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Monday, January 2, 2012

Do sociopaths love their children?

This seems to get asked a lot on Google, and it's a good question.

Sociopaths usually stick up for their children, sometimes to a crazy extent (think Texas Cheerleader Mom). But mother crocodiles do likewise: they give rides to their young, put them in their mouths without swallowing them, and kill those who would prey on their young.

Yet it seems doubtful that crocodiles have quite the same tender feelings and sense of attachment that mammals do. I can't say for sure, but my guess is that reptiles, as protective as they can be, just don't seem to have the same depth of feeling.

Maybe sociopaths -- reptilian creatures that they are -- actually feel somewhat positively toward their young. They certainly know they are supposed to feel that way. But do they actually feel the same deep-seated warmth and affection that nonsociopaths do? I don't think so; they're simply not constructed that way.

Some sociopaths abuse and even kill their young. Diane Downs shot all three other children in the back seat of her car in 1983, killing one, and leaving one a paraplegic, and the third partially paralyzed in the face. When the Oregon police arrived, she blamed it on a bushy-haired stranger. But instead of being hysterical, she calmly asked the police was if the damage to the car's rear seat was irreparable.

Charlie Manson's mother, presumably as sociopathic as he, once tried to sell him for a pitcher of beer.

In 1995, Susan Smith drove her small children into a lake in South Carolina and let them drown so that they would no longer stymie her romance with a wealthy local man.

Most sociopaths, of course, do not murder their own children. But do they feel the same devotion, the same maternal or paternal protectiveness? Do they take the same playful delight in their company? It seems unlikely.

I've seen sociopaths who are proud of their children, who view them as little trophies. I've also noticed that the extent to which they want to be seen with their children depends on the child's attractiveness. But pride is an altogether different emotion than love.

So the answer to the question posed in the title of this post seems to be: not to the same extent, if at all.

This doesn't mean, however, that they are not more likely to slash you if you cross their child's path.

126 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Having the dubious honor of knowing a sociopath with kids, I'd say that they treat them as an extension of their own sociopathic self. That is, they do whatever to or for them for their own gain, reputation, and joy because they believe it will mirror their own delusions of grandeur. Plus, there's always the dynamic in them, as well as all humans, that their kids are their genetic future, so they probably feel they have nothing to lose by supporting them. That's the short version. Excellent post! Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
Those are good points, which I didn't mention: kids are an extension of their egos, and, of course, their genetic future.

Thank you for that.
John

Anonymous said...

I have an ex-husband that is a sociopath. He is cruel to our 14 year old son. My ex is not a very bright man, but my son is very intellectual. He is constantly tearing down our son, trying to make him feel horrible about himself. I believe this is because he is threatened by our son and his potential to really become successful in life....my ex is not successful and has burned many bridges in the construction business moving job to job as a Union Laborer. It is a sad thing to see. My son is going to stop seeing him in the near future. My ex is a mean, viscious man to anyone that he has no use for. He is now with a new woman and they are 4 months pregnant. She is his new victim and I feel sorry for her and her kids.

John Craig said...

Anonymous --
You seem to have a good handle on the situation, and recognize our ex for what he is. I"m sorry for your problems, and your son will undoubtedly be better off if he sees his father less. Sociopaths just spread misery wherever they go.

Anonymous said...

I'm a sociopath- I agree with some of the points- I would feel for kids the same way I do for family. I don't care for them, but I constantly feel like I should. But it'd never go past that point-

John Craig said...

Anon --
You're the first person I've ever heard admit that he's a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

I have doubts if I am a sociopath!

Chris Mendle said...

Perhaps there are degrees of sociopathy, as one of my readings suggested.

John Craig said...

Chris --
My experience is, if you are one, you're totally without the normal complement of emotions, and that's true of all of them, however it gets expressed.

I think "lesser degrees" of sociopathy just translate as varying levels of narcissism.

missing babys said...

My wife is a socialpath she jut left with my 4kids children ran of with another man wont tell me where wont even text been cheatin n me behind my back fo 10years here sister just told me every thing the other day she had him one of them stay at house wile i was gone trucking shes had kids and gramma so theratened off the years they were affraid to tell me fill like im losing my mind with wory

John Craig said...

Missing babys --
Sorry to hear about your problems. Sociopaths are never anything but trouble.

HImom said...

I've been duped by a sociopath. I am now the 5th woman to bear him a child. He's been married twice, luckily i wasnt number 3. He played up such a story of how bad his childhood was, his younger brother being murdered, abuse, the loss of his Mom etc. Ever since I broke it off with him he's been out of controll! He doesnt help me buy groceries, he inconsistently gives me money, but blows the rest on drinking and partying. He recently has 3 different cars that hes been driving, yet as a mechanic he hasnt even bothered to fix my car! What I dont understand or like, is that he wants me to name our son after him! As if hes worth the honor! When I told him no, he ran off and ignored me for weeks! I feel I need to play games just to get his cooperation. Very sneaky and no doubt promiscuous. When I confront him on his behavior he goes into a rage! This is so frustrating! I really rather he pay up and leave our lives for good!
I wish I could warn innocent women, he prowls online, fb, dating sites, anyway over the internet!

John Craig said...

HImom --
He does sound exactly like a sociopath. Sorry for your bad luck in getting tangled up with him. And "out of control" is the perfect description of a sociopath's behavior. All of us(nonsociopaths0 seem to get burned once. After that, we get wise.

Anonymous said...

My ex was dishonest, hiding bills, sneaky with her cell phone (it never worked when she left the house), eventually I figure out she is having an affair, she moves out then months later begs to reconcile, I do for the kids. She tells a friend soon as I finish the basment that I am out of here, I finish it, she tells me to leave. She remarries 6 weeks after the Div. I start getting love letters but iqnore her. I remarry 3 years later, she begins a crusade to destroy my relationship with my kids telling them I dont love them anymore. She divorces Oct 2010 and remarries Feb 2011. Our daughter tells us "bad things happened at night with Jeff in my room" but my ex ignores this and convinces a DCS case worker that my wife put this in her head. The court battle is now ongoing, my daughter is posting suicidal thoughts and morbid fascination at age 12. I have no contact with my child until court. Any thoughts?

John Craig said...

Anon --
You seem to understand your situation perfectly, there's nothing I can tell you which will add to your knowledge, you realize that she is a sociopath. All I can tell you is that you made the right move by not accepting her "love" letters, and my advice is, when it comes time to talk about custody to the judge, be sure to tell him/her everything you said in your comment here. Emphasize what your daughter has said, and if you need to, get your ex's other exes to testify against her, which I'm guessing they will be only too happy to do. Most courts have a fair amount of experience in dealing with sociopaths, and know what to look for, so as soon as they realize what she is, they should be on your side. In the meantime, all you can do is be patient. Sorry about your problems.

Anonymous said...

Anon.... re: "is now posting suicidal thoughts and morbid fascination" I'm assuming your viewing her social network site, I would print those pages out as evidence

Anonymous said...

My ex husband is a sociopath - and he chose to sexually abuse our daughter between ages 18 month and 4years. he 'loved' her, and therefor made it right in his mind to use her for sex.As he now knows that I know who he really is, and his children too, he chose to give up his parental rights (my husband is now adopting them)
I do feel sorry for my ex husband's new wife. She, their 3 year old daughter and new baby on the way, wil find out somewhere in the future that they did not mean anything to him really. They were just there to 'make him look normal' or something.
So in my opinion: Sociopaths are incapable of true love towards humans of animals - but they do overflow of superficial love, making their victims believe their lies of 'true love'

John Craig said...

Anon--
You understand perfectly. Glad you got out of that situation. And yes, unfortunately his new wife is in for a rude awakening.

If I could press a button that would cause all the sociopaths in the world to drop dead, I'd do it. That would make me the biggest mass murderer in history, but I'd be doing the world a huge favor.

Anonymous said...

I believe myself to be a former sociopath. At age 34 I began to sincerely care about others, no longer emulating it. I've felt that a study should be done on myself as I don't know what caused the change. At times it is welcomed however during sad times I wonder how ppl deal with a lifetime of feeling that pain. Most sociopaths aren't bad, we can no more help how we were born than a person born with cancer.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Sorry, I don't buy it. Either you are faking it now or you were never a sociopath to begin with. Sociopaths simply don't change, and they can no more grow a conscience or the ability to love late in life than can a man missing a leg grow that leg back.

It is true, however, that sociopaths can not help but be sociopaths. And while they're not quite born that way, the die is usually cast within the first couple years of life when they don't establish a bond with another human being.

Anonymous said...

That is your belief. I will believe the testimony that is my life. One should never limit one's beliefs to what is read in books, nor on the experiences of the masses. In other words, when someone tells you who they are, believe it. I personally was born this way.

John Craig said...

Anon --
"In other words, when someone tells you who they are, believe it."

Doesn't that strike you as a trifle naive? Do you believe everyone you meet? As a "former sociopath," you should know better.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you are correct about me because I do not care enough to go back and forth over MY reality. Lol, but you have a good one......or don't.

John Craig said...

Anon --
It's not just my reality, it's every expert in the field who ever wrote a book on the subject. Sociopaths can change their behavior, but they can't change their character.

Anonymous said...

Hi not sure how you can believe someone is a sociopath. I am divorcing my husband after 22 years. He has always been difficult and I always felt insecure but thought that was a problem with me. He has had at least 4 affairs and when my son discovered the last i threw him out and he now lives with her. It's only since he has gone that his behaviour has got worse. He denied the affair even though he moved in with her, but whats worse is that both children took the fact he was living with another woman badly. He though seems proud of it as thought for true love its worth the sacrifice. Our youngest son is now on drugs hallucinates and needs see's a counsellor, his school life has nosedived and he is about to be expelled. Before all this he was a goos fun loving kid but here it is my ex does not seem to care, there has been no offer of help, he has excuses and reasons for evrything, he is holding up the divorce, maintenance has dwindled to almost nothing. He has moved away so distance he says is a problem for him to be real help, he plays the victim saying he has ocd, no money etc. This is his first christmas away from his kids and he has booked a 2 week holiday with the other woman over the entire christmas period to an exotic indian ocean island. there is loads more, but when you talk to him he sounds so upset about things that any thoughts he is a sociopath fly out the window its only after that you realise that alot what was said was a lie and also any promises are rarely or only temporarily kept. he twists the truth and tells his family distoted versions but when you confront him he either denies it or has a plausable explanation. I think I am going crazy and have it all wrong.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Sounds to me like you're not going crazy, but have it all right. I was convinced he was a sociopath by your description of how whenever you talk to him he's very convincing and all thoughts of him being a sociopath fly out the window, but it's only afterwards that you realize everything he said is a lie That's the way it is with sociopaths, they are skillfully persuasive and convincing in person, even when everything they say is a lie. (Some of the other stuff he did just sounds like normal male behavior, to tell the truth.) In any case, you're better off without him. Just make sure you tell the court about his behavior so that the judge realizes what you're dealing with, and can make the appropriate financial decisions.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of the term until a counsellor I was seeing who was a DV expert said after the first session that he was a sociopath and she gave me a book to read. I read it and agreed with it and then could view his behaviour more objectively but when I talk to him or remember soem nice things it seems as though i am trying to create a lable for him. But i never felt secure, he had terrible tempers, would never take reponsibility for the mortgage or anything, would say hurtful things but it was just his humour and I was too sensitive and rarely showed true emotion unless it was to make others feel sorry for him. His sisters say he has always been the same and I just didn't see it. Since he's gone I have blossomed lost over 7 stone look completely different and am starting to feel a bit more confident and guess what he never even mentions it. Thank you so much for your answer

John Craig said...

Anon --
A "terrible temper" is another trait that sociopaths have, it' partly the fact that they have no self-control, and partly that the threat of imminent eruption is a good way to manipulate people.

Glad to hear you're blossoming. Just keep your ex at arm's length.

John Craig said...

PS -- If you want other examples of sociopathic behavior just type in "Sociopath alert" in the search bar at the top of my blog and you'll see analyses of other sociopaths. The one on Bill Clinton may be the most informative.

Anonymous said...

I'm a diagnosed sociopath. I currently have a 9 month old son. I had him because my husband really wanted a child.
I don't treat my son bad or make him cry on purpose, but I also don't feel that "motherly" love for him that I should. I take care of all his basic needs, but I just go through the motions.
My husband is the nurturer, the one to cuddle him and play with him.
I do think he is cute and I get a kick out of him when he is being defiant.
I would protect him against harm. I'm just glad that he has his father.
I don't want him growing up to be like me. It's a lonely world that I live in.

John Craig said...

Anon --
That is a remarkably honest self-description if in fact you are a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

It seems that most everything on the internet is full of hateful language toward sociopaths. After 7 years of a relationship with my husband I only recently learned that he is a sociopath. Through all the pain and hurt I have experienced in our relationship with two children involved I still cannot hate him. He has no remorse and it hurts however to hate this group of people is unfair because they simply cannot change or control it. It is like hating a person for being born with a deformity, disease or skin color. Yes, it is sad that these people like to hurt others however I believe it to be the worst curse to be born or brought into. They may think that thier personality is the greatest gift but the truth is how awful and lonely it must be to never know what love feels like. Love can and should be the greatest feeling that exists and they will never experience it. They might do awful things but they have no ability to comprehend what it feels to others or empathise. Sociopathy is the biggest curse in my opionion to everyone who is one or knows one. It is very sad.

John Craig said...

Anonymous --
At a certain philosophical level you're right: sociopaths cannot help but be sociopaths, and it is a curse in a way, they will never experience love, and lead hollow lives. (Take a look at the post I put up yesterday (2/26/13) on whether or not Aspies are responsible for their own behavior, I mentioned exactly that point about sociopaths.

But if anybody is deserving of hatred, it's sociopaths. They feel absolutely no compunctions about hurting other people, and feel no love, so there's no reason to feel any compunctions about your feelings -- or even actions -- towards them.

I must say, if you really feel the way you ay you do, you're a very forgiving person and a very decent soul (far more so than me). I hate to tell you this, but your husband actually picked you for that reason; sociopaths usually pick spouses who are the opposite of them because those are the people who make the best victims. Sorry that such a decent person as yourself would have to be married to one, you don't deserve it.

Anonymous said...

I have two kids with my partner and a lot is definitely not right. He always loses his temper when confronted. I can't talk to him like an adult about anything really important. He's abusive in front of our children. I know he's cheated and tries to humiliate me behind my back, talk badly of me and make everything seem as though it's my fault. I do everything that is important in maintaing a decent lifestyle and do all the hardwork with the kids. He's never consistent or committed to anything in life and is always dreaming big, things that are not at all realistic. I always end up feeling like the guilty one and so down on myself. I start to abandon all the positive plans I had in my life, become more irresponsible because I feel so negative and drained all the time. I know I shouldn't be with him. Everything inside me tells me not to go there and I leave him.... At first I feel fantastic and become motivated and find my sense of self again, And I maintain this but gradually I start to feel insecure about the whole situation, like I would be so upset if he found someone else and moved on to be happy after how he treated me and I will spend my life alone working so hard to raise and financially support two kids on my own. Scared he will try manipulate or sabotage the hard work I put into them and turn them against me or do something devious. I get insecure now that no one will want to be with me and I never want someone like him to come into my life, especially not with children and worried about having a man who is not their father around them, as they are both so young. I think the main point of it all is I'm always worried that he is not trust worthy in any regard. Not to teach my kids the right things in life, to be supportive and be capable of being a real parent, and sometimes I prefer him around so I know what's going on with him, that and my daughters love and miss him terribly when he's gone. He's got a lot of sociopathic traits, anger, compulsive lying, promiscuousity, appears to love himself, denial, manipulation. I'm just as scared to be with him as I am not to be.... I feel insane, Like I am a loser, I can't get it together, I wish He would disappear for good, but I don't know why I love him so deeply and can't at least end this relationship, just got back together, started piecing all the lies together, he tells me I'm crazy and shows no regard for my feelings, says I'm sabotaging our relationship on purpose. I regret it so much, he won't leave my house when I tell him I don't want to be with him anymore. Why do I do this to myself? I have left and got back together with him so many times it's just so dumb. I need some advice and help so I can cut this feeling of loving him and wanting him near me, it's ruining his life, my life and my kids lives. He has no idea that anything is a problem and I'm dumbfounded by this. Please help.

John Craig said...

Anon --
"Please help" -- honestly, there's nothing I can do.

The advice I usually give people when it comes to sociopaths is to just put as much difference between you and the sociopath as possible. A sociopath will never change, and no matter how much you try to please him, he will never be satisfied. He will always be the way you describe him.

I'm a little surprised that you still love him the way you say you do if you see him so clearly. All I can say is, if you're happy with the way things are now, stay with him. Otherwise, leave. I understand that you're worried about having a strange man around your daughters, and about having to support them on your own. You see it as a frying-pan-or-fire situation, and maybe it is. But just keep in mind, he will never change. And if he is a sociopath, he is not going to be a good influence on your daughters in the long run.

In the meantime, it sounds as if he's done a good job undermining your self esteem, which sociopaths excel at At the very least -- the VERY least -- don't let him do that. Think about what you thought of yourself, how you felt, before you met him: you're that same person.

Anonymous said...

Wow- I had no idea so many other people were experiencing the same as me.
I have been separated from my sociopathic husband for 12 months now and his behaviour since the desperation has been much much worse than when we were together.
Especially when he found I had moved on with another man, he was horrible and went from being a calm cool and collected man to loud, scary and abusive.
I spent 10 years with this man and made excuses for his coolness of emotion with his traumatic child hood.
Since our separation I have found that the man who was my best friend in the world and father of my 3 children (young children) had gambled away our life savings, children's bank accounts and stolen money from his place of work, which saw him in Court last month facing theft and fraud charges

Anonymous said...

For the entire 12 months I have found out on a weekly basis of his betrayal, lies and deceit throughout our entire relationship, from the very beginning he was cheating up until the end, I had no idea at any stage, he was in the Army for 7 years, this made our life unpredictable and perfect for his deceitful ways, he was able to hide his lies very well and EVERYONE was surprised to find out what he was really like. He still treats me like I belong to him and says I am still his wife. He has slept with friends of mine, his best friends much older sister, his grandmothers hairdresser, a kindergarten teacher 'friend' a school teacher 'friend'

Anonymous said...

His capacity to charm very decent intelligent people astounds me. He sends me text messages attempting to stroke my ego/ emotions/ heart strings which are seemingly kind and caring to an outsider, however I now recognise this as his tool of manipulation, his understanding and intuition of people's vulnerabilities is astounding, he zooms right in without them having ever seen it coming, making you feel as though you have a special connection.
On the other side of the coin, he enjoys antagonising me, a photo of his faeces and messages describing disgusting acts of sexuality with grotesque additions.

Anonymous said...

He see's me and his kids as an extension of himself, in his eyes, this is love.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thanks for your four part message. Yes, your ex definitely sounds like a sociopath. I occasionally get comments from women who say their ex is a sociopath, and I'm left wondering if he's really a sociopath or if they had an ugly breakup and the woman just wants to think of him that way, but your description left no doubt. All I can say is, you made the right move by leaving him.

Anonymous said...

For starters half of the 'my husband a sociopath' shit is just bitching. No he is not you're probably just a dumb bitch who got fat and lazy after having kids and can't comprehend that someone doesn't love you anymore so you have a cry and call sociopath. Pft! The ones that are sociopathic behaviour, and there are only a couple, just shows how stupid people are! Poor little victims getting psychologically abused :(

John Craig said...

Anon--
Sociopaths are roughly 3-4% of the male population, but sometimes I get the impression that about 15 - 20% of divorcees describe their exes as sociopaths. Doesn't add up.

That said, I think a fair number of the women who've commented here did have sociopathic exes.

Anonymous said...

Hi- you replied to my message as please help- to respond to the last message from anon... I don't think people are just bitching about their ex partners, whether or not they are a sociopath, they have been abusive. And to be investigating sociopaths in the first place Must mean that something mentally wrong with the guy... Or they must have serious behavioral issues, low morality. I am a good looking 24 year old mum of two, I exercise, eat well, do everything physically possible to try to feel good regardless of my situation. But when you are in a relationship with someone you believe to be a sociopath, they make you feel bad about yourself, even if you were
as good looking as Miranda Kerr, and I guess the
approval That counts is that of the people who you love. I know I feel extremely mentally disturbed, and when
someone put you down and controls your life and you feel there's always a threat from them, all you want to do is get away or resolve the problem, find peace of mind.

John Craig: How do you tell the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath?

John Craig said...

Anon --
All sociopaths are narcissists, not all narcissists are sociopaths.

Narcissists are people who have an exceedingly high opinion of themselves not based on the facts. They have a hard time admitting that they're wrong, and will come up with lame excuses to justify their own mistakes. They are often somewhat hypocritical.

Rough guess: narcissists are roughly 30% of the population.

Sociopaths are narcissists who will do absolutely anything to get what they want. They have absolutely no brakes on their personalities. Whereas a narcissist will have some conscience, and will draw the line at doing truly despicable things, a sociopath has no lines he won't cross. He is utterly without loyalty, incapable of love, completely dishonest, impulsive, and often seems to brimming over with hostility at people for no reason at all. They have absolutely no regard for other people. Serial killers -- who, psychologically, are not so different from other sociopaths -- consider your life worth less than their orgasm.

Sociopaths are roughly 3% of the population.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. This subject fascinates me to no end. I believe that my two older half-sisters are both sociopaths, but in different ways. There must be different tiers or types of sociopathy. I have noticed that the oldest one has very little empathy for other people, and she married a wealthy man (now divorced) and has become something of an elitist. She has such a sense of entitlement. She has to have the best for herself and her children and has to WIN at everything. One does not dare criticize her or her CHILDREN (God forbid) or you will certainly wish to you had not. SHE REALLY DOES LOVE HER KIDS, but please not that her kids are an EXTENSION of herself. They are her "genetic future" as someone said. SHE WOULD KILL FOR HER KIDS. Trust me, I know she would. If her kids do anything wrong - or if she does anything wrong - it is always, always someone else's fault. Period. So can sociopaths love? I think they love their kids as themselves, and fiercely protect them. Their children are their "property". I have also noticed than my sister only has a use for small children that are not hers (the children of other family members). She can so easily endear herself to them but breaks off any relationship with them as they age and become more complex and begin to think for themselves. I think she tends to regard them as little dolls to dress up and play with, often showering them with nice gifts. Our relationship was exactly like this. She was childless when i came along when she was age 22, and she did not become a mother until she was 30. I remember her telling me once when I was age 10 that her children would always come FIRST. Well, I never expected even then to replace her kids, but the way she said it was cruel that I secretly went off to weep privately. She seemed to enjoy hurting me, and when she realized that I was weeping and trying to hide that fact, she seemed very pleased by that. She is a sick, sick woman. I have more to this story, but will stop here.

John Craig said...

Anon --
From what you're telling me, it sounds as if your eldest sister could be just a garden variety narcissist, and not necessarily a sociopath. There are a lot of people who are egotistical like that, and almost everybody is fiercely protective of their children.

It sounds far more likely as if your middle sister is a sociopath.

Either way, it sounds as if both are best avoided, to the extent you can do so.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I wrote that comment earlier about my two half-sisters. Actually, I was speaking only about the elder sister in that comment. I think there was not enough "room" to write about both! That description was of her alone. Yes, I believe she is a narcissist, but I also think she is sociopathic to some degree. But you could be right about the middle sister being more sociopathic. The elder is a a recluse who never worked a day since she married money - even after her divorce and her children being now grown. She was never, shall we say, a beauty by conventional standards, but she wasn't ugly. The middle sister on the other hand has always been extremely gregarious, flighty, very impulsive, talkative, gossipy, and makes "friends" easily wherever she goes. She was the high school beauty queen who married the high school football star shortly after graduation - her first love. She was pregnant at the time (shotgun marriage, I guess - I was not yet). I think she wanted him more than he wanted to her. After having two boys, he left. Since then she has been married 4 times. She ran the first three off. The fourth died under what I call suspicious circumstances. He was a bit older than her, and he had a heart attack in their living room one day. She came home from work, he was there on the sofa and she thought he was sleeping. She said he was making some noises and she thought he was snoring. I don't know at what point she figured out that something was wrong, but she did call an ambulance. When my husband and I first heard about this, neither one of us immediately told each out our thoughts about it, but amazingly enough we both thought the same thing. I do not think she could actually physically kill someone, but I and my husband have both agreed about the fact that she could WAIT before calling 911. You see, despite being married four times, she has had her share of financial woes. She didn't have two nickels to rub together. She never could responsibly raise her kids or manage her money/checking account. My middle sisters KNOWS how to get a man when she puts her mind to it. Even at her age she still thinks she is the belle of the ball and the center of attention. She can lose weight and get herself dolled up to attract a man when she has her sites set on one. And she is charming. She will cook for him and woo him and ultimately have him wrapped around her little finger. And then, they get married, and she stops cooking and cleaning, won't sleep with the guy, sweet talks, demands and/or pleads for money (whatever works) for herself AND her grown sons. After being married to her fourth husband for less than a year, she managed to convince him to basically cut ALL of his children from his previous marriage out of his will and to leave everything to her - and she brought NOTHING into that marriage (he had a house and a small business). My middle sister is one of those fakey "born again" Christians. She is not extremely educated or intelligent, but she is smart like a predator and can zero in on the vulnerable and needy and befriend - them. They become her loyal "disciples" and think she can do no wrong. I did not attend her fourth husband's funeral, but I heard from a reliable source that she behaved as if she were at a luncheon or some other social event - again the center of attention. Before his death, her husband and her were not always staying in the same house. She had hers which HE saved her from losing and helped her fix up, and she had hers. He was good to her - better than ANY man before, and she used him and never loved him. World beware because I think she is on the prowl for the fifth.

Anonymous said...

John Craig, my parents were fiercely protective of me, but they taught me honesty and to not hurt, abuse, or use other people. They never wanted me to be hateful or to be a liar or a thief. If I did something wrong, I was punished and had to own up to it. My mother would embarrass me so much that I would never want to do whatever it was that got me into trouble again. I don't know WHERE my sisters get these traits from because they are not part of who I am and who my parents were or are. Since they are my half-sisters, they may have come from some other part of the family, and also from their environment. My oldest sister nearly pushed me down the stairs once in a rage. I trusted her so much up until that time that I never thought she could hurt me for anything OR saw it coming, This was because I was being too loud and would wake her children. THAT is what I despise about people like her. Her children are an extension of herself, and she has no regard for others - they HAVE to come first no matter what. She once got to the point where she would literally fly off the handle and attack people in our family - especially those she perceived as being weaker. She was finally hospitalized by force and was put on medication to calm her and I believe she still is on meds to this day. I don't know what would happen if she is off of them. She and my two sisters are different in many ways, but their ultimate goal is the same: they have to ALWAYS get their way no matter what, their children have to come out on top, and they HAVE to be in control of anything and everything that that they or their kids are somehow involved in. Both are very mean-spirited, and have tried to sabotage me at various times in my life. You are right, I have to steer clear of them because they cause so much damage when they do not get their way or someone displeases them in some way. And my eldest sister "rewards" those who kiss her butt and please her with generous gifts - that is how she makes people feel indebted to her and keeps her loyal disciples. Both my sisters were and are extremely jealous of me and anything I have ever done or had. I am presently married now for almost 13 years to the only man I have ever been married to, and both would ruin it for me any way they could IF I let them. Also, my eldest sister was married to an emergency room doctor. She is NOT stupid. Back when I was very young, I was going to have my wisdom teeth out. I was in college and living alone. I called her to tell her. I told her I did not like the idea of not being able to eat or drink anything before the procedure. I had NO idea why (choking hazard). She told me that it was OKAY for me to have some coca cola JUST before the procedure that morning at 11:00. I did. LUCKILY for me, the receptionist asked me if I had had ANYTHING to eat or drink that morning. I told her I had a small glass of cola. She immediately cancelled the appointment and said I'd have to reschedule. I was so naive and trusting then. I realized - and so did my mother (who is deceased now) - that my eldest sister had DELIBERATELY tried to cause me harm and possibly even cause my death. It would have been the perfect crime/murder, because she never actually touched me and it would have been my own fault for not following instructions - and she knew this. THIS is how her mind works. She admitted to it, but it was a half-assed apology. Again she blamed SOMEONE ELSE - her husband, the ER doctor. You see, my eldest sister is a coffee addict and she says her husband informed her once before some surgery she was having that it was okay to have it just before the surgery. THIS was her way of getting even with SOMEONE - me (a convenient target). She would NEVER do that to her kids. You see, she had no use for me when she finally had her own kids. My mother often tried to warn me that she was extremely jealous of me and would hurt me if angered. I feel like Cinderella with the two ugly HALF-SISTERS.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Okay, you've got me convinced, the oldest one is a sociopath. That story about telling you to have the Coke right before the operation is all I need to hear. And the rest fits in perfectly.

Yes, do stay away from them both. Your mother was right, they only want to hurt you.

You say they're your half-sisters, and your mother warned you about them. I take it that they had a different mother, whom your father had been married to first? My guess is that their own mother was a sociopath, or, at the very least, alcoholic or something like that so that she was emotionally unavailable to them. I'm also guessing you're better-looking than them, which is partly why they're so jealous.

Anonymous said...

I have a mother who is a Socio path. My dad and eldest brother died because of depression due to her. She blames my dad for everything every bad business ventures that turned sour, everything. When my dad passed away, she blames my eldest brother and made him feel guilty of how he treated my dad, even though that it was her who blamed my Father for everything. Now my niece is under her care and shes 12 years old. i feel so bad.. I feel frustrated trying to make her understand yet i know she can never understand the right way. I have moved out since college and only see her on occasions. I know i can never be under one roof with her more than 4 days, or else she starts with me again. The fact that she is my mother, it hurts.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your responses and your insight. I guess it's hard to write everything that is wrong with my sisters down in only one little paragraph. I was trying to summarize and cite a few examples. I was born to "older" parents in their 40's, and believe it or not, but my half-sisters and I share the same biological mom. My father is their step-father. So, my mother KNEW her own daughters, and because they are so much older than I am, she knew them much better than I ever did or ever will. After all, she raised them. So yes, she knew that the could potentially hurt me in some way. My sisters and my two half-brothers' father died when they were all little, the youngest was a baby. They never knew him. He was handsome and apparently had some good qualities - good enough to attract my mother, but he also had problems which I won't go into (getting too personal). Obviously I never knew the man as he died a long time before I was born. I suppose my siblings are a product of his genes and the environment in which they were raised. My mother had a tough childhood. She lost her mom at 14 and her dad abandoned his family when she was just a baby and divorced my grandmother and married another woman and proceeded to start another family with her. So my mom had some problems and issues with feeling unloved and abandoned, but she was a good woman who had a lot of sympathy and empathy for others. She was stern and strict. My dad was more easy-going than my mom, but he was an alcoholic. He never got involved in disciplining his step-children. He left that solely to my mother who could be harsh. As far as looks go, my eldest sister had very low self-esteem and never really felt very pretty. She and my other sister were and probably are still jealous of the majority of females that they meet and know. The middle sister was considered to be the pretty one and had the better figure, and there was rivalry between them growing up. My middle sister married too young to a man who probably wasn't really in love with her and proceeded to begin a family at a very young age (19). It was all downhill after that. She even tried to give her first two sons to our mother to raise, and my mom said "no" because I was also little and she had me to raise still. My middle sister obviously didn't want the "baggage" weighing her down and she knew full well that having kids from a previous marriage was not a major turn-on for men. Undoubtably she wanted to find herself a new man and start anew. My oldest sister would never do that, though. She literally lives for her kids. My oldest sister seems to lack empathy for other people other than her own children. Take Natalee Holloway as an examples. I know that she probably feels no empathy for her. Why? because Natalee was everything my sister never was. That's why.

John Craig said...

Anonymous (with the sociopathic mother) --
I've never heard of people who've died of depression before, unless it was by suicide. Your mother sounds like a real pill, and a narcissistic personality who will never admit blame for anything, and I don't blame you for moving out. But I haven't heard enough yet to convince me she's a sociopath.

John Craig said...

Anon (with the sociopathic half-sisters) --
I guessed wrong about your family background. All I can say is, put as much distance between yourself and those horrible half-sisters as possible. You know they're out to harm you, so there's absolutely no upside to being near them.

I don't know if you have kids, but if you do, just learn from your sisters (to not be like them, since they're the opposite of role models).

Anonymous said...

Thanks again (I wrote the earlier comments about my sociopathic half-sisters). I have one JUST more comment to make about the elder one. I currently don't speak to either of my sisters and probably will not ever again. When my father passes away one day, there's a possibility that we may meet again, but I will try to avoid any contact with them. MY SISTERS HAVE ALWAYS, ALWAYS CALLED ME A SPOILED BRAT - even in front of their children, and even though I really and truly wasn't, this label has stuck with me all of my life. They did this as a way of making me and my parents feel GUILTY and thus cause us to give into whatever their demands were. And their children are far more spoiled than I ever was (if I was at all). When I was younger, I sincerely believed that my oldest sister loved me and wanted what was best for me because that is what I had been raised to believe. It has been hard to accept that this was all a lie and that she does not care for me they way I thought she did and expected her to. Even from the first obvious signs, I could not believe it or accept it all at once. It has taken time. Her "love" for me began to change as I began to mature into a young teenager and young woman. She began to hate me, and it was obvious to everyone that she was jealous of the attention and compliments that I received (and even our mother noticed this and tried to warn me). She would always put me down in some kind of underhanded way. Anyway, the last time I called my oldest sister (some time last year), I wanted to tell her exactly what I think of her and berate her for never visiting my father who is in poor health now - a man who tried to love her as best he could and who probably cared more for her than her own biological dad ever did (the truth does hurt, doesn't it?). I wanted to ask her if she felt as if her life would be better if her own dad had lived and my mother never married my father (obviously I would not be here). As of yet, I never got that opportunity. Most of my half-siblings have always blamed my parents for their problems in life. My eldest sister set me up on my birthday about a year prior to that by calling me and leaving a message on my voicemail asking me to call her back because she wanted to wish me a happy birthday and had a little something she wanted to send me and she needed my mailing address. I did so not realize that she was up to one of her many tricks. She had blocked my number when I tried to call her back, and that was her typical way of giving me the middle finger as usual (she was displeased with me for some reason or another). So I called her about a year later because I wanted to get somethings off of my chest, and though she had had her old number changed, I did find out something that day was pretty darn telling and should not be a surprise at all. I got another woman on the phone who now had her old number. I obviously did not know this person and she did not know my sister BUT she knew immediately who I was asking for. She tried to be nice but I could hear the impatience in her voice. She said that people called there EVERY SINGLE DAY asking for my sister, and it was becoming disruptive to her family. Most of the callers were bill collectors who were undoubtably looking for her spoiled rotten son who she is supporting along with his greedy, gold-digging ex-wife and their two kids. Despite him having money all of his young life thus far, he has never managed to complete college and never worked for much more than minimum wage- and he certainly can't manage his own money. He is not doubt waiting for his parents to die one day so he can collect - him and his ex. GOOD! It was sweet music to my ears.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I wrote some comments recently about my two sociopathic half-sisters, and I just thought of something that may help shed some light on whether or not sociopaths can love anyone else other than themselves. I do not want to rehash what I already said in my earlier comments. The example that I thought of since those comments were made is that of Cinderella and her evil stepmother and two ugly stepsisters. I think that it is very clear that Cinderella's stepmother is a sociopath - at least that is what I surmise from the story (and we all know that story and have either seen the famous Disney version or at least had the story read to us when we were children). I think the stepmother has all the earmarks of a sociopath. She is glib on the surface and charming when she needs to be, but she is also very conniving, deceitful, manipulative, CONTROLLING, unscrupulous, SELFISH, and lacks empathy for others (except for herself and her daughters). I do not think that it can be argued that she loves her two ugly daughters, and will destroy anything that stands in the way of getting what she or daughters want. She has to win at any cost. That to me is a classic sociopath. I have heard that many serial killers are sociopaths, but very few sociopaths are serial killers. So the stepmother is not violent, but she is just as destructive without having to resort to physical violence. SO, I do think sociopaths CAN love a limited few - as in themselves and their OFFSPRING (and those are the ONLY people that they every truly "love"). Their children and their grandchildren are extensions of themselves. They are their property, and God help the person that harms or crosses their offspring in any way, shape, or form. I am not sure if this love is "true" love, because to me a sociopath does not see people as individuals and love them for the individual that they are. They love them because they are THEIRS - they are their property. Now this is not to say that there cannot be sociopaths who would harm their children and grandchildren. CERTAINLY they are, and Susan Smith is a perfect example of that (and there are many others). I am simply saying that I truly believe that there are certain types of sociopaths who DO love their children, but once again this love for them comes from them "belonging" to the sociopath - as in being their offspring.

John Craig said...

Anon --
That is actually a fantastic analogy, and conclusion. I'd never thought of that tale in those terms before, but your analysis is perfect. The stepmother is the perfect illustration of a selfish, unempathetic and unsympathetic person who wants the best for her own children, and so loves them in twisted sociopathic fashion, but at the same time has passed on her own ugly characteristics (mental as well as physical) to her own offspring.

The best fiction writers -- Agatha Christie comes to mind -- understood sociopathy, and the nature of evil, very well.

Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post, though I found it through Google when putting in the search, "Can sociopaths love their children". My dad was a sociopath (or rather, still is, though I say it in past tense as I've purposely cut contact and want nothing to do with him.) and going by his personality, I'd say no. He only cared when it was to his advantage, which means it wasn't really true, honest care towards myself or my brother, but rather a care for himself.

At the same time, as much as I hate to say it, sometimes I wonder if I'm some weird mix of sociopath and "normal" due to my upbringing. There's only 3 people I feel for deep down, and only 1, maybe 2 of those, I would put before myself in an emergency situation... and I say that while still being somewhat on the fence about it. I can force tears to appear sad at funerals, etc... though there are times my tears ARE genuine. I don't act abusive like my dad at all or purposely seek harm on people like him either. I guess sometimes I wonder if I'm just confusing psychopathy with being numb. And numbness to emotions would be an understandable safe guard given an abusive upbringing, right?

It just frightens me sometimes because I don't want to be anything like him. Sometimes I worry that if people knew how I really felt even half the time, they wouldn't trust me, let alone want to be around me. If I think too much about it, even I won't like me.

John Craig said...

Anonymous --
I think I can actually set your mind at east on this. First of all, being a sociopath isn't a matter of inheriting some of your traits from each parents, the way it works with genetics. As long as your mother was good and loved you, you can escape sociopathy entirely;

Second, most people don't have all that many people they'd sacrifice themselves for, if any. Most people pay far more lip service to love than they actually feel. As my brother observed after my sister died, it's only the immediate family who really cries. (And if you don't cry when your father dies, don't worry about it; that's only natural too, given his behavior.)

Third, if you don't hurt people, you're not a sociopath. That one piece of evidence is almost conclusive in itself.

And fourth, and maybe most telling, is that you actually worry about being a sociopath. No sociopath I've ever known would have worried about it. Their attitude was much more like, okay, so I am one, so what? What does it mean? It just means that I'm strong and the rest of the world is weak. So eff you.

I don't know you, so I can't say for sure, but the clues I got from your comment indicate you're not.

Anonymous said...

I have done as much research as I can to make sure the father of my child is in fact a sociopath. I almost feel helpless that I will sound as if I'm just paranoid if I explained to a judge everything I have been through and what I fear my daughter will experience and how she will be treated by her father in the future. I feel I come off if I'm crazy or controlling out of habit from being manipulated for so long. I read that a sociopath can even convince anyone in a court room because their ability to lie is perfected to a new audience. I even asked his family if it came down to it would they testify against him for our daughters sake. they said they'd have to think about it. My child's well being it not up for negotiation! Are they CRAZY?! How dare they support him through this. What does that make them besides enablers? He's stolen from me, left me in debt and left me in the dark about his substance abuse. I had no idea. He never showed any emotion when she was sick or got hurt. I would even find toothpicks under her face while she was napping when she was left in his care. He would leave many other hazardous things around. By his actions my concerns were obviously not a priority to him. His family was so concerned about our daughter being his they didn't bother telling me about who he is behind the scenes. Even though I choose not to speak to his family or him I still feel cheated by them. This is not how I wanted to bring a child into the world. Keeping up his charade of telling me what I want to hear to keep me interested was like his full time job and an act. A good one at that. Until I caught on. No telling how many other things he's done that I don't know about. If he'd ever molested her or sexually abused her while were together in the past how would I know? The thought makes me sick to my stomach. I practically did all the diaper changes and don't recall seeing anything out of the ordinary. What are signs? The thought of him ever being left alone with her is a mistake and an accident waiting to happen. Clearly this isn't the kind of father figure she needs or any child for that matter. How do I assure she will be safe if I have to follow visitation? I don't have money for an attorney to modify our court order. Legal aid takes too long and so do other free organizations. I can only pray so much that he doesn't bother us. He needs to be diagnosed or institutionalized and taken off the street.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Hi, you left the same message twice, once with a name attached, the second time anonymously; I'm assuming you preferred to have the anonymous version of your comment posted.

I think you'll find that judges tend to be much better versed in sociopathy than the general public. My advice would be to refrain from calling your daughter's father a sociopath, but to merely describe the actions that led you to that conclusion, and let the judge draw his own conclusions. If you say he's a sociopath you're in effect setting yourself up as an expert witness, which the judge may interpret as presumptuous on your part, even if you're right. So just describe your ex's behavior, with evidence if possible; that should do the trick. BTW, I would also steer away from talking about your fears (what if he molested her?) because a fear will not hold sway in court. Just stick to the facts (toothpicks under her face, etc) and that should be enough.

Anonymous said...

This was very interesting to read and as the child of a psychopath/sociopath I understand many of the concerned comments from the parents on here.

Honestly, as long as there is one parent that truly loves them, your children will be okay!

My father used to constantly manipulate and berate my sister and I. He never smiled unless he was ridiculuing us and he had a horrific temper.

He also constantly made us empty promises and "sweet talked" us into moving back in with him when we were younger (after my parents seperated). We never praised or shown love and we were only really used to get back at my mum because she left him (he made us visit an accused sexual predator because he knew it would get at her. Thankfully we were never harmed!)

Also the only time we were bought any presents was to outdo when my mum had done so. He knew that she couldn't afford much and he would make her feel bad about it.


But, my mum was an amazing lady.
She wanted us to never see him but let us make the desicion and she enstilled in us NEVER to make contact again.

He has stalked us, sent out private investigators and even sent people to scope out the house, but we've never retaliated.

I've had therapy and honestly I now feel as much as he ever felt towards me, nothing!

Parents, as long as you try to help your children, love them, cuddle thema nd be honest with them they will be okay!

Sometimes their confidence can be really affected by their sociopath parent, but you can fix it, and they'll be fine!

I know live with my boyfriend in a healthy, happy relationship, I'm getting my university degree and I'm truly happy!

My advice would be to cut off contact and never look back and if your child seems to need therapy, let them decide if and when they're ready :)

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thank you for that excellent description of a sociopath and for the reassuring words for children of a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure my ex was a sociopath... He was a fisherman and worked with his two cousins on a trapping boat, one time when he was out at sea I suffered a horrific miscarriage. I lost liters of blood. I didn't know anyone I the area as I had just moved there. I had an ambulance take me to the hospital and the nurses had to look after my one year old daughter, while I was in surgery. I had gone into shock, had blood transfusions... The next day, he was supposed to be home from sea though and I thought after such a terrible event he would have to help me out and support me for a change. But I was wrong and when I was released, he refused to take the day off work and said he had to unload, when I got home he tried to offer as a nice gesture to look after our daughter while I cleaned my blood off the floor. Te next morning he woke me up at five to make the babies bottle and I lost it and called the police, I felt I was going crazy and had no family or friends for support. They treated me like i was crazy too. Then he got on the phone to his cousin to talk about how bad I was for doing that to him. He disappeared for hours that day and came back with nothing to say. Just hateful stares. Looking at me as if I weren't good enough and I looked terrible. Then he tried to sleep with me. I didn't do it of course. He would always have outbursts, crazy ones, would always lie and seem suspicious with nearly everything. He could never hold down a job, keep up with bills, just blew everything on the most useless stuff even if it meant his daughter go without. He always seemed like such a nice guy and so helpful to people who didn't know him. Think he loved the praise. But I came to realize that everyone close to him had no real respect for him. He wouldn't buy his daughter birthday presents and basic things even though he made a lot of money. Tried to tell everyone she wasnt his daughter and when I offered a DNA test for his peace of mind he brushed the idea off... I know what that crazy feeling feels like. It took me a few years not to blame myself for not being good enough. Now I have a great life. And soon he will be in jail because he thought he was too good too smart he could get away with ripping off the system and not pay any bills... Karma serves it purpose to these peoples demise eventually. But it will never be their fault in their minds. Pathological lying and denial of everything in life.

John Craig said...

You phoned the police because he woke you up to make the baby's bottle?

I'm going to withhold judgment on this one.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I didn't explain properly. He woke me at 5am to make babies bottle, and I admit I was pissed off and had an attitude because of this, but then he start to flip out and was yelling at me that I should be doing it a certain way and the fight would always end up being about something completely different from what we initially were arguing about to the point where he would be standing over me yelling and pointing his finger in my face. That's when I became overwhelmed and called the police. It was a crazy thing to do, but I was so weak and thought that normal people would feel like they should support their partner not despise them in an extreme situation. He was always bad all the time but I thought this was an extreme where a person should be there for you no matter if you usually fight or get along great. If it happened to my sister I would re act only with support toward her until she recovered...? Do you think I'm crazy?

John Craig said...

I don't know. Most people don't phone the police unless they've been physically hurt or at least threatened, not just yelled at. And from what you've said, he didn't ever hurt you physically.

He sounds like an irresponsible louse, but the way you're rejoicing at the fact that he's about to go to jail, you sound pretty vindictive yourself.

Anonymous said...

HI. I posted earlier about my two older half-sisters who have sociopath traits. Sociopaths share certain characteristics, but of course no two sociopaths are alike. Duh! Just like the rest of us, they have their own distinct personalities. I will reiterate what I KNOW to be true, and that is that the CAN LOVE A LIMITED FEW - namely themselves first and foremost and perhaps their "possessions" or their children. AND NO, not all sociopaths love their kids. I am saying that some do. I used the Wicked stepmother in Cinderella as an excellent example. Another would be Richard Kuklinski, an infamous mafia hitman. if you know his life story, you will know that the man was BONAFIDE sociopath AND that he dearly love his wife and kids and he has stated more than once that those were the ONLY people that he ever cared for. Look him up and watch his interviews on youtube and you will see for yourself. I say this proves my point!

John Craig said...

Anon --
You're right, of course, no two sociopaths are alike. And they are loyal to their children to varying degrees. But even with a case like Kuklinski, whose story I am familiar with (I have seen those videos on Youtube), I wouldn't say that they love their children in quite the same way that normal people do. They are often fiercely loyal to their kids, and will side with them no matter what, but it's not quite the same quality of love that a normal parent will give, simply because they're not capable of it. With a lot of them, it seems to be partly a matter of self-image, i.e., I'm a good person because I'm a good parent, so they do what they think a good parent would do. But it's just not quite the same. (No matter how much they claim to love their children.) Sorry, I have to disagree with you -- slightly -- here.

Anonymous said...

My ex just remarried and now has two step sons. Our son is 18months old on the 25th.....I am just learning all I can about these sociopath people. This man kicked us out when I was 14weeks pregnant and told me he never wanted me, just baby. He knew my biggest fear was to be a single mom...he made it happen. He tried impregnating two other women before me....and he has two other grown children from his first marriage. He is just now married for the forth time.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Your story has so many similar traits as my story!

John Craig said...

Anon --
Being married that many times is certainly a yellow flag for sociopathy. And kicking a 14-week pregnant woman out of her home is probably a red flag.

Anonymous said...

John Craig...I am back again (the person with the two sociopathic half-sisters). Sociopaths' love for their kids is a selfish love. They also tend to live through them vicariously (I mean SOME of them - the ones that love their kids). I am also very familiar with Kuklinski after having seen all of his interviews and listened to the complete audibook about his life by Phillip Carlo. Sociopaths see their "loved ones" (the ones who have any capacity to love) as objects or possessions. They don't love them for the unique individual that they are. They love them because they "belong" to them. And like we said, not all of them love their kids. Some even go so far as to seriously harm or even kill their kids (like Susan Smith). I wanted to say, though, that Wanda Holloway is another good example of a sociopath. She APPARENTLY loved her daughter so much that she wanted to kill her child's friend and cheerleading rival over a spot on the cheerleading team. I stressed the word "apparently" because her actions were selfish. She didn't really want to kill the girl (or her the girls mother) because of her daughter but more so for herself. Wanda was bitter over her own unfulfilled dreams and attempted to live vicariously through her daughter. And Wanda Holloway was sociopathic in the sense that she didn't care about who she hurt, killed, or whose lives she ruined. It was all about her and what she wanted. She would do anything to have her way - just like a sociopath would.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Those are all great examples, and you are spot on in your analysis. Susan Smith and the Texas Cheerleader Mom are both sociopathic mothers who expressed their sociopathy in different ways.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I wrote the above comment about Wanda Holloway. I thought that was the perfect example of a sociopath who loved their child. Yes, they are all different. I think their must be different "degrees" of sociopathy...that is a big mystery/question mark.

Anonymous said...

To whoever.said they "used to be a sociopath" your an idiot. Nothing but a fool. You can't simply just start feeling emotions after never having them. And to answer your question. I have a strange love for my kids but often times I see them as nothing more than inconvenience. I will most likely do anything to anyone thar hurt them but it is hard do deal with having children and knowing you love them when you can't even love yourself.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 children with someone I believe is a sociopath. I think he has some sort of love for his children, but the minute they stop giving him 100% reverence he snaps. For example, the 3 year old doesn't like going to visit him and often tells him so and in retaliation he tells her he doesn't like her any more and is never coming to pick her up again and is giving all of her toys and room away at his house. Another time he actually stopped the car in the road and told her to walk home. He later confirmed he did this, laughing the whole time. The baby cries having to go with him and he pushes her away and says I don't like you any more and laughs. He does take them to do things, but it's more for appearance than an actual want to see his children have fun. For example, he takes them to a nearby beach without bathing suits, for 10 minutes so they can stick their feet in the water and he can take pictures and say he "took the kids to the beach".

John Craig said...

Anon --
Those behaviors are all pretty low. I can't say for sure but he certainly sounds as if he could be a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

I am 50.lived with a man for 27 years.DIdn't even know there was such a thing to describe who he is.Cause I sure don't know this evil person.2 and a half years ago I found out what he i s really all about.The lies do not stop the mental abuse emotional abuse physical abuse it does not stop. Why can't I leave the person who has ruined my life? Who spits in my face at a whim who whispers stupid bitch dumb cunt to me when he thinks I am sleeping? I do not know who I am . I used to be excited about my life. I can not concentrate on anything any more. I bounce from this to that. Nothing gets done. Everyone tells me to leave him. Don't know how. Just me living in the twilight zone.Ronnie

John Craig said...

Ronnie --
You know what you have to do. Do it.

Anonymous said...

Just seen that comment from the "former sociopath", written 30/11/12. I agree with you: there is no such thing as a former sociopath. Sociopathy has a neurological basis, where the amygdala is faulty. The amygdala is the part of the brain that elicits fear, causing mammals to instinctively know when something is wrong and that they should exit the situation right away. The absence of fear is precisely what causes sociopaths to disregard the notion that they may be caught and punished: all they think of is precisely what goes on right now, this very minute. This is why they need constant stimulation, are prone to boredom, are typically unreliable, and are able to commit the most horrific crimes without fearing retribution. To say that one can be spontaneously cured of this ignores scientific fact - one would need brain surgery for that, which is currently unavailable.

Like you wrote, sociopaths can change their behaviour, but not their overall character. It's a bit like children "growing out of" their autism diagnosis. If a child "grows out of" autism, then they never had it in the first place: they were misdiagnosed. An autistic can learn some social skills by being formally taught (sometimes to the point where they can intermittently pass as normal), but they cannot completely get rid of their condition because it has a biological basis. Sooner or later, they will probably say something inappropriate that betrays their condition, much like a sociopath will eventually not be able to resist doing something callously self-serving. Hervey Cleckley mentions cases in his 'Mask of Sanity' of sociopaths trying very hard to behave normally, but then doing something foolish at the spur of the moment. No sociopath can "grow out of" or recover from this. The above poster probably had Borderline Personality Disorder rather than sociopathy, which can also cause people to be manipulative, the difference being that Borderlines can recover.

Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin -
What country are you from? (Americans refer to 11/30/12, you referred to 30/11/12.)

You just gave a great description and analysis of one cause of sociopathy, but there are others as well. A lot of people -- including me -- think that sociopathy is mostly caused by the lack of a bond with another human being before age one or two. But that, too, cannot be undone; if you haven't bonded by that age, no matter how nice people are to you afterward, you won't have the same set of emotions and bonding ability that a normal (nonsociopathic) person has. And you're right, a sociopath's mask will always slip eventually,, no matter how careful they are about keeping it on.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Wales, UK. We always write dates in chronological order here - day, month then year. AFAIK, writing it as month, day, year is a North American thing - Europeans all use the chronological order, as do most Asians, Australasians, Africans and South Americans. The Chinese and Japanese use the order of year, month then day.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Aha, thank you. I'd figured it was Europe somewhere, just curious where. I guess the UK makes sense given your command of the language.

I'd thought I was a quarter Welsh until I took that Ancestry.com test.

Anonymous said...

My Ex is a sociopath. We have 2 children together. He is a charmer and can convince almost anyone that he's got it all going on. I eventually saw the light and once I was tired of his controlling behavior, lack of empathy towards me and the kids, reckless spending and unrealistic lifestyle, lying, impulsive behavior and that he was always in the right no matter what I got the courage to finally leave and went to stay with my mom. I was always afraid to leave because of "the wrath" that I knew would come if I did. Once I left, he took over our home, changed the locks and thought he could do whatever he wanted with no consequence and I would just stick around. I then got an attorney because I knew what he was capable of, and filed for divorce. This enraged him. He proceeded to get an attorney, then went on a mission to try and get full custody of our children by making up so many lies about me. He said I hit our kids, hit him and I was an alcoholic. None of this is remotely true. Mind you I've never been arrested, but he has for drugs in the past. All he cared was getting back at me, not the best interest of our children, only his. So I made it my mission to not let him win and he didn't. I went as far as to request the courts do a psych evaluation to determine I was in fact the competent parent. It was going to cost $5000 dollars on top of all my attorney bills, and once I told him that the evaluator would determine he's a sociopath, he decided to drop everything and settle. I went along with it thinking he finally was doing the right thing, I also thought I was doing the right thing by keeping them with both their parents equally. I am seeing this is not the case and it breaks my heart for the kids. He uses them as his pawns to try and manipulate, harass and control me but I won't allow it. But I wonder what it's like for my kids the weeks he's with them. If it's anything like it was when we were together, it's not good. We can't Co-parent because he's so difficult and immature to deal with. I do all communication via email so I don't have to deal with him and so I have proof of his badgering way in case we have to go back to court, which I think is coming. I love my kids so much and want to protect them from his self-imposing ways. It's frustrating, emotionally and physically exhausting but it's my mission now to protect them from him. They deserve the best and I will give everything in my power to provide that.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Based on what you say, your ex is definitely a sociopath. You've listed practically every single criterion for the disorder. Well, you've done the right thing by leaving him, it's just too bad he still has so much influence on the kids. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

So I have a 10year old son who is amazing smart sweet kind and just all around great kid . I am a social path. My son tells me why can't I love him. And that he really tries to make me happy with helping around the house his school work and he just wishes he can make me happy. I somehow know why I can't share emotion but wish I could. Am I the only one. Lemme know!

John Craig said...

Anon --
I"m not sure that your comment is serious, but here goes. First of all, most 10-year-olds with a sociopathic parent would not be entirely aware that that parent doesn't love them, as the sociopath would be more likely to fake some kind of love. Secondly, most sociopaths would not be concerned with whether or not they truly loved their children, as you claim you are. Thirdly, most sociopaths would not bring up a child who is amazingly sweet, smart, and kind. Fourthly, anybody who actually was a sociopath would know that that's how yo spell it, not "social path." So I'm guessing your comment is a put on.

Elizabeth said...

Very interesting blog, and the comments even more so. I recently ended an 18 month relationship with a sociopath. To say it was complicated would be an understatement. As I have learned more about the traits of a sociopath, I see our relationship in a whole new light.

He is my polar opposite. I knew that from the beginning. He embodies NOTHING that I find attractive in a man. He is broke, he has a son, he dropped out of high school, he smokes pot on a daily basis, his income is from handyman odd jobs, I could go on and on. But my gut told me to give him a chance. And after our second date, I knew that he was *The ONE*. When I realized it, I nearly threw up. Then I was giddy. Then I was scared. Then I started dry heaving. Finally, I was thrilled. I felt it in every cell of my body…I had found the man that I would spend the rest of my life with. Goodness…how wrong I was!

The beginning was intense. He texted all the time, he wanted to see me whenever he could. We didn’t go on lavish dates; he never once bought me a gift. Our time was spent talking and joking. It was a blast. After a month, it began. He would not communicate with me for several days. Then he would pop up again and act like nothing was wrong. We began to fight constantly. He was always busy..with his son, with work…he had no time to see me. Then he did have time, but he didn’t have any money for gas to get to see me. Thankfully, he never once asked for money…and I never offered. I told him over and over, that all I wanted was to see him a couple of times a week. I didn’t feel that I was asking too much. He promised me he would be better, that he would try harder. Sometimes he would, sometimes he wouldn’t. He infuriated me more than anyone else has in my life. I was nasty, hateful and mean to him. But he would always come back. I used to think that it was because he had deep feelings for me. Now I know otherwise.

There were red-flags everywhere. In the beginning, he had talked about trips to the lake, showing me off to his friends, BBQs, pool parties…none of it ever happened. He once said *As soon as you become mine, you will be mine anywhere I want you. In the car, in the woods, on the boat…I will rape you.* Once I told him a very touching story that sadly involved the passing of a 3 year old boy…but the ending has brought tears to the eyes of every single person I have shared this with. He looked at me with a blank stare, and didn’t say a word. He told me how controlling he was with his child’s mother. When she found out she was pregnant, he told me *I put her on a strict diet and exercise plan.* He used to tell her what to wear. He would take their son away from her if he didn’t like how she was acting. He lied to me about so many things. The most constant lie was about relatives being ill, or dying. I caught him in many of these lies, he would try to reason his way out of it…but I knew better. I believed that he did/said all of these things because he was young, dumb and immature. I truly thought in my heart that he was not REALLY like this…it was just all for show. And someday his real soul would shine through.

Elizabeth said...

Part II
He told me that he was staying with a friend, though I was never allowed to see where he lived. I began to suspect that he lived with his ex, and even mentioned it a few times, and he denied it. Eventually he had blown me off one too many times, and I sent her a message through social media….telling her that I had been involved with him for nearly a year, and asked her point blank if they were still involved. Her answer *He lives in my house, and I pay his bills.* I was stunned. Shocked. I cried for days. My heart was shattered. I had trusted him so much, and he was living a double life.

A few months later, he came crawling back. I was terribly mean, told him to leave me alone. He wouldn’t. He kept begging. He just wanted to see me. It took nearly a month, and finally I caved. I saw him, he explained everything…that they were only together for the kid…the kid wanted it, and he will do anything for the kid…they don’t have sex…they can’t stand each other, but tolerate the situation for the kid…he’s sorry…he’s changed, he’s going to do all that he can to make me happy….blah blah blah. I bought it hook, line and sinker. The sex was amazing. It always had been. That was what I missed most about him. It was SO passionate. I told myself hundreds of times that our connection was real…because you just cannot fake that kind of passion. But soon the cycle began again….he would disappear and ignore me, I would get angry, we would bicker a bit, he would stay away longer so that I could *calm down*…we would make up, I would be nice, then the whole cycle would start over. It drained me. It was exhausting, and I wanted out. But every time I saw him, all the bad just faded away, and I was giddy just being able to touch him.

Just recently, I became explosive after he ignored me for nearly a week. I finally heard from him, he had all kinds of excuses. I told him that I did not like it when he ignored me. He apologized, and promised that he would try to be better. Eight hours later, he was ignoring me. Many texts followed over the next week…I told him I was done…I tried to talk to him…it was a mess. We had planned to get together one evening to hash things out. My intention was to end it with him, but not before he realized exactly what he was walking away from. That afternoon, he sent me a message on facebook. He was at the doctor, getting x-rays. Apparently he is not aware of the location finder on facebook messages, and I knew that he was sitting at home. He wanted to cancel that evening, and I lost it like I never had before. I threatened him, and told him that if he didn’t come to me, I would come to him. It was ugly. I finally just gave up. I wanted to destroy his life…but I just don’t have that in me.

Elizabeth said...

Part III
I know that was long, but I just wanted to show that he very clearly is in fact a sociopath. I feel much pain, and sadness…but I am a strong woman, and I will survive. I am extremely thankful that I got out without losing too much. I cringe to think what my life would have turned into had I ever gotten pregnant by him. Though I clearly (and selfishly) wasn’t concerned for her at the time….my heart now aches for the woman he has a child with. The hell that woman has endured at his hand is unimaginable. I believe that the only reasons he is still with her are that she puts a roof over his head, and she is easily controlled by him. I’ve questioned many times if he truly loves his son. I used to think that he did. Now I believe that the child is nothing more than a pawn to keep the mother around. He uses the child to control her, and get everything he wants. He has threatened her repeatedly that he will take the child away from her forever if she doesn’t behave the way he wants her to. The child is also an extension of himself. He gets everything he wants. He’s five, and he has a brand-new 4-wheeler. Not a toy. I am so incredibly sad for the child and his mother…and I just pray that someday she sees this man for who he really is, and gets out….especially before there is any long-term damage to the boy. I believe that she really and truly loves her son, shows him a great deal of affection…and that is probably the only saving grace for him.

John Craig said...

Elizabeth --
I can't possibly do justice to your story, but I'll make a few points about how it was a classic relationship with a sociopath. First, you were extremely taken with him, before disillusionment set in; he must have a sociopathic level of charm, given that he doesn't have the resume you desire. Second, even when you began to discover the lies, you made excuses for him; this is also a typical pattern. Third, he was very exploitative; he used the mother of his child for money and a place to stay, and used the child to control her. Fourth, now that you've experienced a sociopath up close and personal, you'll be on the lookout for them in the future, possibly even to the extent of suspecting non sociopaths of being sociopaths. (I'd caution you against that; it's good to be able to recognize sociopaths, but too many people, once they've been burned, put up a guard that's TOO high.

Anyway, sorry for your disillusionment, but join the club: most everybody who writes comments on this post has been burned by a sociopath. We're all older and wiser now.

Anonymous said...

my ex use to hide money from me never giving me any house keeping , he use to blame me for everything .even went to the lengths of blaming me for his other childern growing up he was very sly secretive devious he never gave me any reason to think i was in a loving relationship with him he always had other motives lied to me continously even when there was no need ,

John Craig said...

Anon --
Sure doesn't sound like Mr. Right.

Anonymous said...

Wow, im starting to get worried!!! I have an inability to feel love, and well, most things. My grandma was recently in a horrific accident and I felt nothing! Obviously I faked the emotions to comfort my family and not look so cold hearted, but after looking on the internet for an answer to my inability to feel, I truly believe I am a sociopath. Im going for a professional diagnosis next week, but I am very worried at my lack of conscience and guilt! I dont suppose I really love anybody either...but I certainly don't want to HURT anyone!!! I sometimes manipulate people to get what I want, but doesn'teveryone? Anyway, if I really am a sociopath, I dont plan on spreading it around, people will judgeand think me violent!!!!

John Craig said...

Anon --
Not sure whether you're being serious, but on the off chance you are, one thing I've noticed over the years is that sociopaths never WORRY about the fact that they're sociopaths. So if you're actually fretting about this, chances are you aren't one.

Anonymous said...

Hi. For over two years, I've searched for answers to what entered my life. Sociopath has been the best description for who I will call Mr. T. He is in his 50s with two children 17 and 21. Tome, he calls them "little bastards" and claims his ex-wife was on drugs and that's why he obtained custody since they were small. He also says that they were not his plan and he just did what he had to do.
When I met him, I was attracted to him physically, his confidence, and ironically, his lack of interest in me. The rest of the story is a waste. Early on he admitted that he had some social anxiety. He would string me on, acting like he was totally in love in my presence, but went icy cold the next second. He would not call for days or weeks and act like this was absolutely normal. I fell in love for the first time as an adult with this shell. He would tell me stories of others, but now I believe they were descriptions of himself. We have never had sex, but have come close a few times. He appeared very nervous. He also appeared to be more interested or comfortable with grabbing my throat (not choking, but a firm hold) than touching me. The one time that he was all in for having sex was when I was pretty intoxicated, but I asked him what we would be if I shared myself with him. He mumbled something about marriage. Whenever I tried to communicate about this or anything related to a relationship below a very surface level, he could never commit or get angry and ask why I couldn't live in the moment.
The other red flags included how he felt he was better than others, no empathy for others, his need for alcohol, risk taker (motorcycles/racing), negative talk about his mother, and classic, his inability to relate to emotions. Before I even knew how to define him, I found myself trying to "teach a blind man to see" as far as trying to get him to be able to relate or understand emotions. I tried with music and I tried with colors. The last time we were together, I talked to him about therapy and he said that I was helping him. At that time, he did open up with concern that he may have msde his daughter a lesbian (which she is not). However, in the last year, his son shared that he is gay and Mr. T acts like it's a disgrace. From his expression of concern if he has made his daughter a lesbian, is the first time I've ever heard him act like he is human and deeper than surface.
He is a handsome professional that from the outside, has it all together. However, he's never satisfied or content. I've read so much to let me know that I was just a game piece for him and I've learned a lot. At times, I feel quite human and think he's the devil. While majority of the time, I want to help him because that's who I am. Not wanting him as a partner now only because it's impossible, but wanting to show him some light to what appears to be a curse.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Some of the thing you describe make him sound like a sociopath, but some, like the inability to relate, make him sound as if he has Aspergers. It also sounds as if he might be gay himself. Only advice I can give you is, he's far more trouble than he's worth. It's time to look elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John. I did him last week if he was gay and he said it seems to run in the family, doesn't it? So all of his ambiguousness and icy behavior could have been a camouflage, but there's definitely some other condition because he often would say that people describe him as subhuman. Either way, you're right, time to move on. Thanks again.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I didn't give you much advice, but you're welcome.

The fact that he was projecting homosexuality onto his daughter combined with the fact that he never made a move on you made it seem as if he might be gay.

It's good you're moving on.

Anonymous said...

So, I'm convinced that I've got myself involved with a sociopath! When i met him things progressed very quickly, he began telling me ge loved me before he even really knew much about me and i became emotionally involved. He definitely knew all the right things to say. When we first got together he told me he was in a previous marriage and he had been divorced and onlu had one child (lies ) . Months went by and he started to reveal that he indeed had 5 kids. Our whole relationship all he did was pressure me to get pregnant, he also was very jealous and possessive and told me when i did get pregnant that nobody would want me so young with three so i should never burn my bridge with him. He left immediately after confirmation that i was indeed pregnant and i recently found out that this is something he does often and this will be his 7th child. What really concerns me is he ignored me the whole 7 months of my pregnancy and came back to work it out just to play head games. Now he says things like "we don't have anything to talk about, call me when the baby is born" that alone tears me apart but him ignoring me is also bothersome. It sickens me that he targets young women and manipulates them. I'll text him things that would bother normal people and he'll just ignore them. It's like he's emotionless. He is very jealous as i mentioned before and threatens that he'll hurt me if i ever mess around on him, but never has disrespected me or called me out my name. Very strange

John Craig said...

Anon --
Sounds to me as if your analysis is correct. The lies, the manipulation, the negative emotions but lack of any positive ones, the fact that he seems to have very little contact with any of his children, all add up to sociopathy. It also sounds as if you still have to get over him.

My advice: read up on sociopathy, that will help you get over him. Once you're fully aware of what a monster he is, you won't want anything to do with him, other than getting whatever money you can from him, which will be whatever the courts decide. Good luck with that.

Sorry to be so harsh, but the picture you've drawn leads to no other conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Hugs

Anonymous said...

You call us monsters john but you yourself sound like a narcissistic know it all, why else would you write about sociopaths unless you got a buzz of reading about other peoples sad stories lol? What can I say apart from most of the most us successful people including your own governments are sociopaths. They can cope with making decistions that hurt people were as your little mind would send you into a break down. well said about the kids, I protect mine and provide for them and reward there sucess they are my future blood which reflects on me, one last thing about us.... the stupid ones are easy to spot like the ones in some peoples stories, the smart ones arent and its normally to late if you ever find out because dont forget we will do anything to protect ourselfs

John Craig said...

Anonymous sociopath --
I actually don't get a buzz out of reading sad stories; there are plenty in the paper every day, and most just leave me cold. I do like the way you use "narcissistic" as an insult though, given that all sociopaths are narcissistic.

I wouldn't say the most successful people are sociopaths, although there are plenty of sociopaths who fly high (and many of those end up crashing and burning).

I agree, the smarter sociopaths are generally harder to spot. My guess is, you're probably fairly easy to spot for those who understand sociopathy and know you well, though I also wouldn't doubt that you've hoodwinked plenty of people in your time.

Thanks for the comment though, I get a lot from Aspies but very few from self-admitted sociopaths.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a insult. Your guessing about me shows you are narcissistic, or just really over confident in your very limited knowledge on thick sociopathic. Fact of the matter is you will never meet a high level sociopath in your life. I own a small double glazing firm in the uk imploying 20 people. To get where I am today I ruined peoples lifes for my personal gain most of them didn't and still don't know it was me, crime does go hand in hand with sociopaths. The smart ones get a buzz off making alot of money ruining peoples lifes on a bigger scale while enjoying life, the r#tar#ds drive there kids of a cliff or start shooting people. And your right alot of the smart ones will crash and burn but they normally bring down alot of people with them. Dont think you can spot a smart sociopath because unless you monitor one for a week 24 hours aday john you will never beable to
Lots of love my friend ..... just joking there lol

John Craig said...

Anonymous sociopath --
Calling someone a "narcissistic know-it-all" isn't an insult? I'd hate to hear what you consider an insult.

You seem to think you know a lot about me. I went to Harvard, and worked at Goldman Sachs, so I've met plenty of smart sociopaths. And with them, as with the dumb ones, yes, you have to get more than a snapshot of their behavior to know what they are. But once you see them for an extended period, it's impossible of them to hide their character. No matter how smart they are, their sociopathy renders them dumb in a number of ways. It gives them away through their unbridled egotism, their glee at others' misfortune (as you say), their dishonesty, their disloyalty, and their thinking they're fooling people when they're not.

Bill Clinton is a perfect example of a high-powered, smart sociopath. Take a look at this post for an analysis of what gives him away:

http://justnotsaid.blogspot.com/2010/08/sociopath-alert-bill-clinton.html

By the way, laughing at your own jokes is a sure sign of narcissism, and "lol"-ing your own jokes is another dead giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've been diagnosed as a sociopath since I was nine, I didn't go into much therapy because I was always smarter than my therapist. Brief story, I have three siblings and my two parents. One of those siblings is a sister who I don't really interact much because I wish not to hurt her (she's an empath) . But she married a narcissist against my parents will. When I found out he was abusing her I absolutely went out of my way and DESTROYED him and every person he cares about. After the divorce was over She gave birth to a baby girl that I actually care about. I feel that a sociopath can't actually love normally but we can care and protect.

John Craig said...

Anon --
That's actually a credible story, apart from having been diagnosed as a sociopath since you were nine (most psychologists or psychiatrists are unwilling to give that diagnosis until someone is at least 16).

But otherwise, your analysis of yourself and your actions actually all rings true.

dhumanist said...

I have been separated from my husband, who I believe to be a sociopath, for about 6 months. I have initiated divorce this week. The first three years of our relationship seemed magical aside from what we thought was severe depression and ADD for him - and anything that raised a red flag I attributed to him being an immature college student who could grow up eventually.

I should mention that my husband was called Eddie Haskell as a child - he is stunningly gorgeous, charming, is intelligent, and calls himself a social chameleon. Once he moved in, here are some of the lies and even criminal behavior that I learned to tolerate and even blame on myself:

1. He once disappeared for 3 days claiming he was in a hospital undergoing brain scans for cancerous lesions. I later learned he had wanted to "binge," which meant marijuana, video games, and junk food in an Internet cafe for the duration of his absence. He blamed me and his family, stating that all of our free radicals and cornering him had given him cancer. 2. He lied several times that he could not go on family vacations because he had to work. He blamed me, saying that it was my fault we never went anywhere he wanted, and that he didn't want to travel with a crying baby (his baby). 3. He had accrued several thousand dollars in debt on hidden credit cards for live porn sites. When I confronted him, he blamed me - it was my fault, because he had given up the best years of his young adult life for a monogamous relationship with ugly and boring me. 4. He once stole several thousand dollars in computer equipment before getting fired from a job the next day. Why? Because they made him buy orange juice, which he said "is the secretary's job." 5. He has been on and off of dating sites like Tinder, where he lures girls in by telling them he is an off-Broadway producer, VP of a Forbes 500, Bikram yoga instructor, etc. When I confront him, he says "I can't help I'm ashamed that I want to have meaningless sex with sluts," and "everyone on there is fake anyways."

Needless to say these lies only seemed to affect our romantic relationship, but as time went on, things got worse - especially once I finished my PhD, took a job at an Ivy League School, and did not need him to raise our baby.

I separated from him this past May after discovering a secret file in his email with pictures of my 12 year old daughter sleeping in a tank top and panties, and photos of her nude in the shower. When I asked, he first tried to lie and say it wasn't her - that it was a former student of his that had come to our home to have sex with him, and that she had put on my daughter's clothes thinking they were mine so that she could "play his wife for a day." My daughter has a very distinct scar on her left thigh - when I pointed this out, he finally admitted that it was her, but that there was no harm in what he had done because she wasn't aware of it. He also said it wasn't pedophilia because she is an adolescent (and promptly gave me whatever the technical term is for tween pornography). Let me add that the police would do nothing in this case because my daughter wasn't aware of the photos, so they claimed I could have taken the photographs and uploaded them to his email to sabotage him (and, by the way, that it is illegal for me to access my husband's email, even if he has given me the passwords).

dhumanist said...

Part II: That same week, after I kicked him out, I discovered dealer amounts of marijuana in my trunk of my car and my bedroom closet I called the cops. Again the same thing - marijuana is decriminalized in NYC so the cops would do nothing in my home, but yet if I got caught driving the vehicle with the drugs I woudl be arrested and my children taken from me. When I confronted my husband about this, again the same thing - I should not interfere with his business because me and my kids would get "clipped" (and it would be my fault if my kids died), and also that he was doing all of this dealing for our family...and that I had now ruined his business.

Then it again became about how by age 26 he was supposed to be rich, own his own home, have a much hotter wife...yet I had castrated and emasculated him, destroyed his business...etc.

The final straw was that I was going out of town with my children for a week and he had agreed to watch the family dog at his house while we were away. Literally 3 hours before I had to leave (a Saturday morning at 6 am), he announced that he would not take the dog unless I paid him $500 in cash on spot...and that the cost would go up an additional $150 a day. Keep in mind that this is HIS dog that HE rescued in college - I begged him as I had no money in the account - yet he walked back to the train station and left the dog tied to my car tire. I was able to find a no-kill shelter on the way to the airport and had to surrender our dog of 8 years. The kids and I remain devastated.

dhumanist said...

Part III
Two weeks ago I came into my parking lot and the car was stolen. I texted him that my vehicle better be back in the parking lot by 7 pm or I would call the cops. I get a text from him at 6 pm stating that he was arrested in NYC for driving with a suspended driver's license and that the vehicle had been impounded and he was in a holding cell. He said I would get a call the next day to make an electronic bail payment for $10K, and then he would be released and bring my car back to me.

Obviously I wasn't falling for yet another poorly crafted, grandiose lie. I called all the precincts, central booking, checked for my vehicle online - all lies, except that the car did have almost $1K in judgments due to unpaid parking tickets he had accrued when he had stolen my vehicle on a past occasion.

I reported the car stolen and notified him - but meanwhile was in a panic as our 18 month old had no other way to get to school. I missed 3 days of work to care for our baby, texting him "how can you do this to your own son?"

In response, I get a text after the 4th day that our son has nothing to do with it and this is all my fault for ruining his credit and the best years of his life wasted on me, ruining his business, leaving him without a vehicle, etc. The text included a picture of the car with a boot on the tire. He claimed that he had gotten booted the previous week, and that he had been selling everything to get it out of boot and had lied to me about getting arrested just so I would leave him alone. He claimed he had taken the day off of work so that he could go get the car and bring it back to me. So again I have to verify the lies - I enlarge the photo, and I also check online on the NYC gov site - and you can see the car was only booted that morning. I then call his work and ask for him, and they forward me directly to his line where he of course picks up. It's always lies - and always very poorly told lies.

I should also add that during this same period of the vehicle missing, he had been offered a job at a premier private high school. He refused the job and wrote the director a nasty letter because they only offered him $45K (just $5K than he makes now) - how dare they do that when they are private and have so much money!

The situation seems never ending. I have a fake profile on his Facebook account and I can see him adding all kinds of young, pretty college girls to his page. He works in a middle school and always coaches the girls' soccer team and works with girls on STEM.

So a few questions:

1. Is this man a sociopath - going back all the way to his Eddie Haskell childhood days?

2. My psychiatrist says the hope is that he will change and mature over time, and one day maybe be a father to his son. Is that realistically possible? He's 26 and seems to be getting worse.

3. What do I tell my son as he gets older and wants to know his dad? To anyone who knows this situation, they think I am on drugs when I tell them what's going on. I am the one who looks strung out, neurotic, etc., while he carries on with his good looks and charm. Will he fool my son? What do I tell my son?

4. Most important - for myself, this is my third serious and failed relationship. The first I was only 20 and an immature and selfish brat. The second was a misfortune of the 9-11 events. This time I really tried - I took years to get to know him (I thought) before he moved in. yet I was warned - what would a man in college want to do with a woman 12 years older with 2 kids? I am working on my own issues of what I assume are co-dependency...but just utterly devasted. Every therapist, friend, family member says the same cruel statement: You're so successful with a PhD, Ivy League jobs, you are an amazing mother...how do you end up with such trash? How did you let him go on so long and do all this horrible stuff to you and your children? The guilt (which I've dealt with in therapy for years even before this horrible man came into it) is literally eating me alive.

Thanks for your help,

John Craig said...

Dhumanist --
I got your first comment first and responded to that thinking it was simply another account of an attempted relationship with a sociopath, hadn't realized you were leading up to asking several questions.

Okay, in order:

1. Yes, he is unquestionably a sociopath. A lot of the literature on the subject says you're not supposed to call someone a sociopath until they're 18 or at least 16, but my opinion is that these people's personalities were basically formed very early on, so they were at the very least sociopaths-in-the-making if not outright sociopaths, even as 8- or 10-year-olds. So, yes, he was always basically a sociopath.

The two surest signs of sociopathy are (A) serial killing and (B) "pathological" lying. Your husband does the latter, and in very destructive ways. He is also without shame (it didn't sound as if reacted guiltily when caught with pictures of your naked daughter), another sure sign.

2. I can't believe your psychiatrist has so little knowledge of sociopathy that s/he would say your husband will change and mature. Sorry, but there is absolutely no chance of that.

3. Tell your son the truth. That's really the only thing you can do. Otherwise your soon-to-be-ex, being a skillful manipulator as all sociopaths are, will try to turn him against you. If your son insists that he wants to get to know his father (which is only natural), try to get as much supervision on the visits as you can, and warn him ahead of time about what his father is like. All you have to do is tell him the stories you've just related here, that should be enough. Also, apart from what you tell your children about their father, do your best to make sure the they understand the concept of sociopathy. You have to do this, because I can promise you that he will try to turn them against you.

4. First of all, bear in mind that all relationships that are not current are by definition failed relationships; that's just the nature of the game. You're mature enough to take the blame for your first failed (serious) one. (I'm not sure how 9/11 could have caused the failure of the second, though.) And as far as this one, I'm sorry, but there's never any hope for a relationship with a sociopath. It will always just be more of the same. More likes, more abuse, more heartache.

In fact, one of the lessons we all learn in marriage, and this includes the great majority of marriages (which are to non-sociopaths), is that nobody ever changes. If you go into marriage thinking you can change your spouse, you're fighting an extremely uphill battle.

No offense, but I'm almost tempted to say the same thing to you that your friends and therapists are saying. But I can't really throw stones, as I was fooled by once early on too. Please take a look at this post:

http://justnotsaid.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-i-became-interested-in-sociopathy.html

You're obviously an intelligent woman, and it sounds to me as if you already know what you've gotten yourself into and you just want someone who understands sociopathy to confirm it to you. Well, I do understand sociopaths, and I'm telling you what you basically already know that you have to do: divorce him and keep contact with him to a minimum in the future, it's all you can do. It's unfortunate, it's messy, and there's no easy solution given that he will want contact with the children in the future (and the kids may want some contact too, at least until they get to know him) and you won't be able cut that off entirely. But, do the best you can, and move on. A bad relationship with a sociopath is not worth trying to salvage, and that would in fact be an impossible task anyway.

Good luck.

dhumanist said...

Dear John (if I may),

Thank you so much for this detailed response. I'm especially grateful for the feedback about my baby - I hope he will believe what his older sister, brother, his father's family, and I tell him. Combined with supervised visitation (if his father ever takes it, which he hasn't so far), I imagine it will be easier for the baby to understand once he's older.

I also wanted to clarify the 9-11 event: my older kids come from a 9-year relationship that ended because my partner was in the WTC when the plane crashed into it. He survived, but refused to go to therapy, and basically became a recluse. We remain close friends and spend holidays together, so I can't say it was a failure, you're right!

Thanks also for sharing your story. I'm less concerned about appearing foolish or stupid, and more trying to plan for the future. It's true they have a lizardy smile. He did not express regret about photographing my daughter (his stepdaughter) until weeks later. He expressed regret as "that wasn't the real me," "that's all in the past now," "it's a shame I added to all the damage her father has caused her." - so not really remorse.

He compartementalized too - told me his family cut him off for marrying someone 12 years old (me), to his family I forced him to give them up when he moved to NY from CA. AFter I got pregnant, his family and I reunited. His mother still cries - they haven't spoken with their son in 6 years in spite of sending him gifts, calling, etc. He is avoidant once someone knows the truth about him.

Two more things I want to ask - the therapists have suggested that his substance abuse of sativa has further triggered the behaviors. Does rehab help these people or do they simply find other indulgences (as my husband seems to have done). And finally, is he a pedophile, or is the sociopath simply someone who does whatever feels good in the moment? He seems misogynistic as any pure narcissist would - calling himself asexual yet increasingly watching and engaging in more deviant and taboo acts. Is it likely that he will hurt a young girl?

John Craig said...

Dhumanist --
Aha, now I get the 0/11 reference, thank you.

I'm afraid I don't have as definitive answers to your new questions. I'm not sure the extent to which marijuana would contribute to his behavior. I've always seen marijuana as a fairly mild drug, most people would not behave in outrageous sorts of ways just because they're under its influence. And yes, as a sociopath, he's always going to behave in uninhibited, impulsive sorts of ways, and be dishonest about it afterwards, whether or not he's under the influence.

If he had a secret file with pictures of your 12-year-old daughter naked in the shower, he's almost certainly got pedophiliac tendencies. (Why else would he take those pictures and then keep that file?) Sociopaths have similar sexualities as other people, they're just far more uninhibited about acting on those impulses. I can't say for certain that he represents a danger to your daughter, but that possibility definitely exists.

Also, keep in mind that he will see himself as the wronged party in all this (sociopaths always manage to see themselves as victims) and will probably be looking to get back at you however he can.

Again, good luck.

dhumanist said...

Thanks John Craig - this is all helpful. I thought some more about other strange types of behavior that I haven't seen described on this or other blogs. For example, just before we separated (when he was visibly at his worst and looked and smelled like a homeless person), I once walked into the bathroom after he had showered. There was fresh urine all over the outer edges of the bathtub rim (where you'd keep the shampoo and soap). I confronted him and he blamed the dog, which is physically impossible!

Is this type of animal or child like behavior typical of socipaths? Is it possible he will get even worse? He now can only contact us through the lawyer or supervised visitation (I have an OOP as of 2 weeks ago), but I worry given the relationship to murder - I started to feel if this man had any regular access to communicate, one of us would lose our lives (that's all that is left for him to take at this point).

Thanks again - and I hope others find my stories helpful.

John Craig said...

Dhumanist --
I haven't heard of that particular type of behavior (urinating all over the place) before, but one of the three childhood traits that most future serial killers have in common are (1), cruelty to animals, (2), fascination with fire/incipient pyromania, and (3) bedwetting past the usual diaper training age. I always thought that the third had to do with a simple lack of inhibition; maybe not bothering to aim your urine down the drain shows a similar complete lack of inhibition. Or it could be that he was doing it to get you back somehow. I don't know. (I've known sociopaths who were somewhat finicky a well.)

You made the right legal move there, good work. Can he get worse? The thing about a sociopath is, they already represent a complete lack of conscience, so, in that sense, no, he can't get worse. But that's not to say the way he expresses his complete lack of conscience might not get worse.

Anonymous said...

I'm a sociopath who with a 13 year old daughter whom I have raised as a single parent since she was 18 months.
She too is beginning to show similar tendencies.
We do love each other in our way and are quite affectionate.
We share a close relationship based for the most part on honesty and trust. Although being sociopaths we realise both of us can't help but be manipulative :)
We are each others confidantes and I am her teacher and devoted to helping her hone her skills.
I am directing her towards joining the police force. I think she would being and would make an excellent homicide detective one day

John Craig said...

Anon --
Interesting. They say that the best profilers in the FBI are further up the sociopathy scale.

And I've always ben under the impression that a disproportionate number of sociopaths end up on the force. (I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 8%, as opposed to their proportion in the populaiotn of roughly 3%.)

Anonymous said...

I walked a way from a psychopath in the making...for sure narcissist, so was his mother.

I'm going to only give the most recent bizarre incident that got me walking..no RUNNING!!

I was schedule to have an operation, had, came home..never once asked if I needed an aspirin, tea, water, nothing , nada, zilch..

Never once (since birth) had he ever gotten up and bathe, fed, burped, nor played with his children...NEVER! I give birth to twins, plus had a 4-yr-old at the time. I was on my feet from the recovery room ever since.

So during the recovery from surgery, I had no help with the kids, the housework, moving, repositioning ..nothing! Matter of fact, the day before the surgery he said to me.."I don't give a f*** if you laid in a corner and died bitch!" projection...(after asking for help to move the bed closer to the bathroom, as I anticipated no help was forthcoming post surgery).

The bizarre part...few week after the surgery, he left to go and see his malignant narcissistic mother who was recently diagnosed with end stage 4 malignant cancer. (go figure right) karma...

He promised he would call to say he had arrived after a 19 hour drive. He never looked back for three days! Not a call, not one text to say..he arrived. When i finally got a hold of him the evening of day #3 and asked why didn't you at least text and said you made it?

His angry reply: " My mother wasn't feeling well and I got into the bed with her and was rubbing stomach and we both fell asleep"! I was flabbergasted to say the least!!

Me: "So, where do you sleep? In the bed with your mother?"

Him: "If I fall asleep while talking with her, yeah, why, that's my mom!" WOW! Saw absolutely nothing odd about sleeping with "mommy" at 35, she's 60!

Me, I was still wasn't done as I was in AWE!! "So in the 3 days you've been gone.. you've been too busy crawling in the bed, rubbing your mom tummy to call us and let us know that you've arrived safe? You know what, you're where you needed/wanted to be, don't come the hell back!!" I was done!!

There's no CURE for that!! Not enough psychoanalysis, psychiatrist, freaking hypnotherapist.. or any other kinda ist, to fix THAT!! "THAT" my friend, is a psychopath!


There's more... his MOTHER sends selfies of herself to him every other week when we were together! Has about roughly...200 photo's stored in his phone, about a good 5 of them is of his children and 5 more of his children with his mother (deleted all of them that had my children in them), about 30 of them random pictures himself and the the rest his MOTHER!!!!!


Yes, you heard that right! His mother sends selfies, pictures of herself posing like she is a model, hands on hip, staring up into the sky (really freaky), some staring dead-faced into the camera, posing on the couch, some bare from the top of her bosom on up and all WHILE SMIRKING into the camera! Something's not right!!

Oh there's more... This nasty, narcissistic monster has done crossed the lines from son to "fantasy lover" in her mind. When I would ask him if he see's nothing wrong with "mother" sending selfies to him so constantly.....he simply states " That's my mother, we're just close".

He sees absolutely nothing wrong with it. Wow! Not to mention the obsessive phones calls EVERY, SINGLE DAY...10-15 TIMES a day! His mother would call him 10-15 times a day...... kid you not. You couldn't make this shit up!

Got my children and got the hell out.

dhumanist said...

I hate to be the woman to come back with tail between legs, but my hope is that others will visit this site and understand the insidious and painful cycle we put ourselves in if we do not follow no-contact prescriptions.

Two weeks ago he claims he is moving to San Francisco, and I offer to let him see our son one last time. We meet in a museum and he is right away kissing me, hugging me, telling me life is nothing and is suffering without us. His eyes light up to hear that we may have a chance. He talks about how sick it makes him to know I've been suffering (he imagined, angrily, that I had moved on and was "living it up" with my supposed high income and lavish lifestyle). Talk about getting well, going to therapy, working on things, etc. I gave him $1K in exchange that he promised to sign the divorce papers.

He signed the papers, and we met again this past Weds for dinner. I picked him up from work and he introduced me to everyone as his "wife" and I told him not to do that again. Then today, I do a search on a Facebook girl he had added, and I see her profile picture is now a picture of them as a couple. This picture is posted the same day that he is introducing me as his wife at work. These people have no conscience. No concern for others' emotions - it is all a game to them, either for pleasure, or to get what they want (money, sex, an ego stroke, etc.).

John, you said something that I still can't fathom - that they don't change. It hurts, seeing him with this girl and wondering - will he actually change and be an amazing man with this woman? Or is she doomed to the same hell if she continues with him? I shouldn't waste my energy on such concerns - it's my own flaw - but they do a good job of making you believe that they will be wildly happy and successful now that they've left you - the toxic baggage (which they created) - behind.

dhumanist said...

I should add to that same description - he was literally punching the inside door of my car, cursing and yelling at me that he just wants to "live a normal life" and that my obsession over imaginary women is ruining our chances. You have to be in the situation to understand that these acts feel so "real" - these outbursts of emotion seem so genuine, how could I not feel guilty for accusing him of something when he was obviously NOT talking to women???

And yet here we are...picture in full view and posted on this girl's page the same night!!!

John Craig said...

Dhumanist --
First, you have to accept that your ex will never change. NEVER. (Sorry, but that's worth repeating.)

As far as his new girlfriend, I can pretty much guarantee you that she will end up as disillusioned as you did. That's always the way it will be with a sociopath in the long run. In the short run, she is probably enamored of his charm and his looks and his dynamic personality. But the more she gets to know him, the more she will see what he's really like, and the less she'll like him. And not only that, I can pretty much guarantee that all his future (long term) relationships will fail for the same reason. It may take them a while, but all of his paramours will eventually become disenchanted with hi.

Here's another thing for you to think about: this guy took pictures of your naked 12-year-old daughter. How irresponsible would you be to allow him any further contact with her? imagine the following: you're sitting in a courtroom some day and the judge says, wait a second, you KNEW that this man took a picture of your 12=year-old daughter when she was in the shower, and yet you allowed him further contact with her even AFTER you were divorced?? Just mull over that.

Sorry to be so harsh, but there's really no other way to get this message across.

dhumanist said...

yes I need the harshness - I don't even think you're being harsh. I went with NC for 3 months and was well. Then he started with he is moving to San Francisco and wanted to see his son and I one last time. And like that, with crying, remorseful pleas and promises, the sappy codependent in me believes he will get help finally and change.

I needed to read what you wrote and it helps. I don't want other women to suffer and my heart hurts for that girl. But pardon me for hoping he gets hit by a truck.

Thanks for your support John!

John Craig said...

Dhumanist --
Feeling that way is only natural.

You're welcome and good luck.

dhumanist said...

I am reading the book Psychopath Free and have been working with a healer. She told me yesterday that I would one day be thankful to my psychopathic ex for all the pain he caused. I took her words as alien and absurd.

But today I came across something helpful in the book: she writes, "You probably remembered the psychopath so fondly not because they were a good person, but because that was the peak of your light...you tended to pour so much of your love and affection into other human beings. Because you hadn't felt that love for yourself. Through the psychopathic healing process, you make that final leap."

But with these words from the book, I think I see what you all mean. Never before this relationship did I invest and love so deeply. I never put in so much prayer, so much effort to improve myself, so much effort to find resolutions, so much effort to fidelity, so much effort to forgive...all of the things that are best in me shone 150% because of the nature of that relationship.

And just like you and so many have told me my whole life, I have to learn to love myself. I never understood that either - how does one do that? But now I think I understand that too - I am capable of doing it - I was able to do it outwardly in this sick relationship. I needed the relationship experience to show me these gifts. But now what I need to do is to direct all of those gifts inward to my soul, right? To pray for myself, to find resolutions for myself, to forgive myself, to love myself deeply in spite of being flawed - to realize as you said, that I am perfect in my flaws.

I think this is a very big healing moment for me.
I wanted to write to share this with you, but also to thank you for helping complete this puzzle. I have a long way to go to heal, but it helps to wake up instead of angry and sad that this ever happened, instead of saying "well at least I got the miracle of my son out of this," to be able to say "Thank God that I had this relationship, for I may never have started the journey to love myself without it."

John Craig said...

Dhumanist --
I haven't heard of that book, and I have to wonder about its assumption that people think back on the sociopaths they've known with fondness. I think most think back with bitterness.

Anyway, I'm glad you're helping be healed by the book. I agree with the premise that in a way they bring out the best in you, even if it's by them being the worst human beings imaginable. (I'm also not sure that I actually gave you that message, but if you think you got that from me, fine.)

Anyway, if I have helped you, I'm glad. Good luck, and stay away from him. There are plenty of other men out there.