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Archive for February, 2008

Why are there so many sociopaths in America?

This semester I am teaching Psychology of Women at the University of Bridgeport. This is the second time I have taught this course. It is a fun course to teach because everyone likes it. This week we took up the issue of whether overall women’s personalities are different from men’s. A significant percentage of the class believes that men and women are very different in many domains and that this difference is biologic or genetic. The author of our textbook is a feminist from New York so she tends to down play any gender differences found, and she attributes nearly all gender differences to culture.

To balance the views of the textbook, I look for other articles to share with the class. This week I found a great paper, and coincidentally some interesting statistics were also reported in the news. The paper I found is entitled Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman? Sex Differences in Big Five Personality Traits Across 55 Cultures. It was just published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The results are shocking and a wake up call.

Sociopaths are filled with empty promises that never turn into healing action.

Recently, I ended up in the hospital twice over a short period of time. (Which accounts for why I have not posted here in awhile.) The first stay was to have surgery to remove my gallbladder. The second was a week later when they had to perform an additional procedure to remove the stones that were left behind.

The man in my life was there. He supported me. Held my hand when I was in pain, rubbed my back. He drove me to hospital. He spoke with the doctors. Involved himself in my health care when I was too sick to care to ask the questions I needed to ask. He ensured I was well cared for, ensured I had what I needed to recover. He came to visit me in hospital. Sometimes I’d awaken and find him sitting by my bed, reading the newspaper, holding my hand. He brought me what I needed and when it was time to come home, he picked me up and tucked me into bed at home. He cared.

Q: Can writing improve your health?

There is a form of writing which has been shown to have remarkable effects on research subjects’ well-being, social functioning, and cognitive abilities. The best-known of the scientists who study ‘expressive writing’ is James W. Pennebaker, chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas. Pennebaker and several others around the world have found that a short series brief exercises of this particular form of writing about emotional upheavals can improve physical and mental health.

An early study

Help for healing from the devastation of a sociopath

Many people have asked Lovefraud to suggest a treatment program to help them overcome the personal devastation of a relationship with a sociopath. A friend of Lovefraud, Sandra L. Brown, M.A., offers a program for women who are recovering from such debilitating encounters.

Sandra Brown is the author of How to Spot a Dangerous Man, which was reviewed in a previous blog post. The book describes eight types of dangerous men—most of them are sociopaths, or partial sociopaths. Brown then explains how women override their internal warning signals and get involved with these men, even when their instincts are shouting, “Run away!”

If you’ve been in a relationship with a sociopath, at some point, of course, you found yourself devalued and discarded. He merrily moved on to a fresh new supply. You’re in a crumpled heap, a shell of the person you once were.

Political Ponerology: An idea for our times

“Whether you know it or not, each and every day your life is touched by the effects of psychopathy on our world. You are about to learn that even if there isn’t much we can do about geological and cosmological catastrophe, there is a lot we can do about social and Macrosocial evil, and the very first thing to do is to learn about it. In the case of psychopathy and its effects on our world, what you don’t know definitely can and will hurt you.” (p. 9, Political Ponerology)

One thing I like about teaching at a University is that I am exposed to a lot of new ideas. Also I am not one who has to agree with everything a person says, to appreciate the good ideas he/she has. With that thought, I would like to introduce you to an interesting idea. The idea is Political Ponerology, as described in a book by that name by Dr. Andrew M. Lobaczewski, edited by Laura Knight-Jadczyk. Political Ponerology is “a science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes.”

Psychopaths’ cat and mouse game

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Steve Becker, LCSW, CH.T, who has a private psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and clinical consulting practice in New Jersey, USA. For more information, visit his website, powercommunicating.com.

Have you ever seen a cat toy with a stunned, cornered mouse? How it will capture the mouse, dangle it in its mouth for a while, release it momentarily, allowing the mouse the pretense of an escape, only to recapture it, dangle it some more from its mouth, perhaps release it again briefly, now to watch the mouse, increasingly frantic, make another escape bid, only to recapture it, now letting the terrorized mouse (and, as if it’s fate) dangle yet some more, in dreadful uncertainty?

On rumination

Not surprisingly given the painful experiences many readers have experienced living with psychopaths, letters to Lovefraud describe much troublesome rumination. This week and next I will be describing a two-pronged way of thinking about the problem of rumination – why it’s harmful to deal with these matters this way and next week (sorry to delay it) a very way that psychologists have found for processing such things.

Disclaimer
You will appreciate that I am not in a position to give psychological advice in this forum. What follows is not a recommendation but rather a way to think about what’s involved when one ruminates. If it makes sense to you please discuss it with a mental health professional.

Sociopaths use our own dreams to seduce us

Not long ago, a woman from the Philippines contacted Lovefraud. She had been involved in a long-distance relationship (LDR) with an American man whom she met over the Internet. This woman, we’ll call her Juanita, fell in love with the guy, even though she never met him in person.

Juanita sent her story to Lovefraud—a shortened version is reproduced below. But first, a bit of background. Juanita is separated from her husband and has a child. But although she’d like to find a new husband, she is trapped, because divorce is not legal in the Philippines.

Looking for companionship, she turned to the Internet—which is what thousands of Filipinas do. In fact, the mail-order bride business, matching men from America, Europe and Australia with women from the Philippines, is booming.

Apparently some Filipinas have found love via the Internet, but not Juanita. Here is her story:

The fantasy of magic moments with sociopaths

Editor’s note: The following essay was submitted by a Lovefraud reader.

Snapshots
By AlohaTraveler

In our lifetime, we hope to capture the best moments of our lives in pictures. We keep albums of our family events, weddings, births, first dates, proposals, holidays, vacations, and so on. There is another kind of snapshot that keeps many of us longing for our sociopaths. These are the “snapshots” we hold in our minds. They are the ideal moments, the perfect words, the heightened romance that so many of us felt when we were being seduced by a sociopath.

Browsing through my mental album, I see a snapshot of myself and the Bad Man, as I call him, passionately kissing in Safeway next to the tortilla chips. It was romantic, it was silly, and I felt so in love. Never before had I done a thing like that! It was just a kiss but it was so ideal, so out of the movies. I recall during our first kiss, he embraced me as if he were Fabio on the cover of a Harlequin Romance novel. Who wouldn’t swoon for that?

Valentine’s Day can be tough for victims of love fraud

As a victim of love fraud, I have two reactions to Valentine’s Day. First, I hate the thought of all those sociopaths out there male and female, who are using this day to lock in their next victims. Early in relationships, sociopaths present themselves as great partners. They certainly don’t pass up the chance to pour on the charm on a day like Valentine’s Day. Furthermore, since they can be very focused on sex, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for them to score. My vision of Valentine sociopaths includes those who are simultaneously wooing more than one victim. Perhaps we should consider whether Valentine’s Day should also be named “Love Fraud Awareness Day.”

My second reaction to Valentine’s Day is that I am reminded of all those who have loved sociopaths only to be harmed in every sphere of their lives. Cupid’s Arrow can be deadly if the result is involvement with a sociopath.