Was Betty Broderick really a victim of narcissistic abuse?

thebrodericks
Dan and Betty Broderick at their wedding, 1969

Sometimes the delineation between being a narcissistic abuser and having been a victim of narcissistic abuse is not very clear.    A famous example is Betty Broderick,  the jilted wife who broke into the home of her ex-husband, Dan Broderick, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena, and shot them both to death as they slept.

The entire story is documented in Bella Stumbo’s excellent true crime book, Until The Twelfth of Never, which I read a number of years ago. The story of this tragedy haunted me for weeks, but Dan’s treatment of Betty prior to the murders haunted me even more.  In fact, it downright bugged the bejeezus out of me.

Betty was eventually prosecuted and her appeal for parole was denied.   She will probably spend the rest of her life in prison.

Did Betty murder in cold blood?  Absolutely.   Did she ever admit guilt or show any remorse for her actions? No, she did not.  Was she manipulative and did she show self-centered behaviors?  Yes.  Did she use her children as pawns in her one-woman crusade against her cheating ex husband?  Again, yes.  Was the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder she was given by the prosecuting psychiatrist correct?  Very likely. (She was also diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder).

I’m not defending what Betty Broderick did.   She is a pre-meditated murderer who killed in cold blood as her victims slept and showed no remorse for her crime.   She used her children as pawns against her ex in their hostile, drawn out divorce, not thinking or seeming to care about their needs, only her own.   Two of her four children don’t speak to her and one has written a book against her and testified against her in court.

But even taking all this into account, I always had a huge problem not seeing Betty as the real victim, in spite of her heinous crime.   From their marriage in 1969 until 1983, when her husband’s affair (which he had lied to her about) came out in the open (and the shit hit the proverbial fan),  Betty was by all accounts a loyal and faithful wife, very much bound by her strict Catholic religious upbringing (and probably, how she appeared to others).   She was a typical 1950s-early 1960s-style housewife, whose main interests in life seemed to be marriage and family.    She wasn’t a go-getting feminist or a a dissatisfied wife who longed for a career or an outside life; she was perfectly happy taking care of the house and playing second fiddle to her successful attorney husband Dan (who had both a law and medical degree), proud of being seen with him at the many functions he attended, and dutifully raising four children (a fifth one died shortly after birth).   If she really had NPD, perhaps much of this was for show or to be well regarded in the community, but Stumbo’s true-crime book described a woman who, if anything, was doing everything she thought she had to do to be a good wife and mother,  who never cheated on her husband or showed any interest in expanding her interests outside their family.   Granted, she was never easy to live with, and could be very demanding, needy, and high maintenance, but I wouldn’t say she was malignant, at least not in the beginning.  If she was a narcissist, she was a covert one with a lot of borderline traits.

I think it was her husband who was a much more grandiose and obvious (if not more malignant) narcissist.   He was charming, overly concerned with his image and status, wildly successful, cold and unfeeling to his wife and children, and seemed to lack any empathy for his wife’s many emotional needs.  She did seem to be the more emotionally unstable of the two of them, but such is often the case with the partner who is being victimized–especially if the abuser has flying monkeys (and Dan had a whole community of them due to his power and reputation).

thebrodericks2
Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena, circa 1983

When Betty was in her 40s, she had gained some weight (as many women do around that age) and Dan began to show how little he valued his wife and their marriage, now that she was no longer young and beautiful.  He started an affair with an attractive young woman in his office named Linda Kolkena, who he promoted to his personal assistant.  He spent less and less time at home and even took his new assistant on vacation (saying it was a business trip).  Betty suspected something was going on and asked Dan about it.  He lied to her and said there was nothing and she was imagining things (sound familiar)?     Eventually the truth could no longer be hidden and he admitted he’d been having an affair with Linda all along.  But it didn’t stop there.  He also told Betty he had fallen in love with Linda and wanted to marry her, and told Betty coldly that he wanted a divorce.  Shortly after he left her, Linda fell pregnant.  They flaunted their happiness cruelly in front of Betty, who always had self esteem issues.

The divorce was drawn out, dramatic, and ugly.   Betty became increasingly deranged, and showed stalking behaviors and began to involve her children in her one-woman crusade against her cheating ex.   But Dan and Linda also ganged up against Betty and made fun of her, leaving abusive phone messages where they could be heard laughing together and making fun of Betty’s age, weight and intelligence.    Such a thing would certainly make ME see red!  For Betty, an insecure woman whose entire identity had been tied up with being Dan Broderick’s wife and the mother of his children, his cruel and malicious behavior must have been unbearable and something eventually snapped.

Dan was able to convince everyone that Betty was insane–not to mention fat, stupid and old.   He was expert in gaslighting and triangulation, turning most of their friends and even their own children against her.

What Betty did was wrong.  There’s no way around that.    She was spiteful, manipulative, and completely out of control.  She lied in court.   She didn’t seem to have much, if any, empathy for their children (by that point, I would completely understand if she had no empathy for her ex and his new wife, given their shabby treatment of her during the divorce proceedings).

betty-broderick-8
Betty Broderick during the trial.

But I wonder how much she may have been driven to act as she did.   Dan seemed cold-hearted and emotionless from the get-go, almost psychopathic.   For 14 years, Betty put up with this b*stard and obediently played the role of the trophy wife that he wanted.  When she was too old, he unceremoniously dumped her for another woman.

In my opinion, Betty Broderick was a victim of narcissistic abuse who was driven to become a narcissist.  Even if she was already a narcissist, I don’t think she was malignant or that she would have gone to the extremes that she did on that horrible day in 1983 had she not been driven to to the brink of insanity by her arrogant, compassionless, egotistical cheater of a husband.

This case has always fascinated me, in part because I think so much was brushed under the rug during the divorce proceedings and the trial. I always felt a bit of sympathy for her, in spite of her horrible crime. Here’s another article I found in defense of Betty Broderick.  Betty was certainly no angel, but I don’t think Dan Broderick was as good a guy as the press and popular media liked to make him out to be — not even close.

Betty Broderick: Victim or Victimizer

The Perfect Narcissist.

In order to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) a person must meet at least five of the nine criteria specified in the DSM. Most narcissists do not meet all 9.

Brian Blackwell, a young man who murdered both his parents and then callously left their bodies behind to take a trip to New York City with his girlfriend, met all 9 criteria. Here is his story.

“There’s a killer on the road”…

This powerful, suspenseful poem chilled me.

Eye Will Not Cry

dark-man

~

Lost within his life’s direction…
He took the wrong train connection…
His destination is unknown…

His eyes survey the gathered crowd…
A quiet coach, no noise allowed…
He sees her sat alone…

Keeping her eyes on the book…
She was bewitched by just one look…
She’s chilled to the bone…

She doesn’t even know his name…
His evil crimes or hidden shame…
Or his heart that’s made of stone…

He’s craving her undivided attention…
She’s floating in an air of tension…
Into confusion she is thrown…

Trying to avoid his charming stare…
It could be fun, if she’d only dare…
Common sense on hold…

A spark of innocent conversation…
Ignites thoughts of dark temptation…
Her confidence has grown…

She begins flirting with her hair…
In his trap, shes now been snared…
She plays with her phone…

Fallen for his devilish smile…
His journey becoming more worthwhile…
But time has…

View original post 74 more words

Robert Durst disgusting excuse

I agree with Gale how outrageous this is. This man is a psychopathic murderer who is using ASPERGERS as an excuse to get away with his heinous acts. Not only is he a raging liar, by using Aspergers as his excuse, he is giving that disorder a bad reputation (it’s already bad enough that Aspies have are erroneously accused of having no empathy just because we don’t always express it as well as a neurotypical). Of course there will be those who will believe him. This murderer is no Aspie–he is a raging, dangerous, evil PSYCHOPATH.

galesmind

robert-durst-allegedly-exposes

Last night I was appalled to see that this murderer’s lawyer is going to use the same excuse that got this murder off last time. ASPERGERS! This is really outrageous.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/48-hours-presents-robert-durst-the-bizarre-saga/

http://wrongplanet.net/robert-durst-and-murder-in-galveston-texas/

Robert Durst is about to get away with more murders. Using the badly understood condition known as Aspergers. This is a terrible precedent to set. How is the fact that he has Aspergers affect the fact that he murdered a man, cut him in pieces and tossed him in the water. Then he went on the lam. Now with this new arrest his lawyer is claiming the producers of the program where he admits while talking to himself and miked that he “killed them all”.  He has withdrawn cash in small bills, put them in several envelopes ready to mail. He had his passport and other documents and was reported to be planning to flee to Cuba.

These…

View original post 127 more words

Must-see documentary about NPD

carravagio
Detail from “Narcissus” by Caravaggio (ca 1597-1599)

“Egomania” (an archaic term for NPD) is an extremely well done documentary about NPD with interviews with business executives, cult leaders, criminals and others who have this devastating disorder.

Highlights: David Berg, founder of the biblical sex cult “Children of God” (very scary) and writer of his own bible, eventually encouraged sexual activity with children in the cult; murderer Brian Blackwell, a “nice boy” who had all 9 clinical traits of NPD (very few people have all of them, even among narcissists), a pathological liar and charmer who snapped and murdered his own parents without an ounce of remorse; and Sam Vaknin, who has all 9 traits of NPD but was insightful enough to separate himself from humanity by exiling himself to an eastern European country and lives as a near-hermit with his subservient wife.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGTwgX-TUfM&list=PL8u7CCgBKzq_hqU0zyFBfsG00-ZT3Ct3H
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXe9dn_SlE0
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3rB2VI4uK8
Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0vYmKZjQts
Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n52kfOul_hQ

David Berg’s evil cult “Children of God” was so fascinating to me I plan to watch the 7 part series about it on Youtube. I may write about it later and/or post the videos.

The CEO interviewed in the beginning of the documentary was quite frightening to me and I would have pegged him as a very malignant narcissist, and yet he is not clinically NPD because he only possesses three of the traits (most normal people have 2 or 3). Maybe it’s because his few NPD traits seem so extreme.

For easier reference, here are the 9 traits of someone with NPD (per DSM):

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Kind of off-topic, but why are almost all good documentaries from the UK or Canada and not from America? American “documentaries” are just infotainment and fluff and there seem to be so few good ones.

Famous people who have NPD

parishilton

This is not my own list, but I agree with most of the people listed in this blog post.

Here is the entire article:

There are many people all around us that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), more commonly referred to as narcissism. There are many well known individuals who display characteristics of narcissism, if not full blown NPD. They range from politicians to celebrities, from ministers to business leaders. Some writers and researchers believe that successful and famous people have acquired or situational narcissism; they do show narcissistic traits but only after they have worked hard, sometimes for years, to get there. But that success often produces a personality pattern replete with narcissistic traits. Others believe that these people were narcissistic to begin with and sought out opportunities and fields that would satisfy their narcissistic needs. Either way, once they become famous it leads to narcissistic thinking and behaviors; they have lots of money and/or fame, don’t wait in line at restaurants or events, have limo service, and are asked for photographs and so on. This often leads to demanding behavior, feeling they are above the law, becoming more exhibitionistic and many have public social or emotional meltdowns (frequent run-ins with the law, drug and alcohol abuse, attempting suicide, etc.).
Let’s take a look at some of the famous people who show personality traits that suggest narcissism. Most of them show grandiose thinking and exaggerated self-importance, many believe or fantasize about the power they have, most believe they are special, need to be admired and feel entitled. Many dictators and criminals had or have narcissistic personalities as well as the Hollywood celebrities; some are negative role models and some are positive. Hitler and Stalin both had grandiose self-images as did Casanova, Marquis de Sade, Peter Sellers, and the heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard. Other likely suspects are Madonna, Margaret Thatcher, Paris Hilton and O.J. Simpson. Here are just a few of the many that come to mind:

hitler

Jim Jones
Saddam Hussein
Warren Beatty
Ryan O’Neal
Alec Baldwin
Sharon Stone
Elvis Presley
William Shatner
Joan Crawford
Pablo Picasso
Ike Turner
Lee Harvey Oswald
Donald Trump
Kayne West
Charlie Chaplin
Marlon Brando
Eva Peron
Simon Cowell
Liberace
Adolph Hitler
Joseph Mengele
Joseph Stalin
Ted Bundy
O.J. Simpson
Paris Hilton
Madonna

donaldtrump

The author also has Marilyn Manson on the list, but while I do think he has psychological issues, I don’t think that he is a narcissist. From what I have read of him, he has exceedingly low self esteem and was bullied in school. Narcissists are rarely victims of school bullying.

Many of these people are successful and talented entertainers, and as such have contributed in a positive way to the world, so while they may be narcissists, some of them are probably not malignant narcissists or psychopathic (this just means they are less high on the narcissist spectrum than people who have contributed nothing to the world except evil and misery or have led a parasitic, exploitative lifestyle. Some may even possess small amounts of empathy and give generously to charity.)

simoncowell

Here’s a few others I would add (not a complete list by any means):

Kanye West

The Koch Brothers
Rush Limbaugh
Ayn Rand (she glorified narcissists in her books and a serial killer was her role model)
Scott Peterson
Osama bin Laden
Susan Smith
Jodi Arias
Dick Cheney
Sarah Palin
John Edwards (D-SC who cheated on his wife while she was dying from cancer)
Joel Osteen
Bette Davis
Joan Crawford (may have been Borderline rather than NPD)
Bing Crosby
Mick Jagger
Ted Nugent
Justin Beiber
Nikki Minaj
Most televangelists
Most Reality TV stars
Many rap and rock stars (narcissism is part of their whole badass “package” but it may not be genuine)

justinbeiber

Many people have accused Barack Obama of being a narcissist, but I disagree.

I found this interesting chart showing different high-profile professions and the corresponding level of narcissistic traits. Not surprisingly, Reality TV scores highest. (Click to enlarge the chart)

narcissistchart

The distinctive “look” of psychopathy: gazing into the face of evil

blackhole
Gaze into the void…

Psychopaths and malignant narcissists are very good at putting on masks to get others to trust them. They can seem warm and charming when they want to. But sometimes they can be caught when their mask is momentarily down (usually when they’ve been called out–or caught), and it’s here when we see the emptiness and evil inside them.

I’ve described this look before–I’ve seen it on my mother’s face and it gave me nightmares for weeks. I saw it once on my ex’s face when he was drunk and angry. It’s not so much a demonic look (which has a sort of life to it) as a dead, lifeless look that is far worse. It’s a malignant look that makes you want to get away from them fast. Like there’s nothing inside them except an vast and endless black void of nothingness. It’s like standing at the precipice of a black hole, and what can be more terrifying than some nameless void that can suck you into itself–and can even swallow light?

Many people have mentioned the intense stare a psychopathic person will fix you with, even when they are trying to charm you into trusting them. During the “wooing” phase, you may think this intense stare indicates attentiveness and strong interest in you as a person, but actually all they’re interested in is how they can use you and later destroy you. Make no mistake–they are predators out for the kill. If you have met someone who seems to stare at you excessively, or in a predatory way that makes you uneasy, that person is probably a psychopath or malignant narcissist trying to get their hooks into you. RUN LIKE HELL.

I don’t think evil is the opposite of good. I think evil is the opposite of somethingness–evil is pure black nothingness. Here are some examples of the dead, reptilian eyes of known psychopaths and malignant narcissists.

dennis_rader_1973
Serial killer Dennis Rader

jodiarias
Convicted murderer Jodi Arias. Her trial footage shows as many fake tears and mask-changes as Scott Peterson’s and none of her “emotions” seem genuine.

scottpeterson
Scott Peterson, unfaithful husband who murdered his pregnant wife and unborn child.

susansmith
Susan Smith, who murdered her two young sons by sinking them in a car she drove into a lake because she wanted to please her lover, who did not want children.

SO.0511.Mothers2.HO
Actress Joan Crawford (“Mommie Dearest”), who was an alcoholic and abusive mother to two of her adoptive children (some reports classify her as having Borderine Personality Disorder with Histrionic and Narcissistic elements, rather than NPD)

In some cases, psychopaths show a distinctive smirk or sneer. Their eyes may twinkle, but it’s a hard, cold, glittering twinkle that is malevolent and creepy. Behind the twinkle, the eyes are still reptilian and dead. You may see this look when they think they’ve pulled one over on you–or perversely, when you’ve pulled one over on them–and they are ready to kill you either literally or figuratively. Here are some examples of this look:

Osama Bin Laden Headshot
Osama bin Laden, fundamentalist Islamic mastermind who ordered the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon in 2001.

charlesmanson
Mass murderer Charles Manson, who never killed anyone himself but had his cult of followers do his dirty work for him. Some think he’s psychotic and therefore not responsible for his actions, but he’s a psychopath who knew exactly what he was doing and has never shown an ounce of remorse.

dickcheney
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the brains behind the disastrous and dishonest Bush administration and our “preemptive” invasion of Iraq. Cheney and his cronies bailed out or pardoned corporate criminals like Halliburton. How could you trust a man with a face like that?

kochbrothers
The Koch Brothers, multibillionaire CEOs who by their words and deeds have shown their disdain and comtempt for the “little people” which includes both the poor and middle class. These jerks have zero empathy and seem very psychopathic.

ojsimpson
Former pro football player and actor O.J. Simpson during his famous 1995 murder trial. This insolent expression became his trademark look while he was on trial.

tedbundy
Serial killer Ted Bundy’s infamous look of psychopathic glee. *shudder*

unknownwoman
I don’t know this woman, but she is a malignant narcissist who apparently gets her jollies making the people who lived in her building miserable. Someone on another website about narcissists was being attacked by her and called her out. I wouldn’t have included her here, but this is one of the most frightening looking people I’ve ever seen. Her eyes look like those solid black eyes you see in horror movies of demonic people. I have no doubt this woman is as evil as she looks.

richardramirez
Serial killer and alleged Satanist Richard Ramirez.

I’ve also included this Court TV program covering the arrest and trial of murderer Scott Peterson. Notice how he uses tears to manipulate the police and interviewer, but how insincere he seems and the way he arranges his facial features into whatever “mask” he thinks will help his case. There are those who insist he is not guilty (and I had my doubts too) and of course being good looking like Ted Bundy, he had a number of “groupies” who defended him, but he’s an intelligent manipulator and after watching this video, I absolutely believe Scott Peterson killed his wife and unborn son in cold blood.