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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: She turned into a snarling, spitting monster

Editor’s note: A Lovefraud reader, we’ll call her Betty, sent her story. It’s a tale of a run-in with a psychopath who likes to destroy people for the fun of it.

I got divorced and moved from Texas to California. I was 45 years old, and was hoping to transition from my career as an RN. I’d worked in the newborn nursery and the increasing numbers of drug dependent newborns were breaking my heart — I was experiencing burnout. I tried physical rehabilitation for adults, but that too brought me in contact with awful suffering, and I didn’t have enough to give my patients. I had a painful divorce and a painful career, and made the decision to pull myself together and start over. That’s when I met the person I think is a psychopath.

I interviewed in the art history department of a large university, with the then-graduate adviser, Dr. Wilma (not her real name). I didn’t understand then how fragile I was, but I feel certain she knew in an instant. The fixed stare was there — I thought at the time, “What an intent, alert, person with so much energy!” I felt flattered that she seemed so interested in me. Writing that, I still feel a creepiness, sense of shame at being taken in, and a curling fear in the pit of my stomach.

Perfect victim

I craved attention, though I would have denied it. Looking back at my life, I can see how I trained over the course of it to be a perfect victim for abuse. My dad was an alcoholic, the mean drunk kind, and my mom was so gently needy. The overall feeling in our house was one of walking on eggshells, and the message to me was, “try hard and fail” because my older brother was the “successful, responsible child” so that left me with the “failure” role. My first husband was emotionally distant, and so was my second — I poured myself into those relationships, and of course, I cared deeply while each of them did not, and the colder they were, the harder I tried, and tried. And I found a job just as destructive and abusive as those personal relationships. So when I interviewed for the art history department, I badly needed some confidence and a sense of achievement. I’d also had a couple of bouts of situational depression, following the death of my parents, and after getting divorced.

Dr. Wilma seemed drawn to me at once: She’d call me to come in early to her office, heap praise on me to other teachers, strategize with me over my academic future (she felt I should get a doctorate and teach at university, “Just like me”) — she acted like a close friend and benefactor, and we’d only just met. Deep down inside, I was uncomfortable. I was making straight “A’s” but I’d done that routinely as an adult, and I genuinely loved art history, and found tremendous pleasure in studying it and discussing it — but still, I was a beginner in the field, and I couldn’t get over the fact that she was talking to me as though I was a peer. The other feeling was slower to surface: She seemed to be looking at me in a calculating, almost predatory way, and it seemed strangely almost sexual and at the same time, had the stamp of ownership. I can’t express it any better than that. She’d compliment me, but then say things like, “You walked into my office with interest, but no real academic talent, but I thought, why not? I’ll give her a class! See how far you’ve come!” Not an insult based in reality, but not a compliment based in reality, either, because I was a solidly good student, and I had achieved a nursing education and professional license, and a bachelor’s in psychology after that.

My mentor

Soon she invited me to walk her dogs with her in the mornings, and I slowly began to see how controlling she was. The animals were hyper and had to be constantly engaged or they’d get into trouble. I’m a cat person, so I didn’t understand you have to constantly stimulate and over stimulate most dogs to get them to be that hyperactive. She’d ask my opinions, but then she’d make “suggestions,” which meant “do it or else.” Over the next few years, I committed to specializing in art history, on her appraisal of me as an “excellent student who’s going to make a wonderful teacher,” I took on the burden of student loans — and I put my Texas nursing license on retirement, and didn’t activate it in California or take continuing education in that area to keep the license active. Dr. Wilma let me know that nursing wasn’t really a profession, and with a bright future as an academic, I didn’t need it. I had a “mentor” now to take me over the road of thesis writing and guide me into a wonderful teaching career.

I was really so stupidly, inexcusably naive! She told me what I wanted to hear — that I’d have a new career if I continued to work hard, and that I had a mentor I could depend on to help guide me through the intricacies of academia. Exam after exam came back marked “A,” with praise written in the margins for my “fine work.” Papers, too, received “A’s,” and the criticism lead me to believe my writing skills were well up to standard, and constantly improving, as I was striving to do. She wanted me to visit her office almost daily, wrote long and frequent emails, she’d phone me at home for lengthy calls — and one day, I began to feel (though I shoved that down quickly as well) that I was almost being courted in a creepy way…and it felt weird, off and not right somehow. But how could I complain? She was charming, so eager to “help” me find my way, I felt at a disadvantage academically and I worked frequently twelve hours a day writing and reading, trying to master my chosen field of study. I didn’t want other students to know she “favored” me so extensively because I’ve always earned my way. I felt ashamed at possibly taking advantage.

Always a home

She invited me to her house, and told me, “You’ll always have a home here,” and again, it felt off… it was too much, too soon. In addition, there was something there in that the words didn’t match the lack of emotion in her voice and in her expression — her words seemed somehow rehearsed. But how could I be so ungracious? I so longed for kindness, and I so appreciated it…my eyes welled up with tears … and she smiled. It was not a kind smile, but a one-sided curl of a lip, a cruel smile that didn’t reach her eyes. As I mentioned, I have a bachelor’s in psychology, but even at that lower level without clinical study except in nursing, how could I not have known?

She wanted me to house sit and watch her dogs for a week while she and her husband went on holiday. She’d pay me $300, and having put every penny into school, I needed the job. By this time, I’d finished all the bachelor’s level courses and was well into graduate level work — I only had a year and a half left before I could get my Master’s and could begin my dream of teaching art history in community college. I was also $40,000 in debt with student loans.

The dogs were a nightmare to care for and had to be watched every minute because they were so hyper they’d tear up the house and garden. Now I understand they’d been trained this way in response to their owner. I didn’t get much sleep because they required so much attention, but they were fed, watered, exercised, groomed — in response to the 10 pages of instructions she issued, and her house was cleaned, laundry done, and everything left as found. I’d been instructed not to wait for the them to arrive home, but to leave the evening of their arrival, two hours before they returned.

Flier in the driveway

Three days later, I got a phone call from Dr. Wilma. I was instructed to come to her office very early the first day of school following break. I went into her office, and she asked me to wait there while she went to her car and brought her dogs in (she always brought her dogs to school in spite of rules of no dogs on campus). She brought the dogs in, she looked at her watch, she closed the door and I can only say that she transformed entirely right before my eyes. I’ve worked in psychiatric lock up wards in the course of my nurse’s training, and I thought I’d seen pretty much everything, but I saw a self-possessed, controlled and controlling, smooth, charming, poised academic turn into a snarling, spitting monster within literally a second. I feared for my life, sat in a chair backed into a corner, the dogs now cowering and whining at my feet. She advanced on me, screaming at the top of her lungs, “You betrayed me! I can’t believe I brought that (meaning me) from my university into my house!” It seems I had left a newspaper, one of the little local fliers, in her driveway and not collected it and placed it on her kitchen table with the rest of the mail. She went on for a full fifteen minutes, screaming that I was “crazy” (I had confided to her about my instances of depression), and more abuse that I’ve frankly and thankfully blocked out, because what I remember of what she shrieked at me was horrible and I’ll never repeat most of it to anyone. My hand shook, but I wrote out a check for the $300 and returned every bit of her money. It was only my training, and probably experience as an abused child, that allowed me to remain calm, size up the room, locate something that could be utilized as a defensive weapon should the need arise, and calculate that I could fit though the window. She was physically blocking the door. I heard my own voice from far away say absolutely calmly, “I AM leaving now,” and I will never know how I got up on shaking legs and made it through the door.

Swore to ruin me

She swore to ruin me, and she did. Her co-workers and underlings (the department is small and only had two other full-time professors) were so under her thumb and so like her that there was no place to go in the department. I couldn’t get an appointment with the dean to state my case or make a complaint or appeal — I was told I could only see her with Dr. Wilma’s approval, “She’s a very nice lady,” the dean’s secretary said, “I’m certain she’ll help you sort out whatever it is.” Camping out in the dean’s office didn’t yield an appointment, either. The Ombudsman promised help — only to reveal straight away in the meeting that, “I have no real power here and all records of this meeting are the property of the university.” I had taken my qualifying examination, the last step before thesis writing, and waited for 8 weeks to get my results, and still couldn’t find out if I’d passed or failed. Appointments weren’t kept, then they were rescheduled and not kept again. Finally, around the tenth week, the Ombudsman called me for a meeting with faculty. Dr.Wilma had brought the other two full-time professors with her, and they were all in attack mode. For two and a half hours, I was soundly verbally abused and called names — the Ombudsman gave up trying to control or run the meeting, and exhibited shaking hands. “You can’t just pay for a degree — you have to earn it. We owe you nothing — it’s 100 percent all on you now…What do you want from us?” Dr. Wilma demanded. “I want to know the status of my qualifying examination,” I replied, “No one will tell me.” “Well I’ve just decided right now, this minute: you fail!”

After they left, and I could finally cry, the Ombudsman said she’d only done counseling of sexual abuse patients, and this was her first case in an academic setting, and she said she’d never seen anything like it. It left me bereft of my belief in the virtues of the university, of learning, and to a very great extent, in human goodness. I felt my insides crumble that day. I was flat out. I broke.

I tried going to another university, driving three hours to another school. I did well in my classes and applied for acceptance in their graduate program. I was told it looked good because my transcript and submitted paper and interview had all been promising. But I’d told them the basics of the truth when the committee chair asked why I left the previous university. They phoned, spoke to Dr. Wilma, and you can guess the rest. After what I was told by a professor was the longest meeting in their history of considering a candidate (three hours), they decided not to believe my performance, the evidence of my character, my skills, or interest in art history and love of education — they believed Dr. Wilma when she told them I was crazy.

Crushed

That happened two years ago. I’ve been deeply depressed and felt worthless and hollow since. It truly crushed me, though I wish it hadn’t. I’m broke, and it left me $45,000 in student debts and no degree, so I cannot teach and have nothing to show for a tremendous amount of work. There was no appeal at the school, and lawyers apparently don’t take cases like this, especially on contingency. Reactivating my RN license and bringing it current in California would be tremendously expensive. I began to come out of shock very slowly, and began to meditate, face and recognize the pattern of being a victim — not that I ever deserved this situation, but how I was in fact an ideal candidate for it. I processed the pain of being the child of an alcoholic, an abused spouse, and having survived burnout from a tough profession. I grieved for my lost financial security, my almost new career and how much I truly loved teaching, I grieved for the good will that died in my soul when those three women worked me over in the Ombudsman’s office while the Ombudsman (a certified counselor) stood by and let it happen. I grieved for myself that I didn’t stand up more and tell them off! That I wanted something so badly that I allowed myself to be demeaned by three ethically deficit “teachers.”

I began Tibetan Buddhist meditation, and sought to learn to forgive. I believe in the healing power of forgiveness, but I’m stumped because I’ve seen something evil. I can only forgive as an intellectual act — my spirit is stuck and it’s very painful. I’ve cried buckets of tears and “LET GO” over and over, and I will do until I have healed. I now trust myself to build a new life, but at 55 years, it’s going to be hard to get a job where I’ve no experience, especially in this economy. I could have taught for a good 20 years, paid my student debt, and provided for myself, but things look bleak now.

Armed with knowledge

I know that there are so many people who have lost so much more than I have. I know it, reading these posts, I realize it I’m actually lucky because it could have been so much worse. If nothing else, I am now armed with knowledge, and can hopefully walk on by the next ruinous person I encounter without letting them into my life. But I will always be shaken by this devastation — not by a lover or a spouse, but by a trusted, respected, and admired teacher. And I still feel ashamed, and like it was somehow my fault — until I read your posts.

Thanks you, Donna, for listening to my story. It’s healing somehow, and it heaps me to know that I will recover from this. It has given me understanding and compassion for those who live with this these fundamentally lacking individuals. I so admire their strength and courage to survive and rebuild their lives, and also the genuine love and support evidenced on your site.


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123 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: She turned into a snarling, spitting monster"

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Boy do I understand.

So many people have been betrayed in their marriages and romantic relationships. It’s sometimes hard to explain how an N/P/S can harm a target without romance entering the picture at all.

My own story is far less extreme than yours, but I really do understand. It’s amazing how effectively an N/P/S “mentor” or “leader” can wreck a target’s social and professional standing.

I hope awareness of these personality disorders spread so that smear campaigns against targets will not be so effective. If you could have picked up the pieces of your education, your situation would not have been so dire. In most cases, if the majority of people were not so easily swayed by the gaslighting of the N/P/S, the evil they do would be significantly mitigated.

I am a veteran who earned her degree while following my husband’s military career around the globe. It really infuriated me that Universities thought their various academic programs were somehow “special”, when every single one of them were virtually identical. Each would only accept transfer credits as “electives”. It took me forever to finish my degree, and by the time I was done I had done 3 times the work of my peers. The vanity of the Universities would have been hilarious if it had not been so frustrating.

That this professor could undo all your academic work just by labeling you crazy is an inditement on the credibility of the University’s academic rigor. What matters? Your academic record, or this professor’s evil tongue? Evidently this professor’s evil tongue carries more weight! If that’s the case, what exactly do coursework and academic achievement mean?

Worse is that an objective analysis of the bare facts of the case discredit the university and the professor. Her personal involvement with you was an inditement on her character.

The counselor was a twit. Really and truly, she let the inmates run the asylum when she allowed those professors to gang up on you. If that twit of a counselor didn’t have any grit in her gizzard, she shouldn’t have walked into the room. What did she think she was there for?

I’m sorry to say this Betty, but reading your story makes me realize how little the P, N and S in my life have taken from me. Really and truly, I feel like I got off with a warning! Your Psycho Professor and her dupes did incredible harm.

God bless you now and in the future. I pray that your life is far better from this day forward.

PS: I earned a teaching certificate about 12 years ago, and my deepest regret is that I failed to do what I had to do to keep it current. It wouldn’t have been that hard.

We never know when we’ll need to fall back on that sort of thing. Your story makes me think about getting off my dead rump and doing research to see what it would take to renew it.

I wonder if ‘Dr. Wilma’ was planning this all along, or was it something that triggered her at the end– like maybe you being so nice and cleaning her house so well, etc that made her feel bad about herself and go nuts? Sometimes I isolate myself and kind of feel like I have given up on trying in life after my experience with my s. How do we go out in the world and keep trying with this fear that we will be targeted again? There is so much individualism and aggression in our culture/humanity in general anyways, in addition to full fledged Ps and Ss. Sometimes it feels like you have to reign in intelligence, gentleness, and genuine kindness because it is going to make people hate you, or target you. I also had an alcoholic father and was physically abused for many years. Is it more than just our behavior as people who were abused? Sometimes I wonder if I am actually admitting some kind of phermone or something from being abused that attracts abusers. It seems like the victim in the above letter would have to have some sort of recourse. I know she said she did approach a lawyer. I think with all of her excellent grades, and the fact that Dr. Wilma had her over to her house and became this way over a flyer left in her driveway would stand as evidence?

Spellcheck– That was supposed to be REIN in. Not reign. I think. lol

I know that rage and patholigical lying, it is sickening.
I suggest you see a school counselor- do not give up. Maybe teach art in a private school.

I had a psycho exboss who has blacklisted meto a certain degree within his power. But as the years have passed- his influence has diminished as I have new work history and references.

These monsters exist-I know it now, please feel validated at least. Perhaps an art therapy degree- you have an RN and an undergrad art degree…I bet you are employable today.

Take a deep breathe and make a list. Dr. Psycho (my psycho was an artist too…always reminds me of how psychopathic Picasso was) has only so much sway. She’s not in control anymore.

Start today- look at job ads everywhere and access what you need to do something in your field. You can do it.

“WOW” I don’t know what else to say. I’ll have to think about it.

Those little things that are an excuse to set them off. I remember one with my ex-TOX, early on….

One day, she was telling how she REALLY appreciated men like me, her son, her brother…married and faithful, commited…kind of went on and on….

Within a week…the raging monster…HOW COULD you (me) go to WalMart and not call me (her) at work to see if she needed anything?

I was selfish, only thought of myself, never thought about her, couldn’t load the diswasher properly…She didn’t want me “doing her laundry” because I “overdried” her blue jeans…
yeah, I cleaned the kitchen and scrubbed the floor…but I took too long doing it….

WTH? I had given up my “career” of nearly twenty years…she didn’t have to work then outside our home….I travelled, that was a problem. Now I worked “third shift” (for 25% of what I’d left). She started working days. I had to watch our youngest daughter and sleep when I could….

I think I’m beginning to understand it a little.

Dear Betty,

Welcome to LF, and your story is very profoundly expressed. Thanks for sharing with us.

I had a “Dr. Wilma” in the first University Nursing department where I was working on my BSRN degree. I didn’t know what she was at the time, but several of us knew she was TOXIC to certain people (men in particular) and when she started “courting” me I knew that I am far too “big mouthed” to kiss her arse for another two years so I arranged to change Universities and work on my Regsistered Nurse Practitioner certificate. I found a few other “Dr. Wilmas” along the way as well—I sometimes think nursing departments are rife with them in most colleges/universities—but in any case, your story described my own disordered “Dr. Wilma” to a TEE!

I was fortunate and blessed by God to get out of her clutches when I did because she held a powerful position in the department. She is still there.

The “courting” you described, almost a sexual feeling thing, is so “right on”—great descriptions. Thank you again for sharing your story, and thank you for joining us here at LF, it IS A HEALING PLACE.

Betty,

You were wronged. This woman is wrong and she’s crazy. There is nothing about this that is your fault. What you earned was stolen from you. Flat out. You didn’t collaborate in this. You were ripped off.

I don’t know when you’re going to feel capable of this, but ultimately, you’re going to have to say “no.” To the original university, and to anyone else who, despite your assertions that the woman is out-of-control crazy, relies on her to judge you. She hates you, and has done everything in her power to destroy you. There is no reason for it except that she is crazy. And if they accept her word over your, they are participating in that effort.

Whether or not you’re broke, I’d find a lawyer who will give you a first interview. Get his or her permission to copy on correspondence with the university. And then start fighting.

Again, when you’re ready. When you’re angry enough to see through this BS.

Start by characterizing this as what it is. Theft. Theft of your work by a petty woman with personal reasons to sabotage your academic career. It’s not your problem to say what those personal reasons are. But you could point out that you’re certain that you’re not the first person this has happened to, and you are willing to run ads in the local paper and the paper of the nearest large city to solicit participants in a class action suit against the university.

What you want is an independent review of your work, your qualifying examination, and your academic performance at that university by a neutral party who can make an informed decision. That means, you will not accept anyone who is potentially vulnerable or beholden to this woman, but it has to be someone who can judge the material with some knowledge of the subject matter. You don’t care what kind of problems that presents to the university. That is the only fair way to resolve this.

If that review results in a decision against you, in terms of pursuing your masters degree, you want clear terms of exactly what failures to perform they see, and what it would take to correct it. And then you want the university’s assistance in placing you in another program, either there or at another university. Because this is the only way the theft of your academic credibility and career can be resolved. And then you also want a professional investigation of this woman and the department for unfair dealing and harassment of students.

If they refuse, and they probably will on the first round, start looking for ways to put pressure on them. Tell them that you’re registering a formal complaint with the accrediting institution they operate under. If they are state institution, tell them you are registering a formal complaint with the Department of Education and the consumer protection agency. These are basically phone calls, and probably filling out some forms, to which you can add a copy of this article, edited down or not. I’d take out the part about your parents, but otherwise you come off as rational and blameless.

Matt might have some thoughts about this.

When you gave the university your money, you entered into a business arrangement with them. Academic institutions try to cloak themselves in a lot of blather about their higher mission, but they are in business. They sell classes for money. When you buy an education, you buy it with expectation of certain things, including reasonable guidance and fair treatment. This woman did not give you reasonable guidance. And the university did not give you fair treatment.

Everything depends on how you present this. And how you think about it. Which is why I said at the beginning that this is theft. It is a lot of things. Theft, harassment, coercion, failure to perform on a business deal, slander, intentional malice. But you need to get the point where you are certain about the wrongness of it. Forget about every mistake you made. They are not relevant, and frankly not meaningful from anything you’ve said. You accepted what she gave you. You didn’t pursue her. She initiated every bit of it, and you responded appropriately to someone who had power over your academic career.

Finally, I’d call every lawyer in that town and ask if they’ve ever pursued a case of a student suing that university. I really don’t believe you’re the first person to face this situation. The dean’s response makes me suspicious. You’re reading this as the wagons closing against you, but I suspect that there are a lot of people afraid of this woman. You might be surprised at who comes out of the woodwork if you pursue this.

And if you have to go to court to sort this out, you will go with an attorney who works on contingency, because you’ll be suing them for big bucks.

Not one thing I’ve suggested would cost you money, just time. And here’s why you do it, and why you don’t give up. You want your name back. This woman has changed it, and you want it returned in the same pristine condition it was when you arrived at that school. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

Betty:

The clubby world of academia. Just like the clubby world of law. I am always astonished how everybody is busy circling the wagons to protect these monsters until the cost gets too great. And that is what you must do — make the cost too great for the university and for Wilma.

My first job out of law school was with a major lawfirm. My first day there I was getting settled in when my officemate storms in, picks up the phone and starts screaming at her headhunter “I”ll go anywhere. Just get me away from that bastard, X.”

She banged down the phone and handed me a stack of business cards and said “Here are my headhunters. Take them. YOu’re going to need them.”

She was right. She left 2 months later and I became his newest victim. It was so bad there when you asked somebody what class you were in, you didn’t give a year. You gave a month.

5 months after I got there, the other partners interviewed the associates one by one to “determine the problem.” The answer was always the same. “X”.

9 months after I started I got an offer from another firm and walked. I was the final straw. The partners decided that 10 million in billings or no 10 million in billings, X is destroying the firm and forced him out.

Unfortunately, the damage had been done.

With respect to your situation, I was just posting when Kathy beat me to the punch.

First, I’d start with the accrediting institutions for both the university you attended and the division you studied under.

Since his woman has effectively trashed your career, you have no incentive not to play hardball with the university and whatever associations accredit university art history departments. YOu must make it too expensive for the university to protect Wilma.

Second, I’d contact your student loan lender – they have to accredit the institutions that their student borrowers attend. If Sallie Mae comes sniffing around, this is not a good sign. No student loans = no students = out of business.

Third, I would also contact your state attorney general’s office.

Fourth, I will guaranty that this woman has had other victims before you. Do you have contacts you can reach out to at the university you attended? Or any way to establish a blog and get out the word? Also, where did this woman teach previously? Perhaps there are victims there.

The reason I say this is one complainant looks like a bitter student. Three is the makings of a nasty class-action suit.

Fifth, I will guaranty your university has policies against student harassment and what are appropriate boundaries between professors and students. Based on her use of you for slave labor, sounds to me like she violated them.

And you must do this now. Wwo years has gone by and you could be bumping up against statute of limitations issues.

I understand the need heal from this experience. However, healing cannot replace action. There is no way to escape the student loans, so you don’t want to give the university or Wilma a pass. Speaking from personal experience, action helps heeling.

Betty:

One other thought came to me after I posted. Is Wilma and/or the university saying you didn’t deserve the “A”s you got? That seems to be part of what I’m picking up from what they said. If that is the case, that Wilma gave you inflated grades (definitely a violation of school policy) and the university colluded in that, there could be a fraud case against them.

Also, allegations of grade inflation/tampering/selling does not go over well with accredting institutions.

MATT,

Have you taken any consideration on my “job offer”? Thanks again for a good post with some good legal advice to Betty! I agree that going after them, especially with her EXCELLENT grades, etc. should give her some standing. ALSO I think she needs to speak to the president of the university (maybe through her attorney?) about being used as Dr. Wilma’s personal servant and house sitter WITHOUT PAY. She has the check she gave Dr. Wilma to return the “money.” It is obvious that WILMA didn’t pay her and also, that paying or not paying someone for LABOR, isn’t that a violation of fair employment acts of some kind?

Thanks again for some great advice!!!! ((((hugs)))))

OxDrover:

Appreciated your job offer. Am sort of afraid of what kind of hornet’s nest I might stir up practisicing onlne outside of my jurisdiction. But, I’m perfectly happy to work pro bono on this site while I can still pay my mortgage!

Betty, agree that you need to see the president of the university — but with your attorney. At this point you’ve got nothing to be gain and everything to lose by pursuing this on your own.

I believe it was US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis who said “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Any organization which is harboring a sociopath absolutely fears having its complicity in protecting the sociopath uncovered.

The more I think about it, the more I know in my gut Wilma has left a trail of victims behind her. I still believe you need to see a lawyer to protect your legal rights here.

I’m also beginning to think you should go to the media on this story. Hell, if I were you I would go to the paper on your former campus — students are always looking to cut their teeth on an interesting story. Whatever media outlet you go to, a story like yours always seems to flush out other victims.

Matt,

I hesitated suggesting the media, because that changes the game. It becomes public and a public relations war, which I don’t think is in Betty’s interest before a suit is filed.

Part of the leverage Betty has is the university’s natural fear of publicity on this matter. If word gets around that the university is unethical or abusive in its treatment of students, the repercussions could be very, very serious.

Once the suit is filed, I’d get all the press attention possible. In a crunch, it might be a necessary tactic to attract correspondents in a class action, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Short-term, I think a couple classified ads seeking those correspondents for a suit against the university for breach of contract, academic coercion and manipulation of grades could be very effective in lighting a fire under them. (You could probably come up with better wording.)

Actually those ads are likely to attract press attention. Which they would also be perfectly aware of. More reason for them to look for a settlement.

Kathy

Kathy:

I agree. I should have been more clear about that — Betty don’t get the media involved until you haves your legal ducks lined up in a row.

Kathy’s idea of classified ads are a good idea. However, since my father was in academia, I know how big institutions of higher learning are on hush-hush and quietly driving their problems off campus and preferably out of state. That’s why I think you may need to go internet.

I am not blog literate. However, I know that there is a blog or two out there against my former employer. One of the conditions of my severance package was that I not say mean things about my former employer in public (except they wrote it in legalese, of course).

Since academic departments are always a hotbed of gossip, I am sure you probably heard rumors regarding Wilma’s former “proteges” — and dismissed them. AFter all, she was treating you “wonderfully” so why would you believe them? You need to tap into that network, sooner rather than later.

Betty, bottom line is there is strength in numbers. At my first law firm, I thought I was the only victim of the sociopathic monster who made my life a living hell. Actually, I was. It was well-know my monster had his personal whipping-boy and he didn’t let up until that person fled the firm. And then he’d move onto another whipping boy.

To this day, whenever I need a recommendation, that firm gives me a glowing one. And often they say “we were stunned when he left. We had no idea that this partner was causing him so many problems.”

Yeah, right. Fact of the matter is that they were all shielding him because it was to their benefit (10 million in annual billings) to do so. And it was, until the cost became to high (spending lots of money to train associates who all then ran for the door, first chance they got) and the bad reputation the firm was gaining made it more cost effective to get rid of their problem — the sociopath.

If I knew then what I knew now, I would have sued the bastards. But, I was new to the profession and didn’t think I could afford to make enemies. The psychic and physical toll on me were horrific, however. It took me years before I even began to regain my self-confidence in my profession.

In your case, the cost-benefits analysis is obvious. This woman killed your career. You cannot work in your chosen profession. You are sitting on a pile of debt which needs to be paid. So, you must make them pay.

Do some on-line research. I know in Connecticut, in the last year or so, a student sued Central Connecticut State University and won. If I remember the facts correctly, he had written a paper and was thrown out of the university for allegedly commiting plagarism.

As came out in the end, he was not the one who committed plagarism. In fact, the shining star A student, who he was accused of plagarizing from had in fact lifted HIS ideas. The whole thing got very ugly and hit the papers. The poor student ended up vindicated. He was in your shoes — he had nothing left to lose.

See what you can find out about his story. It may have the name of his lawyers in there. If you contact them, they may be able to point you in the right direction or to help in your state.

I also believe there was a case in California, involving USC. But, my memory is more hazy.

In any case, the “conduct unbecoming an institution of higher learning” lawsuits are becoming more popular, so you should be able to get some leads on lawyers etc.

Years ago my step-son was physically brutalized by 3 traffic cops, who put him into the hospital with severely perforated skull (they used jail-keys as “brass knuckles”) he ended up getting menongitis and almost dying. He WAS severely brain damaged afterwards.

My husband secured an attorney and sued the city of Santa Maria, California. When news of the suit came out, several other other former victms (one in a wheel chair) came forward and contacted our attorney. The city settled “out of court” for a considerable sum of money, enough to take care of my step son for the rest of his life, as he was functionally working with an IQ of less than 70 afterwards, though he still had a verbal IQ of 120. He had no judgment and was totally unable to work at anything. His life was destroyed over a parking ticket! I realize that this is extreme compared to the college prof’s behavior, but she has “destroyed” one person, and I would BET the farm there are other victims out there.

These people never attack one person and quit, and when they are in a position of power over the lives and careers of others (and oh, boy, do they ever love those positions!) like a cop, boss, professor etc they NEED to be stopped if possible.

At least these three P-cops in a small town lost their jobs as a result of the huge settlement my step son got. He died 3 years later as an indirect result of the brain damage. At least his kid was taken care of financially.

Matt, I notice that other attorneys and therapists, doctors, etc. “practice” consultation over the phone and via internet connections. Check it out! Might as well get some compensation and you can still do some pro bono stuff! Nuff said, I won’t nag any more….for now! LOL

OxDrover:

I’m happy not charging the people on this site for whatever help I can give them — actually, they pay my my fee threefold by having to listen to my rants when I get my dander up about S!!!

Dear Betty,

I just had enough time to read your story and type this response. Here ya go:

The biggest problem I’d had after I’d finally ’collapsed’ (PTSD) after my 3 workplace sociopathic encounters, was being able to visualize all of the options which I still had open to me. At the time, my perception was such, that every avenue I looked down appeared to be either closed off, or fraught with unseen dangers. But in hindsight I realize that this was not entirely true. I was doing much of this to myself. I did have options open, and my reputation could still be repaired, if I handled things intelligently.

Years ago, my last S was succeeding in her process of getting me fired and then blackballed, by using the ’insanity offense’ (as in, I was insane, therefore undesirable and to be removed and blackballed). This is a standard sociopathic tactic, which falls back on the naiveté that most people have regarding superhuman fearlessness as being ’safer and saner’ than the more normal anxious behaviors which result from abnormal stress. This person had tried to undermine my intelligence, integrity, work ethic, anything… but I’d batted down each and every challenge to my reputation. But the stress of daily political battle was getting to me, the physical effects visible to others, and the latest attack on my ’sanity’ gained traction.

I then did what was a smart thing, if I say so myself. I knew that a few people in that stressed and paranoid crew at that job would do research on ’threatening’ or unknown employees. I also knew of easily discovered evidence, which would suggest that I had ’a demonstrable relationship’ with the vice-president of that companies chief rival. It didn’t matter that I never actually knew the guy, the evidence itself was all I needed. I then ’leaked’ to my neighbor who I knew to be a rumor hound, that management (S was one) was behind smearing my character because they’d found out about my relationship with that rival V.P. Within one day, the body language of ostracization and ridicule, which I’d grown accustomed to, changed into apologetic smiles, “Good Mornings”, and frightened grins. Amazing the power of the rumor mill when it’s coupled with human imagination. Some people even apologized. A couple guys even confided in me that “bad management is this companies’ whole problem”. I had to burn that bridge in order to protect my reputation in that business.

Nevertheless, after that job I still ’collapsed’ from all that stress. I dropped completely out of sight and did odd jobs and other stuff. But I was letting my fears get the best of me. There were opportunities but I refused them. Nobody could figure out what was the matter with me. The years went by and my wife and family abandoned me. Then one day I simply put my name back into the job pot and was immediately hired within my career field. I had presented the interviewing supervisor a single spaced page full of my references, people I’d done right by, and she recognized some names. And then I was in, just like that.

But the battle wasn’t over. My first project manager, an insecure yet ethical type who relied on his vast experience more than creative brainpower, refused to take me based on what he’d heard about my reputed ’insanity’. He went through three guys, before the supervisor finally forced him to take me. When the timing was right, we had a lunch conversation where he revealed that he had heard bad things about me from a close associate of my S. I was ready for this. I presented him with my reference list, saying “I’ll go with whatever any of these guys says about me”. I then presented him with a printout of a patent which my S had stolen from a ’normal employee’, who had actually created and developed that idea, along with his name. I then said: “In a better world dirty players would never succeed”. Shortly after, the PM gave me my big chance at serious responsibility, and I didn’t let him down. His project came in under budget and on time.

The moral of my long story: there’s always a way to battle sociopathy, and win, if you believe in yourself and give yourself the chance. If I was you, I’d be using hard evidence of your qualities, such as that transcript full of A’s, for starters. Then do I’d some serious homework, and not the book kind. You’ll be good at it, guaranteed. You may have to make up a plausible reason about why you left the previous university. Get to know or be reacquainted with other ethical art instructors, or similar in that field. If you’re like me, you’ll be amazed at how different your reality is from your fears. There’s also always a way to exact excellent revenge, but I don’t think they want me to get into that stuff anymore around here.

Thank you so much for what you’ve had to say! I had NO IDEA what it would feel like to be listened to, and believed! I kept thinking, “I must have caused this in some way…HOW could this happen if I hadn’t made some mistakes?” But it did happen, and yes of course I made mistakes, but nothing that deserved this. No one deserves to be treated like that, ever, because it’s just flat out wrong.

Hopeful: You said, “Sometimes you have to rein in intelligence, gentleness, and genuine kindness because it is going to make people hate you, or target you.” Yeah, it might, but something I’ve been learning from reading this incredible sight is that as we learn about ourselves, face ourselves and the patterns in our lives, become better educated about dysfunctions and predators, it’s possible to take that target sign off our backs! The blind spots we learned to develop (and you’ve just read a catalog of mine) lessen as understanding increases. Hang onto those good parts! I’ve been reading Kathleen Hawk’s “After the Sociopath” series and it’s helping me with this stuff, because it’s really hard to feel like your best can open you up to the worst in others.

Elizabeth Conley: I’m already thinking of educational options, and continue to study and learn daily. There are some things they can’t take away! (Yea!) But like you, I’ve learned universities are not what they say they are. I think I view them more realistically, and see their faults and virtues more clearly, and that’s a good thing. Best wishes, and kick tush with that teaching certificate!

Jim in Indiana: Dude, small things are good clues. But we want to trust, don’t we? Hence the blind spots, I guess. Concerning terrifying rages: Dr. Wilma told me to be at her office, went entirely bahooties, and then (after I was reduced to jello), exactly at the time the cleaning staff and the slide librarian arrive, she flipped it off instantaneously, like a light switch! That sounds like she was in control of the rage, which is something I’m still struggling to understand, but it’s an interesting puzzle piece.

OxDrover: Thank you for the story about your nursing faculty advisor. It helped really a lot! “These people never attack one person and quit,” you’ve said, and that really blew me away! The department was both a hot bed of gossip but incredibly secretive, so everyone is fearful of the consequences (and I entirely understand their fear), but that gives the Dr. Ws of this world much too much power.

Kathleen Hawk: Right now I’m overwhelmed! It’s going to take me some time to process your advice — you’ve given me A LOT of strong actions to think about. I’m very grateful, and I’m going to have to take some time to digest it. Thank you so much for talking to me like I’m a capable person because I have been one, and hope to be one again soon.

Let me emphasize that no one had advised me to take any action, plus I’d lost all save one of the friends I’d made in school — the reaction seemed to be that I’d done something wrong or nothing would have happened to me. My family’s response was “Something should be done…Good luck with that.” Meanwhile, I’ve had the energy and functional capacity of an amoeba for the last several years, and am only just now coming out of it.

Matt: Thank you for being so generous with your expertise, and for telling your story. Imagine how incredible it is to hear there are some actual strategies that might shift the situation!

Re: grade inflation. I earned my grades, and received high marks in other departments as well. The one exam, the qualifying one that is the last step before thesis writing, is the one I couldn’t get an answer over until the ill-fated meeting with faculty and the Ombudsman. By her actions of “prepping” some students and ignoring others prior to us taking the exam, I suspect that exam was an exclusion tool, so that Dr. Wilma could control which students advanced and which didn’t, but I can’t prove that. But as OxDrover said, Dr. W received two weeks house sitting for free, since I returned her money in full.

At the worst case scenario, I have found my voice, am healing, and now have contact with people who get it! The relief is profound. In the best case, I’ll locate a lawyer who will approach the university for me, and work out a settlement agreement on contingency. I’m SO not taking debt lightly, but compared to loss of peace of mind, it actually takes second place.

All you guys, THANKS SO MUCH for hearing me out and for your invaluable advice! I’d say you don’t know what it means to me, but considering where we are, I’ll bet you do.

Each of you, what a joy to meet you!

All the Best,
Betty

Betty – My heart goes out to you. Nobody deserves such treatment and isolation.

Did I read this right? Because you didnt bring in a piece of junk mail – all of this “smearing” can standup and hold merit…because you didnt bring in a piece of junk mail?? Huh..

Did I not read something did I miss something? Did youwrite a letter explaining it to the dean or someone explaining the situation exactly the way you did to us here at LF?

I know its her word against yours, but what was she claiming you DID? Do they know she “hired” a student to house sit? Do they know ANYTHING? I have to reread this. I am beyond perplexed at what she actually was able to accuse YOU of doing that you couldnt defend in writing .

Exam after exam came back with an A. Papers too received A’s…. The proof of your hard earned work is all there.

This isnt a case of getting revenge for you . This a case of providing the facts, just the facts to a lawyer… sitting back and watching heads roll at the university.

Betty – Im going to now read everyones comments to your post. Perhaps Ill get better insight from them….I just bout fell off my seat after reading your story and felt compelled to say what I did….

Betty: I wish you could sue them, verbal abuse for 2 1/2 hours should not be tolerated by the university!! Dr. Wilma sounds like a complete lunatic, screaming about a paper. There has got to be a way for you to get in a graduate program. Don’t give up!

Betty,

“Dr. Wilma told me to be at her office, went entirely bahooties, and then (after I was reduced to jello), exactly at the time the cleaning staff and the slide librarian arrive, she flipped it off instantaneously, like a light switch! That sounds like she was in control of the rage, which is something I’m still struggling to understand, but it’s an interesting puzzle piece.”

I think you witnessed narcissistic rage. When you read descriptions of narcissistic personality, you often see “narcissistic rage” listed as a component. Until you’ve seen it, the attempts to define it probably seem irrelevant. Anger is anger, right? Why even bother to mention it or dignify it with a special title?

Well, narcissistic rage is different. That’s why the experts attempt to describe and label it. I’ve seen it, and it’s like a mini psychotic episode, only it begins and ends as if it was flicked on and off with a switch. In spite of this “control”, the intensity is terrifying.

The narcissist I knew did this once, and it creeped me out so badly I never brought my children near him again.

It’s odd, because we think of cluster Bs as NOT having self control, but every cluster B I’ve ever known has been capable of secretly nursing deep anger, unleashing it at will, and then expecting others to pretend the episode never occurred.

It’s possible that your problems following Dr. Ws tantrum actually resulted from your failure to “pretend it away”. If that’s the case, I can’t blame you. First, how could you know? Second, how could any sane person do it? Still, that’s what narcissists condition their regular victims and sycophants to do – pretend it away. It’s possible that Dr. Ws behavior subsequent to her tantrum was an effort to discredit you so that she would not have to face the consequences of the tantrum.

Does the above analysis sound crazy? It does to me. Before I knew cluster B, I would have said it was impossible as well. Now I know cluster Bs are bat-stuff bonzo. They really do “think” this way, and they really do act out these surreal dramas.

Oh By The Way –

Betty, Kathleen Hawk and Matt are dead right about Dr. W having other victims.

Each cluster B I’ve known has had a long trail of victims. It’s what they do. Dr. Wilma’s done it before, and she’s probably in the process of making a fresh victim right now!

Dr. W sounds like a narcissist, albeit an extreme case. They really and truly can’t help but play out the same crazy drama again and again.

SOS,

You wrote, “There’s also always a way to exact excellent revenge, but I don’t think they want me to get into that stuff anymore around here.”

If I gave you that impression, I take it back. Your first couple of posts set off alarms for me. Your later ones have turned them off.

I really like what you have to say. You’ve clearly been through a lot, thought a lot, and done a lot of work on yourself. I’m really glad you’re here contributing.

Though I’m not so enthused about your revenge stories, I have to admit I loved the idea of that concrete ball.

Kathy

Betty: Take the University to court. Period. You have worked very hard, and Do Not give up. There is a lawyer out there, somewhere that would be interested in your case, it may take time to find one and you may have to keep looking. Do not get discouraged. This whole situation you were involved in with this Dr. Wilma was wrong, wrong, wrong, and her treatment of you. Do not despair, let justice see the light of day, so Dr. Wilma will stop this inexcuseable behavoir and not have another victim to this game that she has played on you.

My best wishes to you.

Betty – AND you have two witnesses the cleaning lady and the slide librarian!

What blows my mind, is there are official certifiable “crazy” people attending Universities every day – that fact alone does not get them tossed to the curb. There has to be incident reports filed, behavior problems cited by more than one person, social behaviors documented, reviews, and a right to a defense – and still they remain able to complete their education.

Dr. Wilma had an unprovoked hissy fit in her office – over a flier – verbally abused you beyond anything anyone could imagine – causing you to want to write her a refund check (or she demanded one? unclear) and then says because you didnt bring in the flier/ newspaper Im going to get you thrown out of here. And then proceeds to smear you on the basis of ????????????? a. you didnt deliver the paper to the right location. b. youre crazy because you ?????
c. she just decided to fail you on your qualifying examination and disregard your performance leading up to that, as well as your documented grades and she got others to go along with this…

Betty, I believe you went through a complete nightmare. And I hope you find the strength and courage to see the forest through the trees when you are ready. Forgive me for thinking it all through and laying out in the above manner… but Im so curious as to what Dr. W accused you of to others *after she had a tantrum over the newspaper you failed to bring in to her kitchen * convincing everyone you were crazy and should be kicked out based on ???????

She is sick, twisted and bizarre. Im just so curious what she turned it into with her peers, colleagues, and friends you lost there.

Im sorry for you experience, I cant imagine what it has done to you and I wish you justice and retribution.

Oxy – I agree with your view on revenge.

Kathleen – I had the opposite reaction than you to S.O.S. first two posts and then an opposite reaction to you to S.O.S. last post! Lol – Its so interesting how we all have so many different views, reactions, ideas, suggestions and we all share them and take/give what we can to all the posts.

SOS – Im am trying to learn how NOT to react/act in a revengeful way – counterproductive in my opinion plus so much time, effort, STRESS, drama, drama, drama, and not enough positive energy in it for me. But thats the beauty of individuality here, and freedom of speech!

Plus a little bit of living vicariously through someone elses story is okay every now and then. Share away, but keep in mind, in some peoples cases acting out on their revenge toward a Sociopath has been known to cost them their life.

When they could have gotten the sweetest revenge of all…. NC!!!

BETTY – the fact that you had to wait EIGHT WEEKS for a test result!! What University practices that kind of ethics> She could have just posted the Failing Grade the same time others received their grade! Extra ammo on your part!!! And the Ombudsman said she’d never seen anything like Subpeona the Ombudsam too. Wow, this story really left me unsettled!!! Such an unsettling story. And a brave woman for enduring so much. Goodnight all.

Not to worry, folks. I am a trained expert. Amateurs should not attempt revenge against psychopaths at home.

On a more serious note, I read through the comments, and I’m intrigued by Matt’s legal suggestions. Other Wilma victims? Yup. Reaction to legal action from the narcissist? Dunno. I’m not sure how they react when they’ve been exposed, tried, and punished ”“ do they just take it and slink away, or will the victim get the more sinister “I’ll get you, my pretty” ?
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Student Of Sociopathy

Hello Again! I’m reading, thinking and processing, and learning I can survive this. You guys are amazing!

learnthelesson: I didn’t write to the dean. Due to the pervading sense of extreme caution prevalent in the department, I was afraid to put it in writing. Elizabeth Conley is on it: it sounds crazy when you try to describe what happens with these folks. I was still trying to complete the process and get my degree, and felt if I put anything in writing, I’d be “declaring war” and set the bureaucracy in motion against me. Dr. Wilma was incredibly well connected, and I suspect she wanted me to know she could end my master’s candidacy with her decision to do so, sort of like a cat (with apologies to my own cats) worrying a mouse. I’ll bet you guys are right : she’d done it before.

Elizabeth Conley also pointed out that what I was treated to in Dr. Wilma’s office was a narcissistic rage. I am indebted to her for this! I’d read clinical descriptions of them in my nursing days, but ICHEEBOBBA! Those two little words can’t convey what I saw — it was something I didn’t think existed : a CONTROLLED psychotic episode — those two things don’t logically seem to go together, but it is what I witnessed in that venom-filled tirade.

Elizabeth Conley: Since I read your recent post, I’ve been reading and trying to take this in. I agree with you in your assessment, and also, before I experienced this, I would have said it sounded crazy. But it happened.

You also said, “It’s possible that your problems following Dr. W’s tantrum actually resulted from your failure to ‘pretend’ it away.” I was totally blindsided! I attempted to stand up for myself, but I didn’t know what I was facing. Dr. Wilma had her “cover identity” down beautifully : she looked and acted like an accomplished academician, a charming and gracious lady. What was underneath was something else. But you CAN’T know until it happens to you! It simply boggles the mind (and heart and spirit).

Measuring my own abilities to this day, even though I’m getting stronger, I’d still have to say that she’d overwhelm me because I don’t think like that; I don’t want to destroy anyone. My best defense would be to walk away from anyone like that if I saw them coming (it’s kind of like encountering a shark), and I would be alert to warning signs, red flags, and not discount them no matter what. Her rigid control issues in matters large and small are the best example of this. Thank you for your keen insights. You’ve helped me be more at peace with this mess.

Everyone: you guys have made a difference in my life today, and I appreciate it!

Betty

SOS: I’m not going to be trying any revenge against the P in my life, he scares me. A funny story… he never wanted to tell me exactly where he lived, I only knew the general area, then one day he saw the new Garmin GPS device I bought, and he played around with it and asked “how do you turn this thing off?” After he left I looked at the Garmin, looked up the address on Google Maps… and there is his car sitting in front of his house. What a dumb a**!!!!!

When the S lived with me off and on he would take his revenge out on any thing in the house after a disagreement, the gutter of the new house just happened to be broken many times from the nail just coming out, and was repetedly fixed by someone else, and I mentioned it to S who said “oh yeah I kicked it”, with a half grin, (obviously numerous times), a rather deep dent into the side of my fairly new car, and he was the only in the garage at the time it was made, deep dents into a flawless grandfather clock, cigarette burns on the new marble vanities, while an ashtray was on that same counter, a few expensive decorative statues that I liked well outside in the yard were hit with a garden tool and all S would say would be “woops” with a smile, dents in a new dishwasher, the inside door handle to the main garage door S, just happened to break off, it was a new door, and S admitted to all these things except for the grandfather clock, usually with a half smile.

S has done more little things, that would take too long mention. Adding them all up, S has done much in his revenge to me for being on to his game and setting limits as far as money and a place to live go. S’s have no respect, for you, your feelings, your family or your stuff.

I am not into revenge. Never have been. This S’s behavior of greed and evil will be the S’s downfall of his own doing.

Besides the S I know has only air between the ears, and will never know deep mutual intimacy and happiness. In my opinion he got what he gives, not revenge, S’s own doing by his behavior.

It is wonderful to have peace in my home and not having my things get wrecked for the past 10 months.

S is still very frustrated and still continues to try to pull me into the web of destruction. A text today, and a text in pig latin the other day to decipher. I was going to change the numbers, but decided to save these texts, they are evidence of S’s true mentality, and people have said, ” he seems so quiet”.

NC, is a powerful tool to show that you are out of the game.

SOS. It wouldnt be a remote concern of mine as the victim how the N reacts to being exposed, tried and punished. They can do whatever they want, slink away or get more sinister. Case closed.
Come after me again in any way shape or form.. violate the restraining order Ive put in place (while in midst of legal action with you) then Ill see you in front of the judge again.

You may have victimized me once. But since I know the truth. I will pursue it. Win or lose. I wont give up if it has to do with my education and professional life.

BETTY – I meant the minute the meeting was adjourned. The above letter on the Deans desk. cc: entire staff bcc: Wilma

SOS. Im strictly referring to Bettys situation. Other situations with different kinds of N/S/P’s I might take a different stance on how I handle the situation.

Betty – Hindsight is 20/20. I was not there. I was not in your shoes. I cant begin to imagine. I truly cant. Just very unsettling. Very scary. I want a meeting with WILMA!!!!!! Im glad you found lovefraud and Im glad you have so many comments to mull over and give great consideration to each and every one of them. Glad you are here!!!!!

And you too SOS!

Doh!

Meant to say to SOS, you’d said,”If you’re like me, you’ll be amazed at how different your reality is from your fears.”
Thank you so much for telling your story! Seriously, that sentence especially hit home. I felt crushed, like I couldn’t go on — but you’re right : I need to test reality and see what shakes loose! Even in this economy, people are being hired. I need to find out what’s out there and take my shot. I won’t have a long list of references like I would have before this mega-mess happened, but I have some solid ones, and a good work history.

I’m not huge into revenge, but I’ve become a believer in setting boundaries, and firm ones when needed. These are efficient strategies that save heartache; for example, in another post, OxDrover wrote about sidestepping a friend’s hint for help by solving the problem in a way that didn’t get Ox involved but helped her friend find an answer. Pretty cool, that. I don’t want to fight dirty, but I would like to fight smart, and it sounds like you’ve learned a lot and been successful at getting your life restarted. My hat’s off to you!

All the Best,
Betty

”Dr. Wilma had her “cover identity” down beautifully : she looked and acted like an accomplished academician, a charming and gracious lady. What was underneath was something else. But you CAN’T know until it happens to you! It simply boggles the mind (and heart and spirit).”

Tell me about it. Most people can relate to the evil they see in movies like the Godfather series, because they understand the emotions involved. Those emotions and actions might be extreme, but they still make some kind of relatable sense. The shakedown, intimidation, mobster code of honor, an eye for an eye… People can understand those things.

But ’successful sociopathy’ is such a trip because completely innocent people can be targeted for reasons that don’t make any logical sense, by insanity that is expertly camouflaged as sanity. Everybody knows what a mobster looks like, but S’s try very hard to look just like the rest of us.

Targets often find they cannot negotiate or threaten their way out of being The Target, and if they simply run away, the S might still come after their reputation or worse. On top of it all, the S may do this stuff without any regard for their own safety or security, even when there’s nothing rational or long term for them to gain. And then they simply switch on the normal behavior mask and lie profusely when there are ’critical or influential’ witnesses.

But on the positive, this kind of knowledge IS becoming more and more a part of the common wisdom, thanks in no small part to people like you and me:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnyeRkEI1W4
The internet is a good place to get the message out, and I think it can be done in such a way that naïve people don’t perceive you as a conspiracy freak. The general public is learning that not all S’s have developed a ’sinister fetish for killing’ victims, but that all S’s have some kind of fetish for victimizing. Detection and explanation of where they come from is the next challenge.
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Student Of Sociopathy

It is interesting that lots of s type of people are professors, mentors, law enforcement etc…I think them being higher up and on the “inside” gives them some protection against being debunked and persecuted. They COUNT on people giving them more credibility, honesty and reliability because of the position they hold. I mean who likes to think of their mentor, priest or doctor being a twisted s deep inside? Who would feel comfortable with a school teacher who is into violent amputee fetish sex-ploitation videos? Or the cop that kills remarries 4 times and 2 of his wives die, one of them in a bathtub of mysterious causes? It’s amazing that these people function perfectly within the system. Sometimes those of us who see the s for who they are are the less “credible” ones to others.

Is Opn said:

deep dents into a flawless grandfather clock, cigarette burns on the new marble vanities, while an ashtray was on that same counter, a few expensive decorative statues that I liked well outside in the yard were hit with a garden tool and all S would say would be “woops” with a smile,

That made me laugh (bitter laugh) it reminded me of a cactus I had when I lived with the s. He kept insisting putting out his cigarettes on the cactus. He basically used it as an ashtray. I spent a lot of time removing the butts and asking him not to do that anymore. He gave a little laugh and told me he has named the cactus “stinkey” and proceeded to put out his cigarettes in it. The cactus died. I thought of the cigarette burns he had all over his arm, they were very old scars. Hmmmm…any correlation?

Is opn:

Yeah, mine was also a one-man destruction crew when it came to my home and belongings.

I grew up in a house where etiquette was strictly enforced. I can still remember my mother, when a guest knocked over a glass of wine, waiting a suitable space of time and then knockng her’s over. Baccarat used to declare dividends after some of parties.

So, when S would yet again “accidentally” damage something of mine, I didn’t say a word.

Then came the day that I accidentally damaged something of his. I had taken him away for a weekend — another one where I paid for everything and he made me miserable.

When I popped the trunk, I reached in and grabbed his Louis Vuitton bag. It was overpacked, and one of the handles broke free. The look on his face. I knew he was waiting for me to offer to pay.

Maybe it was because I had a belly-full of his antics that weekend, but all I did was hand it over and didn’t say a word.

Wonder how he liked it when the shoe was on the other foot?

It’s really something to have a space where I could tell what happened and find acceptance. One of the hardest thing is the rejection by my immediate family about what happened. They don’t want OVER – no mention, no discussion — with the implication that I failed to manage the situation properly and/or it wasn’t really that bad.

I don’t want to think about this 24/7 or have it impede my getting on with my life one second longer than I have to, but when I wrote that it broke me, IT DID. It was like a huge part of me died. I don’t want to use this as an excuse not to move forward, but it weighs me down. This is the very first place I’ve felt safe discussing it.

That, aside from good manners, is why I keep thanking you guys. It goes beyond validation and into healing to hear what you have to say, and to be able to tell the absolute truth about what happened and what it did to me.

Opps! I meant to say “my family want it to be OVER”

greenfern: He kept insisting putting out his cigarettes on the cactus. He basically used it as an ashtray. I thought of the cigarette burns he had all over his arm, they were very old scars.

The more I think about all the things S would damage, in his mind they were me, a representation of what he would like to do to me. How twisted, or, to put fear in me to be nice to him and conform to his rules in my house. No way, it was not happeneing, in the end, when the fog was lifting to reality. And my anger began to come, to the reality he has gone too far.

This behavior I think goes back to childhood. I read somewhere that “EXTREME unreasonable immature anger” that is not corrected between 4 and 5 years old will be carried into adult hood.

I AM NOT talking about anger in healing. In healing you do have to get angry, mad as heck, and fed up as part of the process. With my anger I used that to talk of the situation to the S.

The article also said this anger at 4 or 5 years old, if there was parental intervention to correct the inappropriate anger response then, or even later in counselling, it could modify the intense unreasonable anger response. The S I knew had this anger of a 4 or 5 year old, and did not learn as a child to feel anger appropriately as an adult and did not care to change it, therefore he damaged my stuff.

That adds to the sickness of the S. After I bought the car that he needed to drive to work, we had a disagreement, (he could not get any credit and someone totalled his car and insurance value only did payoff), he ran to his new car and took a key and keyed his own car, a four foot long scratch that is still there.

With your post of the cigarette burns on his arm, that brought to mind, the scratch he put on his car, the car that was supposed to be for both of us, for us on weekends. Thanks.

I once had someone tell me, “He (S) , was the kid in the playground, that no one wanted to play with. Yes he was, a 4 or 5 year old in a 50 something year old body.

Betty: Sorry for interrupting with my post.

Re: It’s really something to have a space where I could tell what happened and find acceptance. One of the hardest thing is the rejection by my immediate family about what happened.

I feel the same with being here to vent and get validation, there are really N/S/P in the world and are destructive.

My family and friends did not want to hear it anymore. They are in denial of what the “Whole” situation was. I have had people say it takes two to tango. No it does not. An N/S/P does the tango alone, and pulls the unsuspecting in with them.

I didn’t go through that, with physical things being damaged, and it’s got to be hard. Personal belongings are an extension of self. Similar disregard was shown to me by having my education derailed on a whim. Basically, you get devalued, and that hurts.

This might be a key : people who love you/ care about you treat you with respect, period. Consistency: the words match the actions so “I love you” means I demonstrate that I value you by the way I live my life. You aren’t constantly walking on eggshells, trying to guess what’s in the other person’s heart or mind because they’ll communicate honestly with you. You aren’t constantly pleading for consideration and acceptance.

But when you are treated badly, it’s much harder to recognize that actual love is overall nurturing and not overall draining, much less enduring death by a thousand cuts.

Matt: Yeah, mine was also a one-man destruction crew when it came to my home and belongings.

I thought I was the only one that experienced the destruction of household things and have knicks and scratches on, or some things that mysteriously disappear in the yard during a disagreement.

I could have used your expertise years ago and the advice you offer, as a legal back up.

When I would find a new thing damaged I would not say anything right away, and then more things were damaged for the lack of a reaction. S would say I rage. Hardly, it was a question of what happened to this? There is no one else here that could have done that, but this was part of the thought out plan, to bring me down to mental incapacity, ie. the pre-nup, to make it invalid. If he did get the house, how would he pay for it? He cannot hold a job. My income would be lost and he still would have no money. The rage was a projection of himself, to his disturbed reaction to anger that I posted above.

The Louis Vuitton bag, it is different when it happens to them.
The S was always concerned where his CD’ were and accused me of having one here and there, it was the other way around, he took mine and denied he had them, until he brought them in the house to listen to, and the still denied he had them. Kid games and greed.

It feels as if I was his mother, he wanted to be taken care of, fed, driven around, etc..

Do the S’s in addition to be greedy and ripping you off, realize in my case, that they cannot take care of themselves? His rent is always paid three weeks late and says the landlord talked of throwing him out. Too much party hearty, he worked 6 months now unemployed.

I’m curious as to why these two things happens:
1. The victim “breaks”.
2. The victims family gets tired of listening, and/or cannot understand.
Are those two things related?

Is it a temperamental thing on the part of both victim’s and their families? My wife and my own family quickly grew tired of my stories, introspection and obsession, and did the exact same thing:
“Jeez, just get over it.”
“It’s not all about you!”
“So go work at a place where you don’t have to be around those kinds of people.”
I never got any good advice or words of wisdom, let alone a: “Git yer trucks and yer pitchforks and torches, ’cause nobody messes with our family!”

It’s not that my family didn’t care, it’s that they just couldn’t get it. Intellectually, I mean. I’ve always had to go outside of my family to find people who were willing to discuss and ponder this issue — a developmental psychologist teacher who I’d met, my latest supervisor who liked talking about dirty players, a motivational speaker who’s ear I chewed off on a dinner cruise once — did get it. I think you have to find people who have either experienced such a thing, or, who are intellectually curious and capable enough to understand how and why these things happen. I have my own mental model about how and why sociopathy evolved and works and exists but it’s abstract and hard for me relate to my family.

I even dropped an “expert”, a therapist I went to for a year because he just couldn’t get it. I didn’t want a sympathetic listener, or deep psychoanalysis, EMDR, or any of that crap (at least past the first few months). What I needed was simple answers:

1. How do I make myself less of a target?
2. What do I do if this thing happens again, despite all my best efforts?
3. How do I fight these kinds of people, if it comes to that, without risking serious jail time?
4. How do I get those closest to me to understand?

That therapist did offer books and some ideas, but when they kept demonstrating that they couldn’t fully understand the dark side of humanity (For chrissakes, psychopaths can come from any MBTI type? Sheesh!), I quit going. I found better answers for free on the internet, and a lot quicker.
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Student Of Sociopathy

Is opn, et al,

The “it takes two to tango” and “it takes two to fight” is drummed into us when we are kids and it is WRONG!!! It only takes a bully and a victim to “fight”—-I realize that some people DO “provoke” fights, but the Ps not only provoke fights but they ATTACK first and the “fight” starts when we HIT BACK! Reminds me of the joke about the two kids fighting and the mom asked how it started and the one kid says “It all started when Johnny HIT ME BACK!”

When my kids were pretty young (maybe first and second grade) they got into fist fights every day. My P-son was at that time the “little angel” and my older ADHD son was into everything, so it usually ended up that the older kid got the punishment until one day I heard my P-son provoking my ADHD son so much that Jesus himself would have decked the provocateur. So I told them at that point that I would no longer referee and that if there was a fight they both got punished.

It went on DAILY for six months and I wondered if they would ever stop scrapping, then one day I heard one of them say to the other, “If you do that again, I will hit you and then we will both be in trouble.” After that I don’t think they ever had another physical altercation. Things went pretty well until the teen years for the P-son when he morphed into “Hell on Wheels” as a psychopathic criminal.

In speaking about the cigarette burn scars on your P–I wonder if he was tortured or burned as a child or as an adult if he did it to himself. Sometimes kids who are tortured and abused as children DO grow up to be P-like creatures that are unable to connect, and become abusers themselves. I am not sure if it is because they would have become a P anyway, or if it is because they were abused, or BOTH. A child tortured like that if by a parent would also have a P parent (so genetics) and a P parent assures a terrible childhood (environment) so they get the worst of “both worlds.”

He sounds like a dangerous man to me, though others might not think “killing a plant” was any big deal, I think because it is VIOLENCE in that case it was—he was “killing” you symbolically, burning YOU symbolically. OUCH. Creepy!

I’m fairly sure I read this idea on LF, but I’ve been reading non-stop for the last day or so, so forgive the lapse.

I think that part of the reason our family members have such difficulty hearing us about the sociopaths is that it violates their personal “comfort bubble” too much. This marriage, relationship, friendship is supposed to work THIS way: you don’t bring in stuff that rocks the boat at such a basic level. When we do, after or while getting stomped by a sociopath, and the family members aren’t themselves seeing the trauma we’re enduring, it’s hard for them. If we’d been in an accident and they could see bruises and a cast, they’d immediately empathize — but this?

Plus, as SOS said, we’re obsessing because we’re trying to wrap our mind around something beyond our experience, a total mind freak. We go into over-drive because the threat is real — but they can’t see it. This is tough stuff.

I want answers, too. I don’t want to spend my life in anxiety, guarding against the worst in people. And Holy Cow, Is Opn and OxDrover, I haven’t experienced this in my family — it was just school. I’d like to be aware and informed, and live my life with open eyes and an open heart, but not as a target for more of these very deeply scary people.

Betty, Hopeful, Elizabeth, SOS: One important thing in this story — Betty did not MAKE Dr. Wilma angry. This was never about the flier in the driveway. It wasn’t about whether the house was cleaned or dirty. The whole thing was just to create the final scene of yanking all the reality away from Betty. Dr. Wilma was running a long con. This was a deliberate set-up with the payoff being the utter destruction of the target.

I think we may be able to see it better in this sort of a non-romantic context. I don’t even know if Betty was particularly vulnerable; more likely just the person with the right “good” qualities at the time Dr. Wilma was looking for her next twisted “project.”

I have seen that rage, just about 7 months ago. Almost precisely two years ago I walked away from my “romantic” partner who revealed that our whole year and a half together had been a total malicious fabrication. He had destroyed my business, my livelihood, everything I’d worked for, and money that others had invested in me — the whole time doing a very convincing job of being my “faithful partner” in all things. I fled in absolute terror, in shock. As SOS put it, “I broke.” I kept trying to pick up the fragments of my life, but I was too deeply devastated to even consider tackling thing monster, and with the economy spiraling in the tank, I had no way to get back into the business I’d done for 10 years.

I was so thankful when a loud, brassy, but “goodhearted” woman invited me to help her build her business. And because she had such deep sympathy for my situation, I could stay as a guest in her house while I helped with the business and we both moved forward. In the six months around this person I witnessed so many details of dysfunction, but it looked different from the way the “romantic S/P” presented. I saw lots of pointless behavior. She had a “volunteer” who would work with her a couple of days each week and she would rage at that woman. I didn’t totally understand, but it had that “Faked” quality to it. Finally she set her sights on me. She would flip from sweet, helpful, appreciative, to shockingly, terrifyingly raging and abusinve in her language. And no, I DID NOTHING TO “SET HER OFF.”

Somewhere one expert described ‘psychopaths as “crazy people who don’t have the DECENCY to just go insane!” I really don’t think we can know what we’re getting into. The really awful part is that I think they look for people who HAVE to put up with them, for some reason or other. With Betty, the deeper she got into the academic program, the more captive — which made Dr. Wilma’s “duping delight” all that much more “fun” and dramatic. In my case, as a result of the earlier S/P, I had no other options in hand other than to live in this woman’s house and endure the abuse, hopeful that my work would pay off and I could get paid all those back wages. Which of course didn’t happen.

Betty, I believe that there are other similar victims. And armed with some solid support for this sort of dysfunction — that people CAN be crazy in the way that Dr. Wilma is — you may get your settlement and your fresh start, and Dr. Wilma may get her “early retirement.”

Thank you for sharing the story. It has many important little details that help to further explain the behaviors of these dysfunctional people.

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