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Abusive, but so wily

By Zenoyise Madikwa | 2011-06-13 07:17:12.0

HE WAS a gentleman when you first met. A few months later he changed into a monster and is scaring the hell out of you

He calls 1000 times a day, obsesses over every date and gets jealous when you talk to other guys.

He is psychotic. Think about Muvhango's KK, the sick, mentally abusive and very controlling vat-en-sit of Meme.

Studies indicate that one in five women will date a man like KK during their lifetime, and the Memes of this world will go to their graves still shivering at the memory.

This behaviour is more likely to occur in men than women. About one percent of women have this disorder, while three percent of men have it.

Asiphe Ndlela, a relationship expert in Illovo, Johannesburg, says women like Meme, who are in love with a psychopath, deep down know that they're dealing with a sick man, but because their self-esteem has plunged, they have internalised the abuse that is meted out by their partners.

Ndlela says: "Women in such relationships stay in the relationship because they don't think anyone will believe their stories of abuse.

"After all, the men who are abusing them look and act quite normal in their daily public lives," Ndlela says.

She adds that it often takes 35 incidents of violence before a woman approaches the police.

She says KK's kind has severe mental and emotional issues and disregards the rights of others.

"This pattern usually comes into evidence around the age of 15 and if it is not treated, it can develop in adulthood. Children who are influenced by psychotic parents may adopt these tendencies," Ndlela says.

She says when they are dumped, these men call countless times pleading for another chance. Some even try to sabotage a woman's future relationships and worst still, they stalk her.

Ndlela says most men, instead of becoming depressed and retreat to lick their wounds, often focus their negative emotions on the partner who ended the relationship.

She says psychopathic men are usually clever manipulators.

"They play to the emotions of others. They typically have high verbal intelligence, but they lack emotional intelligence. Half the time they don't understand or appreciate the impact that their behavior has on their partners," Ndlela says.

"Research has also shown that the sociopath is usually a person with an abundance of charm and wit," Ndlela says.

"He may appear friendly and considerate, but these attributes are usually superficial.

"They are used as a way of blinding the other person to the personal agenda behind the sociopath's behaviour," Ndlela says.