By | July 17, 2014 27 Comments

3 Signs You Should Stop Hurting the Sociopath in Your Life

So you’re wondering if you’re with someone who has a character disorder? Maybe a narcissist? Or a sociopath? If you are, you might often be accused of hurting that poor person. Here are three things you might be blamed for, otherwise known as red flags:

1. A person with a character disorder is not responsible for his or her life. You are. And if you don’t step up to the plate with a full wallet, lots of energy, and a constant smile, then you’re going to hear about it. About how mean you are. Uncaring. Unloving. Unwilling. Even if you’ve been stepping up to the plate with all of the above for years and are simply worn out by your partner’s inability to invest alongside you. Even when you’re fixing their problems or building their dreams.

They’re masters at delegation. Manipulation. Inspiring others to invest in them. But they’ll never give what you’re giving. They’re already scheming up their second plan as you’re spending your life savings on the first. And when you tire of their unwillingness to put anything of their own into the problems they want you to fix, they’ll attack you for being “mean.” When you’re exhausted of pouring yourself into their ideas, they’ll demonize you and detach. You aren’t who they thought you were. You’re selfish. You’re mean. They want to be with someone new and unknowing. Someone who will pour everything they have into the new dream—with a full wallet, lots of energy, and a constant smile.

So stop being mean. Let that poor person go.

2. When you’re in a relationship with someone who has a character disorder, you are likely to reach a point when they suddenly can’t trust you anymore. They’ll call you “sneaky” and “deceitful.” They’ll accuse you of cheating. Betraying them. Doing something surreptitious. Be warned. This is a common sign that they are, indeed, involved in some sort of betrayal. If you’ve done a careful analysis and haven’t cheated or lied or done anything along those lines, and if you’re suddenly accused of unfounded deceitfulness, then the person you’re with is likely projecting on you. That means they’re doing something behind your back and are projecting that behavior on you—saying that you’re the one who’s doing it.

If you’re living the same life you lived when this person was madly in love with you and completely wowed by your “solid values,” then consider their accusations of untrustworthiness and betrayal a giant red flag.

So stop being so surreptitious and tell your partner the truth. That it’s time to move on.

3. If you’re in a relationship with someone who has a character disorder, you’re likely to be accused of holding them back. At some point, you’ll come to be viewed as the chain that keeps them from doing everything. From forming the business of their dreams. From living a life of love and happiness. From being “truly connected” to their partner. They’ll say they want it. They’ll do almost nothing to realize it. But they’ll talk about everything they’re doing and have done all the time to anyone who will listen.

They’ll ignore your “let’s make this happen” pep talks. They’ll fantasize about it all day long—that greener grass. And then they’ll put their laser focus on you as being the one and only reason why they can’t get it. If they’re violent, they may want to beat you. If they’re cold, they may withdraw into an icy silence. If they’re sneaky, they may start messing around on the side. If they’re disordered, they’ll do just about any hurtful thing to you that you can think of. To punish you for holding them back. Even when you’re the one to fund the travel. To fund the business. To pay the rent. They’ll never acknowledge your contributions; instead they’ll get people to feel sorry for them because you “never cared” about their plans. Even when you’ve invested all you have in just about anything they ever asked for.

So stop holding them back. Let that person fly away.

~H.G. Beverly is the author of The Other Side of Charm.
~This post can also be found on

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Thank you for posting this. As usual, you are spot on. I have been called all the names, accused of being responsible for his bad behavior ( I “push his buttons”) and the reason why his life didn’t work out the way he dreamed it would. Even years after my divorce, I am still being called “mean,” “sneaky,” deceitful” and so much more. Now he has my child calling me mean too. I was even blamed for his infidelity! When I questioned him about the emails I found, he immediately turned it on me and blamed me for not trusting him, for checking up on him, and for being an insensitive and uncaring wife for questioning him! Later, he after admitting to the cheating, he once again placed the blame on me. He was unhappy, he was at a low point, I needed to be more understanding.

I am reading your book now and so much of your story matches mine. With a trial looming in the near future, I have to say that reading about how the courts, attorneys, and officials have treated you scares me. I pray that one day we can both prevail against the evil.


eggshellsnomore, check out, facebook page One moms battle and Tina Swiften’s (site creator of One moms’s battle) two books on divorcing a narc (her site or amazon). Her sites/books are dedicated to divorcing a narcissist and court custody issues.

If you dont/do have a facebook page I would suggest that you open a fake email acct then a fake facebook page with that name that way you can chat freely on the fb.

Wishing you all the best with your up coming trail.


These are so spot on, all 3 were present in my relationship. But instead of calling me “mean” he would call me “lazy”. I met every need of his there was, walked on eggshells to anticipate them to avoid fights, so he’d come up with whatever he could that I wasn’t doing for him and say it was because I was lazy. One fight that I didn’t even realize how crazy it was at the time but is such a good example of his sociopathic behavior is that he went into a rage at me one time because I was “lazy” and a “lazy partner”. I worked full time, took 100% care of our infant son when I wasn’t at work (including night feedings), did all chores around the house including grocery shopping and cooking healthy meals – I literally ran on fumes doing it all, so I could not figure out how I was lazy. When pressed for an example to back this up he finally said it was because I hadn’t hung pictures in our new home (that I purchased 100% on my own). He was home all day long and had zero responsibility every evening and weekend, during which time he’d play video games, watch TV, or get high, yet I was lazy for not hanging pictures up around the house (which he never asked me to do in the first place). Because I was so exhausted from trying to do everything I actually felt lazy, so he knew that was better ammo against me than to accuse me of being mean. Sure enough I hung those damn pictures (to prove I truly did love him and wanted to make an effort to be a good partner – barf), and knowing how well it worked I heard it over and over again until the day I left the relationship. I’m a full time successful professional, active single mom (was even before the relationship ended frankly), friend, daughter, niece, sister, aunt – yet I’m lazy. He’s a one man pity party with no responsibility to anyone. Yet I still have to remind myself all the time when I get tired or have to put off a chore or cancel plans with someone that it’s just because I’m human and have a lot on my plate, not because I’m lazy.

I still to this day can not believe how easily manipulated I was by him, and how deep the damage was done.


I was called lazy all the time too. And just like you, I was a full-time working professional ( the only one working at the time) with an infant child at home. Just like you, I cleaned the house, did the shopping, took care of the baby when I was home, got up at night with him, fed him before leaving for and after returning home from work, bathed him every night and handled all of the bills and finances. He “ran around” all day, sat in front of his computer , went out for lunch and corresponded with sexual encounters ( of the same sex) online while I was working and a nanny (who I was paying) watched our baby. He was fraudulently collecting money from an insurance settlement each month and spent it all on himself and his toys, all while he first blamed me for working too much as a new mother, then not enough when I had trouble with the bills. A good and “normal” mother would never leave a new baby at home so much and go to work. If I didn’t clean the house the way he wanted, or waited an extra day to pick something up or wipe something down, I was lazy. Because I was too worn out to exercise any more, I was fat and lazy. I agreed to start working out with the equipment we had at home, if he would watch the baby for 45 minutes 3-4 days a week. After about 10 minutes, he would bring the baby to me, or start hounding me about when I was going to be done, and when I quit because of these interruptions, I was once again lazy. If I dared mention to him how I felt, and that I needed help or he needed to spend some of “his” money on the family or stay home and help with the baby, then I was mean and demanding- a true bitch. I could never win, and like you I tip-toed around him so as not to cause an argument, I gave in when I knew better just to keep the peace, and I always though if I just worked a little harder, made a little more money, did what he demanded I do, then I was being a good wife and showing him how much I loved him and wanted our relationship to work! Gag me!!!!!! I cringe when I think back to how I was an what I put up with.


I am still thankful for the lapse in control my spath showed when he left me. Of course, it was because I was not following his rules and not taking care of him like I used to before our 3 month old son happened to come into our lives. He never imagined that I would decide that I was actually happy that he left me as opposed to crawling back to him seeking forgiveness!

I was always the one causing him to have to correct my behavior and discipline me. The punishment he was forced to administer to me after ordering a whopper in the incorrect order had him forcing me to eat that whopper through my nose. Our marriage was holding him back from enjoying a full dating life. That he got a 14 year old girl pregnant who now has a girl six months older than my son… that was my fault. My morning sickness repulsed him so he had to have sex elsewhere even though it was in our bed while I was at work with her parents at home in the house next door.

I remember a conversation he had with me where he described in great and well considered detail as to how my behavior would force him to kill me and have to get rid of my body. The details were staggering. Even by CSI standards today, he was willing to go to great lengths to eliminate all traces of me without any repercussions for himself. In fact he complained about how much thought he had to put into his plan because of me.

I loved how he used to accuse me of flirting with and having an affair with the bag boy at the grocery store who I only talked to in order to express an interest in one bagging method over another. I was accused of having a full blown affair with a friend of his – even though it was the ex spath who would pair us together as dive buddies on scuba dives that the ex spath was following us the whole time. At times I wished I was actually doing the things I was being accused of because it sounded like a better life than I was living.

After he left me, he continued to stalk me. I would get his phone messages telling me where I had been all day for no particular reason other than to keep me scared and under his control. I saw him following me one day, so I drove the back way to the local police station. He drove right up to where they take in prisoners where he was welcomed with open arms and hand cuffs for violating a Protective Order.

I’ve been told through the grapevine that even though we have been divorced and no contact for the past 23 years, he continues to blame me for his life’s problems. Whatever, I’ve moved on.

Thankfully, for the past 23 years, I have been busy living my own life and getting over the past so I could be happy now. I wouldn’t trade lives with him for anything! He did email me a couple of years ago wanting to resume contact saying he “thought of our life together fondly.” I chose not to respond and got a new email account. I don’t miss being his punching bag. I don’t miss him at all – took awhile, but I don’t miss him at all. The only thing I want to hear about him is his obituary.


Bets, when I read accounts of relationships on lovefraud, I just have to take a deep breath and shake my head at all the women that have been abused for years and the public has ZERO clue about the evilness these people do to others. This type of abuse has been going on thousands of years and yet new victims are sucked into their con games everyday because there is no public stream line education using the words sociopath, psychopath & narcissism. It’s disappointing that the abuse centers do not have a continual ad campaign on this very subject throughout the year to warn woman…This abuse can be prevented with the proper education (I am so thankful for Donna’s wonderful site for educating me after my counselor told me who my now ex h then h is).

Like all of us we had no clue that 1 in 25 people were sociopaths/psychopaths…wish I did then I would have know my gut reaction was amazingly accurate the min I met people…but like most I felt like I was being to picky about who I let into my circle (i was always very picky but now know that I was right in doing so) and with my ex I let my guard down after moving to a new state for a job and he was a friend of a friend…I ignored my gut reaction on him.

I am truly sorry that you endured so much abuse from this man, it really does hurt my heart to read everyones post but it also is a blessing to know that I have connected to others who have been through the same thing I have and throughly understand the pain that has been inflicted.

Very smart move to drive to the police station – Standing ovation for you!!

“At times I wished I was actually doing the things I was being accused of because it sounded like a better life than I was living”……So TRUE!!

“The only thing I want to hear about him is his obituary”… Then you will have complete peace!


Jan7, I’ve got to say my radar for finding sociopaths and narcissists is much better these days than it was back in the days of my ex. I too let my guard down and ignored my initial warning feelings. I was ripe for the picking and he got me but good.

As bad as the physical abuse became, the lies were the hardest for me to process. I didn’t find out about the 14yr old’s daughter until after my divorce since they moved away before they knew for sure that she was pregnant. When I confronted the ex about the statutory rape of his friend’s child, he gave me the most ridiculous story of how she threw herself at him (knowing the girl – not possible) and I was unavailable because of my pregnancy… funny thing is by then I could count. I wasn’t pregnant at the time he got her pregnant so his whole reasoning about how it was MY fault to begin with was BS. By the end our our relationship I couldn’t say for sure the sky was blue having been told how wrong I was for so long. The constant stream of BS had been a daily thing with him so part of my recovery was wading through all of the lies and recovering my reality. Accepting my fault in accepting his behavior and forgiving myself – that was the hard part. This website and all of the commenters have helped me keep moving forward.

Thanks for the standing O for the police station. That was a moment of inspiration I’m particularly proud of! He never saw that coming!!

I see and hear commercials for acceptance of difference. I know what they mean to do in these campaigns but I am concerned that there is an unintended consequence. I hear my children talking about accepting people who are different – there is no filter to those differences. I see this message overshadowing the No More Silence/No More Violence campaign. How do you alert people to beware of danger when you are supposed to accept and celebrate difference? Sociopaths and narcissists are different too. How about advocating that trusting gut feelings with some people could save lives? It’s just one of those things that bugs me.


Bets, I HATED my ex h’s pathological lying…he would lie about everything…if I made him breakfast he would lie about what he eat for breakfast. I remember the first marriage counselor we went to she asked me what were my biggest issues with my husband…..I told her I hated his constant lying (amount a long list), that lying is my biggest pet peeve and don’t understand why people lie because telling the truth is so easy…her response was “O’boy were going to have a problem” at the time I was so brain washed that I was a robot, zombie stepford wife and did not ask her what she meant. On the way home my husband said that I should not trust the counselor (he repeated this throughout the drive home to brain wash me not to open up with her anymore, and it worked 🙁 I agree that that message is over shadowing violence campaign and I think it benefits the sociopaths as they use it as pity play to suck more people in to their game.

I so agree with you about this new age “accept everyone”…I say NO…there is a reason why you only should follow your gut.

If you google “oprah gavin debecker you tube” you can watch her interview with the author of “Gift of fear”…the clip will reminds us to always always listen to our gut!!

Your welcome for the standing ovation (Still loudly clapping for you btw!!!) you so deserve it…an absolute brillant plan…would loved to have seen a video clip of his face when he realized you out witted him! 🙂


PS your story about your ex sexual encounters/hidden life is just so sick & twisted…they are so crazy…it’s sometimes hard to wrap my head around their double & triple lifestyle and the destruction they leave behind (that poor girl so sad to hear stories like that one)….it’s a crazy, crazy world!!


The part in this post that really caught my attention was “they’re masters at delegation”. My spath is the master of delegation. But even more so than being the master of delegation, the master of TAKING CREDIT FOR EVERYONE ELSES HARD WORK…. At one time (a long time ago) we were both working. We had a joint banking account. But I was apparently the only one who’s paycheck went into that account. It was my hard earned money paying the bills. AND I DIDNT MIND THAT. Because I was trying to build a life together and I looked forward to the future. I WAS SO STUPID. She never put her paycheck in our account. But had No problem spending the money that I put in the account.
When it came to taking the kids to daycare, I didn’t mind taking them everyday. I worked til 6-630 and even though she was home or wherever then, she couldn’t pick up the kids from daycare. She would have her mother or sister pick them up. So after I got off work, I would have to go by her mothers and get the kids. I would come home and she was home, passed out cold on couch. It was obvious she was on drugs or something because she was so out of it, I couldn’t wake her. It was scary. I never knew if I would come home one day and she would be dead.

Her prescription drug use eventually led to the loss of her job. Of course she DID NOT have a problem. It was her boss, he had it out for her. He was a sexist and didn’t respect woman. Even though many woman have worked that same position. She never thought maybe her being late everyday, being unreliable, and even after many chances kept this behavior up, her boss had no choice but to let her go. Or maybe her boss fired her because she was sleeping with a co-worker (I found that out about 2 years after she had been fired, I had no idea at the time, but she continued the affair long after her job termination).

We are now divorced. And she still tries to make me miserable. We have 2 children and so unfortunately I have to have some communication, but I have as little as possible. She text messages me all the time, most of it is BS that is not even true about the children. She IS STILL TAKING CREDIT FOR EVERYONE else Hard Work! If I take one of our children to the doctor, she will tell her mother SHE was the one who had taken the child to the doctor, and I am the sorry dead beat dad who is refusing to pay her back for HER TAKING “our child” to the doctor. And her mother ask how much the dr visit was?!? She makes up a price, then even will say and the prescription cost this. The mother gives her that amount of $!! WHEN SHE NEVER DID ANYTHING. IT IS CRAZY MAKING! The children are on my insurance. I have to take them to the doctor because she has “better” things to do (I assume..)

She never attends any of the children’s soccer games, cheer games, school events. She sends her mother or her crazy aunt. They take pictures and then she gets on twitter and Facebook and post the pictures that her relatives sent to her. And pretends she was there, she is such a good mother, and loves her children more than life itself. It’s frustrating. I use to confront her on it, but i eventually learned confronting her on that and everything else was Not Worth it. It only caused me more conflict. Did I think that she was actually going to admit to me that she is a negligent mother, and incompetent and dysfunctional. Ha. Yeah right! And all I want is to be left alone. Everything she has done and all the lies and money she has stolen from me. I should of pressed charges on her when she got credit cards in my name and ruined my credit. But I was to worried about how my children’s mother going to jail or being arrested would effect them.

Two comments describe my husband perfectly!”Master at delegation” and “if they’re cold they may withdraw into an icy silence”.

My husband would drive me crazy with his OCD….not because he was always wiping things down or straightening them up!No,he expected ME to keep the house perfectly clean…ME…NOT HIM! What’s that…a disordered disorder?!!!!”Oh,and Honey,I need you to go out and clean the car out” (hamburger wrappers,etc…his mess;not mine!)Then there was yard work (I’m tired) and snow to clear off the car (you KNOW I can’t do that!).

My husband knew how important communication is to me;therefore one of his ultimate forms of punishment (FOR WHAT?!!!!) was to turn his head to the wall when I tried to talk to him!But he would talk so sweetly and encourage others!


Now, imagine this kind of character-disordered thinking and treatment directed a child by her own mother. I tried to be the daughter my mother wanted and could be proud of for over 50 years of my life, but finally I just couldn’t take the chronic disapproval/criticism anymore; my physical health was breaking down due to the stress, so I finally gave up and walked away.

I think the surest way one can heal from psychological abuse from a psychopath (or someone on the spectrum of psychopathy, aka the Cluster B disorders) is to detach from the spath as early as possible in the relationship. Endless appeasement, trying harder to be “perfect”, being “pathologically altruistic” (I learned that phrase at “Psychology Today”) etc., are just pointless and only prolong the agony.

If you know of a child who is being psychologically maltreated by a psychopathic (clinical or sub-clinical) parent, please do whatever you can to either rescue the child or at least be in the child’s life so you can provide the child with at least one normal, healthy adult’s attention, approval and encouragement. One caring adult can make a world of difference to a child who is being emotionally starved to death.


“One caring adult can make a world of difference to a child who is being emotionally starved to death.” This is so well said. I’m so sorry what you went through as a child, but appreciate you sharing your experience.

Oh, my goodness! I love this! Thank you for giving that wonderful piece of yourself in humor. I am thrilled and laughed at the look at reality for so many of us who have gone through this experience. Sarcasm can be a great healing tool.


This is brilliant. I’m saving this one. Exactly as mine is. I can’t believe how, when he wants ‘a meeting’ I prepare myself to do the gray rock bit and it all falls apart. After 7 years I still fall for the lies – until I’m alone – then I tell myself off. He got my lifesavings for stupid ‘businesses’ which was a total waste of time and money. He never contributed one penny, never worked, constantly cheated, gave me STDs, blamed me for what he did wrong, told me I was cheating. My eyes didn’t open until more than a year after he left me when my money was gone. Then I suffered pain for another year. Now I just resent the wasted time, losing all my money and his still slandering me. Otherwise, now I can read him like a book. Brilliant article.


This is so so true. Our 16 y/o son is just like this. He never acknowledges anything we do for him, or give to him, only that we don’t care about him, because we will not get him an iPhone like everyone else, or we won’t let him on the computer. Whenever he is on wifi or the internet he will access pornography or steal my debit card to purchase something without asking. WE have given him so much. He never gives anything back. I’m honest with him, but he tells me I’m lying. No one I talk to understands. Our son’s friend’s Mom thinks we are horrible. He is adopted.


cheripik – OMG! We need to talk. Our spath is adopted also. Her adoptive parents were ill prepared and over their heads in dealing with an spath. (Both of her biological parents were diagnosed sociopaths in a social study prior to her adoption.) No one in the family believed them when they talked about some of the things she was doing. We believe them now, but only because we have been involved with her behavior for the past several years and are trying to protect the children she has had from her behavior. She lies about everyone and everything. She has been known to steal. She manipulates people and systems constantly. Her adoptive parents and ex husband lost jobs because of her. According to her… everyone she was in contact with abused her. The entire family abused her. We abuse her because we hold her to the truth and counter her lies. She only appreciates what she is given when it is part of a manipulation, otherwise nothing and no amount of it is good enough or sufficient.

You are in a difficult situation. Our spath could have been diagnosed at 15 except for the reluctance of professionals to label before the age of 18. What little advise I can offer is you need a support system educated in sociopaths. Other adoptive parents may only be dealing with attachment disorder where your son may be a flat out sociopath. Document, document, document everything you can. You need to educate yourself and stay strong. It isn’t easy dealing with a family member who is a sociopath. God Bless!!!!

I took my son to at least 4 different therapists before he was 13. He was very obviously lacking empathy from the time he was small. I hoped time would correct the problem. Little did I know, it was genetic. And little did I know, it was the basic underpinning of sociopathy.

He had all the earmarks of character disorder…. ADHD, impulsivity, played with fire, killed his pet rabbit with his bare hands at age 4, and on and on. He was expelled from 4 schools and kicked out of his college dorm. You’d think someone in the mental health profession would have sat me down and said, “We need to talk!”

To this day, I’m his pivotal blame magnet. Everything bad in his life is my fault. I was too permissive, or not permissive enough. I was too giving, or too stingy. I was too soft or too harsh. I was too smart or too stupid. I was never a person, just a provider. In fact, his parting words were, “Now that I’m independent, what do I need you for?”

With the clarity of 20/20 hindsight, I now understand the dynamics of what I faced. I can see the humor in it. But there is no humor in his loss, regardless of the pain and anguish his presence caused. He was and always will be my son.

For those of you going through the fractured tempest of life with a character disordered child, you have my wholehearted wishes for the strength to create emotional distance and help you face each difficult day. Hopefully, you will find peace in knowing that all you can do is the best you can do, and there is no clear path. Recovery is not a possibility with someone who is not capable of recovering. Managing your heartache is the means by which you will survive. They will not be children forever.


There’s the rub. HOW does one manage the heartache? My child has not murdered or robbed anyone, but there are lies upon lies, and scams upon scams. She’s not psychopath but she is borderline or something similar because she goes into blackout rages. She will rage so intensely and then fall asleep and wake up swearing it didn’t happen, that we are lying about her behavior.

At the least, she is like my mother, so yep, I think it genetic and obviously she got it through me. I didn’t raise her that way and except for grade school temper tantrums, she didn’t act out until she was in her 20’s.

I keep thinking if I had known, I could have done something for her. I am angry at myself for not seeing she needed help. And angrier that I married a sociopath who encouraged her to be cruel, as a way to divide her off from me. He was jealous that I loved her. In his mind, all my care was to be given to him. He punished me for have love for my child. He punished her for being my child.

So… dear jm_short… HOW is that kind of heartache managed?

Because I admit, sometimes I’d like to die and end the pain of it. Not direct suicide, but it’s hard to take care of myself. What for. I thought I’d be a better mother than I had, (my mom was a nightmare terror). Instead I’ve raised a kid who hates me the same way my mom did. ANd I can’t blame my mom for what I did to raise my kid! It’s all on ME. (Just ask! All the websites that give advice to moms who struggle with their kids blame the MOM!)


I hear you loud and clear.

Unfortunately, there is very little information in the public eye about raising kids with sociopathic mindsets. Most people will tell you, it’s all your fault.

Generally, society feels that a child is born as a clean slate…. as if they are vessels we mold and fill as they develop. I’ve realized, after a great deal of research, and reading on the subject, it’s simply not so. Our kids have genetic functions that are indigenous in their character.

Having a son or daughter with sociopathic tendencies, that does not turn out to be a murderer or a thief, is a credit to the upbringing you gave them. They could have become ghouls had you not been a parent who instilled the boundaries that ultimately limited how low they would sink.

Sociopathic kids who grow up with violence are more likely to exhibit Ted Bundy-like behavior. Character disordered kids who develop in more stable and loving homes, although unable to develop conscience or caring, generally won’t chop their neighbors up for dinner. But even that’s not a given. They might.

So if you can gain any solace in your thoughts about your child, it could spring from the fact that, but for your support and love, they could easily have become much worse than they turned out.

It is excruciatingly painful to lose a child to character disorder. Their lives continue undaunted, but full of hatred and without your inclusion. Your future as a family is lost. The more you understand the underpinnings of it, the better at forgiving yourself you’ll become. You didn’t want your child to be this way, yet they are. And the recognition that they are incapable of loving us the way we love them is heart breaking.

You need to find meaning elsewhere. You won’t find it by being their parent. You need to accept that you can’t change them. They are who they are, and it is highly unlikely that they will change on their own.

When my son left, for the longest time, I couldn’t even stand seeing a parent and child walk down the street together. I was grief struck beyond words. His antipathy for me rang in my ears and played over and over in my mind, consuming my thoughts. The heaviness of it was stifling. I needed both an anti-depressant to help tune it out, and a good therapist in order to survive.

I thought my life was over. Everything I’d lived for and strived for came to a screeching halt. I had to grieve that loss in the same way one needs to grieve the loss of a child who dies. The difference is that they are not dead and their cruelty toward you is ongoing each and every day. You have to accept that it’s what they want, be happy that they are not ghouls, and make a life for yourself without them in it.

You can find other meaning for yourself. There are unfortunate souls all around you who you can benefit. And reaching out to help others will give you back your self esteem.

I don’t think there is anything more painful in the universe than losing a child. What I understand today, that I didn’t understand back when he was hurling insults and accusations at me is, it was just a game of manipulation to him. Some kids just don’t feel love’s connection. It’s just who they are. And some children grow up seeking the ultimate in power, by disempowering their parents.

I wish you all the best!


Thank You so much for your reply jm_short.

You have helped me (and surely others similar to my situation). Things you wrote did not even occur to me. I guess my pain is clouding my thinking. Strange to me because my pain about my sociopathic ex husband is what gave me clarity about HIM.

I have tried to find meaning elsewhere, but I recognize that I have sabotaged myself. I have constantly reminded myself that I MUST be arrogant and narcissistic to think I had anything to offer anyone. Afterall, the proof is that I failed the only person who mattered to me, the child that gave my life meaning. I failed her. So who am I to think I have anything worthy to give? Then I realize at the least, I can be someone’s servant, but that is so painful to me, to submit to being treated like dirt; that’s how my ex treated me, that I could serve him and be grateful for food and a place to sleep. I rebelled from his oppressive control because I thought what I offered was worth more than what was essentially slavery, that all the fruits of my labor belonged to him.

Thus I find myself bound up in a catch-22. My spirit wants more than to be degraded, but my heart cries that I am such a failure as a nurturer and mother that I don’t deserve anything more than being degraded.

It did not occur to me that there is a DIFFERENT path to finding meaning. As I read your words, I see that’s obvious, but in my pain, I just didn’t see the obvious.

I also assumed that my trying to blame genetics seemed like scapegoating to me, that I was avoiding the consequences of my failed responsibility of appropriate and proper parenting.

Your final paragraph is especially enlightening to me. DUH! on me! I knew that with my ex, drama wasn’t real, it was him manipulating me. Why didn’t I realize that all her accusations of how “I ruined her life”, “I should be glad that she hasn’t committed suicide from having me as a mom”, etc., those ARE manipulations. Such statements always broke my heart and I’d search my behaviors, trying to figure out what I did wrong that destroyed her so much.

You are so right, that I need to find a way to forgive myself. I’ve been thinking that forgiving myself means I was letting myself off the hook for destroying her life. Letting myself off the hook for anything is VERY hard for me, I’ve always found strength in taking responsibility!

I think this advice you’ve given me is so important for people who have sociopathic children. For me, it’s been a bigger nightmare than my marriage to my ex, because I could see right/wrong with him. I have a hard time seeing right/wrong with my child because I feel responsible for her wrongs and for her way of thinking her conclusions.

Thank you for your kindness, I am so grateful for your reply that makes complete sense to me. I wish I could send you flowers or something. Bless You. Thank you.


NotWhatHeSaidofMe – You manage heartbreak by giving yourself a break! A disorder is just that. Some can be helped, some can be managed, and some just are what they are. You did the best you could for your child with the tools you had at the time. You shut out the outside blame noise and you allow yourself to understand that while you gave her your best, it is now up to your child to determine her future. I tell my children that my job is to get them to 18. Their job is to figure out who and what they want to be and do whatever they need to do (including therapy) to get there. I’ve given them something to tell Oprah, but they can only blame so much on me as I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time. After 18 it’s all on them.

You were a better mom than your own – celebrate that! You mourn the familial ideal that you had hoped for, you accept reality, and you allow yourself to create your own life. You find friendships and interests that support you in a positive way. You nourish your spirituality in whatever form that takes. You become who you want to be and you protect that.

Just give yourself a break. Mothers cannot be blamed for everything. At some point children have to shoulder their own blame no matter how much they want to do otherwise. That you recognize what is happening is HUGE… think of the mothers who cannot or will not see what their disordered children are… you are leaps and bounds ahead of them.

I know it isn’t easy. I have a narcissist son who is 25. I am blamed for so much by him. It came down through the family. I could no more cure him than cancer. I’m thankful that he isn’t anything like my grandfather the violent, mean, racist-sociopath who sexually abused me as a very young child or as horrible as my mother – who allowed him to do it – the narcissist who only wanted a son. I’ve told my brother another narcissist – that if I could have chosen my parents I would have chosen his as they were far better to him than me and they were the same people. I did the best I could for for my son whose father is a violent sociopath. That he is what he is was a genetic lottery. I’ll take my son over my grandfather, my mother, or his father. I love him with all my heart and soul. I recognize who and what he is and I protect myself accordingly. Some days are better than others with him. I also have a sociopath cousin. My husband and I deal with her disorder too as we work to protect her children from her. After plenty of therapy, I have my own life and I make the best of it.

I pray that you can find peace in your life. Heartache needn’t be forever. On the bright side, it’s only there because you are not disordered. Stay strong!!!


Your remark about the bright side is funny and endearing at the same time Bets….

Just as the things that jm_short wrote, I didn’t think of that either… that my heartache is because I am not disordered.

I had wondered if I was fooling myself thinking I was loving, especially since my child says she was never loved by me, that she had to find it elsewhere because I was in fantasyland thinking my parenting was any good (all hindsight, she never said these things during the years I was being her mom. She says these things now, and also says she forgives me for being a crappy mom. But that she has to be NC with me because I am a crappy mom.)

Thank you for your help and advice. You have helped me find a way to move forward out of the captured torment of my failure.


I agree Joyce. I’ve watched our spath’s family grieve her loss. She isn’t dead. They still occasionally get communication from her, but they are several states away and insulated from the greater impact she is currently on society. In that way it’s more like a divorce. The ideal of the familial relationship is dead. It’s altered into a new reality where the child lives on, but a wall is erected – distance, mindset, and whatever armor is needed to protect the non-character disordered from the disordered.

We have all learned in our way to avoid participating in the manipulations. The ache for us is that we cannot stop others from doing so. I liken it to having the knowledge that there is a bomb out there… I know it will go off and that when it does it will damage all in its path… I have this knowledge, but those who NEED to know also are deaf to my warnings. I end up feeling guilty that others are being hurt by our sociopath and nothing I do or say can stop it. These others become active participants in our spath’s manipulations without understanding the danger they are in.

I have trouble reconciling that while I have these feelings of guilt and dismay, our sociopath feels none of this. She goes on perpetrating her own agenda with no regard for who and what she leaves in her wake while I suffer Catholic guilt over it.

I pray for justice for those she damages and peace for me and her children. I pray that nurture can overcome nature. That with our knowledge of who and what she is we can somehow guide her children to a less damaging path in life while she creates more children. All I can say is Karma – HURRY UP ALREADY!!!!!


RE: “One thing I noticed across all comments is the inability of the sociopath to invest.”

Yep. Mine started saying “i tried and tried and tried”. After thinking about how little she had ever contributed to the relationship, i asked for an example of what she had tried.

No answer. So she came up with a new phrase “Im done”.
Again I asked, done with what?
more silence.

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