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Confronting the psychopath


Last month, Bob Bashara, 57, of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his wife.

Jane Bashara, 56, was beaten and strangled in January 2012. Her body was discovered in her Mercedes SUV parked in a Detroit alley, far from the family’s upper-class neighborhood.

While Jane Bashara worked, earning four times as much money as her husband, Bob Bashara acted like the civic-minded “Mayor of Middlesex,” which was the name of the street they lived on.

But he had a secret live of BDSM bondage, discipline, sadomasochism and had sex with multiple women in a basement dungeon.

Prosecutors alleged that Bob Bashara lured his mentally challenged former handyman, Joseph Gentz, to kill his wife. His goal was to inherit her money.

Bob Bashara claimed he was innocent.

Read more about this sensational case:

Bob Bashara guilty of killing wife in trial that exposed his secret S&M lifestyle, on People.com.

Jury finds Bob Bashara guilty of first-degree murder, on Freep.com.

Judge lambasts Bob Bashara

Bob Bashara was sentenced for the murder on Jan. 15, 2015. During the sentencing, Judge Vonda Evans, the victim’s mother, Lorraine Engelbrecht, and the victim’s sister, Julie Rowe, all told Bob Bashara exactly what they thought of him.

Watch videos of both the judge’s statement and Julie Rowe’s statement on this page:

Judge to Bashara: You destroyed Jane, only loved yourself, on Freep.com.

Judge Evans starts out by blaming Bob Bashara’s behavior on his upbringing. I don’t know all the testimony in the case, but this is probably at least partially correct, because psychopathy results from a mixture of genetics and childhood experience.

Evans said about his mother, “She loved you, but she didn’t know how to train you to be a man.” Instead, the judge said, Bob Bashara’s mother trained his sister, cousin, aunt and wife to cater to him.

Then Judge Evans really got rolling in her criticism of Bob Bashara. She made dramatic statements like the following:

“The only person you ever loved was yourself.”

“When your victims put their guards down and trusted you, you sucked them emotionally like a vampire.”

“You are a predator who sized up your prey. They longed for love. You just want to control.”

“You used their love and sacrifices as weapons against them.”

“Your love was a cancer, terminal and destructive.”

Victim’s mother and sister speak

The victim’s mother, Lorraine Engelbrecht, said, “Every day I live, I want to think about your rotting in jail and someday burning in hell.”

Julie Rowe, Jane Bashara’s sister, read a victim impact statement.

“Bob lied to all of us,” she said. “Bob manipulated all of us. Bob utterly betrayed all of us.”

“We ask those in power to never forget the depth of Bob’s betrayals and crimes, to never believe a word that comes out of his mouth, and to never, ever, let him out of prison.”

“What do you say to someone who doesn’t have a heart? How do you convey the emotion behind such a devastating loss to a psychopath who can’t love, and who doesn’t have the capacity to experience real human emotion.,” Rowe said. “I am fully aware of the fact that anything that I say today will not really be heard by this ridiculous failure of a man.”

The psychopath’s reaction

In the video of Judge Evans’ statement, first you’ll see Bob Bashara saying he didn’t do it.

“I am innocent,” Bob Bashara said. “I had nothing to do with my wife’s death.”

As you watch the video, pay attention to this man’s reaction or lack of reaction. There is no guilt or remorse. His only movements are subtle shakes of his head in disagreement.

Julie Rowe was right. Nothing that was said made any impact on him.

My guess is that the only thing Bob Bashara feels is anger that he’s going to be locked up for the rest of his life.

No effect on the psychopath

This is the part that is truly instructive for Lovefraud readers.

Many of you want closure. You want an opportunity to blast the psychopath, to enumerate his or her crimes and transgressions.

You want to make the psychopath understand how you feel, how devastated you are by his or her betrayal, deceit and manipulation. You want the psychopath to know how much you are suffering.

As you can see from these videos, the psychopath will not care.

Jane Bashara’s family did get their day in court. The murderer was convicted and is going to prison.

Bob Bashara was forced to sit and listen as his wife’s family had their say.

It had absolutely no effect on him.

Confrontation exercise

So when you feel the need to blast the psychopath, I have a suggestion: Do it “in absentia.”

Imagine that you’re going to have the opportunity to face the predator in court and make a victim impact statement. Think of everything you want to say. Perhaps even write it all out to read, as you would in court.

Then plan a “hearing.” The only people present will be you and your mental image of the psychopath, or perhaps a photo of him or her.

Read your statement to the psychopath. If you get emotional, that’s fine. Let your anger and tears flow. The more pain you can get out of your system, the better.

You may never get the opportunity to confront the psychopath in person. This exercise will probably be better anyway, for several reasons:

1. You will speak your mind, without the psychopath attacking you, twisting your words, and pulling you back into the web.

2. You will not see his or her real reaction, which would likely be contempt.

3. You can, if you want, imagine that he or she really does hear your words and expresses remorse.

The objective of this exercise is to help in your own recovery. Like in the case of Bob Bashara, nothing you say will make a differenced to the psychopath. But perhaps your confrontation “in absentia” will give yourself closure.

 


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26 Comments on "Confronting the psychopath"

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Preaching alert!

This was a very instructive and encouraging article. Thank God there still are juries which refuse to be deceived. Thank God for judges who sit on the bench and judge righteously. Thank God for Judge Evans that she was so on top of who Bob is and what he did. She really nailed him; she really understood. May God reward and bless her greatly.

Thank God that this monstrous spath was exposed for who and what he is and got temporal justice. Although it cannot ever seem or be enough for what they have done, this is just a slice of what is coming. “Vengeance is Mine”, sayeth the Lord, “I will repay.”

This case was sadly instructive in that we see the horrific depravity, the lack of remorse, the gross lack of understanding of the spath. Their minds are darkened past understanding and their hearts are hardened. They are past hope.

Victims will never get any satisfaction in terms of a confession, apology or restitution. It is the painful cross that victims must bear. But, victims can rise above all the despicable evil perpetrated by the God-forsaken monster — with or without the confession, remorse and apology closure from the spath. We have to.

Our closure comes in acknowledging honestly what has happened, forgiving the perpetrators and even ourselves for the confused shame and dirtiness we feel for having our lives touched and horrifically altered by them. It is what distinguishes us from them.

Their lives are all about self and hurting others. And, that lifestyle brings them to a sorry end like Bob. His was a certain course. But, we can choose to not be bitter and to not hate and so rise above the hell they have tried drag us into. Hallelujah. Our best revenge is a life lived well. And time will reveal all.

So eloquent. Yes, screaming and cursing at the perpetrator only gives them the satisfaction that they have been successful: they have made you as miserable as they. Be a victor, not a victim. As difficult as it is, resist. Think about the Jews who survived the gas chambers: would it have been effective for them to yell at Hitler, had he lived? No; he would have just twisted what they said and used it against them; I know.

Victoria, you are right and an extremely powerful example. Hitler would have heard nothing except more fuel for the literal fire. More in his mind to perpetuate his sick, vile, monstrous beliefs.

I don’t like to keep this image in my head but it does represent exactly the mental stance of a path. They either don’t hear you, try to make it your fault (gaslighting), deny their hideous behavior or say “I’m sorry.” I heard that so much, it made me want to puke. At least, that was my experience.

One time when I put my foot down w/this maggot, to let me know his intentions or leave me alone, he sent me about 35 emails with excuses and apologies, songs, etc.

Another time, he banged his fist on the table and demanded that we are “CHANGING THIS SUBJECT, NOW!!!!!!” During that same horrendous convo, he also denied some bizarre behaviors he had exhibited that I was asking him to explain. I was completely shocked as at the time, I had no idea what he was. I have said on this blog before and I hold to it, they have the emotional mentality of a 3 yr old, no matter what high level job they hold or political, academic, professional heights they have achieved. I fully believe this with all my heart as I saw it in action. A grown man behaving like an emotional toddler.

They do not have it to give. They cannot hear you.

thank you…this was so helpful….I had been thinking recently about not having the sense of closure in my situation…just feeling like I never would….I will try the suggestion where I have the conversation with EX…Imagining him there…saying what I need to say…there he won’t be able to twist or manipulate and hurt me…..I remember doing this same sort of thing with a therapist…when my husband of 25 years committed suicide……In those situations you KNOW you can’t talk to them….but I think that the conversation I had with him “in absentia”….did give closure…and help me to move on….

I never would have thought after all that I went through with our family…that I would end up the victim of some sociopath…What a mental nightmare!…

I like how you said it about…”forgiving ourselves for the confused shame and dirtiness we feel for having our lives touched and horrifically altered by them”….

In God’s court….I don’t think that being too nice will be counted against me…He says not to return evil for evil…and to leave vengeance for HIM…and I trust His will be PERFECTLY fitting….Only HE knows If the psychopath can ever come to repentance….maybe it can happen…meanwhile like you say…stay back …don’t stick your finger near the cage of a dangerous wild animal….

Hi Grace,

First of all I would like to say that I am very sorry about your husband who committed suicide. How tragic for him and for you. And, after such grief, who would have thought that one would end up with a spath?!

But, you are so right — in God’s court, He will not hold it against you that you were loving and kind. No, not at all. And, what is amazing is that none of this comes as a surprise to Him. All our days are written in His book from eternity past.

Our lives are like a tapestry. The backside (which we see) looks pretty messy and even ugly and sometimes we want to toss it and start over. But, God sees the front; and, it is beautiful. His perfect masterpiece.

And, perhaps your x-spath will come to repentance. David Berkowitz, “Son of Sam” is now the “Son of Hope”, glory to God! Only God knows and we have more peace leaving it in His all-knowing, GOOD hands. We can give Him all our pain, for “He heals the brokenhearted.”

Your name, Grace, is perfect for you. 🙂 God bless you.

I am truly amazed at this Judge’s discernment of truth in the wake of the lies and deceit of this unrepentant and still defiant psychopath.

Judges and the Prosecution, (and indeed all lawyers and people dealing with criminality) should receive training on psychopathy everywhere in the world.

I live in Australia, a country where, like yours, there is democracy and a legal system that tries to be the best to everyone. However, every 13 hours a woman is killed by her partner still, and domestic violence, behind closed doors in rampant.

We need to know more about these seedy, dark souls who seem like ‘angels on light’ on the outside, and not to be deceived by them.

Thanks Donna for a very important article, and for the contribution you do to this so serious issue, uncovering the lies and deceit of psychopathy.

Just watched the video. ALL of it. This guy LOVED that he asserted control at the end. The judge said take him out and he asserted control. He took his time to find his glasses to sign the paper but further on, he didn’t need the glasses to see to sign. It was all stall tactics to assert what little control he had. Thus the behavior of a psychopath.

ps The expression he had on his face as the Judge was speaking was the same expression my ex would have when I tried to explain how much he hurt me. He just zoned out with a fixed, non-expression of any feeling at all. This man tuned out the judge. I expected exactly that from him.

NWHSoM, Another example………..Spathtard stealthy middle finger flip in his mugshot after being arrested for domestic violence.

I recently read, “Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule — a book about Ted Bundy. That man played the legal system for all he could, and cost Florida tax payers way over $6M so he could exert “his power” to defend himself at their expense. Even to the last moment on death row, he was still like that. Still trying to call the shots and make people bend to his will. Incredible.

The video of the speech of the judge is excellent. Judge Evans is really great! I highly recommend it to everybody here!

There is a phase of healing when you don’t need to confront the psychopath anymore. I agree that for the initial phases it is good to write in a document what we would tell him. But it is really an exercise for ourselves, to empty ourselves of the rage, the bitterness and to place some other in our own feelings. To do that, the is no need of the psychopath to be present. It would be like falling downstairs and going to the stairs to tell them how terrible they were with us. The psychopath input is non important and irrelevant because he will not relate to what we are telling him, as much as the stairs. We need it for ourselves to ourselves. And I also think that it is important to forgive us too. To forgive us for not having realized early enough, for having put to much effort or dedication to a person that was not worth it, etc… I think that though our huge crime was “being too nice”, it is also important to let go any feeling of self-guilt about our situation.

And at the very last extend, when the pain has almost disappeared, I think that it is possible to see the psychopath with sympathy. Of course, a similar sympathy like the one we can have for a wild dangerous animal at a security distance. Don’t get your fingers close. Though these people are cruel and only look for their own personal pleasure, I think that not to have ever experienced love is a reason to be sympathetic for them, not to justify them or forgive them, but to pity them a bit. They will go through life destroying others for petty interests, how worthless and decadent such a life can be? Keep them very far, but pity them too.

Catherine, Exactly my thoughts. It took me a while to get here but yes I do feel sympathy for my ex. I don’t have ANYTHING to do with him, and I don’t entertain any notion of ever having even so much as a short conversation with him but I do pray for him. I do sympathize that genetics and how he was raised probably made him who he is. I can’t be so cold as to say that he is an animal. He is a human being, no matter how sick and twisted his mind is. Some might really hate that about me here. And like I said it took me a long time to get here. I think it’s part of forgiveness, for ourselves and because we are NOT like them that we feel this way. It must be awful never to experience the wonderful feeling of love.

I see not reason to feel sympathy for someone who is perfectly happy with themselves the way they are no mater what kind of Hell they create for others, or for someone who has no desire to change the way they are. I’ll save my sympathy and forgiveness for those that deserve it.

I just love Judge Evans. That is all.

Me too!

Sociopath narcissist Lance Armstrong is at it again…making other people take the blame for the trouble he got himself into…this time making his gf take the fall.

It doesn’t sound to me as if Armstrong “made” his girlfriend do anything. Her explanation of why she agreed to take the blame rings true enough to me. She’s not a “victim,” she’s a VOLUNTEER! To my mind, assuming otherwise without evidence would be attributing too much power to Armstrong, while refusing to accord Anna Hansen the dignity of acknowledging her ability to make decisions in her own interest (as she perceives it).

What I get out of this news story is that it was just unlucky for both of them that they didn’t get their act together quickly enough at the time the accident occurred. Anna told the cops later that she was the one who was driving, but unfortunately for her she’d already told this rental car owner that it was Lance who was driving! No doubt the cops picked up on the inconsistency in her story!

However, this still looks like a winning strategy for both of them. Anna gets away without being charged with any crime. Armstrong gets ticketed for speeding and failing to report an accident, BUT… what’s the betting that one part of Anna’s tale was true: that Lance HAD “had a little bit to drink”? Still, there’s no way the cops can prove that now, so long after the event. Armstrong is better off being ticketed for two lesser charges than risking a DUI, possibly losing his license and all that garbage. So he still comes out ahead—and so does Anna, as far as her life is entwined with his.

I haven’t made any study of Lance Armstrong beyond all the obvious facts that everybody knows, about the doping and so forth. So I can’t venture an opinion of my own about whether Armstrong is a “narcissist” or whatever. I do however see a lot of terms being bandied around loosely by amateurs in the media, without much input from professionals. This is one of the reasons I myself avoid using the term “sociopath,” because (unlike “psychopath”) it lacks any formally agreed definition and is often used too broadly. Plenty of people in life, regrettably, do succumb to the temptation to cheat at something, without necessarily being psychopaths or even narcissists.

However, a couple of brief articles on the Web I did find worth considering. One, by a Harvard Medical School professor, asks the question

Is Lance Armstrong a Psychopath?

The author, Dr. Ron Schouten, is inclined to think NOT, and his reasoning made sense to me. The other article, by Joseph Burgo, Ph.D., examines

The Hero as Narcissist

Burgo argues that Armstrong fits this frame, not just in terms of his actions but because of his childhood background as well.

For me this fell into the category of “interesting if true—and if not, interesting anyway!” On reflection I’ve concluded that the committee who recently revised the DSM were probably right after all to eliminate “narcissistic personality disorder.” It’s not that narcissism doesn’t exist. On the contrary, narcissism is only too real! However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that narcissism is a personality disorder in its own right; that’s to say, not a single, unique personality disorder with a unitary cause, but something more like a trait or a set of traits that can be an outgrowth of some other condition.

I’ve thought for a long time that narcissism can result from two quite different causes. Somebody who’s been quoted on this site of Donna’s has remarked that “not all narcissists are psychopaths, but all psychopaths are narcissists.” I dare say that’s true. Psychopaths don’t truly care for anyone except themselves, so why would we expect them to be anything other than narcissists?—no matter how well they try to cover it up. On the other hand, there are people whose narcissism fulfills a very different functon: a psychic defense against shame. That’s the condition that Burgo is describing in his article. (Psychopaths of course are immune to any feelings of shame.)

For all I can tell, Burgo could be right about Armstrong; who knows? As for narcissism in general, I think it’s a case of superficially similar behaviors arising from different inner motives. One feature central to all narcissists is the practice of constructing a “false self,” taking pains to hide the true self from the world. Psychopaths however are constructing this “false self” quite consciously, knowingly donning a “mask” for the express purpose of manipulating those around them. In contrast, other narcissists are doing their best to hide who they are, not just from those around them, but from themselves as well! That’s more than likely because (unlike the psychopath) they can’t bear to face the truth of what they themselves are really like.

Hello Redwald. I haven’t seen the latest incident from Armstrong so I won’t weigh in on that. I have however seen the film “Stop at Nothing” several times. I highly recommend anyone who wants insight into just how driven some can be to dominate, to win. This film is filled with testimonies from ones who had intimate dealings with Armstrong. Yes he was an amazing athlete, but he was also a fraud, a pathological liar, and a bully of magnitude. He went to excessive lengths to destroy reputations and intimidate any who spoke the truth which exposed him. He attacked their credibility. He bullied and intimidated in person and during media opportunities. He gaslighted them. The smear campaign. Another thing that I picked up on by watching this film was just how deep the corruption goes. When you look at all the media attention that this received, the investigations, others coming forth and testifying- and it kept getting shut down. Whether they were bullied, bought, or part of the machine, there were Many who played a role in the fraud. Then there’s the charity organization. I can imagine how conflicted those vested in trying to do something noble would be when their hero was under fire. Impression management 101. Present yourself as a squeaky clean, friend of the community. When you have attained sufficient power and influence, use that to exploit others. When someone shines a light, run and hide behind the facade. Works like a charm. As far as labels are concerned, I am less concerned about what clinical term to use and more concerned with behaviors. I have noticed that among the personality disordered or character disturbed there is often the need to differentiate between all the subtypes and I see much of this as an attempt to distract, to distance, to minimize. Often its folded into their word salad and spun into something to advance their agenda, whatever it happens to be at that particular moment. Typically their superiority over the other subgroups is emphasized. I think it was dr George Simon who said – judge actions, not intentions. Something to that effect. Whatever the motivation might be, that wolf, that lion, that bear, or whatever it is will attack you and rip you open if you are not careful.

I thought Judge Evans was awesome. The way she nailed him was first-rate. Kudos to her.

Jane’s mother and sister made great speeches to him too. Even though they knew Bob Bashara felt no remorse, they must have felt good letting him have it anyway.

Sociopaths feed on drama and attention, whether it is negative attention or positive attention, there is NO SAFE WAY to “confront” them! Even when children are involved, emails, texts, phone conversations, any communication of any kind is a mistake and will come around and bite you in the ass!

Donna, the confrontation exercise is very therapeutic. I did this a couple of weeks ago. I found a tremendous sense of empowerment. I actually felt a sense of closure and justice.

I had been writing my book about my own personal lovefraud story and decided to jump to writing the final chapter of the book! So, the final scene is like something out of a Hollywood movie (imagine Clarice visiting Hannibal in prison, only she has the power). I go to the Federal Prison to visit him on the anniversary of our first date as I have now been doing for a couple of years (in the book). I see him in his orange jumpsuit instead of the black Versace suit that he wore when he pretended to be a man of wealth. He is trapped behind prison bars and now I have the power. I bring him some gourmet food that reminds him of times we had together ….. like giving him cookie crumbs. Then, I tell him how sad that it is that he must die here, but now I am satisfied that he can no longer prey upon women, taking their money and lives, leaving them in ruins. And then I say goodbye and that this is the last time I will see him. I walk away. He calls after me in his charming voice. I am gone and he is in prison.

I want to make that happen!

I have learned not to engage in my husbands attempts to fight with me and control my movements. I make no personal comments to him as that would be giving him power to engage me. He left our marriage bed over a year ago (again).I know he is a sociopath, I know he has no concern for my well being (or really anyone else’s except his oldest son), I know he will never change as I have made numerous efforts to save our marriage over the last 6 years without success. It finally hit me to get the hell out of this marriage. Let’s just hope I come out in one piece. It’s unfortunate I have only two friends who are sympathetic. The marriage counselors (3 over 4 years!) were fooled by his “charm and sense of humor”; the police say there’s nothing they can do when he goes off yelling, cursing and breaking my belongings unless he physically attacks me (he’s too smart for that!). I’m appreciative for this web site and all the information as it helps me with strategy to file for divorce and get away from him. But really……….I’m on my own.

Debra
When in the middle of the nightmare, it does feel like we’re on our own. And in practice, we are. But it is scary how similar so many of our stories are. There are different M.O’s of sociopaths but so much is PREDICTABLE. You are FAR ahead of others in that you recognize the concept of not engaging, that everything they say is a lie or a truth to set up a scam. And that NOTHING we do will “save our marriage”.

If you have children, this site becomes even more valuable. There’s a section on how to parent the atrisk child.

You sounds so much more together than I was at your stage. I predict VERY good things for your future.

Being on my own is the hardest part. Because this is too difficult to explain and I end up seemingly the problem because as soon as anyone says well your allowing him to do it, It causes an overwhelming amount for a variety of emotions, helplessness, anger, fear for just the ones off the top of my head.

Sociopaths are masters of spin. People who have never been victimized have a hard time wrapping their heads around the destruction a sociopath causes because so many sociopaths are subtle in their manipulations. Come here to vent and tell your story, because you will find many people who have been through the exact same thing or something very similar.

The important thing is to watch out for yourself. Go No Contact and keep it up. The longer you are away from the manipulator the clearer your thinking will be. Prepare yourself for a smear campaign. You may have to cut loose friends and even family that take the sociopath’s side in order to protect yourself. Depending on how much effort the sociopath wants to put in keeping you or destroying you you may be in for a long and ugly battle.

NoMoreWool

I would be empowered by hearing more examples of those subtle manipulations — to the extent they can be said without re-triggering injury.

The stories on here are full of anecdotes about how the sociopath had pulled a complete scam before the victim or anyone else was wise to it.

Subtle manipulation can be in the form of backhanded compliments that build on themselves to tear a victims self image to shreds. It can be word salad arguments that the victim knows are wrong but can’t quite explain why. It can be false expressions of concern to friends and family that paint a portrait of the victim as crazy or greedy or abusive. The subtle manipulation damages the victim in ways you can’t quite put your finger on while maintaining the sociopath’s façade as a wonderful person.

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