Rethinking Female Sociopathy, Part Two

In Rethinking Female Sociopathy, Part One, I went through a comprehensive list of sociopathic traits based on psychologists Hervey Cleckley‘s and Robert Hare’s psychopathy checklists. For every single item mentioned, I can think of a real life example that every one of my clients has suffered.

Are these men’s wives, girlfriends and exes sociopaths?

Maybe, maybe not. If not, they sure are acting out a lot of sociopathic behaviors. Most of the men and women I work with often arrive to my virtual office trying to figure out what the hell is going on in their relationships.

They want to know, is she a Borderline? Is she a narcissist? Is she a histrionic? Does she act this way because her parents abused her? Is it a combination of all of the above?

The simple answer is, I don’t know with 100% certainty and it doesn’t really matter. The important questions are:

  • Is her behavior abusive?
  • How is her behavior affecting you (and the children)?
  • Is she willing to acknowledge her behaviors are abusive and get help to change?

If the answers to these questions are no, then it really doesn’t matter if you have an accurate diagnosis because it’s highly unlikely that things will change no matter what you do.

What I do know is that the behaviors, as described by both my clients and the men and women who participate on the Shrink4Men Website and Forum, seem incredibly abusive and sociopathic to me.

Yet, in our society, men receive the diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder and end up prison far more than women do. Is this because men are more prone to this personality disorder or because men are more likely to have fa-cocked brain chemistry or hard wiring?

I don’t think men are any more likely to be sociopaths than women are.

As a society, we have so devalued men and overvalued women, that we have a difficult time believing that some women are just as capable as some men of being toxic, unremorseful, exploitative, abusive, dangerous jerks. I’m here to tell you, female sociopaths do exist. And they have a much easier time getting away with their predations because we, as a society, refuse to acknowledge and address the problem.

We tend to view female sociopaths as sick and deserving of help and male sociopaths as monsters who should be locked away. I think male and female sociopaths are sick monsters and prefer to stay as far away from them as humanly possible.

Bottom line: Male sociopaths go to jail and female sociopaths go to counseling, where they are often enabled by well-meaning, but clueless therapists. The fields of law and psychology seem to view male sociopaths as dangerous individuals who need to be locked away for our protection.

Meanwhile, psychologists and lawyers tend to see female sociopaths as “victims” who just need love, patience and understanding and, if they only could receive said love, patience and understanding from a mental health professional and – get this – if they could only receive love, patience and understanding from their victims (i.e., their partners, friends and children) that they will get well and bunnies and unicorns will hop and prance under a giant rainbow.

Here’s the real kicker though and, I think, one of the biggest issues. A diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder is ruled out if an individual’s sociopathic behavior is deemed to be a symptom of another disorder or illness.

This means that if an individual is diagnosed with another personality disorder or mental illness, for example, Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that their sociopathic behaviors aren’t considered sociopathic. I have tried wrapping my mind around this one for years, but I simply cannot do it.

As previously noted, male sociopaths go to jail and female sociopaths go to counseling. I’d like to amend that statement at the risk of being bashed.

Male sociopaths are diagnosed with AsPD and sent to jail. It is my opinion that female sociopaths are given different diagnoses, such as BPD or NPD, and are sent to counseling, often with the same rehabilitative failure as male sociopaths who are imprisoned.

Now, before the “hive” gets itself into a self-righteous tizzy because Dr T, the quack, is confusing Borderline, Narcissistic and Histrionic Personality Disorders with sociopathy, let me assure you, I am not.

Interesting side note: The self-identified borderlines who contact me from time to time to let me know that they’ve recovered and then go on to act out classic borderline traits via their emails, never rush to defend individuals with narcissistic or histrionic or antisocial personality disorder and caution me not to “paint them all with the same brush,” which, by the way, I do not. Nor have any of them, ever, not once, shown empathy or concern for the thousands of men and women who have posted their experiences on Shrink4Men of being abused by individuals with these disorders.

The closest I’ve seen to concern for the victims of abuse perpetrated by personality disordered women is some statement along the lines of, “Nons have problems, too, otherwise they wouldn’t get involved with a woman with BPD in the first place.” Let me translate: A personality disordered individual who makes this statement is engaging in victim blaming. They’re saying that if you have been abused by a narcissist, borderline and/or a sociopath, it’s your fault.

I see the dramatic or Cluster B personality disorders, which include Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder, as distinct phenomenon. However, I believe that, fundamentally, they are just different flavors of sociopathy and, in fact, there’s a great deal of overlap within these diagnoses. It is also my belief that sociopathy lies at the heart of the Cluster B disorders.

A lack of empathy, exploiting others for your own gain, and the refusal to be held accountable for the harm you cause others are the cornerstones of sociopathy. If you want to split hairs and say, “No, no, no. Borderlines and Narcissists act in sociopathic ways because they fear abandonment, rejection and feeling and appearing inferior and not because they’re sociopaths,” be my guest.

And while you’re engaging in that fanciful argument, defending these individuals who often leave a wake of victims in their path, and explaining why sociopathic behavior isn’t really sociopathic if an individual has been diagnosed with a different personality disorder or illness, just stop for a minute.

Stop and consider for just one minute how the real victims, you know, the husbands, boyfriends, children, exes, and the new partners of the exes who are on the receiving end of the abusive behaviors feel.

By the way, if you weren’t able to think about someone else’s feelings and their pain for one full minute, without interjecting a “yes, but what about my pain,” I think I may have just proven at least one of my points.

It’s time to readjust our perspectives when it comes to female sociopathy.

First, we need to truly and fully realize that female sociopathy exists. Professionals in the fields of psychology and law need to harden themselves to the tears and manipulations of female sociopaths who play victim just as we do in cases of male sociopathy. For some reason, male tears seem to lack the magical power of female tears.

Sociopaths, regardless of gender, are ultimately treatment resistant, no matter how prettily they cry or how pitiful they seem.

Isn’t a woman who shows no empathy toward her husband, who sets out to deliberately rob him of as many of his assets as she possibly can, who believes she’s entitled to money and other material goods for which she hasn’t worked, who robs her husband of the people he loves most, his children, who teaches children to hate and abuse their father, who derives pleasure from sadistically hurting and punishing her husband and who laughs at her husband’s pain and claims he “deserved it” and “had it coming,” isn’t she just as sociopathic as, say, Bernie Madoff who infamously said, “Fuck my victims?”

Why is it important that we recognize female sociopathy?

So that we can better protect our children and ourselves. I’d like to believe that if we, as a society, were better able to manage our collective cognitive dissonance about female predators, that the children of women like Theresa Riggi, Casey Anthony, Fiona Donnison, and Kelli Lynn Murphy would still be alive. And that the countless men, women and children who have had their lives ruined by these predators would not have had to suffer so needlessly nor be run through the wood chipper of family court, children’s services and parental alienation.

And yes, it would be great for individuals with sociopathic traits to get help and get better, but, at least for me, my priority is helping and protecting the victims of sociopaths.

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

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Comments

  1. Micksbabe says

    Actions speak louder than any diagnosis, IMO. Bottom line, if the person is void of a conscience, lacks empathy, ENJOYS being hurtful to other people, then who cares what the clinical diagnosis is? They need to GO.

    • Kay says

      Oh, yeah–I knew my ex-friend had to leave my life when she ripped me to shreds via e-mail and then posted on Facebook for all to read, “I’m having a GREAT day! I no longer have to sit back and be quiet and nice!” Yeah, so you’re a nasty witch who enjoys hurting me, just because you couldn’t keep me under your thumb and make me dance to your tune? Hit the jettison button….

      I also remember listening in wonder as her husband would tell me how he deserved some of the smacks I saw her give him, or try to tell me that she’s not so bad, it’s the hormones, it’s stress, whatever. Or he’d explain why her obvious acts of control were justified.

      Interesting how he would complain about other people being “victims,” yet by tolerating her abuse of him and the children, he made himself into a victim….

  2. Robert Full Of Rage says

    Women and men are held to different standards regarding punishment for abusive behavior. I see women kick/punch/slap and verbally abuse men more and more when I am in public. This behavior disturbs me not only because it is abusive, but because people in the vicinity act as if nothing happened. Women understand that most men will not defend themselves if they decide to strike men or verbally abuse them. This gets under my skin because for all the talk from women about men abusing women, the same women will not highlight the abusive behavior of their own gender. This attitude is prevalent throughout society. I am attending college, and men are fair game for abuse at the college I currently attend. The female-on-male abusive behavior I have mentioned above occurs on a daily basis. There is attitude on campus that women hurting men is empowerment. We men clearly understand we won’t get any help from college administrators, faculty, and security. A female student stabbed a male student in the neck with a pen, and was not punished for it. Female professors do their best to make the male students feel worse than dirt. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

    • Kay says

      Yeah. The ex-friends were homeless and lived in my house for a while, so I got to see “behind closed doors.” Even after they moved out, I occasionally saw the wife smack or verbally abuse her husband or children, right in front of me, as if she were doing nothing wrong, or daring me to call CPS. He also told me quite a few stories, himself, that she did even worse things. But when she overheard me telling my husband the crap she was pulling, she turned me into the bad guy who had to be punished, the one who couldn’t be trusted with her husband until I fell in line. I had to wonder how on earth she thought it was okay to abuse right in front of me. Did she think it was okay because she’s a woman? Did she do this in front of any of their other friends? I had to wonder, because other friends would stay at their house and still want to be around her. Did she hide it from them, behave herself while they were there, or do they think there’s nothing wrong with women doing that?

      But me, ever since I was a child I recognized this as wrong. I witnessed the double standard at school, heard the girls say, “Boys can’t hit girls, but girls can hit boys!” But somehow, the ex-friend felt she could get away with abusing her husband and children, and paint me as a horrible, awful person, someone who could not be trusted with her husband, because I kept my distance from her.

      One day, a mutual friend told me that he loved going to their house, laughed about the kids running around screaming and her running around getting after them. Yet this same guy had views on abuse which are similar to mine. Leading me to think that she behaves herself around him. Lucky him. :P

      There was another mutual friend who recognized her for what she was, saw behind the mask. He, too, finally got subjected to verbal abuse and a smear campaign. But she made herself out to be the victim and got everybody thinking he was crazy and blaming and ridiculing him. Even though she had just spent hours and many forum messages (they were in an online game together) ripping him to shreds and making false accusations publicly, as soon as his patience finally ended and he started blowing up back at her, *he* became the bad guy. Her husband accused him of “quick insults” and not respecting women, saying he couldn’t take back his insults now even if he tried, but what about the wife’s many “quick insults” and lack of remorse or respect for her husband’s friend? Is it okay from her, but not from anybody else? No one else is allowed to get upset about it?

      • B Experienced says

        In Cluster B land, their motto is, “Do as I say, not as I do”. I think we should get t-shirts with a lunatic on them saying this and then have the DSM-Cluster B Disorders printed on it as well. Why stop there! We could have a fully licensed Cluster B line of linens, a full clothing line and even Halloween decorations made as a product line. All proceeds will go to their victims recovery. That ought to bring it to the public’s attention.

  3. B Experienced says

    I think that is very important to know if you are dealing with a psychopath because they require a different plan of action and have far too many tricks up their sleeves. You can easily make matters worse or get yourself killed if you don’t know what you are up against. Knowledge and planning is panda mount with this disorder.

    • B Experienced says

      PS

      Dr. T. I too remember trying to wrap my mind around the nonsense of Narcissistic and BPD behavior being different than the Psychopaths in school. My conclusion was that I was supposed to believe that the Emperor was wearing clothes when he wasn’t.

      BPD’s are usually more able to empathize and can have remorse sometimes very much so in both areas. However,they can and do remove themselves very easily from it when it interferes with what they want or need which can be quite often too. This detachment process is clearly psychopathic because of their actions and sense of entitlement when doing so. They can go through great lengths of time well adjusted and then become unhinged as well.

      It is no different than being bisexual. They can naturally and easily go either way. Why that is so hard for some to understand in the field is beyond me.

  4. Mr. E says

    “If the answers to these questions are no, then it really doesn’t matter if you have an accurate diagnosis because it’s highly unlikely that things will change no matter what you do.”

    This.

    Apart from that, I mostly just want to give you a high five for an excellent post.

    • B Experienced says

      When I was a kid, people used to say that men sweat and women glow instead of saying they sweat.
      In the eighties, PMS really took off as an excuse for being a bitch. Before that time, women would complain of crying, cramping or fatigue during that time and being a bitch wasn’t on the radar. The psyche community even added PMS support groups as part of their “industry”. You could then be a victim of PMS and in need of psychiatric intervention. I suppose your friends were codependent (another industry trend and pseudo scientific buzz word that has caused harm) and enabled you somehow. I am surprised that they didn’t come up with a hokey 12 Step Program for that too.

      • AussieLola says

        B Experienced, I’m postmenopausal and have never used that condition to ‘justify’ anything… Self-knowledge and good professional care have made sure I don’t use my bipolar condition either…
        My condition, unfortunately, wasn’t my choice. Getting the right professional care obviously was!

        Menopause is a fact of life, same as PMS. Both bring about physical and psychological changes, but using them as the reason why some female monsters give their spouses and children grief is a miscarriage of logical thinking.

        I wish the psychologists and psychiatrists that treated me in the past had mentioned Cluster B, even in passing. It would have saved me from a second marriage to a sociopath, some friendships with narcissists and BPDS, and plenty of suffering. Psychoanalysts, for example, will always refer you back to your mother (All About Your Mother, yeah!) and how you refuse to grow up. Psychoanalysts are the real enablers of so much sociopathy. Psychoanalysis is pseudo-science. It’s good to see that as a way of treating patients, it will become extinct.

        • B Experienced says

          Hi Aussie,
          I am very happy to hear that medication is helping your Bipolar Illness. It most certainly isn’t your choice either in any way shape or form. I have and had family members with Schizophrenia, so I am very aware of the level of suffering you have incurred. It is always nice to hear stories where medication and competent help work out well for someone.
          I agree with you. I had gynecological problems for thirty years, and I am starting menopause now. I have yet to lash out at my family or hurt someone. Nothing of the sort comes to mind. It is just another excuse for women to abuse.
          Psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience, and it should be made illegal to practice it. There are more laws to make marshmallows than there are for fraudulent and harmful psychotherapies in the States and probably elsewhere too.
          I think at the very least the therapist should state that the behavior is psychopathic so that people can get their tails in gear. You don’t mess around with people’s lives, and it is their job to protect them. A lot of people need to hear that someone is a psychopath or sociopath as you refer to the disorder because that will be the piece of information for them to leave. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that throughout the years. Worse yet, some therapists tried to get them to stay to work it out. Scary.

        • AussieLola says

          I agree with you, B Experienced. SCARY!!
          Possibly in the realm of nonsense-lack of common sense, we can add some aspects of religion. Many good men and women were told by religious authorities with no empathy whatsoever that it was part of God’s plan for them to put up with a devilish partner, and try to make them “better” in the process.

          One good thing about menopause: it may bring in a few nasties, but it doesn’t really hurt!

          • B Experienced says

            Hi Aussie,

            I agree. Long suffering or martyrdom is glorified in at least a sect of most religions. I call it masochism and self defeating = victim mentality.

            I have long believed that the religious leaders who encourage and enable this dogma should be charged criminally for aiding and abetting the crimes of abuse that they expect people to endure. They are just as sick and sadistic as the person doing the actual abuse.

            However, religious people are revered and belong to the group of professional untouchables in most societies. One would think that they would be held to a higher standard instead of having the bar lowered to accommodate their psychopathology and be allowed to use rationalization and justification as an acceptable defenses.

            The same goes for toxic practitioners in the Mental Health field. I haven’t seen much or anything really happen to the Mental Health professional either who tries to get the Cluster B to change and their victim to stay with them since Mental Health Professionals are revered as Therapy Gods in our society. The fields lengthy history of harm and crazy practitioners is overlooked or rationalized most of the time as well, even when it is glaringly obvious that it is flat out wrong, damaging and dangerous.

          • AussieLola says

            B Experienced, you’re a really “spot-on” lady – as we say Down Under. If you ever come here, do knock on my door :-)
            We need more human beings and less sacred cows, more balance and less self-absorption, more awareness and less darkness.

          • B Experienced says

            Hi Aussie,

            Thank you very much. I would love to travel to Great Britain and Australia because the people tend to say it like it is.

        • Micksbabe says

          PMS and Menopause do trigger mood swings in women. In Normal women (non-HCP’s), this is moderate. In HCP’s, it’s an excuse to lash out at someoneone standing nearby. In Normal women, this might manifest as being over-sensitive, maybe some physical pain. In HCP’s, this manifests as fits of rage and physical pain for OTHERS.

          • chester says

            PMS, Menopause…mood swings. I don’t buy any of it. Far as I’m concerned it’s just a handy excuse for a B&%$#H-to be-a B^$#@H. Funny how she could turn those “moods” on and off…depending on the audience.

          • B Experienced says

            I, also, think that it is a very profitable way for drug companies, physicians and Mental Health Professionals to make more money.

  5. parmo1 says

    For 99% of his life , Madoff was thought to be a great generous donor helping his friends. Everyone loved him. He could get almost any women he pleased too, no doubt. Men like him get all the riches and the most attractive, sexiest women. The traits that you describe are ones that the top, cut throat businessmen all have. People without those traits will never get to the top because they have empathy for others and they must make do with being poor and having plainer, less sexy girlfriends.

    I am trying to find out the meaning of “nons” and “fa-cocked”, i guess that they must be American English words.

  6. parmo1 says

    But getting back to female behaviour, yes 100% spot-on of course. Men carry on and ignore bad female behaviour from their wives. Also shyer (??? spelling) will put up with it all, because he is worried about being alone.
    Men should stop putting up with crazy behaviour. I think my mother was a little like you described, so consequently, i believed that my wife’s behaviour was normal and i had to put up with it. Not any more. But i have found the most lovely lady now, now that I know better. You are a beacon of light to so many males, dr T. And bring understanding of what we all have been through.

  7. newwife says

    I love this article. My husband and my therapist suggest a possible diagnosis of BPD for his ex, because she frequently deals with high conflict divorce.Typically she works with men trying to protect their children from the abuse & alienation. She has told not to repeat this to others involved with the custody case since its in bad taste with her profession, having not met her, but that shes seen and done this dance with multiple people. She always suggests psychological testing for both parents during divorce with children. And many times its proven a personality disorder or other mental illness exists. Too bad its horribly expensive, and so my husband can’t go this route. But the suffering I’ve watched already at the hands of his ex affects so many loving, attentive family members because of her untreated psychological issues, leaves me less than sympathetic for whatever she is experiencing. Screw her, just like she screws everyone else. It has to always be about her, and once again everyone involved is supposed to acknowledge this and coddle her, while the child is being emotional abused, and damaged. All to preserve a relationship for the sake of the “mother” whose only attachment to him in the first place is to outwardly hurt others. There is no true love there, and the leaps and bounds and heartbreak endured just to bring it to the attention to the judge is absolutely ridiculous.

  8. danfromchelan says

    This article does a fantastic job of describing the reality of sociopathic behavior. Everyone needs this information in order to understand the sociopaths that we encounter in our lives. Without an understanding of these personality traits, it can be extremely confusing and emotionally upsetting when dealing with a sociopath. Having this knowledge is very empowering because our reactions and decisions with regard to the bad behavior can save us from a lot of unnecessary grief.

    Thank you so much Dr. T!!!

    • lifeonborder-line says

      Every male reaching adulthood should be exposed to Personality Disorders and MRA. I might not have had the daughter and son I do but I would have been saved a lot of grief if I had done a little more shit testing in both my marriages. They may not recognize it immediately but they will recognize it much sooner than I did by google searching.

  9. lifeonborder-line says

    Good post Dr T. Also a lot of good follow up. My wife totally embraces bitchiness brought on by hormones whether being pregnant or PMS. I assume that is what hurt the relationship she had with my son’s bio dad that she left early in the pregnancy. I don’t know how I survived. I was desperate for her to get help from bipolar that she told me about shortly after we were married but I now believe she is an entitled sociopath. I misstook a woman who wanted to be a housewife and Mom for someone who would be a partner. She will use anything to justify here acting out or abuses.

    She really hasn’t acknowledged that her behavior is abusive. That is definitely the deal breaker if she doesn’t do that sometime this year. She wants to reassess our relationship because I won’t commit to trying for a third child this spring. If that is grounds to reassess then bring it on. I love my Son and young daughter. Would love another child but not with a HCP.

    • B Experienced says

      life
      Three kids! Yikes. Having kids with a Cluster B is like playing Russian Roulette with their gene pool. Psychopathy, Narcissism (I call it the Jack ass gene) and Bipolar I are all genetically carried. There is no empirical evidence at this time to prove that Psychopathy and Narcissism occur naturally or because of an environmental confluence. Regardless of that, no matter which way you look at it, it wouldn’t be wise to have more children with her because you believe she is a Cluster B and has Psychopathy.
      I suspect she isn’t Bipolar either, and that is why she isn’t getting help. A lot of them like to use that one to cover their chosen bad behavior. They do that even when they are diagnosed with it. The people with Bipolar I Illness I knew and know weren’t violent or abusive either.
      I doubt if she will acknowledge that her behavior is abusive. Even if she did, I don’t believe that it will last for very long whether the abuse stems from her BPD, NPD or Sociopathy as you call it. If you refuse to have a child with her and want her to get help, she may very well have an affair because of emotional dependency or to have someone just in case you leave to take care of her. Be Careful.

    • Kay says

      I recall the ex-friend telling me how his wife had been abusing him and the kids quite a bit over the previous month or so. Just all sorts of crap was going on; she was punching him, screaming at the kids, making him so mad that he told me if she hit his face, he’d hit back. He’d actually been looking into whether or not a judge would convict him if he did so. She was also very jealous. Then he told me it was her hormones causing this, because she was pregnant. Hormones, stress. That he knew she loved him because of this, that and the other thing she had done. It sounded to me like he was trying to justify what she was doing so he wouldn’t have to leave her, like he doubted her love but wanted to convince himself of it. Then if she acted this way to somebody else, he’d justify it then, too. It was maddening, especially since I was expected to be friends with her, knowing what she was doing. :P

      • B Experienced says

        Hi Kay,

        It sounds like your describing him as having Dependent Personality Traits. These people can be very maddening. They are very stubborn, resistant to change and live in a fantasy world called idealization. They are experts at making threats of leaving or solving a problem, but very seldom follow through. At the first sign of not doing something well or failing, they all too often get out of it or stop what they are doing because they are self defeatists and need to reinforce their poor self esteem so they don’t have to endure the challenge of change or the pain of growing up. They can be easily influenced and persuaded by someone they have idealized and perceived as a rescuer or caretaker to them even if they were abusive. They tend to split so the abuse goes out of sight and out of mind or they forgive them time and time again because they are pathologically nice and kind. Their mantra to cope is next time it will be better, but the abusive cycle only continues.

        What a DPD fears the most is having to figure out the world by themselves and make decisions. They can be outwardly social, but are lone wolves a lot of the time. This is because they are known to put all their eggs in one basket and do not think that necessary others are necessary in their lives. They too can have a AAA Class pity party when they want to too and may have elements of Histrionic PD as well.

        Anxiety Disorders make it even harder for them to feel safe and make decisions which may drive them to stay dependent or they may have substance abuse problems because of this or to ward off feeling lonely. They have a tendency to live in the past up to the point of being morbid, and they are usually overly if not pathologically sentimental. This gives them the opportunity to dredge up the good their abuser did for them and then romanticize it too. The flip side to their idealization is extreme negativity in a lot of areas of life.

        Dependent PD’s often hook up with BPD and NPD’s with Psychopathy because of their fearlessness and their need for power and control over someone. In the Dependent’s mind this spells love because their narcissism is usually of a very young age and they fantasize about the perfect caretaker and protector. Although no narcissist is omnipotent, the DPD believes this is so.

        I have a huge problem using the term Battered Woman Syndrome because of it’s flagrant misuse, lack of empirical studies, and total disregard of holding the person who is being abused accountable for staying and putting up with the abuse at all. This alone is egregious. It is an enabling syndrome that is no different than having much of the pathology of a Dependent PD. However, this group is also one who will have the crap beat out of them, then say they love them, and it is often the disorder when the Battered Women’s Syndrome is used.

        Religious and societal beliefs of keeping the family together and sacrificing themselves which is martyrdom are usually part of their belief system. It is hard to argue with them because their masochistic beliefs are taught in their religion or have elements of being socially acceptable. Their beliefs are generally set in stone. Often times only a horrendous trauma may be the only catalyst to start the separation process from their abuser which is fraught with many regrets.

        Men who have Dependent PD traits or disorder are often hooked on the false self of the BPD’s or NPD’s charm and willingness for this kind of woman to be overly nurturing at times even up to the point of mothering them. They often stay with them because they make great meals for them and /or are vixens in bed, etc. This usually replaces a lack of nurturing, and self esteem problems; especially if the woman is good looking.

        People with this kind of dependent problem fail to protect their children for their own selfish pathological need to be taken care of in a way that is not age appropriate or interdependent.

        The Dependent PD has serious problems with knowing who and why someone is responsible as well at times. That is probably why he falls into her trap because the DPD uses the same defenses to deflect or reject taking responsibility for themselves to ward off any more threats to their damaged self esteem. Denial, rationalization and justification are other main pathological defenses in a DPD.

        The DPD can have a cold and unemotional or even mean side to their personality and believe that it is justified. So when they are being abused they often believe they are deserving of it. This is where their pathology is often enmeshed dangerously so.

        • Kay says

          I don’t know that he has DPD, but some of that does sound familiar. Not all of it, though. I do know that he had a long-term, on-and-off relationship with someone who sounds very much like NPD or BPD, as well, until she finally did something that was the last straw. He also has some of his own abusive issues. He does put her on a pedestal, has the philosophy that the wife is always right. Religion certainly does influence this, as they both have the idea that they should be together till death. But I fear that death may come rather quickly for one of them if they keep this up. :P

          • B Experienced says

            He probably has BPD features with other Cluster B problems as well on top of some of the Dependent features that ring true to you such as that he thinks she is always right and is idealized. They often pair up together and become gruesome twosomes. The violence with these pairings is becoming more common and deadly.
            I would just stay away for good because neither one of them can be trusted.

  10. kiwihelen says

    Dang, that picture at the top is going to give me nightmares!

    I had the dubious privelage of a chemically induced menopause for about 5 months as part of a medical process, and all I can say is “roll on the real thing” – it will be nice to be without the changes that oestrogen seems to inflict on my mind and body.

    PMS is real, it is nasty, but it is not a reason to inflict your bad behaviour on anyone else. Having done extensive research I have my own plan which minimises the effects and I am a responsible adult who has to stick with the plan.

    My SO’s CB enables Eldest age 14 to have a day of school each month with period pain…oh puleese, this is not what you should be teaching your kids.

  11. cuatezon says

    I was dating a doctor, neurologist, for several months. She’s extremely intelligent, bright, athletic, brought up in an affluent family & etc etc. She’s also a sociopathic narcissist. She told me her mom was coming to visit Memorial Day weekend; a day or so before that Friday she said a guy friend from high school was coming to visit. I confronted her & she waffled, and feigned confusion, and denied ever saying it was her mom coming. This guy was going to sleep on the couch and nothing going on between them. Uh-huh. Then, suddenly, that very Friday afternoon she calls & says the guy missed his flight & he can’t get a refund or other flight so she’s available. The sad thing is, I believe she set this whole little scene/drama up to play mind games. Later she went to stay at his NYC apt w/ him & his roomate, and thought this was okay even though we were in an exclusive relationship. Oh, but the 50 condoms I easily discovered in her dresser drawer early in the relationship, she had those around for ‘just in case’.

    She’d give her business card to bouncers at bars, offering them free neurology services if she & friends could get in the bar w/o cover charge. Really? One time I borrowed an extension cord to use for a business meeting, and she went ballistic, said I shouldn’t ever ‘f-ck’ with her ‘sh-t’, bla bla bla. She would lose her temper really easily for really trivial things…and always talk about ‘her feelings’ drowning me in such talk and banter…then she’d go on a hunting excursion & ask me all kinds of questions, interrogating me, all in the name of ‘sharing feelings’. When I would actually share feelings, she’d talk over me &ignore me. We often had 2hr phone calls, w/ talking delegated 110min for her, 10min for me. I’d often go to the bathroom, fix something to eat, and come back to the phone & she’d still be jibber-jabbering away on the phone. I’m not exaggerating.

    She would also totally verbally annihilate all of her patients, telling me for hours on end how crazy they were, how messed up they were, how awful they were. Then over Christmas her mom came into town and ‘made’ her use the $125 gift card/xmas gift from me, to use it to buy her dad a leather jacket. Essentially, I helped buy her dad a leather jacket for Christmas. Then when I told her I didn’t like this, she turned around & lied & said she was just joking. Then later she admitted it was true again. Remember, this is a 35yr old physician at a prominent hospital in L.A. She was upper class & looking good on the socio-economic scale, but a complete loser & crappy, horrible person inside. Oh and this was just a couple of the many crazy & mean things she did. I’m a human magnent for these psychos. Calgon, take me away…

  12. tomg says

    I’m back again. God help me!
    It’s all come to pass. My son is in a theraputic boarding school. ($150,000).
    My youngest in private school, and my wife is home saving the world from feral cats!
    $9 K in tuition and she has done nothing except threatne me with getting a job. I kid you not!

    As predicted, the day after we dropped our son at boarding school, she turned into a witch. Flat out calling me abusive (verbally) and an “Emotional Blackmailer.”

    I’m at my wits end. I’m getting the silent treatment while her therapist cheers her on from the sidelines. I go to work. She goes to therapy.

    HELP!

  13. wantingclosurebut1morething says

    Thankyou for your words. I agree with so much of what you say. I have experienced this kind of person male and female and become perplexed and stunned that they can be this way, while regularly receiving communion.
    Currently, there are 2 people in my life that I am struggling with and on behalf of my 12 y/o daughter. One is the npd father (my ex), the other is a npd female ‘frenemy’.
    I don’t know why/how they find me. I was taught to be kind in every way, and I am. I feel like it has done me a disservice when there are so many ruthless people being raised in throw-away cultures.
    I am best when I am not involved with them, but that takes time and space. A visit or a phone call can throw me for a 5 month loop. Is it ptsd? Or does it all just not fit into my strong sense of morality, beliefs and values?
    I want to be who I was before being distracted/disturbed by these people. My resilience is not as strong as it used to be.
    Thank you Dr. T

  14. theoxherd.com says

    I have been following your blogs for months.
    Months of slack-jawed recognition of the very condition which I have been dealing with for twelve years.
    I am honestly ashamed that it has taken this long for me to shake off the spell that I have been under.
    If you list any twenty traits of narcissistic personality disorder, my wife would exhibit eighteen or nineteen of them. I am stunned that there seems to be such a well-documented script for this behavior.
    In fact, for the first few weeks, I was in total denial that anyone, much less my beautiful wife, could be so calculating and evil, even though her behaviors were so clearly, and repeatedly explained, and even predicted on your website.
    I was brought up as a strong, decent person, and believed that my love, tolerance and faith could overcome her unreasonable rages, lies, infidelities and treachery. But my relationship has reduced me to utter despair. I have cried daily for nearly a year, and the shame of my weakness has plunged my self-esteem into a sewer of confusion.
    She has taken my home, destroyed my business, slandered me to friends, family and neighbors, emotionally abused both my son and me, and forced me into endless legal complications with her equally unethical lawyer and sympathetic judges who seem complicit in their rush to judgment and condemnation. All due to her lies and pre-planned agenda designed to destroy me.
    My victory is in escaping with my life…a life that I am slowly piecing back together from the shards of divorce.
    I want to thank you for the courageous act of maintaining such a forum for victims of the most insidious and destructive individuals I have ever known.
    And allowing the abused to discover that they are not alone.
    I offer this to every “half-dead mouse” who has crawled to safety.

    Post Tenebras Lux

    The darkness was in the rafters of the house.
    It wafted down the walls and seaped through the baseboards.
    Years went by, and the light was dimmed to black.
    Rending, slowly twisting, long knots of lies and confusion, closed every pore, and we ourselves kept sickening.
    In one final moment, the glass that walled our cage has broken,
    and we run…
    not walk away…
    not fade.
    A long ago child, who wept for loss, remembers every moment was made for this.

    On the peak of Haleakala, the sun rises ever so slowly across a desolate land, red and gold hills melting into the hottest part of the sun.
    When we emerge from crying, our hearts wrung dry, the sun will rise like that, in our barren landscape.
    The light will flood our shadows.
    And Love will wash away our impossible dreams.
    Did you ever doubt it, my dear?
    Enough despair.
    This past has left no mark on your soul…
    All that was, has passed away, and what is, awaits…so patiently.
    We have left the darkest dark, and opened wide our hearts.
    But, she…she still lives in the house where the darkness leaks from the rafters.
    She still breathes infected air.

    • Dr Tara J. Palmatier says

      Hi sea can,

      You find an attorney who specializes in high-conflict custody cases and document all of the abuses. Of course, this is easier said than done. And, even with mountains of evidence that the mother is abusing the child, it still may not be enough in Family Court.

  15. cuatezon says

    I’ve concluded one of my best female friends in Socal is a Borderline/Sociopath. She’s been nice and helpful to me in several ways, yet a recent event has awoken me to a pattern that I’ve been in deep denial about. I’ve been in denial about it b/c I’m still fairly new to a new State and need friends/connections…so I chose to disregard many things.

    She held a BBQ this weekend, and invited 2 guys she met at a bar 2 days earlier. They were nice guys and all, but seemed a little different. While I was swimming in the lake with her and her roomate, we got to talking about these 2 guys, and she was saying how 1 of the guys was a real jerk, being quiet and aloof etc. I half-joking said/asked that maybe they were gay? (Disclaimer: I have nothing against gay people, I don’t hate anybody, blah blah etc.). I just wasn’t sure about their orientation and was wondering out loud more than anything. Perhaps it was not appropriate for me to make the comment. I told them not to say anything to the 2 guys b/c I didn’t want to hurt their feelings or start rumors.

    So my friend and her roomate go back to the picnic table a few minutes later. After swimming another 10 minutes or so, I went back and of course, the 2 guys were like “hey we’re not gay we don’t swing that way etc. etc.”. It was so awkward and embarassing. I couldn’t believe my very good friend had ran back up to these 2 guys she has only known for 48 hours and threw me under the bus like that. Again, I had not made the gay question/comment in a nasty, distasteful way it was truly just curiosity. I was so embarrassed and apologized and made it clear I had just been wondering, I didn’t say they were gay. It was extremely awkward.

    You cannot imagine the betrayal I felt. It caught me off guard. This has been one of my best friends here for the past 4 yrs, I’ve helped move both her kids to 2 different cities, I’ve bought probably $1,000 of dinners for her being a good friend, thanking her for introducing me to her circle of friends, and, I loaned her $60 one time that she never paid back. I’ve given her rides to the airport, helped her with other little problems and things too.

    The day I loaned her some money we were in a bar. 5 minutes after loaning her the money, she said she lost $20 of the $60; I think she wanted me to fork over another $20 but I didn’t offer. She never paid me back – this was 2 years ago.

    One time me, her friend and I were at a restaurant/bar listening to live music. They were both drunk, and yelling at the band “you suck, you fucking suck so bad, you’re horrible…” etc etc. They kept yelling this at the band and we almost got kicked out of the place. I was so embarassed I would never do that.

    In addition, this very same night, her friend put $50 on the table to pay for part of the food/drinks. The $50 bill disappeared soon thereafter. We asked waitress, we looked around, could nto find it. So we asked my friend to look in her purse – and alas, the $50 bill was in her purse. She profusely apologized and said she didn’t remember taking the $50 bill. She was pretty drunk, so I dismissed it as bad drunken behavior. Her friend was peeved though.

    My friend is 47yrs old. She drinks regularly and smokes marijuana, possibly does other things (I’ve never seen or confirmed this but suspect it). She’s been a very successful business woman, a ‘go getter’, bold, confident, outpsoken – qualities that I admire in people. However, I’ve concluded she is not ethical, nor trustworthy, nor honest. She exaggerates her problems, she causes a lot of her own problems, there is always drama with her. Me and another male friend both agree she is absolutely not trustworthy you cannot tell her anything in confidence.

    In addition, yesterday’s BBQ…she apparently blew off a lunch date with her son so she could put on this social event BBQ for several friends. Her told her the day before he was coming back home. When she blew him off, he texted her some very angry words calling her a bitch and whatnot. Very strong words coming from an 18yr old kid. Furthermore, I think she may have purposely sabotaged her son’s college dorm plans. She ‘forgot’ to turn in paperwork to apply for dorm living at the college he started a month ago. So 3 days before he is moving to a new town and starting college, she informs him she forgot to send in the paperwork and so it was a huge drama trying to find him a place to stay off campus. He missed out staying with his friends in the dorms b/c of this ‘error’.

    Also, back in May this friend, another guy and I went to an outdoor concert. There were only 2 VIP tickets left, so I let them go to the main event while I watched some other side concerts and meandered around by the beach etc. It was all good. When the main event got out, we were separated and I couldn’t get to the exit area for a few minutes so I asked them to wait. About 2 minutes later, they saw a friend of the other guy’s and hitched a ride up to his house – and texted me to walk all the way to his house. It was an uphill walk about a mile away.

    Basically, my ‘good friend’ ditched me and hopped a ride with this guy (she had only known hinm for a week or so) and the guy’s friend. We had all been drinking a little so I was not looking forward to walking a mile uphill by myself. I stayed on the beach instead, sobered up, and then got my car and drove home. She continued to text me asking where I was, would I go out with them to some other bars etc., and I just made up an excuse that I had other plans. I really felt betrayed though.

    This ‘good friend’ has known and condoned her children drinking and smoking marijuana even when they were in high school. She also knew of and condoned both her kids having sex while they were in high school. In fact, just a few weeks ago she said they found a list of her 18yr old son and it had 41 names of women he had been intimate with.

    Again, this is a successful businesswoman who lives in the nice part of town and does charity work for a charitable organization. However, more now than ever I’ve been feeling that ‘knife’ in my back just too many times and am tired of feeling shamed and non-affirmed when around her. I’m also tired of ignoring glaring ethical issues here. I’m no saint but gosh, I don’t throw friends under the bus, nor enjoy hurting others, nor would I condone my kids doing the things her kids do.

    Why, o why, do I attract these people?

  16. Itza Sekret says

    Sociopathy adds a valuable distinction, I think, to comprehending BP/NPD. I consider these a continuum of behavior, and suspect my ex manifested differing traits in differing circumstances. For eg. I know we had 3 diff types of conflict- 1) driven by her rage and/need for drama/need to be victimized, 2) driven by her attempts to teach me co-narcissism toward her NPD/sociopathic momma, 3) driven by her own narcissism. And yet, many of us later wrestle with what appeared to be vacuous lack of remorse demonstrated by a partner we suspect of BP/NP. Why were they so inhuman? If I consider that she might also access/act out sociopathic traits variably, that her lack of remorse could sometimes not be disguised, perhaps even relish causing social/physical harm to another person, then it’s a bit easier to just close the book on it all. It adds a dimension to comprehend that some of her behavior was just sociopathic. I like what someone else commented… that having kids with one of these women would be like playing russian roulette in the gene pool.

    • cuatezon says

      Itza Sekret, I like to dabble in psychology and ponder what the ‘correct’ diagnosis is for these souless beings that drift into my life. Sociopath? Narcissist? Bipolar? Borderline? Etc.? For purely intellectual reasons I ponder. But personally, I’ve decided its easier to acknowledge something is serious wrong with the person, that its not healthy to interact with them, and to distance myself as far as possible. So I don’t lose sleep over it and regardless of the diagnosis, I’m going to be okay & safe.

      Agree that genetics can play a role in moods, personality, etc. However, most behavior is learned. Bad behavior that is condoned or not corrected, will only continue & worsen. You’re right there is a spectrum/continuum. Varying degrees of assholism/bitchism. There are plenty of people with ‘genetic’ dispositions towards unhealthy behavior (anger issues, OCD, etc) but many learn ways to cope & be a positive, contributing member to society w/o damaging other human beings. The psychos we deal with and describe on this site, well, they have chosen not to change, or cope, or whatever…and have decided to take their misery out on others. I take the position of Dr. T on these people. They are responsible for their behavior, period.

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