LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Trying to expose the sociopath made matters worse for me

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following from a reader who we’ll refer to as “Tanya.”

I was 35 when I met my sociopath we’ll call him Dave. I was in a top twenty graduate business program a magnet for narcissists and sociopaths, by the way! A culture that so prizes appearances, financial accumulation, and power must seem irresistible to people with those disorders.

Dave seemed so great at first attentive, interesting, intelligent, open, honest, fun. My friends warned that he was too flirty but I only took that as a sign that he was desirable and, hey, I won him over when others had failed.

We were off and on for a few months the usual drama of dating a pure sociopath took its toll right away. He did very scary things early on, like drink and drive, show up at my door in the middle of the night, call a dozen times a night, etc. etc. In the alcoholic daze that is your typical business school culture, his behavior didn’t stand out as much as it might in real life but it really should have at the time.

Finally we broke it off completely. Then one night I got a call from him he was in Brazil on holiday (he lived there for a few years before coming to Business School) and he was calling to tell me that he was engaged to a girl he’d met there. He put her on the phone so that she could be reassured that he was no longer involved with me. I thought it was crazy, but in my own attempts to CONTROL the crazy (always the first mistake), I took it upon myself to tell his friends at school about the call. I framed it like “Congratulate Dave! He tells me he’s engaged!” He was furious with me when he came back and his friends no doubt thought I was insane.

Later, his “fiance” called me a few times trying to find him. I “googled” her name on my computer— again in an attempt to control the crazy and found that he had been emailing her from my computer during the time we were dating. Then I found emails he had sent to a sex tourism site called Club Hombre. Over the previous two or three years, he had posted HUNDREDS of emails to this site, explaining his sexual exploits with prostitutes all over the world. His “fiance” was a prostitute. On the boards, he talked a lot about having unprotected sex with prostitutes in Rio and Turkey (both high HIV areas).

I was so petrified. I went to the school clinic and explained my situation. The nurse told me that I had a one in thirty two chance of having HIV and I had to wait a week for test results to come back (thankfully, negative). During that week I went to my school counselor (a 27 year old kid new on the job) and tried to explain my situation. I brought in print-outs of the postings Dave had made to the sex site, and a note from the clinic explaining the risks he had exposed me to. I wanted to somehow get this guy on record before he put other women in our school at risk, even if it meant humiliating myself. The counselor was skeptical. He asked me if I wanted to file a restraining order and I said “no”. I thought that would only make things worse.

As per procedure, he had to bring Dave in as well. When he asked Dave if HE wanted to file a restraining order, Dave said “yes”! So, as a reward for my efforts to work within the system, I got a restraining order filed against ME for harassing DAVE. One of the worst days of my life.

That was three years ago, and I still definitely bear the scars of the experience. I try to put the details out of my mind and, even as I read this, I can’t believe it happened.

I do my best to not fault myself for getting involved in the first place. As so many others on your site have said, I was behaving normally in an abnormal situation. What I DO fault myself for is trying to CONTROL the crazy. Every time I tried to control it and expose him, I only made things worse for myself. The true trauma wasn’t the stuff that happened between me and him, but the stuff that happened when I tried to expose him to others. It was so awful to see how easily sociopaths can bend the system to their will. Before then, I believed I lived in a just, fair world and that I could trust the system to protect me when I needed it. After Dave, I know now that I have to protect MYSELF.

When I’m philosophical about it, I just think that it’s only human to want to believe that we live in an ordered, just world. We want to believe it so much that we ignore the disorder and unfairness RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, and this blind spot is where the sociopath functions. I’m so thankful that I emerged with much less damage than some others. I only wish that there was a way to constructively deal with this to raise awareness about sociopathy in the same way that people raise awareness about cancer or drug abuse.

Thank you again for your site it was cathartic to share my story.

Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of
Ox Drover

WOW, so much going on in this group conversation I don’t know where to start so I will just START.

ALL: wonderful insights and comments!

EB: Yep, right on the money…when we feel defensive we are either being “attacked” or we are being told something we need to but don’t want to hear. we have to decide which it is.

I hope the cops are as irritated by his fake call as you are….wonder if they could trace the phone that made the call? But you know, if this cops pounding on your door at 1 a.m. is what it takes to really truly convince your oldest junior of what a piece of carp his daddy o is, then I think it might be worth it. Sometimes even the bad things have good results.

I realized finally I think it was 2-3 years ago now that healing is a JOURNEY NOT A DESTINATION and on that road on that journey we encounter more and more lessons as we grow. Of course the road gets better, smoother, but there ARE pot holes in the road as we go on. Plus, if we miss a lesson, it will come up again, another chance to learn it…I’ve had “psychopath 101” SEVERAL times because I had the class but did NOT learn the lesson. My husband used to say “life is a tough teacher, she gives the test first then the lesson.”

Bella, the suggestion to just go out and have an Easter Picnic is a good one I think. Spring is my “renewal” time as well. As I sit here in the woods on this Wednesday morning. I look out at the wild flowers I planted in my yard…some blooming that are as pretty as cultivated orchids and the green curtain that surrounds me, makes me again feel safe and protected.

Renew your spirit just as the earth renews each spring with new life.

Darwinsmom, Truthspeak and 20 years…great insights! Thank you all for your contributions to this conversation and to LF!!!!

Kimmie, my friend! I am sorry you are having a bad couple of days…but the reminders to keep your boundaries intact will present themselves every time we don’t keep them intact.

Aren’t you glad though that the lesson only cost you $15? That’s a really cheap lesson when you truly think about it. Usually the “tuition” to the University of Hard Knocks is much higher. I am glad that you have a JOB because there are lots of people without them. I’m sorry the boss is being so snarky, but not everyone is sweetness and light as we all know. LOL (((hugs) I’m proud of you, Kimmie..Just look where you were a couple of years ago, you’ve made progress and you are INDEPENDENT NOW…your own house, your own job and your own say so about it! No we never turn out like we imagined, but the journey is the fun!


Thank you ((Louise)), It’s a long road, I’m happy for your company.

I’m concerned that the Domestic disturbance call was meant to do more than just freak you out. It might be a tell as to what he is planning.

If the cops get enough crank calls, then when the real one comes in, they might not be so quick to respond. This could be a possible set up he is using. Don’t let him destabilize you. That’s always the first step they implement: create chaos and confusion, spread lies, slander. Until reality is so destabilized that they can insert their own reality. spath 101.

Don’t allow it. I’m so glad to know he has struck out in so many places.


Awesome thank you…Darwinsmom your suggestion of small creative projects is lliterally what saved my life and my home. Over a year ago I found a lost, thrown out antique dresser. It came home with me and with a ittle love and a paint brush and some new knobs… was transformed. It felt like coloring when I was a kid…..take a little color and a canvas and see it get completed. That led to another and another. i took the step to rent a booth in our up and coming downtown district. It was a huge step of faith,because if I failed I culd have lost my home over it……so it took belief in myself. That has since doubled-and I do shows, this year twice a month in the summer It helped me keep my home from forclosure and my mind from going insane. The owners are from the gay community,and they have loved me and become my ‘grlfriends’ that do not hit on me…and accept me, and I them.It helped me find who I am and how I like to dress…..a little more prairie girl with jean, denim and lace….and boots. Me, Grandme. I also began working out again, and I take my dog on walks….which is my time to pray and connect to nature. I agree with you. Each little step has made me stronger.

It was only when i went backwards….trying once again to be heard by this Pastor or bring peace in my heart by confronting her that I felt defeated again.

I need to keep moving forward…….. and Truthspeak I will be doing just that on Easter. Connecting to my God and Father without the walls of a Church institution.

Oxy….and all thank you for being there as I process this, and I do not want to stay the same, but be transformed by it.

Ox Drover

Good point Skylar…!!!!!


My Easter gift to you:

‘When we open our spiritual eyes and see, we will see in all events in life, whether great or small,whether joyful or sad,whether great or small, all are a “Chariot” for our souls………

Everything that comes to us becomes a chariot the moment we treat it as such;and on the other hand, even the smallest trial can become a juggernaut car to crush us into misery or despair if we let it.


It all depends,not upon what these events are, but upon how we take them.

If we lie down under them, and let them roll over us and crush us,they become the cars. But, if we can climb up into them,as into a car of victory…..

We make them carry us triumphantly onward and upward, they become Chariots of God. -Hannah Whitall Smith

hugs and thank you each one. S

Ox Drover

Bella, I think we posted over each other.

What a wonderful easter gift! thank you. And your post above about the antique dresser and how you have transformed it, rented a booth and giving shows now….transformed your dress, becoming a “new you” that is wonderfully new and wonderfully YOU in a new community of friends! WOW!!!! TOWANDA!!!! How great is that! That makes my heart sing for you Bella!

It is so good to think back to our “daze of crazeeee” when we first came here to LF and then to look AT WHERE WE ARE NOW and see just HOW FAR WE HAVE COME!

Sometimes I want to sit and weep at just the idea of how far I have come…not weep sad tears, but I guess tears of RELIEF and GRATITUDE rather than sadness.

1 18 19 20

Send this to a friend