Sandra L. Brown, M.A.

Sandra L. Brown M.A.

Pathological Relationships

What's the Problem With Problem Partners?

What's the Problem With Problem Partners?

Posted Sep 18, 2009

Problem partners create problems which manifest as problem relationships. These relationships are often referred to as 'bad relationships,''drama,' or 'dysfunctional' when in fact, often the dynamic at play is a result of what I have coined 'Pathological Love Relationships.'

These relationships are related to the permanent personality structures and disorder of one (or sometimes both) of the partners. Mislabeled, undiagnosed, or misunderstood, these relationships churn out the problems for the partners, their children, their families, and the therapists who try to help them.

Neuroscience has helped us understand some of the brain processes and problems involved especially in Cluster B patients referred to as the 'Erratic and Dramatic' disorders. The partners who are challenged by faulty brain processing and negative behaviors often associated with narcissism and anti-social personality disorders and the group of no conscience disorders of sociopathy and psychopathy make for some pretty lousy relational material. This lousy relationship quality I refer to as 'Inevitable Harm' because when someone's brain processes are hard-wired and they lack the ability to sustain positive changes through therapy or develop insight about how their negative behavior hurts others--there's only one way this relationship is going to be---harmful. Even the court system now labels these relationships uniquely as 'High Conflict Cases.'

This blog is going to look at Inevitable Harm related to partners who have problems bigger than what psychology can do for them. Through this blog we will look at:

  • The traits of those with chronic personality problems that wreak havoc in the relationship
  • Look at the unusual pathological love relationship dynamics specific to these disorders
  • Take a peek at the neuroscience about what is wrong with their brain
  • Learn the elevated temperament or 'super' traits of those who have gotten in relationships with this kind of disorder
  • Marvel at the affected language, communication and meaning in these relationships and how it drives the other partner crazy
  • Understand why these relationships feel more intense than others
  • Realize why break ups are hard to do and fraught with 'Boomerang' attraction

Along the way we will review the characteristics in the disorders related to impulsivity, sexual acting out, interpersonal exploitation, low/no empathy, excitement seeking, and conning.

And of course, we'll look at the physical, sexual, and financial harm of these emotionally lethal predators and parasites. Stay tuned. I look forward to opening your eyes about Pathological Love Relationships!

Sandra Brown

The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction &
   Public Psychopathy Education