By | June 18, 2015 8 Comments

Advice for Protecting Elderly Relatives from Sociopaths and Gold Diggers

Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Lovefraud posted a story from a reader whom we’ll call “Maura.” She describes how a female sociopath latched on to her recently widowed father, took over his life, and tried to hasten his demise. Read the story. Following are tips that Maura and her family learned the hard way.

Our Advice On How to Protect An Elderly Relative

This is our advice based on our experience to best protect an elderly relative should they marry a sociopath or a gold digger:

1. Immediately hire a private investigator to do a background check on  the new spouse. Verify marriage status, divorce and marriage history, career history, credit history, bankruptcy, ancestry, court records, previous lawsuits, registered businesses,  property ownership,  number and names of children and siblings in the family as well as trade  and university qualifications.  You can investigate this yourself but it takes a lot longer and you may not be aware of the places you need to search or have to pay to access the site.

2. The new spouse will probably be estranged from most members of their own family and claim their family are bipolar, crazy, dead, ill or live interstate. If estranged, find out these family members’ names and the towns where they live and contact them as soon as possible. They will be grateful you called and tell you more about the sociopath’s true nature. Use an alias if you have to. The ex will tell you exactly what you are up against.

3. Educate yourself as well as  everyone in your family about this disorder. Read and research as much as you can. Know the sociopath’s modus operandi and the red flags.  You may only see some of the red flags.  Know that behind closed doors your elderly relative will be continuously subject to all their deviant behavior. When you know how sociopaths think and behave, it helps you to preempt their devious behavior.

4. Make a written and photographic inventory of every item that your family or elderly relative owned prior to associating with the sociopath.  Include brand names. This will prove the item’s existence and condition when the new spouse breaks it or claims it as their own later on.  Copy or scan all your family photos and keep them in a safe place as they will be disappear or be destroyed.  Find some pretext to get hold of the keepsakes, heirlooms and mementos. Replace them with fakes if need be.

5. Use your Iphone to  covertly photograph  every page of the sociopath’s address book.  This will be invaluable when you begin exposing them.

6. Locate and photograph all the passwords to every account of the elderly relative.  You can then keep an eye on the accounts and know if they are being drained.

7. Never believe a single word the sociopath says, no matter how charming, gracious or supportive they may seem. However, to the sociopath, pretend you believe them wholeheartedly. Maintain a polite, friendly demeanor and flatter them.  They will look for any excuse to blacklist you.

8. Ninety-eight percent of what the sociopath will tell you is completely fabricated. Always covertly check up on their stories or claims about anyone or anything and question the veracity of such claims with family or friends.  Communicate regularly, openly, and most importantly, directly with family and friends, rather than through the disordered sociopath. The sociopath will seek to create mistrust and create division by lying to you about others. This is how they destroy relationships and gain control, over incoming and outgoing information. Their  ultimate goal is to have total  control over your elderly relative.

9. Record every conversation you have with them on your IPhone. This is VERY IMPORTANT.  This can be done with the cover closed. Never let the sociopath know that you are aware of what they are doing, but instead act very impressed by their grandiose claims. Ask innocent, leading questions in the course of the conversation, for example when, where, why and how, and record all answers. Listen, observe, record, and then store all the recordings to a safe place. You can also buy USB sticks or keys on eBay that are actually recording devices.  Attach to your key ring etc, turn on, and casually leave lying around the elderly relative’s home. Do not let anyone know you are doing this. Type up transcripts of conversations. This is very revealing as to how what they say just doesn’t make sense. It also shows how devious and manipulative they are in.

10. Never confide in the sociopath or divulge any personal information or feelings about yourself or anyone in your family.  It will be used in a smear campaign against you at a later date.  Be dull and uninteresting in their presence, minimizing one-on-one conversations.  Talk about the most mundane things. When they ask questions about you or your family be vague and forgetful or change the subject.

11. Refrain from emotional displays such as tears, anxiety, disappointment, anger, hurt, or fear as that tells the sociopath what upsets you and how to hurt you further.

12. Whenever you deal with them be cool, calm and business-like. Show no fear or weakness and never apologize to them or beg and plead with them.  When the sociopath creates drama or  pressures  you for an immediate response to any issue,  always say that you will think about it and get back to them.

13. Always have another person/relative present whenever you visit them. That way everything can be verified by your witness.

14. Never let the sociopath mind your house, pets or children. The sociopath will snoop and rifle through every drawer and paper.  They will also use this as an opportunity to covertly pit your children against each other and you.

15. Make sure that either you, other family members,  the family lawyer or accountant  have medical and financial power of attorney for your elderly relative.  Keep these documents in a safe place.  At some stage the sociopath will try to gain control of this for their own personal gain.

16. If you suspect the sociopath is cheating in their relationship, tail them or have your friends or a private detective do so. If possible obtain photographs of the liaison.  Install a tracking device on their car.

17. If the sociopath ever wants you or your family to sign or witness anything, insist on reading all the fine detail in the document first. If they pull the line “Don’t you trust me?,” just smile and say you trust them implicitly, but that you always read the fine print first as you only want what is best for them, and you would never forgive yourself if they were defrauded in any way.  Never be bullied with the excuse that it is urgent.

18. Never let the sociopath have access to you or your family’s computer, email, address book, financial records, investments etc.

19. Never finance, bankroll or become a business partner in any of their business ventures. They will swindle or  bankrupt you.

20. Never rely on the sociopath’s hearsay as to what a doctor, lawyer, accountant, police, pastor etc said. Deal directly with these people and always VERIFY. Obtain your own copy of  this documentation and keep it in a safe place.

21. Remember that sociopaths fear being exposed. They do not want the truth about them to be known.  Keep records of every interaction with them.   Who, what, where and why. Events, actions, words spoken, date and time and place. This will confirm your recollections against their warped version. Build up an arsenal of evidence with documents, recordings, texts, emails  letters and transcripts. You then have a rock solid case.

22. Always stay in touch with your elderly relative, despite the sociopath’s efforts to keep you away. Let the elderly relative  know that  you support and care about them. You are just waiting to help anytime if and when needed.

23. Sociopaths fear losing control. Love to them means ownership and control. The elderly relative belongs to them. The sociopath loves this elderly relative  in proportion to how much they can use them. Their loyalty ends where the benefits stop. When sociopaths lose their grip or control over someone, the mask of pretension will be dropped  and you get to experience their  full on rage.

24. Covertly videotape their rages. Install a Nanny -Cam to find out how they treat your elderly relative when you aren’t there.

25. Keep copies  of  your elderly relative’s birth certificates, drivers license, bank accounts, passport, loan documents, car registration in a safe place. Backup everything on your computer.

26. Ensure that your elderly relative’s will is in the form of a testamentary trust. Check this regularly as the new spouse will at some stage make themselves the sole beneficiary.

27. Find an aggressive, pit bull lawyer as soon as you suspect that the new spouse is a sociopath or gold digger. This lawyer must have experience in dealing with sociopaths swindling the elderly. If you are involved in legal proceedings know that the sociopath will lie under oath and expect outrageous, false allegations of abuse and hostility.  Expect false claims of living expenses and needless delays. They see ultimatums or pressure as threats or games. The sociopath does not play by the rules.

28. Remember that the more charming the sociopath is, the more suspicious you need to be.

29. Unfortunately there is no known help for a sociopath. They cannot be fixed, healed or helped and are incapable of any form of change.


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Wow! Truly an outstanding list. This should go out to everyone who has an elder relative – or anyone who might come into contact with a sociopath. The list is excellent, very clear, and I can see how to use it right away. Thank you very much for sharing this.

I’m sure it was created from a lot of painful experiences, hopefully this list will reduce or eliminate the sociopaths from the lives of others – and that would be an excellent result. I’m sure this list will help many people identify a sociopath, so they can get away and stay away forever.

Thanks again for sharing this!


What a horrible story about W2 and your poor dad! Sometimes the story is the reverse, which is what happened to me. The man I married when I was 62 and he was 72 (he’d told me he was 62) was verbally abusive. I never should have married him. I was actually about to break up with him, when he got cancer, and so I decided to do as he asked me, which was to be his medical power of attorney. He told me under no circumstances to give his key to any of his family members, as none of them could be trusted. Long story short, when I met first met him and we got together, one family member (it was actually W1’s family, not his own kids, but he raised them) told me “This is so great! Someone needs to look after Dad!” So that’s what I did. He wanted me to speak up for him when we went to see his doctors, because he was afraid of doctors and didn’t know how to talk to them. This went on for 3 years, and I was the only person who went to see him in theatre productions (he was an actor). His family never did. He did not plan to leave me one cent, but I asked him to leave me a little bit of his small estate. Well, I think a lot of the members of his family, and his own one son, were sociopaths. They would not lift a finger to help me care for him when he was dying. I had to almost carry him to the toilet about ever 20 minutes. My own health is not good. I suggested to them that we take shifts to care for him, but they refused, and expected me to do it all. So when I said I could no longer handle him, and HE would not use his money to hire help, they became very sweet, and said they’d help, then I gave them the key. We lived down the hall from each other, because I was not about to give up my housing benefits to move in with an indigent, dying man! So they held this against me, saying we were not really married because we didn’t live together. Like your dad’s W2, they had the entire medical people, as well as MY social worker, AND the Senior and Disabled Services worker I’d called in to protect BOTH him and myself from their abuse. They even called the police, who came to my door and acted all nicey nicey until they got the key that my husband he given back to me. The officer promised me that he’d give the key to the manager, but he gave it to the night watchman, who was convinced to give it back to the son. Oh, this was such a total nightmare, that I hate to even think about it. They turned our one mutual friend against me. Fortunately every other friend int he building knew what was really going on, and were emotionally there for me. But the day he died, the family made sure I was not there,but the friend who had betrayed me was there as he died. They convinced his broker to take the $3000 he left to me. By that time he had encephalopathy from cirrosis hepatitis C, so was not in sound mind to sign such a document. And I have never even had the heart to grieve for him, because this ripped my emotions so bad. The good news is MY FAMILY is not at all like this! We care about each other. When my parents died, my sister was the executor,. She did not steal from my brother and myself, and made sure that our parents’ wishes were carried out in full, including providing for the younger generation.


That list is full of great advice, but in my situation the sociopath is my sister and she is in total control of our elderly 86 yr old mother. My story is very similar to Maura’s as far as the tactics used to maintain control over every aspect of my mom’s life. The triangulation, isolation, alienation, etc. I recognized my situation in much you wrote about, and frankly I am so tired of the whole miserable situation that has played out over the past 7 years I don’t even have the energy to start writing about it here, but suffice it to say I am in the same boat as Maura was. The difference is I can’t seem to find a single ally that will even see the situation for what it is, much less help me battle this problem. My mother is totally trusting of my sociopathic sister, as is one of my brothers. He is is just clueless and is her minion. The other brother kind of “gets” it, but is constantly giving socio sis the benefit of the doubt. He believes she is a liar and manipulator, but has trouble believing she has any evil intent. He doesn’t see that she is hijacking our potential inheritance right before our eyes. She had our mom dissolve the Trust that our dad set up and buy some annuities. None of us, including my mom, know who the stated beneficiary(ies) are on either of the annuities. My sister keeps all my mom’s financial documents hidden from the rest of us and totally under her control. Altogether my sister has gotten our mom to give her about $200k since our father died. She got a house downpayment ($30k) a new kitchen ($~20K) and secretly got an insurance settlement (~$150k) that was supposed to go to our mom. I feel like my situation is pretty much hopeless as far as changing anything at this point. My mother is happy with my sister handling 100% of her needs, including her financial matters, her medical care, dispensing her meds (Sociopathic sister I believe is a drug abuser). Socio sis has turned most of my extended family against me by her smear campaign after I cut ties with her. But I know she is exploiting our mom financially and yet my hands are tied. If I report it to APS I fear my mom would end up in state guardianship. I have resigned to the fact that my sister will get all of our intended inheritance and that since I don’t need it I can live with that. But what I hate is the backstabbing and smearing of me to the rest of my family and especially my mom. It is truly heartbreaking and I just can’t seem to battle it anymore. I am resigned to just let what ever happens happen at this point.


Even if your mother ends up under state guardianship, would she be better off than with your sister? Financial abuse of an elder may be a crime in your state.


Thanks for your response NoMoreWool. I have heard many horror stories about state guardianship and lawyers teaming up to extract money and assets out of the elderly, so I would want to avoid that at all cost. I know financial exploitation (if provable) is a crime, but getting it prosecuted is another matter altogether. The courts are so backlogged with cases that, from what I’ve read, they just give you lip service but nothing is done. Financial exploitation and abuse of the elderly is so rampant now that it’s kind of “the wild west” when it comes to getting away with it. The only thing you can do is try to prevent it from happening in the first place, but as you have read on this thread, that is much easier said than done. Since I can’t get either of my other siblings to join me in fighting our sociopathic sister, I have more or less resigned to the fact that whatever is going to happen happens. I need the money the least of any of my sibs, so my brothers are the ones that will be in a state of “shock and awe” when it all goes down. I could hire an attorney but I live in a different state and really don’t feel like pouring money into fighting my sister since our mother likes the situation as it is. The financial exploitation won’t effect my mom in her last years of life, it will effect my parents’ intended heirs. Another possibility is that our mom is willingly giving everything to my sister. I really don’t know since they are both very sneaky and conniving. My mom did comment once to me, “I sure hope all hell doesn’t break out once I’m gone”. That sure makes me wonder!!


Having witnessed first hand the sordid free-for-alls that can happen after an elder passes, I decided long ago that an “inheritance” is not an entitlement, but rather a happy windfall. I have told my elderly family to live it up and don’t worry about leaving anything to anyone after they are gone. One relative actually took heirlooms and other possessions and gave them to people while she was still living. It gave her much joy to see her family enjoy the items before she passed. Everyone got a SMALL cash bequest, with the rest of her estate going to charity. She said “if you don’t come around when I am alive, don’t come around after I’m dead!” meaning that the people that mattered to her had already received the material possessions she thought they should have.


Really good advice, and much of it applies to remarriages of any age. I was widowed at age 36, and remarried a gold-digging sociopath 10 years later. Exploitation is what defines this disorder, at any age.


Thanks for sharing such an insightful advice over here. Well, when an elderly parent stays at home it’s our duty to take care of their physical as well as mental health. But often time we are not able to look after them so need to contact eldercare lawyers who support taking care of elderly parents at home.

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