Narcissism and Psychopathy

From 2000 – 2004, I was the Director of Outreach in Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine (fka Mount Sinai School of Medicine) in NYC, and Director of Outreach in Research for Northern New England in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston from 2005 – 2009. As an interviewer and diagnostician, my psychiatric research included work with people with pervasive characterological conditions such as Narcissism, Borderline, and AntiSocial Personality Disorder as well as Psychotic Disorders.  As a clinician in the Bronx, NY, I ran groups for male and female perpetrators of Domestic Violence (DV) who met criteria for personality and aggression disorders, as well as for people who were targets of DV. As a public speaker, I speak nationally for professional therapists, lawyers, and non-professionals, on the dynamics of narcissism including relationships with narcissists, sociopaths, coercive controllers, and other predatory personality styles. With knowledge, experience, and humor, I am able to explain the painful dynamics of predatory pairings as well as the vulnerabilities that keep the “magnets” of narcissism engaged with their partners. My  presentations help attendees answer such questions as “Am I a Narcissist Magnet?” “How Can I Repel a Narcissist?” and “How Can I Heal from a Relationship with a Narcissist?”

When people with narcissistic and antisocial behaviors participate in legal battles, they can be extremely charming to some people, as well as covertly and devastatingly destructive to others. Robert Hare, a world leader in research on psychopathy and developer of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) states that anyone, even he, can be fooled. When the antisocial behaviors are “under the radar,” lawyers, counselors, and judges can all be fooled and lose sight of underlying dynamics. This can have dire results whereby the courts and attorneys mistake the predator’s “target” to be irrational, neurotic, obstreperous, hypervigilant, paranoid, alienating, and obstructionistic when in fact it is the target who is responding rationally to the abuser’s pernicious and manipulative covert abuse. I can serve as a resource for consultation to help attorneys understand how to identify and address some of these behaviors. Knowing what’s going on is half the battle!

In the therapeutic setting, counselors who do not understand the dynamics of  coercive control may in fact assist the abuser by unwittingly colluding with him/her. Counselors may “blame the victim” by assuming s/he can simply extricate him/herself from a relationship dynamic that is more akin to Stockholm Syndrome than “codependence”or “love addiction.” I present on these topics to lawyers, counselors, mediators, judges, and the public-at-large.