The following list is an attempt to outline the characteristics of ‘The Loser’ and provide a manner in which women and men can identify potentially damaging relationships before they are themselves severely damaged emotionally or even physically.” () 1. “If he or she hits you, twists your arm, pulls your hair, kicks you, shoves you, or breaks your personal property even once, drop them,” Carver advises.
As we’ve seen, Drew Peterson escalated the abuse of his partners.
They may do so through overt criticism and by following them around when they meet with others, as Drew did to Stacy.
Sometimes they opt for more subtle manipulation, such as by covertly turning the victim against her own family and friends (and vice versa).
His assertion that he pampered Stacy by indulging her obsession with plastic surgery rings false.
By way of contrast, her friends’ and family’s claim that he criticized her to the point that she felt compelled to make constant “improvements” in her physical appearance sounds much more plausible. In the wild, predators isolate their prey from the rest of the herd to better attack and devour it.
Stacy’s growing insecurity also placed her under Drew’s power to determine how she felt about herself. That’s precisely what psychopaths do to their targets.
Yet, Carver cautions, this seemingly positive sign is, in fact, also negative.
Carver states that, for instance, Losers “constantly correct your slight mistakes, making you feel ‘on guard’, unintelligent, and leaving you with the feeling that you are always doing something wrong…
This gradual chipping away at your confidence and self-esteem allows them to later treat you badly–as though you deserved it.” According to Tracy’s and Stacy’s families and friends, after seducing them, Drew undermined both women’s self-confidence.
Suddenly, the next day they become sweet, doing all those little things they did when you started dating.” The period of sweetness leads the partners of Losers to cling to the relationship in the misguided hope of finding what psychologist Susan Forward calls “the magic key” that will make the psychopath stay nice to them. The psychopath invariably cycles back to his real, nasty self.
Over time, the meanness cycle escalates in severity and increases in duration.
Such outbursts also train the partners to become gradually habituated to acts of violence. They also engage in long-term relationships, however, to gain more lasting control over certain more promising targets.