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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Tips for co-parenting with a sociopath

Lovefraud received the following e-mail from a woman who we’ll call “Penny.” She’s been in a custody battle with the father of her child, who she believes is a sociopath. Although Penny has been able to gain full physical and legal custody of the child, and has a restraining order against the father, he still has visitation so Penny must deal with child exchanges. She’s provided the following tips for others who are in similar situations.

1. STAY STRONG IN GOD! I know that this is difficult at times because I myself have been tried so much. Go to church regularly and tell the pastor(s) and counselors at your church what you are dealing with and ask them and the congregation to pray for you. Pray and read your Bible. If you are not religious you might want to try this out anyway or meditate to bring peace to your soul. It is absolutely necessary that you find some peace in a situation that is utter chaos and dysfunction.

2. DO NOT TAKE THEIR BAIT! I have read on several websites (including this one), and books like The Sociopath Next Door, by Dr. Martha Stout, and also Without Conscience, by Dr. Robert Hare, that stress this very point. I found this out the hard way and have learned from experience that this only adds to the problem because the sociopath is often trying to get a reaction out of you. Reacting or retaliating against the sociopath only fuels the fire. Although it might sound cliché, one can only truly and successfully fight evil with goodness, especially in this case.

3. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Sociopaths (as my ex is) are pathological liars and are bound to contradict themselves in their stories. Thorough logs of all events with the sociopath and also supporting documents such as emails, police documents, medical records, court documents, etc., can all be of help when dealing with a sociopath in a situation such as this. When the time is right (sometimes its smart to let time go by so that the sociopath can implicate, perjure, and hang him/herself some more) you might decide to file the appropriate paperwork in court (i.e. Order to Show Cause for custody and visitation, declarations, motions for contempt of court, etc.) and attach the documents that you have been logging and saving as exhibits/evidence to your court papers (you can ask an attorney, paralegal, or family law self help center or other similar groups how to do this). If you have the financial resources, you might want to consider a deposition as another opportunity to let the animal perjure him/herself some more.

4. REQUEST EXPLICIT COURT ORDERS! I have found through personal experience that sociopaths will exploit and take advantage of any ambiguity or vagueness in court orders to create complete and utter chaos. You must push for detailed court orders when you go to court to prevent this from happening.

5. IF POSSIBLE, ASK THE COURT TO ARRANGE CHILD EXCHANGES AT LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS! Doing this eliminates the opportunity of having to interact with the sociopath at your home or his/her home as well as other places that are easy for chaos to occur. Arrive at the exchange early and let the officers know that you are there for a child exchange (make sure you always have the court orders with you so that the police can see it if need be) and you can ask the desk officers if they can monitor the exchange.

6. HAVE PEOPLE OTHER THAN YOU THAT YOU TRUST AND ARE GOOD PEOPLE DO THE EXCHANGE OF YOUR CHILD(REN) IF POSSIBLE! Making yourself as invisible as possible might increase the chances of cutting the sociopath out of your life since he or she will no longer be able to see you sweat. Remember to always stay calm and collected when the sociopath tries to anger you (you can cry and vent in private) even and especially in court.

7. BE CAUTIOUS IN STATING THAT YOUR EX IS A SOCIOPATH! Many people, including the courts, child welfare organizations, lawyers, etc., are not familiar with this devastating disorder and as a result do not know how to respond properly to the warning signs (as many of us did not know how to until we were caught in a complex web of deception). Therefore, focus on proving the behavior of the sociopath in court using the strategies I suggested earlier and do not accuse your ex as being a sociopath in court. They will not take this seriously since you are probably not a professional licensed to make such a diagnosis.

8. PUSH FOR COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND THE EX TO BE THROUGH EMAIL ONLY WHEN YOU GO TO COURT! Communication using this vehicle of communication helps to eliminate the possibility of he said/she said. Websites such as www.ourfamilywizard.com are excellent because they provide an opportunity for you to communicate with your ex via email and all the communication is safe and secure and can easily be printed out (all emails also include the date and exact time the emails were sent and viewed by the other party and also include the time any printed emails are generated). Also, the website allows you to input your parenting schedules, input medical information for the child, and offers a journal, free children’s accounts to the child(ren) involved and can also offer professional accounts for minor’s counsel and possible others to oversee the account and monitor what is going on.

9. PUSH THE COURT FOR PERMISSION TO VIDEO OR TAPE RECORD EXCHANGES AND MAKE SURE THIS IS WRITTEN IN THE COURT ORDER! Doing this helps to eliminate any possibility for potential chaos.

10. GET ALL INFORMATION STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE! Do not rely on any information the sociopath provides you. Always verify all information concerning the child or children with their doctors, teachers, counselors, etc. If possible have the child(ren’s) doctors, teachers, counselors, etc. document all information they give you.

11. DO NOT CUT THE SOCIOPATH ANY SLACK! Record and document any and all violations of court orders. Recording these violations may be helpful when you go to court.

12. HIRE AN EXPERIENCED COMPETENT ATTORNEY, AND IF POSSIBLE ONE THAT HAS EXPERIENCE IN DEALING WITH SOCIOPATHS OR OTHER SIMILAR PERSONALITY DISORDERS! Child custody cases involving sociopaths are complicated and need the skill, experience, and know-how of a professional.

13. TRUST YOUR GUT! Oftentimes, we doubt our intuitions when we shouldn’t. In my personal experience I found that there were warning signs but did not respond to them as I should have because I took the signs lightly. Likewise, when I was drawn into my ex’s net of deception and chaos, I knew something was wrong, and attempted to explain what I believed was wrong with my ex to my previous attorney, but the attorney did not understand and discouraged me from engrossing myself in research. She stated that doing so could help me to become emotionally and mentally unstable (the attorney did not have experience in dealing with such complex personalities and so did not know how to properly respond to my ex’s actions). I later decided to trust my gut and continued with my research. Through research, trial and error, I have learned how to better deal with my ex and I do not respond to his baits (my ex has accused me of being a sociopath and has falsely accused me of harassing him).

14. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Living well is truly the best revenge. As difficult as it may be, try not to let the sociopath make you a bitter, angry, mean person. Remember the ultimate goal of the sociopath is to frustrate you. Enjoy your child(ren) while they are with you and let them know that you love them. Listen to them and model what real love looks like while they are in your care. Let them see you in loving relationships with other people. Criticize their actions and not them in private and DO NOT talk badly about the other parent in their presence (this can give the other parent an opportunity to bring parental alienation charges against you); instead you can let them know that actions like the ones their parents are exhibiting are wrong and hurtful to others and that this behavior is undesirable. Also, don’t forget to eat (like I have in the past), exercise, sleep, and laugh! Do not under any circumstances allow the sociopath to rob you of your ability to laugh.

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86 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Tips for co-parenting with a sociopath"

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  1. Tinkerbell says:

    Dear Freemama,
    WAIT! Okay, first question–what does him not “hitting” you have to do with the court’s decision? I’m currently going through what Penny went through. I have been hit, pushed, intimidated by doors and walls being smashed in right beside me, had objects swung at me, but never did I report them to the police—for fear of whatever. The judgement shouldn’t be made on merely not having a piece of paper saying he never “physically” hit you or abused you. In my situation, more of my abuse was mental, which then led to a great deal of emotional, which then led to physical in terms of my health to the point where it literally almost killed me–and yes I have medical documents to back that up. In the state of SC, they don’t view mental abuse in court for some reason, but I guess that’s because they don’t see what it does do physically! IS THERE A WAY TO APPEAL the judgement???? You can use free attorneys!!!!! If you have enough information, you can certainly represent yourself, especially if you have the knowledge and determination to never give up. PENNY–or ANYONE on here about APPEALS?????

  2. Ox Drover says:

    Tinkerbell, sorry you are going through such horror….I think Freemama has not been on here in a while, but thank you for encouraging her and others in her situation to fight.

    I don’t think Penny is still here either, but again…what can we do to help you? There are lots of people here who have fought in the courts and ARE fighting in the courts.

  3. Tinkerbell says:

    I’m aware the decision was made several months back for you, but surely this can be appealed!!! With me having only pictures of destruction of the house where he would beat it up beside me, and a couple of where he swung an object at me and missed twice with pictures of the gashes in the wall and a picture of the object, I probably can’t prove the physical either, but I can prove the physical ending due to the mental and emotional that started it all. Also—Do you have any witnesses that may have ever witnessed him getting up in your face and screaming at you at the top of his lungs, etc, especially irrationally so–which is probably the case—if so, that is ABUSE. It doesn’t have to be a physical hit. There just has to be something here. I would not take this lying down. You may be at a point of peace with this, but let me tell you that you should not be if there is something you can do!!!! Your child/children did not get a choice in this and are now in a current environment in which it will affect them forever! You have to intervene! DO NOT GIVE UP YET, OR EVER!!!!! There is always a way, always, and God will unveil it for you if you ask! Please find a way to rescue your child/children! Money does not have to stop you!!!! Don’t rest yet, because you may feel at peace, but I can guarantee you one thing, YOUR CHILD IS NOT AT PEACE, and won’t be until they are away from the spath they are living with!!!!! I will be praying deeply for you and for guidance and strength!

    Favorite quote of mine when I get the place you are in right now: Psalms 33:16–”No King is saved by the size of his army; No warrior escapes by his own great strength.”

    Think about this one, put on your armor, and go after your children!!!! They need to be rescued!

  4. Tinkerbell says:

    Dear Ox Drover,
    Thank you so much for your response! It certainly makes me feel welcome here on this site and so good to know that you and others are willing to help! I am currently in a custody battle over my 9 year old daughter due to my soon to be ex-husband filing emergency custody of her with all false allegations, that have ALREADY been proven back in December and January. However, he still has temporary custody of her and began parent alienation in January and it has become to a severe status. I beggggeeed and begged for therapy for her, and she just now started receiving it a few weeks back! Unfortunately, she, of course being at the very vulnerable age she is, and the time that has gone by, is completely consumed in it. Visitations have become very disturbing as I have not only watched her detach from me and my family, but now it seems she is detaching from herself as well. My family and I are reallllly struggling watching her go through all of this, breaking our hearts into millions of pieces, and have tried everything we can to try and make the visits fun, pleasant, and turn negative into positive. We are at our wits ends trying to figure out what to do so that she can at the very least, have happy moments, We are being physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by her, and of course do not allow that kind of behavior. We have tried what we know best to prevent this “bullying” of hers she’s developed, and I can promise you, she was NOT raised like this. I don’t know where it all comes from, although I have researched PAS as much as I can. I just don’t understand the beast, I suppose. We don’t blame her, or him in front of her for sure, but she does have consequences for her actions–such as kicking, screaming, hitting, spitting in our faces, you name it. It is an absolute misery for her now, when she visits. It makes me so angry because I know that what all has been fed to her are out right blatant lies, but cannot say a word for two reasons. 1. court says so, 2. It just would not be good for her and would pull her into the case and furthermore make her even more angry with all of us and push her that much farther, if there is a “farther” at this point. Her therapist is very aware of what is going on, not that she has shared with me what she thinks is going on, but I go to appointments there too when the therapist requests me too, and yes I have shared I think it’s a great possibility. I fear a lot, which I know I shouldn’t, but my fear is of the upcoming unknown court wise. We tried to get his deposition a week ago, but his discovery, that was asked for back in January and again in June, was not ready, so the date has been pushed back to October. It is very frustrating when you know you have all evidence—not hearsay—but total evidence that everything, including affidavit, is false. I feel like my child was kidnapped from me literally, and all by him using false allegations!!!! I am just very perplexed at how he could even still have temp custody when the facts have already been presented, but here I am sitting waiting, while my child remains in an environment in which the alienation is only continuing and getting worse. I just don’t know what to do…..and crying doesn’t help, because I do that quite often!!!! Any advice???

  5. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Tinkerbell,

    Sugar, I have no idea how much you must be hurting, to have a child so young be in such emotional and physical danger from such a beast that is willing to use her as a CLUB in order to hit you.

    I have seen it in the past, both at the time it was happening and the results in the kids when they were adults and it is HEART BREAKING.

    It IS like she has been kidnapped, and her acting out is I think her way of dealing with the trauma of it all.

    There are others here who have the same or similar situations where they have to let the monster have part or full custody of the child and knowing the child is being raked over the coals.

    Letting your child have consequences for acting out, letting her know that no matter what she does, you will love her, but you are NOT going to let her hit, kick, spit etc. is the ONLY thing you can do. Working with the therapist in a CALM, cool logical manner is all you CAN do…that and Pray. Good luck and God bless you and your family. (((Hugs))

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