Armando and Paula

After leaving the sociopath, I fought my anger related to the injustices against me and, in particular, my son.

After about 18 months, I was able to finally let go of the abuses against me, because I understood that the sociopath could not help himself. Causing harm is what feeds the sociopath. Making people doubt their worth and goodness gets them off. I accepted that and realized the sociopath was not a person I would ever want back in my life or my family’s life. I knew I would never receive an apology or anything close to justice. So, I let go.

But letting go of the abuses against my son has been more difficult.

How do you explain to a child that the treatment against the child was not the child’s fault but the fault of a sick and twisted human being?

As parents, we are supposed to teach our children about love and forgiveness. We are supposed to be models for our children.

How was I to expect my son to forgive the sociopath if I did not forgive the sociopath? After all, only people worthy of love and friendship deserve our forgiveness. If a relationship was built on quicksand, there is no foundation for personal forgiveness, in my opinion. And generally, forgiveness means we understand that the person who committed the offense against us will never commit that same offense against us in the future. We trust the person.

With a sociopath, there is no trust, so there is no forgiveness.

But I was able to forgive myself for putting my son in harm’s way, for exposing him to the darkest human type in existence.

I apologized a lot to my son. I talked to my son about trust and expectations of those who love you. I talked to him about shame and blame.

But I also held back from telling my son the truth about the sociopath. Can a 5-, 6- or 7-year-old really understand that kind of evil? Do children have the capacity, without the life expereince, to understand evil among us?

My son knows I wrote a book. He can read and has read the title, but he doesn’t know it’s about “Mommy’s” experience. One day he will read my book and have lots of questions…or maybe he won’t.

Maybe by the time he is able to sit down and read my book cover-to-cover he will have completely forgotten about the sociopath and that the sociopath is the boy in my story.

My son’s forgetting would be the ultimate justice.

Peace! ~Paula

(with my son on his 2nd birthday)

abuse, Child abuse, Children, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Forgiveness, Health, Journaling, Kids, Lessons, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality, Writing

Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. ladywithatruck’s words ring so true for me: “He is just someone I used to know and have no desire to ever see again. I don’t care if he is happy, destitute, sick, well or dead, I simply don’t care. I am so far from the woman I was when I met him or the woman I was when I was with him; I feel very removed from the whole period of time.

    I don’t know how to forgive someone who has no remorse, justifies what he did, blames the victim for what he did and makes no moves to rectify any of the damage he did. I harbor no resentment but I guess I really don’t “get” the forgiveness thing.”

    That pretty much describes where I’m at with my socio sister. I think once you are so indifferent to them that you don’t care if they are happy or sad, well or sick, loved or hated, and you no longer wish pain and suffering on them as revenge, then you have finally let go and disengaged, setting yourself free. There is no possibility of getting them to come clean about their lies or misdeeds. The way I look at it – my sister, through her evil actions, has lost the love and companionship of her once caring, loving – and only – sister. I have withdrawn from her life and am no longer available to her. That is a loss that she will feel more deeply as time goes on. She has no husband or children, so will be alone in the world when our 85-yr-old mom passes away. My daughter, on the other hand, feels such hate and resentment for my sister that she hopes she (her aunt) dies a horrible death of AIDS while my Mom is still alive. That way it will be confirmed to all – especially my mom – that my sister was a parasitic, promiscuous bottom-feeder that lived an amoral life and left a path of pain and destruction behind. That is what helps my daughter to feel no need to get justice herself. She hopes Karma will come around and punch my sister squarely in the face. People deal with their pain and hurt differently, and who am I to say my daughter has no right to feel that way? Who is my mom to say that I should make amends with my sociopathic sister? When there is no remorse and accountability for the evil deeds committed against us, there can be no forgiveness nor reconciliation. All we can do is assume a self-protective stance by taking measures to make sure we are no longer available to them to be victimized further. My problem is that even though I have no contact with socio sister, I still have occasional contact with the rest of my family. So indirectly, I am still available to a much lesser degree, for now. But once my mom is gone, that will end once and for all and I can make a clean break. I just wish I had known years ago what I know now. How different things would have been. It pains me to think that I had my sister as a bridesmaid in my wedding, let her take my kids places, let her insult my husband and badmouth me to my parents and siblings all those years. Hindsight is truly 20/20.


  2. I would love to know what you did and HOW you overcame your anger and let go of your desire for ‘revenge’ against all of his injustices. I am 6 weeks no contact after four years on and off and I can’t get there at all. I am still SO angry at him and can’t comprehend WHY would he do so many heartless things to me (such as proactively tell me he was in love with me and ready to get married while simultaneously starting up another relationship among many other equally awful things). And so instead of being able to forgive him, I still have this shameful desire to make him suffer emotionally in the way I have because it seems so unfair that he never once assumed any responsibility for his lying and cheating nor did he ever apologize to me or express empathy for my heartache, rather he walked away unscathed. When I think about it all, my blood starts to boil and then I start to cry. Not uncontrollably, just a constant stream of heavy tears pouring down my face.


    • Evelyn, I had those feelings, too. I had to work though them because I did not want to hate. I sense that you don’t either. One of the best things I did for myself outside of writing down my memories as they returned to me over time was to start practicing yoga and meditation. I know it doesn’t sounds like something that would work, especially to those who have never tried it or think it’s some type of religion. It’s really more of a journey into ourselves and a release of the toxins and anxieties that keep us stuck and hating. I recently put together a playlist of videos on YouTube for beginners. If you are interested, I recommend trying the first two videos. Ease into the exercises and focus on yourself. We will never have the answers we deserve from the sociopath/narc. Never. Accepting that is difficult and we end up ruminating or being triggered by smells, sounds and even words or reactions we have to others. Breathing and connecting to myself and uncovering my own not-so-perfect sensations and thoughts has truly helped me avoid hating the sociopath and seeking revenge. He’s not powerful, not even close to being as powerful as I am to myself. 🙂


  3. Great post Paula. You couldn’t be responsible for your sons forgiveness (As he is just a child and doesn’t understand such concepts), so your real thing is 1. Can you forgive yourself 2. Will later in life your son be able to forgive you? Your son, he will learn by example, by following your example. So if you show forgiveness this is how he will think it is right. Kids learn by example more than anything. I think anyway 🙂


    • My son is quite vocal and has always been. When I left the sociopath, my son would keep asking about him and tell me that he didn’t like him. He’d say, “I hate Wooben, Mommy.” I sensed my son’s fear, so I’d apologize and tell him not to worry, I would never make him go to his house again. He was 5. Now, almost 8, my son and I just talk about whatever he wants to talk about when it comes to his school friends and other relationships. People are important to my son. It’s rare that he mentions not liking a person. So, when he told me how much he hated the sociopath, I took it seriously and not like it was just him being jealous. 🙂


    • Children are very perceptive (more so than adults) you will find it in the dating arena, they will be vocal, whereas they might not say this about someone you are friends with. Simply because they see this as a person that they have to share you with. Most importantly because they are looking out for you. Protecting you. Children have great instinct. If only adults were as well refined, I think it is something that is lost as we grow older – sadly!! Sounds like you are doing a fab job as a mum!! 🙂


    • Thank you. My son makes parenting look easy. And I think you’re right–children have a sixth sense that we somehow lose as we get older.


  4. Very nice, Paula…

    I have a psychopathic son and five other children above the age of 18 that were exposed to two psychopaths in my life, one of them being the children’s father and a marriage of 20 years. . .

    I can tell you that you’re in a very ‘gifted’ place when it comes to your son and his exposure. At this point in time, given his age and when you got out, it is likely he will not remember it. It is even MORE likely when he has an attentive and loving parent.

    Sometimes, we project our pain or what we think we perceive our child (ren) are thinking about our experiences, when they are incapable of it, or when they are old enough and haven’t yet shared what their perceptions are. As I read your post and you shared about explaining to your son…

    Well, I understand why, but I think it’s over the top for what he is able to comprehend. I think that it comes from a place of guilt for you, something that will eventually dissolve as you process and time moves on.

    Our children are very resilient. More so than we give them credit for sometimes because despite the fact that my children were exposed to so much psychopathy and one of my son’s is disordered, the rest turned out pretty okay. Sure, they have their issues and they recall clearly their experiences with both psychopaths, but what makes a huge difference is my effort to make amends with them. In my case, this is absolutely warranted and necessary because my children are adults now. They deserve that from me. If they were the age of your son, it would be very, very different.

    So, try not to be too hard on yourself, try to let the guilt and shame of it go. It’s done and over with and my guess is that your son will turn out to be a fine young man, with a mom like you at the helm.

    You intervened in getting this man out of your life. Just in time.



  5. Forgiveness is such a tricky thing. The hardest part was forgiving myself for what my son went through and for a long time I was guilt ridden and felt a need to apologize over and over. I felt horrible that HE packed hate for my ex. We are both past all of that now and JC is not part of our vocabulary at all. JC is only part of my vocabulary as far as my blog goes but otherwise he is nothing to me.
    I have told him I forgive him; but at the time I didn’t and to think about it now I don’t feel I have to forgive him because that puts too much importance on the impact he had on my life. He is just someone I used to know and have no desire to ever see again. I don’t care if he is happy, destitute, sick, well or dead, I simply don’t care. I am so far from the woman I was when I met him or the woman I was when I was with him; I feel very removed from the whole period of time.

    I don’t know how to forgive someone who has no remorse, justifies what he did, blames the victim for what he did and makes no moves to rectify any of the damage he did. I harbor no resentment but I guess I really don’t “get” the forgiveness thing


  6. good thoughts here…
    we all make decisions with the information we have at any given time
    as parents we are not perfect and need to remember NOT to beat ourselves up for mistakes we have made
    getting out, changing the home situation, etc picking up the pieces…moving on…
    that’s all part of growing with living
    as far as the letting go…that’s an individual call, and depends, I think, on any given level of ‘involvement’ with the one who harmed us.
    ‘all in good time’


    • I like this response. We do make the best decisions at the time. We are all capable of transforming our experiences in a way that most suits our own growth and happiness.


  7. I feel it begins with forgiving your self, for not knowing you taking the fast track to hell and not being ashamed you were too blind to see. My 2 grown sons (mine, not his) still are angry (almost hate me) because I brought “him” into our lives. My 10 year old son screams “Why did you have to pick him to by our DAD”! My 12 year old daughter, she kinda gets it, but is angry “HER” Daddy isn’t the great daddy every other little girl has, and dreams of better. So this also how I forgive him, because of their anger, he doesn’t know what damage he has done, and continues to do. Because in his mind “HE IS THE GEATEST” lol. How can you stay angry, at someone who is obviously so sick. I just try to protect my children the best I can, and I wish I had the opportunity to forget. I constantly remind my 2 younger ones “One single decision can change your whole life, good or bad – now or 10 years from now, choose wisely”.


    • I like what you wrote about not being angry at someone who is “obviously so sick”. These individuals are so distorted and impossible to relate with that you end up feeling almost nothing after awhile.


  8. It’s been 15 years since I took my girls and ran. In that time many life changes have occurred I believe the most effecting was 2 years ago he passed away from AIDS related complications. I’ve not (to their satisfaction yet apologized to them for allowing them to stay in such a horrible situation but, as three of the 4 are now mothers they might understand it’s not as easy as they thought. The effect it had on them was not really noticeable until his burial service and only the 3 youngest girls came. The oldest wanted nothing to do with it and I can’t say as I blame her because out of the 5 of us females she and I were the targets, punching bags whatever you want to call us.


  9. This is a tough one, letting go of the need for justice, which some people translate into wanting “revenge”. Go figure when someone has lied to you and stolen from you–you kind of want justice done–but yes–the letting go of that. I am not sure that I am there yet but I want to be because then it would mean that i am finally free. Thank you for posting this Paula. You have articlualted feelings that I had that I did not even know were there.


    • It was and has been the hardest part of reaching my peace. I was reminded by a fellow blogger of the possibility that I still might have hate in my heart for the sociopath. I understand where it comes from. And it comes in waves, especially if I remember something that happened. I am so close, I think, to finally letting go of that need. In writing this, I could feel myself distancing even more from the need. But time is the biggest measure. 🙂


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