psychopaths mask
This week we revisit the topic of psychopaths but from the angle of the women who have fallen "in love" with them and suffered the consequences.

Our guest will be Sandra L. Brown. Sandra holds a master's degree in counseling with a former specialization in personality disorders/pathology. She is a program development specialist, lecturer, community educator, and award-winning author.

Sandra is also a writer for Psychology Today and has been interviewed in magazines such as Seventeen. She has appeared in more than 50 television shows including Anderson Cooper's daytime show, "Anderson". She has provided consultation to film producers regarding pathological love relationship dynamics based on her books.

Sandra's books include the award-winning Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists and How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved

Running Time: 02:05:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript:

Intro: You're listening to SOTT Talk Radio: The World for People Who Think.

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{Cut out a lot of talk about audio/connection issues}

Joe: Hi welcome to SOTT Talk radio. This week we return to the topic of psychopathy and psychopaths, but from the perspective of personal relationships and specifically women who have fallen "in love" with a psychopath or a psychopathy-disordered partner, give it a more clinical description. With me in the studio are Laura, Juliana, and Anna and on the phone is our special guest Sandra L. Brown. Just to give you some background on Sandra: she holds a master's degree in counseling with a former specialization in personality disorders and pathology. She's a program development specialist, lecturer, community educator, and an award winning author. Her books include the award-winning Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists as well as How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved and Counseling Victims of Violence: A Handbook for Helping Professionals. Sandra is recognized for her pioneering work on women's issues related to relational harm, Cluster B/Axis II sociopathy and psychopathy disordered partners. She specializes in training professionals from various professions about pathological love relationships based on her books and products, and she helps women's organizations modify their survivor support services to include recognizing pathological love relationships. Sandra has a website for survivors and professionals at and is a writer for Psychology Today. She has been interviewed for magazines such as Seventeen and has appeared on more than 15 station shows including Anderson Cooper's daytime show Anderson, and now she can also add SOTT Talk radio to that impressive list {laughter} so you're very welcome to SOTT Talk radio, Sandra.

Sandra: Thank you so much I'm glad to be here.

Laura: Finally we got you here.

Sandra: Yay!

Laura: I just wanted to start out with just telling a little story because it's kind of strange how life goes and how people who interact with one another develop over time, back in, oh, when was the Rogers murder, Sandra? It was back in the late eighties wasn't it?

Sandra: Yes, late eighties.

Laura: Yeah well I remember during the late eighties, this terrible murder and how everybody in Florida was looking for somebody who had taken a mother and her two daughters on holiday in Florida and had taken them out on a boat and murdered them violently and viciously. And I was pregnant with my fifth child I think somewhere around that time and not too long afterward after the baby was born we moved into a different house in New Port Richey which was some distance away from where we were living in the country. A few years later, we moved in the house in 1990, few years later I got involved into several different kinds of research that included UFO research and I ended up giving a talk at a Clearwater MUFON meeting, and at that MUFON meeting there was a St Pete Times journalist and photographer sidekick, name of Thomas French and Cheri Diez. And Thomas was, well, he was quite taken with the topic and he decided that he wanted to follow me around for a while. Thomas came along and he started, he practically moved into our house, it seemed that way sometimes because he would spend an awful lot of time at our house and we did many, many interviews and photo sessions and so forth and my kids were growing up at the time, one of whom is sitting at the table here. Some years later in 2000 he published this article in the St Pete Times and it was like a 20-page takeout section and not too many years after that we left the US and came to France. I had never met Sandra at this point. So during the course of my later work after this Thomas French article came out, and I would even say that it was rather because of it because when you get some media attention on something that offends other people, you become a target of attack so I became a target of a small gang of internet troll-type psychopaths or grifters or whatever and that was what got me involved in researching psychopathy. So I was researching psychopathy and that is what brought me together with Sandra because we began to communicate. Oddly enough, after communicating for a number of years on the topic, we discovered that one of her former counseling partners had been the same woman that I had shared a house with when I was going to college, believe it or not, and Sandra herself had been the topic or the subject of one of Thomas French's lengthy article interviews as well as the topic of the Rogers murder which was something that kind of tied in there or wove in there altogether, and right at the end while he was still working on the interviews with me or right at the time that it was being published, there was another horrific murder in Florida where a teenage girl and her boyfriend murdered her mother by injecting her with bleach and stuffing her body into a garbage can. So there's all this psychopathy going on all around, weaving in and out, and Sandra's life and my life being connected by this individual that was her counseling colleague and who had been my roommate, and Thomas French. So it was just really a bizarre series of little funny connections that all circled around psychopathy so what do you think about that Sandra?

Sandra: It is the most bizarre story dating back into the eighties. Back in the eighties the way I got involved in the field of psychopathy is that my father was murdered by a psychopath, and in the eighties I was so devastated and destroyed by the murder, I had post-traumatic stress disorder, and I became involved in a homicide survivors pilot program in Florida and it was the first time they did it to try to see if homicide survivors responded to this type of therapy and it was during that time period that our whole group started attending murder trials, sitting there with other family members etcetera, and that's how I met Tom French. He started doing a story on one of the survivors that was in our group. He ended up doing a story on the homicide survivors group and we stayed in touch for years after that, so it was so bizarre to meet you Laura, be chatting about psychopathy, my Dangerous Man book I think had just come out when I met you, and somewhere along during after months of chatting about psychopathy is when you asked did I know Tom French, and what a lineup of the universe bringing two people together through psychopathy and through the same person, it is just really amazing

Laura: It kind of gives you goose bumps, doesn't it?

Sandra: It does, and then to find out, yes, my clinical supervisor was also, you know, roommate and I guess you attended some classes at the same time it's just, what a small planet it is when you're focused on psychopathy. It's a bizarre and wild story.

Laura: Strange, but true. So anyway, I have in front of me here, this book, your latest book, I believe, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and this is, in my opinion, probably the most essential book that any woman will ever have or read. I think every woman should have a copy of it. I think every mother should buy copies for their daughters, and daughters for their mothers and sisters and aunts and, and my husband said that, really ought to mention something about women psychopaths too, and I promised him that we would at least mention that so I just mentioned it {laughter}. So, but no, if at some point you want to kick in something about women psychopaths, but this is basically about women who love psychopaths so I'm not going to read from it, I'm going to play dumb here and ask you to tell us why it was you put the focus on the women, the targets of the psychopaths?

Sandra: Well, I've worked in the field of personality disorders for 25 years and when I started out as a young new therapist I did not set out to work in the field of personality disorders. I don't think anyone does. It's so hard and horrific that I don't think anybody knowingly chooses that path but I ended up getting clients that had personality disorders: borderline narcissist anti-socials, and before I knew it my practice was primarily just personality disorders, and the side storyline to that is that while trying to help people who have personality disorders what I noticed most was the inevitable harm that happened to all the other people in their life because of this personality disorder. And so inevitably of course the relationship didn't work and so they would come into counseling seeking help mostly because the relationship with their partner or their children or their jobs was not working out, and so I began to run groups for the partners of cluster B personality disorder and the children of personality disordered people and it was during that time period I realized there was no information to be had about the relational damage and the relationship dynamics, and the longer I was in practice the more and more people I got, to where then I began to get partners of narcissists and partners of sociopaths and eventually partners of psychopaths. And it was over the course of those years where I sort of jumped the side of the fence if you will and I stopped treating people with personality disorders because I found the treatment outcome so low to be nil on those, and started working with those of inevitable harm. And when I decided to write the book about women in relationships with psychopaths I was mortified, sort of, to find absolutely no research. And why we ended up doing the research was because I could find nothing and I'm not technically a researcher, I am a therapist and a writer, and did it out of necessity to be able to write more in depth about those kinds of relationships. And putting two and two together over the years I began to notice that these women had unusual elevated temperament traits that began to make me wonder if there wasn't a reason behind why they were attracted to and tolerant of some of the most disordered people around, and so that's really why I did the research and why I wrote the book.

Laura: Did you ever read the book or see the movie about Ken McElroy, the psychopath who held an entire county or several counties captive in, where was it, was it Arkansas?

Juliana: Yeah, I think so. It's called In Broad Daylight.

Laura: The movie is called In Broad Daylight and it's got Brian Dennehy but the book is much better and it's about, I mean the women surround him, as bad as he treated them, after he was dead, they would cry "he was such a wonderful man, he was a wonderful father, it was this, that" I mean the guy was absolutely the most classic psychopath of the type you're describing that I have ever encountered in reading the literature, it was just absolutely amazing, and these women I would expect, if you've not read the book or seen the movie, you might want to do it because it's something that you could probably recommend to many of your clients or therapists to get an idea. But anyway, the one thing I was noticing in one of your articles here was you were talking about how many people are affected by psychopathy. And the experts who work with the criminal psychopaths say it's about 1% of the population, is that correct?

Sandra: Mhm, right.

Laura: Okay but Martha Stout gives it more like 4% because she's talking about the psychopath although she uses the term "sociopath" which I think was a sellout. I wish she had been courageous enough to use the actual word "psychopath." But in any event she gives us something like 4% and you've got this, I've got this article in front of me where you estimate that out of a 304 million population, and I think that might be a little low, I think the population is about three-fifty now, 350 million?

Sandra: Mhm.

Laura: Well in any event at 304 million that's 12 to 16 million psychopaths that are basically noncriminal psychopaths, they're the ones that fly under the radar. And if each one of those people has 5 relationships then they're probably serial or simultaneous (you never can tell) that means that they are affecting 60.8 million people directly, in a relationship. If each one of those partners that they are affecting or whose lives they are destroying in one way or another, they have parents, they may have children, they may have sisters or brothers or whatever so if you figure just an average five additional people, first degree away or second degree effect of the psychopath, you multiply that and you've got 250 million people affected by psychopaths. That's almost, I mean that's getting close to the population of the entire country.

Sandra: Right. Well, I know, and I mean I keep throwing these numbers out there as a way of trying to generate a startled reflex in people that even at my conservative number at 60 million people, if there was a medical condition that affected 60 million people, there would be a national billboard campaign, there would be a celebrity spokesperson, there would be all this focus and yet here we have the number one public health problem anywhere is psychopathy and we have absolutely no public pathology awareness campaign that's funded by anyone other than a few therapists out there screaming into the media. And it's absolutely crazy that the numbers are that high and yet we have almost nothing existing.

Laura: Can you describe to us what damage the psychopath does to a woman and her family so that we have a good idea of what kind of problem we're looking at here with these 60 million direct victims? What does it do to them?

Sandra: Well, over 50% of the women leave the relationship with post-traumatic stress disorder which is serious, and most of them have complex PTSD which is for life. The symptoms fluctuate with stress over the course of their lives. But because so many of these psychopaths are white collar, the women we have are attorneys and doctors and CEOs of corporations who have been involved with men of similar stature and financial support over the years and they come out of these relationships with post-traumatic stress, a lot of them have to step down out of their positions on impaired practitioner leave, attorneys step down to paralegal, and these people are dramatically impacted in their function level, not only their mental health but their ability to function, a lot of them end up on financial support, and in the legal system for years and years because psychopaths will never resolve their cases. And so, what we see is kind of a trickledown effect into all the major systems, societal systems that are impacted by psychopaths. So when a woman or a man is impacted by a psychopath there is the mental health system that's impacted, also their physical health so the healthcare system is impacted, certainly the judicial system because psychopaths don't resolve their issues and they go on forever, and if they have children with them then there is the problem with supervision and child custody and just goes on and on so really I think what has really impacted me is that every piece of their lives are impacted by psychopathy whether it's their financial, their career, their mental health, their physical health, their children's health, and the burden on the legal system from psychopathy is huge.

Laura: So we've got 60 million women with post-traumatic stress disorder who are probably not able to be productive members of society anymore because they are having to deal with this incredible stress, they have health problems that are bogging down the medical system, they can't earn a living probably because they have post-traumatic stress and therefore they end up on welfare food stamps, their children suffer some kinds of disorders because they were brought up in a family that was unstable or violent or at the very least manipulative and unpleasant so they get things like conduct disorders and they need supervision and there's 60 million of them, of the women, and probably that other, you know, if you've got 60 million women and one or two kids each that's a 120 million children so right there you've got 180 million people which is virtually half of the US population that is causing a drain on the system because they have been damaged by psychopaths and nobody gives a flying, uh, you-know-what.

Sandra: Right. Well, part of what we've been trying to do is educate the judicial system so not long ago I did a training for this judicial system and I keep bringing up this concept about "who does that", I mean when we look at our systems, any of our societal systems, insert and look for the psychopathy impact, we can begin to see it, the problem is so many of them fly under the radar not only because these are white collar and successful, no one suspects them, but also because different systems have different names for psychopaths within their own system and unfortunately we're not speaking the same language to get on the same page, so if they ever get caught and get in the criminal justice system, they have language for it, the attorneys call it something else, health calls it something else, social services calls it something else, and I think that we are missing the huge impact, like you said over a hundred million people impacted by psychopathy, only because we are not speaking the same language, and like I said if any other area like medicine was impacted by a disorder of a hundred million people, we'd be doing something the hell about that.

Laura: Yeah I mean look at all of the stuff they've got about anti-smoking which you don't see any "psychopath-free zones" or "no psychopaths in public" or "no psychopaths in office space" and ... and smoking, I'm not even going to go there, but you know what I'm saying, they go after something that is probably the least offensive of self-medicating activities that people do and let something as huge as this, 180 million people suffering because of psychopathy, suffering post-traumatic stress, health related issues that are caused by stress, probably a lot of these women end up getting cancer or they probably have something like chronic.

Sandra: Autoimmune.

Laura: Autoimmune disorders is a big thing among these types of women, the children, it's just a huge freaking waste of human life, of decent human beings who should've been taught about psychopathy when they were young, who should not have gotten into these relationships, once they got into them they should have received the help that they needed to get out, the individuals who cause these problems there should be a way to detect them and a way to get them off the street or get them out of situations where they hurt other people. If women were aware, psychopaths would become extinct simply by virtue of the fact that women would avoid having anything to do with them because they would know in advance that it was, as you say, a relationship of inevitable harm, and after a while, after a couple of generations, there would not be so many psychopaths reproduced, which reminds me, let's ask, what do you think about the causation, genetics or is it nature or nurture?

Sandra: Well I think that there's two separate, I think true psychopaths have much more of the genetic aspect, we see psychopaths born into fairly normal families without traumatic and abusive history, anti-socials and sociopathic disorders more so from the environment of the abuse and neglect and the environment. And a lot of times those get lumped together, the whole anti-social/sociopathic/psychopathic people tend to put it under one umbrella even though they are different disorders with different causations, I believe. There are a lot of different viewpoints on that but I think psychopaths are in a category in and of themselves.

Laura: All by themselves almost like another species.

Sandra: Yes. And certainly genetically and the neural abnormalities of it are, I mean we have all the MRI studies, we understand that now, I think we've sort of come to a point of recognizing that that piece of psychopathy has the genetic and neural abnormalities that, although we're seeing more and more of the neural abnormalities than being able to trace it now, not this exact same psychopathy but similar neural abnormalities in the same brain region and from the cluster B disorders. And I think we'll get to a day where that will be readily known and accepted that there are neural abnormalities in these disorders.

Laura: Well here's a question for you, since we've got, according to Martha Stout's and your figures here, something like 12 million psychopaths in the United States, and most of them are as you say white collar workers, and the tendency of the psychopath is to rise to the top because, not having a conscience, ethical considerations don't enter into their cost-benefit analysis for their career path, perhaps part of the problem is, is that most of them are at the top and it's one of the reasons why we don't have the education and the support for making people aware. What do you think?

Sandra: Well, I mean, absolutely. Robert Hare and Paul Babiak wrote the book Snakes In Suits which was sort of the beginning of the awareness about white collar psychopathy and I think the study of that has continued to grow where we recognize that psychopathy in and of itself is very aggressive, not only in the human race, to have lots of kids and perpetuate itself, but it's also aggressive in the career fields and it seeks out those high positions within any field but specific fields in general, and when you start getting, whether it's a government or a company, that is heavily laden at the top with psychopathy, it stinks from the head down. And that world view that a psychopath has begins to infiltrate and impact wherever it is. And of course the scariest part of that is in government which, thanks to you Laura, reading the book on Political Ponerology where we can see psychopathy filtering through governments and which it starts to impact a nation, the entire worldview. And so I think psychopathy is so scary because it's not just a woman being impacted or a child being raised in an environment of psychopathy, it is an entire nation becoming entranced into a worldview not only through a government but through a whole system that begins to impact how we see ourselves, others, and the world.

Juliana: Absolutely but Sandra I wanted to ask you as well, now that you mention ponerology and psychopaths in power, one of the things Lobaczewski says is that psychopaths are able to recognize each other. Do you think that that's something... do you agree with that stance and do you see that happening in the way they form cliques or they rise to power, now they're doing this whole propaganda about how psychopathic traits are positive and things to aspire to, I don't know if you've heard of that, but they're talking about how Kennedy for example had psychopathic traits...

Laura: Which is not true.

Juliana: ...which is obviously not true, yeah, but do they really recognize each other, do they do this on purpose or is it just a product of who they are?

Sandra: Oh, no, I think they definitely recognize each other, I mean, I can only speak from the therapeutic aspects but having run for instance better intervention groups, it was always interesting to see the dynamics in groups, that the psychopaths, the sociopaths, the anti-socials in groups, how they supported each other's worldview in groups, so there are normal guys that are batterers, that have a meltdown for whatever reason and batter, but they're not likely to batter again and be in your group again and again. The psychopaths and the others are likely to be in again and again, part of it because of the impulse control problems. But it would be interesting in groups like the non-pathological batterer would offer an insight into his behavior and immediately the psychopaths would align together and it's funny they may never have met before group, it may be the first group, and yet those psychopathic kinds of traits are already supporting each other, explaining away their distorted worldview and beginning to support each other in groups, and you could see the lines drawn: the non-pathological abusers on one side and the psychopathic abusers on the other side. So just from a therapeutic standpoint, could definitely see that, so elevate that into a corporation in which top heads of a company need to support each other's distorted corporate worldview and I definitely think that they can find each other, and again, psychopathy being an adaptive kind of mechanism, they become little child psychologists (psychopathy, you know, happens in childhood) that they become little child psychologists at an early age so they begin to study behavior, not only their behavior but behavior in other people and I think they become very adept at not only being able to recognize and pick out the victims that they're going to go after and those traits, but being able to find someone of like mind in their own environment.

Laura: Did you ever get any, this is something that's always made me curious, did you ever get any ideas from anything any of the members said about how they select their victims, what guides them or leads them I mean other than interacting with them and determining that they may be a weak person or whatever kind of personality they are, we'll get into that in a minute, but did they ever indicate how and why they select their victims?

Sandra: Some of them did in group, they talked, I mean they are human psychologists so they pick up on body language, eye connection or not, language I mean one of the things we do know about psychopaths is they are language oriented, there are things that they listen for, body language, they look for, and certainly temperament traits - I think more than anything that they sort of test out the temperament part, and I think what they throw out early on, it is always the empathy card, they'll throw out a sad story about themselves to see the reaction and people that don't nibble about the empathy stuff they move on and keep throwing it out till they find someone that has an empathetic reaction to that.

Laura: That's fascinating.

Sandra: They throw it on there so they can get it.

Laura: That's amazing and creepy. They throw out the empathy card.

Sandra: Yeah they'll tell an abuse story typically or maybe their dad was military, was really hard on them, or they're a Vietnam vet even though they're too young or too old.

Laura: Their mother abused them.

Sandra: Yes, yes - raised in poverty, or pulled themselves up by the bootstraps, and Martha Stout talks about this too, that very early on they will test the victim card, and I think that's true even with white collar psychopaths that they will still need to test the empathetic reaction because that is the key to the rest of her temperament issues he's going to draw on.

Juliana: And what is it exactly that they're looking for, what is their motivation, what are they fishing for?

Sandra: Well I think for different ones there are different things. White collar guys are not always looking for the financial card. Some of the more antisocial guys sometimes the blue collar guys that don't have the financial income are often looking for the financial support, but when you start getting into the white collar guys that have all the money they're not always looking for the sugar mama, so most of

Joe: They're looking for someone to victimize.

Sandra: Yes.

Laura: Yeah they're looking for...

Joe: Prey.

Laura: ...the prize wife that they can carry on their arm or whatever or...

Juliana: Or a game.

Laura: ...or a game or...

Joe: Well I think it all comes down to what kind of victimization.

Laura: ...or, yeah.

Joe: I mean you can victimize someone by bilking them of all of their money or if you have your own money you victimize someone by basically abusing them emotionally, you get the same result which is...

Juliana: Yeah the drive for destruction.

Joe: ...domination and...

Laura: Domination and destruction.

Joe: ...of another person and feeding in that way.

Laura: We have a caller.

Joe: We have a call. Oh, no sorry they just hung up. So carry on.

Sandra: Absolutely, for some of them it is primarily the ability to victimize and I think this is where these women differentiate from the domestic violence stereotype which has low self-esteem, struggles maybe financially, so here we have women that are attorneys, physicians, CEOs of companies that are being targeted by white collar psychopaths so that's a big catch, I mean this is like the shark tank, and many of them have said "I always wanted to take down a CEO," "I've always wanted to take down an attorney" and so for some of them it is the game, but a big game, you know, not just taking down more of the stereotyped domestic violence victims.

Laura: Okay, we've got a caller hold on one second.

Joe: Hi caller what's your name and where're you calling from?

Caller: Hello, am I the caller?

Joe: Yes - no - Sandra?

Caller: Hi.

Joe: Yeah, go ahead.

Caller: Hi, I'm Jill. I'm calling from the United States.

Joe: Okay, hi Jill.

Jill: Ok, my question or my situation is, I have a narcissistic mother background, just to throw that out there, and then I was in a circumstance with a psychopath that threw out the pity-me card and all of that right away and I had some privilege in my life, financial privilege and I felt sad for this person and wanted to help them and got in way over my head very quickly, got out, everything was, it was difficult but I did get out and then shortly after I was notified by the police that this person was a rapist and had been attacking women and I've been really struggling with that for a long time and just trying to figure out what that means for me. And then I got into a relationship finally after many years after that, that didn't turn out well and I'm throwing out the pity card myself about "how can you do this to me after everything I've been through" and I'm starting to wonder if I'm the psychopath here now too, so I don't know if any of that makes any sense but what does that mean to you?

Sandra: Mhm, well first of all let me direct you to the book because it's more than what we can cover in this phone conversation, so Women Who Love Psychopaths. What we found is that there are such excessively elevated temperament traits in women who have ended up in these types of relationships that place them at risk, and some of those elevations include hyper empathy, hyper tolerance, responsibility, lots of compassion, high relationship investment, there're thirty some traits of which we looked on a bell graph, there was no bell curve, it was like the Rocky Mountains coming off the end of the graph paper, and so these aren't little elevations, these are huge elevations, and all of the traits are positive, that any normal man would be very blessed to have a woman with these trait elevations. The problem is that they are so excessive that it proves that even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing in the hands of a psychopath. That he can use anything as a weapon, even wonderful positive traits. So our temperament traits are innate, we are born with those traits, our environment can enhance those if we're born into a family, you mentioned having a narc mom, a lot of times that makes us excessively tuned into the needs of other people.

Jill: Others, exactly.

Sandra: Yes, and then you add to that, that your temperament is already like that and then your environment encouraged and supported that, and so we take ourselves and all these traits and experiences into the relationship. It is very hard for someone who has hyper empathy for instance, just one of the traits, let's say, the hyper empathy, to know what it would feel like to be less empathetic, to not feel responsive to other people's needs without really even knowing them that well. And so the risk factor is that we have these elevated temperament traits that we take with us into the next relationship, into friendships, into work relationships, that, we are the people that, between a normal boss and a pathological boss, we pick the pathological boss. We just do. So, innate temperament traits along with having a pathological parent, has created a pattern of the way that you see the world that places you at risk. There are things that you can work on and things that can be done that help you increase your level of awareness about your temperament traits, and we go into that in the Psychopath book or you can go by our website

Jill: Sure.

Sandra: With lots and lots of articles on there about that, that you are probably bringing to this equation two things; innate, plus having a pathological parent that is contributing to it, and raising your level of awareness, maybe through counseling or studying pathology a little bit more may give you an edge in your ability to spot it differently in the future.

Laura: Let me ask you one question, Jill. You're one of the sixty million - women, right? Or the sixty million people who are affected by a psychopath, right?

Jill: You're asking me? Yes.

Laura: Okay so how many other people in your family were adversely affected by this relationship?

Jill: Um... five?

Laura: Five?

Jill: In the family, mhm.

Laura: So, it's not only you who were directly hurt, but there were people who cared about you who were also hurt or distressed or upset or traumatized by this relationship, so in this just one case you got six people who were hurt in this one dynamic.

Jill: Plus my whole community, but yes.

Laura: Yeah! So, I mean it's just an incredible problem, it's just incredible.

Jill: This was an extreme case, but this was big news.

Laura: Wow, you're lucky to have gotten out of that one.

Jill: Yes.

Laura: Well thank you for calling and did you have another question, or?

Jill: I don't, well I guess just because this was an extreme case and I have really suffered with post-traumatic stress from this and I have sought out help, but it has been hard to get out of the victim world, you know, I do feel victimized by it and it's been difficult in my new relationships not to kind of play that somewhat myself, if not more than a little bit, and I don't want to be doing that, um...

Laura: Anymore.

Jill: ...but, I'm trying to get through that and that's kind of why I called in, to kind of see, to explain where I came from and what I could maybe do now 'cause I certainly don't want to be preying on others with my pity party either.

Laura: Well, I'm just going to echo what Sandra said which is, it's probably what is best about you that made you a target because like she was just describing that the psychopath, he says "Oh I always wanted to take a lawyer down" or "I've always wanted to take a CEO down," I think there must be something innate in the psychopath that makes them want to take down the best women. You're one of the best.

Jill: That is true in this case. So, a lot of it was class and privilege and money for sure, in that particular case, that's very clear, so.

Juliana: Before you go, before you go I would like to make a suggestion, I don't know if you knew about the Éiriú Eolas program?

Jill: Yes, I do.

Juliana: Have you heard of it?

Jill: Yes I have.

Juliana: Has it helped you?

Jill: I have not started it yet but I intend to.

Juliana: Well I really recommend it because not only can they help you with some of the post-traumatic stress disorder but also realizing things and all what Sandra said and just reflecting about what made you so wonderful that you would become a target but also what you want to preserve of all those qualities and how to become more discerning and be able to share them with people who really deserve it and not give them to people who don't.

Laura: Have you read Sandra's book?

Jill: *laughs* Oh I'm really on the spot now, no I have not.

Laura: Please, please...

Jill: But I am familiar with Sandra's book. I'm so sorry.

Laura: ...please, get this, get this, well okay that's okay, because I am saying to you please, please, please get this book because it is so beautifully and lucidly written that, I mean, by the time you're done, you will just sit there and slap yourself on the forehead and say "Wow I could've had a V8 if I'd only known all of this stuff" and you'll see, you'll want to be getting this book for all of your friends, your female friends, sisters or cousins or aunts or whatever because that's how I feel about it. I did actually buy copies for a number of people and sent it to them so, please, you've got to read this book.

Jill: I will buy the book. Absolutely I will buy the book.

Sandra: And Jill, also number one; make sure you're getting treated for PTSD 'cause PTSD doesn't get well when you're treating...

Jill: I am.

Sandra: ...for something else.

Jill: I am. Thank you.

Sandra: And secondly is to know that all that has happened to you, and I don't say this as a minimizing thing, is that you are having a normal reaction to pathology. All people that are non-pathological have a negative impact from pathology. Everyone, I mean, there is no one that gets out unscathed, you've been run over by the pathology train, in that we are all negatively impacted and the thing that is happening to you is you are having a normal reaction to pathology exposure and it can get better and I think the big "aha" moment comes for the women when they're reading the book or if they come to a retreat or whatever services that we offer, it is when they understand that it was inevitable harm, that everybody has the same reaction to it. And if you are getting treatment specific help for your PTSD then the information, the education from the book will just kind of be the "aha" moment or the icing on the cake for you, but there is hope and there is healing from this, so.

Laura: And here's a thought, take this with you; if you get educated and you educate five other people and then each of those five people
educates five other people, eventually all those sixty million women who are presently suffering from this horrible plague in our society will begin to wake up and we can begin to bring it to an end. How about that?

Jill: I do, yes, I do talk about psychopathy quite a bit, thank you. Thank you all very much.

Laura: Thank you.

Sandra: Much healing to you.

Jill: Thank you so much.

Laura: Do we want to take a little musical break for a second here or do we have another caller?

Joe: No, we can.

Laura: We have a song that we picked out just for this topic Sandra so we want to play this song so we can have a little entertainment. So you ready?

Sandra: Hey, I'm ready.

Joe: Musical interlude.

Laura: Musical interlude here.
*Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette plays*
Sometimes it's hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
You'll have bad times
And he'll have good times
Doing things that you don't understand
But if you love him you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a man
Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your man
And tell the world you love him
*song fades out*

Joe: Alright so that was a country great on SOTT Talk Radio, a very topical song but maybe not for the reason that everybody is thinking, um...

Laura: How many country songs are like this, they promote women to support and subject themselves or submit themselves to pathology? *brief silence* Yeah?

Joe: Yeah, I mean that's certainly a topic. It's an aspect of the whole problem and...

Laura: That even music, even music encourages women to be hyper empathetic: "Stand by your man even though he's strange and he goes out and does things you don't understand" I mean for crying all night! {*Sandra laughs*} The guy's a freaking psychopath!

Joe: Yeah, I mean, one of the questions from a listener, or a comment from a listener, who said that Hollywood and the media seems to have a campaign to normalize psychopathy or at least misrepresent it.

Sandra: Yeah.

Joe: And that seems to be a vast problem in terms of people really understanding the problem and dealing with it.

Sandra: It definitely does. And the interesting thing, my colleague and I were talking about this, that like the younger girls now that are in their late teens, twenties, and thirties, like each generation that has passed, there's been I think more normalizing of it and more tolerance of it, and that the younger the girls are that we get as clients, the harder it is for them to get it at all. I'm 55 and so there is in our age group, there's some form of reference to this but the younger the girls go the less reference there is because the more normalization of sort of the "Rihanna" kinds of relationships, and sort of the whole [unintelligible] relationship, which seems to be much more ownership than pathology driven, in all races.

Laura: They didn't grow up experiencing anything that was remotely normal.

Sandra: No, and then I think that the influx of music and MTV and all of that, 'cause they're very pop culture oriented, much more than we were. It's all driven by that and so we're having a really hard time with that age group and I know that we've got Dangerous Man groups that go into, some of the people are doing it with middle school kids, and they're trying to use pop culture as the example of being able to identify different pathologies and trying to do it earlier because the 20 and 30 year olds are really struggling with this.

Joe: Absolutely.

Laura: Yeah we need to do outreach to some of these young people in some way some fashion or fight. I mean make a music video about it for crying all night. We've got a caller.

Joe: Hi caller what's your name and where you calling from?

Caller: Hi, this is Corey. I'm calling from the US.

Joe: Hi Corey.

Corey: Yeah it's nice to talk to you guys again. I was wanting to say that I know exactly what you're talking about when you're talking about the outreach to the children and especially because I'm an intern at a domestic violence shelter and I've been exchanging emails with Sandra so thank you Sandra for all of your help with trying to get some training going here in the Midwest area which sorely needs this kind of education because just working at the domestic violence shelter I can say that it's just, it's torture. That's what this is, it's just torture to all these women and when they're young they don't come in because it's not fashionable, I mean in their twenties. And there are cases where these women will call in saying that they are afraid they're going to be murdered but they don't want to come in because it's not fashionable...

Laura: It's not cool.

Corey: ...and they think that we will change them. Yeah exactly, it's not cool, so I just wanted to say that and also to ask Sandra if educating these women on, in any age group, if educating these women on the realities of psychopathic thinking, if that really keeps them from going back more than say, just your regular "power and control" wheel-type stuff and just get her to talk a little bit about that. Thank you.

Sandra: Thanks Corey. Well, let me tell my story here for a minute. Back in 2005 I was working at a domestic violence shelter part-time and a lady came in and I looked at her chart it was like her eighth time back in the shelter and I said, okay clearly we are not doing our job here, clearly there is something that you need to know that we're not giving you in order for you to have an "aha" moment to stop this cycle.

Corey: Mhm.

Sandra: Unless it's the same guy over and over again, she has had several different guys, you know, same personality makeup, and I said "I know that if you knew what it was, hypothetically, you would do this to yourself but let's think out loud: what is it that you need to know in order to stop making these kinds of choices?" and she said "I guess I need to know how to spot a dangerous man before I get involved."

Laura: Ah!

Corey: Okay.

Sandra: And I said "Aha!" So I started teaching about personality disorders and the differences in abusers that, which abusers can change and why, and the ones that have really low treatment outcomes which are the ones that have cluster B personality disorder and psychopathy, and so it had such an impact in this domestic violence group and I was just using handouts I had used from twenty years ago in groups when I was teaching people about personality disorders and so that was really kind of my "aha" moment, that this is the differentiation with the women. Not the "power and control" wheel, never liked it, never thought it did anything, honestly.

Corey: Yeah.

Sandra: But it was the issue about the neurobiology of the brain and who really can change and why, and who cannot. And so that night I went home and I wrote the book outline for How to Spot a Dangerous Man, I sent it out to twelve publishers and got ten offers, which is unheard of in the publishing world.

Laura: Absolutely.

Sandra: That's like winning the lotto without buying a lottery ticket. I mean it just doesn't happen. So I knew that I was onto something that really created the "aha" moment and so hundreds of survivors later, thousands of books later and women who come for the retreat, the single issue of turning the corner in the "aha" moment is understanding the permanence of pathology. And again, not all abusers are pathological but repeat abusers Donald Dutton states 85% of repeat offenders are cluster B and the more times they repeat, the cluster, that percentage comes to a hundred percent. So being able to teach women the difference between those abusers and what the permanence of pathology is has all the difference in them turning the corner. And that's really what all of our training for the therapists is about, is how to present that information.

Corey: Well thank you so much Sandra. Before I go I'd like to commend that last caller for her bravery in calling in and I just wanted to say thank you to all of you, and I'm really loving the show. Thanks for your answer Sandra.

Sandra: Yay!

Joe: Thanks Corey.

Laura: I just want to say here that what we're getting from all of this is that the individual who really wants to get well versed on this needs to have both of these books, How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved and Women Who Love Psychopaths, because of course the one is how to spot a dangerous man, is the one that's going to keep you out of trouble if possible and if you've already gotten in and gotten burned, then you need to know why and how and what it is about you that attracted you to a dangerous man. So I would say that these are two books that are absolutely essential reading and the How to Spot a Dangerous Man describes eight types of dangerous men. It gives you defense strategies and red alert checklists for each, it includes stories of successes and failures, and I found that stories are the best ways to help other people understand things and when you tell a story about somebody who had an actual experience or you hear a story, then you say "oh yeah, I - I remember that," "I know somebody who did that," or "that happened to me too" and you can immediately make a connection so case studies are a really good way to learn about pathology. We got another caller here, hang on.

Joe: Hi caller, what's your name and where you calling from.

Caller: My name's Joe; from Montana.

Joe: Hi Joe.

Joe (caller): Hi. I just got here, so what I'd like to know is what kind of signs can a man find in a sociopathic woman?

Laura: Good question. Sandra take it away!

Joe (caller): And I have a two parter, maybe you might want to answer the second one first; how many men are psychopaths in relationships versus how many women are psychopaths in relationships? I guess either one of them somebody can tackle first, it's up to you.

Joe: Alright.

Sandra: Well, I don't know, I mean it's so hard for us to even get figures on men who are researched. It's even harder to get statistics on women because, I'll tell you my experience, at 25 years ago, I ran one of the largest borderline personality disorder clinics in the state of Florida. And, psychopath women were nearly borderline personality. But these women shot my windshield out, they cut my brake lines, they assaulted me, they stalked my children, these were not borderline! These were psychopathic women that were underdiagnosed. And that's what happens with, I mean just the Jodi Arias trail and the Casey Anthony, they can't even use the damn p-word with them, they keep call, well they do, but it's P for post-traumatic stress instead of P for psychopath. So it's very hard to get the right diagnosis for women. There's a definite gender bias against diagnosing women psychopathic. And that's unfortunate because I think a lot of the women that have diagnosis as borderline may also be antisocial, sociopathic or psychopathic. So having said that, the psychopathy in women I think is a slightly different presentation. They are much more victim-oriented. They come in under the radar as a victim. I think they have the high manipulation that psychopathic men have, but I think they...

Joe (caller): [Could you excuse me] if you don't mind my interrupting.

Sandra: Sure.

Joe (caller): Would you say that "women manipulate if they're psychopathic," is just saying in a different way they use their charms they use their beauty as opposed to men being just raw or riff or forceful?

Sandra: Absolutely I think they're much more using the sexual manipulation.

Joe (caller): Uh-huh.

Sandra: Although male psychopaths are very hypersexual too, so...

Joe (caller): But those would be the charming conmen, right?

Sandra: Yes. Yes they often are very charming and manipulative. Same thing, I think, with the women, only often a bigger representation with the victim card, of having been hurt a lot, so trying to get men to earn their trust. And a very hypersexual, yes, beauty...

Joe (caller): Would they be more demanding of men than a normal woman?

Sandra: Well, because, I think, often that psychopathy has other traits that go with it such as the borderline traits, especially in the women that are psychopathic and borderline. That they can be very needy, demanding, clingy, manipulative, sneaky, a lot of them have addiction issues as well, whether it's sex, drugs or alcohol. And on our website, we have an ebook for men that's called How To Avoid Dating Dangerous and Destructive Women and it's all about those clusters of disorders and how they act in relationships.
Joe (caller): But I think what you were describing before, that could be the narcissistic needy woman, but the psychopathic woman that I'm thinking of is somebody who wants to lure a man into her web almost specifically just to do harm to him out of a need of ego gratification and lack of remorse.

Sandra: Well I mean that's always their goal is to harm and that's what they're drawn to but the presentation of it, you may get, and I think that's a good point because the presentation of it. You very often will not have just a clear-cut psychopath. You could have someone who is psychopathic that also has some of the other traits and so sometimes the presentation of that can be more borderline or more narcissistic or more antisocial or more psychopathic. The goal always is the destruction of someone else. It's just the presentation, and that's kind of why in our ebook, what we cover all of these disorders because the presentation of it can be slightly different with each one of them. But yes, you're absolutely right. The goal is to take you down.

Joe (caller): Well could you put that URL in the chat room, and the reason I said that is to make the distinction between a woman who is clingy, needy, demanding or whining, but she may do that because she may feel that she needs the man in her life. She's not trying to do specific harm to him, although she may not realize that she's doing harm to the relationship. But a psychopath will have, in my opinion, and from what I've read, no feelings for the man, just like the psychopathic man will have no feelings for the woman, and his only gratification and her only gratification is to see them express vulnerabilities so that they can take advantage of it just to harm. Not to have a relationship, but just to harm.

Sandra: Right, and in our book, for instance Women Who Love Psychopaths, we talk about the low empathy spectrum and psychopathy is at the high end. That's the highest expression of no empathy, no conscience, no remorse. And on the lower end of this spectrum is, for instance, low empathy, low conscience. It's not "no," but it's "low." In borderlines; low in narcissism, high in psychopathy. And so, depending, people can have different levels of experience with low to no empathy, no conscience. And depending on where she falls within that range probably has a lot to do with what you're going to experience. That was the same thing as I was telling my story, I may run this borderline clinic: here I am trying to help these women get their children back and they shoot my windshield out. I mean I'm somebody that's helping them in court! But um...
Joe (caller): Well, I would guess then you probably told them in either very direct or indirect ways that they were their own self-destructive mechanisms. That they were the cause of their bad relationships or bad positions in life and they just didn't like it. Nobody likes to be criticized but I guess these people who are, I guess really psychopathic, really can't take it well.

Laura: I think you can read Women Who Love Psychopaths and just mentally change...

Sandra: Yes, absolutely.

Laura: your mind, "Men Who Love Psychopaths," and just, because I think that there are a lot of high-empathy men who get targeted by these borderline or psychopathic women. And just like you were saying, they use the pity ploy, they come in, I mean they're like waifs, they're like "Oh if you can only save me your rewards will be so great, if you can help me blossom as I was really meant to blossom by slaying all these dragons, buying me everything I want, taking me to fancy restaurants blah blah blah blah blah, then I will become a real woman and then you will be rewarded for it" but of course that never happens, you know, you're just being a schmuck and taken advantage of by somebody who just wants to take you down.

Sandra: And men, absolutely, that end up in relationships with them, have a lot of those hyper traits that we talk about. I've got several male friends from grade school that I've helped through these relationships that are just like the women in terms of having high levels of empathy and tolerance and relationship investment. I will say, what I do see about the difference between female and male psychopaths is that I think if I had to be locked in a room with a male psychopath or a female psychopath I would take the male, honest to God. I think the females are so much sneakier.

Joe (caller): The deadlier of the genders, huh? *laughs*

Laura: Oh, that is priceless.

Sandra: SNEAKIER! So much sneakier. I think they're harder to anticipate, I mean Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias, I mean they just make my blood run cold, you know. Stick me in a room with Ted Bundy over either one of those women. I don't know why...

Joe (caller): But Ted Bundy was a killer, though. Oh, so was Casey Anthony.

Sandra: Huh?

Joe (caller): Well, Ted Bundy was a killer. And Casey Anthony was a, well, she was acquitted.

Laura: She was acquitted and then so was OJ Simpson.

Joe (caller): Well yeah.

Sandra: Right. Yeah I'm just typing at the core of the disorder. I just find the females like in practice when I had male psychopaths it was so much easier to stay one step ahead of them and sort of figuring out what was going to happen next, but obviously with the females I missed it or I wouldn't be having my windshield shot out and my brake lines cut. So yeah I found them to be a little sneakier, yeah.
Joe (caller): Have you ever seen the reality shows like Mob Wives and The Housewives of Beverly Hills, how many of them are psychopathic versus just stupid?

Sandra: *chuckles* Well, yeah I watch Mob Wives but I don't want to get shot by them {Joe(caller) laughs} so I don't know if I'm going to comment or not.

Joe (caller): Well you gave me the answer, no problem.

Sandra: Drina scares me. Drita, Drita, yeah, Drita.

Joe: Sandra that's the question Joe was asking was; do you have a number, compared to male psychopaths, for female psychopaths?
Joe (caller): Yeah I'd like to know the percentage.

Sandra: No, I don't, that's what I was saying, is that yeah, it's really hard to know because I think they are so underdiagnosed.

Laura: Ah-hah. So maybe we could add a whole bunch of borderlines and histrionics and so forth...

Joe (caller): It would be great to have real numbers because that would really validate...

Laura: It really would.

Joe (caller): It would really validate whatever investigation would go.

Sandra: Yes, right.

Laura: But there just isn't the research being done because people are not demanding it because they're not aware of how, you know, everybody who gets taken advantage of, let's say that you get screwed over, you're ashamed. You don't want to tell somebody you were stupid, right? And it's not really that you were stupid. It's that you got taken in by a psychopath, and let me tell you what: some of them are really, really good and if they use that pity ploy it's not a shame to be taken in because of your empathy. So people aren't talking about it and they're not aware. Sixty million, I mean, of victims and that's just women? I mean what are the victims if we count the women who take advantage of men? Is it the same number? Is that a hundred and twenty million direct victims? That's staggering!

Joe (caller): It is.

Sandra: We don't know, and again the best place that they count heads for psychopathy is in the women's prison, and yet so many of them on gender bias are underdiagnosed even though we know in the men's prison that the number of psychopathy in a men's prison is so high. If you went and looked at who was actually diagnosed in a women's prison it would be such a much lower number. There's just an unfortunate gender bias.

Laura: And what about the women who don't get into prison because they use the pity ploy to not get convicted?

Sandra: Right, right. Oh yeah, absolutely. And again, I mean that's the problem we have in counting psychopathy anywhere, is that we only count them in the prison system because they're there and we can count them. We can't count all the CEOs who have never been arrested.
Joe (caller): Well, I think, when I talk to people about relationships I've always said just put your boundaries out there, and if they violate your boundaries, you can give them one or two maybe three more tries, but then after that, just, goodbye. That way you don't have to worry about whether or not somebody is actually a legitimate clingy, needy person who is a sweetheart versus somebody who is just out to hurt you, because if they're lying or if they're somehow if they have too much emotional baggage, they're still bad for you.

Sandra: Right.

Laura: Yeah, but there are a lot of good women and there are a lot of good men who've been wounded by our society, our culture, by the psychopathic way things are in our society and culture, who deserve help to get well, to get better, to have a good relationship, and, you know, it's...

Joe (caller): Oh absolutely. Yeah, we all do. The thing is, is if you're going to date somebody, and let's say you've had, because of your experience and maybe your background in psychology, you know that you can't forgive too often because they'll just walk all over you. So you set your boundaries out there and you say, "Well, look this is something which is really important to me. You really shouldn't lie to me about this, you really shouldn't do this particular type of behavior," and if the person says "Yes, I agree with you," but then they continue to do that, how often can you forgive them?

Laura: You're right.

Joe (caller): You have to let them go.

Laura: You're right.

Sandra: Right. And whether or not they are pathological or not, it is I don't know, I'm 65 years old, life's too short. I don't want to take any of that crap on now. *laughs*

Joe (caller): *laughs* I know, I know what you mean.

Laura: Exactly.

Joe (caller): Once you get past forty you...

Sandra: Life's too short right.

Joe (caller): Yeah, your values, I past forty my values have changed. Besides when I was just chasing, now I want somebody who is cute and nice, relatively attractive, but I just don't want the drama.

Laura: No more drama.

Sandra: Right. And, everybody has issues. There's no one that doesn't have something, but what we're trying to sort through in selecting a mate is not to bring anything that has too length of a time in being able to resolve whatever that issue is. Pathology, obviously, forget it, 'cause it doesn't get resolved. But even some of the other mental health problems, it's just, it's too long. I mean I would never tell my kids to date portent disorders because I just know what the outcome of that is. So yeah, you know what, if you're over thirty, there's no use falling in love with potential. We're much too old, either they got the goods or they don't. At this age so...

Laura: Either it works or it doesn't.

Sandra: Right, right. If I ever got divorced or my husband died I would not be waiting on potential in someone.

Laura: Nope.

Sandra: Yeah, that's fine when you're eighteen. All we are is a bundle of potential at that age, but, you know, not after thirty. Either they've stepped up to the plate, or something is wrong.

Joe (caller): Are you talking emotionally, or what other category?

Sandra: Yeah, emotionally, and I don't know if you were listening earlier, Laura and I were talking about the generations, like the kids that are in their twenties and thirties, that whole generations have changed, like the girls now are talking about never being able to find guys that don't live at home, that aren't living with their mothers, that own a car, that I mean it's just amazing. And I tell my kids the same thing: if you're over thirty, don't be waiting on potential. There's a reason why he lives at home and, or she lives at home, and doesn't have a car, and is struggling with a job. I mean this links to certain things, often, so I mean I don't know how old you are but, you know, you're over thirty-

Joe (caller): Like I said, I'm over forty.

Sandra: Oh okay. They need to be arriving with most of the package at this point.

Joe: Alright Joe we're going to go to another caller here, thanks for calling in.

Laura: Thanks for calling.

Joe (caller): Sure. Take care.

Joe: Bye bye.

Joe: Hi caller what's your name and where you calling from.

Caller: Hi everybody this is Lisa Giuliani, I just have a really quick question, whoever wants to answer it.

Joe: Okay.

Lisa: It was mentioned before that a lot of the women or the people who survived relationships with psychopaths end up with PTSD, I think somebody said sixty percent, and you may have it for life. Can you speak to the issue of recovery from this or do you just have this for the rest of your life?

Sandra: Well, complex... the biggest issue in recovery from a pathological love relationship is the issue of PTSD and that is predicated on when you got PTSD and the depths of it. For women who are coming into a pathological relationship and already have PTSD, maybe from early childhood, from a traumatic childhood, from a pathological parent, maybe a rape, something like that, then you add on top of that the psychopathic relationship, then the treatment outcomes are a little more difficult in complex PTSD. If you have someone who did not have PTSD prior to going into the relationship and acquired PTSD from the relationship, treatment is a little better for that.

Lisa: So a lot of them have a normal relationship is a possibility - a potential?

Sandra: Right. Yes. But you need to get the, if you have PTSD, you need to get PTSD treated. PTSD is not one of those things that fades out with time. It actually increases with time if it's not treated. And so a lot of women like I said sixty percent of the women coming out of these relationships got PTSD from it even if there was no physical violence. And a lot of that has to do with the emotional and mental gas lighting that happens from psychopaths. So even if you were not physically assaulted or sexually assaulted in that relationship, a lot of people still have a lot of the emotional pieces of the PTSD, so if you do, just get treated. And all...

Lisa: Could you talk a little bit about what treatment involves or direct people to where they can get treatment?

Sandra: You can Google in your area "post-traumatic stress disorder therapist." We always recommend EMDR which stands for Eye Movement Desensitizing Reprocessing, it's a really long name, but it's EMDR. That is a gentle therapy resolution for PTSD. The biggest issue is to make sure that you get a therapist that's trained in PTSD because that's not something to just wing it with a therapist who has not treated that before. There are very specific things to treat. But you can get a lot of symptom management and then make sure you read up on your own temperament traits that we've been talking about in the Women Who Love Psychopaths book so that you understand the risk level you bring with you to the next relationship so that you can choose differently next time.

Lisa: Thank you very much. Great show everyone.

Sandra: Nice speaking to you.

Joe: Thanks Lisa.

Lisa: You're welcome, bye bye.

Laura: I want to change gears just a minute Sandra, is that okay?

Sandra: Sure.

Laura: One of the things that you and I had a few exchanges about is that since you've been how many years now you've been talking and teaching about psychopathies, How to Spot a Dangerous Man, when was this, this is, I can't see a date on this book.

Sandra: 2005 for the Dangerous Man book.

Laura: Okay so, but you've been working in this field for a long time. I started publishing about it in 2002, in fact it was in October of 2002, and since then, and since you've published your book, and since Robert Hare's published his book and Paul Babiak and Adrian Raine and a few other experts have become more vocal about these issues and the problems in our society, it seems that a whole slew of instant internet experts have just popped up everywhere and there's a book a minute by, we're not going to name any names here but, a new book every week by somebody who claims to be the new expert on psychopathy, and most of these people either have no personal experience, as in having experienced it and then been driven to learn about it because they need to understand their experience. In a certain sense, though my experience was not as traumatic as yours, both of us were driven to this study because of a traumatic experience with a psychopath. So you almost have to experience it I think, to really get the taste of it, and once you've tasted it, all recognize that taste. You recognize the stench of it. And all of a sudden there are these dime-a-dozen experts that are writing books or creating websites and I've was looking on the internet recently and I've noticed that there were several websites where there's a lot of people who are ripping off your material and just barely changing it and claiming to be experts, you know, how do you feel about that?

Sandra: Well, it's definitely a double-edged sword. Having worked in the field of personality disorders for 25 years I never really thought I would live long enough to see this field take off. Really, I thought I'd retire and it would still be dragging on. And really it's only been the last few years that it's just like, the pathology explosion. Lots and lots of pathology education and I guess that's the double-edged sword. We keep pressing and pushing and teaching for pathology education and hoping that there is a grassroots movement. And there has been with the onset of the internet, I mean every week I see a new blog, a new ebook, a new book, a new website, whatever. So that's the good news. The bad news is, yes, there's tons of plagiarism. We send out copyright infringement notices every week. I could spend my whole life doing nothing but chasing people who plagiarize if I wanted to, but I guess I wish, I mean as someone who has worked in the grassroots movement of this for 25 years and spent my whole career trying to get the awareness to where it is now, I'm happy that it's there. I guess I just wish that the quality of the education was better. That what I'm seeing is, I guess, a lot of survivors like you said who have tasted this experience and it is so traumatic and you do want to stop anyone from ever having this happen to them, but the "psychopathic mind behind every tree" kind of thing I think is starting to ruin the credibility of the movement, and I mean even media is starting to pick up on the overuse and misuse of all of the cluster B, I think, disorders and psychopathy. So I guess that's sort of what concerns me and saddens me, is that the quality of the message is getting bastardized.

Laura: It's getting diluted, it's getting diverted, it's really a problem I think. So...

Sandra: Well I mean, yeah, I'm not sure, you know, I don't have a solution, really.

Joe: We have a question from a listener, Sandra, and more or less, the question is, or the statement plus question is, how does someone tell someone else that they know to be in a relationship with a psychopath when that person doesn't see and thinks they're in love with his charisma and all these other qualities, I mean, in your experience, is there any way to get through to someone, a woman who is in the grips of this kind of a relationship, under the spell?

Sandra: Um, no, I mean, you can share your concerns and beyond that what I tell people is I think you need to leave the door open and not so contaminate the content between the two of you that she will not come back to you when she is ready, and that it's really hard to wait for someone to hit rock bottom. It's kind of like an addiction when you just can't believe this person is not at the bottom of this situation, and waiting on them to be ready to hear the information. And so as frustrating as it is, you can express your concerns, if it's not received I would pull back and keep the relationship open, keep the communication open, because we all know that the end result in these relationships is that the person is harmed and that the relationship ends. And so the person will be back. Might not be on your schedule, but they will be back, and not to close the door on that communication because that's when the person is going to be ready to hear it.

Joe: Yeah absolutely, and another question was I know you've mentioned treatment for PTSD for people in the aftermath of these kinds of relationships, but another question was what sort of treatments have you seen that are effective for direct victims, anything other than standard type of therapy?

Sandra: Um, well, I think so far I haven't seen any other supposed treatment programs for this other than ours. They can go to There's information on there about the kinds of treatment that we offer. We do a specific approach, it is a model-of-care approach that I designed over the 25 years of working with people coming out of this that has been really effective, I mean it's gone on to be used and incorporated into other treatment modalities, in treatment centers, in addiction centers, domestic violence, outpatient, inpatient. And so it has been adapted and modified to be used in other locations but it's very specific to people coming out of cluster B and psychopathic relationships. Our treatment stuff is either by phone or they come for a five-day retreat which of course is just sort of the beginning part of that, and the long-term portion of that is the PTSD treatment if in fact they have that. If not, a lot of times our retreat and our stuff is a pretty quick turn-the-corner aspect for them, so.

Joe: Okay.

Sandra: I just don't know anybody else that's doing it.

Joe: Okay. We have a caller here, so. Hi caller what's your name and where're you calling from.

Caller: Hi Joe, this is Amanda from Pennsylvania.

Joe: Hi.

Amanda: My question is, well I'm not sure if I were to read these books that she's got, um, I basically come from a large family, I have nine other brothers and sisters, and would they be able to describe to me certain characteristics if I, say, felt that well not felt, I know for a fact that my upbringing was very, not only physically but verbally and I guess mentally abusive. I wasn't the only one that received this. My father received this in front of us. Would this - I mean I've read articles on psychopathy from SOTT, you know, it just makes me wonder, would it help me to understand the way she treated us?

Laura: Absolutely.

Amanda: To put a label this is her category, this is where she fits, and would it help me to I mean, do I have PTSD? Still years later I mean I've never seen counseling for any of this. The only other person that I've talked to in grave detail about the things that happened to me, the way they treated us, is my partner right now. He's the only one that I've ever, and I've only talked, I met him, two years ago? And I now, well he, and I've been, my parent, my mother at the time, when I was in high school, she told me that if I were to ever open my mouth and speak about anything that ever happened to any of us at home, that she knew for a fact that we would all be separated, you know, orphanage kind of thing, you know board the state, that she would, after something like that happened, would hunt us all down, bring all of us back together home, but when she came to where I was, that she would beat me within an inch of my life and tell me that, see, this is your punishment and I'm going to leave you here. So I was too afraid to even say anything to anyone. You know, I'm forty now and I've, you know, opened up to a larger percent to my partner, but no one else, really. Would that...

Sandra: Um, the first part of the book lays out a lot of the different types of pathology, the different cluster B disorders as well as psychopathy. Some of the other things that might be helpful because this was your mother right?

Amanda: Well, primarily, if there was anything to be said or that she didn't want to take and physically do, she'd make my father do towards us, say, quote-unquote, okay, she...

Sandra: It was emanating from her is what you're saying?

Amanda: Yeah, she was in charge, you know.

Sandra: There are also some books that you might read, Children of the Self-Absorbed, and also one called Trapped In the Mirror. And both of those, they have checklists in there, one of them is by Dr. Nina Brown and there are entire checklists that can help you identify whether or not your mother had that level of pathology. But certainly, I can't imagine living in that environment, being threatened with being beaten within an inch of your life and not coming away with some level of trauma and/or trauma disorder that wouldn't need some support in order to recover right now. Whether or not you have PTSD, I don't know, but certainly you've experienced trauma at the hands of your parent so if it's impacting you in your daily living or impacting your relationship in any way I would tell you this...

Amanda: Well, I'm not sure if it's just, or if it does with him because, I don't know, reading SOTT, that's gotten us on to a lot of other things with reading the Wave, and we're both on a path to find out a lot of things. I mean we both are very much not afraid to question things, although with me, even outside of when I left home, because when I was sixteen I was told, me and another sister were called up, you know, family meeting, that we had six weeks to find a place to live otherwise we'd find everything that belonged to us, clothing, toys or, you know, personal items, piled on the driveway, doors locked, and that was it. She said that we were the reason they were considering getting a divorce. But that was my mother's way, years later I find out, of her telling me that you're ready to move out. But that was her way of doing it. But, I mean, things like that add to a lot of her punishments that were, you know, she wasn't the kind of parent who thought, if you spared the rod your child would be better. She was more or less the opposite and, you know, if you told her the truth, if it wasn't what she wanted to hear, you got it until you told her what she wanted to hear. Which made me, you know, a lot of times until I left home I got, I would say I was to the point where I rarely spoke, rarely smiled, very rarely looked somebody in the eye, and only out of the corner of my own eye, but I don't think that, I had no desire to initiate a lot of friendships, it was more, you know, just casual and had no desire, no interest to date. What was the point for me you know?

Sandra: The best indicator is if today, that it impacts your daily living and/or your relationship, as to whether or not counseling might be helpful to you so you have to be able to look at it and be able to tell if there are still any carryover impact for you today.

Amanda: Okay, but what was the name of that other book you said something, uh, Trapped In the Mirror and there was another one?

Sandra: Children of the Self-Absorbed. It's very good. Yeah.

Amanda: Thank you. I appreciate this.

Sandra: Best of luck to you.

Laura: There's another, Sandra there's another book that I don't know if you've read it or not but we've been through it, we recommend it highly and it's called The Narcissistic Family.

Sandra: Yeah, and I love that one.

Laura: Yeah, so...

Sandra: Yeah, it's very good.

Laura: And even if there's no direct personality disordered narcissist in a family, the family itself can have a narcissistic dynamic and certain children can be triangulated against, and it really helps, I think.

Sandra: It does, and I think it's so applicable now and today, because we have so much more, I think, cultural narcissism, that that's applicable too even without a narcissist in the family. A lot of times when I do community lectures, the people that will ask the most questions are always teachers and they're very in tune with seeing, as each generation goes by, more and more what looks like personality disorders within the culture. The cultural narcissism in children, in children's worldview, when there may not really be a narcissist at home. And so, yeah I agree, that's a great book.

Joe: There's something I just wanted to mention again about the figures, the figures given for psychopathy that we talked about in the beginning of four percent, one of them starts four percent, and it occurs to me that those numbers, that percentage isn't spread evenly across the world, or in the US, it isn't spread evenly across the US, that in certain population centers like major cities you could have a vastly greater percentage of psychopaths around you, up to maybe, I don't know, even, you can let your imagination run wild type of thing to some extent, there may be 25 percent in any big city.

Laura: Possible, yeah. But then look at Ken McElroy, I'm telling you, that story was, I mean that was, who would ever think that you would pick up a book that's like 400 pages or something about a guy who steals pigs in Arkansas, and that you would actually be so gripped by it that you would finish it, you know, stay up at night to read the darn thing, I mean, geez it was unbelievable. But it was, it was the most classic case of an entire community being under the control of a, I mean it was just freaking amazing, I just couldn't believe it. And then the way they dealt with this guy when finally they had had enough. And the law, and it's a classic story of how the law protects the psychopath and does not help the victims, so, it's a great story.

Juliana: But if you take the average, oh sorry Sandra, go ahead.

Sandra: And Joe, on those numbers, that pertains, one to four percent to me is a wide range, pertaining to psychopathy but yet, if we look at the issue of low or no conscience, not just psychopathy, what we are harmed by in society is not enough empathy or not enough conscience. And so that greatly expands that number 'cause we start expanding into the cluster B area, not just psychopathy but narcissism, they have low empathy. They might have some, but it's not enough.

Joe: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, when I look at what's going on in the world today and has been for the past ten or fifteen years, and I see people's reaction to the horrors that are going on in the world, I find it fairly easy to believe that pretty much ninety-nine percent of the population have in some way been infected with, kind of psychopathic thinking in terms of a lack of empathy for their fellow human beings to some extent.

Juliana: Either that or they've been so traumatized that they don't have any capacity for reaction anymore.

Joe: Yeah, one or the other.

Juliana: Traumatized by these psychopaths. And while you were just talking, Sandra, we were doing the math here, we're a little bit slow because we're tired. But we were taking your sixty million and, well, sixty to ninety depending on how many children they have and, the article that Laura was quoting, and if we were to take that as an average for the world it would be about two billion people. I mean, that's huge for the entire population, the world's population, two billion people, I mean there's no epidemic, no nothing, that compares to that, and imagine the effect that people who are traumatized have on that, I mean it's just insane.

Laura: Well look at what Bob Altemeyer found about the authoritarian personality. And the authoritarian follower is the one that is most easily manipulated and induced to do the bidding of the psychopathic or other disordered type, and I think his number for the number of authoritarian followers in a university population, that's what he was really working with, was something like 25 percent. Those are incredible numbers.

Sandra: Yes, very high number. So that gives you the probable victim population right there. And then on the pathology side, Martha Stout said in her book, one in twenty five people have no conscience. And so, that's no conscience. Now what if that when we expand it to low conscience, which is still inevitable harm, when we start looking at, when we start taking the number from the DSM on borderline or narcissistic or antisocial and we start adding those into the mix because people are still really harmed by those relationships because those people's empathy and conscience levels are not high enough. And then we just have enormous numbers. It's just mind-blowing.

Laura: It's worse than the Black Death, it's a psychological Black Death with almost a 75 to 80 percent mortality rate, only it's psychological. People are being destroyed psychologically at an incredible level in our society, in our world. And people, you know, I'm like you, I'm glad that people are starting to talk about this and I think people should realize that if you're a victim of a psychopath, it's not because you're stupid. It's because you have qualities that make you special, because psychopaths don't go after people who they can't feel satisfaction in degrading or dominating or tearing down or destroying. They only go after the ones who are quality.

Sandra: Right.

Laura: And it's your very capacity to have empathy, your very capacity to be a creative individual that makes you a target. So people should not be ashamed, they should start talking about it, they should start talking about it with each other, they should read How to Spot a Dangerous Man and Women Who Love Psychopaths, they should make this permanent parts of their libraries, give it to everyone you love, if you love somebody give them these books, please, I mean it's just absolutely essential, and we're going to...

Joe: But before we just wrap it up I have one more thing that I need to ask Sandra, I promised a listener that we would ask. It's about your books, he's a guy in Spain and he is wondering if you have any plans to have your books translated into Spanish, specifically maybe the Women Who Love Psychopaths?

Sandra: Um -

Laura: It's a big market, Sandra.

Sandra: Oh, I know. I have a foreign rights guy on that one. How to Spot a Dangerous Man has been translated in five languages and I think Spanish is next up, I don't know when that will be. Psychopath book hasn't yet, it's still with a foreign rights guy who's supposed to work on it but who knows.

Joe: Okay. Because this guy, he was just saying that he knows, he has a close friend who attends a support group in Spain for women who've suffered physical and/or emotional abuse and he heard her mention that the leader of this group had mentioned psychopaths recently and he immediately thought of your book and was hoping that your book would be available so he could pass it around to people he knows.

Sandra: Yup.

Joe: Anyway, that's a project I suppose.

Sandra: *laughs* Yes.

Joe: Alright, well I think we're going to wrap it up. We apologize for the dodgy beginning to this show. We will get that cleaned up for the Archives section so that people can listen to it as a proper show and Sandra you can spread it around if you need.

Sandra: That'd be great.

Joe: And other than that...

Laura: We are really, really thankful that you agreed to come and talk with us this evening.

Joe: Yes.

Laura: It's been a real pleasure. It's been instructive. It's been kind of like sitting on the porch and chatting.

Sandra: Yes, it sure has, and I'm so glad you guys invited me, thank you so much.

Laura: Thank you for being with us Sandra, and I'll talk to you soon.

Sandra: Okay. Goodnight.

Joe: Alright Sandra. We'll see you here or be around for our regular listeners this time next week for the next SOTT Talk Radio Show. Over and out.

*outro: You Lied*