By January 4, 2018 8 Comments Read More →

With a sociopath, the only way to “win” is not to play

EvHusband Liar Sociopathery 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, use 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 57B:  No Fairy Tale Ending–Yet 

It has been over two years since I finished the first draft of this memoir. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress—intrusive thoughts and memories, sleeplessness, heightened alertness, feelings of despair, lacking interest in things I once enjoyed—are waning. I am still involved in expensive litigation with Paul, because he has not yet transferred all of the assets I was awarded in our divorce. He is a sociopath. No promise made or contract signed means anything to him. It is just the starting point for further exploitation.

Daniel sees his father rarely. Paul continues to use his legal rights as Daniel’s father to harass and extort (e.g., refusing to allow Daniel to attend karate practice on weekends Daniel is supposed to be with Paul unless I pay Paul off). I will not be Paul’s victim anymore—I played that role long enough. I see Paul’s manipulation now in every word he uses, in every fact he includes or omits. I see it so clearly that it is hard to believe others do not. But I didn’t either, not for almost twenty years.

As my understanding has deepened and as my emotional fortitude has returned, I have become much more difficult prey, often derailing and sidestepping Paul’s manipulation. I am not as much fun to pick on anymore. While still outgunned financially, I have the truth on my side, and I am willing to draw a line in the sand and stand my ground. The thought of being taken to court no longer terrifies me. With Paul, I pick between three strategies depending on the situation:

Strategy 1—The only way to win is not to play (in other words, no contact if at all possible, don’t engage, never engage emotionally). When contact is required, just stick to the facts.

Strategy 2—I won’t negotiate with terrorists.

Strategy.3—Let consequences flow to their rightful source. (e.g., If Paul wants to stop Daniel from doing karate every other weekend, go for it. Life will go on without karate, and Daniel can decide for himself how he feels about his father’s actions.)

My mother never fully recovered from her heart attack and passed away about eighteen months later. I was with her the week she died. Daniel came to her memorial service with me. To my surprise, Jessica came as well. Since then, Jessica and I have begun rebuilding a relationship—one that is thin but positive. She attended college where Paul pressured her into going. She never liked it there, and after a year she transferred to a place of her own choosing. Paul was hardly supportive. Jessica turned to me for help with the logistics and to review her application. I felt like her mother for the first time in a very long time—I felt honored.

Daniel sleeps through the night now and has rebounded academically, ranking among the top students in his class. We never got Ella back, but Daniel volunteers at a local dog shelter, often bringing home dogs to foster while they await permanent adoption. The dogs adore him, and the feeling is mutual. Daniel hopes to attend college someplace far away from his father. He wants to be a psychologist.

I am still in Utah. Although I’ve had many offers, I don’t date. I am not ready. Soon, Daniel turns eighteen and will be a legal adult. Then I will be free to move. The mountains of Vermont beckon. It is time to go home. There I can provide my aging father with needed support, reinvent my life, and finally start the business I have been working toward over the past year. After all, I do have an MBA from Yale.

Start from the beginning:

Chapter 1

Go to previous chapter:

Chapter 57A


Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.



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8 Comments on "With a sociopath, the only way to “win” is not to play"

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There can be a happy ending 🙂

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It means the world.

Glad you have moved on. Your chapter ‘Entice, Erode, Control’ was especially helpful to me to understand what had happened.

Thank you for story. I read every chapter and to friends over the phone. I’m glad to see your positive outlook remains the same. Your short and clear descriptions of every day scenarios made my harrowing journey graspable. For that I owe you more than a thank you.

This is exactly right about not playing. I recently had a run-in with another sociopath – this time a contractor who worked on my house. I remember liking him right away and feeling some sort of connection, and I remember the red flags going up just for that reason. I didn’t protest too much when he said he needed money upfront because we connected over lots of things and were planning to do some work together in the future. I was one of the lucky ones. He actually did most of the work I hired him to do and some of it was good work. But he disappeared without honoring his warranty and left some things for me left to take care of that he should have taken care of. All in all, he costed me about $500-1000. He disappeared but resurfaced by email stating that his daughter had died of a heroin overdose and he needed some time. I tried to work with him over the next few months to either complete the project or pay me back. He kept ghosting me, which was strikingly familiar from the sociopath I dated 10 years ago. Finally I started googling him and found his name all over various ripoff reports. He had actually scammed people out of thousands of dollars! I was one of the lucky ones! But the best part was that I was venting about this on a FB forum for old house lovers, because I have an old Victorian house. There are 50,000 members on that site and we were discussing sleazy contractors. What are the chances that his old landlord from 2012 was on there? He had also ripped her off for 8 months of rent and – here’s the best part – he said it was because his daughter had recently died! I later found a different guy on another website who was conned by the guy a year ago. He said the con artist also used the dead daughter excuse. Wow! This guy was SO convincing and believable. After I found this out, I made the mistake – in my shock and confusion – of emailing him to give him the opportunity to pay me back before I went to an attorney. He finally “came clean” with me that he has been out on work release from jail and has no money. He said he was embarrassed to tell me yada yada but that he was taking out a loan to pay me back. He strung me along for 3 more days. I almost believed him – he did such a great job with the pity play. The thing that stopped me was he told me his daughter really did die this year. I’m guessing he doesn’t even have a daughter. I feel like I should have just walked away. Instead, I poked at a hornet’s nest, and now I feel toxic. It also disappointed me because I really liked him. I feel that I still have some more healing to do, since I still got hooked. I also am in a unique position to try to take him down like I did with the sociopath 10 years ago. I will call the state attorney general’s office tomorrow. If it was just about me, I’d just walk. But he has hurt so many people. I would like to protect my community.

Do any of you know “My Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters”? I feel like I fell into the hole but realized what it was fairly quickly and got out pretty quickly, maybe chapter 3? But dang………I thought I would be able to recognize a sociopath again. This guy totally fooled me. He is so smooth….he even fooled my tenant. My tenant is a psychologist who works with drug addicts. He actually believed this guy’s story about his daughter’s heroin addiction. I remember saying to this guy as he came over to collect my money and we hung out and talked…”either you are a decent guy or a very clever sociopath. Time will tell.” And it did.

Anyway, after poking the hornet’s nest for 3 days, writing to him trying to get my money back, I feel a little toxic. It got old very quickly, and I figured out his game. Dang, dang, how do they do it?

Thank you so much for posting your story! It is the 1 year anniversary of my “wake-up moment” – the moment I was sitting in the lawyer’s chair as she told me “you’re married to a narcissist. he will never change. But you and the children can move on, get counseling, and get help.” And I said to myself “staying for 15 years hasn’t worked, let’s try leaving” and gave her my mother’s credit card to pay for her services…… So I left, drove away 9 days later, with the children. And I found your story here online and have been following it ever since. Your story REALLY helped me when he started playing the games like locking down my phone so I could only call 911 or him but couldn’t text or call anyone else. Anything he did never phased me – because I’d read about Paul and Paul is 10x worse than mine! So I could just shrug my shoulders and think, “All you’re doing is proving your diagnosis, buddy!” and sidestep the manipulation.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for making your story available online! It really did help me! And this week I’ve had some major victories! The annulment is final! Yea! I’m free! The bankruptcy hearing is over! I’m a new woman!

I would love to know how ONWARD is doing now; some years after she wrote her book, what her outcome has become.

This is exactly right.

I’m not playing.

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