Christopher or Chris Watts was recently charged with nine felonies including three counts of first degree murder. He is accused of murdering his wife Shanann and their two daughters, Bella aged 4 and Celeste, aged 3.
Originally, Watts claimed that his wife and two children had disappeared from their home. A family friend, Nickole Atkinson reported them missing on the Monday August 13 when Shanann Watts missed a doctor’s appointment and she was not responding to calls and texts. Ms Atkinson telephoned Chris Watts asking where his wife was, Watts apparently stated that he did not know where his wife or his children were.
Ms Atkinson assisted Watts in searching for the missing three. She stated that Watts did not cry or seem overly concerned and this caused her to believe that something was amiss.
Watts made several television appearances a day after the disappearance of his wife and children where he explained the apparent circumstances of how he learned they had disappeared and stated his wish for them to return. He stated that he and his wife had had an “emotional conversation” on the evening before his wife’s disappearance.
Friends and family of the Watts family expressed their understandable concerns about the well-being of the three who had disappeared, the fact that the Watts had a perfect family life (heavily documented through social media – something I shall return to) and their disbelief at how something like this could happen.
Approximately two days after having made these appearances, Watts allegedly explained to the police that he had told his wife that he wished to separate from her and she then strangled the two children. Watts stated he saw his wife strangling one of the children,Celeste on a baby monitor. He stated his other daughter, Bella was already blue and sprawled out on a bed. He stated in a fit of rage he then strangled his wife.
Shanann Watts’ body was found in a shallow grave near an oil tank. The bodies of the two children were found dumped in an oil tank. The location was where Watts worked, until he was recently fired by his employer. A drone had detected a bedsheet which had a pattern which matched pillowcases and a top sheet found in the bin in the kitchen at the Watts’ residence. This detection led to the discovery of the shallow grave and occurred prior to the apparent confession of Watts.
Extensive coverage and speculation has arisen as to what happened in the Watts’ home and on the basis that Watts has killed all three, what caused him to do so? What is the personality of this man?
Watts’ Version of Events
Watts has apparently admitted that he killed his wife in a fit of rage based on her strangling the children. Whilst this may seem unlikely, this, at present, is Watts’ evidence. Operating on the basis that this is the case, this evidences several interesting factors
- To be enraged having witnessed your children being strangled is a potentially understandable response.
- One might have expected Watts to have sought to help his children, to see if they could be saved. The failure to do so evidences a lack of empathy for their well-being and also suggests that he did not attend to their well-being because there was no point, because he had killed them. Perhaps he did not attend to them because he knew they were dead and killed by their mother so he felt it pointless, but anybody with emotional empathy would more likely have tried to help the children (even if futile – their emotional thinking overriding the logic of the situation) and therefore Watts’ response either demonstrates a lack of empathy (assuming his wife killed the children) or he had killed them (which again shows a lack of empathy ).
- To strangle his wife evidences a lack of empathy.
- To respond in an enraged way suggests that Watts may well have experienced an ignition of fury, not because his wife had killed the children, but because his control had been threatened in some way, he had been wounded by his wife’s behaviour. Watts stated that he and his wife had an “emotional conversation” when making his television appearance, on the night before her ‘disappearance’. He then stated to police he had stated he wanted to separate and this caused his wife to strangle the children. It seems highly unlikely that Shanann Watts killed her children, the extensive material on Facebook (including videos) evidences a woman who clearly loved her children and showed considerable emotional empathy towards them. Accordingly, someone such as her would not kill her children.
- Thus, Watts has demonstrated a lack of empathy and the ignition of fury as a consequence of being wounded through his wife rejecting his control.
The Homosexual Affair and Cheating
A man named Trent Bolte contacted a television station and claimed that he had been in a 10 month intimate relationship with Watts. Bolte’s claim contained details about Watts’ life which suggest his claim of a relationship is of sound veracity. Bolte’s details were also found on the MeetMe app which was on Watts’ phone. This app also demonstrated that Watts was active in contacting both men and women.
By engaging in an affair with Bolte this again reinforces Watts’ lack of empathy towards his wife and family. It shows a sense of entitlement to do as he wishes with whoever he chooses. The contact with both men and women on this app underlines this lack of empathy as it suggests that he was repeatedly cheating on his wife or at the very least looking to do so. Watts would also be drawing reactions from these individuals through their responses, by way of fuel. Watts’ bisexual behaviour shows sexual fluidity, a consequence of a lack of true self and supports an ongoing quest for fuel, an unconscious driver in his behaviour, which meant that he would cheat on his wife and was unconcerned whether this fuel provision came from men or women. The relatively blatant behaviour on this app, it was found easily and soon enough, shows Watts had no real concern about detection, again underlining his sense of entitlement and lack of accountability for his actions.
Bolte stated that Watts had said to him that Watts was
“A victim of emotional and verbal abuse.” and
“He was trapped in a loveless marriage and he didn’t know any way out.”
Does Bolte have any motivation to lie with regard to these statements? It is highly unlikely and therefore one would accept them as legitimate. These comments are certainly at odds with the posting of a seemingly perfect life which Shanann Watts posted on social media – Watts did not appear as a victim nor did his marriage appear loveless, at least from Shanann’s perspective. Such comments are evidence of the perpetual victim mentality of a narcissist, the issuing of lies which narcissist’s frequently use and projection and blame-shifting, instinctive manipulations of a narcissist.
Information has also emerged that Watts had an affair with a co-worker. On the basis this is true this shows again a lack of empathy for his family, a sense of entitlement and a lack of accountability.
The Television Appearances
These appearances provide considerable insight into what Watts is :-
- Even on his version of events when he made a plea for the return of his family he already knew they were dead. Thus Watts lied. He not only lied to family, friends and the police but he took it a step further and did so through several television appeals. This demonstrates a grandiosity in thinking he could get away with what had happened, that people would believe him and shows a lack of sophistication with regard to his approach, supporting a low cognitive awareness and function.
- Watts’ language is all about what he wants “I want them back in the house”, “I want them to come back”, “If they are not safe that is what is tearing me apart.”, “I need to see everybody.” This evidences two matters – his sense of entitlement and also a lack of empathy for (assuming they had disappeared) how his wife and children would be feeling.
- Watts talks with a flat effect for most of his appearances. There is no emotion. He is not upset, he is not agitated, he is not worried or concerned. This is because he lacks the ability to demonstrate those emotions because he lacks empathy and moreover he does not even have cognitive empathy as he is unable to even feign the emotions and words one would expect from a worried husband and father.
- Watts’ facial expression barely alters, there are no tears, his gaze is steady and unwavering towards the reporter, there is no break in his voice and at one point he even gives a short laugh when talking. Once again this demonstrates a clear absence of empathy and awareness. It might be suggested that some people laugh when they are nervous, this is true, but it is clear that Watts is not nervous and his laugh is his arrogance appearing momentarily.
- Watts provides detail about how his wife had apparently killed the children. He is able to provide that detail because he killed the children and is able to transfer that description to his wife committing the killings.
- Watts is asked by one reporter about the prospect of Watts having the finger of suspicion pointed at him. Watts’ deflects this completely by talking about wanting the children and his wife back. This evidences the narcissistic defence mechanism of deflection, an automatic and instinctive response. It also shows his lack of accountability how he does not see that he is culpable in anyway. It also evidences a haughtiness as he shoves the legitimate question to one side, not even giving it consideration or an answer.
Facebook and Social Media
Shanann Watts’ extensive use of Facebook provides considerable insight into the behaviour of Watts and the dynamic at work in the marriage.
- There are many pictures which show an apparently perfect family life. Naturally, many people use Facebook to show an unrepresentative, overly-optimistic portrayal of their life. This is just as applicable to the Watts. It is clear that Shanann Watts adored her husband and her children and wanted to share that with the world. However, given what her husband is, it is also highly likely that Shanann focused on this portrayal to firstly please and appease her husband and secondly to convince herself that her family life was good on the whole. It is highly likely that Shannan Watts knew about her husband’s infidelities and she was also subjected to devaluing behaviour from him and not knowing who she was dealing with, she sought to mollify him by posting repeated praise for him. She described him as “the best thing that has ever happened to me”, she posted a video of one of her daughters saying “my daddy is a hero”. The pictures show a family unit, caring, secure and happy. Shannan’s behaviour fuelled Watts’ grandiose self, it was also done out of desperation to prove to him that she really did love him and adore him (as doubtless when devaluing her, he will have accused her of not loving him, being a cheat and similar). Caught by her own emotional thinking, Shanann tried to convince herself that everything was alright and if she kept up adoring Watts, loving him and doing the best she could, the problems that existed could be healed and fixed.
- It is evident in the pictures that Watts is dead behind the eyes. His smiles are fixed but the eyes show nothing.
- Shanann confirmed that Watts sent her a friend request on Facebook and she thought nothing would come of it, but then 8 years later they are married with two children. No doubt there was a dogged pursuit by Watts of Shanann and social media is a keen hunting ground for narcissists.
- Many of the posts pander to Watts’ sense of grandiosity and inflated ego, there are videos of him working out, pictures of him without his shirt on apparently tenderly massaging his wife
- In the videos the responses of Watts show either a flat effect or a delay in manifesting a supposedly emotional response e.g. delight in a certain situation. This show his stunted emotional spectrum and the fact that he does not instinctively feel emotions but has to emulate them – although he is not accomplished at this at all, hence the more usual flat effect he demonstrates.
- A video on Watts’ YouTube page from April 2012 shows him giving a presentation where he states that there are three reasons to maintain a romantic relationship. He refers to having a desire to do so, a moral obligation to do so or whether there is a necessity to maintain it. Love is not mentioned – this is telling because as a narcissist he does not experience love and this presentation revealed the clinical approach he has to a relationship – it is a transaction because he owns the other person, who he regards as an object and his possession and the maintenance of the relationship is not seen as being based on empathy and love but on what he believes is what he should do by applying cold criteria.
The Disposal of the Bodies
As mentioned above Shanann Watts was placed in a shallow grave. The children dumped in oil wells. If Watts’ version of events is correct, the dumping of the children’s bodies which could only have been done by him – evidences a lack of empathy once again. If he was enraged by his wife’s alleged behaviour towards the children, one might understand his callous disposal of his wife in a shallow grave, but not dumping the children in an oil well. This is a very clear demonstration of his complete lack of empathy and low cognitive function.
One might wonder why Watts confessed and why he did not maintain a facade that the family had disappeared and have been murdered by someone else. Why did he apparently confess to murdering his wife? There are three points arising here
- Watts hardly uses a façade at all. His television performance was woeful. Many narcissists of a higher cognitive function would have turned in an Oscar worthy portrayal of upset, worry and concern. He did not because he does not have the capability BUT his low cognitive function, lack of awareness and complete lack of accountability mean he carried out the television appearance unaware of how it looked.
- Watts has a low cognitive function and his story that his wife killed the children first and he reacted with rage is in effect, the best he can come up with as an attempt to deflect blame.
- Watts has no sense of accountability. He does not believe he has done anything wrong at all. Not even murdering his wife. He is convinced that he has no culpability and that his story, weak as it is, is the truth because his defence mechanism causes him to believe this. See also his recent court appearance – he is unmoved, unperturbed, the flat affect evident once again.
What Really Happened?
Watts allowed his wife to portray their life as perfect. He was not overly concerned by presenting a façade but embraced it because when it was done, as he posed in the pictures etc, he gained fuel. It worked for him. His wife actually created the façade, not because she was a narcissist but because she was trying to appease her controlling and unpleasant husband, to convince herself everything would work out and was unaware of what her husband is. Watts was hero-worshipped and well-fuelled, but he tired of his wife’s positive fuel through her love and affection. He doubtless devalued her – verbal insults, unpleasant sexual behaviour, controlled her movements with other people, possibly physical assaults – but his wife will have kept this hidden, fearing further reprisal and also because she was desperate to keep the family unit intact.
Watts sought fuel elsewhere through infidelity. He did so because he has no empathy, he is entitled and has no sense of obligation or accountability. It is likely that his wife had learned of these infidelities and she threatened to leave him. This threat to his main source of fuel meant that he was wounded, his fury ignited and with heated fury he reacted with violence causing him to strangle his wife and then his children. He saw the children as a manifestation of his wife, his wife the traitor, and they similarly were so regarded and became victims of his murderous ignited fury. He has a low threshold on his ignited fury which meant he did not resort to a non-lethal manipulation but lashed out in a fatal way, unable to control himself. He needed to assert his perceived superiority, he needed to punish and he did so in the most drastic method.
I doubt he wanted to separate from his wife. He had no need. She provided fuel (both positive and negative), maintained a picture perfect existence, doubtless catered to his every need on the domestic front thus providing residual benefits. He had no need to separate from this. His sense of entitlement allowed him to seek fuel intimately elsewhere and still remain with his wife, he did not need to separate to continue to do that.
It is clear that Watts has no empathy (neither emotional or cognitive), he is of a low cognitive function, he requires fuel, he has a sense of entitlement, no sense of accountability, has elements of grandiosity, is manipulative, haughty, lies extensively and has no boundary recognition. He is a narcissist and a psychopath but a low-functioning one. His appearance, use of sex, unfaithful behaviour and his going along with the perfect family appearance of attractive wife and children, nice home, holidays, friends etc show him as a clear somatic.
Chris Watts is a Somatic Middle Lesser Narcissistic Psychopath.