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The pedophile is guru at center of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his "partner". He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his child-mate. He punishes wayward and straying lambs. He enforces discipline.
The child finds himself in a twilight zone. The pedophile imposes on him a shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, "enemies", mythical narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted. The child is rendered joint guardian of a horrible secret.
The pedophile's control is based on ambiguity, unpredictability, fuzziness, and ambient abuse. His ever-shifting whims exclusively define right versus wrong, desirable and unwanted, what is to be pursued and what to be avoided. He alone determines rights and obligations and alters them at will.
The typical pedophile is a micro-manager. He exerts control over minutest details and behaviors. He punishes severely and abuses withholders of information and those who fail to conform to his wishes and goals.
The pedophile does not respect boundaries and privacy of (often reluctant and terrified) child. He ignores his or her wishes and treats children as objects or instruments of gratification. He seeks to control both situations and people compulsively.
The pedophile acts in a patronizing and condescending manner and criticizes often. He alternates between emphasizing minutest faults (devalues) and exaggerating looks, talents, traits, and skills (idealizes) of child. He is wildly unrealistic in his expectations – which legitimizes his subsequent abusive conduct.
Narcissistic pedophiles claim to be infallible, superior, talented, skillful, omnipotent, and omniscient. They often lie and confabulate to support these unfounded claims and to justify their actions. Most pedophiles suffer from cognitive deficits and reinterpret reality to fit their fantasies.
In extreme cases, pedophile feels above law – any kind of law. This grandiose and haughty conviction leads to criminal acts, incestuous or polygamous relationships, and recurrent friction with authorities.
V. The pedophile regards sex with children as an ego-booster
Subteen children are, by definition, "inferior". They are physically weaker, dependent on others for fulfillment of many of their needs, cognitively and emotionally immature, and easily manipulated. Their fund of knowledge is limited and their skills restricted. His relationships with children buttress pedophile's twin grandiose delusions of omnipotence and omniscience. Compared to his victims, pedophiles is always stronger, wiser, most skillful and well-informed.
VI. Sex with children guarantees companionship
Inevitably, pedophile considers his child-victims to be his best friends and companions. Pedophiles are lonely, erotomanic, people.
The pedophile believes that he is in love with (or simply loves) child. Sex is merely one way to communicate his affection and caring. But there are other venues.
To show his keen interest, common pedophile keeps calling child, dropping by, writing e-mails, giving gifts, providing services, doing unsolicited errands "on kid's behalf", getting into relationships with preteen's parents, friends, teachers, and peers, and, in general, making himself available (stalking) at all times. The pedophile feels free to make legal, financial, and emotional decisions for child.
The pedophile intrudes on victim's privacy, disrespects child's express wishes and personal boundaries and ignores his or her emotions, needs, and preferences. To pedophile, "love" means enmeshment and clinging coupled with an overpowering separation anxiety (fear of being abandoned).
Moreover, no amount of denials, chastising, threats, and even outright hostile actions convince erotomaniac that child not in love with him. He knows better and will make world see light as well. The child and his guardians are simply unaware of what is good for kid. The pedophile determinedly sees it as his or her task to bring life and happiness into child's dreary and unhappy existence.
Thus, regardless of overwhelming evidence to contrary, pedophile is convinced that his feelings are reciprocated - in other words, that child is equally infatuated with him or her. He interprets everything child does (or refrains from doing) as coded messages confessing to and conveying child's interest in and eternal devotion to pedophile and to "relationship".
Some (by no means all) pedophiles are socially-inapt, awkward, schizoid, and suffer from a host of mood and anxiety disorders. They may also be legitimately involved with child (e.g., stepfather, former spouse, teacher, gym instructor, sibling) - or with his parents (for instance, a former boyfriend, a one night stand, colleagues or co-workers). They are driven by their all-consuming loneliness and all-pervasive fantasies.
Consequently, pedophiles react badly to any perceived rejection by their victims. They turn on a dime and become dangerously vindictive, out to destroy source of their mounting frustration. When "relationship" looks hopeless, some pedophiles violently embark on a spree of self-destruction.
Pedophilia is to some extent a culture-bound syndrome, defined as it is by chronological age of child involved. Ephebophilia, for instance - exclusive sexual infatuation with teenagers - is not considered to be a form of pedophilia (or even paraphilia).
In some cultures, societies and countries (Afghanistan, for instance) age of consent is as low as 12. The marriageable age in Britain until end of nineteenth century was 10. Pedophilia is a common and socially-condoned practice in certain tribal societies and isolated communities (the Island of Pitcairn).
It would, therefore, be wise to redefine pedophilia as an attraction to or sexual acts with prepubescent children or with people of equivalent mental age (e.g., retarded) in contravention of social, legal, and cultural accepted practices.
Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.