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Sociopaths as chameleons — they become whatever they need to be for their latest scam

James Montgomery at a business meeting.

James Montgomery at a business meeting.

My sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery, considered himself to be an entrepreneur, the equal of any man who ever built a commercial empire. As he was seducing me, painting a glimmering picture of how successful and rich we would become, he proclaimed that he would be “the next Walt Disney.”

When Montgomery went to business meetings, he wore a jacket, trousers, and a polo shirt. He refused to wear ties, but he always had a silk square in his jacket pocket. He told me that even when he was young, he always dressed up in jackets and cravats, eschewing the psychedelic fashions of the 60s. (For more about my story, it’s all in my book, Love Fraud.)

So you can imagine my surprise when I heard that he’d been spotted at a train station in Katoomba, Australia, in a totally different look:

He was wearing: red/orange pants, hippie sandles, caftan like long top to ankles in multiple colours, big round glasses with pink lenses, long scarf draped around his neck and over his shoulder nearly touching the ground and a hat which looked like a beanie.  A long white beard probably about 12/15inches long and I would say weighing about 150 to 175 kilos or more.  Imagine a man 6ft 2ins tall 175 kgs and wearing that get up!!!

James had tried to hook up with the woman who provided this description, while he was still dressing like an entrepreneur. She escaped. So when she saw Montgomery, her only thought was to avoid him. She later wished that she had taken his picture with her iPhone. So do I.

Changing his look

When Montgomery was spotted in the clown outfit, he was approximately 70 years old and 330 to 385 pounds. So why would a man who sneered about exotic wardrobes all his life, who never mentioned any connection with the peace-and-love ideals of the counterculture, suddenly dress like an overweight flower child?

Well, it turns out that Katoomba is known for its “artsy, hippie” lifestyle. One of the highlights of the year is the Katoomba Winter Magic Festival (see the wild photos here).

I assure you, Montgomery had no interest that type of event when I knew him. In fact, shortly after we became engaged, I went to the Philadelphia Folk Festival, which I’d attended for 20 years with a large group of friends. Although quite a few potheads in tie-died shirts roamed the campground, it was nothing like the Katoomba festival. Still, Montgomery refused to go.

So what changed? Why was he wearing round glasses with pink lenses? Necessity.

There are several hippie communes around Katoomba. I assume they were cheap places to live, and Montgomery — who promised me that we’d be living “in the lap of luxury” — was surviving on a paltry pension. He was probably living in one of the communes because it was all he could afford.

If James Montgomery were going to live in Katoomba, he needed to blend in. So he reinvented himself as a hippie.

Devalue and discard

How is this possible? How to you change from a globetrotting entrepreneur to a hippie in a flowing caftan? For a sociopath, it’s as simple as changing clothes. Why? Because they are empty inside.

Sociopaths do not have character. They do not have deeply held convictions or beliefs. They do not have roots in their communities or ties with their families. They are shells of human beings, with no substance.

This is why they can walk away from any relationship, even marriages of 20 or 30 years, without a backward glance. Their only concern is what they can get from a person in the present moment. If their partner is no longer a useful sources of supply of money, support, connections, or whatever — they see no reason to hang around. It’s the “devalue and discard” routine.

You may have observed the incredible lack of response when someone close to the sociopath, or close to you, dies. A sociopath may appear to be grief-stricken, but it’s an act, all for show. Or, the sociopath may not even bother, saying something like, “They’re gone. Get over it.”

No core

Sociopaths do not have the ability to form deep connections with any person, place or ideal outside of themselves. There is no core.

Instead, sociopaths live from exploit to exploit. When their circumstances change, they adapt. If one business idea fails, they blame someone else and come up with a new one. If one romantic partner dumps them, they already have another lined up. Sometimes they’re not even fazed by getting busted and going to prison — it’s just a new place to run their con games.

We may have seen them proclaim head-over-heels love for us and then quickly do something to intentionally hurt us. Or, they may cry and grovel when we kick them out, and the minute we let them back, act as if nothing had happened.

They can do this because there is noting inside them. They are empty.

For those of us who can love, who can make lasting connections, it may be difficult to imagine the shallowness of this existence. So let me give you a visual. Just think of them as life-sized cardboard cut-outs of human beings. That’s really all they are.

Lovefraud originally posted this article on September 30, 2013. 


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2 Comments on "Sociopaths as chameleons — they become whatever they need to be for their latest scam"

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when he and I were married those 29 years; he looked, dressed (often smelled too) like the ragged, poor farmer he was. Clothes patched/repatched, worn out, shirts worn thin, patched (he refused to let me buy him new farm clothes, until the ones he had were thin and rags)..and chewed tobacco..disgusting..after I left him, someone told me, they saw him and a girlfriend at a local town festival (one that he wouldn’t have been caught dead being there)..to their surprise, he was clean, clean shaven, haircut, chino shorts, nice crisp, off the rack new shirt; looked good I was told. They really do morph into who-ever and what-ever it takes to impress the next new woman. I can remember, too, how he faithfully was involved in a Bible Church Camp that his grandparents were involved in, donated time/money/food to. When both of these old people were gone, that Bible Camp was dropped. It was all for show, to be seen as their loving grandson who loved the Lord as they did. I watched him be a faithful Methodist, who sang in the church choir (when he was involved in church)..it was all show as well. There is no ‘there, there’ with psychopaths.

This is so true. Another prism of thier shell.
My ex~socio would discover a victim, learn the hobbies and interests. Then, VOILA! ONE day he loves country, the next day, classical. All of a sudden he will be really into yoga. Drop it and become an admirer of art.
He scan any social media to learn all he could about his latest prey.
When he was confident it was a sure thing, he would deliberately leave the laptop open, start a fight and make his way out the door!

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