Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a reader whom we’ll call “Marla Marie.”
Following 9/11, I moved back home and within just three years married my ex-husband. I think the trauma of 9/11 inspired me to hurry up and get a life, and in doing so I overlooked some red flags.
I was also naive in love matters. My ex-husband is the hallmark charming, handsome nomad.
Although even prior to marriage not all of his stories “checked out” it immediately escalated once we were married. He was using drugs, had a criminal record and two prior marriages. He also had a child he never knew/saw.
We were married and divorced within 2 years.
All of his abuse was secret. He would berate me and try to convince me that “everyone hated me.” He continued to use drugs and get arrested. He has stolen from me and my family.
I have a wonderful child of our marriage. But now, in addition to being the target of his psychopathy—so is my vulnerable child. He tries to influence my son in all sorts of criminal and pathological behavior like stealing.
The hard part is, my ex-husband has the support, financial and otherwise, of his family, who would pay or do anything to basically keep him out of their lives. So it’s me and my little one against a monster.
About two years ago I filed for child support and it’s been one threat and headache after the next. He refuses to pay and cries broke.
I’ve facilitated contact between him and my son and now I regret this.
My ex is so inflamed by the fact that I have filed for child support that he is now threatening (with the help of his rich parents) to destroy me. He has admitted that he wants to embarrass and humiliate me.
I work for a government agency and have managed to accomplish a lot without any help from him, and I think this makes him so jealous and hateful.
There are so many details missing in this but it’s hard to give a complete story without writing a novel.
I have felt afraid for my safety. He has made overt threats, like his plan to “destroy me,” as well as veiled ones like “telling me he’s learning how to hunt.”
Externally, he is handsome and charming and he knows just how to mimic a real human. I am less socially gifted and more of a wallflower. He is abusive and secretive and I don’t know how to fight against him.
My main concern is the toxic influence he tries to gain over my son, and the fact that he and his family simply DO NOT care about the well being of my child. His mother wants to assuage her guilt for being a “bad parent” to him at my child’s expense. And he simply wants his parents to keep bankrolling his life by “being a good father.”
He has left many paths of destruction in his lifetime ”¦ mine is just the most recent.
I’m looking for feedback on how to manage this situation.
Donna Andersen responds
I am so sorry for your experience. I wish I could say it was unusual, but many Lovefraud readers who discovered that they’ve married and had children with a sociopath know exactly what you are talking about.
The best thing you can do is limit your son’s exposure to his father as much as possible. If he is complaining about child support, perhaps you can make a deal: If he gives up his parental rights, you’ll give up his child support. I’m guessing that you’re already having trouble collecting the money, so you won’t lose anything.
Not all sociopaths go for this, but some do, so it may be worth a shot. If you can get the man out of your lives, you’ll be much better off.
Also, don’t think he is mean and hateful because of your accomplishments. He is just naturally mean and hateful.
And about his family I’ve heard of plenty of families of sociopaths who want to pawn their problem child off on a wife or husband.
And the mother’s guilt maybe, or maybe not. Sometimes the families of sociopaths just view themselves as sticking together against a common enemy. That would be you.
In the end, do not try to interact with any of them. If you do have to have contact with your ex and his family, keep it as “strictly business.”
We have many stories that may help you. Look in this section:
Hi Marie Marie,
Donna is correct this is normal mean behavior that a sociopath thrust into the world. They want to destroy everyone especially those that escape their abuse. I am sorry that you are still enduring his hell and your son too.
Some suggestions….NEVER go alone when exchange your son..NEVER…always have a trusted friend or family member with you or if this is not possible only exchange your son in a very public place that has cameras such as a fast food place etc. This way you have a witness to any threatening words!
If you have to exchange your son at your home and he is old enough to run out to your ex’s car do that…have no personal contact with him only emails this way you have documentation for court if needed.
No phone calls or text or personal conversation with him ONLY email.
Open a separate email just for him to contact you. Always keep your emails simple & to the point without out any emotion in them…again for court documentation. example “you can pick up (your son’s name) at 3 pm on Saturday”. If you are emotional over an email he sends you DO NOT respond until you have calmed down…remember sociopaths LOVE LOVE LOVE to push peoples buttons and once you get this you will be able to deal with him much better. Don’t get sucked into his game that is what he wants you to do.
Have you ever considered filing a restraining order against him? Before you do make an appointment with your local abuse center to get their input on how best to protect you and your son. DO NOT take his threatening words lightly..he is a sociopath after all!
Keep a journal of all contact you have with him…his behavior, his manipulation, the time he showed up to exchange your son etc…very detailed info…ask a trusted friend or family member to do the same especially if he threates you again as your journal, your friends/family members journal can be used in court along with you friend or family member. The more evidence you have and documentation the better.
Check out the site Onemomsbattle. com, her two books & their excellent Facebook support site where you can find not only support but how to navigate & deal with child custody issues with a narcissist or sociopath. You are not alone on that Facebook page there are over 10,0000 victims of narc & sociopaths who are dealing with the same hell that you and your son are right now.
Open a fake email account then a fake Facebook page so that you can chat freely without your ex, his friends/family or anyone else seeing what you are chatting about.
Wishing you both all the best!
Hugs to you 🙂
ps obviosly if there is a true emergency with your son then you will need to have a conversation with your ex on the phone but otherwise only email.
Google “Low contact narcissist” and “low contact sociopath” (when you have children with a sociopath you use the low contact rule vs the no contact rule)