By January 23, 2008 117 Comments Read More →


Question: Why do people engage in aggressive behaviour (some, as we know, rather more than others)?
Answer: Because they enjoy it.

There’s a bit of a flutter on the internet (see here and here) about research coming out of Vanderbilt University. Studying mice, Maria Couppis and Craig Kennedy have found that aggression can be as emotionally rewarding as food or sex.

The neurotransmitter dopamine has been implicated in nearly every experience we consider rewarding, such as love, drugs, eating, and sex. Indeed, the mesolimbic dopamine pathway is referred to as the reward system of the brain. Dopamine is necessary for reinforcement, e.g. the ex-smoker’s craving brought about by the whiff of cigarette smoke.

Now a direct connection has been drawn between dopamine and aggression. In the experiement the male home mouse continually pushed a button to let in an intruder mouse which it then aggressed. When treated with a dopamine antagonist (blocking the activity of the dopamine) the home mouse decreased its button-pushing. (For a discussion of the experiment see here.)

(Incidentally, it is important not to conflate aggression and violence. Aggression is dominating behaviour. For the mice aggressive behavior included tail rattle, an aggressive sideways stance, boxing and biting – two non-violent and two non-violent behaviours.)

“We learned from these experiments that an individual will intentionally seek out an aggressive encounter solely because they experience a rewarding sensation from it,” Kennedy said. “This shows for the first time that aggression, on its own, is motivating, and that the well-known positive reinforcer dopamine plays a critical role.”

Not that surprising?
I suspect that lovefraud/blog readers who have been on the receiving end of aggression won’t be surprised by these findings. Says Dr. Bliss at Maggies’ farm, “I cannot speak about mice, but every psychiatrist – and every person – knows that this is a fact for human beings.”

Any comments?

A query I have is runs something like this. Many commentators on this blog speak of increased assertiveness, anger, determination, etc. which has enabled them to get through relationships with psychopaths, to gain self-respect, and to make new lives. Would you say that you have learned to better access aggression? And if so, is there pleasure in it?

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lesson learned


I find myself in a dilemma and it’s pissing me off.

The gym is just down the street from me. I’ve been thinking about joining for TWO WEEKS now. Keep saying I’m going to do it, then I DON”T do it. This lack of motivation (even if it’s going on in my mind), is pissing me off. I literally feel DISABLED emotionally as a result of this relationshit. I’m getting to the point where I’m SO PISSED OFF thinking about it 24/7 that I”m preparing to toss in the towel and just get out there and LIVE……………but the truth is, I’m afraid. I don’t feel AT ALL good about myself.

I know this is going to sound just so STOOOOPID, but my son and I went to the store this evening, and I took him to his place to grab his phone charger. EVERY single woman I see around I think “Is she the one he’s with?” Big/small fancy cars, are ALL possibilities LOL!!! Pretty women, not so pretty women, heavy, not so heavy skinny…….UGH!!!!!!!!! But it’s the MONEY he wants right now. He’s happy feeding off someone with MONEY…while he appears to have it himself.

I don’t. I”ve been a “career” student for ten years now. I’ll continue to be. I don’t make 50,000 or more a year. THAT makes me feel bad about myself too.

I’m SO ANGRY that I feel this way!!!! I want to be able to go out in MY TOWN and go to MY GYM and MY STORE and drive MY CAR (okay, nice car, my parents bought it for me), without worrying about this bastard. IN fact, if he EVER sees me, I want to be looking and feeling FABULOUS!!!!

I”m getting very frustrated and angry that he’s taking up so much of my head space.

So while worrying about whom he’s with or not with, that thought still floats through my mind now which means I need LOTS more work to get RID OF THIS SHIT!!

I NEED TO EMBRACE THAT HE IS DISORDERED AND IT IS THE BIGGEST PIECE OF THIS PUZZLE FOR ME!!! There is an article on here that talks about not taking it personally…..

But I’m CLEARLY NOT believing he’s disordered or have NOT clicked with it emotionally.

PLEASE help me here! I wrote out a list of one worded behaviors that he’s done. ANy other suggestions?

I’ve GOT to get OVER THIS FEAR AND I”M SO FRUSTRATED BECAUSE I WANT TO START FEELING BETTER!! Whenever I go past that stupid gym, I want to join SO BAD….but I”M PARALYZED BY FEAR!!!! I”m doing A LOT of visualizing in my head…what it looks like and how much better I feel, but it’s still not getting me over the hump yet. I’m so frustrated by this. So very frustrated…..

Ox? Do I need a huge boink here or what??

Thanks for reading my vent.

lesson learned

Mama Gem,

You are one of the SWEETEST hearts on this site. I don’t know why but I seem to hear your voice as one of the loudest (other than ox, eb, sky, one, well you get my drift), and funniest and most loving.

That’s ALL you need to remember. You got a ton of pearls….



Hi Roses,
what a beautiful name, I can already sense the start of a similarly beautiful life for you from today with this change in name.
I am glad you read those 3 posts, they helped me so much.
I have no interest in his label, or mental state, he is disordered enough not to be honest and loyal and as Oxy said that is what is most important, all else is below the line.
he can go on with his life, with his thrills and conquests, I am not interested in a competition. He is soon going to lose his wife, whom he failed to value, in a divorce. His life will go on, with what he thinks is happiness – conquests, but actually to anyone with normal senses, it is a bottomless black pit.

Ox Drover

AMEN PETITE!!!!!! Right on lady!!!! You are so right there, BOTTOMLESS BLACK PIT! (((hugs))))

lesson learned


You are amazing.

Yea, the change in name………….and that is the vision to the future………

Beautiful post petitie and one in which I see GROWTH!!!



Thanks Oxy – you see your friend (me) is getting there, she is slow, yet set in her mind.
I am still healing and the wounds are very raw, however, I am seeing it out of the fog and not getting drawn into the dream as much as last week.
Thanks to you Oxy and all my well wishers on LF.

Ox Drover

Dear Petite,

That is so interesting about him being told by his therapist that he has Narcissistic qualities…doesn’t surprise me though at all.

The thing that “got me” most about him was what you said about him telling you that he cheated first but his wife “got even with” him. Like she had done something wrong —sort of like the little kid telling his teacher “It all started when Johnny HIT ME BACK.” Their problems seem to have started when she “got even with” him by having her own affair. At least HE SAID SHE DID—who knows what the REAL TRUTH is? That is the problem with the Ns and Ps, is that if all you have is their side of the story, you have no way to know the REAL TRUTH of the matter.

All you DO know for SURE is that he is a CHEAT—and he is not going to change that. If he will cheat on her he will cheat on you. He broke RULE #1 “is he honest?” NO—go directly to the END of the relationship. Or as we said in the game Monopoly “go directly to jail, do not pass go, and do not collect $200.”

lesson learned


WOW, you got GREAT validation in his therapist saying he has N qualities!! AMAZING!!!

What a GREAT feeling that must be for you!

I SO admire when others get that kind of concrete info. A point of reference.

BUT, Ox, is right. ONce a cheat always a cheat. And a person has to LIE to make “cheating” happen.

Now you have three concrete realities about him to help you move ahead.

1. N ‘qualities’
2. cheat
3. liar

You’re gonna be just fine!!!



Ahhhh…this article on dominance and power! Soooooo…

The day I drove us to see his biological mother in Michigan, after having to leave the gym because HE forgot to give his 11 year old son keys to get BACK IN the house and a phone to use for emergencies, my ex panicked! I was getting ready to teach and he told me of his ‘mistake’. I was pissed…why?

Because, yet AGAIN, he had been irresponsible and I was expected to rush to his aid…clean up HIS mess. I ‘resisted’ this time and said “if its such an emergency, then take a cab home right now to give him keys and a phone.” Well, THAT my friends, would have INCONVENIENCED HIM so he chose to stay at the gym, work out, and dictate to ME that we would leave after my class. Well, that wasnt MY plan for the day…I was PLANNING on staying to do cardio…screw him.

I let him know of my plans…in no uncertain terms…which caused ALOT of tension because I was being ‘selfish’ and ‘inconsiderate to an 11 year old.” We left the gym…

Later that day…as we drove to Michigan, I could BARELY look at his disgusting face. He, on the other hand, was ‘trying to make nice’ so we ‘could have a nice weekend.” IT WAS ON!

We got to his aunts and I could barely contain my emotions-I was LIVID, ANGRY, HURT, RESENTFUL and all other emotions in one. I could NOT put on the ‘happy’ face and pretend all was well. It wasnt. That night, I told him I wanted to go home.

Ut oh…’you want to do WHAT?”
“I want to go home. I dont feel good, Im uncomfortable, Im upset and I want to go home.”
“Well, we aren’t leaving.”
“Really? I want to go home…that doesnt matter to you?”
“Fine. We can leave BUT that will be the LAST time you and I ever talk. You’re gonna ruin this trip.”
“What! I am uncomfortable and clearly upset.”
“Fine, Ill take you to the bus tomorrow. You can take a bus home.”
“Really? How are you gonna get me to the bus. YOU CANT DRIVE, REMEMBER?”
“Ill find a way.”

He proceeded to tell me the next night (the day of him leaving)…”and that statement you made about leaving if YOU want because YOU”RE the one who drove? That showed me JUST HOW MUCH POWER YOU ACTUALLY HAVE.”

I hate him.

Ox Drover

Dear R-babe,

Hate him! You did good, realizing that you needed to set some boundaries….and now you’re learning that it is okay to set those boundaries. Hell, I didn’t even know it was OK to think about those boundaries or that I should/could set them.

Good for you!!!!

Now quit thinking about him and think about how fortunate you are that he is gone!!!!

Sit down and make a list of the good things you have in your life now that he is gone!!!!

He is irresponsible—NOT YOU. HIS PROBLEM, NOT yours!

Sugar there ain’t nuttin’ that you could have done to help this jerk, he needs someone else to wipe his butt cause he’s too stupid to do it or too lazy (not sure which) you are miles better off than to be connected this this jerk face! TOWANDA to you kiddo!!!

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