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Avatar universal

Is my child a sociopath?

My son is 10 years old and for as long as I can remember we have been having issues with his behavior.  In the beginning it was stealing little things like snack cakes and pens off my desk and it progressed to stealing bigger things like my husbands watch.  Added to this he lies almost constantly, sneaks around and is always making up stories to see if he can trick someone into believing him.  We took all of that in stride and tried to believe that he was a normal child with behavior problems. We tried postive and negative reinforcement, time-outs, grounding, taking things away and just about everything else at one time or another.  We even moved to another state to give him a new start in a new school, with new friends and in a house with his own room instead of in a tiny apartment but things just got worse and worse.  

Last year he was having problems in school and nearly failed. He has already taken first grade twice and second grade twice and he nearly had to take second grade for a third time because he didnt want to do the work. Not because he can't or because he is distracted but because he thinks his teachers are too stupid to teach him anything. This year he has been better but I think it is because he has tricked the teacher into giving him most of the answers on his work and making things very easy on him because he is so small and she feels that he is being mistreated at home.  They even called child services because of the stories that he told them.

We also found out that he has been peeing in his room. At first he was peeing on the clothes in his laundry basket and then he began peeing in the corners and in his clothes depending on how badly the need was. His reason for this is alternately that he is trying to teach me a lesson and that I should let him wander the house and do whatever he wants and that it is his room and he should be allowed to do anything he wants in there even pee.

When we realized that he was peeing in his room we took him to a mental hospital for inpatient treatment and they kept him for 8 days before releasing him.  I was told that they could not keep him there because he was not a danger to anyone and besides he promised not to pee and would follow all the rules ect.  That only lasted a few hours after he got home and he was peeing again.  We moved him out of his room and into the living room so that he wouldnt have the opportunity to do it anymore and we thought that was the end of that until he tried to starve our ferrets by pretending to feed them but not actually doing it.  His reason was that he was tired of them and wanted to see how long it would take them to die.  I sat him down to talk about this and he told me that he was also planning to kill the cat, myself and my 10 month old because he was also tired of us.  I took him back to the mental hospital where they kept him for 24 days with absolutely no improvement.  This time they released him because he said that he no longer planned to kill anyone and was all better.  The couselor suggested that I send him to a boys camp because even though he said he was better and they were sending him home they did not feel that he was really better.

So here we are trying to decide what we should do with our son.  He is 10 years old and the size of an 8 year old, has mild Cerebral palsy and needs shots in order to grow.  If I send him to this camp he will not get the chance to grow normally and wont get all the treatment for his CP. Neither of which will matter if he doesnt get the mental help he needs.  I hate the idea of sending my son away because I am his mother and feel that I should be the best thing for him.  The problem is that he wants to kill me and thinks that it is okay if he does.  He does not express remorse for anything that he has done and never has, is extremely maniputlative and is not affected by punishments or consequences of any kind because he feels that they are only temporary and do not matter.  I am nearly convinced that he is a sociopath but he is SO manipulative that the doctors havent been able to see the real child and instead see the fake one that he is so good at portraying.  What can I do in this situation?
153 Responses
694961 tn?1228736188
Whew! Tonya, what an awful thing to have to deal with. You don't mention other family members and what they think. Are you all alone on this one? This boy needs lots of help. So do you.
535822 tn?1443980380
I see he takes meds (shots ) for the Celebral palsy, could they be having any side effects on him it may be a good idea to check it out with his Doctor who prescribes them, When he was in the mental hospital did they come up with any diagnosis I am assuming they ran testsI , if he was a sociopath they would know from tests they would do.You have a 10month old could your son have some jealousy issues as this happen s when they are used to being the only child and a sibling appears to usurp them, the peeing sounds like he is upset and is acting out. Have you had any Family counselling on how to handle the situation , I am sorry it is so hard for you all. Let us know how it goes.
On one hand every psychopathic serial killer started out harming animals but id lean more towards his body being allergic to his medication.
I am reading this to understand the new husband I have, after 25 years. I've researched my heart out and have had him on many things that helped, an inch, maybe two, even photobiomodulation on his left frontal lobe, microdosing CBD, and ketamine (Intranasal prescription), until I finally stumbled on it. The amygdala (area of the brain where empathy derives) is now understood to underperform and have poor blood flow. The long-studied and natural plant, Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum), activates that area of the brain. Only .25mg, no side effects and the effects are profound within the hour by capsule, in minutes by nootropic powder. I won't go into my situation but I have on my hands what that boy will turn into without help. The Zembrin (it's what it's called, google studies on this) may be a life saver for me -- and him. Everyone deserves love, I feel like this mom does. I know this is an old post, but I found it by need in 2017 and hope what I write helps someone.
Avatar universal
No I am not alone. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband (his step dad) who has been a big part in trying to find help for my son.  Right now he is working 60+ hours a week to support us because I can't work with my son behaving this way.  My son has been tested but he is extremely manipulative and knows what to say and what not to say.

We actually got a little help today a child help group came out and assessed our home situation and my sons medical file and they are going to try to help. They are not holding out much hope because he is such an unusual case and we may still have to put him into a long term care facility but this way I will know we have tried everything else first and it is really what is best for him.
Avatar universal
wow...I have a similar situation with my 8 year old daughter.  The lack of remorse, manipulation, constant lying, peeing, trouble in school...etc.  It almost seems like an abnormal lack of morality or sense on right and wrong...Not exactly the same but a lot of coincidences.  I am in the proccess of getting her a full evaluation.  She was seeing a therapist for 2 years, but we stopped about a year ago because I couldn't afford it and our insurance wouldn't pay for it because it was considered a pre condition.  

I will say the therapy helped a lot! it helped her in that she was very manipulative even with her therapist, but over time she wasn't able to keep all her inviroments as "unaware" of eachother and it made it harder for her to manipulate.  I remember 1 session when she was 5 her therapist was questioning different stories she would tell her mother and her grandmother(my mother) about eachother.  The stories were manipulating them and pitting them against eachother.  When really pressed as to why she makes up these stories my daughter said "I like to see them get worked up and mad at eachother. it's fun to watch".  So from that point on I decided to keep very open lines of communication between all adults involved with her.  Me, her teacher, mom, grandma, uncle, therapist, daycare, etc.  Anyone who is in her life.  She had created small differences in her realities in each inviroment to manipulate people into thinking she was being victimized as to not be held accountable.  so we all talked more and it made it harder for her to do so.

I'm sorry I don't have much insight to offer, other than that you are not alone!  I will pray for you and your family and if in my search for help for my daughter I come across helpful information I will come back to share.
Avatar universal
Originally we had a very hard time getting a therapist to take us seriously.  It was so frustrating because they would talk to him and evaluate him and then decide that there was nothing wrong with him and instead offered to refer me to a parenting class so that I sould better deal with the situation.  It doesnt help that when they do the evaluation they need family history and I am forced to disclose the fact that I have Bipolar disorder.  I tried about 6 councelors with nearly the same result and then gave up and tried things on my own.  At that point he was only lying and manipulting and not doing anything that couldn't be controlled with close supervision.  We even moved from Florida to Louisiana to give him a new start in a new school with smaller classes, a house with a yard and his own room and maybe the chance to get involved in some extracuricular activities.  Well that bit me in the butt.  We spent our savings to move and he just got worse and worse.  Then I found out that I was pregnant, so now we have 2 boys and 1 income.  I can't work because of his behavior and the baby gets to suffer.  When he started peeing (before I got pregnant) I took him to a mental hospital and tried to get him admitted for a thorough evaluation.  They wouldnt admit him at first but then I took him to a neurologist and in the process of ur discussion she got a view of his dirty look he gives when he is mad.  She said her blood ran cold and she sent us to the mental hospital again. This time they kept him for 6 days and decided that it was all me, again.  After he came home he told me very calmly and with a smirk that he was going to kill me then my baby because he wanted to be free of the rules in the house, my husband could live though because he was working and paying the bills. We took him back to the mental hospital and this time they kept him 22 days and after the first week and a half he let his true self be seen. Mostly because he realized that the hospital wasnt all that bad.  He even smiled as he told the councelor that he was disappointed that he stressed me out all during my pregnancy, I was extremely high risk and on bed rest, and all that happened was that I went to the hospital and I didnt die. That got their attention.  Unfortunately they are only accute care and couldn't really do much for his so they sent him home. Now he is on 10mg of prozac and 12mg of Abilify and if anything he is even worse now because he has nothing to fear.  I took him to the mental hospital and that is the worst thing he could think of.
Avatar universal
Dear God that is my child that you described.  I was sitting here crying because I just got off the phone with a local psychiatric inpatient facility for children and the told me they probably couldn't keep her longer than a week.  I said " you don't understand.  She isn't going to show you who she really is in that amount of time."  They apologized and that was the end of it. I feel like I want to end it all most of the time because I know where she is headed and I can't change the path.  Who do you turn to when you are scared of your own child?
Avatar universal
I am sitting here reading this, and I want to cry. I am not alone. You have no idea how that feels. We have had all the same issues with our 9 year-old son. The peeing, no remorse, the lying, manipulation. He drew a picture of me with my head cut off, and wrote a story about killing his entire family, even his grandparents. He is not my biological son, but his mother left him when he was 4. He went through the DCF system, where he was sexually molested. I am currently inquiring about a class-action law suit against that state's Department of Children and Family. He has even resorted to cutting a gash on his arm with a pencil, with the intent of telling the school counselor that we did it, in order not to be grounded to a chair anymore, so DCF would come get him. He cannot be grounded to his room anymore, because he destroyed it, and we have to keep an eye on him every second. I am scared of him, and do not know what he is capable of. When he came to me at the age of 6, he wasn't even potty trained. My husband and I keep waiting for the school to call back with an appointment with the school psychologist. They never do, but he lies and manipulates them as well. So, what are we to do? He is also small for his age, and CAN be very sweet, but it's all an act. I think the teacher, as in your case, also thinks he is being mistreated and I am certain that he lies and manipulates her as well. There is another child in the home, and one on the way. I have looked into inpatient care and long term care, and believe this will be the start of his treatment this time around. He has gone through extensive counseling in the past, but things keep getting worse and worse. Tonya, I know we don't know eachother, but from one mother to another, I want to thank you for sharing your story. But what do we do, when our children can fool educated psychological professionals?

Also, to hangingbyathread30. I want to thank you also, for sharing your story. If anyone can help us please God, leave us comments, help us. Leave us suggestions, and above all, pray for us. Our families are literally hanging in the balances. I have even threatened to leave my husband, and take my other child, but I have one on the way. I love all my family dearly. I don't want my family to be torn apart. What is going to happen to our children? My other child is nothing like this, and displays fear of the other one. What are we suppose to do? We have tried everything. We do not believe in corporal punishment. I don't think a spanking will solve years of this sort of behavior, and I cannot raise a hand to any of my children. I am desperate, and scared. My husband won't tell his parents how bad things with him are, so we get no support from them. He thinks by telling them, he'll be deemed a failure. He loves his son, but he also has no idea where to go from here. Once he has been to the mental hospital, you are right...he has nothing left to fear after that. So what now? There has got to be something we can do. There has got to be someone who can help us.
189897 tn?1441130118
   No, you are not alone, but for some reason you are or have been forced to do this alone.
First, you can request that the school start a formal evaluation.  If you submit to your school a request for evaluation, "It formally opens a IEP timeline to begin the assessment and special education process."  The school must arrange to meet with you in a reasonable time frame.  This is not only a legal mandate, you have rights to sue their tails off if they don't.  
   However, I also wonder what has happened in school the last 3 years?  And in your family the last 3 years?   You have a new child on the way.  If his actions have been relatively ok for the past two years and have only gotten crazy this year - then part of this could be in response to that.  In other words he could be a very intelligent master manipulator.  I can't tell from what you have said.  Or he could be very intelligent with bipolar.  I am including a lengthy post on bipolar just in case.  
  You said that he was in extensive counseling.  By whom?  The state or a private psychologist?  And have you gotten any private counseling or seen a psychologist/psychiatrist since then?   I am also curious as to when his birthday is and what grade he is in?
  Anyway, below is a list of bipolar traits.  Best wishes!!
        Well anyway here are the list of bipolar symptoms for children. The symptoms in adults are different.
Very Common Symptoms of Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder
• Separation anxiety
• Rages & explosive temper tantrums (lasting up to several hours)
• Marked irritability
• Oppositional behavior
• Frequent mood swings
• Distractibility
• Hyperactivity
• Impulsivity
• Restlessness/ fidgetiness
• Silliness, goofiness, giddiness
• Racing thoughts
• Aggressive behavior
• Grandiosity
• Carbohydrate cravings
• Risk-taking behaviors
• Depressed mood
• Lethargy
• Low self-esteem
• Difficulty getting up in the morning
• Social anxiety
• Oversensitivity to emotional or environmental triggers
Common Symptoms of Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder
• Bed-wetting (especially in boys)
• Night terrors
• Rapid or pressured speech
• Obsessional behavior
• Excessive daydreaming
• Compulsive behavior
• Motor & vocal tics
• Learning disabilities
• Poor short-term memory
• Lack of organization
• Fascination with gore or morbid topics
• Hypersexuality
• Manipulative behavior
• Bossiness
• Lying
• Suicidal thoughts
• Destruction of property
• Paranoia
• Hallucinations & delusions
Less Common Symptoms of Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder
• Migraine headaches
• Binging
• Self-mutilating behaviors
• Cruelty to animals
Avatar universal
My stepdaughter is 13 now and has been in the hospital 2 times for saying she wanted to kill me and kill herself (each inpatient only lasting 8-10 days).  Yes she says she doesn't feel that way anymore so all is well.  We have been going through therapy since she was 5, and have had her diagnosed with CD, ODD, ADD, ADHD, Anger issues, Abandonment you name it.  But it doesn't stop.  We don't know what to do anymore but stay calm and non confrontational with her so we can have a some what quiet life.  My husband (her father) say the old joke How many psycologists does it take to change a light bulb?  One but it takes a very long time and the light bulb has to want to change.  This is the closest I can come to an answer.  She doesn't understand and unless you have alot of money to send her somewhere what do you do?  Yes she is all that is above and more.  She has been physically restrained by my husband and myself 5+ times when she is extremely aggressive.  We do the best we can.  And pray.
Avatar universal
I have been in a similar situation with my daughter her entire life.  I have done years and years of research on the subject as well.  My daughter has been daignosed with ADD, ODD, & BiPolar, yet I do not think any of those are acurate, although she does have some signs and symptoms of them all.  After all the research I have done, I am almost positive she is a sociopath. Sadly, none of the medications for all the above issues ever did any good for any long period of time.  Nor did any of her dozens of psychologists we have seen through the years.  Nor will any of them confirm that she is a sociopath, because they are clueless on the subject.  One reason they are clueless on the subject of sociopathy is because there is no help nor a cure.  There is no medication or anything or anyone that can help!  That is the entire problem with this issue.  They cannot see reality as a normal human being, they only see their own reality in their own mind and nobody can get through to them.  So, all the money in the world trying to find help is a complete and total waste of time and just causes more frustration.  The law will not even help unless they have already harmed themselves or someone else.  Its a bad situation and all I have ever been able to do is live the best I can day by day and do whatever it took to cope.  My daughter is 18 now and living on her own, but I still get phone calls in the middle of the night and I somehow doubt it will ever change for the better.  

I can also add that a sociopath usually does not ever harm animals.  That is one of the first signs of a psycopath.  There are huge differences between the 2.  And again, do your own research and figure out for yourself what exactly that you are dealing with, sadly that is about all we can do.  
757137 tn?1347200053
We don't know what makes a sociopath or how to treat the condition. Could his problem be related to cerebral palsy? Could there be brain damage? Have they ever done a brain scan? My sympathies are with you and I wonder if you ever have a day when you can enjoy your child and laugh with him.
Avatar universal
My heart breaks for you.  I have dealt with the same issue for 6 years with my son.  He's now 19 and no longer lives with us.  Stick to your guns with the mental health industry, it will be a long and difficult battle.  You may have to endure the pain of being judged a bad parent, but if you do not feel safe with your child in your home then refuse to take him/her home.  If your child has gotten into legal trouble, this will prove to be a blessing in disguise.  I demanded that my child be placed in a treatment facility, which slowed his downward spiral and kept us safe. Get yourself into counseling immediately.  Find a support group. You must find a therapist for yourself and the other members of your family.  Not all children with the severe problems you've described are sociopaths, if that's any comfort.  Some of the descriptions, however, are extremely similar to my son's.  I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to have a therapist to help YOU through this.  
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