To Mom and Dad: 9 reasons why your son or daughter fell for the sociopath

Unhappy-couple-breaking-up sizedDear Parents of a Lovefraud Target,

Your son or daughter has now come to the brutal realization that the entire relationship was a scam.

Perhaps you’ve had your suspicions for a while. Perhaps you’ve even tried to tell your kid that the partner was no good, but he or she wouldn’t listen to you.

Now everything has collapsed, and you can’t understand why your son or daughter didn’t see it coming.

Please understand that sociopaths are professional con artists, and they are really, really good at what they do. In fact, they spend their entire lives perfecting their craft.

Following are nine reasons why your son or daughter fell for it.

1. Your son or daughter didn’t know sociopaths exist

Our society tells us that everyone is created equal, everyone just wants to be loved, and there’s good in everyone. Perhaps you even said these things to your child. If not, the messages certainly came through at school.

Our society doesn’t tell us that there are exceptions. The feel-good characterizations simply do not apply to the approximately 12% of women and 16% of men who are personality disordered.

These exploiters come from all demographic groups and all walks of life. They are not necessarily hard-core drug addicts or criminals.

What we all need to learn is that people who are attractive, educated and well-mannered can also be evil.

2. Your son or daughter is good and kind-hearted

Perhaps you taught your children to treat others the way they want to be treated. Your son or daughter may be naturally kind and willing to help others.

Usually, this is a wonderful way to live. Unfortunately, there are people in the world — sociopaths — who are willing to take advantage of anyone’s goodness, kindness and generosity.

We all tend to interpret the way others behave according to the way we behave. So if we don’t lie, and would never dream of intentionally hurting someone, we don’t know it’s possible for another person to do it to us.

That makes us walking targets for sociopaths.

3. Sociopaths are extremely convincing liars

It is impossible to overstate a sociopath’s ability to lie. These people lie like they breathe. They spend their entire lives perfecting their lies. They tell big lies and small lies. They tell outrageous lies. They even lie when they’d be better off telling the truth.

Sociopaths can look deep into your eyes and lie. All of those tips about how to spot a liar simply do not work with sociopaths. These people can pass lie detector tests.

If your son or daughter is basically honest, they never stood a chance.

4. Sociopaths promise to make dreams come true

In the beginning of the involvement, the sociopath likely asked your son or daughter a lot of questions, and listened very carefully to their answers. Your kid likely interpreted this to mean that the sociopath was really totally interested in them.

Actually, the sociopath was listening carefully to find out your child’s hopes and dreams. The sociopath wanted to discover the deepest place within them to set the seduction hook by promising to make the dreams come true.

And who doesn’t want to believe someone who promises to make your dreams come true?

5. Sociopaths target vulnerabilities

If we’re human, we have vulnerabilities. Sociopaths are experts at finding and exploiting them.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your son or daughter lacks intelligence, has low self-esteem, or is a co-dependent personality. We all have desires, and what we want makes us vulnerable. We also all have emotional wounds, and those wounds make us vulnerable.

Many times emotional wounds date back to childhood. Can you think of anything your son or daughter experienced that could have created a wound?

6. Sociopaths hijack the natural human bonding process

When people experience intimacy, a hormone called oxytocin is released into the bloodstream and brain. Oxytocin is triggered by any type of intimacy — emotional sharing, physical touching and sex. Oxytocin makes us trust the person with whom we share intimacy.

Feelings of love cause dopamine to be released in the brain. Dopamine is associated with energy, motivation and addiction.

These psychological and biological changes are normal. Nature intended them to make us want to stay with our romantic partners to care for children.

But none of them apply to sociopaths. These disordered people do not form normal psychological bonds. But they intentionally do things — like causing fear and anxiety — that make it difficult for their partners to break the psychological bonds and escape.

7. Sociopaths present themselves as perfect partners

In the beginning, it seems like the sociopath has so much in common with your son or daughter. That’s because sociopaths figure out what their targets are looking for, and then make themselves into that person.

Then, sociopaths keep the mask on as long as necessary to get the target hooked. Once the target is committed — perhaps living together, married or pregnant — the sociopath may totally change.

I’ve heard of sociopaths who even announced immediately after the wedding, “Now I can stop pretending.”

8. Sociopaths engage in brainwashing

Cult leaders — who are sociopaths in the extreme — have discovered that the most effective brainwashing technique is love bombing. This means is showering their targets with attention and affection, making the target feel loved and wanted.

The sociopath your son or daughter encountered likely did this in the beginning of the relationship. That’s how they got hooked.

From there, the sociopath may have gradually engaged in mind control by manipulating your kid’s behavior, information, thoughts and emotions. The sociopath likely instilled an “us vs. them” mentality in your son or daughter, with you being the bad guys. This is a typical thought control tactic.

Sociopaths instinctively know to do this. But their targets, unfortunately, are not aware of what is happening.

9. A premeditated scam

Everything the sociopath did to take advantage of your son or daughter was intentional.

Here’s what sociopaths do when they meet a potential target:

  1. Evaluate the target to see if he or she has anything that they want.
  2. Ask questions to determine the target’s vulnerabilities.
  3. Use the target’s vulnerabilities to take what they want.

The entire relationship was a scam. The sociopath may have been a “make it up as you go along” type of person. Or, the sociopath may have executed a plan that was years in the making. (Yes, that happens.)

This is mind-boggling. No one wants to believe that promises of love and devotion are just a ruse. So even if your son or daughter started having doubts, they never even dreamed of the scope of the sociopath’s betrayal.

What to do now

Please understand that your son or daughter was up against a professional. The sociopath targeted your kid, and used love bombing, lies, mind control, emotional manipulation, fear and guilt to execute the exploitation scheme.

The sociopath probably did not employ all those tactics with you. Therefore, you may have been able to see what was going on, where your son or daughter could not.

Mom and Dad, if your kid now knows they’ve been scammed, the pain of betrayal is overwhelming. The last thing they need to hear from you is, “I told you so.”

The best thing you can do is focus on your love for your brokenhearted child, and without judgment, help him or her pick up the pieces.

Lovefraud originally published this article on March 30, 2015.

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Everyone in my family saw Dancing Dick for what he was. My mother hated him! I couldn’t see it at first. After I threw him out when I caught him voyeuring my 15 year old neighbor and running up hundreds of dollars worth of “dial-a-porn” phone bills……I threw him out.

Then….he came crawling back….a changed man- “a Born Again Christian” seeking another chance. Everyone warned me NOT to go back with him. But I did…..and I paid….and paid….and paid. My family saw the writing on the wall- but I was blind as a bat. I will never fully understand how that happened.


I choose to call him ‘Disco Duck’..instead of MY ex; (he’s someone else’s problem), since I divorced him. My mother, too, hated him on first sight; it led to numerous fights between her and I. Dad never said much, we weren’t close anyway. Neither did any of my friends, dorm-mates at the Tech School I was at, like him.. The ones who knew my previous boyfriend, REALLY were upset.”How can you date HIM, I was asked..he’s NOT anything like Mike was”. I had NO idea, all I knew was the more people were against him, the more I defended him. I closed my mind, my heart and whatever common sense there was, to be with him, love him, ultimately marry, have kids, overwork on the farm..for almost 30 years. He did try, to win mom over; but she refused to give in to his ‘charm’..eventually he HATED her, as he came to hate ME and everything I brought to our relationship. Now, it feels like I, too, was any advice, counsel to listen otherwise..and I paid for it..30 years.

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