“Did He Ever Love Me?” A Qualitative Study of Life With a Psychopathic Husband

Just Like His Father? (available through this site) was released in October, 2006. At that time I fantasized that the audience for the book would be single parents or grandparents raising the children of personality disordered individuals. I thought that most of the disordered parents would have abandoned the family and want nothing to do with the kids. While we still do not know what percentage of personality disordered parents abandon their kids, I have come to believe that that those who do not are a much bigger social problem.

Within 6 months of the release of the book, people who were trying to co-parent with severely disordered former partners began to write me. At first I did not believe the stories because they so contradicted common sense and my clinical training. What sane person would believe that the family courts would grant unsupervised access or even custody to severely personality disordered abusive parents? Well I discovered that is just what they do, and since that discovery have been working obsessively to change things.

If we are to change the insane system the first thing we need is valid, objective reliable data regarding how it operates. We also need valid, objective reliable data about the parenting and intimate behavior of people with cluster B personality disorders. I have set a goal to collect that data not for a “pop psychology” book but for its scientific value. That has meant Ethics Committee (IRB) approvals, funding, questionnaires, interviews, research assistants and statistics. I am still collecting this data from former partners and adult children of disordered individuals but have made substantial progress (send Donna an email if you want to consider providing data).

Last year I was teaching a research methods class to graduate students in counseling. We were discussing qualitative and narrative research when one of the students raised her hand and said she enjoyed reading autobiographies of people who had unusual experiences, a light bulb went on inside my head. I looked at her and said, “See me after class.” Last summer that student, another student Emily, Linda who blogs for Lovefraud, and I read and analyzed using modern qualitative methods 18 memoirs written by former partners and adult sons and daughters of psychopathic individuals. I am happy to announce that one of the papers generated from this research is now available.

The paper provides substantial data that might be useful for women who are trying to protect children from a psychopathic father. The paper also explains to professionals how and why women get into these relationships and the damage the relationships do. Here is the abstract:

This is the first in-depth study of the influence of psychopathy (as assessed by the PCL-R) on the intimate relationship behavior of men. Using well-established qualitative methods, Leedom, Geslien, and Almas examined the published memoirs of 10 women who had long-term relationships with psychopathic men. They also examined articles, videotaped interviews, forensic evaluations where available, and author feedback. The authors determined that these relationships consist of four phases: induction, commitment, disengagement, and recovery. All of the women they studied had been conned, manipulated, or coerced during all or most phases of the relationship. The data from the 10 memoirs have been triangulated with that of a memoir written by a woman who had been kidnapped at age 11 and held 18 years by a psychopathic man, and with a case well known to the first author. Although the resulting data are qualitative and come from a limited number of cases, they have enabled the formulation of a model to explain the relationship between the facets of psychopathy and intimate partner experiences, exploitation, and abuse. Psychopathic men may occasionally demonstrate “affectionate” behavior and express concern for children, but psychopathy is not compatible with a healthy relationship or a nurturing home environment for children.

You may obtain the paper from The Civic Research Institute

I am unable to provide data regarding the experiences of men because there were no memoirs written by men. The paper presenting the data from adult children has not yet been accepted, but that paper contains data regarding psychopathic mothers.

I hope to continue to do the very difficult task of objectively collecting and reporting data while at the same time advocating for social change. This paper is a start.

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49 Comments on "“Did He Ever Love Me?” A Qualitative Study of Life With a Psychopathic Husband"

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It’s an easy fix. My spath told the court I was an alcoholic, and they allowed him to randomly test me at his expense. It was ordered, though of course he never utilized it. Simply make the same provision for a spath. If he or she is accused, allow the other parent the opportunity to pay for an exam. If they’re not, they have nothing to worry about, right? I’d have taken out a second mortgage to pay for a thorough exam if I was given the same opportunity he was given.

I am the adult child of a mother who was quite severely borderline pd and narcissistic pd, with a smattering of antisocial or ‘spath behaviors thrown into the mix as well.
Plus obsessive-compulsive pd behaviors.

My mother was never formally diagnosed until long after I became an adult; my younger sister and I suffered chronic emotional abuse and even physical abuse from our mother during our vulnerable formative years. We were both physically afraid of our own mother, and each of us suffered long-term emotional injuries (ptsd, depression, zero self esteem, avoidant pd, etc.)

Our father was a kindly but non-confrontational enabler of our mother’s domineering, controlling, abusive behaviors and received about as much abuse as we kids did. For God only knows what reason, they remained married for life.

But if my parents had divorced when my Sister and I were still minors, we would have been automatically given to our mother/our abuser, and would have been raised without the even minor mitigating influence of our dad’s presence in the household.

So, I think that in any custody litigation, it ought to be a requirement that the court orders each parent to undergo a thorough psychiatric examination AND THEN supervise and monitor the family after custody has been determined to see if the children are doing OK or are deteriorating emotionally because they are now in the full sole custody of a parent who chronically abuses them.

Its just as likely that the mother is the abusive, toxic parent as it is likely to be the father. And while its common for psychopaths to be able to fool psychiatrists and judges, the effects of being raised by a psychopathic pd parent are not so easy to disguise. In custody cases, its the children who need to be carefully observed and protected from covert abuse by their own personality disordered and/or psychopathic parents.

Babs, your suggestion is an EXCELLENT ONE but unfortunately, the cost $$$$ of such monitoring would be prohibitive…and as it is, the child protective services doesn’t monitor the KNOWN CASES OF ABUSE OF CHILDREN well enough, much less “normal” divorce cases. But if it could be impemented your suggestion is GREAT!

I’m sorry that you had such a childhood, but at least now that you understand what went on, you can work on healing and “reparenting” yourself. It isn’t easy but we can do it. My egg donor wasn’t quite a “bad” as your egg donor, but I did have a wonderful step father that did mitigate my egg donor’s lack of nurturing quite a bit and I am glad for that.

This looks fascinating, but why is so much P research buried behind a pay-wall? Not just this research but lots of other stuff.

I noticed alot of these posts were a few years old. I am currently going through hell with a man that has betrayed me and my boys. His alcohol and his cheating Patterns have finally surfaced and not only has he taken away alot of my resources in order to gain help and move on but he is deliberately dragging my name through the mud. 100% on a smear campaign. I was in an accident and he was all for helping me fix my car well this was the perfect opportunity to gain control over me. Not only did he rip the whole front end off but then texted me how his garage was closed meaning I was Sol. I am beyond words at the things he does. He will leave and take the electricity meter with him so me and my kids will have no power. He will cut off water when. He leaves so that we will have no water. He drinks every night and stays out in garage on his phone texting women while me and boys are inside. He even told me he wants to destroy me. Last night he stole my purse. I called cops to file a report and because I had no proof it was him there was nothing they could do. After the cop left he texted me saying my purse was on table and that j should learn to lock my car door as if he found my purse. No he deliberately took it knowing I would need it for gas, etc. He wants to make my life a living hell and it really hurts me as this man was someone I put my trust in. So now I am at a loss. I have a rental that I pay for daily and he has 3 cars but will not let me drive one to save me money. He is not there for me at all. He only adds to my distress. All I can do is keep praying that somehow someway justice will be served one day. I’ve never felt so much hate from a man I have spent over 10 years with. The pain is real but I know I have to keep my head up because he wants me to struggle and he wants to see me down. I could not do such things to my worst enemy let alone someone you claim to love. Now I just need to somehow get my car fixed as it is costing me daily to rent. Please say a prayer for me. Idk why I’m having to go through this and I keep telling myself there must be a reason. I keep looking for that light at the end of the tunnel but have yet to see one. God bless you all and for all those that have been in my shoes I would love to hear how you came out on the other end of this hell. It really is hell on earth to endure such heartache and deliberate betrayals.

Melhb53 – I am so sorry for you situation. Unfortunately, what you are describing is typical sociopathic harassment. Please understand that he wants to get a reaction out of you. So if nothing else, teach yourself to stop reacting. He is having fun by getting you upset, so take away his fun by not getting upset – at least not letting him know that you are upset. Express your anger and frustration privately. Maybe if you take his fun away, he’ll leave you alone.

which is why I don’t attend birthday parties for grandkids, or other occasions for grandkids, when I know my ex will be present. watching him be ‘proud grampa’ and me staying away from him, would just wreck the occasion anyway. I tried it one time, and I was an emotional basketcase, and was called ‘a coward’ by my twin grown sons for being afraid of him! That did it. Why give him any new ammunition for put-downs of me, when I’m not around to defend myself? Our sons continue to put pictures of my ex and they/or the kids on my Facebook page. I have told them NOT to, but it goes on anyway. All I can is look and NO comments. (and do my best not to go back and look at pictures another time(s). He tried to ‘friend me’, but I did block that and his current wife’s ‘to be friends’ as well.

Hi Helhb53, I just want to add that you are NOT alone. I am so glad that you start a search online because you know that he is not normal and I am equally glad that you found our way to Lovefraud.

What can you do?

First recognize that you are in a abusive relationship!

Recognize that he is emotionally & mentally abusing you.

Reach out to your counties National Domestic Abuse Center to talk with a free counselor & ask them for your local abuse center numbers then go.

This will be one of the best things that you have ever done for yourself.

In the USA the National Domestic Violence hotline number is 800-799-SAFE. If you are not in the US just google for your county’s number.

I would also recommend that you set up an appointment at your local abuse center to talk with a free counselor & also attend their woman group meeting they will really help you to see that YES you are in a emotional & mentally abusive relationship.

The man is trying to control every aspect of your life…he is taking away basic needs such as your water & electric. This is NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR!! This is ABUSE!!

It’s time that you take steps out of this abusive relationship. YOU ARE NOT ALONE WE HEAR YOU!! WE ARE HERE FOR YOU TOO!!

Do a search on the top right side of Lovefraud for:

Gas lighting abuse

No Contact Rule

(also google these words with the word sociopath and then with the word narcissist)

You have been brain washed by this abuser to accept his controlling ways. So it is vitally important that you open your mind up from his brain washing. How do you open you mind up?

EDUCATE yourself on sociopath abuse.

Where do you start to educate yourself? Right here on love fraud.

If you go to the top of this site look under every red & gray tab. READ, READ, READ everything up there that Donna has posted. When you are sad, angry, crying come to love fraud & read. it will help you to sort out your mind.

Also keep a hidden journel of what this man had done to you & what he is still doing on a daily bases. Ask a friend to also do the same. This can be used in court.

KEEP CALLING THE POLICE EVERYTHING HE DOES SOMETHING THAT IS ABUSIVE TOWARDS YOU!! Why? so that you have documentation in court of the craziness abusiveness he is doing to you.

Have your friends & family come to this site also. They too need to be educated!! The sociopath smear campaign that you mate is doing is EXACTLY what a sociopath does!! They try to isolate you from your support network so that they have control over you fully. And they also do it so that they will not be exposed.

KEEP REACHING OUT FOR HELP!! call the National domestic hotline to talk with a free counselor and go to the free counseling sessions & women group meetings that they also offer for free. THIS WILL BE ONE OF THE GREATEST GIFTS YOU HAVE EVER GIVEN YOURSELF.


Keep posting here & vent everything out here at love fraud. IT really does help also to open up your mind from all the brain washing that this sociopath is doing to you every second of the day.


Take care.

ps check with your insurance company because a lot of insurance policies alot money for rental car until your car can be fixed.

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