By | October 6, 2014 31 Comments

Why I keep writing about sociopaths

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at zoo

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

A reader who uses the name “Jenni Marie” posted the following comment on Lovefraud:

Miss Donna,

Learning about sociopaths and what happened to me and the rest of us, is starting to feel a little exhausting for me

I first learned about them in March 2012 and have spent my time from then until now trying to convince myself that what was happening to me was not a dream or my imagination, and was the stark reality of being in a relationship with one of them and that I was dying with him and had to get away from him. He was here again last night at 12:30am knocking on my door, and at 4:00am the night before. I ignored him.

If it’s not too personal of a question for you, may I ask how it is that you still want to use your energy on sociopaths, and more curious to me is how your new husband feels about the time you spend educating and trying to help other victims of sociopaths?

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like you want to just forget about the whole thing and stop having any focus whatsoever on disordered people? They make us sick and tired and confused. How do you find the strength to keep going for us here in cyberspace-land?

I’m in the middle of the final break-up with him and he keeps coming around and I can’t call the police because of the kind of people he knows, no matter what anyone says about getting the police involved. I can’t and won’t unless I am being physically threatened and I’m being careful not to give him any chance to be alone with me.

I know this discard phase will end and he will eventually stay away, but I am so tired of the info that is rolling around in my head about what he did to me and how these people are, and just want it all to stop now, which is not how it works with them. It takes so long to get over them and the stuff we let happen to us as I have read, and I’m a little scared that he might have messed me up permanently in my ability to believe what anyone says.

So, why does Miss Donna want to stay in this sociopathic world of hurt and evidence of pain now that she was able to get her sociopath out of her life? Don’t you sometimes feel that you just want to stop it and move on to a life with your new husband without the traits and sadness that come from dealing with sociopaths?

I want to give Kudos to your husband because I feel that it might not be easy having to continually deal with the sociopathic influence, and Kudos to you for what is your blessed, obvious daily desire to help the rest of us with them.

Thank you both,
Jenni Marie

I want to apologize to Jenni Marie because I did not see this comment when it was posted almost a year ago. Another reader, Viewpoint, recently replied to it, which is when I saw it. (I will admit, with 200,000 comments on this website, I can’t keep up with them all.)

But back to Jenni’s question. Why do I keep going with Lovefraud? Because this is important work.

Further along the path

First, I want to acknowledge Jenni Marie’s experience and feelings. When she posted this comment, she was in the midst of trying to get away from a sociopath who was stalking her in the middle of the night. I totally get where she was coming from. She just wanted this guy to leave her alone.

I was lucky. Once I left my ex-husband, James Montgomery, I never saw him again. He was already on to other victims. In fact, 10 days after I left him, he married the woman he had a child with while married to me. (It was the second time he committed bigamy. And he was simultaneously cheating with more women.)

But here’s the key point: That was in 1999. My divorce was finalized in 2000. I’ve been away from him for 14 years, so I am much further along the path of healing than Jenni Marie, and many current Lovefraud readers.

Telling the story

While married to James Montgomery, I was working as an independent copywriter. I wrote brochures, newsletters and other promotional materials for casinos, technology companies, and many other customers.

But my training was journalism, and I started my career as a magazine writer. So when I realized what my ex-husband had really done, and what he was really was, I knew I had to write my story.

I also believed that there were likely plenty of other people like me smart, educated, professional who had no idea that sociopaths existed. They found out about them like I did the hard way. The lesson cost me $227,000. (That’s just what I claimed in court. I don’t even know the real total, but it was much higher.)

I realized that I had uncovered a massive untold story. Millions of human predators lived among us. They looked like us, talked like us, but their objective was to exploit us.

Why was no one talking about this? Why wasn’t this in the media? Why weren’t we being taught about these people in school? Even in college? Even in self-help magazines?

The journalist in me knew that this wasn’t just a story about me. It was a story about all of us.


After my own intense personal recovery work, I met the man who is now my husband, Terry Kelly. We met at a blues club in Philadelphia in 2001, and slowly got to know each other. Our relationship turned into a nice, normal romance.

I kept telling him wild stories about my ex-husband, and how I wanted to write a book. A few years after we met, he offered to fund the book. (Love Fraud was published in 2010.)

But around that time the Internet had taken off, so I thought it would be best to first build a website. Terry agreed, so he paid the start-up costs.

That’s how came to be. Without Terry, this website would not exist. launched in July 2005. The goal of the initial website was to explain the warning signs of romance fraud so that people could avoid being scammed like I was. Then in January 2006 I added the blog feature, which was a new technology at the time. I kept posting articles, and more and more people commented.

From the very beginning, I invited people to write to me and tell me their stories. That’s when I learned the true extent of sociopathic manipulation. I learned that sociopaths did much more than take money from their targets. This disorder was associated with all kinds of abuse emotional, psychological, physical, sexual and financial.

The more I heard from Lovefraud readers, the more I realized that mine wasn’t the only story that needed to be told.

Millions of sociopaths lived among us. Millions of people were being exploited. Millions of stories needed to be told.

What Terry thinks

So back to Jenni Marie’s email. To answer her, I asked Terry, “What do you think about me putting so much time and energy into Lovefraud?”

“You’re passionate about Lovefraud, and I believe people should follow their passion,” Terry replied. “I also know that you’re helping people who are going through the same thing you went through, and it’s good to help people.”

Terry and I are a team. We support each other’s work, we manage our household together and we keep each other entertained. We also make time to be together, whether watching ball games at home (this was a rough season for Phillies fans), or going on trips and vacations. We recently spent a lovely weekend in Washington, D.C.

I am eternally grateful that Terry came into my life.

Doing more with Lovefraud

My biggest frustration now is that I would like to do so much more with Lovefraud. People need to know how to spot and avoid sociopaths. And those who have been targeted need help to recover.

One of the big problems I hear about from Lovefraud readers is that counselors and therapists don’t get it about sociopaths. Many professionals don’t really know what a sociopath is, how they behave, and how to help people who have been traumatized due to their involvement with them.

So I am working on a new initiative with several Lovefraud colleagues. We’re developing training for therapists and counselors on how to recognize and help clients who have been targeted by sociopaths. We’ll announce more about the program soon.

Right now our effort just involves time, but soon there will be expenses. If you’d like to help, there are two things you can do:

1. Click on the ads on Lovefraud

Every time you click an ad, Lovefraud earns income, which helps pay the substantial costs of keeping this website running.

2. Donate to the Lovefraud Education & Recovery Nonprofit

Terry and I have set up this nonprofit organization specifically to advance Lovefraud’s mission of education. The Lovefraud Nonprofit is recognized by the IRS as a 501 ( c ) (3) public charity, so your donations are tax-deductible (in the United States).  Contributions of any amount are helpful, because in order to maintain our nonprofit status, we need to show that the public supports Lovefraud’s work. Here’s more information:

Lovefraud Education and Recovery Nonprofit

Making a difference

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be doing anything like Lovefraud. But this is satisfying work. I know I’m helping thousands of people, because I receive many emails from you, thanking me for saving your lives.

So let’s see. I could quit Lovefraud and go back to writing about casino promotions. Or I could stay with Lovefraud and make a difference in the world.

That’s an easy decision. I’ll keep going with Lovefraud.


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Thank you for the work you do. I agree that most therapists don’t get it, and specific training on sociopaths and how to help their victims would be invaluable. Not that your plate isn’t full, but if you could also incorporate legal professionals into your training plan that would be amazing as well. Sociopaths can ruin a child’s life, and we should be able to protect them before they’re hurt or turned into sociopaths themselves, and the courts just don’t get it.


Thanks for raising the legal issues regarding this problem. While Donna is at work striving to inform people about sociopaths and their impacts, I’ve endeavored to address the perplexities of creating criminal prosecution for sexual assault by fraud, currently recognized as a crime in only a handful of states.

My book was reviewed by Donna, if you’d like further information. The name is “Carnal Abuse by Deceit, How a Predator’s Lies Became Rape.” You can also learn more on my blog,, which I have just begun. I’m in the process of transferring the information from my existing blog, to the new address. It’s a far more robust interface.

I echo Donna in identifying the reason why we remain engaged. What happened to me took place so long ago, I might not even recognize the culprit if I saw him walking down the street. But the impact he had on my life was permanent. I gave birth to his son.

I intend to create criminal sanctions that will deter the proliferation of rape by fraud throughout the US and beyond. I believe that by doing so, others will be spared the harm you, Donna, myself, and others, who pour their hearts out on this blog, suffered.

For the most part, society is unable to grasp that “Yes” only means “yes” when both parties give “knowing” and “valid” consent. In all human interaction, consent must be “knowing” and “valid” to qualify as being “legal.” A person who undermines knowing consent through duplicity, vitiates (undermines) their victim’s right to self determination over their sexual sanctity and leaves them feeling defiled.

Even victims who have endured horrific sexual frauds and hoaxes, are often unaware that an insidious form of rape was committed against them. It’s my intent to change that. I hope you and all the folks here at LoveFraud will join me in doing so.



Dear Ms. Donna Andersen,
I have a question regarding psychopaths and the inner triangle :

Is it possible for a person (who has many of the characteristics of a psychopath that I have read and heard about, but i am not 100% sure he is a psychopath, only due to this doubt I’m mentioning ) to be weak on 2 sides of the triangle ,that is ,moral reasoning and impulse control(this one is his weakest area) , but be capable of loving ,caring and regretting ?
Especially toward CERTAIN people (not everyone )?

Thank you so much,


Hi Donna, your story sound much like mine. My husband is the one that actually told me to read the sociopath next door by martha stout when we were talking one day berfore we got married. I have known my husband since 7th grade and we actually dated for 3 years when we were in our late teens. We reconnected a year after my divorce from the s/p and he was the one who helped me understand what “it” was…”it” meaning during my marriage to the s/p, I knew something was wrong but could never put my finger on it. I will tell you, thank God for this site because it has really opened my eyes to what I was so vulnerable to. One thing i realized about myself is that I never established boudaries and that made me an easy target. my ex was not the first s/p that I had a relationship with and by the education you provided I was able to see a pattern. Then, I was able to break it. I have taught both of my children about establishing boudaries and that if anyone oversteps them, they are an abuser and to stay away. They have nothing to do with their dad and never will again. The judge and gal are just now realizing that there is something wrong with him as he recently tried to have me arrested when, according to the courts we were making progress with visitation. Unfortunately, the courts feel that they should have contact with their biological father regardless of the fact that he nearly killed my daughter and my son was bald from the stress for 8 years of abuse. The key would be to educate these judges and guardians because they do hold so much power. Just like these fathers rights confrences get the attentioof the courts, I thing there needs to be conferences addressing the damage and trauma and cost inflicted by abuser sociopaths and that children are better off with no contact. That would be a milestone not only in DuPage county but many other counties as well. We are adults and can endure, but children need protection. Because my kids have stood up and refused to play the game, the judge feels they have been “empowered to the nth degree somehow”… well I say thats a good thing. my daughter is alive, healthy and my son has a full head of hair and they also have a wonderful step father that they feel closer to than their bio father ever could, because everything about him is fake. The courts dont even take that into consideratin when they feel children need their father in their life. They have one!!!


When the courts give contact (and even unsupervised visitation) to abusers and molesters, I hold out little hope that they will deny contact to the charming yet devastated spath parent who can’t bear to be separated from the child/children… even though the only reason the spath wants the kids is for the support money or as a means to keep the other parent dancing to their tune. If the spath’s victims are extremely lucky, they will have the benefit of a counselor who is willing and able to make clear to the court that any contact at all will be destructive to the children. Most victims aren’t that lucky and I doubt most courts have the expertise or inclination to give themselves a crash course in sociopathy.


Thank you Donna. You have made a difference in my life and many more. Loved hearing the story of the beginning of Lovefraud! Will definitely click on ads, especially of those products I already use. It’s the least I can do. Much love!


I do not know the words to express how valuable Donna has been to me. I only wish I found this site sooner.

When a person is involved with a sociopath, the level of craziness is unimaginable to the general public. On top of all the mindgames – which makes THINKING straight very difficult – is all the misleading definitions about sociopaths (they don’t have to be murderers, but without a conscience they are CAPABLE of it even if they don’t CHOOSE to murder, that can change at any moment), and self blame (If I weren’t so needy, then I wouldn’t have married this monster, and somehow I am the one who turned him into a monster so I deserve whatever) and amnesia (I USED to be on top of my game. Was I fooling myself? Not so capable after all?) where we’ve lost ourselves (I am so depressed, life is not worth living, there is no future, I feel hopeless).

I struggled for YEARS, trapped by a sociopath who used my daughter to keep me from leaving, but disempowered me so that I was a scapegoat and emotional punching bag, but would NOT LEAVE my daughter. He had lovebombed her so she would chose him in a divorce. He alienated her from me, so she was certain that I was stupid, lazy, just living off of him (which assumes I contributed NOTHING to our business), that I added NOTHING to their lives and she asked me to LEAVE her and him to their lives without me.

If I had LF then, I would have understood what was really going on, how to manage myself, how to create some boundries, how to help my child, and how to leave. I didn’t have LF, and when I finally left, I was a complete MESS.

BUT… by finding LF, I was able to validate my intuitions, find support, restore my sense of self, stop blaming myself, stop hating myself, lower my anxiety level, realized I was NOT alone, that others understood INTIMATELY what kind of hell I was enduring, etc etc etc.

This site, under Donna’s perspective and guidance, was my lifeline back to reality. No one can praise her value high enough because how do you find the words to express the restoration of life to the hopeless? Other than to add, the other people that have helped me here on LF are the treasures that Donna has gathered under her wing, nurtured back to their humanity, and empowered them to care for themselves and in turn, provide the same back to others.

I’ve said “Thank You” before to Donna, but I wonder how to Truly express the fullness of my gratitude. To anyone who questions why she’d remain in this world, they are misguided about what it takes to be a person of compassion and service. You might as well ask why Mother Teresa ministered to the poor or why do people volunteer to their charities?

Donna fell into this mission because of her LoveFraud experience and because of who she is, but more…I consider her path to be of divine inspiration, Donna fills a place that I don’t find ANYWHERE online or in my tactical world. I also don’t think Donna thinks about how important she is, she just DOES her thing and expands her mission because before she did all this, there was just an abyss of hopelessless for me. God has blessed me with Donna and her mission. I seriously don’t know where I would have been without her.



First I want to thank Donna & Terry for the amazing work they do to educate so many including myself on the evilness in this dangerous world. When I found this site it was a comfort for me on my darkest days & nights. My only wish would be that all the good people of this world would know about this amazing site.

Second I did not know that someone coming to your site Donna/Terry actually had to click on the advisements…so for now on I will click away!!

I know this letter is a year old but I think it is important for anyone coming to this site to listen to their body, mind & spirit and know that it is ok to step away from all the information they are taking in and processing from Lovefraud or any other site they are using to fully educate themselves on sociopathic abuse.

If you are still with your abuser the most important thing for you is to get an “Exit Plan” out of your relationship. There will be plenty of time in your future to fully educate yourself and unravel all of the mind chaos your abuser has inflicted on you. The best thing for you to do is to contact your national domestic violence hotline and they can give you local abuse center numbers where you can get free counseling and attend free woman group meetings but most importantly they can help you with an “Domestic abuse Exit Plan” (google). I would also recommend you find a therapist outside of the abuse center who is extremely knowledgable with narcissistic abuse to help you pace yourself when absorbing and processing all of the information about sociopathic abuse.

To find out that you were with a sociopaths is absolutely overwhelming in itself but to find out there are terms for each and every evil thing your abuser did is on a whole other level of overwhelming. It is not only hard on the mind but also physically to the body. What most do not realize is the body actually releases high levels of cortisol after any breakup but with a breakup from a sociopath the bodies cortisol levels are through the roof and have been for most of your relationship. This high level of cortisol (& adrenaline) will cause you to have anxiety, depression, panic attacks, sleep issues etc etc…so the more you read, sort through what happened to you and process the more cortisol (& adrenaline) is released affecting your thinking, decision making and how your body deals with stress levels. So it is very important to step away to calm your body, mind & sprite down before aborting more information, this is where a outside counselor is good for pacing the information to your mind so that you can work through each process step by step.

Along with counseling finding a doctor who understands adrenal fatigue is extremely important. The way you are feeling is not all in your mind it is also a physical issue going on with your body (adrenal glands) which need to be address also for you to heal fully. The adrenal glands regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, cortisol & adrenaline levels and over 50 hormones. They are a BIG deal.

For me, when I would wake up in the middle of the night or when I thought that I made a mistake leaving my ex husband I come to Lovefraud to read and this helped to keep opening my mind up from his mind control manipulation. At one point I too had to stop counseling & reading because my body, mind & spirit was absolutely overloaded. I needed just to calm myself physically (adrenal fatigue/PTSD) before I continued my education and unraveling of the abuse.

With time you will be able to come to Lovefraud and read everything without being triggered. So for now listen to your gut…and know that it is ok to step away from this site, from friends/family or counseling when you need a mental & physical break.


spell check correction = “So it is very important to step away to calm your body, mind & sprite down before **aborting more information…”. ***Should be absorbing not aborting,


I am the one before who screwed up and knew that you had made a typo. Tried to make a funny haha out of it. Failed completely and totally regret my thoughtlessness. You are fine and totally understandable. Please don’t let my stupid comment cause you to think you have to edit. With apologies, NWHSOM


Hi NWHSOM, ahh hon no worries and no apologies necessary. I hope you know that your post did not upset me…sorry I did not respond to your post before I was going to go back but then just forgot all together… got your humor.

I just hate that I have spelling/grammar errors…when you type in the little box you don’t always see your errors until after it post to this main board & now you can’t correct once it post here.

Anyways hope all is well with you!


Thanks for your grace Jan7,
I guess I was a little anxious because it was one of the forms of abuse from my ex. If I got one word wrong, or if he could find even just one word to negate my whole complaint, (like using the word always instead mostly), then he claimed he had to punish me. So I didn’t want to think you were angry with my smarty comment, I know my anxiety did not come from you.

I have worked hard to recover my emotional sensibilities, that perfection is not required, and that doom is not the certain outcome if I have been unintentionally incorrect. I do my best. I really miss that edit button! hah!


(have to post above your comment, so this comment goest with NWHSOM dated Oct 9, 1:24)

Hi NWHSOM, I feel so bad that I did not respond to your post and that I made you feel anxious 🙁

Triggers suck…to put it bluntly…wish we could all just go back to the people we were before meeting the sociopath. absolutely a nightmare to unravel all the mind control, brain washing & gas lighting abuse they inflicted on all of us while dealing with all of the triggers.

Yes, I too really miss the edit button!


Please keep up this important work and know that it has made a tremendous difference in helping me sort out the complex web that I was caught up in. I don’t see me ever getting to the point where I won’t want to talk about this subject as if that were some sort of milestone in my healing journey. Others who are far less educated, aware, or even interested in this broad subject will of course dogmatically imply this. Most people on this planet don’t have a clue about the realities that we few are aware of. Even if you never wrote another article, the library of information here is amazing and unique. But there’s so much more that we can all learn by sharing our knowledge. Thank You Donna and Terry.


4Light2Shine said it pretty well for me too. There are many people who have benefited and will continue to benefit from your particular talent to organize and write material that can be hard to fathom for lay people. I feel that you are a beacon for those of us in the middle of living the reality.

I make the most progress when I give myself permission to have my own process. So I go back and reread and refresh and reflect. I know I have come so far when I look back at 2009 and the angst and finding LoveFraud.

Looks like things are working out for me to go No Contact soon. I really liked in your book how you worked James Montgomery to get some of your lost funds back. Now I’m making a $$ contribution to your effort by putting it on the joint credit card. That way he will share in the cost toward your important continued work. It is deeply satisfying for me to have him pay in some way toward prevention / education. 😉

So – thank you for all your help. You made a difference in my life. Best wishes to all here. Take care.



Like you, my journey began before “The Internets.” I did have a therapist who talked about gaslighting and the incongruities between words and deeds, the unfairness of two sets of rules laid down arbitrarily by one member of a marriage. No one should hit anyone, ever. Or clean out joint accounts. Or abuse power. But even though I was an educated professional person, I’d never heard of sociopaths.

Like you, I moved forward and met a wonderful normal fellow five years after the divorce from the spath was finally final. We’ve been together 11 years now, married for 4. When I heard that my spath former husband had found the good sense to die a slow, miserable and untimely death, I wanted some closure. Exactly what kind of beast was he? And it’s all here. Every story is somehow the same. Those guys all belong to the same club and have been issued the same playbook. They have excellent taste in women. They hunt for the sweet and bright and compassionate and energetic and successful, then they ruin us. And yes, someone should shout it from the mountaintops so no one has to walk out of that crazymaking place alone ever again.

Thank you, Donna.


donewiththat…Amen for sure!! What you wrote is perfect!


I, like everyone else here, am so grateful that you had the passion and courage to start Lovefraud and continue it. I have passed on this web-site and information more times than I can count now. It was a life-saver! I gained my sanity back and am in a career that I love! Attitude of Gratitude! I am so happy for you that you have found love again and have his love, encouragement, and support. I have not found it again,yet. Still working on that part of healing for myself, I guess. It has been four years since my divorce. How did you move past the trust issue? Maybe, I’m afraid to trust myself??? Hmmm?

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