Co-Parenting With A Psychopath: The Story of The Headless Bear



Some of you who have been following my blog since the beginning, may remember this story.  I am releasing it from the CQ vault today, because I think it illustrates the complete chaos that many parents feel when forced to co-parent with another parent who is mentally unhealthy (or specifically, a psychopath).  I wrote this post a little over two years ago, when I was in the throws of co-parenting hell with Luc.  Every visit was a nightmare, and my mind would race from the time I dropped Prince off to well beyond the time when I picked him up.


June 2012, a week before Prince’s first birthday: 

When I first became exposed to the term “co-parenting”, I remember having a visceral reaction.  I was sitting in the three hour court mandated co-parenting class, breaking into a sweat, and having what felt like a full on panic attack as the woman leading the class showed slides of “parenting schedules.”  ‘How in hell was I going to co-parent with a man who was capable of such terrible things,’ I thought as I tried to get myself under enough control to not look like a crazy woman.  At the beginning of the class, the leaders made a point to tell everything to disregard most of what was being said if you were in a situation with abuse/domestic violence.

For some reason, this statement made me feel worse because I knew that somehow the courts were not going to treat my case the same as a cookie cutter domestic violence case (as if there ever is one).  I knew how good Luc was at playing in that “grey area” of criminality and how adept at making himself look like the victim he was.  That panic that I felt throughout the entire three hours of that class only seemed to get worse as the months passed.  While I don’t break out into sweats and actively panic every single time I drop my son off, I never feel at ease because I know his father is damaging.  The point of co-parenting is to allow the child to have a healthy relationship with both parents even if the parents are no longer together.  My motherly instincts will not allow me to trust that baby boy is ever going to be able to have a healthy relationship with his father because his father is not healthy.

One of my coworkers wrote on the white board at her desk the phrase, “Crazy people make sane people crazy.”  Most people who have never had the misfortune of co-parenting with a sociopath (if that is even what you would call this) might think that the below story sounds a little crazy.  Honestly, I feel a little crazy sometimes whenever I try and get in Luc’s head and proactively prepare for his next crazy stunt.  You tell me, is this crazy?  Or is this just a reaction to the insanity of being forced to co-parent with a sociopath?


The Headless Bear

When a person creates an environment of distrust, it makes you question everything.  Since the beginning of this nightmare (i.e. the existence of Luc in my life), I have been lied to on a regular basis by this man.  Many of the lies have put both me and my family in harms way.  Every time I think that things have calmed down, the man pulls another crazy move that I didn’t anticipate.

These crazy moves have left me attempting to anticipate the lies and deception before they happen.  Please note, this is not easy as sometimes it makes you feel like you are going down the rabbit hole of crazy.

For my son’s first birthday, Luc bought him a build-a-bear.  This was the very first thing that Luc had ever gotten the baby so as you can imagine I was a bit skeptical of this furry creature.  Part of me thought, ‘come on cappuccino queen, it’s just a bear’ but then the other voice (the skeptic) said, ‘wait a second…he never does anything just because he is trying to be nice.’

(Note:  Two years later, I now know that the bear was not the first thing Luc bought for Prince.  The first thing Luc actually bought Prince was a life insurance policy worth over 580k if Prince died.  I guess the policy wasn’t for Prince.  Oh well, I digress…)

While my first instinct was to tear the bear apart with my teeth and throw it in the mall trashcan, I decided I would do the more sane thing and ask my mother and aunts (who were standing right next to me when I first saw it) what they thought.  This is when I realized how truly traumatized my entire family had been.  One of my aunts said (before I even told them how I was feeling), “you better check that and make sure he didn’t bug it.”  The other said, “It’s too risky, just throw it out – don’t even let it in the car.”  I shook my head, threw the bear back in the box and took my son home.

I thought about the stupid bear the whole ride home.  I also thought about how throwing it out wasn’t the answer as this could be the ONLY thing my son would ever get from his father (I suspect it was purchased in order to look good in front of the court ordered supervisor who would be testifying in court the next day).  That being said, I still didn’t trust the bear.  That night the bear spent the night in the garage.

The next morning, I walked downstairs (having dreamed about that stupid bear) and low and behold my mom was awake and didn’t waste any time to ask me what I had decided to do with the bear.  I told her that we were being paranoid and that there was nothing wrong with the bear.

On the drive to work, I couldn’t stop trying to figure out if there was more to this bear thing. This is a man who has been lying and terrorizing since he met me.  A bear couldn’t JUST be a bear.  Once I got to work, I brought up the bear to my coworkers.  Some of the more paranoid ones were all for the idea of cutting the bear open and making sure it wasn’t bugged.

Eventually, I allowed my mom to check for a bug.  She cut the bears head off and pulled out all the stuffing.  Of course, there was nothing there.  It was JUST a bear filled with stuffing and a fake heart.  (A lot like Luc himself actually)  I felt terrible – and a little crazy.  My mom told me I shouldn’t feel bad and that the bear was a “casualty of war.”

Yes, one could say it was JUST a bear – but it was more than that symbolically.  That bear became a symbol of the environment of distrust.  It also made it very obvious to me that co-parenting would be impossible.  I have a lot of work to do on myself to get to the point where the little things don’t bother me.  I also need to get to the point where I can safely stop anticipating his next crazy move.







  1. H.G. Beverly on July 16, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Vulnerable and affirmative for all of us who are still trying to co-parent with sociopaths and other character-disordered individuals. “Crazy people make sane people crazy.”

    Thanks so much for re-posting.

    H.G. Beverly

  2. Linda on July 16, 2014 at 5:27 am

    I can relate to that feeling of being suspect of his actions and behaviours. NOTHING was “normal”. There was ALWAYS a “bite” or a ” sting in the tail”….to every one of his actions. If he ever did something that appeared to be ‘nice’ or kindhearted, we always looked for the real reason , the punchline. I stayed in the ‘marriage’ for ten years longer than I should have. I had a strong and nagging feeling that I should not leave the kids alone with him. I knew that he would insist on the 50/50 custody —- this was simply to avoid paying me any child support. He had actually said that to me several times. When he finally moved out…. He stole a large box of the kids baby and childhood photographs and home videos. My daughter asked for them back.
    Guess what? he returned some of the videos by post one day. BUT they were not the originals, they were copies that he had done. OMG. My daughter opened the package in horror. She has refused to use them, or even take them out of the parcel. “. They would definitely have a virus Mum. I don’t trust him”. Your story about the Bear reminded me of this scenario. We could never trust him… We expected the unexpected, all the time

    • cappuccinoqueen on July 16, 2014 at 6:26 am

      Linda, yep…the fear of that “bite” or “sting” is always ever present. When you know who you are co-parenting with (or when you realize you really DON’T know them), it is likely living in constant fear that they are trying to hurt your child.

  3. Greta on July 16, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Wow, thank you for this. Thank you for providing this perspective. Thank you for speaking so loudly for women and their babies who cannot speak for themselves.

  4. Margi on July 16, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Thanks, Cappuccino Queen, for re-posting this. “Crazy people make sane people crazy” is a very poignant statement, which rings true for anyone who is forced to co-parent with a character-disordered, mentally unstable psychopath. In front of any court-appointed official (whether it’s a GAF or custody evaluator), the lies just easily fall out of their mouths, and items are purchased for the children to highlight how very wonderful they are. When no one is looking, the children are emotionally abused, and often physically harmed. The Court expects the unfortunate co-parents to get along with this type of person, and often contributes to the insidious cycle of harassment and abuse. There’s nothing worse than someone thinking you’re crazy for discussing the craziness, who minimize the insanity, doubting you and your personal life experiences that directly impact the children. I’ve been there, and I have to say it was an emotional roller coaster ride. The court-appointed psychologist was my saving grace, and saw through him. Prior to the evaluation, the court evaluator recommended that he no longer had supervised visitation, no longer submit any type of drug screening, no mandated psychiatric treated, joint legal custody with me, a lot of visitation, and commented that I was the unstable one. I could NOT believe what I read- and, to make matters worse, his psychiatrist who told me that he was very sick and that I should have the court order a forensic psychological eval on him told the evaluator that he recommended no supervision and a full visitation schedule. How could that happen? My 30 pound weight loss was a direct result of having 18 months of sheer hell during the divorce, with his family, friends, lawyer, court evaluator, etc. sending me insults, calling me ill, and siding with him….until the facade wore thin and he started stealing and lying to them. In the end, after several thousand dollars and evaluations, along with my persistence and prayers, we got an Order that was in line with what was needed to safeguard our kids. Even still, the threats of litigation, crazy-making, and contempt of the Order continue six years after he left our home. It never ends, I’ve been told, and my only reprieve will be when the children reach 18 years of age…that’s a long way off. I can’t imagine what you went through. When a Circuit Court turns the tables on you, denying any future harm or persistent pattern of deviant behavior, and places your child directly in harm’s way- it’s criminal. Reform must take place. One would falsely assume that judges would see the red flags and do everything to put provisions in the Order to protect a baby from an obviously disordered, violent man. Your article highlighted the fear we all live with on a daily basis, even when seemingly innocent items are purchased, as the purchaser is hell bent on hurting the one they should love and protect- that is, if they were emotionally healthy, sane individuals, which they are not. Thank you for all of your posts. God Bless:)

    • Vonia on July 25, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Oh my goodness this sounds so familiar. Five years ago my ex was ordered to carry epipens by the courts, as our son 9yrs has anaphylaxis to nuts, yet unless the children argue with him, he leaves this life saving medication in t car, tells the children your Mom is crazy n got u so anxious! Then buys my son cakes and apple pies with nuts in, my son has returned home with them on several occasions and I thank God he checked with me and did not eat them. Last week my ex Taught the children how to scam self checkouts by selecting cheaper plain pastries rather than the more expensive nut products he picked for himself, he also taught them how to eat food whilst walking round the shop then hide the wrappers n not pay for the goods eaten. But CAFCASS in uk think he’s a fantastic Dad, that’s aside from the fact that he has regularly told our children he will take them to Iran, he breached a court order and registered and obtained Iranian passports for them, yet he was granted asylum from Iran in t UK in 2007! I informed court worker of these threats- Yet no information was saught from Home Office before CAFCASS ordered unsupervised contact! So I had to do airport security training with them, such that from the age of 4yrs and 6yrs they could try to alert airport staff if their father tries to abduct them to Iran as he threatened to do when we were married. I knew he could do this as he returned to Iran on holiday in 2013!
      How can u co parent with these individuals? Re the bear I would buy a replica and bin t original! And not think twice. They are only ever nice when manipulating someone. Best wishes Ladies keep your heads on straight

  5. madgamma on July 16, 2014 at 6:09 am

    This picture made me laugh. I guess that’s a sign that things are getting better. When I first read it I remember it made me want to vomit.

  6. kim on July 16, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I read your posts and the visceral response that I have is overwhelming. I still live this fear each and every day of my life as nearly half of my loves are still in his direct path. I have to be careful of what I say, I write about our situation because I know he has so much credibility in the court system at the moment – they will hold my reality against me—NOT against him. He hurts them intentionally to hurt me. When people ask why the court doesn’t see it? I can only shake my head. Why would a man deny medical care? proper clothing? Ignore the need for winter coats and gloves? Not provide internet access for homework? I am so sorry that your situation was the way it was, and that no one in the domestic and family court system heard what you had to say. I can only pray that some time soon, they will hear our cries for help for our children!

  7. vee on July 16, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Those of us who have experienced lives with sociopaths totally understand every shifting thought and emotion as we analyze each act and its possible intent. We learn that NOTHING is innocent or “everyday” with them. Sociopaths at times make pleasant or kind gestures; which in a normal healthy context would be just that. However, with them, no kindness is ever shown (usually in front of others), without the act serving THEM in some way ultimately.
    Sadly, the uninitiated are impressed by celebrity, whether it be a music pop star or entertainer like Jimmy Savile over in Britain (now shown to have abused over 500 victims); they look the other way, sometimes with a “wink-wink”.
    The other way to fool people is create high profile charities that “help” the so-called disadvantaged;such as Jerry Sanduskey did with his “SECOND MILE CHARITY”. Many asserted that he had a “heart of gold” and would never do such things as rape little boys. How’s that theory holding up?
    For the rest of us “regular” people, sociopaths are “playing” us on a regular basis. Ever hear of the “Emperor’s New Clothes”? Well, the Family Court personalities are loving each new outfit.

  8. ricky on July 17, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Crazy people make sane peeople crazy. How true. And the proffessionals don’t know who is the sane and who is the crazy

    • cappuccinoqueen on July 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Ricky, that is the scary part. Often times in Custody cases, you see the person who is at the root of all the drama being cool, calm, and collected because that person is causing the chaos. The person who is being terrorized is losing their mind. That is why I often tell people to go get a really good therapist when they are going through this sort of thing because it is so important to remain mentally well.

  9. Donna on July 17, 2014 at 11:57 am

    What’s crazy is that so many judges and agencies who are supposed to be there to protect, are incompetent or indifferent or even corrupt and therefore get away with enabling the sociopath’s abuse. It does indeed mess with your perception when you are forced to protect yourself and loved ones from sociopathic abuse. Sometimes the person can behave in a very normal, reasonable way, but sometimes, they are methodical and so obsessively cruel that the games they use are unbelievable — how could anyone think or act the way they do? It can make you feel crazy just thinking about that and the harm they cause your precious child. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. Leaflet on August 6, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Omg, now I want to go cut open my daughter’s TWO stupid Build A Bears. I can’t even tell you how crazy my ex is because I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD from my time with the psychopath- like I was at war, but I wasn’t! When I try to explain it I just draw a blank, like nothing ever happened. Then, when I have to disagree with him to stand up for my daughter, or he uses a certain tone, I panic and start having flash backs. I’ve started writing them down because I feel more sane when I can remember why I left. I understand exactly why you cut the head off that bear. Crazy sociopaths. Why can’t they just go away? They don’t care about us! Why can’t take their feeling-less selves elsewhere?!

  12. Dogluvr on October 14, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I am entering a custody battle with my psychopathic ex-husband and he has already turned the allegations that my son made of physical abuse as well as emotional abuse and neglect around on me . My 11 yr old son said “mom…Ill do ANYTHING it takes to get out of dads house” my ex turned it into a smear campaign and had 12 of his family members and a few mutual friends write letters on his behalf accusing ME of having an anger problem and two went so far as to make up stories of physical abuse ( I admit that I pushed my daughter once when I was alone with 3 small children and a husband who destroyed me) the court made me sit in a room with a mediator who bought ALL of his lies then told my son to go back to his house. The judge appointed a family therapist to figure out whats going on and in the meantime, toys are being bought for the girls, his bully mom flew out and they are spoiling the kids with time and attention. I am very stressed and dont know what to do from here…. Im afraid he would be able to take any psychological test and pass it with flying colors. Im so sorry that any of you went through this hell….

  13. Whitney on October 3, 2020 at 3:53 am

    I am in the same boat! I have been trying to find somebody, ANYBODY! That is going through the same thing. I’m to caring and he knows it, so I look like the blubbering fool when talking to anyone.” Crazy people make sane people crazy” is perfect for what we’re going through., I question if I’m overreacting everyday… ( im not though ) I love what you did with the bear, not to long ago my ex sent my daughter with a really nice pen, a PEN! I sat there and questioned it in my head about a recorder or camera! hahaha thank you for this post! I wish there was a way we could make everyone else see the phychopaths! A guildline or something.