By | February 9, 2015 22 Comments

Co-parenting and Interactions with the Sociopath After the Divorce

by Quinn Piercequinn pierce photo

I sat on the edge of the stage watching the teams race up and down the court. It was the first game of my son’s basketball tournament. I knew my ex-husband was there, because I saw his car when I pulled into the parking lot.  I wasn’t surprised that he was there, even though he said he wasn’t going.  He often changed his plans last minute, or lied entirely just to avoid giving a difinitive answer and to keep others off balance.

When I saw him standing by the players, I felt a mix of annoyance and disgust that he continues to play the ‘Father of the Year’ role, despite the cruel and un-fatherly behavior he practices behind closed doors.  At least I knew he would not try to interact with me, so I sat comfortably a good distance away and watched my son.

The Need For Adoration

An hour later, I stopped home to pick up my other son and my nephew.  We returned for the remainder of the tournament and were joined by my dad. When my son saw his brother and cousin, he immediately ran rover, leaped onto the stage/spectator area, and hugged them both.  Those around us smiled and cheered for my son as he returned to his team on the sidelines.

Instantly, I felt a shift in the atmosphere.  As if on cue, my ex-husband decided to join us where we sat.  It was a quick recalculation and adjustment of his own game plan.  He saw the admiration and praise the boys received, and he wanted it for himself.

The Facade

This is always baffling to me.  My ex will ignore all the hatred, hostility, accusations, and resentment he harbors towards me at any given moment if it suits his needs.  And right then, his reason for aligning himself with his self-proclaimed enemy was simple:

He was being ignored.

This is the same as being rejected in his eyes, and he will do anything to be in the limelight.  I knew this, but it was still shocking to me that he was so egotistical and condescending that he believed we would interact with him cordially as if we were good friends.  He turned to my dad with a politician-like smile and chatted enthusiastically.  He glanced over at me, and I smiled at him- a different kind of smile, a smile that said: I know what you’re doing, and you’re not fooling anyone with this act.

Rejection Reveals the Truth

It didn’t make a difference.  He didn’t care how uncomfortable he made everyone around him, his ego was too important. His only concern was being portrayed in a positive light and aligning himself with the winning team, so to speak.  He continued this annoying act until he was faced with a situation he couldn’t ignore.

My son walked away from him.  In that split second of realization, my ex-husband revealed his true colors.  I don’t think anyone else noticed, but I knew the signs all too well:  the clenched jaw, narrowed eyes, flush of red on his neck- in any other situation, this would have been an eruption of anger.  It lasted for only an instant, but it was long enough to make my stomach turn and my heart pound.

Then I realized what had just happened.  My son walked away from him.

Empathy is Not a Weakness

It was a significant realization, and I felt my own PTSD symptoms begin to subside. I have to remind myself sometimes that we are safe.  These instances also reinforce my understanding of why we were able to be hurt by him for so long.  Simply put, we have empathy; we try to understand how others feel.  We feel remorse for doing things that hurt others.  We take responsibility for our actions and how we treat others.

My ex-husband does none of these things.  He puts responsibility and blame on everyone else.  The only person that matters to him is ”¦well, him.  He has no ability to understand or care how anyone else feels.  That’s why he is able to charge me with abuse one day and get angry at me for not going out of my way to be nice to him the next.  His actions make no sense, because it is not how a normal person acts.  I spent years trying to figure out how to have a relationship with this man.  I made excuses for him, and I convinced myself that he had the qualities I wanted him to possess, even though he clearly did not.  It was a frustrating, dangerous, exhausting road, and I traveled it for much too long.

Today was very different, however.  And, it was somehow freeing to watch my son’s interaction with his father.  He gave himself permission to not be a victim; he gave himself permission to be healthy; he gave the rest of us permission to just walk away.

We never stop learning.  We never stop healing. We may continue to hurt along the way, but that is what separates us from the sociopaths.  Our strength lies in our ability to understand, reflect, and feel true emotions.


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Quinn,I have personally found that a sociopath makes it impossible to co parent with! They start out by alienating the children involved and play the victim role with perfection. The children are used as pawns, and the court sees nothing, especially if the sociopath is the “mother”! I am glad to hear that your son recognizes certain things and can walk off, my stepchildren are 19 and 24 now, and she still has control over their minds, thoughts and will! They have treated their dad(my husband) like gum on the bottom of their shoes to put it mildly, they are in her web and chose it like candy! We have spent over 80k just to keep what we have and it is still not over. The facade is what she lives for, how many times she can manipulate and lie to people, using whatever it takes to get what they want….stopping at nothing!

Allow me to express warm gratitude for your loving endurance. Since God rules and those that enable abusers and users druel, heaven made a special place for those that are worthy. An eternity awaits and for the rest of us, peace is what we gain.

And for those so called professionals that have no moral terpitude, their special place awaits their arrival. Mother only knows lies and control.

Father will be here. Keep the faith.


Father remains steadfast.

Keep the faith.


Our trial is next week. Mother never cooperates, only lies.


Hi Winifred,

I understand what you have commented on re how the sociopath/psychopath plays the victim, children used as pawns etc… but I dislike your comment “especially if the sociopath is the mother”. Know that 95% of sociopaths and psychopaths are male. Females are not common.

I am an incomplete quadriplegic from the abuse I endured from my ex-husband who has used the courts and his money to keep my children away from me. I saw my children last Friday at a center I would describe to be like a prison wherein what I am wearing is searched, the bags and its contents are searched, presents are not to be wrapped and wherein I have someone sitting 1 meter away from me and writing all interactions between me and my children down. This in case I dare mention my children’s father to them, or include him in a sentence wherein their only activities are with their father and this is all I have to talk to them about.

Know that my children were told by him that I hate them and that I am angry that they have chosen to live with him as was stated in an email he sent me last spring. He cancelled my time with them and changed the times I was to see them and denied me access to them. He smiles smirkishly in court when he hears the lies that he made up about me being taken in by the judge and the judge subsequently using his manipulations against me for the court’s final rendering.

Fact is he has not been allowing me to see the children since he has had custody, my alimony is late coming and is in small amounts, he holds onto medical payouts from his insurance for months and does not give or forward it to me. I have been followed by men he has hired for years now, my tire deflated, locks of my vehicle punched in twice, rotted feces left on my porch (my daughter when visiting me recognized that his girlfriend was collecting this for fertilizer for the farm), things stolen from my property and vandalism. Add that into not being able to protect two children from sexual assault and abuse because the act is taken in by others and he is the victim in not only his eyes but theirs. It is his staring role. I have also been fighting accusations that I am mentally ill for the last 6 years that he started and put to the court. After I submitted 6 years of psychological letters from psychiatrists to the court in October he stood up in court and started yelling that I was mentally ill to the judge. This despite what I had just submitted. The court staff present after this act were alarmed and told me to get legal representation because he was not right, as in stable.

To be frank, what you have written I have experienced but it upsets me that you placed a gender identity to something that is typically done to us females here aka the “LOST MOTHERS”. I have coined us as “LOST MOTHERS” because our children have no idea what has happened to us and some may never see us again.

Fact is the victim is the victim despite gender and the sociopath is the sociopath despite gender. Just remember most of us here are female. Those of us most affected by the above topic and un-justice-ness of the courts, ostracized from society by their campaigns, stripped of our children, health, rights and parentally alienated are the female ex-victims of the spaths we were married to. It just so happens that spaths are 95% male.

Just be mindful how abrasive your “especially if the sociopath is the “mother”! statement is to us who have lived and are currently living through the wrath of the spath and the abuse of the courts, the system and society after they have put their act against us into action.

Most of us are mothers who have been forced to accept this consequence of their vengeance. Vengeance born from their true identity being nearly or subsequently revealed to the outside world where they wear their mask successfully.


Kendall 68, Lighten up, I am a mother…All I was saying if you read my response is that the courts DO NOT RECOGNIZE mothers( women) as sociopaths like they do fathers (MEN) they seem to find it impossible for “mothers” to pawn off their children and not love them, it should be a natural instinct! The system ASSSUMES a mother loves their child, but if you are a sociopath, that’s not the case! As you say in your rebuttal, most sociopaths are men…..Hence my case!


And what if the mother is just trying to protect her children from a psychopath father? Many good mothers are accused of being the psychopaths by psychopath fathers. Beware, you may find you are the next target of destruction. Your “lighten up” comment clearly shows that you do not get it. And your comment about courts has not been true for 40 years. Psychopath fathers take children away from good mothers a lot now, sometimes with fatal results. Sounds like you might be believing and mimicking a psychopath.


Hi Kendall68,

I just wanted to say, I’m a minnow here, my situation is not like yours and I know that, but being separated from my children like that (I have no kids) would kill me. It would probably emotionally wipe me right out. I pray to God you get some kind of representation to right the situation.


Quinn, what an amazing job you have done as a mother raising a son with boundaries and self worth, in the midst of dealing with a sociopath. I loved reading your post, it gives me hope that my own son can grow up to be an amazing empathetic person and capable of seeing his dad for who he is and setting appropriate boundaries to keep himself safe from him. Hugs to you and your sons.


I have left my ex husband 2 years ago, after years of feeling like I was crazy. We have 2 children together and I am starting to realize that a “normal” co-parenting situation will never be.

This morning I was harshly reminded why I did finally leave. I went to pick up our children’s belongings which he had failed to send and soon felt like I was set in a trap.

His trap to have me alone to get into my head. His need to have “control” over me and my life makes me wonder if he will ever stop. He is in a relationship now for 6 months and I was hoping it would end there for me. It amazes me how she does not “see” him. However, I was sucked in also with his charm..he is good, really good in front of others to make an impression.

I need to not allow myself to react to his “words” I find since now knowing I am happy in a relationship and have moved on very well on my own his need for control is even more so.

Is this normal?

It is so difficult for others to understand if they have never been in this experience.


Sociopaths can’t stand to see their victims move on and be happy without them. It would be like losing, which doesn’t mesh with their self view of how perfect and amazing they are.

And yes, you probably were set up for a trap. The children must have said something about you being happy and he needed to try to take that from you.

Take the experience, look it over to remind yourself of how lucky you are to be out of that relationship, then toss it over your shoulder and walk on. He can’t win if you won’t play.


Hi Runner 123,

I discovered that when they have a relationship with someone else that does not mean that they will walk away from abusing/controlling you. It may make them want to do it more. Hence now they have 2 victims not just one. Twice the thrill, twice the running high for them.

I heard from my son when I mentioned that I hoped that they, ex and his girlfriend, would get married that that will never happen. He then went on to say that they argue more than you and dad and it is worse.

Just a thought:
When getting your children’s things back why not ask him to place them outside on the porch and pick up when he is not there or else have him drop them off in a box to your residence when you are not there so that you have little to do and/or interact with him about.


Thank you. I appreciate your support.

It will hopefully be easier once legally everything is settled. I have been trying for over 2 years now and he continues not to sign any agreement and or respond to any letters (5 months now!) I am not sure how this is possible and or how he is able to “get away” with it. I feel like I am running in circles getting no where. I just want to have this door closed.


Legal abuse and financial abuse are two of the tools in the sociopath’s toolbox. As long as he can keep you dancing to his tune, responding to his litigation, or chasing after him trying to get something from him then he still feels some semblance of control over you. You should talk to your attorney to see if his behavior qualifies for a contempt action against him.


I have found this to be true only if they think they can win by default and when I say default I mean by making you look crazy and not an ounce of truth to their claims. I have also found that the petitioner is always more successful so force them to court. They cannot stand for someone to hold them accountable so when you are forcing them to answer for their irresponsibility, they tend to not have a very good reaction in court.



I too have been fighting this battle for over a year and I am just now becoming somewhat successful. There are a lot of things you can do. I know the feeling of “I just want it to be over”. Dealing with a sociopath is a marathon not a sprint so yes, running in circles, chasing your tail and mostly, trying to remain a good person and not sinking to their level. Keep up the good work.


Thank you for sharing your experience Quinn. As the adult child of a spath father, i realized I do not need his love. Maintaing good boundaries for protection from the spath parent is a necessity. It took me decades to see clearly. My mother was abused, taken advantage of by him and he tricked her. She was an immigrant with no family, lack of financial resources, and sadly, the court system, decades ago, did not protect her rights.

Each case is unique and when I finally realized that my biological father is a sociopath, I remember feeling sick to my stomach! He abandoned me as a child, then wanted a relationship when I was married and became pregnant. I spent years putting forth effort trying to have a father-daughter relationship. As an only child, this was important to me. Yet, my spath father knew I was kind hearted, forgiving, and a believer in second chances.

However, more recently, and I do believe this was divine intervention, the truth revealed itself. It was revealed that my spath father is a bigamist, a fraud, and he was charged with child molestation, along with more spath behaviors. As these facts emerged, I ordered court documents for proof before I confronted him with the truth. He lied about it all, but I had the proof to expose his deceit… He became enraged. He then admitted to bigamy and stated that he did not want to talk anymore.

My spath father is OUT of my life! He was exposed and got caught in schemes he conducted for over 4 decades! Due to the severity of my spath father’s actions, for me it is very healing to talk about it. My life is better without his evil presence and deceitfulness. I am at peace.


Truth 7,

You talk about your spath father. I am wondering if you married one also?! As in I did. My father is a diagnosed sociopath and I broke it off finally with him 1 1/2 years ago after feeling like I was in the middle of a spath sandwich STS. Does this sound familiar? Couldn’t deal with both tearing me down at the same time.


Thanks for your response @Kendall68. I appreciate your insight. There are so many more layers that I did not understand because my spath father was always at a distance. He moved to another state where he knew he could marry other women in different counties, and unfortunately, courts have no checking system for proving if someone is still married in another state/county. Bigamists are aware how to con the system. Bigamists are true frauds and do so much damage to many people, especially to their children.

The few times my spath father picked me up for visitations we would spend 3 hours driving to his home in Virginia; and he used those three hours to list all the ways he was a victim in life. Now I understand he was actually brain washing me to believe he was a victim not the perpetrator! It was always about him, hence the spath is always a narcissist.

To answer your question in a long way, I really had to begin loving and healing myself because I was so diminished by my soath father. I was fragile and had to walk on eggshells because my spath father was also violent and he threatened with his gun. I also had to learn as a woman that not all men are dangerous. For young girls who do not have good male role models the transition to an adult male-female relationship is quite challenging.

It took me many years and I was much older when I married a good man.
All the best to you too!


Does anyone have 10 “rules” or “tools” for themselves to help themselves when being confronted by their ex and the continued behaviours?


oh yes! I do. I have found that when dealing with such a person, you are always on defense and never offense. They will take one thing you do and twist it or just flat out lie so as my mother would say, “you better have your ducks in a row”. Do you have a smart phone, if not get one.
1. check out
2. download a voice recorder app
3. download an app that will timestamp pictures
4. download a call recorder app
5. do not use iMessage or generic email accounts
6. get computer software for breaking down long recordings into small bits
7. get computer software that will allow you to extract text messages to print them (make sure it will print the phone number)
8. get a binder and dividers (put everything in order by month)
9. memorize your court orders
10. read your bible and become closer with God (read Psalms 27 & 28)


“This is always baffling to me. My ex will ignore all the hatred, hostility, accusations, and resentment he harbors towards me at any given moment if it suits his needs.”

This behavior confused me about my ex spath, too, until I recognized that his hatred, hostility, accusations, and resentment, are just as fake as his professed love and adoration in the luring stage. He could change his ’emotion’ on a dime, from a rage to calm and caring in a split second. Because it was all fake; he was just doing whatever he believed would work to get what he wanted at any given time, and if it wasn’t working he’d switch to something else.

My ex spath’s real emotions underlying his overall motivation, is a contempt for everyone and everything, fear of being exposed, and a desire to exploit and to ‘win.’ That’s the extent of what he ‘feels.’

AnnettePK – a very astute observation. Thank you.

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