How do you help someone snared by a sociopath?

Lovefraud recently heard from a woman who was concerned for her daughter. Here is her e-mail:

Currently, our daughter is married to a sociopath. He has taken us (her parents) for thousands and thousands of dollars, then turned her against us. These people victimize people and are somehow able to make themselves look like the victim. They have 2 small children.

He has completely isolated her from her family, including her sister. He completely hates me and has made me the enemy, for I started seeing through him. Do you have any idea how I can possibly reach her to make her see the pattern? This man has felonies on his record for scheming to defraud; he has cheated people all his adult life. I have found out many other disturbing things about his past that she is not aware of. I want to inform her of these things, however many people feel she won’t believe it. Like your sociopath, this one said he was in the Gulf War; he never was. Instead he went AWOL from the service. He said he had a masters degree in accounting, but he has no college degree of any sort. He’s had over 20 jobs and moved over 30 times. He is 12 years older than our daughter, has a terrible temper. We worry about her and the babies all the time.

What’s a mother to do? On the one hand, she sees knows that her daughter’s husband is toxic. On the other hand, her daughter is a grown woman making her own decisions.

Sociopathic manipulation

The woman’s daughter is being manipulated by a professional. Sociopaths gradually draw in their victims with flattery and half-truths. Then they hold on to their victims with empty promises or threats. Eventually the victims, confused by the alternating charm and rage, are emotionally off balance and doubting their own perceptions.

It happened to me. It happens to everyone snared by a sociopath.

The problem for me was that I didn’t know about sociopaths. I had no idea that it was possible for a man who consistently claimed that he loved me, to lie, cheat on me, and take my money. I had no idea such evil existed.

Friends and family

Sociopaths put a lot of energy into maintaining the charade for their victims. They don’t put the same energy into manipulating people on the periphery. Consequently, the friends and family of the victim can often see the deception when the victim doesn’t.

I think friends and family should speak up, in whatever way will get through, while maintaining a relationship with the victim. I also think friends and family should not enable the sociopath by continuing to give money or whatever else he is demanding. The sooner the supply ends, the sooner the sociopath will leave.

I suggested that the woman do her best to maintain contact with her daughter, even though the sociopath has isolated her. At some point, he will abandon her. When he does, I recommended that the woman not be judgmental toward her daughter.

I know the devastation of being victimized by a sociopath. Once I realized the truth, what I needed was not criticism, but the support of people who cared about me.

Comment on this article

68 Comments on "How do you help someone snared by a sociopath?"

Notify of

Dear Buttons,

You have a difficult road ahead of you, to “house break” someone who has been so influenced by the psychopaths in his lives. Even if he is not a psychopath or high in the traits himself, he may not decide to live by the “rules” of responsibility.

I realize, looking back, that though my son C is not a psychopath, he is not always willing to abide by his word, or to do the responsible thing, and he will fall back on his USUAL FALL BACK PLAN, telling lies to cover up what he is doing. He will bury his moral compass, so that he doesn’t have to feel so guilty, because he makes someone else out to be the “mean guy” and so therefore it was “okay” to do what he did…ya da.

Thinking back through some of the things he did and how he acted when he was married to the psychopath, I realize that many things that they did as a “couple” I “blamed on her” but in fact, it was his choice as much or more so as hers. But, she did give me an EXCUSE for his bad behavior. LOL “he’s so easily dominated by that nasty witch.” NOT!!!!

It has been almost 3 years to the day since his wife and the Trojan Horse psychopath tried to kill him when he discovered their affair–but for the year prior to that, he and his P brother, and his P wife, and my enabling egg donor were PERSECUTING ME, and son C knew that—he knew what was being done to me was nasty, immoral and in some cases illegal. He may not have known that the ultimate goal was to kill me, I actually don’t think he did, but…who knows now? It’s something I will never know for sure.

For most of the three years after his wife and the TH-P were arrested, he was in a HYPER-alert state of PTSD, and he clung to me and His brother D even though he was living out of state for 18 months of that. When he came home, he was still so hyper-alert if I yelled at the dog while he was asleep 4 rooms away, he would hear me and come awake and ALERT and feeling terrorized immediately. After about six months that decreased though. He got back to more normal state of alertness. Less fear, went back to work at a job, continued to have a good attitude D and I thought, but then it started to go down hill as he put more and more time and effort and his money into his video games. While they may not be as “addictive” as booze or drugs, I think they ARE addictive with the “pleasure” centers of the brain…sure it is also an “escape” for him from reality, which is less than ideal for him, but it has become his LIFE, his ONLY interest, and far more important than the only relatives he has left (D and myself). The only friends he wants to associate with are people he plays video games with.

I am sorry that he has that attitude, but I can’t change his attitude. I can’t make myself or anyone else important to him, and I will NOT allow him to lie to me and still give him the benefit of my trust or assistance.

When we “help” someone, the idea is that that person will grow until they no longer need our “help”—that they will become INDEPENDENT. However, there are times when the helper can delay or even block the growth though by continuing to offer “help” when the person is making no effort to assume responsibility for themselves.

In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus lays down a principle about people who “sin against us.” (and don’t repent of that sin) Basically a literal translation is that Jesus is saying if a “brother” after having been given several chances and being talked to refuses to either repent or stop this abusive behavior toward you, that you should treat them like a “tax collector.” In other words, NC, and the purpose of this is to show the sinner that s/he needs to change their way. It isn’t just to exile the person, but it MAY end up being that if the person does not stop and repent of harming you.

My son C was given every opportunity (each time) he lied to me and said he repented to have my trust in him restored. Unfortunately, the NEXT TIME he lied to me or helped someone else do something nasty to me, he was also restored to trust as soon as he said “I’m sorry”—-unfortunately, now, he has betrayed my trust so many times that though I can “forgive’ him (get the bitterness out of my heart) I can never trust him again. Some philosopher (I forget who) said “it isn’t that you lied that upsets me, it is that I can never believe you again.”

Buttons I hope that your Mike does become accountable—and that he DOES get there in the end. However I want you to write down 500 times and turn it in by the end of the day. “IT IS MIKE’S CHOICE TO BECOME ACCOUNTABLE OR NOT. I CAN ONLY GIVE HIM THE OPPORTUNITY”

I felt like a failure that C didn’t become accountable or truthful either…but it wasn’t my failure, it was HIS CHOICE. Since he CHOSE to lie to me, though, I CHOOSE not to trust him. God bless you Buttons! (((Hugs))))

{{{{OxD}}}} Yepper – 500 times! 😀

“I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it with me – it’s hollow and self-serving. Now, if someone says, “I’m sorry I said ______ to you and that I hurt you,” that’s a sincere and acceptable apology.

What was so funny – humorous now – about Mike’s reluctance to engage in counseling was that he said, “I have to make an important, private call.” I replied, “Okay, to whom?” He says, “I told you – it’s private.” I responded, “I didn’t ask you what you were going to discuss, but you’re living in my home, and I am entitled to know who you’re going to be calling. I’m not preventing you from calling, but you have to tell me whom you’re calling.”

Well, of course, I knew who he wanted to call: spath brother. We believe that he has been instructed by the spath brother NOT to get involved in anything other than lounging around and doing nothing. Bullshit. LOLOLOLOL It’s predictable, now, and I’m almost finding it comical if it weren’t so tragic. Oy-VEY!!!!

HUGS BACK ATCHA, OxD! {{{{{{{{{{{{{}}}}}}}}}}}}

Well, well…’s been quite a while – no internet and a move back to a place where I have family, friends, and a network of support. I only have dialup, now, but I’ll check the boards on occasion when it doesn’t take too long to connect! LOLOLOL

Mike has, for all intents and purposes, chosen to burn every bridge of support and help behind him after his return to his spath brother. The people who cared for him during the last 5 months of high school are now the target of ridicule and slanderous comments on Mike’s “Facebook” page. Of course, he’s posting outrageous things about me, but it’s the family that opened their home to him that seems to be drawing the most venom, at this point – this is all as a result of a report from the mother of Mike’s once-best friend.

So, to make a long story short, I shall now have no contact with Mike, either. I was fearful that this would be the outcome, but it’s truthful and must be faced with courage and resolve.

I went through a brief process of grieving, and I made some serious decisions to alter my whole life, make a move, and go back to the place where I was most comfortable.

For those who are just beginning to reel from their experiences with a sociopath, please….take this as 100% truth: a sociopath will NEVER change, they cannot change, and they will damage as many people as they possibly can with malice, with intention, and with a complete lack of remorse.

I cannot help a sociopath. I cannot cure a sociopath. I cannot help or cure the direct and collateral victims of a sociopath. The only thing that I can do is to remove myself from their line of fire and get my feet firmly planted on my own healing path.

Towanda, everyone….. Brightest blessings, and thank you all for having helped me through this dark, dark experience. Every day is a new day and a day further away from the intentional damage of a sociopath. What a glorious day, indeed. I’ve survived, yet again.


I have missed reading your posts. I’m sorry about what you are going through. You did your best, attempting to help your son get on a better path in life. Hopefully, he will take better care of himself, turning his life around. I remain hopeful because that is how I am wired.

Buttons It is good too see you here and feeling so powerful and positive…I wonder how many of us have bad mikes in our lives..yikes mikes…

Dear (((((Buttons)))))

Darling you did the best you could, and taking Mike in and TRYING to help him was a futile effort, but wihtout giving it a TRY you could never have felt for SURE that you did ALL you COULD do.

So don’t beat yourself up for TRYING. Sugar, I did my BEST and I failed miserably to accomplixsh what I wanted to accomplish more than anyting—to save my sons from themselves. With P son it was a given that there was NO hope, and I should have accepted that a lot sooner, like when he was 17, but I didn’t. With Son C, he was collateral damage and dystunctional, not Psychopathic but for sure TOXIC to himself if on one else. He is also able to be in denial about his own bad behavior to excuse it, but I can’t change that, and I can’t help him because he is like Mike, he wants to do what he wants to do and doesn’t look forward to the consequences.

You gave it the old “college try” and that is all a jack ass can do, is the best it can do. There are just some things that no one can accomplkish.

Take care of yourself, work on things for YOUR healing, and just keep telling yourself you did the best you could with what you had to work with. Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, no matter how you spin it, it is still a sow’s ear. ((((Hugs))))) and my prayers.


Only time will help heal this wound. I am so sorry to hear about Mike and his choices. They are his choices alone, you can lead a horse to water, and all that. As parents we take it as a personal failure when our kids make bad choices but it’s not your fault. Keep repeating that to yourself, it’s not my fault.

I’m glad you moved to a place where people can support you. It must have been hard to pick up and leave but (even with dial up), it’s still better to have a system of support to help you through the rough patches than to be without.

Know that you have helped me through some pretty rough spots and I hope that I can be here for you as well. You have a heart of gold!!! I have been posting less but still reading and I had been wondering where you had gone. Glad you’re still here because I missed you.

You are in my prayers tonight.

Oh, boy. Helping someone in a relationship with a sociopath — SEND THEM GOOD LITERATURE ON SOCIOPATHS. Slip these books into their purses, onto their car seats, on their nighttables… bookmark and underline with highlighter…

1 5 6 7

Send this to a friend