The most useful chapter in this book is chapter four, The Psychologies of Malice. The beauty of psychology is that by classifying human illnesses and disorders, you have more clout to deal with them and treat them. When you can name your opponent, you have far more power over them than when you are flailing wildly at an anonymous enemy. This is because others have written guidelines on how to help people with such issues and protect yourself from any fallout. Chapter four discusses borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities), sociopaths, psychopaths, and factitious disorder (Munchausen’s).
An aspect of this book that resonated with me was the discussion about what happens when you confront one of these dishonest, controlling vampires. I give Sheppard and Cleary a hearty amen for recognizing that our society allows such people to get away with their behavior because it’s easier to shrink away from the abuse than confront it, displacing the aggressor’s behavior onto her next victim. We are afraid to rock the boat, of being pushed out of others’ lives, of retaliation, and of the libel and slander that fall like acid rain when we take a stand against this kind of evil. From experience I can say that such women will stop at nothing to cover up what they’ve done and punish anyone who has the understanding or courage to expose them.
Despite its useful information on identifying dark souls in female form, this book has more drawbacks than its choice of b-word terminology. Even though the authors’ intentions are to protect people from sham marriages, they seem to forget that when you’re married, you’re supposed to share. Marriage and divorce are treated rather casually here. This may be because divorce is so common in our society and the line between living together and married has been blurred.