If someone has most psychopathic traits, it’s reason enough to leave

Lovefraud recently received the following letter from a reader:

My ex has almost all the characteristics I have read on your site. He lies habitually, is financially irresponsible, and lets the burden fall on friends and family, and he started to burden me from the beginning financially on a small scale. I had hints in the beginning that he was a jerk when he disrespected my father (I wasn’t sure at the time if it was on purpose, or inadvertent), but at the same time it was confusing because he seemed so pleasant, helpful and charming. He also cooked for me every night and helped me with my kids, but as far as work goes, he was lazy and lied about working at times. He borrowed small amounts of money from me, which I stopped lending him right away; I was not stupid about him in that respect. At the end he lived with me for 4 months, and never contributed much financially, that’s one reason I ended it finally. And the lying got to be too much; I don’t know what I was thinking. I do not know of any infidelity, but I suppose it’s possible.

His family actually admitted to me that he lies all the time, that’s just him. He finally admitted it to me in a round about way that he does lie, but he said that his family finds it “endearing” of all things!!

He also got psycho when I broke it off, just like in your article — he even admitted himself to the hospital complaining of heart problems. He was there 2 days and was then sent home as being fine, and they sent him home with Xanex. While he was there he called me for pity, saying he was there because I broke up with him.

But what throws me off a little is that he appears to be, if anything, abnormally attached to his daughter. It seems overbearing at times. Later in our relationship I saw sometimes total disregard for her in other less obvious ways, which I found off. The other thing that throws me off is he was very physically affectionate with me, and very clingy, almost codependent that way. And he does have friends from childhood who live out of state (who I have met) but he’s lived in Florida for about 10 years and has no real friends here. He is very close with his family.

Could he still be a sociopath???

Psychopathy syndrome

Psychopathy, also called sociopathy, is a syndrome. A syndrome is defined as “a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease or the like.”

The key symptoms of psychopathy, according to Dr. Robert Hare, are the following:

  • Glib and superficial
  • Egocentric and grandiose
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Lack of empathy
  • Deceitful and manipulative
  • Shallow emotions
  • Impulsive
  • Poor behavior controls
  • Need for excitement
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Early behavior problems
  • Adult antisocial behavior

However, not all psychopaths have all the symptoms. Plus, psychopaths can have the symptoms to varying degrees. For example, some—perhaps the one described in the letter—may not have a pronounced need for excitement. They may be content to find some chump to support them and then sit on their butts. But if the person had all the other traits—well, he or she may very well have the personality disorder.

Holding on to hope

I’ve heard from several Lovefraud readers who seem to be holding on to the hope that a person is not a psychopath because he or she doesn’t exhibit one of the behaviors. One woman said that although her boyfriend exhibited all the other traits, he never tried to get money from her, so maybe he wasn’t really a psychopath. Another wrote that her boyfriend would kiss her with what seemed like such depth of emotion—how could he be lacking in empathy?

One of the markers of a budding psychopath is that as a child, he or she is cruel to animals. My ex-husband, James Montgomery, seemed to love animals. He owned several dogs and took mine for a walk every morning. He brought home four exotic pets—a hedgehog, two sugar gliders, and a chinchilla. Once the chinchilla got loose and caught his foot in a humidifier, which sent him into shock. My husband performed chinchilla CPR, and the animal recovered. Did any of this make him less of a psychopath? Absolutely not. He was quite happy to take a quarter million dollars from me, cheat on me throughout our short marriage, have a child with another woman and then commit bigamy to marry her.

Don’t quibble about one missing trait

So, here is how I replied to the letter above:

There are degrees to which someone can be a sociopath—some are worse than others. It is also possible to have several personality disorders or conditions at the same time. This is called “co-morbidity.” Your ex definitely sounds like he has sociopathic traits, but he could also have other problems.

The attention paid to his daughter could be for show. Sociopaths often act like they care—when it is all a charade. The fact that he also disregarded her is telling.

Sociopaths are highly sexual. It may be difficult to tell whether there was actual affection involved.

Whatever his problems are, it is good that you are away from him.

If someone has come into your life who has most of the symptoms of a psychopath, don’t quibble about the one or two that may not be very pronounced. When most of the traits are present, run, don’t walk, for the nearest exit.

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67 Comments on "If someone has most psychopathic traits, it’s reason enough to leave"

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oh yeah….so the bells on my fingers and rings on my toes were overkill???
Sorry…..I tend to get carried away!

EB, I think that vindication of our “claims and allegations” is WORTH getting dolled up and prancing among the disbelievers! So, the word is out, it can’t be disputed, and how do all of you idiots feel, NOW?!?!?! That’s my take on it. I never experienced that vindication, but I created my own way of feeling vindicated by cultivating a strong, healthy relationship with a wise and supportive partner and discovered that I was allowed (indeed, mandated) to become a talented artist and teacher. I’m living a happy life – even with economic issues, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my lifetime.

Sure, I grapple with the triggers and continue to shake my head in disbelief and experience outrage at what these Things do to the people who trusted and loved them, but there IS LIFE after spathy. No matter what other challenges we face in our lives, living WITHOUT the slow poison of spathy killing us word-by-word and action-by-action, LIFE IS GREAT!!!! We can (and, should) discover whom we were meant to be and how to best serve our fellow man without putting ourselves at risk, ever again. EB – you are meant to advocate for victims, I believe. You are a strong voice, a wise Survivor, and someone who is able to call a spade a spade.

With regard to killing these Things – I am ambivalent in that many of these Things should not only die, but suffer exquisite torment before their passings, but I don’t know if I can be the one to demand the forfeiture of another human being’s life.

Spath Island…….with them all crowded together on an island with no means of escape, they could all gnaw on the ends of their ruined schemes and battle it out amongst themselves for supremacy. It would be no less than what each one of them deserves.

Oh, and as an aside….EB, I often would say that if the ex spath died before I did, I intended to wear a red dress and 4″ stiletto healed pumps to its funeral. I didn’t get the chance due to financial woes, but it sure was tempting to take out a loan and show up just so I could say, “Never did someone deserve such an end as he did.” Perhaps, it’s better that I didn’t have that opportunity. I would have taken too much spiteful glee in it which would make me no better than the biomass being placed in the ground.

Dear EB,

How did he make bail since Uncle wouldn’t put it up? I am suprised that they let him go from state to state when he is out on bail. WTF??????

Maybe you could let the cops know about the CC stuff since you have access to it, they really might want that information and since they might not have a way to get it (a “reasonable cause for a warrant”) even if they couldn’t use it in court, it might give them some AMMUNITION against him. hee hee hee

Being vindicated by the arrest of the psychopaths is definitely a GREAT FEELING, believe me I KNOW that one, especially after having been INVALIDATED over and over and over and called a liar etc. I will never forget that feeling when I went to court and saw them in the jelly flip flops, orange jump suits with “county prisoner” on the back, and the set of matching chains on their hands, waists and legs! a FETCHING OUTFIT for sure, as I said to my DIL as she walked up the stairs in the chain gang to the court room.

I no longer feel so superior and hateful, but at the time it felt really great! I was so beaten down by their lies and their abuse just to be vindicated and validated was so affirming to me. Especially when the narcissistic hateful attorney for my egg donor just HAPPENED to come into court that day after he had fought so hard to keep the KNOWN SEX OFFENDER IN MY EGG DONOR’S HOUSE and accused me of being “after her money.” He DID however help recover most of my egg donor’s money that they had stolen. A brownie point for him. He never did tell me that he was wrong, though. But I think it did sort of “embarass” him in the community. Unfortunately (for him) no one in the community or in the local lawyers likes him any more than I do, but I’m not sure he cares a lot except for being a “winner” vs a “loser.”

Dear EB,

I can understand your getting ‘dolled up’ about his recent incarceration – like wow! way to go, girl!

Yours may get out of jail someday (but his freedom will probably only be temporary – oh my!), but mine is locked up for good and is probably undergoing a fate far worse – a couple of years ago, he had a massive stroke which left him paralyzed – he can not speak, he can not walk, he can not feed himself, he is incontinent and also has stomach cancer. He is a prisoner in his own body and death is the only release.

I never wished anything like that on him, but people in his home town knew he was a sociopath and some would say ‘one of these days, he’s going to get what’s coming…’

Well well……my my how Karma works!!

I truely believe…..everything happens for a reason and these evil beings WILL NOT get away with eternity.
Life will get in their way……they do reap what they sow.


Your guy is a ‘good’ example.

Louise and ErinB,

Yea, look at Bernie Madoff—and funny thing is he is giving these pitiful interviews about how he has to iron his own shirts…LOL and calling and e mailing reporters, anything for ATTENTION. Don’t you know that man is STARVING for attention in there…? I don’t think his con was so much about the money as the ATTENTION the money bought. Now he is deprived of ATTENTION.

Look at Donna’s X, living in poor health in poverty but still trying to con women. And, not in a position to do so very successfully.

My X BF, the P, remarried, but now because “word has gotten around” among the “small community” of the living history groups about him burning the home of the GF previous to me, and about his “cheating ways” he is no longer “big man on campus” any more with the living history groups and doesn’t even come to them any more when he NEVER MISSED AN EVENT in the past decade! Besides, too many of his former “harem” were part of the groups and “word has gotten around.”

Being “BMoC” was important to him, to have people be “impressed” with his “status” and his “money” (he actually was not wealthy by what I consider “wealth”) but compared to how he grew up FEELING “poor” he now has some disposable income so flaunts it. He actually wasn’t probably any more financially deprived as a kid than I was, but I didn’t grow up “FEELING POOR” we were poor, but I didn’t know it. I had enough to eat and wear and not much less if any than the neighbors so didn’t grow up with a neurosis about being “poor” or that “rich people looked down on me because I wasn’t as rich as they were.” He did. So because he is no longer able to flaunt his “money” and “status” in the living history group which he had prized for years, he lost a lot of what was important to him. Karma.

In the town he lived in for 30+ years, where his previous wife was well known, a member of the board of directors of the bank, a well known teacher….he was “respected” because he was her husband, but after he got CAUGHT in bed with the administrator of the nursing home where his MIL was, the word went around, so now, he lost that too….so no one has had to tear down his facade, he has torn it down himself. He has destroyed this “image” of the respected and successful man that he projected, while behind the scenes being a serial and continual sexual cheater and a “blow hard” who is NOT RESPECTFUL as he tried to present himself as well as a dangerous and vindictive man.

Look at EB’s X—tried to present himself as Mr. Good guy, but sold drugs….of course no one believed EB until he GOT ARRESTED for dealing drugs.

I could go on and name a bunch of them that end up biting themselves in the butt—OJ simpson is one, John edwards is another…….Our best “revenge” is to live a good life, to follow our own moral compass to do that and leave the psychopaths to Karma and/or God

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