This week we received the following email:
My daughter is married to a man I consider a psychopath. My daughter has not spoken with me for many months. She has totally changed her personality, voice, she says things she never would have said before, she attacks me to my friends. My daughter and her husband seem to have their own version of reality, truth, and morality that is not consistent with those outside her marriage or in the world. My husband doesn’t want to invite them to our house for the holidays or have anything to do with them. I feel the same way, too, because of their attacks and saying things that are not true about us. I have gotten advice on this blog to try and have a relationship with her no matter what (she needs us if she ever comes out of this relationship or if she comes out of the fog) and to not say anything negative about her husband. (The prior question.)
I really need more advice on what to do. She called my friends and has repeatedly said lies to them, then she called my husband at work and lied to her father. She has totally changed. I kept thinking she would snap out of it and go back to her “old self”. She used to have affection for us. She never would have lied to us or about us. Is this what happens when you live with a psychopath? Can they so change you that you see the world through their eyes or perspective? She used to be so happy and so much fun to be around. I don’t know how we could be around them now. Do you just agree with their reality and say you are sorry for things they said you did, even though you didn’t do them? It seems like a power struggle and the psychopath wins. It seems like the reason they are calling our friends is because they want to stir up drama and win some kind of “battle”. Our life was so even and no drama before our daughter met the psychopath. I am amazed how one person can affect so many lives for destruction, evil and suffering.
This is very hard to know how to respond to my friends, daughter and husband. Could you please give me some advice?
There are three questions here and I will try to answer each one:
(When you comment on this article please reference these question numbers.)
1. She never would have lied to us or about us. Is this what happens when you live with a psychopath? Can they so change you that you see the world through their eyes or perspective?
2. What do we do about a sociopath/psychopath’s smear campaign?
3. Can we still save our daughter?
Question #1 Is this what happens when you live with a psychopath?
The answer is definitely yes. This is what happens when you have any association with a psychopath, no matter how you know them and whether or not you live with them. This is why I strongly encourage family members to cut the sociopath/psychopath off. Sociopaths/psychopaths whole way of relating to the world is about power and control. This need for power and control is very personal. They do it one person at a time, one victim at a time. They do it very systematically with malice and forethought. When they succeed in hurting someone or getting another person to hurt him/herself or others, they step back, revel in it and say, “I did it again, s__t I’m great!” (they use a lot of foul language also.).
Never forget this
Sociopaths/psychopaths get off on controlling people and hurting people. That is why we don’t understand them, and are unable to predict their behavior. To let this sink in emotionally do the following: Next time you eat that piece of chocolate cake, have an orgasm, or watch your favorite team win at sports, focus your attention on the pleasure you feel, and say to yourself, “This is what a psychopath experiences when he controls or hurts another person.” Once you do this a few times you will have no problem understanding them or predicting their behavior.
Since sociopaths/psychopaths lack the brain wiring and chemicals necessary for love, they can only experience pleasure in relationships through power, control and sex. When a normal person says, I love you, he means he has affection for you and “cares” for you. We call it caring for a reason. When we love someone we take care of that person. If we really love someone we also take care of everyone in that person’s family.
When a sociopath/psychopath says, I Love you, he means I own you. When a sociopath/psychopath really “loves” someone they own everyone in that person’s family, including and especially parents, siblings and any children. When you own something you can take pleasure in it however you want. Again this is very up close and personal, There is nothing distant or impersonal about a sociopath/psychopath’s way of relating to others.
How do victims become psychopathic?
It is important to remember that all non-relative victims are to some degree tricked or fooled into the relationship. The need not to acknowledge the profound mistake causes them to lose contact with reality. Their brains are busy constructing the imaginary world they wish to be in. The victim therefore enters what may be called a hypnotic state. Hypnotic states involve shutting out reality and attending to only certain parts of it. In this state, the victim is easily manipulated. What the victim is willing to do may or may not be a reflection of who he/she is. The evil deeds may reflect the victim’s response to selective perceptions. For example, perhaps the daughter in the story above is now so confused about love that she believes the lies.
The process I describe above also applies to families. The less affected family members do not want to admit that their family has psychopaths (because usually there is more than one) in it. They want to have the perfect family as much as anyone else. They therefore normalize and justify ALL of the psychopath’s hurtful controlling behavior.
An ugly side of victim psychology
Since our drives are contagious, a person who is with a loving person becomes more loving. The person who is married to the power obsessed becomes more power obsessed. This can occur outside of conscious awareness. Part of being power obsessed involves delight in both aspects of victory-delight at being a winner and delight at the loss of the loser. People who are not power obsessed usually feel empathy for the loser. The brain power system turns off the brain empathy system.
Get away from that psychopath before his/her behavior rubs off on you more than it already has!
Question #2 The psychopath’s smear campaign
Please check out the other posts on this topic. A colleague recent told me a very similar story so I will address this again in detail soon. My inclination would be to ask the friends to tell their daughter and her husband not to call. If they call after being asked not to they may be prosecuted for harassment. That will put a stop to the drama. Please focus your attention on addressing this specific problem-the phone calls. The drama comes from the context of this problem. (Daughter in the clutches of a psychopath.) Try to make light the silly lies, that way the psychopath can’t win.
Question #3 Can we still save our daughter?
There may come a time when you will feel the need to let go and live the rest of your life as best you can. Only you can pick that time for yourself. Statistics show that the more psychopathic a person is, the more prone to life failure he/she is. In other words most psychopaths screw up, A truly successful psychopath is so rare that I have never verified a case- again it depends on how you define success. I mean this: all of their relationships are eventually broken, they lose their jobs, they have no real friends and they can’t manage money. They also suffer from ill health because they don’t take care of themselves, They also get into accidents and their life span is 15 years less on average. If the man in question here is a psychopath, he would be in the extreme minority if he is NOT cheating sexually or bringing them to the brink of bankruptcy.
The question here is whether this will take so long to run its course that the victim will lose herself completely. When that happens there is great risk of suicide when the relationship falls apart. So if you do decide to back off of the relationship, that would be time to set the record straight perhaps in writing something like: No matter how old you are you are still our little girl and we have loved you since the day you were born. Your choice of a partner has hurt us so much that we must ask that you not call us or have contact with us until this relationship ends. No matter what else happens, we will always welcome you back into our loving arms.
Has a sociopath/psychopath’s influence caused you to do things or be involved in things you regret?
See also: Creating healing with the ones you’ve hurt after the sociopath is gone
Please comment below.
In regard to: I am amazed how one person can affect so many lives for destruction, evil and suffering. I had the benefit this week of talking with one of my ex-husband’s other victims. In comparing notes, it was clear, the man has harmed everyone who has had the curse of connecting with him. This is the mark of a person with psychopathic personality traits. Since he cannot love he can only do harm. He doesn’t know any other way of being! Just like an apple tree produces apples because that is what it does, the sociopath/psychopath hurts because that is what he/she does.