Escaping Sociopathic Abuse Almost Impossible When Children Are Involved

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August 20th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

In my previous article Extreme BPD / NPD Behaviors Are Internally Triggered, I discussed the puzzling ways in which normal circumstances seem to trigger abusive behaviors from Borderlines, Narcissists, and other personality disordered abusers. My advice to those who can do so is to get away and stay away from these people as they are a serious danger to your own mental health, even your freedom and your life, if you continue to have anything to do with them.

Unfortunately, not everybody can easily extricate themselves from the abuse without severe consequences. This is particularly true for parents of children whose other parent is a Borderline or Narcissist. Staying in the children’s lives means staying in the line of fire of the abuser. Leaving is likely to subject the children to even more abuse. Often the abuser has focused most of her or his rage against their former partner or spouse. But if that parent leaves, the rages, abuses, and emotional manipulations are not going to stop. They will probably be redirected at somebody else close to the abuser as loved-ones are the tops targets for these sick people. The children are a likely target for even more abuse than they have already received. This chronic abuse with no escape (as the healthy parent has disappeared) is likely to create severe psychological damage, even personality disorders, in these children as they have even less means to defend themselves against one of these sociopaths than an adult does.

To fully understand how horrible the impact of Borderline or Narcissist parent can be on a child, you’ll have to do some more reading as the topic is way too broad to cover in a couple thousand word article. One of the best books on the topic is Dr. Christine Lawson’s book Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship. I first read this a few years ago and have yet to find a book on the subject that more thoroughly explains the destruction that Borderlines cause in the lives of their children. Dr. Lawson has created a fairy-tale model of Borderlines to help understand their behaviors. She groups them into hermits, waifs, queens, and witches. Many Borderlines exhibit traits of more than one of these groups, but they tend to have a primary behavior pattern and understanding it can help the reader figure out what motivates these sociopaths and what sort of abuses they are likely to inflict upon their children.

Preventing Worst Outcomes In Children Of Sociopathic Parents

The best chance for preventing the children of a Borderline, Narcissist, or similarly abusive parent probably rests with ensuring the children have continuing and frequent contact with healthy relatives, particularly their other parent. Unfortunately, it is common for personality disordered abusers to get sole custody of children. This combined with the court’s inability to do its job at determining the truth are perhaps two of the strongest reasons why sole custody is a huge mistake. Far too many children are placed into situations in which the sole or primary caretaker is an abuser and they have little experience with non-abusive family relationships as a result. These children would be far better off if they spent 50% of the time with the abusive parent and 50% with the non-abusive parent.

Even if the children do get to see their non-abusive parent, the children also need support systems including a therapist or counselor with experience treating abused children and dealing with the abusers even when they are in control over nearly everything in the children’s lives as so often happens.

A parent who makes the sacrifice of staying in the line of fire of the sociopath for the benefit of the children may literally be permitting themselves to be subjected to decades of abuse, harassment, false allegations, false imprisonment, theft and slavery (consider their incomes and assets will be funneled into pocketbooks of the divorce industry and the abusive ex-spouse), and even murder for the sake of the children. This may sound alarmist, but truly even murder is a very real possibility as is shown by this story of a narcissistic New York mom Susan Williams who allegedly hired a hit man to kill her ex-husband Peter Williams:

(from News Item: Long Island Narcissist Hires Discount Hitman to Kill Her Husband During Divorce)

A Long Island woman was arrested in March for putting a hit out on her husband of 21 years. Susan and Peter Williams were in the middle of a divorce. In an effort to ensure she would walk away with their million dollar residence and other assets, she tried to have him bumped off and couldn’t believe the great price she got.

The slavery part of this typical pattern of abuse is also illustrated in the same story. The murderous narcissistic mom managed to gain the cooperation of an abusive and incompetent judge to order astronomical child support of $11,000 per month to be paid by the abused father of the children and, pursuing the parental alienation so common with these monsters, also managed to alienate their four children from him.

(from Long Island mom got a cheap ‘hit’)

Dreeben admits Peter has failed to pay court-ordered monthly child support of $11,000 because he can’t afford it.

She also said that sky-high amount was set by a judge after Susan lied about the couple’s finances.

It is unfortunately very common for courts to side with the abuser. They seldom change their minds until the abuser continues to abuse, often for years, and eventually crosses some line such as physical assault, attempted murder, or actual murder. Many of these people are fundamentally criminals of the worst sort — criminals who have no remorse, guilt, or conscience and are incredibly devious and manipulative, often to a degree that places them beyond the means of even the few honest and ethical judges to detect their true nature.

Why does this happen? In my view, it’s largely because judges and the government often enable and encourage all of these crimes in their incompetent and/or corrupt quest to pick winners and losers and use children and families as a means to bolster their job security and incomes. Judges almost across the board are incompetent to be making these decisions between a lack of training in psychology and a lack of extended experience with the people involved. But the worst of these judges behave as if they have selfish reasons for their abusive decisions. It appears as if placing the children with the sociopathic abuser ensures more conflict and hence more profit and job security for these reprehensible individuals and their friends in the divorce industry. They do this at the expense of the children and their extended family who will be terrorized by the Borderline, Narcissist, or other sociopathic parent as a result.

Contact With Abuser Can Be Offset By Healthy Parent and Support System

On balance, with a propertly set up support system, even children who might have been placed solely with a non-abusive parent might be better off long-term by having some contact with the abusive parent. That’s because the children are more likely to learn to set boundaries, fight emotional manipulation, and avoid abusive relationships if they can see examples of both healthy and abusive families without being stranded entirely in an abusive family and get the benefit of a competent and objective therapist who can help teach them how to manage such abusive people. I realize this may be a very controversial statement, but consider that children have two parents and always have a curiosity and desire to know and understand their parents. It’s probably better for a child to experience how horrible a sociopathic parent is first-hand with people around who can help them cope before they find themselves at age 18, totally naive and gullible, contacting that parent only to be swallowed up in the parent’s web of lies, distortions, and manipulations.

Avoid Having Children With Borderlines, Narcissists, and Other Sociopaths

If you don’t have children yet but are in a relationship with one of these sociopaths, get out immediately before you conceive a child with one of them. Bringing children into a family like this is a very severe mistake that will hurt the children and many others for possibly multiple generations to come. That’s because many children of sociopaths are chronically abused and go on to develop personality disorders and become abusers themselves. The parent’s gender and the exact diagnosis as a Borderline, Narcissist, or some other kind of personality disordered abuser doesn’t change things much. The distinctions between diagnoses such as BPD and NPD, both in their behaviors and their abuse tactics, are often very subjective and blurry and distract from the essential ingredient of a sociopathic disregard for the well-being of others as Dr. Tara Palmatier recently described in her article Are the Diagnoses of Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic or Antisocial Personality Disorder Helpful or Harmful for Non’s?. It is also very clear that none of these diagnoses are exclusive to a particular gender, even though it is commonly believed that women are more likely to be Borderlines and men more likely to be Narcissists.

Recovering From A Sociopathic Parent

If you happen to know somebody, perhaps yourself, who was trapped as a child living with a Borderline, Narcissist, or similarly abusive or sociopathic parent, be aware that these people are at particular risk of prolonged psychological problems and really need a lot of assistance to become healthy, even if they are not abusive themselves. Those who do not become abusive often find themselves attracted to abusive people similar to their problem parent. Even if this does not occur, they may be left with lingering doubts about themselves, feeling they are unworthy of love, because of their abusive or neglectful childhoods.

While not everybody can afford therapy to help heal from psychological trauma, I’ve found that self-help psychology books can be very useful and inexpensive help for adult victims of personality disordered abusers and suspect that former abused children might find the same. Often understanding is the first step to healing. The best of these books can certainly help build understanding.

A couple of well-reviewed books written specifically for children of such parents are Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem and Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. Click through the links to read customer reviews and find the “search inside this book” link (located below the book image on the upper left of the web page) to preview the first portions of each book to see if the books might be right for you or somebody you know.

Finally, if you’re aware of somebody who has experienced the parental alienation that is so common coming from the sociopathic parents discussed in this article, I’d strongly suggest you read my previous article Parental Alienation Can Happen to Adults and In Marriages. As the article’s title suggests, the sociopathic behaviors such as parental alienation often emerge long before a separation or divorce and can be so powerful that they adversely affect not just small children but even mature adults.

Further Reading

Sociopaths In Our Midst Hate the Truth and Its Advocates

Relationships and Divorces with Someone Who Suffers Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderlines Can Make You Feel Insane Via “Gaslighting”

Co-parenting With A Sociopath (Borderline, Narcissist, etc.)

Personality Disordered Abusers in Family Law Courts

Personality Disordered Abusers in Psychological Evaluations

Borderline Mom: Emotional Self Defense for Children

Recovering from Personality Disordered Abusive Relationships

Murderous Mentally Ill Mothers and Government Negligence

Are the Diagnoses of Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic or Antisocial Personality Disorder Helpful or Harmful for Non’s?

Letter from an Adult Child of Cluster B Personality Disorder Parents: The Damage Done

  1. Perplexed
    September 15th, 2010 at 17:27 | #1

    After coming to terms my ex spouse has sociopathic traits with gender dysphoria it is quite scary of the outcomes and how individuals with a psychosis can easily snap if they don’t get what they feel they are entitled to. A mother can protect their child an innocent loving mind but based on stories that go on during divorce resulting in murder take on the resources that the legal system has placed for yourself and importantly your child.

    • September 16th, 2010 at 00:55 | #2

      Perplexed,

      In a reply comment to your comment on another article, I mentioned the concept of “mutual keep away orders.” I think these would be a lot more effective for the reasons you state. If somebody feels they are being treated unfairly, especially in a one-sided fashion, it is likely to make even the most sane and rational person upset. A sociopath or psychopath will become even more upset and as you say, it is not unusual for a TRO to trigger an assault or even a murder. If they instead perceive that the court is not taking sides and ordering the parties to stay away from each other, they are less likely to be triggered into retaliation.

      Blame and punishment should be taken out of TROs and left for the criminal courts. If somebody is worried for safety, the family or civil court should order all parties involved to stay away from each other without assigning blame until a trial can take place. This would better help get the protection needed for people who truly need it without further antagonizing the actual or potential abusers. It would also be a lot more fair to those being falsely accused. The current mechanisms are the worst of all, persecuting innocents, encouraging false allegations, and encouraging actually violent people to engage in more violence in retaliation.

      As for the idea that TROs somehow protect kids, kids are relatively safe with their biological parents, even most troubled ones. Even though that is so, CPS and the courts often get children killed by trying to “help” them by banning one or both biological parents from seeing them. Look at the recent case of Serenity Gandara in California. Her mom, even with her drug abuse problem, was in actuality safer than the murderous foster family into which CPS placed the girl and her brother.

      If there are concerns for the kids and not enough evidence to charge anybody with a crime, then intensify monitoring for problems in both homes and keep the standards for proof at criminal evidentiary level. This would help protect against false accusations that may arise from such monitoring while ensuring that if something really is going wrong, it is likely to be detected far more quickly. Also, there need to be punishments for CPS and other government and “professional” entities that engage in lying, perjury, and false allegations. When it is provable, there should be mandatory prosecution with very stiff punishments for these people and also their employers if they failed to exercise due diligence in hiring, training, and supervision.

      Rob

  2. September 16th, 2010 at 12:31 | #3

    You have captured the essence so well of what a serious PA situation is really all about. True alienators (the types willing to destroy their own child’s mental / emotional health) are people that are seriously mentally and emotionally unbalanced.

    Plus they operate in a world of other people (“the system of authority”) that are gullible, selfish and often utterly indifferent until something personal happens to them. Only then do they see it as real – until then it is all just sort of a a make believe dream they refuse to accept, or are just too egotistical to see the truth. And I’ve also learned that the narcissistic personality is a MASTER at finding and manipulating those in the system that are the most easily fooled.

    “….It is unfortunately very common for courts to side with the abuser.
    They seldom change their minds until the abuser continues to abuse,
    often for years, and eventually crosses some line such as physical
    assault, attempted murder, or actual murder. Many of these people
    are fundamentally criminals of the worst sort — criminals who have
    no remorse, guilt, or conscience and are incredibly devious and
    manipulative, often to a degree that places them beyond the means
    of even the few honest and ethical judges to detect their true nature…..”

  3. September 16th, 2010 at 21:31 | #4

    @ Tom Smith – Littleton CO

    Tom,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I looked at your website a bit. Seems you’ve been dealing with this nightmare for more than a decade.

    Do your daughters even get to see you any more?

    I can’t understand how the court can ban you from all information about them, nor how it can simply disregard your motions without even providing an opportunity for a hearing. Then I remember this is the United States, a nation that habitually violates its laws to hurt people from whom it can derive or extract power, money, and influence.

    Doing what you’ve described your ex has done doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money. Mine has done similarly on the cheap by creating a whole network of like-minded abusive freaks who help her every step of the way, from writing false statements to lying in court to even emotionally abusing the kids via parental alienation and in confrontational stunts designed for harassment and intimidation against my family and/or me.

    My kids and I still get to see each other and we enjoy the time we have together. They have behavioral problems which at times have been severe that appear to come from their mother’s parentification and alienation activities. I know I need to be there for them as much as I can to provide an example of a home and family that is not emotionally abusive and to teach them that kids should not be exposed to this level of conflict so they won’t one day do the same to their own children. But it is a constant fight to see them at all. It is totally draining and depressing.

    There is more than a decade to go before they are adults and can free themselves from their mother’s craziness. But even then, they will still probably not be able to completely free themselves from her craziness. Kids want to know both parents and they will probably remain in contact with her despite her problems.

    Most people simply cannot understand any of this unless they have been through it themselves. They will say things like “if it’s so bad, why don’t you just leave?”

    For me, it comes down to knowing what their mother and her family are like. Child abuse (especially emotional and verbal abuse), narcissism, and parental alienation are normal behaviors for them. I lived years in that relationship with growing threats, abuse, and intimidation and it devastated my health. It is no better now, just different. Instead of the daily screaming, threats, and emotional and verbal abuse from her in close proximity, now it is same from afar via lawyers, courts, and her associates.

    This is the way their mother is and has been since childhood, but nobody but my family, one of her siblings she abused, and a few mental health professionals understand it well. That sibling appears to have been banned from seeing the kids, so they’ll get no emotional support from that direction.

    They have a therapist who gets it and can see how their mother tries to manipulate, control, and interfere with contact between the kids and me. The therapist is very helpful to them and they are doing much better than previously. But the ex has been out to get rid of the therapist for some time now, not paying bills, trying to for rescheduling of appointments, not taking them to appointments, etc. Pretty much the only way I can be sure the kids will get some support for dealing with their mother is to stay in their lives which effectively means sacrificing all quality of life for myself.

    The courts were directly responsible for creating this problem and ensure it will continue. There is no justice in most family law courts, just a desire to victimize families for profit and amusement. Only when the abuse gets so bad that people are being hospitalized and dying from it might they start to take it seriously. But some would say not even then do the courts do their jobs.

    Rob

  4. October 13th, 2010 at 15:33 | #5

    I’ve read several articles here, following links. The information squares with my previous experiences. That said, life is not perfect. Wars have to start somewhere, why not at family level.

    The most important thing is to very quickly acknowledge what is going on and personally get out of denial. First, keep a diary filled with specific events, photos, and audio accounts. It is very dangerous to keep this in the house or on a computer unless you are very clever. The idea of having password-protected information on a household computer will drive the BPD nuts.

    Note that I am not saying to write everyone you know. I recommend a *personal* diary. The diary can help clarify situations and if violence occurs, it can be used as evidence.

    Next, be very clear about your objectives and if you have no particular objectives, start figuring them out. If any of the objectives contain the word “should,” they are not objectives. Having an objective that the other person change his or her ways won’t help, either. The only ways to change are your own.

    Children must always be protected. If children exist, then objectives need to start with them.

    Be very aware of the “keep our troubles in the family” ideas. On the other hand, don’t broadcast your troubles to the world. Figure out what information you need, then immediately seek it. It is highly possible that therapists are not going to help. There job is to mediate situations, not fix them.

    There is a type of therapy that is useful, but unfortunately, I can’t think of the formal name. Essentially, it is “objective” therapy. Rather than examining life’s garbage, it coaches patients to identify objectives, then go for them.

    Also, writing therapies have good results (Google the subject). The type I’ve used that have helped enormously is to direct my writing to a fantasy figure – I call that figure “the source.” You might call it “god” or whatever. Even an ancestor. I used a Q&A format, with the A-answer portion providing potential solutions and/or challenges to the Q-question portion.

    Another writing therapy is to begin the entry with the words “If everything were perfect, the following would happen.” Order the desires, then address the top two or three.

    A lot of problems crop up by muddy thinking. This would be like a driver who’s had a few drinks prior to taking a trip. When under attack (really or you just think you are), crisp, objective-driven thinking is a must.

    A lot of people just don’t want to admit a problem and just wait too long before doing something about it. Their hope is that something will come along to change the situation. This is like hoping one’s car will fix itself. Like a car that needs a person as a driver, that person drives his or her own life. Being drunk or muddleheaded at the wheel gets nowhere.

  5. R.B
    May 20th, 2011 at 18:09 | #6

    One thing that burns me up is that sociopaths can look up certain websites and pay $$$ to find out addresses and personal information about their victims after they leave. How do we deal with that?

  6. Cannie Montgomery
    July 23rd, 2011 at 18:15 | #7

    I’m 63. I adopted two birth sisters who were ages 18 months and 3 1/2 years old and through a long (so long I could write a book) battle with Department of Family and Children Services, the juvenile court system, allegations of sexual abuse, repeated running away involving prostitution on the streets of DC and NYC, drugs and alcohol, counseling -both court mandated and personal decisions, both girls are now mothers raising children in similar situations. I “did the right things” as they were growing up and things just went from bad to worse to perpetuation of inappropriate behaviors in their own children. I’m not in a position to raise these three children, plus I have another grandson in an almost identical atmosphere. The two younger adopted sisters were diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder even as young as age 14 and 12, although at the time, it was not typical to give that diagnosis under the age of 18. I was told to shut the door when they were 18 and to never look back by more than one psychiatrist. Through many years of denial, I refused to accept the diagnosis, hoping things would change as they matured. It hasn’t. I couldn’t save them and am left with the guilt that the grandchildren live in situations that are not good. The court nor DFCS were of any help, in fact, may have added to the turmoil with court mandated psychiatrists that I had to pay for, YDC and Boot Camp placements, Teen Challenge, etc. Nothing worked. Maybe I’m just getting my feelings out. More than anything, I hurt for my grandkids and really can do nothing. Keeping my distance adds to my guilt, but it also keeps me from the drama which is devastating, too.

  7. M
    September 15th, 2012 at 23:09 | #8

    As a child of two sociopaths I can tell that you can never recover. If the parents are those kind that turn the world around, and gets everybody in on the abuse, there is no way out.
    Everything you are is the abuse. You are not able to socially relate to others cause you have no self-confidence. You are made totally codependent. And if you try to escape by running away to live another place, they hunt you down, or get friends, family or gouverment to hunt you down.

    Emotional incest is far worse than the physical act because it is seldom acknowledged. The emotional-abusive parents gets everybody to believe their lies… That is what a sociopath does.
    Severe physical illness happens. And a feeling of total darkness and utter helplessness are also some of my “symptoms”

    People live on illusions and projections…..

  8. Mary
    October 11th, 2012 at 19:49 | #9

    This is all too familiar and sad …. my estranged husband threatened to harm our daughter if I ever left him. I did, and he did hurt her, putting her in a wheelchair with major brain damage. Her condition is still labelled a mystery as doctors couldn’t give her a diagnosis or cause and the police and courts can do nothing because of lack of evidence …. it was one thing for him to torture and abuse me …. but to destroy my beautiful daughter and get away with it is more then a mother can handle and quite simply the work of the devil.

  9. J
    October 20th, 2013 at 19:35 | #10

    Can you point me to an article or website about dealing with having a single sociopathical parent (Father) and the other being severely abused (Mother)? Every bit of contact is always filled with a massive amount of Drama. Should a person still try to maintain contact with the Mother? My children is all she has left.

  10. Sherry Welsh
    March 20th, 2014 at 13:44 | #11

    Do you have an adult child that you helped to escape domestic violence (abuser OR abusee)?
    Take 15-minute survey at http://www.TakeSurveyNow.2truth.com

  1. September 25th, 2010 at 02:55 | #1
  2. September 25th, 2010 at 03:11 | #2
  3. September 28th, 2010 at 17:09 | #3
  4. February 28th, 2012 at 08:31 | #4

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