Pathological Relationships

Dealing with a problem partner

Who Does That? Part 1

The Institute helps survivors to spot overt, glaring pathology

Part of our goal at The Institute is not only to help survivors heal from the aftermath of a PLR (Pathological Love Relationship), but it is also to help prevent future relationships with pathologicals. In prevention, The Institute helps survivors to spot overt, glaring pathology. The overt pathology is easy to identify.

* Few would argue that mothers who drown their children like Susan Smith or Andrea Yates aren't terribly disordered.

* Those that shoot people they don't know, or commit a drive by shooting like the Beltway Snipers Muhammad and Malvo in the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas, clearly have pathological motives.

* Those that sexually abuse children and then hide the sexual offenders like the Catholic Church, are the face of evil.

* Horrendous hate crimes that torture hundreds, thousands, or millions of people - like war crimes or the Holocaust - are easy to figure that severe pathology is behind the motivation of that type of hate.

* The deranged that break into homes to beat the elderly for money like Phillip Garrett, who terrorized those in assisted living facilities, have a notable bent of sheer brutality.

* Terrorists who commit the taking of hostages and inflict psychological torture like the infamous Stockholm Bank Robbery (resulting in the term Stockholm Syndrome) are identifiable as probable psychopaths.

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* The rapist who preys on the vulnerable, or the type of rapist who rapes a wife in front of her own husband is overtly vile.

* The violent anti-socials that are frequent gang members or thugs like James Manley, who murdered my father.

* Serial killers like Ted Bundy who raped and killed at least 36 women, leave no doubt that he was the worst of the worst psychopaths.

* The ordering of killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child like schizophrenic/psychopathic Charlie Manson makes our blood run cold.

* Cult leaders who usher hundreds to death like Jim Jones, remind us of the power and persuasion of pathology.

* Chronic re-offending domestic violence abusers like O.J. Simpson and Mike Tyson convince us that all DV is not treatable, and some abuser brutality increases with each crime and are obviously disordered.

* The babbling grandiosity of narcissism, as seen in Charlie Sheen, reminds us that even the rich and famous carry and display their pack of pathology for all to see.

* The robbing of millions of dollars from thousands of people like Bernie Madoff, reminds us that not all pathology is physically violent - some do it with panache, and a tie on.

These forms of pathology are recognizable by most of society and many would agree that these people are horribly disordered, and probably dangerous for life.

But being able to spot pathology in less overt and even frequently hid, yet equally as damaging acts, is where most of us fall short-even professionals in the criminal justice and mental health systems. It's also where survivors of PLR's are likely to trip up, yet again, since the ‘types' of behaviors pathologicals perpetrate can vary causing confusion to the unsuspecting, highly tolerant, and emotionally understanding survivor.

Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to ‘inevitable harm' when it crosses the paths of others. Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy, pathologicals find pleasure in harming others. While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they no less live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others.

Sadistic - absolutely, but often it's sadistic behind closed doors, or as sheltered reputations behind factitious names, or online identities.

Why aren't these pathological disorders better identified? That is the million dollar question since the main judicial, social, and mental systems of our society deal with this particular cluster of pathological disorders day in and day out. Why are they actively dealing with Cluster B's? Because these disorders represent the majority of white and blue-collar crimes that cataclysmically smash in our lives even if they are never identified as crimes. The reason society has not cohesively named this cluster of disorders as the center of their focus, is each system has their own view of the ‘behavior' associated with the pathological's disorders.

Law enforcement calls them the bad guys (if they are even caught)
Mental health systems call them patients
Domestic violence organizations call them abusers
Batterer intervention programs call them perpetrators
Criminal defense attorneys call them clients
Sexual Assault centers call them rapists or sexual offenders
Financial structures call them swindlers
The online world calls them trolls
Victims call them predators
Children and adolescents call them cyber bullies
The swindled call them con artists
The judicial system calls them criminals (or not, if they are never identified)
The church calls them evil or unredeemed
The website owner calls them hackers
The defamed call them cyber stalkers
Parents call them pedophiles
Jails calls them inmates
Prison calls them high security risks
FBI calls them targets and terrorists

As each system deals with their own view of a specific act the person has done, we miss the wide broad category that these people fall under. We miss the bigger implication of what goes with that category. We miss the fact that those who fall under these pathological disorders have largely low, or no, positive treatment outcomes. Each system dealing with a behavior, only sees the person through their own behavioral specialty. Yet, we are all talking about the same disorders in action.

When we ask ‘WHO does that?' we immediately become brothers and sisters in the same battle against pathology. We begin to see the ‘who' within the act, the disorder that perpetrates these same acts, behaviors, or crimes. It's the same sub-set of disorders that have different focuses but the same outcome: inevitable harm.

 

Sandra L. Brown, M.A., is CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education.

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