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dear doctor robert--

attached is a pic my husband n i. we need some help desperately! my husband (33yrs old) was just sentenced 5 yrs yesterday in the md correctional system. he has been in and out of jail his whole life. he has done unconcievable things over the years.(ask n i will tell) We did dr. robert hare's test for psychopathy. i gave my husband a 33. he gave himself a 31.

my husband has finally come to terms w who he is, what he has done and the damage he has caused. he seems genuinely remorseful and truly wants to change. is it possible for psychopaths to "wake up", face the facts, and truly change. i want to get him help, but by someone who truly know what they are dealing with. i understand that in the wrong hands he could come out worse. as he has thru the years upon each release.

maybe i am being manipulated yet again but i cant and wont abandon him. not when he, for the first time, he has stopped LYING!

i didnt want to write a book here, but i know its not nearly enough info to give a proper evaluation or advice. so if u have any questions...please ask.



ask dr-robert

Hello, D--

I am sorry for your pain and suffering. Being in love with a criminal psychopath must be a real bed of nails for you.

The question as to whether a psychopath can change is complicated, in part because it depends on what you mean by "change." Also, bear in mind that since I have not met your husband, I can address your question only in general--not specifically in regards to him personally.

That said, when you ask if a psychopath can learn to change, if you mean could such a person learn to feel guilty, ashamed, or sorry when he does wrong or causes harm to you or to another human being, I would say probably not. If you mean could he learn to love you in the usual way that people love others, wishing the best for them, avoiding causing them pain, and sacrificing ones own needs so that the beloved person can get what he or she needs, probably not. If you mean could he learn that he would have to change some of his behaviors if he wants to keep you in his camp—change the behaviors, that is, not for your benefit, not so that you would not be hurt, and would be happy, but only for his benefit, so that you would keep on belonging to him--perhaps yes.

But if you are not ready to abandon him, as you put it, what does it really matter anyway? Since he knows that, what possible motivation would he have to change?

Be well.

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