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Donna Andersen

Here’s the absolutely best way to protect yourself from sociopaths

Yes, you can avoid letting a sociopath into your life. All you have to do is listen to your intuition.

Security expert Gavin deBecker, who wrote The Gift of Fear, explains that intuition evolved within us over the millennia for one reason: To protect us from predators. Sociopaths are predators, and our intuition will warn us about them.

The key is to pay attention.

Sometimes the warning is blatant — one woman told me about feeling instantly terrified when a man approached her. But instead of heeding her internal warning, she berated herself for being judgmental — after all, the man had done nothing to her. She talked to him; they became romantically involved; he was, in fact, a sociopath; it ended in disaster.

Social worker charged in plot to hire hit man

So today I open up the newspaper and see that a local therapist, Diane Sylvia, 58, attempted to hire a hit man. She wanted a guy’s “pretty little face” bashed in. She also wanted his arm broken, so he could no longer work out.

Diane Sylvia is a licensed clinical social worker practicing in Somers Point, New Jersey. According to her title, she is also a certified domestic violence counselor.

One of Sylvia’s clients had belonged to a criminal gang. She asked him if he knew anyone who could do the job. The client notified the authorities, who then wanted him to introduce Sylvia to a hit man — except that it was really an undercover FBI agent.

How to dump the sociopath

Suppose you realize that you’re in an unhealthy romantic relationship. Or, your instincts are telling you that the person in hot pursuit of you is bad news. How do you end the involvement?

When you’re romantically involved with reasonably normal individuals, you usually try to spare their feelings. You don’t come out and say that they’re boring, or needy, or oafish, even if that’s what you feel. You make up excuses. You tell them that you’re getting back with an old boyfriend or girlfriend, even if that’s a lie. You say you’re just not ready for a relationship right now, even if that’s also a lie.

Utah track athlete shot by ex-boyfriend who lied about his name, age, and sex-offender status

Lauren McCluskey (University of Utah)

The story of University of Utah track athlete Lauren McCluskey, 21, is a tragedy from beginning to end.

She started dating Melvin S. Rowland in September. A month later, she found out who he really was — a 37-year old sex offender who had recently been paroled. When Lauren broke off their relationship, Rowland stalked her. Then, on October 22, he shot and killed her, leaving her body in a car on campus. He fled and later killed himself.

Here’s a timeline of the events in the extortion and shooting death of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey, on SLTrib.com

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Good has come out of my disastrous marriage to a sociopath. With all I’ve learned about sociopaths, I now have the expertise to help you understand the insanity that you’re dealing with. It’s a gift, and I truly enjoy sharing it.

The sharing season is approaching. So from now through Nov. 21, if you schedule a 1-hour personal consultation, I’ll give you my three Lovefraud books for free.

  • Love Fraud — How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan tells my personal story. It reads like a cross between a true crime novel and a spiritual journey.

15 valuable lessons from ‘The Sociopath Next Door’

The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, Ph.D., is a classic for describing sociopathic behavior. I’ve never written about it on Lovefraud. The reason is quite simple: I read the book when it was first published in early 2005, shortly before Lovefraud launched. I just finished reading it again.

I’ve learned a lot about sociopaths in the last 13 years, so this read was certainly a different experience. The first time I read the book, much of what Stout wrote was a revelation. Here are my observations from the second time around: Stout does a good job of describing sociopathic motivation, but her book fails to capture how dangerous and destructive these people are.

As you recover from the sociopath, remember to live

For many of us, when we finally disengage from the sociopath, our lives are in shambles. We aren’t just trying to recover from a broken heart due to the sociopath’s unconscionable betrayal. We may also need to recover from financial devastation, ruined relationships with family and friends, lost jobs, lost businesses, lost homes, stress-related illness and the aftershocks of psychological manipulation.

No wonder we feel like zombies. Where do we start? How do we rebuild our lives?

In the beginning, our focus is rightfully on crisis management. We make sure we have shelter, food, financial support. We must find solutions for the basic issues of survival.

Outrageous lies my sociopathic ex told me — what whoppers did you hear?

James Montgomery Soldier of Fortune

James Montgomery with his fake Soldier of Fortune magazine cover.

My sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery, lied from the very beginning of our involvement, right through to the end. His first lies were in his online profile — age 49 (he was 55), financially secure (he had no money at all), an entrepreneur (never built a successful business in his life).

When we met in person, the lies continued nonstop. Here’s some of what I heard:

Lie: I won the Victoria Cross for my heroism in Vietnam (complete with a commendation).
Truth: He was never in Vietnam, in fact, never in the military. His commendation was forged.

Useless advice on how to spot a lie

The Daily Mail just published a silly article in which a psychologist explains how to tell when someone is lying.

The behavioral psychologist, Jo Hemmings, dispenses all of the usual and useless advice about watching for microexpressions, lack of eye contact, convoluted explanations and changes in behavior.

Okay, so the advice might work for spotting a normal person who is uncomfortable with lying. It will never work for spotting a sociopath who lies like he or she breathes.

In fact, the article is accompanied by a sidebar in which new research published by Edinburgh University finds that it is hard to spot a liar. Why? Because liars may intentionally suppress the tell-tale signs of lying!

When you discover the appalling truth, do not confront the sociopath

You’ve felt like something was off about your romantic partner for a long time, but you could never quite figure out what it was. Then, suddenly and harshly, you learn the truth.

You discover that this person is cheating on you. Or forged your signature to open up credit cards. Or has kids you never knew about. Or is only pretending to go to work every day. Or is married to someone else.

However it happened, you learn that your partner is betraying you.

Your first instinct is to confront your partner and demand answers.

DON’T DO IT.

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