By | September 21, 2015 37 Comments

12 rules for negotiating with a psychopath

Serious young woman giving stop gestureLovefraud recently received the following email:

I have woken up to the fact that I am living among a nest of snakes. This includes my kids that I love. Can you recommend anything to read that helps with negotiating with a psychopath? They are so angry and so nasty. However, things “must” be worked out. Any suggestions on reading materials?

The safest approach to take with a psychopath is not to negotiate at all, to get the person out of your life. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially when the psychopath is your spouse and you share children.

So if you do have to negotiate with a psychopath, here are rules to keep in mind:

  1. Know your bottom line. Know what you absolutely must have, and know what you can part with. However, do not communicate this to the psychopath. In fact, you should be cautious about communicating it to anyone you don’t want the information getting back to your adversary. And make no mistake this person is an adversary.
  1. The psychopath’s objective is to win. Figure out what it is that he/she wants to win. Can you part with it? If so, let it go, although you can pretend to put up a fight just so the psychopath believes he/she has won a big battle.
  1. Use an intermediary, such as an attorney. The less personal contact you have with the psychopath, the better. He/she wants to torment you. Don’t give the psychopath the satisfaction of doing this.
  1. Psychopaths love drama. He/she wants to get a reaction out of you. Do not react. Do not let the psychopath know that you are hurt, angry or upset. Be a rock in the presence of the psychopath cry when you get home.
  1. Do not expect a psychopath to do something because it is right. Do not expect them to be concerned about anyone’s wellbeing, including yours or their children’s. If they express concern, it’s a ploy.
  1. Do not be nice. Do not expect the psychopath to be fair. Play hardball.
  1. Psychopaths will only act in their own self-interest. Figure out a way to use this against them. What is in his or her self-interest?
  1. Psychopaths will lie and manipulate. If you need evidence and documentation, make sure you have it.
  1. Psychopaths will seek information from your family and friends, often under the guise of “being concerned.” Although your family and friends may mean well, they may fall for the act. Keep your plans to yourself so that they can’t reveal anything critical.
  1. Any agreement, such as a child custody order, must be detailed, precise, and ironclad. If there is one inch of wiggle room anywhere, a psychopath will take a mile. Do not leave any gray areas or ambiguity.
  1. Even if you get an agreement, do not expect the psychopath to abide by it or court orders willingly. There must be firm deadlines and consequences. Enforce them.
  1. Psychopaths only understand power. What power do you hold? Use it.

Do you feel like you’re living in a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation? Like the charming, considerate person you thought you were involved with has been replaced by a monster? Know that the charmer was an act, and you are now seeing the real person.

Even though you’re probably shocked by the change, you need to understand the mindset that you are dealing with. Here’s a book that will help you, which was previously reviewed by a member of Lovefraud:

The 48 Laws of Power

As our reviewer said about the book, “disturbing, but necessary reading.”


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Wow – really great information. Thank you.

Hope Springs

This is a really fantastic article. I wish that my daughter in law belonged to this site so that she could know who she is dealing with….namely, my son, a socio/psycho or whatever it is called these days. Anti-social personality?

In particular, vindictive, manipulative, irate…there are two small lovely children involved here.

Can anyone tell me how, when so many people are like this or in this mind set of anger during a separation and/or divorce, and it may be considered ‘normal’, one can make people see that a person is simply not being ‘normal’, but that they are in fact, disordered? That is a huge problem in my family…my husband keeps saying, ‘yeah, well, sure he’s choked, everyone is like this when a marriage breaks up’. I am so frustrated.


Dear Bev: First of all, thank you for being supportive to your daughter-in-law and not looking the other way when you see obvious signs of sociopathic behavior from your son. So many mothers deny the truth that their son is the monster that their child has become. I see in your comment “sure he’s choked”. Is this statement as in he has choked your daughter in law? If this is so your daughter in law needs to leave the situation with your grandchildren. The situation is going to get worse, not better. The most dangerous time in a womans life is when she tries to leave an abusive relationship and many end up dead. My mother-in-law initially was in denial of the abuse from her son, but after years of seeing the same things, she eventually saw that I was not making it up. Without her help and support, I would have never been able to get away from him while I was still breathing. The most important thing that we focus on as victims of sociopaths is “No Contact” as much as possible. The best way of “Negotiating” with them is NO NEGOTIATION at all. It is a waste of time and only puts the victim at risk. They will only inflict harm emotionally physically or both. They do not care. They do not change.


Dear Bev: First of all, thank you for being supportive to your daughter-in-law and not looking the other way when you see obvious signs of sociopathic behavior from your son. So many mothers deny the truth that their son is the monster that their child has become. I see in your comment “sure he’s choked”. Is this statement as in he has choked your daughter in law? If this is so your daughter in law needs to leave the situation with your grandchildren immediately. The situation is going to get worse, not better. The most dangerous time in a womans life is when she tries to leave an abusive relationship and many end up dead. My mother-in-law initially was in denial of the abuse from her son, but after years of seeing the same things, she eventually saw that I was not making it up. Without her help and support, I would have never been able to get away from him while I was still breathing. The most important thing that we focus on as victims of sociopaths is “No Contact” as much as possible. The best way of “Negotiating” with them is NO NEGOTIATION at all. It is a waste of time and only puts the victim at risk. They will only inflict harm emotionally, physically or both. They do not care. They do not change.

Hope Springs


I do not think that my son has physically abused my daughter in law…I meant ‘choked’ as in pissed off. Sorry for using that choice of word! I didn’t even think about how it may be misconstrued…Sorry everyone for my misuse of that word.

Really, as far as I know, there has been no physical abuse. Just emotional, as we all know how that can be. I sometimes think that people do not even realize they are being emotionally abused until they look back on things later.

I of course am supporting my daughter in law, for I know my son better than anyone. To deny who he is would make me an absolute idiot. He is a classic antisocial personality.

Thank you all so much for your input. I appreciate it!


True psychopaths will spend the rest of their lives to accomplish their only goal…your destruction and eventual demise. I swear my ex would have been dead a decade ago if he weren’t so driven by my death at his hands, whether emotional, physical or economic. And he’ll likely win in the end for I’m now too old, disabled and solitary to “start anew”.


Just a sidebar here…
Your husband is WRONG that “everyone is like this when a marriage breaks up”. That is SO NOT TRUE.

Yes, divorce reveals the warts in people’s character so if they are of that kind of mindset, where they’ve decided abuse is excused, then yes, they’ll lay their hands on another.

But there is a HUGE, massive population that believes it is NEVER okay to lay harmful hands on another… except in self defense (if I saw someone raping my child, I’d use whatever force to stop it, up to and including lethal.) Defense is different than letting our abuse have free reign.

I am EXTREMELY concerned for you to be married to a man who admits his mindset is that if HE were in that situation, he’d abuse… even as he excuses your son. Seems possible that apple doesn’t fall far.

Sad for you, and your daughter. ps Why don’t you just give her this website?


@edit DIL

Hope Springs


As far as I am aware, there has been no physical abuse…I meant that my son is very angry when I used ‘choked’…bad use of a word I think! So sorry.

My husband just thinks that all couples who split up are angry with each other. My son is VERY angry…not sad at all about losing his ‘family…just fuming mad. That’s what I meant when I said he is ‘choked’. (Perhaps it’s a Canadian word…lol). My husband is always trying to disprove our son’s personality, even though is is glaringly antisocial. My husband does not want to accept it or believe it, even though our son was diagnosed at age 7. My husband is convinced that he can turn our son around, So frustrating, let me tell you. He likens our son’s split with his wife as totally normal as so many other people are always separating and divorcing.

Hope Springs

Oh…I also forgot to say that I have in fact given my daughter in law the link to this website. They are just freshly separated and she still feels sorry for him, I think, because she feels as if she is ‘abandoning’ him. I get that feeling, anyway. I think that he has made her feel like she is all he has for a long time. That is another of his many lies.

I hope that she reads alot of information and perhaps, even decides to participate on this site. I am crossing my fingers. I don’t think that she is convinced about my son’s antisocial personality yet…


I find this article awesome and helpful! Just what I need!


I am so thankful I found this website… The blogs and videos are eye-opening. I am divorced from a spath, and he sounds exactly like all of the spaths that all of you are describing. He is sucking our 19 yr old daughter in to his twisted world. He has convinced her to move in with him AGAIN. She lived with him 2 years ago, and then he was evicted from his apartment. I really don’t get why she would want to go back with him. His family doesn’t want anything to do with him, so all he has is her. Our 21 yr old daughter won’t even speak to him and has nicknamed him “Satan” and “Lucifer”. I would want nothing more than to have NC with him, but we do have a son with special needs that he pretends to want to see every other weekend. My daughter hasn’t moved out yet, but I think she will. I have tried to tell her how he is and that he is a felon and has had 3 bankruptcies and has “borrowed” money from everybody he knows, but he has such a hold on her…it’s very sad and scary to watch, as her mother. She won’t listen to me. I think she is going to have to figure out how he really is on her own.

5 years ago when I told him I wanted to leave him, he told me that the mean, moody, miserable, failure that he was was really an imposter, and that the real him was nice and honest and caring…. Are you kidding me??? An imposter??? What a fool.

Any words of advice regarding my daughter would be great.


I hate to say it but at 19, I think your daughter just has to figure it out for herself. I know my decades of trying to direct my 5 children’s integrity, ended up turning them also into psychopaths! They ended up siding with their abuser, their own lazy, spendthrift father!


I wish I could give you some cheerful news but watching a child go down the rabbit hole is very painful. I watched my son. And by the way, he hadn’t heard a peep from his father, gotten a single birthday card from him for 12 years. He became “rich uncle Daddy” when he reappeared. My materialistic son was wowed and idolized him. The fact that he never spent a nickel to raise him somehow became all my fault. Yup, I wanted to struggle all those years!

Your daughter is no longer a child. She is likely to wise up on her own if she is not disordered herself. If she’s a person with empathy and caring, she’s likely to figure him out. If not, there is nothing you can do about it.

Trying to convince her that her father is a loser is a losing proposition. She needs to figure it out herself. It will just fuel the animosity between you. She’s an adult. Her choices are her own. You could let her know that you have no interest in having any further discussions with her about her father. Period.

As parents, we do the best we can with the resources and knowledge we have at the time. I hope you can find comfort and peace knowing you did the best you could do.


Thank you for an enlightening and painfully accurate assessment of game theory. With SPD’s there is no “Getting to Yes.” In 2008, my adult daughter joined her SPD/NPD step-dad’s team. After spending five long years in a bizarre, post-divorce battle in the state and federal courts, it became clear my daughter, who avoided contact with me during this time and refused to read the material documentary evidence proving her step-dad repeatedly lied to the court (i. e., Perjury) also suffered from a serious personality disorder. Ironically, my therapist predicted this would happen based on two sessions with MY daughter and me in 2007. After several failed attempts to rebuild our once-healthy relationship, I made the difficult decision following a visit this spring to cut off all contact with her. The subsequent article discussing “The 48 Rules” was a great companion piece because it accurately defines the frightening behaviors my ex and my daughter employed against me. Eliminating my daughter’s ongoing deceit, gas-lighting, and ever-present mind games was my only choice if I wanted to live a healthy and self-affirming life. I wholeheartedly agree with Love Fraud’s mantra…..NO CONTACT! It is the only effective method to avoid being caught in a psychopath’s artfully woven web of denial, deceit, and crazy-making. My advice to anyone still thinking it is possible to negotiate with a SPD; get out now, before he/she causes you further harm. The only game SPD’s play is win-lose, and you WILL lose – – – even in court when ALL the evidence supports your factual claims you were a victim of a deceptive, unemotional, and heartless fraud. A MUST read: “Without Conscience,” by Dr. Robert Hare. A MUST see, ” Divorce Corp.”

Hope Springs

Love your name! I wish I could get that ‘new life’.

I understand what you are saying…it’s my son who is the SP/PP/whatever they are called these days. He is so dysfunctional its almost beyond belief. He is now going through a separation…his wife finally saw the light and kicked him out. He is trying to get everyone to believe that he cares about his children, which he does not. He only married and had kids to make himself ‘look normal’ I swear. Status. It was always so hollow and false. Of course, it has now inevitably all fallen apart, as I knew that it would. I hate being right about this situation. I said to my husband when he married…it won’t last…it can’t. Our son is all about himself. I said to my husband when they started talking about kids…he should not have children. He should not be a father. He is not capable of real love or caring about anyone other than himself! I HATE being correct about all of this!

It’s unfortunately my husband that is the problem, now. I agree with the NO CONTACT, but my husband firmly believes in the family unit NO MATTER WHAT. I think that he thinks that if we just see our son more…love him more…that our son will change. He thinks that our son need us now (even tho he never really does). I am in such a hard place, trying to maintain no contact, yet being sucked into the odd ‘visit’ so that the two of them can go fishing (our son lives thankfully 3 hours away so we have to take a fifth wheel to visit) and so that the two of them can build a relationship together, which they never had, but my husband seems to want so badly…and now the dreaded holiday season is approaching. I fear my husband will invite our son for Christmas, which we have never spent with him since he was in care since 8 years old and also since his marriage 5 years ago…all the reason that I detest the holidays. We have not celebrated them since our son went into care when he was 8.

I literally do not know how I am going to get through this. This site is the only place that I have for support and thank all of you for that. You reaffirm what I know to be true and I am grateful for that.

My husband knows who our son is. He just cannot seem to accept it and what it means.



Bev, I told my daughter just prior to her $25,00.00 wedding I had the impression she was only marrying her husband to be the star of her fabulous wedding. She entered into an affair seven months later and actually took her boyfriend to her in-laws home for Christmas. I was appalled.

This went on for two years until her husband found an email, which led to a brief separation. She became pregnant and eventually ended the affair. At one point she admitted my assertion about the marriage was fact, then became very hostile. Of course I expressed my disapproval… Which led to our estrangement.

A good friend who lost his 21-year-old son to suicide a few years ago and knew my ex, my daughter, and me, encouraged me to try and resolve the situation, a perfectly logical request. Ironically, following my failed efforts this past spring, he was also the person who told me to stop…citing my well-being as primary.

I think you and your husband need to find a therapist who has expertise in personality disorders. It would have been much more difficult for me if my therapist hadn’t picked up on her narcissistic behavior.

A classic comment – – the day after my mastectomy and chest wall reconstruction prior to implanting a tissue expander ( an eight hour surgery) she arrived at the U of Michigan hospital. The first thing she said was “oh for God sake mom, it’s not like you are dying.” When my ex literally disappeared following a 23-year relationship, she said, “Get over it mom, everyone cheats.”

My therapist was awesome and got me through a very difficult time. During my legal nightmare, my dad died. He was the only family member who supported me. My mom, who has since passed, refused to support me, my siblings have nothing to do with me, and my friends from high school told me they don’t believe my story. The misinformation campaign and triangulation was extremely well managed….so I lost all my support systems. I am 61, now indigent (long story) and am happier than I’ve been in years.

Sometimes we are faced with very difficult choices.. Just remember, it is easier to be lonely and alone than lonely in a dysfunctional relationship. Hang in there, it takes time but it does get better. My story is very fact-intensive and legally complex.

I am proud to say I filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against my ex and his employer, a small city in Michigan, for conspiring to deprive me of my constitutional rights. I lasted three years in the federal court and survived two motions for a Summary Judgement without an attorney. Although my case was finally dismissed, I cost the city a fortune, learned a lot, and kept my dignity.

Fight the good fight!!!

Hope Springs

Thank you so much for this newlife09. I know what you mean about isolation and feeling lonely. I can talk about this with VERY few people lest they think I am crazy.

My husband and I have been together for almost 40 years, since we were 14 years old. We put our son in a fantastic foster home when he was 8 where he lived until he moved out at 18. We have had limited contact with him since he was 16. Our son married a girl he barely knew at 28 and rapidly had two children. I believe he did this to ‘create’ a normal life foe all of us to see.

****As a sidebar, our son actually tends to avoid us, but my good old husband always initiates contact, especially now that there are grandchildren and I believe my husband does this out of guilt (like on our son’s birthday, Christmas, etc). I have let go of the guilt a long time ago.****

Now that our son and his wife are separated and not getting back together, and now going to go to mediation over the children (which I am convinced my son does not really want anything to do with, but, must put the image out that he does) my husband feels that our son needs support. My son has destroyed his relationship and now our (mine and my husband’s) relationship is suffering GREATLY. My son almost destroyed my husband and my relationship when he was 7 with a terrible lie, which I will not go into. He has not changed at all, it appears.

He seems to push everyone away with his personality, then wonders where everyone has gone! He then claims abandonment, which is quite the word to use to induce guilt, no? Or, does he wonder where everyone has gone at all? It seems that he just destroys relationships and does not even skip a beat. He already has a ‘new’ girl (which I can’t understand how anyone cannot see that he is very manipulative). He tends to say that he is not a victim of his childhood (poor him) and then turns around and acts like precisely that, a victim. ‘I don’t want people to feel sorry for me’ and then makes people feel sorry for him!

I do not want all of this to destroy my marriage. We have been through alot together and have, what I feel, is a deep love, and a very good relationship. With all of this happening, I am not so sure. I expect my husband to stand by me, not our 33 year old son, who does not really care about us at all.


You have the good fortune of being able to see through your son’s issues. Your husband is not. He loves you, and he loves your child. He hasn’t figured out yet that your son is incapable of love. He may never figure it out.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your husband is against you because he wants a relationship with his child. It really has nothing to do with you. He’s simply not as enlightened as you are on this problem.

If I were you, I’d sit down with your husband and say…. you and I disagree about our son. I love him, but I believe he’s an innately harmful person who can’t change. You think differently, and you’re entitled to your opinion.

I really don’t want to be harmed by him, but I understand your wanting to be with him. We need to agree to disagree on this issue and not let it get in the way of our love and respect for each other.

Hope Springs

Thank you again for this advice. It really helps. I must remember that my husband is indeed, not against me. I think that I know that deep down.

My husband wants so badly for me to just be like him….like he says to me ‘Why can’t you just not expect anything from him (our son) and just accept him the way he is, like I can?” It seems a simple question, but I can’t do that. I just can’t.


It’s one thing not to expect something from him. It’s another to put yourself in harm’s way? If you feel he’s harmed you, and that you want to protect yourself from further harm, you have every right to do so. Perhaps you can make that clear to your husband.

Sometimes, conversations don’t work too well about big issues, and writing a heartfelt letter might do a better job.

Wishing you success!


Thank you for these messages to Bev, esp recognizing that the qualifier is actually their safety. This isn’t actually a disagreement about opinion, this is actually a decision about the choices of Life/death safety from a disordered son.

Agreeing to disagree always stuck in my craw. I found when people said that, it’s an invalidation, not a compromise… and quite a dangerous position to take when dealing with a sociopath or borderline personality disorder. It’s something to live with if it was about opinion, but compromise about safety is the path that disordered souls use to murder. Please know that I am totally open to a different perspective about the agree to disagree thing. I’ve explained why it’s a sticking point for me. Further insight might help me process through that sticking point.

Can I assume the agregious act your son did all those years ago was against you? The reason I think that is that your husband is willing to look past the evidence of your son’s behavior whereas you seem to see it for the danger that it is.

Furthermore, I am concerned that your husband is being supportive of your son during his divorce, when in fact, that kind of support is the WORST support for the well being of his kids/your grandkids. He will USE the support to harm the ex-wife and children. That’s not support. That’s, dare I say it, ENABLING.

I am not writing these words to instigate troubles between you and your husband, but to point out a third person observation and maybe something to work on in therapy. I think your husband’s goal is connection to your son (which I totally understand and empathize with) but… with your son’s disorder, the goal needs to be the safety and well being of ALL family members.

I know your heartache Bev. I went through some very rough years with my daughter. She has gone on medication and therapy and is VASTLY improved. No more wild accusations and rantings. But I know she needs those meds and therapy the rest of her life, and that I will never have the loving relationship with her that I want so badly. But I have a superficial one and I am willing to settle for that, as she is not a danger to me, and my goal is just to know that she is safe and cared for where she is. During the crushing heartbreaking crazy time with her, I DID get to the point of having to make that decision of whether to write her off and avoid her the rest of my life. I know I CAN do that if the time comes. I worked through it by knowing WHO I AM, a loving compassionate caring mommy who wanted to give love share with my beloved daughter… and ALSO to accept what she was (at that time), a danger to me and as long as I “accepted” her as that danger, I was IN FACT, encouraging and excusing her abuse and bizarre behavior which was NOT GOOD FOR HER, as well as being detrimental to me.

I write this part because it might be a path to help your husband separate what IS from what he WISHES for, and how what he wants might possibly be the worse thing for your son. If your husband would notice, it’s when your son accepted being accountable for the consequences of his behavior is the only time he made the choices that were good for his, his wife, and his kids. When he stopped submitting to being accountable, he’s a danger to all.

All my best to you Bev. As I say, I know the heartache.

Hope Springs

Hi again NotWhatHeSaidofMe,

The agregious act was actually directed at my husband, although it was really meant to destroy both of us. I hope that you can figure out what it was…the most awful lie a child can tell when it is not true.

My husband believes that our son was young, so, well, he was just a screwed up little kid. However, our son was always doing and saying bad things up to that point and really has not changed even now that he is 33 years old.

I can’t believe that my husband even wants this relationship. He and I have such a good life, especially when our son is not involved in it. Every time there is contact with him again, everything seems hopeless again.

I hope that this can change someday because it’s getting pretty old.

Thank you so much for all of your help, and yes, support. Your post made me sob. My husband is most definitely enabling our son. Definitely. You don’t know how many nails you have hit on the head in your posts. It’s like you know us personally! I wish you did and we could all sit down together. My husband NEEDS to talk to people who ‘get’ all of this. You can’t just talk to anyone about these things…

Hope Springs

That is totally me Flicka!!

You are so right. My husband and I celebrate ‘quietly’ every year, Thanksgiving and Christmas with my wonderful loving mother. We are INDEED grateful. you are so right, it’s a lot more than some have, that’s for sure.

As far as doing for others, well, that is a fantastic idea. Christmas really doesn’t mean anything to me for myself any way. (My mother does enjoy cooking us a Christmas dinner…she doesn’t have to but she always wants to)! I never Christmas shop at all and neither does my husband. We haven’t for a long time. We are definitely not sucked in by all that nonsense. It just makes you think, though, about what might have been, I suppose, That’s what I meant, really. It seems like all families are getting together no matter what.

Fabulous post! Thank you.

Hope Springs

You are all so wonderful on this website. I hope that I too, can help others who are asking for help.

I have a question…now that someone has accepted all of this…how does one live in the world? What I mean by that is, so many television commercials about family, that pull at the heart strings…then holidays Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, just to name a few…my husband and I have not celebrated these since our son went into care at 8 years of age. We just are not ‘into’ those celebratory family sorts of events or things. Also, what about when friends talk about how wonderful this and that is, or was, to do with their children?

That is so difficult for us…my husband and I all these years. I always try and keep my interest or responses to these things light, but I do dread every freaking holiday…or talking to friends and family about certain things. People are always asking…how’s your son…how are your grandkids…who we never see, especially now with all the turmoil going on. Sheesh!

How do you live in this world?!


My heart goes out to you but you must find your own way of dealing with this problem which is far more than you may think. First, I would celebrate holidays more from the standpoint of what you may offer OTHERS as opposed to yourself. You are most fortunate to still have a supportive, loving mother to celebrate with…be content with that. It’s a lot more than some others have! Secondly, stay out of stores and shopping centers which tend to flaunt holiday merriment in your faces and go to a movie, bowling, play card games with friends, go to help out at “soup kitchens’ to learn gratitude and the joy which comes from giving to less-fortunate others etc. We’re constantly being fed the “ideal” instead of the real…don’t be so fooled by dollar propaganda. Surround yourselves with “like” people, not keeping up the false image of what truly constitutes love. Reconnect with PEOPLE, not THINGS. Don’t keep living in the past and pretending; make your own future based on reality. good luck!


One more thing, Bev. I’m not sure why you choose to accompany your husband when he visits your son. Stay home and enjoy your time alone. If your husband insists you go with him, that is classic “power over and control.” Only you have the right to control your life. If you feel your husband is incapable of respecting your “no contact” decision with your son, you may have “bigger fish to fry.” If your son chooses to visit over the holidays, I would leave…..stay with family, friends, or take a trip. If you have other children, plan a holiday at their home. It is imperative you assert your rights and stand your ground, even if your spouse objects. What’s the worst that can happen? Unless you fear someone may get physically injured or you will face severe economic challenges, you have options. As they say in the world of finance, exercise your options! Your happiness will profit immensely. 🙂

Hope Springs

That’s right! My mother says the same thing. Thank goodness for her. I am always welcome to stay with her if and when my son comes to our house. That is wonderful! My mother is totally on board with what is happening, like I said, thank goodness. She has been an absolute rock for me through all of the years. I love her so.

I guess I think that if I do not accompany my husband to see our son, that our son will pull the wool over his eyes once again. My husband is always teeing up the next time that they (we) can all be together as well. When I am there, I try to divert that, like I will say ‘well, let’s not make a plan, because you never know what may happen’…it usually works! (Mostly because my son can’y make a plan and can’t even seem to plan what he might do later that day). Because if my husband says something, or makes a plan, he ALWAYS follows through. That’s just who he is. It’s actually a great quality, except when it comes to this.

My husband truly has the best intentions. He thinks that we can all be a happy little family (even though we never have been). He is chasing a fantasy life that can never be. He is trying to rebuild something that was never there in the first place. This is not the life that he (or I) envisioned and he cannot and will not accept that. I have accepted it. He wants it so badly that I feel so sorry for him, but I just cannot do it.


Know your last feeling well; some of us just cannot keep our own selves (integrity) no matter the motivation. We ultimately need to be able to look at The Man In The Glass.

Hope Springs

Thank you flicka. I appreciate that.


I agree flicka,
The feeling of failure is horrendous. Mom’s are always to blame first, then fathers. And we take that on, that we did something wrong so that’s why little johnny shoots up a class of students and murders/maims them until someone finally shows up to stop him. Only… we have to recognize that all parents screw up some things and that’s not an excuse for johnny to turn into a terror.

Bev’s husband is stuck in what he wants, and not in what IS REALITY. Part of that is guilt. A way of getting past that is to know it may not be what a parent envisions for this child but we parents don’t have that power. They were NEVER OURS, they were only for us to raise for a little while, and then they are their own, their mistakes are THEIRs, their consequences are from THEIR choices.

It’s a very hard, necessary place in life to get to the place where we know “this” is my “s*” and “THAT is NOT my s*”.

Heartache abounds. Am so sad for it.

Hope Springs

That is exactly how I feel, NotWhatHeSaidofMe.

I really have dealt with any feelings of guilt or failure regarding what has happened with our son. I believe that my husband has not. In fact, I know it. This could be because of OUR different familial backgrounds. I am an only child, and had what I think was a fairly normal and good childhood. I am very independent. My husband is the youngest of 5, had a very lenient yet loving mother who was emotionally fragile and he was ‘babied’ by her to some extent, I feel..which, BTW, I never did with my son. My husband is a bit more dependent on family, but not overly so.

My husband does want what he wants, even though it can never be. He does not believe that. He can’t seem to believe that. Won’t believe it.

Our son really was NEVER ours. We had him until age 8 and then he was in a loving foster home. I kept in tough with the ‘mother’ who said that our son was still acting the same way, and also never cried for us, never talked about us, just slid into their ‘family’ and of course, created havoc there. Of course, my husband and I were devastated when we made the decision to ‘give him up’. We were 26 years old at the time. I know it our son was never ours, even from birth, but my husband simply cannot and will not accept that. Heartache is right. I dare say, I wish that we’d never had this child. It is forever and this forever feels rotten. My heart hurts for us all the time.

Thank you for taking the time to be so thoughtful and helpful. This site is unbelievably wonderful for all of us. It actually makes me sigh with relief.

Hope Springs

Sorry…in TOUCH with the ‘mother’


Until you actually have a child like this, it’s hard for people to recognize what a nightmare it is. While adults with the disorder have common sense and limit their harm to satisfy specific needs, children have no boundaries. They’re permanently in your face and constantly at odds with you.

It brings to mind the story of my son and his desk chair.

At a teacher conference, I was admonished because my son said he couldn’t do his homework since he didn’t have a chair to sit at his desk and study. I was that “Mean Mom” that prevented him from doing the right thing.

Although he was only 7 years old, it wasn’t the first time he’d bad-mouthed me. But each time I heard he’d done so was painful. I explained to the teacher that he’d broken 3 chairs, so instead of replacing the last one, I’d told him to take a chair from the kitchen table (4 feet from his bedroom door,) and bring it to his desk when he needed it.

Any attempt a parent takes to reign in bad behavior is punished by the child’s attempts to throw you under the bus, whenever possible, to whomever will listen. There’s no respect for you, no loyalty, no caring, it’s heart wrenching, especially when you love them with all your heart.

I can imagine what it took to raise your son, and the heartbreak you’ve been through.

The bonding mechanism of these children is broken. And unfortunately, there’s no fixing it. Their brains are wired to be me-centric, solitary souls who establish relationships based on want and need, not love.

He’ll pit you and your husband against each other to get back at you for recognizing who he is. He needs validation. And your husband provides it.

The book, “Just Like His Father” is a good explanation of the problem. It may be helpful to read it, and ask your husband to read it too. Until he’s more enlightened, you will need to accept that he is doing what he believes is right.

Hope Springs

Hello, and thank you again.

Once again, you are spot on. My son knows that I am ‘onto’ him and that I do not want a relationship with him. He also knows that my husband will keep enabling and initiating a relationship to happen, which my husband also wants (or needs) me to be a part of. My husband feels that our son NEEDS his mother. Funny, because our son has never needed me, ever.

You know, if I think back, my son knows that I do not want to see him and haven’t wanted to for a long time (which by the way, seems not to bother him). He decides to marry (very fast) and have children (which I always felt like he had to make himself look good and to somehow prove that he is normal and that someone can love him…which has backfired btw, now that his spouse is also wise to him). I always told our son that I never wanted grandchildren because of what happened with him in the past. Everyone in my life is keenly aware that I don’t like children. I wonder why. I will add here that our son was our first and ONLY child. After him, there was NO WAY that we were having another. My husband had a vasectomy when our son was a toddler…can’t remember exactly when.

Anyway, if I look back in time and think about things…it is no wonder that I do not want a relationship with our son’s children, even if they are ‘our’ grandchildren. Our son never felt like he was ours, and his kids do not feel like they are ‘ours’ either. What a breakthrough. (I thought I just hated children at this point). Especially if they are still in our son’s life. I just cannot perpetuate that kind of dysfunction! I do not think that our son is even fit to be a father as his children seem more like possessions that he parades in front of the people that he deems somehow ‘worthy’ to him to know that he is ‘normal’. He really is not genuine about his children, if you know what I mean.

Thank you for the book recommendation. I am going to get it and read it.

Cheers and much thanks,

Perhaps, if your son and his wife divorce, you might think differently about being close to your grandchildren. They may, or may not be like him. They have two parents, and his DNA may not be prominent in their brain function.

Your daughter-in-law seems to be open to your relationship, and that might give you the opportunity to have a real loving bond with the next generation.

One of the things that would concern me about being close to grandchildren that my son would produce, is that my son would use them as a weapon to harm me more than he already has. He’s consumed by abandonment issues and takes his father’s abandonment out on me…. it’s all my fault that his father disappeared from his life, afterall, I was that “Mean Mom” that wouldn’t even by him a chair for his desk. Who would want to be around me?

Yup, I did all the heavy lifting of parenting him while his father lived in the lap of luxury and traveled all around the world. He’s great, I’m nothing to him.

If your son has less control over his children because of the divorce, perhaps that wouldn’t be as big of a factor in your decision.

Grandparents can add tremendous value to a child’s development.

Wishing you all the best!


I have kept my life simple and small for decades. The psychopath has ties to my life because we graduated from the same high school class. Unfortunately, I shared things with people from my class and it spread.

I have been accused of being very boring and uninteresting, but people do not understand that this is the way to be when a psychopath is ‘on the loose’, digging up what they can about you. The ‘slightest breeze’ in the direction of change, excitement, or success can send them flying…their minds race ahead to the potential outcome of where and what this ‘change’ could bring you…

And they want to get there first and do it up in such a stupendous fashion that you could not possibly threaten them with your ‘weak little scheme’. And it would not really be a ‘scheme’ (only in their eyes)…you would just be filling your own personal destiny in being true to yourself.

I know of which I speak.

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