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Lovefraud extra: It is time for Amy’s law

May, 2008 I brought to your attention the tragic case of Dr. Amy Castillo, a pediatrician who lost her court fight to protect her children from their psychopathic father. Unfortunately, I have to inform you that another two children have been lost and another mother named Amy is left asking how we let her down. Yes I said we let her down. The judge who allowed the children’s father, Michael Connolly to have unsupervised visitation was representing all of us.

We have to put our heads together and figure out how to change the system. Children need and deserve protection from sociopaths. Mothers and fathers like Amy made a mistake in marriage and love, that shouldn’t mean the children conceived should pay the ultimate price!

According to the Chicago Tribune Connolly, like Dr. Castillo’s ex-husband told people he would kill the children. “In court documents dating back to 2005, she (Amy) detailed her estranged husband’s threats against her family and fought unsuccessfully to keep him from having unsupervised visits with their two sons. Michael Connolly violated the orders of protection against him six times, police records said, and he often vowed to kill himself rather than be separated from the boys.”

Now I often tell people not to believe sociopaths. Here is the official Lovefraud exception to that rule: If a sociopath says he/she is going to kill someone, believe him/her.

I ask that everyone reading this blog write their lawmakers and submit editorials to newspapers about the need to protect children. Not just physically but emotionally too. I also welcome your ideas about what we as a community should do.

One other thing, let’s get the word out that family members have to stop covering for sociopaths and enabling them. Don’t let pity cloud judgment, and stand in the way of safety. The Tribune quotes Connolly’s aunt as saying, “I feel sorry for Michael”¦I know that sounds terrible, but he must have been so tormented.”

(Thank you to Rune, who brought this story to my attention)


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106 Comments on "Lovefraud extra: It is time for Amy’s law"

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Liane: I am crying as I write. What can we even say? If Amy should come here seeking answers, what can we say to her? She did everything she knew. The system ran along, ignoring every sign until the unspeakable happened.

These disordered people are not just crazy, they can easily be DEADLY crazy. They destroy those around them. When we are tempted to explain away, and bargain, and wonder “Is he/she really so awful?” Crazy is crazy — a disordered person WILL NOT ACT LIKE THEY ARE “SUPPOSED TO,” and wishing and hoping they will come to their senses only leads to tragedy.

We have so many tragedies in our stories here on LF — broken hearts, broken dreams, and children in peril. Every one of us who is still hoping it can be better with the S/P is still imagining that they are NOT crazy.

If from our romances with psychopaths we have had children, we should etch this story in our brains. Children who are being parented by a psychopath are in peril. Psychopaths create trauma and danger for those around, and children are the most vulnerable. Some psychopathic parents destroy their children by poisoning their minds and hearts against the other parent and against what is good. And too many present this ultimate, irretrievable danger.

This tragedy was preventable. All the signs were there FOR YEARS!

We can stand up for ourselves as we stand up for the children and do our best to make people aware of this disorder and the dangers that these people present.

I remember Amy Castillo’s story from last year and how VERY ANGRY it made me, how powerless and ENRAGED I was and I can’t even begin to imagine how traumatized Dr. Castillo was by what happened.

I called then for the judge to be disbarred, jailed even.

I am so sorry that this has happened to another Amy, and I am sure she is NOT the only one it has happened to in that time frame, we just don’t know about the others. Plus, all the lesser abuse than murder is of course rampant and we KNOW that.

The “solution” is….WHAT?

How to stop people from ENABLING these predators, these disordered people from hurting others? I wish I knew. The woman who gave me birth is STILL ENABLING my own son who has already killed once, and THERE IS NO DOUBT that he tried to have me killed, and I do not doubt that he would have also killed, or had killed, his brothers AND the very woman who enables him.

I saw a show on television a couple of days ago, “48 Hours Mystery” about Christopher Porco, convicted of killing his father with an ax as the man lay sleeping and severely hacking his mother in an attempt to kill her as well, to inherit their life insurance. He showed all the marks of a psycho/sociopath and even the police actually USED THIS WORD about him. Though he had NOT been violent previous to this attack, to one who knows the patterns of psychopaths, he had the pattern of escalating behavior, stealing from his parents, pathological lying to agrandize himself as a “rich” kid to his frat brothers, and rage at his father for not “bailing him out” from his crimes and enabling him further.

I share your frustration, Liane, and the sadness for the pain and horror that psychopaths at all levels inflict on their victims. I wish I knew the answer to how to educate judges, courts, police, and social workers to the potential dangers of these monsters….thanks for another reminder of just h ow lethal these people ARE.

I was equally as affected by Rosalyns story. I held my children a little extra special and longer the first night I read her story. And it wasnt so much the story although it was obviously a big part of it — it was the inability in todays world for the precious child or her family, friends, community to not be able to do a damn thing about it. Now Amy’s story. Now more love and hugs to my kids and more prayer for answers and action for the innocent kids who are at the mercy of physically and emotionally abusive mentally-ill parents.

So its a failed system from awareness to finding refuge to prosecuting — all the whille the innocent children suffer in our country as much as if not worse than in third world nations whose children suffer from poverty and hunger. The only difference is theirs is in the public eye and so many of our children suffer in silence.

Who can help get these monsters away from the children? Who can mandate something needs to be done? Who can provide an outlet for these kids? Who can take a stand, who can be held responsible in their jobs as one of their job requirements — where does, where can change begin to take place? IMHO — where the children spend 6 – 8 hours a day (children who are not homeschooled). There needs to be SOME KIND OF FILTERING SYSTEM…. How many times has a school official witnessed it — a toxic parent, verbally and physically. How many teachers feel there hands are tied? Yet they should be required by law to mandate an investigation and the child be removed from the home.

PEDIATRICIANS — How many know… suspect… but dont get involved.

COACHES — DITTO.

FRIENDS — DITTO

FAMILY — DITTO DITTO DITTO

HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOMS – Heres one for you. My daughter injured her leg on the lacrosse field, had to take her to ER for xrays – as they triaged her, with me sitting next to her, the nurse asked her STANDARD questions…. and the nurse ended with ” Im required by law to ask you if you feel abused in any way” – and she also said it in a tone like I know this is a weird question, but I gotta ask it…. I was flabbergasted… I remember thinking my gosh, what if I was an abusive parent – this child wouldnt say a word – BECAUSE I WAS RIGHT THERE BESIDE HER — DUH. And why wouldnt the nurse approach it in a more serious caring safe manner – in case the child was being abused… and needed that nurse to make her feel safe to say — my mom/dad gave me this injury at home!! NOTHING IS IN PLACE FOR ANY VICTIMIZED CHILDREN. NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING.

Children should have more rights than they do. Young chidren should be exposed to education regarding parental abuse. AND our country has to step up and stand up and advocate for CHANGE.

The disappointments of the ways of the world keep piling on every single day. It is not insights that can create change it is action. Where to begin.

…everyone reading this blog should write their lawmakers and submit editorials to newspapers about the need to protect children from abuse and mental illness. Not just physically but emotionally too.

If anyone doesn’t know how to write these letters to lawmakers and government officials, here something you can start with:

“As a citizen and taxpayer who has experienced and witnessed too much evidence of the failure of government programs to protect our children and to support their wellbeing, I want more legislative and government support of this crucial issue.”

Liane is encouraging us to fight for more awareness of dangerous parents in custody hearings, and more legal education in the dangers presented by N/S/P individuals.

In addition to writing newspapers and lawmakers, we can write the American Bar Association or call them ask to speak with someone who knows about continuing education for lawyers. Maybe Liane can give us some advice about that.

As a professional PR person, I believe that we have more power with a united front. That is, if we begin to link ourselves under the banner of some association. One person speaking up is good, an expression of personal concern. One person representing 100 others is better.

We don’t have to get complicated about this. We don’t want our children or anyone else’s placed in the hands of sociopaths. That’s pretty simple. We don’t want courts awarding custody, even unsupervised visitation, to sociopaths. The repercussions on the child, and ultimately on society at large, are too awful.

If anyone else has any ideas about how to communicate what we really want to say, this might be a good place to brainstorm them.

Kathleen,

I totally agree with everything you say! Part of the problem, besides lack of education of professionals, is that some of the darned Ps are so good at masking their intentions. The old “it takes two to fight” crap, too, and that a “child is always better off with TWO parents” and other things that are NOT ALWAYS TRUE is part of the “politically correct” culture that seems to be held on to as TRUTH even when it isn”t. Or, People don’t want to make a Solomon-like decison so they just “punt” to the politically correct “fairness to everyone.” (theory) of course, it isn’t fair to the kids, but they “did the best they could” (they tell themselves.)

Okay, Oxy, thanks for the contribution to the brainstorming.

So what do we want? What would we ask for, if we knew we could not fail. (There are no wrong answers in brainstorming. It’s just collecting ideas.)

BTW, I found a really great list of things to watch out for at http://holywatersalt.blogspot.com/search/label/identification. It’s down at the bottom of the first article under the heading “A Simple List.”

Maybe we could develop a list like that to help people identify sociopaths.

I think that if we are going to write letters to our congressmen, governors, etc. we need to:

1) We need copies of the newspaper articles (xerox copies) to enclose with the letters to people.
2) we need to develop a “form letter” that we can all copy off and send
3) we need to access a link with the addresses and proper ways to address these letters “The Honorable Judge Whoever” etc. to make it easy for people to print these off, sign them and send them.
4) etc.

Since you are the PR person and SUCH A GREAT WORD SMITH, I nominate you to write the letter. LOL How is that for Delegation! ha ha

We can also give copies of these letters to others to send as well so that each of us can get 10 other people to send these letters in their names as well to the congressmen and senators, etc. Maybe the Attorney General of each state as well.

We could have a list so that we made sure that each AG in each state got at least several letters, and all the congressmen and women got at least one, and maybe more letters with copies of the articles. If anyone KNOWS a congressman or woman personally they could call them, ditto the AGs, governors and so on.

I am not sure how many people actually participate here on LF, but hopefully all the people here who are active readers might be willing to help.

Also, I know some groups that might also take up that cause, and we might also recruit church groups or other groups to also partcipate in sending out the letters. The more the better. Also, possibly someone with media connections might get an article printed in their local newspaper. Our local paper is VERY small but because of that they will publish anything anyone sends in. I would be glad to send in copies of the two newspaper articles about the two amy’s and their stories and it would most likely get published.

Also letters to editors in newspapers is another good way, and maybe even call your local television station and send them a copy as well. I think if there are 100 of us here who will work on this campaign we could at least get a start, and if we spread the word maybe others would take up the flag as well. I’m in, how about the rest of you?

I’m not writing anything until I get more information about what we want to say. That’s why I’m asking us to brainstorm. My work is synthesizing the input of a lot of people. Building a consensus framework.

So, people, what do you want to say? Or maybe more to the point, what do you want to accomplish?

Oxy’s thinking through the administrative stuff, and she could use a hand in that too.

I’m trying to figure out what we want out of this, and I need a hand too. If I know what you want and what’s important to you, I can craft something.

Imagine this, we’re all sitting around together in a room with coffee and tea, cookies and fruit. I’m standing at a whiteboard on the wall, writing things down as you speak up. What would you like to see changed?

And again, don’t worry about it being practical or even making sense. There are no wrong answers here. I’ll synthesize it into something that works when I have enough input.

An awareness to the community family teachers pediatricians that in order to successfully prosecute these people they need to take a pro active role in documenting, providing, taking pictures, record conversations. Take the time to help build the case, dont wait until some huge final blowup occurs and go to court with just one day to try to pursuade a judge to cast guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt from one horrific event. HAVE CONCRETE EVIDENCE, NOT HERESAY. Wives and mothers especially have to be diligent with careful yet direct means to gather evidence.

A new law in place Amys Law — first time offenders – put away for life.

Provide/include list of sociopathic traits/behaviors

Educational classes provided to judges so they can learn to differentiate these people as they stand before them as the plaintiff..

Input of children…childrens voices heard… no more “protecting them” the way the laws are in place from years ago — its harming them by not being able to be encouraged to step up and speak for themselves.

Admission of prior history of violence, DUIs, anything along criminal records to me able to be admissible when involving custody hearings. Often so much is inadmissble when in fact it adds to the overall history of the Sociopath….

More to follow…

Dr Leedom
Im not a US resident, but do testing on parents for custody/access for court. Testing for personality disorders is done on every parent, always, and if one is disordered, and the other isnt, they have a slim chance of getting custody.
What is more common is that both have a disorder, usually different, and then the court has to decide who is better. Not easy for the judge, as they are not doctors.
It comes down to the arguments of the opposing psychologists. I can tell you that after my experience with an N, Id do anything to keep a child away from that stuff.

The awareness that these sociopaths can be brought to justice much easier if criminal history is permissible/admissable.

If two parents show up for custody battles involving accusations of mental illness – automatic supervised visits – no excuses. Protect the child during legal battle = the minute the case is filed supervised visits mandatory until case is decided.

First violation of orders of protection – custody taken away permanently.

If there is recorded telephone conversations messages, threats —- make them admissable – where children are concerned — any evidence of threat of death, abuse — custody taken away permanently…

more to follow

Grant: I don’t know where you are doing testing, but I know that in this area the system DID NOT WORK. One parent DID show up as disordered, but retained custody and regular visitation.

I fear that part of the issue is that personality disorders are not well understood, either in the mental health community or within the judicial system.

Do people think that this is like “slightly out of order”? Like “messy thinking”? “Dangerously crazy but passing for normal” is a better description. Perhaps with that designation, we could get further with protecting the children. We would also do a bit better at separating ourselves from them, and maintaining NC.

Rune
Generally, two healthy people, while they may not want to stay with each other, are able to come to a mutual agreement about their children’s best interests. When a protracted custody battle starts, you can bet that there is at least one disordered party involved.
I think you are right – they are just not well understood. They are underestimated. Also, it is a non-mental-health professional (the judge) who makes the final decision.

-mental health evaluations Mandatory – MANDATORY for all parties involved including kids.

-disbarring of judges who drop the ball mandatory

My sister and I were taken into the judges chambers ALONE probably 6 and 7years old… my grandparents were raising us – my mom had “returned” to take her daughters with her …my father was notified and went through the entire system to gain full custody of us… at end….he won.)

But the environment for me, the judges appearance (black robe, etc) the coldness surrounding the “meeting” and the fear I had about being asked to tell him who I wanted to live with was overwhelming. Limited recollection of it, but I believe it ultimately helped my father win the custody battle.

Thank you. LTL. Great stuff. Keep it coming.

LTL, Grant, KH: Ah, my dears — part of the problem is that mental health professionals may also be psychopathic, along with judges and lawyers. Note that a psychopathic individual wants to have control, unsupervised, unchallenged. The counseling office provides that. The judge’s chambers provide that. The lawyer’s office, with his degrees and license, all provide that.

I know for a fact that a psychopathic individual that I knew, who threatened my life, went on to get a degree and a license to practice as a psychotherapist in the very state where he had been charged with a felony for his treatment of me. I realized, after many things fell apart for no good reason, that I had hired a lawyer who wasn’t getting the job done; later experience showed me definitively that he was psychopathic. (Not merely my opinion. I can recount the story in detail — all the signs are there.)

Remember how we counsel people here on LF to have witnesses? We need a system that includes education and review — not just more laws, but an openness to peer review and consequences for misbehavior. We need witnesses to the sorts of decisions that would let a dangerous man like Michael Connolly back on the street — WITH HIS CHILDREN — so that he could carry out his explicitly stated threats. In this case, is the judge an accessory before the fact to the murder of those boys?

We need education among the masses, and we need to get people to rally around this concept of protecting others from the fallout of these “DANGEROUSLY CRAZY” people. (Not “merely disordered,” but DANGEROUS.)

Dear Rune,

Guess what…as I was writing my thoughts…I actually thought…bet some judges are disordered, and mental health professionals and probably even some stenographers in the courtroom!

But Im not looking to save the world.. For every one professional psychopath there are hundreds who arent. There are going to be stories (as with CPS — some bad ones, some remarkable rescue ones)… the point is nothing at all is in place for the hundreds of healthy professionals working for a greater cause and rescue — FOR THE CHILDREN.

Yes Connolly case — made me add above if judge drops ball – DISBARRED IMMEDIATELY.

Yes Connolly case made me add above about family friends community (Witnesses) receiving awareness education about how to prepare to prosecute a psychopath well before papers are served… documentation, pictures, recordings, texts, msgs, etc.

We have to start somewhere – Rome wasnt built in a day – but Rune I am with you – 100 percent that this ultimately is going to be a public forum along the lines of “Getting out to vote” across the country…. ie..”Stand up to Protect Our Children from Sociopaths”

Yes, LTL, we have to start! And in the process we will be educating everyone about this issue. If we describe what they are, it will make it easier for those of us who have been targeted to find acceptance of the truth of it within the mainstream.

And, if I may, I hold out hope that if public attention focuses on this, we can find ways to identify root causes, and even to overcome genetic predispositions in the children by appropriate intervention, education, and love.

Rune – Dern, you just made me cry… your hope is my hope too…

You know what, as I was sitting here reading through all the ideas, suggestions, and picturing Kathy up there with her dry erase board and her markers, writing all our suggestions down, and we’re all sitting around in sweats drinking tea, coffee, and eating cookies—and I just realized how DARNED MUCH I LOVE YOU GUYS and how much a wonderful part of my recovery and healing you have been. What an awesome bunch of folks you are!

When I read the Amy Castillo report, I was still in such pain at the time that I was just enraged, angry, wanted to “kill someone” myself (the man who did that to her kids) and just hurt for her….but now, now that I have more energy, and am further along where I do have the energy to focus outside my own skin, I want to DO SOMETHING about this—take up the flag and run up the hill…to let the sacrificed lives of those prescious children accomplish something….to let them become the POSTER CHILDREN for the other children who are not yet dead. Like the “Amber Alerts” have saved lives, so maybe the “Amys Laws” will save the lives of other children.

I sit here with tears falling down my face, and we can’t help those children who are gone now, but we can help the children not yet born, and the mothers and fathers who will face those judges with the “ultimate” power of life and death for these children. It probably won’t happen over night, but it will happen if we devote outselves, and the knowledge that we have gained ourselves at such a high price….let’s make a DIFFERENCE with what we have learned….let us help reach out a hand to those mothers, fathers and children….we are in a UNIQUE POISITION TO KNOW what they face in dealing with the psychopaths. I love you guys!!!! ((((BIG HUGS)))) and all my prayers.

Oxy – Please pass me the kleenex box. Jeez I no sooner get myself together after Runes words and Im right back where I started with your inspirational and loving words. I clicked on to Amy Castillos link as I wasnt here when it was first posted. There are no words. There are no words. Truly there are no words after just reading her story. except….love you too

I also would like to mandate that the judges who set these P’s free – receive “punishment” in the form serving additional hours of service with residing judges and lawschools of educating/ sharing their experience from their chair… Share what they witnessed, what convinced them, what laws they felt supported the custody be awarded to a diagnosed mentally ill man – share that he often represented himself (HUGE RED FLAG)…share his testimony – and then share the newsarticles of how the man he set free murdered three beautiful innocent children.

Its along the lines of the surgeon who admitted my daughter on the presurgical observation floor of childrens hospital. Under observation for potential life threatening illness — all licensed physicians went into surgery or to their practices that day and their protocal is to let resident and interns “monitor” these patients.

I am proud to say, after dropping the ball with my daughter, childrens hospital no longer leaves “observation for potential surgical procedures” in the hands of residents/interns.

Once the word is out – once awareness is there – where its about the mistake that was made or through seeing the transcripts of the mastermind of Sociopath in the courtroom – once others are educated – rules change.

Beam me up Scotty . At the age of 52 I did not know what a psychopath was . Now when I say that , I was aware of the people like ted bundy and co as per the news net works but I never suspected that I would ever end up living with one and falling in love with one . In my case a female one . What am I saying here . Psychopaths are mankinds dark dirty secret and nobody wants to talk about it . Consequently the majority of the population knows nothing of it . The only ones that have any idea are the psychopath victims , the ones closest to the psychopaths . Most of them are living traumatised lives and as such are hardly aware of their own condition , let alone able to understand it and escape from it .It is as if mankind is living in a perceptual fog as far as being aware of these creatures . Is it coincidence or by design that we are floundering around in this fog . In the modern age with all the information that is out there about psychopaths how is it that the general population knows about as much about them as they know about 10th century mongolian needle point . Well can you smell the conspiracy yet . All through the ages there are hints of their existance , whether it be Caligula’s Rome , Hitlers third Reich or the symbolic vampires in Hollywood movies . The evidence is all there , but somehow, for the most part ,people are not seeing the psychopaths that they run into in their everyday lives . Kids go to school to learn mathematics , languages ,the sciences ,art etc but no where have I heard of a class called psychopath 101 . For the most part any teachings on psychopaths seems to be some small section of a psychology or psychiatry degree . My own schooling in the subject of psychopaths involved a real life encounter that almost psychologically destroyed me, followed by lots of reading trying to figure out what had been done to me , followed by further encounters to see what I could learn about them and see if I could out maneuver them. Heh…, I didn’t even sign up for the course . Now I am a real life psychopath detector which means that most people I know think I am nuts . The few that can relate , because they went to the same school have become closer friends . The world has a BIG problem . The world has to become more aware of the psychopaths around them . How about psychopath pride day , you know ,parades and all that , kind of like gay pride day . Maybe that will help them come out of the closet . They do like being the center of attention after all . How about some reality TV .“ Survivor “Romantic encounters with real life psychopaths . How about T shirts sold in pairs . One that says PSYCHOPATH , the other , PSYCHOPATH VICTIM . Trying to get psychopathic politicians to raise awareness of psychopaths would be like trying to raise the Titanic with a rubber dingy . And here lies the conspiracy . The people that rule the world do not want us gentle loving humans to realise that the people that are pulling the strings are for the most part psychopaths . Good heavens no , it might cause us to become unruly and we might descriminate against the psychopaths . Psychopaths have rights too you know , the right to express themselves in all their gory nastiness at our expense . The laws of the land protect the villans better than they protect the victims , and if that is not a conspiracy I don`t know what is.

I don’t know if someone already suggested this as I’m only able to skim the replies. If so forgive the redundancy… Each of the state bar associations has their own publication (sometimes different ones for different sections) read by attorneys and judges. It think an educational article in one or more of those would be a good place to start.

You have “low moral reasoning ability”, and then you have ’situational, unexercised reasoning deficit’. Assuming the judge isn’t the former, they’re the latter.

Everybody knows how hard it is to educate somebody who’s “in-S-perienced.” The truth is, most good and decent people have their heads up their asses. I sure did, even after several S encounters. It took my gaining the insight that my sociopathic friend wore a ’normal mask’, and that this behavior was exactly like all the other nice/evil people I’d known, before I began my knowledge quest.

Not only does a thing have to impact one personally, but they need insight and knowledge that reaches them on a emotional level. When I told my in-S-perienced wife that our friend had psychopathic qualities, I got the crazy look ”“ as in I was crazy.

I eventually figured out that some people get it right away, but usually you have to find a common reference in which to plant seeds of knowledge.

The “pundit” Chris Matthews asked about Blagojevich on national TV: “Is the guy crazy or stupid or what?” All the other political experts began to hash out all kinds of reasons why Blago was acting the way he was – mostly complicated rational ones. Everything but “sociopath” or “psychopath” was mentioned. Cue the S-perienced commentors on political blogs armed with links to Hare or wikipedia or whatever might work to educate their debate pals.

(Kathleen Hawk is looking at me exasperated with her hands on hips but white board marker still in hand…)

Okay, sorry. Back on topic. Amy needs good fact by fact evidence about her P which can then be supplemented with our vast S knowledge base. I’d suggest a format like this:

1a. Amy’s evidence/perception/fact/witnessed event…
1b. Concise credible quotes or links to experts (which busy authority figures will read and understand)

2a.
2b. etc..

Of course, a brief intro and summary before and after the list would be good.

And what the hell ever happened to Dr. Castillo’s judge?

Hi, I just checked into this thread before I go to bed. And this is wonderful. I have almost a whole whiteboard filled up. So now I’m moving to the next one.

I’m switching colors too, putting away the purple marker, picking up the green one. Just for some visual interest.

The late night crew is bringing in oysters, champagne and little tiny chocolate cakes. (I’ve got some money coming in tomorrow, so I put it on my card.)

Drink up and talk more about how we like to see things change. This is GREAT STUFF. Keep it coming.

Kathy

I’m also checking in before I sign off. I feel such a rising tide of resolve and agreement here.

I can wish this existed so many years ago, but my experience then makes me a ready soldier now.

May we share pre-cognitive dreams that encourae us to see the children we will rescue, the lives we can save with our caring hearts and our well-educated minds.

Good morning, brainstormers. Here’s a wrap-up from yesterday. Which hopefully will give you more ideas.

We have the beginning of a network of related actions:

* Educate the legal professionals — judges, police, attorneys

* Educate the child protectors — doctors, nurses, psychologists, teachers

* Educate people

* Seek new laws that bring personality disorder issues into the family courts in custody hearings

* Seek repercussions for judges who enable parental abuse or violence against children

These seem to be the big themes (though if they need to be broken down, they can be).

Oxy has already begun a practical list of things we need to do to get ready. These include:

* copies of the newspaper articles (xerox copies) to enclose with the letters to people.
* a “form letter” that we can all copy off and send
* address lists for specific campaigns

I would add a collection of articles or research (URLs are fine) that we think are particularly useful in explaining sociopaths in a credible way. These would include:

* descriptions of sociopathic behavior
* impact on sociopaths on community or work environments
* impact of sociopaths on children

That’s where we are so far. At minimum, I think we need more ideas to fill in these bullet points.

We may have more bullet points to add.

Again, we’re simply brainstorming here. What we want done and how to do it. There are no wrong answers, no matter how outrageous or impractical. Anything that occurs to you is good.

Finally, this may look big and complicated, but actually this is all linked very well. It’s really one thing with different facets.

So that’s really good. Anything we do in one area will support the others.

Congratulations on a fabulous first day, I’m here with my green marker. Keep it coming.

I would also like to contribute something to our white board. A baseline description of what we are talking about. I think it’s important that we have an umbrella definition of sociopaths that breaks through the mass-media impressions of homicidal maniacs (while not excluding them.) A phrase that we can allows us to develop specifics in our arguments.

So here is what I suggest: Sociopaths are destructive emotional cripples.

The only thing of importance that I can think of adding is that they are incurable. But I think that is something we can make a secondary fact. The more important point is that they are destructive. Even if they could be treated, they are still destructive.

How they are destructive is something we can develop, depending on the audience. And this leaves us a clear path for developing our lists of protective strategies that we would want to present to various audiences — from knowledge to what needs to be done.

There are people who are working on these issues, such as the California Protective Parents Assn.

http://www.protectiveparents.com/

Thanks, Donna. That’s a really helpful link. Hard to read. But a lot of good information.

My last comment explained with a bit more clarity:

1. It’s a good idea to stick with scientific credibility. Anything that sounds conspiratorial, paranoid, fringe, or histrionic could be taken as such by authority which probably receives and round files that kind of stuff every day.

2. IMO, Political figures tend to be persuaded more by movements within their constituency, than they “want to do the right thing”, so grass roots efforts to popularize a simple rational explanation of what most normals have at some time experienced, but not been able to clearly explain, is a must.

3. Powerful figures are also usually “players”. They cannot be allowed to confuse sociopaths with other “players”.

Thanks, Donna,

You know, Guys, we might be more effective if we were to join with a group of people who are already working on this. I will check out that link later today, don’t have time right now.

At the time MADD was formed I don’t think there was a group working on that, but they have really become quite effective (not effective ENOUGH) but they have made a huge start and have a national presence.

If there ARE groups out there already, national or local, I think we also need to find them and to think about joining in some of their efforts—both donations of funds if we can afford it, or offer to do leg work in our areas for them.

I think we can ALSO keep going with our own letter writing and publication agenda as well….the more the merrier!

I appealed to (what I saw to be) honest, legitimate authority twice about sociopaths. But that was back in the day when I couldn’t clearly explain what I was taking about. Both times my concerns were brushed off as “typical office fun and games” or “personality conflicts”. And both times, that authority was eventually ruined by the very sociopath I had been warning them about. If I had only been able to better tie my own interests with those of said authority. If I just had the wisdom about how to approach those guys again today to discuss for mutual benefit: “How could I have warned you better?”

S O S, you wrote:

If I just had the wisdom about how to approach those guys again today to discuss for mutual benefit: “How could I have warned you better?”

I love the communication principle in that sentence. There is a wonderful book, quite old now, which was written for women entering a male-dominated workforce, called “Games Your Mother Never Taught You.” And one of the best chapter was about asking for a raise or a promotion. You go into these meetings talking about the money they are or will be making because of the change you are requesting.

Thinking about how to talk about sociopaths — or however we ultimately decide to define the objects of our concern — we have to think about why anyone would care. First to listen to us at all. And then to take steps that we are promoting. And, of course, the best arguments always begin with the listener’s self-interest.

So what happens when you throw someone without conscience into any social mix — whether it’s a family, a work environment or a church? What happens to the social dynamic, the individuals and what we would call in the business world “the asset value”? Which would be the total of all the material and non-material assets of the group.

There is so much literature scattered around about the impact of sociopaths on their environments. But not much is organized in this way. Still, from our own experiences we know what to look for. Fear and power plays increase in the group. Material resources change ownership, out of the group and into the sole hands of the sociopath. Human resources lose value as they become demoralized, distracted by unproductive dramas, and ultimately alienated or emotionally broken. Social or organizational structures become increasingly dysfunctional around this destruction of group resources.

I think to make this case, we have to come prepared with both credible literature and our own documentation of events (if we’re inside the group). Any one of the three areas of decreased value mentioned above can be a starting point.

Sometimes just laying information on the proverbial table, and walking away can be the most effective thing. People resist knowing they have a problem, and tend to shoot the messenger. Better to just drop it off, say “Now you see what I see,” and let it sink in.

That would be my strategy. But as you say, it used to be hard to talk about this. It’s getting easier the more we talk here. And some of us are getting really articulate.

Maybe this brainstorming exercise will help us become more articulate and more credible. That is my hope.

Oxy, that’s a good idea if we can find another group that shares our interest in educating the public about sociopaths. Or if we can find one that is interested in what knowledge and experience we can bring them in identifying them, dealing with them and minimizing the damage.

One of the important things that we potentially offer is help before the damage. Or ways to see through and deal with something that seems like “inexplicable bad.” By clarifying the differences between these people and empathetic people, we can also start making demands on the systems. For empathy, for conscience-based standards of behavior.

It’s a little strange to think that we’d have to make a point of this. We assume that this is the ordinary reality. But it’s not if sociopathic behavior becomes institutionalized or generally accepted as good or understandable.

So we can fight at a different level, and arguably one that is more powerful. Because in protecting our children, or warning people who might be involved with sociopaths, or identifying destructive behavior in the workplace, we are helping to avoid expensive, painful messes that ripple out to affect more and more lives.

Again, if we’re lucky enough to find someone work the same path, I think that would be great. Or a group that sees how our message can add value to theirs. But I hope we don’t get subsumed into an effort that focusses solely on the victims.

The real power of what we have to say is that we are talking about the perpetrators. Naming them, describing them, surviving them, avoiding them and occasionally outsmarting them. The perpetrators come before the victims, and to the extent the we can make it harder for perpetrators to operate, we make this a better world.

Do I sound bombastic. Sorry. I’m passionate about this. But I could have my mind changed, if you think I’m wrong.

I don’t think there is a broadbased group dealing with educating the populace about the Cluster B’s. The closest I can think is the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. See http://www.psychopathysociety.org/
They have a strong research focus. The young woman who conducted an online survey some time back with LFers is a student member. I applaud the researchers for promoting understanding of the disorders but I lament that fact that so much of their findings stay in the ivory towers.

Another group worth mentioning that has been affected by Cluster Bs with tragic results is the Support Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). See http://www.snapnetwork.org/

In addition to the target groups in need of education that Kathy has summarized, I’d like to jump off from SOS’s earlier post on Blagojevich and add journalists. They are the gatekeeps of public opinion and knowledge and have absolutely no clue. I had the same reaction as SOS when a reporter referred to Blago’s behavior as “baffling.” It is NOT baffling; it is textbook behavior for a Cluster B!

Another really important target for cluster B education is psychology faculty as a group. Indeed they will be training the future mental health workers who need to understanding the disorders.

I’ve mentioned Hervey Cleckley’s before, but his laments are worth mentioning here as well in that as early as 1941 he decried the scant references in the medical texts to psychopathy. The situation has not changed – even in the psychology texts. I looked at a psych text in August and was struck by how much more ink was devoted to schitzophrenia and eating disorders (which are statistically rarer than Cluster B personality disorders and create havoc for far fewer affected parties) than was devoted to the cluster Bs. ASPD was mentioned but featured a picture of Hannibal Lector. Though the caption added that most antisocials are not serial killers, the use of such an emotionally compelling photo will only increase the misperception in the students’ minds that all antisocials are killers. And of course such killers are rare …. so hey not a disorder worth thinking about…

Okay, enough ranting. I’m probably preaching to the converted anyway. 🙂

There was recent article in O magazine that featured stories almost identical (and equally heartbreaking) to those described on the California Protective Parents Association.

No, Kathy, I don’t think you are wrong at all….the ONLY thing I see about this is that there is so much disagreement in the PROFESSIONAL MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY, about IF these people can be “rehabilitated”—-I don’t have enough “letters” after my name to be considered an “expert” so I can present myself to a court, or judge or anyone else as an “expert” I can ONLY present myself as a CITIZEN wanting ACTION taken by the professionals and by the legislatures to have THEM decide what to do….DUH, does that make any sense.

Even if I had 100 “letters” after my name and the degrees to back them up, there are probably others with as many letters who would get on a witness stand and also give CONFLICTING expert testimony. Since human psychology is not seen “scientifically” mostly, it is it SEEMS TO ME, more “opinion based” than say “rocket science” or “physics” in which you can experimentally PROVE that 2+2 ALWAYS =s 4.

However, as a “concerned citizen” I can raise hell about the DEATHS of children who were turned over to these predatory parents by a JUDGE’S BAD DECISION. And, not just one death, but the deaths of several children, and we also ought to do some searches on “statistics” to make this whole thing ring better as well. Anyway, just some ideas to bounce out there with for rumination and thoughts and ideas for others to knock down or build up—just brainstorming.

Leah, thanks for your input.

Journalists are on all the list groups, though not mentioned because we need a news hook for them. Just briefing them isn’t enough. It’s got to be associated with some other action or news. If and when we get active on any level at all, even a letter-writing campaign, we have something to take to them. Any educational initiative will include them.

And by that time we should have some simple, bullet-pointed background points and action points to present to them. (The less you ask a journalist to think, the more likely you’re going to get some coverage.)

I’m just staring to ready Hervey Cleckley excerpts where I can find them. I really like his writing and feel like his observations and interpretations are very compatible with the way I think. I understand his book is out of print and very expensive, but I think I’m going to set up a standing search for it on a couple of antiquarian book sites to see what comes up.

I think the failure of the psych world to attend to S/N/Ps has to do with the way they’ve described and categorized them. And the fact that, at least as a group, they don’t seem to understand these syndromes and their impact except as bad things. Which is true, they’re certainly destructive. But all the current research seems to be off the DSM descriptions, which offer nothing about the inner world or the potential causes or the emotional dynamic that emanates from them into the world around them.

Clekley really seemed to “get” them, and to me that’s a lot more helpful — in identifying and dealing with them, as well as understanding how to treat people who have by damaged by them.

BTW, did you ever stumble on an article written by a therapist named Joe Carver, about avoiding “losers” when you’re dating. It’s one of the best descriptive and cautionary pieces I’ve ever read about S/N/Ps, though he never names them. Apparently he was bowled over by the response, and has written several follow-up articles, the latest more or less based on DSM descriptions. Which is like all things based on those descriptions scary, dull and unhelpful.

Here’s the original article; it’s posted in a lot of places: http://www.enotalone.com/article/4112.html

Thanks, Oxy. I totally understand your concern about credibility And it’s true, we’re not expert witnesses in the professional sense.

But my own feeling is that we can make a case. Just going in with passion, personal experiences and anecdotal evidence is better than not going in at all. But I think there’s more than enough information out there to build a credible case for several things.

One of them is the danger presented by people who have poor impulse control and no conscience.

Another is the general agreement among the psychiatric and law-enforcement communities that these people are not only untreatable, but often progress to become more dangerous.

Another is that many of them pass socially as “normal” without major police histories, while they are wreaking havoc with individual lives and organizations.

In a general sense, it might be difficult to quantify what they cost society, but it might be easier to provide information about the social costs of child abuse, and then link that back to them.

Of course, all of this has to come from credible sources. But I believe that’s possible. We may not need all this background to start up, but we will inevitably have to build a credible case if we hope to actually accomplish anything with institutions like education, the law and the training of therapists.

The other benefit of putting these facts together is that it will clarify what we really want to say. Our first impulse is to say that we’re upset and this is wrong. But as we build our case, we can refine that language to point out how damaged children go on to create his or her own trail of social cost. And that this isn’t just the “private” business of a family, but something that affects all of us directly or indirectly.

We walk a fine line here, because we don’t want to demonize everyone with a personality disorder. But we do want to make a case for concern about a certain type, and the reason that communities, educators, law enforcement, etc. need to be aware of these patterns of behavior and their larger implications.

It’s not the only thing wrong with our society, but if we can hammer this one nail a bit in the right venues, it might have it’s own ripple effect of making people think more about systems that create or foster this type of behavior.

Child protection is a very good place to start, I think. And a reasonable simple place to document.

I think you’re right in starting with your passion. But I suspect we can also come up with good, credible, reasonable answers to anyone who wants to challenge us.

“The Mask of Sanity” is available as a free ebook. Several sites offer it. Google the title and “free download” and you’ll get a variety of options. I didn’t include a direct link because I’m not that familiar with the sites…I borrowed a copy from a college library when I read it.

The psychopaths and sociopaths Cleckley describes seem almost quaint compared to some of the folks we on this site know. It seems that, like the cancerous cells they mimic within the collective body human, they metastasize into more dangerous entities with the passage of time.

I share everyone’s frustration in trying to communicate to the uninitiated just what a P really is. Long ago, when I was still in Stage One realization (pre-child-sex-abuse revelations), I tried to warn his family members so they could protect their elderly mother. I failed. I tried to warn his boss so that he wouldn’t lose money and goods. I failed. (And later, once the boss had been ripped off, he chastised me for NOT telling him the very things I had already told him!) Once Stage Two hit and I had the sick knowledge of just how bad he is, I tried to warn cops and investigators that their case was not strong enough, that they didn’t investigate far enough, and they ignored me as “a crazy, scorned woman,” or worse yet, a mother who MUST HAVE known, and so could be consequently ignored. So I failed there too.

The only success I’ve had in communicating the P facts is toward my youngest child, who remembered what I said and got away from him in time, before he dragged her down to the pits of hell he normally occupies. But it took over a year of living with him before she saw it.

I do not understand why the human mind cannot fully grasp the concept without having been through the victim experience. Even people who think they are cynical and tough-minded don’t get it. Nobody gets it.

Isn’t it time for the 100th monkey phenomenon to kick in? Aren’t there enough of us now?

Thanks for the lead on the book.

You’re right. It’s like trying to break through mass hypnosis.

But there must be something in their experience we can anchor it on.

Here is a link to the entire book, all 485 pages on scribd:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/13484297/CleckleyMask-of-Sanity-1

Kathleen and all,

There is much I’d like to say but will have to hold off until tomorrow or the weekend but I’d like to point to Barbara Oakley’s book, articles, and interviews on Cluster Bs (mostly Borderlines). She is a systems engineer, not a mental health expert but has parlayed her personal experience with a disordered sister, keen research prowess, and lively writing style in a really compelling book and series of informative PR pieces. I think she displays a canny understanding of both PR and the zeitgeist of the times by using slightly tongue in cheek title – Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. Despite the lighthearted subtitle, the book is very thoroughly researched and a surprisingly pleasant read despite the subject matter. Her website is worth checking out: http://www.barbaraoakley.com/index.htm I’m really impressed with the way she has marketed the book. (See the radio and tv tab.) While she does discuss the mental health and neuro-imaging research and the various labels for cluster B’s she finesses the issue of choosing a precise name for them by refering to them throughout as “the successfully sinister.”

I’ll come back to the narrower issue of custody/child safety when I’m more alert.

Regarding educating journalists (and perhaps others), I’d like to reintroduce an idea that Oxdrover mentioned (perhaps jokingly) a very long time ago…(keeping in mind this is a brainstorming session)…What about a speakers bureau to address Journalism 101 classes. It would be really fun to go through current headlines with them and play “match the behavior to the symptoms in the DSM.” There are some advantage to catching journalists (or lawyers or any other group) when they are 20 versus when they are 40, 50, or 60 and already think they know everything.

Thanks, Leah. This is good stuff. And thanks for the lead on Barbara Oakley.

You had posted in another thread, maybe Part 6 of my series, on classroom education. I almost cut and pasted it into this thread. Would you mind if I did?

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