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Man reveals 'dark family history' to wife after their 4 yo exhibits extreme 'sociopathic' behavior. AITA? HORRIFYING UPDATES.

Man reveals 'dark family history' to wife after their 4 yo exhibits extreme 'sociopathic' behavior. AITA? HORRIFYING UPDATES.

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When this husband is angry with his wife for blaming him for their 4 yo's creepy behavior, he asks Reddit:

"AITAH for screaming at my wife that I didn't make our 4yo a sociopath?"

I, 34M, come from a family with a history of mental illness and unethical behavior patterns on both sides.

My wife, 39F, is obsessing over that fact because our 4-year-old is showing extreme anti-social behaviors. She didn't know much about my family until two weeks ago.

She also did not know about my previous criminal charges. I shared it all with her now in hopes of brainstorming a solution to help our son.

Our kid was kicked out of kindergarten for biting other kids. Strangely enough, he plays well with the neighbors’ children and his company is sought after. At pre-school, he does not want to share.

He can hold a grudge and sulk for three days straight with no break. Incidents as small as running out of his favorite flavor of ice cream can set that off. He likes kicking anthills and crushing insects.

I can best describe it as a strange and intentional fascination with putting others in discomfort or disturbing the balance of things.

My wife has sobbed multiple times for hours in my arms about this situation. We don't know why he's doing any of this. We're trying to reach him in warm conversations but he's playing his own game where we are fools.

We were talking in bed one evening when our childhood behaviors came up. We wanted to know if we could ask our parents how they dealt with us. Up to that point, she thought we were both extremely well-adjusted so what worked for us must be good.

I decided to tell her about my past. The reason I hadn't done so earlier was because I was putting it all behind me. But I'm also very concerned for our son, and the filter came off without me realizing.

As a child and up to my twenties, I also exhibited sociopathic traits. I remember searching other kids’ backpacks and stealing money when I was 9. I'm not sure where I got the idea.

At 25, my employer wanted to press charges against me for fraud. I'd lied about going to an Ivy League-level university when I didn't attend any, then proceeded to mismanage major projects while admittedly creating toxicity.

There are many other incidents in between. For a few years, I lived under a completely assumed identity and false backstory for a reason I can't quite say except the thrill of it. Lying has always come naturally to me as an amoral tool for navigating situations.

My wife made a good point that my surroundings could've caused that behavior. But our son has had a very sheltered life.

My uncle Jeff is a sociopath. He's never treated people with respect and was jailed for fraud. My aunt Kate is a psychopath whose two eldest children no longer speak to her. They report horrific abuse while growing up. That's my mom's side.

My mother has APD. She has an extreme lack of empathy and a tendency to cause conflict. She would often talk behind her friends’ backs to me when I was growing up. She always seeks control and lacks self-awareness. My mother has not sought a diagnosis because she is a religious fanatic who does not believe in mental illness.

My Dad seems rather normal. I'd say he's the most well-adjusted of every member of my family, immediate and extended.

On my Dad's side, two cousins suffer from psychosis and schizophrenia. Our culture is one where infidelity is frowned upon and tends to cause divorce, but three of my Dad's four brothers have children out of wedlock.

Maybe it's not hereditary and it's generational trauma. But I've worked hard to reverse my negative traits. For the past two weeks, she's come closer and closer to saying I betrayed her and our son is doomed.

She joked about it at first, but that was her own way of lightening it in her mind. I could tell it was sitting heavily on her. We can't talk about anything without it leading back to my past or family history. She's able to tie the most unrelated details to it when we're watching a movie or taking a walk.

We were doing the weekly shop when she tried to joke about me having a shoplifting gene.

As it happens, yes, I did have a shoplifting habit for a while as a schoolboy. That's something I'd kind of buried in my mind.

I had that nostalgic ecstasy when you remember a period after forgetting it entirely for years. I thought we were carrying on with the chit-chat so I started recounting the details as they came to me.

She turned serious all of a sudden and said this is a serious issue and it's like she doesn't know who I am.

She started saying our son is in serious trouble and needs help and if she’d known she could have sought help for him when he was extremely young but she didn't because I never told her and that was unfair to her and an evil thing to do.

I lost my temper and screamed that she must not be smart to have married a sociopath and not realized all this while. Clearly I've changed! And the whole thing seemed worth a look in the beginning but now it seems like voodoo thinking to me.

She hasn't spoken to me for hours. When I approach her, she faces another direction or tells me to get away. Am I the asshole here?

OP also wrote another lengthy post in a different thread that provides more details about his family situation:

I need advice to resume control of my marriage ASAP. I'm currently at a loss. My wife, 39F, will not speak to me, 34M, and I fear this might be difficult or impossible to get back from.

Two weeks ago, I told my wife that my family has a history of mental illness, anti-social behavior, and trouble with the law. I want to emphasize that I shared this information of my own accord when I could have kept it private. Somehow, that seems to be getting lost in her viewpoint.

So now, she's making me out to be the bad guy for telling her things. So much for honesty.

Basically, she pushed too far and insensitively on this issue and I ended up screaming at her in the shop yesterday. She hasn't spoken to me since.

The background is this. Our four-year old boy has been causing issues at home and pre-school. He has been biting other kids. He laughs at others being in pain or discomfort. He likes kicking anthills and squashing bugs.

My wife said he stares at their insides after crushing them but I've personally not noticed that. Once, when another kid fell and started crying, my son’s reaction was to go over and hit him.

These behaviors are odd to me too but I don't think they are very alarming. One incident with my son taking a knife from the kitchen and apparently threatening to stab my wife is

My wife has wept over this multiple times and I've comforted her and assured her it will be ok.

One evening two weeks ago, we were in bed talking about our own childhood problems. Hers were nothing concerning.

Mine are worse but she didn't know them. I didn't necessarily hide them so much as put them behind me. Given our son’s potential condition and my intense desire for him not to follow the path I did for a while, I told her some details about my history.

I was troublesome from childhood up to my 20s. An employer once wanted to press charges against me for fraud after I lied that I went to an Ivy League-level university and was given projects I frankly was not equipped for.

I mismanaged them, cost the company money and opportunity, and rubbed many colleagues the wrong way. That's when I was 25. At 9, I searched other kids’ backpacks and stole money.

I'm not sure why I did that because I got some from my Dad. I also spent a few years living under a false identity and history for no real reason than I guess the thrill of getting away with it. There are countless other incidents, so many that some come to me as long-forgotten flashes.

Again, this is my past and no longer who I am or how I think. It's all 100% behind me. My wife also asked about similar patterns in my family.

On my Dad's side, multiple individuals have schizophrenia, psychosis, and long-running issues with impulsive and manipulative behavior.

On my mom’s, one of her siblings is a known abuser and conflict-monger who successfully alienated her two oldest kids to the point of no contact. Another is a convicted fraudster and adulterer with three kids by different women that each want nothing to do with him.

She has a brother who died of some neuro-degenerative disease I never knew specifically but that's ages ago and he's practically forgotten now. My maternal grandfather was known to be a troublemaker but he's mellowed in his old age. And my mom shows many ASPD behaviors and we're not in regular contact.

My wife sounded a mixture of bemused and disturbed but overall fine at the mention of these details. She was being quite jokey and a good spot about it until she got serious and concluded this was a major risk factor for our son during the conversation from yesterday that caused the fallout.

My question for you is: How do I get back in my wife's good graces or create an environment where she is receptive to me?

I'm losing precious time. She’s getting colder by the hour. The more solitude she has to craft her independent perception of me, the harder it will be to get back to our life of happiness. For context, she's been wanting:

Us to learn an instrument together well enough to compose. A backyard re-landscaping to achieve a very specific aesthetic. A trip to visit her closest cousin who lives in France. An overhaul of our decor. An e-bike.

It doesn't have to be anything extravagant but I'm just adding that for personalization. Simple ideas are more than welcome too.

How can I approach her so she doesn't turn aside or tell me to get away? What can I say exactly? Ideally, it shouldn't mean I'm on weaker footing throughout the discussion.

Readers were disturbed by both of OP's posts. Here are some Q&A's between readers and OP:

throwaway0279967 writes:

Do you think your wife’s anger is valid? Genuinely, this is not meant to be a “gotcha” question-I can’t figure it out from your answers.

OP: It's disproportionate and therefore not valid in my mind. But I understand that people need to feel understood and accommodated even when their reactions are irrational.

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

You are not the arbiter of rationality. Everyone other than you thinks her reaction is valid and rational. If anything, she’s under reacting.

OP: Overreacting because this isn't worth throwing away 5 years and a happy future.

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

Ummm...Are you going to murder her? Do you consider that a reasonable choice

OP: No. I've never been involved in violent crime, ever. I'm asking because I find your point reasonable and would like to investigate whether she is indeed planning to disappear. Again, what would be the signs?

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

You’ve never been involved in violent crime, yet. You had never yelled at her, until you did. I do not trust you to be self-aware enough to predict your own behavior. Hopefully, you’ll wake up one morning and she’ll be gone.

OP writes: What you're saying is alarming because our son is also mine. What are the signs that someone is planning to disappear? How can I investigate? I'd really appreciate you answering these questions, please.

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

I’m not going to help you, because doing so would hurt your wife. I want her to be safe, happy, and alive. Giving you clues would put that in danger.

OP: You seem like a genuine person. I assume you also sympathize with my son and don't want him to be abducted. Being separated from me will cause him significant stress and harm his psychological well-being. What are the indicators of someone preparing to disappear within a few days? Thank you.

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

Your son would benefit from intensive psychological intervention, as soon as possible. If you cared about him as a person, you’d want him to turn out to be nothing like you. Distance between you and him would benefit him.

OP: My wife is not equipped to raise him if he really is developmentally disturbed like I was. He needs someone who understands him deeply to shepherd him through childhood and adolescence. Otherwise he'll keep getting into trouble and enjoying odd things without knowing what's wrong with him.

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

You don’t think anything’s wrong with him. Your wife might get him the help he needs, so he’s got a fighting chance with her.

OP: p0tat0, I'm not your enemy. If I met you IRL, I'd go out of my way to make you comfortable and cheerful. I promise that. It'll probably never happen but I just want you to know where my heart is.

Helping me to see if my wife's planning to leave won't put her in danger. I'm not that kind of person. If she needs to go, I want to do it more civilly so she doesn't become vulnerable while living like a fugitive. I want what's best for everyone. Please help me achieve that. And I'm so glad we've been speaking!

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

You are transparently trying to manipulate me. It is obvious. I do not trust you. You need to let your wife go.

OP: I wasn't. Even if you don't believe me, I still like you very much from the sense of your personality that I've gotten.

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

You are lying. You’ve learned that complimenting people gets them to give you what you want.

OP: That's okay. I can see why you wouldn't believe me. But I'll definitely credit you for this conversation as I try to be a better husband and father. Feel free to share pointers on how to see if my wife's planning to disappear. It would be bad for her to get involved in an accident or something while fleeing in the middle of the night.

p0tat0p0tat0 writes:

Everything I’ve said boils down to you not being capable of being a decent husband or father. You don’t deserve to be, either.

OP: I've grown fond of you over this chat. Thanks.

Before we give you OP's final update, let's read some other top responses:

swampcats writes:

Your other posts are very telling. You SHOULD be concerned that your son has been biting and hitting other kids, laughing at his peers when they’re in pain, hurting animals, and had intentions of stabbing your wife. He needs mental health interventions and supports now before things become worse. Your wife being concerned does not make her an unfit parent.

nousername writes:

YTA. And I hate to break it to you, OP, but not only are you still presenting sociopathic behaviours but you're also presenting narcissistic behaviour as well.

How do you marry someone but never think hey, maybe I should tell them about my past. It may not be pretty but it is part of your past whether you like it or not. Yet you chose to hide and lie while claiming you moved past this and learned to cope in healthier ways. No, you didn't. And you need to stop lying to yourself.

You actively chose to steal her right to make a conscious, informed decision about her future. And from that, you caused further chaos in your wife's life.

And yelling at her? That was your go to? You just solidified all of her concerns and fears.

And calling her stupid for marrying a sociopath and not knowing? That was your fault, not hers. She trusted you and you lied to her, OP. How could she have known had you not told her?

I would have never guessed my husband had the past he did without him telling me because he's actually moved past it. I'm glad he told me though because I was able to choose if I wanted to be with him or not based on all the facts.

But no, you took that choice from your wife. You have never once moved past your toxic history and behaviour. You just learned how to hide it and present as "normal". Shame in you, OP. Get help. YTA.

summerbee writes:

I think YTA simply because I cannot imagine getting married to someone, promising to commit to them and vice versa without disclosing your past and also what your family are like.

If you love someone enough to make that kind of commitment then you should love them enough to be honest about who you are, who you were, it's not like you omitted a few minor details it sounds like your wife had no idea about anything until you decided to bring it up.

Also that's a huge bombshell to drop. I think you did the right thing by telling her so NTA for that but understand that the "you" she thought she knew and what she knows now is different. It'll take time to process, especially given the reason why you decided to tell her.

She isn't helping by bringing it up all the time but that might be something you guys get counseling for or something to work through it together. Two weeks isn't a long time to process this kind of information anyway, imo

lismone writes:

YTA. Not for your own behaviors when you were a kid, but for your ongoing lack of transparency and insight. You can still make this right. With intensive therapy for you and your son. You managed to find your way out of it, so can he.

But you’ve gotta stop being defensive, and try to accept, even if you can’t understand, how this is for your wife. It’s not a matter of intellectual curiosity or reminiscence like it is for you. It is a big deal.

She feels betrayed. You have to fix this. And even if your relationship doesn’t last, you don’t want your son to suffer. A lot of stuff you got away with as a kid has much stiffer consequences now.

guiltyweb7 writes:

My kid is starting to outgrow an Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosis, so I feel particularly qualified to answer here. Your wife is terrified and feels guilty. And she’s also feeling some pretty justifiable anger towards you. Along with sadness and betrayal, of course.

Terrified? Not because she worries that your son will hurt her… Not now, anyway; he’s too little. It hasn’t occurred to her yet. No, she’s terrified about what his future will look like. Will he have a normal life, ever? Will he hurt someone? Will he be hurt?

She’s seeing things now that are hard to fix. While most problems in life can be resolved by throwing enough money at the issue, kids with behavioural issues are not one of them. She can’t love it out. She can’t punish it out.

And guilt because there’s some frustration and resentment. It shouldn’t be this hard. Why is she doing everything right that she knows to do, only to see it fail so badly? Is it her fault?

Then there’s you. All of these things are in your own family tree. You knew and you hid that info from her. You betrayed her. You might as well have fucked another woman, except this is worse because you fd up your kid by a lie of omission.

The good news is that your child is not necessarily doomed to being like you. Your kid is 4. Get his ass into a pediatrician. Get his diagnosis of ODD and move forward. Counselling helps. And children under 18 are not diagnosed with personality disorders under the DSM-V. Literally, the diagnostic criteria requires the patient being 18+.

(I’m assuming this is fiction, because I’d expect a basic knowledge of how the progression to a diagnosis of ASPD works. But I know there are also moms out there currently struggling with a kid from Hell.

I’ve joked that ODD is the clinical diagnosis of “your kid is an asshole.” If you think that sounds familiar, take a look at the criteria and talk to your pediatrician. It can get better. Really.)

kzwinn writes:

YTA. Your comments remind me a lot of mine and my siblings experiences getting to know our biological mother. We were put into foster care separately because of her abuse a neglect, at the root of which was mental illness.

After we were adopted & placed into permenant homes, she went on to have another child. When contacting her to get to know her, and get honest answers about our childhood and family medical history

(which yes, includes mental health), she became closed off and insisted none of it matters because it was "behind her" when come to find out, as we continued to try and get to know her she still exhibited the same behaviors and had not gotten help but simply moved on to new people to repeat the same mistakes over with, time and time again, always leaving a trail of hurt in her wake.

Now, all that said, I do have an array of different mental health things- both neurodivergence and trauma related. I have many embarrassing moments because of these, I have many moments that are uncomfortable and even painful to remember as well.

So that I DO understand. But that is no excuse to not put in REAL work to get better. That work can be medication, it can be therapy, it can be a combination but either way these are not things that go away on their own.

And the kinds of issues you are describing never go away but can be managed. You do need help. You have not changed and you need to let go of this stigma if you want your son to be on a better path than you and your family.

Then, OP provides this final mysterious update:

My, 34M, married life has imploded in the last few days. I have a feeling my wife, 39F, is planning to flee in the dead of night or when I'm not around. Someone suggested that idea and now I can't get it out of my head.

It hurts but I don't mind if she needs space. My concern is she will probably take our 4yo son and I cannot allow that under any circumstances. She is an unfit parent to him.

She hasn't spoken to me in two days. This is the first time she's sulked and brooded like this. Her friends and cousins are poisoning her against me as she's been on the phone a lot lately.

I would ask her what she's planning directly, but I cannot be assertive at this time because the balance is very shaky. I also don't want to give her ideas or possibly rush her plan.

If you can point me to stories of wives who've fled their husbands similarly, that would help to spot patterns. Or you can tell me specific things that point to a person who's about to disappear. And if I'm sure she's planning to abduct our son, I want to be able to flee first so our kid is in my care.

At the same time, I don't want to make that move wrongly as it would escalate the conflict. Long-term, I would like us to be a happy family again. But this is a turbulent time and I need to secure some leverage, especially regarding our son. AITA?

What do YOU make of OP's disturbing tale? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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