By September 30, 2013 40 Comments Read More →

The cardboard cutout sociopath

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.

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 has changed? Why is he now wearing round glasses with pink lenses? Necessity.

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


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40 Comments on "The cardboard cutout sociopath"

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Hi Donna and everyone,
I am doing better now, but something is bothering me, and it may relate to this article…
I have heard that the spath who duped me is now quoting Jesus on his facebook page (yes I blocked him) This really confuses me, as Jesus’s teachings were about love, caring, helping each other, etc. The very opposite of what I experienced with the spath. Is it really something they do? Invoke a religious figure and hide behind that as a facade? It makes no sense to me. I remember every detail of how I was manipulated, and I’m pretty sure they were the opposite of Christ’s teachings… Can anyone help me shed light on this? I am baffled and disturbed by this

Toknow, this took me ages to get my head around but spaths will do ANYTHING that gets them what they think they want. If they can get money, sex, adoration, attention, anything for their empty every starving egos they will adopt any persona for that. They are like children too, trying out the latest ‘dress up’ and thinking how well they do it, how amazing they are, how they fool everybody. Ever vigilant they are always on the look out for the next ‘upgrade’ sucker and they fit themselves to woo and catch that person by being everything they ever wanted.
This sounds harsh I know, I had to accept they were that devious, selfish and self serving and ONLY self serving. Anything that looks vaguely authentically compassionate or empathic is just another scam to get THEM what they want.

Ten years ago I would never have believed there were actually people walking around like that.


You just need to remember that these individuals have no core–and no beliefs. They just say whatever they feel will get them what they want. I know one of the problems I had was believing what my ex SAID–rather than looking at his actions! Because I would never be able to live with a disparity between what I said and what I actually felt, I tended to believe everyone was that way! Wrong! Spaths will profess all kinds of philosophies that they don’t really believe in. Their words and their values (HA!) are not in sync. So an spath who says he believes in Jesus may not. For them, it’s just words and manipulation.

I hope you will be able to ignore the things he says, and see him for what he is: just smoke and mirrors. Take care….

Dear toknow: I happen to be here tonight checking in, and I’m happy to address your question. Sociopaths OFTEN posture as religious people, claiming to be righteous and quoting the Bible. In fact, there are several articles here on that very subject. Look at all the pastor raping boys. There was one that claimed it was making them “pure” in some religious sense. A spath will pose as a very religious person because A) it’s a good tool to manipulate people, and B) they actually can convince themselves that they are so holy they are right up there with God. This is purely ego-driven because the sociopath is all ego and no authentic self. They are empty inside, so they adopt the persona that shines the best light on them. Some of the really crazy ones have a messianic complex. The moral of the story is you can’t always go by what someone tells you – you need to look at their behaviors to see if the walk the talk. Nowhere is this truer than with a sociopath. How can you tell if a sociopath is lying? Their lips are moving.

P.S. The one I dated also claimed to be devoutly religious. Same guy who was committing adultery, lying about it, and faking an elaborate illness to defraud the army out of a disability pension.

Wow! Thank you LL and Stargazer! I almost doubted my beliefs about him and thinking I was crazy! What you both said.makes so much sense, I.will digest that, thanks for the life raft! I couldn’t wrap my head around it, appreciate the perspective, as always 🙂


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