Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What Part Of "She's a Psychopath" Aren't You Getting?

I have been watching Mexican telenovelas (soap operas that last one season) so I can improve my Spanish. The newest one I have been viewing on a daily basis is "Rubi." The lead character, Rubi, is a beautiful young woman from the barrio (a poor area) who wants to escape poverty and be someone important in the world. She is sexy and very attractive and she uses her looks and wiles to find a man to save her from her life of economic struggles. She lives with her mother and her sister in a poor but friendly neighborhood, sharing a bedroom with the sister who works to put her through college. She is clearly a social climber and men fall easily for her. One could forgive her desire for wealth if only she weren't a complete psychopath....which a good number of people in the show seem not to realize. If this were real life, this would be no is amazing how many people...especially not realize when a psycho is in their midst, in spite of the many times the individual exhibits each and every psychopathic trait. Let's take a look at Rubi and see how many time we can put a checkmark next to the traits of a psychopath as listed by psychologist Robert Hare.

•  glib and superficial charm
Rubi is always smiling and flattering, clearly not being at all genuine.
•  grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
Rubi not only believes she deserves more than the life of a low income Mexican, she wants to be filthy rich.

•  need for stimulation
Boy, does Rubi get bored! The day after her mother's funeral, she throws a party for 200 people in spite of the fact her husband says that the timing is totally inappropriate.
•  pathological lying
Rubi lies to pretty much everyone a good portion of the time in order to get what she wants.
•  cunning and manipulativeness
Rubi is always scheming. She pretended to be the best friend of a rich girl and then set up situations where she could come onto and steal her friend's fiancé. 
•  lack of remorse or guilt
Rubi slipped an expensive necklace into her sister's fiancé's shopping bag and got him arrested and imprisoned for five years. Even though she confessed to her mother (in a moment of spite) and her mother collapsed and died as a result, and even though her sister was pregnant, she refused to admit to her evildoing and get the man out of prison. In fact, she paid a lawyer to screw up the case, so he would be convicted. Ruby never showed a moment's remorse. 
•  shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
When Rubi ruined two families (by stealing her best friend's fiancé) and cost her sister her job, she was only annoyed that her sister refused to continue paying her bills.
•  callousness and lack of empathy
Rubi calls her "best friend" who has a problem with her leg "the cripple" and "the limp."
•  parasitic lifestyle
Rubi's sister paid her school bills, her friend gave her clothes and jewelry (and her friend's father paid her school bills as well, but she never told her sister because she wanted to use the money for more clothes and jewelry), she married a rich man for money, and when he started losing his money, searched for the next wealthy man to take advantage of.
•  poor behavioral controls
Rubi does what she wants.
•  sexual promiscuity
Actually, Rubi was a bit controlled here because she used sex as a weapon and if she wasn't going to get rich through sex, she wouldn't waste her ammunition.
•  early behavior problems
Apparently, Rubi's mother suffered many years of hoping she would change.
•  lack of realistic long-term goals
Rubi supposedly fell in love (I say supposedly because I think the writer of this telenovela doesn't understand psychopathy) with a surgeon because she thought he was wealthy (he was living with a rich friend, the one she eventually married) but dumped him when she found out he came from a middle class family. Ruby couldn't seem to wait for him to move up in his profession which likely would have given them a fine lifestyle in the future; she wanted to be rich right away and so she only was willing to marry him when her husband's fortune being to wane and he had become a millionaire.

•  impulsivity
As soon as Rubi married, she demanded the largest of mansions, went on big shopping sprees, and wanted to travel and stay in the best hotels.
•  irresponsibility
Rubi rarely cared about the effects of her behaviors as long as she got what she wanted at that moment.
•  failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Rubi blamed everyone else for anything that went wrong and for all the bad things she did. She always blamed the victim.
•  many short-term marital relationships
Rubi had a short term love affair which ended when she found out the man wasn't rich and as soon as her husband got sick and lost income, she was scouting out a new provider.
•  juvenile delinquency
Rubi apparently did not commit crimes in her youth (at least that she was caught doing), but she committed crimes as an adult which she got away with.
So this is Rubi, an unquestionable psychopath. Her mother seemed to get the picture but held out hope for a miracle. Her sister decided to end their relationship after Rubi set her fiancé up and got him imprisoned. Her husband seemed to have no clue in spite of all the bad things she would do and the lies she clearly told. Her surgeon boyfriend seemed to understand she was pretty evil but kept letting her get under his skin and revving up his emotions for her. A good number of others around her didn't trust her but they often still allowed her in their houses or social circle. Her fashion designer friend seemed to recognize her psychopathy when he said, "She is as beautiful as she is evil," but he hung around with her because she amused him. I am not sure how this all ends up as I am only on episode 68 of 115! But, I am hoping Rubi gets her just desserts in the end.
Although much is exaggerated in this telenovela, Rubi's behavior are red flags for psychopathy and in real life, people often see red flags from the psychopaths they are dealing with but fail to accept the label or the fact that they are dangerous or people they should completely cut off. That lack of willingness to see reality often sets innocent people up as victims of these psychopaths....they lose their money, their freedom, their children, and, sometimes, their lives.
If you have someone like Rubi in your life, take, run, run, and don't let them ruin your life.

Pat Brown
Criminal Profiler
September 23, 2015