By | August 18, 2013 99 Comments

How psychopathic parents affect children

A Lovefraud reader who posts as “Mani” asked a question that I’m sure is of interest to many others, so I’ll address it in a blog post. Mani writes:

I was one of the children who lived with a psychopath for a long time. I fought all my life not to let him a part of my personality. In comparison to what I was exposed to I think I have been successful. But is there anybody out there who can shed more light on the effects of a psychopath father on children, particularly boys?

I know there is tendency to label these children as secondary psychopaths but I haven’t seen anybody talking about the mechanics of it. And I am sure all these children don’t become secondary psychopaths.

This is a complex situation with many variables, depending on the individuals involved. I will describe in general terms the two basic types of outcomes. Lovefraud has a lot more information in the “Explaining the sociopath” archive (see the gray button above). Dr. Liane Leedom has written many articles on the topic. You may also want to get her book, Just Like His Father?

By the way, the term “secondary psychopaths” doesn’t necessarily apply to children of psychopaths. It refers to which set of psychopathic traits are predominant in an individual.

Genetic risk

Psychopathic parents, both fathers and mothers, definitely affect their children in many ways. There are probably two general categories of effects, depending on whether or not the child has inherited a predisposition to become psychopathic.

Psychopathy is highly genetic. That means a child can be born with a predisposition for the disorder to develop. Genetics, of course, is a crapshoot, so a child may or may not get the genes. In fact, a child is more likely to inherit the genes when the mother is psychopathic, rather than the father.

However, psychopathy results from both nature and nurture. Whether this disorder actually does develop is due to the parenting a child receives and the environment that the child grows up in. It is possible, with extremely attentive parenting, to prevent psychopathy from developing, or at least mitigate it. Essentially, parents must teach the child love, empathy and impulse control.

Psychopaths make terrible parents. They will not bother to instill love, empathy and impulse control in a child. They can’t teach what they don’t know.


Psychopathic parents do not love their children. They are not concerned about a child growing up to be healthy, productive members of society. They look at children as possessions, like a car or a flat-screen TV.

Some psychopaths neglect their children. Others engage in physical abuse and sexual molestation.

But even if psychopaths don’t engage in outright physical abuse, they usually inflict psychological and emotional abuse. They lie to kids, break their promises, and keep changing the rules. The parent may say something, and then insist the words were never spoken, which distorts a child’s sense of reality.

The net result is that a child grows up in a very unstable environment. If the child has inherited the genes for psychopathy, chances are good that he or she will develop the disorder. If the child has not inherited the genes, he or she may develop other psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Children of psychopathic parents who are not themselves disordered often have much to overcome related to their families of origin. They may not know what a healthy relationship or a healthy family looks like. They may become involved with sociopaths themselves, because it feels normal.

I think people who have grown up in these situations have a lot of internal untangling to do. They likely need to address and heal deep emotional pain, either through formal counseling or through self-help.

I invite any Lovefraud readers who have more information to share on this situation to contribute your insights.


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Hi Donna and Mani,

Thank you for posting the question and response article. This is probably my most consuming issue. I know the fallout from having a sociopathic father will be great on my children, and I watch their development closely. Having both children in counciling as well as myself gives me some checks and balances when those fears creep in about their behavior. I try not to read into their actions and words, but sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate normal teenage behavior from the way their father acted.

I’ve learned to read a lot about what to expect in normal childhood development first instead of working backwards and starting with the sociopathic behaviors and trying to rule them out, if that make sense. it’s kind of like starting with a positive baseline and working from there, rather than just looking for the negative behaviors and trying to extract them.

I have also accepted that I cannot change genetic factors, but I can definitely change environmental ones. And as much as possible, I seek out help and advice from professionals. As if raising teens wasn’t challenge enough, at least I can let them know that counciling is a positive and helpful (and necessary) part of getting and staying healthy. I’m hoping it’s a resource they will take with them when they are grown.



Hi Mani – I’ve been thinking about your question. I like what you said:

“I fought all my life not to let him be a part of my personality. In comparison to what I was exposed to I think I have been successful.” This is true for me as well.

I realize that I am a female who had a sociopath mother so my perspective is not quite what you are looking for. But there is one aspect of my “healing” that may help you. I remind myself that there is a difference in having PTSD / survivor issues and actually being a sociopath. That difference was not obvious to me at first. So when various sources seek to label children of spaths as “secondary spaths,” I view that as very unfair and not useful on a practical level in terms of what to do.

My self-confidence in working through my PTSD can be fragile at times especially since my teen years were rife with gaslighting and projection of her sociopathic traits on to me. But here’s the thing: is your behavior that of a spath ?? – it doesn’t sound like it to me. That’s the question I asked myself and knowing that I am NOT a spath helped me to choose resources that would help me to heal and to build my own life.

I understand having to fight all your life. I hope you find the answers to your questions and find the path to confidence and peace. I like what Quinn said above about seeking a positive baseline and of course all the other suggestions as well. Best Wishes !!

raised by sociopath

I was raised by a sociopath mother (maybe biological) and a physically abusive male father figure. I’m currently in therapy and have been for years and probably may always be. I have relationship issues. I care about people however; vulnerable. I always go towards the nice sweet people who turn out to be ugly inside. I lack the natural boundary for myself so become victim most of the time (pathetic). I hate this confusion. Don’t know how to defend self without going overboard or not reacting at all. Sometimes I just want to give up trying however; have this innate need to interact.

My children (now adults) have been raised mostly by me. I have had them in therapy too. How many generations will it take before the ugliness of upbringing will no longer effect generations to come? My children do not want any children of their own. Sadly they have been through a lot dealing with me and my depression and anxiety attacks. Not a great childhood for them.


Dear Raised by a sociopath,
Having been married for 23 years to a sociopath and then having my 5 children end up in middle age to have the same traits, I can only see one positive regarding the proliferation of psychotics and that is…psychotics usually are incapable of sustaining loving relationships and thus, have fewer offspring! Of my 5 children, 3 are divorced, one never married and the 5th one has a very malliable spouse. As long as my children were at home, my influence made them wonderful human beings; only in mid-life, due to their abusive father’s influence and those of our immoral society, have the psychotic traits emerged. Perhaps this inabiluity to maintain lasting relationships MAY curtail the numbers of offspring. At least, that is my hope.

raised by sociopath

My children have had problems trusting people. Maybe this is how I should be. They feel people have to prove themselves worthy where I feel everyone is good until proven otherwise. Do you see the extreme difference of trust?


Both my mother and my father were disordered, but I am not clear on the exact diagnosis of either parent. My hypothesis would be that my mother was a Narcissist and that my father also had Cluster B tendencies, although he may have been only bipolar. Both parents had empathy for certain people, in certain situations. Perhaps my mother was Borderline. Shortly before her death, she had a cold. I was very busy in my first position post law school, but I came to take care of her on Sunday, her caregiver’s day off (she had terminal cancer).

When I told her that I had to leave to finish some work for Monday morning, she faked an asthma attack. I have asthma, as did my father, and she had no history of the disease. She kept saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!” but I could clearly hear her regular breathing. Finally, I said, “Okay, if you are really in respiratory distress, I will need to call an ambulance. Even with your government insurance, the co-pay will be quite high. Do you want to do this? Because if you do, let’s get going. I have some critical work to finish before 8:00 am, and the ER may be packed.” She opted not to call the ambulance.

Growing up with their erratic moods, and physical violence, was Hell on Earth. My mother accused my father of sexually abusing me, because he preferred my company to hers. For the life of me, I still do not know if that was true. She was histrionic and dramatic, and had been abandoned by her own father. I do not, in truth, really want to know if the incest she reported was indeed a reality.

My father was violent, gas lighted everyone, cheated on my mother several times, and forced her to have two abortions when they were still illegal and dangerous. Still, he did, at times, seem to be a caring individual who sought the best possible outcome for his clients as an attorney. Ethics were not a strong suit for either parent. The ends always justified whatever means necessary.

In contrast, I have a strong sense of morality, and crave equal justice for all. My sister is, like our parents, a Cluster B personality. I have been, at times, a doormat, and am definitely an empath. Like the previous poster, I believe people deserve my trust until they show me that they clearly do not. My sister does not trust anyone unless they prove their devotion to her. Generally, she trusts no one. We are yin and yang, the sick products of our sick parents. It is truly sad.

I can’t help you regarding boys raised with a psycopathic parent.I have three girls.Their father and my husband,is the P. As the preceding post brings out,trust is an issue.The oldest and youngest daughter suffer with anxiety and depression.Otherwise,they’ve grown up with good work ethics and are compassionate,helpful women.I’m proud of the parenting techniques of the two girls that are mothers.


Raised by sociopath: I was raised by disordered parents as well. The ongoing challenge for me has been on the one hand to begin to appreciate myself more, and on the other hand (but it’s very related) to set boundaries. Even at 52, I’m still learning who my real friends are and who are not real friends. It usually feels very good to finally figure it out and set a boundary. In spite of a lot that I have been through, I tend to be a pretty open and trusting person for the most part, and I let a lot of little things go. On the one hand, this keeps my mood up much of the time because I don’t take a lot of stuff personally. But I sometimes wonder if I should be a little more guarded. I think for people with our background, a lot of our ups and downs have to do with lack of boundaries and inadvertently letting others manipulate us because we do not have a strong sense of ourselves and our motivations, or we are so conditioned to please others. For every person going through these type of ups and downs and instability, there can usually be found a person (or persons) in their life who is controlling or manipulating them. And if not, then they may have internalized a manipulative parental figure. Identifying and standing up to the person by setting a boundary usually releases the pain. But if it is a pattern, the pain will come back with each new relationship. Setting boundaries is a muscle we must learn to flex.

raised by sociopath

Thank you for sharing. It’s sad your dealing with this however; helps me not to feel alone with the issues I deal with. I hate this dance learned from childhood and is very difficult to unlearn. I’m 53 years old and find it sad at times when I want to give up on the human race. It’s not their fault I missed out on the fundamental building blocks from childhood on how to obtain healthy boundaries. Who can be trusted and who is the candy man driving around trying to pick up children. Wish you the best.


I was raised by a sociopathic mother also. Then I married a sociopath.My life was laid waste by this monster.I felt I DESERVED his abuse. I mean, if your mom doesn’t love you( -as he pointed out to me often)then you must be a bad person.That is how I felt my whole life….So I understand how you feel. I have always made excuses for people who have abused or mistreated me. Not anymore. After almost losing my freedom, then almost losing my life I decided I had done enough to punish myself. I am with a good man now. My anxiety and depression is not completely gone,but I see myself differently now and that has made all the difference. Good luck to you and God bless.

raised by sociopath

Thank you for sharing. Right now trying to start over again. Yes I understand what you’re saying about making excuses for people doing horrible things. I have the same issue dealing with now. The one time stood up for myself failing horribly. Tried at work to inform of an employee who started same day as me who told me my job belongs to her and she wanted me to quit. This woman harassed me big time. When I went to management about it the situation flipped and I was being harassed from management being told this woman has a lot of friends @ work and I’m terrible person for harassing her with going to management and other management informs me I need to quit and I’m a liar. Great(sarcasm)! Now my career is in trouble over maybe another sociopath with no conscience.


I have read in various publications, that normally (however, not always), if a woman has psychopathic tendencies, they will be passed down to the male child, via one of two X chromosomes. Females, however, will normally acquire psychopathic tendencies, via the father’s Y chromosome.


Thank you for this information. It is scary, but people need to know.

I lost custody of 2 children in anti-family court to a dangerous abuser who was diagnosed by the court as having a “personality disorder”. This man is an expert con–he has a lengthy criminal record & civil complaints stretching from his youth until now to prove it. No remorse. He views himself as the victim, fighting a heroic battle where the world is against him. He is attracted to young teenage girls bc they are easy to manipulate and control (as what happened to me).

I know my kids are suffering with their father, and justice has failed us. I refuse to believe or allow my kids to be what their father is. I do what I can to be in their life (very limited) or send messages–I let them know I love them, I tell them positive things about themselves, and I send them true stories of people who have overcome obstacles, or worked hard to make a positive difference in this world. I try to reinforce in my children 1) that they are loved & cared for 2) there is a much bigger world out there, that is far beyond the hell they are living in now and 3) you can overcome any difficulties–and show that by example.

I also take care of myself, and get support so all my venting, emotion and tears are shed BEFORE I see my kids. I don’t get to see them often so I make the best of each visit. I expose my kids to art and cultural events, take them to see or try new things, bring them to church or to be around people who live by morals, and values. All of this I believe is seeding in my children ideas, dreams and experiences they can use as a foundation to build a better life, and to have hope.

I really believe there are things we can do to fight against the harmful influences of a psychopathic parent, and to support our children to grow and mature in a healthy manner. I believe it is possible for children to grow beyond a parent. And I believe that teaching a child to think, and see the world in a larger context–and especially teaching that child to reason and have empathy for others is key to them overcoming the effects of a toxic parent.

My point– have hope!

Psychopathic parents or abusive parents and family court is a dangerous mix. Parents who try to protect their children from psychopathic/abusive parents are called protective parents. Most protective parents suffer from PTSD or Legal Abuse Syndrome as Dr. Karin Huffer calls it- among other trauma. The abusive parent often tries to ” brainwash” the child against the protective parent . We call this DV by proxy. Many protective parents are estranged from their children for years due to this. This is a heartbreaking situation and needs to be exposed as it is one of the worst forms of child abuse. Family courts need to be educated on this issue and held accountable so more children and protective parents do not suffer.


Both my parents are psychopaths, but both seem to have acquired this from conditioning rather than genetically (may have just decided to be heartless tyrants somewhere along the way…). None of their 3 biological children are psychopaths, me included. I am the eldest and their ‘favourite’; they’ve been competing over who’s going to win control over me all my life, repeatedly crushing me every step of the way in the process, of course. It’s almost like they’re addicted to torturing me, perhaps for them it’s a resemblance of what it could be like feeling pain. I’ve spent my adolescence in therapy, I suffer from a PTSD, anxiety and mild dissociative disorders. I never took any medication though I have made several suicide attempts before I was 21, then I moved literarily on the other side of the world. They managed to stay married for 16 years, but separation created a lot more difficulties for us as the children. My mother stopped breastfeeding me when I was 6 months old, palming me off to numerous questionable babysitters, so that she could have continued to be an actress. I was left overnight at the babysitters’ houses at least 4 times every week from 6 months till I was 6 yrs old. If they were on tour (yes, they’re both actors, quite lousy ones too), I’d have to stay there for weeks at a time. After 6 years and god knows how many babysitters, my first sister was born. Then mother decided to stay at home with her for 3 years. Not that I’d be jealous of that at all, I was annoyed by it, more that anything. I never got along with my mother, which combined with her career going straight down the drain, prompted her to begin a new 6-year era: beating the hell out of me as often as she could get her hands on me. My narcissistic father used to enjoy pretending he’s my protector from her, and as a result and with his help, I ran away from her to stay live with him, when I was 12. This went down under countless threats of being taken back to her by the Police, over a year long custodial battle, etc. I don’t see much benefit in going into details and the extend of the abuse inflicted on us, but they sure managed the lot: psychological, physical and father seemed to fit in even an alleged sexual molestation of my 8 yrs younger stepsister, for 3 years. I’m 34 now, still living on the other side of the world, having no contact with anyone from my family, but living with a loving and totally healthy partner of 4 years. It’s taken me all my life to crack this ‘nut’, so here it comes: I think being abandoned by mother as a baby, and the resulting brain development changes, have actually served to protect me from phycho mother upbringing damage. I struggled with not liking her and trying to force myself to develop some kind of a connection to her, but I never liked her or felt close to her anyway. All this stopped being a burden once I realised I couldn’t have developed a relationship with her because she wasn’t anywhere near me for the first 5 and a half years of my life. A lot more devastating blow for me was the father; when my stepsister told me he’s been molesting her for 3 years, I plunged deep into an 8-month long depression, attending 2 therapy sessions a week. On the other hand, two out of my 3 sisters are complete wrecks, having developed personality disorders way beyond any form of self-help. My third half-sister is only 14 now, but she does seems to be a bright, normal girl. I cut contact with her, in hope of shielding her a bit from increasing levels of manipulation and control, courtesy of our father, while he’d be trying to get his claws into me again. But it was when my body responded to an altercation with my sister, one that stayed with our mother, with a severe diarrhoea, I realised that hanging around my family might actually kill me. Sure, the everyday struggles to overcome my anxiety and PTSD and all the pain and suffering, must be probably the hardest thing I’ve endured so far. One thing is clear but – I’m not a psychopath. There are also other benefits I’ve noticed some time ago, one of them is that I can spot other psychopaths from miles away and there’s no way they can fool me, not for a second. Luckily, all the ones I’ve encountered so far really were of mediocre intelligence. Another thing is that other psychopaths tend to avoid me like a ‘plague’. I know this because they used to love my partner but all vanish like a bad smell if I show up. Unfortunately, this does not apply to my psychopathic parents, they can have me falling into pieces in a split second and probably will always be able to do so. But never mind that, I am very happy to be free, even at the expense of not having a family. I settled down on the other side of the Earth and I’m surrounded by some amazing people who seem to genuinely care for me and even love me. So step by step, I learn to accept this as a normal occurrence in my life, and such that won’t be ripped out of me as punishment for not meeting their needs, desires, wishes or fancies.


HI, I am a daughter of a psychopath and I could not agree with ProtectiveMothersAllianceInternational more. What mind-bending destruction to my soul and my entire life being the daughter of a psychopath has done. Disgusting!!

There is something which I see on your website here and I have seen on other websites which I just do not comprehend and think is an extremely damaging unfounded claim. That there is a psychopathic ‘gene’ that gets passed on. Where is the scientific evidence behind this?

Do victims of abuse need any more ignorance and lack of compassion.

Honestly it is shameful that I have to hear that!! There are other websites who have picked up on this and are slamming it, I hope you edit this out of your essay for being completely false and damaging to victims who have been through so much already now you want to attach a stigma to them! Unbelievable.


I can tell you how it has affected me to grow up with a father who was diagnosed with NPD in my 20’s, and a mother who is emotionally disturbed.

My father was casually cruel at times, my mother intentionally cruel sometimes, and the rest of the time they were just neglectful.

I can count on two hands the times I was taken to a doctor for care during my childhood. My brother and I literally had to be cut and bleeding, or curled in a fetal position in pain, before any adult decided we needed help. I can’t even tell if you if I’m properly immunized from diseases, but I suspect I did not have most of the shots recommended at the time. I had one pair of eyeglasses in the 2nd grade, and never again visited an eye doctor until I reached my 19th birthday and went on my own. Trips to the dentist? Once. At the age of 8 I taught myself how to do my own laundry by reading the inside lid of the washing machine and fiddling around with the settings on a dryer. I washed all the dishes and took care of our pets. My mother didn’t clean our home, so I did it when I could but it didn’t really help at all. By the time I was 14 I was working at a farmer’s market, paid under the table in cash, so I could buy my own clothes.

My parents owned Corvettes and pleasure boats. We weren’t poor.

I rarely had friends come to visit because I was embarrassed by our living conditions and by my parents themselves.

I hid in my room for about 9 years and only came out to eat or get ready for school. When I was 16 I started staying at my friends’ houses whenever I could.

My brother cut off his toes with a lawnmower at age 17 because my father ordered him to cut the steep backyard without proper shoes.

As a teenager, I lived in deep fear of embarrassing myself somehow. I had to think about what I wanted to say and do in public at all times before I would act. It was painful to subject myself to scrutiny, and I did everything I could to remain unnoticed. This issue still haunts me to this day. I do not want people to notice me. I can’t look people in the eye.

I started binge drinking at 17, and became sexually promiscuous not long after. I did not have a clue that these behaviors were in any way wrong, or dangerous, or unhealthy. I longed for true intimacy with another human being but went about it all the wrong ways.

I could go on like this for days. I think you get the point.

After a lifetime of failed relationships and mental anguish, I finally went to therapy in my 40s. That therapist told me that my parents weren’t safe and that I was a mess. I had to learn how to behave properly in relationships with other people. I had to learn right from wrong. I’ve had to learn how NOT to manipulate people and use them for my own purposes. I’ve had to learn how not to lie. I’ve had to learn that being abused is not acceptable. Most of all, I had to learn how to take care of myself both mentally and physically. You see, these things were all I’ve ever known. This insanity was my every day life for all of my childhood and most of my adulthood. Nobody ever taught me anything different. I learned from their examples.


I am the child of two narcissistic parents, though the extent of my mother’s traits are now proving to be worse than I’d known.
Through a bitter divorce my mother gained custody of the small children, me with my brothers and she moved in with a very shady, older, foreign man. Shortly afterwards, my brothers moved to live with dad and I remained with my mother. I endured alternating sexual abuse with psychological beatings by this man which my mother ignored but used me to offload her bitterness of the divorce with my father. Telling me endlessly that my father had wanted me aborted so I was thankful for my life only to her.
Back then she was beautiful, vain and able to gain pity from many people.
I never had friends over, was locked in my bedroom every night and at my fathers house at weekends felt more like a charity and undeserving of their lavish lifestyle. Indeed no effort was ever made to spend time or money on me.
I developed an extreme shyness around people but a love of art and animals, preferring their honest ways to mankind.
Every animal I owned during my childhood suffered a sad unnatural fate which my mother has caused either deliberately or ensuring that she ignored a vet’s advice which led to extreme pain and death. Controlling and overbearing beyond belief, I could not have a say in anything and memories of my animals has left me with pain. My pet now which my mother will never meet is loved and happy.
By thirteen I moved to live with dad and that was a hard few years, knowing of the abuse my father has always seen me as tarnished and virtually sneers at the sight of me. I have not been encouraged to defend myself in any way and have been bullied by one brother particularly who exhibits traits very similar to my mother and I’ve been bullied throughout school and my professional life. Though I appear as someone who has it all together, people see before long that I can be pushed out of most places and I’ve quit jobs continuously when colleagues mobbed or bullied me away.

Like Andrea, I moved overseas. Very far away. I love my home country but when I return revolting dramas ensue and my mother makes sure I get back on a plane in a hurry. I do not stay with her ever and prefer hotels with my partner than staying with any family.
My mother had another son with the stepfather who has turned out to be the worst kind of criminal as that man’s past son.
I have fears frequently.
Most recently my grandmother has moved into a nursing home which is close to my mother and as she was living far from my mother in the past, my mother now has control over everything. She did not tell me when my grandmother who is very dear to me, went into hospital until the second last day of the month stay but everyone else knew. I had been calling my grandmother’s home from overseas for a long time oblivious to the fact that something had happened. My mother has been the only source of information to me on the family throughout many years. All the letters to my grandmother I’ve sent from overseas are now with my mother.

My grandmother has declining health and I want to see her again but know already that my mother will stage an awful drama. She wants me to have no contact with my grandmother, is trying to end our bond through things she is doing, and became livid over last year when I gained a long lost communication with one of my brothers. Particularly as I revealed one of the drunken, ranting letters my mother was sending me weekly full of endless tirades of the divorce from my father.

My mother is an alcoholic, scorns anyone with wealth, has lost her beauty and became unhealthily fat, whines to this day about the divorce with my father and took jabs at me when I used to speak to her. She is the embodiment of hatred, laughs at my healthy and vegan lifestyle, has never admitted or accepted her responsibility in my childhood problems or openly acknowledged the sexual abuse though things which went on in the house with the stepfather instigated her entirely.

I have a loving partner who has been by me for a number of years now, we are in our thirties, though he is not familiar with the kinds of traumas which a family like mine can cause. I share all facts of my life with him and he does not hold me responsible for the way I was abused and neglected and tries to understand the way it carries over in adulthood, making me shy and avoiding.

I never took action against that man in my childhood after I confessed that it happened and that has led me to feel like a coward. I have only recently sought some therapy against trauma but rely mostly on self help and learning from others, so I am grateful to the site and others who have shared their stories in this way.


PatriciaA, I can relate to a lot of what you’re saying about your mother. I don’t know if I am more aware now, or if she’s losing the ability to wear the mask of sanity, but my mother has become so much worse in her older years. Most everyone she knows has shunned her quietly and she has nobody but immediate family left. I look at her face and see the pinched features, and deep frown lines, caused by a lifetime of discontent and contempt for the world. Her actions only fortify what I see in her face. My adult children have become a target of her malice because I have essentially disengaged from her. She intentionally sows anger and resentment between my two sons. She intentionally manufactures drama. She’s a puppet master pulling their strings. No amount of confrontation with her, or begging my sons to ignore it, will stop this madness. She outright hates my 12 year old daughter because the two of us are emotionally bonded and that takes my attention away from HER. I think deep inside her she hates all of us, yet she will not willingly let any of us go because she needs to feed from us. It is evil. Pure evil.


Onmyown, I really feel for you with this situation, the things you describe are very similar.
I hope the emotional bonds with your children remain strong and that your sons can find a way to separate from the actions of your mother.
That is so hard to do when the person causing pain is family. It’s almost impossible to accept that anyone could want to harm the people they should hold dearest.

I just stumbled upon this post and your comments, and I have to say that I feel so much empathetic hurt and worry and anxiety over your experiences. I am “co-parenting” with a sociopath—if you can call it that—and I worry every day about my children and their future lives.

Every time you reach out, you touch someone like me. And that helps me hope that my kids can grow up and out of this—and away from this web. I’m so sorry for what you’ve experienced. Every bit of recovery matters. It’s a ripple effect.

Many thanks for sharing,

H.G. Beverly


Wow. Such a good post. It prompted me to join this site.

I’m the son of a sociopath. My mother is mainly guilty of neglect.

I was exposed to everything in this post. When I was really young, I really loved my father; I enjoyed spending time with him. I went out of my way, to spend time with him, but, by the time I was in third grade, I’d started developing a fear of him.

He’d take me with him to work, or just tag along, without warning. He’d just say “Let’s go,” and get upset if I asked where we were going. – any time of day, any day of the week, and sometimes we’d be out all day.
Sometimes I could get away with pretending to be sleep, but there were times when he’d wake me up, just to take me somewhere, and I wouldn’t dare ask where we were going.

I’d get whippings – lots of them, until I was welted, for small things. Maybe I left a toy on the kitchen table. He also had a tendency to walk into my room, and just start whipping me until I figured out why – following me around, until I started doing the task. – never saying a word, before or after.

He put me in a lot of stressful situations where I was breaking the law, or have me in control of some expensive or dangerous equipment, and yell at me, or insult me, insisting that I was weak, or it was easy, or use some sort of threatening statement like – “If you don’t hold that chainsaw right, you’ll cut your balls off.”

My younger sister became my responsibility, to the point that anything that she did “wrong” was blamed on me. If she didn’t speak loudly enough in public, my father would say that I’d rubbed off on her.

I was also made to be cruel to our pets. To train our dogs to walk on a leash, my father would have me yank the leash, pull the dog, yelping, by the throat. Slap him, hit his paw with a rock, to teach him how to “handshake”. I felt terrible, but I also knew that if I didn’t train the dog well, then it’d be taken out on me.

I was afraid to express any emotion around my father. If I cried he’d insult me (or ignore it). Also, he’d whip me until I cried, then whip me to get me to stop crying; so, I learned to turn it on and off.
If I got angry, I’d get whipped.
If I expressed a lot of joy, he would usually do something that would make me unhappy (often making an insulting joke and laughing about it).

He’d insulted my mother, who was very passive about everything. If I ever told my mother my feelings, in private, it was likely that she’d tell them to him, and he’d embarrass or insult me with them later.

I became extremely confused. He called my mother lots of things – mostly stupid, liar, thief (the last two are actually quite true, and I noticed that, by my teens, since she forged the signatures of my sister and I, to drain our bank accounts, and has done lots of other things). He was very strict about me NOT lying, but he lied to people frequently, and wanted me to learn how to put on an act for people (especially “white people”).

Past about…4th or 5th grade, neither of my parents were active in helping me with school work. I had to teach myself a majority of what I knew (including morals), and I didn’t have any close friends. I became really withdrawn, got bullied. I honestly was in fear, every second I was awake. I was harming myself and warming up to suicide, before I even understood what all that meant.

I remember being about 10 years old, and tying a rope around a tree limb, and my neck, and running with the rope around my neck, to choke myself.

At 16, I had fallen in love with a girl, for the first time, but she didn’t feel the same, and that, on top of everything else going on, caused a “mental breakdown”. I developed major depression. I fought with my mother, before she was okay with me staying at a healthcare center.

Long story short, I’m 29, and I am still, very much dealing with the effects. I have serious social anxiety, mild agoraphobia – there are things about me that I can’t tell if they’re “me” or my father. I have troubles coping with reality, for instance (once considered schizophrenia – downgraded to schizoaffective).

I don’t understand what a loving family is like. I’m very uncomfortable with expressing joy or definitely sadness. It’s really difficult for me to connect with people emotionally (I always feel like I care for them, but they don’t care for me)

– getting a job is always frightening. Career/life-goal wise, I’m behind the norm. I have no desire to have children, and very little desire to get married.

I’m still working on myself, but it’s a constant battle, where I feel like I’m only gaining an inch at a time.

Therapy is the only place I’ve ever been able to talk about my life, and I still have a lot of unexpressed feelings, because fear kept me silent, when I was younger. Most frustrating is that, as an adult, most people have not taken my experiences seriously, and just call me weak, lazy, or think I should simply snap out of all of this.


To me, you sound dissociated ‘living in your head’ dp/dr

Check this out, it could help you heaps


I am not sure if my father was a sociopath. Probably. What concerns me more is how I have attracted so many psychopaths into my life that have cost me heartache and financial loss. I do know that I was daddy’s little girl, but when I reached adolescence he had no use for me, except to criticize me. I stopped talking to him around age 13, and rarely spoke to him afterwards. Quite a challenge as I was an only child. He picked on me, my mother, and made fun of my grandmother — my mother’s mother. He also was an alcoholic, but his drinking was very controlled, all day, no benders. Maybe that is sociopathic drinking, always seemingly in control. He was also very two-faced. Silent and angry with family members, but always put on a good friendly “front” for company. Obsessed with guns, refused to get medical treatment for his problems as well. But always went to work, up, almost to the end to a good, professional job. He passed when I was 21 of cirrhosis, and my comment to my mother was “good, he will not be able to hurt me anymore.” There were episodes of his rage, yelling and slamming doors, and a lot of mortality about right and wrong, probably because he was a preacher’s kid and belonged to the Masons. I just know that I felt suicidal during adolescence at times and that my mother just closed up into herself and was very depressed.

So, I grew up depressed, except my artistic interests were my salvation. My mother really encouraged this. After my father died, my mother blossomed and found a new relationship. I did a lot of expressive types of psychotherapy, made peace with my mother, and him, I guess, and turned into a friendly, talkative person who is still very interested in the arts and would have done really financially well for myself career wise, except for two tangles with sociopaths in the workplace, both costing me good jobs and periods on unemployment. And, of course had a major relationship with a sociopath that ended up in being stalked. I am just thinking that dear old dad must have had these characteristics, otherwise I would not have been so drawn to sociopathic situations again and again. I am happy to say that now I think I am sociopath free, and if I even suspect this pattern of behavior from someone, I will withdraw my involvement from that person.

Not in a relationship now, but I have to say that I feel healthy, have radar for sociopaths, can help others recognize these problems in their lives with sociopaths, but currently have great regrets for how sociopaths have cost me financially and relationship wise. But, hopeful about the future.

There is a way that all of this can make us stronger and more spiritual.


I’m a bit late to this game but after recently being discarded (thank goodness) by yet another sociopath boyfriend, I’ve begun reflecting even more on my mother’s sociopathy. Many of the things that folks mention here are also true for my mother, though some I hadn’t recognized as being common among sociopath parents:

— sowing discord between children and grandchildren (my mother AND my grandmother both manipulate the family members like this, putting themselves in the middle of all relationships. I’m fighting this and trying to get my siblings to see what’s happening now that we’re adults and cut our mother out from the middle of our relationships.)

— treating their children like possessions. My mother recently flew off the handle and said that her children have sucked her dry. That she used to earn [an exorbitant income] and she has nothing to show for it. This in spite of the fact that all of her adult children are successful (beautiful family for the oldest, high academic achievement for the next, successful career for the 3rd, etc.) which is what *normal* parents consider “having something to show for” their lives!

Anyway, I keep asking myself WHY I end up in romantic relationships with sociopaths (2 now and let’s hope we’re done counting!). I think I may have just figured it out. It’s not that sociopathic boyfriends (or girlfriends) start out acting like they ARE sociopaths! Of course we all know they go through the entire whirlwhind courtship, mirroring and all of that. And let’s face it: When it’s GOOD with a sociopath, it’s AMAZING. Let’s be honest. They make us feel SO special, SO loved, SO beautiful, SO appreciated, etc.

And, thinking back, that’s exactly how it was with my mother. I would be desperately waiting for any crumb of affection or love. And when she had some sort of agenda and felt that acting loving would help her to get what she wanted, man could she talk the talk!!!! It was like the SUN coming out after a long, grey winter!!

So I think children of sociopaths get used to this “all or nothing”, extreme version of hot/cold and…we don’t recognize “normal” (aka: REAL) affection and love for what it is!

I’m just thinking about this for the first time, but I think this may be the key. I know that if a man isn’t immediately enamored of me, just absolutely head-over-heels (or seemingly so), then that’s it. I don’t *understand* steady, normal love… I think I need to get over my psychological addiction to the whirlwind and learn to recognize the actual signs of genuine interest from a guy. That is, NOT interest from a sociopath or narcissist.

Definitely something for me to think about (and discuss with my therapist!). Hope maybe this insight can be interesting to others as well!! Hang in there everyone!


At 28, I have just found out that my entire family except me, are psychopaths. I discovered it because it was literally boyfriend #4 with the same traits I didn’t recognise because I have been trained to view all incidents that happen to me through a veil of self-blame.

My mother and father would be what you’d consider mild psycopaths, and my brother is a violent psychopath. Both of my living grandparents and many relatives are also psycopaths. I used to think my family was intelligent, calm and non-judgmental about appearance, but could never explain their meanness or arrogance. Now I know I was on one side of the window where love existed, trying to reach them on the other side, were it did not.

I survived, as a starving child would, on scraps of what was useful. I developed a self-protection system that involved shutting down emotional expression, avoidance, quick and clever defences for every scapegoating exercise, distracting them with jokes and things they liked, overachieving so they could then take credit and could have no excuse to shame me, and building social networks so I didn’t rely on them. I’m out now and it has been three years since my post-traumatic stress breakdown and shock of about two years. My attachment and psychological damage is still strong. How can I build a self with what makes sense to me, knowing it is one-sided, and the people I loved and based my decisions on reciprocated nothing at all?

It feels empty. Being a journalist, I’ve come to be very accepting of trauma and the complexity of what is possible in life. I view this very objectively (a skill I inherited from the psychopaths) and distance myself from the pain. But being the softie and sweet little girl I am inside, I can’t pretend I have not been absolutely crushed and destroyed from the experience. It is still a challenge to separate myself from the ‘story’ of our family from my mother, and the ‘reality’ of “nobody in this world has got your back” and “none of them truly loved you”.

I based so many decisions on pleasing them and still do. I don’t know if I can change because there is so much about their (fake) values that I admired and live by today. While I became a little (old woman) to cope and took authority, I really just can’t believe my own parents are so ill and should not be listened to at all.

I’m so sad because I love children and want to have my own, but I pray not to give birth to the devil.

I’d like to add that I think psychopaths are underrepresented in statistics. It is not 1 in 25, but many more. Throughout my life I count 35 that I have been very close friends with, lived with or worked with. These people are all ‘larger than life’, you will never forget them and they have inspired me no end. They have made me both stronger in what I do but weaker in how much I love myself and how much I trust in the world.

I try to say, what is, is. It is not personal that this has happened to me but what I do take personally in society’s lack of willingness to educate people. How much of my health and life could have been spared if I knew the signs and had some techniques to avoid taking onboard the destructive beliefs they planted, because I thought they had my best interests at heart. You just don’t expect to encounter this. How could we not be resourced and educated, and if they are worried about being ‘judged’ – accept sociopathy is a reality and these people need assistance?

I am in Australia. As I mentioned, there are 35 in my city and I’m sure many more in the world that are destroying people’s last threats of hope that they wake up and participate in the world with. This is too important to ignore and I hope scientists tackle this and health organisations issue some useful advice.


Hey star_al,

Wow, I feel for you, it was just my father who was psychopathic, I can’t imagine what it must have been like to grow up without any sort of reference point for love. I hope you found it in the friendships that you built.

It’s funny to read what you say as I am also a writer and used exactly the same tactics as you to defend my self. High achievement, witty repartee, etc, etc. I also lived at friends houses and was home as little as possible.

My mother also suffers with codependency and gave me some seriously unhealthy messages about love and sex. Sometimes I think that it’s easier to pinpoint the psychopathic thinking than it is to deal with the rubbish in my mind that was put there under the guise of love and care.

Anyway, I digress :). I completely empathise with what you say about developing a sense of self. After leaving an abusive marriage with another psychopath, it took me years and years to develop this. However, I just wanted to say that it can be done. You sound very cohesive to me but I know that the outside appearances do not reflect the emptiness you may feel. When your parents don’t help you to develop a healthy sense of who you are, it feels you are left with a hole where your heart should be. You flip and switch and change, all because you don’t have a consistent ‘knowing’ of what you feel or believe.

You’re likely to have a ton of negative thoughts, fears and anxieties running through your mind. The first stage is to recognise and control these. Meditation helps with this. However, the root cause of these thoughts will need to be explored, probably with a professional to make sure you are safe and not dealing with this stuff alone.

The second is to start to work out who you are and what you love. When you spend so many years pretending to be something you are not, removing the mask leaves a void. I didn’t even know what music I liked! Seriously, we all had dreams once. Even if it was just to dance, or play music. So I started with these things, those that I should have done as a child but was never given chance to.

I’m now training to be a psychologist and will use what I have learned from my family to help others in the situation I once was. At least then it serves some form of purpose, I guess..

In my opinion, psychopathy should be screened for, however, the field is unlikely to shift in this direction, so like you say, the only way to move forward is to raise awareness. I’m going into the research field and want to work to help victims recognise healthy and unhealthy love, removing negative messages and offering healthier alternatives. So, I hope that it helps to know that there are people out there who are trying to fix this.

Good luck in your journey. The sensitive part of you that you were forced to hide is who you truly are. You just have to set it free.


Donna, thank you so much for writing this article. I have been desperately trying to find information on being the daughter of a psychopathic father and it is near next to impossible. I am finally beginning to understand why he is they way he is, however, it is very difficult to accept. I was raised fundamentalist Baptist, with the 10 commandments being shoved down our necks on a daily basis and I must admit I find it difficult to let go and detach when I have been raised with Honor they father and thy mother. Can you help me out with this.

Also, I would love to be in contact with star_al if that is possible.

Thank you for what you are doing to create awareness of this most desperately needed information.


This is the first time I am going to formally write out my story, even though I have been verbalising it to selected people for just less than a year now. I am 45 years old, never married, single for the last 11 years and no children. I have been trying to untangle the confusion of my inner world since I was about 27 when I began a degree in psychology. I worked on an Eating disorder unit for a year as part of that and had to see a therapist as I developed panic attacks and was overwhelmed by the stories of abuse the patients were disclosing. I began to wonder why I hadn’t become one of them? I consciously knew that my parents were emotionally unhealthy from at least my teenage years, and left home at 17. I had always been told that my mother was unstable, in fact she had attempted suicide twice during my childhood. My father had always made sure we walked on eggshells around her. My mother had had an affair when I was 3 and my brother was 1. There had been talks of divorce and I remember finding the papers. I knew that their marriage was a torture and this was my blueprint for relationships. I consistently chose emotionally abusive and unavailable men and had my heart stamped on so many times that I simply shut down to the possibility of being in love. I began training in psychotherapy at age 32, and ate up the 3 1/2 years of art psychotherapy I had for myself. By then I had understood that my mental illness symptoms were OCD, neurosis, paranoid thoughts and persecution complex. I had also written a play about the lost relationship between mother and daughter due to the controlling mediation of the father. I always sided with my father, and believed my mother to be the cause of all my problems. She expected me to take responsibility for her mental and physical wellbeing, was extremely manipulative and passive aggressive, always ill with something and guilt -tripped me for being alive. I continued with lots of self help and personal development, have done yoga and meditation for years, follow Buddhist and pagan principles in my own life and have always yearned for a sense of community and children of my own. It is at 45 years old, after one and a half years of psychic / intuitive development work, and 13 years of seeing my inner world mirrored in the faces of each class of children I teach, that I have realised the awful truth. My mother. who passed away 4 years ago now, which was a relief, was not actually the problem, even though her own narcissistic behaviour was damaging in itself. I have woken up to the truth that my dad, who I have idolised and seen as my only true confidante and protector, has all this time been a psychopath. Such a infinite web of lies and manipulation have been spun my whole life, leading me to believe that no one in the world can really be trusted, only fathers. I have dealt with issues of his ownership over my body with his comments and humiliation. I have observed and reacted against the way he always humiliated and belittled any guy I was going out with. I have observed and retaliated over the meanness he showed my mother. He was an utter bastard to her and always said it was because she had betrayed him. I had been telling them to get divorced for years but they seemed to like the pain they inflicted on each other. It is not until now, now that he is 72 and his mask is slipping, and his health is failing, that I see the way he looks at me, and it gives me the creeps. It is not until now that I have understood how he used me as an emotional crutch and replaced my mother with me from age 3. I was to be the complete confidante for him, never betraying, never leaving him, until of course this became inconvenient as it got in the way of his new relationship that started before my mother died. I am still in the dark about the exact ways in which he reinforced his control and manipulation over me, I only know it with all of my heart that he is poison. I haven’t had actual verbal contact with him for 8 months, though he panicked and tried to keep texting. Thankfully he lives in another country. his texts became weirder and weirder, no compassion, he repeated the exact words I had used. I was advised by the psychic I have been working with, who also has a Psychopath for a father, to remain neutral, not to get into any game playing or emotional responses and to cut contact. She said he would eventually get bored if he realised he had lost control. I haven’t had a strange text since April this year, but he has sent a message via a mutual friend on fb to tell me he needs a hip operation and would love to hear from me. I have put in a clear boundary there and asked her not to get involved. I have also begun tell some extended family members that I am no longer in contact with him. It’s such a big deal to stop contact with your parents. This summer is the first summer in 13 years that I won’t be going there for a holiday and all the losses that that involves really hurt. I have begun to question and research whether he really is to make sure I’ve done the right thing, even though I know I have, it’s just so awful. My brother has always been estranged from the family and he hasn’t spoken to me for 4 years. I am literally alone except for some good friends who I can tell, but I still keep it brief because it’s not for polite conversation. I am going back to finish my child psychotherapy qualification because it is now possible for me to even contemplate what else I might uncover in my inner world. I have felt emotionally safe for the first time in my life since I stopped speaking to him on a weekly basis. I have moved house and he doesn’t know where I am. I have begun on a new journey to discover who I actually am without the constraints of someone else’s control. I have only ever been able to define myself in terms of rebellion and defensive behaviour. I really want to meet a partner. I do attract predators still, but I see them quickly. I know my inner world is changing as I have enormous compassion for myself and am kind to myself. I know I have been manipulated and that it runs deep. I don’t know who I am yet but I’m enjoying the freedom to find out. I too have read tons about the psychopath and feel informed and have begun to release any self-blame. I feel like my life has just started. I just hope it’s not too late to have a child, but to be honest, to find love and friendship with people who really care for me is the real goal. Then I will know he has failed to tarnish my view of the world. I would love to hear comments from other survivors or any advice on how to stay focussed on keeping no contact in those moments when needing a parent clouds the reality. Love & Light. G xxxxxxxx


G, I am V, a survivor. I am lucky compared to you as I knew from very early on that mother was “sick” and I rebelled. I read Kahlil Gibran in 1st Grade (age 6 or 7?) “your children are not your children” … but I had to finish growing up underneath her to survive and survive I did. Always ready, growing, searching for more info to “know” that I was at least on the right path – of being normal – since I had no idea what normal was. She turned the rest of the family against me since I was “the bad one” as she introduced me as an adult to others. I told her face to face that if she didn’t learn to respect me that I, too (my oldest brother has not spoken to her for 15 years at that point) was not going to speak to her again. She was respectful for almost 2 full weeks. I gave it a bit more time and eventually I was just able to let her go and refused to ever speak to her again. It wasn’t hard for me because I had always felt that I truly never had a mother – not a real mother. I envy those who have but do not dwell on it. I did have a son, now have 2 grandchildren – boys – and guess what – my son married a narcissist/psycho 1st time and I have my suspicions about his now second wife although I am not sure. I am here to help the children. I broke the cycle only to have it return. I live for my grandchildren. My son loved me and we were close and we did ok and my grandsons love me and we do ok. I feel that I have to show them the way, the right way so that they too are lucky enough to come out of this without too many bruises. I had EMDR for PTSD. And it worked very well. God bless the angels of therapy! I continue to seek the truth until I pass from this earth. Love and care for yourself with God’s help first, then you will be able to project that love. Read Karla McLaren – she will help teach you about empathy, read the Solo if you are of Christian faith – it has guided me well. Search for the angels that can help and love the animals. Peace, V


WOW, you sound a lot like me, only I am Male and it was my Mom. I was the youngest with 2 older sisters. My sisters figured out something was wrong and married to escape right out of High School. My mother had me fooled and under her control until I was in my 50’s. Once I started questioning her she turned on me. After she passed I started working on my Dad’s genealogy which had been his hobby while alive. He was Norwegian. I had my DNA tested and I am 95% English/Irish. There was a family rumor that my oldest sister was not his, so I had her test and she came back as my 1/2 sister. Since my mom never hid the fact that she had tried to abort me, I then suspected that I may not be my Dad’s as well, so I had my middle sister test and she came back as my full sister. But once again the genealogy did not match our Dad’s. After more research and a bit of luck and help. I discovered who our bio dad was. I also found that Mom had 2 children she had abandoned in Australia (she was a war bride) and my bio-dad had 2 children near us in California. the poor dad who raised us had no bio-kids (as he thought he did). There was no love in our house and we 3 pretty much raised ourselves. Once @ 5 I got lost at a community picnic 3 miles from home and just figured they forgot me and found my own way home (long walk) but never got upset or thought there was anything wrong.
Mom always flirted with my sisters boyfriends and drove my girlfriends away. When my oldest sister had children, she undermined her relationship and manipulated her way into getting custody of her children. she tried the dame with my middle sister and my oldest children. Turning them against us and their younger siblings.
I used to think she did this trying to replace the children she left in Australia, but I now know it was to get more little people to control.
The worst for me is we did not get the parenting skills you get from a healthy family life and this has passed on to 2 more generations now. I can see several direct descendants from Mom, with some of her traits, one grandchild is dead on and one great grandchild I am really wondering about. My sisters and I are all in our 60’s and still healing. The damage our mother did is so far spread the only way I can describe her is evil. Her genes are very strong.
It is healing to have stumbled across this forum with others who had these sicko’s to grow up with.
The Pain my mother has caused has destroyed the lives of many.


I am very close to your age and have a lot in common with you. My dad is a sociopath too and he also damaged me, my mom, and to a lesser extent, my brother. My mom damaged both of us kids pretty badly too. I finally recognized my dad’s true condition in my mid thirties, gradually realizing there was something very wrong and it wasn’t me.
What a relief to read another story like mine and feel a tiny bit less alone.
Thanks for putting it out there.


I am interested in the “heredity” factor. I have a granddaughter that has a Narc father, who has not been in her life since she was 3 1/2 months old (his choice of course),she is now 20 months old. She is living with my husband and myself and her mother. She is a loving, joyful child who loves us, her puppy, her dollies, and pretty much anyone. She is sociable, we have taken her lots of different places and exposed her to lots of different people and circumstances. She can be very strong willed. My husband (her grandfather) had heard that this psycopathy can be hereditary…any one know anything about this?


I have a son with Borderline Personality Disorder. Before he was born, his father’s psychiatrist told me he was a psychopath.

There was no public information at the time about what that meant or the impact of a parents psychopathy on a child. There was not even an internet. I knew, however, that my ex was an endangerment to both me and my son. He had kidnapped his two children by a previous marriage, and the last thing I wanted was to expose my son to that risk.

I’ve conducted a great deal of research since then and am far more aware today than I was while raising my child.

Having an emotionally disturbed parent puts your grandchild “at-risk” for developing a character disorder. What this basically means is that emotional empathy, the central component of morality and conscience, is produced by oxytocin. As a neurotransmitter in the brain, the quantity of it, and her response to it, can be determined by her DNA.

You have a short window of opportunity to create emotional empathy for your grand daughter. It would be best to read Dr. Liane Leedom’s book, “Just Like His Father” to understand how to best go about developing emotional empathy. Often, parents will see signs of lack of empathy as their child develops. I saw it in mine, but simply thought it would kick-in as he matured. I was wrong.

Providing a very nurturing, warm environment is the best way to accomplish the creation of emotional empathy.

My son was abandoned by his father. As an infant, there was not a dime of child support. I had to work long hours to keep a roof over his head, food in his tummy and clothes on his back. He was left in the care of Nannies a great deal of the time.

Because you are all part of a loving, warm family, you have a far better shot at building emotional empathy in your grandchild. It is extremely important to conduct your interaction with her in the most emotionally supportive way possible. Hugs, laughter, time and caring are your best weapons against psychopathy.

People think that not having a psychopathic father around is the best thing for the child. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily so. There is a tremendous void in a child’s life when a parent disappears, and it can cause them to become oversensitive to abandonment, which factors heavily in creating Borderline Personality Disorder. The abandoned child can grow up to become an abandoner and have difficulty bonding.

Emotional empathy is not something that is taught to a child. It is something that develops within the child’s brain. Learn how to foster emotional empathy and you will be on your way to defeating the demons that being at “high-risk” presents.

Wishing you and your grand daughter a bright and happy future.



Thank you for your support.
Since my post I have either recognized more sociopaths in my friendship group and in a sharehouse I was in.

They are simply crawling everywhere!

I feel very confused. Every single person close to me growing up did not love me back. I always thought my chronic fatigue and depression and anxiety were in my head.

Now I know it was a very good physical alarm system. I can’t erase the past but I have no idea how to rebuild. My whole identity is psychopath enabler. AND I find it hard to let go of the good they did or how very well they knew my needs. I now know it didn’t come from love but from narcissism and possession.

The way I see the world, people and myself is almost identical to a psychopath, only I don’t act on what I notice.

Does it make me one too?

I still find it hard to deal with emotive, irrational people. I just get my job done without asking for anything and I don’t understand victims who deliberately avoid solutions for attention.

I guess it’s nearly 30 years of programming and I can’t even begin to understand where the manipulation stops and starts.

The good thing is that they let me run free. I’m very creative and they always encouraged it, so I have confidence in my artistic judgement. I’m articulate because my mum loved stories. We had so many fun times together. I know she may have been acting but she is still probably my favourite person (or persona) in the world. Everything I know that is good and that people compliment me on, I learned from her.

I still find it hard to label them as ‘bad’. I know they have bad driving them mentally, but there are many similarities in what they feel and see. It might not be the full experience, but at least they know it. As they age, they no longer want to try to ignore their illness and they can’t be bothered with the pretense. I can also understand this too. If they are ill, they are ill and if joining in with the world is too hard then they should rest.

I think the illness is complex. I thoroughly believe it’s genetic as my brother was born this way and my cousins were definitely born this way. They were hyper-alert, too intelligent, fearless and cunning.

I know now that my affection for my family is OK. We had some really good times and some REALLY good laughs. I still love them, if not just for the memories of how their presence turned me into who I am, which is a good person. I resent them for the abuse, of course, but how can I be angry at them for being ill? That is like being angry at a paraplegic for not walking.

Of course I still want to call them but I have to accept the person I knew is gone, and that is the cycle of life.

I encourage anyone overcoming psychopath relationships to remind yourself again and again, do not take the behavior personally. You are well, and they are ill. They are ill, they are ill, they are ill. And all of the great things were still great, but it is a complicated situation that you did not cause. The only thing to do is not be angry at yourself, at them (when you are over your initial reactions) and just be at peace with nice people.

yes I am happy to connect with anyone who wants. I have experience of at least 35 psychopaths and know them well. Heck, I must be half a psychopath, it’s all I know!


Psychopaths are not “ill.” Far from it! But they make the people around them “ill.”

Psychopaths are DISORDERED.

Here is the difference…. An illness can be remedied or improved upon. An illness is not an innate part of a person’s morality. It is not part of the person’s wiring. Depression, PTSD. etc, are forms of illness.

Psychopathy is a disorder. It cannot be fixed. A person with psychopathy can act “normal” if and when they decide to, but their innate character is to disregard the well-being of others whenever it suits them to do so. They have NO CONSCIENCE.

People with character disorder can be charming, funny, and appealing. BUT… they are incapable of love.

It is a pity that you grew up surrounded by them. It is a testament to the fact that the disorder is genetic at its base.

Just like you can’t be “a little pregnant,” you can’t be “a little psychopathic.” Either you have emotional empathy for others and a conscience, or you don’t.

Not everyone who is born to a psychopath becomes a psychopath. Please see: for an explanation of how pyschopathy develops in children.



Awesome! Thank You!


Hi Joyce,

Yes I agree with you completely. The right term is necessary but ill was my word for describing what I saw. After four years, I saw my brother in a restaurant yesterday. He stared at me blankly and it was absolutely no character. Not only no light, but nothing that would form a personality. He was simply a machine with hair. He sent chills up my spine because the way he was looking around was like he wanted to do something dangerous. That’s why I agree with people who call a sociopath a “thing”. That’s what they are and that’s why it’s so distressing to realise the person you have been next to is fake.

I agree on the pregnancy analogy. You are born a psychopath or you are born an empathic person. The way your character develops may differ but there is no “spectrum”. i argued with a therapist on this before I realised he was proudly (in analogies) revealing that he was a psychopath to me. He then encouraged me to be a therapist as I was so insightful (ego stroking).

The fact is, they will say anything to play down what they are. The common ones I’ve heard is “everybody sees things differently” and “it’s not all about you” and “we all have different levels of attachment”. the “spectrum” is a lie. The way the lack of empathy and remorse is hidden is on a spectrum. But psychopathy is not on a spectrum. The things that motivate us to get up and live are simply missing inside them.

Agreed- I think there are two kinds of people in the world…. those that have emotional empathy, and those that don’t. And the numbers of people who lack it is startling.

I see it in how people react to my book or the law we’re trying to legislate on sexual assault by fraud. It’s very revealing to me who gets it, and who doesn’t. When they don’t, I’m tempted to ask “How many women have you lied to in order to seduce them?”

And it’s not just men that don’t get it. There are lots of women who think that if you don’t know it, it can’t be rape… just like CeeLo Green’s comment that it can’t be rape if your victim is asleep.

It takes a lack of empathy to scoff at the victim’s right to self determination over their most intimate core.


Hi, star_al! What you tell is very close to me. I know the belief: they are not so bad. It took too many years to understand they are just manipulative, and their ‘good’ behaviour is a part of their game. We are dolls for them, they don’t want to admit we are individualities with feelings, emotions and needs. So, I started a blog where I share my experience with psychopaths. I grew up in psychopathic family and it wasn’t so amusing to be among them. So I want more people to know the hell I lived in and maybe to avoid my mistakes to give all of them the chance of being better people :))) You can see my thoughts here:


I am co parenting with a sociopath.. He my daughter’s father. He claims to be a minister of God but yet is so deceptive! He makes up lies to my daughter about me. He finds any little thing to speak bad about me to my daughter, She is only *8years old. I feel I am a good Mother and it is so horrible he makes up lies about me to my daughter. Almost like he wants her to hate me. I am so glad my daughter is a smart little girl and always defends me and says No daddy do not say that about mommy. I wonder if there is any literature on dealing with a sociopath parent? Does anyone have any suggestions? Also I am not in agreement with his cult like religion and the way those ministers con the people out of a lot. I just do not want my daughter to be part of that shadiness.


Hi princessleonor. This site has lots of good articles and tons of comments and insights from others with experience dealing with this beast. Learn as much as you are able to. There is a site called lightshouse that is geared towards helping those children of disordered parents. You are absolutely on target in mentioning the cult like aspects. Dr David McDermot explains this well on his site Because of the mind control even a one on one relationship with someone psychopatic can be considered as a cult. Be as calm as you can be considering what you are dealing with. Don’t let him poison your heart. If he sees that you are on to his scam he will likely go to great extremes to isolate you, discredit you, frame you for things you did not do, ect. Mine did everything she could to drive me to a mental breakdown. When that didn’t work she and her feigning pseudoChristians smeared me there. They usually play the crazy card. I don’t attend those congregations anymore. Too much deception. Sadly for now that is a toxic place for me. I drive a bit further to a congregation that so far feels more authentic. I may have to move further since she and the rest of the gaslighting sect are extremely influential over a large part of the state I live in. For now I have a bit of peace. I have learned not to take that for granted. Given what you have said about the corruption and hypocrisy you have seen in the congregation don’t be shocked if he has allies and or minions who will back up his deceptions. In the first century when the Christian congregations were newly formed Annanias and Saphira were willfully deceiving others to glorify themselves. It did not go well for them. When people not only lie like Annanias and Saphira, but also exploit others, and then when given opportunity to repent, instead redouble their efforts to evade accountability, that is willful wickedness. They will pay one day for their chosen course. Unlike the slippery ever changing moral standards of society as a whole, God does not adjust his standard of right and wrong. He is as disgusted by all this as you and I are. Your mission now is to guide and protect your daughter as best you can and to show her by your actions the right path.


Hi 4light2shine,
Thank You for the resources and responding, I thought I was alone in this situation with con in the church. I am not the type to judge anyone but I have experienced so much evil with my ex husband the so called minister that it has me so what not wanting to be involved in any christian organization. I believe some people are good but those good ones always get conned by the sociopath leader. It is hard to believe and it almost sound bad saying but it is true. My ex husband while I was pregnant cheating on me with two other women in the church. He would not allow me at the prayer meetings or fellowship with his group. He would tuck me away and rejected me always. He as a minister and others that have no problem taking money from hard working people, to travel the world. They will not go to a city that is poor they always go to cities that people have money or is a tourist city. They brainwash people to accept the crap they do and keep and keep quiet because it is not sweet to judge others. I mean my ex husband makes up so many stories and that they have dreams and God is talking to them and telling things. It is just creepy. They want everyone to send them money so they can travel and they do not even work and I had to go to child support court because he refused to help with his daughter. He has new followers and they are being so conned, it sad, some not all because I know of two in the group that exploit people and it just a business for them. It is ridiculous. I was concerned about these people but I have decided to just let it be, my obligation is to my daughter and I do not bad mouth her father but I do guide in truth. I do not want my daughter to grow up being conned by her father or any other so called minister. Her money is for her to use to do good if she pleases but give to a creep to go on vacation or to be brainwashed or used.
I know who he is, he is fake and con artist! I would not speak up before about what was going on in the church because I thought it was judging but now I will speak the truth and I refuse to allow my daughter to be conned by anyone, especially the church! They just trick people and him particularly has no remorse, he has done so much and never expressed remorse, that is when I knew they are sociopaths , also after my therapist confirmed it.
My concern is my recovery from this marriage of 10 years and co parenting with a sociopath. Thank you for the suggestions. I am here on the site almost everyday because it has helped me so much.


Great advice. Thank You so much!


I will not let my light stop shinning either.


hi… im 19 and from england and still confused on what my dad really is or feels. I lived at my nanas house (his mum) until i was 4, and everything seemed great. Then we moved house as he had 4 kids…there wasnt enough space. He and my mother broke up a long time ago, i was 6 months old so, don’t know her all too well. She lives in Scotland now, i just remember the times we did go to visit her, i never wanted to leave because she was so much nicer than dad.

When we moved into our new house, he acted perfectly normal and was happy for us to choose our own rooms and have fun. When i was around 5 or 6 years old everything seemed to change, i noticed he treated my older brothers and sisters badly but i thought it was because they were older or something i didnt know. Anyway, he started treating me the same way, he would sleep most of the day and ignore us…and when he did get up, he would be angry that the house was a mess because he would leave it months before cleaning and not highlight the importance of keeping the house tidy to us.

After this he would scream at us and brush everything into one room into a huge pile and tell us to tidy it straight away or else. If we didnt tidy quick enough or started crying because the way he had asked us to tidy, he would corner us, shout at us, and we would be crying and he would tell us to stop being babies and usually would lead to physical abuse such as hitting or slapping us yelling in our faces telling us to do what he had asked. Of course i was only about 6…i got so scared i froze and cried and he continued to hit us because we wouldnt move. Things like this happened all too often.

I became confused. He took us outdoors a lot, to the woods or to walk round lakes and he would act like the perfect dad, smiling and talking to strangers. Making me feel i loved him and that he really cared for me. But when i got home it was always the same emotional and physical abuse. He would then apologise and we would forgive him and he would be happy but if we questioned him he would instantly shout and slam doors or punch them leaving holes in them. He

When i was older, maybe 9 or 10 years old, my brothers began calling me names, fat, ugly, cow, bitch…and instead of stopping them he would laugh and join in and create new ways to call me names, perhaps putting them into a song or something… it made me cry everytime and i did try to run away several times, but didnt know where to go so had to come back home. Later when i was 11, he stopped being so physically abusive saying a new law came out to not hit children. At this stage i had been making my own dinner and we all got ready for school ourselves. He would always take us in late, and always forgot to pick us up when he promised he wouldnt forget and it upset us everytime.

He now continues to be emotionally abusive and i have had anxiety and depression since i was 11 years old. Thats for 8 years…is that normal? … he pretends he wants you or cares about you., but im pretty sure he only wants me because im in full time education and he gets money for it… he kicked all my other siblings out by now because they stopped or finished education…i am currently struggling to get up in the mornings due to depression and it is making education extremely difficult.

I stay here in the house with him because for years i have believed, maybe he does love me, if i stay he will eventually love me, or i am scared to leave because it will disappoint him and what if he does actually care and im just being silly? i mean there has been the good times. There is so much more i could say but there’s simply too much to say… perhaps the fact he always told me how horrible my mum is and not to go to live with her (which i know she isnt really horrible), how i couldnt associate with the rest of my family so he stopped us even visiting, how he now has two new children but also a wife now…i worry for them…i hope someone can read this and help me figure this out.



Hi Hidden, Welcome to Lovefraud. First I want to say that I am so sorry that you have been abused by your own father. No child deserves to be abused in anyway especially by the their own parents who are suppose to protect their children. I also want to tell you that you are very brave for reaching out for help by posting your story on LF. That takes a tremendous amount of courage & strength.

I think it is important right now for you to just realize that yes you are being abused verse trying to figure out which personality disorder category your father may fall into.

For now I would highly recommend that you call your country’s National Domestic Violence Hotline (just google those words with your city & country name) then call that free 24/7 hotline to talk with a free counselor. I would also suggest that you ask them for your city’s local abuse center and go there for free counselor & woman group meetings.

Take care


hi, i have found a centre near by and i will be heading there soon for advice and counselling. Also thank you for simply stating that it is abuse because it is difficult to actually believe your own father could abuse you and you telling me this makes it easier. Thank you so much for your help and taking time to read my story it means the world to me that someone is willing to help i simply cant thank you enough


Hi Hidden, your welcome hon, It’s so hard to believe that someone can abuse you…whether in your case your father or in my case my ex husband. We want to believe the best in everyone but this simple is not how life is. We all know what physical abuse is but we are not educated on what constitutes emotional & mental abuse nor is our society so bystanders just stand idle by not knowing what to do with regards to emotional/mental abuse.

I am so glad that you had the courage to post your story & to call your domestic abuse center. That is POWERFUL!! You are taking back your power hon!!!

Some books that will help you to understand who abuses in this world:

1) Red Flags by Donna Anderson (Lovefraud site creator) see her book list at the top of this site

2) Why does he do that by Lundy Bancroft

3) The sociopath next door by Dr Martha Sout (this one you can listen to on you tube for free)

4) The gas lighting Effect by Dr Robin Stern

5) How to spot a dangerous man by Sandra Brown (this is a good one to make sure that you avoid bad men while dating)

6) The gift of fear by Gavin Debecker (google Oprah Gavin Debecker you tube” to watch their interview on listening to your gut) this is a must read book for every woman on this planet so pass it along to your girlfriends so that you all can protect each other.

Please know that 1 in 5 people are narcissist (75% men) & 1 in 25 people are sociopath/psychopath mainly men. These abusive people are everywhere in our society blending in so it is very important to educate yourself and most importantly to listen to your gut the minute you feel something is not right with a person.


Gas lighting abuse

No contact rule

Please know that you are not alone Hidden…we are here for you so keep coming here to vent, learn, read. Other sites in the UK that will help you: Baggage Reclaim. com

Take care


aww thank you so much, you are so kind, i think you should also know that you are an amazing person giving your own time to help others 🙂 i must admit, i have never dated, in the fear that things will start well and then they will go bad like usual, but i will have a look at these books and im sure they will help. Also sorry you had to go through the same thing with your husband, im happy you got away by using your own power 🙂 hope youre feeling much better than before.

Currently reading “The Sociopath Next Door”.
It’s a great read and very helpful!


Hi Hidden…here is the UK National Domestic violence hotline number:

24-hour National Domestic Violence
Freephone Helpline
0808 2000 247
Run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge (they also have a website under these two names)


thank you very much, the womens refuge gives me the option of moving out of the house which will be very helpful to me, i wouldnt have found this before so, again, thank you


Your Welcome…so glad you call them!


My heart goes out to all those who grew up with a psychopathic parent, we all have a long, challenging healing journey ahead of us but it is worth it.
Both of my parents were psychopaths and it is not an excuse but it has helped me to understand the deep degree which both of my parents were emotionally wounded as children. I no longer feel their abuse and neglect was personally directed at me or my siblings, my siblings and I were simply commodities to our father and targets for our mother. Our parents attacks on us really had nothing to do with us, we were easy, available targets which they could unleash and project their self-hatred onto.
I have a lot of doubts about the tremendous impact professionals place on the importance genetics plays in anything though and wanted to address this. I can remember as a teenager the day I came to the realization that I had begun to walk the dark path my parents walked and it horrified me but I knew no other way of life. That day I made a conscious choice to not walk that path, it was a choice. After I made that choice my life was still filled with pain because I lived in the role of victim but I did not ever again deliberately harm or use other for my satisfaction. Why did my 2 brothers choose to follow in our parents footsteps?

There is one very important word in your post, Hope; conscious. The very fact that you had one as a teenager, separates you from the wolves!


My life was greatly affected after my upbringing wih a sociopathic father and a narcissist mother. Some would call me a ‘wolve’ in some regards for sure, during my 20’s and mid 30’s. I would sleep with girlfriends’ fellows, steal from friends/family/stores and lie bold-faced to save my hide. It was a hard road to sanity and discovering what values were important to me, and how to reverse the damaged ones. Like honesty instead of lying. Faithfulness instead of promiscuity. Patience instead of instant gratification. Sobriety instead of drunkeness. Integrity instead of people-pleasing. Responsibilty instead of blaming and excusing my behavior on my skewed upbringing. I had to take ownership to heal. I had to accept (not excuse or erase) my wounded family. I had to put myy old ways down and start all over. I had to grow up, I had to embrace that wounded inner child and protect myself from harm. Please don’t give up! Keep going, pushing forward, seeking that power greater than yourself. Blessings

Terri Jo


I am the first child of a male sociopath and and a neurotic, paranoid, anxious, and broken mother.
I’ve made a shaky peace with my mom, based partially on geographical distance (she can’t beat the shit out of me if I am not within driving distance, and she does not feel as jealous and threatened by me if I am not around). I suffer PTSD symptoms from the abuse that I suffered at her hands:
-repeated beatings for things like a C grade, the dog pooping on the carpet, getting my period and staining my underwear, or talking back when I could no longer stay quiet
-sessions of screaming abuse, sometimes 45 min to an hour long, about how my brother anfd I ruined her body, her life, her dreams. How our Dad is horrible and left her with us, thereby destroying any chance for her to meet anyone else. She would often flail at us or hit us with objects, foaming at the corners of her mouth, and if we tried to stare at the floor in an attempt to block out the abuse she would grab us by the hair and scream right into our faces.
-making my brother eat his own vomit, and me eat food out of the trash, (my brother gagged on a slimy tomato and zucchini casserole which had been microwaved for 45 min. I had tried to sneak something similar into the trash)
-stapling my curtains to the wall in my bedroom because she thought I was a show-off hooker wannabe at age 14- for 3 years I was not allowed to open my curtains OR my window)

This all may seem extreme and horrible, until you understand that, although my mom was definitely wrong in the head, she did have a conscience and loved us.

My father deserted us and disappeared when I was 14 to avoid child support payments, which he had been skipping since I was about ten. My mom would make me ask for a check every time I visited him, and he would give his fourth grade daughter answers that smacked of manipulation: “does your Mom give you this money when she cashes this check?” “What do you get from this money?” “Wouldn’t you rather live with me?” (he refused custody) “Who do you like better, remember, I never hit you / I have a pool / I’ll get you a camera”

He did disappear, leaving us to depend on my mother’s income, supplemented by my paycheck and checks from the state..for the entire time I was in high school.
It was very hard.
My junior year, I applied for financial aid and got enough to get me through four years at the state university. I felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel; although I felt terrible leaving my brother alone with my mom’s increasing insanity, I did think maybe I could get an apartment my sophomore or junior year at college and ‘rescue him’.
However, my freshman tear, my father reappeared and called me at the university. He used every ounce of his considerable charm (he’d already fooled three adult women into marrying him) to ooze my social security number out of me, saying he felt terrible about my previous struggles and wanted to put me on his insurance.
I fell for it like a ton of bricks.
A year later, I was called in to the administration building at my university and accused of fraud- taking the grants and loans who were meant for low-income families and needy students- while I was apparently, on paper at least, the daughter of a well-off man.
I never got any degree. I finished three years at the university on high interest private loans (which I had to take out to replace the ‘fraudulent’ loans I got when I originally applied)
Then., my mom applied to nursing school, in my hometown, in my name, and got me in. I had to move back- back into the beatings, the screaming, the abuse, the trapped and hopeless hell. While my dad lived a mile away with his new wife in his new house while we lived in a shitty roof-leaking tralier. He had the gall to laugh at our living situation and refer to us in Jerry Springer terms.

I am 42 years old.
I still don’t even have an associate degree, only an LPN
I owe over $45,000 in student loans for the education I never got.
My father still lives in a lovely three bedroom house on a golf course while my mom lives in the same trailer a mile away.
“Dad” has never visited me once in the 25 years I’ve lived ‘away’, while my mom scrapes and sends as much money as she can for airfare or pays me back when I buy here a plane ticket.
My father SWEARS he never disappeared, he ALWAYS paid his child support, he NEVER stole my SS#, and that I flunked out of university and that’s why I am where I am, therefore, I am wrong to even consider asking him to help with my loan payments.
For about a decade he made me feel guilty that I only visited him twice a year, even though he NEVER visited me.

His favorite defense, when I accused him of substandard parenting skills, is to contrast his behaviour with that of my mother- “I never hit you.”

I am at the very edge of insanity, trying to reconcile the truths I know from my memory with his claims of what HE says happened- I think this term is called ‘cognitive dissonance’?
In all my life, even during the worst suffering when I thought the abuse would never end and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I NEVER felt suicidal.
But when I listen to him telling me black is white and up is down, I do sometimes feel better off dead.


You have every reason to be extremely proud of your accomplishments!

Coming from two emotionally disturbed parents, you are an empathetic person who relates to the safety of your brother.

Feel proud of your LPN degree! Many people in your shoes would not have gotten that far! You are strong and a survivor!

“Neurotic, paranoid, anxious and broken” could all be symptoms of Complex PTSD which could have resulted from years spent with your father. Your mother was victimized by him, however, physical and emotional abuse is never excusable, and you may want to confront her over that through therapy so that you can resolve your differences.

Your father’s issues seem to be total Narcissism, for which there is no cure and nothing to be gained by therapy.

Donna’s right about investigating bankruptcy, or maybe an attorney could give you advise on another solution. If you can’t afford an attorney, try Legal Aid in your area.


Hi All,
I am happy to see this posting come up in the threads.
This is very informative and helpful for the victims who are on a path to self discovery.
Hugs to all of the children of the sociopaths and kudos for speaking up and teling your stories.
I have my own childhood story, but I don’t think I am ready to go there quite yet. I mean today!
I think that both of my parents have played a role in my acceptance of men that have abused me emotionally and physically.
Thank goodness for this site!


I think my parents are to some degree sociopaths, but I’m not completely sure how to categorize them. I’m a broken 34 year old single mother of three. I always thought I was strong enough to overcome. The beatings in my childhood. The screaming. The walking on eggshells. The invalidation of my existence. I was told I wasn’t even a real person. My father insisted he had never been born but came out of a lightning bolt since I was very young. When I was older and tried to speak up about the abuse he constantly repeated to me and everyone that I “rewrote history” that nothing bad ever happened to me and everyone needs to accept the fact that I’m 1)schizophrenic and 2)need to be permanently removed from society (like all gays and most foreigners).

In the past few years I’ve been diagnosed with severe anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder, but not schizophrenia. My parents who act charming and charismatic to the public has warned all family away from me and painted themselves out to be my victims. I did run up a phone bill before I ran away at age 17. I’m not proud of it or other things I’ve done, but they refused to give me my life savings which was about $700 from a savings account I had since age 10. They are super religious and use religion to rationalize everything they do. They’ve told me I’m possessed with the anti Christ and the devil. My dad crippled my leg and had me arrested on false pretenses 5 years ago after my mother did her Mr Hyde thing and attacked me. He contacted every one of my friends and threatened them if they help me. Tried to steal my children. Got out false restraining orders where they describe my behavior like a scene from the exorcist.

I just want to be healthy enough to raise my kids. To feel safe in my own home.I’ve been in therapy for years. I just feel like it’s all caught up. Faking it isn’t working for me. God, I just wish i had a parent that loved me. Why bring children into the world to crush them?


It is crushing to still feel so defeated, betrayed and be affronted with such perversity. And the fact is, this is our family, and we are the only ones who can pull ourselves out of their sewage pit and swim to shore. I have made it to shore. I slowly found and grew healing. Now, my power is no longer given away to spiritually ungrounded people. I remember that: Step 1: I admit I am powerless over my personality disordered parents and that giving in to their chaos, my life can become VERY unmanageable. Step 2: I have come to believe that there is a power greater than myself, loving and caring, than can restore me to balance. These are my support group, loved ones, my therapist, my pastor, and my husband. All are extensions of my higher power whom I chose to call God. Step 3: I direct my attentionn to my healing plan and do what is necessary to stay on course. When I steer off course, I get help. Please feel free to reach out to me in the future. I have also learned that to help others, it gets me out of a funk too sometimes. Blessings Terri Jo


Hello all….. Our entire family has been affected by sociopathy. A father who was cruel, sarcastic and sexually and physically violent. This behavior has been interspersed with charming manipulation over the years, with a total lack of remorse. Still I can be sideswiped with a comment of perversity.
Not that I go around my father alot. Over the last 20 years of healing from addiction (17 years clean), PTSD and maladaptive coping strategies, I have accepted that my father is one twisted individual. My fantasy of having a respectful protective caring father is buried deep in the ground with several other fantasies. I no longer concern myself when others ask “Why don’t you go see your father at holidays?” I simply reply, looking right into the person’s eyes, “My dad is very harmful for my mental health”. Believe me, the person never asks me that again. In my healing, I have promised my “inner child” that I will protect her and never make her visit my twisted father again out of shame or obligation. Now I have an obligation to myself. Blessings to all who struggle with that shame and pain. We can overcome! I am proof! Never give up. Admit we have a problem, seek the solution and get help and support, and then spread the news! Terri Jo


Thank you for posting that. I have been struggling with some feelings of guilt over not giving my children any contact with their SP father, who used to be the center of their lives [of course!]. I know they feel bad for not seeing him, but I think it is out of a sense of duty. I just know a visit [supervised] would be damaging and set them back on their development as normal humans.


Keep in mind that Terrijo was not denied access to her father. She came to understand what he was “about” on her own. Had she been denied access, she probably would have developed longing for him, rather than aversion to him.

Lack of access to a parent can be a double edged sword that can come back to haunt you.

You had a child with a sociopath. Don’t expect your life or your children’s lives to be “normal.” Seek help from a professional therapist in dealing with this minefield.


Thank you. They are seeing a counselor. After being with him without me as a buffer, they experienced firsthand what he can do. They have seen their god’s lead feet and stone heart. We are moving forward as best we can.


I would like to ask those who married suspected anti-socials what their advice might be to their younger self?

I believe my family are on the spectrum but either hid or learned good morals early on and so many experiences I wouldn’t change for anything.

I noticed abuse happened when their ego was threatened. It seemed that situation was something they are not born to handle.

Their urge for power is a trigger but if they can be exposed and embarrassed enough to be seen as flawed they stop. It was about accountability.

I’m with someone now who is not an emotional person but then can be. I’m not sure. We have wonderful experiences and if his masculinity is threatened from my being separate from him and not including him then it’s a trigger. But I feel myself.

I wondered whether the advice is to avoid everyone on a spectrum?

Maybe I’m in the buttering up stage but hard to tell until it’s too late.


Dear Star,
You pose an interesting question that I have pondered. I can’t come up with an answer that would reflect my younger self’s personality. I think I would not have heeded any advice then and my naïveté was so emebedded in me. But maybe I would say to my younger self listen and heed your grandfather’s advice,”Never argue with a liar, they are always one lie ahead.” maybe if I had spent less time arguing with a liar I would have wizened up sooner.

I would tell myself that the old saying, “it’s not me, it’s you” is the most important message I could ever heed!

raised by sociopath

I’m finding this topic very interesting.

I have been undergoing healing from my upbringing for years. The statement of: “he or she may develop other psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression.” This statement holds true for me and all the siblings I grew-up with.

The other statement of: “Children of psychopathic parents who are not themselves disordered often have much to overcome related to their families of origin. They may not know what a healthy relationship or a healthy family looks like. They may become involved with sociopaths themselves, because it feels normal.”

This statement holds very true as well for my life and my siblings as well. I have tried hard in my past to be accepted by others and to learn to live like people who have not grown-up with this kind of dysfunctional upbringing. Now through the grace of my God, I feel loved and am learning to trust in my God. This might sound ridiculous to someone who wasn’t raised by such a mentally ill caregiver but the truth is I never felt safe or loved. Even though I yearned for acceptance and rescuing. I didn’t trust anyone who told me they loved me it just felt wrong and creepy to me. Now I know my God does love me and is working on healing me. Slowly he is taking down the walls I had erected to protection me since childhood.

I now feel sad for this caregiver that she will never know the joys I have loving my children. This is a gift from God to be able to love and sacrifice our needs and wants for someone we love. To have a conscience to know when we have wronged someone to ask for forgiveness and to learn a better way to handle situation that use to baffle us because: it hurt us to know we have mistreated someone. These are gifts from God that sadly this woman will never or cares to ever know.

I cry at times wishing what could have been and knowing for my own sanity that I can never be around her she is so toxic.

My father is a narcissist who drove my mother that suicide when I was nine.
I could write a book, but I’ll just include my most recent experience. At the age of 48, I found myself juggling a sociopath and a narcissist at the same time.
I am now 50, and see a therapist once a week. I am just learning why I was so drawn to such men.
Number one, it was my normal, even though I really, really, really tried to avoid men like my father, and secondly, I have been made to believe that if I just love harder, my relationship will work, attempting the same with my father, in absentia, as I have not spoken to him in 15 years.
My father never loved me.
My advice: If you find yourself incapable of “loving your partner enough”, you may be the child of a psychopath. It’s not you, it literally is them, and you are all you need to heal. Not them, they don’t think they need it. Treat yourself to a good therapist, who specializes in childhood trauma.
You deserve it, sweetheart!



I think if it’s hereditary. it definitely makes more sense than having parents who are simply “narcissistic.” What some people would share their stories about their narcissistic mom or whoever, were not really severe things. The seriousness of what a “psychopathic parent” would put a child through travels deeper than emotional or physical scars. It gets embedded into their psyche. And like you say “undoing it” is probably the hardest thing to heal from. My brothers also lack the empathy that both my parents cannot attribute to. My mom will cry so easily for some stupid tv show but cannot shed a tear for her own kids. My father is the BIGGEST PSYCHOPATH out of everyone in the house. I believe his behavior in this household has contracted a disease and triggered more of psychopathic characteristics in everyone in the house. The fact that many people also say that not all psychopaths are criminals, DEEPLY surprised me. I remember my mom would hit me and mock me for wanting to call the cops on her. She would laugh and even get more angry. But there were times I should’ve called CPS at least. They were not fit to be parents.


Hi Mani,
I too am a daughter of a psychopathic father named Howard. He and my mother divorced when I was 6 and he moved out of our home. I related to what you said about “not letting him become part of my personality.” It may be that you did not inherit the psychopathic genes or traits. My psycho father has been dead since 1976; he died a miserable death with high blood pressure; hypertension, high cholesterol; and (I think) alcoholism.
As a child, I worried about him constantly. He was unable to hold down a job; never paid his bills; got drunk and disorderly at night in bars. He was a horribly reckless, dangerous driver with multiple DUIs, etc. He tailgated other cars driving 3 feet off the bumper of the car ahead while barreling down the freeway at 70 mph. He took clover-leaf freeway exits at such high speed that the car would tip up on two wheels momentarily (very scary)! Other times he’d drive down the California freeways going only 40 mph; other cars blaring their horns and him not caring a whit about how terrified I was.
His mensa-level I.Q. was his primary tool for getting attention and receiving narcissistic fuel.
I’d never faced the enigma of my father’s disturbing lifestyle and behaviors until about 6 weeks ago. I’m a 60-yr. old woman–better late than never! Once I began accepting the possible diagnosis of his psychopathy, I experienced an astonishing emotional release! Gone was the confusion and frustration of his puzzling personality.
When I was 15 yrs. old and got my Learner’s Permit to drive under California law, I kicked my father into the back seat of his FIAT Sedan. I told him to “shut the F— up” and with my sister beside me in the passenger’s front seat, I taught myself how to drive his stick shift car in and around Redwood City where he lived. With that Learner’s Permit and subsequent Driver’s License when I turned 16, I never ever allowed myself to be a passenger in the car where he was the driver. If we had to drive somewhere, I drove.
By age 17, his malevolent silences and not-so-subtle digs and putdowns finally drove me away. I stopped visiting him entirely. It was truly difficult emotionally because I thought I still loved him as he was my father. He died from esophogeal varices on the operating table at Stanford University Hospital on 11-19-76. He was alone when he died because he’d driven his family away by his irrational, psychotic behaviors. Such a sad story!
As you, I consider myself to be a survivor of a psychopathic father. I did not inherit the psychopathic gene; of this I am certain. Perhaps you owe your emotional independence from your father to a fluke of genetics. Whatever the reason, you are to be commended for not adopting your father’s modus operendi. You are probably strong inside too. Thanks for reading some of my story. This is the first Post I’ve ever done.
Warm regards,
Serenity 10



I am going “no contact” with my narc bf of 2.5 years after he abandoned me while I’m in the early stages of pregnancy. I feel super irresponsible for getting pregnant by this nightmare of a human being who has abandoned and fuct over 2 other women and children. He knows that there is nothing I want more than to have a baby, but I am willing to change my mind as it has occurred to me that I will be connected to him forever through this poor innocent gift. I’ve heard and read so many horror stories about others in my very position and I can’t bare to run the risk of exposing my child to his garbage or to his abuse. I have blocked him and I am inching to “no contact”. I can’t do this alone. I am going to need support and help as I don’t trust myself with him. My friends and family aren’t around as they are sick of his abuse, the impact it has on me and my life and me enabling him. No one knows I am pregnant. I appreciate you reading my post and any input and advice you can share to help strengthen this new position I am taking in this situation.


Hi F11ckb11bs,

You should be so proud of yourself for having the courage to not only research his horrible behavior but also for having the courage to post here tonight.💜💜💜

I’m so sorry that you are going thru this nightmare, especially doing this without your family & friends. But know that We hear you, be believe your & we are here for you.

My advise to you is to READ, READ , READ everything here at Lovefraud to open your mind up from his brain washing & mind control. He is your cult leader & you are his cult follower…once you grasp this, it is easier to close the door on him & impose the no contact rule.

I would suggest that you do a search here on Lovefraud for the following:

No contact rule

grey rock method

gas lighting abuse

smear campaign


Take care of your health right now! It is extremely common for a victims of a sociopath to have PTSD. I believe one of the major issues with PTSD is adrenal fatigue. Look up symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

Adrenal fatigue. org

Dr Lam. com

and just google the words “Adrenal fatigue” to watch videos & read on this info. Once you get your health in order then you can think more clearly. One of the issues of being in a toxic relationship with a sociopath is brain fog, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, memory issues etc etc ALL ISSUES OF ADRENAL FATIGUE. This is why it’s important to get your health in order but also now for you being pregnant it’s even more important.


I know right now you feel overwhelmed, I know you feel alone…been their too when I was deciding to leave my ex h. I was not educated like you are now. SO you are doing great hon. You are seeing the truth with this EVIL man!!

You deserve so much better.

Just take one day at a time, some moments might be tougher so just take one hour or minute at a time.

I also want you to know that sociopaths typical use the same con game to suck women (or men) into their con game. The fact this guy has gotten several woman pregnant by him is NOT surprising. I have read this same situation several times. Sociopaths do not want to let go of their victims. So it’s common to get a woman pregnant because then they will still (in their minds) have control over the woman no matter what because of the child.

He has trained you hon, just like all sociopaths train everyone around them to cater to there every need (you become an enabler). It happened to me…even thought I recognized me giving up my life to deal with his needs only…ie taking care of the house, yard, grocery shopping etc I still was doing the things he “needed help with”. while he went out & endlessly cheated.

The good news is YOU SEE YOUR behavior too…so know you need to just start catering to YOUR needs right now…ie taking care of your health, connecting again with your family & friends, if you can go to your local abuse center for free counseling & most importantly free women group meetings where you can open your mind and then impose the no contact rule.

I’ll write more later.


YOU ARE STRONGER THEN YOU KNOW!! Pat yourself on the back for making the first huge step of getting out of this toxic relationship with this evil sociopath. Be proud of yourself for these steps out!!!! 💪😊

Wishing you all the best,

Take care.

(ps also go to the home page of Lovefraud and scroll down to the yellow box & read everything and also up at the top of this site look at the book store and most importantly watch the free videos up there over & over & over (i must have watched them 1000 times when I first left my ex & found out who he was from a counselor) especially if you want to call him or see him. They will remind you of exactly who he is.


Wow. Thank you for your supportive and uplifting message. You don’t even know me and you exerted all of that effort for me and I am grateful beyond words. Thank you for your advice and recommendations. Wow, this is the most love I’ve gotten in a while. Ok I sound silly. Thank you very much!


Hi F11ckb11bs, You’re Welcome!! 😎 We have all been exactly where you are now…emotionally, mentally & physically stuck in the sociopaths con game. So many helped me on my darkest days & nights when tears were streaming down my face & now thanks to Lovefraud support section I try to help those that post just like Sunnygal and others.

Ask questions, vent here & search & read everything here at Lovefraud. Donna’s book Lovefraud 10 signs you are dating a sociopath is worth purchasing, it will not only give you the understanding of the true hell you are in right now but it will help you down the road when you are healed and want to date again. These crazy people are everywhere in our society blending in, so take the time now to really educate yourself to spot one in your future.

I know it’s so hard right now for you. I know that you are most likely mentally, emotionally & probably physically exhausted from all of the sociopaths chaos & drama, but you will get thru this hard time in your life. When you become over whelmed just come here & Read & vent it really does help to clear the mind to have some peace for the rest of the day.

I’m glad that my post gave you a little love. I know that it’s hard when your family & friends have had “enough” and they also are not educated on what you are emotionally & mentally enduring everyday by this sociopath in your life & how hard it is to escape their grips. During my marriage to my ex (a sociopath) I had zero self esteem because of his daily mind games & abuse. And it seems then the whole world starts treating you horribly.

I promise you this…with time & taking the steps to heal from all the abuse emotionally, mentally & physically & imposing the No contact Rule, you will come out stronger then before….because know you have one of the keys to how this planet operations. Now you know that there are evil people who will try to destroy you. And then you will listen to your gut instinct & kick them out of your life immediately. I know it feels that you will never get to this place but you will !!!

Google: “Oprah Gavin Debecker you tube” to watch their powerful interview on listening to your gut instinct. Gavin Debecker’s book The gift of fear is a must read (I feel) for every woman on this planet especially if you (we) have been abused by a sociopath. If you go to the top right corner you can do a search on this book. Your local library may have this book.

Know that when you have a normal breakup the body release large amounts of cortisol & adrenaline which cause anxiety, sleep issues, depression, mood swings, brain fog etc…but with a toxic sociopath relationship…everyday the body is releasing larges amounts of cortisol & adrenaline (adrenal glands regulate these hormones) and the adrenal glands become fatigue. So beware your body is going to release these two hormones when you start to expose the No contact rule & it’s not fun to feel them. This is why for you it’s a good idea to check with a doctor since you are pregnant.

Endocrinologist doctors deal with the adrenal glands.

Take care. 💜


Oops, I forgot the other part is my fear of the effects he could have on children and that is why I joined this forum.


My Dad is a Psychopath. I suffered physical and psychological abuse (and major social engineering problems, too…) and I have only ever had one relationship that didn’t sour, with my primary school TA/Social Care Worker. I am not a Psychopath, nor do I have any form of ASPD, but I have my Dad’s ‘sheen’ on me. A casual observer might question my self-belief, for example. I have felt love, I used to feel it intensely, but I ultimately burnt out. With the exception of the TA, I have never experienced being loved, and I know I will never find love, because being 39, my potential/attractiveness has disintegrated, but my standards haven’t dropped in line with that fact. I idealise love, even though I’ve (almost) never received it. I had ongoing ‘romantic’ relationship from my teens into my early thirties, but none of them even respected me. There were some flying monkeys, some malignant people, and that’s just my girlfriends. My own family members sold me out for my Dad and (wicked) stepmothers. At 18 months, I was forcibly separated from my Mother. At 5, I was forcibly separated from my older sister (my Irish twin), at 11, I was separated from my younger sister… I’ve seen both of them a combined 3 times since. Nobody ever watched out for me in 39 years, except the TA, but I never developed Psychopathy. Personally, I consider myself empathetic. Never had conscious self-worth issues, either…

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