That was the case this week. The nation’s been gripped by the week-long manhunt for escaped prisoners Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34. Now, we’re learning more about the relationship the alleged accomplice, Joyce Mitchell, had with the inmates. Reports say that the 51-year-old industrial training supervisor at Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, smuggled in items to help the two men escape. She was also planning to be the getaway driver for Matt and Sweat, but got cold feet and checked herself into a mental hospital instead.
This revelation comes just after being questioned about an “inappropriate relationship” she had with Sweat within the last year. It had also emerged that Mitchell, who is married and has an adult son, told investigators that Matt “made her feel special” and she “thought she was in love”. Sources say Matt was handsome and reportedly very well-endowed. He wooed Mitchell for months and likely preyed on her vulnerability and empathy to get her to help them break out.
Mitchell, thinking she was in love, probably imaged this exciting and fulfilling life with Matt, once he escaped.
Her ex-husband told Daily Mail Online that she was a ‘serial cheat’ and had at least two affairs during her five-year first marriage. She’d even been caught having sex on railroad tracks outside the factory where she worked.
Mitchell likely suffered from limerence, says psychologist Dr. Tiffany Sanders. “Limerence is a type of extreme infatuated love that includes compulsive thoughts and fantasies of a stimulating relationship. It’s a dangerous state of mind because she was living a fantasy in her head. She likely thought they were going to be the next Bonnie & Clyde. This wasn’t love, and he would’ve probably killed her for being a witness.”
Mitchell was weak and vulnerable, which made her an easy target for Matt and Sweat; sociopaths tend to prey on people like her.
So what makes people, like Mitchell, do crazy things for love?
Biology professor and author of “From Heartbreak to Heart’s Desire”, Dawn Maslar, goes as far as calling love, temporary insanity, because of what it does to our brains. “The part of the brain responsible for judging and decision making (ventromedial prefrontal cortex) gets manipulated when you fall in love. When this happens, it may seem perfectly reasonable to break your boyfriend out of prison. Not only that, you believe that you will be together and live happily ever-after.”
Love also turns people into risk-takers and makes us a bit, well, stupid, because we can’t focus. Face it, the majority of us have probably done something we’re not too proud of, all in the name of love. We look back and think “what the *&^% was I thinking?”. Maybe it was giving someone a large sum of money you never got back, or moving across the globe only to see the relationship fail, or you quit a dream all for the wrong person. In the case of the escaped convicts, Mitchell demonstrates the extremes someone will go to for the thought of a happily-ever-after. Some may be more prone to being blinded by love, than others. But let’s just hope the person we’re doing stupid s*&% for is at least worth it.