Previously, victims of cainists were lumped together as co-dependents, victims of domestic violence, those suffering from dependent personality disorder or pushovers for pathological love relationships none of which is precise. These labels or catchphrases have become outdated to describe traumatizing relational patterns. Counselors today use the phrases “trauma-based relating” or “PTSD-type feelings” to describe what the Enabler experiences. According to Sandra Brown, psychopathologist and CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education and author of several books on psychopaths, there might be a flashing neon sign for the Enabler after all.
Brown was one of the first to study Enablers—family members, spouses, partners, friends, colleagues, children, or anyone drawn to and then left in the wake of Cain’s caustic behavior. In her book Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Narcissists (2009), she refers to these interactions as “relationships of inevitable harm.” She writes, “Some of the most disturbing realities are not that pathology exists but that so little public education for the general public exists.”
Brown found that stable, well-educated people are subject to Cain’s entrancement. Because of his extraordinary skills at exploiting the suggestibility of his targets, the dynamics for the Enabler are similar to being under a hypnotic spell. The misdiagnosis of these destructive relationships has failed to offer Enablers effective strategies.