The Psychopathic Mother

Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.
3 min readAug 11, 2021

“Good luck. Do a good job.” Many of us have heard these encouraging words from our loving mothers, perhaps on our first day of kindergarten or before our first job interview.” Kenny Kimes heard them from his mother, Sante Kimes, after she instructed him to kill David Kazdin, a colleague who had threatened to expose the mother/son duo for mortgage fraud after discovering that the pair had illegally obtained a $280,000 loan in the victim’s name. After completing the job, Kenny stopped to buy his mother flowers, believing that he had “completed a great duty for my mom.” As it turns out, this was the third person they’d killed.

While the above story is extreme, there are many adult children who grew up under the influence of a toxic parent. For a minority, the toxicity of the parenting was a result of a parent’s psychopathy, a personality disorder that, by its diagnostic criteria, makes it impossible to establish a normal parent-child bond. When the mother is the diagnosed psychopath, the child may grow up in a world like the rabbit hole Alice fell into. Nothing is what it seems.

The Female Psychopath

Research suggests that male and female psychopaths are a lot alike in terms of their core personalities. They are self-centered, deceptive, shallow emotionally, and lack of empathy. They exploit others for self-serving reasons, lack remorse for their actions, and blame others for the consequences of their actions. Both also use their charm and physical appearance to manipulate others; although women may use sex more often, and outright violence less often, than men. (As the story above demonstrates, female psychopaths are quite willing to resort to brutal violence to attain their needs when deceit, manipulation, and charm either fail or are not available).

However, there are some gender differences. Female psychopaths are much less common than males and may use different strategies to get their needs met, perhaps as a result of gender role expectations. In comparison to male psychopaths, for instance, female psychopaths were less likely to engage in animal cruelty or physical threats and more likely to use flirting and verbal manipulation. In addition, because of their primary caretaking role, female psychopaths are more likely to target their children.

See What a Good Mother I Am

Psychopathic mothers play “Super Mom” when others are watching. She will make sure anyone who will listen knows what a great parent she is. In fact…

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Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.

Forensic psychologist/private investigator//author of serial killer book. Passionate about victim’s rights, the psychology of true crime, and criminal justice.