By September 25, 2017 8 Comments Read More →

How being devastated by the sociopath helped me find love

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly married on February 12, 2005. We are still happy and in love.

In the course of our two-and-a-half-year relationship, my sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery, took $227,000 from me, cheated with at least six women, had a child with one of the women, and then, 10 days after I left him, married the mother of the child. It was the second time he committed bigamy.

Once I learned the truth about his behavior, and realized the depth of his deception, I was totally, completely, crushed. But if I hadn’t been shattered by the sociopath, I would not have been able to love as I do now.

Is your reaction, “huh?”

Let me repeat. It was my experience with my sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery, that actually enabled me to find the love I always wanted.

Looking for love

I had just turned 40 when I met Montgomery. Up until that time, I was never able to make a long-lasting romantic connection.

All through my twenties and thirties, I tried. I played co-ed sports; I went out to bars and clubs on weekends; I was an early adopter of personal ads — the precursors of online dating. But I just couldn’t get a romantic life going.

Needless to say, when I met Montgomery at age 40, I was still alone, my biological clock ticking loudly. I was working hard and making good money. I was a big, juicy target for a sociopathic predator.

Internal defenses

At the time, I didn’t know what my problem was. Now I do.

I had come to believe that people valued me for what I could do for them, not for who I was. So I had built internal walls to protect myself from emotional pain and disappointment.

The problem with these internal defenses, however, is that they also kept out love. As I look back, I can see that I did have opportunities to make a connection, but I couldn’t see them. So when Montgomery came along with his love bombing, with his promises for our glimmering future, I was vulnerable.

The crash

When I finally learned the truth, emotional pain seared me to my soul. I spent hours in a ball on the floor, wailing. I envisioned Montgomery’s face in a pillow and beat it until I collapsed. I cried so hard that my first dog, Beau, was frantic with worry.

Eventually, the unbearable pain caused my internal defenses to shatter — and with that, I was able to feel the love that was within me, and finally share it with others.

Finally, true love

I continued to work on my healing — yes, it was a bumpy road. But about a year after my divorce was finalized, I met Terry Kelly, the man who would become my husband. We married four years later, on February 12, 2005.

The minister who performed our marriage invited us to write love letters to each other, which she read at the beginning of our ceremony. Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Terry,

How do I describe what I feel for you? I’m a writer, I should be able to do this—but I cannot put words to the love. I can only put words to the effects: a spontaneous smile, as I think of how you make me laugh. An urge to reach out and hold your hand, for no particular reason. An overload of joy and happiness, so that my heart feels like it is about to burst.

Six years ago, on February 12, 1999, I left a sham of a marriage. That was a different life. Today my life is so full of love that I call everyone “sweetheart”—you, family and friends, our pets, even my customers. Everyone will just have to get used to it. The love spills out, unbidden, because of the love I feel for you, and from you. You’re my sweetheart, and today, you’ll be my husband.

We’re still together and still in love.

Internal healing is key

Betrayal by a sociopath is devastating, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But when it happens, it can be a catalyst for profound change.

By making the decision to work on your internal healing, it becomes possible to pass through the experience and find love, peace and happiness such as you never imagined was possible.

P.S. — If you want to know more about my journey, it’s detailed in my first book, Love Fraud — How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. I hope it inspires you to your own personal victory.


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Hope Springs

Beautiful, Donna.

Thank you.


i dont agree with this, AT ALL. My heart, spirit were broken, as this person’s was. But, i’ve been single, almost 20 years; and love HASNT come my way. I am still learning (and re-learning) HOW to take better care of myself; but dating of any kind has not happened, and I believe it never will. My trust in even good men is slim and none. I do envy those who CAN learn to reach out, trust again and enjoy loving and being loved. Not me.


and a followup from me: if you have to go through a long term relationship with a psychopath, to find TRUE LOVE (whatever that is)…I’ll pass.


Very uplifting. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that, Donna.

And I can relate. My father, and to a lesser extent my brother as well, made me the person I am today. And yeah, some of that is the bad stuff, but getting such a different perspective on the world also made me much more open to all sorts of viewpoints and much more nonjudgmental. Some of it wasn’t even bad…just really different. Though I’m still now learning how different.

Oh, and my childhood totally inspired my interest in psychology. 🙂


What a beautiful article, Donna. I agree with you that we can heal when the pain becomes so great that we cannot keep it inside anymore.

What an inspiring article about the re-cycling of terrible trauma. This week I watched the Invictus Olympic Games opening in Canada where traumatized soldiers, victims of land mines who lost arms and legs in the line of duty, are competing in all manner of races and sports. They decided to become excellent examples of courage and positive living for their children and families. There’s no doubt that we can do the same, just as Donna and Terry have accomplished.


I would say that having experienced the horror of a no conscience psychopath, I really appreciate the good men in my life.

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