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Soldier's Dad Needs Advice About Sociopathic Son-in-Law

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am hoping for some advice. I have nowhere else to turn. My daughter is in the Army, and she just finished Basic/AIT and has reported to her first posting.

Starting the very day she was sworn in, her husband began having an affair. This is not supposition; I have mounds of evidence and eyewitnesses have volunteered information.

In addition, I understand he is under investigation by the local Child Protective Services for neglecting to care for their children, who are ages 5 and 1. One child is his, and one is theirs together.

He has been diagnosed as a sociopath (yes, really) and is an expert manipulator. Over the two years they've been together, he has alienated her from almost all her family and most of her friends. He always has an excuse for anything she asks him about, and most of his excuses are lies.

When it comes to him, my daughter's brain takes a vacation and she believes anything he says over what she hears from other people. The last straw for me was when she graduated Basic/AIT and her bank account was overdrawn. He has NO expenses as she prepaid all their normal bills before she left and he lives in his father's house.

I am at a loss as to how to open her eyes. Of course the children's welfare is my paramount concern, but I'm worried about my daughter, as well. To add to the problem, her unit is set to go overseas in several weeks, leaving him behind with the children for many months. Is there anything you know of that I can do, through the Army or some military support organization, to help open her eyes?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

-- Concerned Army Father

Dear Concerned Father,

You have every right to be very concerned. This story really shakes me up on the inside.

I agree with you, the children are the paramount concern in this situation. Your daughter probably joined the Army on some level just to get away from her husband. It's interesting that she would be attracted to a man like this, but you did say he is a diagnosed sociopath. Sociopaths can be very charming.

Two things: Your daughter has to have a family care plan for her children. From what you say, it may be that her husband is not able to care for them, particularly if CPS is already involved. CPS will have to involve your daughter in their investigation because she is the mother and his wife. What this means is that her commanders or senior NCOs will be privy to what is going on in her marriage and with her children.

For the sake and safety of the children, I encourage you to get involved. You said that the husband lives with his father (the children's grandfather). Where is he in all of this? If he is supportive of the children, he could be a buffer for your daughter.

I can see that you are not very fond of your son-in-law, and that's OK, but, you may have to accept him for who he is (the affairs and all) so you can have access to and information about the children.

Now, more about your daughter: I know it hurts you that she is married to a man who is not good for her. It would hurt me, too. However, your daughter is not a child. She made the decision to marry him. The only thing you can do is be there to listen to her and pray that she will come to her senses sooner rather than later.

Personal problems like these could really adversely affect her military career. Please give me an update and let me know if I can help further.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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