Rhonda Freeman Ph.D.


6 Obstacles to a Relationship With a Psychopath

The real reasons why those who have tried have failed to bond.

Posted Jun 11, 2015

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Ammentorp Photography/Shutterstock
Source: Ammentorp Photography/Shutterstock

We learn about others and ourselves through our intimate relationship experiences. What if an experience was traumatic , and left behind psychological scars that require healing or professional intervention?

This is the reality for many who have found themselves in an intimate relationship with a psychopath.

Psychopathy is such a commonly used word online and in the media, making the symptoms for the general public ambiguous. Psychopathy is a disorder related to specific faulty brain functions. A few such areas include the ventromedial prefrontal cortex , amygdala , and anterior cingulate cortex . 

Let’s address some basics: Psychopathy is a deeply ingrained constellation of personality traits and behaviors. The symptoms reflect an emotional processing disorder, with a strong genetic foundation (Neuman & Hare, 2008; Viding, Blair, Moffitt, & Plomin, 2005). The condition makes up approximately 1-to-2% of the population and is present in both sexes, although unevenly.

Psychopathy is a complex condition with:

  • a specific underlying neurological dysfunction;
  • a range of intensity (i.e., on a continuum or spectrum);
  • positive symptoms (e.g., adaptability/ability to conceal dark traits); and
  • the presence of subtypes (i.e., primary and secondary).

Psychopaths are prone to interact through manipulation and to use others for their sole benefit, even if this creates pain and devastation for the target. Extending love and care to them will not impact the expression of pathology from the psychopathic partner. 

The vast symptoms of this condition include traits such as: 

  • lack of or minimal empathy
  • callousness
  • manipulation
  • pathological lying
  • charm
  • a tendency toward boredom
  • arrogance
  • blame shifting
  • dominance
  • aggression
  • impulsivity

In companies, individuals with psychopathy can orchestrate the loss of jobs, turn people against each other, or divide a team . Within intimate relationships, they can leave partners and family members struggling with the impact of trauma, betrayal, and abuse , potentially lasting years after they are gone.

It’s important to know that psychopathy is a condition on a spectrum—there is a gradient or range. Some individuals with psychopathy are more disordered than others. Evidence indicates that there are two variants of psychopathy—primary and secondary. The core symptoms tend to be present in both variants, but it is suspected the underlying etiology is different.

Those considered primary psychopaths have the symptoms we typically associate with this disorder: They are emotionally under-reactive, lack anxiety, and have high narcissism . Research correlates this form of psychopathy with a genetic foundation (Hicks, Carlson, Blonigen, Patric, Iacono, & MGue, 2012; Neuman & Hare, 2008; Viding, Blair, Moffitt, & Plomin, 2005). This suggests that it is unlikely that mistreatment during their childhood was the primary contributor to their affective deficits. There is a biological predisposition to this neurodevelopmental condition.

Conversely, those with secondary psychopathy tend to be emotionally reactive and tense individuals. This form of psychopathy is typically described as emotionally dysregulated and anxious. Studies support that past trauma, abuse, and environmental factors are highly correlated with this form of psychopathy (Hicks et al., 2012). (Some researchers do not consider secondary psychopathy truly psychopathy at all.)

Even within these variants of psychopathy, one will often exhibit two sides or two faces. For example, many individuals appear charming, exciting, and loaded with charisma in public. People might feel drawn to them, finding their magnetic persona and achievements admirable. At home, however, these same individuals may instill  fear , causing those who love them most to walk on eggshells in attempts to avoid their hair-trigger temper.

Obstacles to a Safe, Happy Relationship

Aside from problems such as minimal empathy, antagonism, manipulation, and anger , 6 additional factors that hinder safe relationships with a psychopath:

  1. Minimal capacity to bond.

    At the beginning of their intimate relationships, they are typically excited and stimulated by their new partner. This state can easily be mistaken as bonding and deep caring for their mate. However, this tends to be the dopamine -driven stage of romantic love that can feel like addictive attraction . Once that fades, so does their interest. It is often at this point that they display disdain for their partner.

  2. Dysfunctional relationship cycle.

    They often demonstrate a predictable cyclical style of intimate relationships that are common for those with cluster B personality disorders. They idealize, devalue, and then discard their partners, with no concern for the pain they leave behind. Given that they never had a bond with their mate in the first place, walking away from the relationship causes them little to no discomfort. Many are happy to move along to the next target, particularly if they left their former mate in the “loser” position.

  3. Inability to offer a genuine apology.

    Psychopathy is a disorder that hampers the ability to feel guilt and remorse. Due to faulty brain functions, there is a tendency to engage in immoral behavior. When they hurt someone or cause damage, they usually will not offer an apology. If what appears to be an apology is offered, it is rarely beyond words and tends to include an element of distancing and minimizing (“I made a mistake”). The feelings of guilt and remorse are missing because these emotional states are not within their capacity. Therefore, the typical contrition that would naturally follow when one has caused harm to another will be absent. Their stance is typically, “Move on,” “Let it go,” “You’re too sensitive,” or, “Why are you still talking about that—it’s in the past!”

  4. Presence of high narcissism.

    For those with primary psychopathy, it is in their nature to have an incredibly inflated, grandiose sense of self. They do not need or care about the approval of others. Any desire they have for control or worship is associated with feelings of superiority, not insecurity. Unfortunately, for the individual with psychopathy, there tends to be no genuine interest in friendships.

  5. Everyone is assigned a role and has a use: “You’re my object.” 

    They have a strong need for power and control and often place others in the role of “loser,” even those who demonstrate loyalty, trust and love toward them. Psychopathic individuals usually have a “use” for those they keep close. They consider some people puppets, who will defend them, agree with them, or sacrifice their reputation to protect them. It is often their preference to have numerous puppets. For many with psychopathy, this role is also assigned to their intimate partner.

  6. Immorality. Psychopathy is a disorder that has immorality as a core feature. When there is immorality, harm to others tends to follow. It would not be uncommon for someone with this condition to have secret/dual lives, pervasive hateful thoughts, or a consistent pattern of violating behaviors. Examples include Internet trolling, using children as pawns, abusing/ bullying others, or forcing a partner to have sex .  
Source: Radharani/Shutterstock

A healthy intimate relationship is extremely difficult to establish with an adult who seeks to control and demean another. Their lack of care or concern regarding the impact of their actions can further exacerbate the pain for their mates. It can be difficult for loved ones to move past their flippant manner of inflicting harm: “He hurt me and he didn’t seem to care.”

Within relationships, the behaviors demonstrated by an individual with psychopathy can quickly create distance, anxiety, and a power differential. Quite often, then, psychopathic relationships are traumatic for the non-psychopathic partner. Naturally, domination and control obstructs normal bonding for the person involved in these relationships. Instead, the type of bond created is one based on fluctuating abuse and dependence—a trauma bond. This form of intense attachment can be difficult for the non-psychopathic partner to break, thereby placing him or her in an unsafe and dysfunctional relationship.

(Below I have included an infographic summary of this article. You can share it on Pinterest ,  Facebook , Twitter , etc).

For more information regarding psychopathy and survivors of intimate relationships, visit my website,  NeuroInstincts . 

Copyright 2015 Dr. Rhonda Freeman | Clinical Neuropsychologist

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Hicks BM, Carlson MD, Blonigen DM, Patrick CJ, Iacono WG, & Mgue M. (2012). Psychopathic personality traits and environmental contexts: Differential correlates, gender differences, and genetic mediation. Personality Disorders. Jul;3(3):209-27. 

Neumann, CS & Hare, RD. (2008). Psychopathic traits in a large community sample: links to violence, alcohol use, and intelligence . Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology. Oct;76(5):893-9.

Viding E, Blair RJ, Moffitt TE, & Plomin R. (2005). Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year-olds. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry . Jun;46(6):592-7.

Source: Image: Radharani/Shutterstock

Be sure to read the following responses to this post by our bloggers:

Behind the Mask – Inside a Psychopathic Romance is a reply by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D.

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Psychopathic partners

Submitted by Gutted on June 18, 2015 – 3:47pm

These published studies are very helpful to me in trying to recover fro the trauma of a relationship involving a non-empathic partner.
Thank you so much for sharing them.

Youre welcome! Glad the

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on June 19, 2015 – 12:41am

You’re welcome! Glad the information was helpful. Take care.

Can empaths learn to cope with a narcissistic society?

Submitted by susanna on July 4, 2015 – 6:19pm

my name’s Susan, and sometimes I wish i was like those individuals you so well described, even though it feels awful to wish so.
Unfortunately in the past i happened to date one: i took me 5 years to recover from the pain, and sometimes, when i am stressed or tired, i still feel like i am plunging once again in the feelings of hopelessness and total fear he left me with; so maybe i am scarred for life in some way.
So i can totally relate to your article, and thank you so much for sharing.

This “wish” somehow also relates to a job-related problem i have. Actually i’m a singer; but, recitals and concerts aside, singers are very much involved with the world of opera, which does require good acting skills.

And here is my problem: i feel awkward when i have to “pretend”, to the point that i simply can’t get myself to feel anything,
and i am overcome by the feeling that the whole thing (of me in such situation) does not make sense.
Even if i really convince myself that i am the character and pretend i am the character, and maybe even make myself think i enjoy it,
still i cannot really be “a character”, … instead the whole time i end up being the real me
(as the real me naturally feels in such a situation i.e. really silly).
Does it make sense? Can someone relate to this feeling? Am i hopeless?

All my life people have been telling me i’m like an open book and they can read my mind (which always bewilders me and i greatly resent this!).
Also, i seem to lack the gift of being able to tell lies (i literally can’t think of any, … at least not quick enough!).
Admittedly i guess i’m more of a thinker, so i have no gift of dramatic action and have no training in bewitching other people,
or pretending, or even wishing to pretend i was somebody else.
It is almost as if i am devoid of any wish or care to be someone else…

As a result, onlookers tell me that, when watching me,
they get the feeling that i constantly disengage and get distracted (which is almost insulting given that, on the contrary,
i am actually making a HUGE effort to do something so unnatural to me: it actually strains me a lot, it’s like i cannot be free to simply be myself!).
They also say that to some extent i seem to be distant and disconnected,
like i was somewhere else, and operating on auto-pilot (luckily, my memory is much better than other people’s,
so the paradox is that i remember my part well, while other performers who are excellent actors often strive to remember lines).

And here comes the most bewildering aspect: I believe that all these perceptions they get somehow show mostly through my eyes!
Actually … this is the most strange thing: strangely, i actually have good body movements, am graceful and generally poised
…. it is my eyes who give away the inner feelings of being disconnected.
To the point that a stage director made me wear a hat that covered my eyes, and flaunted my bodily movements instead, making me
act with my body a lot.

So, my question is: is it hopeless? Are there no succesful actors/performers who had my same problem and who learnt a specific way to mask their “untheatrical” character? Why does it have to be that the eyes are the window to the soul???
Is there anything i can do?
Please help!

Thank you in advance for any advice.

Its okay

Submitted by george on July 13, 2015 – 9:56pm

Your job is the stress factor here..First ask yourself, if you really like what you do right now??Is it your passion? If not leave it..Find your passion…your interesting area…then start a career in that..
You have expressed yourself in detail. I was also in the same situation..desperate..depressed..then i discovered my real talents..potential..(i have more disabilities than you think, but i ignored disabilities and concentrated on my strengths)…you can do it…you are a very good person..honest…you are a true friend that anybody wishes to have…

I agree George

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 – 10:23pm

If Susana does not feel this is her passion then she certainly shouldn’t push herself into anything she doesn’t enjoy.

Great for you! Finding what fulfills you!

(Such kind, supportive words you shared with her.)


Empaths in a "narcissistic society"

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 – 10:19pm

Thank you for writing Susanna. It can be difficult for those of us who are highly empathic or sensitive beings. It’s a beautiful thing, but simultaneously I agree – it can be difficult.

You sound like you have something very special and you just have to be sure to give some extra care in how you care for yourself and treat yourself. Keep strong boundaries. Know that some who are not as sensitive or possibly toxic will be able to tell that you are empathic and sensitive and potentially attempt to take advantage.

But with regard to your acting, I am sure your empathy and sensitivity can be channeled into your performances. I don’t know much about the acting world so I have no specific tips. There may be a coach who could assist you with this.

As for your empathy, perhaps a skilled counselor who gets a chance to know you and your situation could give you great guidance on how to be ‘you’ without feeling wiped out by the narcissism within our society.

What you have sounds special. You probably need a little support in how to work with your gift.


Conflation of potential with actual

Submitted by Jon on July 13, 2015 – 7:24pm

While I would by no means minimize or trivialize the feelings of anyone affected by partnering with someone carrying any sort of pathology, I find it disheartening that this article, as so many other sources regarding psychopathy and similar empathy disorders, tends to conflate the potential issues a sufferer may have with the actual.

Empathy comes in two parts: the ability to identify with the feelings of another and the compulsion to do so (i.e. the “conscience”). The psychopath often retains the former and lacks only the latter. This does, of course, allow for the potential of nearly everything this article describes. A person with no “built-in” moral compass has much greater options for immoral behavior. But this is not a foregone conclusion.

Even a psychopath at the far end of the spectrum can make moral decisions and treat people kindly and with care. The condition is not characterized by a compulsion to do otherwise, merely the ability.

Empathy and Psychopathy

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 – 10:32pm

Hi Jon,

I enjoyed your reply!

There is a wealth of information regarding psychopathy and empathy in the literature. A researcher that comes to mind is Dr. David Kosson. You might be interested in checking that out, too.

You are right … there is more than one type of empathy and individuals with psychopathy (depending upon their state on the spectrum) will have various levels of empathy. Some will have next to none while others, some degree (i.e., cognitive empathy).

True “the condition is not characterized by a compulsion to do otherwise, merely the ability.” —- however, this article is regarding common reasons why their partners will have difficulty bonding with them in a relationship, rather than a diagnostic piece.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply — wonderful to see your awareness regarding the various types of empathy!


further reading

Submitted by Jennifer on July 13, 2015 – 7:32pm

Do you have any suggested reading for children of psychopaths?

Children and Psychopathy

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 – 11:17pm

Great question Jennifer!

There are a few researchers who are presently studying callous-unemotional traits in children.

One psychologist who comes to mind is Dr. Essi Viding.

Robert Hare also looked into this topic a few years ago.

Children of psychopaths

Submitted by Ellie on July 15, 2015 – 5:30am

Wasn’t Jennifer asking for resources for children who have been unfortunate enough to have psychopathic parents? You are talking about children who ARE, or might be, psychopaths.

Jennifer, my dad was psychopathic/narcissistic whatever, certainly experiencing “emotional dysregulation”, a charmer outside the house, an abuser within. Constant emotional and verbal abuse, constant manipulation. Tragically, my mother persisted in the delusion that what he needed was “love and patience.” Which meant that his behaviour wasn’t challenged at all, that she lied for him to outsiders, and that their children (I’m one of three) had our own needs disregarded. Best wishes

Yes, I was actually wondering

Submitted by Jennifer on July 15, 2015 – 6:55am

Yes, I was actually wondering about children OF psychopaths. I’ve known my mother was a narcissist for several years now but I never thought of it as a symptom of something else. Any reading for that?

Yes – I misread

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 15, 2015 – 12:23pm

Hi Jennifer –

With respect to children of psychopaths, there is quite a bit of research on children who grow up under the conditions that psychopathic parents can create (e.g., negligence, abuse, competition, inconsistency, severe material overindulgence).

Personality disordered parents can often hinder the emotional and neurological development of their children. Stress changes the brain (regardless of our age), however it is particularly problematic for children because they have no established foundation of normalcy for their system.

Their development can often get hijacked. Rather than a generally calm, stable environment we all require as infants and children, their nervous system is exposed to upheaval that can impact their functioning throughout adulthood

For example we can see problems such as people pleasing tendencies, heightened sensitivity, concentration problems, tendency to take on blame when it’s not warranted, putting others before self, and codependent romantic relationships

I have not come across any books authored by specialists that look specifically at psychopathic mothers/ fathers and the impact on their children. However, a book that looks at trauma comes to mind (I don’t know if that would be appropriate to your circumstances). It is: Traumatic Experience and the Brain, by Dave Ziegler.

Then there is a book that looks at things from the opposite end called, Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain, by Sue Gerhardt. Many personality disordered parents are unable to meet the emotional needs of their children at any stage of their lives and this can naturally create a big problem.

Books by Dr. Karyl McBride – Will I Ever Be Good Enough and Dr. Nina Brown, Children of the Self Absorbed were both interesting reads.

Lastly, you could go to Pubmed and take a look at the general abuse literature, particularly regarding studies related to rearing from a personality disordered parent. They will have a range of variables and you can select the combination of variables that are most consistent with what you are looking for (i.e., neglect, physical abuse, male vs female abuser, etc).


Thanks 🙂

Submitted by Jennifer on July 15, 2015 – 3:44pm

Thanks 🙂

Mother was a psychopath

Submitted by Allie on May 1, 2016 – 4:30am

Mine too

The hidden half of pic…

Submitted by Vika on July 13, 2015 – 9:22pm

By own skin and by watching people I’ve realized that so-called superiority is just an attempt to not show how deeply insecure one feels…


Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 – 11:22pm

Hi Vika,

Yes — I agree, for some people their arrogance is associated with underlying insecurity. However, typically for those with psychopathy, they do not feel insecure. They truly feel superior and better than others.

Can my ex lover be a psychopath?

Submitted by Lucy on July 14, 2015 – 5:16am

I met this guy thanks to my boyfriend, they were friends. Anytime my boyfriend was not around, he hugged me and gave me these admiring and “aching” sights running through my body with his eyes. As someone who finished three universities and traveled around the world, he was very inspiring and I admired him a lot. After we broke up with my boyfriend (what he strongly encouraged me to do), he started being obsessed with me, he kept messaging me seducing messages as I once admitted that my sexual relationship with my bf was not very satisfying. He was asking me so many personal things it almost felt like he was trying to find the most vulnerable sides of me to fill in. Firstly, he looked amazing. When I once started crying because of problems with my bf, he holded my hand and hugged me for a long time. He was very understanding, promising he would not ever let me feel the way my boyfriend did. From the beginning I somehiw knew I was being manipulated, but I did not care too much. I liked the way he made me feel. His messages were very sensual and only after I told him I am not much into “animal sex” he started saying things about us being somehow connected. He got me to come visit him, took me to pub and after few drinks I ended up in bed with him. After we got physical, he was not so understanding anymore, only kept asking how did I feel about the sex and was getting offended when I refused to talk about it, as I was disappointed there was not apparently anything “more” between us as he used to promise. After this he was going on and off showing any interest in me, letting me with no “echo” for days and then texting me how much he missed me and how much he wanted us to be together again. Even thoughh I was never interested in a relationship with him, eventually I felt like I was missing his attention wondering where did I go wrong that he was not interested anymore. Me as a person I am not usually seduced so easily- but he was just so charming! All these times when he got finally back to me, he kept saying things he knew I wanted to hear- that there might be something more between us as I liked to feel special. But eventually it was always just about sex. When I was at his place, he only devoted me his attention when having sex, then he usually walked away and closed himself in the room, being annoyed all the time when I asked him why he does not spend time with me instead. He was getting very angry and usually said things like- why all these drama, we are having fun, what is wrong with you? Afterwards he got calm but he never really apologized. I found myself being very cautious when being around him so that I did not make him feel angry. He was being on and off attentive and arrogant, with no apparent reason for changing the state. Once when I pushed him to say if he was ever serious with me and our relationship, he said he didnt want a monogamous relationship I tried to push him into, and that he would never expect I would be so naive and innocent. He even said, he was feeling guilty! (Might he, as a psyhopath?) after this I let him go, not being interwsted anymore and he started sending me hearts and kisses and messages how he misses me again. The other characteristics, like being easily bired, having multiple sexual partners and being immoral are also fitting. He used to say moralty is relative and everyone should have his own moral principles. I was and am totally confused and only the articles about psychopaths make any sense to me. What do you think?

Hi Lucy,

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 – 11:31pm

Hi Lucy,

I won’t be able to determine if your boyfriend was or was not a psychopath.

It certainly seems like the relationship was very difficult.

If you are still curious regarding learning more information about the condition, then check out websites such as NeuroInstincts http://neuroinstincts.com/ or Aftermath Surviving Psychopathy http://aftermath-surviving-psychopathy.org/

– Best

I might be one… please help me

Submitted by Kay on July 14, 2015 – 9:00am

I read this article out of curiosity mostly. But I had a feeling maybe I wouldn’t like what it says… I fit a lot of these descriptions. I’ve hurt a lot of people. And it haunts me, all the thoughtless pain I’ve inflicted. I never realize what I’m doing till after the fact though. I’ve been manipulative and abusive and I’ve never meant to be, I’ve emotionally traumatized people and I’ve grown to hate myself for it. I think I’m more of the secondary one, but I do have empathy. Otherwise I wouldn’t feel so much guilt and shame for how I’ve hurt people… and for a while now I have been keeping distance from anyone and everyone because I’m scared I’ll hurt them unintentionally. I don’t want to be like this…

You are not alone in that…

Submitted by Vika on July 14, 2015 – 12:21pm

Kay, often I feel very similarly…

Hi Kay,

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 – 11:38pm

Hi Kay,

This article was not diagnostic — so please do not self diagnose based on what you found here.

Feeling remorse regarding harm you may have caused others sounds like a check in the the ‘not psychopath’ category.

If you really have concerns then I encourage you to meet with a psychologist who has a strong background in this area and talk with them.

Sounds like you have insight into some things that you want to change and that’s such a positive trait.

Rather than withdraw from others — get information from a skilled professional.

The issue could be something else entirely.

– Rhonda

"I might be one……"

Submitted by Lee Ann on September 4, 2015 – 8:30pm

The rule usually is “If you worry that you are, you probably aren’t.” I was married to a psychopath for 9 years, and I can tell you that in that time he was convinced that there was nothing wrong with him. It was everybody else in the whole world. But HE was fine. If you have empathy and worry about the hurt you have caused, you probably aren’t. Which is good news. Means you can be fixed if you work on it. There are a lot of selfish people out there, angry people that harbor a lot of anger at themselves and others. they aren’t psychopaths. Anger is not a primary emotion, did you know that? Anger is a secondary emotion. Usually sadness is the first emotion. These are things you can deal with. A lot of people that have been raised by personality disordered people fear that they are the same. A lot of people in disastrous relationships think that way too.

my daughter was the victim

Submitted by Tess on July 20, 2015 – 1:01am

My daughter became the victim of a child psychopath when they were both 8 years old. She was tortured and raped for at least a year while on school grounds. It was a girl who did this to her. She told my daughter that she would kill her and us (her family) if she ever told. My daughter tried to hide but this violent predator hunted her down, like a game. She was the “queen bee” but evil beyond belief. She carefully hid the abuse by forcing my daughter to accompany her to the bathroom. Who would suspect a girl? The teacher suspected as well, but could never catch her- stupidly allowed herself to be manipulated. Because of her age they will not charge her criminally, even though my daughter is now disabled by PTSD.
It’s a nightmare- every level of hell. People need to be educated about these wolves in sheeps’ clothing. No one is safe anywhere, and I think there are more of them out there then the data suggests.

Your daughter

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on July 21, 2015 – 5:28pm

Tessa, I am so saddened to hear what your daughter endured. I agree with you. Society needs to have a basic education regarding this particular personality disorder due to the level of destruction they can cause. Thank you for writing and sharing your/ her story.

Best to you both,

psychopath disorder

Submitted by Aubrey tugano on September 5, 2015 – 1:31am

what is the best way to trait those psychopath people?

Clarification please …

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on September 8, 2015 – 3:08pm

Is your question regarding the best way for a professional to treat those with psychopathy?


The best way individuals to treat (meaning respond to) those with psychopathy?

Or is your question about traits of psychopathy?



Submitted by Norma on September 5, 2015 – 1:34am

Can you please make your articles available to be pinned to Pinterest? That would be great!



Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on September 8, 2015 – 3:12pm

Hi Norma,

I touched base with Psychology Today – they do not put Pinterest buttons on their articles. However, they stated you can put it on Pinterest via your browser (Pinterest gives instructions on how to do that at their site — https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/add-pinterest-browser-button#Web

Thanks for your interest in the article.


i fell inlove with a psychopath man

Submitted by annie on September 5, 2015 – 11:10am

i just want to ask is their a way to change the mind or manipulate the mind of a psychopath..
I want to open up.I fell inlove with psychopath guy. All of your descriptions of a psychopathic person are all present to my boyfriend. He used me as his puppet. At first i thought he really love me,but i was wondering in our entire relationship for 1yr and 6months if we had a fight he never say sorry,i was always the first to make a move to fix it even if it’s his fault. Everytime we meet we always have sex,never a chance that we never had sex everytime we meet. Even if i dont want to have sex with him he will still force me and sometimes im physically hurt and crying of what he is doing to me,he didnt care. And now he has a new target and he just leave me behind saying nothing if we are still in a relationship. Actually he is already engaged when we had our relationship then he broke up with his fiancé just to have me. But then again when went home in there country and came back here he is engaged again into another girl while having his relationship with me and still i accepted him,then he broke up again with that girl. For the 2nd time around he went home again then another fiancé again and now he is going to get married this month while he still have a relationship with me. But now he doesnt care about me anymore because he saw a new target again in our workplace. He doesnt seem to care about me, he is happier when he sees me crying and so down. Before i thought he has a seductive look, but when i red about a psychopath article accidentally..i never new that he as all the description of it.it was not a seduction look but it is a dark look, he loves to hurt me,he use me as his puppet,he loves looking at me when im hurt and begging not to do anything what he want me to do it makes him more pleasured most specially in doing sex,he never say making love he always use i love to fuck you.,he never say the word sorry,he uses drugs sometimes,he mostly wants to be alone,he never care about anyone,he always wants to feel superiority.. For my whole relationship with him,he always makes me cry he loves to hurt me and leave behind and me…i always want to be back to him. How can i move on? Or how can i manipulate him to come back to me and force him not look for other girls. Is it possible to do that?

To protect the sheep – It takes a wolf to catch a wolf.

Submitted by Robert Loates on September 11, 2015 – 6:04pm

This is a truly, stunning, informative piece of work. You articulate precisely and exactly. You should be congratulated.
You would appear to be absolutely correct in every capacity. I am wondering how you have become so versed with them – it’s almost like you may have a family member with the condition. I was very interested in your Primary/Secondary gradients. I am presuming child abuse plays a big part with secondary. What appears regrettable for these characters – is there’s no quick fix, if any fix. Perhaps thats the way they like it.. who knows?
I’ve found you on LinkedIn and selected to “Follow”. You have phenomenal potential Rhonda.


Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on October 5, 2015 – 11:41am


yea but thats the bad part 🙂

Submitted by Lynn on September 22, 2015 – 12:05am

May not ever recover from the damage of staying with and not standing up to my ex. I’ve watched his new spouse not put up with his stuff for a minute and he has changed a great deal. He tells my kids he loves them now, and he is not controlling his spouse now, she is controlling him. I’ve learned to not spare the ego of my boyfriend, to ask for what I want and have major boundaries, and not allow myself to be a victim of anyone. But the exciting part of intelligence, humor, brilliance, and centeredness are attractive. He’s very self actualized, productive.

I avoid stress now. This was a major cause of the illnesses I’ve been recovering from. I was so sick I got divorced. But learned I had lessons to learn, and found means to get well. Learning to avoid stress has been a huge broad brushstroke to relearn choices and behavior. Kindness and hearing me are big to me now.

Wishing you the best Lynn

Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on October 5, 2015 – 11:40am

That’s wonderful that you’re taking such good care of yourself.


Submitted by Lisete Lourenço on November 5, 2015 – 2:07am

Very interesting article! I believe I know someone that seems to be a psychopath. Is there any type of treatment for these people?

Primitive or immature

Submitted by Jade on February 16, 2016 – 8:54am

I believe I am a sociopath. When I was younger it hindered me. I would not say in work relations but more with my partner relationships. I was unable to keep up my ” charming ” act when someone lived with me. Most friends think of me as eccentric, brilliant and I am an engineer. I am financially and successful in the aspect of attaining things . It easy for me but I have worked very hard with my wife. She will never think the same way I do. Nor does my family or most people who really know me. They think I’m insane and have followed countless Doctors trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. I believe God made me this way and yes I supposed that’s my sociopathy speaking but I believe it canbe harnessed in a good way. I feel my decisions are based off of logic rather than emotion. When I was young it was not so good. I was put in the drunk tank a lot for “talking shit” and injured a lot because I was so impulsive. That’s nicely putting it. I still have all these same feelings but I think I have learned to control them. I hate it. I am not naturally feeling what is happening but I am mimicking what is socially appropriate. I do feel love for my family wife and pets. I’m not sure if it’s love or this weird idea of chivalry or this code of conditions created. I believe I am capable of breaking people but I would never do it to anyone weaker than me. Not only is it not fun for me but I have a set of of morals that live by. I believe I only get enjoyment from other sociopaths and seeing how far I can push them. I enjoy that and so do they and so do we.

The Aftermath

Submitted by Gretchen on May 1, 2016 – 9:41am

I was married to a man like this for 15 years. He was diagnosed by a marriage counselor and I was advised to leave. I stayed an additional five years due to having two children with him. I now see my daughter with these same tendencies. She is 14. I thought loving her and nurturing her would prevent this, but it hasn’t seem to help. She is in counseling, but I’m not sure it’s making a difference. I don’t want this path for her. Any thoughts or suggestions?


Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on May 5, 2016 – 9:22pm

I’m sorry to hear of your situation. (You probably know that I won’t be able to offer any advice online.) I can point you to a website of experts who not only conduct research with people with psychopathy but work with some of their victims.

Maybe sending an email to one of the individuals at Aftermath Surviving Psychopathy. They may be able to direct you to someone in your area who evaluates and treats this condition and those impacted by it.

Best to you and your family.

treatment of a psycopath person

Submitted by Harshita Kesarwani on May 1, 2016 – 9:44am

Please would you share how can such a person be treated. The problem doesn’t end that the relationship is not healthy but more important issue is the treatment of the person to help the family live a peaceful life.


Submitted by Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on May 5, 2016 – 9:28pm

Unfortunately I do not personally have the names of any mental health professionals who treat the condition of psychopathy. I can only point you to get more information from a psychopathy society of experts – Aftermath Surviving Psychopathy. It is possible they might have a list of names of individuals who treat people with the condition.



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