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Teen dating abuse education for Bayonne High School

The best way to deal with sociopaths is to know what they are and stay away from them. That just got much easier for 500 students of Bayonne High School in Bayonne, New Jersey. Yesterday I presented Lovefraud’s teen dating abuse program, called Sociopaths and Abusive Dating Relationships, to the senior class.

I explained:

  • My own experience of marrying a sociopath
  • Traits of a sociopath
  • Difference between real love and empty love
  • The Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath
  • Dangers of Internet dating
  • How sex restructures the brain
  • How abusive relationships form
  • How to break up with an abuser

I had the kids’ undivided attention—which is pretty amazing for an auditorium full of teenagers. I could see shock and horror on their faces as I described typical sociopathic ploys. They asked many, many questions. In fact, I had to stop taking questions so I could finish the program.

I am very grateful to Bayonne High School for inviting me to speak to the students. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the kids got the message. Now, 500 kids from Bayonne are equipped to stay out of relationships with sociopaths. And I’ll be speaking to students at two more New Jersey high schools in a couple of weeks.

A little over a year ago, a group of Lovefraud readers donated towards getting Lovefraud’s education program started. This is the result—kids are learning that sociopaths exist, and how to avoid them.

For information on the program, visit the Lovefraud Education page.



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29 Comments on "Teen dating abuse education for Bayonne High School"

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Congratulations, Donna!!!

Your efforts to educate students BEFORE they get involved in a sociopathic relationship deserves HIGH PRAISES!!! As a young girl I came from a father who was an alcoholic and who was rarely present in our home. All the drama was about him. If I had been educated about “bad behavior” I might have realized the trauma that I craved as a young adult which drew me to the relationships it did.

Educating teens is brilliant! Maybe even if the victum cannot see they are headed for an abusive relationship; perhaps their close friend(s) can and serve to heed warning.

KUDOS TO YOU AND YOUR TIRELESS ROAD TO EDUCATE ALL OF US!!!

Donna,
I’m so excited about your education program. It was ingenious to focus on educating kids on this. It’s the perfect time in their lives.

I opened the eyes of one teenager and it was gratifying to see her response. I can only imagine how amazing it must feel to get that from 500!!! teens!

You may have saved a lot of lives that day. For sure you helped save a lot of heartache.

Donna:

This is fantastic!!! Congratulations to you! I so much would LOVE to do this. I really don’t know how to go about getting a program together in my area. Could you send me a roadmap of how you did this? Thank you!

Donna: I so applaud you with admiration and affection. You are absolutely amazing! I think that is exactly where the education belongs too! You just have helped save a whole bunch of people a whole lot of sorrow.

CONGRATULATIONS DONNA ON YOUR AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENTS ~

Dupey
xxoo

I’m not sure why this subject hit me so hard; but it did.

I always thought I was married to a man who truly loved me. He treated me so grand. He always liked to gamble but he took care of his family and was a great devoted husband/father/. Fast forward 20 plus years….things fell apart; found out he had an affair; he spent thousands gambling; he promised to change; I gave him a second chance; within 4 months I found out he was on Match.com; still gambling; who knows what else.

All these years I thought people who blamed their lives on their childhood should just “get over it”! After all, I had a tough childhood and I survived; I had married a man that took care of his family; unlike my father who abused alcohol and threatened to kill us.

It wasn’t til after my divorce that my sister pointed out she had always thought my husband was a sociopath. I asked her why she never told me and she replied, “You never would have believed me”. She was absolutely right. I probably would have turned on her!

My point is; Donna, what you are doing for these young men and women is priceless. If someone would have stood up at an assembly when I was in high school and have told me these signs it may/would have been so powerful.

It wasn’t until I met with a very enlightened therapist who connected all the dots for me. I was raised by an alcoholic; married a gambler; both who were masking their emotions with an addiction. When the therapist probed further into my past relationships he determined that I have never experienced real LOVE. I am in my mid fifties. I realize I may NEVER experience reciprocated love from a man.

IF I had listened to one of your lectures perhaps my life would have been different. Perhaps I would have been able to gravitate toward a man who did not play games or entice me with his betrayal bond.

I know everything was my choice and I must own it. But as I read in the headlines on a daily basis on abusive relationships I cannot help but wonder if most of us had been educated with regards to sociopaths/abusive relationships; would we be where we are today?

Donna Dixon,
You might have still gravitated toward your husband, but you might have left him much earlier if you had known the signs.

It’s especially important to get the information into minds that are still forming. That’s when it can become part of their reality and protect them from the denial that you and I experienced.

I just believed that everyone was good deep down. (and that a frog could become a prince if you just kiss him)
puke.

Skylar,

I had the same belief….everyone was good…

I don’t believe in feeding our children “Fairy Tales”. I think its not productive in preparing them for reality.

I read my children fairy tales but I wish I would have added; “That was such a beautiful story; but real life doesn’t always turn out like a storybook”.

Yep….

It may not “educate” the entire 500 kids who were exposed to the information, but if it saves ONE PERSON, it is worth it. I do not doubt that SOME of the kids will be influenced to avoid or get out of abusive relationships sooner than they might otherwise have..We can’t save the “whole world,” but if we do it ONE AT A TIME, it is still worth it.

Good job, Donna! Kudos to you!

Wow! Just Wow! Donna! I am so happy you got to do this. And yes, it would get their undivided attention… crushes, falling in love, boyfriends, girlfriends, social life, sexual discovery is at their mind the most at their age… they’re all discovering it, have made their first mistakes, and it’s just great for them to have someone talk about the pitfalls about who can be truly dangerous. TOWANDA!

I just realized something else. I believe that the reason these kids were so enthralled and asked a ton of questions is because a lot of them are probably already in abusive relationships as we speak! Think about it…why so interested?? Sounds to me like they had a stake in what Donna was talking about. I HOPE that they listened and will get out!!!

Donna:

Are you planning to take this national? I would hate to step on your toes and try to do this in my area if you are planning to go national with this. Thanks.

Donna:

Great. I will send you my email. I would absolutely love to be a presenter. I am feeling empowered by this. If this is the ONLY way I end up being able to make something positive out of what happened to me, I would be absolutely thrilled to be able to do this. I have soul searched for nearly two years now with this…why did this happen to me? What can I do with what I have learned? You do not know how much this would mean to me if I could be involved with this. Thank you so much.

Donna

Good for you. I am so happy about what you’re doing.

I have talked to my two children about sociopaths and red flags and people of the lie. I lecture them all the time that they need to listen to their gut.

When I was in the middle of my depression because of my relationship with my spath, I told them bits and pieces “I am sad because somebody I loved lied to me”. They thought I was nuts. But being “trauma bonded” to somebody is a very hard thing to explain.

Love and hugs to you for all you do.

Athena

This is brilliant news. I’d like to see this in every school, as part of the curriculum.

Donna,

I think that what you’re doing is awesome! If all of us had learned about sociopaths in high school (or early on in life), that could have helped us so much. I am still living with the painful after-effects of involvement with a sociopath, wishing that I had never had such an encounter. These people play games with the average person, being a whirlwind of trouble.

I was one of the people who contributed toward this effort when it was announced a year or so ago. I found my way to LoveFraud about 2.5 years ago and am so grateful for th e info. In my mid-20s I had an intense negative exhausting experience with a sociopath – it lasted maybe 6 months. I remember after he dumped me sitting in my room at my parent’s house relieved to have some quiet time to just calm down and think. My exact thoughts were “if I could just know how to make sense of this, I think I might be alright.” But at the time I couldn’t make sense of it and went on to make more mistakes because I didn’t have a way to organize my observations. So – the info is priceless and I’m grateful to be here – reading and learning and posting once in a blue moon. I’ve invented a phrase which helps me think straight about sociopathic behavior – spaths “schmooze ’em, use ’em and lose ’em” – the ’em being us of course. The educational outreach is so important – in every venue – in every way – to get the word out. This is awesome.

Best Regards to All

Schmooze ’em, use ’em and lose ’em…isn’t that the TRUTH!!!??

Opalrose , I think your phrase is so right, it should be added to our lovefraud T- shirt collection..

Heartening to think young people are finally getting a chance to protect themselves via having the correct information….great

Hi Donna,

I just saw this today. Great to hear that you are getting the word out there. I am going to be making a presentation in about an hour on Dating Abuse to college students at a Community College. I am only presenting to 20 or so. Whew… first time… shakey legs.

Actually, I am not that afraid. I want to send you what I created. I might do that when I am done with school in May.

Also, I attended an awesome training on 10 Types of Emotional Manipulators. I told the presentor about LF and he was intrigued. I think he would be an awesome resource for future LF conference that I hope will happen one day.

I better get back to preparing. What am I doing???

I will send you an email soon.

Aloha

One more thing… I opted not to include anything from my personal story in my presentation after discussing the pros and cons with my clinical team. I noticed my throat get tight when I presented that part in the practice run to the team. And they noticed notes of cynicism that I need to work out.

So for now, the Bad Man is not part of it.

Perhaps more healing to do. :O)

Aloha

Aloha:

So good for you…presenting to college students!!! That is so awesome. I hope I am able to do the same someday. I want ONE positive thing to come from this mess I have gone through.

Donna, Thank you so much for everything you do for us and the general public. I wish these programs could be taught on a national level.
Like I have said before this should be required along with sex education for the kids.
Once again thank you and keep up the good work.

“Do you think you’ll ever be able to trust a man again?”
Donna,
This is awesome. To start educating high school and college kids about HEALTHY relationships is so admirable. I worry too that if I tell a guy TOO much about what happened to me, he’ll think less of me, think I’m crazy or retarded for putting up with it, so when you said “I told him my story on the first date. I didn’t know if I would get a second date.” I can totally relate. I don’t think I can do that because I also think well, maybe that person would think they could try and do the same to me too – as certainly I must be a pushover.

When you said my husband is here helping me.” The kids broke out in applause. How heart warming is that? Wow, what a guy. now that is a step forward for humanity. He is supportive and encouraging (healing too – all at the same time )you to get your story out.

I too would be an advocate. I ask myself too much, why, WHY did I put up with what I put up with? I have a variety of reasons, but now I do know that my job is to go and keep working at having the ultimate life.

I’ll find someone/ they”’ll find me. Until then I will be alone. I think one of the most important things to teach teens and early 20’s kids is to learn to be alone.

Oh, yes I want to mention that when I was touring college campuses 3 years ago I was so thrilled to see a table set up in the campus quad area. Some volunteer students were handing out pamphlets and the title was

Intimate Abuse.

It about made me cry. Happy that education was taking place already and raising awareness, as I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through, and sad because I was in the midst of serious abuse that I didn’t know how to get out of. I kept thinking I could make it better. I thought I had some responsibility in this too. I had no idea that really my only choice as I see it now was divorce and no contact. Had I been in high school or college the decision would’ve been VERY easy for me. What threw me off was that I had 3 kids and I had made a committment that I wasn’t going to walk away from. But I finally realized that is what had to happen. I wanted my intact family to an extent that I allowed emotional abuse beyond belief.

Just hope it doesn’t damage and affect my kids.

Intimate Abuse/Sociopath/Narcissist/A**hole, Poser, faker, liar, jerk, yep it happened.

Donna Andersen, I’m so happy that you had an opportunity to reach out to young adults. If just one of those young people heard and identified with the words, then there may be just one less victim out there.

Donna Dixon, I’ve posted this, before, and it echo’s your own reaction to your sister’s assessment of the exspath – if anyone had told me a year ago that I would be where I am, today, I would have never believed them.

With the first exspath, it was just a passing comment that someone made with regard to something the exspath had said or done that made me sit up, take notice, and see the dynamics for what they were. I cannot even recall what the comment was in reference to, but I had mentioned how the exspath would tell me one thing and then do another (classic crazymaking), and this person simply said, “That’s just abusive as hell,” and went on without missing a single beat. No remonstrations, no chastising, no shrieks of alarm, no condescending observations – one simple objective comment, and that’s when I began to begin recognizing the truth.

Education, succinct and truthful definition, MORE education, and consequences are all moral imperatives to “out” sociopathy. When I was a child, adolescent, teenager, and young adult, there was NO discussion of abuse, intimate abuse, domestic violence, or sociopathy. There just wasn’t. And, the only thing that we DO hear about is domestic violence, and that subject is rarely discussed with frank, truthful, and statistical fact. Domestic violence is STILL stigmatized and dramatized (“Sleeping With The Enemy”) as some sort of event that happens to “other people.”

Thanks so much, Donna A. for your courage and drive! Education is knowledge, and knowledge is power.

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