Both men and women can be sociopaths. As they get older, both male and female sociopaths continue to be destructive to the people around them.
Here’s what one woman in the Lovefraud Senior Sociopath Survey wrote about her disordered ex-husband:
“His narcissistic behavior pattern became intensified. He was cruel, a pathological liar, never apologized, projection, triangulation and gaslighting. He got much worse as I started emotionally disengaging.”
Here’s how another woman described her disordered mother:
“Nothing ever changed. She exploits, lies, throws tantrums, rages, abandons, pouts, defames, threatens, and would still be physically violent if she had the physical strength.”
It’s critical for you to understand that sociopaths can be found in all demographic groups — male, female, rich, poor, all races, all religions, all education levels.
Yes, there are more men than women diagnosed with antisocial or psychopathic personality disorders — generally, experts estimate that the ratio of males to females with these disorders is about three to one.
But women can also have these disorders, and they also keep up their abusive behavior as long as they live.
In the Lovefraud Senior Sociopath Survey, I asked people to fill out a questionnaire about someone they knew who was over age 50 and whom they believed was disordered. Respondents could write about a romantic partner, spouse, parent, family member, business associate, or acquaintance.
A total of 2,119 people responded to the survey; 89% of respondents were female (n = 1,861), and 11% were male (n = 233).
The disordered people they described, whom I called the “index individuals,” were 76% male (n = 1,444) and 24% female (n = 454). This is almost exactly a three-to-one ratio, so the survey appears to reflect the estimated proportions of antisocial men and women in the population.
What did the survey show? Both male and female senior sociopaths are abusive, although the abuse could take different forms.
As part of my research on senior sociopaths, I was the lead author on a scientific paper called Surviving Senior Psychopathy: Informant Reports of Deceit and Antisocial Behavior in Multiple Types of Relationships.
For this paper, I worked with colleagues from the University of Otago in New Zealand, Dr. Martin Sellbom and Emma Veltman.
First, we analyzed the personality trait data, as reported by the survey respondents, to see if the index individuals did, indeed, have antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)/psychopathy. As a group, they definitely showed high levels of disorder.
Then my colleagues organized the data into specific categories to estimate the harm endured by the survey respondents. The categories of harm were:
- Negative characteristics of relationship with respondent, such as dishonesty, insincerity and manipulation.
- Maltreatment of dependent children, such as being indifferent, neglectful or abandoning them.
- Rule-oriented harmful behavior in the workplace, such as being untrustworthy, stealing or violating policy.
- Person-oriented harmful behavior in the workplace, such as blaming, causing turmoil or bullying.
- Emotional and physical harm to respondent, such as physical injury, causing stress or PTSD, and infidelity.
- Material and financial harm to respondent, such as financial abuse, losing a home or job, and lawsuits.
My colleagues analyzed the data to see if there were differences in the harm perpetrated by the male and female sociopaths. Here’s what they found:
- Men were reported to exhibit significantly more harmful negative relationship characteristics than women.
- Men caused moderately more emotional and physical harm than women.
- Men caused somewhat more material and emotional harm than women.
- No significant gender difference was found among men and women in the other categories of harm: rule- or person-oriented harmful behavior in the workplace, and maltreatment of dependent children.
For a summary of the scientific paper, see New research on senior sociopaths: Antisocial behavior gets worse after age 50, on education.Lovefraud.com.
Senior sociopaths as parents
I reported even more of the survey data in my new book, Senior Sociopaths — How to Recognize and Escape Lifelong Abusers. Regarding the maltreatment of children, I made the same point in the book.
A total of 357 survey respondents wrote about their parents or stepparents — 196 described mothers or stepmothers, and 120 described fathers or stepfathers. The men and women were equally cruel, callous and manipulative to their children. There were no significant differences in the levels or types of abuse inflicted by male or female parents.
Senior sociopaths as spouses
Most of my survey respondents had romantic relationships with the senior sociopaths. A total of 681 survey respondents married them — 130 married while young, in their teens or twenties, and the others married them later in life.
The survey asked, “Was the individual, while over age 50, abusive towards you in any of the following ways?” The question was answered by 365 women and 26 men. Respondents could select all the types of abuse they experienced — emotional, psychological, financial, physical or sexual.
Here’s what married respondents reported:
- 96% of women and 92% of men experienced emotional abuse.
- 90% of women and 100% of men experienced psychological abuse.
- 74% of women and 68% of men experienced financial abuse.
- 41% of women and 32% of men experienced physical abuse.
- 40% of women and 32% of men experienced sexual abuse.
As you can see, male and female respondents experienced similar levels of abuse from their male and female spouses.
The bottom line is this: It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with male or female senior sociopaths. They are all abusive, and none of them are likely to change. The best thing you can do is extricate yourself from the involvement.
For more information about senior sociopaths, read my new book: