Women Who Love Psychopaths
Although I am a psychopath, I am also a “woman who loves psychopaths.” My really great loves have been with my own kind. As such, I figured it was about time to start reading Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra L. Brown, M.A. and see if she has any insights about me. At first, it was interesting. I figured I can always learn something more about myself. Dr. Brown set out to create a profile of what sort of woman falls for such dangerous people. I found listed two qualities that women who love us have in common with us paths. We love adventure and are extroverted. Beyond that, however, I find I have little in common with the woman Dr. Brown describes.
Angels and Devils
When I was a child, our family would visit with a family we were all close to. They had two kids around our age, a girl and a boy. We three girls, my sister, the girl and I played a game, pretending we were angels and the boy was the devil. That’s kind of what reading this book is like. Women who love psychopaths are seen to be paragons of virtue, just loaded with traits that society just loves to love. Empathy, Compassion, Cooperativeness, Loyalty…. Meanwhile, those nasty psychopaths seem to have nothing on their (our?) minds except to destroy another victim. The traits of WWLPs put them (us?) “at risk.” Be very afraid, my lovelies!
There’s a psychopath lurking on every corner (like dope pushers?).
As unlovable as they (we?) are, it’s kind of a challenge to picture these women falling in love with them (us?). But these WWLPs don’t see the real man. (The book talks exclusively about male paths and female victims. Brown acknowledges that women can be psychopaths and men can be “victims.” But she still talks exclusively of bad boys and good girls.)
The book is obviously, not pro-path. But I liked it ok until I came to a part about “evil.” I have made it my business to become an expert on how the world sees psychopaths. The only expert to say anything nice about us is Kevin Dutton, author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths. Nobody else is willing to acknowledge any positive traits such as wisdom. Some would deny our very humanity. Among those folks, the usual species type we are demoted to is that of the reptile. That we are “sick,” is a given. We are said to have a disordered personality. But some cut right to the chase and call us “evil.” I have discussed the difficulties of each of these slurs in other posts (see the links below).
In this case, a distinction is made between “psychological evil” and “spiritual evil” although the closest they came to explaining that distinction was quoting from the DSM and comparing it to quotes from the Judeo/Christian bible. Apparently “spiritual evil” is any sin listed in Bible while “psychological evil” is manifestation of a disorder from the DSM. She has a whole chapter devoted to explaining how many malfunctions we have in our brains. Not only is the amygdala not communicating properly with the frontal cortex, but practically every part of our brains is at odds with every other part. But, since we are born like that, I wonder why she describes us as “broken.”
To gather her data, Dr. Brown advertised for women who once loved a psychopath to be interviewed. Since she already saw us as evil, I wonder how she worded the ad. Did she invite women who had had good relationships with psychopaths to come and be interviewed along with those who now saw that past relationship as a horrendous mistake? She says the women she interviewed had relationships with psychopaths who were beneath them in social class. These would be what is described as “low functioning” psychopaths. But there are plenty of high-functioning ones, heading corporations, performing surgery, making killings on Wall Street. These psychopaths must have girlfriends too. But none of their exes seemed to offer herself for an interview. Are their women still with them? Are they silenced by non-disclosure agreements?
Reading the book, one would get the impression that all relationships with psychopaths were abusive and the women ended up traumatized, often with PTSD. Perhaps those whose relationships turned out badly wanted something from their lovers that they weren’t ready to offer. Psychopaths are different from NTs. If you really want to be happy, you will enjoy what a lover is instead of fretting about what he is not. Brown speaks at length of the intensity of the love connection, the feeling on the part of the woman that he “knows” her. That knowing is one reason psychopaths are so charming. We are really interested in those we involve ourselves with. Most people don’t have that level of interest.
I think we all need to be seen, I mean, really seen. In the movie The Devil’s Advocate, the protagonist’s wife is swept away by Milton (the devil in disguise) because “We talked, really talked for hours. I hadn’t talked to anyone like that for so long.” Psychopaths see not only your good qualities. We see your warts and blemishes. Nothing is off limits to that searching curiosity.
Brown considers a relationship with a psychopath a very bad thing, no question about that. Yet she speaks at great length about how thrilling such love connections can be. Here are a few examples of the testimony on what sex was like for them:
We both have had orgasms just thinking about each other from afar. And sometimes it happened when we looked into each others’ eyes before any foreplay had begun. I could feel his body jerk, and mine too, and we would both feel the energy come up our spines and be like two spastic people.
Another one said,
I couldn’t get enough of him and the passion was electrifying. He was a very giving lover. He was a favorite lover of mine and only comparable to the other (psychopath) I was with!
I can concur that the sex I have had with psychopaths is the best I’ve every known. I wonder how anyone can want out. Of course, he could have changed and lost interest. (Dr. Brown would say his mask slipped.) I wonder, too, why Dr. Brown shares this very delicious feature of a relationship that’s supposedly disastrous. As Taylor Swift sang in Blank Space, “You can tell me when it’s over if the high was worth the pain,” and “It’ll leave you breathless or with a nasty scar.”
There are plenty of NTs around with whom one can have a safe and stable relationship. But excitement comes with risk. Psychopaths are risk takers who need excitement. Dr. Brown says the psychopath changes in the “middle stage” of the relationship. Perhaps the “victims” changed too. Perhaps they wanted to turn their exciting lover into a safe, 9 to 5 husband.
I think Dr. Brown’s goal of describing women who love psychopaths was an interesting idea. But I don’t think she has reached her goal. She only talked about a segment of women who have had such relationships. And the psychopaths she discussed seem to also only represent a segment of the whole. Let’s just chalk this up as an ongoing project, one that has yet to be completed.