Female Psychopathy

obyvatel

The Living Force
Female psychopathy is a subject that has not received a lot of public attention. The original psychopathy checklists were developed based on the model of violent male inmates. The scope of psychopathy has been gradually extended beyond the range of violent offenses and have included other important factors .Still, typically female offenders score less than men in the psychopathy checklist PCL-R. Hence the popular belief that psychopathy is far more prevalent in men than women. However, there is some research that has looked at the issue of female psychopathy with interesting indications.

A 4-factor model has been proposed for diagnosing psychopathy – interpersonal, affective, life-style related and antisocial tendencies. The interpersonal factor includes superficiality, grandiosity, lying with or without ostensible benefits, and manipulation of the perception of others. The affective factor includes lack of guilt, shallow emotions, lack of empathy, and lack of responsibility for one’s actions. Lifestyle related factors include constant craving for stimulation, parasitic lifestyle benefiting off others, lack of long-term future planning, impulsiveness and general irresponsibility. The antisocial factor includes early behavioral problems often expressed as conflict with social norms and practices, and crime. Sexual promiscuity also weighs in on the PCL-R score.

Excerpts from “Psychopathy in women: theoretical and clinical perspectives” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3379858/)

Behavioral expressions in women and men

Forouzan and Cooke claim that there are differences between the sexes with respect to psychopathy. They suggest four key points in the way these differences manifest: (1) behavior, (2) interpersonal characteristics, (3) underlying psychological mechanisms, and (4) different social norms for men and women. Moreover, they claim that the behavior observed in the sexes differs both with regard to the manifestation of the psychopathic behavior and in the expression of interpersonal characteristics.

As for the behavioral expression of the disorder, Forouzan and Cooke suggest that women who are manipulative more often tend to flirt, while manipulative men are more likely to run scams and commit fraud. In women, the tendency to run away, exhibit self-injurious behavior, and manipulation, all characterize impulsiveness and behavioral problems.

Moreover, their criminal behavior consists primarily of theft and fraud. In men, however, the criminal behavior often includes violence. Indeed, the form of aggression that is displayed appears to differ between the sexes. Although the results are divergent and inconclusive,some studies have suggested that while men more often show physical aggression, women more often display a more relational and verbal form of aggression. This may, for instance, occur through manipulation of social networks in attempting to exclude the victim from a community. Alternatively, it may take the form of threats of self injury, with consequences for family and friends.

Furthermore, the interpersonal symptoms in female psychopaths are not particularly characterized by superficial charm and a grandiose self-image, as is the case with men. This could possibly be related to cultural conditions and childhood circumstances. As for underlying psychological conditions, it has been suggested that typical markers for psychopathy, such as promiscuous behavior, may have different underlying motivational factors in men and women. For instance, promiscuity in female psychopaths may reflect a wish to gain financial or social benefits.Finally, it is suggested that social norms may influence the evaluation of certain psychopathic characteristics differently in men and women. For instance, in the West, it is accepted socially and culturally that a woman depends financially on her husband, while a man doing the same thing more easily could be seen as indulging in “parasitic behavior.”

Diagnostic comorbidity of women and men with psychopathy

Female inmates frequently show more Axis 1 symptoms than females in the general population or male inmates.
Axis 1 consists of clinical syndromes and many times (though not always) it is what brings a person in for a diagnosis and treatment. Axis 1 is hierarchical in organization. Anxiety disorders for example can include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder etc. Mood disorders include depression, bipolar disorder.

They are clearly diagnosed more often with an emotionally unstable personality disorder and less often with an antisocial personality disorder. Despite this, few studies have examined the connection between psychopathy in women and comorbidity; nonetheless, the studies that have been performed seem to indicate that there is a similar pattern in men and women. The most prevalent disorder in both sexes is antisocial personality disorder, while in women there is also a strong comorbidity with all cluster B personality disorders. In both sexes, there is a clear connection between psychopathy and alcohol and drug abuse.



Progression of the disorder in women and men

It has been suggested that the disorder has a different progression in men and women with regard to both onset and expression. The familiar understanding of the progression, in which early behavioral problems and antisocial behavior during childhood are associated with psychopathy, seems to be most relevant for men. For women, the picture appears to be somewhat different since the behavioral problems of many in this group seem to arise first in adolescence. The antisocial behavior of the young women may also have a different expression than in the young men. It has been suggested that early criminal tendencies, rule violations, physical aggression, and violence are good predictors of psychopathic development in young men. At this same stage, young women, who later develop the disorder, show a more relational form of aggression characterized by jealousy, self-harm, manipulation, and verbal aggression. The exception is a small subcategory of young women who share the same tendencies as young men with behavioral problems, but with a later onset than what is typical in young men
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Regarding comorbidity, researchers have pointed out a link between female psychopathy and BPD.

Excerpts from “Psychopathy as a female phenotypic expression of borderline personality disorder? Implications for the latent structure of emotional dysregulation”.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3323706/

Abstract

Evidence suggests that the combination of the interpersonal-affective (F1) and impulsive-antisocial (F2) features of psychopathy may be associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD), specifically among women (e.g., Coid, 1993; Hicks, Vaidyana-than, & Patrick, 2010). However, empirical research explicitly examining gendered relationships between BPD and psychopathy factors is lacking. To further inform this area of research, we investigated the hypothesis that the interplay between the two psychopathy factors is associated with BPD among women across two studies. Study 1 consisted of a college sample of 318 adults (51% women), and Study 2 consisted of a large sample of 488 female prisoners. The interpersonal-affective (F1) and impulsiveantisocial psychopathy (F2) scores, measured with self-report and clinician-rated indices, respectively, were entered as explanatory variables in regression analyses to investigate their unique contributions to BPD traits. Across two independent samples, results indicated that the interaction of high F1 and F2 psychopathy scores was associated with BPD in women. This association was found to be specific to women in Study 1. These results suggest that BPD and psychopathy, at least as they are measured by current instruments, overlap in women and, accordingly, may reflect gender-differentiated phenotypic expressions of similar dispositional vulnerabilities.


Disaggregating Psychopathy and its Association with BPD

Psychopathy is characterized by two primary sets of traits, the first marked by deficits in interpersonal-affective traits (referred to here as “Factor 1” or F1; grandiosity, shallow affect, callousness, deceitfulness) and the second marked by impulsive-antisocial traits (referred to here as “Factor 2” or F2; aggressiveness, impulsivity, irresponsibility, antisocial acts) (Harpur, Hare, & Hakstian, 1989). Although a variety of typological theories exist regarding the heterogeneity of psychopathy, most common are those which have posited that the disorder can be disaggregated into primary and secondary subtypes (Skeem et al., 2003) or into psychopaths scoring low versus high on anxiety (Schmitt & Newman, 1999).1 Primary psychopathy is thought to be caused by an intrinsic deficit that impairs self-regulation, such as innate fearlessness or attentional difficulties (Newman, 1998; Patrick & Bernat, 2009), that leads to the development of manipulative and callous traits. In contrast, the manipulative and callous traits present in secondary psychopathy are thought to arise indirectly as a means of coping with environmental stressors (e.g., abuse, low socioeconomic status) and are typically accompanied by emotional dysregulation (Karpman, 1941). Research has begun to investigate differences in the etiological pathways to these psychopathy subtypes, and some researchers have proposed that the two primary trait dimensions that emerge in factor analysis of psychopathy measures can be used to index distinct risk factors for primary and secondary psychopathy (Fowles & Dindo, 2009; Patrick & Bernat, 2009). For example, research with the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 2003) indicates that F1 of the PCL-R is associated with deficits in fear and selective attention (e.g., Newman et al., 2010; Patrick, 1994), whereas F2 is associated with excessive anxiety, comorbid psychopathology (e.g., depression, substance dependence), and elevated rates of psychosocial adversity (Smith & Newman, 1990; Verona, Hicks, & Patrick, 2005). Although primary psychopathy is theoretically linked with correlates of F1 (e.g., emotional detachment, premeditated aggression) and secondary psychopathy with correlates of F2 (e.g., impulsivity, reactive aggression), the two psychopathy subtypes are, by definition, characterized by high scores on both factors. In the present paper, we suggest that the two factors interact in the context of secondary psychopathy to account for BPD, specifically among women.
Recent research examining the relationship between psychopathy and BPD has found that the F2 traits of psychopathy are more closely associated with BPD than are F1 traits (Miller et al., 2010), though there is a lack of work regarding gender differences in this area. It makes conceptual sense that the F2 traits associated with psychopathy would relate to BPD, as evidenced by their parallels in affective instability, reactive aggression, and impulsivity. However, psychopaths nonetheless exhibit both F1 and F2 traits. It may appear counterintuitive that F1 traits would characterize BPD as well, as these traits bear poor resemblance to BPD, a disorder marked by extreme levels of emotionality. However, this paradox can be reconciled by considering etiological differences in the development of F1 traits in primary versus secondary psychopathy. As with secondary psychopathy, it may be that the presence of F2 traits in BPD leads to the manifestation of F1 traits.

For example, a woman with BPD who faces the prospect of being abandoned by her partner may become dysregulated and emotionally unstable upon hearing this possibility. In turn, she may engage in behavior toward her partner that is manipulative and callous (e.g., lying, calculated physical assaults, purposeful infidelity) as a means of salvaging the relationship. In this respect, her manipulative and seemingly callous behavior emerges in an attempt to cope with the intense and variable emotions promoted by her F2 traits. Accordingly, one view advanced in the present paper is that the interplay between the two psychopathy factors may be associated with BPD, at least among women who presumably exhibit the secondary variant of psychopathy. Indeed, research conducted on female psychopaths indicates that the combination of F1 and F2 traits is associated with problems in affective regulation, including intense dysphoria, self-mutilation, binge-eating, and property damage (Coid, 1993). Further, some studies have found psychopathy-factor level interactions to predict both self- and other-directed violence, such that the effect of F2 is intensified at higher levels of F1 (Verona, Sprague, & Javdani, under review; Walsh & Kosson, 2008), although other studies have failed to find such interaction effects (see Kennealy et al., 2010, for a recent example).

Despite this conceptual overlap, BPD and psychopathy are still considered distinct and exhibit different prevalence rates across genders, particularly in clinical samples. For example, though both disorders are characterized by problems in regulating affect and behavior, there are various differences in the manifestation of these problems—such as greater distress and suicide risk in BPD, and greater violence and criminality in psychopathy (Walters & Heilbrun, 2010). BPD has also been traditionally associated with greater reactivity and disruptions in relationships (APA, 2000). Accordingly, it may be that conceptualizations of psychopathy are characterized by an overreliance on masculine experiences and expressions of the disorder (e.g., other-directed violence) and have failed to adequately capture experiences that best represent psychopathy in women. Examining gender differences in the overlaps and distinctions between BPD and psychopathy is thus an important area of research, as it can impact the ways in which personality disorders are conceptualized in future editions of the DSM, as well as provide information about gender differences in symptom manifestations. Recognizing differential overlap in the assessment and diagnosis of psychopathy and BPD in women versus men also bears significant implications for both legal and clinical practice, as gendered expressions of the disorders are likely to differ in terms of violence risk and treatment responsivity
………………….

General Discussion

Across two independent samples, results indicated that the interaction of the two psychopathy factors was associated with BPD in women. The finding that similar associations between the psychopathy factors and BPD emerged in two strikingly different samples of women, using different assessment instruments (self-report and interview-based), has several important implications. First, the consistency of our findings across two samples characterized by relatively low and high base rates of psychopathy, respectively, suggests that these associations are valid for women exhibiting symptoms at different extremes of the spectrum. Second, results indicate that BPD and psychopathy share a significant constellation of traits in women—potentially more so than in men—and, accordingly, that the two disorders may reflect gender-differentiated phenotypic expressions of similar dispositional vulnerabilities. While we acknowledge that the two disorders are likely not identical (given different symptom clusters in BPD and psychopathy, such as self-harm vs. chronic antisociality/violence, respectively), the current findings support the idea of a BPD-variant of psychopathy in women, reminiscent of the secondary psychopathic variant validated decades ago in men (Karpman, 1941). In view of this, our results raise questions about phenotypic heterogeneity of psychopathy across genders and have several implications for the “antisocial/psychopathic” and “borderline” personality types in the proposed DSM-5.

Psychopathy and BPD: A Double-Edged Sword for Women

The current results suggest that the interplay of the two psychopathy factors is associated with BPD symptoms in women. First, F2 traits were found to be independently associated with BPD symptoms in both men and women. This finding is not surprising, given overlapping symptom clusters in psychopathy and BPD, such as impulsivity, emotional lability, anger, and aggression. However, of even greater interest was the finding that F1 traits were also related to BPD in women, but only in the presence of high F2 traits. Conceptually, F1 traits associated with deficient emotionality and callousness seem like poor predictors of BPD, a disorder in which emotionality and affective extremes are considered hallmarks. Indeed, the simple effect of F1 was negatively or nonsignificantly associated with BPD across the college and forensic samples, respectively. Importantly, though, our results suggest that it is the presence of both F1 and F2 traits that promote liability for BPD in women, even above the influence of F2 traits alone.

One interpretation of these findings requires attention to the nature and complexity of symptoms associated with BPD, as they promote an alternation between emotional and behavioral extremes. In particular, the pattern of behavior associated with certain BPD symptoms (e.g., frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, wavering between devaluation and idealization) often necessitates an oscillation between extremes of highly emotional, impulsive, and aggressive reactivity on the one hand, and disengaged, calculating, and emotionally restrictive behavior on the other hand (Linehan, 1993). Our results suggest that this latter, more restrictive extreme likely manifests as F1 behaviors, whereas the former represents the female expression of F2 traits. Moreover, F2 may be a weaker predictor of BPD at lower levels of F1, as being low in F1 implies that one has the capacity for greater empathic responding. Therefore, even if a woman is high on F2 traits (e.g., impulsivity, anger), being low in F1 traits is likely to prevent her from acting upon such urges (i.e., because she is able to recognize the consequences of her actions on others; Miller & Eisenberg, 1988). In contrast, a woman high in F2 traits who is also high in F1 traits does not have a buffer preventing her from acting upon the dysregulated, impulsive, and aggressive urges promoted by her F2 traits. Thus, one interpretation is that BPD may be a female-specific manifestation of psychopathy—at least the secondary variant—among women who oscillate between extremes of emotional dysregulation and manipulative callousness. This potential female variant of psychopathy is similar to the one recognized in a recent cluster analysis of high psychopathy female offenders (Hicks et al., 2010).
 

Laura

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Well, that appears to answer some questions about the subject of this thread:
https://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,33625.0.html

It appears that a woman CAN put on the "intense emotional" appearance and still be a psychopath.


interpersonal-affective (F1) and impulsive-antisocial (F2) features of psychopathy...

For example, a woman with BPD who faces the prospect of being abandoned by her partner may become dysregulated and emotionally unstable upon hearing this possibility. In turn, she may engage in behavior toward her partner that is manipulative and callous (e.g., lying, calculated physical assaults, purposeful infidelity) as a means of salvaging the relationship. In this respect, her manipulative and seemingly callous behavior emerges in an attempt to cope with the intense and variable emotions promoted by her F2 traits. ...

In contrast, a woman high in F2 traits who is also high in F1 traits does not have a buffer preventing her from acting upon the dysregulated, impulsive, and aggressive urges promoted by her F2 traits. Thus, one interpretation is that BPD may be a female-specific manifestation of psychopathy—at least the secondary variant—among women who oscillate between extremes of emotional dysregulation and manipulative callousness.
 

Laura

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The following is interesting so I thought I'd break it down for ease of checking off factors when considering a case:

A 4-factor model has been proposed for diagnosing psychopathy – interpersonal, affective, life-style related and antisocial tendencies.

The interpersonal factor includes:
*superficiality,
*grandiosity,
*lying with or without ostensible benefits,
*manipulation of the perception of others.

The affective factor includes
*lack of guilt,
*shallow emotions,
*lack of empathy,
*lack of responsibility for one’s actions.

Lifestyle related factors include
*constant craving for stimulation,
*parasitic lifestyle benefiting off others,
*lack of long-term future planning,
*impulsiveness
*general irresponsibility.

The antisocial factor includes
*early behavioral problems often expressed as conflict with social norms and practices,
*crime.
*Sexual promiscuity also weighs in on the PCL-R score.

Things that caught my eye:

the form of aggression that is displayed appears to differ between the sexes ... women more often display a more relational and verbal form of aggression. This may, for instance, occur through manipulation of social networks in attempting to exclude the victim from a community.

the interpersonal symptoms in female psychopaths are not particularly characterized by superficial charm and a grandiose self-image, as is the case with men. {So they can be cranky bitches.}

promiscuity in female psychopaths may reflect a wish to gain financial or social benefits

social norms may influence the evaluation of certain psychopathic characteristics differently in men and women
Then:

in women {psychopaths} there is also a strong comorbidity with all cluster B personality disorders.
Cluster B personality disorders are:

*Antisocial personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.7): a pervasive disregard for the law and the rights of others.
*Borderline personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.83): extreme "black and white" thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior often leading to self-harm and impulsivity.
*Histrionic personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.50): pervasive attention-seeking behavior including inappropriately seductive behavior and shallow or exaggerated emotions.
*Narcissistic personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.81): a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_B_personality_disorders
 

eleusis

Jedi Master
This is a subject that strikes very close to home with me. It is highly probable that my mother was a psychopath. And through the years I've watched as other highly probable female psychopaths have no qualms destroying their own children. Not a drop of lost sleep either. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I was once sitting with my mother, who's now dead, asking her to visualize all she's done to her children. I was trying to give her a mental picture. She looked at me with blank eyes and told me she couldn't see anything in her head. I asked her if she could then imagine what something like say a house would look like and she couldn't imagine it. I would prompt her with what about walls, windows etc. I was dumbfounded to the point of asking 'are you sure you don't see something?' Nope, she didn't. Couldn't. Completely blank. Sitting next to her, I could even feel the blankness and my mind still reels over that one to this day. So, that attempt at evoking her non-existent conscience failed with a resounding thud.

In the mornings she was a one person pity parade. She would sit at the dining table and tales of woe would spill poisonously out of her mouth, hysterical tears and all. And the guys, she chose. One worse than the other just so she could tell everyone what a sad, pathetic, brutalized victim she was. It's how she hooked innocent people and her own children who were somehow expected to do something about it in the form of supplying endless amounts of pity and love. If by chance these guys weren't bad or mean enough she would ply them with alcohol and goad them into violence so she could show off a black eye as a badge of honor. So twisted. She was shrewd enough that she knew domestic violence against women was a card that would get people to feel sorry for her and the cherry on top was that she was doing it all so her children could have a better life. Insert finger. Vomit.

Her favored hunting ground for men was AA. She would bring these dudes home and I remember it being so uncomfortable and feeling unsafe. I didn't know them, but happy me another new father. I guess she preyed on the AA guys because they were damaged, didn't know how to stand up for themselves and she really could take great advantage of them. She always had an air of intellectual and spiritual superiority towards them, spirituality was another of her games, and talked down to them as if she had all the answers to life. Like she was some prize at the county fair and we were living in a mansion. Once, she took three of us children to an AA meeting in downtown New Orleans. The area was incredibly dangerous at the time, especially in the dark of night as it was, and drunks quite literally littered the sidewalks. When the meeting was over she convinced all the people in AA to go for coffee at a diner and off all the people went, following her, and abandoning all the children aged 5 to 12 alone, without one single parent, in a dingy ratty AA hole in the filthiest part of New Orleans. We didn't know where they went so we barricaded the door and armed ourselves with brooms and mops. But, the amazing part for me is how people followed her. Listened to her. Unbelievable.

One last one, as this may resonate with some others who have been the victims of female psychopathy. My mother was a compulsive talker about suicide. As if this topic should be a daily consideration for children. Oh here darling, here's your Cheerios and I'm thinking about killing myself. Every morning. Blah, blah, blah... suicide. I can look back now and know she had no intention whatsoever of killing herself. It was a ploy. Her ruse on us. A few times she did have to be pried off the Greater New Orleans bridge. Boy, that was high drama, forgive the pun. She milked those. And once she slashed her wrists in front of me. The slashed wrist was a fun one because everyone in the neighborhood saw her wheeled out on a gurney and talked about it for months. I became known as the guy whose mom tried to kill herself. Try defending that. It's just downright embarrassing. And this is funny, we lived in a very poor rundown area of New Orleans. So, my mom, the psychopath, succeeded in even having an entire ghetto feel sorry for her and think we were people to be pitied. Sad and humiliating for us, food for her.

I think it's very possible that to this day much of my depression throughout life was and is not mine. It's hers and the legacy or attachment she wanted me to have knowing it would immobilize me because I cared. A lot. All in all my personal experience with the female psychopath is that they use depression to great effect. They really wallow in the depression, and frankly I'm not so sure it's at all real as it feels now completely contrived, and for those who care, and don't know better, we extend our concern, our compassion and there's no bottom or end to this depression. From the psychopath there's never a resolution or a genuine and sincere plan to ameliorate the dire circumstances. Round and round the emotional drain is where they love to live and they are preternaturally good at sucking you down to that existence as well.

Thanks for letting me speak although I'm not sure this post is exactly within the scientific context of the discussion of the female psychopath that was occurring above. If it needs to be removed to the swamp for further discussion that's fine too.
 

l apprenti de forgeron

The Living Force
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Laura said:
Well, that appears to answer some questions about the subject of this thread:
https://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,33625.0.html

It appears that a woman CAN put on the "intense emotional" appearance and still be a psychopath.
Thanks for sharing Laura and obyvatel. Speaking from my ignorance, it's surprising start to see these realities. And, like the pegasus story, in some sense describe my narcissistic mother.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Looking through publications on female psychopathy there is comorbidity with histrionic and borderline personality disorders.

Psychopathy is correlated with antisocial personality disorder. Some researchers contend that just as antisocial personality disorder correlates with male psychopathy, histrionic personality disorder correlates with female psychopathy. Psychologist Theodore Millon discusses the possible common etiology between histrionic and antisocial personality disorders

[quote author=T Millon in Personality Disorders in Modern Life]

Hamburger et al. (1996) postulate that similar histories contribute to different results, noting that the research literature shows higher than expected rates of comorbidity between the histrionic and antisocial personalities and that histrionic males show a high rate of antisocial behavior (Lilienfeld, Van Valkenburg, Larntz, & Akiskal, 1986; Luisada, Peele, & Pittard, 1974). Moreover, both personalities show an interaction between gender and prevalence rate, with the histrionic personality being identified more frequently in females and the antisocial more frequently in males (APA, 1994; Ford & Widiger, 1989; Kass et al., 1983). Because the disorders share a number of characteristics, particularly lack of impulse control, stimulus-seeking behavior, and a deficient conscience, these authors assert that both personalities represent different expressions of the same underlying problem: psychopathy. If so, females with psychopathic genes would be disposed to develop a histrionic personality, and males with psychopathic genes would be disposed to develop an antisocial personality.
[/quote]

Male psychopaths are grandiose and narcissistic. In contrast, female psychopaths are not characterized by grandiose narcissism and are likely to seek attention from others through various means.

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by:

- attention seeking; prone to creating drama and theatrics
- manipulation of others by using symptoms of physical illness
- rapidly changing emotional states
- sexual suggestiveness
- deficient conscience
- impulsivity
- stimulus seeking
- superficial relationships

There are significant areas of overlap between histrionic and borderline personality disorders. Millon states that histrionics can move into more extreme borderline behaviors under stress - which means they would be more prone to extreme fluctuation of emotional states as well as splitting. Both attempt to manipulate others through physical issues and threats of self-harm - but borderlines are prone to actual self-harming behaviors like cutting. Borderlines exhibit strong paranoid symptoms.

It seems plausible that a histrionic personality style with overlap into borderline areas especially under stress characterizes the female psychopath while a narcissistic personality style with antisocial character traits often characterize a male psychopath.
 

Gaby

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obyvatel said:
It seems plausible that a histrionic personality style with overlap into borderline areas especially under stress characterizes the female psychopath while a narcissistic personality style with antisocial character traits often characterize a male psychopath.
Trying to understand the various emotional displays that a female psychopath might manifest, the following came to my attention. Even though there is no distinction on gender, it is still useful:

Discussion of Psychopathy Traits: Excerpts From The Mask of Sanity, by Hervey Cleckley, 5th edition

http://cassiopaea.org/2011/02/16/discussion-of-psychopathy-traits-excerpts-from-the-mask-of-sanity-by-hervey-cleckley-5th-edition/

In addition to his incapacity for object love, the psychopath always shows general poverty of affect. Although it is true that be sometimes becomes excited and shouts as if in rage or seems to exult in enthusiasm and again weeps in what appear to be bitter tears or speaks eloquent and mournful words about his misfortunes or his follies, the conviction dawns on those who observe him carefully that here we deal with a readiness of expression rather than a strength of feeling.

Vexation, spite, quick and labile flashes of quasi-affection, peevish resentment, shallow moods of self-pity, puerile attitudes of vanity, and absurd and showy poses of indignation are all within his emotional scale and are freely sounded as the circumstances of life play upon him. But mature, wholehearted anger, true or consistent indignation, honest, solid grief, sustaining pride, deep joy, and genuine despair are reactions not likely to be found within this scale.

Craig60 said long ago that patients who suffer from hysteria do not react with awe, reverence, wonder, or pity. Often they do not, it might be said, appear capable of achieving in sincerity the major emotions, although their protestations of such emotions are prominent and their show of feeling is sometimes so vigorous that the observer is often misled to believe that they are in tragic grief or remorse. Although such a diminution of emotional range, especially along the deeper notes, may be seen in the patient with hysteria, in the psychopath it is very much more far-reaching, profound, and final. Even in the situations of squalor and misery into which he repeatedly works himself, when confined in jails and what he regards as lunatic asylums, after throwing away fortunes or catching and transferring gonorrhea to his bride – even under these circumstances he does not show anything that could be called woe or despair or serious sorrow. He becomes vexed and rebellious and frets in lively and constant impatience when confined, but he does not grieve as others grieve.
That readiness of expression and the extreme black and white thinking reminds me of the "Schizoidal Declaration" From http://www.ponerology.com/psychopaths_3.html:

Note: According to Lobaczewski, the study of psychopathology was further advanced in Eastern European than in current Western psychiatry. While current personality inventories may be useful in accurate diagnosis, they are not useful in differentiating between various personality disorders. As such, using Western terminology, a schizoid may be diagnosed as schizoid and/or paranoid personality disorder. An essential psychopath may be diagnosed as narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder. Keeping this in mind, we here present Lobaczewski's descriptions of the various psychopathies, along with the closest Western diagnosis.

SCHIZOIDAL PSYCHOPATHY

“[Schizoids] are hypersensitive and distrustful, while, at the same time, pay little attention to the feelings of others. They tend to assume extreme positions, and are eager to retaliate for minor offenses. Sometimes they are eccentric and odd. Their poor sense of psychological situation and reality leads them to superimpose erroneous, pejorative interpretations upon other people’s intentions. They easily become involved in activities which are ostensibly moral, but which actually inflict damage upon themselves and others. Their impoverished psychological worldview makes them typically pessimistic regarding human nature.” (Lobaczewski, 123-4)

[...]

Schizoidal Declaration: Schizoids often betray their characteristic view of human nature in their statements and writings. “Human nature is so bad that order in human society can only be maintained by a strong power created by highly qualified individuals in the name of some higher idea.” Ironically, normal people, under the influence of schizoids and their twisted view of reality, will tend to fulfill such a view of human nature. Such open schizoidal declarations are apparent in the works of Marx and Engels, Hobbes, and various leading neoconservative intellectuals.

ROLE IN THE ORIGIN OF EVIL

In Relationships: Schizoids often cause their families much trouble and are often poor parents. They are easily manipulated for the benefit of more clever individuals, often playing the role of “patsy”. Their simplistic “black or white” view of human reality often turns their good intentions into bad results.

On Humanity: If schizoidal views are published and widely distributed (like the writings of Marx, or of Leo Strauss), they can play a large role in the origin of evil on a mass scale. When normal people read the work of a schizoid, they are often unaware of the true nature of the author they are reading. Due to their richer psychological worldview, they tend towards a ‘corrective interpretation’ of writing which is, in fact, pathological. In this way, the deviant psychology can also be accepted by naïve individuals. Only with a proper understanding of the pathological nature of this material can one effectively read through it and immunize oneself against infection.

ESSENTIAL PSYCHOPATHY

“Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, the selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret. Their bewildered victims desperately ask, ‘Who are these people?’ ‘What makes them they way they are?’ ‘How can we protect ourselves?’ ” (Hare, xi)

“Psychopaths have what it takes to defraud and bilk others: They are fast-talking, charming, self-assured, at ease in social situations, cool under pressure, unfazed by the possibility of being found out, and totally ruthless.” (Hare 121)

[...]

Essential psychopathy ranges from barely noticeable (“subclinical psychopathy”) to recognizably diagnosable by professionals (“full clinical manifestation”). The former play the greatest role in macrosocial phenomena, while the latter (about whom Cleckley wrote his book The Mask of Sanity, and of which Charlie Carewe in Mary Astor's novel The Incredible Charlie Carewe is an example) do not manage to avoid frequent periods in prisons or mental institutions, often rotating between the two. Those who manage to keep their masks of sanity more consistent in their quest for power, and who are thus more successful in their endeavours, are dealt with in Paul Babiak and Robert Hare’s Snakes in Suits.

MAIN FEATURES

“Psychopaths are generally well satisfied with themselves and with their inner landscape, bleak as it may seem to outside observers. They see nothing wrong with themselves, experience little personal distress, and find their behavior rational, rewarding, and satisfying; they never look back with regret or forward with concern. They perceive themselves as superior beings in a hostile, dog-eat-dog world in which others are competitors for power and resources. Psychopaths feel it is legitimate to manipulate and deceive others in order to obtain their “rights,” and their social interactions are planned to outmaneuver the malevolence they see in others.” (Hare, 195)

1) Talkativeness: The most noticeable feature of essential psychopathy is a talkative stream, easily blending truth and fiction. Not feeling any guilt, they will effortlessly deflect attention away from previous lies with more lies. They can talk for hours on end and appear extremely knowledgeable regarding any number of subjects. However, they tend to ignore what most consider as important issues, and will avoid speaking of abstract values and feelings unknown to them. When one does speak of such things, anomalies arise. At one moment a psychopath may speak of his profound love for his mother; the next, how a woman he once knew as a child was the woman he loved the most, even more so than his mother!

“They know the words but not the music; they exhibit a facility with words that mean little to them, form without substance” (Hare, 128-129). Under careful analysis, these displays of emotion are shown to lack any actual understanding of the emotions in question. It is almost as if they believe that the weak impulse or base emotion they feel is representative of the true emotion felt by a normal human being. Similarly, their streams of thought are ostensibly logical, but again, careful analysis shows them to have suggestive paralogisms. For example, when confronted about his lack of empathy a psychopath may evade the issue and say, “What about empathy for me? Do you have any idea what I've had to put up with?”

[...]

A PSYCHOPATH RESPONDS TO THE HARE CHECKLIST

Glib and Superficial: “What is negative about articulation skills?”

Egocentric and Grandiose: “How can I attain something if I don’t reach high?”

Lack of empathy: “Empathy toward an enemy is a sign of weakness.”

Deceitful and Manipulative: “Why be truthful to the enemy? All of us are manipulative to some degree. Isn’t positive manipulation common?”

Shallow Emotions: “Anger can lead to being labeled a psychopath.”

Impulsive: “Can be associated with creativity, living in the now, being spontaneous and free.”

Poor behavioral controls: “Violent and aggressive outbursts may be a defensive mechanism, a false front, a tool for survival in the jungle.”

Need for excitement: “Courage to reject the routine, monotonous, or uninteresting. Living on the edge, doing things that are risky, exciting, challenging, living life to its fullest, being alive rather than dull, boring, and almost dead.”

Lack of responsibility: “Shouldn’t focus on human weaknesses that are common.”

Early behavior problems and adult antisocial behavior: “Is a criminal record reflective of badness or nonconformity?”

Lack of remorse of guilt: No response. (Quoted by Hare, 69-70) [...]
 

Laura

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Gaby said:
obyvatel said:
It seems plausible that a histrionic personality style with overlap into borderline areas especially under stress characterizes the female psychopath while a narcissistic personality style with antisocial character traits often characterize a male psychopath.
Trying to understand the various emotional displays that a female psychopath might manifest, the following came to my attention. Even though there is no distinction on gender, it is still useful:
Indeed, and I want to emphasize what we SEE up front with these types:

...he sometimes becomes excited and shouts as if in rage or seems to exult in enthusiasm and again weeps in what appear to be bitter tears or speaks eloquent and mournful words about his misfortunes or his follies
They can also use these tricks and tactics to try to convince others that they are "champions of the underdogs" and, according to research, this IS one of their main cons.

http://cassiopaea.org/2011/02/13/how-psychopaths-view-their-world/

...when charming a potential victim, they say all the "right" things and make you believe they are kind-hearted souls...

Guggenbuhl-Craig states that they are very talented at appearing much more humble than the average person, but are hardly so. Some are also able to feign concern about the lower classes and profess that they are on the side of the underdog, the poor, and so forth. {Or the Palestinians.}
...
Some psychopaths can even be very fond of animals (contrary to the common viewpoint), but still view them as objects in relation to themselves.
...
on the outside he can claim to be on the side of the disenfranchised or the downtrodden. I knew one who liked to repeat phrases such as "they have to stop keeping my brothers down" but he didn't mean a word of it. He was actually a racist. The psychopath can also often identify himself as a revolutionary. {Or an activist. Or 9-11 Truther.}
...
often paints a picture of himself as the downcast anti-hero (his "own worst enemy type") and some like to see themselves as lone-wolves. The psychopath may even claim he is sensitive and profound, but inside he is nothing but emptiness and greed.
...
By enacting such behaviours, the psychopath is also trying to "get back" at society and the world, in order to gain retribution. They will spend their entire lives doing this, whether they are rich or poor, or whatever their social background may be...
Back to Cleckley:

Vexation, spite, quick and labile flashes of quasi-affection, peevish resentment, shallow moods of self-pity, puerile attitudes of vanity, and absurd and showy poses of indignation ...are freely sounded as the circumstances of life play upon him.
Or, as he needs to "set hooks" into people.


... their protestations of such emotions are prominent and their show of feeling is sometimes so vigorous that the observer is often misled to believe that they are in tragic grief or remorse.
This would definitely describe the histrionic personality.

Even in the situations of squalor and misery into which he repeatedly works himself, when confined in jails and what he regards as lunatic asylums, after throwing away fortunes or catching and transferring gonorrhea to his bride – even under these circumstances he does not show anything that could be called woe or despair or serious sorrow. He becomes vexed and rebellious and frets in lively and constant impatience when confined, but he does not grieve as others grieve.
No, they don't show sorrow or woe about their condition and how they put themselves there, it is always someone else's fault. They did NOTHING wrong. They were just pursuing their goals of being a GOOD PERSON and HELPING OTHERS.


“Psychopaths are generally well satisfied with themselves and with their inner landscape, bleak as it may seem to outside observers. They see nothing wrong with themselves, experience little personal distress, and find their behavior rational, rewarding, and satisfying; they never look back with regret or forward with concern. They perceive themselves as superior beings in a hostile, dog-eat-dog world in which others are competitors for power and resources. Psychopaths feel it is legitimate to manipulate and deceive others in order to obtain their “rights,” and their social interactions are planned to outmaneuver the malevolence they see in others.” (Hare, 195)

1) Talkativeness: The most noticeable feature of essential psychopathy is a talkative stream, easily blending truth and fiction. Not feeling any guilt, they will effortlessly deflect attention away from previous lies with more lies. They can talk for hours on end and appear extremely knowledgeable regarding any number of subjects. However, they tend to ignore what most consider as important issues, and will avoid speaking of abstract values and feelings unknown to them. When one does speak of such things, anomalies arise. At one moment a psychopath may speak of his profound love for his mother; the next, how a woman he once knew as a child was the woman he loved the most, even more so than his mother!

“They know the words but not the music; they exhibit a facility with words that mean little to them, form without substance” (Hare, 128-129). Under careful analysis, these displays of emotion are shown to lack any actual understanding of the emotions in question. It is almost as if they believe that the weak impulse or base emotion they feel is representative of the true emotion felt by a normal human being. Similarly, their streams of thought are ostensibly logical, but again, careful analysis shows them to have suggestive paralogisms. For example, when confronted about his lack of empathy a psychopath may evade the issue and say, “What about empathy for me? Do you have any idea what I've had to put up with?”
Lobaczewski:

... hypersensitive and distrustful, while, at the same time, pay little attention to the feelings of others.

... assume extreme positions, and are eager to retaliate for minor offenses.

Sometimes they are eccentric and odd.

Their poor sense of psychological situation and reality leads them to superimpose erroneous, pejorative interpretations upon other people’s intentions.

They easily become involved in activities which are ostensibly moral, but which actually inflict damage upon themselves and others.
...

Schizoidal Declaration: Schizoids often betray their characteristic view of human nature in their statements and writings. “Human nature is so bad that order in human society can only be maintained by a strong power created by highly qualified individuals in the name of some higher idea.”

In Relationships: Schizoids often cause their families much trouble and are often poor parents. They are easily manipulated for the benefit of more clever individuals, often playing the role of “patsy”.

Their simplistic “black or white” view of human reality often turns their good intentions into bad results.
....
When normal people read the work of a schizoid, they are often unaware of the true nature of the author they are reading. Due to their richer psychological worldview, they tend towards a ‘corrective interpretation’ of writing which is, in fact, pathological. In this way, the deviant psychology can also be accepted by naïve individuals. Only with a proper understanding of the pathological nature of this material can one effectively read through it and immunize oneself against infection.
This next is just priceless! Yeah, I think we've heard these arguments a time or two.

A PSYCHOPATH RESPONDS TO THE HARE CHECKLIST

Glib and Superficial: “What is negative about articulation skills?”

Egocentric and Grandiose: “How can I attain something if I don’t reach high?”

Lack of empathy: “Empathy toward an enemy is a sign of weakness.” {Question is, how do you define "enemy"?}

Deceitful and Manipulative: “Why be truthful to the enemy? All of us are manipulative to some degree. Isn’t positive manipulation common?”
This is a paralogism alright! Because, in SOME cases - like when dealing with psychopaths or ponerized people - it is mostly true. Let's be clear here: Manipulation is saying UNTRUE or SUGGESTIVE things about another person, behind their backs, with intent to do harm. And, as the studies presented above reveal, that is exactly what these types do and how they create their own "dark networks":

the form of aggression that is displayed appears to differ between the sexes ... women more often display a more relational and verbal form of aggression. This may, for instance, occur through manipulation of social networks in attempting to exclude the victim from a community.
An example can be a predator sizing up the prey, deciding that this one is weak, waiting and watching until they can "cut them out of the herd" and get them off on their own. And the counter-example is the herd becoming aware of the predator and closing ranks against them. Obviously, TO A PSYCHOPATH, that would be the "same thing", but it isn't.

Back to the Hare Checklist responses. Notice that they are mostly pretty good arguments, what is left out is context.

Shallow Emotions: “Anger can lead to being labeled a psychopath.”

Impulsive: “Can be associated with creativity, living in the now, being spontaneous and free.”

Poor behavioral controls: “Violent and aggressive outbursts may be a defensive mechanism, a false front, a tool for survival in the jungle.”

Need for excitement: “Courage to reject the routine, monotonous, or uninteresting. Living on the edge, doing things that are risky, exciting, challenging, living life to its fullest, being alive rather than dull, boring, and almost dead.”

Lack of responsibility: “Shouldn’t focus on human weaknesses that are common.”

Early behavior problems and adult antisocial behavior: “Is a criminal record reflective of badness or nonconformity?”

Lack of remorse of guilt: No response. (Quoted by Hare, 69-70) [...]
 

Chu

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I find this topic to be most interesting, and essential in our learning curve (with the current situation and more). It explains so much about why it is said that there are so few female psychopaths, and why it is so hard to detect them. Many experts say that female psychopaths are way more dangerous than males, and these studies kind of tell us why, IMO. The traits are better hidden, the pity hooks stronger, we confuse them with people who are wounded, histrionic, BPD...

It also makes me think that compared to male psychopaths, females may be more prone to doing things that others perceive as self-harming (and elicit huge amounts of pity and make people want to come to the rescue), while in fact they are part of the ploy. It boggles the mind that they would do things that in the end amount to creating worse situations for themselves. But is that a fact, after all? If it works with most people, then to our eyes it is self-damaging but their next victim might be right there waiting for them. When we assume that if a person is doing what seems to be self-harming, it means that they are wounded, or repeating a drama from some traumatic time, etc., we may be right there falling into a big trap.

It is so darn hard to tell, though! I'm more and more convinced that the only way is networking, observation, and matching words with facts over a period of time. How else can we see the difference, otherwise? Geez...

[ADDED: Pegasus, I am very sorry to read your story. It must have been terrible. You might want to start your own thread about it at some point, if you were expecting some feedback about it. It is really difficult to tell, as we know. It might help you to read this book. Some of what you wrote is similar to what the author describes in there. The title is misleading, and if the reported facts are true, I am pretty sure that woman was a psychopath. There is a discussion about this book on the forum, by the way. Thanks for sharing!]
 

Chu

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obyvatel said:
Behavioral expressions in women and men

Forouzan and Cooke claim that there are differences between the sexes with respect to psychopathy. They suggest four key points in the way these differences manifest: (1) behavior, (2) interpersonal characteristics, (3) underlying psychological mechanisms, and (4) different social norms for men and women. Moreover, they claim that the behavior observed in the sexes differs both with regard to the manifestation of the psychopathic behavior and in the expression of interpersonal characteristics.

As for the behavioral expression of the disorder, Forouzan and Cooke suggest that women who are manipulative more often tend to flirt, while manipulative men are more likely to run scams and commit fraud. In women, the tendency to run away, exhibit self-injurious behavior, and manipulation, all characterize impulsiveness and behavioral problems.

Moreover, their criminal behavior consists primarily of theft and fraud. In men, however, the criminal behavior often includes violence. Indeed, the form of aggression that is displayed appears to differ between the sexes. Although the results are divergent and inconclusive,some studies have suggested that while men more often show physical aggression, women more often display a more relational and verbal form of aggression. This may, for instance, occur through manipulation of social networks in attempting to exclude the victim from a community. Alternatively, it may take the form of threats of self injury, with consequences for family and friends.
Along these lines, here is a short excerpt from The Anatomy of Evil, by Adrian Raine, talking about the difference in the brain among men and women, and their antisocial behavior:

Male Brains – Criminal Minds

Could it be that there are fundamental brain differences between men and women that explain why men commit more crime?

We compared men with women on prefrontal brain volumes. Men had a 12.6 percent volume reduction in the orbitofrontal gray compared with women. That’s the underneath part of the prefrontal cortex. Men with reduced ventral gray were more antisocial than men with normal ventral gray volumes. [..] women with reduced ventral gray were more antisocial than women with normal gray volumes. We get the same brain effect in antisocial women than we find in antisocial men. Hold these findings in your prefrontal cortex’s working memory for a minute.

Men, of course, were found to be more antisocial and criminal than women, replicating a worldwide finding. No big deal. But what if we look again at this sex difference in crime, this time controlling for the sex difference in ventral gray volume? If we make men and women statistically the same in terms of their ventral volume, we cut the sex difference in crime by 77 percent. So more than half of the reason men and women differ n crime seems to be because their brains are physically different.

I’m not saying that all the difference in crime between men and women can be put down to the brain. And I’m certainly not saying that we should ignore differences in socialization and other social and parenting influences. Bit what I am arguing is that there are fundamental neurobiological differences between men and women that can help explain the gender difference in crime. It’s also striking that we find sex differences in the very same frontal sectors that are linked to antisocial behavior —men and women did not differ in prefrontal sectors that are not related to crime.

The findings do not come out of the blue. Sex differences in prefrontal gray have been documented in several other MRI studies. One imaging study found a 16.7 percent reduction in orbitofrontal volumes in men compared to women. Three other studies have found the same sex difference, including one large study of 465 normal adults. Men have also been reported to show lower activation of the orbitofrontal cortex compared with women when performing a wide variety of cognitive and emotional tasks, including verbal fluency, working memory, processing thread stimuli, and working memory during a negative emotional context. Men simply have different brains from women, and it’s pointless to cover up and ignore these fundamental differences.
 

Chu

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Here are a few other papers, in case Obyvatel or someone else is interested:

Gender and factor-level interactions in psychopathy: implications for self-directed violence risk and borderline personality disorder symptoms.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22452771

Empathy, morality and psychopathic traits in women
http://www.drru-research.org/data/resources/117/1-s2.0-S0191886913001311-main.pdf

Gender differences in emotional risk for self- and other-directed violence among externalizing adults.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3368376/

Gender differences in contributions of emotion to psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18945529

Psychopathy in Women: Assessment, Manifestations, and Etiology
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232507155_Psychopathy_in_Women_Assessment_Manifestations_and_Etiology

I was only able to download the second and the third one for free (available from the links above)
 

Alana

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Psychology Today had what seems a good article about Female Psychopaths a couple of years ago.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-equation/201205/female-psychopaths

Female Psychopaths
Are there more than we think?
Published on May 2, 2012 by Joni E. Johnston, Psy.D. in The Human Equation

Callous. Unemotional. Lacking empathy. Aggressive. Impulsive. Acting without any regard for the welfare of others. These descriptions have consistently been used to describe psychopathy, a rather grim personality constellation that is over-represented in prison inmates (although the majority of inmates are not psychopaths and most psychopaths are not in prison). This personality make-up is also consistently documented more often in men versus women; in fact, the ratio has been as high as 20:1.

However, new research suggests that some of the difference between men and women may not be in the existence of deceitful, manipulative, and exploitive personality traits but in the expression of them. Specifically, these researchers found that women may be more likely to express these personality deficits through behaviors that are typically associated with, and diagnosed as, other mental illnesses.{What was mentioned in the studies above}

For example, these researchers found overlap between some of the symptoms such as histrionic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. A woman whose extreme fear of abandonment leads her to periodic outbursts of rage over real or imagined transgressions, flips between seeing her significant other as either completely perfect or totally evil, or who has to constantly be the center of attention certainly isn't who we think of when we think of the classic psychopath. But she may be just as incapable of true empathy, and just as manipulative and deceitful, as the callous, unemotional male.
So, it seems to me that one of the reasons that is harder to recognize a female psychopath, is because she can act in hysteric behaviors (unlike men) who mimic behaviors exhibited by neurotic people. In witnessing that, the neurotic person will empathize with the psychopath and become willing to offer their sympathy and help, becoming her victims.

Anyone among you with a Psychology Today subscription so we can read the rest of the article?

I am also reading through Cleckley's Mask of Sanity trying to understand recent events, especially his chapters who talk about female psychopaths, and this stood out. He is talking about a female character from a book (one I haven't read) and contrasts how the author portrays her with a real psychopath. I have a feeling that maybe Cleckley himself might have not understood female psychopathy completely, or that he tries to apply male psychopathy on females, when the latter need a category of their own:

Anyone concerned at all with psychiatry is likely to find in Jenny Hagar Poster
Evered of The Strange Woman (Ben Ames Williams)295 detail and concreteness familiar in
the direct study of patients but hard to put into medical histories. In that she does not
respect the rights of others and particularly in that she reacts in anything but a normal
way in the deepest personal relations, Jenny might be proclaimed a psychopath whose
deviation is extraordinarily complete. Sharply distinguishing points emerge when we
consider the persistent purposiveness, the strong and sustained malice with which this
woman works to destroy all happiness for children, husbands, and paramours. A
conscious brutality prevails. Destructive impulses are directed consistently by open
hate.

In contrast with this picture of a well-organized paranoid life scheme we find the
typical psychopath not consistently seeking to inflict major disaster on anyone. More
characteristic is the psychopath's pettiness and transiency of affect (both positive and
negative) and his failure to follow a long-range plan, either for good or for evil. The
emotional damage he may (and often does) inflict on others, mate, parents, children, is
not, it seems, inflicted for any major voluntary purpose or from a well-focused motive
but from what weighs in at little more than whim or caprice. He does not seem to
intend much harm. In the disaster he brings about he cannot estimate the affective
reactions of others which are the substance of the disaster. A race of men congenitally
without pain sense would not find it easy to estimate the effects of physical torture on
others. A man who had never understood visual experience would lack appreciation of
what is sustained when the ordinary person loses his eyes. So, too, the real psychopath
seems to lack understanding of the nature and quality of the hurt and sorrow he brings
to others.

In contrast to anything of this sort, Jenny shows a rather accurate awareness of
how it is going to hurt as she skillfully, and in response to consistent impulse, pursues
her plans. All this is very typical of severe paranoid reactions seen clinically. Jenny is
also depicted as having components of overt sadomasochistic deviation. Elements of
callousness (from incomplete comprehension) are probably necessary for such
reactions. Followed far enough inside the surface of action and consciousness, such
callousness might be found based on similar pathology to that which constitutes the
psychopath's basic incompleteness. As clinical pictures, nevertheless, there is more to
contrast than to identify the two life schemes.
 

Nancy2feathers

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Chu said:
I find this topic to be most interesting, and essential in our learning curve (with the current situation and more). It explains so much about why it is said that there are so few female psychopaths, and why it is so hard to detect them. Many experts say that female psychopaths are way more dangerous than males, and these studies kind of tell us why, IMO. The traits are better hidden, the pity hooks stronger, we confuse them with people who are wounded, histrionic, BPD...

It also makes me think that compared to male psychopaths, females may be more prone to doing things that others perceive as self-harming (and elicit huge amounts of pity and make people want to come to the rescue), while in fact they are part of the ploy. It boggles the mind that they would do things that in the end amount to creating worse situations for themselves. But is that a fact, after all? If it works with most people, then to our eyes it is self-damaging but their next victim might be right there waiting for them. When we assume that if a person is doing what seems to be self-harming, it means that they are wounded, or repeating a drama from some traumatic time, etc., we may be right there falling into a big trap.

It is so darn hard to tell, though! I'm more and more convinced that the only way is networking, observation, and matching words with facts over a period of time. How else can we see the difference, otherwise? Geez...

[ADDED: Pegasus, I am very sorry to read your story. It must have been terrible. You might want to start your own thread about it at some point, if you were expecting some feedback about it. It is really difficult to tell, as we know. It might help you to read this book. Some of what you wrote is similar to what the author describes in there. The title is misleading, and if the reported facts are true, I am pretty sure that woman was a psychopath. There is a discussion about this book on the forum, by the way. Thanks for sharing!]
I also find this topic interesting. Thanks for all the detailed info. It`s amazing how our emotions can be played by these psychopaths. I think for a normal person it`s human nature to reach out and want to help someone. Reading the above info, and understanding these traits makes me more aware and throws up some red flags.
 

Breo

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Sharply distinguishing points emerge when we consider the persistent purposiveness, the strong and sustained malice with which this woman works to destroy all happiness for children, husbands, and paramours. A conscious brutality prevails. Destructive impulses are directed consistently by open hate.
I second, very interesting subject. The more I learn to detect their traits I tend to view female psychopaths as more devious than male, who might be easier to detect. Females seem to be even more refined in manipulating, using pity ploy at their best. My two cents.
 
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