If you thought being married to a sociopath was a challenge, just wait until you try co-parenting with one. After our divorce, my sociopath ex borrowed money for food for the kids and spent it at a bar, left the kids alone or with virtual strangers, and failed to pay child support, and he didn’t feel bad about any of it. If you’re dealing with a similar situation, your ex may be a sociopath, too.
When we think of the term “sociopath,” most people picture a serial killer or someone who acts one way in public but turns into someone totally different in private. However, most sociopaths know how to blend in with society very well. You may not have realized your ex was a sociopath when you married, but now that you’re trying to share your child with them, you are most likely well-aware of it and looking for strategies you can use to protect yourself and your child.
In this article, you will find solutions to the problems you are facing. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from a sociopath, how it will affect your child, and what you can do about it.
Traits of Sociopaths
Sociopaths go through life believing that the end always justifies the means. They use sneaky tactics to get their way and will even lie to people to make sure they carry out their agendas. Sociopaths are known to twist people’s words and place the blame on others, even when they are responsible for certain situations or outcomes.
Here are few signs to look for to determine whether your ex is a sociopath so you can find healthy ways to deal with this ugly truth.
- No remorse: Sociopaths hurt people, including their children, without caring about the outcome.
- Lying: Sociopaths will lie to anyone and about anything without feeling guilty.
- Lack of empathy: Sociopaths don’t care about how other people feel, even if they pretend to do so.
- Unable to love: People close to sociopaths can see that they don’t have the ability to love other people. People outside of the sociopath’s family or inner circle don’t notice this, because the sociopath knows how to wear a “mask” in public.
- Lack of affection: Sociopaths don’t show their children affection. They may never or rarely say “I love you,” and even when they say it they won’t mean it. They often only show affection in the form of sexual contact with a spouse or partner.
- Selfish and ego-focused: Sociopaths have to be the center of attention at all times. They often lie to colleagues and on social media and make their lives appear much better than they actually are.
- Never admitting fault: Sociopaths will never admit they are wrong, not matter the situation. Even if there is clear evidence that they have done something wrong, the sociopath will always shift the blame to others.
- Selfish: Sociopaths put themselves first at all times. This means their children will never be their first priority or even any kind of real priority at all. Coparents with personality disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) also behave as sociopaths at times. Their distorted perceptions and values cause them to exhibit a lack of empathy towards their children and others. The tools you use to deal with personality disorders, such as to modify the parenting plan, can also be helpful for a sociopath ex.
How Having a Sociopathic Parent Affects Children
Make no mistake about it, your child will be affected by their sociopathic parent’s behavior. Sociopaths tend to neglect their children, both physically and emotionally. Even if your child is spending time with their sociopathic mother or father, their emotions will be ignored and their opinions will be trampled upon. This causes mental and emotional damage to the child. That is why in cases like this, it is common to have joint custody of children
Your child may have picked up on the fact that something isn’t right with daddy or mommy. However, most children don’t have the vocabulary to articulate that their parent has a personality disorder. When it’s age-appropriate, you may have to explain to your child that their sociopathic parents’ attitudes toward them are not their fault.
If you’ve suspected or you now have proof that your ex is a sociopath, you know that your children may suffer emotional or even physical abuse if they are in their care. Your ex could harm your child and pretend it didn’t happen. They will also expect your children to overlook the abuse.
It’s best to arrange for counseling for your child to help them sort through feelings of confusion and abandonment. Speak with your lawyer about supervised visitation to ensure that you are present when the sociopath parent interacts with your child. If necessary, bring your case to court to modify the child custody agreement to ensure that your child is safe.
A sociopath attempting to gain full custody could be interpreted as a means to control the situation. If you keep track of things your ex has done or said to prove that they are a sociopath, present this evidence to the judge. This will increase the chances that you can limit your ex’s time with your children.