Co-Parenting With A Sociopath: Keeping My Children Safe

by Quinn Pierce

If I were to make a list of the events that have occurred in my family over the past month and asked an ordinary person to explain the motives and reasons behind my ex-husband’s behavior, that person would have a very difficult time making sense of the whole situation.

However, anyone who has had a relationship with a sociopath for more than two minutes would understand his every decision.  Unfortunately, I would not only fall into this category, but I may be considered an unwilling expert on his twisted thought process and vengeful nature.

The Calm Before The Storm

I often wish I was over-reacting or being paranoid when I sense that my ex-husband is planning something with the hopes of hurting me as much as possible, but I’ve learned that the calm before the storm very rarely ends without the actual storm.  For that reason, his periods of a calm and quiet demeanor are more unsettling than his drama-filled predictability.

Recently, the storm he unleashed took a new level of destructive behavior and shed light on the fundamental lack of empathy he embodies.  It also reinforced his callous disregard for consequences.  In fact, he has shown that no one is safe from his malice, especially his children.

Dangerous Manipulation

The most dangerous part of his ability to manipulate and mistreat others is his ability to enlist unwitting victims to do the dirty work for him so that he can continue to remain one step removed, even appearing as the victim at times.

I’ve stopped trying to explain the true motives behind his actions, because I find that I end up sounding ridiculous saying things like: He doesn’t need a reason, he is a sociopath or He doesn’t really care about seeing his boys, he only cares about hurting me.

People need to make sense of a situation, and that is precisely what one cannot do when analyzing the behavior of a sociopath from the outside looking in.

Keeping His Hands Clean

Recently, my ex-husband convinced one of my son’s health care providers that my son, who is in the process of being tested for Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, should be committed to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.  Despite the facts that clearly show my son is under the care of several specialists who are diligently trying to figure out what is causing my son to have school-based phobia preventing him from attending school, my ex-husband played the role of the desperate and fearful father trying to help his son.

Need For Control

What prompted this act? Simple, my son does not want to spend time with his father who is a tremendous source of anxiety and stress for my son.  Therefore, his father feels slighted, he blames me for the embarrassment of people knowing his son is not staying over on his normal visitation schedule, and he does not like the amount of say I have in the decision making process-especially since I work in the field of education.

In other words, he is having a major tantrum.

What is most upsetting to me is the fact that this man who claims to love and support his son is causing severe harm to my son’s emotional health.  But he isn’t doing it himself; he is convincing others to file complaints against me while taking steps to impede my son’s treatment.  And this weekend, the storm made landfall.

Desperate Acts

Ten minutes before pickup time, I received a text from my ex-husband stating he picked up my younger son from school on a day that is not his visitation with the explanation of: “It’s well within my rights”. I disagreed.  I immediately went to the police station where I reported that my son was taken out of school without my consent.  They referred me to the state where my son goes to school which is different from where we live, even though it’s only a few miles away.

While at the second police station, I learned that this was a civil matter, not criminal, but right at that moment, a call came in from the state’s child services reporting allegations against me of child abuse.  And with that, my world started spinning out of control.

Luckily, I had enough evidence to show the case workers that their information was reported in error, to say the least, but I know the battle has a long and exhausting road ahead.  It seems like every day is a new obstacle and an unexpected turn- all because my ex felt as though he was losing control of his children, and therefore, losing his ”˜good dad’ façade, while I became a sympathetic character- something he could not tolerate.

Cold Calculation

These incidents showed me how dangerous a sociopath can be when they gain the allegiance of a person with authority in any capacity.  He will manipulate and use these individuals with his well-rehearsed and calculated lies until he eventually becomes the puppet master to the unwitting.  The sheer magnitude of the lies is enough to cause these individuals to eventually lose credibility in their own professions, but he is not concerned with consequences to others.

He has nothing to lose by getting someone else to take actions on his behalf.  If the person is later discredited, he will leave them among the ruins of those who are no longer of use to him, and he will move on to the next plan.  And there already is a ”˜next plan’, I’m sure.  Sociopaths rarely take any steps without having an entire map drawn, complete with contingency plans and escape routes.

Picking Up The Pieces

In my ex-husband’s world, everyone is dispensable and every one is a means to an end.  This includes family, friends, strangers, and even his own children- leaving me to pick up the pieces as my children’s lives are shattered once again.

But, in the end, he has overlooked one important fact- unwilling or not, I am an expert on his twisted thought process.  And his predictable unpredictability no longer catches me off-guard.  In fact, I never let my guard down, thanks to him.   So, in a sense, he taught me the very tools I will need to protect myself, and thereby my family, from even the most unpredictable weather.


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23 Comments on "Co-Parenting With A Sociopath: Keeping My Children Safe"

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I’m so glad to hear that your son understands. Nineteen is a point in a young man’s life at which the abandonment of his father will be seen for what it is.

An important awareness for him is that his father is incapable of meaningful attachment. As a narcissist, all he is capable of feeling is personal wants and needs, but not love.

And by all means, your attorney should be summoning his credit card and bank statements as well as his passport. Keep in mind that it’s very easy today, with all our modern technology, to doctor copies, so insist on originals. You won’t be entitled to keep his passport, but you’re entitled to knowing his lifestyle and expenses.

All the best!

Thank you jm short. Yes my son understands my soon to be ex’s intentions. He lost total control over us, except for controlling all of his money. I am proud of my son to finally stand up to his so called “father” and let him know it’s over. They never had a good relationship because my husband was never there emotionally and mentally for his son. My son was and still is an excellent student, a person full of love and faith. Just the total opposite of my husband. But he constantly criticized him and made him feel worthless, just like he treated me as his wife. We are both thankful he moved on to his next “victim”. We are no longer at the receiving end of his abuse. The divorce has made him my biggest “enemy” ever and even though he is out to destroy me, I am standing strong. I will do my best with the help of my attorney to prove him otherwise.


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