Loving the sociopath who’s spared you

(This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Steve Becker, LCSW. My use of male gender pronouns is for convenience’s sake and not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the behaviors and attitudes discussed.)

It can be hard to hate or despise even the most terrible human being so long as he’s inflicted his cruelty on others, but spared you. Take a sociopathic relative, even a close one.

If somehow he compartmentalized his life, lived a “double life—”in any case, if you learned that he treated you (retrospectively even) with an exceptional, aberrant mercy that he denied his victims, you might very possibly remain “loyal” to him. You might still even “love” him.

Various defenses are pertinent—such as denial, dissociative and other self-deluding mechanisms. Gratitude may also be present, expressive of a different defense mechanism: the “monster,” after all, spared you, but not others. He exempted you from the cruel fate he inficted on them, who were helpless to protect themselves, as you were too, only he spared you. So it may seem as if he were somehow “protecting” you from the  “demons” he unleashed on others.

This kind of analysis can engender, as I say, a form of “gratitude” and “loyalty” towards the victimizing individual; it is a variant of “identifying with the aggressor.”

Now it’s true that many, discovering the unseemly truth about someone close to them, even if they were spared the individual’s predations, will modify their view of the individual, bringing it into conformity with reality.

But not always.

I stress: sometimes the monster will retain his “backer.” And the chief point I stress is that his “backer” will probably be under the sway of twin, interrelated and twisted forces of logic—if he didn’t do this to me, then how could he have done this to them? And if he did it to them and not me, then he must have somehow “loved” me?

In either case, “I exculpate him.” In this way, I can remain “loyal” to him,without feeling I’ve transgressed my value system.

Thus disbelief (enabled by denial), mixed and confused with the fantasy of having been a special, exceptional object of his “love” (thanks to which he “amnestied” you from the cruel fate to which he subjected others) supports the rationalization to “stand by” him.

We are strange in the sense of this contradiction: on one hand, we are highly prone to judging others; on the other, we have the capacity to utilize defense mechanisms in the service of “withholding judgment” whenever the need arises.

We do both regularly—that is, regularly we relent to the tendency to judge, while often simultaneously exercising the detachment necessary to “not judge” sometimes disturbing individuals and their alarming stories of transgression.

Many professions, like that of psychotherapy, require the capacity to “suspend personal judgment” just so its practioners can work effectively with a wide range of stimulating, and sometimes disturbing, information.

Families have been torn apart by this psychological dynamic in a sometimes brutal clash of dichotomous positions. I’ve seen this more than a few times. A violator in the family has wrought it shame, perhaps public shame. The violator has perpetrated terrible things now known to the family.

Some family members revise their view of the individual and come to despise him, want nothing more to do with him, have sworn the individual out of their lives.

Other family (especially those who weren’t personally victimized by the individual) may  “stand by” the individual, “retain” their faith and belief in him; and thus a rift between the “factions” occurs, adding another layer of nightmare to the trauma precipitated by the violating relative.

This is a preliminary examination of this very complicated subject, to be explored in further depth ahead.

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113 Comments on "Loving the sociopath who’s spared you"

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I have several thoughts about this.

First, I’ve never seen it personally in my life. I have never experienced that, i.e., made excuses for someone or supported somebody known to have hurt others. There is a key word there, “others.”

My double standard kicks in when the person who was hurt has been me.

Because I don’t see the abuser hurting anyone than me, my brain assumed the cause of the abuse lay with me, something that I did or didn’t do, something that I said or didn’t say. Then I could rationalize the abuser’s bad behavior. It was my denial.

I also believed back then that everybody was born good. It was totally out of my realm of possibilities that somebody would harm another without cause or just for the fun of it. I was very naive.

It was also my shame. Not until I started talking about what was going on did other people begin to share that they believed me, that they had seen it, too, or that they knew of instances where…

Talking broadened my perspective. It made things a whole lot easier to accept that they were capable of doing these things and were doing them. What was much more difficult was accepting that I didn’t need to be abused by anybody and that my thoughts and feelings were just as valid as the next person’s. That took a lot of work.

I guess I was dealing with something very different there because once I heard that so-and-so did whatever and I got over the shock that I wasn’t the only one, it didn’t take long for my anger to kick on that they did that to somebody else. I’m not sure why I could be protective of somebody else, but didn’t feel the same compassion or injustice for myself. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I seem to be pretty over that at this point.

However, Steve, what you’re talking about, I’ve seen it in two places.

I watched a program on the Green River Killer a couple of weeks ago. His wife and neighbors talked about how normal and what a regular guy he was at home. What was that about? A facade? The P being able to keep his dark side out of sight from the people he needed to maintain his facade that he was a decent person so the police wouldn’t come knocking on his door? It was interesting to watch these three explain how normal the GRK came across.

On the other hand, there is Jerry Sandusky’s wife. I cannot begin to imagine what is in that woman’s head that she continues to defend this man, especially when she has lived with him and what the other children living in the house have reported. So, there is it; nothing that I can explain or defend, but I have to accept that it’s possible because there it is.

I’ll be interested in reading the other thoughts regarding this article.

My thoughts are that if a person remains loyal to someone who has done evil to an innocent, then the loyal person is also evil and has no empathy.

Perhaps they are not AS evil as the perpetrator, (Joe Paterno comes to mind), but they are narcissistic enough to think that double standards apply. They believe that it is ok to victimize someone who is different from them (a woman, a child, a different race or nationality).

Yes GS1, the Green River Murderer did seem normal and even nice. In fact, he let me go. How nice was that? He picked me up hitchhiking and propositioned me when I was 15. I bitched him out for making that assumption and he apologized. So he is a perfect example of someone who is evil but not to everybody and not all the time. To be honest, he seemed like a cowering little worm. He said, “I’m sorry, I’m just a horny toad.” Just a worm filled with recursive shame.

I later saw a video of him explaining how he felt entitled to kill prostitutes because they were human garbage. Being the worm that he is, he probably was looking to make compost.

But anyway, that is a red flag. Men who go on and on about how they hate prostitutes…they are full of wormy shame of their own.

No one would believe me if I told them my husband had a terrible temper. They never saw it. What I saw was a man who would come home and be so angry that a cow would annoy him and he would beat the holy crap out of it. Sometimes it lamed the cow and would have to be put down. In later years, he learned that if he hit the back heel on a cow just the right way, it would snap the leg right above the hoof. That snap sound of the break made my husband feel SO superior, so VICTORIOUS. He’d finish up with the obligatory bullet to end it’s misery, and let his dad know there was a cow to be buried. His dad would dig a hole in the river bar and drag the dead cow by a chain, push it into the hole, and move the dirt over. Cow gone. Husband in GOOOOOD mood. Wife terrified.

My husband’s father also had an incredible temper. Again, people of the town thought him the salt of the earth, but out on our ranch, outside of town, on a dead end road, I watched that man vent full force and made sure he didn’t see me.

Once their anger was purged, they were perfectly capable of being – as my husband would boast – Cool, Calm and CO-llected!

Sky, sorry. I forgot about you and the GRM. Didn’t mean to trigger.

Narcissism. Yes, maybe that’s what is going on. That’s why bystanders are sometimes charged for standing by and doing nothing.

What I meant by saying that I have never seen it my life is that people can find it hard to hate or despise an abuser because they are not hurting you. I don’t think a person would love such a person knowing that. The loyalty thing, e.g., standing by the person, may be because you’re clinging onto a hope that it isn’t true, you’re blindsided, or you simply don’t know what to do.

Oh, wait. I just remembered another program that I saw a few years back. The wife/mother was horribly abused by the super-controlling husband/father. Two of the kids clearly emotionally identified with the father. They were equally controlling and nasty. They loved the guy and felt the mother was such a failure and deserved everything that she got. They said that she lied about everything. Things weren’t that bad. Dad just needed to correct her now and then.

There was one son who emotionally identified with the mother. Supported her on everything. Clearly was in fear of his father.

Really sick dynamics in that family. I don’t think they fit the model that Steve was describing. What was happening that family was something else all together. They didn’t find it difficult at all to “love” the father because they clearly identified with him. They were mini-hims.

Sandusky’s wife, she was being abused. Perhaps not directly, but to have to live with that and know, whether she wanted to admit it or not, what was going on was abuse. She’s putting on too much of a brave face and playing the loving wife. We’re just seeing her insides. God only knows what is going on inside her head.


This subject is one that NEEDS to be explored in GREAT depth because it is the very thing that splits families, even nations, apart and causes so much collateral pain and drama to the people around the psychopath.

My family is a perfect example of this, with my egg donor standing staunchly beside my psychopathic son with her greatest desire being to live long enough to see him get out of prison and come to live with her here at the farm.

Then there are those family members who ‘DON’T KNOW WHO TO BELIEVE” in the situation….and just want to wash their hands of the whole ugly situation and get away from it and NOT HAVE TO DECIDE who is right and who is wrong, or which side to take….let’s just pretend none of this happened.

It’s a bit off subject but one of my favorite cartoons shows a woman squatted down talking to a 4-5 year old girl. In the back ground is the still smoldering ruins of a home that has been burned to the ground, and the caption says (woman speaking to child) “Mommy and daddy are not mad at YOU, Marilyn, we are upset about the naughty THING YOU DID.”

Sometimes family members/friends seem to take that attitude with family members who “burn down” someone else’s house, but not theirs….

My X BF NO DOUBT burned down the house of his previous GF, though there is not enough evidence to convict him, but some of the folks in our living history group that KNOW HIM and KNOW THE EX GF and I think TRULY BELIEVE he did burn her house, still associate with him in a very friendly way….DUH????

When JP, the man in our living history group got out of prison after serving his time for kiddie porn came back and rejoined our group (working with kids) and got a paid job at the state museum WORKING WITH KIDS….some of the guys on our group’s Board of directors didn’t see any need to “kick him out” of our group—-needless to say I raised all kinds of old billy hair and got him fired from his job (they did not know he was on parole) and out of our group, and he went immediately and got a job with 4-H working with KIDS. Eventually when his public records seemed to be following him EVERYWHERE he went to get a job working with kids and he kept getting fired because of his criminal record…he blew his brains out. I really feel sorry for his wife.

There are several “kids” I knew back when my kids were kids and not men, who are in and out of prison, and splitting their families asunder. I know others who are out of prison and have never been to prison (yet) that are doing the same.

I have finally learned in “my old age” that if someone will screw person A they will screw person B (eventually) and me next. So if a person is dishonest with one person they will be dishonest with others as well. So I avoid dishonest people, liars, irresponsible and callous people. It helps but some still slip by me for a while.

Seems to me that sociopaths maintain their masks in whatever way works for them, but also, there are also BENEFITS that go to the minions to Love them.

My husband vented his rage when thwarted and blocked from “winning”, and could keep people fooled b/c they didn’t see his behavior 24/7. People believed in him b/c they didn’t see any reason not to. Only myself and my daughter regularly saw the real person he was when no one was watching. And he had lots of investors, they sure didn’t want the truth b/c it would mean financial loss (the house of cards is falling now but it took YEARS for it to happen.)

Sandusky’s wife has a vested interest in refusing to acknowledge his true nature. There were many benefits being married to him, including not being accountable for her own behavior. As long as she can keep the blinders on, she doesn’t have to take responsibility for what she did/didn’t do. Once she acknowledges, then she has to do something.

no worries, as I said, the encounter ended in my favor and I have no emotional trauma related to it –unless I’m suppressing it. What I do have some issues with is when I remember the day I realized who had given me a ride. I was watching a TV show about GR and I was sitting with the spath. I told the spath, “oh, that guy gave me a ride…” to think that I was sitting next to someone worse than GR was.

He is an equal opportunity murderer and he still wants me dead.

GR, afaik, worked alone. The exspath recruits minions. I think that makes him more dangerous. Having a patsy makes him more ballsy.

Steve, I second OxD’s enthusiasm about this specific topic.

Today, I don’t tolerate bad behaviors whether I’m the target, or someone else is. I may not become vociferous about it, but I’ll shut the door tight on someone who deliberately harms another person.

What I find to be a particular challenge is to speak truthfully with other people about this topic. There’s this pervasive mythos that “everyone deserves a second chance” and “benefit of the doubt.” Well, maybe they do, but just not from me – if that makes any sense.

Thanks for this discussion. I’m sure that it’s going to become a very lively one.

Brightest blessings

Living in the charmed circle enthralls those in it. There are loads of perks and perception is skewed. There is barely the language to describe the subtlety of what a good psychopath can do. The slide in and out of being angels one minute and behind the scenes enjoying getting one over on anyone and everyone. Always the topdog.
This is not the territory of black and white and NO ONE is exempt from their extraordinary skills in manipulation. People are generally genuinely clueless until the piano falls on them.

Years and years later I realize things about the psychopath I married. For instance, he did not go to prison but many of his “friends” did. Why was that???? It dawned on me that he may have set them up or made a deal with the law to escape prosecution. Then I think Nooooooooo How could that be. Well, it could be. This guy’s friends loved him so passionately saying things like” he is the most Christlike person I have ever met”. We are talking about a dope dealer here for pete’s sake.

Sure the one’s in his circle are in denial. He is the master of disguise and double dealing. This is so elaborate and ingrained in the psychopath and people are just not equipped to pick up on the maneuvers. Some people are even blind to tone’s of voice and body language. Some people just like to have a good time. Some people are very psychologically inept and disinterested. Even people who are very saavy and intuitive miss it in a really adept psychopath. They are not goons. Those ones we are safe with after having been mauled and discarded. The red flags are clear and defined.

I am taking a long time to say that I can’t control that most of my family still thinks he was heroic and brilliant. His family knows how he makes his money but minimize his modus operandi by likening him to a generous pirate.

It is a deeply personal thing to escape from under the influence of a psychopath. I no longer expect any of them to get it. I grieved that for years. But I had to get away. It was a case of all the sirens going off in my brain. It was not a nice, healthy intellectual decision. His revenge is never ending. It often catches me from the rear or sideways. He has some brain powers or genetics that allow him to be very quick and lethal.

Maybe those people who stay know that at some level. They don’t know it though.

Yeah, mine was always somewhere in the loop, too, and mine was never arrested either, Everybody else was, always.

Just watched the movie, “The Girl” about the trauma bonded relationship between Alfred Hitchcock, and his leading lady, Tippy Hedron. She starred in both, “The Birds”, and “Marnie”. Incredable study of the trauma bond, and psychopathic “tells” and cog-dis and power plays and seduction, and why we get trapped, and what we tell ourselves. It’s interesting that Hitchcocks films had the themes and content they did….kind of an abysal structure of the story within the story. If you get the chance, “WATCH THIS MOVIE.

Hi Well this post reminded me of a very recent event with my father. He was the nicest man in town. He knew everyone & they just luv luv luved him. He was the biggest horses ass at home. My mother & my sister & I ran the whole household based on what would keep my father from going insane & start yelling at all of us in a blind drunken rage about imaginary issues. Then he’d force us all to watch the program he wanted as he fell asleep snoring & when we changed it he’d wake up & make us change it back before going back to sleep. His favorite mantras were that we were good for nothing kids & was quick to take his belt & spank us for the slightest childhood infraction.

My whole life my mother shook. She struggled with agoraphobia, high blood pressure, smoked & still does. I was her best friend. Great. She’s 40 & I’m 10. Let’s see my duties were to ride around in the car at night looking for my dad’s car at bars. Sometimes my brothers who were 13 & 15 would come & they’d go in & get him. Otherwise she’d leave me in the car alone & go in. I went shopping with her & worried about money every saturday. Sometimes we’d leave the house get in the car & back out of the driveway & drive right back in. Or make it to the store walk in the door & turn around & walk back out & go home. She never drove on freeways or in the snow. My dad would have to pick us up after school in the winter & he’d forget & I’d stand there until dark with my bare legs (pants weren’t allowed yet) freezing until someone realized I wasn’t home. He forgot to pick me up at the dentist after school when I was six. I was terrified he left me there by myself to begin with.

We were a God fearing family & went to church every weekend. The priests would confuse me with their do unto others, & their honor your father, good Samaritan, & the Lion & the Mouse stories. The proceed to slap my father on the back & shake his hand. Before we got home from church he was usually already in a snit at one of us kids or all of us. My mother had to sit right in the very back by the door so she could escape. The part of that I took with me is that when I fly I have to sit up in the front nearest the door as possible so I & get this” I know I can get out. Couldn’t possibly open the door at 30K feet & would have absolutely no where to go but none the less it is what it is. Insanity isn’t always genetic, it can be environmental & learned when we have such great teachers.

To wrap up the background here he did quit drinking & it’s probably good for me that he did because I was trying to figure out how to kill him. My older siblings had all left home & never came back leaving me to fend for myself with him. By this time he was always drunk I suspect. He never made any sense & I be punished because he screwed up information or messages. It is over 30 years he’s been sober & he’s still a mean ornery cuss. When I was at the height of my career he told me I should stay at home with my kids. Now that I’m unemployed he only asks me did you get a job & then if not he gets off the phone. If yes he says some asinine thing like yeah, well how long ya think they’ll keep you. Comments like you’re getting older so they don’t want to hire you at this age. Most recently he told me I should give up my kids to my ex-husband since i don’t have an income or money.

Well, my girlfriend convinced me a couple years ago to ask to borrow some money from them. Keeping in mind my father had never given or loaned me so much as a nickel my entire life. During my 25 years of employment I traveled. A lot. Maybe 4 or 5 flights a week. Anytime anyone wanted to go anywhere I provided the tickets, My mom wanted a particularly nice winter coat I bought it. When my company went public I just gave them $60K worth of stock that I could have kept for myself. Well they loaned me money. I continue to struggle for employment so I periodically have to stop payments on paying him back. He also thinks that the spath was my fault I’m just an idiot & deserved it, yada yada yada. They tell me I’m in over my head, duh. Every time I talk with them they just beat on me a little more. & about a month ago he called me because my mom was out so she could’t stop him & started beating up on me & I decided I wasn’t going to take it any more. I am 50 years old & this mess is not my own doing. I had impeccable credit, no debt, a career, houses, cars, etc etc Of course my ex-husband in his mind did that for me. NOT. I told him & my mother they had to stop it to stop it. I know I’m in trouble or I wouldn’t be asking for help.

My father got it in his head that I would probably not have him paid back by the time he dies. WTF? Really? What does it matter exactly? He’s 84 & had three heart attacks last year. 35 Years ago both of his parents died at different times at the age of 99.5. His heart has been weakened by his alcohol abuse I suppose but he is too ornery to die soon. The mean ones never die it seems. Anyway, I told him I would not talk to them anymore & that I had to pick myself up & their beating me down like I’m 12 years old had to stop. It felt terribly disrespectful for me to do that. It’s not how my mother brought us up.

If that wasn’t enough I wrote him a letter. It outlined everything I felt I had been through under his watch. For the first time I told him how much I made. i never did that because I didn’t want him to feel badly. I probably made more in one year than he’d made his entire life. I wanted him to know that how I had been living was built by me not my ex-husband. &, that the way I was living was not even close to being over the top based on my financial position up until the moment I was robbed. He sent me a note back saying, well no one has ever called me an asshole before! I resounded, Really? First I didn’t say asshole, he did, not me & that perhaps thats how it feels when you verbally abuse someone their whole life. Then I said maybe someone should have a long time ago.

End of story, no birthday card or call for the first time ever in my life this year. Can you believe this?

On a legal note. I lost my kids in court last week. The judge doesn’t want them to have to “live” like that. I can visit them though. Well how nice. I refuse. I have done nothing wrong & don’t deserve that. My daughter will be leaving for college in two years. I told my ex that when they start living with me again I’ll interact & he can wrestle with it on his death bed because he is so wrong. I can “visit” my own children. I don’t think so. I am not a criminal. The judge further went on to imply that it was my fault I wasn’t being paid child support. Really. Ok. I had to work very hard to not hit bottom & think suicidal things again. I managed but had a few very very hard hours & slept for three days. So it’s true. I’ve lost everything I’ve ever done, built, created. So there’s nothing else left to take at least. & I guess it’s time for me to just concentrate on me. & I close with my latest mantra, Place Oxygen Mask on Self Before Helping Others. Love to all Lil .

My ex spath goes out of his way not to directly injure his family. They know he takes advantage of others, but chose to look the other way since he is family. Like wise the masonic organization we belong to has heard complaint after complaint about his abuse of some of its female members but because his broken vow of not victumizing others comes into a GREY area that does not INVOLVE the group directly they tell woman after woman, “thats between you and him,” and refuse to kick him out. Rather they put him into positions of honor and authority were it is sure he will be able to SET UP the next victim easily! Because of their refusal to kick him out I refuse to have anything to do with them any more. He use to say, you don’t shi+ where you eat. These preditors know who they have to please in order to have a hassle free hunting zone. It has nothing to do with liking or loving those they choose not to hurt, they are simply still watching out for number one!

I have struggled with understanding sociopathic behavior. We were going to couple’s counselling and the counsellor diagnosed my ex as a sociopath. However she couldn’t telll me that – I have to come to the conclusion on my own. I always knew something wasn’t right but I ignored the signals because of all the attention he was giving me. Little did I know I was in the most toxic relationship of my life. He lived a double life. He was, at a minimum, in contact with mutliple women. He preys on women though the internet. Facebook. Blogs. If you want to read the words of a sociopath, check out his blog domesticstud.blogspot.com Chilling stuff. He sounds so normal? Well he isn’t. He is a textbook sociopath. When you read the definition of a sociopath, the only thing missing is his picture. He uses his children to prey on unsuspecting women too. He would put the chair under the bedroom door so he could have sex while his children are banging on the door saying they are hungry – they are ages 10, 7 and 3. I read his blog to my counsellor and said “how can someone who has no feelings write these words?” Her reply? “those aren’t feelings – they are thoughts. He doesn’t have true feelings. He only knows what he observes in other people and how they feel about things. He mimics them.” And to think they walk among us trusting souls. They suck us in and bleed us dry and then discard us like yesterday’s garbage. SAD!

Interesting how they can copy other people’s thoughts and values.
Hmm now I kinda get how they live on with the “identity” of their victims. They carry their victims “illusions” after destroying their victims core, leaving them to rebuild new values, id. and beliefs, but they just can’t quite process it inwards and make it their own. It’s just a copy.

o my

o my

This whole topic is so where I am in my life right now that I had to re-read it all three times. I am validated. I am not insane. Someone else out there in the world understands what I am going through. I have never in my life seen everything come together so clearly as in this story and in every response.

At the expense of repeating myself, I will expound. I was stunned on Saturday to find out from one sister that there was a family secret. My other sister had my ex-spath prepare her will. This was done a few months ago unbeknownst to me and before she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She knows what he did to me and has heard about all of the details about the rapes, being called a slut and a whore, the mind twisting, blaming, degrading, minimizing, alienating my children, etc. But she called him anyway because he is a lawyer and my daughter’s father. She designated my daughter to be executor, POA and is leaving everything to her. My daughter is competent, a nurse and a loving niece. I think it is all great except for using my abuser and keeping it secret from me.

The sister informing me called it a test to see if I could be brought back into the family loop. I did not know I was out of the loop or that it was a conspiracy. My daughter is NC with me but not my sisters. I was not aware that any sides were being taken against me or that secrets were being kept or conspiracies formed.

My sisters and I were raised with the “all people are good” concept mixed with a bit of no one is good enough for us and females are worthless. Talk about mind bending concepts! The belief that all people are basically good was was the rock I based my life on and unfortunately it was also the reason I was able to be spathed.

This spath raped his room mate’s girlfriend while she was sleeping and was thrown out and disowned by all of his friends. He was a Senior from in college from the city and I was a freshman, small town country girl”pure spath bait. My mother had cancer and was given six months to live before I was forced to go away to college against my will. I tried to get kicked out and sent home but my sister intervened and I had to stay.

I felt sorry for him, he love bombed me and made me feel secure and I reluctantly married him a few months after my mother died. There was no honeymoon; he violently raped me on our wedding night. It went downhill from there. We soon had a son and I was devoted to making his life my number one priority. I was trained to be a second class citizen to my husband and yet I did finish college while he went to law school. There is a whole other complete story in how spaths are attracted to law school like flies to a cow patty.

Ten years and a beautiful daughter later I divorced him. By then he was abusing my son and love bombing the baby girl. With his sexual history and deviancy I was afraid for both of my children and did for them what I would not do for myself. I got out! I wanted no alimony I took minimal child support to assure that I got custody and when private school became necessary for my son and he would not even pay half, I moved far, far away where we lived a good life. I blossomed spiritually, mentally, socially and with my career; my son quit having temper tantrums and banging his head on the floor but my sweet baby girl was broken hearted.

Taking away my faith in humanity was probably the worst thing the spath did to me. Finding out that evil exists and that these inhuman creatures walk amongst us taking their sustenance and pleasure in creating misery and death for innocents changes a person forever. Maybe that is why no one wants to believe it. Maybe that is where the stories of vampires began; they are like vampires and worse!

My current husband of 30 years says he has not seen much but he has seen enough of the spath aka sperm donor and read enough on psychopathy to discern that it is true. My son’s wife knew from the first time she met the spath and as a result my son is leaning to my side of the fence. My daughter is NC with all three parents (except for doing the will I guess).

After the spath’s third divorce he sucked her into his web. She moved away, went to him in secrecy and took away our grandchildren while my brother was dying of cancer. She eventually moved back but was and is still being used unwittingly by him to drive me out of my mind. He won and I was re-victimized through my daughter until I broke and helped alienate her with my insanity and anger until she went total NC and declared me an unfit grandmother. Although my heart is broken it is probably better for her to not have to interact with either of us. Than to be his source of energy and the tool for his abuse of me.

I agree with Sunflower: “”but they just can’t quite process it inwards and make it their own. It’s just a copy.” They copy the survivors’ honesty, virtue and loyalty and use it to take or destroy entire families while the survivor is demonized and re-victimized for trying to expose the lies and fraud.

So here we are. A family torn to shreds by a slithering snake of a spath with a juris doctorate. Almost fifty years since he pledged the fraternity next door to where my sister pledged her sorority. He took away or alienated most of my own family against me. And now I know why and how he did it. I thank God for my husband, my son and my daughter-in- law who he could not bamboozle and I pray that someday my daughter will awaken from the spell of the spath and I will be able to see her and my grandchildren again and heal. There is healing but only AFTER the spath. There can be no true healing except AFTER the spath. I did it once and I can do it again.

They are living VAMPIRES!!!!

Thank you for a great topic and for every single response.


Wow, I read your ex’s blog! Was that who you were in a relationship with??? Oh, yeah…he sounds so normal and loving! He talks all about how much he believes in love, etc. WOW!!!! And claims that his kids are his life. SMH.

Are you the crazy woman he talks about who he says hates all women and exercises constantly and eats only organic food?…haha!

your ex’s blog sounds a bit like Sandusky’s letters to one of his victims. All that talk about trust and forgiveness is manipulative. He wants to make sure that your guilt trip is started before you ever get off the ground.


Wow! Since I know what he is, he just looks like a total looney to me. He rants, he contradicts himself, he refers to himself constantly, and probably loves re-reading his blog posts over and over and over.

His grammar sucks. His punctuation is off.

His writing, to me, reads like a hamster stuck on a wheel. There is no ‘there there’, no place he takes his ideas, because they are not really his ideas, but only snippets of human experience he has learned the words to.

He sounds like a child talking about an adult topic, and making childish mistakes, and connecting the dots with a childs mind.

That’s one of the things that stands out about these characters, their arrested emotional intelligence.


This blog is really getting to the heart of what drives me crazy. I know I have acted like a “crazy woman” at times driven over the edge by the psychopath.

For the women who have their children taken away from them I am so sorry. That pain is so searing and unending. My spath ex went to a lawyer and tried to have mine taken away. Thank God the lawyer warned him that if he tried his illegal life would be brought up so he backed off. But he took her away in spirit. He was filthy rich and I was poor and going to university. He sent her to private school and she thrived there. Every Christmas he took her to wonderful exotic places. I found a letter from her when she was eight and she said she told him that she wanted to come home to Mommy and he told her that I said that she should stop that and enjoy her lucky time in Hawaii. I never said that. She was so hurt by me saying that. I would never say that. That is just a small pebble in the wall of lies about me.His family disowned me after 12 years of marriage and don’t give a fig about what happens to me. That is ok but I am also the monster, crazy woman and my daughter picked up on that. There are lots of cousins and it is a large, powerful family. So the dominant story is that I am a freak.
I can’t convince you that I am not a freak and I felt like one for sure. I’m a children’s counsellor and I volunteer teaching ESL to immigrants. I am not a freakish bad person or a creep.I find it very, very hard to keep my head up though. I want my daughter to love me and be proud of me but I realize that she has been alienated from me.
She is torn too. Every step toward me is taken at the expense of the protection, support, power and respect of her father and his family. His current wife actually thinks that she is more my daughter’s mother than I am. This is so insane.

So for the women who know what this is like I feel for them and I understand. Men who do this are like poisoners. There are plenty of men who kill their wives or drive them to suicide. There really are men who are deliberately trying to get their wives to suicide. I have passed through that valley of the shadow of death. It is not hard to fall down that hole though. I think it is the PTSD.

For those who choose the path of siding with the offender I think of them like the people who went along with Hitler. I don’t care how nice they are on the surface. Everyone can be nice on the surface. It is just so lonely and frightening to be the one who sees.

This is by far one of the best posts and threads I have ever come across.


sorry this happened to you. my ex did the same to my son. he told my son I was a bad person and put terrible words in my mouth. it is called parental alienation.

I held my head high, I never spoke badly to my son about his father, and I got him into weekly therapy starting at the age of 4. yes, the bullshit from his dad hurt and screwed up my son. but by the time he was 18, he saw the truth, and was fed up with his dads lies, and told me so.


kim f

I watched the last movie u recommended. it was great.

I will rent THE GIRL.

I have been watching “WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN”. outstanding to watch for anybody dealing with a sociopathic child or family member.


Kim where did you find this movie?

Just watched the movie, “The Girl” about the trauma bonded relationship between Alfred Hitchcock, and his leading lady, Tippy Hedron. She starred in both, “The Birds”, and “Marnie”. Incredable study of the trauma bond, and psychopathic “tells” and cog-dis and power plays and seduction, and why we get trapped, and what we tell ourselves. It’s interesting that Hitchcocks films had the themes and content they did”.kind of an abysal structure of the story within the story. If you get the chance, “WATCH THIS MOVIE.


It seems to me that is article is talking about another “flavor” of trauma bonding or Stockholm’s Syndrome. Even though the person does evil deeds, if he/she has spared you, then you will regard that as an act of love toward you if that person is a parental figure to you and someone to whom you look for your emotional needs. My stepfather was an evil monster to both me and my sister. But he favored me and we actually had many good times together. Because of that, I did feel some degree of love from him. When I became an adult, I was able to release my anger about his abuse and forgive him. I was even able to have a relationship with him before he died at age 70. My sister could not, and this was one of the main things that tore my sister and me apart. It was not ever my intention to choose any “loyalties”. If I did, they would lie with my sister, who wasn’t fortunate or enterprising enough to work through the abuse the way I did. But it was as though she was forcing me to choose one of them over the other. I felt that I needed to discover the boundaries of my relationships with my parents on my own terms and not those of my sister. So that was the end of our relationship, though this was never stated clearly – I think it was a given.

So I understand this dynamic very well. I don’t think it was a matter of feeling like I was special in any way. I was just a child trying to get a father’s love. He was the only father I had. He died over 20 years ago. If he were alive today, I’m not sure I’d want to have a relationship with him. It is very confusing for a child to see a parent have both a bad and a seemingly good side. I don’t think a child’s brain is sophisticated enough to understand what is really going on, so they compartmentalize and idealize. This is a survival mechanism. When it happens to adults, I would conjecture that perhaps it is a repeat of someone in that adult’s past who was similar to the current perpetrator.

I read on this site several articles by Travis Vining. His father was a murderer and a sociopath, but he never harmed Travis. Travis was his unwitting confidante. It was not until much later in his adult life that Travis could make sense of what his father really was and turn him in to the authorities. There was a time when he idealized his father, just like most little boys do.

It’s an interesting discussion whether someone who is trauma bonded in that way is evil for having a loyalty to a sociopath and not speaking out against them. I think of pure evil having to do with a person’s motives. I think many who turn a blind eye are unconscious, but not inherently evil. However, their behaviors may be evil because of the consequences. I don’t know what line needs to be crossed in order to consider a very unconscious person evil. I don’t feel it’s my place to make that judgment – I can only say that they are dangerous and exhibiting bad/evil behaviors. I make a distinction between evil behaviors and evil people. Because I think evil people cannot be cured. But I think there are some people who are not spaths but who do bad things and make bad choices, perhaps because they live their lives in a fog. They still need to be held accountable, but I wouldn’t say they are all inherently evil.

I would surmise that it depends on their age. There is no clear boundary but the older someone gets and continues to do evil, the more likely they are evil and will not change.

I think that is why we don’t diagnose spathy in people under age 18. There is a good chance that a bad kid might turn around but not all do. some get worse.

Also, a lot depends on who else is influencing them in their lives. A fence sitter may never do evil, and may even learn to do good stuff if they are surrounded by good people. But get one spath in their lives and they become just like them.

The reason for this is that we are born mimetic. We are the most mimetic of all animals. Even monkeys don’t copy as much as we do. This is why we can pass on culture and knowledge so effectively to our children. As we grow, normal people’s personalities and values solidify. We acquire an identity and we don’t feel compelled to follow trends or fashion as much as we did when we were young. A spath never acquires an identity and I think that fence sitters just barely do. They both stay infantile and mimetic.

The difference is that the spath actively chooses evil, while the fence sitter just does whatever everyone else is doing.

I agree, Sky. I think you can reasonably predict someone’s behavior based on their history of past behaviors, and the older they are, probably the less likely they are to change. I personally reserve the word “evil” for someone who is born without a conscience and incapable of change, i.e. a sociopath. I really don’t know at what point a person who was born with a conscience crosses a line into becoming “evil”. I don’t know how many bad things they have to do to be considered as evil or whether, with the right circumstances, they can change. I imagine that if someone has done a tremendous amount of really horrible things to other people, if they were to suddenly grow a conscience, the pain of their past behaviors would be enough to kill them many times over.

Most of us here have done most of the bad things in our lives to ourselves by letting people hurt us. Is it evil when people cause pain to themselves but not to others? Where do you draw the line? This is why – except in the case of a sociopath or obviously disordered person – I steer clear of labels. I don’t need a label to know if someone is dangerous for me to be around. “Toxic” gets the right effect for me. Or sometimes just “unconscious”. Or just “not good for me.” That’s all I need to know about someone.

I’m not sure if hurting yourself or allowing others to hurt you is “evil” but it is the opposite of good.

One thing I realized was that my exspath would get minions to hate innocent others, by first getting his minion to slander the innocent other. Then he might get them to do something mean. Once he had done that, the minion had to justify his behavior to himself. He had to believe that the scapegoat was really guilty, or else he would have to deal with his conscience –which he doesn’t want to do.

So when we allow others to hurt us, we are also allowing them to become more evil. This enabling of others to become worse than they are, is evil, IMO.

Louise, Skylar and Slimone:
Thank you for reading my ex spath’s blog. It chills me to the bone how he uses words and his children as bait to catch his next victim. If you watched Donna on the Ricki Lake show the other day, the expert asked each woman if they talked to their spath on the phone. My spath always texted me. His words are his power. “I think of the way your kiss moves me.” He said the exact same thing to his victims after me. I am not crazy however sometime I acted crazy because of his manipulation and control. One night I looked at his phone and he went beserk and wrestled me to the ground. I called the police and they took ME to jail. Because he charmed the police and told them I was crazy and attacked him. I couldn’t believe it. Still can’t. I had bruises all over my arms the next day but they didn’t appear the night it happened. Then there was the morning that I was so frantic because he had broken up with me (again) and I had to get him back so I drove two hours to his house and got into a car accident. I was shaking so bad. When he would get angry at me and threaten to “be done” he would immediately take me off of Facebook as his girlfirend. That was just part of my punishment because he knew it hurt me. Why did it hurt me? Because deep down I knew Facebook was another medium for him to prey on women. He posts pictures of his kids like he is the greatest father on the planet when really he just uses his kids to prey on women. His kids have no chance. They don’t have any friends because he isolates them too. All they do is play video games all day long while his dad works on the computer trolling for women. I am not the worman he speaks about in his blog – that is one of the victims after me. Preying on women is his full time occupation. He has not worked in 3 years. He lost his job as a teacher because he had an inappropriate relationship with one of his students WHILE he was married to his third wife. His mother is a total enabler and pays his bills when he runs out of welfare and unemployment. I wish I could create a website warning women about him but that would take too much energy that I would rather spend elsewhere. When he was fired from the teaching job he said it was a conspiracy at the school because the superintendent didn’t like him. Then came the elaboarte lie about a boating accident where two of his friends died and he was the sole survivor and had to be rescued by helicopter. He constantly refers to his “accident” as when he stopped caring what others thought about him and knew he had to make each day count. Truth is he never cared what anyone thought of him because he is a spath. The sad part is, his ex-wife told me what he was and that he had been married 3 times and cheated on every woman he was with. She begged her job to hire him and they did. He lost that job too spending all of his time on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace trolling for women. Soon after they lost their home. The night after the domestic violence incident, I had barely returned home before I saw him trying to “hook up” with two other women. I am on my healing journey and in counselling. She diagnosed him spath and said he is textbook. Ladies, if you want to read the words of a spath – go to domesticstud.blogspot.com. Read it and weep!


Wow! Yeah, my spath always texted me, too…NEVER called me. I think he called me ONE time…haha! They can say anything they want via text…it’s only words and we can’t see their face or hear their voice AND they can be texting multiple people at the same time. So the boating story was a lie? Because I think I remember hearing about a similar boating accident like that…it made national news…just wondered if that was him?? He really sounds like a piece of work…someone to stay FAR away from. I am glad you got away! Consider yourself blessed.

Louise. I am certain he heard about the boating accident and made it his own. He said it only made the local paper. And yes he would text me all day long but rarely wanted to talk on the phone. They use their words to manipulate. And if I didn’t text back immediately, I was up to no good. I could say I was at my daughter’s volleyball game and he would say “you have exactly two minutes to send me a pic or we are done.” The next text would be “one minute left” and then “30 seconds……” while I scrambled to take a pic and meet his deadline. SICK!


What an idiot! Who does that? Especially when he was the one cheating! But that’s what they say…the one cheating will be the one accusing their partner of cheating. They are projecting their guilt onto the non cheating partner. SICK is right! I don’t think I will ever trust another man. I truly don’t think there are any good ones out there. I know some will disagree with me on that one, but I just don’t feel it to be true ever again. To me, they are fundamentally all the same. It’s really too bad…

I’m so glad you escaped that freak. You are blessed to have learned this lesson and lived to tell about it. Keep learning, you will become a stronger and more resilient person for it.


My spath only texted me as well, never called. He said he only texted because it was so much easier to lie over text. There you have it, they know what they are doing….


Of course it’s so much easier to lie over text! They can be anything they want behind a screen. UGGHHHH. And he admitted that to you??? Something that happened to me though that always kind of bugged me is that the OW told me he would “call” her a lot. Hmmmmmm. But I have to believe that she was lying to me. I KNOW she was lying to me about other things so why not that? I have to think that she was trying to make me jealous by saying he was “calling” her when in reality he probably was not. Or who knows…maybe he was. Maybe that was his way to get at her at the time, but she also told me he would text her all day long…she said she had hundreds of texts. I never got that. I NEVER had hundreds. Also, she said that he would IM her allllll day long at work…she said she wondered how he ever got any work done and we are talking about a top executive here…he is really something let me tell you. Just writing this is making me realize I am not over it. I thought I was really getting there and I have come a long, long way, but it’s amazing how when you start thinking about it again or writing about it again, it all comes back and you have to ask yourself if you are over it at all?? 🙁

Oh, let me tell you, he admitted many, many things. I still wonder why he told me in the beginning. Why he would reveal himself to me. Maybe he just was unexperienced in his game or something.

Oh, I’m so sorry Louise, maybe my answer triggered you. It kinda confirmed the truth about them. Each time something confirms my suspicions the wound opens up again and I have to work through it all over again. The good thing is that I find it usefull, in case, one day the entire truth comes out. Then I won’t have a melt down because I’d allready been through it, piece by piece.

I know I got hundreds of text each day, but if I didn’t do as he wished, he’d stopped, just to make me nervous ( Silent treatment/discarding) . Keep in mind that the OW don’t see the truth about him, and people who don’t- esp. the ones who really want to be with him- would fight to get him for them selves. They too, are standing in their egoes. Do not completely believe her ( she would lie just so she could be with him ), but keep in mind that the spath could also use her to get to you. He knows it will hurt you when you compare your self to her. To him, your reaction will validate him as important and you would feel less about your self (breaking your selfworth down) . Then he would know that you are still under his control.

Write her off as an enabler.


It’s OK. You didn’t trigger me…no worries. It’s just everything right now. My mom is begging me to come live with me and at this point, I feel like I have no choice. My life will be over if she comes here and I am already not in a good mental state. It will not be good, but my brothers don’t want anything to do with her and she is alone. She is 77 and has dementia or even first stage Alzheimer’s (no one knows because she refuses to go to a doctor). So it’s like leaving a five year old to roam around in a house alone. It’s a horrible situation and now she is begging and I mean BEGGING me to come live with me 400 miles away from her. I feel backed in a corner. I just want to cry. She just called me and it was only 8:30AM because she doesn’t even know how to work the thermostat (typical of her disease) and she was cold. It’s probably only 30 degrees there. SIGH. I feel defeated. I feel like my entire life I always did what everyone else wanted me to do and it continues. I turned 49 two weeks ago and it’s still the same. I don’t want her to come here, but the guilt of rejecting her is too much. It breaks my heart that she is alone. Her moving to an assisted living place where she lives is out of the question…she refuses. She refuses everything. What do you do? And then she is going to be living with me refusing everything…SIGH. I am at my wits end. Please HELP!!!!!!!

Thanks for your advice about OW. She was lying to me; no doubt. She wanted to make me jealous and she most definitely wanted him, but she kept telling me it was over between them when in reality she was pursuing him like crazy and obsessed with him. She was a mess. I don’t know if you know my story, but it was so bad, I left my career to get away from her and him. I gave up everything and I had a REALLY good job. But do they care?? Of course not!!!!!! She was just as bad as he is. She is an spath too or if not, she is at the least extremely narcissistic. Attention seeking, insecure, etc. Flaunts her body all the time to get attention from men. And all the men want her because she makes it that way. Plus, she is married!!! Sick…all of them.

No I don’t know your story at all. I know bits and pieces of most members here, but not the entire.

I don’t know what I’d do in your situation with your mom, I’ve never experienced it. Difficult decision. However I do know the feeling of being stuck. I had a hard time yesterday, I felt so angry that my life’s been stuck or frozen in time for at least 10 yrs. I want change and I’m so sick of never getting nowhere. It’s always the same. The same responsibility, same kind of men, friends and so on, but I do believe if I keep working with my self, it will change and in some areas it’s beginning to change. I just have to let time work its magic.

I’m sorry I don’t have any advice regarding your mom.


What a tough situation with your mom! I hope you can have some space to sort it out and come to a way of handling it that will work for YOU especially. I could be in your shoes soon — not at this time, but I see that day coming, possibly. I have a 77yo mom with stroke damage/possible early dementia, I’m 50, but for now my dad is still living (older) and able to (barely) take care of both of them. Who knows what will happen or when. It IS a lot of pressure and obligation and feelings of resentment and exhaustion and duty — in my case, I love my mom and made peace with any disagreements I had from earlier years, but I am exhausted by years of the spath and caretaking for others and not having my needs met, and the thought of spending the rest of my life doing the same thing is very disheartening.

Sometimes “refusing” is a way of manipulating the caretakers to step in and take responsibility above and beyond…. I have thought sometimes, I do things because “well, SOMEBODY has to do it, and obviously NO ONE ELSE is stepping up to the plate…. so I guess MY NAME just got called…. I HAVE to….”

but then…. what if *I* refused, too? Just food for thought.

I wish you strength and good judgment as you wrangle with this situation and decision, Louise. No easy answers!

or sometimes…. “I care a lot about the situation you are in (person in need), and I wish I could do what you are asking, but I am afraid I cannot (these are my boundaries). HOWEVER, I CAN offer some assistance in any of the following (1, 2, 3….) ways. Please let me know if you would like this help….”

that has worked for me in many situations. I am not sure, however, that it would be something I could do in the case of my mom, I do feel such a duty towards her (though she herself has refused many times to help me in some ways that would have been helpful, and instead bailed my sister out in those very same ways…. yet, her refusal to help ME has ended up, I think, supporting me to become the ‘self-reliant” one while my sister is a needy, dependent mess.

Louise, sorry to hear what you are going through with your mother. Your post generates more questions for me but here are a few suggestions. First, there should be some sort of elder services where your mother lives. There are nonprofits but also people who run private agencies. Years ago, my mother’s best friend ran such a private agency. At the time my boss, who was an only child, needed help with his mother who was starting to decline after his father’s death. He said I need a sister for hire! and as it happens, my mother’s friend was in the same city and her firm was able to help him get appropriate care and support for his mother. Sadly, my mother’s friend (and my de facto aunt) is now the one with dementia who needs the help but fortunately she moved to an appropriate facility right before she started a precipitous decline. She had 3 children but only one is really capable of helping their mother and I do what I can to give her mostly emotional support.

Unfortunately, one way or another, this is probably the beginning of tables turning and you need to make sure you take care of yourself. Much depends on what financial resources you and your family have but it strikes me that the first place you need to establish a firm boundary with your mother is around getting a diagnosis and care. Tell her that you will not be able to be helpful to her (including consideration of having her come live with you) unless all of you have a better understanding of what’s going on. Maybe you can offer to visit your mother and go to doctor’s appointments with her.

I don’t know what sort of personality your mother has but my mother, whom I characterize as a benign N, generally responds well when I set boundaries around these kinds of issues. Her core issues, I believe, are around emotional neglect she felt from her mother when she was a toddler. So she responds well to boundaries that are set in a loving but firm manner as one would do with a small child.

I hope this helps.


Thank you. I appreciate your kind words and I also appreciate you for realizing that because you are not in my situation, you wouldn’t know what to do. It’s hard when a parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s and to have them live with you. They need skilled care. A lot of friends have their mom’s live with them, but those mom’s do not have this disease. It’s so easy for them to tell me what to do when they do not know what I am dealing with. This has really upset me in the past few days as not only am I dealing with a mom begging me to live here, I am dealing with friends telling me that is what I should do yet they have no concept of the situation.


Exactly! My whole life I have spent doing what others want me to do. Now I am almost 50 and I still feel like I am going to cave in and do what every one else feels I should do and take care of my mom. It’s not that I don’t want to take care of her, but I am not equipped or trained to do so, but yet everyone is giving me flack…from my brothers to my friends…WTF??? I am so upset. I just went and drank my lunch! And last night before I went to bed, I took a Neurontin. It’s mainly for seizures, but my Gyno gave it to me for hot flashes and to sleep better. That is the new indication for this medicine. I Googled it and it’s true. The Pharmacist didn’t even know about it…haha! At first I was afraid to take it, but it’s a really low dose and it does nothing to me except make me a bit drowsy…not even a lot drowsy. So maybe I will just drug and drink my way through it…haha. That’s not me, but at this point, I feel like it might actually help me.

Anyway, I don’t have my dad anymore as you still have. Actually, that’s when ALL the trouble started. My dad died over four years ago. They had been married for 56 years and together all the time so ever since he died, my mom has never been the same and of course, it only gets worse, it does not get better. Take comfort in knowing that at least your dad is still here to help with your mom even if it’s not the best right now. They still have each other. Once one of them goes, everything changes…everything.

What you suggested in your second post is what I am already doing being that I am 400 miles away. I drive there four times a year which is 4,000 miles of driving by the time I count in all the driving I do while I am actually there…I call her every single day and sometimes multiple times a day…I send cards and gifts. When I am there, we go grocery shopping and stock up on all the food she needs…we buy her new clothes…I clean…I do whatever I can, when I can. But she wants more because she is afraid to live alone and that breaks my heart yet she refuses to go to an assisted living home. It’s soooooo frustrating.

Thanks for your help.


Thank you. I am going to call an agency near her home and find out what they can do. But I am really afraid that she won’t even let them in her home. We will see. All I can do is make the call. If she doesn’t let them in, there is nothing I can do about that. As you can see, she is extremely stubborn and the disease is making her defiant…she is not very compliant at all. Setting boundaries with her does not work at all and one reason being is because she doesn’t even remember what you just talked to her about. Another thing I see happening is that when you do talk with her, she is not retaining anything. Nothing. You can talk and try to explain things to her until you are blue in the face and she just doesn’t get it…nothing is sinking in. It’s an extremely frustrating situation. I will see if she will agree to go to a doctor to get a diagnosis. She has refused all the other attempts. I have figured out why. She is cognizant enough that she knows if she goes to the doctor, they are going to recognize that she has a problem and I think she is deathly afraid she will be put away. Sigh.

I really appreciate your suggestions!! Thank you!!!

Dear Louise,
I am so sorry for your circumstances. In my opinion there is no way she can come to you as it will be detrimental for both of you. To care 24/7/365 for one person with dementia means to have someone around all the time. And it will not get better as with little children who grow and become more independent, but the other way round. Furthermore it was very clever of nature that young people get children so they can cope with sleepless nights and multitasking and the like. (just in case your siblings say “make no fuss, it is like caring for children”).

A day has 24 hours, that means 3 shifts of 8 hours, and to cover this you need a dedicated group of 8 people around in the long run (weekends, holidays, sickness, vacations and the like). You can take care for one person this way alone for some weeks, but people with dementia decline slowly over years, so you will face a marathon or even a double or ultra marathon.

Old trees should not be moved, this is true with trees but also with old people. Your mom has her friends and daily routines there, and she will much more have to rely on you because she does not know anybody but you.

Is she on medicare? Has she some medical support? I would call them to go and have a look at her, and when she is refusing any help and when there is danger that she is a danger to herself (and from your description it seems very much so!) she can be transferred to a hospital (even against her will) for further investigation, at least in our country.

This is not about you and your boundaries, but it is strictly about your mother and her wellbeing, that will deterriorate even faster if she moves with you.

Moving in with “the daughter” was once upon a time possible when there were big houses with lots of people around (think “The Waltons”), women did stay home, there were lots of relatives around so the 8 people could easily look after granny who was a little weird. But nowadays things have changed. Does she have savings? Maybe she will have to use it for going to a special institution. Are there social workers where your mum lives? Maybe you could call them for advise. Do not talk about yourself and your boundary issues, but about the dementia of your mother, “The old tree transplant desaster” and the difficult situation of yourself being unfortunately so far away, and that you are very concerned about your inability to have your mother stay with you.

I wish you all the best! You cannot take the burden of 8 people working hard shifts over a long time, nobody can. ((((Hugs))))

Dear Louise, I forgot one important thing.
It is crucial to sort out which type of dementia your mum has, as there exist different therapies for different dementias, specially early in the course, to slow down the decline of the cerebral function (which leads to caretakers who supervise the therapy i.e. that the patient is taking the pills correctly). You may discuss this as well with the local health care people of your mother’s. (((Hugs)))


Thank you. I will reply later.


I am so sorry to hear that you are under so much pressure from your brothers, your mom, and also your friends. WTF, indeed!

I think Libelle and Sparklehorse are giving you great advice.

What’s coming to me about the situation is that worry over it is driving you to drink!!!! etc. LOL. I guess what I mean is that is a clear indication that you are being pushed to do something that doesn’t align with who you are and what you believe your purpose or direction is. Those kinds of things NEVER end well. I just mean…. it’s a symptom (the self medication) to get you to recognize that perhaps having your mom move in with you is not going to work. (reverse hyperbole, there)

(I’ve been there; no disrespect intended)

Also, you very clearly state that you are not “equipped or trained” to do this sort of work. Well — that’s it, then, isn’t it?

I once got roped into taking care of my mom after some serious surgery, who had been discharged from the hospital too soon (against medical advice) because SHE didn’t want to be there, and she needed “expert” nursing care, but SHE didn’t want strangers taking care of her, so the nurse came ONE TIME to show me what to do with her IV and meds and syringes and stuff, and I WAS SO ILL EQUIPPED to handle this, plus my mom’s crying in pain because I apparently didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t warm up the meds enough before injecting them. Jeez!!!!!

So I get what you mean about not being trained or equipped.

I should have said no to that request/demand/begging, but I thought I HAD to. Because I am a “loving daughter.”

i learned from that experience and since then have felt more confident in speaking up to say “no” when someone tells me I am the one person who MUST do something (because they don’t want to? because they want to direct me? etc.).

I might be coming across very snarly right now — sorry about that. I really feel for you, in the position you are in. You are giving off strong signals here that you really don’t want to do this, you don’t feel qualified, you don’t have enough of YOU to do this (as libelle put it so well — you cannot be 8 people in a sustained way, only in a temporary way).

it sounds so unfair, what they are demanding of you. They either don’t have a clue what they are asking of you, or they are trying to take advantage of you. Either way, it sounds like no one is going to speak up for you or your mom except YOU.

And the others are right — if you are not equipped to be your mom’s round the clock caregiver for the rest of her life, then it is not a kindness to HER to uproot her and move her 400 miles away from her community to a situation that is bound to head in a bad direction.


This is taking a slightly different perspective. Mind you, I know I could find myself in the same position in a couple of short years, so I don’t presume to tell anyone else how to run their life. I have no idea what i will do, when/if that time comes.


generally speaking, I have found that I have the worst results (and end up being taken advantage of) when I am at my most TENTATIVE in my responses to people. I am more “mushy,” more “pliable,” and as people say, people will push you AS FAR AS YOU LET THEM. So if you are mushy, or tentative, they will just keep pushing until you push back.

Conversely, I have also found (through experimenting and learning) that the firmer I am, they seriously back off. And I have experimented with getting firmer and firmer and I am prepared to get as firm as it takes — a lot firmer than I ever thought I *could* be.

so, if you need more time and space to consider this (with or without alcohol and drugs, but I recommend without — it sounds like that is a way of giving yourself some artificial space from the pressure, which I understand) — then tell everyone to just back off, and butt out. Tell your mom, “call your sons — I am going on vacation. I will be back in 10 days. You won’t be able to reach me.” Then don’t answer the phone. (that’s just a metaphor — your reality might be different)

Or if you decide the answer is no:

“I’m sorry, but the answer is no. I am not equipped nor trained. I have a fulltime job and mom needs round the clock care. I live alone and would have no outside support. I absolutely cannot take this on. It is not fair to her or to me. It would be a disaster for mom and me, despite what you all may think. Let’s get mom evaluated and get her the care that she needs. This is a difficult situation, but I cannot take it on alone. You will have to help. her moving in with me is NOT an option. Now that it is no longer an option, let’s look at other options.”

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