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Sociopaths Count On Getting The Benefit Of The Doubt

Husband Liar Sociopath for storeBy O.N. Ward

Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.

Chapter 3: Sociopath Math 

I can almost hear the collective cacophony. “Onna! That can’t be the whole story. There has to be something more to it. There are always two sides.”

In an attempt to be fair and to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt, we tend to discount and dismiss malicious, destructive behavior. Sociopaths count on this. Contrary to the popular saying, there are not always two valid sides to any story (and it would not surprise me if it was a sociopath who first planted this idea in our collective unconscious). Are there two sides to the story of Bernie Madoff’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme? Does the heart-breaking story of Laci Peterson and her unborn son’s 2002 Christmas-time murder at the hands of her philandering husband Scott have two sides? What about the conviction of ex-policeman Drew Peterson for murdering his third wife—are there two sides to that story? (His fourth wife has been missing since 2007.) It is critical to realize that there does not have to be more to the story of Paul and Jenny—not if Paul is a sociopath.

Since we have empathy and a conscience, it is almost impossible for us to imagine that there are people, like Paul, who are devoid of both. Yet, there are—lots of them. To help silence those voices in your head that want to give Paul a legitimate side to the story, I would like to give you a crash course in what I call sociopath math.

Although simplistic, I’m guessing we make tradeoffs and choices when we balance our needs against the needs of others by some implicit mental math: We compare the importance of a person to us and the importance of their needs to the importance of our needs. As a result, sometimes we will compromise our needs in favor of someone else’s, and at other times we will allow our needs to trump those of another person. But a sociopath does not and cannot care about other people, so the importance of any other person to the sociopath is always zero (unless the sociopath is valuing the other person as part of a long-term manipulation). Let that simmer in your mind for a moment. Since a sociopath always values every other person at zero, the sociopath’s need, no matter how small, always trumps the other person’s need, no matter how big. It does not matter if that other person is the sociopath’s child, parent, spouse, sibling, or a total stranger. Of course, a sociopath does not act like this at first, because his initial priority is to lure you into developing a relationship—one that can be leveraged for his gain.

For Paul, his need for a wife to be a built-in maid, cook, errand runner, dog watcher, and source of sex trumped Jenny’s need to lay a solid educational and financial foundation for her future. As a sociopath, Paul never gave her needs or her future a second thought. It was always only about how Paul could use Jenny to serve his needs. End of story. There are no two-sides to this story, no footnotes needed. No happy ending possible for Jenny, me, Paul’s new wife, or any of his future targets.

Speaking of footnotes, the sports car Paul took from his first marriage is likely also a manifestation of sociopath math. I am not suggesting that the purchase of a hot sports car is a sign that someone might be a sociopath. However, for Paul to have purchased a sports car at that point in his life suggests warped priorities, the kind associated with a selfish, stimulation-seeking, status-hungry sociopath. Why on earth would a man with no savings, an entry-level job, and a wife in college with prohibitive student loans choose an expensive sports car as the family car? Wouldn’t the money saved on a more practical car have been better spent on the education of the woman he “loved,” who gave up her free Stanford education and relocated across the country to be his wife?

It would have been helpful if I had investigated and determined the truth about Paul and Jenny’s relationship earlier, because it contained multiple early warning signs. Why did Paul get Jenny to marry so young? Why did he get her to give up so much (a free Stanford education) to become his wife? If they were destined to be together, why not wait to get married after Jenny graduated? Why did Paul not make any tradeoffs so he and Jenny could be together? Who really suffered disproportionately by their short marriage?

Unfortunately, what I did not have was the knowledge that every woman needs to be vigilant for signs the man with whom she is falling in love might be a sociopath. Paul exhibited many signs that only now do I realize are relevant: a sense of instant compatibility; someone clearly interested in being in charge or being in control; a life-story that elicited “pity”; emotional isolation of a partner even, ostensibly, for valid reasons (i.e., Jenny’s emotional isolation as Paul’s wife); short relationships; lack of fear or strain in situations most others find stressful (e.g., a rigorous graduate program that did not faze Paul); and selfish behavior (the sports car, getting Jenny to give up her Stanford education). A dangerous constellation was already starting to form, but I didn’t know about sociopaths. The water was receding from the beach, but I certainly did not know the warning signs. It never occurred to me that a feeling of instant compatibility with an attractive, smart fellow Yale MBA candidate who was comfortable taking the lead and who seemed calm when others were stressed could be warning signs of anything dark and malevolent. It seemed more like a dream come true.

Start from the beginning:

Chapter 1

Go to previous chapter:

Chapter 2

Go to next chapter:

Chapter 4


Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.

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134 Comments on "Sociopaths Count On Getting The Benefit Of The Doubt"

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Dear Bev and Annette,

What was painful about my parent’s divorce, was not that my mother left my father, I personally was glad, It was watching my mother suffer and being terrorized by that asshole. It was difficult to watch my mother’s house get broken into, her cars vandalized, hateful comments directed at her, lost friendships, courtroom tyranny, her life fall apart but the worst of it was the broken heart she suffered that I believe wholeheartedly eventually led to her early death. It was a sense of helplessness and a desire to want to protect her. I would awaken many nights truly frightened my mother would die. I tried to be a good daughter. I would come home from college for the weekends and I thought if I showed my mother how much I love her she will survive the divorce. Watching what was the spark in my mother’s eyes fade. It was horrible to watch what was a beautiful, loving, energetic, dutiful, smart, witty, hardworking woman barely able to get out of bed. She eventually regained her vigor but the spark in her eye never returned. Okay what did I do? I went and married my own spath and had a bunch of kids with him. And it has been a process of getting away. Part of it from him and part of it sending the children who wanted to go live with him and getting away from them. And I now realize I spent the last 15 years, living with and pretending they loved me and I loved them. I have two children who are rotten to the core. And I have two children while I don’t think they are rotten, they simply have no love for me. And then I have one child who may be capable of loving me. But honestly I’m not sure. I’m on my guard. So I went from the fire to the frying pan. And I’m getting some perspective as the fog clears. And I’m running toward the good and I can see now who and what that is. And I want the bad off of me. I strongly believe psychopathy is genetic and my children have it on both sides of the family.

I feel that way as well.

I cannot pretend, I have learned that about myself. It took YEARS to realize that I was pretending. I will DIE if I have to try to pretend any more. I will literally die. I want to LIVE.

What is, is what is real.

What I feel and DON’T feel for my son is REAL.

AND, my son simply has NO love for me…or anyone else for that matter.

He isn’t capable.

I can’t be involved with that.

Dear Bev,

You deserve so much more in life than to live a lie. I love you Bev and wish you only love and kindness. I am glad you see you are not alone.

I already posted my love for you, as well, becomingstrong.

I just feel that way. I can’t help it…lol.

We both deserve a truthful and love filled life. Especially loving myself, for that is all the love that I really NEED.

Nobody should live a lie, don’t you think? Only the SPs can live a lie, and still exist.

This should be a lesson taught in school with as many sociopaths that are out there!!
It’s also too bad that there isn’t a law against these people.
Sure, we can TRY to fight for what was taken but it’s not ALL materialistics that they rob us from.
What about the emotionalistic robbery?
And good luck with THAT side!
SO FEW therapists trained in that field.

There oughtta’ to be a LAW!
There JUST oughtta’ BE!


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