Discussion Topic

Is it possible to be surrounded by sociopaths/narcissists?

Posted on 02/08/12, 03:33 pm
Hi. Let me apologize in advance for the long post!

I've searched for a long time for some kind of place where I could get information/support with the sociopaths and narcissists in my life. For being something so prevalent in the world these days, there isn't a lot of support for it out there. I seem to be like a giant magnet for sociopaths/narcissists. Is that even possible? My life feels like a constant joke, or some kind of exercise in futility. I keep telling myself that others have it bad. Others are struggling. I keep telling myself that in hopes to make it feel less isolating and overwhelming, but it doesn’t work. Because the truth is, I am the only person I know that has no one at all to rely on.

I am married, but not happily. I love my husband at times, but he is very emotionally abusive and I remain married for the most part to keep my children away from my in laws. As cruel as my husband can be, and as much as having to deal with his constant, constant lies is terrible for me-- I have to admit, I feel sorry for him because his mother is completely insane and his father is so enabling it's not even funny. The best way I can describe my husband is as a recovering cult member. He was raised by a woman in all the ways you see cult members brainwashed. Every day is a struggle to work through all the brainwashing and emotional damage his mother has done to him and it is extremely painful for both of us.

In my opinion, based on my interactions with my MIL, my husband’s stories about her, and her actions towards others-- this woman seems to be a sociopath/narcissist with extreme enmeshment issues with her son. My husband, over the years has related to me her inappropriate, sometimes sexually based interactions with him as a child and young adult. I have myself seen her act inappropriately with my husband in a manner suggesting a sexual nature. I also believe she has been inappropriate with my children—although she has not molested them to my knowledge and I have been diligent in keeping them safe from her. She has also herself related to me that her mother, her sister, and her sister in law have been inappropriate and sexually abusive towards children in their lives, that she knew about it and did nothing to stop it because it was pretty much “normal”.

I want to state that back then, and now—the number one reason I do not simply divorce my husband is the knowledge that once we divorce, he will almost certainly get at least partial custody of my children and raise them in her house. He has told me this WILL be the case many, many times. I 100% believe that if my husband’s mother were able to get her hands on my children, she would molest them and mentally torture them so, I continue to live in what feels like hell because I cannot have that happen. I simply cannot.

My husband and I have separated several times, usually because of external pressure placed on us by his mother. But each time I take him back in order to avoid the custody issue. I have however insisted on counseling and I insisted that he distance his mother from our marriage if he wanted to come back each time. I will say to his credit—he did. For YEARS things improved drastically in our lives. Although our marriage was not great, it was much better. I even found myself believing things would work out.

Two years ago, my husband was forced to cease contact with his mother in total, based on her “crazy” behavior. She was very negative, angry and manipulative and played constant mental games with him, our children and myself. She made constant delusional plans to have our children come live with her, or take them on out of state vacations. After being told that would never happen repeatedly, she made threats to take our children by “suing” for custody and began attacking both my husband and I claiming we were “unfit” parents repeatedly. Shortly after she began spreading lies about our children to the extended family, and the town she lives in. She began telling people she was not allowed to see them but that we made her support them, buying them clothes and food (she doesn't). We believe she even has made claims that she bought our house for us (she didn’t). When she was called out on these lies, she started telling people that we did not allow her to buy them anything and that we constantly shut her out of their lives based on nothing at all. There was no wining.

She also told many, many lies about my husband and me over the years. She told people that my children were not my husband’s (they all are his), that I was a “gold digger” that refused to work (I am a stay at home mother, as agreed upon by both my husband and I BEFORE we had children) so she would have to support me (she’s never supported me and in fact has often not had a job herself and has had to be supported by her own husband) and that I cheat on my husband constantly (I never have). She also convinced my husband’s family to not send our kids cash gifts for their birthdays because he and I would “steal the money”; presumably for drugs or alcohol (neither of us does drugs and drink less than two alcoholic drinks a months on average).

Both my husband and I agreed that until she got help, she could not be allowed around the children because she was a threat. My husband’s relationship with her is his business, but in relation to the children—no, she is not allowed around them until she receives some mental help. That was two years ago and as far as I know they still are not talking. At first things in our relationship improved dramatically with the total removal of his mother from the equation. There were times I was truly happy, and unbelievably, in love. Then, a little over a year ago, I gave birth to our last child. I stupidly made an exception and she was allowed to see the baby one time and since then things have slowly shifted back to being terrible again.

Immediately after that visit, my husband and she got into another fight and she has not had communication (other than sending packages that both my husband and I call “guilt bombs” about once a month) with anyone in my family (to my knowledge). With each “guilt bomb” things between my husband and I have gotten more and more tense. To me, this just reiterated that his mother is toxic and best out of our children’s (and honestly, my) lives. However, my father-in-law has been allowed access to the children.

Up until the last time he visited, he remained neutral. Thus why he was allowed to visit. However, the last time he visited in October he was cruel and dismissive to our entire family, including the children. He made it very clear with his actions that if my husband wanted his parents to love him, he would have to divorce me because they felt it was my fault that my husband was not able to get along with his mother. Since that visit, the cruelty from my husband has been non-stop.

I know it is because he refuses to deal with his issues with his parents and has begun to blame me for his dysfunctional relationship with his parents. When I make any effort to discuss this with him he lies, denies any wrongdoing, blames me for being “controlling”, a “fishwife” and a “shitty mother” and then completely ignores anything I bring up. He absolutely refuses to acknowledge the abuse or his part in it and will only talk about it to try and blame me for anything that has happened. I know I have blame in this, but I know I am not the only one.

Please do not think that I feel I am the perfect victim here that never does anything wrong. I have screwed my marriage and life up in ways even I do not yet realize. Because of my refusal to divorce, and my anger at my situation, I have even lost any relationship I once had with my own parents. My own mother and I cannot even talk anymore because of our soured relationship and her own sociopath type behavior. I know must take ownership in the fact that so many relationships in my life are dysfunctional, and I do. Or, I should say, I feel I do.

However, I cannot keep thinking I deserve this because I am not perfect. At the same time, I cannot just up and leave him either because of my fears of his mother’s mental and potential sexual abuse of my children and his threats that if we divorce—I will have nowhere to go, no job, and no money, no family to turn to. I will be forced on the streets and he knows he can use that to his advantage to gain custody of our children.

I am not delusional; I know this is a bad environment for the children. I see them picking up on my frustration, stress and anger and I also see them emulating their father’s behavior towards me often. But, is watching your parents fight worse than being molested? Or being raised by a sociopath? The stories my husband has told me of his mother’s mental abuse and neglect of him as a child are enough to keep me up nights and are 100% reminiscent of the inner workings of a cult. My own father was abusive --although more physically than my husband’s mother’s brand of mental torture-- and I would never let him raise my children. Why must my only choice be to allow this woman to have unfettered access to my children should I divorce my husband?

I have sought help from a counselor, but the only advice I get is “get a divorce” or “trust the system to not let your in-laws’ raise the children”. The system has already failed me. I do not trust it and it is simple to say “get a divorce”, but the truth is there are circumstances where sometimes getting a divorce is the wrong answer. I do not know what the right answer is though and I am asking for help please. I thought when it all started again things could be fixed… again. Now I feel like I’ll never survive what I’m going through because it only keeps getting worse. I don’t know what to do. Why is this happening? Is there anything I can do?

Showing 5 Replies
  • Reply #1 02/08/12  9:56pm
    Hi. I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I would respond more, but I (too) am in crisis tonight and have been sobbing for an hour about my current situation with my Sociopath/Husband.....

    But, to get you started, I am going to share some links that are helping me. They may help you begin to realize why you are staying in this abusive relationship. I do agree with you that your children need a healthier model for a relationship... Hang in there... start reading..... and I'll post more later. ((hugs))

    http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/ar...

    http://www.deconstructingjezebel.co...
  • Reply #2 02/08/12  11:33pm
    Hi anhbean,

    Wow. That's a really tough situation. I'm not even sure what to say... It really sounds like your mother-in-law is an extremely sick woman. Especially with the unhealthy boundaries, sexual abuse/molestation, inappropriate relationships, smear campaign against you....Stay far away from her. I can see why you don't want your kids near her. The enmeshment with her son--your husband--is unhealthy. The fact that it effects your marriage with him, and especially the children is telling and heartbreaking. I think you and your husband were on the right track when you cut off contact with your in-laws for that space of time. What I'm thinking is, if you were to puruse a divorce, perhaps you can find out if your children not be allowed anywhere near the paternal grandparents, especially since there is more harm to come from them. I suggest documenting everything--dates--times---what occured. Much like what you have here, but more details of the type of behavior she exhibits. Courts won't necessarily listen--nor do they seem to understand terms like "sociopaths" and "narcissists" but documented behavior and how it is effecting your husband and especially your children is crucial. I'd also suggest for your husband to go for counseling to help him heal from what he experienced as it effects him today in how he treats you and the kids. Lastly, I agree about getting a divorce--although you're right, it's not as simple as that--because it's not healthy for your kids to see your husband putting you down--outright emotionally abusing you. Sometimes staying in the relationship like that can give kids the wrong impression that this behavior is acceptable and even normal, when it is not. I agree with KittyMama about having a healthy model for a relationship--this is so important especially for young kids. I suggest you call a family lawyer, or even someone who can do mediation to discuss your options and concerns. Please keep us posted. All the best for you.
  • Reply #3 03/21/12  5:17pm
    Well, over a month later and the same old baloney is going on. Right after posting this I had an in depth discussion with my H. Told him I was done taking mental and emotional abuse because of his socio parents. He promised to stop taking his damage and guilt from his relationship with his parents out on me. Things were tolerable for a month.

    Last week his father called and guess what? Same old s, different day. Last night he spent three hours either trying to bait me into a fight, or accusing me of ridiculous things because he wants his socio dad to come visit and I told him flat out he had to lay out ground rules before hand. The father started pulling his guilt trip, "hate your family to prove you love your mom and I" BS he was out of the house. My husband said he'd do it-- but then verbally attacked me calling me every name in the book, turning on the kids, trying to involve them in our fight (!!!!!!!!) and then saying that he only was yelling because I started a fight with him and undermined him with our children because he didn't want to pack their lunch and I didn't jump up and do it for him. I am not kidding-- THAT was his "defense".

    When that one didn't fly he started the fight up again this morning because I "made him sleep on the couch and he didn't sleep all night" (I didn't make him sleep on the couch, he absconded there when I wouldn't fight with him any more last night). Then when that didn't fly it was "paybacks" because I dared to watch a TV show without him. Here's where I mention that the TV show he was claiming I watched without him, thereby causing the entire fight (this was the defense he was handing out) was watched THREE HOURS after he started fighting with me and is a show he hates. But yeah, sure, whatever.

    I just wish his parents would die. I'm sorry, I know how that sounds. But I do. Now all they have to do is make a phone call and I have to go through a week of mental abuse from their son whom they have brainwashed into total submission. I know he's a S too. I see it. I'm not blind. But until his parents are no longer in the picture I am bound to him for all the reasons I've mentioned above. I cannot convince a court to keep my kids away from his mother, and even if I could he would only sneak them too her. I feel like I can't even hardly breathe from the strangling feeling of my life any more.
  • Reply #4 03/23/12  6:35am
    Is there any chance you could go and seek some counselling for yourself? You say your husband wont go but there is nothing stopping you from seeking some guidance and help. I think a proffessional is the best way to go because there is just so many issue's that you have on your plate.

    This is the link to the other Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath group here on Daily Strength.

    http://www.dailystrength.org/groups...

    There are alot of people in these groups who have or are dealing with situations much like yourself, so please dont feel like you are alone.
  • Reply #5 03/23/12  7:06pm
    I've been in counseling on and off since getting married. I went thru five months worth this past year and I can honestly say, it only served to make things much worse. Both counselors I saw just wanted to talk about getting a divorce. No ifs ands or buts. I got a lot of "trust the courts" and "your children will be fine". But it's baloney.

    I've seen what happens with split custody. My husband has anger issues and crazy, sick parents-- but he isn't bad enough to not at least get split custody. Which means he will have them a min. two weeks a month. Which means my MIL will have them two weeks a month. If I won't even let her in a room with them now, why would I be okay with unsupervised access two weeks a month? No way.

    I tried and tried and tried to explain this to the counselor and she just didn't get it. So I stopped going. You can only beat a dead horse so long, You know? So I'm trapped and it sometimes get overwhelming. But I cope because I love my kids and they need me, faults and all. It's all I can do.

    I appreciate your kind words madethisway! I'll def. check out the other thread as well.

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