When we think of the term “psychopath”, what image comes to mind? Probably, that of a man, between twenty and thirty years old, without remorse and cold as ice cream; and with uncontrollable impulses towards the most barbaric and sadistic acts imaginable.
However, to what extent do we project a stereotype promoted by the media? Is it really a pathology with a greater incidence in males? Recent research is releasing new information about people with this disorder, including how to fall in love with one of them.
Related article: “Psychopathy: What Goes On In The Mind Of The Psychopath”
Love and psychopathy: an impossible pair?
Psychopathy takes many forms, one of which includes a subclinical variety of people with exceptional scores on personality tests that measure their predisposition to psychopathic tendencies (but not as behavior per se). If interpreted as a continuum in which the scores to be obtained are modifiable, it can be seen as the degree to which the subject has psychopathic tendencies is related to other aspects of their psychology and interpersonal relationships.
Psychopaths and romantic relationships: scientific literature
There is reason to believe that subclinical psychopaths may have difficulty in their intimate relationships.. According to a study conducted at Laval University (Quebec) in 2015, common criminals adopt an insecure (avoidant) style of affection, which makes it difficult for them to form deep relationships with others.
Those which correspond to the classification of “psychopathic personality disorders” (whether or not they have criminal behavior) they often exhibit behaviors associated with an avoidant affection style, Being so awkward to establish any kind of intimate relationship. Two of the key indicators of this disorder, emotional disaffection and lack of empathy, are also associated with inappropriate attachment styles.
Yes, psychopaths can have romantic relationships too
However, subjects with typical psychopathic manifestations may engage in romantic relationships, Without necessarily suggesting that they will marry later or not, or that they will establish a more serious engagement bond. It is true that these relationships are perhaps not the result of true psychological intimacy in the strict sense, but of the convenience of a couple with a common vision of the world that would justify both trying to make the best of it. party of the rest of the people.
The lack of empathy and the inability to express emotions of a certain psychological depth could lead them to disintegrate their bond due to the adoption of destructive interaction patterns between the two that would increase. In extreme cases, abuse and violence might even exist, but this would not be common.
Even couples who at first sight seem doomed are likely to thrive if the most psychologically balanced individual is able to exert his influence over the other. With time, This would allow them to form a bond that would foster the development of a greater degree of trustEven being able to observe situations from another’s point of view.
Link and psychopathy
To find out how affectionate style and psychopathy can change over time, the Université Laval research team used a sample of couples who had been married for a year. This made it possible to examine the effects and mutual influences during the duration of the study. There were a total of 140 couples, ages eighteen to thirty-five, who had been together for an average of seven years.
Participants completed a series of questionnaires separately and will score themselves on scales designed to measure their tendencies towards low empathy and manipulation (characteristics of what is called “primary psychopathy”). as well as their propensity to adopt antisocial behaviors (attributes inherent in “secondary psychopathy”). In addition, each person’s affection style was measured, as well as their level of anxiety about abandonment and avoidance, understood as the inability to want to approach others.
The objective that subjects “self-score” in two different categories allows the team of researchers to assess the influence of each member of the couple on the scores of their partner. All of the couples were heterosexual, so the study design encouraged contemplation of influence between the two sexes.
The authors were able to compare the intensity of the relationship of the “actor” (who “exerted the influence”) on the other (the one who received it). They also had to consider the temporal changes of each man and woman separately. effect that their husband caused them, and which, in turn, had each on the other.
The psychopathic personality, closely linked to the fear of intimacy in the couple
What could he deduce from all of this? The “actor-actor” effects showed that in the case of men (but not women) with higher scores in primary psychopathy on the first test (insensitivity), it was possible to predict higher levels of avoidance of the condition at the time of running the second test. Men, moreover, have over time expressed stronger relationships between primary psychopathy and disease-derived anxiety, meaning that the more psychopathic a man is, the more he will be wary of his privacy.
For both men and women, the attributes inherent in psychopathy (those that lead to antisocial acts) predicted higher levels of avoidance of affection and anxiety over time. Impulsive and irresponsible behaviors were intrinsically linked to fear of rejection and a tendency to leave one’s partner.
Based on the results of the effects of the “actor-couple” model of men towards women, it was concluded that, for them, having a male partner with more excellent levels of psychopathy in both dimensions (impulsivity and insensitivity) from the beginning of the relationship, leads them to end up separating from him. In contrast, men paired with women with high scores only in the dimension of impulsivity, became more anxious in their affection style. On another side, women with antisocial tendencies instilled in their partners fear repudiations, Besides making them more dependent and emotionally unstable.
General trends, not causalities
Should we think that this correlation necessarily implies a cause and effect relationship? The study structure made it possible to conclusively examine which pathways of psychopathy predict disease and, conversely, which disease pathways predict this disorder. In short, the qualities of the psychopathic personality should be understood from a binomial perspective and more as predictors of insecure affection styles, and not the other way around.
So, based on everything that has been said so far, what ideas should we stick to?
For those women who date men who tend to have the callousness and emotional harshness inherent at the end of the psychopathic spectrum: be vigilant, the worst is yet to come. Your partner’s inability to empathize with you will only cause you to find refuge in yourself.
Whether you are the man or the woman in the relationship and your spouse is very impulsive, the couple will tend to experience significant ups and downs. If you are the one exhibiting typical psychopathic behaviors, your ability (already in and of itself) to form an intimate relationship with the person you are engaged with will be diminished over time.