There are definitely things you can do to counteract her behavior, although there is a very real chance that you will just end up winning the battles but never the war. Maybe you're fine with that. The issue is that any counteraction measures would be very context specific -- sociopath specific -- and there are certain very effective counteraction measures I can suggest that you might not be good at or might not want to do because you're not that type of person (e.g. evil). It's tricky. I think the only general advice I can give is more about things to never do, because the only thing worse than not gaining ground is losing ground, non?
Things to never do:
1. Accusations. Sociopaths never respond well to accusations, it will always turn into a knockdown fight in which you will be bloodied much more than they ever will be.
2. Recriminations. (see accusations, above).
3. Emotions. Sociopaths generally don't want to hear about how what you feel if what you feel is negative towards them. If you are in anything remotely like a fight, accusation, or recrimination, do not under any circumstances get emotional. The limited exception, as another reader has pointed out, is when the sociopath is feeling wronged by you, is hurt, etc., in which you should show exactly the amount of normal empathy you would show an empath under those circumstances (more on that in another post).
4. Ultimatum or any other power plays. Sociopaths see ultimatums, artificial pressure (e.g. emotional pressure), power plays, etc. as being either threats or games. I don't think you will like the result of either approach.
5. Talk about being "right" or "wrong." Sociopaths don't really believe there is such thing as being right or wrong, there is only more or less powerful.
Don't worry about her hurting your child, she will probably want to alienate him/her from you more than she will want to have him/her trauma bond to you by her inflicting trauma on him. Your child is half her, so will probably grow up disrespecting you too, if you can't hold your own against your partner. If you want what is best for your child, you will get your crap together and become the type of person that demands respect by your very presence, your very being.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
"Don'ts" list for dealing with sociopaths
A reader asked for help in dealing with the domineering, allegedly sociopathic mother of his child, how to counteract her behavior, and how to keep his child out from under her dictatorial boot: