Who Does That? Part 1

Part of our goal at The Institute is not only to help survivors heal from the aftermath of a PLR (Pathological Love Relationship), but it is also to help prevent future relationships with pathologicals. In prevention, The Institute helps survivors to spot overt glaring pathology. The overt pathology is easy to identify.

* Few would argue that mothers who drown their children like Susan Smith or Andrea Yates aren’t terribly disordered.

* Those that shoot people they don’t know or commit a drive by shooting like the Beltway Snipers Muhammad and Malvo in the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas clearly have pathological motives.

* Those that sexually abuse children and hide the sexual offender like the Catholic Church are the face of evil.

* Horrendous hate crimes that torture hundreds, thousands, or millions of people like war crimes or the Holocaust are pretty easy to figure that severe pathology is behind the motivation of hate like that.

* Or the deranged that break into homes to beat the elderly for money like Phillip Garrett who terrorized those in assisted living facilities have a notable bent of sheer brutality.

* Terrorists who commit the taking of hostages and psychological torture like the infamous Stockholm Bank Robbery (resulting in the term Stockholm Syndrome) are identifiable as probable psychopaths.

* The rapist who preys on the vulnerable or the type of rapist who rapes a wife in front of her own husband is overtly vile.

* Or the violent anti-socials that are frequent gang members or thugs like James Manley who murdered my father.

* Serial killers like Ted Bundy who raped and killed at least 36 women leave no doubt that he was the worst of the worst psychopaths.

* Or the ordering of killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child like schizophrenic/psychopathic Charlie Manson makes our blood run cold.

* Cult leaders who lead hundreds to death like Jim Jones remind us of the power and persuasion of pathology.

* Chronic re-offending domestic violence abusers like O.J. and Mike Tyson convince us that all DV is not treatable and some abuser brutality increases with each crime and are obviously disordered.

* The babbling grandiosity of narcissism as seen in Charlie Sheen reminds us that even the rich and famous carry and display their pack of pathology for all to see.

* Or the robbing of millions of dollars from thousands of people like Bernie Madoff reminds us that not all pathology is physically violent, some do it with panache and a tie on.

These forms of pathology are recognizable by most of society and many would agree that these people are horribly disordered and probably dangerous for life.

But being able to spot pathology in less overt and even frequently hid, yet equally as damaging acts, is where most of us fall short—even professionals in the criminal justice and mental health systems. It’s also where survivors of PLR’s are likely to trip up yet again since the ‘types’ of behaviors pathologicals perpetrate can vary causing confusion to the unsuspecting, highly tolerant and emotionally understanding survivor.

Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to ‘inevitable harm’ when it crosses the paths of others.  Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy pathologicals find pleasure in harming others. While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they no less live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others.

Sadistic, absolutely. But often sadistic behind closed doors, or sheltered reputations, behind factitious names, or online identities.

Why aren’t these pathological disorders better identified? That is the million dollar question since the main judicial, social, and mental systems of our society deal with this particular cluster of pathological disorders day in and day out. Why are they actively dealing with cluster bs? Because these disorders represent the majority of white and blue collar crimes that cataclysmically smash in our lives even if they are never identified as crimes.  The reason society has not cohesively named this cluster of disorders as the center of their focus, is each system has their own view of the ‘behavior’ associated with the pathological’s disorders.

  • Law enforcement calls them the bad guys (if they are even caught)
  • Mental health systems call them patients
  • Domestic violence organizations call them abusers
  • Batterer intervention programs call them perpetrators
  • Criminal defense attorneys call them clients
  • Sexual Assault centers call them rapists or sexual offenders
  • Financial structures call them swindlers
  • The online world calls them trolls
  • Victims call them predators
  • Children and adolescents call them cyber bullies
  • The swindled call them con artists
  • The judicial system calls them criminals (or not, if they are never identified)
  • The church calls them evil or unredeemed
  • The website owner calls them hackers
  • The defamed call them cyber stalkers
  • Parents call them pedophiles
  • Jails calls them inmates
  • Prison calls them high security risks
  • FBI calls them targets and terrorists

As each system deals with their own view of a specific act the person has done, we miss the wide broad category that these people fall under. We miss the bigger implication of what goes with that category. We miss the fact that those who fall under these pathological disorders have largely low, or no, positive treatment outcomes. Each system dealing with a behavior, only sees the person through their own behavioral specialty. Yet we are all talking about the same disorders in action.

When we ask ‘WHO does that?’ we immediately become brothers and sisters in the same battle against pathology. We begin to see the ‘who’ within the act, the disorder that perpetrates these same acts, behaviors, or crimes. It’s the same sub-set of disorders that have different focuses but the same outcome: inevitable harm.

Your Medical Conditions–Is the Root Your Relationships?

Many women don’t know that ongoing stress (whether it is recognized or not) leads to very predictable medical conditions. Our mental state is our physical state so women with the worst health issues are often women with the worst emotional stressors.

Women who were raised in addicted, mentally ill, abusive, or pathological families often have the most severe and lingering of medical symptoms and diseases. One reason is that they have an accumulative effect of stress-related disorders because of the length of time they have been ‘stressed.’ Since many women who were in disordered families go on to pick disordered men, their stress simply rolls over into the next relationship. Or if she is able to avoid the disordered intimate relationship, her previous exposure to the disordered family or resulting stress may go untreated. In those cases, the stress is still stored in the body.

We now know that stress has to go somewhere. It goes into your body as deep as the cellular level as well into your muscles and tissues. This type of stress storage can result in diseases that effect the muscles and tissues like MS, Lupus, Fibromyialga.

Stress attacks the immune system and renders it ineffective. This can result in diseases like Chronic Fatigue, Epstein Bar, and other auto-immune disorders like Lupus and Fibro that end up moving from the immune system to the muscles and tissues. (Ever say ‘He’s wearing me out?’ He literally is!)

Stress negatively affects blood pressure–high blood pressure can lead to strokes, heart disease, and other long term diseases. (Ever say, ‘He’s killing me?’)

Stress floods the body with cortisol that produces too much adrenaline in the body causing irritability, sleep disruptions, and fight/flight symptoms. Cortisol effects metabolism which produces weight loss or weight gain especially in the stomach area and blood sugar instability which can lead to hypo glycemia or diabetes. (Ever say “I just feel like I want to jump out of my skin”?)

Stress negatively affects hormones causing chronic menstruation problems, endometriosis, early menopause, PMS, and other female related disorders.

Stress causes inflammation in the body which we now know is the beginning of most disease processes. This can lead to arthritis and other inflammation-based diseases.

Stress causes tension which can be held almost anywhere in the body. This affects the skeletal system resulting in back or neck pain requiring chiropractic adjustments. Sometimes it’s stored in the face that produces TMJ or migranes.(Ever say, ‘He’s such a pain!’?)

Stress causes the release of gastric juices which inflame the throat,stomach and colon resulting in digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (Ever say he was a pain in your butt?)

Stress negatively affects certain vitamins in your body which get depleted during ongoing stress which can result in fatigue, hair loss, allergies, and skin problems. (Ever say ‘he really gets under my skin?’)

Stress screams to be managed which is why so many women end up with addictions trying to ‘manage’ the chronic stress condition–addictions with anxiety medication, pain meds, street drugs, alcohol, food, sex, religion, and overachieving. (Ever say ‘He is going to drive me to drink?’)

Over the past 20 years of treating women, I’ve seen everyone of these disease processes at work in women. PATHOLOGICAL RELATIONSHIPS ARE A LEADING NEGATIVE CAUSE IN WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES ON EVERY LEVEL! If we want to improve women’s health in this country, we need to address these pathological relationships that are killing her!

Stress hides because we are adaptive in some ways and become ‘use to’  the level of stress we are currently under OR have ALWAYS been under since childhood. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t highly damaging our bodies with it. Some women only become aware of their stress if it jumps markedly. By then, you are in the severe category of stress disorders which by that point, you probably have several of the conditions listed above.

By far, the condition of the 21st century for most people is stress. Women with histories of abuse or current pathological relationships have even higher stress levels than people without these contributing factors.  Stress demands to be treated and then managed…either do it now or it will demand it in medical issues.

Many women say they don’t even know where to begin in managing the stress that is contributing to their medical conditions because they have had it so long. On our shopping cart is an mp3 download for Relaxation Techniques for Stress Disorders–that’s a good start. Consider physical exercise, yoga, pilates, some way of metabolizing all those stress hormones. Learn deep breathing, relaxation techniques, or quiet meditation. Find a counselor or a group in order to verbally express the underlying issues of your stress. (We offer phone sessions, tele-support group, retreats and 1:1s with Sandra). Manage addictions of sex, relationship-hopping, drugs even prescriptions, and alcohol.

When assessing your overall health, do consider the underlying possible reasons for your health issues–your emotional stressors and HIM!

(**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)

Stress & Adrenal Fatigue

The last two weeks we have been discussing PTSD and it’s use in Legal Advocacy in court regarding
divorce, separation, rehabilitative alimony and child custody. You can read the last two weeks of
newsletters to see how using a PTSD Accommodations Report in Court can help you. And you can
also read up on the differences between PTSD and mental illness if you are concerned with getting
labeled ‘mentally ill’ (PTSD is a stress reaction not a mental illness.)

In many other newsletters I have written extensively about PTSD and recovery. Much of learning to
heal from or live with PTSD has to do with learning to ‘Live a Gentle Life’ that is less stressful. You
can read about PTSD and the Gentle Life coming up soon in the newsletter.

However, PTSD as a stress disorder is an indicator of extreme stress. If you have it, that means you
have suffered an emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual, and/or psychological trauma that was severe
enough or long enough in duration to significantly impact you.

Having a Stress Disorder means two things:
1. You were significantly stressed or traumatized
2. The stress and/or trauma has effected your functioning level.

PTSD can be short term and resolved with treatment within a few months or it can be chronic and life
long, often reactivated by MORE stress or MORE trauma. In my case, I have chronic PTSD that is
reactivated when I am worn down, too stressed, not living a gentle life, or other life events that are
difficult (my mothers death) and reactivate it.

With PTSD, whether it’s short or long term, you are likely to have a reduced level of productivity.
Your concentration can be impaired, sleep is disrupted, you are hyper vigiliant and have an exaggerated
startle reflex, you have anxiety and a mixture of depression, intrusive thoughts,
emotional numbing, flashbacks and panic.

None of this lends itself to being able to work well, consistently, or productively. Even if you are
unemployed, the quality of your daily life is disrupted and your life productivity in your day to day
living is reduced. This is why people often need treatment for PTSD. That could be short or long
term treatment, individual weekly counseling, group counseling, inpatient treatment, or any combination
of those.

PTSD as a stress disorder has it’s long term outcomes in medical conditions as do many other stress
disorders. Unresolved stress and trauma (whether it’s PTSD or every day stress) can, and most often does,
end up in medical disorders. Part of seeking rehabilitative alimony in court with a PTSD diagnosis is because
of the loss of productivity AND because of the long term effects on your health. 25 years after the murder
of my father I am continuing to see the medical outcome of chronic PTSD in my health.

Often in court, women do not know to have their attorneys argue for rehab alimony or medical coverage for
treatment FOR THE FUTURE. So many don’t realize how their health could be impacted now and years
from now.  Stress and PTSD have many long term medical possibilities, including:

* Auto Immune Disorders: Fibromyalga, Chronic Fatigue, Epsteen Bar, Lupus, M.S.
* Various forms of arthritis
* Gastric problems
* Migranes and TMJ
* Female problems
* Ongoing anxiety and depression
* Thyroid and Adrenal Fatigue
* Sleep disorders
* Diabetes
* And most commonly, a combination of these

Settling your divorce or court case with the pathological and NOT considering the future medical outcome
of the stress he produced in your BODY is unwise. Because we do know that many of these stress
disorders and/or PTSD will continue on long after he is gone and in the end, effect a person’s health in
some way. That’s because at the heart of the medical conditions that develop is adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal Fatigue is the culprit must likely associated with medical disorders that go on to develop. Treating
and managing adrenal fatigue could actually prevent many of the disorders that will later develop because of
untreated and unmanaged adrenal fatigue.

Here is a link about it: www.adrenalfatigue.org and the book we took the adrenal fatigue questionnaire from.

Chronic stress wears out the adrenal glands that support other healthy functioning in your body. When
stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and unresolved problems wear out the gland, your body is in a down ward
spiral and cannot heal from stress or PTSD.  To find out if you have adrenal fatigue, we are attaching
a link to the quiz. If you do have adrenal fatigue, this is a stepping stone to other medical conditions if
not treated immediately. More importantly, your body has started down that path. If you are in a court case,
please advise your attorney of the disorder as it may be able to be argued regarding stress disorders
and your need for continued medical coverage and care.

LINK TO ADRENAL QUIZ: http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-quiz.html

If we can help you resolve your trauma so your body can heal, please let us know.

PTSD As Trauma Disorder Not Psychiatric Illness

Last week we began talking about ‘how’ women can level the playing field in court with a pathological. This could be related to a divorce, seperation, restraining order, or child custody. If you have PTSD, the courts are mandated to offer you special accommodations while in court to protect you and to help your level of functioning due to the PTSD.

As we mentioned, in order to do that you must legitimately have PTSD, be diagnosed and have an Accommodations Report prepared by a professional that is presented to The ADA (American Disability Act). From there, special accommodations are granted. The range and what the accommodations are were listed in last weeks newsletter.

Some people hestitate in getting diagnosed with PTSD because they are afraid of it’s implication to them, their functioning level, or related to a mental illness diagnosis.

First of all, PTSD is a trauma disorder. If you are diagnosed with it, it already implies you have been traumatized. You are going to court regarding your traumatized relationship so it fits and it supports your argument in court as well as the symptoms that have arisen because of this relationship. If he was trauma producing, we need to say so. If we want the court to understand pathology, we need to teach them through our own experiences and relationships if we want the court to change.

Secondly, PTSD does not necessarily have the type of stigma you fear. Our vets that come home from war often, and more often than not, have PTSD. Fighting for our country is honorable–they were doing a good thing and yet were damaged from their experience. The same is true for you.

One of our previous presidential candidates has PTSD. Firefighters and law enforcement who bravely saved many in 911 have PTSD. Missionarys helping the poor in other countries have PTSD. Social Workers working in dangerous situations have PTSD.

I have PTSD. I have lived for 25 years with it. I openly discuss having the disorder–through no fault of my own. I got PTSD from seeing my father’s murder scene. I have worked with others that have PTSD now for 20 years. And because I am a survivor, I live with the effects of chronic PTSD daily. I know how it has changed me, my life, my abilities, my health, and my endurance. I have seen in hundreds of others, how it has effected their lives–sometimes long term.

If you have it, say it. Nothing starts healing until we acknowledge it. It is what it is. Some worry that they will be labeled with mental illness if the court acknowledges their PTSD.

Well, let’s think about that…do you think a pathological is going to go into court and NOT say you are crazy? You don’t think he will argue every point of your illness, behavior, or symptoms (whether they are true or not) in order to win? You don’t think he’s GOING to use some kind of emotional disorder argument? OF COURSE HE IS–that’s what pathologicals DO!! So, in order to prevent being labeled something far worse than PTSD, if you have PTSD, let IT be the label instead of something else that can greatly impair your ability to get rehabilitative alimony, custody of your children, etc.

Having a PTSD diagnosis before court can greatly help HOW FAR the pathological can go in trying to make you look mentally ill. PTSD is NOT mental illness. Having a PTSD diagnosis may help prevent them from labeling you mentally ill with other more debilitating types of mental illness.  So don’t shun the PTSD diagnosis if you have it. It may prevent you from being labeled something far worse.

(**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 info.)

Helping Women Find Effective Strategies For Court

Leaving a pathological is never easy—they aren’t wired to allow for easy separation and disengagement.  What they value most is drama, trauma, and the perpetuation of misery at any cost.  High on their entertainment list is any legal activity—especially divorces, separations, and custody battles. Pathologicals get bored easily and have a high need for entertainment. They are high excitement seekers and have low impulse control.  This all equals great legal combativeness coupled with great enjoyment of the process.

Pathologicals are highly litigious, meaning they LOVE to sue and go to court.  They are entertained by the drama of the court scene and love anything associated with being the victim in a legal process.  Therefore, they are different than normal people in that they will keep this process going as long as necessary.  They will even spend more money than they will ever recover JUST to be in court, JUST to be heard, and JUST so you won’t win.

There is no rationale when it comes to why they find court so enthralling.  It’s almost like “Legal Malingering.”  Malingering is a psychological disorder that means a person remains symptomatic because they get something out of it that we refer to as a “secondary gain.”  So it is true with the pathological in court—67 times to court for one case is not unheard of.

But the bottom line for you is that court is often traumatizing.  Facing him can bring on flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares and anxiety.  The faces he makes, his posturing and his stares often leave women highly ineffective on the witness stand.  Or she is unable to think in the courtroom in order to give her attorney correct input.

Some women are followed by the pathological after court.  He may stalk her in his car or call her cell phone, belittling her about the court proceedings.  Taunting her before the court date can bring a woman’s functioning level to an all time low.  She may miss work and as a result loses pay.  She may have to pay and repay court fees as he switches dates around just to make a show of power.

Women who already have PTSD, other chronic stress conditions, or autoimmune disorders like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Lupus can end up bed-bound from the stress of the court drama and him.  Since pathologicals love your debilitation, they are likely to stretch out the process by asking for more depositions, postponing court dates, adding more needed appearances, or even refusing a settled offer that is everything they asked for—anything to create more stress and havoc for you.  Women will often do ANYTHING to avoid this kind of exposure to further abuse.

Since the pathological is rarely acknowledged for what he is, the court is not likely to identify his manipulative behaviors and so his requests are granted.  You are tormented with more and more unproductive court appearances as he acts like the perpetual victim.

Women can ‘get’ PTSD-like symptoms just from how she is treated in court or depositions.  The ‘criminal court’ is known for it’s favoring of criminals so anyone who is not criminal often finds the process abusive and traumatizing.  Women often give away their rights, property, and money just to avoid him and court all together.  She and her children are then exposed to poverty, marginal employment and a reduced quality of life ALL because she wants to avoid being traumatized by him and an unbalanced court system.

I have said for many years that the universe is strangely tilted to the benefit of the pathological.  They get away with more dirty deeds, especially in court, than any normal person would ever get away with.  For this reason, women come to know that their chances in court with a pathological who is so dramatic, convincing, and unnerved by the process is NIL.

Women have had very ineffective means for balancing the scales of Her-vs-The Psychopath in family court.  That’s because few women know about one VERY effective strategy that helps her regain her court composure—using a PTSD diagnosis to receive special accommodations during court proceedings.

As we have constantly mentioned, many of the women who come through our program have PTSD that was acquired during the pathological relationship OR was made worse by the relationship.  PTSD is a trauma disorder–meaning your were ‘traumatized’ in some way which is how you acquired it.

PTSD symptoms can last for short or long periods of time and are almost always increased by stress—such as stress by being in court or stress by his behavior while in court.  These types of reoccurring symptoms can negatively impact your effectiveness in court and can require ‘special accommodations’ so you are able to function during court.  Some of these special accommodations have included:

•    Having the woman speak over a speaker phone in another room so she doesn’t have to face him

•    Not having him in the courtroom

•    Having him detained so she can leave early from the courtroom

•    Call in to the courtroom from home so not to have to attend the hearing in person

•    If she has to attend—to have a disability advocate present with her

•    Having him not be allowed to speak directly to her when walking past him from the courtroom

All of these special accommodations can greatly ease the stress normally associated with court, but not granted unless a special ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accommodation is granted.

Accommodations can also be made for:

•    Emotional triggering caused by discussing the situation

•    Memory recall problems

•    Concentration problems

•    Flexibility with deadlines because of amnesic symptoms or reoccurring trauma when having to testify in front of him

•    Emergency hearing to enforce court orders

•    Rehabilitative alimony for treatment of PTSD for you or your children

PTSD is the disorder most associated with pathological love relationships.  A diagnosis of this can help women acquire accommodations that are associated with the ADA accommodations offered.  You simply have to have a diagnosis that requires special accommodations in order for you to function.  (Next week, we will discuss the difference between mental illnesses versus emotional, trauma-based disorders such as PTSD.  In case you are concerned you will be labeled mentally ill with a PTSD diagnosis—don’t worry, you won’t be!)

The Institute offers assistance in this regard—the ability to write your PTSD Accommodations Request Report for the court.  THIS IS A HUGE breakthrough for women because once you have received ADA Accommodations, the judges and attorneys MUST adhere to protocols developed for ADA which are federally-based and help accommodate your needs in order to function in court.  Protocols not followed are prosecutable, making the courts highly attentive to meeting federal protocols.  This could also apply to your children if they have PTSD, and could hopefully impact how they are to be treated in court and how their needs must be met.

Before we get a FLOOD of letters about this, here is what you need to know:

*   You must legitimately have PTSD. If you have already been diagnosed with
PTSD, you have already jumped one hurdle.

•    If you need to be diagnosed, you must be evaluated by a licensed professional—
such as a mental health professional or a psychiatrist.  If you would like to be evaluated by one of our staff, you can contact us.  (**All of our providers are in private practice which means they charge for their services.  We are NOT non-profit.)

*     Once you are diagnosed, one of our professionals can draft your PTSD
Accommodations Report.  This is a time consuming and lengthy report of
Approximately 10-15 pages.  It is a highly specialized report.   It is unlikely that
your doctor or health professional will construct something of this nature as it addresses specific areas  to meet the criteria for ADA.  (**The professionals, of course, charge for this report.  However, we believe that what the report renders to you is highly worth the investment.)

•    This is NOT the same thing as being declared ‘disabled’, and has nothing to do
with physical or mental disability or acquiring disability payments.

•    PTSD, if diagnosed, does become part of one’s medical and/or psychological
record.

We believe that these Accommodations Reports are the beginning of leveling the playing field when it comes to being in court with pathologicals.  We also believe that children who are diagnosed with PTSD and who have acquired it from the pathological, may have a far more arguable case about custody when courts try to mandate visitation with the very one who caused PTSD.

Email us if you would like an evaluation and if applicable, the PTSD Accommodations Report (and/or Child PTSD Report) on our website.

(**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.)

The Successful Pathological’s Evil Twin: The Parasite

The Successful Pathological’s Evil Twin: The Parasite

Last week 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 about his character or behavior. Women can get side tracked by his degree, a noble career like a doctor or blinded by his business bling.The Italian-made shoes aren’t the only thing that can be a loafer! (LOL!!)

Another form of pathology produces what we call ‘parasitic’ behavior which means, like a tick, they live off of others. In one of the pathological disorders,
sometimes they are underachievers and because they need gobs of financial assistance. But not always! Sometimes they AREN’t underemployed at all. In fact, in some of the pathological disorders they are successful AND parasitic.

Wealthy AND parasitic have all the radar busting combination’s to come gliding in under her relationship radar. Wealthy pathological’s may be as parasitic as the poor ones but are usually less identified. It’s not that the 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. But not 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 either try to hide it that they are broke and underemployed until they are already living off of you OR they get in by playing the pity trump card. He just needs 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 manages (according to him) to 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 is has more to do with conning than it does any legitimate need. The proof is that even the wealthy ones play the same game.

For the overt parasite, a red flag for women should be guys that always are living with someone else including family. Of course they have a ‘good’ reason usually associated with what appears to be ‘helping others’ (elderly parents, helping pay the rent of his single-mom sister, etc.).

Highly suspicious would be that you never see where they live or how they live. 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 this house, which are his. Or his house is really a meth lab. Or 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 different (or off others) that he hasn’t quite disclosed to you.

The big flag the size of the one on the White House would be they want to move in or marry quickly. Is it because they are so into you? Nope. Its because
he wants to betroath your check book before you can verify his income, his job status, his debt load or anything else. In a blink of an eye you are drinking
rum drinks with umbrellas in the Bahamas (oh, and did I mention, on your credit card?)

A flashing billboard would be when they ask you to invest in his potential (and your love bundle!) by going into business with him or helping him finance your ‘rest of your life together’ business. Here’s a clue: If he’s over 28 years old and not living 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 got the goods or they don’t. And if they don’t, there’s a reason bigger than that sad empathy-producing story they have.

The more covert parasite, if he’s a wealthy pathological story line might be he is ‘giving you an opportunity to invest in his business’ to make some of that return capital that you see him living off of. He’s successful–he must be doing something right? Do you remember Bernie Madoff?

Pete the Parasite also sometimes needs money for their ailing mother, to send out of the country to relatives, or to cover the costs of his children that the psycho-wife is not doing with his paid child support. (Uh, huh….)

If these tactics and lines didn’t work, they wouldn’t use them and I wouldn’t know them. Parasites need hosts.The body of 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 info.)

Talent-vs-Personality Disorders

Talent -vs- Personality Disorders

The world was rocked by the death of Michael Jackson. He is likely to be remembered, not only for his creativity as one of the world’s most talented people in music, but also for his bizarre behaviors, appearance and abuse allegations. It seems at odds that someone so talented might also have been fairly disordered in his personality.

Michael appears to meet the criteria for Schizotypal Personality Disorder. There have been many other articles written about the possibility of Michael exhibiting traits of this disorder (just Google sites on this topic).

The Institute’s mission is to provide public pathology education. Schizotypal Personality Disorder is a permanent personality disorder which is being highlighted this week to help educate the public.

Traits of the disorder include:

* Acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships
* Odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with cultural norms
* Unusual perceptual experiences
* Odd thinking and speech
* Suspiciousness or paranoid ideas
* Inappropriate or constricted emotions
* Behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar
* Lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
* Excessive social anxiety that does not diminish with familiarity and tends to be associated with paranoid fears rather than negative judgements about self

Through the years we watched as a mega-talented, child prodigy slowly turned into a reclusive and eccentric man-child. Exemplifying the oddities of the schizotypal personality, he continued to alter his appearance past the point of normal cosmetic surgery – often implying the stranger it got, the better. He used other behaviors as ways of accentuating his eccentricity and uniqueness. He was often seen wearing a germ mask, claimed that Bubbles his chimpanzee was his closest companion, and created his property into Neverland – based on Peter Pan’s “never wanting to grow up.” There, he remained highly reclusive drawing mostly children to Neverland. The stories about sleeping in an anti-aging chamber along with his growing odd appearance, dress and behavior, sadly attracted the moniker “Wacko Jacko” for Michael.

His two sexual child abuse cases, while dismissed, did expose some of his bizarre thinking. As he stated in an interview, “It’s the most loving thing to share your bed with a child.” The inability to see the inappropriateness of some of his comments, especially while under investigation, established much of his thinking as disordered. In the public’s eye, his comments demonstrated that he was out of touch with reality to our cultural norms and laws.

Celebrities often give their children bizarre names. And certainly non-celebrities name their children after themselves or give them a family name. However, Michael’s children’s names reflect a glaring narcissism. His first child was given the name Prince Michael I, his second child, a daughter, named Paris Michael, and his third child, Prince Michael II.

Another example of Michael’s bizarre behavior was the dangling of an infant Prince Michael II over a hotel balcony. Today, this child is referred to as, “Blanket.” While celebrities try to shield their children from the negative effects of the media and possible kidnapping, Michael’s was most extreme. Given his schizotypal approach to life, his children, who were rarely seen in public, wore elaborate masks or had towels hanging from their heads. While other huge celebrities have faced the same threat (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elvis, John F. Kennedy), none responded by dressing their children in bizarre ways with masks and towels, or prohibited any known information about them.

Michael stands as probably THEE most talented person to change the racial divide in music — changing MTV and pressing excellence in music far beyond what anyone had done. But talent does not mean that it is not co-mingled and intertwined around a rather severe disorder. That is not abnormal in pathology. People’s pathology is often dismissed when it is compared to their achievements. As The Institute has discussed before, various disorders with pathology SEEK careers in which they receive a lot of status, attention, money, or exposure. Many forms of pathology are laced with excitement seeking, risk taking, and high achieving traits that help the pathological over the bar and up the career ladder. We shouldn’t assume the pathological person to be working only at the grocery store or the car wash. While there are blue-collar patholgicals, many (and those most undetected) are successful — some attaining extreme success. Certain disorders migrate to various fields such as medicine, the legal and criminal justice system, banking, psychology, theology, and even the entertainment field.

While it is tempting to take our eyes off of who the pathological is underneath the talent, it is just as important for us to remember that talent and disorder aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s as if the Creator gives greatly on one side, and takes greatly from the other side. There are talented excesses and devastating deficits. Michael’s talent exemplifies what it means to be a prodigy. His personal life and deteriorating behavior also shines a light on how pathology is not a respecter of persons — any talented person can be harboring the life-altering effects of pathology.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw him moon walk, or the goose bumps I had when he sang “Thriller.” I’ll also never forget the first time I saw his face so altered from surgery and thinking that this was the result of a bigger problem. I won’t forget the mortification I felt when he was fighting sexual abuse allegations. In any case, we will all remember something “BIGGER” than life about Michael.

(**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).

Your Profession and Your Lovers

Last week I started this conversation: could your profession indicate ‘who’ you would pick as a partner? Our research in ‘Women Who Love Psychopaths’ showed that many of you worked in professional care giving jobs (or wanted to be). Most of the people who ended up in relationships with narcissists, socios, or psychos were women in these types of careers.

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 set, then we also know THESE are the women most likely to go on to empathize, tolerate and cooperate with severe pathology. I doubt any colleges are going to put in their Academic Handbooks “**Caution, This Profession May Be Hazardous to Your Relationship Health**” ! But 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 our 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 because he sabotages her work situation. Others have lost their entire life savings, putting them in financial ruin. Some have lost their professional licenses—an incredible amount of college work down the tubes. This is why teaching YOUR industry about what these men can do to their productivity, their futures, and their careers is so 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 Alumnus? 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.

To illustrate my point, here are some of the many emails I received from women this week:

“I’m not a psychologist or in a helping profession – BUT – I had always wanted to be a psychologist. I did *very* well in psychology courses in school and had plans to continue with that type of career. Psychology always fascinated me.”

“You hit the nail on the head. You left attorneys off the list, but many of us became attorneys because we wanted to ‘help.’ “

“Retired teacher running a private practice for a family doctor. The Pathological and Narcissistic doctor was  my partner, friend, lover and live-in for way too long.”

“I had been a certified nurse’s assistant when I was 17-20. Since then I am a medical assistant in a hospital and am going to school for nursing.”

” A Doctor. I’ve just dumped a pathological narcissist after a 4 month relationship.

“I have worked as a case manager for adults with developmental disabilities for the past 7 years and as a direct care staff during the prior 8 years.  This article seems to hit right at home with me.”

“I am a massage therapist! I am the classic “helper.”

“I have been a Registered Psychiatric Nurse for ten years and in 2006 got swept off my feet by what I eventually learned was a full blown sociopath.”

OK, so here we have it–a pretty well defined area of personality traits that migrate to certain career types so that these personality traits find ‘a home’ in servicing and helping others. They also find a home in the arms of pathological men.

So brainstorm with us! Email us and let us know how to reach the industry you are in. What is the best way to teach your profession about their proclivity to end up in dangerous relationships? What is the best way to teach them about their excessive personality traits that places them at risk? Email us at saferelationships@yahoo.com. THANKS!

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, or work with at-risk kids? Welcome aboard to the group of people MOST LIKELY to end up in a pathological relationship.

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 Teresa’s’ 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. In rare occasions they do and you end up with a sensationalized case of a new Bonnie and Clyde. But 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-Richter-scale traits’ that put it all in perspective. Once we can understand her, we can help her.”

What we do understand is that by 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. 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). 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 where she worked. Every once in a while we got stories from very left-brained women like CPA’s, but even then, she’s not a typical left-brainer. She’s still has many humanitarian traits.

This has a lot of implications for possible prevention work. 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. So while women may be ‘out’ of the pathological relationship, it doesn’t reduce their overall risk because temperament traits are innate. While you are out, is a great time to learn more about your abundant traits and how to safe guard yourself next time around. Let us know if we can help you become more alert and sensitized to the parts of you that need guarding.

Genetic and Neuro-Physiological Basis for Hyper-Empathy

I heard a universal SIGH go out around the world when women read the title to this article. Don’t you feel better knowing there really IS some science to the whole issue of too-darn-much-empathy?

When we began writing about ‘women who love psychopaths, anti socials, sociopaths and narcissists’ we already ‘assumed’ that maybe you did have too much empathy (as well as other elevated temperament traits). We just didn’t know how much or why. When we began the actual testing for the research on the book ‘Women Who Love Psychopaths‘ we learned just ‘how much’ empathy you had.

Do I need to tell you? WAY TOO MUCH!

But by now you have probably already suspected that your super-high empathy is what got you in trouble in this pathological relationship. But did you know there is hard science behind what we suspected about what is going on in your relationships with your super-trait of high empathy? It really IS all in your head (and your genes).

In fact, these genes influence the production of various brain chemicals which can influence just ‘how much’ empathy you have. These brain chemicals include those that influence orgasm and its effect on how bonded you feel while also influencing some aspects of mental health (No, no! That’s NOT a good mix!).

Other brain chemicals influence how much innate and learned fear you have. However, females don’t seem to assess threats well; the chemicals then increase her social interactions, while at the same time she is not assessing fear and threats well (This is not a good thing!!).

One of the final chemical effects, delays your reflexes (like getting out of the relationship) and also impacts your short and long term memory (how you easily store good memories that are very strong and how you store bad memories which are easily forgotten).   And since it is genetic, it can run in entire families that produce ‘gullible’ and ‘trusting’ individuals who seem to just keep getting hurt.

Of course, the reverse is also true. Genes can influence the absence of various brain chemicals which influence ‘how little’ empathy a person has. We already know in great detail how this affects those with personality disorders. Personality disordered people (especially Cluster B disorders) struggle with not enough (or not any!) empathy.

Over the past few years, we have posted articles on The Institute’s Magazine on various aspects of personality disorders and the brain.  These articles included the issue of brain imaging and what we are finding out about how the brain structure and also how its chemicals can affect personality, empathy, behavior and consequently, the behavior in relationships. As advances are made in the field of neurobiology we are learning more and more what The Institute has always believed which is there is a lot of biology behind the issues of a lack of personality development such as in personality disorders. Genetics and neurobiology are proving that the behavior associated with narcissism, borderline, anti-social personality disorders and psychopathy has as much to do with brain wiring and brain chemistry as it does with behavioral intent.

The Institute has long told survivors that personality disorders are not merely willful behavior, but brain deficits that control how much empathy, compassion, conscience, guilt, insight and change a person is capable of. Autism and personality disorders share a common thread as ’empathy spectrum disorders,’ now being studied extensively within the field of Neuroscience.  But in some opposite ways, the women also share a common thread of an empathy disorder—Hyper-Empathy. We are coming to understand that hyper empathy has much to do with her:

  • innate temperament (you come into the world wired with the personality you have)
  • genetic predispositions to high/low empathy
  • brain chemistry configurations that contribute to high/low empathy

The old assumptions that the women with high empathy were merely ‘doormats’ is not scientifically correct.

Neuroscience with all it’s awesome information has the dynamic power to blow us all out of the murky waters of assuming that our behavior is merely a reflection of our will. As Neuroscience graces our minds with new understanding of how our brains work, it brings with it incredible freedom to understand our own traits and the pathological traits of others.

For a mind blowing book on the genetic and neurobiology of not only personality disorders, but ‘evil’ as well, read Barbara Oakley’s book ‘Evil Genes.’ You’ll find a whole new approach to understanding the biology of the pathological!

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Genes-Hitler-Mothers-Boyfriend/dp/1591026652/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300742709&sr=1-1″ style=”text-decoration: underline;”>http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Genes-Hitler-Mothers-Boyfriend/dp/1591026652/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300742709&sr=1-1</a>

Nothing Bothers Him–I Wish I Were MORE Like Him!

At the heart of pathology is a lack of empathy, conscience, and remorse. Sounds horrible on paper (and it is) but it looks different in action. Sometimes women wish they were more like THAT–less empathic as a way of getting less hurt.

She doesn’t really mean that (unless she too has a pathology bent). She is exhausted by her own mental activity of intrusive thoughts, heart break, hypervigilance and hurting. She just wants the pain to go away and if that means she becomes callous and doesn’t give a ‘rip’– then so be it–she’ll opt for his pathological character traits.

Cluster B Personality Disorders (Borderline, Narcisistic, Anti-Social Socio/Psychopaths have at the center of the disorder a complete lack of, or at least a reduced capacity for, empathy, conscience and remorse. (We will use the Acronym REC for a lack of these traits–Remorse, Empathy Conscience). To a certain extent, only the degree of a lack of REC distinguishes one disorder from the other. Psychopaths/Sociopaths are at the high end of the spectrum with the highest amount of these traits. But all four disorders have some of these traits in them because these disorders overlap with each other.

So what does a lack of empathy, conscience and remorse look like? On the surface from the women’s perspective it looks like in him either carefree-ness or a lack of concern what others think of him or his behavior. It looks like confidence in his choices and his behavior. It looks like enjoyment of his choices and behaviors even if they are negative. It looks like an unwaivering commitment to his own thoughts (even when it hurts someone else). On the surface, it looks healthy to not be harmed by the thoughts of others because he gets to do his own thing and then be unaffected by how it effects others. He coasts along in cloud of impenetrable numbness from any negative consequence–socially, emotionally, sexually, financially, or physically from his behaviors.

However, a lack of REC is the only thing that differentiates us from some animal species. (Ever try to guilt a cat?) Our ability to feel appropriate guilt is a reflection of our humanity. That various levels of psychopathlogy LACK these elements point to their own diminished ability to act ‘humane’ in certain situations. Why are we surprised that people who have impaired REC go on to abduct children, hurt pets, steal, lie, cheat, and are unfaithful? Conscience is related to consequences and the emotion guilt. Guilt is the RED LIGHT of our behavior–we don’t do something because we don’t want to feel guilt. In the end, guilt saves us from hurting others and ourselves and living with that awful feeling of regret.

But a pathological who doesn’t have that hardwiring to feel remorse or guilt, hurts others (and himself although he may not have the insight to recognize it as self harm), hurts society, and leaves a trail of wounded women and children as he goes golfing, picking up other women, or goes to the tanning bed–all the while humming a little song to himself.

Admiring his ability to hurt others and go on is NOT something you should admire in him. In a recent retreat someone kept bringing up they thought this was GOOD–that a pathological remained unscathed by his own belief system and therefore if we were more like him, we would be happier because we would react less to what we did.

That’s a sad thought. It’s the only line in the sand that separates us as caring human beings from a pathological. Our ability to have insight about our behavior is what makes us somewhat unpathological. Even though we are hurt and would welcome a bit of numbing to get away from the pain, you will never be able to throw yourself into the pit of pathological REC to escape your pain, intrusive thoughts, and other symptoms you wish would go away.

For those women who are not mutually pathological, the only way to get OUT of pain it to go THROUGH the pain. Embracing that you can still tell the difference between right and wrong and you don’t covet his pathology as something to be admired, means you are not pathological yourself! Others who have now embraced his worldview of hurting others, seeing it as good and wanting to a live a life of power/dominance/status, need therapy surrounding her ‘consumption’ of his pathological worldview.

A healthy REC is one of the differentiating aspects that separate us as the fabric of humanity versus the pathological alien. Embrace that about yourself.

Soul Slayer– Psychological ‘Evil,’ Spiritual ‘Evil’ or Both?

The one adjective I hear repeatedly connected to pathology is the word ‘evil.’ Spiritual, unspiritual, heathens, pagans, Christians, Jews, Buddists–it doesn’t matter. The word ‘evil’ is the chosen adjective-of-choice to describe pathology. But what IS evil? Is it more psychological than it is spiritual? Or is it a spiritual issue that has been picked up and defined psychologically? Are they the same thing?

I am not going to translate the lists for you below. They are self explanatory. I have taken the right list from Old Testament (of the Jewish faith) and New Testament (of the Christian faith) as examples of the definition of ‘evil.’ You could most likely find similar definitions of evil in other religious texts.

Draw your own conclusions.

Description from the DSM IV About Socio/Psychopathy & Narcissism Descriptions of Evil (Lucifer, Satan, etc.)
Grandiose, self important and pre-occupied with self Wants people to worship him
Fantasizes about power, brilliance, success, and money Says to God “I WILL ascend, I Will Rise…” Showing power fantasies
Requires excessive admiration Says “You WILL bow down to me”
Is entitled Wants the same power as God, feels he’s as powerful as God
Exploits all relationships Tries to lure others to do his dirty work in the world
Lacks empathy Envious of others
Arrogant Fails to follow laws or rules/uses unethical, unlawful and immoral behavior
Deceitful, lies, cons for fun or profit Impulsive, wants it/takes it, sees it/does it
Aggression Disregard for the safety of others, puts others at risk
Irresponsible–bad with supporting others Lack of remorse, rationalizes stealing, lying, etc.

Other Characteristics (also mentioned in the Women Who Love Psychopaths book)

Description from the DSM IV About Socio/Psychopathy & Narcissism Descriptions of Evil (Lucifer, Satan, etc.)
Pretends to be wonderful, helpful, supportive Masquerades as the ‘Angel of Light’
Powerful Often beautiful or handsome; Lucifer called ‘the most beautiful’, name means ‘the shining one’
Superior attitude towards others Is superior to other angels in power and authority
Contempt for others especially authority figures Fights against God and wants His power
Use power and authority over others Called the Prince of Power
Prideful Heart is filled with pride and contempt
Splits people against each other Turned 1/3 of the angels against God and took them
Often rejected, expelled, dismissed, broken up with because of behavior God expelled him from Heaven
Places are created to contain them: jail, prison, mental institutions, probation God created a place to contain him in the future–Lake of Fire
Fights against any rules and others who try to make him conform Fights against God to ruin and hinder His plans
Destroy and deceive others (and enjoy doing it) Called ‘The Destroyer’ and “Deceiver”
Masquerades as anything you want him to be Masquerades as the ‘Angel of Light’
Likes to scare others and show power so others fear him Prowls like a roaring lion
Looks for someone to overpower and control Prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour
Bold, cunning, self ambitious Boldness, subtlety in his cunning
Self willed and strong prideful self will
Narcissistic wanting to be better than everyone else Said “I will be like the Most High”
Fakes being wonderful, helpful, virtuous Many false prophets have gone in the world (like him), performs lying ‘signs and wonders’
Accuses others Called ‘The Accuser’
Adversary, enemy to any who turn against him Called the Serpent or ‘Adversary’
Liar, tempter, thief Referred to as a liar, thief and tempter
Motives are destructive to others Motives are to deceive and afflict

It is clear in some spiritual texts that spiritual evil has almost no separation from psychological evil, or vice verse. There are some things we don’t totally understand such as how the spirit realm can effect the psychological realm or how one’s pathology may taint their spirit. But it has been clear to me, and hundreds of survivors, that ‘evil’ straddles vocabularies of both psychological definitions and spiritual ones as well. The spiritual union of souls when united to a psychopath, is like none other. Those who have united in the spiritual realm can attest to the evil witnessed in that sharing. There is still much to learn about how psychology and theology meld.

A large portion of one of the chapters in Women Who Love Psychopaths as been devoted to this issue. Please check the chart in the book for a better grasp of this concept.

(**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 info.)

Testing the Edge

Women who end up in dangerous and pathological relationships often end up there because they like (or find interesting) ‘living on the edge.’ They don’t like their lives boring and that extends to liking men who are ‘edgey’ as well. No boring normal ‘geek’ men–Nope! The more the edge/bad boy/outlaw/rebel (or the more you perceive they need some support to keep an honest life afloat) the more you like them.

This ‘edge-walking’ landed you right in the lap of a dangerous and pathological man. In the beginning edgey seems ‘neutral’ — it’s too early to know that his edgey-ness is going to cost you. All you know is he’s a long way from boring and that’s ok with you.

It’s before you knew that:

  • His ‘edge’ is emotionally addicting for you
  • That his edge is narcissism (or worse!)
  • That his edge is about rejecting authority
  • That his edge isn’t the cool ‘James Dean’ type of edge
  • That this edge is all about him
  • That his edge consumes your self esteem for lunch
  • That his edge doesn’t make YOU cool for being with him
  • That his edge doesn’t mean you an ‘in’ girl to love someone like him
  • That’s before your realized his edge isn’t about you or your own enjoyment of everything edgey
  • It’s before you realized his edge wasn’t something for you to ‘tame’ a bad boy or ‘heal’ a wounded one

That’s before you knew that his ‘edge’ can’t be fixed, counseled, medicated, or churched.

His edge can’t be loved into something less savage and more soothing.

That’s before you realized his edge isn’t artsy, educational, intellectual, musical, poetic or religious. His edge isn’t about riding his convertible fast, or having daring sex or risky financial investments. His edge isn’t about his party lifestyle or his command presence when others are around.

That’s before you realized that his edge isn’t about the sad stories he told about his life to use as emotional bonding with you, before you realized that his edge was really just a trail of wounded women behind him. That’s before you realized that his edge was unrelenting lying, broken promises, and changes he could never make no matter how long he promised or how hard he tried.

That’s before your realized his edge really wasn’t brilliance unrecognized, charm unspoiled, or love unrequited.

That’s before you realized that his edge was one thing…and one thing only.

His edge was pathology.

(**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 info.)

Adult Children of Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Borderline Parents

Nothing is sadder or more destructive than not getting your needs met as a child because your parents were pathologically disordered. Narcissism, socio/psychopathic, antisocial or borderline are just four ways that your parents could have been pathologically disordered. There are a number of other ways and diagnosis as well.

But the fact remains that so many children raised by pathological parents (whom are often also addicts) grow up seeing the world through the eyes of the pathological. We call that ‘the pathological world view.’ No matter how you cut it, children are influenced, for the good or the bad, by the parents who raise them. That’s because we largely come to see the world, ourselves and others through their eyes. If they are healthy and normal people–that view of others and ourselves is a good thing. If they are dangerous and pathological, the view of others and ourselves could be a bad thing.

There are a number of aftermath effects of pathological parenting that you may have recognized in your own life–choices, patterns, feelings, behaviors that have negatively influenced your life.

  • You may be plagued with self-doubt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic caregiving of others
  • A total disregard for your own needs or self care
  • You could battle depression or chronic anxiety
  • Or fight nagging pessimism about your future or the world around you
  • You might be dangerously naive never trusting your own instincts and being constantly taken advantage of
  • You could have eating disorders, sexual addictions/other sexual disorders
  • Or obsessive compulsive behaviors
  • You could medicate your feelings with drugs or alcohol
  • Or find abusive religious affiliations to take up where your pathological parents fell away
  • You may have emotional intimacy problems or jump from relationship to relationship fearing abandonment or being alone
  • Or you may engage in what they now call ‘sexual anorexia’ — the forbidding of yourself to ever be intimate or loving with someone else

While you may ‘understand why’ your parents behaved like they did or you are engulfed in compassion and pity for their illness, the rubber meets the road at the point where your needs went so chronically unmet that you now have your own emotional problems because of what you didn’t get at those crucial developmental points of your life. Compassion, pity, forgiveness and understanding about their disorder only goes so far as it doesn’t help you get what you never got from the most important people in your life.

Today, your choices in relationships can be largely influenced from pathological parenting. Picking dangerous and/or pathological men for relationships is often a devastating side effect of pathological parenting. Growing up learning how to normalize abnormal behavior is a set up for accepting pathology into all areas of your life—your boss, your friends, your partners. Becoming aware of your relationship choices is a good first start but may NOT be the only intervention you need in order to grieve your childhood losses and stop trying to fix pathologicals by having intimate or parenting-type relationships with them. You can’t fix your own pathological parenting deficits through a relationship with someone else. That can only be done one-on-one with yourself.

If you are sick of self sabotaging your own life, relationships, career, success and future because of what you might not have gotten in your childhood, there is help and hope. You don’t have to be a slave forever to your past.

Join us for the ‘Adult Children of Narcissistic, Psychopathic and Borderline Parents’ support group. If you are ready to make healthy choices you didn’t have the skills for before, then contact us for jump start on your recovery.

(**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 info.)

Should I React This Way?

Partners of pathologicals face chronic confusion about their reactions to his pathology. She feels the incongruency in the Jekyll and Hyde personalities, reacts to it, and then gets labeled by him as being hysterical.

The fact is, pathologicals project their traits and behaviors on everyone else and say it’s ‘them’ instead of ‘him.’ That IS part of pathology. In fact, several different personality disorders DO that in relationships because it is a feature and a trait of pathology. So just maybe those are HIS traits and not yours! Maybe what you are seeing is a glimmer of his pathological self view and world view and how he thrusts that upon others and labels them with his own disorder.

Many of you wonder if what you DO feel in the relationship is the ‘correct’ or ‘normal’ way to react. SHOULD you have certain reactions to certain disorders or behaviors? The answer is a resounding ‘YES.’

Normal people have very strong reactions when exposed short OR long term to pathological persons. In fact, it is normal to have these kinds of reactions and non-pathological persons SHOULD have strong reactions to abnormal behavior. I have the same types of reactions to pathologicals–I have just had to learn over the years to contain my reactions for professional reasons.

These types of reactions in you can be: confusion, frustration, anxiety, wanting to hurt them (slap them, verbally assault them and fantasies of REALLY hurting them). Some women have reactions of ‘trying to help him understand himself better so she can alter his behaviors.’ Others believe what he says about her and start to judge her own behavior, character, and history. She truly begins to think SHE is the one who is sick and not him. She begins to doubt her own perceptions (well I guess black IS white and bad IS good). Her whole world view becomes distorted like looking into a carnival mirror where the world becomes wavy and crazy looking.

Others shut down completely and stop communicating because every word is turned back on her by the pathological. Some become paranoid knowing he is doing something and not able to prove it.

Long term effects are a complete emotional shut down, physical exhaustion with resulting medical issues, chronic depression and/or anxiety, and an altered sense of self worth. Much like the elephant who only needs to be chained for a short time before it thinks it can never escape and it never tries to—women do the same thing. The emotional operant conditioning by pathologicals renders normally strong and independent women into lobotimized rag dolls that don’t move or respond as they have been trained ‘not to.’

Outsiders who are around the pathological also have their own normal reactions to his abnormal behavior. If he has children, they too have adversive reactions as does his boss, any normal family members he might have, the neighbors or anyone he has to deal with. It is normal to have BIG reactions to pathologicals. Even animals often don’t like them! Come on now—if a dog avoids him—we should too!

Then there are those of you who not only have had your training at the hands of intimate pathological relationships, but you have been trained in your youth by pathological parents. By now abnormal behavior must look and feel totally normal to you. The effects of pathological parenting are huge and set up reactions, behaviors and world views that need intense treatment in order to set straight.

Reactions to pathology are expected and to a large degree, normal.

We will be offering an Adult Children of Pathological Parenting Support Group exactly for this issue. Contact us for more information.

(**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 info.)