Therapist David McDermott joins Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide

David McDermottLovefraud presents a series of Q&A articles with members of the Professional Resources Guide. David McDermott works only with people who have been subject to abuse at the hands of psychopaths and narcissists, both in intimate relationships and in group settings (such as cults or bullying in the workplace).

Q.  What experience have you had dealing with sociopaths or other disordered personalities—personally, professionally, or both?

A. When I was working as a doctor, I was captured by a psychopath, fell in love with her and got married very quickly. Then the typical thing happened, I waited on her hand and foot, while she got more and more demanding. She isolated me from friends and family. I was walking on eggshells around her and so on. When eventually I got away, I was broke and homeless. I believed it was all my fault, if only I had done things differently, or said different things ”¦ and, of course, I was miserable and distraught.

Shortly thereafter, I went to a personal development course on the recommendation of some friends and this was about being at your best and feeling good. It only took one weekend and I believed I had found a way out of the misery. But of course I had simply gone from one abusive situation to another, not having realized that the marriage was a mind control situation.

The cult leader gave me special attention because he wanted an ex-plastic surgeon teaching his ideas. I quickly climbed the ranks to be his right hand man and I learnt a lot of the ”˜tricks of the trade’. I left after 10 years because of his poor treatment of others and the realization that it was all about the money for him. When I realized it was a cult (about 2 years later) I worked with an expert in cults to undo the mind control. I subsequently wrote about mind control on my web site and started working with others in similar situations.

Q. How do you go about helping clients who have tangled with a sociopath?

A. Nowadays, we talk about the idea that sociopaths install a pseudopersonality in their victims that suppresses their real identity. This ”˜pseudoidentity’ has various beliefs and ideas about the sociopath and is programmed to treat the sociopath as they want to be treated and to believe what the sociopath wants you to believe. This pseudopersonality is also very dependent on the sociopath not only for what to do and think but often the dependency extends to who the person is. By that I mean that the victim only knows who they are in relation to the psychopath.

This explains how people have so much difficulty getting away from a sociopath, because often they cannot visualize a life apart from the sociopath, even knowing the sociopath is bad for them. It also explains why family and friends say of a victim that ”˜they are not the same person’, or ”˜they changed radically when they started in that relationship’.

Teasing this pseudopersonality apart, how it was formed, why it was formed, how it was kept intact and reinforced, is fundamental to undoing the ill-effects of the mind control techniques that sociopaths use. Only then can a person’s true identity be expressed once again.

Q. What, in your experience, is the biggest issue or problem that people who have been betrayed by a sociopath need to overcome?

“It’s not your fault.”

This comes up time and again during the recovery. At the start, people feel stupid or ashamed for having been caught or for having tolerated the abuse. People think they decided to have a relationship with the sociopath. Or that they allowed the sociopath to continue. Or that they were doing things that made the situation worse.

All these ideas are distortions in a person’s thinking because of the mind control. For example, sociopaths make their victims responsible for anything that goes wrong. They say that they have to act the way they do because they are ”˜reacting’ to what their victim was doing. They also make it seem like the victim is making their own decisions but nothing could be further from the truth.

It is normal to feel responsible or at fault for what happened. This is the nature of mind control. And people telling you that it is not your fault does not make the feeling go away.

You may know it mentally but it does not feel that way in your body. This can be very unsettling. Only when a person understands the mechanisms by which they were conned, duped, lied to and manipulated, and the details of how the sociopath got them to do and think certain things, do they fully understand in their mind and in their body, that it was not their fault. They were deliberately and systematically taken advantage of by someone that they trusted.

At this point, the time with the sociopath becomes a chapter in their past, rather than being the ongoing story of their life.

Q. What’s one tip you can suggest for helping Lovefraud readers recover from the betrayal of a sociopath?

A. Work with someone who is an expert in the field of sociopathy and mind control.

I don’t say this to have a full client list, but rather I am not alone in thinking that it is practically impossible to undo a pseudopersonality alone. Because of the nature of mind control you cannot undo all the negative effects on your own.

Just look around at the number of people who are having problems 5 and 10 years after their relationship with a sociopath. It is very upsetting to me when I read these things, or when people decide they are never going to have a relationship again, because I know it takes 12 to 18 months to undo a pseudopersonality (with the help of an expert) so that a person can pick themselves up and move on to healthy relationships and careers again.

The flip side of this is to be careful of working with therapists who do not understand sociopathy and mind control because they often make the situation worse for those who have suffered abuse at the hands of sociopaths. Typically they want to examine the role of the victim in the situation or examine the childhood relationships of the victim (in both cases this is blaming the victim). This approach in mind control situations is at best a waste of time and money and at worst devastating for the victim.


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Hi David! I’m happy you’re here.



This is the first time I have heard anyone talk about a pseudopersonality, set up in the victim by the sociopath. I think this is really true, because I found myself becoming someone I hardly recognized. And, after it was over I barely felt I had a self left to hold me up. I felt like an empty shell. It took years of therapy and support to reestablish my own personality, beliefs, and values…..I think I understood this intuitively, but I think I will look more into mind control to better understand it.

Welcome to LF. Glad to have you here.



pseudopersonality, this helps me understand some of my actions now. NEVER in my life with a female friend or a relationship have I screamed, or shouted names, or broken things, I often told my ex this cause I realized something was wrong and why was I going to extremes like this when I had never done this before, im usually pretty calm and it takes quite a lot to get me upset like that, and I hate confrontation. This woman in ways turned me into some kind of rage monster at times, funny thing is that she once told me that I had turned her into a monster and she just wanted to be the happy person she was before she met me.

This woman one time attempted to choke me, she failed, however when I would bring it up at later times she would tell me its not violent because she is incapable of hurting me, but would tell me im violent just for raising my voice. She would often say she knows I don’t love her and that I treat her like s##t, when in reality it was the other way around, the things she was doing to me she would project onto me as if I were doing them to her.

When I did lie to her, I told small lies to avoid confrontations with her as anything would set her off, I know a lie is a lie, however the lies she told would cause divorces, lies about money, taxes, other men, ect ect…

I have court tomorrow to defend from this protection order she slapped on me where she is claiming I stuck her head in a toilet and threw her into glass shower doors twice, the night she claims this happened was dec 7th 2013, yet she didn’t file this until jan 28th 2014 and even let me get my kids for Christmas from her house in person, the police were never called either. So once again im made out to be a monster, fact is she physically came after me 3 times that night, she never hit me, but she left marks on me, I shoved her off of me twice, and one time had to hold her down.

I still at times think back on things and wonder if I did wrong, or maybe had I done different we would be together and this is all my fault, I know its not, but those feelings hit me once in awhile, its quite disturbing.


This is one of the most interesting and enlightening articles I’ve read here. Reading this will cause me to change the way I talk to people here. I was only with the sociopath for a very short time. It was not enough time or involvement to develop the pseudopersonality. I have clocked a total of several years, however, dating or living with disordered men or just manifesting dysfunctional relationships. But I never lost myself to the point where I developed an entirely different personality due to gaslighting. I would say my sense of myself was pretty shaky to begin with though.

My typical advice to take responsibility for one’s part in a relationship is pretty inappropriate for people trying to just find their own personality. I realize this after reading the article. I don’t want to cause anyone harm by making them feel as if they are to blame for being abused. I do feel we are all responsible for our experiences and we are all at choice in our lives. But not everyone can exercise that choice if they are being mind-controlled or gaslighted (gaslit?) over a period of years.

Thanks for the article – really changes the way I view others’ experiences.


I don’t know Star, I have problems with NOT taking responsibility for one’s own actions in the relationship. I don’t personally feel like I was brainwashed – I feel like I was manipulated and lied to, but there was a part of me that knew he was a liar – those little white lies that I thought were no big deal led to BIG, devastating ones – and I chose to minimize it. I chose to minimize many of his behaviors and I know now that a healthy, well-adjusted human being would have walked after the first week. So I own that. There’s no way around it. But I don’t blame myself for being used and abused. The burden for that is not mine to carry.

I also made a conscious effort through therapy to look at my relationships with my parents. My early life formed who I was and what I accepted as normal. I didn’t know anything different. It was impossible for me to understand all of this without therapy.


Onmyown, I think it depends on how that advice is taken and in which phase of the healing process. I know my life dramatically improved when I began to take responsibility for it. I realized that it was I who hung onto anger and resentment and I who was miserable because of it, living in a world where life was unfair and no one understood. Alone and misunderstood, I felt destined to die alone and depressed. When I figured out really how easy it is to let go of stuff, I started doing it. It was like a new trick. Everything just lightened up. I started to feel gratitude for everything very spontaneously. Problems that seemed monumental shrunk to the size of anthills. I felt empowered. I thought, “wow, if it’s easy to let go of anger, and it makes me feel so good, what else can I let go of?” I started making an inventory. I read the kind of gratitude I was feeling is a trait of a happy person. Without old resentments and grudges in the way, we can actually be happy.

I released my resentment toward my mother by writing her one last letter listing my grievances. When that didn’t work for all of my grudges, I started asking myself how I can change the way I think so I can stop feeling angry. Often it is just a matter of seeing where the other person is coming from (whether they are right or wrong doesn’t matter) and just accepting it.

This comes a little later on in the healing process. I don’t think anyone should feel they are to blame for being abused by judging themselves for staying in the relationship. I need to learn how to be careful with my wording so as not to come off like this.


David – thank you for this article.

You wrote: “… the victim only knows who they are in relation to the psychopath. This explains how people have so much difficulty getting away from a sociopath, because often they cannot visualize a life apart from the sociopath, even knowing the sociopath is bad for them.”

My mother was a sociopath that escalated against me right about the time I was graduating high school – now it all makes sense that she “needed” to up the control in order to “keep” me with her.

Like your marriage – when you ended that toxic relationship you ended up in another mind control situation. I physically left my childhood home but ended up in a marriage which is controlling.

It is very inspiring to read of your life example of being able to really truly break free and find your way. It is immensely helpful to learn from you and have more pieces of the recovery puzzle presented so clearly.

Thank you so much and best wishes in your work.


Very insighful Q&A! Every time I read things like this I’m reminded that I’m part of a relatively small “special club” where only club members can REALLY understand what I experienced. It’s a journey, that’s for sure.

Thanks for all the comments!

A few more of mine…


That questioning of yourself and thinking it was your fault and that you could have done things differently… is your pseudopersonality. The pseudopersonality is specifically programmed to think and believe exactly these things.

And good luck in court!


What about the idea that it was not the real you that tolerated the small lies, minimized the big ones and jusified the bad behavior, but a pseudopersonality? Sure, a normal healthy person would leave after a week, but leaving is not an option for a pseudopersonality.

An important distinction can be made between brainwashing and mind control. In brainwashing, the victim understands that the person influencing is an enemy and that it’s best to change your beliefs because it may mean the difference between life and death. On leaving the situation, it is easy for the victim to change their beliefs back to what they were.

In a mind control situation, the victim believes the other is a friend/teacher/lover, someone who has their interests at heart, so they are not aware that the manipulator is taking advantage of them, (until it’s too late!).

The honeymoon period is where the pseudopersonality starts to be imposed – the first impressions of this charming, helpful, amazing person that you want to look after and be with, are typically very strongly created by the sociopaths. And when you are enamoured/in love with someone you believe you are making your own decisions, after all, no one has a gun to your head!

But the sociopath is manipulating your emotions so well that in your emotional high you are not thinking rationally. The emotional rollercoaster that comes later also means that you do not have the ability to think rationally or logically or critically.

It may feel like you are making your own decisions, but the pseudopersonality has been programmed in certain ways, eg., to accept responsibility for mistakes or when things go ‘wrong’, to doubt itself, to depend on the sociopath, to believe that it chose the sociopath, to obey and be loyal (not to tell outsiders of the horrors of what goes on at home behind closed doors) and so on. And all the while the sociopath tricks the victim into believing that the things that are happening are of their own choosing.

In this respect, mind control is more dangerous than a gun to the head…


Thank you David. I’m going to have to reread this article. It’s an interesting concept to try to wrap your head around. I too was deceived into marrying a woman I now believe is a psychopath. She just moved out and I am beginning my road to reclaim my life. I like the way you described that you were captured. That makes sense as a predator captures it’s prey. I have described her many times as my Pseudowife or as the sociopath playing the role of my wife. I definitely believe she practices some kind of mind control. She is a big fan of gaslighting. I have been keenly aware of the fact that she has been for years attacking my value system. My most core beliefs and precious ethical foundations have been targeted. I really find it hard to explain it with much more clarity except to say that it’s something you know in your gut. The pseudopersonality may be describing this same process. Seems to make sense to me. I am so glad that Donna had you post this article. I have recommended your site to others here before and have found nothing quite like it anywhere else. Much of your info resonated strongly with my experience. I am curious, if I may ask, did someone share these insights with you, or did you arrive at these conclusions through your own experiences ? Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks for devoting so much time and resources into trying to open up people’s minds to the insidious tactics of the covert aggressive.


In the 50’s when they studied the Chinese and Korean POW’s what they realized was the personality of the prisoners had been systematically destroyed, changes in the beliefs and behaviors instituted and then the new personality was frozen in place (often times by simple reward and punishment conditions). They studied these people in detail because even when they returned to the US they persisted in their belief and support of communism. This was different to the usual brainwashing they had seen before.

Edgar Schein called this the unfreezing, the changing and the refreezing of the personality. It is a very useful model to describe what happens to people in cults, in intimate relationships with sociopaths and in work situations where there is a mind control environment. It allows the victims to understand what happened to them and to make sense of what happens after they leave the situation as well as during their recovery process when working with an expert in this field.

Because the mind control affects an individual at such a deep level, pseudopersonalites persist unless the individual sets out to undo this. And as I said, it is for all intents and purposes impossible to do this alone, because some of the learned beliefs are so ingrained for the individual that it seems to them that that’s actually the way the world is.

What you describe as the attacking of your value system, core beliefs and ethical foundations is the unfreezing of the personality. (The 3 steps don’t have to be completely seperate, there will typically be overlaps). Another aspect of the unfreezing are the isolation of the victim from their friends and family so that there is no connection with your past, or anything that will stimulate your real personality.

And as to where my information came from, the pseudopersonality is the currently accepted model by therapists who are experts in this area.

On a personal level, I have been in a relationship with a psychopath along with 10 years as the right hand man to the leader in a destructive cult where I had hands on experience of the techniques of mind control. Then I worked with 2 amazing therapists in Spain, both with very different styles, to undo my pseudopersonality. As part of my process, I read extensively, everything from the original work on mind control to current books and current thinking. On top of that I watched my wife go through the process of recovery at the same time as me, although she started her process 3 months before me… (she was in a different cult, and as it turned out, thanks to me she got out of her group and then thanks to her I realized that I had been in a cult.)

I wrote a blog exposing a cult leader in Spain and I had videos of his classes with detailed explanations of how he was using various mind control techniques. 2 university professors subsequently thanked me for the videos because they were using them in their classes to explaing mind control! I was sued for this and had to take it down. (The fine was only 120euro and it was worth every cent!!)

I already had a website on decision making and so I decided to write the section on mind control and psychopaths to share what I thought was the basic ideas people needed to have to make sense of their experiences.

For me, mind control fit right in to a site on decision making because people who fully recover from this kind of abuse realize that while they were in the abusive situation (and afterwards if they don’t undo the pseudopersonlity), their decisions are being made for them… they are preprogrammed by the psychopath(s). And the difficulties they are having (with relationships, jobs, trusting, memory, cognition), even after leaving the situation, are directly attributable to the beliefs and affects that are still there from the mind control, which are still affecting their decision making.

For example, if someone believes they are a magnet for psychopaths they will live a life making very different decisions than someone who thinks that psychopaths are predators looking for prey. Or believing that you have to take care of those around you first means you make different choices than if you believe it’s ok to make yourself comfortable and take care of your needs before those of others.



David, thank you immensely for explaining in such detail and answering my questions with such clarity. You have planted some seeds that will be tended to. I’m so appreciative to Donna and all my friends here @ Lovefraud who have helped me on this exhausting journey in escaping the clutches of a predator. There is so much need to educate ourselves and share with others the tactics that these predators are using to exploit the unwary. I am interested in learning more on this subject. Again thank you, thank you, thank you. You are a beacon in a dark place.


Find someone to help you undo the pseudopersonality. It will make such a difference to you.

Another thing is that the psychpopaths make it difficult for their victims to ask for help. This keeps the victim locked into a closed loop that is difficult to get out of.


Hi David, I thought I was over the abuse, but after reading your article, I realise I’m at the stage where I accept what he did to me, but don’t even want to go on a date and can’t imagine ever trusting a man again. They might be false/lying etc. The pseudopersonality is also a new part of the abuse I need to explore. I’ve been separated for 2+ years and only learned about sociopaths less than a year ago. He has all the traits, but before I read about it I was blaming myself, believing his lies and totally confused as to what had happened to me. I now realise he just married me for my money, even though he said he was ‘already in love’ with me after only a few weeks, then when I told him it was gone I was subjected to stonewalling, aggression for no reason, his paranoia and his promiscuity. He typically has 5 women on a string, has taken a lot of money from some of them, will not work and seems to spend most of his time drinking, gambling, doing drugs, slandering me and being on dating sites and social media trying to hook victims. I feel I’m over it apart from not wanting another relationship but my main frustration is that I’m a compassionate person and hate to see him hurting more and more women. Thanks for the article.


With Apologies Dr McDermott,
Finding someone to help is such vague advice (even your books are only available on Kindle so no access for me….)
Esp when past experiences show that seeking help is to be so vulnerable to the next sociopath. I realize I am merely existing now, but it is far improved over feeling my soul and spirit die and waiting for my body to eventually quit.

Wanting to be who I thought I was before I married him…

I find that even though I am free of my exhusband, I am floundering, not able to move forward, not able to work b/c I am filled with the knowledge that I am a fraud, that I am less than worthy, not worth employing or having clients book the business with me. As he said, “no one who knows you likes you, no one wants you around”. I Can’t seem to prove him wrong. After all, even my mother told me my whole life that I was the one she wished she’d never had. I realize that sounds like an excuse, but I keep hitting walls. I am older, not young and pretty (never was pretty but I was intelligent and hard working). Now I can’t even get a resume to be accepted, too many years unemployed, and my resume is a pathetic joke.

I became aware he was being verbally controlling when he’d have an entire discussion, and withhold the one piece of information that would have made a difference and changed my decision. It was SO SUBTLE, he was a master at controlling the subtle, so much so that NO ONE knew what a remark meant, except me, his victim.


Sorry to hear that you are still in such a bad way.

Actually my books are also available in pdf on my web site.

Better still, if you want to talk to someone, I work by skype so can do that from your own home.

I fully understand the fear of talking about your situation in case you get caught by another soiciopath. This is typical in all of the people I work with and there is no particularly easy way around it. At least in my case you can read what and how I think by looking at stuff I have put on the web site, and there is quite a lot of it…

If you want to contact me directly, you can do so on my page here at love fraud or on the contact page of my own web site.



David….This was all very helpful for me….the psuedo personality put a name on what I could not understand. The person I was with …would recognize the part of himself he did not like….but I think the part he would try to say was good…was not “real”….when I would ask about certain behaviors or things he would say when working with the public….he would say he was “on stage”…..I am more of a transparent person…I like authentic and real…I am intuitive also…so my radar would be trying to figure out things that were going on….I was dismissed…or taken on a huge bunny trail….and into a “mental madness” that I just wanted to get out of….He would have a way to get me back into it….but I am also seeing how from the beginning he created this “we ” personna….by saying, “this is what WE do”….whatever it was….we looked at property …or spontaneously went to an auction…or built something…or fixed something….he would say…”this is just what WE do”….then times he would use the phrase I would be thinking…”NO” this is not what I do! ….I would try to protest his attempts and he would say….”I am just trying to show you WE are the same…you are the same as me” I would try to say…”you don’t even know me! I don’t really KNOW you!” It was not that he ever cared to ask about me and my life…when I did try to talk about things in my past ….he would glaze over…change subject…yawn….I would think…”who is this person really?”…Is he in the witness protection program?…
well anyway…this is helpful for me in facing what I have been in so that I can have my mind back….
It’s an interesting work in progress…untangling the web…thank you for your help…


yes….I see the psuedo personality is with us …the victims….I could not see at the time what was happening to me ….as he he was trying to create this persona in me…but it felt wrong and I protested his attempts at times….but I see it as definately mind control…and the effects linger….I have to remember the reality of the insidious things he did that happened…the trauma….to counteract the memories of the fun and laughter and close times (the hooking)….It feels so good to be free from the madness now….I knew it was only going to get worse….I knew I would end up a mental mess if I continued in it…I also knew I would lose my friends and family…who really knew me best….One friend told me she would no longer talk about “him” with me….She saw what my children were dealing with….got very angry that I would consider seeing him again….shortly after that I found this site and began the NO CONTACT….I could not have begun to heal without that….
I will keep on reading and learning!!!
Good on ya!!

Grace and SER,

Indeed, the pseudopersonality is something that is imposed on the victim by the psychopath. It is often a radical change from the normal personality, with the pseuodpersonality programmed to do and say things that the real personlaity would never do. And when a person leaves a destructive relationhip, the pseudopersonality does not simply disappear. Some aspects will disappear over time, but the pseudopersonality persists unless specifically dealt with.

This means that many years after a destructive relationship people may continue to have problems directly related to that relationship. I have had clients who have had various mental illnesses ‘diagnosed’ as a result of having a pseudopersonality and some have even been committed to mental institutions. This happens because the mental health professionals do not consider mind control as a cause for the symptoms and simple fit the client into a category that they do understand.

With respect to the psychopath, it’s much better to think of them as actors playing various roles.

When a psychopath assesses a person as a potential victim, they will quickly determine a person’s fears, needs, wants, desires etc. Then they pretend to be the ideal partner for the victim. They allay the victim’s fears while seeming to provide their needs and desires. The victim quickly becomes enamoured or even falls in love with the manipulator. (A relationship that develops very rapidly should be a warning signal that things are not right.)

The psychopath thus takes on the persona of the perfect partner for the victim (which is totally make up and reinforced by lies). This relationship is often much stronger than a ‘normal’ intimate relationship with the psychopath taking over all aspects of the victim’s life. When the psychopath recognizes that the victim is trapped, the mask begins to slip and their true nature begins to show. But by then the victim rationalises and justifies away the bad behavior, after all, they have the perfect partner…

You can read more about it here

But by then it’s too late, as most of us here know.

The psychopath may also provide a different persona for each person that they meet. So for the parents of the victim they are polite, generous, helpful, charming, friendly. In this way they manage the impression that others have of them. They may have lots of different personas, depending on who you talk to about them.

In a work setting, for example, the boss thinks they are a gift from heaven, one co-worker sees them as a bully, another thinks they are great fun to be with and helpful, another sees them as competition, and so on. Or the parents are delighted with the new man in their daughter’s life while the daughter knows the real person is abusive and controlling and she can’t get away from him. And when she tries to tell her parents about her reality, they have trouble believing what she says.

Psychopaths are often compared to chameleons (and also as snakes!!) because of their ability to ‘blend in’ and appear to be nice, kind people. But it’s all an act. The person you fall in love with does not actually exist. It’s a fabrication specifically for you, to draw you in, make you dependent and then to take from you.

The pseudopersonality is what they impose on you to keep you controlled and manipulated and dependent on them. And undoing the beliefs and ideas of the pseudopersonality is the only way to get out completely from under the oppression of these monsters, so that you can pick yourself up and learn to trust again so you can have healthy relationships once more.


My mother had borderline personality disorder (formally diagnosed) and in my opinion she also had a lot of narcissistic pd traits, and even some antisocial pd traits.

My younger Sister and I were subjected to the kinds of controlling, mind-f**king behaviors you describe, and terrorizing mental torture that sounds like what the POWs you described may have been subjected to. Both my Sister and I are lucky to be as functional as we are, really, considering that we were raised in what might be considered a “mini cult” during our tender, formative years. I think that the mind-control stuff you discuss is why both of us entered adulthood deeply, unhealthily enmeshed with our mother, and with our dad (her acolyte).

In my opinion, the children of a sociopathic/psychopathic primary caregiver (and mothers are usually the primary caregivers of infants and children) are basically screwed from day one; there’s no chance of emerging from a childhood dominated by a spath parent, without any serious damage.

I realize its just a fantasy of mine, and not feasible on several levels, but *I* wish that there could be a screening test(s) for anyone who wishes to become a parent, which would at the VERY least, screen out the spaths. Or screen them out from child-rearing, or any child-care or child-centered type of job.


Sorry to hear that you have been subjected to those things as a child.

Children born into a cult or a family where there is mind control do suffer more than those who are recruited later in life, becuase their personality is affected from the beginning.

However, it is considered that people are not born ‘blank slates’ but rather do have their own personality from the start. The development of this, of course, is hampered to varying degrees by how they are treated by the psychopath.

Undoing a pseudopersonality in people born into mind control situations requires more effort on the part of the victim because they do not have a ‘pre-cult’ personality to compare to.

It is quite common for such persons to look back at the family or cult and decide ‘whatever was going on there, I want no part of it’ and to reject everything from the past. This in itself is very limiting because much of their life is organized in moving away from the family/cult. And if they don’t do what’s necessary to separate out the bad from what’s normal, they may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

It definitely is more difficult for those born into a cult but they can still develop into productive members of society who have healthy families and normal children of their own.


Babs, I ditto your wish to have spaths screened though I know it’s near-impossible; especially in our increasingly morally deprived society.



I believe there is more here than just genetics and upbringing.

You mentioned our society.

I believe it is playing a monster role in this s##t!!!

We are indoctrinated to consume, purchase, borrow, chase money and goods, we are indoctrinated to be selfish, I know this sounds like tin foil hat stuff but listen.

YOUtube,,MYspace, Ipod, radio stations (this is a fake example) YOUR 107.5, are you seeing what im pointing out? Its what I call the me my I conspiracy. Not too mention but personal contact is growing lesser and lesser, im 34 I grew up with video games, I remember Atari and commodore 64 putters, but we did that stuff at night for sleepovers, during the day we rode bikes and played sports. People are losing their social skills, all they do is message online or text,,I HATE TEXTING!!! I only do it for a quick message like, ill be there in 20 or something like that, I see people literally text for 45 mins or longer and im like “why the hell don’t you pick up the phone and just call them” they say “I don’t feel like having a conversation” and I say “what the hell do you think your doing right now texting for an hour”???? You cannot see nor hear the persons tone of voice or facial expressions doing this constantly. This is one reason why so many are in so much debt now,,they are GREEDY they want their riches NOW, so they go borrow to get it, then are convinced they need better credit scores so they go borrow more LOL, all from the indoctrination of “consume” “its all yours and nobody elses”

sry for the rant all, but I honestly think this is playing a part in all these disordered people as well. Selfish to the point of manipulation/lies/slander ect ect…if this keeps up it will be like that movie with stallone where he was frozen as a cop and they brought him back to fight the bad guy, remember how they didn’t even have sex anymore, just used technology? we will get to the point where people don’t even talk in person, how bout what was it wally? all the fat people getting driven around in chairs sitting next to each other yet communicating via a computer! people think, ah that’s just Hollywood, no, its real and its being programmed into our minds to think s##t like that is NORMAL.

ok sry, everyone label me tin foil hat guy now.


I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of society being indoctrinated.

You only have to look at the number of politicians, CEO’s and bankers that fit the profile of a psychopath to see the origin of the culture of narcissism that is filtering into society…

The emotion numbing effect of antidepressants and anxiolytics is not helping either.

And I recommend the movie fishead for more on this…


Dear Dr McDermott,
I want to cry and cry and cry. I have read your posts and read all the materials. I want to cry in relief b/c YES, here it is! And cry some more b/c OMG, I found it FINALLY! THIS EXPLAINS HIM.

AND cry some more, b/c it explains my deepest pain, the division between me and my beautiful darling daughter. He adopted my daughter soon after we married. I was all for it b/c we were going to have more children and I wanted my daughter to know she was Not excluded, Not a step child, but a wanted, beloved child the same as all the children that I expected to birth. In the end, we did not have any other children.

But I have lost my daughter. The pain is immeasurable. SHE exhibits the SAME behaviors and mentalities that are shown in the videos of the cult. But, we were not in a cult, we were a family of three.

I struggle to find purpose when I feel so much anger at myself for bringing this monster into our lives. And now that I see how much control he has over her, I am SO helpless. My daughter is grown! I can not MAKE her listen to me, and in fact she has cut off all contact b/c I would not follow her demand that I not talk about him at all nor talk about the past at all. She refused to listen to me tell her how he was abusive b/c… he was so calm. She only ever saw ME lose my temper, cry, rage even. I was SO flustrated at times at the lack of Logic, the betrayals, the cheating, the ridicule, the putdowns, his victimhood….

He NEVER yelled (well, I think I am the ONLY person who has ever seen him lose his temper)… My ex-husband took pride in controlling his emotions, said that only weak people lose their tempers. I LIKED that he was gentle and did not lose his temper. I grew up having the holy crap beat out of me by my explosive mother. I would never have married a man who was Physically abusive, and would have left that IMMEDIATELY. But my husband was insidious, and by the time I realized he was extremely duplicous and two faced and that would never change, my daughter was of age to chose him as her guardian in the divorce. So I stayed, to make sure he was not a pedophile… b/c that’s all I could think of, that he wanted her b/c he wanted this gorgeous (she really is beautiful, not just the opinion of a mother) young girl.

What kind of blind monster must I be to have pretty much handed over the most important, most dearest child of my heart. This is what keeps me trapped and unable to move on in life.

My now adult daughter… and I can not find a way to reach her, haven’t found a way since she was 12. The agony and pain is undescribable. It’s like watching your child in HELL, knowing she needs me to save her, and standing there watching her die.

I knew my confusion, that my husband was controlling. Believe it or not, it was only b/c I read his emails (after I left him) to other women that I saw what he said and HOW he said it… that gave others the impressions that he intended. He implied… they inferred. And anytime something didn’t make sense, I did what I’d want someone to do with me, I didn’t accuse, I asked him and he answered very patiently, very kindly.

Is there NOTHING that a parent can do to wake up their ADULT child? Even though she has cut off all contact?

What you have disclosed here is the type of sociopath that my now ex-husband is. I knew he was a sociopath but some other people’s experience just didn’t go far enough to explain his methods of controlling people (he EASILY controlled people, I called them “his sychophants”. People HELPED him abuse me, do terrible emotionally painful things to me. And reveled in how righteous they felt to do the favors for him. Until the last day I saw him, when I was nearly murdered b/c my failure to submit was judged as proof that it was okay to kill me. My husband was involved although I can’t prove it b/c it’s SUBTLE, but b/c I know how they talk, I KNOW. I am NOT paranoid, I can describe exactly how it’s done, but others in the small town can’t seem to see it and just dismiss me as a disgruntled crazy exwife….although I was not crazy before nor after the marriage. I have made new friends in my new town and we enjoy all kinds of conversations. I am a straight forward hearts on her sleeve kind of person. I am NOT crazy. I’m NOT. But I can SEE HIM… see his manipulations, and others can’t.

I am so heartbroken. My daughter is screwed and I don’t see anything I can do. PLEASE. Is there? Adult daughter who has cut off contact?


First of all, I dont believe that you ‘handed over your daughter’. You have been tricked, deceived, manipulated and taken advantage of, and so has your daughter.

I think that the first thing you need to do is to learn more about mind control and psychopaths so as to undo the effects of what was done to you. Then you will be in a much better position to approach your daughter again.

If you’d like to contact me directly I would be happy to work out
a way with you to sort all this out.


Thank you so much for this, it makes so much sense! Do you think being brought up as a catholic woman (as I was) for example makes you a better target for spaths?
By that I mean one of my core programmes that I battle away with is about putting yourself last, everyone else’s needs must come first. And to cause yourself to suffer in the process is even better!! It looks ridiculous seeing it written down like that. But its strong! There was always this painful dissonance- a satisfaction of being so good and putting others first and serving them and a big angry voice inside screaming WHAT ABOUT ME.
In thinking about this and the psuedopersonality aspect I think that had already formed a bit through this. When I met my spaths (figured out from here that there have been three) The ‘what about me’ got fed to satiation with the love bombing and then the ‘I must serve and if I can be a martyr as well, fabulous!’ must have been a complete gift to a spath!!
Just wondering really
Don’t get me wrong though, I still do believe in a life of service (think its an underrated value these days) and my work is all about making the world a better place for people if I can BUT not at the complete and utter expense of myself any more.


Everyone is vulnerable to psychopaths, especially at particular times of stress such as death of a loved one, loss or change of a job, movign to university, on retirement, etc.

Psychopaths will take advantage of these moments as well as particular traits in the individual. These traits don’t have to be weaknesses either. For example, my desire to help others as a doctor is not in and of itself a weakness, but it was used against me to recruit me into the cult.

Some traits, such as the one you describe, do indeed make it easier for psychopaths to take advantage of. And they will typically use fear and guilt to ramp up your need to help so that you end up a servant/slave to them.

A question for you… based on what you say about your past and your beliefs, do you think someone in your family (parents/siblings) might be a manipulator?


Good call David 🙂 My mother experiences major depressive episodes, and yes she was an ace manipulator of the martyr kind. Both parents were highly critical. Key messages to me was that I was selfish and spoiled everything and too sensitive and unlovable. Guilt and fear, very painful and very disabling!
I ended up with bipolar type 2. BUT my experiences of all that meant I ended up working in workforce and service development in mental health. I could use what I learned to help ensure people don’t suffer needlessly or more than they have to. A satisfying (and frustrating at times LOL) career.
I brought my kids up very differently


From what I read and have experienced,spaths do target people who are sensitive to other’s feelings. Somehow, they realise that they are deficient in this area,but know they crave it. What is truly amazing is that spaths feel that they are superior in the human evolutionary race simply because they are incapable of ‘feelings’; they are robotic in their interpersonal relationships. For this reason, many become very successful and powerful; they are not hindered by emotions when it comes to hiring and firing workers. In our mechanized world,people become no more than tools to them and they react the same way. What the rest of us cannot fathom, they bask in their so-called superiority of having the same emotions to firing or marriage break-up as the rest of us would feel to turning out a light bulb. This concept is totally inconceivable to the rest of us and explains why they can so readily walk away from deep relationships.None of them are emotionally invested in others and we mistake this for a show of power instead of a weakness.I.E. Although professionally quite successful, all five of my children and most of their offspring are now divorced and single.
God speed to all in understanding this devastating illness.


what I don’t understand is how they can be sooooo perceptive…and manipulative to get what they want ….they must know what they are doing and see the evil in it…and the wrong…do they know this?…if so why would they not be able to choose differently?…i know that sounds naive…if I really think about it …I think it would be like asking a snake to be a dove…..


What the rest of us don’t understand is that psychotics just don’t care; they feel their lack of emotions makes them superior human beings. A concept the rest of us find very difficult to understand and accept.


For me, having been ignorantly surrounded by psychotics for many decades, I can definitly pinpoint who the manipulator is and from where it stems. My ex, to whom I was married for 23 years, was a psychotic and I believe his condition was brought on by his mother. I recall, upon first meeting her, that I instinctively thought she was the most evil woman I had ever met and my ex concurred. So we decided to settle far away but soon, the psychotic traits began appearing in my husband. In 1982 he was confronted by the Ct. Child Services for abuse and I subsequently divorced him.
I raised 5 of the most perfect children any mother could possibly ask for and was proud to present them to the world. However, through the ensuig decades, my ex insidiousely set up my oldest, a daughter, as the one to carry on, and disseminate, his traits.As a loving, caring mother, I ignorantly didn’t recognise what was happening before my eyes.Over the decades of their successful adulthood, I found their judgements and opinions totally alien to mine until 4 years ago, my youngest son announced that all 5 children were going to commit me! I was totally devastated and speechless until my attorney and 2 leading psychology experts advised me to go NC with all of them. So, yes, the “manipulator” in my case was definitely my ex and he likely inherited these traits from his mother. So, the illness grows like a cancer.But all my children are typically now divorced.

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