Archives for July 2013

About Face:Changing the Direction from Which You Seek Happiness

There are times when “internal reflecting” becomes necessary and we are guided to dig in, evaluate, and give thanks. It is a time to ponder ideas and gather insights that might have eluded us during the busyness of everyday life, and slow down to look inward and receive the Light we may not receive at other times during the year. I hope this week’s newsletter is a little piece of Light that you are open to receive.

Several Christmas’ ago, I received a book written by one of my favorite spiritual writers, Thomas Keating. It’s called The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation. Profoundly, he reminds us that we spend much of our lives looking for happiness through avenues that can never produce it. We create our misery by “looking for love in all the wrong places,” as the song goes.  Nothing can be truer when it comes to pathology. Pathology is wired to produce misery, not happiness. Everyone has the same response to pathology—they are harmed, miserable, and eventually try to flee. It’s a true indicator of seeking happiness from a source unable to deliver it.

Your idea of happiness was probably initially developed around the relationship, or the fantasy that was painted for you about him, the relationship, or your future. Instead of understanding that happiness had been sought from someone, whom by the nature of their disorder could never deliver happiness, you were held captive in the compulsion of repeating the same scenario with him. You tried to find happiness in the very person who is hard-wired to NOT produce happiness!

Not all of this seeking happiness in the wrong place is the result of his pathology. Some of it is the result of our own unknowing about where happiness is found. It is not found in someone else. Instead, happiness is found inside of our self, rooted in our own spirituality through God. It isn’t about them. It is about us.

Keating says, “What we experience is our desperate search for happiness where it cannot possibly be found.” The key to our happiness is not lost outside of our self. It was lost inside our self when we began looking for it in someone else. We need to look for it were it can actually BE found.

The chief characteristic of the human condition is that everyone is looking for this key, and nobody knows where to find it. The human condition is thus poignant in the extreme. If you want help as you look for the key in the wrong place, you can get plenty of help because everybody is looking for it in the wrong place too! They are looking for it where there is more pleasure, security, power, and acceptance by others. We have a sense of solidarity in the search, yet without any possibility of finding what we are looking for.

The religions of the world have discovered the insight that (non-pathological) human beings are designed for unlimited happiness, the enjoyment of truth, and love without end. This spiritual hunger is part of our nature as beings with a spiritual dimension. Here we are, with an unbounded desire for happiness and not the slightest idea of where to look for it.

While we may certainly recognize that looking for happiness in alcohol or drugs is looking in the wrong place, do we recognize that looking for happiness even in relationships can be the wrong place? Certainly looking for love in pathology would never produce the key you were seeking, because it cannot be found where you were seeking it. But sometimes people even look for happiness in what appears to be the RIGHT places—marriage, children, higher education, careers, and service to others, only again to find that they are still seeking happiness in the wrong direction.

In religious language, the word, repent means to “turn away from.” And I like that concept even from a psychological growth standpoint. As you find your own path of recovery from the aftermath of the pathological love relationship, your recovery calls you to turn away from the very thing that has produced so much pain for you—the relationship, the choices, the person. In essence, in order for you to find happiness in yourself, in God, and in your own (often single) life, you must “change the direction from which you are seeking happiness.” This is especially true when everything in you wants to turn back to him, to the routine, to the perceived comfort—just to get through. Changing the direction from which you seek happiness is embracing the truth that happiness cannot be found in pathology. God did not create you for pathology. He created you for Himself—for peace, love, and joy.  It’s not there and will never be there in pathology.

Over the years, I have become pretty good at picking up on those who will “get it” and move on and never repeat the pathological love relationship dynamic again, and those who WILL, unfortunately, not change direction from which they are seeking happiness. They might change the FACE from whom they seek happiness, but they are still facing the same direction seeking it.

The Institute has been involved in helping hundreds and hundreds of people “change the direction from which they are seeking happiness,” and learn how to find recovery, healing, growth, and to make better choices for themselves. To that end, we are always consciously trying to expand the ways to meet the needs of our growing population of wounded readers and bring a wider comprehensive approach to your own health, wellbeing, and healing from the aftermath of pathological love relationships. We hope that we have touched your recovery in a positive way. We hope that we have helped you change direction on your path. If we haven’t, we’re still here!

Although there is much turmoil in the world right now, be reminded again, that we can always change the direction from which we have been seeking happiness and focus on a brighter future for our self and with our self. We look forward to being a bright part of your future. Thank you for entrusting your care and recovery to us. We do not take that privilege lightly.

Challenge the Thought

By Jennifer Young, LMHC, Director of Survivor Services

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

You own one thing: your mind. That’s it. There are things that you possess, like your books, your shoes, or your jewelry. But the only thing that you own is what goes on between your ears. No one can take it from you, no one can buy it from you, and no one can rent space in it. Now, I know what you are saying: “I’ve been in a relationship with a psychopath—he rented, bought and sold my mind for a nickel.” I get it, and I do agree that if anyone can make you feel that your mind has been rented, bought or sold, it is a psychopath. I might even concede that that he rented your mind. But what neuroscience has taught us is that the brain is resilient and that allows us to constantly get our mind back—even when it feels bought or sold.

When a psychopath takes control, he gets your thoughts. That’s the prize for him. If he can control your thoughts, it’s done. Your thoughts drive your emotions and your behaviors. Your thoughts are his key to getting you to feel crazy, sad, confused, frustrated, angry, elated, or excited. When you feel these feelings, you act in a corresponding way. All of these feelings and behaviorsdocument his control. They are his proof that your thoughts are turning or have turned.
Think about the thoughts that he created in you.

He enjoys my pain—I am worthless—Where is he?—I am not good enough—I deserve to be desired—I’m not stupid

And I am using the word “created” on purpose. The thoughts that were created were a result of his behavior, like water moving through the rocks creating a valley—slow, intentional and inevitable. His behavior of leaving mysteriously created the thought, “Where is he?” His behavior of smirking created the thought, “He enjoys my pain.” His behavior of insulting you created the thought, “I am worthless.”. Even his behavior of gaslighting creates the thought “I’m not stupid!” Now, think about the feelings that those thoughts elicit in you.

It doesn’t matter if the emotions these thoughts elicit are positive or negative. It doesn’t matter if the behaviors that these thoughts elicit are positive or negative. With each of these thoughts you felt something and a behavior followed. He had control of you. You and I know that he did things to you to generate these thoughts. So, he acted and you reacted. What better sense of power than to get a reaction out of someone? And what better sense of power than to get a reaction out of someone who is powerful themselves (that’s YOU)?

Since when do you question if you are stupid? Since when do you believe that you do not deserve to be desired? Since when do you need to spend time wondering where he is? You do this only in the context of a pathological relationship. Because you have always known that you are not stupid, you are not worthless, don’t need to worry about where your man is, know that you are good enough and that NO ONE should enjoy seeing you in pain. Holding these contradictory beliefs is your cognitive dissonance. On one hand you know you are smart and yet, you think you are stupid. You know you are valuable, but when he is around you feel worthless. STOP THE MADNESS!
One important strategy in ending cognitive dissonance and getting your mind back is to follow these three steps:

1.Challenge the thought.
The key here is to get the first thought. Get the thought the moment it comes. Do not let one thought become another, then another. Before you know it you are in it. That is when it becomes a problem. So, grab that first one and work on it. Once you have the thought—challenge it. If it is a question, answer it. “I miss him so much” becomes “I don’t miss the psychopath.” “How did this happen to me?” becomes “It happened because he is sicker than I am smart.” Any challenge or answer will work as long as it is based on facts—verifiable facts. And sometimes the words of another—a trusted friend or a therapist can work.

2.Breathe in the correct thought.
Now breathe in that new, correct and rational thought. Breathe in your belief. Breathe in the thought and allow it to ease your emotional pain just a bit. You control how you feel with your correct thoughts. Take a few long, slow, deep breaths, repeating quietly the new thought. (You can even do this in a crowd with a more normal breath—sometimes even stepping away from the group or off to the bathroom to correct your thoughts).

3.Move to a healthy distraction.
Finally, take that new thought with you. Get up, move and carry the correct thought with you. If you were watching TV, then go wash some dishes. If you were reading, then go watch TV. If you are laying in bed, get up and get a drink of water. As you move, allow the new thought to take hold and move with you. Begin to focus your thought on the next task.
As with any new skill it is important to do it and be successful. It’s not about how many times you can challenge the thoughts, but can you do it successfully. So, start with one thought. Do this on that one thought for several days until you feel a sense of relief. Then try another thought.

Sandra says, “Recovery happens one moment at a time.” And I believe that nothing could be more true. What are you thinking in this moment?


by Jennifer Young, LMHC, Director of Survivor Services

“I’m not wise, but the beginning of wisdom is there; it’s like relaxing into —and an acceptance of—things.” ~Tina Turner

Think about standing under a waterfall. Feel the power of the water hitting your body. Now picture yourself attempting to hold that water back. Stop the water from flowing over the rocks. You fiercely and intensely use all of your power and strength to prevent the water from touching the rock or yourself. You engage yourself in a task that has no payoff. You work to achieve a goal that is unachievable. In that attempt, you create in yourself physical (pain of the attempt), psychological (belief about the attempt) and emotional (feelings of the attempt) exhaustion.

Now picture yourself standing under the same waterfall and allowing the water to do what it does. There is awareness that you are interrupting the flow of the water but not stopping it. You can sense the water, feel the water and know what the water’s intention is. And because you accept it, you do not resist. Ahhh…relief.

At any given moment you can accept what is. It is a choice. It becomes a choice the minute there is conflict and pain. It is then that you have awareness—your mind, your body and/or your spirit is speaking to you. It’s a choice to listen.

So what is it that you need to accept? It could be his pathology, or the pain that it has/is causing. It could be accepting that because he is your child(ren)’s father, the contact will never end (so you’d better learn how to disengage), or accepting that each time you have to see him, or hear about him, it will be a challenge. Maybe you need to accept that you have been negatively impacted by the relationship; that what is happening to you, your changes in behavior, or mood, or thinking, are PTSD and not you being crazy. And it might just be that you accept who he is and accept the consequences of who he is but the gift of acceptance needs to be given to you. Is it in accepting that you are a good, whole person filled with love, compassion and honesty who needs to accept that something bad happened to you and not because of you?

Whatever IT is or wherever the acceptance is needed, I beg you to release yourself from it. In accepting there is freedom. I offer this blessing for acceptance to you:
Turn your face to the sun and accept the warmth.
Release your own resistance to what is.
You are worth the peace that comes.
There is value in you and all that you know.
Blessings to you for freedom through your acceptance.

Pathometry Newsletter, July 6-2013


A service of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction

Pathometry, noun, The measure of suffering; The distinction of suffering into different types; The perception, recognition, or diagnosing of different types of suffering (as we apply it to Pathological Love Relationships); The determination of the proportionate number of individuals affected with a certain disorder at any given time, and the conditions leading to an increase or decrease in this number.

The Pathometry Newsletter is designed for better understanding the Cluster B continuum range including sociopathy and psychopathy; for the correlation to other co-morbid conditions especially those with inconsistent treatment outcomes; to address the effects of these disorders on relational harm; and to see the impact on sociological systems.


Pathological Love Relationships: Systemic Impact and Its Relevancy for Professionals

Copyrighted© Sandra L. Brown, MA 2013

Issue 2

Background Info on The Institute

The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education has been an early pioneer in the research and treatment approaches for Pathological Love Relationships (referred to as PLRs). For close to 25 years we have been involved in developing model- of- care approaches for survivor treatment. Additionally, we have been promoting public pathology education for prevention and intervention for survivors, awareness for the general public, and as advanced education for victim service providers.

In those 25 years, we have:

* Created and run our own Trauma Disorder Program

* Provided consultations for other programs

* Trained victim service providers in our model-of-care

* Treated hundreds and hundreds of survivors

* Spoken to thousands in the general public

* Reached millions with the message of “inevitable harm” related to Pathological Love Relationships (PLRs), through television and radio, print publications, our extensive product line of books, articles, e-books, CDs, DVDs and guest blogging on websites such as Psychology Today.

Our mission for the new Pathometry Lab Newsletter is simple:

   ~In order to help more survivors, we need to train more professionals.~

The mental health professionals that have been intricately trained by The Institute have lamented that graduate school, face-to-face counseling, and reading about Pathological Love Relationships (PLRs) did not prepare them for the treatment challenges of the survivor of a PLR or +the understanding of the disorders of the partner. Professionals have indicated that by far the most frustrating type of counseling cases have been the Pathological Love Relationship couple, the wounded partner of one of these relationships, and the “identified” problem pathological partner. To help professionals maneuver the challenging “obstacle course” of PLRs, we have dedicated a newsletter solely for you.

Systemic Impact

In our previous newsletter we introduced the concept of Pathological Love Relationships and the clinical relevancy for mental health professionals. We also touched on the issues that make specialized treatment approaches necessary. Over the course of the next 12 months, the newsletter will be talking about the specifics of our model- of-care and approaches that can be used by therapists with their clients.

(A Pathological Love Relationship (PLR) is a relationship in which at least one of the

partners has serious psychopathology which is likely to negatively affect his or her mate. The Institute specializes in the partners who are/were in relationships with those who have pathology of Cluster B Personality Disorders, which include: Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Anti-Social Personality Disorder, and the additional disorders of Sociopathy and Psychopathy . We will focus on these Cluster B Disorders this year in our newsletter, and in the following years we will discuss other disorders that can impact relational harm.)

In this edition of the newsletter, we are going to discuss the impact of PLRs on the major systems within our society and its psychosocial relevancy for professionals in various disciplines. In the upcoming newsletters we will discuss our theoretical framework for our work and our approaches. Today, let’s discuss the high impact of PLRs on all of us.

Our desire to make inroads in PLRs is related to the global necessity to relieve the effects of pathology which is crippling our mental health, criminal justice, social services, and health care systems. In fact, one of the most expensive impacts on our society is pathology and what it costs our national systems.

We have calculated that 60 million people in the U.S. alone are negatively impacted by someone else’s pathology costing billions of dollars a year through our societal systems.

“I consider one of the biggest public health concerns we face is that of pathology,

or more specifically, unidentified pathology.” —–
(Howard D., former Psychiatrist)

Dr. Kent Kiehl of the Mind Research Network (expert in MRIs of psychopaths’ brains indicated in a recent interview that, “Psychopathy costs us 10 times what depression costs; in other words, it costs $460 BILLION a year to deal with psychopathy.” Let’s look at some of the systemic impact of not only psychopathy, but other forms of pathology as well.

Criminal Justice and Family Law Systems

How do we see pathology affecting the criminal justice and family law systems? Most assuredly, criminal courts are barraged with the undiagnosed and often unmonitored anti-socials. Jail, Prison, Probation, Court Monitoring systems, according to research, have an inordinately high number of Narcissistic Personality Disorders (NPDs) and Anti-Social Personality Disorders (ASPDs) in their populations. The more violent the crime, and/or the more times in criminal court, the greater the likelihood of the diagnosis of Cluster B is likely to be applicable. With the low treatment outcomes known for NPD and ASPD, we find a revolving door of pathologicals that keeps coming in and out of jail/prison/court programs.

“The results of the current study suggest that those individuals exhibiting high levels of both anti-social and narcissistic personalities are the best predictors of who will commit the majority of offenses. Based on this and other studies, these are the individuals most often incarcerated for violent crimes (Warren et al., 2002; Mamak, 1998). It is also suggested by the data that narcissism is the best overall predictor of crime.”

The domestic violence, batterer intervention, anger management, divorce court, and family court systems which all flow into each other, are clogged systems of new and repeat offenders, often of the Cluster B variety cloaked in the term of “high-conflict cases.” High conflict cases are often undiagnosed pathology trying to be “cookie-cutter retrofitted” to existing court programs.

High-conflict cases, as they are referred to, are recognized as “court cloggers”; however, rarely are there actual “diagnoses” connected with the terminology of “high conflict.” What are common aspects of high-conflict/PLR cases that are affecting our Criminal Justice (CJ) and Family Courts?

* Parental alienation

* Failed mediation

* 60+ appearances (on average) in Family Court, with custody battles raging for years

* Abductions

* Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in court cases

* Abuse of partners and children

* Stalking

* Violation of protective orders

* Hidden lives

* Forensic accountants

* Private investigators

All of these are common issues for PLRs in court and relationally. Some of these are the actual behaviors, which helps courts identify them as “high-conflict cases” (but unfortunately, without the diagnosis).

But long before the identification of a “high-conflict case” was the reality of a PLR. And herein lays the “pathology-in-the-courtroom” problem: When the criminal justice system does not recognize the PLR dynamics or the disorders often associated with PLRs, we get profoundly pathological people included in legal or intervention approaches that are not designed to work for them. Not only do they fail, but they put the other partner/victim at risk and clog systems because the approaches are not working.

High-conflict cases, without the diagnosis, are being referred to what is called “Diversion Programs,” which is another legal “program-ese” for a type of case management within the legal system. Diversion programs are trying various psychological approaches with the “high-conflict population,” again, without recognizing the pathology and assessing whether that even works with these types of disorders. As clinicians we recognize “we can’t treat what we don’t identify.” But that is not always true in the CJ system.

In mental health disciplines, we recognize the need for treatment to be disorder-specific, that is, what we are offering as resources fit the disorder, thus the need. The CJ field is not that specific and tends to offer broader, more generalized, approaches to Family Court problems. These approaches may fit well for non-PLRs but do nothing but frustrate the courts when applied to PLRs. This is why we are seeing the rise of grassroots organizations that are made up of survivors who are now demanding Family Court reform because the approaches not only don’t work, but enflame the pathological.

These cases that are unrecognized for their pathology go nowhere as they are shuffled from one program to the next, one referral to the next, who passes them along because they are sick of the “go-nowhere-ness” of the cases. And each case bounces from one docket to the next as the judge hopes a program/any program will help, while yet another PLR clogs the system for years.

These are the couples that are sent everywhere—to mediation (failed), to co-parenting (failed), then parallel parenting, to court psychologists (what the heck is wrong with them?), to child evaluators (what is this doing to the child?), to anger management, to batterer intervention (if applicable), to divorce approach to a complex case then passes it on to the next program, while years tick off the calendar.

If we asked ourselves clinically, “Who does that?” and if we dropped these kinds of specific behaviors into an imaginary “DSM-IV analyzer,” while they clinked and clunked, aligning behaviors with possible disorders, it would produce a diagnosis often dealing with a Cluster B disorder in the mix, which means for the therapist:
* The client has a Pathological Love Relationship

* The end of the relationship is going to be full of risk and drama (stalking, 50B violations, repeat offending, custody problems, unending court and divorce court, higher risk of physical injury and intimate partner homicide)

* Our client has a pathological court case

* We have the nightmare of watching our client try to parallel parent or co-parent with a pathological

* The programs that are being referred for the pathological partner to attend and that normally work well for non-pathologicals, are not likely to work well with PLRs

* For treatment and support we will need a different approach when dealing with PLR survivors

Mental Health and Domestic Violence Systems

What about mental health systems and DV-oriented programs? How are they affected by PLRs? Donald Dutton, a Domestic Violence Researcher, indicates that the highest percentage of repeat abusers fall into the Cluster B disorders. According to Dutton, the more times they repeat as DV offenders, the more likely they are Cluster B. He indicates that as many as 85% of repeat offenders fall into Cluster B.

With this high a percentage, this IS who is likely to be the face of the repeat offender of DV, indicating that most repeat DV cases actually involve PLRs. Thus, we should expect to see PLR survivors in DV-based services whether public or private mental health services.

What about the victims? Survivors spend time in DV agencies, private counselors, support groups and online forums, never getting close to understanding the relational dynamics they have experienced with a pathological partner whose disorder is never accounted for, but whose behaviors are often labeled generically, as “abusive.”

Many survivors of pathological relationships skip the treatment altogether and suffer silently instead of trying to withstand explanations and one-size-fits-all ideologies about their experiences and the behaviors associated with the pathological perpetrator. Survivors of PLRs do not find the Power and Control Wheel comprehensive or specific enough for what they experienced with Cluster Bs. And if their partner has had repeat violence and are Cluster B, they are not likely to have gotten specific information about PLRs from shelter care, group or individual therapy. They are no further ahead in understanding the low treatment outcome likelihood of their partner.

Having seen the profound ‘failures’ of DV treatment which often end up in intimate partner homicides there aren’t any of us who would ever advise a client that their violent partner was conclusively ‘treated’ for their problems. And yet, unidentified Cluster Bs similar to OJ or Mike Tyson fly through Batterer Intervention Programs unrecognized repeatedly. Many partners will go back after ‘treatment’ has ended believing that what was wrong with them was corrected through ‘psycho education.’

What about the offenders? Perpetrators are referred to Batterer Intervention or Anger Management programs which do not always pre-assess for pathological disorders, especially since these services are court-mandated and the offender has no choice in the decision to attend. All perps are approached with the same material that was largely designed for perps without pathology. Much of the material that is used in Batterer Intervention (BI) is designed for those who have a propensity for the ability to sustain positive and consistent change, a known deficiency within the Cluster B population. Additional chronic risk factors of low impulse control, reduced empathy, and neurological abnormalities that impact aggression, are not considered when deciding who will be most successful with the mandated treatment offered.

Instead, pathologically disordered perps are those most likely to repeat offend or repeat in other chronic ways, thus ending up back in these same programs or other programs, clogging the systems they are funneled through, undiagnosed. The low treatment outcomes for batterers then become risk factors for victims as they believe the batterers were “treated” because they attended a program (albeit, one that was not designed for their unique disorder).

A factor that is not always known about Anger Management (and sometimes BI) programs is that they are not necessarily run by mental health professionals. In a recent workshop given for CJ personnel by us, Anger Management facilitators discussed their backgrounds for performing these high pathologically- oriented community services. Many were simply 501c3s who wrote a grant and went to a few weeks of training, but had no mental health training, assessment training or tools. Many were survivors of PLRs (contributing to this writer’s concern about transference of over- and under-identification of offender status, during group facilitation).

Considering that some of the most dangerous people in the DSM-IV are likely to be attending these community mental health programs, shouldn’t the community expect that a mental health professional would be pre-assessing for whether inclusion is recommended and post-assessing for low treatment, thus a continuing risk for the victim?

Health Care Systems

It is now well understood the impact of mental health on physical health. Survivors of PLRs have a significant history of stress-related health problems, including prolific autoimmune disorders. Given the survivor’s often long history of unrelenting stress with the emotionally dys-regulated Cluster B, it is not a far stretch that these survivors have unusually high numbers of health related problems. A high percentage of untreated PLR survivors are so impacted by both poor mental and physical health that they are removed from their jobs, take voluntary time off, are hospitalized, put on Disability, or are negatively affected for years, causing them to lapse into not only the health care system, but also the social service system once their health is impacted. When Dr. Kent Kiehl quoted psychopathy costing our systems $460 BILLION, it most assuredly reflected the impact on our health care system.

Social Service Systems

The survivors of PLRs often emerge with C-PTSD (even without experiencing physical violence—the reason for this will be discussed over the course of the ongoing Pathometry Newsletter), removing them from functional life and plunging them into the social service systems. Even the survivors who were formally white collar workers and previously economically stable (not the usual service user of social services) are significantly impacted, introducing their entrance into social service support. We have had female attorneys, doctors, CPAs, CEOs, judges, all reduced to disability following a PLR.

The children are of course impacted as well, often requiring assistance and services for their own recovery. Family Courts that do not recognize the impact of pathology on children will often mandate shared custody, causing untold damage to children filtering them into child social service systems. (See our chapter on the impact of pathology on children in our book Women Who Love Psychopaths). PLRs’ impact on our social service system is incalculable.

Helping Our Society Understand and Recover From Pathological Impact

This has been a simplified overview of a complex issue of the systemic impact that pathology makes on our world. To fully discuss it would require a book regarding something like, “The Sociological Impact of Pathology on Societal Resources.” The far reaching effects of pathology are impacting our country in many of ours societal systems.

Of course, the most impact is felt on the personal, or relational, levels where individuals are most harmed. It is in the close proximity to pathology where others are so gravely impacted by another’s lack of empathy, poor impulse control, and lack of insight. Those wounded by pathology are then driven into our systems—into our social services, health care, mental health and criminal justice systems seeking restitution, recuperation, or restoration from pathology.

We believe this is where we can be of most help in our society by bringing our level of understanding to your workplace, whether it is as a school counselor, private practitioner, forensic psychologist, jail counselor, pastoral counselor, marriage and family therapist, DV agency worker, addictions counselor or legal advocate. The newsletter exists to bring specialized awareness and training to those dealing with survivors of pathological love relationships. The impact of pathology has left its thumbprint in our minds, lives, and world, requiring knowledge of PLRs to help others recover.

During our next newsletter we will look at the variety of systemic language regarding pathology and why it has hindered our ability in multi-disciplinary fields to get on ‘the same page’ with ‘Who Does That?’ Following a few introductory newsletters about the issues of pathology, we will begin discussing our research findings about the survivors, and our Model-of-Care approach. We hope you will stay tuned.

Please take a moment to check out the related research and resources regarding pathology and PLRs for your practice listed below.

To read earlier Pathometry Lab articles click HERE

Interested In This Topic?

Our Therapist Training for Treating the Aftermath of Pathological Love Relationships Model of Care Approach (next training November 2013) includes further elaboration on items related to this topic:

  •  Relationship Dynamics of Pathological Love Relationships
  •  Bonding and Attachment Differentials
  •  Drama and Communication Triangle
  •  Event Cycles of PLRS
  •  What Doesn’t Work in PLR’s
  •  The Institute’s Model of Care Approach

    Next Newsletter

    Join us for our next newsletter when we will discuss more pathocentric ideas related to PLRs.

    Do Your Part

    Public pathology education is everyone’s issue, and if you are learning about pathology, please do your part and teach others what you know.  One way is to share our survivor support-oriented newsletters with your clients. They can sign up on the front page of the main magazine site–there is no cost and it comes out every week.

    You can also further public pathology education by sending your colleagues and others who might be working with PLRs to our monthly newsletter. They too can sign up on the front page of the main magazine site and it is complimentary.

    Here’s how we can help professionals…

    How The Pathometry Lab Can Help You

    This program is designed for professionals who are most likely to encounter the survivors, or the Cluster B partners, in your line of work.  Our Pathometry Lab will offer you:

  •  Articles on issues of clinical relevancy regarding treating the aftermath of Pathological Love Relationships (no charge)
  •  Information on pathology and personality disorders as it relates to survivor’s recovery, marital counseling, addictions perspectives, pastoral views, and other mental health disciplines (no charge)
  •  Recommended reading on pathology (no charge)
  •  Handouts and other pathocentric tools (no charge)
  •  Personalized Institute services for your survivor clients (fee for services)
  •  Products for Professionals related to Pathology (fee for products)
  •  Case Consultations (fee)
  •  Yearly Training Conference (fee)
  •  Tele-Events (fee)
  •  Personalized services for Professionals Wounded by Pathology (fee for services).

    Our goal is to better equip you to be able to spot, intervene, and help the recovery of survivors of PLRs. We hope you will join us monthly for our Pathometry Lab Newsletter.  Most of all let us know if we provide support or education to you in the field of Pathological Love Relationships.

    Next Institute Event

    Treating the Aftermath of Pathological Love Relationships November 2013 Hilton Head Island, SC.

    Relational Harm Reduction Radio

    Every Thursday at 8:30 pm starting March 7, 2013

    Call in questions taken.

    RHR University: Coming soon Online Training for Professionals


    Patho-Lingo  Word of the Month:

    Pathognomonic–distinctive characteristics in a disorder

    Narcissus Gazing?


    Sandra L. Brown, M.A.

    The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education

    Director of Advanced Professional Education Services

    Cathy Backlund

    Pathometry Lab Newsletter Coordinator

    Nancy Bathe

    Technical Editor



Clinically Relevant Articles

Personality Disorders in Relationships

The Burden of Personality Disorders

Barriers to Effective Management

Neuropsychopharmacology for Cluster Bs

Reading Suggestions

Love Relations–Normality and Pathology, Otto Kernberg, M.D.

Psychopathy: Antisocial, Criminal & Violent Behavior by Millon, Simonsen, Davis & Birket-Smith

The Everything Guide to Narcissistic Personality by Elsa F. Ronningstan

Character Disturbance: The Phenomenon of Our Age by George K. Simon, Ph.D.

Evil Genes by Barbara Oakley

Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists by Sandra L. Brown, M.A.

Pathocentric Tools

Wise Counsel Interview Transcript: An Interview with Otto Kernberg M.D. on Transference Focused Therapy (The Dangerous And Severe Personality Disorders–Cluster B)

Partner Related Assessment and His Cluster B Traits Checklist (Survivor Oriented)

30- Minute Lesson: Personality Disorders (Overview of All PDs)

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Hamilton Anxiety Scale (Survivor Oriented)

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Partner Related Assessment and His Cluster B Traits Checklist (Survivor Oriented)


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Pathological Love Relationships Archive of Articles

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1. Understanding Destructive and Pathological Relationships

2.  Healing the Aftermath of Pathological Love Relationships: Help for Wounded Women

3.  Treating the Aftermath of Pathological Love Relationship: Understanding Pathology and Its Effects on Relational Harm

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Women Who Love Psychopaths

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Are you a professional whose own personal Pathological Love Relationship is impacting your ability to help your clientele, function, or work? Do you need discrete and effective support? Long called ‘the therapist’s therapist’ The Institute provides our same Model-of-Care approach to wounded healers. Let us help you recover and come back stronger so you too can bring Pathological Love Relationship assistance to your own clientele.


GENDER DISCLAIMER: The issues The Institute writes about are mental health issues. They are not gender issues. Both females and males have the types of Cluster B disorders we refer to in our articles. Both male and female can be either the disordered, the partner of the disordered, or both. Our clients, readership and user of our services are approximately 90% female therefore we write for those most likely to seek out our materials or services.  Cluster B Education is a mental health issue applicable to both genders. Our wording merely reflects our market.

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The Successful Pathological’s Evil Twin: The Parasite

In last week’s newsletter we looked at the Successful Pathological and how he flies in under the radar, while women are looking at his success and missing the red flags concerning his character or behaviors. Women can get sidetracked by his degree or noble career, or blinded by his business bling. The Italian-made shoes aren’t the only loafer—LOL!

Another way pathology manifests is what we call “parasitic” behavior—which means, like a tick, they live off of others. Some pathologically disordered people are underachievers and require much financial assistance, some are not employed at all, and in fact, some are successful AND parasitic.

Wealthy and parasitic pathologicals have all the radar-busting combinations to come gliding in under a woman’s relationship radar. Wealthy pathologicals may be as parasitic as the poor ones, but are usually less identified. It’s not that wealthy ones need the housing assistance by living with you—it’s that they are able to get you to let them. It’s a power game and when you say “yes,” he wins. It’s a ridiculous game that most women don’t even pay attention to in the beginning, until it begins to happen over and over again. Most women don’t care about power struggles; not so with him, because it’s his source of entertainment.

Parasites can latch on for the ride, the entertainment, or to drain you dry. The “financially challenged” ones try to hide that they are broke and underemployed until they are already living off of you. Or they get in by playing the pity trump card—needing a “little time to get on his feet.” Many of them appear to have “the worst luck” when it comes to getting or keeping a good job or somehow manage (according to him) to always find horrible bosses. In any case, it’s never his fault, and a new potential turn of events is “just around the corner,” if you will just “wait it out” with him.

The interesting thing about the parasitic life is that it has more to do with conning than it has to do with any legitimate need. The proof is that even the wealthy ones play the same game.

For the overt parasite, a red flag for women would be men who always are living with someone else, including family. Of course they have a good reason usually associated with what appears to be “helping others” (older parents, helping with rent for a single mother, sister, etc.).

What is suspicious is that you never see where he lives or how he lives. Why? That “great condo with the roof deck” is really a room in someone’s mobile home. Or there’s a wife and three kids at the house, which are his. Or his house is really a meth lab. Pick a reason … the bottom line is there is a reason why you don’t see it. And it normally has to do with living a different life, perhaps living off of others, that he hasn’t quite disclosed to you.

A huge red flag would be that he wants to move in or marry quickly. Is it because he is so into you? Nope. It’s because he wants to betroth your checkbook before you can verify his income, his job status, his debt load, or anything else. In a blink of an eye you are sipping rum drinks with umbrellas in glasses in the Bahamas (oh, and did I mention, on your credit card?).

A flashing billboard would be when he asks you to invest in his potential business (with your love bundle!) so that you can help finance the “rest of your lives together” business.  Here’s a clue: If he’s over 28 years old and not living up to any part of his potential, there’s a reason and it’s usually pathology or addiction or both. If you are over 30, don’t fall in love with anyone’s potential. Either they’ve got the goods or they don’t. And if they don’t, there’s a reason bigger than the sad, empathy-producing story they have.

The more covert parasite, if wealthy, may give a storyline that he is “giving you an opportunity to invest in his business,” so you can make some of that return capital that you see him living on. He’s successful—so he must be doing something right. Right? Do you remember Bernie Madoff?

Pete the Parasite sometimes needs money to send his ailing mother out of the country to see relatives. Or he may need money to cover the costs of his children’s needs because his “psycho ex-wife” is not using the child support she receives. (Uh-huh …)

If these tactics and lines didn’t work, he wouldn’t use them and I wouldn’t know them. Parasites need hosts. The body where a parasite lands (like a tick on a dog) is called the “host.” Here’s a time where being a BAD HOST is a good thing!

(**If we can support you in your recovery process, please let us know.  The Institute is the largest provider of recovery-based services for survivors of pathological love relationships. Information about pathological love relationships is in our award-winning book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions. See the website for more information.)