Since Lovefraud launched in 2005, I’ve collected 2,850 cases—people who have contacted me to tell me about their experiences with a sociopath. In nearly 100 of these cases—3.4%—the person who contacted me was not actually the victim, but was a friend or family member who was trying to pry the victim away from the sociopath. For example, here’s an email that Lovefraud recently received:
I have a sister-in-law who is dating a married man, who claims he will be getting a divorce, which is still yet to happen. Now she’s pregnant with his kid so things are more serious. They were supposed to move out together a couple months ago, but when the day came he disappeared, then a couple weeks later she found out she was pregnant by him then they were in contact again. Anyways, they went ahead and got an apartment again, which he’s not living in because he is still living with his wife, so it’s a come and go when he pleases”¦ He’s using her! This is not his first child out of wedlock, in fact, he has no contact with the other one and he has now cheated on his wife six times! All these red flags, and all she does is cover up for him. I’ve noticed she’s been depressed and been doing irresponsible things with her health as a result of this guy! Everyone also bluntly tells her that she’s basically his whore, so she knows how everyone feels. What do I do to open her eyes?
Lovefraud’s standard advice in this situation is that there isn’t much someone else can do—it’s up to the person who is involved with a sociopath to open her own eyes and see what is going on. In order to break away, the victim must feel, and own, the negative emotions associated with being controlled and/or abused. This will spark the victim’s desire to get out.
The best thing loved ones can do is stay in contact with the victim, because the sociopath will try to isolate him or her. Friends and loved ones should be emotionally supportive of the individual, but not supply material support, such as money or a place to live. The idea, essentially, is to wait it out, and then, when the relationship crashes and burns, be there to pick up the pieces.
Dr. Liane Leedom explained this approach in her article, “How can I get my _____ away from the psychopathic con artist?”
I’ve sent many, many people the link to that article. But every time I do, it is so dissatisfying. Isn’t there anything a loved one can do?
I understand that people become deeply bonded to sociopaths, especially when they are emotionally and physically intimate, and more especially when they are pregnant. I wrote a whole chapter in my new book, Red Flags of Love Fraud, that explains exactly how this happens. Chapter 6 is called “Sociopathic sex and bonding,” and it explains the psychology and biology of how this powerful psychological love bond is formed.
Here’s a chapter by chapter summary of the book.
Still, I don’t like the idea of just waiting around the victim hits bottom. Sometimes, by the time that happens, the victim is so broken that there is no recovery. And sometimes, when the victim hits bottom, she is dead.
So, I ask Lovefraud readers: Have you ever conducted a successful intervention? If you were the friend or family member of someone in the clutches of a sociopath, were you able to get him or her out? How? Or, if you were the person bonded to the sociopath, did anyone ever do or say anything that gave you the strength to leave?
If anything works, please let us know. I’d love to be able to offer more heartening suggestions.