By | May 2, 2011 41 Comments

Psychopaths, silly science and James Bond

The headline of an article that a Lovefraud reader recently sent to me is:

Why women really do love self-obsessed psychopaths

With a headline like that, of course, I had to read it. The article, from 2008, describes research on the “Dark Triad” and mating behavior. The Dark Triad refers to the personality disorders of narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.  I had some problems with the article, but before I ripped into it, I figured I’d read the original study. Here it is:

The Dark Triad: Facilitating a Short-Term Mating Strategy in Men

This study was published in the European Journal of Personality in 2009, and the lead author is Peter K. Jonason. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that the study was considered to be a contribution to the field of personality research. But before I rip into it, let’s review the Dark Triad.

Dr. Liane Leedom posted an article about the Dark Triad on Lovefraud back in 2007. Here it is:

Choosing a love partner? Beware of The Dark Triad

Dr. Leedom wrote:

The Dark Triad is Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellianism. To varying degrees, all three personality types entail a dark, interpersonally destructive character with tendencies toward grandiosity, emotional callousness, manipulation and dominance. Psychopaths and Machiavellians have high self-esteem, and are charming and fun but psychopaths are also impulsive and cunning. Narcissists are grandiose and have high self-esteem, and may also be intellectually gifted. Research has shown that these three personality types are all a bit different and yet also highly overlap.

So what do these three personality types have in common? They are preoccupied with dominance and power, and deficient in love and empathy. To anyone who is looking for a love relationship, Dr. Leedom offers the following advice: “Avoid, at all costs, connecting with a member of the Dark Triad.”

Dark Triad and mating strategy study

I realize that scientific papers aren’t supposed to offer advice, but the degree to which Jonason tries to remain “objective” in his study is ridiculous. Here is how he describes the Dark Triad:

Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy—collectively known as ”˜The Dark Triad’—are traits that are linked to negative personal and societal outcomes, and are traditionally considered maladaptive. However, the persistence of these traits over time and across various societies, as well as linkages to positive traits, suggests that the Dark Triad can be advantageous in some ways. For instance, subclinical psychopathy is associated with a lack of neuroticism and anxiety, which may facilitate the pursuit of one’s goals through adverse conditions. Similarly, narcissism is associated with self-aggrandisement, and Machiavellianism is associated with being socially manipulative, both of which may aid in reaping benefits for oneself at the expense of others, especially in initial periods of acquaintance. (Citations omitted.)

So Jonason ascribed to psychopaths the positive quality of persistence in overcoming obstacles—would he be referring to stalking? And self-aggrandisement—drawing attention to one’s own importance—helps in stepping on people? But what is the real value of Dark Triad personality traits, according to this author? Exploitative, short-term sex! Here’s what he wrote:

Although most studies have focused on the negative aspects of the Dark Triad, our evidence suggests that there might be some up-sides to these anti-social personality traits. We found that the scores on the Dark Triad traits were positively related to having more sex partners, an unrestricted sociosexuality and a greater preference for short-term mates.

Study subjects

So, how did Jonason conduct the study? He offered extra credit to 224 undergraduate psychology students to fill out self-report questionnaires. The group included 88 men and 136 women. They were aged 17 to 43—the median age was 21 and the average age was 23.5.

The students filled out three separate inventories to test for their level of psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism. Then the students were asked about their views on sex, and about their sexual behavior.

So how do you think hormone-drenched, strapping young adults in today’s sex-crazed culture would respond to the following: “I can imagine myself being comfortable and enjoying casual sex with different partners.”

I assume the answer was: “YEAH!”

Then the students were asked, “With how many different partners have you had sexual intercourse within the past year?”

I assume, especially among the males, that the answer was an exaggeration.

If the popularity of Jersey Shore is any indication, my guess is that plenty of 20-somethings think lots of casual sex is just fine, and if they weren’t getting it, they’ll lie and claim that they were. Jonason even admits that this may have happened in his study.

Evolutionary argument

Nowhere in his report does Jonason indicate that he actually interviewed any psychopaths, narcissists or Machiavellians. He merely asked a narrow and unrepresentative sample of human beings to answer questions about themselves on standardized tests. Jonason subjected the responses to a myriad of statistical analyses. It appears that he dazzled the journal editors with his math, because I wonder about his conclusions.

First, he says people with Dark Triad traits have more sex. Even though he based the conclusion on testosterone-enriched young adults, I’m sure he’s right. Then, Jonason portrays this casual, exploitative, short-term sex as a successful mating strategy in the march of evolution. He writes:

Our study indicates a connection between the Dark Triad and more positive attitudes towards casual sex and more casual sex behaviors. To the extent that lifetime number of sexual partners is a modern-day marker of reproductive success, and given that the Dark Triad traits are heritable and exist in different cultures, we speculate that these traits may represent one end of a set of individual differences that reflects an evolutionarily stable solution to the adaptive problem of reproduction. (Citations omitted.)

So he’s saying that casual sex benefits the survival of the human race. I have to wonder about this argument. According to Wikipedia, “Natural selection is the process by which biologic traits become more or less common in a population due to consistent effects upon the survival or reproduction of their bearers.”

Psychopaths have been called intra-species predators. They exploit other human beings, and some have been responsible for killing others, ranging from a few to millions. If the members of the Dark Triad were so successful, I would think there would be more of them in the population. But this would be bad for the species, for human beings, as a whole. Would natural selection encourage an adaptation that has the potential of killing off other members of the species? I hope not.

Back to the news article

As is now obvious, I have a low opinion of this study, and my opinion of the news article is even lower.

First of all, consider the headline, Why women really do love self-obsessed psychopaths. Nowhere in the study does Jonason claim that women love psychopaths. Whoever wrote the headline converted the idea of casual, exploitative sex into love.

Then there’s the first paragraph of the article:

Bad boys, it seems, really do get all the girls. Women might claim they want caring, thoughtful types but scientists have discovered what they really want — self-obsessed, lying psychopaths.

The article completely omits the study’s description of duplicity in the sex pursued by personalities of the Dark Triad. As we well know, most of us who have been intimate with psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavellians were conned into it. We didn’t want, “self-obsessed, lying psychopaths.” We were deceived. But the author, Science Editor Steve Connor, went for the sensational rather than the accurate.

Finally, there’s the idea of using James Bond as an example of the Dark Triad, or at least the most recent James Bond from Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig. This James Bond, you may recall, fell in love. He was ready to quit being a spy so he could be with his love—until she betrayed him. Even then, Bond attempted to save her life.

A real psychopath wouldn’t do that.


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what a disgusting headline–“why women really do love self-obsessed psychopaths.” not ‘some’ women, no, appears it’s all women, and not sexually attracted to, no, it’s ‘love.’

for mr. jonason, how’s this: “why basing your specious theory on 224 college student’s answers is bogus and asinine.”

having lived with a man with many characteristics of the dark tryiad, i agree with dr leedom and everyone else who says stay far away. there’s a danger in mistaking pathology for ‘strength’ for example; seeing the seeming ability to keep it together as strength when it’s really lack of connection and emotion, etc.

lots to think about here, donna. thank you.

Ox Drover


Though there MUST BE some evolutionary advantage to SOME psychopathic behavior in SOME INSTANCES or it wouldn’t have persisted through the eons, altruism on the whole seems to benefit more people more of the time….i.e. Japanese cooperative culture vs the looting going on in our post-tragedy chaos.

In some simple tribal groups I can see how being the big bad dog on the block, taking more women, more than your share of the food etc. would facilitate passing on your genes….and it does seem to me that people I consider psychopaths do tend to have high numbers of sexual partners AND many of them also have more than 2.1 children per person, some as many as 10 or 11, but that observation is NOT RESEARCH.

It sounds to me like a BADLY done SURVEY, and then the results of the poorly done survey were twisted into a SENSATIONAL article that had little if anything to do with real science.

Using BAD statistics you can “prove” that a man with one foot on a red hot stove and the other foot on an ice block is ON THE AVERAGE COMFORTABLE! LOL I am sure our scientific friend BloggerT would have plenty to say about this “study” and “pseudo-science” article. LOL


Great article Donna. I read the paper on The Dark Triad and short term mating strategies in men. Everything I ever studied about The Dark Triad completely describes my ex perfectly-so much that it’s freakish. That whole relationship ended 2 years ago today and there are still after affects from it.


This one is soooo obviously a ploy for research money.

I mean, all he is saying is that selfish men will screw any woman he can. WOW! He isn’t explaining psychopathy, or how it manifests in a psychopathic woman. He isn’t explaining, how agreeable the P is whenever he wants something. He isn’t explaining the 25 year relationshit with a P, which I would consider to be long term.

There is no information in this article at all. NONE. Therefore, the only reasonable explanation is that the author is a professional parasite that knows how to get grant money by using fancy words. hmmm…. professional parasite… could it be…?

Who else would write so much word salad that says nothing about spaths. It’s a tell.


‘So Jonason ascribed to psychopaths the positive quality of persistence in overcoming obstacles—would he be referring to stalking?’

i was taking a sip of tea when i read this. spit it right back out with laughter.


One Joy,
They are persistant. It reminds me of another group of people who are persistant in their beliefs and you have to humor them: children.

They will persist in lying in the face of the truth. Real winning strategy.


sky – i have been watching the development of your theory on spaths. Have you been keeping your posts/ notes on your posts on your theory of them as children (and I might add, children with no redeeming qualities)


Why do some women/like me? Attract sociopaths…this seems to be the only type interested in me…my counselor says…my personality screams…come and get me…I am an easy target…How do I attract men with normal emotions/feelings…?
ALSO…GET THIS …after my husband of 12 yrs left me for another (one of 3 I did not see it))…I figured out what he was…His Brother (fireman) , Father (police), himself (police)…all left their wives for their girlfriends…within 6 months…they planned who would go 1st , 2nd, & 3rd. I am 37yoa and have just realized all of my ex-boyfriends were not only sociopaths but…also 4 out of 7 including X husb became …police or fireman…My x is a raking police officer in town …It is like being the x wife in the MOB…It will never end…the torment of it is the courthouse & police department takes his side on everything…even with proof… in the name of professional brotherhood…sick!


Hey One Joy,
I have not kept track of my posts. or any notes. I just post when I feel inspired.

I just posted a few minutes ago to you and oxy and hens, but my post is “awaiting moderation!!!!!!!” WTF?

it was my best post EVER!
Oh well, whatever.


Well now THAT post is not awaiting moderation, so what went wrong? I’ll go ahead and post my other post here to see what happens:

One Joy, Hens and Oxy,
yes, our stories seem unbelievable, but not because they are so unlikely. It’s because they are so scary. What happened to us is proof that we really do not understand our fellow man.
We expect a “cause and effect”. We expect an explanation. The story of Job in the bible is really spot on. He kept asking God what he did wrong. His friends came and told him that he had likely sinned in his heart. There HAD to be SOME explanation, some RATIONAL EXPLANATION. He felt he had done everything right, but” evil had come upon him for no comprehensible reason. It goes even further than that. He hadn’t JUST done everything right. No, he was an EXEMPLARY human with a CLOSE relationship with his creator. NOTHING MADE SENSE.
In this way, we are like Job. We were stabbed in the back, not while sleeping or eating or wiping our asses. No, it occurred WHILE WE WERE BENDING OVER BACKWARDS BEING THE BEST HUMAN BEINGS WE COULD POSSIBLY BE. We were showing love and empathy to our fellow human being, going beyond the call of duty, giving MORE than we were responsible for. Loving MORE than any one can imagine loving. THAT’S when we were stabbed in the back.
We were kind and empathetic, we were getting high off our oxytocin and the feel good chemicals that you get when you do an act of kindness. We were feeling the feeling that you get when you save a kitten or help a blind person cross the street. It’s what makes us HUMAN.
It’s like being killed by your lover just as you reach an orgasm. It’s like being Ted Bundy’s victim, responding to his pity ploy and being hit on the head with a hammer because you were helping this charming young man with a “broken leg”.
The spaths target us because they hate that we love.
The “EXPERTS” don’t get that a spath is not selfish, a spath doesn’t want to “win”, he doesn’t want money. When you finally get that WTF? moment watching a spath cut off his nose to spite his own face, then you finally get it. He wants to watch the horror on your face. THAT’S ALL HE WANTS.
He cannot see the extent of your horror if he drags you down first. No, (as my spath explained to me) he must first place you high. He must first make you ecstatically happy. The “feel good” chemicals must be in place for the crash to have maximum impact.
The experts don’t get that spaths don’t care about money, or winning. They would PAY TO LOSE, if it meant watching you lose just as much. It’s all they want: Your pain. They don’t have the same values as you and I do. pain = happiness. It’s spathological.
Until the population GETS THIS, they will never believe us. NEVER. Even “knowing” this is not enough. It can only be truly known when it is experienced, when you are getting high off your altruistic, loving, tender and compassionate behavior and you feel a stab in the back. It’s the Judas kiss all over again. Words can’t do justice to the experience. No way.


One – that made me laugh out loud the image of you spitting your tea with laughter!

Skylar I think you make a really important point about putting the target on a pedestal to start with. Whilst it’s important to delineate the major symptoms of the true disorder, it’s also important to highlight that ” YOU WON’T GET TO SEE ANY OF THAT AT THE START AS HE/SHE WILL BE THE MOST PERFECT PERSON YOU’VE EVER MET AND WON’T PUT A FOOT WRONG INITIALLY.”

I already knew to avoid people who openly lied, cheated, were cruel … what I wasn’t prepared for was the betrayal from the man who claimed to love me and have my best interests at heart – it hurt so much more coming from him.


hi polly! I was thinking of you the other day. How are you doing? (did you ever get the CD i sent to you?)

I already knew to avoid people with active addictions to drugs and alcohol, dominating, domineering, angry all the time and who have passive/ aggressive and codependent ways of interacting; and people who are racist and homophobic. Well, that was the work of the FIRST half of my life. LOL.


sky – i woke up sore and not good this morning…went back to sleep, and now i am foggily getting going. your above post was like getting tackled! man, things sit differently at 2 am than 11 am! 🙂

may be one of your best yet.

i think when i say they like to ‘win’, i am am ascribing a different set of values to them. i like to win. makes me feel happy and puffed up sometimes, and humbled and living syncronictically at others – it lasts a while and then i get on with things. when i win, it is NOT about others losing. when i say they like to win, i see a shark going after a piece of meat, but anthropomorphically doing it with guile and glee. he sees what he wants, its destructive and he goes for it in a single-minded way. So when they win we are either collateral damage or it is about us losing.

i think you have something of value to contribute to the literature on spaths. And i want to encourage you to do so. start saving your posts with time and date, and those of others who add to your theory or spark new developments of it – all you have to do to start.

kim frederick

One joy, So happy for you about getting 6 more months employment, and getting a raise. 🙂

After your post the other day with the links to Ram Daas, I went to the Library and found a documentary on the Sufi poet Rumi. Are you familiar? He was raised by his Sufi master father, and practiced Sufiism his entire life. Then met a man who became a beloved mentor and friend to him for many years. When his friend died, Rumi was struck by enormous grief. One day, while in the depths of dispair over his loss, he wrapped one arm around a column, and started walking in a circular motion, and as he did this beautiful poetry started flooding out of him.

This is the origens of the whirling dervishes…their practice is a healing for grief. Much of Rumis poetry deals with the greif of seperation….seperation from the original source of love and a contstant desre to reunite.

I thought you might be interested, since you have an interest in Eastern religious tradition.


Kim – yah, income! freaked out about the job of course, but $ is the thing! how are things coming along for you, are you looking for some work?

I did not know this story about Rumi (so beautiful, thanks for telling me!), but i know his poetry.

I heard Maya Angelou on the radio yesterday, and she was saying that if we are having trouble getting to our emotions to find the poetry that matches it. Rumi might be very helpful to many people. I think the translations by Coleman Barks are the best known and most available, and their are readings on youtube, also.

One of Rumi’s poems, moves me to circling my own column. It’s not of grief, in any way, except, all things fall away over time.

-Like This-

If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,

Like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,

Like this.

If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,
or what “God’s fragrance” means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.

Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.

Like this.

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.

Like this. Like this.

When someone asks what it means
to “die for love,” point

If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.

This tall.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, the returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.

Like this.

When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.

Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.

Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.

Like this.

How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?


How did Jacob’s sight return?


A little wind cleans the eyes.

Like this.

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he’ll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us

Like this.

– Rumi


PS – when i listen to Krishna Das I want to raise my arms, palms up and twirl. It’s very interesting, because the music takes one on a journey – starting slow and speeding up and resolving. (like ALL good things. 😉 Ecstasy is ecstasy.

kim frederick

Yes, I think there might be something very healing about circling. I had a dream, years ago about going home, and looking for a house I used to live in. I couldn’t find the house, even though I knew it was on Callow Ave. A voice in my dream told me to just keep going left.

I looked up the word callow in the dictionary and it means “youth”. In dream interpretation, we are told to play close attention to this kind of instructive voices.
Also, the symbol of a house is often the “self”.

I told a Therapist about this dream, and she noted only that, by continueing to go to the left, I’d be going in circles. Well, I thought, “I don’t want to be going in circles.”

So this is interesting. And I love Rumi. Maybe He has something to teach me….I don’t think I’ll enter the order of the WD’s, However.

I enjoyed your Ram Dass. I think the chanting focuses positive energy.

I am trying to get a job at a convenience store, near by. Not much of a job, but income is income, and it’s honest, so…..
I want to finish out the school year with the toddlars…..but then it’s on to the next right thing. That is a big hurdle I need to get over.


One Joy,
Krishna is a Bhakti Yogi (devotion). When I first got his cd I was on the expressway doing about 75 miles per hour and got stopped for speeding. I was Hare Krisha-in along and was so into it I forgot to look at speedometer. THAT is why on the cd jacket there is the warning: Not responsible for speeding tickets. I told this to Krishna at a kirtan in NYC and boy did he laugh!

I’m happy for you that chanting is bringing joy to you. Bhagavan Das said “I found something, GOOD and I want to share it” Glad he did 🙂


‘going in circles’ is always seen through cultural eyes. ‘going in circle’ in buddhism is the imaginal physical journey of some mantras (visualized in meditation); ‘going in circles’ is what prayer wheels do; ‘going in circles’ is actually ‘spiraling’, although we are walking a physical circle we are never where we were a second ago, we are journeying, so add the dimension of change and journey to a circle and it is a ‘spiral’. A spiral, in or out, is again a journey. Walking a Minoan labyrinth is a journey – we start, we travel, we come out changed.

I am a puker, so I don’t know if i could ever make it as a WD, but i want to be in a room with Krishna Das for the Om Namah Shivaya Kirtin. I feel joy and excitement just thinking about it…the way i used to feel about my Lama and his students (until his racism became undeniably clear ). Chanting that chant i feel how i used to feel when i mediated all the time – that storehouse of good impressions is obviously still within me – which is VERY exciting to me, i thought that house had been razed by the spath. Meditation or chanting are ‘polishing the diamond’ – removing the tar and smudge from what we really are.

i spoke with a woman for a long time last night at a political rally (federal elections were yesterday and we were at the rally waiting for our area candidate – who won!) She is a smart woman, an accomplished woman. I know her husband, he’s smart as a whip. She got a job just recently with a company i know, and now they have been bought out by another company – and she will not have a job. We stood and fed words to each other and finished each others sentences – all about how hard it is on our esteem to not be able to get work. in the last few months i have met more and more people here who are in this position. I had felt so alone, such a loser, so alienated. I would bravely say that it was because of the size and economic base of the town, and bemoan this reality – but i still felt like a damn leper. talking to others who are going through this i know we are not lepers, we are at the mercy of the situation.

I have done my best to help others get jobs, make business contacts, etc. since i started my job. it’s part of what i do, but i have also gone beyond my job description, and will continue to do so. I know for a fact that i have helped 4 people get jobs in the last 3 months. I still know more people looking that businesses needing, so i need to move more over to finding out about the businesses themselves.

my last 2 jobs kim – i was cognitively impaired, and it was such a struggle to work. i know i can work at a pretty high level, but I couldn’t – I forgot details, names, sent wrong emails, lost my ability to shmooze and connect dots; and from all that my confidence fell to the floor. i felt like such a loser. so undeserving. this last job – there was so much silence from some of the higher ups that i spent months terrified that i would be fired. i have NEVER felt this way before. oh, and there was that threat of the smear campaign by the spath….so fresh in my mind for so ling. (now, she can piss right off – i am almost done being scared)

At some point i realized that they couldn’t fired me, or their conference wouldn’t happen; and i started to work more closelt with a youth intern – who was VERY good with details (and grammar!) – both of these things made a big difference. and i hit my stride – still anxious as hell, working many hours (out of balance) and still PTSD feaky, but i hit my stride talking with people , putting things together, finding people who knew things i didn’t.

And then the good feedback started rolling in. my conference was a huge success, in all ways. i got some important feedback from outside the org. that really told me i could swim in the bigger pond in this city. that damn conference is my best ‘resume’ ever.

so, i am telling you all this because you never know what will happen. once you are out there kim, it will continue to open up for you. jump.

their are gifts and challenges we can’t imagine, but they have helped me to grow in confidence and ability again. i feel safer among my business peers than in social situations, but i did pretty good last night at the rally.

‘honest work’ is the thing. i don’t love my job or the org. i don’t feel comfortable or at ease there – but it is an honest job, with an org that is doing positive things, and i am now seeing it as a stepping stone. i am going to use it to market the hell out of the ‘one joy step’ brand in the next few months (the length of my contract), and work on some personal goals that will undeniably increase my marketability – here or anywhere else.


Ana – i thought of the warning when i was beetling down the road the other day – walking toooo fast for my blisters to cope with!

That i am experiencing ecstasy with a devotional yogi makes sense – my background is with Vajrayana Buddhism – a yogic tradition full of crazy wise people who by virtue of the lineage and inclination are devotional.

my heart has closed so much because of the spath – to open is ecstatic.

kim frederick

Yeah, One joy, I really wish I could find my niche. I may have to CREATE it.

I don’t deal well with stress, so wasn’t a very good server, never made a lot of money, and really don’t like it either. I hate cleaning houses, and not very good at that either, since my vision is so incredably bad. I’m not details oriented gal in the least. I resent the details.

I’m very creative and love that about myself. One of my professors said I was so creative he had a hard time keeping me grounded. LOL

I used to paint portraits, but was lazy and unknowledgable about marketing myself. Also unmotivated and probably had NO CONFIDENCE. I used to write prose poetry and developed a small following on open mike nights…never sought publication for all the above reasons.

I thought about painting concrete decks and slabs for people. I thought about rug making, I thought about small mosaic projects. I’ve done bead work. I’ve painted Van Gough’s starry night on a chest of drawer’s, as well as some of my own designs.

When I started working toward my degree, I thought about Art therapy. Then, I wanted to teach Creative Writing.

Through my own (huge) mistakes, I have forclosed on those two options. I have just never developed the career path that I should have, and sadly, it’s getting a little late for that, now.

I wanted to comment, though, do you know that teacher’s get much better results from their students when they don’t explain much about what they want from them. It acts to free up the creativity of the student. It doesn’t limit them to the teachers idea of what she wants. While it might be a distressful sensation for the student, because of this insecurity, they will push themselves furthar.

I think that may have been what was happening with you, on your job, and something really positive came out of it. I hope you are really proud of yourself. You should be.


One Joy,
I’m happy for you!!! I love that feeling and energy that is produced by chanting. We go to local kirtans here. You should check out Krishna’s web page to see if he will be coming close to where you are. I’d love to see you walk out of the kirtan after it’s over LOL–need ten miles of kite string to pull ya back in!

My husband and I have spent the better part of ten years practicing yoga, reading the holy books (Gita, Ramayana, Mahabarata), going to kirtans, meditation, pranayama, the whole bunch of bananas. Learning from Dharma Mittra, like in the old days; from mouth to ear. We love it.

I still got effed over by a spath though! I saw a poster here say that it showed us the ugly side of life, which we did not know or where aware about. That was true of myself. Had NO idea these people existed. She did a number on me emotionally and finacially. Not so much my husband because he knows about the ugly side of life, having gone to viet nam when he was 26/27 yo.

It’s a journey for sure. We will see Bhagavan Das this summer, he is coming to Rhode Island and it’s not far. I can hardly wait!!! Hare Om

Ox Drover


There are jobs working with kids and adults that might be right down your alley….in assisted living situations, in nursery schools, etc. where you don’t have to have a degree to work there in “art therapy” etc. or in hospitals as an art therapy assistant to someone with the degree….or activities , or work in a gym, there are lots of places you could use your skills and be creative.

Tutoring students in language and literature, teaching English as a second language…Remember New Lily? That was what she did was to advertise and teach private classes in English as a 2nd language.

I can’t remember if you have your degree or not, but I know you were at least pretty close I think I remember…so maybe there are grant moneys to send you to finish a degree. Go to the “unemployment” office and talk to those folks and see what they have available there may be some programs out there that will help you get more education and/or a job. Start looking for these things now before your current “job” is over. Good luck.


One Joy and Polly,
That post, is, I think the culmination of what I’ve been trying to wrap my head around. It’s the final conclusion to why we can’t explain what happened to others. It came out of all the thinking about spaths for 2 years and my desperate attempts to get my parents to understand that they have a monster, not a son, living in their basement.

Today is my mom’s birthday. I will be making another attempt at explaining to them.

thanks for your encouragement. I will be doing that very soon. My hypnotherapy has given me more peace and calm in 4 sessions than I would have thought possible. I would encourage anyone else here to try it for breaking down the old programming very quickly. I wish I could afford more sessions.


Hi Joyous one … yes I did get the cd thanks – I sent you an email about it but guess you didn’t get it – it was such a well timed surprise – I needed the cheer up on the day that it arrived so thanks so much for thinking of me and remembering I couldnt’ access it here.

I was pretty crap at judging character … I always believed every sob story I was told and gave everyone the benefit of the doubt, even if I’d heard bad things about them before meeting them. So I was a sitting duck really – I sooo wanted to believe that there was good and potential in everyone and if I just worked hard enough then everything would be alright. It wasn’t though and my theory was proven waaaay wrong. Hard even now to live through it – the memory of it but with every day it fades a little and recedes into the background of a previously tattered tapestry that is called my life. I’m now taking better care of it and fixing the parts that were broken or about to wear through so it’s strong, colorful and unified.

Skylar …
I was reading through some writing tonight from one and two years ago and watched some videos I’d made delineating my understanding of what a psychopath is and how they create the dynamic that destroys you like a tornado through subtle methods of subterfuge. I haven’t moved much from where I was and yet I have. I’ve made some pretty big changes in a short while even though I haven’t yet physically moved location. I have quite a bit of captured thoughts and memories – for a ‘one day’ project. Now doesn’t seem quite the right time to do something serious with it as it’s a bit too fresh and raw, but I’m sure I’ll be glad of the information one day. It’s interesting to reread what I wrote and all the insights I recorded. I refer frequently to this site throughout the later writings and to new insight that has come from reflecting on what I learn here.

My life is getting better in every way though. I seem to be meeting nicer and better people and I’m actively considering my own future and what I want next. Although living alone is frequently lonely, nothing is as lonely as a psychopath who hates you but tells you he loves you in the room next door. I’m glad I’m alive, but sometimes the scarring is hard to live with – it’s like I lost my exuberant flamboyant optimism and drive – still feel quite up and down – deflated and buoyed in turn. Strange process of development and metamorphosis to go through.

I am thankful for friends who understand this life shattering experience and the disintegration of everything you value. Regular people who haven’t been through it don’t pay it enough attention and don’t understand the impact it had on who I am today. I don’t know why but I wish they did.

I hope everyone is having a day where they smile a little, laugh heartily and encounter a friendly soul whether human or animal 🙂 Much love to everyone


I have to say Peter Jonason’s remark is an INSULT TO JAMES BOND!!!

What’s all this rubbish about Bond fitting the “Dark Triad”? Nonsense! Bond only fits ONE criterion out of the three: that’s to say, “thrill seeking.” He enjoys dangerous assignments, which is why he picked the profession he did. And sure, he likes “trying new things”—including “new women.” But Bond can’t even be called “impulsive,” not in the sense of being subject to ill-considered, thoughtless impulses as a psychopath can be.

As for the other two criteria, why does Jonason call Bond “disagreeable”? I don’t see any indication that he’s “disagreeable”—EXCEPT to the “bad guys” who deserve it! Where’s the proof that Bond is “narcissistic”? Sure, he enjoys the good life, but so would most people, if they can afford it. I don’t see any of the classic signs of pathological narcissism: that Bond is arrogant, that he believes he’s “above” others, that he imagines he’s entitled to things that he’s not, that he’s obsessed with getting others to admire him, that he’s exploitative, treats others with contempt or anything of the kind. Nor is he “deceitful” as a way of life. Oh, sure, espionage and counterespionage require people to work “under cover” as part of the job, but that does not make Bond the kind of fraud or conman who would tell lies and misrepresent himself just to prey on people at large.

All right, so he kills people. Big hairy deal, Garfield! But they’re BAD GUYS! SOMEBODY has to rub out the bad guys who prey on the rest of us, just as somebody needed to rub out that murdering bastard Bin Laden. (And good riddance to bad rubbish!) It’s a necessary job. SOMEBODY has to take out the trash, and that doesn’t give anyone the right to look down on those who do it just because they see it as a “dirty job.”

Bond is an honorable man, not some kind of heartless predator. He’s a man with a conscience, and definite values. He has respect for others—as long as they deserve it—starting with his boss “M,” a man to whom Bond is said to be “devoted.” As far as it’s possible in his career, Bond has normal and warm friendships with others; his affection for Felix Leiter is a case in point.

When it comes to women, Bond does have short term “affairs,” but he’s not the type of Casanova who rates himself by how many women he “scores.” Off the top of my head I can only recall Bond having one genuine “love interest” in any particular story. Far more important, he’s not “exploiting” these women in any way. If they choose to go to bed with him, the pleasure is mutual! In any case his career makes it hard for him to lead a stable, predictable married life.

Whatever his personality type, Bond DOES find the “girl of his dreams” and gets married (in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). So he WAS the marrying type after all. It’s just his bad luck that his archenemy Blofeld murders his new bride in an act of revenge, so Bond is left single again. Inevitably he spends the next novel hunting down and killing Blofeld for taking away a partner he prized above all others.

In short, Jonason’s assessment of Bond as an example of his “dark triad” is unfounded, unfair, and libelous. So if Jonason is found mysteriously shot dead with a Walther PPK, we’ll know who to suspect! 😉


In spite of all that—and granted Donna’s well-placed reservations about limiting the sample population to undergraduate psychology students!—I do see some validity to Jonason’s study findings. It’s long been accepted that human males can obtain an advantage in reproductive rate (“r”) by impregnating as many females as they can. Females by contrast cannot obtain any such advantage by mating with more males, because their rate of reproduction is limited by the time it takes to gestate an infant. This explains why males as a class have a greater tendency than females to be promiscuous. In the words of the old rhyme:

Higamous, hogamous,
Women are monogamous;
Hogamous, higamous,
Men are polygamous.

Among other places, this sex difference manifests itself in the prevalence of polygyny within many human cultures, past and present, where it’s second only to monogamy as a preferred mating pattern. By comparison, the other two possible mating patterns—polyandry and “group mating” (several males to several females)—are comparatively rare among humans.

All Jonason has done is illuminate the fact that a certain, “psychopathic” type of male is more likely to behave in accordance with just such a “love ’em and leave ’em” strategy, using his time to spread his seed as widely as possible. That seems entirely credible to me. It might even help to explain why psychopathy (specifically) appears to be more common in males than in females.

But two important limitations should be noted. The first is that even if this strategy is advantageous to some males, it does not necessarily follow that it’s advantageous to all males. That little rhyme IS an overgeneralization.

Everywhere in Nature we find organisms with quite different survival (and reproductive) strategies operating side by side, each occupying a “niche” of its own. Very often the success of a strategy depends on lack of competition from others practicing the same strategy. Suppose for instance we survive by eating bamboo shoots, like the panda. If there aren’t many of us, and nobody else is eating bamboo shoots, we’re going to do pretty well for ourselves and start multiplying. But if we get too numerous, or other species are eating bamboo shoots as well, there won’t be enough bamboo shoots to go around and some of us are going to starve—unless we find some alternative dietary strategy.

Parasites of all kinds are rife throughout Nature. (There is no “morality” in Nature; Nature is dog-eat-dog. If we want “morality” we have to make it ourselves!) Parasites can survive as long as the host body they feed on continues to survive. If the parasites become too numerous or too voracious and kill the host body they feed on, the parasites die too. As a result, hosts and parasites tend to exist in a certain balance. As long as there’s a host body to feed on, parasites will evolve to exploit it. But parasites cannot afford to overwhelm the host either.

Parasites normally exploit organisms of other species, but there’s no reason why parasites cannot prey on their own species. The psychopath—or even just the persistent philanderer—could well be considered a kind of intra-species parasite. Human societies can support a limited number of these parasites. However, if the parasites get too numerous, the society is likely to tear itself apart and collapse, or be displaced by another society operating more efficiently, more cooperatively—more “morally” in our terms—with fewer such parasites.

Taking the reproductive aspect alone, there is a spectrum of reproductive strategies throughout Nature, ranging from r at one end to K at the other. This is about “quality versus quantity.” r is a “quantity” strategy. Many organisms reproduce by putting their resources into spreading their seed as far and wide as possible, leaving their offspring to fend for themselves. The vast majority of these offspring will never survive, but in an environment where survival is perilous anyway, “hedging one’s bets” by maximizing the number of possible offspring may mean that a few will survive.

K is a “quality” strategy. Other organisms produce fewer offspring, and put more of their resources instead into helping their offspring survive to maturity. Either strategy can be advantageous under particular conditions, but it goes without saying that as a species, humans, who gestate their offspring and care for them for years after birth, are very close to the K end of the spectrum.

In spite of that, it’s still possible for some males to adopt an r strategy by seducing as many females as they possibly can, leaving it to someone else to raise any offspring they spawn. By human standards this type of male is a kind of “reproductive cuckoo.” However, that does not mean this is the only, or even the best, reproductive strategy for most human males. A great many more human males have found it advantageous to adopt a K strategy by putting their resources into protecting and providing for the offspring they sire, maximizing their offspring’s chances of surviving to maturity. This was even more important in primitive environments where survival was always difficult and uncertain and many children died at a young age.

If all human males were to adopt the “philandering drone” or “cuckoo” approach, the r strategy (which Jonason aptly calls the “Cad strategy”), spending their days wooing countless females and leaving it entirely to those females to provide for their offspring, very few offspring at all would survive. As a strategy, it can only work well if a few males indulge in it. If there’s heavy competition—if every male is doing it—it’s not going to succeed.

Under those conditions, the “fatherly” male who adopted the K strategy (which Jonason calls the “Dad strategy”) of sticking around with his mate to help provide for his offspring would enjoy an enormous reproductive advantage over the “parasitical” drone males whose abandoned offspring would be dropping like flies from starvation. The more beneficial “Dad” types of male would then multiply. But as long as there were other humans around to exploit and raise their offspring, the “parasitical” or “Cad” type of male would never die out.

In short, just because a particular trait confers an advantage on part of a population, that does not necessarily mean that trait can or will spread to the entire population.

The second limitation is this. Jonason’s study is aimed at demonstrating that what he calls this “dark triad” of behavioral traits can contribute to a successful reproductive strategy FOR MALES–or for some subset of males. But I don’t see how any of this confers a reproductive advantage on FEMALES who mate with that type of male! The female who mates with the “Cad” type is going to end up being abandoned and placed at a reproductive DISADVANTAGE in terms of successfully raising her offspring.

So how do we get from Jonason’s findings to the claim Steve Connor makes, that this allegedly explains “why women really PREFER self-obsessed psychopaths”? Isn’t there a HUGE gap in logic here somewhere?

I could speculate on a connection, but I’d rather not do that right now. If that’s really what they’re claiming, it’s up to one of these guys to justify such a claim!

kim frederick

Redwald, ROFLMAO. Your defense of James Bond, and your indignance is duly noted. It’s a hoot.



Your posts are great, finding them interesting to read.


Thanks, everyone! 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Redwald,

To start with, this “study” was flawed from a scientific standpoint, but your conclusions about psychopathic males (assuming they do mate with more females) would pass on more DNA by virtue of more offspring.

However…we no longer live in caves where food is scarce and the offspring of a woman without a man die of starvation. There are food stamps etc. so being a “single mom” does not convey the life or death of the infants any more.

In fact, as IQ and education go up, women are having fewer and fewer children, and those on the bottom end of the Bell curve with IQ and education are having more children which are being supported by public assistance and food stamps.

I can’t remember who, I think it was Dr. Leedom, mentioned here on LF a study in London that 25% of the children in the public housing there were sired by psychopaths.

It used to be that women with juvenile diabetes died before they were able to reproduce….now many women with type I juvenile diabetes have offspring, which perpetuates the genetic tendency.

So with good social services and medical services, women who would never have been able to produce much less raise offspring from a passing by psychopath are now able to do so without the assistance of a man in such as in a hunter-gatherer society. So actually civilization is changing what is successful evolution in our own species.

Interesting and important blog entry analyzing the faulty study method and subsequent article, Donna.

Sky, nice different take on the “winning” aspect, et al. It doesn’t seem to come down to winning as much as defeating and finding joy in others’ misery. Although I do think they have an inordinate urge to “win” as it pertains to gaining for themselves.

Redwald, that “r vs. k” reference was what came to my mind, too. Found your comments funny (the former) and informative (the latter, well both, really).

Oxy, “actually civilization is changing what is successful evolution in our own species” poses an ethical dilemma that I’ve pondered. Are we doing ourselves in with empathy? That is, empathy compels us to help those suffering, but in so doing do we perpetuate hereditary problems? Well, yeah. But as empathetic people, how do we deny such aid, or how do we help without hurting?

Donna, I love your humane way of “killing them off”.


Good Morning…

Have a peaceful day!

Much Love,



Thanks, Donna. I’m glad if I could help to make that clear. The way evolution works can be very complex, with results that aren’t always obvious. And I do agree: we should choose the person we mate with VERY carefully, with an eye to the future of the human race!

Oxy, yes, our breeding policies are a matter for real concern. While we don’t like to see people dying—of disease, starvation, all the many hazards that used to afflict people before we created our modern industrialized living environment—just the fact that we’ve suspended natural selection itself in the developed nations leaves us open to the increase of hereditary defects, as SocioSibs pointed out. On top of that we’ve got to add the reality that modern “welfare” policies actually have a DYSgenic effect on our population. Those individuals who contribute LEAST to society—and in many cases are actively harmful to it, like those psychopaths—are being subsidized to breed FASTER than the more valuable contributing members of society. Psychopaths and other criminal types are a major problem in themselves, but it extends beyond that insofar as the least intelligent (and in general least capable) members of society are statistically breeding faster than others. If that’s permitted to continue indefinitely, at some time in the future the minority of capable and contributing citizens will be swamped by a mass of “marching morons” and other undesirables, and there will be no “civil society” left as we know it. That’s unless some other event intervenes, some of which are equally unthinkable.

Possibly one solution in the future could be genetic engineering, in which we actually modify the human genome to correct certain defects and deficiencies and produce better specimens of humanity. But I can’t say I relish the idea of interfering with Nature in that way either. The specter of a “Brave New World” is not necessarily an attractive one.

Hi Redwald, Donna, and others….

This is my first post here, but considering this topic of the “Dark Triad” is something I am intimately familiar with, I felt it appropriate to comment.

First of all, I have read the Jonason, Li, Webster, and Schmitt (2009) article. All of your instincts are correct, it is poor science. I personally know each of these researchers, and I have no beef with them and find them very pleasant to interact with. Moreover, they have each done phenomenal work in *other areas* of psychology. But their Dark Triad work is very poor. Moreover, they should have thought about this article more before sending it off in a hurry (it had many mistakes in it, among other issues).

What is true about the article is that members of the Dark Triad are each OK with casual sex. That has been documented since the 70’s and 80’s when the scales were each first developed. This finding is not surprising, and the same casual sex inclination exists among many personality types (e.g., borderline, social dominance, sadism, avoidant attachment, and the like).

However, the article claims that the traits are the same because they all correlate with casual sex inclination – which is utter nonsense. There is 15 years worth of data showing how these variables are different, but they ignore the entire body of literature.

The statistics are deplorable. Their “exploratory and confirmatory” factor analyses were both done on the same sample (never do that), second they enter three items into the same procedure…. By definition, one factor must emerge due to degrees of freedom issues. At any rate, everything they do (minus the simple correlations) is wrong.

But at the broader picture, I saw some debate about “r-K” theory of mating. What the originators of the theory such as Rushton and others will tell you in the “r-K” dimension is that it is only adaptive to be “r” selected in very limited situations: Ecological instability, unpredictable environments, etc. Most of the time r gets trumped by K because K is required to produce properly socialized offspring. Otherwise, why aren’t all men “r” selected?

We are very social creatures, and *grandchildren* – not children – is the mark of evolutionary success. So having a lot of sex is not inherently adaptive. It is mostly neutral. It depends on the *quality* of offspring that result and whether they have offspring themselves. So yes, getting 50 women pregnant is a step in the evolutionarily adaptive direction – but if all die from poor parenting or malnutrition, you wasted your time.

I have a tremendous amount of research coming out trying to set the record straight. However, I resent the fact peer reviewers and editors are not doing their job by shutting the door on this nonsense.

More importantly, however, is the message. “Bad boys get the girls” has resulted in “asshole training” that I’ve seen on the internet. Sales of “The Game” and “I hope they serve beer in hell” have gone up. I’m not saying because of this article (I doubt that many people have read it), but it is not a step in the right direction. Guys feel that they have to be jerks to women – and that is the virtue they strive for.

Psychopaths (according to my research, and that of others) are *not* picky about their mates. They will sleep with whomever has a pulse (maybe even some that don’t) and “yes” isn’t even required. I hardly feel that this is an enviable pattern of behavior. Moreover, it accounts for a good chunk of the findings. Remember, the finding was that psychopaths, narcissists, etc. report *more* sex partners. So, it isn’t the case that women *like* these guys, it is the case that they have higher numbers because they will sleep with whomever. A very important distinction.

So, in the end, I would lay this piece to rest as a shining example of how peer review is not infallible and we all need to read and understand articles before we cite them in our own research or conversations.

I’m pleased to see I’m not alone here.

Ox Drover

Dear Emopro_D3,

Welcome to Lovefraud and thanks for your great response to this article.

There is a lot of “bad science” out there….


Welcome Emopro,

You said:

‘Remember, the finding was that psychopaths, narcissists, etc. report *more* sex partners. So, it isn’t the case that women *like* these guys, it is the case that they have higher numbers because they will sleep with whomever. A very important distinction.’

And I posit that any information *reported* by a spath is empirically false.



It’s interesting you say that psychopaths are not picky about their mates. The word “picky” stood out at me because my former spath told me that he WAS very, very, very, very (yes, he used that many “verys”) picky about who he was with. HA!!! Now I can see that he only said that to manipulate me…to make me think that if he was extremely picky then I must be special because he chose ME!!! Yay, this blog has opened my eyes to yet another one of his cons.


spam above.

edit: make that, ‘spam no longer above’.

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