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Sociopaths victimize using human institutions like the courts

This summer I read a fabulous book, Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life by Evan Stark. It is a well written academic discussion of the topic of coercive control that also provides a history of domestic violence awareness in America. Although I highly recommend the book to anyone who advocates for victims, I do not agree with the premise that coercive control is about female victimization. I have known too may male victims to believe that this is a male –female issue.

The challenge then is to come up with a theory about intimate partner victimization that accounts for, rather than rejects the very cogent arguments put forward by clinician-researchers like Dr. Stark. Although there isn’t space here to detail all the theory I am considering, the cornerstone of it is that psychopathic individuals (sociopaths) male and female will take advantage of every societal institution that exists as they work to gain control of the people in their lives. The end result of this theory aligns me with Dr. Stark and other dv advocates, in that I also see the need to change society in order to help victims of coercive control.

A read of the stories posted on this site by victims reveals that psychopathic sons and daughters exploit their parents using parental obligations and threats of reports to child protective services. Psychopathic female partners use child support (the male role of husband as provider), and threats of loss of access to children to control their male partners. Psychopathic male partners use notions of male dominance and feminine submission as well as the family courts to control their women. Also, psychopathic mothers and fathers use their “parental rights” to abuse and control rather than to parent their children.

If we are going to set about to help victims then we have a whole list of societal institutions to take on. The first one is the family court system because that is the most used and blatantly dysfunctional institution we have. One shocking example of the dysfunction appeared in the news this week in the wake of political arguments about rape and abortion. It seems that in 31 states a rapist can assert parental rights. There are countless studies revealing that rapists possess psychopathic personality traits and that aberrant motivation to control a victim underlies the crime. Such individuals are likely unfit or marginally fit to parent a child legitimately conceived forget the child of a victim; so much for the “best interests of the child” doctrine that the family court purports to pay homage to.

Thankfully, there is one victim who is speaking out and fighting to change the system and I think we should support her in any way we can. “Shauna R. Prewitt is a lawyer in Chicago. She is the author of “Giving Birth to a ‘Rapist’s Child’: A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape,” written for the Georgetown Law Journal.” To read her story visit CNN. There you can also download her paper if you want to read an academic discussion. Also help spread the word, rapists and others who perpetrate coercive control should not have the same parental rights as healthy loving parents. Children deserve the best upbringing the healthy parent can give them.



24 Comments on "Sociopaths victimize using human institutions like the courts"

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  1. MiLo says:

    20years ~

    I never quite thought of what you just said about not belng able to learn from people who are several steps ahead of you. But, you are absolutely right. I think about how many times someone has said something or written something that no matter how hard I tried, I just could not relate or believe. Then, down the road I would come to understand. Great explanation and I think right on.

    Sky, I feel I have learned so much from you and your keen insight. Above all else, I believe the concept of the “tell” is perhaps the most important. We all know that understanding is such an important weapon against a spath. When we learn to recognize or discern a “tell” it is almost like having a crystal ball, or finding the hidden pictures in a “Highlight” magazine. Thanks for all the lessons.



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  2. darwinsmom says:

    20years,

    What a great observation you made of learning! There have been so many times I met with a wisdom from others that sounded wrong, or like blaming… I would wonder how they honestly could think like that. And I would think myself better for not thinking like that. Only to find out later in the journey in life as if I was in a mirror situation and suddenly felt and thought and understood what that other person had meant, about to say the exact same thing to someone in the mirror situation.

    I used to debate for several years fiercely on a forum meant for debate, which gave me the conviction that everyone is opinionated about something always. As opinions goes, there are plenty going around, on every issue of life. And when I look back over the past 20 years and some more, I must say that I’ve been pretty opinionated and sure that my way of viewing things was the right way… The younger I was the more opinionated I was too. But life itself teaches us that our way of thinking alters with each experience (good and bad) and how we grow and heal from it; and where I felt t have an opposing view especially on life and emotional matters before I would experience something that made me feel as if I was looking through their eyes suddenly. It always made me feel as if life’s veils were being lifted, as if I being shown a secret through a rip.

    So yes, some people are way ahead of us in their perspective steps, but at some point we’ll stand at the same spot. I could not learn from these people the moment they shared their wisdom, but the conflicted opposition I felt to it burned in my mind like a smoking gun for me to remember the moment I was finally there at that understanding.



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  3. 20years says:

    MiLo and darwinsmom, thanks for your comments back at me. You’ve given me more food for thought! 🙂

    I think I need to develop more patience. Right now I’m dealing with a (personal) situation of a dear relative of mine who is now old enough (she is just a few years younger than I am) to suddenly be very opinionated and right about so many things having to do with the way the world ought to be… and I’m finding myself unable to totally keep my lips zipped.

    I find it so frustrating. I was that opinionated person several years ago. Now I see it mirrored back at me. How politically correctly obnoxious of me!

    I am hoping/assuming that in another several years, I will see my own self NOW, and be aware that I have moved on from this stage and onto another. Who knows. One can hope.

    Maybe part of my impatience (for my dear relative) is the loneliness I feel at being unable to connect well with her at this time…. we used to be so close and in sync. And not anymore, or at least not right now. She thinks she knows everything!!! I remember feeling that way…

    She is so hell-bent on fixing everything in society, and I just see things differently now. It’s just not possible to run around, dictating how everyone else must be, think and behave in order to make things all as we think they should be (usually these are public policy types of things).

    So I’ll try for a little more patience, myself. I’ll try to be less frustrated with not being in sync with people I care about.

    I know I’m offending the heck out of her, because I cannot pretend to agree with her opinions. But she can’t understand where I’m coming from, either. It’s hard.



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  4. skylar says:

    Milo,
    so funny that I’ve been so helpful to you. It is becoming my opinion that I have aspergers. just a bit. I’ve been reading and learning more about it. I know my bf has it, but it never occurred to me that I might be affected.

    The reason I think it, is because I can’t really understand why the truth is offensive to people. Like Oxy says, if someone asks her, “does my butt look big in these pants?” She would say “no, you look fine.” Well, I wouldn’t. I’d say, yes, let’s find some better pants for you.” I don’t mean to be rude, I just don’t see the point in letting other people look like fools. I know that I’m a minority in that opinion, that’s why I think I might have some aspergers.

    It’s weird huh? Your grandson has aspergers. Maybe he will be a teacher too. Someone who can just tell the truth. I’m not saying all aspergers people are good, I know that it can also be attached to evil people. Honestly, I don’t know what causes the different choices.

    Today, I looked at the “letter to God” that my spath wrote. I turned it over. I had noticed some math problems on it before but I hadn’t actually studied what it was. OMG.

    There was a short division problem on the back (you know like they teach in 4th grade. It was 668.10 divided by 10.

    Think about it.

    It was written like, how you learn in 4th grade. First you write the 10, then a vertical bar attached to a horizontal bar and under the horizontal bar, you write 668.10. Then you start to do the division….
    by 10.

    He doesn’t even know enough to just move the decimal point.
    I showed it to my bf. we both just sat and considered it.

    The spath taught himself to weld, play guitar, use autocad, build and design experimental helicopters, fly helicopters but he doesn’t get the decimal system. WTF?

    WHAT IS HE?
    An autistic savant? who can beguile any human being? WTF?

    As much as I get spaths, it’s my own ex-spath that I don’t get.

    Further down the page, he began to subtract 66.81 from 668.10. He managed it once, the next time he got mixed up and just stopped.

    I feel so sorry for him. I just don’t know what to think.



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  5. 20years says:

    Skylar, I think it is funny that you mention Asperger’s as a possibility. I don’t disbelieve in the autism spectrum, but I don’t like to pathologize or label personality traits I think fall into the range of normal.

    It is kind of like saying that we all have a few sociopathic “traits” so we fall on the sociopathic spectrum. And I don’t think it’s as simple as that (as a neat continuum).

    Or maybe I have it too, haha! 🙂

    I think the truth can hurt or be offensive, if a person is not in a place to hear it. But that doesn’t mean that the person who delivered the message is a jerk or has Asperger’s (not equating the two).

    This thing called Truth has been giving me lots of problems lately. Like I mentioned above, with my relative I was close to for about 40 years, and lately we are having quite different takes on things, and I feel it as a very deep loss. But who possesses “The Truth?” It seems very important to her to enlighten me. And I have this awful, sinking feeling that I just cannot go along with what she believes, because it is so similar to what I believed myself, about 5 years ago. So it’s not like I’m superior, but in a way I have been there and moved on from it, and I can’t go back, but it is Very Obnoxious for me to put it to her like that (or any way I can think of).

    And I can’t help myself occasionally rising to the bait of a debate with her, which I know will go nowhere, and generally has to do with her wanting me to sign a petition to save some aspect of the world, and my knowing that that is not really where you need to take the battle. For instance, a particular agency of government is supposed to “save us” if only we can present them with “the facts, the truth” about something, if we can clamor loudly enough, or with the best facts, or the most voices, the most poignant examples, then somebody at that agency will hear us and make everything all right.

    And I just don’t see that happening. It’s not the same as cynicism. It’s more like yes, this is a problem worth solving, but how do we actually change society? I don’t think that’s the way.

    EDIT: Because I no longer believe that institutions “care.” I see the sociopathy now that I didn’t see before. I see my dear relative assuming that if you just explain well enough, they will hear you, they will care, and they will fix things. All they need is having it pointed out to them. That is HER belief. It is no longer my belief.

    And the deeper I delve into seeking Truth above all else (that is my main goal), then the weirder it gets or more mysterious it gets, or more intangible it gets, and the less able I am to articulate it — which is immensely frustrating.

    But I have faith this, too, is just a stage along the way.



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  6. MiLo says:

    Oh Dear Sky ~

    Sometimes I think that it is the people with Asperger’s who are the “normal” ones. In your example, if the person asking the question about how they looked in the pants, didn’t want a truthful answer, then why did they ask. They had an ulterior motive with the question, they wanted positive attention. Why do we feel the need to feed that? I really don’t think it has anything to do with lack of empathy, I think it is our misguided need to be liked. Maybe people with Asperger’s don’t feel that need. Who knows?

    Ah, Grand’s ability to tell it like it is does cause Grandma a great deal of embarassment at times. But then again, why? The kid is just telling it like he sees it. lol I got a call from his special ed. teacher this morning (early) asking me to stop in after school. I would bet the farm it has something to do with this very subject.

    Your spath’s math. Did you ever consider that he KNOWS the decimal system, just doesn’t trust it. He has to put it down on paper, check it and recheck it, because nothing in his world is to be trusted. my take

    You don’t get your own personal spath because you are standing too close. Hubby used to work for a couple that owned the largest collection of privately owned Salvidore Dali (sp – sorry) paintings in the US. I loved to visit and was so awestruck with his work. If you stood close to the painting you saw a very clear picture of one thing, take a few steps back and there you saw a completely different image. Maybe if you took a few steps back, looked at him as someone’s else’s spath you will see a different image.

    Peace



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