Thursday, November 3, 2016

Yes, You Are Trapped by the Psychopath

(I wrote this in response to a reader's comment on a recent post.    I am sorry it is a huge downer.  But, it is my truth, as I have lived it.  Those of you who are in a relationship or marriage with a psychopath AND WHO DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN with the psychopath --- you are lucky!  YOU ARE NOT TRAPPED.  Leave.  Leave now.  Go no contact.  If you are PREGNANT, and early in the pregnancy, it is my opinion that you should ABORT the pregnancy immediately and get away from the psychopath immediately.)

Unfortunately, dealing with a NSP requires a lot of STRATEGY.

When we are in the midst of interacting with judges (actual judges in a court setting - or any type of judge, in the form of mediators, custody evaluators, social workers, pediatricians, etc), we have to participate in a way that we might not otherwise bother - since it's a waste of our time.  There is too much 'secret code' conversation coming from the abuser, and only we can see it.  There is too much nonsense to filter through.  Too many lies to defend ourselves from.  Too much to explain, correct, etc.  You know.

And, when the NSP is highly intelligent, highly 'respected/respectable', the NSP will always win.  Always.  Somehow the lies (told by the NSP) are more compelling than the truth (told by the target).

I personally keep one eye on some future where 'someone' might review my communication with the NSP, but mostly, I have learned that NOBODY GIVES A SH-T about me, the NSP, or our children.  As mothers, we like to think that there will be some Savior who Gets It and Helps Us and Our Children, who Delivers Us From This Tragic Union With The Psychopath.  I have never ever found this to be the case (with the exception of some friends - who hold zero power to effect change in the situation).  Most people are just trying to get through the day, get their paycheck and get home to their jammies/pets/wine/netflix.   This goes for Lawyers, Judges, Social Workers, Therapists, Teachers, Pediatricians.

I have slowly learned that nobody gives a crap.  They may have some compassion for us, a listening ear, but no change will come of it.  Kindness and Prayer will keep us afloat.  Reading websites (like this one) will help us navigate the strange path we wander -- I read websites like this VORACIOUSLY before and during and after leaving the NSP, desperate for some sort of sense-making.  No meaningful outward change, like a custody evaluation that rights the wrong, has ever come.  No therapist has ever made any concrete improvement in my life or my childrens' lives.  We soldier on, victim to the psychopath's whim and treachery.  Too dramatic, you say?  No.  Not too dramatic.  Accurate.  If you have lived it, you know.


I wasted so many years of my life SPINNING from the psychopath influence in my life.  I wish I could say that I have stopped SPINNING.  But I have not.  I do my best, but my life is still dominated by him, and in many ways - destroyed - by my inability to escape him BECAUSE HE IS THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN.

I don't waste much time or energy on documentation, or tending to the nonsense waste of communication word salad cognitive dissonant bs that the NSP serves up.  Mostly I blatantly ignore.

Also, my 'fight for what is right for the kids' never ever panned out.  The NSP is living the dream life as the Great White Male who does no wrong.  A lot like Donald Trump.  He can be the most repulsive offensive asshat in the universe, but he prevails because of privilege.  Who am I?  I am only The Mother, The Woman.

I am sorry that this is a downer.  But IT IS THE TRUTH that I have experienced thus far, in my long and wasted fight...

Keep up your fight if you have it in you, if you are compelled, if your gut tells you to fight.  Do that.  Your circumstance may require it.  I felt required and compelled when my kids were much younger than they are now, when they were more vulnerable, when I was less experienced in the ways of the legal system and the ways of the world.

Yes, you feel trapped.  I feel trapped.  I believe we absolutely are trapped.  And we have to do the best we can in our circumstance.


  1. I have not commented in a while but I have been reading! I agree with you 100%. The court does NOT care, nor do the lawyers, mediators, etc. I stopped writing down every time he violated the judgement because I realized that no one cares! I tracked his violations during the court proceeding. We put all his errors into a nice little easy to read spreadsheet. The judge didn't care. His attorney would rant and rave, he would look like a scared sheep and the judge would give him MORE.

    The only women, and I don't mean to be gender specific but I haven't seen a man do this, the only women that are even slightly successful are the ones that represent themselves. Maybe it's because they are willing to fight harder. But the toll that I've seen it take on them is immeasurable. The years continue to roll by. Their former spouses go on with their material goods and new girlfriends, insist on the custody schedule and cause problems whenever and wherever they can, and don't give a dime more than is taken from their paychecks. While the women are going to court to try and get a hospital bill paid, and they are battling his lawyer because he'd rather pay a lawyer than hand over another penny.

    I have personally reached the conclusion that the best we can do is to monitor our children, give guidance and support when we can, and live a parallel parenting lifestyle as much as possible. Of course it isn't completely possible as the judgement makes sure of that.

    So what can we do? Your posts about ignoring, isolating, letting go have been tremendously helpful to me. For the most part, I have stopped fighting. I do enforce my boundaries with him. I isolate his intrusion into my life and my children's as much as possible, but I still get triggered. There is still the tiniest part of me that wants to believe the fantasy could have been real, but the realist knows that even the minuscule good times were manipulations for the evil side of his nature. So I limit the chances he has to set me up for the "aha! I got you!!" moments that they thrive on. I still slip, but not often anymore.

    I have been dealing with family court and lawyers for 6 years. I've been out of court for a couple, but never completely out because you never know when you'll have to return at their bidding, or possibly your own. I have friends who think I should return now. I say no. I say no because I can't go there. I haven't recovered from the first rounds, and I am slowly, oh so slowly, taking back my life.

    If you have children, there are only two documents needed to divorce. One about custody and one about finances. The court and the lawyers drag this process out a long, long time when they realize one of the spouses is high conflict. Why? Because they can, and because it's more money for them.

    I feel trapped by the schedule, and by my job that I'd like to leave but can't. I feel trapped by his endless games with the schedule, and by the way that every date I've had since them has to be run through my red flag radar. I think having a good relationship would help, but I haven't been able to go there. I am trapped. However, I am slowly, and I see this happening at a snail's pace, crawling my way out of his abyss. I am slowly rebuilding my life, my social network, and forging a strong relationship as a parent. In the end, I want to be trapped by nothing more than the schedule, because really, as we all know, that's hard enough.

    Thanks for writing. It helps to know I'm not alone.

    1. Hi. Thank you so much for writing.
      It helps to know that I am helping.

      What you wrote was so helpful, that I made it a post.
      I don't want it to get lost in the comment section.

  2. For me, it's been almost 8 years of shared custody with an NSP, visiting a therapist after a therapist, going through a couple of court battles, fighting hard not to drown and stay alive.

    I live in Europe, so obviously different court system and different rules.
    However, I must admit that I met a handful of helpful people who discovered the true colors of my ex and taught me some tactics:

    1. Fact-checking and documenting
    I've learned to fact-check my ex and document almost everything. This way I manage to document his lies from time to time. (Not always feasible, but still a few gotchas and some proofs).

    - taking photos of my kid's homework (his accusation that the school is neglected during my time)
    - obtaining reference letters from my work (his accusation that I don't have a stable job and income)
    - obtaining a signed letter from a course trainer for my kid about the course preconditions (my ex implied my fault on failing to register the kid)

    2. Communication with judges/lawyers/ therapists based on facts and summaries
    I'm emotional and my talking seemed hysterical and nitpicking to others. My personal therapist showed me how to communicate more clearly. First, to focus on facts. Second, to focus on the kid instead of myself. Third, to provide a short summary for each issue (instead of telling every tiny detail).

    3. Limited contact (obviously!)
    Only texts, no emails in my case, no phone calls.

    4. Patience
    In long-term, it turned out that psychologists/therapists see his manipulative games. (When I'm strong enough to go through sessions and explain the facts).
    However, most of them won't issue any opinion or document on the topic, but sometimes they could issue an opinion about myself. For me it was important that professionals see his lack of cooperation and manipulative behavior. It was a proof to myself that I'm still sane.

    Still, in a court you can't be sure anything. It's just too short time to explain everything.

    So, you need solid proofs like: certificate/documents/opinions from independent authorities (psychologists, therapists, school teachers) - those mostly about yourself and your motherhood, reference letters from jobs, certificates about parenting courses. From communication with ex - only a few selected texts where he shows his lack of cooperation or is particularly nasty (no judge will read the entire communication, so it's better to provide only a few examples).

    I'm during one more court battle. I realize that I can fail this time, as the kid is manipulated by the father and seems to prefer the father a bit.

    Often I feel trapped, but sometimes I feel like I may get my live back some day. Just a little longer. Till my child's adult.

    Rose, thank you very much for your blogging. I've been following you for almost three years now. I fell much better knowing that there are others out there who understand my feelings and the hell of a life with a psychopath. It makes me to believe in my sanity once again.

  3. Absolutely needed this article...a million Thank You's to all who have contributed. I naturally did a great job the last 2 years keeping my communication to a minimum. But recently felt like I was getting reeled back in by letting my ex husband have longer conversations with me. I came across this article and will limit my communication. I felt deep down something was wrong just as I felt when I was married. This is how good NSP's are!

    My advice to anybody dealing with these people is to put all of your focus on your children. We only have a limited time with them before they grow up and are gone to experience life!