lf2

Is there any way to successfully deliver a warning message that the new conquest will actually hear?

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a reader who posts as “FreedomWithNoRing.” Donna Andersen responds below.

I am so thankful for your website. There is so much valuable information there to help with understanding how and why one could get locked in and stay with a sociopath.

I was married to an abusive sociopath for 25 years (I met him when I was 12 years old) and finally found the courage to leave 4 years ago. Divorcing and trying to co-parent with a sociopath is a complete nightmare.

My ex was with another woman for 2 years. Eventually they bought a house together. As soon as they moved in together, I knew the facade would crack and true colors would show because he couldn’t maintain it 24/7. Sure enough, each time I would see them out somewhere, there were more and more signs that the relationship was taking a toll on her and she was starting to look physically ill and haggard, for lack of a better term. It wasn’t long after the last time I saw them that I heard that she had waited until he was out of the country for 2 weeks and moved all of her things out of the house.

I contacted her via a mutual friend to ask if she was ok. Of course it was an odd question coming from the ex-wife, but I knew she had 3 children from a previous marriage and my conscience wouldn’t let me sleep until I at least tried to contact her. She emailed me and thanked me for my concern and said her heart was hurting because he had cheated on her, but she was considering a reconciliation. Knowing that, I couldn’t say anything else because of the fear that it would go back to the ex and there would be hell to pay. I simply wished her well, told her I was glad she was ok and left her with this, “The average number of times a woman leaves her abuser before it becomes permanent is 7. When something doesn’t feel right, there is a reason. Always trust your gut. Most importantly, please know that you are not crazy.”

The “crazy” part clicked for her and the floodgates opened. She had experienced plenty of gaslighting and just as he had me, convinced her that she was the crazy one. We exchanged many more emails and she told me that recognition on the gaslighting nixed any chance of a reconciliation. I sent her to your site, and continued to point out sociopath behavior. As it turns out, the ex-girlfriend and I are more alike than different. Of course we are, these people always choose the empath and the “fixer.” It’s easy to see, once you figure out the pattern.

We have since become friends and I have apologized to her many times as I felt like I should have warned her. The conclusion that we came to was that even if I had tried, she probably wouldn’t have believed me and the information would likely have gone back to the ex-husband. Her words to me, “But he was soooo NICE to me at the beginning.” They always are nice at the beginning because they need to tie you to them with a thousand strings.

My question to you is whether you think that is accurate? Is there any chance of the latest conquest of sociopaths hearing a warning of things to come? I couldn’t have given the ex-girlfriend the warning because of the consequences to me if the information went back to the ex. Is it a moot point or do you think there is any way to successfully deliver a warning message to women that they will actually hear in these situations or do they have to figure it out on their own?

My other question is how do we start to get this message to young women or even young girls to watch out for sociopath behavior BEFORE they get caught in the trap? My motivation is that if I can prevent even one woman from getting into a relationship with a sociopath or help one woman understand afterward that she was duped and it wasn’t her fault because the game was rigged against her from the beginning, that would make my 25+ years of the mindf*ck (sorry, but that word is the perfect description) games and living in hell worth it.

Donna Andersen responds

FreedomWithNoRing I am so glad that you escaped, and glad that you were able to help your ex’s next target escape.

About your first question is there any chance of the latest conquest of sociopaths hearing a warning of things to come? the short answer is that it depends on the individual and the circumstances.

If your ex’s next target says she wouldn’t have listened to you, then I am sure that is the case. Here is why it is so difficult for people to hear warnings about sociopaths:

1. Society’s lack of awareness about sociopaths

Most people do not understand what a sociopath or psychopath is. Even worse, those who think they know what a sociopath or psychopath is are often wrong.

Those who have any awareness about personality disorders may believe that sociopaths and psychopaths are all criminals or serial killers. So if you try to tell someone that his or her new love interest is a sociopath, and that person hasn’t done time in jail or murdered anyone, you sound like nothing more than a spiteful ex.

Even if you try to avoid this pitfall by not referring to the person as a sociopath and psychopath, you face another problem. Our society doesn’t have an awareness that evil exists. Most of us don’t know that people can appear to be loving, caring, human beings, but it’s all an act, designed to get past our defenses so we can be exploited.

People who are unaware that human predators live among us will have difficulty believing that their new partner, who appears to be so loving, is actually dangerous.

2. The sociopath has primed the next target not to believe you

Do you remember how your ex described his or her romantic partners before you? Most likely the description was negative that person was abusive, overbearing, cold-hearted, demanding, unstable, mentally ill, delusional, etc., etc.

Well, that’s how your ex is now describing you.

When sociopaths trash their previous romantic partners, they are really, really convincing. Everything was your fault. The sociopath did the best he or she could, but there was no pleasing you. You were a gold digger, cheater, or some other nasty person.

The new partner is appalled at how badly you supposedly treated the sociopath. The new partner already dislikes you, perhaps even hates you, even though you’ve never met. So is this person going to be receptive to a message from you? Not likely.

3. In the beginning, the new partner is being love bombed

Whether the relationship is new, or they have been together for awhile, if the sociopath hasn’t yet sealed the deal and convinced the target to commit, the seduction may still be ongoing.

That means the sociopath is still love bombing showering the target with attention and affection. And who doesn’t like being put on a pedestal? If someone is saying, “I love you,” who doesn’t want to believe it?

So while the sociopath is promising a lifetime of happily-ever-after, is the new target going to want to give up the dream and believe you? Probably not.

Now, if it’s later in the involvement, and the new target has already begun to experience the dark side of the sociopath well, then he or she may be more willing to listen.

What should you do? If you can warn safely, try

In my personal opinion, if you can warn safely, you should at least try.

The key here is IF YOU CAN WARN SAFELY.

Your first responsibility is to yourself. You need to protect your finances, your livelihood, your court case, your children and your recovery. If your situation will be jeopardized in any way by saying something to the new target, don’t do it.

FreedomWithNoRing, this is what you faced. You wrote, “I couldn’t say anything else because of the fear that it would go back to the ex and there would be hell to pay.” Therefore, you were correct to back off.

But it turned out that you said just enough. You gave the new target just enough validation to trust her own perceptions and get out.

Accept the new target’s reaction

If you take the step to warn the new target, one of three things will happen:

  1. The target will believe you and get out.
  2. The target will not believe you and stay.
  3. The target won’t believe you right away, but will remember your warning later and get out.

You need to be able to accept whatever happens.

If you’re able to help the target escape, that’s terrific. If the person doesn’t heed your warning, you need to be satisfied with the fact that at least you tried.

Maybe you’ll hear at some later time that the person escaped, and maybe your warning will have been partly responsible. But you can’t wait for that. You need to move on with your life.

Why I suggest warning the new target

Many other people, including many Lovefraud readers, say no one should try to warn the new target. They say the person will not listen. You will be wasting your time and emotional energy.

Maybe. And maybe not.

Here’s why I think it’s important to at least try: Not only could you possibly help the new target, but you could help address the first problem I wrote about society’s lack of awareness about sociopaths.

As a culture, we don’t talk about sociopaths what they are, how they exploit us. And this lack of discussion, this black hole of ignorance, is what enables sociopaths to keep finding new victims.

The fact that predators live among us is the biggest skeleton in the closet of the human race. It’s time to open the door and let light sign on the sociopaths.

How to get the message to young people

FreedomWithNoRing, your second question was, “How do we start to get this message to young women or even young girls to watch out for sociopath behavior BEFORE they get caught in the trap?”

The answer is what I just said we need to start talking about the problem.

I recommend that you and all Lovefraud readers educate yourself about sociopaths. Yes, you’ve learned about them the hard way. But really research the topic. Learn the traits. Learn the warning signs.

I encourage everyone to understand the disorder enough that you can talk about it in a calm, informed way. And then, when an opportunity arises, go ahead and talk about it in an age-appropriate manner.

That’s how we warn people one conversation at a time.

 



Comment on this article

22 Comments on "Is there any way to successfully deliver a warning message that the new conquest will actually hear?"

Notify of

Donna: THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post! I told my spaths fiancé that he had been stringing me along behind her back for 6 months. I told her every detail even sent her pictures he and i took together. One of the photos was engraved wuth a date. I especially sent this one to show her it happened while they were together!!! I gave her the name if an online dating site he was on along with the screen name. I told her he claims he is single, says i was the woman who makes him happy, he loved me, and we were going to have a future together. Well she pretty much told me to get lost. After all of this… SHE IS STILL GOING TO MARRY HIM!!!! I suppose because of what you have written above and i think they’ve been together at least 2 years and I couldn’t understand why she didn’t sense things like i did!!! When i broke no contact a few weeks ago he made it known to me that he knows i sent her a message but he wasn’t even phased by it. I assume because he lied his way out of it with her and probably told her i was a crazy stalker!! Well I’m back to no contact but just can’t believe him or her but i guess love bombing will do it…it worked when he did it to me!!

To tell or not to tell…

If I had warned my ex daughter in law about my SP son, she said that she would not have believed me at the time.He had her convinced that I was a bad mother and mentally unstable.

I still think it is almost a duty to try and warn, but what will happen? What if the SP wants to hurt you for it??

Bev: probably depends on the spath. Like i said mine wasn’t phased or at least didn’t appear to be. I guess he wasn’t angry because she believed his lies in regards to what he may have told her about me. I’m sure he did a good job making himself look innocent. He painted all of his exes out to be bad when he was with me so why would i be an exception. Now if she had gotten angry and dumped him because of what i said makes me wonder if that would have angered him. The whole time after i told her i was VERY nervous but thankfully nothing happened.

Yes, good points.

I can’t help but feel like I should warn my son’s NEW girlfriend.

Should I though? Even though I know who my son is, and I know that I cannot have contact with him…I still want him to somehow find happiness. As a parent, it is what we want for our children. Can he though…be happy? I don;t think that he can.

I feel like if I warned every girl, that it would be like sabotage. I really could be seen as mentally unstable or like I was trying to purposely ruin my son’s life…it is so messed up having a son like this.

I just care about him not hurting more people. He seems to hurt everyone in his life…

@Bev
I outed my P in a work environment. Nobody believed me. I then had to educate them on what a P was, as subtly as possible, explaining what was happenning to me. To do that there has to be an alternative communication channel, one that the P doesn’t control. We also have to isolate ourselves from others so that nothing that we say can be used against us, and we have to behave with integrity so that (theoretically) we’re beyond criticism. Not an easy road.

The people that matter are educated now. Everyone who’s in daily contact with him is charmed and treats him as normal.But in the background there’s now an undertow of doubt. But time fades memories. If I wasn’t there to keep making the point everything would have gone back to normal.

We’ll see …

But education is the key. Education from an early age.

I have previously posted here, under other posts about the fact that I outed my Narocopath on line on a few different ‘cheater’ webistes and have maintained my NO CONTACT stance with great success. I know for sure this is not a possibility for everyone involved with one of these monsters but for me it was and I must say it has gone a long way toward my recovery. I now know that if some other unsuspecting person (he targets women AND men) Googles his name as I did upon meeting him, they will see the bold truth. If only I had seen such a warning! Again, I am aware this is not the answer for some as it can be dangerous, however my circumstances allow for it and now IT SUCKS TO BE HIM!!!

Dealwithit: i really would be scared to out him online where it can be googled. I thought about that too but I don’t think i will…too scared.

It’s funny how when they’re “caught with their pants down” (pun intended) they seem absolutely unfazed. It’s almost like they think you “won that round” and they’ll just change their game plan. It can be very dangerous to try to warn others about the truth of your psychopathic ex. They will go to great lengths to discredit you and their lies, schemes and dirty tricks can not only cost you emotionally and mentally but financially as well. They use the courts when they can’t get to you personally and any contact you may have with their current lovers can and will be used to file a stalking restraining order. I went NO CONTACT and he got one against me! Warn others? As much as I want to (because NO ONE deserves a psychopath in their lives) I can’t even stay at home and watch tv without having the sheriff show up at my door to serve me with another (I’m on NUMBER 3!) restraining order. Be very careful. A lack of evidence is not a guarantee that a judge won’t buy their lies. They’re extremely skillful in the art of deception and will go to great lengths to discredit and destroy you. BE CAREFUL!
And pray for the next victim.

Exactly!

It’s like if you try and warn anyone about them or tell someone what they are, they turn it around on you!

Like, you are the disordered one, because you see who they are.

You will be called crazy and mentally unstable because you ‘think’ they are a SP or a P…

You really can’t win with them.

The title of this article asks about a “WAY” to do it, and I don’t see that being discussed too much here, yet. In my experience, the “direct route” is not always best, and can make the person who is warning seem like he/she is out for revenge, so of course this angle is played up by the manipulator. In my last relationship with a S, one of his ex-gf’s brushed up on him and said something odd (but not direct), that I did take into account. In another one years ago, he would not let me meet his sister, but I heard her on the phone with him, joking “Did you run off and elope?”, which I found out later was a reference to a time when he did do such a thing with a 2nd wife he didn’t tell me about. In these instances, the “warner” is not trying to directly sabotage or complain, but they are just dropping crumbs of truth, not baking a whole cake with the message written in frosting. Perhaps this is the gentlest, least confrontational or most genuine way to give a bit of a warning.

Whether this will be received and understood, depends on the receiver, and his/her willingness to question it, and to take it into account later when doubts come in. I was the type that was not too trusting, but I was trying to give it a chance. Is it only because I’ve had so many other bad experiences with many varieties of these types of people, that I was willing to stop believing him and see the truth? It is sad that people are so trusting of a lover at first, when they are experienced (in friendships or relationships) and/or not trusting in their own friends who are victims. It is equally a shame that we have to be on guard and skeptical, but… that is the best way to protect ourselves, and let a person prove their worth, over time.

My spath said the truth was easily discoverable when I asked him about all his lies. I really love quoting that line. These types feel justified when they abuse because they feel we deserved it. We should have know, right? Isn’t the mentality that we deserve what we get because with just a little digging we would have discovered the truth? I sent his vicious, degrading, threatening drunken voicemails to his group. Now the easily discoverable truth is out there. He put on his “doctor’s mask” by day and by night he would come home and beat me black and blue. I put up with it for years. He put me in the hospital with injuries he caused me in one of his rages. He even did me the favor of filling out my medical history while awaiting surgery in the hospital he has privileges, two weeks after I gave birth to my daughter, because he broke my eardrum in a violent rage when I seven months pregnant. The next victim has all she/he needs to know. The spath always controls the narrative with those who want to believe him/her. There is little to be done about it.

Here’s what I did…
My sociopath duped me into a love affair with him while his girl was pregnant. I knew the girl. When I found out what I was dealing with, I so wanted to warn her. “Hey, I’ve been sleeping with your baby daddy for months”. I knew, however, his response to her confrontation would sound like this: “She’s crazy! She’s been stalking me for months!” Well, sociopaths are so reckless, they will communicate with the new target via email, personal message, etc. SAVE EVERYTHING!!! This will prove one, you are not crazy or lying, two, that her man is a cheating bastard, and three, they hate exposure more than anything!
While baby mama was home with their newborn, I came across the sociopath on a dating website. This was his line: “How about we go for coffee and talking about life and love”, as if…love? please. I set up a fake email account and sent her the link to his profile, on the dl. Proof, right?! And, my guilt for unknowingly hurting her sort of subsided.
I heard later that he said someone stole his profile pic from Facebook and used it on the dating site. I don’t know if she believed him or not. From what I know of her, she digs her illusion, but most of us do. Who wants to believe a person we love so dearly could be so damaged. That’s the hard part. You can’t make a person walk away, odds are, they wont, but that’s not your lot. All you can do is share the info, but, again, SAVE EVERYTHING! PROOF. EXPOSURE, THEY ARE YOUR WEAPONS, USE THEM!
Blessings,
Erica

It would help if you stopped identifying him as your “sociopath, ex or anything”. I no longer even refer to the one I knew as human. It is a psychopath or The psychopath. He certainly is not my anything anymore. And as for my children he is The sperm donor.

I can tell reading the above posts that every one of us is empathic. That is why he picked us, right? We know what we have suffered and if we can somehow prevent someone else from having that experience, it will make our suffering seem worthwhile. But think about that, what exactly is our motivation? To warn her for her sake, or so that we feel better that we have not suffered in vain? I think the reality is that we are not God. Even if we have good intentions with our new found knowledge. Who are we to say that someone shouldn’t have a certain experience, even if it is awful, (if children are in danger, that is another thing)? There is no way for us to know what is right for each person. Even if you don’t feel it just yet, the experience you have had with your ex has allowed you to recover a lost part of yourself, (Your power? Your strength?). If you had not had that experience, would you have found it? In the recovering communities they say if you are pointing a finger there are three more pointing back at you. If we are going to move on, we have to keep our eyes to ourselves.

But I will say this: If you see signs of permission, signs that the newest victim is, in their own way ASKING for information, then proceeding delicately and with kindness is the way to go. If you, with kindness offer, “small invitations”, she may accept one. If you have no signs of permission, and she is not accepting your invitations, then focus on yourself and hold a space of love for them. Because you are all correct in your posts, he is not going to change and you already know the evil the new victim will experience. But at some point, you have to move on. As long as you are looking into the rear view mirror and seeing him, his life, his new other, you are missing out on your NOW. Even if you are not around to see it, Karma will take care of him. For we all reap what we sow.

Donna is right. We have to keep talking about this. I have worked in Psychiatric hospitals for over 30 years and I did not understand this. I have come to see that most therapists don’t understand this, (unless they have had a personal experience with it). What we can do is raise awareness so that maybe we prevent young girls from getting sucked into the maelstrom. That is where the power of our experience lies.

I think that you have answered the question!

As long as we keep ‘engaging’, we are not truly FREE from them.

Engaging means having ANYTHING to do with them.

I also agree with the ‘small invitation’ angle. If you are invited, you can reply in a small way…however, then you are perhaps getting drawn in again.

It is, perhaps, not our place, in fact, it isn’t, to tell a person when to leave a bad situation. It is, however, our duty to share our knowledge. As I said, it is not my own history I wish to sell; it us the sociopath’s, using words he wrote against him. It’s not out of spite or jealousy, it’s purely out of concern for the victim, who in turn, can do with that knowledge as they wish.

I think they all should be reported to the police. It took me 30 years to do it but when he became a threat to my grandchildren I finally did. I wish I had done it before when he was abusing me and my children but I thought getting away was good enough. Well, he had enough visitation to harm both of my children even when I thought I was protecting them. They need to be on file with the police because they are so dangerous. I realize I protected him for all of these years thinking I was protecting my children and he laughed his way through making psychological minced meat out of many other women, wives and children. I now feel like I condoned it but I do not think we can stop them except by reporting them to the authorities. The other wives were lovely women who did not deserve him. I told number 3 after she divorced him and she said she would not have believed me “before”. She sure believed me after.

I knew something was not right from the git go! The red flag’s were everywhere. He came over one night and stayed for three years. Three years of madness. I was a willing victim. I was warned, I did not listen. I think some of life’s lesson are learned the hard way so we don’t do that again.
In retrospect I learned a lot about me trying to learn about him. I’m not going to hunt him down and thank him for that though.
Should I warn his new victim’s? Hell no! That might get me killed.

Before I was involved with TWO spaths in a row I’d heard many horror stories about abusive partners. I’d always thought: “gawd, what dumb, desperate women! That would never happen to ME- I’m too smart to allow some guy to abuse me in that way!” Well, duh!!!! A decade later I ignorantly allowed that to happen to “too smart” me. Though I wasn’t married to either spath I made the same choice and stayed too long! I wasn’t warned. I didn’t need any warning. Why? Because I was fully aware of the situation(s)and stuck around. With #2 some of his exgal pals AND the exwife became my pals (we were all kinda alike and we mostly looked alike!)- so we all got along. Nobody really “warned” me- thought we often compared notes. You need to be READY and determined to leave. I did attempt to warn a few women after my time- but they didn’t heed my warning of course. He married one shortly after my time. But- HA! they were divorced after eight MONTHS! His 1st Ex told me she saw “signs” on their honeymoon.
Interesting to note: Back in 2003 (before Lovefraud) I posted my own website using the AOL free website pages called AOL Hometown. I authored an illustrated website about my 2 spath relationships. I had read a really good book “Why Does He DO That?” and I based my commentary on various information derived from that book. I’d never read anything about sociopaths before- except in Psychology books in the “abnormal” psychology chapter! My website got the attention of a small community of readers who had something similar happen to them. Well, after a few months spath #2 came across this website and called the police and tried to have me arrested. Today that wouldn’t happen (well, I hope!) But in 2003 spath #2 had a corrupt police dept AND a corrupt state attorney in his back pocket. Like all spaths he was a convincing liar. This was the first “headline” story about an individual that used a website to warn women of a spath who was “patrolling” Match.com for potential targets. So my website was removed. See, I at least TRIED. That and 5 bucks will get ya a coffee at Starbucks.

In order for someone to listen to a warning it has to come from the right person, someone you trust and are close to. If the ex of someone I was dating were to warn me about the person I would ignore it completely. I would have to hear it from someone I am close to.

I was warned about the psychopathic stalker I dated, but it came from someone who I gave no credibility to. It was my ex-husband’s employee who I witnessed repeatedly talking negatively about people.

I did keep the warnings in mind, however, and when things I was warned about started happening I knew he wasn’t for me. He is a textbook batterer and I didn’t stick around for him to physically abuse me or my children.

A general rule to remember is that people tend to treat people the same way, so a liar/abuser will continue to lie and abuse in the next relationship. Thus said, I would be extremely interested in what an ex had to say.

That doesn’t mean I would automatically believe everything, too. I would be more watchful though.

I think a person should try and warn if they can do so safely. Even if they don’t believe you at first, when it starts happening to them they will possibly be less likely to doubt themselves and maybe can leave the relationship quicker and less scarred.

Send this to a friend