Sadly, the news is reporting yet another domestic violence case that ended in a gruesome murder. In Pack Leader Psychology I write extensively about the Dominator personality based on not only my psychology training, but my experience as a domestic violence survivor.

Dominators are a personality type that is hypersensitive to shame. Any perceived or real criticism is felt as devastating. They then react with the “fight” response when they become fearful of being rejected or abandoned. They attack, lash out, criticize others and defend against criticism. They have learned that when they feel shame, it is unbearable to them, and they act out in anger.

In extreme cases like this, the abuser can become so enraged that all restraints are removed and a tragic ending such as this can occur.

However, I really hate it when news reports like this end with statements such as,  “Police are not saying what sparked the argument between Dhondt and Hehir.” As if something she did justified him strangling her, beating her head against the floor and then chopping her up. As if some meaningful thing could explain this meaningless, power-grabbing, hate-filled act.

I can guarantee based on my personal experience that she probably did nothing or something so inconsequential that it should not have even warranted a discussion. But his sense of self-worth was so low that he was on guard for any type of perceived criticism. And when she did something that shamed him, he acted out in rage. Period. His low self-worth and lack of ability to handle criticism were the cause not some “argument” or something she did or said.

When in a relationship with an extreme Dominator, the phrase “walking on eggshells” is true because you may never be sure what you do or say or don’t do or don’t say can trigger his rage and violence.

Reporters:  Stop putting throw away statement in these news reports about what argument triggered these incidents. Nothing triggered it except his emotional immaturity and lack of self-control.



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