This week we received the following letter from a reader of the blog. I wanted to share both the letter and my reaction to it with you:
After 30 yrs of marriage and abuse, I have finally left my passive
aggressive sociopathic narcissist husband. I have managed the No Contact fairly well, of course he is the KING of the silent treatment so it doesn’t seem to bother him.
What I simply do not understand is this: We have two daughters, ages 22 and 24. We USED to have a close family, the girls were close to their dad. However after they have witnessed him abusing me, they have had a few ‘spats’ with him lately.
What completely baffles me, is that when I started the No Contact about 2 1/2 months ago, he completely stopped talking to our daughters. He hit me, and they were both angry at him, and they all argued via email and cell phones, since they live far away from us. After they got angry with him for hitting me, he cut all communication off with them. They do not call him or email him either, because they are angry and do not want to ‘beg him for his love,’ so they are all at a complete standoff.
I do not understand why he will not pursue contact of any kind. Our oldest daughter is married and having our first grandchild in a few months. She is angry at her father and yet broken hearted. She wonders if he ever thinks of her, of her pregnancy, if he cares? I don’t understand why he will not contact them, other than he is angry at them for ‘taking my side’ after he hit me, or he is a coward; afraid of how they will react to him. He used to be extremely close to them, but the older they got, the further apart they all drifted.
Both of our daughters are very strong ladies, but are not disrespectful to him. I would like to know what he is thinking or doing? Why has he cut his daughters out of his life?
I wanted to entitle my next book “Stop Being Baffled” but Donna didn’t like that title so it is now Driven to Do Evil. Here is a quote from the Chapter 1:
…nevertheless, the (sociopath’s) behavior has baffled us because we have misunderstood the main purpose of his behavior.
Ben Bursten, M.D. The Manipulative Personality, 1971
Just what is the purpose of a sociopath’s behavior toward others? It usually boils down to either power or sex or some combination of the two.
The reason we are baffled by sociopaths is that it is hard to comprehend an inner world where the love motive does not exist. It is also hard to understand that sociopaths lack the love motive because they seem to enjoy intimacy and affection to a certain degree. It is just this enjoyment is not connected to any deep obligation to take care of another person.
So stop being baffled. He moved on because there was no real reason to interact with his daughters because they stopped being a source of power reward (also called narcissistic supply).
When you interact with a sociopath it is important to always keep in mind that he/she does not possess a love motive. By love motive I mean any need to maintain a relationship where care is given to another person independent of what is gotten in return. Sociopaths will sometimes give care when there is something in it for them.
We have to educate everyone in our society about what the love and power motives are. We have to teach everyone that love means caretaking and giving, and that there are some in our families who are NOT capable of love.
Just like it is unreasonable to expect a blind person to drive a car, because he/she cannot see the road, it is unreasonable to expect a sociopath to parent.
Parenting means taking care of another person and maintaining a connection out of the joy of loving and giving. A person who cannot love has no joy in giving and so cannot parent. It is that simple.
Perhaps your adult daughters would be willing to write and talk about what it feels like to have a sociopath as a parent. We need to collect these statements and use them to change our society.
This disorder is familial and also related to alcoholism/addiction and ADHD. Please consider reading my book, Just Like His Father? to help you think about the needs of your grandchild.