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Red Flags of Love Fraud goes beyond surface in explaining the danger of sociopaths

By Fannie LeFlore, MS,LPC

Since she founded Lovefraud.com in 2005, Donna Andersen has heard heartbreaking and horrendous stories from people across the globe who’ve been victimized by sociopaths. Her new book does what we’d hope parents and schools do on a routine basis: Better prepare people for the complexities of real-life relationships and social interactions, whether business, romantic, family or friends. This requires, as uneasy as it may make us feel, acknowledging that some human beings simply are not interested in being decent, but actually seek to cause harm to others as a way of life.

Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 Signs You’re Dating a Sociopath, released in Spring 2012 by Andersen’s publishing company in New Jersey, goes where few books go in calling interpersonal abuse the evil it really is, and is backed up by Andersen’s extensive research combined with the depth of personal knowledge from having experienced a sociopathic ex-partner, first-hand. The book’s examples from diverse people who completed Lovefraud.com surveys explore the human degradation, pain, confusion and loss caused by exploitation, deceit and manipulation within personal relationships. The stories of those victimized by sociopaths show just how far people can go in attempting to destroy the lives of others, often on multiple levels, far beyond the norm of what we think when defining dysfunctional relationships.

As hard a pill for many to swallow, Andersen makes it clear that extricating oneself from a relationship with a sociopath is the only path to recovery and healing, despite how tempting it can be to buy into fairy tales that love can help anyone grow and change for the better. As many who’ve suffered severe harm know all too well, this kind of hope may not be based in reality, since not all people are willing to honestly face and work on their issues. Less known is how false hope can also disable those who are victimized, clouding their thinking and preventing them from becoming clear about the need to let go of a damaging relationship and take responsibility for taking care of themselves.

That’s also why, as a mental health professional, I appreciate Andersen venturing into brave new territory by issuing a clear challenge to the mental health establishment to make sociopathy fully known as the serious personality disorder it is. Sociopathy reflects a deep level of moral insanity that is most evident among those who focus primarily on controlling others, beyond reason, without regard for consequences, without regard for reality.

For every sociopath out there, multiple lives are at risk physically, mentally and spiritually in large part because the general public has a Hollywood-sanitized perspective, with misleading stereotypes and sound-bites that provide only surface awareness of sociopaths.

Andersen’s book offers far more than mainstream media provides, in very clear language and terms that demonstrate visceral understanding of the depth of depravity among the human predators who are hard to identify simply because they look like the rest of us.

Fannie LeFlore, MS,LPC, is a psychotherapist who served as editor of “The Road Less Traveled and Beyond,” by the late M. Scott Peck, MD. Contact: fannie@leflorecommunications.com.

Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath is available now exclusively in the Lovefraud Store.


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20years

I just ordered my copy this morning — I’m looking forward to reading it!

I have noticed that Evil is a very cunning thing. I believe it works through deception. Very elaborate constructs of lies. I mean lie upon lie upon lie. Some of these lies are masks. Some of these lies are spoken untruths or veiled truths, told with deliberate intent to mislead and confuse. Some of these lies are actions designed to mislead and confuse, distract attention — smoke and mirrors… “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” etc.

Evil IS the lie.

Which begs the question, why? What is the Evil trying to do?

Well, it’s trying to hide something. OK, what?

Well, this is when it starts to get tricky. As you pull away each layer of lies (or masks), you uncover more lies masquerading as truths. So… it can be a very long process of discovery, and you may never get to the deep, pure Truth underneath… but along the way one thing you will notice is that there are patterns.

These patterns are the Red Flags. One flag is not a pattern, because most everyone does some of these things some of the time. But if there are persistent patterns…. Red Flag.

But one pattern is that there are always more lies. Layers and layers of them. It is horrifying, that the more lies you uncover, the truth continues to be slippery and elusive.

After awhile, the question comes: IS there anything under there BUT lies? Anything at all?

Truthspeak

20years, I look forward to the day when I have the ability to order copies of LoveFraud and Red Flags – it is priceless information that will never be outdated. Spaths have existed throughout the history of mankind, and so shall it be until we extinct ourselves from the planet.

My response to your question is: I don’t care what’s at the core, anymore. I used to think and believe that, if I only knew WHY people did these things, perhaps there was HOPE that they would find help or a cure for this. Since there is no existing help or cure for people who plan and execute the types of emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual, and financial carnage that spaths DELIBERATELY perpetrate, I simply don’t care, anymore. They are, for all intents and purposes, organisms that mimic humanity – sort of like a robber-bee that mimics a bumble-bee. Spaths have organs, brain tissue, blood and plasma, muscle tissue, and a skeletal structure. What they do NOT have is…..well…..for lack of a better description, they do not have a “soul.” And, no amount of knowledge or understanding is going to stuff a spare soul into the spath organism.

20years

I agree with you, Truthspeak. For all intents and purposes, for most everyone, it really does not matter what is underneath.

I do actually go along with what M. Scott Peck said in his book, People of the Lie, that Evil is or can be something like demonic possession. In that case, I really can’t say it is 100% hopeless. However, most everyone is not capable or interested in trying to cure sociopaths. I believe that most people who try to tangle with them in any sort of deep way (relationship or therapist) are in danger — and most of us do not fully appreciate that danger. Further, most of us do not fully awaken to the danger or nature of what we are dealing with (that is due to the lies).

I am speaking of therapists as well as people in intimate or family/friend relationships — most therapists do not want to engage with these people. Most of them realize that they do not have the skills or knowledge or stamina to treat or cure it.

I do think that in some very limited cases and with very committed and extremely evolved and strong/secure practitioners, it is possible to treat, cure, exorcise, however you want to put it.

But this really is not our job. I think that is the crux of it. It is waaaaaaay beyond my pay grade. Just not something you want to tangle with. Very, very dangerous.

I don’t care if Evil is referred to in a spiritual sense or as sociopathy in an psychopathological sense. I believe it is the same beast/thing that can be talked about from many frameworks of understanding. But we HAVE to start talking about it widely, so that more people get this information.

For most of us, we sure could use education in the Red Flags, and learn to avoid these people — or, if we are involved with them, at least know what we are dealing with, to minimize damage to ourselves and others. And hopefully, contain the Evil — because you are right, I do not think we can eradicate it any time soon.

skylar

20 years,
what is below the myriad layers of lies is shame.
That’s an emotion we don’t speak of much, it’s too uncomfortable. It’s also what they slime us with. You can’t contain evil when you are in its presence, it is drawn to us because it needs to fill it’s emptiness. That’s what it is ashamed of, it’s emptiness. And that emptiness is why they take and take and take and can never take enough. They can’t ever fill it because they refuse one thing: responsibility.
And love equals responsibility.

20years

Skylar,

I think shame is one of the very deep layers. And underneath the very last layer of all is the beauty of the spirit and soul — and I think we all have that, even the spaths. However, it is so buried, and it is not our job to uncover it. I mean — we are absolutely not qualified for this job and shouldn’t think that we are. I fundamentally believe that it is between God and the lost soul. And, for those with different spiritual beliefs… to put it another way, it is the individual path of the person who is so incredibly lost, they have to learn it for themselves or find their own way. They are so very lost. But once again — not our job to guide them out of it. About all any of us can do for anyone else, anyhow, is to shine our own light out into the world as bright as we are able, at any given moment. That light might provide some beacon, some guidance. But it is up to the person wandering around lost in the dark to open their eyes and see it.

(and an aside with regard to shining our light… sometimes that does attract the attention of a sociopath.)

These thoughts are hard to express because I am speaking on several levels at once. But the bottom line for me is: I’m not trying to do God’s job. I’m trying to do my job. And tangling with Evil in the mistaken view that I am God and can fix it — that’s really misguided. I know I can’t fix it. and I know it’s dangerous to try. Besides… it is a distraction from my own job. 😉

skylar

20years,
you said:
(and an aside with regard to shining our light” sometimes that does attract the attention of a sociopath.)

That is so true! It inevitably will attract a spath. They like shiny things!

The only reason to understand a spath is as an example of how NOT TO BE. They do serve a purpose, as a warning to others of what can happen when you choose to be like a spath.

20years

yes, Skylar, agreed. And also to understand sufficiently to know what you are dealing with so you don’t interact with them as though they were like you/capable of empathy and a real relationship. It’s a terrible thing to be fooled. Once you realize that you were fooled, then it pays to educate yourself so you don’t deplete your life’s energy by hanging out with the wrong crowd.

I have very sadly concluded that for the vast majority of spaths (like maybe 99.99999% of them) they don’t really have a CHOICE to be or not to be a spath. I think their only choice is which mask to wear.

That’s just a guess.

Truthspeak

My personal belief is that they DO have a choice between what is clearly right and clearly wrong. Now, other more subtle behaviors and predispositions to manipulate may be genetically or environmentally ingrained in them, but I don’t know and neither do the experts.

What I do know is that nearly all systems of beliefs engender the idea of conscience and remorse as being a part of the human condition. If we harm someone else by deliberate means or by proxy, remorse is appropriate and proper steps are taken to either apologize or resolve our mistaken action. In the World Of Sociopathy, no such mores and ethics exist.

I lived my entire life based upon a core of shame – that’s exactly what it’s termed in psychology: “Shame Core.” I am not a sociopath, yet every decision that I made was based upon this shame core. I see both exspaths that I experienced as lacking in any type of shame, be it appropriate or overwhelming. Both of these people perpetrated their various abuses and cons without an ounce of conscience, remorse, pity, or mercy. They were both the human embodiment of “evil.”

I would like to make myself believe that all human beings have souls, even if those souls are so tortured that they have no choice but to live without conscience or remorse. At this late stage in my life, I just don’t believe that spaths have that inner light that constitutes a “soul.” Perhaps, that’s why they ARE so attracted to those who exhibit a soul.

Just my personal views.

20 years – thank you for ordering a Red Flags of Love Fraud. It is a very practical guide for exposing the predatory behavior of the sociopath.

As far as the root cause – I do think that it’s spiritual and/or energetic. I think that sociopaths have rejected everything that is good and light at such a deep level, and that’s why they are beyond reach. I don’t talk about this in Red Flags of Love Fraud, although I do talk about it in my first book about my personal story, which is called Love Fraud.

Skylar – I disagree about the shame thing. Sociopaths have absolutely no shame – that is the problem. They are perfectly comfortable with with their exploitative, manipulating ways.

Dr. Liane Leedom wrote about this several years ago. You can see her article here:

http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2007/11/10/sociopaths-and-psychopaths-have-you-no-shame/

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