By | February 6, 2009 46 Comments

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Child of an undiagnosed sociopath

Editor’s note: A Lovefraud reader, we’ll call him Allen, tells his story.

I know the story starts way before my time with my dad, so I can only tell you what I saw growing up and what I now see in hindsight.

I think the biggest thing that I see in him is that he takes no personal responsibility for anything. Somewhere in his late 20’s he “found God” whatever that really means to him, and it was right around the time that my mom finally left him because of physical abuse that he denies to this day. He says that he never laid a hand on her and then when I remind him that I was there that day and saw everything he still denies it. He claims that pushing her over a couch and through a screen door isn’t laying a hand on her.

That day, the day they split up, I spent the rest of the weekend with my dad, where he kept saying how little my mom must have loved me, since she left you with “such a monster.” At nine, I believed him and spent the next year of my life making my mom’s life a living hell. I would torment her, asking her why she was leaving dad and how she must be evil to not love him. A thin mixture of religion over a solid base of fear led me to believe that my dad was the only one I could trust.

My mom was a teacher at the Christian school that I attended and my mom was condemned for leaving my dad by the church, mostly because my dad was playing the victim and smearing my mom as unforgiving and bitter. He claimed she just left him for no reason. Especially when he was friends with most of the pastors at the church. He would go for “counseling” with them. He would read every religious book he could find. He even ended up in the psych ward over Christmas that year. He really made my mom look evil. I was 30 when I finally saw what he did to her. And I and everyone else bought it up to that point. I eye-witnessed it and I still bought it.

In an effort to “re-unite” our family, my mom was told by the church to either reunite with my dad or find a new job. She found a new job. Ironically, her good friend from her childhood taught with her at that same school. Her husband beat the crap out of her the next year, and she had him arrested and he wasn’t as manipulative as my dad. She still works at that same school. It protected her.

Living with dad

This all happened my third grade year. The following year I continued to live with my mom meanwhile going to my father’s every single weekend, and getting my head filled with everything bad my mom had ever done. Every skeleton. I “tormented” her regularly, but I thought I was doing what God wanted me to do, which was remind my mom what God says she should do ”¦ at least according to what my dad told me. I knew that God hated sin, and divorce was a sin, and my mom was divorcing my dad on purpose, therefore I thought I was doing what was right. Finally my mom had enough and she let me go live with my dad my fifth grade year. The divorce was done somewhere between June to August, and by September I was his best man in his next marriage.

I moved in with him in July, and that’s when he started beating the crap out of me when I would do stuff he didn’t like and that continues to this very day. I had to call the police on him this past weekend because he spit on me as I walked to my car, ran up and threw me up against the wall and cocked his fist to punch me when I told him he never took responsibility for anything especially getting real help for his abuse, which he denied when the police arrived and said I came over to pick a fight with him. My brother even told me I should expect to mauled when I throw stones at a bear. Anyways”¦

The marriage with his second wife was a disaster of biblical proportions. I had a stepsister my age and a stepbrother my brother’s age”¦five years younger than me. I was the only one that kept saying they shouldn’t be married and that he was being a bad father, which brought me more and more abuse. I even protested at his wedding, so he told everyone that I had psychological problems. Turns out I was just exhausted trying to have a conscience for two. He was a doctor. He would buy cars, tv’s, all kinds of stuff and then lie to his wife about it and make me promise not to tell her about it either. When I would say it was a bad idea, I would be told either I was too young to understand or beat up, so I played along. They split up, of course because of us kids not getting along. He forgets that I spent two years locked in my room avoiding everyone that I could from our family. Not sure the fights I started, but I believed him. We, my stepsiblings and I, had to lie about how my stepmom got a black eye one time. A family football injury. Unbelieveable.

Difficult to love

My dad and I moved into a cottage at a Christian community that was a few miles outside of town. We lived there until I graduated from high school. At the time I really defended my dad, believing that he WAS the victim in all this and that if my mom hadn’t left him, none of this would have happened. This made me hate her more. And he kept beating me up too. Said I was “difficult to love”. Same thing he said this weekend ”¦ funny. I would go to school with bruises and a swollen nose, fat lips all the time. That’s when I had to lie to the police and tell them nothing was wrong. My mom even got emergency custody of me and tried to have me put in a school for troubled kids. I saw it as evil since I saw her as evil and not able to be trusted. I lied my way out of that school interview. I made it look like she was crazy and that she just had a problem with my dad and was trying to get back at him. She gave me a choice: the Detention Home or a Runaway Shelter.

I chose the runaway shelter. But when they notified the custodial parent, as my mom only had temporary emergency custody, he came and picked me up at 5 a.m. This really made her look evil and him like the rescuer! “Look! Your mom dumped you off again!” I went into school the next day and had a total and complete breakdown. I told them what happened the night before and coupled with what they knew was going on at home, they excused me from school for the last two weeks. They knew I would never turn on my dad because my only other option was the DH and everyone knew that wasn’t going to help. I even spent a couple of weeks in the psych ward as I was suicidal a few months previous. They even passed me as I was failing about everything in class. It was all because I wasn’t adjusting well to my dad’s new marriage. That may be, but I think that I never should have been there. I should have been protected by my parent, not stepped on to get what he wanted. But maybe that’s just me.

High school

High school went by because I found really good friends. My dad was trying to get back with my stepmom from eighth grade to twelfth grade so I was home a lot on the weekends by myself. Yeah. We partied. They still talk about how many parties I threw in high school. I would make remarks about my dad’s choices and how little I thought of him and his marriage, his wife, whatever. They were “disrespectful” and were always met with a fist fight. I got in a couple of good licks and they got further apart.

After every single fight, he would tell me that God still loved him and that I should forgive him. Truth is, I didn’t have any other place to live, so I tolerated him and his abuse. And sometimes his irresponsibility made him really fun. New cars and things like that made my place fun to live at. He even bough me a car at 15 and let me drive it around without a license just so he didn’t have to be bothered with having to take me places. That made me about the coolest person there was to my friends! I was pretty responsible and didn’t get into any trouble worth mentioning. I was actually one of only two people in my “circle of friends” to make it through school without any police incursions.

I went into the Navy when I graduated as I had a less than 2.0 GPA. It was very good for me. I was in two years and hurt my leg and was discharged. I got married to a woman EXACTLY like my dad. More on that in a bit. During that time my dad and his second wife got back together for about a year. And I was split up with my wife and moved back in for a short time with them. I got back with my wife and they split up a year later because my dad was cheating on her with someone that was going to become his next wife. But don’t say goodbye to wife #2 quite yet. She makes an encore later. I blamed my stepmom for taking all my dad’s stuff because she was “just a gold-digger!” I completely missed the point that he was getting this as consequences to his actions! But hearing him, it was all her fault again. She drove him to cheat. At this point I’m 23 or 24.

My wife was the same

My eyes were finally opened with my wife. Nothing was ever her fault. Perpetual victim. That’s when I discovered patterns! I started seeing things she did to my daughter that my dad did to me. Manipulation of the truth, telling parts of the story, lying, cheating and stealing. But it was never her fault either. She and I would get into a fight and she would wake up our daughter in the middle of the night and take her to her mom’s and say things like “Your dad is throwing us out.” Little stuff like that, when nothing was further from the truth. And her mom hated me! Rightfully so: throwing her and her grand daughter out like that. The only problem is, she never even asked my side. That’s when it hit me that I was her mom when it came to my dad.

She was always defending her daughter, like I did to my dad. She was always the victim, just like my dad. It was never her fault I was mad (even though she was charging $10k on credit cards in three months). I was the one that was being unreasonable! It finally hit me after 12 years of marriage and a tumor that these two people were identical: Sociopaths!

Beat us with the Bible

At 27 or 28 I finally saw what was going on. My dad was on wife #3, a total and complete psycho. And he was making it worse because he intimidated her too. And bought $120k RV’s, $5k banjos ”¦ you name it. Never EVER telling her first. “Screw her, it’s my money!” I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that saying. My mom, my step-mom(s), even me when I confronted him. He would snap and start attacking us as though we had the problem. First he would puff up and yell. If that didn’t scare us away, he would beat us with the Bible: saying that we shouldn’t judge and how we just didn’t understand “Grace” the way he did and that if God forgives him so should we. If we still didn’t run away he would start dismantling our character with every kind of attack known to man: our character, our lives, my kids, my wife, my relationships, my religion, my work, my work ethic, my friends, my salvation”¦everything. All peppered with vulgarities and personal attacks. I always blew it off because some of what he said WAS true and I bought into the speck in his eye and the plank in mine, like he was always reminding us of.

Sexual harassment

He really talked the talk, but never walked the walk. And that is what ALWAYS, ALWAYS bothered me. Even in childhood. Always do what the Bible says, unless you are me. It wasn’t until he was sued for sexual harassment that I knew he had a real problem. Having been in the Navy, I was trained almost monthly on sexual harassment. You say “Red Light” to anyone that was in the service in my time and they will laugh. They know exactly what that means. So I told my dad that what he was doing with one of the girls in his staff was beyond a shadow of a doubt sexual harassment. Five times I warned him and said, “Look! You have got to stop! You are going to get sued!” To which he replied “Mind your own business. I’m 58 years old and I’m not going to let you know-it-all tell me how to run my life. Beside, what the hell do you know? I’m a doctor! What the hell are you?”

Let’s just say I didn’t know everything else he was doing to her until the lawsuit was filed. I was shocked this married “Christian” man was telling me he was doing nothing wrong and yet he was still getting sued, even after I warned him about it! He told me “I wasn’t going to tell you but ____ is suing me. That bitch! What the heck is and everyone else gonna think? Their gonna think I did it!” I said, “You did!” He told me not to come around him anymore if I was going to be talking like that. So I shut up for a while.

Wife #3 went crazier. Now I realize that being with a person that thinks and acts like he does will drive a normal person crazy! I thought it was her until a I saw what living with my ex-wife did to me! Months of cover-ups and bashing the character of the sue-er, he narrowly convinced her not to divorce him then, claiming he, again, was the victim

Anger management

Then he punched wife #3 about a year ago and she had his butt arrested. He pleaded “no contest” and had to go to anger management counseling. The next week, after he had to move out, he bought a BMW 740IL and told me, “Now everyone is going to know that no lying b*tch is going to keep me down. I’m still on top.” He swears to this day “he never laid a hand on her.” I asked him if it was the same hand he didn’t lay on mom to which he points out how bitter and unforgiving I am and that he is praying for me to “get better.” She filed for divorce a few weeks later but he didn’t care. Wife #2, who is inarguably more attractive than wife #3, wanted him back. She couldn’t believe all that he had endured and come through. Truth is she just wants security and to not be alone I think.

When I tried to have him arrested this weekend it was me that had the problem again. He lied to police and said he didn’t lay a hand on me and that I, in fact was the one that picked a fight with him. He lied to family, the few that believe him, that I did come over “looking for trouble”. I have for the last year tried to stay away from him but keep getting my conscience turned against me by him because a child should forgive his parent. I shouldn’t be bitter. But he lures you in with a believable “I really am sorry” and a plausible story that it really IS your problem. And he is quick to point that out to everyone I or any of his victims know that he runs into.

And trying to get him help is impossible: He would argue theology with Jesus, and could intimidate Ah-nold. He has walked out of more counselors because they were trying put him “under the law.” Religion is a wall he uses to trap his victims within reach. Anytime they start to get away he reminds them of their obligation to forgive and they come back. It’s like a religious tether. It’s the same tactic my ex-wife (also claimed to be “Christian/religious”) used: bragging she knew she could do anything she wanted because she knew that I would never divorce her because my religious beliefs were too strong. I’m pretty sure that’s not what God teachs.

How should I deal?

There is my story. Use it for whatever you want. Even to convict me if I really do have a problem like he and my ex says. They say I make everyone miserable. My girlfriend tells me it’s them (but she’s a LITTLE partial!) and that if they walked what they talked, it would not be an issue. I just make them feel accountable because I question their actions to their faces, while everyone else talks behind their back. This is uncomfortable for them, thus bringing on their own misery because someone see through their façade, so their slander and character assassination starts on me and their true colors come out.

I would love to know, however, how I should deal with him? Should I stay away? Or should I forgive and always keep him at arms length? What about my daughter and him? He tells her all kinds of things too about me that aren’t anywhere near true. And she is starting to behave just like her mom and grandpa.

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Elizabeth Conley

“Should I stay away? Or should I forgive and always keep him at arms length? What about my daughter and him? He tells her all kinds of things too about me that aren’t anywhere near true. And she is starting to behave just like her mom and grandpa.”

I suggest you stay away and forgive him, always keeping him at arms length! If you start with staying away, you’ll eventually get to forgiving him for your own sake and keeping him at arm’s length for your well being and your daughter’s.

It feels a bit odd the first time you find yourself meeting at a local Chinese buffet for Christmas dinner, instead of trying to reenact a Norman Rockwell print. When you get there you see other happy (if slightly warped) people contentedly doing the same thing. (Family, can’t live with ’em; can’t be born without ’em.) It works out. Over time you start to enjoy a better life.

Associate with those members of your family who know how to build healthy relationships. Do it one on one and in small groups. Keep it extremely light when it comes to the topic of “daddy dearest” and any other nut-bar in the family.

When you’re ready, see Dad at special occasions, but not alone. At least, not at first. Your dad will probably like the new “keep it light” rules, so he’ll play along most of the time.
If you detect any gaslighting or other misbehavior, quietly walk away. Never be afraid to break contact!

My grandmother used to be a tad difficult, though I remember her with deep fondness. The first time we visited her as a married couple, my husband packed us up and dragged me away two days earlier than planned. I don’t recall her infraction, but the entire family was put on notice. Elizabeth’s new husband “doesn’t play”! That was over 25 years ago.

I’ve performed the same service for him over the years of our marriage. Sometimes it has been his family that has acted out, and I’ve been the referee, buffer or whatever was required.

With or without such a life partner, the point is to set boundaries and keep them. Once you are confident in your ability to set boundaries and enforce them, your fear with fade.

Here’s where I get to quote Yoda. I Love the little green freak!

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Profound. Really and truly! Think about it.

Once you are confident your boundaries cannot be over-run, you will be able to let go of anger and hate. This doesn’t mean dear old Dad gets to act out again and again. It just means you aren’t feeling the pain anymore. That’s the kind of forgiveness you need to seek.

Cluster Bs think being forgiven means being given a free pass to repeat their offenses into perpetuity with no consequences.


Be blessed brother. This can be overcome! (With or without my advice. There are some sharp folks here. You’ll have lots of advice to pick and choose from!)

Elizabeth Conley

“What about my daughter and him? He tells her all kinds of things too about me that aren’t anywhere near true. And she is starting to behave just like her mom and grandpa.”

How old is your daughter?


Elizabeth Conley: I know from reading your past bloggs you were trying to find a Church that you and your daughter would be comfortable with. We all know how difficult this task is. In the mean time, providing your daughter with her own Bible and reading it 20 minutes a day … together will help shine the light on all human behavior … good and bad, past and present. She then will have a firm foundation of what to expect in life with others. She will see from reading and understanding the written word of God … that something is or isn’t quit right with whoever happens to be in her life at any given time.

God never fails us … only humans can or will.

Peace to both your hearts and souls as you heal.


I’m with Elizabeth on this. I’d add one more thing. You sound pretty realistic about what you’ve had to deal with, and how you coped with it. But you’ve been through hell, and it must have had an effect on you.

Distancing yourself from him is a good idea. But investing in some self-work with a therapist is another one. It could help you develop those boundaries Elizabeth is talking about. It could help you maintain long-term relationships that work better. (You didn’t grow up with models of good relationships.) And it could give you more perspective and skills at parenting your at-risk daughter.

A lot of us have come out of families with a seriously disordered parent. Just dealing with them can compromise us in some ways. You deserve to recover your full potential. Working with a therapist who specializes in working with “adult children” with backgrounds of abuse could be one of the best things you ever did for yourself.

And keep your daughter away from him. You know how much his lies influenced your judgment as a child. You don’t need to repeat that.

Good luck with all of it, including the new girlfriend. She sounds like a smart person. I hope it works out well.


Ox Drover

Dear Allen,

Many of us here have grown up in dysfunctional families with psychopathic parents (one or both) and as a child, you MUST accept their crap and lies in order to survive, but it seems to me that even then you didn’t FULLY accept it.

Your dad is a CLASSIC psychopath (sociopath).

I sincerely suggest that you go COLD TURKEY NO CONTACT with him and anyone else in your family that is dysfunctional.

I suggest that you keep your daughter AWAY FROM HIM as much as is legally possible. She will NOT profit in any way from being around him. Your X-wife may or may not be a psychopath but she is TOXIC whatever the label is.

I suggest also that you go to Dr. Leedom’s web site about raising the “at risk child” and gain as much knowledge as you can there about your daughter’s needs.

I also suggest that you stay here and READ EVERY ARTICLE in the archives from A-Z and learn all you can about how these people operate, think, and behave.

I also suggest that you get a copy of the book “The Betrayal Bond” (it is reviewed here) because to me it seems that your “bond” to your father is “classic” trauma bond to your abuser.

I also suggest that whatever you need to do to restore a relationship with your mother that you do so. Even at this late date, having a loving and trusting relationship with her will fill her heart with joy.

My son C who was alienated from me by his Psychopathic brother (my younger son) and his own P-X-wife, and I have retored our relationship and him putting his arms around me and telling me, “Mom, I am so sorry I believed them and treated you so badly” warmed my heart through and through and our relationship now is (after nearly a decade “apart”) is as GOOD AS A RELATIONSHIP GETS. He is also healing and growing and learning from the past dysfunction.

Our family also “puts the FUN back into dysFUNction” and I am healing from it as well, learning about what I DID to ALLOW this, the lies that I swallowed whole, and the playing of the “let’s pretend none of what you saw is true” It has been a struggle and painful at times as I have had to FORGIVE MYSELF for being a jack ass and for going along with their “Bible Sanctioned” abuse….but you know what, I realize that they are NOT “Christians” any more than the Pharisees of Jesus’ time were “good Jews”—these people only use RELIGION as a FAKE COVER for their EVIL SATANIC behavior.

I am glad that you came here to LoveFRaud, this is a healing place with good people who DO UNDERSTAND what you have been dealing with, both with your father and with your X wife and with your child. My prayers are for your healing. Just because these people TWISTED the Bible for their own EVIL pruposes doesn’t mean God isn’t there or that He doesn’t love us, because my faith now is stronger than ever. (((hugs))))


Thank you for submitting this post. I’m positive that some or even all parts of it were difficult and painful for you to express.

Having myself been born from the loins of a Psychopathic “father” I can relate to the sick and twisted behavior of your father.

Luckily, my Mom finally left his ass for good when I was 10 years old. He tried, unsuccessfully, to stalk and bully her into taking him back. That’s about the time she purchased herself a 32 pistol and quietly, yet firmly told him she was not the least bit afraid to use it. On him.

She was going to do everything in her power to protect herself and her children from his evil predatory actions. She had had more than enough of his bullshit. She was totally done with him and he should just fade away like the useless dust he was.

He was essentially a coward, terrorizing young children & women but smoothly charming men who could beat him to a pulp. My Mom scared him with her quiet, determined fury and he left us alone.

Look, Allen, you need to realize that you were never to blame for the sociopathic actions of your father and your ex-wife. THEY are the disordered ones, not you. THEY are totally to blame for all the harm, damage and suffering they inflicted upon you and others.

Will they ever accept the consequences of their word and actions? Never.

We here at Lovefraud can attest to many of them who are justly imprisoned for their crimes yet they STILL deny any wrong doing. THEY are the poor, little victims and are as innocent as doves. Whatever!

While reading your post, I felt extreme disgust and anger directed at your S father. He is an evil dude and the sooner you confront that life saving reality, the more capable you will be to begin healing and recovering from the years long trauma.

I’ve ascertained from your writing that you’re a good, decent, loving man. Otherwise you wouldn’t be seeking answers, knowledge from your horrible experiences.

Your S father doesn’t value you. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t give a flying fig for anyone on this planet except maybe himself.

Your S father was never what I would consider to be Christian. Like so many sociopaths before him, they pervert, twist, distort Holy Scripture to suit their own personal selfish agendas.

I will state emphatically that you ARE valuable, you ARE important, you DO matter in the grand theme/battle of good vs evil.

Please read all the wonderful, life preserving articles provided by Donna, Dr. Leedom, the 2 Steves and LF member contributors.

You have come to the best place on the web striving to seek the fundamental truth as regarding the “evil ones who walk amongst us”.

Bless you…..

Peace, Joy and Love to all LF tribe members


Oh, I do agree with OxDrover, Allen, try and get out for a while, gain some perspective.

You must love him alot to keep put up with his manipulations and abuse, I think, however, you should look to getting serious boundaries into effect. Your father’s treatment of you is wrong, very very wrong.

Perhaps some personal empowerment/development classes would be really helpful to you because after enduring this relentless abuse from your father and also your ex, your self esteem must have taken a battering and you need a strong base to overcome this history. You need find a strong, positive, helpful mentor.

How is the relationship with your mother now that you realize that you were manipulated into mistrusting her by your father?

If you were to stand back from your experiences and view them from a more detached perspective, what would you say was the big lesson was?

Was it about trust, betrayal, dependancy, intrigue, was it the importance of truth, was it about the importance of boundaries, was it about claiming yourself, was it about vulnerability, perception of strength and weakness, importance of help. Whatever the thing is, it will keep surfacing as a pattern and that is likely to be the issue that was important for you (on a soul level) to grasp.

I thought the experience of that fellow (can’t remember his name), was so inspiring. He came from a terrible home environment filled with violent dynamics and loads of manipulation and he has turned those experiences into a huge positive in that he has a successful business protecting people from psychopathic predators.

Your father is obviously a successful man and you mentioned that his second wife is prepared to take him back, probably because he is a good provider. Is money/security a big manipulative tool for him?

The most difficult thing about your experience, from what I can see, is that you had no champions in your corner. No help, no examples of how things should be, no chum to help you carry the burden of this crazyness.

Good luck and I hope your angels send a powerful helper in your direction.


Just to add some points, the main abuser in my life was my mother and I often try and isolate the major issue/s I’ve learned.

My biggie is holding firm to what I experienced. Its not the same as holding a grudge – its more ‘I know what I experienced, and I will tell it as I experienced it. I won’t go along with someone else’s version of what happened just because they try and frighten me into doing so.

This is oddly relevant to the broader world in which we live. Often we are coerced into saying something which we know is wrong or inaccurate, just to keep someone from bullying us.

I also learned how really really difficult to do this when we are in the spot, directly in the situation. Can I hold firm when the storm rages?

Jane Smith’s story is also inspiring, her mother was strong and faced this coward down, and cowards they are lol, he must have either misread her as a potential long-term victim.

Importantly there are many ways of facing down cowards – lol, so don’t go reaching for drastic solutions! that would be majorly counter productive.

Elizabeth Conley



but we’re pretty happy where we are. We’ve been here for 2 months, and so far it’s fine. If it works for a year, we’ll stay. It’s not just my daughter and I, it’s my son as well. He’s got a minor hearing impairment, and needs to be around people who don’t hold that against him. So far, so good.

We’re garden variety Methodists. We don’t need or want anything exotic. If the congregation will behave reasonably well most of the time, we’ll be satisfied.

We consider our long term friends and Christian family members our real source of Christian fellowship. We study the Word at home, both independently and together. Going to a building on Sunday is just about worship and Sunday school.


Elizabeth Conley: It wasn’t the congregation I was getting at … it was the fact of reading the Bible. The healthy parent can try their best to explain the unhealthy parent’s behavior and it’s always such a slippery slope. I found it’s easier for children to read what the human condition is about from the wisdom obtained from Bible. Therefore, the healthy parent doesn’t have to become the “bad guy” because of their concern for their children.

I hope when your children are old enough, you allow them to log onto this site … to learn the rest of the information.

For now, good luck … and I send all of you peace.

My situation was horrific … but it was only between my EX and I … no children of our own … just his children from a previous marriage…. and that is another sad tale to this saga.


My Mother’s decision to purchase a gun to protect her children and herself was pretty much a last resort in dealing with my P “father”.

The F**ker wouldn’t go away and leave us alone. He first tried seduction, sentimental tricks to woo her back to supporting his loser butt. When those didn’t work (merely infuriated, frustrated her) he began stalking, bullying and threatening.

He broke out her car windshield while she was at work and other retarded, yet fearful actions which culminated in her buying her gun. And directly telling him on the phone…”I bought a gun. Been practicing at the gun range. Keep harassing me and see what happens.” (paraphrased)

Was my Mother serious? You betcha! She had spent 16 years with an evil, sick, repulsive male and instead of crumbling, falling apart (she had 3 children to take care of, which kept her busy and sane) she made an implacable decision to end his life if he continued trying to suck her precious life force from her soul.

I respect and admire my Mother greatly for all the crap she dealt with from him. I knew she would shoot him if he didn’t leave us alone. He KNEW it, too, that’s why he eventually quit doing what he was doing, cussing at her calling her names even as he speedily retreated from our front door.

I woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do to protect her babies and herself from predators. In this situation, my Mom won an awesome victory and I still applaud her for saving us from his vile, evil self.



Thank you for posting. I can well relate to your feeling torn about cutting your father off or trying to maintain some kind of relationship with him.

I grew up with two abusive, alcoholic, but highly successful narcissists — although my father probably qualifies as a sociopath since he tried to drown me when I was 8.

The problem is, you see and know the behavior you have witnessed and continue to witness is wrong. But, we keep getting sucked in out of a misguided sense of love and loyalty. And never forget, keeping up appearances at all costs.

That you ended up with a S wife doesn’t surprise me. On another thread we were discussing how many of us came from abusive homes. I think the mind-fuck we grew up with courtesy of our warped parents coupled with the abuse, makes us sitting ducks for Ss. Or, put another way, you go with what you know.

If I were in you shoes, I’d give some thought to going NC with your father for awhile. You really need to let the “brain-fog” lift so you can gain some perspective.

With respect to my parents, I have a purely superficial relationship — keeping up appearances, but at this late stage of their lives it works for all of us.

As for my ex, I threw him out 3 months ago, because I was at the point if I didn’t I was probably going to kill myself. I am just at the early stages of recovery and just discovering the patterns in my life that led me to this sorry state at age 50.

Intellectually I can understand that my parents and my ex were extremely damaged people. That says, it hurts like hell when you realize that all the love and trust you gave them was received by them and returned with lies, abuse and betrayal.

Elizabeth Conley

Dear Wini,

I want to be certain people understand that my husband is a very good person and effective parent. He is definately not a cluster B.

Thanks for your kind words and thoughts.

Elizabeth Conley


“the addiction to Chaos and How we unknowingly become accustomed to this Stress Level!”

Good point. I was raised in a very calm household, and my husband and I are very low key people. The N/P/Ss induce a lot of stress. In my case it would ramp up over time. Like a frog who was in a pot of water that was being brought from room temperature to a boil, I never felt the change. Unlike the frog, I’d wake up at some point and ask “Why is everyone in this organization acting bat-stuff-crazy? How did I get this drained and irritable?”

I came to realize that some people who thrived around the N/P/S were attracted to the excitement. They didn’t object because they thought drama was desirable, or at least normal.

It is important to know if you are addicted to stress, or simply easily lulled into tolerating it as it ramps up. Knowing these things about yourself can help you avoid bad relationships.

I am ridiculously proud of myself for ducking a connection with a drama prone individual recently. Because I’ve learned to pay attention to what I feel and think, rather than worrying about pleasing 24/7, I saw that this person was bad news for me.

This pride is ridiculous on the surface. It’s more than a little silly. (My 12 year old daughter naturally does things like this all the time, yet I give myself a Brownie Button for this “achievement”?) On the other hand, it’s a huge change for me. I hope I can keep this up. It’s very liberating.

Elizabeth Conley

Dear Wini,

Sometimes two people who study the Word diligently come to different conclusions. I believe setting and enforcing boundaries are necessary for living in the Spirit. I further believe the Bible not only permits but demands that Christians set and enforce boundaries:

My daughter studies the Word diligently, both with the family, alone and in small groups. She’s not being steered to seek the roll of martyr. The adult Christians in her life don’t believe it’s God’s plan for His people to act out unhealthy dramas.


Indigoblue and Elizabeth Conley:

Thanks. The addiction to chaos. I grew up in a house which was like a pressure cooker rattling on the stove. It was never a question of if the lid would blow, it was a question of when. So, that became the norm I would work off of.

S was so exciting during the first 3 months or so. I thrived on the constant “positive” attention. And in the porcess I was lulled into tolerating the stress as it ramped up. By the time I realized something was wrong with this picture, he had me hooked.

After 3 months out from S, I am starting to learn to pay attention to what I think and feel. I recently called it a day with a new acquaintance because I realized that the ramping up was starting. I was proud of myself for doing that.

Now I’ve got to stop worrying about pleasing 24/7.


Elizabeth Conley: I never implied at any time that anyone become a martyr.

The Bible is a guideline in how to live your life.

Big egos want to ignore said instructions and make their own rules. The “egos” of this world will always twist and contort anything for their own gratification, including what is written in the Bible, if indeed they do read the Bible.


Elizabeth Conley


I’m glad to read you “called it a day – because the ramping up was starting.”

You’re right to be proud of yourself. Changing ourselves is hard. Besides, paying attention to what WE think and feel can seem selfish. I know I was trained up to think about anything and everything but myself. I don’t blame my parents, ’cause they were gentle people who operated the same way. The thing is, that only works around people who play by the same rules..

My 12 year old is great at boundaries. I watched her resist a 55 year old high pressure saleswoman who had once rolled me. Later my daughter patted my arm and said, “You just have to say no Mom.” I think it’s great that it’s as simple as that for her. Maybe I’ll get that good one day. Right now I don’t shop at that particular store, but I’ll drop my daughter off and sit in the car reading. I know the lady’s high pressure sales technique will make me uneasy. I’m glad my kid is made of sterner stuff.

Right now I’m just learning to figure out which people stress me out, and giving myself permission to avoid them. Maybe I’ll be as sturdy as my kid someday. That’s my goal.


Elizabeth Conley:

I’m envious of your daughter for two reasons. First, that a 12 year old kid can set boundaries like that. Second, that her mother supports her in that boundary setting.

You’re doing a great job parenting. Kudos.

Elizabeth Conley

Matt, I’m an old hen with two chicks. Today I took a little road trip to spend time with a girlfriend. We two old hens sat about cackling and clucking. My daughter played with her granddaughters.

Being older gives me some distinct advantages. I may never hold my grandchildren, but I’ve got high hopes that the generations to come will be wiser and stronger than I’ve been.
My husband and I are both working very hard to make it so.

My husband is more confident than I am, and a better judge of character. More importantly perhaps, he rarely feels guilty about protecting himself. I see his strengths in my daughter, and I’m glad for them both.

When I err as a parent, it’s usually in being too soft on the kids. When I do that, I feel considerable regret. It forces my husband to be tougher, which isn’t fair.

Maybe the real gift here is that love is the driving force that pushes people to be better than we naturally are.

While there are no guarantees in this world, I would be deeply gratified to see my children leave me to live very happy adult lives.


Elizabeth: “love is the driving force that pushes people to be better than we naturally are.” You are pointing at the significant element in Liane Leedom’s internal triangle — the side that is damaged or missing in the psychopath.

You are so right.


Here is an excerpt from a post by Kathleen Hawk (I think)
that might be helpful–

As an adult, you are no longer dependent on your father. Your life is about you. And the emotional residue of those years is something that that’s part of your life. You are living with the ways you adapted as a child. Those lessons are embedded in your history, unless you can change the meaning of those experiences for the child within you. It’s very likely that the child doesn’t care why your father behaved that way. That child cares about the unfairness or brutality that wounded him (you).

Focusing on your own feelings is a first step in comforting yourself. You’re already doing it, by distancing yourself from your father’s behavior. But understanding why you’re doing this to stop the emotional battering that you experience is more meaningful than anything about him. You’re taking care of yourself.

One of the ways to reprogram our old coping mechanisms is “trickle-down” approach. This doesn’t require a lot of analytical work. Behaving “as if,” or “fake it until you make it.”

Every decision you make to take care of yourself is one more piece of evidence trickling down to that child that someone now cares about him and will take action to protect him. It may not happen immediately, but over time this may relax the childhood coping mechanisms that don’t work in adult life.


Pearl: As rich and powerful as those words are, we also are dealing with S/Ps who might have been like that regardless of the parenting in their family. Genetics are a major part of this.

Liane Leedom is doing some amazing work in her research and careful consideration of the factors involved. What if you know early on that you’re dealing with a child who has all the genetic risk. Can you parent the child into being someone who relates normally to others? I believe that genetics may sometimes outweigh the best parenting, and poor parenting with a high genetic risk can create S/Ps when those children could have otherwise grown up with love and conscience guiding their actions.

I do think that by the time we tangle with them as adults, there are very serious differences between “Us” and “Them.” Some of “Them,” though, might have been saved through conscious intervention. Us victims have no chance of “saving” them at this point. We don’t have the tools, the authority, the power . . . and their brains may just be permanently wired like that, with no chance of changing short of a lightning strike.


Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I “understood it” and what I found in your writing…

So many patterns….

Just like the ones I too experienced saw and many times cry about…..

Thanks for sharing………

Which allow me to remember that I am not alone and others as children suffered much.

We may not all had the type of abuse but abuse still it be.

Writer, I believe in NC (no contact) and preach just that to most as well as my self. I first saw it as a choice but now I feel like it is more of a lifestyle. My lifestyle albeit a choice or not. Something I want for me. A life free from all those lies and manipulations I know now that many times the hurt is so deep and when one is sick all the lies and manipulation. Sometimes the only choice we really always had is to just walk away and then close a door….



“I respect and admire my Mother greatly for all the crap she dealt with from him. I knew she would shoot him if he didn’t leave us alone. He KNEW it, too, that’s why he eventually quit doing what he was doing, cussing at her calling her names even as he speedily retreated from our front door.”

From all my reading and studying this theme has come up more then once..


This is something they can and do relate too (sometimes only for a short time) is fear. In fact from my reading they will confuse fear with love. In short if they fear you they see this is love but when they stop fearing you. LOOKOUT!! Because that’s when YOU may start fearing them.

Elizabeth Conley

“And trying to get him help is impossible: He would argue theology with Jesus, and could intimidate Ah-nold. He has walked out of more counselors because they were trying put him “under the law.” Religion is a wall he uses to trap his victims within reach. Anytime they start to get away he reminds them of their obligation to forgive and they come back. It’s like a religious tether. It’s the same tactic my ex-wife (also claimed to be “Christian/religious”) used: bragging she knew she could do anything she wanted because she knew that I would never divorce her because my religious beliefs were too strong. I’m pretty sure that’s not what God teachs. ”

“My mom was a teacher at the Christian school that I attended and my mom was condemned for leaving my dad by the church, mostly because my dad was playing the victim and smearing my mom as unforgiving and bitter. He claimed she just left him for no reason. Especially when he was friends with most of the pastors at the church. He would go for “counseling” with them. He would read every religious book he could find. He even ended up in the psych ward over Christmas that year. He really made my mom look evil. I was 30 when I finally saw what he did to her. And I and everyone else bought it up to that point. I eye-witnessed it and I still bought it.

In an effort to “re-unite” our family, my mom was told by the church to either reunite with my dad or find a new job. ”

This is the part of the story that chills me to the bone. Abusers who contort the Bible to hold their victims prisoner, and the churches that contort the Bible to make the bonds even tighter. The words “I eyewitnessed it (the abuse) and I still bought it (the abuser’s story).

Cluster Bs have a remarkable ability to sway people’s opinions and make masterful use of group-think.


Elizabeth in my work with clergy sexual abuse cases and with the high risk sex offenders in the prison i was often told by the offenders that one of the favorite places to obtain victims was church and christian people. In the book Predators this was also talked about with a few examples here:

One molester, who was himself a minister, said:

I considered church people easy to fool”they have a trust that comes from being Christians”They tend to be better folks all around. And they seem to want to believe in people”I think they want to believe in people. And because of that, you can easily convince, with or without convincing words.

Here is a quote from a predator (deacon in his church) out of the Predators book. What is interesting to note is the predator, Patrick, was being honest and candid about how he would operate within the church. He counted on people going to bat for him, based on his good solid reputation with the church. He didn’t look like a predator; so he must not be one, or so everyone in the church thought. He didn’t have to do too much to convince people he was innocent. Everyone jumped to his defense without him having to lift a finger.

Sometimes the words were not even necessary. Like I said before, they immediately rallied to my defense when I was accused of being a sexual offender. They said, “We know this young man. He has been in our community all of his life. We know his parents, his grandparents, his aunts, his uncles. This is not something that he would do. This is not something that goes along with behavior that we see him in day in and day out,” and that was true because I was very careful that they did not see that behavior day in and day out. Most of my deviant behavior happened at night time and behind the scenes and away and far from my important people who could make those kinds of judgments that yes, indeed, Patrick is the kind of person who would go around molesting children.

Sadly in sooo many cases the same things would be said and used by the offenders and by his supporters. Things like the he who is without sin and of course the whole we all are all sinners and so you need to forgive and various other controlling and hurtful things like that. I recently was in a case where a young teen was raped by her minister in the church when she went to seek help from him. Until he actually confessed months later that girl and her family were treated horribly by a large portion of the church group. And I see that happen over and over again in these cases. Sadly even after the man confessed not one of the ones who treated that girl so bad stepped up and apologized. That too is something I see way to often.


I think my daughter..13 is a sociopath..she is exactly like him, she is unreasonable, without conscience, she is cruel to her younger sister, she is verbally abusive to me and doesn’t care about punishment or consequences.
She comes home from school, causes rows goes to her bedroom and stays there only coming down for food..and every time she comes near the rest of us she causes hell.
This is the price of living with a sociopath, it rubs off on the kids.I have no doubt when she is bigger she will be assaulting me and doing as she pleases.


wanna add..she was a happy child, this has been gradual, but now I look back she has been this way and getting worse over the past three years..I hate him for this, of all he has done, all he has caused, I hate him for this the most.
He texted her the other day, said he would be back in touch then nothing..I hate him

Elizabeth Conley


I absolutely understand where you are coming from. The type of abuse you’re talking about is one extreme.

Routine spiritual abuse and exploitation is another. There are Bible verses which are used over and over again to trap sincere Christians in victimhood. It’s not the scripture that is bad, it’s the removal from appropriate context and failure to teach the entire Bible. There are verses that make exploitive, abusive leaders squirm, and they aren’t mentioned in churches where these lessons are most needed.

The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness (some translate Generosity), Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. (Who doesn’t want that?) It sounds good, so often people try to “live in the Spirit” without boundaries. These sincere Christians lack the experience and/or education to understand that abuse and exploitation cause misery, grief, fear, and pain to erode Love, Joy and Peace. Only when Christians heed the call to be discerning and firm in the face of misbehavior can we Live in the Spirit consistently.


Muldoon: Take heart. Teenage girls, especially at 12, 13, 14, can be really, really awful. And they take it out on their mothers. This may pass.

I know several girls who were absolute hellions who have settled into being much more reasonable, responsible, and even kind. Don’t give up.



YOu mention your daughter was a happy child. Based on what S told me, he was deliberately cruel, even as a 6 year old to his siblings.

Your kid is 13. Throw in the crazy situation between you and your S, it could be she’s acting out. I remember much earlier how you said your daughter realizes what a crock of shit your S was feeding her and wants nothing to do with him.

Are you right to be concerned? Yes. That said, I think you have an awful lot of evidence that points in the opposite direction to what you’ve got — a snot-nosed teenager.

Ox Drover

Dear Muldoon,

I raised a psychopath, a killer one, literally and h e didn’t start REALLY acting out until puberty.

BUT…the thing is that a great many kids ACT out at puberty who are NOT psychopaths. Keep in mind she has been living in a household that was INSANE with your X there, so she could not help but have some “issues”—even a kid from a “nice” home with two parents who love her and set proper boundaries and so on has “hormonal” problems at that age, so don’t “label” her yet.

I strongly suggest however that you get her some PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING. She needs that to assess her situation. If she were “completely normal” in this situation something would be wrong! If you think YOUR life with this monster has been HELL, can you even imagine what HER life must have been seeing and hearing all this abuse going on.

TAKE HEART, she probably indeed does have some “problems” but it could be ones that having him out of the house and some counseling might take care of.

That’s the thing with these monsters, not only does he hurt YOU, but he hurts his kids too. Try as hard as you can not to get cross ways with her, and assure her that you love her and know she has been hurting through all this mess too, and that you are going to get her and you and your other children some counseling so you can live a better and more sane life without him there to hurt you all any more. Hang in there, Muldoon, you are doing a great job!!!! ((((hugs)))))


Muldoon, Glad you are keeping in touch. About the teenage daughter, boy can I relate. I have finally reconcilled with my daughter after almost 15 years of gingerly barely there relationship, and we find ourselves both struggling to survive and heal from a P. It took me until now to realize that her dad was a P.

Think about it. Your daughter is struggling with the relationship with her parents, and the animosity they have for each other. Whatever she does not like about either one, is being reflected back to her. It is an impossible situation, especially at that age.

i put my duahgter through a “merged” family at 13, thinking I was giving her the earth. I subjected her to a teenaged hell, despite the nice shiny package. Have patience, and see your self in her. I know that in my relationship with my duaghter it was the “mirroring” of each parent into the fabric of her life that was an unfair burden to her.

All she tried to do was love us both and get by. I ended up stepping back and giving her dad lots of leeway, which he abused in many ways. I fugured eventually she would see which one of us was real.

It took 17 years and two children on her part, a broken marriage and trying to survive, to see that I was an okay mom.

Oxy has the best advice on this very fine line. Of when being supoortive and fair, becomes being enabling, when we are being our lovingand open selves, and when we risk losing our boundaries, and being doormats.

Just remember, right now you are the only rational parent she has.

Peace and love,


Elizabeth Conley: My daughter is 13 and my wife has exclusive custody of her. She moved her 100 miles away to live with a man she met on the Internet and dated only 6 weeks. Now she has no intention of getting back with me, my visitation went from everyday after school (when she wanted to keep using me as a place to live in my new house) to I should be avoided at all costs (now she has someone easier to use.) My daughters relationship with me was shaky to begin with (my wife told her I was throwing her out as I said before, pulled her into fights more times than I could count…literally, and told her I loved our foster child at the time more than loved her) so I have not pressed visitation. Like my mom, I think not squeezing my daughter between her mom and I is the best solution. I would rather just back away. I havent had one-on-one visitation in 6 months.

Kathleen Hawk: I have been dad-free for about 3 months and my perspective is changing every day.

He and my ex have joined forces to smear me now that I no longer accept either one of their behaviours. I asked my ex to keep my daughter away from him, which is what she wanted during the marriage. I also asked him to buy her a Christmas present that has value long term, and not a bunch of junk, like a savings bond for college as my daughter has discovered that using people (especially grandparents) is easy and that it gets her what she wants. She also realized that I am the only one that has a problem with it and that instead of looking at the bad behaviour and changing it, it’s easier to avoid me and find people that accept the behaviour.

My ex and my dad then told my daughter I was just trying to ruin her Christmas (she told my daughter this with me on speakerphone) that my daughter was also an abuse victim because I confront bad behaviour when it happens and that I refuse to spank her (like they do) and instead have her do pushups or jumping jacks.

My dad then spent a ton of money on me for Christmas, despite my request and my mothers compaince with the same request where he gave me a “heart-felt appology” in a card and said he was sorry for the misunderstanding (me calling the police on him a few weeks previous)…knowing that if I said anything at the Christmas Dinner I would appear, as he said, unforgiving and bitter. On his way out the door (to go behind my back and give my daughter all the gifts I asked him not to) he gave me a hug and said he was really sorry and how much he loves and respects me. I really felt guilty…but jsut a few minutes later the truth came out.

He also gave my girlfriend and her kids a ton of gifts too. My g/f said, “Wow! Was your dad trying to buy us off or what? And what was up with that fake Hallmark Moment at the door? And why is your daughter going to YOUR dads right after this? Take mine and the kids stuff back to him. I dont feel right taking it.”

I had my confirmation it was all just for show! I went downstairs and told all the remaining family (his brothers) what just transpired and they were not surprised. They thanked me for not making a scene and confirmed I should take the stuff back. So I did. On my way over to his house I saw my ex leaving his driveway. I asked her what she was doing there when I specificly asked her not to. She said “you didnt tell me not to go to your dads, you told me I shouldnt. And why? Just so you can ruin your daughters Christmas?” to which I heard “Yeah Dad! Don’t you want me to be happy? Don’t you love me?” Dont you want me to have nice stuff?”

I shook my head and drove up to his house. He was in his garage and told him “I’m not for sale. You can keep your bribes and your fake appologies. I wont accept your behaviour and you just proved to me just how much of a lying manipulator you really are. And stay the hell away from my daughter.” I haven’t spoken with him since.

On the bright side, it has made other people in my family come forward and say I always thought there was something wrong with your dad and seeing how he is behaving towards you has proven it. I have gotten immense support from them as I am telling them that in my unqualified opinion he has no conscience. They agree.

OxDrover: Reading every article on this website is what helped me figure out what they were: without conscience!

I also did get counseling and after about 10 conventional sessions my counselor (who is also my dads counselor) suggested I do some sessions of EMDR, which I feel helped me put a lot of this together. I did it about 5 times and every single time, within 3 days, I had huge and monumental changes in perspective. Things that never made sense all of the sudden came to stunning clarity.

My mom and I have never been closer. She is so glad to know I finally see things for what they were. My dad says we’re ganging up on him and that she is liar and she is brain washing me. Unreal huh? She said all she did was pray…every day for 25 years. She knew it would happen someday. She’s just glad she is still alive to see it. It’s what I am doing and hoping for with my daughter.

JaneSmith: Thanks. I now know that it isnt my fault. He/she is just so good at convincing that people they are the true victims and NEVER take responsibility for everything. They usually tell me Im the one with the problem. THen they tell everyone I know. Everything you say is so true and so very apparent now. Everything.

Puzzle: I really feel nothing but sympathy now for him. I realized everything…even his religion is fake. It was jsut another weapon to manipulate. Christians are asy targets: they have to forgive otherwise you can convince them they arent Christians at all. I always felt so guilty for wanting to stay away because I didnt want to be bitter and unforgiving. It is what the Bible says after all! But there is no repentance with them…no remorse or desire to change. They only know how guilt should change your actions not how it should change theirs.

He joked that he should marry her to get all of his money back. Yeah. He makes $200k+ a year so he does very well.

Yeah. And everyone I went to talk to (counselors growing up) were told by him before talking to me that I was a difficult child, wouldnt listen, showed no respect and just was causing trouble. What counselor would doubt him? He looked so good on the surface. And when I told them how he beat me, it was because “I would attack him” and “he was defending himself.” It wasnt until my friends witnessed it that that flew out the window but that wasnt until 8th grade. 3 years of hell till that point.

And all that just to marry another one and watch my daughter become one too. It just makes me sick. But I wouldnt be here if I hadnt gone through it. Thank God. It sucked, but here I am, better for having gone through it. It’s feels & reminds me a lot like bootcamp.

Sorry to post this all at once. I was out of town this weekend and didnt find out this was posted until 10 mintues before I left town Friday.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I feel so much better knowing Im not crazy or being bitter. It’s a real recharge for my soul.


Allen: Work on getting yourself strong, and nurture your heart. If this is making sense to your head, that really helps, but I find that the heart and the body (gut feel) also have to come to terms with the truth.

You may have to wait on the sidelines for a bit. It sounds like your daughter is being trained to use people, but she isn’t old enough yet that this has to be a permanent life pattern.

If you are healed and healthy in your heart and soul, you can be there for your daughter. And she may come to you. We never know what the next turn in the road may reveal. Your ex-wife may self-destruct in ways you don’t know and can’t engineer. So work on yourself so you can then be strong to handle whatever else comes along.

Glad to have you here as another person who has come to see the truth. Sorry it took you such pain to find your way hear, but you know you’re among friends.

Ox Drover

Dear Allen,

Thank you for that reply to all our questions and comments. I also have a psychopathic father, and an enabling toxic mother, as wel as I have a psychopathic son who is in prison for murder—I am so glad you and your mother have reconciled.

My mother twisted “forgiveness” to mean “let’s pretend it didn’t happen” to forget reality. I finally realized that “forgiveness” is NOT about pretense, but about getting the bitterness for what they have done out of your own heart, but it doesn’t mean to pretend it didn’t happen, or to LET THEM HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE.

She also tried to convince me that “respect/honor your father and mother” meant that you had to never defy them in any way. However, I have come to see that by becoming the TYPE OF PERSON who would bring honor onto a parent I am “honoring” her, whether she deserves it or not. And, frankly, she does NOT deserve it any more than your father does.

My mother also tried to BUY me and when that didn’t work, she bought my X-DIL and another Psychopath, who betrayed her and stole from her.

I realize it must be frustrating to have your daughter use the same manipulative techniques that your x and your father use, and I hope and pray that is just teenaged dysfunction and that she will “grow out of it” but your take on how to handle it is, I think, as good a choice as you have in the matter.

When I “gave up” and went NC and “they” no longer had a common enemy to fight (me) they self destructed and fought among themselves, so hopefully when your X doesn’t get a rise out of you and your father doesn’t get a rise out of you they will all self destruct.

It took me a long time to realize that NC was even a choice with “family” but it is the ONLY choice with ANYONE who is toxic in my opinion. I am NC with my mom and my P son and it is the ONLY way I can keep from getting new and fresh injuries and have peace and calm. Just turn it over to God and let Him deal with them. Tell your mother I said she is a wise woman, and I am thankful too that she lived long enoughto reconcile with you! I DO know how wonderful that is after nearly a decade at a distance from my son C.


Allen, I learned this truth about “them”.

Tis better not to tell an [email protected] they are an [email protected] Why? Cause they are an [email protected]

That’s my truth and I’m sticking with it.

Peace and smile, it’s contagious.


That’s funny Wini!

Elizabeth Conley

Dear Allen,

My heart goes out to you. Your situation with your child has to be heartbreaking. Still, I think you have the answer in your mother’s love.

“My mom and I have never been closer. She is so glad to know I finally see things for what they were. My dad says we’re ganging up on him and that she is liar and she is brain washing me. Unreal huh? She said all she did was pray”every day for 25 years. She knew it would happen someday. She’s just glad she is still alive to see it. It’s what I am doing and hoping for with my daughter.”

You and your mother are on the right track. Your situation may resolve sooner than you think. It isn’t unusual for kids to bounce back and forth between parents in their teens. Things will get rough with her mother, and she’ll run to you. Then she’ll realize you’re not a doormat, so she’ll run back to her mother. The silver lining is, your ex wife probably doesn’t have what it takes to consistently offer a stable home. Your daughter may end up “stuck” with you, which would be hard going for you both, but potentially productive. This scenario plays out a lot.

See if you can get a relatively long visit with your daughter. Say, two months out of the summer. I’ve seen cluster B parents eventually choose to farm out their children to the hated ex spouse, only to have the kids refuse to return. You don’t have to spoil your daughter to achieve this. Quite the opposite. I’ve got a nephew who prefers his firm father to his cluster B mother, even though Dad makes him work very hard in school. The kid is smart enough to know Dad’s way will net him a better life.

I know your daughter seems like a brat now, but she could very well turn out to be a sensible young lady. You turned out pretty well!


Thanks for that long response. You sound like you’re really doing well in getting through this. Clarity is the big “symptom” of getting better. Though you’ve got big challenges in this situation, you seem very clear about what you think and about what you’re doing.

Only one thing you wrote — about getting confirmation from other family members in returning the gifts — showed some uncertainty. Understandable, but hopefully as time goes on, you’ll be more and more certain that your gut reactions are your most valid indicator of what to do or think.

It’s a really encouraging thing that other people are coming out about their concerns about your father. Even though you don’t need the validation, it’s nice to have it.

As far as your daughter goes, I’m with Elizabeth. It’s difficult for kids to interpret these adult dramas, and they have their own issues (including wanting lots of cool stuff to be able to compete in the popularity stakes). Life is a great teacher. And if you’re steady with your own good values, she will eventually come to understand why.

Congratulations on all of it.



Allen: If all our EXs were still in their teens … we’d naturally be calling them PUNKS … assuming they will outgrow this bad behavior as the years go by. This is our (all of societies) first mistake … we believed that with aging comes maturity. No one realized years ago, that they truly enjoy being the selfish, self centered brats that they are. If they don’t get their way (adult temper tantrums, they make everyone miserable simply because they always want to get their own way any way they need to accomplish this. Just imagine a toddler in the fit of rage … throwing their toys against the wall and smashing it to smitherines. Hence, what do these chronologically aged children do instead of toys … it escalated to the adult toys … smashing others lives to smitherines.

They’re brats because they want to be brats … period.


Elizabeth Conley


There is every reason to believe your daughter has an EXCELLENT chance of growing into a wonderful lady!!!

I’m NOT just saying that to make you feel better.

Most 13 year old kids are difficult. Those whose parents are having an ugly divorce are usually worse than average.

The vast majority of them mature into fine adults. Remember, she’s your daughter too! You have already influenced her, and you will have future opportunities to impact her life.

Please do not let this get you down. I’ll be keeping you and your daughter in my prayers.



Another book you might want to look into is “Adult Children of Alcoholics”. The author notes that whether or not you were the child of alcoholics, a lot of the same patterns exist in dysfunctional households.

I’m rereading it now. Some of the situations the author discusses sound like they are very comparable to what you are grappling with in the case of your daughter.


I definitely will Matt.

Elizabeth: I hope she does. I just see so much of her mom & her mom’s mom, and my dad in her actions that I just cant imagine her not ending as an S when it’s all finished. I turned out ok, but I fought my dad every time I saw his walk not equal his talk. She doesnt. She goes where it gets her the most of whatever she wants at that moment. I almost had her seeing through it by the end of my last summer visit. Guess I will just plant the seeds and pray God makes them grow. I cant even get a weekend visit, let alone a long summer visit. Her mom wont stand for it.

Wini: That is an excellent point that I never considered. I thought that is why my ex slept with me in HS…as rebellion and cuz she “loved me and knew she wanted to marry me”. I should have known I was more of a “toy” that she had to obtain rather than a person that she wanted to enjoy time with. It was always “If you’ll do ____ the I will do _____”…but she usually found a way out of keeping her end. In retrospect it seems so obvious! Thats why I stopped talking gifts from my dad. “If I buy you _______, then you need to accept ________”. He never kept his end either…the abuse always came back. I married what I knew.


OxDrover -“let’s pretend it didn’t happen” LOL, boy do have I lived through that nice little piece of manipulation!

That was the reason for the tsunami of fury unleshed by my mother. I dared to contradict her version of events.

There she was painting my father as the demon in the house “oh a fist followed by a boot into his poor wretched wife”. I swear to God the man never touched her. He blustered around a bit when agitated but he was never abusive or violent.

Anyway after about the 5th time she said it I quietly said “you know from what I remember it wasn’t Daddy who was the violent person in the family, it was you”.

Well she didn’t get hysterical there in the cafe, she saved it for when she got the pen and paper at home.

He’ll she even sent my sister to school with a perfect iron mark on her thigh………complete with the steam holes. Fancy that putting a hot iron on your 10 year olds leg- the teachers at school didn’t know what to do.

And to think that she had the nerve to say that Dad was the violent one. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, and not only did he NEVER lay a finger on my sister or me but we never saw him touch our mother.

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