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It is not about gender, it is about sociopathy

I have spent the last 3 months very focused on finishing Women Who Love Psychopaths with Sandra L.Brown, M.A. this book is admitedly sexist in that it is for women who have had relationships with male sociopaths, psychopaths and pathological narcissists. The book has been tough for me to work on as I have had to relive many aspects of the short 17 months I spent with a sociopath. I am anxious to move on and produce a similar work for men, because I dislike the over emphasis on male sociopaths. I also have come to appreciate loving empathetic men, and believe we need to give these “real men” more recognition and visibility.

Three events with the above theme have touched me recently. First, I was contacted by one of the officers of an organization called Fathers Supporting Fathers. I have had the good fortune to have several lengthy discussions with Nancy Lankford who is a lovely woman with a great deal of insight and compassion for fathers who have been victimized by sociopathic women. It was refreshing to find that there is a good organization trying to help fathers. Nancy seems very committed to really looking after the best interests of children. The organization also helps victimized mothers when they get an appropriate referral. If you are a father of children whose mother is a sociopath, I recommend you visit Fathers Supporting Fathers.

The week after Nancy and I first spoke by phone, a man who I have come to think of as a friend, phoned to say that in the midst of seeking to protect his child from a sociopathic mother, he had been charged with child molestation. Men have it so tough as they try to battle sociopathic women, because the women can play that “trump” card. Once that card is played, the man is guilty until he proves himself innocent, that can take years. In the meanwhile, the children grow up in the clutches of the sociopathic mother.

It seems we have two groups of people. Those who advocate for victimzed mothers and those who advocate for victimized fathers. Those who advocate for especially “battered” women, correctly say that false allegations of sexual abuse are not made very often. Well if you are the guy that is the rare case, it feels all too common to you! The second group are the hostile “fathers rights groups” that often support abusers. They correctly say that the law is biased against fathers when it comes to custody. Well from what I can tell, the law is only biased against non-sociopathic fathers. Sociopathic fathers seem to find a way to beat the system. Groups like Fathers Supporting Fathers are moving in the right direction, because they recognize sociopaths have taken advantage of the just cause of “father’s rights.”

Why do sociopathic mothers and fathers even want their kids? After all they are not capable of love, empathy or effective parenting. Sociopaths of both sexes have two motives. 1) To have a child to own and control; and 2) To continue to use/abuse the other parent through the child. A sociopath is empty without another person to control, use and abuse. Sociopaths are not capable of “shared custody” of children because they are not capable of sharing anything.

A mother wrote Donna this week with the following question (this is the third event), Donna has asked me to answer for all of you:

My ex is one of the not so smart sociopath’s and finally after many run ins with the law he finally went to prison for a few years. He is now out on parole. These last almost 5 years have been so peaceful without his craziness in my and my kids lives. He is now trying to get visitation with my kids. We are in the process of a court ordered evaluation to determine if he can have any visitation. I have met with the kids and the evaluator but he has not yet. My attorney and I requested that the psychologist (evaluator) do some pscyh tests. So I guess since we asked for it he also decided to test me – I guess thats only fair. I’m not really worried about what they will find out about my personality. I was definitely very naive and was easy prey for him during our years together.

I was wondering if you could answer a question? I have read that a sociopath can fool a lie detector test so I am wondering could he also possibly fool the pscyh tests. The one main test that the evaluator used was called MMPI. I am just hoping and praying that this will finally be out in the open, because it is real. And if he is finally diagnosed it will help so much in my fight to protect my kids. I have no doubt that he is a true sociopath and my kids would not benefit in anyway to be associated with him. My kids have not had any contact with him for 5 years.

I pray here that the court will leave these children and their mother in peace. The truth is that children deserve to grow up free from the sociopath’s pathology. Often these parents get “supervised visitation” then con the kids, then disappear again. The psychological tests are a good idea. The MMPI has L and K scales which estimate faking on the test and if these are elevated the test is invalid. The MMPI also has a “psychopathy” scale which will help confirm the diagnosis. Just to remind you of some data that I already put in another blog. Elevated MMPI psychopathy scores were asociated with dysfunctional parenting in one study. Mothers who had elevated scores showed:
1. Lack of warmth
2. Passivity/neglect
3. Harsh/abusive discipline
4. Inconsistent/ineffective discipline
5. Poor monitoring and supervision
6. Aggressive values

To set the record straight I want to make it clear that the abusive husband and father does not abuse because he is a man. He abuses because he is a sociopath. The conning, manipulative, abusive wife and mother, doesn’t abuse because she’s a woman milking the system or man. She manipulates and cons because she’s a sociopath. When we make it clear what we are fighting then we can effectively do battle–together.


Posted in: Liane Leedom, M.D.

6 Comments on "It is not about gender, it is about sociopathy"

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  1. Fighter says:

    There is one HUGE problem with the MMPI. That is that results can be purposefully skewed by a sneaky evaluator.

    In the last 15 years the MMPI has been used by the disability insurance industry to prove persons with INVISIBLE disabilities are actually mentally ill – thereby limiting or eliminating their disability payments. This test makes no distinction between clinical depression and depression that comes from genuine pain. It also is up to the evalutor to determine whether the pain reported it real or not – which in the case of invisible disabilities (MS, CFIDS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, RA…) can be seen as “self-reported” and not real.

    The MMPI is a standard test but a tough call in determining sociopathy – a good sociopath could fool the test by answering the way he thinks the evaluator wants him to rather than being genuine and honest. In short, fooling the test.



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  2. OxDrover says:

    My psychopathic son has “fooled” so many psychologists with MMPI and other tests that it is just almost a joke, to him at least.

    He has played the “my parents abused me and dont’ understand me” card since he was 15…yea, we abused him…refused to let him roam the streets at night in our car while we slept, turned him in to the cops when he shut down our friend’s business by robbing and stealing all their business computers…took the gun away from him that he took to the highschool campus after the campus cop showed up at our door…

    The pitiful letters he writes to ministers and others that know our family to try to get them to persuade us to have contact with him in prison (READ: send money to him) should be published in a “How to influence family friends to help you con your family.” Fortunately, since his last episode, none of them are listening.

    You question about “why would psychpaths want kids?” I think is fairly easily answered…the children are the tie that binds them to their REAL victim, the other parent. If the psychopath does not have “control” of something that you (the victim) values very highly, they lose the ability to control you.

    By using the children as a “chip” in the game of control, as long as they can string the other parent along with the kids as chips, they have the POWER TO CONTROL and aggravate the other parent. They can keep the other parent in a constant state of stress, legal fees, mental strain, etc etc. which is “right where they want them”—then, if things go well, they can alienate the child from the other parent, and BINGO, they have “won.” They don’t care what the consequence is to the child as long as that child serves as a bargaining chip in their game of “harrass the victim.”

    Divorce leaves many women in much worse financial shape than it does the man, especially if she is trying to support one or more children with intermittent or no support from the father. If you factor in legal fees for continued court battles over visitation etc. her standard of living goes down again.

    I too am glad that there are organizations supporting and helping fathers defend their rights for visitation etc. and abhor the “trump card” being played when it is not valid.

    Unfortunately PROVING YOU DID NOT do something is like proving that you were NOT on the “grassy knoll in Dallas” or at “Ford’s Theater” the night Lincoln was shot…it doesn’t matter if you weren’t born yet when it happened, you are accused and have to prove yourself innocent if you can, but in the meantime your life is wrecked.

    Any person who has a child by a psychopath that can “pass for human” and has to share custody or allow visitation with the psychopath has my utter sympathy. Hopefully, the mental health professiona and the court systems will “wise up” to how crafty these people can be, as well as how toxic they are. I think there is still a long way to go in that direction, but at the same time, I think there is enough “hew and cry” out there that we are progressing in the right direction—allbeit too slowly.



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  3. Ariadne says:

    This is a great post, and it’s definitely true that sociopathy has no gender. But what a lot of people trip over is that they put on a mask that embodies exactly what their gender is “supposed” to be. The men can be powerful and play the role of the perfect gentleman in the beginning and the women can be feminine and sweet and helpless to attract caring men who will want to take care of them.

    There is a female sociopath at my job and watching her work on the men there is as fascinating as it is nauseating. She fake giggles and looks into their eyes as if they were the only person on earth. She pretends not to be able to lift things because she’s so feminine and dainty. Barf!

    For people that don’t know that they’re dealing with a sociopath, they might be inclined to chalk it up to gender because S’s use traditional gender roles as a cover. If it is the most “feminine and sensitive” woman that does things like this, then people might be more likely to blame women in general because the sociopath is playing the role of “the epitome of woman.” I hope this makes sense. 🙂

    But yeah, once something as serious as child molestation is even mentioned, most people are immediately suspicious of the accused and it takes a whole lot to get rid of that suspicion, if it can even be done.



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  4. OxDrover says:

    Gender roles in western society are changing somewhat, and it has been only in the last 90 years that women have had the vote even in this country. (US)

    In many states women have had fewer property rights than men, and even then a married woman had to have her husband’s permission to sell a piece of real property. They were not allowed to will their property independently without their husband’s consent.

    Today in my state I own a piece of real estate, and then I get married, I still have to have my husband sign off on the deed inorder to sell that property even though it is my individual property.

    Today the “custody” of most children goes to the mother, but that has not always been the case. Until recently, the children “belonged” to the father, and in cases of divorce, the mother could generally not provide financially for these children so the father would be the “best” one to care for them, even if he was the one that had driven her away with beatings.

    In the 1950s my P-bio father’s third wife fled for her life from his beatings, and because she was from another country, and had no money of her own, she left her three children behind with their P-father. That was the only choice she had, flee or die. I can only imagine the amount of fear that made this woman leave her children behind. Before I knew the “whole story” I blamed this woman as a “poor mother.”

    There may be some gender bias in diagnosis of Psychpaths, but there also may be some differences in the percentages of psychopathic behavior between the sexes as well.

    In the past there have been some studies of the “super males” with three chromosomes XYY, that are usually “more aggressive.” Also there was I believe a higher percentage of XYY males that were in prison for violent crimes. I have asked Liane to see if she can find anything on this. It might be one of the reasons that some Ps are more violent than others, it would be interesting if more research might be aimed in this direction.

    Back in the 60s I think it was, the Olympics officials were finding that the Russians were winning in more physically demanding sports for women by having women who had XXY chromosomes. They physically appeared to be “female” but had the physical muscle strength of the extra Y chromosome so were better able to compete in “female” events and win.

    There are so many variables between the genders, both chemically, geneticly, and socially that it seems to me to be a difficult task to pin point “why” there are “more” (percentage) of male Ps than female. However, we do know that the diagnosis of “Borderline Personality Disorder” is more frequently “tagged on to” females. For many women, though, the behavior of a BPD is very similar to a PPD, and so it might, to my thinking, just be a “label” problem. (I realize that the criteria for BPD and PPD are not totally identical)

    My son’s X-wife that tried to kill him after he discovered the affair she was having, and the theft of money from his grandmother, etc. could I think qualify for either diagnosis depending on who was making the diagnosis. EVIL and CONTROLLING, MANIPULATIVE, and VIOLENT, and apparently without conscience, pathologic lying, etc. are all things that I have also observed in some women labeled BPD. Many BPDs also seem to me to switch from being victims to being the victimizers.

    I’d like to be around in 100 years when medical science has advanced enough to be able to put definite diagnoses to all this. LOL



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  5. Fran says:

    The people mentioned in Dr. Leedom’s post may want to check out the following two websites: http://www.overcomingparentalalienation.com and childrenneedbothparents@msn.com
    If you go to the first website, there is a course via telephone for parents called, “Surviving the Family Court System” It is starting in April and the teacher of the course is Michael J. Bone. He is an expert on parental alienation and like Nancy Lankford, his primary concern is the child. I have listened to a couple of radio shows that Dr. Bone spoke on and he is very good. The second website provides a way of listening to these radio shows. I know both people that the post mentions would really get something out of it.
    Sometimes when I drive down the highway, I have seen banners hung from the overpasses that promote “Fathers have rights too!” I get chills when I see them because I can just imagine my ex jumping on the bandwagon …claiming that he has been wronged by the court system. I think finding a way of truly identifying sociopaths/psychopaths is the only way that the courts will be able to do what is right for children, otherwise…the sociopaths can manipulate and lie their way through the system to the detriment of the children.



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  6. OxDrover says:

    I just did a bit of “internet” googlying on chromosome polysomy concerning xyy males—97% in one study appeared “normal” and did not know they were that way until they had some kind of DNA test for other reasons and were found to have it. A few are slightly MR, but over all pretty normal. The ration of male children born with this is 1:1000 so not very common.

    Apparently the “myth” of the xyy being more aggressive, at least on first look at a few studies, is apparently that, a myth.

    Oh, well, will teach me to keep my mouth shut before I put my feet in it. LOL

    I do agree with Fran about her P X “jumping on the band wagon” and boy can Ps do that, and be the most “victimized” X-husbands in the world. Poor babies! What an act! Unfortunately, again that is not gender specific and I know we all know women who have done and are doing the same thing and victimizing the X-husbands. ALL to the detriment of the children who are used like clubs to hit the x-spouse over the head with, splintering the children into pieces.

    For the caring parent it is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation because if you don’t “fight” for your children’s safety, they are at risk, and if you do fight for their safety, it only “eggs on” the P to greater feats of violence and malice.

    Parents in this situation have my greatest sympathy, as it MUST be “hell on earth” to care for a child(ren) in such a termoil.

    I have read too about the “grab and run” organizations where it is sort of like the days of the “underground railroad” where slaves were spirited to safety by an organized group.

    While I can’t say if my child was in serious danger I wouldn’t grab them and run and hide, but at the same time, that would also be a “P-ploy” to get sympathy from such a group, and I have no doubt that a P could “con” them, leaving the normal parent beside themselves with worry and grief. Laws have been strengthened in this area I think, though, making that less of an option.

    Educating professionals, social workers, judges, attorneys, therapists, and parents, etc, is the only real answer that we have.

    One of the PhD psycho-therapists I have seen since all this chaos came up, came down hard on me for thinking I could “mind read” the “motive” of my P son without him actually telling me directly “I am out to kill you.”

    Well, I don’t hallucinate that I can “read minds” but it doesn’t take a psychic to “read the mind” of a P and figure out their motives, and you don’t need tea leaves, or Tarot cards, or a chrystal ball either. LOL

    I know that some addicts and alcoholics do “reform” and go on to lead healthy lives, but P’s are not capable of reforming, and a “politically correct” stance of “there is good in EVERYONE” invalidates the victims of these predators. Frustrating.



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