The story of an employee of Globacom Nigeria Limited, Ms. Onyinye Eze, who was reportedly murdered by her Australia-returnee husband, Stephen Akpata, is one of the many cases of spousal murder that has dominated public discourse. How can one know if one’s spouse is a potential killer? Some psychologists, who spoke with our correspondent, explained common traits that potential killers display.
A Professor of Psychology at the University of Lagos, Fagbohungbe Oni, said one of the most common attitudes a potential killer displays is destructive tendency.
He said, “Whenever the spouse gets annoyed, he or she smashes and destroys things. Anyone married to a person who is self-destructive should be very careful. Such a spouse is capable of killing. Self-destructive actions may be deliberate, born of impulse, or developed as a habit.
“Self-destructive behaviour is just the symptom of deeper, untapped and unresolved issues that have not been identified, processed, or healed.”
A spouse, who has the potential to kill, may be a pathologic liar, says Oni. According to him, such a person tells lies all the time.
He said, “Lying is a sort of defense mechanism for such a person. They are never straight forward; they lie to cover up their inadequacies.”
The expert said that in the process of covering up their acts, such people ‘manufacture’ lies.
If they are caught doing something wrong, instantly the person comes up with a lie.
“For an occurrence, the person is capable of coming up with five or six lies, it is that bad. It is not a normal behaviour. Be wary of such a person, they are capable of killing. They are mostly controlled by the illusion of passionate invulnerability,” he added.
Aggression and violence
Is your spouse aggressive? Spouses who are aggressive have the tendency to kill their partners, according to another psychologist, Dr. Valentine Ezeh.
Ezeh, who teaches at the University of Nigeria, said once a woman or man notices such an attitude in their partners, they should be on the alert.
“Aggression is overt, often harmful, social interaction with the intention of inflicting damage or other unpleasantness on another individual. It may occur either in retaliation or without provocation,” Ezeh stated.
A forensic psychologist, Orjiakor Tochukwu, also said a spouse who is violent has the potential to commit murder.
“If a spouse is becoming increasingly unapproachable because of their violent nature, the other partner should flee that relationship – that is the red flag. It starts with a partner hitting his spouse or using an instrument to unleash violence at home.
“A violent spouse is dangerous. He or she should be avoided.”
Addiction to drugs
According to Ezeh, a spouse who engages in drug abuse is a potential killer.
The expert said such people commit murder and then blame the devil for their woes.
“Once a spouse observes that his or her partner is a drug addict, there is danger. A spouse who takes illegal drugs could kill his partner and show no sympathy. They only realise their action when the effects of the drugs have cleared off,” he added.
Psychopaths are another category of people with such tendency. Tochukwu added that psychopaths present themselves as being good. He said they are always superficially charming, over nice and willing to do anything for their partner.
He said, “A psychopath is a potential killer, such persons are callous and do not care about other people’s experiences. Psychopathy is a personality disorder. A psychopath usually appears to be sweet and charming but their minds are wicked. They are dangerous.
“Once a spouse observes that his or her partner has no empathy towards them or their situation, they should be careful.”
Traumatic brain injury
A spouse who has had traumatic brain injury is a potential killer, said Tochukwu.
The expert said, “If the forebrain was affected during the accident, the person would have executive functioning issues. The executive functions are a set of processes that have to do with managing oneself. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.
“Such a person is dangerous. Brain injury could be caused by car accidents and football, domestic accident and so on.”
A spouse can know if his or her partner is a short-tempered based on how the partner reacts to issues.
A Professor of Psychology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Toba Elegbeleye, said couples should be able to measure the anger threshold of their partners.
He continued, “Most people kill due to anger, for example, if they catch their spouses in bed with another person, the rage can be overwhelming. It is important that couples learn to communicate when they are angry.
“Talk about things that made you angry so that they are not repeated. This will help to resolve issues easily. This also prevents pent-up emotions which trigger violence that the couple would regret.”
Track record of murder cases
If a spouse has a track record of murder cases, Ezeh said such a person is capable of killing his or her partner.
“If such persons are married, they may kill their spouses. This because it is not the first time they are doing the act. I would advise anyone who is married to a murder convict to flee from the marriage. They need to save their own lives,” he said.
Obsession and jealousy
People who are obsessive with their partners are potential killers.
“It’s good if your partner takes an interest in your life, but it can take a dangerous turn when he demands to know absolutely everything. Stalking is a form of dating violence in which the victim is under constant surveillance,” said Oni.
Lack of remorse
When a spouse isn’t remorseful about his or her actions, Tochukwu warned that the partner should be on alert. He said such a person can commit a gruesome act and not fill guilty about his or her action.
“A spouse who lacks remorse can harm their partner and not feel guilty about their action. The person can even go as far as justifying his or her act,” he said.
Cullled from: PUNCH.