ON PROJECTION: “Edward Glover (1936) talked about the role of projection in war. The dangers of being human, Glover said, lay not in our primitive instincts, which we share with other animals, but in our struggles to control those instincts . . . From the beginning of an awareness of the object world, love and hate, desire and murderous revenge struggle in the primitive and concrete mind of the infant, and this struggle, in one way or another, continues throughout life (Holmes, 2013).”
I watched “Secrets of a Psychopath” on the AMC Channel the other night. It was a three-part series about the murder of Elaine O’Hara in Dublin, Ireland. Elaine O’Hara was not what I would call an aesthetic model of sexual beauty. Elaine O’Hara was overweight, with not a high degree of outward beauty as the fashion industry would indicate. My first impression was that it was probably easy for someone like Graham Dwyer to dehumanize her in the way that he did, feigning a false form of practice of BDSM. I say this because there is present a very real human proclivity to degrade and dehumanize women in general. Couple this proclivity with the fact a person doesn’t fit the standard of runway beauty in fashion. People that are less sexually attractive and overweight are more “invisible” than those who possess a degree of aesthetic sexual beauty. As a result, many people perceive overweight people as “nonhuman.” Although I believe Graham Dwyer’s wife was more of a model of aesthetic beauty, a thinner blonde who kept herself in shape even after the birth of their two children. Gemma Dwyer’s uncanny resemblance to Elaine O’Hara was chilling.
PHOTE 1: Graham Dwyer and Elaine O’Hara. PHOTO 2: Gemma Dwyer (Graham Dwyer’s wife)
To watch and listen to Graham Dwyer tell Elaine that he could never love someone like her because she was “fat” and “ugly” and she “deserved to die,” was like listening to a despicable monster deceive a helpless sheep and guide them to the slaughter. Elaine O’Hara had suffered from depression and was in and out of the hospital for treatment. She had recently lost her mother and was struggling with the loss. She was very vulnerable and she wanted to be loved by Graham Dwyer. She admitted to her psychiatrist the desire to engage in sex acts that involved BDSM. She entered the online world of BDSM, creating several profiles over BDSM websites and this is where she met Graham Dwyer. Their sex play including a leather hood with mouth zipper, hand and feet bindings, and chains, face harness with a mouth ball gag, rope, and two cell phones; one labeled “Master” and the other labeled “Slave.” Graham Dwyer would not have sex with Elaine O’Hara unless stabbing her with a knife was part of the sexual intercourse. And since she told him she thought of killing herself, he made her believe it was her fault for his sadistic and perverse desire because she was the one who ignited it in him by telling him she wanted to die. He told her that “he wanted to help her die.” I believe Graham Dwyer was narcissistically oriented that in his mind he perceived her as “fat,” “ugly,” perhaps even “slovenly” and as such “deserved death.” It cannot be understated what Nitschke, Osterheider, and Marshall concluded in their 2013 paper, “we argue for the use of behavioral indicators” from the crime scene in order to garner a consensus and improved agreement across diagnosing clinicians when it comes to diagnosing forms of sexual sadism. Unfortunately, sometimes a non-consensus of opinion is arrived at and patients may be misdiagnosed.
Lucy Holmes had said ultimately people are beautiful IF we love them. Except “love” in today’s world, for the female gender, is shaped mostly by men’s unconscious fantasies that are promoted through modern medicine, business enterprise (fashion), and advancing technology. Today the subjugation of women takes a form that, though rooted in the most primitive thinking, disguises itself as “choices” or “control.” The war against women today is being fought on the battlefield of the female body, and most of the combatants are women themselves. Although hear we are speaking of the modern invention of modern medicine and fashion, I find these assaults aptly apply to the advent of advancing technological weapons. The phenomenon known as electronic targeting and electronic targeted assaults to the human female body express a form of infantile narcissism towards the maternal object utilizing advancing technological culture. The assaulted female body most aptly belongs to what Andre Green (2001) called “the dead mother.”
Men obliterate the memory of an initial dependence on a woman over which they had no control, creating a psychic murder in which the maternal representation is evacuated from the mind. However, there are inevitable problems with this psychic murder. Evacuating the maternal representation from the mind creates a void within the masculine psyche. The mother who has been declared nonexistent remains emotionally irreplaceable, and the guilt which is the consequence of the fantasized matricide fuels a rigid and defensive stance toward the female sex. Men need to subjugate women to shore up the defenses created by the problem of “the dead mother” (Holmes, 2013; Jacobs, 2007).
The concept of the dead mother is as unconsciously gratifying to a woman as it is to a man. Her attack on her own body expresses her own existential anxieties about flesh and death. She cooperates with the masculine subjugation of women because if she invests all power in men and male enterprise, she can delude herself that the powerful other will save her from mortality. Woman’s masochism is a search for recognition from another who is strong enough to bestow that recognition. Her sacrifice of authoritative command actually creates his, produces his coherent self in which he can take refuge. In losing her self, she is gaining access to a more powerful one (Holmes; 2013; Benjamin, 1988).
We all, men and women, must distance ourselves from the terror of female flesh, from the time when we were completely dependent, holding onto life by the tenuous thread of our connection with a capricious woman, from the time when we had no control, when everything was new and terrifying when we were grappling in the dark. Women must be subdued; otherwise, we are face to face with the unbearable existential fact that we came into this world helpless, dependent, and terrified and will most likely leave it in the same vulnerable state. The oppression of women and the assault on the female body is an attempt to deny the infantile terror repetition of our deepest anxieties. (For a case example, please refer to “The Secrets of a Psychopath: The murder of Elaine O’Hara”).
Harriet Basseches introduced the subject of sadomasochism at the 46th Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Chicago Illinois August 1, 2009, by stating that some sadomasochism is found in every case and noting that it is found at levels of differing degrees. She noted that it may be natural to find pleasure in pain, both one’s own and others’ pain, although it may be a difference in kind when the severity of the sadomasochism functions out of the normal bounds of human expectations and becomes perverse.
Basseches recounted Freud’s implication that a child’s build-in potential for sadomasochism derives from both sexual and aggressive strivings. Shengold (1989) argues for the centrality of Freud’s (1919) anal stage of development in organizing much of character and functioning. Klein (1957) sees the infant as struggling from the outset between love and hate toward the internalized essence of the caregiver. These theoreticians note the possibility of pathological, sadomasochistically tinged outcomes.
We can certainly see how this pathological sadomasochism played a part in the murder of Elaine O’Hara by Graham Dwyer. In fact, degradation and dehumanization are closely tied to acts of sadomasochistic acts of BDSM and the sadism and masochism found in abusive husband-wife relationships. Abusers will go to great lengths to prevent their wives, husbands, girlfriends, children, and significant others from a proper existence. They may forbid the use of any make-up, make them wear their hair a certain way, dress a certain way and prevent them from performing healthy activities like exercise so they can maintain control over them. These actions are part of the technology of coercive control. “By using coercion, controllers compromise the scope of effect for immediacy. Control is comprised of structural forms of deprivation, exploitation, and command that compel obedience indirectly by monopolizing vital resources, dictating preferred choices, microregulating a partner’s behavior, limiting her options, and depriving her of supports needed to exercise her independent judgment (Stark, 2007).”
In terms of gang stalking, electronic targeting, electronic targeted assaults, and other forms of electronic harassment, what gives someone the right to preside over someone’s happiness by electronically harassing the homeowners and occupants, creating uncomfortable living conditions for them? Who has this right? And at what level is clinical or subclinical sadism operating in the personality profile and functioning of the perpetrator? We certainly see the hate being directed at the target objects. To what degree does this hate operate in the internalized essence of the person’s former caregiver? Is there a shadow of this former caregiver presiding over the psyche and conscious state of the perpetrator? That is, a darkness that co-exists within his or her conscious or unconscious state that is the re-capitulation of hate toward an abusive controlling mother/parent. (Freud, 1919; Klein, 1946–1963).
In order to understand how global sadism operates at the psychic level of a person’s personality, there have been classified three (3) categories of sadism; verbal sadism, physical sadism, and vicarious sadism. Verbal sadism involves humiliating and mocking others, whereas physical sadism addresses the desire for subjugation and enjoyment of tormenting and hurting others, and vicarious sadism taps an indirect form of sadism where pleasure is obtained through observing or fantasizing about violence (Plouffe & Saklofske, 2019). Together varying levels of these three types of sadism operate on individual levels within a person’s psyche. Some individuals display consistent forms of cohesive sadism (global sadism) while others only display minimal levels or rarely at all.
On April 13, 2021 the Justice Department released a press statement regarding a mob associate who was sentenced to four-plus years for a real estate fraud scheme. The defendant stole down payments from homes from two different families (Department of Justice, April 13, 2021). Of course, this has nothing to do with the electronic targeting of people in their homes to make life for them uncomfortable. So much so their lifestyles begin to change or they are faced with moving out of the neighborhood. But one can certainly make an association between real estate property crime and gangs and mafias. Clandestine hidden networks that operate to control territory and resources. Previous research studies have indicated the presence of certain socially undesirable characteristics and success in higher business and management positions. In one research study, it was proven that business and management students show higher scores of the Dark Triad (Machiavellian, narcissism, and psychopathy) than students from other subject areas. This supports an association to levels of sadism in these students than in students in other subject areas (Krick, Tresp, Vatter, Ludwig, Wihlenda, & Rettenberger, 2016).
A major underlying assumption of positive psychology is that we can influence our well-being through our own behavior. When people have a sense of control over their own lives, they are much more likely to experience joy, happiness, and well-being (Farnier, Shankland, Kotsou, Inigo, Rosset, and Leys, 2021). Negative psychology imposes the exact opposite by restricting one’s influence over their life through techniques of behavioral control (coercive control) which I propose gang stalking and electronic targeted assaults seek to accomplish.
The Locus of Control
The locus of control can be either internal and external. Internal locus of control reflects perceptions that reinforcements are principally caused by an individual’s behavior or personality characteristics. In contrast, the external locus of control reflects the perception that reinforcements are triggered by factors external to the individual, such as chance, fate, or other people.
“The locus of control stems from the theory of social learning, proposed by Rotter (1954). The aim of this theory was to integrate connectionist and cognitivist theories in order to better predict behavior. Connectionists are interested in the consequences of behavior (contextual factors) while cognitivists are more focused on the cognitive treatment of the information (dispositional factors). According to Rotter’s theory, the likelihood of engaging in a particular behavior in a given situation depends mainly on two factors: expectancy and reinforcement value. Reinforcement value refers to the desirability of the outcomes, while expectation refers to the subjective probability that the reinforcements (i.e., desired outcomes or rewards) will appear as a result of the behavior. Formulated differently, the expectation is the perception of a causal link between the behavior and the reinforcement (Farnier, Shankland, Kotsou, Inigo, Rosset, & Leys, 2021).”
We can take this information and apply it to how gang stalking, electronic targeting, and electronic targeted assaults all work against the psyche of the victim contributing to long-term unhappiness. Long-term gang stalking, electronic targeting, and electronic targeted assaults cause people to become ill (Sheridan, James, and Roth, 2020). This displays evidence that the perpetrators of gang stalking, electronic targeting, and electronic targeted assaults possess a degree of clinical sadism to their personality profile and maybe schizophrenic as well. Searle (1965) noted the presence of the effort to drive the other person crazy as an element of schizophrenia and that is exactly what electronic harassment seeks to accomplish and this fact hints towards the very real possibility of a disturbed or disorganized personality whose formulation may be understood through the theories of matricide. It is in all likelihood the perpetrators belong to the paranoid-schizoid personality spectrum. This position is most commonly representing in the personality profile of sadistic rapists.
Speaking on the compulsion to repeat and its metaphor in eluding death, Holmes (2013) recounted the story “The Appointment in Samarra (as retold by Somerset Maugham in 1933)” at the beginning of her book:
The Speaker is Death
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while, the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, “Master, just now when I was in the marketplace, I was jostled by a woman in the crowd, and when I turned, I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.” The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop, he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace, and he saw me standing in the crowd, and he came to me and said “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?” “That was not a threatening gesture,” I said, “it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
Note: I want to express the fact that gang stalking, electronic targeting, and electronic targeted assaults not only belong to theories of matricide but of parricide as well. These acts are also committed against men by other men for the most part with a small percentage of women perpetrators (Fox & Fridel, 2017).
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Secrets of a Psychopath: The murder of Elaine O’Hara (Part 1)
Secrets of a Psychopath: The murder of Elaine O’Hara (Part 2)
Secrets of a Psychopath: The murder of Elaine O’Hara (Part 3)
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