Thursday, January 24, 2013

Child Custody and The Sociopath: Common Case Traits

Note: This post refers to sociopaths and abusers as men and fathers. I apologize if this offends any of you. It is not my intention to discriminate against men on this issue. However, statistically men make up the majority of abusers and those diagnosed as sociopaths. For this reason, most studies focus on the male gender when compiling data. It is not personal.

I came across an interesting report today that I want to share. The study, by the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Family Violence, asks a hard question: Do abusive fathers have an equal right to child custody when the relationship with the mother ends?

Make no mistake, if you are involved with a sociopath your relationship is abusive. He (or she) doesn't have to punch you or break bones to be a terrorist. Psychological abuse is every bit as valid as physical abuse.

Along with identifying the dynamics that are common in abusive relationships, the study identifies three critically important elements that all of these cases have in common.

  1. Sociopaths and other abusive ex-spouses will try to alienate your child from you. They accomplish this by telling the child negative things about you and restricting your telephone access with your child.
  2. Almost always, the parent now seeking custody was NOT involved in raising your child prior to you splitting up.
  3. They may have a history of threatening to abduct (or actually do abduct) your child if you leave them.
“Fathers that are abusive in a relationship can be EXPECTED to use abusive power and control techniques to continue to exert control over the mother and child”

Yet, courts often don't consider how abusive behaviors are relevant in child custody issues. Why? Public opinion dictates that fathers should have equal access to a child. The obvious flaw is that this opinion is based on an assumption that the father is a mentally healthy individual and will act in the best interest of the child.

Clearly, a sociopath NEVER acts in the child's best interest. He acts in his own. If it gets him what he wants, it is okay regardless of who gets hurt. Barry Goldstien, a tireless domestic violence advocate, has this to say about custody issues:

A standard abuser tactic is for him to tell the mother she will lose custody if she leaves because of some real or imagined charge. Too often, women stay with an abuser because she is afraid she will lose custody over an issue that he can't prove or is not important.

Another common abuser tactic is seeking joint custody. Such a request seems benign (too often to the courts), but is often misunderstood. Joint custody is not about visitation. A father can have normal visitation without custody. Instead, it is used to control his ex-partner. Joint custody is generally a bad idea and should never be considered where the father has been abusive. Many decisions affect the parent living with the children more, but joint custody requires equal rights in decision-making. “

Other things a sociopath will do:

Encourage the child to disrespect to the mother by interfering in her attempts to create structure for the child, contradicts her rules, and ridicules her in front of the child. He may also permit activities prohibited by the mother (such as watching violent tv shows) and seek custody for vengeance.

Interfering in the relationship between the mother and child by refusing to let the mother comfort a distressed child and/or encouraging the child to be abusive to the mother. A sociopath sees a child distressed at being separated from the mother as a direct attack on him personally. He will often counter by convincing the child that it is the mother's fault.

Use the child as a weapon against the mother by neglecting abusing, and endangering the child to hurt the mother, threatening to harm or kidnap the child, and refusing to buy the child anything because he knows the mother won't let the child go without.
 The Presidential Task Force study summerizes this issue by stating that it is better for a child's development to have limited contact with an abuser. These behaviors are harmful and a very valid reason to fight the sociopath for custody.

Wheel of Abuse for Children:


  1. isnt it possible for a mother to be a sociopath? i am involved in a custody battle where the respondent which is mother... has attempted every "trick" in the book for a gain of control via custody. including but not limited to false accusations of molestation. for some cases you can see the progression of disturbing scenerios that worsen. however with the progression continuing at what point does a judge actually listen before its too late? broken bones, cavity filled teath at age three, black eyes, false accusations of mokestation, a long history of chronic severe diaper rashes. its pretty sad when a three year old is in therepy instead of dance classes and yes this sociopath is a woman.

    1. Yes, they can be a woman. I have an example of this, and am literally fighting for the life of my daughter before this woman destroys her life. You just need to always put your child/children first, and be honest. It takes time, but eventually you make headway.

  2. Thank you for your comment- I am so glad that you asked this question! Yes, women certainly CAN be sociopaths, but it is very, very rare. Many psychological conditions share similar traits... NPD being just one example. Females tend to be more prone to disorders such as borderline (75% are women...

    I think that whatever condition your ex has, your child needs to be protected from the conditions you described. Im not a law professional, but I do believe if you keep taking them back with SOLID PROOF (to avoid he said/she said) of what you are talking about, eventually a judge will listen. I don't think your wife's diagnose matters as much as proving a pattern of behavior and how it negatively impacts the child. In our society, we have parenting standards- set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics- and neglect is neglect, plain and simple! It will effect these kids for the rest of their lives. My heart goes out to you and your child. Keep us posted on what happens.

    1. Can I please speak to you via phone. My husband is a police in military, expert training in terrorism and mental malipulation. I couldn't understand or wrap my head what was slowly happening over 15 years. I could have some woman call me and tell me of affair and he would somehow make me feel crazy, turn it around and encourage me to get therapy for my lack of trust. The torment and endless nights of sleep became my norm. Now, in process of divorce, I found he was cheating all 15 years, neighbor, babysitter, his soliders and I cant wrap my head around the torture he put me thru, lying without conscience. This is just a tiny bit of hell I've endured. He finally found someone worth leaving family for, a girl 14 years younger. All of a sudden, he wants to be in my two little girls life. His conversation with my 11 year old scare me, he twist and turns every phone call to her in tears and him telling her shes love of his life but she pushed him to this level of anger. His need to demand and control childreb thru his fatherly rights sickens me. He doesn't truly care, the time he had with them, a few days he was meeting up with my child's gorgeous teacher, outside school. My fice year old says daddy should have sex in bathroom so she couldnt see. He lives in a gated community, while we struggle financially. He only buys girls things if they are with him. He could care less what they need if it requires any sacrfice on his part. I have a questions of interogatory from his attorney one of which says why I should have custody and why he should not. Im struggling with this because he amazingly good looking, charming, funny and says all right things but all is lies. I need to protect my girls, he was molested as a child and how possesive he is of my gorgeous ten year old seems like hes grooming her. He, of cou rse is painting himself as victim, who only wants to hear his childrens voices and im crazy mom who is trying to interfere. Sidenote, he has a 21 year old h e barly speaks too and when he does he calls her a loser. Since she was young, his interest in her was fleating, like a bored child losing interest of new toy. He'd never get her anything, always saying his child support pays and her lazy mom needs to work. I bought her whatever she needed and she failed almost every class at some points. When I sat down with her to help, he refused. When her mom called saying she was sucuidal, he coldly told me he had his own problems. He disgarded her at a young age, seeing her once. Year if that, and didnt loose any sleep over it. If it wasn't for me, her summer visits wouldnt happen bexause he truly seemed less interested her teenage years and she confided in me he flirted with her 16 yr old friends asking them about sex and what they did with boyfriends. I was sickended. When confronted, he would say im crazy, how cou ld I even ask him tha t. My point, he will discard and ruin my innocent girls. My oldest looks a lot lile him, is a straight A student and he seems to have an obsesive love for her. I don't want her to go thru the crazy world of silent treatments, begging for forgiveness for something thst wasn't your fault, falling for lovebombing and confusion and shock when they are gaslighting. I need to answer these questions, hoping the court will see him for wha t he is. Please help. Can I call u

    2. Contact me on the facebook page
      and let's set up a time to chat. I don't know if I can answer your questions, but you're not alone!

    3. I shutdown my fb due to stalking. What is that book you reccommend for answering questions about raising children. They w ant me to answer why I should get custody and he should not. I thought I saw something about a blueprint for those types of questions. There is sooo many woman, I'm getting a headache trying to gather everything.

    4. email me.
      My case has turned into the worst nightmare ever. I'm learning along the way, but I might have a few things you can consider! Also, make sure you also write an interrogatory too! It allows allegations that are admitted to become a *fact* on record!

    5. The mistake people sometimes make is
      treating a whole gender as though they
      are evil. E.g., all/most men are abusers,
      all women in custody battles are false
      accusers. This freakish, delusional
      paranoia, of a whole gender, is what enables
      family lawyers to take every single asset
      and piece of property both parents had.
      The whole key to custody battles is to get
      a judge who understands that retained family
      lawyers will normally be the child's and the
      parents' greatest adversary, a judge who will
      treat parents equally or identically, and who
      will relentlessly order inter-parent
      communication and mediation to protect the
      parents, the children and the entire extended
      family from the family lawyers and from the
      family courts in general.

  3. I am living this nightmare. I had a temporary hearing and presented information on lack of support and the father not acting in the best interest of my daughter. He had even gone as far as creating fake photos and emails to show I was a bad parent. He lied on the stand and he still got awarded overnight visitation. I am going to continue to fight for my daughter. During the first overnight weekend he did not let me talk to her at all. She returned extremely upset and cried all morning at her daycare. I have been living this nightmare for two years- any advice or references or proven study information I could get would be helpful for my final hearing. I wish he would just relinquish like he did with his first son but instead he uses my daughter to torture me :(

    1. Hi Anonymous @ August 8, 2013 @ 7:53 AM. I'm not sure what advice to offer here, because everyone's situation is different. Every judge is different in what they consider harmful. It seems to me, in the cases I have read about- without alcohol or drug issues, there will be NO supervised visitation. A couple of things: 1) If you have temporary custody of your daughter, this is a good thing even if he got overnight visits. I can't stress enough how important this is, even though you daughter is distressed, because legally you have the upper hand. You will be in a stronger position to protect your daughter going forward. 2) I publish a lot of research on Antisocial Personality Disorder, abuse, and the effects on children. Check under the research tab. I do want to note that I personally feel a diagnose isn't worth the expense because I went that route and the judge didn't understand or care- he called it Nit Picking. 3) Research "willingness to facilitate a relationship" because ALL of the moms I know lost custody based on this- standard abuser tactic.4) Spend a lot of time with your little girl and help her learn positive self soothing techniques and create a plan for coping with stress. 5) Ask the court immediately for a remedy to telephone interference. Tell them the specific problem and offer the judge a specific solution that makes it easy for him to accept. Good Luck- lots of hugs and prayers being sent your way! You may be able to get your child a better deal by bartering child support for easier terms. If you can settle, do it. Stay out of court if at all possible.

  4. why is this post only aimed at fathers being sociopaths? shouldn't it be a collective he/she seeing as bother parents could potentially be a sociopath?

  5. The comment above at the top address the reasons this post, and others throughout the site, discussing sociopathic fathers. To restate... It is not intended to be gender biased. ASPD / sociopathy is primarily a male dominated disorder. I feel that to pen the article using he/she language skews the fact that there are very few female sociopaths who go into court and fight primary caregiver fathers for custody. In the context above, it relates to a well used strategy by abusers to win child custody over a fit and loving primary caretaker. I welcome any and all information about females/mothers with ASPD. Write a guest post, tell your story- and I will publish it. In the meantime, BIG HUGS to all of the mothers AND fathers out there who endure this!

  6. Sociopathic grandfather and judge molested my son. Sociopathic father also molested by father and judge. Sociopathic father hasn't seen child in 2 1/2 yrs but wants visitation now. He abandon this issue 2 yrs ago to run off on vacation with another women. Divorce has taken years. He refuses to pay child support and the judge does nothing. As stated the father of my child who we call Chris is the son of a senior Jufge. Power and money allowed him to molest my child and walk free. DFS allowed the Judge and grandfather a hearing without us even allowed to be informed about said hearing much less to attend or present our case. Father s a lawyer is a friend of the Judge and Grandfather. I now and subject to Father moved a trailer on the farm next door and the sciopathic alcoholic and his girlfriend harrass us. My child and I have been held at gun point by this man. Because daddy is the Judge sonny gets away with it all. In Missouri DWI Judges don't have to pay!!! Hope u can read this . I only have an I Phone . Please help us snd pray for God to stop these sick people.

  7. That is a very sad situation. I am in similar situation. My son is 14 yo and he says he's not going back to his dads. My son has been through a lot with his dad. He has beat him, threatened him, had to endure verbal abuse, endangered his life, and just recently, has threatened my child by telling him that he will kill him then kill himself. The judges and lawyers don't care. My ex beat my child with a frying pan, my child told the judge this, but he ordered my child to see his dad the next day. If it was the judges child, the outcome would be different. I am not one of those parents that would just let the child quit going or withhold visitation based on normal feelings between ex's. I just don't understand what they need. If my child has been threatened of his life, I feel I have the right as a parent to protect him. The courts won't see it that way. They didn't before and I'm sure they won't this time. Recently my ex also gave my 14yo the keys to his vehicle and let him drive out of state by himself. I see that as child endangerment. At 14 you don't even have a learners permit. My child could have wrecked and been killed by these rediculous acts by his father.

  8. I need help I'm battling a sociopath that is still obsessed with hurting me he won custody I'm on my second trial now I kno he's not doin good things n my son is neglected I hav no money for a lawyer he does how can I get help

    1. How did he win custody?

    2. I don't know if the poster is going to reply, but I wanted to throw my two cents in on this question. There are a lot of different ways to "win" a custody trial- even when you're a sociopath. Sometimes, especially if you're a sociopath. Not being able to afford good representation is a major disadvantage. The custody battle arena is complex, and you're completely at the mercy of convincing ONE individual- who has his or her own preconceived opinions about the issues you're presenting- to make a choice about what is best for a child he or she has never met and knows nothing about. Daunting task, without a lawyer who knows how to get your voice heard.

  9. hi- so sorry you're going through this! I would look into finding a lawyer that is willing to give you guidance while you to represent yourself. A lot of them work this way. Its heartbreaking to see our kids neglected! What is your current parenting arrangement?

  10. This blog is very informative and I would like to see some more blogs on this topic.
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  11. Underestimate child visitation at your peril. While it is becoming a hot topic for debate, child visitation is featuring more and more in the ideals of the young and upwardly mobile. It is an unfortunate consequence of our civilizations history that child visitation is rarely given rational consideration by the aristocracy, trapped by their infamous history. Complex though it is I shall now attempt to provide an exhaustive report on child visitation and its numerous 'industries'.

  12. Hey ive been through hell and back with my ex..she is a mirror of your post. She had numerous affairs and when she was confronted she had a way of putting it all on mr. She has filed 46restraining Orders against her ex bf. now we are down to where she will not let me see or talk to our daughter who is 8. I have contacted the school and her teacher has said that our daughter is not doing well. That she isnt wanting to listen to anythi.g. she said that its almost like she has been neglected. She has put her in 2 sports however she wont tell me where they are.but says if i dnt pay for them she will tell our daughter she cant pkau anymore. She has been very abusive to her other kids. She has 3children by 3 men and she has kept all them from there dads. The third bf is foi.g to the final hearing to help me proove a history. Shes filed fake charges on me. Her room is a open door to many many many men..when she left she left me with everytging and no money..i have no arty and she im doi.g everything i can to see my daughter but i feel as though if i dnt ive let my ddaughter down..this is really exteemly hard on everyone. I have heard that the kiss methad works well on socuopath..whats your IooIookfrward to any advice..thanks

  13. My dad won custody of me. I think he is a sociopath.He did so many things that seem like he is one. Flat out telling me he didn't care about my feelings. Saying I was stupid. When I tried to reach him and tell him how I felt he said I was just trying to guilt trip him. He would say my mom abandoned me and didn't care about me, (When really she did, but he wasn't letting her see me.) I was in hell. I am so upset that he got custody of me and made my childhood hell. I remember my mom telling me we were going to go someplace safe and be far away from him one day and when she tried I was left all alone with him. I want to fight to make sure he does not get child support money now. I don't even know if there is anything I can do, but I know he does not deserve anything because he did not take care of me.

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  15. I have a question. How does one help a potential new spouse grapple with this. My ex is a sociopathic co parent. But because of this, my bf has decided it's a deal ex holds me hostage by making future relationships impossible. Help