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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 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?
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