My new book, Senior Sociopaths — How to Recognize and Escape Lifelong Abusers, is now available in the Lovefraud store and on Amazon. Here’s the book’s take-home message: Senior sociopaths engage in antisocial behavior and abuse until they die.
I wrote the book because I married a con man, James Alwyn Montgomery of Australia. He swindled my money, cheated with at least six women, had a child with one of them during our marriage, and 10 days after I left him, married her. It was the second time he committed bigamy.
Montgomery’s behavior made no sense to me — until I learned that he was a sociopath. That’s why I founded Lovefraud — to warn other people about the sociopaths living among us.
As I started educating myself about these personality disorders, I kept reading that sociopaths “burn out” in their 40s, and engage in less antisocial behavior.
This made no sense to me. My ex-husband was 55 when I met him. He’d scammed perhaps 30 women before I met him, and continued to scam women after I divorced him. James Montgomery did not burn out.
I heard the same thing from hundreds of Lovefraud readers. They were dealing with sociopaths — as romantic partners, family members, work colleagues, neighbors — who were age 50 or older and still making their lives miserable.
Still, the prevailing view in the mental health field is that sociopaths engage in less bad behavior as the get older. Is this view wrong?
According to the research for my new book, the answer is yes. The idea that senior sociopaths burn out is a dangerous myth.
Do they burn out?
To gather data for my book, I conducted a survey of Lovefraud readers. I asked about them to describe their experiences with people whom they believed were sociopaths and were over age 50. Respondents wrote about their romantic partners, spouses, parents, family members, work colleagues and acquaintances.
A total of 2,120 people responded. Forty percent of the survey respondents — 826 people — said they knew the person both before and after age 50. They were asked if the sociopaths burned out with age, and the answer was a resounding “no!” Here’s what I asked — and the answers.
Did the individual “mellow out” or “burn out” after age 50? Did the individual engage in less manipulation, deceit or antisocial behavior?
- Yes, much less manipulation, deceit or antisocial behavior — 2%
- Somewhat less manipulation, deceit or antisocial behavior — 7%
- No — the same amount of manipulation, deceit and antisocial behavior — 39%
- The manipulation, deceit and antisocial behavior became worse after age 50 — 52%
Add up the numbers and 91% of survey respondents who answered the question said that the sociopath’s behavior was just as bad — or worse — after age 50.
I asked the survey respondents about typical antisocial behaviors — did the sociopaths commit crimes, abuse substances, engage in violence or manipulation, and were they abusive? The answer is yes, although perhaps not in the ways you might expect.
Many people associate antisocial and psychopathic personalities with crime and drugs. But according to my survey, only 18% of respondents said the sociopaths, while over age 50, were charged with crimes, and only 13% said they were convicted. Still, 38% of respondents reported that the index individuals “got away with” crimes. Maybe, as the perpetrators got older, they also got smarter — at least smart enough to avoid arrest and conviction.
The evidence also showed that while almost half of the sociopaths abused alcohol, the next largest category of substance abuse, at 30%, was “none.” So while there was some level of typical antisocial behavior — crime and substance abuse — the survey respondents reported much more antisocial behavior, manipulation, and emotional and psychological abuse.
Take a look at the following data.
Survey data on antisocial behavior
Here are the percentages of respondents who reported typical antisocial behaviors (N = 935)
Substance abuse over age 50
Tobacco — 27%
Alcohol — 49%
Marijuana — 20%
Illegal drugs — 14%
Prescription drugs — 25%
None — 30%
Antisocial behavior over 50 — 94%
Manipulative over 50 — 99%
Violent over 50 — 47%
Abuse perpetrated over age 50
Physical — 32%
Emotional — 93%
Psychological — 89%
Financial — 58%
Sexual — 30%
Not applicable — 2%
Charged with criminal activity over 50 — 18%
Convicted of criminal activity over 50 — 13%
“Got away with” criminal behavior over 50 — 38%
Changing after 50
Many survey respondents reported that the sociopaths they knew changed after age 50, but the changes were not an improvement. They reported the following:
- Some sociopaths withdrew, and no longer had any interest in social interaction with friends and family.
- Some sociopaths stopped pretending to be human. The mask not only slipped, it was permanently removed.
- Some sociopaths could no longer keep their lies and manipulations straight, and where unable to run the complex schemes that they once did.
- Some sociopaths became more cruel, seeming to actually derive pleasure from hurting people. They stopped trying to cover up their actions.
- Some sociopaths became more angry, sullen and aggressive, and less able to control their tempers.
What should you do?
Here’s why the prevailing view in the mental health field — that sociopaths burn out in their 40s — is dangerous: If you believe it, you might stay involved with a disordered individual far longer than you should.
Senior sociopaths engage in antisocial behavior and abuse until they die. If someone over age 50 is still making your life miserable, there is no point waiting for them to change. Senior sociopaths never calm down and never grow up. Therapy does not work.
The best thing you can do is disconnect from the person. If you can get them out of your life, great. If that’s not possible, keep contact to a minimum and disconnect emotionally.
GET THE BOOK TODAY – Senior Sociopaths — How to Recognize and Escape Lifelong Abusers