Monday, August 24, 2009

Sociopaths as Executives

A great article about sociopaths as leaders.

Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 by
Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks
by Thom Hartmann

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that "Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the US... Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available."

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, "What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?"

It's an interesting question. If there is a "free market" of labor for CEOs, then you'd think there would be a lot of competition for the jobs. And a lot of people competing for the positions would drive down the pay. All UnitedHealth's stockholders would have to do to avoid paying more than $1 billion to McGuire is find somebody to do the same CEO job for half a billion. And all they'd have to do to save even more is find somebody to do the job for a mere $100 million. Or maybe even somebody who'd work the necessary sixty-hour weeks for only $1 million.

So why is executive pay so high?

I've examined this with both my psychotherapist hat on and my amateur economist hat on, and only one rational answer presents itself: CEOs in America make as much money as they do because there really is a shortage of people with their skill set. And it's such a serious shortage that some companies have to pay as much as $1 million a day to have somebody successfully do the job.

But what part of being a CEO could be so difficult-so impossible for mere mortals-that it would mean that there are only a few hundred individuals in the United States capable of performing it?

In my humble opinion, it's the sociopath part.

CEOs of community-based businesses are typically responsive to their communities and decent people. But the CEOs of most of the world's largest corporations daily make decisions that destroy the lives of many other human beings.

Only about 1 to 3 percent of us are sociopaths-people who don't have normal human feelings and can easily go to sleep at night after having done horrific things. And of that 1 percent of sociopaths, there's probably only a fraction of a percent with a college education. And of that tiny fraction, there's an even tinier fraction that understands how business works, particularly within any specific industry.

Thus there is such a shortage of people who can run modern monopolistic, destructive corporations that stockholders have to pay millions to get them to work. And being sociopaths, they gladly take the money without any thought to its social consequences.

Today's modern transnational corporate CEOs-who live in a private-jet-and-limousine world entirely apart from the rest of us-are remnants from the times of kings, queens, and lords. They reflect the dysfunctional cultural (and Calvinist/Darwinian) belief that wealth is proof of goodness, and that that goodness then justifies taking more of the wealth.

Democracy in the workplace is known as a union. The most democratic workplaces are the least exploitative, because labor has a power to balance capital and management. And looking around the world, we can clearly see that those cultures that most embrace the largest number of their people in an egalitarian and democratic way (in and out of the workplace) are the ones that have the highest quality of life. Those that are the most despotic, from the workplace to the government, are those with the poorest quality of life.

Over time, balance and democratic oversight will always produce the best results. An "unregulated" marketplace is like an "unregulated" football game - chaos. And chaos is a state perfectly exploited by sociopaths, be they serial killers, warlords, or CEOs.

By changing the rules of the game of business so that sociopathic business behavior is no longer rewarded (and, indeed, is punished - as Teddy Roosevelt famously did as the "trustbuster" and FDR did when he threatened to send "war profiteers" to jail), we can create a less dysfunctional and more egalitarian society. And that's an important first step back from the thresholds to environmental and economic disaster we're now facing.

This article is largely excerpted from Thom Hartmann's new book "Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture."

Thom Hartmann (thom at is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It," and "Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion." His newest book is Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sociopaths - Empty Promises and Empty Apologies

Sociopaths will do whatever it takes to get want they want or get what they need for the moment. They will say anything - "I love you", "I am so glad you are my wife", "you can trust me", "I will never do it again", "I am sorry" - the list goes on and on. But the words mean absolutely nothing to a sociopath. The words are as genuine as the 'love' they give.

It would not be unusual for a sociopath to start apologizing to a victim when the sociopath is caught cheating or lying. If the sociopath needs the support of family members or loved ones to go on living the life he is accustomed to, he or she will say all the right things and attempt to make amends with those he wronged. If the sociopath's actions and deceitful behavior is finally exposed, he will try to make people believe he is sorry. Sadly, the sociopath is exploiting his victim again with the empty apologies. His actions are self-serving and should not be confused with genuine remorse.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Have You Been Targeted

A Message from Sandra Brown --

Sandra L. Brown, author of 'How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved' and 'Counseling Victims of Violence' and director of Safe Relationships: A Women's Relational Harm Reduction and Public Psychopathy Education Project and Liane Leedom, MD psychiatrist, author of 'Just Like His Father: A Guide to Overcoming Your Child's Genetic Risk for Antisocial Behavior, Addiction, and ADHD' and director of Parenting The At-RIsk Child are collaborating on a new book 'Women Who Love Psychopaths.'

This is a ground breaking initiative because to date, a whole book or study has never focused exclusively on the women who love or have loved psychopaths. Who is she? What is her background, history, temperament, commonalities with other women who have loved psychopaths? What can we learn by identifying who she is? How will it aid national and international intervention and prevention efforts for women and for psychopathy education?

The answer is: we don't know because no one has done it!

We are seeking women who have been in relationships with DIAGNOSED psychopaths.
Those types of diagnoses included:
Anti Social Personality Disorder
Psychopathic tendencies

** Please note, that while Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a type of pathology, we are looking for true psychopaths. HOWEVER, having said that, it is widely believed that many who are diagnosed NPD are really un-diagnosed or under-diagnosed psychopaths. Feel free to contribute your info and we will try to assess it to see if we think he meets the psychopath criteria.

We are asking women who are interested in working on this project to be involved in the following:

* A detailed survey of YOU and your relationship dynamics. We aren't that concerned about the psychopath--lots has been written about him. We want to know about you and your relationship with him.

* A clinical assessment that will measure certain traits in your personality so we can see there is a 'profile' of women who end up with psychopaths. Todate, this has not been studied.

You must be willing to do BOTH to be considered. If you would like to be considered, please email to HowToSpot (at) yahoo (dot) com.

In the subject line put: Psychopath Survey.
In the message area: Put your name (of course it will not be used, this is for our contact info only) and email addy.

We are still in the developing stage of the survey but we have a pre-survey regarding 'emotional coding' that you can take now while we are completing the next phase. Thank you for all you are doing to help other women stay safe from psychopaths.

Sandra L. Brown, MA
Psychotherapist & Author

Sandra L. Brown, M.A.
Psychotherapist & Author of:
How to Spot a Dangerous Man
Counseling Victims of Violence

Monday, November 06, 2006

Psychopaths and the facade of normalcy

So much of what I have learned in the last few years regarding the behavior of psychopaths is fathomless to most of us. It is hard for a person of conscience to understand how someone could not be able to feel empathy or guilt, shame or fear. The conscienceless don't feel love and can not form attachments to people, even their spouses and children.

Most disturbing of all might be the psychopath's ability to conceal his/her behavior and to blend in with society. Most psychopaths look perfectly normal and can be very charming and nice. They are doctors, lawyers, CEOs, ministers, law enforcement offiicials, the list is endless. Some can go their whole life without anyone knowing what is behind the facade of normalcy.

Psychopaths learn to mimic the emotions of others to appear normal. It is only when you are willing to look close that you can see that something might be wrong because sometimes they don't get the emotions right.

Because only victims see the psychopaths' dark side, the conscienceless can convince all those around them that they are normal and their victim(s) are the crazy ones. It can extend to family, friends, coworkers and even the general public. Dr. Robert Hare, in the book Without Conscience, talks about this very problem - "Psychopaths are very good at putting on a good impression when it suits them, and they often paint their victims as the real culprits". Victims often find it difficult to get anyone to understand what they are going through. Psychopaths like to blame someone else for their behavior and do not want to be held accountable for their actions.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jack Welch

This blog has always been about my experience and has included information I have gathered about sociopaths and/or psychopaths. But I saw a segment on the Today show this morning that deserves comment.

Jack Welch appeared on the show with his third wife Suzy. Jack and Suzy, the former editor of the Harvard Business Review, had an affair while Jack was married to his second wife Jane Beasley Welch. Jack Welch is highly regarded for his accomplishments at GE and was recently named by the Financial Times as one of the most admired business leaders in the world today. Jack and Suzy appeared on Today to promote their new book.

Every time I see Jack Welch on TV I am reminded of something I heard attributed to the great amateur golfer Bobby Jones. Mr. Jones once said that integrity is what you do when no one is watching and that what you do in private is who you are. I believe in those statements and believe that many people in today's society overlook one's personal behavior when judging greatness. Jack Welch may be a great business leader but does he have the kind of integrity, morals and values that we should see in a great leader?

Christopher Byron published a book called 'Testosterone Inc.: Tales of CEOs Gone Wild' in 2004. From the jacket cover is the following description of the book: ..."Drenched in money and public acclaim, our CEO-heroes--mostly white, mostly male, mostly middle-aged--turned out to be not much different than a group of twenty-something rock stars --drunk on power and driven by sex, greed and glamour. Testosterone Inc. goes behind the boardroom doors to show the serial affairs and marriages of these acquisitive corporate titans. At the center of this story is Jack Welch, the biggest of America's rock star CEO, surrounded by "mini-me" CEOs Ron Perelman of Revlon, Al Dunlap of Sunbeam and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco--all gone wild in publc displays of consumption and predatory appetites writ large".

I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to read the truth about what may go on at the executive level at so many companies. My favorite part of the book comes at the end. Mr. Byron includes a story of Reginald H Jones who preceded Jack Welch as GE's chairman and CEO. It was Jones who chose Welch as his successor at GE. On his deathbed in early 2004, Jones uttered his final words to his wife Grace. Grace wrote down the final words and the words were read at a memorial service for Jones. The words ..."Leadership requires ethics, morals and values..."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Our Experiences in Life

I believe that what you become in life is greatly impacted by your personal and professional experiences. I have this theory that our experiences in life help us to become what we are intended to be. As I mentioned in my first post of this blog, some experiences in life are happy and some are incrediby painful. I also believe that everything happens for a reason, that people walk into our lives to teach us the lessons we need to know. It would be alot easier if we all came into the world knowing everything we need to know but that's not the way it is. The more painful the experience, the greater the lesson.

My experience with my ex-husband was incredibly painful but it was truly a blessing in disguise. I would not be the person I am today if I had not gone through the pain. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't sign up to go through it again and wouldn't wish it on anyone else. I have but one regret about my experience - that I wasn't able to prevent another woman from the workplace from going through the same thing.

It is not what I learned about Rick or his behavior that was so great but what I learned about myself. And I used what I learned to make changes in myself. I have more respect for myself that I have ever had in life. I look in the mirror and like the person I have become as a result of all the pain. I have used my voice to help others who have gone through similar experiences and that makes the pain worth it. My spiritual growth has been tremendous and I have matured as a human being.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Not about the divorce

People ask me why I started this blog, why am I sharing my experience? I answer the same way each time - I believe that I can use my own experience to help others.

In my last post, I talked about replaying my experience with my ex-husband in my mind. It took a very long time to make sense out of everything that happened to me. Replaying my experience helped me to learn so many important things about myself. It forced me to ask myself some questions that were painful to answer. The most obvious questions - why did I believe all of Rick's stories, how did I miss the obvious warning signs, why did I accept the emotional abuse my ex-husband dished out several times during our marriage, why me.

When I was in my twenties, I believed that one day I would be married and wanted to have children. In my thirties, I thought I was comfortable being single and was successful in my career. I still wanted to meet someone but I wasnt' hanging out in bars to do so. Afterall, you don't know who you are going to meet in a bar. The workplace - that was a safe place to meet someone. As much as I wanted to believe that I wasn't vulnerable to a charming man, when I replayed my experience, I could see clearly how vulnerable I was. What woman would walk away from a man who was intelligent, compassionate, and kind?

Why did I believe that Rick wouldn't have an affair during our marriage when I knew that his first marriage ended as a result of an affair he had with a woman at the office? Why did I believe that my marriage would be different? It certainly was different - he had four affairs during five years.

Why did I allow Rick to abuse me emotionally? Did I even know that it was emotional abuse? Why did I believe, even for a moment, some of the things he said about me? Rick told me I was mentally unstable in April 2001 during a discussion about our marriage. He was attempting to end the marriage and I was sobbing, trying to get him to understand what I could do to make our marriage better. I wasn't mentally unstable - I was reacting to someone who I believe was exploiting my love. Did I believe Rick when he told me that I only gave 20 percent to my marriage while he was giving 150 percent? For a split second, I questioned whether he might be right? Why did I do that? Rick told me that I made it hard for him to see his children. Did I believe that and if I did, why?

I answered my questons during my journey to heal from my painful experience. For me, it was about a lack of respect for myself. And if you don't respect yourself, then you attract people that don't respect you. In my opinion, Rick never respected me. It appeared that he did, what with all the compliments and flattery, the personal and professional support he showed me. But you don't consistently lie to someone who you respect.

I am delighted to say that I finally respect myself. I hope that by sharing my experience, I can help other women and men to find the same kind of self-respect.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The little voice

I couldn't help but replay my experience in my mind after I learned about Rick's behavior throughout our relationship. I replayed the period of time I reported to Rick in early 1995, I replayed how our romantic relationship began, I replayed everything that happened during our 'marriage' and I replayed the dark days after Rick left me. Each time I replayed the experience, I saw new things that I didn't see the first time or the second time. It's just like seeing the same movie two or three times - you see things the second time you didn't see the first time. Eventually I reached a point where I was trying to determine if I heard the little voice inside my head that usually tells me when things aren't right. You often hear people say 'trust your instincts'. That's the little voice. It's the funny feeling you get when you meet someone and you immediately feel that you can't trust him or her, that's the little voice.

Rick was very attentive to me when I reported to him in 1995. It was flattering to be given so much responsibility as a new manager and flattering to know that Rick trusted me. He rewarded me financially for all my hard work. I never heard a little voice say that maybe he was too attentive and that he was giving me to much responsibility. When Rick and I had lunch at Palio D'Asti and he started to ask personal questions, there was no little voice telling me to be careful about responding to personal questions. I trusted Rick and answered his questions. He told me that day that he was surprised that a successful and attractive woman like me had never been married. I simply told him that the right man had never come along and I wasn't willing to settle. When he asked about my family, I told him about my sister and brothers and all my nieces and nephews. Sometimes it's amazing what you remember when you replay an experience in your mind!

I have to admit, I did hear the little voice when I saw the white stretch limo that was waiting outside the office the evening I was going to dinner with Rick and another new manager at the company. It wasn't very loud but it was there. I turned off the little voice because I trusted Rick. I got into the limo and off we went for an evening of celebration. When I awoke the next morning in a hotel room by myself, the little voice was screaming. I couldn't remember the events of the previous evening and the little voice was telling me to run like hell. I raced home to shower and get into the office to complete my letter of resignation. I was listening to my little voice. I was shaking as Rick appeared in the doorway of my office. He convinced me to meet him for lunch that day so he could explain what happened the previous evening. My little voice said said NO but I didn't listen. Rick said that nothing really happened and that there was no need to resign from my position. It was as if he could turn down the volume of my little voice. It happened so often during my experience with Rick. At times, it went further than just turning down the volume - there were times when it just wasn't there but should have been.

My little voice was screaming at me the evening that Rick told me about his first marriage and about the woman he had an affair with while his first wife was out of town for the summer. It was telling me to run like hell but Rick was able to turn it off - again. It was the way he could explaiin things and make everything sound so plausible. When Rick flew across the country just two weeks later to meet my family, there was no little voice telling me that things were moving too fast and just maybe, this relationship was too good to be true. My mother's little voice was telling her that but mine wasn't. We became engaged just weeks later and purchased a new home together just weeks after that - no little voice. Even his daughter's pain when she would visit us in San Francisco didn't trigger my little voice. I accepted what Rick had told me about his daughter's mother and how she had contributed to the problems he had with his relationship with his daughter. No little voice to tell me that maybe there was another side to the story - that I should check out his story.

I always had an uneasy feeling when Rick brought up the name of the HR Executive who had hired him at the company where we worked together. When the same man offered Rick an opportunity in Atlanta after we were married, I had the same uneasy feeling. It happened again when the same HR Executive recruited Rick for a job in Raleigh, I expressed my concern to Rick each time and each time Rick offered the same response - that his Human Resources buddy was 'a good guy'. I moved to Atlanta and than on to Raleigh even though I had misgivings about the people who recruiited Rick.

More on the little voice later!

Beware the techniques of the Sociopath

Dr. Martha Stout, in her book 'The Sociopath Next Door', discusses the techniques of the sociopath - what she refers to as 'the tools of the trade'. The first technique she talks about is charm. Dr. Stout believes it is "a primary characteristic of sociopathy. The intense charm of people who have no conscience, a kind of inexplicable charisma, has been observed and commented on by countless victims, and by researchers who attempt to catalog the diagnostic signs of sociopathy. It is a potent characteristic". Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak talk about the role of charm during the interview process in their latest book "Snakes in Suits - When Psychopaths Go To Work". According to the book, "one of the most effective skills psychopaths use to get the trust of people is their ability to charm them. Some psychopaths lay the charm on too thick, coming across as glib, superficial, and unconvincing. Hower, the truly talented ones have raised their ability to charm people to that of an art, priding themselves on their ability to present a fictional self to others that is convincing, taken at face value, and difficult to penetrate". One must always keep in mind that the charm, like manipulation, can be very subtle.

Seduction is another common technique of the sociopath. According to Dr. Stout "people without conscience have an uncanny sense of who will be vulnerable to a sexual overture". But seduction is not llimited to sexual relationships; sociopaths can and will seduce family, friends and colleagues with their acting skills. Sociopaths will seduce others for power, money, control and sex.

The pity play is next on the list of sociopathic techniques. It's okay to pity someone who has gone through difficult times, but if you find yourself feeling sorry for someone's sad story, make sure the story is true. The pity play should be a warning sign to all of us.

Projection and gaslighting are also on the list of common sociopathic techniques. Sociopaths refuse to be held accountable for their behavior and often assign their own behavior to their victims. For example, a sociopath could accuse a victim of stealing when it is the sociopath himself that steals. Gaslighting is a common practice of abusers who attempt to convince their victims they are defective for any reason such as making the victim more emotional, more needy or dependent. For example, if an abusive person says hurtful things and tries to convince you that you are mentally unstable and starts recommending that you get professional help, you might be in the presence of a gaslilghter.

According to Dr. Hare and Dr. Babiak, psychopaths are always on the lookout for individuals to scam or swindle. The psychopathic approach includes three phases: the assessment phase, the manipulation phase and the abandonment phase. "Some psychopaths are opportunistic, aggressive predators who wil take advantage of almost anyone they meet, while others are more patient, waiting for the perfect, innocent victim to cross their path. In each case, the psychopath is constantly sizing up the potential usefulness of an individual as a source of money, power, sex or influence". The authors go on to say that some psychopaths enjoy a challenge while others prey on people who are vulnerable. This could include people who are lonely or people who need emotional support, elderly people or those who have been recently hurt or victimized. During the assessment phase, the psychopath is able to determine a potential victim's weak points and will use those weak points to seduce.

Once the psychopath has identified a victim, the manipulation phase begins. During the manipulation phase, a psychopath may create a persona or mask, specifically designed to 'work' for his or her target. A psychopath will lie to gain the trust of their victim. A psychopath's lack of empathy and guilt allows them to lie with ease - "they don't see the value of telling the truth unless it will help get them what they want".

In Chapter 4 of the book "Snakes in Suits", Dr. Hare and Dr. Babiak write:

"As interaction with you proceeds, the psychopath carefully assesses your persona. Your persona gives the psychopath a picture of the traits and characteristics you value in yourself. Your persona may also reveal, to an astute observer, insecurities or weaknesses you wish to minimize or hide from view. As an ardent student of human behavior, the psychopath will then gently test the inner strengths and needs that are part of your private self and eventually build a personal relationship with you by communicating (through words and deeds) four important messages".

According to the book the four messages that the psychopath communicates are 1) I like who you are; 2) I am just like you; 3) Your secrets are safe with me; and 4) I am the perfect friend or lover or partner for you.

Dr. Hare and Dr. Babiak sum up the differences between a real bond between two people who meet each other and have much in common and the psychopathic bond quite well:

"..the persona of the psychopath-the "personality" the person is bonding with-does not really exist. It was built on lies, carefully woven together to entrap you. It is a mask, one of many, custom-made by the psychopath to fit your particular psychological needs and expectations. It does not reflect the true personality--the psychopathic personality--that lies beneath. It is a convenient fabrication. Second, these relationships are not based on informed choice. The psychopath chooses you and then moves in. Outsiders, without the benefit of intimate converesation, may see what is really going on, but we tend to discount these observations, and may spend energy convincing our friends that this person is special. Third, because it is faked, it won't last like genuine relationships. While genuine relationships change over time--love may turn to hate, marriages end in divorce--the initial starting point was based on real data, as it was known at the time. People change over time, and sometimes grow apart. The psychopath, though, will not invest more than minimal energy in maintaining the relationship unless you can offer something really special, which is not usually the case. Hence, when the relationship ends, you may be left wondering what just happened. Fourth, the relationhip is one-sided because the psychopath has an ulterior--some would say "evil"--and, at the very least, selfish motive. The victimization goes far beyond trying to take advantage of someone on a date or during a simple business transaction. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. Healthy, real relationships are built on mutual respect and trust; they are based on sharing honest thoughts and feelings. The mistaken belief that the psychopathic bond has any of these characteristics is the reason it is so successful".

Dr. Hare goes on to say that the psychopathic bond can take place very quickly, sometimes within hours. That means it could happen over coffee, drinks, in a business meeting or, as Dr. Hare mentions, on a cross-country airplane trip.

The abandonment phase begins when the psychopath decides that their victim is no longer useful. They abandon their vicim and move on to someone else. In the case of romantic relationshps, a psychopath will usually seal a relationship with their next target before abandoning their current victim. Abandonment can happen quickly and can occur without the current victim knowing that the psychopath was looking for someone new. There will be no apologies for the hurt and pain they cause because psychopaths do not appreciate these emotions.

What Dr. Hare and Babiak discuss in their most recent book is chiling and disturbing but the information should not be ignored. I believe it is human nature to want to avoid bad news or discount information that may be difficult to comprehend. Confronting the truth that there are millions of people in this country alone that exhibit the traits of a psychopath or sociopath is extremely hard to believe for most of us. We all want to believe in the goodness of others; we assume that everyone can feel empathy and guilt, compassion and real love. Unforturnately, what you see is not always what you get and appearances can be deceiving. To anyone who is interested in protecting themselves or others against the psychopathic bond, please read "Snakes in Suits - When Psychopaths Go To Work" by Dr Robert Hare Ph.D. and Dr. Paul Babiak, Ph.D. As the book states "The number of people with psychopathic personalities suggests that most of us will come across at least one psychopath during a typical day. However, the ability of clever psychopaths to hide their true nature makes it difficult to tell them from others one might meet on the street".

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Psychopaths, Sociopaths, Antisocials

It can be confusing when you try to understand the labels attached to certain types of behavior. Behavior defined as psychopathy by one expert can be referred to as sociopathy by another expert. The important thing to remember is that only professionals can properly evaluate an individual's behavior. Dr. Robert Hare, in his new book 'Snakes in Suits - When Psychopaths Go To Work', cautions all of us to be careful not to use labels as it indicates a diagnosis. Dr. Hare believes "it is sufficient to be aware that a given individual appears to have many of the traits and behaviors that define psychopathy."

Dr. Hare collaboarated with Dr. Paul Babiak to write his latest book. In Chapter 10 of the book, the experts list fourteen things we can all do to protect ourselves from being taken by a psychopath. Avoiding the use of labels is number two on their list; number one on the list is to learn all you can about psychopathy. Some of the other items on the list: understand why a psychopath would target you - your utility to a psychopath, understand your hot buttons and weak spots, understand how psychopaths manipulate others, and the one I believe is critical, avoid the psychopathic bond.

Dr. Hare and Dr. Babiak say "the most common types of utility attractive to psychopaths relate to money, power, fame and sex. The authors go on to say that psychopaths use impression management to get you to share with them. Psychopaths may prey on your generosity, trusting nature or sense of charity. Along with impression management, psychopaths use subtle charm and manipulation techniques to convince you that they like who you are. "Over the course of a long conversation or a series of meetings, a psychopath will try to convince you that he/she shares many of your likes, dislikes, traits, and attitudes." The manipulation can be very subtle. "Psychopathic stories are carefully crafted to mesh with an individual's hot buttons and weak spots." Psychopaths try to convince you that their integrity is real and that the relationship is based on honesty and trust. Dr. Hare and Babiak believe that at this point an individual will believe that the things they had learned about the psychopath's life are true - "they do not suspect that they were being lied to or that much of what they had heard was fabrication. Psychopaths are able to convince you that the relationship is special, unique and that you were meant to be together. They portray themselves as the perfect partner, friend, business partner or employee.

It is important to avoid the psychopathic bond. According to Dr. Hare and Babiak "Sensitivity to the bonding process is good preventive medicine. Be wary of falling for someone's story too quickly. Solid relationships take time to develop and grow; apply critical thinking and careful assessment along the way. If you feel that this person is too good to be true, try to prove yourself wrong."

Even though 'Snakes in Suits - When Psychopaths Go To Work' focuses on psychopaths in the workplace, I believe the book will be helpful to anyone who wants to protect themselves from the seduction and manipulation of a psychopath.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My Aha! Moment

During a break in Rick's deposition in November 2002, my attorney looked at me and said "Catherine, what did you see in this man". I responded to my attorney by saying that "the man sitting across the table from us is not the man I married". As the deposition dragged on that day, I desperately looked for any signs of guilt or remorse or empathy.

Later that day, as I was driving home from the depositions, I started to think about what I said to my attorney that moring and suddenly I realized that, in my opinion, who I saw that morning was the 'real' Rick. In my opinion, the personality traits and behavior that I had experienced since Rick walked out on me in December 2001, Rick's behavior in November 1998 and again in April 2001 - that was the real Rick. I believe that everything else was just about a man who had become what he thought I wanted him to be. The supportive leader who mentored me as a new manager, the attentive husband who appeared to care about my financial and emotional well-being. I started to cry and continued to cry as I pulled into my garage at home.

I remember feeling astonished by, in my opinion, Rick's ability to conceal who he really was and just how good he was at fooling everyone around him - family, friends and colleagues. I kept asking myself "how did I not know?" He appeared to be so honest and trustworthy, kind and compassionate. In my opinion, it was all about keeping up appearances and Rick kept up the appearances until the end. When I finally telephoned my parents to tell them that Rick had left me, my mother admitted that her first thoughts were "what did Catherine do wrong?" My mother and father had continued to see a 'devoted husband' when they were visiting for Christmas in December 2001. I realized that I had helped Rick conceal his behavior by not telling my family what he had put me through prior to their visit. I never told them about what he did to me in April 2001 just before we were to move into our new home. Then I started to think about Rick's own family. They had to know what he put his first wife through during the divorce process.

Not long after my aha! moment, I received a telephone call from a woman I worked with for a short time in Atlanta. Mary was a single mother, she was raising three children with virtually no financial support from her ex-husband. Mary's story was so unbelievable to me at the time. If I didn't know Mary, I probably would not have believed what I was hearing about her divorce and the extent to which her ex-husband went to cause pain for Mary. I invited Mary and her kids over for dinner one evening and Rick was so attentive to her kids. Mary thought I was so lucky to have a good husband. I eventually lost touch with Mary until November 2002. She called me on my cell phone out of the blue one day. I was so shocked to hear from her and wondered how she had gotten my telephone number. Turns out she had run into Rick on a flight from Boston to Raleigh one morning. She was on her way to Raleigh for an interview. She had no idea what was happening between Rick and I. When she asked Rick how I was doing, he told her the sad news that our marriage had problems that could not be resolved and that our divorce was almost final. Mary was shocked and didn't think things sounded right. She asked him for my telephone number but Rick said he couldn't remember the number. Mary pressed him and he finally said he had my cell phone number. When she reached me, I told her the truth, told her about Rick's affair and everything else I had learned about his past behavior. Mary was one person who understood how appearances could be deceiving. How ironic that Rick ran into her that day on a plane. Mary asked me why Rick was still wearing a wedding ring if our divorce was almost final. I told her that I had just seen Rick the week or two before and he didn't have a ring on that day but when she saw him, he had a ring on that looked like a wedding ring. I instantly thought about the ring he wore when I met him in 1995. It also looked like a wedding ring but he wasn't married then. At the time, Rick said it wasn't anything. In my opinion, it was about keeping up appearances.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Psychopaths in the Workplace

Fast Company magazine ran a cover story in the July 2005 issue entitled "Is Your Boss A Psychopath". The article was written by Alan Deutschman. In the article, Deutschman says "psychopaths succeed in conventional society in large measure because few of us grasp that they are fundamentally different from ourselves. We assume that they, too, care about other people's feelings. This makes it easier for them to "play" us." Included in the same article are tips from Martha Stout, the author of The Sociopath Next Door. The tips: 1) Suspect flattery - outrageous flattery is often an attempt to draw you into a psychopath's snare. If you feel your ego is being massaged, you may be dealing with a psychopath. 2) Take labels and titles with a grain of salt - just because someone is older or has a higher position does not mean his or her moral judgment is better than yours. 3) Always question authority when it conflicts with your own sense of right and wrong. 4) Never agree to help a psychopath conceal his or her suspicious activities at work. 5) Never confuse fear of your boss with feelings of respect. 6) Realistically assess the damage to your life.

Mr. Deutschman also quoted Dr. Robert Hare in his article in Fast Company magazine. Dr. Hare, along with Dr. Paul Babiak, an industrial psychologist, now market a personality test called the B-Scan, that companies can use to identify job candidates that "may have an MBA but lack a conscience". Hare went on to say in the article "There are certainly more people in the business world who would score high in the psychopathic dimension than in the general population. You'll find them in any organization where, by the nature of one's position, you have the power and control over other people and the opportunity to get something.

Unfortunately, psychopaths in the workplace are just as hard to spot as they are in romantic relationships. Psychopaths can conceal their behavior behind normal facades.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More on Sociopaths

Sociopaths are individuals that lack a sense of responsibility and morality. They may be manipulative but are always consistent liars. Lying is second nature to sociopaths. And they lie just for the fun of it. In 'Without Conscience', Dr. Hare says that "lying, deceiving and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths. When caught in a lie or challenged by the truth, they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed - they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie. The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener". Sociopaths will lie and cheat to deceive for money, power, control and sex. They seldom stick around to have their lies exposed; instead, they move on to a new neighborhood or city. The lying and deception, the manipulation and conning are pervasive.

Sociopaths are impulsive and don't spend much time considering the consequences of their actions. According to Dr. Hare "the psychopath carries out his evaluation of a situation - what he will get out of it and at what costs - without the usual anxieties, doubts and concerns about being humilitated, causing pain, sabotaging future plans..." These are the things that people of conscience struggle with when considering possible actions. Sociopaths know the rules but choose which ones to follow. "They have little resistance to temptation and their transgressions elicit no guilt" (Dr. Hare p76). Often times, sociopaths are protected from the consequences of their behavior by family members, friends and colleagues.

Sociopaths are often glib when questioned about their behavior. They are famous for not answering the question asked them or they answer in a way to confuse the questioner. Their answers can often seem unresponsive to the question (Hare p139)

I learned from reading Dr. Stout's book 'The Socipath Next Door', that those without conscience engage in certain techniques to 'keep us in line'. The techniques that Dr Stout talks about in her book are charm, risk-taking, gaslighting and seduction. Socipaths can instantly recognize someone who is trusting and have the uncanny ability to determine a person's weak spots very quickly. Those weak spots will be exploited over and over and over again. Susan Forward, PhD. has an entire chapter of her book, 'When Your Lover Is A Liar', dedicated to describing sociopaths. In the book, she states 'don't forget for a moment that all sociopaths have one vital thing in common: an extraordinary ability to win the loyalty and devotion of the woman they exploit.

Dr. Forward goes on to say in her book "he speaks words of love that sound fabulous, and he seems completely devoted to making you happy. He's calm, not shifty, and confident - never anxious or guilty. If he makes a blunder, he sounds sincerely sorry, and his promises are just what you want to hear". Dr. Forward believes that 'seduction and deception are the twin hallmarks of the sociopath.

Sociopaths don't see you as a person but as an object. We are a means to an end for a sociopath.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sociopaths - the 'perfect' romantic partner

I will never forget the day I found information on the Internet related to romantic relationships with sociopaths. The more I looked, the more I found.

Sociopaths can be very romantic, extremely charming and incredibly generous. They will shower their target with attention, flattery and gifts of all kinds - jewelry, clothes, flowers. A socipath will sweep you off your feet and treat you unlike anyone has ever treated you. He will typically seal the relationship very quickly, often before he discards his current victim.

Sociopaths have the ability to gain your affection very quickly and a relationship with a sociopath becomes intense very quickly. They say all the right things and do all the right things to get what they think they want for the moment. It is not unusual for a sociopath to provide an endless about of support, running errands, organizing and encouraging you when you need it.

A romantic relationship is just another opportunity for a sociopath to find a trusting partner who buys into the lies. Everything about the relationship is a game. They can be extremely charming in a relationship while doing much damage behind the scenes by having countless affairs and lying about them. He will lie to his latest target while he is lying to his current victim. A sociopath will show his true self when he has his next target lined up and he knows that his current relationship is coming to an end.

Sociopaths fail to fulfill their promises or commitment made with romantic partners. They usually have a string of broken relationships and/or failed marriages due to their inability to feel true love and sustain intimate relationships. They never really form emotional attachments and therefore lack any sense of obligation. It may appear that there is an attachment but it isn't real. According to Dr. Martha Stout in her book 'The Sociopath Next Door', sociopaths will marry but never for love. Their relationships allow them to appear normal. Sociopaths can "know the words but not the music". They learn to appear emotional and romantic by imitating others' behavior.

Sociopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have on others including wives, children, family and friends. They do not feel remorse, guilt or shame. They are not able to care about the pain and suffering experienced by others due to their complete lack of empathy which is a prerequisite for love. Sociopaths are always takers and never givers in spite of appearances and the illusion they create.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Journey

My journey began with a simple search on the Internet. I googled the word 'conscience' some time in April 2002. I know what the word means and knew then but I wanted to get an official definition. It all came about because someone said to me that some people don't ever feel guilty because of a lack of conscience. The whole notion that there are people out there who never feel guilty is incomprehensible to most people. It was to me in 2002.

Over the next few months, I continued to educate myself about people who lack the ability to feel guilt or remorse. Eventually I googled the word 'sociopath' because everything I saw on the Internet seemed to tie the two words together. The word 'psychopath' was also used in the information I found. The information was very disturbing and very difficult to understand. I think so many people believe that sociopaths are serial killers or, at the very least, look evil. But that is not the case.

I eventually found an online support group for people who believe that they have come into contact with a sociopath. I was shocked at the number of people who could tell a story, people who were struggling to recover their physical, emotional and/or financial well-being. I read a book entitled "Without Conscience" by Dr. Robert Hare and learned that 1% of the US population have characteristics similar to a psychopath. Dr. Hare believes that these people come from all walks of life and can create a normal facade to hide their real personality traits. They can be very hard to spot because they don't look any different than anyone else. Sociopaths are often very charming, likeable, easy-going and fun to be around. They don't worry like normal people do. They can be intelligent, impressive and inspire confidence. Sociopaths have an overwhelming need to be admired and often portray themselves as kind, compassionate and caring people. Only their victims know the truth.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I don't believe there is any such thing as a coincidence. I didn't always believe that. But I have learned that everything in life happens for a reason. The reason isn't always clear at the moment but becomes clear as time passes. Or, sometimes, time passes and then something happens that explains something in the past.

In one of my previous posts, I related a story about my experience with the HR Executive at the company where Rick worked when I informed him that Rick had developed another romantic relationship with a woman at the office. The second time I spoke to Frank I told him that I thought Rick's pattern of behavior showed a profound lack of professional integrity. He responded by telling me he thought it was "a case of poor judgement". I did not agree with his assessment.

More than two years later, I was driving to an appointment and stopped for gas. It was November 5, 2004 to be exact. As I was pumping my gas, I realized that I had forgotten to bring along anything to read in case I had to wait for my appointment. There was a newspaper box at the gas station so I purchased a USA Today to take with me. The only time I ever read USA Today is if I am traveling or it is dropped at my hotel door. I arrived at my appointment and pulled out the Money section of the newspaper and there on the front page of the Money section was an article entitled "Business Scandals Prompt Look Into Personal Lives - Some executives facing legal trouble also hit marital rocks." The article stated "In a quest for more ethical leaders, recruiters are increasingly looking into executives' personal lives for evidence of womanizing, and other behavior that raises questions about their integrity. While there is no scientific proof that a philanderer if more - or less- likely to be involved in financial fraud, many executives implicated in recent corporate scandals exhibited other forms of questionable moral behavior along the way." The article went on to quote Thomas DiBiagio, the U.S. Attorney for Maryland, whose office prosecuted Nathan Chapman. Chapman was sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison for defrauding the state of Maryland's pension fund system and looting three publicly traded companies. Three former mistresses testified at his trial. DiBiagio is quoted in the article "If their life is a lie, it's not confined to their personal life. If they are lying to their wives, there's huge potential they are also lying to their colleagues, their board of directors and potentially their auditors." Other executives mentioned in the article who had affairs - Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers, Jeff Skilling and Jack Welch. A psychologist, Janis Abrahams Spring, said in the article that there are some common personality traits between those who cheat in and outside the office. Spring says high level executives grow used to special consideration in everything they do. She said "some people lie a lot and break the rules a lot - it's a way of being. They see themselves as entitled to get their needs met, so you may see these behaviors across the board.

I found the article fascinating and it confirmed for me that there are other people that also believe that executives who engage in office dating while married show a lack of integrity. I wasn't crazy when I spoke to Frank and in my opoinion, Rick's affair with Gina wasn't just poor judgement.

Even more fascinating to me was the way I happened upon the article in the paper. What are the chances that I would purchase the newspaper that day and find that article? Most would say it was just a coincidence. I don't believe that! Everything happens for a reason. There were other things that happened not long after my divorce that seemed like a coincidence. One day, I received a telephone call from an acquaintance. She mentioned that she had played golf that weekend with a woman that had worked at Dialog during the time my former husband was there. She asked me for the name of the woman that Rick had an affair with and when I told her, she told me that her golf partner had been Gina's manager. A coincidence? I don't think so.

Things happen for a reason. I believe that even my experience with Rick happened for a reason. What I learned from my experience is invaluable to me today - both what I learned about Rick and more importantly, what I learned about myself.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"The Loser"

I recently found an article on the Internet written by Dr. Joseph Carver, PhD and Psychologist called "The Loser" - Warning Signs You Are Dating a Loser. The second item on the list is 'Quick Attachment and Expression' ---

"The Loser" has very shallow emotions and connections with others. One of the things that might attract you to "The Loser" is how quickly he or she says "I Love You" or wants to marry or commit to you. Typically, in less than a few weeks of dating you'll hear that you're the love of their life, they want to be with you forever, and they want to marry you. You'll receive gifts, a variety of promises, and be showered with their attention and nice gestures. This is the "honeymoon phase" - where they catch you and convince you that they are the best thing that ever happened to you. Remember the business saying "If it's too good to be true it probably is (too good to be true)!" You may be so overwhelmed by this display of instant attraction, instant commitment, and instant planning for the future that you'll miss the major point - it doesn't make sense!! Normal, healthy individuals require a long process to develop a relationship because there is so much at stake. Healthy individuals will wait for a lot of information before offering a commitment - not three weeks. It's true that we can become infatuated with others quickly - but not make such unrealistic promises and have the future planned after three dates. The rapid warm-up is always a sign of shallow emotions which later cause "The Loser" to detach from you as quickly as they committed. "The Loser" typically wants to move in with you or marry you in less than four weeks or very early in the relationship.

In my opinion, I was married to 'the loser'.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

In Retrospect

According to experts, there are people in the world that prey on others that may be vulnerable for one reason or another. It could be for money or power or control or sex. The more I read about these people, the more I wanted to know about what made a person vulnerable - what were the personality traits that a social predator looked for in a potential target? I started to see myself in the characteristics of a target -- I was a single woman who had never found a perfect mate, I was a woman who wore her heart and passions on her sleeve and I was very trusting. I had morals and a strong sense of guilt. I often made the mistake of revealing too much about myself too soon when I met someone. I don't do that anymore.

I believe that my ex-husband could see all those traits in me when I began to work for him in 1995.

In my opinion, I gave away my weak spots without even realizing it. My greatest weak spot was my love for my family which I believe Rick exploited during the six years of our relationship. I thought he really cared about my parents and my brothers, sister and nieces and nephews. I believe that telling Rick that I could never marry anyone that didn't love my family too was a big mistake. All those wonderful things he did for all of them, the trips he planned for them, the support he showed them never really meant anything. In my opinion, he was exploiting my weak spot.

In my opinion, there were many signs that things weren't quite right. There was the affair he had that ended his first marriage. I recently read a newspaper column that said that unlike the stock market, in human relationships, past performance is an indicator of future behavior. Rick was so convincing when he told me how sorry he was that the affair had happened and that for years he had asked his first wife to go for marriage counseling. There was the relationship he had with his children which in my opinion, was strained at best. But again, Rick explained it away by telling me that his first wife had created the strain by saying mean things about him in front of the children, There was the financial obligation that Rick failed to tell me about in the beginning, the loan from his grandmother, and then when he did tell me he, he misrepresented the facts.

During our marriage, Rick decided that he wanted to pay off his child support obligation early so he came up with a plan and presented the plan to his first wife. She accepted the plan so Rick paid her a sum of money at the end of the year and another sum of money the beginning of the following year. He told his first wife that the money was coming from the bonus he would be receiving. It was not until after Rick moved out that I discovered the money he had paid his first wife came from accounts that he had established for his children. The accounts were funded by money gifted to his children from their great-grandmother. I don't know if his children even knew about the accounts or that their great-grandmother was giving them the money. When the checks were distributed each year, Rick made sure his children's checks were sent to him. I was so horrified when I discovered Rick's paper trail. I believe it was a very deceitful way to use his children's money to pay off his child support obligation. During Rick's deposition, he claimed that he had used his bonus in 2002 to repay the money in the accounts and that he had always intended to do that but he failed to mention that I had telephoned his first wife when I discovered the paper trail to let her know what he had done.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Wisdom of Hindsight

In my opinion, there were so many signs that things weren't right, so many signs that I missed along the way. I teased Rick once during our marriage that our dinner together that night of June 22, 1995 was all part of his plan to seduce me. Rick laughed at me when I told him; I didn't know at the time but in my opinion, I was right. I do not believe there was anything innocent about the way our relationship began. My promotion and raise, the bonus I received, the way Rick mentored me, the trips to Starbucks for coffee, the lunch at Palio D'Asti, the beers after work with colleagues. I thought at the time that Rick was an Executive who wanted to see people succeed and gave them the tools to do just that. In fact, when my mother expressed her concern about the pace at which my relationshp with Rick had progressed, I reassured her by telling her that I had worked with Rick for six months and saw how he treated people in the office, his ability to connect with everyone he met. I believed he was honest and trustworthy. In retrospect, I believe that everything was just too good to be true,

It is difficult to describe the profound sadness and grief that I experienced when I realized that, in my opinion, nothing was real about my relationship with Rick. It wasn't about all the women during my marriage or that Rick left me for another woman. In my opinion, Rick exploited my trust and love and manipulated me for over six years. It took many months to discover the truth but far longer to accept it. It was incomprehensible to me that someone could do that for over six years without me knowing it. I believed I was much smarter than that. And what about my family and friends. Like me, they only saw the signs in hindsight,

As I looked back, I believe there were things that happened during my marriage that just weren't normal. Even the way our relationship began wasn't quite normal in my opinion. Rick swept me off my feet and showered me with gifts and affection. He sealed our relationship so quickly. Rick has done the same thing with the other women in his life.

When Rick's children would visit our home in San Francisco, his daughter would cry at night. One evening, Rick and I were already in bed and his daughter was still crying. Her bedroom was directly below ours so we could both hear her sobbing. I told Rick that he needed to go downstairs to see what was bothering her but he said that she would eventually stop. When I look back now, I can see the pain that Rick's daughter was in even though it had been two years since he separated from his first wife. Rick explained his daughter's tears by telling me that his first wife often said mean things about him in front of his children and therefore, his relationship with his children was stressful. I felt so sorry for Rick that his children often forgot to call him on his birthday or send cards for Father's Day. It never occurred to me that it was all just a pity play on Rick's part.

There were times when I thought Rick's reactions to certain events were odd but I just attributed it to the difference between men and women. For instance, I remember turning on the television late one Sunday evening after Rick and I had gotten into bed and the news was covering the tragic accident of Princess Diana in a Paris tunnel. I was stunned and shocked and wanted to know what happened. In my opinnion, the tragedy of the event didn't seem to phase Rick. The same was true when we heard the news of the tragic plane crash off the coast of Cape Cod that took the lives of John Kennedy Jr and his wife. Rick and I were in San Diego when we learned of the plane's disappearance and again, in my opinion, the tragedy of the event didn't seem to register with Rick. I began to think that it was me, that my reaction was strange.

And then there was 9/11. I was in my car that day, driving from Raleigh to Atlanta. I had left the house around 7AM and was listening to CD's in my car. Rick called me on my cell phone and asked me if I was listening to the news. He went on to tell me of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Towers and the collapse of the buildings. I almost drove off the road as I began to listen to the reports on the radio. I called my parents in San Diego who were out there visiting my brother. My mother told me to turn around and go home. Since none of us really knew what was happening, I thought it would be best to be home with Rick. I called Rick and he said that I would be safe and to just keep going on to Atlanta. I turned around anyway and drove another four hours home. Rick's reaction just seemed different to me, Just a few months later, in Decemer 2001, when Rick was trying so hard to convince me that our marriage was over, I reminded him of how lucky we were to have each other and that so many people had lost spouses in the tragedy of 9/11. Rick responded by saying that we didn't know if their marriages were happy!! I was so stunned and horrified by what I believe was a callous response.

In April, 2001, Rick stood in the doorway of our apartment bedroom and told me that our marriage was failing and we should rethink closing on our new home. I was sitting on the floor in the corner of the bedroom, sobbing as I listened to him tell me that I was mentally unstable and that I needed to get help. In hindsight, I know that I was reacting to his pyschological and emotional abuse and that my reaction was normal. I think at the time I was depressed but certainly not mentally unstable. As I have shared my experience with people, they are often amazed by how much abuse I was able to handle without falling apart. In my opinnion, Rick dished out the same psychological abuse in December 2001 after he had sealed his relationship with Gina. Rick accused me of making it hard for him to see his children and that I only gave 20% to my marriage when he gave 150%. In retrospect I believe he was projecting his own behavior on me but at the time, I believed him.

It was only in hindsight that I saw that my relationship with Rick, in my opinion, was built upon a foundation of lies and deception. I do not believe I ever had the kind of love that can sustain a relationship much less a marriage. I believe that Rick said it best in an email to me in late January 2002 when he told me that he 'could not resurrect the love or potential love he once felt'. I do no believe It was really love at all. I do not believe I really ever had a marriage because marriage is a commitment based on honesty and truthfulness and love. In my opinion, it looked like a marriage, it felt like a marriage, but it wasn't a marriage. Hindsight is 20/20.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

No Surprises

Rick had been voluntarily suppporting me in 2002 as long as I did not contact Gina or his family, friends or colleagues. He pulled the plug on the financial support in October 2002. He claimed that he was frustrated with the lack of progress we had made in reaching a settlement. Our attempts at a settlement were not successful so my attorney filed a motion to get temporary support for me until we did have an agreement. The motion led to a day of depositions.

There weren't alot of surprises during Rick's deposition. Rick was questioned about the information he provided on his financial affadavit. Rick failed to disclose that his company was paying him $3800/month for housing expenses in Boston. He had relocated to Boston in June 2002 and did not provide any documentation about the payments during discovery but the payments were revealed by requesting a copy of his employee file. Rick was submitting expense reports each month for the $3800. I wasn't surprised that Rick did not disclose that his expenses included expenses for Gina too. She had relocated to Boston with him.

A little background on Rick's move to Boston. In late March, I told Rick that I intended to file a lawsuit against his girlfriend for Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation. What does all that mean - it means that I could hold her accountable for interfering with my marriage and having sex with my husband. Rick wasn't too happy to hear about my plans. A few weeks later, I telephoned the HR Executive at Dialog. He and Rick had worked together at three different companies. I spoke to him about Rick's behavior and the HR Executive said that he was trying to stay out of a personal matter. When I told him that I had discovered that Rick had misrepresented many of the details of his first marriage, the HR Executive told me that perhaps I should have checked Rick's references before I married him just like HR Professionals do with job candidates! I told him that the Sheriff would serve Gina with papers at the office. I specifically asked Frank not to interfere in any way by assisting Rick with leaving town or providing any financial support to Rick. I related a story to Frank about an Executive at another company. The Executive was having an affair with a woman at the office and when his wife found out about it, she too was planning to file a lawsuit against the woman. So the company moved the executive and his girlfriend to Europe and paid off the wife so she wouldn't pursue the lawsuit. Frank was angry that I would even suggest such a thing and told me that nothing of the sort would happen in my case. Just a few weeks later, according to Rick's own deposition, Rick began discussions with his boss, the president of the company, about the problems that existed in the Boston office. It seemed that Rick was the logical choice to try to solve the problems in Boston and was given a choice of moving there or staying in Raleigh and commuting to Boston. So he chose to move to Boston with financial support from the company. In his deposition, Rick stated that he believed (imagined) that it was the HR Executive and another member of the Executive team who were involved in the decision to use company money to assist Rick with his living expenses in Boston. The Sheriff did attempt to serve Gina at the office but he was told that she no longer worked at the company. When the Sheriff attempted delivery of the papers at the last known address for Gina, she was no longer living there and did not leave a forwarding address. She had moved to Boston with Rick. It was no surprise. I told a friend of mine that I had intentionally telephoned Frank and Rick to test them! Things played out exactly as I had expected.

It wasn't a surprise to find out that Rick's claim of tuition expenses for his children was overstated. He had included a monthly amount that represented money he contributed for his children's college tuition but then disclosed that most of the money was coming from accounts funded by the children's great-grandmother.

It wasn't a surprise to hear what Rick had to say about the contributions I made to our marriage in his responses to Interrogatories. He stated in one of his responses that "she made little to no contributions, whether monetary or service oriented, to the marriage, and she did not act as a homemaker." Rick also claimed that "defendant decided that she was going to stop working completely even though she was earning substantial amounts of income". Rick made these statements in response to a request to provide a factual claim that an equal division of property would not be equitable in our divorce case. It wasn't a surprise that when confronted with the statements, his answer, in my opoinion, was logically inconsistent. He admitted under oath that I paid all the non-mortgage expenses during our marriage but still stuck to his story. The truth was that I did pay all the bills but the mortgage since Rick wasy paying alimony and/or child support to his first wife for most of our marriage. I paid for all my own clothes and other expenses. I funded the projects that improved our home and paid for some of our vacation. I never decided alone to stop working - my career was upended when we moved to Atlanta and again when we moved to Raleigh. In my opinion, Rick was often evasive in answering the questions posed to him by my attorney during his deposition and at times his answers were confusing.

I wasn't surprised to learn during Rick's deposition that he had paid off Gina's credit card debt soon after he left me. Or that he paid off her car loan early. Rick did the same thing for the woman he lived with before me. It wasn't a surprise that Gina quickly became Rick's beneficiary on his life insurance policy and defined contribution plan. Rick quickly did the same for me when our relationship began in 1995.

I wasn't surprised at what I read in court filings related to the lawsuit I filed against Gina. In her Affirmative Defense, Gina claimed that she was 'consistently lied to by Plaintiff's husband" and she pleaded as an affirmative defense that she had no knowledge of an existing marriage between Rick and me and that upon her information and belief, we were separated, living apart and awaiting a final divorce date. I believe that Gina believed whatever Rick had told her about our marriage. I believe she found Rick's stories plausible as I had in the beginning of our relationship.

I wasn't surprised when the home I Iived in went on the market in the summer of 2003 as part of a relocation benefit Rick received from his company. Rick was preparing to move from Boston to the Minneapolis area and since it was related to his promotion, he received financial assistance for his move. It is a common practice for anyone at Rick's level to receive assistance with the sale of a residence and the expenses incurred with moving personal property. I thought it was a bit unusual in this case because Rick had not lived in the house for 1-1/2 years and his last address in the area was not thehome in which I was living. I had asked about the possibility of this happening during our divorce negotiations and the answer I received at that time was an emphatic NO. But, after sixty days, a relocation company stepped in and purchased our home.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What I Know

In my first post of this journal, I said that life isn't so much about our experiences but what we learn from our experiences and what we do with what we learn. Up to this point, I have focused on sharing my experience but it is now time to share what I learned from my experience with Rick King.

Before I do that, I want to share what I know for sure. I know for sure that there will be people who may read this journal and believe that I am 'just another vindictive ex-wife' that hasn't moved on with life. I can not stop people from thinking that way and I no longer worry about it. I know what is in my heart and why I do the things I do.

I know for sure that there are always people who believe what they want to believe. That doesn't matter to me anymore.

I know for sure that I have no regrets about my experiences of the past, even my experience with Rick. I have grown in so many ways in the last four years.