By | November 15, 2009 90 Comments

ASK DR. LEEDOM: Is there any new research on sociopaths and parenting?

I recently received this note from a reader in Ireland:

The reason I’m writing today is I have a friend who is in the same position has just recently had contact from her 2.5yr old son’s sociopathic father, looking for access.

She is learning all about what having a sociopathic father actually means, has read the book (Just Like His Father?), but is still unsure whether to allow it or not.

What do you think? Any new research? Anything that shows clearly kids do better without contact?

I do not know of any new research on this topic. We previously discussed two papers parents should be aware of; one concerns antisocial fathers and the other concerns antisocial mothers.

Antisocial Fathers

The common belief is that children are better off having a relationship with a father even if that father is a sociopath. In a landmark study, the only of its kind, researchers proved this is not the case. This study examined the children of 171 fathers high in sociopathic traits and 167 fathers low in sociopathic traits. In the two groups taken together, the presence of the father and his caretaking behavior weakly correlated with less antisocial behavior in children. However, when the two groups were examined separately a startling finding emerged. When fathers who were low in sociopathic traits were present in their children’s lives, children did substantially better. When fathers high in antisocial behavior were present in their children’s lives, children did much worse, especially if the father lived with them. The risk of conduct disorder in the children of antisocial fathers doubled when the fathers resided with the children.

“When highly antisocial fathers reside with the family, children experience a double whammy of risk for antisocial behavior. They are at genetic risk because antisocial behavior is highly heritable. In addition, the same parents who transmit genes also provide the child’s rearing environment. We found that a father’s antisocial behavior accounted for his children’s behavior problems independent of any genetic risk he may have imparted, particularly when he resided with the family and spent time taking care of the children.”
-Sara R. Jaffee, Ph.D. and Colleagues

Antisocial Mothers

There has been one scientific study of mothering and sociopathic traits. In this study, researchers linked scores on the sociopathy scale of a common personality test (MMPI-2) taken during pregnancy to later mothering behavior. This test is often given to people undergoing custody evaluation so it is important to know about this study. High sociopathy scores are linked to problem parenting in six areas:

1. Lack of warmth
2. Passivity/neglect
3. Harsh/abusive discipline
4. Inconsistent/ineffective discipline
5. Poor monitoring and supervision
6. Aggressive values

In this study, mothers completed questionnaires and their parenting behavior was observed during two laboratory tasks. Direct observation is very important, because it is difficult to understand sociopathic parenting without first hand observations. During the observation periods, mothers high in trait sociopathy were observed to show a lack of warmth and to use harsh and ineffective discipline. The ineffective discipline of at risk children is just as important in the development of sociopathy as is lack of warmth. Ineffective discipline does not enable a child to learn impulse control. Lack of warmth impairs Ability to Love. The aggressive values cherished by sociopathic mothers also impair a child’s moral development. It follows that sociopathic mothers pass on the disorder to their children by poisoning The Inner Triangle.

Other considerations

Remember all the research can only give you guidelines. Sociopathy is a spectrum and it can be difficult to tell just how affect a mother or father is. Below is a list of questions you can ask yourself when considering a child’s involvement with an antisocial parent. It is my hope that those outside the family making decisions on behalf of children will consider this list as well.

1. How likely is sociopathic parent (SP) to encourage the child to form a bond only to disappear, abandoning the child?
2. How sadistic or potentially sexually abusive is SP? Is there a risk of parental kidnapping?
3. How likely is it that SP will use child to harm others- get new relationship by playing parent of the year?
4. How likely is it SP will use child to harm other parent?
5. Will SP teach antisocial attitudes to child? eg. suspicion of others and pleasure in aggression or getting over on the system?
6. Will SP expose child to other antisocial adults?
7. Will SP be overly permissive and not set limits or neglect the child- Put child in front of TV and not feed him or help him toilet etc.?
8. Will SP induce fear and guilt if the child does not do what SP wants?
9. Will SP be intoxicated infront of child? Will SP drive while intoxicated with child in the car?
10. Is SP doing illegal things and at risk for arrest?
11. Is SP so disordered that to give the child the idea SP is normal will harm the child’s view of humanity?
12. Is SP preoccupied with weapons or own them?
13. Is SP partaking of sexually explicit or violent media and at risk to expose child to these?
14. Will SP attempt to alienate healthy parent?
15. Is SP in treatment or has SP taken parenting classes?
16. Will SP dump child off on other relatives or baby sitter during supposed parenting time?
17. Will SP spend “support money” buying the child’s loyalty by purchasing toys? or taking child places SP cannot in reality afford if SP was supporting child as SP should?

If you can add to the list please do so. I am also looking for your examples of the above.

Reference List

Jaffee S, Moffitt T, Caspi A, Taylor A. Life with (or without) father: The benefits of living with two biological parents depend on the father’s antisocial behavior. Child Development [serial online]. January 2003;74(1):109-126.

Bosquet M, Egeland B. Predicting parenting behaviors from Antisocial Practices content scale scores of the MMPI-2 administered during pregnancy. Journal of Personality Assessment [serial online]. February 2000;74(1):146-162.

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Ox Drover

GOOD Article and list, Liane, and I think it is very timely for some of our bloggers who are having such problems at this time.

Adding to your list, for mothers (or fathers)

“Will expose the child to sexual exploitation by his/her sexual partners.”

“will neglect education of child”

Good list. I’m kind of in a petri dish right now. The neighbor, both my landlord and a sociopath, has a son about 1 yr older than my middle one. My son, has had either supervised (where he had to partially behave to keep up the facade for his mother) or no visitation for a little over 3 yrs. My son is conscientious, kind, and overall tries to be a good kid.

The neighbor’s wife (despite actually owning all the property) moved out about a year ago. Now the neighbor s has ‘unsupervised/non buffered by mom’ time with the kid. The kid was strange before, but is now really, really creepy. The neighbor across the street has banned him from their property as they kept finding him in their garage and messing with their things. He would come over and try to “play” with their preschool age granddaughter (boy is 11). He kept trying to get her away from their sight and behind one of their outbuildings. They didn’t allow this, boy went home crying, and S dad called to scream at them about how basically the kid should be allowed to take a much younger child wherever he wants and he owns the road so the kid can be anywhere he wants. He doesn’t own the road and certainly not these folks’ driveway.

They recently called the mother because the kid was sitting in their driveway, doing nothing besides being where he shouldn’t be, for over an hour and a half. Just sitting there on his bike, staring off into space. Those folks are now missing a couple of chickens and worry when “dead old S dad” starts buying the kid real guns to replace the toy arsenal. The kid needs braces and therapy- sdad got him a 4wheeler. The kid gets zero supervision and much encouragement to tromp on other’s boundaries. Mom has been fighting him in court, the court is only interested in the father’s rights. Even his penchant for hookers and multiple dui arrests haven’t tarnished his rights. Yes- there are arrest records AND convictions.

I no longer allow my son to play with this child unsupervised (my boy is 10). I NEVER let my preschooler around him. I often would find things to do so that we weren’t home until after dark to reduce the amount of contact with this kid. When I tell him that my son can’t play today, he rides his bike up and down my sidewalk, back and forth, by the windows until I bark at him to knock it off. I’ve seen him do it for more than an hour at a time. I no longer allow him in my home, even to use the bathroom because he steals things. My son is on strict orders to NEVER go in the sdad’s house, for any reason. With the mom gone, weird looking loser folk come and go all the time. Several months ago, he was drunk and threatening to kill himself with one of his many guns. Stupid hooker called 911 and he went to the hosp for the night. The visitation schedule is such these days, that he is at his mother’s across town on the weekend- we can actually be at home and not be pestered. My son doesn’t ask to play with that kid much anymore- he knows he’s mean and something isn’t quite right with the kid.

Keep in mind, this is a quiet area, low on crime in general, and we live on a farm like setting. There are only a few houses. I moved into this house because it was on a private drive and therefore could prevent my own xs from driving up and down in front of the house, unlike a public street. The neighbor lld and sociopath actually hassled me about who my x was and wanted to be sure he wouldn’t be coming around me and the kids (on his property). I guess he didn’t want the competition.

By the way, the movers are coming next wkend. I’m getting myself and my kids the heck outta here. That kid is only going to get worse and we aren’t going to be around to see just how worse he gets.


Great list. Unfortunately, 15 out of 17 pertain to my case. In addition to these, I am worried about another two:
1.Differences in Parenting styles.
In my home, lying is always discouraged, even if done to protect or “not worry” another. As someone who is very direct, I encourage nothing to be sugarcoated. Sometimes – often – it backfires, as my kids tell me Just what they think of choices I make, or behaviors I personally exhibit. With my X being a habitual lying, I am concerned, that the this behavior will be modeled after and incorporated by my toddler. Which brings me to the Second concern:
2. What kind of human being will my son become observing the horrible behaviors his “saintly” Dad exhibits? Modeling betrayal is a horrific crime against a child.
Oxy, Good point about education. Did you know that when a P parent makes a suggestion for homework and it’s incorrect, it’s the teacher’s fault and the textbook’s flaw? I had no idea, the teachers and textbooks were conspiring to bring our Ps to their knees whenever it concerns mathematics.
No, I do not feel safe at all, when I think about these things.


Mine didn’t see his children, but once during the year that we were together.. but he talked on the phone and skyped them.. and told them that he love love loved them..

Of course, he traveled all the time, but in that year, he put me before them.. and after awhile, I wondered ummm… if he loves these kids so much, why doesn’t he see them more… The one time that I met his older daughter, the one molested by her mother, the emotional basket case.. and the one that considers herself the matriarch of the family, I saw what a mess the family is..
then when he stops living with me and goes to live where his kids are… they are his focus.. overly so… he dotes on them..
I think he falls back to them when the woman falls away in his life…
I can’t imagine how messed up his kids are.. He’s been married four times… the last one died.. and he is after me three months later… and he has three kids.. one that died of a brain tumor, one who survived a brain tumor, one that was motested by her mother, and one .. I don’t know.. then a step child with a mental issues and and ex-step child that killed himself… so what a mess.. and here I have no children.. and I’m expected to walk into his family mess…


Although I am deeply sad to not have children, I am ever so relieved to not be battling this guy over children – he is so petty. We have pets in common together and he uses them to beat me up – doesn’t give a stuff about their needs and wellbeing – just changes his mind every week about which ones he will take and which will stay with me. After reading all this though I have decided he is taking none – he is incapable of meeting the relational and caretaking needs they have – he is only focussed on his own needs.
I feel very sorry for anyone having to coparent with these types of people – they are nightmares!


In the past, he’d visit a few times, create a storm of conflicts, that made the kids NOT want to go with him, the next visit. Since there were no orders in place, the court appointed therapist told the kids, they don’t have to go, if they don’t want to. Then their father would blame me for alientating the kids from him. As time went on, he blamed the kids for the lack of connection, by assasinating their character; and causing his family system to “REJECT” the kids.

In March, their father took me back to court to fight for visitation rights. He was awarded four hours every Saturday. He never made an attempt. Then he took me back to court, again in July, and was awareded the above schedule. To which he postponed the first visit. And, when the kids protested going on the off weekend, he threatened to have the police come and force them to go.

I have always maintained, that the kids could see their father as much as they wanted. Of course wanting to see him, was dependant on his behavior and effort to bond with them; which he has never made any effort to do so. He accused me of not responding to his calls, and as a result has been unable to talk to his kids. The kids were bullied into giving their cell numbers to him, by their court appointed attorney. Now that he has the numbers, he never calls them. More importantly, he never calls to connect with our youngest, who does not have a cell; yet, the threat of him getting custody of her looms over our lives if the teenagers don’t comply with his wishes.

Everyone of the above questions on the list (including the one’s listed for the a sociopatic mother) pertains to their father, with the exception of drinking and driving. He doesn’t drink, at all. However, he exhibits road rage often, and has put mine and the children’s lives at risk, chasing down another care, after a perceived deliberate attempt to offront him.

After the March hearing, my ex demanded that the reunification process be reopened to where he and the children would meet with a therapist to evaluate and assist in helping the kids and he bond. Their father has done everything to AVOID actually meeting with the therapist and the children together, until I called all the authorities in our case on the carpet for neglecting to notice how he was manipulating the system. The kids wanted to confront him, in front of the therapist about his behavior and the reasons they don’t want to go with him.

That meeting finally happened, yesterday. Only, their father had ample time to prepare.

My son (13) called me half way through the session, hysterically crying; gasping for air. I could hardly understand a word he said. As it turned out, he was experiencing his first direct assault of “gaslighting.” He was emotionally hijacted, and put on the defensive. This was the first session he’s ever had without his older, more articulate sister voicing their collective concerns. I encouraged him to speak his mind without fear of getting in trouble. He needed to be assertive and direct. I explained to him what being “gaslighted” means, and how it feels. And, that that is what just happened to him. I encouraged him to go back into the meeting sure of what he knows to be true, and not shrink back with self doubt, or feelings of guilt. I also told him, he is free to say whatever he wants without fear of getting into trouble.

For the next two hours I was a nervous wreck, waiting. I cleaned the house, and baked cookies so the kids would come home to a place where they felt comforted, and taken care of.

Both walked in the house with bloodshot, puffy eyes. They’d been reduced to a puddle. They were angry, and felt defeated. They had been systematically devalued, and the therapist said NOTHING!!!!!

As they shared with me what he had done in the session, and how he had made his new wife, the coniving, manipulative, S/P/N Jezeebel the center of attention as if she is the victim because the kids want nothing to do with her (she has threatened them, stalked them, lied about them, and played a heavy influence in alientating them from their father.)

The very reason for this session was so the kids could confront their father on recent issues pertaining to HIS behavior. However, he managed to make the entire session their dislike for his wife, to which they were accused and painted as being STUCK IN THE PAST, and unreasonable. Because he kept challenging them on why they don’t want to have anything to do with his new wife, he kept them stuck in the past, and unable to address the current issues.

I am seriously concerned about the way the therapist allowed him to bully the kids like this. On the other hand, a part of me wonders if he allowed it so that he could observe. The kids felt unprotected, and are convinced that their father has won over the therapist. He said little and nodded a lot. He also expressed to the kids that he’s talked to the new wife, claiming that she feels terrible about the things she done to them in the past, and has apologized. WHAT A CROCK… she’s made this claim to others in the family system, then continues to spread rumore and gossip about me and the kids. She’s never apologized to the kids, nor has thier father. They have succesfully convinced other’s of their heartfelt remorse, as they both continue to poke needles into the kids, and when the kids cryout, ENOUGH!.. They are perceived as being stuck in the past, and unreasonable.

In the session, their father took out a picture that his 7 year old step daughter drew of their family setting. It included himself, her mother, herself, and her two brothers, with her father, standing next to my kid’s father. Then he said, “See this. A seven year old girl drew this. This is how it should be. We should all be able to get along. This picture shows a peaceful home. I don’t get that from you guys. I get nothing but grief.” They, the kids, of course, were blindsided. They have each drawn similar pictures in their childhood that showed how our family was happy… pictures that I made a big deal of, and kept. Similar happy family pictures have been drawn by their youngest sibling, but, they do not included their father,in a picture, and haven’t for the past five years. Their youngest sister draws pictures of happy family that includes all her siblings, and her brother-in-law (28, and more a father figure to her, then her own father), her nephew, herself, and me. We all live together, share meals together, clean together, play together, and help each other out.

I asked the kids how it made them feel, when he showed them the picture that his step-daughter (that many think is his own biological child) made. They expressed that they felt that he was saying it is their fault that our family broke up. That he’s happier with the other family. He basically said he isn’t in our life because we don’t make him happy.”

Am I wrong for thinking how extremely inappropriate, and abusive it was for him to display a picture of a family setting that slaps our kids in the face in contrast to how their live’s has been ripped apart as their father has adopted another family?

He also accused our daughter (15) of spreading rumors about his wife. And, for trying to make his step-son her body guard at a dance. Both accusations are totally untrue.

He gave her the peace sign after a previous visit, to which she gave one back, and walked into the house. He accused her of flipping him off.

It doesn’t matter that she didn’t do these things, the fact that he accuses her of it, leaves a lingering question in the air… Did she? Further discrediting her character in front of the therapist. She’s a teen-ager, after all, and “you know how they can be.” kind of doubt.

Furthermore, after the session was over, our two kids went back inside to meet with the therapist. They expressed their frustration, and disappointment with how he allowed their father to behave this way, and not say anything. He advised both of them, “It’s an easy problem to solve. If you don’t want to go with him…Don’t. You are both old enough the court won’t force you to go.”

They already know this. Their concern, and one that the therpist had laid on them back in July… Their younger sister (9) has to go with him. And, she doesn’t want anything to do with him, unless her siblings are with her. She’s scared to death of him. I had warned my attorney and this therapist, that when the time came that my ex wouldn’t have any legal power to control the older two, he will target them, to get a ruling to have them NOT be able to go with him, so he can control and manipulate the youngest (to hurt me).

When our older daughter told her father that she is still going to go with them on the visits to protect her siblings, the therapist actually said, “There should be a law that stipulates when an older sibling is hostile, that they be prevented from going on the visitations.” WHAT????? This same therapist told her and her brother in July, “The court isn’t going to make you guys go. But, your youngest sibling is only (9), and the attorney appointed by the court, for you kids, has indicated that he is going to move to give custody of her to your dad, if she doesn’t want to go with him. And, the only way she will go, is if you guys go. So… I hate putting it to you this way, but…” My older two said, “So, basically we are blackmailed. If we don’t go, he could get custody of her, because there is NO WAY she will go without us.” The therapist responded, “Yes.”

So, they’ve been going. And, they have wanted to make the best of it for their younger sibling. However, their father, pickes fights, antagonizes, and manipulates, and has told our oldest daughter, “I wish you wouldn’t come with us. We have more fun without you, here.” She’s only 15. Then, he shoves his new wife down their throats, and when they protest that they don’t want anything to do with her, then they are considered, “Hostile.” When they protest, “We only see you 12 hours in the entire month, we DON’T want to spend it hanging out with people we don’t even like.

A hostile child? OMG!!!!! She is fed up, and voices it, and as such, she is the hositle child.

Their father remained, for the most part, calm, cool and collected. This therapist used to see right through him, but their father has morphed, as he does so well, like a bad strain of a bacteria, morphing into a strain that is resistance of the anti-sociopath, into an image that this therapist deems acceptable.

As soon as they got back to the car, the two older kids were spent, devistated and exausted. Their father says, “Well, that went well. We should get some ice cream. Both kids told him, to “SHUT UP! And, take us home.”

Flash back, five years: After he’d put me in a choke hold, and caused me to fall, tearing my hamstring, broke my toe, shoved me into a book case, causing a disc in my back to herniate (which caused me to be unable to extend my arms for over a year), then lied to the police when I called for help,causing me to be arrested for domestic violence. He gave the money to my oldest daughter (21 at the time) to bail me out. While I was still in a state of shock, fear, and a sense of helplessness, I went home, with no where to go, and knowing I needed to protect my kids. Three days later, while in extreme pain, he brought home a bottle of wine, and said….”You just might get lucky tonight.” As if the nightmare I’d just been through, and the humiliation (I have never even served detention. I don’t open a bag of chips until they are paid for, and I follow the laws of the road, even when NOBODY is around for miles to see otherwise.) of being arrested.

After he emotionally raped his children, while the therapist watched and said nothing, and the kids have been devalued in a way that they have never experienced directly before, he claims it went well, and offers them ice-cream. Words cannot begin to explain what this feels like.

He continued to taunt our daughter saying, “If you would be involved in mine and Jezeebel’s life, you would have so much, you can’t even believe. Jezeebel would get you M.A.C. make-up. If you kids would respect me, (translation of respect means live in my little fantasy world where I’m King, and do nothing wrong) you wouldn’t be having it so hard (financially). I could make things a lot easier for you.”

OK… as he says this to his daughter, he’s not paid the court ordered support. He’s convinced his father, the Note Holder on a business we sold to withhold the payments from me, I’ve been unemployed since May 1, and recently had to apply for food assistance. The kids have expressed feeling embarrassed about out level of poverty.

He claims in his delcarations that he is impoverished, but then tells the kids…they’d have it so much easier if they would just cross over to his world.

Which by the way, he kept saying to our daughter, “In your little world…. ” Our daughter responded, “I don’t live in a little world. I live in the real world.” He retorted with, “Well, in my world…” And, that’s exactly the point… He lives in an alternate world, that doesn’t deal in reality. He’s above the law, and can say whatever he wants to the kids, destroying their confidence and trust in their own perception in front of the therapist, and gets away with it.

Our son kept saying… “He won, Mom. He has the therapist totally convinced. We thought the therapist is on our side, but now he’s totally on dad’s side. He won.”

I listened to both in as much of a neutral place as I could. Then is said… “What you’ve experienced today is called, “gaslighting.” I explained what this means. And, they both perked up, “Yes! That’s exactly what he did to us, today.” Then, I explained that he’s targeted their emotions. And, emotions are a very powerful thing. They are easy to hijack. Because he is their father, no matter how mad they are at him, the anger is because they are hurt, that he’s abandoned them; and even worse, he’s projecting them to be the bad guys. To have a parent broadcast you in such a bad light, when you try so hard to do what is good, is devistating. It’s a deeply felt sense of betrayal.

Then I told them… “I believe you! Even if the court doesn’t. Even if the therapist doesn’t. Even if their attorney doesn’t believe them… “Don’t ever forget…I believe you. I know exactly what he did to you, today. And, it was WRONG!!!! I’m so sorry you had to experience this. You did NOTHING to deserve it. None of this is your fault, no matter what he said to you.

I asked the kids to write out what they experienced, what their dad said to them that was confusing, a lie, and hurtful. I told them to write everything, and not worry if it makes sense. Just write it, while it is fresh in their minds.

I’ve printed a couple articles from this forum, and intend to send their letter’s with the articles, and a brief summary to the therapist. He’s expressed to me before that this is over his head. He’s said he’s never delt with such muddled case before. I told him, “Then you’ve never delt with the smoke screens of a Narcissist before.” He admitted to understanding the text version, but he was at a loss in how to help make anything better. I told him, the best you can do, is to acknowledge what the kids are experiencing, and give them tools to cope. Both of us said, at the same time, “He’s never going to change.” This conversation was two years ago.

The day before the session he said to me.. “You decide what you want to do, and I’ll back you up 100%. I am hopeful, even though he didn’t handle the situation the way the kids would have liked, that he’s not entirely sold out. Our daughter said, “It’s like he didn’t know what to do.” I affirmed her perception by telling her what he’d told me two years prior.

I am soooo sorry this is so long. I don’t have the time to edit it shorter. And, I know I left so much out, that I’ll likely bring up again, later. I want case studies. I want tools to send to the therapist to make things more clear to him. I want studies that show the damaging affect of a sociopathic/Narcissist on kids.

Our 15 year old daughter has always been on honor roll. When this recent reunification process started (August 09), her grades have fallen, drastically. She got her first F on a report card…Ever. Ironically she got it in English. She loves English, too. English is our language by which we communicate our existance. I see this F as a metephore that she’s struggling with her feelings of relevance. He did this to me, and I’m a grown women. How is a 15 year old girl supposed to wade through the devaluing process, and arrive on the other side with their sense of self esteem and confidence in tact?


Dr. Leedom – I have a question for you –

I know that we want to teach our children to have empathy/compassion – impulse/self control and give them a moral foundation/moral reasoning in order to prevent them from becoming s/p/n’s…

My children do not have much a genetic predisposition to this unless the seed skips generations (I have removed myself 3,000 miles from my genetic N’s and we have limited contact).

What I want to know is what advice do you have for teaching our children how to recognize and keep themselves safe from N/P/S/ people and at the same time to have empathy/compassion.

I am a person of faith and one of the Biblical stories from childhood that always seemed to inspire me personally was the parable of “The Good Samaritan” – yet I see how having this motivation in life has allowed N/P/S people to get close to me.

There is an article by a Dr. Carver on Stockholm Syndrome – The Mystery of Loving An Abuser… The common features of women that get involved with abusive men is not that they seek out these types of relationships but rather that they are outgoing, generally successful and compassionate people – willing to compromise for the benefit of their personal relationships. These are all positive qualities and ones we want to model for our children and yet they also can make our children vulnerable to predators – because as Dr. Carver points out – in general it is these qualities a predator looks for, tests for…

I am using my (I should say our) experiences with my ex-N and our interactions with my N parents as teaching tools for my girls – but do you have any additional ideas / words of wisdom.

I am trying to teach my girls to look at behaviour and not listen to words – and that honesty is the number one requirement in a healthy relationship and dishonesty is a deal breaker – period – end of story.

kim frederick

Breckgirl, I don’t know how old your girls are, but you should emphasize that they listen to their guts, and that feeling confused is a sign of being fed mixed messages or just plain dishonesty.
We make the mistake of hanging in there, looking for PROOF, in the mean-time we become more and more mired in the crap. JMHO.

Elizabeth Conley

Encouraging words for parents of at risk children:

These encouraging words nonetheless stress the importance of competent parenting. You can win, but only if you parent effectively.

Keep your vulnerable children away from their dysfunctional parent. It’s their best hope.


I commend you for the awareness and willingness to ‘go against’ the (unfortunate) norm and teach your children about their gut and ‘what’ is out there…….in order to protect them.
Your girls are very fortunate to have a mom like you…..looking out for them, their future relationships with society!
You are so right….hanging in there and looking for proof, when all along, we have our gut screaming at us….I think (in my case) the proof was needed to confront and converse about what I already knew… order to disprove the twisting that I knew would be attempted…..I HAD PROOF!
All the times I just’ relied on my gut… wasn’t proof I could take to the source……
And why was it I felt I needed to go to the source, and not just walk away! Maybe because I didn’t have a mother like Breck and Kim teaching me that my gut was sufficient and I didn’t always have to be ‘in court’ and provide proof….to myself or others.

Ox Drover

Dear Breckgirl,

As for the genetic component, my P-sperm donor’s personality and visciousness which is not my nature, is definitely my P-son’s and he has never met my P-sperm donor. so I think the genetic component CAN skip generations, however, I think that training your children to listen to themselves—and BTW, the gun can be wrong too—but to look for BEHAVIOR that is dishonoest. PERIOD.

A person who is dishonest is not a good “friend” or “partner” or anything else. “Evil companions corrupt good morals” is definitely true. Picking good friends will be the best thing that they can do for themselves, and when they see a “friend” who lies, and does illegal or stupid things they do not emulate that behavior but instead, put that “friend” on notice that they don’t.

This is difficult for a teenager to do as they are trying to distance from parents and to establish themselves with their peers and be accepted by peers. One of the first “signs” I had my P son was in trouble was when he completely cut off his GOOD friends, and started to hang with the neighborhood “bad boys”

God bless you in your effort to raise good kids! It is a big job!


I want to thank you all for the responses and encourage any more thoughts to be added.

My girls are 9 and 7. The thing that gives me hope is their ability to recognize bad behaviour even better than mine – my youngest has commented on how difficult my Mom is – making me laugh when she said it.

My children are not at great risk from their Dad by the way. It is the boyfriend after the divorce who really destroyed me and has awakened me – he is in recovery language “my bottom” – not that Dad is super healthy – he is not purposefully evil – not an N/P/S – just insecure and afraid and passive aggressive as a result which in itself is a form of dishonesty – and the girls and I talk about that as well – but lovingly for the most part about their Dad.

I have also always told them they can say whatever they need to say to whomever they need to say it as long as they do it politely. So they know they can express their feelings – and that it is okay to say what they see – or feel with their gut.

Kim the listening to your gut is good advice – and to note that when there is confusion to move away and review as that confusion is often a signal someone is messing with us and we just can’t put our finger on what it is – something isn’t right but what that something is sometimes takes time to uncover.

Thank you ladies!


Do you have access to find out what the therapist “findings” are from this session? His final report? Or is this all held confidential until the hearing? Can you discuss this at all with him w/o compounding the situation?

The reason I ask this is just in case he (therapist) WAS letting the situation “play out” so that he might see how far your X was willing to go and risk your childrens feelings/wellfare in the process.

It is unfortunate that he isn’t well aware already of the N/S/P behavior/traits, but it is possible he was letting this unfold before him for better understanding of his disorder?

I of all people have not been lucky in the “pool” of therapist out there that have “get it”. So I am certainly NOT trying to say that this therapist is doing what he is supposed to be doing. This has not been my personal experience either.

However if it is his job to be there in the childrens best interest (AND IF he WAS actually trying to do HIS job) it seems impossible to understand where he WAS GOING with this, other than for his own “education” in this matter to see what your x was really about. And how far your X would go.

In the process your kids were feeling no validation or protection from him whatsoever. But it is possible he didn’t “sell out” on them but handled the situation poorly because he is a bit out of his league? Do you think this is possible?

If it is feasable I would try to get him to discuss his “evaluation” or assesment with you. In this discussion I would also point out to him how it made your children feel after it was over. HE NEEDS to know this, because after all your children should be his most important concern. Was he not involved to begin with for this purpose?

With any luck the therapist DID see beyond what your X was trying to accomplish. If he is any good at what he does maybe he saw inconsistancies (in his story) that your children were unable to see because of their emotional turmoil of what they were going through during the session.

It is worth exploring if it is something that you are able to talk to the therapist about before your case.

I am so sorry that you have to go through this.


Good feedback Witsend –
I also wonder if the therapist is even aware of his own inconsistency?
Maybe your attorney if you have one should make the approach – to shield you from any baloney – although it sounds like you are very able to see it and handle it –

I think if the therapist was reminded of the advice he gave to your teens previously he might wake up a bit to how he is being snowed by your ex and his Jezebel…

And especially as Witsend says – is he not there to be advocating for the best interests of your daughter (he 9 year old…)?

My prayers will be with you.


Hello, Im new, just wrote on another blog.
My ex was a sociopath – so I say – and he had two kids, a daughter coming up 13, and to another woman a son of now 6 who he hasnt seen since he was 3 months old after he walked out on them.

He didnt tell me about the son, I found out by seeing a request for maintenance from the Family Department. Then I got the story behind it, which included that the mother wouldnt give him any access as she thought he (my ex) was too psychiatrically disordered. At the same time, he had never tried for contact and just didnt seem to have any feelings about the kid.

His poor daughter he had let down since she was born. The mother left him when the girl was only 2 years old. He went long periods without seeing her, and has regularly let her down, I saw it myself. He is of course also a hash addict, which influences things. Ive read those questions, and the only one thats of no relevance is that about weapons. But all the other questions have unfortunately negative answers. I tried a lot to get him to sort himself out for his daughters sake, and stop hurting her with his letdowns, which could be pretty big like not turning up to take her on holiday, or simply not turning up for arranged contact. I sometimes thought the mother was not hard enough on him, it seemed that his family and her just tolerated his behaviour, everytime he let them down and hurt them, they would just pat him on the head and say oh it will be okay.

When I thought I was pregnant, it dawned on me I would either have to cut off from him and refuse contact with the child, or consider an abortion :o( thankfully I wasnt pregnant. But there was no way I would have him treat my child as I had seen him treat me and his daughter.

In my other blog I wrote about how I contacted his employer, a school, to tell them who they had employed. Where I am, in Denmark, there is no information sharing on the scale there is in America or England where I come from.

He had no idea how to treat kids, and no idea about parenting. Whenever his daughter stayed, he would sleep in her bed, she is nearly 13!! It was nothing sexual, I think he just thought he was Michael Jackson needing to make the girl feel safe. He did expose that girl to a lot of things she shouldnt have seen, he would shower with the door open, pee with the door open, she saw him drink too much from early in the afternoon and get drunk, he had drugs and porn in the house and no thought for the fact she could find them, he abused me in front of her, and she saw him living like a druggy pig. Yet she adored her dad, and spent all her time worrying about him, instead of being out there with her friends.

It will be interesting to see how she turns out.


shanmoo –
I predict she will become a repeat victim because so one was able to intervene and set an example for her – no one opened the eyes of her as a child to the fact that he should be taking care of her – NOT her taking care of him. She will be an ACA – never knowing what normal is and constantly searching for the fault in herself when others are displeased.

She will be overly responsible for the well being of others and therefore the perfect victim for a sociopath or narcissist who will get her to carry their load in life and kick her in the teeth constantly for not being able to give them something no one can – she may be abused physically as well as emotionally and mentally –

and hopefully if she is anything like me she will meet someone who is bad enough for her – (my life was at and is still at risk – my ex was released from jail last night – I got the notification via phone at ten minutes after midnite that he was now a free man…)

….that she will finally educate herself and begin to live life with her own well being and happiness in mind and come to see that trying to please those that cannot be pleased and those that have no ability to reciprocate is an exhausting, painful journey and can in fact make one insane.

Sally’s letter in the thread about acceptance and focusing on the now attests to that. It is the very result for that poor girl if no one ever can get through to her.


Thanks Breckgirl, I had thought many times that this will probably be her path in life, a co-dependent where she can only live by wanting to take care of those who cant be taken care of. Low self worth and so … hmmm attraction to someone just like her dad.

I have that background myself from lack of love from a parent, and I tried to explain this to my ex, what he was doing to her.
She has already had to see a psychologist at the school, for OCD type issues, and I noticed she had eating issues, bathroom scales out each time she was on the way to bed, etc etc. It was really sad. I was very fond of the girl and she of me, but apparently since I reported her father she hates me. Fair enough.

I dont know if anything will happen since I reported my ex for being a sociopathic drug addict, it was only to the school where he works, but I did mention his disgusting treatment of his daughter. Problem is here in Denmark they just dont act when they should, they live so much with their heads in the sand. I know that in the UK, my letter would have been sent to Social Services, compulsory, and they would have considered intervention. There is no such information sharing here, and in fact, they dont even deal with things confidentially.

Well, at least she can live in the security that when she is an older teenager she will probably get a stepmother the same age as her, if not younger :o/

So your ex is out? Have the Police got any security measures in place for you? Can someone stay with you, or can you go somewhere? You need to find out where he is …. my thoughts are with you.


I don’t know where he is – the police do not provide security services – you call them AFTER someone has done something awful – and I hope to not know where he is or hear about him as it just stirs up my sense of loss frankly.

I have an alarm system, a dog (but she is probably too friendly) and other means of self protection and I have installed other security measures that will at least help delay any attempted entry into my home – it is out there in the world that feels less safe – but not because of him – because of what I now know.

The loss of innocence is what is so overwhelming at times – that is why early education is so important IMO.

Thank you for your good wishes.


Im glad to hear that you have some good security measures at home. I hope he finds other things to focus on than being an idiot. And yea, its fair to say that witnesses and victims and others at risk are just not protected enough. I felt that myself after I reported my ex, and it was so not fun :o/
Loss of innocence — I saw that with my exes daughter. Totally, it was just all wrong. All so wrong. I can only think the mother was blinded by still having feelings for him, feeling sorry for him, still loving him etc etc even though she married another. Yea he had good parts, but the bad bits far outweighed.


Dear Witsend,

The the therapist has been involved since the later part of 2006. He has indicated to me, several times, that I’m the best therapist my ex could have had. He’s also indicated that he feels that he feels at a loss as to what to do. He’s always asked me to send him a fax after each session with the kids, to give him insight as to what they are feeling. And, what effort and behavior the ex has had with the kids between visits.

At one point he encouraged me to agree to the minimal visitation schedule the court allows withou supervision. He told me privately that he believed my ex would fade into the background. For me to fight for supervised visits, would drag the case on, and could paint me in a bad light. So, I agreed. And, for the most part, for the next year, my ex did fade into the background. He was getting married and preoccupied with this personal life.

The therapist and my attorney have indicated, based on what my ex’s attorney has said, that my ex has suddenly become so dedicated to being involved because somebody else is pushing him to get involved, i.e. grandparents. Basically, when he’s asked how the kids are, he can’t say, “I don’t know.” because this would expose his neglect. So, he has to blame me for keeping the kids from him, which inflames the whole clan; to which they insist that he “fight” for his kids.

In my ex’s entire argument for his kids, he doesn’t express the loss of bond with them, or concerns for their well being, or interest in them as individuals. He expresses, “HIS RIGHTS!” as a parent. And, this is the foundation of his argument.

He also makes broad sweeping accusations not based on fact, or specifics accusing me of poisening the kids minds. When our daughter asked him specifically what I’ve said to poisen their minds, he addmitted to not know, but he’s heard things from others (we don’t associate with anyone, mutually, so this is not true). When my daughter asked him who he’s heard such comments from, he couldn’t say. Eventually she cornered him into admitting that he didn’t know if this was true or not. (Recorded conversation).

If this was just about the two teens, it would be a done deal. The problem exists with my youngest who will be 10 in a couple weeks. She is my ex’s last hope to manipulate me legally. To my advantage, in all his arguments with the teens, he doesn’t demonstrate any interest or concern for our youngest. He doesn’t call her. He did go to a parent teacher conference for the first time in her life. It’s all for show. There was no contact with her, but a big show with the school so he has witnesses that he’s involved. I hope the court will see through this.

I don’t dare bring up the fact that he’s not making any effort with her, even to the therapist, because the therapist will address this issue, and my ex will morph, once again, and for the sake of appearences, he will suddenly make it a priority.

Early on, I did hope for the kids to have a relationship with their dad. I used to give advice, clues and suggestions for the therapist to address with him, to help him know what he needs to do to make the kids feel safe with him. He’s a shape shifter, and once an issue is brought up with him, he will quickly change his spots for the sake of appearence, with no improvement or change in his behavior or attitude with the kids.

The kids are writing letters to the therapist and to their court appointed attorney. I am adding a couple articles from this website, and a summary letter expressing my concerns that the the therapist allowed my ex to control the session making his wife the victim vs allowing the kids to address the issues of their father’s behavior that have made them feel alienated. As well as the horrific things he would accuse his 15 year old daughter of for the sake of devaluing and discrediting her character, so what she had to say, would have less crediablity. This, in itself, is psychological abuse.

The slandar he says about me to the kids is enough to warrant concern about his desire to alienate me from the kids. And, his pitting the kids against each other is another example that screams of his intent to alienate the kids from one another. This has always been his strength; he pits people against each other, so that nobody compares notes on his behavior because they are all busy fighting amongst themselves.

One of my big concerns is my ex’s wife has become involved in our case. She is truely a Jezeebel; seductive, charming, intoxicating, beautiful and fashionable. Her behind the scenes involvement clearly indicates her intent to alienate the kids from their father, as well as their family system for the soul purpose of gaining control of my ex’s inheritance. But, these issues cannot be cross referenced with the child visitation issues. Which is like shooting in the dark. The therapist has been charmed by this woman, as has the kids court appointed attorney. My only hope is that her ability to manipulate, and have more face time with representatives that are supposed to be representing the best interest of the kids, then the kids have had with these people is UNETHICAL. And, my attorny has advised me that as things progress, if these representatives for the kids do not respond to the kids reaching out to them, the kids will have grounds to report them to the bar association. In the mean time… they are only 15, 13, and 9. They have already been shut down by their attorney on two occations, and having to write to anyone about any of this feels like a huge homework assignement, that they would like to ignore. And, it is the 9 year old that is at the greatest risk. The 15 and 13 year old do not have to go with their father, if they don’t want to. But, if they don’t go, the nine year old will not go. And, we’ve been told, if she will not go with him, the kid’s attorney will request that their father get’s custody of her. Hence the reason I say nothing to anyone about him not contacting her, directly. He’s caught up in the drama with the teens. As time goes by, and when we go to court, I can show that he’s gone months without ever calling our youngest to connect, or bond with her. The teens will tesify that he’s more preoccupied to force them (the teens) to accept his new wife and her family, then he is interested in interacting with our youngest. During their visitations, he interacts very little with her.

So… I am hoping, as you stated, that the therapist had to let things play out to get an education on how far the ex will go to dismiss the kid’s feelings.

When my son said to the therapist, “He has ruined our family.” The therapist responded, “I know your family, and you it is certainly NOT ruined.” I explained to my son that what he meant was, he has met us – me and the kids as a unit – and perceives that we are a very healthy and strong unit, in spite of what we’ve been through.

I have just come to mistrust everyone, and everything. When I think things are obvious and will be easily concluded, things seem to become more befuddled.



I am hoping that with the letters my teens write, and the articles that I submit, with my observations and reminders to the attorney of our prevsious discussions, and his advise to the teens, that we will, once again, be on the same page.

I forgot to mention that my daughter recorded a conversation with her father, where he was claiming that the therapist was in total agreement with his actions to hang up on her. This made the therapist sit up. He insisted to the kids that he DID NOT have such a conversation with their father, and he WOULD NEVER have given such advice. It’s not the first time that my ex has claimed the therapist validated his actions, only to have the therapist completely deny having had any contact with the ex, nor would he have agreed to what the ex is claiming.

The therapist has expressed before, “He (the ex) likes to instill anxiety and fear, doesn’t he?”

The therapist has told me that other women in my shoes would have taken more extreme measures. The fact that I haven’t is to my advantage. On the flip side of the coin, when the teens have plotted scenarios to cause their father to flip out and expose who he really is…. as much as I SO want for this, I tell the kids that they will have to live with themselves the rest of their lives. Any behavior on their part that is not totally honest, designed for the pupose of setting another up, will errode their sense of integrity; no matter how justifiable the actions might be. This period of time will not last forever. And, within four years, the youngest sibling will have to make up her own mind about the contact she wants to have with her father. The affects of staying true to their integrity will stay with them forever. Dishonest and manipulative behavior to set another up, will stay with them forever, as well; and, I believe will negatively influence future relationships.

kim frederick

Isabell, I think you are a phenominal parent, and your spiritual sophistication awes me.


I am hoping someone can please help me as to the best direction to take. I have a 3 1/2 yr old son and with my ex P and he has had very little contact with his son and when he has it has been at my direction or my desire to for him to be a father to his son. I have witnessed the negative impact on my son. he doesn’t want to see his father and doesnt ask to either. last weekend I allowed the P’s mother to have my son for an overnight in which his father would bring him home the following day. Needless to say he did not bring him home, as according to his mother he was sick and was in bed..unable to bring my son home. He never called me to tell me he as sick all communication was done through his enabling mother who had to tell me how sorry she felt for her son as he was sooooo sick and she couldnt let him go anywhere as he doesnt have a home and blah blah blah….no regard for my son at all or the damge it has done being stuck there not knowing when he was coming home and having no interaction with his father and not being able to talk to me as they feared he would be upset. I had to have my sister go and pick him up as the mother lives 2 hrs away. no phone call from the P to tell me or explain anything.
I do not have a court order for custody at all. so I know I dont have to allow my son to go with him. My fear is if I go for a custody agreement I will be going for sole physical custody and that opens it up to award him visitation and then its out of my hands. I have enough on him to MAYBE allow him to have supervised visits..but my goal is to just be rid of him. I dont want to battle in court I dont want to deal with his family or have my son endure what he just had to go through being kept away from me.
so, is it better to let it be? or go for a custody order? I am exhausted and run down and dont want to deal..but know I need to protect myself and my son from him.
please..any thoughts..most helpful



Good to see you back.

From a legal perspective, get custody and support agreements in place. They will be your only leverage against S. Anytime he starts something, anytime he doesn’t pay anything, anytime he does anything against you or your son, it will give you leverage over him. Look at this another way, when he doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, you will now be able to document when he doesn’t comply with the agreements. Enough times being dragged into court, he may ulimately want off the hook and then you will be able to move for termination of his parental rights. The sad fact is, until you have something in writing, you will be subject to his whims and craziness and continue to be exhausted and run down.


Consult an attorney – a good one who really has your best interests at heart.

Maybe stop trying to arrange visits – keep a diary – note down that you have arranged visits and what the result has been (as you did above but stick to facts and no emotion unless you are recording your son’s feelings as he has told them to you) and slowly but surely distance your son from his fathers family. Keep a record of any efforts they make to see or communicate with him – or lack thereof – particularly at holidays and birthdays. Then if the day ever comes that they try to take get visitation etc… or take custody from you you will have a written record of his lack of involvement in your son’s life. That will be in your favor. You probably need to have someone validate this as well…


Thanks Matt!

At this point I have gone NC again…and I have cut off his mother, as well. the damage that was done to him in a period of 4 days was incredible. shall I keep the NC while I wait out for the court date..I know the holidays are coming up and he will want to “look good” I do have a mediation appt set for Jan 6 and I am hoping to get a court date that same day, as well for custody. I would like to be able to keep up the NC for various reasons until then. I don’t know if it will look bad when we go to court tho. I have tried to give him so many chances..this time was the I said the damage I see done to my son broke my heart. He doesnt want to see him or even talk to him and he is barely even 4

kim frederick

EB? I want to say, wait. Don’t initiate anything. As long as you don’t you’re not in contempt of court, although you have to be aware that everything you do do can be used against you, so you must be very cunning and make sure all your actions are justifiable.
Once you go to court, you must follow the letter of the law. But so does he. You must weigh this and what is to your benefit. What is his MO. Is he lazy? Will he give up easily, because he realy couldn’t give a shit, or will he put every ounce of energy into defeating you? If t his is a war, you must prepare and do it with the law on your side. You must always be the one who is controlled, reasonable, and sane. No matter what. But, if you think he’s a lazy peice of something, you might be able to escape an horredous ordeal. JMHO. Oxy? EB? What do you think?


Breckgirl….yes I am done trying to arrange visits. Its my fault as I thought I saw a glimmer of hope with him..again….just the illusion.
Its not as if he is breaking the door down or ringing the phone off the hook either. iIts all been done by me…I offer the olive branch…and he stabs me with it everytime.



Thank that was my way of thinking. his MO is he is a lazy piece of shit..he will not come and fight me for him..he doesnt have the money the means nor the desire to be a fther..only when it is suitable for him. my thought was to just hang back…do contact…if I go after him and open the can of worms so to speak..he will look at it like a fight…and once I open it..he would most likely fight just to make himself look good thus putting me and my family thru hell all over again.



As we all know the holidays are a particularly volatile time and when you have to deal with an S they can go off the charts. That said, while you have nothing in writing, I would tread very carefully prior to your court date. You don’t have to go out and try to set up something for S and his son. What I would advise you to do is allow a REASONABLE visit during the holidays — if he requests one tell him he can visit XMAS Eve afternoon from 1-5 at your sister’s house. You do not have to haul your son to his mother’s house or anywhere else. If he kicks, I would simply tell him that your son knows it is XMAS EVe, he is expecting Santa to show at your house, and that you have made plans with your son for the holiday. Period, end of story. Doing this will make you look “reasonable” to the hearing officer/judge. What you want to avoid is him coming at you with charges of parental alientation.

kim frederick

When he stabs you with the olive branch, make olive oil. Learn how to be greasy and smooth, good tasting and healthy. Be good. Really good. When life hands you lemons….

But really, get your psychopath on! We can learn something from them. And be even better at it, because we have morals and a conscience, empathy and good will, but instead of them using our weakness against us, if we are really smart, we can use theirs against them. I think this is something, we here at LF should study. God bless.


Good to see you……
Let’s hope he is soooooooo sick moms planning a funeral!!!
Best case scenario!

Go with what Matt suggests….
I hope your still documenting…..EVERYTHING!!!! Every move, call, location, address, call…….homelessness….etc….

Good luck!


Erin….laughing I was thinking the same thing…I should be so lucky tho!! I will definitely follow Matts advice..I just don’t know how to proceed with him until the mediation date/court date…Its not until the 6th of January. he will obviously get the papers prioe to I know he will make things difficult…or do i put on a happy face and pretend like I am doing whats best for both of that we can have something set and in writing…just confused…at times I feel sure and confident and then other times not so sure what to do



Thank you for the possitive affirmation. I don’t often feel this way. It’s a daily struggle to keep perspective.

Some new challenges are on the horizon, I had not expected. I’m noticing my oldest daughter (25) is becoming increasingly hostile toward me. Demonstrating many of the P traits; lacking in compassion toward me or her other siblings, unless it serves her a purpose. When she is confronted, she is quick to blame, project, and threaten. Since she, her husband, and my grandson live with us, it make getting some distance a bit tricky. I’m also noticing her influence over my level headed 15 year old. She is especially able to influence her, when my 15 year old has had a run in with her dad, and is emotionally charged – she is starting to take her anger out on me. And, my oldest, then flames the fire – creating an aliance, if you will. It’s all a bit puzzling, but a serious concern that is building momentum.

This week, my oldest also expressed a type of hostile jealousy when her son, my grandson was especially affectionate with me, “I love you Grandma, your the best.” She immediately took offense and began a subtle but effective smear campaigne with my grandson, who later said to me, “I don’t like you Grandma.” out of know where. When I asked him why, he said, “Because if my Mommy doesn’t like you, then I don’t like you.” Hmmmm….

And this comes at a time when I’ve just started a new job, which I’m very happy about. She gets angry when things go well for me. She gets angry and jealous of my frienships, too. She wants to be the the center of attention, the most important, the most valued, the one in control. She cannot stand to hear me compliment, or priase anybody else. She brings the attention back to herself, expressing her feelings of being slighted the same compliment.

I also caught her in a lie, to which she was attempting to gaslight me. When I exposed her effort, she became hyper hysterical, and ripped me up one side and down the other as a parent.

Much more took place, but for now.. I have much to observe and contemplate.


To this list I would like to add stealing razor blades from walmart, in front of your 10 yo child while wearing an Armani suit and then driving away in your 7 series BMW, simply because you think the razors are overpriced. I am not kidding. I thought this might make some of you laugh, tho 🙂


My four year old son’s father is a SP. He is mentally manipulative and emotionally exploitative. He’s not typically violent, although he did on occasion use physical violence and/or the threat of physical violence, to try to control me when we were together. It is possible he is rough and inconsistent in his discipline. However, my son is happy to go see him; especially this time of year with Halloween, his birthday and then Christmas. At 4, he’s all about the toys”so it’s hard to tell what’s going on otherwise.

His SP father was dating a young college student who’s parents forbade them to date, after a year of exposure. He ended up at my house (6 weeks ago) bawling about how her mother said he’s incapable of love, uses his son to make him feel and look good, and is “not a son of God”. With snot running out his nose he heaved and expressed (most likely insincerely) concern for our son’s well being. He said he doesn’t realize he hurts the people he cares about and was worried he was hurting our son inadvertently. He then requested supervised visits, with me being the supervisor.

I didn’t fall for his act, as he most likely was trying to illicit pity that got him far with me for a few years. It’s how he got me to love and care for him without reciprocation. I told the SP, and do believe, that whatever is filling his needs right now also appears to be fulfilling our son’s. I assured him that, if the time came when I thought otherwise, I’d make change. I held him to his schedule with his son and refused to supervise.

Three weeks later, he’s involved with another woman, this time with a 3 year old child. They introduced their son’s immediately and, within three more weeks, started having sleepovers”Mother and son at my SP’s one bedroom apt on the one night a week my son sleeps there.

I know I can’t control what goes on in that house and that opinions vary about the appropriateness of a child seeing partner after partner in a parent’s bed. I expressed my concerns, because I needed to. And, of course, he hasn’t responded to any. He just flits around like a happy man who never presented himself to his son’s mother as an evil man who might harm his own son, let alone this new child in his life.

I have applied for a new position at my place of employment that is based 45 minutes from my home. I am considering moving, if I get the position, not so much to be closer to work as to be further from HIM. My hope is that, if need be, I can move my son further away so exposure won’t be nothing at all, as he is attached to his unhealthy father in some healthy 4 year old ways. But it will be lessened. Less exposure is the best I think I can do. The question will be WHEN lessening the exposure is the right thing to do.

My son is doing well; exhibiting true empathy, compassion and the ability to love. He is like me and very little like his father. Not so much me as an adult, but like me when I was a child; innocent, happy, kind, social, generous, optimistic and adorable.

I have asked the SP to make transitions between households as quick as possible, as I find being in the same room with him upsetting. This helps me but is not lost on my son, who can sense I don’t approve of his father. I also refuse to be around his father’s extended family (the whole lot is even worse then the SP himself), even though my son specifically requests on certain social occasions. I worry about the impact this will have on our relationship.

Thanks for reading!



You got alot on your plate right now. Take a deep breath…..

The next few weeks are going to be an adjustment, just with settling into your new job. My wish for you is that this goes smoothly. It will give you one less thing to worry about.

The holidays are right around the corner and often times the holidays can create extra stress as well. Be good to yourself and on occasion (when you can spare a minute) do something to pamper yourself. Sounds like you have a houseful. Close the bathroom door and take a bubble bath.

I can see why you are concerned with your oldest daughters behavior. All you can do is observe right now. See if you notice this on a regular basis. Try to recollect how she normally “behaves” when she is not in the spotlight. I know some women her age that develop a “princess” mantality. In other words “it’s all about me” kind of thinking…..Self centered, YES, but they don’t necessarily display other P/S/N behavior or traits.

I would be most concerned with how she interacts with your grandson. And your teenage daughter as well.



I couldn’t help but post here. I have an 11 year old son, with a man I have for a long time, wondered if he was a S. My son started having problems, and eventually wound up in counseling at his school. The counselor thought my son was doing better, and he is, and wanted to stop his counseling, but I said no. The circumstances with his father are getting harder, and this always reflects on my sons behavior.

I have shared custody with my P. We had been together for 7 years. He was the absolutely, most abusive man, emotionally, that I have ever met in my life. He used my son to punish and control me. His father was a respected man in the community, so even when I broke up with him, and got a restraining order on him, he got away with breaking it, by using his father to break into my house when I was gone.

Looking back, I dont understand how I put up with it as long as I did. All I know, is that I had completely lost myself, and my self-esteem in the relationship. I worry alot about my son, now 11, but thankfully he has alot of me in him too. We talk about wrong and right alot, and I have to point out that his fathers behavior (aggression, antisocial behavior, how he t5reates other people, and his violent outburst) are not right.

Though my son is in counseling, he is still afraid to talk to the counselor about his fathers behavior. Both my son and my myself, can’t tell his father alot of things…out of fear of being punished. for years and year, his father used my son to control me, abuse me, and isolate me. I would rather be hit, beat, battered than have my son used to pull me around like a doll on a string. It was a never ending nightmare…and looking back, I can now see, why I couldn’t pull my own life together. I wound up suffering severe PTSD and major depression…

it was a long road, and too many details to post here, but we still have split custody. My sons counselor had wanted to stop his counseling, but I said no. My son hasent at all, been able to proccess anything about his father, his fathers aggression or anything. The sad thing, is that his father, works at my sons school, with children with mental retardation, and he has been in many altercations with other teachers and staff at the school, (they threatened to let him go if he continued to be agressive) because of his aggressive style of communication. But STILL, I am alone, and somehow he is pulling it off.

He has bragged to me, how he has slammed his fist down in front of the mentally retarded children, because they werent behaving. He terrorized me and my own son, with the same crap. and still the school employs him. I guess because not many people want to work with, or can handle the kids he takes care of at the school.

My sons father has also been extremely guilty of leaving explicit porn all over his house, my sons entire life. this has also caused problems for my son.

So I am keeping my son in counseling, and slowly encouraging him, to confide in this counselor. It is a very very delicate situation, and I am hoping that the school, and the counselor will come to see what is really going on. The counselor did not want me or his father talking about eachother. So that has hindered the progress of getting down to the truth.

It is that situation, that if my sons father feels threatened in anyway, someone is going to be punished severely, and that will be either me, or my son. My son is getting old enough to let a judge know where he wants to live. So with counseling, support from me and my family, and the truth ccoming out about his father, I am hoping the justice system will finally work on his behal, and my behalf. His father had abused the courts also, and when I had mentioned that we needed to get couseling for our son, he got vindictive, and made a story up about how my 8 year old son was molesting him. Ofcourse it wasent true, but it was a nightmare. He had no evidence, and had led our son into lieing, and then my son told the truth. Then his father blamed our 11 year old son for lieing, when he didn’t get his way in court, and could have been busted for lieing in court. He wanted to tear me and my children apart and used my older son to try and do that…because I wanted counseling for OUR son, because he was acting out what he was learning from his father. It was a nightmare in hell, and I do everything I can to keep the waters calm for my 11 year old son. We have to do everything, as to not upset his father or get in his way. Its not a way to live.

but his father, I can check at least 8 or 9 things off that list above, that he has done, or still does do. My own family (me and my two boys) have suffered endlessly, because of what he did to us in the past, economically, financially, spiritually and physically.

His father even got away with breaking the court order and taking my son to texas for six months. Against my will, to be with another woman, who dumped him as soon as he got there. Then he had to work his way back to this state…which took too long. At that point I had a break down. I new that calling the cops would put my son at even graver risk.. I had to co-operate, for his safety, to get back. That was all just a nightmare from hell.

I always said, that you can hurt me, but dont hurt my kids. this S used my kids to hurt me, and talk about feeling like you are being stabbed in the heart repeatedly.

Today, things are just level. somehow, his father has stopped abusing me, but his agression is still there. I never ever like how he even talks to my child. He can be talking to you one minute, and belittle you the next second, and you dont even know what you did.



Thank you. You put perspective on the situation. Everybody is supercharged right now. With each visit the younger three have with my ex, my older daughter (his step daughter, and raised him) goes into a tail spin too. She has a lot of anger, resentment toward him, as well as myself, for not noticing and protecting her; though she admits to hiding much of his manipulative, inimidation, and abusive behavior toward him from me, as I had three babies, was nursing, and he was very stealth in his tactics.

I’ve apologized to her so many times. I’ve identified with what she must have been experiencing. I’ve done all I know how to do to let her know what happened to her wasn’t her fault, and how much sorrow it brings me that she went through this. Even still…I’ve heard her say, “Mom feels so guilty about what happened to me, I can pretty much get away with anything.” WhAT??? And, when I try to set boundaries with her, she threatens me where it concerns the case with my younger three. That I don’t understand at all.

But, you are so right… I need to go easy ang gently with myself through the these next few weeks. I’ve sent an e-mail off to three of my closest friends, asking for help. They have been extremely supportive through the past four years, and have expressed concern with how my older daughter takes advantage of me – bullying me. I, as usual, minimize and make excuses, just like I did with my ex. I am going to need as much support as I can get to counter influence the younger three, if my older daughter is truely on a campaign to discredit and devalue me in order to win over their loyalty – so she can, in her mind, one up me, feel more important, and maybe even on a subconscious level get even with me for having the other three. Who knows.

Off to work….



Your older daughter is 25. She is an adult. She lives in your house.

My parents are a malignant N and an S. I got so tired of the nonstop drama and battles I finally (a) realized that the statute of limitations on parental war crimes had run and (b) drew some boundaries that they are not allowed to cross.

I think you need to make your daughter aware that the statute of limitations has run on whatever she perceives your particular parental war crimes to be. Your house, your rules. Time to draw some boundaries. If she doesn’t like them, move. Plain and simple. Move.


Matt and Erin

Is there a way since my son is so young and he has abandonded him since the day he was born, pretty much that I could get an emergency hearing for sole custody.???
There is no consistency with the S, at all…infact he never calls..he never responds when I have called him, which is rarely. Since my son got back from the last visit…which was only supposed to be an overnight and it turned into son has been severley affected…I couldn even get him to go to school as he is terrified he will not see me again. He is very angry…for only 4..doesnt understand where his dad is and why he doesnt call…the damage I see is breaking my heart..there has to be something I can get in order to protect him so I dont have to go thru this…Its craziness….Ive tried to implement consistency and it just doesnt happen….he goes weeks and week with no contact with my son….I just want peace and to stop this madness and destruction for my son he is to young to have to go thru this!!!


You’ve done and said all the right things concerning your oldest daughter. Now you might add one more thing. Tell her that it’s true that you carry pain in your heart for what she has endured and that this guilt could make you vulnerable to being taken advantage of by someone like your xP who has no conscience. Tell her that the xP serves one good purpose: as an example of HOW NOT TO BE. Whatever a P would do, we must do the opposite and never start down that slippery road toward p-behavior.

Hopefully, she will understand what you mean and not only stop the bullying but also add another perspective to her way of thinking that can help her make better decisions about how to treat people in the future.



Allowing visitation doesn’t have to mean allowing your child to spend the night. In fact, if you willingly permit it, you may be hard pressed to prove in court that you fear for your son’s well being in his father’s care.

If you do allow visitation without your presence, you may want to keep the responsibility of drop off and pick ups, so you can better control the visit duration. Doing so will also establish your willingness to facilitate visitation, which would go a long way in court.

I’m very familiar with the “too sick” to be a father BS. You can’t make the S a better person or father than he is, even if you ride him and try to hold him to it. Doing so is enabling and codependent behavior; which will take its own toll on you and your child.

It sounds like your child has accepted his father as not being part of his life. Perhaps you are drawing out the inevitable, which may be more painful for your son then letting go. There are options available to provide a positive male influence for your son, through community programs and/or religious institutions.



Are you talking about sole PHYSICAL custody or termination of S’s parental rights.

Sole physical custody is doable in your case since you are the primary care giver. Besides getting sole physical custody you should also get NO VETO POWER which would prohibit S from interfering in decisions you make over your son’s well-being, childcare, etc.

Getting sole (non-physical) custody (termination of S’s parental rights) is problematical under the best of circumstances. Courts are reluctant to shut down a parent completely — as can be seen any day of the week at any prison you choose.

To terminate parental rights you have to make an overwhelming case that S has had no contact with your child, or, if he has had contact the contact has been so detrimental as to imperil your child’s physical and mental well-being, has failed to pay any support, etc. It goes a long way to bolstering your case if you have written custody and support agreements that you can point to to illustrate what his father has or has not been doing.

Another thing you should consider – get the written agreements in place and hold S’s feet to the fire. He may get so bored and inconvenienced that he may ultimately volunteer to terminate his parental rights.


I am the adult child of a sociopathic mother. The interesting thing about her is that she was determined to stay married and she chose the right man. My father was painfully shy and didn’t know how to address conflict. He basically looked the other way and left us to our mother. He only stepped in on rare occasions.

Meanwhile, my mother made sure we were separated from him by whispering one thing in his ear and another in ours. It worked fairly well when I was young, but as I got older, he got wiser and he and I were able to have some sort of relationship.

My brother, sister and I were fairly angry with him for selling us up the river. Since I was my mother’s favorite human punching bag, I caught the brunt of her abuse (still do). It was horrible – like a nightmare – to live in a world where I was always trying to get help by pointing out her lies and abuse only to have her behavior excused and blamed on me.

But I’m glad my Dad didn’t leave.

If he had more backbone, he would have divorced her. Back in those days children stayed with their mother unless there was some obvious problem. While things were tough, they would have been a lot tougher without my father there to keep her feet somewhat nailed to the ground. Lord knows what would have happened to us.

My advice is to do what you can to keep your children away from the Socio parent.

MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE! When your children are age appropriate, start preparing them to deal with their sociopathic parent’s attempts to triangulate relationships. S/he will do everything in his/her power to divide and conquer your children – including coming between them. A child’s desire to believe that their parent loves them is a powerful thing. And socios know it.

My sister and I are in the midst of a huge relationship struggle, thanks to my mother’s triangulation. I could cry a river thinking about the fact that she has been able to manipulate my sister to make her feel guilty and me angry. I know we’ll get through it, but it’s a rough haul. If only my sister could see my mother for what she really is. One day.

Ox Drover

Dear Isabell,

I totally agree with matt, YOUR HOUSE, YOUR RULES. If you continue to allow this adult child to ABUSE YOU and stir up trouble in YOUR HOME because she thinks she can black mail you, you are ENABLING her. Actually she sounds to me like she is high in psychopathic traits herself.

My two adult sons both live with me, and both contribute financially and with labor to the upkep of our home, but it is MTY HOUSE and my rules, we do not and WE WILL NOT treat each other with disrespect.

I will NOT walk on egg shells around them to keep them from explosing and acting out. I think this older daughter is a bad example for your younger kids, and I am sure that she will use her son’s affection for you (as she has already demonstrated) as a HOOK to keep you subservient to her abuse. I’m being very blunt here Isabell, but one way or another if you don’t get control of your own house by setting boundaries with this woman (your adult daughter) all hell is going to break loose and it will not be for the benefit of you or your other children or your grandson. God bless you isabell, I know you are in a squeeze between the devil and the deep blue sea. iI’ve been in the SAME SQUEEZE and it was only when my life and sanity were at risk thatI finally chose to get out of that squeeze at whatever price it cost. BUT I AM SO TOTALLY GLAD I DID!!! It hurt at the time, but in the end has been well worth it. At the time I left, I hadd to leave behind one of my sons that was duped by his P then wife.



Yes..I am referring to Sole custody ..I will ask for supervised visits altho I would rather ask for none..he has not paid child support in over a year and what was paid was garnished…the emotional damage he has already inflicted in my son is coming out on a daily basis..the anger…the tantrums..the not letting me go..feeling like i am going to abandon him..etc etc…I found out the S was offereed hs old job back and so I informed the sate and they will start garnishing immediately. with everything he has done to myself and my son over the past 3 yrs….all documented thru the courts for support..I cant see where a judge would rule in his favor at all…I have done so much research now and see how his mother is a narcissist and his ex wife too…its all so crazy and I just want my son as far away as possible with the least amount of damage.


Runningaway: Wow, your post rang true with me. My mother is a N/S as well and my father stayed true-blue to her until he died of a massive heart attack at 60.

I had never really considered what life would have been like for me and my brother had he divorced her. Her behaviour since his death has become increasingly bizarre and sadistic and I realize now my Dad really did keep her “grounded.”

I’ve always thought my Dad died because of the stress he was under and wished he’d have had the opportunity for a better life without my mother. But that would have meant disaster for me and my brother. Maybe he knew it.

Thanks for the insight.


This subject, like many of us here, is actually what brought me to this site. I wondered, how am I going to coparent with this abusive controlling intimidating person and how do I prevent him from punishing our daughter for his own self-hatred? Here is the decision I made, which was right for me. I refuse to allow this man to abuse me in any way: No contact. His subsequent campaign to discredit me to his friends, my friends, family, my job has taken its toll. He has told me that he will make our daughter hate me the first chance he gets, just to get back at me. It has taken a team of people to get me through this. My lawyer , my parents (for love and yes, money for legal fees), my therapist (for stress), my doctor (for insomnia), my friends, my boss (for time off for court dates and medical leave due to the stress) and most importantly, my little daughter, who will grow up with both compassion and boundaries. I have been emotionally damaged by this process, but she hasnt been. My therapist said to me, “I forget sometimes how someone who is a functioning, well adjusted mature person can be brought to their knees by someone with a personality disorder. But you will be fine and I’m rooting for you”.

Thank you for everyones comments on this subject. It really helped to hear other parents stories about coping and parenting and keeping our children safe from emotional and physical harm.

Ox Drover

Dear Sadie,

I’m glad you are fortunate enough to have such a wonderful support system! I know it helps!

I am also glad that you found your way here. Hqave you also checked on Dr. Leedom’s site about co-parenting and raising the at risk child, or read her books? If not you should do so.

She is also raising an “at risk” child so she has a great deal of experie4nce as well as empathy for your situation.

You can connect to her blog on the links here on LF.

Glad you are here and glad your child has you for a mother! Your P sounds just so P-ish, and it sounds to me like you are handling things quite well. ((((hugs))))

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