RE: ex-husband

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2011
RE: ex-husband
Mon, 07-08-2013 - 12:43am

I hope this is an okay place to post since I am talking about an ex-husband (just about - the divorce papers are almost here). I am going through hell with this person. It may seem that once your divorce is over, the nightmare is over, but it is not true, esp. in the case of sociopaths (of the passive-aggressive type). 

I have two children with him, eighteen and twelve. Such incredible daughters. For some reason, they still want a relationship with him although I really don't want it to continue. I wanted to stop visitation a long time ago (I would have gone to the courts for this) but when I sat down with my oldest and gently explained to her that for now visitation will be stopped, she would not have it.We have been separated for about eight years now.

This is what he has done:

1)stopped all communication with me about a year and a half ago. He sends his "messages" through his kids, even though they have repeatedly told him they do not want to be his messengers.

2)tells them constantly he cannot find work or cannot work due to his health problems.

3)told one of his daughters (the twelve year old) that she cannot be a gymnast because she was not consistently in gymnastics since she was much younger. He totally burst her bubble.

4)Tells them that he has given them everything, even though he has done precious little to contribute, especially any type of cultural or artistic education - that has all come through me. 

5)Is critical over things that they do - even though it has nothing to do with reality.

6)Makes them apologize to his girlfriend if she gets mad at anything (and she gets mad at everything). I always teach my children to respect adults and to respect her, but he treats her as if she was the Dalai Lama.

7)Asked my twelve year old daughter twice if she has a boyfriend. This totally set off my radar. Something about that doesn't sound right. 

Numerous, countless other things. He was emotionally, mentally abusive to me when we were married, refused to give me even a smidgen of affection, constantly lied, belitted, made jokes at other's expense, was impulsive, unstable.

He sees them once a week but even in one day causes me much grief due to his words and sometimes actions.

Every characteristic that is listed for sociopathic behavior is consistent with his behavior. I have seen him kick a dog, which is one of the characteristics. I plan to write down everything he does, and go to counseling with my daughters to let them talk about this stuff.

Do you have suggestions for other things? Again, if you prefer that I write in to a divorce support group, I understand. Thanks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2001
Wed, 07-10-2013 - 12:32am

Gentlerush, you are more than welcome to post here, if you're dealing with someone toxic, no matter who they are, it applies!

I'm sorry you're dealing with this; more to the point, I'm sorry your kids are dealing with this.  I can completely understand why they'd be drawn to continue with him; not only guilt, but he's their dad and kids, no matter what their age, want their parents to be who they should be and are drawn to keep trying to please them/gain their approval, etc.  

I also agree that counseling is the right place for them.  Dealing with a sociopath means they need the help a therapist can offer - even though they likely don't realize what he's doing to them.  I think that's your first priority.  Once they've worked with a therapist for a while, they'll be better able to recognize what's going on and be better able to make good decisions about seeing him.  

In looking for a therapist, you might call your local DV center and ask for a therapist they recommend or use.  The reason I suggest this is a therapist who works with DV victims is very much aware of the games abusers/sociopaths play and the effects, will recognize them quickly and will be an expert at working with your girls.  

Good luck -- keep us updated! 

~ cl-2nd_life

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 07-08-2013 - 11:37am

I agree that counseling is probably the best bet here.  I'm a divorce lawyer and although your ex is doing things that aren't appropriate, it's probably not enough to stop visitation or even get supervised visitation.  For that, you need very serious obvious stuff like physical abuse, drug use, etc.  And also it would not apply to the 18 yr old, since she is an adult--it's up to her to decide whether to see her father.  You said that he says he can't find work--the divorce papers should require him to pay child support.  In my state, if a person says that he's unemployed, then the court will require him to apply for jobs and report back to the court--usually a lot of people just get sick of doing that, so then they miraculously find a job.  If he's actually "too sick to work" it should be documented by his doctor so that he can obtain Social Security disability benefits.  I really hope you have a good lawyer for the divorce--you are going to need it.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Mon, 07-08-2013 - 6:03am

I think counseling is a must for you and your daughters.

One thing that stands out to me: It's one thing to teach "respect your elders" to your kids. It's another to make it seem like it's a one-way street. Your STBX's girlfriend does NOT deserve their "respect" if she constantly belittles them and then they feel obligated to apologize. A counselor can help give them tools to deal with this very dysfunctional woman, and I bet it will NOT include an automatic "sorry." All that teaches your girls is it's THEIR fault that someone isn't happy - that's codependent.

They want a relationship with their father like any kid would. Trouble is they don't understand their father is a sociopath and an abuser. He bruises them but since they can't see the bruises, they keep hoping if they keep trying, he'll be "normal" somehow. Your daughters definetley need help to understand they are not responsible for his behavior and choices and that it's OK for them to not react to his abuse.

Good luck.