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Dodging difficult people

Janet Hall, Ph.D.

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Do you ever wish you had a magic wand to deal with the difficult people in your life? Have you been hurt, betrayed or cheated by a really dodgy person? Perhaps it’s a colleague, a business partner or a client. Or maybe it was your boss or your spouse. Discover powerful new skills that allow you to identify the people you can trust. Hall, a clinical psychologist, provides examples of bullying, harassment, sabotage, petty politics and costly relationship breakups in business and at home. She calls upon decades of practice and observation to offer proven strategies for avoiding toxic relationships.

There’s good news and bad news in life. The good news is that there are not that many dodgy people out there. The bad news is that the dodgy ones sure tend to get around a lot.

Have you been hurt, betrayed, or cheated by a dodgy person? Perhaps it’s a colleague, a business partner, a customer, or your Internet service provider? Perhaps it was your boss, best friend (now ex-best friend), your brother, or (heaven forbid) your spouse/love partner? I had a dodgy person cheat me out of $100,000! Were you ever cheated for $100,000 or more by a dodgy person?

Dodgy people are energy vampires who feed on your self-esteem, mental anguish, unhappiness, and bank balance. They create dramas, which suck the profits from your bottom line. They waste your time and money and hold you back from the success you deserve.

Dodgy people are lurking everywhere, and the quicker you can identify them, the quicker you can avoid their dodgy dealings—or at least go into rapid damage control and emerge with minimal loss of time, money, and heartache. We don’t want to be their victims.

You need to:

  • Identify whom you can trust.
  • Identify the energy vampires in your life.
  • Avoid being “shark bait” for a devious con man or con woman.
  • Understand how to break free of toxic or destructive relationships.
  • Know how to assess the best options for avoiding and handling a dodgy-person situation.

Knowledge is power, and it is vitally important to know how to avoid and handle dodgy people. This reduces your overall stress and enables you to achieve more with ease and peace of mind. It makes sure you save your time, money, and heartache.

So Who Am I and Why Should You Listen to Me?

My Academic Experience

I have worked for over 35 years now as a Ph.D. qualified clinical psychologist in private practice.  I have always been fascinated by the dodgy person whom we call in psychology, the “social sociopath” (SS)—frauds, sharks, con artists, and corporate criminals. These SS are often involved in bullying and harassment, sabotage, petty politics, and costly relationship breakups in business and home. Also, they tend to feed on the easy prey they find on the Internet with their scams and easy promises.

It’s their victims who come to see me as clients. The dodgy SS would blame everybody but themselves, and they’re much less likely to come as a client, unless they’ve been obliged to because they have been found out and are in deep trouble.

My Life Experience

As well as academic qualifications, I also teach by example as I have a lot of direct experience with dodgy people in the school of hard knocks in life.

I’m actually a personality who is always very positive, which can make me quite gullible and naive. Plus, I was taught to be a nice person, to tell the truth, and to expect other people to be nice and honest as well. I bet most of you can identify with that.

I’m a little bit embarrassed to share with you the way in which I was gullible, naive, and taken in by sociopathic dodgy people. But I’m also courageous, and I know that from my experiences, you will learn a lot so that you know how to dodge dodgy people in the future.

Important notes: I will often use him for the dodgy person, but it could just as easily be her. The dodgy person could be anyone.

Who Are These Dodgy People?

Here are simple definitions of dodgy from Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s English Dictionary:

  • False or dishonest
  • Causing a lack of trust or confidence
  • In bad condition

A financial mentor of mine warned me that the easiest way to lose money is to be attacked by sharks or hyenas, to have a divorce, or to get involved with fast women and slow horses. I’m teaching you about the sharks and the hyenas—the social sociopaths, the dodgy people—who are the everyday predators among us. 

What’s the Definition of a Social Sociopath?

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, lists both sociopathy and psychopathy under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorders (ASPD). These disorders share many common behavioral traits, which lead to the confusion between them. Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

  • A disregard for laws and social mores
  • A disregard for the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt

But what is different about sociopaths and psychopaths? Psychopathy is the most dangerous of all antisocial personality disorders because of the way psychopaths dissociate emotionally from their actions, regardless of how terrible those actions may be. There are a few psychopaths who can be identified as serial killers. For example, think of Hannibal Lecter in the movie Silence of the Lambs. (I was so scared watching that movie that I had to turn off the video half way through!)

Let’s take a look at a quiz from an excellent book called Difficult Personalities: A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behavior of Others by Helen McGrath and Hazel Edwards. It’s been published worldwide, and the content is actually taken from the DSM-5, but put into everyday language, so we can easily understand it.

So let’s take a little quiz. It’s yes or no.

  1. Have you ever come into contact with a sociopath personality?
  2. Are all sociopaths potential serial killers?
  3. Are all sociopaths insane?
  4. Is it easy to identify sociopaths by their behavior?
  5. Is the best word to describe a typical sociopath violent?

Here are the correct answers.

  1. We have probably all been in contact with a social sociopath.
  2. They are not serial killers.
  3. They are not insane.
  4. It is not easy to identify them by their behavior
  5. They are rarely violent.

Social sociopaths can see the world realistically, and they know right from wrong. They just choose to be wrong, to do wrong, to make wrong, and to take advantage of others. Many of them are unscrupulous in obtaining money, sexual favors, affection, and power.

There Are Two Types of Social Sociopaths: The Unsuccessful and the Successful

The Unsuccessful Sociopath

The first type of SS is what we can call the common crooks and criminals. They’re the lowlife.  These classic, small-time crooks are not very smart, and they don’t really have many skills. They are basically not very successful in life. The one thing they are really any good at is breaking the law. They usually get caught, get charged, and go to prison.

One of my clients was literally dragged into my clinic by her ear, by her partner who loves her to bits. She was a beautiful woman, 30 years of age, devoted to her daughter. And she was addicted to gambling—at venues and electronic devices.

Her partner wanted an instant fix for her with my hypnosis to stop her from gambling. He said that in one year she had gambled and lost $200,000. Little, old, naive me asked her, “Where did you actually get that much money?” She just smiled.

Of course, it was obvious when I thought about it. It had to be by dealing drugs. In fact, she admitted she was both a meth user and a dealer.

After our session, I sent her a follow-up email with homework. No response. What’s the chance that she would turn up for her appointment? Nada! She is the common crook, the small-time criminal, the unsuccessful sociopath. Who knows if she’s now in jail or even still alive?

The Successful Sociopath

So let’s move on to the real point of my talk and dodgy people—the social sociopaths who get away with many crimes. They are very clever, and they often get away with lots of unscrupulous things. Mostly, they get away with fraud, pretending to be somebody they’re not.

Keywords for sociopathic behavior include cold-blooded, amoral, exploitive, remorseless with a lack of guilt, unprincipled, deceiving, antisocial, dishonest, and lacking empathy.

There Are Two Types of Successful Sociopaths

  • The con artist, the cheat, the scammer
  • The predator (chameleon), the fraud, the infiltrator

The con artist, the cheat, the scammer: The con artist’s way of operating in life is to do the hit and run. He doesn’t stay around just in case he gets caught. He is basically a scammer.

Dr. Jan’s Experience of the Corporate Con Artist

Here’s what happened to me in my early life as a psychologist wanting to get into the corporate world as a consultant.  I was introduced to one of Australia’s top advertising branding experts who seemed really excited about coming up with a concept for me so that I could work with coaching in corporate areas. So he came up with a branding concept for me—The Iron Lady.

The image is of a female knight riding on a horse. She has a banner called The Iron Lady, and she indeed is holding an iron—an iron that you iron your clothes with. And so the caption said, “I’m not Maggie Thatcher, but I know how to double your sales and increase your profit margins.”

When I look at this, it actually makes me feel quite nauseous, sick, and embarrassed. Did I want to be the iron lady holding an iron? No!

My problem was that I had already paid him $2,000, which was a lot of money 30 years ago. Was I going get my money back? Not a chance. He took the money and ran.  The chap lived in Sydney, which was convenient for him to escape to when I lived in Melbourne, and there was no Internet, and he changed his phone number.

And guess what? Two years later, I saw that he had given that concept to his girlfriend, who was now touting herself on the speaking scene as “The Iron Lady.” She stole my brand. It was cheating and stealing from me, but what could I do?  Nothing. Two thousand dollars was not enough money to sue somebody for.

Dr. Jan’s worst experience of the scammer—the Internet designer

I think the scam artist is really having his day now in the world of the Internet. My own experience taught me that. A web designer promised me that he would do three different kinds of websites for me—a clinical psychology website, a bed-wetting website for my work with kids who wet the bed, and a sex therapy website.

I had reviewed his past work and references and, after interviewing three other designers, my two office staff agreed that we should go with him. (So he had conned all of us!) It seemed fair and reasonable to pay him $3,000 in advance, and I signed a contract for further payment as work was done.

As it happened, I had introduced him to another chap in Queensland, who was creating websites for many health professionals. And suddenly my designer just disappeared. He moved to Brisbane, Queensland, to work (1,118 miles/1 799 km). I had very little to show for my $3,000, and there was no way to get that money back. 

The worst thing was that I had wasted hours of my time and my staff’s time and still had no websites to show for it.

The predator (chameleon), the fraud, the infiltrator: The second successful sociopath can be the most predatory of all. We can call him or her the “chameleon.” The chameleon is the lizard that changes colors depending on where it sits on the foliage or the branch of a tree so that it is not obvious to a potential predator. It’s a very clever trickster in the animal world.

The SS chameleons are very clever, very cunning, very charismatic, very competent, and even conscientious and hardworking. They can be famous sports stars or politicians. But they are also narcissistic, and narcissists have huge egos and a sense of superiority. They believe that they’re better than anybody else and have a high sense of entitlement. They usually get away with a lot before they’re “smoked out.”

They are very dishonest with money in a consistent, calculating way. They will evade taxes, they make claims on medical issues that are not bonafide, and they will sue you if they see an opportunity. They cheat their business associates. They will rip off their business partners. And they often get away with it.

For some, superficial charm and grandiose sense of self make them likable on first meeting. Their ability to impress others with entertaining and captivating stories about their lives and accomplishments can result in instant rapport. They often make favorable, long-lasting first impressions. Some lack realistic long-term goals, although they can have grandiose plans.

Beneath the cleverly formed façade—typically created by the SS to influence their victims—is a darker side, which people eventually may suspect. They can be pathological liars who con, manipulate, and deceive others for selfish means.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) research indicates that social sociopaths are incapable of experiencing basic human emotions and feelings of guilt, remorse, or empathy. They display emotions only to manipulate individuals around them.

The SS may live a parasitic and predatory lifestyle, seeking out and using other people for money, food, shelter, sex, power, and influence.

Dr. Jan’s Early Experience of the Fraudster

I once trusted a business colleague who was very much into the humanist movement. So silly, old, naive, gullible me assumed he would be trustworthy. He traveled a lot, and I wanted to get $2,000 worth of my book called Stop Bedwetting to the Continence Society in the United States. So off he went with the 2,000 books to pass on for me.

I’d also said to him, “I really want a fantastic sound system, something really, really good.” He told me he was an expert in sound systems. He said, “Just give me $2,000 cash, and I’ll buy it duty free for you.” Silly, old, gullible, naive me, indeed.  That chameleon came back to Melbourne, but he didn’t contact me, and he wouldn’t answer my calls.

Ultimately, when I finally got him to speak to me so I could ask, “Where are the books,” he said, “Um, I think I left them in the airport.” I asked, “Where’s the sound system?” He said, “I spent the money.” What could I do? Conned again!

Why and How Do the Social Sociopaths Succeed (i.e., Get Away with It)?

The social sociopath gets away with fraudulent behavior because most good people are too trusting and think the SS is a good person just like them. We see what we want to see in order to match our core beliefs. We think, We like this person. He is a nice person who is successful in life. He could not possibly be a liar, a user, a bully, a fraud—and the rest. This is called “cognitive dissonance (CD).”

Cognitive dissonance is a state of conflict in the mind whereby you have two opposing views at the same time. The mind naturally wants to eliminate dissonance where possible. How can it do this? By changing the way you feel, by changing your attitudes and beliefs.

Cognitive dissonance is normally strongest when we think about ourselves in a certain way, then we do something to oppose that belief, and we have to make what we did all right. The good person makes it all right by confessing the error and taking responsibility to make it better or correct the mistake. The SS, however, uses cognitive dissonance to make it all right to do wrong.

For example, if an SS acts like he is an animal lover and then kicks a cat in the street for getting in his way, he will blame, deny, or justify:

  • “The cat was stupid and deserved it for running into me.”
  • “Cats are my least favorite animal anyway.”
  • “The cat walked into my foot; I didn’t kick it!”

Here’s a typical example of the SS who works in an office. After work, Joe decides to steal a few office supplies, even though he knows it’s wrong and could get into trouble. He justifies stealing by saying:

  • “I deserve them for the hard work I put in.”
  • “The company doesn’t pay me enough anyway.”
  • “I wouldn’t take stuff if they paid me overtime.”

The Social Sociopath in a Romantic Relationship

The SS manipulation usually begins by creating a mask or façade in the minds of those targeted. In romantic relationships, this façade shows the SS as the ideal friend, lover, and partner. These individuals excel at sizing up their prey. They appear to fulfill their victims’ psychological needs, much like the grooming behavior of molesters. Although they sometimes appear too good to be true, this persona typically is too grand to resist, and cognitive dissonance kicks in.

The social sociopaths play into people’s basic desire to meet the right person—someone who values them for themselves, wants to have a close relationship, and is different from others who have disappointed them. Belief in the realism of this personality can lead the individual to form a bond with the perpetrator on intellectual, emotional, and physical levels. At this point, the target is hooked and now has become a victim. I know this well because it happened to me.

Dr. Jan’s Experience of the Predator Chameleon

The chameleon in my life is somebody whom I really regret ever getting involved with. He was the chameleon who preys on women, particularly women with money. I was not long out of a sad divorce and eager for a new relationship. Yes, I was easy shark bait.

This gentleman was a very charismatic, very successful person, so it seemed. He had his own business and was a motivational speaker.  But he forgot to tell me he was married, and when I challenged him on that (having found out from somebody else), he said, “Well sorry about that. I’ll leave my wife and come and live with you, and you can be my business associate.”

Red flag! The only thing worse than being cheated on by your business partner is when he or she is also your lover. (A long time later, I found out he was actually having affairs with two women at once, and he chose me as his priority victim because I had more money than the other woman.)

The next thing I knew, he had been promoting an overseas speaker and had used my credit card for $10,000 worth of advertising in the newspaper. He “forgot” to put the ads in until the last minute, and no one enrolled in the speaker’s workshop. Who footed the bill? Moi!

Then he told me that he was not allowed to buy a certain franchise, but if I would invest the $20,000 required, he would run the franchise and would give me more than my money back plus interest.

The only sort of “running” he did do was to run away to New Zealand. One year later, where was I? No relationship, almost no business, and almost no money.

Wasn’t that naive and gullible of me? It was devastating. I felt embarrassed and humiliated. Should I blame him entirely? No. A lot of it was my fault for trusting someone I should not have trusted. And I kept doing it, over and over, in spite of all the red flags, because he promised me he would pay me back. I was trapped in cognitive dissonance.

How Social Sociopaths Get Away With It in Corporate Settings

It is fascinating that the social sociopaths can often not only survive but thrive in a corporate environment. Day-to-day interactions with coworkers, coupled with business policies and procedures, should make unmasking them easy, but it’s not.

Corporate psychopaths use the ability to hide their untrustworthy selves and display desirable personality traits to the business world. The façade they establish with coworkers and management is that of the ideal employee and future leader. This can prove effective, particularly in organizations experiencing turmoil and seeking a knight in shining armor to arrive and fix the company.

How Is It Possible for the Social Sociopath to Fool Business-Savvy Executives and Employers?

They often use con-artist skills during interviews to convince their hiring managers that they have the potential for promotion and the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do an outstanding job. Using their skills of deception, they create phony resumes and fictitious work experience to further their claims. They may manipulate others to act as references. Credentials, such as diplomas, performance awards, and trophies are often fabricated.

Once inside the organization, the SS capitalizes on others’ expectations of a commendable employee. Coworkers and managers may misread superficial charm as charisma, a desirable leadership trait. A social sociopath’s grandiose talk can resemble self-confidence, while subtle conning and manipulation often suggest influence and persuasion skills.

Sometimes the thrill-seeking behavior and impulsivity of an SS are mistaken for high energy and enthusiasm, action orientation, and the ability to multitask. To the organization, these individuals’ irresponsibility may give the appearance of a risk-taking and entrepreneurial spirit—highly prized in today’s fast-paced business environment.

Lack of realistic goal setting combined with grandiose statements can be misinterpreted as visionary and strategic thinking ability. Both are rare and sought after by senior management. An inability to feel emotions may be disguised as the capability to make tough decisions and stay calm in the heat of battle.

Some corporate social sociopaths thrive on thrill seeking, bore easily, seek stimulation, and play mind games with a strong desire to win. In departments managed by social sociopaths, their conduct decreases productivity and morale. Evidence suggests that when participating in teams, the social sociopath’s behavior can wreak havoc.

Once in a position of high status in the business world, it is difficult for the staff to criticize the SS. Others who are getting special advantages can cover for them. No one person has the full picture. With cognitive dissonance in play, we think, No! Not him! He’s the boss. He couldn’t be a bad person. Now we are all liable to be gullible and naive.

Hot Alert! Beware the Danger of Being a Dodgy Person’s Internet Victim!

I don’t want to shock you, but it’s a fact that people lie. Yes, we all tell fibs. Indeed, lying is a necessary part of human existence. Think of what would happen if you told the truth to questions such as, “Does my bum look big in this?”

However, in normal day-to-day conversations, we can hear tone of voice or see facial expressions that give us clues as to whether someone is fibbing. That said, we are not very good at spotting those clues.

And it’s much harder online because we can’t assess body language or tone of voice, other than in video conversations. Generally, all we have to go on is what is typed in an email, text message, or tweet. So we have to be super vigilant in trusting someone we interact with online.

Here’s a shocking example. One of my clients was having a wonderful email love affair with a man overseas. When she googled his name, she found he was a member of a forum for bestiality.

She deleted him immediately. Wouldn’t you?

Think of people you’ve known in your life who were, or are, dodgy. A dodgy person (DP) is someone who may have hurt, betrayed, or cheated you, wasted your time and money, and caused heartache. Choose one DP from the following list from your own life and answer the questions.

  • Business: Business partner, colleague, your boss, a customer or client, a supplier, consultant or Internet advisor
  • Social: Friend, interest group member (tennis club, theatre group), church member
  • Family: Immediate birth, nurturing family, in-laws
  • Romance: Dating (especially on phone apps and online dating sites), love partner

Questions to answer:

  • Which kind of DP were they from the above list?
  • What happened? How were they dodgy?
  • How was it handled?
  • What were the final outcomes, results, learnings, or wise-ups for you?

Examples from MDRT members

Example 1

Q1: Which kind of DP were they from the above list?

My father and business partner

Q2: What happened? How were they dodgy?

My father told me for the 30 years I worked for him that he was underpaying me because one day this would all be mine. I trusted him and never had anything in writing. When it came time to part ways, he made me pay 50 percent more for the business than his appraiser said it was worth.

Q3: How was it handled?

I bought the business, paying 50 percent more, in 2007.

Q4: What were the final outcome, results, learnings, wise-ups for you?

I learned to get things of this nature in writing. I don’t put up with his BS anymore. I am happy having purchased the business as I love what I do.

Example 2

Q1: Which kind of DP were they from the list?


Q2: What happened? How were they dodgy?

Prolonged a divorce by trying to manipulate my children against me and falsely accusing me of dishonesty without evidence. She caused a lot of stress and heartache, and it blew the family up.

Q3: How was it handled?

Fortunately, I had an honest lawyer who didn’t let her get away with it, at least on the legal side. On the family side, I just never went there with my kids. Eventually, my oldest confronted me, and when I told him the truth, he believed me. The youngest was just pulled in by her, unfortunately.

Q4: What were the final outcome, results, learnings, or wise-ups for you?

The whole mess was resolved in the legal system in a way that I had offered at the outset. That resolution, which was fair, took almost three years and a lot of haggling and bitterness that could have been avoided. Being honest with myself and my kids was the only way I got through it, along with a great deal of introspection and no dating, which would have been very confusing. In the end, she lost my older son to this tragedy. I gained a deeper relationship with him and his wife and now have a beautiful granddaughter, whom, unfortunately, my ex has never seen. I also met the woman I was always meant to be with just one month after the divorce was final. I am happily remarried and very content. The big lesson is that honesty and integrity in any situation with dodgy people is the best option—honesty with yourself and integrity with those around you whom you love.

Example 3

Q1: Which kind of DP were they from the list?


Q2: What happened? How were they dodgy?

I invited this person to work with some of my clients as his experience in investments was greater than my own. He was to help me design and implement an investment plan for individual clients. His compensation was to be 50 percent of ongoing investment. Since the clients would remain as my clients, it was clear that any and all non-investment business (i.e., life insurance business) was to be 100 percent mine, as the detail of the work was clearly understood to be for investments only.

Q3: How was it handled?

For two years, things worked well. When it came time for a visit with one client for me to deal with life insurance, I approached the client for a meeting. I was informed that she had bought a policy from my colleague six months prior. I approached my colleague who admitted he sold a policy without my knowledge, and he not only kept it a secret but he also kept 100 percent of the $6,000 commission hoping I would not find out about it. 

Q4: What were the final outcome, results, learnings, or wise-ups for you?

  • We did not involve the client with the internal dispute.
  • I terminated all relations with this colleague.
  • I asked for 100 percent commission, but settled for 50 percent as the fight was not worth it.
  • I learned not to always take business relationships at face value.
  • I learned not to agree to sharing without a written and signed agreement.
  • Not all people share the same value system.
  • Your reputation is built by 1,000 good acts and can be destroyed by one.

So What Should You Do if You Meet a Dodgy Person?

You need to assess the best options for handling a dodgy person situation.

Can You Prevent Them from Getting Away with It?  Probably Not!

How would you make sure they take responsibility for what they have done? You cannot!

How would you stop them from doing it again to you or to someone else? It’s unlikely you can stop the SS from doing it again to someone else. Remember, they get around a lot. They can change their target market, environment, city, and even country. (I found the ex-website designer who frauded me and who moved to Brisbane on LinkedIn pretending to be a youth worker.)

What if You Try to Sue Them?

You might think of legal action, but if it’s your company, that social sociopath may attack you. That could cause you to lose a lot of money, waste a lot of time, and create public embarrassment. If you do try to sue somebody, just think how much money you lose, how much time you lose, and how much time is money. Is it worth the heartache?

It’s not worth it with these chameleon sociopaths because they can be very vengeful. Very, very, wickedly vengeful. They are fantastic liars. They’re very good at temper tantrums too, to bluster and intimidate you and create a smokescreen for their dastardly acts. They can even turn on you saying that it was all your fault and they are not to blame.

What You Can Do Is Get Clarity and Act!

Can you dump them? If you’re not socially obliged to the DP, the sooner you spot him, run for the hills. Cut your losses and cut all communication ASAP.

If you can’t dump them because they are part of your social life (if it is your brother-in-law or if it is your business associate), don’t think that they can change. They’re not going to become positive. Negativity is ingrained in their nature, in their makeup. They are the social sociopaths.

Get the evidence. Start to collect all the data you need to build a case against them. Make sure you keep records and get other people to keep records too. Get yourself a team of observers and supporters who will objectively back you up. Limit your interaction with these people as much as possible and don’t buy into their drama.

In business, what you can do is have strict agreements and procedures. A very large legal company sent me one of their lawyers for ten sessions of counseling. It was alleged that this woman was not performing well.  She was frequently going to what might be called a “liquid lunch.” (You know what that is.)

So having had the mandatory 10 psychology sessions with me, this woman went to her workplace and found a security officer standing there. He said, “Clean out your desk and give me the keys.” Then he marched her down to the front door office and firmly showed her out the front door, never to return.

Now, that might sound cruel, but that law business had decided that she was a social sociopath and they needed to get rid of her. They had to make sure they acted according to company procedure, so she couldn’t have any counterclaims on them.

How to Gain Instant Clarity

Dr. Jan’s Example: Business Partner and Love Partner

Use your head.

Timeline Fact Sheet (What Happened)

Event/Score Impact from +10 to -10

  • He did not reveal that he was married. Minus 10
  • He used my business credit card for $10,000 of advertising—too late to work. Minus 9
  • I paid the wage for his promotions manager, whom he promised would earn four times her wage in six months. She earned nothing. Minus 9.
  • He emotionally blackmailed me to buy a $20,000 franchise in my name so he could illegally promote it. Minus 10
  • He ran away to New Zealand, leaving me with all the debts. Minus 10

My average negative impact score out of minus 10 was -9.6. So bad.

Where Am I (Was I) Now? What Is My Ideal?
Feelings? Devastated, humiliated, depressed Confident and proud
Money? Lost $100,000 Ever-increasing wealth
Health?   Stressed, immune system “shot” Fit and strong

How would the supermarket crowd vote?  Ask 100 people at the supermarket: Yay or nay? Nay! Get rid of him ASAP!

Use your heart.

  • Am I telling myself the honest truth? I was a victim. It was not honest and not loving.
  • What would I decide if I wasn’t afraid? Be single!
  • What would I do if I deserved better? Expect a highly ethical, honest partner.

Make your decision.

I ended all contact and never saw him again.

Fill in the form for a DP from your life.

How to Gain Instant Clarity

Use your head.

Timeline Fact Sheet (What Happened)

Event/Score Impact from +10 to -10

(The average score of minus will guide your decision)

Where Am I Now? What Is My Ideal?

How would the supermarket crowd vote?  Ask 100 people at the supermarket: Yay or nay?

Use your heart.

  • Am I telling myself the honest truth?
  • What would I decide if I wasn’t afraid?
  • What would I do if I deserved better?

Make your decision.

Dr. Jan’s Closed-Eye Meditation to Forgive Yourself and Remember the Lessons from Your Dodgy Person or People of the Past

Close your eyes and:

  • Remember the lessons learned from the dodgy people of your pas
  • Forgive yourself for allowing yourself to be a victi
  • Program yourself to be more discerning, assertive, and firm with dodgy people in the future.

So what’s next?  Your job now, as an informed individual, is to help the positive people in your business and at home by teaching them how to dodge dodgy people, or at least how to spot them and do damage control to handle the dodgy people as soon as they can.

You also need to teach your children to watch out for dodgy people. They need real life experience stories from their parents to learn how not to be taken advantage of by social sociopaths, so they won’t lose time, won’t waste money, and won’t have unnecessary heartache.

Janet Hall, Ph.D., is a highly esteemed clinical psychologist, hypnotherapist, professional speaker and author from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Her groundbreaking psychological and hypnotherapy techniques have helped many people deal with psychological and emotional issues including depression, anxiety, panic attacks and difficult relationships.


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