By | February 6, 2012 42 Comments

Red Flags in the news again

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

Last week I wrote an article about the captain of the sunken Italian ship who said he “fell into a life boat by accident” and that was why he got off the ship very early, not waiting for the rescue efforts. It also turned out this married man was with his lover and was drunk at the time the ship was steered, on his command, closer than normal to an island so he could show it off to the residents and his friends there, crashing it into known rocks.

Even after the ship had hit the rocks and was stuck, he denied to the company and potential rescuers that anything other than an electrical “black out” occurred and delayed even issuing an “abandon ship” until it was on its side an hour later, making the ability to abandon ship at that point almost impossible. Amazingly there was actually a small number of dead and missing out of about 4,000 people on the ship since it happened close to shore. I stated that his unbelievable lie (alone) made me think the man was a psychopath, and subsequent information confirms this to me that the man is high in P-traits.

Josh Powell

Another horrible tragedy, which also had significant “Red Flags” displayed, was reported this past week in the news. Josh Powell, whose wife had “disappeared” a couple of years ago, blew up his home, killing himself and his two young sons on a “supervised” visit. His father, who had lived in his home, had previously been arrest for secretly videotaping others undressed.

Read: ”˜Mommy’s in the turnk’: Sons of missing woman gave chilling account of her disappearance before father killed them in gas blast, on

Here is a short quote from the article:

It is a horrific end to a long, bizarre tale. Josh Powell was under investigation in the disappearance of his 28-year-old wife Susan from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. He claimed he had taken the boys on a midnight excursion in freezing temperatures when she vanished.

His explanation of how and why his wife “disappeared” is bordering on the unbelievable level of the Captain of the Concordia “falling into a life boat by accident.” His children later said that they went camping and “mom was in the trunk.”

Another red flag to me is that the Josh Powell’s father is a pervert, and was arrested in the home with pornography he had secretly recorded of girls and women. He is currently in prison awaiting trial. Since we know that psychopathy and dysfunction tends to run in families, both by genetics and by environmental influence, I would say that Josh’s father being a sexual criminal would put him high on my list of “red flag” people associated with Josh, and would give Josh a second look from me.

Learning from the news

Learning about “red flags” doesn’t have to be done by being around people. We can “practice” looking for red flags in the evening news, the news we read online, in the papers and the stories we hear about. When we hear about some horror story, or just some person’s divorce, we may be able to use that as a “learning experience” and see the red flags that, as we practice, will become more and more obvious to us.

I was also glad to see an article in yesterday’s Sunday paper by Carolyn Hax in her column Tell Me About It. A young man talked about catching his girlfriend in a lie and how controlling she was ”¦ and he asked Carolyn her opinion of this relationship. Carolyn didn’t call the woman a controlling witch but she told him to dump the woman, that there was no chance a control freak who was a habitual liar was going to be rehabilitated. Good advice. I’m glad to see more advice along this line in some of our “advice to the lovelorn” columns.

If we look around us in the news, in our neighborhood, we can watch for the “red flags” that show themselves all over the place. The Flags that tell us “get out of that relationship” or “don’t start a relationship with that person” or “aren’t we glad we didn’t have a relationship.” Not all of these people will be full fledged murdering psychopaths or sexual perverts, but they will have some character flaws that we don’t want to deal with ”¦ like pathological lying or controlling behavior. It helps us learn and the “tuition” cost is zero.

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Ox Drover,

Wow, I hadn’t heard about Susan Powell in a long time. When she went missing, I only suspected one person of doing away with her, her husband, Josh. In time, I heard about his father, Steven, going online to read up about this man, finding him to be an odd person, a sicko. Both the father and the son are disordered. So now, Josh has killed his wife, Susan, his two young children, and lastly, himself. Another tragedy caused by a spath.

Ox Drover

Back when it came out that he said he took the kids out in FREEZING weather at midnight I KNEW HE HAD TO BE THE KILLER…no one but a psychopath would come up with such a far out story as that and EXPECT ANYONE TO BELIEVE IT.

I don’t know if his kids comments were what they remembered and were now able to verbalize (they were so young when it happened) or if their grandmother had planted those memories in their minds, but I have NO DOUBT that Josh killed her, even before the blast, just by his FAR OUT LIE that not even a 5 year old would believe….any more than that the Capt. of the Concordia FELL INTO A LIFE BOAT.

The “tell” of the OUTRAGEOUS LIES for one thing is just too much “evidence” to me that someone’s brain isn’t functioning on a normal plane…like Hare said they will lie when the truth is right in front of them. Like I say “they will LIE WHEN THE TRUTH WILL FIT BETTER.”


I see certain type of stories (lies) as being red flags.

For instance, the Captain said he’d done this kind of close shore showboating before and that he was authorized to do it this time. Not quite so true.

Yes true, he did it before, BUT he failed to say the REST of the story… that the ship was damage on rocks, not severely, but scraped rocks and had to be repaired and repainted. He was reprimanded.

Yes true, he filed a route, yes. and the route was approved yes. But they did not approve a route close to shore, SHOWBOATING was NOT approved. They assumed he filed a route in compliance with his orders, that he was NOT going near the rocks b/c of the previous incident.

And while true he did NOT go the EXACT SAME route as before, he did NOT route the safe passage. HE QUIBBLED on his words.

When married to my spath, I called those weazel words. (depends on the meaning of “is”) My spath could spout a whole speech of truths and slip in only ONE lie, but that ONE little LIE negated EVERYTHING he’d said.

That same trick still causes me trauma. I work SO HARD to write sometimes, b/c I try to avoid wrong messages, b/c even ONE wrong word and my husband would dismiss EVERYTHING I said, or condemn me for ALL I said if one word was wrong. I have had a poster here on LF encourage others to join her ridicule of me, all b/c I still sometimes fall into that trap, trying to make sure each word is right and not give him wiggle room to invalidate me. The lack of empathy and cruelty was crushing to me. That another LF member treated a VICTIM of a mfn spath with ridicule.

There’s a difference b/t trying to get the words right and how these spaths try to AVOID being held accountable to their deceitful words.

I watched the interview with Todd. His evasion, his lack of drive to find the truth, his MOVE in with a father who was a nutcase, his lack of openness and transparency, ALL told me that he murdered his wife. I think the word “killed” is too gentle. HE MURDERED her, just as he eventually murdered her kids (and I think it was so her parents could not retain custody of them.)

Ox Drover


Rat poison is 99% pure corn meal, fit for human consumption and good for building your body…it is the 1% LIE (poison) that kills you, not the 99% pure corn meal.

Lies are the same way….and the psychopaths know that, and they use “partial truth” in their lies to try to disguise the taste of the LIE. Funny thing is though, sometimes their lies are so STINKING (like “I fell into a life boat by accident” or “I took the kids out for a walk at midnight on a freezing cold night and when I came home the wife was no where to be seen.”) that NO one over the age of 5 would even consider that the lie could possibly be true. LOL

That’s why at a distance we can SEE these lies as BRIGHT RED FLAGS.

BTW quit being so sensitive to people dis-ing you, on LF or anywhere else, kiddo. If I had a buck for every time a poster here had been snarky to me I’d be rich. I admit the first time it happened when Ii was new here and RAW it traumatized me, but you’ve been here a while now my KatyDid, so let it roll off yer back like water off the duckie’s backs. ((((hugs))) Just consider the source, it is obvious they are either having a bad day or whatever but if they are snarking at you, they are at least giving some poor newbie a break. (((Hugs)))


Tori’s Eminem cover ’97 Bonnie and Clyde was what this “disappearance” and “story” reminded me of


KatyDid ~

I think your statement “I think it was so her parents could not retain custody of them” was right on the money. I believe that is WHY he killed the kids.

I believe he did it NOW because the Judge in the custody case had ordered him to have a complete psychosexual evaluation and lie detector BEFORE she would consider returning his custody. He was afraid the evaluation would expose him without his mask and he would rather be dead than have that happen. He blamed this on her parents, if it not for them, this would not be happening to him. So he took away something precious, their grandchildren.

Both times we ended up with custody of our grandson it was because our daughter “signed over” custody of him to us. Both times it was immediately after a judge had ordered her to have a complete forensic psy evaluation. She could not bare the thought of having her mask ripped off. Retaining her mask was more important than custody of her child.


Thank you Oxy,
I have processed the jerk behavior. It wasn’t just mean, it was that she encouraged others to ridicule me without taking into consideration that as a victim of spaths, many of us learned to “walk on glass” (lacked empathy). While it makes me a weirdo (I embrace my inner weirdness), “who does that?” The answer is: VICTIMS OF SPATHS who were mindfarked do.

Being here a while does not mean all my pain has been resolved or that I stopped feeling hurt when attacked. But it does mean it doesn’t send me into long term depression either. Still worth a lesson that we can all disagree or share differing perspectives, and the more the better, but it’s not appropriate to ridicule ANY victim of an spath.

Nevertheless, I posted the example b/c I wanted to share with others how to discern the weazel words of an spath misleading and manipulating, whether by lies of omission or by slipping in One tiny lie that negates all the truths ,or as in the example of the captain, telling a story but leaving out the one bit that changes the whole story – versus someone trying to get their words just right, And that the difference is an example of how to discern a RED FLAG.

Ox Drover

MiLo, I am sure this whole thing must have made the hair stand up on the back of your neck….I sit here shaking my head at this guy’s excuse of what happened to his wife, but shaking it even more at the death of these two babies just to hurt someone else and to cover up his own evil face. Of course we will never know the total reason behind what he did, for one thing he’s dead and can’t tell us, even if he would tell the truth (not likely even if he was alive) but the other thing is even if he did tell us the truth, how could we comprehend it? It is so foreign to our way of seeing things.

All we can do though is to realize that right after the man’s wife disappeared he told a LIE SO OUT OF THE REALM OF TRUTH THAT NO ONE COULD BELIEVE IT….IT WAS A RED FLAG.

Red Flags signal danger folks. DANGER. *D*A*N*G*E*R* and people who do things that are so outrageous as murder or ship wreck and then tell the ULTIMATE lie…we need to keep them at least as far away as possible. I guess these grandparents didn’t have a choice though. Who knows, maybe the judge didn’t have a choice either….the way the stupid laws are these days because of the “experts.”


I did feel immediately angry that there were reports of blaming the court or the grandparents for not returning custody. Like, oh poor man, He snapped. NO. MURDERING innocent children is not the behavior of someone who “snaps”. This PLANNED act is consistent with an angry murderer who was hiding a secret and did the ultimate act of revenge rather than let others hold him accountable. What is so terrible is that NO ONE seemed to answer the question, if it’s likely he murdered his wife, and he defends his pedophile father as “not that bad”, then why trust him with innocent children? BECAUSE THEY WANTED HIM TO ENJOY PARENTING??? Mindboggling wtf moment.

Ox Drover

Well, obviously he did NOT “enjoy” parenting and decided not to do so….sorry, I couldn’t make myself behave! The devil made me do it. I’m sorry I just can’t believe this guy was able to do this and get by with it. Makes me angry that I can’t do something to make him pay for what he did…”justice is mine saith the Lord.” I guess I will have to let God handle it and let it go myself. Jesus said that “anyone who harms one of these (children) would be better off with a mill stone around his neck and tossed into the sea” (paraphrased) so I guess the guy is facing a JUST GOD right about now….and God is pithed!


It’s a sick sick story…

First their mother had to live not just with one spath partner, but her spath in law father who was sexually interested in her, as well as in childre. (and she was raising two children in that house).

Pretty sure he killed her. Did she decide to leave him with her 2 children? So, he murders her, puts her in the trunk… his sons of 3 and 5 are witness to it, and he does a ’97 bonnie and clyde with them… taking them to his disposal spoth, meanwhile lying to them they’re gonna hae a nice family camping outing… at the MIDDLE of the NIGHT while it’s freezing cold?????????????

Dad carried Mama out of the trunk, disposed her and to those young boys he probably told some other “child fantasy story”, like “mama went swimming” or whateer.

But time was catching up on him. The boys started to figure out slowly what they witnessed, started talking too. He couldn’t have that. And he couldn’t have his in-laws “owning” his boys. And he couldn’t have a judge tell him to get pscyh ealuated.



Katy & Oxy ~ when Grand was 3, a court investigator decided to supervise visits with mommie dearest in her home. He was an older guy, real know it all. When we picked up Grand after visit, mommie was gone, had driven off with DUI suspended license, left Grand with convicted felon boyfriend and court investigator. Grand walked out door to greet us with absolutely no hair on the entire front and sides of his head. Turns out NO one was supervising the CHILD and he got up on bathroom sink, got sissors out of medicine cabinet and cut his hair off. Court investigator, turned qualified visitation supervisor’s comment – Well, he is almost four, he should be able to take care of himself.

Until you go through this crapola, you have no idea…….


Oh Good Lord heaven help us. Another example of why those with “parenting skills” there to supervise parenting should NOT be allowed near a child. I hope he was fired for his incompetency but I know better. Had my own experiences with social services and their “logic” which is why I feel so angry and impotent, that NOTHING has changed. Am SO sad b/c there are families with NO ONE to step up. Look what they are left with as their teachers. If not for you, imagine what life Grand would have. 🙁

Ox Drover

Well, MiLo, I must confess that the Christmas my kids were 4 and 5 about a day or so before christmas Patrick cut C’s hair off in front and the next day C returned the favor so our Christmas pix that year have GREAT hair cuts in them! LOL Fortunately we had posed a few in front of the tree a few days before the hair cut event..and you know no matter how closely you supervise them at that age they can get into all kinds of shiat even with you THERE and trying! You have to sleep and go poo sometimes! It is amazing that any of them get past age 2 or 3….!!!!


Yea, Oxy, but I forgot to mention the best part, neither boyfriend or supervisor noticed he had no hair.

Just caught a little of Dr. Drew, he said Josh was sciopath, but the expert, author, psychologist disagreed. Oh, no she said, maybe a N, but not nearly a sciopath. Depressed and hopeless maybe. What is the use.

Also heard that the home visits were a court order, social workers had no say to where visits would take place.

PS – I once cut a chunk out of the front of my bangs to match my missing front teeth. My mom said, MILO, what did you do and I said nothing mommy.


So why is it that people who have not encountered a spath, don’t see red flags? What I mean is, why are we training our children to assume the best in people even when they lie like dogs?

Surely, this was not always so? Didn’t there used to be common sense? What happened in the history of humanity so that spaths can now get away with telling incredibly stupid lies and they aren’t being drawn and quartered?

Ox Drover

Oh, yea,, I did the same thing TWICE in first grade…first time my bangs were bothering me so cut them off with my little round pointed scissors…told not to do it again, but did it anyway next time they tickled me…got my butt smacked! LOL didn’t do it again! LOL


Oxy and Milo,
my mom did it for me. You should see my first grade picture.
My sisters got to wear their beautiful hair long but my mom hacked mine off. She didn’t even bother trying to get it straight.

When I got old enough to make a stand, I wore my hair long and have worn it long almost my entire teenage and adult life – really long down to my waist. That’s how much it affected me, what she did.

Ox Drover

Sky, I wish I knew why there is this “everyone has good deep down in them” mind set in the West at least…it is Pollyanna-ish for sure and never has been true so I am not sure why it has suddenly over the past few decades become so PC that if you say it isn’t true there is something wrong with YOU.

Anyway, I’ve had enough drama and red flags for today and I’m going to go to bed….been a busy and productive day. My leg is enough better that I can get around now without a limp so have been trying to catch up with this nasty house I have neglected since I got hurt nearly a month ago. Cooked for us, and cleaned and even cooked for the dogs (scraps from the butchering!) The Jack Russell won’t eat the meat raw because he remembers when I sneaked the pills for his tick fever into raw meat “treats” to get him to take them and they made him sick…so if I offer it to him raw he hunkers down like I have beaten him. He is so paranoid of abuse (from previous abuse by his first mother’s adult psychopathic sons I think) and he thinks nail cutting or pills are just being mean! LOL Oh, well, I cooked it for him! What a woosie push over I am right! LOL

Got to get back on my nutritional plan though, the medication I am taking for my leg is making me ravenous and I am eating TOOOOOO much. Not sure how much I’ve gained in the past couple of weeks but bet it is 50 pounds! LOL the medication is helping my leg though, so I really don’t care! Can’t stand being lame! That’s why they shoot horses. Never did figure out how shooting the horse made the leg heal faster but what’da I know, right? LOL G’nite!


Hello, I am pretty new to this site (and this is my first post) but have read pretty extensively in the past few weeks with great interest.

By way of brief background: I recently ended a relationship with a man who is a sociopath, I have come to realize. I was lucky in many ways to come through relatively unscathed. The relationship didn’t last very long and while we were living together for a few months, he moved out of state (and onto his new victim, whom he apparently married a few weeks ago). I was only receiving emotional “rat poison” (great visual!) for a few months, all told. I have been working pretty hard to heal and I’m honestly shocked at how damaged I feel from a relatively brief encounter.

I am an attorney and my cases are mostly in the child welfare and mental health domains. My network of family and friends is filled with mental health professionals. Through my work, I have mostly been exposed to and learned about mood disorders and psychotic illness. I have never received any training about personality disorders.

In fact, on Friday, I spent the day being trained on “mental health issues in the law” and there was no mention of personality disorders. On the evaluation form, I requested they conduct training on sociopathy and domestic abuse in the future. I recognized two judges in the audience, which is laudable to me. In my state, a pretty progressive place altogether, I know how little the judges and lawyers understand mental health issues.

I know how much better informed I am than most of my colleagues because of the many conversations we’ve had. I never recognized sociopathy in my work (which seems incredible as I type it) because I thought I had no first-hand knowledge, particularly of the “sub criminal” “parasitic” variety. I could usually see who was loathsome and identify particular behaviors that were unacceptable but I had no idea about the larger pattern of pathology. Now I see it in so many places that I worry about now being over-inclusive.

The way I figured out what the deal was with my ex-spath was from a comment a dear friend (who is a professional therapist) made. She remarked, months ago, that his lies were sociopathic. I gasped when she said it but didn’t really look around for information about the disorder for several months. While I had healthy gut instincts (for example, thinking about Quaker shunning idea rather than “no contact” after our break-up), I didn’t see the framework for the pathology until after I’d experienced it.

I guess what I’m saying is I don’t think most of the court officials in this country have a clue when they are dealing with sociopaths. They are no different than the general population when it comes to understanding the ramifications of personality disorders.

Ox Drover

Hi, Sparklehorse,

I wrote a welcome post to you…but it went into cyber space some how. LOL

I’m glad you are here, we only have one other attorney who posts here (Matt) and he is doing well and doesn’t post daily any more. He is a Federal DA in Washington DC….

I hope you can be a change agent with your co workers and with the judges and others about educating them about psychopaths, esp the sub criminal ones. It is IMPORTANT and something that only an insider can really do….

Thanks for your post, and again, welcome! This is a great place for learning!


Welcome Sparklehorse: thank you for your thoughts.
I completely and totally agree with you.

I have been in the med/legal field as well, my whole life and personality disorders and sociopathy is NOT addressed by anyone adequately enough, I feel. Not in medical or legal. I think it is a relatively ‘new’ issue because up until now, it has always been buried away in mental institutions and hospitals. Almost a ‘tabu’ of sorts. Now, with so many ‘rights’ afforded to them ‘legally’, they are quite capable of escaping any ramifications as they always seem to know how to navigate under the radar, so to speak.

Yes, healing is a very long journey.
Out of all the things I have seen, experienced, witnessed and have come through, personally, in my life, this has been the most exhausting and self sacrificing.

I know what you mean about being ‘over inclusive’.
Not a chance. Not when it comes to defending yourself.
Personal safety is of the primary importance in situations like this. It has taken me a long time to learn what this illness is.

Out of all the training I have had in my lifetime, not once was socipathy ever taught nor spoken of, you are right. I wonder why that is? Certainly, it has been around, longer than I am old…I will be 61 this year and had a biological mother who was very sociopathic. So, as far as history of awareness goes, I guess we are stuck at the burning beginning of awareness.

I feel that unless we all speak up collectively and learn and educated ourselves and make people aware, nothing will ever change. They will just keep on scamming their victims, being dangerous and contemptuous and escaping due process and thereby escaping our justification. However, I do believe we can achieve this ‘justification’ within ourselves. Absolutely. By recognizing and accepting our worth and our value and standing on those premises.

For two years, I counseled and not one time did I ever hear: “Well, it sounds like you are involved with a pyschopath.” NOT ONE TIME did I hear that! It was up to ME to figure this all out. And I have and I am more confident and more strong and more aware than ever before.

“Parasitic” is a very good word for what they are.
And I know we sound ‘mean’ and berating and maybe a little too much so, considering we are suppose to be kind, loving and compassionate human beings – but somehow they make that very difficult for us.

You are fortunate someone stepped up and told you what you were dealing with or you would never have known.

That is exactly what Love Fraud has done for me.

Love and peace to you Sparklehorse: we are here for you. This is a very difficult experience in our lives but one we will never forget; hm?


Hi Sparklehorse,

What you said made me sad, and also the story about the murderer of wife and children… how court professionals (lawyers, judges, and dare we say “CPS INVESTIGATORS”) have little or no clue about this. Yeah, that poor daddy(murderer) needs a relationship with his children. He has a right to visitation with them!

I think sometimes the court professionals intervene in a helpful way and lives are saved and justice is done. But what proportion of the time do well-meaning court professionals (oh, and let’s add mental healthcare professionals and school counselors and teachers to the list) totally misread the situation and meddle and make things WORSE?

And I’m saying, these people are well-meaning, desire to be helpful. But misunderstand. And unwittingly collude in causing damage.

This is the sadness and anguish… red flags IGNORED or explained away, or people who only insist on seeing the good in everyone (loved that rat poison analogy!).

It’s so complicated. If you are being harmed by that 1% lie or poison and no one else sees it. And they have power (power of the state) to come in and meddle in your family and make things worse.

I wanted to ask the CPS lawyer, how are you so sure that you have the facts straight? I didn’t ask her that. I did say, though, that I’d been falsely accused and every “supporting” detail in their report was a lie which had come from my ex-husband. (he said she said, you know). And she said basically that I just needed to get over it. It’s a terrible thing to be falsely accused and then never any type of apology made or acknowledgement made that perhaps they were mistaken.

So that is just to say… 1% lies can do a great deal of damage. And the damage is compounded by the well-meaning folks who work in our child welfare and criminal justice systems who do not get spaths.

I hope this is changing. I hope they listen to you, Sparklehorse, and include info on domestic violence and sociopathy in their training lectures and seminars.


Welcome, Sparklehorse.

Yah…the legal system doesn’t address sociopathy or other behavioral disorders that specifically harm source targets (victims).

My State has (like most) no-fault divorce, which, on its face is a good idea to protect all parties involved – assuming that both parties are reasonable adults. But, when it comes to Family Court and sociopaths, it’s incredible at what the spaths seemingly get away with.

In my case, the soon-to-be-exspath was not only involved in very sick sexual interests and activities, but he drained me of my private financial resources WITH IMPUGNITY. He had such a sense of ownership of my resources that he actually forged my signature on dozens of drafts, along with his own signature! And, what recourse do I have? VERY LITTLE.

“No Fault” does not apply in my situation (as with most). This should be addressed, especially when a sociopath is involved. Someone IS at fault – deliberately, intentionally, and with malice aforethought. They target their victims, financially bleed them like a kosher steer, and are able to effectively discard the now-exanguinated victim and receive legal compensation for their actions – because it is “equitable.”

When the Courts are dealing with a custody/visitation issue and a sociopathic parent is involved, it’s deplorable on every level. The child suffers because they are only viewed as personal property by the spath. The victim-ex suffers because the Court must remain “equitable.” What the Courts cannot seem to grasp is that an innocent child DOES NOT need the attention or contact with “both parents” when one is spath – the child is used/absued by the spath to “get even” with the former victim, and the child does not have a legal voice.

This is something that must be changed, given that the rate of sociopathy is growing at an exponential rate in our society and culture.

Brightest blessings!


Oh, and to clarify…..20Years has it spot-on: some people do not deserve to enjoy visitation/custody of innocent lives. The innocent lives are far better off without the spath influences and tortures.

Thank GOD I did not have a child with the soon-to-be-exspath!


Actually, I think that in a way there is hope that we can make society more aware about this, at least in our society.

While it may seem as if our modern world has turned spathier, at the same time we have a better chance of informing people. There is of course the (a) the internet, and (b) sexual revolution half a century ago.

Imagine what it would have been without the latter? Without it, we’d live in a society where divorce is either impossible, illegal or totally unacceptable. Without it, we’d live in a society where you could not have an affair with someone, or at least if you did, it would be absolute tabu to talk about it, unless we’d bring all relatives to disgrace. And this goes for men as well as women. Without it, we’d never be able to make a living on our own and regain independence.

But at least we now live in a society where nobody frowns at us for dating someone else, living with them for a while, even marry and escape a bad relationship anymore. We don’t have to keep it a social secret.

I’m not so sure whether it makes for more victims. The inuit spath beds the married wives of his tribe as serial as spaths do in our world. But we’ll not be ostracised for it or shunned from society for it. We can still speak up from a more personal experience and inform people, even if we can only do it bit by bit.

Both society and internet created a forum where victims can speak up.


I am currently reading a book called “Dangerous Instincts – How Gut Feelings Betray Us” by Mary Ellen O’Toole.

I do not remember if I found it through a post on Love Fraud or through internet searches on detecting deception (just finished a work course on this).

Mary Ellen O’Toole was a FBI Profiler. This book focuses on psychopathy and “how you can measure the risk of any situation and assess the behavior and true personality of the people around you – strangers, coworkers, bosses, even friends and dates”.

I’d thought I’d share this as discussions about seeing red flags and being too nice and so on have me assessing my own risk taking and naivety in the past.

Anyways, if someone else has read this – I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts. I’m only on Chapter 3 and am thankful that I am able to ‘get this’ now – whereas in the past I’ve read about psychopathy etc and couldn’t make the connection to what was going on for me at the time.



First, thank you Ox Drover, Duped No More and 20years for the warm welcome!

I am not very familiar with the details of this (Powell) case because for some reason I hadn’t heard about it until reading here.

I would guess that the red flags were not entirely ignored since the judge had ordered particular psychological exams of the father. Nonetheless, why the visitation ordered was to take place at the father’s home under the circumstances is puzzling. I am also puzzled by the reports that (1) the children didn’t want to visit their father and yet (2) they ran ahead of the social worker so the social worker was locked out of the house. It seems like something is missing from the narrative. There is perhaps relevant information missing from the narrative given to us by the media.

Regarding the right to visitation, there is a balancing act here that can create binds. The father’s parental rights were not terminated and we don’t know the details of what evidence the judge had when making determinations of what kind of visitation should be authorized. I would think the fact that supervised visitation was ordered indicates that red flags were seen.

The sad fact is, sometimes the sociopath is believed by the family services staff. After my training on Friday, a friend called to discuss one of her cases. When she described it to me recently, I told her I thought the father sounded like a sociopath. They had a hearing and his lawyer duped around a report my friend was trying to get released to her. Based on her description of the hearing, I think the attorney is also a spath. Afterwards the father taunted my friend in the hallway of the courthouse. My friend said that the family services people all think he’s a good father and believe everything he tells them. The mother is apparently a wreck and very anxious when around him. Hopefully my friend, who represents one of the children, will be able to unmask him while staying safe herself. As Duped No More mentioned, personal safety has to be of utmost concern and there is risk for people involved as professionals in legal proceedings as well.

Duped No More, you are so right that I was fortunate to have someone step up and help me understand what I was dealing with. I was even more fortunate that I had more than one person. One of the gifts of this experience is feeling how much love there is in my world.


The following is a quote from Alina Powell, Josh’s sister.

“Josh and his boys spent more than two years being crushed alive by hate, harassment, and abuse.”

“None of us could have anticipated the devastating tragedy that took place Sunday, but what this unimaginable loss shows is that hate will never end well,” Alina Powell said.

This is a typical example of a person who is raised in a spath family, (they had a pedophile father). Josh is dead and she is STILL enabling him. She is still making excuses for him. She still thinks that this happened because everyone was mean to him.

As far as learning the red flags, we have to be aware that people who are raised with/by spaths are usually not going to get out unscathed. If they are not spaths themselves, they will often fall into the category of enablers and that means that they are blinded to a certain aspect of reality.

I speak from my own experience as enabler extraordinaire. Often time, as in my case, it isn’t until the enabler is chosen as the sacrificial scapegoat and actually targeted to die in a horrific act of betrayal, that her eyes are opened.

We are trauma bonded into believing as we do. We are addicted to the relief we get from being true believers in our families. I hope that Alina gets counseling, but I doubt that she will.


welcome. I’m very glad you’re helping your friend represent this woman. I feel like there is no better place to learn about and discuss spaths than the LF blog. People here really really GET IT. Any time you need support or assistance understanding what you are encountering, please feel free to ask. There are many of us here who are happy to provide answers derived from our own experiences.



Slightly irritated by your sweeping generalisation regarding professionals that are involved in child abuse cases. Here in the UK Teachers are expected to adhere to strict guidelines according to “Safeguarding Children” In addition, Teachers take a child’s disclosure extremely seriously and follow set procedures to ensure information is passed on to the named person/child protection officer.

Sadly, this is where our “power” to protect a child ends.


Edit: sometimes children are abused or worse than that, they are murdered by their parents/guardians etc. In spite of the most supreme efforts of the professionals involved. It was interesting to watch the reaction of the Police Officer when the journalist from NBC asked him if he thought that there was any more the police or social services could have done. These people had their hands tied effectively. By the judicial system. Please don’t tar all people/professionals with the same brush.
We are not all “do gooders” with no brain


Hi Strongawoman, I’m glad you commented. There might be others who reacted the way you did to my post, and I’m sorry for any offending I did.

I have worked as a teacher, too, and I know there are guidelines. I know about mandated reporting. This is/was not meant as any kind of diatribe against individuals. I know how hard it is for the well-meaning professionals to be discerning… but that was sort of my point. That no matter how well-meaning most people are, they can (and do) misread the situation. And the misreading of the situation can cause HARM.

I am not sure what the answer is. I wonder if mandated reporters realize what happens to their report after they make it. I wonder… do they realize that the investigator might leave that (falsely accused) family feeling like they’ve just had a home invasion by a two year old wielding a baseball bat, smashing their lives to bits, then smiling with satisfaction for a job well done?

I just wonder… I wonder if the mandated reporters believe that they did the right thing. i know they don’t have total choice; but I do know that in many cases they can use *some* discretion, to not do any knee-jerk, “just in case, err on the safe side” reporting of families.

I hope to raise some awareness that in the case of CPS investigations, it is not “innocent until proven guilty.” No, these investigations are brutal, underhanded, tossed off quickly (perhaps they are overworked and don’t have the resources to do a proper investigation, but shouldn’t they?). I was yelled at, I was threatened with loss of my employment, with loss of my reputation, with loss of my children. And I had done nothing wrong. This was traumatizing — I am not exaggerating when I say that CPS + police into my home felt like I was attacked in a home invasion.

I also know that not every CPS investigator is a spath. I’m not saying mine was, but she sure was a lying b**ch who seemed to enjoy talking to me rudely, threateningly, and manipulated the facts of the case to make it as hard on me as she could. (I have the personality of a kindhearted, reasonable person and there was no excuse for her to treat me that way. I was polite and “helpful” throughout). She had her mind made up, or some other agenda. I don’t really know what motivated her. (these days I think: spath. But at the time… I was devastated and traumatized. I still didn’t have the Lovefraud spath-knowledge I have now). I only know that she did not talk to anyone who could have told her the truth — she got her data ONLY from my spath ex-husband and from people he told her to contact. And treated me accordingly. I will be a bit bitter about this, for awhile.

I blame a system that does not have enough checks and balances. I blame overzealous people and politics, and a dynamic that gets off on the stories of “bad parents” and pointing the finger… cause it’s just so much fun to find a real baddy and make an example of them.

But I did not mean any maligning of the folks who are caught up in this system. all are individuals, most of them are well-meaning and want to help. And need to follow guidelines and directions in order to keep their jobs.

But the fact is, my family and I were injured/harmed by this system. Like it or not, this system is made up of individuals who have different roles to play. I came out of the experience with my viewpoint forever changed, about the role that the state *should* play (or *how* they should play it), with regard to families, family justice, family crimes, etc. Because we were harmed, and they didn’t give a ****.


I just saw your edit. I don’t think I was tarring anyone. I’m sorry if you feel that I was. There were no sweeping generalizations intended, certainly not about individuals. It is a problem with the system, but only individuals can change that.

I also bet that some falsely accused individuals are treated fairly by the system and end up not feeling that harm was done.

I never “fault” mandated reporters. However… there is nothing stopping a mandated reporter from speaking up TO the system to say that there are things that might be changed.

For me, I will not speak up or feel that I can speak up, until my children are grown. I’m still too scared of what they might do. They have a lot of power. But my outrage is profound.


Strongawoman, I allowed myself to get carried away by triggered emotions. I’m sorry if I offended you.


If you were falsely accused then that is terrible. You have my heartfelt sympathy.
Perhaps if the system had been “over zealous” these two children would be alive.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs


No need to apologise 20 years. I feel strongly that’s all. Happy evening to you

Ox Drover

The last article I read said the social worker was having a hard time. I imagine that is the case, I can’t imagine otherwise.

See my post on “Deadly blasts” thread.

Ox Drover

ps strongwoman and 20 years, I applaud you two working out the misunderstanding/trigger issue above..Good for you. WELL [email protected][email protected]



Feathers slightly ruffled but would never wish to upset or trigger anyone here. Thanks for the support.

Ps I checked out link you posted re the social worker. Password required.

Pps My heart goes out to her


Thanks, Ox and Strongawoman. This (role of the State in prevention of/watchdog for child abuse) is something I have wrestled with a lot.

Before my experience, I felt differently. I was more in agreement with the “need to break some eggs” line of thinking. That is because it never occurred to me, really, how people under investigation are treated. I figured — child abuse and neglect is a horrible thing, and we just need to protect those kids at any cost!

I know my experience is not singular… I researched “CPS investigations” just about as madly as I researched sociopathy. There are some terrible stories out there of miscarriage of justice (false accusations and taking children away from homes unnecessarily). Very traumatizing.

I used to think that CPS was benign and helpful and would never make mistakes. That they are careful and truly helpful. I no longer feel that way. I know some individuals are, but that was not my experience.

I used to trust a lot more than I do now.

I know for a fact that most of the people working in the justice system and social services system and educational system and mental health system are there because they care deeply about helping and wanting to make a difference. And they have a lot of training and can be considered experts in many cases. But experts can still be misinformed.

And most people want to save abused children and prevent abuse.

But I think this system is really broken, in a lot of ways.

Once my children are adults, I plan to speak up about my experience and hope that I can help effect some change in the ways CPS investigators approach their investigations.

I never, never, never will think that it is OK to harm an intact, safe and healthy family just to err on the safe side in case they might be abused or neglected children. I will never think it is OK to threaten and manipulate and selectively twist details in order to get the investigation to come out the way the CPS investigator wants it to. I will never think it is OK to coerce through threats and intimidation. I really think there has to be a better way.

But to get this back to the original post of Sparklehorse that I was responding to… she was really addressing the abysmal lack of knowledge about sociopaths in the criminal justice/family courts system. That ties in directly to the point I was trying to make. There was NO WAY that I could get across to the CPS investigator that my ex-husband is a sociopath and that the children are safe with me, and that he was lying about me (it was lies mixed with truth — very hard to defend without sounding crazy). You know as well as I do that if I were to open my mouth and say, “my ex-husband is lying” that they would think I was “protesting too much.” His lies were so attractive and believable. He played the role beautifully, of the poor daddy who only wants to see his children, but I am alienating them against him. (lies: he alienated them against himself, without my help. I tried for YEARS to facilitate the kids’ relationship with him, but they have not wanted much to do with him because he SCARES them)

I wish very much that people in the system will have as part of their training, awareness of sociopaths, so that hopefully people under investigation will be treated fairly and compassionately, children will not be frightened that they will be taken away from their safe parent, and the sociopathic parent will be recognized as such, and his/her lies will not be believed quite so easily.

And I also hope that in so doing, finally perhaps social workers will not be forced to take kids to visitation with spath parents. Poor kids.

Well, it’s complicated.

Ox Drover

20 years, yea the situation is such that the psychopaths can make the nurturing parent appear crazy. The gaslightring that they do, and the lies they tell….truth mixed with a small amount of “lie” or just even out right outrageous lies–the ones with a grain of truth though are the ones that are the most dangerous as they SOUND SANE.

They also can provoke us until we ACT CRAZY (I’ve been there my friend!) Then they use that “craziness” to prove we are crazy….and it goes around in the “spin cycle” with us getting worse and worse. Poor kids caught in the middle.

That’s why it is important that we learn to SPOT THE RED FLAGS before we get too deeply involved with these creatures, so we can avoid the worst of the abuse. Sometimes those flags are reeally RED and sometimes they are just small pink things, but we must become educated.

That is one reason I am glad that Donna is doing a red flags book, and why I try to look at even news articles so I can see where the red flag might be easily seen…something that sticks out like a LIE TOO FAR OFF TO BE BELIEVED….JUST ONE LIE LIKE THAT IS A REAL “TELL” and if we can realize that from reading the news, then when someone we know does that we don’t “explain it away” and make excuses for it we see it for what it is A BIG RED FLAG and we HONOR ALL RED FLAGS and use caution around that person from then on.

I am of the “one and done” rule….and if I see a big red flag with a person, that is the end of me trusting them without a lot of vetting over a long period of time. If there is a second red flag, no amount of time will make me trust them no matter what they say or do. By ruling out people who are dishonest in one way or another I may be “over reacting” a bit but you know I will weed out most of the truly toxic people from my life in the process.

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