By | July 31, 2010 187 Comments

Changing the presumption: Is a child really better off interacting with both parents?

Just Like His Father? Is nearly four years old now and my own son is nearly eight. At the time the book was released, scientists were still engaged in the genetics versus environment debate regarding the development of antisocial behavior. That debate is now over and every authority accepts that antisocial behavior and antisocial personality traits develop due to a gene-environment interaction. I am working on revising the book because now some specific genes have been identified.

Thankfully, I have not had to cope with the toxic environment a sociopath/psychopath creates for their offspring. Just Like His Father? doesn’t really grapple with that issue other than to encourage people to consider that the child may be better off with only one parent. At time the book was written, my thinking was based on two false premises. The first falsehood, I was taught in residency, “antisocial individuals abandon their young” has turned out to be perhaps the biggest problem at-risk children face. Antisocial individuals do not necessarily abandon their young, but they do abuse them and use them as pawns to damage other people and they also use them in their cons.

Four years ago, I naively believed that the family courts would naturally dictate that sociopaths/ psychopaths should be kept from harming their children. This second premise has also turned out to be false and is the basis for the nightmare many people I now count as friends are living.

It follows that in addition to teaching the material in the book and workbook, to save at-risk children we also have to take on the system-hopefully by working together. The system is composed of mental health professionals who really do not understand antisocial personality disorder let alone the meaning of psychopathic personality traits to parenting. It is also composed of Judges who want to make the tough decisions easy by giving themselves judicial sound bites to go by. Here is the official mantra of the state of New York Family Court:

“Visitation by a noncustodial parent is presumed to be in the child’s best interest and should be denied only in exceptional situations, such as where substantial evidence reveals that visitation would be detrimental to the welfare of the child.”

The important words there are “substantial evidence.” Just what constitutes substantial evidence? I am working on researching the answer to that question and have access to an extensive online law library through the university where I teach.

I am preparing a generic document that people can use as a resource regarding the harmful effects of parenting by antisocial individuals and emotional and verbal abuse on children. Some recent research shows that the developmental damage done by emotional and verbal abuse is as severe as that due to physical and sexual abuse.

But we really have to change the legal mantra. Given what we know of genetic risk, we have to not only protect at-risk children from abuse, we have to provide them with an enriching, nurturing environment to prevent the intergenerational spread of disorder. The new mantra should be:

“In cases where one parent has antisocial personality disorder (psychopathy) the child deserves the best upbringing the least disordered parent can provide.”


“The least disordered parent has a right to live life free of the sociopath/psychopath they were conned by.”

Setting the least disordered parent free facilitates his/her mental health and contributes to the well-being of the child.

Here is what you can do to join this effort:

  1. If you went through a custody/visitation battle and your children are old enough for you to comment on how the battle and the sociopath affected them please write me. I am especially interested in talking with offspring over 18 about their perspectives.
  2. If you have an ongoing situation you are willing to share please write. Recently, people from Alabama and New York asked me for help so I compiled the case law for those states. The goal is to compile the case law for every state then make the info available on the web.
  3. If you want to volunteer to read the case law and help me organize it, I’ll put you to work right away.
  4. If you are an attorney or legal assistant who wants to help please let me know.
  5. If you have political connections, we need you.

I am looking to form a committee of workers committed to this cause.

Last but not least, I regret the title of my book because it suggests gender. The title merely reflects my own personal experience. This is NOT about gender or fatherhood versus motherhood. Normal men love and nurture their children and I do not dispute that children need that love and nurturing. This is about a psychiatric disorder for which there is no proven treatment, antisocial personality disorder/ psychopathy.

We are working to save the most vulnerable of all children from abuse, neglect and disorder. We are advocating for those children who carry genetic risk for antisocial personality disorder and who have a mother or father who is not capable of loving and nurturing them.

Contact Dr. Liane Leedom at [email protected]

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Ox Drover

Wow, Liane, some powerful words! And yes, educating the legal system is a big job, but educating the non-disordered parent, and giving them the tools to fight in their court situation is a good first step, and one that seems very doable.

There have been several people here mentioning about how to take on the legal system, this sounds like right down their alley!


Liane, I hope something is set up in advance for dealing with “those” judges that refuse to listen to reason due to their own personality disorder?

It’s difficult enough having to deal with the personal Spaths in our lives, to find out the legal and political system is one also!


It is difficult having a sociopath in your life, knowing that it would be great if I could raise my kids without my husband’s involvement – he likes spending time with his children (claiming that he doesn’t want to be like his own dad, a man who showed no interest in any of his kids). I want to enjoy my life (it’s hard to do), my children, without all the stress that occurs due to my husband having this disorder. You cannot have a moment’s peace, always on your guard, waiting for the next bomb to drop. I have learned not to assume anything about anyone, a life lesson gleaned from having a sociopath in my life.


Liane, thank you for posting this call to arms, so to speak. God bless you for taking on such a monumental effort! I just dashed off my response in an email.

Bluejay, you say that the spath father “likes spending time with his children…” and I would like to suggest that the spath father doesn’t “like” anything other than the opportunity to manipulate and control by USING the children as tools, IMHO. The ex spath was so vociferous in his claims that he “loved” his children, and nothing was further from the truth. He went through the motions of appearing to be a “great dad,” but it was always superficial and VERY temporary – no activity or requirement was ever completed or satisfied, and school officials had the cheek to call me (literally, call me from 4 States away) and ask, “Is there anything you can do to get Mr. Sociopath to cooperate with us? I’m afraid that if I push any more, I’m going to rock the boat and he’ll stop cooperating, completely.” LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROTFLMAOTMNR!!!

Wini, the legal language and definitions have to change in order to prevent loopholes so that apathetic Judges can make arbitrary rulings that defy common sense. The definition of socipathy has to be significantly altered and addressed via strict legislation before anyone in a custody/visitation battle with a spath can experience ANY remedy or relief. How to hold Judges accountable? I don’t know – I experienced complete apathy from the Bench during my hearings, and the apathy resulted in devastating consequences for both children.

Just my 2 cents…Brightest blessings, and lets fight the Good Fight, in any way that we can!


children have been murdered by sociopathic parents during custody visits.

Could I suggest a type of screening that would establish whether the father of my child is going to murder him, physically abuse him, emotionally abuse him, neglect him, ridicule him, psychologically torture him…… to get me back in a custody visit..?


Bulletproof, are you currently engaging in individual counseling? If not, get involved with a psychologist (NOT psychiatrist) who is familiar with PSTD and domestic violence. To find such a counselor, you can call the local mental health referral service, and they’ll do the “intake” over the phone and refer you to a counselor specializing in both issues. THIS is specifically for 2 reasons: a) this assists you in setting your feet firmly on your healing path, and b) this provides documenation for the Courts.

Then, you can direct your attorney to ask the Court to order a series of psychiatric and psychological evaluations for the spath father – BOTH are mandatory, not just one or the other. Psychiatrists deal in the medical aspects while psychologists deal in the emotional aspects. Both assessments will be invaluable during custody/visitation battles.

Is there (or, was there EVER) an Order of Protection filed or granted against the spath father? Put this information to good use via your attorney.

Good luck and brightest blessings, Bulletproof! {{hugs}}


Buttons thanks…it was a rhetorical question. I don’t have that particular problem but I am always disturbed by the whole custody issue and how it’s assumed interaction with both parents is the best way…if the child is going to be murdered then it is clearly not the best siuation….and HOW do you know, and we have to come up with an assessment to find out…..and if a parent is a psycho sociopath then surely it is in the best interest for the well being of that child to be with one loving parent.
The same for gay adoption…it’s about a set of LOVING parents not about anything else…the child needs 2 people who are motivated by love…..peacex


LMAO, Bulletproof – I was ass-u-me-ing! LOL

There are so many “symptoms” of danger to children that it’s unconscionable that a majority of Family Judges don’t make harsh rulings and follow through with any/all violations. Like I said, an order of protection or restraining order is simply verbal diarrhea – it’s MEANINGLESS because they are barely enforced, and 100% of the fault for this lies on the Courts. When a child is involved, the Courts should do everything within their considerable power to see to the safety of that child, or those children. They do not have a voice. They do not have advocates. They only have one parent who’s trying to save themselves and that child (or, children), and another parent who is hell-bent-for-leather on making the other “pay” for having the INSOLENCE to leave!

I agree that interaction with both parents doesn’t always preclude an emotionally healthy child. Yes, I’ve met parents who divorced and remained VERY conscious of their children’s well-being and put the needs of their children before the issues of their divorce. But, when one parent is a sociopath, or fits the (*#$&% profile, then there must be very strict, clear, and concise guidelines set in place to protect ALL of the victims with harsh consequences if those guidelines are, in any way, violated.

As it stands, the definition of sociopathy is based upon clinical research with most involving convicted criminals and NOT the generic sociopath who has evaded detection for years. The language used to define sociopathy is so confusing, even the qualified professionals have a hard time nailing down the “symptoms” and are often oblivious to the fact that they have a sociopath in their office pretending to engage in “counseling.”

While I was still married to the ex spath, our eldest son had been acting-out and displaying a number of disturbing behaviors. My mother actually paid for our son to attend counseling, and the ex spath was present for a few of the sessions when the psychologist needed to speak with us on a family basis, as well as an individual basis. After the sessions were completed, she wrote a scathing assessment of our family dynamics. Of course, this infuriated the ex spath, and he threw her report away and FORBADE me to ever seek counseling, again. Oddly enough, my mother retrieved that report and saved it for some unknown reason and gave it to me, years later. That counselor, fresh out of Yale, had it pegged and nearly used “sociopath” to describe the ex spath.

They can fool SOME of the people MOST of the time, but they can’t fool EVERY person ALL of the time. That’s why they will attend 3-5 sessions and opt out. Under scrutiny, a sociopath cannot maintain their facades, even though they believe themselves to be far superior to anyone else.

If you’ve ever been an objective spectator in criminal court (Family Court in VA is “closed” from the public), there are so many “tells” if a sociopath takes the stand. These Judges need to be educated, the definition revamped, and the public made aware of socipathy. We’re breeding more and more socipaths, and our society seems to be encouraging more and more deviant behaviors and excusing bad behaviors on some label or another.

Brightest blessings.


I just finished a devastating divorce from a brilliant sociopath. I supported Chris (Ex) for many years, but still managed to save a good amount of money. Now I have nothing and am up to my ears in debt. I tried desperately to save my daughter, but in the end, the misogynist Psychologist who did our family evaluation said my teen age daughters should live wherever they want. My Ex fooled them.

Hardest for me was to figure out how many sociopaths I was actually dealing with in the Family law court! My Ex’s attorney? (Probably.) The psychologist? (Possibly. I did find out he was an alcoholic.) The Judge? (I learned he tried to have someone killed once??) I fought for my children as hard as I knew how. My oldest disowned her Dad, and my youngest went to live with him and started having sex and getting in trouble with the law at age 13. He, of course, was just fine with that — he knew it would hurt me. There is so much more that could be said…


Dear Katherine,

Sorry to hear what youve been through. Especially what has happened with your children.

You have come to the right place for support, understanding and gathering information/knowledge and most important to know you are not alone.

I hope you find this to be a comforting and healing place.


BulletProof, because most of the courts DO NOT care. The only thing they care about is their paychecks get electronically delivered to their bank account.



well Katherine…that brings tears to me because it’s appalling. I’m so sorry for your trouble and I have no problem seeing how a sociopath would dupe till the cows come home, culminating in seriously bad decisions made on behalf of the children. If it’s any comfort at all…I feel it in my heart and I am very saddened. Wish you the best…wish you a turn around in karma and the strength to be there for your children in love and peacex


Katherine {{{HUGS STRONG HUGS}}} It’s so defeating to experience the blatant dismissal by a Court. We believe that the Courts are in place to see that the most reasonable judgment prevails. And, when I read back over many of the custody/visitation posts, it only reaffirms what I’ve always believed: POWER CORRUPTS from Judges on down to the Social Services case-worker, because their words can affect the entire outcome.

Your daughters will seek you out, in due time, Katherine. At some point, they will NEED you, just as Mike “needed” us. Do the best that you can to let them know that you love them and that you’re available to them – within reason. Take this time to focus on healing and progressing.

My most heartfelt sympathies are with you, and with everyone else who has suffered such a devastating blow.

Brightest, healing blessings to you.



I am sorry for the injustice of it all, not having the results that you desired. It is unfair, a hard pill to swallow.

Ox Drover

Dear Katherine,

Unfortunately, they can fool some of the people some of the time, and sometimes the judge or attorneys are sociopaths as well. They get off on the power and control of their position. It seems to attract them as a profession (lawyers too)

I am so sorry for what you went through, and I wish there was some way I could comfort you for your losses and for the losses your children will suffer.

There’s a genetic compo0nent to it as well as environmental and sometimes there is NOTHING we can do to save our children. I have a son who is a psychopath just like my paternal biological DNA donor—I couldn’t save him from himself.

I firmly believe that any child who is determined to be a psychopath that we cannot save from themselves, and any child who doesn’t have a strong genetic component will either become another victim or save themselves–at least from becoming an abuser themselves.

You can’t transplant a conscience in a child that doesn’t have the capacity for one…

YOU did the BEST that you can do. I did the best that I could do, and that is all that even God can expect of us and we shouldn’t expect more from ourselves.

I wish you peace and blessings. ((((Hugs))))) I’m glad you found LF


This thread affects me on many, many levels. I work in Child Protection and ‘am the professional’ that’s supposed to get it right and save children from abusive parents. Yeah right!!?

I work in the UK – so am limited to discussing this issue in the context of my work here.

Stopping S’s and P’s. Well the reality is that it’s very hard to prevent a determined abuser. You had the relationship with the a**clown, so you know how tricksey he/she can be right?

In order to make a case for NO CONTACT between spath parent and child (victim) I need:

1 to spot to Spath (not easy ladies and gents as you’ll all attest).

2 prove that they’re an Spath – (even harder when this disorder is so little understood or recognised).

3 be prepared to confront the Spath. Knowing that they’ll do everything they can to discredit and ruin me. They very often succeed b-t-w. (Not so hard as everyone has no trust in SW’s anyway).

All I’m saying is…………….work with your SW and don’t somehow expect them to be ‘mommy and daddy’ i.e find it any easier than you to confront the Spath. This is the ultimate ‘fantasy’.

People like me need proof that stands up in court. That’s what counts. But it’s hard to get ‘proof’ of the core and timber of one human being relating to another human being. so be realistic.

I would say get organised, get armed and GET CALM. Give us SW’s the ammunition we need ladies and gents and we will do what we were put on this earth to do. No one is more able to protect your own kids but YOU. No-one is more invested in protecting your children THAN YOU ARE.

I know this is emotional stuff. But hell – it’s an important subject.

I’m sure this will get a few hackles up .and not make me particularly popular…. but I feel it really needs to be said.

Blessings all the same


kim frederick

Thanks, Delta. You have a difficult job, I’m sure. This is good advice.


Oh – I wanted also to say that this post reflects my own frustrations and hence rather hard words. But I also wanted to say and that I am also really sorry Katherine that you’re having these hard times and worries about your children.

I don’t want to be hard on you personally or to minimise the pain of your situation, which sounds really difficult.

So whatever else my feelings are about ‘the system’ we’re all targets of S’s on this site and are here to learn, share and heal.

None of us deserved the pain that we’ve experienced. That’s for sure!

Blessing to you Katherine. Hope you get the help and support that you need.


Ox Drover


Your words are not harsh they are TRUTH, and “the truth will set you free, but first it will pith you off” as we say here.

You are so right, we must keep CALM and it is difficult to do when you see your child in danger, and no one else can see that “danger” and in fact perceive it as “love.” Assume it is “love.”

Read the thread here about Dr. Amy Castillo whose kids were murdered by her x even though she told them he had threatened to do so on a visit….he killed them. And there are other threads here about this.

I used to think this was a RARE occurance but if you will search the web you find dozens, (hundreds?) of cases of this. Parents killing children, or worse, to punish the caring parent.

So how many hundreds of thousands of cases of other abuse that is not so newsworthy or obviously abusive?

I know how difficult your job is, and how easy it is to burn out, and how difficult it is to stay objective…I’m a retired advanced practice nurse and though I worked with families and kids in a different capacity, I saw kids who were sexually abused and couldn’t do anything to get the perp prosecuted, I saw kids abused in other ways, and the families cover it up, wives abused, etc. elderly abused. It is frustrating when you know and can’t prove it “legally” or the judge or the lawyer or DA won’t work with you, or sluffs it off as “minor”—

TOWANDA for you for caring Delta and for sharing with us, you bring a good head to the conversation!


Dear Oxy and Kim and everyone, thanks for your thoughts.

I have been face to face with evil many times. Like you Oxy, I’ve sat in a room with a mother or father who I know ‘in my heart’ is hurting a child, but where I have ‘no legal proof’.

I’ve been threatened many times with violence and even death by a wife beater (or 2 or 3 or 4), I’ve had a child sex abuser threaten to sue me for ‘racist discrimination’. Many abusers have tried for the pity play with me in one way or another.

It’s a tough old world out there folks. Don’t you disbelieve it!!

Anyway – really I’m not needing or asking for validation – but it may help other LF bloggers if they understand how to work more effectively with CP services in their area.

CP workers and the ‘targets’ of abusers need to form a trusting alliance – in my experience it’s the only thing that ever takes the S’s or P’s ‘to the Mat’.

Co-operation and love is so far outside the Spath’s experience that the strength of such a union often ‘blindsides’ them in spectacularly unexpected ways.


Good luck to all struggling with the Spath parent in their child’s life.

Delta 1


Thanks Delta1, for being one of the good guys/gals in the system. My being trashed by folks in the system where I live … has nothing to do with the good folks in your field. We all know that Spaths are everywhere. It’s just there is so many of those darn bad apples.

Keep the FAITH! God is loving everything you do!


Re – Bad Apples

There are bad SW apples, judge apples etc in any system. But like with all Spaths – one needs to learn to ‘fight dirty’ if needs be.

If anyone wants any tips on how to put their UK SW on the backfoot I’d be happy to chat about it! I would say that 8/10 of my colleagues are stand-up amazing people who have such integrity and are. But the 2/10 well ………………….. bad practice ruins children’s lives – for good, so it matters a great deal.

It’s not so hard to fight back against a poor SW- if you know how… soo…. HERE I AM! Tee Hee.

Best wishes

Delta 1 x

Ox Drover


You offer such wisdom and good advice here, I just want you to know that I for one appreciate it. Keeping our heads and keeping our calm is difficult to do when we are personally involved. It is so much easier to do when it is a professional situation. And frankly sometimes I had trouble doing that as well! LOL

One of the things all of us here at lovefraud seem to need from time to time is validation that we are not crazy (DUH!) and that we must keep our heads even when we are least able to do so.

Your voice of reason and good sense is much appreciated. Thanks!


Oxy and Delta, I believe what all of here need to know is just what you told us. That there are righteous folks working in the system too.


ember halo

i’m discouraged that my state (oregon) will almost NEVER terminate on parent’s parental rights, and (according to my lawyer) will only CONSIDER terminating visitations after 2 years of no contact.

thankfully the Spath i was married to thought he could con me into dropping the divorce so he didn’t contest what i had asked for in it… so i at least got sole custody and he has to have supervised visits until he completes mental health counseling, drug & alcohol evaluation & treatment, anger management, and parenting classes. it was the most my lawyer said i could ask for. but she didn’t take me seriously about him being a Spath, she just considered him a deadbeat lowlife (he is that too, certainly!)

in one year and 2 days the two years will be up, and i’m hoping he won’t try to make a big show just to re-start the clock, and i hope the judge will side with me. i don’t think the Spath knows about it, i HOPE he doesn’t. he’s still trying to get me to circumvent the court ordered supervision and playing his “nice guy” game, even going so far as to email me about getting back together (to which i scoff to myself and don’t reply).

his newest gf is pregnant with his (at least) 4th child. his 2 sons (by yet another woman) were taken by the state, and then there’s my daughter whom he has no involvement with and i hope he never does. i wonder how many children he will create, and worry that in the future my daughter (or another child) may be hurt by him. i just want to protect her, i want to ensure that she will not have to experience his mindf*cks. and i want to be able to cut him out of MY life completely as well.

Ox Drover

Dear ember halo,

Good luck with your case and sounds like you are doing the best available that can be done in your state. Hopefully he will eventually get side tracked and abandon her completely. Does he pay CS? Maybe you can let him get behind and then “buy” her back from him by letting the CS go if he will not bother either her or you. Sometimes that works, sometimes not.

Glad you found your way here to LF though, this is a good site to give you information and support. I also recommend that you check out Dr. Leedom’s site about “raising the at risk child” it may help you a lot. She is also raising an at risk kid.

Again, welcome, and hope all goes well for you! God bless.


I’m so tired of my little sister that I’m about to seriously cut her out of my life come August 2010. I was walking outside earlier discussing a problem I had with a friend. My friend was in the house and my little sister decided to eavesdrop and tell my friend. We weren’t gossiping only because we were trying to come up with a solution for my other friend. Now my little sister is downstairs trying to isolate me from her discussion with my friend. I’m about to replace my little sister with my cousin. She’s so immature for a 16 year old.


HurtNoMore, you don’t state how old your sister is. Most likely though, she’s jealous of you and/or others, so she becomes a nuisance in life. I’d give her the cold shoulder any time she’s around you. If she’s curious enough to ask, you can then tell her X, Y, and Z she has done against you in your life and that at your age, you are no longer going to tolerate her BAD BEHAVIOR.

Peace. I know what you are dealing with. Immediate family members who do you wrong, are not the most pleasant folks to deal with.

You can pick your seat to the theaters …
Pick your clothes …
Pick your friends …
But you can’t pick your relatives.


Sorry Wini, I just didn’t want anybody to think she’s little little. But she’s annoying and always tries to steal my friends. I’m so tired of her and everything.

Ox Drover

Dear Hurtnomore,

Of course you are tired of her doing this to you, but keep in mind, it is already the 31st of July, so August starts tomorrow! It isn’t long that you must tolerate her company. In the meantime, keep your friends away from her if you can. (((Hugs))))


I’m headed to see my mom this week. I just don’t want to be stuck with her for the next three weeks while visiting my mom. I just don’t want to deal with her immaturity. I’m tired of her getting all upset when she doesn’t get her way. I’m tired of her trying to bring me down and talk about me behind my back.


Stand tall and take the high road…..we have the power to ignore and walk around with a smile.


HurtNoMore, I have a middle sister that’s always had an attitude towards me. Ever since I was born. She’s almost a year older than I. As soon as I was a toddler, her anger set in. My parents tried everything through their entire lives to get her to comprehend reason. No matter what age she entered, her attitude problem still existed.

Some siblings just can’t stand that they don’t get all the attention from the parental figures focused on them. They end up being competitive with other siblings in the family … never realizing or admitting when told of this fact the need they crave from the parents. Not only does my sister dislike me, she absolutely hated my mother. My mom has been gone since 1999. Not once does my sister ever state that she misses my mom, forgives my mom for giving birth to me. I thought when my sister raised her son that she’d see similarities regarding a mother raising her child and figuring out my mom had four children to care for. Even when my nephew went through similar situations as we did as kids … I’d mention to my sister “oh, now you realize what mom had to deal with” … or other such statements. No! My sister would never recognize my mom in any such situations.

Bottom line. I believe they are just stuck in M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E mode for whatever their negative mindset is … and being family, they think it gives them free reign to lash out at anyone they choose within the immediate family unit.

As Oxy always says … you need to pick your boundaries with certain TOXIC people … and keep them fenced out of your life.



HurtNoMore, your sister is using everything in her venomous arsenal to get to you so you will do her bidding. She’s in bully mode every time you are within the same circle as her. She knows how to push your buttons and you fall right into her pre-meditated plans to destroy your enjoyment with your mom. She’s jealous about your relationship with your mom. She has no clue that she’s jealous … because jealousy (ENVY) is a sin. All sins blind the person who is engulfed by this sin.

She needs professional help but, you can never get her there because she will not admit it. Therefore, unless a person acknowledges a problem, the problem will never be resolved. Admittance of a problem is half the battle.

What works (most of the time) for me … is knowing she will do battle with you as soon as you arrive within the space she is protecting (aka your mom). She wants all your mother’s attention. Know this. Arm yourself by preparing to know that her nasty attitude will come out full force when you arrive. Stand your ground. Try to ignore any thing she says or does to get you to engage in an argument with her. The more you ignore her, the more anger will surface. Try to ignore her … stand your ground and focus on enjoying your mother’s company. Practice this. It isn’t easy. The more you practice to ignore her, the easier it becomes.

Good luck. If you find out you just want to verbally lash out at her … bite your tongue and walk out of the house for about 20 minutes to regroup.


ember halo

Thank you for your words. No, he doesn’t pay child support, hasn’t ever (he tends to not work and live off other people’s pity). He is already over a year behind and has lost his driver’s license. If he were to work, he has garnishments on his wages (not only for my daughter, but for his first son as well). I am hoping that this will be one more piece of leverage that i can use to get him to release his parental rights. BUT the only way my state allows that is if there’s someone else to take them over =/ and i’m certainly not even close to being ready to trust someone enough to get into a relationship, much less get married and trust them with legal rights to my daughter. =/

so at this point i am intent on working towards getting visitations completely and officially terminated, because i don’t think he’d ever bother with taking me to court to regain them. (i’m so thankful that the Spath i have to deal with happens to be SO lazy!!)


Liane – I’m taking the same approach as you – NO child should not be forced to have contact with extremely disordered parent. The abuse inflicted by psychopaths on their targets (partners and anyone else who is vulnerable) is considerable and can be much much worse than physical abuse or overt abuse.

The difficulty with gathering evidence is of course that psychological and emotional abuse very often leaves no witnesses in its wake – it’s a clean violence with no trace to prove what happened behind closed doors. With regard to this factor, courts will need to be more open to allowing and admitting evidence gathered by covert means ie secret videotaping and sound recording.

In most countries the family court system is based upon the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, America is not currently a signatory to this convention as it would obligate the Government to take major steps in reducing child poverty and achievement disparities between classes and communities.

This site provides a useful summary of the rights contained in the Convention:

In joint parenting with a psychopath, Article 36 is definitely violated as children are exploited for the psychopath’s own ends in a cruel game with the ex partner …

“Article 36 (Other forms of exploitation): Children should be protected from any activity that takes advantage of them or could harm their welfare and development.”

There is also a Code of Women’s Rights – CEDAW (which was ratified in 1979). Here is the English text of the document:

This site has a breakdown of trends in violence against women and laws pertaining to each country belonging to United Nations – it provides a useful overview of what is happening around the world.

Ox Drover

Polly, thanks for those links….I wish even 1/100th of them were ENFORCED….



I’ve spent quite a while reading through your messages, and it’s been very informative.

I am a single father with custodial responsibility for my 12 year old son. His mother lives in another state, and I believe, after reading this blog, that she displays quite a few sociopathic tendencies. She had custody until a year ago, when she lost it due to her total disrespect for my position as our son’s father, and her lack of co-parenting skills.

When my son left in June to spend the summer with her, everything was fine. In late June, I received a received a request for change in custody, based on several untrue allegations, easily refuted, such as his grades being worse (all As and one B), deteriorating physical condition (I have photos of him pitching for his softball team) and other silly lies.

I had plans with my son for a week in July, but “amazingly” a football camp came to my notice (the day before he was to return) that my son wanted to attend, so I allowed him to stay with his mother. The end result being that he has been under her influence for 8 weeks now, and he just informed me today that he “found” some documents that prove I’m a liar, and that he wants to stay with his mother and not return.

I am devastated. He is obviously being brainwashed by his mother and she has manipulated him to turn against me.

The documents he “found” had to do with an emergency order I filed when he was 5 years old, and living with his mother in another state. When he would visit me, he told me outlandish stories about being left with his older brother for 24 hours at a time, being around his brother and his friends drinking and smoking, etc. He had no business seeing these documents, and of course his mother denied everything.

Now, he thinks I made all these things up, when really they were based on what he himself told me. I even hired a detective to confirm what he told me.

His mother has very deviously created a situation where she knows she must return him to me, and she had made sure he hates me. My work is cut out for me in repairing our relationship, but I will do whatever it takes to earn my son’s trust back.

Anyway, I just wanted to share and say thank you for this forum and your posts, and for sharing your information with others.

Ox Drover

Dear John, I’m so sorry you are having this problem with your x and your son. Of course she is a psychopath because a normal caring parent would not do this to their child.

I’m sorry you qualify for our ‘club” but since you do I am glad that you found your way here. There are all kinds of resources here. I also suggest that you go to Dr. Leedom’s blog “raising the at risk child” and you will get some good support frlom that source too.

I wish I could tell you what to do and how to go about it, 1-2-3 but I have NO idea what direction you should take on this one. The only thing I can say is that I will keep you in my prayers. There’ s a pretty good “prayer chain” on this group too, and also some folks with some darned good ideas that have been in your shoes! God bless and keep on reading and learning. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Ox Drover

ERIN-B—-EMERGENCY!!! DEAR JOHN NEEDS SOME ADVICE! I know it is saturday and I know you do NOT have a date, so get in here and help this guy! I think you probably can come up with some good ideas for him! Hee hee


Thank you OxDrover, I never turn down a kind word or a prayer!

I’m hoping to file contempt charges for what she has done. I have a feeling those documents were planted, and that she orchestrated the timing of telling me about the football camp. It’s just too much of a coincidence that she found out about it the day before he was to come back to me for a week.

My son and I will be in therapy for quite a while I’m afraid. I wonder if I can make her pay for it?

Wishful thinking!


One more thing – I did intend to make this post be on topic with this blog entry.

My feeling is that a child should never spend an extended amount of time with a sociopathic parent. It’s much too dangerous, as is witnessed by my situation. In fact, her manipulation in turning my son against me is one of the very reasons she lost custody in the first place!

Ah well, back to reading. I feel smarter already.


Yep…this is the way it goes with a contentious custudy battle.
It’s a battle, even when the battles through the courts and over!
It never stops.
What mamma did was exactly as you said…..she conveniently left these docs on her desk next to the computer where Jr sits to use the computer….
NOT a new one!

So…..what do you do about it.
First off, you must realize…..that kids will see the truth eventually.
Unfortunately, they have to do it on their own time. AND they will!
Your job is to keep loving him, regardless of how/what he says to you. Explain there is a court order and we all must follow it, and it wouldn’t be healthy for him to come and go as he has been. He’s 12 and needs stability of environment. Offer Jr every opportunity of support and love and NEVER speak ill of mommy dearest.
Think of it like this…..when a someone speaks ill of another, it draws people closer to them. Your son is not at an age to be able to decipher what legal docs mean and it’s your job to protect him. You can explain your role as a protector of him to him and your love for him.
Do not give him a guilt trip.
Let him go if you need to……HE WILL RETURN!
What you can’t allow is……the revolving door. Kids have too much power over this.
They will go to whomever takes them to disneyland the most!
Disneyland dad/mom. Ya know.
Kids are about the here and now. He’s probably had a nice time (which is good) and made some new friends…..and that is appealing….and mom had 8 weeks to connive. Remember, you can’t control mommy dearests behaviors but you can control YOURS!

It is tormenting for you……but what I found was…..stay in the periphrial and don’t engage in the ‘war’ mom wants.

If she wants Jr. back…..she has to do it legally.
My kids were fed all the crap and lies when spath kidnapped them….I was mortified…..they bought into it willingly, even know the knew the truth! BUT……nonetheless… was the worst 3.5 months of my life….and in some ways the best! My biggest lesson learned was patience and faith in myself and how I had raised them. I had nothing else….but faith.
I eventually was able to take control of the situation and they were sent home. It has been a rough road…..but patience has gotten me through beyond them being kidnapped… taught me about the spath, not reacting….and shaking it up!
Spath expected me to hunt my kids donw…….everybody did. I didn’t do that. i did exactly opposite of what everyone wanted……and it helped expose the spath. Otherwise I would have looked like the crazy one.

Tell him he must return home to you, because you all must follow the court orders, and when mother gets the courts to approve what she is asking of, then you will be glad to take him to moms.

Most likely, mom won’t go the legal route……and by the time Jr get’s home…..she’ll be done with him.

Put it on her plate to follow through legally.

When jr came to live with you last year…….you knew……in the back of your mind….you knew this would come up.
Well….it has…..
So, make a plan and stick to it.

It’s not in Jr’s besst interest to be bouncing back and forth…..and you may explain that to him too…..although he won’t agree….kids at that age want the here and now.

It’s a rough road…..but if you take the high road, remain patient and strong……when jr’s grown up….he will hold the upmost respect for you for taking the high road.

And remember…….there is a lesson in everything.

Good luck!!!

Ox Drover

Dear dearjohn, (I like the sound of that! LOL)

We don’t always keep the thread thought going, so don’t worry this is a pretty loose group. About the ONLY thing that is verboten here is to be nasty to someone, that’s what the report abusive comment button is all about. I’m the resident grouchy old lady in case you havenj’t been around long enough to know who is who. LOL

Erin B is our fiesty middle aged Lady but she’s a survivor of merit for sure and has had her kids LITERALLY KIDNAPPED while she wad down with cancer by the creep she was married to…she has lots of good ideas on how to fight them.

Matt is our resident attorney, but he doesn’t post every day any more…but he’s a good one on legal advice…and there are others here, way too many to name, including Dr. Liane Leedom, who are experts at all kinds of things, so this is really a great group of folks who are experts at lots of different areas with great ideas, social workers, therapists, tinker, tailor, and button hole makers…whatever you need. Or just someone to pat you on the head and say “there there, poor baby, it will be okay.” (we all need that once in a while) Saturday nights are sometimes our silly nights when a few of the late nighters and folks on the other side of the world stay up and crack jokes and make fun of each other. (in a good way)

There are MANY people on here though who have the same problems you have with the x doing the lying and messing with the kid’s head….so you are NOT alone, but I guess you knew this was a common thing before you even posted.

Good luck and I am sure that ErinB will show up before long. There is also Erin 1972 (not the same gal) so that’s about all you need to keep your names straight!


I have been working around the clock this week on my past 3 years tax’s.

I am now going through my divorce file box and I am laughing at the crazyness…….
I have pulled out all his attorneis letters claiming ‘her client’ is slandering my client, impeeding him from working, spreading rumors he’s a drug dealer! 🙂 Hmmmmmmmmm. …..Wellllll, wadayousay now?
In one motion it even states this!
He put so much effort into claiiming I destroyed his reputation…….and LOOK HOW IT BACKFIRED!!!!


As I look through the docs now…..all the filings….and all the accusations…..I am SO GLAD I never responded to any of them…..and my attorney played the game as she should have……setting up the pieces and then going on attack in the end. She spent the initial time asking questions…..and then in the final case management statement…..she painted the picture so very correctly!!!!
In a way, that was clear to the judge and all of us!

His attorney, with his lack of the truth knowledge……kept writing wacky letters of settlement offers….
In one, he offered to give up full legal custody in exchange of 80K.
That letter was shown to the judge…. 🙂

By the time he made it into court, he really didn’t have a chance. the only chance he would have had was if he came in, under control and telling the truth….the jduge would have discounted all the sharades prior…..But no!

So it ended with the Mackuly Caulkin face rub jaw drop for him!!!!



Middle aged????? WTF???


Thank you Erin – you make sense. The high road is a rocky place sometimes, but I intend to stay there.

OxDrover, thanks for the info on the LF universe…much appreciated!

Erin, what you say about your attorney’s actions is very familiar to me. My own attorney is much the same way, and I trust her implicitly.

OK…back to reading. I may be up all night!

Ox Drover

Dear Erin,

okay, I’m sorry I called you middle aged you are way over that unless you intend to live to 100 LOL ROTFLMAO Personally I intend to live to 126 so I am still ONLY middle aged!

WOW! I get spastic when I have to do taxes, but fortunately, it is the 1040EZ now…no taxable income, no taxes. Yes Poverty! Great deal! Doing 3 years in a row is awful. I used to be OCD about all the receipts and screamed at my husband for not turning them in. I finally got a box and put by the front door and when he would come in I would make him stand for a “search” of his pockets ” ASSUME THE POSITION, spread your legs, up against the wall, hands behind your head, don’t get sassy!” But it finally got him saving the receipts instead of me having to dig them out of the mud in the drive way.

I’ve still got every one lined up in plastic boxes labeled by year. Worth its weight in gold when you need them. Every nail driven in the wall at the rent house, every bite of hay fed to the cows, every screw installed in every airplane….but it was worth is. Not one lousy cent to the IRS that I didn’t owe!



Give me about two weeks. Then, I will be available to help.
You can get my info from Donna to contact directly.

This needs to happen.


I’m in! Contact me through Donna.
Work which must be done!!!

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