If you have a family member or friend who is offending, incarcerated, or likely to be, this is the place where you can find understanding, knowledge, and support without criticism or judgment, from people who have “been there” in your shoes. 

In order that people remain anonymous, unless an offender has been convicted of a crime, please don’t use your real name or the real name of the loved one with the problems in your post. The point of telling the story is to learn what happened and why, so we can learn what may have contributed to the problem, find a way to make things better if there is one, or if we must, accept that this is a situation over which we have no control and to offer support to families in pain.

I also request that there be no profanity or “flames”


Share Your Story — 11 Comments

  1. The blogger “Truthspeak” sent the following story

    I’m a 52 year old woman who has spent the past 30 years involved with one
    psychopath after another. I have been twice married and divorced. The first
    spouse evolved into an extremely abusive man, and two male children were
    produced from that ill-fated 15-year union.

    The second marriage was to a “non-violent” abuser that is 15 years my
    junior. This individual set me up for a very long con to relieve me of my
    personal finances, as well as to use me as a cloak of respectability to
    hide an extremely violent sexual deviance that existed years before we ever
    met. I was relieved of nearly 300K in private investments and the man
    forged a total of $76,470.03 that has been documented. No children were
    produced in this union.

    Additionally, I have been exposed to and exploited by numerous peripheral
    individuals that have ranged from extremely high in
    psychopathic/sociopathic traits, to simply toxic and needy people who
    drained my energies and emotions for their own purposes and entertainments.

    I was adopted into a typically dysfunctional family. I have an older
    brother who is the biological offspring of my adoptive parents. My mother
    was diagnosed bipolar in the year before her death, and she had been a
    practicing alcoholic up until I turned 12. My father was a self-made man
    from very humble-but-strict background and the typical non-alcoholic. The
    results of these family dynamics were to develop a tremendous shame-core,
    as well as extreme eating disorders and other core-issues.

    Because of these unaddressed core-issues, I have been “vulnerable” to
    predatory human beings for 50 years, and this includes my eldest son who
    has been diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder, Cluster B. It is
    quite possible that, had I addressed these core-issues and done the very
    hard and demanding work to recovery from my childhood experiences, I might
    possibly have never married the first abusive ex and produced another spoke
    in the wheel of domestic violence and abuse, much less the second
    fraudulent spouse. Having said that, there is something karmaic about my
    experiences that have brought me full-circle to rediscovering who I am,
    whom I was meant to be, and commencing the lifelong journey on that Path.

  2. The blogger, Daisy sent this story of her life. We welcome her to Family Arrested and offer her our support.

    I became educated to the darker side of life at an early age. In the small church I grew up in, there was an elderly couple who were grandparent figures to me. I was a bouncy and happy little girl and they adored me. I knew this and never missed giving them my hugs and love on Sundays. They looked awfully old and worn for their age and the woman trembled constantly. When I childishly asked my mother why my dear older friend came across this way, she told me that their son had murdered somebody. She didn’t tell me how their son died, but informed me that our small town pastor was the only pastor they could find that would do a funeral service for him. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I found out through a documentary piece that their son was a notorious serial killer. He had killed as many as 30 people and was killed by police during an escape attempt or “suicide by cop.”
    Not too many years later, our pastor that had buried this murderer lost his 16 year old daughter to a demented rapist that took her from our local mall. He had raped before, which led to his capture. Our pastor’s daughter was (as far as anyone knows) his first murder victim. Our pastor visited the perpetrator in prison. He wanted to know exactly how his daughter had died. The perpetrator told him that he “only wanted to rape her,” but she fought so hard that he ended up shooting her in the head. Our pastor then offered the man his forgiveness, told him that God would forgive him if he repented. I was around 14 years old when this happened.
    Obviously, that side of the coin is very apparent to me. The pain and misery caused by people who seem to be purely evil.
    But the other side of the coin has managed to be the side that has taken a huge toll on my life. I have always been one of those people that wanted to find the good side of people and to offer the love and support to the underdogs, hoping to positively impact their lives. A few of many stories that would deeply impact my adult life:
    I became devoted to a woman who had lost her husband at the Pentagon on 9/11. I did everything for her that I could possibly do. In turn, she became sexually aggressive towards me and eventually became a stalker.
    I became single in 2005, after leaving a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. The life I left was one of high society. I told myself that money meant nothing to the toll the abuse was taking on me. My two closest girlfriends (yeah, right) helped me escape and took me in to protect me during violent times. But after they helped me out, they chose his money and high lifestyle over the “sister that they would always love.”
    Between that time and now, I have been used and scammed to the point of self hatred. I tried to help a Army Special Forces war veteran (nothing romantic involved) who said he had PTSD and showed me photos that he took in Afghanistan on the battlefield. I did my own little background check to the extent that the Internet would allow. Since I have suffered from depression and abuse, my heart went out to the person who had lost so much fighting for our country. The problem – I found out his real name and a simple Yahoo search brought up newspaper articles of a long criminal history – not violent stuff, but very strange. He was a joke when his information was brought up. Stories were written by many people about what a stupid pervert this man was – a famous panty and shoe thief. That episode cost me approximately $7,000, when he used my computer to access my PayPal account and drained the money that I had set aside to pay taxes with. I was also humiliated. Law enforcement would not help me with my financial losses, and I was so embarrassed that I didn’t push. But do I stop? No I do not.
    As I approach 50, I am now jaded and cynical to so much that I encounter. However, the “rescuer” within me, again changed my life within the past year. Through a church group, I have found myself married to a convicted felon. Everyone but me believes that he is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I will cut my very sparse story short here, as I find myself in a position of questioning where I am now going in this crazy life I have led.
    Obviously, I have a personality disorder in wanting to save people. So I do not completely blame those who have taken advantage of that. I was the perfect, willing target. I feel as though I have arrested development – like I am still a trusting child. But at the same time, I feel emotionally, physically, and mentally like the age of 100.

  3. Looking back over my life, I realize that I encountered some psychopaths. They are everywhere, currently, having some in my workplace (who are sneaky, lying, thieving, FAKE spaths). Every one that I have known has caused nothing but trouble to those around them, thriving on the chaos and destruction that they cause – drama. I have been married to one, a charismatic spath. He comes across as a humble, nice, friendly man who would go out of his way to help others. What I discovered with this man is that there has to be something in it for him – there’s an agenda for his being a “do-gooder.” Personally, I question if he’s aware of it. Ultimately, spaths are takers, not givers. My children’s father has been a successful businessman (he built up a profitable lawn care business, first with one partner then taking on a second partner, all supposedly good friends), a business that is one of lawn care businesses known for the quality of its work, in our part of the country) and later when he left that business (and took on two other partners), he nosedived and became an outright criminal, showing me what his true character was – he is all about GREED, especially where money is concerned. I have figured things out (and continue to have revelations along the way) slowly but surely. My discoveries have been painful, putting me in a deep depression, a tailspin. The spath has been arrested for different crimes (bouncing checks, stealing a vehicle, etc.), seemingly not possessing any embarrassment over his actions. He is a con-artist, a master manipulator, using his charming personality to get what he wants. Under the guise of a humble, seemingly caring person is a snake, who has walked a jagged, ragged road, harming many who have crossed his path. He has no conscience, not being heavily bothered by what he has done or who he has hurt. What I discovered is that some of these “great guys” that we meet along the road are not so nice – their personality is an act, used for their selfish purposes.

  4. Behind the Shame;
    I am a 59 year old woman who is married to a wonderful man for 40years, though my life may appear to be “normal” there are secrets that are hidden from those who know me.
    As I look back over my life starting when I was 12 years old that is when my world was turned upside down. For it was then that my mother started to signs of schizophrenia where she would “talk to the underground” as she called the people that she saw, at first I didn’t know what to think or say. She would accuse neighbors of spying on her and take her things from our house. My older brother tried to calm her down which she then took a sharp knife and chased him up to his room. He was not hurt, but scared and I hid for the fear that I felt. Our dad was not home and we were too scared to say anything about what took place.

    It was hard on us for we never knew what our mom would do and as far as our dad, he wouldn’t do anything he simply said that if you don’t talked about it, it doesn’t exist
    So that is how we “survive” the remaining of our childhood, avoiding upsetting our mom and be keeping quiet about our home life to other people, especially friends.
    It was also during this time that our mom who “entertain” men, which my dad found out and the way he dealt with her was with violence which years later police were called to our home. However back then nothing was done, and usually my dad would dismiss everything by saying don’t pay attention to her she’s crazy, and that would be the end.

    Needless to say that growing up in this family wasn’t the easiest to say at least; besides the fact of my mothers mental-illness, I was verbally abused by both parents. Words such as dumb, ugly, and fat which lasted way into my adult hood and even though through my deep faith however ,occasionally I can still hear those words play in my mind.
    Moreover it is those times when I remember God’s love for me and that I am His child and I am truly loved for not who I am but who I belong to that is Jesus.

    As we grew up, there was always the shame of our mother, the whole neighborhood knew of her illness in which we endured the teasing and how kids our age looked at us as though we were “crazy”. Which brings me back to my dad who was recently added onto the sex offenders list. Looking back I can honestly say that yes he was violent towards our mom which is no excuse for him, but he never sexually abused us his children.

    I am not excusing his offense, which he committed when he was 79 years old, and now he is 82 years old. You see when I first learned of his offense, I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock at first, and when he told me what happen I tried to understand as to why. And when I first saw his picture on the internet I felt shame and disbelief it was like being hit with a brick. And the reality of going to prison hurts me deep inside, for he is my dad and I am sadden not only for him but for the child in which this offense was made against.

    One thing I am learning through this and that is to share my story for behind the shame there can be some good, for it is when each of us take a risk and share our stories for when we share them we will start to fine out that we are not alone. Most importantly for me and for you is to realize that God Loves His Children. Even if you don’t believe that God is a loving God, you can depend on Him.

    And yes, I am more willing to talk about my mother for the last 4 years of her life I was given a chance to learn about her, and I forgave her which I learned to love her for who she was. Even though with my dad and with God’s help I am taking baby steps and eventually I can take a risk and share my story with those who know me, down the road.
    God Bless

  5. Here is Babette’s web site http://www.amazon.com/Babette-Hughes/e/B001K8I026

    Here’s Babette’s story:
    Lost and Found: A Daughter’s Tale of Violence and Redemption (Hardcover)
    by Babette Hughes

    “Aren’t you that Rosen girl?” Mary Ann’s mother said. Mary Ann Halloway was my new best friend in second grade and we were sitting in her kitchen drinking milk and eating coconut cookies. The cookies were delicious and something nice-smelling was cooking away on the stove. It was Saturday afternoon and her father was there, too. “The one whose father got murdered?’

    “No,” I said, chewing. “My daddy died of pneumonia.”

    “It was about five years ago,” she went on, “some kind of bootlegging business. Let me think.” She narrowed her eyes. “His name was Lester. Or Leon. No, wait a minute. Louis. That’s it, Louis. Louis Rosen. And there was another one murdered—a brother, I think. It was in all the papers.”

    She turned to her husband. “I remember the name because it’s Jewish. Most of those people who go around killing each other are Italian, but this was a Jew.”

    “Yeah,” her husband said, “I remember reading that he went to jail for killing a scab in a union fight.”

    She looked at me, got hold of her husband’s hand, and pulled herself back as if I had the measles or something.

    The coconut cookies on my stomach were suddenly on the way up. I stood, knocking over my milk. “I have to go home now.”

    “Yes, run along,” Mrs. Halloway said, handing me my coat.

    I got out of there just in time to throw up on Ms. Halloway’s azaleas. I was not invited there again.

    Although that was decades ago, nothing has changed regarding the lack of attention paid to the families of criminals. In the hundreds of thousands of books and movies and newspaper articles and TV programs about members of murderers, their families are either ignored or marginalized. Aaron Alexis, Adam Lanza, Ariel Castro, Whitey Bulger—all have wives and girlfriends and children and mothers.

    Who are these women? What is their background? Do they like the danger? Or hate it? Stay or leave? How are their lives affected?

    My mother met my father in 1912 when she was 15, after graduating from the Jewish Orphan Home in Cleveland, Ohio. He was considered a catch for an orphan girl— good looking, with money in his pocket and a shiny Winton automobile. They were married in 1915, and when Prohibition became law in 1919, he found the career he was born to—bootlegging. She was the window of a criminal in her early 20s.

    When I discovered the family secret, I was ashamed of her for staying. I was proud of her for moving on with her life when her husband died. But I didn’t know what I had learned from her. That is, until my divorce. Needing independence and courage, I discovered it within myself, put there by her spirit, from watching her struggle with the effects of the double murders in her life, not to mention the challenge of raising two children during The Great Depression under an umbrella of secrecy.

    Stuck in trauma, she was unable to talk about the killings or even mention her husband’s name for the rest of her life.
    Thanks to Family Arrested, family members of criminals are able to speak out and support one another.

  6. Dear Joyce

    I am contacting you from the BBC World Service radio, international discussion programme, World Have Your Say.

    I am producing a programme about the impact of serious crime on an offender’s family.

    This is an opportunity for the families of serious offenders to speak to each other and share the impact their relative’s crime has had on their lives.

    It is for our audience to hear people’s stories, not for our guests to be judged.

    I was wondering if you might be able to put me in touch with anyone who would like to be part of the conversation.

    I would be grateful of any help you can offer.

    The programme will be broadcast live sometime next week 17-21 November 2014.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes

    Chris Ancil

  7. Chris, I will be glad to assist you with your programme (or program as we say here! LOL) You can find my story here in multiple places. If I know of anyone else who would be willing to share their stories, I will let my readers know.

  8. My story does not involve a psychopath, just heartbreak of another kind.

    My son who is now 30 has schizophrenia; he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as a teenager, so he onset of schizophrenia was camouflaged as odd autistic behavior. By the time it was plain what he had, he was in his mid-20s and much too set in his ill worldview to agree to treatment.

    I am disabled by a muscle disorder, so after divorce I lived with my parents. My son Levi got the idea that my mother was poisoning me. She had early dementia and was changing a bit, and his illness perceived this as being evil and no longer being herself, but rather a witch or a demon.

    At the same time, Levi is a gentle, soft-spoken person who made no threats and never had a violent outburst. He just patiently tried to persuade me not to eat food she had made. He began to develop neurological symptoms of schizophrenia and yet still did not meet the “clear and present danger” standard to legally force treatment.

    So finally the day came that he killed my mother. He just stabbed her in the back while she was eating breakfast with my dad. She died quickly without any sign of pain, in my dad’s arms. I had to call 911. Levi didn’t understand why I didn’t let him go back to his room and resume his computer game, and he didn’t know why the police arrived with guns. I talked him through the first two minutes of his arrest and then left, running away like a cat to my room.

    It took many months for treatment at a state hospital to get him to understand that he is ill. He shows little emotion about what happened and does not talk about it, but he was never much for showing emotion. He is probably still autistic on top of schizophrenic.

    We were deceived by his lawyer, and had to start over, so after 3 1/2 years he is still just in the county jail’s MH unit with no resolution in sight.

    On the other hand, he is sane now. The upside of schizophrenia is that he isn’t actually evil. He really thought he was killing a zombie. He hasn’t caused any trouble while incarcerated; he is polite and even thoughtful, helping other insane inmates with small problems while trying to keep his distance. He has trouble concentrating, finding words, and thinking, but the disease was already doing damage so I don’t blame the meds much.

    We are working toward a short sentence and placement in some kind of assisted living, depending on what’s available and how it works out. He will now always be under a court order to have monitored medication, and he will probably always live in a group home. But thank God, I can still love him.

    So that’s my story.

  9. Dear Ruth, I am so sorry for the chaos and heart break in your family…mental illness is a terrible cause of crime, pain and dysfunction and is so woefully under treated. Having worked with the chronically mentally ill, I can definitely empathize with your situation.

    I am glad that he is not in full on prison, and I hope you can get him into an appropriate group home. I do not believe he needs to be in PRISON at all. Contact the ACLU in your area and see if they can help you with his case. It is free if they do help. Also contact some of the mental illness groups and see if any of their advocates can help. It is a crying shame as we say here inthe South that seriously mentally ill are sent to prison instead of treatment. “Losing” a child due to psychopathy or any other kind of problem is very painful.

    I haven’t been on the blog much as I broke my hand and it is difficult to type. Your son having a dual diagnosis at least gives you the “cold comfort” that he is not “knowingly evil” like my son Patrick. I am not sure how much that comforts you, but at least you can know that while the aspergers tends to mean he doesn’t have a lot of empathy, that at least he is not out to INTENTIONALLY hurt you. Dr. Baron-Cohen who is a world scholar in autism has written a wonderful book about empathy. Both psychopaths and autistics have some form of decreased empathy, depending on where they are on the “bell curve” and very in-turned autistics have zero empathy, but and here is the BIG BUT, unlike psychoaths, they do not WANT to hurt others. He calls this lack of empathy in autism “Zero” positive and zero negative, but in the psychopaths, they ENJOY hurting others, seeing their pain.

    I can’t remember the exact name of the book now but if you will google the doctor’s name you can see the books he has written. I suggest that you get it and read it. It helped me a great deal.

    Though my son has the “evil gene” and yours does not, it still helped me to realize that lack of adequate empathy is a big problem, whether it is someone with autism to one degree or anther or because they are a psychopath answers a lot of questions.

    While any time there is chaos in the family and especially the kind of chaos you and your family have suffered, sometimes it takes some hard work on our part to find a “normal” life and accept what is. Rather than continue to grieve over what we wish was and is not.

    I strongly suggest that you seek some counseling for yourself. You have a lot on your plate and sounds like the weight of the world on your back.God bless you and if there is anything you need that I can help you with let me know.

    I am very glad that your son’s meds seem to be helping him some and I hope that he is able to get into an appropriate group home. I realize the meds for his condition are filled with side effects, many of them terrible side effects. I hope the jail where he is held now is treating him well. I am also glad that you can still love your son.

    I have reached “acceptance” with my son, I neither love nor hate him, just realize he is a danger to me and to society. It has been a long hard road to reach this point.

    Patrick comes up for parole in January 2017 and I am again preparing my protest–fortunately, though I have had to change attorneys because he filed a grievance with the bar against my previous one, but my new one is great and I have been able to not let this time send me into a tail spin like the last one did. It is just one day at a time, but life is good again.

    God bless.

  10. I do have a lot going on. I’ve sought counseling but basically we always conclude that my life is just too heavy and there isn’t anything I can tweak in my thinking. The biggest burden is my muscle condition because it blocks a lot of other coping methods. I may have a mild kind of muscular dystrophy.

    While all this tragedy was brewing, and afterward, I was working on a book about human personality. Self-published it last fall. There are some draft chapters that I didn’t include, because I could see that in order to do them right, I’d have to do more research that I didn’t feel strong enough to do. Those chapters are about abnormal personality. My goal is to establish a working definition of normal personality, to help make PDs and psychopathy clearer to people. All this is apart from my personal story, in some ways, but of course in other ways not. I wonder if you would have time or interest to read my draft chapters and see what you think. (I’m not preparing to publish them; I am still too tired to feel ready for such work again.)

    Yes, it is a very great comfort to know that Levi believed he was doing right; also, he only stabbed my mother once, and there was no sadism in it. His delusions just told him it was time for her to go. I am still able to love him, and the longer he is on medication in jail, the more he becomes a real person again. When I found your blog, I had just been to visit him, so I was processing some more of the grief.

    I also read your thoughts on Charity Lee and Paris; I had followed their story a bit, briefly had her as a FB friend. My thoughts were the same, she is an extraordinary woman processing a grief too huge to process, and in order to get through it, she had to spend many years not fully facing the reality that her Paris had died inside this genetic Paris’s central nervous system. It is really scary that he got “only” 40 years.

    I have also gotten to know Angie Geyser, whose daughter Morgan has schizophrenia and at age 12 tried to kill her best friend. Morgan is supposed to stand trial as an adult, which is obviously a travesty of justice. (It took them nearly 2 years to forced the criminal justice system to treat her illness, but now she is sane and would not hurt anyone.) The friends around Morgan campaign against any and all cases of trying children as adults, saying it is never right to lock up a child for life. I have frequently pointed out that psychopaths are the reason for such laws. They are the hard cases that make bad law.

  11. Ruth, I disagree with you that therapy would not be any help to you…It is what saved my sanity and mind…even though I was a therapist and a good one, I couldn’t see my OWN problems with enabling etc. until I got into some SERIOUS trauma therapy. Therapy doesn’t “fix” your problems, it helps you to COPE with them. It gives you the emotional and cognitive TOOLS to cope.

    What is your background in studying psychopathology and “normal” versus ” AB-normal?

    There is a great deal of good writing out there, Dr. Baron-Cohen, Dr. Robert Hare, etc. and believe me, I have and continue to read and read and study, but actually, as I have healed and come to ACCEPTANCE I have began to be less obscessive about learning about it. I think my being OCD about it was in order to figure out what was going on, how I could have missed the signs, and what I could do if anything to fix it,

    I lost trust in MYSELF to keep myself safe from predators and other chaos.

    The brain and personality are so complex, a mix of genetic and environment, culture, etc.

    In my younger life I spenttime in Africa, south America and central America as a wild life photographer, I was exposed to many different and highly varied cultures. I was so young that I didn’t fully appreciate what a great opportunity that was, but at the same time, I can now look back on those experiences and SEE that culture has so much to do with what we perceive as right or wrong. ISIS for example does not value any life but their own, any view but their own and they are willing to do what WE see as barbaric, inhumane things to “others” Since humans have lived in caves we have always seen ourself as good and “others” as bad…war is built on this. Different cultures living in the same place have had much in the way of hate, injustice etc. and I don’t see that changing any time soon….factor in other things such as race, religion, etc. and you have dynamite, like is happening in our world today. Over seas and here as well. And of course mental illness is another big factor….and what is “normal” personality, what is “normal” and desirable behavior varies with era, place, culture, etc. So “normal” I think is not a static thing, but is ever chaning and evolving.

    For example, we highly sanction having sex with children and put people like Jerry Sandusky in prison for that behavior, but in some cultures in Afganastan it is “normal” for men to keep “dancing boys” of 6-10 for sex. It is “normal” to have 4 wives and a “temporary” wife to have sex with. Rape is okay as well, slavery is ok, etc. so what is “normal”?

    So defining “normal” or “abnormal” is like trying to nail jello to a tree I think, BUT– that said, I actually think that your research and deep thought processes are a way for you to cope with the tragic situation in your life. The grief process is the reaction to loss, ANY kind of loss, not just a death, and the more important the loss, the deeper the grief, Patrick was my “shining star” child when he was young and as a teenager he morphed into a monster, my “loss” of this wonderful, bright, charming child was too deep for words and I was determined to “fix” him, if only I could find the right thing to say to him. LOL

    You defining what is “normal” for YOU is a good thing in every respect, just as my defining psychopathy for myself….actually, I read other’s research and interacted with the researchers in psychopathy, Bob Hare and others. I wish I could know what the results of the research will be in another 100 years. With the fMRI andother scans psychology will become more of a hard science I am sure. the FDA has already approved a TEST/Scan for ADHD so that can be identified now and not just based on a kid’s behavior which of course can be a kid who is not ADHD but so badly behaved he just needs his seat warmed and stood in a corner. LOL

    I’m encouraged by the research and I hope our law enforcement and our medical/psych treatments will improve.

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