BOOK REVIEW: Legal Abuse Syndrome

“Victims are created in two ways: by violence or by deceit. Either type of assault immediately renders the victim hostage to the perpetrator.”

So begins the book Legal Abuse Syndrome, by Karin Huffer, MS, MFT. Lovefraud strongly recommends that anyone who has been victimized by a sociopath read this book, whether you have faced your perpetrator in court or not.

The book explains how people who have suffered injury at the hands of some type of predator often face further injury inflicted by lawyers and the courts, who can be, at best, disinterested, and at worst, corrupt. Legal Abuse Syndrome, Huffer says, is a form of post traumatic stress disorder caused by prolonged contact with the so-called “justice” system.

Along the way, however, the author answers many of the questions that those of us victimized by sociopaths have asked:

If I am the victim, why do I feel guilty?

Why can’t I share my devastation with my family and friends?

How can I recover from this assault?

Conscience-centered and power-centered

Huffer does not call the perpetrators of assault, and the complicit people in the legal bureaucracy, sociopaths or psychopaths. Rather, she describes everyone as fitting somewhere on a continuum of motivation between “conscience-centered” and “power-centered.” The extreme power-centered individuals, however, are clearly sociopaths.

Huffer writes:

Trust has usually left the conscience-centered vulnerable. If deception is to work, there have to be those who trust. Convergence of power-centered and conscience-centered people, in their purest forms, will inevitably result in the conscience-centered person being victimized. It is a marriage of deathly complementary value systems upon which the power-centered thrive. They literally tend a garden of trusting relationships while perpetrating hidden agendas.

Those who value truth, honesty, and a moral and ethical code make up the majority of people. These masses are the conscience-centered who collide head-on against a slick minority of individuals, the power-centered. PC’s pull out the “big guns” of moral turpitude for power motives, regardless of damage to others or society.

Of course, everyone on Lovefraud knows exactly what the author is talking about.

Eight steps to recovery

Even more important than describing the experience of the victim—”the kidnapping of the soul”—Karin Huffer offers a path to recovery.

  1. Debriefing: Writing down, in a particular format, exactly what happened.
  2. Grieving: A natural and healing reaction to the most profound loss—a loss of trust.
  3. Obsession: Figuring out what happened occupies a victim’s life.
  4. Blaming: Guilt, rage, anger and wrong need to be directed at the offender.
  5. Deshaming: Victims must get rid of inappropriate shame.
  6. Reframing: Reframe the experience with insights that empower and affirm the self.
  7. Empowerment: Taking ownership of the ravaged experience.
  8. Recovery: Emerging from victim as a veteran, with honed wisdom, courage and tools.

Huffer’s point is that it is possible to recover from the destruction inflicted by power-centered individuals, i.e., sociopaths, and grow as an individual. It is a message of hope.

Overcoming devastation

This book’s full title is Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome. It provides case studies of people who have been defrauded by criminals, lawyers and judges, often operating in cahoots. Only one case involved a typical Lovefraud story—a deceptive husband trying to cut his wife out of the marital assets. And it does offer advice for people who are in litigation with predators.

But I think the book could be called Overcoming the Devastation of a Sociopath. From cover to cover, it is filled with insight into what we have experienced, and how to come to terms with it. It is invaluable help for anyone who, after gross deception and injustice, trying to recover a sense of self.

Buy the book in the Lovefraud Store.

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99 Comments on "BOOK REVIEW: Legal Abuse Syndrome"

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Dear Gathersnomoss,

You may never get your dog back, but what they did is theft, and is breaking the protection order, and I am glad that you are serving them notice that you are not going to lie down and take more abuse.

I hope that you can get your dog back and it may take the court to order that, but hopefully you can at least get some respect (if not fear) out of the vet and your X that you will not lie down and play door mat to them.



gatherneomoss – good for you. go after them both legally.
bet she feels like she’s been used, acting in ‘hi best interest’; maybe she will start guarding her reputation bit more closely.

and i suspect that may be coming home to you.

Kudos’ to you for finding your adamant!!!!!

Its not about ‘starting’ anything…’s about FOLLOWING THROUGH.
Two choices……lay down and keep being stepped on and feeling cheated…….or stand up, report it to the law and take NO prisoners!!!!

Careful about the postings on CL…….and DON”T ENGAGE with her directly.
How far away is your dog located?
Can you go there during bus. when noones home, hours and take your dog back?
Take the police with you,(IF they will go)?

each time the spath would break into my home and take stuff….I’d head right on over to my rental where he stayed, when I knew he wastn’ home…..and take it back!!!

Ya gotta be careful though……I owned this property……he had no actual rights to it…..and i’d go in the middle of the night……so no neighbors saw……I disengaged the motion lights so they didn’t work and I’d park around the corner… recon mission!
I’d wear black and a beanie…….it’s funny to think about now!!!

But….yeah… can only do reverse spathback IF…..your certain NEVER to be caught and NEVER lead a trail back to you.

Like he took ALL my fine wines……my whole cellar……he’s a boonsfarm connoseur…….so i bought some cheap shiat…..and swapped my wine out with that…..he never knew.
I took my kodiak bear rug…….he had it stuffed in a hefty bag…..I stuffed the same hefty bag with old comforters and sealed it right back up…..he never knew……
I’d take digi pics of ALL documents in the property…..his calendar, financial records……
One time I even took his trash, which he had torn up (his idea of shredding) pin numbersand id’s for accounts….

He never suspected!!!

I took photos of his ‘drug’ bro’s wallets they left in the bedrooms…..with all id’s to give to Police……
A wealth of info…..
AND I took the cash in the dressor~! For payment of my ‘time’!
He blamed his bro for stealing his cash…..that was a great backspath to him……
I took cash a few times…..not much but a few hundred……
and each time he blamed his bro……it split them due to the accusations!
HA! BACKSPATH…..all the tactics back on him!!!!!

Anyays….got a bit carried away……but i’d use all means legally to attain posession of your dog. Also…..I’m assuming you have shot records or licence on the dog…..if not….legal means could be difficult……may need to resort back to dognapping right back at him…..
AND THEN go get the dog licenced IMMEDIATELY!!!!!
And change all vet records into your name only!!!!

Good luck……your doing the right thing!

My ex was part of this exact legal system. I could get no help from any of the “legal aid agencies”. Most of the resources were biased by a combination of small town attitude and all the lies he told about me. I ended up with a friend of a friend lawyer who agreed to do the legal work for me ‘pro bono’. I got exactly what I paid for…..nothing. So, after spending the vast majority of $200,000 of my money, when I had nothing left, when over the course of almost 6 years, I was so very ill that I could no longer work, when I still had to care for my adult handicapped son. After all of the financial, verbal, emotional, and physical abuse, when he recieved his share of his Father’s estate, he walked out. At the very end, he only had to pay me $12,000. After spending, at the least, 80% of MY $200,000, on himself and his children, that is all I got. How is that fare? What is the legal justice in that? What now about all the lies he continues to tell about me? I have to live in this town too. I was told, by a person of legal authority here, that I have a well documented case of fraud, if I wanted to pursue it. Do I? Should I? I know that I would not ever recieve an additional dime from him. That is not the motivation for me. I want the truth to out. I want everyone to know what he is. I want his lies to stop. I do not want him to do this to anyone else ever again. Why do I hesitate to procede? What am I afraid of? Him! Any contact with him! I am also afraid that the legal system, in this town, will fail me yet again. So, what to do…….what to do…….


I think you are on the right track but I will defer to the legal experts around here. Perhaps Eralyn or 20 years or RebeccaP will respond.

What I will say is that your “friend” may need to be re-examined. For her to say that he can press charges against you for sharing public information… that doesn’t sit well with me. Is she the “mutual friend”? in other words, is she still in contact with him?

That’s a red flag.


The general word here on Lovefraud is to not warn. The target usually doesn’t listen anyway (I didn’t when I was warned). And yes, I got burned…that is why I am here. So she will just have to find out for herself. It’s unfortunate, but true.


PUBLIC RECORDS ARE OPEN RECORDS. They can be sent to anyone legally.

They can be posted on the internet legally and freely.

There was a man who was in my living history group who went to prison for child pornography. He got out and few knew where he had been. I did. He got a job at the local museum working with KIDS I contacted the museum and informed them he was on parole and for what. I got copies of the public information about is conviction and sentencing, and I sent copies of this to the SCHOOL where his wife was a teacher and where he went to school programs with KIDS….and every time he got another job working with KIDS I sent records to them.

What I did was perfectly legal.

If you were to mail her a copy of your legal documents that are FILED at the court house as PUBLIC RECORDS then it is not illegal.

Whether or not she would believe them is another thing. He will know where they came from so you might be stirring up a hornets nest by mailing them, so I suggest you think STRONGLY about what your real motive is. Revenge? if so, it is a dish best eaten cold, not hot.

He will never stop smearing you, that is just the way it is. You will never get your money back, that’s the truth too.

Sometimes it is just best to put the nasty past behind us and move on with our lives. It is difficult to do, I know, I just had to eat crow in a scam were I allowed myself to be taken, but you know there is a LESSON IN THERE FOR US AS WELL. So think before you do anything. Even if you are right, and what you do is legal, you still might be making things worse in the end.

God bless and pray about it.

First off, thank you very much for your comment, I really am wrestling with this!

Thank you very much for your comment!

@Ox Drover
Thank you very much for your comment!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I love that I have a place to come where there are people that really do understand!

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