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Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide: Mary Ann Glynn

First in a series of Q&A articles with members of the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide. Mary Ann Glynn is a licensed clinical social worker based in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Q. What experience have you had dealing with sociopaths or other disordered personalities—personally, professionally, or both?

A. In my professional experience, sociopaths and disordered personalities are usually brought into therapy by a significant other, or by the court system for domestic violence or other charges. Since they are incapable of insight or empathy, they may engage initially in therapy to get validation or support, blame their partner, and/or show what they are willing to do for the relationship. When therapy becomes emotionally threatening, they tend to drop out. If they have a desire to be different than their defended MO, I will see if they are willing to connect with themselves in order to learn empathy, lay out what are appropriate boundaries, and work directively with their crossing of boundaries and taking responsibility for their actions. I have so far not encountered one willing and/or able to do this.

I was involved with a narcissistic personality/sociopath who was leading a double life, and kept his narcissism hidden for a long while. I had tried to make sense of his odd behaviors and worked tirelessly to help a relationship that just got difficult over time. I ignored my body’s distress and my intuition, which made me the perfect partner for someone like him. I had been a confident person who had worked through issues in therapy, but as his subtle control chipped away my sense of self, I regressed into a helpless victim. In working to heal the damage, help the marriage, and in the end to get out, I experienced renewed strength, emotional healing, and spiritual connection to myself.

Q. How do you go about helping clients who have tangled with a sociopath?

A. Since those who have tangled with a sociopath have been traumatized (i.e. threatened, controlled, abused, betrayed) they experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — which can include not feeling safe, a feeling of loss of control, helplessness, obsessive thought patterns. They also experience a loss of self over the sociopath’s exerting his/her need to feel in control. The therapy work is done primarily through attunement with the body where trauma is stored. It includes identifying emotions felt in the body and learning to regulate them through the body, grounding, boundary work, reconnecting with the core self, self-care — there are many ways to accomplish these things. We also can use EMDR and hypnosis, which can expedite significant shifts in the healing process.

Q. What, in your experience, is the biggest issue or problem that people who have been betrayed by a sociopath need to overcome?

A. Forgiving themselves for losing themselves through another’s control, and being in the situation. When love turns out be a fraud, it throws everything into question — identity, judgment, trust and safety. People blame themselves and feel humiliated. It takes time to rebuild the self.

Q. What’s one tip you can suggest for helping Lovefraud readers recover from the betrayal of a sociopath?

A. It’s not your fault! The love you offered deserved love back. So, surround yourself now with loving, supportive friends and Lovefraud support.


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fixerupper

Oh, boy – this is me.

Thanks for the article. I guess.

I say it that way because it confirms what I went through and am feeling now.

For all of her issues, my ex-gf insisted that I – not her- needed continuous counselling. (Turns out that, as far as I know, she has pushed all of her boyfriends from past significant relationships into counselling.)

I thought we should do it together. I did get her to come to one of my sessions – as a way for my counselor to hear her side of the story and to understand better where I was at in the process. At this point the ‘crazy making’ by my ex-gf was well established.

Well, my gf left the session calling the counsellor a ‘kook’, etc and vowing not to go again. I feel that it is because the counsellor asked her a couple of questions that, possibly inadvertently, put her ‘on the spot’ and questioned her credibility.

After we broke up, we had a few communications. I was feeling lousy and confused. She was acting as if nothing happened and as if we were just old acquaintances from work – or something like that. She surprised me one day by suggesting that we go to ‘couples counselling.’

I did not know what to really make of it but I agreed – and I agreed to her choice of a counsellor.

It was an ambush.

Basically she used the time to lambaste, castigate, insult and accuse me of everything imaginable. She basically told the counsellor that I was a horrible, violent, psychotic, scary maniac – and, that she ‘had to move on.’ She went on to hurl the gratuitous insults about how I looked, my facial expressions, etc.

NOT ONCE did the ‘counsellor’ ask her to explain or justify her fears and accusations. When the counsellor asked my ex-gf what she wanted from the sessions she answered: “For HIM to OWN it. Own it ALL. (The failed relationship.)

The counsellor did not even blink or question this.

I believe now that the counsellor was being ‘used’ as a means to document her wild accusations arising out her hatred and her ‘discard’ process. I never took the bait -despite many attempts by the sociopathic ex-gf, to get me riled-up or to respond angrily.

The doubts, confusion and cognitive dissonance sown by the sociopathic ex-gf over months of gaslighting, criticism and withholding of recognition and affection have taken a toll. NOT ONCE did she compliment me on anything well done. Not even ever saying that I had done a good job with work, community activities, or raising my child. I see that now.

The ‘couples counselling’ was a set-up – and it was extremely hurtful and damaging to me. The betrayal I was already feeling from my ex-gf was MAGNIFIED – and my feelings about counsellors degraded – though I have been trying a little to see someone as at least, a sounding board.

And the ex-gf? I would bet that she has ‘moved on’ to the next target and that she is experiencing the feeling (for now) that all of her ‘issues’ have simply evaporated.

I have withdrawn from most activities and friends. I am devastated. have various worrisome physical symptoms. I doubt my own abilities to do ANYTHING. I often feel emotionally, intellectually and physically paralyzed. I look at or think about my work and experience a sensation that ‘somebody else must have done that.’ I think that I should give up my son for adoption because obviously I must be, or am unfit.

P.S. Interesting how this site has an effect. A positive one. It is like mental first aid. Like when a heart attack victim is given chest compressions. Thank You.

slimone

Fixerupper,

You know, reading what you have written makes me feel strongly that you are going to come out of all of this horrible mess. And that through the process you will be stronger, happier, and way more knowledgeable.

I say this because you SEE, and understand what you have gone through. No way to avoid the humiliation and deep pain of being betrayed. But the clarity you have about the ways she abused you WILL help you through this. It doesn’t make it all ‘go away’ quickly, but it will aide you in your healing.

Your ex sounds like a complete nightmare! Glad you found your way to LF…..

Slim

kmillercats

Slimone

Thanks for that post. I didn’t know what to say but, wanted to say something.

Fixerupper

I have gone thru the same withdrawal process but, it is getting better. I just feel safer and more content in my own home (world). My spath smeared me about having and helping animals all of my adult life. My animals give me a purpose in that when I take care of them I tell myself what a good compassionate person I am. I read this site everyday for the support and knowing the people here “get it” immediately. It has been a blessing.

Wow!As I read Mary Glynn’s article,I kept thinking how much I agreed with what she was saying.My spath husband wouldn’t continue counseling for his OCD which was tearing the family up.At that time,that was the only issue I was aware of!

By the time Mary’s article concluded,I felt like I wanted to cry,but I still haven’t ‘let go’ of my emotions.

shane

This article is very validating. My ex P did a number on the therapist, who must not have been quite experienced enough in the area of PD’s, as ex P easily convinced her that he has Asperger’s Syndrome and used this as his excuse for his behavior, and to keep himself in the victim role. Weather or not he is an Aspie, he absolutely has at least 2 PD’s. I am glad to have come across this article. Many thanks-

shane

Fixerupper~ Prayers to you… I second what Slimone has expressed to you. You WILL get to the other side of all that you are feeling, experiencing emotionally and physically, and you will be left the same wonderful person that you are, in the end. There will be some differences, however, which will include the knowledge to protect yourself, and immense self-empowerment. Much love and continued success on your journey- Shane

newlife43

That was a very good article. Validates us in that even an experienced social worker can be taken in by a spath. I wish Mary Ann Glynn would work more with counselors instead of psycho/spath patients, educating the counselors that these people CAN NOT be helped in any fashion and to stop wasting time and resources on them. Instead, focus on how to protect the general population from these monsters.

shane

hear hear

ancient heart

Thank you for this helpful article, Mary Ann. Knowing you have not only personally experienced a psychopath but have professionally validated how untreatable they are shines a lot of light from both frames of reference.

Truthspeak

MaryAnn, I very much appreciate your insight, as a LCSW. I’ve engaged in counseling a number of times over my lifetime, and I rarely heard anything that was helpful – most of them nodded, expressed some measure of empathy, but didn’t dive into the deep end of my personal issues.

My most recent counselor is also in recovery from a sociopathic entanglement, and she was the ONLY therapist that “got it” and nailed it with my core issues.

SO, I want to thank you, very much, for sharing your insight in relation to your own experiences. It is extremely validating to those of us who are still reeling from our experiences.

Brightest blessings

fixerupper

Thank You! shane, kmillercats and slimone, for your kindness and encouragement.

The way the ‘counsellor’ acted in the so-called couples therapy really shocked me.

I get a sense that it was either choreographed in advance with the ex-gf or, that the counsellor (Has a PhD) is incompetent and insensitive or, just does not recognize sociopathic behaviour. It just doesn’t make sense, for a counsellor or anyone overseeing a meeting, to let one person slam another that way in any situation.

But as others are saying, the counsellors need to be better educated and equipped to deal with people with these disorders.

Truthspeak

Fixerupper, the sad fact is that the only “education” that any professional can apply as a good, strong counselor is based upon their own experiences. Make no mistake that sociopathy, psychopathy, anti-social behaviors, Borderline Personality Disorders, etc. are glossed over in the academia of psychology and LCSW. But, the “Powers That Be” do not base their research on what SURVIVORS of these disordered predators experience. They are familiar with “symptoms,” and that’s as far as it goes unless, by some coincidence, they have had their OWN spath experiences.

Even trained professionals have a very difficult time with spaths because they can be very, very convincing. They are able to falsify and lie without blinking an eye. They have the ability to “fool” a lie detector. They are absolute chameleons in that they mirror and parrot what they believe to be appropriate behaviors and responses.

Then, there are those professionals who are of the nefarious sort, themselves. I haven’t encountered a “nefarious” counselor, yet, but they are out there and their motives are of evil origin, to be sure.

So, your experiences in the “couples’ counseling” sessions were bogus, at the very least, and manufactured, at the very worst. What you experienced wasn’t true counseling and I am SO sorry for that because “true” counseling can be very, very helpful.

Brightest blessings

Ox Drover

Having an LCSW, PhD, MD or other degree or certification does NOT MEAN that the person is not also THEMSELVES HIGH IN P TRAITS, all the way up to and including a 30 score on a PCL-R.

The thing is that we must be aware that if you are in a room with 100 other people there are 1 to 4 of them that would score over 30 on the PCL-R. And there are others who would score 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, etc. so if you are in a room full of People with MD degrees or LCSW certifications, etc. you will encounter some of those Ps there too.

Yes, EDUCATION is important, judges and lawyers need to be educated but some of them ARE psychopaths, MDs, Teachers, cops, politicians, RNs, LCSWers etc. but some of them ARE Ps as well….so there’s a lot of education that needs to be done, and we alsoo need to educate potential victims.

While Donna’s program going into schools is good, a VERY good thing, I think it is like PISSING IN THE OCEAN TO TRY TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF THE WATER. Her program needs to go to the national organization of school principals, and the ones for national school counselors, and national teachers organizations and so on AS WELL AS EVERY class room in the US.

I realize anything is a START but it needs to be EXPANDED. I wish I knew how to do that.

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