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Making the sociopath accountable: How far do you go?

A Lovefraud reader using the name Dawn H posted the following comment quite awhile ago. At the end of her story, she brings up important questions.

My ex and I grew up in the same small town. We were like Barbie and Ken”¦expected to marry and live happily ever after. I watched him grow from a very nice guy into a predator and a very evil person in just a few years. After our child was born he started a new wonderful job in a bank and quickly climbed the ladder to success. I put him through law school as he became distant and harsh and wouldn’t touch me. I found out he was bragging at work about secretaries’ children being his. One of his secretaries divorced her husband to sneak around with mine in sleazy motels and the whole time he was telling her that I carried a gun in my diaper bag, etc. I met and befriended her, she started fainting at work, they both got fired, and she moved away. He begged and cried and we did major counseling for a year and I dropped the divorce proceedings thinking he was well.

Over the next two or three years he was nice and took my calls at work, came home for supper, etc, but gradually grew distant and harsh again. I found out in ’04 that he had a 10-12 yr affair with another secretary from his new position as COO of a publicly traded banking company AND a woman in every port city from here to Beijing. He had been hiding his money all this time, so that when he was caught he would not have to share. He bought all his mistresses suits, jewelry, even paid for one’s house, while I had to pay utilities, my own food, my own insurance, car payment”¦everything from my teacher salary. He kept me literally broke while he was making almost half a million per yr and telling me we had no money because he was reinvesting it all in the company. If I wanted 200 for Christmas presents, he made me postdate a check for January, and he wouldn’t let go of his check until I let go of mine.

There was no intimacy for more than 15 yrs. He lied all day every day, but the strange thing was that he turned very dark. He would leave butcher knives out on the counter facing the stairs where I came down in the morning. I found out his mistress was the one who had been phone stalking me for 7 or 8 yrs, and their phone records were like 25 or 30 calls to each other every day, even though they worked side by side. At the same time he had many other young mistresses and kept them all ignorant of each other. After he was caught and we separated, he cried and became perfect all over again for a year counseling, then got caught at a sleazy motel with someone again.

I could tell that someone was breaking into my house while I was at the gym. He brought me Ultimate Woman vitamin pills with the seal broken and some missing! I found an empty Viagra box in his vanity drawer. This guy has 150 IQ. Someone was hacking into my bank records online, and I left tape recorders at the house to see what was going on there while I was out. On the phone from the house to women, he sounded like a dirty old man, talking naughty and naked and nasty. I wouldn’t have believed it was him. One day he would cry and hug the stuffing out of me apologizing, and the next day he was rude and hateful and couldn’t remember he had apologized. I knew my life was in danger and I had to change the locks etc. I had to tape record every conversation during separation and divorce proceedings, because he lied so much to attorneys, etc, that you couldn’t prove anything without recordings.

He had NO concern for our son’s feelings in any of this. The mistresses’ children grew up with him sneaking in through the fence to sleep with mommy, and the first one’s kids were calling him Daddy too. He found out this mistress aborted his child, and he doesn’t care. He told me one time during the proceedings “the girlfriend knows I do what I want and I get what I want, and she’s fine with that.” Children’s feelings are unimportant, but he is wining and dining our son now, like we’re in a contest ”¦ climbing the pyramids in Egypt ”¦ took him to the Great Wall of China ”¦ fly fishing in the Grand Canyon, etc. Bought a barge and stocks it with bongs and booze for my son’s friends, etc. No regard for the kids ”¦ it’s all about him and winning.

My interest in cases like this is, where do you draw the line? When do you bring in the attorneys and police and IRS? What about the children? If he’s been hiding money for years in other countries, are you just supposed to forget and forgive and move on? I’ve had the hardest time with that. God is so good to me, but when I start to recall all the craziness, I get shaky and lose sleep and I just can’t really go there anymore. I want to protect others from this victimization and I don’t want to be vindictive, but then again, I don’t want him hurting other young women. I would not doubt that he might be one of these trafficking guys. Did you know most of the WORLD’S trafficking is financed by middle-aged American businessmen? We need to wake up and do something quickly. This American businessman/ sociopath/ narcissist/ predator thing is getting out of hand.

Dawn H’s story is terrible. Most people would say the story is shocking, but that’s because most people are ignorant about sociopaths. All of us here at Lovefraud know that stories like Dawn’s are much more common than the uninitiated realize.

The man Dawn H described is clearly hurting many people—Dawn, her son, the bevy of mistresses, the mistresses’ kids, even American taxpayers, since the guy is hiding his money. He may even be complicit in the sordid the sex trade.

Whether our stories are as bad as Dawn’s or not, many of us ask ourselves the same questions that she asked at the end of her email: How do we respond?

We all have to find our own answers to the question. Following are the points and issues to consider. For the sake of convenience I am referring to the sociopaths as male, but they could be female as well.

Now vs. later

When we first realize what the sociopath was actually doing, that everything he told us was a lie, that we were exploited, our emotions are at a full boil. We are traumatized, disillusioned, furious, scared. We want to strike back. We want to tell the world that he is a liar. We wonder how we are going to survive. Our emotions rage back and forth between outrage and fear, worry and determination.

At this point, we need to prioritize. We need to figure out what we MUST do now, and what can wait, in fact, what MUST wait, until later.

Survival

The most important variable in deciding how to proceed is the possibility of violence. The best predictor of future violence is past violence. If the sociopath has been violent in the past—even if it wasn’t directed towards you—you must assume that he could be violent in the future, and you may be the target.

If you (and your children) are in physical danger, you need to do whatever will protect your safety. If the sociopath has committed crimes for which he is likely to be arrested and jailed, report them. But if his offenses are such that authorities are likely to regard them as a case of “he said-she said,” or he’s likely to get out on bail and come after you—well, it may be better not to poke the hornet’s nest.

Your first priority is survival. As long as you are alive, everything else can be addressed later.

Stability

Your second priority is stability. Many of us have been financially wiped out by the sociopaths. If you’re in this position, you need to take steps to insure your economic survival. If you’re married to the sociopath, and financially entangled, you need to figure out the best way to disengage that is healthiest for you in the long run.

In considering how far to go after the sociopath legally, here are questions to ask yourself:

  1. Does he have any assets? Does he have a job? Does he have documented income? If there is no money, there may be nothing to gain.
  2. Do you have proof of his money? If not, can you get it?
  3. Can you afford a legal battle? If not, perhaps you should just walk away.
  4. Can he afford a legal battle? Does he have a history of filing lawsuits? If he does, he’s likely to relish going to court, and will drag out the proceedings, costing you money.
  5. Do you have children with him? If yes, one of these two scenarios is likely: Either he will abandon his responsibilities and fail to pay child support, or he will maintain contact and use the children as pawns to torment you.

Your ultimate goal should be to get rid of the sociopath and move on with your life. Any financial or legal actions you take against him should support that goal.

Emotional recovery

An experience with a sociopath leaves us feeling like we’ve been through a meat grinder. Anger, disappointment, shame, guilt, fear, outrage, even numbness—we probably cycle through all of them.

It’s exhausting.

We need to find our peace of mind. For some of us, it may be the first time that we consciously pursue peace of mind. Many of us were filled with vulnerability and turmoil, which attracted the sociopaths in the first place.

In deciding how far to go after the sociopath, therefore, we must also consider our emotional recovery. Lovefraud’s standard advice for recovery from the sociopath is No Contact—not having any interaction at all with him. No conversations. No phone calls. No email. No in-person encounters.

Going after the sociopath may entail some kind of contact. If you go to court, you’ll have to deal with him. If you want to expose him on the Internet, you may need to monitor his Facebook page. This means, as we say on Lovefraud, you are “renting him space in your head.” Thinking about the sociopath is a form of contact.

On the other hand, going after him may be important to your emotional recovery. By doing it, you are not allowing him to walk all over you. Standing up to him may benefit your self-esteem, and allow you to recover your identity.

Only you know what you need.

Making the sociopath accountable

Personally, I think it’s important to do what you can to make the sociopath accountable for his destructive actions. BUT you may want to think carefully about WHEN and HOW you take action.

If you have evidence that the sociopath committed a crime, report him to the authorities. Maybe the crime you report isn’t prosecuted, but it could help establish his pattern of behavior if another person reports a crime.

If, like many Lovefraud readers, you don’t want the sociopath to do to someone else what he did to you, you may want to warn the next victim, or expose the sociopath. I’ve written previously on both of these topics:

Letters to Lovefraud: Should I warn the next victim?

Exposing the sociopath

Perhaps you can’t take action against the sociopath right away because you need to attend to your own safety, stability and recovery. But maybe, when you are stronger, you can do something to stop the exploitative behavior.

Sociopaths get away with their immoral, unethical and sometimes criminal behavior because people do not stand up to them. So I think that when we can do so safely, we should speak up and take action. Sociopaths will continue their destructive behavior until they are stopped.


Comment on this article

328 Comments on "Making the sociopath accountable: How far do you go?"

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Donna, in ONE article you have given the crux of ALL the advice here on LF….ONE article tells it all.

GET OUT, but be safe above all else.

I spoke tonight with a woman who has recently gotten divorced after 25 years and 7 children from a man I firmly believe is a psychopath, but she still has 4 young children at home–I gave her my copies of “Women who love Psychopaths” and “Just Like His father,” and “Snakes in Suits.” This woman is recovering, but she has endured so much and because she is “co-parenting” with this monster she can’t go “no contact” only minimize it.

EVERY story here is just “as bad as” every other story, I think, at least in the emotional context. “You” (that’s the universal “you”) may have lost more money than I did, but he beat me unconscious and broke my bones, or he kidnapped our children, etc….Dr. Viktor Frankl’s description of pain as behaving as a gas so that it completely fills the vessel that contains it regardless of whether the pain is caused by a “big or small” injury helped me to realize that no one’s pain is greater or less than any one else’s.

Thank you for this very concise and precise article.

I have never written my story here because I have read so many stories others have written that were my story word for word. This is a very healing place for me.
Last night I was talking to my older brother about my ex. He just mentioned that he thinks sociopaths do such extreme things because they know they feel nothing, and they are trying to feel something. I thought he was brilliant. But we are sure this is not a new idea. But for me it made so much sense.

SueK,

I think your brother may be on to something….Many Ps are sexually deviant or “addicted” to multiple partners, and I have thought for a while that they some how “sense” that WE get something out of sex that they don’t get (connectedness and bonding through the release of Oxytocin, the bonding hormone) and they do NOT get this, and they keep searching for this Elusive “it” that they aren’t sure what is but they WANT it.

It is amazing just how many of the Stories are the “same”— a few details different, but the activities of the psychopaths seem to be right out of the “psychopaths’ play book.” Some are more low-level con artists and thugs, and others are more “high functioning” and get into the governor’s offices and the corner offices of corporations (“Snakes in Suits” as Bob Hare calls them in his book) but underneath the cover, the BOOKS ARE ALL THE SAME STORY.

Donna- boy did you nail it with this one! Since there are no ‘set rules’ of spath behavior and each of our stories is different than the next, we need to find our own way out in this mess we have come to know as My life. My own spath does things either ‘right on track’ if there were a handbook and guidelines, or the exact polar opposite.

Oxy- You got that right. Pain knows no boundaries, it just fills up the space allowed. Each of us may experience different things, but our perceptions are different as well. What one person looks at with horror and shock, the next may think nothing of it because they have seen far worse.

Ox!!!
OMG. I have just googled oxytocin after reading what you said, “addicted to multiple partners…….searching for the elusive it”
Another piece of the jigsaw of ‘my life with the spath’ has just clunked into place.

Excellent article and superb advice.

The concept of pain acting like a gas is from Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book “man’s search for meaning.” This man wrote this after 4 years in a nazi prison camp in which he noticed the ways people dealt with the pain of the ULTIMATE PSYCHOPATH ATTACKS. This concept was so LIBERATING FOR ME, so that I did not compare my “woes” with anyone else’s—as I had read his story I got the feeling that even as bad as my woes were, they were NOTHING COMPARED TO HIS, I actually started to feel guilty for being in such pain, UNTIL I READ HIS STORY ABOUT PAIN BEING LIKE A GAS. I realized then that each person’s pain is TOTAL. A baby that drops his passie is TOTALLY in pain as he cries for what he has lost. Of course WE know that his pain is momentary but HE DOESN’T, right that moment it is TOTAL LOSS for the child.

So our pain is TOTAL regardless of how much or how little injury we have had done to us or in what ways. Our hearts are totally broken by the encounter with the psychopath.

.

Oxy- Thank you for sharing that. It makes sense. I used to read a LOT! That was back when I had time to do it and a mind to comprehend the information on the subject matter. I am looking forward to the day when I ditch the spath and have the freedom to have book laying around the house again. For now they are either on a shelf or in a box. I may get a Kindle so I can keep up, here, there or anywhere, also without spath seeing the titles and snooping around. Certainly can’t have that!

@SueK
Welcome to LF! I did the same thing, I read the stories here for months before I ever posted a comment. I encourage you to join the conversation, your voice and your experiences are important too. Many heads (and hearts) really are better than one! And I agree with what you discovered about spaths, I think they do realize that there is something “it” that they do not experience. I actually told my ex spath (the topic was sex) about reciprocal aspect of sex and the difference between “having sex” and “making love” and he said “I don’t know what you are talking about”, and he got very very angry with me. It took me awhile to figure out that he really didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, it was Greek to him! It became painfully obvious to me that he was not capable of real love and real attachment, as if he was missing the “DNA” necessary for those most essential human characteristics. It was bizarre!!

@Oxy
“Pain knows no boundaries, it just fills up the space allowed.” Very true! Also it is so true that it is essential for all of us not to compare our “woes” with other’s “woes
“So our pain is TOTAL regardless of how much or how little injury we have had done to us or in what ways. Our hearts are totally broken by the encounter with the psychopath.”
Good stuff Oxy!

Regarding the spath’s elusive “it”…the “thing” that they know they don’t have…
In my experience, I became aware that my ex spath was and is frantically seeking “it” or the “thing” that he had never experienced in his life. “It” or the “thing” was something good that he could see that other people had experienced and he had not. I would define the “it” or “thing” that he was seeking was the true beauty of life, real love and real relationships. Allow me if I may to use a quote from one of my favorite sermons that illustrates this point very well, “…The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited…” From “The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis. Obviously the sermon is referring to the Glory of God, but I think the words work so very well to illustrate the awareness the spath may have for the elusive “thing” that others have that they do not have.

My ex spath is a very intelligent man with a genius IQ, but emotionally and relationally his IQ doesn’t even register, and I think to some degree he is aware. He mimics other people’s behaviors to appear more normal. Real love and relationship elude him, I don’t think he has ever experienced real love and I don’t think is capable of it. That is why he talks about it so much, he thinks maybe he can get it by intellectualizing it, by defining it, by purchasing it! He seeks the one “thing” he does not possess, he seeks it in books, he seeks it in poetry, he seeks it in photography, he seeks it in sex, he seeks it in music, he seeks it in art, he seeks it in Theology. Although there can be very good and beautiful things in all of these things they are just symbols of some “thing” real. The really tragic thing is that he will use, violence, manipulations, cons, abuse, betray, lie, cheat, and steal in his quest for real life. He is completely amoral and has not even a speck of real compassion for anyone else. And when he keeps seeking and he can’t find real life he medicates with porn, sex, drugs and alcohol, and the cycle goes on and on and on… and every once in a while he pulls some poor naive person into the vortex with him and sucks the life out of them for a season until they are able to escape.

I keep reading the title to this post- “Making the sociopath accountable: How far do you go?” and thinking about it.

How far DO you go? As far as you are comfortable with and can tolerate putting up with your own personal spath. That’s how far you go.

As far as making them accountable? Yeah, good luck with that. They have no feelings, no remorse, nothing. So why would making them accountable really accomplish anything? It wouldn’t because they simply don’t care. Push the envelope if you must, but they will find a way out. They always do, no matter what the costs or who it hurts.

Mine lies so much he doesn’t remember who he has lied to, what he has told them or even when to STOP! Hell he lies to his own family. Why would I or strangers be any different? He can’t lie to his friends because he has none. Any ideas why that might be?

His parents are his enablers so what good would it do to make him Man Up and admit to them or anyone else he has yet to grow up, act like an adult and assume any responsibility for his actions thus far.

The tiger doesn’t change his stripes and the spath doesn’t change their ways. So how far do you go to hold them accountable? How many times are you going to beat your own head against the wall, before you start beating theirs against it instead?

Hosanna- “I actually told my ex spath (the topic was sex) about reciprocal aspect of sex and the difference between “having sex” and “making love” and he said “I don’t know what you are talking about”, and he got very very angry with me.”

Mine actually hates, despises, loathes and in general cannot stand the term “Making love” Why? Because he doesn’t know how.

The act of having sex is one thing, the feeling involved in making love? Totally different and something he cannot grasp. For anyone out there reading this who knows someone like this- HUGE RED FLAG! Run like Hell while you have he chance.

@the phoenix
It never ceases to amaze me how similar these spaths are!! Yes when it comes to sex the words mutual and reciprocal need to be relevant or you may as well be a plastic doll, you are an object!! LOL! Loved your warning!! Yes, HUGE RED FLAG!! RUN!, RUN!, RUN!!

THis subject is one I have wrestled with a LOT b/c my husband commits covert fraud. Like Bernie Madoff, Lots of people won’t discover his fraud for years. His business LOOKS successful but it’s a house of cards. He has enormous high debt to equity ratio. He doesn’t pay down debt, he spends when he gets income.

MY problem in my divorce was how far do I want to take it, b/c whatever I expose, LEGALLY those people can come after the wife. Even though I had NO decision making authority, don’t know what was done, when, how much, or to whom. NOR have I received any monies or benefit. BUT when the cards fall, they LOOK at everyone. The financial/legal fallout will be hanging over my head the rest of my life b/c what I DO know is that my husband has certain business practices and I DID NOT expose him. In my defense, every time I’ve tried to expose him, people shut me down. NO ONE listens. And it only harms ME. It won’t be until multiples of others are harmed that the others will listen, and that won’t happen until it’s too late.

Hosanna

Everything you said is exactly true. I was talking to another LF member about the linkage between Autism, Aspergers, and Psychopathy recently, and found this link.

I’m going to post the entire thing here, which was originally from Kathleen Hawk. You and she are saying exactly the same thing.
So, BINGO.

Athena

****POST FROM 2009****

Kathleen Hawk says:

Liane,

I want to get in early on this thread, because I have a number of problems with this article. As well as with the research behind it. As usual in a lot of this research, the conclusions reflect the questions asked, but there is little effort to understand the internal reality of either autistics or sociopaths. The question of “why are they like this?” ends at a fairly superficial level. There is little interest in the possibility that the symptoms of both conditions are actually responses to circumstances.

And your own bias in the analysis comes out with statements like “The psychopath rarely uses the thinking brain he has- to do anything other than get into trouble and hurt other people.” Which may reflect your feelings about your own experience, but is a broad generalization that is not consistent with the facts that sociopaths, especially intelligent ones, are high-functioning in many ways and have to be to mask their internal life in order to be accepted among feeling people.

I have a son who has been diagnosed with Aspergers and it has caused me to do a great deal of research on the experiences of parents of autistic children, as well as the writings of people with Aspergers and autism. This research looks into symptoms, but not causes of social alienation. And it doesn’t even begin to try.

Likewise most research on sociopaths examines their behaviors and thinking, but does not even start to examine their inner life. What is going on with them, and why are they like that? Not in terms of their current operating strategies, but what would cause those operating strategies.

I realize that I’m in the minority here, but I believe that their fundamental underlying problem is a failure of trust. I believe it is the underlying problem in RAD and other bonding disorders. And I believe that every symptom that we see with them can ultimately be explained by that. Beyond that, the failure of trust and the resulting bonding disorders orients them in a chaotic universe with nothing to depend on, including no ability to lean on and learn the security benefits of social structure whether those structures are communities, one-on-one bonding, belief in God or even respect for their own need for personal integrity. They live in a survival-level reality without rules except to survive, and they live in a pain-based reality that keeps them reeling toward addictive fixes.

The social problem involved with these people beyond the obvious damage they create in their no-holds-barred tactics for survival and pursuing addictive fixes is that they cannot learn past this failure of trust. The failure of trust closes the door to the acceptance of risk associated with social learning. In particular, they reject any strategy that involves learning to trust.

While this plays out in the symptoms, creation of social damage, and unfixability of these people, the implications from my perspective are someone different than yours. It think it’s pointless to demonize them, except as a temporary state in our own healing and getting real about what’s going on, and more important to consider prevention both of social damage and the causes of this failure of trust.

I understand that there are genetic considerations. And there may be genetic circumstances that just stack the deck too high for some individuals to avoided being triggered into permanent failure of trust. But I don’t think that is the situation with most of the garden-variety sociopaths who are creating havoc in the lives of feeling people. I think their capacity to be sociopaths was triggered by circumstance.

I think that study of these circumstances, the sensitivity of proto-sociopathic types, and the possible family and social strategies for addressing the growing problem of this type of damage and response is ultimately the the most useful area of research and action. It would also be nice if we could find a therapeutic approach to reconnect them with their social capacity, but if that is ever going to be likely (and it is not now), the answers are more likely to come from these paths of study than finding a dozen more reasons to confirm what we already know about their symptomology and its social effects.

You asked about the meaning of moral agency. Agency is power or capacity or ability to act. Moral agency is the power to link action with internal moral structure. Everyone has moral agency. The question is: what is the nature of their moral structure?

For all of us, our moral structure is a balance between what we would like to be possible and what our experience tells us is likely to present obstacles. That is we would like to be in a world that reflects our original state of total support in the womb. Where everything is there for us, and we can depend on that, and our relationship to what is around us is mutually benevolent and loving. The separation or interruption of that “Garden of Eden” ideal is based on what we have learned about what keeps us from it.

So depending on our level of trust in the ultimate benevolence of the outside world, we are open to shared consciousness, common standards and rules, life navigation based on good expectations, and feelings that we are okay as we are. If we are very damaged, or have a lot of unresolved trauma, our moral structure includes that information. And what is “right” becoming increasing based on what is necessary to survive in a dangerous and nonsupportive world.

In other words, the sociopath has morals. They are just not the morals of some one who is more socially integrated. They are the morals of the person who has learned that the structures of community were not designed for him.

And in this I agree with your viewpoint on positive and negative reinforcement. But what we are dealing with here is the result of negative reinforcement at a very deep level. A creation of a belief system based on a social dissonance that is so damaging and so profound that it has transformed despair into rigid distrust of anything but itself, and even that is warped, because its definition of self has blocked the normal human need for bonding and social dependency.

So the sociopath’s moral structure is that s/he has the right to survive and to care for himself or herself in this vaccuum. This is part of a normal human moral structure, but it is made pathological by the lack of the balancing piece of the normal human moral structure that virtually every “great good” of life derives from connection.

The difference between autistic people and sociopaths (or people with that spectrum of emotional disorder) is that the autistic drama is fundamentally a need to adjust to internal conditions, not external. What I’ve gathered from reading and from my experience with my son is that autistic people have intense sensory sensitivities and related anxiety issues that require them to invest a lot of attention in managing their internal “weather.” A need for order, high-focus and various types of disassociation are typical responses.

The causes of this are neuro-electrical and brain chemical issues, not trauma-related personality disorder. My personal belief is that a lot of it is a complex issue related bacterial and fungal overgrowth related to diet and use of antibiotics. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues of established neural pathways for coping, as there are with other types of trauma response, but a great deal of progress has been made with diet-related strategies as well as direct work on the neural pathways through neuro-feedback.

To get back to moral agency in terms of autistics, their moral structure or belief system about what is good reflects what they have learned about what is good for them. Their battle is not with an uncaring world, but with an overactive sensory response and their need to manage their persistent and well-established reactive anxiety. They have no need to be predatory in the sense that sociopaths are. But they do have a deep need to create order that relieves their symptoms.

I hope this makes sense. I do appreciate your work in attempting to make sense of all of this. But I deeply wish there was less effort placed on demonizing sociopaths and more at understanding the temperamental types that are at risk and developing programs to support their maintenance of some level of trust before they are triggered to give it up permanently. I am not suggesting enabling, but providing loving supportive mechanisms to integrate them successfully into communal social structures.

I believe this is possible, especially if the formative years can be navigated successfully, and I believe their temperament is also the temperament of great people, of heroes and leaders and high achievers. That one issue the belief in the reality of trust makes the difference between preserved and lost potential, both personally and in the context of society as a whole.

Respectfully,

Kathy

FreetoBeME
Yes, wording is there but wording won’t protect when/if a lawsuit happens. Wives divorcing from an spath really have no legal protection when it comes to fraud b/c a married couple are seen as ONE, and both are financially responsible for the other’s debts that occurred during the marriage. No matter what. Innocent spouse is near impossible to prove, can’t be just my word. And when an spath husband has done a right smart job of smearing the gold digging B* wife, I am at the mercy of what is unpredictable. Best to deal with it by not worrying what MIGHT be.

@callmeathena
Wow, again I am amazed how similar they are!! Thank you for sharing this! Kathy does a much better job explaining what I was trying to share! Fantastic post! Very validating and affirming information! Interesting…You know he was always accusing me of not being able to trust (projecting)!! He was correct, I did not trust him at all, I learned no to trust him, but I am blessed with many friends and family that I strongly trust!

Yes, it is true. For me, what is helping is the non-demonizing part. I think about spathiness as being a two year old child. A two year old child (setting aside the cute factor) is mostly is just thinking about a two year old baby’s own needs (to suck, to have the diaper changed, to take a nap, to be seen) and they run around and damage stuff. If I think about my spath being a undeveloped child, he seems a lot less sinister and scary.

@callmeathena
I agree, I am also seeking better understanding in all of this. But I also have to keep reminding myself that my ex spath stabbed a man in the chest 5 times in a bar fight, molested an 8 year old girl, took several pornographic photos of her, committed bigamy, adultery and fraud, punched his daughter’s mother in the eye, abused me and physically restrained me from leaving my house, and he stole my property twice, and is currently slandering me online soooo…he actually is pretty sinister and scary even if there is something broken in his ability to function!

Hosanna,

I like the research done by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen about autism and the lack of empathy….he is one of the primary researchers about autism and the autism spectrum…his book, “The Science of Evil” will be helpful I think in looking at both autism and psychopathy because BOTH have diminished levels of empathy as his research points out.

While Kathleen Hawk’s experience with a son who has Aspergers gives her experience from a hands on view, the hard scientific research IS actually on going, and making some pretty good strides in finding out what is going on from the perspective of the people with one level or another of this disorder.

Environment does have some effects on ALL of us, even identical twins with identical DNA do not have totally identical environments, even inside the womb, one child will have the placenta attached better than the others’ so it will not be absolutely identical, and environment also influences how our brain grows and develops and the chemical and physical pathways inside the brains.

Genetics plays a big part in much of our development, both physically and mentally and emotionally, as well as environment. So we are all a mixture of both our Genetics and our environment.

Dr. Baron-Cohen calls an autistic person with severe empathy problems “Zero Positive” and a psychopath with severe empathy problems as “zero negative” because the autistic person may not have much empathy but they also do not seem to enjoy hurting others where the psychopath without empathy also seems to ENJOY hurting others. the “duping delight” (can’t remember who coined that term) experienced by the psychopaths when they “win” or “con” another person is different from the responses of an autistic person.

Several mental illnesses and conditions seem to also go along with or be commonly found in psychopaths, such as bi-polar, ADHD, and left handedness. It is also fairly common for a person with psychopathy to have all the above conditions.

Dawn H:

In a strange way, your ex has made your going after him easier. If he has climbed the ladder at the bank, I can almost guarantee that a large part of his compensation is restricted bank stock. That means your lawyer will be able to get an accurate accounting and will know right where to serve the QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) which divvies up the assets. I am similarly sure that there are probably 401k and thrift plans be is provided at work, and possibly a deferred salary account. Again, your lawyer will know where to go. Also, many banks require their employees to use a designated broker dealer for securities trades and to file their monthly brokerage statements with the bank’s compliance officer. If the bank owns the broker dealer, this is a given.

Besides the obvious assets, your ex should be very afraid. All it will take is a few calls to the bank’s primary regulator (state chartering authority or the OCC for national banks) and the FDIC. Since the bank is publicly traded, I suspect it is held by a holding company. That means the Federal REserve oversees them. As jaded as we’ve all become after the 2008 meltdown, trust me when I say that all these regulators take allegations of malfeasance, fraud, tax fraud and other nefarious doings very seriously. If your ex wants to play hardball, grab your bat and hit back. Contact the regulators with your suspicions. If you’ve got documentation to back it up, so much the better. Banks can’t afford to have executives like him on staff – if for no other reason, they don’t want the headaches that executive brings to the bank. So, by virtue of what he does for a living, you’ve got him by the balls. Trust me on this one. I prosecute these guys for the feds.

Oh, yes. And if you don’t think he’s been playing fair and square with the IRS, you can approach the IRS and get innocent spouse protection. If they think that he’s been committing fraud, they can go backwards and audit as far as they think they need to — it ain’t just 7 years when they think there’s tax fraud involved. Innocent spouse gets you off the hook for the taxes that may be owed.

Just a few thoughts. Good luck.

Matt,, you are a wonderful resource! Thanks for addressing Dawn’s situation…. your legal eagle knowledge is a godsend for the innocent spouses involved with these arses!

Hope you and a good turkey day and all is well with you and your main squeeze! I’m so happy that things have worked out so well for you!

I tried and tried to end an 18 month long distance relationship with one. Every time he threated to send copies of all the emails and pictures we’d exchanged to my very Catholic boss. Who I know would have been horrified and probably would have ended my employment. So I would talk to the BF again and he would act like nothing ever happened. He told me his best friend is a former famous movie star. When the threats started, she would send me emails saying she paid F. Lee Bailey a $50,000 retainer to pay me back for breaking up with her friend. I found out he was placing and answering sex ads on Craigs List, for men and women, and now I think he has been married the whole time too. I finally had to call the police chief in his town and send him copies of all the email threats. He called the BF and had a nice conversation with him. Since then the contact has stopped other than constantly bashing me on forums. He even placed a Craigs List ad using my full name saying my ex BF thought I was terrible in bed and I needed someone to make me feel better. I had that ad removed in less than 5 minutes. Changed my phone # and cancelled all my email addresses. I designed a forum for him, I would get email notifications of all the posts and also could get into analytics. All the IP addresses for different people were the same as his. So I think he had a whole imaginary group of friends posting. In the spring I am planning on relocating to another state. So……I say in the spring it’s time for payback since he won’t be able to find me. I kept email addresses of everyone he has had contact with, including his wife and other girlfriends and an entire email directory of everyone in his office all across the state. He’s a realtor. I think it’s time to let everyone know what he is. I also found out he’s been in federal prison for threatening to blow up a building and kill some man. I have those articles from the newspaper and also the link to the federal prison records. I think as much hell as he’s put me through, it would be the least I could do. Beside, that’s exactly what he was threatening me with. I am taking back control of my life now. 🙂

Dear BunnyWabbit,

You go girlfriend! Yea the love bomb and if that doesn’t work to make you love them they will THREATEN you….yea that should sure make you love them!

Glad you are free from this creep now, and glad you have enough stuff on him to make his life the hell it deserves to be.

Funny how they forget about all that stuff…amazing what you can find out on line, or with a small payment to a private investigator.

MATT?
What about other taxes, such as payroll taxes? Can a person claim innocent spouse in that case too?

While I insisted we follow employment laws, and gave each employee the forms, in reality I suspect my husband took the easy route and convinced employees to take pay without deductions, they get more takehome. I do not have access to bank records (he moved our biz account to another bank under his name only.) or accounting (he set up using an accounting system that I didn’t know, and he kept the records in a locked storage, which I did not have the key, and I didn’t have a key to his office either.) All our employees were his buds, they didn’t like me, and he had an affair with one who lied to my face when I asked if she turned in forms but she is the one who will claim social security when the time comes.

Ox Drover,
I have screen shots of the Craigs List ads showing full nude pics of him. Easily identifiable. lol. And more than one, I have several. I have such a relief that creep is out of my life. He made me a nervous wreck for months. I just think that I may need to give Karma a little bit of assistance. I hate stooping to his level, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. 🙂 You know, you can search on Google and Yahoo by entering their email addresses. If they are on a forum, posts will show up in the searches. I found out mine was on a BBW dating network advertising for women 250+ lbs. I’m a size 3. hmmmmmmmmmm.

Dear Bunnywabbit,

Maybe you just weren’t “his type!” LOL Let’s see—not a crook, check, not a black mailer, check, not a pervert, check…yea, you just weren’t his type at all.

IF you can give Karma a boost safely then by all means DO SO. But keep in mind when you do that sometimes these turds can become dangerous when they get a “narcissistic injury” to their cover. So just be careful, but if you can safely do it, then bingo, go for it…let him have it with both barrels and then kick him in the teeth to boot!

This is a horrible story.

I’m speechless.

Yes, we get used to stories like this here in this group, but to some degree, I haven’t managed to be completely numb. This one just hurt to read. And that woman doesn’t seem angry yet. She seems so timid still. I want to get mad on her behalf and start yelling, “Don’t you know that you don’t deserve this!?!?!?” She knows, but she’s been putting up with it so long, like we all did. Always hoping for better.

Is she in LF?

Matt. Great post, my spath was a banker, I could have used your advice. Im trying to find dawns thread that you were responding to. I can’t find it. Can you please post a link?

Thanks Athena

P.s. I think my banker spath took his money abd bought bars of gold. A physical commodity. Was that to avoid the banking regulators from seeing his wealth?I think he kept them in his basement.

Panther,

Great observation. Think about that.

Athena

BunnyWabbit, I can’t wait to hear the “backspath” story! We should have a thread just to share how we took down our spaths. You go, girl! OMG, what a tool he is!

BunnyWabbit,

A similar thing happened to a lady my ex-husband works with. She found naked photos, except he was posting on gay boards, and having sex with men when she was not home. This lady was pretty traumatized.

I always got a “latent homosexual” feel with my ex-sociopath. He hated women so much,and admired all of his servile male friends, that I wondered if there was more… he also had used pretty hard drugs early in his life, and that could have opened the doorway for more. Even his mother once said that she thought he might really be gay.

Anyhoo. You just never know. I think a majority of sociopaths would have no problem sleeping with anything, anytime, anywhere.

Both my father and my ex are “p”s. My father stopped giving my mom her altzheimer’s medication and her condition declined rapidly. Once I found out, I sought guardianship of her and an outside guardian was appointed (which happens when the family can’t agree). My dad did this so he could take over her pension and social security. Before she got really ill, she never let him have access to her account. He was held accountable to God finally. My mom went into a home in June, the guardianship controls her funds and my dad passed away suddenly on November 10th. I wish I could say I felt more of a loss, but I only feel the loss of my mom, as she no longer know who anyone is and even has trouble communicating at this point. I think she would have had a couple of more good years if her medication hadn’t been withheld for a year and if he hadn’t been hitting her and mentally abusing her.

Thanks for listening.

Sorry to hear that, Cathy. I’m so glad that at least the financial aspect worked out, and it seems there was a sort of divine intervention there with your dad.

Dear Cathy,

I am sorry that your mom doesn’t know any one, but in a way, I can see that as a blessing as well….chances are she doesn’t remember all the abuse she suffered at the hands of this man either.

Someone told me once that God is kind to us as we get older, as we develop wrinkles our eye sight goes….and so in a way people who are senile at least don’t live in an unhappy present. I used to manage a dementia unit in a long term care facility, and it was specially set up for the demented, and we had patients that carried around baby dolls that were their “babies” and they were reliving the times in their lives that had good memories, memories of their infants. We had another woman who was in a wheel chair and each day she got to the nurses station where she was waiting for a bus to bring her (long dead) husband. She was happy there waiting for his bus to arrive, and each meal she was escorted to the dining room to eat because his bus was late, and then she happily returned to her position waiting for the love of her life to arrive.

I know it is difficult to see your mom struggle to communicate, but communicate with her now by touch. (((hugs))) and God bless at least she is safe from him, and he is facing his karma.

My father is a sociopath that has been tormenting me and my family for over 26 years. I am the oldest of 9 children, and I’ve witnessed the bad apple ruining the rest first-hand. As far back as I can remember, he’s been a completely self-minded entity, with no regard for anyone’s emotions (duh! he’s a spath). However, for the longest time, I had no way to do anything about the threats, the emotional, verbal, and physical abuse. Until I began covertly organizing my siblings to take secret videos of him with their iPods and camera phones.

I have personally captured footage of him hitting my mother with a book in the head, and my little sister who is only 12 years old has captured video of him pushing, shoving, and threatening to kill my younger brother. It’s common behavior for him to do this, but we never had a way to do anything about it. In my own life, I’ve been threatened with death, punched repeatedly, shoved, chased, threatened with chairs, beaten as a small child, thrown up stairs, and harassed continuously emotionally. But I could never document any of these moments because I was in the middle of the abuse, and there were no camera phones back when I was a kid.

But I have a plan. I call it the Triple Exposure. Since there are only two ways for a sociopath to leave you alone (death or total disconnection) and I’m not a criminal, I decided to expose him to the entire world in a three-part process. First, all his friends and family (basically, anyone that has had any contact with him) will receive a packet that contains a DVD of the footage that documents his abuse, an explanatory letter that exposes who he is and why I’m taking action, and a chart that shows how his behavior matches that of a sociopath. I plan on also including as many scientific articles about sociopaths in the packet as well, so that people who are unfamiliar with the concept can delve into it.

Next, I will send the packet to appropriate govt. workers and get a case against him started. I have been in contact with a very good woman at a domestic violence coalition who will help me take the appropriate steps and foolproof the plan.

Lastly, I will post all the videos and my letter online. Much like Donna of Lovefraud, I will expose him to the masses. I want there to be no place he can run; of course, I know that worldwide recognition is a hard thing to accomplish, but I’m going to post his face everywhere.

However, there have been timing issues. He is a builder, and he’s currently building a house for himself and my poor mother, who is nothing more than the shell of a woman these days. A place in the country where he can have complete control of her and no one will hear her scream and cry. So, I’ve decided it’s best to wait until the house is somewhat completed to enact the plan. That way, with a little work, my united front of siblings and I can complete the house and they will have a place to stay. My mother will get a job, and the rest of us will work to make things work financially. Also, hopefully we will receive support from our dear family and friends.

I’ve also considered safety. When the plan drops, my mother and the younger siblings will be in a different state on “vacation” at a completely different place than he thinks she’s at. My brother and I, my fellow soldier in arms, will either be with her to protect her or hunkered down somewhere nearby monitoring his movements. By then, both of us will be carrying concealed carry permits for handguns. I already have mine, and have been carrying for sometime now, but he needs one as well. All precautionary, for my father has been known to threaten us with his semi-auto shotgun on numerous occasions, as well as strangers he encounters and fellow drivers on the road. He is not someone to be fucked with.

So, anyways, that’s my plan. The three-pronged expose that will have him running for the hills, I hope. He doesn’t dare go to court against me because I am smarter than him, more eloquent than him, and, most of all, I have the video evidence. Plus, every single child has vowed that they will testify against him. Of course, I will have to prep them before the hearing (if he even attends) so that they understand the process of what will occur and also just to prepare them emotionally so that they are not intimidated and that they speak the truth. Courtrooms can be intimidating, especially for young kids, especially when their oppressor is sitting there in a suit, staring them down with murder in his eyes.

God be with us.

KatyDid / Matt,

I am in the same position financially. Two businesses, no taxes filed for 3 years, house of cards, little income supposedly, has taken the new house for himself- which I am sure he planned long ago. Has the BEST of everything.

Yes- Matt – it’s me – the same Newlife 08 in the same spot for 3 1/2 years and on second lawyer. $70,000.00 in lawyer bills I will never be able to pay. Why is it the courts allow these N/P’s to victimize us all over again through the system.

We have sold property but the equity was eaten up by his liens. We have the marital home to sell since I cannot continue living next to his SKANK – but we owe more on the re-mortgage he orchestrated than the home is now worth.

He claims his construction business is now defunct – but his guys are working. He has siphened off his best accounts to one of his own workers who has now established his own “company”. I KNOW the N is working through this guy – but can’t prove it.

Innocent spouse is not so easy for the IRS to recognize from what I’ve been told. As wives, we are culpable for NOT knowing what he was doing.

No justice – he is getting away with it all so far !!!!

Good luck, SOS! I hope your plan works. Stay safe.

Donna-
To The Phoenix,

No ”“ a sociopath will never feel remorse for the wreckage they cause. But I do think, when possible, they should feel consequences.

With all due respect, they won’t feel anything. I think we have all agreed that spaths don’t feel. Maybe ‘Suffer’ the consequences is the terminology you were thinking of. Jail time, fines, etc. are one way of hitting them, not so much where it hurts, but where it counts.

Thank you for this posting. It helps to have people who have been through similar situations and this post about holding the psychopath accountable is quite timely for me. Living in a state where you must be separated for a year before filing for divorce has been an unanticipated blessing in many ways making sure that I keep my emotions in check and not react when the emotions of finding to my husband of seven years had used everything that was important to me to obtain his American Citizenship.

As you say all emotional distress is only relevant to your personal situation. I count the blessings that I was never physically harmed and that the financial devastation was limited. Through a year of therapy I have to hold him accountable for the fraud and manipulation that he inflicted on me. He crossed two boundaries that I simply cannot ignore – using my dying mother to manipulate me – and stealing 7 years of my life – my last potential child bearing years. I feel blessed that when I cut him off financially he could no longer control himself and once he was caught cheating I pursued all of those discrepancies that I had put aside in the name of love and trust.

Realizing that you spent 7 years with a stranger who never disclosed that he had 4 children he had abandoned .. Two ex wives he forgot to mention – and a father who he claimed to be dead – alive and well – left me feeling like I had been emotionally raped.

As I await my court date to finalize my divorce I am resolute in my commitment to turn him into immigration for fraud on the immigration paperwork he falsified to keep up his farce. Friends and family do not agree and do not understand – but then again they have not had to live in my skin and in my head – with flashbacks of this stranger in my bed. They have tried to simplify this like I am some jilted lover seeking revenge which could not be farther from the truth. What I need to recover and put this behind me is to know that I was strong and for once stood up for myself which means reporting this crime to the authorities with all of the back up documentation that I have gathered.

So I thank you for your post – with no children of my own – and limited financial impact – I will hold my head up high – gather my strength – and hold this person accountable for their actions.

Dear KatDid,
I too had married had a child with a person whom I did not know conned people out of their monies. Now I am in the middle of trying to get a divorce from my problem. Yes, he also sold shares for investments and financially took me for pre-marital funds, using my social security and all avenues to ruin my credit taking monies from every avenue. He took people through steps before duping them. He is hiding money and now had claimed bankruptcy for approx $1m. Ok, my point I am trying all I can to expose this person even though people do not want to listen and that’s ok. But my second attorney with Divorce & Criminal Law is on the right track. The attorney is exposing him as a crook this will help my case. I am extremely forth thinking and careful about my surrounds to keep safe. This will help me and also others in the near future(the investors) and victims. This case also may help me get a case number to fend-off the creditors which I never took anything from. I worked during our marriage and I don’t want others to go through what I have. I have discovered there have been others he financially ruined in his past . Since my findings which was in the last year of living with him. There was enough to write to the SEC. Their response is they will be doing something about it. That was 2 months ago. My smart lawyer has deposition him in a way to expose his deceit in extracting money from unsuspecting people. They probably still don’t know and I had tried telling one of course they think I am the bad person etc. Well, I am half way through this messing. I feel my education is not up to standards but I will try to correct this situation as much as possible. Please preserver.

Dear Sons.of.Sociopaths
You sound like a good, responsible young man. I commend you for trying to save the family still under your spaths control. Just wanted to give you a couple of heads up to consider in your plan.

Women who live under such abuse are usually not capable of working. I know it took me a long time to stop being afraid enough to even take care of myself or talk to people. In fact, they are frequently not open to rescue either, they betray those who try to help b/c they are SO afraid of the consequence to failure. They tend to go through the motions without thought, it is their survival mechanism. Talk to a domestic spousal abuse specialist about this situation.

Kids, little kids, will not control what they know. They will get angry and lash out, and tell him what’s coming.

The judge will want to know why child protective services were not called. And this is actually your best road to accomplish intervention. But the down side is they can possibly be taken from BOTH parents and lets face it, your mom being a basketcase will be a hard case to win custody.

Be sure to talk to an attorney about exposing your dad. You need to protect yourself from him filing legal recourse.

Am NOT writing to shot holes in your plan, only to give you a heads up and think how to solve these other likely scenarios before you get blindsided by them.

Dear Son,

Sigh, I am so sorry that you have had to become such a soldier at such a young age. Your plan sounds very complex, I hope you are able to pull it off. I assume that your mom is cooperating with this plan as well.

Keep us updated with your plans. God bless you.

Phoenix,

I don’t think “we all agree” that psychopaths “don’t feel” anything. I I think they don’t feel the BONDING that we do, or the empathy, sympathy or compassion, but they do FEEL–they feel rage, duping delight, glee, control, power, anger, and those are all legitimate FEELINGS.

They don’t perceive “punishment” the way we do. They don’t like it, but it just causes them RAGE but that’s okay as far as I am concerned, let them RAGE against the light!

Spencer, TOWANDA for you! Just be glad that you didn’t pass on his genes into a child that you loved that might grow up to be just like his father. There is some good that can be found in the worst events if we look hard enough, if only a lesson to be learned! (((hugs))) and God bless you. p.s. my two biological sons one is a psychopath and the other not the kind of man I care to associate with, but my adopted son is the light of my life. Giving birth isn’t the only way to have wonderful children.

Spencer,

You described how I felt at first about the little exposing I did. I know that my words and actions probably were interpreted as being a vengeful jilted woman wanting payback… but it had nothing to do with payback, but actually being able to stand up straight again.

People who have been used in so many ways end up feeling so dirty. I was used for money, for sex, to move to another country and brag back home where everybody knows what a criminal lowlife he is that he’s living the dream, and for status and reputation, for trust. Especially the latter angered me immensely. By people trusting me he slimed his way up and in with people who should not have trusted him anymore than I did. By exposing how distrustful he was, I wanted to take that back. If it didn’t open the new victim’s eyes, at least it opened the eyes of an ex of his who still thought him human and a friend, made one of the girls he cheated me with get STD tested, and some expat friends of mine who live there totally turn their back on him.

It wasn’t about making him pay, but about taking back what he never had a right to. It was mine to give and take away as well.

Phoenix and Oxy,

I agree wit Oxy here. They feel entitlement, anger, rage and envy and glee when harming or conning someone and get away with it

Oxy
My husband has said that he is not emotional, meaning that I was too emotional. As time went on, I amended his “not emotional” statement to read, “not emotionally available”.

Then I changed it further, that he was VERY VERY emotional, they were just ALL THE NEGATIVE emotions. He was VERY in contact with emotions including rage, spite, envy, vengeful, all the forms of anger including impatience, annoyed (his constant attitude, annoyed at every thing and everybody), arrogant, bitchy….

darwinsmom
you wrote:
“about taking back what he never had a right to.” It was mine to give and take away as well.

ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto ditto. and in ALL CAPS. Ditto. and ditto some more, etc. ditto.

my spath took what he had NO RIGHT TO.

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