By | April 19, 2010 188 Comments

Idealism and sociopaths

Last year, Slate published an article called My mother married her prison pen pal. A synopsis of the story is this: After 22 years of marriage, the author’s parents divorced. One day her mother receives a collect phone call from Joe, who was incarcerated. He dialed her phone number at random; thinking it was someone she knew who had the same name, the woman accepted the call. The prisoner asked the woman to write to him. She thought it was a good mentorship opportunity, so she did. Eventually, the woman married the guy.

Please pause now and read the story:

My mother married her prison pen pal

By Anna Balkrishna

The biggest myth

Mom knew that Joe was in jail—she started writing to him because she wanted to be a “positive influence” in his life. She fell for one of the biggest myths that our culture propagates: There’s good in everyone.

Unfortunately, it isn’t true. Despite the platitudes we’ve grown up with”—All men are created equal,” “Everyone deserves a chance,” “We’re all God’s children—”some people are rotten to the core. And they’re called sociopaths.

Joe worked his sociopathic magic, and Mom fell in love. So even when she married him, and then found out that he wasn’t in prison for vehicular manslaughter, he was really in prison for rape, she stood by him, and spent her retirement money on his lawyers. Balkrishna wrote:

She believed that he was put into her path for a purpose. She made a commitment: morally, to “turn him around” and wean him off his bad behaviors, and practically, to help him through his sentence and his parole until he could integrate back into free society. Once she made the commitment, she could not break it.

So Joe gets out of jail and guess what? He cheats on Mom. He stops looking for work and starts doing drugs. Eventually he ends up back in jail. Mom was heartbroken, and the author of the story makes a very telling observation:

Lovers are hard enough to give up, but ideals are even harder.


Many of us know exactly what she means. Many of us tried to nurture that “poor, unloved child” under the abusive shell—only to find out that under the shell there was nothing.

We were crushed. We were deceived and emotionally destroyed, and we were forced to admit that our view of the world was deeply flawed.

Yes, our experiences with sociopaths were devastating. But I don’t believe that once we’ve encountered these predators, we have to totally give up on our ideals. However, we do need to recognize that our ideals can’t encompass everyone.

There are people who have been dealt a bad hand in life, and with understanding and assistance, can turn their lives around. They are worthy of our efforts. The sociopaths, however, will continue to do what they do, no matter how we persevere in our attempts to help them, save them, reform them. Once sociopaths are adults, they are not going to change.

We are not all created equal. We don’t all deserve a chance. We may all be God’s children, but some people have forgotten, and don’t care.

We need to be able to discern which people have a heart and a conscience, and which people don’t. Then, we can lavish our time, love and idealism on those who can benefit from our efforts. The others, we leave behind.

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Ox Drover

Dear Donna,

You are so right—-your last two paragraphs say it all.

The story of Anna’s mother is less rare than most people would think it is. Inmates continually place ads for “pen pals” There was an article in the state newspaper here a few years ago of one inmate female who was bringing in more than $50,000 a year from pretending to be some poor sweet SEXY girl who just needed a male friend to help her out a bit when she got out and she would send photos of beautiful girls cut out of magazines, to older men, who would send her money. Sounds unbelieveable!!!! But apparently it works!

Jefrey Dahmer was wrtiing to 14 different women and each one thought he wanted to marry her at the timehe was killed in prison.

One of the West Memphis Three, Damien Echolls, the one on death row, for killing some small boys 17 years ago (actually I do think those guys were framed) according to the latest hour long TV show is married to a woman he met as a pen pal. They’ve been married for 10 years of the 17 he has been in prison. She spends her time working and raising money to get him a new trial. She has a degree in engineering and is well spoken and apparently intelligent. At the time Damien went to prison he was a thug, but seems to have matured and educated himself with her help and plenty of time to read.

I can’t imagine that the marriage would be all that long lasting if Echolls does get out. Right now, she has a “mission” and that is to “save” Echolls. What happens if that mission is accomplished? He gets out, having gone into prison at age 16 or 17 and spent his time on death row reading books, now what do they have in common?

What happens if he doesn’t get a new trial and she is made a widow by the state when he is executed? What if he isn’t executed and gets life without parole instead?

I’m actually convinced that in the rush to judgment to find someone to pin this horrible crime on that Echolls and his two friends were railroaded without any evidence except that Echolls was a cocky smirking teenager and made you want to b1atch slap his arrogant face. Is he a sociopath?–whether he’s guilty or innocent of the crime he is incarcerated for. I don’t know, and have no way to judge.

If you met my psychopathic son, though, you would be charmed by him I think. Until you got to know him really well, or crossed him and his mask slipped. He could probably even convince you to send him commissary money, and that he was incarcerated for singing too loudly in the church choir, and if you wanted to strudy scripture with him, he could quote it with the best! He wants to be a “minister to disadvantaged youth when he gets out you know.” Pretty much like Casey Anthony does!


This one cuts close to the bone. I am sure mine has a bzillion pen pals by now. The reality of the whole thing set in and the discomfort of understanding how completely I was decieved resident in experience.

Well, they do what they do. And all we can do is stop playing as soon as we figure it out and the ones that don’t figure it out will either figure it out later or they won’t.

In some ways I can understand that figuring it out is so horrible that one might choose not to! The experience sucks! I think that people who figure it out and move on have to find inordinate strength and sinew, without it, the tempataion to go back and stay in the relationship is as tough as fighting undertow in the ocean, and people don’t always succeed at that.

Three cheers for LF and shining the light that showed me! Three Cheers for the LF Bloggers who are present and accounted for! Three Cheers for articles like this that re enforce what is true over and over and over again!

Elizabeth Conley

” He wants to be a “minister to disadvantaged youth when he gets out you know.” Pretty much like Casey Anthony does! ”

Ox Drover,

Isn’t that fascinating? Who knew that sociopaths were so attracted to ministry? I wonder how many known sociopaths have an ambition to be involved in ministry, and what their motives are. Are they really interested in ministry? Do they follow through? I’m very curious.


Unless they are going for Universal Life Church, most denominations have a process which takes enough years to weed them out. And, bo doubt, for good reason!

Elizabeth Conley

“Unless they are going for Universal Life Church, most denominations have a process which takes enough years to weed them out…”

Most main stream denominations that is. Churches that describe themselves as “independent” or nondenominational, not so much.

It’s given me food for thought. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I’ve encountered 2 cluster Bs “in ministry” within the past 7 years. Hmmm…


Idealism is the thing that kept me “stuck” on Jamie. While I knew him, he let me privy to just enough information to invoke my pity: abandoned by his father and growing up poor, his mother dying in his early 20s and battles with depression (I could relate to that). Funny, it was even after the fact revelations that really got me hooked on his “plight” allowing me to dismiss his cold and heartless actions toward me. No surprise that per Donna’s risk calculator, at the time I was at high risk for sociopathic manipulation.

Still, despite the evidence, my idealism makes my labeling Jamie a “sociopath” very difficult, even though virtually even warning sign, trait or background characteristic indicates such. Thus, my idealism, of course coupled with his nonviolent nature and veneer of English charm, means while I can intellectually believe he is a sociopath, I don’t emotionally feel the same way.

Thankfully, all this does resonate with me intellectually. As I have mentioned in other posts, I understand the various “red flags” of sociopathy and other character disorders and so far I have managed to steer clear of individuals exhibiting such traits.


Donna, thank you so much for this article – that was one of the “uglies” that I had a difficult time accepting about spaths. Very good article, agan thank you.

Ox Drover

Guys, I have known more than one “minister” who was very arrogant and narcissistic and several really nice ministers I have known have also known ministers who are “less than honest”

Though I don’t want to single out any one “mainstream” denomination, look at the Catholic church and that’s pretty main stream and HOW MANY PRIESTS have been convicted of sexual abuse of children under their “ministry” and frankly I think the Catholic church is more interested in protecting their “image” than the children. Other mainstream churches also try to “hush up” charges of molestation, so it isn’t just the Catholic church that is guilty of this. Even the more organized and mainstream churches are LAX in supervision of their ministers once they get in.

Churches are in the business of “forgiving” sinners so if a person “sins” and then says “Oh, I’m so sorry” its right back to the pulpit and the grace of the church. At worst to another pulpit in another town.

My son grew up in Sunday School and can quote the Bible just about verbatam so he could find some church that would have him, especially if he presented himself as a REFORMED criminal! Or other wise, he could cover up his past record. If you can quote scripture well and pontificate well enough, you can find a pulpit somewhere to bilk.

Yea, Casey anthony will make a good minister the way she made a good MOTHER….with just as much sincerity. The Trojan Horse Psychopath went to the small church I have attended for the last almost 20 years, composed of people who have known me for my entire life, and most of whom I am KIN to. And by “publicly repenting” of having violated the law in the past (of course not saying that he had had sex with a 9 yr old, 11 yr old and a 14 yr old) and convinced the minister, my egg donor, and most of the congregation that he was a sincere and repentent person, Praise Jesus!!!!!, and that I was a lying piece of crap out for my egg donor’s money! Even after he and my DIL went to JAIL and their affair came out, the people at the church were willing to SYMPATHIZE with my poor mistreated DIL who had stolen from my egg donor, had an affair with the sex offender, and tried to kill her husband. GO FIGURE!!!!!

When the Trojan Horse psychopath was looking for some landing place when he got out on Parole (they won’t let them out if they can’t find some place for them to go and it was illegal to put him into ahalf way house since he was a sex offender) HE WENT TO “CHRUCH” in prison and convinced the nice do-gooders there that he wanted to go straight and would they please forgive him and it really wasn’t his fault anyway, and would they find him a place to stay? He could even teach their sunday school for little kids between the ages of 9 and 14 —his prefered ages for victims—

Being a minister is a perfect way for psychopaths to secure access to TRUST and money and women. Some of the psychopaths latch on to religion as a great cover, some latch on to politics and some become cops or judges or lawyers. Over all if a psychopath is smart enough and can mask themselves they can work themselves into any number of professions that require good morals, and use that trusted cover to mask what they are really after—money, sex, control, power etc. I don’t think Casey Anthony has enough couth or smarts to pull it off though, even if she were to get off on the murder charge for her daughter.


‘We are not all created equal. We don’t all deserve a chance. We may all be God’s children, but some people have forgotten, and don’t care.’

i don’t know if p/n/s ever felt a connection to being a ‘child of god’ (or however we articulate this idea). i kinda doubt it. but i think the first 2 sentences need to be added to oxy’s ‘list’ (the one that has the false inof about the easter bunny in it).

how absolutely horrifying to never feel this sense of connection. i think they REALLy are fundamentally different than us.

Elizabeth Conley

Ox Drover,

I hear you Oxy. What you’re saying really makes sense. I’m going to have to think about this, and figure out where it fits in my schema. I’d processed parts of it before, but the way you piece together the connections between sociopathy and current trends in typical church behavior really has me thinking.



OxD, I also appreciate your ability to present a clear view of things. “Religion” is one of the most favored tools, I think. As you pointed out so perfectly, it’s the forgiveness of sins and all that rubbish that the spaths connect with, NOT the “forgiveness of sins, and don’t DO IT, AGAIN!”

Child of God……, they don’t experience that or even have a frame of reference. In SpathWorld, there is only one god and one inhabitant, and the spath fills both job descriptions.

Ox Drover

Dear One-step,

Not everyone does DESERVE A “chance.” Or a second chance or a final chance! I think there are some crimes that are such that ONE violation should take the perp out of the community FOREVER. Period. NO second chance. If they really do find Jesus and repent, that’s wonderful and they will have their entire natural life to preach Jesus in prison to the other inmates.

In a book I read recently about emotional abuse the author pointed out that it is very common for people to stand silently by while others are verbally abused and “be so tolerant” that they will not make a moral judgment no matter what the action.

When I was a young woman there was a woman Named Kitty Genovese (spelling?) who was murdered and 20+ people either saw or heard it and NO ONE called the police. People even looked out their windows, then turned away and closed the windows. She was attacked for half an hour or so, screaming for help and NO ONE EVEN CALLED THE POLICE. That event sparked all kinds of studies in what people should and would do in cases like that. I think the bottom line was that the more people who witnessed something like that the less llikely anyone of them was to help, each one counting on the “other guy” to help.

But this is NOTHING new in human nature, remember the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible? The “priest” and the other “upstanding” folks walked by on the other side of the road when they saw the beaten and wounded man, but the Samaritan who was considered by the other Jews as “low life white trash” was the one who had compassion on the wounded man and helped him.

Too many people who are “upstanding citizens” or “deeply religious” are anything but compassionate and caring. Too many psychopaths mask themselves as “good guys” by sitting up front at church or at the “do gooders” groups, but the bottom line is they could care less about anyone except themselves. It is just a good front. By looking at how people demonstrate compassion to those less fortunate than themselves we see how they are inside.

It isn’t giving a can of food to a food drive that shows you are compassionate, it is giving the next-to-the-LAST CAN of food you have. (remember, you must take care of yourself too!)


Sadly, there are people in the churches who don’t know what these guys are and they let them into places where they should not be.

I will never forget the man who was introduced into the children’s service and exclaimed ” I just got out of San Quentin and I am happy to be here!”

All the moms FREAKED OUT!

The minister insisted that the doors of the church were open to all and we all said FINE” OUR KIDS AREN”T GOING THROUGH THEM!”



I remeber Kitty Genovese’s story. It is a compelling one for may reasons.

its why we teach kids now to yell FIRE not HELP.

Sad state of affairs. Compellingly so.

How long does it take to stop thinking EVERYBODY is an S- or worse?

There must be more than 5 million. I swear I think the world is full of them.

Full of them!

know better now

Hi all, I have been on here before – I have been reading since 2007 – so none of you are new to me – not really a welcome back as much as – how are you all doing?


Quick version. Met S when I was 16. I Had a Son at 20. psychologists were telling me the S was a sociopath from 1994-1998. Wasn’t sure what it really meant, so I kept giving him chances and believing his lies. I am now NC for more than 18-months.

Anyhow, as it turns out, my sons Paternal Grandmother is the Queen Sociopath. She also claims to be an Ordained Pentecostal minister. However, at her 14-year-old nephews funeral (He was killed by a drunk driver when he was walking from a football game to get a hamburger) approached me, and asked me if I was… well…. me. I told her ‘of course its me – You know its me’…then she said “well, I couldn’t tell – you’ve gotten so fat.” I ask you – is this the conduct of a God loving, God Fearing Pentecostal minister? The was a FUNERAL of a murdered 14-year-old boy. And this woman starts this….’stuff’…I really think she was trying to get cussed out.

The woman, as it turns out, has been evicted from every space she has rented in the county, residential and business for her “churches”. Found multiple records for her in the County’s’ Superior Court website. She has been sued by credit card companies, landlords, dentists (has a full set of veneers) and hair stylists for bad checks. Now she is a foster parent, receiving full disability from SSA and has a couple of foster kids along with their foster children grant checks. I have NEVER known her to have a job a day in her life. She has been married 6 or seven times and lived in four states. At 20-years old, she told a man that the son she just gave birth to was his, went so far as putting this mans name ‘Jones’on the Birth certificate (I pulled it from county records – so I know the story is true). This was a con – she was just trying to trap poor Mr ‘Jones’. The man on the birth certificate walked away. As time went on she enrolled the son in school using his REAL fathers last name ‘Smith’ – but she forgot all about the birth certificate…and the name ‘Jones’ listed with Social Security. When the S was 25, he found out that his birth certificate said ‘Jones’ instead of ‘Smith’ like he always believed, and his mom had to confess the story. Now neither of the ‘S’ children have HIS legal last name – He is using ‘Jones’ and the kids are using ‘Smith’.

My son, her grandson, He will be 20 in May, wants nothing to do with her or anyone in the family. He has seen what it is like to live in peace, and he is not going back to chaos and drama. Last time he saw his father, his father made a big huge scene over nothing; it was too crazy for words. It made no sense. My son hasn’t seen him since.

Anyway, I digress, Seems for a sociopath, The quickest route to anybodies good nature seems to be God. And Sociopaths know it. It is very sad. On the ‘S’ arm he has his only tattoo – “without God I am nothing”. The hypocrisy of this family is more than I can stomach.

kim frederick

I’m not sure why this article bothered me. Maybe my own issues. In reading the responses of others, I certainly felt that I was on my own.

I’ve been reading, “People of the Lie”, By M. Scott Peck, and the thesis is basically this: That human evil hides in the guise of caring. Period. Evil is self-agrandising.

I might hav emy own issues, but in reading this article, I could not see this daughter’s real concern about her mother, at all.
I heard a tone in the daughters voice of superiority, throughout. I felt that she enjoyed outing her mothers “stupidity” and didn’t even rejoice in the fact that she was doing well, in the aftermath. I thought she enjoyed publicising the fact, that her Mom was taken by a psychopath.

And writing an article, and getting aprobation from it, at someone elses expense, is, in my opinion, pretty narrcisisstic…
and to pretend to care…just down-right evil, at least as M. Scott Peck would describe it. Just my 2 cents o the subject. Always open to another point of viw. I could be wrong.

I just kept thinking, though, this daughter ought to be thinking, “there but for the grace of God go I.”

Oxy, Hi! Re your son in jail quoting scripture, even satan could and can quote scripture. When he tempted Christ in the wilderness, satan said,
“it is written,” but Christ refuted all satans arguments by saying,”It is written AGAIN!!,” Satan knows the Bible off by heart!he was quoting it to try to trap Jesus, but he picked the wrong guy!
Then he,{satan} offered Christ all the Kingdoms of the world if he would worship satan, I used to wonder,”How could s. do that?’ they werent his to offer. But they were! When Adam and eve sold out to satan, he then became the Prince of this world, and he still rules in this world, the only escape as I see it is to be on Christs side, and He will vindicate us.THATs why we are in such a fierce battle, we are on the winning side!
Christ said,”If they persecuted me they WILL persecute you. A servant is not greater than his master.”In other words, “If the devil aint shootin at you, you aint worth the price of a bullett!
So in a way its a back handed compliment that satan wants us dead! “In this world you WILL have tribulation, He said,but “FEAR NOT!! I have overcome the world!
Love, mama Gem.XXX

Karl “Baby face’ Williams, a notorious underworld killer who committed at least 4 murders athet he fessed up to, has been beaten to death in his maximum security jail near Melbourne, Australia.,yesterday. His death happened on the same night {coincidence? NOT!!}as the last instalment on TV of the hugely popular Tv series,”Underbelly”, about his life, the mafia, drugs, cons, corruption, hookers, the police, etc etc., came out last night. These guys were his “best friends” in jail, and he was allowed 6 hoursa week as time out to play sport with these guys. They beat him to death with the handle bars of the sports bike belonging to one of them. What do you reckon?
Australia has a long History of supporting and glorying in violence, the underworld, crooks, bad boys, etc. Im disgusted at how violence , crime and corruption is lauded and glorified in Australia.Todays news, spoken in reverent, hushed tones by the newsreaders, is all about how reporters are flocking to the home of this guys parents, staking them out, trying to get a “story”.Baby Face Williams always had
a smirk on his chubby, fat face, even when he was being led from the courthouse in cuffs.Now it turns out that the Police force had paid for his kids to go to an expensive private school!! WTF??!!As Oxy says, “Where is the PUKE emoticon when you need it??Love, gem.

What I also meant to say is, LAW OF KARMA IN ACTION!! Yay,EB!!! Love, gem,XX

Guys, you know our battle cry ,TOWANDA, from the movie “Fried green tomatoes”,it could mean this, to us,—
“TO,W Ards a New DAy!!” A brand -new, spath- free day!
TOWANDA to us All!! mama Gem.XX

Kim, My spath daughter is just the same. She acts SO superior,as if she is an elevated, entitled, being. She has no humility, just like the daughter you mention. Any compassion she is trying to put out is a ll FAKE. Im convinced they feel NO compassion, they have no finer feelings at all.A good friend of mine, now dead, Dee, said to me when D was about 13 or 14,
“theres something wrong with your daughter. She is emotionally FLAT. Havent you noticed it?”Of course at the time I was offended, but boy, she was right, as it turned out!
Its like something vital is missing. Also, she doesnt “get “humour, sarcasm, irony, fun,{unless its at someones expense!}Should we feel sorry for them, because something is lacking in their brain chemistry?I think we should feel sorrier for ourselves, and put the greatest distance between them and us! They have NO remorse, NO pity,and they NEVER change. Ive been waiting for my D to change since she was 16, shes now 46 in2 months . She hasnt changed.She is a compulsive liar, even when her lies are caught out,she is now THIEf, she embezzled, ie stole,A$62,000 from a company she worked for and “laundered it’ thru another company, who sacked her when an audit was done and she was found out.What sad, sorry sick ass holes they are! they are their own worst enemies! Love, Gem.XX



I hear your unease. And I reflect on the article about how families are considered a control for released inmates and most can’t deal with the SPATH because the disorder is OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE

And I think of myself and the woman to who the man who used to sleep here are both married on the premise that even with starting from nothing, something could be built and a life could be made at the intersection of love and hard work.

Well, neither are characteristics of a Spath and the part where they have the greatest opportunity to betray. I refer back in this line of thought to Donna Andersen’s story.

The truth is that when you partner, you have a reasonable expectation of being able to depend on your partner. When someone decieves with intent to defraud, take advantage and go for a ride, then its just not good. It doesn’t work.

Erin Brock’s story is an example of it. Look at the roll out.

I think back to the afternoon before I knoew what was true, the attorney for he who will not be named called to find out if I was a hppy, hopeful wife who wanted nothing more than my husband back in my bed. And I said NO. WAIT. I didn’t know there was any reason for him to be in jail, I have not talked to him so there is no explanation except that a law enforcement professional suggested I might not legally be married to him.

And what was going through my head was the idea that the system wanted to dump this guy on me to manage, but he’d already lied to me by omission and comission so how as that going to work out?

And there was the whole issue of if I let him back in for even ONE NIGHT, then I would be ineleigible for an anullment from a bigamist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go figure how that works….

So I said NO, I won’t have him here until I know why this happened and what it means to me and to the marriage.

The only answer he would give me is that he was in love. Well, how easy is that to say under the circumstances and what it told me is that the real answer is somewhere else.

And ALL the risk was mine so that the parole offices and courts and jails could save time and money by making him my responsibility.

The answer to that was NFW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What ever it is, I thought, its out of my league. I’m just a nice kid from the suburbs, I don’t get this stuff and it will run me over like a train!

Do I believe in soul mates and all that? WEll actually I do and I did fall head over heels for the guy in a way that had nothing to do with all of it, but the sad truth is, once they are in a legal relationship and in the home, you own ’em.

The risk of getting into something that is dangerous or illegal and becoming implicated by association isn’t worth it. Not if you are trying anyway to build a life of any kind that includes social connections like friends and family.

Who would I hang out with? His lovers? I’d have been rejected by a lifetime of people I care about. Not the same kind of love by any means, but still people I love.

So in a case like this, you have to do what Ben Franklin would have done. Draw a line down a piece of paper and write all the good things about walking away from a SPATH on one side and then write all the bad things on the other.

No doubt that a broken heart tips the scales deeply. And I feel it – I grieve and I hurt like I had to chew my own leg off.
But the upside of walking away is just so much more valuable because I get to keep my identity, self esteem, family and friends, job, and hope.

When you look at it, it makes perfect sense that way.


Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe
Since the movie bearing the same title came out in 1991, this fried green tomatoes recipe has gotten popular. Since then this favorite southern food has been discovered by other parts of the nation.

Some people use dredge in beaten eggs first, then coat in cracker crumbs, breadcrumbs or as in this case, flour. Whatever coating you choose, the tomatoes need to be fried for that crispy outside, meaty inside effect.

For the full Fried Green Tomatoes experience, fry up a batch or two and call some girlfriends for a chick flick night. The movie is great, the food is greasy and incredibly tasty, and with that combination you’ll have a night you’ll remember.

Who can resist girlfriends that follow the motto “great friends help you get rid of the body”?


2 1/2 lbs green tomatoes, sliced
3/4 cup flour
4 tbsp olive oil


1. Combine salt, pepper and flour in a flat pan. Coat tomatoes well.

2. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet.

3. Add tomatoes in one layer, fry for about 5 minutes on each side.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


I’m watching the movie, “A Few Good Men”, for about the 25th time tonight.
It’s on one of the cable channels.

My favorite exchange in that movie is between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson:

Tom Cruise says, “I want the TRUTH!!!”
Jack Nicholson responds, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!”

I think that sums it up for a lot of people.
They cannot handle the truth.
Not about themselves, or the world around them.

They don’t want to believe that there are people in the world who are operating without a conscience or any moral reasoning ability.
And they definitely don’t want to ponder the possibility of a sociopath next door…or in their bed.
That’s just too close for comfort.


Hi Kim Frederick:

I understand the point you are making.

I don’t think Anna Balkrishna, the author who wrote about her Mother, realizes how slick and manipulative some of these con artists can be.

It’s easy for her to see her Mother’s mistakes with this prison inmate. That’s an obvious one.

But, what about the well-dressed, articulate guy who comes along and is able to read into all of HER inner wants and desires????

Will she still be so….. “above it all” and condescending????


~She’s definitely done her homework on her Mom.
I wonder if she’s done the same type of “homework” on herself.


I am guilty of that Rosa, I ignored the truth because I couldn’t handle it. I was sleeping with the enemy and I knew it. It was like a bad dream that I could not wake up from, I knew if I would just wake up the nitemare would be over, but he was able to keep me in that dream state. I hated the dream, waking up was my only choice, that or die. The truth set’s us free..


We made it out. 🙂

Ox Drover

“the truth sets us free….” BUT “first it pithes us off!”

BTW for REAL “fried green tomatoes you use CORN MEAL or half corn meal and half flour, but NEVER just flour!!!!!! Make sure you use a HOT cast iron skillet and coat the tomatoes in a mixture of milk and beaten egg before you dip in corn meal. You can also fry squash like this too! Or you can use flour or Bisquick on the squash but not on the maters! Gosh, I am having to ed-u-ma-kate all you guys! Sigh! What a taskk I have before me! LOL 😉

AND Yankees use white corn meal and red-necks use YELLOW corn meal and always “Clabber girl baking power” LOL

When I lived in Florida I couldn’t find good yellow corn meal or Clabber girl baking powder and so when the egg donor flew down to visit I had her pack a suit case with yellow corn meal and Clabber girl. The airline lost it and the guy asked her what was in it and she told him what and why, and he really laughed!

Couldn’t do that now cause they are charging for CARRY ON LUGGAGE now much less a 50 pound suitcase full of corn meal! Oh, well, I grind my own now anyway, get that nice stone ground texture that beats anything you can buy in the grocery store! YUM!!!!

Ox Drover

Wow! Just went back and read some of the posts more closely and WELCOME “KNOW”—even though you have been around a while. You make a great point with your story! Ah yes, these “ministers” who are CROOKS and CREEPS! And Silver, I agree with you totally about that! I do believe that some people do indeed really “find Jesus” in prison, because sometimes people have to get FLAT OF THEIR BACKS before they LOOK UP, but that said, that doesn’t mean that I am going to GIVE trust to anyone with a criminal background.

One of my dearest friends is a minister who works with prisoners and you know what, his group that he works with has only a 10% recidivism rate vs a MUCH bigger one for the others in prison, but I keep in mind that MY P SON WAS ONE OF HIS “SHINING STARS” IN HIS PROGRAM! In fact, that is how I met this man. BTW I AM educating him about psychopaths too.

While I think spirituality and honest religion can be a great thing for people who have lost or never had a moral compass, but at the same time, I realize that people can and DO use religion, spirituality etc for a SHIELD from detection as a psychopathic life style and to BILK others out of their lives.

Kim, I sort of agree with your take on this author’s attitude, and Ii did not see that until you pointed it out. I think part of that is that I tend to give LF posters and authors the “benefit of the doubt” on this score and assume that they are “honorable” and so on. I know I sometimes come across as a “know it all old witch” and I admit that sometimes I am abrupt in my posting or articles, so I try to be more tolerant of others, even when they make the hair stand up on my neck. I think though that you may have a valid point on this score. I don’t mean I am absolutely judging her, but maybe there IS some seeming lack of compassion for her mother there. Maybe she didn’t mean it to come out that way, but I think you may have picked up on a VIBE there Kimmie chickie.

I’ve been reading more on emotional abuse lately and about how we tend to give others the “benefit of the doubt” even when our gut instincts say to us “that person is attacking you” at least being subtle about it. KNOW BETTER’s comment from her “minister” about how FAT she was, is a perfect example of a NOT-so-subtle dig and attack. I applaud her for not punching the witch out on the spot! LOL G-night kiddies!

Elizabeth Conley

Know Better now:

“Found multiple records for her in the County’s’ Superior Court website. She has been sued by credit card companies, landlords, dentists (has a full set of veneers) and hair stylists for bad checks. Now she is a foster parent, receiving full disability from SSA and has a couple of foster kids along with their foster children grant checks. I have NEVER known her to have a job a day in her life. She has been married 6 or seven times and lived in four states. ”

This just blows me away. The most basic background check on this woman would raise red flags that she is probably an S or Borderline, but Social Services thinks she’s a qualified Foster Parent?

If this woman can become a foster parent, then it’s no wonder that children come out of fostering scarred for life. I wouldn’t entrust my two fat, dumb, happy goldfish to this broad. I can’t imagine leaving children to her “tender mercies”.

Elizabeth Conley

Surely if you’re going to cut someone a check to care for a child, you would check to see if they have a track record of using money responsibly?!? I’m still scratching my head over how a person with a clear record of fraud and interpersonal instability can become a foster parent. It should be considered criminally negligent to entrust such a person with someone else’s child.



I really feel an affinity with the mother! I like her.
she re-jeuvenated herself, she went for her dream and no matter what anyone said she somehow knew there was an opportunity to re -create herself, and who is to say she Shouldn’t have gone for it?

The sociopath/Psychopath MIRRORS THE BEAUTY THAT IS INSIDE US (thats what we fell in love with???)

she did NOTHING WRONG okay we put our so called power in a sociopath hands, if we had done that then we would not be here….think

we ran with our DREAMS which was to LOVE WOTH ALL OUR HEARTS and believe in transformation. A huge lesson awaited each one of us that DARED TO LOVE QUICKLY and give 100 per cent ….and what stands out for me and no doubt for everyone who ever was “in love” with a sociopath in the very beginning stages is what Anna says:

“and she blossomed in a way I couldn’t deny”

kim frederick

I agree with you, Bulletproof, and she said the relationship was a redemption for both of them. To me, there is a sence of her knowing this relationship was the next step in her growth. I know that sounds bizarre, but that’s kind of what I’m getting out of it.

We do grow through suffering. We become stronger and wiser, and perhaps, in the end, more spiritual, and loving.


kim frederick

Redemption- yes and it does sound bizarre!!!
I think you really need to have been there to know….well for me, I wanted to love and do good and he mirrored that hope I had, and foolishly perhaps I thought he was a “kindred spirit” because he had the same vison-
He simply mirrored back MY VISION and I’m pretty sure that’s what had me GLOWING


What if this woman had been taught, educated, enlightened about consciously choosing to make healthy choices.

What if when she picked up that phone and once she realized she was mistaken about who the caller was and made aware he was a prisoner — what if she CHOSE to say “No, I will not write to you” and hung up. I certainly would make that choice today….but not sure a few years ago…

But what if she made that choice.. could she have gone on to find a next step in her growth that didnt involve the destruction of herself along the way??

I hear you Kim and Bulletproof – because I myself struggle with the goodness from the end result (within myself) after having gone through such suffering with him.

Isnt there a way to become stronger wiser more spiritual and loving by not choosing bad choices or making it ok to choose bad choices in order to be ok with the initial bad choice and ALL the ones that followed that she/we chose to make.

This story hits home for me. I didnt quite see it as the daughter being a narcissist about it. I saw a daughter ahead of her time and way more grounded secure and mature than her own mother (at times)… the mother got lost along the way… by choice, by circumstance, by fate???

I say by making bad choices because of not enough self-awareness, sociopathic awareness and being in the wrong place (divorcing) at the right time (phone call)

kim frederick

Learning, You make a very good point-Isnt there a way to become stronger wiser more spiritual and loving by not choosing bad choices or making it ok to choose bad choices in order to be ok with the initial bad choice and ALL the ones that followed that she/we chose to make.

I hate to think that’s what I’m doing, but aknowledge that it’s possible. I certainly wish I’d made better choices….but, alas, can’t change that now.

I didn’t really think the daughter sounded narsissistic, I just thought she had the tone of superiority, like she was very condescending toward her mother…..the way adolescents are always sure their parents are stupid and they know everything about the world, because they’ve experienced it all in their 15 years here….I thought she even sounded a little bit jealous….and that is crazy.

But you are right. The mom did make bad choices, and hopefully her daughter learned vicariously, through her, and won’t ever have to suffer from making those mistakes herself.


I think some, not all of us, had red warning flags but we didnt know thats what they were – or that we couldve chosen to say no, or had the self- awareness to say no, in order to protect our future.

Such a difficult conversation without it appearing or being received as blame on the recipient of the abuse. Thats not what my intention is…. its more of this dumbfoundedness over the lack of knowledge, education or enlightenment of whats best for us in certain situations…

Its like we have to go through hell first to get to the understanding, lightbulb moment. I struggle with why that is….

We both had different takes on the daughter in the story. I really felt the daughter was able to tell the story straight from her eyes (what she saw) through her soul (what she felt at each stage ie her mom falling in love, to the obsession, to the abuse, to denial, to closure) as her daughter.

Just wish there was some way people could learn/be educated/be enlighted without having to experience or witness it.


How did we learn not to put our hand in fire, or use anything electric near water, or not walk out into the middle of the street, etc… we were all taught about that or things that harm us in a physical sense.

But for me there were no lessons taught about what can harm us in an emotional sense.. or as a result of making choices based on the truth of whats out there ….vs. what our belief was that all others are good or surely must have goodness within them…

kim frederick

I kind of think we are enculterated to be victims…fairy-tales, and romantic love stories….being swept off our feet, the long suffering love, the swoon, the whole,”stand by your man, ” mentality. I don’t think we are taught to love ourselves first, nor are we taught to recognize the red flags of disorder, and especially, if we were raised in disfunctional homes, we’ve never even seen emotional health. We get love-bombed, it feels good, we assume that it’s love, and we’re ready to through ourselves head first right into it.


I think you are right on. This is the Victorian Era concept of love that persists in our everyday life and fantasy-

Doesn’t quite seem fair to me that women particularly of our age were raised to believe this myth as well as the one about working full time AND being a MOM and WIFE.

They threw the book at US!

Crap! Its still Suffragette City! Women have to shake the rights trees over and over in the office, at home and across the bench from the judges because the same fantasy that gave us romance also punishes those who succomb to its dark side either or not wittingly!

kim frederick

Hi, Silver. Thanks for the Adrianne Rich poem this AM.
I’m sorry you’re having a tough time of it, right now. You will get through this, and you’ll be a better person for it.


kim frederick –

Unfortunately, many of our female ancestors endured horrendous marriages, believing it was their duty to stick-by-your man, society frowning on women who divorced – they were ostracized. I think about women in past generations who stayed with disordered husbands, the hell that they suffered because they had to stay due to the times they were living. It was usually the rare woman who got out, divorced, facing obstacles, her status in society being affected. Shoot, I remember in my childhood how it was frowned upon for women to work outside the home and if they divorced, they were some how inferior, lesser than. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago (the early 70’s). I feel for all good-hearted women who endured hell on earth, staying in unhealthy marriages because of what society dictated or their religion dictated.


Adrienne Rich is one of my favorites.

Well, you know, as I look at some of the stories here, it aint’ over yet.

I don’t see many of them that say life is GREAT because its EASY to get out and move on.

It just Ain’t easy being a girl and it doesn’t matter which way the cards are cut. it isn’t easy being green either.

Some part of that is a function of the times in which we live that are beyond out control.

I don’t know we are any more or less free now, but the requirement of strength and clarity is every bit important not mattering the century nor age.

I remember the 70’s. In my neighborhood, there was a rash of divorces all at once. Like everybody’s mom caught a bug or something. Suddenly all the familes were divided. As kids, we had NO clue WHAT hit us!

Pretty weird.


OxDrover- My God! It must be heartbreaking to be a mother with a sociopathic son! I can’t imagine. Especially, the natural instinct to love your child.

But about the article, I have heard many similar stories. Everytime it hits right in the heart to see people being decieved. Its sad to see my loved ones especially my little brother fall for my dad’s lies and manipulations. If only he knew what Dad did to him when he was younger. The man left my little brother at a stranger’s house one night! My little brother had no idea where he was! He was three years old! Oh my God! Not all people in prison want to change and you gotta really dig deep to their intentions.


Dear Silvermoon,
This is where I started:
’I think the hardest part is that along with trust, my sense of belonging is shattered. I end up with the reality of being alone that I sought to best in finding a partner and accepting the illusion.’ The ppath presented an illusion to me – showing me things I didn’t know I wanted; awaking things long in slumber; bringing into precise focus hungers and desires unattended for decades, maybe lifetimes; and played with old deep dynamics of sacrifice, abandonment and betrayal within me. Offered me both a way to nurture another (receiving the love of my unborn child), a way to sacrifice myself and the temptation of possible rescue from the life of oneness or twoness; teasing me with a tribe and a place to breath out the give considerable I have to offer. Offered to lift me from the pain of the mundane and drop me square, a romantic placement, in the possibility of magical.
But, twas only a lie. A big lie, made of tiny faceted glinting small lies, hundreds of them expanding and shining as the motar holding them in orbit crumbled ”.and slowly the centrifugal force of my desire and dreams imploded. I was left standing with my shattered self, knowing full on that I would never have what ’he’ offered me. that those magical things I wanted my whole life, had touched with others, but never fully realized, would never ever be.

It started with an offer – politeness, humour, a partnership in art and sex”and ended with me wailing aloud in the councilor’s office, that no one would ever care for me or ever take care of me, (never rescue me or meet me in those sacred places I really live. That life was in fact, forever and a day, hard and without magic, that all was unreal and without meaning).

What a hard place. It seemed to even be without despair. It was a sort of resignation on finding oneself on the wastelands. I was in deep shock and so sick. I crawled for the next four months. During that time I found out who the ppath really was. And energy shot from my head, and i felt liberated. This feeling was short lived, I was cloaked in the grim nightmare of what had happened, wrapped from face to foot, roped and trying to navigate – the distortion of my axis so acute that I had no idea where I was or where to head. I cannot string that time to this ”“ (joy de PTSD) ”“ somehow, I am here now.

The people in my life are not able to comfort me, to make space for my dark journey. They do not come to me and say, ’what can I do for you’, or ’what would help’; I could not tell my employer and so had to struggle daily to hide how devastated I was and how deeply it affected my work. These pains are so large ”“ because, truly, it is through community that we heal. To be seen and accepted and loved in, through, and out of darkness. That wisdom does not show itself readily. This is still a large struggle for me ”“ even to write about it makes me feel the ongoing and difficult impact of it. this too, in time, will become different and I will understand more.

I feel this is a time of coming to know myself. And learning the very difficult patience/action paradigm. I am an action girl. Except when cowed ”“ then I freeze. To wait (patience) triggers feeling like I am cowed. And this has made me roar. But I am possibly learning something. It’s just new and painful.

I don’t know how to go forward from here. But I didn’t know 1 month ago, or 7. And yet, here I am. (And utterly blown away that 7 months have passed since ’he faked died’.) If I made it this long, this far, then I can extrapolate that I can make it the next 7, no?

I keep expecting that it will all get worse ”“ the mess I am in, that is. And it may well. Many months I have stood on the ledge over the precipice (which for me is homelessness) and have somehow managed to rest back on my heels, month after month, after month. I fear and anger that if I go over the precipice the self admonishment will be extremely hurtful; and that the speed I am capable enough isn’t fast enough’ to pull back from the edge. But I have to stop this thinking. Completely. (oxy ”“ I think I need a boink now, please) And just be in the day that is. And know that I can trust myself, and that outcomes may be better than expected.

And dear Ingraine, the anger WILL come. I think it demands that we be willing to give ourselves over to it ”“ to fall apart a bit, so that it can roar out our mouths. The injustice others have faced with ppaths has touched me and opened me to the multitude of angers I feel. I have evaluated my relationships with my family, and have chosen nc with my father and sib, since the ppath. Yes, they really ’are everywhere.’ The world is different for me now.

The only words and concepts for what I have experienced and what the ppath is, are biblical. Evil is no longer across the world or on the other side of town. (I sit in a room not one mile from where paul bernardo is housed.) Once I let anger start to flow, I obsessed, raging, about ways to hurt the ppath. Months of not being able to even go for a walk without this consuming my thoughts. Then, through finding the ’perfect way’ fantasy, it began to fall away. In this fantasy I still see my own compassion, but the whole thing makes me question who I am, and I struggle to understand who I am in community of people a that doesn’t recognize my experience, or reflect it, or that can stand with me in the darkness. Except here.

There is so much to integrate ”“ there is evil, not everyone deserves ANY chance, not everyone has good in them; I fantasize about killing someone and I think deeply about whether I would actually let my hand go to her flesh; and what does this mean about me, do I accept this possibility within me, or do I work to uproot any idea of it. I want to find some true wisdom in how i integrate all of this. What I fantasize and think of is so at odds with who I have been, the societal prohibitions, the prohibitions of religion and conscience”..and yet it is somehow familiar ”“ I have a memory or sense of being a warrior ”“ both a steely one, and a hot headed one. (Or perhaps she is the mother, protective and enraged. There is a search for an archetype) But there is a sadness, as to live like this is to be outside society. I have lived outside society (sent out by homophobia and misogyny and actively working against them.) and I do not like it. But perhaps the warrior needs a life on the page, written as fiction.


One Step,
“The world is different for me now”…..You said. And I think this is really cutting it right to the core. A life altering experience changes us. In FACT it changes everything. The “world” itself really hasn’t changed. But our perception of it has. And so we can’t navigate through it, as we have in the past. It is a DIFFERENT place, now, for us.

Alot of it is about fear now. Trying to navigate in this world knowing how vulnerable we really are. The false beliefs are gone. And the false beliefs being gone, leaves alot of “empty” spaces in us.
I try and have faith that these voids in myself are being filled, as I tip toe in new and unfamiliar territory.
And learn more and more about myself, in these “new” shoes that I wear, as I tentatively put one foot in front of the other each day.

Integrating who we were, and who we are now is a process. A LONG process. Maybe a never ending process once it begins.

You are well on your way One, and I am right there with you. On that same path…Trying to not just survive it, but come to the other side of it, intact, and complete.


dear witty,
i have always known i was vulnerable – my expereince of life started showing me this from a very early age. what i wasn’t shown was how to really defend and protect myslef.

i get some wicked good modelling here.

i look forward to figuring out how to be in the world once i have some stability. i am having to do it regardless of the stability, but i am not really trusting my ability to make good significant choices. (like moving, jobs, etc.)

(oh lordthunderinjayzus, another cologne weilding ‘dud’ has sat down beside me. )

what i am doing is trying to be more authentic – more than before the spath – i was hiding trying to fit in. it takes a lot of effort. so i am just showing myself a bit more (in my job search). it is making some things easier. (like each resume rewrite). and maybe it will bring me something that is better suited to me.

all best,xx
one step


“The false beliefs are gone. And the false beliefs being gone, leaves alot of “empty” spaces in us.”

Yes….so very true….
We must be certain we can fill these spaces with healthy thoughts and feelings and beliefs……

Howz YOU doing?

Ox Drover

Dear One,

How about a hug instead ??? ((((((One)))))) But it IS time for you to get your head out of your “cranio-rectal inversion” and start using your BRAIN! ONE STEP AT A TIME, remember?

I know the computer problem is frustrating, my air card is crapping out off and on and knocking me off the internet. Probably going to have to get a new one and either pay for it, or sign up for another “contract” and get one “free” AND NOT SURE WHICH IS THE BEST IDEA and ultimately the cheapest.

Well, on top of it all I have reached “official old age” and am now taking medication for high blood pressure. My family genetic legacy has always been LOW (very good) blood pressure but has been slowly creeping up over last 6 months so started on the medication yesterday! Egg donor had to start taking BP medication at age 61 so I guess at 63, I’m doing a bit better at least. Especially when you consider the stress I’ve been under. Otherwise, my check up yesterday was ALL A-OK! But, it IS back more solidly on the DIET (4-letter word!)

Remember One-step, put one foot in front of the other and concentrate on YOU! ((((Hugs))))


oxy – omg have you just insulted me by saying i have to pull my head out and that i don’t think!!!! LOLOLOL

and thanx for the hug. 🙂

(that particular insult is one i levy against my, dad ALL the time…head so far up we haven’t seen his neck in a decade…)

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