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A sociopath will leave you out in the cold every time

The day after Christmas, I got a lesson in respecting the elements. It was about 35°F, not really that cold, but there was quite a wind chill. The kids and I went to the beach to run the dog on the sand at about 3:30 in the afternoon. We got back to the van at about 5 to discover that good old Mom had lost her keys. (Actually, a prior foster dog had chewed a hole in my jacket pocket and the keys fell out.) I ended up calling a taxi, but we waited in the elements for at least an hour total.

We were all properly dressed with boots, hats, gloves and heavy jackets. In spite of being prepared, we were chilled to the bone when we finally got home. I said to my daughter, “I can see how easy it is to freeze to death in the cold, and why people die when they get stuck in the snow.”

I’m sure most people who live in places where it gets dangerously cold have their own stories to tell. That is why it is so tragic and unbelievable that an Idaho father “allowed” his 11 year old daughter and 12 year old son to attempt to walk 10 miles in the snow Christmas day after their vehicle got stuck.

Temperatures ranged from -5 to 27°F when the two set out from the disabled vehicle. According to the Associated Press, the children were living with their father Robert Aragon and were being driven to visit their mother JoLeta Jenks. “After the sedan got caught in the snow, authorities allege Aragon let the children out to walk to their mother’s house while he and his cousin Kenneth Quintana, 29, stayed behind to free the car. (They freed the car and went home rather than driving to make sure the kids made it.) Jenks said she eventually called Aragon because she was concerned after no one arrived at her home on Thursday.

Aragon had driven back to his hometown of Jerome after letting the kids out to walk to her house, Jenks said.

“I could not believe it,” she said.”
The 12 year old boy was found 4 ½ miles away, delusional from hypothermia. His sister was not so lucky, she was found dead 2 ½ miles away. Fleming (the local Sheriff) said she was wearing only a brown down coat, black shirt, pink pajama pants and tan snowboots.

He reportedly commented, “I’ve never seen anything like this, it was a 10-mile walk, the way they were dressed, it’s just all mind-boggling.”

Incidents like this one are the answer to the “So what?” question. What’s the “So what?” question? It is the response judges and attorneys have to the finding that a parent is a sociopath or has psychopathic personality traits. So What?

DSM IV Sociopathy (Antisocial Personality Disorder)
5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
PCL-R Psychopathy
10. Poor behavioral controls
13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
15. Irresponsibility
16. Failure to accept responsibility for actions
17. Many short term marital relationships

The table above shows that irresponsibility and recklessness are part of sociopathy as defined by the psychiatry’s DSM and psychopathy as defined by the PCL-R.

Why are sociopaths so consistently reckless and irresponsible? These traits get us to the core of the disorder. At the core of the disorder is poor impulse control. What that means is that if there is a situation where the sociopath has to balance pleasure and risk, the sociopath will always choose pleasure over managing risk. Sociopaths are unable to feel fear or concern for consequences during the time they are focused on immediate pleasure or comfort.

In situations like the father and the kids in the snow, the pull to get the car out and go home is stronger than any concern for the kids. While in pursuit of a goal involving pleasure, thoughts of risk or danger simply are not there. So why would a sociopath drive to go find the kids when he can go home and be warm?

Also sociopaths are unable to love so they lack working empathy. Thoughts and feelings of another’s physical suffering simply do not register on the radar. Out of sight, out of mind defines sociopaths and their relationships. The minute the kids set out, they are gone.

Sociopaths also lack moral reasoning ability. That means they are unable to detect and interpret situations that have moral implications. The moral implications of parental responsibility do not register at the time life and death decisions have to be made.

There is not much information regarding Aragon’s psychopathic personality traits. But he does have two drug convictions and often drug abuse/addiction causes these personality traits. I am sure we will learn more about this tragic story over the next few months.

Sadly, most people do not understand sociopathy and how it is disabling for a parent. To expect a sociopath to execute sound judgment or be a protective parent when forced to choose between his pleasure and his child’s pain is like expecting a mentally retarded person to do calculus.

One of our Lovefraud readers, Rune sent me these comments to this story as posted on AOL.

Nanamummy
05:41 AMJan 02 2009
If this man is such a criminal…why did he have custody of the children? Yes, he made a decision which will haunt him for life…..what’s to be gained by putting him in jail for life? Over zealous authorities and a useless justice system…..this case really depresses me.

JAKVINOCUR
04:39 AMJan 02 2009
so we are now putting fathers in jail for stuff like this. seriously whether they went walking or not they would have still needed to be in the snow. the father was only doing what he thought was best. if he was such a bad father than why does he have custody of them over the mother. yes it was a bad judgement on his part but dont you think he has been punished enough by losing his daughter. we will punish people for [heinous] crimes but we still cannot find osama bin laden or even catch murderers here or sex offenders. wheter what he did or not is irrelvent he lost his daughter let him go find peace in his heart. if god can forgive him why cant we. stupid to let this man go to prison.

Keshet333
11:55 PMJan 02 2009
This is a very unfortunate accident. The fact that the man had custody of the children tells me that he was a good father. In situations such as these, decision making is sometimes not the best. This man will be haunted by this for the rest of his life. They should drop all charges. Isn’t he paying enough for his bad judgment?

Russiawthluv
06:08 PMJan 01 2009
Obviously the man did NOT mean to harm his children. His son and daughter lived with him. He took care of their basic, daily needs. Why would he intentionally bring harm to either child when he has taken care of them so well for their entire lives? There’s no doubt in my mind he made an extremely poor decision. Then again, these two kids were more than likely used to snow, rain and other extreme weather, being that they grew up in that climate. The way he is portrayed by the media is simply unacceptable! Especially with the eye-catching headline..”MAN ALLOWS HIS CHILDREN TO WALK 10 MLES IN DEEP SNOW. 11 YEAR DAUGHTER DEAD FROM HYPOTHERMIA.” For the most part, even if this man wanted a fair trial….how’s he ever going to get one if slanderous & severely misconstrued statements were already pumped out to the masses? That man is in bitter anguish. It’s a “life sentence” if you ask me for this individual to have to spend the remainder of his life knowing his poor decision resulted in the…

The comments also indicate that people don’t know that sociopaths frequently get custody of children. One cannot assume that the parent who has custody is “providing for them.”

It is time for family courts to learn to assess sociopathy and its meaning for parenting. The very least they could do in the case of two sociopathic parents is to educate them about their defects. At least we should tell them, “Look, you are missing all of your decision making social brain, so don’t put yourself in a situation where you will have to choose between your child’s welfare and your own comfort!”

FYI AOL has a poll, I participated and got the following results:

Poll Results
Do you think a murder charge is warranted in this case?
No 47% 101,555
Yes 31% 66,279
I’m not sure 22% 46,384



213 Comments on "A sociopath will leave you out in the cold every time"

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  1. justus5 says:

    Yeah, I know Paul was doing what he THOUGHT was right, the mircale I look for is just that, that he thinks he is doing what is right but will see the light. I know, I know……but
    1 Corthinians 13 lives in my soul…..faith, hope and love, these three things we have……I can’t help it, at this point anyway.

  2. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Justus,

    “I can’t help it” is the biggest form of denial I had for DECADES…but I eventually realized I COULD HELP IT BY SEEING THE TRUTH, no matter HOW PAINFUL it was. And believe me, it was VERY PAINFUL.

    Only this last January did I have another melt down when I realized that my “good” son C was willing to look me in the eye and LIE TO ME as well. Not a “mean lie” or stealing from me, he isn’t a psychopath, but he was disrespectful enough to KNOWINGLY LIE TO ME, BREAK AN AGREEMENT, and then try to blame me for it. I WON’T tolerate that kind of behavior from those I love and trust. I WON’T TOLERATE people who have no respect for me, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE.

    In the past when son C (the non-psychopath) would lie to me or whatever the Problem was, I would restore TRUST when he said “sorry”—but his sorry never lasted. He would go right back to lying etc again and he KNEW THIS TIME THAT THE BOUNDARY WAS THERE and he didn’t respect it. NO LIES. NONE, ZIP, ZERO, NADA….

    JEsus and St. Paul both told us that when a brother offends us and is sinning we should go to him privately and talk about it. If that doesn’t work, take witnesses, and if that doesn’t work take it to the church (community) if that doesn’t make them change their ways then NO CONTACT. The PURPOSE of this is so that they may see the error of their ways and change. Paul said “not even to eat with them.”

    My son C has had chance after chance and he does NOT see the error of his ways consistently and make amends, so NC on my part (and no longer trusting him, though I have FORGIVEN him, gotten the bitterness out of my heart) is for the purpose of him seeing the errors of his ways. I hope and pray he does, but I do NOT have any expectation he will.

    As far as the psychopathic son, ditto…but, him I FEAR, and I don’t fear the other son.

    My egg donor, I did all those things with, and she still LIES and comforts the man who attempted to murder me. (My P son) so it is NC with her. At first I thought I would DIE from pain. The same with my P son and son C, but you know, I didn’t die, and I am no longer GRIEVING over the “loss” of what I THOUGHT (wrongly as it seems) that they loved me.

    Love is not a FEELING it is an ACTION. “Love your neighbor” means to treat them well, it doesn’t mean to have a squishy feeling for them. Only people who LOVE me are in my circle of trust and those that show by their ACTIONS that they do not LOVE me are OUT….and out of my life. All I can do is to pray for them.

  3. behind_blue_eyes says:

    OxDrover;

    Your comment regarding the genetic component is right-on.

    My x-spath’s father left him at 4 years old. He hated his father so much he refused to visit his father while the man was terminally ill, nor did he go to his father’s funeral.

    That is a huge red flag I ignored. Instead, I went for the pity-play, that both his mother and father were terminally ill and in the same hospital at the same time.

    If I only knew then what I know now…

  4. justus5 says:

    Blue eyes,

    I hear you. My N’s parents always struck me as a odd. His N father always struck me as overly pompus with NO reason to be so. My N is an only and they never spoke of anything personal, most talk revolved around his dad, still does. However, I was taught, no it was drilled into my head never ever judge anyone which left me with no judgement capabilities. Ugh. Surprise, I woke up and found myself married to his dad.

  5. Denise Guiney says:

    You can see how this happened. The kids were desperate to get to their mum, they knew she would be worried. They probably had to get out of the car anyway while it was freed up. The car took so long to free Dad thought they would have made it. Why did he not ring to check? My X is so stupid its more fun for him to stonewall as revenge for my leaving him than ring to check if his son is OK if there is any doubt about who he is with. He changed his will at one stage and rang to tell me that he’d left everything to his son but if he died all his money was going to his brother and his children. He actually tried to get revenge and mileage out of the concept of his son’s death. Actually thinking of how he can somehow hurt me financially if his son dies, actually relishing the thought. If I needed one more thing to put me off him forever that was it.

  6. FreeButterfly says:

    Hurtinglady3:
    I know exactly how you feel and my story is below. Psycho/Sociopaths are everywhere. They look for positions where they are seen as trusted individuals. Society is brought up to believe men of the cloth are God given to teach his word. In reality they are just human beings and just as capable of sinning as their parishioners.

    I also was married several years to a man and helped him through seminary to become a minister. I worked full-time and paid the bills. I was told how wonderful our life would be. He would make enough in the ministry to care for us the rest of our lives. I would never have to work again. LaDeDaDeDa! I am a Christian and believed every word he said. I believed he was God sent and that God valued me enough to place me in the ministry as his wife. I was moved away from my family with promises I could go visit them whenever I wanted to. I would be part of the ministry and we would live happily ever after. Little did I know that I was married to the devil. Once moved and established in the church every thing changed. I was told several times I could not use my gifts in the church because they had professionals in those positions. I was distanced from the family because there was never enough money to allow me to go home, when he was making plenty. It was his money and it would be spent how he wanted it spent. I started catching him up in lies to parishioners regarding his finances, illnesses, etc. The poor-me syndrome. I found sex websites he had visited. When I called him on his lies there was never a reply. I could not support him in his ministry and I could not lie to the parishioners so I started distancing myself from going. Oh yes, he used this for his benefit too. I wasn’t there so he painted the picture that I was an abusive spouse causing him pain, depression, and anything else that goes with it. The same story he gave me about his ex-wife. She had mental illness and took him for all of his money. He was meeting women at the church at late hours, blocked me from his computer, etc. I loved the man with all of my heart and was willing to forgive and go through counseling, do anything it would take to make it work. Then the silent treatment came whenever I tried to talk to him. It drove me to the point of screaming at him. This just enforced his lies to the people because it made me sound like the abusive partner. They didn’t know I was provoked into this behavior. Looking back at the times his ex was screaming at him and I didn’t understand. I now understood exactly and knew I was being manipulated for his gain. We went to marriage counseling and he manipulated those sessions for his gain. Unbelievable! I was trying so hard to work it out and stay and he wanted it to end. So the physical abuse started. I never called the police because I knew it would just give him more ammunition to manipulate his parishioners into believing I was the bad guy. I had safe places set up to go to and I started gathering paperwork I knew I would need with me if I had to leave. In this process, I found a journal he had and it convinced me that this man had had issues since childhood and I needed to escape as soon as I could or there may be no escaping. One statement in that journal was he took pleasure in manipulating people’s minds. I left with 2 outfits in my suit case and went back to my family and did not return. I called the Bishop after I had left to explain what was happening and I was titled the “vindictive wife”. I had lost everything, every cent I had, the home I had bought, my retirement money – EVERYTHING that I had ever worked for. I had to borrow money to get an attorney to go to court with me. The attorney never shared with me what was discussed in the mediation process – only that I would get part of his IRA, maintenance payments and I would be able to get my furniture from the parsonage. My attorney told me to go into the court and answer “yes” to all the questions the judge asked me. When I got in there I realized I was taken by my attorney, but did not have the finances to fire him on the spot and hire another. The attorney knew that. I was stuck. So the ex got his way. I was being divorced because I was the abuser and any statements he made in the mediation process would not be stated in this divorce proceeding or available to me ever. Talk about being devastated! Well you guessed the next step. I got taken to court again because he was ill and could no longer work and could not pay his maintenance payments. I hired a different lawyer and borrowed money to pay that one. I felt this attorney was good and on my side, but of course did not have a chance of getting anything because he was ill. So I am broke and now in debt and he is out collecting his prescription meds to support his prescription habits. If one doctor doesn’t prescribe them he will go to a different doctor to cry his ills to get them. What he can’t get he will use alcohol to get him through. I am relieved to hear he has found another woman to settle down with and take care of him, because I no longer have to fear him ever trying to contact me again. He has moved on. I feel sorry for her because she will feel sorry for him and take care of him for years. When her money is gone, she will be discarded and he will move on. So here I am hurting because parishioners that I truly cared about believe I am an evil person and there is no way I can let them know I am not. I have been diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and physical body pain from anxiety. I am stuck in the Social Services System to survive. That is stress in itself because I have always worked for a living. I am trying to take a positive take on all of this, but it is hard. I have started seeing a counselor who seems to understand what a psycho/sociopath is because when I described the short version of what I have endured she gave him the title. She is also Christian and shared that with me after hearing my beliefs. I still believe in God and have found a church that I am comfortable at. I am allowed to take part in the activities of the church. I used to ask, “Why me Lord?”, but I now try to look back at the aftermath of the divorce and see that God was just getting me out of a bad situation. I’m alive and thankful for that. He is using me in the ministry by placing people in my life that need someone who can listen and truly understand what they have endured in their lives. Not someone who will judge them or tell them to get over it and move on. I don’t believe I will ever be in another relationship. My trust in men is totally gone. I feel safer on my own. It is my time to move forward and take the steps needed to start healing. Will I ever be my old-self before he came along? NO. What I do know is life can be better than it is right now. I am so glad I found this website to share my feelings on with people who truly know what it feels like. Thank you to all who have shared their stories. Reading what you have experienced is helping me to heal. Take care all and don’t ever blame yourself!

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