Living With A Psychopath? Watch Out For These Signs

By Jen Waite

The word “psychopath” sounds scary. It conjures images of Hannibal Lecter wearing a muzzle, and Lizzy Borden swinging an ax. But even more chilling? Most psychopaths appear just like you and me—only they’re especially charismatic. I know. I was married to the “perfect” man … until I found out he was leading a double life right after the birth of our daughter.

Since then, I’ve made it my mission to help others who find themselves in a similar situation. (I’ve written a memoir about my marriage, and plan to attend graduate school to become a licensed therapist, specializing in recovery from psychopathic relationships.) People are often surprised to learn that not all psychopaths are murderers.

But they do destroy—lives and families. And they do it slowly, often while acting out the role of the Prince (or Princess) Charming you’ve been waiting for entire whole life. My Prince Charming was the most charming of them all. Until he wasn’t.

Being With Her Is The Best Thing Ever. Always.

Does it feel like after years of living in black and white, you suddenly see the world in bursting color? Does your other half make everything seem exciting and fresh—all the time? When a psychopath is pursuing a new relationship, she puts you up on a pedestal and turns on massive amounts of charm, enough to leave you breathless.

man-and-women-sexy

But that stage doesn’t last: In an article for Psychology Today, clinical neuropsychologist Rhonda Freeman, PhD, noted that psychopaths exhibit a “predictable cyclical style” of relationships: “They idealize, devalue, and then discard their partners, with no concern for the pain they leave behind.”

You Rarely, If Ever, Fight

There’s nothing to argue about because he agrees with you on everything, from life goals to take out orders. This feels amazing, so of course you want it to be normal. But it is not. Two non-psychopathic human beings will, once in awhile, disagree and even fight. And that’s ok. Because it’s natural to have different opinions, emotions, likes, and dislikes.

You Feel Like You Are The Same Person

Ahhh, l’amour. When two become one, right? Wrong. Psychopaths use a tactic called “mirroring” to reflect back to you exactly what you want in a mate. As Adelyn Birch, author of Psychopaths and Love, describes it, “psychopaths are able to so perfectly mirror you and figure out your needs and desires that they appear to be the perfect person for you.” Seems totally romantic until you realize it’s totally creepy.

He’s The dark, Brooding, Lost-Soul Type

Has your boo had the worst luck? Has his romantic life been a series of horrid breakups and crazy exes?

Everyone has a past, but if he often diverts your attention from his bad behavior with sob stories, consider it a warning sign. This is called the “pity play” and, according to Martha Stout, author of the Sociopath Next Door, it’s potentially the single biggest red flag. In her book, Stout writes that if “you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100% that you are dealing with a sociopath.”

You Love Her Wild Side

Hanging with your soul mate is always an adventure. But there’s a big difference between a woman who makes your heart flutter and a psychopath with a lack of impulse control and regard for consequences. Impulsivity is one of the key traits used to diagnose psychopathy As Robert Hare, PhD, writes in his book, Without Conscience, “[t]he most obvious expressions of psychopathy—but not the only ones—involve the flagrant violation of society’s rules. Not surprisingly, many psychopaths are criminals, but many others manage to remain out of prison, using their charm and chameleon-like coloration to cut a wide swathe through society, leaving a wake of ruined lives behind them.”

It’s A Dreamy, Whirlwind Romance

It feels nice to be showered with positive attention. But does your boyfriend seem a little carried away? Being idealized by a psychopath is infatuation on steroids. Psychopaths “love-bomb” their targets to manufacture a false sense of intensity and intimacy.

In Psychopath Free, Jackson MacKenzie explains the tactic: “[Love-bombing] quickly breaks down your guard, unlocks your heart, and modifies your brain chemicals to become addicted to the pleasure centers firing away. The excessive flattery and compliments play on your deepest vanities and insecurities—qualities you likely don’t even know you possess.”

Source: health.com

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