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Dr. Drew

Driven by current events, "Dr. Drew" on HLN focuses on the human - and human behavior - at the center of the story.

Dr. Drew: Jodi, interpersonal terrorist

  • 'Jodi Arias used power and control as a way to try to pull Alexander into her world,' Dr. Drew says
  • He adds, 'She mirrored other people, trying to find some sense of self'
Dr. Drew: Jodi, interpersonal terrorist
Drew Pinsky

Editor’s note: Dr. Drew Pinsky is the host of HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call.” He is a board-certified internist and an addiction medicine specialist. He is on Twitter.

After four months of testimony, the jury has convicted Jodi Arias of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

I believe it's the right decision, but it's also serious business and should be thought of accordingly. 

There's no question that people will be talking about this trial in the weeks and months to come, but I think it’s important  to take a few moments to discuss some things that we can all take away from this case.

How people conduct themselves in their interpersonal relationships is where psychopathology often expresses itself. With that being said, I think it’s safe to say that the alchemy of Arias and Alexander was absolute dynamite.
Arias really never understood love or how to deal with the everyday give-and-take of a normal relationship. And the abuse that Alexander suffered during childhood made him vulnerable to the manipulations of a Jodi Arias. The result?  Alexander tended to be attracted to what we call borderlines -- and the borderlines to him.

In my 20 years as the medical director of a chemical dependency unit in a psychiatric hospital, I frequently had to contend with the attractions that certain personalities styles had for one another . We have to be very, very cautious because they’re drawn together like magnets to their detriment. It’s a dangerous combination. The patients who capitulated to these attractions ended up using together and having sex together -- not having gone to treatment with that intention at all. I suspect something like this phenomenon brought Arias and Alexander together.  I sometimes say that attractions are the least healthy part of one individual responding to the least healthy in another.

I began to formulate a theory as the trial unfolded. It relates to something called interpersonal terrorism. I think Arias used sex and emotional blackmail as a form of manipulation -- a form of interpersonal terrorism -- which when Alexander thought he needed to leave, she resorted to violence like so many interpersonal terrorists do.  Males typically use physical intimidation to maintain control, but Arias used psychological manipulation and sex to control and keep Alexander in this relationship.

When she became obsessed and addicted to this guy, she ended up using power and control as the way to try to pull him into her world -- to complete her.

People also saw how disconnected Arias appeared to be in the interrogation room after Alexander’s death. She was talking to herself, singing, whipping her hair around, even performing a headstand. Not to mention, everyone we had on our show that knew her gave us the same story about how something was not right with her.

One of Arias’ hallmark characteristics is a singular lack of remorse. The tears you saw in the interrogation room and on the stand when she was talking about the killing were not tears of remorse. They were tears of panic -- of having been cornered with her foggy story. The only remorse you hear is her needing to defend herself when she feels she's in trouble or when she feels she will be perceived differently by people.  Her basic defense was this: he had it coming.
Arias is no ordinary subject. She mirrored other people, trying to find some sense of self. She was obviously in trouble.
Her friends and parents were concerned about her -- That was the time to get her help -- But she ended up killing another human being. I have no patience for that. Once a person commits the act, it’s on them at that point. So if you know someone in trouble, please get them help now.

"Dr. Drew On Call" airs Monday through Thursday on HLN at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Facebook and Twitter @DrDrewHLN.

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