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Sex differences in antisocial behavior (part 2) intimate partner violence

Last week I introduced the Dunedin study a 30+ year look at the lives, behaviors and personalities of a group of New Zealanders born in 1972. We learned that a small percentage of males and females in the study population were responsible for a high percentage of the antisocial acts reported by the group. Next week, I will discuss the personalities and early histories of this group of people.

This week I want to tell you about the one exception to the observation that men were more antisocial than women. In the realm of intimate partner violence, women were as antisocial as men. Furthermore, a general tendency to be antisocial was found in both men and women who were violent toward their partners.

The results of the study support the contention that sociopathy leads to intimate partner violence.

At age 21 participants reported about partner violence over the past year (83%) or as part of their dating experience (8%). They were assessed by a structured interview that included questions about perpetration and victimization. The researchers also conducted identical interviews with partners of the study participants. They used the:
• Physical Abuse Scale- 13 items
— Physical twisted arm
— Pushed grabbed or shoved
— Slapped
— Physically forced sex
— Shake
— Throw
— Thrown object at
— Chocked or strangled
— Kicked, bit, hit with fist
— Hit with something
— Beat up
— Threaten with gun or knife
— Use of gun or knife

The study found that 8% of couples had clinical level of IPV. In the 30 cases that involved justice system, 80% of the abuse lead to injuries. Both male and female perpetrators were involved. Women with a history of conduct problems were more likely to become involved in a relationship with an abusive man; being involved with an abusive man contributed significantly to woman’s perpetration. However, even after controlling or partners’ physical abuse, women with a history of conduct problems were still likely to commit violence.

The researchers also found that these aspects of the antisocial propensity contributed to intimate partner aggression in both men and women:

— Approval of the use of violence
— Excessive jealousy and suspiciousness
— Intense and rapid negative emotions
— Poor self-control

They concluded, “Among men and women IPV perpetration is but another expression of an earlier-emerging antisocial propensity.”

There were other studies my class and I read that concluded men more frequently perpetrated domestic violence. The authors of these studies suggested that dominance motives on the part of men were important. My class and I then set about to search for other research regarding dominance motives and intimate partner violence. We found a paper that explains it all, Dominance and symmetry in partner violence by male and female university students in 32 nations by Murray A. Straus, Ph.D. of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire.

This paper addressed three questions:
1. Is partner violence primarily perpetrated by men, as compared to women, and as compared to both partners engaging in physical violence?
2. To what extent is dominance by the male partner associated with partner violence, as compared to dominance by the female partner?
3. In short is the risk factor male dominance or dominance by one partner, regardless of whether it is the male female partner?

Their first finding was that female university students around the world more frequently perpetrated partner violence, the gender gap was about 30%. They then set out to examine whether male or female dominance in the relationship was related to IPV.

Dominance by the partner who completed the survey was measured by the Dominance scale of the Personal and Relationships Profile. Examples of the items are “I generally have the final say when my partner and I disagree” and “My partner needs to remember that I am in charge.” The response categories are 1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree, and 4 = Strongly Agree. The scale score is the mean of nine items.

The nation with the highest score for Dominance by male partners was Tanzania, which is also the least modernized of the 32 nations in this study. The four national settings which are the next most male dominant are Russia, Iran, Taiwan and mainland China. The national setting in which male students have the lowest average dominance score is Sweden, which is a nation that has led the way in steps to promote gender equality. The other four of the five least male dominant national settings are Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, and Malta.

In relationships where only men were violent. Male dominance increased the odds of violence by 2.29. Each increase of one point on the four point Dominance scale increased the probability of violence by male students 2.29 times. Interestingly, of the other four variables in the Male-Only panel, only one—length of the relationship—is significantly related to Male-Only violence.

In relationships where only women were violent, male dominance increased the risk of Female-only violence by 1.96 times. Again for each one point increase in the male dominance scale Female —Only violence increased 1.96 times. The only other significant relationship in the Female-Only panel shows that the longer the relationship the higher the odds of Female-Only violence.

What about male dominance and bidirectional violence (relationships where both partners are violent)? First, dominance by the male partner is associated with a three-fold increase in the probability of both partners being violent. This is larger than the increase in the probability of Male-Only or Female-Only violence. That is, dominance by a male partner is more strongly associated with bidirectional violence than with Male-Only violence.

Now comes the most interesting part”¦ dominance by women. This is for all you great guys out there who know that women are not always sweet, lovely, submissive creatures. Female dominance was actually common in relationships around the world!

Overall, the Dominance scale scores are higher for women than for men in 24 of the 32 nations, and in all 12 of the nations with the lowest scores for male dominance. Although the differences are small, they are not consistent with the large body of evidence showing greater male power in intimate relationships in most societies. But keep in mind the subjects of this study were university men and women.

Female dominance as reported by women is associated with about a two and half times greater probability of the Male-Only pattern of IPV. The probability of Male-Only violence increases by 3% for each additional month the relationship has been in effect.

Female dominance is much more strongly linked to Female-Only violence than was shown for the relation of male dominance to Female-Only violence. That is, when there is dominance by either partner, it increases the odds of Female-Only violence, but the increase is much greater for female dominance.

Female dominance also increased bi-directional violence, but the effect of female dominance on the odds of bidirectional violence tends to be greater than the effect of male dominance. Age is related to a decrease in the odds of bidirectional violence, and the longer the relationship the greater the odds of bidirectional violence.

I think the research in IPV gives us very important messages about love and life. First sociopaths who are obsessed with power and dominance are not good relationship partners. Secondly, although the human dominance drive is there to energize us to compete and better ourselves, this drive if out of balance, can be very destructive.

What say you?


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76 Comments on "Sex differences in antisocial behavior (part 2) intimate partner violence"

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Dr Leedom if you do not already have this I hope this will help you with your look at IPV and with female violence aspect:

REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 247 scholarly investigations: 188 empirical studies and 59 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 240,200.

Where’s a good mathematician when we need one?

Here’s a start to an IPV formula:

IPV potential = nature + nuture + culture

…where any one variable ’maxed out’ would put IPV over the threshold.
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Student Of Sociopathy

IMO, Borderline Personality Disorder is the “feeling” counterpart to psychopathy (or, a more ’feeling’ flavored version). All the insanity of control freakishness is there, and impulsivity which overpowers intelligence and insight, but with the additional component of higher reward dependence or agreeableness. This might account for the female IPV’s.
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Student Of Sociopathy

I am curious as to how this relates to more “covert” violence, such as crying “abuse” when none exists as a way to involve the legal system to abuse the (non)perpetrator.

This is a fascinating revision of our usual assumptions. Thank you.

Well I am going to be very interested to read the book about the Dunedin study , however, at the moment I am a little sceptical . Given that any psychopaths in the study are probably going to lie and that any psychopath victims in the study are probably going to be so confused that they will not know whats real and whats not . I have been doing my own study of psychopaths for about 10 months , since I broke up from my female psychopathic X . I am a male and 53 years of age . Firstly let me say that I have never hit a woman in my life and probably never will . However it now would not surprise me if a fairly high percentage of the violence against women is in fact violence against psychopathic women by relatively normal men . Don’t get me wrong here , I am not justifying violence against women or any human for that matter , what I am saying is that if a psychopathic woman plays her nasty little games well enough and the victimized male does not really understand what is going on , at some point the man is quite likely to lash out physically in an effort to defend himself against a seemingly unrealised and unknown psychological force that seems to be destroying him . I felt the anger myself which surprised me , as I am normally a fairly laid back easy going kind of person . It was not untill I had read a few books about psychopaths that the pieces to the puzzle began to fit together . A year ago I did not have a clue about what I was dealing with in the woman that I dated for a year and then lived with for 6 months . The web of lies and distorted truths was so thick that…… , well it did not make sense to me that a person could lie that much , so for the longest time I believed it all . Sounds crazy , right . Well eventually it makes you crazy . Luckily for me it only took me a year and a half to figure it out . I know one guy who spent 23 years with a woman who sounds like she is a psychopath . I have never met her but upon me telling him my story and after reading some of the books I have read he realised that indeed he had been living with a psychopath all that time . What do psychopathic women do to there partners . If a man falls head over heals in love with a psychopathic woman ,I would have to say that he is going to be in a hell of state by the time she is done with him . Believe me I know , been there done that . Its as if your soul has been sucked out of you and for the longest time you don’t know how to get it back . Some people I am sure never find themselves again ,because for the most part they do not know or realise what they have just been through . The female psychopath is something to be reconded with and never to be underestimated . They seem to have mental abilities that amaze me . Once you have been in a relationship with a female psychopath you learn to listen very carefully to what people say and how they say it . Their conversations are crafted to confuse and seduce their victim or potential victims . Those same conversations will eventually turn into a mentally destructive weapon that can cause one of two things. Totall shut down of the interlectual processes or else a potentially explosive anger that could turn violent . Thats what I say .

Quest – Wow, you have described the male version as well. Whether female or male – the same agenda – same routine – same aftershock.

You sound well versed in being able to spot them or at least the ever so important and lifesaving red flags!

Same subject, different/additional theory that will forever intrigue me..This is what jumped out of your post the most for me:

“Some people I am sure never find themselves again ,because for the most part they do not know or realise what they have just been through.. can cause one of two things…Totall shut down of the intelectual processes or else a potentially explosive anger that could turn violent”

Since this is true and often the case for ADULT victims after their involvement with and S/P/N etc… I cant help but take further, on a deeper level….Imagine the effects left on an innocent child who has to grow up with one of these people in his life – esp. the after affects once that little boy or girl enters the real world – (and perhaps some children can adapt, get help, work on themselves as a adults – but look how hard it is for us – grown adults to be able to walk away in tact — I cant help but correlate that they too as a child had their own “total shut down of the intelectual process or their explosive anger,etc. etc. stemming from long term dysfunctional association w/an S/P as a CHILD.

This is no way excuses their behavior or their choices they make – it just lends a different perspective on a percentage of the S/P’s out there as it relates to their cause and effect and their unusual mental abilities.

Glad you GOT OUT, and FIGURED OUT what you were dealing with. Thanks for sharing!

I am curious as to how this relates to more “covert” violence, such as crying “abuse” when none exists as a way to involve the legal system to abuse the (non)perpetrator.

it now would not surprise me if a fairly high percentage of the violence against women is in fact violence against psychopathic women by relatively normal men.

I’ve seen sociopaths, borderlines and others with ’over-exercised defense mechanisms’ do this. They’ll push all the “Please Do Not Push” buttons repeatedly until they get their desired “ABUSE!” result. All of my ’successful sociopaths’ were very good at this. They’d take their victim to the edge with little cuts inflicted covertly, then try to get them to ’lose it’ in public view, to ’prove’ their victims ’insanity’.

I lived with a borderline type once, who’d been abused by a mean drunk as a child. She’d work herself into a frenzied state for reasons as trivial as my forgetting to call, and would punish me with ridiculous amounts of verbal abuse. Some people sulk when neglected, but she would start a nuclear war. I’d retreat to a locked room, and she’d pound on the door screaming obscenities and insults until she calmed down, which could take hours. She was incapable of understanding the much simpler: “When you don’t call me in the morning I become very upset.” After a couple years of this I left her, yet she still didn’t gain the insight into why and persuaded anybody who would listen that I had always been the crazy and abusive one.

I think this should also be seen as an entirely separate category within the ’abused in childhood, will find abuse as adults’ group. (People who show up here at LF are at the ’intelligent, rational and feeling’ end of the temperament spectrum, otherwise they wouldn’t be showing up here.)

I’m using too many words to say the same thing that Rune and quest said, not to mention getting off topic. But I’m seeing a spectrum of “generational abuse”:

1. Overt abusers who only see relationships in a dominant/submissive context.
2. Covert abusers who only believe that relationships can work in a dominant/submissive context.
3. Innocent victims who get into situations which they are used to, but don’t fully understand, possibly unconsciously seeing relationships in a dominant/submissive context.

1 thru 3 being mostly dependant on temperament.

SOS… I was very sensitive to point out

“Same subject, different/additional theory that will forever intrigue me — regarding SOCIOPATHS … it is very much seen an an entirely separte category. What struck me was the way adults have to deal with, recover, survive after involvement with Sociopaths — I cant help but go deeper and wonder how a child deals with, recovers or survives as a child being exposed longterm to an S – without any support, and perhaps carries on into his adult life as people who never find themselves again ,because for the most part they do not know or realise what they have just been through causing total shut down of the intelectual processes or else a potentially explosive anger that could turn violent”

Yes, it was off subject as it relates to an Adults experience with an S. But an adults reaction to an S and futher difficulty recovering from an S- led me to think about a certain percentage of innocent children getting the brunt of an S and not being able to ever find themselves again or retaining dysfunctional ways, up to and including Anger in their adult years.

Back on subject you said “some people sulk when neglected”, some people get angry, some a nuclear war, some people avoid dealing with it, some address it on the spot very consicely …but being neglected is the trigger. I.e. After an arguement, and someone intentionally doesnt call you, or intentionally neglects you. Then it becomes a different scenario in terms of “the way someone responds” — If it is a misconceived “neglect” – in her head- and she reacts off the wall thats a different story. But part of my thoughts are when couples know eachothers background ( abused by a drunk, abandoned, mental illness) and what triggers them – both can either learn to work through triggers and communicate – or get out of the relationship if the person with the illness is not taking steps ie. medication, therapy..to improve their part in the relationship. Again this relates to personality disorders, ie. Borderline types, THIS DOES NOT HOLD TRUE FOR SOCIOPATHIC relationships. There is no postive outcome, communicating, or triggers for them. Its who they are.

I cant help but go deeper and wonder how a child deals with, recovers or survives as a child being exposed longterm to an S – without any support

Matt here at LF (with N mother and S father and brother), seems to be doing impressively well. Some would have crumbled, others become cynical or manipulative… But outside of the trauma and PTSD issues typically resulting from S exposure, Matt seems normal. The difference could be a wise and caring mentor, intelligence and temperament, or other things.

In my own family, I had a cold sub-narcissistic father but sweet and naïve mother, yet I perceive that I am doing no better than Matt. I had to suffer through a variety of subsequent S encounters, related in part, to my own unresolved dominant/submissive issues stemming from childhood. But my sister, one year younger, is doing extremely well psychologically. The question is: Why?
——

But part of my thoughts are when couples know each others background ( abused by a drunk, abandoned, mental illness) and what triggers them – both can either learn to work through triggers and communicate – or get out of the relationship if the person with the illness is not taking steps ie. medication, therapy..to improve their part in the relationship.

It takes insight and integrity on the part of both partners. She had neither. She would forget to call me much more often than I ever forgot to call her (as I preferred to avoid punishment), and then act like it was no big deal. It was perfectly okay for her to break those same rules. The phone calling thing is just one small example. I tagged her as BPD because while she could be a control freak, she also seemed to value friends and family on an emotional level.

Until proven otherwise, I say Borderline Personality Disorder is related to sociopathy but with a reward dependence component. But that may be enough of a ’hook’ for an expert to be able to help or even cure BPD’s in adulthood. They are not incorrigible. But that girl was way too tough for me.

SOS – Yes there are so many who – SO MANY – who, as adults are able to go on leading productive successful lives after a traumatic /dysfunctional childhood with ptsd and relationship issues as adults. And I agree one question IS : WHY do some go on to thrive and why not others? But also my intrigue/curiosity is what is the percentage of children who had a different coping mechanism, temperament, experience…that went on from childhood to become an S as an adult…

As far as personality disorders that arent 100% Socipathic – it seems to me its comes down to an individual choice to work on ones “self” as an individual – no matter what you are labeled or diagnosed or not diagnosed with. And to find partners that have the same insight and integrity or wish to develop more insight and integrity about themself and their partner (as well as with all of the relationships they choose to have in their life – from family to friends to business to romantic.

Sociopaths may never do that . And other personality disordered people may always point fingers elsewhere never toward themself. Goal is to associate myself with people who make the choice to be responsible adults and self-aware as well as desire to share compatibility with others. And so much is based on temperament, and the ability to manage our own and know our boundaries with not only accepting/allowing others in our lives – but knowing when we must stop and change direction with some – because they are bad for us to be associated with because of the choices – or lack there of they make – and ways they live their lives.

My mother was a psychopath and my upbringing was not pleasant to say the least. Yet I do not have PTSD or other issues related to that.

WHY do some go on to thrive and why not others?

There is no one single answer to that question. However here is one answer that applies to some. How we view events or perception. What I mean by that is this. Two people have the exact same traumatic event. One falls to pieces and one does not. Why? The one that fell to pieces told themselves, along with others telling them, this is so awful, the worst thing ever, be scarred for life, basically overblown catastrophizing and once the person believes it it really is/becomes that bad. The other person views it in a different way and so does not suffer as much or as long.

A few lines from the Manual for Living by Epictetus (who was Nero’s administrative secretaries slave):

When something happens , the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it.

What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.

Things and people are not what we wish them to be or what they seem to be. They are what they are.

Things themselves don’t hurt or hinder us. Nor do other people. How we view these things is another matter. It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble.

We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how to respond to them.

BloggerT –

Something else I thought of… when we (my sister and myself) were with my mom first several years of our lives and then later during court ordered visitations out of state, my sister would often be on the receiving end of my moms “issues” – often favoring me, or allowing me to be much further removed (so to speak) from her most odd/dysfunctional behaviors. From insisting my sister swallow pills to “calm her down” to cutting her hair off to severe punishments, etc. So while I can see we were in the same house together, same parents, under same roof – – I cannot say that we shared the exact same experiences.

I think its blessing and gift that you have no PTSD or related issues with regard to your unpleasant childhood experience with an S parent. CHERISH THAT 🙂

And the book sounds very interesting… but do the exerpts from the book relate more to when actually involved in an abusive dysfunctional relationship ?? or more relating to the aftermath and healing, moving on.

but I would add when something happens, there is also the power to deny it or block it out as well as accept or resent it!

learnedthelesson:

I had a similar upbringing to yours — wildly disparate treatment by my parents among their children. When my siblings talk, it is clear that we all experienced things very differently.

I’ve often wondered how the hell I got where I am. I think on some level I had an amazing ability to compartmentalize. While I think my whole life is a failure, I also know that professionally I have been successful — it’s my personal life that has been a thunderous disaster.

BloggerT7165,
These things are true. At the end of the day, it’s the truth that one always needs, regardless of how painful one may perceive that truth to be. But these tips from Epictetus are easier said by some, easier done by others. And the correct knowledge and wisdom for each situation is so important, yet can be hard to come by at the moment they’re needed. If I could go back in time to most any situation, including dealing with those S’s, things would be different.

My sister was always a tough minded bonehead. She’d observe me being shooed away by my father, watching me go away to figure out a solution for myself. She had much lesser creative abilities but a much higher tolerance for conflict. So she would persist demandingly, sometimes with threats that she’d tell his parents or others if he didn’t teach her how to ride a bicycle, etc… So she learned some skills about getting what she wanted. Being highly competitive she didn’t tell me her secret until many years later, as I’d been too self-absorbed to figure out this simple thing for myself.

And I was supposed to be the smarter one.

SOS if mI could go back in time I still would change nothing in my life that happened to me. The good, the bad, all of it because I am who I am, what I am and where I am today because of all of it.

And you are right in that for some it is easier to do. I had a class do a tiny experiment to demonstrate change and how it is different for everyone. It had to do with shoes and how we tie them. Most people can tie their shoes without even looking at them and without conscious thought. So the experiment was for them to tie them reverse (right over left instead left over right etc)of how they do now until they could do it as easily as they do now. Now this was a minor change that was totally uinimportant. Some got it quickly with little distress but some had a lot of distress, frustration and anxiety and often slipped back to the previous behavior (meaning tied it the old way) and a few just gave up. Most of them viewed “change” in a somewhat different light after that.

Learn,

They apply to life across the board. A doctor friend of mine once said that we all are going to experience pain in our lives and there is nothing we can do about that. How much we suffer is something we can control though. And in most cases I find he is right.

The one thing that bugged my wife the most about me (well according to her anyway) was that things seemed to roll off me so easily. It took me about 10 years until she finally understood that part of me. If a dog bites me I do not get mad at the dog. It is the dog’s fault and I may take corrective measures but the dog was just being what it is. Things are what they are. This helped me to obtain very little stress and what little there is is usually short term along with the good stress.

Blogger – I now believe how much I suffer is something I can control. Its a choice and a mindset. As well as a choice to remove myself from circumstances that are not healthy or lending toward my own personal growth and learning.

Learning to be more rational vs emotional too, will benefit me. But I like the gift of having being an emotional being as well 🙂 But its all about balance. A little bit of this and a little bit of that…. And situational – but I agree across the board how much we suffer is omething we can control – unless at the hands of some very sick disordered souls or we ourselves have checked-out of self…

BloggerT7165,

Thanks for giving me a nervous breakdown. lol It took me THREE tries just to tie the shoe lace period for time #1–and that was with going back and REVIEWING the old way and applying it to the new way. (ok, I’m laughing like crazy at this and moving on to the back of the class!) 😉

Matt – I never knew how much of ME, deep down inside was not complete. I blocked out so much as a kid and young adult, I just “existed” at home as a kid and got up went to school and thrived/excelled – came home – and I know I ate dinner, showered there,etc. and functioned, but there are some huge blanks for me, memory loses that my sister and father are amazed and stunned by my inability to recollect my childhood, including the good people around me in my childhood and helping to raise me. But in the outside world – I rose to the occassion and became very successful professionally. The outlet probably saved my life – or at least allowed me to find some semblance of being able to refer to myself as a functioning adult.

And i had my first PTSD episode (went through about 8 months of hell) in my early thirties…out of the blue…my 1st of what now is 2 bouts of depression. First time was mixed with panic attacks/anxiety…did brief therapy…and got through it. But never had I ever experienced the roller coaster/chaotic ride Ive been on the past several years – I HELD ON – DRAGGED ON – IN A DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP – Cant figure it out for the life of me, except that you dont start to heal until you absolutely hit rock bottom. I hit it. And I hit it hard.

NEVER AGAIN. I WANT TO CHANGE MY FLAWS AND I WANT TO BE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT WHOS CONFIDENT IN MY CHOICES BECAUSE I LOVE MYSELF, RESPECT, TRUST, HONOR MYSELF – I THINK IT WILL ACTUALLY BE FUN TO SEE WHAT I CAN DO FOR ME AND MY OWN HAPPINESS. IF ANYONE WANTS TO JOIN ME DOWN THE ROAD HE WILL HAVE TO EARN MY TRUST, RESPECT, LOVE, FRIENDSHIP – CUZ I WILL NEVER GIVE IT AWAY AGAIN. I KNOW THE RED FLAGS – I SWEAR I CAN SMELL THEM NOW!!!!!!

YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!! WE ALL CAN

well I just got in from work and have been pondering off and on all day so here goes. For myself I have always been attracted to psychopathic women , not realising that that was indeed what I was attracted to . The other bizarre side to this is that psychopathic women seem to be attracted to me . They can pick me out in a crowded room just as I can pick them out in the same room . Of course now that I realise what a psychopath is I avoid them like the plague , unless of course I’m not 100% sure , in which case I will investigate with a conversation . Usually if there is any doubt in my mind it will sort out within half an hour of talking . How do I know you may ask . Well thats a question I am still working on . Psychopaths have a way of talking that is not quite the same as when normal people talk. The silly thing is I know it when I hear it but have not figured out a way to describe it that would make any sense . This ability to spot them has not stopped them from being attracked to me initially but it does not usually take them long to realise that I know what they are and that usually scares them or at least puts them on guard . They may not realise that they are a psychopath but they sure as hell know that they are not quite the same as the rest of us .Then its as if they get curious and wonder who is this that I can’t fool or can I . A psychopath cannot resist a challenge . There was a time a few months ago when I would test myself against them on an intellectual level but I discovered that I was not strong enough yet to keep a clever psychopath out of my head . I have tried to figure out what a psychopath does to a normal persons brain . Of course that takes a fair bit of concentration . First you have to listen very carefully to the psychopath and at the same time watch your own thought processes to figure out whats going on . Well the one thing I noticed was that as the conversation progressed I was slowly being shut down but could not get a grip of how it was being done . Well, then one day , I had a eureka moment . I was on the phone at work one day talking to a customer , who incidently was probably not a psychopth , but he did have an accent that indicated that his first language was not english . Anyway what happened was he was telling me his email address . The conversation went something like this . “T like tom , B like bob , A like alpha , O like umbrella “. As soon as he said O like umbrella that was it . My mind shut down and I did not hear what he said after that . As weird as it may sound , at the same time , I was aware enough to be aware of my mind shutting down . What had happened . He had said something that did not make sense and for a few seconds my mind got stuck . My mind got befuddled trying to figure out” O like umbrella”. In this case the shut down only lasted a couple of seconds and we did get to figure out that umbrella was not spelt ombrella . Anyway , moving on , I realised that psychopaths try to befuddle their victims minds and now I had become aware of a mechanism in my head that would allow a smart one to do it . I had learned during my relationship with my P/X that if we were having a conversation I had to listen very carefully or I was going to loose track . Many times we could start off a pleasant conversation that would turn into an argument and by the time we were done I could not even remember why we were arguing for in the first place . The logical part of my brain was being attacked and I did not even know it . Crazy stuff I must say . As time went on I basically gave up argueing which basically ment that I was shutting down . Of course it did not stop her . I am sure she was able to monitor the shut down process as time went along . If I showed any sign of waking up from the trance she would take me to a deeper level . This continued to the point where something inside me said THATS IT I’m out of here . At that time I did not realise what was going on but my instincts were telling me to get out or else be destroyed. I seem to remember some greek legend about men who turned to stone when looking into the eyes of a woman who had snakes instead of hair on her head. Was this symbolism for psychopath .

Jen – You are welcome 🙂 I did this little experiment because a few of the intern students were being overly critical almost bordering on blaming the victim when we began talking about the process of change. I wanted to make it clear that it is easy to sit on this side of the desk but it is a whole different thing to actually have to do what your asking them to do. A few thought that if “they really wanted to change they would and without taking so long or backsliding.” After this little experiment most of them understood much better. None of them did it without “backsliding” at least once 🙂

Well, back to the shoe lace experiment. It fascinates me because once I tied my shoe successfully that first time after the difficulty noted above, I went off for awhile and did something else. Then I decided to try it again and see how I did. I sat down and tied it in reverse just fine the first time I tried, and the second, and the third–no hesitation whatsoever.

BUT the interesting thing to me (about me) is that reaction to trying the experiment the first time was to FREEZE up mentally–like my mind went sort of blank and I couldn’t figure out how to tie in reverse period, until I went back and checked the old way and applied it by thinking it thru to the new way, while still feeling in a panic.

But then when I am relaxed about it and realize I did it successfully (finally) last time I tried, I can come back later and do it right the first time right off the bat. and keep doing it fairly quickly over and over and over again and get comfortable with it.

So, now I’m wondering does this mean that I initially strongly resist change and doing things differently, but then once I accept the change, I go with it fairly easily.

Or maybe it just means I have a learning disability in reversing the order of tying shoelaces. lol (ok, I really need to get a life here!)

Quest – MEDUSA!!! LOL

I think you should “study” healthy women and agree that Psychopathic women are what they are – because thats what they are – DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH AND SANITY!

Excellent description of what they do to our minds, midsentence, before we know it – has either just turned the whole conversation around, or sidestepped the issue or worse convinced me that somethings wrong with me!! Meanwhile my mind is still trying to play catchup mid conversation as to WTF just took place in the conversation. Other than, Im always wrong and they are always right – and perfect too, so perfect in their own heads!!

Maybe find out what it is about you that attracts you to them… and frame a picture of Medusa in your house – think she is suppose to ward off evil – not necessarily Psychopaths – but maybe!!! 🙂

quest: Is sure sounds like you can spot a P! I’m not that good. I did read the book Women Who Love Psychopaths (I’m sure the book is good for men too) and I understand that I attract them, but I don’t know if I could spot one, they are sneaky.

shabbychic2 they are certainly sneaky .For me women psychopaths are easier to see than men , although I must say I am getting better at that too . One book that I found usefull was one called “the psychopath hand book”. Its a little hard to get going but once you get going on it , its worth it in the end . Its a little text booky if you get my drift .

learnthelesson . I all ready know what it is in me that attracks me to them , Its what attracks them to me thats got me a little confused . What do they see in me . Is it as simple as them seeing that i am interested in them and therefore perhaps an easy mark . Even now I still find them fascinating but not in the way I used to . Now I keep asking myself “WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY” . Is there something to be learned from these monsters other than the fact that they are monsters . I guess I learned more about myself in the last 10 months than I did in the last 10 to 20 years . Now thats a head bender all by its self .

quest:

The “O like umbrella” comment has had wondering. I know that it is very common with dyslexics to use substitute certain incorrect words for other words (i.e. “detergent” instead of deterrent”).

The wierd thing is, there were certain incorrect words my ex-S would use consistently (i.e. “X is a GRAY lady” instead of “X is a GREAT lady.”). To the best of my knowledge he wasn’t dyslexic.

Anybody else notice this?

So after all this psychopath stuff that we have been going through and given that 1 person in 25 is probably a psychopath it would seem to me that almost everybody on the planet is probably being influenced to some degree by a psychopath . When you cosider all the personality traits that make up the psychopath on the check list and how most of us have some of them to some degree , which incidently we may have picked up from a psychopath it then begs the question . “What is it , to be human ” . Any takers on that one.

Quest – A little bit of everything in a healthy balanced way. Any body successful with accomplishing that yet – or does that finally happen when we are alone in our rocking chairs!!!! 🙂

Matt , Actually come to think of it I knew a guy , years ago ,who I would now consider to be a psychopath who did just that . He would distort words by pronouncing them phonetically . I can’t think of an example at the moment but he used to use the same words over and over again . My X was a cliche queen and she use to use little catch phrases all the time in conversations . eg “Oh is that right” , was one of them . She also had a wit that was sometimes really hilarious . I remember being in a bar one time with a bunch of people and the conversation was about browny points earned by one guy because he had done something nice for his wife . My X interrupted with ” Browny points , what do you mean browny points , don’t you mean pussy points , we don’t need any of that half baked browny crap around here .

Quest – One of my biggest “beefs” along the healing path was coming to the realization and having to admit that the S had some “good qualities or skills” that I was lacking and vice-versa.

Initally I resented the fact that I had to actually learn a few things from him,some of his ways, his ability to set boundaries, express anger at appropriate times, and accept that a certain amount of selfishness is healthy –

learnthelesson. Well I hope to figure out something before I hit that rocking chair or else whats the point of being here . With all those gorgons around its a wonder we made it out of the dark ages , not to mention the caves .

learnthelesson . I think you have to be very carefull with that one . Psychopaths are very good mimics , so what appeared to be a good quality could have been just for show . I think it is more important to be your natural self and accept that nobody is perfect ,instead of pretending to be something that you are not. An unnatural pretensious response to anything is a flawed response in my opinion

Quest – point of being here – so far Ive come up with –being the best we can be -enjoying what we have in our life – helping others – preparing us for the next journey…. btw what attracts you to them.

I had one fatal attraction…so I cant say Im attracted to them or even know what attracted me – but it was INSTANT when introduced – not necessarily physical altho he was extremely attractive — but initially I was attracted to and interested in wanting to get to know him as a friend…I WANTED to get to know him.

That has subsequently turned out to be a red flag in the chemistry department tho!

Quest – No, I didnt mean qualities that I want to mirror or pretend… but qualities that I wanted to learn, benefit from in my own personal self-growth. I was was tooo selfless to the point of unhealthy with other people, and I had zero boundaries in place – that I needed to learn so as not to become targeted and or a victim again…and I tended to suppress anger – but I agree with you an unnatural pretensious response to anything is a flawed response! There were some life skills, qualities I truly needed to learn! I learned a few healthy ones from him – hate to admit it == truly!! But nonetheless I did.

initally they seem to be more woman than your average woman . They are usually beautifull which doesn’t help , they seem to be fairly inteligent , witty , loving , uninhibited sexually . Seems like the perfect woman at first . Later on on you wonder if they are even human

check. check.check. check check check. check. check. you just nailed him to to a tee!!!! They are just humans who make bad life choices, consistently without fail – for a lifetime.

Bad life choices would be putting it mildly . We are talking human predators , kind of like a dragon in the chicken coup

hey learnthelesson it looks like we have our own personal chat line here . Did everyone else go to sleep or what . I’m on pacific time how about you.

Quest – Its 11pm for me! LOL Its seems to be just us on this thread…but if you go back to blog page on the left there are different threads running usually well into middle of night. Took me a few days when I first got here to figure out the LF Map! Lots of jumping around from thread to thread to keep up with bloggers. But the left side of the main blog page shows the most recent posts.

Quest – you made a typo – called US talking human predators instead of them! I really think in the end they are humans who make really bad choices in life- including preying on others and breathing fire by the end!!

But why , what is their dam problem really . Despite all the character traits that add up to psychopath I can usually detect a weird kind of evil , which is something I can see right from the start when I run into one . It took me a while to realise what I was seeing and I had too test my intuition a few times before I realised or believed in that intuition . Of course I am not infalable as there has been a couple of times when I could not see a really smart psychopath until I had met them more than once . In fact one woman had me totally fooled until I seen her with her favourite victim .

If I knew the answer Id be writing a book so fast!! I couldnt have detected a weird kind of evil upon hello unless something in the conversation revealed it — or the eyes revealed trouble… For me it was more when the masked dropped that my intuition screamed “Get away, yet I stayed” …live and learn… But trusting your intuition is also another very good thing to do – and walk away or run depending where you are! lol Also really just accepting they are what they are and they do what they do – because thats what they are/thats what they do. There really is no mystery behind it in that sense. And of course, the red flags are there for a reason.. Stop and change direction. Listen to your gut. Cant play their game, and so i say why bother – its lose/lose anyway..

learn you have written that book – I read it every nite – i love your wisdome, insight and humor

i think we all get it intellectually – but we are still emotional beings and maybe we all have came to a point in our lives when our emotions need time to catch up with our brains – the heart is not as smart as our brains

one last question . Do psychopaths have any physical defects that would give them away . Now you may wonder where the hell I am coming from with this . Well , all the psychopathic women that I am aware of have been good looking and have looked way younger than there age . I can think of about 12 that I know . 3 of these women had rather unusal feet . The rest of them I did not get to see there feet or if I did it did not dawn on me that there was a pattern . My X’s feet were a bit defective in that the toes were not alined with the foot , in fact they veered quite badly out wards . At the time I did not really think anything of it untill just recently when I met another psychopathic woman that I was attracked to and she had the same kind of defect in her feet . When I saw the feet it actually startled me as at the time all the alarm bells were going of as far as her being a psychopath and then I saw the feet . Well then I got to thinking and then I remembered another problem woman that I had had a relationship with about 15 years ago and she to had the same feet . Well I can’t wait till summer cause I will be on a foot mission

Quest – Just checked my sons blood sugar level and about to get a few hours sleep, and had to log back on when i read this (eyes barely opened..but I think I read it right!) And I looked down at my toes and looked up at heaven and said THANK YOU LORD!!! My feet are often complimented, mostly for my choice of nailpolish color lol – but they are in alignment and no bunyons to write home about (IM LAUGHING WITH YOU.. ON THIS ONE)… I havent ever dated a woman or noticed unusual feet with my friends– so the guys are going to have to chime in hear on this one! But my guy did have a third nipple (although I googled it and it is rather common amongst men and women…but at one point I thought it meant extra hormones that might have messed him up)… In closing I am in no way laughing at your post, but got a much needed chuckle when i quickly looked down at my feet! Thanks… and sorry I was of absolutely no help to you question! Take care

Matt: Regarding your post about using incorrect words… my ex (who I think is an N, there is something wrong with him, not the same one I have been blogging about but the one that drove me to this site originally) anyway, to get to the point, LOL, he would pronounce the word mirror as “mare” and picture as “pitcher” and it would bug the crap out of me, and after several years of not saying anything I started correcting him everytime he said it, but he never changed, which I didn’t understand the why of that either!

well your answer made me laugh so that was a good thing and i am glad you have normal feet and the nail polish , ….well what ever . Lets see if anyone responds in the morning . Sweet dreams and it was nice communicating with you . cheers

I live in the South (USA) and I hear those mispronunication and word screw up’s all the time from most of the people I come in contact with. I think some of it is cultural, or we grow up hearing words pronounced incorrectly and just fall into the habit.

On the subject of feet, oh dear, I have some seriously ugly feet of my own. With women that wear heels alot, I think the feet can end up being affected in some unpleasant ways. Don’t look at my feet this summer, please. Well, you can if you want to, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂

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