“Ours were false relationships from the very beginning in which we were targeted, exploited and betrayed.”
~Donna Anderson, LoveFraud
The quote above gets right to the heart of the matter of emotional rape. These were never normal relationships that started with love and then just went wrong. Far from it. The psychopath is a predator who completely hides his or her true identity and motives as they target a victim with the intent of causing harm.
Contrary to what many believe, psychopaths are not out to use a victim for sex or anything else. Their goals are to dominate, control and humiliate so they can diminish and devalue their victim. Using the victim is only secondary.
In a profound act of betrayal, he only pretends to love her — and does a convincing job of it — in order to gain her love and trust, which is what makes carrying out his hidden agenda possible. He gains power and control through manipulation tactics and uses her for whatever he desires without any remorse, while he creates an ever-worsening emotional hell. His grandiosity swells as he watches her try in vain to save the relationship she truly believed was the best one of her life.
The predator gets bored with her after devaluing and diminishing her, and he needs the thrill of a fresh new victim. The psychopath must act out this manipulative cycle repetitively and compulsively in order to experience feelings of exhilaration and contempt (contemptuous delight), which perpetuate his feeling of grandiosity, according to Dr. Reid Moloy, a respected psychopathy researcher. The predator ends the relationship with a stunning and completely abnormal display of contempt as his final attempt to harm her. If he is using the relationship to provide an illusion of normalcy, he may stick around long-term. If the victim ends the relationship, his grandiosity will suffer and he will attempt to gain her trust again. A psychopath hates to lose control of a victim.
She is devastated as she comes to realize his love was never real and that he purposefully and heartlessly betrayed her. If she doesn’t realize it — and many victims don’t understand what really happened until years later, if ever — she blames herself, which makes healing difficult or even impossible.
Either way, she is left with a heart, soul and psyche ravaged by the predator.
The aftermath of emotional rape often includes rage, obsessive thoughts, lost self-esteem, fear, anxiety, the inability to love or trust, use of alcohol or drugs, physical illness, and irrational and extreme behavior such as total isolation and withdrawal or even suicide, according to Sandra Brown, M.A., expert in treating women who have been victimized.
A lack of support from friends and family makes things much worse. Some will blame her for choosing to have a relationship with a “jerk,” because they don’t know or can’t believe he was a predator capable of hiding his true identity. Some blame her for staying with him when she knew it was going bad, because they are unaware or unwilling to believe she was controlled like a puppet by his systematic manipulation. Others who fell for the psychopath’s charisma and powers of persuasion may blame her for losing a “good catch.” Whatever the case, no one realizes how severely traumatized she really is.
The trauma is severe, and the victim should pursue professional psychological help from a therapist familiar with abusive relationships and the trauma they cause.
“Sadly, some victims of psychopaths attempt suicide as a result of hopelessness, helplessness and the belief there is no way out. Some have reported to us that psychopaths have actually encouraged them to take their own lives or have indicated that they would put them through so much turmoil that their only recourse would be suicide.” ~ From Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy, a website founded by David Kosson, Ph.D., professor of psychology and psychopathy researcher, which aims to provide help as well as education to those whose lives have been impacted by psychopathic individuals.
Even if you feel hopeless now, don’t give up. Many people have recovered from psychopathic abuse. If you are feeling suicidal, please get help.
- A LIST OF CRISIS HOTLINE NUMBERS (SUICIDE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ETC.)
- International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies
- International Suicide Hotlines
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Please read “The Emotional Rape Syndrome” if you suspect that you or someone you know has been through this horrific experience. The book describes emotional rape and its effects in detail, and contains several chapters on healing from emotional rape.
*Please note, I recognize that both males and females can be psychopathic and they victimize people of every gender. You are included here, even if the pronouns don’t fit. I wish you all the best.