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By | July 17, 2011 231 Comments

Why we fall for romance scams

Salon.com just posted an article about online romance scams, Facebook status: In a scam relationship, by Tracy Clark-Flory. The scams run like this:

  1. Perp finds a target online.
  2. They communicate via email, text and sometimes phone.
  3. Perp proclaims undying love.
  4. Maybe perp sends flowers and stuffed teddy bears.
  5. Perp suddenly has a dire emergency and needs money.
  6. Target sends money, and keeps sending money until there’s none left.

Apparently, romance scams—known as “love fraud,” according to the article—are a growth industry. The story quoted a man named Rob who lost $14,000 to a woman he never met. He is now a volunteer for RomanceScams.org, which has counseled 50,000 people who believe they were swindled.

According to Salon:

Many of the scammers are based in Nigeria, home of the infamous 419 email scam love fraud is a much savvier twist on that old formula. “Scammers search chat rooms, dating sites, and social networking sites looking for victims,” warns the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. “The principal group of victims is over 40 years old and divorced, widowed, elderly, or disabled, but all demographics are at risk.” The perpetrators investigate the target by doing a Google search on their name and scouring their online profiles. “Once they have all that information, they create a character that is specific to you and your desires,” Rob says. “In short, they create your dream mate, and they’re very good at what they do, unfortunately.”

The con artists frequently pose as soldiers serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. The problem has gotten so bad that the military has issued press releases warning people not to fall for soldiers asking for money so they can go on leave. Read:

CID warns of Internet romance scams, on Army.mil

Army stresses caution to combat scammers, on Military.com

The Salon article explains how the scammers hook the targets, and the process is familiar to all of us who have been snagged by sociopaths: “The scammers get the target to reveal their most delicate feelings and secrets; and a sense of real intimacy often develops.” And that’s the reason the scams work—people are looking for love.

Plenty of readers commented on the article. Most of the comments expressed this view: Anyone who falls for an online romance scam is a complete idiot.

Read the article and comments:

Facebook status: In a scam relationship, on Salon.com.

Why send money to Nigeria?

Lovefraud has heard from people who have fallen for these online scams. And even though I know how convincing sociopaths are, I must admit that these cases perplexed me.

Yes, I lost $227,000 to my con artist ex-husband.  But he was physically with me. He looked me in the eye, made his promises, turned on the tears when necessary. He had sex with me, which released all that oxytocin, the trust hormone. He brought me around to his business friends, creating the illusion that he truly was an entrepreneur.

I know why I gave him my money. But why anyone would send money to a person they never met who lives in Nigeria?

I think the answer lies in the power of our own minds, and I’ll take you through my reasoning.

Fantasy

First of all, it is very possible to have accepting, positive thoughts about people we’ve only met over the computer—just look at all the friendships that have developed here on Lovefraud. Taking this a step further to romance isn’t difficult.

We may not really know what the person looks like or sounds like, because we’ve never met. But as I explain on the Lovefraud.com page about Online Seduction, we fill in any gaps in our knowledge about a potential romantic partner with fantasy:

When you meet people in the real world, you notice their height, weight, grooming, voice, mannerisms—and immediately form conclusions about them. All of this information is missing in e-mail correspondence. You can’t see, smell or touch the person. You don’t even really know if you’re communicating with a man or a woman.

So what do you do? You imagine the person is what you want him or her to be.

Essentially what happens is that in an online romance, we fall in love with our own fantasy. We create an image in our minds of what the person is, and how the person feels about us. And we believe it.

Oxytocin

I referred briefly to oxytocin above. This hormone is thought to be released during hugging, touching and orgasm in both men and women, and acts as a neurochemical in the brain. According to Wikipedia:

Oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security around the mate. Many studies have already shown a correlation of oxytocin with human bonding, increases in trust, and decreases in fear.

Oxytocin serves a normal  and important function in the human bonding process—it makes us feel calm and trusting with our mates. Nature probably gave us oxytocin so that we want to stay with our partners to raise children, thus helping the survival of the species.

But because it fosters trust, oxytocin can also help us get conned. Paul J. Zak explains this in a post on Psychology Today called How to run a con:

Social interactions engage a powerful brain circuit that releases the neurochemical oxytocin when we are trusted and induces a desire to reciprocate the trust we have been shown—even with strangers.

The key to a con is not that you trust the conman, but that he shows he trusts you. Conmen ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable. Because of oxytocin and its effect on other parts of the brain, we feel good when we help others—this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers. “I need your help” is a potent stimulus for action.

So, oxytocin doesn’t necessarily require sex in order to be released. It can be triggered by other social interactions—perhaps even those conducted via electronic media.

Oxytocin is released in the brain and causes feelings of trust. But that isn’t the only way in which love affects the brain. According to Dr. Helen Fisher, romantic love actually causes a rewiring of the brain. She also believes that romantic love is an addiction.

For more on the neurological processes involved in romantic love, read:

The drive to love: The neural mechanism for mate selection on HelenFisher.com.

Brain action

You’ve probably heard of the “placebo effect.” Physicians and researchers have long known that people in clinical trials of drugs frequently experience the benefits of the drug, even though they are taking the placebo. Because they believe they are taking the drug, they believe they will get better, and they do.

This is not just an imaginary improvement. According to an article on MSNBC, “research shows that belief in a dummy treatment leads to changes in brain chemistry.” In other words, belief can be just as strong as actual medication.

Read Placebo’s power goes beyond the mind on MSNBC.MSN.com.

And here’s another aspect of the brain: Research has found that the physical structure of the brain isn’t nearly as static as once thought. As explained in Time Magazine:

For decades, the prevailing dogma in neuroscience was that the adult human brain is essentially immutable, hardwired, fixed in form and function, so that by the time we reach adulthood we are pretty much stuck with what we have.

But research in the past few years has overthrown the dogma. In its place has come the realization that the adult brain retains impressive powers of “neuroplasticity”—the ability to change its structure and function in response to experience.

Read How the brain rewires itself on Time.com

The point, therefore, is that the brain is changeable, and it doesn’t necessarily require drugs or a physical incident in order to change. Thoughts and beliefs have the power to change the brain.

Power of imagination

So where am I going with all this? Here is what I think may be happening in romance scams:

  1. The perp contacts the target, gradually building the target’s love and trust.
  2. The target believes that the perp is real and they are in a romantic relationship.
  3. Because of the target’s belief, oxytocin is released in the brain, even though there is no physical touching.
  4. The belief in love also rewires the brain, just as it does in a real relationship.
  5. The target may even become addicted to the relationship.
  6. The target is primed to be conned.

My theory, then, is that in an online romance scam, we believe we are in a true romantic relationship. Our belief causes all the same brain changes that a real world relationship causes. Because of the power of our imaginations, we may be just as susceptible to online scams as we are to real life scams.

Come to think of it, this is probably why we fall for the real life scams. We believe the love is true, even though it isn’t.


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Ox Drover

Great Article Donna, but unfortunately it should be your next BOOK, there is so much information here and so many links that it is like trying to “eat an elephant” in one meal! WOW!!!! GREAT INFORMATION! I’m still chewing….:)

skylar

Great article Donna. So many times, we wonder how others could fall for these scams, but until you are there and without education about spaths, you can’t imagine what it feels like.

Love-bombing is the key. You can be lovebombed as easily online (maybe more easily because you have the option to save emails and re-read them at your leisure when you need a fix) as in real life.

A person reaching out to you, thinking about you and making you feel that you are an important part of their lives is pretty irresistable. The love-bomber makes sure that the frequency of emails increases each time you respond. There will be opportunities to “rescue” or “help” the love-bomber and it’s not always money they want.

Some spaths just want your emotions, others just want your time so that you don’t have any for yourself because you dedicate it all to them.

It’s important to remember that a real/normal person will respect your boundaries and not bombard you, or overwhelm you for attention or for drama. And most of all, remember that when this is happening to you, IT FEELS REALLY GOOD, that’s why it works. You won’t feel bad when you are being attacked this way. You will actually feel good and you’ll want more.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

‘The key to a con is not that you trust the conman, but that he shows he trusts you. Conmen ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable. Because of oxytocin and its effect on other parts of the brain, we feel good when we help others—this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers. “I need your help” is a potent stimulus for action.’

‘So, oxytocin doesn’t necessarily require sex in order to be released. It can be triggered by other social interactions—perhaps even those conducted via electronic media.’ NOT PERHAPS; DEFINITELY!

one/joy_step_at_a_time

I am not sure how much difference there actually is between an online scam and a real world one. If I had never known who my spath REALLY is, and that the fake boy she created didn’t die, I might have mourned most of my life. What i am getting over now is the damage, the lie, and having my best and most precious parts of me conned. by a spath. One of the BIG connections is that the spath had a wicked sense of humor and we laughed ALL THE TIME – huge chemical bonding.

It took me 2 years to let go of my real world n ex. the physical/sexual bond with her was incredibly hard to break – it felt like she literally left tendrils of herself under my skin. it was really hard to get over her.

peggywhoever

Thomas Sheridan an author I have just learned about, he recently published “Puzzling People. Thoams has many videos, this one is about Flattery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4_txHz6gQI&feature=related

Jack1776

I wouldn’t say the victims are idiots, but rather trusting, naiive, gullible, vulnerable and uninformed people. I was one of them. But I learned. Some of these “women” are SO convincing. You relate a past scam, for example, and they say, “Well that’s HORRIBLE. But *I*’m not like that. You can trust ME.” And they spin all kinds of yarns. They know from their own experience what is likely to work.

I’ve seen MULTIPLE accounts created with the pictures of the same woman. They’re everywhere and know no boundaries. I’ve been using a short list of questions to weed out most of them, that pass the initial suspicion test. But the instant any of them brings up the issue of money, it’s time to say BYE; end of story. Occasionally out of frustration I’d scam some right back, promising to send money and then delay, delay, delay while sounding so sincere; just to give them a taste of their own medicine. You could almost see them salivating over another payday. It was satisfying to con THEM for a change. I know it’s immature, but it felt good.

I think decent, uninitiated people find it difficult to believe that others can be so cruel.

superkid10

great article. I think it’s way easier to con online.

I’d love to see more about this.

My spath always wanted to text and email. I think it gave him a “cover”. He had time to think, and there was no emotion to read in his face.

He always said he didn’t want to be seen, or anybody to know him. He said he thought if anybody really knew him, they would not like him.

Man, was he right.

Back_from_the_edge

GREAT ARTICLE! Needed to be addressed and I am so happy you said all that you did, Donna. Thank you! xxoo

My spath WAS military and we DID meet online; come to find out, that is where he met his x wife and all the other women he has had parading through his life and up in my face.

Yep, superkid: internet connection=cover. Yep.
Although my x and I have had contact several times, in person, over the past few years, I can see similar characteristics in the things Donna has said. I never lost any money but I did almost lose my life and my sanity. I was held hostage in my own mind through all the rest of it. I thought I was stronger than this – to let something like this overtake my life. I just didn’t know; I wasn’t aware. I was too trusting. I fell into the ‘feel sorry for a hero’ scam…’love me, I am lost…” scam. The “I CAN FIX IT WITH A LITTLE LOVE” scam….”IT” took my kindnesses and used them as weaknesses and I told it a million times to not do that; because when you do that, those actions will get you a ticket to hell. Well, “IT” was already in hell and trying to spread it around a little…

And I see “IT” still online, phishing and trolling…
Only THIS TIME “IT” is very dangerous; a time bomb waiting to go off. WHO is going to be ‘the lucky woman’?? hmmmm?

I have spoken to NUMEROUS AUTHORITIES about this over the course of my experience with ‘ending’ this show and I have been heavily voicing my opinion in the sense that there should be internet laws prohibiting such kinds of crimes of the heart. Especially when these crimes are inadvertently affecting so many of our most vulnerable. Here, in America, there should be intrastate laws pertaining to such crimes on the internet and I am a HUGE supporter of seeing this happen.

When the complete story about me and my experience comes out, finally, I will probably be gone by then, due to my heart problems, but you will see the rest I can’t speak of right now.
The things I can’t share with you right now.

It is one of the MOST DIABOLICAL stories you will ever hear and you will know it is me, when you hear it. You won’t have a doubt. It’s alright, I am doing MUCH BETTER thanks to all of you. And, YOU: DONNA….what can I say about you that I haven’t already said?

This is one of the MOST WONDERFUL THINGS that anybody has ever done for the world….right here; ‘thank you’…thank you for not forgetting about the ones that came after you…

Out of honor and gratefulness, it is now “US”, reaching back…

*BLESSINGS*

Duped

skylar

Thanks Peggy,
good link on Thomas Sheridan. he’s spot on.

Shalom

Peggy:
Appreciate the link. Thank you.

candy

Sopris – welcome to the Survivors Club.

skylar

Sopris,
Welcome. I’m very glad you posted. The knowledge gained from spaths is part of what heals us from parental abuse and neglect. That’s the part that I’m working on now. Anything you might share on that, is appreciated.

sistersister

Quote of the day:

”Ž”Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, just make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.” ~ William Gibson

Not sure if it’s apropo to this thread, but it sure does nail a life surrounded by narcissists and sociopaths, doesn’t it?

one/joy_step_at_a_time

sistersister: it IS APRAPO OF LIFE!!!

NICE ONE!

skylar

sistersister,
right on.
I met a man whose wife is a therapist. He told me that she says most of her clients come in thinking they have issues and come to find out they are living with abusers – unknowingly.

sistersister

Interesting article.

I remember this woman, what did I call her, Anne? Anne — the friend I dumped last summer for being a really creepy spath.

Anne kept telling me — girltalk — about her boyfriends. Wow, I thought, she really does go out with some interesting guys. I told her I was glad she was dating again.

Dating?

She hadn’t even met them for coffee. It was all online, sometimes using video chat to show them certain body parts.

Internet dating!

And I suspect that’s kind of normal with Internet dating. Until we get really experienced with the technology and etiquette, this strange identification of Web voyeurism with dating is going to continue. Eventually, though, I think we’ll realize that the Internet is just one more way of meeting people. The real work still has to get done in the real world.

Personally, I don’t accept more than a couple of e-mails from somebody before we have to meet. Someone not wanting to meet, or making it complicated to do so, is a big red flag for me.

I am surprised at how many people think this is risky. Well, dating’s risky, so deal with it. At least you get to check out Jack the Ripper’s vibe before you jump in. Meeting in person is a lot less risky than letting someone direct my impression of them over the Internet or the phone, I think.

It’s called a date, not a booty call.

sistersister

Strangely enough, I just posted something else, and it didn’t appear. About Internet dating. What’s up?

sopris

Thanks skylar! Thanks sistersister! One of the most important lessons I learned is that there is a reason for my feelings. I will never stick around to try and get the evidence of what my gut is telling me ever!!! If I am feeling insecure or shameful around a person I now know they are devaluing me, even if in their mind. I trust my feelings now and it is empowering to know that I know. I had been taught that feelings are not facts, or that it was my “stuff”, that sexual abuse is love, etc. That was part of the gaslighting. I only have people in my life now I feel good around. I recently walked away from my family bc it was just too painful! I don’t have the protective denial system anymore. Completely gone. I can’t buy into their lies so the humiliation just goes straight to the heart. Ouch! I can only have high frequency people in my life or just be alone. I also had to walk away from a job. Raising my standards!

Back_from_the_edge

OUR CIRCUMSTANCES MAY INFLUENCE WHO WE ARE, BUT WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHO WE BECOME…….

*Hugs to you all*

Dupedster

Constantine

.

sistersister

Awesome, sopris.

“If I am feeling insecure or shameful around a person I now know they are devaluing me, even if in their mind.”

I have to relearn this lesson daily.

It’s not easy to discern, because really, denial can run in the other direction, too. The acceptance of criticism, the self-adjusting mechanism, is what separates us from the beasts.

But I’m occupying a “higher ground” these days. I can take a bird’s-eye view of it all. I realized last night that nobody owes me an apology, much as I don’t owe them one. Let’s just call it even. This whole “apology” thing operates in the swamp of neurotic little interactions that take us in circles. Big, heroic people aren’t called to “apologize” or be “perfect.” They’re called to act.

Excuse the vernacular here, but I don’t know any better word for the game being played than “bullshit.” I can keep running around in that, wondering if this or that person “respects” me or will take my calls next time or will turn against me — or I can pluck myself out of it and be “unreasonable” and “dangerous” and actually laugh at being called these things by people who seek to limit my beauty and creativity because it affronts their pettiness. “Pardon my dust” as I run them right over!

Self-adjusting people who can still do this are powerful people. What is that old saying? “Money talks, bullshit walks.” How about: “Power talks, action talks, . . . bullshit walks”?

sistersister

Getting back to the “romance scams” theme with Internet romance, I actually see the Internet as a great tool against this kind of thing . . . if you use it right.

The Internet is just one more way to make initial contact with people, neither more nor less. So it really sets off my b.s. detector when somebody wants to sit around and chat for a couple of weeks, “get to know me.”

Nobody “gets to know me” on the Internet. They have to show up for coffee, at least. They have to understand simple instructions, like, meet me at a movie theater, not insist on picking me up in your car.

I’m still at a distance when I’m online. Anyone asking me to get closer without meeting them first is a scammer.

It’s called a date, not a booty call with a stranger.

Back_from_the_edge

SisterSister: Great quote!

”Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, just make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”
~ William Gibson

Yes, VERY appropriate! 😉 Unfortunately. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you to all of you for your good wishes concerning my health. It means a whole lot to me to find you all the way I have…I was “Blessed” the day I came to this website.

You have all actually HELPED me, medically, get to a point where the emotional and psychological pain is tolerable from this mess I have gotten my soul into with this “THING” that came into my life…everyone of you have added a little something to my progress. Every single one of you, in your own ways.
I am grateful. xxoo

I have been on a ‘quest’ for personal peace, steadily, since my sudden heart failure 9 months ago. It has taken me all this time to gain my strength back. Just the simple will to LIVE! Heaven seemed a softer place…and I think if you refuse to entertain such thoughts, they just fade away, like the spath eventually does. YOU ALL have helped me find so much….

Your ‘understanding’ has healed a large part of that hole that was left inside my heart in a lot of ways, by sharing this walk and understanding and sharing. There is no place else that could POSSIBLY understand what it is we have been through except for people just like us! Sad ‘club’ to belong to but we couldn’t have found a better place than right here.

Things are starting to settle down for me now in this area.
You have helped me reach a certain ‘understanding’ about myself and that’s what this is REALLY all about – not those SOUL-LESS spaths; IT IS ABOUT “US”. At least that is what we should be making this: ABOUT US NOW.

Change is so hard and difficult in life. It takes commitment to ourselves and to that which is right and good and just. It takes honesty, with ourselves and that honesty begins when ‘sharing your heart with a friend’…someone that truly DOES understand that what you are saying is not just crazy person gibberish, although in my case, I have to admit, I was ‘there’, just teetering on that edge of insanity that I shall NEVER allow around me nor my life again. I have a little bit of this life left now and I am going to be rather selfish with it.

I am still trying to get on my feet, medically, but I couldn’t be doing that EITHER if I hadn’t of had such wonderful and caring support. I just can’t say it enough. And right back at ya! 🙂

I am grateful we have all met on this Beautiful Journey of Life!

Constantine: YOU take good care of yourself and remember I love ya. I understand and can feel your ‘peace’ and your ‘soul’; you are a kind heart and are such amazingly strong support and it comes through the ‘heart’. I know this because I can ‘feel’ it.

If there was ONE THING I could give to ALL OF YOU, it would be the gift of REAL PEACE in your lives. Inner peace. Once you find that ‘inner peace’, I just know you all will be alright in this life. Because you all truly DO deserve the best now; we have already come through the pits!~Time for something new. 🙂

Happy day all…

Duped

one/joy_step_at_a_time

nothing to do with nothing – BUT, one of the things that is lacking i my life since the spath is enough laughter. now part of that is that i lost my freinds, but not to whine, i wanted to share this: i found the Graham Norton talk show on youtube – and these shows are making me laugh aloud. just a reco for down moments. 🙂

one/joy_step_at_a_time

likin’ your 10:45 post sistersister!

sistersister

Thanks for your support!

“IT IS ABOUT ‘US.’ At least that is what we should be making this: ABOUT US NOW.” — So true, DUPED_IN_SOCAL. Someone I actually barely know observed last week that he’s a victim of an “ex” and her prowess around the divorce courts, yes, a victim of “someone else’s choices,” as he puts it. I don’t know if he’s telling the whole truth about what he did to get himself into this mess, but giving him the benefit of the doubt, I asked him if he had a choice when he chose her.

He acted as if I was blaming him. But I realized something: We make limiting choices based on limited information. It’s nobody’s fault, but we can do our best to get more information. And more. And more.

And how about more information about ourselves?

So in that sense, it’s all about us. What we failed to do, even if we didn’t know we had to do it. Now we know.

And one/joy_step: You’re onto something huge with the laughter. I’ve often observed that totalitarian regimes discourage laughter and comedy. It’s subversive. Nobody can laugh and control/be controlled at the same time. I recommend the movie “In Bruges” for a look at a strange little place where all the so-called rules get followed — a very humorless place. If you kill someone, you get killed, and so on. And just how ridiculous, even funny, that gets in its Medieval, Day-of-Judgment extreme. I’ll look into Graham Norton. Never heard of him.

Back_from_the_edge

sistersister: you can’t see me right now, but I am standing up on my feet, in my living room, giving you a standing ovation:

“It’s called a date, not a booty call with a stranger.”

Um, do you think perhaps you could be a little more direct~! 🙂
Thank you for that genuine smile you gave me. I LOVE IT!

Oh yes, the internet can be a GREAT TOOL when used correctly!
Unfortunately, there is LOW LIFE SCUM in our world who is using it shop for prey. Period. That’s the bottom line.

I am not going to say that ALL people on the internet are that way…the ones looking for romance…that would be like saying that all people who are tall are abnormal. But, what I WILL say, that from experience, YOU CAN NEVER BE REALLY SURE WHO THAT PERSON IS ON THE OTHER END OF THAT COMPUTER!

Sure, you can try to ‘research’ them. But they don’t leave many trails. And, I would HIGHLY advise against delving. Best way to go on this is just NOT KNOWING ANYMORE: walk away while you still can. Make it complete and realize that you are taking a stand FOR YOURSELF irregardless of what your heart is telling you. I mean, for some of us, we are talking BASIC SURVIVAL.

I met “IT” on the internet. I am a SUCKER for our combined forces in the middle east. I have met thousands of people who have served from Britain, America, Germany, numerous other places – I have met and known some of the best of us. I have done all I was able to do over the past 30 years to aid and assist those returning and transitioning, to ‘settle’ in and make their readjustment process just a little easier by providing assistance and counsel to them. NOT ONE PERSON PREYED ON ME EXCEPT FOR “IT”. Not one. Interesting; isn’t it?

Most of the time, they have become lifetime friends.
Priceless friends, so I can’t say that the ‘internet itself’ per se is a demon but it can be a two-sided sword and I am here to tell you: “”””WARNING”””” A person can be or say anything they want to while on the internet.

As for me: I cleaned up my internet tracks. I went to all those ‘fun to do’ dating sites and deleted my accounts. I don’t believe you can find love IN LIFE so easily. I mean, think about it. What about all those little innuendos such as the twinkle of the eye; the touch; the sound of someone’s voice; the way they walk; talk; their mannerisms.

The internet leaves too much space open for us to become prey.
That is just a fact of life. We can no longer allow our belief in the basic good of human beings to rule our constitutions. We must safeguard ourselves from falling prey to these master manipulators. While they may be so charming and let me tell you, I bought in, hook, line and sinker! It is difficult to really tell when the ‘novel’ was written so very well…

But there ARE red flags. And I NEVER EVER EVER EVER date off the internet. NOT ANYMORE; NOT EVER AGAIN. I learned my lesson!

Yes; I want to ‘caution’ that if any of you are dealing with a ‘dangerous’ or ‘violent’ spath, you have met on the internet,
my best suggestions to you would be this:

A) Clean up your internet tracks. Remember if “IT” found you there, “IT” can find anything about you anywhere you have been.

B) I have removed all of my sites and deleted all of my tracks.

They use the internet as their tool. The same way WE use a cake pan. Seriously. Please be careful and don’t allow yourself to go there or fall prey!

C) I removed EVERYONE from my messenger list.

D) If you think you may be dealing with an internet predator,
cease all further communication, delete, delete, delete!!!!! BLOCK EVEN! THEN DELETE. 🙂

I am a firm believer now that internet dating sites are the cesspools of the devil himself.

E) NEVER tell someone you have met on the internet, NO MATTER HOW LONG YOU HAVE KNOWN THEM, personal details about yourself. Spaths take that information and while they call it ‘getting to know you’, they are actually ‘profiling’ you and your ‘neediness’ so that can tailor fit the ‘show’ to you!
(how thoughtful!) :::BEWARE:::

My ‘belief’ in basic human goodness almost got me murdered.
Imagine that. The mind job of all mind jobs. Hmmm? It’s alright, I am making my way past all of this.

The way “I” win at this, you see, is that “IT” isn’t in my life anymore and I am able to put up my hand, in it’s face and say: “No thank you. I want no more of this. Be gone.” But you have to really mean it and not let those pangs of ‘guilt’ and ‘sadness’ and ‘missing’ overtake you. You need to realize that what you are dealing with is out to destroy you in the long run and you need to just get away from it and stay away from it no matter what that takes.

Being raised the way I was raised, has made me wiser, smarter, more understanding and better able to deal with all of the ‘illusions’ of this life. I was RAISED to take ‘aiding and assisting’ as a second nature. It has been that way my whole life.

The NOT SO NORM is people taking advantage of that kindness.
And like I told “IT”: “I don’t HAVE TO CARE ABOUT YOU. You are forgetting that. I don’t HAVE TO BE HERE CARING ABOUT YOU. Not when I could be caring somewhere else for someone who would truly appreciate my caring and not abuse it.”

Yah, I am pretty good at leaving “IT” speechless. heheheehe
A lot of times “IT” would get me on a roll and just silently slither out of my home. Seriously. My tongue has left welts with it’s honesty. No more internet for me!!!!!! I learned MY lesson!

But, I see it still out there, trolling and phishing.
DONT GET SCAMMED BY IT! It never took money from me because it DID have that much respect for my ‘authority’ but I have had people contact me (strangers) who have told me he is leaving a swath of devastation and that he has not only stolen wives, marriages, hearts, souls, he has also stolen money.

Duped

sistersister

So sorry this all happened to you out of the Internet. I can understand why you don’t want to make connections there, and I don’t necessarily make a lot of them there either — especially on those “match.com” and such sites that seem very artificial to me.

I like this: “What about all those little innuendos such as the twinkle of the eye; the touch; the sound of someone’s voice; the way they walk; talk; their mannerisms.” To clarify,
I advocate leaving my heart open to chance encounters on the ‘net, toward the goal of getting to those “little innuendos” as soon as possible. I want to feel out the “vibe,” and if I feel anything wrong, I’m outta there. We all know that there are people who can manipulate even that, but that’s a hazard even without the Internet making the introduction.

My favorite way to meet people isn’t even through dating, actually. The best way is to meet through everyday activities, such as church or volunteer work. I go where people are expressing their values, putting them into action. You can tell a lot in those situations about how a person interacts in a group, respects others, and gets out of the way rather than in it when the chips are down. When people have an axe to grind — a cause to support — it’s a real temptation to take shortcuts around other people in the name of that “good cause.” Spaths tend to create an uncomfortable feeling in at least someone in a group. The other advantage to hanging around these places is that I get to express my own ways, too. And finally, these interactions take place over time — not just someone sitting across a table from me making easy talk about what their values are and asking me to believe them in an hour or less.

donna dixon

Dear Duped and Sistersister~

All I can say is WOW! Your posts on internet dating are awesome! I have always been leary of it ~ especially with all my friends trying to push me in that direction.

I am now laughing my head off because my Ex has met at least 2 of his galpals (that I know of) on none other than “Match.com” and by the way….he lives in Southern Cal!

Sick World!!

sistersister

I read with interest the part about filling in the blanks in online encounters — the way we fantasize that the person is exactly whom we wish they might be, not through what they tell us, but what we tell ourselves in the gaps.

And then I started reading Garry Wills’ “Reagan’s America” on my lunch hour. Interesting. I’m not — and he’s not — saying the beloved Reagan was a spath, but there’s a method of seduction at work in both cases. And isn’t it interesting that Reagan was a master of the media, a place of illusion even before the Internet made electronic interactions so personal?

“His approach is not discursive, setting up sequences of time or thought, but associative; not a tracking shot, but montage. We make the connections. It is our movie.”

Back_from_the_edge

Hi donna dixon…

I am happy you find our posts so insightful. Unfortunately it came the hard way. I HAVE seen internet dating turn out amazing before but I would say that 95% of the men I have met online, with the exception of my volunteerism, have a defect or flaw about them.

I don’t mean to sound so judgmental nor harsh but the ones I have met are definitely a little on the ‘different’ side. Now, I am not jumping to any conclusions here so don’t beat me with sticks, but in MY EXPERIENCE: most of the men I have encountered online are just a little on the ‘outer edge’ and when you think about THIS: WHY are they THERE instead of IN a relationship? Hmmm? I mean, just ponder that thought a moment. I have had first hand experience with men who will IMMEDIATELY tell you that they love you after five minutes of chatting with them online. OBVIOUSLY that is a flag; okay? I don’t care HOW CHARMING they are; WHAT STATUS they have OR whom they portray being.

They are there for a reason and it isn’t about love and happily ever after. Not in my experiences. In fact, let me tell you a true story that happened to me, last summer.

I met someone online, quite close to where I reside. We chatted a week or two, online, exchanged photos; got to know each other a little bit. Never do I exchange phone numbers until after I get to know someone LIKE FOR A LONG TIME! Anyways, we agreed to meet at a local watering hole uptown, being I GET IN NO MANS CAR. EVER. I have my own, thanks. 😉

Only instead of me taking my car, that night, I walked uptown. Nice, beautiful clear evening. No fears; no worries; right? I get to the bar and we finally find each other and not more than 10 mins after we got our first drink down, “IT” was MR. RUDENESS. “I” chose the meeting spot. It was ALL on my terms, like it always is or it doesn’t happen. (The way it used to be. It doesn’t happen at all anymore. I dropped the habit like playing slots….stop and cut your losses).

To wrap up the story, after a drink and a half, and it’s temperment got to a point of ‘gasket blowing’…being rude, abrasive and insulting, until I said I was going to leave. Thanks for the meet and greet and the drink. Suddenly it got real sweet. GOOOOOEY sweet. Knowing that I had walked there, it offered me a lift of a few blocks and I mistakenly accepted…

“IT” drove me to a secluded place where it tried to rape me.
I left it sitting there, in “ITs” auto, gasping for the air I punched out of it’s lungs, the whole time saying: “No means no MF’r!”

I have not dated offline since. And I won’t. If I am not worth being respected nor valued for the person I TRULY AM, I do not need that kind of attention around me.

I would rather be alone for a good reason than with someone for all the wrong ones. Loneliness is not a valid reason to ruin your life. On no terms. I choose to stand tall and be proud of the person I am. I will not grovel for the love of someone who would no sooner spit on me than touch my cheek and mean it.

Just a HUGE word of caution: keep your emotions in check.
Don’t let your internet friendships turn into the dream they suck us into believing and manufacturing. Always second question what you see and hear on the internet when it comes to letting people close to you and/or your personal information.

Sometimes just telling them the sky is blue is too much.

All of the relationships (romantic, sexual relationships) that sp’s collect on the internet, are doomed, sooner or later because the sp can’t flourish in a regular type relationship. It just doesn’t have the capacity to do so. It is not ‘made’ that way. To them it is a picture or a word on the screen…no soul or heart attached. They feel at liberty to do whatever or say whatever they are manufacturing inside THEIR OWN MINDS.

Just thoughts to ponder about. All I can do is say what has happened with me and where I have been. Just beware:
THERE ARE UGLY DANGEROUS PREDATORS ON THE INTERNET READY TO SUCK YOUR LAST BREATH FROM YOU IF YOU ALLOW.

*Hugs & Many Blessings to All*

Duh, duh, Dupedster

one/joy_step_at_a_time

sistersister – okay, here’s a really weird one for you: the spath had an amazing sense of humour. We laughed .ALL. the. time. Mind you she was pretending to be a 29 year old queer boy dying of a list of afflictions at the time…….she used humor TO control me.
(insert the *c* word here.)

Ana

One Joy Step,
I grit my teeth when I read your post! What a B*^CH!

Now you can laugh up a storm, having seen her for what she is and having seen her LOLOLOLOL 🙂

I went to see Bhagavan Das in RI last week. I held all the people on LF in my heart as I chanted…I hope you all felt the love and strong positive vibes 🙂

It was great to see him again. To hear his voice and words and it was a full moon too!

MoonDancer

Ana – I always get good vibes when the moon is full…I have a powerful telescope and love looking at the mountains on the moon..one of these days I am gonna sit on those mountains and look back at the earth, that will be awesome.

Ana

Hens,
Hey, I like your outlook! I like full moons too. I get energized from it. When your up there looking down, have mercy please : )

sopris

Thanks Candy!

Sistersister, really like your post about self-adjusting people. Sounds like you are in a good place.

Constatine, ritual abuse is abuse designed to break the spirit of a person. It may be an assalut at the same time everyday, for example,,

It is not exclusive to cults but they use it to break down and program victims to be dependent and to not fight back so that ultimately they have a willing victim. This is what p’s use to break down their victims. My relationship with the p was like a mini cult. He texted me at the same time every morning. I thought it was really strange at the time, and now I see he was trying to take me away from my center and keep me in a trance.

Speaking of cults, I watched law and order suv last night about a cult. It was very painful buut I received even more clarity about the dynamics with p. The pattern is so clear, love bomb followed by degradation followed by me leaving. Then he would love bomb again and the cyce would repeat. Throw in some abandonment and that was our 6 month relationship. The new insight was that first he had to love bomb me to get me back into the trance so he could do something to humiliate me and get away with it. I think that is fascinating that he would wait until he knew I was under his ether before abusing. It was calculated and planned. This insight helped me to let go of blaming myself for not standing up in the moment. He did not want me to be present. That was his whole goal and I could not figure out why I couldnot stay present and take care of myself. Got it now! Love bomb coupled with degradation is a powerful drug.

Blessings,
Sopris

Safe Passage to Healing is a good resource for ritual abuse if you are wanting to learn more.

Back_from_the_edge

sopris: your relationship sounds so familiar.
Yes, as I have said before, ‘groomed’ was it.

I used to liken the experience to the mind control Manson had over his followers. It makes me stop and take a second look at all those religious sects accusing their leaders of ‘mind control’. I have never been a ‘victim’ to this before and was so unbelievably shocking to finally start putting all the pieces together!

As I have said in past posts, I was not doing very well, personally, emotionally nor physically, in the height of our relationship and was on the brink of hospitalization at one point. I eventually ended up having a massive heart attack and almost died. Went through two emergency heart surgical procedures and here I am…on the ‘other side’ of the light. 🙂

“VALUES” and meanings mean a whole lot to me, right now.
I have been to that mountain and back and there is no more time for the foolish of the world.

I have been through NC, take back, FIVE TIMES since last November, alone. This relationship is almost 9 years long now. I was never anything to “IT” but a true friend until I started seeing the lies and deceit and as soon as I did, “IT” tried to kill me, with no conscious, no remorse, laughingly so and actually thought it was going to get away with it.

At this point in time, NC is almost complete. I say almost because from time to time it will contact me to hurl a threat or a ‘whine’ trying to get back in the door. NO! Not happening. “I” haven’t spoken to “IT” in 2-1/2 months but it has only stopped stalking me a month ago.

Interesting concept I haven’t thought about before:
‘ritual abuse’…need to read more….
Who is going to pick me up when I fall on the floor from shock, THIS TIME???!!!! xxoo 🙂

Dupedster

Back_from_the_edge

hens, exposing yourself to moon beams too long will give you moon bumps. those are the equivalent of zits on earth! hehehe

((((hens)))) what do you see up there on those mountains???
Hmmmm? The universe is an amazing place. (psst: wonder if they are truly smarter than us….) 😉 xxoo

Duh-duh-Dupedster

MoonDancer

Howdy Dupedster – Oh I see shadows and sunsets on the moon, but mostly I see peace and serenity. Moon bumps? is that what that rash is ?
Duped you have been to hell and back, I admire your strength and determination to find your peace and serenity here on earth, earth is an awesome place.
You mentioned your X making threats or whining to get back, I so relate with that mind f–k.. My X said one time ” If you dont love me, I will rock your f–kin world” now was I supposed to feel warm and fuzzy? I remember thinking at the time ‘ how am I gonna get him out of my life without him destroying or killing me? So..I did what I had to do, I kicked him to the curb and locked the gate and the doors, changed phone numbers, changed locks, and carried a big stick, in other words I didnt play his game, he got bored and is now history…but I keep the big stick close by just in case…

Ana

Hens,
Shadows and sunsets on the moon?? That sounds awesome!

It is afterall, a marvoules (sp) night for a moondance with the..
you know the rest. 🙂

Back_from_the_edge

(((hens))) Evening, Dear…

HA: Yah, moon bumps. Ever had one of those? 🙂 hehehehe It happens when you are under a fool moon and are gazing up at it. The next morning you will have a bump on your face. Those are called ‘moon bumps’. hehehehe *Inside lifetime joke* 😉

Dear hens, I have been to hell and back but I am here to say that it hasn’t succeeded in taking all of my sanity nor my life. YET! I too carry a HUGE STICK and wow, sometimes I feel like such a MAJOR B**CH but if we don’t look out for “US” who will? hmm? What hasn’t killed me has only made me stronger and wiser.

Thanks for admiring my need for survival, hens. That’s what it comes down to at this point. EARTH CAN BE an awesome place but I guess it’s all about what you accept and what you don’t while you are here. As for me, I prefer to be in a ‘state’ that affords me peace. I am tired of searching for that ‘perfect’ relationship. I don’t believe it exists. The only one that is worth anything is the one I have with myself and my family and all of those people who have cared along this journey – like you… xxoo

LIKE ALL OF YOU.

Oh yes, the threats and the whines are about due to start again. ONLY THIS TIME THERE WILL BE NO RESPONSES FROM ME. “IT” doesn’t like taking ‘no’ for an answer and it is obsessed with me, hens. It isn’t ever going to stop completely until I just move. That will be COMPLETE NC then.

I did the same things, hens: face to the curb; locked the doors; changed the phone numbers; blocked numbers, you name it! I wanted to DUMP IT before “IT” dumped me as another ‘punishment’ for not ‘obeying’. It has FINALLY been quiet for about six weeks. Coming up on the 3 month threshold soon. After 9 years of this, I have the patterns down. 😉

Oh yes, dear hens, DO keep that big stick near by.
We are worth much more than this. SPATHS are like a bad case of herpes: once you catch IT – it never quite entirely goes away; does it?

Nighty Night hens…nice to read you.
Sleep tight.

Dupedster

MoonDancer

gnite dupedster and ana – duped it has been 3.5 years for me of nc…..we just learn a better way to live..SINGLE~!

Melly

Wow ladies – it’s so scary reading some of your stories and how much I can identify with your emotions. Duped in – the sentence where you wrote, “After 9 years of this, I have the patterns down” I can sooo relate to. It’s been around 8 years for me, however it wasn’t a real eye opener for me until I moved in with him a couple of years ago. Everyone on here has been so amazing and each post, each little experience gives me the courage to work towards my escape from this life.

Hardest thing for me though are his 3 gorgeous boys. I’ve know them all since they were 4, 2 & 1. I know they have their mother with them 70% of the time, but I feel bad for what will happen to their personalities as little men from being in that house 4 nights a fortnight without me there. They adore their father and think he is wonderful! I can’t take that away from him…but in saying that, I provide the structure, the routine, the clean, healthy environment and they depend alot on me when they are there. I know it’s not my problem at the end of the day, but it’s sooo hard to even think about leaving them behind 🙁

skylar

Melly,
here’s all I have to tell you.

My spath was 12 when his mom figured out that his dad was cheating on her with dozens of other women and divorced him. Before that, the spath-dad was in Alaska, working on the oil pipeline for many of his growing up years and had lots of other women in trailers to screw. Only the mom was there to raise my ex-spath and his brothers. It didn’t help. My own opinion is that the mom was a doormat, just like I am. That might be what made him into a spath like his dad.

Unless you are a spath-expert, you cannot change what those boys will be. All your empathy can very well be the trigger that make them WORSE. Get away. Do what is best for you and trust that the universe will see it the same way.

Back_from_the_edge

hens: 3.5 years? And you are still bothered? Yes; no?
I don’t want to think that this ‘process’ of ‘breaking up’ with spath will take so long!!!!!! NO~~!!!!!! I am NOT going through a long, involved stalking; I just am not. IT WILL stop. It will.

I am NOT going to tolerate nor put up with 3.5 more years of this. I just am not. What is the longest amount of time that anyone here has been bothered after NC? As I have said before, with x sp, a few months goes by and then it starts up again. All of the other times I have tried to get away from it was not very successful….I allowed “IT” to slither back into my life, being conned by my conscious into caring again. THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ANYMORE.

Oh sure, in the back of my mind, I continue to hope and pray that the heavens will open up and rain down it’s wisdom and graces upon “IT” and that it will wake up and smell the coffee but from everything I have been reading and studying, it isn’t ever going to happen. It just is never going to happen!

I am not going to continue torturing myself with this. I am on the fast track to making it ‘history’, for eternity. And, there is NO ‘coming back’ anymore. Not after everything “IT” has put me through. Oh sure, I was vulnerable….’controlled’….I allowed it to happen but that doesn’t mean IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED. Get my point? The lack of social graces – the lack of social and/or moral conscious from “IT”….unexcusable and unforgivable.

I am sorry Melly that you are having such a difficult time with your decisions. I will pray that your situation will become clearer to you and that you will indeed make all the right decisions. Sometimes we just have to take pause and realize that we need to take care of ourselves. Sometimes that is the ‘greater plan’. 😉

Peace, love and light guys…
It’s almost 4 am here and here I am: up, ruminating, already but no where near LIKE what it USED TO BE before I got here!
Together – chatting with all of you and my therapy, is really and truly helping me ‘get the big picture’…I am NOT going to die like this. I just am not. I have been fighting real hard and struggling like crazy and giving this all I have because I just am NOT going to die like this; I just am not.

I refuse to allow “IT” to take the final days and time I have left. IT just isn’t going to get my life from me. IN NO MANNER. I am ‘worded up’ and ‘aware’ NOW. I just am not going to participate in this ‘roadshow’ any longer. Period. It’s over for me. I have finally escaped and I am not going back to that hell. I just am not. It WILL stay away from me this time or we will do something else. That’s all there is to it.

MoonDancer

duped – oh my, no not bothered by it anymore, just here to cheer you on…and sometimes intertain the troops…if I can make someone smile or giggle when they are in the depths of dispair because of the IT in their lives then I have done a good thing..my humor is not always appreciated or understood, but if I can find humor in dispair then I can go on another day.
Lovefraud is my facebook – if I could post photos of my wieners, my grandkids, my garden I would…I have made some good friends here, I have been sending Oxy photos of my tomatoes, I dont think she appreciates them because her maters didnt do well this year…..
Duped there are many (it’s) in my life, Lovefraud has helped me find meaning to the madness, lovefraud feels like home most of the time, people come and go here, I have trouble letting go–go figure.

sistersister

Yeah, joy/one step, phonies turn on the charm and “humor” all right. It’s become an Internet dating cliche: “sense of humor.” That’s why I don’t do Match.com; it’s Cliche Cinema. The stupidest spath could crack that site’s code.

What I refer to as humor is something different. A sense of the absurd, a change-up of the pattern. It’s a weapon, what I have that counters someone else’s script. I just throw a wrench in there, mess up the well-oiled machine.

sistersister

Hey DUPED_IN_SOCAL: It’s a superstitious thing, I’m sure, and I have no idea if you’ve tried it or if it will work to stop stalkings.

After being stalked for about five years, off and on, by a spath ex-roommate, I realized she only showed up when I had been thinking about her.

I had been strategizing for the next time she showed up: what I’d say, where I would run, how I would humiliate her if it came to that. It’s weird how this works. Our fantasies become real.

I speculate sometimes if these people are real, as in, have a life outside my world. Maybe they’re my own hallucinations. It’s that strange.

It’s normal, after we leave the spath behind, to go through it over and over again. What happened? Why? What could I have done different? It’s like their spirit is still in the room, and their body keeps coming back to claim it. At some point, when we stop doing that, they leave us alone.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

sistersister – please explain further. i may have missed something you posted (forgive me if I have). you see the spath’s humour WAS ALL ABOUT THE ABSURD…so when you wrote that I had a hard time separating out what YOU might mean – but I so wann know!

sistersister

Interesting. So HE was throwing the wrench into your expectations.

I was just observing that spaths depend on a predictable response from us. When they don’t get one, they get all confused!

After all, this is their game, to throw you off your guard, not yours.

Turn the tables.

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