How to heal from a sociopath relationship when there's a kid involved? Help

How to recognize and recover from sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists and other exploiters Forums Lovefraud Community Forum – General How to heal from a sociopath relationship when there's a kid involved? Help

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Donna Andersen 2 months ago.

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  • #47235


    First of all: I am sorry for my lack of English skills, my mother tongue is Norwegian.

    I have been in a three and a half-year long relationship with a horrible, horrible man, and it’s been almost 6 months since my parents came and pulled me out due to my apathetic and disoriented state of mind. We have a son together. He is now two and a half and BEAUTILFUL – the true love and meaning of my life.

    I used to be a strong, independent and self-reliant woman – I have travelled the world, I am a scientist within the field of biology and wildlife management and I have always loved the outdoors; my malamutes have always been by my side when I have walked for days in the mountains, the forests or wherever my job or pleasure has taken me outdoors. My passion used to lie “out there”, if you get me…

    My ex courted me for a long, LONG time, before he convinced me he could provide, give me what I needed (freedom, etc.) – you all know the story. I got sucked in, for real. And I felt I made a sensible decision when I chose to make him my partner, after two previous relationships with typical high floating narcissists where all communication was a struggle, and cooperation was non-existent. This man was all that they were not, I thought. I trusted him. With all my heart. And all my soul. So much that I chose to have a child with him – something I not even considered with my previous partners.

    I won’t write the whole messy and painful story here. To keep it short: He turned out to be a con man, a (pathological?) liar and a cold sociopath, his whole history of previous situations and life events where all hoax, cunningly knit into half-truths and fantastic stories. From the day I gave birth, I was a hostage in the situation. My first child… I was a mother first, and saw nothing but my son, his needs and the wonderful future we would have. I let him move us around, trusting his ability to take care of us. I should NEVER have let go of my guard, but how could I not when I needed to be a mother first, and I believed the relationship was based on trust and truth… I thought I was free. To be. And live, and breathe. Over the next period of time, he conned me for a lot of money. I won’t go into the nasty, very complicated details. He started to act strange, stressed and passive aggressive. Kept me under control. He slowly broke me down, and the last months under the same roof he was threatening, made me crawl and beg to be reasonable (my last self-respect left me that day, when I lay down on the floor and begged him to be reasonable, to make him stop threatening us) – and I feared for my son’s well being and my own life. He never hit me. Just doors, phones and cars, playing with knives and being ice cold – it’s impossible to describe, even now, what it was that made him have such a goddamn grip on my soul).

    Too long a story to write all the details… My desperate question to you good-hearted people who have walked in my shoes: How the hell do you do it? I have to cooperate with him because of our son. I haven’t taken custody to court, due to the horribly emotional ordeal I would have to go through (he is so terribly good with words and rhetoric) – I am not ready for that yet – and because, here in Norway, it is very difficult to get full custody of a child. The child’s rights are very strong – which is so very good, and so very hard to deal with when the father is toxic in so many ways… Anyways. I have to deal with the father on a weekly basis – he sees him every other weekend and one afternoon every week. This forces me to communicate with him, and despite all the advice and guidelines I am to follow having to deal with a sociopath, he uses our son to punch and push me, again and again. He knows that my son is the weak spot – where to get under my skin, and through him he makes sure I do not have much of a social life, he knows that if I please him by talking with him, agree with him, smile and in general show good will, he will be nice when he picks up our son. If I start questioning something, like why he sometimes doesn’t come on time, or that it’s not good for our son to change plans all the time, at the last minute, he will be horrible all over again – giving me silent treatment, being passive aggressive, guilting me about stuff not relevant for the “conversation”, and so on. He does NOT like to not know where he has me, so to lessen the pressure and get through the day it’s so much easier for me to just be home when he calls, etc. I often call him or text him, where I tell him that I am sorry, that I overreacted and that I wish we can continue to cooperate. Even though I never overreact anymore. Every question from my side is an overreaction, I guess… It’s what I did when we were together, and I still fall into this old behavior whenever we have to communicate. He just KNOWS where to trigger my insecurity, and thus keeping me under control – even though I KNOW I act in consequence to his puppet strings.

    I have a great lawyer who helps me with all the depth my ex put me in, and slowly almost all the evidence is turning up, and the depths are transferred from me to him, but I don’t dare to talk loud about a custody trial yet. My life is pretty much turned upside down. I am in financial ruin, I had to quit in the middle of a carrier-dependent research project and I had to move back to my home town to be able to manage. Now I suddenly live off the state, with no job, in a small apartment, with my boy and one dog. My parents do not live in Norway, my old friends have moved away a long time ago and now I am alone, trying to make the best of every day for my wonderful, smart and emphatic little boy. I have still not understood what I’ve been through here, emotionally. I feel smashed, raped, chewed on and disoriented – but survival and a good, positive environment for my boy is all that matters right now.

    But I need to get well, too. My son deserves a happy, balanced mommy. Who I used to be. But HOW can I get back to my strong, independent self when I keep relapsing into shame, doubt, frustration and sadness whenever my horrible, horrible ex pushed my buttons and keep me from breathing freely? How to recover from a sociopath when you can’t do “no contact”, and have to pretend all the frigging time that you are so very happy to see daddy, all the time daddy is giving you the cold stare over the boy’s head.

    I believe if I was stronger, somehow – if I had the power to be consequent, could deal with his subtle punches as they came, I could play the game more on my lane than his… But I don’t WANT to play, I want to RESOLVE – and that’s why I fall into his traps, again and again and again. Will it ever stop? Please, can someone please give me some advice on how to cope? My boy is the most important person in my life, and there is NOTHING I would not do to keep him safe, happy, loved and inspired <3
    I need time to heal and become strong again. I try to read the books, the laws, the advice… Now I seek a community with people who have walked in my shoes. I need help.

    Thank you for listening <3

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  mommybear.
  • #47258

    David Mc Dermott MD


    In your situation, information is vital. You need to learn how this man inserted himself into your life, what techniques he used to control your thinking, your emotions and your decision making. You must understand psychopaths and manipulation. Basically, to get him out of your head and out of your life, you have to understand how he go into your head.

    When you know what techniques he was and is using to control you, why he chose those particular techniques, what effect they had on your thinking and your emotions, how they changed your beliefs and behaviors, only then will they lose their effect on you.

    All this takes effort on your part. I know it’s not fair that you should have to work to get yourself better and he carries on abusing you and your son, but that’s the way things are right now.

    Some things to keep in mind for you.

    Any act of kindness on your part is seen as weakness by him. You can try all you like to be nice to him in the hope that he is reasonable back, and you will lose. You cannot negotiate with people like this. You have been trying to do that for years and it has never worked. You can stop trying. It’s a waste of time.

    When you tell him what upsets you, he will do more of it. You don’t have to tell him that something upsets you, he already knows. That’s why he is doing it!!!

    And you are right, you should not play. Right now you are playing by the rules of polite society and he is playing by his own rules. And remember that whoever makes the rules wins. You cannot win going on the way you are. Keep in mind that not only is he playing by rules that you are not aware of, he is also changing the rules without telling you, too. There is no way to win in such a situation.

    The only way to come out on top here is to not play. To not be involved. But that means learning about how he is playing, his actions, motivations and undoing all the hot buttons that he has set up for you.

    And you need to start teaching your son about what his dad is really like. At a very young age kids know that there is something wrong but they can’t make sense of it. Your job is to make sense of it for him. In that way he learns what that man is really like so he doesn’t fall under his influence.

  • #47262


    Thank you so much for taking time to answer my post and to draw out my next moves in this confusing and desperate time of my life. It’s like my emotions are wild elephants running around like crazy inside my own glasshouse of reason. It was to the point, understandable and helpful.

    I believe he has mirrored my deepest needs – and some of those are not necessarily very healthy. My need for love, and freedom – and the need to be protected by one person, and one person only – one that I put absolutely all my trust in.

    My “quest” into the matter of personality disorders has forced me to take a deep and honest look at myself, as well as the situation – I do not ever want to become prey for another sociopath – and I believe my issues in early childhood and an unhealthy relationship with my sarcastic and overbearing mother (who have changed very much for the better since I was a little girl – bless her!) – have a huge part in why I have chosen to put all my love, trust and compassion in one very good “salesman” of a partner. It wasn’t love makes blind, more like the need for love and protection made me blind.

    I do not want to make this heritable, and I believe I will become a better mother by acknowledging my short comings (and by trying to be better/understand/fix them).

    It is a foreign land, the way a sociopath/psychopath’s brain and thought pattern works. It makes sense to me that he makes up the rules, while I play by the common sets of rules handed down by society. He has a criminal history and has also – time and time again – mocked and broken the common morale of law and order. He does not play by anyone’s rules but his own, in any aspect of life. BUT he has a terribly good knowledge of the “common rules” – and he uses them to his favor, when he needs to get out of a tight spot or get leverage in a situation. Both legally and emotionally.

    I will try to study his moves, but I am so very tired of being a detective and talk to people who have been exposed to him. He has left so many “disaster areas” behind. I believe he has me by the collar because of our son. He knows he could have me chew off my own leg for my kid. He has put a fear in me that I cannot put my finger on or explain. My stomach feels sick when I feel the urge to put down my foot and neutralize the contact. I do not know just what kind of consequences I fear, but I sure know there will be some. And the way my state of mind and lack of power and energy is right now, I just can’t understand how I could fight back – whatever comes my way. I’m very scared, and I don’t know why.

    I will take your advice, and I will try to learn more about what his motivations are for playing his game (feeling of power and superiority?), and I will hang up the phone whenever he triggers my buttons and make my heart pound and frustration build – and catch it in the act. Maybe that way I can truly figure out where he has me collared.

    I am at a loss when it comes to teaching my son about how his father is really like. I have made it a strict rule to only talk positively about him to my son. He is so much an innocent in this situation, and I sincerely hope that my son will be able to understand in time – by himself… How can I prepare him for the manipulation, the broken promises and emotional hurt he inevitably will be exposed to? And – god forbid – how to I stop my son from potentially fall into his father’s trap all together and become him? Oh, that’s a heartbreaking and horrible scenario and cannot happen!

  • #47263

    David Mc Dermott MD


    Be careful about working on your own shortcomings. That puts some responsibility for what is happening on you. This is not useful for you. There is nothing wrong with having a need for love, or a need for freedom. You are a normal, healthy human being. The trick is to know you have these needs but watch out for anyone who is taking advantage of them.

    You are spot on with your ideas about rules, etc and how he uses them.

    All that fear you are experiencing has been trained into you by that man and it is precisely how he maintains the control. Knowing how specifically he creates the fear will actually get rid of it.

    I don’t believe your strict rule about your son will serve either of you. Look at the trouble you are having figuring things out on your own. How is a child who has so much less life experience ever going to do it on his own?

    You really need to work with someone who understands these things. You are at a very precarious point in your recovery and an expert will speed things up a lot for you.

  • #47269


    Hi Mummybear,

    Firstly, I am so sorry you are going through this and I send you a big hug. I am in the same boat as you, I was fooled and exploited and now have two children with my disordered former partner. I have a little boy 3 and a half and a little girl 1 and a half.

    I am going through the court process and it is NOT fun. The interim orders in place with the court give him access on the weekends. He has chosen to play kind caring and nice when I see him, with the occasional undermining comment thrown in, but generally this is followed, early in the week, by an email from my solicitor letting me know of the next nasty move he is making to grind me down, especially if it has looked like I am doing well or having a life on the weekends.

    I am writing to you because the best way to get through this time is to go grey rock. Look it up, read as much about it as you can, this is the only way to be able to emotionally cope with the constant contact. Don’t start conversations, reply as briefly as possible to his questions, don’t talk about anything that isn’t related to your son, especially yourself and your wellbeing. Try to communicate about your son through emails or texts, not by talking face to face at pickup/dropoff.

    Don’t react emotionally to anything he says. This includes hanging up on him with the phone – if you hang up he knows he got a reaction from you and he will keep doing that behaviour. Don’t talk to him on the phone. Don’t look him in the eyes.

    Be a grey rock – give him nothing. Not only will this preserve your sanity, but this will shorten his game, as eventually, hopefully, he will get bored and find someone else to torture.

    Document your sons behaviour for future court action. Write down anything that is odd or disturbing even if you cant work out what is happening. Patterns come out later. Write down all nasty comments by the father, or behaviours that are worrying.

    Again, a big hug to you. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life and it is exhausting and stressful. Be the best Mummy you can be – do the 30 day recovery course here on – it is the best medicine for you at this point. Make sure you find someone to talk to regularly about your journey.

    Hope this is helpful to you,


  • #47288

    Donna Andersen

    Mommy bear – I am very sorry for your situation. One thing you said stands out for me – that the laws in Norway are very strong for the children. I suggest that you find out more about what this means. The fact is that your ex’s behavior is damaging to your son.

    Are there domestic violence agencies who can support you? He is violent with items and plays with knives – this is threatening behavior. He is controlling you through threats.

    It may be difficult to get custody away from a father – but perhaps it is not impossible. I suggest that you talk with child abuse and domestic violence experts. Your ex’s behavior is bad for your son – maybe the laws in Norway recognize that and will help you.

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