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By | April 4, 2011 44 Comments

Announcing Lovefraud’s program for high school students about sociopaths and teen dating abuse

Thanks to the generous support of Lovefraud readers, our high school education program is underway. Over the last few weeks, I made a presentation called Sociopaths and Abusive Dating Relationships to three groups of New Jersey high school students—about 150 kids in all.

I had their full attention, and that’s putting it mildly. As I talked about my experience of being married to a sociopath, gave examples from the Lovefraud case files, and outlined the warning signs of sociopathic behavior in romantic relationships, I could see the reaction on their young faces: Shock. Incredulity. Horror.

In the end, though, the students realized that they had learned something really important: Sociopaths exist, and they can be anywhere.

I asked students to fill out evaluation sheets after the program, and their opinions were overwhelmingly positive. Here are some quotes:

“I think the presentation was very informative and important to learn about at our age.”

“It was very informative. Will benefit students later when and if they come in contact with a sociopath.”

“It was very interesting and educational. It taught me things I would never know and opened my eyes to reality.”

“I really learned a lot from this presentation. I think this should be taught everywhere to help people understand.”

More importantly, about a half-dozen students came up to me after the presentations. After hearing my information, they realized that they already had sociopaths in their lives.

One talked about a sociopathic mother. Another talked about a sociopathic father. Luckily, both of these teens were living with their healthy parent, and the disordered individual wasn’t a big part of their lives. Knowing what the problem was, however, still pained them.

Several students realized they were already involved in abusive dating relationships, and appreciated my advice for how to end them.

One young man was visibly emotional when he came up to me. He just realized that his former girlfriend was a sociopath. He had been so wrapped up with her, he said, that he wanted to either spend the rest of his life with her, or die. Well, thankfully the relationship ended and he was still there. But he shook my hand three times, grateful that I’d explained what he had experienced.

“Now you know what they are,” I said to him. “You’ll never fall for it again.”

Spreading the word

I am really energized about getting this message out to young people. I’ve taken the first step to publicize the program with a new page on Lovefraud.com. The page provides an overview of the program, and has links to 30 student testimonials from the surveys they filled out, a short YouTube video, and a downloadable information sheet.

You can see the page here:

Lovefraud Education Programs — Teen Dating Abuse

The program is appropriate for high school juniors and seniors. If you would like to bring it to a school near you, please contact Terry Kelly at [email protected]

 

 


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HeavenRoaming

This is what i was talking about , tackle the problem at its roots educate OUR CHILDREN , Knowledge and prevention is the only cure , Three cheers for you ,

Love you DONNA 🙂 🙂 🙂

Talking about sociopaths should be the norm not a TABOO

Hope to heal

Donna – I just watched the video clip. It would be wonderful if ALL high school kids could be educated on this subject. Although, by the time they are high school aged, a sociopathic parent has had about 16 years to brainwash them. It almost seems as if earlier might be better. Maybe 8th grade? I don’t know, just speculating…

Thanks so much for all you do Donna!! (((hugs)))

wrk4god

Thank you for your good works! If only… I would have been educated and such a pivotal age in my growth when my hormones were in control and not me. 🙂

I’d like to hear more about how this goes and what follow up is being done after the education to support the youth with this new found information.

xo

learning

Dear Donna,

I still receive LF correspondence which is sent to my cellphone. I was in the Dentists office today when an alert came that I received an E-mail from LF! I nearly jumped out of my seat when I read that you are lecturing at high schools! IT WAS LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE MOMENT!!! As I have always believed teaching our teenagers about Sociopaths in the real world is paramount!

I just finished watching the youtube video! I will be contacting Terry in hopes that our school district will finally agree and approve a program that is very educational and perhaps even life-changing for students as well as teachers.

Thank you for making the dream a REALITY!!!!

I was so disappointed that I was unable to get to the City the day of your Philadelphia book signing. I can see that it was just the beginning of all of the wonderful things you are doing to bring knowledge and awareness to the world.

For me, your LF website and its loyal bloggers literally helped me find a better direction…far away from a dysfunctional and dangerous relationship. I know now that I was meant to press the link to Lovefraud when I was googling about dysfunctional relationships and the description of a Sociopath. Although I eventually climbed out of the black hole I was buried in and “saw the light” in experiencing life again (by making healthier choices and learning to protect and respect myself), I still think of everyone here that was a part of my LF journey at the time. Forever grateful, indeed. And so many are still included in my prayers to this day! 🙂 This was a warm, safe place and at times a challenging and difficult place for me to face reality! But once you do, you are back on the road again in a better direction!

Just really want to thank you AGAIN, and say what an inspiration you have been and continue to be! I will always stay connected and grounded and REMINDED of the unhealthy people and choices that exist all around us by reading my weekly LF links! I miss staying connected through blogging, but for me, I just slowly and naturally pushed forward and became more active in my childrens schools and the Diabetes Research Foundation..and I continue to move on from my past every day! Thanks for remaining a part of my future!!!

You really do make a difference in the lives of others! Keep up the amazing work! Hope to meet you in our high school one day! 🙂 LTL

Ox Drover

Dear wrk4God,

Welcome to Love Fraud…glad you are here and hope that you will benefit from being at this wonderful site Donna has made for us! God bless.

candy

Learning – yahooooooooooo a success story. Well done. Ox was feeling on a bit of a downer earlier because when people disappear from LF we wonder what happened to them. Your story gives us all hope. Welcome to the 15% survivors club.

learning

Candy,

I think I will always be a work in progress.. But as long as Im working on myself and progressing in a healthy positive direction, mini successes do occur!

I must admit I was hesitant and the whole idea of joining a blog was foreign to me. LF was and still is the only Blog I have ever “logged” onto. It was something new and I wasnt sure what to think of it. But, yes, it changed, enhanced, bettered my life and the direction I needed to focus on. It wasnt easy, I had many a set back and many a desire to believe the Sociopath in my life would change or do right by me….in the end only when I do right by me…can I expect and uphold others to do the same.

I went through LF “withdrawal” when I decided I needed to cut the cyber cord 🙂 and go out there again on my own! But I was ready and I knew I would always stay connected to LF by reading all of the articles and posts.

Oxy, Hens, KATHY, Jim, Southern Man, Shabby, Erin, Joy, are all bloggers that come to mind as well as SO many others who were helpful and supportive and funny and serious and spot on in so many ways. And the list of names and attributes could go on and on… I too wonder about everyone who was here on their LF journey, some I am so thrilled to see have remained and to this day continue to help and support others :)) and I pray others who have moved on from LF have gotten themselves to a better place and to where they feel they too should be today in their lives.

Wow only 15% survivors club…We need to increase that number ! I try to do my part my helping, advising, listening to my friends and younger generation when they ask me for my opinion…I dont hold back… 🙂 I tell them to respect and protect themselves and the rest will fall into place. Because when you respect and protect there is ZERO room for the bad souls to enter your world (unless its a family member, then you have to learn boundaries and limits etc..)

Wow, I miss this place…but I tend to run on and on and never stop :)) Have a great day everyone..there is hope ..but its not only found in others…its found right there inside of you! Go for it! xoxo LTL

candy

Learning. Please check-in from time to time and let us know how you’re doing. Good luck and thank you:)

bluejay

Donna,

I applaud your efforts to educate the public about sociopaths. Hopefully, some people will recognize the red flags, being able to avoid or leave the sociopath behind, sparing themselves disastrous consequences.

I have always dreamed of doing this! Had I learned about this in high school I wouldnt be living this hell that the S did to me and my children…Sign me up! I want the world to be aware that such evil exists!!!!

newlife08

DONNA,

WONDERFUL NEWS ! JUST EXHILARATING TO HEAR YOU’VE GOTTEN YOUR PROGRAM OFF THE GROUND.

WE LIVE NOT FAR APART – IF YOU EVER NEED ANOTHER TESTIMONY – COUNT ME IN .

THIS IS SO VITALLY IMPORTANT!!!! MAKING SOMETHING GOOD COME OUT OF THE HORRORS WE HAVE LIVED AND CONTINUE TO SURVIVE AGAINST DAY TO DAY.

BLESS YOU – PLEASE COME TO OUR AREA . OUR HIGH SCHOOL NEEDS YOU !!!!

MissLed

Very good, Donna!

I’m 48 yr. old and learning that S’s exists in ways I never knew as I was clueless until I met one and became involved a few years ago.
Would have been helpful to learn about them long ago, to say the least! just never knew……..too trusting.
Seems teen dating abuse has been in the news a lot these days, very unfortunatly. Your message is timely.

lesson learned

Ok,

So why is it that all the GREAT “teachers” and therapists live and work on the OTHER SIDE of my united states? I’d love to see this introduced to high schools on the WEST coast. My son’s high school is HUUUUUUGE! What an eye opener it would be for so many there too!

LL

lesson learned

MissLed,

What a great user name! VERY creative! Good to see you here!

Your story resonates with me.

LL

lesson learned

Donna,

I’m so glad you’re reaching out to the teen population.

The gym at my kids school is enormous. There are assemblies done there on occasion. It would be great to see you teaching in an atmosphere such as that, rather than a classroom setting.

I really hope this just takes off for you and for those out there who really need this information. I think it’s wonderful!

LL

Ox Drover

I just got around to reading the comments from the students at the high schools. I thought it was interesting that most of them were PRINTED not written in cursive. Well written comments though.

Ox Drover

That is odd I guess. I noticed that my P son prints (and prints rapidly and clearly) and part of that was he was left handed and it was easier for him, but I could see by looking at the writing that it was done rapidly, fluidly and clearly (when I print, I write neither rapidly nor uniformly nor clearly) because that was their USUAL HANDWRITING. Interesting that cursive is no longer taught.

Well, if it will improve READABILITY in hand writing then I amm ALL for whatever works!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Donna, Woot!
I haven’t had a chance to read it all yet, but it looks really good. I think there should be a section about online in general – not just dating. Youth spend so much of their time online, their experience is so different than it is for people over 30 or 40. for example, although many people who date online are ‘lonely’, i don’t think this reflects the reasons for internet use for youth.

I met my spath on a ‘community’ website. She infiltrated celebrity and illness support forums, and online gaming virtual world websites, etc. The kind of stuff the spath did online is not that uncommon in the online lives of young people (developing fake people who have fake truamas and/ or fake die, and then tear holes in the online communities they have been involved in), albeit at a grander scale.

We need to address the diversity of online life that youth live in now. I would be happy to spend some time writing and thinking about this. I too am too ‘old’ but i do know a fair amount about spath behavior online (excluding dating sites).

Just let me know.

best,
one joy/ step

bulletproof

Donna- as a School Counsellor,I totally endorse teaching young people about evil as it exists out there, I de mystify romance, I lay it out on the table and the response is 100 per cent grateful for the support and
understanding, about
1)
the way we are ‘sold’ rubbish romance fantasies/ laws of attraction bullshit and countless other soul -less ways to encounter the opposite sex

2)
the truth about opportunistic evil, how it operates and how we are sucked in- urgent/essential/our responsibility now

Ox Drover

Hey, BP, glad to see you around!!!! Didn’t realize you were a school counselor! Great position to help students gain an understanding of abuse and the abusers! Good job!!!

bulletproof

Can I just repeat that, I am a School Counsellor who was a victim of a lovefraud, Been there done that, have the T-shirt, thinking about writing the book…..a couple of the teenagers I counsel have been in unhealthy abusive relationships in agony, and as they felt the pain, and grew to be self honest and smell the coffee, they decide themselves to break free (at 17 years of age) and move on…they were trapped in a romantic notion of what love was meant to be, and kept clinging on to hope after hope- with a counsellor however, they get non judgmental support and then they feel the pain, and express the pain and go back again maybe to learn the lesson and eventually with the guidance and support of a non judgmental other, to break free…..having learnt the lesson about Romance, and love finding a way to be bullshit when in the grip of an evil dynamic where they are groomed to come out the loser regardless of sex, love and hope.//eventually they decide to break away.

bulletproof

Hi Ox Drover….yes, and a very busy school counsellor, private client counsellor also] lecturer in a college for counsellors!!!! aaaagh
I read your story on another thread, about the rape you endured and it really hit home to me how much you have experienced in terms of EVIL, and I want to say how inspiring you are despite it ALL, how you endure, how you continue to relate and engage with everyone on this site…it’s brilliant, long may it last…we just need to keep on putting words on this stuff, keep tracking the misery and resolve not to tolerate abuse by first of all admitting it, feeling it and then expressing it , evil is after all only alive because we accept and allow it…by mistake or on purpose…not our fault but always our responsibility

Ox Drover

Dear BP,

I am so glad that you are in a position to help kids break free…there are so many kids that need it, as I guess I am PREACHING TO THE CHOIR, HUH? LOL

ONe of the most moving books I ever read was Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book about the psychological effects of the Nazi prison camps where he spent 3-4 years during WWII and I thought to myself, “why am I crying over my pain, it was NOTHING compared to his?” Then almost at the exact moment I needed it, a paragraph stuck out that told me the answer. ALL PAIN behaves like a gas, it expands or contracts to FILL the available space 100%. If the cause of the pain is big or small it doesn’t matter it is TOTAL PAIN. WOW! So the bottom line is that MY pain was/is TOTAL, your pain was/is TOTAL. Just as a baby who drops his passie on the floor CRIES WITH HIS TOTAL BEING for the TOTAL LOSS he feels is in JUST as much pain as we are, or Dr. Frankl was, it is TOTAL PAIN!

So, NO, my pain has not been worse than anyone else’s and even Dr. Frankl’s wasn’t any worse than mine. The events that caused the pain may have been worse or not as bad, but the PAIN WAS TOTAL….so we must recognize that OUR own pain is just as painful, and your pain is equal to mine, and mine equal to yours….no one has the “honor” of being in more pain (or less) than someone else. Which is one way I think that you can spot disordered people who are PRETENDING to be victims….they will INSIST THAT THEIR PAIN IS WORSE THAN ANYONE ELSE’S and therefore you must give them a “pass” on their bad behavior because of their BIGGER and WORSE PAIN! LOL Can we say PITTTTTY PLOY???? LOL

bullheart

hi all!

so so so happy to see this reality.

i also read the update on my blackberry and actually smiled.

out of all the darkness comes a ray of hope!

imagine a world where spaths were identified and shunned as a social norm?!!!!!!!!!

all this recent realization is even starting to steer me towards rethinking my old desire to be a pre-teen counselor or work in mental health in general, which i gave up on to be in the “arts” before realizing most of the current commercial artworld is a breeding ground for the worst personality disorders…

lately i have been feeling the real pains of living among people with little or no knowledge of this mental condition. thanks to lovefraud bloggers i try not to freak out about it, but it does feel like there’s a wall between me and people who don’t “get it” right now. and of course I feel like the crazy one!

anyways, CONGRATS!

tobehappy

Donna,

Lacey Township NEEDS you badly. Please try to arrange a workshop here.

alohatraveler

Donna,

This is exciting and timely. I am doing a group project for one of my classes and the “community problem” we are going to work on is Teen Dating Violence. I will send this like to my classmates. One thing though… I can tell that my classmates still think this is some kind of crazy thing that I am obsessed with. They don’t get it.

It would be great if there was a dating hand out as part of your presentation… a small brochure or something: Red Flags of dating… recognize personality disorders and dating dangers. Make it something the kids are compelled to keep for years to that they can pull it out of their journal or their yearbook. HEY! What if you proposed a page that you could submitt to high schools that would be printed in yearbooks? Wouldn’t that be GREAT!!!

Thanks again for all your awesome work in supporting this cause and community!

Aloha

alohatraveler

writing… I don’t know if they don’t teach cursive but I do know that many of the kiddos I work with can’t read it! Isn’t that crazy!!!???

kim frederick

Yeah. My daugher teaches second grade and I mentioned that I’d heard that they no longer taught cursve writing. She said that they are still teaching it at her school. I asked what she tought of the idea and she said she thought they needed to know how to read it, but she didn’t think knowing how to write it was important.

I thought that I must b getting really old, because why wouldn’t it e importatnt….I know that technology is taking over, and it’s not a bad thing, but kids not being taught cursive writing? Librarys and books will soon be history, as well. I think that’s sad.

Ox Drover

Decades ago when most people didn’t get much education at all, many people were taught to READ somewhat but not to write. If you look at old census records one of the questions they were asked was if they could read an if they could write. Many people answered that they could READ but not write.

Certain groups of people, the Scots Irish for one, put a HIGH VALUE on literacy AND 97% of the men who signed the Cumberland compact in Tennessee before the Revolutionary war actually signed their names indicating that they could at least read and write some. Which for that time period was amazing as only the wealthy usually could do both at that time.

Many “well off” people though who were land owners and even church wardens or held government offices were illiterate. Generally they could do pretty complex math though. Interesting how the value of learning changes with the ages and also with the groups.

So many of our kids today though are graduating high school without being very literate and knowing little or no history, geography or government…much less knowing about psychopaths! The high school graduation rate in my state is horrible, and even the college graduation rate of those that enter is like 17-18%! So many kids who actually are enrolled in college have to take BASIC remedial classes in English, math and science….even though they got “good grades” in high school, they are still IGNORANT. Not stupid, just IGNORANT. Stupid can’t be fixed, but there is NO EXCUSE FOR IGNORANCE.

The state here just shut down a magnet school because of corruption in the administrators and BUNCHES OF MISSING MONEY. Plus the kids were as a whole failing FAILING!!! What a shame!

neveragain

Donna- Hope you find a way to clone yourself….that is, after you have taught the lesson enough times to really see what works, that you could approve people in other places to provide the lessons. Obviously certain parts are your story, but you could interview possible presenters. I think there are many on here, like myself who are ex-teachers. 8 years in the lower grades and a dozen or more semesters as adjunct faculty. If you check out people’s credentials, their past posting history, and interview them, even require a youtube video or something, you might feel comfortable with others following your lesson plan. I’m not thinking of myself, my plate is way too full right now. But it just seems like this is needed so many places.

lesson learned

Donna,

I love this idea to reach out to teenagers. I really do, but I see a need elsewhere and I’m going to take the ten signs you’re dating a sociopath to my next DV group and get their feedback. I’ll post here what they think about it, but all the women there have been involved with men who were personality disordered.

My doctor has many victims of DV in her office, with (SURPRISE) chronic pain/illness issues. She too has offered to put up the ten signs in every patient room in her office. We are discussing starting a support group in her office some time in the future for women to attend.

This is very exciting and so desperately needed across all segments. I was astonished to find out how many women are patients of my doctor who say the same things over and over “but I love him and sometimes he’s good to me!” meanwhile they are all very ill.

From my perspective the word just can’t get out enough.

You’re doing a great work. I believe, in the next five to ten years, we will see an explosion of awareness with personality disorders. And it only takes one or two or ten or twenty to spread the word.

God Bless.

LL

lesson learned

Donna,

PS: I’m really excited for you all to make it over here to west coast. The high school my son’s attend would so benefit. The school is ginormous!

LL

This is truly amazing! That has been one of my dreams for as long as I learned what a sociopath is. Unfortunatly…but thank god…my 4 kids DO know what a sociopath is and will now have the knowledge to run the other way and I want this for all kids!! I would love to give a presentation all over schools in Massachusettes….If they kids today learn about this…since even attorneys and judges dont seem to fully “get it” even remotetly…they can someday be isolated and have to live on their own island like the lepers of the past and they can extinguish themselves out…at least for now!! Count me in..I lived it…and still living with the aftershock…still going to court after getting out 2 years ago..I lost everything I ever worked for and am struggling to raise my kids on my own…It was never a struggle before! The world should know!!!!!

neveragain

Lesson Learned and Donna…great about expanding to more presenters, Donna! And lesson learned, I agree that it is needed in DV places, and the staff there too. As we know, repeating a hook-up with a sociopath happens, if one doesn’t know who and what they are!

FindingHealthyPaths

This is SO important! This is wonderful, and such an amazing success, to even get this going. I feel like the word is such a taboo, learning as early as possible to realize, and know HOW to react to individuals who exhibit these traits is so important. The earlier the better!!! Beautiful kudos. Please let me know if I can help in any way. I have years and years of web and writing experience.

G1S

Does your training program contain anything about psychopathic teachers, coaches, or other adults who target children via their professions?

Right now, our high school has a female teacher on paid leave because of reportedly sleeping with a senior – again.

There seems to be a lot of that in the news lately, female teachers sleeping with students.

At our middle school, a male teacher was let go a few years ago for being sexually inappropriate with a female student. He is now a convicted and registered sex offender.

I assume that there are teachers and guidance counselors present for your workshop. Maybe if you include information about adult sexual predators who target children, it might raise their awareness.

Do you include a section on sexual predator “grooming techniques”?

Louise

Donna:

I would love to help launch this in my area. Please put me on the list…thanks.

Ox Drover

G1S

There is a great blog called “female offenders” that you can link to through Love fraud “blog roll” that might give you some good information as well.

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