Burl Barer
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True Crime Classics: Mary Jo Buttofuoco, Getting It Through My Thick Skull

Burl Barer,True Crime Classics

True Crime Classics airs Thursdays 1pm ET on

 Here Women Talk!

Mary Jo Buttafuoco‘s anonymous life as a suburban wife and mother in sleepy Massapequa, New York, on Long Island, ended in May 1992, when she was shot in the head on her own front porch. The ‘Long Island Lolita’ saga sparked a media frenzy that has not died to this day. As the years passed and Mary Jo steadfastly stood by her man while Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher continued to make headlines, one question lingered in the minds of women everywhere: Why did she stay for so long? In Getting It Through My Thick Skull, Mary Jo finally answers that question fully and convincingly. The answer is simple, yet it took almost three decades of turmoil: She was married to a sociopath. And while Mary Jo’s face and story are known all over the world, she’s just one of countless women who have become similarly enmeshed with a partner who wreaks utter havoc on the lives around them.

Using her own experiences, Mary Jo helps readers determine if they are indeed involved with a sociopath and offers hope and help for them throughher tragic and triumphant life lessons. In addition, readers will be inspired by Mary Jo’s comeback: A true reclamation and re-creation of her life from the inside out. Through private details of the resiliency and rebuilding she has forged over the past sixteen years, Mary Jo shares with readers for the first time:

  • Her addiction to painkillers and her recovery through the Betty Ford Center
  • Her overdue decision to leave Joey and start over again on her own in California-3,000 miles from her support system
  • Taking control of her physical, spiritual, and emotional health and learning to feel attractive and in control again, despite the scars and trauma of the gunshot
  • Her highly controversial and public forgiveness of Amy Fisher
  • The new love in her life and how she found the courage to trust, believe, and find hope in a committed relationship once again


For many years after I was shot, people would say to me, “You ought to write a book!” And for many years I said, “Are you crazy? It was bad enough going through it, I certainly don’t want to relive it!” Then, 3 years ago, I had a conversation with my son that changed everything. He stated, quite matter-of-factly, that his father was a sociopath. I initially denied it, and thought that all sociopaths were all cold blooded, calculating murderers. It disturbed me so much that my son would say this, and so, late that night, after he went home, I typed the word “sociopath” into the computer. As I sat there and read the description of the traits that a typical sociopath has, the blood drained from my face and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. This was the answer to the maddening questions that I had had for over 20 years——what the hell was the matter with my husband? Why doesn’t he ever “get it” or “grow up?” “Why does he single-handedly destroy everything that is good in his life?”

And there was my answer. It was in front of me the whole time, but I just didn’t understand what a sociopath was. Suddenly, I had a reason to tell my story. So that maybe somebody else who is going through one of these maddening relationships would recognize and relate to it. So that they would understand that you can’t “help”, or “fix,” a person like this and that all they will do is drag you down with them. The only way to deal with a sociopath is not to deal with them at all.

And so, a book is born! “Getting it Through My Thick Skull”, which I am proud to say has become a New York Times best seller, is the story of what I went through and what I learned from my experience.

Every Saturday at 2PT, 5ET you can hear Burl Barer on True Crime Uncensored broadcast by Outlaw Radio.

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