The Tactics and Ploys of Psychopath Aggressors in the Family Law System

In the twenty years I have been advising parents, children, and their legal advisers in several hundred cases in Family Law matters, I have often been asked, “Why is it that children are so often ordered to have contact with, and even into the custody of, parents who have abused them and have perpetrated violence against their partners.”

The answer to this question is not simple and involves an examination of the requirements of Family Laws which stress the importance of children having both parents in their lives after parental separation, the dynamics of legal processes, and the often very clear gender biases of the principals involved in judicial processes.

But one of the most outstanding and consistent features of proceedings involving the care of children post-separation are the conduct and behaviours which can be identified as clearly fitting the definitions of psychopathy/sociopathy.

The major personality traits of the psychopath are supremacy and narcissism. The afflicted individual must be in complete control of their environment and all persons who are a part of that environment or can serve the psychopath’s purposes in maintaining control.

The psychopath is capable of using both aggressive anger and passive anger with cunning and guile, to achieve their goals of exerting control. Examples of such contrary behaviours are the aggressive violence against intimate partners, with the frequent inherent abuse of children, designed to groom friends, relatives, and professionals into believing they are harmless and indeed very stable and friendly. If thwarted in attaining these goals, however, the passive can quickly turn into the aggressive.

In furtherance of these traits, the major tactics and ploys of the psychopath are:

1.          denial of wrongdoings in the face of clear evidence;

2.          refusal to take responsibility for behaviours and actions;

3.          minimisation of the incident and consequences;

4.          blame being placed on others;

5.          misrepresentation, fabrication, embellishment and distortion of information and evidence;

6.          minimisation of all information and evidence regarding wrongdoing;

7.          claims of victim status, alleging the victim was the aggressor;

8.          projection of their own actions and behaviour onto the victim; e.g. she abuses/neglects the children/ she is an alcoholic or drug abuser. This is based on the belief by the psychopath that attack is the best form of defence.

The grooming of friends, relatives, and professionals is very clear in many cases, and in particular some psychiatrists, psychologists and family evaluators/reporters have been hoodwinked by such tactics and ploys by the psychopathic individual. Their reports, of course favouring the psychopath, have very considerable influence on the Courts and their determinations. Very often clear evidence of intimate partner violence such as convictions, Domestic Violence Orders, Apprehended Violence Orders and Restraining Orders against the psychopathic aggressor and medical evidence of injuries suffered by the adult and child victims are ignored or dismissed as irrelevant by such professionals.

Such professionals now refer to such cases as `high conflict’ cases, when it is clear that they are situations of a violent aggressor/tormentor/persecutor and their victims. It is easy to see how the cases in Austria and America where young girls were imprisoned for many years by controlling individuals and regularly abused in several ways were undetected, when the aggressors/persecutors/tormentors were able to convince their family members, relatives and associates that they were reasonable, normal people. The same often occurs in other cases of violence and murder where neighbours report that the accused murderer is a nice and friendly neighbour. They do not recognise the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of the psychopath’s ploys and tactics and of those they have effectively groomed in their beliefs.

The high conflict which usually occurs in such cases is most commonly engendered by the respective lawyers, conditioned by operating in an adversarial process and arena, whose own major goal is to ‘win’, whatever may be the justness and fairness of the result.

It is not difficult to see, therefore, how the psychopath is able to readily gain the sympathy and support of some of the professionals engaged in the Family Law system and for them to abandon and forfeit their professional objectivity and impartiality in such circumstances. In blaming others the psychopath will allege the former partner is mentally ill and in some cases the former partner may be suffering a Complex Post Traumatic Disorder after suffering years of physical, mental, and sexual abuse and violence. This is often misinterpreted and misdiagnosed as a Borderline Personality Disorder or similar psychiatric term. In effect it is a classic ‘blame the victim’ scenario.

The groomed professionals then enable the psychopath to achieve their primary objective, which is to maintain power and control over their victims, their former partner and children. It is an act of vengeance and spite but mostly it is to maintain the power and control and feelings of supremacism and narcissism. “I am faultless and flawless and in control of my whole environment” are the unvoiced cravings of the psychopath, and “I can continue to inflict my tortures on my victims with impunity” are the psychopath’s continuing behaviours.

The Family Law and their shared parenting provisions and its administration by the Family Courts have become ready enablers for the psychopath.

Charles Pragnell is an Independent Advocate for Children and Families.

39 thoughts on “The Tactics and Ploys of Psychopath Aggressors in the Family Law System

  1. You’re missing a piece of the puzzle: lawyers as a group tend toward narcissism anyway; another narcissist/abuser would appear more “normal” to them. I theorize that judges, having once been lawyers, may be made up of the most narcissisitic members of the legal commun (and I’ve detected a degree of pompous arrogance/narcissism in court-appointed psych types, too). Family law judges are the ones with the greatest freedom to exercise that narcissism, unrestrained by the annoying presence of witnesses, juries, and defense attorneys who are capable and motivated to file appeals if a ruling from the bench is unlawful or appears biased against their client.

  2. We know that this is happening and yet we still don’t do anything about it. 20 yrs ago I had a chance almost in tears tell me that I had to give visitation of my 3 mo old because – “there was no clear evidence that someone who abuses an adult will abuse a child” – we know that this is false and this article explains why – when they can’t control the crying baby they will find a way to control it. Thankfully my daughter was not physically harmed but sufers emotional issues she will deal with all of her life. Emotional wounds don’t heal like physical ones and leave a deeper, more permanent scar than any physical ever could.

  3. My Ex has done all of the above. I live in fear every day that he will want to take my son and the court will let him. I went to see a lawyer and was told that because I was the one that was abused, they could not assume that he would abuse my son. The last straw that made me leave him was when he pushed me into the coffee table and onto the floor while I was holding our two week old son! How can the court not see a connection? What can a person such as myself do to protect my child? I find it unbelievable that the court believes it is in the best interest of the child to have a relationship with a psychopath abuser. My advise to anyone that is in my same position is to do what I am now doing- be as evasive as you can be (within the law) and hope that your abuser loses interest, because it IS in the childs best interest NOT to be subjected to forced visitation with a psychopath. How can the court not see this?

  4. I left and the abuse continued, all my friends and family thought it would stop. but I knew that it wouldn’t.
    6 years on, he did what he said he was going to do.
    I no longer have my children.
    What Charles has wrote happened and happens. I thought I was going to get help, instead the court used it against me.
    I lost all my self esteem, they say that I am mad and not safe to be around the children.
    I am stronger now than I have ever been. I see through the glass darkly.
    His true colours have really shone through and even though the courts , cafcass do not see this. I can see that they are all in cahoots with him.
    When I question things they have said, they say something different.
    My eldest child told the cafcass officer that the father had been kicking and hitting them. The cafcass worker brought the father into the room and then he challenged the child, turned it around and said that the child was hitting and kicking him (this was never mentioned before). The child later said that it was made up.

    one of the children as thye had to go, said to me, don’t stop fighting for us.

    When will the courts learn, when will the courts hear, when will we get real help.

    People who read Charles article, please be aware that it is real and it does happen. Do not think, like I did, that because you are telling the truth you will be believed. I could not believe the amount of lies the father told and was believed.

    Be vigilant.

  5. This article describes exactly what has been happening to me for the last three years. I was told ‘don’t attack’ your wife, you will look angry and it will be used against you. That did not stop me from being ‘attacked’ legally by my ex-wife. The Court believed all of my ex-wife’s lies. She even asked for ‘no visitation’ with no allegations of physical, sexual or drug abuse. When I pointed out evidence of domestic violence, emotional abuse of my children, the traumatic brain injury of my ex-wife and my treatment for depression were left out of a ‘custody evaluation’ by Dr. Stanton Samenow, the Court simply ignored it. I have sent this article to the doctors and lawyers involved in my case, even the Bar Association telling them how evidence of a severe psychopathology is being ignored against the best interest of the children. No one will tell me I am wrong or offer to help. There is a ‘conspiracy of silence’ when it comes to psychopathy.

  6. Reenee – I would find it extremely difficult to disagree with you that some of the legal and judicial community have a high degree of narcissism and some may in fact be psychopaths themselves, making a lethal combination. Family Court judges have almost total discrettion in what they admit as evidence and how they evaluate such evidence. Serious biases and prejudices are very evident in many cases as well as a considerable lack of knowledge about the needs and rights of children. It then becomes a `Tragedy of Errors’ of judgment.

    Psychiatrists evade psychopaths. Mainly because they know their condition is an untreatable neurological disorder (brain malfunction from birth probably from a defective gene) and secondly because they fear psychopaths and the harm they can cause. Note for example the threats made by Father’s Rights groups made to CAFCASS workers, throwing flour bombs at the Prime Minister in Parliament, threatening to kidnap the Prime Minister’s son, killing a judge and another judge’s wife in Australia, and their many other antics such as climbing the walls of Buckingham Palace and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Note also the number of Revenge Killings of their children by psychopathic parents, such as with Darcey Freeman, the Farquharson children, Yazmin Acar and many others following Family Court decisions which did not meet those parents’ wants and demands.

    My best description of events in Family Courts are that they are Moral and Ethical Insanity.

    Each “player struts and frets their hour upon the stage”, collects their pieces of gold, and departs without a thought for the suffering and pain they have caused.

  7. I can honestly not believe how true this information above is my
    life. Enmeo….I too share a very similiar story to you…….I lost my only daughter to a Narcissistic Pychopath…..everything written in this article is my life…..even down to being diagnosed with “BORDER LINE PERSONALITY DISORDER”…..I even completed a 12 month Therapy course to ‘get better.’
    Charles knows of me and the attrocity that has taken place in my life over the last 2 years……..I cant believe whats happened to my daughter and I and so many other Mums and their kids!

  8. Charles, you write so eloquently and with precise expertise. I totally agree with the comments about the magistrates and judges displaying their own high degrees of narcissism and psychopathy. The end result is that many empathize with the “white, heterosexual, employed, male”. Try as they might, and I think some do not try very hard, they simply cannot identify with the abused, protective mother who is now likely to be a single mother, and consider her a deviant other who is responsible for destroying the “fabric of society” (the family which is supposed to keep society functional). After my very first Family Court hearing, I walked out of there with the realization they had to find something wrong with me or else their system would fail to work. Although it was the other parent diagnosed with depression, mood disorder and high anxiety, this was dismissed and they had an unhealthy obsession to find something pathologically wrong with me. Thank goodness there was nothing to dig up. But the entire system is flawed and entrenchly biased. I doubt it cN ever be fixed.

  9. Muriel ~ I am much more optimistic that change is in progress. There is an increasing protest by the victims of the Family Law system and the current case of the 4 Queensland girls has highlighted many of the defects and deficiencies which researchers, academics, child advocates and parents have been testifying to for years. There is immense public and political concern about the workings of the Family Courts now that those workings have been exposed in the media, after being hidden by the veils of secrecy provided by the law. In particular the manipulations of the law and the legal process have been shown as morally defective and a complete absence of emotional intelligence which is necessary to be applied to decisions concerning the care, welfare, and safety of children.
    I do believe that change is possible, the speed direction, and nature of that change is however, very difficult to predict as there are very considerable vested interests which will be opposed to such change and will strenuously resist change and seek to retain the status quo.

  10. A friend of mine finds herself in the same nightmare as those described above – negligent, biased social workers and betrayal from every direction. Her children have been placed elsewhere pending psychological testing and s37 report. She is accused of being ‘unstable’. Charles, she really needs your expertise. How can she contact you for your advice? Or, is there someone in the UK you can recommend?

  11. The psychopath in my life went to law school after we married and became much worse. Law school grooms psychopaths and the legal system is full of them. The power over their clients as well as their families makes them feel invincible.

  12. I just find out I was married with a psychopath for over 20 years, everything that I have read for the past 7 days its me, my life, the system, the court, the police I need help please advise what to do, he molested my 7 yr. daughter and got away it, now he has primary custody, I dont know what to do? I dont have the money to fight back, How can I stop him, or make him go nuts and loose control?

  13. I have just read this article and can’t quite believe how it fits my experience over the last 6 years, I have been dragged through the courts over contact for my 4 yr old, when contact is taking place, and has since my son was days old, I’ve been arrested and accused of assault, He tried to have me sectioned while i was pregnant, he has lied to me and about me to our friends and for a while they believed him! He has conned me out of thousands of pounds and has denied borrowing money, I’ve had an absolute nightmare and can’t even begin to express the depths of my distress at the hands of this person.
    I have been in the court process for 4 years, he is happily keeping us there representing himself, I am now in the process of a second cafcass report, the first officer appeared to be taken in and presumed I was attempting to alienate the father. she suggested I had a psychological assessment done, I was diagnosed with PTSD due to the relationship and the court eventually did an assessment on him, he was so evasive with his reply to questions they have been unable to confirm him a psychopath only that his personality ranges outside of the normal range for narcissism and ego… he is now grooming my son on visits and has a court order that he’s prepared to enforce with the police condoning it. I have had treatment for PTSD he has had none! He is constantly playing games using money, friends and our son,he’s told my son to tell my new husband he not a daddy and our home is not his, my daughter who’s older from a prev relationship is not his sister, its unbelievable this beautiful child is being turned against my husband and no one is stopping it. If I ask for an early night he keeps him up, I’m praying the next assessment will out this man for what he is and someone will do something to stop this. Any advice would be welcome.

  14. @ LisaKossoff – Your friend should provide to the social workers copies of articles on psychopaths and particularly articles on ‘Institutional Grooming” and other articles by Barry Goldstein, Michael Flood, and Evan Whitton. Inform and educate them.
    I can be contacted through the National Council for Children Post-Separation website –
    They will pass on any correspondence to me. Also I know people in the UK who can help.
    @ Betsy – I totally agree.
    @ Yazmin – he has sought custody for two reasons – to continue to torture and torment you, knowing what your daughter is enduring (and of course the pain and suffering he is inflicting on her), and to evade Child Support.
    Were there incidents of physical violence and did you suffer injury which can be verified by police reports and medical reports?. Were there incidents of psychological damage, where you suffered psychological harm which can be verified by a psychologist/psychiatrist?.
    If so, you may wish to consider bringing a civil action for aggravated assault and personal damages. If you have no money you may have to act pro se’ and self-litigate (there is lots of information on the Internet about self-litigating – its not difficult if you have the confidence and can research the legal precedents). Such legal action should have no effect on any custody/contact proceedings.
    He wont lose control, he’s in control at the moment – over you and your daughter. To make him pay (monetarily) for the harm he has caused, will begin to regain the control you have lost.
    If your daughter suffers any physical/sexual harm, then seek an examination by a forensic paediatricians (with photographs of any such harm), and an examination by a forensic psychologist for any emotional/behavioural problems arising from abuse. Obtain the Sworn Statements of any direct witnesses and/or anyone who your daughter has disclosed/complained to about the abuse. Then, and only then, should you report the matter to the police and Child Protection Services. Child sex abusers usually have child porn on their computers or printed material if you gain knowledge that your ex has such pornography, then report it to the AFP (Australia), the Special Branch(U.K.) of the F.B.I. (U.S.A.) as they are the bodies which are responsible for applying the laws relating to such offences, and not the local police.

  15. Hello All,

    I have been divorced 15 years now. I have been emotionally abused threw e-mails, threats harrassments. My children are 18 16 and 15. My ex has been brainwashing my girls for years to live with him. My 18 year old moved in with him last december and she got a car and lots of shopping. My 16 year old left in August to live with her father without even telling me. She also got a car and shopping. I am due in court tomorrow for the 4th time this year. Custody, parenting time. His motion is a lot of lies exaggerations. He owes a large amount in back child support and is always trying to get out of paying. Is in contempt at this time and is still inconsistent in paying all these years. It’s a game that has been played for as long as I can remember. I cannot believe he is able to take me to court so much over the same issues. He uses the kids in his game, which is what really hurts me. He never honors aggreements. I no longer have an attourney because I have spent thousands of dollars and nothing changes. The same threats and motions are filed several times a years. Not much changes except he pays less child support credit for back. We had a guardian come in a year and half ago and had a schedule. I followed it it was him that did not. He is claiming I am the one that is controling. My youngest does not want to live with him she wants the schedule we are folllowing for 15 years, he says she want 50/50. I worry about my girls and what they are learning from their father as he lies malnipulates and scams other on a daily basis. I pray everyday the what I taught them over the 15 years of fulltime with me will stick and not his actions of decite. I hope the court orders he can not bring me to court again for any custody or parenting time. And order that is in the best interest of the kids. They are close to 18. I am disgusted in how a person can try to distroy their mother threw his own children. He has even distanced 2 of my girls from my side of the family. His vengance and spite against me is auful way to live. I have continued to fight in the best interest of my children. But really need this to stop. Well that is it in a nut shell. th

  16. And It is really hard to trust the court system after being in court so many times. I see this as harrassment. I have voicemails and hundreds of emails documentations but that does not seem to matter. And the petty things in the motions. When does it end??????

  17. Court was auful worse than I even thought it would be. So we will see. I wanted to present the list because it’s perfect for what I have been dealing with for sooo long…

  18. Reenee, i just shared these thoughts with a friend in Australia who suggested i google “psychopaths and Family Law” God bless her, because i was sharing with my friend here that there have to be hundreds of victims so abused by the courts. As someone commented on another blog “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” When i realized the Judge was in collusion with the x-files lawyer. I caught them both playing me with slippery phrases. In Ontario Judges have absolute power to decide whether the beneficiary has to claim support as income or not and whether the payor can claim it as a deduction. Check the CRA guidelines. They are artists at acting out charades, making you think they are considerate of your arguments and rights or needs. I know of a case (examples are used in guidelines) where the payor moved in with his parents. His support was so high, he could not even afford his vehicle payment. he caved in and self murdered. A year later the son did the same to the day. There were published examples where they stated “the payor is living with his parents, he can afford higher support payments” I hold the court responsible, their blood is on their hands. The spouse must be so proud of her victory. imagine the loss for the parents/grandparents. Where is the justice when the parents/grandparents have to accept the financial burden and host weekend visitation because the court has left their son in poverty.

  19. I would like to take my family to court, to make them accountable. They have destroyed my life and others. They are sociopathic, psycopathic, narrsisistic, opportunistic, premeditated predators. No one is safe, not even animals or children, the birds or bees, anything and anyone is game.. They are cruel to the core, heartless and cutting, no soul and will do anything to get what they want or think that they deserve.Use people and spit them out.

    Does anyone know if it is possible to hold them accountable for their actions, has there been any presidences set in the courts for this. They need to pay for the cornage they have cause and the many victims they leave behind picking up the pieces. Even there own children and grandchildren. They ahave tortured me for years and i didn`t know what was happening, i didn`t understand it. They are soo sly and sneaky how are you suppose to prove what they have done and continue to do on a daily basis. They have ruined my life and my sons intentionally for their ill gotten gainsof abuse and manipulation. Maybe if a law was introduced it would keep these silent criminals at bay and provide some help for their brutally victimized subjects, some sort of recourse as they have no remorse for anything. Please if anyone knows of a court case, in litigation, let me know, something has to give. Something needs to be done. They need to be stopped and they won`t do it on their own. Thankyou for any suggestions or legal information. I hope for Peace, love and justice for everyone suffering.
    Stay strong. Hugzz…..L

  20. I forgot to post this poem. It has really helped me and I hope it will comfort you all as well. I recite it daily.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

  21. This is exactly what is happening to me. Reading that list makes me feel sick and incredibly fearful of the road that lies ahead. He has managed to get full custody of his daughter from the last relationship by making the mother out to be crazy – just like he is now doing to me. He is trying to get custody of our son and also my daughter from a previous relationship. I think he has been grooming her for sexual abuse. Help! I have my first court appearance on March 26th and need to get people to see what is happening! He has even seen all solicitors in the town I live in and so I am having difficulty getting legal representation due to conflict of interests. OMG what do I do???

  22. I love that; it’s exactly what I need right now. I am targeted by a very evil one right now…
    We need to come together and find away to legally scare them away..

  23. @ Sandra

    Same thing for me also. 10 years fighting in court. 2 lawyers quit on me. Huge debt, now I represent myself. Judges laugh at me in court. Ex’s lawyer bullies me in courthouse and in emails. Ex expects me to jump through hoops all the time. Ex manipulated 3 eldest children so badly they are messed up. Youngest is 10. I had to move for a job, and after youngest living with me for 9 years, courts decide she lives with NPD father full time. She is not happy. OCL decided he should have full custody. Are you kidding me??? So many things have happened, and no one at the courthouse will listen to the truth. Only hope now is when she turns 12, she will decide to live with me, and I will go get her…

  24. It’s heartbreaking that this is such an epidemic. I’ve been going through this since August 2012 and I feel now that my lawyer wants to be done with me because of the ordeal it has been. The courts have overlooked my spouse’s abusive behavior that caused me PTSD and they think that he is no danger at all to my son. I recently learned he got a DUI but is fighting that charge in court, another example of his disorder. He thinks he is above the law. And apparently his alcohol abuse and documented physical and emotional abuse towards me doesn’t matter. His attorney went so far as to say that I deserved it or provoked it. I can’t imagine how my ex with handle my child when he crosses him some day, especially if my ex has had any alcohol. I wish that I didn’t have the fears I have, but I live with them every day because I know the wolf under the sheep’s clothing. How can we overcome this horror of our society? What can be done? I’m a fixer by nature, but this is just something that seems insurmountable. I pray for my child that he comes out of this as a better person than his father. And I am faced with guilt that I could not afford to battle it out in court and that I was too afraid of my attorney’s warnings that “you never know what a judge will do” and the threats from our 2nd hearing where the female judge threatened that if we didn’t “grow up” and “step up to the plate” she would take our child and put him into foster care. In a sense, I feel I was forced into agreeing to let a psychopath/sociopath beat me down into submitting to him/ letting him get away with everything. Our system is broken, it is failing us and our children and everyone will suffer for it in the end because it creates a damaged society (mentally, emotionally, financially, etc.). God help us…

  25. My daughter had the exact scenario happen to her, she was 20 when her three sons were taken from her from both fathers as she was labeled immature with unsatisfactory appearance and moved without telling her abuser or the ICL ASAP so she was labelled transient as well, we were told the children were getting hurt and sick a lot which was only allegation even to this day we were the only party to pull medical records a 18months later for trial.
    My daughters ex who kidnapped the children is all of the above and I told the court reporter that he was very cunning and will try and pull the wool over her eyes in which he did and looks like father if the year.
    He hasn’t taken one drug test or complied with any orders he has kept the kids away from most visits and still got the kids so because we haven’t seen them much we are deemed unfamiliar with the kids,my daughter gets supervised visits once a month.
    The other father who was charged with drugs on two seperate accounts drug driving ,guns in the house of were one of the boys were living he gets to take the boy home fri-mon twice during the week.
    This has to stop

  26. I am living with a psychopath is for 22 years now I realised his illness about a year ago never had life with him . We have two damaged kids together which are improving after left the house . I want to know how can force him legally to go for MRI brain scanning which can prove the brain disorder in psychopaths .

  27. Is there a trusted advocate anyone can recommend near melb vic? My ex is destroying me and kids via sociopathic vendetta and is now going back to court again ( has off n on for 8 years everytime i recover from prior bout) again smearing me to try to get full custody. I am american have been forced to live here in poverty w full responsilities cant even take kids to visit states. He abused me is a deadbeat and refuses to do more than bare minimum. Help me. The kids are my life and i am their only full support. I just want to live in peace with my kids. So sickened by how been treated just for giving birth by a sociopathic australian.

  28. We should be allowed to ask for fmri scan test in family court to assess the disruption of the emotional / empathy circuit (paralimbic system of the brain) of these psychopaths.
    At least an awareness campaign on this front should be started, now that the research is ongoing and bringing new evidence on this subject, some parameters are to be set for child custody cases. The research for now is focusing on serial killers which are the more severe cases, but the pain and exposure to danger due to carelessness of psychopaths is the same no matter the severity of the disruption of their paralimbic system. If it is true that there is more awareness in the court system in the US, then the “victims of psychopath” associations should ask for compulsory fmri test in high conflict cases that are going on for more than two years in courts. This should give sufficient material for researchers to set some parameters on the possibility for psychopaths to have the custody of their child. These individuals can fool judges, lawers, psychologists and psychiatrist and even other family members who act in good faith, but they cannot fool FMRI test on their faulty paralimbic system.
    The superior interest of the child as in International Conventions should allow the judges to enforce tests such as FMRI on psychopaths, before they can be allowed to exert their parental rights, because before beeing parents, the psychopaths are sick people who are not able to care of others, let alone children.

  29. I’m dealing with a vindictive psychopath. It’s driving me crazy. He only became interested in my daughter when she was almost 3, she is six now. So far we go to court at least one or twice a year.hes a liar and the sad part is that he has an entourage of family (he’s mormon) and his mom pays his way through life. I am a single mother and have to pay my own lawyer fees which is really hard. He starts fights all the time with me this time over a necklace my daughter forgot to leave at his grandmother’s house. He is emotionally detached from my daughter and is set to hurt me through her. He’s never shown her love, left her alone in a hotel room, she got burned trying to make herself food because his lazy butt wouldn’t get up, she broke his arm at her house, she always gets sick after she visits him and when he drives her home to me doesn’t even engage in conversation with my daughter on an almost three hour trip. I tried making piece with him but he’s still set on taking her away from me. It’s affecting my child a lot at six years old she even started losing clumps of hair! It’s a shame the court system doesn’t look further into this.

  30. my ex already took both my kids,one isnt were convinced im an alcoholic because he keeps telling them lies i didnt understand what was happening to me until the social made him and myself have psychyatrist report done,he is 93% narcissistic,i was told i have an emotional personality desorder.the social ignored his results and covered it up.i got my kids back over 2years later they are emotional wrecks.he used to hit my son thats not his and my son told me so i told social,he minimised it and my son was left in his care more afraid than ever.he is now trying to take my youngest away again which is our son together.he has money and i do not.i have to represent myself and am so afraid of him.he has people spying on me so i cant have guests so family have tried to help but no one beleives son is terrified he will have to live with him again and im afraid no one will listen to what he wants as my ex is so convincing and is saying im a drunk wen im not.he has friends lying for him cos he grooms them.i have no one.hes even quickly getting married to show he is settled to help him get my son.i cant get legal help and dont know where to turn

  31. i forgot to say,this all happened as i didnt want him only my kids,he quickly started a smear campaign against me and its been awful,i dont come out of my shell i keep my head down as i dont trust anyone anymore,so its easy for him to do these things to me.why dont the authorities see this narcissism as a real problem as no one will listen to me.

  32. I am so happy to have come across your article, I feel so hopeless my daughter’s father has been given shared custody due to Cafcass and the family courts being biased and corrupt. I have raised her by myself and all of a sudden he wants to be in her life. I have never denied him access even though he was really abusive towards me and was violent infront of my daughter
    He has managed to manipulate everyone and all of the evidence I have showed the courts has been ignored. not a day goes by were i do not cry as I do not know who to turn to i feel that no one wants to listen when it comes to Family Law. The
    courts and cafcass have now given this man the power to carry on being controlling and I can no longer carry on like this.

    Please if there is any one who can help I would really appreciate it, I now feel like taking my life so the courts can see how much they are ruining people’s live and also to protect our children who are being forced to have relationships with people who were abusive towards us.
    I know taking my life will hurt my daughter and also destroy her future but i dont think i can take anymore of this pain I have suffered for 6 years and it doesnt seem to get any better.

  33. I have lived with a narcissist for 21 years and have 3 daughters. And my advice to anyone out there is don’t fight fire with fire. I know they’re repulsive and the worst forms of life but if you want to win you have to be clever. You see, narcissists will make you believe you’re stupid, but you’re not, they are. Their weakness is their constant need for worship and control, so play the game to get what you want. As hard as it is to stroke their ego because you hate them, its the ultimate revenge and the only way to keep them at a distance. Make then believe they really are special and they do have control. Remember that behind the violence and manipulation is a very weak and frightened individual. They are mentally ill and easy to manipulate. Do your research, know what you’re up against and have faith in yourself. You are the sane one, you are the strong one, not them. Remember that narcissistic supply is a drug they cannot live without, so give it to them, but do it within safe boundries. Set limits and stick to them. Never show fear or weakness as they will use it against you. If you use this tactic they are more likely to get bored and seek a new victim. DON’T give up, be clever.

  34. Hi Charles,

    So many horrifying similar stories to mine.

    Could you please tell me the contacts you have in the UK who may be able to help me?

    Had our final court hearing & child arrangement plan made last May 2014, and still the issues go on. He has still not completed the parenting classes ordered, and is still not taking our daughters safety seriously. He tells me I should “take a chance” on giving him unsupervised and that I “worry too much about things”. It was ordered that after the contact centre we discuss future contact as parents. I’ve been supervising since August 14 and I can’t bear to be around him due to his continual emotional abuse/denial/minimisation of past events. He was previously cautioned for beating me back in Oct 13. He is now threatening to apply for joint custody, even though our plan states that our daughter lives with me. This latest threat as I’ve said I will move away if the abuse continues.

    Thanks x

  35. All these comments bring back so many horrible memories. My ex husband is a psychopath aggressor I left my husband due to his controlling and threatening behaviour . On leaving for 18 months I endured stalking and verbal abuse he was all over the shop one day ok then the next explosive and violent. It was his plan to get me emotionally unstable so that he could ruin me via the courts. we divorced 13 years ago when my daughter was 9 years old, he applied for full custody of my daughter even though he had very little to do with her when we were married and hardly any contact immediately following our separation. He continued with his emotional barrage on me day and night and was intimidating each and every time we went to cout laughing at me having large groups of support even brushing past me on the steps of the court and knocking me to the ground. at the same time he went out of his way to be the nicest gentleman to my family and friends and professional colleagues. I coined it the charming man syndrome. I went through an horrific 12 months through the WA family court system. He had the most ruthless Lawyers and they turned every thing around and on me in the court trial, every conversation every medical appointment and assistance I had sought to make sure I did not go crazy with his abuse was referenced and used in court to show cause of me being medically and mentally unstable he lied in affidavits lied to his lawyers and councillor s groomed my daughter on her responses the whole box and dice In the end he was awarded full custody of my beautiful daughter and I could only see her under supervised visitation 5 hours every fortnight. It nearly killed me. Honestly I no longer wanted to live. I could not be there at all for my daughter When we had never been separated before the divorce. Still the intimidation did not stop I sought counselling and assistance for the visitation and access toy daughter through anglicare. They saved my life. They listened too me advised that they had seen this before and just believed me and offered so much support. eventually his plan and lies were unravelled he slipped up and lost it with Anglicare threatening the welfare workers and councillors, they reported this back through the courts. The supervised visitation order was cancelled and although my daughter was still in my ex’s custody I could spend more time with my Daughter. Now 13 years on my daughter is grown up a mother herself. Our relationship is good although strained not at all free flowing and how I had always thought it may be as she still thinks I must have done something so wrong to have her taken away from me. My ex husband being significant and well positioned in the Australian defence force had continued to condition my daughter for all the years since the divorce and probably still to this day tries to influence her on how she should feel about me. I remember my daughter telling me when she was about 13. Dad said never get in a car with Mum. As she will drive you away and kill you or crash the car and kill both of you.
    She was afraid of me because of the lies she was being told. In the end after the divorce and custody hearing all contact with my immediate family was broken between my ex by my ex. My parents and siblings never had contact with my daughter growing up. Only for the very short periods of time when I was allowed a visit with her.

    My life is good now. But I nearly did not make it.
    My life has been so different from how I had thought it could be all due to the vindictive hurtful horrible man I unfortunately married.
    But I have a lovely calm life now, a decent and honourable partner a farm where I grow veg can stand outside in our paddocks and breath in the beautiful peaceful world. I also have my grandson who adores his grandma and my daughter now that she is a mum. Calls me often to catch up and talk about life. She doesn’t chew the fat with her dad she doesn’t trust his advise.
    So hang in there everyone. If you are going through any court system at the moment and children are involved. Don’t think “he/she wouldn’t do that to me they are not that mean” it is so difficult to know who is and who is not a psychopath aggressor unfortunately it is not tatoo’d on their forehead

  36. You can add me to the stats of lives being ruined by our broken family court system in Australia. My ex remarried into money and manipulated the system for all it was worth, including false allegations to get her way. The result has been my only child having had to abandon one entire side of her family for the last 4 years and counting – just to cope. Perhaps however there are signs of change to come with the great work of Karen Goodall, Dr Craig Childress and others targeting these tragedy of society.

  37. I temporarily lost custody of my 4 yr old daughter due to an emotional breakdown,somewhat caused by a 5 yr relationship I had with her father,in which he mentally abused me to the point where I didn’t think there was any way out other then death and I attempted suicide.Well as he constantly told me,if we ever split you will not get our daughter.And I went to the hospital and right to court he went for temporary custody.It’s going on a yr. He still has her although I get to see her twice a week for over night visits.She was so thrilled and happy in the beginning coming to my house but now she is changing.Now no sooner she is dropped off she wants to go home.She won’t shower here,she said daddy said wait til I get home.She says he is her favorite.She asks me why can’t you and daddy be friends,I said we are,she says daddy says you’re not.She said she has a secret”daddy don’t want me at your house” but you can’t tell.So. looks to me like he is emotionally abusing her,what can I do? I don’t want to put her in the middle.But I don’t want him screwing her up either.

  38. It’s gotten so bad that I am considering giving up my child to get away from my psychopath husband. My child’s life will be over and he could potentially die in my husband’s care but the law allows him to abuse me while I have my child so I do not have a choice. If the wife was the abuser, no court in the world would allow her access to her children. Funny what men can get the system to help them get away with

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