Sociopaths and aggressive emails

The Lovefraud reader “Flicka” copied us on the following email thread. The exchange is a good example of how sociopaths use every opportunity to assert control, divide and conquer family members, and engage in character assassination.

By way of background, Flicka was married to a sociopath. Unfortunately, all of her five children inherited their father’s disorder and also became sociopaths. Flicka’s children are now adults, and she is estranged from all of them. So now, when she should be doting on her grandchildren, she barely sees them.

One son, whom we’ll call “Bill,” was married to a Vietnamese woman, whom we’ll call “Lang.” They have a daughter, whom we’ll call “Sally.”

Three years ago, when Bill left Lang, he also left his wife with no furniture. Lang, her mother, and Sally, then 4 years old, had no choice but to sleep on bare floors. When Flicka found out, she gave Lang all of her furniture. Needless to say, Bill was infuriated.

So here’s the email exchange from earlier this year:

From: Flicka
To: Lang
Subject: ”¨Mary Poppins

I happened to see on TV tonight a”¨preview of the Mary Poppins musical show coming on ”¨Feb. 3rd (I think) and it looks fabulous. It made”¨ me think of Sally and how badly I would like her to see and ”¨experience that wonderful show with all its singing, dancing ”¨and beautiful costumes. I would love to treat her and you to ”¨that experience but maybe she’s a little too young. ”¨Perhaps you could mention it to Bill in case he would be”¨ willing to take ”¨her.


From: Lang
To: Bill
Subject: Events

Will you take her to thisӬ show? Vietnamese Tet will be on FebӬ 9th. As usual, we do cooking and worship for ancestors. IӬ want Sally here a day earlier and return that day to you by Ӭpick her up on saturday the week after.Ӭ Agree?


From: Bill
To: Lang
Subject: RE: EventsӬ

I doubt it. Those things are”¨ stupidly expensive.  I was going to take her to Disney ”¨on ice but the tickets were over 100 ”¨each. I don’t see a problem with”¨ Tet but remind me closer to the date I can’t commit to it”¨ this early.


From: Lang
To: Bill
Subject: RE: Events

Feb 3rd is sunday and that ”¨sunday night belongs to your week. As she wanted to treat me”¨ and Sally, so i’ll take her if you want. But if you want”¨ to take her there, i’ll ask her if she would like to”¨ transfer that ticket to you. Just let me know as soon as ”¨you can for ticket arrangement. I’ll inform you a week ”¨ahead of time about Tet. Thanks Lang


From: Bill
To: Lang
Subject: RE:ӬEvents

You know how I feel about Mom ”¨being around Sally.  If you want to take her and ONLY to ”¨the theater then I am ok with that. But no before or after”¨ time at Mom’s house. She is too negative to be an ”¨influence on Sally in a positive way. 


From: Lang
To: Bill
Subject: Mary Poppins

And you told me you never Ӭforbid Sally to see your Mom? Read your email again. WhatӬ more evidence do I need to prove?


From: Bill
To: Lang
Subject: RE: Mary PoppinsӬ

Yes I don’t like her being ”¨around her but obviously I can’t and wouldn’t forbid ”¨her. That was on incident 2 years ago. Get real. If you just”¨ want to take my Mother side and fight with me then we both”¨ know how this is going to end.  Why would you follow my”¨ mother’s path and end up angry, sad, alone with no friend s”¨at all?


From: Lang
To: Bill
Subject: RE: Mary Poppins

Anything more obvious than that? LOL


Negative communication

What could be more fun and wholesome for a little girl than a trip to see Mary Poppins? But Bill is negative from start to finish.

First, he says the tickets are too expensive ignoring the fact that Flicka offered to pay.

Then he says he doesn’t want Sally to be around his mother.

Then he claims that he’s not forbidding Sally to see his mother, but alludes to the terrible things that will happen if Lang decides to let Sally visit Grandma against his wishes. Bill manages to threaten his ex-wife and smear his mother all in one sentence

Emotional No Contact

So if you are subject to a sociopath’s negative communications, what can you do about it? In reality, nothing.

You can’t change the sociopath. You can only change you and your responses.

When No Contact is not an option as when you are trying to co-parent with a sociopath the next best thing is Emotional No Contact. You train yourself not to react emotionally to the sociopath’s aggression. And make no mistake, Bill’s communication style is aggression.


How do you do this? You accept that sociopaths are what they are.

Acceptance does not mean that you condone a sociopath’s behavior, treatment of you, irresponsibility or cruelty. I am also not suggesting that you stay in an abusive situation. If you are being abused in any way, you must get out.

But if you still have to deal with the sociopath after you have escaped, it helps to accept that a sociopath is what he or she is, and that the individual’s behavior will never change.

A lot of the internal angst and tension that you feel is the result of wanting the sociopath to be different. When you give up wanting him or her to change, you have more energy and strength to deal with the day-to-day curve balls the sociopath throws at you.

Your objective is to get to the point that when you receive communications like those above, you just roll your eyes. You ignore all the taunting, and respond only to actionable information:

It’s okay for Sally to see Mary Poppins.


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55 Comments on "Sociopaths and aggressive emails"

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I could wallpaper my entire house inside and out if I printed all that I have…JUST post-divorce.

LisaH, your comment made me laugh! I could do the same thing!! I have over 3000 such emails and texts just in the past 4 years AFTER my divorce!

Freeing yourself from a sociopath is hard enough when you are coupled with no children. There is NO severing from a sociopath you have children with. Regardless that they are or are not in the picture, their behavior is always present through the relationship you have with your children… Even when they cease to be children.

The very best we can hope for is to cope.

All the No Contact you can implement does not prevent the mark of continued absence and neglect on a child. And for those who endure the manipulative presence in th day-to-day of their children’s lives, there is no escape except the eventual independence of your children.

There are paths we can take to bolster our self esteem and restore our dignity, and that’s an important part of the process of coping. Additionally, understanding the foul nature of the sociopath, and attempting to pass along that clarity to your children could help. In order to do so, it may be best to provide them with reading on the subject and therapy so that they also can cope and live in the reality of their circumstance in a more enlightened way.

Dear jmshort,
Thank you for your information and empathy. However, if one’s children chose not to learn more about the illness, one can do nothing. They just continue to refuse to believe they are psychopaths. Ths is one of the difficult hallmarks of the illness, as you know. We can “lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink”. Thanks for your suggestions anyway.


We refer to our offspring as “children” throughout their lives, so please forgive the obvious confusion I caused. What I was attempting to convey was that it’s best to intervene while they are still actually “children” in an attempt to mold their character. Understanding “Cluster B” behavior can be the enlightenment that keeps them from modeling the behavior and being manipulated. Once they get past the early teen years, however, it’s very difficult to alter their mindset.

My heart truly goes out to you. I know how difficult it is to change the beverage of choice once they’ve drunk the “Cluster B” KoolAid!


Interesting that this article mentions the show Wicked.
I worked on that show while I was extracting myself from the grip of the maniacal kook. I studied the show very intensely. I knew every note and nuance.
I learned a lot about the insidiousness and pervasiveness of malignant narcissists from that show.

I learned about how destructive they are to those around them while they blame everyone else for their “problems”.

I learned about how they gather their minions around them to sing their chorus.

I learned about scapegoating and how unrelenting stress causes the body to break down with adrenal fatigue syndrome.

I learned about how the disordered take control of the unsuspecting to work their power plays and keep down the good energy of those who are “normal” but who, while being “normal” are actually the rare ones and the freaks. The dysfunctional ones manipulate the scenes to trump any goodness out of the truly good hearted and co opt the events to make the truly good hearted feel like they’ve done something wrong–and how it all ends up in fighting while no one can quite figure out how the mess all originated.

It’s a very educational experience in dramatic terms which delves into the cascade of events to effect some really tragic outcomes for many victims.

It has Heroes/Protagonists as well as the Villains/Antagonists and the drama plays out, again and again, just as we see happening with our own lives when we get mixed up with social predators and malignant narcissists.

All drama has the antagonist which is the disordered personality. The ones who manage and break away from the grips of these villains are the Heroes. The Protagonists.

These Protagonists are us, the survivors.

Wicked may seem like a pricy ticket to some, but when you watch the show, you gain value from the experience which far exceeds the price of admission. It’s literally a Broadway show that is brought to your city. And this show breaks down the dysfunctional behavior and who and how it hurts within the contexts of a fantasy and which is produced with fairly amazing effects.

I’ve seen the show about a hundred times. It’s never exactly the same. I got something profound out of every single viewing. It’s quite an amazing production.

Beyond that, it puts in a grand nutshell all of the horror and pain that kooks cause “normal”, good hearted, no-agenda people. Then it shows the breaking out from the grips of that horror and escaping to a truly free and new life.

And all this happens while the Chorus (group of singers–who are like those in our world who are still charmed by the kook’s phony display) is entirely clueless as to all the machinations of the disordered ones.

Only a very few–the two main female leads–really “get it” as far as identifying and quashing the kook energy.

Wicked is a great, fantasy study of kooks and how they hurt our potential.

Go see it if you have the chance because the part that will uplift your soul will make a profound impression upon you. When you see that part of the show, you will be deeply moved to make your way back into the good and normal life you crave and fantasize–but know is REAL–when you can break free of the kooks!!

You’re stronger than you know, everyone.

Just remember. Goodness will prevail. True goodness. You will be free to live happy. Persevere towards that day. It’s coming soon. Press on!!

All very illuminating, especially jm_shorts comments. Just to give you the whole picture: I was married to a sociopath for 23 yrs, couldn’t figure out how to “fix”things, divorced in ’82 and moved to NC. where I continued to raise 3 abused boys alone. They were fantastic human beings when they left home. Now in their 40’s and 50’s, they’ve become full-fledged sociopaths. I went NC with them 5 yrs. ago when they threatened me with committal!Things had become increasingly strained over the decades as i now know, they abused me just as they had been abused. Despite all my education and information, they got worse and worse. In fact, I think all my information drove them further into the abyss!They are now all fairly successful (youngest and most abused is now an endocrinology pediatrician!) But they are all predictably divorced and I watch my grandchildren being likewise affected. In fact, my middle son “took” his 6 yr. old daughter away from his penniless ex-wife and I can’t do anything to “save” her precious, innocent little soul!Horrible repersussions go on and on despite my NC.

This type of communication is all too familiar for me too. I have kept it all…to prove I’m not the crazy one. I have been in court regularly for the last 3.5 years. He has threatened me, tried to intimidate and scare me, tried to make me and everyone else think I’m the crazy one.

I have taken him to court 4 times and I’ve won judgements for 3 and I’m winning the child/family one but it’s taking a toll on me. I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel though. He hasn’t seen our son in 8 months since I re-invoked supervision on his access. I worry that he will come back and that my 5 yr old, who worships him, will fall for his lies when he’s older. I try to subtlety tell him that lying, stealing and cheating aren’t ok….but he’s 5. sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever stop stressing about it until the spath is 10 ft under. I see that doing your best to protect your children isn’t always enough…and that kills me. I don’t know how or if I can come back from that. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child to a monster, let alone 5 of them. It scares me so much.

All we can do is our best. We can arm ourselves with all the facts, love and strength possible and yet lose in the end. Genes can be terribly strong. I raised 5 wonderful children but two mistakes I may have made. 1: because of having to work so hard to financially support us, I may not have given enough time to physically love each of them sufficiently. Secondly,despite their father’s abuse, I continued to have him participate in large family celebrations such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays etc. staying in my home as a guest. From all my readings, I thought it was important for the children to still have a father, abusive or not. Perhaps my barriers were not as distinct as they should have been. Because of this and the legal system of the 80’s and ’90’s, the children came to see their father as the winner and me as the loser. They saw that he got away with abuse, reneged on mandated financial help, cheated on tax returns etc. yet continued to maintain his “life-of-the-party” role. I continually explained to each of them that they were worthy individuals and that their bad tempers were a result of their former abuse.I felt this was impotant to counteract the affects from their former abuse. It was the only way I could think of to make them see their own worthiness.
In the end, one does the best one can but one needs to always keep in mind the strength of genes vs. environment and be ready for possible failure. Our present-day societal emphasis on monetary success vs morality doesn’t help either.

And it helps to have a sense of humor. I think about Alan Alda’s quick quips from ‘Mash’ and lately I have been less serious.
True, a sociopath won’t be amused, but if it helps you and others…go for it.

It might even make a sociopath angrier. That IS a bit of a problem.

Good idea except I’m NC with the whole bunch the past 5 years and much happier to have finally come to grips with what I was dealing with all those years. Now it crops up in the grandchildren, to my dismay; but that’s not my problem anymore…thank goodness.

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