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7 Child Predator Patterns for #MeToo to Consider By Using “The Tale” As a Case Study

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In an Emmy-nominated film, The Tale, award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Fox presents her own #MeToo story of being groomed and sexually abused at age 13 by her athletic coach.

The film tastefully reveals exposes the painful process Fox experienced, as an adult, forced by circumstances to reassess her abuse as a child, and the many challenges she faced that allowed her to back her mind and sense of self and reality. Prompted by a supportive mother that suspected abuse all along, Fox faced her denial. Freeing herself, no longer an extension of her abuser, she gained a new awareness and understanding of the extent of her abuse, and how the sexual predator both encouraged and warned her to keep the abuse secret, thus, suppress and deny the horror of her experience for decades.

The Tale raises tough yet necessary questions about widespread practices and cultural factors that continue to legitimize sexual assault and violence against the vulnerable, leaving boys and girls exposed to increasingly more dangerous, organized and sophisticated targeting of children.

The #MeTooMovement has given voice to many sexual assault survivors, confidence to courageously tell their stories in ways that continue to make a difference in the lives of millions of women and girls, and an increasing number of men and boys as well.

In order to effect lasting change however, it’s time now to focus and place greater emphasis on studying the disordered persons who assault vulnerable populations — and on the disorder itself, namely malignant narcissism or psychopathology, or antisocial personality disorder (APD) in the DSM. An APD holds a criminal mind, posing risk of harm to others.

The Movement also needs to invite action nationwide to study, better understand, and emphasize the mind-crippling effects of narcissistic abuse, a complex set of PTSD-type symptoms that some are labeling “narcissistic abuse syndrome” (previously known as Stockholm Syndrome). One thing is certain: survivors of narcissistic abuse often need others to support and advocate on their behalf, in particular, where the mind-crippling abuse they experience has literally stolen their ability to advocate for themselves.

With regard to behavior patterns of sexual predators, there are at least seven things the #MeToo Movement needs to keep at the forefront in shaping actions toward effectively ending predatory behaviors and narcissistic abuse.

1. Sexual predators intend to abuse and exploit “the weak” and vulnerable.

In producing this film, Fox stated her goal was to show the horror of child sexual abuse from the perspective of a child. In doing so, however, she also provides valuable insight into the pathology and narcissistic extremes of antisocial personality disordered persons, that is, how persons with a criminal operate with methodical intent, having no moral compass, apart from a perverse neediness, a pathological compulsion, to abuse and exploit those they most detest and feel scorn for inside — the vulnerable, the weak.

2. Sexual predators, as APDs, link personal power to violating the vulnerable.

Sexual predators share a key trait with domestic violence offenders, rapists, mass shooters, and so on. They all identify and link their sense of power, deriving sadistic pleasure from violating others rights, abusing and exploiting them. As repeat offenders, sexual predators meet the criteria for malignant narcissism or antisocial personality disorder (APD), psychopathology, or sociopathology. APDs view abuse as both an entitlement and proof of their rightful dominance over those who show any signs of weakness. They pride themselves in showing no remorse. They too are in denial; now predators, they too were likely victims of child sexual abuse.

Sexual predators are not born however; child abuse patterns are repeated from one generation to the next. To prevent the abuse and exploitation and trafficking of children, government must be held responsible to put in place an action plan to combat the crime on a nationwide scale. Unlike other mental disorders, the severity of this thought disturbance poses risks of harm to others. Its enduring nature also mandates years of sustained therapy.

3. Sexual predators are con artists and masters of disguise.

The sadistic pleasure a predator derives from a conquest, though sexual in nature, is not about sex. Sexual predators are con artists and masters of disguise. They seek to subjugate and remove a victim’s sense of self and agency. It is about the power to con, subvert the will of another, gaslighting them with lies and illusions, ultimately, to get a victim to not only deny they’re being abused, but also to collude and “willingly” participate in their own exploitation and abuse.

(By the way gaslighting is a set of thought control tactics that is based on scientific knowledge of human behavior. Notably, it works by tearing down another’s sense of self, agency and truth, and their ability to defend and protect themselves, to instill a specific set of demoralizing lies and illusions, repetitively delivered. This fear-based thought control trains a person to silence and disown the validity of their own human wants, needs and other inner impulses, and to idolize and serve their abuser’s needs at their own expense.)

Fox recounts what happened to her younger self, and how she gradually came to terms with the realization that she was despicably abused and used by her abuser, but also that he had conned her to deceptively idealize the abuse as something “so beautiful” between them. The romanticized notions women and girls are raised to believe leaves countless girls and women vulnerable to denial of their own abuse. (The Tale’s website includes resources and discussion guides for parents, young adults, educators, and men.)

4. Sexual predators employ tactics to cripple the mind of prey to “willingly” submit to abuse. 

“The Tale” gives us a look inside the overwhelmingly common responses in women’s and men’s stories of sexual abuse, and how often children have no frame of reference to mistrust those who appear as idols and heroes. The film tells a story of an innocent child systematically manipulated with lies and illusions, to doubt her self, physical sensations and common sense, slowly and repeatedly, with intent to delegitimize and destabilize the child’s sense of self and autonomy, all the while, disarming the child to idolize her abuser. He used “love bombing” to disarm her to totally trust and depend on him, to believe she had something “beautiful” with him, to deny her own abuse, to make her “think” her abuse was exercising freedom to participate in romantically idealized love.

Think Stockholm Syndrome here. Survivors of mind-crippling narcissistic abuse often require others to advocate on their behalf. Literally, their ability to speak on their behalf, to defend and protect themselves, to describe their abuse in detail, and so on, has been totally twisted 180 degrees. Often they instead may fervently defend and protect their abuser! This is a direct outcome of the narcissistic abuse they’ve experienced.  have been brainwashed to defend and protect their abuser from harm. The use of sophisticated thought control tactics on civilians needs to be regarded as criminal.

5. Sexual predators reject and regard traits of empathy and caring with disgust.

The film brilliantly captures both the ugliness of a psychopath’s predatory behaviors, and the denial of the sexual abuse from the eyes of an innocent child. It reveals how the human mind and body can be deceived to deny the pain, and reject the possibility that someone who says they love us is instead abusing and exploiting us to serve their perverted fantasies. In effect, what makes a child (or adult) most vulnerable is feeling human feelings for narcissists and psychopaths. Why? Because of how extremely the scales are tipped. One person is human and responds with feeling the pain and wants and needs of another. The other person however is an APD, which means they exist in a dehumanized state of mind and body; they feel disgust for vulnerable human traits, and only “act as if” as part of their “bait and switch” schemes.  APDs do not see or treat those they regard as weak and inferior as “human”; they are objects, slaves, toys, etc.

What is useful to #MeToo supporters here is understanding why it is both unrealistic and futile to set a goal of “getting” abusers to stop abusing others on the basis of “understanding how much they hurt” their victims! From their disturbed mindset, an APDs derives pleasure and sense of personal power in violating others, exhibiting no remorse, building them up only to let them down, and so on. The profile of a sexual predator is disturbed, and disturbing. In their view, they reject showing remorse, caring and empathy, etc., as traits of “the weak”; they take pride in exhibiting no remorse and feel entitled to hurt others with impunity.

6. Sexual predators have “accomplices” — often past victims — to collude in the abuse of others.

In the film, a woman that the sexual predator once abused as a child, now discarded, makes it possible for the coach to gain trust and access to Fox as a young girl. Sexual predators tend to stay connected to past victims they groomed to serve at their pleasure. There is a name for the predatory pattern — hoovering. One reason, among several, narcissists and APDs use hoovering is to engage someone they once abused and discarded, as an accomplice to get access to other targets. Predators expect loyalty and continued service, and the brains of past victims have been trained to go along, prove their loyalty and service, hoping to gain favor again.

It’s vital to understand that predators study and use highly sophisticated methods of thought control, some do so with military training, others were exposed to these methods as children who witnessed domestic violence. They are scientifically proven methods of effectively messing with the minds of others, intentionally, to undermine their sense of stability and sanity, to exploit them to work on behalf of the predator’s interests and gain, and against their own interests and wellbeing.

7. Abusers seek to isolate victims and turn them against others who are their support systems

Pathological abusers use an array of tactics to isolate their victims by getting them to turn against their loved ones, parents and families and friends, those who genuinely love and support them. In making the film, Fox notes it is first and foremost a story about denial of herself. Fox’s denial as a child continued well into adulthood. For many years, she denied and excused the abuse she experienced as a child, which set the stage for the abuse to reoccur. It also protected her abuser’s culpability.

As part of her abuse, she was groomed to mistrust her parents, her mother in particular, as someone that was not allowing her to have freedom to do what her abuser wanted her to do. In the film, we can see how Fox’s coach groomed her to keep the abuse secret, as something “beautiful” her parents were not capable of understanding. We see her repetitive denial, again as an adult, in reaction to her mother’s attempts to get her to open her mind to the possibility that she had abused, duped, exploited by her coach.


7 Child Predator Patterns for #MeToo to Consider By Using “The Tale” As a Case Study

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2019). 7 Child Predator Patterns for #MeToo to Consider By Using “The Tale” As a Case Study. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 11, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Mar 2019
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