Editor’s note: Even in old age, sociopaths do not give up their predatory game. I’ve heard several stories of sociopathic senior citizens, still looking for targets. Following is one of them, submitted by a reader who we’ll call “Edith.”
After 40-plus years of marriage my mother died, leaving my Dad, in his 60’s, bereft and vulnerable ”¦ Within a few weeks this loving man, known for his kindness, empathy and ethical character, told me about a woman in his widow/widower support group who was being very persistent in suggesting they go out for coffee or a walk and that he “wasn’t ready for that.” BUT HE FELT SO SORRY FOR HER because she couldn’t stop crying (pity play that seemed normal under the circumstances).
In a couple more weeks he quit talking and they were a couple ”¦ My brother and I were alarmed and begged him to slow down to no avail and they were married within the year ”¦ I know now she set him up and why he was targeted. Sociopaths know when they can likely manipulate a prospective partner with their mirroring and love bombing tactics ”¦
When I met her I was struck by her narcissism and flirtatious behavior, never warmed to her, but made accommodations and accepted her as the mate he had chosen ”¦
It wasn’t until some years later, when he became ill that I spent hours with her in waiting rooms and at doctors appointments, that her mask slipped and the nightmare of my life went from bad to worse ”¦ I’ve often read of a parent trying to protect a child from the manipulations of a S/P. I found myself at the other end of the spectrum an adult child trying to protect my aging, ill father from the malevolent and secretive maneuvers of his own wife ”¦
There has been some speculation about whether S/Ps slow down as they age—in my experience, she had fine tuned her skills over a lifetime and her ordinary physical appearance worked to her benefit. In her 70s she had not slowed down at all. She could out-act Meryl Streep and turn convincing crocodile tears on and off like a faucet and men in particular felt sorry for this petite elderly woman who I knew to be dangerous ”¦ She volunteered and attended church regularly (good cover) and the appearance of normalcy allowed her to achieve her real goals—complete power and control over my Dad and all his affairs, gradually replacing all his personal and professional contacts with those of her choosing (more men she could manipulate).
Most healthcare pros, social workers, etc., were clueless, but there were also some astute “angels” who had had psych training and saw through her Oscar worthy performances ”¦ When I tried to alert others, I was repeatedly patronized and told she loved him and would never hurt him when my brother and I knew the exact opposite was true—she had picked out her next victim and wanted Dad out of the way ”¦
When my father passed away, she already had the next guy lined up ”¦ He had lost his wife after a lengthy illness and she did exactly the same thing with him—convincing him they had so much in common as they were both widowed. I knew she was setting him up and he was a lifelong friend of my mother’s and her family ”¦ In typical S/P fashion, while she was telling one group of friends she’d “never been happier” a few weeks after my dad died, she was telling another group (her family) at precisely the same time, while sobbing, that she just couldn’t get over the loss, never dreaming the two groups would cross paths—and they didn’t—I just had spies in both camps and was tipped off ”¦ Of course after the smear campaign she’d done on me, I was powerless to intervene ”¦ She’d already convinced the new guy she was “such a wonderful woman.” He told me so when visiting my Dad and told one of my friends the same thing at my Dad’s funeral ”¦
She pulled plenty of financial shenanigans but was not completely successful in cutting my brother and me out of the will ”¦ To be honest the bigger issue to me is the emotional damage she left in her wake ”¦ Both my brother and I were left with the same symptoms I read about on LF ”¦ exhaustion, depression, rage and PTSD symptoms ….
I want to tell my story in the hope it can help someone else ”¦