Having just binged the Lifetime docu-series Surviving R Kelly, I fear the presence of another sociopathic sex addict or sexopath in a position in power. Although I have (luckily) never met the man and am not able to make an official diagnosis without performing a 6-8 hour interview/record review, the information presented in the show provides ample evidence of many sociopathic/psychopathic character traits consistent with a sexual predator.
To be clear, R Kelly has denied all accusations made against him (this denial is actually quite typical of sociopaths, psychopaths, and sexopaths). He has been convicted of no crimes, and I am not able to offer a diagnosis without personal evaluation. That said, let’s use the information provided in the docu-series to increase our knowledge about the sexopath (sexopath = a sociopath or psychopath with a sex addiction). We do not need an official diagnosis to recognize someone as dangerous and protect ourselves and those we love. The more we understand about these character traits, the safer we will be.
Using the acronym GLIMPSE BEHIND THE MASK, let’s see if we might be dealing with a person who lacks empathy, guilt, remorse, or a conscience:
Guiltless: R Kelly has never show any guilt or remorse for the many lives he has ruined over several decades. He has no guilt or remorse.
Lies: R Kelly lied about the age of the 14 year old girl and encouraged other girls to lie about their age even when he knew the truth. He lied about sleeping with his first wife until he got her pregnant.
Infidelity: R Kelly slept with more women that one can count while married. He even had sex with young women in the same house with his wife upstairs.
Manipulation: The word “manipulation” was used multiple times by multiple women when describing R Kelly. He made the women feel as if they were nothing without him.
Predatory stare: No one mentioned R Kelly’s predatory stare, but, interestingly, his older brother interviewed in jail spoke of how he stared R Kelly down as a child to make him cry. His older brother also seemed completely perplexed why their youngest brother would not agree to lie for money and a record deal. The morality of the situation was completely lost on him. 20% of prisoners are psychopaths and this personality type is known to run in families. Often, empathetic people try to make excuses for evil behavior due to childhood abuse (R Kelly claims to have been sexually molested by a family member as a child and his younger brother says he was abused as well). Although childhood abuse is inexcusable, a point we tend to miss is that this personality type is hereditary and the family member who allegedly abused them may also have fallen on The Sociopath Spectrum as well. Childhood abuse does NOT turn every person abused into a sexual predator as an adult. There is a genetic component and a brain that is wired differently. Childhood abuse may have created a greater monster than a happy childhood would have, but the genetic predisposition was still present.
Sexopath Love Cycle – The cycle is Idealize/Devalue/Discard. Multiple women describe how wonderful R Kelly was in the beginning of the relationship. He made them feel special and promised to make all their dreams come true. Then began the Devalue stage (which he even called the “training” stage) where he would figure out how easy to control the women were. He would devalue them, making them question their own self worth. He isolated them from family and friends making them completely dependent on him. He directed them as to what to do and punished them if they did not comply. The Discard stage was not really described in the docu-series as once a woman moved into his house, he tended to keep them like a possession. The hidden employee did describe women who were not his “move-into-the-house” type who may have been discarded, but most of the women who escaped did so by running away.
Empathy Lacking – R Kelly appears to have a lack of empathy as he treats women as objects for him to manipulate. His relationships are not partnerships, but rather an arena where he can dominate and control.
Breaks the Law/Rules – Sexopaths do not believe rules apply to them. R Kelly forged documentation to marry a 15 year old girl. He videotapes sexual interactions without obtaining consent. He believes he is above the law, and that he is untouchable.
Egotistical – R Kelly truly believes he can fly. He believes his talent gives him the right to ignore societal expectations, and that he is superior.
Hollow Emotions – Sexopaths do not feel most emotions as deeply as the rest of us do. Instead, they put on a mask and fake emotions to manipulate the rest of us. They can be incredible actors and are masters at using our empathy against us. The show has limited footage of R Kelly but knowing the many red flags of a sexopath he displays, it is interesting to watch him at Whitney Houston’s funeral closely. There appears to be a transition where he puts the mask “on” and his “heartfelt” performance begins.
Irresponsible – R Kelly is not financially responsible as he picks and chooses which bills to pay. He does not pay his child support. Although he denies having herpes, he is currently being sued for not disclosing his STD status before sex.
Not Me – Sexopaths never accept blame. Nothing is ever their fault (according to them). He even tried to say it was his younger brother in the sex/urination tape with the 14 year old girl. His ex-wife is waiting for him to accept responsibility for his evil actions, but if he is a sexopath, that is never going to happen (unless there is some personal gain for him in doing so).
Danger Seeker – Sexopaths often seek out dangerous activities to ease the boredom of having no empathy. No specific examples were mentioned in the show of danger seeking specifically (fast cars, skydiving, motorcycles, etc). R Kelly seems to ease the boredom by controlling young women.
Targeting Next Sexual Victim – R Kelly was always having his staff bring the next round of young girls back stage. In his early days, he hung out at the high school to find the next victims.
Head Honcho – R Kelly uses his position of power to manipulate and control young women. He promises to make their dreams come true while using them for his own sexual gratification.
Expressional Inconsistencies - R Kelly’s reaction to being asked whether he likes teenage girls was an example of an inconsistent emotional response. He was trying to answer as he was expected to, but due to his lack of empathy and conscience, his answer was creepy and very sexopathic.
Magnetism – Many girls spoke of the charisma of R Kelly (and then of the evil, hidden Robert they only saw later). He is a master of charm which helps him continue his manipulation without consequence.
Anger – Sexopaths are prone to fits of illogical rage, and R Kelly is no exception. Many women described his violent attacks when they had “disobeyed.”
Sex Addiction – R Kelly has slept with more women than one can count. He even admitted to his manager that he just can’t quit even as his videotaping of sexual encounters is causing him legal problems.
Kill for Power and Control – R Kelly is all about power and control. He must dominate, possess, manipulate and if the women do not comply, he punishes them with physical violence, withholding food, and degrading acts. No woman is allowed to do anything without getting “Daddy’s” permission first.
Again, R Kelly denies all allegations against him, and I am unable to make an official diagnosis from information in a docu-series. He claims that the show is filled with lying women who wish to defame him for their own personal gain (despite the fact that many of the women turned down financial settlements in order to speak their truths and the parents are only asking to see their daughters again). His denials are consistent with a sexopath who feels no guilt and never accepts blame. The better we understand this personality type, the sooner we can change how we interact with these potentially dangerous people and make our world a better place.
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