Why am I a magnet for sociopaths?

I received the following email from a woman, whom we’ll call “Adriana,” who had been in touch several years ago about the psychopath in her life. Her experience was so outrageous that I wrote it up as one of the True Lovefraud Stories.

As you’ll see from her email, after that destructive involvement, she met three more psychopaths.

Her question is, “Why?” Read her story:

Adriana’s story

After dealing with that psychopath I didn’t date anybody for 3 years, the trauma was so hard on my trust I just couldn’t bring myself to date anybody. Finally after 3 years of healing I dated a person from my workplace; I’m a teacher. It lasted only 4 months with multiple cheating on me with other staff members and parents of students. Ghetto behavior I know ”¦ Also I was diagnosed with cancer during our period of dating and once I went into the hospital for surgery he stopped all communication. That’s it, no inquiry of my health, no contact, nothing. Okay he’s a sociopath, I figured him out and let it go, no contact.

During my year of treatment and healing I met another man at the phone store, he pursued me aggressively, calling, texting, asking for dates. Finally I agreed to date him, it was a wonderful interaction, thoughtful dates, roses, chocolate strawberries every time we met, etc. 2 months into it I received an email from another woman who described her dating him identical to mine, she said, “He’s a lunatic, he will stare you in the eyes and stab you in the back, he is a sociopath.” Her words not nine. I confronted him and he disappeared. Okay, another sociopath.

Soon after that I went to my high school reunion, 25 years. I reconnected with old friends, via FB. Another guy I dated in high school contacted me. It had been 27 years since we last saw each other, our dating was sweet and innocent, I always thought of him fondly. It turned out he lives less than 2 hours away. We started talking everyday on the phone for 2-3 hours, old feelings were stirred up in addition to new mature feelings for him, it was mutual.

I told him about my cancer, he told me about his ex wife (another old classmate I knew too), we got back together exclusively, everything was wonderful. He’d spend days in my city, I’d spend days in his city.

One day I asked him who a person was on his FB page, he flipped out on me, stated yelling and screaming, pacing the apt, sobbing I had to leave. It was like a complete 180 in his behavior. He stole things from my apt and my extra apt key. I tried to figure out what the hell was going on? Because I asked who a person was in a photo?

For weeks I tried making up with him and get my apt key back, finally I had to show up at his place unexpectedly to get my key. During this back and forth interaction he said he was bipolar but he didn’t act like he had mood swings, until that awful day. For weeks he’s been calling me horrible names, telling me he’s going to teach me I can’t disrespect him etc.

Finally I told him that he’s not bipolar he’s a sociopath, we had discussions earlier about psychopaths because his ex wife is believed to be one too. But I think he told me he was biploar to gain sympathy or pity, I really think he’s a sociopath. I’ve let him go, he’s an old friend I loved and trusted 27 years ago and for a wonderful few months we he played the part of “our 2nd chance, a blessing.” We picked up where we left off but I was blindsided with his malice and psycho behaviors.

My question for you, Donna, is why am I a magnet for sociopaths or psychopaths? After the first one I recognized all the signs. I put up boundaries with these last few men and they all turned out to be a sociopath or full blown psychopath?

Over the last 4 years I’ve done endless research on psychopaths, sociopaths, etc. I just do not understand how I could attract 4 sociopaths in a row, I am so sad, disappointed, angry, raging, how could this happen?

I’d love some insight, also I don’t mind if you post these unsettling set of stories. My friends are so perplexed that I’ve attracted 4 sociopaths/psychopaths in a row, 1 who is an old boyfriend who turned out to be the most damaging since I’m still healing from cancer.

Why did this happen?

Actually, it’s easy to answer your question, although changing your experience will take time and dedication.

You keep attracting sociopaths because you have more emotional healing to do.

Understanding the warning signs of a sociopath intellectually is one thing. Recovering emotionally from the damage they inflict upon us is another process entirely.

You are still carrying the pain, betrayal, disappointment, anger and frustration of the experiences with the sociopaths in your body. I would bet that these emotions even contributed to your cancer.

In fact, the painful emotions probably go back further than the first sociopath, because some experience, emotional pain or vulnerability had to be in place to attract the initial sociopath.

To fully heal, you need to find a way to release the energy of those emotions and pain from your body.

Tara Brach’s approach

How exactly do you do that? I’ve tried to explain the process a few times here on Lovefraud, but maybe my explanations aren’t detailed enough. So I’d like to suggest that you and other members of Lovefraud read the following web articles by Tara Brach.

Tara Brach has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is also a meditation teacher. She combines both approaches as she helps clients.

In the first article, Tara describes how a client who suffered sexual abuse as a child was able to find a path to recovery. Some Lovefraud readers may identify with the client’s experience.

The power of Radical Acceptance: Healing trauma through the integration of Buddhist meditation and psychotherapy, on 

In the second article, Tara describes how so many of us grow up believing there is something wrong with us, and how to change that belief.

Working with our stories: An interview with Tara Brach, on

I think Tara’s approach can be really healing. I can say that my own healing experience was similar to the approach that Tara suggests. I explain it in detail in my first book, Love Fraud.

Tara Brach is the author of a book called Radical Acceptance. I haven’t read it yet, but I want to soon.


Posted in: Donna Andersen

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34 Comments on "Why am I a magnet for sociopaths?"

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I used to think I am a magnet for them. But, remember it’s a Dog eat Dog world. It’s a numbers game. The predators look far and wide to find people to mooch off. Yes, they will target the people who look sad, and down and out, with drooped shoulders and drooped head. OR, perhaps the opposite could be the person who shouts I Got A Raise!

I found that I had ignored the red flags.

The guy who has nothing to show, yet brags of some wealth. This is obvious, yet we ignore it when it’s in our face. Or, he is never on my side. I speak of someone who cut me off in traffic today, and he sides against me–saying he plays Devil’s Advocate. Or he rolls his eyes when I speak. If he lavishes on you, and then he says YOUR TURN (which means he set his con in place and you will pay his way from here on.)

There are many ways and words in which the con is played. It is in part that we are damaged, so we are played, but more so that cons play everyone.

I have slipped and realized I was conned again, I just back out and run. I am not obligated to explain why. I just disappear.

I too have become a recluse, because my damage has changed me. People leave me be, because I don’t fit their social circle. Yep, the damage of this major abuse changes people in a crippling way.

This is going to be a very long post but I think very relevant for anyone who has the patience to read it. I would love to hear your responses!

I think “blaming the victim” and assuming responsibility for our lives are two different things and not to be confused with one another. Healing our unresolved pain does not mean we are screwed up or are that we are not absolutely fabulous beautiful souls. It just means that when we are able to change on the inside by releasing the pain we don’t know is inside of us, we can change what is on the outside, too. It is one thing to say that our beautiful qualities tend to attract sociopaths. I think people who radiate a lot of love and light attract ALL kinds, including sociopaths. It’s when we are attracted to THEM over and over, when we invite them into our lives to set up house, that there is something that probably needs to be healed. It’s the hook, the thing that draws us to the disordered. People who don’t have that “hook” might attract the same people, but they will not choose to get involved with them.

What is that “hook”? That thing that keeps us re-creating these unhealthy relationships? It has been called an addiction. But what does that mean? I have had addictions to emotionally unavailable men, to sugar, and even to shopping. I have battled all of them most of my life. What happens when you explore the addiction but don’t give into it? In other words, what happens when you are attracted to a particular man even though you see red flags, and you DON’T GIVE IN to the attraction? For me, it is a gnawing in my stomach and mental obsession. It gets worse and worse until I feel I must have that man (or piece of chocolate or whatever it is – I’m also a recovering clothing addict). I feel like I cannot live without whatever it is I’m craving. As the feeling gets stronger and stronger, it actually becomes fascinating, even though a little scary, because I have never experienced it before. I usually just give in and feed the addiction. But what if I just observe the discomfort? When it gets to a certain point, it starts to shift. There is usually a strong emotion such as anger or grief, or even fear. I have found that if I treat the feeling like a new baby I am birthing, I can just experience it, and it will eventually clear out of my body. Sometimes it’s just a dark, heavy energy – the energy of a sociopath that still lives in my system. Sometimes there is a strong feeling or awareness/understanding that comes with the healing. As it passes, I just feel lighter and like I want to just dance or play. Usually, whatever I was addicted to suddenly loses luster. For me, this is what energetic clearing is. During my first 10-day meditation retreat, I was doing this process for 3 days when I experienced the pain of a very bad beating I’d received when I was 10. I felt intense burning in my butt and all this rage, as it released out of my body. It felt like a bolt of electricity as it went out through my arms and legs. It only happened because I was willing to sit very still for several hours and explore the pain I was having in my rear from sitting so long. If I had not been on retreat, I would have just gotten up and shifted my position. Then I would have never gotten that healing. Any time we have the opportunity have a healing like that, it is a blessing! Healing doesn’t imply there is anything wrong with us. Rather, it’s an exploration of who we are – of all the things that are inside of us. I was not the least bit aware I was carrying that beating energetically in my body. And yet it had been there for 13 years, affecting my daily life and decisions.

I don’t think it’s the number of years spent between relationships that creates healing. I think it’s the openness to doing this type of energetic work that speeds it up – the willingness to break our addictions. Feeling the pain of addiction and how it controls us. This is how we take control over the addiction, instead of letting it control us. Believing things just happen to us by accident is disempowering, in my opinion. I believe there is some sort of divine or karmic order to the way things happen in our lives, and that it has to do with what we draw to us in order to heal. Sadly, we don’t get healing with a sociopath in our lives. We get chaos and destruction. The healing can come afterward when we start opening up to the “why” of our addictions and our repetitive choices. Looking at what fuels these things. When we do this on a regular basis and it becomes part of how we experience our lives, I call this “waking up.” We can go through lives awake or unconscious. It depends on where we put our awareness and how we regard our experiences.

There’s a second part that I forgot to mention that other people are also touching on. That is, when you start clearing the bound up energy out of your body, it’s very important to fill that space with love and beauty. I always ask the universe to bring more love into my life. When that happens, people who have been negative and draining my energy will suddenly stop calling. It’s almost magical the way it happens. And I will have “chance” meetings with more positive people. I put “chance” in quotes because I don’t believe there are any coincidences really. Sometimes if I just bring more love and beauty into my life first, I will have a spontaneous healing.

The way this has all translated into my relationships with men is that I am more present and in the moment. If a man asks me to dinner and I feel I would enjoy going, I enjoy it as just a dinner. I don’t start longing and craving him like I used to do. I don’t make it into anything else. I don’t worry whether he will expect something in return. I just enjoy the dinner. It’s such a relief. I actually sit and chew the food slowly and truly enjoy it and let the man know how much I enjoy it. I don’t talk about my exes or his exes. I just eat, laugh, and enjoy. I have the self-control to take my time to get to know a man. Even if he is not disordered, if our energies seem very uncomplementary, I will not pursue a relationship, even if he’s very nice to me. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy and appreciate the dinner date. For the first time in my life (I’m 54), there is NO man I’m longing for. It’s so freeing!!! I’m so used to being in my work meetings and daydreaming about some guy. With this addiction gone, I’m actually just very present in the meetings, and they have become more interesting. It’s a little disconcerting because I’m so use to the longing and pining for someone who is unavailable. I’m so accustomed to living in a fantasy world. It’s hard to give it up sometimes.

All of this clearing work is designed not to “fix” us but to bring us into the present moment where we can experience life as it really is, where we can truly exercise free will choice in all we do without unconscious unresolved issues sabotaging us. Free will choice in itself can be terrifying, but that is the topic of another rant. 🙂

Love to all,


Thank you for ALL your comments, I’m glad to hear all the responses. I agree with these statements, it’s amazing how many sociopaths are walking around in our everyday lives and how I avoided them for most of my life, then suddenly I’m a sociopath magnet. I’m educated, I have a masters degree however, I have a lot of street smarts, my male friends often say that I’m intimidating to men, I’m independent with a solid career and I definitely do not flaunt my success (that’s just not smart, ironic). They say “you’re educated, independent, no baggage (i.e. ex husband or children) you have high standards for yourself and for the person you date, how do you attract these psychos?”

I’ve lived most of the suggestions, some speak of working on themselves, investigating others, taking time to get to KNOW somebody, I get that 100% and I still DO all of those things. I can run a background check on someone, meet their family and friends, spend hours together but if that person LIES to me about EVERY aspect of their life, there is NOTHING I can do about that. Nothing. One example is my old high school sweetheart I wholeheartedly trusted, I know his parent, I know his friends and he told me so many lies, I questioned him on every single one as they arose. The last straw was when my lawyer sent me a divorce record that showed said man ‘reconciled’ with his “ex” wife (what he called her) 3 months prior to reconnecting with me. I sent him the link of the court record and he STILL denied it. Are you kidding me?!? I’m showing him the court record and he still denies it! That’s when he turned into a monster.

very informative and helpful. Thank you. I will pursue this avenue for healing.

After all the comments and feedback I’ve received from the totally misogynist segment of the world, I have come to believe that the reason people are besieged by psychopaths is simply because there are so many of them.

I hate to be the harbinger of gloom and doom, but the concept of sex and romance has morphed into a valueless pit. And it is very important for people to know that the likelihood that the person you’ll meet will be an empathetic, caring human being has shrunk to an all time low.

Yes, it is very important to heal from the abuse of a psychopath, but we should not heap blame and shame on ourselves if it happens again. It’s just that there are so many of them out there. And they’re good at what they do.

Please do not take the word of anyone you are romantically interested in at face value. Investigate, research, and check ID BEFORE you engage in intimacy with that person. Meet their family. Get to know their friends. Take all relationships SLOWLY! Instant attraction can mask insincere intent. It’s a new day in dating…. and a new paradigm.

Sorry to be such a wet blanket!


So sad but true! UGGH.

The trend you speak of seems to be true, in my perception and experience.

Oh Adriana. I am so very, very sorry about your cancer and the socios in your life. I agree with what Donna has said, don’t have time to read comments right now, so sorry if this is repetitive.
I do think that you are not healed yet and so are extra vulnerable to socios. As well, the old story of childhood trauma probably plays a part here too. Doesn’t have to be abuse at its worst. People are genetically pre-disposed to react in different ways and intensities to the same experiences. Those of us who attract socios and other undesirables are probably more sensitive to negatives that occurred when we were young. To pinpoint is helpful for some. For others, just knowing that you’ve been struggling to heal all your life is enough. Knowing that you are a vulnerable, soft-hearted person is enough. Some folks are born tough, they don’t react or take things to heart or as personally as others. Different people, different reactions.

You and I and others who find ourselves in situations with people who are “wrong” for us are probably in the vulnerable category. Not weak or overly-sensitive, just vulnerable. This attracts socios like a vampire to fresh blood. Lots of similarities there. They sense it like a tiger senses a fresh kill. You know how that goes. With you or I, they can learn more and more about how to pretend to be human. As well, they get side benefits, physical, mental, emotional, financial.

You do need to heal and find your strength and your peace within yourself. I know of Tara Brach and her “group of disciples” and they are amazing and can help you. Donna has given you some good reference sites. The key is to stick with it even if you don’t want to or feel like you’re doing a good job of it. Hang in there.

I wish you good health, full and lasting recovery from cancer and the peace and self-love and esteem necessary to protect you from anymore predators of any type. Thank you for sharing your story. I did not see the first one but it sounds horrendous from Donna’s short description. Please be good to yourself. You deserve it.
Much luck and love to you. All good things ahead.


You are doing a great job recognizing spaths and ending your interactions with them.

This article contains a list of pointers to help avoid dating another spath:

A thought — a psychopath breaks down our warning signals and stops us from even noticing, then from trusting them.

So pre-psychopath – with all these men there were little signals that would have turned you off without even realizing it. A knot in the stomach at some story or action – before even the first date.

Now when the signal comes, it’s not as distinctly new and different than you’ve experienced before. …or a little voice in your head left over from the first creep, says “but that’s not a big deal.”

Or maybe you are still angry at the first one, and want some part of yourself back from him — so when that signal comes, part of you takes a chance on it, in hopes of getting back that piece or getting the right to be angry again. (A very good therapist can help sort out something like that.)

You didn’t get taken in by these psychopaths so you are doing fine.

There are a lot of nutty troubled people. Not all are psychopaths — or there are degrees of psychopath. So there’s a certain amount we’ll all meet.

I’m not sure past the first one, they were all psychopaths — rather than the usual array of truly creepy unstable people in the world. Lying and cheating isn’t always a psychopath. That can also be a normal, everyday intense creep.

Hope you start feeling better about all this.

I do think sociopaths come with warning signs. In most of the stories I’ve read here over the years, including my own, there were glaring red flags, which we all chose to ignore. Perhaps we didn’t know what a sociopath was before but we do now. I do think it’s possible to sniff them out before getting too involved. In spite of the large numbers of disordered people, I do think if we clear our own energy field and continue on our own path of healing, we will be able to recognize them. It may not even be by their behaviors but maybe just how we feel when we are around them. Even with all the disordered people out there, I feel it is possible to attract decent people into our lives. At very least, doing the healing work will make us less needy. That alone will make us less vulnerable to sociopathic flattery and attention. I would say if anyone keeps attracting one sociopath after another and getting involved with them, it’s probably more than just the luck of the draw. Seems like it would be a good idea that when you feel attracted to the next guy, just hang back and do not get involved. See what feelings are stirred up and just be with those feelings instead of acting on them. Lonely I know, but better lonely and alone than destroyed by another sociopath. If you explore those feelings, you may get to the root of the attraction.

An example of a red flag is a salsa friend of mine got involved with a guy on the salsa scene. When I met them, they were “in love” and living together, at his urging. Then one day, he up and dumped her for another dance partner. He brought the new partner home and had sex with her while my friend was in the kitchen cooking. The aftermath of that is still very traumatic for my friend as you can imagine, though she’s moved out and broken off contact (he still calls her and tries to be friendly). When I talked to her I found out that he’d been married three times and left them all due to boredom. He was also sleeping with multiple women every week prior to meeting my friend. Also, he would always try to bring other people into their sex lives – he was bisexual and had a huge sexual appetite. These are all huge red flags to me. But she tolerated it all because she had been in a loveless marriage for 25 years and felt she didn’t have many choices. That was her area of vulnerability. My friend just turned 60. The sociopath she lived with is 65.

Wow, they just never quit!!! One would assume that seniors might be immune from this stuff…but, apparently not…

I want to add that I think it’s very empowering to start believing you can heal from this and start recognizing sociopaths before you get involved. To say that it’s just hopeless because there are so many and it’s just the luck of the draw……..not only is depressing but also disempowering. How could we ever trust anyone or get involved with anyone again? I think if we begin to heal ourselves, we will be able to trust our intuition about people. Granted, it may be true that there are a lot of sociopaths in society. But there are also a lot of decent people. Do you want to see the glass as half empty or half full? We need to believe that we can recover and make better choices.

I have very emotionally healthy friends who at some point in their lives dated sociopaths. But they got out at the first sign of trouble. We didn’t. There’s a reason why we didn’t. There was a hook – that unconscious pattern we don’t know we have. That is something that is totally within our power to change. To me, that’s not blaming the victim – it’s taking charge of our own lives, saying “I have the power to change this.” Because we do.

I just want to say something about “getting their energy out of you/your life”. I’m sure it’s not wise to advocate revenge. However, I have personally found that if it is safe for you to do so, pushing their energy out of your system by screaming at them in public – even spaths want to look like nice guys – exactly what they’ve done to you – FACTS – is quite helpful for getting the shrapnel that they’ve left you with out of your system. Just give it back to them. I also had an experience with my final contact, which was a phone call that I made. I just sat on the phone crying my eyes out, saying very little, making him listen to it. At the same time, my body was sort of puffing up, especially round my chest and stomach (heart and solar plexus chakras – i think this is where he’d lodged his main energetic anchors to feed off me)and then I felt big pushes as if I’d pushed his energy cords out of my body – I had no conscious intention to do this, it was just what happened, sometimes your intuition really does know what to do. I believe that he felt it, as he was making his weird, pathetic whining sounds. I think he felt the faucet close off. Then I made him say to me, “I’m sorry that I hurt you, but I’ve found someone else and I don’t want to see you anymore.” This was the closure that I NEEDED. As you can imagine, it was impossible for him to say sorry, or admit that he’d hurt me, with any sincerity. But he got the words out, and the last phrase was uttered with conviction and contempt. I feel like the girl who cried wolf, but I just know I won’t see him again as the feelings of disgust are really starting to kick in. Energetically we have to get these fruitcakes out of our systems.

Read Donna Brown book Women who love Psychopaths. We are women who don’t give up, work hard, like to fix things and people, compassionate and determined to win. So we give credibility to those men who have none. We believe in them and it gives them the fuel they need to believe in themselves based on our acceptance. As well, they suck our credibility into their persona and become what we are, male version. They mimic and mock us by pretending they are everything we like and want, want and like the same things as us and then we are twin souls and will live forever together in love, baloney. Then you find out this is their enterprise, their game and they do this with every woman they [email protected]!! So realize they play you because you are the Stradivarius to their banjo. The real question is why are we not attracting the right men? Are there any out there?

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