(Female) Stalkers, False Allegations, and Restraining Order Abuse

Posted on April 16, 2014


Restraining orders are maliciously abused—not sometimes, but often. Typically this is done in heat to hurt or hurt back, to shift blame for abusive misconduct, or to gain the upper hand in a conflict that may have far-reaching consequences.

There’s a cooler, more methodical style of abuse practiced by people who aren’t in intimate daily proximity to their victims, however, that’s alternatively called stalkingbullying, or mobbing. These words have distinct meanings but are nevertheless porous, because motives for the behaviors they represent are the same: coercion, punishment, domination, and control.

There’s a lot of crossover between them—as is there crossover between the various high-conflict personality types who engage in these behaviors, who contrary to popular perception may be women.

Journalists’, psychologists’, and bloggers’ representations of those with personality disorders that stem from sociopathy tend to use gendered language that implies most abusers (or the worst abusers) are male.  Possibly this is because many who write about sociopaths and narcissists are female, and their experiences are of abuse by men. Or possibly this is because making women out to be villains is ungallant. Or possibly it’s assumed that men can’t be victims of women, even sociopaths, because men have nerves of steel or because their general physical advantage carries over into all contexts. Neither of the latter beliefs is true, and when the context is abuse of legal process, it’s usually the case that the bigger you are, the harder you fall.

Consider these illustrated WikiHow tutorials on “How to Spot a Sociopath” and “How to Identify a Psychopath,” which are pretty good, except that the reader is likely to get the impression from the cartoons that all sociopaths are men.

They aren’t.

These “tips” from “How to Spot a Sociopath” are at least as applicable to women as men, and suggest why abuse of legal process, including restraining order abuse, is so attractive to the sociopathic mind—and why it comes easily to sociopaths or to those who manifest sociopathic traits.

  • “Most sociopaths can commit vile actions and not feel the least bit of remorse. Such actions may include physical abuse or public humiliation of others. If the person is a true sociopath, then he or she will feel no remorse about hurting others, lying, manipulating people, or just generally acting in an unacceptable way.”

    Sociopaths often know how to make others believe they are the victim while actually being the aggressor.

  • Sociopaths tend to blame the victim for their shortcomings. They can never admit to fault and instead attack the victim. Key factor in any DSM diagnosis.
  • This type of person will tell you things to get you to forgive them and then say they never told you. This is a tactic to play mind games.
  • If a person is “too good to be true,” they probably are. This is the case for any DSM diagnosis, including sociopathy, borderline [personality], and narcissism.
  • Most are aware of their need to hide cold traits, and are good actors (have adapted to being different)….
  • Some scientists believe that sociopaths suffer from damage to the prefrontal cortex which regulates emotions and morality, etc.
  • Sociopathic behavior is strongly inherited, so look at problems in the family as a clue to a person’s real personality.
  • Some experts say that a great number of sociopaths were also child abuse sufferers.

The same tutorial, despite its gendered cartoons, references a book published last year titled, Confessions of a Sociopath, which is by a female sociopath who uses the penname M. E. Thomas—and who’s an attorney and law professor, which shouldn’t be particularly surprising to anyone who’s been exposed to legal practitioners.

It may be that not all sociopaths are fairly typified as stalkers and bullies, but if you read this review of Confessions of a Sociopath, you’ll appreciate that motives for abusive conduct come readily enough to the sociopathic psyche.

Thinking of women as stalkers or bullies is just something we’re unaccustomed to or something we treat lightly.

In a series of hers titled, “Female Stalkers,” psychologist Tara Palmatier notes that “female stalking behaviors are portrayed as ‘funny’ or ‘cute.’” We’ve been conditioned—and “we” includes the police and judges—to think of women as both harmless and helpless. Women don’t hurt people.

They do, though.

Popular perceptions of “stalking,” domestic violence, and other abuses tend inordinately to inculpate men. The object of observing that women also act hurtfully isn’t to suggest that women more often act hurtfully than men but to controvert the popular notion that they don’t or can’t, which is both false and largely to blame for the absurd ease with which legal process is maliciously abused.

Accounts submitted to this blog by both men and women indicate that individuals of either gender may and do abuse legal process to torment others, horribly and sometimes for years on end. Either sex may engage in cyclic mind games, as well: manipulating another into trust and then punishing that trust (“It’s okay, I’m sorry, come here”…WHACK!). Repeatedly. One woman’s (mother’s) account of this, shared a few months ago, is numbing: affairs by her (probably borderline personality-disordered) boyfriend followed by apologies followed by recriminations (rinse, repeat) followed by false allegations to the police, to the court, to child protective services, to the military, and on and on.

Most group-stalking or -bullying (mobbing) acts reported to this blog, though, are orchestrated by women. These include combinations of behaviors like making false allegations, spreading false and ruinous rumors with the help of negative advocates (accomplices), using social media to taunt and intimidate from multiple directions, etc. These passive-aggressive forms of abuse to punish, frighten, and dominate—which, depending on the context, may alternatively be called bullying, harassment, or stalking—are usually viewed as less harmful than physical assault. This perception is facile, however, and wrong.

A recent male respondent to this blog, for example, reports encountering an ex while out with his kids and being lured over, complimented, etc. (“Here, boy! Come!”), following which the woman reported to the police that she was terribly alarmed by the encounter and, while brandishing a restraining order application she’d filled out, had the man charged with stalking. Though the meeting was recorded on store surveillance video and was unremarkable, the woman had no difficulty persuading a male officer that she responded to the man in a friendly manner because she was afraid of him (a single father out with his two little kids). The man also reports (desperately and apologetic for being a “bother”) that he and his children have been baited and threatened on Facebook, including by a female friend of his ex’s and by strangers.

Harassment by these means, which tends to be unrelenting but is just as bad when sporadic, creates anxiety and insecurity in its victims, and may well undo them not only psychologically but professionally, financially, and in every other possible way. False allegations (which alone gnaw and corrode) may lead to criminal charges, which may lead to incarceration, from which ensues traumatization of children and possibly loss of employment (from which ensues further traumatization of children…). Same thing with restraining orders, which may easily be obtained in an afternoon by spiteful fraud and which don’t go away—and may also lead not only to loss of employment but loss of employability in a given field.

When a restraining order is issued, it’s entered into state law enforcement databases as well as the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. The pretense is that restraining orders are civil misdemeanors of no particular significance. Repeat: National Crime Information Center.

Records of restraining orders are public, besides, and accessible by anyone, and may moreover be recorded in public registries for easy access. Allegations on those records, no matter how scandalous and even if found to be exaggerated or maliciously false, aren’t censored.

Our perceptions of the consequences of public allegations, as well as the justice system’s perceptions of them, are completely schizoid. They’re neither actually “no big deal” nor actually treated as though they’re “no big deal.” And they’re certainly not “no big deal” to those falsely accused and everyone who depends on them. False allegations may range from stalking to sexual harassment to battery or worse.

The actuality is that allegations made on restraining orders, which may be utterly malicious fabrications, are presumed to be legitimate by everyone. Just the phrase restraining order instantly establishes the credibility of an accuser who may be a bully or stalker.

Applicants for restraining orders, it’s again presumed, are afraid of the people they’ve accused and want nothing to do with them. Accordingly, there are no limitations placed on the conduct of petitioners and no repercussions to them for their harassing the people they’ve alleged they’re afraid of. Restraining orders license abusers—bullies, stalkers, and their confederates—to act with impunity. Even when abuses are reported, the tendency of cops and court staff is to shrug.

Restraining orders, because they establish credibility with judges and police officers (based on no standard of evidence and on mere minutes-long “trials” that never approach conclusiveness), make further claims that bullies or stalkers allege, whether proximally or later on (even years later on), entirely plausible. Conflict can be rekindled and stoked endlessly and whimsically.

Lives are derailed this way: sanity compromised, careers sabotaged or sundered, savings exhausted, and on and on. Trials may lead to further trials without end.

And all of this may originate with sick games whose motives are dismissed as “harmless”—or even “cute.”

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