How to recognize and recover from the sociopaths – narcissists in your life › Forums › For adult children of sociopaths › Do you tell your adult kids that their father is a sociopath/narcissist?
July 27, 2019 at 3:23 pm #53420olive98Participant
This is my first time on here and I’m curious if anyone has any advice for me. I was married to a sociopath/narcissist for 17 years and it’s been a long recovery. Both of my children are in college now and I’ve been seeing signs of intense anxiety in my daughter. She says she is has an “huge phobia” of being cheated on and abandoned which manifests itself with panic attacks, not being able to sleep or eat, & weight loss. Because she knows her father was unfaithful and deceitful, and was old enough to witness the fall out of his manipulative behavior, I can see she her really struggling with issues that she may have repressed/not verbalized when she was younger. I don’t want to bash her dad to her, however, I feel like if she had a better understanding of his psychopathic/narcissist personality, it could help her process, cope and heal. On the other hand, I worry that it may come across like I’m still just the embattled bitter ex-wife. I think she fears that if her dad cheated, then any guy is capable, but her dad is not a normal guy. He’s a full-fledged sociopath who is now on his third victim since me. I’m torn between causing more harm to my kids and being honest about the very real & toxic disorder her dad has. I’m also worried that he could (& has been) causing my kids additional emotional harm because of his manipulative personality and lack of empathy. Both my kids are over 18. Has anyone dealt with these types of issues before?
July 27, 2019 at 6:22 pm #53421SunnygalParticipant
olive- I would tell them and encourage them to become educated about the disorders and how they affect children.
July 28, 2019 at 9:03 pm #53430
Yes, as SG was advising, it would be good to discuss with your kids about the disorder. They are over 18 years old now, and though the transition from being their protective mother, to having a more peer relationship, sometimes can be challenging, it is a healthy step. My advise would be to calmly explain what you have experienced, and give them some material like books or to direct them to this site. The important thing is not to try to force your perspective on them. They can feel the difference in discussion vs. an emotional charge behind what you say. If they feel that you have peace and poise, and can allow them the space to try to integrate what you have told them, they will be more open to considering and investigating for themselves what you have said. They will also be more likely to come to you for advice. Also, I wouldn’t go into a bunch of specific details. Too much would be crossing the line of what is appropriate. I read somewhere recently that Albert Einstein said “to keep things simple, but no simpler than necessary”. From what you said, your daughter sounds like she is now experiencing some of the repercussions from having grown up in close proximity with one with a character disorder. It would not be advisable for you to try to do the job of a trained therapist. It does sound like it would be very helpful for her to work with one who has experience with psychological abuse issues. Maybe wait awhile until she has had time to process your initial discussion, and then broach the subject if she seems receptive at that point.
Blessings to you.
July 29, 2019 at 8:27 pm #53437Donna AndersenKeymaster
olive98 – I agree that since your children are adults, you can tell them about their father’s disorder. it will probably help them understand their experience as children, because they were surely manipulated and deceived as you were. Also, they may experience relief — there is a reason for their father’s treatment of them, and it is his problem, not theirs. And yes, they need to understand that not everyone is disordered, but they should be on the lookout for those who are.
July 31, 2019 at 2:19 am #53449
Hi Olive, I agree with everyone. Since your children were also manipulated by their father thru out their youth, they have a high chance to fall victim to narcissist or sociopath narcissist in their future. They learned at an early age to become submissive to a “strong” personality aka their father aka a sociopath. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people mainly men are narcissist and 1 in 25 are sociopath or worse psychopaths! It’s a dangerous world so YES they need to be educated. Just imagine if someone would have educated you prior to you meeting your ex. Pass your tough life lessons on to your children.
But, First and foremost, your daughter needs help with her “huge phobia” of being cheated on and abandoned which manifests itself with panic attacks, not being able to sleep or eat, & weight loss.”. ASAP! She is suffering health issues.
This sounds like she is suffering from Adrenal gland issues! This is extremely common for victims of sociopaths & is most likely to be misunderstood by most doctors. The adrenal glands regulate the body’s blood pressure, blood sugar, cortisol & adrenaline levels (aka fight, flight or freeze response mode) and over 50 hormones. The Adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are a HUGE DEAL!!
What causes adrenal gland issues??
STRESS!! from work stress, school, toxic relationship, etc etc
poor diet (aka could be college life style)
not enough rest & relaxation
not enough sleep
drinking alcohol, Rx and/or illegal drugs (please DO NOT THINK she is doing drugs, I’m just listing ALL causes)
Usually it’s a combo of Stress (toxic relationship, college life, new surroundings), poor sleep, poor diet that leads to not being able to rest or sleep properly.
I would highly recommend that you both look up symptoms of Adrenal fatigue…see sites like Dr Lam. com and Adrenal fatigue. org (both have books, your library might have books on the subject too). (I have zero affiliation to these sites…I suffered from adrenal fatigue most if not all my marriage to a sociopath, it was not until I escaped that learned from a very astute doctor that I suffered from adrenal fatigue..had pretty much all the symptoms).
One of the biggest issues with someone that suffers from Adrenal fatigue is vitamin & mineral deficiency…so have her tested for this along with hormonal imbalance (again stress can cause this or even the birth control pill which one of the side effects from the pill is anxiety & depression can cause the imbalance), thyroid test T3 & T4 not just the “regular” thyroid test you need the advance test, you can look this up), just over all blood work.
Here is the short list of Adrenal fatigue”
Anxiety (if you have anxiety you have depression vise versa)
The specific doctor that deals with the adrenal glands is a Endocrinologist doctor. This is who your daughter should go to…but, one that is knowledgable not one that will just hand out Rx drugs. If she is going to a large university with a medical school she can most likely ask the Department head for a excellent Endocrinologist connected to the University.
Have her (and you) watch the free you tube documentary called “Super Juice Me”…it’s excellent at explaining how food heals the body over Rx. Specifically veggie juicing.
Books: Eat to live by Dr Joel Fuhrman (see his you tube videos),
Jason Vale Juicing you tube
Plant based diet you tube
Fully Raw Kristina you tube
My doctor gave me adrenal gland vitamins from the site Adrenal fatigue. org…one of the vitamins he gave me was just B-complex (most likely cheaper at your local store but a good quality one not a cheap one). My doctor had me take them 1 am, 2 at noon, 1 at 2pm and 1 before bedtime. Within hours I felt much more calm and within a week I could feel the difference. The juicing will also FLOOD her body with much needed vitamins & minerals!! As well as detox her body naturally.
It is estimated that 1 in 3 adults suffer from vitamin & mineral deficiency. This is why your daughter should be tested.
For juicing you do not need an expensive juicer..Walmart sells them for about $30 that get the job done or she can use a blender and mix veggies with water. She should at first stick with vegetables only as fruit has sugar and this will cause her adrenal glands to not heal. See Jason Vale’s juicing you tube videos on “Blender Vs juicer”. There are endless other juicing videos on you tube.
As for her father and the stress she has now about dating…buy her Donna’s book “Lovefraud 10 signs you are dating a sociopath” and also “The path forward surviving a narcissist” by Lisa Scott. Both will give her the tools to pick out a good mate and if she dates a guy that was not truthful with her in the beginning these books will give her the tools to dump him & go no contact with them.
But FIRST get her health in order…you do not want to add stress to her right now..her body is stressed out enough. SO wait on telling her about her father and who he is. Once her health is back in order then YES tell her…you dont have to go into great detail at first just give her those two books on how to spot a bad person once her body is working correctly. She will put two and two together about her father thru reading those two books and start asking you questions about her father.
Your a wonderful mother to reach out for help! She is very lucky to have such a caring mother!! 💜
Wishing you both all the best.🌺
July 31, 2019 at 2:24 am #53450
From Dr Lam. com site:
“Characteristic Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
Waking up in the middle of the night for no reason
Heart palpitations at night or when stressed
Consistently low blood pressure
Low libido and lack of sex drive
Low thyroid function, often despite thyroid medications
Feeling of hypoglycemia though laboratory values are normal
Depression, often unresolved after anti-depressants
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Fibrocystic breast disease
Hair falling off for no reason
Irritable under stress
Feeling “wired” and unable to relax
Feeling of adrenaline rushes in the body
Inability to handle stress
Waking up feeling tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep
Feeling tired in the afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 pm
Inability to take in simple carbohydrates
Needing coffee to get going in the morning and throughout the day
Coffee, tea or energy drinks triggering adrenaline rush and adrenal crashes
Feeling tired between 9:00 and 10:00 PM, but still finding it hard to go to bed
Craving for fatty food and food high in protein
Craving for salty food such as potato chips
Dry skin more than usual
Unexplained hair loss that is diffuse
Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
Chemical sensitivities to paint, fingernail polish, plastics
Electromagnetic force sensitivity, including cell phone and computer monitors
Delayed food sensitivities, especially to dairy and gluten
Unable to get pregnant, requiring IVF
Post partum fatigue and depression
Recurrent miscarriages during first trimester
Abdominal fat accumulation for no apparent reason
Temperature intolerance, especially to heat or sunlight
Dysmenorrhea advancing to amenorrhea
Constipation for no apparent reason
Joint pain of unknown origin
Muscle mass loss
Muscle pain of unknown reason
Cold hands and feet
Premature aging skin
Inability to concentrate or focus
Psoriasis of no known reason
Gastritis despite normal gastroscopy
Low back pain with no history of trauma and normal examination
Dizziness for no known cause
Chronic Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
Numbness and tingling in extremities bilaterally
Recurrent mouth sores
Shortness of breath even though breathing is fine
Presence of ovarian cyst
Cancer as a result of estrogen dominance is one of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Breast cancer associated with estrogen dominance
Legs that feel heavy at times
Dark circles under eyes that do not go away with rest
Loss of healthy facial skin tone color
Body feeling tense all over and unable to relax
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia
Irritable Bowl Syndrome, with more constipation than diarrhea
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome unimproved with medicine
Fibromyalgia unresolved after conventional help
Systemic Candida that gets worse when under stress
Electrolyte imbalance despite normal laboratory values
Irregular menstrual cycle that “stops and goes”
Lyme Disease but unable to fully recover after medication or intolerance to drugs
H. Pylori infection in the past and was told resolved but never feel the same since
Heavy metal and mineral toxicity may mimic Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
This list is not intended for you to self-diagnose Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. If you think you may have some of these symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, the first task is to get more educated. Because of the rather convoluted and complex nature of this syndrome, always consult a qualified health professional prior embarking on any recovery plan. Most recovery programs fail and the condition may worsen if you lack a clear understanding of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue and what lies ahead.”
July 31, 2019 at 2:31 am #53452
Donna, has articles on “hormone” balancing etc on Lovefraud…written by a therapist??
August 15, 2019 at 6:14 pm #53729regretfullymineParticipant
It wouldn’t do me much good, to go into detail with ANY of our grown sons, about their dad being a psychopath. They never listened when I told them, about his past abuses, verbal and emotional. Not to mention the overwork he put me through, on the farm. I knew I was being ‘tuned out’, just telling stories of abuse. I wouldn’t be understood trying to explain psychopathy at all. (and the oldest has a PhD in Administrative Education)..their dad is still central in their lives, has been since they were little. In their eyes, I’m probably still the ‘deadbeat’ mom for leaving and divorcing him. In their own minds/hearts, they may question him and his ways; but if I bring up stuff, all 3 get defensive of him, in one way or another.
August 15, 2019 at 11:49 pm #53732
Hi regretfully mine,
It is great to get your response and see your point of view. I totally get it. From what you last explained, perhaps the best plan would be to enhance the relationship you already have with your children. You do have a good effect on them by your kindness and understanding, even if they do not acknowledge it verbally. You still affect them on deeper levels than they even realize. You can offer them a safe place psychologically without having to spell it out, and then if and when they have a need for support or someone to confide in, they will be able to turn to you. It is obvious that you love them very much, and that is a beautiful and rare gift which you continually give to them.
Blessings to you.
August 16, 2019 at 6:03 pm #53742regretfullymineParticipant
polestar: this is regretfully mine. I have scarcely ANY relationship with any of our 3 grown sons/grandkids. Its been this way,for all the almost 20 years since my divorce. They know, I will answer any phone call/text/written card/written letter. Or make an effort to meet in person. I will NOT attend events, with my ex present, for the grandkids. I tried that a time or 2; I was a mental wreck afterwards. Ive been to 2 son’s marriages, both with their dad present. It was an experience I was glad to get away from, afterwards! When I do have contact, I try NOT to mention or ask questions about their dad. Its not my business anyway. They simply drop out off my radar, for months, often several years.
August 17, 2019 at 11:51 pm #53751
Somehow we have been conversing on the post stream of olive 98, and I have not been able to find your original post and I’m not sure how to rectify the situation. Would you mind very much to start a new stream so that olive will have her own? Otherwise, I could start a new one for you. Also if you could refresh what it was that you originally said. The confusion is that I thought I was responding to the issue of olive’s kids!!!! so sorry. I hope that we can work on your issue with a new stream. You can reply here if you want me to start the new one or else I’ll be looking for you new stream under ” regretfully mine “.
Blessings to you
September 25, 2020 at 1:20 am #63950nospParticipant
@DonnaAndersen How & when should children who are not yet adults be told that they have a parent or grandparent who is a disordered person (I’m thinking about the genetic component to disorderedness, some kids will have disorderedness, some will be able to pass the risk of it on to their own kids, etc)?
And how do you discuss disordered behavior in a way kids will understand it, do you say that their disordered parent (or grandparent) is ‘sick’ or has an ‘illness’ & ‘it’s not their fault’, etc?
I didn’t grow up with disordered parents, my paternal grandmother may have been a little more narcissistic than most women of her age & era (compared to today though, she would seem more normal than self-focused, times & our culture have changed) but I barely spent any time around her, I was in my tween & teen years when I did & it was harder for her to influence me negatively, I don’t think she had NPD, BPD or was a histrionic / had HPD, but she could bring the drama & the focus to herself a little more than most women could.
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