Monday, August 26, 2013

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

It may be wrong to say it, but sometimes I wish the Liar's pants would catch on fire, for real.

I have been thinking a lot lately about lies and the motivational forces behind them. Sociopaths are experts at lying, and I'm pretty sure lawyers are too (do they get special training in law school, or what). While I don’t think lies are inherently good or bad, I do think that the intention behind them is a powerful indicator of a disordered personality.

The best I can figure, lies serve two main purposes: to protect or to manipulate. Protective lies are the ones that most of us are guilty of telling. Complementing someone falsely to spare their feeling or to protect ourselves (or loved ones) from danger. We feel bad for doing it, but decide that is the best action to take in a situation.

Sometimes we accidentally lie by not following through on the things we say we will do. When confronted, we readily own up to it and apologize. Geez, I’m so sorry I did that. I don’t know where my mind has been lately.

Manipulative lies are designed with a more sinister purpose in mind. These lies seem to serve no purpose on the surface, but really they are intended to accomplish a goal. The goal may be to win us over to the liar's side, make us love them or inflate their own ego.

When we confront a sociopath with their lies, they attack. The attack can be directly against us, or indirectly against us by targeting a third party. I have noticed the following patterns when confronting personality disordered liars :

Attack: Shift the Blame

The “Shift the Blame” strategy can be an indirect attack on a third party or circumstance. I don't know about you, but for me these are easier to spot. It usually involves the sociopath inventing a story. The stories are somewhat fantastical and fall apart under careful analysis.

 It might involve an active smear campaign about us or something more ridiculous, like saying they couldn't fulfill an obligation because they were hit by a car and hospitalized.  This is BS you can smell a mile away. Any person in regular contact with you- who really cares about you- doesn’t forget to tell you vital information until you call them out.

A more direct “Shift the Blame” attack involves insulting us directly. I think a lot of us have gone through this. It involves projection and put downs. It usually has the the words, “... because your a...” (fill in the blank.) Or they may say, “why didn't you...” do whatever it is that you could have done to prevent them from lying in the first plae.

Attack #2: Guilt Trip

What do sociopaths feed off of? Our compassion and empathy. The attack in this case usually making US feel bad about their lie.

Example #1: “I guess I am just a worthless person. After all, I'm only working my butt off for you. “

Example #2: “Join the list of everyone who's mad at me. I'm miserable but I have to stay here, in this horrible place, just for you.”

Attack #3: Isolation and Alienation

Similar to Shift the Blame, but the attack is designed to not only defend the lie, but also isolate us from anyone who can confirm our suspicions. It usually involves insulting people we are close to, and pointing out how those individuals have failed us, which the sociopath has not.

Attack #4: Confuse and Distract

Most of us are familiar with the gas-lighting technique used in the Confuse and Distract strategy. It consists of them making up additional lies, convincing us we didn't hear what we thought we did, or that we’re just so plain dumb that we failed to comprehend what they were telling us (see the post on the sociopaths deposition for an example.).

I'm sure there are many other techniques I've overlooked here. What patterns have you seen when confronting a sociopath with their manipulative lies?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What God and Rap Sensation M&M Teach Us About Fear

Joshua 1:9 says, “ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don't be afraid, or dismayed. For the Lord, your God, is with you whereever you may go.”

Why is it so hard for us to listen?
In talking with many of you over email and comments, I have noticed that- while our cases differ in some aspects- we all share the same paralyzing fear for our children. I'm talikng about gut wrenching, heart ripping, vomit inducing, imobilizing terror. It's not just we are afraid we will lose custody (although we are) but rather the flabbergasting possibility we will lose our kids to a sociopath.

When I was first served with papers telling me that the sociopath had filed with the court asking for custody, I thought: ya right. He doesn't know anything about my son. He's endangered him, abused him, neglected him, and a mental health profesional has stated he shouldn't be alone with the child. I had pictures, audio recordings, and witnesses. He will never win.

Then I began doing online research and discovered that these monsters do win- and frequently- in family court. The terror set in- far beyond any fear I felt previosly for the safety of my son or myself. I lived in a state of mental numbness, willing to accept any amount of abuse for the sake of proving that I wasn't interfering in a relationship between the sociopath and my son.

When the sociopath didnt show up for a scheduled visitation, I called him and voluntarily rescheduled. When he didnt call my son the talk to him, I would have my son call. I made my son give him gifts every father's day, birthday, christmas. I voluntarily shared every holiday, splitting the day evenly between us. I exhausted myself bending over backwards, trying to facilitate a relationship the sociopath didn't want to begin with. And neither did my son. Every contact resulted in added trauma, resistence, and distress.

I was so afraid, I over compensated. By the time trial rolled around, I was tired and fed up. I didn't eat, I didn't sleep. I broke out in a nervous rash. I started smoking- a lot- to deal with the stress. I thought no one has ever felt this level of fear before- I'm alone. Even my therapist questioned why I was trying so hard to promote a relationship between this sick, sick man and my son. Why? Because the court is going to expect to see that. I have to show the judge- it's not me, it's him.
I handeled fear poorly.

 I don't listen to a lot of music, but I can see a similar fear in the lyrics to one of M&M's songs. (Including getting into court and pretty much forgetting everything I had prepared for- thank goodness I remembered where I lived). How many of you can relate to this?

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down,
The whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won't come out
He's choking how, everybody's joking now
The clock's run out, time's up, over, bloah!”

Im curious about the level of fear you felt in dealing with the sociopath in your life. Is there anyone out there that was capable of obeying God's command to not be fearful? How afraid were you? What coping methods did you use during periods of intense fear?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Family Court and The Sociopath: A Perfect Pairing

I found another great article that might be helpful to some of you in understanding the sociopath in the context of child custody litigation. We have talked about these concepts before, but sometimes it is good to see other perspectives.

 Family Court is perfectly suited to the fantasies of someone with a personality disorder: There is an all-powerful person (the judge) who will punish or control the other spouse. The focus of the court process is perceived as fixing blame — and many with personality disorders are experts at blame.

There is a professional ally who will champion their cause (their attorney — or if no attorney, the judge). A case is properly prepared by gathering statements from allies — family, friends, and professionals. (Seeking to gain the allegiance of the children is automatic — they too are seen as either allies or enemies. A simple admonition will not stop this.) Generally, those with personality disorders are highly skilled at — and invested in — the adversarial process.

Those with personality disorders often have an intensity that convinces inexperienced professionals — counselors and attorneys — that what they say is true. Their charm, desperation, and drive can reach a high level in this very emotional, bonding process with the professional. Yet this intensity is a characteristic of a personality disorder, and is completely independent from the accuracy of their claims. Read the full article at

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Sociopath's Never Ending Quest for Domination

A quick update: the sociopath has refused to settle my current case. Not shocking, I know. It seems he feels he should get to be "in charge", yet pay no child support while I care for my son during the school year and he gets him all summer during playtime.

I agreed to no child support. I offered 40% residential time, a split Primary Residential status (him during summer, me during school year), but I want sole legal decision making due to his refusal to co-parent. It was a toss up as to what was most important to him... the money or maintaining his control over my son and I.

Not surprisingly, power and control won out over financial incentive. His never ending quest for domination has resulted in some new stunts that shocked even me. My attorney meets with the judge on August 15th to talk to him and set aside 2 days for trial. As much as I have prepared my evidence, I still feel disorganized and nervous.

While I  haven't ever really made it off  this crazy hamster wheel, I am going to be running harder than ever. I have the SAME judge... the one that hates me and thought it was a grand idea to take my baby away from the only parent he has ever had and award a sociopath joint physical custody. Then, just to rub it in... name him Primary Residential parent so that it is hard for me to modify the case. WOO HOO! Here we go...