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When women are sociopaths/psychopaths

Nearly all of the research into sociopathy has involved evaluating the personality traits of adult men in prison. The reason for this is that researchers have easy access to adult prisoners and more prisoners are male. Think about it—how else would a researcher find sociopaths to study? The problem with studying sociopathy in male prisoners is that we learn nothing about sociopaths who never get arrested. We also don’t know if the research results apply to women.

There is actually very little research data available regarding sociopathy in non-criminals and in women. The little research that has been done reveals that sociopathy in women entails two or three main features that are similar to those found in men. Namely, female sociopaths lack empathy and enjoy manipulating and exploiting others. Violent and impulsive behavior is less common in sociopathic women. This fact may make them more dangerous, as they more easily blend in with the rest of society.

The key traits of sociopathic females

A recent study of adolescent girls in detention performed by Crystal L. Schrum, M.A. and Randall T. Salekin, Ph.D. of the University of Alabama and reported in Behavioral Sciences and the Law, revealed the core qualities that best described young female sociopaths. The teens were callous and lacked empathy, had a grandiose sense of self worth and were conning and manipulative. They were also likely to engage in impersonal sexual relationships. Importantly, the researchers revealed that female sociopaths did not necessarily have “shallow emotions.” Again the lack of impulsivity and shallow emotions may make a female sociopath more difficult to spot.

Please read the true Lovefraud story of Michelle Drake. Notice that female sociopaths victimize other women as well as men. This vignette illustrates many of the core qualities of a female sociopath. As I read this case, I was painfully reminded of the male sociopath who was once part of my life; so perhaps the similarities between male and female sociopaths are more important than the differences. What struck me about the story is the elaborate con she perpetrated for really very little money. This case illustrates something truly amazing about sociopaths—the degree to which they derive pleasure from conning others. Their hoaxes are often outlandish and grandiose.

A friend of mine, who was once in law enforcement, says that conning is the sociopath’s profession and that that he/she may not even do it for the money. Conning is instead the work they have a passion for. As my friend says, “When a sociopath wakes up and opens his eyes in the morning, it’s show time!” I can envision Michelle saying that to herself as she donned the fake pregnancy costume.

The public and the courts are sympathetic toward female sociopaths

The case of Michelle Drake also illustrates something else about female sociopaths. The courts are more likely to go easy on them. This attitude of the courts may reflect the fact that many people excuse the behavior of female sociopaths and feel sorry for them. Look at the cases of women in the news lately. We don’t know if the women involved are sociopaths, however, these cases do illustrate the double standard that exists in how we judge female as opposed to male antisocial behavior. Several women teachers have been found guilty of sexually exploiting students. They were treated very leniently for the same crimes that would have put a man in jail for many years.

The NASA astronaut arrested for attempted murder is another example of the way people treat women differently and don’t take their crimes seriously. This week, a restaurant owner in Florida held a benefit night to raise money for the astronaut’s family. News commentators have been quick to voice sympathy for the astronaut, yet I have not heard a one express sympathy for the victim. I remind you that it is alleged that the astronaut sprayed her victim with mace and planned to kill her.

In conclusion, sociopathy is less common in women. Women who are sociopaths may not appear as shallow as men who are sociopaths. They are also less angry and impulsive compared to men. Although violence is less commonly perpetrated by women, if you are the victim, these statistics don’t matter.



141 Comments on "When women are sociopaths/psychopaths"

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  1. shabbychic says:

    Now I’m disgusted! Good reasons to document everything and to let your manager know right away what’s going on. I’m so glad you got your job back!!! (even though not at same site) “wife safe” HA HA.

  2. Delta1 says:

    To Twice Betrayed

    I am a Child Protection social worker in the UK and can only speak from the perspective of that country of course. Also I don’t have all the information I would need to make a proper ‘professional assessment in any way. However, with that disclaimer, I am concerned enough to suggest as others have done that you should seriously consider calling Children’s Services in your area – you can do this anonymously (refuse to give names/identifying details) in the first instance to ‘take the temperature’ if you wish. Of course if the SW is doing their job they will pressure you very much to give identifying details (that’s what I’d do!!)

    If your concern is your daughter taking your GD out to bars etc and GD’s hearing could be long-term damaged etc then this could be considered significant physical/emotional child abuse (depending entirely on whether your concerns can be independently evidenced somehow).

    Any CP worker would also take into consideration frequency of visits to bars and other contextual information. In my own practice I find that I (and fellow SW’s) are not usually fooled by ‘nice houses – tidy, clean etc’ when it comes to this particular form of abuse – clearly having a tidy house is ‘nothing to do with it’.

    If this were allocated to me I would likely insist on hearing tests for the child if the ‘basic facts’ i.e. the child is being regularly exposed to loud music could be established.

    Please consider that if other abuse occurs (likely if your D is truely a P or S) and CS become involved anyway if someone else reports concerns – you would not want to be seen to have ‘protected’ your D over your GD by NOT reporting abuse.

    The downside is that your daughter would likely unleash ‘war on you’ and probably stop access to GD if she can, though CS would try to prevent this in my experience. It is likely that stopping the relationship formerly enjoyed with your would be seen as further proof of emotionally abusive behaviour by your D to your GD.

    No-one can make this crucial decision for you. And just because this is ‘my view’ I absolutely cannot say what another CP SW would say or see the situation – because I don’t have ‘all the facts’ of course.

    Blessings

    Delta 1

  3. doggedout says:

    i was married to an spath for 10 years.i believe she was anyway.we divorced 7 years ago and she wanted to be friends so i tried.well needless to say 4 weeks ago i decided to not be friends anymore and she really did not like tha idea but i did it anyway.it really dont make me feel any better though.my question is will she return and what should i do if she does?she lied ,cheated ,opened credit cards in my name really did me wrong.

  4. Truthspeak says:

    Doggedout, I’m sorry that you had the experiences that you did. It is quite likely that she will try to keep that line open with you, if she can. What “should” you do if she does? Only you know the answer to that. Not one reader on this site is going to tell you what you “should” do.

    Think about what you want out of life, and then think about what life with her in your world does to help you get to where you want to be and where you should be. Then, you’ll have your answer.

  5. Back_from_the_edge says:

    spaths and ppaths don’t like letting go of good supply.
    they will keep a person hanging for years just so they have a place to go to when they need it. it has nothing to do with us.

    well, i shut the hotel down and rolled up the ‘welcome mat’.

    if someone stole my credit, i would make a police report.
    i would call the credit card company and tell them it was identity theft and follow up on it. contact your local authorities for further assistance, doggedout.

    Sorry for your misfortune.
    Hang in there and Truthspeak is right: think about what you want out of life and then go for it. Make it about you but not in a bitter or selfish way…

    Blessings ~ Dupey

  6. Barb says:

    Sociopaths are hard to ‘shake off’. If you are in the workplace with one of them you know about that. I left more than one job because of catty women. Luckily the last time that happened I also worked for the state (then they hired me full-time). Nice escape.
    But I still think about the ‘spath’ and how easily she influenced and manipulated other women who actually were friendly with me. I ended up typing in the Administration area where only my desk lamp was on at night; there I was alone in the dark. I knew what she was doing but one would listen to me. I was so isolated; then she chose to walk out of the building exactly where I was sitting. I tried to get to her by saying, “Good night, hope to see you tomorrow.” That is the thing they hate the most because you are not letting them ‘throw’ you. Also…reverse psychology can help.

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