The Sociopath as Coach

So I married and divorced a sociopath, but we’re connected at the hip for life because we share three children.

(It’s been sixteen years so far.)

And last year, he sued for full custody of two of them. The boys. We’re still in court today, trying to work out the details of that.

Because despite all the issues I’ve experienced in the family court system since 2007, in this instance the professionals involved did (finally) manage to ask why we’re back in court and why I should lose custody.

My ex had his full list of reasons, but man, I’ve been fighting back. Which means defending myself as a parent.

Sending photographs to the guardian of the kids and I—since birth.  

Reminding them all that I have no physical or mental impairments.

Reminding them all that there’s no real reason for cutting me out.

Trying to educate everyone I’m working with on parental alienation. Without offending in any way.

(And by the way, I have to admit that after all these years of being in court with my ex, I’ve borrowed and sold and bartered just about every way I can to keep up. The only reason I can continue today is because my parents have helped me out even more than they’ve been able to. They hurt because of me and my situation. So I’m not trying to look like a superstar hero by posting these things—these actions. Instead, I’d like to say that the only way it’s even possible for me to participate is because other people have lifted me up at their own sacrifice. And because of that, I will always and forever lift others up. In any way I can. Because I know what it’s like to need, and I know it can happen just after the moment of standing on your own at the top of your own personal success.)

So that being said, I’ll get back to the professionals and my vehement protests—”I don’t want to be eliminated from my children’s lives!” So they’ve given me a trial period. I can try to prove something to them.

That I’m a worthy parent.

Of my sons.

Regardless of what my charming, believable ex has to say.

The Sociopath is So Likable That It’s Easy to Forget

Now remember, my ex doesn’t want our daughter. Just our sons. Who knows why. But regardless of any reasons, you’d think that the court might raise an eyebrow over the fact that he’s actively trying to split the family along gender lines.

Nope. No one has batted an eyelash over that.

I haven’t heard one single curious moment in the past 13 months on that one.

Why not?

Do they think it’s normal to care more for the boys than the girl?

I have no idea. It makes me feel sick, honestly.

Regardless, no one seems to think it’s odd to only want two of your three kids. No one at all.

Except for me.

Sociopaths Like To Be in Charge

So while I’m spending time and money trying to prove that I’m worthy of participating as a parent, I’m also working with my ex and a psychologist.

We meet together with him once a month.

And he’s instructed us to save seats for each other at our children’s events.

After death threats and a public shunning for leaving him, I have to say that it’s pretty brave and maybe even foolish on my part to walk through the hostile crowd of people and sit next to my ex. He’s not just a sociopath. He’s a public figure—a beloved sociopath. And when I left him, no one knew why. No one could see what happened behind closed doors. And he made sure that everyone blamed me.

That was in 2007. Lots of his charmed followers still won’t look at me today.

But they come to our children’s events all the time.

So I walk through them and stand next to the man. The man who made them hate me.

They give him sympathetic looks. I have no idea what they’re thinking, but it doesn’t look kind. After years of this, I’ve learned to ignore it.

My Sociopathic Ex Wants to Coach Me

This is where I’ll get to the point. After all these years of abuse and aggression, I’ve been told to sit with my ex at our children’s games. So I’ve been doing it.

And his response is to violate boundaries.

This is why no contact—absolutely no contact—is so important.

Because he wants to coach me. 

What do I mean by that?

I mean it literally.

I’m pretty athletic, and so are all of my children. So is my ex. And he’s been coaching our two boys in track and field because that was his big thing so he wants it to live on through them. They’re doing well. And since the psychologist wants us to stand together at events, we’ve been interacting more in the past four weeks than we have in the past seven years.

And there are already a bunch of boundary issues.

Because I made the apparent mistake of throwing the discus a few times one evening with my sons. My ex was there. It was at his house. I was picking them up and wanted to do what they do. These are my big mistakes. Trying to be friendly. Trying to show the boys that I can participate in their things. Trying to be funny. Trying to be a sport.

Trying anything.

Trying to be friendly.

So my ex jumped right into the role of coaching me.

And what’s coaching? Part of it is power. Being the one in the know. Being the one who has total control in the situation. Being the one in charge.

So I quit throwing pretty quickly and then talked about how awkward it was for the next couple days.

But it gets even a little more awkward—because then he sent me a few texts inviting me to come back so he can coach me some more.

Not our sons.


He wants to coach me. A forty year old woman. In the discus.

The Sociopath Knows No Contradiction

While he’s inviting me to come back for a coaching session (and no, I’m not going), he’s also calling me on the phone and encouraging me to settle for minimum time with the boys.

He’s also keeping me in court, remember—trying to take full custody of our sons. To “save” them from the woman who is “unfit.”

And he’s even saying (to everyone around) that he can’t understand why we’re still in court. To me, he says, “I called my attorney and frankly, I told him that I’m tired of paying him! And that he better get all our kids nice graduation gift. Let’s just be reasonable and settle this ourselves. We don’t need to waste money on our attorneys. We can settle it. And so while we both know the boys don’t want to see you, I could agree to them seeing you once a week and every other weekend. I could agree to that.”

He’s saying all of these things even though he initiated and has prolonged the court process. And even though he hasn’t been able to agree that I should even have the minimum time when in court.



The beautiful thing for me is that I’m so detached that I’m not charmed or bewildered by him anymore. And I feel empathy for all those who are. I get it. I know why they like him so much. Why they do and believe what he says.

I just don’t want them to decide that he deserves to own our children.

And I don’t want him drinking out of my coffee cup.

I don’t want him as my coach.

Even if I stand next to him at our children’s events. Or if I decide to participate once in a while.

My participation is not an invitation for a complete boundary violation.

Or maybe it is, to a sociopath.

So for all of you who don’t have a court professional telling you that you have to have contact, I’d like to reaffirm the idea of NO CONTACT. Be really serious about it. Especially if you’re fresh out of the relationship.

It’s too confusing to maneuver.

It’s too much contradiction for one soul to take.

Just get yourself away from it—save yourself the time of sorting it out.

Because even if the sociopath enjoys coaching or controlling you, that good feeling is never going to last.

And they’ll still eat you alive. Even while it does.

(This post and H.G. Beverly’s full story can also be found on

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16 Comments on "The Sociopath as Coach"

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H.G. – you brought up what has always puzzled me – or more accurately, outraged me – about your case. How can the court think it’s ok for him to want custody of only the boys? If you are fit to parent your daughter, why are you unfit to parent the boys?

Sometimes the stupidity of the family court system is endless.

Did you save the texts? If he wants to “coach” you, so that you can be in your sons’ lives, you can’t be that bad of a parent, right?

What a nightmare.

Does he claim you are deficient as a parent? Or only deficient at parenting boys?

I was curious… has a CASA volunteer ever been involved? Just a thought…they may be recognized by the court as having only the kids’s best interest at heart!! They normally do a great job of advocating for the children. And they train their volunteers well!!!

I want to thank you for saying “The Sociopath Knows No Contradiction” – I’ve never seen it put that clearly. Your situation is difficult, but you are doing all the right steps for your kids, and that’s what matters most. The examples you cite (and many more here on LF) show how true it is that they just don’t get the contradiction – as if they can personally bend the laws of nature to their own will, so there’s no contradiction.

Obviously there is no need to coach you. On anything. I wonder if he would be up for some parental coaching, starting with loving and wanting ALL of your kids, not just 2 out of 3.

Keep up all the good work, and keep us posted. I join with everyone else here in wishing you success in the custody battles, even as the court system can sometimes be endlessly stupid.

HGBeverley, my biological father and mum split before I was born. I have a brother one year older. He was fighting for custody of my brother and used to “kidnap” him for several hours. Mum’s lawyer said that my father didn’t want either of us and to take a risk and tell him that he could have us both – and hopefully he would then just disappear. But she wouldn’t take the risk and won custody anybow. However, he was allowed to see us and was ordered to pay maintenance. He wouldn’t pay it so they kept going to court. She then offered (through the court) that he wouldn’t have to pay anything in exhange for giving up any rights to us. He signed the deal. Proof he wasn’t even interested in seeing us – just winning a game.

I don’t know what to say to you as the are no words than can describe your nightmare. I guess I would be risky pointing out that he only wants the boys (and what that says about him) in fear then he also targets your daughter just to punish you. Have you used any evidence about his sociopathic behaviour? Anything that is so awful that the court would then arrange for psychiatrist to make an assessment of him? Does your lawyer have experience in dealing with personality disorders?

So, so, sad and so unfair.

HGBeverly, I’m quite new to LF and just seen you have written a great book. Ignore my questions as you will have explored everything! It would be great to learn what works and what doesn’t as I think my brother will head down this road at some point. Looking forward to your posts. I’m so so sad for what you are going through. Thank goodness you are not under his spell.

The first thing that hit me in your post was the incredible manipulation tactics he is employing (Easy to spot for me because mine did the same type of things)….Mine would be alternately really nice to me or play the victim or threaten to destroy me depending on what he felt would get him what he wanted. He is a good actor. My lawyer said he is a better liar than I am at telling the truth (meaning, he was so convincing in his fairytale plethora of lies).

He is trying to wear you down just so you will go along with him on his new project. He is not willing to let go of his control of you. It is exhausting, because he is an emotional vampire and he is sucking your life energy, and you are somewhat stuck because of your children. I feel so bad for you. I have a daughter and I have 2 more years of this BS and we will be free. He tried to alienate her but claimed it was me in court. He tells her she has to choose who she loves (she can only love one of us) and that I am a bad parent, bad person, blah blah blah. Backfired on him though because it made her angry. She hates him. 2 more years *sigh*

I got a P.O. against him. It was difficult and took 2 tries, because he fights them and will say whatever he thinks the judge wants to hear. But I got it. The lesser contact helps me from being sucked dry by him.

Hopefully your boys will see for themselves what the deal is in time. And I wish there were some way you could not have to have contact, but with the custody fight and you having to do what the professionals advise, it puts you in a tough situation. My heart bleeds for you. 🙁

What a nightmare. I was feeling sorry for myself due to some fall out this weekend from the ex P’s smear campaign of me, but your experiences take the cake. There are so many factors that complicate your situation, like your ex having some local notoriety and being a popular person. He sounds very skilled at manipulation and crazy making.

It’s difficult not to focus on how outrageous and nonsensical he acts and on what he ‘should’ be doing. But taking a look at what he really is motivated by and what drives his behavior might help you get what you want. It’s not possible to ‘win’ with a psychopath because of how they structure the game and change the rules.

Consider that he could care less about the children; what he wants is to engage you, fight with you, take your time and money in the court battle, and then complain about how you are causing it when you are just responding to him.

Is he aware of your website and your participation in blogs like this one? It is a big help to others, but he sees it as you focusing on him (that’s how deranged they are) and it may give him a lot of payoff satisfaction that your time and efforts are taken up by something he thinks involves him.

If he likes to fight and to get your focus on endless court battles, he is motivated to keep taking your time and getting you to respond.

Are there any aspects of the grey rock technique you could use to help you get what you want? Something along the lines of you letting him think you are not all that interested in the children, that it would be great if he kept them so you’d have free time to enjoy dating or sailing or something. Once a P thinks that his victim cares about something, she is so vulnerable to him. It’s better not to reveal anything to them and to let them think things about our motivations that are not true. In my situation, that has helped me to get some things that are good for me, but he doesn’t really know it.

Have you considered whether your attorney is able to deal with him? Sadly, many attorneys subtly encourage disagreement and argument since there’s more money in it for them.

I wish you the best outcome and for your nightmare to be over soon.

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