To Mom and Dad: 9 reasons why your son or daughter fell for a sociopath

Unhappy-couple-breaking-up sizedDear Parents of a Lovefraud Target,

Your son or daughter has now come to the brutal realization that the entire relationship was a scam.

Perhaps you’ve had your suspicions for a while. Perhaps you’ve even tried to tell your kid that the partner was no good, but he or she wouldn’t listen to you.

Now everything has collapsed, and you can’t understand why your son or daughter didn’t see it coming.

Please understand that sociopaths are professional con artists, and they are really, really good at what they do. In fact, they spend their entire lives perfecting their craft.

Following are nine reasons why your son or daughter fell for it.

1. Your son or daughter didn’t know sociopaths exist

Our society tells us that everyone is created equal, everyone just wants to be loved, and there’s good in everyone. Perhaps you even said these things to your child. If not, the messages certainly came through at school.

Our society doesn’t tell us that there are exceptions. The feel-good characterizations simply do not apply to the approximately 12% of the population who are personality disordered.

These exploiters come from all demographic groups and all walks of life. They are not necessarily hard-core drug addicts or criminals.

What we all need to learn is that people who are attractive, educated and well-mannered can also be evil.

2. Your son or daughter is good and kind-hearted

Perhaps you taught your children to treat others the way they want to be treated. Your son or daughter may be naturally kind and willing to help others.

Usually, this is a wonderful way to live. Unfortunately, there are people in the world sociopaths who are willing to take advantage of anyone’s goodness, kindness and generosity.

We all tend to interpret the way others behave according to the way we behave. So if we don’t lie, and would never dream of intentionally hurting someone, we don’t know it’s possible for another person to do it to us.

That makes us walking targets for sociopaths.

3. Sociopaths are extremely convincing liars

It is impossible to overstate a sociopath’s ability to lie. These people lie like they breathe. They spend their entire lives perfecting their lies. They tell big lies and small lies. They tell outrageous lies. They even lie when they’d be better off telling the truth.

Sociopaths can look deep into your eyes and lie. All of those tips about how to spot a liar simply do not work with sociopaths. These people can pass lie detector tests.

If your son or daughter is basically honest, they never stood a chance.

4. Sociopaths promise to make dreams come true

In the beginning of the involvement, the sociopath likely asked your son or daughter a lot of questions, and listened very carefully to their answers. Your kid likely interpreted this to mean that the sociopath was really totally interested in them.

Actually, the sociopath was listening carefully to find out your child’s hopes and dreams. The sociopath wanted to discover the deepest place within them to set the seduction hook by promising to make the dreams come true.

And who doesn’t want to believe someone who promises to make your dreams come true?

5. Sociopaths target vulnerabilities

If we’re human, we have vulnerabilities. Sociopaths are experts at finding and exploiting them.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your son or daughter lacks intelligence, has low self-esteem, or is a co-dependent personality. We all have desires, and what we want makes us vulnerable. We also all have emotional wounds, and those wounds make us vulnerable.

Many times emotional wounds date back to childhood. Can you think of anything your son or daughter experienced that could have created a wound?

6. Sociopaths hijack the natural human bonding process

When people experience intimacy, a hormone called oxytocin is released into the bloodstream and brain. Oxytocin is triggered by any type of intimacy emotional sharing, physical touching and sex. Oxytocin makes us trust the person with whom we share intimacy.

Feelings of love cause dopamine to be released in the brain. Dopamine is associated with energy, motivation and addiction.

These psychological and biological changes are normal. Nature intended them to make us want to stay with our romantic partners to care for children.

None of this applies to sociopaths. They do not form bonds. But they intentionally do things like causing fear and anxiety that make it difficult for their partners to break the psychological bonds and escape.

7. Sociopaths present themselves as perfect partners

In the beginning, it seems like the sociopath has so much in common with your son or daughter. That’s because sociopaths figure out what their targets are looking for, and then make themselves into that person.

Then, sociopaths keep the mask on as long as necessary to get the target hooked. Once the target is committed perhaps living together, married or pregnant the sociopath may totally change.

I’ve heard of sociopaths who even announced immediately after the wedding, “Now I can stop pretending.”

8. Sociopaths engage in brainwashing

Cult leaders who are sociopaths in the extreme have discovered that the most effective brainwashing technique is love bombing. This means is showering their targets with attention and affection, making the target feel loved and wanted.

The sociopath your son or daughter encountered likely did this in the beginning of the relationship. That’s how they got hooked.

From there, the sociopath may have gradually engaged in mind control by manipulating your kid’s behavior, information, thoughts and emotions. The sociopath likely instilled an “us vs. them” mentality in your son or daughter, with you being the bad guys. This is a typical thought control tactic.

Sociopaths instinctively know to do this. But their targets, unfortunately, are not aware of what is happening.

9. A premeditated scam

Everything the sociopath did to take advantage of your son or daughter was intentional.

Here’s what sociopaths do when they meet a potential target:

  1. Evaluate the target to see if he or she has anything that they want.
  2. Ask questions to determine the target’s vulnerabilities.
  3. Use the target’s vulnerabilities to take what they want.

The entire relationship was a scam. The sociopath may have been a “make it up as you go along” type of person. Or, the sociopath may have executed a plan that was years in the making. (Yes, that happens.)

This is mind-boggling. No one wants to believe that promises of love and devotion are just a ruse. So even if your son or daughter started having doubts, they never even dreamed of the scope of the sociopath’s betrayal.

What to do now

Please understand that your son or daughter was up against a professional. The sociopath targeted your kid, and used love bombing, lies, mind control, emotional manipulation, fear and guilt to execute the exploitation scheme.

The sociopath probably did not employ all those tactics with you. Therefore, you may have been able to see what was going on, where your son or daughter could not.

Mom and Dad, if your kid now knows they’ve been scammed, the pain of betrayal is overwhelming. The last thing they need to hear from you is, “I told you so.”

The best thing you can do is focus on your love for your brokenhearted child, and without judgment, help him or her pick up the pieces.


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44 Comments on "To Mom and Dad: 9 reasons why your son or daughter fell for a sociopath"

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My goodness this is so good that it literally needs to be read by everyone is the United States. The only slight point of contention is the inference the every victim is love bombed. I certainly was not. In my own case ( with both me and my spath being young disabled adults), there was no need to lovebomb me because just being with someone who shared my disabilities and experiences as a disabled person was enough of a hook for me. Maybe there are others here who were not love bombed either. Great Article. Best thing ever posted on LF. Thanks

Amazing. I can relate to a certain degree wguy. Although the ‘path wasn’t suffering in the same manner as I was.

You on the other hand had someone who used a similar disability as a means of taking advantage. Unconscionable! as I can relate to how much we need sincere support and someone to understand us while we’re suffering through such intense physical and emotional whirlwinds.

I personally was going through the confusing repercussions of head injuries, the loss of friends and family (who did not understand how to support me) as well as suffering through the after effects of a broken neck that had left me temporarily paralyzed from the upper arms downward.

At the time this had my life shattered in too many ways to count.

Of course during some of the darkest hours a ‘path came along taking total advantage of the situation. By pretending to be my friend, advocate and confidant.

She nearly had me convinced that my best interest was at heart 100% of the time. That she was the person who understood the situation completely while others ,of course(

Thank you Donna!
I am sharing this with some of my coworkers who are social workers.
Kids need to be warned about this! The boogie man is a sociopath and needs to be talked about!

Another EXCELLENT article Donna!! Thank you!

I would like to add these evil sociopaths use pity play manipulation, isolate their victims from their family/friends, use gas lighting abuse & install fear & phobia’s into their victims mind to control them even more.

It’s hell on earth to get into the sociopaths grips & their web of destruction will destroy your son or daughters soul so dont turn your back on your child educate yourself fully so that you can help them heal just like if they had cancer.

Awesome article, Donna. Definitely one to bookmark!

I told my therapist that had I known sociopaths existed, I would have never stayed 33 years. I never knew people would lie just to lie. I was raised to trust people, to give them the benefit of the doubt, do not be judgmental, to be kind and to help those who were having difficulty. My pastor in church was fond of telling us what a wicked young man he was until he met his wife, who was a pastors daughter. Her belief in him encouraged him to get right with God and change his life! I grew up thinking everyone grew up the way I did and for 25 years, while I was terribly unhappy, it never occurred to me ‘he’ wasn’t trying as hard as I was. That he wouldn’t want what was best for me and that he wasn’t deeply committed to me and my well being.
I was ignorant and uneducated. When I finally faced the truth about him, I felt guilty for thinking the worst of him! How crazy is that? Had I known there was such a thing as a sociopath, I would never have suffered as long as I did. Had I known there were people like him, that did the things he did, I would have never gotten involved because his actions were text book.
Thank goodness people can get on the internet and search these things out, now. There’s no telling how many people this website, and others like it, allow to get out of their train wreck so much sooner than I did.
Great article~!

Absolutely, TeePee! If I had known, I would have stayed gone the FIRST time after fewer than 4 years instead of it taking 4 tries and 25 years! It wasn’t until about the 20 year mark that I realized I was being emotionally abused and it still took time to get the courage to get out because I had two young children. When I finally did get out, they were 7 and 11. I went through the same things you describe, which is totally normal.

There is really no redemption for people like this, unfortunately. The best thing is to learn what to look for and stay far, far away. I have spent the last 5 1/2 years since escape gently teaching my girls all sorts of life lessons as to how to critically think through a person’s behavior, in the hope I can spare them the torture of a sociopathic partner.

Agree; so very true in my case of trying everything during my 23 year long marriage. “If only I knew then what I know now.” Thank goodness for the internet and great teachers such as Donna who devote their lives to educating the ignorant. GREAT article!

TeePee1124, me, too! You must be from the South. Southerners are taught, albeit ingrained, to be kind to and love and respect everyone and not think that anyone could ever hurt us intentionally for no reason. Those were the morals/values I was brought up with that were so ingrained in me, i.e., good morals! I said to myself “How could anyone want to hurt me if I’ve never hurt them?” Well, the world isn’t 1945 anymore and I’ve learned there are predators out there who do just that, who have no empathy, conscience or morals and will target a good person because they can, because they are sick. I have now educated myself a LOT about BPD and Narcs so that it will never happen to me again. Yes, thank goodness for the internet and for Donna sharing her life experiences with all of us!

I love this article, because it is so true. The reasons are all the spath’s behavior, not the fault of the victim nor the victim’s parents. Yet knowing the facts that the article points out can provide protection against being victimized.

I experienced a lot of “blame the victim” from various sources in my spath experience. Before my own spath experience, I generally ‘blamed the victim’ in many ways. I truly believed that people somehow allowed themselves to be abused, until it happened to me. It helped my understanding that I was married to a wonderful man (I was widowed), before my marriage to the spath. I was the exact same person in both marriages, so the spath horror could not have been my fault.

AnnettePK, yes, just about everyone around me thought it was my fault and looked down on me as if I did something wrong. I told them all “Walk a mile in my shoes and you’ll see what it was like, being up against a domineering con man” but it didn’t matter. Although I have good self esteem and am clear what happened to me now though education, I was judged and lost my reputation with my friends and family because of my involvement with the Spath. But how was I to know the Spath’s impact on me if I couldn’t tell he was a con man from the get go?!? He was so funny and charming! 🙁 It was only until AFTER he negatively affected my world that I intuited there was something really wrong with him but by then it was too late. Once I figured out there was something wrong with him, I took steps to get away from him by consulting a lawyer, who advised me to move out while he was out of state. That’s exactly what I did, so as to avoid his wrath and physical confrontation. That was almost five years ago and I’m still being looked down upon from my friends and family for what I went through. I’m still depressed from what happened to me though. I feel broken but I hide that as much as possible and just keep moving foward and trying to improve my life through physical exercise and taking a new career path.

Obviously if your parents are narcissists and disordered themselves they won’t be of much use after your experience with a sociopath.

Although my mother DID try to tell me….if she had been ‘normal’, a sociopath would probably not have entered my life.

Donna, thank you so much for creating this article. I’m going to show it to my Dad! I’m also going to tell him about the gas lighting technique. I think that is an important part of what an spath does, to make you question your reality and try to twist it.

I think this article might really save my relationship with my Dad and two friends by shedding light on what they could not see before.

My experiences with spaths are that they never “see the light” for they are convinced of their own superiority of human development. They will endlessly try to convince you that your “perception” is twisted and you are therefore the “crazy” one.

Flicka, yes, my ex who I feel has BPD twists everything I say. So, I shut down and then he accused me of being a bad communicator! It’s a “No Win” situation with them. They think they are great. They think there is nothing wrong with them. It’s best to shake off the dusting of sickness they cover you with and walk away.

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