What was your turning point?

Lovefraud received the following e-mail from a woman whose daughter is caught in the web of a sociopath. The woman and her husband are not enabling the relationship—the sociopath, of course, wants money. They are hoping and praying that their daughter will escape.

Here is her question to other Lovefaud readers:

What was the “turning point,” “awakening moment,” “realization point,” that woke them up OUT of the fog, the gaslighting, etc., and what made them realize they needed to RUN, to get away from their sociopaths?  What finally “did it,” what finally “broke the camel’s back?”  Where they realized what was happening to them, had been done to them, when they finally realized things were NEVER going to “get better?”

There must be a “trigger” here somewhere. I’m just trying to grasp what it’s going to take.  What is going to have to happen to jar her awake from this brainwashing/fog?

My experience

I remember the moment for me.

I knew my husband, James Montgomery, was lying to me, although I didn’t realize the extreme extent of the lies. I knew all my money was gone; my husband had spent about $227,000, much of it carelessly. I suspected he was cheating on me, and when I discovered proof, I left him.

Still, even after I left him, I thought my husband was just one of those guys who can’t stay faithful. I did not realize that my entire marriage was a scam right from the beginning.

The real moment of truth came when I called one of the women my husband appeared to be involved with. According to bank records I’d found, she had given him $6,000. The conversation went like this:

“I’m Donna Andersen. I’m James Montgomery’s wife, and I’d like to suggest that you don’t give him any more money.”

“It’s too late. I already gave him $92,000.”

I almost dropped the phone. And with that conversation, I realized that my husband had married me for the specific purpose of taking my money. That was all.

Your moment of truth

This reader has asked a really important question, one that may glean some possible approaches from helping people escape the sociopathic trap. So please post your experience.

What did it for you? When did you finally realize that you had to get out?






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Ox Drover

Dear Phoenix,

YES!!!! GET HELP!!!!! There may be a food pantry near you, find it, call the domestic violence shelter and ask for suggestions and call social services and ask for help, go to a church some where near you and ask for food help. In US there are food stamps.

TAKE CARE OF YOU because if you don’t get enough vitamins and iron you will get sick and then who will your kids depend on?

What state/country do you live in?

Paying off the debts he left you may not be something you have to do….paying them off and not having enough food for yourself and your kids I don’t think is a wise choice, and I know you want to be honest and pay real debts, but sometimes we must put ourselves and our kids needs FIRST and I think this is one of them.

God bless you and GET SOME HELP!!!! You are not alone and you don’t have to do this alone. There is help out there! (((hugs)))


Thank you all for your advice. We live in Australia, in Northern NSW. I do receive support, but cost of living here is so high, rent is so expensive, my car is crippling me with needing to be fixed… But in the last few days I have fully swallowed all pride and asked for help from my friends. I don’t have any family here. My parents live in the US, in Colorado. They live near my siblings who I’ve learned, after reading much on this site, are definitely Socios. They sabatoge every step of the way and sit on our parents and exhaust them of their resources. I’ve asked for help, but they only give me a little. They support my brother and his four children heavily. But I’m going to ask them to try and help me through the next year, just until I get on my feet again. I walked away from my marriage of twelve years with my children and that is it. No house, no furniture, no money. Just a car, clothes, debt, and a feeling of vast freedom and relief. And that is priceless!!!

I will look into the idea of not paying off so much debt. A friend has offered to loan me money and let me pay it off by cleaning a few hours a week… I said yes! I also asked my mechanic if I could clean for him as well to pay off work that my car needs and he agreed. And I can bring the kids along too. I can only work the hours that they are in school… I can’t afford after school care on what I make. I am just barely keeping my head above water, and this iron thing has really freaked me out. What would the kids do if something happened to me? Live with him? Live with my parents and be abused by my two spath siblings? I know how important it is for me to stay healthy. I am determined to get my iron to at least 20 by July! I take my hat off to all of you mothers who have raised your children on your own… It is such an honour and such a fine balance. 

I know he’s starving us so that we’ll come crawling back to him. A friend recently told me a story of how her ex refused to help support her and their children. One day, he turned up with a wad of money and stood outside her house and threw bills one by one so that he could watch her stoop to pick them up, all the while verbally abusing her.  And she said that she had to, she needed that money. I know I would do the same. I would pick up that money but I wouldn’t hold my head down. I will do anything it takes for these kids. She did say that years later her ex is now completely bankrupt, has no relationship with his children, and lives alone. 

I’ve sold everything I have to sell. I don’t have much, but I do have the love of three beautiful children who light up my life with their giggles and optimism. They are so resilient, so amazing, so strong in all of this. It’s hard not to lean on my older son… He’s so responsible and wants to help so much. They do work around the house a lot. They do dishes, clean, vacuum, look after their little sister… They see that the more help they give me, the more time I get with them. My middle son sees my emotional side and tells me he loves me so many times everyday, even in front of his friends. I can see that they both love and support me and are empathetic, kind, genuine beings. And I’ve cried my heart out in relief over that one. I am so glad that they are not like him… Not that I can see, anyway. But time will tell. 

It still, to this day, devastates me that there are people out there who prey on the vulnerable. He met me when I was young, I had been abused by 2 of my 5 older siblings and was hurting. Something inside of him must have sensed that I was easily manipulated, that I was easy prey. But as disheartening as that may be, I refuse to become jaded. He can’t take me away from me. He doesn’t get to mistake my kindness for weakness anymore. I just wanted to love and help him. That’s how naive I was. 

Thank you for giving me so many tools, so many coping mechanisms over the past several months. I have read for hours and hours your words and your experiences and it’s really shed so much light on parts and people in my life that I just couldn’t place. I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this blog!!! 

I just helped my son make a cake in the shape of a plant cell for his science class. It’s hilarious! He’s excited to turn it in tomorrow because after it’s graded, he’s going to eat it! We all made spaghetti bolognaise for dinner and I ate a lot. I’m getting a free iron shot tomorrow from my doctor. I’m ontop of it now! You scared me when I thought of leaving them alone!!! But it was a good scare. 🙂

Have a gorgeous day everyone! 
So much love to you all…


Phoenix ”“ ’out of the ashes’. Brilliant, well done you for all of the hard work you do (and have done).
I love the idea of a plant cell cake ”“ what an imagination! The cleaning in exchange for ’goods’ idea is excellent. What a resourceful and inspirational mum you are.
It would be very tempting indeed if he came back and offered to pay off your debt ”“ but you would be swopping one debt (your life) for another (monetary debt). Don’t do it. Hold your head up beg/borrow from friends but NOT him.
Be assured that your kids will grow up better human beings as a result of their hardship.

Spaths target the vulnerable. In my opinion they circle like vultures and swoop on their target. And like the target we just don’t see them circling and when they swoop it’s too late.
So pleased that you have this new ’energy’ . Stay strong 

Ox Drover

Dear Finally Phoenix,

There are several women here who are in AU, and some that are fairly knowledgable in the laws there and in what is available.

AUSSIE GIRL, GeminiGirl and others may be near you or at least in the same country and should know what help is available.

You can also find IRON PILLS that are reasonably cheap and might help, however….did you doctor find out WHY you are so low in iron? (I’m retired advanced practice nurse) It is possible you may be BLEEDING somewhere in your gut. Make sure your doctor tests your poop for signs of BLOOD, it is an easy test and a very cheap. Liver is a food high in iron and you may not like it much but it should be a cheap food and a good one too and will help raise your iron levels. The main thing is to make sure that your children are also getting a diet that won’t leave them low in iron as well while they are growing.

If you can’t afford much meat, the organ meats such as liver are good sources of iron, and usually cheap and dried beans and rice make a complete protein Meat substitute (I raised my kids by myself so know all the cheap things to cook) Oat meal is an excellent source of calories and fiber for your hungry boy and also reasonably cheap as well.

I’m glad your kiddoes are helping you with your housework etc. and those are things even boys need to learn how to do to make them independent adults and it gives them a sense that they are part of the solution and part of the family as well. Let them help you clean for your extra job as well….it will make them feel that they are helping you. Good job!

If you are an American citizen, approach the Embassy and see if there is any thing you are entitled to in the way of help there as well. Can’t hurt, all they can say is NO. Checkk with Social services and child welfare in AU as well and see what is available for your children in the way of benefits as citizens of AU (I’m assuming they are) God bless. (((hugs))))

Ox Drover

Finally PHOENIX –sorry I can’t get the edit function to work. But you are finally FREE as well! So maybe that was a Freudian slip!


To: finally_phoenix

My then husband only gave me half a day to grieve my mother’s death.

I got the news that she died at 8:30 am and by 12:00 noon he looked at me with that accusing look and bitched “IS THAT STILL BOTHERING YOU?”

I wasn’t allowed to grieve, I wasn’t allow to eat or shower or take kids to the doctor or buy them shoes, I was supposed to wait for his permission.

If I had only left him at that point. I thought I had to have a fool-proof plan. But, waiting it out only lead to the next abusive relationship because I got more damaged by waiting it out.

Guess who looks old and moldy…yep, I do! He looks great. His hair and skin has coloring.


I am one stubborn human being who used to believe there was good in everyone. Having a strong desire to help others, for me, the turning point was realizing that I had done EVERY thing possible to help someone who didn’t want to be helped, and knowing that it was never going to change.

For me, the turning point was realizing that he is truly a Sociopath and seeing that I had two choices:

1. Do I want to stay and be emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially damaged for the rest of my life?


2. Do I want to go knowing that I did everything I could possibly do and move on with my life, and be happy?

For me, weighing those options after being involved with him for 2.5 years, #2 was the better option . . . It also helped that I was detached from him for the most part emotionally. All the pain he caused me made that happen and I was able to better step back from the situation and evaluate it like a spectator.

The only advice I have for you is what worked for me. Everyone is different, but my family loving me unconditionally, not allowing their emotions to get in the way of what they were saying to me helped tremendously. Of course afterwards, when they realized I was finally ready to let go, they told me how they felt and I asked them why they didn’t mention it before. But, I understand why they didn’t. Because of Stockholm Syndrome.

Fortunately, I have a step mom who was a crisis counselor, my mother was a nurse, my sister was, my aunt was a mental health nurse, and my father worked with brain injured patients for many years. I think them having that experience is what kept them doing those things. They knew what would work and what wouldn’t already.

On another note, it was their prayers, patience and non-judgmental approach that helped me to wake up. Same with my friends.

Ox Drover

Dear Stronger, Welcome to LF! Glad you got away and are healing and are a SURVIVOR no longer a victim! YOu are fortunate to have such a supportive family! Glad you are here. Thanks for sharing.


The thing that hit me this time about reading the blog.

I also called his ex.

It makes me feel better to know that calling on ex’s is more common than I know.

Jim made me out to be a fiendish woman at court because I called his ex years ago. I was bulldozed by his words at that court! I blabbered mouthed that Jim was never straight with me so I looked for answers in the wrong places. The judge ripped my head off!

Jim also said I was destroying his relationship with his kids.

I was floored! That it never occurred to me to say that I paid the court to keep Jim out of jail in 2009? He had to pay the Purge to the court cause he was in arrears on child support.

There was no way I could protect myself in that court. Jim had so many tricks up his sleeve. And, the judge was looking down his nose at me.

Let that be a lesson to me.

Jim told me about the crazy stuff he did. And within the recent years! He rolled burning tires into a guys yard. He also placed a paper bag filled with shit in the window well and started it on fire.

He never gets caught! The guy got a few numbers off Jim’s license plate.

He is one snakey f*cker..

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