An article I wrote in 2001 that was, at one time, considered almost seminal.
Can a Psychopath “fall in love”? I’m not sure about this, and it is hard for me to be objective while an agenda that resembles it still makes of me a constant target. The feelings of others, inside are a mystery to all of us, and none more so than the feelings of a psychopath.
It would just be arrogance to try and define them. What is possible is to examine the patterns of behavior as they relate to the victim, because if a Psychopath can fall in love, there is no beloved, only a victim. However he intends it, that is the reality.
From the moment a Psychopath forms this kind of attachment reality, past, present or future, ceases to be among your permitted options. You are under constant pressure to be what he needs you to be, to have been what he needs you to have been, to become what he needs you to become. Fact is irrelevant to him. If you challenge his desired perception of you you are “lying” as far as he is concerned, even though all your are doing is asserting the truth against his fiction.
Their consistent tendency to refuse rejection is a part of this, if they do not want to be rejected, then it isn’t really happening. They can take this to ridiculous extremes. You condemn them because you want attention. You reject them to impose control on them, you ignore them to punish them because you know that the one thing they hate most, the list is endless. You only get involved in another relationship to make them jealous (on one extreme occasion I was alleged to have “invented” a relationship I moved across 5 countries for, apparently to cause pain and jealousy to impose control).
This is shown well in the film “Juror”. At the end, when the Psychopathic, hit man, Anti-hero is finally brought to bay, held at gunpoint by the heroine and several other people, after he has murdered her best friend and tried to kill her child. While one hand reaches, almost reflexively, for a concealed weapon in his boot, he brightens as a thought occurs to him:
“Yes you have to kill me” he grins, delighted with himself “I can see that now. That is the only way we can really be bonded forever”. Thus he dies, smiling.
The three Rs, reason, reality and rationality, have no part to play in the “love” of a Psychopath. He sees only what he wants to see, and endeavors to force you to live by it. The incredible thing is that they are usually not trying to be cruel at all, more often, it seems, they are honestly trying to be loving as they perceive it.
They can never see that what they are seeking to impose is intolerable. They seem to reason that as they are prepared to accept anything (as raw material to be adapted to fit their needs) and forgive anything (especially if you have done it to someone else, because they couldn’t care less, but even, surprisingly, whatever you do to them) they feel you as cruel for being unable to do the same. They are prepared to pretend anything that pleases you, so they feel you as cruel for being unable to do the same.
A Psychopath does not have any grasp of what being a non psychopath is like. I have come to realize that most of the time they genuinely do not realize that you cannot accept the things they do. They see that as being cruel and unreasonable, and feel totally justified in trying to force you to behave differently. They feel that it is only necessary to persuade you, and the world, that you are the same as them for you to be able to comply with whatever they require of you.
They do not realize that they cannot force you to suppress all conscience and empathy, because they do not realize, conscience and empathy are not under your conscious control.
To them it is a very small thing they ask when they try to impose a whole past that never happened and the attribution of a whole identity you do not possess, because when they do that themselves it is a very small thing indeed. As far as I can see, they reason that it cannot make much difference as long as they go on “loving” you for it.
Whatever they feel it certainly hurts them, unless they feel they have total control, and thus, no risk of abandonment. Always remember that the ultimate imposition of control is the assumption of the right to destroy, in any sense of that word. One way or another, the Psychopath is liable to be inexorably driven towards that assumption, though it is not always physical in form.
There are in this world many agonizing forms of insanity an human being can be subject to, but the only one imposed entirely from outside himself is the “love” of a psychopath.
If it should ever happen to you, run as far and as fast as you have to, unless you do you may have cause one day to feel that those who become the “love objects” of homicidal Psychopaths are the lucky ones.