By | January 29, 2008 22 Comments

When dealing with a sociopath, you must save yourself

Yesterday was a tough day at Lovefraud.

First thing in the morning, I got a call from a woman I’d spoken to before. She was hysterical.

From what she’d told me previously, it sounded like she was dealing with three sociopaths—her husband, her oldest son, and a guy she had an affair with. Initially, her husband had condoned the affair. Then he left her. Then he returned. Then he smeared her with her family and friends. The oldest son was violent.

“You have to get out,” I advised.

“I don’t have any money,” she whined. “My husband hid the checkbook.”

“Is your name on the account?” I asked.


“Then go to the bank, withdraw money and leave.”

Then she started telling me that she begged her husband to make her son stop disrespecting her.

“Your husband is not going to do that,” I said. “He’s a sociopath. You have to get out.”

Then she told me that she and her husband had an appointment with her counselor on Sunday.

“What are you doing that for?” I asked. “It’s just another opportunity for him to manipulate you. Don’t do it.”

“I’ll kill myself”

The woman did not heed my advice. She did not leave. She went to the counseling appointment with her husband. My guess is that the counselor has been co-opted by the husband, as often happens when a sociopath calmly expresses concerns about his or her partner’s “problems.”

So the woman did not sleep at all Sunday night. First thing Monday morning, she’s on the phone with me. Hysterical.

“You have to get out,” I repeated.

“Why should I have to leave when he’s the one abusing me?” she asked.

Then she started begging me for help. She wanted her situation investigated. She wanted justice.

I’m not an investigator. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a therapist. I’m on the other side of the country. All I could offer were suggestions. Which I’d already done.

So then she started talking about killing herself. Or arranging for someone else to kill her. Repeatedly.

Luckily, call waiting clicked—someone else was on the phone for her. After hanging up, I sought advice from some colleagues. They advised me not to take any chances.

So I called the woman’s counselor—she’d given me the phone number—and left a message that she was suicidal. Then I called the authorities.

An hour later the woman called back. She’d heard from her counselor that I said she was suicidal. She’d heard that law enforcement was coming.

“I’m not suicidal,” she screamed at me.

“You told me you were going to kill yourself,” I replied.

“I’m not suicidal,” she repeated. Then she hung up.

A few hours later, after the shock subsided, I vomited.

The problem was, I knew this incident played right into the hands of the husband, who was claiming that the woman was bi-polar.

I could imagine the scene. She’d get carted off to the hospital, screaming in protest, while he calmly explained to the doctors about her “problems.”

The record would show her receiving psychiatric care for her suicidal threats—another step toward her destruction.

Get out now

I don’t know if everything this woman told me was true. I do know that what she told me was possible.

Some sociopaths are so cunning, so manipulative and so vicious, that it’s possible the husband was orchestrating a grand scheme for this woman to take her own life. Dr. Leedom calls it “murder by suicide.”

But you can’t fight a sociopath by allowing yourself to slip into hysteria.

You can’t save yourself by demanding that somebody “do something” about another person’s abuse or injustice.

If you’re in an abusive situation, you must get out as soon as you become cognizant of it. The longer you stay, the weaker you’ll become, until you end up without the internal resources to cope at all.

If you’re reading this blog, and you’re in an abusive relationship, get out. Now.

In the end, you must save yourself. Other people can only offer suggestions.

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Murder by suicide….so true. My psycho used to openly wish a few women inhis life dead…

Did you mention to therapist or police about him?

I know you label them and you become the psycho.

To readers: Donna is very special, she has given a great deal of herself to help others. The way to show her the respect she deserves is to realize what her mission is. Her mission is psychopathy/sociopathy education and support for victims. If you are suicidal please seek the help of a trained and licensed therapist or call a suicide hotline. No one affiliated with can or should be asked to deal with that particular issue.

At a certain point, this kind of behavior on the part of victims becomes abusive to Donna. Victims have a choice, and I hope this woman will make better choices next time.


Oh yes, I know the murder by suicide routine. My P was a Muslim and he even used that to try and plant suicidal thoughts in my head. By that time he knew I was beginning to see through him and he’d got the money so I was no longer needed. He never siad anything directly because it would give him away but the remarkI remember most is ” If you drown I’ll drown with you even though it’s against my religeon”.
I feel so sorry for the woman mentioned above. She is clearly so messed up that Donna’s or our comments may have no effect at all. I hate to think what will happen to her whilst her husband sails on smiling having destoyed another human being.



Hi Donna,

Would it be helpful to provide some links for help with Domestic Violence? Here’s a National resource for the US that I found. And there is a hotline on there.

I get the impression (and I could be wrong) that most of the Sociopath’s we talk about on LoveFraud are not physically abusive but more the psychological type. I might have that impression because I never was hit or anything.. thankfully. But whether my impression is right or wrong, I bet there will be a lot of people tha find this site that are dealing with Domestic violence.

If I had recieved the call you did, I would have done the same thing. It is very hard to assess a situation over the phone. You did the right thing.

Thanks for all that you do. This site is top notch and has helped so many people. I don’t know where I would be without it.

All the best in 2008!

Aloha, E.R.


the best thing to do is leave. when i did it i felt so free and excited. it was great.

but the challenge is really getting to that point. and it really is unfair in most cases. many woman who do leave just go back to their abusers because there is no assistance for them. it’s really a pathetic situation.


What a terrible and shocking event!

It actually sounds like she really wasn’t looking for help. If you had been able to do any of the things she asked, she very likely would have then gone back to the psycho and both of them would have blamed you for trying to break them up. I’ve seen that drama play all the way through a time or two. It’s really sick and sometimes it is hard to tell who is the deviant in the situation – or if they both are.

I agree with everyone else that you did exactly the right thing though you should not have had to do that. If someone asks you for advice and you give it and they refuse it, there’s really nothing else you can do.

What occurs to me as most interesting is your physical reaction to the situation. One thing that Donna wrote in her book “How to Spot a Dangerous Man” is that we should always pay attention to what our bodies tell us. Andzrej Lobaczewski talks about this also, though in a different way, but I think there is a clue there that connects to your physical reaction. It has to do specifically with the body’s reaction to any interaction with a psychopath when the mask is off. I’ll paraphrase it a bit:

“When the human mind comes into contact with the reality of the psychopathic, which is so different from normal reality, it releases psychophysiological shock symptoms in the human brain. (cortex) This inhibits thinking. The mind works more slowly and less keenly because the associative mechanisms have become inefficient. There is a stifling of feelings, (a feeling of choking) following which the emotions sometimes gush forth uncontrollably.

Psychopaths will use their specific experience to traumatize the minds of the “others” with their own personalities. This causes the mind of their target to fall into a state of short-term catatonia. Their humiliating and arrogant techniques, brutal paramoralizations, and so forth deaden the normal human’s thought processes and self-defense capabilities, and their completely bizarre experiential method anchors in his mind.

Only once these unbelievably unpleasant psychological states have passed, thanks to rest in benevolent company, is it possible to reflect, always a difficult and painful process, or to become aware that one’s mind and common sense have been fooled by something which cannot fit into the normal human imagination.”

I don’t know if you were sickened by the husband’s behavior by proxy through the wife, or if it was due to contact with the wife, herself. My guess is the latter. She sounds like the looper in this situation.


I meant Sandra’s book, not Donna’s!


I’m sure what I’m about to say might not be popular among many romantic partners of sociopaths, but I think it needs to be said.

I think sometimes when people cry out for help with their sociopath…
What they are really crying is, “PLEASE MAKE HIM CHANGE.”

Which, of course, is completely unrealistic, illogical, and futile.

But I think until someone decides to change that mindset, of wanting the sociopath to change, they will continue to put their head on that block.
They won’t get out. They won’t get away. They won’t save themselves.
They want someone else to change the sociopath so they don’t have to do any of that.
And of course, no matter what, that will never happen – probably never with your garden variety abusive jerk, and definitely never with a sociopath.



In the book, did it really say “chocking” somewhere? I have that book but haven’t gotten all the way through it. I have described a chocking feeling I have had since my time with the Sociopath and it occurs when I think too much about it, when I see someone being manipulated in a movie, when I read the word Sociopath (sometimes), or have a moment when the meaning of the word Sociopath realy sinks in a little deeper for me, or I recall certain events that were especially upsetting, and so on. I have identified for sure that this chocking feeling which causes me to cough and make a scene sometimes, is directly connected to some distressing thought.

I want to see this in writing because I have wondered when this anxiety reaction will dissapate completely. Sometimes it comes up at really weird times… like in a job interview or something.


alohatraveler: Notice that I said I was going to paraphrase the text a bit. I included the choking comment because that is what I got from Lobaczewski directly in conversation. I questioned him closely about what did he mean exactly. Another point he made was that you get a feeling that is like heat rising up from your solar plexus which flushes your face and that feeling of paralysis “flows” with it. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but those who have experienced it know exactly what I’m talking about.

There are a lot of problems with the text of Ponerology that we will be fixing in the next edition. It was translated by an academic from academic (very formal) Polish and we didn’t do very much editing (almost NONE except for glaring syntax or grammar errors). Many of the things that are somewhat vague will be clarified and expanded. It just takes time to work on a text that is this dense.

I know that the victims of sociopaths deserve sympathy and support, BUT… sometimes women with mental health issues CHOOSE this kind of man to enable them to play a certain type of victim game.

I spent many years peer counseling people with mental health issues, and your description of this woman made all the alarms go off, because I went through situations where women acted like this over and over until I wised up:

1) Latching on to someone who clearly can’t actually get involved and giving them melodramatic portrayals of her sufferings, usually coupled with pleas for help.

2) Claims that the husband/boyfriend has used extreme and often Machiavellian methods to keep her from having any $ (with the “no $” excuse being put forth as the reason she can’t leave); these women may go so far as to claim that their men have “secret deals” with every financial institution in town that prevent them from having accounts in their own names and/or will cause the man to be alerted if she tries to create one or remove $.

3) Claims that she’ll kill herself, not arising from any evidence of deep depression but trotted out when the person she’s begging for “help” shows any signs of feeling like they’ve given the simple and obvious advice and are going to withdraw.

4) Fury when perfectly reasonable (under the circumstances) calls to authorities and/or people who CAN help are made… because this person doesn’t actually NEED emergency assistance, and in fact doesn’t really want ANY type of help; what they want is to have someone, or even several someones, to whom they can weep and wail on a regular basis, because they love seeming like tragic victims… and they love being able to suck YOU in emotionally.

Surprised to hear that the victims of sociopaths aren’t always saints, and didn’t always have to be tricked to become entangled with them… and aren’t always quite as “victim-ish” or innocent as they’re portrayed? Yes, MOST women involved with sociopaths ARE purely victims; I just felt so much sympathy, not to mention empathy, with Donna’s all-too-familiar experience that I’m willing to endure what may well be a hail of abuse from other posters who won’t want to hear that “victims of sociopaths” can themselves be manipulators to let Donna know that she was “emotionally scammed” by someone who didn’t actually want or need help.

Donna: a healthy person who genuinely wants to improve a bad situation might not be able to clearly see what to do, and might be afraid of doing those things once they DO see what they are, but they WON’T use the tactics I’ve described, and that your “caller” used on you. You seem like a kind person with a genuine passion to help others; just please be aware that this will make you a magnet for certain “abusive” (what else can you call it?) mental health patients who’ll get as much of a kick out of yanking you around emotionally as any sociopath would.


Eternal Student,

Yeah. I get what you are saying. I think you were right about that caller too. And I can kind of tell with some posts that it’s just a long list of “he did” “he did” “he did” but my instinct is that the average poster here is not that kind of “victim.”

I am not going to let your post get under my skin. I know what I experienced and yes, there were red flags… SHAME ON ME! But I am not some kind of attention getting lunatic. What happened to me was not a life pattern for me and I know for sure, it will never happen again.

But thanks for enlightening us.


this woman sounds like a sociopath herself. And it reminds me again of……

“A. borrowed a copper kettle from B. and after he had returned it was sued by B. because the kettle now had a big hole in it which made it unusable. His defence was: “First, I never borrowed a kettle from B. at all; secondly, the kettle had a hole in it already when I got it from him; and thirdly, I gave him back the kettle undamagedâ€�….We might…say: “A. has put an ‘and’ where only “either-orâ€� is possible.â€�

If you weren’t bought with the first out burst, then comes the second outburst, then the third, the fourth, the fifth..if it still doesn’t work, it ends in either telling you you are unthoughtful, inconsiderate, a liar..etc. They may first try sweet talking you, then crying, then when it still isn’t working, angry fits of rage. The outbursts usually are in consecutive order, and don’t support the previous statement, or do they make sense. The out bursts or more or less to take you in a different direction, ESPECIALLY if you point out an error to them, or they are just trying to wear you out..they run you around in so many damn circles you don’t even remember the first nonsense statement they made. They are great at filibustering. The women sociopaths seem to really love to play this game, and from my experience, seem to really love shock factors more than anything just to get a response. My mother in law at one point told me her husband was molesting her daughter. I asked her if she was sure, and if so, she needed to leave. She then told me she couldn’t do that because she wouldn’t have health insurance. So I said, I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure you can temporarily do without the health insurance if this is really happeneing, and get the hell out with your daughter. She then told me, well, he isn’t. She just thought he was..>.. > > . > > ?!?!?!?!? After five years of the absolute worse of hell, the husband this past year ended up in jail twice for false accusations of abuse (because he told her he was going to divorce her, so she actually bruised herself, and had him put in jail for it), and now my husband and I have custody of his brother and sister.. now that they have been with us, a lot of things are coming out, along with her being a severe alcoholic, a perscription drug abuser, to it being that she was the one who was sexually innappropriate with the my husband’s sister (she is 12) and his brother. She put my father inlaw, brother and sister inlaws through absolute hell, and I can’t even begin to explain the foul and vicious lies that have come out of her mouth about her own family to others. She is also now spreading vicious and horrible stories about my husband and I since the kids have been living with us. If I had known that we were going to be going through this type of garbage.. I’m not so sure I would of went through with marrying my husband. I can’t even believe that people believe the lies she is spreading, especially when we opened our home to my husband’s siblings, and are taking care of them, helping them get some type of normalicy to their lives and not getting anything in return for it. Instead of thankyou, we are only getting crap and it’s being made as if we were the bad ones, or the ones who are doing something wrong. And she is coming out as the helpless victom.
I think the women sociopaths are more dangerous than the male sociopaths because they are suppose to naturally be the more sensitive, empathetic, and timid ones. The trama that this woman has put this family through, and gotten away with, is ridiculious. I have NEVER wished punishment on someone so much that I believe this woman deserves. I am just hoping that when this goes to court, some type of justice will be served. I can not wait to have her removed from my life, the best part is, because none of this has come out yet, she has managed to attain visitation rights on weekends with the daughter and wednesday’s (which only lasted a few visits, each visit ended with the daughter calling us hysterically crying to come pick her up…..which of course ended in MORE lies from the mother) we have to still have communication with her. I am just hoping and praying that we can soon have NO CONTACT EVER again with this woman. I feel so badly for my husband that he has this vicious snake for a mother.

I really didn’t mean to write this much, I could go on and on with everything that she is doing, has done.. I couldn’t believe that someone could be so ruthless and not have a conscience. You so badly want to believe that they have some sort of good intention, but the only intentions they have are self serving….. it doesn’t matter who they mow over. That has been the most difficult thing for me and my husband to digest. Once you understand that, it is almost as though you are going through the grieving process of the death of a loved one…
Anyway, again..I can’t believe I wrote all this, but I suppose I needed to get it out.

Ox Drover


I am sorry that you have had to go through this absolute hell on earth in an effort to help these children. You deserve much more than you are obviously getting now, but hopefully your pain will result in some good for these obviously needy children who deserve better than they apparently have gotten from their mother.

It IS amazing the lengths psychopaths will go to gain “control” and “drama”—and it is like a shark’s feeding frenzy. Unfortunately, too, sometimes counselors and even judges fail to see through this “display” and see the REAL situation for what it is.

In an effort to “reunite the family” sometimes professionals go overboard in allowing visitation with abusive parents. I hope your husband’s sibs have the fortune to obtain a good caseworker who will opt for NO visitation from this disordered woman.

Good luck to you and God bless you for your efforts on behalf of these children.



Wow. Another rotten story. This is so sad for those children.

I think that one thing that helps with coping with the antics and lies of a Sociopath is to accept that this IS what they do. Then, let nothing surprise you. Now that you know what she is, you can try to take the emotion out of it. Think of that show SURVIVOR… everyone gets so upset when they get voted off and lied to but that is what the game is. Maybe if you frame it that way in your mind, you can get over the shock of things quicker and keep your cool in court. You don’t want to be losing it with upset when you have someone saying you are crazy or whatever horrible things they are saying.

Of course, I know it still is painful and outraging… I am just offering a potential coping strategy. Perhaps this might help someone? That’s all I hope for now.. to help someone.

Aloha… E.R.

Ox Drover

Rereading this article and the comments again, reminded me of a patient I had several years ago. Her husband was clearly abusive.

He had taken to bed several years before and was literally contracted to where he could no longer stand. He had become morbidly obese to the point that along with his legs being contracted to the point he couldno longer stand (they were literally bent into position) I had tomake house calls to take care of his medical needs. (I am a Registered Nurse Practitioner, now retired)

I began to notice bruises of the wife, and along with his over bearing attitude began to suspect what was going on. His wife was literally “cowed” around him. One day I came into the house just as he threw a metal bed pan at her–with great accuracy I might add.

I began to talkk to the wife and she opened up somewhat about the 30 years or more of abuse she had suffered at this man’s hands, and still continued to “dance attendence” upon him like a slave. He was retired military and I am sure he provided the only income into the home.

One day I went there and the wife was particularly bruised up, and I suggested that since he could no longer get up to chase her that when he went into one of his rages that she go to the door of his room and say, “I can see you are upset “john” and I will give you time to calm down, I will be back in one hour” and then for her to close the door and leave. If she came back and he was still enraged (which I imagined he would be) she could say, “I see you are still upset, “john” and I will be back in 2 hours when you have had time to calm down.” Etc and increase the times between coming back until he saw that he no longer had the fear factor over her.”

Of course this poor woman did not do any of this and continued to be abused until the man died and the doorway had tobe widened to get his body out of their home.

I would have called the police, but in that situation, that time, and that place, she would have denied that there was any abuse. Only if she had wanted help, and have seen that she had other options would it have done any good. I have often thought of that poor woman, who was so traumatized that like a gazelle in the clutches of a lion, she had failed to even realize she could struggle, or that at that point in time, she had the control of the situation if she would only exercise it.

The woman who called for “help” I think was summed up fairly well by Eternal student as one that “seeks” help but really wants to play a game of “yes but…” YOu give a suggestion about how she can get out, and her reply is always “Yes, but I have no money” or “yes, but…..” The game ends when you can no longer give suggestions that she had not negated with the “yes, but…” Her reward in the situation is that she “wins” by eliminating all possibility of her actually leaving, and “she tried”—

A good Example given in Eric Berne’s “Games People Play” of the “Yes but…” game is the woman who wanted to become a professional dancer, but was afraid to do so, so she played “Yes, but…” I would be a professional dancer except for my husband. If you suggest that she could still do so and take a class in dancing or dance in a community program, she might say, “All well and good, yes, but ….I have to take the kids to soccer practice on Mon,, Wed and Friday…” and if you say, well your husband said he would take them, and she responds “Yes, but he works so hard at work I couldn’t do that to him.” Etc.

Next time you are talking to someone who wants you to give them ideas how they can do anything, and every idea is followed by “Yes, but….” you have tapped into a “game” not a real request for help or ideas.


The below quote is from an article on a scam artist and how they choose their cons and how WE must look at the psychology behind our own behaviors and thoughts.

This con is a ‘friend’ of my bus. spath…….I predict my bus. spath will pick up the front load now that the primary con has been indicted on 23 counts of Financial fraud. This is gonna get interesting now! 🙂

“As you think about how you will keep yourself safe from such scams, what comes to mind? Nothing concrete, I predict. You’re just not the kind of person who could ever be taken in by a clever ruse, right? Please listen: meaningful protection from investment scams comes not through innate skepticism, intelligence, or sensibility. The only protection lies in a better understanding of your own brain. Psychologists and neuroscientists tell us that there is quite a bit going on behind the curtain of conscious thought. Traditional due diligence methods have not yet taken notice of those things and the results have been predictable. There are things you need to know that you haven’t read on a list of dos and don’ts. Unless you understand more about how the human brain perceives and processes investment opportunities, you won’t be able to tell the fakes from the genuine article.”

Ox Drover

Interesting, EB, when you hit one of the LINKS on that article it brings up a BOOK for sale on Amazon about investing and fraud! LOL

Interesting that you know this guy or at least one of his minions. It is a small world after all. Six degrees of separation? I think that there’s only 2-3 degrees! LOL

Yes, we DO need to learn how the brain perceives and processes information and how we can DECEIVE ourselves. Everyone here has been deceived by a psychopath holding out the “golden mirror” of our DREAMS for us to see and reach for. Whatever that dream is or was…the love of our lives, the soul mate, the greatest sex in the world, financial freedom, ego stroking,…etc etc. our fondest dreams!


Not interesting in the least that I am ‘aware’ of this guy…..I MAKE IT MY BUSINESS! 🙂
Where he is….the bus. spath is……and when the primary con does a ‘dupe’……so does my bus. spath…..and at some point there’s gonna be some money for me to SWOOP in on to collect my judgement!
No Oxy….no cowinkidinks.

BUT…..knowing they exhibit spath behaviors…..and watching from ‘afar’……and seeing the protoge’ behaviors in my bus. spath……I think it was ironic that this article was written…..even though it was in regards to investing…..because I think the same preface applies to those of us at LF in familial relationships etc…..

Has anyone read this book? I bet it’s got some interesting info that we could use in everyday spath life!
Get on it Oxy.

Ox Drover

EB, I have over 8 ft of shelf space now filled with books I have bought that I have not yet read! I am on a NO BUYING MORE BOOKS UNTIL I GET WHAT I OWN READ kick. It is really difficult to do, as I am a “book-a-holic” and it is very difficult for me not to buy books when I see one I am interested in…so I have to restrain myself for now.

Right now I am reading two at a time, one a biography of Hitler that is quite interesting really when you look at it from a psychopathic stand point. The other one is a story about a man in Africa an Ibo, and his tribal life and how he thinks and his relationships. Very interesting from a psychological point of view. The guy is not a psychopath but he participates in the death of a child he which is sacrificed to the village honor, and other things that he does that are cruel and against what he wants to do, because of how he was raised and taught that a “man” behaves. I find many kinds of books interesting and helpful in many ways…even if only for entertainment as a story or distraction. But winter is coming on soon and I’ll have more time to read so maybe I can get caught up by spring with the pile of unread books. I am cleaning out my library and giving away some books, or throwing them into a box to donate somewhere. I can’t keep on trying to be the OxDrover’s “Library of Congress” and have a copy of every book in the country ever published! LOL


Beautifulcallous, what a terrible time for you, husband and children. Aloahtraveler is quite correct, its what they do; you can’t change them. Children know, my 2 do; my daughter says she prefers to think of ‘it’ as dead; she has had enough and does NC for protection of herself.

EB most spaths are financial fraudster as well, goes with the terrority as I have recently found out; my latest tale.

The spath’s mother has defrauded everyone in her late husband’s will, all 4 grandchildren, me and ex sister in law. He has been dead 13 years, she strangely ‘forgot’ to mention his will to anyone! I found out that the will existed because her son the spath lied …beautiful! So I waited, and waited, got all the evidence and then (timing is crucial); the day before her 82nd birthday the other 2 grand children and daughter-in-law all received evidence of her fraud as did her solicitor. She is a thieving fraudster, like they all are; apples don’t fall far from the tree. Apparently she was ‘upset’…gosh I was devastated to have ‘spoilt’ her birthday; any luck it will be her last! Good to have confirmation though.

Yesterday, I received a letter from her solicitor ‘he is waiting instruction’, she has 6 days left and counting, probate fraud is a criminal offence …and the spath mother also now knows the spath son dropped her right in it ….greed and stupidity …I’m sure they will kiss and make up ..or not ..Christmas is coming, her secret santa will be the police! Ho, Ho, Ho!

Ox Drover

Dear Moving on, it is probably not likely that they will put an 82 year old FRAUDSTER in prison….sorry she got away with it for 13 years though! Maybe at least you will get some SATISFACTION if not money though. Amazing what they will do though to get their ways! Maybe they will stab each other in the back!

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