How Can My Baby Boy Be a Psychopath?
He is 8 years old. I was in denial for a long time that he fit the description of a Sociopath. Even after the diagnosis, I struggled to find excuses which would invalidate this diagnosis. But I knew it was true, even if it took a long time to admit it to myself. A few months ago, I began to accept it. I started doing research, but most cases like his are deemed hopeless. I don’t think so.
My son is very intelligent. He has been nominated by his teachers into ‘gifted’ programs. His mind is not that of an 8-year-old child. I began to recognize the signs in him when he was around 4 years old. He’s now 8, and things are deteriorating for us as he gets older and smarter.
He taught himself how to write in cursive when he was 7. He has perfect cursive handwriting – much better than mine. And he has perfected my signature. He can forge anyone’s signature by simply watching them sign it one time. He has filled out credit card applications that came in junk mail. He can address a letter, put a stamp on it, and fill out all necessary information to obtain a credit card in my name. He has also used my credit card to order thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from Amazon including cell phones and tablets. Despite being banned from using the internet for this reason, he always finds a way. I change my passwords and pin numbers – but he somehow learns them again. He is seemingly unstoppable.
He has no regard for the safety or feelings for others. He will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. I do not mean in the same way that a child will manipulate a parent in order to get a cookie before dinner. I mean in a way that he would destroy a person’s life for a cookie, and think nothing of it. That is NOT an exaggeration.
I have tried to teach him what is right, what is wrong, and why it is so. I sit down with him, and I explain in depth all of the reasons for why it is not okay to steal my credit card and order merchandise from the internet. I spend hours upon hours with him, face to face, explaining how and why his actions are harmful, as well as the consequences of those actions. He can recite my words back to me and he can even explain it back to me in his own words. He understands what I am saying, but he will turn around and do the exact same thing 2 seconds later if he feels like it. If it means losing our house, if the consequences are that it would ruin our lives. If someone could die.. He truly does not care about those things whatsoever.
I’ve exhausted myself trying to reason with him. I’ve tried everything to get him to care about what he’s doing. I used to think that he did care and that he was sorry, but just could not control himself. I wanted to believe that. He was very convincing when it seemed he was expressing remorse. But I learned that his words are just that. Words. There’s no intention of keeping any promises. There’s no actual guilt or remorse. He simply goes through the motions of apologizing – but he is not actually sorry. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t know him at all. I could not distinguish what was real, what was pretend, what was mimicking.
He says things to purposely hurt me. He blames me no matter what I do, and no matter how hard I try to make him happy. When I try to stand up to him, he uses hurtful words and breaks my heart. When I try to stand up to his violence, he pushes even harder. He threatened me that if I reach out for help that he will lie and say that I do bad things that I don’t really do. He had me backed into a corner with no way out before I could even realize what was happening. I was left to decide: Do I ask for help and risk them believing him over me and lose everything including him? Or do I back down and continue to let him do these things? I was on the verge of suicide, and I reached out for help.
Despite everything he’s done, I love him. These details are just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Life has been truly horrible for a long time. He’s in a hospital now and in an environment that is controlled so that he can be helped and I can safely do what I can to help him, too. He’s my child, and I want him to be with me. I just need to be able to get to him. I can’t accept that this is all he’s capable of and I can’t accept that there’s no hope for him.
Excerpt from “How can I reach my child who’s a Sociopath?“
Image courtesy: Anake Goodall
For more information about psychopathy: TED-Ed Lesson “What is a psychopath?“
Search tem: Are there psychopathic children?