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To parents who have children with a sociopathic partner: There is hope

Photo by Photostock at Free Digital Images.net

Photo by Photostock at Free Digital Images.net

Editor’s note: This story was contributed by the Lovefraud reader who posts under the name “Getting There.”

I am guessing my story has many similarities to other victims of a sociopath. I fell in love with a façade. Charming, witty, so attentive, madly in love, a whirlwind intense romance followed by a long slow cruel erosion of my personality. By the time I plucked up the courage to finish the relationship some 13 years later, we had 2 children, a daughter and a son. I was convinced that everything was my fault, I was mad and a terrible human being. For months and months, I chanted a mantra, ‘ This is not all my fault. There were 2 people in our relationship. Life will get better!’ This helped.

It was only after we split up, when I did some research, I realised I had been living with a sociopath.

This happened 20 years ago and it has been a roller coaster. At the beginning the children stayed with me and we seemed to have settled into a routine of them spending time at their Dads regularly. However, a systematic, insidious process of alienation by their father towards me lead them both to eventually move to their father’s house. For a period of 10 years I saw them a handful of times. When I look back on this, the bleakest time of my life, it’s a blur of pain and tears. Waking every morning with a stomach clenching realisation, no it’s not a bad dream, they were no longer in my life and I cannot keep them safe.

I tried everything I could think of to gain access to see them. I engaged the British court system to no avail. He ignored the family court reports that stated the long term damage it was having on the children not seeing their Mum and broke every visit agreement. I paid for us both to go to mediation to try and find an agreement. Again he would agree to arrange for me to see them and then inevitably they would not turn up. Nothing worked. I realised that me wanting to see my children was being twisted by him as me threatening them. So, I made the most difficult decision of my life. I chose to stand back and wait. I continued to send birthday and Christmas presents hoping they would see there was always an open door back to see me though I never knew if they were received.

With the help of my new husband I discovered an unknown well of hope inside me. I kept thinking, they will come back someday and when they do I must be a well person who can be their Mum for them again. From the day we split up I vowed I would never say a bad thing about their father to them. No matter how hurt I have been or how much he has hurt them 50% of them is his DNA and for me to be negative about him is the same as me saying 50% of them is worthless.

When my daughter was 16 she made contact. Torn between euphoric elation on my behalf and caution on both sides we re-established a relationship. For a while this went well, but she was used to being in an environment she referred to as Team Hate. She told me how her, father, his girlfriend and sometimes her brother would have long chats about how awful I was and how I was to blame for everything bad that was happening in their lives. She wanted me to do the same about him but I stuck to my vow and eventually she turned away in frustration. What ensued was years of a cycle of her pulling me towards her then verbally hitting out at me followed by months of silence and refusal to have contact, finally ending in her ringing me to tell me she never wanted to see or talk to me. That was over 2 years ago. I have not given up hope. When we were together I told her again and again I will always be her Mum and here for her when she needs me. She has now ended contact with both her father, his girlfriend and her brother. I hear she is in counseling, so my fingers are crossed she can find some peace which I hope will lead her to see me.

Despite all my fears of never seeing my son again he moved in with us a few years ago. He was in a terrible state. Underweight, paranoid and hearing voices. At last, I thought I can help my son. It was not easy he was very wary of me and we developed a new relationship. One based on a mother and son estranged for so long. He stopped smoking skunk which had exacerbated his mental health problems, spent time with an excellent counselor, put on weight and slowly he has healed. He is aware he will always have to monitor his mental state and is learning to recognize the signals of him spiraling back down. He has started building up his own business and is still with me.

We only talk about his father if he brings up the subject and I stay neutral. He tells me his Dad has been diagnosed with leukemia and has refused to see him in the last 7 months because he has been having chemotherapy. He has told him how hurt this has made him feel that he denied him contact. His father’s response was to tell him he would come over in the next few weeks to spend time with him. I hope the prediction in my head is wrong that his father will, once again let him down but I have come to realise I cannot protect my children from this man but I can be there for them when they need a loving parent in their lives. To help them to see they are both wonderful people who can overcome the pain that life can bring.

Parents out there who have been in a similar situation, don’t give up hope. Keep on with your lives despite the gaping hole of the loss of your children. Look after yourselves so you can be the parent they will so desperately need when they finally remove themselves from the horrible mindset known as sociopathy.



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4 Comments on "To parents who have children with a sociopathic partner: There is hope"

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I have given up hoping that our 3 sons would ‘wake up’ and see the truth about their psychopathic father. I’ve been divorced from him, almost 17 years now; but all 3 are estranged from me. I seldom see or hear from them, the only contact I do have with their children, are pictures on Facebook. I divorced him, after 29 years of verbal/emotional abusive marriage. And when I did, they estranged from me; blaming me for all the pain,anger/hurt that had gone on. NOTHING was their dad’s fault; I am blamed for my lack of parenting/grandparenting skills and for the estrangement. They still cling to him, revolve their lives around him, his farm and his current wife. I just quietly, painfully, in tears, gave up trying. I live my own life. Holidays for family/church are very painful; I often avoid these, or I will sit in tears. Its tough to be around the ‘happy grandparent’ crowd, knowing that I cannot share in their joys/happiness. A few people know about this, but I want NO pity, sympathy from anyone. I got myself into all this, when I willingly married and had children with a psychopath.

I feel this pain that you have, regretfully mine. I have been feeling your pain for a very long time on this site. Every time I read one of your posts. I too am estranged from my now almost 35 year old son, and have been for two years. I finally realized after his tattered life, that he is a spath of one kind or another, and also that I can have nothing more to do with him. His two young children will likely not see me again. I do not want to be involved in anything to do with my son.

In this world of ‘family is everything’, tv shows, movies, holidays, etc that all glorify ‘ happy perfect families’, it is the most difficult life to live as we do, while everyone around us seems to be enjoying all of those things. I too avoid holidays. There are just too many bad memories.

Oh, and you did not ‘get yourself’ into anything. You did not know at first, and realization can occur so slowly and take so many years, that by the time it happens, we are too stuck in it all. Still, I am like you, I want no pity nor sympathy from anyone. That is not who I am.

Cheers…I am with you 🙂

I wish to say some more, to clarify my letter. For a number of years following my divorce, I did often reach out to our sons. We did have more contact then; but it was usually on THEIR terms, their say-so, not mine. We did meet for lunches/suppers now and then. I might add that these guys were older (oldest was a freshman in college, the younger 2 in HS, when I divorced him, so they had known/lived with his abuses of me for many years). I tried, to explain myself, to be open to them as often as we did get together. But after a certain point, in those meetings, the ‘walls’ of their minds would go up and any serious discussions often ended. As they moved on, with wives, careers, and now kids; it seems I’ve been left behind. (I made a comment to this effect to the oldest son (a doctorate in education); his reply was ” mom, you stayed behind”..none of these guys will ever admit they’re wrong in their attitudes towards me, everything IS my fault, they say now. So, I did give up; arguing, fighting for my say-so just got to be too much. I’ve made my share of mistakes, being their mom; but I did the best I knew how. As I pointed out to oldest son, NO parent is perfect.

I agree that this situation is one of the hardest for a person to deal with in life. What makes it worse is that the average person in the general public doesn’t even know that sociopaths exist and what a sociopath does and how they operate. Their unwitting ignorance facilitates sociopaths and their destructive acts. Martin Luther King said there is “nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. I truly understand and appreciate this statement now after experiencing how many people (even the best of friends and family members) assist the sociopath in his ruthless exploitation and destructive acts.
I have to admit though that here I do NOT agree with this writer’s strategy to never say anything “bad” or talk about her children’s sociopathic father. It is a parent’s responsibility to educate their child/children about what they are dealing with and give them skills to deal with people in the real world. Therefore, I think it is not as responsible of her to remain silent and not work toward giving the children involved real-life skills to understand the person they are forced to be with. This is not “bad-mouthing” the other person for no good reason. The sociopath will never treat you or the children fairly and with decency and respect. You need to know that and also not play into their power and control, but rather find ways to go around their power and minimize their control. You cannot “turn the other cheek ” and just expect that everything will miraculously turn out for the best somehow. There are things you can do to help yourself and your children. It is not fair that this happens to good people (being targeted and exploited by a sociopath) but it is key for your children’s sake that you don’t abdicate completely. It is my sincerest wish that human beings can finally get together and recognize the harm and destruction that sociopaths cause all of us and that people come together to recognize them accurately and stop them from the damage and destruction they cause. We all have to stop them – limit them. Recognizing strategies and tactics that can be used to counter them is very important. We need more information on how to do this and also we need to stop our court systems like family courts and probate courts from supporting and encouraging the sociopaths and their crimes against their victims. As it stands now, our systems are supporting and facilitating sociopaths and assisting them instead of stopping them. We all need to come together to recognize this, admit this even if it makes us feel uncomfortable, and STOP this from continuing to happen to good people. All of us have this responsibility for our society and for our children and their future. Too many people are disconnected from what is really happening or they are involved in fighting for things that are much less critically important for our future. Thank you for getting actively involved in being the change we all need to create a healthy and sane future society for us all.

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