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Pathological Abuse: The Most Sinister Form of Domestic Abuse

No.. it`s not "just" psychological domestic abuse

Did you know there is a form of domestic abuse so complex it often remains undetected, mistakenly assumed to be 'common' psychological abuse? This is the harsh reality many victims struggle to recognize before they are deeply caught in a cycle of malicious abuse.

Pathological abuse often leaves invisible wounds, making it difficult for both victims and outsiders to understand the severity of the situation. 


Due to FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt) clouding judgment, breaking free is extremely challenging. The abuse does not end by leaving the relationship; survivors often continue to battle long-term consequences throughout their lives.

From General Reality to Personal Experience

This general reality of pathological abuse deeply reflects my own story. Despite a big, beautiful house, a fancy car, and professional success in various international management roles, a harrowing truth lurked behind this façade.

For two decades, I endured the shackles of pathological abuse, entrapped in emotional, mental, financial, materialistic, and intimate captivity by my abuser.

Married to 'The Dark Triad'

My marriage was to a person clinically diagnosed with severe antisocial personality disorder, exhibiting traits of "The Dark Triad" – primary psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and covert malignant narcissism. This concealed the daily reality of my fear and unrest.

Double Role: Victim and Spouse

The trauma bond uncovered my dual role; I was both the victim and the spouse of a person with a severe personality disorder. My attempts to heal him, overshadowed by a mixture of fear and hope, unintentionally prolonged the period I was subjected to abuse.

A Cult of One

Being in a relationship with a person representing 'The Dark Triad' can almost be likened to being in a cult led by one person. The grooming process and programming I experienced were intense and systematic, much like the methods used in cult-like situations. This manipulation gradually changed my perception of reality and left me with aftereffects that are (and continue to be) difficult to overcome, even long after the relationship ended.

He Literally Silenced Me

Pathological abuse inflicts more than just emotional and mental wounds; it has the capacity to alter brain chemistry, reshaping the way survivors perceive and interact with the world, and can also lead to direct physical disorders.

This form of abuse not only dramatically affected my mental health but also resulted in a severe physical disorder. The prolonged trauma he inflicted evolved into a neurological disorder that manifested in the form of vocal spasms, profoundly silencing me.

This voice disorder is so severe that it requires regular surgeries, four times a year, for the rest of my life, and presents significant challenges with my vocal cords.

As a further consequence of the intense abuse, I developed complex PTSD. Now, as I adapt to life with these extensive challenges, I continue to fight against the ongoing psychological and physical aftereffects.

From Silence to Strength

Despite the traumatic impact, I choose to speak out. My commitment and advocacy aim to raise awareness about pathological abuse, provide support, and strive for the recognition and justice that survivors rightfully deserve.


By speaking on behalf of victims and survivors, I amplify the voices of those who have been silenced or who dare not speak, shedding light on the complexities of pathological abuse and advocating for the necessary societal and legal changes

Marginalization of Pathological Domestic Abuse

Pathological abuse is a severe and distinct form of domestic abuse that often goes unrecognized. As an advocate, I stress the need for specialized therapy and societal and legal recognition of this abuse. Couples therapy, domestic abuse centers, and violence prevention programs must address it seriously. This means stopping the marginalization of pathological domestic abuse as "mere" psychological abuse and aligning it with the recognition given to common abuse.


While common abuse is not less devastating and can have severe consequences, pathological abuse is intentional and sinister because it involves deliberate and calculated psychological manipulation designed to control and break the victim's will. This type of abuse is perpetrated by individuals who often have personality disorders, making it a more complex and insidious issue that requires specialized understanding and intervention.

The legal system must hold all abusers, including pathological domestic abusers, accountable. Specialized clinical therapists should be involved in initial police reports to assess whether the abuse is common or pathological. Victims should receive support until properly assessed by a clinical therapist, not just evaluated by police trained in common abuse.

The urgency for a more informed and thorough approach to pathological domestic abuse is clear. We must ensure survivors are heard, believed, and protected, and that all abusers, including pathological domestic abusers, are held accountable for their actions.

Cindy Ann Pedersen


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