By | June 2, 2014 55 Comments

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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Having recently been forced to re-read several thousand emails from my ex, I know all to well how sociopaths attempt to assert control and attack our character. I must admit I still get that knot in my stomach when I read some of the vicious and totally untrue vitriole that he is so well known for, but I am getting better at letting it go and realizing that this is who and how he is, and in in no way reflects who I am. I have also learned over the years to just ignore and only reply to what is pertinent when dealing with our child. This angers him too, and is usually followed with even nastier emails designed to start an argument. It’s hard to not too defend yourself, but in the long run I know it realy doesn’t matter what I say, he will believe and say what he wants.


So true. There is no point whatsoever in trying to appease them. They will play out their sickness, no matter what you do.

I found the only strategy for ‘dealing’ with them, if you have to have contact, is the boring, no emotion, deal with only the core of the matter approach. Even if it initially inflames them (everything does), it doesn’t ‘feed’ them.

Emotional reactions are one of their favorite foods.


Donna, Thanks for posting my story. I have long ago gone NC with all my children and this Mary Poppins extravaganza was just for my precocious,sweet grand daughter and her mother. Little did I know at the time, that my son’s evil traits had already transformed my ex daughter-in-law to where she felt it necessary to have HIS approval! So far do the tentacles of socipathy reach!


Dear Flicka, Your article is a clear example of the suffering that I encounter.

I think I am mostly recovered from the headtrips done to me by my ex husband. But I am here on LF because my relationship with my daughter has disintegrated and I am find myself unable to process the pain.

Here’s my problem:
It was painful but not difficult to conclude that my ex is a sociopath. He fits the profile and he tried to set me up to be murdered, and have it look like an accident. He also murdered animals, so not much of a leap to understand that he had the mindset to murder me. Once I understood what kind of animal my ex was, I was able to cut him out of my life and rebuild my world in a different life. Not to trivialize what he did, the examples are horrendous and match many stories here on LF.

But my daughter is my baby, my dearest love, the reason I endured so much destruction from my ex. She is MY child, he adopted her with my consent given by fraud. I don’t want to believe that she is like him.

She does/says horrible things to/about me, similar to him. She segments people off (doesn’t allow them to meet or talk with each other) and tells them lies about me. The lies she tells are actually MY history, they are what happened to ME, in MY childhood. She tells people that it happened to her. But I can prove it did not.

Now, near 30, she has pretty much excluded me out of her life, telling people that I am toxic, that I refuse to admit how I abused her, that I am manipulative, that I am trying to force her to pay to support my lifestyle, that I order her around, that I starved her as a child, forced her to work and give me her wages, that she had to pay for her food/clothes/car and life expenses. NONE of this is true for her. People don’t have to take my word for it, I can prove that I provided for her entire life including all her years at university. (Note: while we were living with my ex, that she has always excluded me from milestones in her life, which I thought was possible because of how he gave her approval for disrespecting me.)

The timing of her complete rejection of me happened after I refused to abide by her conditions, that I could visit her but I could not speak to others except general subjects, such as the weather, that I was to keep my face looking down because she said I stared at people and made them uncomfortable. That I was not to speak about the past at all, that she had “forgiven” me of the past. What she was insisting was that I act ashamed for who I am. But I am not ashamed, I am quite accomplished and bad things were done TO ME, NOT by me.

She has defined me, not based on what I have done, but she’s told a story that she uses to get people to feel sorry for her and not hold her accountable for her misbehaviors because as she explains, she “loses it” since she was so abused. (at the same time, she does not hold my ex accountable)

I have gone from my ex defining me as the “crazy wife” to my dearest daughter defining me as the “crazy mother”. And if I don’t submit, then I am shunned.

I don’t want to believe her to be sociopathic. She has fears. She is afraid of heights. Aren’t sociopaths fearless?

I did have a terrible childhood and did not allow my family in our lives, I didn’t not want them to have access to harm her. That is why I told her to stay away from them and why she knows some of my childhood traumas, because I gave her examples of things they did and why she needed to protect herself from them. My sisters are borderline, my brother is a pedophile.

My daughter used to do such kind things, such considerate things. She gave me Chrismas and birthday presents. Sent Mothers Day messages. Not anymore. As she has gotten older, she ridicules that those things carry an emotional meaning. Now she is just flat out cruel, says I am only her mother because I gave birth but do not deserve to be called mom.

Is it possible that she has PTSD? That she has learned from my ex how to be controlling and dominating because she feels vulnerable? She takes Adderall and I hate it, she seems to be uninhibited when she takes it and does not think about what she is saying. Is it possible that she is this way because of Adderall?

How do you process the way your kids are towards you? What do you say to people who ask how your kids are doing? I feel so guilty that I did this to my daughter, that I knew enough to protect her from my birth family, only to expose her completely to the man who ruined me. I actually spent the early years of my marriage doing all I could to enable their relationship, which was used to “divide and conquer” her from me. Is it possible that she is still responding from his smear campaign of me? IS there nothing a parent can say that will break the spell of the smear campaign? At what point would I know that she really is “one of THEM”, at the point of no return?

I know what she is doing to me is not right, I just don’t know WHY she is doing it, and if there is a way to reach her. I can’t stand the thought of giving up on her. Then I would really feel depressed, that Would feel like I was abandoning her, and then I would deserve to be treated this way by her.

I would be grateful for any insights on how your manage your inner emotions about how things have turned out with your children. I find this situation much harder than even the nightmare of my marriage and divorce from a sociopath.

Thank you Flicka.


It sounds like your ex has been doing Parental Alienation. Yes, this is a controversial accusation, but I have heard convincingly that it does happen. Sociopaths like to alienate the children as a way of winning, and taking away the children when they do not get 100% custody. It is really a form of brainwashing not unlike what happens in cults. Below is a link to a video which gives a good explanation of how it happens and why it works.

Honestly, at her age, I am not sure it is reversible. Hopefully as she becomes a parent, she will gain more perspective. When adults realize that their parents alienated them falsely, they are very angry at the alienating parent. But in my experience, they may also be ashamed and avoid the alienated parent.

I hope it gets better for you.


That was a very disturbing video. It’s mostly condemning mothers saying they are the ones who perpetrate parental alienation because mother has NPD and is losing their source.

What about parents who are trying to protect their child from a sociopath? Yes, technically Alienation. But done in order to protect the life of the child. I want my daughter to know and stay away from people who I know would murder her if they thought they could inherit her estate.

I think of my daughter as more Stockholm syndrome. He’d be an absolute jerk and then turn around and be Santa Claus.

It’s getting worse and thus, it’s why I am so emotional and seeking guidance. Thank you for taking the time to share with me.


Sounds like you’re recovering now that you see things more realistically. Once one admits sociopathy, the pieces of the puzzle fit so neatly into place. It is onlyto ourselves er must answer. Good luck on your journey.


Dear not. How I feel for/with you! I do not have the answers you so desperatly seek. I tried with all my heart, soul and knowledge to raise 5 wonderful children; I was so proud to give them to the world when they went off to college and adulthood but over the decades, I felt them drift into immorality and stupidity. They became so disrespectful that I found I was happier not being in their company; I could no longer sit in silence. When my youngest finally threatened me with family committal (!), I went NC with them upon my attorney’s advice. Since then (5 years), I’ve gradually had to accept what they are and now accept that they are emotionally dead to me.This has been horribly trying but I had to ‘get there’ in order to survive. The Serenity prayer has helped alot as well as my favorite poem, “The Man In The Glass” which hangs on my bath wall. You have to get to the point where you accept their emotional death and that process is never really complete but it releases some of the feelings of anguish.I have come to accept that there are some things one simply cannot change, no matter how much we want it.
I surely hope you find the strength to start all over again. For me, disabled and age 77, this is very difficult since I have no relatives and most friends are either sickly themselves or simply wash their hands of all of it…it’s too much for most to handle. But life teaches us many things and this has certainly been one of humility and the futility of my once-promising life. But my concsience is at peace as I continue always learning and spreading information.I no longer keep up appearances; I no longer keep silent about this devastating illness!
Best of luck, my heart is with you! Lovefraud is a wonderful site for reassurance.


Thank you for replying Flicka, sorry I am so late to see your post. I wrote and felt so upset about what I was finally acknowledging to myself that I kinda spun into a down mode and then I lost where I had posted.

Life does teach us many things and I hold on to what my core values and beliefs, that in the end, the only thing that matters is LOVE, and we have to start with ourselves. Self respect and holding ourselves accountable (NOT the same thing as blame). We are to be self responsible, and when we make a wrong choice, we are to make amends if possible, and to learn a lesson, whatever lesson that is.

My daughter makes bizarre accusations, some that I know are wrong because they come directly from my history. My bones were broken, she’s never has a broken bone. I have scars because I needed stitches, she’s never had that kind of cut, she has NO scars. But I did wonder, during my deep depression, was I abusive and didn’t remember it? I remember feeing numb, I was kinda in a daze. Did I have amnesia too? When I was 19, I’ve suffered amnesia when I was in a car accident and hit the windshield. I came out of it hours later, it was like waking up. All of a sudden I started getting my cognitive function back. Do people suffer amnesia during depression? Is she right and I was abusive?

It’s not me who’s gone NC. It’s my daughter although I did stop running after her, trying to appease her because it wasn’t working! I am pretty certain she has been monitoring LF because she uses the same terminology, which doesn’t sound like what someone would learn from a therapist.

I am sorry you don’t feel able to find the strength to start over. I am 20 years younger and I don’t either. I have been very sick and for years, I was unable to work, I was a MESS. I am MUCH better now but my career days are over.

I had hoped to find peace of mind and put things in perspective. I had hoped to make amends to my daughter for not fulfilling the childhood I wanted/imagined for her. I am heartsick that she calls me toxic and manipulative but refuses to explain what it refers to or uses the word in such broad definition, such as her definition of manipulation is anything that does not originate with her. They are my words but she does not use them they way I do so it’s quite confusing.

I wish I had the explanation that made it all make sense. Once I realized my now ex husband was a sociopath, then all made sense, why he sometimes seemed narcissistic but narcissism didn’t explain all of him. Sociopathy does. Once I knew what animal he was, then I was able to create a recovery plan for ME.

Thank you for speaking up. I am sorry your children have chosen to be who they are. They are missing the opportunities to gain wisdom, wisdom that would put them ahead of others as they journey through life.


This sort of email is all too familiar to me. When I told me ex I wanted a divorce he stopped talking to me. I knew he would – he’d done it so many times over the years, every single time we disagreed or argued so this time I simply followed suit. What followed over the next two years while we went through a highly acrimonious divorce were hundreds of emails and texts – all of which I kept.

Right from the start I resisted the urge to reply instantly and would wait until the following day and until I had sent it to my sister who would give her’s and her partner’s views and by the time all this had taken place I would have calmed down. Emotions were running so high it would be far too easy to say something foolish, inflammatory or even dangerous in terms of litigation.

To begin with I found it terribly difficult. I can be a little over-wordy as it is but I gradually learned. Less is definitely more! As you say, again and again on here – the absolutely best policy with these people is NO CONTACT. However, if you’re not in a position to do that – as I wasn’t then – keep it to an absolute minimum, remove all emotion and keep it on a needs must basis only.

For me, I just had to keep reminding myself of my goals – Sell the house and get the kids out. Keep them safe in the meantime (as he refused to move out). Get the divorce through asap with the least damage possible. Move away and move on.

I would write long epistles, read and re-read them, edit them and then send them to my sister for a sanity check. I would say to myself – w”ill this help me achieve my goals or hinder?”

However hard it was sometimes to swallow and ignore his utter tripe, I did. I really don’t know how sometimes, particularly when he wrote about the children but somehow I stayed calm. He tried everything. Guilt-tripping, lies, aggresion, more lies, threats, more lies, utter delution and yet more lies but I never rose to it.

It is an incredibly hard thing to do but I am proud of myself for finally standing up to the controlly bully that he is. It must have driven him insane. He doesn’t type quickly like me and yet he would sometimes send huge long emails (and letters to the solicitor), that would have taken him hours and he would either get no reply or a simple one liner to one point if there were something that needed to be dealt with. The rest would be ignored.


Whew, like others I know how those emails can get to us. I wish I could post some here but I am always afraid he will find them and well I guess I still fear what he might do even after over 2 years apart. The ones he sent were absolutely ridiculous and over the top crazy and abusive, threatening and did I mention CRAZY?

One thing I did was to keep copies. When I went to court for my restraining order I took them all and put the worst ones on top for the judge to see. I also took them to my pastor because my ex was pretty good at fooling him too. They both absolutely couldn’t believe he would write such things. It was essentially the only proof that he really was someone different than he seemed to be around them. I also wrote stupid things he did like waiting for me in a lawn chair at church next to my car one day while I was out to lunch with friends so he could tell me he needed to see our dog, to arrange “visitation” visits. Yeah RIGHT. Anyway, I wrote the time and date down of that and also the time he followed me and had witnesses from the office next to ours about how he waited outside for me to get off and then followed me. Even writing this I am sickened and even though I keep the emails in case I need them someday I tried to read some of them the other day and just got those same old awful feelings. I still dream about being back with him and they are nightmarish and I wake up next to my husband and feel so wonderful that I am not with the spath anymore. My point is to keep EVERYTHING.


“Less is definitely more! As you say, again and again on here ”“ the absolutely best policy with these people is NO CONTACT. However, if you’re not in a position to do that ”“ as I wasn’t then ”“ keep it to an absolute minimum, remove all emotion and keep it on a needs must basis only”.

Exactly! I did the same thing and STILL it was painful to read the replies but much better than trying to get in an intelligent with a 1 year old.


Absolutely Linette!

We moved (finally) in March and I found a huge file of all our emails and print-outs of texts. Even now I flinched at some of the content but I could also see how utterly delusional they were and how trying to reason with him would be a total and utter waste of time, energy and emotion.

Thank goodness I no longer have to engage! Bliss!


Yes I am SO grateful every day for that! Whenever I remember how much time I “wasted” on him, I TRY to remember that it could have been my whole life! It was 11 years for us. My name is on a checking account that he uses because I forgot to include it in the divorce papers. I haven’t taken it off because I will have to contact him. The bank refuses to take my name off without his consent and I NEVER use it!!! I am thinking about paying my lawyer to take care of it!


Well I was with my ex for 24 years – 22 or those married. I don’t remember when I started to see cracks but it was fairly early on. I rarely think about the time I ‘wasted’ because if we weren’t together I wouldn’t have two beautiful children. And you’re right – it could have been worse! I’m young enough to start again!

I have a wonderful partner now, a gentle man and gentelman and am very, very happy. Please god I have a good few years agead of me to enjoy my second chance!

Re the bank account. I guess a ‘checking’ account is like our current account. I had a joint account with my ex many years ago. I never used it, never had a cheque book or bank card. He set it up for our bills – otherwise we had separate accounts.

What I didn’t know though – until I had to get a credit rating for the divorce – was that he had defualted on the account. It wasn’t a vast amount of money – around £700.00 but it has meant a dirty great red blob on my credit rating which means I can’t get a mortgage – even the tiny one I needed to top up the capital from our house sale so that I oculd buy a house for myself and the kids.

In his court papers he tried to suggest that I could get (and afford) an eighty thousand pound mortgage – while he said he couldn’t get one at all – hence his argument that he should get 55% of everything. He also suggested he ought to have half my pension and also possibly have to claim spousal maintenance from me!!!

All of the above based on the fact I had a half decent job and he claimed he was unable to work – which was of course just one of the many lies. I work as a PA, earning well for what I do but it is limited and no, I couldn’t anywhere near afford an 80k mortgage!

If you can, I would get rid of the account – sooner the better – as you never know what he may be up to with it.


I’ve been divorced from my spath for 10 yrs now, and have essentially raised 3 children on my own. Our two oldest sons (19 and 15) do not maintain a relationship with their father. He was very controlling of them, and they chose to break away and stay away– which actually suited him just fine, as it gave him an easy out for financially supporting older teenagers–beyond the pittance of a court ordered support payment(cars, insurance, college..etc)..the caveat, of course,.. was it suited him just fine, long as… he could smear me in court and to friends..that it was MY fault. Our daughter, a different story…so far, she adores him..he uses her as his window into private matters (and trivial) events that go on in my house, and she obliges him for the emotional alms he’ll throw her way to do so..Looking back, I really can’t believe the time and effort he put into his con..I am NOT kidding when I say his emails resembled small dissertations..2-3 pages long..SINGLE SPACED. At the beginning, I reacted, I thought I had to defend the lies, smears etc.. eventually I stopped..I got myself an email editor, of sorts…and responded a day or two later.. and ONLY if any of it required a schedules for the kids… which it RARELY did, as I have always had primary custody..(despite his trying to sue for such).. spaths are VERY VERY good at their cons.. NC, if at all possible keeps you OUT of the game.. I think, eventually, my daughter will see the light, and it will be a very sad day for her..I let her have, whatever kind of relationship she wants with him, and if and when her visits become too hurtful, (being with him, yet feeling so alone), .. she hopefully will have the strength to walk away as well.


You’re doing the right thing regarding your daughter. It has to be their decision (unless serious abuse or violence come into it. To begin with my ex just cut my son out. I think in some way he blamed him for our split and ultimately the distruction of his perfect little set up – his mask, his financial stability. It was immediately after my ex assaulted my son that I said enough’s enough and asked for a divorce but truth is we’d already separated. I’d told him 4 months prior that the marriage was over, he’d been sleeping around and by then I knew he was a liar and cheat and he’d been using the money I’d inherited from my auntie to take other women out, stay in hotels and all sorts. What he did to our son was just the final strawer but he stopped talking to him then and there and hasn’t spoken to him since. It was another 8 months or so before he stopped talking to our daughter and privately I was really worried how it would affect her moving forward to remain ‘friends’ with him and also how it would affect her relationship with her brother but that dilema was removed two Summers ago and he’s not spoken to either of them since.

I used to find it hard to stomach the smear campaign but over time I’ve learned that actually most sensbile people see through it and those who don’t – don’t matter.

So well put, Donna. As I was reading the email exchange – and I did not have children in common with my ex-“insanity” spouse – I could feel my blood pressure rising and the memories of crazy exchanges.

You have surely come a long way and I aspire to that calm reason. There is a joke about not handling “stupid” well, but in life with these creatures, it’s the absurdity of non-reason that is the grabber.

I thank all the respondents, too. It is both sad and comforting to realize so many experience the eerily strange and bizarre communications.


Thanks for this thread and topic Donna! Very relevant in my life at this point.. P husband has kept me and my father busy with vitriolic emails full of lies, the back and forth went on for about 15 years; it seems he was doing the same at work too. Now we ignore ALL such emails and text messages.

Like Flicka and NotWhatHeSaidofMe, my son who I brought up amid great difficulty doing my best to protect him from P abuse and give him the best possible in life investing all my effort, time, energy everything into his childhood (and I did not know about Ps till 3 years back so had not learnt how to disengage from P then) is at age 17 becoming as abusive, emotionally dead, manipulative, dominating, threatening, physically intimidating (towards me only)… he has become a smooth liar, natural at word salad, never apologising, instead deflecting conversation by counter accusations that are completely irrelevant and even comparing the P favourably with me… even while he knows P is completely indifferent to him, has physically and emotionally abused him thru his childhood, even knowing how he is in affairs with his students and kept those much higher in priority, while I have had only the son as my priority…further, his behaviour gets worse with any success (just like the situation is with P husband)…

So yes, this is a bitter pill to swallow..but I think, we have to let go emotionally and do whatever is our duty… find our own peace and not expect it coming from the relationship with the child/ children…..

There is a strong genetic component to this problem as I saw this dynamic with my father-in-law, his son (my husband), and now in my son…. atleast we know now what we are dealing with and will be able to live with minimum damage to self and child by keeping unnecessary interaction or expectations to a minimum..

Thanks again Donna..


Great example of sociopathic behavior. Thank you for using this example to educate us about getting to the point of fully realizing and then accepting their behavior so we can make healthy decisions for ourselves and our children.


The go around with a sociopath is one to make you sick…..all that spinning….my marriage was to a malignant narcissist although relationships afterward were with a sociopath…

I was fortunate:

Happily, my divorce from the malignant narcissist was pretty much the way I wanted it. He hardly paid any attention to our daughter and since he didn’t have to pay much in child support, he was easy to deal with. He knew if he played it cool he wouldn’t be taken back for more money.

He did at one point start to go on and on about my daughter’s weight gain as if all I fed her was junk food. I finally blasted him and told him to stop the sh*t and shut his mouth about it and to stop acting like his paltry payment was gold. Well, he never expected that and he promptly stopped all fat talk…..

Jerk…then when my daughter ended up in drug rehab, he came once and the counselor said to me that he was a malignant narcissist and needed to get his own counseling on his alcohol addition.

He never sees his grandson. He can take a plane as he has the money but doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

My daughter although clean for years and a good mother has ongoing issues with abandonment and she is borderline personality disordered.

I am there for my grandson and give him all the positive and emotional support I can. He is the eternal energizer bunny of love and happiness….

Now my daughter let a guy she knew for one month move in….although she knew of him as a child….so on that basis, she feels he is ok….I know spend my days protecting my grandson in any way I can….

got rid of my sociopath long ago but keep no contact even if he tried to contact me.

Keep on keeping on is a saying from the 70’s but it fits today…
Keep your visions and hold on to hope…


So true but a mother’s love and hope runs so very deep that seeing one’s own children in an objective light becomes a handicap to the inevitable NC. Had I known then what I now know, I would have left the children with him when I got divorced and perhaps gone on to a new successful life of my own. Yes, my children all have resultant addictions ranging from food to alchohol to pain meds! So far they’ve ‘managed’ but their consciences may get the better of them after I’m gone.


Yes, strange as it may seem, experts concur that abused children tend to support their abusers rather than their ‘saviours’.


I wanted to reply as to what I see as why this is. Do others have other thoughts? (Apologies in advance if my earlier similar reply posts. Just as I finished it, it disappeared, so I am starting over.)

In the case of one child of my ex-N/P H, I think two things mostly account for this.

1. He was fun dad, being irresponsible, juvenile, and creative; while I being responsible and having to say “no”, as well as too busy doing it all, was less-fun mom.

2. Our daughter seemed to believe he needed taking care of. If she did not do it, who would? I did most of the caretaking and virtually all of the bread-winning in the family while he was basically unemployed until he absolutely had to be. So she may have perceived him as unable to take care of himself. While in high school, she tried to help him get a job, with him in his late 40s. She always goes back to him and checks in with him, now that she has her choice and is out of custody agreement.

She favors him, even after learning for herself who he is, and realizing that maybe I was not the mean mommy who got divorced for no reason that he portrayed. She can start to see why now, but that still does not seem to matter. He’s still her favorite.


Yes, there was parental alienation, even as we split custody. It can be psychological and does not have to result in physical estrangement. But that does not fully explain her preferences. The above two points seem to go a long way to doing so, above and beyond the normal love for a parent.


I never believed anything could make me stop loving my children. But my daughter has with her viciousness, NC, lies, set-ups, conspiring with my sisters against me and playing games with seeing the grandchildren. I do not know if she is like her psychopath dad or brainwashed. My trying to save her only made it worse so now I no longer even want to see her either. We see her husband and the grandchildren on rare occasions now when the children used to spend days here and go on trips with us. I thought it would kill me…even tried…but now I have some peace. I was a good mother. I am a good person. I cannot help her. Sad but true. I have to live with it. Thankfully I still have my loving husband, son, DIL and SIL and some contact with the precious grandchildren. I will survive. The grief is forever though.


I am so sorry for you and what you have gone through. I like what you said “I was a good mother and I am a good person”. I need to repeat that a million times a day. I want to take all the guilt on myself for my son and my bad choices in men. But I AM a good person. That’s the difference. I am sure they never regret anything except maybe being caught.


Not sure. Never really happy as they often have addictions. But we were good mothers and good people, that’s why the poem “The Man In The Glass” hangs prominently in my home. A wonderful motto to go by…


Heartbreakingly, I feel that this is very similar to my situation, though my children are younger. My daughter has already started doing what you say. The hard part is the agony of indecision, of not knowing what her personality really is. Is it worth fighting for, or a lost cause? It is so hard to just give up on a child, and knowing there will likely be grandchildren who also would be estranged then. How does one decide without keeping on trying to help and waiting to see? My daughter is of age, so I can not compel therapy or find out the results of any evaluation at this point.


This is my first post on Love Fraud. This is to all and especially to NotWhatHeSaidofMe

I want to let you know I feel for you. I hear you going through so much anguish. You are loving your daughter deeply–she is part of you–and also you are finding her behaviors cruel, rejecting, and terribly hurtful. This must leave you feeling torn in two.

When I read your post, Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) came to my mind as a possible tool that might be a support as you are going through this difficult time. You can Google this 12-step program and check out the list of co-dependent characteristics and see if this might apply to you.

I believe I understand to some degree how you are feeling from my own experiences. I have been going through a family conflict with a sibling for a long time. The pain of conflict with someone close to my heart since childhood has been tearing me up so much for the last years that it has badly affected my health.

I want keep myself safe from the conflict, emotional turmoil, and stress and get my health back, yet I also feel such longing to be close to my sibling that I feel like part of me is being severed from me. I don’t want to choose between my family and my own well-being. I’m very torn, and it’s terribly hard to know what to do.

Over a year ago, I became desperate about my situation. I was ill and getting worse. The doctors could find nothing wrong, but it is amazing how debilitating stress is. My energy was very low, and it was going lower. I could not function. I had withdrawn from all my activities because I had no energy for them.

Gradually, I got worse. My back began to hurt, and I had to stop walking. I did not have enough energy to do the essential things like my laundry. All I could manage was to get in food, cook it, and eat, which took all my time and energy. I was in despair about my conflict with my sibling, and it was profoundly affecting my health. I did not know if I could die from loss of energy, but I was afraid I might. I had to get my life energy up.

I began to look for help, and I found a coach who was willing to work with me on a low sliding scale. Near the same time I stopped reading letters, which had been very disturbing, from my sibling. Although this was very difficult for me to do, because part of me longed for a good sibling relationship, another part of me was fighting for my life, and I did it. I needed to eliminate the stress to keep myself from going under.

Since then, I have been working with my coach by phone. This has been slow progress, but I am gradually getting stronger. Coaching has done a lot for me, and I have more energy than I did. A great deal of this improvement is also due to reducing the stress in my life by not reading letters from my sibling.

Recently I was able to do my laundry for the first time in many months. My back still hurts, but not as much. I can walk again, and I am even able to dance now. I am still in greatly debilitated condition, but I am on a broad lifestyle plan to improve my health.

Although the conflict with my sibling is not at this time being addressed, it still has to be resolved. However, I need to be healthy to cope with it. I feel uneasy and sad about my choice to stop reading letters from my sibling. Sometimes I feel much worse than that about it, too, but I believe it is the right choice for me because my health is too fragile to risk being compromised.

I don’t want to get to such a low point of life energy and health in future before I assert myself and take action to meet my needs, but it is very confusing to have conflicting needs like this that tear me apart: on the one hand, wanting to be close to my sibling, and on the other hand, wanting to avoid stressful conflict and to protect my health.

I plan to continue working with my coach, yet my coach says that perhaps I need to get into therapy. I think that might be true, so I am looking for referrals. I need a low sliding scale and a very good therapist, which is a difficult combination to find. I am in the Los Angeles area, so please let me know if you have ideas. You can post them in this thread for me, since I do not know how else that would be handled.

NotWhatHeSaidofMe, I think you can see the parallel in our situations, which although also very different, have our anguish at the root of them. My very best wishes to you.


Joyful Dancer,

I might have some good suggestions for you. I too was driven into chronic exhaustion beyond my ability to cope with daily tasks. At its worst, I felt, and possibly was, closer to death than life. In my case, this was in large part due to my marriage to a N/P. My doctors also could not find anything wrong — at first — until things got very bad healthwise.

Look into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Even if this is not what you have, my belief is that these are extremes on a spectrum, and high chronic stress, especially when you feel trapped in a situation or an insoluble problem, is the primary driver. Some of the same things that help CFS and fibro may help you.

Also look into adrenal exhaustion and low dose cortisol replacement. Higher doses have side effects that may be worse than the initial problem. But there are natural things to do to be supportive of the adrenal gland and your natural resiliency to stress.

Also check into stress management techniques.

A therapist can help, but in my experience very few really understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and psychopaths are only part of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), so experience with these can also be quite different. Most therapists that deal with personality disorders really mean Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and this is usually quite different, though in its more acting out forms may be similar to what we encounter with sociopaths. My view is that the best for us is trauma therapists experienced in trauma and PTSD. One helpful way to deal with PTSD through either talk therapy or body work (without psychotherapy) is Somatic Experiencing, or SE. They have a website with referrals of trained practitioners around the country. This method makes sense to me and I tried it in body work and found it somewhat helpful.

As part of my recovery from CFS and fibro, I had to separate myself from anyone who was hurtful or stressful. This included some family members who I did not see or talk with for up to 2 years while I recovered. Later, after feeling stronger, I was able to deal with most of them and they re-entered my life. I was able to recover while living with my N/P husband.

Later, after divorcing him and moving out, and after “coming down” from that experience and recovering from complex PTSD, I finally am in a place where my mind is once again clear and my body is mostly back to reasonable levels of energy for my age and situation.

You really do have “to put the oxygen mask on” first and then deal with challenges such as your sibling. That way, you’ll be stronger and more up to dealing with anything and handling any stress and strong emotion that comes. Just be aware that it is usual to feel like retreating in the face of the problems sociopaths can cause.

I wish you the best of luck.


I remember those conversations well.

I found that the more I bit my tongue and ignored the emotional baiting, I was able to focus on the business of the exchange. The more I focused on the business of the exchange and responded only to the business at hand without emotion, the less interested he became – after the more frustrated and hyper period which was miserable. Eventually, he called me a cold hearted bitch and he left me alone.

It was only fun for him when I was reacting to him in a way the he found entertaining. When I stopped, eventually, so did he. Now we are no contact. Every few years he will try to stir the pot. I don’t respond and he goes away again.

flicka, my heart goes out to you. Such a hard thing to have so many sociopaths in your midst. I still do not understand why people gravitate towards the sociopath and away from the victim. I always thought that it was his charm that convinced others that the bruises on me were attention seeking on my part and not a sign of victimization. Maybe, somewhere inside, they were afraid that turning on him would result in what he did to me. Whatever. What I did find was that the stronger I became in dealing with him, the fewer of our friends had contact with me. In my situation it was just as well. I didn’t need him milking them for information about me to use against me. God Bless You!!!!


I personally believe that ‘friends’ do not fully comprehend the devastation caused by psychopaths; they don’t know how to deal with it so they just remain “hands off”. It is truly an incomprehensible ailment to the unknowledgeable; even then, it’s mostly those who’ve had experience with it that comprehend. If we ‘normals’ hadn’t experienced it, would we have ever believed such evil exists anywhere? Would we know how best to help the victims? I highly doubt it.
Yes, I am much more at peace having no contact with any of them…no more conflicts, no more lies, no endless questions to myself. NC is the only answer.


flicka…I wholeheartedly agree. Friends do not get it…I guess they can’t. I can’t help that the devastation caused a hole in my heart that will not heal completely. Yes, I have healed a TON and am functioning way better than I have been, but there is still a feeling of emptiness or when something else negative happens in my life, all the feelings from the spath come back and and I don’t like it; I don’t want it, but what do I do about it? Therapy didn’t help, friends don’t really get it…they just think I was “used” by a guy and that was it…that I should have been over it a long time ago…they have no idea the evil that it entailed and the mind games, the mind control, the brainwashing, the fact that I was specifically targeted, conned and thrown away like a used tissue. Is it just something we have to live with forever and just shut up about it?? I live my life and am blessed, but is what happened to me just something I have to live with in my heart forever? Does anyone have anymore suggestions?


Yes I agree that nobody who has not been there can really get it. In the end, when true colors were shown, I retained most of my friends. But they did not say anything earlier and some have since asked why I was with my N/P husband back then. They saw how bad he was and wondered about me. So maybe that is also why they back off. They don’t understand the dynamics of the entrancement and the feeling of, or actual, helplessness that can ensue. They stay away from what they do not understand. And they stay away if they sense they can not help or their help might not be welcomed.


Escapefor1…I totally agree about friends staying away if they sense they cannot help or they do not understand it because they themselves have never felt what you are feeling. I think they feel helpless and they don’t want to feel helpless. Very good points!


Dear Ser: I don’t think we are ever truly “over” an abuser but we must learn to cope in order to survive. Along with NC. and gradually rediscovering WHO we formerly were, we need to replace our concerns over our abusers by substituting a life goal. For example, find something you’re really interested in and throw your time, heart and soul into it until it becomes as consuming as the abuser once was. Whether it be helping others overcome things, teaching wht you’ve learned or developing a business, we must not waste our energies on unproductive things.(i.e. psychopaths.) Get on with trying to create a challenging life of your own and one which consumes your thoughts, love and energies. Hard to explain but we MUST substitute the abuser with more meaningful things. At least I think so. Good luck to all victims!


Good advice. We need another obsession to replace the first.


flicka…this is true. I guess I am just not doing enough of the passion stuff. I volunteer a lot at church and in the community…I guess I am just not doing it enough. I need to really throw myself into it or something else. I have come a long, long way. I told a friend earlier today that I guess I will just have to live with the small hole in my heart and that’s OK…a lot of people walk around with holes in their heart. I just know I am not the person I was before he walked into my life out of nowhere. But that’s OK, too. Thanks so much for your wisdom.


No….you’re 100% better, wiser! Life is a continual growing lesson and if we’re not changing, we’ve stopped growing. Continue seeking and you will dicover what motivates and captures you! Good luck!


Thank you, flicka! 🙂


So true. These emails sound just like my P/N ex! The part about the $100 tickets and the negativity of well-meaning relatives just rang so true, plus just the general obstructiveness.

In my case, my ex also went after bothering my parents and trying to enlist their aid in my cause. He sent all of us so many long and horrid emails. What stopped that in its tracks was that I filed a motion to stop the harrassment. It might have ended up with a criminal charge. So he stopped but quick.

Something to think about trying.


When I married my pscho Ex 40+years ago, appearances meant more to me and no one, not even my nearby parents, had any idea what I was going through. Even ex’s Child Protective Service charge of abuse never was followed through. I somehow thought perhaps my college age daughter would be a shoulder to cry on but alas, she was already in his camp. So I moved with the remaining children to the N.C. coast, worked 2 minimum wage jobs while raising 3 abused sons and walked the seashore for years to try and heal myself after trying to salvage 23 year marriage. I was heartbroken but had to go on for the 3 remaining children; they never asked to be born!
Thanks so much for listening and advice. I am now too old, disabled and tired to fight on. Why I keep living, God only knows. But I keep mentally busy with research, projects galore and my love of Nature, animals. music and writing.



I really am sorry to hear it. I can not imagine having all your children affected and distanced from you. I am glad you have found your own interests. Although I am still parenting, it is nearing the end (empty nest is coming due to college), and sometimes I just feel like I need to focus on my interests. If I can remember what they were, LOL.

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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