By January 22, 2014 38 Comments Read More →

Divorcing A Sociopath: Getting Away, Staying Away

quinn pierce blog by Quinn Pierce

At the heart of every sociopath is insecurity.  These individuals crave adoration, praise, and power above all other emotional needs.  Decisions are not based on weighing pros and cons, an internal moral compass, or even  possible consequences.

Instead, a sociopath will usually make decisions for one of three reasons: putting themselves in a favorable light to be admired by others, hurting someone who is no longer an ally, or personal gain.  Of course, their most coveted decisions are those that result in a combination of two or more of these outcomes.

Hiding the Truth

During my marriage, I enabled this process by making excuses for my husband,  or pretending he was a better person than he was when talking to family and friends.  Maybe it was my own ego not wanting to admit my life was crumbling on a faulty foundation, or maybe it was an attempt to preserve my family, but my behavior only made my separation more difficult when I tried to reach out for support.  I was not nearly as good at PR work as my husband at the time.

The Smear Campaign

I have to admit, I’m glad social media was not as common then as it is now.  My ex-husband was forced to create his smear campaigns against me by word-of-mouth, which meant having to reach out to people on the phone or face-to-face.  I think it must have been exhausting compared to the user-friendly outlets we have today.  He even went around to all the neighbors where we lived to tell them his version of events and try to gain sympathy at being ‘kicked out’ of his home by his family.

I’m sure he failed to mention that he told me I would never get the house, and if I wanted to separate, I would have to move out without the children.  Of course, his position changed once he saw that I was willing to move out, but with the children, and I would request a temporary restraining order, if needed.  When I started asking about apartments to rent, people started to take notice.  All of a sudden, my ex realized I was the one getting sympathy, while he looked like a cold and callous villain.

Tantrums and Other Attempts at Control

Almost instantly, his changed his position.  Like a spoiled child who wasn’t getting his way, he threw a tantrum, screaming and crying that I would embarrass him by looking for  place to rent with the boys, and how dare I try to take the boys out of their home, what kind of a man did I think he was? (I don’t think he really wanted me to answer that),  of course he would be the one to move out…

Of course, I thought, now that you found a way for this to benefit you.

He relished the role of the wounded husband, cast aside and separated from his children without any explanation.  Every day, I had calls from friends, or was stopped by someone I knew in the store asking me what happened between me and my husband; I can’t imagine what my life would have been like in the world of Facebook and twitter.  I have read so many instances of men and women being harassed, smeared, and stalked by their vengeful exes online, and it always leaves me feeling chilled.

The Lure of Social Media

Even though I was not subjected to these tactics, I find that social media can play a more subtle, yet just as harmful role in our recovery from the sociopath.  Anyone who has left a sociopath probably experienced the sense of paranoia that follows.  The ‘what is he/she planning?’ that keeps us anxiety-ridden and off balance.  It might seem reasonable that keeping tabs on an ex to make sure we are aware of what they are doing would help to ease some of this worry, but it doesn’t.

Actually, it has the opposite effect.  It can even become an addiction that keeps you tied to the other person and not moving forward in a positive way, and that is just one of the negative effects of the behavior.

There are certain truths about my ex-husband that cause looking him up online to be unhelpful in any way.  For one, he will never give away any hint of what he may be planning to do in order to cause chaos in my life.  So, by his very nature, he will carefully monitor himself when posting online to ensure he would neither incriminate himself, nor give himself away if planning a surprise attack.  That means, searching his Facebook page or other social outlets serve no preventative purpose.

Methods and Motives

Also, my ex-husband, like most sociopaths, tries his very best to make provoking and antagonizing statements hoping to get me to engage in his drama-filled life.  Essentially, his words will always play on emotional responses and finding ways to incite reactions.  He will lie, deceive, make false claims and accusations, all with the hopes of annoying, enraging, or engaging me in some way.  He wants to think that I am interested in his life, because that means he still has control over mine. Once I accepted this, it was much easier to disengage.

At first, I would tell myself I was only interested in making sure he wasn’t doing anything dangerous or harmful when my children were with him.  But, inevitably, I would see something unrelated that bothered me- for example, comments and shared photos by my family members.  I confronted these family members about remaining in contact, but in the end, nothing changed.  It was another waste of time and energy on my part for people who are I knew in my heart didn’t support me when I needed it, anyway.

True Separation

Eventually, the need to know anything about his life melted away.  The less I looked him up, the more peaceful my life became.  It was much easier to keep our contact very business-like, as well.  I was no longer baited by his remarks or emotionally charged when interacting with him. Ironically, that seemed to make him much more enraged and miserable, but without any effect on me.  I was able to take a step back and let him drain his own energy while I concentrated on my recovery.

I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for my ex-husband to spend so much time and energy doing things meant to hurt me, only to get no reaction what-so-ever.  But, I have much better things to imagine…my sociopath-free future, for example.

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38 Comments on "Divorcing A Sociopath: Getting Away, Staying Away"

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Thank you everyone for your responses to me, Stargazer and Donna Anderson, they are very much appreciated.

Donna, you are so right. This ex is so hell bend on revenge and destruction of me that I don’t think anything I do or say will change his behavior or attitude.

This alimony is the ONLY thing I got out of our 17 year marriage — nothing else. As for our children, unfortunately I have been the victim of parental alienation. They do not know the truth about anything and since we were both told not to involve our children, I did exactly what I was told — I did not involve them in our divorce. I wish I could say the same of him. He still continues to involve them in everything that happens.

He is a very rich and powerful executive, who gets his way one way or another and will not stop until his target is completely destroyed. I really believe, I have to, that the children will figure it out at some point in time. The child support, that I am paying, could be reduced if I can prove his income tax returns are fake. I still can’t believe I am paying a lot of money when I am not working and he is well into the six figures.

I just want some kind of justice and peace. Is that too much to ask of our legal system in the US?

Out of There… I used to buy into that coparenting “rule” to not tell your children anything, until I was enlightened by one of my son’s friends whose mom also divorced an abusive man. She told him the truth and he was very well adjusted and still is. It was causing more stress to pretend, and the stressed out parent is the one who gets alienated as well.

I also recall a woman who stayed with her abuser until the kids were grown, for their sakes and by the time they were adults, she was alienated as well. She was a motivator in leaving my first husband bc for the first time I saw no benefit in staying the course “for the kids.”

The second brief marriage, although more financially and physically destructive, was in some ways easier because there were no children together and it was only 3 years. Both men are spathe, but in different ways. One I have to deal with daily due to our children and one I have a nagging fear of what he is up to next, and even with the criminal and civil no contact and stay away orders, do not feel safe from the terror that is present from the mere what if he flips out one day, that day I finally feel comfortable… it prevents me from finding true peace and comfort.

Back to the kids though, I finally told them why I left their father bc quite frankly the older one figured it out and the younger one had to witness the abuse between the older one and dad. She is remarkable as she simply to dad… “you didn’t have to do that” after seeing him hit our son. I hope and pray they will be ok, but the coparenting “rules” are meant for those who divorce from non spath spouses. They simply do not apply to our situations, and can ultimately harm your relationship with your children as they grow up confused by why you placate and endorse this other parent they begin to see for what they really are… or in worse case scenario, dont see bc you prohibit it by invalidating their perceptions by making him seem ok. Please think about that if you have a chance. It has made things better, not worse in my home. I didnt smear him, I simply told the truth, and my son’s therapist advocated for telling them the truth as well.

Best of luck… at least you get alimony 🙂 I get constant criticism from my kids dad… no matter how much I do for him as I watch the kids on his days to help him out… never an ounce of appreciation, or compensation.

Out of There-

I had an ex whose income was entirely off the grid. Like yours, mine was extremely wealthy, by way of becoming the permanent boy-toy of one of the most affluent women in the US. His influence on my son was enormous, even though he’d abandoned him as a child. The damage of abandonment horrifically impacted my son’s moral development and made him especially susceptible to manipulation from his father.

Fortunately, we live in a world of heightened internet transparency. If he’d behaved today the way he did back then, his actions would have been easier to spot. Here are a couple of things I’d recommend to you:

Your attorney can demand his passport. Doing so could give you insight into where his money is located. It will certainly underscore that he can’t be a “pauper” if he travels internationally.

Your attorney can also demand his credit card account information and bank accounts.

In addition, your attorney can secure the means to request the actual data from his tax filings directly from the IRS. Keep in mind that providing you with a false tax filing could be perjury.

Your attorney should be able to put you in touch with a forensic accountant. Sounds like you need one. Even if you can’t prove his income, you could prove his lifestyle.

As his spouse (or even as his ex-spouse) you are entitled to the projection of his Social Security payments which will enable you to see, year to year, what he contributed to Social Security.

It sounds like he has much to concern himself with if the IRS began snooping around. You can report your concerns and receive a reward that is kept anonymous from him. You do not need a great deal of detail. They will conduct research on their own.

Wishing you the best!

Thank you jm_short.

We have a contempt hearing trial set for April 4th. After I spoke with my attorney about requesting the court to get his income tax returns from the IRS, I am certain we will be getting his 2012 return. If anything, and I mean anything on that return does not match what he showed me, we will then be requesting his 2009, 2010, and 2011 returns as well.

I did not think about requesting a copy of his passport. Yes, that will definitely show his life style that is for sure. I found his credit card statements he had while we were married. On these statements, there were numerous entries to T D Worldwide, which is a company that provides wire services to off-shore accounts. The court ordered that he provide all information regarding his interests in T D Worldwide, but he never complied. I think this is a start.

We have already tried to get credit card accounts and bank accounts, but we never get everything. Just a few statements here and there. He never complies with the court’s orders.

I am a woman of faith and ask that all of the people here on LoveFraud, to please pray for me that we finally get justice. I know that God has heard my cries throughout this entire mess. All I really want is peace and justice.

Dave, if you can turn her in for fraud (like I did with mine with the army) by all means do it. But just remember that she could lie and say the two of you were involved in it together or that you put her up to it. If you were living together as common law spouses during any part of it, this might implicate you. Or she could retaliate in some way involving you or the kids. Anything can happen with a spath – they are capable of anything. If you don’t need an attorney, maybe at least get one of those prepaid legal services for a month ($16) and consult with one of their attorneys by phone before doing anything. I use Legal Shield and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

BTW, it’s really good that you’re angry. It will keep you from going back to her.

Dave. Thank you for your comments. There is no reason why he “needs” my money at all. I think it is just to make me suffer and suffer over and over again because I left him. He did tell me countless times that he would destroy me if I ever left him and he almost did. But you also need to remember that we are DONE with them. I do struggle but I not with him anymore and that is a great thing.

I would never wish my past life on anyone. Yes, I had a lot of luxuries, but at what price did I have to pay. Happiness does not mean a lot of money and luxuries, it means to me peace and safety. BTW Dave his return, that I believe is fake shows an income of $265.

God Bless

I agree with the statement “being a good father in the past is not the same as being a good father in the future”. I feel so much sorrow for children who have to go through these “battles” between the mother and the father. People don’t realize how much hurt and resentment they inflict on their children , no matter how old they are. Because of selfishness and feeling “entitled” they cannot see the pain in their kids eyes. This will carry into their adulthood and so on. My soon to be ex does not realize that he will not be a part of many events to come, like my sons college graduation, maybe a wedding someday, maybe grand children. I always put the need and welfare of my child first. Always, no matter what my needs and wishes are.
Everything in life has consequences and people should carefully think before they act selfish and cowardly. The main victims are always the children.

I have deleted the most recent discussion on this thread. Please remember to keep comments supportive. I realize that some comments were supportive, but I felt the best thing to do was remove all of the related comments.

I am so glad to see that you found peace. I have tried, but am not there and honestly cannot see a way to true, quiet peace unless he 100 percent doesnt know where I am, or I hear he has passed away and can no longer haunt me… although, it would give him great pleasure to do so from the grave if at all possible. I try to put my best light forward, but am more comfortable accepting my circumstances, honestly. Pretending I am at peace I found to be more stressful, bc I was lying to myself, if that makes any sense.


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