40 Years Married To A Sociopath

My 40th wedding anniversary is coming up. The first 20 years of married life were miserable but we had young children and no money so I was stuck with a man who didn't seem to like me at all. He wasn't even interested in his children until they were old enough to be interesting. Then he changed jobs and his behaviour changed. Eventually I came to realise that because he wasn't capable of "normal" reactions to "normal" life he copied what he saw around him. When he is surrounded by nice people he is a nice enough man. When he is surrounded by unpleasant people he is unpleasant.

Sociopaths are not necessarily bad people they are just incapable of picking up emotional clues from the world, they care and love as much as they are able to. In many cases (like that of my mother-in-law) that is not very much at all.

It is possible to have a longterm relationship with a sociopath - to some degree you have to become manipulative yourself and you certainly need to be cautious about how much of your emotional wellbeing you place in their care but it is possible to build a life with one. In many ways it is a safer more predictable life than one with someone who may fall madly in love with someone else and leave you. One thing you can be sure of is that they won't fall in love with anyone so as long as you are providing what they want/need they will stay around.

Also from my experience with my husbands family and my eldest daughter, sociopathic tendencies are certainly hereditary.

Comments for 40 Years Married To A Sociopath

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by: David

Hi there,

It's fair to say that many would disagree quite strongly with some of your ideas.

For example, Hervey Cleckley, who wrote The Mask of Sanity, points out that psychopaths are incapable of love. They simply do not care about other people.

And while you can argue whether they are evil or not, it is accepted even in most legal systems that sociopaths are responsible for their actions. That's because they know the difference between right and wrong, they just don't care! They can choose to do wrong or bad things willingly and they don't feel bad about it.

As for a long term relationship with one, it comes at a huge cost. Anyone who has fully recovered from the damage done by a psychopath would be very unlikely to consider that a relationship with a
psychopath is better than a relationship where each person loves the other and then the relationship breaks up.

Psychopaths don't fall in love with others, but they do frequently have extra marital affairs anyway. They may stick around because they continue to have huge control over the victims, no matter how much the victim thinks they may be managing the situation. Sticking around is easier than starting from scratch with a new victim.

Regardless of how well you think you are doing in this relationship, my advice is to run. Get out. Leave. Only when you get some mental distance from this abuser will you be able to have any sense of how badly you have been treated and how much better off you are out of the relationship.

Future care needs with a sociopath
by: Anonymous

Your experience means the world to me to know how to make this work since we have a young child together. I cannot thank you enough. I understand very much the strength it takes to stay. You have shed a much needed light on the possibility for other women to find their way in seriously unchartered territory.

I continually remind myself he’s my spiritual gift, as his anger force me to be the highest level of emotional intelligence and empathy I have. My concern is.. as I age ultimately have higher health care needs, I know I will not be able to depend on him to care for me. How do you / would you handle this?

Future with a sociopath
by: David


When I work with my clients I am aiming for a full recovery which includes 2 things. First is financial independence which may mean having your own work or business. The second thing that needs to happen is a reassessment of your criteria for friendships and intimate relationships because the set that was in place got you into trouble.

And I have to say that I'm not sure that thinking of him as a spiritual gift is actually serving you. It may help to alleviate some of the suffering by putting a positive spin on it, but this man is torturing and abusing you. You are better off without him in your life at all. I know there is a child involved but there are ways to minimize his effects in both of your lives.

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