Co-parenting with a male Sociopath – Surviving divorce and separation when children are involved!!

It can be difficult enough coming out of the relationship with the sociopath. Your mind is left in a fog after gaslighting, manipulation and abuse. You are heartbroken to see that everything you had invested, and put into the relationship was neither valued, or appreciated by the sociopath.

The charming person that you met, that appeared to be the ‘love of your life’ has either had enough of the responsibility of parenting and has left for a less responsible life, or you have had enough and asked your sociopathic partner to leave, or felt that you had to flee for your own sanity and for the welfare of your children.


Whatever the outcome, ending the relationship, which you think is going to end the problems, is often just the beginning of what can feel like an absolute nightmare.

How do sociopaths view their children?

You might think that as sociopaths do not ‘love’ in the traditional sense, then they will think nothing of their children, so why won’t they go quietly? The truth is that the sociopath, just as they view their partners, well even more than they view their partners, see their children, as something that they own their possession, something that is theirs, as much theirs as their arms or legs.  The sociopath can feel great attachment to their children. But almost always this is for their own narcissistic supply to meet their own needs, as they are unable to put the needs of anyone before themselves. They also cannot place the needs of the child in front of their own.

This means that the sociopath will likely use the child to control you. You might read recommendations on posts that say, NO contact!!! And think,  but I can’t? I have a child. How can I have no contact? This is impossible. You might feel despair and feel trapped. knowing that the sociopath can now use your child as a weapon to manipulate and control you.

Common sociopath tricks to continue to control the ex partner – other parent

  • Tell you that you are wicked, or cruel or a bad parent, if you do not allow him/her to see their child. That you are not acting in the best interests of the child (even if you are)
  • Not being reliable on visitation, making arrangements and then at the last minute, either not showing up at all, or letting the child down
  • Failure to make maintenance payments, or being unreliable with payments. Using maintenance to manipulate and control you
  • Constantly changing the goal posts, chopping and changing their mind, leaving you the other parent, upset, and not wanting to let your child down, or see your child hurt
  • Using the excuse to talk about the child, to keep in contact with you, and to then use information gained from you, to manipulate and control you
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent and threatening to take your children away from you (Sociopaths enjoy playing the legal game and having lawyers to fight against you) they will use the legal process to fight you, and make your life hell, just – because they can!!
  • Belittling you, or your parenting skills either to the child, or in front of your child

What to do and how to cope

Remember that to the sociopath, life, is just a game. Others in their lives are players in the game. You will see on a lot of other posts, that I say establish No contact, and stop playing the game. This is the only way to win.

However, if you have a child with a sociopath, you will know that it is not that easy. So, what can you do?

It is important that you do not allow the sociopath to take control of the situation. Also to stop playing the game with the sociopath. Unless you wish to go around in circles, with your head spinning and your child constantly being let down by the sociopath, it is recommended to seek legal guidance for

  • Maintenance (how much and when it should be paid)
  • Visitation rights – (when, for how long, what days, what happens if the sociopath lets the child down? – does visitation need to be in a contact centre?)

Before you get to a court you need to be aware that being in a court situation, is something that the sociopath very much enjoys. They love to play the game, to have the attention, to use legal professionals against you, and to control you.

You need to do the following to make your own life easier

  • Make all arrangements and agreements for your child formal through court  – Be FORMAL
  • Keep records of all contact with the sociopath. Telephone contact, email, texting – BE FORMAL (you might later need this as evidence as likely the sociopath will lie)
  • The sociopath rules by exploiting your emotions to control you. Do NOT display emotion. Even if you are seething, do not show any emotion at all. See this as BUSINESS. Be PROFESSIONAL (this might sound odd, but with the sociopath it is essential)
  • Do NOT discuss your own private information at any time – keep all communication ONLY about the child. Refuse to discuss your private information. Refuse to speak to the sociopath at all, UNLESS it is about the child. It is likely that the sociopath will use the excuse of the child to make contact with you, so that they can manipulate and control you. Refuse to play  this game, instead keep all communication only about the child. Everything else is none of the sociopaths business.
  • Do not put the sociopath down in front of your child. No matter how awful the sociopath is as a parent, it is still the childs parent. Encourage open and honest communication from your child about their visits
  • Remember that you still have a right to your own life

Stick to No Contact rules, do not look at their social networking sites, as this can cause you further pain. The only contact that you need to have with the sociopath is as follows

  • To discuss the needs of the child (it is likely that the sociopath will exploit this, but if you fail to discuss the needs of the child with the sociopath, they will use this against you in court.
  • Arrangements of maintenance payments. Do not get tied up about this. Expect to get nothing from the sociopath, unless it has been agreed by a formal arrangement (court usually, but sometimes in other countries, I am in UK, this can be through Child Support Agency) – with the sociopath, it is usually  better to have the agreement in writing through a court of law
  • Visitation access. YOU  tell the sociopath when they can see the child (the sociopath fits in around you) it is important not to give them control or they will exploit this, and use this to manipulate you. Try to protect your child, do not make a big deal about their parent coming if you know that parent is unreliable

These are the only reasons that you need to speak to the sociopath. Make it clear to the sociopath that your relationship is over. That contact will only be for the needs of the child. If the sociopath fails to make a visitation without good reason, do not re-schedule. Have regular set days which are convenient for you. if he/she misses contact, then make them wait until next time they have a contact day. Do not swap your plans around to fit in with the sociopath, or you will be controlled by the sociopath again.


  • Use law to support you
  • Never display emotion
  • ONLY discuss needs of the child, never your own private life
  • Keep records of everything
  • Do not play the Sociopaths game
  • Be formal have strict timetables and do  not be flexible for the sociopath as they WILL abuse this
  • Do not talk down about the sociopath parent in front of the child
  • Focus on you, and your child. Always put the needs of your child first, whilst paying attention to their safety and welfare – have a timetable and keep control

If you have been in this situation,or know somebody who has, is there anything else that you can think of?

Words ©

157 thoughts on “Co-parenting with a male Sociopath – Surviving divorce and separation when children are involved!!”

  1. Thank you so much for this entry on “Co-parenting with the Sociopath.” I am doing that. It is a slow and painful process. The no contact is so hard. As much as you try to make it all business, it still is difficult. The sociopath will still worm their way to bother you constantly. Like he’ll hang on the car as I’m trying to leave making his twisted, abusive accusations- in front of the child. I went through court, but they decided everything 50/50 and that we could settle and work out visitation between ourselves. From the courts standpoint we were both able to support our child equally. It’s a long road to go down to break the control. Just DON’T GIVE UP!!!! Get your life back. You know that you have a life and are beautiful person outside of your sociopaths reign.

    1. Thank you VirgoMind for your kind words which I needed tonight after a rough Skype interaction of being verbally assaulted in front of our daughters. It is true to remember that I need to stay solid outside of the sociopath’s reign. In my particular case it has been extremely difficult since my ex kidnapped the girls to Argentina almost 3 years ago after I was named primary residential parent.
      I stumbled on this article tonight on facebook for a reason I think. I “LIVE” by the words of this article. It’s the only way to survive against her continued abuse of the system and the laws which FOR NOW are actually protecting her while my daughters are continually being emotionally abused by parental alienation syndrome. The sociopathic behaviors are deplorable and always hurt the children more than those who they think they are directing their abuse at.
      Anyways, thanks and God bless…

      1. Dennis, I have been going through a similar situation as you. I have primary physical custody of my daughter. After 23 yrs of marriage, being totally blindsighted, my eyes were opened when a women showed up at the home at 5;00am opening my eyes to years of deceiving by him with many women. My daughter has been severely emotionally abused by his parental alienation. He knew she was and will always be the most important thing to me. Dispite my court papers, granting me primary physical custody,and the alienation progressing through the year of going through the divorce, and educating, and support by experts in PAS,the legal system did nothing to enforce the order, being she was sixteen at the time. Lawyers said a judge will see he has severally and unjustifiably alienated her, but the judge may still let the child do,live were she wants. She has disowned my family, her cherished pet, me and anything to do with me, despite my daughter and I having a close relationship prior to the divorce and me still staying in contact anyway and continuely letting her know I will never stop loving her. I cont to call and text her every week,even though she doesnt reply back. This man also controls me due to a collateral lien on the home, and support he owes. The grieving from not having my daughter in my life, AND the long term effects the abuse will have for my daughter o it hard for me to go on yet I still have to fight to rebuild my life, being he has alot of control of my financial situation(following the divorce decree, to pay support and the lien)3 yrs ago- the most important things in my life were my daughter, my 23yr marriage and a roof over my head. I w”the mask of a socialpath come down”. I would live in a hole, as long as I had my daughter in my life, but for now,she is not, and all I have is my home,which is not much but means more to me then a million dollars, and he still has control of me due to it.The legal papers are ordered, but now I am seeing first hand how socialpaths, “think their above the law”, and now Im fighting for enforcement by the law, so I am still fighting to be a survivor.

      2. This is actually a reply to k kloud. I cannot say how much I appreciate hearing your story. I’ve looked through tons of sites like this and haven’t had my story reflected as clearly as through yours! I have primary custody of my oldest son (16). The ex didn’t even show up for court “I was stuck and YOU should have told the judge that! ” cam you believe it? He didn’t because he knew he had nothing AND he knew even if I got custody, which I did, that my son would still choose to live with him. Not only is he s sociopath, he’s had a brain aneurysm and my son knows he can manipulate his dad due to both to get what he wants and that he cannot manipulate me. I’m terrified he is going to grow up mimicking his dads behaviors of lying, gaslighting, manipulating, and gleefully breaking the law, playing victim or hero, depending on the audience. I refuse to play the game and yet he fills the kids with stories of MY abusive behavior toward him, basically everything he can’t admit he’s done to me flipped to be his story. I work in the mental health field and have never run into someone who protects and deflects responsibility like he can. He’s a master.

        I’m not so worred about my youngest. He lives with me and if I have to I’ll sell everything I own to save him from the same fate as my oldest.

        The only thing I could see would chair l change anything, other than faith is suing money for a psych evaluation and henning the judge tell me son why his father’s sickness is something ha can’t be around. ..but I don’t have the money and he’s 16 and by the time that was concluded he will be an adult and go live in Peter Pan land with his father and the wayward teems he’s been taking in lately.

        It’s a tough road!

    2. Yeah, except mine managed to manipulate CPS into giving him FULL TEMPORARY CUSTODY of my children. It was a little like giving a mean five year old a loaded gun to point at me, and then telling him not to shoot it. He’s done a great job of pretending everything he’s doing is for the benefit of the children while using his position to cut me out of their lives as much as possible. He yanks visits when he’s made, tells the children they can’t see me if they misbehave and heavens only knows what he’s saying. Everything he does is my fault somehow in his twisted point of view, even when he does things to me that hurt the kids. His mother is just as bad, and sees the boys as some kind of jewelry she can wear at holidays and CPS is eating their facade up like it is candy. The whole experience has felt like beating my head against cement. My fear is he will convince everyone I’m the problem, and I will never get him out of my life.

      1. You cannot change what other people think about you. But you can change how you think about what they think. Good friends will not betray you – those that believe ill of you, were not your friend in the first place.

  2. Wow, thats tough.. I say put all the spaths in one building and bomb it. Who will miss them anyway. Games, games, gamesthats all they know, you become drained and ill pplaying games like a five yr. Old yet when they meet a beautiful woman they put on a mask that is so mature and upright, an confident. Thats SCARY shit right there. “NO CONTACT” I wouldnt even let my kids go with him…

    1. I feel the same way Bewildered!…..I really wish it was possible!….Satan dwells inside of sociopathic bodies….They should not be allowed to live amongst the rest of us! I have had more than my fair share of sociopaths and psychopaths in my family and including a former neighbor who used to live next door to me. If a person has a child by them they better pray to God Almighty that the kid doesn’t take after Satan(the sociopathic parent).

  3. Reblogged this on Paula's Pontifications and commented:
    This is also true even if you never had children but you adopted a pet, dog or cat, while dating, living with or engaged to a sociopath. Like children, animals are possessions they in order to use, abuse and control others.

    They will laugh with impunity knowing they “won” and come up with all kinds of reasons why they deserve the dog and you don’t. The only person they are fooling is themselves. Everyone else just sits back shaking their heads at the ridiculousness of the sociopath. No one likes him; everyone just tolerates him. And that is the unfortunate fate of their children: they just tolerate Dad or Mom.

    It’s so sad, but completely within the sociopath’s control to end it if the sociopath would just be willing to accept that he’s a piece of trash unsuitable to be in close proximity to any non-sociopathic person, man, woman, child or animal.

    But, then again, sociopaths have zero control over themselves and that’s why they need to control YOU.

    Great post, Nikki! Namaste!

  4. GREAT posting! We always must be aware that sociopaths do not think like us. They are constantly manipulating, using hidden agendas, and doing everything possible to keep us off balance. ANd of course, their children suffer greatly.

  5. I totally agree with everything! Except for the social media part, I use it to verify locations and events. Because I don’t care what the monster is doing, I care if you say your with the children, and they are with your significant other at where ever and your dirty a** is at work, which is a violation of our court order. Or you make me switch weekends with you, and I made plans – but you have to “work” and your not – your at “date night” again violation of court order. Now if your looking ever day, or becoming emotional upset. Maybe not for you, at this time, everything is a process.

  6. This topic is EXACTLY what I need the most support on. AHA I speculated that our 4 kids (which i raised as he flew around the globe) have become the best pawns in his pscho-game. Loves them? hmmm not in the traditional sense, cherishes them being around him just to get at me. They are on their week of vacation with him this week and none of their/his phones are accepting calls…they are “off the grid” so I can’t even talk to my peeps for a week….ohhh that kind of manipulation gets me so mad. The damage he does to them mentally, I let them talk about their hurts. It takes them about a week to unreel from the crazy-making and then its time to go back with the monster. At what age will they be able to discern fact from fiction when it comes to Daddy Dearest?? I can’t wait till then but then I worry that they won’t ever realize the crazy socio-merri-go-round they’ve been on their whole life with him? BTW, you didn’t mention, that money he spends on fun & entertainment/vacations for the kids really doesn’t have a limit. Here in my real world, I cannot and don’t want to come close to the kind of indulgences.

    1. This it’s just what my ex does… I left him when our son was only 6 months old but for the years it was back and forth of finding the strength to leave and then being pulled back in again. When our son was three I FINALLY filed for divorce and he was granted daytime visitation only ever other Saturday (due to his inability to care for our son at night, having parties at his place, leaving him in the care of others while he went out with friends, ect). He did not regularly attend his visitation but in the past year he has re entered my son’s life at the age of 6. Since he only has him for 12 hours every two weeks, each visitation is like a competition to see how many things he can do with him or buy for him in the amount of time given (but makes no effort to help pay for necessities like clothes, groceries, day care, ect for him). He will ask to take him on a day that isn’t his to do something big like a waterpark, theme park, or sporting event. When I say no because it is not his scheduled visitation, he tells our son about all the grand plans he had for them that mommy took away. He tells him that he wishes he had more time to do fun stuff but mommy won’t let him. He makes me the un-fun mean parent while he sits there making promises to our six year old (that obviously our son takes as golden because his father had manipulated him intobelieving he can do no wrong) and then constantly lets him down. I invite him to be a part of his son’s life outside of his visitation (attending his soccer games or karate matches ect) but as much as he “loves” him and “wants more time” with him he has yet to show up to one. He lets out son get away with murder while I’m trying to instill courage, manners, responsibility and kindness. It’s so incredibly frustrating to be the other parent with a sociopath and know that all of your child’s “best” memories will be with the sociopath parent. but my father was the same way and just trust me, when they get older they will recognize that even though the other parent bought their love as a trophy, you were the one who provided for them, who was there every day, who took care of them when they were sick, and who truly loved them unconditionally.

      1. Hi Amy – aragh that is such a harsh situation to be in. The best advice I could give is to not react. Do not display emotion about it. Be consistent with your son. Explain to your son the rules that daddy knows. The reason for these rules (without putting the father down) – its a tough one – but it can be done. If your son knows that those times are there for a reason and daddy KEEPS offering to have him at other times – eventually he will wake up and see the truth. Not right now as he is only 6. Allow his father to spend what he wants – and think – well its a fun time for your son – I really feel for you – its a tough situation to be in. I think though – that when he knows he is NOT getting to you…. he might get bored of the theme parks and spending money etc….. so try not to show emotion – in fact be enthusiastic and supportive – i know that is tough when he is telling your son that you are not letting him have him. It is a shame that your son is in the middle…. if only there were magic wands….

      2. yep, this is me word for word. my daughter turned 14 and realised that this was her dad and now wants nothing to do with him. all my fault ofcourse.

  7. Some interesting points but you confuse narcissist with sociopath. Plus,with parental alienation you don’t put the other parent down, but be honest, unless you want your children brainwashed.

  8. I have a 3yr old boy with my sociopath Ex husband and on returning him home this evening, He wanted to tell me (aggressively) about how much he had changed and that he wanted me to believe him. When I told him I couldn’t care less, he said he wanted me to respect him and believe him. He hated the fact that I told him I would NEVER believe him nevermind respect him!

  9. Please also write an article for non-custodial fathers who have to deal with a sociopath custodial mother, thank you.

    1. Hi aTable I wrote this article as a few people had asked me, but kept it gender neutral.

      For female custodial parents similar would be the case.

      1. Use the court to have formal access agreements in place
      2. Similar for maintenance payments (so you cant be constantly asked for more)
      3. Do not display emotions
      4. Do not engage in conversation unless discussing your child – ONLY talk about needs of the child, not your own private life
      5. Listen to your child – watch out for warning signs that your child is not being treated properly or is being abused

  10. Is a good article. But what if the sociopath has a crooked lawyer in a crooked town that gets the child away from you? Use the law? Sometimes that is not possible. How do you deal with a sociopath parent when the law gives them the upper hand?

    1. Alice, do you live in USA? I have heard this story so many times. I really don’t know what the answer is. That is an awful situation to be in. Do you still have access to your child? I would imagine if he is a sociopath, they do not think ‘long term’ and are into point scoring and playing the game. One would hope that they therefore wouldn’t want the responsibility of being a single parent long term. I know somebody who removed themselves completely from the game and moved town to live back with their parents. I don’t know if that is the best thing to do, as that could also be used against you.

      You still have to do everything you can in the interests of your child, don’t show emotion, even if your heart is breaking (as they get joy from hurting you), do you have joint access? Or what agreement has been made? Can you find a better lawyer for yourself (possibly a female one) to help you?

      Has the judge awarded him full custody? What access do you have? If you still have access to your child – still do the following

      1. Do not display emotion, see it as business
      2. Ensure that you stick to arrangements to see your child
      3. Don’t get caught up playing the game with the sociopath, still try to stick to a timetable – regular contact) if you have this
      4. Ask for an agreement to see your child, when what time etc, and keep to those timetables
      5. Ensure that everything that you do, is in the interests of the child
      6. If the father is a sociopath, then gaining access from you would be part of the game that they play. But they don’t do too well at long term plans, or responsibility – so likely they wouldn’t want the responsibility for being a single parent either long term.
      7. Is your lawyer able to see what is going on? If not, can you get another?
      8. Don’t give up – you are still your child’s mother – do the best with what you have. In front of the child/sociopath show no emotion, in fact be reverse, happy confident etc (if you can), the sociopath will be confused why he is not getting to you.

      This is, I admit a tough one, that I have heard of a few times from people who live in USA 😦 I don’t know if anyone else reading this has any further suggestions?

      1. in the usa the law is going to give both parents custody unless one has killed someone pretty much. I found in my own experience the best way to deal with my sociopath ( my daughters biological father ) was to get away from the court system and make deals with him on my own. I sold my home and gave him money, they love money. use other laws to protect your children. in Washington state and im sure in most, did you know its illegal for any parent to take children in a car that is not licensed and insured?? this was my saving grace when my ex came to pick up my daughter for over night visitation. my father asked him for proof ( smart thinking ) of insurance and a drivers license, he didn’t have insurance and there fore could not legally take my child in a car. my father said he could come in and visit there, he stayed 5 minutes and never tried to get her again. children are objects to a sociopath and if there is no gain they usually disappear. children take love and lots of attention and that’s not something a sociopath even has a clue about giving so it really is usually getting back at you, not seeing there children. I know this doesn’t apply to all sociopaths but for the most part a child is a pain in the ass to take care of they are selfish creatures so learn what will work to your advantage and use it, try and stay out of court rooms if you don’t want to share custody because in a court room its not going to go that way!!!! and I my opinion a sociopath has nothing good to offer a child, in fact the cause much emotional damage so do what you have to to protect your children. .

      2. I wouldn’t ever recommend paying a sociopath. As once they have run out of money, they would be back for more. I think you got lucky that he just went away. No they don’t want to stop playing the game, when they have one over on you. They always come back for more.

        I know in USA you have some dodgy lawyers and corrupt court systems (so I have read from victims), but in a system where children are potentially at risk, my work with child protection cases, always recommended to get legal proceedings in place. This gives a formal structure. Sociopaths are not very good at following formal structures, and are more likely to breach what is put in place. Then you have something on them. You are lucky to have him go away…. I am pleased for you too for that 🙂 – but you could have been faced with a battle that had been ongoing for years, and constant demands for more money, round and round in circles. Good job he decided not to play the game anymore. Usually sociopaths dont give up.

      3. I followed all the experts advice on Parental Alienation Syndrome’s and educated myself.I never said anythg neg about him, etc infront of my daughter and followed all the advise. If a child is 16 or older ,EVEN, if they say they dont want contact with one parent, and all there family members, and have no reasoning or justification for it. A judge may just let the child do what they want just to avoid any future rebellion from the child. Ask any lawyer, and they will confirm this. In an effort to protect children from abuse were the child is at harm the legal system has given children more say, the problem is a socialpath puts himself/herself above the legal system and knows how to get around it. They also want to control, and know what is the closest thing to a loving parent’s heart-their child.

    2. I’m worried about this situation myself. I’ve gone through a breakup recently, and my former partner has run off and gotten married again (in pure sociopath style in only 4 months). My worry is that she will use her newly married status (and newly ex-gay) as some sort of proof that she will provide a better home versus my single parenting.
      The thing that kills me is that she doesn’t want to take care of my son, just possess him as a prize and playmate for her daughters, who are nearly grown and ignored him mostly when we were living together.
      The only thing I can think of is to remain calm, and just do whatever I can legally, and never give up or despair. That’s the hardest part, keeping yourself together.
      Shop around for legal help until you find what works. My heart goes out to you.

      1. My ex is a woman as well. She found her next victim before our marriage was over. It’s been almost 2 years. 8 Years of emotional abuse has left me destroyed. Now I am so terribly depressed that I haven’t been able to work. I am losing everything and now I am afraid I will lose my children. I just don’t know how to pick up the pieces. She is so cruel. If only I took all this advice in the beginning when I was in survival mode. Now I am lost. She is winning. Calls me the babysitter and recently accused me of child abuse and of pedophilia. She will do or say anything to hurt me. I was always the emotionally available one to our children and her. I am the non-bio and yet the one who cares more about their emotions. She tells them horrible things about me that are untrue and they are only 5.5 and 3.5. I just don’t know what to do or where to turn.

  11. Thanx for all the information. My children are now in their 20’s and still idealize their father. When we were first divorced he did engage in many of the behaviors described above and actually sued me to decrease his c.hild support payments. I never told my kids about their father’s behaviors. Now that they are adults, he still tries to control them, and I am very well aware that they are only objects to him, extensions of himself. They do not seem to see him as I, and most others, do. Do I now tell them about his previous actions, or wait until they, hopefully, can see him for who he is?? It is breaking my heart that they idolize him, regardless of the fact that he is a registered sex offender, lost his psychologist’s license due to sexual misconduct with clients and has ruined so many people’s lives – mine, his former employees’, clients, etc. Would appreciate some feedback. Thank you

    1. Tough one Robin, I would imagine that if they knew and it came from you it could backfire on you. It could also devastate them too.

      I take it that he is (in their mind) a ‘good’ father? – if you do not feel that they are at risk from him, is it in their interests to tell them? As they might blame and resent you for damaging something that they idolize, if they are not at risk, and they are now in their 20s, they are old enough to make up their own mind. Information about his conduct, might be best learned elsewhere – UNLESS you felt that they were at risk of harm from him. Ask yourself, what advantage will there be to my child to know this information? Will they blame you? Are your children at risk of harm from him?

      1. Appreciate your comments. No, they are not in any physical harm, but there has been emotional harm. My youngest child, now 25, has basically ceased contact with me, and has almost totally aligned himself with his father. He even changed careers to become a licensed addictions counselor!! We used to have such a close relationship and it has changed dramatically, I believe, due to my ex’s seductive skills. My other 2 children and I still have good relationships, but I am very aware that my ex takes advantage of them whenever he can to draw them-in and turn them against me. I don’t know if they would blame me, but I do know that they are vulnerable, and it has been extremely hard for me to sit back for all these yrs and do nothing. I have taken all the right steps to protect them, and now it is backfiring against me in regards to my relationships with them. So, I suppose this is as much about me as it is about them, but again, I am heartbroken. No one who knows what my ex has done can understand why my kids have any sort of a relationship with him and neither do I.

      2. After reading all this I must say that my father fits into most of this. My mother told me one or two years ago that my dad is a sociopath it was in anger so i did not listen to it first. But she repeated it and we had a proper conversation about it, I was 20 now im 22. Its hard to realize and a part of me dont want to see it even though its true. My dad always talks negative about my mother and tries to put her in a bad light by saying stuff like: see your mom is always so hysterical and Im always calm. But since your saying that your children are getting distanced from you I think you should try to let them know. I would not have seen it if my mother wouldnt have told me… Maybe the best thing would be to seek professional help together with your children. Cause the way you tell them is very important. It can open their eyes or it can make them go even more on his side. And whatever you do do not let him know what you are telling them..he will probably make you sound even more crazy like my dad does. The age to tell your children is also important I dont think younger children would understand. At least I know for my self that I wouldnt have understood it a couple of years ago. And as you can see it will take time for the child to realise that it is a fact, personally I have had to let it sink slowely in for two years now.

    2. You are so right. Although the Narc father doesn’t want to be bothered with a child once he’s got him away from the Mother, he has often seduced another woman with his wiles and she’s happy to take the child from that ‘terrible’ mother.
      The one error IMHO to this post is the not bad-mouthing the parent to the child – It is absolutely the correct thing of course but we have to find a way to balance out the Parental Alienation from the other parent. I ignored it, not wanting to pull my son in half, without realizing that up to the age of 8 children brain waves are like sponges, they are being programmed whatever they are told. Now my son believes the lies his father told him really happened and it’s too late for me to undo.
      I am in your situation Robin and I know it IS agonizing. It is too late to say anything now but I suggest calmly questioning the things they say now that are untrue so they just MIGHT start to question it themselves.

    3. Speaking from the child’s point of view: I am in my early 30’s and I have only recently discovered that my father is a sociopath. The only reason I found out is because somebody pointed it out to me and I started researching it. Only then did I realize that he fits the full description. You have to understand that when you are the child of a sociopath, it takes a lot longer to see what everyone else sees. You’re supposed to be able to trust and depend on your parent…you have no reason not to believe your own father.

      I wish someone would have pointed me to this earlier so I could have saved a lot of time and money- he constantly makes me feel bad for him so I’ve done a lot for him. He always talked bad about our mother to all of us kids, and would make us believe that she was the reason the family was split up. Now that I know he feels nothing for me, I can finally cut ties with him without feeling guilty, like I would have liked to do years ago but could never bring myself to do.

      1. Hi Amanda,

        Welcome to the site. The difficulty with sociopaths is that they do not feel genuine empathy for other people. So they cannot understand how other people feel.

        With sociopaths look at the actions (always) and not the words. The actions can of course be deceptive, but usually they blow their cover with their actions.

        I do not know your story with your father. But I would say that he has been in your life for more than 30 years.

        Maybe use this to learn how your mother has felt? To see the truth, about how your mother has been portrayed. They are pathological liars, and love to play victim. As I am sure that you know.

        I wouldn’t agree though that they feel ‘ nothing’ for their children. I wouldn’t like you to think that from my post. I don’t know your father, but I wouldn’t say that my ex felt nothing for his child. He saw her as his, as something that was a part of him. He was just unable to be unselfish and to put her needs before his own.

      2. Hi Amanda, thanks so much for your point of view as the child of a sociopath, it gives me great comfort. My son is 11 years old and my soon to be ex-husband has regular alternate weekend contact with him, during which he consistently plays sociopathic mind games with my son and it takes him at least until Tuesday of the following week to re-settle into ‘normal’ mode with the help of my supportive (I’m really lucky in this respect) family. I find it extraordinarily difficult to not defend myself against the horrible lies and manipulation that he subjects my son to during this time and I have come to the conclusion that I have to find a way of explaining, without bad-mouthing my ex, exactly what kind of predatory creature he is. But here’s the problem – how do you explain to a child that one of their parents doesn’t love them, not because they don’t deserve to be loved, but because that person is incapable of loving anyone? It’s a huge risk but one which I hope will protect my child not only from exposure to his sociopathic father but also to recognise and deal with any sociopathic personalities he meets in the future. I’m in it for the long game, which I believe is one tactic that works well against the sociopath, as they only really get a kick out of short-term gain. I’m glad you’ve found the strength to move on from your father and I’m sure it will pay dividends for you in your future relationships. Respect to you.

      3. Xanthe, I definitely wouldn’t bring up the issue of love…it could be very damaging to a child to say your father doesn’t ‘love’ you- I don’t believe they are fully capable of understanding sociopathy. Instead I would say something like, your father has a disease which makes him capable of lying and hurting people without feeling bad…something along those lines. I would also get him into therapy if you can. My father did a number on my younger sister- constantly lying and bad mouthing our mother, getting her on “his side”, I believe since she was the youngest and most influential. Consequently she now has major mental health issues, probably from years of the lies and abuse she was subjected to. And maybe just asking him if his dad had said anything that upset him or that he wants to talk about every time he comes home from his place. And when he gets older, talk to him more about sociopathy- make sure he doesn’t fall for his pleas for help and money- but at that age I think you just have to protect him as much as possible without making him feel like he has to choose sides or feel guilty. At 11, I knew that there was something wrong with my dad. I knew deep down that he was nuts. But I still needed his approval, still loved him because he was my dad and that’s what you are supposed to do.

      4. Thank you for sharing this. I have a couple children one was older and we went through hell. Later on the socio rewarded him for bad behavior and ex owed 100k in child support. He lured our oldest to live with him and years later now luring our youngest. He used emotional blackmail. Now our youngest says he wants to live with his dad this was said only after the socio continued taking our son to see the child attorney (no pressure right)

  12. Thank you for writing he/she and the like. There are many sociopathic (e.g., narcissistic) mothers out there and the fathers who are the active, supporting, involved, nurturing parents. Since the stereotype is the opposite, I appreciate your challenging that stereotype with your language that acknowledges that both mothers and fathers can be good parents or bad. Thank you.

  13. This article Is spot on with my ex-wife and I am still playing the game is cost me a fortune don’t know how to stop it what can I do my lawyer has tried the judge doesn’t listen!

    1. hi chris, i am not sure if u are still going thru this with ur ex but if u are i could give u some details of mine and my husband’s struggle with his ex wife and how he walked away with sole custody of his kids. the first experience i have ever had with a sociopath was his ex wife. had i known the havoc she would wreak we would have done things much differently. I was the second wife who was very much involved in the fight with my step children and am pretty much the only mother they acknowledge now. it was an expensive battle, yes u are right in that aspect. and u will have to be willing to spend more to best her.
      start keeping a journal of EVERYTHING! and i mean nothing to be left to the imagination with dates, and witnesses signed every entry u make.
      also shut any social media site u have up, shut them all down. and keep every single interaction between the two of u, and ALWAYS be nice and courteous.
      and if visitation is being withheld from u, after u have ur documentation in place then u need to petition the court for enforcement EVERYTIME SHE REFUSES VISITATION!!! it will get costly but eventually the judge cannot ignore a pattern.
      it took us almost 4 years to get his kids. but she got tangled in her own lies.
      hold her feet to the fire

  14. What do you do when a sociopath has custody and will not let you see children? She will not even bring children to reunification therapist. The court has stated it does not have the skills to handle cases like this.

    1. Mike, The problem is the legal system does not want to deal with, acknowledge there is parental alienation “”syndrome” . A child could become alienated from a parent for ex if that parent was physically abusive, etc to the child. But if you read on parental alienation syndrome you will see there is different severity, etc which causes it to be a syndrome- in other words the child displays certain symptoms along with the other parents actions(and if the child is showing severe symptoms, its due to being severely and intentionally being manipulated “brainwashed”. Which the takes a lot of counseling, evaluation, etc the courts dont want to deal with(or cant handle)

  15. The court system never helped me out at all. He had the money therefore he wins. When he was dangerously stalking me and harassing me I reported it and who looked crazy for HIS BEHAVIOR? Me!!! I was afraid for my life and the courts did nothing but say I was making it up. He was arrested for DV and two years later with his money went into court and said I inflicted the wounds on myself and they bought his story. It all got turned around and I lost my children to a psycho. He continues to harass me today begging me to come back to him and when I don’t he attacks me. VERY VERY SICK MAN AND DANGEROUS. My girls raised by a Psycho have been through HELL healthy, education, family connections etc. I hope he suffers for his actions. I pity him but not enough to talk to him. If you let down your guard for one second he tries to move in. Just looking at him or hearing his voice makes me vomit. I pray for my children all day and night that they escape his talons.

  16. My proceedings are starting shortly. I’m going in with an open mind as to what will be will be. I know exactly the truth of our relationship and how he was with me and our lo. I’m expecting him to deny everything so will come of no surprise to. Everything that comes out of his mouth is one big lie. He constantly told me how I was too nice. To honest and told me I should be more like him. No thank you very much. I couldn’t live with myself if I was anything like him. Unlike him I have a conscience and believe in speaking the truth. He told me I tell people too much and should only tell them what they want to hear not what they need to hear. Straight away I know how his going to operate in court. His past behaviour speaks volumes so I’m hoping the courts see him what he really is and help me to safeguard our lo. Heres to trusting myself and beleiving in myself. I know the real truth and so does he only im not the one in denial. Our lo deserves to be taught not to behave as their father does and I’m doing my best to encourage our lo to be the best person they can be. The worlds a bad enough place as it is without the likes of these monsters also. Im a survivor I refuse to be a victim any longer.

  17. I recently divorced a sociopath. That was the easy part in some ways. Basic custody was established where he sees the children 30% of the time. Here are a few more nuanced ways to establish “NO CONTACT” which is the golden rule of dealing with sociopathy:

    1. Only point of contact is through – all financial transactions and emails are out in the open and recorded.
    2. Request a curbside order in the custody arrangement so that he is not allowed to get near you. Consider it a micro restraining order.
    3. Change all of your phone numbers and get a dedicated pay as you go phone for calls with the kids. Turn off the text feature.
    4. His wages are garnished so I don’t have to ask for anything.
    5. At every pick up of the kids where I am “out in the open” I have my phone in my hand with the video running. It is not aggressive, it is there so I can document the words that come out of his mouth if he is feeling like Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde.
    6. When he calls the kids, I pick up the cell phone and hand it to my 7 year old who knows she can talk if she wants to or hand it to her younger brother. He then hands me the phone when he’s done and I hang up without ever having to hear the sociopath’s voice. I’ve actually taught my daughter to say “I don’t feel like talking right now” to the sociopath because he would barrage her on the phone.
    7. When we’ve been in court, I have my lawyer stay with me the entire time.

    My sister likened the sociopath to a rat. If you give them a hole even a 1/4 inch wide, first the head comes and then the rest of the body. A horrible visual but very true. Bottomline, don’t let the head get through.

    So I’ve documented every day since he walked out on the family, I’ve gotten a therapist for the kids, established hardline no contact, even hired a PI to get footage of him when he’s with the kids.

    I’m gearing up for a custody hearing after 8 months of him having 30% custody. I am seeking full custody with “reasonable visitation” which means that I get to decide what is reasonable. Finally I have enough evidence of neglect.

    I guess my question is what have been others experiences with the sociopath “sticking around” when he is met with the brick wall of no contact. He doesn’t get to see my reactions any more. So if there is no pay off directly from me, is the indirect knowledge that he gets to “take” the kids from me every other weekend enough to sustain him?

    Do sociopaths stick around if there is nothing from the supply source?

    p.s. I just read through my notes and it just makes me realize how abnormal the whole situation is.
    p.p.s. Great book called “Splitting” actually addresses how narcissists and borderline personalities engage in custody battles and won’t relent. The authors (a lawyer and psychiatrist) give a nod to sociopaths but don’t spend much time on them because they feel that the sociopaths tend not to stick around for the kids. Thoughts? Agree?

    1. My ex-husband went through periods of no contact with the kids, and then a flurry, but never consistent ever. The kids were just pawns for him to have contact with me. He never went to a school function, parent teacher conferences, sports functions, etc. He did not even know the names of the schools the kids attended let alone any teacher’s names. And yet, he’d accuse me of “ruining” the kids. I spent a lot of time and effort doing damage control with my kids.
      They are now all adults with kids of their own. My daughter has recently gotten involved with him again because he had a health issue where he nearly died. She has turned nasty on me. We had been very close. It has been so painful. He and his 3rd wife always treated me with contempt saying many derogatory things about me to others–they do not know that the people they talk to are friends of mine and the word gets back to me. Daughter claims they never bad-mouth me to her. I know it’s more insidious the way they do things–comments about things I do, veiled using other people as examples. Nothing I can do about that.
      I just love her where she is at, the best I can. Both sons see through him and his wife, they despise them and are horrified their sister is so duped.
      EX used to threaten custody all the time. I finally got tired of it, tired of living and monitoring my life in fear of that. I called his bluff and told him to bring it on, that I had so much stuff on him, he’d be lucky if a judge would let him see the kids ever again. I knew he had lots of secrets–that he THOUGHT were secret, but I knew many of them. He had multiple DUI’s, STD’s, non-payment of support for child of his 1st marriage, and he admitted he killed a patient where he worked as an aide in a nursing home when he was 17. He also told me he had tortured animals when he was a kid–gruesome horrifying things (after we were married). He broke and entered into his ex-wife’s house and stole her jewelry he had given her.
      He backed off. I showed him no fear after that. He could not bully me or intimidate me. I let him think I was as ruthless as he was. Even after all that, he called me after I was remarried, he was remarried and said, “We could have made it if you had hung in there a little longer” I was WTH? I told him that I did not believe that and he began a barrage of insults. I asked him if that is all he wanted, told him that I would take 100% of the credit for how the kids turned out because he did nothing but hurt them, that if he wanted to believe I was the source of all evil in the world to him, so be it, I did not care. Then I hung up on him. We were divorced in 1982, and he’s still focusing in on me. He can’t control me and it still bothers him.
      If you are lucky, he will back off and find newer pastures. I hope he is not like my ex-husband.

    2. Hi Stephanie. Thank you for your post. It is helping me as I am in a very similar situation. My child is only 18 months. We have been separated for 7 months. I hope to be in a position to approach a judge for sole custody. What type of evidence did you gather to present to the court?

    3. I know this is an old post Stephanie, your story is so very similar to mine. I am just beginning court processes and have felt like I am very alone in all this. I would like to hear how your case turned out

      1. Hi Jenny welcome to the site. Going through court process with sociopath has to be worst thing. Esp as they manipulate and lie. I hope you have a good legal team behind you who believe in you.

    4. Our child had a phone that texts and often now goes to talk to the socio and requests privacy. But now it’s strange our child is turning on me I feel it. I know on visitation he’s uncomfortable calling us he sounds atrange. Here at home we teach him that if his dad calls or has not that he should just call. That if we were away from our son…I say we I’m married again
      I say I would want my child to call me. I try to be an example of right thing to do.

  18. My 10 year old daughter no longer wants to see her father as “he scares” and “is nasty to mummy” her own words after his melt down in her school hall (see my posts on McDad).

    She is competent enough to make this decision for the immediate future and i will up hold it for her for a while. If he bought it to court which is unlikely as he has convictions for violent offences against myself (in-front of the child) and against other people too. She has calmed since not seeing him for the last 3 months and seems content and happy.

    He has done all the things you’ve so skillfully described, treats and talks about her as though she’s a possession but does not provide for her physical, financially or emotionally.

  19. After years of the back and forth with my sociopath ex (finding the strength to leave then getting pulled back in again) I have spent the last two years successfully recovered from him, raising our 6 year old son, and living life for me. A year and a half ago I started dating a man who I had known through work, and very slowly we built a life together. He loves my son and treats him as his own and although I (obviously) had some pretty tough guards up he has shown me that he is the kind of man I deserve to be with. So all should be well and great right? Well I have been open and honest with him about my sociopathic ex, and since we have lived together for 6 months and are recently engaged, he has seen first hand the lengths my ex will go to in order to manipulate both myself and my son. I am not affected by my ex’s attempts but my young son is. My problem is that I have been living my life with a sociopathic co-parent for 6 years and I have learned how to avoid his sociopathic-ness. My fiance on the other hand has not. He literally hates my ex for what he has done and still does to myself and my son. When my ex lets my son down or makes me look like the bad parent, my fiance is really affected by it and really lets it get to him. He hates the idea that my son idolized his father and “wants to be just like daddy” because he recognizes my ex for what he is – a sociopath! However he doesn’t know what to do since he is not my son’s both father and doesn’t want to overstep his bounds. He doesn’t get why I “let” things happen, even though I’ve tried telling him that all my ex wants is a reaction and that I will not give him that. He won’t even go to visitation pick up / drop off because he doesn’t want to be anywhere near my ex. So what would be your advice for a step-parent trying to deal with a sociopathic birth parent? Or a parent trying to balance a new family / relationship while dealing with a sociopathic co-parent?

  20. My sociopathic baby’s father (sperm donor) never wanted my child but never did much to prevent it either. To make a long story short , he has never done anything for my child and my child is turning 3. He do not want anything to do with her unless it has to do with us. I do not mess with or believe in being with men that do not take care of their children and mine comes first. My child only met his family one time due to his multiple sociopathic relationships. Unfortunately, I fell victim to the game and now its so hard to get over him. He was everything I wanted , my prince charming, well at least that is how I feel. I refuse to keep playing the game but it is not easy! He is everything you have said and more! Believe it or not, his other baby’s mother informed me on what we both were truly dealing with. Told me to Google it and this page popped up answering my many questions, describing him to the tee. I can not believe what I have gotten my grown self into!…smh…now I have to figure out a way to get out, because sadly, I think I am still in love with a sociopath and he is so soul- less, heartless, and cold hearted. I know he is not going to change, he tried, didn’t work!…but how do I truly recover, I am scared to date or be with anyone else. I do not know why but I do not want anyone else but him. I do not want to hurt anymore so that is NOT going to happen. Playing the game is what he wanted and he enjoys it too!…but I never Won…just lost

  21. I hope you can help me…. I’m a now ex step mum to two girls. One almost 7 and the other 12*5. The youngest doesn’t remember life without me. They lived with Mum and came even his work allowed.
    We were never able to say goodbye as such. I still and did talk almost daily with the eldest one, via social media yet we never discuss it. I don’t know how. Is it my place? Their mother and I have a reasonable relationship, but he is back living at her house. After living with me for 2yrs, together for four. They have been separated for 6 now. Still not divorced!?!? now THERE IS NOTHING SEXUAL I KNOW THAT!! But she is extremely manipulative also. She knows he lies, and has always. Told me that, but I’m the only one who makes him accountable. His mother says it’s because she spoiled him. Why do they allow his behaviour? His ‘mates’ know he lies. He lies to them also, but they still allow it. I don’t understand.

    But my question is this. I know I have no rights, so am I just supposed to walk away? I was allowed to take the girls out for a few hours (convenience due to hangover) he was at work, and the first thing the little one said when away from Mum was “how come daddy is living at mummy’s?) I hurried her into the car and I escaped the question. No one has talked to this little girl, the elder one has figured it out… I love them dearly. I don’t want to just step out of their lives, I don’t want out at all…. it’s crazy. My friends say I shouldn’t care, but how can I not? School days, and birthdays. Christmas…. Ensue of primary for the elder this year. I’ll miss that now :”(.

    Some advice, some help please…. It’s only been 6 weeks now. I still love the arsehole :”( I think I always will… I don’t want to see him…. My head is strong but my heart weak…. I want to the kids :’) almost need too….

    1. Hi Josephine, re having no rights, at the moment that doesn’t seem to be an issue and may not until something happens. But you have spoken negatively about both of them here and said you still love the guy. That would be a good reason in itself on the “walk away” option.

      THis option is usually the one advised, as if you don’t you won’t be able to get on with your own life. Re the girls, you seem to care a lot for them, but you really have to put what you want out of your head as it will make your decision on what to do even harder.

      When your friends say “you shouldn’t care” I say that is not much good to you as you do.

      But the bottom line is, you want to stay in their lives. So you have to step back and take emotion out of it, put them first and ask yourself “if I stay in their lives, will it be good for them, confuse them, or just postpone the separation.

      On that, you say you still love the guy. So this will make it extremely difficult for you being “sort off” still in his life. Also, at some point, they will likely become sexual again. You say in bold “THERE IS NOTHING SEXUAL I KNOW THAT!!” then go on to critisize her. That gives a sence of a bit of resentment towards her and comfort in the fact they are not together in a sexual way. THen you add that he lied and you are the only on e who can make him accountable, this is saying you have something special regrading him and without you even saying you still love him it would be clear you were, or at least still attached to and invested in the relationship.

      If that is the case. THe kids could become a way of staying in his life with some hope of getting back together or just putting off the final break. That is very unhealthy and could end up best case scenario, you get hurt and the kids don’t get overly effected by it. But the longer you stay and the girls get used to the new set up, the harder it will be on them.

      THey will take it easier if you withdraw from their lives completely now he has moved back with their mother. You have identified your head is strong, but your heart is weak, hence coming here.

      My advice, from what you have said, is that what would be best for you and them. to do an exit strategy. THis situation of you becoming Aunty Josephine, is very risky and will have to end at some time. It sounds like there is a good chance he will get back with his ex. If she wants that, eventually she will start to get pissed of with you and see you as keeping your x in limbo regarding she and you.

      Even in a “best” case scenario where everyone is fine with you hanging around. It will make it very hard for you to move on. If you met someone knew and decided to have a family it would be hard for you to keep up the contact and having your own family would be not only time consuming, but exciting. Even if you didn’t go on to have a family, which the love for your x, would make hard anyway. You can’t fall in love with someone else while you are in love with the x.

      So, for your own sake and the kids I’d say, set up and exit strategy. When you have made up your mind, talk to him about it and make sure his wife knows to. Then you three can make it easier on the kids and clear for them and the adults.

      You still love him and it’s an issue for you that they are not sexual. If you carry on being in their lives and you get the “good news” that mummy and daddy are back together again, that would be difficult for you.

      From what you have said, it is hard to see you staying around them being viable in the medium/long term. You will be there loving a man who is with his wife and their children. THat will be very painful for you. It could lead to a situation where you say that the kids need you around, which would be bad. If you got to a stage where they made the decision for it being better for you to withdraw. This kids might realize this and be angry with their parents for “sending you away”. You wouldn’t want that I sure, would you?

      Putting the kids first, start to remove yourself from their lives, the same for putting yourself first.

      It is highly unlikely, from what you have said, that staying in their lives will not eventually lead to the kids and/or you being very upset. You are the adult and you will be ok, the kids are young and dependant, they need clarity, not confusion or conflicting emotions about their affections for you and there mum. So withdraw in a controlled way while you have that option.

      It sound like you and he got together close to the youngest baby being born. Was that the case?

      I hope that was of some help to you.

      1. I agree with Daniel, it may sound harsh, but it’s coming from another perspective. Why would anyone want to hurt your feelings? Its not intentionally being hurtful, it’s honestly their opinion. I didn’t see things from this persons perspective initially. But then I was like OOOOHHHH! I get it.

  22. I met my sociopath soon to be ex husband when I was 18 years old. He is American. I am from England. He used every single tactic to a tee whilst reeling me in and I was married living in America, with no family support , no friends starting a new life by the time I was 19.
    Now after him ruining my life for 7 years every birthday , holiday , Christmas , dinner , trips, my entire pregnancy was such a berating , callous ordeal my precious son was born 6 weeks prematurally , everyday with his sick , evil manipulation has sent me nose diving into a nervous breakdown. My son is 18 months old. I am desperate to leave back to England with him forever. I have spoken to an attorney here in the USA and she told me not to file anything against him and just leave if I think there is any way that he would get custody of my son.

      1. Yes. I have a plane ticket to go home in Dec. my son is 18 months old. He is loves everybody. My mother said I can live with her. I spoke to am attorney in ca. I would need to be in a shelter w my son file for state assistance and i dont know what else. We are in Fl right now. We are going to Cali for Xmas and I am leaving from there to England for New Years.

      2. All that I do know is that laws have changed in the UK the last few years, in that even If you are in receipt of welfare benefits it is very difficult to get legal aid. So you would need to have your own finances for a legal case. It is really good that you can stay with your mum. You will have support. I am in south west UK.

  23. Does anybody have any experience with a judge possible not granting a move away order?
    We lived in California for the past 7 years, but he just the past 2 months got transferred to Florida and now here we are. Our house which we own is in California basically my whole life and he knows I can not divorce him I because i am not resident of Florida and have nothing here. In the past I have been able to tolerate and rise above the horrible manipulation. But here I feel like I am 18 again in a foreign place with nothing and the abuse is rampant. My son is suffering. My anxiety is at an all time high. Can’t eat. Can’t breathe. Nervous wreck basically at the thought of having no money and needing to take my beautiful innocent son away from the soul less monster.
    My husband is successful in his job. Well liked at work. Earns great money. Has a reputation of being dependable. He is highly functioning. He is able to pull, the wool over any ones eyes. He even has his own mother spinning in circles. I feel like a court would never believe me :,,(

  24. in the middle of a custody battle with my alcoholic sex addicted sociopath of an ex. How can I protect my child when everyone seems to be seduced by this man and his lies.. The authorities completely believe that he is a loving dedicated father. I don’t have the money for this battle, but I can’t do nothing. He is trying to destroy me financially, to take my child from me.. I am being forced to live in france, where I cannot financially support myself, and the father pays as little as possible by lying about his salary.. He is trying to drive me into the ground financially, so he can run back to the judge and give her the ‘poor me, she can’t look after our son any longer, I’ll have to have him live with me and my latest girlfriend’. How do you trump a sociopath? how do you win when there is a child involved.. ?? I can’t walk away from him, I’m being forced to live here..

  25. Where were you in 2000 and 2001 when I was new at this? 😉

    My sociopathic ex has moved on to his next real victims. He has remarried (poor woman named Wendy, who is not terribly attractive, rather older than he, and has piles of money…easy mark).

    So he’s not out to control me in the relationship sense anymore. He’s content to use the kids just to make my life miserable now. He has lured our eldest daughter (after 9 months in mental facilities because he sexually abused her when she was 6) away from me. I haven’t seen her in 3 years. He succeeded in driving her away from her faith, family, and every friend she ever had. Last I heard, she was back with the abusive boyfriend against whom she has a restraining order for abuse. She will still have nothing to do with me. She has attempted suicide at least 3 times in the last 3 years. She is clearly manifesting the same sociopathic behaviors as her father, mingled with the brokenness of a molested child, now 20. She has become as dangerous as her father, but more dangerous to herself than anyone else…except maybe her sisters.

    My big problem now is that my other girls want to reestablish contact with him, and their sister. They’ve been emailing, and I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before he lures them away, and destroys them as he destroyed my dear eldest.

    The sociopath, in general, doesn’t particularly want to BE a good person/husband/father. He invests everything in APPEARING to be so.

    How do I manage this situations with the other girls (17 and 13)?

    I’m about done hiding the truth from them. They’re old enough to remember what he’s done…at least some of it.

    What now?

    1. Hi Maggie,

      Welcome to the site. What a horrible situation to be in. It must have been heartbreaking to go through all of this with your eldest daughter and her sociopath father.

      What is important to remember, is that each of your girls are individuals. Do your best as a mother. And they will remember you as a good mother and always return back to you. I would imagine that you fear that the same thing that happened with your eldest daughters will also happen with your youngest too? This must cause you a lot of anxiety?

      I think that it is natural for your daughters to want to know their sister and their father, as this is part of their family. Do you fear that both the father and the daughter will turn them against you?

      If there was sexual molestation of your eldest daughter you would have rights to object to contact with him on grounds of risk to child, esp with your youngest. BUT – as you know, it is a minefield, as whatever they can use against you, they will.

      Sometimes the more that you try to stop them from seeing their father, the more encouraged they will be to see him. I guess it is natural to want to see your other daughter as well.

      What I would do, if I were in your situation, is to talk about it with your daughters. I would say that you love your eldest daughter very much and that you are concerned for her. Try not to talk bad about their father as often that will backfire on you. Make sure that you put safety measures in place. Always be open with your daughters, and non judgemental so that they feel that they can open up and talk to you.

      I fear that if you try to stop them from seeing them, they will anyway – and this could go against you. whilst you don’t have to actively encourage it. you could encourage open communication about it.

      You cannot change him, and how he is as a father – but you can have control over you – and how you deal with the situation.

      I really feel for you, as this sounds a really tough situation to deal with. I hope that someone who has older children can possibly comment with further support.

  26. I think that some points are valid and others not so much and b/c there’s no way of winning with a fucking sociopath don’t even talk just put at your lawyers to do the talking for you

    1. Your right In that it is difficult to win. You win by refusing to play the game with them anymore. They hate rules and regulations too. So use the law and child protection to force them to comply. It’s all a game to them anyway. Difficult to beat a compulsive pathological liar.

  27. I just have to say that the court system in New England has become horrible in the last few years. They will give 50/50 to ANYONE, unless you can prove, without a doubt, that the other parent is unfit. Mine was also a juice head, I had proof and a very recent positive test. No matter what I said, I looked the fool. My attorney assured me that the judge knows he’s an asshole and on steroids and will not allow this or that….but he DID! We had 3 contempt hearings and although they found he was in contempt of the orders, nothing was done. I requested a Guardian ad Litem, WASTE of MONEY. She was either terrified of him or thoroughly manipulated by him. My attorney finally said that he must’ve charmed her. The more I demanded, the less I got. My attorney assured me I would get certain things but I got screwed, big time. Everything I did to try to protect my son backfired on me. The threat of legal action will enrage him even more and frankly not do anything for me but cost more money. He claims to not even pay his attorney, which was brought up in court, claiming he was broke, yet he had a $2000/month raise since I left nearly 2 years earlier…I also got less than half of the Child Support owed to me because he successfully claimed that I am underemployed because I am college educated, although I went to school for my trade and had been doing it for 5 years prior to us even meeting!!!! I am responsible for ALL of our marital debt and must file for bankruptcy. He gets our child just to have his much older girlfriend take care of him while he works 12-1/2 each day. I make my own schedule but am not allowed to have our child because he is allowed to parent how he wishes. This woman is his mother’s age, he met her through other juice heads and was our son’s baby nurse when he was born! My life has been a nightmare and I have been told to “pick my battles”, communicate, and compromise. Everything has to be on his terms. I’ve tried to communicate this to him and it just gets worse. I know he does things to get to me and the only way he can is through our son. The Guardian tried to assure me that he is just exercising his right to parent how he wishes. How do I do this? Our latest was a haircut for our son. He has beautiful curls. He wanted to get it cut months ago and insisted that his barber do it. I asked that we do it at my salon and he threw a fit, ending it that I need to go do it on my own time. I knew that no matter what I did, it would be the wrong thing but I felt the best choice was to have my boss do it. This time, he did it and did not tell me. Took him to the barber who hacked it to pieces. I did not get upset but by boss had to fix it. I asked him today to please let me know when he wants his haircut and I will had my boss do it. Did not go well. I told him this was a compromise because we need to make decisions together and negotiate. Did not work. He kept spinning it around and threw in my face that I had it done last time, so this was his turn. His compromise would be that he will let me know he is going to do it! I know I need to let it go but this is a small thing, how do we deal with the big things in the future? Now I’m afraid he is going to shave his head! If I did not say anything, I think he would just keep going shorter, trying to get to me. I was very calm, trying to talk it out like adults, but it did not work. He has been able to turn everything around, even him refusing to let me near his car to kiss my son good bye which resulted in him threatening me and driving off with my head in his car. I had a witness. The Guardian chose his side. My son is only 2-1/2years old, I left when he was 2-1/2 months old…it has been a long 2-1/2 years :(.

    I am going to try your tactics but thank you for any other advice.

  28. In australia you as A woman are forced to do everything and the male has to do nothing but continue to abuse. I am trapped here and isolated from family and support in america. Not allowed to even take kids to visit giant family back home. In poverty and not allowed to expect child support yet he can travel overseas and has has no job as quit each time child support caught up. He is assessed at owing nothing as i work myself into ground to keep kids going. And he claimed he is disabled and i have to leave my job early on alt. Fridays to hand deliver kids. He got away with dragging me thru court over nutty allegations for years then doesnt attempt to see kids more or pay for them to live. He gets away with it and i get ‘well you r trapped but do what that is what a mother does its about the kids seeing their dad’. The courts knowing he abused me said i didnt count and as he didnt hit kids…well the judge told me in open court ‘you dont count’. And that being trapped here is no biggie and now the ex pulls me around by nose…laughing i am trapped and destroyed…ruining my career…my personal life….his kids freedom socioeconomic status and ability to see their only granparents…it is sickening here. Sickening….

    1. Hi Hallie, am so sorry that I hadn’t seen your message before. I can hear your pain in your message. I am so sorry for what you are going through, it sounds like HELL. Is there anyway that your family in America can help you? I don’t know if you see this PR if there is anything that you know of to help as I know that you are in Australia?

  29. I really need advice/help. I’ve been with my husband for 7 years. In this time I’ve come to know the true him. I know he’s a psychopath and he’s manipulated me, lied, cheated, lied about cheating etc. He somehow always wooed me into thinking it was ok and it was my fault. I won’t go into all the details as to why he’s a psychopath, because it’s too hard to explain and too many details. Point is, I’ve finally told him I want a divorce. At first he acted ok with this and immediately started dating another girl and rubbing it in my face. Then claimed they weren’t dating and he keeps acting like we’re ok (we’re still living together until I can financially support myself, I’m in the middle of interviews for jobs). But when I ignored his sexual advances he then turns to fake crying. I ignored this too and now he’s trying to make me out to be the bad guy and flip this whole situation to make me look bad. One big thing he told me was that he wants 50/50 custody of the kids. He’s not willing to bend on this at all. But it’s just to spite me and control me because he’s never showed interest in them in all the years he’s been a father. Now he’s even telling me I need to move out even though at first he was fine with moving. I’m so sick of him trying to manipulate me and he is trying really hard with his games right now because he sees I’m not buying any of his shit anymore. I’m afraid of him having custody of the kids. He’s a horrible father and a horrible person. Nobody sees it but me though because I’m the only one that truly knows him. This is all making me just want to stay with him just so he doesn’t fight me about the kids. But I know that’s what he’s trying to do. I just want to protect them but I don’t know how if he’s going to fight me on this. I’m also afraid for my safety if I do take the kids and piss him off. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

  30. Hi,Here, I need help standing on the verge of taking a divorce. We both are Muslim, I was 19 when I met him in FB living in two different countries of the furthest continents. Because of his overwhelming respect and inclinement to Islam, when he proposed me for marriage, I was feeling more than lucky and we got married after a year. He came in his home country,where I live, and one of the main reason of getting married soon was that he needed to apply for my visa after getting the nikahnama so that we can be together forver after 1 year(assumed visa period) of out marriage. He was with me for 1 month and when he was gone, I found a drastical change in him. He started complaining and mentally wound me with every possible means he could.I took a job after 2 months so that I dont be a burden on him financially. I started receiving indifference and sudden disrespect from him, gradually I found its not only me, he has no respect for anyone on earth as he always kept talking about how despiseful others were for him, not even family, even mom. Then I found out he has been flirting(in his word) with other girls online when one day I was suspicious and demanded his password of FB. What I saw just broke my heart, one of my younger cousin sister was also Flirted(!) By him among the list of girls. I couldnt talk abouy this with my family, because I didn’t want them to worry. I talked with his sister and then he went all again the nice guy rendering these deeds as nothing serious. Then he came again within a month, one day he missed his friends hangout because we were taking afternoon nap. He woke up and started using slangs over and telling that I was a hindrance in his life when I called my mom in law and talked about it, but it didnt bring much solution but getting worse. Then he went again and started telling me over phone each day that how I ruin his vacations in homecountry. (My inlaws lives abroad too). He won a lottery after this and came again to live 3 months now. When for the first time he slapped me for something less than silly that I don’t remember. After that we went for a tour and I noticed a girl calling him when we were coming back in town. I went furious and threw luggage at him and went to my dad’s home. He didnt go to take me home or call me and I was convienced that I over reacted. He went again. 2nd year of my marriage. He already started demeaning me about im getting old for him and all sort of disrespectful attributes. I found out he has been talking with 3 girls now,1 married(friends sister inlaw), his niece in relationship and another unknown girl who knows him as single. I called 2 of them, married one was sorry for her deed as I talked with his friend about it and then the other girl who had no idea that he was married. Soon he came again promising me that he has no further relation with them than FB amd going to stop it. This time we were living in my dad’s home and caught him red handed talking over phone with that unknown girl outside of my home. I wanted his phone but he refused and i forced him for it. I called that girl and rebuked that girl for talking with him even after I made it clear that he is married. He got fierce and told me to say her sorry at once, in between this I pushed him and he came To choke me and when I told him to disclose these to his family, he slapped me and was acting that he was terribly hurt in leg, and his bone might be broke. I brought balm and massaged in his feet and kept crying all night sitting on floor beside his head while he was sleeping. How helplessly i have been in love with him! All I wanted was him to come back. After some days he went outside with my dad and after coming back he started complaining about my dad and then someone called him to join in a gambling game of cards in some place. I told him that he should not go there and then he again roared at me telling if he needs to know from me what he might do….and slapped me again when my mom and dad heard it. They were deeply hurt, but didn’t say anything, he packed his luggage and went out to live in his relative’s home. But my parents thought it might be solved soon and called him in again. I was losing all my strength and was totally depressed.this was his last visit until now. When, i have again come to know his recent affair with one of my friend’s friend, who obviously knows he is married and he persuaded her in believing that I was not a good wife and even could not sat!sfy him, if you know what I mean. Along with all these there are many incidents where he sent me to mortification only to show off people how he drives me in his whim. He is not a person person who can respect anyone, he is insecured and a clever liar. He tells me that without any proof of my complaints, all are just vague and everyone is going to call me crazy. I never assumed any of the above and never suspected him without valid reason. Now, he is to come again this vacation and warned me not to touch his phone or he will physically torture me again, if needed, when I get my visa to live with him, he might through me out of his house. Its been 3 years 6months ongoing since we are married, i have not got my visa yet and now I dont even want to go there live with him. Though I never liked and wanted the ‘divorce’ thing happen in my life, I see no option but it now. Yet again, im feeling guilty because he had been bearing my financial needs and i cannot pay him back for this. My moher is pending and the jewelleries i received is also not with me, i handed it to my mother inlaw. Why do i still feel this restlessness, am I doing the right thing?

    1. As a Muslim, my opinion is that your husband is not acting like a Muslim AT ALL, and if you need a second opinion, talk to a religious person. Divorce is allowed in our religion, and you would NOT want to have kids with someone like that. Who cares about the jewelry, RUN while you can! Your self respect is priceless, and you need to be with someone who respects you.

  31. I will be 18 in 3 months and all of my childhood my father has been abusive to my family. When I was 13 going on 14, my parents divorced. My mom divorced him and trusted the family court system which was obviously a big mistake because of all of the mens’ support groups. For every divorce case the outcome for every family is 50-50 custody putting the kids in an environment of confusion and major distress. I still have to rotate back and fourth along with my autistic sister with epilipsy who can’t defend herself and I’m only there for her. My 2 brothers don’t talk to him anymore and don’t have to go. I must pretend that I love and want to do everything I can to “rebuild a relationship with him” just so that I can protect my sister from him. He is dangerous and has poor judgement and little patience with my sister. He continues to abuse me and her emotionally and verbally. I have to do whatever he says even if it means my sister’s safety. It is better to be with her than to have him kick me out. He holds the threat over my head that “he will kick me out if I do anything to “manipulate” with his parenting.” Sometimes he’ll ask me to do something and later he’ll threaten to kick me out of his house with my sister alone. I’m so afraid that when he is showering her that he is touching her. It is taking its toll on both of us. My mom is so upset by what is going on. He keeps me from doing any of my school activities by using the fear of him with my sister alone. I don’t have any friends because they don’t understand what I am going through. Because of the divorce I don’t know how I’m going to afford to go to college. I know my dad won’t pay for it. I do have good grades and am on the honor roll. I know this situation has inspired me to become an advocate for people who have these struggles but I struggle with depression and have nervous break downs often. I am currently not seeing a counselor or psychologist because I can’t afford it and don’t trust anyone to care about what I’m dealing with right now because the system to let me down. I cope with going to church, reading my bible and praying. I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and do the best I can and have faith and hope that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. If you can give me any advice I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. you are dealing with way to much for a 18 year old. where is your mother in all this? has anyone gone to the authorities about your sister being possible molested and abused by your father? this is not something you just have to live with or put up with. my advice to you is that you break your silence about what is happening to you and your sister its not ok. please get some kind of help not just for you but for your sister. your father is a bully and possible a child molester and someone needs to be made aware of what is going on. going to church and praying is not going to fix this situation. do you have anyone you can tell and talk to ? karen

      1. My mom has done all she could. She is a good mother. She is powerless to stop anything. The authorities do not care about anything unless their is a broken bone or if their is any physical proof that my dad could molest my sister and my dad will go just far enough to hurt me and my sister but won’t do enough to have physical proof relevant because he is intelligent and loves his freedom which is dangerous. Intelligent criminals are more dangerous than those who just think they can do whatever and not get caught which is obviously not true. No one cares to help us until someone is hurt or worse. My mom is the only person who can help me get through this. She understands what I am going through because she put up with the same crap I am dealing with currently for 18 years of marriage. She is a good Christian woman that wants the absolute best for children. She trusted the law which obviously failed us. She had no idea that this would’ve been the outcome of this mess. I understand if you are in complete disbelief because nobody truly understands just how bad this situation is. The system is completely screwed up! I’m just going their to protect my sister because I love her and don’t want her to get hurt. Their is nothing anyone can do to reach out to help me and my sister. My dad tries to kick me out sometimes if I do anything to make him upset and I know he will tell me that I won’t be able to come once I turn 18. He only wants me their now because he is lazy and wants me to do his work for him and push me around. He is an abuser through and through. I use to go to someone but stopped once the divorce process was over. I’m going to try to to just do my best to protect my sister and to appease my dad and do well in school and use my faith to get me through this because it the only way I can get through this. Their is nothing more I can do. Like I said, “Nobody in the family court system cares”

  32. Even at school the social workers counselors psychologists, police and even teachers don’t care and don’t want to get involved. I had to go in to talk to them and they’d listen but I don’t trust anyone anymore but my mom to understand or care. I’m just doing what I have to do. Thank you for your time and concern. If you have any other suggestions for me feel free to respond.

  33. I SO wish I’d seen this site when my marriage first started falling apart. Just today, I decided to simply stop engaging my ex in any type of communication except the bare minimum because he was driving me back to prescription meds for anxiety and depression (I managed to get off them when he left me!).

    After twelve years of marriage, he walked out on me and our three children. One of our daughters has special needs and this was especially difficult because although I have always been their primary caregiver, I could at least sneak out of the house and escape to the grocery store when he was asleep just to get a brief respite when he was in the home. But never for long. If he awoke and I was gone, he would immediately call me and insist I return home.

    Although I have a masters degree, I had not worked outside the home since our oldest daughter was born and didn’t know how I was going to take care of the kids. When he first left, he insisted he would pay child support and make sure to always come get the kids so I could have time for myself to look for a job and unwind. That never happened. I filed for child support and then for divorce, because I could see the writing on the wall. He makes really good money but he always wanted to spend the income on what he wanted and not the needs of our family.

    Our marriage was terrible, especially towards the end. He cheated on me, but tried to make it seem like I was just imagining things. He made it almost impossible for me to complete my degree by refusing to help care for the kids so I could study and by taking the money we were supposed to pay on bills and spending it on who knows what. When the bills came up short, I had to try and hustle up the money, while still taking full care of the children and doing schoolwork. We tried counseling, where he was clearly disinterested in saving our marriage, but tried to convince the counselor he was really trying.

    Despite our temporary order indicating when he was supposed to have the kids and how much child support and spousal support he was supposed to pay (I live in Texas), he fell behind in payments. I found alternative ways to help pay the bills in my home and then was able to find a part time, adjunct teaching job. I can never work a full time job because my daughter’s needs are too extensive. As soon as he found out about my job and the fact that I was dating again, all hell broke loose.

    He refused to sign the divorce papers and turned himself into the victim. He tried to get full custody of the kids from me so he could have control of my daughter’s trust account, but even his lawyer told him that wouldn’t fly. He completely wasted the entire day at mediation with his unreasonable demands and refused to agree to anything, even though I caved on everything he asked for. He doesn’t know anything about our children, except how to feed them enough so they don’t starve to death. He has no clue about, and isn’t remotely interested in, our daughter’s medicines, therapies, or anything about her condition.

    He calls me under the guise that he wants to discuss the kids and then he attacks me over my love life. He left me, though, so this always seems insane. He questions the kids about what I’m doing and what goes on at our home. He also spreads lies about me to everyone who will listen to him, behaving as if I was the one who abandoned my family and not him. He has called the police out to my home in anonymous, fake welfare calls and continues to stalk me by sitting at the corner of my street and taking pictures.

    In order for our divorce to finally be over, I walked away from continued spousal support, which I could have fought for for the duration of my daughter’s disability (pretty much her entire life) and half his retirement and pension fund. Still, he was not happy. He claimed that he walked out on me and the kids because I made him so unhappy. I told him that his freedom should have satisfied him. It didn’t. He didn’t want to have to pay me a dime, and got to keep all his money, except what he pays for his kids. He was still miserable. The major point of his issue is the fact that I never begged him to come back and didn’t stay crushed beneath his feet where he thought I should. Then I had the nerve to get another man and be, dare I say, happier than I’ve ever been.

    Once he figured out I could care less about what he was saying and doing, he amped up the missed visitations. He refuses to abide by the visitation laid out in the court order. This places me in a terrible bind because with my special needs daughter, I cannot get a qualified sitter for her at the last minute without paying top dollar, which I don’t have. There is a provision in my divorce decree that states that if he goes 30 days without exercising his visitation then he is responsible for reimbursing me for any child care expenses I incur during his scheduled times with the kids. This is great, except, he knows there isn’t anyone who’s going to make him pay it, even if I manage to get a judgement against him for it at our upcoming enforcement hearing. By the way, he’s also thousands of dollars behind on child support.

    His bailing on the kids has had extreme repercussions. First, I am unable to work as a sub for any other instructors or work summer school because he is already proving he refuses to come and get the kids. Any money I make from working extra would go directly to a sitter to care for the three kids, so I may as well stay home and enjoy my babies. I can’t make any plans for the weekends he’s supposed to have them because if I don’t make them available for his visitation, he will not hesitate to have me in court on contempt charges. My son is having a hard time in school and has started to exhibit behavioral issues. The ex doesn’t care anything about any of this. He simply wants to be the victim and control me any way he can.

    Thank you for posting this info. I hate that others are dealing with these types of people too, but I also appreciate that I now have confirmation that my decision to not have any contact with him is a viable solution for dealing with this sociopath.

  34. Well, it is unfortunately comforting and very, very sad to see that I am not alone out there. I’m struggling right now. I know what I live with and regret every single day that I didn’t get out when I thought I should have before we had kids. He lied about wanting kids before we were married, then wouldn’t even discuss having them once we were married. I actually separated from him. He used my Christian beliefs and my parents to get me back. It’s hard to go against what you believe to get divorced. Huge mistake. Get out if you can! We finally had kids 10 years later. We are still married with 2 kids. I try to avoid him as much as possible, but he will sense that and pick a fight until I am just drained. What I realize from reading above is that it that it would be better for me to continue to fake it until my kids are in college, or potentially graduated, than put my children through the awful HELL that he would put us through. He definitely sees us as belonging to him. It’s no picnic, but it would be much worse for my kids if I got a divorce. He would hurt me and them by not paying for the things they need and want. I feel like I owe it to them. I’m the one that chose him and made him their dad. I’ve learned how to manage, avoid, and not point out what he does wrong. Because, of course, he’s perfect. My kids realize, to a certain extent, how he is. We constantly have to try to wait until whatever rant he is having has passed. I feel guilty every day that I let him be their dad. What’s done is done. I’d be curious to hear from anyone else who is continuing to survive without divorce and any tips to cope. I know that I try to avoid letting him see when I’m upset. Sadly I hate that my kids see me this way. I am a fun, very affectionate, loving person. I now have to contain that when he’s around. I have caught him doing inappropriate things on multiple occasions over the years. He always acts as though I’m crazy, even though I witnessed or heard it for myself. They NEVER cave in. So now what’s the point in confronting him unless I’m willing to put my kids through a divorce? He goes to strip clubs alone, I now have an STD. Hmmm wonder how??? It doesn’t take a genius to put 2 and 2 together. Now I’m worried that if I say I’m no longer interested in sex he’ll go nuts. I like sex, so I have it, but I do not feel any connection to him. It’s just an act. Now I just feel disgusted at the thought. I know I’ve rambled on, but it was therapeutic and I’m grateful to have a place to share. Thank you.

    1. Hi KB, thank you for sharing, I was there a few years ago. I thought I could live my life around him and still be ok. It ate me alive. I remember screaming in my head ” get off me get off me” every time we had sex. If I didn’t have sex with him it was worse….he would stare me down and be very cruel. I also ended up with a STD. I have three kids with him. I finally left, it was bad when I did, there were three police cars, and the kids and I had to hide for two days while he was on the run. No contact is definatley not a great solution but it’s the best when dealing with people like this. The kids are a whole other story. He still makes things challenging through the kids. But I have a very clear parenting order which is very specific about access. There is no room to argue over it, although he tries. I want you to know that despite how my ex tries to make my life miserable….he doesn’t because I don’t let him. I remarried an amazing man and I can’t believe how great it is to wake up every day and feel safe and loved. Your kids need to see that the world is a great place, living with an awful father isn’t worth it. Find a good lawyer that understands abuse. Look into out reach at women’s shelters that have a lot of resources to help. You are worth it. You deserve a great life.
      Best of luck

  35. I had to leave my husband of a year and a half due to emotional and verbal abuse. He is textbook narcissist with sociopathic tendencies. It’s hard to day how far they will go. I thought he was the love of my life with all the charm and how he appeared to be so easy going. We married as I was pregnant and soon thereafter he progressively began to abuse my dog and drink more heavily.
    He accused me of everything he was. The rage was out of control. I was scared for my child so I left. He put on a huge performance in court crying and won 50% custody. Now I have to let him have our daughter one week at a time. They forced me to stop breast feeding when she was 18 months. She is now 3. She sometimes begs not to go with him and has described what appears to be his old habits coming back. She said he yells and says bad words and she hides. I do not know what to do and I cannot afford to fight him seeing how his family is wealthy and I am not. His mother will never stand up to him.
    I am so worried about my daughter. She is strong willed and I am afraid he might hurt her if she stands up to him.

  36. How about the Female sociopath, with multiple FELONY convictions, intravenous drug use, anger management issues, a bully, and goes right into machine gun mouth yelling every time you talk to her? Do these apply?

    Why does this article suggest a gender for Sociopaths?

    1. Yes absolutely Larry. Title of this post was changed a while back after a complaint so I changed it to male sociopath. For a woman she carries her child gives birth to her child as soon as she knows she is pregnant it is part of her. For a woman being seperated from her child or threatened to be so is the most horrific traumatic thing to experience.

  37. I have been married to a sociopath for 11 years. We have 4 kids. I am terrified to leave because of the fear of the unknown. I don’t want him to have my kids 50% of the time. And he will ABSOLUTELY fight to have them as much as possible. We separated for a few months a few years ago and it was hellish. Living with him all I can think about is leaving. I am so depressed, I can’t function normally. He controls every aspect of my life and my children’s lives. He is abusive, controlling, manipulative, and downright scary. He has the wool pulled over everyone’s eyes. I have no job, no way to leave. I’m at my wit’s end.

  38. My husband is a sociopath. He just offered to surrender his rights to our daughter if I wouldn’t touch his money. I don’t trust him. I can’t imagine sharing her with him.

  39. I was married to a man who had been diagnosed a sociopath, but I didn’t know what it really meant and in my naivety I suppose I thought I could save him. I managed to leave him and get the court order that shares custody with our child (I would never not want my child to see his dad, but I really wanted the dad to seek help). I’ve instinctively followed a lot of advice here – but it is so hard to find good and honest advice on basically ‘how to deal with a sociopath’. Divorce/Separation professionals are so used to dealing with the bitterness, recriminations and downright nasty business of break-ups, that the sociopath has a carte blanche to act unimpeded. Anything you say is just the bitter ex-wife – but if you know you’re dealing with a sociopath, the behaviour is textbook, and it doesn’t let up. It’s not about squabbles and screaming matches about alimony, it’s undermining everything they can about you to everyone. On the playground, to teachers, to friends, acquaintances they literally bump into on the street, to his family, to your family, to exes of your family members, work colleagues. I have a very unhappy, angry and anxious child at home, who lashes out only to me, and I feel like gradually I’m losing him to a form of parental alienation. It’s not taken that seriously yet in this country, and it’s so hard to prove, as the system is all set up to encourage separated parents to work together, which I applaud, but it’s based on the premise that those parents, underneath the anger and acrimony, are fundamentally rational adults with good intentions. He’s even self-diagnosed as having Asperger’s syndrome, because he quickly learned that blaming his belligerent behaviour on a fake disability, got a lot more sympathy than just his previous stories of surviving a criminal background. He’s a very clever man, who did have trauma in his childhood (but that’s not an excuse for his behaviour) and my biggest fear is that he’ll cause the ‘splitting’ in my son’s mind that will destabilise him too. I tried to be friendly after the first year of court action settled down, and everything I may have said has been stored up and then spat out months, even years later. I hate to sound dramatic, but it is like being in a spider’s web, and for my own sanity and peace of mind, I reveal as little as I possibly can, not my earnings, not my projects, not my nights out, not my facebook page. I have to hold onto the hope that my child will not be pushed away from me completely, and I can provide him and myself with the stability, love and security we need going forward, but it’s a really hard cross to bear. It has been comforting, if depressing, to read that other people have had similar experiences and recognise the signs to look out for.

  40. So much good advice–& so many heartrending stories here…..A lot depends on your relationship with the sociopath. If you truly loved him & was hurt by his betrayal, then it is one thing. I ended up being made pregnant & having a child through a stupid mistake. I never thought of the biological father as the love of my life. He was a passing interest, & I found out that he was a sociopath–the only one I’ve ever known, &, scarily, when I found out about anti-social behavior disorder, he fit every single criterion. Every one. And no one else that I or anyone in my family had ever known did.

    And now I am supposed to co-parent a child I dearly love with a crazy person with whom I have never lived, & only was dating once/week. I do look at his social media contributions. It is painful to look at them not because I am or was in love, but because it embarrasses me and my child, eventually(all too soon), as well. But it has been invaluable, because now I can describe his behavior in court in his own words, not mine. I have also documented every communication, so I can present him as a liar (and more) in his own words.

    I realize not everyone can do this. I’m lucky that I had good advice early on. Unfortunately, it is not a slam/dunk. The courts will not protect the two of us, event though he and the child have no relationship, the child does not know him, and has received absolutely no support,or even gifts from him. He will still get to have some control over the two of us. But I think it would have been a lot worse if it had not been for his participation in social media.

    I can only second–many times–the advice to stick with court orders, not make any compromises or accommodations, & communicate only about the child and as little as possible. Don’t argue & explain–thank heavens my lawyer told me this early on. She said to stop communication when it becomes “unproductive”. And use this explanation for why communication is impossible. These guys (& yes, I know they are women too–just using my own case here) love drama, & they also love to split hairs. If you agree to substitute some detail in a court ordered visitation, you will have opened a door to endless requests, demands, arguments. Just stick to the letter of the court order, & once he starts to argue, just say–it’s become unproductive.

    And yes, never, ever let him know anything about you at all that you can help. Be civil, but nothing else. Ever.

  41. The only thing I have to add is use “the gray rock method.” Put it into your browser. I have done all of this. It works. I cannot stress enough… Expect to get no child support payments. Plan your budget without it. So far anything I have gotten I have used to pay lawyers/solicitors. Evil always over reaches. It doesn’t know how to stop. The law eventually catches up to them. If you do all of the above, eventually the judge/law/court/authorities “see” who really has the child’s best interest at heart. You don’t have to prove anything in court accept that you are the stable parent. He is unstable and you are stable. You don’t have to prove what mental illness the ex has. You only have to show your history of stability. It has taken me six years in and out of court but the ex is finally being seen. The mask is off. Do the above and your actions will redeem you.

  42. I have two children (boys) with my ex. We were married for 4 years but on and off again for almost 20 years. I met him in high school and we had both of our children shortly after graduation. They are now 18 and 19 years old. My youngest has chosen not to see his dad and other than my oldest son’s graduation, has not seen him in about 3 years now I think. My oldest however does see him and seems to be seeing him or texting with him on a more regular basis lately. It has never been consistent. He never really sees him in a “family setting” with his new wife because he does not care for her. He cheated on me with her (and others I imagine) but made it very public when things finally ended horribly and he married her 2 months later. He has a 4 children total, one older than my kids and one younger (and yes…I was stupid enough to still get back together with him even after having another child with someone). His wife also has a daughter from a previous relationship that he always refers to as his daughter. He definitely acts different about the two younger kids than he ever did with mine, or his older child. I would think that things that alone would be incredibly hurtful to my son. He has never been someone he could count on but I guess it is his dad and he still longs for that relationship. He has not really had another male role model in his life unfortunately and so sometimes I think he is still looking for that, even though maybe deep down he knows he will not get what he wants from his dad. And I see his dad manipulate him all the time. When he does start seeing him more, I always wonder what the motive is behind it because he never does anything unless it benefits him. I thankfully do not hear much from him anymore but he never completely goes away. This last time was a horrible “discard”. I had never seen that side of him. He was very cruel and threatening and then really flaunted his new life on social media that his oldest son saw. And I thought then that I would not really hear from him other than the mean things he did for awhile. However, it was not long before he was calling because “I understood him more than anyone else” or he only felt like a good person when he was with me and talking with me made him remember that person and all kinds of other crap. He would tell me that he married his current wife and did all those horrible things to me at the end because he “didn’t feel he deserved me” and so he was just pushing me away and now he was trying to do right by the younger kids. Funny thing is, when he was cheating on me with her…he told her he was only with me because of our 2 children and that was the only way he could have a relationship with them because if he was not with me, I did not let him see the kids.

    It has been 3 years now and my children are older and i do not have to talk with him at all about them. But it is still so hard to listen and see my son want to spend so much time with him. Sometimes I feel like the parent that is thought of last in a sense and he makes so much effort to spend time with someone who has never made the effort to be a dad to him. It is still hard to deal with and I wonder if that ever gets easier. I tried to protect my kids from as much as I could. But in doing so, it seems like my older son thinks that he is a really cool dad (acts more like they are friends than parent/son really) and always has really high praises for him. Cuts me like a knife sometimes. I feel like I have done a lot of growing and learning, in large part because of this site, but there are still so many horrible things he said to me that sometimes still runs loose in my head. I have been so focused on my kids that I need to start having a life of my own now but it is hard to sometimes not still be hurt by this stuff when my son thinks his dad walks on water sometimes.

  43. The word “male” should be dropped from the title. Sociopaths are both male and female. Take it from me, a single full-time father (custodial parent) whose ex-wife is a sociopath. The world has changed and there are more single full-time dads than some years back.

    1. If you read through the comments, the reason why the title was changed to male (it originally said co-parenting with a sociopath) was as a result of a complaint from a male victim of a female sociopath, so I changed it to male and wrote another post about female sociopath (that you can find if you do a search to the left).

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