We all want to be loved, don’t we?
Well, no. There are people in the world who don’t care about love. They don’t even know what love is. But they do care about power, control and sex.
These people are called sociopaths. The media would have us believe that a sociopath is a deranged serial killer. This isn’t true. Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing, and most of them never kill anyone. But they are social predators, who exploit just about everyone they meet. They have no heart, no conscience and no remorse.
To meet them, however, you’d never know it. They’re fun. Charming. The life of the party. They sweep us off our feet. They specialize in the whirlwind romance. Unfortunately, sooner or later, the whirlwind turns on us.
You’d think that at our age, we’ve already seen everything and met every type of person. But it’s possible that we’ve never before been targeted by a sociopath. If we find ourselves widowed or divorced after a long marriage, however, it could happen. All of a sudden, after many years as half of a couple, we’re on our own—perhaps with a home, a business, an inheritance, and a big, fat retirement account.
We are ripe to be plucked. And believe me, because of my website, Lovefraud.com, I’ve heard some truly heartbreaking stories of newly single women who have given all their assets to beaus who appeared out of nowhere. I’ve been contacted by the adult children of these women, who are positive that the guy is a con artist, but Mom is in love and won’t listen.
We’re especially vulnerable if we’ve had a good marriage. We naturally assume that the next man we meet will be as considerate and reliable as our husband was. It could be a very dangerous assumption.
If your new romantic interest exhibits all or most of the following behaviors, be careful. He might be a sociopath with a hidden agenda—taking you for all you’re worth.
1. Charisma and charm. They’re smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting.
2. Enormous ego. They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.
3. Overly attentive. They call, text and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent time you spend with your family and friends.
4. Jekyll and Hyde personality. One minute they love you; the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.
5. Blame others. Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.
6. Lies and gaps in the story. You ask questions, and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they’d make out better telling the truth.
7. Intense eye contact. Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.
8. Move fast. They quickly proclaim that you’re their true love and soul mate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.
9. Pity play. They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.
10. Sexual magnetism. If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.
Donna Andersen is the author of Love Fraud—How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. She is also the author of Lovefraud.com, a website that teaches people how to recognize and recover from sociopaths.