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Never too young to learn about sociopaths

A Lovefraud reader found the recent article about me and my new book, Red Flags of Love Fraud, in a Michigan newspaper. This was a surprise to me, because the article was originally published by a New Jersey newspaper, the Camden Courier Post. It turns out that the story was picked up around the country, which is good—it means word about these disordered individuals is getting out.

This particular Lovefraud reader had her own run-in with a sociopath. She is teaching her children about them, which she related to me in a postscript of her email:

P.S. My 12-year-old daughter and I were just discussing the article being in the paper she is very aware of sociopaths having been on the receiving end of one his abusive tirades when he was still a fringe factor in our world before we went NC. I actually used the rabid dog and potted plant analogies to teach all my kids about sociopaths. Anyway her exact words were “Yeah so what ”¦ wait. You mean in OUR LOCAL Paper?  Wow! [silent pause and she continued] “You gotta wonder who triggered that article!” 🙂

I have to add a quick anecdote: Three years ago my twins were starting kindergarten just as I was regrouping from the sociopath’s devalue and discard and his later verbal attack/abuse of my older daughter – the final catalyst for NC even though I didn’t know it as such then. (I found your blog shortly thereafter.) Anyway I tried to keep these issues from my twins at the time but at some point they overheard the word sociopath and asked what it meant. I explained in 5-year-old terms that it was a person who doesn’t  just make “bad choices” they make HORRIBLE choices and they don’t ever feel bad about it and we must always stay away from such people.

Fast forward to their kindergarten fairy tale unit  — one day the teacher pulled me aside and said, “I have to tell you what happened in class today. We read the story of the gingerbread man and the children were asked what things would make them ‘Run! Run! As fast as you can!’  Several children said snakes, spiders, etc. but, as the teacher told me in a shocked voice, my daughter raised her hand and said, “A sociopath!”  The teacher proceeded to say she had no idea where my daughter got such an idea, and I said “Well, I do ”¦ unfortunately we know of one and we stay clear of him!” Maybe that teacher will see the article in the paper and realize they’re not just ax wielding  movie psychopaths ”¦ 🙂


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10 Comments on "Never too young to learn about sociopaths"

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Children are amazing sponges, and I’m glad that this reader was teaching her children about sociopaths and what they mean to the rest of us. I think her teaching them “that it was a person who doesn’t just make “bad choices” they make HORRIBLE choices and they don’t ever feel bad about it and we must always stay away from such people.” is a wonderful way to explain it in a way that even a 5 year old can understand.

I’m glad that the word about your book is spreading, Donna.

I remember when my son was four and he picked up a bad word from me.

We had to talk about words that were better for him not to say until he was older…. And that in particular that was not a good word to repeat in church….

The most important lesson we can teach is that there is a difference between good and bad and the difference counts.

That when something is bad, action is required. And sometimes the benefit of doubt is an opportunity for more bad things to happen.

I don’t think I’d be alive today except for a woman who knew that and acted on it. She didn’t know me, but she knew he was bad. And she’d decided to do something about it.

The result was that he was removed to federally funded housing.

I think of her as an intervening angel. And I will always be grateful for what she did.

My learning experience came from a man who had killed two people, been convicted once and not pursued the second time because the witness disappeared. He was suspected of killing two others and believed to have attempted another murder. And, he was already, legally married.

A real gingerbread man. He was on the run.

Last fall, my son fell in love with a girl (his first love) whose mother is a therapist. The girl came to our house and said that she’d dated another boy but that he turned out to be a sociopath. She used it to describe a young man who’d not been faithful in a junior high dating relationship.

I don’t think she got as good an explanation.

Not a word to toss around. And if it gets tossed once or twice, will it have the same meaning as creep? The label is important but what to do about it at every age is too.

The critical messages to children, it seems to me, are about how to recognize bad character, when not to give it the benefit of doubt and when like a gingerbread man to RUN, RUN, RUN!

And when we need them to be run down and locked up by professionals

Those lessons really do begin in childhood.

Cheers for the editor in Michigan who picked up the story. Cheers for the mom for telling the truth to a young girl in a way she can understand it.
Cheers for the book that started the ball rolling!

OxD, if one child learns the facts and is able to process them and put the Spathdar in action, it will be one LESS victim.

Excellent article and I’m happy to see that the word is getting out, Donna. TOWANDA

I have to agree with Silvermoon, though, that when “the WORD” is applied to every person who cheats on a relationship or steals something, or even every person who kills someone, it can be “cheapened” to some extent.

There are lots of people I can say I think are “high in psycho/socio-pathic traits that would not qualify under Hare’s PCL-R as a “psychopath” with 30 points out of 40, but are surely TOXIC and not the kind of people I want to be around or to have a relationship of any kind with, so I try to reserve THE WORD for those people who truly qualify.

Silver, I am so glad that the psychopath you tangled with is living in “federal housing” and I hope it is for a LONG LEASE….one of the things that is problematic to me is that too many times the “lease” on these housing units, or state financed ones as well, are not long enough and they go back to doing their old tricks.

I remember realizing the panic in your posts back before he went to prison. I’m glad you escaped with your life.

Currently my son Patrick is up for a review of his “lease” and I am working very hard to try to get his lease extended again, but the problem is that about 20-25 years is all that is expected for murder and he is coming up to that mark as the girl he killed died in 1992. While he got a “life” sentence it doesn’t mean much where “life” is concerned and since he was so young when he went in (age 20) he will likely only be middle aged when he gets out. One of his buddies who was paroled after a murder after about 20 years, was out for 3-4 years when he and some of his friends tried to rip off an ATM by throwing a chain around it and dragging it off. They were captured when the cops followed the drag marks to them and the ATM a half our later…and they had guns with them, and he was only sent back for a few months though he was on a “life time parole” which essentially meant very little I think. His ex-wife was so terrified of him that she went into hiding, leaving her home and everything she owned behind her.

Those psychopaths who are truly violent and dangerous should be kept in “government supplied housing” for the duration of their natural lives…but I just get on a soap box here….anyway, I am glad that you are safe at least for now. God bless.

Oxy, well, none of my X spaths are in prison. Spath #1 is dying of congestive heart failure….a complication of alcoholism. He is the father of both my daughters and, after I left him, never sent them a Birthday or Christmas card, never paid child support, and lives in a camper o n a horse feild on his sister’s property. He wanted to be a cop, but settled for being a security agent who arrested shop-lifters, but, sometimes he would offer them a deal…wink, wink, nudge, nudge…..500 dollars and I can make this disappear. He also worked as a furniture delivery person for a furniture warehouse and a TV disappeared. He got fired. It was Christmas time and our kids were three and six months. He used to catch rats and cage them, then set them on the beach to panic, while the tide came in. My mom warned me that that sounded cruel and sadistic, but, well…..
Second spath was hero husband who loooooooooved me more than anybody ever could, or would.
I met him at the end of October, by March he was deployed, but in 8 weeks I would join him with my girls.
Things changed right away. He snapped at me for slamming his car door, and when I said, “I’m sorry”, he said, “you’re always sorry.” He COULD NOT BE PLEASED.
My self esteem was consistantly eroded from then on, I could not clean HIS house well enough, I was lazy, a slob, and then he started beating me up. He punched me in the jaw so hard one time my teeth went through my tongue, and my lower lip was penetrated by my lower teeth. He almost killed me by strangulation during a fight, just because of “my mouth”. When he took his hand off of my throat and I came to, gasping for breath…..my mouth wa still running, much to his chagrin, and I heard about that for years. He cheated on me in thje most dispicable ways…in my bed, at award ceremony’s where I was face to face with his whore….I even think he had one under his desk giving him head while I was in his office….I really do, but, God, talk about the cog-dis, I must be crazy. The funny thing about my relationship with him, is, It wasn’t the physical abuse that finally woke me up, it was the cheating….and I think that is true of so many c-ptsd women. The battery I could explain away, the cheating I couldn’t. Anyway, Xhub is still looking for love on the internet. Hopes to find a blonde bomb-shell of about 24….he is a prime candidate for a mail order bride from Russia.
And, last spath is still living off women in motel rooms. Last I heard he got GF after me”s daughter pregnant, (in their motel room, while she was at work….) and his parents are afraid to let them into their house because of the way they fight. From what I understand he went into his father;s bed-room, while he was sleeping, and stole his shoes. Do I believe it? OHHHHH, hayell yes.
So, who cares what ya call em. They suck. And,yeah, I got a long history being wrapped up with these things, and I’m not a saint, but I am trying to recover.

Kim.
I see the cog diss is melting away. (((hugs))).
love you lots.
you WILL (caps aren’t yelling, meant for emphasis) recover.
sky

Thanks, Sky. I am breaking through a new barrier, now, that I have always been afraid I couldn’t. It’s hard, but I’m doing it. ((((hugs, back))))

your breakthrough makes me happy.
believe me or not, it’s true.

so happy to hear that. (xxooxxoo)

gnite.

Kim, hugs to you…..big, strong, firm hugs. Yeah, the cog/diss is almost mystical to me – how to “rationalize” cruelties and abuses.

Often, I’ve tried to talk myself into the pat response to trauma, “It wasn’t THAT bad, was it?” Oh, yes….it was “that bad,” and then some.

It takes time, but it takes, eventually. Hugs, hugs, and hugs

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