I just joined this forum, and I would like to introduce myself and my little family to you. I'm 52, my partner and soul mate J. is 41 and we both live in a middle European country, after both having lived in some far-flung places. We are very happy together, and I would characterise both of us as loving, empathic and caring people. We both are going through a divorce with our respective spouses, but we certainly have made a commitment to each other. Each day together is a new miracle.
I'm a neuropsychologist by training, and have specialised in human-machine systems, mainly for space. My partner is an educational scientist, and has mainly worked in language and writing skills acquisition. She's also an accomplished writer.
J's ex is an extreme psychopath, and I believe both her children have inherited, to varying degrees, his disease. E is 8 and a boy, H 10 and a girl.
In the beginning the chidren were very welcoming, I constantly got messages from them saying how much they loved me when I wasn't there, and we got along really well when I was with them. All this made me decide to leave my former town and move in with J and the kids.
Then I got the first signs that all is not well. After about three months E developed a habit of trying to squeeze my testicles whenever he could, and generally feel me up very inappropriately. H would constantly bare her buttocks at me and do little dances which she probably thought would excite me (they didn't, of course). They both started hitting me and generally trying to hurt me as much as possible. And then the harassment started. H would start, E would chime in and they sometimes continued for hours. Telling them off would do no good, any punishment would just lead to revenge.
We found out that both kids are completely lacking any feelings of shame or guilt, they simply wouldn't understand our questions. We once confronted H, asking her whether she even knew what it means to feel guilt or shame. She just got this blank look in her eyes and shrugged repeatedly.
They also are incapable of feeling any empathy, and seem to enjoy hurting other people. Some typical exchanges: "You've hurt your brother!" "Good, that's what I wanted."; "You're hurting me!" "But *I* don't feel anything.".
They have no real friends, and when they meet someone new they won't speak to them, no hello, nothing, wouldn't even look them in the eye. They constantly threaten others with violence. They also constantly want to go back to their father, but when asked how they would feel if he died, they just shrug. They just want to go there because he allows them anything, he just doesn't care, being a psychopath himself.
Currently, H seems to have only three modes of interaction with me, when together with E she either treats me as though I'm not there, refusing even to look at me. She won't eat what I cook, and I can't do anything right. Or she and E harass me, all day long, every moment of the day. The invective I get to hear would make a Swedish sailor blush (I know, I grew up with one as a stepfather). Or they grope and prod me everywhere. At least I don't get potentially castrated anymore.
A third mode of interaction is sliming up to me, forcing herself upon me, and talking and posing suggestively. And I mean sexually suggestively ("Bernard, I'm not wearing panties, can you guess where I have my hand? Do you want to put your hand there too?". My reaction; "This is the kitchen, not the bathroom. Go and wash your hands.") Sometimes I wonder whether this is some sort of entrapment, to get me in prison.
If she doesn't harass me, she harasses E.
E is just being very, very arrogant and blase'. Whenever I tell him off, he just gives his artificial haughty smile (he can't smile spontaneously, at all). Or shouts at the top of his voice in protest. He's started groping me again, also in public (as does H). He also calmly stated that he will in eight years' time murder H. And both told me that if I ever hit them (which I would never do) they would beat me up.
Both J and I have gone through suicidal periods, but our love for each other has each time pulled us through.
Here we come to one realisation. Normal children can be taught right and wrong through example, reports of consequences ("now you made mummy very sad"), or by punishment. Here this doesn't work. Everything we do is by definition stupid, making us sad is just what they want, and punishment is not a consequence of what they say or do, but we do it because we're evil and it has be revenged on us.
And the second realisation, which hurt me more than anything else: the first couple of months, the happiest time of my life, where they were so accepting, and as I thought, loving? Which made give up my flat and move in with them? All smoke and mirrors. just playacting to get favours. When I got ill and didn't bring in any money, they turned against me, incited by grandma (that's another can of worms). I feel framed, bamboozled and betrayed.
A typical day (and there are only typical days) will see constant strife from morning till bedtime, without even a neutral exchange, let alone a positive one.
So I decided to cease trying to be a father, and leave it to the professionals to sort things out. Neither will I be seen in public with them, or do things together as a family.
Today we get a diagnosis of some sort for E from the local pediatric psychiatry clinic. Given the state of psychiatry in this country, I'm not surprised that we didn't get any help at all. The tests allegedly showed nothing out of the ordinary!!!
We'll now just wait and see, and then decide whether we need to put H through it as well, for the slim chance that we might get a diagnosis with her. I doubt it, though. I will try to find an expert on Callous Unemotional Traits, which is what I believe we are dealing with here. But I don't have much hope for a diagnosis, let alone therapy!
I want to end on a positive note. J and I have made a commitment to stay together, whatever happens. We may be moving to a larger apartment next door soon, where each kid has its own room at last. Maybe that at least protects us from being tortured as much as right now.
And I have changed all names in order to comply with forum rules.
Bernard (not my real name)
Edited by Bernard (12/14/15 02:55 PM)