ethics, social media

Repost: How Facebook can ruin your life…

This is a slightly modified repost that originally appeared on Blogspot on July 30, 2018. I omitted the first three paragraphs from the original post, because they were about the weather. Hot weather isn’t relevant during April in Germany.

The other day, I read a horrifying story about a woman who posted a comment on a news article that set off the ire of a Jewish woman who was addicted to meth.  Monika Glennon, of Huntsville, Alabama, is a native of Poland who married a Marine.  She has two grown children who are in the military and Glennon now works as a real estate agent.   

In 2014, Glennon made a comment on a news article about a fourteen year old girl who took what some thought was an “inappropriate” selfie at Auschwitz.  Glennon was defending the teen, who was caught smiling at a place where many thousands of innocent people were slaughtered.  Glennon noted that at least the girl visited.  Her comment offended a woman named Mollie Rosenblum, who identified herself as of Jewish descent.  She said Auschwitz should be a place of “quiet reflection” and people didn’t seem to grasp the magnitude of the Holocaust.  Glennon responded that Auschwitz belongs to the people and the type of “mob mentality” we so often see on the Internet these days is what led to the Holocaust in the first place.  The heated discussion eventually ended, as they all do eventually, and Glennon forgot about it.   

Then, in September 2015, Glennon got a phone call from one of her colleagues at Re/Max.  Someone had posted something horrible on Re/Max’s Facebook page.  At first, Glennon thought maybe someone had posted a bad review.  It was actually much worse than that.  A user named “Ryan Baxter” posted a link to a Web site called “She’s a Homewrecker” that was a fabricated story about Monika Glennon getting caught having sex with the husband of a client.  The link was not only shared on the Re/Max page, but was also sent to all of Glennon’s Facebook contacts, including her husband, friends, family members, and many of her professional contacts.

It turned out in August 2014, Rosenblum made up the story about Glennon and submitted it to the “She’s a Homewrecker” site.  There, it sat for over a year, until the Web site was sold to another company.  A month after the site was sold, the false story about Glennon was published.  Then, “Ryan Baxter” disseminated it among the masses.  Baxter, who was later identified as “Hannah Lupian” of Oxnard, California, was a regular reader of the site and seemingly enjoyed making sure some of the stories got exposure to the masses.  Although Baxter didn’t know Glennon and was not involved in the discussion about Auschwitz, s/he gets off on compounding the damage wrought by sites like “She’s a Homewrecker”. 

In Glennon’s case, the damage was substantial, and took a lot of time, money, and effort to resolve.  Although the story about her was completely made up, it cost Glennon a lot of business.  She wrote to the sites that had posted the fake story, but none of them would take down the link.  She later pursued the matter in court, which cost her over $100,000, although the culprits of the attack were found and had judgments levied against them.  Unfortunately, the people who attacked Glennon have no money, so Glennon will likely never see a cent of what she should be paid for their attack on her character and business. 

I’m glad that Monika Glennon sued the people involved and managed to win her case.  It’s very troubling to see how simply stating one’s opinion can cause others to become unhinged enough to try to ruin the lives of perfect strangers.  What seems like fun and games to troublemakers like Hannah Lupian and Mollie Rosenblum can have some serious real world effects.  This is why I get so upset by the Internet justice warriors who go on a rampage trying to destroy people’s lives.  Sometimes the court of public opinion gets things wrong.  Monika Glennon was absolutely right to point out that “mob justice” mentality is what led to the Holocaust in the first place.  People get blinded by rage and decide it’s up to them to go on the rampage and destroy another person’s livelihood.  They don’t seem to understand the third and fourth order effects of such destructive actions.

In other news, there is a very active political thread going on in the Duggar Family News group and Trump loyalists are showing their asses to the masses.  They keep arguing about Hillary Clinton and comparing her to Trump.  You know, I’m not a fan of Mrs. Clinton’s, but she definitely would have been a better president than Trump is.  And I was not a fan of Bill Clinton’s, but again– way better than Trump.  At least Clinton wasn’t constantly spewing his nonsense to the masses on Twitter and pissing off all our allies.

I will never understand how so many people have been duped by Trump.  It’s very sad to see.  Indeed, this story about Monika Glennon kind of has a parallel to the Trump era.  Maybe there aren’t any concentration camps set up on the scale of what was around in 1940s Europe, but the same kind of ignorance is definitely there.  The other day, I watched a very moving video documentary about a woman who survived Auschwitz.  If you have time to watch it, I highly recommend making the effort. 

So worth the time.

And below is the comment Monika Glennon left on my original post. Several years on, I understand even more why she took the actions she did. In fact, after our situation with the ex landlady, I can really relate.

Monika GlennonSeptember 15, 2018 at 1:47 AM

Thank you for your kind words. Your blog showed up in my google search of my name. I truly appreciate the support. You are right, i will never see a cent of it. BUT i have learned that justice is not equal to all, and i hope….i really hope…it will change. This is what still pushes me forward. Best Regards. MonikaReplyReplies

  1. knottySeptember 15, 2018 at 6:17 AMHi Monika! Thanks for reading and commenting! Your story gave me chills and I just had to write about it. It’s absolutely horrifying that a person can simply decide to tell such egregious lies about another person and pass it off as truth. I’m so glad you had the courage to take action and were able to prevail, even if you won’t actually get the money you were awarded.  

    I’m honored that you took the time to leave a response to this post and I hope this mess will be behind you. I wish you all the best!
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Duggars, law, mental health, psychology

Josh Duggar must be a full on psychopath… there’s just no other explanation!

Today’s featured photo is a screenshot of video taken by KHBS of Josh and Anna leaving court in September. What in the world would make the two of them smile at this point in time? It just defies logic.

Good morning, y’all. I had a completely different topic in mind this morning. I was fully intending to write about something else that has nothing to to do with Josh Duggar. I might be back later to write my originally conceived post. And before I get started, I want to issue a strong warning to anyone who is easily triggered. This post is going to be extremely disturbing and dark. Please proceed with caution.

Still with me? Okay…

Yesterday, it was reported in The Sun that Josh Duggar’s distant relative, Matthew Waller, took the stand during Josh’s court proceedings. Waller was the only other employee at Josh’s used car lot, which is where Josh’s HP desktop computer was located. This was the computer that had the illicit “CP” material on it that has Josh in so much legal trouble today. Waller had initially said that he didn’t know the password to the dark web on Josh’s computer, but when defense attorneys asked if he recognized the phrase “Intel1988”, he said it “rang a bell”. This revelation showed that it was possible that someone else had access to the dark web on that computer and might have downloaded the illegal material.

US Assistant Attorney Dustin Roberts reportedly responded with fury. According to The Sun, he “screamed” at Waller, demanding, “Was there something you’re not telling me? You didn’t tell me or law enforcement about Intel1988? I told you I thought you were hiding something from me.”

Roberts continued, “You’re recalling today knowing about Intel1988, after talking to Homeland Security, then the defense?”

Waller reportedly said that he hadn’t remembered the password when he was questioned by federal agents, but now that the defense attorneys were mentioning it, he’d had a sudden flash of recall. Waller said the password was “vaguely familiar.” So what does that mean? Is Waller admitting that he could have been the culprit? And why would he do that? But then it gets even sicker, and much more disturbing.

Yesterday, it was revealed during Josh Duggar’s trial that federal agents located a folder on Josh’s computer that had 65 thumbnail files of cached downloads. In the folder that the agents found, there was a video of a three month old baby being tortured and abused. There were many more videos and images found on the computer, although experts couldn’t say whether or not Josh had viewed any of them. Meanwhile, Josh and his lawyers have been doing their very best to try to pin the blame on someone else– anyone else— who might pay the price for Josh’s alleged disgusting crimes.

It was also reported that Josh’s wife, Anna, who has, in the last six weeks, just had her seventh baby with Josh– another girl– abruptly left the courtroom before this very disturbing evidence was disclosed. Below is a video Katie Joy of Without a Crystal Ball made. I know Katie Joy is a controversial YouTube personality, but her explanation of what was discovered is probably good enough for those who want to know more. Additionally, some of the court transcripts are available here.

More on what was disclosed during Josh Duggar’s trial yesterday. Proceed with caution.

I don’t even know how the people in that courtroom could stand to hear about what was found on the computer, let alone view some of the images and videos. I think I read that they were, at least, spared the footage of the infant being abused. What a sick, vile, revolting discovery. There are just no words for how completely horrible this is. And now I sit here thinking that, for years, the Duggars were held up as this wonderful Christian family, with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar bragging about how God kept “blessing” them with children. Josh, as the oldest, was the very first of their many “blessings from God.”

We now know that Josh has zero respect for other people’s “blessings from God”, does he? He had no heart for the victims who were abused and tortured for his own sexual gratification. I am convinced that he is a very sick man, and if he doesn’t go to prison for this, I suspect he will have a short life and not a moment’s peace until he goes straight to Hell.

I really think Josh must be a full on psychopath. Or… to use a more official term, he’s probably an individual with antisocial personality disorder. And no, I am not qualified to “diagnose” anyone, nor does this opinion count as a diagnosis. This is just an educated guess. But I really think Josh has a lot of the signs and symptoms of someone with antisocial personality disorder. Fortunately, there aren’t too many of them in the world. According to Dr. Todd Grande’s video below, 3% of males and 1% of females in the general population could be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder:

  • Disregard for right and wrong
  • Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
  • Being callous, cynical and disrespectful of others
  • Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or personal pleasure
  • Arrogance, a sense of superiority and being extremely opinionated
  • Recurring problems with the law, including criminal behavior
  • Repeatedly violating the rights of others through intimidation and dishonesty
  • Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
  • Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, aggression or violence
  • Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
  • Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behavior with no regard for the safety of self or others
  • Poor or abusive relationships
  • Failure to consider the negative consequences of behavior or learn from them
  • Being consistently irresponsible and repeatedly failing to fulfill work or financial obligations

The symptoms usually appear in adults with antisocial personality disorder before they’re fifteen years old. As it’s been widely reported, Josh was having issues with abusing children when he was thirteen or fourteen. He was fourteen when he admitted to abusing four of his younger sisters and a babysitter. The Mayo Clinic continues:

Signs and symptoms of conduct disorder include serious, persistent behavior problems, such as:

  • Aggression toward people and animals
  • Destruction of property
  • Deceitfulness
  • Theft
  • Serious violation of rules
Todd Grande explains what antisocial personality disorder is.

In the above video, Todd Grande explains that there is an association between child abuse and early childhood trauma and antisocial personality disorder. Grande states that some studies show that as many as 80% of incarcerated males could be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. People who have this problem do not respect laws, which often leads them to prison.

This video offers Dr. Grande’s analysis of Josh Duggar’s behavior.

In the many years before the public came to know about just how sick and perverted Josh Duggar is, he was often jokingly called “Smuggar”. I can remember reading the now defunct Television Without Pity pages about the Duggars, and the most egregiously obnoxious characters from the Duggar family were given nicknames. Josh’s nickname came from the fact that he was arrogant, but “charming”. Now we know that underneath that layer of superficial charm was a complete disaster of a human being.

For weeks, we’ve all heard about how Josh has tried to pin the blame for these charges on other people. According to Katie Joy, it even looked like Josh’s lawyers might have been able to cast reasonable doubt on the charges. But after yesterday’s bombshell dropped, I don’t think Josh is going to get away with this. If he does, there will likely be a reckoning carried out beyond the prison gates– like, I think Josh would have reason to fear for his life. I am just so sad for Josh’s innocent children, as well as all of his victims.

Whether or not he is convicted, we know that people HAVE been victimized by Josh Duggar. He has openly admitted it, and some of his victims– his sisters– have confirmed it. However, I remember when Jessa and Jill were interviewed by Megyn Kelly on Fox News, Jessa really downplayed what actually happened. In short, she LIED. But she probably did so because her father ordered her to lie. So much for following The Ten Commandments. It just shows that like his son, Jim Bob Duggar thinks he is above the law. Rules are for other people, not him.

For years, Jim Bob Duggar has justified his behavior by pointing to his huge brood of children and his significant wealth, which I’m sure is dwindling by the day, thanks to this very public trial featuring his eldest spawn. Meanwhile, his daughter Jill, who is one of Josh’s victims, is frozen out of the family circle for defying her father and trying to live life on her own terms. It’s just sick and wrong on so many levels.

It was also reported that Josh Duggar did not appear to be particularly serious while he was in court. It was said that he was smiling, cheerful, and joking with the court reporter.

I think about what it means for a person to have antisocial personality disorder. People with this problem often suffered severe child abuse and neglect when they were very young. There are also some genetic roots to this disorder. Josh is the eldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Consider that he was raised in an environment in which corporal punishment is not only tolerated, but highly encouraged. Josh’s mother, Michelle, is well-known for “blanket training” her children when they were babies.

Blanket training is a technique that is described in Michael and Debi Pearl’s very controversial childrearing book, To Train Up A Child. It involves placing a baby on a blanket or a play mat with a toy just out of reach. When the baby tries to get off of the blanket, the parent or caregiver is supposed to hit the baby with a ruler or other implement. Eventually, the baby supposedly learns not to try to leave the blanket. That technique likely comes in handy in families that have as many children as the Duggars do. However, it’s also a very sick and abusive disciplinary method. I’m sure for someone who has a genetic or environmental tendency to develop a personality disorder, blanket training and techniques resembling it are particularly damaging. I don’t know if Michelle Duggar used blanket training for Josh. She probably had no need to, since he was her first baby. However, it’s pretty clear that Josh’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, is authoritarian and, being a believer in the Old Testament, probably used harsh and possibly abusive disciplinary methods with Josh and the rest of his children.

I think of Josh being raised with that type of disciplinary method and any others that involved abuse. I also think of him likely having a much higher need for his parents’ attention, particularly if he was a budding narcissist. Imagine having that type of personality and your mother keeps having babies, each of whom diminishes the attention she can give to her other children. Every time Michelle had another baby, there was less of her to go around to the others. And I suspect that Josh, being the oldest child who had once enjoyed all of his mother’s attention, must have really resented his siblings and the attention they received. Especially the girls, whom he was taught from an early age are inferior to boys, simply because they’re girls. In the fundie Christian world, females are always subservient to males.

Now consider that Josh was married at a very young age. He wasn’t the youngest of his siblings to marry, but he was the first, and he and Anna were wed when he was just 20 years old. It was at the height of the Duggar family’s fame. I’m sure Jim Bob and Michelle felt they needed to get him married off, if not to protect their daughters from Josh’s deviance, then to give him an outlet so he didn’t do anything to destroy the family’s reputation. But now, as we can see, that tactic didn’t work. And God only knows what Anna has endured besides the humiliation of being cheated on and repeatedly impregnated by her husband, who clearly has some very serious problems and reportedly enjoys “rough sex”. She won’t leave him, though, and it really wouldn’t surprise me if she and Josh are trying for one last baby before Josh goes to prison.

It was reported that several family members attended Josh’s trial, including Austin Forsyth, who is married to Joy Anna Duggar Forsyth. Joy Anna was victimized by her brother, Josh, when she was just five years old. Derick Dillard, married to Jill Duggar Dillard, another of Josh’s victims, was also in attendance. Imagine how these two men must feel, seeing and hearing what a disgusting pervert Josh is and what he did to his sisters, who are also their wives. And yet even that wasn’t enough to satisfy Josh’s depravity. I’m sad to say this, but I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. What we’re hearing about now is probably just a fraction of what Josh has seen and done. He’s probably gotten away with a lot more than what we know.

Again… I am certainly not trying to officially diagnose Josh. I am only offering a theory that makes some sense to me. If he does have antisocial personality disorder or is a sociopath or psychopath, he will likely be in good company if he winds up in prison. As Dr. Grande says, up to 80% of incarcerated males could possibly be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, even though only 3% of males in the general population could.

I am, once again, completely horrified by this train-wreck of a story. Every time I think this situation is as bad as it can be, it gets even worse. There are few lifeforms more helpless than a three month old infant. Anyone who would enjoy watching the abuse of such a defenseless creature must be completely depraved and sick. Anyone who would conceive of, and make money off of, producing such revolting content is someone with no morals or decency whatsoever. It’s just unconscionable.

I think if there’s anything to be learned from the Duggar family, it’s that there’s almost always nasty stuff beneath the surface. People who try to hold themselves up as role models, rather than being held up that way by others, are usually hiding a lot of skeletons. Perhaps on the positive side, it does appear that locals in Arkansas are losing their enthusiasm for Jim Bob Duggar. Maybe that will mean he won’t win his Arkansas Senate election. One can only hope.

Well… we’ll see what else comes to light today. Maybe I’ll come back and write about the topic I was planning before I heard about this latest news. Or maybe I’ll save it for later. Have a good Friday.

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book reviews, true crime

Repost: A review of Son: A Psychopath and His Victims…

Here’s a reposted book review from May 6, 2016. It appears here as/is.

It’s been a long time since my last fresh book review.  That’s because I’ve spent weeks reading a very long true crime book by the late Jack Olsen.  Originally published in 1984, Son: A Psychopath and His Victims has been made available once again to true crime fans.  At over 500 pages, this book was not a quick read.  I’m happy to be finished with it, although I must admit Olsen spins a compelling tale. 

In this case, Olsen is writing about Fred Harlan Coe, otherwise known as Kevin Coe as well as “the South Hill rapist”, back in the late 1970s and early 80s.  Coe was a clean cut guy who lived in Spokane, Washington and had an unusually enmeshed relationship with his parents, especially his mother.  From 1978 until 1981, Coe victimized women who lived in Spokane.  He was a classic stranger who jumped out of the bushes and caught women unaware, stuffing his hand down their throats, threatening them with knives, and sexually assaulting them.  Fred Harlan Coe had women terrified and police baffled until he was finally captured.  In 1982, he legally changed his name to Kevin Coe.

Kevin Coe’s story is very convoluted.  He had been married to a woman named Jenifer who was alcoholic.  After divorcing Jenifer, who had her own stories about life with Coe, he became involved with his girlfriend, Gini.  Gini was completely unaware of her boyfriend’s proclivities toward rape, though she must have been aware of his poor showing as a working man.  An unsuccessful disc jockey in Las Vegas, Coe moved back to Spokane, where he became an unsuccessful realtor who sometimes used his position to try to gain access to his victims.

Coe had a special fondness for slight women with long, brown hair and pretty eyes.  Most of his victims met that physical standard, though they ranged in age from their early teens to their early fifties.  Coe would often strike while he was jogging.  Surprisingly enough, he wore the same type of clothes most of the time, which gave police some clues as to who he was.  He also often failed to “get it up” when he committed rape. 

Somehow, he would convince friends, family, and lovers to lie for him.  While Olsen’s description of Coe makes me think of him as not very likable, he had a charisma that influenced otherwise good people to do bad things.  Moreover, because Coe is a sociopath, he believed he was smarter than the police.  That erroneous belief eventually led to his downfall.  

What really makes this story even more compelling, though, is the fact that Coe’s mother, Ruth, was arrested three months after her son was convicted of multiple rapes.  Ruth suffered from bipolar disorder and would occasionally get so angry that she’d make threats.  She was so crazed by the idea that her son was headed to prison that she tried to hire a hitman to murder the judge and prosecutor.  Instead of finding a “legit” hitman, she tried to hire a police officer.  Ruth Coe was sentenced to twenty years in prison, all suspended, ten years parole, and one year in the jail of her choice. 

Coe’s case was eventually retried because many of his victims had been hypnotized before they identified him.  He was freed on bail for a year preceding the new trial.  In 1985, Coe was convicted again and sentenced to life plus 55 years in prison.   

As recently as 2008, Coe was still a suspect in dozens of unsolved rapes in the Spokane area.  He has been diagnosed with personality disorder not otherwise specified with narcissistic and antisocial traits and was committed indefinitely to the Special Commitment Center at McNeil Island in Washington state. 

I think Jack Olsen did a very thorough job covering this case, although the book took a very long time to read.  I have read several of Olsen’s books and most of them have been a bit of a struggle for me, though he was a very well regarded true crime author.  I don’t think he has quite the gift for storytelling as, say, Ann Rule or Kathryn Casey. Or maybe he’s not as consistent to me as Rule and Casey have been. I notice that I liked Olsen’s writing better in the book, Give the Boy a Gun.  

Nevertheless, Son: A Psychopath and His Victims is definitely a bizarre story.  Some readers will be thrilled by this book and, according to Amazon.com, many people obviously were.  Count me among those who felt this book was far too long.  I felt like I’d never finish it, even though Coe’s story was one worth writing.

I think I’d give it 3.5 stars on a five star scale.  I read this on Kindle.  It includes photos at the end of the book.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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book reviews

A review of My Mother, the Psychopath: Growing up in the shadow of a monster

Before I get too cranked up with today’s book review, I want to express appreciation to my mom, who is most definitely NOT a psychopath. The older I get, the more I appreciate her… and the fact that she doesn’t have an overwhelming need to control me, especially since my father passed. If you have a parent who isn’t a control freak, you may feel even more appreciation for him or her after reading Olivia Rayne’s book, My Mother, the Psychopath: Growing up in the shadow of a monster. I have known people whose mothers were much too controlling and did horrible, cruel things to their children. As difficult as it is to grow up, especially nowadays, I think it must be so much harder when one of your parents is toxic and downright cruel. Now… with that out of the way, on with today’s book review.

I’m not sure what exactly possessed me to download Olivia Rayne’s book about her psychopath mother, which was released in January 2019. I love true stories. I am fascinated by psychology. I’ve also been close to people with overcontrolling parents with psychological problems. Indeed, my father was an alcoholic, and his problems with alcoholism brought out some control freak tendencies in him and my mom, who was mostly trying to keep things functional. They also brought out a tendency in them to be neglectful. However, after reading My Mother, the Psychopath, I feel pretty damned fortunate. My parents never tried to sabotage me in any way. They never harassed me with constant phone calls, emails, and texts. They didn’t become involved in my love life, nor did they encourage me to be involved with a psychopath. They were happy when I succeeded, and they were supportive when I needed help, even if they were sometimes reluctant to help me.

Olivia Rayne did not have a good mother. Her mom, a French artist named Josephine, was downright poisonous. Far from the nurturing, caring, kind person a mom is stereotypically supposed to be, Josephine was the mother from hell. In her book, My Mother, the Psychopath, twenty-something Olivia describes growing up with a mom who did cruel things almost on a whim. Josephine was cunning, charming, beautiful, and elegant. She could sell ice to Eskimos if the mood suited her. But underneath that gorgeous, exciting, and charismatic exterior was a woman who did everything she could to destroy her daughter, short of killing her.

Josephine was married to Olivia’s British father, Clive, a man who meekly tolerated his wife’s ridiculous shenanigans. Although Olivia apparently saw him as the saner, less abusive parent, Clive was complicit in his wife’s abuse of their only daughter by supporting her when she decided on a whim to move to different countries around Europe– from Martinique to England to Germany to France to Monaco, Olivia was moved whenever her mother decided she needed a fresh start. Olivia would lose her friends, lose ground in her schoolwork in different countries as the requirements and languages were different, and her sense of familiarity within her environment. Her mother would give her things– a new puppy or a pond full of wildlife– only to take them away. The puppy would be rehomed in just months. The pond and all of the wildlife within it would be destroyed by liquid soap in the water placed there by a mother who couldn’t stand to see her daughter attached to anything besides her.

When Olivia grew older and had more of a say over her life, her mother would continue to try to control her. She’d sabotage her schoolwork by forcing sudden, drastic moves. She’d call up her co-workers and bosses at different jobs, accusing her of being in trouble with the police for stealing or even being unsafe around children. She’d tell outrageous lies to Olivia’s friends and love interests in an attempt to get them to abandon her. There was only one boyfriend of Olivia’s that her mother approved of– Sean– a cocaine addict and dealer who was abusive, unfaithful, and prone to rages. Strangely, Josephine was supportive of Olivia’s relationship with Sean, even though Sean ran up huge debts in Olivia’s name, sold and abused cocaine, and cheated on her with many other women.

A healthy person would not stand for this kind of treatment, but when it’s delivered by a parent, and that parent has done everything in his or her power in an attempt to retard their child’s development, it becomes especially difficult to break free of the abuse. Olivia had loving relatives in her grandparents. Josephine’s French parents recognized that their daughter was toxic and cruel. Clive’s mother, Granny, was despised by Josephine, probably because she could see right through her and refused to tolerate as much of her bullshit as other people did. But it was Olivia who bore the brunt of the abuse, and it was Olivia who had to make the heartbreaking decision to go “no contact” with her own mother. Every time she thought she’d made strides toward independence, her mother would find a way to be in contact and screw everything up again.

I liked the way Olivia Rayne and her ghost writer set up this book. Each chapter begins with a symptom of psychopathy and a description of the behavior. Then the chapter would show how Josephine displayed those characteristics, all in a readable, page turning fashion. I found My Mother, the Psychopath fascinating, but it’s also well-written and insightful. I formed pictures of the people involved in the story, as well as the places Olivia described. Yes, it’s a book about a psychopath, but it’s also a hell of a compelling story. It might even make an interesting film.

Part of the reason this book was so compelling to me is that I think my husband’s ex wife is much like Josephine. Many of her behaviors are very similar and, in fact, as Bill talks to his younger daughter more and more, he’s hearing stories about what it was like for her to grow up with a mother who did her best to sabotage and control her. I must admit, since those stories have come to light, my opinion of my husband’s daughters has changed drastically. This book didn’t have much to do with my change of opinion toward my husband’s children, but it did give me another shot of empathy toward their situation. Growing up with healthy parents is hard. Growing up when one of your parents is a psychopath is much, much, harder. Every success is hard won, and every success, even if the parent did his or her best to squelch it, will be shared with the narcissistic parent, who will do their best to take all the credit. Of course, when things go wrong, that same parent will not take any responsibility at all, even if the failure is entirely due to something they did or didn’t do.

I think this is an excellent book for those who are interested in true stories, particularly if they are also interested in psychology. It’s a very good example of what happens when a child grows up with a toxic parent, although so far, Olivia’s story has a somewhat happy ending. Unfortunately, her ending is not necessarily the norm– and honestly, I can’t even say that the story has ended. She will have to stay no contact with her mom, which is very sad and will be quite difficult. As of the book’s end, Olivia had been no contact for a couple of years, but there’s no telling if she might fall into her mother’s clutches again. Psychopaths and narcissists are cunning, charming, and always angling for control. It takes a lot of will and strength to stay out of their crosshairs.

If I were rating this on a five star scale, I’d give it five stars. I think it’s a great read.

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