By | November 15, 2017 2 Comments

My uncle is a sociopath — how do I protect our family?

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following letter from a reader whom we’ll call, “Trisha17.”

My uncle (mother’s side) is a sociopath. I’ve known since my first memory of him as a child, I just saw it in his mannerisms, heard it in his voice, saw it in his lack of genuine care for others. I just instinctually knew. I have always found him to be totally fake.

My father is a highly intelligent and relatively benign grandiose narcissist. I have narcissistic traits but am definitely an empath. I have clued in to sociopaths and have been taken aback that no one else sees it.

I remember when my grandma was having a serious surgery he went to get a haircut while she was under the knife. And when my grandfather died he said to me, while we were standing over his body, waiting for the funeral home to pick him up, “I want to cry, but can’t because of the medicine I take.” I was devastated in my own grief at the time but still thought … I am not thinking of you right now, you creep, how can you be thinking about my perception of you in this heartbreaking moment? He must have sensed that I knew.

However, the reason I am writing you is because I outed him. I had to.

After my grandfather died he assumed his identity financially and was stealing from my grandmother; he has totally taken over all of her property. He was turning everyone against my mother — the second heir to the estate. He approached me trying to show me how terrible my sweet, naive and highly empathic mother was. He said she was stealing, neglecting and abusing my grandmother.

My mother is a happy go lucky aging hippy. In many ways the complete opposite of him. Remarkably, he really almost had me fooled until I started to investigate what he was saying and found all of the missing money to be caused by him and contradictory accounts from my grandmother’s nurses. Nothing made sense and I came out of the fog he put me in.

When I confronted him about my grandma’s missing property and his lack of empathy, he flew into a rage. His mask totally fell off and this vicious creature just kind of poured out of him. It’s really had to explain, he just reminded me of a cornered animal wanting to rip me apart.

I realize now that was the absolute wrong move on my part. But in that reaction, he outed himself in front of my mother and my grandmother. His following erratic behaviors over the next few weeks also just made it more obvious that he was losing control. He broke into our house, he sent countless text messages, he announced his 6th engagement to my grandma’s housekeeper, and he was lying at every turn.

In a protective and stealthy move, I hired an attorney and removed my grandmother from his care, locked down his access to her finances, reported him for his financial abuse of my grandmother and tried to have him evicted from her house. I failed on the eviction, but pretty much succeeded with everything else.

As you can well imagine, he is on the warpath. He’s reported my mother and I to Adult Protective Services about 5 times now with wild lies, he has managed to turn quite a few people against us, and we’ve been to court a couple times and now have some temporary orders. He is undoubtedly trying to get my grandmother back so he will have access to her money again. He is still living in her house but she lives with me. He broke into the house when no one was home, was stalking me, etc.

When my grandma dies he is to inherit half of the estate with my mother. Do you think he will take his money and run? Do you think he will continue to try hartass my mother and I? Do you think we could be in physical danger? What advise would you give?

We want to go no contact, but he has visitation rights with my grandma. I stopped my mom from talking to him when he was here because he was using things she said against him later. When he comes to visit, I sit behind him in a chair and don’t talk to him. I close all the doors in the house so he can’t go to other rooms. I lock up my dogs in a crate next to him (one funny thing is that my dog previously went and pooped beside his chair on a visit. I have had the dog for 10 years and he has never done that before … interesting.) Basically I try to show that the house is locked down and I am in control of the environment. My husband also sits in the room silently. He used to leave and send us berating text messages or he would do something to kill our joy on birthdays or attack us on anniversaries of deaths.

What can I do to protect my family? Is showing him my control over the household the right thing to do?

I worry that he will keep looking for ways to attack me — professionally and personally. I worry about my husband, who is foreign and his green card, as well as my mother and her inheritance. After my grandma passes we are seriously considering leaving the country or moving to another state. But, what do we do while she is alive? How do we fight him and protect ourselves?


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Trisha17 – I actually think you are doing a great job. You’ve spotted your uncle’s disorder, you recognize the damage he is causing, and you are taking steps to protect your grandmother and your family. Be sure to work with your attorneys to make sure there are no loopholes in the estate documents. Sociopaths are great at exploiting loopholes.

Regarding physical danger — does your uncle have a history of violence? Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If he has been violent — towards people, animals or property — he could do it again.


You are right to worry that he will try to harm you and your family. Sadly, he will do whatever he thinks will get him what he wants if he thinks he will get away with it, including physically harming others. If you can get an understanding of what motivates him – such as money, duping others, controllng others, sex, power, impression management, whatever – and you recognize that he will do whatever gets him what he wants that he thinks he won’t get caught; you will be able to predict his specific behavior in your situation, and you can choose the best ways to protect yourself. He may ‘take the money and run’ if he thinks there’s nothing more he can get from the family. The grey rock technique may offer some protection.
In my case, I told my friends and family that if anything happened to me to look closely at my ex psychopath, and I told him what I told them. While we were still legally ‘married’ I included in my living will that if I were incapacitated in any way that he was not to be allowed access to me. I only met him in public places, I did not let him near my food and water supply. If you consider what motivates your uncle you can do things to protect yourself.

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