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Co-parenting with a sociopath

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader who we’ll call Carla:

Can you help me with co-parenting with a sociopath? Divorced three months ago, after a two-year fight for my rights. He is not complying as you know.

I am going crazy with the way he only shows his wonderful, smooth qualities to the children. I have three boys. I can’t stand sending them on weekends to a man who never calls them for two weeks and then lavishes them with charm and gifts. It makes me sick that I am struggling because he has not released even one of 26 accounts to me as decreed in the divorce settlement. He pays my bills and deducts them from the alimony. He follows the agreement under his own conditions and it confuses the attorneys. He won’t discuss the children with me or offer any assistance to them as a father. He is 100 percent focused on his new victim, his girlfriend, a new young, widow. Spending all the money he hid on her. But the kids have “buddy” to whisk them from one expensive activity to another while I am struggling to pay the bills.

I have greater anxiety now than when we were married. He openly emotionally abuses me. Before it was more covert and I got immune to the invalidation and blame. NOW I am discarded since I chose not to play by his rules of cheating, drugs, gambling, lying, withholding sex. He isn’t nice to me at all. Cruel. It was easier being married. He did all these things and he kept me blinded by being secretive and giving me a high-income surgeon’s wife lifestyle. I know the secrets now along with my attorney but he looks perfect in the community.

I miss the financial security and vacations. Now someone else shares those things with him and all I did was give him three beautiful children to brag about and add to his narcissism.

I say terrible things about him to the two older children, ages 6 and 13. I tell them how he is not following the agreement, lying and spending money on drugs and women.

Is so frustrating. I see what is real but no one else does. I am afraid my children are going to prefer him (and his girlfriend) because he is so charming and generous and I know he is pathological and I can’t give them the expensive gifts and ultra stimulating activities.

How do you deal with the frustration that you are the only person who knows someone is a sociopath? I had to live 15 years with him to figure it out and go through four therapists until the last one nailed him as anti-social/schizoid personality disordered. Then I validated her “diagnosis” with Lovefraud. He has all the signs with a very high IQ and status of a medical professional to hide behind. Will anyone else ever figure it out? I don’t believe that what comes around goes around when it comes to a sociopath as intellectually clever as my ex-husband. I do have a few very perspective people who picked up on it. I don’t think my kids will ever see it and I think he will destroy me even post-divorce. Why is he so relentless? He has his freedom and his money. Why not leave me alone? Is it because I get one-third of his income in alimony?

After the divorce

Probably the most shocking thing about divorcing a sociopath is that even when it’s over, it’s not over. The attorneys have argued, the court has ruled, this is how it’s going to be—and it’s not. The sociopath doesn’t comply, twists things the way he or she wants them, uses children against the other parent, and no one seems to care.

This leaves the non-sociopathic partner—like Carla—angry with the sociopath, frustrated that he’s getting away with his lies and manipulation, and upset that he won’t do what he’s supposed to do, baffled that no one else sees the truth—all while still mourning the life she thought she had. Carla wants her ex to pay her what he’s supposed to and be a dad to their children. He’s not doing either, so she wants other people to know that behind his charming, successful veneer, he’s vile.

It’s a toxic brew of emotions. But the emotions will never affect the sociopath. They will only affect Carla, and possibly her children.

It seems to me that Carla needs to be able to separate what’s going on into four categories: financial considerations, the children, dealing with the ex and her emotional recovery.

Financial considerations

First of all, Carla needs to get her financial situation straightened out. If her ex is supposed to give her 26 accounts, she needs to get that enforced—soon, before the accounts are empty. I hope her attorneys put a time limit on when these accounts are supposed to be turned over, and specified exactly how much money she is supposed to receive. If not, she is in trouble.

Carla cannot allow her ex-husband to pay her bills. By letting him do this, she is allowing him to control her. He is deducting the money from her alimony? He is probably exaggerating the amount of the bills just to pay her less. Plus, he may decide to stop paying the bills, and she would never know it—until the cable service or electric is turned off. Carla must demand that she receive the full alimony, then get her bills in her own name.

Carla did not mention a house and mortgage. If the sociopath’s name is on the house or mortgage, that is a disaster waiting to happen. He may stop paying the mortgage and allow the house to slip into foreclosure. He wouldn’t care, but Carla would have no place to live.

The children

Carla complained that her ex won’t discuss the children with her and won’t offer any assistance as a father. He doesn’t call them during the week and only wants to play with them on his weekends. I’d recommend that Carla use this to her advantage.

Here is the bottom line: Sociopaths are terrible parents. At best, they view children as prized possession. At worst, they actively try to corrupt the children. Therefore, the less interaction a sociopath has with his or her children, the better.

Carla should actually be grateful that her ex is staying out of their children’s lives as much as he is. She should use her time with the children to shower them with love, nurture them and provide them with healthy guidance. None of that will happen when the boys are with their father. The kids will eventually sense that there is no real bond with the father. As time goes on, they may also witness him moving from girlfriend to girlfriend, and eventually start rolling their eyes at yet another one.

Carla needs to be their rock of stability. She also needs to stop badmouthing the father—even if he deserves it. This is important for two reasons. First is the emotional health of the children—they should not feel in the middle of her issues with the ex. Second, she does not want to give her ex the ammunition to come after her with a parental alienation lawsuit, in which she could lose custody of the boys.

Her best plan of action is the stay neutral about the father. One mother’s standard response whenever her children brought home news of the ex was a noncommittal, “That’s nice.”

Kids are smart. Sooner or later, they will realize that the sociopath cares only about himself.

Dealing with the ex

Carla asks, “Why is he so relentless? Why not leave me alone?”

Divorcing a sociopath is not like divorcing a relatively healthy person that you’ve just grown away from. In a normal divorce, mommy and daddy don’t want to be together anymore, but they can cooperate for the sake of the kids. This is not going to happen with a sociopath.

Sociopaths only want three things: Power, control and sex. Carla and the surgeon have divorced, but that doesn’t mean he has given up his desire for power and control.

Carla says her ex-husband is openly abusing her. She must eliminate his opportunities to do this and go No Contact with this man as much as possible. I don’t know if she is allowing him into her home, but she shouldn’t. The child exchange should be arranged to minimize interaction. Any communications regarding the children should be conducted via e-mail. Phone conversations give him opportunities to abuse her.

The key is for Carla to be strictly business. She must recognize that the sociopath will not play nice. He will do everything possible to avoid paying her. He will continue to manipulate her through the children. She must learn not to react when he baits her. She must learn to be calm and collected, yet make him toe the line on his court-ordered obligations.

Emotional recovery

All of this is pretty raw for Carla right now—the divorce was only three months ago. She is outraged. She is frustrated. Carla misses the status, money, vacations and cozy lifestyle of a surgeon’s wife. She is justifiably angry that he cheated and hid money, and probably still reeling from being devalued and discarded.

Realizing that she’s been in a relationship with a sociopath has probably rocked Carla to the core. Nothing was real. Everything was a lie. And plenty of people in the community still believe the lie. This is a massive shock, and it takes time to come to terms with the magnitude of the deception.

Recovery is a process, and there is a lot of information here on the Lovefraud blog that may help Carla:

  • She must realize that the ex is a sociopath, and this is the way he lives his life. Nothing she did or didn’t do would make any difference.
  • She must realize that she was targeted, probably because of her good qualities.
  • She must allow herself to feel her anger, disappointment, grief and even hatred—and then let it all go.

This will take time, and will probably come in waves—a wave of emotion, followed by a wave of calm. Eventually the emotional periods will be shorter, the calm periods will be longer.

Carla is in for many years of aggravation with this man. She needs to get to a point of equanimity, where his antics no longer affect her. When she gets there, no matter what the guy does, Carla wins.


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291 Comments on "Co-parenting with a sociopath"

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Great advice Donna.

1. Fix the finances. He must turn whatever money she’d entitled to promptly.

2. Be good to the children.

3. Get a life of her own.

The alimony and whatever other money is hers to spend as she sees fit. It is absolutely inappropriate for him to decide how it is spent. That has to stop.

I really don’t understand why the finances aren’t a cut and dried legal issue. Is Carla’s lawyer the village idiot? What’s wrong with this picture?

If I were Carla, I’d be retraining myself for a good career, using the alimony to good advantage while it lasts. It makes no sense for the X husband to control Carla’s finances.

Carla’s lawyer should be on this issue like white on rice. If s/he isn’t, Carla needs a new lawyer.

P.S. In the short haul, most people prefer sociopaths over normals. Third parties almost always prefer sociopaths over their whiny victims.

The more angry, whiny and abrasive you are, the worse you lose the “popularity contest”. (No, it’s not fair. It’s the truth. Knowing the truth is a powerful thing.) In the short run almost everyone will prefer the glib, charming, clever sociopath. The best a victim can do is be firm over boundaries, socially graceful, and self disciplined.

Many, but by no means all, people eventually figure out the Sociopath is bad news. Ironically, trying to speed up this process only derails it. The victim has to let the Sociopath foul up on his own. Never fear, he will. It’s on his “to do list”. He just hasn’t gotten to it yet!

In the meantime, the victim should build a separate life full of good people, financial security and self-actualization.

Great advice, Donna.

The one thing I would add is that Carla is undoubtedly a smart and competent woman. That’s the typical victim of sociopaths and that is what she sounds like.

What she has to fight is not just the aggravation and damage he is continuing to create in her life, but how it affects her view of herself. He is succeeding in making her feel like a victim. The faster she recognizes that he profits from her frustration, confusion, grief, feelings of being out of control, the faster she’ll stop rewarding him.

With a sociopath, it’s all about control. That’s the battle. She challenged his control by divorcing him. The court settlement challenged his control. His behavior with the children is all about control. HIs behavior with the money is all about control.

Eventually, we get clear about this. And we stop fighting any other battle. This is the only one that matters.

Carla, Donna provided a great description of the sociopath and list of things to do. But the underlying message is get clear about what you want and what you deserve, and pull out the stops to go after it. Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t let him or his attorneys gaslight you. Start with the list of what you want and deserve, and use all your intelligence and personal resources to go after it.

You can do this. The whole purpose of his behavior toward you is to wear you down and make you feel helpless. Just reject it. It more of his lies. And the only reason he does these things is to intimidate you and make you feel like he’s more resourceful than you are. He’s not. He’s a big phony who actually has to work very hard at appearing plausible to the outside world. No matter how smart or motivated he is, it takes a lot of energy to maintain that front. You know how shallow and brittle that socially acceptable exterior is. You know it better than anyone.

Consider what you know about how he behaves when his need for control is frustrated and do whatever you have to do to protect yourself. And then go after what you want.

This isn’t about him. It’s about your life, especially your life after him. You’re fighting over what you will have to invest in creating a new life. Focus on what you want, and consider him only in terms of neutralizing whatever obstacles he puts in your way, and go after it.

You can do this.

Kathy

Carla:

I was a criminal defense lawyer and I got taken by one of these subhuman creatures.

Donna gives you some good advice. Speaking as a lawyer, your lawyer should never have allowed the divorce decree to go forward without the QDROs in place. That said, now you have to play the game in a way your ex will understand. Or, as I and others have said on this site “to get rid of a sociopath, become a sociopath.”

That means you have to turn off all emotion as far as your ex is concerned. The love. The guilt. The understanding. All of it. You have to treat this as “nothing personal, S, this is just business, strictly business.”

In this case you have to use your leverage over him. Where would be his weak spots? For starters, I”d have your lawyer go into court and ask the judge for a contempt citation. Give him 24 hours to sign the QDROs transferring the assets or ask the judge to hold him in contempt and throw his sorry ass in jail until he complies.

Second, you’ve got great leverage over him in the form of his medical license. If you think his psychiatric diagnosis would put his career in jeopardy, use this as leverage on him and threaten to go to his employer and the state medical board unless he complies.

Third, how about taxes? The IRS is always all over doctors and lawyers and other high-earners. If you think he has been engaging in tax avoidance or tax fraud, tell him you will go to the state tax department and the IRS and expose him. He’ll probably come back and tell you then you won’t see the money. And know what? If he keeps up with not signing the assets over to you and draining the accounts you may NOT see the money. So, take him down.

The point is, forget about exposing him for the sociopathic bastard he is at this moment. That can come later. Right now, you have to look out for you and your financial future. And that means you have to shut off the emotions and go after him with everything you’ve got.

And Carla, to the extent possible, don’t worry about how he appears to other people. Worry about how you appear, and what will be most helpful in getting what you want.

The general wisdom around here is that it’s smarter to keep your emotional trials to yourself and a very small group of people you trust. To the outside world, you want to look calm, focused on your objectives, organized and in control. If you have to respond to anything at all from him or about him, you might start practicing noncommittal phrases like “So he says” and “Really?’ and phrases that redirect the topic back to your wants like “That doesn’t work for me” and “I don’t agree.”

People who are impressed by sociopath’s demeanor are people who are impressed by false fronts. That’s useful for you to remember, because you too can be charming, plausible and, even if you are not in the mood for humor, you can be a good listener and act interested (no matter how ridiculous the opinions of the other person) before you pull out your facts and explain your reality.

Given the nature of your letter, and the obvious distress you feel and the fact that you are trying to recover from a long marriage with a sociopath, I wouldn’t suggest that you pull yourself together and hardball him, except for two things. You were strong enough to get him out of your life and divorce him. And you were strong enough to get a good settlement out of the courts. He may have you flummoxed and frustrated right this minute, but you are no weenie. It’s why I say you can do this.

As far as the children go, and this applies to other people as well, don’t apologize for doing what you think is right. Get the kids out of the middle of this. You don’t need to convince them of anything. You’re their mother and you’re doing what you think is best for you and them. That applies to parenting, as well as what they may see as your fault in escalating bad relations with their father. You can be sure he’ll try to use them as a means to get to you, by badmouthing you to them and playing pity-poor-me. When they’re old enough they’ll understand what you are doing, and in the meantime they’re just going to have to trust you. Your steadiness in all of this is more important to them than anything. Your leaning on them or showing weakness about badmouthing him will just make them more insecure in the wake of the break-up.

No one can be superwoman all the time. Even if he wasn’t being such a jerk, you’d have things to deal with. As you say, you miss the lifestyle and that’s probably the tip of the iceberg in what you’re going to grieve, as you have time to do it. So it’s important that you take care of yourself. Spend time with supportive people. Get a therapist who really understands recovery from abusive relationships. Spend whatever you can afford on what makes you feel good — classes, travel, bodywork, time at the beach. You need to get used to making your own happiness again.

Finally, I want to re-emphasize something Donna said about cutting off contact. Start paying attention to finding where he has inroads into your privacy. Getting the bills changed to your name and delivered to your house is a start. Cutting off relationships with people who could possibly sympathize with him and talk to him in another thing you want to do. Talk to him through your lawyer, or through some other third party. You want to shut every window he has into your life. You can’t avoid the transfer of the kids, but if possible arrange it so that he picks them up and drops them off in a way that doesn’t put you two together. In other words, drop the wall.

You know you’re not going to change him, and any contact with him makes you vulnerable to his provocations. You don’t want your life to be about him. You want a life with maximum insulation from his sickness. This gets added to you lists of things you want and deserve. But you have to take the steps to make it happen. It may seem risky to take your own bills back, but it’s the way you’re going to stop this ridiculous situation where he’s controlling your money.

Good luck. I know it’s hard, but little steps add up. And you can do it.

Kathy

Dear Carla,

He still considers you HIS PROPERTY and he continues to CONTROL you. You have some great advice here above from Donna and Matt about how to handle this. It will, I do not doubt, be a FIGHT to wrest financial freedom and your own control from him. His keeping the money and DEFYING the court orders is TYPICAL of a P to CONTINUE CONTROL, and that is what they are all about. CONTROL.

Once you get your control back (and I suggest fighting like a banshee to do so legally) then do not let him dictate anything to you. Just do your own thing and IGNORE his protests, and he will protest and get worse until he SEES FIRMLY that you are NOT GOING TO ALLOW HIM CONTROL. He will resent it, and most likely do as much damage as he can to both you and the kids, but in the long run, it is your own safe and sane route to getting back your life and your kid’s lives. Good luck and my prayers for you.

Carla, I could have written your letter except that I was trapped for more than 15 years, my Ex was an eye doctor, and by the time I escaped all four of our adull children were married and on their own.

The latter did not stop him from smearing me with lies to them — and all live within 5 miles from him and I now safely live 1800 miles away. Only one has “returned” to me in the past year

I have used all my resources to fight the ongoing control of my Ex N/P/S for the past 7 years and am rear poverty level.

The only advice I have for you, in spite of the good advice from Donna, Kathleen, and Elizabeth, is to focus on yourself and your own needs and health. I never did find a way to counteract the control, even legally. He was too cunning and determined to destroy me — for daring to leave him.

You still have underage children and my advice does not exclude continung to be the best mother you can be to them. In fact, caring for them may be your best “defense.” Yet, facing and overcoming your emotional devastation will help you accpet that normal people are no match for a controller.

I’m not sure that this is what you need to hear — but I failed in all attempts to do what the very admired advisors told you above. I lost my phyaical health in the process. It isn’t worth it.

I admit it took the “trying” to reach this point but I have reached the point of KNOWING that “then” was then and “now” is now. All we have is the now.

My sincerest wishes for your continued strength and ability to overcome. — Lily

Matt wrote, “…And that means you have to shut off the emotions and go after him with everything you’ve got.”

Carla, I did that and it didn’t “work.” If it will work for you, then go for it!

Kathy wrote, “Start paying attention to finding where he has inroads into your privacy.”

Carla (and others), this is excellent advice! I learned, almost too late, that EX N/S/P had hacked into my private emails to my LAWYER during two years and used the info against me — twisted to his agenda, of course.

I didn’t know that was possible because I live alone and I naively thought only I had access to my computer. Not true!

My ISP did put some kind of protective device on my account so I’m “safe” now from this shenanagan.

I still haven’t found a way to stop him from checking my credit score. He knows my SS number and my mother’s maiden name.

ANewLily,

Just about anyone can check your credit score.

Why care?

If you can prove you are being harmed by his knowing your social security number, it’s possible to have it changed.

You know his social security number and mother’s maiden name too, don’t you?

The point is, so what?

ANewLily,

I’m not certain about this, but I think there is a way to block inquiries on your credit score. If you call TransUnion, they can talk with you about it. I had to put a fraud alert on my credit information, and at the same time, I stopped credit solicitations. They were able to block people from downloading my credit information. I don’t know if they can go so far as to block access to the simple credit score, but it might be worth talking to them about it.

Kathy

Dear Carla,

When you demonstrate that you’re getting your life back, people will really respect you.

I’ve got a girlfriend who went into court to get her kid’s father to pay another 15 dollars a month. She ended up chatting with the judge about her college courses and upcoming college graduation. The judge ruled in her favor practically as an afterthought, and all but ignored her ex.

The drama of their separation was long past. He’d demonstrated that he was a deadbeat, she’d pulled herself together.

If your ex won’t let you touch any assets, you’re broke enough for financial aid to go to school. If he will hand over your money, you can spend it to go to school.

Get on with your life, and people will see you in a new light.

http://consumerist.com/consumer/identity-theft/how-to-freeze-your-credit-report-319352.php

Yep, it’s perfectly do-able. If you want his sorry nose out of your business, freeze your credit report for a while.

Usually the S gets bored after a while. So after you’ve bored him to tears for a few years, you can unfreeze your credit reports if you want.

I am trying another attorney. I never hear from him. He wrote a letter instead of filing a motion for contempt. I wish my S would not pay at all. Instead, the deductions do equal the bills. Part of his mastery in control is to fool everyone by bending the rules in his favor instead of being clearly wrong. My therapist called it “minimally meeting my needs to maximally meet his own selfish needs, be secretive and not get caught. I am afraid the judge won’t see him paying the bills as a “gift” and consider it a fair contribution. There wasn’t any deadlnes for the account transfers. My attorney did prefer, at the end, Kurt’s charming controlled demeaner over my fearful,complaining.

As for the children, how do I reverse what I have already said? Do I just stop trying to educate them about him? I would say “prized possession” is the most accurate description. THat is why I was fooled. It feels wonderful to be a prized possession and I know the children love it too.

The response to my attorney’s letter was filled with convincing lies that I cannot refute with evidence. He seems so reasonable, wanting to buy more time. Its only been 3 months but I know that he is going to be irresponsible for a long time. I’ll be without life insurance until he gets around to it. After the letter he started some minimal changes – applied for life insurance policy, but not enough – cashed in one account but never gave me a statement. The attorney sees it as good faith effort. Do other sociopaths do this? Give just enough to keep everyone thinking they are legitimate until the radar goes down and more time passes?

Also, life seems so dull. I pursued him for so long. Loved him so much and can’t stand that someone else is with the father of my children who has completely abandoned me and is so smug. He is incredbily kind to me in front of people and lies about how I can use the boat, celebrate the kids birthdays with him, go on vacation with the family. But he doesn’t follow through and says its because I am too mental to handle those benefits. I wonder if anyone could ever be so exciting. I feel like his love and security was like a drug. It was effortless. He wanted nothing from me – he had his life (women, drugs, mismanagment of money and gambling) and he only wanted a presentable social wife and a mom for his kids. But I got all the perks, the vacations, financial security without ever having a relationship to work on. It was really easy until I decided to fish for information. Then I wanted it to change and when he found out I knew about his lifestyle, he dropped me like I was nothing.

I guess I will have to use my funds, until he find a way to amend the alimony, to get back to work after 19 years. I dread it. I guess I loved being home with my kids so much I was willing to endure great neglect. My problems now seem so much worse than before. Living the lie was easier. I feel like I need to become a legal assistant to get through the next 16 yrs co-parenting with him.

All of you suggestions, reminders and non-negotiable boundaries are what I need to put into action. Thank you.

ANewLily:

What you need to put on all three of your credit reports is a “security freeze”. This locks down all your reports on a permanent basis as opposed to a “fraud alert” which is only good for 90 days. With the security freeze Experian, Transunion and Equifax each give you a secret pass code. The only way they can release information is with your explicit authorization and pass code. YOu then tell them exactly who they are authorized to release the information to and for how long the security freeze is to be lifted in order for them to do so (no longer than 30 days).

I had to do this with my S. He had my social security number, and to say he was financially irresponsible (if it is possible to have a negative FICO score, he’s got one) would be the understatement of the century. By locking down my credit reports I’ve ensured that he cannot go and open up anything in my name.

Matt,
I hope you don’t mind me asking a question. Mine is a gigolo. Once I diagnosed him (being an LCSW I can and knew all the markers once I talked to his daughter), I began a very massive campaign to “get him straight” which was the worst thing I could possibly do (no, he did not go to psychiatrist/counselor/ alcohol treatment). Instead, having showed little interest in our boy and having refused to see him under my supervision (or that of a family member) he suddenly decided to file Joint Custody Suit. I feel like I am battling not him, but his current girlfriend since she is probably financing the whole bit. I make decent money and he does not have a penny to his name. His longest relationship was around 7 years, while his legal marriages last till they are replaced with another legal marriage. What is my legal recourse? I do fear harm because he’s told me he’s killed before. And – I can’t become psychopathic, I am becoming more hysterical. Ideas?

KATYA:

My first question: what formal, legal agreements, signed off on by the court, do you have in place with your child’s father? The big 3 should be: (1) support; (2) visitation; and (3) custody. If you don’t have these 3 in place, you need to get them into place because otherwise you have no leverage over S.

Second: Assuming you have these 3 agreements in place, have you been keeping a documented track record of his failure to pay support on time, failure to comply with visitation, etc? If you don’t, you must start keeping them. No oral conversations. Email at a minimum, certified letter so much the better.

Third: Don’t confuse joint custody with what your real objective should be which is physical custody. Most courts are reluctant to terminate parental rights until there is ample evidence that such rights should be terminated. Sometimes you are better off conceding on joint custody, but you get sole physical custody. This, in essence, means you more or less get some control over the situation.

Fourth: As hard as it is, you’ve got to turn off your emotions regarding this creature and focus on what you want to accomplish.

Fifth: Take a look at the questions I raised in 1-3 and get back to me with the information and I may be able to give you a little more clarity. As I said, a lot of this is going to hinge on what actions you have taken to date.

Dear Carla,

You were right to end your marriage when you found out about the serial infidelities, gambling and drug abuse.

STDs know no class distinctions. He was endangering your health, potentially even your life. The gambling endangered your financial security and the drug abuse brought criminal activity close to you and your kids.

Don’t look back.

“He is incredbily kind to me in front of people and lies about how I can use the boat, celebrate the kids birthdays with him, go on vacation with the family.”

You’d have to be mental to consider those things benefits.

But he doesn’t follow through and says its because I am too mental to handle those benefits.”

Too sane is more like it.!

Listen Sweetie, he’s a loon! It’s laughable, when you think about it. Of course you don’t want to play “happy family” with a promiscuous, drug abusing deadbeat!

His silly little headgames aren’t going to bother you as much after you get some perspective…

and no, no one is ever going to be that “exciting” again.

Thank God!

Seriously Carla: life can be very good without a sociopath in your life.

thank you so much.
He filed for Joint Custody in end February, still refusing to share his address and whereabouts with me. My attorney responded with request to dismiss since his did not file the papers properly. Once dismissed and refiled, we were assigned an MSW who met with me and with the subhuman (loving the term). Now, a GAL is assigned. The GAL met with me once. I am pressing for Psych evaluation, knowing that these guys are good at pretending, but hoping for a miracle since he is very pathological. He has not seen his son since October of 2008. He refused to till end of December. Then, having found additional information about him, and because of his failure to seek treatment, I refused his request, and that escalated things. We are now waiting for GAL to finish his work “in the best interest of the child” who has not seen his dad.
I make decent money, although my living is pretty tight due to debts and expenses, but my son receives the SS benefits since his dad is now retired. I think I can still ask the court for child support. I’d really be thrilled if he just walked away at this point, but I have to consider his level of sanity (or insanity) when asking for money, since I don’t know if he’ll kidnap my son, kill me, or cause other heartaches. He’s never put the money into the household during the “good days”, so it may be that seeing that this battle is too much work, he will decide to walk away.

KATYA:

Have you and your attorney thought about proposing that you will release him from all past and future support obligations and in return he agrees to terminate his parental rights and have no further contact with his son? This approach may work if he thinks there is going to be a lot of future costs for him. As most everyone on this site can attest, the only thing these creatures understand at the end of the day is dollars and cents.

Interesting. I wasn’t sure if it’d be legal. This is something to consider, if it’s legal. When SS $ is received by son, does this mean he receives less than otherwise would have? perhaps, this is the very reason he’s so driven.

KATYA:

I was wondering the same question myself. If that is the case, that could be a reason. You should contact your local Social Security Office and they could probably tell you. Also, you might check out the Social Security website. It is pretty user friendly.

Just hung up with the SSA office: the father’s SS income DOES NOT change regardless of child’s benefits. However, I wonder if he knows that.

the interesting thing about this whole scenario is that HE has NO contact with me: did not call to check on son, did not wish him happy birthday. Did acknowledge Mother’s day in a simple Happy Mother’s Day e-mail, but has not taken interest in son’s life. I wonder if it’s because I know he’s mentally ill, he is afraid. does this make sense to anyone? Matt, thank you for your help.

Carla,

In your last post, you asked how to take back what you’ve already said to the kids. Here are a few suggestions.

First, if the opportunity arises (that is, if they refer back to what you told them before), tell them you were mad at their father, but this is really between him and you. It’s grown-up stuff, they don’t need to worry about it.

Next, you hope they have a good relationship with their father. You know he’s being very generous with them and lots of fun right now. But if that changes or they ever feel worried about anything, you want them to let you know, so you can help. (And get them to confirm that they understand that you’re the parent who is responsible for taking care of them everyday, and this is their home. Their father is the parent they visit.)

Finally, you need to shield them from what’s going on with you emotionally. No matter what you do, they know that you’re dealing with stress, just like they know that they’re going through big changes. The most reassuring thing you can do is present them with as calm, positive and steady a front as you can.

As someone who went through a marriage break-up when my son was eight, I know that kids may seem okay the short-term, but only because they’re trying to seem like good troupers and adapt, because they’re trying to stave off something even worse. That’s how kids think. They’re dependent on the big people, and when you guys start breaking things (including the marriage), their world rocks.

They don’t want it to get worse, so some kids start being anxious about keeping everyone happy. You want to minimize them “parenting the parent, and that’s why you don’t want to expose them to too much of your worry, anger or grief. If they want to “help Mommy,” give them regular chores, maybe things you can do together. It’s a better way to give them a feeling of accomplishment and belonging. And to give you a chance to have fun, even it’s just telling jokes while you’re doing chores together.

I wish you well with this hard transition. I’m sure you must be wondering if you did the right thing in trying to improve the relationship, given how it turned out. You know, a real relationship, one with intimacy, enables partners to talk about their feelings, and it doesn’t include lying and doing a lot of bad things behind the other person’s back. Over time, I suspect that you’re going to be grateful you got out when you did.

Kathy

Elisabeth,
I think there are an awful lot of villages missing their idiots, when it comes to helping the victims of s’s. I believe the only intelligent lawyers that exist are right here at LF!

It’s like the court has no bite when it comes to protecting the rights for the ex and their children. I know my ex s/p did whatever she wanted when told to pay child support. Not only did she not do what was court ordered but also never visited her children under the “supervised visitation” she was given. I asked her many times why she didn’t want to visit them and she always told me the same thing; that she hated the way her ex would “stare at her” and how she felt uncomfortable. Again this now shows me two things 1) they hate to lose and if they don’t get what they want then they will walk away both from their responsibility to their own children and what was court ordered. 2) Again it’s all about them! How she felt meant more then what her own children felt and needed which was for a mother to come and maintain some type of relationship with them.

The following is taken from my blog site title under: Personality traits: NPD. The blog goes on to list the many traits of an NPD.

“D is a person who suffers from some type of personality disorder. She was court ordered to be tested by a psychologist when she went through a custody case for her two other children with J back in November 3rd, 1989. She lost custody of both her children and was granted only “supervised” visitation rights. She was also ordered to pay child support maintain full time employment for insurance reasons and have a life insurance policy in place for these two children. None of this she did and in the end didn’t maintain a relationship with these two children. But as for her “next” family things really haven’t improved much for her.”

What good are these ruling and judges when they can’t protect our children from harm or even death from these sociopaths?

What good are judgments concerning child support OR and other issues when the court hands are tied because they refuse to see these people as they truly are?

“It was easier being married. He did all these things and he kept me blinded by being secretive and giving me a high-income surgeon’s wife lifestyle. I know the secrets now along with my attorney but he looks perfect in the community.”

Being a Doctor and if he was tested for drugs. If he prove positive for having drugs in his system he could lose his license to practices. But again it’s a lost for both his children (child support) and his ex wife for they would lose this support as well. Being with a sociopath is always like that insomuch one feel like being between a rock and a hard place. They will cut their own throats to win for winning is really what it’s all about for them.

Still the right thing to do is to report this Doctor if in fact he is using drugs and hope someone does.

I don’t know how to stay sane anymore. HE calls this weekend and wakes us all up because he THINKS it is his weekend. HE doesn’t come to sons B-game because “Mommy didn’t tell me you had one.”

HE HAS A SCHEDULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now he doesn’t pay support for 2 weeks – insists he owes me only ONE and proceeds to tell me he has nothing for me.

But he takes our son from school today – out to lunch so he LOOKS LIKE THE GOOD GUY. and the lunch I sent goes in the garbage.

The reprimands son and daughter through son for not being nice to his beloved skank next door. Son 10 stuck his tongue out apparently and GF loves to play poor damsel .

Skanks daughter gave mine a bit of a stare down at the church fair -and daughter gets the brunt of “Your behavior is rude” like she is supposed to be NICE to skanks daughter.

He doesn’t even bother to ask what the interaction was – just demand that his OWN CHILDREN be nice to skank and her family. He does not realise he pretty much created a war zone here with his behavior.

Not to mention he takes son overnight and doesn’t get the homework done and keeps a 10 yr old up all hours.

Not to mention he gets him to school late the one day a week he is responsible and we live 3 minutes from school.

So now , I lose my temper over the non-payment of support and of course he enjoys it-jerk….

I try to tell him I have paid camp, new summer clothes and shoes for 2 kids, my car repairand 3 Dr visits/prescriptions -all outside of my usual budget.

I did not ask him for anymore funds – just the usual weekly.

But now HIS LIFESTYLE and debts have caught up with him and he denies me…. after going through over $400,000 by himself the last 5 years. Good God, I never knew he made anywhere near that kind of money.

But he got greedy, spent, bought, lost and never saw the end of the gravy train…………..

I just don’t know how and when this divorce will conclude…I have never been so scared and ashamed of myself that I let my life get this out of control.

If I had kicked him out when I should have we would have had no debt and very little to split. But at least it would have been an honest settlement.

I totally missed his gravy train, he never shared with me-all the other women yes, but not me. And now that it is gone and what’s left may go too – I have to rely on his benevolence to survive?

This bastard took everything for himself he could. And he forgets I paid 18 years of child support with him for his other two kids.

God help me –

In many ways there are clear patterns with we deal with this type of sociopathic behavior. I happen to come across this site being told by a Mother concerning her child and herself when dealing with her now ex husband. When one reads it one can see the signs and red flags in those like her ex husband Mr. Smith…

http://michellesdivorceblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/all-about-me-well-here-is-little-update.html

Like so many members here often state, the names may change but the story is always repeated. The patterns (red flags) are always there is one knows what to look for..

James,

Funny thing about those red flags. A drama prone person got a bit too close to my life recently, and I shut the relationship down.

The old me would have put up with dozens of cycles of hysterics, tantrums and goofy emoting over nothing in particular. Then the old me would have gotten annoyed and broken contact. The new me said, “No way!” up front.

Sweet Peace! I do so love to live productively and well.

Carla,

I could have written your post word for word. I have been divorced form my sociopathic ex for 4 years now and it’s still a nightmare. My lawyer tells me that she will never be able to get my kids and me what we deserve.

In the early days, I let him still control me because I was scared. I was scared he would stop paying and I was scared he would try to take the kids. Well, it’s 4 years later and guess what? He’s stopped paying and is trying to take the kids. He’s telling them horrible things about me (10 and 12) and they come home from his house very angry. He checks up on them 4 and 5 times a day. He is threatening to take me to court again (which I can’t afford, but will do it for my kids).

Here’s what I’m doing and it makes me feel in control. And, maybe it will help us when we go to court. I have saved every email he has ever sent. I document everything…everything the kids tell me, everything they do. I have access to his “facebook” page through a friend and I get on there every day and copy and paste photos of him drinking, photos of their lavish house, photos of their vacations. I am putting it all together in a binder. My only hope is that someone will look at this and see his character.

It’s very frustrating and very scary. I went back to school and am almost finished with my license in Special Ed. Once I can get a job in the public schools, I will not be dependent on his money. I have met a great guy (which is the main reason my ex is flipping out) and we will probably get married next year.

It does get better….maybe not always easier….but if you can find a way to channel your hate, jealousy and fear, you will feel better. Be sneaky…..be businesslike…and get him back in the way it hurts him the most. My ex is fighting for more custody because he wants to reduce child suport. So, I’m fighting like mad not to let that happen. We’ll see.

Hang in there…you’re not alone.

Elizabeth Conley

Yes I too have seen some positive changes concerning myself whenever I come into contact with someone that is not being honest and upfront with me.

The old me would have spend more time and effort looking for other reasons, the new me see what’s really there. I still might try to maintain a “friendship” but with each sign I take a step back and not forwards.

“Sweet Peace! I do so love to live productively and well.”

Ditto and how sweet it is!!

Carla, I live a similar life. I won custody in a fight that she inititated. She moved away from me and our children. She makes a lot of money, while I stayed home with the children for many years, and am now unemployed.

Financially – Does your state child support services include garninshing/collecting wages for aliminony legal owed per a divorce decree? If so, apply for the service, and if not, apply for it just for child support. Going back to court over the accounts will be very costly. Not sure what to advise there. I went to court over my ex’s lack of paying children’s expenses, it cost me double what I may (order not received yet) receive, but may be worth it to alleviate future issues with this P.

Kids – What I learned through our children’s therapist is not to try to compete with the Disneyland parent. Just be a good parent, and try (I know how hard it is) not to trash talk you loser ex. In the long run your children will figure it all out. Do the best you can to raise them and be a loving mother. I suggest reading “Divorce Poison” to learn how both you and your ex are attempting to alienate your children, and to learn how to combat your ex in his attempted alienation. Alienation – we all do it, even if not conscience of it. I suggest you read that book.

Communication – Attempt to keep all communication written, emails, text, etc. Funny thing is when you go back a re-analyze what these P’s write, their motives become so transparent. They will project so much, attempt to make you look angry and hostile, use big words to describe your behavior in a negative manner. Try not to be tempted to respond to clear the air, it goes on deaf ears and just incites them to write again.

I got to the point where I have taken control of everything that I can. The balance has swayed to my side. I don’t flaunt it or rub her nose in it, because the control I have really has to do with what I do in the best interests of the children. Her control consists of saying “look, I have control”. Although successful, charming and the overall public does not see them for what they are, these people are weak losers, and you can overcome it.

Carla:

Fire your lawyer and get another. Your lawyer has been co-opted by your S.

In order to divide the accounts and get the money and property under your control you need executed “QDROs” — Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. Your state may call them something different. Both parties must sign them before the brokerages, banks, pension administrators, whatever, will divide the accounts and retitle them into your name.

If he won’t sign, your lawyer must go into court and ask the judge to hold him in contempt of court. That means jail/and or fines until S signs. Do it. If you have to leverage things higher, go to the state medical licensing board, the tax authorities, whomever you have to.

You must understand there is no reasoning with these non-human vehicles of discord. This all boils down to a fight for scarce resources — money and your future security. He is never going to be happy with any result which costs him one penny. Not your problem. Get clear about what you want, and then go after him guns blazing. These creatures only understand dollars and cents — and pure, unadulterated power. Mine didn’t respect me until I nailed him to a cross.

My concerns are for the children. Here is my advice. First, the children need to be in counseling. They are going to be manipulated and you need an ally to protect their mental health and professional records will be important later on. Right now, your ex is playing the buddy role. He is starting his manipulation process by buying them. There will come a time, that he will seek custody. He will do this, just to get to you. Right now, you need to keep a detailed journal, with dates and EVERYTHING that has to do with the kids. Do not say anything to the kids in regards to their father. This is what he is doing to them and the kids need you to be neutral and the better parent. Be ever so grateful that he has no contact with them for those 2 weeks. The less time they are around him, the better. I have been divorced from my SP ex for almost 10 yrs and he STILL tries to inject himself into my life. My daughter…well, she is a SP too. He taught her all the ways of a sociopath. I can’t save her, but I hope my words and experience can help someone else. Blessings and Peace to you!!

Carla,
This story of yours is pretty darn close to my experience with my Ex/S only I am now a year out from the divorce being finalized. It took a full year for me to get over the effects – just of what he did to me during the divorce and custody fight (he was very effective in his manipulation of the court and those who testified for him to the already biased custody evaluator, an ‘evaluator’ who doesn’t understand narcissicism and abuse) but I am ok now. Everything Donna writes is true, and if I can get through it then you can, too. You will – in steps or phases, all frustrating but it will keep getting better. Your coping skills will keep getting better but cut yourself some slack.

Fear is an awful thing, especially when it comes to your children and your role as mother and primary caregiver. I still struggle with that but am getting better. Surrounding myself with good, normal people who validate that I am normal and doing an outstanding job as a mother, that my kids are great and who recognize how difficult it is trying to manage it all alone and under these circumstances.

My Ex does not leave me alone either. He is pissed off that I am still standing, that I look good and appear to have a great life without him, without being under his control. I can go into more detail if you wish later about specifics on how I do this. It takes focus and patience and deep understanding of what I need to be solid and what I need to do to help my children mature into normal, healthy and productive adults. I am on a mission…and always considering what my desired outcome is for everyone.

My Ex has also moved on to a new younger victim, another lonely woman with no children, too young and inexperienced to be able to see through him and he wants to use her to replace me with my children. But that is NOT going to happen. She is nice, innocent and good for my kids – when they are with their dad because it makes that world more pleasant and peaceful. I support her in her role whether I ever get any credit for it or not. My kids know that and know they cannot manipulate ME in this situation. Trust me, I’m resolved but it’s NOT easy.

I do feel bad for her because she will be in pain someday realizing that he and his world are not what she bought into and that will be sad. Nothing I can do for her now but will be sympathetic down the road…so try not to see the girlfriend as part of what is evil, just feel sorry for her and focus on your kids.

Yes, on the counseling for the kids and for yourself. do what you have to do to protect your health and sanity, and they are very much connected. your kids need you to be as good and solid as possible. You have allies here and I promise you that if you are patient and diligent you will find many people around you who will ‘get it’ and support you. My Ex will not have as easy of a time the next go-round if he chooses to do battle with me again.

I couldn’t read everything here yet – have to come back later – but did see Samantha’s post and ditto everything she says. Very similar here – document everything, detach and become business-like. I use NC as much as possible but give him enough rope…

So much more on this subject but have to get back to kids and house issues. Please seek me out if you think I can help.
D

Also for Carla and anyone going through the same early stages:

You are normal in what you are feeling now. took me forever to get that concept.

And you are righteous in learning here and learning to protect yourself and your children if you had some with an S.

It will get easier if you follow the advice here, esp around no contact. work on eliminating fear and trusting and believing in yourself. takes a leap of faith but it will come.

don’t fight the grieving – let it out in a safe and well-supported way that doesn’t affect your kids. but find balance in your grieving. I can say that for every bad thing that has happened or every bad effect from all of this, something good or positive has come my way – I just had to look for it and claim it.

Yesterday Elizabeth C wrote: “Why care?”

I CARE! Like Carla’s Ex, he took to paying my “unpaid debts” and deducting from the monthly alimony that I needed for medications! Last December, I did hire a lawyer to file a contempt of court to retrieve $$ owed me. But like Carla’s lawyer, the lawyer first shot him a snail mail letter to sign — which of course he refused to sign (AS I KNEW HE WOULDN’T) I won’t use that lawyer (who doesn’t know beans about sociopaths again.)

I made an error by calling it a credit “score” rather than my credit “record.” Sorry about that.

I don’t have the energy to explain the ongoing problem — except to tell you that my “unpaid debts” were only several LATE payments because I had been in the HOSPITAL. I had already contacted each one to explain and they understood and took off the late fee in each case. In each case, I had already paid the so-called “missing” payment. I suppose that didn’t show up on the credit record!!

I think what made me so ANGRY was that one of the debts he paid (out of the goodness of his heart SURE, ha ha!) was a self-loan for my Ph.D. tuition. I had been in contact with them for over 3 months to negotiate the total remainder after PROVING to them that I am now officially totally disabled. One month later, my application was approved. He spent that money totally foolishly!

No, that one is only part of it. The self-loan itself had been against my explicit wishes when he took it out years ago. I wanted to pay it with inheritance from my mother. NO, he wanted to have me spend her money on household bills! (I never succeeded in any “argument” with him during the whole 46.5 years!!!) The reminder of that “scam” back in December when I hired the lawyer (who didn’t “get” sociopaths!) almost put me over the edge — and I had been doing pretty well out here alone for the previous 6 years! At least, I was able to release some recidual anger — which felt good!

And, did i know HIS social security number? I knew his mother’s maiden name, of course, but his SS # was only one piece of information that a wife SHOULD know.

For everyone’s information, my credit record and score can not be accessed by anyone without my approval now. The damage had been done before I even knew it was being done!

Sorry, I’m so upset for being minimized that I didn’t complete this sentence, …”but his SS # was only one piece of information that a wife SHOULD know but refused to divulge to me over 46.5 years.

I was totally, completely, and securily under his strict control. I call the entire “marriage” trapped in a Lion’s Den.

I’m only glad that I surved it long enought TO ESCAPE — yet the “control” keeps coming — just in different, unexpected ways, like the PAYING MY DEBTS as if I am unable to handle my own finances!!

Did you have the experience with the s that whenever you exposed the S to a book or therapist – they used the information to hurt you? For example, my therapist talked about “the good marriage” vacationing as family together, going to dinner once a month together. My ex talked about doing that to everyone all through the 2 yr separation. Now won’t go near me and the kids bc he claims I am psycho and unreasonable. He used to tell me through the separation, without any heart in it, sometimes people just have to get divorced and then get remarried again. Then when I brought that up again, he told me that he doesn’t love me and only care about me and the kids.

Do all S try to get custody for control? Aren’t some not interested in the kids more than visitation? My friends all say Kurt won’t want the kids- it will cramp his lifestyle. Any thoughts on that? He seems ready to return them by Sun afternoon after 2 days and doesn’t have contact until the next visitation 2 weeks later. Meanwhile, he is womanizing, partying and withdrawn into his own little world. He also works a lot as a physician and does a lot of paperwork. He is very disordered, almost ADHD or ADD. His office is a disaster, his finances fragmented. His bills have always been just a bit late. WOn’t touch a computer. Everything is by hand.

I can threaten to turn him in for fraud on his taxes (which was proven through a deposition). But I think that there was something to protect him from tax or medical license risks. The attorney saids that all the drug use and list of drug dealers in the deposition and the tax fraud exposed in deposition cannot be held against him.Only used for marital law. Why can’t I copy the deposition and send it to the medical board? Because I can’t bite the hand the feeds me.

Matt, thank you for your advice — just a little late LOL

I already was able to put a security freeze on all three of my accounts and no one can access it without my permission. But I will know if anyone tries.

I don’t know anything about a “30 day” restriction. Or is that just if I should give my permission to someone — like a lender or something.

I am too ill to move anywhere else so I won’t be looking for a new abode — but there may be some other reason for someone to need to access it?

ANewLily:

The restriction is set by you — I think all 3 credit reporting days don’t allow you to lift the security freeze for more than 30 days. EVen then, they can only release the info to somebody you authorize — a lender (mortgage, car, credit card, personal loan), someone who is making you a job offer. Those would be the 2 big ones that I can think of. About the only downside to a security freeze is that it stops you from walking into a department store and opening an account on the spot.

I have a question and a concern. Everyone says not to trash talk the ex SP to the children. I really have tried not to do that over the past 4 years since we have been divorced. They have seen the pain and stress I have been under, but I have tried to keep my mouth shut about how horrible he is. But recently, my ex has been on a rampage again and is threatening to take me to court for more custody. Plus he is refusing to pay child support and now owes me $2100 plus $2000 for braces. We all know that the least amount of time the children spend with him, the better. So, when my children come back from his house filled with hate for me, what am I to do? When I try to take my son’s cell phone as punishment for back talking me and he yells in my face that his dad said never to let me take it and to call him if I try, what am I to do? I took it anyway and stormed off. My son raced after me saying he was sorry. I just told him that I didn’t like how his dad was trying to turn them against me. Then, my son asked me a slew of questions…horrible questions regarding things that their dad has been saying about me. I answered them honestly and told him who he could talk to that could back up my answers if he still did not believe me. During the conversation and questioning, the truth came out about my ex and his 3 affairs. I told my son (12) that I really tried to stay with him to hold the family together, but by the 3rd one (with whom he is now married), I just couldn’t anymore.

I don’t want to be guilty of alienation either, but I don’t want to be alienated. I’m just trying to defend myself. Where’s the line?

My son called his dad a “bastard” after that and wants to confront him. Who knows what will happen next….sure will be ugly and I warned my son that I will be made the bad guy if he does confront his dad.

I just do not want my kids coming to me one day saying that they want to live with him because he has manipulated them and turned them against me. I just want to get them raised in the most sane and healthy atmosphere that I can.

Matt, thank you for explaining further. I feel a lot better. I am housebound so I doubt if I will ever be “walking into a department store and opening an account on the spot.” And I only have one credit card and will not open another.

Samantha and Carla, how I feel for you in your struggles about not alienating your children by “bad mouthing” their father.

One of the four reasons I stayed with mine so long was that I KNEW that he would try to take them from me (via lies) and I wanted to give them as “normal” a family I was able for as long as I could.

Almost one of the first pieces of advice I received after I had moved 1800 miles away and needed to explain to our married, adult children why I left was to tell them the truth, “Their father tried to kill me.”

There were no support groups back then (that I knew of) so I didn’t know this was bad advice when dealing with a disordered persons. I didn’t yet know I had been dealing with a narcissist/sociopath or I might have figured out that he would lie and say to them, “She is just making it up. She’s crazy. I never laid a hand on her.”

Poor kids. They didn’t know who to believe — and I don’t blame them. Yet, his lies did sever relationships (even long distance) with all of them. My grief lasted 5 long years before I could recover and the youngest daughter finally contacted me about a year ago.

Even so, she had had the experience of unexpectedly meeting her father and a girlfriend come down the hotel steps at 6:00 a.m. the morning she and her husband came down for breakfast in a hotel 85 miles from home. I had never divulged the infidelities (of which I only had his admission 6 weeks before I filed for divorce.)

At least her eyes were opened to the “nature” of her father’s morality. Whether she ever told her siblings or not I do not know.

Anyway, I believe the advice to tell the truth when it is appropriate is good. The advice to keep everything as smooth as possible on a daily basis is good, too. I think in deciding what and when to say it is different when dealing with an N/S/P than in a “normal” breakup.

I wish I could be of more help to you two (and others in the same situation) but my children were “grown-ups” when I left and I had no idea they would not be able to handle the truth.

Yet, I tried to contract a mediator (lawyer) to help heal the painful and harmful rift but only got his stern comment, “You must accept that you will not get your children back until he either dies or moves away.”

That I did get one “back” is comfort for now.

I have read (“Divorce Poison”) that when the child(ren) have been alienated to the point that they completely side with the lying/alienating parent, when they begin to hate you based upon lies and manipulation, that the last resort (and reasonable at that point) to get you child back is tell them the truth about the lying SOB. I did this, told my child about his mom’s affairs, why we were divorced, the truth about why she moved away, her manipulation and brainwashing of him, her lies about my new wife and other lies that mom had told him. He didn’t respond well initially, in disbelief. But over time, I believe he recalls that discussion/blowout, he identifies what mom is doing to him and that I was telling the truth, and has had a change of attitude as a result. What I told him DID NOT serve as alienation towards his mother, he still loves her and loves to be with her. However, he is much nicer and respectful towards me and my new wife.

FYI, google the terms “spousification” and “enmeshment”. Any of your ex’s may be involved in these types of despicable actions in order to gain loyalty.

Carla, you asked, “Did you have the experience with the s that whenever you exposed the S to a book or therapist – they used the information to hurt you?”

Absolutely I had this experience, or rather experienceS, before I got wiser (caught on to what was happening) and stopped.

I think other posters have experienced this using info to twist around to their gain — which is to hurt us.

Addionally, in the year before he knocked me unconsious and I escaped, my EX agreed to marital counseling for three sessions with two different therapists. Oh, my, did he sound convincing and startled me out of any inner calmness I was able to muster. NEVER had he verbalized any of it. All of it was “news” to me and definitely not the truth. Trying to talk (CALMLY) to him about it after the sessions was met with the silent treatment.

Except sometimes he would bring up (much later) what I had told the therapist/s as twisted accusations. Nothing close to my meaning, at all.

Since escaping, I have told many times not to partake in couples’ therapy because it only gives them more ammunition to use against you — twisted, of course, and making doubt ourselves! Crazy-making, for sure.

Bob, I haven’t read “Divorce Poison” but I do understand what you are saying — tell the truth. Do you have custody of your children?

I told mine the truth (as my counselor told me to do) and all it got for me (perhaps he was so geographically near to them and I was so far) was TRUE and complete alienation. All went No Contact on ME

I want so much to discuss what happened to me with my adult children — but I start and then stop. Most of the other posters have had different experiences — and with much younger children.

I’m going to stick my neck out and tell you all that I DID also tell them that their father was most probably a narcissist (finding this out as a diagnosis by two counselors and a social worker pastor) and that they should study the research on this disorder (They were ages 46, 44, 38 and 35.)

They TOLD their father this information and lo and behold all of a sudden “I” was the narcissist (according to HIM) and was “dangerous.”

The powerlessness I once felt is finally gone but I do wish I could live over those days after I left and TELL THEM NOTHING except that I loved and missed them!!!!!!

I am feeling very vulnerable right now. I’ve kept in my pain about my adult children shunning me due to their father’s lies. I thought the pain had finally lessened enough (I NEVER regretted leavint their father to save my life) so I could talk about it here.

I think I have made a mistake. No one here (except OxDrover) even knows me yet. And I don’t know if she knows I’ve registered!)

It might sound like defending myself but after I learned that EM had projected HIS narcissism onto me, I insisted that I be evaluated — went through all the interviews and tests. Was diagnosed as “normal as normal gets.” LOL Those results calmed any fears I had that I might be fooling myself and during the past 4 years or so of reading and researching about the disorder, I have been gratified to discover that I was NOT ALONE in dealing with a predator/sociopath. Man, was he good! Fooled everybody, even me, for years and years!

So much to say — but that’s all I can manage for now. I still feel SO ALONE in being alienated from my beautiful, bright, accomplished children!

Don’t get me wrong, though. I may be lonely but God is with me every step of the way. And I love LIVING alone, just wish I weren’t housebound by a broken hip!

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