For parents of sociopaths

Warning: Sociopath Ahead!

Warning Sign

A friend of mine feared her daughter was involved with a sociopath who was pressuring her to have children with him. Knowing I’d had my life derailed by my own husband (now ex-husband), who I now believe is a sociopath, my friend asked me to tell her daughter some of my story.

As one never knows if a seed of information will later blossom into insight, I wrote her daughter a letter.  The entry below is based on that letter.

Wonderful Qualities Become Profound Vulnerabilities

I believe my ex-husband and the father of my children has a personality disorder—narcissistic personality disorder—some refer to such individuals as sociopaths or psychopaths.

Who exactly is a potential victim of psychopaths or sociopaths?


Chapter 5
Who is a potential victim?

Everyone is a potential victim of a psychopath. There are two basic reasons why, and my goal in this chapter is to make them clear for you. Why? Because too many people think they can’t be fooled or that they’re too strong to be a victim, and those beliefs put us in danger of being swept away and devastated by a psychopath.

Here are my two points, up front. First, psychopaths handle deception differently, and it catches us off guard. Almost anyone can be fooled, even professionals. Second, the most masterful unincarcerated psychopaths can give a very warm impression and/or they talk incessantly about their values. We are not brought up to anticipate warmth and what seems like patriotism and/or family values from a psychopath. We are not prepared to detect their lies. And that makes us all susceptible.

There are Degrees of Conscience and Empathy


Hello. I’m Helen Beverly, an author and psychotherapist who writes under the name H.G. Beverly. I was married to a psychopath for over a decade and am still dealing with the challenges of raising our children “together” in a society that struggles to deal with psychopathy. I’ve written some posts about those challenges that you can find archived here on Lovefraud. Also, I published my memoir, The Other Side of Charm, in 2014 and am now releasing my next book one chapter at a time. You can find it here and on my blog at hgbeverly.com. It’s called My Ex is a Psychopath, But I Am Strong and Free.

This book details my healing journey despite failed systems that left me in constant contact with my ex. I talk about how I learned to manage the situation and how I have recovered peace and happiness despite obstacles. Look for a new chapter here each week on Fridays. Here is the third chapter.

The Cost of a Sociopath

I’ve been writing my next book and decided to share a piece of it. Here it is:

All my life, I’ve been surrounded by facts and figures about how many years you lose if you do certain things. Like smoke cigarettes. Or do drugs. Or drink too much alcohol. People like to threaten and motivate each other with scary statistics that encompass not only dangerous behaviors but also self-neglect. Like failing to exercise. Or skipping stress-reduction techniques.

“For every year you smoke, you take a year off your life.”

Something like that.

But I don’t think anyone knows how many years you lose to a psychopath. Not even counting the years you spend going crazy before you finally figure out what you’re dealing with; not counting the years you spend in fear for your life or for your children’s safety or whether you’ll get to see them the next day. Not counting the years you spend together, sharing a home and meals and a bed, snuggled up next to someone who could easily do you in and after a few years doesn’t hesitate to let you know that indeed, you might be done in.

Our son acts just like his sociopath father; maybe even worse

Spath TalesEditor’s Note: This SPATH Tale was submitted by the Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Good Mom.”

The father of my son was a spath.

He is now deceased. He killed himself.

He was a drug and alcohol addict and he was very abusive. I was beaten regularly. I was a possession. He owned me and he owned everything that was mine.

He lied as easily as he breathed.

I went through a very difficult break up with him when my son was 3 years old. I did not know until after his death that he was a spath.

We have a son who is now 37 years old, and I do believe this is hereditary because he is also a spath and acts exactly the same as his father, maybe even worse.

If Psychopaths Were Identified

If psychopaths were actively identified across institutions,

we would more consistently know exactly who we’re dealing with.

Their stats on getting away with murder would go (way) down.

They would be less likely to win full custody in divorce.

There would be more public awareness around who’s running certain companies.

And our public and professional belief that interactional assessments and background checks tell us all we need to know about a person

would be turned on its head

to the benefit of all involved.

If psychopaths were identified consistently and accurately

by all mental health professionals

(which would require major change in nearly every clinical training program in the U.S.)

our psychologists and counselors and therapists would less likely be fooled into supporting their horrific endeavors.

And victims would be more likely to find needed support.

LETTER TO LOVEFRAUD: My adopted daughter became her biological mother

Editor’s Note: Lovefraud recently received the following letter from a reader who posts as “Hannah4.” Donna Andersen will offer comments at the end of her story.

V and B join our family

I retired from teaching two years ago. I have been married for 38 years to the same man and gave birth to two sons who are now grown. Sixteen years ago, my husband and I became guardians of two girls who are biological sisters (who attended the school where I taught). One of the sisters, V, joined our family when she was nine years old. One year later, her younger sister, B, who had just turned nine, also joined our family. At the time, I taught in a private Christian school where the philosophy was “it takes a village to raise a child.”

Parents in jail, children with grandparents

Hard to See a Psychopath

I’ll start with one man who has dedicated his life to teaching others how to assess and clearly identify psychopaths. Here’s part of the bio from his website.

“Robert Hare is Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia, where he has taught and conducted research for more than four decades, and President of Darkstone Research Group Ltd., a forensic research and consulting firm. He has devoted most of his academic career to the investigation of psychopathy, its nature, assessment, and implications for mental health and criminal justice.

He is the developer of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) and a co-author of its derivatives, the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version, the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version, the Antisocial Process Screening Device, and the P-Scan (for use in law enforcement).”


Why start with the psychologist?

I’m starting with him because he’s the guy behind THE assessment we use to identify psychopathic individuals.

The links between callous-unemotional traits in children and antisocial behavior

Dr. Essi Viding of University College London discusses recent findings on the genetic roots of callous-unemotional traits in children, and how they may evolve into antisocial behavior.

Callous-unemotional traits in children, on PsychologicalScience.org.


How psychopathic parents affect children

A Lovefraud reader who posts as “Mani” asked a question that I’m sure is of interest to many others, so I’ll address it in a blog post. Mani writes:

I was one of the children who lived with a psychopath for a long time. I fought all my life not to let him a part of my personality. In comparison to what I was exposed to I think I have been successful. But is there anybody out there who can shed more light on the effects of a psychopath father on children, particularly boys?

I know there is tendency to label these children as secondary psychopaths but I haven’t seen anybody talking about the mechanics of it. And I am sure all these children don’t become secondary psychopaths.