A dangerous relationship is one that, from the very beginning, is not what is seems. In most relationships that lead to heartache or worse, there are warning signs early on; the trouble is that sometimes our need for a relationship trumps our willingness to see the truth.
Children who are raised by toxic parents often grow up to be decent human beings who learn to separate themselves from their parent's problems and surround themselves with loving, encouraging friends. Those who can't escape their influence, though, can be drawn into the same pathological view of the world they grew up in—and wind up doing very bad things.
Once upon a time, there were unskilled and unwed single mothers, shunned by their families for their “immorality” and without social services to help them with childcare. Out of these dire circumstances came baby farmers, unregulated child care providers who kept—and sometimes killed—these kids for cash.
It's hard for most of us to believe that someone can murder a relative, claim s/he was abducted, and then go on TV and plead for his or her safe return. Fortunately, research shows that, no matter how good an actor, linguistic cues don't lie.
With Munchausen by proxy, the same mechanism that predicts that women should be the ones to provide greater investment to their children can at times 'misfire' by having psychiatrically damaged women create conditions that signal to the world their attentiveness and devotion.
The human equation looks at the dark side of human nature, with a special emphasis on women and crime. Topics include female serial killers, Munchausen by proxy, cult leaders, and the psychology of evil.