By | April 19, 2014 52 Comments

Standing with a Sociopath

My sociopathic ex and I meet monthly with a psychologist. The Guardian ad litem for our three children ordered us to do this after my ex filed for full custody of our two boys last year. So we’ve met with this psychologist maybe 6 times now, and neither of us had ever met him before our first meeting. All he knew about us in advance is that we’re a “high conflict” couple, and he decided that the best thing he can do for our family is to help us get along.

He’s also trying to help us settle on an agreement that doesn’t entirely eliminate my parenting time or rights. And I appreciate that.

Therapy with a Sociopath

What’s it like? It’s not that bad, really, compared to all the other things I’ve endured with this particular sociopath over the years. Basically, we sit in two chairs facing each other with a little table between us. The psychologist sits off to the side and guides us. He makes us talk to each other and look directly at one another instead of at him, and we have to call each other by name instead of saying something like, “she always does that.”

It’s a good effort. And it helps to the degree that my ex wants to impress this man. What I mean is that my ex wants full custody of our boys—remember, that’s why we’re there. So he wants the psychologist to believe that he’s the most amazing, connected parent on earth. He wants to be seen as cooperative, value-driven, and stable. And so he jumps through just about any hoop the psychologist sets up for him.

The benefit to me is that the psychologist is setting up hoops to help us “get along.” And while my ex may work to undermine that possibility as much as he can between appointments, he does have to make some public efforts now to be agreeable. He does have to report back on whether he did what he was supposed to do. And so while he’s never going to not be who he is, I have to say that it’s been kind of nice to have him working so hard to please the professional.

It makes me want to stay under evaluation like this until our kids are all grown.

What Happens Between Sessions

Of course, there’s some falling off the wagon in our daily parenting life together—including lies and manipulation. But I’ve been connected to this sociopath for a couple decades now, so I’m not surprised anymore when he says one thing and does another. I’m not shocked when what he does between sessions is—to the greatest undetected degree possible—the opposite of really getting along. He over-involves our children (no boundaries) and continues to alienate them from me. They’ll come to me angry and say, “Why are you taking Dad to court?! Dad doesn’t even know why you have to keep doing this. He can’t even take us camping this summer—not even camping—because court is costing him so much money. Why do you always do this to Dad?! Why can’t you just leave him alone. Dad just wants to get along.”

I’ll remind you again here that my ex is the one filing all the motions. I’m there because I have to be—because if I don’t show up, he’ll eliminate me from our children’s lives entirely.

And there’s no talking truth in the midst of this chaos. Our children are so lost in the whirlwind of his words that it doesn’t matter what I say. If I try to correct them about who filed what, then we just circle around and around in a pointless argument over the facts. That’s an argument I can’t win, so I don’t try very often. What I generally do is look at their experiences from a bird’s-eye view. And I see kids who are lost and upset and who really want to live their own stable lives. Who really do want us to get along. Whose long-term psychological health depends on it.

And so I do everything in my power to reduce the conflict, keep it neutral, and make my heart calm in difficult moments.

That’s an exhausting daily exercise, given that sociopaths thrive on chaos and stir it up in every moment.

And that’s co-parenting as I know it.

Standing with a Sociopath

So I stand with my ex at our children’s events. I work on my internal boundaries because there’s never going to be an external divide. No clean finish. No end.

We’re raising children together.

And our children want to see us getting along. The professionals involved—including the psychologist I mentioned—want us to sit together at athletic banquets, and they want us to save seats for each other at games and events. This may be right and it may be wrong, but it’s one of the hoops they want us to jump through. So we’re doing it.

Let me just tell you, it’s really incredibly difficult to sit next to someone who believes that God wants “people like me” to be “wiped from the face of the earth.” I’m now sending photos of our kids from my phone to someone who has broken into my house and threatened my life. I’m chatting casually with a man who coaches our sons on all the ways I’m a disgusting, valueless woman. Who wants them to hate me, and who works every day behind the scenes to make that happen.

And who is so good at hiding it that no professional involved even thinks about making it stop.

Instead, they want us to sit together.

And so we do. I can see our kids appreciating it, and so I approach my ex with a deep, calm breath—amazed by my own human strength.

I’m strong.

And I’m a victim of a sociopath.

Those things do go together.

Victims are not weak. We’re amazing. We focus on the needs of our children in a flawed system. We do what it takes to “get along.” We create peaceful moments in the face of chaos, and we put our shoulders back and take the next step.

Even when it means we have to stand by the sociopath. Day after day, year after year.

We do what it takes.



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HG Beverly – OMG – I admire your strength. But I have to wonder about the psychologist. Does this man really get what is going on?

I realize you have to do this in order to stay in your kids’ lives. But do you think it is actually adding to their confusion?

Even from the perspective of the sociopath – he spends so much time telling them how terrible you are – and then chats amicably with you in public? Does he explain that?

What, as a therapist, would you recommend for situations like yours? What should professionals really be doing?

The problem with the court system is that it’s about proof, and not about reality. You have correctly assessed that the therapist who is ordered by the childrens’ guardian ad litem is not sanctioned to help either of the two of you in any way that differs with your getting along for the “benefit” of your children.

One thing that may make the situation clearer to the therapist is if you asked for them to speak with the children directly because you fear that your “soon to be ex,” is attempting to alienate them. If you can tape your kids making comments of this type, and bring them to your session, it may open his eyes. The next time your child says a thing like that, you might ask them if they would mind repeating it so you can record it and discuss it with the counselor. That way, you won’t be blindsiding them. They will likely do so, because they want relief from the anguish they feel.

I know how deeply painful it is to hear attacks on your loyalty and love come out of the mouths of the children you adore. Been there, done that. You deserve a medal!!

Our system is ridiculously flawed. It treats parents as if only the complaining parent is an offender, and their offense is complaining. They give no merit to the horrific behavior of morally dysfunctional parents. Your children are being manipulated not only by their father, but also by this horrific system. The light at the end of the tunnel is that they will not be children forever.

Trying to stay calm, give them a hug, and simply say, “I didn’t do that” is something that will stay with them as they grow.

Wishing you strength and love.



In an effort to let you know that not being there, may not have the adverse reaction you suspect, my ex did not see my son for 12 years. No support, no birthday cards, no nothing. He disappeared off the grid. Where he disappeared to will shock you, and it’s contained in my book, so I’m not going there except to say that it might change the image that Elvis Presley’s music conjures up for you. Hopefully, as people read the book, they will associate Elvis’s history and music with the concept that psychopaths exist and will mainstream the issue into public awareness.

But suffice it to say, my son had absolutely not a moment’s discussion with our child from the time he was 6 ’til he reached 18. Had the internet been what it is today, that would not have been possible. But this goes back a few years.

My son wanted to be in touch with his father when he turned 18, and I reached out for help to make that happen for him. I though it would help him heal from the devastation of abandonment. Little did I know that his father would blame his disappearance, one of the most horrific things a person could do to a child,on me, and that my 18 year old son, who I adored with every fiber of my being, would fall prey to his manipulation and believe him. The intensity of his father’s absence would inspire him to believe anything. So the father who had not lifted a finger for him in all those years became the “good” guy, and I became that horrible mother who “drove him away.”

There was no reasoning that a father that wants to be there for you could not possibly be driven away or that a father who wants to be there for you can apply to the courts if the mother is standing in the way. There was not a single instance in which he filed any interest in seeing his son. It defied every rational thought that one could have, but a couple of years later, knowing that his absurdly affluent father hated me, he told me, “Now that I’m independent, what do I need you for?” and I haven’t seen him since.

I tell you this so you can know that there is no saying what the end result will be. How a child’s brain absorbs betrayal is not something that anyone can predict.

Whether you are in your children’s lives or not is not necessarily the predictor of your long term relationship. But it will rob them and you of the impact your love and devotion can have on their development.



You are incredibly strong & courageous to go to these “therapy” sessions and follow this therapist parenting methods….

For me I am so sick of the court system shoving a victim of abuse into a room with their abusers over and over. Would they do this with a rape victim for years or a victim of child abuse = NO. I would highly recommend that you petition the court for a full mental evaluation of your ex, the book “Divorcing a narcissist, Advise from the battlefield” by Tina Swiftin is a very good book for info on this subject, and her book “Divorcing a Narcissist, One mom’s battle”, check out her site One moms battle/read her blog/fb pg. Even though your divorce is over these books have a ton of info with regards to dealing with your ex & the court but most importantly for You to know are not alone in your daily battle with your crazy ex.

As for sitting in front of your ex and being subjected to this “therapist” methods, there is no way I would ever agree to that, as we all know it is emotionally damaging to our body, mind & spirit to be around a sociopath. To me this therapist is either a sociopath him or is absolutely clueless about sociopathic manipulative behavior or that they can mind control, brain wash, gas light etc to further abuse their victim.

I wonder if you are still under your ex’s mind control with these “therapy sessions” and that is why you are allowing this therapist to not allow you to truly heal with no contact (low contact rule with kids) and to have closure. The book “Freedom of Mind” by Steven Hassan is excellent at explain the mind control aspect of a psychopath/sociopath.

Your kids do not need you to sit next to your ex, or to have you save a seat to have a happy childhood…instead kids need to learn from the healthy parent that it is imperative in this dangerous world that to set boundaries, follow your gut and not allow someone to abuse you over and over. Sitting next to your abuser to me is abuse and you will never yourself get closure for your horrible relationship it you are connected to your abuser.

You deserve to have a peaceful life without having to deal with your ex, you deserve to have closure and to get this abusive man out of your life as much as possible with kids. YOU are in control of your life and your destiny please do not allow this therapist to manipulate you because of his lack of understanding with regards to sociopathic abuse.

Please remember there are countless therapist in your area who are knowledgeable about sociopathic behavior…it’s ok to find a new one then petition the court based on the sole fact you are still connected to your abuser. Check with your local abuse center to see it they have a recommendation. This therapist’s methods work when you are dealing with a healthy minded individual but they do not work with a counseling works with a sociopath they will always do what they want = never follow anyones rules.

Dont settle just because this is “all you know”…you settled in your marriage for far to long, don’t settle now. Educate yourself on what your rights are in the court as a abuse victim and hear from other mothers in your same situation you are (dealing with a sociopath after divorce) to hear how they were able to get the ex to do the court ordered motions and how they deal with the ex’s smear campaign with regards to their children. There are other methods so that you can have peace and not be attracted to your ex.

I want you to know that what you have been doing to keep peace is incredible & shows you are a strong women of incredible amount of integrity…but you deserve so much better then what the court is requiring you to endure.

Wishing you all the best!


My heart just breaks for her so much…I just can not imagine having to sit across from a sociopath in these “counseling sessions” every month…the court system is so out of control and clueless about abuse. The courts are run by men and pass the blame on the women so sick of it.

The only thing I can recommend to HG is to look through & fb because she is not alone in her fight…that site will give her some guidance. Getting a full evaluation on her ex is crucial.

I am not saying that HG should not comply absolutely she needs to follow the court orders, but court orders can be changed if she has good argument in front of the judge & good solid court motions to get things changed…. she just needs some guidance from a legal aid to guide in the legal system.

HG I am praying for you…god bless you!

I really hate what these evil people have done to the good people of this world.


HG Beverly,
I looked up parental alienation. I thought it referred to what a evil parent did to the submissive parent. But I learned it’s a term used by the courts to order just what you are enduring. They say it’s a high conflict couple but really, you are the target as high conflict because you are trying to protect your child from him. As such, you are being treated by the system as the enemy. Every attempt by you to get them to see his manipulations is used as proof that you are alienating your children.I am so so sad and pray that you prevail. They use a mother’s very nurturing loving protective natural NORMAL behaviors as wrong, as bad. This process is really messed up. They aren’t looking at what is happening, they are only assessing that the victim of a sociopath complies and submits to whatever they dictate because she has been judged a bad parent. There is NO underestimating a sociopath. He is in his element in the court system. Prayers. Lots of Prayers for you and your babies.


HG, you are so right about “…recover from trauma all starts after the trauma is over”…this is why the abuser keeps us in court…this is why they drag it all out over years…it’s all to continual to control us and to break us down. Sadly the courts allow this over and over and over…how many victims are in the court system right now?

During my divorce it was shocking how easily my ex was able to manipulate everyone…I knew he was masterful at this with me, his family & friends…but it does it to everyone…society needs to wake up and start listen to the victims of all abuse because we are all telling them the truth!

You are in my thoughts and prays…wishing nothing but sunny days for you and your children. Take care.


I was given some advice to come to this site from a friend of mine. I am in such a state of turmoil and confusion. I lived with and dated a man for 6 years..the relationship started out as a lie and I should have known then, but we went on 6 years, many lies about stupid things. I found out after a few months of dating him he had not 1, but 2 children. One with a different woman. The baby was 9 months old, and I stayed with him. He said he did not tell me about the child because he did not think it was his. I raised this baby with him on weekends and holidays and thru 6 years, as well as his 5 year old and my son. We had many many arguments ..always over him lying to me about things. One year, he lost his job of 5 years. I did not know at the time he lost this job..he would shower and wake up..leave work when I did and then come home. The only way I found out he had lost his job, was I emailed him one day just saying hi and the email kicked back,I called the enterprise branch and they advised me he did not work there. After this happened, I freaked out of course because he had been lying to me. Rather then explain what happened he took off…and ended in the hospital. He said I had caused him so much stress he had chest pains. He ended up in the mental ward of the hospital for 3 days and would not speak to me..i was on a restricted list only his ex wife he let in. I was confused and hurt and he blamed me for landing him in there and so did his family. So, he came home after this and we talked it thru. In 2010 I lost my 36 year old sister, and he took care of me and was very good for me and there for me. Of course lies kept going on here and there. we talked about engagement as I am 35 and wanted to be married at some point. I thought of him as my best friend and always forgave him for his lies. He was very nice when he wanted to be, but very evil also. A few months ago, Jan 31st we had a argument over rent. He decided he was going to pay it 5 days late and didn’t discuss it with me..or tell me why if he was having money issues. He said he was paying it late to sit on his money a few days. I disputed this with him..and he did not come home. It is not April 20th, and after 2 months of him using the excuse that I threw him out over rent, that he needed time to fox himself..i have been discarded. I found out he had been seeing not 1, but 2 women at work one that he moved in with already. All his belongings are in out home..he has not helped me with money as he promised. Before I had found out about these women..he was saying he would come home one night a week and try to work things out. He would show up..and often I would hear him talking in the downstairs bathroom. I asked him whos talking or who he was talking to, he said no one I was hearing things. The day I found him at the young 27 year ols place (hes 38) he had told me he was staying at his sons because his ex wife was out of town. he called me and whispered goodnight and said he was whispering because the child was asleep. that morning I woke up..and decided to drive by the sons home. He was not there. I then headed over to the girls house whos address I had obtained from a mutal friend. as I pulled up to the apartment complex he called me. I asked him where he was , he said at his sons house like he had told me. I told him he is NOT there..he continued to tell me he was. I then saw his van. I told him I was parked next to his van..and he came out. I questioned him what he was doing there and all he said was shes a friend get away from me. I sat on hood of the van and would not move I wanted answers and was devastated. He called the police on me for not letting him leave. The police came and talked with us both and that was the end of that. The next few days I did not speak with him. He then called and said he had ended everything with nikki that they were just friends and she wanted nothing to do with him. I believed him ..he said he was coming home. A few days past that I got a text message from a woman whom he works with that she confirmed he had been trying to hook up with her since septemeber, and he had even invited her to out home while I was at work. I confronted him and he right away left work and filed a peace order on me. I have all his things in the home..he hasn’t even been back he threw me and my 18 yr old son away just like that. In mother was crying and asked him why he is doing this..she said to him ” you told me you loved her”. He responded ‘ I do love her”. the judge asked if I wanted to consent to the order..i did simply because he DID have enough phone records of me calling I did not care to dispute. When the judge asked him how long he wants the order..he replied 2 months I guess I don’t want to get her in trouble. Sorry to ramble on here but my life has been turned upside down and im in such despair that he has moved on so fast after 6 years..thrown us away and not even caring to get his things or talk. the sick part is I miss him,.i should be angry. I cant I simply don’t know what to do to recover


Taralav, I am sorry that you have been through hell, you have found the right page to help you understand all the chaos you have been enduring at the hands of this very manipulative man. If you go up to the top of Lovefraud here under the red/grey tab read everything & watch all Donna’s videos located there too plus read Donna’s books…all of this will open your mind from all of your ex’s mind control.

Just like a cult leader (who are sociopath/psychopaths) these guys use mind control, gas lighting abuse, reward & punishment, install fear & phobia’s etc to control their victims …so now you must open your mind up from his mind control otherwise he will just suck you back into to his warped dysfunctional chaotic world over and over. Have everyone of your family members & friends come to this site too so they too fully understand who this man is because he may go to them to get them to help suck you back into his life (they are ruthless and masterful at this behavior).


“No contact rule narcissist”….follow this rule starting now!!!, do not waver from it…it is the only way to break the emotional bond that he has created, the bond with a sociopath is exactly like an addiction so you will have a “withdraw” period so don’t weaver. You will NEVER get closure from this man by talking with him, he will never tell you the truth ever, the only thing you need to know for closure is he is a very disordered person and he will only make your life a living hell if he stays in it. Educating yourself on his disorder is the closure you are looking for.

google “gas lighting abuse narcissist”

You know in your gut he is a liar, a manipulator, abuser, he will start a smear campaign against you so you must get him out of your life starting today. He will beg you, he will cry, to get you back in his life when these other women finally wise up & kick him out of their life…don’t buy his con game…he will never change, you know who he is = a liar, manipulator, cheater etc.

Call the National Domestic Abuse Center 800-799-SAFE (USA) 24/7 to talk with a free counselor and for your local abuse center number, go to your local abuse center’s free women group meetings & free counseling this week…they will help open your mind up too, provide great support. Do not feel embarrassed to go…going there will be one of the best things you have ever done for yourself.

Please know you are not alone…keep reaching out for help there are many facebook pages for great support including “after narcissistic abuse”. I know you feel emotionally, mentally out of control sadly this is how we all felt when leaving. google “adrenal fatigue” & “adrenal fatigue symptoms” this is what physically happens to our bodies with the continual stress & chaos these evil people bring into our lives. Find a good hormonal specialist who will test you for cortisol levels, vitamin/mineral deficiency & hormonal imbalance (adrenal fatigue issues) once all this is balanced you will have less anxiety.

I am truly sorry that you have been through so much, I am glad your friend guided you here tonight…others will post here for you too so keep checking in. Take care.


Your comments are so strong and determined. I have been to many counselors and none can steer me in the direction of treatment for someone involved with a sociopath. How do you find someone who specializes? I’m getting no help except for this and other blogs. When No Contact is not possible, you are correct, they continue to manipulate and control. I’m still lost in the confusion. We are separated so I do have peace in my daily life but I would love to have more support from a professional. I am reading everything I can get my hands on.
Thank you for your wise advice posted earlier.


Hopingtoheal, there are many counselors who are clueless about sociopathic abuse, sadly I went to two “marriage” counselors when I was trying to figure out why my husbands behavior was out of control. Even though I told these two counselors that he was manipulative, lied, cheated, had no remorse, guilt, was controlling etc (the whole list of sociopath traits literally) neither of them told me to get out of the marriage asap for my safety, sadly I stayed another 7 years in hell which got progressively worse after the counseling sessions. It was not until I left him did I find a counselor who told me the truth within the first 20 mins of my first session, finally the answer I had been praying for and the reason to let go of my marriage for good . For me it was luck, a friend gave me this counselors number when I asked her if she had a recommendation.

I would suggest you call your local abuse center to see if they have an outside female counselor recommendation, if not then I suggest you call a list of counselors you find in your area and interview them via phone specifically their knowledge about sociopathic/narcissist abuse. Im not sure if Donna here has a list of therapist or not so maybe look through her site but you can also do phone counseling with Steven Hassan of, he is the author of Freedom of mind he might have a recommendation in your area as well. Steven Hassan is a cult/abusive relationship expert who has been on Larry King Live, 60 mins, The John Walsh Show, all the national morning shows. Tina Swiftin of she keeps a list of lawyers & therapist who are knowledgeable in this area, not sure if they are on her site or not but you can email her. Her facebook page one moms battle is a great support for those going through divorce & court custody issue’s like yourself. Before you make any changes to your court order ask questions on facebook page One moms battle to see how the courts reacted to what you are thinking. I would suggest you open a fake email acct then a face facebook page that way your ex will not see what you are posting/asking on that site.

I felt during my marriage that my husband was brain washing me even though I knew nothing about brain washing. After the counselor told me my husband was a sociopath I asked if my husband was brain washing me, he said YES! From there I researched brain washing and it lead me to the book Freedom of mInd which was eye opening and gave me the understanding that I needed to undue all the mind control my husband did to me throughout our marriage. For me I looked at old pictures, went to my old schools, talked with old friends, etc but most importantly opened my mind up from the thinking that my ex made me think during our marriage (which felt like tunnel vision). This is a huge part of the healing process…the other part for me was just reading everything about his disorder over and over I could get my hands…Donna’s site/books here was a true blessing on my dark days & nights. Donna has a list of books she recommends on her site also.

I am really sorry that I was so blunt in my post to your, my heart just ached for you having to sit across from your ex like that after finally escape his abuse…I was also thinking it would be to much emotionally/mentally for me to have to endure that with my ex so I think my emotions were running over on your post. The one thing I have learned is to ask “professionals” questions and question their methods. But most importantly listen to your gut. If you google “Oprah gavin debecker you tube” she has a few post “life classes” (??) that give a great reminder to always follow your gut.

google “low contact rule narcissist” and “low contact rule” this is the rule you follow when you have kids…basically no phone/text communication with them…only email, keep it short & to the point, keep emotions out of the email this way you can use it in court if you need to & never answer them the same day as your emotions may get the best of you better to wait a day or two. Never respond to any of his ranting emails ever as he wants to push your buttons and get you to come unglued. Also never be alone with them always have another adult with you..or meet in a spot with a camera such as a fast food place, coffee shop all again for court….never trust them ever.

Since you say you are just separated I worry that when your divorce is finalized your ex will become a complete nightmare with the court custody and he is like you say just playing his game right now to “look like a good guy”…this is another reason why it is important for you to find a separate individual counselor for you only who is extremely knowledgeable to help you heal but also help you in court if needed and hopefully give you a recommendation for a joint court therapist. Sociopaths are always setting up a con…so having a joint therapist who knows he is conning now is important the current counselor does not seem to be knowledgable or interested in that aspect of it. This is also why it is important to get a full mental eval on him now.

Take care.


Thank you for the direction and examples of your experiences. The “tunnel vision” comment is spot on! That is a perfect description of how their mind games make us feel. I will read the Steve Hassen book. I’m sure it will be helpful.

When I said earlier that you sound strong and determined, it was a complement! I can hear in your words that you have reconciled the “truths” of your life and have a very clear picture. You have a wealth of knowledge that must have really helped you. I think all of us on LF long to feel that way. Your observations are so helpful.

i have my strong days,but they are peppered along with the days of self doubt, confusion and low self esteem. When I try to co No Contact, he causes me so much grief. Low contact is really the only way to go right now, but he is still able to work little comments in to make me doubt myself. The last one was “Are you still working out?” . He just asked that out of the blue when we were having taxes prepared. I didn’t allow the conversation to go any further, but later OF COURSE, I start examining my physical shape and analyzing my weight. It was a blatant kick to my self esteem and he planned for it to bother me.

Like I said, my counselors have blown off all my questions about his behavior. Most have accredited my concerns to my own fear from trauma, although our first marriage counselor stated that my husband’s case was the worse case he had ever heard of. He didn’t specify What it was the worst case of. However, he did refuse to treat us anymore. I need an ally. I will look into your suggestions and all the books you have suggested. Please keep the info coming in your post. It’s all Very helpful!


By the grace of God, I found a counselor that helped me save myself. But I went through several who were the worst pits of despair.

I think a good counselor is very very difficult to find. They know that emotional trauma is a money maker, so bad counselors hang that shingle. It’s to make money, not to actually save the poor desperate victim of a sociopath. Yes, there are good therapists, but they are very very difficult to find.

People advise: get a good divorce lawyer. BS. There is no such animal, or if there is, I haven’t met one. I got my divorce b/c I had healed enough to create an action plan and actually used a sociopaths bible to understand what was going to happen, and I found countermeasures. I did not get equal distribution of assets. That’s a joke, even though it’s the law, the only way to stop the bleed of assets and get free is to agree to walk away. God forbid I had children of the age. Mine were grown so he could not use them in that way (he did, but not that way).

Poor HG Beverly is stuck in the legal system. That therapist is doing the job heShe was hired to do, NOT what serves the best interest of HG or the children, or even the sociopath. There’s no therapy. They are court ordered fee based income earning control freaks who fits in perfect with the sociopath who is using the system to abuse his victim, this is not the behavior of a caring therapist. The sociopath loves the game of outsmarting the therapist, the game of winning the kids. He doesn’t want the kids. He just loves winning the game of Dog in the Manger. It would be nice to see her prevail, to apply the Laws of Power and War and find a solution.


Notwhathesaidtome. And Jan7,

I’d like your opinion on this situation, if you don’t mind. My Spath husband “revealed” to me that he is a sex addict. For the last year and a half, he has sought treatment on an irregular basis. No true dedication, however I believed his story about the addiction and was sympathetthic in my approach until I read Donna’s book LOVEFRAUD. Now, I can look back and see how he set up the whole revelation in hopes that I would divorce him and he’d be free to move on with his other (or one of the many) women. Recently he told our counselor that he is in a relationship with another woman. I’ve been to an attorney and we are separated, but he begs me not to divorce because “he has an addiction” and he hopes we will work things out. Now he’s asked me to pay for him to go away to a week long therapy to jump start his therepy.

WTH? This is a well known facility that will require him to be alcohol and drug free for a month before he attends…I know he can’t comply with this. Also, he’s never seriously applied any therapy or nor did he attend meetings or counseling weekly, more like once a month. He never even read the books required. Now he has a girlfriend so I’m guessing addiction isn’t the issue. He’ chooses to be a WHOREHOUND (sorry if that word is offensive)

Of course, I don’t want to pay and feel like it would be throwing money away, but for the life of me, I can’t see his angle. How can he use this to manipulate me? Any ideas?


Hoping, he probably regards a week of rehab like a week-long paid vacation in a country club. With a room full of other “sex addicts” like himself, he would be able to find new sex partners/victims. And his angle is that if you would fund this vacation for him, he would be free of the addiction – for the sake of your marriage. **cough cough** If you believe that, I have some swamp land to sell you in Florida.

I used to know a sociopath neighbor in the next building over. This was many years ago before I knew what they were. He was a high profile drug dealer. Every few years he would land in prison. But he didn’t mind being there because – aside from the free place to live with 3 meals a day and better healthcare than the rest of the population – he got to make connections there. Then when he would get out, he’d chat up his new drug connections from prison and start all over. He actually told me this. It’s all a big game to them.


All good points Stargazer. I’ve always felt like he used his support groups to get ideas of ways to score. His sexual addiction group had their annual nationally meeting in Las Vegas. What’s up with that? And it seemed like a good idea for this group of “recovering” pervs to meet up in Las Vegas.

I agree with this is a way for him to have a nice vacation while I foot the bill. Nothing is ever done out of sincerity, there is always an angle. Thanks for your take on it. It goes right along with what my gut was saying. I’m not playing that game,.


Not to mention that he’s not JUST a sex addict. He’s a sociopath. They are all sex addicts unless they get their thrills in other ways. Not all sex addicts are sociopaths. But sex addiction is very difficult to break regardless because the rewards are so great. For a sociopath, it’s impossible because they have no motivation to stop. And yes, they probably enjoy being in these groups waiting for someone to fall off the wagon.

A guy cheats on me once and I’m done. I don’t buy this “sex addiction” stuff. To me, it’s a fancy phrase for cheating X 1000. Either a guy cheats or he doesn’t. Lying and cheating are pretty black and white to me.


Hoping to Heal
Congrats. Your spouse has found a way for you to pay for him to have sex with others. This will be your lifestyle from now on. You will pay for him to emotionally, financially abuse you.

You have to decide if this is the life you want. You have no marriage. It will get worse. There is no saving it.

“How can he use this to manipulate you”. Because he can. He is that type of person. He has the will, and as long as he is married to you, he has the means.

I am sorry. It’s a very sad situation. We all have such terrible situations.

When you have had enough, you will set about to free yourself so you can have a chance at something better in life. It won’t happen as along as you are married to him. There is NO solution. There is no avoiding the pain. The only way is THROUGH the pain.

LISTEN to yourself! He has a girlfriend and you are still trying to figure a way to make it work. That tells me how numbed you are to pain.

I know my response to you is blunt. But you need the truth. His angle is to use you for money and enjoy his fun with whomever he pleases. He doesn’t have a sex addiction, he has a big patsy, YOU. You need to know that you are worth better than this. But only you can make that happen. And again, it will only happen when you decide to free yourself of the soulsucker who has latched onto sucking the life force from you. You have soul sisters here who will cry and empathize with you. But you still have to do the actual divorce. Once you do, you will be like me, so relieved and free that you wish you could have talked to your former self and done it sooner.

He is unmasked. He is soulless and ugly. Avoiding looking at him will not change that.

Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry because Heartbreak is normal for you. That’s just not right. I hope you will decide it’s not good enough anymore.


This gets to the heart of my questioning… HOW do you stand with a sociopath and still protect yourself and children?

HG – They are wrong to make you work with your sociopath like that. It is akin to making a rape victim have dinner with their rapist. Maybe the children benefit in the short term by this show. In the long run… I don’t see how they learn right from wrong. It illustrates version of reality without dealing with the real picture of reality. I pray you can find a way to get this changed.

The legal system is only interested in what is and isn’t legal. Being a “fit” parent has nothing to do with being a morally good or mentally healthy parent. It usually just means a parent who appeared decent enough and mentally healthy enough during a limited time of investigation with probably little actual investigation. The “in the interest of the children” line I hear all the time, seems less interested in what is actually in their best interest than what will get them paid in time to make their next appointment. Legally dealing with a sociopath takes money to pay lawyers who are willing to go the extra mile in dealing with seemingly impossible situations. Good lawyers aren’t trained to deal with sociopaths and frankly the legal profession is a hotbed of sociopaths. They get paid to argue and manipulate people on a professional basis for God’s sake… it’s the perfect place for a sociopath to exercise their prowess.

Therapists and doctors are just as likely to be taken in by sociopaths as the rest of the human race given that they too are human. Most sociopaths are cool customers. They’ve been manipulating people their whole lives and have devoted practice in evading detection. Unless a therapist is specifically educated and experienced at looking for a sociopath, I don’t think they are any more likely to find one than the average population. Our sociopath uses her handicap as her excuse as to why she cannot take a scantron evaluation test. She avoids diagnosis and plays victim. The actual victim in all of this is subjected to testing and questioning the results of which are used in court to determine his mental “fitness” while hers remains unexamined. I can accept that it is an uneven playing field but the reality leaves children in the balance.

It breaks my heart reading these responses – that others are suffering through the same things we are yet there doesn’t seem to be any relief for any of us – legally, therapeutically, and in society. I appreciate that Karma never loses an address or is constrained by time… I just want a more reliable method of dealing with sociopaths. It is so frustrating… just saying.


How to stand with a sociopath and still protect yourself and children?

Short Answer: You don’t. There is NO protection. Distance is the only solution.

It’s like standing with nuclear radiation. Damage is being done. It’s accumulative. You can’t see it yet. It damages children in ways you can not predict because they are not done growing yet. But the fact is, the longer you stand with a sociopath, the damage increases.


No contact just isn’t an options when children are involved. The courts enforce contact through visitation. Even if we could get her diagnosed as a sociopath, which if she will not take the tests which have been ordered and we have paid for is not likely – she cannot be forced to participate, the courts will still uphold her right to access to her children. As it is, the courts control where the children can move until the youngest reaches the age of 18. Moving takes money and money is tied up in lawyers dealing with her.

I agree that damage is being done to these children. They attend counseling with counselors who are aware of what their mother is and what she is doing to them. The children’s questions when they return from visiting their mother make it clear that she is doing everything she can to undermine any progress they make in counseling. She has been legally constrained from talking to the children about her ongoing legal battle and from talking about her relationship with their father, but their questions clearly show they are being bombarded with her lies even with a TRO.

The sociopath will not be constrained. The children suffer. The courts continue to enforce their relationship. What are we supposed to do?? Abandon two small children to her? That’s not happening!

Therefore I’m back to my original question… How do you deal with a sociopath in these situations? There is no legal precedent making a sociopath an unfit parent. Courts are reluctant to label parents anyway even with evidence. What can be done to help children through navigating a relationship with a sociopathic parent?

Our only recourse is in standing strong and fighting as best we can against what may be impossible odds.


Bets, I like your comments. My then 3 yr old daughter was sexually abused by her spath dad. He was caught by his girlfriend who then put my daughter in the tub to clean her off, getting rid of the evidence but then put the same clothing back on her. He somehow had convinced her to go along with the lie he was about to tell the police. They worked on my daughter before the police got there trying to get her to tell the police that my son had painted her private parts. Which is what the spath did after her bath, probably to contaminate any dna that may be remaining. Well when the police got there my daughter refused to say that her brother did this to her, spath then told the police that I did it. My daughter then said yes that I put the paint on her because I didn’t like her anymore. When I heard that it broke my heart that he could get her to say that. My heart broke for my daughter because I know how much it hurt her to have to say that about me, but my son is my daughters hero and she would do anything to protect him. The rape kit did find sperm on my daughter unfortunately not enough to make a complete dna strand. They were unable to determine who’s dna it was. But I do not make sperm so that cleared me. I had to take my 11 year old son to a Dr who specializes in male anatomy who determined that my son had not even begun to hit puberty yet and therefor could not have been the source of the sperm. The DA’s office said they could not bring it to trial because a 3 yr old was not a good witness. Obviously. Back in family court even though the Dept of Children and Families had a past case where DCF found my ex spath responsible for sexually abusing another child (his niece)the judge gave my ex shared physical custody of our daughter. This judge was so manipulated by the spath she handed my daughter over to her rapist 3 afternoons during the week and every other weekend. You are also right about the legal profession being full of spaths. The Chief Probation Officer who was assigned to our case is friends with my ex, he has been friends with him for 20 years. As a matter of fact he had been the GAL 20 years before when my ex spath had been accused of molesting his oldest son from another relationship. This child had been 3 yrs old as well. I later talked to another ex of my ex spath who said that another niece had made an accusation of sexual abuse but that had been covered up as well. My daughter is now 9 yrs old she is the MOST AWESOME little girl EVER!!! Last year she told me everything that had happened to her when her dad molested her. She understands that she did Nothing to deserve this and I told her that her dad is sick that he does things that he shouldn’t, but that he is sick does not mean he should be able to get away with it. My daughter is still intimidated by her dad he will make threats that she will be taken away from me if she tells anyone. I reassure her that no one will ever take her away from me. One day I PRAY that she will be able to just get it out and tell her therapist the whole thing. I just want her to be healed and not have this inside her anymore, and for him to finally be put where he belongs behind bars.


atozmom – My heart hurts for your situation. God Bless your daughter for having to deal with all of this. She must be an amazing young lady to be able to deal with this for all of these years. You are an amazing mom to be able to guide your children through as well!

I was married to an spath in my first marriage. His behavior towards our son was my training ground for dealing with the current spath in our life. She continues to confuse and change history for her two sons and we get to help pick up the pieces of their beings after most every visitation. Yesterday being the most recent violation of disobeying a court order… there are too many to count.

All we can do is document every word that comes out of the children and continue to take them to counseling… court isn’t until September. My documentation has taken on a life of its own looking more like a novel every day. The oldest boy is most easily manipulated by her. Fortunately, the youngest seems to get it and supports his older brother with statements like, “You know how mommy lies. (not a question, but a statement) Mommy’s just trying to confuse you.” That’s our second grader!

They still love their mommy. She is pushing for full custody, again, and the courts are putting everyone through yet another social study. She was supposed to participate in a psych evaluation. Instead she manipulated the psychologist using her disability to get out of filling out a scantron test. Poor her had him believing that she could not put pencil marks in a circle. This time around she has manipulated a man into getting her pregnant – or at least believing that the child is his – and getting him to marry her so now she is a respectable woman of the community. Now she is using the new child as a reason as to why she should have full custody of her other children; so the boys can grow up as brothers.

Every agreement the lawyers get her to make, she breaks. Most of them before the ink is even dry and yet the lawyers persist in making agreements. We know what the outcome will be, but to look like we are cooperating we have to participate in these futile exercises. The police in our town are already onto her so she moved to the next larger town with a whole new division full of unsuspecting police officers eager to help the disabled damsel in distress from the mean man hurting her and trying to take away her children. Now we get to educate another town in dealing with a spath. The judge seems to be entertaining all of this because of her disability waiting for the social study to sort things out. The social study person is a professional so reading her is impossible.

The only thing I can say about the legal system is that it keeps our life interesting and not in a good way. All of our hopes are pinned on this new social study. We keep providing them with evidence of her behavior and I’m sure we look like lunatics with the level of documentation we’ve had to create.

I was able to get off the crazy train with my ex years ago and our son is better for it. I’d like to get off the crazy train now, but this spath is even more persistently manipulative than my first. September cannot come soon enough for us!


Hi Hopingtoheal & HGBeverly, when I left my ex I found out he had 3 mistress in two different states…plus he had a two year affair before that which he begged me to stay sobbing, crying, begging, said he would do anything to make the “marriage” (really a nightmare) work and that he would “change”…I stayed another 7 years after finding out about his two year affair…the only person to change was me, he broke my spirit, I was an emotional wreak when I finally left. I told my counselor early on that I thought he had cheated on me 8-12 times…

my counselor told me it was more like 3 to 4 times that number…I researched this aspect of it and came up with the statical fact that 70-90% of sociopaths are sex addicts! DO NOT BUY INTO HIS POOR ME CON GAME to get you back into the marriage, they always want you to feel sorry for them but they never feel sorry for you and what they have done to you…you would not want your family member or friend dating a sex addict?…so why would you. I have no doubt now that the counselor was correct about how many times my ex cheated on me as he travelled weekly and all of his manipulative games he played, lies and hiding his computer/phone etc.

I also found out through research that it takes an average of 6-7 times going to rehab for a drug/alcohol addicted person to get clean and sober if they do at all (most dont) this must be the same for sex you really want to watch him fall off the “sex addict wagon” over and over while he is married to you? You deserve so much more out of live then babysitting a sociopath.

Sociopaths also have a “madonna” & “whores complex” google this…meaning they will date/marry a good women then have women that will do anything in bed on the side (not saying these women are bad as they are victims too but sociopaths can easily manipulate a women to do anything they want in bed to please them). Be very happy he has a new supply (girlfriend) that he is focus on because when she dumps him he will return as a complete nightmare back into your life. While he is busy with this new gf take the time to find a good counselor and lawyer. Interview all of these lawyers/counselor by phone. If someone seems slimy they are. I think your ex told you he was a sex addict so that you would feel sorry for him and allow him to have his indiscretions on the side.

Sociopath are ALL about the mind games to control people…ie “are you still working out”….he knows that you are going to toss his words around in your mind over and over, that is what he wants, he wants to control you even when he is not present in your daily life….next time he makes a comment like that throw it right back in his face as hard as that is for us nice people to do you must = “you look like you really need to start working out, I wanted to tell you that during our marriage” then walk away so he can not make a comment….You are a nice person but you can not be nice to a sociopath ever. Play his game only with him. Do not believe anything he said to you as it is only to control you and make you come unglued. But the best solution is not be alone in his presents to allow him to make these ridiculous mean spirited comments to you…cut all ties with him except what the requires even then follow your gut and tell the court that you can not sit in a chair across from your abuser. YOU HAVE A VOICE AGAIN so use it!!

When I had my weak moments in the beginning thinking I made a mistake leaving my husband I came to Donna’s site, or One moms battle (fb pg too), facebook page After Narcissistic abuse and read book after book…my mind opened up to the truth that was clouded over by his mind control…now I cant even stand thinking about him at all. I realize now there were no “good times” in the marriage there were only times that were somewhat tolerable because I tried to look at the good side during those times and ignored his horrible behavior.

I know that it is so hard when you first leave them because they have a grip on our mind and you want your marriage to work because we are taught “marriage is hard work” and “we take are vows seriously” but I want to tell you that no marriage will ever be peaceful or work with a sociopath…yes they can break a women’s spirt down so she is a stepford, robot wife to comply to the sociopaths way of life and every demand but this is no life and eventually the women will reach her limit and leave him (think about it as if you are a cult follower as it is exactly like that for a domestic abuse victim).

NotWhatHeSaidofMe is correct find a good lawyer…yes every hard to find because they are the vultures that suck the marrow from our bones but there are a few that do know about narcissist/sociopathic abuse (ask on one moms battle)…read books on “financial divorce” they are in the divorce section of the big box store they will give you guidance on the financial side of the divorce which a lawyer will not focus on.

My counselor gave me the book “women who love psychopaths” by Sandra Brown along with donna’s books this was a life saver book for me. She interviewed 75 women for the book.

Please remember the sociopaths target good kind hearted, hard working, strong people because they want someone to take care of them because they are weak. You will survive and thrive without this guy in your life. Reach out to the other sites I posted as there is a very strong support network that will help you get through all of your pain you are feeling right now…and I promise you, you will get to a point you will be soooooooo soooooo soooo happy you left this sociopath! Take care 🙂


Jan7 – I know my reply is a bit off topic to the main article. But thank you (!!!) for your post above. I am in the process of making an escape plan from my 32 year marriage. Violent sex addict, child porn, prostitution (sorry to list these). I recently make a conscious decision to search his computer and cell phone. It is far worse than I imagined in my wildest dreams. The entire marriage I have been his sugar mama and it makes me sick to know that I unwittingly subsidized his lifestyle. I paid every house mortgage payment and that freed him up to live how he chooses.

I confronted him over the years – just like you talk about – so many times. He would play the poor me card brilliantly and then when the coast was clear – he was right back in business.

But now I am working toward going No Contact. Light’s House is a great resource for going NC. And I’ve been reading as much as I can about “sheltering in place” while I plan my escape. What really helps me now is knowing that he was addicted when I met him and he has zero intention of changing – he feels entitled. His lies on all his social media accounts are outrageous – just to troll for 18-20 year old women. He is out of town a few days this week and will have several “dates” while attending a professional conference.

In short – thank you for your post. I thank God for leading me to this site which has turned my life upside down and will lead me hopefully to a free life. I am seeing a lawyer next week and I will be very careful to make sure this person knows what they are doing or I will keep looking. I am also researching where I can go and be completely safe in terms of my living situation.

In the meantime, I am staying as calm as possible and telling no one anything. God bless everyone on this site – hang in there !!


I’m praying for you OpalRose as you move forward. Stay strong! Hugs


HopingToHeal – thank you so much !!! Hugs and prayers back to you dear !


Great insights and encouragement here. I see that part of my problem is that I am way to nice. I’m never ready for the next attack, whether it’s openly aggressive or subtle in a back handed way. I am EXHAUSTED! I watched Donna’s video about how the Spath gets us to make promises and then holds them over our heads. My husband does this.

I feel like he has a suction tube connected to my soul and is draining the life out of me. He uses every excuse in the world to have a conversation about money, the house, our kids…whatever he can. I always try to keep the conversations matter of fact, on subject and short, but he still manages to manipulate me. I’m financial dependent on him so he constantly suggest his job is in trouble. He tells me that people see me out partying….I never go anywhere. He blames me for our daughters anxiety….I’m her main source of love and support. He throws something at me all the time. Even saying that the car is dirty and I should take better care of it. And when nothing else works, he states that life is not worth living and attempts to make me believe he will take his own life.

He’s been in enough sexual addiction classes to know that real people have these emotions, so he takes them on as if he is experiencing the same thing. He mirrors his co addicts. He uses Gods word against me saying that God expects this and that, then completely reverses any scriptural word that condemns his behavior. He keeps my head spinning. I get stronger each time I can go periods of time not hearing his Bs, but he senses my strength and swoops in with some idiotic reason to have contact and then starts to beat me down. That’s why I said in an earlier post that I have to see myself as strong when I deal with him just so I don’t feel controlled at all times and lose all hope in my life. I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! He is a master at control. And he will Never give it up.

Getting away is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My supporters think I can just divorce and walk away. That will never be able to happen. I have to be ready for the war of the worlds. I have to be able to have some view of what could come. I’m scared of his anger and outburst, even in public. Every story I read helps, but this battle is taking such a tole. Finally, I am beginning to see hope and light ahead. But of course, that only leads to LoveBombing and maneuvering on his part.


Dear Hoping
As part of the process, believe it or now, being able to go No Contact with him is a way for you to get some breathing space. At first, going no contact is hard because we all WANT to be wrong. We all want to fix the problem. Therein lies the bitter truth: there is NO fixing anything with a sociopath, there is only cutting our losses and getting away.

My therapist likened my reality to war (it IS WAR!). The bombs are dropping. You can not start to recover while the bombs are dropping.

For a sociopath, it is war. You are made the loser and you always will be the loser to them because that is the way they operate.


Hoping to heal, (by the way, you will heal :-). I have always been labeled “nice” and when someone is mean to me it takes all of my might to be mean back..then of course I feel awful after wards, most of the time I just turn the other cheek and say nothing…now with the knowledge I have learned about narcissist/sociopath I will not feel awful if one of these people is mean to me and I will not put up with there bs but I also know now it’s ok to cut them out of your life for good. It’s like having one small key to the universe.

You are never ready for the “attack” because that is not who you are (i felt this same way in my marriage too)…but there are so many people on this planet that will say a word or a sentence to make you insecure to have control over you…this is why it is important to not listen to peoples negative words…instead self reflect and see what changes you need to make based on your thoughts not on someone elses.

Your (ex?) husband is intensionally messing with your mind to control you…my ex husband did the same thing daily…it was not until I left did I realize how much he did this to me but also to his own family & all of our friends/coworkers…they are truly sick…sadly society is clueless at their manipulative games just like we were. Stand up for yourself tell him “I dont want to talk about it then walk away”…you do not have to be manipulated by him. He wants you to have high anxiety, they all do…why because if you are anxious you will not fight with them or call them out on their bs…they use it to control the situation.

As for being financially dependent on him…please go to your local abuse center for free counseling & find out about financial resources to get out of this relationship. You know what is going to happen it is going to be war…you just have to plan your attack 10 steps ahead.

When I served my ex the divorce paperwork he sent me a text saying “I though we were going to work on our marriage?”…nope buddy I was planning my escape all along…this is what you have to do…you must have all your ducks in a row…this is why it is important to get into counseling before you leave (secretly), get your adrenal glands working correctly again, hide money, read books on the financial side of the divorce, get a good lawyer, find a safe condo building with security to move into when you are ready to escape, chat on sites like fb pg one moms battle & after narcissistic abuse….you must have a good Exit plan out of the relationship…if you dont that is when he will take control over the divorce. Once you serve him papers get the court to issue a “protective order and a full mental evaluation on him asap.

Make a action plan with the help of your local abuse center…you do not have to do this alone…get your most trusted friends/family/abuse center to help you. Have your friends/family read this site and explain to them what you husband is doing to you now so they have a full understanding of what is going on.


Thank you for this comment. I have reread it several times. Your situation is so much like mine and your advice, from having gone through it, is helping me each time I read it. Thanks for the encouragement.


I wanted to also direct you to an area that most women leaving a abusive relationship do not search and that is the physical body changes that occurred because of the continual stress we endured throughout the abusive marraige…research “adrenal fatigue” see take his quiz see his symptoms list, see his symptoms list, see adrenal fatigue/hormonal imbalance, read her book see her you tube videos.

Our adrenal glands regulate our blood pressure, blood sugar, cortisol & adrenaline levels and over 50 hormones including all of the female hormones…they are a big deal but often over looked as the root issue of health aliments including anxiety, panic attacks, depression, brain fog, memory issues, hair loss etc etc.

Continual stress and a poor diet can cause our adrenal glands to become fatigue and in return wreak havoc on our bodies and mind. Find a good hormonal specialist by googling “compounding pharmacy” with your city name then call them for a list of doctors…get tested for hormonal imbalance, vitamin/mineral deficiency, cortisol levels (see drwilson’s site for info) and thyroid t3 & t4…if you have thyroid issues heal your adrenal’s first before your thyroid. Spend the money on this it will be the best money spent on yourself & your health.

How to heal your adrenal glands = good clean diet no sugar, junk food, caffeine, alcohol and with a good diet, vitamins/minerals and possible hormones (nto a big deal pill or cream), rest & relaxation and plenty of sleep…

see Drfuhrman’s book Eat to live (google “dr fuhrman PBS you tube) this plan is very good at flooding the body with much needed vitamins/minerals which have been depleted due to the stress.

It is estimated that 80% of adults will suffer from adrenal fatigue sometime in their adult life. It is also estimated that 1 in 3 adults are deficiency in all B’s, D & magnesium. all of these are needed for a healthy brain & body = thinking clearly.

This was a huge turning point for me in thinking clearly again too once I got these test done and a good direction from my doctor. Your self esteem issues will greatly improve as is not all due to your ex’s words but also your bodies physically needs to be balanced again to heal.


Thank you, thank you, thank you! All great info Jan7!


Also, I read up on adrenal fatigue. I can see that I have many symptoms. So what I’m understanding is that the body’s reaction to stress and fear play a huge part in how we feel and are able to cope. My anxiety level is Hugh all the time. At this point, I feel like I can’t handle most situations. I become overwhelmed and my brain shuts down. I can’t think straight and can barely drive. Rest and quite is the only solution when it happens. Does that sound like AF? I’ve wondered if it’s just depression, however, medication for depression does not help. I e also though it could be PTSD. Any thoughts?


Hi OpalRose, I am incredibly proud of you that after 32 years of marriage you are escape your hell…this is not an easy thing to do mentally or physically since you are probably absolute exhausted. I promise you leaving is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself!! It’s not easy but you will come out of the tunnel and into the light and know that you could never go back. I am sorry for what this evil man has put you through, so disheartening to read your post.

Please read my post below about the physical aspect ie adrenal fatigue, as this is a big part of the mental issue of thinking clearly again, which in turn will help you to make good decision. High levels of cortisol is a big issue for women in/leave abusive’s normal to have higher levels in any breakup (they call it now “Broken Heart Syndrome” but really it’s high levels of cortisol) so if you address it now it will not be an issue when you finally leave.

I felt so alone in my marriage my husband mentally isolated me from talking to friends and family so you are very brave to come here and speak your truth…that is a huge step! Pat yourself on the back!! Keep reaching out for help you do not have to escape on your own. All of the facebook pages I posted along with Donna’s site here helped me everyday after I left. If you have not looked at an “Exit Plan” at your local abuse center you can look on the National Domestic Violence Hotline website for one and google “dr phil exit plan”. I would also suggest you go to your local abuse center now for free counseling and women group meets plus they have resources that might help you leave sooner.

Tell all of your trusted friends/family about what this guy has done to you now because when you serve him the divorce papers he will start a smear campaign of lies about you if he has not already done so with all of these people, so tell people now what is going on.

God bles you too.


HopingToHeal, your description is dead on for adrenal fatigue!

Anxiety, depression, panic attracts etc are all major issues of adrenal fatigue. This can be healed within 6 months to two years depending on your adrenal gland fatigue. But the good news is they can be healed!

I would highly recommend a diet plan like Dr Fuhrman book Eat to live as it floods the body with vitamins/minerals that have been depleted because of all the stress and get your adrenal glands working well again quickly. On After Narcissistic abuse facebook page the site own ask the question if anyone was sick during their relationship and with what issues….it was absolutely shocking the hundreds of response and the major issues where anxiety, depression, panic attacks, brain fog, memory problems = adrenal fatigue = PTSD. Yes, Dr Wilson’s states in his book that to heal PTSD you must heal your adrenal glands so there is a link.

When I left my husband I had almost every symptoms of adrenal fatigue…I could not sleep, anxiety was through the roof, brain fog…I was a shell of my former healthy self. My hormonal specialist got me balanced again although I still have issue with dealing with some stress it’s so much better then it was.

As for anti-depressants google “dr Amen you tube” he is a leading brain specialist/therapist who has conducted over 80,000 brain scans, he prefers that people try a diet change and natural remedies first before antidepressants…he is all about keeping your brain healthy without adding man made drugs it at all possible. Google “dr amen PBS you tube” and watch his PBS special on how to heal your brain, he also has countless books on healing the brain including one on anxiety/depression. For me I found getting my hormones balanced & a clean diet like Dr Fuhrmans helped me out ten fold.

If you have depression then you also have anxiety as they go hand and hand with each other. Google “depression vitamin deficiency” then with anxiety.

I truly do believe that adrenal fatigue is the missing link for women leaving their abusive relationship to heal fully.


Symtoms of adrenal fatigue…

Cognitive Symptoms

Poor short-term memory
Difficulty focusing
Difficulty concentrating
Trouble thinking clearly
Poor behavior/being unlike one’s self
Focusing on the negative
Racing or anxious thoughts
Emotional Symptoms

• Constant worrying
• Fearful anticipation
• Agitation and moodiness
• Restlessness
• Short temper
• Irritability, impatience
• Inability to relax
• Feeling tense and “on edge”
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Sense of loneliness and isolation

Behavioral Symptoms

• Decrease in sex drive/libido
• Eating less or more then usual
• Habitual craving for salty or sweet foods
• Sleeping too much or too little
• Neglecting responsibilities
• Avoiding contact with others
• Using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to unwind
• Nervous habits (e.g. pacing or nail biting)
• “Overdoing it” (e.g. exercising, working)
• Using caffeine to stay going
• Becoming argumentative or combative
• Overreacting to unexpected problems

Physical / Physiological Symptoms

• Chronic fatigue
• Tense pain in head and/or back
• Stiffness and tension in muscles
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Nausea, dizziness
• Difficulty sleeping/insomnia
• Increased heart rate/chest pain
• Increase or decrease in blood pressure
• Loss or gain in weight
• High or low blood sugar
• Skin conditions (e.g. eczema, hives)
• Frequent or prolonged colds


GREAT post. People underestimate the effects of WAR. Cortisol is turned on and it takes specific actions to return it to normal levels. Then there is MORE to do, then healing can begin so that Cortisol does not go out of whack when faced with small normal challenges of life.

But it can not be done while still in marriage or relationship with a sociopath.

Sociopaths bodies do not respond to stress the way that normal people do. So they will always have stamina to wage WAR while we crumble exhausted and ready to die.

I did that. I wanted to die. It was all so much. I just wanted life to stop. Funny thing. I got away because he didn’t want me anymore. What I thought was the worst thing in the world was actually my biggest blessing.

Wish I had this website. Being alone and thinking it was all my fault for being so worthless was why I stayed. Had I known that he was a sociopath and what that meant, that would have been the answer I needed. I didn’t find out that he was a sociopath until after I moved away from him and was seeking relief from the misery. You ALL are further ahead than I was when I lived with my now ex-husband. You KNOW he’s devoid. He’s a sociopath. And there is only relief in your future, once you are free of him. Knowing that way back when I was married would have been so encouraging for me.


Notwhathesaidofme….They say “stress will kill you”…what they really mean is high levels of cortisol will kill you. I really do think that it is very important to find a good hormonal specialist before you leave to start getting your body/mind back to a healthy level…yes, you will not heal totally until the sociopath is out of your life but you must take steps before leaving to start moving towards who you were before you met him.

Getting your adrenal glands functioning better before you leave = you will make better decisions as the adrenal glands effect our thinking (ie hormones out of balanced/high cortisol levels etc = will not think clearly and affectively). But most importantly it will reduce your some of your anxiety level…which is the direction you want to move towards. Then once you leave get a restraining order & follow the no contract rule to break the emotional bond addiction they have over you and then every thing that you were doing to improve your heath will all start to work rapidly. Small steps before you leave = big steps when you finally do leave.

Wish I too would have know that there was a word to describe who he was and all of the things that were crazy about him, were really truly crazy…no just in my mind. Thank goodness for wonderful sites like Lovefraud…truly a saving grace for all of us.


What you describe is something I still struggle with, control of my health.
How to find a good hormone specialist.

I do not have the funds to spend on dead ends. Even though it’s a law in my state that health insurance must be maintained, my husband didn’t, and the courts did not enforce the law. As a consequence to my marriage, I am now high risk and can’t afford insurance.

There’s a lot of quackery, and no relief from predatory practices in the areas where the abused seek health solutions.

What are the clues that reveal who is a good hormone specialist? What is a reasonable price to pay?

I have freed myself of my ex-husband. But I have a new torment, one I don’t want to resolve. I wanted to be a mom, I loved being a mom. It’s hard to see my children become a version of my ex. I didn’t just fail at my marriage. I failed at the only thing I ever wanted to be, a mom. So my stress is on the upswing again…


Notwhathesaidofme….I think every women leaving abusive relationship struggles with their health….to find a hormonal specialist google “compounding pharmacy” with your city name then call them for a list of doctors, then interview the doctors via phone and ask if they have a way to reduce the visit cost and also ask your friends/family if they know of a good honest one too.

I would also suggest books like dr Christina northrup’s (hers you most likely can find at your local library) and mia lundin (her book is really good). See sites like,, to read up on adrenal fatigue/hormonal imbalance to educate yourself before going to the doctors.

A good clean diet such as Dr Fuhrman’s eat to live may help to balance your hormones naturally…google “dr fuhrman pbs you tube” to watch his PBS special and if you go to (oprah’s site) then do a search under the “video” section with Dr Christine Northrup you can find her discussions with Oprah. Your local library will have other books on the subject.

You have not failed at being a mom, you are teaching your kids that no matter what happens you can survive and thrive this is a valuable lesson for all kids and you also taught them that you do not have to accept someones abuse. These are very important life lessons!

Vitamin deficiency are a huge part of anxiety issues…specifically al B’s, D, magnesium…take the quiz on dr wilson’s site…my hormonal specialist gave me Dr Wilson’s vitamins 1) Adrenal Rebuilder 2) super adrenal stress formula (this one is nothing more then B Complex) he had me take them according to dr wilson’s site 2 AM/1 at noon/1 at 2:30/2 at bed time along with progesterone pills (hormones = this you need to be tested for)…it was quite shocking how quickly they worked to reduce my anxiety by half, (within days).

google: epson salt baths as this is a good way to get magnesium which is a natural relaxer.

Progesterone is a hormone produced in our bodies, a natural relaxer as we age it naturally reduces while estrone (sp??)increases but also high stress throws all of this off balance = hormonal imbalance). This is why you should be tested for hormonal imbalance by a good hormonal specialist. Talk to the doctors office and tell them you are on a tight budget but know that you need help in this area and they might have some options for you to keep the cost down ie only get tested for hormonal imbalance for now.

Taking vitamin b complex, d, magnesium, c and a good healthy diet for a month like Dr Fuhrman’s eat to live will flood your body….google “vitamin deficiency and anxiety”.


Thank you. All good advice. And another reason to caution people to not wait it out and hope it will get better.

I have allergies and food insensitivities, my digestive system doesn’t absorb, or rather it absorbs maladaptively. I am unable to take most vitamins or eat many foods that are staples of these diets. My body has inflammatory responses and my asthma flares up. The solutions to adrenal fatigue is to take the very things that increase illness.

I think many women who are dealing with loss of health from living with a sociopath are dealing with catch-22 issues just as I am.


I’m sorry that you have so many health issues…sounds like you have celiac disease ?? If so there are many food plans/books that direct you to good health. you might also want to check into acidophilus to build your immune system back up.

They really do destroy so many aspect of our lives, don’t they 🙁

Wishing you good health soon!


I’ve said this so many times………..I can’t, and I mean absolutely CAN NOT, imagine going through one of these nightmares but having the added factor of shared children with one of these monsters. My heart goes out to anyone who doesn’t have the luxury of being able to do 100% no contact because they HAVE to maintain some sort of contact for the children.


Beautifully said. Standing right there with you.


I stood by a psychopath for 30 years for the children. I at least had the sense to move a thousand miles away to limit that contact. I thought I was doing what was best for my children. I was never more wrong. The whole time I was protecting him from himself for the sake of the children,he was poisoning their minds against me like only a psychopath can do. You know what I mean, telling them lies and making them think it is the truth and their own thought. The grin and condemn someone else game.

Now my daughter has cut me out of her life and put him in. She is like a cult member, acts just like him to me and seems miserable. I am helpless to help her. My advice, do anything to get the psychopath to sign off on all parental rights. No father is better than a psychopath father.


So many times on lf, I see a phrase that neatly, concisely, describes my ex-husband. I am going to pinch your phrase “the grin and condemn someone else” game. That is HIM in a nutshell. It is his signature act when confronted by someone who is questioning his motives or behavior to say, “ME? With MY honest face?” and chuckle in such a way that people just capitulate, assuming that they MUST have it wrong.

My daughter has also cut me out of her life and is miserable, (but blames me for it). Years ago, she told ME that her dad/my ex had the ability to get people to do things that they would never do if they knew what his real motivation or plan was. I was SO happy, that she saw through him.

But… here’s the characteristic she shares with all his other dupes, she thinks she is too smart to be duped. She thinks she knows when he lies and when he’s being honest, and that he would NEVER be “that way” with her. She does not get that it’s ALL lies and he is NEVER honest.

It is true that she is VERY intelligent, but you’d never know it with some of the words out of her mouth. Her logic does not connect, the way she puts cause and effect together is NONSENSE. Like you said, she talks like she’s a cult member, that I need to examine why I refuse to take responsibility for abusing her, for manipulating her.

But my whole life, as an abused child, I have always took responsibility for everything. I am not avoidant, I am hyper-responsible. It’s one of the problems I have had to work on, to separate what I am accountable for and stop blaming myself for what others are accountable for.

Yet again, an abuser has pointed the finger of blame at me, and I can do nothing for my dearest beautiful daughter. Nothing but watch her be like him. Watching my baby sabotage herself while he stands there and smiles that smirky self satisfied grin is HELL.

Divorced from Gaslighter

NotWhatHeSaid: Look for a free clinic in your area, or ask the Domestic Abuse people, or your church about free or low cost health care.

Somebody above posted that, “sociopaths’ bodies don’t respond to stress the same way” that a normal person’s body would. I think it would be more accurate to say that sociopaths don’t experience much stress in their own lives, although they create plenty for other people. My ex could get stressed out when he was frustrated (about to miss a plane connection, etc.) but appeared to find the divorce and custody fight interesting and exciting. He enjoyed having a high-powered attorney (mostly paid for by his parents) at his beck and call, he enjoyed manipulating the court-appointed mediator, and the court-appointed psychologist, and he loved watching me fall apart. He knew that I was lying awake at night, fearful of the future, wondering whether I would end up with any custody at all, wondering how I could afford to live in the expensive area that he was claiming was the children’s “psychological home.” But one of the teachers at the small and exclusive private school that the children attended remarked to me on the difference between how the two of us were handling the divorce/custody situation: “Your husband doesn’t appear to experience any anxiety at all over the situation.”

To H G Beverly: How old are your children? My children were preschoolers at the time of the initial separation, and I often wished that they had been somewhat older at the time of the separation so that I would not have had to had so much contact with my ex. (He would call and say on the answering machine, “pick up the phone — there is an emergency.” Of course, there never was.) It was all pure manipulation. It took about four years before the end of the custody fight. Within weeks of the court finally awarding me primary custody, he and his new wife left the country, and the children had almost no contact with him during that time. Eventually, he reappeared, convinced a judge that I was the one who had cut him off from contact with the kids, and he re-established contact with the younger child. The older child refused to have much contact with him. She would accept money, and talk to him briefly, but did not want to be around him.

A couple of people have mentioned getting court-ordered psych evaluations on the ex at the beginning of the court case. My ex was ordered to take special tests to help determine if he was a pedophile. He passed the tests. A few years later, his next wife told me that he had gone to a local university medical library, impersonated a psychologist/psychiatrist, checked out books that described in detail what to look for in answers to the test questions (some of the tests required you to draw pictures, etc.) and he studied the books about the test(s) he was going to have to take for WEEKS before he actually took the tests. I wouldn’t put too much faith in psychological evaluations.

Just prior to announcing his intention to divorce me, my ex insisted that we go to marriage counseling, without telling me that he had already decided to divorce me. He told the marriage counselor that we didn’t have time to do the MRI tests at her office — that we would fill them out at home and mail them in. So we filled them out at home, and he mailed them AFTER making a copy of my responses to the questions. After he told me that he was divorcing me, I wanted to drop out of counseling, but the marriage counselor said that if I dropped out, it would look to the court as if I didn’t care about the children. So I had to continue visiting a counselor that I felt had stabbed me in the back by pretending that I was in marriage counseling while my ex was actually using the process to try to collect “evidence” that he should get full custody.

To Taralav: Pick a new screen name, and don’t give out any personal information when you post, such as that your husband works at Enterprise Rent-a-car. It’s OK to slightly disguise the facts of your situation by changing the dates of significant events, etc. No one here will consider that dishonest at all. Be thankful that you never had children with this guy. Once you make a clean break with him and go “no contact” you should make rapid progress in rebuilding a new life for yourself. It’s the people with minor children who get stuck in a quagmire.

A couple of people have mentioned telling friends & family about how the sociopath has abused you prior to leaving him, so that you get your story out before the sociopath has a chance to slander you. I would advise caution. Once you ring a bell, it cannot be unrung, and 90% of people cannot keep a secret. You do NOT want the sociopath finding out that you are leaving through the gossip of other people.

Also, some people just can’t resist the urge to try to “save a marriage” by telling the soon-to-be ex that he needs to treat you better and appreciate you more, or he is going to lose you. People who have never had an up-close-and-personal experience with a sociopath think that their own experience of going through “marital ups and downs” has some relevance to your situation, when, in fact, there is no comparison at all.

People who are very close to you will probably already know that there is something wrong with your husband from their own encounters with him. For example, my sister was shocked by my ex’s callousness and flippancy when discussing his own father’s health issues.

People who don’t know either of you all that well should not be dragged into the fray. People who are in your “inner circle” who choose to believe your ex’s lies rather than your truth will simply have to be dropped by you. This is really painful, but unavoidable.

If I had things to do over again, I might have made an effort to speak to my former brother-in-law during the very early days of the divorce. If I had done so, I think that he would have believed me, and he might have been able to dissuade my ex’s parents from funding a custody war.

I had a great Easter this year, for the first time in a long time. Even though neither of my two adult children made it out to the little church in the country, a lot of my other relatives did and we had a wonderful time. After years of financial problems, legal problems, custody problems, unemployment, etc., things are going very well for me. There were so many years when I wondered if things would ever be normal for me again, and I am so thankful for a fresh start in life. My prayers go out on behalf of all of you who are still trudging through a very dark valley at this point in your lives. There is a future for you. God bless you all. This website has been such a help to me.

Floating Feather

The no contact option has worked so far for me. This includes not seeing my ex either. I know this is a year away, but my daughter graduates next year from high school. It is a small school, small class size, only 8 graduates. I’m nervous about being in the same room as her father.

I’ve avoided going to her volleyball games as I know he will be there. I’ve attempted to go before but find myself scouring the parking lot looking for his car.

My ex is in denial of what he has done to me and our oldest son. My son struggles with anger toward his dad for the abuse and his dads denial. His dad still talks negative about me to the kids and my son is sick of it. (son is 21 now and in the Army) Daughter is 18 and drives. She spends one week at his house and one week at mine. Back and forth. This was hers and her dads idea. Her dad tried to get out of paying child support on our last legal battle, so since he was pulling this, I gave him responsibilities to take care of. We, my husband and I, cover medical, dental, cell phone, school tuition, books, matriculation fee and necessities while in our home. He is to pay everything else. He gave her a car he already had, he covers insurance, gas, repairs, wrecks, clothes, other school fees, and other stuff. Our chunk is still huge as ours is concrete, his is abstract and subjective. He still plays it very cautiously about what he pays for. I just wish she could see it. Of course he blames me for his financial troubles-I get blamed for all his problems.

We had three court battles and he lost all three. He tried to accuse me of child abuse, being unfit to parent, so then he coaxed our son to live with him so he wouldn’t have to pay child support, we each had a child to care for and support. Ex sent our son to a cultish boarding school and tried to pass it off as medical and force me to pay half of it. He lost. He accuses me oflying on the bench and that the judge felt sorry for me. She is a very wise woman and could see for herself the evidence. It was not known at the time, but my son was made a ward of another state and on Medicade for his medical. (medical was the only thing we split in absence of child support) My son said that was the worst thing he ever did was go live with his dad as it was hades on earth.

It is hard to see him or hear his voice for me. I don’t want to let my daughter down but I dread her graduation and futuristic her wedding. Any advice would be appreciated.

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