By Patty Fantasia
Photo credit: Patty Fantasia, Sheila Z Stirling & Bruce Merrin

Book Launch Party for Dr. Sheila Z Stirling's Love & Illusion

On Tuesday November 16th a launch party for Dr. Sheila Z Stirling’s latest book Love and Illusion was held at the Summerlin home of Yoga Instructor and Hollistic Consultant Mindi Anderson. Among the invited guests were King Errisson, who was a part of Neil Diamond’s Band for 37 years, former Beach Boys Band member Billy Hinsche, who is currently producing a new documentary about the legendary group’s touring days years ago, Schatar “Hottie” Sapphira, the #1 star from Flava Flav VH-1 TV shows Flavor of Love and Charm School, World Famous Magician Valentino, Entertainment Attorney William Watters, Realtor Mary Star, Marlene Prenderville from Game Time International and Public Relations Specialist Bruce Merrin. Wine, soft drinks and refreshments were served, while Sheila autographed copies of her book, mingled with guests and discussed what drove her to write Love and Illusion.


Sheila Z Stirling, PH.d

Usually known for lighter fare dealing with enlightenment and positive mental health, such as her previous works Intentional Wellness and Reading the Language of the Cosmos, Sheila has been on the cutting edge of health and wellness with her books, CDs and workshops. It was her own personal involvement with a “Social Sociopath” that led her to shift gears and write about such a dark subject.

Sheila with Valentino the Magician

An awards finalist for the best relationship self-help book from the 2010 USA Book News, Love and Illusion defines these callous and emotionally dangerous predators and describes how to identify them. Supporting the account of her own experiences with science and research, Sheila provides terminology and a detailed description of the behaviors found in these types of individuals. It also features four case studies including memories from Stirling’s own damaging relationship. Three of the stories are about what she refers to as Social Sociopaths, while the last one is about a Purist Sociopath. These are terms that Sheila has coined herself and applied to specific behaviors based on clinical descriptions, psychological checklists and profiles that are widely accepted by mental health professionals. According to Stirling’s school of thought the major difference between a Social Sociopath and a Purist is the level at which the behavior exists. In her opinion, the Social Sociopath fits more readily into society and has less severe characteristics. It is more likely that these individuals will function within legal boundaries, so are not perceived as a criminal element even though they are notorious for breaking rules and pushing moral boundaries. They share the same disregard for the welfare of others and determination to destroy emotional relationships just as the Purist does.

King Errisson, Sheila Z. Stirling and Billy Hinsche

There is debate as to whether genes or environment is responsible for creating such traits and no clear resolution as to the cause. “Chances are that every single one of them had an overbearing father or a mother who was detached,” Stirling ascertained. She also said that the numbers of people falling into the Social Sociopath category are higher than most people would imagine. “One in every 25 adults in this country is displaying this behavior,” she commented, adding that men outnumber women by a 3-1 ratio.

Schatar Sapphira and Sheila

Dr. Stirling went on to explain that Social Sociopaths strive to avoid facing any disappointment in relationships. “They don’t want to take any responsibility,” she said. They also don’t want to be reminded of their issues, developing what she refers to as “the blizzard”. It is during this phase that the Social Sociopath begins to objectify the “love interest”, alienating the individual and making that person feel worthless and at fault.


Sheila with Valentino, Billy Watters and Bruce Merrin

The four stories in the book are so very different, but if you read them you’ll see there is a common thread. These guys were so different, yet they’re so the same,” she continued. Since Social Sociopaths don’t all carry the same traits there are bound to be variations in the behavior, yet the absence of empathy towards others and the need to hunt or play the game rather than developing real relationships is a reoccurring theme.

One of the case studies tells the story of a woman who was married for 25 years to a man with these traits. “Her husband was so over confident he made a major slip up,” Sheila related. Despite this, she insisted that as a rule Social Sociopaths are charming, gregarious and very intelligent, which explains how they get close to their “victims” and fool colleagues and acquaintances.

Love and Illusion takes a cold, hard look at how these types of predators operate and how you can protect yourself from falling into their traps.

King Errisson and Sheila