Warning: CONTAINS RELIGIOUS CONTENT! I believe wholeheartedly in compassion and tolerance. It is not our place to force our moral judgments on others. However, I do believe that at some point we must draw a line in the sand. There must be a clear boundary delineating what we believe to be morally just. I am not talking about bigotry- being defined as an attitude that promotes one's belief system to the extent of treating others with hatred and intolerance.
I am referring to a personal choice to worship God and Jesus as the higher power. I am a christian. I am not going to apologize for this, nor am I going to sweep it under the rug. If you happen to be of a different faith, know that I am not judging you. I have made my own mistakes in life and I don't think I am better than anyone else (well, except for the sociopath, if I am being completely honest here). I am merely expressing my own beliefs as they relate to the topic of my blog: co parenting with a sociopath.
If I had a dime for every time I heard the phrase, “Mommy, why does daddy say God is a bad guy?” I would surely be living in the lap of luxury. However, on a deeper level, it greatly disturbs me that the sociopath chooses to attack both my faith and that of my son. After all, what GOOD father would object to his child being taught not to steal, lie, or harm others?
The obvious answer is that a sociopath objects because if he takes an interest in his child at all, it is only for the purpose of achieving self gratification. Corrupting his child against decent moral values achieves this goal since it puts the child's belief system in line with his own. Which in turn provides another little human who validates the sociopath's sickness as being normal. “See, I'm not terrible- our child agrees with me, God is bad.”
It has turned into an outright battle for the soul of a little one. Luckily, we are surrounded by a wonderful group of people in our church. No matter what the sociopath tries to say, my son relates church- and God- to positive experiences. Most of them are unaware of the fight we face, they are just genuinely good people.
My son likes bible study. He believes in God. He equates his father's insults on church people as being insults against him. He also struggles with understanding why God let his daddy take him away from mommy. I too, have endured my own struggle with my faith during this process. It made me curious about what the bible says about sociopaths. Here is what I found:
Romans, Chapter 1, verses 28-32
“... being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, and unmerciful.”
Hmmm.... describes the narcissist and the sociopath very well indeed. According to the study reference, the verses contain one of the most complete lists of sins throughout the bible. In society, we may rationalize some sins, but God judges all sin.
2 Timothy, Chapter 3, verses 1-9
“... For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud blasphemers, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, brutal, dispisers of good... from such people turn away! For of this sort of people are those who creep into households and make captive gullible women loaded down with sins... “
The translation here is a warning, in particular to women, that these men will will use deception in order to win them over. Women are the target of these attacks by false teachers. The danger is ignorance. Paul instructs Timothy to teach the women so that they don't become victims.
However, women who are targets do not get a free pass. The victims of sociopaths are not immune from taking responsibility for their actions. We are responsible for educating ourselves about these predators and not falling for their lies.
1 Timothy, Chapter 4, verses 1-2
“... Some will depart from from the faith, giving heed to the deceiving spirits of demons... speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron...”
Although the reference here is not to losing salvation completely, but rather a failure to be obedient to God, we can still see how the sociopath effects us on a personal level. As victims, we fall for the lies and ignore our own conscience.
A very wise friend pointed out that God didn't "allow" the socioath to waltz in and gain shared custody of my son. He doesn't "allow" the sociopath to abuse my child. What God did "allow" was for me to make a choice to have a relationship with this man. He "allowed" me the free will to turn a blind eye to this man's traits.
Now I, and my innocent child, are paying the price of my choices. Accepting responsibilty for my own part in this drama has been like a bulldozer in my life. It cleared the path for me to be able to move forward with a resolution- one that doesn't entail me sacraficing my son to the sociopath. If my choices led me here, then hopefully with God's wisdom I can tackle anything.