One of the most confusing aspects of my custody battle was figuring out if the sociopath really loved my child. He said he did. In fact, he took every opportunity to tell the world how much it hurt him to be away from his son. The psychologist who performed his mental evaluation (and diagnosed him as antisocial) even stated that he had no doubt that the father loved the child deeply.
I wasn’t so sure. From the very beginning, it was clear to me that this father never wanted my child. He said that he wished he had forced me to have an abortion. He argued against my pregnancy by saying that things were going to change and he wouldn’t be number one in my life anymore. He refused to take any part in caring for my infant son, even to hold him, because the child “couldn’t talk and interact with him.”
Oh, Those Pesky Red Flags
Early on, there were instances of neglect and endangerment that I believe was intentionally crafted in order to keep anyone from asking him to help care for the baby. During this time, I worked full time and the father didn’t work at all. My infant son would be left in his crib all day, left in filthy diapers all day and left alone in the house while the father ran errands. Of course, I stopped holding him responsible and my sister picked up the slack for the next two years. She babysat even when the father was home and could have cared for my son.
Eventually, this progressed to sadistic behavior. The sociopath father began hurting my son when he thought no one was watching. It began as pinching him just softly enough to make him cry, then hard enough to leave a bruise. Since my son wasn’t old enough to talk, I wasn’t sure that this was happening; until I caught the father red handed and he admitted it, but claimed he was doing it for discipline.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the behavior progressed to him hitting my son across the back with a leather cord. The blow was severe enough to leave lash marks about two inches above the top of the diaper. I photographed the injury and told the father that if he didn’t seek professional help that he had to move out.
Defining How Sociopaths Love Their Children
That is when I discovered how sociopaths love their children. Faced with the threat of being forced to leave (we were not married and I owned my home), he became obsessed with my son. All of a sudden, he wanted to start taking him places and sleeping with him at night. He professed his love for his son to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen. The problem was that my son wanted nothing to do with him. From abusive and detached to an overwhelming need to “be with” his son, almost overnight.
I know beyond any doubt that sociopaths do love their children. It isn’t a healthy or normal type of love; instead, it is self-serving and all possessing. It is a scary and sick type of love that closely resembles narcissistic supply. Of course, all sociopaths are narcissistic- but more on that later. He uses my son to gain sympathy and support from whomever he can, as a vessel to try to fill up the empty void inside of him.
The best description I have ever read was written by another sociopath who runs a blog called Sociopath World. He says,
"The closest analog to a sociopath's love is probably the love of a child: intense, accepting, selfish. And finally, like a child, the sociopath will be extremely loyal. A sociopath will never put you above himself, but he will readily put you above all others.”
Love Fraud also has some very wise words pertaining to how sociopaths love their children: they may take such an interest because their real agenda is to turn the child into a “mini me“, or do as much damage as they possibly can. They can:
"Deliberately try to corrupt a child through inappropriate or dangerous activities, such as pornography. When sociopaths are involved with children, always be on guard.”
With the sociopath, everything is about him. His feelings, his needs, and his wants are the only reality. In the process, he takes all that he can in an effort to validate his existence. This is why they are so often called emotional vampires. They take and take and take until they finally suck you dry. No child should be forced to endure this.
Read Part 2: Sociopath Love Isn't Love