Sociopath Fathers : The ‘Charming’ Killers

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 by Charles Pragnell &, davidlane

This article has been composed largely from my professional experiences over many years in child protection work and child/family advocacy, from the contributions of professional colleagues, and from the personal testimonies of mothers and children who have been subjected to domestic violence and abuse.

The sociopath is referred to in psychiatric terms as having Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is characterised by an individual’s common disregard for social rules, norms, and cultural codes, as well as impulsive behaviour and a complete indifference to the rights and feelings of others. This condition is included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and in the World Health Organisation’s ICD10.

However, the problems presented by the sociopath tend to be mostly social problems rather than symptoms of mental illness or criminal behaviours, although these are not excluded in some sociopaths. It is estimated that 3% of the male population are sociopaths and they inhabit all walks of life, from business and commerce where their ruthlessness can make them highly successful, in politics where their absence of empathy can enable them to be elective autocrats with a capacity for corruption and callousness, in organised crime often involving drug dealing, and in many other professions.

What Sociopaths are Like

They view the rules and expectations of society regarding acceptable behaviours as inconvenient and unreasonable and impediments to their inclinations and intentions. They are extremely adept at ‘sailing close to the wind’ in avoiding lawbreaking or detection if they do break the law. Although the sociopath is extremely adept at evading detection for criminal behaviour, studies have shown that 47% have a significant arrest record and it is reasonably estimated that up to 25% of the prison population have sociopathic traits.

Sociopaths can be identified in adolescence or even earlier. Children who regularly engage in arson, vandalism, consistent lying, theft, aggression towards others, and the torturing of animals are showing the early tendencies and signs of sociopathy and they are indifferent to parental punishment and pain. “It doesn’t hurt” is often their response and this truly reflects their response and it is accompanied by an absence of any form of remorse for their behaviours.

They are self-centred, narcissistic individuals who are impulsive, manipulative, and consistently untruthful. As sociopaths grow into adulthood they often engage in alcohol and drug abuse and this serves to exacerbate their behaviours and conduct towards others, and they can show extreme violence towards others when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, yet blame the drink or drugs for their actions. They tend to disregard driving laws and requirements for vehicle registration and insurance as of no consequence. They also engage in violence towards their partner in a relationship and on occasions towards their children as they know their offences will be difficult to detect and prosecute.

Jekyll and Hyde

Yet despite such behaviours, the sociopath adopts an alter ego when with significant others. They are extremely charming, of a calm and collected disposition, and very plausible and persuasive. They can have a group of close friends and even neighbours who consider them to be very friendly and a ‘good bloke’ and will be well thought of at the local pub or club. Such friends and associates find it difficult to believe that such a person could possibly be violent towards a partner or their children. This ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ personality is often referred to by professionals and by partners who have experienced the violence.

In cases of partner violence or child abuse, this dual personality is often clearly apparent and the plausible, manipulative personality enables them to persuade gullible Court officials, lawyers and even Judges, that they are innocent of the abusive behaviours alleged by their children or the violence alleged by the former partner. The sociopath father can be extremely adept at ‘playing victim’ in court processes, accusing the mother of obsessive concerns for a sick child or of actually making the child ill (Fabricated and Induced Illness in Children), or of not ensuring that the child engages in a ‘meaningful’ relationship with the father, when in fact the child has protested loudly that s/he does not want any contact.

The use of Parental Alienation Syndrome has proved to be a highly effective tool for sociopaths to use in disputed court proceedings regarding the custody and contact with children, as they can so readily engage in deception and fabrication, distortion and embellishment of facts regarding events and actions. They are adept at attracting the sympathy of Court officials and lawyers and using them to gain what they see as their rights. Some sociopaths also appear to have infiltrated the Father’s Rights Groups in some countries, where they have been able to bring influence to further enable their domination and control over females.

The sociopath is an emotional shell, with no capacity to feel the pain of others and words only have meaning in so far as they persuade and manipulate others to the sociopath’s views. Feelings and emotions are non-existent but the sociopath is often able to cleverly mimic such emotions when needed and in ways which will deceive the observer into believing they are true emotions.

The Victims’ View

Protective mothers and partners who have experienced domestic violence have frequently described the onset of such attacks. “I see it in his eyes”, they say. It is beyond hatred and is a ‘demonic stare’. “I know then that I’m in for a beating”. Violent attacks are often followed by pleas of forgiveness which have the appearance of remorse and regret, although the sociopath does not take responsibility for his conduct but blames anything or anyone he can. “It was the drink”, he says or even blames his victim for behaving in a particular way.

In early courtship, female partners have been persuaded by the charming person in the sociopath and only rarely have they seen the violent potential. However, they soon experienced the possessiveness and jealousy of the sociopath and unfounded accusations of infidelity.

The goal of the sociopath father is to attain complete domination and control over his female partner and his means are to create fear, isolation, and total dependency. He seeks to take total control over his victim and will use any means possible to do so. Critical and abusive words and actions are the most common means. Then he isolates his victim from her family and friends and uses financial controls to limit her movements and decrease her self esteem. He systematically destroys her feelings of self-worth, dignity, and security.

If his female victim threatens to leave him, he will often threaten to kill her and their children if she were to do so, and warns her that she will never be safe for the rest of her life. This gives him an immense hold over his female partner but eventually the situation becomes so intolerable, she finally escapes.

A Young Mother Writes

“I was 21 years old and a free spirit when I first met John. He was handsome, well spoken, and very charming and soon after our first date, our relationship became serious and we were inseparable. I was oblivious to the red flags that were coming my way because he made me feel good and he was good at mind games - controlling my movements, jealous over past lovers and any other man I was acquainted with.

“He slowly began to strip me of my self-esteem, telling me my clothes were too revealing, that my make-up was done to impress other men rather than him. He’d suddenly stop the car and scream and shout at me and spit in my face, testing for my reactions and saying it was all my fault, never his. However, I stayed with him because I loved him and believed I could help him to change his behaviours. The physical violence began a week after he moved in with me. It started as a slap followed by gushing apologies and promises that it would never happen again.

“Then it began occurring more regularly and I was slapped, punched, bitten, strangled to the point of unconsciousness, spat on, pinched, kicked, yelled at, and chased around the streets. But all this was done behind closed doors or away from our neighbourhood because John wanted to be seen as a ‘nice guy’ by his friends and our neighbours. He made me cut all ties with my family and friends back home, and forced me to quit my job.

“He then locked me in our flat on most days and I was only allowed out when he was with me. He inspected the house when he returned from work and felt the bed for warm spots as he was constantly afraid that I was cheating on him. He was a master at interrogation and would go on for hours. If he was dissatisfied, an argument would ensue which rapidly grew into a violent attack on me. I was constantly walking on egg shells and afraid of him and he slowly eroded my whole being and I felt I was becoming a mental vegetable.

“John wanted a child and it was not long before I became pregnant. However, I managed to escape from him for a short while and obtained some comfort and support from my family but after begging me for months I agreed to return to him, by now heavily pregnant. It was not long however before the beatings began again, including kicking me in the stomach and risking the life of our unborn child. I resolved that I had to escape him and managed to do so again.”

The Protection of the Law?

But the suffering of the protective mother is far from ended. There then begins the harassment and continuing interference in her life, using the children as a means to do so.

It is unfortunate that the Family Law, which altruistically sought to give reasonable fathers a continuing and an active part in their children’s lives, has been a gift for the sociopath to continue to exert domination and control over his former partner and children. Although the sociopath may not have had a ‘meaningful relationship’ with his children in their past lives together and does not honestly want one in the future, he insists on this as his right under law as it provides him with the opportunity to continue to abuse his former partner and the children.

This usually involves avoiding payment of child support or paying inadequate amounts at infrequent intervals. Then he plays petty games at contact arrangements, such as returning the children late or in a dishevelled state. He abuses his former partner in phone calls and makes continuing unreasonable demands for more time with the children, although when the children are with him for staying contact, they are left with his new partner and he spends little time with them. He uses the Courts and its officials to enforce his rights if his former partner refuses to comply with the contact arrangements as a consequence of his behaviours. This has resulted in some protective mothers losing custody of their children and even being imprisoned and the children being placed with the sociopath father, to endure unwitnessed further abuse.

It has also led to the deaths of several hundred children, killed by their sociopath fathers, and many mothers and other relatives have also been killed. In 2005 in New South Wales, one of Australia’s six States, 117 children suffered unnatural deaths at the hands of their parents and 74 intimate partners were killed. On occasions the sociopath father has taken his own life with those of his former partner and children.

It is to be hoped that society and Courts are able to more easily identify such sociopaths in the future and thereby provide the necessary protections for children and their mothers.

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95 Responses to “Sociopath Fathers : The ‘Charming’ Killers”

  1. Catherine Sara Says:

    Brilliant Article.

    Oh if only the so called professional social workers, Cafcass, psychologists, judges etc would listen to Charles.

    Charles has listened and learned and “tuned” to service users, whereas the court officials go by what some soa called experts have programmed them to believe is true.

    The Patriarchal system is so used to blaming mothers and women for all its woes, that it fails to look at each case individually.

    Protective mothers have been demonised for thousands of years and in that timespan violence has been rewarded by the court system, thus leading to a society full of violence, as our children see the Patriarch’s acceptance of it and failure to stop it.

  2. Paul Randle-Jolliffe Says:

    It is unfortunate that the article only talks about men in these terms as there are very many women who are sociopathic along with the many other conditions mentioned.

  3. Linda Darghous Says:

    Finally an article that recognizes what so many women and children are suffering at the hands of these men.

    My question is: How easy is it for a qualified psychiatrist to determine if someone is indeed a sociopath? Especially as they are without emotions, remorse, able to put on a charming front and even able to fool a lie detector test. My sister is dealing with such a man and the Court may have him tested - but can he fool the examiners? I ask because I am trying to determine whether we should take the risk of having him tested. A ‘normal’ assessment could be very damaging to our case.

    Thank you for your help,

    Linda

  4. Charles Pragnell Says:

    No, Paul Randle-Jolliffe, women are not the same as the sociopathic fathers I have described. Their personalities and emotional reactions are quite different. Even reading a simplistic comparison of the genders such as `Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ will clearly demonstrate that.

  5. Coralie Clarke Says:

    There is so much more to all of this, and as per usual you get the pathetic misogynistic response of Paul Randle-Jolliffe. From my point of view this type of response from a male would lead to wonder about sociopathic credentials. There is definitely an ‘agenda of entitlement’ in their need to denigrate and control women, and that comes through in his response, as it does in many men who have misogynistic tendencies. The response of ‘poor me, she is responsible for all that is wrong with the world’ is an underlying thread in the thinking of these types of men. Unfortunately there is an underlying misogynism in our whole society. it goes back a long way, and the reason courts and most of the population out there who are only too ready to condemn a woman to further suffering is because this underlying thread in the psyche is very slow to be identified individually or collectively, thus continuing on the pain suffered by these women and their children. The worst part of it is that the girls are trained both by their abused, submissive, complying mothers to accept that what they saw (role modelling) as children from their father to the mother is normal behaviour, and is carried through into their own relationships, thus allowing them to seek out unconsciously, males who will continue on the familiar role for them, until by the time they have children of their own and in need of protecting their lives and futures from the predatory father, they take long slow painful, dangerous steps to extract themselves from it. I know, I am now 62 and have spent my life since 16 trying to work out what happened to me and getting out from under. I now have to remove myself from some of my children whom my ex uses mercilessly to blame me for everything that has happened, even though these children suffered badly. It is like the Stockholm Syndrome. The children who have been frightened most of their lives but learned because of their mother’s denial to also deny it themselves, but because there was so much manipulation and control in the family dynamic, that is also how they survive. It is a disaster of major proportions, and even in reasonably normal families, there is still an element of this misogynism that permeates the family and keeps the idea of the female who is responsible for all the evil and bad in the world going. Unless the world, including the experts who should know better by now, start really getting serious about exposing these men, we are going to have continuing abuse in families for hundreds of years to come. That will entail weeding out those individuals in courts etc who have an agenda of ensuring that this doesn’t happen to ensure the status quo is maintained.

  6. Shelly Says:

    You have described my life! Last time we were in court the judge described me as having psychological repungency (for my ex) disguised as a kind and caring parent! Why do the professionals not see it when they are clearly intimidated by the sociopaths themselves!

  7. TJ Says:

    Hi, I feel truly sick reading this article as it confirms by belief that my child’s father is a sociopath. I am desparately trying to find the equivalent of the author living in the UK for some advice and possible witness for court. CAN ANYBODY HELP?

  8. Natalie Says:

    Charles, your article shocked me as it accurately described the father of my child. I am in need of guidance on how to manage him. I would be very grateful if you could email me or refer me to someone with experience in this area who I can talk to.

  9. Laura Says:

    after reading this at nearly 3.00am after another awful week with my ex - I can finally gain stenght to walk away. My child is already under social work supervision, my ex two children were both on the child protection register - due to him saying their mother was an alcholic - the woman never drank until she was 32. Today he had one of his daugheters call the police on me - knowing that now another report regarding my child will go to social services. All this time he made me feel it was me - even moving back to his ex wifes this week - i believed it was pmt, my personalitly - reading this has given me the strenght to be be strong and put me and my daughter first - he displays every classic symptom of a sociopath with an anitisocial personalilty disorder. When i first met him his wife has a serious restrianing order against him - he had spent 3 months in prison for assulting her new partner - the police have never been away from my door - and he calls them - I now have the knowledge to see what this was all about - so thankyou for everyone who contributed above.

  10. jane day Says:

    excellant reading. it was like you were describing my step father. unfortunately my mother never left him, even after i told her, hed been abusing me since the age of 7. at the age of 35 i realised that you dont have to have these people in your lives anymore. although it ment my son losing a granny. it was the best thing ive ever done. empowerment to women and there children. we need articles like these in magazines and on the television. where normal women can realize, that it is not them that are the problem, but the sociapath that they are living with.

  11. ELLE Says:

    SOCIOPATH ARE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH. IT HAS BEEN 13 YEARS SINCE I GAINED ENOUGH COURAGE TO LEAVE MY EX AFTER 20 YEARS OF DRUNKEN BELTINGS. HE HAD BEEN MANIPULATING MY CHILDREN FOR A VERY LONG TIME BY RIDICULING EVERYTHING I DID AND PLAYING ME AGAINST THE CHILDREN ALL OF WHOM I WAS EXTREMELY CLOSE TO. WHILE I WAS MARRIED. SOCIOPATHS ARE EXTREMELY JEALOUS PEOPLE AND NOW I SEE THE TRAITS IN MY CHILDREN BECOMING MORE PROMINENT AND THEY HAVE CEASED ALL CONTACT WITH ME. HE IS A SKILLED LIAR AND A CONMAN, HE NEARLY SENT MY FATHER BANKRUPT AND SLOWLY ALIENATED ME FROM MY FAMILY. HE HAD AFFAIRS WITH MY SISTER AND 4 OTHER SO-CALLED CLOSE GIRLFRIENDS. I AM COMPLETELY ALONE NOW. HE WAS MY FIRST BOYFRIEND AND HE BACAME EXTREMELY WEALTHY OWNING MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PROPERTIES IN MANY TOWNS. A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY HOUSING EVERY MAJOR BANK IN THE COUNTRY PLUS GOVT BODIES. HE HAS BOUGHT 4 HOMES SURROUNDING ME TWO OF WHICH ARE HOUSED BY HIS GIRLFRIENDS. AND EVERYONE THINKS HE IS A GREAT GUY…….
    HOW DOES ONE PICK THEMSELVES UP AND START LIFE OVER AGAIN IN A NEW STATE WITH NO FAMILIAR FACES AND NO BUSINESS ACUMEN’S AT 50 YEARS OF AGE. NOT A DAY GOES BY WITHOUT A TEAR SHED AND MY SONS JUST DISMISS THAT I EXIST. THEY ALL WORK FOR THEIR FATHER AND HE BUYS THEM TOP OF THE RANGE BMW ETC. CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH SUGGESTIONS?

  12. Sally Haskey Says:

    Dear Mr Pragnell

    Your article relates to exactly what is happening to me right now. I was with a man who fits the sociopathic profile entirely. I have never really got away from him, having resigned myself to his control, having no strength, nothing left in me, not even caring really. That is until I had my twin girls, now aged 4. And there was no way on earth I was EVER going to leave him on his own with them. Which is why when he came “to see the girls” I allowed him to do whatever he wanted to me, didn’t care, just wanted to ensure he was not alone with my girls. I ceased contact upon receiving a phone call from his wife, neither of us were aware of eachother before and she only found out about me upon his leaving her when a CSA letter arrived relating to two other children whom she knew nothing of. We maintained contact for 2 1/2 years until September this year, the reason I think will become apparent as you read on. When I ceased contact, he took me all the way through the court procedures until there was nothing I could do to prevent him from being on his own with my girls. That happened in Feb 09 and so began my deterioration in mental health. As I had not reported or told anyone anything that happened to me (I did not believe anyone would ever believe me, at times thinking there was something wrong with me as he kept saying there was), I thought there was nothing I could do. My mental health deteriorated to the point that I was referred to the psychiatric unit of my local A&E where i found out that they may be something I could still do to prevent him from being anywhere near my girls. And that was to make a statement of the past, of what happened. I was then referred to my local mental health team whom i have been with ever since and have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in August 09 relating to the abuse I had suffered. Still suffering. In making my statement, I had to relive the years of suffering - I had blocked it all out, concentrating on being the perfect mother as Sally the person had pretty much died long ago because of him - I think this is how I survived him. My statement was filed, he had until 27th November to respond to my schedule of allegations. Nothing was heard from him - to the point where I thought “ok, to him the court game is game over and so now he will come after me”. I have got into place everything I can to make my home safe, I have panic alarms, the works. Even getting into the grey area of parental responsiblilty, working out how to word a will so that even if he did kill me he would never get near my girls. Now that has all changed.
    On 20th December, my solicitors informed me that he has 6-7 witnesses - to what I have no idea as he isolated me for the whole time - he will not disclose who the witnesses are despite being requested to do so, he has demanded access to my medical records and he has still yet to respond to my statement. Further mind games set out to destroy me. I knew that my making a statement would “blow his mind”, little old me standing up to a man like him - he is a professional businessman who acts for very big and crooked people indeeed. And I knew he would set out to destroy me. Going back to his wife, at the September hearing in the family court was the first time he heard of my allegations - I saw the red blotches start on his neck which is always a sign of his anger. When he heard that the judge had given permission for his wife to make a statement in support of my case, that’s when the twitching started and then I knew he was very very angry. And I have heard of nothing from her ever since.
    So it is me against him and that is a very big scary prospect indeed but one i have to do for my girls. And I know him - he is a classic sociopath and I know how convincing he is - in earlier years he even made my mum and dad believe there was something wrong with me and that it was him who was trying to help me, to put me right. And he put me through hell.
    There is a hearing date set on 15th January 2010 which is likely to be postponed which is probably a blessing for me as it gives me more time to prepare for what feels like the biggest battle of my life. I have researched intensely and your article is the most relevant to me. I have to prove in court that he is a sociopath - this is the only way I can ensure his removal of parental responsibility. And of course that is going to be extremely difficult to say the least. Which is why i am writing to you - your article is so relevant to me and I am pleading with you for your help in any way you can. Anything to help me stand up to this man in court and prove the truth. Please please, could you please help me. My gorgeous girls can never be allowed near this man, he would destroy them, especially now I have “stood up to him”. I am desperate for any help I can get for the biggest and most important battle of my life. Please will you help me?

    Yours,
    Sally Haskey

  13. Xausted Says:

    I am sat here, fearful again, left wondering, knowing the father of my child is a sociopath but still with the guilt of me having my child with a sociopath. I am confused, scared, baffled, needing normality again, just wanting to move on, but this man wont leave us alone.

    He is taking me to court under all the counts above, no proof, no evidence, only, “i must have lied for doctors, health vistors, social services for them to give the advice they have”

    I know it is madness, I know he is wrong, but he is playing on the very thing that makes us mothers, or just good people, and that is we feel love and kindness, and with that we feel guilt and regret and take the blame as we think we could have done something different to prevent this situation. Although, again, reality tells ust…no we couldn’t.

    What the hell do I do, how do I make a good life for my self..I left myself with 3 options

    A - Leave, dont tell him where I am, change our names and start over

    Consequence - Guilt so bad I know I will give in, for the sake of my child having a father.

    B - Keep on fighting for the “Ideal” - That he is not really a Sociopath and soon he will release his grip, if only I could prove to him..whatever that impossible task is.

    Consequence - The same situation will go on forever, only our child will now be embroiled in it, I will be left witht he Mon and Fri visits, he will offer his millionaire lifestyle to my child and he will ultimately destroy our lives of all love and security.

    C - Stand strong, I have legail advivce, medical advice and all proffessional telling me to only give supervised visits, that are little but often.

    Consequence - Sat here, feeling crap, worried still of his next move, as these men play the long game and will always outwit you because when we are thinking logically and with love, they are playing only to win.

    Blimey, bloody hell, and ohhhhhh….can someone tell me if, when, and at what point does this kind of harrassment, so much of which I have not said, become unlawful, how do I prove that someone is a sociopath without sounding crazy myself? How do you deal with this mess withouth getting your children involved?

    Sorry for goin on and on..any advice would be so greatly accepted.

  14. Xausted Says:

    PS..When I said ony monday and friday visits, that is what he is going to court for me to have with my child…

  15. Muriel Says:

    Thank you for this article. It makes for excellent reading. I’m convinced the father of my child is a sociopath. I believe he has already been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, something which he told me he’d been diagnosed with 2 years ago, but one he now denies in court. We are yet to subpoena the psychiatrists case notes.

    While this article gives an example of a sociopath that has overtly committed violence and other offences against their partner, my X runs under the radar. Already a Child Protection Services report, I’m told, puts forward that the father presented well, and nothing like he was portrayed to be. The flip-side of this, is that the report is likely to contain words that effectively damage my credibility. I don’t have access to this report and find it incredulous that a report about my family is not allowed to be viewed by me.

    The one time he was outright violent towards me (other than shaken fists, death-stares and verbal threats of ‘do as I say, or else I’ll do this’ when he swung his arm and fist so hard and fast that if it had connected it would have broken my jaw. So, the end result is while there’s no reports of his overt violence towards me or our daughter, and while he continues to charm and persuade professionals that he’s charming and I’m simply exaggerating, or rather “out to get him” as he commonly states, I’m the only one who knows what he is capable of doing. He’s a sociopath that operates under the radar.

    The real fear I have is that he will attain the amount of unsupervised contact he wants via the court system, which is 50/50. His strategy when he gets angry (which was almost everyday when we were together) was to walk away. But he will not have that luxury when in the house alone with a small child. If our child riles him enough, ( and it doesn’t take much, believe me) he won’t be able to just walk away and lock himself in the computer room while a young child is left alone elsewhere in the home. If he considers himself “provoked” enough, he’ll lash out furiously. This is my biggest fear. That if he gets several consecutive days alone with his child, and he gets pissed off, he’s likely to pick that child up and throw it against the wall, or across the room. Or just pummel the child’s body until he has expended his anger and distress.

    What then? A visit to the hospital, or heaven forbid, a visit to the morgue!

    Only then, it seems, will the people involved in this whole family court atrocity stop minimising my concerns, agreeing with him that I am indeed unwell myself, and believing that he’s really quite sweet, charming, somewhat vulnerable individual who’s X is treating him badly and that he’s really the victim in all this.

    Even then, given the amount of lies in his affidavits, which are in almost every paragraph, they may still not really believe he’s capable of ‘lashing out’ at anybody. I mean, after all, he’s described himself as a ‘laid-back, go with the flow’ type of guy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I view the future of my child’s mental health and physical well-being with trepidation. Already my lawyer has advised it’s likely to be a case of “hand over the child and see how long before he hangs himself” . Good lord! The best interests of the child include this type of attitude? I’m astounded.

    Thanks for reading.
    Muriel

  16. Paul Randle-Jolliffe Says:

    It is unfortunate that Coralie Clarke should use “pathetic misogynistic response” as the response to my post immediately seeking to denigate my contribution, I married a sociopath and my only entitlement agenda is to live a peaceful life and the same for my children.

    Coralie are you saying all women are perfect and all men are all impefect, I have studied widely and know there are differences between Men and Women, many more and deeper than Mars and Venus.

  17. Charles Pragnell Says:

    Thank you to everyone for your comments, information, and advice. I am proposing to revise the article in the light of these and other comments. I shall attempt to respond to the questions, points and comments made so far.
    Catherine Sara : The Patriarchal social systems of Western societies do promote and encourage the behaviours of sociopathic males, who can be the ruthless and brutal leaders and their battlefield heroes in wartime. See for example the conflicts which followed the breakup of Yugoslavia in recent times and the ethnic conflicts which followed. Sociopaths are capable of outstanding deeds of great `heroism’ in wartime as they do not experience fear as an emotional experience. Such males see themselves as perfect incarnations and above any form of criticism or correction.
    The narcissism therefore is not so much in their physical persona as in their unquestionable certainty that they are `Always Right’ in their beliefs and values and that everyone else must see the world as they see it and accept them as the fount of all wisdom and truth.
    Paul Randolph-Joliffe : As I made clear at the beginning of my article, the contents are based on over four-and-a-half decades of personal experiences in working with children and families and the information and evidence provided by colleagues and many hundreds of mothers and children. I would have to say in all that time and with the numerous people I have come into contact with I have never encountered a female who exhibited the same types of behaviour. Obviously your experiences have been different when you claim that `there are very many women who are sociopathic’ but I can find no evidence in personal testimonies of any males in that time, that there are any similarities in the behaviours of females within their own families, nor evidence of the destructive consequences of such behaviour. Certainly there are females who have psychotic conditions whereby they are extremely harmful to others, such as Myra Hindley and Beverly Allitt, but their harmfulness was directed against strangers. Their psychosis probably originated as a neurotic condition brought about by an emotionless and unloved early experience in child hood which then developed into a psychotic condition. Mary Bell was a classic example of this if you read Gitta Sereny’s book on the subject. But such harmfulness seems to be the exception rather than the rule which you imply.
    Linda Darghous : Yes it is possible to determine if someone is a sociopath but it commonly occurs only when they are in some kind of custodial setting such as a prison or secure mental facility, as with Ian Brady (Moors murderer) and Peter Sutcliffe (Yorkshire Ripper). In the normal course of their clinical examination it is frequently apparent that psychiatrists are unable to make a diagnosis of sociopathic condition as sociopaths can maintain their cloak of `normality’ during such examinations and there are no immediate independent witnesses to their behaviours, such as prison staff and nurses. Sociopaths gain great delight and satisfaction in their ability to fool psychiatrists, lawyers, police, and the Courts.
    Coralie Clarke : You are right that there is so much more to this and it certainly warrants much more psychological research into the behaviours and conduct of sociopaths. The beliefs and values of sociopathic males is not so much misogynistic (i.e. a hatred of females) as much as a belief that they and children and often other males, are `non-beings’ whose only purpose is to serve the needs and be used by the sociopath. Hatred involves an emotion of which they are incapable of experiencing, as they are of love and affection, although they can cleverly mimic such emotions. But their mental processes are strictly and solely cognitive, and highly distorted form of cognitive understanding.
    I would agree with your comment about the misogyny in western societies and which is taught by the major religions of the West and Middle East, and their denigrating attitudes and approaches towards the treatment of women and their subservience and subjugations to the male will. All of those religions are led and controlled by males and represent the male value system. Again it is primarily concerned with power and control over the weak and vulnerable and defenceless and particularly the control over female’s reproductive abilities (contraception and abortion doctrines) and the licence to abuse children entrusted to their care. I.e. the abuse of children by Catholic priests.
    Shelly : The behaviour and conduct of sociopaths (psychopaths) was well known to professionals in the middle of the last century and many were placed in mental institutions during late adolescence, however because their condition is untreatable the psychiatrists argued for their release as they were unnecessarily taking up hospital beds. Psychiatrists argued that they should be subjected to criminal laws for offences they may commit, rather than be institutionalised for their mental condition. The Mental Health laws were changed accordingly although they still include an element of sociopathy (psychopathy).

    T.J. : The only possible expert witness to bring the Court’s attention to these matters is a psychiatrist with knowledge and experience of diagnosing sociopathy. Such experts may be hard to find today.
    Natalie: Sociopaths cannot be `managed’ except by some form of incarceration to protect their victims or a means by which society can identify them and be aware of their dangerousness, in the same way that paedophiles are now placed on National Registers. The sociopath will always out-think, out-scheme, and out-manoeuvre any attempts, even by knowledgeable professionals, police, and Courts, to control their behaviours – always remember they believe they are always right and will not tolerate any disagreement. Getting their own way by whatever means is the only game they play and they delight in winning and showing they are `right’. They have no insight into their behaviours or the harm they might cause. Even an apology (“I’m so sorry and I’ll never do it again”) is a part of the game to enable them to regain control over their victims before there is a return to their previous behaviours.
    Laura : Sociopaths will NEVER accept responsibility for their actions and will always blame someone else, usually their victims – (“Well you made me do it to you”.) The classic excuse is to blame the victim in rape crimes. (“She led me on”. She was asking for it dressed like that!”).
    It looks like all the red flags were there before you engaged in a relationship with him. That is not unusual. Females tend to disregard them and believe they will change once they are in a relationship and particularly when they have children – they don’t and are incapable of doing so. I have met several females who had relationships with as many as four males who turned out to be sociopathic. The sociopaths target females who are kind and understanding and caring because such females believe that love and kindness will `cure’ them It wont!.
    Societal institutions such as the legal system and the professions are not protecting females and children from sociopaths, so females must move to protect themselves by recognising and acting on the Red Flags before the relationship develops any further. As Jane say later in these comments, “You don’t have to have these people in your lives anymore” – a very wise and appropriate statement.
    Jane : I agree that more must be known and made known about the destructiveness and harm being done in our societies by sociopaths. Not only the domestic violence and intra-familial terrorism but in street violence, murders, destruction of other people’s property etc etc. They must be isolated from the general population and no excuse accepted for their conduct. (It was the drink what did it, Your Honour.!”. – No it wasn’t the drink, the alcohol only reduced your inhibitions and controls over your destructive and damaging natural instincts). A start can be made by giving copies of my article to lawyers, Judges, social workers, and even friends who are interested as a point of discussion – I would not pretend to have complete knowledge and wisdom on this subject but what I have said can be a starting point to inform, educate, and debate the issues, rather than the deafening silence which currently exists and the evasion of the reality of the consequences of ignoring sociopathic behaviours.
    Elle : I am so deeply sorry at what has happened to you. Tragically the same and worse has happened to many of the females who have corresponded with me and I have known in the past and present. All I can say is to believe in yourself, in your skills and talents, your capacity to love, and above all use your innate tenacity, perseverance, and determination to create a new life for yourself.
    Sally : Your case is a classic example of the many hundreds of such cases I have been involved in. If you contact the Website administrators I’m sure they will send any correspondence on to me.
    Family Courts are upholding the rights of fathers to contact with their children as absolutely paramount no matter what they may have done to their former partners or indeed to the children. Even convicted paedophiles are being given contact, visitation, and in some cases residency of children by Family Courts. Court-Ordered child abuse is now the rule rather than the exception and I have recently been told by a leading barrister that “Courts will excuse any form of behaviour by a father but will not tolerate a mother with attitude”.
    In consequence I would advise you to be prepared to support the father having contact, preferably strictly supervised or they will label you as `implacably hostile’ to the father’s rights to contact and may ultimately remove your children into his care. Yes that has happened with alarming frequency in Family Courts in Australia, the U.K., the U.S.A., and Canada.
    However take the position that it is unfortunate that the father is seeking to prolong the domestic dispute into the Courts and that you only wish to seek to cooperate with him, but that your major concern is to protect your children from any continuing harm by him. That you do not wish to continue to be in dispute with him, if he would only work cooperatively in the best interests of the children.
    He is seeking to continue to have power and control over you and the children and by engaging in dispute with him enables him to continue towards this end. He believes absolutely that he must win at all costs and you must all be subjugated to his will.
    Xausted: Option C is the only realistic option. You are not to blame so rid yourself of any guilt, nor have you any chance of changing him. As you say, his game is all about winning, by any means fair or foul. But always appear cooperative and willing to work with him. He will of course resort to devious and cunning tactics, some of which you have already outlined. But persevere. You will continue to push and press for his rights so it will be a long and hard struggle so you must have determination and tenacity. It seems as though you have the statutory services in support of you so use them to the utmost, even if it means subpoenaing them and their evidence. Keep them with you ~ they may not always be willing to help but they’re your best supportive evidence.
    Muriel: Most sociopaths operate under the radar and do not overtly attract attention to themselves, except to fooling a lot of people that they are a `good’ person.
    You must subpoena that psychiatric report ~ its the best evidence you have, and should be followed up with a request for him to have a new assessment with particular attention to sociopathy and his dangerousness.
    Oh yes, sociopaths are immensely skilled at playing the victim. It is their classic ruse to attract sympathy and support.
    He will attain at least unsupervised contact as the Courts are overtly sympathetic to these `poor badly done by caring Dads’. The FR groups have done a good job in promoting this image with Courts, and lawyers, and Court Reporters and they all believe this story.
    The reality is that the `Good Dads’ settle these matters amicably or in mediation by acting reasonably and responsibly and accepting their responsibilities as well as their rights. They constitute the 70% of separated fathers. It is the 30% who demand that matters go to Courts who are, by definition, not prepared to be re4asdonable and responsible where their children are concerned and want to use the Courts to continue to assert their power and control over females and children.

  18. Maureen Says:

    I was married to a sociopath for 23 years, and never knew it until we went through a divorce; I realize now that I made him look good; that the signs and symptons were there, but masked by my “normal” lifestlye. He had no regard for his children; he gambled away our life savings and my children have since shared their stories of his abuse to them when I was not home. I see so clearly now… the superficial charm; the lack of connection to his family; the selfish behaviors and indulgence in his own personal needs before the needs of his family; the gambling, discovered sexual behaviors, and the lack of guilt or responsibility for any behaviors during the divorce process. If I could help one person - I would tell you to run at the first sign or gut feeling that the man you are with is more about him than you and your family. Had I done that, my boys and I would not be faced with such financial devastation. Regardless of that- now we know the deceit and damage is over…. but if I listened to my “gut” my boys and I would be in a better place financially. Listen to your gut and your heart….and get out… no matter how long or what your situation is. Life is better on the otherside of this, and no one should live with the pain of the sociopathic behaviors. Get out!

  19. Caroline Nicholson Says:

    Having read your article l am more than ever convinced that my daughter’s ex partner is a classic sciopath, and a very clever one at that.
    We have learnt recently form a court ordered Psychiatric evaluation ( but arranged by his solicitor) that He has a history of drug, alcohol abuse and violent behaviour since he was at school, but his parents have denied that he has an ongoing problem, stating that he is so much better than he used to be !.
    It is now four years since my daughter had the courage to leave him after an incident that involved his mother (he hit her full force in the face) his father called the police and he was arrested for assualt and crimminal damage ( he kicked in two doors to get to my daughter and her premature son), it took four large policemen to put him in the van such was his aggression, but his parents withdrew the charge ! they now deny that this ever happened.
    Sadly, he is still waging his own private war against my daughter, he always knows when she goes out, when her car was written off and how, and even in the past ten days since he learnt that she was moving back into the house that they had joint tenancy on ( he has told both the psychiatrist and housing that he is now livining with his new fiance and her children) he along with his father, younger brother, and some of his equally violent friends have forced entry to this house, the locks having been damaged and changed, the inside of the house has been trashed and the smell inside is very pungent, it made grown men (Policemen) ask for the windows to be opened.
    The local neighbours, ladies, have along with my daughter scrubbed the house from top to bottom, and the filthy dirty carpets removed, the lady from SOCCO told them that the pink staining underneath the carpet was from coming into contact with drugs, they have even painted what will be my grandsons bedroom, but that has not stopped this man from his frightening campaign, he and his family have even used threatening and intimidating tatics on the neighbours, and yet when they are visited by the police and social services ( he recently hit his son across the face, both he and his parents told my grandson that this was a secret and not to tell his mummy) he comes across as a most charming personable young man, who is the victim in all this, and that my daughter must move on and accept that it is over !! it has got to the point that the so called family support worker has told my daughter that she must stop frabricating things about him, and that the recent hair strand drug tests do not prove that he is still using drugs ( he tested positive for Coccaine) despite shaving his head hair against the courts directive.
    I have tried to find an independant psychiatrists who have expertise in Personality disorders to ask the court to order him to undergo a second evaluation, but this time with a specialist that they choose, not his solicitor.
    I must add that he is only allowed to see his son on supervised visits, normally at a contact centre or more recently under the supervision of his parents at their house, unfortunately this is where his father hit his now four year old son around the face.
    Can you tell me what else we can do to prove that this man is not safe, we know what he is capable of and how manipulative and charming he can be, why is it that others cannot see through his charade, even last week he sent the police round late in the evening to ask my daughter for the keys to the house so that he can move his things back in !! as he has already told the housing assocaition that he is not leaving and that he has even started decorating ! this is all lies.
    I pointed out to the two policemen that we had been expecting a visit, as my daughters ex will manipulate even the police to carry out his harrasment of my family. When will people in authority ever wake up to this type of Domestic Violence and deal with it appropriately.

  20. Louise Says:

    I note that you have disagreed with a reader regarding sociopathic attributes in women. But I have been doing a lot of research on this kind of disordered personality due to having to deal with a neighbour who has targeted me, and she displays behaviours which are consistent with her having a sociopathic disorder.

    I have also worked in care fields for most of my adult life, including employment in a secure mental health unit, and have a lot of experience of working with people from varied backgrounds, and with varying mental health issues.

    I’m a bit worried about your reference to “Men are From Mars.” I don’t think this can be used as a reference point for normal behaviour unless the person in question has a brain and psyche which functions in the correct way.

    Women can be sociopathic as well, and there are women who have killed their children for revenge and in a final act of control over their partners and ex partners, who are the loving parents in that scenario.

    There is a huge problem in that most of the research on sociopathic behaviour has been carried out on male prisoners, and far less has been carried out on females, although there is at least some research now. Female sociopaths don’t have quite as shallow emotions as male sociopaths, and are slightly less likely to carry out violent attacks, preferring to use manipulation deception and charm. But there are similarities, in that they are callous, have no empathy for fellow humans, and view the rest of the population as fair prey. It could actually be argued that female sociopaths are even more dangerous, as their tactics are often more stealthy and even harder to detect than those of male sociopaths.

    Your article is hugely informatitive, but it’s not accurate to depict this as a purely male infliction. Female sociopaths already find it easier to con police and courts than their male counterparts, so the presence of this behaviour in women should also be highlighted.

  21. Angie Says:

    This is a brilliant article and some of the comments left here are heartbreaking. But what do you do if you are the mother of a sociopath. Knowing there is nothing that can be done to help that person and also being vitimised in the same way as his ex-partners - do you also walk away?

  22. Tom Nygren Says:

    As a male victim of a sociopathic woman (who fits your description
    of a sociopath exactly: no relationship with her family, controlling
    and violent behaviour towards my friends and my family, and superficial
    charm turning into violence at a moment’s notice), I find this article
    very informative.

    I agree fully with Maureen when she states that “Listen to your gut
    and your heart….and get out… no matter how long or what your situation
    is.” I put up with violent physical abuse for months.

    When I finally realised that my daughter’s life was at risk, I left
    the house with her and we moved into a safe place. I haven’t seen my
    abusive ex since and looking back at it, I can only wonder why I put up
    with it for so long.

    When you are abused however, your natural decision-making abilities
    are shaken so badly that you can hardly make any choice for yourself at
    all. You cannot picture or visualize life without your abuser. Your
    self-esteem is annihilated.

    I would say to anybody out there (man or woman) in an abusive
    relationship: keep your friends and family close. Your abuser will
    seek to destroy your support network in order to achieve full and total
    control of your life, until the only person you can turn to is her/him.

    Sadly, I have witnessed many of my friends (male and female) to go
    through this kind of abuse, and I have found that the best thing you can
    do as a friend is to listen and be as emotionally supportive as you
    can. Often, direct criticism of the abuser will lead the victim to
    defend the abuser and push them even further from help.

    On the issue of male victims of female sociopaths, male victims have
    traditionally been reluctant to “come out”, because of the intense
    social stigma that is associated with being beaten up or abused by a
    woman. Men are scared to be seen as weak, and are afraid of ridicule,
    even by their friends. Fortunately, this type of thinking is now being
    challenged. This is partially a result of governmental recognition of
    female-initiated domestic violence.

    According to Woman’s Aid, 25% of women will be victims of domestic
    violence.

    According to ONS, 1 out of 3 victims of domestic violence is a man.

    In the UK only, with population of 65 million, the above mean that over 8
    million women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes.

    This also means that over 4 million men will suffer the same fate at
    the hands of women.

    It is time that we put an end to this. Abuse and Domestic violence must stop.
    Full stop.

  23. ceinwen Says:

    dear charles’
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you..I could go on.. I have recently attended the final hearing in the family courts. I was brought up with my parents mantra, “tell the truth and you’ll be fine”. I went into court and told the truth, i told how when I met my ex he was charm personified, but when we moved in together, and then I became pregnant, he changed..seconds after I told him we were expecting a child. He would ask for a certain meal to be made for him and then beat me insisting he’d asked for something else, he would constantly put me down in every way, he would constantly tell me my family hated me and he was the only one I could rely on. When our son was born, he put his hand over his mouth and pushed down because he was crying. I tried to stop him, he punched me and I fell against the wardrobe and then onto the floor. I got up and tried again, it was then that I saw our son was blue, I thought I’d lost him, my ex must have seen it too because he walked out, got in his car and sped off. As soon as he took his hand away our son took a deep breath and then screamed a scream that I am still having nightmares about 16 years later. Of course I contacted my health visitor, who came round to the house, but by then fear of repercussions had taken over and all I could manage was, “his dad’s got a terrible temper”. This remark was ignored,and so when my ex returned he was full of remorse, promising it would never happen again,I gave him another chance.Suffocation didn’t but the punching,hitting, kicking,personal put downs and raping did. All but the raping also happened to our son. Ten years and five misscarriages later we had another son, by this time my older son was copying his father’s behaviour, not just by bullying me but also bullying girls in his class, this came to a head after I realised that it was never going to change when he hit our youngest so hard he left bruises from the bottom of his back to his knee. He repeated the words one last time, they only cry to annoy me…I left with the boys. My eldest got immesurably worse when we moved into rented accomadation, attacking my youngest as well as myself.He always said, “dad does it, so I can do it”, I organised three seperate anger management courses for my son, as well as a councillor and he also had a counsiller in school who I kept in touch with, I then tried a group of councillors who worked together to bring families back together, all to no avail, so in desperation I called the social services to ask for some help but they said that my youngest was a child in need, and as such needed to be taken into care. My parents got involved and said than my eldest could go and live with them. The social services only agreed because my elder brother had just moved back into my parents home as they said that son’s behaviour would switch from me to my mother, which it did. My brother is a big lad,and is a regular at the local gym, he also won’t allow anyone to hurt mum and so my son was told in no uncertain terms to desist. He then moved into his fathers house and is now estranged from me. I thought that the courts would see sense when my ex insisted on contact, but to my amazement I found that CAFCASS, the Social Services, and a psychologist, who was labelled an expert witness all lied and all withheld evidence which prooved my ex to be dangerous. In fact it was I who was labelled the hideous creature from the black lagoon, it was I who was labelled a child abuser, “this child is subject to extreme emotional abuse by the mother by her marginalisation of the father”. He was given unsupervised contact and now my youngest, who was an angel, (even the courts said the mother and child have a very close bond, which we did) is hitting, kicking, swearing and saying things like, I want to live with dad, he said he’d get me a quad bike if I go and live with him”. When asked why he is mistreating me he says, “dad tells me to do it”. My youngest is under a child psychologist because he has nightmares of his dad and brother’s abuse, he also wets the bed. I am currently recovering under the wing of a fabulous pscychiatrist from PTSD…the last rape and beating were particulary nasty. I do not understand why he is waking up screaming that his dad/brother are attacking him/me and then return from contact saying dads an angel and your the devil. I also don’t understand why my eldest hates me so much as we were very close when he was little. There was a time that when either one of us was being attacked the other one would step in to help. He told me one day, when we were still talking, that dads told me that he only hit me because you told him to do it, he seems to have completly forgotten all the times I threw myself on top of him to protect him from his fathers blows. Can you explain this to me…? I also want to point out to anyone who has not been subject to domestic abuse, These men wave their magic wands, which in my case was a bl**dy big stick and hey presto you transform from a bubbly, upbeat, happy individual to a shadow of your former self, depressed and completly dis-empowered. And yes I do look back and am filled with guilt,and yes I have cried buckets over it but I have to keep telling myself, you were a mouse then,he made you a mouse, I am no longer a mouse. Please can I have permission to use your articles in my uni assignment, they really are invaluable to my work so far. I am writing about the abuses in family court proceedings. PLEASE!!

  24. Muriel Says:

    Charles, thank you very much for your reply. Since writing, there has been an ICL assigned to our case, and the ICL has deemed any psychiatric sessions or reports from 2006 as irrelevant and are not to be subpoaened. About 6 weeks ago we all had to attend for a Family Assessment, which came about when he became aggressive and verbally abusive to a court mediator (I had opted to attend by phone), while I can see that he did this to ensure the court process continued to maximise costs to me, his display of “poor impulse control” and “emotional regulation” has pretty much been ignored throughout the court process so far. However, the Family Assessor, who’s report I received just this week, stipulates that he must undergo a full psychiatric assessment and it is to be reported back to the Family Assessor, and then submitted to the court before there should be any consideration for the child to spend “more” time with him. I wasn’t aware that I had any power or say in how or what the assessment will test for. All I can do is request through my lawyer that it would be wise for them to test for sociopathy. However, my lawyer and everyone else in the pathetic system is already considering that he’s a “hard done by father who is only trying to do his best.” My lawyer appears to have difficulty understanding my concerns, or at least interpreting them so that she can be effective in the “family law system”.

    Reading through the response however, it is validating to realise that I am not alone in my experiences.

    Thanks again for all your help.

  25. Muriel Says:

    that is supposed to read “emotional dysregulation”

  26. Charles Pragnell Says:

    Maureen ~ there are a number of things you can do. Firstly may I suggest and commend you read a recently published book titled, ~ ‘Beware the Red Flag Man’ by Jane Cole Bertrand. It is subtitled what mothers wish their daughters could know. You could perhaps order a copy through your public library.
    Jane Bertrand describes more lucidly the sociopath in relationships when she states,
    “What is a Red Flag Man?
    That is a very important question—one that every woman needs answered before settling down in a relationship. A Red Flag Man is a seemingly handsome, confident, and innocent man as he charms you. When in reality, he is manipulative, controlling, selfish, and deceitful. When selecting a lifetime partner, every woman needs to know the warning signs of a Red Flag Man, and she needs the personal strength to make a wise choice. She needs to be aware of a Red Flag Man’s serious seen and unseen character flaws and to understand how a woman is affected emotionally, physically, and mentally by such a man.”
    Hopefully as more people become aware of such sociopaths, they can be more readily identified before they can cause too much harm. It is my view that there should be a National Register of Violent Offenders which would include such sociopaths who commit domestic violence, then everyone would be aware of their dangerousness, as we are aware of paedophiles.
    Louise ~ I would not disagree that some females exhibit the behaviours of sociopathic males, but in my experience they have themselves been abused, conditioned, and groomed from early childhood by a sociopathic male and have adopted those behaviours as a method of survival and functioning. i.e. they are socially conditioned in their behaviours. Or they have come under the control and influence of a sociopathic male, as in the case of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. A thorough study of that relationship would have been extremely enlightening to social scientists. A similar study of Beverly Allitt would also have been very revealing ~ unfortunately everyone was misled into believing she had Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy although the Court rejected this contention.
    Angie ~ I can fully understand your anguish, heartache, and torment. However, there is no capacity for emotion, affection, sympathy or empathy only a capacity to cleverly mimic those emotions for convenience, then it cannot be implanted or taught. Ther only possibility is that in middle age, some sociopaths seem to burn out, and they become mere shells.
    Anger Management Courses and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy have no effect on sociopaths as they merely play the game, and find great amusement in having deceived the therapists but then more cleverly disguise their violent activities. Perhaps increasing the verbal and mental violence and reducing the physical violence.
    Tom Nygren ~ Thank you for your contribution. It has added to my knowledge and I shall seek to increase my knowledge from other sources and look for further corroborative evidence to support your account. In your circumstances perhaps you may wish to avail yourself of Jane Bertrand’s book and give us your views from an abused male perspective.
    I would add to your statistical information that two females die every week in the U.K. as a direct consequence of domestic violence and in the State of Victoria Australia, death following domestic violence is now the major cause of deaths of females aged between 18 years and 44 years. Even greater than deaths from breast and lung cancer, heart disease etc.
    Muriel ~ those are interesting developments. Court Reporters and ICLs very rarely understand and acknowledge mental health issues, as they similarly lack knowledge of the nature and extent of domestic violence and the methods by which parents abuse their children. Yet they frequently submit reports that such violence and abuse has not occurred and claim that the violence is overstated and the disclosures of abuse by children have been coached. They are often thereby collusive and complicit in the further abuse which invariably occurs and in some cases results in the deaths of children.
    If the psychiatric assessment is conducted thoroughly and extensively, it should indicate Anti-Social Personality Disorder. Sadly, some psychiatrists complete such assessments in a mere fifteen minute office interview.

  27. white Angel Says:

    Dear Charles,
    How refreshing to read someone who has such a clear understanding. I think some of these men are peverse narcisistes, apparently all psychopaths are PN’s but not all PN’s are psychopaths, but their vengeance when their victim escapes is terrible. I would like to know how I can help one of my children - my youngest who is now often violent as soon as he is in the slightest way annoyed by a
    simple request - such as doing his homework. We were caught up in a terrible situation trying to get away from their father who managed to install a climate of terrible violence - the usual. I would also like to know if and when the vengeance will stop - harassment in private life is not considered a crime in France and is of course almost possible to prove, in addition to the fact that of course it
    makes me look like a crazy housewife - which is of course the object. My children and I have suffered terribly but without anything being really apparent - so clever is the NP that of course it systematically appears that I am “the crazy one”. Do they ever stop? How do they tend to behave with their children when the children are older and understand “what they are like and capable of” ? I am very worried about our future which the NP never seems to tire of compromising. Do people who are clearly ill actually realise that when they seek to distress and harm a mother the children are inevitably affected. I tell me children not to ‘upset’ their father as I worry about what could happen as even the slightest remark seems to lead to some sort of vengeance. I would be very interested in your opinion of how one can possible cope, and help one’s children. I fear that permanent damage has been done especially to my yongest child. Of course their father is slick and glib and comes over as an innocent victim - the usual and he is very convincing. I think I would be dead by now if I had stayed having miraculously survived several potential intended ‘domestic accident incidents’ which of course creates tremendous intimidation and fear. I would love to have your thoughts on how to help. Unfortunately France seems to be very behind with being educated about situations like this. Do you think that ultimately my children would in the long run have suffered less had I died in one of those ‘incidents’? Sometimes I wonder - his violence is psychological with domestic abuse, but I am sure he loves his children or perhaps he has a dual personality - it’s so impossible to understand. Thank you in advance.

  28. Charles Pragnell Says:

    Dear White Angel,
    I’m so very sorry that you and your children are suffering in this way. From what you describe of the narcissism and lack of empathy for your and the children’s suffering by your ex, it seems he is clearly sociopathic with narcissism, as you state.
    I’m afraid this is a typical pattern of behaviour of such an individual, continuing and relentless terrorism. It is driven by a need for power and control which the sociopath thinks he has the right to over his former partner and his children.
    You are by no means crazy, but living with such a person and being the victim of their continuing harassment does have an effect on your mental capacity and processes – many victims suffer Post Traumatic Stress and Disordered thought after years of exposure to such mental oppression. Unfortunately this is often wrongly diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder and the victim becomes labelled as the mad one. This greatly satisfies the sociopath and acts to confirm that his distorted perceptions are correct. I remember my own confused thought processes and mental exhaustion after a heated argument for only one-and-a-half hours with one such a sociopath and the very considerable length of time it took me to recover.
    I’m afraid that most sociopaths never stop. They need power and control and to constantly show they are right in their beliefs and perceptions which gives them enormous satisfaction, and sadistic pleasure. The only way to cope is not to engage in any form of discussion or debate with such an individual, or risk being drawn into their madness and their twisted perceptions of the world. Don’t even begin to try to understand their minds, it is impossible to follow their way of thinking because it is combative and didactic – they are always right, but even if you were to accept that, they would renew the argument because argument fills their need for excitement and the exercise of power. So close off immediately any attempts at conversation wherever and whenever possible – to respond is to immediately surrender to victim status, which is what they want and to convince you that their reality is true and yours is wrong and distorted. If they cannot engage with you, then they are thwarted and it is best to retreat as soon as possible.
    I am not familiar with the laws in France, but they may have an equivalent to Apprehended Violence Orders similar to those in other western countries. This may offer you at least a modicum of protection, although the sociopath is very adept at brinkmanship with the law, and will push it to the limits, even breaking it if he thinks he can proffer an reasonable excuse. The two things which sociopaths fear the most are prisons and psychiatrists, for obvious reasons. So the threat of imprisonment for breaching a Restraining Order may act to curb his activities. With psychiatrists, some sociopaths have become extremely adept at `institutional grooming’ and are able to hoodwink some psychiatrists if they are not familiar with their tactics and persuasive powers. They can easily cope with an hour interview with a psychiatrist because what usually betrays them is the repetitiveness of their arguments and views and which they can hide for such a short period.
    You could possibly contact organisations below which may be able to provide you with support and understanding as many of those engaged in those websites have had similar experiences.
    No he does not love his children - they are his possessions just like his car, or his house, his financial assets etc, to be used as he chooses - that is his view of the world. Everything to be used for his ends.
    www.maypole.org.uk
    http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/netmums-mums-panel-251/member-requests-185/402285-childrens-voices-family-law.html
    http://www.singlemum.com.au/
    Good wishes,
    Charles Pragnell

  29. OneMommyTwoThree Says:

    Wow Charles,

    You’ve worded everything in a very basic and simplistic way but seem to have quite the intimate understanding of this tragic situation.

    I, too, have had the misfortune of having to cope with a narcissist (manic depressive, psychotic) ex. There’s not much point going into specifics as they are much the same and utilize the same abuse tactics. Extremely sadistic and absolutely sick individuals.

    I recently heard that there had been some consideration given to classifying Malignant Narcissism, Sociopathy, and Psychopathy as the same disorder (due to the lack of conscience, empathy, and sympathy being the core feature of all of these and with slight differences otherwise). Is this true?

    I can say that, for my situation this is absolutely true! There’s no doubt in my mind that I was with a mental and emotional serial killer and an extremely cunning and sadistic one at that!

    Another dynamic that I am stricken by is that the personality disorders have a very poor prognosis and are largely considered to be untreatable as a result. Psychiatrists are able to treat the organic disorder and not the personality disorder.

    My personal definition of human is: one with a full range of emotions/feelings, empathy, sympathy, a conscience and the ability to associate and bond with other humans.

    A narcissist does not meet my definition of human. I do see them as a danger to themselves and others. I don’t understand why they are given protections and human rights ABOVE those of children! If we, as a society, don’t give these children a proper environment then the multiplication of narcissists is immeasurable. We have to allow these children to be raised with love, morals, and ethics. They need to be protected from their abusive parent so that they have a chance of developing a conscience.

    Protecting our children shouldn’t be ‘brain surgery’ and I am truly disgusted in ‘the system’ and its lack of knowledge. I have managed to get my children to ’safe ground’ but the abuses via the court system (which I have hours of him on tape threatening over and over, to “bankrupt” us and “f… us over” through the courts). I have proof of what he is doing so why isn’t he paying the attorneys and court costs if he is the one who wants them. Oh yeah, because he wants us to be destitute. LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is supposed to be a principal that the United States of America is based on. Well, I don’t want to spend my children’s money on forced court costs intended for the sole purpose of abusing us.

    Speaking of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, how does a narcissist fit into scenario. The narcissist/sociopath/psychopath is a predator that spends its time becoming more and more adept at manipulation, cunning, pathological lying and committing atrocities against humanity. It is what they do - period! They are a violation of human rights, really. I don’t mean to sound strong, but, without an internal conscience (barometer/gauge) and any regard for consequences, the capacity for heinous acts is infinite! As well, their sadism is absolutely insatiable! In my experience, the narcissist’s quest to achieve ecstasy via torturing others was never ending. I would have never believed that someone would actually ‘enjoy it’ or ‘do that on purpose’. I actually thought that we were all the same. Imagine that.

    The UK seems to be more ‘cutting edge’ on these issues than what has been my experience in the US. The US is working toward preventing bullying in schools as a cause right now. I spose this could lead to a greater acknowledgement of who is creating these schoolhouse bullies. It will take quite a bit of time, I’m sure. Also, by the time the bully is that age they would be more difficult to reform. I simply think that if children have someone who loves them enough to raise them with human love and guidance - the courts shouldn’t destroy that child’s chance at a normal human life. Let’s face it, few victims will ever escape with their children - can we at least support the ones that do!?

  30. Sarah Newberg Says:

    I wasn’t expecting anything to be found based on my search ‘Sociopathic Father’s’. So when I opened this article, I was relieved at my not being the only person out there and terrified at my not being the only person out there.

    I am free from my ex in the physical sense, but because I have stopped his controlling ways with the use of police and attorneys, he has now turned to manipulate the children. He has told them this is all my fault and more. He is in the process of wooing a new woman since the one he had an affair with while we were married refused to have any communication with him after experiencing his abuse. I was the one to warn her ex of his type of conditioning and he passed it on to her.

    The saddest part of this is he using the kids as his tools. He has told them lies and they believe him. They are 9 & 6 years old!!!

    The best advice I’ve seen in how to deal with a sociopath is to 1. Stay away - have no communication. 2. Do not try therapy - they use it to hon their skills. 3. Warn people - at your own risk.

    Sociopaths study you - they learn what you are emotionally invested in and use it to control you. They feed on your fears and emotions and use it to manipulate you.

    This sounds like heaven to me, but not practical for people who share children with sociopaths. What is our defense when they can fool doctors, lawyers and judges? How do I save my children from years of mental anguish? How do I support my children without damaging them further…?

    Sincerely,
    Sarah

  31. Sarah Newberg Says:

    Clarification - The ‘heaven’ part was meant for the advice labeled 1, 2, and 3.

    In addition, it is so frustrating living this way. He’s told my children not to tell me anything about his new girlfriend like where she works, or lives, or she won’t want to be their friends. I’m sure its because he doesn’t want me sending her all the emails I have of him admitting to the affair and physical abuse and the copies of the canceled checks showing him forging my signature and agreeing to repay it back to avoid prosecution, and countless more disgusting emails…

    I need some kind of recourse against his behavior. I need some way of defense against this…

  32. Wendy B. Says:

    This is a very eye-opening and powerful article. I was doing research on this topic myself and was astonished to see that my son’s father fits the description of a sociopath to the letter. I have suspected that he may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder as well. The point that I need to remember is that you cannot reason with a sociopath or appeal to their emotions. It was even sadder to see that they have ability to be harmful to their children psychologically. My son’s father showed his true colors a long time ago. Presently he is with a new woman and he has not contacted his son in months. He has dismissed me and his child and compared me against his current girlfriend. He doesn’t have any respect or consideration for me and cant make the distinction that I am not his ex, but his child’s mother. The article states that they use children as pawns and that is exactly what he’s doing. More importantly, another article stated that they don’t have friends, but people that they can manipulate and use to suit their purposes. I realize that I was one of those people who enabled him. His current girlfriend is doing the same thing and doesn’t realize it. Can you believe a woman who sees a man with two children the same age and shows up at child support court coddling him and asking if he’s ok?! It’s startling, the afffect they have on people. They almost have you in a trance-like state. You lose yourself for a time. But eventually they can’t mask their true selves for too long. The mask comes off and they reveal their ugliness. It wasn’t until we went to court for child support that he unleashed the full extent of his evil. In retrospect, he’s never been a responsible, selfless parent. I would argue that sociopathic men are not men…but males. I don’t think they ever grow up. And it is true that everyone is responsibe for the problems in his life, except him. If I could help anyone, I would tell them to accept it for what it is, cut your losses, and move on. My son’s father did a lot of damage to me and he’s currently hurting my son who will soon be in counseling for his father’s deliberate absence and its afect on our son. They are truly vindictive, diseased, broken indiuviduals who will destroy you if you let them. Beware!

  33. Sammy Says:

    The more articles I read about a sociopath the more I am convinced my ex and children’s father is just that. I always thought it was me doing something wrong. I just could never understand how a human being could do the things he did. He was abusive and cruel not just to me, but the children too. Although the physical was just with me. He has been gone for 2 months now and there is a no contact in order, however, I know it is not the last of him. I have requested the help of many agencies to help me and the kids with what has thappened. On sign I should have known he was beyond abusive was a 1 year ago. He came home from work while I was on the phone with my dad and for no reason other then being on the phone he started hitting me in the head with the receiver, then spitting gobs of spit on me infront of my 11 year old. Anyways, someone called the police worried about my safety. When the police arrived and was crying and scared. He was calm, cool and collected holding our 1 1/2 yr old. I told the police what happened and I admitted to pushing him while he was spitting in my face. They asked if I had been drinking I told them I had 2 beer earlier not understand what difference that would make. Well what happened next shocked me. In front of my children I was arrested and charged cause I admitted to pushing him and there was no proof he assault me. Apparently he was somehow able to convience the police the gobs of spit in my hair and face were in defence. The bruised from being hit in the head took a few days to come down my face so at the time they were not visable. My 11 and 7 year old were scared and called my aunt and uncle to get them. They didn’t want to stay with him. As I sat handcuffed in the back of the police car I watch him shew with his hand 2 of the kids out the door saying byebye as he held our baby. The next day around 2 he phoned my aunt asking where the hell I was cause I had to get the baby so he could go to work. I was still in jail. He was mad about that cause he had to call his work. Within a few days children’s aid wanted all the children in my care. For 3 weeks we all lived in one room of my aunts house with 1 change of clothes because I was not aloud near our home because of the bail conditions. Everyday I drove my kids to school accross town. We live out of a garbage bag. It was hell for not just me, but the children. My charges got withdrawn, the police arrested the wrong person and the evidence and statements supported that. His excuse for the excusable was he said he knew I would be out the next day and he wouldn’t have been. He put us through hell and I spent 1700 on a lawyer so he could save himself. For the next 6 months the kids and I were afraid. We couldn’t call the police and he would constintly threaten that I would be arrested again. He proved he could do it once. How could a person with a soul do that to a mother and his children. Well a few months ago enough was enough. I took my chances and called. This time he was arrested and now we are free sort of. What he did a year ago I never understood, until reading ariticles about a sociopath. Although there are many other things he has done that support it to, now I understand why?

  34. Christina Says:

    I was just talking to my attorney today. My ex is trying to get unsupervised visits (amoung the numerous crimes he committed, he kidnapped the kids and was arrested when he was trying to come back into the country). I think the biggest problem women have when fighting against their abusers is when the courts appoint special people to look after “the best interests of the child” and how overwhelmed we are with the constant threats, intimidation and harrassment. We get angry-and it shows. While our anger and disgust is seething, our abusers appear calm and reasonable. I left 8 1/2 years ago and have been dealing with my ex and the courts ever since. I have PTSD, let alone all the huge amounts of justified fear and anger. I pray every day that my ex is not able to get unsupervised visits. We are now going before a new judge and a GAL has been appointed to the case (I haven’t met with her yet, but she has already been manipulated by my ex and thinks he is such a victum). I am angry and affraid but the one thing I have learned from all my research is that I absolutely have to maintain control of myself.

    When we go to court, we have to present well. We have to show the court that we are stong and confident. We must make our concerns come acrossed as concerns for our children and not as anger. Because people don’t understand sociopaths and domestic violence, they don’t understand the impact that it has on us survivors. We can’t let them see us as “all messed up” or angry because they will interpret our desire to protect ourselves and our children as vindictivness.

    When it comes to our children and what to do…We hug them, love them, praise them, listen to them, focus on them. I know that is what all good parents want to do, but I also know that the listening and focusing can become very difficult when we don’t even have the luxery of feeling safe. When dealing with a sociopath it is more important than ever that your children have moments of your undivided attention. They need to know that we will love them no matter what and that their feelings and opinions matter even when we disagree (that is something a sociopath will never do). Don’t ask anything about the new women except maybe a pleasant “well, is she nice?” or “do you like her?” and when she does something nice for the children throw out a “well that was nice! did you use your manors and say thank you?” Don’t contact her and don’t make other attempts to interfere with his life-it will only make you look bad in court and the judge will think the whole thing is he said/she said. Additionally, if you don’t ask questions about the women, your children will know that your ex was wrong to be worried about you knowing anything about her.

    It is a horrible fight and the expense takes directly from the chidlren. Unfortunately that will not change until Judges, GALs and CASAs become educated on domestic violence and sociopaths-only then will they do something about it. Today I am still fighting to protect my children, but someday I will fight to bring about the changes needed to protect other victums.

  35. Mickey Mao Says:

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/breaking-news/mum-who-gassed-children-loses-appeal/story-e6frea73-1225975433062

    it’s not just the fathers …………………….

    Mum who gassed children loses appeal
    • By Christine Flatley
    • From: AAP
    • December 23, 2010 12:05PM

    A WOMAN who gassed her children to death in the family car has lost an appeal against her conviction for murder.
    The 43-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, was found guilty after a trial in the Supreme Court in Brisbane earlier this year of murdering her six-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter at their home at Sandstone Point, near Bribie Island.
    She was also found guilty of the attempted murder of her 16-year-old son, and was sentenced to life in jail.
    During the trial, the Brisbane court was told the mother decided to kill herself and the children as an act of revenge towards her ex-husband.
    She had been angry, the court was told, after being issued with a Family Court order stating they would spend Christmas Day with their dad.
    The mother gave the children crushed sleeping tablets before putting them in the back seat of the car, attaching a garden hose to the exhaust, and switching on the ignition.

    The bodies of the children, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning, were found on November 22, 2002.
    The woman took her case to the Court of Appeal in Brisbane in November, arguing her conviction was unsound because she was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time.
    Her lawyer, Michael Byrne QC, also argued that information given to the jury about how one of the psychiatrists came to be involved in the case could have been prejudicial.
    He said the correct verdict should have been one of manslaughter, which should carry with it a sentence of between eight and 12 years’ jail.
    However the crown argued the evidence about the woman’s state of mind at the time supported a conviction for murder.
    In a written judgment, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal.
    In his reasons Justice Hugh Fraser said the evidence about the psychiatrist could not have contributed to a miscarriage of justice.
    Justice Fraser also found the verdict was sound because the woman had not proved she was unable to control her actions.

  36. Michael Says:

    Personally, my wife and I know a person who is definitely a sociopath. He is so clever that for the first 5 years of knowing him, I barely noticed his personality disorder.

    Now… well… if it was legal and I could get away with it…I would arrange to have him placed on an island
    by himself. This person, a father, is so vile that he doesn’t love his wife or daughter. He is one of the laziest
    people I have ever met in my life…. totally verbally abusive to his wife, daughter and anyone else who gets in his way or whom he perceives is getting in his way. He has no ability to “feel” anything except for maybe a dog. Even then I think that would be a stretch for this a-hole piece of genetically defective human scum. See… I really don’t like this person beyond the normal ‘not liking’.

    He completely controls his life, his wife, his daughter and anyone with whom he comes in contact.
    I no longer communicated directly with this person.. but we sure feel sorry for his wife and daughter who have
    been totally dominated by this piece of human garbage.

    The sooner we can identify these people early and get them put of society
    the better. They need to be sterilized too. so that they don’t spread their
    evil.

    Anything else I can say about this sociopath has already been outlines and explained in the article.

  37. emma Says:

    i am nearly in tears after reading this it feels like someone understands and i wish the courts would listen, my ex was controling in our relationship, and since breaking up has told people i would not let him see our son. this is so untrue and he took it to court the out come was they said i wasn’t stopping him from seeing our son but that didn’t make him happy so he is now taking it back saying more lies. and yes i have had the games he brings him back in other things at different times. and when i went to collect him he was playing on his xbox instead of with our son. he is always playing the victim and is so good at staying the right side of the law. i really hope this gets nocticed my officals cause i’m one of those protective mothers and want my child safe. this man is going to play mind games with my son next who is only 10 months old now. i know this because i saw him do it to his older son from onother marrige and makes him feel guilty for loving his mother these men have to be stopped. it put a bad name on the good fathers. and a bad name on the good mothers out there

  38. Nigel Says:

    I am shocked at some of the sick responses here from self righteous opinionated individuals who think that they are the only ones that can know truth and if anyone challenges them then they get attacked as being a “Psychopath”. May I offer a mirror. Such a lack of insight in to humanity and self may actually reveal the Psychopath within you. Women are just as capable of Psychopathological behaviour as men, but they will show these tendencies in different ways. They may not be able to physically subdue a man, but they can use other tactics. Lying and using (abusing) our current system is very common nowadays to leave some innocent men with terrible problems and often with lives destroyed.

    Yes wicked violent males are not acceptable in a so called civilised society (which sadly we do not have), but lying devious and wicked women are not either.

  39. socopathichunter Says:

    Paul RJ- How many sociopaths are you protecting, how many paedophiles? How many deaths and beatings?

  40. BananaSplit Says:

    I am not sure if my ex is a sociopath, but he is at the very least a narcissist. He has been variously impassive to others’ pain, calls even his mother a liar, has been suicidal and wherever possible uses the law (with the Family Law system’s blessing) to continue to prolong his abuse of me. He has limited his abuse to emotional, psychological and financial - all very hard to prove, leave no visible injury, explains them away as misunderstanding and unfortunately until law reforms regarding family violence are passed, they are mostly irrelevant in family law proceedings. He demonstrates classic “abuser” behaviour to the point where he had me believe that I was the one with the problems with lying, alcohol, debt and had me admitting it to others. I even sought out a psychologist to help me with my “problems” and finally I got the help I needed - a professional who showed me that I was actually his victim. Not that this revelation has helped much as far as family law is concerned, but it has helped me understand what happened and why and accept that he will never change, so I will have to. It is very hard, but I am trying to stop reacting to him - the baiting, accusations, threats, intimidation and comments he makes to the children (who of course then tell me) are all designed to engage me with him so he can keep up the cycle of abuse. I’ve realised I don’t have to defend myself to him or respond to his accusations and lies. Instead, I choose to ignore him unless the matter is directly relevant to the children and while in the short term it seems to infuriate him even more, without fuel a fire can’t burn - so I just don’t give him any. Hopefully he will continue to try and will look like the piece of work he is when our matter is determined.

    For the record, I have witnessed similar behaviour in women too - similar, but some quite distinct differences to the way they act and possibly their motives. Most of the Parental Alienation and abuse from women seems to be borne out of fear of losing control or fear of their role as a mother/primary care-giver being diminished or diluted by a capable and loving father who may not understand her fear and treats her as hostile. The female narcissist/sociopath refers to the children as “hers”, diminishes the positive attributes of the father and plays up his faults. She tells the children she can’t afford to take them places or buy them things and to ask their father instead, yet she does take them places and buy things - more so than their father does. She is simply trying to paint a picture for the children that he won’t support them without actually saying it. She uses the children as messengers and tells them instead of their father that she doesn’t want him helping with homework or coming to soccer. She makes decisions about school, braces, curfews and extra-curricular activities without consulting him and explains it away by saying she didn’t think he’d be interested. She tells the children that dad can’t be bothered with these things. She is an adept liar and is so well practiced that she often isn’t aware she is doing it, but unlike a male narcissist cracks will more readily appear when challenged on her behaviour. I have personally come across two women like this in family law disputes recently - one of them is closer to just plain crazy than the other but both have close bonds with family. Ms Crazy is close to some of her ex’s family, but the other woman is under instruction by her own matriarch mother who dictates that men should earn the money and leave the children exclusively to mother.

    I can understand the fear in some of these women and the less crazy of the two has appealed to me as a mother to support her own position to limit contact with the father, which I do not. However, family law in Australia undeniably offers the male narcissist/sociopath a greater opportunity to exert control over and prolong abuse of their ex-partners. The recent amendments also tend to diminish the role of mothers by saying both parents are equal. There is no longer any recognition of prior caring relationships and that a mother can carry a child within her for nine months, give birth and then breastfeed the infant for a year or more of its life only to be told this weighs no more heavily than the single cell donated by the father reeks of a legal system, not a justice system when that child is plucked out of her arms into a week-about arrangement as soon as the court deems it ready - sometimes as early as 12 months of age.

    Of course, the “mostly amicable” separation that Charles refers to with 70% or more of people able to set aside their own differences and mediate, negotiate and keep re-visiting parenting arrangements as the children grow and change is the ideal - parents not using shared parenting as a way to control each other. Most parents I know make mistakes separated or not - the issue is the degree to which the other parent wants to use it, to the further detriment of the children.

    I’ve always believed that to make a child requires a cell from each parent, but in the vast majority of families, parenting is almost never equal - child bearing is still the exclusive territory of women. Women are usually, but not always the primary carer while the kids are young. Mothers are usually (but not always) the ones who remember the minutiae - orthodontists, best friends, schedules, Tim hates peas and so on. Dad will often (but not always) be more of a “macro” parent - driving lessons, algebra homework, pitching tents, maybe he coaches the cricket team Johnny is on, so he’ll do that run. When the reverse is true it is still not equal. I’m not trying to make out that mum does “more” than dad or that what she does is any “more important”, but what these parents do is called “effective co-parenting”. It should be the same whether they are separated or not. What these laws are doing is forcing parents to be something they are not for a lot of the time (mum and dad one week - not a parent at all the next?) and (far worse) depriving children of what they need from each parent a lot of the time. Where parents can get along in that 70% post separation this is still largely possible to a degree, but in litigated cases full of bitterness, conflict and abuse, instead of giving kids a stable home and plentiful, flexible and easy access to their non-resident parent, they are forced into a very abnormal relationship with both of their parents who may not even communicate with each other once the orders are made. What can happen when parents are so polarised with rigid orders is that the kids learn not to trust either parent and either withdraw from both or lash out at both.

    Why not live most of the time with one parent, but dad (or mum in some cases) should still be able to take Johnny to cricket each week as he did before and mum should still do the things that she has always done and enjoyed (or was good at)? If dad has always taken Wednesday afternoon off to take the little ones to the park for some bonding (and to give mum a break) why shouldn’t he keep doing it each week? If dad was never home from work for dinner/bath/bed for the baby before, why change that to satisfy some strange notion that it is “in the child’s best interests”? This kind of normalisation in the face of a marriage breakdown gives kids some stability and certainty while the details are sorted out wouldn’t it be in the best interests of the kids to keep their routines as stable as possible? Of course there will always be problems with this - two households means if dad did breakfast and mum did dinner/bath/bed before, it is unlikely to continue.

    It will be very interesting to see what becomes of these children raised in shared parallel parenting, whether we are breeding ourselves a generation of selfish and estranged nomads who have learned how to effectively manipulate and control situations with little regard for pain and suffering in others (sound familiar?), or if shared parenting in high conflict actually brings out the best in kids, teaching them to be self sufficient and seek to create a far more stable family than they have come from as they transition to adulthood. I guess only time will tell.

  41. betsy Says:

    I am very scared My ex husband is a sociopath..he wants custody of our child even though he is being investigated by the army for multiple affairs with women in his unit. I am a teacher and should have known but I was older when I met him and wanted a family very badly. I am afraid he will take my son and I am afraid my son will be like him how do I make sure my son does not become just like his father?

  42. Aussiemum Says:

    Please help Charles .. I cannot find any help for our unique situation. My husband and I want to protect our children fro
    My sociopathic mother. She is taking us to magistrate court for access to the kids. She is well off and had said she will spend all her money on fighting for ‘her rights as a grandmother’ Her abuse extends verbally, physically, emotionally to her ex husband(my father) her subsequent parter of 30years, myself, her parents, siblings and strangers. She ticks every box of a sociopath ! I only recently stared to see her manipulation of my children and her passive aggressiveness towards myself and family. I want her out of our lives to protect my young children. I would love to hear of similar cases and advice. Thank you

  43. Aussiemum Says:

    P.S women can be sociopaths too - my mother unfortunately is living proof of this :(
    I could write a book on her - my 94 paragraph affidavit just scratches the surface !

  44. terrified grandmother Says:

    Thank you Charles.
    I am a terrified grandmother of a magnificent little 1 year old person.My daughter bravely left her narcissistic sociopathic husband xx months ago after a devastating “Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde” xxx month marriage.She and her baby have been living with us since. He is playing the card of neurotic, obsessive mother.My daughter is kind, loving and compassionate and highly caring,honest and responsible mother and person.She has been calm, enthusiastic and happy with the baby consistently which is reflected in the happy nature of this child - an enormous credit to my daughter in spite of the very tough and confusing treatment she has personally endured.Everything he ever told her was a lie, a con. She is an attractive,successful, highly intelligent and kind girl - she was good for his image- which is all there is to him. All premeditated, I believe.Thankfully, he little one is thriving, has a beautiful attachment and is a friendly, happy baby. So innocent and precious.
    I am terrified by the increased knowledge of the reality of the current court system in this situation.I think the realisation of how the courts work here is as terrifying as him.He wants 50 50 custody of this still breastfed baby.How is this in her best interest. He sees this baby only as his possession and never paid her the slightest bit of attention when she was with him= except when other people were around and he would fake affection for her.Many impulsive and scary behaviours. Once they’d reenter the house he would go back to his porn and computer and give her or the baby no support or attention.She was grateful for this in the end because it meant she never left the baby unsupervised with him and could constantly keep her safe.I’m sure this is how they both survived.
    We have him on tape saying he’d keep my daughter in court forever and other terrible things but no one wants to listen to this.There is an intervention order at present for domestic violence and a relative very familiar to my grand daughter, supervises visits at presents so there has been no impact thus far.
    He is like you’ve said, a master conman and manipulator. We are constantly amazed at how he plays victim and the “good guy”and pulls the wool over everyone’s eyes - yet shouldn’t be, because he did it to us and we are far from fools.There are many specifics I would like to add, some concerning his comments on sexual abuse that I would like to add but am scared to do so in case he read this website and use it in some way. My daughter has been told not to mention this in court as it may go against her - nothing has happened yet. This is bizarre and scary behaviour in my estimation and a ‘red flag’. What can be done?
    I am an early childhood educator and have worked for DHS. I constantly ask everyone how to prevent disaster here if this man has unsupervised access to this baby= police,lawyers,psychologists, social workers. DHS. No one can help because nothing has happened YET! No one is interested in prevention - which has practically been my life’s work. Everyone is sorry. They agree it is a terrible position to be in but no one has a practical solution, or path to follow.
    I cannot, as a loving, responsible grandmother see this little one go to this predator unsupervised. It is simply unthinkable on every level for her safety and well being. It goes against every instinct as mother, grandmother, grandfather or loving human being to hand your child over to someone so sick.In this situation it is my very humble opinion it is not in the best interest of this child.I feel I may be called arrogant for even suggesting that or having protective instincts, that I might be actually harming my grand daughter’s case for even suggesting it-what sort of world do we live in???
    If this were a childcare centre and you knowingly sent your child there you would be called negligent.To think that the law may, in the very near future demand it of my daughter - to hand this precious, totally helpless, tiny sole over to someone who self confesses ‘he can be evil”is terrifying.We are a strong, resilient family, yet the situation is intolerable and the fear almost too much to bare.
    If the police cant help and the law supports this shocking situation = what is our hope? And given that I cannot knowing let harm befall my grandbaby, tell me, what do I do??

    What would a sociopath do if they were attacked from a different quarter - ie a civil suit? Is there someway to deflect his attention, do you think?

    With gratitude for the work you do and the changes you are supporting
    Terrified grandmother

  45. Bailey Says:

    When I was a child, my father insisted that he and I sleep together in the living room one night, making it seem like it was a fun thing to do. I was wary but obeyed. That night he touched me inappropriately while pretending to be asleep. Although it wasn’t rape, I was repulsed by him and have been ever since. That was over thirty years ago when I was eight. The next day he made up some excuse saying that he though I was my mother (who is a big woman). I lost my childhood that day, and stopped eating and talking for a while and had anxiety attacks all before I was a teenager. Yet, he never realised the havoc he had caused. Over the years I observed how he dominated over my mother who is a fierce lady. There were heated arguments where things were thrown at each other, he would ask his children to take his side and he was always right. It got worse as my parents aged. He would remove new curtains that my sister made for the house, and deny my mother any say in how the house was kept and run. He hoards things and gets very angry if anyone removes even a single old milk carton. He behaves like a tyrant and yet expects respect from his family. None of his children likes him. Recently, he starting calling everyday and persisted even when I don’t answer. It was his way of exerting dominancy over my life and I began having anxiety attacks again. We are a close Asian family but I realised that I was the perfect victim for far too long. I am a nice, quiet kind person. He expected me not to tell anyone about what happened so long ago but I have already told my sister and warned her of his sociopathic tendencies. I really just want to cut him off completely, but there is always a nagging doubt about whether I have judged him wrongly. Was the abuse really innocent on his part and just a simple case of mistaken identity? Do I deny this sense of repulsion and bow to filial piety? I feel mentally tortured in many ways.

  46. anon Says:

    I am currently going through a custody battle for my twin boy. i suffered years of domestic violence at the hands of this man and i am dismissed at court as mud throwing he has moved 200 miles away now with my twins and i am still fighting to get them away from his as i know he is abusing them but no social worked or court will listern HOW CAN I MAKE THEM
    i am really frightened for the safety of my children does anyone have any advice

  47. Thinks2Much Says:

    It scares me to even write on one of these message boards. I never have before.
    I have long thought my ex was a narcissist, but more recently have become convinced that he is a sociopath.
    Like so many of the writers here, I am the mom who lost her self -esteem, and became diminished gradually. I am lucky though
    because my ex travelled so much, I was less isolated from my friends. They could see before I could. My daughter could see what I could not. (as so often is the case)
    I would like to say to Bailey, my daughter is struggling from an eating disorder: her underlying feelings of shame and worthlessness are related to the same type of abuse you endured. My heart goes out to you, for two reasons; 1) you had your childhood taken from you and it was absolutely wrong and has nothing to do with ANYTHING you did. You were a child, and you should have been able to trust your father 2) you will or may have difficulty having your sister or your mom see what you see. People cant sometimes believe that anyone could do those things, so they make excuses for that challenge your beliefs. You were little, you probably imagined it, he must’ve thought it was mom…. You my dear, will have to radically accept that you are NOT responsible for what happened, that you should have no guilt or shame, and that your dad was not the loving father you trusted him to be. No matter what anyone denies, you seek proper counselling and make sure you are validated. That is important. Very important. Or you could miss out on having the life you deserve. These selfish abusive acts can ruin lives and destroy families. No matter what the family wants to believe;they might not be able to for years- dont wait- believe in yourself first.

    Secondly, the subject of women or men having sociopathic tendencies. My ex’s sister is certainly very similar, and my brother in law is a great parent to his two girls. We have a very similar lens of the crazy making that goes on, and what we’ve endured in our marriages to these two, and the way they parent and operate is very similar. They were raised in a family with alcoholic father and cold diminished mother; I think both were affected and many behaviors similar. There might be hope for the sister that shes just a victim with NPD or borderline, but one things for sure: my brother-in law and I have been able to validate eachother, so we dont feel so crazy, and our kids benefit from the fact that we can keep our feet on the truth at all times. Sometimes we’re even one step ahead of the curve-balls.
    I think we both have PTSD, and I know him like my own brother because we’ve lived the same hell. I dont feel so stupid for having been in the fog because he’s a psychologist-he shouldve known; but he couldnt see it either.
    I would not have been able to support my daughter through her illness nor would I have seen the truth if i had not read, “stop walking on eggshells” . Of course I spent a year thinking I was BPD… but now I know…this is the type of person I attracted because Im kind and trusting and I blame myself not others….”codependent no more” also a great book.
    Even though Ive started to come out on the other side of the storm, I still get stuck and paralyzed with fear. All these self esteem sabotaging thoughts run through my head…all reminders of things said to me daily to diminish and control me.
    I still trust people, but I trust myself now. That is most important. I’m a way better parent now and I need to be because these people are brutal on their kids. Too much power and control, no acceptance of the individual. And it was so isolating.
    The most at risk member of the family is actually my dog I think at the moment. Its just so hard to believe there are so many layers, and you think “no way”, but after a while your bottom line falls out. Thanks for listening

  48. Cara Says:

    Is it possible for you to email me? I would like to discuss some things with you but I prefer that it not be done publicly.

    Thank you kindly…

  49. Maria Says:

    I think it’s extremely dangerous - especially to children - for anyone to paint sociopathic parents as all male. The definition of a sociopath does not include a gender differentiation. They can be male or female and the female sociopath is far more dangerous to children simply because courts are reluctant to identify mothers as being sociopaths. If you want to protect children, focus on the traits of the sociopath without identifying the victims and female and the perpetrators as male. While physical domestic violence is typically a male behavior, females are also capable of violence, and their male victims are less likely to report it. Sociopathic mothers are able to lie and manipulate in the court systems to maintain custody of their children, who they then use as pawns to punish the other parent when they don’t comply with thier wishes. They are likely to leave their children without care, or in the care of people who are not safe for the children. They will train their children to lie and manipulate - even to lie about things the other parent has or has not done. All for their own personal gain. I know, my husband’s ex is a sociopath. We’ve been in and out of court for years to no avail. She is cunning, glib, and an extremely good liar. She wears a mask of normalcy that can’t be detected in the few hours court offficials spend with her. Their children have been gravely affected by her abnormal, antisocial behavior, and there is little we can do.

  50. Betsy Says:

    I too am a lucky ex partner of a sociopath. With a child to him. So true what people have said here. Pre school workers have to be screened to be accepted as safe to work around children, but us mothers have to hand over our children to mad men. Our system truly sucks. I am very disappointed with the way the police force have dealt with my domestic violence matter fobbing it off as there pants have practically been charmed off by my ex. The guy can’t get under my skin anymore though. With soon to be consent orders in place, I can do with my life as I please and he has no say in the matter. Living well is the best revenge!!! re - last time we spoke he tried to tell me he didn’t want another man around our daughter. Lol. As if. I am going to find the best man ever and he can suck it up the stupid moron. See how much of a rambo he is when he is confronted with a man twice as big as him. Thanks for the opportunity to have my childish but satisfying vent. I am just a nice person who was had (I now see). Discovering that my ex is a sociopath (displays everything on Dr Hares list) was the best piece of knowledge of my life. Things have fallen into place now. I recommend a book called Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men. Very helpful. Also the sociopath next door is one I refer to often.

  51. Tammy Says:

    Well it sounds to me like we all have something in common, which is a relief because these sick persons make us feel as if we are the crazy one! The suggestions are true, 1) limit all contact 2) they use sympathy to gain something over people, including children 3) NEVER call them what they are, it will only be used against you 4) Find a therapist that can help you deal with your emotions around these people because our emotions are what they need in order to get us back, or win 5) never forget what your dealing with, they can be charming and suck you back in, never ever forget it’s an ACT! 6) Try to show the courts you want the other parent to have a good relationship with the kids and you are in full support, but you need to show high conflict so this will limit the time with them 7) Show that you will not let your differences get in the way of the child’s relationship with the other parent 8) Document everything!!!!! This will prove to get the kids out of their abusive hands because these people ALWAYS make mistakes when they think they are winning 9) make them think they are winning!!!!!

  52. William Cody Bateman Says:

    One of the most famous “sociopaths who ever lived had this track record:

    - spent an unhealthy amount of time alone instead of with his brothers and sisters
    - made up wild stories about killing lions and bears with his bare hands… as a teenager
    - as a young man, showed up his own king (a military hero) by claiming he could do what his country’s leader could not
    - got so angry about his friends being “dissed”; he was going to kill a drunk who challenged them
    - was so jealous about his girlfriend being given to another; that he harbored that resentment for years
    - took in for himself a wife whose husband had been dead but a few days; and, married a second one on the same day
    - slept all afternoon and then, bored out of his mind, took a stroll at night - scoping out another’s man’s wife
    - had sex with a man’s wife while he was serving in the army overseas
    - got a man’s wife pregnant and then, tried to get the husband to have sex with her to cover it up
    - arranged to have his most loyal officer killed in battle so he could marry his wife
    - refused to discipline his own son; even though it meant that son would come to completely disrespect him as a father
    - was so vain, that he numbered every person in his kingdom so he could see how important he was
    - didn’t believe simply killing a man in battle was enough; took the extra step and cut off their heads too
    - tried to hide his “secret sins” for over a year - believing no one could really see what he was doing
    - became angry when he would hear of others mistreating their neighbor but not when he was doing so
    - would often be prone to weeping and calling out to a supernatural being that he believed would deliver him
    - called his own friends “enemies” when they refused to comfort him after he was “outed” by his own sins
    - acted like a madman in a foreign country so he could escape the authorities who wanted to arrest him for killing one of their own citizens
    - at the end of his life, allowed a beautiful virgin to sleep with him in his bed instead of his own wife

    This man was known for his passion, lying, narcissism, double talk, emotional instability, fits of anger, adulterer, murderer, deep depression, “needy” relationships with women, disloyalty and more…

    - He is the most famous politician this world has ever witnessed
    - More royalty has come from his seed that any other man on earth
    - Considered the greatest foreign policy maker and military commander ever
    - Had the respect of tens of thousands of women who seen him as their hero
    - Men addressed him as Lord
    - He wrote well over 300 songs and even today, they are more published than every other composer’s combined
    - He is still mentioned by name even though he has been dead over 2,500 years

    Even God describes him as, “A man after my own heart.”

    Who is this incredibly unstable sociopath? King David of Ancient Israel; through which the Savior of our World came years later, “Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

    Thank God for “sociopaths.”

    The next time you try to “fit’ anyone in the category of “sociopath”; you might want to consider why the bible NEVER refers to any person - no less a fellow Christian, by this title!

  53. Demon Hater Says:

    My wife and I have dealt with my sife’s former spouse for nearly a decade now. He gives a new definition to the word sociopath. He has makes everyone’s life miserable. He is like dealing with a small child. He is always plotting and scheming to implement his next move. He is a very, very sick person. He is sub-human. He is a form oof the demonic. And contrary to what at least one of the writers herein noted, no, the department of family and children services, the judges, the courts, NO, THEY DO NOT LISTEN to you. No, they side with these sick sub-humans every single time. they fall victem to their sick ways. He has thrown his own kids under the bus on numerous occassions. This guy is Satan himself. And as if it is not bad enough that we must deal with this socipopath, he is also the Chief of Police.

  54. Charles Pragnell Says:

    From the information and comments you have given, there is plainly much more we need to learn about psychopaths/sociopaths. There has been a major breakthrough in identifying psychopaths/sociopaths usine MRI Brain Scan technology and it needs now for this to be transformed into using it within social contexts. e.g. Recidivist violent offenders who are constantly appearing before Courts.
    Psychopaths/sociopaths cause immense harm not only within families, to individuals, but also are able to achieve political power. Idi Amin, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and now Syria’s Assan are all classic examples, who are responsible for the deaths of many millions of people. The most notorious of course in the last century was Adolf Hitler, who surrounded himself with other psychopaths and together they manipulated and controlled a whole nation and brought death and destruction to most of Europe. What is of most concern is that Hitler was actually elected to power by the German people - how was he able to achieve this?. It is important to know this so that steps can be taken to try to avoid such situations arising again.
    But most immediately we need studies to be carried out on those who wreak such harm and destruction on the everyday lives of individuals ~ not only the violent psychopaths but the non-violent ones. For example the con-men who embezzle the lifesavings of elderly or naive people and ruin their lives. Those paedophiles who ingratiate themselves to single mothers through Dating websites, with the sole purpose of gaining acess to her children in order to sexually abuse them. Parents who video-record their sexual abuse of their children and sell such recordings to child porn websites for financial gains. Child pornography is now a much larger and more lucrative `industry’ than the illicit drugs industry, as any country’s law enforcement agencies will confirm. While the media and politicians are focussed on the importation and distribution of heroin and cocaine, many thousands of children are being sexually abused to obtain financial rewards which far outstrip those of the drugs trade.
    Psychopaths/sociopaths are mainly responsible for both of these illegal activities and are totally unconcerned at the pain and suffering they inflict on the individuals who are their victims.
    Many psychopaths/sociopaths appear on registers of child offenders and other such registers must be set up to record their involvements in extortion, embezzlement, and particlualry in incidents of violence against the person. Such registers should be publicly available so that everyone can protect themselves appropriately and societies can be aware of their destructiveness.
    The gender issue is a distraction and a diversion from the main issue and may only be resolved when the Brain MRI Scan is in general use. It will also establish which people have a neurological or an environmentally-caused psychopathic condition.

  55. Cindy Genette Wynia Says:

    Thank all of you for sharing! I finally had the courage, yesterday, to permanently cut off contact with my sociopathic sperm donor (formerly known as father). He abused me, my brother, and our mother for many years. I was not raised so much as permitted to live to adulthood. He destroyed Mom’s self-esteem and permanently damaged my brother and me. I have been through years of therapy to deal with his abuse. He showed almost all of the classic signs - deception, public vs. private persona, narcissism, manipulation, lack of empathy, taking pleasure in other’s pain, sexual aberrations, violent behavior up to and including physical violence and death threats, etc. etc. Although he did not receive much education, he is very intelligent and able to use people for his own financial advantage. Because of this ability, he has been able to amass a substantial fortune which he uses to control and punish others.
    My 18-year-old daughter had only seen glimpses of his true self, but on Father’s Day he showed it fully. I was cautiously allowing her to have a relationship with him in the hopes that he would keep his disease in check, but of course they cannot do that, can they? His spouse is also ill and co-dependent with him. She appears to overlook his sociopathy in order to satisfy her own twisted agenda, part of which was to eliminate his former family from his life. My brother has been estranged from him for 10 years, and Mom has had very little contact with him since they divorced 30 years ago. He is supposed to send very small court-ordered alimony checks to her, and always manages to send less than agreed upon. My mom and brother live in poverty, and my husband, daughter and I are just getting by. He has sent significant funds to us in the past in order to try to buy our love and loyalty. I am embarrassed to admit it worked in the past, but no more.
    I cannot allow this sick, twisted individual to harm my daughter. I explained to her what he was, and I think she understands but is still deeply hurt by the betrayal. I know in time she’ll be ok. Her dad and I are very loving toward her, and she has other healthy, loving grandparents.
    This means, of course, that I will never get another cent from him. In exchange for being free, it is a small price to pay. I am free from trying to live up to impossible expectations, free from tiptoeing on eggshells for fear of setting him off, free from trying to pretend I am someone I’m not, free from unfair criticism, harsh judgment and violent temper explosions. I am free from fearing he will harm my daughter.
    I am so thankful that he lives far enough away that there is little chance that he will show up on my doorstep. I have blocked his number from my phone and instructed everyone in the family to “RTS” any mail from his zip code without opening it. He does not engage in online social media - that’s a plus for everyone who does!
    To everyone who is reading these posts and recognizes their own situation, I say “GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!”. Take your children, the car, whatever you need that you can carry, and RUN! Financial support is not worth ruining your life. My mom stayed as long as she did because she didn’t want to work (issues there, too). You can find work, if you are able to work. If not, there is assistance for you. People close to you may not believe what you are telling them about the sociopath. Remember that is one of the effects of their disease. YOU know the truth. Let it set you free!

  56. Alli Says:

    I never feel like I have time to write on boards but I feel it is really important to express my gratitude for this website and all the information on it. I was married to a sociopath and, without going into details, was able to divorce from him two years ago. I spent all this time recovering, trying to figure out who I am, what this world is, and the correct way of seeing the things that happen around me. Through the divorce and all the years before it he had me convinced I was crazy. I left believing that I was, that I was why he was so angry and eventually decided that I was crazy and it was creating an abusive home and I had to leave for everyone’s good. I let him slander my name and tell everyone that I just wanted to party all the time so I abandoned my family. I felt so awful for leaving him I let him say whatever he wanted. I love my daughter more then anything in the world and am lucky enough to have never allowed him to isolate me and have had friends around reminding me that I am the most devoted, caring, practical and loving mother anyone could possibly be. Right after I left I had horrific nightmares every night, they were just memories replaying of him yelling and cornering me and threatening me and everything else (most of you don’t need the details to know). I couldn’t sleep and I felt like I was losing my mind, which made sense since I thought I was crazy to begin with. That’s what I was told for 7 years and even after I left I believed him.

    I might still believe him if I didn’t go over there the other day to pick up my daughter and walked in on him screaming and swearing at his 9 month preggo girlfriend. He always told me she didn’t like me so I shouldn’t talk to her. I stupidly still believed him. I know how bad he can be and she was shaking and crying while my daughter got her shoes on and acted as though this was nothing new. I told her to get out of the house as soon as she could do so safely and to come talk to me. We talked and realized that we were having the exact same experience. She told me that all his ploys to get more time with my daughter were simply to try to get around child support and that he barely said two words to her when she was there and if he did it was about me trying to take his money or steal her away from him. We talked about his public persona, his charm, his lies, the things he says to make the other crazy, his joy in our suffering, how he would laugh and scream at us if we cried and only let us eat when and what he wanted us to and how the whole world is so distorted when you are living with him. I am happy that I got out alive, and happy that I can help the mother of my daughters sister do the same. She recommended that I look up information regarding sociopaths and it has been so eye opening, painful yet relieving. I realize that my behavior was ptsd, that I was and still am adjusting to living in a world that is actually logical and realizing that I am not crazy and I can trust myself. I was drinking horribly by the end of our relationship and he’d always buy me beer and booze and then tell me after that I’m just a pathetic alcoholic and that the courts would never let me see my daughter if I left him. I believed him for so long it’s hard to say but I am just now coming out of the cloud and realizing the reality of what I’ve been dealt. I am strong and happy in my life now, even though he constantly tries to provoke me. I see now that he is a very dangerous person and not rocking the boat is necessary, or as a post above said, “always make them think they are winning.” He uses our daughter to gain leverage over me and to aid in his public persona as a devoted daddy and family man. My daughter is brilliant, she protects him but I have to believe that she will one day know that I left for our safety and not just because “Mommy couldn’t be nice to Daddy so he’d get mad” which is the phrase he has repeated to her since birth. I will of course always worry and I will always have to be 100% super mom at all times with her to make up for his awful example but I refuse to believe that he has won. He can try and try but the divine in me will always be more powerful then that f****** demon I used to battle in him.

    I want to thank you all for letting me know that I’m not alone, that he’s not alone, and his new girlfriend and our children are not alone. I think those of us that have been through this and gotten out are warriors. We can claim our crown so long as we keep our heads up.

  57. Toy Spaniel Lover Says:

    Sounds like this guy: Michael Garritson
    www.englishtoyspan.net/Garritson.htmAnimal Cruelty & Neglect–The details of Michael Dale Garritson’s horrendous neglect of dogs. Listing … This is a [man] with some serious sociopathic problems!

  58. Amanda Says:

    Reading everyone’s experiences has made me realize I’m not alone. I’m so fed up with this ridiculious court system! My son has severe asthma and his father refuses to give him his medication or acknowledge the fact he has been diagnosed. He has spoke with the doctor and has been given the meds but refuses. He feels smoking and his precious indoor animals are more important. No matter how much proof I show the court nothing is done. I’m at my wits end. My sons father was raised by a sociopathic mother (you would not believe!!) now he is maybe worse then her!! Too top it off he married a sociopath in which I have obtained a restraining order against. His wife has been obsessed with my life since high school and after my sons father and I broke up she persued him. She has broken the restraining order twice along with copying my clothes, hair cut and color, my car, and feels the need to try and be friend any ex of mine or friend. This woman scares me, my son, my family and my friends. Now I have a wonderful life and expecting my 2 nd child and am scared to death what craziness this will bring. I’m dealing with 3 people that have nothing to loose and could care less about my son.

  59. NPD'd Says:

    Robert Jones and Joanne Pollard, Earls Court - check NPD psycho behaviour - it is not treatable- they should be jailed for life

  60. Heather Says:

    Well, it seems this article has hit the nail squarely on the head. I am a mother (single never married to the man) who lost a custody fight with a diagnosed sociopath (aspd). There was documented and ADMITTED abuse, neglect, and endangerment against this man, yet the court stated that his right to a relationship was more important than all other “best interest factors”. The psycologist testified that he needed supervision for at least a year while he worked on his issues. I never denied visitation or violated a single court order. I am a long time homeowner and have never had so much as a speeding ticket. While everyone was shocked at the outcome, I also got very lucky. The court did order 50/50 equal custody. I appealed and lost again, with the higher court agreeing that a judge does NOT have to consider all relevent legal factors- that it can base its ruling on the father’s right to a relationship. This includes a history of abuse, no prior caregiving involvement in the childs life, mental illness, and criminal record for repeated assualts on others.

    All I can say is that listen to the advice that the author is giving. Learn the red flags- they were certainly there for me from day #1. Do everything possible to avoid contact. Communicate only in writting. Invest in a digital recorder and learn to use it whenever the sociopath has contact with the child; document your butt off; tell the absolute truth, but make it clear that you will not interfere in a “relationship”. Teach your child that sociopathic behaviors are wrong but never talk bad about the other parent directly to the child. Oh, and learn to pray becuase the only thing that is going to get you through this is finding an inner stregnth.

  61. Charles Pragnell Says:

    @Cindy Genette Wynia – thank you for sharing your experiences and feelings. No, you are not crazy, far from it. Hopefully others will learn how best to deal with psychopaths/sociopaths from your revelations. Sadly, it is not easy to escape from them. Once they have a victim(s), they sadistically want to continue with the torture and torment of them. This they now find quite easy to do through the Family Courts when they apply for contact with children and even the custody of children. They are well able to manipulate those involved in the Family Law system, particularly psychiatrists and psychologists and lawyers. (see articles on Institutional Grooming). What should happen is for Family Courts to order for those exhibiting the diagnostic criteria of psychopaths/sociopaths, to be full psychiatrically assessed so their dangerousness to others can be recognised. But this is never done.
    @ Alli – Yes this is very much the pattern, the sociopath/psychopath tries to destroy the minds of those who are his victims and deflect his insanity onto them. Most partners such as yourself suffer extreme Complex Post Traumatic Stress which is comparable to that of frontline troops in war zones. Constant abject fear of serious injury or death is ever present and especially when there are children to be protected too. It is a fear that never leaves you, even after escaping although its effects gradually diminish.

    @Toy Spaniel Lover – I could not access the link you gave, but sociopaths/psychopaths are frequently extremely cruel to animals. Especially if they can subject them to extreme acts of torture before finally killing them.
    @ Amanda – Yes there are some female sociopaths/psychopaths but far fewer than their male counterparts. You seem to have had the misfortune to encounter a whole tribe of them and it seems as though they are obtaining Sadistic Schadenfreude in continuing to torture and torment you. There is little I can suggest to counter them, except to put as much distance between you and them as possible. You can seek the Family Court’s permission to re-locate under certain circumstances but you would need to examine Court legal precedents to do so.
    P.S. `Sadistic Schadenfreude’ should be researched as a mental disorder in its own right as well as an aspect of psychopathy, just as narcissism has been.

  62. StandUpAndFight Says:

    I am interested in forming a lobbying and advocacy group for other parents in comparable positions here in the United States. Perhaps you or any of the readers might have some interest? Things have to change within our court system. We shouldn’t have to endure the psychological damage inflicted upon us by having to offer up our children to people we know are unsafe or else risk criminal prosecution and loss of custody.
    My story is terrible and ongoing, but absolutely the same predictable course as what has been outlined here. Visits are currently supervised, but ever-increasing leniency for the father’s ‘rights’ are the way of things and I anticipate unsupervised visits in no time. I don’t have the financial means to make an escape. Every woman I have met who has been doing this for a long time advised me to ‘fight dirty’. I shouldn’t have to.

  63. Lilu Says:

    Very telling article. My mother is a text book sociopath, and quite malignant at that. She has brought a living hell down on so many people that is 100 times more devastating and destructive than what is described in this article. Yes, the social impacts are different; I doubt my father’s feelings about the situation were identical to what a woman’s might have been, but trust me, a female sociopath can wreak as much havoc as the males.

  64. Joan Holland Says:

    As a physician, I see women who live with these sociopaths. And yes, they hurt animals, and will try to get you involved in the neglect or torture of the animals, in order to torture you. Sociopaths are not a high percentage of the population, but because they are so toxic, they tend to have more than several women they interact with over the years; so a woman who is starting a new relationship with a stranger has a pretty good chance of running into one of them.
    If they do not have children with this sociopath, I advise these women to become very boring, pretend depression if they are not all ready in a depression, and fail to do exciting things like overreact, make deals with the guy, or accept promises that if /you give them money/work or dont work/leave your family/etc…then the guy will..you know /support the children/stopseeingother women/nolongerbeat them/etc etc. No, I suggest they be just too boring or depressed to make such promises. Because these guys need stimulation, they are so empty of empathy and thought for others that they need to fill up their minds with something exciting. If you are boring, they tend to go away and find someone who will fill the empty mind they have with excitement. Periodically they will call and see if they can rouse up some exciting moment from you…and you see to it you are still boring. You have to hang up now because you have some clothes to get out of the washer. Or the toilet is plugged up. Or the oven is beeping. Gosh, you are just too tired to know what your schedule is next week, but you hoped to catch up on sleep.
    If the women have children with the guy, I recommend she gets an agreement through the court that she will get child support, and in that agreement the clause they will go to mediation before any court case if there is a disagreement about the management of the case. The sociopath will agree to that, because the guy thinks he can finesse the mediation and is looking foreward to the ongoing arguments and bullshitting the mediator. Then the woman is to cut and run, leaving the child support and the guy far away by several states. He will start out being proud of not paying a dime to her, and she will have an ongoing lever that gets longer as the years go on. She is to document any abuse between leaving him and the court case settlement; listing the stuff on a calendar, so if he finds her she has documentation, and she still has the mediation clause. Promise you, if he finds her later he will immediately go to court, and the judge will look poorly on a guy who skips the mediation. Then I suggest also that she get into counseling at a woman’s center.

  65. Suzi Says:

    I’ve read through all these posts and in some sense it’s comforting to know I’m not alone but on the other hand sickened by how the courts don’t take this serious when it comes to the children. I have just seperated for the second and final time from my husband who is alot younger than me bit shows all the signs and symptoms of have ASPD and Narcissim along with a few others but he refused to go see a psychiatrist for an assesment. This I know is normal and very hard to get someone like this to seek this type of assesment as they feel their is nothing wrong with them. I have subjected myself to this monster for nearly four years. So much has happened and at one point I really honestly was made to beleive it was me because when I met him I was very very depressed and dosed up to the eyeballs on 375mg of Venlafaxine and because I had suffered depression before but not to this extent he kept telling me I was the mental one. I got off my medication by myself but sadly ended back on it again during our marriage. I was told by the doctor that on this occasion there was no point upping my low dose as they felt it was not depression I was actually suffering from but the effects of abuse so I stopped my meds as they wasn’t helping me none anyway. He has constantly used my past depression as an excuse to make out I was imagining everything and saying that I wasn’t thinking straight. He verbally, mentally, emotionally and financially drained me dry. He sucked the life out of me. I started reading up on personality disorders simply because he done a personity disorder test on his phone. Why I really don’t know but that’s when I was actually made aware that such personality disorders existed. I’ve done so much reading over the last two years that I’m very well educated on it now and it scares the life out of me. What I was reading was almost like I was the one who had written it. I could so relate to it all. I’m a very honesty loving caring person. I shared my findings with my husband. Probably not the best thing to have done as his words exactly were “well fancy telling me that. I can educate myself on it now”. He is such a lier. Very manipulative. Only cares about himself. His needs and wants are far more important than anyone else’s. Comes from an alcoholic background. Breaks every promise his ever made me and then says he don’t do promises. Promises are made to be broken. I could go on and on. More than likely write a book about these last nearly four years with everything that has happened and been said to me by him. My dilemma now is our son. His two. When we first split in may of this year I was told to have zero contact which I did for the four weeks were separated for then he text me regarding child maintenance which tbh I couldn’t give a damn about. I messaged him because at this time I was still very much in love with him and being away from him was hurting me inside in ways I honestly can’t explain and I’m wondering actually if others who have been involved with these monsters felt this way when you seperated. I can only explain it like there almost a drug although they treat you like dirt. Basically I wanted to tell him my concerns of him having contact by putting to him some things he had done. (his behaviour, attitude and beliefs) which are the total opposite to mine. I have morals and respect he has nothing. In his words. Anything goes. Well to cut out abit basically he although I kept saying he was manipulated me saying how he wanted me back and promised to go counselling which he did and he actually paid for this for about 6 sessions then just stopped going saying it was a waste of money and was a load ole s**t and that he didn’t need it, he also promised to go see a psychiatrist, stop drinking, seek anger management, parenting course and marriage guidance. He went back on all this and recently said that he doesn’t know why he said he would do all this stuff coz he don’t need none of it. I’m the one who needs the help and that he was going to drink whether I liked it or not. I so much wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt but 5 months on and him going back on it all I have ended it. This time round I’ve allowed phone contact but it’s only been a week and know his going to want more than that. His asked to see him twice in the week but I’ve messaged him a straight no and said to just call. People I speak to about this really don’t understand me. I’m sure they think I have lost the plot. (just how they like it). I’m so not a vindictive person and beleive children should have there dads in there life when the parents part but having said that, does this man deserve to be in his life? What psychological damage will he cause our son? Will our son grow up to be just like him if he is apart of his life? And so on. Do I want to hand our precious innocent child over to this monster? To the last question, no I don’t. In honesty who on there right mind would trust someone like this with anyone let alone your child. I’m so stuck as to what is the right thing to do with the best interests of our son. What is exceptable. Do I stop all contact and run or do I let him destroy our son over the years. I would appreciate anyone’s take on this. I so want to set up a support group and start an awareness programme to make the world aware of this and for people like this to be be denied any access to their children and to be sterilised and put on a register and named and shamed all over the tv, radio, Internet etc to warn others to stay away from them. There vampires, they don’t deserve to be breathing. I so want to rid myself of him totally but having said that it’s made me want to try stop this scum by educating others and making the world aware. The only downside to this is why I’m thinking this way he is still controlling my mind. They have to be stopped and got rid off. The worlds a bad enough place to be in with the way things are without the likes of scum like this.

  66. Concerned mom Says:

    I didn’t see the ” Red Flags” until it was too late, but the moment that i stood up to him and said “No” i saw the evil in his eyes. He grabbed me by my throat and pushed me up against a wall and called me a name i never thought would ever come from his mouth. I was sick from pregnancy and couldn’t join him to a birthday party. I was really taken for surprise, he was always gentle peaceful laid back very persuasive but very laid back. I decided at that moment to close all lines of communication and didn’t seek help despite the daily stalking of myself and everyone connected to me. someone said this is unacceptable and you have to report it. I was pregnant and i have since moved forward with my life and our son, Now five years old has special time with dad 3 weekends a month. however every single thing in this article re: using the law for control, ” his parental rights” getting away with not paying child support, not taking responsibility for any of his actions and leaving our son with his family or his 17 year old girlfriend and her family and spends little or no time or My little boy voicing repeatedly i don’t like him i don’t want to go there, sends a chill down my spine but we have a parenting agreement i must comply. When ever I read news of holiday visits with parents that turn into tragedies. I can’t help but feel terror again and feel frantic. Were there any studies of common signs at all that correlate a sign that these sick people intended to hurt their children before they did? Or a feeling that the parent had before sending the children? or something that the children said or a look, anything, something that was said or done that could be observed as a red flag to divert or to perhaps somehow prevent a tragedy? I am really in tune with my/ our son and while abiding the law if there was a sign i could probably do something like, switch days or times or something if i felt that My son was in danger on that particular day, But that is insane, that in itself is chaotic, is there any way to know? Is there any way to prevent sending our children straight into a dangerous situation?

  67. Michelle S Says:

    Wow!! I thought nobody got it!! Thank you so much for your article!! My ex husband fits this to a TEE!!!! Even members of his own family agree!! I have such trouble with Montana courts understanding/believing this is the poor “victim” in front of them! I have an uphill battle to protect my daughter, and it scares me. These are the people you see on the news for doing truly terrible things. They are so good at what they do. I seem to believe that if we call them out directly to people that believe what we are saying, it lifts their veil of lies enough that they would cower? They truly are cowards. In Montana, they go so far as to require me to provide him with my address should I move, to aid the harassment in effect. Also not to leave state. So I am stuck giving my abuser my contact information, so that he may further harass and terrorize us, to his delight. (Delight, which you used, is truly the proper term!) Some, though not all, of the abuse is documented, even brought charges! But he is “rehabilitated” as he completed anger management (to which hes told my lawyer, “that **** dont work! Ive done it three times!). It just goes on. These people need to be stopped. Before they hurt anymore innocent children, including mine. I have come to the conclusion that I may just have to run in the middle of the night far enough away with her that they wouldnt pay to have me extradited. I just want her safe. And with him around, she isnt. Should they ever provide him with unsupervised visitation, I will have to leave. He is a monster. I scream at the top of my lungs what this article says, and it falls on deaf ears. I am the ‘vindictive ex wife’ they say. Could not be farther from the truth. I want for my daughters safety and this slime ball oozes out of consequence for his actions everytime. Heads of organizations know what he does, but cant seem to catch him. (Straight from the horses mouth!) He even invites others to engage in the harassment. I have had perfect strangers on my doorstep, hes showed them where I live, and some of them with heartfelt warnings that he has disclosed a real plan to kill us. It just goes on and on. And the courts are all too happy to cater to him. Apparently his ‘rights’ are more important than her safety. He does not care about her-he is incapable….but so convincing to a judge. Everything you wrote in this article is 100% spot on. Thank you so much, I felt so alone in this until now. Horrible the system revictimizes us, and at risk of our children. :( So readily and happily as if we as mothers are some kind of morally wrong for wanting to protect them. It is like they do not hear what we say at all, nor do they care to.

  68. Eliie Says:

    How pathetic. One guy claims a woman is a sociopath because she has no relationship with her family. Wow. Perhaps get a clue and figure out WHY she has no relationship. Perhaps she was sexually abused by her family members, or psychologically abused. So she cuts off ties with her family. So then, that makes her a sociopath? Holy sh%^ the poor gal, she can’t catch a break!

  69. Shady Lady Says:

    Unfortunately, you have to really get to know someone especially before you have a child. Mine has kept me tied up in court since my son was born 5 years ago. He tried to take my son and live with his mother after we were married and had a child. They did everything in their power to get me in trouble. Before we were married I dated nice guys had money and had a good life. This man stripped me of everything. I fight for my son every day to give him a normal life, but these women are right, the courts try to be fair and dont know these fathers inflict abuse and are crazy…So what do we do? We fight dirty thats what we do. Play their game. We can win ladies and find nice gentleman who will love us. And until then find a cute young guy, over 18 of course, to hang out with just like they do. Stand up for your self. The kids might suffer, but dont get yourself in trouble too. Fight dirty. Thats all we can do….

  70. Hurtfulsoul Says:

    Hello everyone :)

    It’s hard for me to write a piece of vital imformation that I’m keeping from my family becuase I feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and that i’m still in love with my abuser. he made me fall in love with him before I found out that he was abusive, I have givin this Man my kids father Douglas Taylor, and Grandfather my life.

    we have been together for twenty years and he has put me through the ringer and no matter what I have stood by his side and I have gave me my all. I have showed him how faithful I was to his, and I have trusted him with my life. and he very well much knew that and he has shouwed me how much he loves me in many different ways that I knew he love me.

    but later in the relationship he has started showing signs that he is abusive but I didn’t know what physically and sexually abuse was until I met Douglas Taylor. he has taught me everything from sex down to being a women. and being on my own, he has helped me get my first apartment and I thought it was going to be all roses but I didn’t have no idea in what was in store for me the beating would be so intense that I got stabbed for the first time had a gun pulled on me for the first time being forced to have sex and being forced to have an orgasm not being able to control the pleasure he has been giving me

    he has don’t some frightening things to me such as suffercating me with a pillow that causes me to cry attomatic and to fight to remove the pillow off my face he said he was laughing so hard and praying that I didn’t hear him laugh, “hearing that from the Man that I fell in love with has done that to me, I have never been abused and this is my first and last abusive realtionship, but how can I get out? he has been threatening me if I leave he will kill me or kill someone in my family.

    I am afraid of my abuser but still in love with him I know but all I know is that I can’t help who I fall in love with and he has made it known that i’m his bitch and he owns me, and the things he do to me and forces me to do and all the physical and sexual abuse has made me believe that one day he is going to do something really frightening to have me loose myself and that’s why I want out and he won’t let me go but God’s got my back and that i’m just trying to stay alive and to leave him in one piece and not in a body bag

    but who ever is going through any type of abuse please leave and if you can’t then be safe, and try and find a safe way out don’t just tell your abuser that your leaving or it could be fatal

    take care everyone and God Bless (and before I start a new relationship should I try and talk to him, or should I just date and don’t say nothing but try and be safe… I want to move on and maybe if he see with me someone else maybe he would let me go?

    please I need all the mature responses that i can get” please nothing negetive thank you”

    hurtfulsoul

  71. mychildrenatrisk Says:

    When my daughters were 4 they started complaining about their father touching their genitals. There had been some complaints by the older brother years earlier but he spoke early and I think that scared his father off. The girls spoke late and I think my ex didn’t realized how much they were talking. After decades of his abusiveness I had enough when I understood what was happening. He had not wanted children (though I did from the beginning), and after 15 years I finally insisted on not waiting anymore. (He usually won when we disagreed about our goals. Mine ALWAYS came second.) I had to undergo several rounds of painful and dangerous IVF treatments but got pregnant with my son. My ex was furious at the news and kicked me hard in the stomach. By this time I was completely intimidated by him. Though I complained, I was terrified to report him. By the time the girls were 4, and apparently he was molesting them the rare times I wasn’t around, I was sick with fear but called child protective services & a divorce lawyer. My ex was at the top of a Fortune 500 company. I was afraid he would have me killed, I KNEW he could talk his way through a bunch of state employees and buy his way through the system, but short of killing him (which I could not do though i knew I would lose), I didn’t know what else to do. Matrimonial law, and the crooked set up of Parental Alienation allows cover for abusive men–long story short: Courts are gender biased. They’d rather believe the statistically rare event of a false allegation of sexual abuse than believe that a rich white well-mannered (when it suits him) man molested his daughters and abused his family. (He has gullible friends who argue with our children about their father, the “good man” they say the kids are lying about!) I barely held onto joint custody. He abused and endangered the children during his custody battle against me. Judge gave him 90% of our joint marital assets in the financial trial (supposedly no fault, NYS “equitable” distribution), the attorneys made 1.5 million, and my children and I will be forced from our home by 2015 when support payments stepdown. (I am nearly 60, a homemaker since 1986. The kids are now 11 & 14.) Judge gave him $6 million in joint assets in a year that he made $3 million post commencement. She felt sorry for him. He played the victim. Crazy brutal world for women and children. Judge was a woman but “above” identifying with another woman. Some people only see and respect power. Abuse piled on abuse.

  72. Michelle Y Says:

    my alcoholic sociopath boyfriend of ovr 2 yrs now, has become increasingly frustrated and agitated at our “arrangement” since the birth of our 5 mo old son. My willingness to accept that his alcoholism is a disease, fueled by a traumatic childhood and allow him the chance to be involved in our sons life, now seems like a mistake but i dont know what to do. I had mistakenly labeled him as an alcoholic, when in fact he is a textbook sociopath, like his father, grandfather, and father before him. As far back as I could get information on all the males in my sons paternal family tree sufferd from antisocial sociopathic personality disorder, most in severe form and adding alcoholism to the illness. His two physical attacks on me, and several attempts over the time before my pregnancy kept our relationship in a limbo, because i refused to be around him or risk getting caught alone with him if he had been drinking. He controls his anger and problems well when hes sober but thats rare. During my pregnancy I had his sister and her family around at all times and had already stopped going places alone with him so our situation is far from conventional but it worked for us until i had my son and almost died from complications. i spent 8 wks in the hospital and he was by my side but went through some emotional thing over worrying about me and possibly having to raise a baby at 40 alone if i died, when his youngest is almost 15. He did well for a few wks and didnt drink and seemed on top of the world and positive and supportive but week after week of doctrs not fixin my problem just finding new ones, and me getting worse, he took a flying leap off the wagon and hasnt looked back. By the grace of God im alive and I am fortunate to have a home to raise my son and family support to fill in where his father cant. He provides very well for our son and will get him or me anything we need but only allowed to visit if he is sober. Hes tried over and over again to slip in just a few beers or shots of something else, testing if he cant get away with anything, but i can tell if hes looked at a bottle or can before he visits, so we’ve had a few times hes been asked to leave or gotten threatening or mean to me and twice he grabbed my son from me so violently i decided i couldnt allow him the chance to get around him after using alcohol. I set out to convince him to go to detox and stumbled upon the information that sank my soul about the sociopath disorder. I suddenly understand why hes always telling me i dont know him and he can be mean sober and its not just the alcohol. Hes good as gold to me sober, but says his jealousy and inability to trust could make him hurt me and if i thought he was mean drunk jumping on me, ill be wishing he was drunk if he ever does snap on me sober….he is so torn and tries to walk away from me but its not for long and we wrestle with this insane schedule of life around his drinking but it cant go anywhere. I can never be alone with him and our son and feel safe, sober or not, having to live on edge. We both know it but havent said it, but some toxic love or attraction wont let us stay apart completely. Hes using more and more alcohol, eating and sleeping less, probably occassionally using some kind of stimulant pill or drug, and visits less…hes taken a recent and obsessive interest in guns and talks to me alot about them. his 15 yr old daughter he adores, the only other person besides my son ive seen he truly loves, is moving thousands of miles away and he has no control over it. im becoming more worried each day that he is going to get drunk and shoot me and then our son and himself, i just dont know what steps to take to get this man out of my life and still have a life at this point. help?

  73. Lisa Williams-Harris Says:

    Thank you so much for this EXTREMELY helpful article. The comments have all been very, very insightful, too. I’m 20 months post separation and still very embroiled in the legal battle. I was married to the sociopath for 16 nightmarish years. Most days my freedom doesn’t feel very free as he struggles to make my life a living hell even now. My attorney and our presiding judge have both seemed to side with my abuser! My kids are a wreck and hate the forced visitations, but I feel grateful to at least have maintained custody thus far.

    I also believe that women can be sociopaths. My mother was every bit as bad as my husband, and she fit the description to a T. She was the bride of satan! I even had a counselor tell me that I didn’t hate her as much as I think I do because I married her, and that is a loving thing to do. Her parents were loving, compassionate, wonderful people. Growing up, I was asked over and over again how my mother could be so awful when my grandparents were so wonderful. I believe they were too wonderful. They created a narcissist by loving her too much and allowing her to think that everyone should treat her special, as they had. She was their long awaited little girl, and she deeply believed she was special, better than mere mortals, and that everyone was her servant. She was her own god and basically stated so on numerous occasions.

    William Cody Bateman, David was a horrifically sinful man, but he was not a sociopath. Sociopaths are incapable of emotion. David experienced deep emotions. The reason David was a man after God’s own heart was because David was repentant, something a sociopath NEVER could be.

  74. Emma Says:

    Hi Charles,
    I found your article while trying to find information regarding my sons sociopathic father.
    I have recently discovered not only how the courts have assisted him to control us but also discredited me at the same time. He has a remarkable ability to accuse me of his actions.
    The story of my sons dad and I is long and common, including cruelty to my cat, which i had bought with the only inheritance from my moms estate, (she died when i was 22, she was my only family), physical abuse of myself and our child (which he blamed on me), extreme control (even down to my opinions, when I spoke, my clothing, everything), restricted my life and destroyed all or any social relationships with horrific lies, alienation and disempowerment.
    He is extremely anti-social, refusing to pay taxes, where a seatbelt, obey speed limits, pay super, pay staff the correct wage, refuses to vote. He is infamous in the fair work courts. He has assaulted a police officer and on one occasion when he hid our little boy from me on visitation because I was dating my current boyfriend, a police officer involved told me he was a c*^t, repeatedly. He is uneducated, unintelligent and illiterate. (all this was well hidden for the first 2 years I knew him). Unfortunately he gets away with everything, and is extremely good at flying under the radar.
    He also goes to extremes for attention and/or sympathy. He would refuse to eat anything for days on end, drink heaps of coffee then collapse. He would tell people that is was from the stress I caused him. He was good!
    Most recently, he has tried to ruin my relationship, even approaching my boyfriends ex at her place of work repeatedly, stolen my car, destroyed my relationship with my neighbours (I had to move), tried to destroy my uni degree (falsified group certificates to centre-link), almost succeeded in ruining my relationship with my god-mom and now the only thing left is to destroy my relationship with my son.
    After reading your article, I cried for awhile. Conformation of my reality is hard to swallow.
    Unfortunately my son (9) is suffering badly from his father, who is intent on destroying my life through him. I have tried so hard to protect him, but I can’t legally. I tried a family report, which labelled him as an extreme narcissist, however he managed to influence the report writer to the point I was yelled at and told my sons going to grow up with extreme mental issue because of me.
    He persists in sleeping with my son, showering him, letting him watch adult movies like taken (the one with prostitution) and steven segal, doesn’t feed him, it goes on. He is suffering so much now that I know he needs help before it’s too late. He is suffering at school, at home and in sports. I am beginning to see replicated behaviour.
    I have more of a holistic approach to parenting, I believe in love, discipline and boundaries. This does not ‘gel’ with his influence on our son, nor combat it and I have reached the end of what I can do.
    I was hoping you would be able to advise me on where or how I can help for him. I am fine as I have learnt to control him, however my son is a victim and he doesn’t understand whats being done to him. I can’t cope watching my sons demise.
    I have had to see professionals over the years (going on 5 years since separation) however they have not helped, either not believing the extreme story or telling me I need to be angry with the action not the person (seriously?). I have found people have no idea the capabilities of my ex, including my solicitor. Therefore I am reluctant to see a ‘professional’ unless they have experience in related personalities.
    I greatly appreciate any help you can give me, I can’t thank you enough for publishing this article, I thought I was alone.
    Regards Emma

  75. Laura Ashley Says:

    Really like the article as it describes my situation eloquently. The courts have granted my ex 50% custody. As he was clever enough not to work, I also pay him an exorbitant sum of money to have the privilege of being separated from my children and have ongoing abuse with every contact.
    Can someone help me? I need information on how to deal with this. I want to learn how best to respond to my children and what my rights for contact/denial of contact are. I had to deliver my daughter to him today when she was crying to stay with me - feeling totally impotent and very worried.

  76. Sagar Says:

    the story totally resonates with mine. except my ex is a doctor, which means he is believed and I come across as over protective mother who is trying to alienate the father. Court system wont listen. Although he blatantly lies in his affidavits Anyone pleas help? Based in Australia. thank you.

  77. Heidi Says:

    Please contact me Laura as I have been to court 46 times and have learned the ploys of lawyers and know the system very well.
    My heart goes out to you

  78. Jane Says:

    I wish every judge was informed and every lawyer could be trained because if the recognize the monster BEFORE they harm the children’s psyche or physical then some action could be taken…there must be ways to physically see the link missing in their brain and then register these monsters…,we need changes in the system to recognize a persons lack for respecting authority, laws paying child support is a huge red flag so are visitations and lack of… Mine only just started to show up for visitations in attempt to take the kids. His echo threats of hurting me and his innuendos of hurting them ring in my ears. I hope if anything ever happens to me or my children that someone will know the truth. Right now my oldest lives with him and I think my teen is a sociopath as well or a result of all thevmindgames his biological entity had done. The judge sees him clearly but child attorney leans in sympathy…I believe she has been manipulated by my ex..I hope she has integrity and pray for her discernment in this. I don’t know ….fighting costs money. Lawyers and court room drama is what he feeds on. I think if he lost we would all be in harms way so idk I’m praying daily and think a miracle will have to come our way. I hope all of you take time to breath deep react very little it’s your reactions they want. Live each day to the fullest. You get one life to live…live it..if he drags you to court have your notes stay strong but live that’s the best revenge or way to fight this evil enemy…be the light.

  79. K Spiros Says:

    Wow.. That resonated with me so much more than I really want to admit.. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, seeing so much of mine and my children’s experiences in an article like this.. I will never forget reading this.. Thank you.. Just for reminding us, we’re not alone in these ugly and unfortunate situations.. And that some people, see situations, and are willing to believe and see, admit and understand that there’s always more, much more, going on beneath the surface… Behind the door… Away from prying eyes.. Because not everyone wants to.. Sometimes, not even the victims… Thank you.

  80. Motheroftoddler Says:

    Like most everyone else here, I’m grateful for this article & the comments and scared for my daughter who will be 3 in a few months. I never married her sociopath father and asked him to move out when I discovered he was cheating and trying to pick up other women when she turned 1. She was doing overnight visits once a week or so but started saying she didn’t want to see daddy and didn’t want to go to daddy’s house. I suspected possible neglect or abuse but had nothing to go on besides her word. I talked to my daughters pediatrician and she sent us to a specialist on child abuse who said she could see no visible signs of abuse/penetration but that didn’t mean nothing was happening. Both doctors recommended I try to dissuade the overnight visits and try to be present if at all possible when he sees her. I’ve managed to do just that over several months, but he’s asking for “alone time” with just her and him because that’s when “they bond best” and he doesn’t want to feel like I’m “supervising him or something”. So occasionally I’ve left her with him alone for short periods (an hour or two) only to come home from a meeting a few days ago and find him with her on his lap and him w an erection and her diaper half off. I was so freaked out I was speechless, and he asked me if something was wrong because I was clearly upset (but accused him directly of nothing because I’m afraid of him and that he’ll do more harm if I directly accuse him). He said “what do you have to say now, huh, nothing? Are you accusing me? I’ve never hurt her, you have a happy little girl, what more do you want?”
    He’s so emotionally absent/disconnected, as if he is totally unaware or unconcerned he might be harming her profoundly. He is so sick. If my daughter or I ever cry he laughs, he thinks its funny. He has no idea how to or interest in comforting anyone if they are upset. He’s admitted he feels no empathy. He asked me once “what good are feelings, they just get in the way” and smiled.
    We have no official agreement about custody/child support. He helps with our rent in leui of child support. He asks to see our daughter and sees her once or twice a week but when he’s with her he’s mostly uninterested in interacting with her, usually asks her how she is, then looks at his iPhone for hours and puts her in front of the tv. Now that I’m quite sure he’s molesting her and its not just my suspicion, I’m very afraid for her. Someone told me to try and record him with her covertly or something so I’d have proof and it would be harder for him to contest it/say I was making it up etc. I spoke to some lawyers and they said if you accuse him of child abuse and they investigate and don’t find enough “proof” I can lose all custody (my worst nightmare) and she could go to him because in court they might say its defamation or that I was trying to falsely accuse him and that would then make me untrustworthy! I don’t know what to do to protect her and make sure she’s ok, safe from this monster I was fooled into having a child with. He doesn’t care about either of us, he just cares about his image and making money and getting drunk with his finance buddies. Sometimes I think of leaving the state/country but know i can get in trouble legally then, am praying he will leave so I can be free of him. Open to advice. Thanks

  81. Alethea Says:

    I have no sympathy for the woman who married “John.” Anyone who would keep dating a man like this, is blind and egotistical to think they can, or have the ability, to “change” the man. She had her own issues going into this relationship. At some subconscious level, she liked being controlled, she liked the attention, and she enjoyed being cut off from her family on some deep level. She has accountability.

    Her unborn child would have been better off had she left him long ago, and never gotten pregnant in the first place. It is the innocent children who end up suffering the most. “John wanted a child” she said. So she accommodates an abusive controlling man with serious psychological problems by procreating with him?

    Until, and unless, society and mental health experts start to hold women accountable for their actions, children will always suffer, and be brought into this world into abusive, incestuous, or dangerous marriages. Grown women are not victims, they have a will and a choice from the beginning. They can be just as psychologically disturbed as the men they hook up with, and the future children end up paying the price for the sex the two adults have with each other. Healthy people do not get involved with unhealthy partners. Both genders need help. Women should not be put on a pedestal as victims and innocent vulnerable creatures….they are rarely innocent and only children are truly vulnerable.

  82. Alethea Says:

    Could you also perhaps do an article on sociopathic women? Women tend to be much more manipulative, insidious and indirect in their violence than men and can thus lie and cover it up much better.

  83. Richelle Thomas Says:

    All of this is my everyday life..I’m at such a loss at what I can do to even slow it down! It’s been goin on for 9 years now, we have 2 children together and split up in 2008….every kind of abusive behaviour since the begging, we were young I was neive and didn’t realize how wrong it was. I eventually escaped and have been in court ranging from every week to every couple months… Been to consistent prosponed trials and his behaviour from crying and balling to the judges an lawyers to the red face black eyes and vandalizing the government building briefly when someone turns their back on him, I see it everyday and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. Even to the point he has told the judge that they do not know how to do their job and not a single punishment in 9 years…. Yet he stalks, harasses, abuses, manipulates, creates viloence in public parks, threatens death…fleeing country with kids… Suicide….in third party so it’s ok in the system. I’m hunted like an animal everyday and he gets away with all of it… No punishment only told not to do it again and that’s the smallest part of my problems with him… I couldn’t possibly type it all!

  84. Anonymous Says:

    I have a sociopath in my life still, ten years after divorce.
    All three twenty-something children have now become his cult followers and have shut me out completely. They will not listen to any of his known ghastly past nor the mental cruelty that has been inflicted on me. They blame me for my own fall out as the punishment that he metes out continues to de-construct me.
    It is only with the utmost strength that I keep on. When I can’t, pills and booze blot out the worst.Life is presently particularly grim as he continues to shine as a saintly character in his village. No-one knows what I know and those that did are now sadly either deceased or fear to come forward to expose this charming and charismatic monster.

    Manipulation, deceit, destruction..it never ends. There is never going to be any justice for this man until I die. Only then will I know peace. I pray that my beloved lost children can break away from him one day and realise the truth, when all they can see now is only what he tells them is the truth.

    God help anyone who has to suffer to this degree on a daily basis because the sad thing is, I can’t make myself stop loving my children. Sad eh..??

  85. VictimizedbyCPS Says:

    Thank you for describing my experience. The “Father’s Rights” movement is full of sociopaths, with lawyers that support and aid men they know are dangerous to women and children. But the lawyers themselves are often so lacking in empathy that all they care about is money.

    The Clinton era government funding agency to keep men involved with their families has also been diverted to utterly jaded manipulations of matrimonial law.

    Unfortunately the outcome usually is loss of custody for mothers seeking seeking protection for themselves and their children. Judges are uninformed and easily manipulated, as are the “validators” in Child Protective Services (whose investigation outcomes are less accurate than flipping a coin, according to Crime Magazine 2007.)

    My children and I have lived through hell for 8 years since I filed for divorce. My ex walked away with 90% of our joint assets and judge kicked our children out of both houses while smiling at him.

    He charmed her and lied successfully, just as I feared he would.

    The whole U.S. system effectively turns on the financial superiority of men and a deepseated, unexamined prejudice against women (as vindictive harpies and sluts.)

    Hopefully your observations & others on the web will gain momentum against the profound injustice and danger.

  86. childrenatrisk Says:

    Richelle and others–when my ex dominated the court as he had our home (and I knew he would but had to protect my children) our lives became a new kind of nightmare.

    After the judge took our home and gave him most of the assets, I was advised NOT to pursue our share of the assets in Appeal (for mine and the children’s) by a lawyer doing pro bono work for abused families. My ex had acted out, endangering the children’s lives and intimidating them (sometimes shouting sometimes hitting, sometimes leaving them to roll down the hill in his car with the parking brake off and himself not in it.) He was playing victim for economic advantage (he never wanted nor loved our children.) And he was putting pressure on me to expend my litigation assets on custody issues while he emptied our joint accounts. (No one stopped him.)

    Advised to Appeal by every other lawyer I consulted (who stood to make money on it), I listened to the pro bono: Ex’s active endangerment of them has stopped as has most of the yelling and hitting, now he’s satisfied he has the money.

    Are they truly safe? No. His psychological report (never presented at the financial trial) showed he is a risk for murder/suicide. The custody evaluator gets most of his contracts through Father’s Rights lawyers and suppressed that evidence. (Independent researchers revealed it to me.) But on the whole, I am satisfied he is no longer sexually abusing our daughters or hitting the kids: it’s better.

    Of course that is because there is a new witness in his house: He married the woman he had been seeing during our marriage (and hers.) They are in the honeymoon charm period.

    When that period is over, as I know it will end, I hope my children will be considered old enough to decide for themselves whether to be in close proximity.

    The “fallout” on my children has been awful: They were happy children in the “mommy love” phase when the court appointed “experts” took over control of my family. (I had called to protect them and to divorce, finally, our abuser.) The experts did all they could to try to “prove” that my children and I were wrong! –Because they accepted my ex’s victim act.

    My kids are no longer as lighthearted. It has been a tragic cloud over their childhoods. I wish the experts would read Charles’ blog!

    For those who’ve written in to blame the women who fall prey to these sociopathic/narcissistic abusers: YOU HAVE NO IDEA. My ex is such a great actor. I am an intelligent, sensitive woman and I did not know he was lying to me during our courtship. His self-presentation is flawless, really.

    He marched to the top of a major American corporation without detection. (Apparently many CEOs and COOs are sociopaths.) They are attracted to money and power, and if gifted with high-functioning cunning, there is no limit to what they can accomplish. (Nothing like emotion or morals to get in the way!)

    –He had been a child arsonist and compulsive liar. His parents never corrected the behavior, being preoccupied by alcohol and themselves.

    You folks who blame us (and we have really been victimized) would have fallen for those men too. You probably already have, which is why you are blaming the victim.

  87. Garry Williams Says:

    Paul Randle-Jolliffe Says:
    July 4th, 2009 at 5:12 pm
    It is unfortunate that the article only talks about men in these terms as there are very many women who are sociopathic along with the many other conditions mentioned.

    VERY well said Paul.

    Been there worn the T-shirt and now suffering the results of it from her as are our children.

  88. Jeanette Fornier Says:

    Hi I am doing an article for parliament and wanted to use some of the statistics stated in your article, can you please tell me where you got then from please and thank you or can I refer to your article?
    “In 2005 in New South Wales, one of Australia’s six States, 117 children suffered unnatural deaths at the hands of their parents and 74 intimate partners were killed.” It is very hard to find statistics on filicide and the like…

    cheers jeanette RiSE QLD

  89. Charles Pragnell Says:

    Jeanette,

    I cannot now recall the precise source of those statistics but you will find a full range of similar statistics at:

    http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/1-20/13.html

    You can find statistics on Child Deaths at such websites as:

    http://www.ombo.nsw.gov.au/news-and-publications/publications/reports

    Good wishes, Charles.

  90. Charles Pragnell Says:

    Emma - I’m sorry there is no useful advice I can give in your circumstances. I receive many dozens of similar pleas every year from parents who are in similar situations.

    Sociopaths are extremely adept, as others have said, at grooming and manipulating Court Reporters/ Consultants, Lawyers, Judges, and Courtrooms are a playground for them as Courts have a psychopathic organisational culture i.e. absence of empathy, compassion, remorse, and sympathy for victims/ survivors of violence and abuse. There is a very useful article on the Web titled Institutional Grooming which very effectively describes this process.

    The only possible hope is to convince the Court to order a psychiatric assessment on your ex-partner for Anti-Social Personality Disorder (see Dr. Robert Hare’s Psychopath Checklist.). Psychopathy can also be detected by Brain MRI Scan which is a major advance but Courts have still not caught up with such medical advances, nor have many psychiatrists.

    However as I have said before, I believe it to be a neuropathic condition i.e. a brain defect, in that part of the brain which affects emotions and feelings. That is why the condition is untreatable by psychiatrists/ psychologists and why they avoid such psycho-sociopaths.

    The victims of psycho-sociopaths usually suffer Complex Post Traumatic Stress, confusion in thought processes, self-doubt, and feelings of worthlessness. I have seen many children who are suffering Complex Post Traumatic Stress after witnessing and suffering continuous exposure to partner violence by one parent on the other. They display immense emotional and behavioural disorders and some suffer extreme depressive illnesses.

    Psycho-sociopaths are also extremely adept at manipulating some children and it becomes a form of Stockholm Syndrome, where the children identify with their abuser and are completely under the abuser’s physical and mental control.

    Good wishes, Charles.

  91. KerryMathies Says:

    I am going through this as I write and have been for some time… I do not know what to do! When asked “explain why you are in fear of your life and need a restraining order… I get stumpted and say how do you put it into words”. He is charming to everyone and can literally talk his was out of anything, including criminal activity. The police have stated they know what kind of a person he is and Social Services; but cannot get anything concrete on him. His is although known as a con-man around our town and people have caught on what kind of a person he is- but I worry that the courts may not see it. We have a son in common and I have an older daughter of whom he made sexual advances toward but could not prove so no charges were filed.
    Does anyone have any ideas for me?

  92. Mackenzie Says:

    Oh my, this is my ex husband to a tee. I was abused behind closed doors for years. Kept in the house, controlled and threatened, would keep me pregnant in order to keep me around, made me bankrupt, called me a whore, slut, CUNT in front of my babies. Choked me and drug me out of my home and locked me out away from my children. This article says everything. When I would call the police to get back inside, he would put a wine glass and empty a bottle of wine on sit it on the table. Then be rocking our 3 year old like he was the victim when he let them and me in. And say I left on my own accord. Wow. These kind of people are sick. And the comment about the change in their eyes from one person to another when they get angry, I totally know that all to well. It was like two different personalities in one body. Glad I somewhat escaped. I have children with this maniac, so I’m not sure I’ll ever truly escape until they are grown…

  93. anon Says:

    I was raised by two sociopaths. Made that way by a long line of sociopaths, alcoholics, addicts, and narcissists of both genders. We would solve a lot of problems by educating kids on how to protect themselves from these beasts. Not every child of sociopaths even gets into a courtroom. Many never know there’s another way to live. How many lives could change if most people age 16 could readily identify a sociopath and walk away?

  94. Ruth Says:

    My sister got pregnant at14 to an evil narcissistic 23yr old man,and was treated like a dog,& even kidnapped & tortured after a family friend foolishly believed he was changed,& took him to where she stayed & she even got my sister to come out the front.. Without telling her she was with her ex…he grabbed her,& baby.. Dragged her into the car & drove 3+hrs to his brothers,who lived with a close family friend,& was also a cruel violent manipulator,where he kept her & my yr old nephew for 2 wks,as he continuously beat,raped & tortured her,to punish her for running. She escaped..she was once more lured into his hell a yr later, but left shortly after. Never to see or hear from him again. She has been a cold,mean,bitch to all men since,causing one man to shoot & kill himself “because of her”. She was emotionally absent towards my nephew all through his childhood,only becoming 100% his loving mummy when a boyfriend they lived with threw her out,saying he isn’t a halfway house,for when she needed sleep after days of being out drinking and drugging when she only left to get dinner.He took on my nephew,giving him a room & a start in concreting work,giving him a glimpse of normality.my sister has never been rejected before & was so affected,she started to use her son as her excuse to go to the house, and she went into a mothering frenzy,washing,cooking, and anything else that give her access to be near the only man that ever left ‘her’. It was sad, but I thought, oh well she is better giving late love to her son than none. But now yrs have passed & she has catered to his every demand,which have grown more and more bizarre and puppeteering & each yr, till now,he no longer works, cause he feels his effort should be admired and he should be looked up to more,by his bosses. So,he resides with his mum,hasn’t ever taken out the rubbish,or mowed a lawn,he wouldnt ever,incase its seen that he might have respect,cause he hates her,he has nil respect for her,he states often, and she is the reason why he has nothing to show for 10yrs of working for top dollar,he takes after our dad,whom is a famous tattooist,& is very artistic,& has been offered many magic opportunities by tattooists high in the profession to be taught the art in a professional studio,under a professionals direction,but,nah,his mum should have put him in with his ‘pop’,that’s why he has failed to become a famous tattooist,his mother failed him.our father has never been in our own lives,he would never bother with some kid that he doesn’t even know,and have to play pop,no way,too much effort for no glory to him.thing is,my nephew stayed with me for a month till last week,when I could no longer ignore the evil in his soul, he trashed my house,ignored my pleas to flush his urine down after using my toilet, & how it was offensive to me, if he ignored me…he made everything he did, cooking,smoking,etc..a disgusting,filthy event to show his void of any kind of emotion or other feeling that only fools had.I snapped! Coincidently at the moment my sister arrived to resupply him with anything and everything he demanded,and she was forced to take him with her,and endure his endless evil mind games and resentment rants,day after day, cause he went back to her house,and he was totally entitled to be there,be dirty,rude, & mentally harming…cause…she was to blame,for why he doesnt own his own home.even though he has earned enough to buy several by now..& today…right now,i fear he has grown such a delusion of reality, that he no longer gets moments of clarity,of what is real,that when my sister stands firm with him on Friday,and his lift to the city arrives..that he will enter a psychotic,state of craziness and short circuit,he will try and kill her..I can’t see him just kissing her goodbye,and going on his way,that is the ultimate act of surrender,weak and defeated,an atrocity to his soul and his dignity…I’m scared..

  95. Jacqueline Says:

    I need help. I am afraid to revisit the nightmare of what a sociopathic sadist did to me and my family, though I can’t continue suppressing it.because he most certainly is continuing with others carrying out his sick, twisted, well manipulating ways…targeting the vulnerable. I know he.will return for me. I can not see him letting it go. i called him out on his psychopathy. I have experience and a passion in human behavior and yet he blindsided me, and he will continue to outwit authorities. Bc unfortunately ppl use sociopath and psychopath so loosely that when truly meet one, they never see it coming. I didn’t explain well, though I can’t keep suppressing and being afraid to talk aboutt it. He remains free and his compulsions won’t ever stop..

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