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How Crime effects more than just the “victims” — 24 Comments

  1. I don’t understand how people can continue to enable the offenders in their lives, be it a offspring, sibling, parent, uncle/aunt, cousin or even close friends of the family. I don’t understand it because I have found myself in the position a few times where I don’t accept that someone cannot take responsibility for their actions. With the spath, it was easy for me to just walk away. I learned not to engage in the fights he tried baiting me into and the same with his family.

    A friend of mine asked why the spath family continued to support him and always bought into his lies, hook, line and sinker? I asked him what if it was one of your kids? That makes it tougher to walk away, turn your head and leave them to fend for themselves. Tougher, but not impossible.

    I think in many cases it may also be expected on some level. How could you turn your back on them? THAT’S YOUR CHILD!!!! True, but you raise them the best you can, the best you know how and in the end- they are going to do what they dam.ned well choose to do. You’ve taught them right from wrong, they know where the lines are but they chose to cross those lines. Not your fault but people will expect you to support them regardless.

  2. Joyce, what a dreadful article, but it’s a message that is DESPERATELY NEEDED for friends and family members to read.

    Phoenix, I have been accused of not doing enough to “change” or “help” my eldest son, Mike. Then, when I left him to face his own consequences, I was literally called a “bad mother” because I had somehow failed. There is NO “right” way to approach this very painful issue, whether it’s an offspring, a spouse, or someone else that we care about and love.

    Some people literally don’t know that they have options. They truly and firmly believe that it is THEIR JOB to enable, even if they don’t know the definition of that word, or have ever used it in conversation, themselves. The exspath’s family was so dysfunctional that it boggled my mind, literally. I could not wrap my head around HOW two adults in their 80’s could continue supporting their 58 year old son. This man had been issued a number of DUI’s, and the 80-year-old parents allowed him to live in their house, rent-free, paid his fines, paid his surcharges to the State, paid ANY financial obligation that he had, paid for groceries to FEED him…………..and……………the mother washed and folded his laundry for him, as well as making him LUNCHES to take to his “work” which was always under the table. This man earned about $1000 per week, and never paid for a loaf of bread while he was living with his parents for years. And, I’m not joking about this OR embellishing.

    Why do people continue doing these things? Several reasons, but the main one is that they quite literally do not ***KNOW*** that they have options. Most people believe that they MUST protect their family, even at their own costs. They do not ***know*** that they are not obligated to do this, and they defend their enabling with total aggression.

    I cannot imagine what the father in this article must feel. To know that his son tortured and murdered 4 people and left HIM to pay for the crimes has got to be the most dreadful “wake up call” imaginable. I simply cannot imagine the space that he’s in, right now. If ANYONE ever needed to walk away from a family member, it is this poor fellow, and I don’t know if he’ll muster up the courage to do it.

    Ugh…………yes, crimes take a toll on more than the actual victims. There are social ramifications, financial consequences, businesses that are effected, and the perpetrators’ family members who are left to wander around in social exile.

    • As a strict aside, I learned SO much about dysfunction and how it touches every member of a family in this journey of recovery and healing. What I learned about the second exspath is this: if there is ANY undresolved history of enabling, I’m out. Whether it’s a “friend” or significant other, if family members are still practicing enabling, on any level, the whole dynamic is likely toxic.

      And, it’s vital for me to recognize that I do not need people like that in my life, ever again. I do not need their acceptance, approval, or company. I am so much more valuable than that, and I will NOT waste my Self on dysfunction. The instant I hear, “Blood is thicker than water,” I am absolutely OUT. LOL!!

    • “The exspath’s family was so dysfunctional that it boggled my mind, literally. I could not wrap my head around HOW two adults in their 80′s could continue supporting their 58 year old son.”

      Welcome to my world, my dear. Change but one number and the story’s much the same.

      Excuse me while I roll my eyes and then throw up. ROLFLMAO!

  3. Phoenix and Truthy, I realize that it IS HARD to turn your back on an offspring, I couldn’t bring myself to do it for years and years, decades even, but you know, there IS AN OPTION to walk away. To allow the consequences of their actions to fully impact on them, and NOT TRY TO SHIELD THEM.

    It is true that psychopaths (like my son Patrick) never learn, never grow, and continue to scheme and commit offenses…and there is nothing on God’s green earth I can do to change that. HE KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG, BUT DOESN’T CARE.

    I am sure that young man knew right from wrong, that it was WRONG to kill those people, but he did NOT CARE.

    I heard on the news yesterday that they found a shoe of his with the victim’s blood on it, I just hope that they can find any others involved as well. That young man and any others involved deserve to spend the entirety of their lives inside a maximum security prison cell.

    I feel great empathy for his relatives who love him, because I’ve been there and devastated when Ii realized just what my son had done.

    My son didn’t just “kill” one family he killed two, the victim’s and mine.

  4. Phoenix, it i s amazing to me just how the dysfunction in a family can MORPH into serious crime…including murder. My own family is a perfect example of that. and as far as people being “supportive” (can we say ENABLING?) of adult children and grandchildren who have committed serious crimes it is also amazing to me and heck, I DID IT FOR DECADES…so I am not throwing stones at others because I have been guilty of it myself.

    But I think the fact that I can NOW look back at the “other” Joyce and how she thought, and see where she was coming from, I can now have some compassion on those poor deluded folks who keepon keeping on. Especially the very elderly who come from a shame basis.

    • Joyce, what a profound statement, and one that I have recently come to understand, myself: compassion.

      I used to wonder, “What the h-ell is wrong with that person? Don’t they SEE what is going on?” And, this thought developed while I was being defrauded and abused! LMAO!!!

      No, people don’t always “get it,” and it is horribly painful when they do. Often, they NEVER “get it” and live their lives out in a state of panic, anxiety, anger, frustration, grief, and negativity. I have absolute compassion for people who are suffering, stuck, in denial, fearful, etc……..I have been there, and I spent most of my life in that realm.

  5. Truthy with the statement above about the elderly enablers and your ex, then when you said you didn’t need the acceptance, approval or company of toxic people in your life, it makes me wonder if we have had parallell lives???

    I can remember telling a guy once that I didn’t need his permission and I damned sure didn’t need his approval to learn something and make a life/career change. I remember questioning who died and left him in charge? The ex is a control freak and although it started off subtle enough he twisted something that started out of respect into having me under his thumb. Now any time I get the feeling that someone thinks they are ‘in charge’ of me? Red Flag!!! I pay closer attention to those red flags. It doesn’t take much anymore and I’m out.

    • Phoenix, it was through self-examination that I realized how I had lived my entire life making fear-based decisions. The **fear** was just a symptom of a very toxic disorder called, “Shame Core Beliefs.” It can be overcome, absolutely, but not with any medications! It requires complete commitment to Self – preserving what is, and rebuilding what “should have been,” according to the dysfunction of the family.

      I used to believe that I could recognize a controlling person, but I was totally deluded. I could only recognize it when I was outwardly threatened. The more sinister and insidious abusers and users are not so blatant. They are cunning, calculating, and as cold as ice.

      What has been even more interesting to me is how I surrounded myself with these types of people, particularly “friends.” I already believed that I was flawed, broken, and un-love-able (undeserving of ANY form of love), so it went to follow that I would be and EVEN WORSE person if I didn’t **allow** these toxic people into my life and treat them with kindness. The Dysfunctional Teachings concluded that I was to tolerate any and every type of “bad” behavior because everyone (bar none) was deserving of the benefit of the doubt, AND a second chance.

      Well……….none of those Doctrines Of Dysfunction are true. It is NOT healthy to keep secrets. It is NOT healthy to tolerate “bad” behaviors. Everyone is NOT deserving of a second chance. Everyone does NOT deserve the benefit of the doubt.

      Learning to recognize my instinct, as opposed to my ***inner critic*** has taken some time and hard work. I don’t need anyone’s acceptance, TODAY. In the past, it was all that I could do to simply BEG people to care about me, love me, or accept me.


  6. Truthy- The term Doctrine of Dysfunction struck me as humorous. It fits so well. That aside, When you said you thought you could recognize a controlling person, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who *think* they can as well. I did. At least I ‘thought’ I could and would easily recognize a control freak. But it is often one of those ‘outside looking in’ situations. When you’re involved it can be easy to ‘miss the forest for the trees’.

    Like you said, they are not so blatent. Besides being cunning, calculating and cold, they are also highly manipulative and usually quite the opposite of the three things you mention. But, being charming is what *helps* them get past our Bullshite detectors and similar warning systems. The ‘wolf’ may be AT our door, but their faux charm is the ‘sheeps clothing’ that gets them ‘thru security’ and inside that door.

    Many of us are raised to believe that everyone deserves a second chance and the benifit of the doubt and I can see how and why we *should* grant someone both, because 1) we all make mistakes and 2) sometimes I may not know, let alone understand the WHY behind the reason someone does something. I don’t have to like or agree with eveything someone says or does and depending on the severity of the offense, I will try to give them the benifit of the doubt and possibly a second chance. However I may choose to keep them at arms length when I do. Fool me once, shame on you… What they do with that second chance? Well that is up to them. Fool me twice, shame on me. I will be a bit more aware of your words, actions and behavior and the second time around? Again, depending on the offense…

    But when talking about the Spaths we encounter- they look for and feed off of our caring nature. They have time to wait in between offenses and often do as they feel us out and reel us in. It’s how they opperate. They play off of our good nature, care and compassion towards others. They may use their ‘poor me’ card and wait for us to ‘rescue’ them from the very position they have put themselves in.

    All of that being said and to tie this back into the topic of the original post so it doesn’t look like we’ve hijacked the comment section or gotten off topic, lol The spaths seem to use their parents as their ‘home free’ card. They grew up with these people and have had years to plot the best course of action to keep mom & dad on board as their enablers. Your ex-spath, my ex-spath, Joyce’s son Patrick, this man’s son and there’s so many more out there. Some of them get caught and others don’t.

    I know my ex-spath keeps his parents ‘close’ so as to keep them in the dark about what is and was really going on. He may speak to them every day, but what he tells them is far from the truth. No surprise there….. At this point they are buried so far in denial, they can’t and won’t accept the truth, even when it is presented to them from all angles on so many levels from a number of professionals in various fields. The writing is on the wall. It will always be there. All it takes is for them to open their eyes and mind to see it.

    • Phoenix, yes……..the Doctrines Of Dysfunction is a humorous term for a terrible mess. 😉

      The denial that the second exspath’s family is in stretches entirely around every member of that family, including distant cousins, etc. The denial is beyond description because it’s pathological and not just someone wanting to believe in the best for their offspring.

      When I was in Court awaiting my divorce trial, the exspath’s mother accompanied him – as she did in ALL of the divorce hearings – and the everyone in the courtroom was abuzz with the scandal: the Defendant brought his GIRLFRIEND to his divorce trial! This is what the mother and son presented within the courtroom. From the clerk to the bailiff to the Judge, and everyone in between, it was believed that the exspath and his mother were actually lovers. The way that they interacted was observed to be utterly scandalous, and I knew NOTHING about it because I was sitting in the front row while they sat in the last bench on the Defendant side. I was alone and very sick, and they were whispering, tickling one another, and touching one another (apparently) in a very intimate manner.

      What does this have to do with the original topic? Only this: sometimes, there might be more than one perpetrator in a family which causes an impact on (literally) dozens of other people who aren’t even involved. From businesses to agencies, one alcoholic’s behavior can impact the lives and/or livelihoods of 100 people that are not related to them. I only use “alcoholic” because it is a statistic with which I am familiar.

      The exspath’s family members were not only in denial and enabling, but some of them were active participants in what the exspath did and, most likely, continues to do. And, I am so grateful that I am out, out, out, OUT!

      • Oh, and to clarify about giving people the benefit of the doubt and second chances, I want to make it perfectly clear that MY dysfunctional family made these two concepts a mandate, NOT a choice. In order to be “accepted,” I was required to practice those concepts as the Two Unpublished Commandments that Moses forgot to record. And, I was only “accepted” for a short duration – usually, it was momentary, at best.

        That is what I meant. Those two concepts should – SHOULD – be a personal option, always, and not a requirement. Choices. That’s what they should be, and NOT choosing to practice either or both does not make someone a “bad” person. I was “bad” even when I held fast to those concepts in the vain hope of being accepted and loved for just BEING.


  7. Truthy, I just put up another article about how offenders effect not only their own lives but those of their family…that woman from the prison who helped the two murderers escape because on of them “love bombed” her and made her feel “special.” Talk about selling your birthright for a pot of beans!

    Looking back at your childhood, and my own, which in many ways was as dysfunctional as yours, but which I don’t think was as horrific, I can see exactly where we were trained to keep the family secrets. The mantra in my family was “what would the neighbors think?” and the unsaid part was “if they knew x, y or z?” So the person who exposed the shame/secret was the bad guy not the one who DID the bad thing.

    Since I was the one who exposed in open court what had been going on, I was the BAD person…and to be punished.

    • Joyce, the Doctrines Of Dysfunction aren’t taught, deliberately, and it’s something that was really never discussed in all of the Alateen, Alanon, and AA meetings that I attended, for years, after my mother became sober. I cannot ever recollect examining the actual psychology BEHIND what motivated all of us…….ever.

      So, whenever I talk about my childhood, the alcoholism can be replaced with any type of family dysfunction: molestation; family violence; emotional abuse; infidelity; etc.

      I was already considered broken and “bad” by most of my family because I was not the genetic offspring of my parents. So, if my biological parents didn’t want me, then there had to be something wrong with ME. Now, this was the sense that I got from other people, and never my parents. Both of my parents, in spite of all of the dysfunction, really and truly made every attempt to make me feel and believe that my adoption was a tremendous event and THEIR blessing. They tried with the tools that they had. But, they didn’t have any idea of what kind of dynamics were developed, developING, and would forever be set in proverbial stone.

      And, there is no way to remove the masks of pretense without some emotional bloodshed. There just isn’t. Those masks are nearly affixed, permanently, and it is very, very painful for most people who are NOT offenders to have those masks removed and the true nature of the family exposed. Particularly if those people are THAT deep into denial. It’s not just someone wishing that their family was better and pretending that it is. THAT kind of enabling goes far, far beyond that type of enabling that can be addressed, acknowledged, and managed. It’s a pathology.

  8. When I was in school and studying family dynamics, and realized that one family member was not the “cause” of all the family’s problems, like my alcoholic psychopathic uncle Monster, but the ENTIRE family, even the “good” ones are hooked in a spider’s web of dysfunction, and you must “fix ” the entire family, not just get Uncle Monster to stop drinking and abusing women. The family “secret keepers” and the “peace makers–at ANY price” are just as dysfunctional as the Uncle Monsters of the family, and frankly you can generally trace these down through the generations. I know in my family you sure can.

    In doing genealogy research through my family, and getting more than just a list of names and dates of birth and what their kids were named, but the STORIES that went with them, show that on both my mother’s and my biological father’s family, the rot goes VERY deep and I can identify many psychopathic people from court records, family stories, etc. One part of my mother’s family had 3 generations of murder/suicide in the brother of one of my maternal grandmother’s family. Now if that ain’t psychopathic I dont’ know what is.

    It spreads like a cancer, infecting different “organs” of the family on down the generations. Sometimes it may crop up “out of the blue” but I think that there is a BIG genetic link. Patrick is the “spitting image” of my biological father, whose mother and maternal grandfather were both “offenders” and most likely psychopaths though they were “respectable” in the community.

  9. Truthspeak,

    I can so relate to you. You literally are not alone. A friend told me (regarding the sociopath’s family-of-origin) that the members of this family “excuse each other’s bad behavior.” That’s it in a nutshell.

    • Joyce, exactly. Keeping secrets is one of the hallmarks of family dysfunction. When the secret is revealed, then chaos ensues as the enablers circle the wagons to protect the seriously BAD family members.

      Bluejay, the second exspath’s family is such a case-study in family violence and dysfunction, I’m surprised that they don’t have their own reality television program…….EUGH!!!!!!!!


      • Truthy- The sentence about circling the wagons to protect the BAD person. Yep, YEP. YEP!!! I seen this in the exspath family. Which “rule” is that in the Spath/Enabler handbook?

  10. Truthy, that is so funny….you know I do not understand the attraction of these “reality” shows which of course are NOT real…I don’t watch them but I have read about them, like Honey Boo Boo’s mother and her sex offender husband/boy friend, the Duggars with their 19 kids and counting, and Jerry Springer etc. who on God’s green earth gets on TV and acts that way? And Dr. Phil is not much better….and Dr. Oz dispenses “new age” MIRACLE weight loss diets and herbs. The medical board censured him for that one.

    What on earth is the ATTRACTION of these shows? Is it because we (the public) can look at them and feel superior that OUR family dysfunction is not as bad as theirs?

    I was thinking last night about how our family when I was a kid felt that we were SUPERIOR to the neighbors..we went to the RIGHT church and everyone else was misguided and going to hell because they went to the Baptist or some other church, and my grandfather had quit his drinking and cheating on his wife in 1929, but I did later find out about the bastard kid he’d had with another woman….and recently I’d discovered that my biological father had sired a kid I didn’t know about until now…not a surprise because everyone knew what a jerk he was…and the fact that he had cheated on my mother made her divorce and remarriage OK, BUT we didn’t tell anyone outside this community about it, (they already knew ) so when we moved to another town that was a big secret.

    But oh, did we love to talk scandal about other families…and my step dad’s sister got senile in her old age and lived like a hermit hoarder, and when she died my mother had to tell all the “dirt” on her….actually she was a sweet caring wonderful woman but my mother had to look down on her….and make sure I was not invited to her memorial, which I think now was intentional not “by accident” of “well I didn’t think you would want to go” (mind reading)

    • Joyce, y’know, I don’t understand the attraction of the reality shows, either. I watched the Honey Boo Boo show, just once, for a frame of reference and I was absolutely appalled by the celebration and exploitation of a fat, mouthy, disrespectful, greedy little girl and her obviously dysfunctional family members. It actually made me physically ill, and I was 5 minutes into the episode before I had to turn it off.

      Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, the Duggars, “Bad Girls Club,” “Teen Moms,” and all of the rest……it’s all malarkey and ALL very, very unhealthy to watch, IMHO. Don’t people have better things to do than fill their heads with false and scripted drama? I mean……..don’t they have BILLS to pay and LAWNS to mow and children to raise, etc.????

      We’ve got two extremes in our culture, at the present. The first one is to keep secrets of dysfunction – that’s aged-old and not likely to change. The second is to air dirty laundry in such a fashion that it becomes entertainment.

      The owner of another website invited me to appear with her on the Rikki Lake Show to talk about my experiences of betrayal and fraud. I contacted my divorce attorney about it, and she had no issues as long as I didn’t say the bastard’s legal name. After contemplation, I determined that my situation was NOT one for entertainment. I wasn’t in the loop of getting even like the other gal is. I just wanted to survive, recover, and heal from my experiences.

      These days, I tend to do a little more observation, though I have caught myself falling back into old habits, on many occasions. LOL!!! BUT, when people want to spill out the dirt on other people, I don’t have time for that. That’s how it starts – spilling the dirt makes the listener believe that they are “special” to the other person. I have learned the real truth that those who would speak ill of someone else will CERTAINLY speak ill of me as soon as my back is turned.

  11. Truthy, there is healthy talking and there is UNhealthy talking about how our lives have been one of dysfunction. I saw a 48 hours show last night about break up violence and the woman who survived in spite of being slashed and stabbed dozens of time now makes it her career to advocate for women and teach them about break up violence and how to avoid it, the signs of abuse etc. She did not come off as a pitiful “victim” she is a SURVIVOR and she is doing some good with her life story and I applaud her for the way she is doing it.

    The show as done I think in “good taste” not sensationalized.

    Yea, the “realities” shows make me sick as well…I thought long and hard about “outing” myself and even starting this web site, but I’ve had many people tell me that they appreciate it so I do think I did the right thing, and it has been theraputic to me as well because the support I have gotten here has strengthened me. I can’t “preach” healing and not DO it. If that makes any sense.

    • Joyce, that makes absolute sense! LOL

      For many years, I was able to talk about what a sociopath was, what they did, how they did it, etc……but, I never connected the proverbial dots as to how I (bold, italic, underlined) contributed to my own victimization.

      Now, before anyone gets their panties all in a bunch about that statement, I want to make it crystal clear that nobody ASKS to be victimized. Nobody DESERVES to be victimized. But, I had a specific set of behaviors that were directly related to my childhood (and, later adult) dysfunctions that made me a “Perfect Target” for a sociopath.

      SO……..by learning about them, I took the next step and learned about myself. I can talk all day long about recovery and healing, but only in terms of my own progress, challenges, and setbacks. I’ve learned a great deal in the past 4 years, and I’ve learned that accepting the label of “victim” is NOT on my personal agenda. I don’t even talk about my past to anyone, anymore. It’s all in the past – gone – done – over with. And, I’ve taken steps to address and process those experiences so that I don’t relive – RE***LIVE – those experiences, every waking moment. That is what caused my anxieties, and that’s what perpetuated my role as a victim. No more, thank you.

      So, here’s to another day in recovery and brightest blessings to everyone out there that’s facing the challenge of reclaiming themselves!

  12. So, I wanted to bring this subject back up with an eye on celebrity betrayals.

    Yeah, the guy in the original article committed some heinous crimes, and was quite prepared to throw his father under the proverbial bus. But, what happens when the betrayals and crimes have an effect on loyal followers and fans? And, what does that say about us, in general, when we hold celebrities in such high regard that they seem beyond fault?

    The recent news that Phil Mickelson is likely involved in a $3 million money laundering scheme did not come as a shock to me for a few reasons, but the main one is that there was always something…………..slightly off………….about him. The second exspath is a golf enthusiast and absolutely loved Mickelson. Side note, there, but interesting, just the same, right? LOL!!

    Mickelson’s fall from grace has him painted as a human being that made some very serious errors in judgments, and NOT the humble guy portrayed in his endorsement ads. I wonder how long it’s going to take his sponsors to sever his contracts?


    So, back to my issue about how betrayal and crimes effect the general public. Whenever someone experiences a betrayal, it’s a deep trauma because our own judgment and common sense is called into question. I know that I have, in the past, felt “stupid” for NOT SEEING what was apparently obvious. For me, my past reactions would have been self-deprecating rather than holding the liar responsible. For the general public, I have to imagine that the feelings are similar on a varying scale, depending upon whom you talk to. So, in turn, this creates trust issues even for the folks who do not experience the catastrophic thinking caused by long-term dysfunction.

    Today, what Mickelson did was outrageous, and he should spend time in jail, pay hefty fines, lose his PGA membership, and be banned from ever engaging in a professional sport, again. Today………HE is the bad guy, not me for believing that he was genuine.

    When I think about how Tiger Woods and now Mickelson ravaged professional golf through their own choices and actions, it no longer causes me rage. Instead, I feel pity that they just didn’t care enough to simply LIVE instead of pretend to live. They are con men and they just happen to golf.


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