Coming to terms with whom my son really is.

Posted by: Lawrence

Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 07/18/14 09:39 PM

My daughter who is 22 and married to a psychologist suggested that her brother, my son, is a psychopath ( and then some.) I kept an open mind and did my research and discovered that there was merit to what she suggested. At this juncture I am convinced that he is fact a Psychopath. Taking the Hare-test myself, interpreting what my son would say, as I know him. The score was 36. He is currently in 5150 and undergoing observation, soon to be released to (someone?) It's not going to be me or his mother, or anyone that I know. he's 24 and he will most likely have to live on the streets, which breaks my heart, but he's an impossible person. I've observed an escalation in his aggressiveness towards us. He threatens violence and has tried several times to provoke us.

Hindsight has supplied us with a wealth of insight into who we are now dealing with, all the signs were there, we just didn't know what they meant. My son has been in and out of rehab 5 times. Each time we thought we found a rock bottom only to discover that a trap door existed at the bottom of that well. His behavior has been shocking, he's failed to recover from situations that I could never have allowed myself to succumb too. In and out of jail, each time worse than the previous. He gains delight from screwing with our heads. He will destroy himself to cause us more pain, he's like a cancer that has spread to every single family member's home and a few friends as well.

Both my wife (his step mother) and myself have been active participants in Al-Anon for the past 4 years. We've taught ourselves how to deal with difficult alcoholics and drug addicts, but now that he's been sober for over a year we are only now coming to terms with what this has really been all about all this time. I am afraid for my son's recovery prospects. I fear that he will never recover. It seems as if there just isn't enough information out there that deals with these behavioral traits, no cure… I did come across a few sites on the web that spoke about cannabis use as a way for the psychopath to feel more empathy. I have fought drug use for so long, unsure just exactly what his problems have been all along. And now that the onion has been peeled back, layer after layer, it appears that the core of whom he is, is so much worse than what we thought we were getting past. Life is a real [censored], sometimes…

Separation seems to be the most popular advice that I have read about, but as his father I am reluctant to do so. I truly love my son and there is a bond between us whether the experts agree with it or not. I know that psychopaths use people and create fake emotions, but when they are family members I have a difficult time accepting that he's never loved me. I'm not suggesting that he truly appreciates the love he has for me, because I don't believe for a second that he does. He has abused that privilege, hence the lines in the sand that have been drawn around us. I have always felt that the best solution to a problem hasn't been to run from it, but rather to find a solution through it. There must be ways to defuse his ability to manipulate us and still maintain some form "working" relationship?? Any advice along these lines would be appreciated. If we derail his ability to manipulate us will he go away on his terms? Will he return? Will he ever be able to hold down a simple job and live a low level life independently? How can I provide a better existence for what appears to be a miserable journey for him?

If anybody knows of any websites which focus on parenting adult-children who are psychopaths, I would really want that information? Books to recommend? Websites? Anything and everything that might help?

I've read a few threads in here with mothers talking about how they fear that their children will die from this disease and that they welcome death, because death is perhaps better on some level. I can understand that now is ways I could never have imagined before. For anybody who is going through or has buried their loved ones as a result of this condition, my heart goes out to you…

A newcomer, Lawrence
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 07/18/14 10:30 PM

Hello Lawrence,

Welcome with a sad feeling that you have found us here.

I just can't even wrap my head around the horrific pain any parent must go through in coming to terms that their own child is a psychopath.

There aren't really any sites that I am aware for adult children. There is a book that I ran across years ago, and I will have to search my brain tonight to remember what the title was. There is a site for parents, but it primarily deals with younger children, and frankly, their attitude is a lot of blaming the parents and suggesting hugging it out.

Getting parents to talk has been one of the biggest challenges here. When I started the initial small forum close to 19 years, the original people to show up were parents. From that date forward it has been one of the toughest groups to engage for any period of time. I can only observe that it must be a parents worse nightmare.

I can say for a fact that it is something beyond any control or anything you did to create the situation. They are born and how they move through society is gauged by how socialized they are. I think in some cases parents might try like all get out to socialize them, but they just can't and drugs, etc. get in the way.

I agree with you that separation for a parent isn’t always the best route. Each case is so very different, and really I don’t see any kind of one size fits all kind of advice in this regard. I would suggest that while he is away you do what you can to protect yourself and your property. Do you have any children still living in your home? There are some pretty decent advances in electronics these days. Depending on what you already have I would consider getting some very good cameras that you can monitor when you are away. One of the members here made an excellent suggestion, and that is to get the kind that also has audio. There are some pretty good ones that actually smoke detectors, so they are easy to hide.

I have been working on a writing project and as a part of that has been interviewing Psychopaths. The one thing that is the key to them is control; it all about control.

What is his primary drug of choice or should I say drugs? I know you said alcohol but am curious what actual drugs. I would think the idea of pot being a drug would cause him to calm down, nothing will give him empathy as the dividing line is sadly they don't have a conscience so will never see things the same way we do.

I would think that as a parent, a big huge question would be what did we do wrong. If I may try to answer that there is nothing you could have done to make things any better. Many times the more socialized they are the easier time they have of going under everyone's radar, but he sounds like he doesn’t have as much control over keeping the mask on. That is what makes me wonder what drugs he is attracted to as there might be some interaction that makes him more visibly obvious and the threats.

What was he like as a child?

Posted by: Lawrence

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 07/19/14 12:37 AM


I really appreciate your compassion in this matter and I don't blame myself, Al Anon has taught me so much about that. AA is an effective tool for teaching self preservation and it sounds like I am going to need it more than ever in the weeks/months/years to come. In terms of which drugs my son abused?? Pretty much anything and everything with the exception of psychedelics. He's bought heroine off the streets of downtown LA, meth, any and all pills, booze, marijuana, nicotine, spice ( a marshmallow reduction concoction,) and lean, ( cough medicine with skittles & a certain watermelon soda drink.) Looking back on it now I think he was trying to mask his own insanity. There have been times when he's been very depressed. He gets paranoid all the time, I don't think he's strictly a psychopath, he has other antisocial behavioral traits. He carries a notebook around with him that has the numbers 1-4-3 and about 200 pages describing their relationship to one another and how it all sums up the meaning of life. The movie, A Beautiful Mind, comes to mind when I think of him. I'm not entirely convinced that it's not all some elaborate hoax to portray himself more sick than he already is? He pretends to have illnesses in order to get a rise out of people, he mumbles deliberately to get people to ask him two or three times, he's admitted to doing it for entertainment.

Certain situations pop out when I think about his childhood. He used to runaway or threaten to run away when he was very young. Both my kids are a product of an early divorce. I had sole custody of them when my daughter was 6 months and my son 2yrs old. Once when my son was about 10, he said he was leaving home. He crawled outside his bedroom window and onto the roof. I thought he made it to the ground and fled. I walked around calling out for him, I combed the streets, I spent hours worried that he was too young to be in this neighborhood all alone at this hour. At one point I noticed a dark shape atop my house and I confronted him on the rooftop. He was laughing, he couldn't stop laughing, he got so much pleasure out of watching me stress out over the loss of him. He's never shown any remorse for as long as I have ever know him. Last year when I kicked him out of my house for stealing from us and buying drugs I was at my all time low. I was sobbing, I was a broken man, my child isn't getting it and I am now forced to send him away not knowing whether or not he would have a roof over his head. As it turned out one of my brothers took him in. I saw my son two days later and he acted as if nothing had happened between us. That really stood out in my mind, no remorse what-so-ever, none. He repeats the same mistakes over and over. He has three DUI's, he's been in a couple of hit & runs that I know off, a few accidents that he accepts no blame for.

When he was four there was some classical music playing in the house and he sat down at the piano and tooled out Fur Elise, in about 45 minutes. After that I couldn't stop pushing instruments in front of him. He was high functioning, somewhat savant, he got straight "A's" in school until high school came then he got straight "F's." He's smart as a whip and really good at reading people, he's said things about me that only I know about me. It's actually pretty scary that he's that good at reading people. He's cunning and ruthless. Once when we were at one of his karate tournaments he won by cheating. The first opponent to reach 5 points wins. If you hit below the waist you get deducted 2 points. Right out of the gate he would kick his opponent in the crotch in such a way as to weaken him so that he would be able to make up those points against a weakened opponent. He bragged about it later saying that it was such a clever strategy. Regardless of what my feelings were about it, he remained proud of himself for fighting in that way. He's had other over the top reactions to things as a child. I've seen other kids protect their younger sisters, but my son was driven like no other. He was an insanely jealous brother, he thrived on her attention. At age 10 on he was a veracious reader, to this day he reads two-three books a week. He drinks three-four pots of coffee a day, chain smokes, and consistently turns down food when everyone else is eating only to beg for it during the most inconvenient times. When he was 13 he went to a Halloween Party dressed as Harry Potter and some older kids made fun of him, he was crushed, that lasted for weeks. He has a elevated opinion of himself, all traits off of Dr Hare's list of traits that psychopaths have. When I read that list I knew then what my daughter was trying to convince me of was right on the mark.

I will find out tomorrow whether or not the Psychiatrist agrees with our assessment or not. As mentioned above, he's currently in 5150. I place a missing persons report on him whenever he's homeless so that if he turns up dead, or in jail, a hospital, where ever and when ever, I will be notified. It seems like the only way to keep tabs on a homeless person?? I've never been contacted by a police detective, so I don't think I am waisting any valuable resources? I could be wrong about that.

Again the word "appreciation" comes to mind, I would appreciate that book referral if and when it comes across your mind? Also I am very interested in any views that you might have on what it is like for the actual psychopath when they are estranged from their families. Is it as awful for them and it is for me? It's this thread of thinking that makes me inclined to give my son marijuana in order to help him feel better about himself. There's a sentence I would have bet my life on that I never would have said. I read an article written by a struggling psychopath stating that pot gave him some comfort from the internal turmoil that he felt day to day. I don't smoke pot, I don't like the high, it destroys my motivation, but I do believe in its medicinal purposes. During my son's sobriety he has stated that of all the drugs that he has done, weed made him feel the most "normal."
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 07/19/14 08:35 AM

Hi Lawrence,

Thanks for filling in some more details it really helps to understand your situation. Please know that I am responding to your input and not in any way trying to say any path is right or wrong. I feel that having a conversation can lead people to their own conclusions. I can only express what I might do in a situation based on my understanding of this personality disorder.

While a diagnosis from the psychiatrist is certainly valuable, I wouldn’t put my entire stock into it but use it as a measure of what you really think is going on. It is possible and highly likely based on his high level of intelligence for him to trick the system. Studies show that therapy will make them worse. I agree that he could probably have some sort of co-mingled diagnosis, that would not surprise me at all. I also think that he may be mimicking some other things to give the appearance of being a bit on the crazy side. The term crazy like a fox comes to mind. I think sometimes we discount their ability to be depressed, but I think it is true, they can also suffer from depression. Some of it may be a brain chemical reaction and somethings it may come from food and nutritional issues.

If you start as the basis of his power comes from control many things can circle around this. For example, if he can control things by convincing people that he is really crazy and helpless to make any changes he keeps the control going. If he knows that you report him to the authorities when he goes missing it is another way that he has control. Think it as having a chest that shows all your buttons he knows which ones to push to get which results. I would suggest to anyone staying in a relationship with a psychopath through family or whatever to try to keep your buttons as far from their range of site as possible. In other words, using your reporting him as a point for discussion while you may feel a need to continue to report him, there is the value to him in knowing you are reporting him. It is something that he started when he was very young on that rooftop, he pushes that button in you to get his own satisfaction and thus control.

I am amazed at the concoctions of drugs they use these days. My thinking has evolved over the years on what, and how much they really know about themselves. I agree that although he is not insane in the classical sense that the drug use can be a mask that he wears. I can see that drug use could come from his frustration of not understanding things about what he does and knows things need to be different. I think of life for them as a bunch of buttons, they keep pushing the buttons to figure out the results. We come with things that make the buttons clearer. I hope I am expressing this clearly. They seem to have their hand on the buttons and by instincts seem to hone in on which ones work the best but to get to that point they will keep pushing the buttons. Their ability to be intuitive is something that has always amazed me. I think we are all intuitive, but it comes down to what we use those instincts for. I may use my instincts to learn more about a situation for learning and clarification sake while they will use it to hone their skills for personal advantage and control.

Since he has the type of relationship with relatives that he can go to them for shelter I would be aware of how he will triangulate any relationships that you have. This is a key skill in their tool kit. It is a matter of divide and conquer to make the outcome the best possible one for him. They are very skilled in this area and nothing would surprise me about what he is telling others to get the advantage points going in his direction. Part of this skill can really convince others of things that you probably never even thought of doing but they have this uncanny sense of how to always paint themselves as the victim in any situation.

It only takes a small kernel of the truth and the rest is pure manipulation. I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your family members, but it is something to be aware of. Personally, I would explain the situation to them once and let them decide what is right or wrong. The more we try to convince people of a situation the further away from the truth things can spin. For example, I would then back away and not turn myself in the one in the room who is sounding like the crazy on by defending things that clearly cannot be defended. Maybe it is age, but I take the approach that if another person chooses to take a position about me that is founded on things that aren’t true I am not going to spin in circles to convince you otherwise. It all circles around control and what they get out of it.

When they can control the dynamics of any situation, they will. That I would bet the farm on. As sad as it is if people take his side, there is little you can do but keep your head held high and know that the minute you start engaging you are giving what he is seeking.

The one drug on the list that would cause me the most concern would be meth. Is this his first 5150? Is his mother in the picture?

Posted by: DadofRad

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 07/20/14 06:58 PM

I have often thought about what my adult son would be like and what I would be willing to do for him. Obviously this is a very personal decision that each parent must consider for themselves. Having an adopted child who I feel has terrorized the rest of us, we can't wait until he is old enough to just be free of him. That sounds cruel, but not as cruel as living with constant fear and attack. I do however, feel responsible for him and to society. If I still have contact with my son as an adult, I would want to check up on him regularly and assess his state of mind, his home, and surroundings. I would feel the need to continue to assess if he is a danger to himself or others and report that to the authorities to protect the innocent. However, this would only be effective as much as he allows us in his life. Apart from that, I feel there is nothing more I could do.
Posted by: comingoutontop

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 01/22/16 04:30 AM

I am also having to face the facts of who my daughter is. She is 26 and has used me as her security all her life. When she was a child, this was to be expected. I did all I could to teach her to be independent and function in the world with morals. It seems I failed in teaching her empathy and compassion. About a month ago there was a situation in our family where things came to a head, the final head as to her living with us. She moved out willingly. This is probably the fourth time she's moved out. In the past, and this time as well in her mind, she's had the option of moving back "home". Things are different this time as she's crossed a line I will not risk being crossed again. She is no longer welcome in my home. I'm struggling to come to terms with where our relationship is. I remind myself quite frequently that she's never shown any remorse for anything she's done so why would I expect it now. I remind myself that she is actually an intelligent woman and no longer the baby I raised. I still struggle with my emotions. Thankfully I found this board very shortly after things blew up and I knew to not let her see my struggle. That would only give her a feeling of being able to control me. In the past she has controlled me to some degree using pity and her struggles as tools to manipulate me. This time my eyes are open to her games. How have other parents managed having any sort of relationship with psychopathic adult-children? This is where I struggle. I don't want to completely cut her out of my life, but I recognize that any contact is giving her an opportunity to try to manipulate me.
Posted by: DadofRad

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 08/07/16 10:39 AM

I cannot speak to adult children. But from what I have learned here, there is no way to maintain a healthy relationship with a psychopath. They do.not value relationships or.people, so they cannot really relate to others. Their goal is to control, manipulate, deceive, and cause harm. You cannot trust that, and there is no relationship without trust. The only thing you can do is set clear boundaries that will protect you, and do not allow crossing of those boundaries.
Posted by: lee176

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 10/16/16 08:45 PM

I just saw this post of yours. I responded to the post you had written on the thread I started before I had seen this. As painful as it can be, believe me, staying interactive with a Psychopath will just not ruin or very potentially take your life, it can ruin or take the lives of others as well. They don't care in the end if they end up in prison. They care more about the damage they inflict on others and they will actually delight in the memories of doing so even when they are incarcerated. To them, prison is 3 meals a day and a roof over their heads. I have made it out of some close calls and I am telling you, walk away for the sake of your other children and yourself and spouse. And get a security system with a panic button. I have been stalked by family whom I ripped the mask off to others, and these are my parents! The last incident was they acted like they were going to rear end me and this is after they drove 5oo miles (one way) to do it. I had it all recorded and filed a police report just in case, but did not press charges, as I do not want to interact with them. My step-father has recurring cancer and this is how he chooses to spend his precious time. Driving all that way for something like that with my mother. After this, I found out they were mirroring a type of business I have been involved in for years and claiming they had 25 years experience doing it. I got that shut down real fast as I was so disgusted and they are total frauds so it was not difficult to do. Get cameras and watch your back. They will try to ruin or take away anything that is important to you.
Posted by: DadofRad

Re: Coming to terms with whom my son really is. - 10/21/16 08:45 PM

Thank you I do take your advice seriously and realize that one day, if my son does not self destruct first, I will have to cut him off and possibly even move away for safety. Right now though, he is 13 and the court is still requiring us to maintain certain contact, counseling, and support. However, when they try to push for reunification, which they will, we will not take him back. I'm sure they will label us and charge us as unwilling parents. But this child is unmanageable and unsafe to all and I will not allow my family to be terrorized by him any longer. What ever relationship I maintain will be from a distance and on my terms. If he becomes a stalker we will take more drastic measures to cut him off, but that is not a problem or option yet.

Remember that every psychopath and person is different. From what I understand few are agreesive and violent and many are just brilliant manipulators and business men (like Steve Jobs). Even those, however are not good people and you should not pursue a relationship with them.

I could see many of the situations you described, however, playing out with my son. He has the potential for drugs, decptions, stealing, manipulating, and begging for support in his later life. I do not see him stalking, but I could see him knocking on all the family members doors and manipulating for handouts. I personally, do not intend on giving him anything after he is 18. Your warnings are a good sober reminder that in spite of my compassion for him, and even feelings of guilt for having left him in the care of the state, he is poison to my life and family. My continued goal is to be free from him.