My name is Samantha (pen name) and I am the proud mamma of a perfect little boy. I have spent the last few years half embroiled in a nasty custody dispute with a sociopath. We were never married and I had always been the primary caregiver. In 2011, the father filed for custody of my son because I broke up with him and asked for child support.
He was on supervised visitation due to parenting, anger and violence issues. The court awarded him split custody, and made him the primary residential parent.
I was ordered to send my son to live with his father on Christmas Day of 2011.
It has been quite a journey. What began as a simple case in a rural Tennessee county went to the second highest court in the state on appeal in 2012. I lost, yet refused to quit trying to save my son. In 2013, I filed criminal contempt and a request for modification with the same judge I had brought up on appeal.
I won. Today, I have sole legal and physical custody of my son except for the months of June and July.
My little guy was only 4 years old when our story began. He struggled daily with the custody situation and cried all of the time. He has endured more than any young child should have to, and I am so proud of his resiliency. His favorite pets include five tree frogs, three toads, two spring frogs, a salamander, a worm snake, and various fish. He also has a horse and a dog, but they play second string to the reptile collection.
I had never heard of Antisocial Personality Disorder. I first came across it while talking to an online counselor about some problems I was having in my relationship with my boyfriend. What he said scared me enough that I knew that I needed help. I discovered that finding information on this disorder, as it relates to child custody battles and co-parenting, is difficult.
I scoured professionals and expert resources looking for whatever I could learn. I asked for advice from multiple sources. Everyone said the same thing: to get as far away as I could and have no contact with him. Unfortunately, I could not wrap my head around that idea. I stayed and kept looking for a solution.
Ultimately, I was shattered into a million pieces. The sociopath in my life made good on many of his threats. My family and my closest friends have also endured a fair amount of abuse. Semi -glued back together again, here I stand: battered but still weathering the storm. My story is far from finished, but I want to share what I have learned with other women who may be facing a similar situation.
Running is good advice if you have no court order in place. I tried to take the high road and work through this problem as a team, but I still didn't understand the trouble I was in. I honestly believed that the family court system would protect us.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. So, one of my goals is to educate the family court system and the public about this devastating disorder.
As a rule, children need two parents. The courts assume that this is always in the best interest of the child. In a normal situation, I agree. BUT sociopaths are not normal- they are not really capable of giving true love, let alone nurturing. They also pose a significant risk to the child: children are at risk of developing the disorder though both genetics and environment.
I titled my blog “In Search of a Soul” because the sociopath is the closest thing to a soul-less creature that I have ever encountered. Straight from the lore, they are “skin-walkers”, adapting whatever form they think will achieve their goal. Some are brilliant and successful, others not so much. All of them are manipulative, cunning, and dangerous.
As you navigate this site, please feel free to ask questions and send me your stories. One of the biggest gifts I have received is support from other women who are dealing with personality-disordered abusers. I want to give back. It is good to know that you are never completely alone. Every step that you take towards exposing the truth is one step closer to victory. You may never defeat a sociopath, but sometimes you can out-maneuver them and (hopefully) escape their madness.
Definition of Skin-Walker:
"In some Native American legends, a skin-walker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires, though they first must be wearing a pelt of the animal, to be able to transform. Similar lore can be found in cultures throughout the world and is often referred to as shape shifting by anthropologists.” - Wikipedia
The sociopath isn’t capable of feeling the same emotions that you and I do. This point can’t be emphasized enough, as it is their greatest weapon. Everyone assumes that we all have similar feelings and thought, that we make judgments based on an inner moral compass that tells us right from wrong. This is the meat of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Not only is their conscious missing, but also they know it and believe that they are superior because of it.
Sociopaths mimic emotions and acceptable behavior (when they need to) by watching us. Although they will never wear our skin or walk a mile in our shoes, they can temporarily transform by copying our behavior. Some people call this wearing a mask, or the many masks of a sociopath, but I like the definition of a skin-walker.