Sunday, July 15, 2012

Me, Interrupted

By nature, I am not a confrontational person. I simply don’t have the emotional energy to engage in drama. It exhausts me; therefore, I avoid it. This makes living with a sociopath especially hard. They feed on conflict. When I don’t react, he escalates the hostility until he gets an effect he is satisfied with. Over time, the methods that he uses get worse.

I gave my sociopath the boot in July of 2011. It took until February of 2012 for him to leave. During this time, he pulled every trick in the book to get me to let him stay. His primary weapons were denial, pity, depression, anger, intimidation, and bullying. I fell for it repeatedly. I tiptoed around my own house, afraid of setting him off. My son and I slept behind a locked door, with my keys and cell phone within reach.

During this time, his violence against me also escalated. The sociopath went from verbally abusing my son and me to brutally beating my dog. Repeatedly. He tried to kill my pet bird with a butcher knife. When he couldn’t get me to react to his hurtful words, he began threatening me. He bragged about being involved with a motorcycle gang that would kill someone for $10,000. He said women who “take a man’s children from him were worthless bitches who deserve to die.” He promised me that he would destroy me, make me pay, and take my son from me.

I would find him sitting in the dark in strange places throughout my home- hiding behind the curtains, on the bathroom floor, sitting on the couch cocking and un-cocking his gun. Then he began using his body to knock me out of the way. It began as shoulder bump and then escalated to shoving me with his arm when he wanted to walk by. All the while he kept proclaiming that I was a fat, worthless whore and that I had better not even think about getting another man to replace him.

He said, “One thing I can assure you of- there will never be another man in my son’s life- period”. When the sociopath moved out in February, I had no sense of relief. He rented a house one street over from mine because he had to be “where he could see my house. “ We had an open agreement that he could visit our son under supervision anytime he wished to. The only rules that I imposed was that he call beforehand and that he not stay more than two hours.

What does a sociopath do when you try to erect boundaries? He stomps all over them, of course. He never called; he came by my house all hours of the day and night. If one of my friends stopped over, he would stop too. If I didn’t answer the door, he would beat on the windows. If a light was on at night, he stopped. If an unknown vehicle was in my driveway, he stopped. He would call and say, “I know you are home because I can see the television on in the living room.”

I ran to the store and, for the first time in 20 years, installed blinds over all of my windows. I changed my alarm system and put together an emergency escape kit. I revised the visitation schedule giving him supervised visitation 6 - 10 hours a week. The sociopath began attending Prevent Child Abuse Nurturing Parenting classes at my request and agreed to the mental evaluation. I thought I was getting control of my fear, and maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then the evaluation came back. Although neither one of us had read it, he telephoned to get the results. He was diagnosed as antisocial, with a recommendation that his visitation remain supervised. The psychologist thought he needed to see a psychotherapist, who could help him develop appropriate parenting skills, resolve conflict without the use of violence, and provide recommendations for visitations.

The sociopath responded by having me served with custody paperwork giving me seven days to respond to his petition. He didn’t just want visitation… he wanted custody.


  1. Just the thought of him makes my skin crawl. I am all too familiar with the fear. It robs me of sleep each night. Planting thoughts of the unimaginable...the unthinkable worst case scenario. Insane making fear...watching your back constantly, leaving lights on, checking tailpipes, wondering what next...

    1. Yes, the ever persistent fear... I believe it is often called "hyperviligence" and we all fall prey.Of course, statistically, the odds are that at least one of us survivors will become "prey" in the truest sense of the word. It happens all of the time and even a woman losing her life to her abuser isn't enough to invoke real changes in the system.

  2. If an ex or lover cocked a gun in my presence they would be shuffling off this mortal coil with a bullet from my .357 magnum. My ex once tried to load a shot gun claiming he was going to kill himself and part of me wanted to let him but we have a son together and part of me wondered if after he got it loaded if eliminating me would seem easier. I punched him in the mouth and wrestled the gun away and called the police. He fled the state and cried to me that I bloodied his lip. We get along now, he got mental help.