In reply to:
"I decided to write out a list of some of the red flags I have seen with my ex. I am wondering if anyone else has seen or dealt with some of the same issues as I."
A little background – I’m a good friend and former partner of a woman who was suddenly abandoned by her P husband for another woman almost 2 years ago. She contacted me via email out of the blue at a point when she was feeling very 'down'shortly after her P husband had left the family home. We'd been out of touch for over a decade. Since then we have exchanged several thousand pages of email (We dont live physically close to each other) – during the course of which it became apparent to me that her (now X) husband was abnormal to say the least!
I came to the conclusion after extensive research and questioning her about his character and life history (which she was quite happy - even keen - to supply me) that he is a Psychopath according to the definition devloped by Robert Hare.
This P is in his early fifties now, and it always amazes me when I read posts like yours how much they all have in common – even with the female P you describe.
For the purpose of this exercise I will refer to my friend as W (woman ) and her psychopathic ex husband, as is customary, P.
What I will do is annotate your list….
1) Mirors on the walls (in place of pictures)
No. P had almost no influence on the ‘character’ of their house, which W had filled with pictures. Having visited the house I get no sense of his character from it at all. He is though the sort of guy who cannot pass by a mirror without taking a peek.. and most likely whipping a comb out to put those stray hairs back in place. His favourite possessions are his clothes, shoes, car, haircare products, colognes, CD's and guitar. Everthing needed to present the 'right' imgage...
2) Will not watch romance movies. (prefers horror movies, laughs while watching)
P liked all sorts of movies including romance, horror and comedy, especially comedy and violent war movies. I think he was studying human emotional reactions.
3) Blames everyone for everything which has gone wrong within the P's past life
4) Grew up in a dysfunctional family
Yes – violent father.
5) been sexually abused as a child
Yes – but, only on Ps evidence. Claims abuse by an employee of his father. W is unsure whether this is real or a pity play.
6) tons of pictures of P and family all over the house.(with the P in just about every picture)Shrine like
Normal amount taken by W. Hardly any of W and kids taken by P – he had to be almost forced into it. P had no interest in taking family photos. When he left, he took no photos of his children with him, which I find highly indicative. When there is a relationship breakdown between normal people and the father is either required or decides to leave the family home, the one thing he always wants is some mementoes of his children – presents they have made for him and photos. P took neither which really upset his children at the time.
7) P nasty towards others but nice to you (beginning of relationship)
Depended largely on their social status. Would be fawning towards those he perceived as his social superiors in order to butter them up, nasty toward those perceived as socil inferiors. He’s a real snob! In the beginning he perceived W as a social superior. Referred to her as ‘aristocratic’
8) sleeps often and complains about never getting enough sleep.
P is hypochondiac and uses any excuse to stay in bed.
9) P ran away from home when a child.
Yes. Only to reappear in the middle of the night making a huge noise, Thus precipitating a violent family argument. Perfect, no?
10) P claims you were a savior in the beginning of your relationship
Yes. P claims W saved him from anxiety attacks ( I have one piece of evidence that these were a phoney pity play) W also saved P from going to court by paying back the money he had embezzled from the company he had just left (been fired from?) when they first met.
11) very controlling and will even use an authoritative figures against you to get her way.
Yes. Ps with a High narcissistic component in their characters tend to be boot lickers.
12) asks for your opinions but if the p does not like what your opinions are they argue with you.
13) drives like a maniac and gets mad at slow drivers.
Yes. This is highly symptomatic and relevant to a point about Ps fear you make in an item below.
Psychopaths fear response is depressed like all their emotions, and this tends to encourage fast reckless driving. I think it’s the high sensory input – ‘the rush’ which fast driving produces which they enjoy. Normal people also enjoy the rush and enjoy being scared when they know that they are in reality 'safe'. E.g. on a roller coaster. Reckless driving to a normal person is just really scary and not at all enjoyable as we know we could at any minute get killed or injured - the emotional response this produces is very unpleasant. Ps don’t feel this.
4) can cry on the fly and wipe tears within minutes as if it never happened.
No. Has only ever cried twice (as far as I know), and then very briefly. Did not cry at his mothers funeral.
15) will never admit they are wrong
16) neat freak
Yes – both in personal appearance and in immediate environment. Would scream at children if they made any ‘mess’ would scream at W if cooker top and kitchen work surfaces were not perfect and spotless. WOuld kick the cat because it was 'messy' - a longhair which shed hair on the sofa, which would then get on Ps clothes, which enraged him.
17) P has at least one aquantiance they can rely on who will be there personal "yes" at everything person
Yes. Apart from his new woman he has one male business aquaintance who he appears to have under his thumb and is milking for money.
18) P claims to do it all and gives you no credit
19) P has to be in the center of attention.
20) says shocking things
Yes. Several mutual friends noted that P said some crude & lewd things at P and Ws
21) hides bills
22) opens up your mail but will freak out if you open up the P's mail
23) P wants to know at all times what you are doing
Yes, He did. Not so interested now he has a new victim.
24) P does and goes as they please and gets upset if you ask
25)P gets upset if you are tardy, but P can be tardy due to excuses
Yes – excuses which are often lies.
26) P has an excuse for everything
Yes- excuses which are often lies.
27) P will lie even if they don't have to
Yes! Pathological lying is a weird isn’t it? It took me a long time to understand that one!
Even lies in situations where it is uneccessary AND will cause him problems. A habitual pathological s**t stirrer
28) P will keep arguing until they get there way
29) P will call you selfish if they don't get there way
30) P uses it's own child as an attention getter
To an extent he used to when his and W’s first child was involved in a particular sport at a national level. Now he does not.
31) P does not like anyone getting close it's own child
No info. Certainly he gets angry when W’s youngest child wants to skip their fortnightly visitation to be with somebody else.
32) P laughs when child demonstrates bad behavior and says something on the lines of (acts just like me in a proud way)
P couldnt care less so long as the children were not disturbing him… all boundary setting and disipline was left to W
33) P claims to have tons of friends in the beginning but after meeting these so called close friends you get the impression they only like the P because they have to. (relative...work with the P)
34) P talks you into buying stuff (new car) boosting your confidence of what you need.
P is a shopaholic gadget freek. He’s bought thousands of pounds worth of usless s**t that he didn’t need over the years. After five minutes he gets bored with it and it ends up in the closet or garage never to be seen again. . Expensive new cars he cannot afford a speciality. The repo man is on his ass for the Saab at this very moment!
35) P calls people they just fooled "sucker, idiot or dumba$$" after giving sob story.
36) P Claims to be the best or an expert with everything and will tell everyone.
37) P discards people they consider being close with, who they no longer have a use for
38) never talks about dreams or nightmares (you have witnessed them having a nightmare)
39) P cussing while asleep in a chant fasion.
No info. I don’t think so , this is something W , I’m sure, would have mentioned to me. Shes’s layed out everything which is out of the ordinary.
40) P never says "I'm sorry" taking responsibilty. Instead they quesion if you still love them
when they do something mean or hateful
41)P throws away your belongings because it's in the way of the P's collection of stuff.
42)P is infatuated with money so they can control you and others
Yes. Preferably somebody elses money which he doesn't have to work for! A 'loan' or an 'investment'
43) P walks around the house in heavy steps
44) P enters house searching for reasons to get mad and yell at you
This was true a while ago. I persuaded W not to let him in to stop this happening. He’s not allowed beyond the front step now and if he starts to rant gets the door shut in his face. When he comes to collect his daughter, he rings then gets back in the car. Initially he would ring, come in the house and then engage W in conversation which would often degenerate into an argument.
45) P invites herself over to others homes but tells you we were invited.
46) you once talked all the time but since you have been with your P you now find yourself listening more vs talking
During the last few years of their relationship, W was starting to break the spell and argue back. This does appear to have been the case in earlier years- W was intimdated and dominated by P
47)P is more like a boss rather than a loving spouse
Yes – and towards children who were afraid of him. They are no longer afraid of him. Mainly just angry with him. Youngest now has a love-hate relationship with her father. I think it will break completely over the next year or so as she comes to the realisation that P will never change, will never be the ‘good daddy’ she wants him to be. Her brother has already come to this conclusion and has broken off all contact with his father.
48) P never talks about world issues or about others feelings.
49) P never feels sorry for others unless that person has nothing to do with the P's life.
Doesn’t feel sorry for the misfortunes of others full stop.
50) when someone else has problems the P will often turn the whole conversation around and talk about her problems instead.
51) P uses sex as a reward system
As an expression of his ‘love’ - subtext in a womans head ‘ If he wants me this much he must love me’ Most women seem to get sexual response and emotions mixed up. A situation which Ps exploit.
52) P is very jealous of others when they get attention vs the P
Yes. Would storm out of parties if this got too much for him.
53) no matter how hard you try to please your P it is never good enough
54) P is very jealous but flirts with everyone
55) P brags about all the sexual encounters they had in the past with you and whoever in front of you
Yes. The first time this happened to W she said she couldn’t bare it and ran out of the restaurant they were in.
56) P has temper tantrums when they dont get there way.
YES. The essence of the P. Toddler tantrum which they’ve never grown out of. The normal process of socialisation which occurs in young children does not ‘take’ in a P as the required emotional resonses for it to latch onto do not exist.
57) P starts fights with everyone who gets in there way
Not always. P just avoids a lot of people. Especially those who have him ‘sussed’
58) P told you they were fired from previous job for either alcohol or drug abuse.
P WAS fired form job just before W met him for fraudulent expenses claims / credit card fraud.
60) P inspects work you do around the house after you finish.
61) you get caught up in the middle of the P's chaos.
Yes. All Ps are tar babies. Done deliberately (instinctively?) to keep you in a highly arroused, highly strung, worn out, worn down and MANIPULABLE emotional state.
62) P gets others to hate one another after the P spread rumors to each
63) P has demonstrated physical abuse or is abusive physically.
Only once. P is slim and not tall. He hit W once, then she knocked him down! He never tried it again. She’s very muscular for a woman. His abuse was almost entirely emotional / verbal.
64) P will threaten you to get what she wants
65) P will twist your words in front of others to make you feel embarassed.
66) P will tell you lies about what friends and family say, so you stop trusting these close friends, family members.
Yes P temporarily turned W against her own sister – who she had been close with. W figured out what P had done after he left her and is now reconciled with her sister.
67) P expects respect from others but does not respect anyone unless they want something in return
P is a snob
68) P claims to try new things but stays within a strict routine.
P has a core set of interests, but no routine. He will abandon a project unexpectedly and start something else. His life is a huge list of temporary short term enthusiasms and unfinished work and projects.
69) P is more concerned with image vs happiness
Very concerned with image Ive no idea about what his internal emotional states ‘feel’ like. I suspect that psychopaths are not capable of experiencing what you and I would label ‘happiness’ I think what they mainly feel is a sort of low level dissatisfaction and anxiety.
70) When P talks with others everything is about her
P thy name is egotist. Of course. The P is the centere of its own universe in a way that normal mature adults realise they are not. Q: “How many Ps does it take to change a light bulb?” A: One. The P just holds up the bulb and waits for the universe to revolve around it.
71) P always complains about you not doing anything but wont remember all the stuff you have done in the past.
Yes. Ps have defective memory as normal memory relies on emotional tagging which they lack. We remebr stuff which is important to use because the important stuff gets a large emotional tag. As everything 'feels' equally important the P finds it difficult to remember anything... Like trying to remember the layout of a group of objects where the only difference is a subtle variation of grey. Ths stuff it does remember usually relates to short term personal gain.
72) P down plays your importance in life or your achievments or accomplishments
Yes . All part of the domination game
73) P tells you, you are getting fat as the P tips the scale.
74) If you tell the P you think they were being insensitive towards someone, instead of the P changing or thinking about what they said, the P will instead confront that person trying to embarrass or them for talking about the P
Yes. Ps always wan control over the channels of communication around ‘their’ people, who they see as possessions.
75) P will always claim you are too sensitive
76) P will also say they were only joking and you dont have a sense of humor after they insluted you.
77) P will tell you to keep certain things as secrets, but at the same time the P will tell everyone in front of you.
78) P tells everyone they do it all while putting you down as being lazy. (they do this in a joking way)
79) P claims to be fearless, but is fearful of most things in reality. (Rollercoaster ride) (horseback riding)
If you think about it, this is not consistent with the ‘crazy driving’ commonly exhibited by Ps. The fear emotion in Ps is as depressed as all others. Ps are in reality pretty fearless. The ‘fearful’ behaviour is, I think, a con.
80) P gets upset when your friends or family call on the phone and your P has to answer.
81) P screams but expects others to talk calmly after P initiates argument
82) P brags they should of been an actor or an actress/superstar
Yes. P has always seen himself as a rock and roll star, specifically, John Lennon. He plays the guitar and occasionally gets it together enough to give public performances in small venues. More recently I think he sees himself as Phil Spector. A pure fantasy as although he bought lots of recording kit he never produced anything.