Psycho movies add to the confusion

In the 2004 movie Taking Lives, Angelina Jolie stars as an FBI profiler sent to Quebec, Canada to help solve a grisly murder. Shortly after she arrives there’s another murder—and a suspect.

Jolie interviews the suspect. Afterwards, she says to the Canadian investigators, “Psychopaths actually have very different brain patterns. You say words like tree, sofa, house, rape, incest, murder. A normal person’s brain pattern changes; the frontal lobe reacts. Psychopaths have no reaction. They feel the same about rape and murder as they do about eating dinner. They have no emotional reaction.”

Jolie’s character is right. Everything she says has been validated by scientific research.

As the movie continues, we learn that the murders are part of a pattern, and there’s a serial killer on the loose. A psychopathic serial killer.

Movies such as Taking Lives contribute to the public’s perception that psychopaths are depraved serial killers. Although many serial killers are indeed psychopaths, the vast majority of psychopaths never murder anyone. Psychopaths lie, cheat, steal, defraud and abuse—totally without remorse. But they usually don’t kill.

As Dr. Robert Hare, the international expert on psychopaths, says in his book Without Conscience, “Serial killers are extremely rare; there are probably fewer than 100 in North America. In contrast, there may be as many as 2 to 3 million psychopaths in North America.”

But the imagery is powerful. In the 1991 movie, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, is a brilliant psychiatrist—and a serial killer who practices cannibalism on his victims.

Lecter is housed in a hospital for the criminally insane. “Oh, he is a monster,” says the hospital administrator. “A pure psychopath. So rare to capture one alive.”

And then there’s the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, Psycho. Despite the title of the 1960 film, the disturbed individual who murders Janet Leigh while she showers isn’t even a psychopath.

Due in part to movies like these, you may associate the term “psychopath” with individuals who are deranged, disturbed murderers. Consequently, you may not realize that you have a psychopath in your life—and it’s your spouse, boss or lawyer.

That’s why Lovefraud has chosen to use the term “sociopath” instead of “psychopath.” The goal is to help you get past the serial killer mentality and identify the character disorder as it usually occurs. When you know what you are dealing with, you can protect yourself.

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26 Comments on "Psycho movies add to the confusion"

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You’re right-hollywood sensationilizes these crazy psycos-but in reality they are rare.
I know personally of two individuals who lie, cheat and steal from their spouse and family with no remorse and the victims just accept this , I guess in the hopes they will change or they can be changed. But I haven,t seen any improvements. It takes extraordinary steps and pain to leave these sociopathic people when they are family, but it seems the only way.

Yup movie psychos make them look like they stick out. The movie “American Psycho” reminded me of a guy I dated in college…. I was always waiting, years later, to hear he committed murder. Everyone thought he was such a nice guy. Ha!! you can’t tell by looks. Just look at that creep Ed Hicks!

After the Peterson trial I heard from many women who thought “he was so cute, Laci must have been a b*tch, he looked like such a nice guy” etc etc etc. I have compared him to many sociopaths who seduce women (sex addict types) both online & in real life. When people say “oh but Peterson was different – he killed someone” I say “yes, and he only killed one person – and look at how many hearts, souls and wallets he destroyed before he did that one murder.”

Physical “killing” is not the only kind of murder these sociopaths commit. Just as domestic violence doesn’t have to be physical.

great great site & blog!!

Bravo to you Donna for this blog and for lovefraud.com. I wish your website had been online when I first met my soon-to-be-ex sociopath bigamist, for if it had, I certainly would have recognized the red flags immediately.

I saw Taking Lives, and the statement straight from Hare’s work regarding the brain patterns and the lack of an emotional response is sociopaths. But the portrayal of all psychopaths as extreme serial killers distorts the facts.

One thing I have observed recently is that when a sociopath is backed into a corner, their mask pulled away, their image marred, and their world begins to crumble around them…they do act violently and abusively towards their target, albeit they may not kill, they are still very dangerous creatures.

Until we as a society start educating ourselves about these destructive sociopaths, more and more of them will rip through the innocent lives of their targets like a tornado destroying everything in its path.

I will admit that up until four years ago, I did not know much about the behavior of a sociopath. Like so many others, I only heard the word on the news or in movies when someone was describing a serial killer like Ted Bundy.

I was horrified when I learned how many people are impacted by the behavior of sociopaths everyday. So much of the behavior is incomprehensible to a person who has a conscience. I have spent the last four years sharing what I have learned about the personality disorder and I share my own experience in the hopes that I can spare others from going through the pain. I’m lucky that my marriage ended in divorce and that I have another opportunity to find true love.

I hope that as more of us speak out and share our experiences, others will begin to see the magnitude of the problem and understand that anyone could be a target.

My ex is a well respected & well liked paramedic, he had worked for our company for 9 years, and is ‘the type’ of guy older women would want to set up with their daughters. When we started dating, all those older women, we’re ‘so happy’ for me that I was seeing “such a nice guy”. Nice was the word most often used to describe him. A year and a half later, when I caught him cheating, the ever present Dr. Jeckell turned into a Mr. Hyde more evil than anyone I had ever known. Now that the truth is known about him, many of those older women, see him for what he is, but strangly many women our age (30’s/40’s) think “oh he just cheated/ so what he’s a player” As if I’m overreacting, and many find it hard to believe he ‘really’ could have done all the evil things I’ve said he’s done. I believe this misconception about psychopaths/sociopaths is the reason why. I have told these women about socialized/ subcriminal psychopaths, and suggested they read Without Conscience and Sociopath Next Door. Hopefully some do and hopefully they will then see it. Until then, to many.. I’m the one who looks like the psycho for daring to suggest it.

I do agree that Hollywood “sensationalizes” the sociopath, so that most of us think of SPATHs as killers, for example, from the Lifetime Movie Network. I, too, knew little-to-nothing about SPATHs before reading on the net, about people with BPD and D.I.D., and other than that, only from the films I saw. Still, I can point to two films, “Dirt Digger” (British film that I wish I could order a copy & haven’t been able to find out how to yet) and “Lilith” (I got a copy & am going to share it with my therapist), where, if you combined each sociopath, from each movie, they would exemplify my ex perfectly, even though he hasn’t “murdered” anyone (YET..unless you count stressing his first wife into aborting their child)

Until the “professionals” can get it together and come up with a UNIFORM NAME and list of TRAITS for this condition— how on earth do we expect the PUBLIC to be able to know what the heck a Psychopath/sociopath/anti-social personality disorder/psycho/monster etc. is?


two things:

Hollywood still glamorizes being a “psycho” just like anything else. until it’s not somehow sexy…

i do recall being creeped out when i found myself watching my ex’s personality traits though: American Psycho, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and i think expertly done really: the bad ATF agent ex-boyfriend in Sons of Anarchy!


when i first heard my ex was “antisocial” (from his own mouth nonetheless) i laughed that his juvie doctors had it all wrong, he was the most “social” person i knew!

that was around month 2? of our relationship and it took me a couple days to look it up, but i remember freezing at my computer desk.


i never said a word to him about it. not then. not now. now being 3 1/2 years later, and all i wanted to scream was “i know what you are!” i mean he TOLD me.

the insanity of it all.

i was smart enough to know, foolish enough to not believe.

this is also where implementing solid spath teaching in High School could come in crucial…

…teach young people not to believe Hollywood love… which is full of damn spaths anyways!!!

antisocial – that word confuses me – my x was very social – never met a stranger – was so charming and coniving – on the other hand I am more reserved, kinda shy, I sometimes avoid social events because I feel inadequate or uncomfortable – so anti social fit’s me more than him .oh my brain hurts..

Hens, the way the PROFESSIONALS use the word “social” doesn’t mean what it means to us hill billy hicks. They use it to mean in terms of “Anti-social” that he goes against society, not that he is a HERMIT. That is part of what is confusing between “professional” diagnoses and uses of words and common useages.

Anti-social to US means doesn’t like to be around others, like a hermit, but to them it is a different meaning.

Part of the “confusion” is that they use words differently than we do.

It also becomes confusing to judges, juries and cops etc. and “psychotic” means out of touch with reality, or what we would call “crazy.”It is not a short for psycho-path.

It almost makes me laugh, the anti-social part. It implies that a person doesn’t like to go to parties or doesn’t get out much. That would be me these days. I want to go but need to work myself back out into the world.

On the other hand because I was so isolated spaths came to me.

When I first saw the check list by Dr. Hare spelled out on the internet, it was right before the 4th of July weekend. I froze at my computer. That is when I made up an excuse that was probably not even believable to cancel the weekend with my then spath boyfriend. I didn’t want to believe that he was a Sociopath because that sounded so scary. As many times as we got back together as far as talking on the phone and the internet, I believe the last time I actually saw him in person was Memorial Day weekend which was before the 4th of July.

Even though our relationship had regressed to friends he was going to bring me by a small gift right before Christmas. Since that week was busy I asked him to wait until the week between Christmas and New Years. Christmas Eve is the last I heard from him when I called him on his drinking. not a big deal really just a “I thought you were going to start going to meetings again.” He played the sympathy card which I didn’t fall for, and then hung up on me calling me the Bitch from Hell. I could not understand why he did not call the next day, Christmas and apologize. Because he was not a normal person. He didn’t care…..and more important I believe he knew I was finally on to him and he had used up anything he could possibly get from me.

I wish I would have believed myself when I KNEW that he was a sociopath right after the 4th of July.


Oxy, I posted over you. ASPD is the professional way of labeling Sociopaths. It implies something like they were not properly socialized to society or something, like you said.

I have another question. Above my screen is an add for Instant Checkmate.com. to check for criminal background checks. The picture of the man in the middle with the longish hair looks so darn familiar. Is they anyway, a person can access the pictures that are on that site without knowing the names?


Thank you Oxy for explaining that for me.
TTS That guy above with the longish hair is a dumbnut that wore his hat backwards and got a bad tan line. Look’s like some of my trailor trash neighbor’s…

Hens, ROTFLMAO!!!! yea!!!

TTS, not that I know of.

Ox is that you up there on the left?

I thought I made another post here about here about the guy who probably wore the backwards hat. He lives in the apartment behind me. His girlfriend is the one who was always asking me for money. Anyone who is still up please read my post on this subject:

Exploiters seek partners who dread to displease them

I believe I really had an aha moment not so much about wanting to please the men in my life, but about my current relationship with my mother. It was actually making me depressed today.

I had my last mediation session yesterday. After the spath and his lawyer left I was there with the mediator and my lawyer. This is an interesting little thing that happened, the mediator asked what was wrong with spath. Mediation had ended and the mediator didn’t need to stay neutral any longer. He wondered what was going on with spath and even though spath was a retired senior vice president of a large company, he said he would never hire him.

I gave those comments high credibility because of the professional attitude of the mediator during our sessions with him. He was a lawyer before opening his own business and teaches at the law school here. He definitely validated my feelings of something being off with spath. Honestly, don’t know why I would still need flipping validation. Kind of got me into this mess to start with.

Spath was playing more games and tried to do the poor me thing, he was called on it and was told to stop acting like a victim. He is also trying to get out of paying alimony. So the case might end up going to court, not sure. They may make him pay lifetime support and he wouldn’t want that so he should take the buy out we offered.

All I can say is spath is psycho. He is unraveling before my eyes. How did I not see the depths of his disorder? Oh yeah, the gaslighting. Yeppers, it was the gaslighting.

Just thought I would share this with you all. I have been reading a lot but not posting as often because sometimes it depresses me too much. I read some of the stories of the heartache of lovefraud posters and it hurts and I feel their pain. I was there and I know how deeply it cuts you to have a spath in your life and those stories touch me too much.

I’ve been digging out and try to escape from feeling that pain again. When I read Oxy’s post about her dad, well, that was almost too much to comprehend, to much to bear. She is completely amazing to me.

You are all beautiful people, keep healing, keep walking in the light, I know it will get better.

It’s nice that people notice something is wrong.
Did you explain to the mediator that your ex is a spath?
I hope you did and recommended some books. He is bound to run into others of that type and it would be good to get him started learning about it so he can do his job the best possible.


I know exactly what you are talking about. My divorce took place in 2008. We had two mediations to keep from going to court. He finally signed the papers to settle out of court. He had a lawyer and so did I but the mediator went back and forth to our separate rooms. She told me and my lawyer “He is so hard to reason with.” My lawyer asked her if his lawyer was giving him good counsel. The mediator says “He is trying”. I didn’t know that my exH was a spath, but did know he had some sort of personality disorder. I told them, he dealt in magical thinking and honestly believed he was entitled to the house because he had it before we were married….by about 3 years. I lived there for 25 years and helped pay for that house. I bought him out of his share, and was given alimony. He pays it. The court ordered it. Just hang in there because once it is over you can concentrate on your healing.

I also was subjected to gaslighting so it has taken me all of this time to even start figuring out what a bad marriage I was in.


so sorry you are dealing with this stuff with your mom.
Me too. parental sliming is so hard to get off because you’ve had it all your life!

I’m seriously looking into hypnotherapy because I just can’t deal with this on my own.

Dear Hope4,

Well, (laughing here) your mediator caught on, huh? Yea, you were gaslighted to the max, but when you finally got it, you finally got it, so you get a big TOWANDA sugar! It took me DECADES to get it, so you being “slow” to get it isn’t anything new….and once you did get it you have not taken the arsehole back have you? So another TOWANDA!!!!! for you!!!

The thing is that yea, we don’t want to believe that any human is like this, especially someone we loved and thought loved us…..but once we realize it, and get on with our lives we can heal and SEE THROUGH THE FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) that blocks our vision of what is really going on with the psychopaths.

Now you know what he is….just do what you have to do to keep him from biting you. At least you have gotten your daughter away from him so you have accomplished a great deal not only for yourself, but for her! (((hugs)))) God bless.

they are magicians – they do magic tricks and they are so proud of themselves when they know they fooled us..

Yea hens, but they are so STOOPID that they will shoot themselves in the foot, in their efforts to spath us!They are NOT really magicians, just Thumb suckers.{Translation needed here!}
Its happening with my spath daughter no. 1, her life is unravelling so fast, and her lies are finding her out!
There would have been a time when I said.”Poor baby ,Mummy will fix it”, NOT ANY MORE, not this little black Duck!
She will get her comeuppance with or without my help!
Mama GemXX

yes mama gem they are stoopid – they do the same ole magic trick over and over until we see how it worked and we get tired of the same ole trick – so they go find a new audience and bedazzle their pants off…..

G’nite folks it is the witching time and this old withc is going to bed. See you guys tomorrow! (((hugs))))

I don’t normally buy many DVDs but I recently ordered a copy of the DVD movie about Scot Petersen called “Perfect Husband” and watched it last night.

The guy who played Scot was great I thought…looked a lot like Scot to start with and did the “stare” really great…and those micro-smiles when a smile is not appropriate.

They never used the word sociopath or psychopath but it is worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. Petersen is just such a prime example of a “normal guy next door” who will go to whatever lengths to keep up his front and rid himself of an inconvenient wife and kid…and THINKS HE IS SOOOOO SMART that his concocted story will fly below the radar. Yet he doesn’t know what is “normal” and what isn’t—like him going golfing only a few days after his wife “disappears” and so on with his lack of “getting” what REAL EMOTIONS WOULD BE or how someone would act in that situation.

The sadness of Scott’s “best friend” and his wife who also was a close friend of Scott and Laci’s at realizing that yes, SCOT WAS A KILLER was well done I thought as well. There is always so much collateral damage to those that love the victim and those that even love the P.

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