Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Could you Love a Psychopath?

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The stereotype of psychopath, often one that’s seen in the media is someone who is cold, lacks remorse and empathy and commits sadistic acts. However, we ask ourselves whether psychopaths have the ability to form in love or what life would be like to be in love with a psychopath. Although some people obtain only certain psychopathic traits, the degrees of these psychopath traits that are developed in an individual determines whether their relationships could be in jeopardy.

As indicated in a study of ‘Subclinical psychopathic traits and romantic attachment in community couples’ conducted in 2015, psychopaths, whether they produce criminal behaviours or not, find it difficult to form intimate relationships due to their ‘attachment style of avoidance’ (Personality And Individual Differences, 2015). This is because of their lack of empathy and emotional detachment traits which are in those with a psychopathic personality disorder. Although at the beginning of a relationship, people with these psychopathic traits will shower their partners with charm, attention, affection, fun and all things positive, up until they know that their partners are entirely theirs. That is when they will avoid and tend to get bored, possibly also causing them to stray for something more challenging because they lack empathy for their partners.

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Within this study, over a year’s period married couples were told to complete questionnaires on themselves, measuring the degree of certain psychopathic traits even if they demonstrated none at all. From the results, the psychologists found that men with psychopathic traits had higher levels of insensitivity on the first test and higher levels of attachment avoidance on the second test. Psychopathic men also had a greater fear of intimacy levels. The results also showed that women who were in relationships with psychopathic men, detached from their partners over time. However, men who were in intimate relationships with women that have psychopathic traits felt more dependent, anxious and emotionally unstable, causing them to remain with their partner. This study’ indicates that an individual should use these findings to predict people with psychopathic personality traits. This is important for a person’s personal well-being of feeling emotionally satisfied with their partner as spouse and possibly a potential father/mother.

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Overall, if you find yourself in a heterosexual relationship with a man who has psychopathic traits, especially insensitivity, prepare to experience difficulties. Or if you’re a man with a woman who displays psychopathic traits then you may feel anxious in a relationship you don’t want to leave. If your partner is on the high end of the psychopathy spectrum your difficult situation will worsen because your partner will increasingly worsen also. Be sure to find out who you’re dating before entirely committing, you might be dating a psychopath!

Sources

  • Savard, C., Brassard, A., Lussier, Y., & Sabourin, S, ‘Subclinical psychopathic traits and romantic attachment in community couples: A dyadic approach’, Personality And Individual Differences, 72128-134. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.01
  • Meloy J R, ‘Stalking (obsessional following): A review of some preliminary studies’,
    Aggression and Violent Behavior, Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 147-162. doi:10.1016/1359-1789(95)00013-5
  • Freedman E B, “Uncontrolled Desires”: The Response to the Sexual Psychopath, 1920-1960’, The Journal of American History, Vol. 74, No. 1 (Jun., 1987), pp. 83-106 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/1908506&gt;

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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