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Living with Mental Illness

Everyone in my immediate family has some type of mental illness. We are not silent about it and all of us are medicated and therapy bound. In our house, we make our mental health as important as anything other part of our health care. So being on medicine to deal with depression or bipolarity or any number of things in the alphabet soup of the DSM is normal for our lives. There is no shame in admitting you need or want therapy appointments and we support it as if you told us you have a ache that needs to be checked out. It’s normal and there is no shame in it.

But I have one child who falls into the sociopath diagnosis. Meditation doesn’t help in that area. Therapy only works if you’re willing to put in the work. Just a few of the signs that you are living with a sociopath:

  • Superficial charm and good intelligence
  • Unreliability
  • Untruthfulness and insincerity
  • Lack of remorse and shame
  • Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
  • Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love
  • Specific loss of insight
  • Fantastic and uninviting behavior with alcohol and sometimes without
  • Suicide threats rarely carried out
  • Failure to follow any life plan

So we, as the parental units, have to take steps to deal with this. We keep the medications locked away because more than once she has stolen them. We keep any alcohol locked away (though we rarely drink due to our own issues) for the same reason. Keys to the cars are kept in bedrooms, not in plain sight and anything of value is kept tucked away.

Still that doesn’t stop her. So last night when I came home to find my bedroom closet open, I knew something was amiss. Now, I can never PROVE it was her…she always has an excuse and blames it on anyone but herself. But I know. 3 mostly full bottles of alcohol missing and all she can say is “you can’t prove it was me”. She’s right. But since she’s stolen everything from my medications to the lingerie I wore on my wedding night, i have a pretty damn good idea.

She has no sense of boundaries and no matter how many times I draw them, it doesn’t help. This is not my making excuses for her, but lamenting living with her like this. She is 19 and while I could throw her out of the house, this is beyond my abilities, at this time.

There is blessedly little on the internet on living with a sociopath as a child. There is a lot on living with one as a partner and every single ones talks about leaving them. But what do you do when the person affected is your child and you can’t just put them on the streets?

I have no witty insights, or knowledge to dispense. But if you’re reading this and you have a child who exhibits these behaviors know you are not alone.




Quirky, eclectic and as alternative as Opelika, AL ever thought to produce. I'm a Yoga for All yoga teacher, a belly dancer, a mom, an out queer woman (Yes, really, in Ala-freaking-bama!) and a crafter extraordinaire. I'm constantly on the go, always making lists and I love to offer a helping hand and a unique insight into my strange little world.

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