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New hope for the children of sociopaths

Those who have read Just Like His Father? know that sociopathy is a disorder with a strong genetic basis. Science has further established a genetic link between sociopathy, addiction and ADHD. The children of sociopaths, therefore, carry genetic risk for sociopathy, addiction and ADHD. If a genetically at-risk child receives special nurturing during the developmental years, prior to puberty, he/she has the greatest chance to grow up free of these disorders.

To attach real numbers to the problem of sociopathic parents and their children, consider that 25% of U.S. women are victims of domestic violence. Studies of male perpetrators of domestic violence reveal that 50% are sociopaths and another 25% have sociopathic traits but not the full disorder. These statistics reveal that although sociopaths may represent only 4% of the general population, they represent an even larger percentage of the adult male population engaged in reproduction. The situation for sociopathic females is similarly bleak, since conceiving children appears to be part of this disorder.

Given the nature of genetic risk for sociopathy and the need for special parenting, one would think that the Family Courts would take special care of these kids and work to protect them from their sociopathic parents. After all, a biologic child is a dream victim for a sociopath. The child can be subjected to psychological, physical and sexual exploitation and the abused child has no means of escaping the sociopath’s domination except through the courts.

Before you read the rest of this column please watch the trailer for Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories a PBS documentary. The problems described in the video are not rare. Lovefraud.com has received many letters from parents despirately trying to rescue their children from the hands of sociopaths. Too often the pleas of parents on behalf of children go unheeded by the courts. In line with the video, we too have observed that the courts are often punitive toward a parent who asserts that that the other parent is a potential danger to a child. We have been considering what we can do to help the voiceless children of sociopaths.

New hope for the children of sociopaths may be on the horizon. In 2001, The ACLU filed a complaint against the United States of America with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). This organization functions as an international court and pursues human rights violations in the Western Hemisphere. The ACLU filed the complaint because earlier that same year, the IACHR held the government of Brazil accountable under international law for tolerating domestic violence in the case of Maria da Penha Maia Fernandes.

The case filed by the ACLU in 2001, on behalf of Jessica Lenehan, is just now being heard by the IACHR. A ruling is expected before year’s end. Lenehan was a victim of domestic violence and mother of three beautiful daughters, Rebecca, 10; Katheryn, 8; and Leslie, 7. Even though Lenehan had a protective order against her former husband, Simon Gonzales, a family court granted visitation rights to Gonzales. Because of this ambiguous situation, the police ignored Lenehan’s pleas to rescue her daughters when her ex-husband took them. The girls were found shot to death later that day. After killing the girls, Gonzales drove to the local police station and was killed by the police when he opened fire on the building.

Last Friday, just before Mother’s Day, ten mothers, one victimized child (now an adult), and leading national/state organizations also filed a complaint against the United States of America with the IACHR. Their petition claims that U.S. courts, by frequently awarding child custody to abusers and child molesters, has failed to protect the life, liberties, security and other human rights of abused mothers and their children. We do not yet know when this case will be heard.

I have long believed that children with genetic risk for sociopathy through a biologic parent, and one parent free of major psychopathology, have the right to the most optimal upbringing the relatively healthy parent can give them. They have a natural human right to grow up free from exploitation by the sociopathic parent. We are a long way from a system that recognizes these human rights for children. These complaints filed in response to blatant abuse of children by sociopathic parents are an important step forward in protecting children.

We at Lovefraud.com are collecting stories of psychological abuse and exploitation of children by sociopathic parents. If your child is the victim of the Family Courts and a sociopathic parent, please write us with your story.

Please also visit truthout.org, for more about Jessic Lenehan and stopfamilyviolence.org for more on the complaint filed last week.


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27 Comments on "New hope for the children of sociopaths"

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After my husband was able to take over the children he never paid attention to after he decided to dump me for another woman. He manipulated them…bribed them…then distanced me…said it was there decision … never before did they not love me. I have not seen my daughters in two years…I have fought in court and the courts are deaf. My middle daughter is now on cocaine…not graduating from high school. He doesn’t care…I can not help her because he manipulates her. They are now turning into a picture of him…in all ways…sexual promiscuity…laughing at people…unloving and uncaring. I don’t know how you stop them…they are so strong when they decide to destroy. My children are now him.

You are so right, arlenejohnson57, when you say that they (sociopaths) are so strong when they decide to destroy. My daughter is now married to a sociopath who is serving time in prison for conspiracy (stealing vehicles). she is pregnant and he controls her from prison. she has absolutely nothing to do with her family, former friends, etc. This is a person who just last year was in college, an honor student, great job, etc. He has convinced her that his being in prison is because of her daddy and me! She too has exhibited sexual promiscuity, unloving, uncaring behavior, drug abuse, and so on. I don’t think that there’s any way to stop them. They are masters of the game and the average person in no match for them. I wish I could give you some comfort because I’m going through pretty much the same thing. My only positive out of all of this is that it has brought me closer to God. I’m so thankful for that! I do know this…there comes a time when we can do no more; we just have to accept the situation and hope that their earlier upbringing will filter through and they’ll come to their senses. Wish I could be of more help…

After my ex tried to get full custody, a judge appointed a Law Guardian and he was able to get joint custody. Just because I left him, didn’t mean that he wasn’t going to use the children and try ever trick in his “dirty” book to get them to turn against me. He knew how to befriend just the right people to make ME look like the bad one. When we first met, he was charming, had a great job…seemed like the perfect choice and then I found out about all the lies…..a secret bank account he had hidden, an affair he was having before with a married woman that produced a child (that my children still know nothing about and it was over 20 yrs ago). I gave up a great business I had going because he wanted me to devote all my attention to him. When I finally had the courage to leave him, I had nothing! As tempting as it may seem, my advice to other women would be do not stoop to their level…keep your chin up and keep surviving. My theme song in my head is, “Wahoo Morris” from “The Grinch who Stole Christmas”. These men will rob you of your soul, your spirit, your money, your children, whatever they can take. I’ve had the displeasure of having been married to two of them. There must be something in my personal make-up that invites these types but I am almost free of them and it has been a long haul. Sometimes I beat myself up for being so ignorant but if I can teach others by my mistakes, that’s the least I can do. I continue to be a good role model for my children by being there for them and to not bash their father. This website lets me vent if I need to and I am comforted by others stories that are like mine. For awhile there I thought I was going crazy!

In past posts I have already explained what happened in court with my ex. He was able to keep his visitation. I will share what happened during and since his last visitation weekend (one weekend ago): First, I got home from work at 4:45 on Friday. My ex picks the kids up at 5:30. All three boys were in a panic state trying to find their baseball uniforms, etc. They have been trained that if everything isn’t ready at exactly 5:30 that he will drive away and they won’t see him for that weekend. At 5:20, he arrives, there is crazy panic—Hurry up, mom! He is going to leave!” The oldest son takes out the sleepover “bag” and I hear my ex yell, “What the hell! Does she think I’m taking you for a week! This is ridiculous!” He angrily takes the bag and they’re off. Later that night, I get a message from my middle son, “Mom, tomorrow morning, we’re coming over to get our baseball stuff. You packed the wrong stuff. Bye” I didn’t pack their baseball stuff at all, the boys did it themselves. The next morning, all three boys come in. Not one makes eye contact with me or talks to me. I ask the oldest boy how he did at last night’s game (I missed it to drive my daughter to her practice). He replies, “You’re so friggen retarded, I can’t even look at you.” They take what they need (basically switching the red sox they had packed in the bag with another pair of red socks). They try to leave without a goodbye or comment. I tell the youngest two to give me a kiss and say goodbye. They dutifully do. At the two youngest boys’ games, they are aloof and wait for their dad to tell them to come over and say hi to me. I brought up this point during court because before, they would not come over to me at all during sports events. They would not make eye contact with me at all. Now, he makes sure they always come over, but they never just freely come to see me. They always have to wait for his ok. When they arrive home, no eye contact again. I have to tell them to give me a kiss, to make eye contact. I have to draw them out. It takes a couple of days for the two youngest to come around. The fifteen year old doesn’t really ever truly come around. He is very disrespectful, calling me ugly, retarded. His new claim, when I talk about the students in my class is that I am a pedophile. He recently has started making that claim over and over. He also says that the reason we have no money is that I spend all our money on teaching. All four of my kids have been making this claim over and over. I truly believe these claims are originating from my ex. Last night, I figured out my budget and it pretty much shows that I barely squeak by even if I didn’t spend one cent on teaching. I didn’t factor in any money I spend on gifts for birthdays, fundraisers, etc and I barely make it. I plan to show this budget to my kids to explain the facts to them. I have never asked for an increase in my child support and I do not plan to, but I want them to know that I am not squandering our money away as I believe their father is telling them. In regards to my daughter, she talks on the phone with her father. She faithfully sits next to him at every sporting event we go to, but she does everything in her power not to sleepover.

My Mother is a sociopath, she tried to train me into being exactly like her. She basically trained me from birth to decieve people and to manipulate people. I have come to believe that every sociopath has its own style of achieving it’s purposes.
My mother going to prison was the best thing that ever happened to me, I discovered that she was a monster and due to her my life was turned upside down. It is so true that they are experts in breaking their victims down piece by piece

It was so sad to watch helplessly when I was married to my ex. He’d scream in my face and jab his finger into my face and chest as hard as he could and then he’d smile and throw my 11 yr old down the hall. Then he’d pick me up by the throat until my feet were dangling in midair. Our 6 yr old and 1 year old baby would be sobbing and hanging onto one another in a corner. That was the last abusive scene when I finally had it with my sociopathic unremorseful husband. I left him 13 yrs ago with nothing and he’s done nothing but make my life hell with his constant questioning, following and threats. Believe it or not, he won joint custody and he’s taking me to court again to try to get custody of our 14 yr old son. This man has an evil temper that will flair at the slightest infraction and there’s nothing I can do but I am taking detailed notes of all accounts and presenting them to the judge with my lawyer. I am also bringing a domestic violence advocate with me in hopes that he will stop any further abuse. I have lost jobs because of him and I’ve lost the respect of friends and family who are afraid to be around just in case he goes off the deep end. Everyone feels so helpless in these cases because he has the knack for looking and acting normal when he needs to. Behind closed doors he is a different person and he is king of his castle and his family are nothing more to him other than possessions.

421dmb2, I read with horror your harrowing account of life with your children. I can relate to this because I was indeed one of these children once.

The reason was simple. Every time I was alone with my father he attempted to actively persuade me that my mother was a “nasty piece of work” and that she treated him “appallingly” and that she was a selfish and unloving mother. When somebody who is supposed to love you and whom you are supposed to love is villified, the natural response is to feel safe with the person who offers you apparent sanctuary – in my case a crazed narcissist obsessed with absolute power and authority over all things material and emotional. He played the victim at every turn, and twisted and fabricated events in order to bolster up the image of our only saviour to a cruel and heartless woman. At one stage he told me that my mother had deliberately underfed me as a baby and that he had to rescue me from malnutrition and have me treated by a doctor. As soon as we were alone in the car together, even on a short journey he would begin his “poor me” story of how badly he was mistreated. As a result I became very spuspiciuos of my mum and was often very disrespectful of her. We were essentially used as a tool to reak havoc with her and to break her emotionally and rationally. At the age of 14 or 15 I began to really think about the evidence that I’d seen for my mum being this “creature”. The more and more I searched for the evidence, the less and less I found, and the more I grew to realise that it was my father who was the monster. I began to confront his narrative of events and started to dismiss his fictitious realities with grave repercussions. He would become filled with rage and punish me and devalue me. One would instantaneously go from having a position of privelidge and respect to being treated like the family dog at every occasion you were not an allie in his war.

Anyway, the good news is that one grows judgement as a teenager and can begin to make informed decisions about people’s characters. What’s important is for your children to have some contact with the outside world so that they can make an informed decision about their father’s madness (for that is what it is). Also, it sounds as though you’re resigned to the role of victim (just like my mum). Do yourself a favour and do your children a favour – you must empower yourself financially and you must challenge your children to think about their reality and perceptions and you must defend your reality to them, the reality that you’re a caring mother. There is no need to engage in your ex-partners skullduggery by attempting to rubbish him. Be honourable but assert who you are and what your reality is to them. Be very protective of your kids for they are being systematically tortured, brainwashed and confused by a remorseless serpant of destruction and just because he happens to have the benign title of “father” doesn’t change that. Would you let your kids knowingly hang out with a seasoned drug-dealing gangster? Would you allow them to have stay overs wiht a paedophile? You should exercise similar caution with this character for the fabric of his soul (if you can call it that) is probably little different to either of these afforementioned rascals.

A major problem in our household was not only that my father was so dominant and destructive, but that my mother was so helpless and weak. Be strong, stand up for what you believe in and don’t let this infantile emotional pygmy bring your own sense of reality and self-respect to the grimy depths of his depravity. Take charge and be bold and expect nobody to rescue you for you are your own salvation.

I am so glad that I found this site. Tonight, after yet another awful sessin of verbal abuse from my daughter, terminating in her once again going to her dad’s, I was on the verge of thinking that, unable to take much more of her behaviour, I should let her go and live with him. But now, I am going to stick it out – however awful life with my daughter is. her dad, manipulative, lying, cheating at every turn, has, in the last year since he deliberately moved to live 300 metres away from my home, changed my daughter completely. She has never lived with him (we were only in a relationship for 2 years), but always with me, and my four sons. My relationship with my daughter used to be wonderful. At this time last year, we were so close, as we had always been. She was happy, had a wonderful relationship with her stepfather, was doing brilliantly at school, had lots of friends, activities, was healthy. And then this sociopath of a father moved nearby. He offers her everything she wants, money, trips, TV’s, house parties – anything she wants she can have. He has downloaded information from the internet, tried to prove to her that I, her mother, have a mental problem. He has referred me 6 times to social services for child abuse of her – and each time, after going through the misery and humiliation of being interviewed, of course the reports conclude she is happy and well cared for, and there is no question of any abuse. She tells me she wants to go and live with him; he allows her to truant from school, spend the day unsupervised on the Internet…allows her to stay out late…gives her his credit card to order whatever clothes she wants from the internet…is it any surprise that she thinks living with him would be great? Tonight I told her she was not going to a gig just with one boy of 12. I told her she could go if some of her female friends were also going – as they usually do. Tonight they were not going and I am not allowing my 13 year old daughter to attend this club, where there are more that 200 people aged 14-18, just with this one boy. So what did she do? Phoned her dad, and asked him to pick her up and take her. I contacted him and asked him not to pick her up – what did he do? Collected her from my home. I have lost all control of her. In fact, last monday I called the police because she kicked me so hard on my leg that I could barely walk. They talked to her and went away. Since then she has not physically abused me, she has just continued with foul mouthed abuse – something she never did until her dad moved close by. She tells me I am mad, she tells me that things she once knew to be true, are not in fact true. She tells me that her dad has told her different. He is changing her reality..her history. Tonight, I was on the verge of saying, just don’t come back, I really can’t cope with your behaviour any more; thanks to some of the BLOG’s, I won’t now do that – but it is hard …SO hard to deal with this situation. I am desperately worried about what life now holds for her and how I, and my husband are going to cope over the next few years as her father is not going to go away – ever.

Hi Chrissie

I don’t know what to suggest, but I don’t think trying to outcontrol your daughter is going to work. We had a similar situation in our household with regards to boundaries – when it was convenient to undermine my mother suddenly we could do anything we chose, and then at other times there would suddenly be military type consequences for random events, leaving a light on in the bathroom etc. It was always random and unpredictable unless it involved undermining my mum, in which case you could predict perfectly how he would respond to any rules/boundaries my mum set.

What did you hope to achieve by not allowing your daughter to go this party with a boy? What was your aim? Were you worried she might sleep with him? Drink? None of these things should be of any concern to you (in my humble opinion) because no parent can ever prevent their children from doing these things (it’s merely an illusion of control I can assure you). I would say that what’s happening is more a symptom of the fact that there are no general boundaries of behavioru in your household anymore and that you’re franctically trying to force some boundaries on her now, which is having the effect of further alienating her and driving her towards her father, which is exactly what he wants.

Have you ever tried sitting down and trying to rationalise with her why she feels the way she does about you, rather than trying to presrcibe medicine to the symptoms of her feelings? Have you every tried to communicate your reality to her in a non-angry heart-felt way? Have you ever tried to calmly unravel the web of false history that he has spun and encouraged her to validate stories with third parties?

I wish my mum had done that for me, and instead I had to piece together the truth by referring to events from my siblings, and from speaking to other relatives and people who grew up wiht my father, and by reading in between the lines when he spun me a yarn. Only then did I realise the extent of the total invention that his entire life was. Until that point and until you realise as a human that another human is capable of harbouring that level of malice and hatred, you cannot but believe them. The alternative is to accept the unbearable reality that your own father is mad, does not love you and would (in the right circumstance) kill you without remorse. As a child the former reality (despite it’s inconsistencies) is infinitely more pallatable than the latter. However, it’s important that the latter is appreciated and accepted because it is the reality, and the sooner we realise this and grieve about the mirage that we thought our father was and move on, the better.

My instinct is that if you try to fight your daughter on the superficial level of setting boundaries, that you will fail. You have to go deeper than that, to tap into her miswired brain and try to solder on healthier connections and untangle the web of lies and deceit that is making her feel so crazy and angry with you.

How old is she? If she’s 16-17 then she’s old enough to read some literature on what a psycopath/narcissist is. But be gentle,, if she was like I was, she is feeling pretty off the wall at the moment, at times like she’s going mad, and at other times like she’s angry with everything but she doesn’t know why. I’m sure all teenagers feel that to an extent, but the point is it’s a crucial time (for boys especially I think) to develop and process the world and begin to come to terms with who you are, what you agree with, what you don’t agree with etc etc. I would recommend you appeal to her humanity and try to engage with her, rather than have a control contest with your ex-husband.

I give you that advice as an oft lost and confused human being, not as any trained professional or someone who is well versed in the field of dealing with textbook psycopaths.

I can only suggest

Thankyou so much for your response. It makes so much sense, and is somethng I will read many times over I am sure, and indeed ,will try to follow. This evening, ( it is 1115pm here in the UK) she is spending overnight with one of my sons at his house, seeing her neice and nephew too. I am going to build on the more positive aspects of her life and family, rather than become any more immersed in what you so aptly describe as a control contest with her father. her father drew me into his web seventeen years ago, and for only a short while, but the negative repercussions of my short relationship are ever present – so building on the positive is, I think, my way forward. So – thank you – and as you suggest, I will indeed be gentle.

What a nightmare for Chrissie. I can not imagine having my ex move so close to where I live, and I can imagine all the turmoil it would cause. I would recommend that you read Divorce Casualties written by Douglas Darnall and Divorce Poisoning. These books should help you understand the mindset of your daughter and give you suggestions on how to respond. Also Google “parental alienation”. I bet you’ll nod your head and agree with a lot of what you read. Your situation is tricky because your daughter is so close to legal age. I don’t think the courts would be helpful to you and it would cost so much money, but if you have an agreement and her father is violating it”picking her up when you explicitly said not to, then that is a clear violation of the agreement. I have started to call the police every time my ex violates the agreement and it has had an affect. The number of times he undermines me in ways very similar to how you describe has decreased significantly. This has been a power struggle, but the result has been that my ex isn’t initiating these situations in the first place because he knows I will respond with the police, and ultimately he may lose visitation. This is lessening the stress on my kids and has actually reduced the need for those power struggles. As you can read from my post, he continues to be nasty”but in ways that he can’t get caught. I guess this is an improvement and is better than nothing.
I think Beastflow makes a good point about not allowing your daughter to “hang out” with a person of such poor character. Don’t agree to extra time with her dad. You know that extra time will be spent brainwashing her to believe that you are a horrible person and it will also be spent indulging her with her every whim to “buy” her soul. I would explain it to her in that way too. I wouldn’t even bother to contact her father about issues because he has shown himself to be so completely disrespectful and hateful toward you. It seems to me that he uses situations to wreak havoc”.I wouldn’t even give him the opportunity to so openly disrespect what you say.
Beastflow sounds much more open-minded than me because I wouldn’t allow my daughter to attend a dance with a group of boys either. I think that would be putting her in a situation where she could more easily get in trouble. I guess on points like this, divorced parents can differ”some are more liberal while the other parent is more strict, but the bottom line here is ”respect. If your daughter is on your time clock and you say she can’t go”then she can’t go. If she is on her father’s time clock and he allows her to go, then you would have to let her go. I think I would put definite limits on her contact with her dad and I would explain why. He sounds horrible. Can you move?

My 9 year old son is the product of a sociopathic father. We have been to court 92 times in the nine years of our son’s life. I have finally been granted sole custodial rights, but continue to fight to set limits and restrictions on his father’s visitation abilities.

Two years ago, his father manipulated the loopholes in New Hampshire’s legal system to temporarily gain custody of our son and keep him in the State. My son and I were not allowed to communicate for over 3 weeks. In fact, he had been told that I no longer wanted him and that his stepmother was going to be his mother from now on.

The longterm emotional damage that his father’s pathological lies and the manipulations go deep. It took me over 20 months to get my son to sleep in his own bed again. For the past six months we were doing great. He had not seen his dad in that time. He recently saw his father for two hours. He is back to sleeping in my bed with night terrors.

I purchased Dr. Leedom’s book “Just Like His Father” and it is helping me gain insight. I have spent more time than not dealing with my son’s school on behavioral issues. I see signs already of similar personality patterns. He lies unnecessarily and never takes accountability for anything. He arbitrates everything even if there is no reason. He ostracizes himself from other children and always needs to be the primary focus. When he is called on his inappropriate behaviour he tries to turn it around using your emotions.

I have entered my son in the Big Brother program which I am so grateful for as his BB stays on top of him and holds him accountable.

It has become a full time job in monitoring his behaviour and carrying out discipline processes with him. He does not want to take responsibility for any chores, he blames everyone else for his problems, and refuses to put any effort into his academics although he has been tested at a gifted level.

He was in therapy for over three years and it had gone well while his father was under supervised visits. Once his father was allowed unsupervised visits, he no longer would open up to the therapist.

Is there any support style groups for children and/or parents in the Hartford Ct. area?

My son is the most intelligent, gentle, and kind hearted child I have ever met, but can change on a dime to cold and manipulative when necessary. I will not give in to letting his father’s genetics take over my son.

One side:
I was sitting on my couch watching TV when all of a sudden there is a knock at my door. To my astonishment it was the police. They had been called to my apartment by my ex-wife. She called them to report that I had supposedly called her to say that I was going to kill myself. I couldn’t believe it. The police asked me a ton of questions and of course found that I was ok. My ex-wife is so manipulative. Who would even think to do that?

The other side:
Since I left my husband, he has been in cycles of utter sadness and then anger. I have over twenty five letters written by him that show these cycles. With my counselor, I have been working out how to best handle this. My ex has told my seven year old several times that he is going to kill himself. My counselor advised me to contact my ex’s family to tell them what he is telling my son. I do this, but they just respond with anger to me. My counselor advises me to tell my lawyer, which I do. My lawyer (at that time) advises me to do nothing. She says it is better to just wait it out because it will all just calm down after the divorce is finalized. My ex continues to tell me and my son that he is going to kill myself. My counselor advises me to call the police the next time he makes a threat like that. She says that I am not trained or responsible for dealing with these threats. She said the police are professionals who know how to handle this. She advises me to tell my ex that the next time he makes a suicidal threat to me or my son that I will call the police that from now on that is how I will deal with these threats. Of course, he makes another threat. He emails me that it “is over. You have won the game. You have taken away my life, my kids, everything. I will no longer play your game.” The next morning he calls crying and in a whisper he tells me “it’s over.” He asks to talk to my oldest son. I say no that he can not talk to him when he is crying like that. I tell him I am going to call the police. I hang up and do call the police. They check it out and apparently there were no signs of suicide at all. He was perfectly fine! After that I my ex never made another suicidal threat to me.

This story happened a long time ago”.over eight years ago. It happened before my custody case with my ex. My ex uses this story to try to show that I am manipulative. The GAL in my case never interviewed my counselor, or asked me about my side of this story, so she would have no knowledge of what actually took place. She would have heard my ex’s story and then supported it with the police record. This would have led her to believe that I am manipulative. I tell this story to impress upon the “professionals” involved in custody cases to take the time to dig deep. Things may not be as they appear. You need to look and listen to both sides.

I am a 26-year-old woman who is the daughter of a female sociopath.

After many years of being victimized by her, I was taken away by the State of Connecticut where eventually I became a ward of the state until I reached adulthood.

My mother loved to call me names, beat me, ridicule me but most importantly she made it her mission in life to destroy my happy spirit.

IT DID NOT WORK. AND AS LONG AS THERE IS BREATHE IN MY BODY”IT NEVER WILL!

My mother is a text book sociopath”lies, no remorse or feeling (unless it is to contribute to an already told lie); abuse and more lies”that is her MO and nothing will ever change that. My father is a first generation immigrant over-achiever”thank GOD! Granted as a child when my mother had a strangle hold on my life and mental well being, he was never around. He divorced her when I was a few months old and found a new woman; made a new family. He was high-tailing it as fast as he could to get as far from her and her games as possible. My one grudge was that he left me there. He left me at her mercy, something I still don’t forgive him for.

After being separated from her I realized what she always knew and what boiled her blood every day she looked at her mulatto child: I am strong! My spirit will not be broken. I am not fooled by her games.

As a child I was always a straight A student, well mannered, well behaved and honest to a fault and it wasn’t until adolescence that I started acting out the rage I felt inside. When I was placed in foster homes and shelters after my mother would go through one of her periods of blatant mental and physical abuse, I would cry”.not because she hurt me, I cried because I was being punished for what she did. They should have locked her away”not me I didn’t do anything wrong. But society does not see it that way. As a former ward of the state and a child of a sociopath, I do.

I tried for a long, long time to build a relationship with that woman and for a while I thought I was making progress. I always felt I was the adult and she was the child so inside I thought it was my duty to attempt to have a somewhat-normal relationship with her. In 2001 when my daughter died and she lied to my face and tried to lessen my grief so callously, I finally saw that reconciliation would never come”then I had a relapse.

Shortly after I graduated college, I found myself homeless. I tried all I knew how to keep my head above water but after so many years of going it alone-I reached out to the one person that I knew I could never rely on but I felt like I was the bad person for not giving her a chance. Psycho-Mom.

Another chance to try to break me was what it turned out to be.

After picking me up from work one day in 2003, while riding in the car with her, we got into an argument about a promise she made but as always, never intended to keep. We were talking loudly-no physical violence, not this time anyway-when she told me: “I am glad that I abused you as a child. I knew my husband repeatedly raped you, I watched! You are a piece of $#@! A no good n*%%#$. You will always be alone and no one will ever love you because you are worthless!”

As hard as that was for me, I would not let her see how much those words hurt but the first chance I got, I left and 4 years later, I still refuse to speak to her. I doubt I ever will.

I know that I am the exception to the rule when it comes to surviving a childhood such as mine. I graduated from college (with honors), I get up and go to work everyday, I live with my cat, Dallas, that I love very much, I pay my bills and I try to see the brighter side of life. I live and sometimes I live to spite her but still in all I have beat many, many odds even if my life is still a work-in-progress.

BUT because I have lived a life for so long being lied to even about things so little as when I spoke my first word, I must be honest:

I don’t trust very many people, when people get close I get so scared that I will do everything in my power to push them away, I have a huge “chip” on my shoulder, I always ask what I did to deserve this-I feel sorry for myself, I am attractive and intelligent and yet I have been single for almost 6 years now, I have dabbled in the “dark-side” of life where I almost gave up and most importantly when I am sad, I drink my pain away.

But as I have stated before: I will not give up. When I look at myself in the mirror”I see her. And I hate myself for it. That is on a bad day. On a good day I don’t see either one of my parents, I see me. I see that I am doing my best and that is better than she would have ever done for me. I look at my sisters 23 and 21 respectively that she never physically abused that stayed with her and they have 7 kids and nothing higher than a 10th grade education between them.

I was the physically abused”but I am the one who is lucky. I feel bad that my sisters didn’t get away too”and in many ways they are just like her but there is nothing that I can do about it except try to be there for the little ones. Which I do.

As a child on the opposite side of the fence I can give all the parents who posted before me one statement of advice:

NEVER GIVE UP!

Do not stop fighting for your children if you love them. Don’t turn a blind eye because you don’t think you can help them. You can. Don’t give up on them because you think they are like their sociopath parent. You never really know what is inside them. When you see them acting like their parent, remember it is an ACT. Deep down inside there is a child who is scared and alone that realized somewhere along the way that to survive is to adapt. It is never too late. Thereishope.

by thereishope

Here is a memory of a past July 4th. On this particular July 4th, the kids were scheduled to be with me. I had plans to go to my sister’s house three hours away for a cookout and then to stay over night. The kids enjoy my sister and her husband. They live besides a lazy river with huge boulders to climb and explore. There is a cool gorge within walking distance of their house. My oldest son said that he didn’t want to go. He said he hated “my family” and wanted to spend it with his dad. At that time, his unwillingness to go with me, hurt my feelings, but I let him decide for himself. I did not know about parental alienation then. Now, I know that dislike and hostility toward the extended family (when this was not present during the marriage) is a sign of parental alienation. I should have insisted that he come with me, but I didn’t know better.
When my ex came to pick my oldest son up, my youngest son, who was around four at the time, ran out to say hi. He climbed into the back seat of the car. I let him talk to his dad for a few moments and then I went out to retrieve him. When I got to the car, my ex locked the door using his power lock. I told him to open the door. My ex made the motion that he couldn’t hear me. He mockingly gestured, “what?” My oldest son did the same thing. He was laughing at me and ignoring my insistence that he open the door. My youngest son just look really confused. I ended up yelling at my ex to let my son out. This went on for a few torturous moments, and then my ex drove away with both boys!
He didn’t answer the phone all night. I felt so devastated and helpless. I should have called the police, but at that time, I didn’t want to involve them. My neighbor who witnessed the whole thing said to me later, “I wanted to tell you to stop yelling because that is exactly what your ex wanted you to do. Your ex had the biggest smile on his face. He enjoyed getting you so upset.”
The next day, my youngest son showed up at my doorstep. My ex dropped him off with my oldest son in the front seat. They both waved and laughed as they drove off.
I wish I could go back and handle all these situations differently. I should never have agreed to let my son go with his father, and when he took the youngest one, I should have called the police. Calling the police would have provided official documentation, and it would have shown my ex”early on, that he would not get away with such bad behavior.

July 4th”.five years later. My 15 year old is sitting on the couch playing with a Quantum Leap pad. A student of mine brought into class and left it there at the end of the year. My plan is to drop it off at her house. My son asks, “Whose is this?” I explain whose it is, and he candidly asks”with 100% seriousness, “Are you a lesbian pedophile?” Over the years, I have been accused of being a lesbian many times. My youngest even accused me of being a lesbian with my sister. The accusation that I am a pedophile is a new one. I point out to my son all the accusations that I have endured over the years. I also point out that some of those accusation contradict each other, like the fact that I have been called a lesbian and have also been accused of having affairs (with men) while I was married. I have been called a “pot-smoking freak”. A couple of days ago, my oldest couldn’t find his baseball hat right before a game. He was accusing me of hiding it. My youngest son chimed in, “Ya, I bet you did hide it because you hate all of us in sports!” In searching for it, I found it behind a cushion on the couch that my son always sits on. The accusations go on and on and on. It’s disgusting. Later, after they all went to a cookout with their dad, my daughter says, “Grammy likes you, mom. Whenever dad called you a “bitch”, she told him not to.” I asked why dad would call me a bitch at the cookout and she said, “He calls you a bitch all the time, but he was telling everyone that the “bitch isn’t picking up the phone” when I tried to call you.

Hi Dr. Leedom,
I looked up your book on the internet and it looks very interesting and appropriate for my situation. I ordered it and look forward to reading it.
Yesterday, my 15 year old had his girlfriend over. I brought them both a drink, and when I went to hand one to her, my son intercepted and said, “Which one do you want?” His girlfriend said, ” that one,” pointing to one. My son then responded, “Ok…in that case, you get this one.” He then handed her the opposite one of the one she chose, and went to drink it. I made him give her the one she wanted, but I think this is a good example of social dominance shown at a teenage level. I look forward to reading your book, so I can respond appropriately to my son (and his girlfriend…she should be aware of what’s going on, so she doesn’t make the same mistakes I did when I was her age)
Thanks for your advice.

This post would fit better under an old category about PTSD, but it was a while ago, and I am not sure if anyone would read it. Under that post, it was mentioned that nightmares can be a symptom of this disorder. I had written saying that I had started to wake up with my heart racing, unable to breathe, feeling in a panic state. I never considered that I was having a nightmare that I couldn’t remember. I have since starting taking an anti-depressant and haven’t had those dreams….until last night, but this time I remembered it. I was enjoying myself swimming in a pond. It was peaceful and the water was cool. In the distance I could see the figure of a person coming toward me. It was a man. I wasn’t even concerned about him. I was swimming underwater and the man came over and put his hand on my head. At first, I thought he was kidding around, but soon I realized that the man meant to drown me. I started to drown. I couldn’t breathe and knew I was going to die. I woke up feeling like I had before…heart pounding, gasping for air, feeling panic. I am not sure if this is the same dream I had before, but the feeling when waking up was the same. The sleeplessness following the dream is the same too. I’ve been wide awake since 4:00 am. I don’t really know what the dream means, but I do feel the intense hate of my ex….that he really would like me dead. I also feel that I’ve worked really hard to get beyond my relationship with this man, and that he is pulling me down. He is not letting me go.

I would be very interested in learning about books that a teenage child could read to help them see how these personalities have a negative impact on them and how to better deal with some of the issues and behaviors that they are subject to on a daily basis. For me, my soon to be ex-husband has not yet been diagnosed but I am certain he has narcissistic and sociopathic behaviors that are detrimental to our child. The Guardian ad Litem has threatened a psych eval, but never followed through. From the GAL, to the judge who is tired of our case before we’ve even been to trial, and adjourned our trial at least five times, mandating 4 full days of non-productive mediation. The system is failing my child. We were ordered back in May of 2012 to communicate via Our Family Wizard, to which was completely ignored by my ex, the GAL, and the courts until late September. Now it’s just a belittling forum for him, my issues are never addressed or resolved, only complete disregard for anything for destroying my name or my image in my daughter’s eyes. He has failed to pay for even one expense documented since May 2012, not medical, not a school fee and although he paid a field trip and some other $10 item, it came out of our joint accounts. He is in total control (per court order) of our monies and rental properties, depleting about 150,000.00 to date which I just keep documenting. Contempt motions are ignored or held for trial, which keeps getting postponed. I filed for divorce in April 2011 and as of today (October 2013) we only have an “update” for the attorney’s to update the judge in January 2014. My child is not told of phone calls, often times, I must go seven days and night without so much as speaking to her. Through counseling, we were able to convince her that she has a right to speak with me and she was contacting me once per week. To go from a stay at home mother who did everything with the child to only a few rushed, non-private conversations is detrimental to both of us. I am not believed when I tell of the manipulative, hateful, vengeful behaviors. A tidbit of truth is tossed into a mix of horrendous fabricated lies that belittle and make me out to be an unfit mother, while he places himself on a golden pedestal. NOBODY reads the Our Family Wizard posts which we were court ordered to communicate through. He has changed her primary doctor, doesn’t share dates or names on the calendar, no matter how many times I ask. I am accused of threatening my child. He will not allow use of home wifi, his phone and refuses to tell her of calls I make to his phone. I then purchased a phone for her, which he has forbidden her to use. I have resorted to calling her at school, leaving the message for her to call me before end of day so that I have at least a few minutes of uninterrupted time with my child. He is now attempting to control, manipulate, and end that contact as well. My child unfortunately loves her father, defends him and will change her story as ‘he sees it’. This is very concerning and disturbing for me to see the lies without blinking or flinching or showing any regard for truth or honesty. I know for me, I have doubted my own sanity while speaking to my ex because he comes off so charming and convincingly that I was second guessing what I KNEW to be truth and factual with what he was now telling me happened through his dysfunctional view. There are major boundary issues that have been completely ignored… they were brought to the GAL and her counselors attention but brushed off as “boundary issues”. These behaviors including watching my then 11 year old daughter dress/undress in the morning before school to the point of her asking for a lock on her bedroom door. Him co-sleeping with her but calling it “lounging”. Him attempting to open the bathroom door immediately after her shower stops, without so much as a knock, assuming he has some right to barge in on her, luckily I told her to lock the door. Chocolate syrup on a slip and slide for a 12 year old girls birthday party in which two of the mothers called me horrified, along with informing the GAL, who did nothing. I can’t even get my attorney to file a contempt on the custody issue of alienation and withholding communication/contact because at least 5 of the prior contempts have yet to be heard by the court/judge. We are not one step closer to getting this divorce, and my child is being pitted against me 50% of the time. We finally got a glimpse of hope when the judge finally ordered our family home for sale, to which I was blamed for by my ex. He is causing her anxiety by telling her she has to pack and move while he is refusing to abide by the court order of having the home on the market and refusing showings. The judge makes orders, we file motions to enforce them, and the judge never gives a consequence for his parasitic behaviors or his blatant refusal to comply with the judges court orders issued to date. This is extremely emotional and I watch my child exhibit some of the same behaviors I was finally able to escape from. I would appreciate any help on this subject in helping to preserve my child’s mental health. I try very hard not to bad mouth him, tell her I see things a little different (instead of calling him an outright liar). I’m at a loss because it’s been an epic failure on so many levels and only my child suffers the brunt of the consequences. I too have been through hell and back. I have a great support system of friends and family, but I too have suffered at this man’s hands. I suffer from anxiety, night terrors, and stress which is affecting my overall health. I read “get away”, “distance yourself”. I can try that for me – but when there is a child involved – this does not work. I’ve filed two restraining orders because the police believed he was a real threat to me after breaking into where I live (also owned by him however) and the courts denied them saying they were one-time incidents. These master manipulators know how to stay under the radar, manipulate the truth and have a way to convince others that it’s me or anyone else they can pin blame on, other than themselves. They are very dangerous, capable of despicable things. I could share so much more if you are interested.

xpresdtp – what a horrible, distressing story! I am so horrified by what you are experiencing – and that the judge continues to let him get away with this unconscionable behavior.

Unfortunately, other mother have told stories as atrocious as yours. I’ll see if I can put you in touch with some of them.

Sounds to me like you need a new lawyer!! holy cow! I have experienced some of the same things but not to this extent. My ex has a criminal record and is well-known to police and he would never be able to get custody..thank goodness. I have proof that he’s a gang member, life long drug user/dealer, hangs out with ‘bad’ people etc but he still managed to get unsupervised access by having a ‘friend’ (the supervisor the judge appointed at HIS request) lie on the stand. That friend is now up on criminal charges..doh! Right up to and including the trial, I defended myself. Then when he started trying to get more access and it was clear that he was trying to turn my son against me, I got a lawyer and things changed. He stopped being so darned cocky because he saw that I had people in my corner now. Your lawyer sounds USELESS…the more they drag it out, the more money they make! It’s disgusting!

xpresdtp, I hope you are still checking on this post, and my advice is not too late for you. My divorce and my ex sounds very similar to yours, except for the hint of possible looming sexual abuse. They are very good at pushing things just to the edge, but never or rarely over it. The court can not do much about “might happen” and innuendo as both parents have rights. So what can you do that might help?

First of all, if you can still keep paying a lawyer, you might find a better one through DV shelters. I went from one who dragged my case out through not understanding the situation and maybe to generate fees, to a lawyer who ignored anything not mission-critical and got my divorce done. She got it. She was recommended by multiple area DV shelters (even though I was not physically abused, they helped recommend her I was embarrassed to ask, but I am so glad I did.). She also was involved in DV/custody/divorce involving high-conflict with people with personality disorders. Her cost was much lower than the first lawyer. Check into High Conflict Institute and Bill Eddy for more on how to manage these cases. They might also be able to refer you to a lawyer in your area who they have trained.

Secondly, what the court has to pay attention to is the best interest of the child. In court, present not the personality disorder(s) you think your husband has, because chances are the court won’t understand or care. Present instead the specific behaviors your husband does that damage your child. Make a long list and select the most important ones to highlight. You may only have a few minutes to make your case (unless you get involved in a long trial), but you can file the rest for the judge to read. I only had about 5 minutes in hearing for my temporary orders to cover everything, until my 5 day trial. I hired a private judge called a “special master” in my state. That is how I got more time and attention and sped up the process. It is not cheap, but we had a trial within 6 months of getting our private judge, whereas our case had dragged on for 18 months before.

Back to the behavior: I documented things like does not believe in homework so does not help with homework or school projects, got banned from coming to campus or communicating with 3 schools, does not allow friends over to the house (had a separate lawyer for the kids’ best interests and they expressed that they wanted sleepovers and friends over), armed security guard called at kids’ sports finals altercation, frequently late for school dropoff and pickup, prevents kids from doing anything on their own saying they are doing it wrong, yells an them, chases them, physically looms over them in an intimidating manner which looks scary and threatening, shuts them in a room for a long “time out”, tries to make them say things opposite of what they feel, has scared numerous parents of kids’ friends to the point of worry about their physical safety, etc. I could go on and on. No one of these things is apparently enough to catch the court’s attention, but hopefully the sum total is. If there is a custody evaluation, they evaluator needs to hear (and have a written list of) these things. In the end, my then-husband’s behavior toward the judge was so illegal and worrisome that the judge ordered a psych eval. Even that did not get us where we needed to go because of the shortcomings of assessing PDs in a divorce setting (long story). But it did help, and it got the psych/custody evaluator to see enough problems that I did get the custody I requested.

Good luck!

As for resources to help your teen understand, this is a complicated question. In our divorce, I was prohibited from discussing any aspect of the divorce process with the children beyond what directly concerned them and their participation. And although Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) has been discredited as a psychological syndrome, it still does happen and from what I can tell, courts may award more custody to the other parent if one parent is too strong in trying to gain a lot of custody/keep the other parent away from the child more. So, there is a risk in being too clear, even in justified cases. So, I was afraid to tell my teen kids too much about their father, for fear that it would negatively affect custody. I worried that even providing resources (books, websites) might trigger him to cry PAS and I might lose more custody.

In our divorce, I did get an order for the kids to see psychologists. However, when I went to set up the meetings, the psychologists refused to see them, even with a court order. It turns out (at least in 2011) that the ethics of psychologists says that both parents have to agree in order for them to see an underage child. I tried a few psychologists and kept getting the same answer. So my children were denied their court ordered help. I did manage to get one teen into the high school counselor, but my ex found out about the meeting and stopped it. But that might be a way to go. Talk to the school counselor and see what they can do. They can at least look out for behavioral problems. I did that in the case of my other teen.

Now that one of my teens is out of the custody agreement, I have started to provide some resources. One I think is suitable and helpful for a wide variety of PDs is Out of the Fog. They have a list of 100 things that people with personality disorders do, clickable to read more about each. ( http://outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Top100Traits.html ) This is very enlightening and your teen may see some of what she is experiencing in this list. By learning about how PD-people do what they do, they can learn to defend against it too. Out of the Fog also has a forum for kids of parents with PDs (not all sociopaths, but many in that direction, most in Cluster B PDs), which is helpful. It is called “unchosen relationships”. I also got the books I found most helpful in the case of my ex for my teen to read. She said that she sees her father in a lot of what she is reading. So, the light is beginning to go on. And I am no longer the bad guy in her eyes for “breaking up the family”. I just want my kids to avoid making the same disastrous mistake that I did, and especially to avoid genetic risk of more sociopathy genes in the family gene pool. So, it is important to help your teen understand what to avoid before they start getting into serious relationships. Good luck!

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