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Is Sociopathy A Perversion?

Is sociopathy a perversion? If yes, a perversion of what? And if it is a perversion, does this compel us to revisit the sociopaths’ culpability for his transgressions? After all, perversions imply antisocial, irrepressible impulses. If an impulse is irrepressible, or unsuppressible, how culpable is its expresser?

I think a good case can be made that sociopathy is a perversion—a perversion of personality characterized by the unsuppressible tendency to exploit others.

It’s not so much a question of the sociopath’s sanity: most sociopaths, by criminal standards, are sane. Then again, so are most kleptomaniacs.

When I refer to the sociopath’s unsuppressible tendency to exploit, I mean unsuppressible in a characterological, more than compulsive, sense. The sociopath, that is, appears characterologically to be driven to perpetrate incursions against others’ space and security.

While I think that sociopaths, like most transgressors, can exercise, on a case by case basis, some selective choice in determining when next, and whom, to violate, I do not think that sociopaths, in the bigger picture, can control their exploitive tendencies any more than saints can control their beneficent tendencies.

I regard it as inevitable that the sociopath will violate others and, unless stopped, violate repeatedly.

In my view, many wrongly interpret the sociopath’s capacity for situational self-restraint as suggestive of what ought, therefore, to be the sociopath’s capacity to cease his exploitation more broadly.

But I stress—while it’s true that most sane individuals, including sociopaths, can exercise some suppressive control over the expression, timing and direction of their antisocial tendencies in the short-term, it does not follow that they can maintain their self-regulation in the long-term.

The sociopath’s peculiar and profound self-centeredness, along with his inability to genuinely care about the harm he inflicts on others, explain why his exploitive tendencies, in the long-term at least, will demand expression.

Yet one often hear variations on the theme, “You know, when he’s not being cruel, deceptive and self-centered, he’s really a good guy.”

Or, “When she’s not scamming seniors out of their life savings, she’s got really good instincts.”

Carrying this logic a step further, it’s like saying, “You know, when he’s not raping women, he can be a quite tender, trusting lover.”

I commonly work with clients who see the refractory period separating the antisocial displays of their partners as tantalizing evidence of the latters’ “real personality;” of their “true potential” as partners/parents/friends; of how they’d be “all the time if they could just work through their demons.”

This is “enabling” thinking, steeped in denial and fantasy. It reflects the desperation to want to believe in the underlying goodness of the antisocial mate. One insists that with just a little more time, a little more forgiveness, a little more patience, one’s partner will recognize, finally, what he or she has been jeopardizing, and will finally properly value his or her mate, family and blessings.

Sometimes religious/spiritual individuals, for whom faith and forgiveness are integral to their identity, are especially prone to this self-delusive thinking. Their endurance of countless lies, deceptions and betrayals feels less about self-compromise than the fulfillment of their higher values.

They may harbor the hope, and faith, that their travails, if endured uncomplainingly and for long enough, will result finally in vindication—for instance, this will be the time he really sees the light!

I call this “reform-aholoc” thinking—that is, believing with a kind of blind faith in the antisocial partner’s capacity for reformation.

(This article is copyrighted (c) 2009 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)


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210 Comments on "Is Sociopathy A Perversion?"

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To be a saint, is aheroic self-giving act. Saying it is otherwise negates sainthood and makes it…base.

Part of this entry makes sense- and it is correct that religious folks are the most forgiving and therefore easiest to dupe and therefore, in general, the most abused.

That said- I think you fail to understand and accept that FREE WILL exists. Saints suffer and die FREELY, not out of some biological urge, just as psychopaths act out because of evil desires. Saints and Sinners have free will, it’s really that simple. And that horrifying.I wish it was a virus.

Is it a combination of multiple perversions that make the sociopath or is it just one big perversion on it’s own. Okay, maybe I am splitting hair here. I am just wondering because in my experience with the ex s, he had number of perversions (fetishes, is it the same???) going on. He had a thing for amputees and women who are androgynous and frail. He also had a thing for women made up to look like corpses and zombies.

I lived with an extreme hoarder, my mother- she exhibited many narcissistic traits. Hoarding is about control in many instances. She also was never,ever wrong.

I tend to believe extereme hoarding is psychopathic. Not to sicken anyone, but some of these haorders,hoard excrement etc. Not my mother , thank God. But some do, imagine how controlling and hurtful that is. And yes, they’res ane.

Matt,

There are different theories to why their brains change- one is that, like exercise, our brains change from bad behavior repeatedly chosen.

Inotherwords, they aren’t born that way- through repeated exercise (bad behavior) their brains change. And there’s science to back up this premis.

I have from informal querying discovered many Ps are hoarders to some degree or another.

I am confused.How do you know they do not have free will?

Are you claiming they are mentally ill? Is that what Steve is saying?

I am missing something, I think.

I am closely acquainted with a kleptomaniac, and have had them as patients on my psych units in the past. MY take on the kleptomanic is sort of the same as those people who are compulsive hoarders (to an extreme). It has to do with their anxiety. They do what they do to allay their anxiety. Is it possible that the Psychopath has “anxiety” if s/he doesn’t exploit?

My kleptomaniac X-friend is very calculating on what and when she takes things so that she will NOT get caught red-handed. I eventually “proved” that she would and did take things from my home by “planting” things I thought she would take and then monitoring those things carefully. She had been such a “close” friend of our family for so long that my son D was totally devestated and in denial the FIRST time I knew for sure (but couldn’t prove) that she had taken something that ONLY she had had access to…..now, he knows the truth, and accepts the truth. Though we have limited contact with this woman and her husband now, she is NEVER allowed even on our farm if we are not home, and even if we ARE home, she is ONLY allowed to be here under 100% observation at ALL times. I still “care about” this woman, but no longer trust her at all. There was a time that I loved her like the sister I never had, and I do feel that she cared for me as well. However, it was NOT enough caring to over come her compulsion to take things to suppress her anxieties. She is also a “hoarder” of a huge amount of things that have little or no value except to some how allay her anxieties (for example, a truck-load of empty 2 L soda bottles). She knows what she is doing is wrong, yet she does it anyway. She knows that she doesn’t want to get “caught” doing it. She denies doing it, but at the same time, she knows I KNOW, and she RESENTS that I know. I have actually caught her coming here to the farm when she thought I wasn’t home.

The first time she exhibited this behavior (that I noticed at the time) I was devestated because I would never have EXPECTED this of her. Now that I realize what it is, why, etc. I realize that I can’t have the kind of “relationship” with her that I thought I had, but at the same time, I have grieved over the loss of that relationship, and moved on with my life. Keeping her at arm’s length. My son, also, has grieved over his prior perception of her being proven wrong and also keeps her at arm’s length.

It is, I think, Always painful when our perceptions of people we care about are proven wrong.

I wish I knew if a P could “refrain” from doing what they DO, and I do know that they CAN refrain short term from some of their behavior when it is “inconvenient” or they are “likely to get caught in the act.” Ted Bundy indeed was a “tender lover” to his GF, while at the same time murdering and raping other women and making efforts not to get caught. Was he unable to contain himself and NOT do these things—at least long term?

Since these people lack the ESSENTUAL ingredient in a fully functioning human psyche, a conscience, which, hopefully, keeps the rest of us from acting like them and exploiting others as a way of life, this is a good question? Are they responsible for what they do long term—they “know” it is wrong to kill (steal, etc), but they (without a conscience) can justify doing so, because it gets them whatever “reward” they are after. I know it is wrong to murder, and because I have a conscience, no matter how angry I am at another person, I would not kill (except in immediate self defense.) I know it is wrong to burn someone’s house, and noo matter how angry I was at them or how badly I wanted to hurt them, I would NOT go burn their house. My conscience won’t let me do those things no matter what my emotions would like me to do. The Psychopath does not have that BRAKE on their actions. Simply knowing something is “wrong” or “illegal” doesn’t stop them, it seems it “can’t” stop them….but our society has determined what is “legal insanity” (not knowing right from wrong) and since they do not fit the definition of “legal insanity” they are prosecuted when caught (well, some of the time anyway! LOL)

Also, it is much easier to determine when a person is “legally insane” than whether or not they have a conscience or not, since the psychopath can pretend to have a conscience, whereas it is more difficult for someone who is not in touch with reality to pretend s/he is, although some people have managed to pretend to NOT be in touch with reality…I remember some mafia don who pretended for years he was “nuts” by wearing his bathrobe out on the street, etc., to try to skirt prosecution.

For the benefit of society, if no other reason, I think the psychopaths should be incarcerated where their damage to individuals and society would be decreased. I am a strong component of the “3-strikes” laws where the third felony charge puts a criminal in prison for life without parole. It might not catch EVERY Psychopath, but it would sure catch a bunch of the more violent ones. If two trips to the Pen don’t “cure” you of felony crimes, the third one—for life—would at least protect society.

I amnot sttaing all hoarders are Ps. Some are though, and it is very interesting in a clinical sort of way.

And extreme hoarding is what I speaking of, few,few people have any idea what that means.

Fewer still have LIVED such an existence against their will. Living it makesone see the evilness of the behavior.

I wonder why researchers don’t consider the fact that teh age reason is eight. Eight.

Choosing ones actions starts early on.

Steve:

I agree with your conclusions that socioaths are hard-wired to repeatedly violate others space and security by exploiting them while being able to exercise situational self restraint. I saw it first hand with S.

One thing I have always wondered about regarding the situational self-restraint is whether sociopaths can keep the non-exploitation of a particular person on-going indefinitely, or will the sociopath ultimately exploit the “non-victims”?

I think the frustration of so many people on this site stems from seeing how the “non-victims” are getting a “pass” from the sociopath. Since they aren’t getting targeted, they obviously aren’t going to believe anything we have to say regarding the exploitiveness of the sociopath.

can someone please go read what I just posted under Letting Go?
I am not doing well.

Perhaps the p or s refrains from showing his pathology in full bloom until he/she encounters resistance from the victim. Until the s gets what he wants from the victim, his anxieties are kept at bay. When he starts noticing that the victim is no longer tolerating his “grooming” he becomes aware of his failure.

Speaking of hoarding; I saw an excellent documentary called “My Mother’s Garden”. It can be seen online at http://www.mymothersgarden.msnbc.com
It a really well rounded documentation of a woman and her hoarding and how it affects her family. Caution, it’s pretty grimm.
I am interested in understanding hoarding because my mother is a hoarder. Also the ex s was a hoarder to a certain degree, but had a lot more focused and obsessed range of hoardable object.

greenfern:

Oprah also did a show on hoarding. About the only thing this couple hadn’t experienced was the untimely demise of the Collier Brothers. For those who don’t know who the Collier Brothers are, they were 2 NYC brothers who were extreme hoarders. One day the piles of crap caved in on them and they were both crushed/suffocated to death. It was so bad in their place the cops had to go in through the window.

Yet another shining example of not being remembered in life, bu sure being remembered in death.

I agree with almost all of your points. Particularly the distinction between between characterological and compulsive motivations. “Characterological unsuppressible tendency to exploit others” — absolutely. That hope “if only he could be that warm, loving person all the time,” just wipes me out.

I don’t understand your question of their culpability, however. They have to be held culpable — outside restraints are the only thing they respect. If they still can’t restrain their behavior then they should be hospitalized — since they can’t be cured, this means warehoused. There is no reason to let them run riot among the innocent.

I don’t know about saints, I’ve never met one. And I’m a ninth generation American Quaker (my forebear came over with William Penn, marrying one of his orphaned wards).

Holywater: There’s a big disagreement here. I believe Steve is saying, and I agree, that it is not a matter of free will — sociopaths don’t have that, imo. It’s a matter of character.

Greenfern: I think what’s going on here is sheer boredom — the overriding problem in life for sociopaths. Their emotional experience of sex is essentially the same that you and I would have with an inflatable doll. We might try many different dolls and types of dolls also, if that were our only choice. (Believe me, like the post before this says, it ain’t personal.)

OFF TOPIC: Anyone going to New Orleans, April 15 & 16? It’s the Psychopathy and the Law Symposium, http://www.psychopathysociety.org/forms/sssp_law.pdf. “Conference is open to all, registration is not necessary.” I strongly believe we shouldn’t leave science to the scientists. I still can’t get over Kent Kiehl’s (who will be there) statement that most researchers think they’ve never met a sociopath. There’s no fool like an educated fool. Need I go on? If anyone makes it, report please.

http://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/

I keep going back to what Steve Becker said

“I do not think that sociopaths, in the bigger picture, can control their exploitive tendencies any more than saints can control their beneficent tendencies.”

This helps me understand the futility of the wish I used to have; for the s to admit the damage he has done. He cannot.

holywatersalt-

Ha! I would be more interested hearing more on the hoarding and the Ps connection 🙂

“Hoarding” is one of those things that is very much a “degree-of” problem as I think we all hoard things to one extent or another, “thinking we might use it some day.” Those people I know, however, who hoard things to the point that you and they can hardly move in their living spaces, that there is no flat surface in their living space that is not stacked to the ceiling with “things” of dubious value (to us) but obviously of value to them.

The worst ones I ever knew were quite wealthy people and they had saved every newspaper they ever got and actually built buildings on their large property to house this “collection” and their home was a series of “paths”—-they had been raised in abject poverty though during the depression and were actually HUNGRY at times. My grandparents who also lived through the depression in poverty, but not hunger, did save things that they mostly did use, old clothing for quilts, etc.

“Hoarding” can be specific things though, like a documentary on hoarders interviewed a teenage girl who only hoarded gum wrappers, but her room was FULL of them. She said that getting rid of them made her anxious. The support group for the hoarders was interesting as well. You had to bring an item to each meeting to dispose of.

My P-son is not a hoarder at all, and in fact, kept very little “stuff” even when he was living at home. If he didn’t use it he got rid of it.

I don’t think the “hoarding” means someone is a P, or that all Ps hoard, or even most of them, but that the hoarding is EMOTIONAL rather than logical. I was told once that “hoarding” is a form of “greed” and in a way that makes sense.

My college “buddy” that I just severed relationship with is not a P, but he IS a hoarder “big time” and has a huge amount of things that he has bought with the “intention” of doing that project or using it, but is so “broke” all the time from the things he buys and “hoards” that it is impossible for him to complete any of the projects he has because he doesn’t have the money to do so. He bought a complete assembly for a metal house, years ago but doesn’t have the money for even the foundation (and isn’t likely to ever have it) and yet, he lives in his small, and could be very cute home, with it stuffed to the rafters with “stuff” he has no room for, yet keeps it because “when I get my house built I will need it or display it.” So too, it is a delusional or emotional thing, not based in reality. I don’t see that it is harmful to others though, except in the case of the kleptomania where they actually take things as a way to lower their stress.

As far as conscience or no conscience, while accepting that there is a BIG genetic component in the Ps, I do think that at SOME point in their development they have a “choice”—and that there is some environmental component, as well as genetic. Just as no one is born with diabetes, but may be born with the genetic TENDENCY to develop diabetes, there is something in the environment that triggers it. No one is born with alcoholism, but there is a big genetic component in alcoholism, and the environment determines whether the person is an alcoholic or not later in life. Just as an alcoholic CAN stop drinking, who knows if the psychopath can’t stop abusing as well. Many alcoholics are NOT motivated to quit and those that are not motivated don’t quit. I’ve never known a P that was motivated to quit being a P and develop a conscience, so possibly there comes a “point of no return” for the Ps that once they become a “full fledged P” there is no going back and developing a conscience.

Having done a “turn” at Rodgers Hall at the State Hospital in Little Rock during my schooling, where the dangerous and murderous inmates who are not deemed safe to return to society, but who don’t qualify and can’t qualify as “sane” are kept, I do think that psychopaths who are chronically violent and dangerous should be housed in SOME institutional situation where they will NEVER BE RELEASED for the protection of society. Even if they are NOT capable of controlling themselves, I think it is the responsibility of our law enforcement and judicial system to find SOME way to keep the rest of us safe from them,, just as they do with “insane” people who are dangerous.

I believe they are biologically programmed to be (quoting Robert Hare): “intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse. . . . What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy

holywatersalt:

One of the list of criteria on Robert Hare’s sociopathy checklist relates to childhood behavior. While I know little about S’s childhood, he revealed enough, and I observed enough in his family dynamic to know that his sociopathic behavior began early on. Hence, I am inclined to believe that there is some kind of genetic component at work.

That said, I think the way they are hardwired overrides any kind of censor that would prohibit their unconscionable behavior. I think they know what they are doing is wrong. They just don’t give a damn. They are going to do what they are going to do. Consequences be damned.

My S has already served one prison term. I met him 3 weeks after he was released (I didn’t know it at the time). If I had to hedge my bets, he will be back in the criminal justice system. Personally? Getting him off the street, at least for awhile, will be a gift to mankind.

Yes that’s true and I think many S’s are visible by then. Also, imo, there is a huge arrested development aspect to S-ness.

holywatersalt and pathwhisperer:

I am not sure if we can apply the age of 8 as a blanket, because I think there are certain exceptions where the concept of reason is not fully developed with 8 year olds. That said, I do believe that there are enough basic cognitive pieces in place that sociopaths are already visible by then.

A memory that is indelibly etched in my brain is the glee S derived from telling me that when he was 6 or so, he realized that his mother was pregnant with his older brother at the time his parents got married. The look on his face as he recounted telling his brother “at least I was wanted” was chilling to say the least. He then told me that his mother asked him “why did you say that? Why are you so mean to your brother?” His response? “I just looked at when you got married and when he was born and figured it out.”

Cold. Calculating. At the age of 6.

Definetely; most hoarders are not p or s.
My mother is a hoarder, she has BPD but I can safely say she is not a p or s.
Hoarding seems to be a symptom of a bigger problem, almost like it’s just the tip of the iceberg. For my mother it’s a coping mechanism against loss, change and perceived abandonment.
She did not start visibly hoarding until my sister and I left the house, which I think is fairly common. She exhibited some signs of fixation and collecting objects when we were young, but it was dismissed as eccentric then.
My sister and I can no longer have holidays without trying to make space to sit and sleep. Two years ago we had to clean newspaper for an hour in the living room to make space for the x-mas tree, while mom was freaking out in the background, trying to get stuff back out of the garbage bags.

I know that there are ways of managing hoarding. There are people who help hoarders get rid of stuff and clean, but it is pain staking process, because the hoarder needs to give permission to be thrown away for each item.

I was just curious what holywatersalt found on the frequency of sociopaths that had hoarding tendencies.
The s I was with hoarded urine, toy guns, pens, and various building material and machinery parts he found in the dumpster. He also pressured me to throw away some of my stuff claiming I had too much. I am actually opposite to a hoarder. My stuff is minimal. I am very vigilant about throwing everything away that I do not use or need. Ironically the s wanted me to throw out paintings that I painted and things that were personal. Meanwhile he would have broken engines, soda bottles filled with urine, cans and cans of misc stuff, filling up 2 floors….

I once saw a bird at my house go bonkers building a nest, putting so much material into it that it fell down, repeatedly. Did it have some kind of hoarding disorder?

I think birds are compelled to build nests partly from hatchling memory, partly because they learn that they love doing it. I’m not sure if there’s a hardwired blueprint like a ROM chip or something in their brains. One way to check might be to raise chicks in an alien environment, then observe them at nesting time.

Ideally, the same thing could be done with potential psychopaths to see how much nature plays a role.

SOS, are you volunteering to raise these “potential psychopaths” in your home? I have seen parents with “conduct disordered” children afraid to go to sleep at night, afraid that the child will burn the house down on their head, and some of these kids are 8-12 years old. Some, but not all, of these children are adopted….and today most NON-disordered women who would have, in the past, given up their child for adoption keep their children since a “bastard child” is not a stigma like it used to be. There IS a pattern now recognized even by most psychologists and psychiatrists that children are NOT a “blank slate” at birth upon which parenting writes. Many of the genetically healthy babies available today come from China and are female, because of the one-child rule and parents wanting male children due to the social structure in China. I know quite a few people who have adopted Chinese female children with great success as far as the children are concerned. They are bright and very sweet. Doesn’t mean there might not be a “ringer” in there but the ones I am aware of did very well.

For a while we had a mother blogging here whose daughter was apparently a “conduct disordered” child who was cruel and dangerous to her younger sibling and this mother was having a great deal of trauma trying to place this child in some kind of facility in order to protect her younger child.

Having had one P son and one “normal” son (with a conscience) I realize that I neglected the needs of my normal child in his early teen-aged years while I was frantically dealing with my P-son’s adolescent behavior (they were very close in age) Fortunately, my non-P son turned out okay and is a loving man today, but I do believe his brother’s behavior deprived him of support he could have used from me.

The damage these kids can do to the family structure and to their siblings is or can be devastating at an early age. My P son’s BIG acting out didn’t begin until he was in high school and seemed to come on suddenly, with only ONE sign at age 11 that he was disordered. At the time, I didn’t see that his lying in the face of being caught red handed in a theft was a clinical sign. If every kid who ever told a lie was a P, I think 99.9% of us would be “labeled” as Ps, so I didn’t pick up on it at the time. ONly in retrospect and in light of HOW HE LIED IN THE FACE OF EVIDENCE, HOW ENRAGED HE BECAME, how he is still mad at me to this day for catching him at age 11. (He is 38 now) so he has held a grudge against me for 27 years, almost 3/4 of his life.

My P-sperm donor was seriously acting out by age 8, and was uncontrollable by 12, and literally on his own, because he kept running away. My own P-son fled the nest by age 17 and for the most part has been housed in prisons or jails since that age, with less than one year total “time” outside of a prison since that age.

Though he has never in any way “succeeded” at anything since he left school, and even in crime, he has usually been caught and arrested, he still considers himself a “success” in all of life’s skills, and because of his arrogance about his superior intelligence (he is in the 99th percentile) he thinks that nothing can permanently stop him or control him.

He can be very charming and can “quote scripture with the best of them” or philosphy, whatever rings your chimes and convinces you he is “wonderful.” However, the truth is, that even as a criminal he has been totally UNsuccessful, but that is not how he views himself. His sense of entitlement is also absolute.

There are studies on bird behavior and inherited genes. For instance there is a particular gene that is responsible for song learning. When the scientist turned off this gene, the young birds could not learn the songs from the adult parents. They made sounds, but it was garbled, had no pattern.
I believe this study was done on Zebra Finches. I wonder if nesting is also dependent on genes, or at least the ability to learn how to build one.

SOS, are you volunteering to raise these “potential psychopaths” in your home?

Uh, no. As the rest of it, I’m not gonna debate. I’ve seen enough with sub-clinical above average intelligence adult P’s to know how bad it can get. In childhood I experienced a P neighbor girl who was ’bookended’ by normal sisters younger and older. She was (at that time, inexplicably) nasty from age 4 or so.

Very interesting how different your own boys were. Same environment, opposite result.

Steve,
In my case, its true that the P is seen as the kindest, sweetest, sort of down on his luck type of guy. NOONE other than me would believe the terrible things he did. If I hadn’t had letters and other proof, the judge would not have believed it either.

I keep thinking of that woman from California whose husband was convicted of killing her and her unborn child, what was her name….
But, I know what it is like to look into the eyes of a person who has just done something awful to you, and how he acted when he thought I was unconscious, and I can say that his eyes were flat and unemotionless, he wasn’t even breathing hard, he didn’t touch me, just calmly leaned over to check if I was breathing. Like an actor playing a part. cold.

Dear SOS,

It IS very interesting to me how different, even from BIRTH, my kids are. My oldest (non-P) is ADHD, but was never a behavior problem, just active. The P younger son wasn’t a behavior problem as a young child either and except for that one instance of theft, at age 11, was an “ideal” child as far as I could tell, sought positive reinforcement, did well in school, was kind and played well with other kids. Very “mature” thinking it seemed for his age.

I have seen other groups of sibs too, where 1 or 2 would be Ps and the others very nice kids, and good adults, even though raised in terrible abuse by P parents.

Then in his teenaged years my P-son, Jekly/Hyde switcher-roony, totally definant, sneaky, criminal behavior, liar delux.

My P-sperm donor had a normally nice full sib, and a half sib that was very nice, and a half sib that was mentally ill, but I’m not really sure what her diagnosis would have been, it was sudden onset after adulthood. She was a physician at the time she “had a nervous breakdown” and never worked or lived independently again.

My egg donor had a P-brother, my Uncle Monster, and she is a toxic enabler, which I term a “psychopath by proxy,” since she does the bidding and manuvering and supplyiing of my P-son, all of course to “save” him from being “abused” by his mother (me). Uncle Monster’s 3 children are all emotionally scarred by having him for a father, but none of them are Ps.

My thoughts are that it is some COMBINATION of genes rather than 1 or 2 dominant, or 2 recessive genes. But with the human “race” so mixed up, you never know what kind of genes even you yourself are harboring. I obviously have some of the genes or couldn’t have passed them on to my P-son. My non-P son has no children and has chosen to not ever have any biological children due to the possibility of passing the genes on. I know now, that I would have elected to have stayed childless if I had known what I would have given birth to. (even though that would have meant my “good” son would never have been born, had I made that decision).

I sit here and shake my head and wonder how the human race has come as far as we have, given the predators that walk among us and look just like the rest of us, except they are TOXIC.

I always thought P babies made head nurses speak up: “leave this one alone… he’s bad to the bone.”

One of my HS friends transformed from a cardigan wearing golfer and tennis team player to a large operation dope peddling scumbag and wound up in jail, taking some other guys he’d conned into being partners with him.

On the flip side:

I have a cousin who was a nasty piece of work as a kid – daring, mean and promiscuous until she hit college. Then poof! She wound up working in academia. In her internet pic she’s wearing a conservative hairstyle and suit and sensible shoes with as many accreditations as Dr Leedom. And no lawsuits or restraining orders!

Now I’m curious about genes turning on or off in adolescence… Or later in life?

Regarding how “non-victims” view the S, I had an experience today that really drove that point home. I was talking to a friend at work who I haven’t really spoken to at length since the d&d. She asked me why I wasn’t seeing the S any more and I said he dumped me. “Oh, but he is so nice and charming”, she said. I said that after he treated me wonderfully for 18 months, he blindsided me by telling me “I think I’ve given you the wrong impression, I don’t love you” Then I went on to tell her how he told me I was like an “unpaid whore” to him and he really didn’t miss me at all when his job moved to a different building because he didn’t love me. And then I told her how he now has a new girlfriend in his new building who he says he “loves”,

My friend was absolutely shocked. She just kept saying “I can’t believe he did that” – he seems like the nicest guy ever.” I tried to explain to her what he’s all about- that his recent five day suspension was not “bad luck” but was certainly a result of something underhanded or dishonest that he did. Again, she could not believe me.

So, I think that Ss can snow most people- really only the victims can see and understand. It is almost impossible to explain what they do and the devastation they cause to a non-victim. That is why this blog is so important to us- we are communicating with others who really understand.

This week is still hard for me because of the Ss father dying(right on the heels of the 5 day suspension- and perhaps he is very near losing his job). I just have had a very hard time not feeling sorry for him and somehow wanting to comfort him although he clearly has no interest in my comfort. I did send him a brief e-mail saying I was sorry about his Dad and he sent an email back saying “thanks much”. I know I have to leave it alone now, but it is very hard for me to not reach out to him. And for some reason many memories of the good times that we (or at least I) had have been flooding back this week. I need to re-set and get back to my program of distancing from him and the memories. (But at some moments I still-stupidly- miss him so so much, miss the good times, even if they were only a fantasy).

Beenayearnow – You are thinking of Scott Peterson who is now on death -row – I think his poor wife was Laci and the unborn child Conner – correct me if I am wrong gang – and I remeber Scott Peterson’s mother – if she isnt a spath I will eat Oxys hat…and this Scott Peterson dude get’s ton’s of mail from women that want to marry him – go figure –

Steve Becker – Thanks you so much for that article – I agree with another poster who said it makes her realize the futility in thinking he will admit to his wrong ways – they dont think they have done anything wrong. And I still beat myself up at times thinking it was me that failed him and he is happy now with new victim. My gut tells me pay attention to his tracks not his heart – he 42 never lived alone and a history of short term relationships and has no friends including his family that warned me to avoid him. But not knowing anything about him is still better than knowing anything at all. And as far as the bird analogy – they are desendants of dinasours and they sing to attract a mate not to please us even if the song is nice to the ears they are simply surviving and they will kill another bird over territory rights and keep on singing. So yes spaths have an animal instinct to survive…..

Steve: I have to say I have always waited and hoped for people to change, even the S, but I have learned at this site… it’s not going to happen! Thank you for the article! I have to keep reminding myself about this truth.

Oxy, S O S,

The xmil had one child with her hub (from descriptions, IF TRUE, sounded rather S) and adopted the lrbx*. The bio child is cold, emotionally detached, gets involved with pyramid schemes and other “Get Rick Quick” schemes, addicted to gambling, alcoholic, promiscuous, and selfish…and yet people follow her around like she’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The adopted child (the lrbx) was reported to be (by reliable family members) a rotten child at a young age- which progressed into lying, truancy, fighting, running away, sex, arson, expulsion from multiple schools, alchohol, drugs, and a bunch of arrests for various types of crime. He went into the Navy as his other choice was prison. Got kicked out early from there for discipline problems. His bio mother (another loser- but I did meet her, I think, maybe he hired a cheap actress…lol) told a tale about the bio father that sounded like he wasn’t a “great guy” either.

The common theme is their mother- she and her hub make/made enough money to mostly pay for the problems to go away through atty fees, probation, or outright payment to the victims to make it go away. No matter what they did/do, it isn’t their fault. She favored the 2 of them over their 4 step siblings- blatantly and obviously. Think piles of Christmas toys for her 2 children, socks and underwear for the step-siblings. When anyone complains to her about the awful things they do, her eyes literally glaze over. I often wondered if she was singing “yankee doodle Dandy” in her head when she did that- she sure as shootin’ wasn’t listening.

So was it the gene pool or the parenting? Was it when the bad parenting fertilized the gene pool? I think Oxy’s right about it being a combination of factors- the right, or wrong for that matter, combination of factors. In the cases where the child followed the path to a pd, how much contact with other p and s figures was there? How much INFLUENCE did they have? I think that can vary too. I have family members that I am close to and others I don’t feel the need to seek the company thereof. Just like there isn’t one diagnosis, there isn’t one answer. And scary and sad as it is to think about (I have 3 children from 2 scary marriages), I think sometimes something so small and precious can just be born bad. That goes against everything I believe in that is right and good…

*lrbx=lying rat bastard x

Hello all my lovely comrades: In case you are wondering if you’ve got this straight, check out this link to “Eraser Killers: Men who make women disappear.”

http://www.lemondrop.com/2009/03/30/eraser-killers-men-who-make-women-disappear/

Was he really fairly nice right up until he wasn’t? You might have escaped this fate. (I believe I was dealing with one of these types who just had’t killed yet — that I know of.)

Remember that NC means that you are sliding out of his sights, and you are less liikely to be targeted for his deadly actions.

“Insuppressible” is a term that’s making a lot of people angry. It sounds like it gives the S/P/N a free pass for his/her evil.

Well, enough about them! I don’t give a “beep” about them!

“Insuppressible” is just one more way of saying, “S/he has done it before, and sooner or later s/he will do it again.”

This isn’t about them, it’s about us. What are we going to do, knowing that the S/P/N is going to re offend? Oh, yes. They’ll charm, they’ll sweat talk, they’ll smooth everyone around us. People will think we’re crazy for being upset with “sweet, charming, wonderful them.” Ri-ight!

We have to toughen up, stop feeling bad about what others think, and get on with our lives cluster B free.

If being right is important to you, wait awhile. The S/P/N will prove you right with his/her new fan club sooner or later. Most of them have criminal records longer than your arm. How they fooled us is a bit embarrassing. Their new fan club will join the ranks of the embarrassed but enlightened sooner or later.

Elizabeth: Thank you for putting the focus where it belongs.

You said, “This isn’t about them, it’s about us. What are we going to do, knowing that the S/P/N is going to re offend?”

They LOVE to have the focus on themselves, and we “energetically” support that as we endlessly examine them. YES, THEY ARE THAT AWFUL, and THEY WILL DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.

So, EC, you’re right! What can WE do about US?

No two people (even identical twins) have 100% of the same environment. The ONLY two people who DO have the 100% same genes are identical twins. In the “identical twins raised apart” studies, about 80% of the twins, if one was a P so was the other….so my guess is that 50-80% of the P-ness is genetic.

Of course, my question (unanswered) in those twin studies is, if one is a P, is the other a normal loving person or an “almost Psychopathic” person?

Almost all alcoholics (as I understand it) have a genetic tendency to become addicted to alcohol (ETOH)—-is there a gene that tends for the addiction to ADRENALINE, or one of the other internal “drugs” that the Ps seem to be addicted to?

Or is it the lack of oxytocin (the bonding hormone) receptors that is the problem, and without “bonding” there is no conscience?

Or is it a combination of factors in genetics + environmental or situational?

Since it was noticed that many children who were “abused” BECAME abusers, it was postulated that abuse CAUSED them to become abusers. However, my take is that if a child is abused by a natural parent, the natural parent is a psychopath or other genetic anomaly and has passed the genes on. Not ALL, or even, I think, not the majority of abused kids become abusers. So only some abused kids become abusers themselves (though it may be a higher percentage than non abused kids.)

One of my half sibs was violently physically abused by my P-sperm donor, and I have evidence he is anything EXCEPT an abuser to his children. Since I don’t have a personal relationship with him, I am guessing at this. I know many other people who have been violently abused by their parent(s) and are NOT abusers though, but have sibs who ARE abusers.

In studies with animals, and in observed situations, abuse does not always produce a violent animal, and in many cases, depending I think on the breed, the animal will more likely COWER into a terrorized victim rather than fight back. So genetics is very much involved in animals who are abused either becoming abusers themselves, or violent, or submissive victims.

Is the fact that we submitted to the abuse genetic as well as the Ps’ abusiveness? Or is our submission partly environmental and partly genetic? My guess is that even our submission is partly genetic and partly training. However, because we do have a conscience, and a rational mind, we CAN over come this genetic predisposition with logical and rational thought. I think part of our difficulty in doing this is again, both the genetic and environmental components. We are in the “habit” of submitting and overlooking abuse, but I think we are also addicted to the “internal drugs” that we have consumed along with our abuse, sometimes from childhood.

The fact that some victims will never break free, will continue to stay in this submissive posture no matter how horrible the abuse is (Stockholm syndrome victims for example) is proof (to me) that sometimes it is so controlled by genetics that it is just as impossible for the victim to break free as it is for the P to change their ways.

I think the difficulty that many of us have had in breaking free from this at all shows how powerful the tendency to stay in this situation, or to return to it if you do break free from one P, and means that we have to work DOUBLY hard to STAY free, just like an alcoholic MUST TOTALLY STAY AWAY FROM BOOZE, we have to TOTALLY stay away from ABUSE of even the least amount. We can’t “sip” a little abuse without being DRAWN BACK IN.

Look around you at your friends and people you know. How many of you know women or men who get out of ONE dysfunctional relationship and go right back into another one just as bad? I will bet the farm that everyone of us either is one of those people or knows several, or both.

We can’t stay isolated from other humans on a desert island so we are never again exposed to an abuser, but we must live with other people in an imperfect world, where there are imperfect people all all around us. But we must carefully guard ourselves from slipping back into the “old patterns” of accepting abuse.

Matt and I were talking on another thread yesterday about him “giving probation” to a guy who had stood him up instead of NCing this guy for the FIRST sign of disrespect. I could more easily see what Matt was doing than Matt could see in this instance. So, I “BOINKED” Matt and said “hey, why are you giving this guy another chance?” It helped Matt to see that he had overlooked a RED FLAG because his past patterns were to overlook red flags.

I may not be able to see my own overlooking of red flags, but someone else might see them more clearly. So, it is like an AA meeting kind of, only our “club” is the LF meeting! Just as the alcoholic may always be susceptible to the Siren Song of booze, I think we may to some extent be susceptible to the Siren Song of the Ps. Especially those of us who have had repeated encounters with them, or who had P parents or role models.

Hi Oxy: On the genetics, I went to a family gathering (not my family) that had a high percentage of mountain climbers, extreme skiers and snowboarders, and other sorts of, shall we say, adrenaline junkies. The air fairly vibrated. These were “upstanding people” who appeared to be fairly civilized, but as I observed I noted a lot of extraversion, charm, risk-taking (obviously) and other sorts of “pink flags.” (Not quite red!) Probably in the mix there were several Harleys in various garages. I spent a lot of time musing about that particular tribe, but they seemed, overall, to be respectable in their lives and in pursuing their ambitious dreams.

Knowing what I know, though, I’d observe them carefully from a bit of a distance before getting more closely involved with any one of them.

I also heard, last week, that there seems to be a genetic component to the sorts of friends that teens tend to pick. Interesting, huh? So, not only the internal genetics, but genetics driving the influences that we bring into our lives by our choices of friends!

Oxy said, “I think the difficulty that many of us have had in breaking free from this at all shows how powerful the tendency to stay in this situation, or to return to it if you do break free from one P, and means that we have to work DOUBLY hard to STAY free, just like an alcoholic MUST TOTALLY STAY AWAY FROM BOOZE, we have to TOTALLY stay away from ABUSE of even the least amount. We can’t “sip” a little abuse without being DRAWN BACK IN.

Look around you at your friends and people you know. How many of you know women or men who get out of ONE dysfunctional relationship and go right back into another one just as bad? I will bet the farm that everyone of us either is one of those people or knows several, or both.”

I think you’re right. I think “something” can predispose us to be “willing” to put up with the abuse as much as to dish it out. And like some people can be groomed to be “bad” I think some of us are more susceptible to being taught to put up with “bad.” I don’t know if I have broken the cycle for myself- I am busy raising my children and enjoying a drama/chaos-free lifestyle by not entertaining any sort of romantic life. But I didn’t jump out of one frying pan into another ::whew:: So maybe I am learning! It’s been 2.5yrs since I cast him out; he’s been in prison a year this month and I still don’t have an interest in dating. My kids and I are safe- I am loathe to jeopardize that. If I want dinner and a movie- I get it for myself 😉

I have a gf who has jumped and jumped from frying pan to frying pan to fire and back in the frying pan! She recently got sucked back into a relationship with a dirty cop whose M.O. reeks of sociopath. She came to me after another rocky patch (he threw her out) and it sounded like she was ready to get some counseling and that she thought she realized she had issues that drew her to those types of relationships (beaters, abusers, alcoholics- she’s been engaged 2 or 3 times, I lose count. They’ve all been losers.) I hear from her once or twice a day- then NOTHING. Not a peep for days. I leave her a msg, nothing. All of a sudden she’s posting “I’m feeling loved” moods on myspace and put all his pictures back up. This was a guy who threw her out and told her to watch her back because he was going to have his dirty cop friends follow her around and ticket her for every move she made- and even moves she hadn’t made! I’m so worried for her….but I know all too well that nothing I say will make a difference. I sent her a note that I would be there for her if she needed me. I haven’t heard back from her.

Her sister, on the other hand, was the one that trashed her marriage and her husband had to run screaming- then she annihilated him in court. I have my, um, thoughts on their parents, but I don’t know for sure….but one has to wonder, was one predisposed or groomed to be bad and one to take it? The treatment was presumably the same, but the result differed based on their own makeup?

Regarding how “non-victims” view the S

Who knows of accurately portrayed successful sociopaths in the movies? Hollywood seems to have done the female variety well enough. In Disclosure there was Meredith Johnson, in Body Heat Matty Walker, in Black Widow Catherine Petersen. They were convincingly, charming at the surface but evil at the core.

But Hollywood seems to have trouble with male sociopaths. Norman Bates and Hannibal Lechter are obviously crazy dangerous from the get go. But even Wall Street’s Gordon Gecko, Fifth Element’s Zorg, and Contact’s Dr. Drumlin, are presented as fairly obvious megalomaniacal assholes. The Talented Mr Ripley and Darth Vader are given human qualities which are inconsistent with their behaviors (fear leads to the dark side, WTF?)

I guess I’m looking for popular male characters who best exemplify the Lovefraud sociopath.

My egg donor has a saying that remember from early in my life, but it is quite true. “The same sun that hardens the clay, melts the wax.”

I.e. the SAME CONDITIONS will result in different effects, depending on the composition of the item in those conditions.

I think the same enviroment will effect each of us a little differently, or maybe a LOT differently, depending on our genetic make up. Each of us is unique (except for identical twins, triplets etc) and of course no two environments are 100% identical, even in the same family. The later born child has an older sib which the first born doesnt, and there is some research on how children born in different orders react differently to the family dynamics. Then, of course, there are the different ways that male and female chidlren are treated in some (all?) families. Males and females were treated distinctly different in my family, and in a way, because I was an ONLY child and an ONLY grandchild, I was treated differently than I would have been had there been a male sibling. In some ways, I was socialized more by my paternal grandfather as a male than as a traditional female. I was (at least until puberty and me appearing decidedly “female”) allowed to do things that would not have been allowed if I had had a male sib for him to dote on.

I have noticed in other women who were socialized more by a male figure than by their female figures, that those women tend to be more outspoken, more assertive, and more risk taking than women who were socialized by being given “Barbie Dolls” instead of horses and dogs. LOL I was the “golden grandchild” and in many ways the child of my grandparent’s old age. I realize too, NOW, that my egg donor resented my “favorite status” and I think, looking back, that our “conflicts” in many ways resulted from her resentment of my status with her father, and her mother as well. I think she also resented the fact that I had bonded to them more than to her because we lived with them from the time I was an infant and my GM and my GF were my primary caretakers. While I have MANY memories of my life with my grandparents when I was quite small, I have only ONE memory of my mother before I was probably 4-5 years old. I have no memories of her doing nurturing things (like me sitting on her lap) and I have many memories of her criticisms. That doesn’t mean she did no nurturing or that I never sat on her lap,, but I just don’t remember them if she did. So I don’t know if that “accounts” for some of the way I grew up, I think probably it has had some influence on it.

I can relate to your feeling of helplessness with your friend. I’ve seen that same thing in both friends of mine and also in former patients. In fact, there was a time when I felt “superior” to these women because I would NEVER have gone back to a man who beat me….but actually my arrogance was very misplaced, because I “went back to” a SON that did worse than beat me! LOL I excused his behavior the way she excused the behavior of her BF. I hope that your friend will eventually come to a place that she will listen, and I am glad that she has you for a friend when (if) that day comes. Unfortunately, she has to come to that decision on her own, but maybe having you for a friend will be the difference in her succeeding or failing in getting her life turned around.

We all see people come here and stay a while, then BOOM, they are gone, and in many cases it is not because they have healed enough to move on to higher ground, but because they have gone back into the FOG, I think. Some come back from the FOG and tell us where they went, but most that “disappear” from here without a “good bye” just “disappear” and we never know what happened to them. Sometimes that bothers me, I’d like to know they are at least “safe” or that the man (woman) hasn’t killed them, but each of us makes our own choices…..and gets the consequences of those choices. For me, I’m like you, I’m providing for myself and my own safety and emotional support…..and right now, that feels like it is a really comfortable place.

SOS, we posted over each other….to answer your question, in a movie I saw a while back (not a new one, on DVD) Daniel Day Lewis’s character in “There Will be Blood” is a perfect example of a psychopath. He plays it to the hilt too. GREAT example. Of course the word psycho/socio-path is never mentioned but the character is PERFECT. Check this one out.

“The same sun that hardens the clay, melts the wax.”
It’s a shame she hasn’t the same clarity on more topics.

Yes, I will be there for her if/when she decides she wants out…not because I’m smarter, but because I’ve been there and I’ve been HERE. And I wouldn’t dare try to “cure” her myself, but I would really love to see her in therapy and not in a bar with the dude du jour.

“For me, I’m like you, I’m providing for myself and my own safety and emotional support”..and right now, that feels like it is a really comfortable place.”

There are days that I feel small or weak or exhausted and I remind myself of these very things.

Keep on truckin’, Oxy 🙂

DEar Glinda,

Yea, in some ways she is a sharp cookie…but emotionally, she is now totally running her life in delusion and denial. As we approach the end of our lives, we are supposed to look back and reconcile our lives and our thoughts about them and come to some kind of peace. I watched and was part of that process with my step father, and it was truly inspiring to see him go through the “stages” and the letting go of his earthly life in such a peaceful manner. I’m afraid that my egg donor won’t have that kind of “earthly closure” that he had. But there is nothing I can do about that but accept it. I sure don’t want to end up my life like hers is coming to an end (she will be 80 in a few days) and about as “alone” as you can get, except for the letters from my P-son.

He comes up for parole in January of 2011, and I have a feeling she will “hang on” for that long, but if he doesn’t get parole (from my mouth to God’s ears) I think she will very shortly let go and pass away.

I have seen elderly people in HORRIBLE physical shape that precludes another breath hang on for up to 30 days or more for some person to come to their side and then quietly pass away. I had one patient in such terrible shape that at about 5 p.m every night she would get “blue” and go into the agonal respirations that preceed death by a few minutes or hours, and I would stay with her and hold her hand for a couple of hours, then have to go on home, sure that in the morning she would be gone, but she did this for over 30 days until her daughter got to her bedside (she was “unconscious” as well) her daughter was a missionary in Africa and took almost 2 months to get there. It was simply amazing to me that this woman’s will for her daughter to get there was so strong that it kept her totally debilitated body alive for so long. That is a fairly well recognized phenomonan though among medical practitioners. There is a similar one called the “anniversary” syndrome where the surviving spouse will die within a few minutes or hours of the anniversary of the death of the other. My grandmother did that, and lived 3 years (minus 2 hours) from the annivarsery of her husband’s death. There is so much,, so VERY much, that we do NOT understand about the HUMAN SPIRIT. How that SPIRIT can make the body do such amazing things when it looks “scientifically impossible.” I know that my egg donor is totally “attached” and “bonded” to the only living relative she has now (my P-son) and while I think she still has “hope” that my son C and I will finally “come to our senses” and play “let’s pretend that we’re a nice normal family and none of this ever happened” her deepest desires for my P-son to get out of prison and come live with her and us be “one big happy family” isn’t going to happen. If per chance he were to get out and to be allowed to return here to live with her, my sons and I will leave here for parts unknown. Of course, at his next parole hearing my other sons and I will be there (along with, I am sure, the family of his murder victim) begging the parole board to NOT let him out.’

Since her deepest desire is for him to come home, I think when that desire is thwarted and he gets another 4-5 year set off before his next parole hearing, I think she will “give up” and pass away. I am not wishing for her death, but yet, in a way, it will be a relief for me to know that she isn’t able to send him more support. If she leaves him a significant amount of money in her will (which would be a danger to me if he had it) My sons and I will fight that in court, which will give me time to “leave here for parts unknown” even if we can’t get her will reversed as prepared under “undue influence” of my P-son for his own benefit. My other sons and I know that any money she would leave him, she had intended to leave to a particular charity that was in her previous will. So, we are NOT trying to get any money she left to him for ourselves, but for the charity that she had previously intended it to go to. Will just have to face that bridge when we get there, but at least we do have a “plan” in place.

I too feel weak and exhausted some days, but those days are quite few now, and my reserves of strength are returning and I am more like my “uppity woman” self than I have been in a long time.

The ONLY two people who DO have the 100% same genes are identical twins. In the “identical twins raised apart” studies, about 80% of the twins, if one was a P so was the other”.so my guess is that 50-80% of the P-ness is genetic.

Works for me.

Of course, my question (unanswered) in those twin studies is, if one is a P, is the other a normal loving person or an “almost Psychopathic” person?

Good question.

my take is that if a child is abused by a natural parent, the natural parent is a psychopath or other genetic anomaly and has passed the genes on.

’Abuse genes’ may directly or indirectly create combative circumstances in close relationships, which becomes interpreted by observers as abuse.

Is the fact that we submitted to the abuse genetic as well as the Ps’ abusiveness? Or is our submission partly environmental and partly genetic?

As a kid I liked to please, entertain or bond with others. During my SS experiences I was compelled to negotiate with or avoid the SS. Today, I have to watch out for my temper getting the best of me. My humor is less self-effacing and more ’smart ass’, and I don’t tolerate crap.

One thing I must note, is that all three of my SS’s have demonstrated a desire to keep tabs on me, while keeping their distance. They either sensed that I was capable of vengeance, or were afraid that they’d awakened something in me which could be dangerous for them. I think a full blown P would have targeted, used, smeared, then moved on with no worries.

DEar SOS,

Some Ps do seem to target, use, smear and then move on, but others STALK their former victims and can’t seem to let go of the need for either ownership and/or vengence.

Sometimes it depends on whether they are the dump-er or the dump-ee as well. If they dump you, they move on, but if you dump them before they dump you, there is an injury they have to settle so they want to keep tabs on you, or find some way to punish you.

I’ve dealt with several of each kind. Personally, I like the “move on” variety best, but we don’t always get to pick which one we deal with. LOL

I know that most of the like to go out with a “win” and feel superior to you, if they don’t get that, they may end up seeking revenge. My X-BF P was a “win or else” kind of guy, and he wanted to remain “friends” (with benefits of course) with all his female flings, but because his last one before me kicked him to the curb, he burned her house. I had no doubt he would have done the same or worse to me because I kicked him to the curb as well, but I too had him scared to death of what retaliation my sons would make on him if I even slipped and fell in the bathtub, so I didn’t get my house burned, though he did a fair job with his smear campaign, or at least tried to.

Sometimes it pays to make them afraid of you, sometimes it doesn’t. I am careful what I say and do because “terroristic threatening” is a crime, and any “terrorizing” you do must be very subtle to not cross that line of becoming CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. I won’t say I have never WANTED to cross that line, but my conscience won’t let me, besides the fact, I do not ever want to do anything that would run the risk of putting me in jail. Heck, I don’t even drive over the speed limit. I pay my honest taxes, and do my best to be a law abiding citizen.

I think too, that many of the Ps are at heart cowards (even though other have no even realistic fear) and I think my X BF is one of those that doesn’t have the guts to do anything except a sneaky type attack because he wants to protect his “image” as an upstanding man, which of course, he is anything except one. Some Ps don’t give a rat’s behind about “image” so they are probably less easy to scare off the trail. Say the Charlie Manson type vs the Ted Bundy type. There’s no doubt that they are both Ps, but one could have cared less about his public image and the other was careful to protect his.

Machiavellians usually have normal anxiety, but they also can’t love and like to cheat. The published Robert Greene stuff seems geared around them. My SS’s were mostly that – morally insane yet not entirely reckless. OT, but, it’s good to see reviews by regular guys about Greene’s stuff where they say the info is good to know, but also a great way to gain a rep as the village scumbag if you try it yourself.

Back on track, a close or captive relationship with a hardcore P would be a nightmare indeed. Run away and they stalk you, chase them away (by mirroring them?) and you risk bodily conflict. I’d start a P extermination business but the FBI might not like that.

I’ll be sure to check out the “There Will Be Blood” movie sometime. Maybe I’ll nominate it the next time they have a Best Movie Sociopath contest around here.

I agree with you, Oxy. My ex-S was the dump-ee and stalked me for several months, but at the same time he was careful about his public image since he was more Ted Bundy than Charles Manson. He started an immediate smear campaign with my friends which worked at first since I was upset and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I closed up, he cried on every one of my friends’ shoulders. Luckily, once I told them all of the terrible things he had done they believed me. He tried to continue isolating me with the guys at the bar we both DJ’d at, it was oh so subtle, he made them think he didn’t know me very well but wanted to date me so by the Code of Men they all backed off and gave him dibs. That backfired on him though when one of the guys thought he was doing the S a favor and tried to get me to ask the S out. After I stopped choking on my drink I told the guy about how the S was my ex, I didn’t get into a lot of detail, but just enough that all the guys at the bar then saw the S as a creepy stalker instead of lovestruck. Then of course came his suicide threat. That night I didn’t think he would hurt me, but I worried afterwards about retribution for calling the police on him. The police couldn’t find his gun in the apartment.

I ran into him twice after I went NC. The first time I was hanging out at the other popular bar downtown waiting for my boyfriend (now husband) who was working as bouncer, it was after hours and they were closing up, but the bartender let the S stay for awhile. My husband knew I didn’t want to be in the same room as the S so I went to the backroom to hang out til he left. The S was drunk, insulted my husband, my husband just blew him off, so he left in a huff. The second time I ran into the S I was working at a pet store when he came in to buy dog food. He made sure to get in my line to check out and proceeded to tell me he had moved in with his new girlfriend, she had two dogs so he was getting food for them. He asked me how my dog was doing and asked if he could call me sometime for lunch. I told him, “don’t call me, I’ll call you,” and happily haven’t seen or spoken to him since.

Something else that was just plain weird about the S, he often tried to use my love of animals to bribe me into doing things his way. When I adopted this poor old beagle that was on his way to the pound, the S let me keep him at his apartment on the condition that I came over several times every day to walk the dog, feed him, etc. I thought that was very nice of him at the time, but as time went on I realized he could care less about the dog, he just wanted that much more control over me. He wouldn’t feed him, or walk him, or tend to him at all. After we broke up he tried to get me to keep Bagel at his apartment so I’d have to keep coming there every day, my dad was like, “hell no” and took in my puppy. The S said he viewed Bagel as our child… yet again, creepy. Also, I had talked about how I wanted a cat one day and when I broke up with the S he revealed that he was going to surpise me with a kitten, and he had already signed adoption papers but since I didn’t want to be with him he would just have to give the kitten to someone else.

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