Re-blog: Co-parenting with the sociopath

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Co-parenting with the sociopath – separation!, sociopath

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

July 6, 2013 positivagirl 78 Comments

It can be difficult enough coming out of the relationship with the sociopath. Your mind is left in a fog after gas lighting, 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.

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 sociopathic 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 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 center?)

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 child’s 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 Sociopath’s 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 ©



Psychiatric Diagnoses of Abusers


full moon over water


What are the possible Psychiatric diagnoses of abusers?

It might be helpful to understand the clinical diagnoses of those who create the most damage to personal relationships, those who are emotional abusers, manipulators, and controllers. Most often they are put in the category of Narcissistic Personality disorder, but there are other psychiatric conditions that may fit just as well or better, for a given person.


These psychiatric conditions can cause serious relationship problems and in effect, create an abusive situation. It is important to note that these are conditions that need psychiatric treatment and/or medications. You, as partner, parent or friend are not equipped to treat or change them. It just doesn’t work that way. I am hoping this review will be helpful in understanding the abuser and allowing a distance between you and the person who is putting you at risk.


The current “bible” of psychiatry is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM – IV. These categories may be relevant in understanding one who abuses, manipulates or controls:


Personality Disorders, in general, are an enduring pattern of experience and behavior which include inflexibility and the tendency to blame others rather than take responsibility for oneself. You might see the abuser in one or more of the following categories:



  • The most popular way of understanding the abuser is to see them as having a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Preoccupied with themselves, they feel entitled to whatever they want, and seek approval without regard for their own behavior. There is a lack of empathy for others and they can be perceived as having a cold heart. The feeling that they automatically should get special attention and privileges is unrelated to real talent or accomplishments.


If someone does not give them respect, admiration or attention, they feel entitled to punish. Envy, arrogance, anger, envy, jealousy and vindictiveness are the bread and butter of this type of character. After all, “It’s all about them!”


  • The Anti-Social Personality Disorder is a complex of characteristics that include a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of others and the rules of society. Rules may apply to others, but not them! On the extreme they may be chronically irresponsible, unsupportive, con artists and take from others in a manipulative way without conscience. Sometimes there is a superficial charm, but it is like a thin mask over greed and cold-heartedness. This can include criminal behavior like stealing, and to the extreme, even to the death of their victim.


A person with this type of disorder is totally selfish and commonly has a record of arrests. There is no remorse, no regard for the safety of others; there is lying and deception, sometimes physical assault and intimidation. A person with this disorder is profoundly dangerous.


  • The Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by intense, unstable relationships and a lot of drama. Moods run the gamut from moment to moment but always with the utmost intensity. A common theme for this type of disturbance is a fear of abandonment, chronic feelings of emptiness and unstable relationships. If combined with anger and feelings of entitlement a relationship with this person is a “nightmare.” Self-destructive behavior can include bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction, promiscuity, (manipulative) suicide threats or attempts, self-mutilation, and intense flares of anger. There is often an underlying paranoia on the one hand, and aggressive behavior towards others on the other hand. Without the ability to control feelings, words or behavior they are like a wild card. Having a relationship with this kind of person is like living in a hurricane every day of your life.


  • The Histrionic Personality Disorder – a person with this disorder is highly dramatic and there is a quality like acting in how they present themselves.   It is as though life is a play and they see themselves as the central character. This type of character can be highly seductive, sexualized, and deeply manipulative. Excessive emotional display and the need for all attention to be focused on them rounds out the picture. If you get involved with a person like this, it is all about them – you are only an audience for their major production.



  • Addiction: While not technically in the Personality Disorder category, the commonality is that the addict tends to blame, and take no responsibility for him or her self. Whether it is alcohol or drugs, gambling, food or relationships, those addicted become self-centered and cold. Their focus is on the object that they seek which they perceive to be alleviating pain. Nothing else matters. You, as the other, are an object to be used for their own purposes. This is abuse. As you enable them (sometimes out of what you think as loving) you give permission for them to selfishly pursue their own goals, regardless of how they affect others.


  • Paranoid Personality Disorder – People with Paranoid Personality Disorder have a long-standing and pervasive distrust, and suspiciousness of others. They nearly always believe other people’s motives are suspect and malevolent. People with this disorder believe others want to exploit, harm or deceive them even though there is no evidence for those assumptions. No one is exempt from their suspicions.


Because they are fear-based and feel threatened from all sides they tend to be contentious, complaining, negative, argumentative, combative and hostile. The other side of the coin is the appearance of a coldness; they may appear hostile, quiet, aloof and exude what feels like a dangerous and bitter anger. The “silent treatment” is a favored punishment for perceived transgressions.


Stubborn, sarcastic and unavailable for rational discourse – it is nearly impossible to have a normal conversation about subjects that they are sensitive to. Their hostile behavior tends to elicit a negative response from others which only serves to confirm their original expectations. In effect, they unconsciously create the world that they fear.


Because individuals with Paranoid Personality Disorder lack trust in others they tend to be controlling and judgmental. They are rigid, unable to collaborate and have difficulty accepting criticism. If given feedback, they consistently receive it as criticism and often rage back with a verbal attack.


Another common characteristic is reading hidden demeaning or threatening meaning into innocent remarks or events and often take things personally that have nothing to do with them. Grudges and vendettas are common with the “banning” technique in full force. Sometimes baseless accusations of infidelity are clung to, in spite of truth to the contrary.


Other psychiatric conditions can present real relationship issues, sometimes putting the other in actual danger:

  • Bi-Polar Disorder (previously knows as Manic Depression) This disorder is characterized by major mood swings. The depressive elements are quite clear: depressed mood, minimal interest in life, lack of motivation, insomnia or hypersomnia, physical agitation or slowed response, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and at the extreme, thoughts of suicide.


Mania is more complicated and has many sides. The DSM – IV describes mania as “A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood.” However, a person doesn’t come with a manual. I have seen variations of mania that don’t fit neatly in a book. I have seen patients in manic periods where they rage, scream, and yell, out of control. This is beyond irritability. I have seen the more traditional mania in which speech is pressured and rapid with grandiose ideas, sometimes moving from one scheme to the next. There may be a loosening of boundaries in which the manic person can “invade” you – without regard for your needs and wishes.


The grandiose aspect of a person in mania takes no social cue and has no ability to see the other – again, it is all about them. It is as though they are on a speeding train with rapid acceleration. When they go fast, they are unable to slow down. With insomnia if enough sleep is lost psychotic symptoms can ensue.


Aggression, paranoia and obsessional thinking are a dangerous combination. Being with a person in full-blown mania is a nightmare and has broken the back of many relationships. As a part of the disorder bi-polar individuals often feel they can handle the disease on their own – refusing medication. In my experience, this is not possible. Even if there is a long time lag between bouts, they are extremely destructive for themselves and their relationships if medically untreated. Traditional psychotherapy is insufficient; it is as though the therapist can hang on to the coattails of the patient in mania, but they are inaccessible to the working through process that therapy offers without medical help in mood stabilization.


Sometimes hospitalization may be the only course of slowing down the psychotic/manic process if in a full-blown manic/psychotic episode.



  • Schizophrenia – this disease usually shows itself in adolescence. It is a devastating psychiatric condition characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized behavior and negative symptoms. Anyone who has lived with a schizophrenic knows the heartbreak, the fear and the devastation of a brilliant mind gone wrong. There are several types of this disorder, but the type below can be the most dangerous in interpersonal terms.


This type of schizophrenia is called paranoid schizophrenia. Signs and symptoms may include:


  1. Auditory hallucinations, including hearing voices
  2. Delusions
  3. Anxiety
  4. Anger
  5. Emotional distance
  6. Violence
  7. Argumentativeness
  8. Self-importance or condescending behavior
  9. Suicidal thoughts or behavior


The schizophrenic can terrorize with threats and intimidations and sometimes refuse medical treatment and medication. This is a serious brain disorder, which can have devastating interpersonal consequences.


Do you recognize the abuser you are involved with here?