The first step in how to divorce a sociopath is to get professional help. Not just a solicitor, but find an expert in mind control and sociopathy to work with.
It will save you
- legal fees
- and it will save your physical and mental health.
Divorce is one of the most stressful events in life and knowing how to divorce a sociopath or narcissist requires a lot of work and effort and a lot of comprehension and understanding.
Unless you know and understand fully what you are dealing with, the sociopath or narcissist will even use the divorce itself to continue to torment you and control your life.
The fact that you want a divorce is evidence for the sociopath that he or she is losing control of you and you are now in a power struggle with them. Remember domination and control are motivating factors for the sociopath and they don't like to lose! They will do anything to maintain the control, and if they cannot do that, they will often set out to literally destroy you.
The only way to properly prepare for for something like this is to understand how this person has been controlling your life, what mind control tactics were used against you, what effect they are having on you, why you responded the way you did, and to understand the power imbalance that exists in the relationship.
Working with an expert to help and support you through the divorce can make the difference between living a nightmare for months or even years, and walking away and begin able to have a fresh start.
It is important to get away from the influence of the sociopath as quickly as possible, to no longer have contact with him or her. However, this is not always easy. Each relationship has to be assessed on it's own merits and you have to decide how best to do this. You may even need someone to tell you what's best for you because, remember, your decision making abilities have been distorted for as long as you have been in the relationship.
As in any divorce, if you are still living with the sociopath, you can get the sociopath to leave the home or you can leave yourself.
Getting the sociopath to leave can be very difficult. They often just refuse to go! Their attitude is that nobody is going to tell them what they can or cannot do. In which case, it means leaving yourself. It is sometimes possible to just tell the sociopath that you are leaving and want a divorce but when there is mind control involved one of the following 3 situations may be necessary.
1. Some victims just need to run and sort things out later.
2. Some people need to learn about sociopathy and mind control before they can even make the decision to leave.
3. Some are best to not say anything to the manipulator but to simply disappear suddenly.
Let's look at each in more detail.
Those who are in a marriage with a sociopath who is physically violent or those who are very heavily manipulated are often best just running right now and going someplace with friends or relatives where it will be difficult for the sociopath to find them.
A sociopath who is physically aggressive will have no qualms about physically abusing a spouse who says they want a divorce. They will also use threats of all sorts to coerce the victim into staying. Therefore getting away as quickly as possible is often the best option, with the idea of sorting everything else out as things evolve.
Unfortunately, when there is mind control involved, it is often the people who most need to just get up and go who are the ones who are least able to do it. In which case, we move to the next option.
Because of the nature of mind control, victims are very dependent on the manipulator, they are very afraid of the manipulator and they have difficulty making decisions on their own. There may be financial considerations, or the necessity to rent a place to move to.
With these factors in mind, it may be necessary to take some time to learn about mind control and sociopaths so that the person recovers their independence enough to be able to make the decision to leave.
If you are in this position, you may have heard family and friends say that you are crazy to stay, that they would just tell the manipulator that you are finished, that they would not tolerate such treatment and so on. This can be very upsetting because it makes you feel that there is something wrong with you, that somehow it's your fault that you are in this situation.
However, it's important to remember that most people do not understand coercive control, and they do not understand what it's like to be treated the way you have been. If it was as easy as just leaving, you'd have done it long ago!!
And no matter how often you try and explain it to them, they just don' t seem to get it. That's why it's invaluable to work with an expert in this field. Not only will they not criticize or blame you for what's happening, they will understand how hard it is for you to actually do things and they can help and support you all the way.
An expert in mind control will also help you to undo the effects of the mind control and the pseudopersonality so that you are mentally and emotionally ready to learn how to divorce a sociopath.
This is different from the first option in that you take your belongings, furniture and so on out of the house before announcing to the sociopath that you are getting a divorce.
Taking on a sociopath can be a daunting experience and they can be more devious than you could ever imagine.
To bypass this nastiness, you can simply take all your things away before they know you are leaving. This avoids fights over who owns what, who is entitled to what and who wants what and so on. It is often easier to do this first than have to do it in a court room while you are racking up legal fees.
If you do this, you have to be ruthless in what you take. Why? Because you have been programmed to look after the sociopath, to give them the benefit of the doubt and to consider them in your decisions. This means that you will probably take less then you are actually entitled to. So having a friend help you decide what to take is probably a good idea. Even better is to work with an expert in mind control first so that your decision making is not so impaired in the first place.
If you want to know how to divorce a sociopath, it's useful to be aware of some of the general strategies they will use.
You can expect the abuse to increase, whether it's verbal, written, psychological or mental. Divorce means that the sociopath is losing control of you and they will either try and increase the control or make your life miserable, or a combination of both.
When it comes to times like these, don't underestimate a sociopath. They are capable of unbelievable cruelty and are capable of doing things that you could never even dream up. They may try to blacken your character with anyone who will listen to them, including your family and friends, have the authorities investigate you for allegedly committing crimes, threaten you with all sorts of things, attempt to get custody of children, try to get you fired from work and on and on…
They are also capable of trying to make friends with you again. Remember when they are being nice to you, this is a dangerous time. This is when they are most manipulating your perceptions of them and leading you to think that they are nice, reasonable people, with whom you have a chance of 'working things out'. Be very careful if they act nicely towards you. And watch out for the tears, too.
This combination of being nice and then abusive, then nice, then abusive, is very destructive for the person on the receiving end. It is one of the mind control tactics that induces dependence on the manipulator and you should recognize it for what it is - more manipulation.
In fact, a good rule of thumb is to consider that whatever the sociopath is doing or saying is designed to manipulate you. This will often explain why they are doing or saying something. When they do something that seems non sensical, check your response to it. Chances are you will feel that you have been knocked sideways, caught off guard, reduced to tears, or full of rage, despair, hopelessness or just outright confusion. Or even a combination of all of the above!
That response is the reason for them doing what they have done. They simply want you so emotionally upset that you cannot function.
It is common that coming up to a court date that the sociopath does crazy stuff to you. The idea is that when you go to court, you are the one that seems mad, bad or sad (crazy, vindictive or depressed.) Obviously it's in the sociopath's interest to have you in such a state because it will play into their scenario where they are the perfect parent who is the victim of someone (you!) who is out to do them out of their money and deprive them of a nice relationship with their children with whom they have an adoring relationship.
This is the reason that you have to be mentally prepared to go against them and why working with an expert is invaluable. I know I am going on about it, but ask any person who has been in court against a sociopath and only afterwards learned about sociopathy. They will tell you "If only I knew then what I knew now, things would have been very different…"
It's best not to even try negotiating with a sociopathic spouse yourself. They have no sense of responsibility or obligation to fulfill promises. They will agree to one thing one day and change their mind the next. They will try to swindle you every chance they get. They will twist and distort things constantly. And besides, every time you communicate with them, they have a chance to continue to manipulate and abuse you.
When you hire a solicitor, refer your spouse to them constantly. Refuse to engage the sociopath in anything to do with the divorce. You can expect that they will try and provoke you into talking about the divorce, suggesting it will save money, it will speed the process up etc, etc. Don't get sucked in! They want and need to communicate directly with you in order to continue the manipulation. It's best for you to use your solicitor as a shield between you and your abusive ex.
If you can find a solicitor who knows how to divorce a sociopath, you are in luck. They are worth their weight in gold! Most do not realize what they are dealing with and one of your jobs will be to educate them about sociopaths and mind control.
It's also very useful to be able to think clearly and know exactly what you want to achieve in court so you can tell the solicitor what you want them to do. Many people in a marriage to a sociopath are so focussed on getting rid of the sociopath that they give up many things that they are entitled to, simply to get rid of the abuser. It's only later on they realize how badly they were taken advantage of during the divorce. (Something about receiving expert help comes to mind…!)
As well as hiring a solicitor, it's also worthwhile researching the laws yourself. Each country has very different laws about divorce and especially about children in divorce situations and it's sometimes surprising what you can dig up that may be to your advantage. For example, is it worth the children having their own legal representation? Are there provisions where you do not have to be in court with the abusive spouse because they trigger post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in you? In some places, you can go through the court proceedings via teleconference in order not to be further traumatized by the abuser.
The court case is a potential mine field and it's not made any easier by the fact that the legal system in most countries is not set up to deal with sociopaths or narcissists.
The sociopath will typically be throwing so many accusations at you that you won't know where to start trying to defend yourself. I recommend that you don't!
It's much better that you go on the attack and paint a clear picture for the judge of what your sociopathic spouse is like, without using the term sociopath. If you can let it be known that your spouse is a professional liar who's acting skills are such that they appear like the perfect parent, then you have defended yourself against anything they can possibly throw at you all in one go.
It does take a lot of comprehension of your situation and understanding psychopaths well to be able to do this and it also means teaching your legal team about the tactics of your spouse rather than just telling them what he (or she) says or does.
Any discussion of how to divorce a sociopath would be incomplete without, of course, mentioning money. Remember that "gold, glory and girls" (money, power and sex) are motivating factors for sociopaths and you can expect that the sociopath will be going after the money. Tactics include hiding money from the court, spending it before you can get it, stealing your money, quitting a job so they don't have to pay, lying about money, going into debt to reduce their future obligations to you, even refusing to accept social benefits so that you receive nothing.
It often crosses people's minds that maybe they could pay the sociopath off, or offer more money if they leave the kids out of it. This is generally not a good idea, because as mentioned above, they feel no obligation to stick to agreements or even to play fair.
You are better off going after what money you are entitled to, because chances are you will need it later on.
One thing to watch out for is the psychopath causing so much fuss that everyone gets so fed up that they eventually think "Just give them what they want to get this thing finished." Even lawyers may pressure their own clients into giving in to this tactic. I recommend that you prepare for this and don't give in to it. You will lose big time and regret it a lot later.
When there are children involved, things can get very complicated very quickly.
A sociopath will have no qualms about using the children as pawns to continue the manipulation of their ex spouse. They may threaten to go for full custody of the children, knowing that the children are the most important thing to you. Even if you know they don't want it, it is very upsetting. But remember, this response is exactly what they want. It also keeps you busy on this aspect, while they are plotting and scheming in other areas.
The sociopath may also fill the children's heads with all sorts of lies and exaggerations about you. Again, don't underestimate a sociopaths willingness to do cruel and nasty things to the children. They do not love the children. (They are incapable of loving anyone). The children are like any other person around them, an object to be pushed and controlled to get what they want.
They may try to 'buy' the children's affection. They will do things with the children to upset you, such as bringing them back late at visitation time, take the children to nice places during visitation when they didn't before, promise the children all sorts of things to make the children believe that they care about them and love them and so on.
You can expect them to push the children for information about you, and most of the advice that you get is that you should not do that.
They may even convince the children that they should choose to live with them and not with you. Sociopaths often try and ruin your life when you divorce them because that's their way of being in control of the situation and they will often try and take away the things you want and/or love.
When the children are manipulated into living with the sociopath it is devastating, not just for the other parent but also for the children because they will continue to be treated badly by the sociopath.
A vital aspect of how to divorce a sociopath is understanding how to manage the children.
In normal circumstances it is considered best that things are not discussed with the children, they shouldn't be asked to transfer messages between the parents and they should not be pumped for information by one or other parents. The common belief is that one parent should not speak badly about the other to the children.
However, it's typical that people who play by the rules with a sociopath lose. Because sociopaths are changing the rules all the time and they don't even tell anyone when they are changing the rules, not to mind what the new rules are. And he (or she) who makes the rules wins!
Children of sociopaths very often have confusing ideas and conflicting emotions around the abusive parent. For example, they should love this parent but they are frequently angry about how they are treated, or they try hard to get the approval of the manipulator but often end up being ridiculed or criticized and the harder they try the worse it gets.
When the other parent tries to downplay this treatment, it does nothing to relieve the anxiety of the child and leaves them still confused and isolated, feeling that no one understands them. But if the other parent listens carefully to what the child says and then reassures them that whatever they are feeling is normal and appropriate, this goes a long way to validating the child's experience and let's the child know that someone does get it, someone does understand what is going on. This is often quickly followed by the child opening up and beginning to reveal all sorts of things that have happened in their relationship with the sociopath.
Of course, there is a fine line between reassuring the child and calling the sociopath an abuser. If the sociopath gets wind of what you are saying to the children, you can expect them to start shouting about your manipulation of the children and accusing you of creating parental alienation syndrome. This often happens anyway, because remember one of the patterns of abuse of the sociopath is to accuse you of doing what they themselves are doing!
As you learn things about mind control tactics and techniques, you can pass the information on to the children. Information and knowledge is the best protection against the manipulations of a sociopath and this apples to children, too. An expert in mind control can help a lot here as well!
It's important that you take steps to protect yourself at all stages of this process.
When you realize you are in a marriage with a sociopath and you decide to leave, it's important that you not change this decision for any reason. The sociopath will often go to great lengths to get you to stay. They may promise all sorts of things, that they will change, that they will go to therapy with you and so on.
Remember that these people are professional liars. They can be very convincing when making promises. But very shortly they will be doing the same stuff all over again.
And no matter how much they say they will change, they don't. They believe that they are superior beings, and if someone thinks that they are better than those around them, they have no motivation to change!
Once you start understanding psychopaths, you realize that the best protection is not to be around them. This considerably speeds up the time taken to recover from a psychopathic relationship.
As soon as possible, gather paperwork, photos, valuables and anything that is irreplaceable and move it out of the reach of the psychopath. Out of reach means a friend's house, safe deposit box, a family member's house and not just hidden in your own house. It's better to be overly cautious than to lose things forever.
If you can get copies, or even originals, of the sociopaths bank accounts, personal papers and any other evidence you may need, grab it and put that in a safe place, too.
If you have access to money, whether cash or funds in bank accounts, grab as much as you can and stash that away, too. It's better to be in a position where you have to give some of it back than to be in a position where you are depending on the goodwill of the sociopath to give you what is your fair share!
Some of these ideas will create a lot of fear in the victims of psychopaths because the psychopaths use fear and guilt to control those around them. Sometimes the fear will be so strong the victim will be unable to do these things. If you are in such a state, it's ok, it's not your fault! This is an indication of the level of control the abuser has over you. Understanding psychopaths and mind control gets rid of this fear and allows you to better protect yourself over time.
Get help and get sleep!
Gather support from family and friends. Don't be afraid to ask them to do things to help you. You can tell them that you will make it up to them later. If someone offers help, take it! Lean on people for a while.
And get plenty of rest. Your head will be going non-stop a lot of the time but rest and sleep are vital for you. If you get tired, you risk getting overwhelmed very easily. This plays right into the sociopaths hands. So rest a lot during the day and do things to relax before going to bed. Avoid the temptation to take the laptop into bed with you to 'get stuff done'. You will be much more effective tomorrow if you sleep instead.
Don't get caught out thinking that if you are reasonable with them, they will be reasonable in return. Any sign of kindness is seen by sociopaths as weakness. They will play dirty in ways you won't believe.
Lots of people suggest that at some stage the sociopath will get fed up and go away. But you should not depend on this. Very often for sociopaths, it's not about winning, they are more interested in the maneuvering. This means that as long as they know they are upsetting you and controlling or even ruining your life, they are happy to keep it up. Even if they have another partner, or another family…
In fact, many will even recruit their new spouse into harassing you.
Irrespective of how much you learn about how to divorce a sociopath, or how the divorce itself actually goes, the only way to get away from a sociopath is to learn about sociopathy and mind control with someone who can guide you through it, so that you get rid of the pseudo personality and begin to take back control of your own life again.
Read more about dealing with a sociopath, stopping mind control or more help for victims of psychopaths...
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?