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Donna Andersen speaks to college and high school students on ‘Love Fraud and How to Avoid It’

Most of us believed, at one time, that everybody just wanted to be loved. Unfortunately, we learned, this isn’t totally true. There are people in the world who pursue romantic relationships not for love, but for exploitation. These people are sociopaths.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to Lovefraud readers and they’ve said to me, “I didn’t know people like this existed,” and, “Why don’t they teach this in high school?”

Usually sociopaths begin their deception and manipulation during the high school and college years. Lovefraud’s research shows that people who become involved with them at a young age suffer more serious harm—including physical abuse, psychological damage and thoughts of suicide—than those who meet the predators later in life. That’s why students need to know that these disordered individuals exist.

Speaking at colleges and high schools

I hope to make young people aware of social predators in dating relationships by bringing my presentation, Love Fraud and How to Avoid It, to college campuses and high schools.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to students at Cumberland County College in Vineland, New Jersey. That’s when we made the above video. Over the next two weekends, my husband, Terry, and I will be attending Campus Activities Conferences to meet with students who bring speakers and entertainers to their schools. We hope they’ll see how important this information is and invite me to speak on their campuses.

The warning signs

The good news is that the dire consequences of love fraud are totally preventable— if students understand the warning signs. Based on my own experience and the thousands of cases I’ve collected, I explain how people get hooked into these involvements, and how to get out of them. Dr. Liane Leedom consulted on the material.

Love Fraud and How to Avoid It covers:

  • What is a sociopath? How many are there?
  • Male and female sociopaths
  • 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath
  • Dangers of online dating
  • Healthy dating relationships
  • Abusive dating relationships
  • Why these relationships are addictive
  • How to break up with an abuser
  • Protecting yourself from sociopaths

Arming students with this information will enable them to recognize exploiters and avoid interactions that could irrevocably damage their lives.

Love Fraud and How to Avoid It is appropriate for college and high school students. I also offers a professional development program, Sociopathy Awareness for Staff and Counselors.

If you are affiliated with a college or high school and would like me to speak to your students, please contact Terry Kelly, program manager, at [email protected], or 609-945-1384.

For more information, visit Lovefraud’s Education page.


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22 Comments on "Donna Andersen speaks to college and high school students on ‘Love Fraud and How to Avoid It’"

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I really wish I had heard this talk when I was in high school and/or college. I think especially important is the aspect of the dangers of internet dating. I was so naive. When people would say, “what if you meet a serial killer on the internet” I would respond by saying, “well you can meet one in a bar too right? Or at the grocery store right?” While its true that these people can be everywhere, I think they do troll for victims easier on the internet. Had I met my ex out in public, I would have walked past him and kept walking. Instead, I spoke to him before meeting him and he was able to disarm me.

Keep up what you are doing. I am sure some of those young people will thank you when they spot the psycho as a result of your talk.

Donna, I’m SO glad that you were able to speak at Cumberland. I sure hope that the message was heard. Was there a Q&A portion to the seminar? I’d love to read some of the questions that were asked.

Thank you so very much for everything that you’re doing to spread the word.

Brightest and most sincere blessings

Donna, the only thing “wrong” with your program is that there is not a program for EVERY KID in America, Europe and every other corner of the world!

I also think that there needs to be an awareness for attorneys, doctors, etc. When I was in family medical practice, it is amazing how many patients (women) came to me and eventually I discovered that they were being physically abused.

I also did pro bono medical visits for the women in the DV shelter and these women didn’t get it that they had to leave their abuser, so many of them went BACK…it broke my heart to see it.

Hopefully by getting the word out to future therapists, you can multiply the awareness of sociopathy.

GREAT JOB!!!!

I wish the same as you Capp. And of course, I always agree with Ox. Now my little meaningless 2 cents to piggy back on Ox: I wonder how many of the disordered sat there in Donna’s audience that just got more insight as to how to go undetected. Just like my daughter has done in therapy, making me appear to be the unforgiving and cruel (sigh).

Dear TDP Processing,

Sugar, yep, they do learn iin therapy to be more cunning. They learn the buzz words of “feeling” and how to mimic the therapist’s concern

You know, their brains dont “get it” and frequently they will do something that is totally 180 degrees from what a normal person would do under the circumstances.

After my daughter in law had been arrested for trying to murder her husband, my son C. She was standing before the judge AFTER I had testified to a whole bunch of stuff including the S&M photos of her naked except for ropes and a gag. The judge was questioning her about bail…did she have a job? No. Did she have any one in the community? Well, YES, I HAVE MY HUSBAND’S FAMILY!!!! LOL ROTFLMAO

Really??? You just tried to kill your husband and his family are going to be there for you, give you a place to stay, etc.???

Well, the bail would probably have only been a few thousand dollars the DA said but becaue of my testimony the judge set it at $150,000 for both her and the Trojan Horse psychopath. So neither of them made bail.

Can you see though that she did NOT GET IT. She had NO concept of how normal people would respond to what she had done. My son Patrick was the same way. He does not GET IT how normal people FEEL. He doesn’t know how someone will respond emotionally.

Back when I worked with inpatient kids (mostly) who were for the majority borderline personality disordered I learned about the black and white thinking, and how one minute these kids might literally be trying to kill you, and the next minute want to be “best friends” with you. They didn’t understand that you might be a bit stand offish when 15 minutes before they had tried to stab you.

LMAO ROTFL Ox! OMG…it hurts so F’ing much but I had to laugh about the potential “stabbing”. Because I laugh so not to cry so much. My daughter has done SOOOOO much to destroy me. Like gone to neighbors saying I didn’t feed her and sat at their homes and told ALL of my business (playing the THING victim role) while I was drinking myself to death because of the hurt, pain and trauma of what she had done, along with the other family THINGS.

NO!!! They don’t get it. It’s all a “concept” to them as to how they should behave and react to our mortification of what they have done. THINGS are like a ship without rudders…knowing the dance, but not the song, whistling but not working. I’m sorry…I’m just being so personally SUPPLYING to their very existence.

One other comment to that Ox, it’s like they are almost DISGUSTED, pissed off, frustrated when we express our frustration.

Just brings me to something my THING mother did. She sat me down in a “setting” (one of her stage acts) when I was 10 to tell me she had lost the baby she was pregnant with. I cried my eyes out (at the time I didn’t know she couldn’t get pregnant anymore because of a hysterectomy). The look in her eyes was like she was puzzled, fascinated and taking a mental observant note at the same time! I just reflect on it to this very day and just think OMFG!

And Donna, just to be a smarty pants, you should have looked into the eyes of every student and excused the THINGS you discovered there…1 to 4% (snicker, sigh and gag). SORRY. Just being a smarty pants. No harm, no foul.

Donna, I sincerely hope that this is just the beginning of a global education on socipathy and psychopathology.

I believe that your story and extensive knowledge should be taken to Law schools, as well, along with law enforcement, etc. NOT that this will nullify the ppathology that seems to be so rampant in quarters of power, but many kids in Law School get all starry-eyed with idealisms. They believe that their chosen profession may be able to change lives. After enough exposure to The System, they become jaded, cynical, and go through the motions of preparing briefs, motions, and the rest, but the idealisms are murdered, somewhere along the way.

Tdpprocessing1, a number of those students may have learned new and creative ways to perpetrate their sins, to be sure. But, some of the snickering and oddball responses could simply be interpreted as demonstrations of discomfort. Talking about mental pathologies is always disturbing, because we just don’t imagine that “disordered” people are “out there, and walking loose.” It can simply be a nervous reaction to something that’s too scary to comprehend.

As an aside, the first time around in college, our Psychology class took a field trip to the State mental institution. Now, I knew that these places existed – who didn’t? Halloween stories revolved around institutional escapees, right? But, how many people in the general public have actually ever BEEN onto a “locked ward” where patients are catatonic or screaming, incessantly? “Why is that person screaming?” I asked my professor. “He’s just got a case of the screaming meemies, that’s all.”

Actually experiencing a State mental institutional environment was one of the most disturbing and frightening events of my life, up to that point. I had experienced the suicides of friends, the deaths of family members, and being the first person on the scene where a child had been run over by a car. I had witnessed a number of very upsetting, sad, and frightening events, but I had never seen anything like a State mental institution and was not prepared for the visceral impact that it had upon me.

After the field trip, a number of us were getting stoned and we tried to process this experience through black humor and so forth, but it was an extremely unpleasant experience for me, at least. How these doctors, nurses, and attendants manage to move through each day without losing their own minds is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Donna, I sincerely hope that this lecture opened the door. It would have been WONDERFUL if you had been able to address ALL spectrums of the academic programs, including staff and faculty! Keep up the incredible work!!!

Brightest blessings

I wish someone had come to my highschool in 1979. I dated a guy that was a high school celebrity, a football player. He took money, tickets to a concert I planned to take him to only to go with someone else, told me if I got pregnant that he would have to kill two birds with one stone and that I would end up with cement block on my feet at the bottom of the bay, had sex with all my friends ultimately to leave me with no support group because he would call me and tell me “what whores they are and how they were never my friend,” he pinchhed me really hard when he didn’t like something, but then he could be so charming and complimentary. When we broke up because I finally got sick of it and the double standards he was living by he went on a smear campaign. Not only did I have him verbally, physically and sexually assualting me before, during and after school, but he was enlisting other boys and girls to do the same. When he knocked me unconscious in P.E., and the coach would not file a report on him, I went to the principal who told me “Boys will be boys get used to it.” I called the police from a payphone because the school would not allow me to use their phone to report the incident and they told me “We don’t get involved in boyfriend and girlfriend disputes,” I dropped out of highschool because let’s face it, I wasn’t safe there.

Since highschool, although married, he has found out where I have worked and become sexually involved with women there and when he dumps them they have gotten so unpleasant with me that I have quit jobs because of it. All the while he exploits women from wealthy families to finance his business ventures. After a high school reunion, I discoverd that he got a list of emails, mine included and started hacking my password, then my children’s for months and finally broke through. He then sent porn to people, called my internet provider who called the FBI to investigate me. Since my children were involved they took it very seriously. They found out in 24 hours all the activity had come from his email. There were no internet stalking laws on the books yet to protect us. He walked away with a warning. My guess is he probably bought the boys in blue a round of drinks and introduced him to what I call “overly generous women.”

He is a good looking man that has George Clooney looks with Scott Peterson’s attitude about women and children. Women are drawn to him because he displays a level of normalcy and they are wooed by his attention for the ultimate betrayal of love fraud. I like to say he uses women like some people do a public restroom. Recently I heard he married a woman from the East Coast who has no clue of his past. Leopards do not change their spots.

I once asked him for an apology and all he said was, “I was young, but that is who I am. I would probably do it again.” Sociopaths feel no remorse for what they do to people because they ultimately are socially retarded and crazy beyond repair. Blame it on his drunk sexually abusive father and not getting real psychological help (only court ordered AA meetings) for his violations against humanity. I blame it on being EVIL.

Lagioiella,

I’m glad that you found your way here…yes, they are EVIL, there is no other word that truly describes them.

I’m glad that you didn’t have a child with him, both for you and for the child itself.

Fortunately in some areas Domestic violence and BF/GF problems of abuse are investigated by the police and in some cases prosecution. In the past it was not addressed.

Again, welcome to LF. God bless.

Lagioiella, good god what a horrible story. I am so sorry that you’ve had such horrific experiences. I’m grateful that you’ve found this site.

Evil….I don’t know if this is descriptive enough. Thank GODALMIGHTY you didn’t end up staying with that jagoff.

If he’s still stalking and harassing you, there may be criminal actions that could be taken. In the meantime, if you’re not involved already, you may want to consider seeking some counseling therapy with a specialist who understands PSTD.

I wish that I had better words to offer.

Brightest comforting blessings

Sorry, but I kind of chuckle to myself when you say this “training” and awareness should be made available to doctors and lawyers. My brother in law is a doctor and he has cheated on his wife and family numerous times…. as I have come to learn about. His wife threatens to leave him, but doesn’t. In fact recently my sister in law told me that when she left to visit her parents once with the newborn baby. She returned to find out that her physician husband had had sexual relations with a nurse who got drunk and he felt “responsible” for her. Oh, yes, so he had sex with her to take care of the intoxicated state??? C’mon, ever heard of calling a cab for someone?? I will now stop the sarcasm, but my point is wife out of town with 6 week old baby- what a predator!!! AND when I was at the depths of despair with his brother – who WAS my husband, he would just kind of shrug and say things like “I’m not going to take sides. or “you have a need to talk more than most people” (stuff a sock in your mouth) OR I’m not going to get involved. Or stop dredging up the past, nothing can be done. Very sick!! VERY sick. And, yes, he is a doctor who delivered babies and is trusted around women.

Now as for lawyers, mine knew all about my former spouse and she also understood the hold he had had on me, until I finally got the courage to end it, break my addiction to him and get out. But she USED it against me. He broke rule after rule, and restraining orders with NO punitive action and in the end, my own attorney used my weakness that I was recovering from (almost 30 years with this man) and threw me under the bus and then tried to convince me what a good deal she got me.

I think it is somewhat publicized that many doctors and lawyers ARE sociopaths. A large number of them manipulate people, especially vulnerable people.

Lagioiella, Oh dear I am so glad you made it through to tell about this. What a creep, despicable [email protected], jerk face.

The pinching thing really bothers me. Mine did something similar…early on in dating, instead of putting his arm around me, he would put his hand on the back of my neck and kind of “direct” me as if to turn right or left, and it was very controlling and I HATED it, but all the while there would be a smile on his face, laughter, he was very charming and attractive, and there was a weird mix of romance, chemistry, and compliments. Now when I think back… I ask myself, was I desperate? I finally got the courage to say, ” I don’t like that and I’m going to have to ask you not to do that. ” Then it took other forms, like pinning my legs down in bed, crowding me in bed, but again all mixed with playfulness, compliments, laughter, great sex, mostly good energy, Etc. Then once I needed a vaccine and my arm was sore, so he said it’s because “all the venom needed dispersing” so he started slugging my shoulder and only stopped when I was most obvious in distress, but let’s just say he didn’t take subtle cues. He was ALWAYS willing to put his toe over the boundary line, just enough to keep me controlled and a little afraid. It was the ultimate control always making sure the good, just ever so slightly outweighed the bad in the midst of really – lots of mixed messages and confusion.

So so so so many times I thought, if I didn’t have kids, I’d just leave. Why am I taking this poor treatment? why am I not good enough? He knew exactly how to get more work out of me. He knew exactly what he was doing, I believe it was all planned and calculated.

My excuse as I look back… family. I also believe he would have brainwashed the kids to hate me had I called it quits when they were little unless I went far away. Now I totally understand people who flee with children and often when I see “missing children” posters I wonder is it the spath who took them or the survivor who fled to get away???

As for the internet issues, mine also set me up an email address….. as I came to learn as a sub account of his, meaning he had access to my email for over 10 years – and all that time he was surely looking for my slightest misbehavior and just couldn’t find it. He would log in remotely from my account and I first got wind of it when he sent my brother a nasty message, which as we discussed wasn’t from me. So the spath apologizes, saying yes that was wrong of me to get into your mail. He was just hoping I wouldn’t tell everybody what he had done – to keep his image. Yep, he too knows just how to appear normal in public, very charming, how to tell just enough lies to look great, but not too many to look stupid. Is he crazy – yes, and cunning, very cunning. Is he retarded? absolutely not. Socially he can actually be awkward, but also have charm and charisma beyond belief. It is very strange which one comes out when.

I now see him at a few of the kid’s events (even though I try to position myself to just NOT look) and he has the most bizarre smile on his face, constantly plays with his cell phone, (his presence is also an act) -he doesn’t give a flip,he talks to himself, 99% of the community shuns him, he has no shame. He stands around acting as if nothing difficult ever happened in his life.

When the kids leave home, I hope I never see him again.

Lagioella, I hope from this moment forward, you are safe, you find peace and happiness, the love of yourself- and that you are rid of the remnants of any damage he did and that now you just tell about it to make other people aware.

I personally spent WAY too much time telling myself, “He would never do that to me. He wouldn’t lie to me, He wouldn’t cheat on me.” He would, he did, and he would continue if given the opportunity – and it took me WAY to long to get that through my head.

I thought I loved myself enough. I loved myself – but not enough. It’s improving all the time. As does the peace and happiness

Honestkindgiver,

You are right SOME doctors, lawyers, plumbers, lawn boys, nurses, teachers, and you name the profession are definitely psychopaths or if not full fledged ones are at least high in P traits.

Many times those people are “fence sitters” and will see someone abusing you and “don’t want to take sides” and will sit by and watch someone be bullied and abused.

The wo/man who knows to “do good and does not do it”….those are the ones that I hope there is a hot spot in hades for. Those people who sit by and watch others abused, in my book there is no excuse for that.I think that most of us have had plenty of experience with those people in our dealings with the psychopaths and their minions.

What happens to us is not what is important, what is important is what we do about it.

We have the strength to survive and THRIVE and we need to use it.

This was my son Junior’s dad.

Andy was his name.

Andy was screaming and screaming at me and my kids. He would start screaming at 5:00 am. Depending if he got up at 5:00am or 6:00am. He would scream all day. He would scream until bedtime. and then he started screaming again the next morning.

What stopped it was my neighbor Sue. Sue stopped me and said the neighbors are talking. I asked what are the neighbors talking about? Sue shook her head and said Get him out. She said they can hear him all over the neighborhood. I said I can’t get him out cause he refuses to leave. Sue shook her head and repeated the Neighbors are talking and You have to get him Out NOW!

It scared me. I didn’t know what the neighbors were talking about. But, the fear that social services may take my kids away cause I had a crazy man in my house. I GOT THAT GUY OUT of THere!

Fence sitters…

Oh does that remind me of my neighbor across the street. While Jim was screaming at me or my son. She and boyfriend sat back and watched. And they later pressured me to getting back with Jim.

It reminds me of the weekly beatings a neighbor woman endured during my childhood. This poor woman was drug out of her house by her drunken husband and he pushed and shoved her in the street. In front of us neighborhood kids.

Jim would have been shoving me around. He already started the pattern. He would give me a push and he said MOVE!

Yep, get the news out there to the teens. My daughter dated a guy last year that we believe is a sociopath. He was 18, she was 16. What does an 18-year-old sociopath do? He uses social media (esp. FB) to find and hit on his victims. He has a long string of likely victims that extends both directions — into the past, and into the future (you would be surprised how many girls a guy like this can rack up in his short teen life). He moves quickly, and moves on just as quickly. In the 2 months he dated my daughter, he told her he loved her, tried to convince her to go to his college, talked to her about marriage, and even created a secret “wedding ideas” pinterest board with her. He began losing interest the last 2 weeks before he broke up with her, and it was clear afterward that he already had his next victim(s) lined up, as he began posting pictures of himself with other girls on his FB within a week and a half of the break-up. This is after he stood in our driveway crying and telling my daughter about how “God told him” to break up with my daughter because he was supposed to focus on his relationship with God, and not date anyone “for a long time, probably years.” He then blocked my daughter, her friends, her youth pastor, and both her father and I on FB so that we could not see what he was doing. This would have been fine with us but it was not so easy to get away from his douchebaggery as my daughter’s friends and acquaintances went out of their way to tell her everything he was doing around town after they broke up. It would take up too much time and space to tell all the many lies he told, and the stories we have heard of his behavior since he stopped seeing our daughter. However, I would like to mention that he fits the sociopath profile in terms of his history — drug/alcohol abuse as a young teen, admitted porn addiction, brush w/the law in regards to a sexual encounter w/an underage girl, and even claims to have been sexually molested by a neighbor (revealed this in tandem w/the info about the underage girl, in order to paint himself as a victim who couldn’t help himself). The predatory stare (I saw this in person as he would keep saying to her ‘look me in the eyes, why don’t you look at me?’), the hot and cold, and love bombing, the charisma, the extreme sexual attraction — my daughter experienced it all. And if you are asking yourself, “why did you let her date someone like this?” and “why didn’t she see him for what he was?” Well that is the point — you can’t believe someone in high school in a small town, who goes to church and says he wants to be a youth pastor (!!!) could be this evil, so….you DON’T believe it, and you DON’T see it, even though the signs are all there. Also, this guy is GOOD at what he does. He has a network of friends (mostly guys) who support him, most of whom go to his church, which lends him legitimacy, because he’s a good “bro” to his guy friends. It’s the women he victimizes who really suffer. Anyway. Teen sociopaths ARE for real and they ARE out there. I am just glad my daughter had this encounter when she was young and still living at home, and we could support her and walk beside her through it. I shudder to think what pain this guy could inflict in the future. It bothers me so much that there is a part of me that still kind of denies that this guy is a sociopath because I don’t like to think about him marrying and having children and inflicting damage on more lives….

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