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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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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