Co-parenting with a sociopath might be the hardest challenge you have to face in your parenting journey. A sociopath may be charismatic and popular among people, but behind that mask lies a non-empathetic, manipulative, and unkind person. They take pleasure in causing others pain and distress, including children, for no reason.
Their greatest weapon of getting whatever they want is manipulation. Sharing responsibility with such a person is difficult. You require constant support to help you through the parenting journey. This article will help you understand how to recognize a sociopath and the best way to co-parent with them.
How Can You Recognize A Sociopath
Looking at a person may not be sufficient enough to recognize a sociopath. You require time to learn what is beneath the facade of charisma, intelligence, and popularity. Some of the common characteristics of a sociopath include;
- They have shallow emotions and don’t show remorse or guilt after hurting others. They assume nothing has happened and expect the victim to forget and move on.
- Desire power and control others.
- They are constantly and intolerably bored and will always look for a way to entertain themselves.
- They lie and twist the truth to look like they are the victim.
- They lack conscience and empathy.
- They find satisfaction in hurting others, including children.
- They use manipulation, lies, bullying, and other means they deem fit to achieve whatever they want.
- They rarely sustain meaningful relationships as they keep hurting people.
- They are irresponsible, deceitful, disregard social norms, disobey laws and regulations, and are quickly frustrated.
How Is It To Co-parent With A Sociopath
Co-parenting with a sociopath can be difficult, painful, and frustrating. It could make you hate your role. Sociopaths are always out to manipulate and derive pleasure from frustrating you and may use the children as a weapon of instilling guilt and hopelessness.
If they succeed in making them a source of entertainment, they will keep doing it. The first step to stopping a sociopath is to stop providing them with entertainment by avoiding their manipulation and blackmail. If you get angry, infuriated, or react emotionally, you fuel their desire to continue hurting you.
How To Co-Parent With A Sociopath
You expect emotional drain when co-parenting with a sociopath. You require mental stability to protect the children and you from emotional or physical abuse. The following tips could help you in this;
Set And Establish Boundaries
It is essential to agree on rational boundaries and strictly adhere to them. Avoid giving them room for manipulation or blackmail. Stand firm on your grounds and, if need be, walk away or cut the conversation if you realize the sociopath is inclined to hurt you.
When you get angry, infuriated, or react emotionally, you fuel his desire to hurt you or the children to satisfy and boost his self-esteem. Additionally, a sociopath is highly responsible and may fail to meet parental responsibility.
When dealing with a sociopath, it may help to have a parenting deed clearly stating the responsibilities and visiting terms. If they violate the terms, you can get a court order to enforce them or a restraining order in case of abuse.
If the sociopath is the one living with the children, find out the welfare of the children. If there are any indications of neglect or stress, you could get a court order giving you or the responsible person custody. Signs of child neglect include;
- Fails to take children to school.
- They are unable to access medical care in case of illness.
- They fail to take care of young children, letting the siblings take over the responsibility.
- Children rely on neighbors or well-wishers for their basic needs.
- The children are unhappy, unkempt, dirty, or seem stressed.
Being assertive could help you while dealing with a sociopath. Learn how to communicate without becoming unnecessarily emotional. Where possible, your discussion should be about your children. Try to be civil with each other for the sake of your children.
When you have a conflict, you could involve a neutral person to help you solve it. For your mental health, seek help from a therapist or specialist in case of emotional abuse or distress. You could also seek help from a religious leader, trusted family member, or friend. If there is any physical abuse to you or your children, report it to the authorities.
Avoid Power Struggle
Avoid the temptation of wanting to prove to your children that you are the better parent. Respect the children and solve your conflicts without involving them.
Be Self Aware
Be aware of your emotions, feelings, cognitions, and thoughts. When you master yourself, it will be easy to deal with others. Have some me-time and do what you love. Self-awareness helps boost your self-esteem, and the sociopath will not be able to manipulate or blackmail you.
Sociopaths are not remorseful of any actions, including harming others. Focus on your safety and that of your children. If possible, avoid meeting with them in a private entity. You could meet in a park or a restaurant where you can get help if they get physical. It may call for you to move houses if it could save your lives. The bottom line should be your safety.
Be positive and intentional when bringing up your children. Instill discipline and respect in them as you foster positive values. Help them become better and responsible members of society.
In conclusion, co-parenting with a sociopath is not easy as they seek to manipulate, bully and blackmail you for their satisfaction. They have no emotions and will not be guilty or remorseful after hurting you. The tips highlighted could help you understand sociopaths better and know how to deal with them.