What is the psychology of the perpetrators who commit crimes in the name of ‘love’? Patriot takes a look
Among the crimes committed in Delhi, crimes born out of ‘love’ have reached an epidemic proportion. These crimes are categorised under the “jilted lover syndrome”. Such crimes are committed by a lover either out of revenge for being dumped or to realise unrequited love. Criminal psychologists find that such crimes are quite common.
A 23-year-old woman in Uttam Nagar was allegedly stabbed to death by her suitor, because she refused his offer to commit to a relationship with him. She was identified as Dolly Babbar, a freelance event organiser. In a similar incident, a 24-year-old girl was murder by her suitor to refusing to marry him.
The victim’s father told the media that the accused was threatening her to marry him, “Earlier, my daughter had told me that Pawan had been pressuring her to marry him and also threatened to kill her if she rejected his proposal. We warned Pawan, but he did not mend his ways.”
In another incident, here the victim is not the lover but the lover’s husband, a head constable of Delhi’s crime branch identified as Ghanshyam was arrested for allegedly hatching a conspiracy — hiring two contract killers — to kill the husband of the woman who was allegedly in a relationship with him. After the woman started ‘ignoring him’, it upset him up and he planned her husband’s murder.
Pavan Choudhry, a writer who identifies as a public intellectual, finds that three factors, social, psychological and economic, are responsible for such crimes.
Explaining socio- economic factors behind these crimes he says, “When a person is dis-regarded by the society and he/she falls in love, they find it a very rewarding and satisfying experience. But when the lover refuses their offer, their oasis in life disappears, so they threaten and sometimes even kill the person. They are also mentally prepared to be incarcerated and even to die. In fact, many of these criminals kill themselves soon after committing the crime.”
Choudhry reckons these crimes are frequent in hierarchical, feudal and status oriented societies where people, especially coming from lower income groups are disregarded. “One in every 100 people is a psychopath.”
“Psychopaths who are well educated and well exposed don’t commit crimes. They join some good service in the corporate sector etc. Based on their exposure and education. They get that privileged reach. They also behave like that, but in a different manner. They become toxic bosses. They like to harass people, humiliate people, dominate people. And they also rise fast because they unsettle everybody around.”
“These psychopaths are not visible in the physical criminal domain. The worst are psychopaths in the lower economic groups. They cannot reach all these places for their instincts to become new. And secondly, unlike this first type they have had no support system. So they commit crimes.”
Since economic security is valued a lot. People change their mind if they see better economic prospects in someone else. They dump their lover for these reasons. In such a case, if their ex lover has some sort of psychopathic tendencies they will look for revenge. “This is not so present on the same levels in higher classes. Because that difference in higher classes in economic status is also high.”
However, not all crimes are committed by psychopaths. Ordinary humans, if overpowered by external circumstances to commit crime often do that. But crimes by these individuals can be avoided.
Some of these crimes are committed in the heat of the moment. They are not premeditated. “This is connected with feelings of anger. This feeling comes because of growing resentment. It can be the last straw, the victim breaks down the camel’s back. Such crimes are committed by people who are quite self centered because they don’t see the consequences on their family.”
Psychologist Melitta Schmideberg in her paper finds “a queer mixture of primitive instinct and moral impulse expressed in delinquent conduct, and of the inter-relation between these aspects and the delinquent’s personality and sexual life” make some criminal commit crime. These criminals can feel empathy, and even extreme guilt for the crime they commit but slowly and gradually their guilt generates greater impulse to commit crime in them.
Journalist Nandini Rathi blames the misogyny in society and also the over romanticization of one sided love. Bollywood has normalised harmful and obsessive behavior of a lover. “Which is characterised by distorted thinking, narcissism, a misplaced sense of entitlement and an inability to take other perspectives into consideration. It is devoid of any empathy towards the victim. Such unadulterated selfishness has been cast over decades as a form of “love”?” she writes in a piece for Indian Express.
Talking about her horrific experience with a stalker, who was in love with her, 26- year- old Pooja* says, “This person, who was my neighbour, would follow me wherever I went. He used to message me. Initially I ignored, but he started sending me messages saying he would harm himself. I then started talking to him out of sympathy which he assumed was love. I was not in a position to tell him that I don’t like him as I was afraid that he would harm himself.”
“When My family decided to marry me. He came to my home and threatened to kill himself. He tried to malign my image by proving that I cheated on him. My family trusted me. But because of that incident my marriage was called off and my family couldn’t find a groom for me for two years. My stalker went to jail, later his family also married him off but he still stalks me.”
Experts, therefore, believe that if you are a victim of a jilted lover, it is better to seek legal intervention to prevent crimes against you.