Monday, April 10, 2017

Personality Quirks: H is for Hybristophilia

Are you a writer looking for some interesting personality traits and quirks to create characters? Or maybe you’re a logophile, someone who loves words, and wants to collect more of them. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

I really wanted to pick hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, fear of long words, but I didn’t! There were lots of good H words, so selecting just one was very hard.

I decided to write about a word, hybristophilia, I blogged about some time ago. I posted it as “Women Who Love Monsters.” I’ve excerpted some of it here.
The etymology is derived from the Greek word ὑβρίζειν hubrizein, meaning ‘to commit an outrage against someone’ (ultimately derived from ὕβρις hubris ‘hubris’), and philo, meaning ‘having a strong affinity/preference for’.

Hybristophilia is a condition in which women (mostly) become sexually aroused when thinking about and/or engaging with men (mostly) who participated in extreme criminal behavior such as rape, child molestation, and brutal murders.

While I cannot name names, you’ve read accounts of these jailhouse romances in the news. Sometimes the attraction results in marriage. These marriages are rarely consummated, but when they are, they too often end tragically.

The causes of hybristophilia are unknown but experts speculate that the attraction can be traced to the belief that like regular bad boys, these women think they can “save” the rapist. All he needs is the woman she is, and he will change.

Some hybristophiliacs believe that present behavior can be traced to what happened to him as a little boy and they can provide the love and support he needs to heal. Some like that incarceration means he will be faithful because he can’t get to other women, therefore, he is all hers.

Doctors have considered that hybristophiliacs exhibit an extreme fanaticism because they can’t find love in the normal way. With some, their insecurities cause them to seek someone with whom they can’t consummate the relationship.

Some of these women are turned on by the power they impute to men who commit horrible acts. They see him as manly and powerful, in control.

And it is not ruled out that hybristophilia is triggered by the need to be in the spotlight. By proclaiming love for a monster, they attract attention to themselves. “Who could love such a man?” most of us would ask. “Who is she?”

These women leave themselves open to manipulation and seduction. They will do anything for these guys, putting themselves at risk physically, financially, and legally.
In too many of the cases where the “jailhouse romance” led to them getting together on the outside (because of a prison release), women were killed or hurt. These men aren’t the normal “bad guys.” They are irredeemable. And that plays out if they are given the opportunity.

If you are writing romances with a horror element or based on a true crime drama, including a woman with hybristophilia coming onto your monstrous bad guy could lead to some interesting plot twists. Admittedly, this kind of book wouldn't appeal to the normal romance reader, but you might draw in readers attracted to the bizarre and unacceptable, people who follow the true crime stories and know about this type woman.

What if a prison guard was attracted to her when she visited? What if she stalked him when he got released on a technicality? Or what if he manipulated her and went to live with her upon being paroled? What if they married while he was on death row and she gave him access to all her money which he gambled away, stripping her of financial security? Or what if she was artificially inseminated by her rapist to give him a child?

But even a traditional romance or mystery novel might include a sub-plot with hybristophilia for a character. Most people don't know about or think about the condition. Your book could inform them. Not just romances, but many books include romantic relationships as a major or minor plot line. Consider giving your next book a twist many won’t see coming. Just imagine… what if…? how come…?

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Hybristophilia is a real thing and writers can use it for character development from @RomanceRighter

1 comment:

  1. Last year I did phobias for the challenge and my H was the fear of long words. How could I pass it up? A long word to describe being afraid of long words!

    I like reading about serial killers and they always have women who fangirl over them and some end up getting married. It baffles me a bit because it's like 'you know that dude would probably kill you?'

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author