Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.
I’ve also just released a new ebook titled Narcissists, SOCIOPATHS & Wolves: Lessons From Little Red Riding Hood. (Just click here to find it on Amazon.com Narcissists SOCIOPATHS & Wolves.)
Chapter 52A: The Tsunami Pounds Ashore
My lawyer forwarded Paul’s official court documents to me, documents we needed to legalize our temporary financial agreement pending our divorce. I waited until I felt strong enough to read them, but I would never be prepared for what I was about to see. In those documents, submitted to the court for a judge to read, Paul accused me of being a horrible mother, of purposely being underemployed and leaching off him, and of never contributing meaningfully to the marriage in any way—emotionally, physically, or financially. He also detailed that I had thrown Jessica out of the house on several occasions and that Jessica hated me now and did not want to live with me. According to these documents, I had decided to be underemployed for years as a ploy to lead a life of leisure at the expense of my hard-working husband. Hence, despite the fact I had not worked full time in years, child support should be based on assigning me a $100,000 salary that I could easily command if I simply got off my butt, so to speak. Apparently, the fact that my skills were now out of date in an era of profound technological change was irrelevant.
In the documents were quotes from discussions Paul claimed to have had with me about how much money I could earn. My jaw dropped, and my heart sank. He was quoting conversations I had had with people as I discussed how I might resurrect my freelance career and how much money I should charge if I was able to get assignments. But they were not conversations I had ever had with Paul. The references were so detailed, sometimes referencing my tone of voice or a particular turn of phrase, that it could not be a coincidence. My heart raced as my brain came to the only possible conclusion—either my house was wired or my phone was tapped or both.
Strength drained from my body. Feeling as if I were living in some surreal dream, I walked out of the house and called my lawyer on my cell phone. I thought of the two credit cards that Paul had cancelled within hours of my phone inquiry. Was my cell phone tapped, too? Was any place safe? My house? My car? Me?
I hired a private investigator to sweep my house, computer, and phones for listening devices. Something on my laptop seemed suspicious but inconclusive. The investigator purged anything irregular from my computer and cell phone, but he told me to buy new cell phones for the kids and me. (Buying a new cell phone for Jessica was irrelevant, given her alliance with Paul.) He went through the house room-by-room and then called me over to show me what he had found. In the utility room, located off Paul’s home office, the investigator pointed out where a phone line had been spliced into the existing line. Compared to the existing line, it was clearly new and virtually dust and dirt free. Paul had tapped my home phone. No wonder he had convinced Jessica to let him sneak back into the house. He needed to remove the recording device before I read the court documents and suspected it even existed. Thanks to Jessica, he had succeeded.
“This is where it was,” the investigator said. “Once this line was added, all he had to do was snap on a recording device. It’s actually pretty simple to do. But it’s obviously gone now. Unfortunately, without the recording device, we cannot prove he tapped your phone. It’s a federal offense, you know. They take this kind of thing pretty seriously. People go to prison over this.”
I remembered Jessica telling me that Paul went to his home office when she let him in the house. His story was that he wanted to take a picture that was on the wall there but then decided against it and left empty-handed. Paul’s threat, “I’ll do whatever I want!” rang in my head. He respected no boundaries, legal or otherwise. Who was this man?
My lawyer and a psychologist I consulted pressed upon me the importance of not telling the children anything bad about their father, because it was likely to backfire. So, I did not tell Jessica about the wiretap. That did not stop her from expressing her contempt to me about “not letting things go,” “being paranoid,” and “being controlling.” She stood up for her father at every turn because, “Dad would never do anything wrong.”
The hypocrisy and irony were more than I could take. I needed to understand how much she was under Paul’s spell and likely to betray me again. Paul had not been a very attentive father to Jessica and was often harsh and demanding with her. Had she forgotten that so quickly?
“Jessica,” I said after dinner that night, “do you remember your father ever doing anything hurtful to you, Daniel, or me?”
“No,” she replied quickly. “I don’t.”
“Jessica,” I said, concerned that I was treading on thin ice but unable to stop myself, “you don’t recall when you got a B on a Spanish test and your dad got so mad at you for not studying hard enough that he unraveled a scarf you were knitting? It took you a week to redo it. I had to stop him from undoing the whole thing.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mom,” Jessica said with a straight face. “Dad would never do anything like that!”
I continued, “It happened only a year before we moved out here. You were sobbing. I came running upstairs when I heard you screaming for Dad to stop.”
“I hate it when you say bad things about Dad,” Jessica said. Then she turned and went to her room.
Feeling that Jessica was lost to me, another searing wave of despair crashed down upon me, dragging me under, leaving me gasping for air. The world I knew had ceased to exist. Nothing made sense. Paul and his big house, his credit card, and the unbridled independence he bestowed upon Jessica were too powerful for me to fight. He was a sociopathic, lying, scheming, disgusting, and vile human being who was turning my own daughter against me. To get his love and all the financial goodies he offered, she was throwing me under the bus at one of the direst times in my life. The pain of losing her was excruciating.
More sleepless nights and more days during which I could hardly function followed. But that was the point. The more Paul could weaken me and make me want it to end, the better he would make out financially after the divorce. The more he could prevail, the more my life was in shambles, the more he could wound me, the higher his black sociopath’s heart would soar.
It did not matter that I had dedicated years of my life to help him pursue his career and build his current business. It did not matter that I had orchestrated relocating our household on average every four years to help bring his goals to fruition. It did not matter that I was the mother of his children and had invested so much of my time and life so that they would have options for the future. It did not matter that I had genuinely loved Paul once and tried my best to make him happy for so long, as I had promised years ago, “for better or for worse.” It did not matter that I was a good, honest person who valued her morality and ethics.
All that mattered was that Paul wanted me as emotionally and financially depleted as possible, as soon as possible. If I lacked emotional strength and financial resources, I would be less likely to engage in an expensive, multi-year battle involving hiring a forensic accountant to investigate years of inappropriate spending and to investigate his company to determine its value. By depleting me emotionally, he would also gain the moral high ground by saying to his friends and family, “Look how depressed and unstable Onna is. Can you believe what a saint I am to have endured her for so long? Even Jessica doesn’t want to live with her mother. Onna is such a damaged, bitter person.”
Start from the beginning:
Go to previous chapter:
Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.