A Note From Lena

When I saw Chris Watts’s television interview after Shanann and her daughters first went missing, I was struck by how indifferent he was to their disappearance. Like many others who watched that interview, I was drawn into the case immediately and followed it obsessively from that moment.

As a mental health professional who works with couples and specializes in relationships, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how someone so seemingly normal his entire life, with no warning signs or red flags, could do something so heinous and evil. In my opinion, there was no way Shanann would have been able to tell she was married to someone who was capable of something this atrocious. In fact, I believe she thought Chris was completely incapable of something like this. For most of her marriage, up until she left for North Carolina for her summer vacation, she felt safe with Chris. She trusted him implicitly. 

I know that many people who followed this case have had so many questions: Was Chris a nice guy who had a break from reality? Was he an evil psychopath? A narcissist? Something else? If he is a psychopath, how did he hide it for so long? How did Chris become like this? Was he born like this, or did he become this way over time? Were there any warning signs? Are there warning signs that I can look out for, so this doesn’t happen to me? 

These are all questions I have attempted to answer in this book, using my professional expertise in imago relationship therapy and psychotherapy, and with the help of a criminal psychologist, a neuroscientist, and a journalist. 

My hope is that we can prevent abuse and violence if we have more of an understanding and know what signs to look out for. It’s not just another book on Chris Watts. By understanding important relational dynamics, attachment theory, and the traits and characteristics of Chris Watts and people like him, people can either leave a bad situation before it’s too late, or can get the help they need before things reach a point of catastrophe that they can never come back from.

Ultimately, this book was born out of a desire to understand how something like this could happen and to explore ideas of how, individually and collectively, we can try to prevent tragedies like this in the future. Although we cannot bring back Shanann, Bella, CeCe, and Nico, we can honor the beautiful legacy they have left behind.

In honor of Shanann, Bella, CeCe, and Nico, I have decided to donate $1 from each sale of the book during the pre-sale and first week of sales to St. Jude’s Hospital in their name. St. Jude’s was a charity Shanann’s mother had requested donations to in honor of the memory of her daughter and grandchildren on the Dr. Phil show. In order to be completely transparent and honor my commitment to this, I will post the sales of the pre-sale and first week, along with my donation to St. Jude’s on this website.

Thank you for reading.


Lena Derhally   

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