reprinted from psychology today
by saferelationshipsmagazine.com logo
Do you believe someone else's pathology is none of your business? Or it's simply an 'unfortunate turn of events' for the person in a Pathological Love Relationship? Or that what happens to someone else doesn't affect you? What happens because of pathology affects us all.
An astute student asked "How many people does pathology negatively affect?" We did a little math....
304 million people live in the U.S.
One in 25 people will have the disorders associated with 'no conscience' which include antisocial personality disorder, sociopath, and psychopath.
304 million divided by 25 = 12.16 million have no conscience.
Each antisocial/psychopath will negatively affect approximately 5 partners with their pathology.
12.16 million x 5 = 60.8 million people!
If existing medical conditions (like Diabetes or Heart Disease) or a more readily recognized mental health problem like Depression affected 60.8 million people, there would be a public educational campaign. Celebrities would jump on board to help the world recognize the disorder/disease. One would see billboards, walk-a-thons, and a proclamation signed by the President for Pathology Awareness Week. But there is none of that. Not only does Pathology slink silently by without recognition or assistance to others to recognize it, it racks up enormous financial debt for anyone and any system in its path. And that isn't the end of tallying the human path of destruction. The "60.8 million negatively affected by pathology" figure doesn't include children harmed. Since psychopaths (and other forms of pathology) are hypersexual, they tend to have lots of children. But even if we just allow for the national average of 2.5 children times 12.16 million psychopaths, we add 30.4 million more affected people. Add that to our 60.8 million people, and the number of people negatively affected by their pathology jumps to 91.2 million people.
As large as these statistics are, sadly, they do not include other forms of pathology related to Cluster B personality disorders . These disorders also negatively impact others, such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or other disorders within Cluster B. Current stats say narcissism affects approximately 1% of the population; Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects approximately 2%. However, 60% of people who have 1 personality disorder have more than one personality disorder. Therefore it's likely that NPDs also have BPD or some Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and APDs have NPD and so on. So those numbers represent an overlap. (This is starting to challenge my math skills...) But if we begin with the statistic that 1 in 25 have no conscience, then multiply that to estimate how many wounded people are out there--it's a huge issue.
A psychiatrist once remarked, "I consider pathology to be the country's number one public health issue." And with good reason--these 60 million people are negatively (and sometimes criminally) impacted by someone else's extreme pathology (Otto Kernberg called this pathology 'Severe Personality Disorder').
Exposure to a pathological causes emotional aftermath (sometimes with or without PTSD ). This aftermath causes treatable mental health symptoms like cognitive dissonance , intrusive thoughts, sleep disruptions, increase use of alcohol, concentration problems, flashbacks, depression , anxiety and paranoia . The emotional impact--referred to as "the aftermath symptoms'--leaves 50% of the affected people with PTSD. That's almost equal to the percentage of war vets who return home with PTSD.
The emotional aftermath affects the work environment . Almost 50% of the people negatively affected by the pathological find their work performance negatively affected. As they struggle to manage the aftermath symptoms, some drop from full time to part time, demote and make less money, or go on short term disability. This results in MILLIONS of dollars in lost wages. I have seen doctors move to 'impaired practitioner' status, attorneys step down to paralegals, social workers become mental health techs. Others take paid time off, use their vacation time, or go on disability and begin using state services such as food stamps and subsidized housing.
The aftermath also affects children. They begin counseling, need school-based services because of acting-out/behavioral problems, get distracted, and suffer with declining grades. This doesn't include the abject neglect kids experience when the pathological 'watches' them. The children are often malnourished, not on a schedule, not put to bed on time, exposed to high risk behavior ( porn , drugs , lots of sexual partners, violence, other criminal behaviors). Since many of the personality disorders are parasitic by nature, pathologicals can also be deadbeats by nature. They often don't pay child support (even if they can afford to or even if they are wealthy); the children wind up on government services.
Many personality disorders also affect moral reasoning. As a result, pathologicals do not consistently take responsibility for their behavior. This includes not paying off debt, which gets written off when they file bankruptcy. Alternately the other partner assumes the debt. This places the partner in financial chaos for 10 years or more as they dig out and live below their normal standard of living. Millions of dollars every year are written off and absorbed by financial institutions and credit card companies because of pathologicals. This causes a large financial drain on our already over-taxed economic system. Additionally, these types feel 'entitled' to everything they want. They are likely to buy luxury toys they can't afford--more than 1 house, huge houses, expensive cars, vacations, boats, etc. then walk away from financial responsibility.
It is estimated over 60% of pathologicals have addictions including drugs, alcohol, gambling, and porn. These addictions cost millions of dollars--not just the money spent directly on the addiction , but money not spent on their children, alimony, and their bills.