December 30, 2014

Take the Test: Personality Traits of Women in Relationships with Cluster B/psychopathic Males

Carl Larsson

I remember several years ago when Sandra Brown was researching pathological relationships for her book, Women Who Love Psychopaths. (Amazon link) You can also purchase her book on Sandra's site: Safe Relationships Magazine. Now she's announced a new research project exploring the traits of female partners. That's a Great idea. If we don't know how we tick, we're tragically easy to pick. 

Knowing we are more trusting than some and more agreeable than others, helps us understand ourselves. Then we can spot a manipulator taking advantage of our personality traits. Less accommodating people, those who might be more suspicious than ourselves, would never put up with narcissists' shenanigans. They'd be squinting their eyes at his excuses rather than crying tears over his widdle twubbles. 

Yes, putting your pain secondary to someone else's pain might be a lovely pro-social trait in a healthy relationship; but it becomes sick-and-twisted when you're partnered with a Cluster B. Pretty soon, you won't even like yourself because everything you valued about yourself has been used against you. 

Contented and optimistic? Meet Mr. Perpetual Misery

Open-minded and curious? Meet Mr. Pie-in-the-Sky

Serious and contemplative? Meet Mr. Spontaneous Combustion

I didn't like it much when someone said I was gullible, just waiting to be taken advantage of by a scalawag. As if my gullibility made opportunism okay. Harumph! I finally decided it was okay to be somewhat gullible as long as you didn't hook up with a scalawag. The trick was a finding a trustworthy partner rather than becoming someone we were never meant to be. We need trusting people in this world, we adore gullible friends who bring out the best in our protective natures. As long as these folks don't hitch their star to a black hole, they'll continue lighting our world and keeping the kindness turning. 

One of the challenges about "recovery" is retaining our best traits and qualities rather than hating ourselves for being vulnerable to manipulation. The sin, I say, is not in the person with the tender heart. The sin is in the person who betrays their tender heart, ruining their sense of self and safety. If you are open-minded and compassionate, stay open-minded and compassionate. If you're sensitive and generous, stay sensitive and generous. Just get smarter about who benefits from the very best that makes you YOU. 

Carl Larsson
*If you are new to discussions about the narcissistic pathology, the Cluster B category of the DSM-IV is described as emotional, impulsive and dramatic behavior. This article explains how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was organized: The DSM, Axis II and Cluster Bs.

Purdue University

"The purpose of the research is to use the Five Factor Model of personality theory to explore the traits of women whose partners have a Cluster B Disorder (Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder) or Psychopathic Personality traits. By exploring the traits of female partners, we hope to further develop The Institutes Model of Care to assist in the recovery from these relationships of inevitable harm.  Understanding the personality traits of women in these relationships can also assist women in understanding themselves to prevent moving forward in these relationships from the beginning.

Research participants must be female, between the ages of 18-70, were in a relationship with a male with Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Anti-Social Personality Disorder or Psychopathic Personality and be a citizen of the United States of America.  If you meet this criteria you can participate by visiting the webpage listed below to begin the online survey.

The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and must be completed at one time, so please have time set aside to finish the survey. There is no compensation offered for the completion of the survey.  The survey does not require you to provide any identifying information therefore the results are completely anonymous.

Our hope is to begin to open the door to more research, with a broader range of survivors, to decrease the harm caused by those with cluster b/psychopathic disorders." ~The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction


  1. CZ,
    I LOVE this paragraph:
    "One of the challenges about "recovery" is retaining our best traits and qualities rather than hating ourselves for being vulnerable to manipulation. The sin, I say, is not in the person with the tender heart. The sin is in the person who betrays their tender heart, ruining their sense of self and safety. If you are open-minded and compassionate, stay open-minded and compassionate. If you're sensitive and generous, stay sensitive and generous. Just get smarter about who benefits from the very best that makes you YOU. "
    I struggle to not feel like a failure for not having seen earlier what the Ns in my life were really like, and for having tried so hard when it was all going nowhere.Thank you for reminding me that being kind is not the problem. I've saved your words to my ipod notes to read them over and over until they make a neural path in my brain the size of the Grand Canyon ;)
    Lots of hugs,

    1. What Kara said. everything about that seems right to me. It's been very hard valuing those same qualities in myself that make me effective in the world, when they're the ones my FOO has always kicked me for exhibiting. Neural pathways. New ones take work too. love CS

    2. Hi Kara! Always a pleasure hearing from you!

      In a culture that over-values individualism, self-reliance, dominance and competition, it's hard to feel great about yourself if you aren't that. If you are more vulnerable than reserved, less competitive than collaborative, more cooperative than self-promoting...behaviors that are considered "inferior" to narcissistic traits. Everybody wants to be a success and it's starting to "get to me" on the web. We used to be an open-source sharing community. Now everyone's set up shop, reserving their special insights to see if they can make a profit. Where's the generosity and good will and collaborative spirit of the Non-Narcissist? (I think there's a post in there somewhere! ha!)

      Be yourself. Be kind. Be open and trusting. Be the supportive person you are. The world needs more people like Kara, not fewer. I take solace in knowing I'm able to handle the occasional mistake, trusting someone who was not to be trusted. If we weren't resilient enough to manage this information, we'd never have seen it in the first place. We would still be trapped in the web, walking in the fog, clueless to the chaos draining our self-esteem AND our joy. I think there's something to be said about being strong enough to actually SEE what we truly do not want to see, don't you?

      Stay being kind but inform yourself about unkind people. That's my motto today.

      Much love,

    3. "It's been very hard valuing those same qualities in myself that make me effective in the world, when they're the ones my FOO has always kicked me for exhibiting. " ~CS

      The double-bind of the narcissistic family. You're never good enough to earn parental love no matter how "dependent" or "independent" you become. You're supposed to succeed but only in a secondary way. In other words, your success is due to familial support; their success is in spite familial burdens. haha

      Here's to new neural pathways! Love, CZ

    4. So it’s neural pathways! I remember going from partial blindness to hyper acute vision, although I see my glaucoma doctor tomorrow and he may disagree I’ve developed perfect site. I internalized every word you said ten years ago about not blaming the victim and it got me up in the morning, brushing my teeth. Not concentrating on my “flaws” at the time was the breaking point between suicide and life; the foundation for self-forgiveness.

      Fortunately, I stumbled upon a therapist who gently introduced the notion that some of the things I was doing in my relationships with men may be old, learned and/or maladaptive behaviors from childhood. She patiently allowed me to connect the dots; a freeing kind of painful that takes those bricks off your chest while you’re drawing.

      Becoming a participant in this research not only has the potential to help us understand ourselves, but has the potential for us to see clearly as we enter the danger zone. It will help others not blame themselves and hopefully make the leap from understanding abused to abuser and aid in the understanding how perpetrators decipher acts of “kindness” and such.
      So, it’s ten years later and I’m still listening; internalizing every word as I travel as a research participant. You're so fun! Bless you for all you do!


    5. Hi Judy!! Ten years? Has it been that long since we started this journey? My heart will be with you when you visit the glaucoma doctor. You never complain, making it easy to forget about your health struggles. You are a good and dear friend, a WoNderful woman who runs with the wolves (and hangs out with warm and fuzzy wabbits like me). ha!

      It seems like the more time you spend reading about psychology, the crazier you think you are; and before you realize it, you're in the devil's playground---believing his abuse was your fault. I can only take so much of that "codependent" talk before my brain explodes. Just look around ourselves at the society we've created and it doesn't take a clinical psychologist to understand why women stay with with awful men.

      We teach and preach and advertise women into "catching a man" and then there's complete silence about "letting a bad catch go." One of the old neighbors in my hometown (he's in his nineties) said to me recently, "It's not hard to catch a wild cat, CZ. The problem is getting rid of him once you do." haha! That wisdom has stuck with me because he's one of the few people who understood my experience without blaming me. His daughter went through a similar thing with her first husband.

      I still cringe and slap my hand over my mouth when someone starts in with "nice girls always pick bad boys" as if the fault is in being nice. Then I think of the wild cat analogy and calm myself down before delivering a dissertation on patriarchy and sexism. I was nice then and nice now and did not choose a bad boy. I chose the boy who courted me best (that's a quote from Femfree, remember her?).

      I loved that you called me FUN!! What a joyful thing to read because my online personality comes off a little "studious" perhaps. Maybe authoritarian? The truth is: I'm a very hilarious dictator. ;-P

      So thanks for dropping by and encouraging me to follow through on my New Years Resolution to write more about the Joyful Journey and less about Diagnosis. I had some excellently resilient gut instincts ten years ago that kept me out of a mental ward, too. I also had and STILL HAVE, the most excellent and wonderful friends. I love you.


  2. Yes CZBZ, it’s been more than 10 years and you’re still fun.

    That was the easiest test I’ve even taken.

    Creating a society? Now you’ve got my brain buzzing. We burned our bras and we burned our bridges and we still make less than a male in the same profession. Compared to the ads of the ‘50’s we’re more sexualized and better be close to anorexic to be considered beautiful. I still remember when pressure cookers made beans instead of bombs, but it was probably his mother’s fault anyway for being co-dependent. And, not that I believe it’s the right thing to do, but why does a mother walking away from her child get national publicity when absent fathers have done it for years?

    My childhood days are over but what messages are women given in society today? Guess there will always be more bridges to burn.

    Hugs backatchya,

    1. Yes, what messages in society today? Where are young women's role models? The older women who dare say, "No honey, organizing a Slut Walk is not a great idea. In fact, any behavior approved by Hugh Hefner (or even "thought up by" Hugh Hefner), is not liberating for women."

      I was listening to Gail Dines this morning, suggesting that mass media has been used by the elite to popularize their norms, values, ideas, profits (owned by the one per cent). If you are interested, here's a link to one of her recent lectures:

      There's a resurgence of radical feminism, a much-needed alternative to the popular liberal feminism *approved by Hugh Hefner."

      Oh boy...I've probably gotten myself in serious trouble now!

      Hugs atchya,

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