What do you do when a parent has no moral compass, is deceitful, lacks remorse for wrongdoing, and lies constantly? What happens to the children? This is the challenge when a parent is also a Sociopath.
As a general rule, Sociopaths are sneaky, dishonest, and manipulative. Their lives and motives center around themselves. The do not have spouses and children, they have victims and objects they use to forward their own goals and desires. Despite the popularization of Sociopaths in entertainment media as criminals, it is important to realize that not all Sociopaths necessarily break the law. Although, they may be guilty of charges of neglect, fraud, and perjury.
“They are self-centered, deceptive, shallow emotions, and lack of empathy. They exploit others for self-serving reasons, lack remorse for their actions, and blame others for the consequences of their actions. Both also use their charm and physical appearance to manipulate others although women may use sex more often, and outright violence less often, than men.”
“…because of their primary care taking role, female psychopaths are more likely to target their children.”
As a parent, the Sociopath is often in their perfect environment. After all, they now have a children to feed their need for attention and can use them in her schemes to manipulate others. This stems from their lack of empathy and having no consideration of others, including their own spouse and children, unless it suits their needs. This remoteness and insensitivity is typical. This usually starts in the child’s infancy and continues as far into their adult life as the sociopath can reach.
“…she does not see the children as human beings or people, but as a toy or possession that exists to serve her own needs…”
A Sociopath parent does not truly care about their children. In fact, many are deliberately hurtful to them emotionally, psychologically, or physically. The sociopath mother is no “Super Mom”, but can almost expertly emulate one in front of others. She will fawn over the kids, encourage them, use words like sweetheart and honey, appear loving, and attends to them. She will bask in their replies of what a “great mom” she is. But, when the day is done and all are home behind closed doors, her real personality appears because there are no targets/victims (other people) around to entrap as future tools for her manipulations. Far from the portrait of a nurturing and loving parent, the sociopath mother is cold, often abusive, sometimes frightening, and emotionally distant. She controls and manipulates the children with insincere affection as she does not see the children as human beings or people, but as a toy or possession that exists to serve her own needs. She ignores and neglects the children, leaving much of their care to her spouse or other people. She will frequently hand-off responsibility for the kids when visiting others or around her acquaintances, since she no real friends. When she does take the time to praise, she will do so in a way that she can take credit for the accomplishment as well. She will only rarely let the children develop their own friendships out of fear of losing her spotlight and some of her control over them.
On social media, this fake “SuperMom” will post items concerning child safety, display disgust at things harmful to children, claim to not use physical punishment, portray herself as nurturing and loving, and go out of her way to make herself look good to her “friends”, many of whom she has never met. Interestingly, she will tend to post few photos of the children unless there is something in them that will shine the light on herself. And of those she does post, she will often be in them as well as she would not want to miss the opportunity. Her online accounts will have dozens, or even hundreds, of “selfies”.
“…the typical child of an antisocial parent has been deceived, manipulated and used, and has been made to feel invisible, valueless and frightened countless times.”
Their children are usually the most abused. The child’s environment is devoid of true caring and support. It is normal for children of Sociopath’s to develop coping mechanisms, like hiding when the parent is angry, smiling to make the parent look good, and alert to the parents moves and moods to avoid becoming an target for more emotional or physical abuse. By the time they reach adulthood, the typical child of an antisocial parent has been deceived, manipulated and used, and has been made to feel invisible, valueless and frightened countless times.
A sociopathic mother is often adulterous as well. She thinks nothing of introducing her children to her lover and even bringing the man home to continue the affair. If the illicit relationship is long term, she may even have the him care for the children on occasion or clean the house. Of course, he is just another victim to her but the children’s view of their father and adult relationships are forever affected by this blatant display. She will use the children to help get more control over him as well by creating a bond between them and the man.
The only true emotion that a Sociopath has is anger. When they express it, the result is usually loud, sometimes violently, and disproportionate to the cause. Children are left hurt and confused by this and their perception of the world may soon become that it is illogical, unsafe, and uncertain. In general, male sociopaths will display anger more freely, while female sociopaths are more likely to only do so with those they can control or who they see as weaker.
“As many as 25% of children of sociopaths will develop their own mental illnesses,”
Of the psychological and physical harm done to children, the most prevalent is evident by their behavior. The child may isolate themselves or even display aggression towards other children. They can be more easily distracted than most and have an overarching need to please their teachers and other authority figures, even to their own detriment. These victimized children may experience fear, much shame, depression, self-blame, and worthlessness. The child’s own mental health is often adversely affected. As many as 25% of children of sociopaths will develop their own mental illnesses, according to Janine Woods in her article on Convozine in 2011.
Light’s House – “The Sociopathic Parent” http://www.lightshouse.org/the-sociopath-parent.html#axzz3zEAxnNVG
Psychology Today – “The Psychopathic Mother” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-equation/201307/the-psychopathic-mother, Joni E. Johnston, Psy.D, (clinical/forensic psychologist)
HealthyPlace.com – “Sociopathic Parents and their Effects on Children” http://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/sociopath/sociopathic-parents-and-their-effects-on-children/, Tanya J. Peterson
Convozine.com – “Mommy Is A Psychopath! How Parental Mental Illness Impacts The Children.” http://convozine.com/10859-janine-woods-r-n/26405, Janine Woods R.N.