Moving On and Moving Forward with Mary Jo Buttafuoco

Print This Post Print This Post


Earlier this month at Barnes and Noble in Encino, Mary Jo Buttafuoco talked about her new book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull, and shared her experiences married to the infamous Joey Buttafuoco. Friends, family and women who have had been manipulated by their significant others gathered at the bookstore to hear how she lived through it all and found happiness.

“Sociopaths don’t have the capacity to love,” said Buttafuoco cutting to the chase, “they don’t know how to love someone else. It’s a selfish kind of love.”


It has taken her a decade to come to terms with her life with notorious ex-husband Joey Buttafuoco and to process the sequence of events that lead to the fateful day when she heard her doorbell ring.

Why I Stayed…

“I wanted to fall in love, have a family and grow old together.” Mary Jo and Joey Buttafuoco were high school sweethearts. Things between the two were fast and fun but as they grew older, “it became more of a Mother-son relationship, which [Mary Jo] though he would grow out of but he never did,” she explained.  She blamed his reckless behavior on his drug abuse or thought his alcoholism was the reason. For most of their marriage, Mary Jo spent her energy putting out the fires.

What I Learned…

For years Mary Jo could not figure out why her ex-husband pulled the stunts he did.  Why he drove everyone around him into a panicked frenzy? Why all the drama? She couldn’t pinpoint what his problem was. Until one day, her son turned to her and said, “He’s a sociopath.” A light bulb went on. Mary Jo googled the term and found a list of traits that fit her ex husband’s personality to the tee. The term “sociopath” encompasses a wide spectrum of traits from the extreme violent to the more mild forms.

Her new found discovery of her ex- husband’s condition led her to write the book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull to share her personal experiences.

“I was robbed emotionally for all these years,” said Mary Jo. Realizing that her ex husband was a sociopath was the key that opened the door to her new life.  She finally had the answer she was looking for: it wasn’t personal; there was just nothing she could do.

Mary Jo also gave a few words of advise to the women in the audience who might be in a relationship with such a person: “The best way to deal with a sociopath is NOT to deal with him at all.” Good hearted, caring and unsuspecting women get duped all the time with

“You’re not stupid,” Buttafuoco emphasizes, “he’s just that good at manipulating you.”

Currently, Buttafuocois living her life with a new love and raising a “Brady-bunch family”  in southern California.

Atina Hartunian’s articles have appeared in the North Valley Community News, The Armenian Reporter, The Pasadena Weekly, as well as current urban development for She is also a website content manager and freelance writer:

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.