then we could compile them together into a book! Love it!

Seems to be an exceptional book. I wish someone eould address the damage done by therapists (especially females) who become so involved and invested in their disgnoses and camaraderie with the patient thst they cause family members harm.

Hope Springs

Hi BeckyR,

Can you elaborate on that? I want to know what you mean.

I think that my SP son cons everyone…even therapists or counselors…




It’s pandemic. It has to be controlled by some means of credentials, accountability and regulation. The SP are believed
and the wives are shattered. This occurred in most “counseling” arenas I tried. It makes you feel crazy, each session is traumatic. A broad range of “counseling” out there…causing serious damage.

I wish the first question marital and other therapists asked is “could either spouse/partner be a sociopath?” Because if the answer is “yes,” than there is no point to any couples therapy. None!

My marital therapy was a total waste of time and money. Even worse, because the therapist believed my sociopathic ex-husband, it gave the stamp of approval to his gaslighting, lies, etc., further eroding my self-confidence and self-esteem and further elevating my ex .

In the midst of my marriage, when I felt there was nothing left of me, I went to a highly regarded individual therapist. Yet, that therapist never broached the subject of purposeful emotional abuse, gaslighting, sociopaths, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.

Finally, when in the midst of my separation/divorce, I realized my husband was probably a sociopath and that I had been purposely gaslighted and eroded for almost 20 years, I found a therapist schooled in abusive relationships. Only then did I start to understand what was really going on.

If any of the licensed therapists I went to earlier understood sociopathy and how to identify it, perhaps I would have started to regain my strength, plan an exit strategy and regain my life 10-15 years sooner. Such a lost opportunity for me and for countless others like me.

It is a huge gap in the training of many therapists/counselors (and in the training of those in the legal system). Hopefully, an increase in awareness and research on the topic will provide the foundation for change.

Hope Springs

Hi O.N.Ward,

I am the unfortunate mother of a SP. He and my lovely daughter in law are going through the beginning of a divorce and they have two small children.

I understand and agree with EVERYTHING you are saying.

They are going through a mediation process. SP is being difficult, of course. You probably know the drill.

SPs want to remain in their family’s lives no matter what. Once they are in, they are like worms. You cannot shake them. No matter what you say. No matter what you do. They eat your life out from the insides.

They dupe and charm mediators and lawyers and judges, NOT because THEY REALLY BELIEVE IN ‘FAMILY’…BUT BECAUSE YOU DO. Normal brained people know what family means. To the SP, family is but a mere word.

A problem that my husband and I have is that our SP son keeps using words like ‘FAMILY’ to keep contact with my husband. You can’t turn your back on family, after all, my husband thinks. Isn’t that the old adage? My son does not talk to me because I don’t buy what he is selling.

SPs NEED a way to stay in everyone’s life because they lose if they don’t. Then, everyone else was right about them. They do not accept a loss or failure like a normal person.

Think about it. If you told a normal person to get out of your life, they would. It would make them feel bad and awful and they would move on.They would get the hint. Not the SP. No, he (or she) keeps worming their way back in. No pride at all. They don’t care if you HATE them.They never get the hint or choose not to, more like.

Whether you are the parent of a SP, or you have had children with one, it seems that you are stuck in a cesspool that there is no escape from.

I wish there was a way to prove to some people that these people do exist. That they make everyone involved with them MISERABLE.


They exist. The sad thing is that most normal people think they don’t. You can try to explain it but it’s very hard to convince them. I was married to a sociopath for seven years. Those seven years have destroyed the rest of my life. He robbed me of any joy in life. I worked for fifty years of my life to have a sociopath throw it all away by lying and stealing. I’m bitter. The only thing that’s good is that I’m not married to a thief liar and leech anymore. But I’ll pay the price for falling in love with a con man for the rest of my life.

Hope Springs

Oh, they exist all right.

The mind f**k everyone so that people are charmed into thinking that SPs are just like everyone else.

What has happened to you is so sad.

Like I said, you were married to one. My SON is one.

You can never seem to escape these people once they are in your lives.

Sadly, the only way that ever changes is for either of us to finally pass away.


Hope Springs


That is what I want to figure out. What will work?

Is it even POSSIBLE?

Any advice or ideas??


Bev, I can totally empathize with you and what you have gone through dealing with your sociopath son. Sad that your husband doesn’t seem to “get it” when it comes to him and the need to protect your family by distancing yourselves from him. You say your son doesn’t speak to you because you see through him. So you have cut ties with him successfully, but sounds like your husband is caught in the cycle of giving him the benefit of the doubt instead of facing the ugly truth about him. Cognitive dissonance – the mental tug-of-war between what the sociopath pretends to be vs. what his actions say he truly is – keeps your husband locked in the destructive game with your son. So you need to somehow convince your husband of what your son truly is. It is very hard to get someone to take off the rose-colored glasses and see the hard truth that they filter. In your case, I would consider your husband an enabler to your son. In my experience the enabler really doesn’t want to see the truth, he is happier fooling himself into thinking everything is fine. I have witnessed this dynamic firsthand with my sociopath sister and my enabling elderly (86) mother. My sister continually lies to her and everyone else, she gaslights her, she steals from her, manipulates her, controls every aspect of her life. But my mother unfailingly continues to turn a blind eye to every incident. My sister uses the implied threat of abandoning her to keep her in line and under her control. I, my husband and kids have cut ties with my sister several years ago, and it was easier since we live 600+ miles away from the rest of my family. But I still try to keep my mother in my life to some extent, even though it is hard to hear about how “wonderful” my sociopathic sister is. For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into detail here, but many red flags have been raised that my mother chooses to ignore. My sister is clearly after our parents’ $1M estate and I seem to be the only one among my siblings that sees it. My brothers both have blinders on and are very afraid of rocking the boat by asking any questions. My sister is our mother’s favorite, so if you get on her bad side, you have our mother to contend with. But back to your issue, I think you need to work on informing your husband – get him to read books about sociopaths, and really educate him on personality disorders. He may or may not apply it to your son, but maybe a light bulb will go off in his head at some point. The only other suggestion I can make is to separate from your husband if he is unable or unwilling to see the reality of the situation. As you get older and your son gets more needy and aggressive, you and your husband will be in danger. You and I both know that a sociopath will do anything – and I mean ANYTHING – to get what they want. Well, anything besides WORK that is!! So you need to work out plans to protect yourselves from him and if that means having to split with your husband, you may have no choice if you want to save yourself from harm. It is such a tough issue and I hope you can work out a solution you can live with.

Hope Springs

Hi Wouned1,

First of all, may I just say, thank you so much for your lovely, caring, and helpful reply. I am in tears reading it because it is like you are here with me, living my life! Go figure!!

You the the nail on the head so many times, I cannot count them all.

Yes, what you say about my husband is 100% right on the money. He is going through that process of discovering who our son is. I have already been through it and figured it out. My husband has to catch up with me. He is still wading through the mire. What you say about a light bulb going off for him. I think a few already have, but perhaps not that ONE that will finally get him out of denial and convince him of the truth.He does want everything to be okay. He does not want to believe or see the truth. I really can understand it. I don’t know why it is harder for him than it is for me to accept it. Likely simply because we are two separate people, and that might be all.

My husband and I have been together for nearly 40 years (since we were age 16). I do not intend to let this issue destroy us.He is a very good person and I love him for that. I will work hard to not let this issue tear up apart, however, not to my own health or detriment. This past year I have aged at an alarming rate! I’s unbelievable, really.

Thank you for caring. I have the same feeling for you regarding your sister. These people know how important FAMILY is to us. It really isn’t important to them. They use that. They just NEED to try and stay in the family for whatever benefit or need it fulfills for them. That is the rub, isn’t it?

With great appreciation and thanks,


You are so welcome, Bev. I am glad to have been able to share my thoughts hoping they are meaningful and helpful to you. We, the victims of sociopaths, seem to feel so misunderstood and unheard. It is a lonely way to live with no one really fully understanding our plight. I totally understand that you can’t let your son destroy your almost 40 yr marriage. But your husband needs to wake up to the reality of the damage your son has done, and will continue to do, to you and your family. I have the same problem with one of my brothers in trying to convince him of what my sister is about. He prefers to give her the benefit of the doubt and let her continually dupe him into complacency. So I just gave up trying, figuring he will have to learn it the hard way just like I did. But it is so very frustrating. The difference is that I don’t need my brother to agree with me since he lives a state away. I am lucky in that my husband and kids totally “get it” when it comes to my sister, and so I am not having to try to persuade them in my direction. Your situation is so much worse in that you want to keep your marriage intact but keep your son from making the family miserable. Then there is the further complication of having grandkids that he will undoubtedly use as pawns in his dealings with you and the family. So my heart goes out to you and I wish there were an easy solution for your family…sadly it will have to unfold as it has been and you will have to continue to cope with it. I know what you mean about your health taking a hit from all the stress involved. I had stress-related hair loss after my last visit to my hometown. My brother called about a month after I had returned from visiting my mom to tell me something my sister was lying about to the whole family to make me look bad. The sudden shock of hearing that, after spending what I felt was a very happy and pleasant week with my mom, caused me to lose a patch of hair leaving a bald spot on my scalp about the size of a quarter. It is growing back, but is only about 4″ long now, the rest of my hair is much longer. It was such a profound letdown after I had put my heart and soul into taking care of my mom and trying to spend some quality time with her. I told my mom my sister was lying and her accusations were totally false. My mom asked me why I don’t confront my sister about it if I truly didn’t do it, and I said, no, she will just lie further and her putting me on the defensive will only serve to make me look guilty. So I just had to swallow the bitter pill and move on. The emotional pain is hard to take, but it does lessen with time. I guess we all have our cross(es) to bear in life, and she is definitely my “cross”. Once my mom is gone I may go ahead and completely divorce my family of origin. Until then, I hang on loosely for the sake of my mom.

Hope Springs

OMG! Once again, this is uncanny!

I have huge hair loss at this very moment in time. I could not figure it out. It is like someone came into my bedroom while I slept and just cut a chunk of it out! I know that did not happen. Stress is pretty harsh on the body in so many ways.

Yes, my son is my ‘cross’ just like your sister.

I have at times been made to look crazy in the eyes of others because they think he is so charming and SEEMS so great with his children. I know the truth, but a lot of people just can’t or will not see it.

Yes, I must STOP trying to convince my husband of the inevitable. It makes me look and feel desperate. I don’t enjoy that at all. He will eventually see things for himself and hopefully do the right thing…

Man, do I HOPE!!

Hope Springs

My husband just read your posts to me and instead of it helping, he got very angry.

If any posts come to you though my link telling you to mind your own business, PLEASE disregard them.

I am SO sorry.


Miriam, I didn’t mean to ignore your comments and can very much relate to your loss of joy in life due to your marriage to a sociopath. It sucks the life out of you for sure. I think it truly shakes our very foundations in life – we lose our innocence. We no longer trust that someone that is friendly to us just is a nice person reaching out to befriend us. We think of all the sordid terrible possibilities of what their motives are in talking to us. After learning about sociopaths and figuring out what my sister is over a period of several years, I had someone strike up a conversation with me at my gym. She was very friendly and after chatting for an hour or so she wondered if I would want to meet sometime for lunch or just coffee to chat. We exchanged phone numbers and a few weeks later she called me. I was afraid to answer her call because I started wondering why she was so interested in me. Just what was she after? I am quite paranoid about people now since I know that sociopaths exist under masks of normality. So I never returned her call and have never run across her at the gym since. Was my intuition right? Maybe not, but I wasn’t willing to take any chances. That is a major difference in me from BEFORE vs. AFTER my awakening to the fact that sociopaths exist among us. That is a major change in the way I see other people and my view of the world. It is truly a loss of innocence, and you can never get that back. There is no joy in life when you have to think the worst of everyone around you. I sense that you are experiencing the same kind of thing after your nightmare marriage to a sociopath. It makes us view others with suspicion and we no longer accept others at face value. We know better. Maybe in time we can get that joy back in our lives, but I’m not sure about that. All we can do is try. Hugs to you.


I pray every day for an end to the pain. I don’t understand how this parasite ever wormed his way into my life and destroyed my life gradually over seven years. I was naive, gullible, and easily controlled and manipulated. I will suffer the rest of my life, that I know. But if I can help others, I will feel that at least all that pain and suffering wasn’t completely wasted. Every day I ask myself how I can use my experience to help others. The answer I keep coming up with is….. Write a book. That is my goal now. This venue is helping me realize that others have had similiar fates, and I’m so glad I’m not alone! If this book could be a joint effort, it would be fantastic!


Absolutely, psychopaths can be successful and avoid crime — until they don’t. I worked at top levels of business and finance where I encountered quite a few psychopaths and narcissists. They were at the top, running things.

The impact of them being a psychopath or narcissist vs just a hard-working, perhaps workaholic person fell into a range:

1. Successful, with harsh personal life effects, but their success always or almost always comes first, with occasional nods to providing just enough caring to partners and family that they won’t be left, although they often are.

2. Successful, avoiding crime, but only in the letter of the law. Many would say their behavior was unethical, immoral, or reprehensible in some way. They may be infamous. They may have cheated business partners out of inventions, income streams, fair price for their work, or businesses. Their manner of supervision in the workplace often is too. It is not uncommon for them to have had some type of lawsuit or action taken against them. They will often come off as bigger than life and untouchable.

3. Successful, but beyond a certain point, often at the top of an already very large organization, the only way to go bigger is to cross over to some type of crime. Generally this is non-violent, white collar crime including fraud or embezzlement. The fraud is often elaborate and so detection is avoided until massive damage is done. Sometimes this will result in bringing the whole organization or an entire industry down.

In many ways, the successful psychopaths are far more dangerous, certainly destructive, than the less-restrained violent ones. They are also harder to detect and harder to escape or prosecute.

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