Archives for November 2009

Book Excerpt – WWLP2

Favorably Fortunate
Women are often ‘success-struck’ by the psychopath’s true or surface success. This blinds them to his psychopathy. There are millions of pathological personalities who destroy people’s lives—with or without breaking the law. These people unfortunately never go to prison, so their true criminal nature is never unmasked. They are outwardly successful, and can be seen in high-ranking CEO positions, politics, and prestigious positions in law, medicine, and the military. When trusting women expect psychopaths to be criminals, they don’t look for them in the pulpit, the penthouse corner office or on Capitol Hill.

Cleckley noted psychopaths seek out positions with power over others:
  • medical doctors
  • psychiatrists or other positions within other fields of psychology
  • religious leaders
  • political leaders
  • lawyers, etc.
Pathological power-mongrels seek any place they can have a client, a constituent, a patient, a congregation, or a following. Some career titles such as medicine, psychology, and theology imply empathy. This assumption allows conscience-less psychopaths to hide among truly empathetic professionals. Other popular careers psychopaths use to ‘cloak’ their lack of empathy include politics, law, and criminal justice. The psychopaths blend into human service fields so well they are often ‘missed’—even by their own colleagues.
However, all psychopaths are not successful. Ironically, the women in our survey met up with a slightly different career-type psychopath. I want the reading public to know, however, many psychopaths are very successful. The more successful they are, the better they blend in, and the harder it is for anyone to recognize or believe they are as pathological as the day is long.
Slick But Not Always Violent
Women don’t recognize the psychopath for what he is because they assume people with dangerous disorders are always violent. As many of our clients can attest, there are many ways to harm a loved one without actually beating or killing them. Though he never laid a hand on them, the psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, or emotional harm he did to them generated long-term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other disorders. Very often the victims describe this harm as bad as death.
Without physical violence in the relationship, many women miss other signs of pathology that could have clued them in. Women blame either the relationship dynamics or themselves, completely missing his psychopathy. She never saw him for what he really was until she was extremely damaged.
Swaggering Swindlers
A woman didn’t suspect his psychopathy because she never expected a man to wipe her out financially. She believes men are there to be mutually supportive including financially, so she didn’t look for a financial rip-off artist. Many psychopaths are con-men or swindlers that confiscate financial resources, help themselves to life savings, steal stock pensions and yet never get caught. One of the signs of pathology is the ‘parasitic’ lifestyle in which they live off others, even if they don’t need the money. This past year, the news has been filled with examples of psychopathic con-men, white collar snakes and swindlers. Almost 90% of the women coming out of relationships with psychopaths have gone from six figure incomes to financial destitution. Many can’t understand why he took their money and ran when he had the ability to earn his own or had his own money. Before you judge them, remember Bernie Madoff and his astounding financial salesmanship.

Professionals in the Helping Industries and Their Personal Pathological Relationships

Are you a doctor, nurse, therapist, social worker,female clergy, medical personnel, paramedic, teacher, psychiatrist, Certified Nursing Assistant, day care worker, guidance counselor, speech therapist, missionary, physical therapist, psychology grad student, art therapist, writer, artist, musician, work in parole or probation, or work with at-risk kids? Welcome aboard to the group of people MOST LIKELY to end up in a relationship with a pathological narcissist, sociopath or psychopath. Can your career be a risk factor for finding/staying with a narcissist or psychopath? Unfortunately, YES!

Look at that list again…all the ‘hearts of gold’ kind of people–the salt of the earth women–the ‘Mother Teresas’ of the world–AT RISK for attracting and staying with dangerous, dark, and pathological men. Seems unfair doesn’t it? Normally, narcissists and psychopaths don’t migrate to their own kind and in the rare occasions when they do, you end up with a sensationalized case of a new Bonnie & Clyde. Yet in most cases, they migrate to you!

During a recent media interview I said, “I think understanding this represents one of the largest breakthroughs in our understanding of dangerous intimate relationship dynamics. For so long we understood him but we didn’t really understand her. She was wrongly labeled codependent but codependency treatment didn’t help her. She was wrongly labeled a relationship or even sex addict and addiction treatment didn’t help her. She was wrongly labeled as mutually pathological and yet she was never diagnosed with her own personality disorder. Nothing fit and nothing explained her until we found the missing key…her ‘off-the-richtor-scale traits’ that put it all in perspective. Once we can understand her, we can help her.

What we do understand is that by the nature of your own tender and helpful personality traits you migrated to a career in which you could use your abundant traits of empathy, helpfulness, compassion, resourcefulness, cooperation, and tolerance. Where best do these great humanitarian traits get used? In helping professions like social work, ministry, nursing, other medical professions, psychology, teaching, child workers…all people with big hearts trying to give out of their own abundance of empathy and helpfulness. By virtue that you even ENDED up in one of these professions means you are probably more at-risk for these types of relationships than others. In almost ALL circumstances, the women from these relationships are either IN these types of professions or are trying to get in to them (they are in school or trying to move out of their job into a more giving field like these fields).

Many of the women who are in these types of professions ended up with the narcissist or psychopath during the course of their actual jobs. Nurses hooked up with patients, doctors married someone they met in the field, psychologists dated mentally ill men, missionaries dated someone from one of the street missions, prison workers hooked up with inmates, psych nurses dated psych patients. Every once in a while we got stories from very left-brained women like CPA’s but even then, she’s not usually a typical left-brainer. She’s still got a lot of the abundant humanitarian traits or she hates what she’s doing for a job and wants to leave and go into a care giving field.

This has HUGE implications for intervention…don’t you think? If by nature we know that women with SKY HIGH temperament traits of too much empathy, too much tolerance, too much cooperation end up in jobs in which empathy/tolerance/cooperation is the #1 skill, then we also know THESE are the women most likely to go on to empathize, tolerate and cooperate with severe pathology. Knowing that women in these professions are more likely to have the high risk personality traits means education can begin within these professions. Women need to know that sometimes even their career selection is indicative of what their relationship selection might be as well. I doubt any colleges are going to put in their Academic Handbooks “**Caution, This Profession May Be Hazardous to Your Relationship Health” !! Yet, it’s the beginning of how to think about ‘WHO’ needs this education BEFORE they end up in pathological love relationships.

Once we know ‘who’ this is, the next question is how best to reach these identified groups of women. Who BEST to reach out to their own field than the nurses, teachers, therapists, social workers, etc. who ARE the women who have been touched by these destructive relationships? Why? In the research, almost all the women indicated career and financial harm by the pathological. NO ONE gets out unscathed!

This is a career risk for women. Many women are demoted or lose their jobs because of their inability to concentrate or he sabotages her work situation. Others have lost their entire life savings putting them in financial ruin. Some have lost their licenses–an incredible amount of college work down the tubes. Doctors that are so fraught with PTSD have stepped down to nursing. Attorneys have stepped down to paralegals. Teachers down to teaching assistants. Professors work in book stores. This is why teaching YOUR industry about what these men can do to their productivity, their futures, and their careers is important.

My hope is that someone from every field we have identified as a potential source will become an educational voice in their industry. Are you an Alumni from somewhere? There’s your market…educate your own. Protect YOUR FIELD by peer education–by writing or speaking about these issues because you are NOT the only one in your field that this has happened to OR will happen to. Your field is an identified ‘at risk field’ that needs what you know!

Sandra on the Radio and on Video

Listen to Sandra’s radio and video interviews:

Other Mentions of Sandra on the radio:

Why SHE Hits: Domestic Violence by the Woman – An Evening with Sandra L. Brown