Having been involved for nearly 10 years in the online “support” for victims of offenders, abusers and psychopaths, I have come to understand that it is an unfortunate reality that many of the very people who pretend to be “supportive” of victims, are themselves abusers, who use their “supportive” sites as money making enterprises, to either sell their books, or to get “fees” for “helping” victims.
Now as a retired medical and mental health professional, I realize that everyone, even a therapist, must make a living and I am not one for “muzzling the ox that treads the grain” and saying that all people in the helping profession should do it entirely for free.
However, my first experience with an online support group was run by “Doctor” Sam Vaknin, who is a self admitted Narcissist. However, his “degree” is a fake, and the main object of the web sites he owned were to sell his books about Narcissistic and Psychopathic people and how to survive their abuse.
I had been on that Vaknin site for some time, and the “Moderators” of the site were frequently attacking me if I even MENTIONED that I was a Christian…their reason being “that some people who have been abused by religious people may be offende4.” However, if a person came on and touted the benefit of Wicca religion, or using tarot cards and fortune tellers, that was allowed. HUH? Then Sam Vaknin himself wrote an article entitled “Jesus was a Narcissist” in which he “proved” that Jesus was a narcissistic fake. I commented on the article and it was taken down shortly after that, but it started to give me a heads up that Sam Vaknin might not be as squeaky clean as he presented. So I did a bit of research and then left his site.
I found another “supportive” site and posted on there for a while, even went to writing articles for that site. Then someone did a documentary on Sam Vaknin called I psychopath, (you might want to go and watch that film it is very instructive) http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/i-psychopath/ in which Sam’s true colors were well demonstrated and his past life of crime and prison were highlighted, he sure did know about psychopaths, because he WAS ONE.
I posted on other “supportive” sites, but I also saw that there were definitely some disordered people on these sites as well. Now it is difficult enough in face to face contact with a psychopath or con-person to see through the mask of “nice” that they present, and on line, the only contact you have is how they write. Since 90% or more of communication is really NON VERBAL it is extremely difficult to determine if someone on line is conning you.
There have even been cases of “cat-fishing” http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=catfish where a person deliberately pretends to be someone they are not in order to con another person into “falling in love” with them in order to pull off a financial or other scam. Sometimes it is simply for the sheer joy of conning someone.
I noticed even in one “supportive site” hosted by PhDs who were “experts” in psychopathy in their fields, were themselves unable to recognize a psychopath unless it was in prison stripes. The 501c non profit attached to this particular site was named after and hosted by one of the REAL experts, but he didn’t take hands on day to day control of it and one of the PhDs who did the day-to-day management ended up making so many rules that the few people who had been coming there for support were unable to do so in the closely monitored site. They even had PhD students monitoring the blogs and approving every post before it could go live….in fact they had a “special cyber room” where the monitors could talk privately…until one day it was accidentally left “open” so that anyone could see what they were saying…the monitors were laughing about and making fun of the bloggers. So that site and the 501c foundation have come to naught, when it could have done so much good. One of the “board of directors” of this site styled herself as a victim, down on her luck, living in a small RV and no safe place to park it. I allowed her to come here to my farm to park until she could get a job and get back on her feet. Instead of taking advantages of the job opportunities, she spent the time she had here in trying to con me for money for one hair brained scheme after another, until it finally dawned on me, she was simply a FAKE victim, but was instead she was a psychopathic con person who had “lost the fight” with her previous victim and was now posing as a victim herself. This is called the “pity ploy”—oh, don’t criticize me I’m a poooor victim” etc. Well, I asked her to leave here “it just wasn’t working out” and I even gave her some gas money to make sure she could get far away. So for this trouble, she performed the “smear campaign” to anyone who would listen. Fortunately, others knew her for what she really was, and she didn’t do me any damage. I also talked to a psychiatrist who knew her as well and the MD said she agreed with me that this “victim” was in fact an abuser.
Other sites set their hosts up as “experts” and though they have no counseling license or education, they call themselves “life coaches” and charge others fees for their wisdom and advice as well as sell their books, tapes, and personal appearances. This is to me, just a way to get around the license and educational requirements for mental health practitioners. It is sort of like someone without any medical training setting themselves us as a “health care coach” and giving you medical advice.
Of course dissenting voices are banned from these sites by their owners, so only what they want posted goes on the blogs.
Recently a friend of mine who lives in a major city is fighting a corrupt family law judge in her city. There are many women joined with her in this fight in an association. My friend’s son has been removed from her custody and given to the custody of her ex who is a psychopath and most likely a pedophile as well. On one “support” site there was a woman who was an “expert” on this particular court case as she said she had been a victim of this same court, so my friend sent an e mail to her and was informed that the “expert” would not even read her e mail unless she forwarded $150 by Pay Pal.
WOW! I was dumbstruck at someone who would be so greedy to charge $150 for reading one e mail. I wonder how much she would charge for going to court with you.
Also there are people who set themselves us as “legal advisers” to people going to court for divorce or custody. They are not lawyers, but are “trained” in a 19-40 hour course to “advise and hold the hand of and support” someone in court. The group who sells this “service” and by the way, “train each other” and “certify” each other, charge thousands of dollars for a one day court appearance. The courts do not recognize them like an interpreter for the deaf or a language translator is recognized and paid for by the court, but these people are trying to get the courts to pay them these outrageous fees for their “services.”
Which reminds me of the fake sign language interpreter at Mandela’s funeral, who had previously been charged with murder and outed previously as a fake, stood beside the president of the US waving his hands pretending to “sign” what was being said. Very typical of a con man with connections…he was apparently someone’s “brother-in-law” to get the job. The world is filled with such fakes who pretend to “help” for money but are not qualified to help.
The old adage of “buyer beware” holds true in the cyberage as well as in the past. I went to a therapist for my depression, and between my insurance and my secondary insurance he was paid a reasonable fee. If I hadn’t had insurance I would try to find a lower cost alternative if I could not afford to pay cash, but I would still go to someone with a license, not someone who had just decided that they could be a “life coach” and tell me how to run my life, at $150 per e mail. My therapist was paid about $75 per hour, not an unreasonable fee for a licensed PhD professional…but to pay someone $150 for just reading one e mail? Outrageous! So be careful of the web sites you frequent and the information you get off them. Not all sites that pretend to be “experts” out there are indeed even valid at all. Sometimes even those with credentials are not trustworthy either, so it is up to us as former victims to sift the wheat from the chaff and to find the answers we need from people who are not trying to “profit” by their self appointed “expertise.” There are books out there that have been on the market long enough that used copies are very cheap, and if you can read, you can learn to distinguish the true from the false, and to realize that real altruism isn’t out to make a buck off of your pain.