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Divorcing A Sociopath: Finding Strength, Acceptance, and Healing

by Quinn Pierce

 

Today, after a trip to the psychologist with my children, I watched my ex-husband run to open the door for a very pregnant woman who looked extremely tired in the day’s intense heat.  She immediately broke out into a grateful smile, her whole body relaxed, and I could see the combination of the cool air conditioning and the sweet gesture of this gentleman turned her whole day around.

But for me, it was like watching a car accident in slow motion.  I was all at once sick and mesmerized by what I saw.  I know it doesn’t sound like much of an incident to cause such a reaction, but it was so typical, and predictable, and”¦calculated.  And that’s when I realized why it was so difficult to try to explain to other people what it was, exactly, that was so ”˜terrible’ about this man.

The Chameleon

He always portrays himself as the perfect (whatever the situation calls for). He can read people, anticipate what they need.  He is the perfect chameleon at any social gathering.  He could be at a dinner party one day praising new government reform, for example, and then stand on the sideline of a soccer game complaining about the very same policies- and with conviction each time.

I still don’t think, to this day, that he has ever had his own opinions about anything.  He doesn’t need them; he only needs to know how to blend in, fit in, and be well liked by others.  Even if he doesn’t like the people he’s joining arms with, it doesn’t matter, as long as he can paint himself likeable in their eyes.

Playing His Game

I used to watch him flip his alliances from person to person and think it was because he was insecure.  It annoyed me, but to be honest, I learned how to use it to my advantage.  I could get him to agree to things in front of other people that I knew he would refuse if it were just me asking him.

For example, he was against our child taking medication to treat depression, so I brought it up at a dinner party where there were doctors that I knew approved of treating children with medication. By the end of dinner, he was encouraging me to make an appointment.  I didn’t care if he thought it was his idea, as long as my child could get treatment.   In a sense, I was playing his game, but to my advantage…so I thought.

The Set-Up

I didn’t realize how well planned this strategy was until we separated.  All of a sudden, I found myself trying to explain a reality that only I saw.  Friends, family, acquaintances, they all saw the persona he had presented over the years.  I, on the other hand, was a very private person, and I learned quickly that being private was not a trait that would serve me well in the eyes of onlookers.  What’s worse, not only was he cultivating his identity, but he was slowly planting seeds of my proposed ”˜instability’ and ”˜mental illness’.

He constantly told me I was crazy when we argued; apparently, he was describing me as being mentally unstable to family and friends, as well.  I actually received several phone calls from ”˜concerned’ family members asking me what medication I was taking and who my councilor was, because they thought they should call her and check in to tell her about my actions.  I was stunned.  My husband knew I was finally strong enough to leave him, and this was his way of turning my life upside down and taking away my credibility in the public eye.

Feeling Isolated

I had very little support from family or friends when I went forward with my divorce. That was a totally separate grief process for me.  I felt as though I had been stripped of my identity.  My family actually helped him move, found him an apartment, and continued to interact with him on a friendly level.  I was chastised for getting upset- after all, I was the one who kicked him out and ruined his life. It was nearly too much for me to bear at times.

It has taken me years to figure out how he was able to present himself as a compassionate, empathetic person, a caring and loving father, and a respectable member of society.  I certainly believed he was all of these things for much of our marriage.  But I eventually could see through this façade, why couldn’t anyone else?

Playing The Part of The Perfect”¦

I think the answer is quite simple, actually.  He may not be capable of feeling certain emotions, but he is acutely aware of what behaviors represent these emotions.  He knows exactly what society deems respectable, kind, considerate, etc.  He understands what characteristics make a man seem like a great father. He can play the role without meaning any of it.

That is why he will show up at every doctor’s visit for the children, every school conference, every sporting event.  For him, it’s essential.  Plus, he enjoys it; he loves the attention.  In reality, I could probably write down every significant statement he’s ever made at all these appointments combined on one sticky note.

In other words, he’s just there for show.  But not only that, he wants to make sure I am not defaming him in any way.  He often accuses me of embarrassing him, setting him up, or manipulating him when I say something that contradicts him.  He’s found it much easier to not say anything at all these days.

Today’s appointment was no exception.  We did a complete overhaul of my child’s medication after years of trying different things with adverse effects.  My son cried, my other child hugged him and sat next to him the whole time. I was asking desperate questions and trying to make sense of the options versus the side effects.  The only input my ex-husband had during the entire appointment was small talk about chewing gum.

A New Reality

And so, when we left the appointment, and he ran to open the door with his fake sincerity, it made my skin crawl.  But when one of my children turned to give me a raised eyebrow and a smirk, I realized it didn’t matter what the outside world thought about my ex-husband or me.

My children are also able to see him for what he is.  My decision to divorce this man is giving my children an opportunity to grow and strengthen in a healthy environment.  I don’t need to ”˜prove’ his real character to anyone.  I only need to continue being myself: a woman who is getting stronger by the day, and a mother who is helping her children do the same.


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114 Comments on "Divorcing A Sociopath: Finding Strength, Acceptance, and Healing"

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Quinn – magnificent! You really captured the charade, the gaslighting, the smear campaign that so many Lovefraud readers have experienced. Thank you.

Hello Quinn, and thank you for sharing more of your journey with us. I have enjoyed all your contributions here so far and really appreciate how much humanity you fuse into your writings. So much of what you write resonates with me. Like you I have been able to observe the interactions of my resident impression management specialist. I have used the slow motion train wreck analogy and it was painful to see it coming way down the line, to try to clear the tracks only to realize my guidance was not welcome. So I just had to stand there and watch. The situation I’m referring to involved a young man in our congregation about half the age of the dominant, deceptive one who I could see had taken him under her wing to groom him. Once when I was trying to explain how she was manipulating him as the one appointed over certain responsibilities, so that she was effectively controlling the outcome, and how this continued to make things worse for her and I, and how profoundly lacking in humility she was already, he interrupted me and said ” she is the Most Spiritual One.” Game, set, and match over. Lifetime highly promiscuous, double life leading, serial fornicator/most spiritual one trumps Decades of actually exemplary conduct. Go figure. So sadly I had to watch over the next year or two him being added to the not so elite group of men who engaged in some sort of behaviors that according to our beliefs and teachings are destructive and damaging to marriage.
Another thought on what you said about it not seeming to be much of an incident – I think it’s these small interactions that we can learn so much from. Even watching the videos of people like Ariel Castro and Jodi Arias can help us see just how normal these ones can seem, how pleasant, soft, humble, and downright likable they can present as. They say the Devil’s in the details, right ?

Quinn I can so absolutely relate…..

Unfortunately I know all too well what you are writing about in this post. I used to tell myself that these little acts of kindness or concern for others proved my ex-husband was a good man. He cared, he was kind and considerate. I later came to realize it was his way of making himself look good, of trying to appear in a way that he thought would benefit him. He still does it today. He calls my son’s school almost daily to check in, shows up for visits at the school, insists on going to dr’s appointments when he had no interest in such when we were married. He tries to play the victim, a wounded dad who’s evil, manipulative, lying ex-wife is taking his son away. This from a man who prior to divorce wanted nothing to do with his son! He even talked of disappearing so he wouldn’t have to support a child! Now, he is on a mission to be dad of the year, but only in name and for appearances sake. With regard to being a real parent, instilling moral values, ethics, responsibility, good behavioral skills into his son, he is absent. When financial support is needed, absent again! Yet, he loves to make me out to be the bad parent, the one who is keeping him from his child! Fortunately, my son’s teachers and admins are seeing through his facade. He creeps them out and they ask me what is wrong with him. I guess I shouldn’t care so much what others think about me, but I always have. I like to be responsible, honest, to be a person who lives up to their word and lives by a moral and ethical code. I want to be a contributing member of society and I care about my reputation. He knows this, and throughout our marriage and after has tried to use what he considers a weakness against me. He wants me to look bad to friends, family, and my peers. He threatens to ruin my reputation. Thankfully my family and my true friends know what he is, and support me. I cannot imagine not having this support, and my heart goes out to you for dealing with your spath without it.

Bravo Quinn!
I can “see” my husband in that description of your husband opening the door like the perfect gentleman,for the pregnant lady!Oooh yea! He was the perfect gentleman to every woman but me!Sooo Chaaaming!

Hi Quinn…

I always enjoy reading what you’ve written. These guys (our x-spaths) are so incredibly good at playing their game. I have so much to share, but let me add the following…

When I was together with my x spath, I found out he was on dating sites. When I questioned him on this, his response was, “I’m just curious”. Well, his just curious was another relationship while we were still living together. And this I didn’t actually find out until about a year apart from him.

On a fluke, I found out who she was a FB”.it was purely a guess, but I saw photos of the two of them. I sent her a message simply warning her of who he was, then blocked her because I figure she’d think I was some scorned ex-lover. Well,..turns out a few days later I got a call from a friend of hers”they found out where I worked and called me there. They wanted to know more details about the last time I saw him and things that happened between us. And the reason she was so curious is, it turns out he went on a dating site while she was with him, too! After she caught him the first time, he said he would never do it again. She caught him again a few months later and posed as someone else”.well, he took the bait. She was devastated, but took him back. And even after my “warning” to her about what he’s like and all the lies, deceit and manipulation, she is still with him. They know how to play the game, and they play it well.

I did what I could”.the rest is up to her! He’s masterful, that’s all I can say”and she obviously bought it all.

carolann

Reply

Quinn, as I read your story, I found myself hoping that your children recover from the effects of the sociopath, with increased time and distance. Children are so sensitive. They absorb and act out any dysfunctions in their family. My stepfather was sociopathic and my mother narcissistic. My sister was the “identified patient” in the family, constantly depressed and withdrawn, running away, and eventually being hospitalized in her early 20’s. I think if both of us had had a parent like you who had the courage to walk out of the toxic relationship and took us for counseling, we both would have fared better through the years. Instead, we were on our own trying to find our way out of the suffering of our early years.

I have never been married to a sociopath myself, and the only known one I ever dated was for 3 months. But recent events in the past year have made me realize how much PTSD you can get from a toxic relationship (even with a normal person) and dealing with all the fallout from it, including having to distance yourself from the mutual friends and decide where the boundaries will be. As painful as it’s been for me after such a short time, I honestly cannot imagine what you are going through with the father of your children still being in your lives – ugh.

All I can say about this is that it is possible fill your life with more and more positive experiences to where you will be able to handle the bad stuff more and more gracefully and let go of it more quickly. I once heard a wise person say that for a depressed person, even a happy event like winning the lotto will cause unhappiness. But for a happy person, it’s easy to bounce back from painful events. The goal for all of us it to be happy. So the grieving, limit setting, and all the hard work we do in recovery is in the service of our eventual peace and happiness.

Best wishes to all of you, and thanks for sharing your story.

I can sooo relate. My X lost his standing as a minister after I left him. But still managed to become employed at the church I had placed my membership at. With the senior minister taking him under his wing as someone who had been mightily wronged by me and the middle judicatory of our denomination (through me).

All the divorce documents go on and on about how emotionally unstable I was. And that is was my poor decisions that led to my ex being fired, etc. I was left feeling that the courts believed I had to have been unstable to have left such a wonderful, professional, upstanding guy. A minister who claimed to currently be smoking pot to his parishioners. A man who also admitted proudly to cheating on me in the court room. I think in his mind it proved he was still attractive and desirable and I was not.

I pray for your children and mine as well. They continue to struggle often more than we realize. I think all children want their parents to get back together, long after the divorce is final. And with a sociopath they inevitably are being used as pawns in ways that are confusing to adults much less kids.

Even last night my kids had a major meltdown over doing the dishes that had two of my children calling their dad in middle of the situation. Any time the get upset with me they call him and inevitably the situation then escalates. And I cannot get them to see that if they are upset with me they need to communicate directly to me, not a third party. He has the kids convinced that he is playing referee and that I do not know how to parent them. Whatever he is telling them, they are usually more defiant when they hang up, telling me they “hate me”, I have “ruined their life” and they “want to move back with their dad”, etc. From my perspective it would be much easier to be a good parent if he butted out. I have told him as much, but it has not changed anything. I may not be an A+ mom, but I do not believe I am a horrible one.

In reading back, I realize my last post on here really didn’t seem to “fit” in response to the story written, except to clarify by saying these spaths really do know how to become whomever they want. That is what I was trying to get across in my writing…how, even after warning someone about him, he was able to turn on the charm and win her over.

Quinn…you made a great statement in saying…”He may not be capable of feeling certain emotions, but he is acutely aware of what behaviors represent these emotions”. So spot on.

Keep sharing….

carolann

Quinn, how old were your children when you started to explain things to them? I have a 4 yr old and he idolizes his spath father. I have primary custody and he gets access twice a week. Since we’ve cut access back to just those two times/wk, my son seems to be way less swayed by my ex’s behaviour and influence. He is a smart little man and I have never said anything to him regarding why I am not with his father anymore, and I have never said anything negative to him about his Dad. I’m not really sure when to go there.

I do let him know that lying is not acceptable, that cops are good (even though I know that’s not necessarily true but I don’t want him thinking the cops are ‘bad guys’ like my ex tells him) and that people should always do what they say they’re going to do, unless they have a good reason not to (this is for those many times that the ex doesn’t show up on time or at all). I point out how much it hurts people when other’s don’t keep their word. I’m not sure he’s making the connections but as he gets older, I’m sure he will start to ‘see’ all these little lessons being ignored by his father.

Any thoughts?

Quinn,

You really did a great job elucidating that simple act of opening the door, and how it fits with his being disordered. Also, that because of this it makes it very difficult to highlight to other’s what, exactly, is ‘wrong’ with these types. And why we feel so horrible in the aftermath.

Psychological abuse is very underrated in the current cultural climate.

Not to roll in ‘it’ too much, but for anyone reading this, who might be scratching their heads trying to figure out what is happening in their relationship, I will share the following example:

I dated one disordered manboy who, after he came home from traveling for his work (where he was also, unbeknownst to me, having sex with strangers)found out I had gone down the street to a salsa lesson. I had the lesson, danced a few dances, and came home. It was fun. I had been dancing for years, and wanted to learn something new.

He asked me all kinds of questions about my experience, and acted very excited about my having done something new. I didn’t think much of it.

I suggested we learn together. We went out once and tried it on our own, but I told him it was clear we needed some instruction.

Within a week he informed me he was dancing with a woman who was looking for a permanent partner to competition dance with, and that he was seriously considering it.

I was, to say the least, confused, hurt, baffled really.

What I understand now is that he was driven first by envy, and had to mask it by appearing excited about my independence, and about going out solo.

Second, when we tried it on our own, and I said we needed instruction he was driven by rage- from a wound to his profound narcissism. So, he retaliated by excluding me from the activity entirely.

When I attempted to discuss with him that I couldn’t understand why he would choose NOT to do this with me he just talked around in little circles, never really making much sense. Eventually getting around, slyly, to insinuating I wasn’t talented enough.

Of course he didn’t follow through. Danced with the woman (I THINK?!) several times, and then just never brought it up. It was all an act of retaliation. At her and my expense.

When trying to explain this to someone who doesn’t comprehend personality disorders that want to know what the motivation is. They generally feel that our ‘interpretations’ of what happened just don’t ‘add up’.

Why? Because it doesn’t. In Disordered World 2+2= something NOT 4. And people have a very hard time with this screwy math.

I read a phrase the other day that said ‘It is good when we find the place where we don’t look back in anger, or forward in fear. Instead, we look around with awareness’.

Well, we are the one’s around this subject that are learning to look around in awareness. I know for me when anger, fear, despair, and hopelessness were my constant companions I finally woke the heck up.

I am glad you are here writing and healing Quinn. I look forward to your next post.

Slim

I was in the emergency room.I had a breakdown from being terrorized (gaslighted)and felt the only way out was to end my life. He was trying to set me up.(my husband)I was trying to tell the ER Dr. about what was going on…he thought I was just crazy, I am sure. His response was “Why would he want you dead or in prison?What would he GET out of it?” People just don’t get it. What he would have gotten would have gotten would have been ME dead or in prison. He would have “won”. He wanted me totally discredited.I had found out his secret life.I made the mistake of telling people and trying to prove it. When what I should have done was just left.RUn far far away. I didn’t until it was too late. These people are like Salmon somehow knowing to swim upstream . They don’t know each other but they somehow all have the same bizarre behavior patterns.He is an evil to the core man. But so many people think he is just a harmless screw up…happy go lucky. The part about your ex opening the door sent chills thru me. My ex was always very solicitous of my elderly aunt. Helping her to get out of the car, opening doors…quite different from the man who threatened to “pay her a visit” if I didn’t stop telling things about him….

alive65,

Firstly, that ER visit sounds like a nightmare! And I am really glad you are still alive!!!! I got those kinds of questions too…. ‘why would he do that, what would he get out of it?’ It really doesn’t make sense unless you have either been there and done it, or have intimate knowledge of personality disorders.

Hard to explain to those who don’t get it, that it’s about winning. Most people don’t think of it as a win if they destroy someone else. But try explaining that to anyone who is really in the dark on this subject.

A bunch of co-workers, who I tried to confide in, just ended up thinking I was on drugs or something, so I ended up leaving my job because it was too stressful to try and work through the pain without any support there.

I found this was the very best place (LF) to be validated and listened to. Love Fraud really saved my life….Slim

I am currently in divorce proceedings from my extreme narcissistic sociopath husband. My life has become a nightmare from hell. I was also called psycho bitch, mental case and even baker acted here in Florida.(Involuntarily sent to a mental institution). What made it extremely difficult for me was that my soon to be ex husband is Deputy Sheriff. I was fortunate that the psychiatrist on duty recognized right away that I was manipulated and sent there for the wrong reasons and therefore was released right away. My husband tole my 17 year old child to be prepared for me being locked away for a long time because of my so called mental illness. I finally found the courage to file for a divorce following the advise of an aggressive attorney. With his help and my faith in God I will find the strength to fight this evil man. I will come out stronger and better. I know that. I never deserved to be lied to, betrayed and cheated on and then being told I was too fat, too ugly , too boring as a wife. I was told I don’t look the same I did 20 years ago and he needed new narcissistic supply. My child and I were just thrown away like trash. He left one evening and took all the money and moved out. His claim was he had to leave because of my mental status. Was I emotional? Absolutely I was devastated to find out that he was having an affair with a co worker after being married for 20 years. Of course I was to blame for this, as I did not meet his certain expectations any longer. He has no empathy or feelings and emotions. I am finally realizing that I was married to a Sociopath who had no friends and wanted to manipulate everyone around him. Since his departure I am feeling so much better. I am finally free. I don’t have to worry about being labeled mental or crazy any longer. I know I have the fight of my life ahead of me, but I am prepared. I will stand up for myself and my child and will do the best I can. This game is over for him. He can find another victim. 20 years of my life was way too long to waste on an empty soul who only cares about one thing in his life. Himself.

Also I forgot to mention that my husband always told me I would be better of dead. This way he would not have to pay me half of his Army retirement in a divorce. Most people never believe what an evil person he is. In public he portrays himself as a caring, loving husband and father. Behind closed doors he would yell and scream in his Drill Sergeant voice at me and my child. Everything was my fault. Even when an appliance or a vehicle broke, I was to blame. He never once apologized for his outburst. He enjoyed when I was crying uncontrollable, sitting and hiding in a closet with him standing over me and telling me how worthless of a wife I am. I suffered from extreme hypertension and was admitted to the hospitals many times. I am so thankful to have found the courage to put an end to this. I owe it to my child to get this man out of my life. The day I found naked pictures of him on our home computer, which he exchanged with his female coworker (20 years younger than him), I stopped feeling any love for this man. I wanted to give him a second chance, but he kept on lying and betraying. Not only to me but also to his child. Not one single emotion when he told my son a blatant lie. I am now separated for almost 6 months. The first few weeks were difficult and slowly I am gaining strength. My advise to anyone going through something similar is DO NOT CONTACT him, ever. Stay away, ignore his calls, emails and texts. They just want to get a reaction out of you and ignoring them equals defeating them. One thing a Sociopath absolutely dislikes is being ignored. Because they put themselves above God. The only emotions they can show is anger. I have learned this in the past 20 years. I am almost 50 years old but I hope that I will recover from this. I know I did not deserve this and that it was never my fault to be treated like that. No matter how much blame he puts on me, I know that I am in a better place now. No material possession or marital status is worth living in an emotional devastating situation.

Kaya, I too stayed for 28 years!!! I agree… there is not enough money in this world that would make staying with a disordered person worthwhile. I too am over 50 and can attest to the fact that we can heal and grow from our experiences. In fact I now believe that our experiences were put in our life journey so we could learn the big life lessons we needed to learn! Stay strong in your resolve to grow and protect your child…They lie like they breathe….Slimone is right. You are NEVER too old to learn!!!

Kaya48,

We are NEVER too old to awaken and heal. I am SO very sorry for the long nightmare your marriage must certainly have been. And for the divorce you are faced with.

It is always the right time to leave a sociopath, and cut all contact possible. I hope you can feel some genuine pride and accomplishment for having done it!

I also hope you will keep coming to love fraud (or somewhere safe and informative and supportive). I’ve said it a hundred times that learning about personality disorders and finding sites like this one absolutely saved my life.

I found Kathleen Hawk’s articles on the healing process were really inspiring and validating. She is listed as an author on this site. I have been sociopath free going on 6 years now and I still refer to many of her articles, either for myself or for other’s who need support.

I never had to get a divorce from any of the abusers/losers/users I dated, but there are plenty of folks here who did, or are. Plus, looking through the archived articles may give you some suggestions for communication, etc….

Take good care of yourself,
Slim

Kaya48 ”“ welcome to Lovefraud. I am very sorry for your ordeal ”“ and yes, 20 years is a very long time. But now you see what he really is, and you can do what you need to do for yourself and your child. Stay strong. We have many articles here that may help you.

Reading this thread is helping me prepare for divorce proceedings.Spath and I have been separated (though not legally)for 11 monthes.I feel the divorce is necessary to protect me from financial liabilities. Spath hates paying bills in full.He already owes $1,100.

Another reason I feel I need to seek a divorce is because spath has always loved having control.I’m so tired of hearing him refer to me as “his wife” nearly a year after I left him;he never treated me like a wife! I always felt like a bondswoman!

I have been divorced from a sociopath for 6 months. The emotional cost to my children is devastating, and the financial costs to all of us is overwhelming. Throughout the divorce he fought everything, causing my legal fees to escalate–and due to his secret debt and irresponsible behavior we already had enormous debt. To top it off, my attorney (very well-known and competent) had not had experience with an spath before, so it took over a year for her to begin to get the true picture. I had the horrible experience of divorcing a sociopath while also often being at odds with my own attorney.

Since the divorce I have managed to protect my youngest child, who is just 17. (The 2 older have figured their father out, and do not see him.) Here’s the part that is SO typical: My 17-year-old plays football for his high school. My ex used to be perceived as a great, involved father (HA! And I did perpetuate that image, before I knew exactly what he was.) Since the divorce my ex has scammed the school re: paying tuition. He has threatened to pull my son out of school if I don’t comply with some of his demands. He has threatened to get support reduced if I turn him in for the embezzlement and tax fraud I found out about. Well, I did, and he is taking me to court. I also informed parents that I discovered he is a porn addict, and was on sites about TEEN GIRLS. But GUESS WHAT??!! He is at the football games as the STAT MAN, yucking it up with the coaches. And not for my son–who didn’t even know he was there. He was there to be able to be the false persona–“caring Sports Dad”–that he used to project before all was found out.

The naivete of the coaches and some of my school acquaintances hurts and bothers me. But my ex has now been fired by one client for embezzling (he is a serial embezzler) and will likely by indicted for tax fraud. I guess everyone will figure it out then. But in the meantime, he’s going to play it to the end! And, of course, my children and I will suffer financially, and emotionally. I could, of course, go on and on. The last 2 years have been horrifying, but eye-opening. Best of luck to all who are divorcing–or have divorced–a sociopath.

LL Mequon – welcome to Lovefraud. What you described is so typical of sociopathic behavior – it’s all about impression management. Well, if he’s going to be indicted, that will change the impression. I hope it happens.

I began my divorce February of 2008. He would not negotiate , we went to trial, then he appealed it. The appellate court upheld the first judges verdict. Which is great, but now my xspath will not pay up or sign house deeds over. nothing…. His attorney is not answering phone calls. We have filed contempt charges. It is really bad. There are so many things I see in these articles that describe him to the T! His kids do not speak to him – Thank god, they have sense. This has been going on in court and paying attorneys fees for six years. IT is horrible. Legal fees are out of this world. It is very hard to get divorced from a rich psychopath. I feel as if Im drowning sometimes and can not get rid of his filth. I have a great attorney, buy the way. The legal system definately has a role in my divorce.

Thank you so much for the encouraging comments. I am thankful that I found this helpful website. I am prepared for an ugly divorce as he is already claiming that everything is his. No matter how difficult this time will be I am indeed proud of myself for serving him divorce papers. I know they like to be in control and he wanted to be the one filing for divorce first. Since he is a deputy sheriff he decided to file a restraining order for domestic violence against me. For what he was not sure. I guess just to aggravate me. My attorney got this injunction dismissed in a court hearing as it was based on false allegations . It is unbelievable how a person you once loved becomes your number one enemy. And yes most of them are addicted to porn. My husband was definitely a porn addict. Not only I diagnosed him as a narcissistic sociopath . A marriage counselor felt the same way. He did not show any remorse or sorrow for cheating on his wife. Instead he said I should get over it and never mention it again. I also realize bus that they will never change because they think they are perfect. I should have got out of this marriage a long time ago. His only don refuses to talk to him. His father was suppose to set an example and not act like some sex crazy porn addict. Losing his family especially his child is the reality he is facing now. But I was wondering if the sociopath can feel that pain? I am not sure .

kaya48,
I suspect my husband looks at porn.I know he did in the past.I’ve always heard it’s a hard habit to break.He’s never made the changes he “supposeably” made.

When he first started going to craigslist,it was to look at cars and trucks and other such ads.His browsing on the website didn’t bother me,as it meant less demands on my time.But then one day he beckoned me to show me something.He had been on craigslist,so I expected to see a car.I had no idea he had been looking at their personal ads!What he showed me was pics guys had taken of themselves!Yech!I could have thrown up!I turned around and walked away-FAST!

Donna and Quinn,

Thank you both for your replies–and for this website! You can’t know how helpful it has been to me during the past two years. Once I finally figured out what I was dealing with, I consider it somewhat of a miracle that I was able to find such an excellent source of education and support. I will keep on fighting the good fight. Just because I was conned for so many years (and as several of your readers have mentioned about their situations, some of it was due to my own upbringing!) I will not let my ex destroy me or my children. I have found an incredible amount of strength–and I will use it!
Thank you again,

Lisa

Thanks to everyone for your replies. I agree that a true sociopath will not feel the pain of losing his family. He will be angry about losing his image of portraying a so called perfect father and husband. This is very interesting website and I want to learn as much As possible about this personality disorder. My goal in life was always to make sure my son would not become his father. By my husband being in the military and deployed often I accomplished this goal as I was the parent who raised my son. I also noticed that narcissists love to have careers I military of law enforcement where they can abuse their so called “power” on a daily base . I truly hope that he will not throw more obstacles in my way. He also quit paying his sons college tuition. After I filed for divorce my son and I basically do not exist anymore. It’s all about him and how much more hurt and pain he can inflict on us. He by the way moved on with his new girlfriend. I almost feel sorry for her as she will be the new victim. They truly deserve each other.

The whole divorce process has made me very hesitant as a parent.
When the kids get mad at me they tell me they want to go live with their dad. So I think I try too hard to appease them so they won’t get upset.
My ex originally had custody in part because the courts believed that I did not know how to handle the kids because they had meltdowns when they were with me and not with their dad. I was not allowed to bring up in court that in my opinion it was because the kids were scared of their dad, because I had lost the protective order against him and it had already been decided no abuse had happened in the home!
They still do have more meltdowns at my house and I remain scared that the courts will take them away from me again.
I regained custody when my ex had a short period of homelessness. But now he has a job earning 3-4 times what I am earning. While I am a minister, the kids and I qualify for food stamps and medicaid on what I am earning. He showers them with things I cannot even begin to afford when they are with him. Yet often does not allow them to bring the items home with them. Ex. a soccer jersey my son really wanted, that he he now owns, but by definition cannot wear to school since he only sees his dad on the weekends. All I can hope is that through actions like this the kids will eventually see through to who their dad really is.
My kids were in counseling for 2 years, but my ex convinced them that they didn’t need it anymore after the divorce was official (and I was the only one who thought they still needed it. It was simply too hard to continue to coral them to get them there when none of the three of them would go willingly. I really think the youngest in particular could still benefit from it (She saw more of the abuse as it got worse, because she was not yet in school). But my son still holds his emotions in too much and is too eager to please, and my eldest is still very angry at me for ever leaving her dad and forcing her to switch schools.
All I can do is continue to shower my kids with love and a positive example and say lots of prayers.
I worry sometimes that I see sociopath traits at moments in all three of my kids. My son sees no problem in breaking laws (“It is only a crime if you get caught”- straight from his dad’s mouth).
My youngest has occasional outburst where she strikes physically at me and her brother. My eldest seems to believe the world ought to be handed to her on a silver platter with not effort on her part. Yet they all have wonderful traits too: The eldest is very musical and compassionate. The youngest is nurturing and a natural born leader. My son is incredibly intelligent and soft hearted. I nurture those traits as much as I can and again pray.

revjanice,

Your kids have meltdowns at your house because they feel safe with you. I used to work with abused and traumatized children. Believe me, they never acted out unless it was safe for them to do so. (Not that your children were abused, but certainly they are somewhat traumatized.)

I applaud you for seeing the best in your children. Continue to shower them with love, but hold the line on behavior. You don’t need to appease them. They will love and admire you for your strength, even if they criticize you. They are hurt and confused and likely angry, but they will ultimately recognize the parent with the strong core. And it may be good to get them into counseling again–regardless of whether they feel they need it. And if they don’t go, maybe you can go. A Therapist could help you set boundaries for them, and evaluate whether or not their behavior is normal for this situation, or something needing intervention.
I truly feel for you. The damage a sociopath can do when children are involved is devastating. The Spath knows we–and the children–are vulnerable. Please stay strong, and know you have the ability to be a good and strong force in their lives.

revjanice,
All you can do,as you said is to continue to nurture the good traits(and tactfully but determinedly correct the bad) and pray.And look forward to the time when the children grow up and are no longer minors.By that time they will probably see the truth on their own.Plus their lives will be busy and they’ll start going their own directions.But they don’t forget their mother!

I’m glad my girls are already grown.When I talked to the exec at Legal Aid,she congratulated me that there were no children living at home!Reading the posts here from those who still have children living at home,I can understand!

Today,I was going through some boxes that belong to my husband.Something told me to check for anything that might belong to me,as the boxes will be returned to him this weekend.I found pictures of my girls,a picture of my husband and I on our wedding day,one of my daughter’s original birth certificate(I replaced some time ago!)and a few pics of two of my sisters….UH UH,NO WAY JOSEA!Those do not belong to him!!! I scanned the pictures and sent them through email to my girls…told them they deserved some GOOD childhood memories! I knew these pictures would be special to them!

I_survived_The_Bastard

My ex liked to shock people sexually and in how he dressed. He liked to wear women’s clothes… yes I know, I just let him get on with it and didn’t react to it lol. My family still talk about the time he turned up at a family do wearing a kilt with nothing on underneath and deliberately sat so everything was on show lol

I_survived,
What’s the name of that song,I think it’s something like “Who Let The Dogs Loose?”!!!!! When they were through…..he wouldn’t have anything left to show! 🙂

I think when children grow older they will realize the true nature of a person . Until then all you can do is show them strength and provide them with one loving parent. To this day I regret that I did not put an end to this crazy making experience much earlier I know divorce is difficult at any child’s age but I wish I did not subject my son to a lying, cheating and abusive husband and father. Even tough the abuse was not physical it was a nightmare . The day he left his yahoo email account open and I found the naked pictures he was exchanging with a fellow female deputy I felt like my entire marriage was a lie. I do not remember how I found the courage to keep going. He justified his behavior by taking all my self esteem away By telling me how he hated my short hair, that I was boring, overweight and not sexy. He hurt my feelings so badly that I questioned my own self worth . Now I know that every word out of is mouth is worthless. And then of course the porn addiction. Seeing himself naked was his most enjoyable moments. He was so much in love with himself it was disgusting. This we site is giving me do much hope. I truly thought I was the only person who could be played like a fool. Thank you and stay strong. It will get better.

kaya48,
The hardest thing I had to overcome,and forgive myself for,was staying with my husband through my children’s growing years.Though I’ve forgiven myself,because after all,I was fearful of stepping out of the world I already knew;I still wonder how much happier our lives would have been if I’d made a different decision.Perhaps none of us would suffer with depression and anxiety.It makes me sick to my stomach when I think of the sham that our marriage was all those years!We were married Feb 1985.I’m not sure how soon the divorce will be finalized.

kaya48,
Reading about your husband’s “most enjoyable” moments reminded me about how I would frequently find my husband looking in a mirror at himself.I called him narcissic one day…and he actually LOOKED INTO THE MIRROR AND SMILED AND AGREED!He also laid around naked day and night;covering himself only with a sheet,or an afghan if someone visited.Being morbidly obese,he was probably more comfortable that way.But he did have clothes.And he refused to wear pjs.He didn’t care that it made me uncomfortable that he was always naked under the sheet or afghan!

Wow that sounds like my husband. He loved seeing himself naked too and always looked in every mirror he passed. To this day I have to laugh when he told me the naked pictures of him were suppose to be my birthday present. That was the lie he told when I found them on the home computer. He really thought I was an idiot. Well everyone was an idiot in his eyes. I am sure that he believed his own lies. When my father passed away at a young age he showed no compassion at all. His words were” get over it, people die every day .” It’s really disturbing to find out here how’s my more of these evil men exist. It’s scary to even think about dating again.

kaya48,
Wow!What similarities!When my mom died Dec 2010,my husband made all kinds of excuses/reasons as to why we couldn’t make it to the funeral!Not only did his lack of compassion hurt me deeply,but I wasn’t able to grieve properly.It also hurt me that I couldn’t be with my dad,siblings and aunts and friends at this time.I needed them.And they needed me.

Eleven monthes later,a close friend of his died.Now he started making plans to attend this funeral!!! What had changed about our circumstances?!ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!I vented my feelings about the matter…and so did a dear friend of mine!

Early this month,we had a family reunion in the state most of my family lives in.I was able to see my dad and all but one sibling.When the time came for all the picture taking,there was one of my dad and his children.There was a chair next to him where my mother would have set.None of us knew what dad was going to do before the cameras flashed.He called for the big picture of mom to be brought out to be put in that chair!The tears flowed as the cameras flashed.(and they are now as I write this)I could finally receive some closure.

blossom
Are you divorced yet? Did he leave or was it you? I was just wondering. There are so many similarities, it’s unbelievable. I know that my husband had planned his exit strategy . He would make me so upset that I cried and then he would call one of his deputy friends and told him I want to kill myself. What was a crazy lie His deputy friend came to the house and baker acted me (here in Florida anyone can be send to a mental institution of up to 72 hours). While I was there (only 3 hrs because they knew I was manipulated) he left and moved out. The next day he changed all direct deposits and took all money out of our accounts. He then claimed he had no other choice but to leave because I was “mentally ill”. The psychatrist confirmed that there was nothing wrong with me except that I caught him cheating and I was emotional upset. He confirmed that I am an excellent mother and have good steady employment. Thinking back now I know that he was hoping to have me locked away somewhere. I am thankful that his plan did not work as planned . My son saw right through him and was and still is my greatest support. He was very relieved when I filed for the divorce. It’s going to be the battle of my life. I am very grateful for this website thank you for letting me know that I am not the only victim.

No,we’re not divorced yet.I left him after he called me a drama queen when I nearly choked on some rice–that was simply the last straw!I applied with Legal Aid for a divorce.I received a letter from them this past weekend.They may waive the filing fee,but if not,I have to be prepared to pay $161.00 this next month.Hopefully the divorce goes quicker than what I’ve been reading here!

What your husband did to you is exactly what my ex brother-in-law did to my sister!She’s a nurse,and he had her put in a substance abuse place.She decided to make the best of it and had fun getting to know the other people!The guy is a youth group/preacher and author of a book(the name would give him away).

Thank you all for your honest stories relating to this excellent article and topic. It has all hit me right on today as I continue to mourn the loss of my adult daughter to her psychopath father. My advice to all of you with children still at home is to tell them the truth at their level without bashing the other parent. I can see now (too late) that he had a plan and plotted a diligent campaign from the beginningto let me raise them and then take them away from me when they became successful adults.

Beware of him trying to “trauma bond” with your children when he leaves. Trauma bonding is hard to break. My children’s psychopath father played an extermely emotional scene with tears and grief way beyond their comprehension after he came in with a moving van and moved in with his new girlfriend. That is correct, he burgled our home, left it in shambles, violated our security, moved in with another woman and her child and then came back to play victim and create a trauma bond with his children. That trauma bond has lasted forever because I was in shock and did not know to throw him out. I did not understand what it was and that I needed to get therapy for the children. I still believed in the goodness of all people. Beware of ideas he plants in their heads like “I want to live with my daddy” or “We never get along with you.” They are not normal childish remarks, they are mind control.

It may be too late for me and my children. I pray someday they will realize what he is but they are deeply indoctrinated and brainwashed. And I helped do it by thinking that any father was better than none and that they would see it on thier own when they grew up. I was wrong, all I did was protect the perpetrator and give him ample opportunity to poison their minds against me. I did not even know what a psychopath was back then and if I had I would have been thrown into an insane asylum for accusing him.

Be grateful for this site and others like it and be thankful there are people who understand even if they are few and far between. Read, educate yourself, find support. It is there now if you seek it out. We who have been there know to our core that evil exists and we have been exposed to it at its worst. Even at this late date for me, I am so thankful to be validated here and see those of you who are able to benefit from all of our experience so that you may save yourselves and your children.

Bless you all and know that I stand behind your fight and courage and I have confidence in you winning over the psychopath in your life.

Delores, I am so sorry for the situation you are in. I do believe that at some point your children will see things for what they are. As we know, sociopaths cannot behave without total self-interest. They are incapable of love. Your children’s father will not treat them any better than he treats anyone else. At some point they will assert their own wants, needs and personality. He won’t like that, and they will begin to see him for what he is.

I am also grateful to you for pointing up one of the huge problems in divorcing a sociopath. I had to constantly fight (and sometimes still do!) people who think I should have “sheltered” my children from the realities of their father, or “just let them have a relationship”. Of course, I did plenty of that when they were young, and we were still married! But once I figured out what he was, I knew I had to make sure my children understood he was a dangerous person. (In my case emotionally and psychologically dangerous, not violent.)That is parenting–to do what is best for your children. I knew I was doing them a disservice if I was not honest with them. The fallout can be rough. For one thing, my ex became even more combative. He was outraged that I was telling my children (and others who would listen) the truth, and he could no longer control the flow of information. Many of my “friends” and acquaintances thought I was simply badmouthing him, or it was a “he said, she said” situation. As with all of the spaths in these posts, he put his mask on and fooled a lot of people. I only had one (out of three)child who was under 18 at the time of the divorce, and he was 15 when I filed. Still, my ex fought me tooth and nail, at first. Partially because he didn’t want to pay child support (which I would have willingly given up to have my son) and partially do be vindictive and in control. My own attorney wanted me to settle at some point re: custody. When I tried to explain that I would not let my young, impressionable son spend any significant amount of time with a sociopathic porn addict and criminal, she said “Well, he must not be all that bad–you married him!” (I went ballistic at that point, and gave her a crash course in what a sociopath can do to a child’s development. Not to mention to me–her client!) Luckily I had discovered evidence that he had embezzled from his clients and committed tax fraud (HA!), so I had some leverage.

My son is just turning 17 now and–so far–things are working out. But I had to tiptoe around the court and technically agree to SOME visitation (which I have not had to follow through on, see above “leverage”) because the courts do NOT understand sociopaths! They think it’s a situation where we may have “grown apart”, or he fell in love with someone else, and I would want to withhold my child from him as “punishment”.

I do wish I would have known all of this sooner, of course. But I am definitely older, wiser and stronger at this point in my life. So maybe in a better position to handle it? No matter what, I am very thankful for the knowledge and support of this community. It has made this difficult path slightly easier.

I can relate to every thing in this article. My ex-wife (who filed for divorce) is the extreme in “entitlement” and hoards anything even though she will never have any use for it, is completely consumed in the mask of her deception.She will spend spend weeks laying the snare for even an acquaintance. The reason I’ve concluded is that it builds on her delusional image which allows her to circumvent any conscience she might have had.
Thanks for sharing, I can fully relate to everything you stated.
Roy

Around 5 monthes ago,Donna posted “An Open Letter To Lawyers” on Lovefraud,that we can use to help them understand what to expect from sociopaths in court,and how they have affected us.I’m going to print that out as well as get back in touch with the domestic violence counselor who counseled me so that I can hopefully feel prepared for this divorce!

I sent that letter to my attorney–she had no idea about sociopaths before she had me as a client. We had some rough times initially–because of her lack of understanding. But she was smart, and eventually came to understand it somewhat. She definitely was at least receptive to learning! So it is worth it to educate attorneys, counselors, etc. Their knowledge is our power!

Thanks for the encouragement and advice about the kids.
I remain in counseling myself. The trauma of the way the legal system dealt with my case opened an old can of worms with me that I KNOW I need the extra help right now.

My youngest remains my largest concern and I know she is going to need some counseling again. Her last session was about 2 months ago and I am enjoying a bit of respite of not fighting to her to get to the appointments. Her tantrums used to be almost daily and very violent (such that the only recourse was to bear hug her to keep everyone and everything safe). Her full fledged tantrums are now down to about every 6 weeks or so and even then not as violent. Through my counselor i have been plugged into the “Nurtured Heart” approach of child rearing that is really working with her. Part of my carrot to her is that if she has more than one bout in a month she will have to go back to counseling.

I can relate to so much of this stream of conversation. MY ex thought of nothing but sex and much of the abuse I endured centered around it. He demanded we have sex the day my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and the day my grandpa who basically raised me died. In his words, “the best way to deal with the thought of death was celebrate life.” When I got home from wrecking my car on Christmas Eve we had to have sex. Such that I did not go to the doctor for over a week, because despite having whiplash I would not have been able to explain the bruises on my neck. He did nothing to help deal with getting the car fixed or dealing with the insurance. Instead he left with the kids for a week long vacation without me, the day after: Christmas Day! I was finally brave enough to leave a month after this incident. And what made me madder than anything was that I was not allowed to be present for my two younger children’s first trip to the ocean.

He abhorred photos though. In 18 years of marriage we had 3 family portraits made. And in almost every candid shot he is trying to hide. I never understood this, because he was very into theater (acting, directing, and as chair of the board of a community theater). He was the lead in 5 plays while we were a couple. One play he was on stage for virtually the whole time in his underwear. And this was when he was the new minister in a small town, he called it “evangelism in his underwear”.

As can be read between the lines, is that even while I am again serving as a pastor myself my faith is having to be healed as well.
Some of the stuff my ex demanded of me can only be describe as sacrilege and I allowed it to go on for years. I have lots of forgiveness to do and a lot of it is towards myself. And the fact that my ex was a former minister makes me scared to even consider dating again, because if even ministers aren’t safe who is?

I was wondering how to get this open letter to attorneys? I would like to give it to my council. I did chose the most aggressive one as dealing with my husband will not be an easy divorce.There are so many similarities in hese stories here. My husband was obsessed with sex also . The day I came home from the hospital because of heart issues he demanded sex. The only time he did not demand it was when he was sexually involved with his co worker. Reading all these stories here and how people found the courage and the strength to leave the marriages really gives me a lot of hope for my future. I am in therapy with a family counselor and will continue in my faith and my church. I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive this man for what he has done to me and his son. As a Christian I am to forgive but I am not sure if I can.

kaya48,
I plan to print the letter out and give it to them personally.If you do not have a printer,you can go to the library and print a copy;or have a friend do it for you.The letter can be found by going through the archives at the bottom of the page.Scroll through to April 2013.

Forgiving does not mean condoning the wrong.You’re not forgiving the person in the sense God does.You forgive in the sense that you let go of hurt and resentment,you are able to feel a certain sense of peace in your heart and mind again.You are able to move forward.You cannot do this this as long as you’re angry and obsessed with the person who has hurt you.I hope the way I explained this has helped.It was a struggle for me at first.But then,I realized that God is the judge of ALL people,and wanting a good relationship with Him and peace,I was able to forgive my husband ….without condoning the wrong.

kaya48,

It has helped me to depersonalize my ex. (And he has made that pretty easy, since he is not a fully realized person anyway!) I just picture him as a shark–who just has a shark brain. The shark was born with a shark brain. He is never going to be a porpoise, who appears to have some ability to feel, and connect. A shark just moves forward and eats. Period.

That said, we need to protect ourselves from sharks. We need to avoid them. And if it comes down to them or us, we need to do our best to survive, whatever the cost to the shark.

Hope this helps. I will be praying for you. The divorce will be very difficult, but it sounds as if you made the right choice, in having an aggressive attorney. Tell him to be prepared to go shark fishing!

Lisa

Thanks so much for the information. I do have a printer and will get the letter to my attorney. I am thankful that my husband being a deputy does not matter at all to my attorney. I understand about what you saying about forgiving. Mostly I want to forgive myself for letting him abuse me for so long. Yes you are so right about the shark thing. Funny that I live in South Florida where there are plenty of sharks. It will take time for me to get stronger. All just happened less than 6 months ago. So eventually I want this evil monster erased from my thoughts. I can tell I am making progress just by cutting off all contact with him since 2 months. And I don’t constantly think about it anylonger. Every thought of him would be a victory for him. Thanks again for your great support.

I was also wondering if this personality disorder can be continued into the next generation? I know my husbands father behaved exactly the same way. He abused the entire family and then left the mother for a younger woman after 25 years of marriage. My biggest worry is that my only son will do the same at one point. There are no signs but this still is a huge concern for me.

Kaya-

You might want to read Dr. Liane Leedom’s book, Just Like His Father. It will answer your questions about the genetic re-disposition and provide you with ways to counteract the problem.

JmS

Hi Kaya,

Well, the short answer is yes. There is definitely a genetic component to psychopathology. And a child’s environment (living with and modeling a sociopath’s behavior) can affect them, also. But human beings are evolved and complex. A warm, nurturing parent can do much to ameliorate the effects of biology. Showing a child love, role-modeling good behavior and setting limits on a child’s behavior can help. And, of course, just as not every child of a blue-eyed parent has blue eyes, it is not a foregone conclusion that a child of a sociopath has inherited the gene. If there are no overt signs of anti-social behavior in your child, he is likely not a budding sociopath. He may still have some trauma from being exposed to one, and that may result in some problematic behaviors, but he will be receptive to help. A true sociopath cannot and will not change.

In my case, my ex’s parents had problems, but were not sociopathic. However, I believe my ex’s maternal grandfather was. None of my three children display anti-social behavior, but they all have had issues that I have needed to help them with–and still do! And they are 27, 21 and 17.

Here’s something hopeful: I noticed a huge change with all three of my children, once I realized what my ex was and stopped trying to make him look good in their eyes. I wasn’t aggressive about it, but I didn’t pull any punches. I was matter-of-fact about his behavior (porn, embezzlement, tax fraud) and I know a lot of the pieces of the puzzle fell into place for them. Children know there is tension between parents, and that there are problems. When I told them the truth, they never questioned me, thought I was lying or exaggerating, etc. They had known on some level that there was a problem. They were being gas-lighted right along with me. Just as I was all of a sudden able to see clearly what had always been in front of me, they were able to, also. Yes, it’s painful, but I have found the old saying to be very accurate: the truth (however painful) shall set you free.

Please take care. I wish you and your son the best.

Lisa

Thanks for your honest answers. I believe that my son has not picked up any of my husband traits at all. Since he is now 18 he was aware of his porn addiction and narcissism. I never tried to hide any of the abuse. What I find interesting is that his father keeps reaching out to him and writes letters stating that he does not want to be shut out of his sons life. At the same time he keeps blaming me for his leaving the family. He never mentions the affair with the coworker or the “crazy making ” treatment he inflicted. At this point my son wants nothing to do with him whatsoever. Why do sociopaths justify their actions by blaming others? Is it beneficial for my son to follow the do not contact rule? We are in the midst of the divorce. Since my son is 18 there are no child custody issues. Thanks again for the great support.

Kaya48,

Of course you know your son–and the situation–better than anyone. But my opinion is, if your son doesn’t want to contact his father, it’s likely for the best. I wouldn’t encourage any visitation, if he doesn’t want it. A sociopath is dangerous in so many ways. I just don’t believe a true sociopath has anything to offer his children–at least nothing positive!

My two older children have nothing to do with my ex. My 17-year-old does occasionally see his father, but I have been clear and truthful about my ex’s behavior–no exaggerations, just information that is documented. (Bad enough!) Of course it is heartbreaking to realize that I have failed my children at something that was so important to me: providing them with two good parents and a wonderful home life. But I can’t go back in time–of course, if I had the knowledge I now have, I would NEVER have spoken to him, let alone married him!

It is hard for me to let go of the ideal sometimes, and face the fact that my children essentially do not have a father. But that is a fact, and I try to help them accept it and deal with it as best we can. To coin a phrase, no one ever said it was going to be easy. Due to a variety of circumstances my children and I were not able to have the ideal family life. But we will clean up the mess as best we can, and try to make something positive out of it.

LL Mequon,
thank you. I appreciate your comments so much. Today we received a letter in the mail addressed to my son. In the letter my soon to be ex husband states that he wants a relationship with his son. On the same page he claims that he was so unhappy in his marriage, that I was a bad person, that I caused his decision to leave the family, that I my behavior was unacceptable. Still he is trying to manipulate my son to believe that he is all innocent. It made me sick to my stomach to read these lies. My son sees the truth, that his father is a true Sociopath who cannot love anyone besides himself. I know it will not be easy to get him out of our lives. I owe it to my child to finally put an end to this game. I cannot wait till this divorce is finalized. I am at a point where I do not care about material items, like our house, our dreams, our future. I care about my sanity and the fact that I found the strength to show my son “who is in charge”. No more hiding in a closet crying, no more being told “i am crazy”, no more ” I am a worthless wife”, no more “you are a dumb ass kid”. It still brings up tears when I think about the abuse he inflicted on my precious, smart son. My son wanted so much to be the son my husband had hoped for. A high school football star, not a kind, academic smart child. But we will survive and at the end my husband will be the one who is suffering the most. Thanks again for all this support. I thank God for finding this website.

Kaya,

I can relate so well to your situation. My ex is a porn addict, an embezzler and a tax evader–all of which I have proof of. But he was trying to contact my daughter, saying she needed to hear “his side” of it! My daughter and I were both pretty curious to hear what that would be, but she doesn’t want to have any contact with him at all, so though temptation was great, she let it go. He sent my older son to college last year without telling him he hadn’t–and wasn’t going to–pay his tuition. But his father is now angry with HIM because my son won’t see him! He can’t figure out why–in my ex’s mind I am the one who caused this. Before that my son did occasionally speak to him, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt. But now that he gets him, he has severed contact.

My youngest is still a concern. My ex was always trying to make him into a “mini-me”. They physically do share some characteristics, and have had the same interests in the past (mainly sports, music and TV! My ex loves teenager stuff–ha!). I have done everything I can to limit my son’s interaction with him, and I don’t lose a moment’s sleep. But my son does want some interaction with him–he desperately wants the father he thought he had. It is heartbreaking–and scary. I have to walk a line between being honest about who his father is and not causing any additional stress for my son. Very difficult!

Here’s an example of classic spath: I reported my ex for embezzlement to one of his clients–whom he had gotten THROUGH ME. She was a woman I used to work with, and once I found out about the embezzlement I felt so guilty that I had unwittingly put her in his path! So I waited until the divorce was final (because, of course, he was prolonging it excessively)and recently told her. She fired him (about a $20,000 a year client) and is making him pay back the money I have evidence of that he stole, about another $20,000. (And I believe that is only a drop in the bucket!) But guess what?? Now he is taking me to court to have child support reduced! He is actually going to go in front of a judge and complain that he shouldn’t have to pay so much because I told on him about stealing! So my ex is trying to reduce my son’s support because he is a criminal, but last night at my son’s football game he was pretending to be SPORTS DAD, working the scoreboard and yucking it up in the booth with the coaches. Unbelievable!

My poor son is so confused. And he is actually kind of mad at me for reporting his dad–says it wasn’t my business. That is the hardest part. I just keep trying to give my son the picture, without getting too emotional about it. It is difficult, though, believe me.

So I totally understand what you’ve been going through. I believe you are so lucky to have a smart, insightful son who knows what his father is–and can protect himself. Yes, it’s a loss. But really, we never had a husband, and our children never had a father. It was all smoke and mirrors. We lost the illusion, but we have gained a real life.

Take care and my best to both of you.

LL Mequon,
It is unbelievable how many similarities exist between my husband and yours. He also keeps money that he “received by mistake”. Because he is entitled to.
Thank you for your understanding what I am going through but you are right about having a smart, insightful son. He says the entire father thing was a lie. You are right we never had a “real” husband, a “real” father for our children. My son said the same thing, it was an illusion. To other people my husband pretended to be wonderful and caring and sadly it was a mask that he took of the minute he stepped into his home. To us he was able to be himself, an abuser. Not so much the first years after I met him. I was in awe that this good looking, ambitious, highly recognized in the Military, man was interested in me. Slowly over the years did I recognize that it was a facade. To this day I remember a young soldier asking him how to get promoted fast. My husbands answer was “just manipulate everyone around you so they think they are worthless and whatever goes wrong is their fault.” This was shortly after we were married. Then the abuse started. After a while I truly though it is all my fault. I was so brainwashed by him and lived on egg shells most of my marriage. I was so relieved and happy when the Military sent him on deployments away from us. This should have opened my eyes and told me “this is not normal”. Only after he discarded me did I realize that we were just extensions of him. Not a real family.
Once this divorce is over I will be at a much healthier point in my life. I have a lot of support from friends, church and neighbors who know the truth about him. After I was baker acted and put in court on domestic violence allegations (which he all fabricated to make me look bad in the divorce) they do believe now what an evil person he truly is.
I hope that one day he will wake up and see the chaos that he created and stop blaming others. This day will probably never exist but I still hope for it.
Take care also and I will keep posting how it feels battling my worst enemy in divorce court.

kaya48, I admire your attitude that the material things are less important than your peace of mind. I have watched so many people (not just here, but also friends of mine) prolong relationships with sociopaths because of money they are owed, a house, a car, etc….they are waiting for spaths to sign off on titles, bring back personal possessions, etc. They are constantly trying to figure out how to outspath the spath or stay one step ahead. For the people I’ve observed, in EVERY case, prolonging the relationship caused worsening stress and stress-related health issues. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. It can also be empowering if you win. I’m just saying there is a price. IMO, every interaction with a sociopath is a fight for your life. It’s like drinking poison. You can live without some material things. But you can’t live with poison accumulating in your system. It will eventually kill you. If you are lucky enough to get the car, the house, or whatever the possessions are, that’s a victory. But afterward, you will still have to detox. There were times in my life when I had to deal with some very toxic people in order to get ahead financially. Same deal. I became financially empowered, but there was a price.

I recall one person I spoke with on the phone whose ex husband was a very nasty spath. She was embroiled in a long, drawn-out situation with him, waiting for him to sign off on a house. It took years, in which time she suffered many health issues. There was so much stress in her voice that I became physically ill just talking on the phone with her. It hit me in the stomach, which is where toxic people usually affect me. I don’t know if she even realized how the stress was affecting her. Once you have a little taste of peace, you start to realize the price is too high to go back.

Just something to think about when you’re trying to decide whether to fight or cut your losses. Granted, there is also a lot of stress in poverty. But if you can let go of the anger over what you’ve lost, personally, my preference would always be to rebuild from the ashes than to prolong a relationship with a spath to try and get back what he or she took from you. Look at Tina Turner. She gave Ike everything and walked away only with her name.

Stargazer,
I’m really impressed with your posts lately! You do have alot of helpful advice to share! 🙂 You are so right;inner peace and health is more important than material things!

I was just wondering about something though,and I don’t have anyone I can ask about it during the weekend.I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I’m still responsible for debt incurred while my husband and I were still together.I CAN’T HARDLY AFFORD TO GET THROUGH THE MONTH,MUCH LESS PAY HALF HIS DEBTS OFF!And it feels like I’m still being punished;abused if I’m held responsible for that debt.Many of our arguments were over the fact that he wouldn’t pay bills in full,just so he could have money in his wallet(while I had none in mine;not even coins!)I finally told him I would be responsible for the rent;he had to pay electric and cable.Still he wasn’t paying bills in full or on time.But atleast I felt a measure of safety in that we had shelter.But with his rages,I worried about eviction(and that did happen after I left him).

I want this divorce,but he’ll be getting away with having his bills paid in half unless there is some way I can get help.

Blossom, if the two of you were married when the debt was incurred, I don’t know if you can get out of it. You may be legally responsible. It is totally unfair, but it is your tuition in the school of hard knocks. I would call the creditors and see if they will work with you. If not, you can try a consumer credit agency or worst case scenario, file bankruptcy. It totally sucks, but you may have to just absorb the loss and move on. It helps to look at the situation from a different angle to do this. For example, you could tell yourself that you accept responsibility for getting into the situation and for letting it go on so long. By accepting responsibility, you are not letting him off the hook. You are just moving on without wasting your energy on the anger and injustice. Holding onto anger and injustice is what I see as the biggest impediment to healing for many people. If you can get past this, you are well on your way.

I totally agree that we are, or were, married to the same guy. I don’t live in a community property state but almost the same equitable distribution state. Now, I am lucky that this state is still awarding spousal support or alimony in long term marriages. My attorney told me that I should treat the divorce as a business deal with a bad partner. For me it is all about money now. I am trying my best to put all emotions aside for this divorce and get the highest amount of spousal support out of it. Of course my evil spouse is already withholding funds. My advise is to hire a zealous attorney. I was impressed with my attorney how he put my husband into his place at the court hearing for the injunction. I told my attorney this was one of the best days in my life. Finally someone who my husband could not fool or devalue. During that court hearing I knew I found the divorce attorney who will fight for my rights
I will keep posting how my husband will try to destroy during this divorce. He can definetely try but I already won this case by filing from divorce.
I don’t know if there is any revenge for a sociopath? In my mind the greatest revenge and defeating them is ignoring them totally. Like they don’t even exist. I know that’s impossible to do when you have to share custody of minor children. I truly enjoy now cutting of all contact and pretend they do not exist.

Kaya, you are SO lucky to have an attorney that gets your spath! I spent months and months trying to educate my attorney. She came from a point of view (which I wish I would have realized earlier) of being fair and respectful of all parties. In a “normal” divorce this would be great. But with a sociopath you know he took that as weakness. Thank goodness she was extremely smart–she was the #1 Divorce attorney in my state 2 years in a row. Eventually things worked out as well as they possibly could–meaning, I am in a pretty bad position, but could be in a much worse position. I did get spousal support, but because of my ex’s crimes, it is not likely I’ll actually end up getting much–at some point he may lose more clients. (Though, come to think of it, I have told so many people and nothing seems to come of it. He is still playing tennis at the club I believe he stole from!)

As for revenge, I’m not sure. To a certain extent I am getting revenge because I was lucky enough to discover my ex’s criminal activities and tax fraud. But, as I said, despite that he seems to be going along with his life, playing tennis, working the score board at my son’s school, etc. I think he would probably be thankful if I just ignored him! I am sure he will move on to a more naive victim at some point in the future, if he doesn’t get incarcerated for any of his crimes.

It is amazing how much damage these guys can do. They are like machines that destroy everything in their path, and just keep going. Well, I will do what I can to throw a monkey wrench into the machine! 🙂

I will pay something each month if necessary towards these bills,but first,I will consult with my attorney,as well as do alot of praying!I personally am not in debt,it’s just that once bills are paid,groceries bought(I only get $31 in food stamps,so I use mostly cash)and wash laundry,funds are exhausted!No money for fun or shopping trips!Because I chose to go see my family who I hadn’t seen in 7 yrs(thanks to spath),when I got home,I had nothing left except the food stamps(and that was slim pickins for 3 wks!)But I agree that my health and peace are the most important things!And I appreciate the important reminders about remaining NC even during the divorce.Thankfully my children are grown!

Well,Legal Aid called me early today.I now have my appt with them.I imagine I will do my own paperwork,but they will be there for consulting.

I’ve also gotten back in contact with my counselor.Oh that felt good!I felt like I was rambling,as I was feeling emotional-oh well!

I think my lawyer was a sociopath as well or incredibly inept. I have had three other lawyers, and several friends, tell me I need to report him to our states supreme court for unethical behavior. And the list is a mile long of what he either did that was outright unethical, paper work that was misfiled or simply never filed but I was charged for etc. In order to keep him I had to keep asking people for more money.

After a pretrial hearing, while I was in the courthouse, I was told by my lawyer that once I moved into an apartment I would get the kids 51% of the time. He told me that he, my ex’s lawyer, the guardian ad litum and the magistrate had agreed on this. A letter stating as much was mailed to a religious body who were helping pay the deposit. My lawyer never filed the motion. Several months later when I asked to see it, because he kept insisting he had filed it even though it never showed up on the online docket. It took him a couple of days to find the document and when I was given a copy it had not court stamp on it like all the other documents I had been given. A few weeks later I received an email from my ex stating,the whole thing was “a legal fiction created so I could get housing.” A chilling but accurate interpretation of what had transpired.

When a 90+ year old cousin of my grandma gave me a huge chunk of money to help pay my legal bills, my lawyer kept asking me to go back to her again. And for every bill since then her name has been on the bill for paying that sum. (When I did actually ask her again, she shot me a letter that was very anti-lawyers to say the least. I love how forthright some older folks can be). Even though other friends and family gave money that was also paid directly to my lawyer their names are not on the bills.

My lawyer demanded another $1000 with less than 24 hours before the final hearing or he said he wouldn’t represent me. Even though at that time I was in the black by more than $300. Then the night of the final hearing he tried to get me to sign a letter that was not on letter head, had no amount of money owed, or an end date of payment saying I would pay him $250 a month. I guess I was to pay him this amount until I died. I still have the letter. My lawyer had drug the final hearing into a second day by subpeoning 13 witnesses for me (over my protests that the list I had given him was ideas and I had not intended for him to subpeona them all). The long parade of witness obviously angered the magistrate. I had no choice but to sign a revised version of this letter so he would represent me the second day. And my lawyer had never talked to most of these witnesses, so there testimony was useless, because he had no idea why they were even there.
At the trial where I ended up getting custody he did nothing in my favor, even walking out of the court room after the magistrates opening statement saying he had to go to a trial in another building. He only came back about two hours later when the magistrate tracked him down and apparently reemed him for his behavior!
If my husband had not ended up homeless and by a miracle I had custody returned my lawyer would have left me without custody of my kids, owing my ex for his half of my car, virtually no property from the house, and having paid the entire back taxes from 2007 that I had not known we had not paid until after i left. It was paid by my tax returns over the next two years. I didn’t even get any clothes from the house until 4 months after I left and no other personal effects until 10 months after I left. I still have virtually no photos of the kids, my clergy robes and other important stuff and know I never will even though the divorce decree states I was to get these things. My ex also kept my old journals and stuff, which is very creepy and I wish I had never kept them.

My lawyer filed three times to get off the case, because by the end I owed him a lot of money. He filed twice even after the magistrate said he was not allowed off the case. When a new magistrate took over at one point he was released, until about a month later the new person caught the mistake he had made and my lawyer was reinstated.

He misfiled the final divorce document in October 2012 and when the judge had not signed it more than three months later I called the domestic violence shelter where I had stayed for advice. My legal advocate contacted the court and I then found out it had not been filed properly and contacted my lawyer to please refile it. 5 days after it was refiled it was signed. This despite the fact that I asked to see the document prior to him filing it. I pointed out glaring mistakes, and my lawyer emailed me a corrected version. I still have both versions with dates from the emails attached. Big surprise my lawyer filed the original version with the glaring mistakes.

Even though in Sept 2012 my ex filed court documents claiming to be earning 150% more than child support was set at I am still trying on my own to get the child support payments amended to reflect this fact. Even though my lawyer was in place still until February 2013, he refused to help me with this. My ex did not have to pay any child support until the divorce was finalized in February 2013 with no back payments at all, and I have had custody of the kids since April 2012. I was finally brave enough to file a document in court to amend child support in August, but so far the magistrate has done nothing with what I filed. I am guessing I filed something wrong and the ladies at the court house say they cannot help me know what it is.

And what i have listed is just the tip of the iceberg.

Starting the summer of 2011 I tried to get another lawyer. I must have made 200 phone calls to different places over the next 2 1/2 years. I could not get one: the case was too far along, too complicate, I lived in the wrong county, the case was in the wrong county, they did not handle divorce,domestic violence, civil cases. They could not take my case while I had an attorney of record. They did not take pro bono cases, they had already done their pro bono cases for the year. Legal aid said they couldn’t help me, because the case started with them and once I got a job I did not qualify anymore (this despite the fact that the kids and I qualify for a small amount of food stamps and medicaid, even with the current child support). I even got they were going out of business. The few people willing to take the case wanted like $10,000 up front and I do not have that kind of money. So I was stuck with my lawyer. I feel like my husband abused me and so did the whole legal system after I was finally brave enough to leave, but in the end I have custody of my kids!

I pulled all the paper work together to do turn my lawyer in months ago, but have not gotten up the nerve to mail it in. I have religiously been paying him $250 every month. He has been paid around $20,000 and I still owe almost $6000. Aside from my divorce I have never had to deal with the legal system and it was a horrible experience, so I am scared to start another case. I have also always looked down slightly on those who sue others as being petty, etc., but i know I need to do this to be able to move on myself and to protect others from this boob.

OMG, revjanice–I feel for you. The lawyers make it even more difficult! Your attorney does sound unethical. I hope you get some satisfaction. More often the spath’s attorney is unethical–they have the uncanny ability to find someone just like them! It was certainly the case in my divorce. This is just another of the many things thrown at you when you try to extricate yourself from an spath. Ugh.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Trust me my ex’s lawyer was a scoundrel and the guardian ad litum was tight with him and obviously hated my lawyer. My friends who were witnesses left saying things like they felt like they had been violated, that they had never had there credentials challenged like they had here. For example one friend who happened to be a chaplain in the same health system as me, not the same hospital, was quized up and down about me being fired (I had quit after I left and found a full time job. I was not fired. I just had to have a full time job once I left my ex in order to afford housing,etc). She was asked about my performance which she couldn’t comment on since we never worked together and she wasn’t my boss. And then they started in on her qualifications as a chaplain and how could she be one. She is Catholic and my ex’s lawyer thought that meant she couldn’t be a priest and therefore not a chaplain. I had put her on the witness list because she had seen me interact with my kids and she had witnessed one of my ex’s outbursts. It was a fluke we worked for the same health system, because I knew her through some schooling we had both received.

Every hearing I left feeling like I was a criminal, an unfit mother and totally crazy. Because that is how my Ex’s lawyer portrayed me and I feel like my lawyer did very little to refute. And my ex was never once challenged about his parenting skills, or job performance (even though he had been fired three times in our marriage). And I was told once i lost the protective order it was not permissible to bring up allegations of new abuse or child abuse in the courts.

revjanice,
I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been through in order to get away from the sociopath;so unfair!!! It used to be that lawyers worked to see that justice is done.Nowadays,it’s more about MONEY.
My brother ran into the same kind of obstacles(seemingly inept lawyer;it was a different kind of case)It went on for atleast 3 yrs and he actually went through as many lawyers I think.

It’s terrible that the ‘justice system’ can make a person feel like a criminal…while the real criminals are swarming the streets and causing so much harm!

Photo albums mean so much;I never had time to keep journals-although I do have my mother’s and my own notes taken at religious conventions.Those things are so special!So I can imagine how you feel! Before returning my husband’s things that were stored here,I went through the photo albums,taking out any pictures I wanted for myself or that I wanted to give to the girls.

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