Yesterday’s post about mothers of sociopaths garnered lots of reaction on this blog and on the Facebook page dedicated to my book, Escaping the Boy.

First, I think it’s wonderful that everyone is sharing their specific experiences and reactions. Doing this allows all of us a greater chance of finding a story that relates to our own, which, in turn, will serve to validate us further and aid us in our healing and recovery.

One thing I did not mention about blame and fault: they are built on the same psychological premise as reward and praise.

The same way we as mothers and fathers can’t take the credit for our children when they do well and succeed, we can’t feel emotionally responsible for our children’s failures.

Do you blame your parents for your mistakes? Do you give them all the credit when you have done exceptionally well in the past?

I doubt it.

The first thing we do as healthy people with healthy egos is thank ourselves or punish ourselves when we succeed and fail.

So why would we blame the parents of a sociopath or narcissist for how they treat others?

Certainly, nurture plays a heavy hand in who and what we become. As parents, all we can do is model care, trust and love in hopes our children will become loving and forgiving adults.

However, nurturing, good and bad, only has so much impact on a person. We are each born as individual humans with the potential to mold and create ourselves in any way we choose.

It really comes down to individual choice: we can continue being a jerk or a good person or we can choose to be something else.

Once we mature, we have the ability to step back, reflect and compare our moral code against society’s and against individuals we admire regardless of our upbringing.

Each of us has the power to be better and do better. We can change!

Sociopaths do not have that power. They are not wired with the ability to step back outside of their material selves and reflect on their core.

And even non-sociopaths, people who remain immersed in toxic relationships, do not have that power.

Think back to how you were in the toxic relationship.

>>Were you able to discern between the fake and the real?

>>Were you able to logically and clearly dissect the chaos and mind games playing out in every scenario?

>>Did you have full and complete control over your own thoughts and actions?

>>Did you love and respect yourself and your ability to solve problems and set personal boundaries?

Being free from the influence of a sociopath and other pathological types is essential for healing and recovery.

The only people who are to blame for inflicting pain upon you and your children and other loved ones are those people who directly inflicted that pain.

If it was your ex and his entire family, then it’s fair to blame them individually.

Give them back the burden you’ve been carrying, even if it’s just a mental and emotional burden you are tossing aside.

But we cannot blame the dead parents or care givers who were once a part of a sociopath’s life. We can’t blame the brothers or sisters we never met.

The full accountability lies with those who inflicted the harm directly, not by proxy.

I love my son and give him lots of love and understanding. My wish is that he grows up to be a man HE can be proud of being.

His success or lack of success will soon have no bearing on whether I was or wasn’t a good parent.

The power to be kind, empathetic, loving and forgiving lies 100% within him.

If your ex is a part of a pathological and toxic family unit, he/she had a choice a long time ago to become a positive influence. Not every person within a toxic family is pathological or destined to become pathological.

But the longer and deeper the delusions run, the less likely the cycle will ever end.

I have met many people through this page who were raised by pathological mothers and/fathers and are not sick themselves. They are good, honest and giving people.

So I wholeheartedly believe the fault lies solely on the abusive person’s shoulders. Not the mother’s, the father’s, the foster parents’ or adoptive parents’.

Those people as individuals may be jerks and assholes, too. They may have been shitty parents and care givers.

But it’s the choice of the individual to continue to be hateful and harmful to victims/survivors who modeled love and honor but, in the end, failed to make an impact.

It’s no more the parent’s fault than it was your fault that the sociopath remains diabolical and unable to change.


© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

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Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I like the work you put into this post, good work, made me do a lot of thinking as I was reading.



  2. Doesn’t anybody think chemical imbalances cause lack of empathy and inability to love?


    • I think people who have suffered at the hands of those who lack empathy and an ability to love are often traumatized by the emotional and physical abuse. Severe and prolonged trauma can cause PTSD and a chemical imbalance that affects one’s ability to think and act cognitively. Often times PTSD interferes with one’s ability to love in healthy and nurturing ways. PTSD sufferers react in angry and misunderstood ways, which interferes with their ability to be empathized with. However, I don’t know if a chemical imbalance, outside of schizophrenia or other diagnosable conditions, could cause a person to lose their ability to empathize.


  3. Paula, I agree 100% that upbringing does not make a person a sociopath, narcissist or psychopaths. If it did then the disorder should have the ability to be fixed with therapy and there is no evidence that has ever happened.
    If a person has the ability to be damaged then they have the ability to be healed, consequently it is up to them to do whatever it takes to heal themselves and stop hurting others.
    People have choices and I take responsibility for my choices when I was with the psychopath, I knew the relationship was unhealthy and didn’t leave. After I finally left I set out to find out why and to never do it again. Whereas he continued as he always has, blaming others for his actions and hooking another unsuspecting woman.
    I was a victim of an evil manipulative disordered individual and can’t be blamed for that but if I didn’t question why I stayed I would never change through course of my life and would undoubtedly end up in another unhealthy relationship.
    I have a son who went through some really bad times with drugs and crime when he was in his teens but he is a wonderful, responsible, loving, hard working young man who I am very proud of. I was told to wash my hands of him when he was in his teens but I stuck by him and supported him with love and encouraged positive behaviour on his part. He straightened out his life on his own. Would he have still straightened out his life had I turned my back on him? We will never know but I know I am not responsible for him turning his life around. He was the one to do that and he has inspired me to become a better person.
    Where I do blame the parents to a degree is when they see their child continue to repeat history leaving a trail of destruction behind them and continue to lie for them, and assist them in their deception.
    If my son had continued for 10+ yrs to wreak havoc on all who came into his life I would not continue to support his actions. I think no matter how old a person is it is the responsibility of the parent to say, “you are being an asshole and I don’t condone your actions and will not lie for you”.
    On the other hand I know they manipulate their families also but I do hold the parents responsible to some degree, not for the upbringing but for helping them continue the abuse.


    • Carrie, you’ve shared a perfect example of our limitations as parents but our unlimited potential to change ourselves and our behavior as individuals.

      One of the best things we can do for each other and other victims/survivors is provide examples of what abuse looks like and examples of what effects of abuse look like. I think the biggest obstacle to healing for non-pathological people is recognizing that we need to be healed.

      The better we are at educating others about self-awareness, trauma and PTSD symptoms, the more victims will emerge as survivors. More will have tools to free themselves and others in their life from the cycle of abuse.

      I am hopeful. But we must be able to recognize the signs and simultaneously be accountable, like you noted. 🙂


  4. Great post.

    The value of understanding the causes (and the mother/son enmeshment, in which the mother makes her most proficient son her de facto husband, because often, her own husband has treated her beastly; only recently have women been able to get economically free of marriage slavery) is valuable in the effort to make sure we, as mothers, don’t do that to our own children, especially sons.

    These men can’t grow up and out of their self-centered toddler brains, because their mommies make sure they have a place of love and nurture, regardless of how heinous they’ve been to their own wives and children.

    They don’t have to woo their wives and children back with decent behavior because their mothers fill their needs. These same mothers often hide their sons’ adultery partners from their daughters in law – the mothers of their grandchildren.

    These mothers of abusive men don’t care about the next generations. They care only about themselves. But trace it back, most of these mothers have been abuse victims themselves,(witnessed by their now abusive sons) which is not an excuse. It’s simply a reason. These mothers cross the line by lying, along with their sons.

    Love from mommy + sex from adultery partner, willing to have sex with a married man and father. An emotionally, physically, and spiritually lethal combination.

    “Those who don’t understand history, are doomed to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana

    But I agree, it’s a delicate balance between understanding causes and effects, and valuing personal responsibility.

    This information is most valuable for young women, as a marker of what lies ahead for themselves, if a partner comes from these types of dysfunctional families, and if that same partner has not completed at least 3 years of intensive therapy, when he was in his 20s.


    • Anonymous, I can see that the relationship between mother and son can affect how the man handles his future relationships but it is ultimately his choice to continue and if he wanted to he could stop. It is a learned behaviour on his part and because of that he can be fixed.
      But I believe psychopaths, narcissists and sociopaths aren’t made, they are born disabled; without the ability to love, feel empathy or have a conscience. I believe my ex is a psychopath, I believe he was born that way and will never change because it is not physically possible. He simply does not have the capability because he was born with a disability. His mother goes to the extreme covering for him, trying to love him into being a decent person. I know she knows what he is and does and she, like most victims; hopes he can be fixed. She blames herself to some degree for him being the way he is. She is a religious woman who prays he will become a good person and believes him when he tells her the woman caused him to act the way he did and now he has met his soul mate and everything is wonderful. But he has repeated history too many times for her to not see nothing ever changes yet she continues to lie for him. I know it eats away at her and she prays this time will be the fix. But it never is. I know it breaks her heart because no mother wants her son to be a cruel monster, but she feels it is her duty as a loving mother to stand by him.
      From stories she told me about his mother childhood, he always was a problem kid. It is not obvious at first because all kids are narcissistic but as they grow up they develop empathy, learn boundaries and respect but a psychopath doesn’t. He learns to manipulate and use others empathy against them and to get what they want.
      I believe that some narcissist and psychopaths are abused as children but I don’t believe it is the cause of their disorder. There are many people who have been abused and are loving caring people. But a narcissistic personality stays that way whether they are raised with excessive love, abuse, or indifference.
      Just my opinion.


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