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By | January 23, 2008 48 Comments

After he’s gone: Looking at the sociopath through open eyes.

My 100% responsibility.

I had a glass of wine last night with a girlfriend who is leaving for a three month holiday at the beginning of February. Where she’s going is not important — except when put in the context of who is at the place she’s going to. A man. A man she once loved who could not, would not commit. A man who hid behind silence. Who never told her where he was, what he was doing or who he was with.

She spent the first year after leaving him healing her broken heart. And then she started dating. A few months ago she decided to phone the man far away. “We were such good friends. Friends stay in touch and I just wanted to see how he was,” she told me.

With that phone call, the game was on. Three months ago she decided to go visit him. “Great!” he said. Now, plans laid, trip organized, her packing almost complete, he has stopped calling and stopped taking her calls.

“Why does he do that?” she asked.

“Because he can,” I replied.

I also had lunch with a friend yesterday who, after 15+ years of marriage, told his wife on Sunday night that he is leaving. “I didn’t tell her I know about her lies, the cheating, the affairs,” he said. “I just told her the love is gone. It’s time for me to leave.” She shed two tears, he said, and that was that. And then he told me when he got home last night, she did everything in her power to seduce him. “I love you,” she said. “I promise to give you everything you want. Don’t leave me.”

“Why does she do that?” he asked.

“Because she can,” I replied. “Because it’s what she does.”

When I was with the psychopath, he did what he did because he could, because it is what he does.

While I was with him, I focused my energy on coping with what he did, coping with his lies disguised as truths, coping with my confusion, my fear, my anxiety and avoided, at all costs, coping with the truth — what he was doing wasn’t what was making the biggest difference in my life. I was. By not focusing on my ‘doing, I was choosing to live with his abuse, his lies, his deceit, his manipulations.

What I wasn’t doing was making the difference between living with abuse — or not. I wasn’t looking at me as the root of my own sickness. I was looking at him continually — looking for my answers in what he was doing, saying, being — and not checking myself out against what I was doing, saying, being by remaining in his duplicitous embrace. I continually denied what I knew to be true — he was lying. I continually told myself, ‘it can’t be true that he is lying’ and instead reminded myself, ‘It must be true. He loves me. He wouldn’t lie to me.”

The lie in that statement was — I positioned the pain of my existence in the context of his loving me.

The truth is, from hello to good-bye, I love you to I hate you. You’re beautiful to you’re ugly — everything was predicated on the lie of what he was doing, saying and being. In my denial of the truth, I bought into his lies and gave up on me.

I never asked myself the tough questions, What do I feel about what he’s doing? How does it affect me? What can I do to change my situation? What if I give myself permission to leave without hearing his voice telling me I can’t? What if I quit calling his abuse love? What if I quit taking responsibility for his bad behaviour and instead, take responsibility for my own?

If by chance, I did happen to ask myself one of those tough questions, I always completed my answer with — I can’t leave him… and then I recited the litany of reasons he’d told me why I could never leave. In the process, I became very, very emotionally sick. In my ill-health, I never gave myself the cure I needed to rid myself of the disease causing my illness — I never left him because I kept my focus on trying to figure out him — not trying to figure out a way to heal myself.

For me, focusing on his behaviours, trying to figure out why he was doing what he was doing, continually looking for meaning in everything he said, and keeping the light fixed on him, kept me stuck in confusion. It kept me from shining the light on my own behaviour. My constant angst around his bad behaviour protected me from having to face my bad decision-making, poor judgement in character — and ultimately, face myself, with tender loving care.

I feel for both my friends yesterday. Theirs is not an easy road. Both will have to decide to either do what is best and caring of them — or not. Both will have to give themselves medicine — or not. Both will have to turn up for themselves and let the other person go — or not.

Turning up for me has been a constant journey into self-love. It has been a continuous quest for finding my truth within me — and letting go of looking for my answers out there. Whatever answers I find in someone else will always be best for them. Just as whatever answers someone else finds within me, will always be first and foremost best for me.

In healthy self-care, the person I keep healthiest must be myself. I cannot properly care for my daughters without first taking care of me. If I always jump to their aid, continually do for them and not do for myself, I will drain myself of energy, of passion, of commitment. For in my desire to do for them always, I let go of my responsibility to do for me so that I am strong enough, courageous enough, healthy enough to do for them what is loving, supportive and caring.

Once upon a time, I gave up on me and gave into a man who told me he had all my answers. He was my shortcut to happiness. Lost on that road to hell, I found myself again beneath the debris of his tumultuous passing through my life.

In healing, I have awakened to the truth within me — I am 100% responsible for my journey. I am 100% responsible for living in the light of love, for turning up for me and living this one wild and precious life as if it is the only life I’ve got — it is. It is my responsibility to live it up.

The question is: Where do you let go of responsibility for your one wild and precious life looking for someone else to turn the light on?

Posted in: M.L. Gallagher

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This spot on: :”Why does he do that?” she asked. “Because he can,” I replied.

This post wonderfully makes the point that when one is in the situation there’s very little benefit in trying to understand the psychopath. The more important and devastating question is, as you suggest: “Why do I do what I do?”

Beverly

My N was sneaky and subtle about things – no obvious bad behaviour, no physical violence or verbal abuse, we never had a face to face argument.

Reliable, charming and polite, rushing the relationship, I was the special one, declaring love – in the first 3 months.

The next phase- ‘measuring’ out of his time with me, cancelling arrangements (tired, having to work late, no money) and cancelling special days. Dropping hints and bizarre statements about other people hitting on him. Odd statements about having demons, and the ‘voices’ in his head saying that they dont like people.

If I raised concern about his behaviour, he would walk out without a word and dump my stuff on the doorstep. Him ‘collecting’ the phone numbers of married women at work’ and constantly talking about these women in a provocative way. I ‘knew’ he was up to something and started checking up on him quite early on in the relationship. I was just waiting for him to overstep my red line. When he gave me the phone numbers with the women on, I just couldnt believe it, then I started to realise what a facade he had constructed.

In the end, I looked ‘in’ on the relationship like an outsider and realised that he was cleverly keeping one foot out of the relationship and pretending to have one foot in. I came to my senses, after acting as a detective, and even considering hiring a detective – I decided that I didnt need proof, I didnt need to make sense of it all. It just made me feel uncomfortable and angry, was draining my energy – that was the point I started focusing on myself and the reality and got rid of him.

When I questioned it all, I realised the power play in the push pull, attach and detach – because he could! Not being the manipulative type myself, it had never occured to me how much effect such behaviour has.

awakened

I’ve been reading this site for quite some time now and this is the first time I’ve posted a message. This particular blog has to be the most direct, insightful, dead on message I’ve ever read. It is my life.

findingmyselfagain

I decided that I didnt need proof, I didnt need to make sense of it all. It just made me feel uncomfortable and angry, was draining my energy – that was the point I started focusing on myself and the reality and got rid of him. —Beverly

I love that you said that above. I kept waiting for clear solid evidence over and over — I had alot in the beginning and was talked into trying again a few times. Then he got way better at deception. I had odd feelings and felt he was acting too good to be true based on the prior actions that I had proof of. But I finally realized it was time to stop trying to make sense of things, I was drained and worn emotionally trying to keep up with what was truth, lies and half-lies. Its been a couple weeks now without him, I brought all his stuff he was storing in my garage to him yesterday and I am finally feeling I can think about me again and not be so focused on his antics.

alohatraveler

M.L.,

Wow, this was great. Yes! Give up needing to know “why” about his actions and look at “why” about my own actions (or inactions). I think this was what I was trying to say in my essay but I didn’t say it the same way.

Your above thoughts are going to hit a lot of people, powerfully. This is what we are here to learn, isn’t it? To love ourselves, protect ourselves, be responsible for ourselves.

Now, I am trying to be open to dating and I feel lost because my definition of love is gone and I don’t know what I should feel or how I should act with men. I do know what I shoulddn’t do… I shouldn’t offer my heart on a platter like I used to.

Thanks for a brilliant and insightful and honest entry. I will read this again and again.

:o)

stunned

I don’t entirely agree with the sentiments expressed in this post.
Unfortunately, many times these sickos target very helpless individuals-children, the elderly, the mentally ill, the physically ill and disabled.

These folks, for all intents and purposes, are pretty defenseless against the perpetrators of their abuse-which often times turn out to be a Sociopath family member or caretaker.

In the case of a self-sufficient, healthy, independent adult, I can see how it could be “empowering” to look to oneself and contemplate:
-why the signs were missed
-how one stayed so long
-how one “allowed” it to happen
-recognize one’s focus wound up being on the perp instead of themselves and the destruction occurring in one’s life (as a result of the connection to the perp)

but perhaps this endeavor can also be a bit misleading.

Isn’t it tantamount to saying, “If only I had been ‘sufficiently cautious/aware, capable of exercising forethought/sound judgment” back then, instead of being “shocked, stunned, ‘focused on the wrong things’, unable to achieve sufficient caution/awareness and sound judgment under the conditions present” I could have prevented victimization/powerlessness?”

The implied conclusion might then be, “I will be safe now that I am a “sufficiently cautious and aware” person who “recognizes my part” and “focuses on the right things” now, therefore I would never “allow” or “become trapped in” a situation in which I find myself powerless ever again. It seems probable that one will not find themselves victimized by the same type of situation again but is it certainty? Natural disasters occur all of the time, will cautious awareness prevent the feelings of powerlessness if one’s home burned to the ground one day? What if the powerlessness experienced in losing the home caused stress which impacted the ability to be sufficiently cautious and aware-would that mean one failed to be a responsible person?

It is not a just world and bad things happen to good people (Just World Hypothesis). Invulnerability is an illusion (Assumptive World Theory) as is “total control over one’s life”. Gaining a sense of empowerment through self-blame, by “looking at your part” is one method of coping with the traumatic aftermath of having been rendered powerless at one time, but is it the best route to go for all and how beneficial is this viewpoint? This type of thinking is referred to as “past control” or “behavioral self-blame” – If one finds oneself to share fault in some way- then one always had control over things and can therefore feel less vulnerable. The pitfalls of taking on this viewpoint is that it could have the negative effect of causing a propensity for avoidance and social withdrawal in an attempt to retain a sense of being in control.

-Stunned

Beverly

The thinking around ‘how did I miss the red flags’, ‘how did I stay so long’etc. etc. have got to be thoughts that have crossed most of our minds. ‘Cheeky monkeys’ (losers) come in different formats and I have had a few in my time.

For me the bottom line, is that if I exercise my boundaries and only invite the people into my life who have genuine and consistent behaviour, then I will be ruling out quite a few types of the cheeky monkeys – but it doesnt mean to say that I insure myself against any uncertainty. Uncertainty is part of life. But we also have choices and our range of choices is exercised by the experiences we have and what we learn along the way.

vmpatricia

The text is very helpful and as I have been a victim of a person with all the symptoms of a perverse (sociopath/psycopath), I understand every feeling printed here. But there is one point with which I don’t agree 100% with.

I could tell my story here, but briefly, I’m a 27 years old Brazilian living in South Africa and for 16 months I had my life used by a South African man, who seemed to everyone (my family, friends) to be a good person. When I found out who he IS, I was devastated, I was in shock for almost 2 months and after those 2 months, I decided I was going to live. I never took anti-depressives because I knew if I wanted to recover completely from that, I would have to suffer everything that was going to come.

But I’m commenting here to say:

Although I admit my guilt, because it is very distressful being under the “guidance” of a sociopath and I didn’t “free” myself before the worst (or the best) happened – when I found out who he is – I didn’t know that LIFE IS WONDERFUL, and that I can feel loved without a man to make me feel loved. I believed life was that anxiety that I lived in, always expecting any poor manifestation of “care” or “love” from that demented person who I believed to be my lover.

What I want to say is that we, victims of these morally diseased people, are not the only ones to blame. I think that LIE is one of the worst weapons in the world and the injures it causes are very very painful, it makes us think for some time (in my case) that there is no love or justice in life and that there is no point in living. For that reason, for such perversity against a person, I believe that life (or death, as I’m Christian) will revenge over liars.

Furthermore, I would like to tell those who are STILL suffering, that if such a disgrace happened, it probably happened to make you see that life goes beyond that false love sociopaths give us.

If you seek love in what you enjoy in life, you’ll find everything you need to be happy as you wish. It sounds funny, but it worked in my case. I found SO many wonderful things in life that there is not enough space or time to describe them. Of course I’m sad sometimes and I cry, but I’m a much more balanced person now and I feel I have found the “happiness formula”. Unfortunately, I found it through the toughest way, but is there another one? If you don’t experience hell, how will you know when you’re living in heaven?

Another thing I would tell the ones who still mourn for the loss of their old life is: going away to a place far from every memory with the sociopath helped me a lot, also because it was one of my favorite places in the world, away from any trouble and with friends that love me and care about me. This website also helped me a lot.

I’m sorry for my faulty English.

Kindest regards

Patricia

kathryn50

It took me 10 long years of breaking up, going back, filing for divorce 4 times and getting talked out of it. BUT finally hte light triggered from one last transgression that for whatever reason was the last straw. this time i filed for the divorce myself, gave up trying to get back the $120k he’s swindeled from me as ‘loans’ and I am free.
my mind is not totally free yet i must admit- well more like my wounded heart- and i miss having even the little companionship he afforded me. but having my family back and making ammends for the transgressions i committed in HIS name against them, keep me going.
I have a long way to go but much of what ML writes resonates with me. As someone said to me: no one held a gun to your head to do what you did. but his own sister said: no, he held a gun to your HEART instead.
Keep your fingers crossed that i stay smart and savvy and don’t ever make this mistake again. Kathryn

tryingtorecover

I’m so mixed up about what’s my fault and what’s his. I was a 18 year old little girl when I met him. I had only kissed 2 other boys. He told me after 3 weeks that someday he was going to ask me to marry him. I didn’t believe him because my father always told me that all I was was just a notch in some body’s belt, that’s all you are, remember that. But he kept telling me how he had stopped looking for someone to share his life with and he couldn’t believe he found me because he just thought there weren’t girls out there like me anymore. Girls who had my values and believed marriage was forever. I thought he loved me. He told me he would never leave his kids the way his father had. He told me what his mother went through when his step father cheated and left her. He told me how his younger half brother fell apart and turned to drugs because of it. He always showed contempt for people who lied, conned and cheated. He was one of them.

I feel so alone. It hurts so much to know it was all lies. I try to have hope. I have my son. He’s kind and caring. I keep going for him and I always will. I know I have so much to do to fix myself. I need to be independent and able to support myself before even thinking about dating. But who will want me? My husband lost almost all interest in me after I gave birth. He told me I was big down there- his exact words. I gained a lot of weight after that. Sometimes I have hope that I”ll be happy and when I am I’ll find someone and have a healthy relationship. Then there are days, like today, when I have no hope.

I feel empty and lost and confused. I have issues that caused me to believe him when my gut said not to and then to go into denial. I’m working on that.

Knowing what I know now, if I got into the same kind of relationship or kept contact with my x it would be my responsibility. But, is it my responsibility that he saw an opportunity and took it through lies, manipulation and intimidation? Is it my responsibility he emotionally raped me? If I could have seen it and stopped it I would have. Now my son has to live with this because I couldn’t see it.

alohatraveler

I think the word “fault” is really tripping people up here. Let’s let go of “fault.” I will speak from my own experience in relation to what I think ML is saying.

Early on, there was something that happened with the Bad Man whom I will call JW. He sent me an email attacking me for something I said over email. It was something that was meant to be loving and I could not understand at all how he got upset from what I said. Somehow, this was talked through and I dismissed the outburst but it was alarming. Over the next few weeks, there were more misunderstandings and upsets and each one I explained away somehow… or I talked it out, or I even kow towed to his riduculous accusations… but there came a point where I KNEW something was not right… not right at all. And I knew I was under attack in a way I had never been or seen in my life. And not too long after that, some things or moments were just “over the top” as he used to say (about me!) and I still bent and twisted and contorted to try and meet his ridiculous accusations and demands. Somewhere between those early misunderstandings and those outrageous accusations and torturous emails, I became responsible for allowing all of it to continue on and on and on. That is what I am responsible for. Even though I didn’t know what it was (Sociopath), I knew I was being abused emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually and I could feel my soul being pierced and I stayed and stayed and stayed.

I am not responsible for knowing in advance (I am not houdini!) that my loving words, gestures, and intentions would be twisted and contorted. I am not responsble for his actions but I am responsible for showing up for him and not showing up for me. I “showed up” for his torture after I clearly recognized that I was being abused which was by the way, a long time before I finally got on an airplane and left. While we all know how hard it is to leave these people… (they are very good at making it hard) we also admit to ourselves that we knew much sooner that we should leave than when we did. Why did we do that? Because we were not taking responsibility for our own well being.. and we were hoping that we could fix our Sociopath or that they would fix themselves so they would give us that “supply” (now we sound like Narcissists, don’t we?) of affection and attention and fake “love” that makes us feel okay about ourselves and that we think will fill up the empty hole we have when what we needed to do was take care of our own well being. We did not take care of ourselves! I DID NOT TAKE CARE OF MYSELF!!! I did not take care of myself and therefore, I allowed JW to inflict such a deep wound in me when it could have been just a prick that would have healed over quickly.

This of course is my experience. It sounds like some here experienced a Sociopath that was smiling the whole time as they screwed their victim over behind theer back and drained the life out of them. Whose fault is that? I don’t know but at some point, the signs are there and we have to show up for ourselves. I can admit that after the third date there was a behavior that was alarming and caused me to think “I don’t know this man… he is just some internet stranger” and with that, I went and checked the locks on the door in the middle of the night.. after the 3rd date!!! And I still ended up dating this man. How embarassing! I will never do this again.

When it comes to loving myself, I have been a slow learner. I admit that. And I am taking responsibility for that now and I am working on it and I have a lot of work to do.

Wow, M.L., what a great posting and thread you started.

In recovering from my sociopath, I’ve found myself talking with a lot of people who are recovering from similarly abusive experiences. In doing that, and in reading this blog, I’ve come to think that we go through phases of healing.

You’re a long way down the road. As I am now. It is a choice for me to claim responsibility for my life. Somewhere in my healing process, I got very clear that my real problem, through the whole thing, was with me. I wasn’t taking care of myself, didn’t value my own life and the life equity I’d built up sufficiently to protect it, didn’t love myself enough to shrug off his denigrating comments or to walk away from his faithlessness, lying and obvious exploitation of me.

For a long time, I felt like I’d been run over by the Mack Truck of Destiny. I felt like road kill. I didn’t understand how he could behave that way or what had brought him into my life. And I struggled with what it meant about me. Was I just meant to be a victim? Did I lack some basic common sense that would have protected me? Was I a magnet for monsters because of some inherent trait that I just couldn’t name or imagine.

I read stunned’s post, and I can’t disagree that the weak and the ill can be targets for predators. As an incest survivor, I know that first hand. There are also extreme circumstances, such as the torture that is in the news so much now, that breaks down people’s ability to hold onto their identities and values. Our ancestors held elaborate rituals to ask the gods for rain, and today we pray for the health and safety of our children with a sentiment that is not much different. Not everything in is our control, and the world is not necessarily friendly.

But ultimately, we do have a choice about the meaning we assign to events in our lives. And the healing process is, to a great degree, about that. It is natural to go through feelings of helplessness, bitterness, outrage, hating ourselves because we didn’t manage our lives better, but ultimately, if we are going to take back our lives, we begin to look objectively at our part in it. Not in terms of “fault” as much as how and why we participated in this. What we were looking for, why it was more important than taking care of ourselves in other ways, and whether our personal “rules of the universe” may be due for a re-thinking.

I hate how my sociopath behaved toward me, but I will be forever grateful he came into my life. I would not be the woman I am today if I hadn’t been forced by that experience to look closely at my own behavior and the beliefs behind it. Strange as it might sound, he made me realize that part of me was as locked-down and barely functioning, as the part of him that felt and trusted those feelings.

At some point in my healing, I started talking about my need to develop some healthy narcissism. Later, I began to joke about it as resurrecting my “inner sociopath.” Even later, I began to think about the idea that “I have a right to be loved.” When I shared this idea with people, some of them said, “Well, you can’t make everyone love you.” No, I said, but I can run my life with that as a value, and not deal with people who don’t treat me with respect, compassion and appreciation for who I am.

Somewhere down the road, I got to the very simple and obvious idea that it is my life, my responsibility to run it, and what I live with is what I create. Which sounds like a pretty heavy burden for someone who is living with a lot of pain, but that burden was lightened by the idea that if I loved myself, I could be as kind and compassionate with myself as I had been with the people I cared for — my children, my lovers, my friends, my clients. And around that time, I started to be different. Choosing moment by moment what I want to feel, choosing the direction of where I placed my attention, and starting to really limit the time and energy I invested in what I didn’t want in my life.

In living through my own recovery and participating the the recovery of others, I never saw anyone who went through this overnight. It takes some time, and I think that time is related to the extent of the damage. If you’ve been in a relationship with a sociopath for a long time, it’s like you’ve been eating poison. It takes a while to get it out of your system. If it didn’t go on for a long time, it may have just been that you were lucky, but it could also be that you were more self-referenced, more capable of protecting and defending yourself.

I once asked my sociopath, when he sneered my feelings and told me I was weak and boring, why he didn’t just find someone like himself. He told me that people like him didn’t like him. And in the interruptions in our relationship, I watched him go through relationships very quickly, as the women just threw him off. Nicely, politely, but it was one “no thank you” after another. He had to do a lot of cruising to find traction with one, and when he did they all had background of abuse, and most of them were, like me, incest survivors.

I can’t speak for anyone else on this blog, but I know that for myself, I was looking for a savior. I wouldn’t have put it that way. I would have said that I was looking for the “perfect guy” who would complete my life. But I wanted help to run my very complicated life, I wanted understanding that I was overcommitted and support for my exhaustion and frustration, and I wanted unwavering emotional shelter from someone I could trust implicitly and who would never leave.

What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with it was that I wasn’t making my own life healthy, balanced and complete. What was really wrong with it was that I was making “need” part of the equation of my relationships, right from the very beginning. Today, I take responsibility for seeking resources in my life, for paying or trading for what I can’t do myself, for finding community for emotional sharing and support, and for being prepared to deal with loss. I don’t “need” anyone, and as a result, my relationships are richer, warmer, less confusing and more rewarding.

Another result is that I hate his behavior toward me, but I don’t hate him. Our relationship was a collision of two very needy people, and if you think about it, there isn’t anyone needier than a sociopath. They suck off other people’s emotions, their bank accounts, their ability to trust, because they are inadequate. They are cruel because they fear other people’s power. My sociopath was handsome, brilliant, funny, talented and well-educated. But he was an emotional child, and it’s possible that he always will be. I feel sorry for him, and for anyone who imagines he can participate in any mature relationship.

But another piece of this healing is that I’ve come to understand that feeling sorry for someone isn’t a call to get involved. I run a coaching practice alongside my PR work, and it’s easy to see the difference between people who are prepared to work and those who are looking for the cheapest, fastest way to get where they’re going. I’m nobody’s cheap ride these days. I value my time and energy. If someone can’t pay for it, we trade. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about people who have been proven to be worth caring about, and help them in every way I can. But I don’t waste myself on people who will leave me feeling ripped off. It’s not good for me, and I don’t believe it’s good for them either. And as a result of that, I’m developing a fan club that goes both ways — people who are openly grateful for my influence on their lives, and ones I am also deeply grateful for the opportunity to be involved with them.

My greatest regret about my relationship with my sociopath is that I didn’t give him appropriate feedback. By my behavior in not protecting myself and collaborating in his exploitation of me, I allowed him to think that he could make his living that way, as he did for most of five years. He had come to me from another relationship with a woman who supported him before she broke down. He went on from me to another relationship of the same sort. It’s become his career.

If I cared about him, as I thought I did, it would have been more caring to give him appropriate repercussions for his behavior. His heartless, pain-creating treatment of me didn’t warrant my generous, caring treatment of him. And in giving him this “wrong signal,” I may as well have been running a school for sociopaths. It has been a sobering insight, one that has changed the way I deal with the people who are not “optional” in my life — my family, my son, the people I work with. I’ve learned to say “this doesn’t work for me” as part of my moment-by-moment negotiations of relationship. And if I have relationships where I don’t feel safe in saying that, I either get rid of them, if I can, or I go to work on teaching those people to be able to say it too.

A lot of my new behaviors reflect what I learned from my sociopath’s behavior. He had rotten impulse control, couldn’t feel love, had no empathy and no remorse, and was fixated on power issues and winning, but he was an excellent teacher in terms of being focussed on objectives and protective of his own interests. When we were involved, I used to watch him and wonder “how does his do that?” Because his life was about him, when my life was about everyone but me.

This is what I heard in M.L.’s posting and in a lot of the responses to it. Recovery from dealing with a sociopath isn’t just getting over the pain. It’s a journey, a sometimes painful but always powerful and rewarding journey into more competence and joy in our own lives.

Beverly

I agree. When I was with my N – he used to constantly tell me to caretake myself. I used to say to him, that he should be more like me and I should be more like him – as he was so good at being self contained and sticking to his own views. Now I do use some of that ‘assertiveness’ to stick to my views and not be pushed around by people. I used to find that people pushed me around alot, because I would say I didnt like something, but I wouldnt act on it. Same as in my relationships, I have learnt that it is no good taking the softer whinning approach, I have to act, then people believe actions more than words.

eyeswideshut

Lovefraud folks, Thank you so much for the work you are doing.

I would like to know if anyone out there has run into something similar to my situation. I have felt for some time that my man is a socio – but then recently also discovered that he is bi/gay in orientation. Here is a post to a site for straight wives of gay men. It feels to me like a double whammy, with me in the center of the “perfect storm”

I bought and am readingthe book “Straight Wives..” I recently had confirmation of my husbands orientation and yes was “shattered” Our marriage had been off track for a very long time, but he still played the role of doting husband and “perfect” father. He was just always under “stress” pre-occupied with “business” etc etc. I knew he sucked all the air out of the room but did not understand why. Yes there were red flags, most of them about ten years ago, unless of course I carefully analyzed his sexual preferences with me, which naturally I am now doing in hindsight.

About a year ago I finally split with him for different reasons. Our marriage felt dead and empty and he had been causing continual accute anxiety over our financial matters and our overall security. He had betrayed me on a number of very large issues I had spent years trying to fix. Whenever I dragged him to marriage counselling he stayed just long enough to convince the therapist that I had the problems, not him. He even managed to steal my favourite therapist, during a very trying time.

The patterns described in your book were also my reality. Sex became sporadic, mechanical and without intimacy. I withdrew, drank with a vengeance in the evenings, gained weight and felt extremely isolated. (He had, using deceptive reasons, moved me form my support network of friends and family).

Two years ago I noticed a lump under his left ear which grew rapidly. (His cell phone ear, which he used at least 5 hrs a day) I kept insisting he go to a doctor. The Dr. said it was nothing. To make a long story short, he resisted for over a year and finally at my insistance got a second opinion. The lump was removed and turned out to be cancer. I likely saved his life. But the surgery left his face disfigured. Temporarily his left side drooped considerably and was expressionless. After I split with him for yet another round of lies and broken promises, my daughter said “Well look at his face” I said “What do you mean?” She said, “He has two faces”.

I cannot tell you the feelings that washed over me then. I started researching and concluded that he scores VERY high on the Sociopath/Psychopath checklist. There is no remedy for such a condition. His behaviour matched many of the symtoms to a T.

In any event he eventually reeled me back in, with a lot of effort on his part, although I did manage to live away from him for the better part of a year. But, outside of an initial 5 wk no contact, we were talking about reunion, he visited about 5 days a month, and we talked on the phone most nights. My sons were very upset with me for breaking up the family, altho intellectually they respected my postion, they only knew the tip of the iceberg and felt I was way overreatcting. Friends offered support, but most seemed to think I had a terrific mate and was being a spoiled cry baby. Eventually, with him showing his sweetest of sweet sides, with extra effort on his part in the bedroom, flowers etc. I convinced myself that I had overreacted and played home shrink in error. He moved back in around late September.

My question is this. Now that I know he is also gay, is sociopathic tendancy in married gay men not common as well? When I read the stories of the women in your book, many of the men sound like sociopaths as well. Have you studied this phenomonem? Is it possible that gay men who choose to live the lie of married life are likely also socio’s?

After my recent discovery (thank-you internet) he has denied anything but curiosity, and wants his status quo. He has however displayed a chilling lack of remorse or empathy for the pain he has caused me, and would obviously prefer to keep me as his “prop”.

Without him around I feel healthier, stronger, drink way way less, laugh,(humor and joy were missing from our relationship) and am full of hope and ambition for the future,uncertain and scary as it may be.

My point is should this crossover, be explored. Are the red flags of both conditions worth studying? Certainly understanding the quirks of the socio and reading about other womens horror stories with them makes it easier for me to resist my bi/gay husband. Is this a question that deserves some exploration?

My first emotion after the initial shock and anger about his sexuality was compassion for HIM. How he had denied his true blah blah…. It has been by also focusing on his sociopathy that helps me stay strong. By reminding myself that he does NOT FEEL like we do. That what I mistook for stoicism was actually callousness. That what looked like balls of steel, was actually a laser like self containment and focus on “the game”. That the wierd tension and stress he made me feel was REAL.

I now understand that he will always be gay, AND always lack conscience, remorse and empathy. I understand that he is unable to truly love, and that to him life is a joyless, hollow game of power and dominance.

What he did for us was create a hologram of a perfect life for others to admire. Inside it was a “Hollowgramm” An empty shell of alternate flattery and attention, followed by contempt, emotional abandonment and destruction of whatever our latest “dream” had been. Start over..grind on, pretend averything is fine,put on a good front, don’t tell.

He did father two wonderful sons, with whom I have an excellent relationship. He was a devoted father, if mostly on the mechanics and not hugely communicative. They are in their early twenties.

I found the gay stuff on Dec 19th and managed to get our whole family thru a traditional Christmas without anyone knowing.(Except him and he had Noooo problem acting as if Nothing was wrong).

I was a wreck inside, barely hanging on etc. I wanted to spare my kids, and he had sworn me to secrecy, or else. Then one night shortly after the New Year I stayed up late after he had gone to bed and got pretty tipsy and played some beautiful loud music and imagined my freedom, and danced by myself, appreciating myself in the mirror of our darkened windows with the backdrop of the moon behind our coachlit barn and my winter garden. I felt like a whole woman, alive and wonderful, as I had during our previous split.

In the morning I overheard one of my sons complaining to the other that I was lousy to get drunk and wake up Dad with my loud music. ( I had blacked out that he got up and gave me grief).

Despite all my best intentions of waiting till I had processed all my stuff, and waiting to tell them in the presence of a family therapist I just lost it. Shaking and fighting back tears I said, “I am tired of keeping all his secrets for him” and showed them my findings.

They were both shocked, altho one admitted having some suspicions himself ( at least about adultery). They immediately empathized and gave me the relief I so much needed. Since that moment I have been healing dramatically. They are coping and we will work together thru whatever baggage they may also have unbeknownst to me.

I have become pro-active in getting the help I need. I understand that I need to protect myself first. He will definitely take care of his needs.

On closing, I believe that while not necessarily “outing” your gay partner, it is too much of a burden to carry alone, and your children will never understand your actions or your emotional state if you protect his secret.

I encourage the web-site http://www.lovefraud.com for those who want to also explore the “socio” aspect of his personality and recommend the book “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout,ph.d.

Thanks for letting me share and I look forward to your or your readers comments.

lesley

Eyeswideshut,

On the third extended date I had with the SP, I turned to him one night, after we’d been together, and said, “Have you been with men?” Something in the way he’d made love made me think he had. He stared at the window and said in a monotone, “I have never made love to a man.” It was the same monotone he used to deny that he was living with a woman when I asked him that a year later. He was.

I don’t have hard proof, but I know the guy had had sex with men. I think people who are sexually compulsive will get off with anyone: men, women, you name it. Wasn’t Pee Wee Herman, gay as a day in May, watching straight porn when he was arrested for masturbating in a public theater in Florida? It was just what was available.

I’d be really curious to know if there’s a higher incidence of bisexuality among sociopaths. What do other people think?

alohatraveler

to eyeswideshut,

I have heard from another victim of my Sociopath that he was starting to get more “experimental” when she knew him. She knew him after me. He was expressing an interest in having sex with a man but of course, with a woman present because he was “not gay.” We both also saw an ad that he posted looking for sex with a transexual. Then he placed an ad where he wanted a traditional type of woman. My take is that they need sex so bad that they want to try everything for fear that they might miss something if they don’t. At least I think this is why guy was up to. Also, in retrospect, I think he did have “relations” with other women during our break-up cycles that he didn’t admit to.

I think the theme here might be secrets rather than bi-sexuality but who knows. I think anyone that they can get anything from is fair game.

By the way, I can really relate to your late night dancing and feeling free. I had moments like that too. I think they are so suffocating and stress inducing that it takes a moment of freedom, even if it’s just twirling around in the night to a favorite song… to show us how trapped we feel (or felt).

Aloha… E.R.

Beverly

I cant be sure about the N in my life, as he stated very very firmly that he hated gay men and then he would tell me that gay men were hitting on him. There were several other incidents, that made me wonder. It was very difficult to figure out what was real in his world, or what he was making up to try and screw up my mind. I do know that had he stated he was bi, I would never have gone with him in a million years. I am just very very very glad I am now many months away from him and all his crap!

tryingtorecover

Thanks M.L. for your encouraging words. I just re-read my post. I feel like two different people sometimes. I go from feeling totally hopeless, helpless, and worthless to feeling strong and determined.

About the gay thing-my ex always despised gays and sometimes would mention one was hitting on him. When he would say things about it I would get that uneasy feeling. At the time I thought it was just because I didn’t harbor hatred for anyone like that and thought it was wrong, but since then I’ve wondered.

When I showed a picture of the girlfriend to a few friends (none of them know each other) the first thing they all said was “she looks like a man…maybe he’s gay”. He also told me when he was trying to deny the affair that her best friend was gay(male) and she was probably a lesbian. The part about her friend is true and for as much as he didn’t want to be around gay men, he spent a lot of time around this guy. He would never (scratch that) I don’t think he would ever admit to it if he was, even to himself. I don’t know, but it’s funny that this was brought up because I really have thought it possible.

jules

my s path, told me one night that he went home with a transexual but he said he did not know it was a man, he also was younger at the time. he said that nothing happened that when he found out she was a man they just had a few drinks and talked. i dont believe him i think he would be very curious cause he was such a sexual person. and if nothing happend why did he tell me. i told him something important at the time first then he came out with it. it made me wonder and seemed very odd. also my ex was very vain about his looks and grooming he would take much longer than me to get ready if we went out looking in the mirror a million times. to me that isnt manly its a bit feminine, its too extreme for most straight guys to be that vain. i think he might of had gay or bisexual tendencies also he bragged to me once that this gay guy a friend of a friend used to flirt with him and grab him on the behind, he thought this was really amusing and funny. most guys i know would be a little annoyed at the invasion of space by being touched like that. he just reacted differently to things that most guys would not like. it makes me wonder what else i did not know about him or his sexual experiences. is it a fact that s paths woul be more likely to have these gay- bi tendencies. or want to experiment.

jules

trying to recover: when my ex s path and i broke up after a few months he met someoen else and started a relationship with her. i never saw her then one day at work someone told me they knew her and said they could not believe he would go out with hr after being with me when i said what did they mean he said shes totally different to you. then one day with the same friend we saw my ex with this girl and she looked gay like butch, i mean a crew cut hair very big girl and just looked like a gay girl its not that i have anything a gainst gays but that is the only way i can describe this girl the total opposite to me i am very feminine. its almost like he looked for someone the most unlike me he could find. normally he would be saying oh that girl look s butch or gay but here he was with someone who looked like that. it makes me wonder. i didnt know anything about her much my friend said at school she was strange and told every one her father had molested her! anyway they broke up after a while and my ex just told me they were just two different for it to work out.

tryingtorecover

Jules: My ex’s girlfriend is as different from me as he could get too. She’s (these are his words when he was saying they were just friends but after he said he wanted to separate) tall with long blond hair. I’m average height with dark hair. What he left out is she looks like Ted Nugent. She is about the same size as my ex is and has a stronger chin. He always made comments about big manly looking woman too. I don’t know if it’s just her money he’s after or if some of it has to do with him getting as close to a man as he can. I don’t know. I don’t like talking about some one’s looks like that, but she’s the exception.

I just want to stop and get some of the anger out I have for the girlfriend. On the subject of feeling sorry for their next victim. I believe he’s lying to her, but I don’t feel sorry for her. In her case she knew he was married and she lost any victim status when she pulled my son into it. She would call our house to talk to my ex. I didn’t suspect anything because he told me “all” about her. They were in the police academy together and she’s from the same area as we were.(1500 miles away from the academy) She called the house one night and my son answered. She said to him “Is your dad there. It’s his girlfriend”. I heard my son say “ha ha very funny” in a annoyed voice. He then asked me if she really was Dad’s girlfriend and if we were going to get divorced. I told him that she was just kidding and that us getting a divorce was one thing that he never had to worry about. (he had plenty of others) My ex just stood there not saying anything so I asked him to say something because he was pretty upset. He reassured him she was just kidding. I believe the two of them planned it or he put her up to it some how. A few days before that call my ex told me when he got off the phone with “Ted” that she was going to say it was his girlfriend calling for a joke, but then thought she better not. I just looked at him and said “ya think?”. So when this happened I thought she just used her bad judgement and carried out her joke. This happened about three months before he told me he was leaving. They had to wait until it was relatively safe for their jobs and my mom got there to use for his cover story.

jules

tryingt recover: i totally relate. it just amazedme to see this girl i wasinsulted actually cause myex was always soooo into looks then he was so deeply into this woman who was anything but atttractive to say the least. they had a strange raltionship i found out later she didnt like to go out so she let my ex go out sat nights without her, with his mates big mistake if you knew my ex. anyway he aslo iked to her about me i presume he gave some sob story. cause after they broke up i rang him to tell him he had some mail, and she was there withhim he did not tell me when he answered the phone she was there but i could tell in his voice then i hear d her talking in the back ground. we had slept together few weeks prior to this after he broke up with her.anyway he told me she was there and she was saying in the back ground who is it, it better not be jules. then she said to him hang up the phone right now hang up she was really upset. he and i were just friends at this stage so i dont know why she got so upset he must of lied about me to her. prob said he has nothing to do with me anymore. then he saying on the phone stop calling me stop texting me so she would think i was hasseling him, which i wasnt. so he lied to her aobut me and also lied t me about her on other occasions as well. it was funny almost as if fate made me call that night and her to be there to show both of us he was a liar. i felt good about that at least.

findingmyselfagain

My Sociopath I found out way later in the relationship was seeing a woman who was 20 and he was 52! He met her at work and they actually lived together. When I was at his place and I was his girlfriend, she would stop by sometimes to “borrow a carpet shampooer” or borrow a camera… he told me they were just friends and that was all. She had another boyfriend…and he had helped them out once so they were still friends.

Well I found out later that he lived with her. Is that sick or what.. then he lied to me all along about their relationship. She is 24 years younger than me, pudgy and very young looking even now at 24 – she looks 12. I even caught her “stopping by to pick up some smoked salmon” he made for her grandma – towards the very end of our 2 years together… after all the problems we had with him and other women.. he still had the guts to have her over and do favors for her. Hate to think what the other favors are.

Anyway – I found out about her being there because his cell phone on his belt, accidentally got bumped and it phoned my cell phone!!!! Can you believe the luck! SO I was listening to their conversation until he noticed the phone was on, and hung up on me. I called right back and he was full of 10,000 excused why it was safe and ok that she had stopped by. What kind of luck is that, his cell phone rang mine. So ironic and funny to me, but sad and sick at the same time.

tryingtorecover

jules: My ex did the same thing on the phone. We were talking on the phone after my son and I left the state that he had moved us to and in the middle of one of my sentences he said “stop yelling at me”. I started to react and said “I’m not yelling. What are you talking about?”. Then I remembered everything I just had learned about him. I stopped and asked him who was there that he wanted to think that I was yelling at him. He didn’t answer or even acknowledge the question.

That brings up another post about using your words as there own. When he would yell at me (I’m a quiet person and rarely yell or raise my voice for that matter) I would ask or beg him depending on how bad it was to please stop yelling at me and he would look at me like he wanted to kill me. Then when he was in the process of leaving and I said it to him one night, he started saying how he likes to yell ,his whole family yelled that’s who he is. I told him I was sorry I could change. Then a few days later he was yelling again and I asked him to stop and he looked at me and I remembered and felt scared I guess because he just proved his case that I couldn’t change.

I’m out of time, but that last example is, I know, where my accountability come in.

gillian

The truth is I feel empty without him. He was my sun and I in his orbit. He was my everything. The first thing I thought of when I woke up. An extra snuggle. Mmm…he always smelled so good. On days he had to go to work (3 12’s a week), I’d get up early with him, make his coffee, sit and talk while he got ready for work. A kiss good-bye. “I’ll miss you!” we’d both say, and I meant it.

And he’d call me when he’d get to work so I’d know he arrived safe. And he’d call me at least two more times during the day. Then when he got off work, and again when he was ten minutes from home, and I’d be standing out on the driveway when he pulled in. I was genuinely happy to see him.

And we’d sit and talk at the dining room table while he’d eat the dinner I’d fixed. He’d recount his day and then we’d go up to bed. And so on.

And so on and so on and this is the way life unfolded for me and the way I thought life unfolded for him and I’d think when are his days off and when he’d have a long stretch off I was so happy to have him around. So happy.

And now he is gone and there is a huge vacuum and even knowing what I know now, even knowing that he is a cold-blooded killer, yes, he’d even be that if he got the chance and thought he’d never get caught, it is a dreadful gripping inside.

It’s the worst sort of pain. Not only losing the love of my life but knowing he would kill me if he could. How does one get over this?

I’m working on it. I have my friends and my little activities and my goals and dreams. But it’s to bed alone at night, wearing sweatpants and socks it’s so cold in bed now, and it’s reading until I’m so tired I fall asleep and it’s hoping I don’t wake up in the middle of the night and it’s that horrible first thing in the morning, and it’s knowing he stole 19 years from my life and feeling too old and too old-looking to attract another man.

It’s knowing that even if I do find someone else, they will never be a parent to my children. We can never be a family like that. I can never have a family like that. I thought I had a family like that and I don’t know how to get over this. I don’t know how to be a saint and pray for my enemies and just get on with it.

I don’t know how not to want to fuck them over. I don’t know how not to want to make them pay.

I don’t know how to help my 32 year old son and my 29 year old daughter who thought of him as their father, knowing now that he knew they rode in my car also, heavily loaded while we drove out of the mountains on the way to my mom’s for Christmas. He knew, the socio knew, that we would all be in the car and he knew the brakes were shot, and for sure he knew the brakes were shot; I took a closer look at the receipt for the tires that were put on my car at the end of October and it is even documented there that the customer was advised of the work that needed to be done and the customer said nothing, he deliberately said nothing to me, we spent that day together and he said nothing.

And it is the shock, the horror of losing this man that I dreaded ever losing through death and knowing that he was plotting to leave, that he wanted to leave, that he was desperate to leave and it’s being so astonished that he would betray me like that and it’s knowing that he deserves the worst sort of punishment and it’s hoping that someday there will be justice, if not in this life then the next, I think it would have to be the next and sometimes I feel so hopeless about that.

notquitebroken

Gillian,

I struggle with a lot of the same feelings, myself. I want to force him to be accountable for the things he’s done. Not only to me, but to every woman he’s treated this way. I want to make the ones he’d currently doing it to open their eyes and see what’s happening to them.

And despite all that anger, I still miss him. I miss what I believed was true. I miss the sweet things he actually did say and do, even though I now know they were entirely contrived and were the exact same things he said to every single girl he met. I came across an angry email he’d written to me back in October when I was first confronting him with my belief that he’s a sociopath. In it, he claimed it was ok to tell all these girls that they could be His One True Love on the first date because it’s just his personality, just the sort of romantic fool he is, and that they loved hearing it, soaked it up in fact, and that made it all perfectly ok. He made them feel good, he said, so it was ok to say those sweet things to everyone. Yes, he admitted it was a formula, but it WORKED and they felt good, so it was a win-win situation. Talk about your paramoralisms! He genuinely failed to comprehend how girls might be hurt when they found out he was saying the EXACT same thing to every girl. I really don’t think his imagination stretches that far because he has no compassion and no conscience. He truly can’t see it as hurtful because it’s not in his programming. It’s not a massive rationalization, even. He sees only that it brings him pleasure and therefore must be ok.

I still miss the way he’d call me at 3am and talk to me just because he was lonely. I miss the sweet things he said. I miss the way he made me believe I was sexy and fabulous instead of dumpy and middle-aged. I miss the lies he told me because when I was believing them, they were the best things anyone had ever said to me. And I’m madder than hell knowing that those things WEREN’T REAL! It was all a lie. Everything he said was the same thing he was saying to at least ten other girls. I wasn’t special. In fact, he referred to himself once as a stallion visiting mares in his stable! Why do I miss that? How’s it even possible to miss something that wasn’t real?

Yep, still struggling. Probably will for a long time. But I’m also relieved to have gotten away before it got any worse.

tryingtorecover

Gillian: Our stories seem so similar. I started crying when I read your post. I thought I had all that too. I haven’t been able to cry lately and every thing is just rotting inside.

I have to watch my 14 yr old be lied to and manipulated and there’s nothing I can do about it except be a rock in his life and let him know how much I love him.

Your last paragraph-I dreaded losing him to death too. One night about a week before he told me he was leaving he went to his training officer’s house. He had asked me if I would mind if he did because it would be good for his career and it would help us get back on our feet quicker. I said of course not. I was so proud of him for working so hard and accomplishing what he had. (The whole time he was telling lies about me to set up his cover story.) He never came home that night. His cell phone was dead and I didn’t have the number of the guy’s house. I lost a few lbs that night because I thought he was dead. To make a long story short, after I found out everything and pieced together time lines, he was at the girlfriends house. I wish he would have died that night then my son and I never would have had to know what he is. (I just read that over and his training officer was behind him in his patrol car when he came home. That’s why I believed he fell asleep on the guy’s couch.)

I desperately miss the person I thought he was, but despise the person he actually is. It’s so confusing. It’ hurts so much to know he had no feeling for me.

You’re not alone and you’re going to get though this. We both are. I’m not going to let him steal the rest of my life. I have days when I feel like he will never pay for what he has done and then days I think he’s paying everyday because he has no love. I loved a lie. His son no longer looks at him the same way. His new soul mate is in love with a lie. I still have my fantasies about revenge. I would love to watch as the gf found out the truth about every thing. (She’s not an innocent victim.)

I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I’m going to work on healing like M.L. wrote. Right now I think I need to let out the anger. I just don’t know how.

gillian

tryingtorecover,

I know what you mean about not being able to cry and everything rotting inside. Sometimes I feel that way too. I want to cry, I know I need to cry, I’d feel a lot better if I could, but I can’t.

And then at times I have the overwhelming urge to cry. When I do, I often try to push the feeling away. Either I’m talking to someone else–which is when it usually happens–and I don’t want to cry in front of them, or my grief is so painful it’s scary. It’s almost as if I’m on a wave so vast and powerful it threatens to pull me away forever.

This happened to me yesterday. Ever since talking to my 32 year old son last weekend, I’ve been experiencing–and fighting–that feeling of grief. When I talked to my son it struck me so clearly how painful this must all be for him. Even though he’s a self-sufficient, highly accomplished person who keeps his feelings to himself, he loved this man too. He thought of him as a father.

So all day yesterday I was on the verge of tears. In the afternoon my pain was so profound I had to share it with someone else. And the horrible, ironic thing of it all is that I had the urge to share it with my socio husband! He was always the one I felt safe sharing my deepest feelings with. He was always the one I thought cared the most. So, automatically, I thought of him, which of course only made my grief worse. He doesn’t care. He can’t fix things. He’s a fraud. It’s all a manipulation. I felt so utterly bereft. I ended up calling a dear friend who lives across the country. Thank God for friends like that. She is really an angel.

This is so much worse than death, because at least in death you have good memories to cherish. You can still cling to that feeling of being loved. With this, you don’t even have that. Every memory is corrupt. The feeling of being so loved is so brutally yanked away.

tryingtorecover

gillian,

You say it so well. I have or have had all of those feelings.

There were so many times in the beginning of this that I just wanted him to hold me and make it go away and that I wanted to talk my problems through with him. He was my best friend, but it was all false. He was the cause of the pain and he was enjoying it. I don’t have a conscious urge to talk to him anymore, but there is a hole I haven’t been able to fill yet.

So many times I’ve thought how much easier it would be if he had died. I could believe the good memories. I could know I was loved. I could believe someday I might be loved again. I could feel that 18 1/2 yrs meant something to both of us. He said to me at one point that he wanted to be civil after this was over for (our son) and just because we spent time together. His voice was so cold. Just because we spent time together. I’m still speechless.

How long has it been for you? Valentine’s day will be a year since he told me he was “not happy with me”. He moved out in March and I got back to my home state, where I finally felt relatively safe, in May.

gillian

tryingtorecover,

Wow, our stories ARE so similar. My husband and I were together almost 18 years. He moved out the 27th of June. One more day and it would have been 18 years to the day. He had originally planned to move out a month prior, as soon as his parents left after a visit. He hadn’t seen them in five years and wanted to maintain the facade for them.

Two days before they left, though, I came across the last puzzle piece. I finally figured everything out (at least regarding him and the woman he was planning on leaving me for; since then I’ve discovered soooooo much more). Day before his parents left, I confronted him, told him I saw the big picture, that I knew he was planning to leave me as soon as his parents left. That really messed up his plans. Especially since he was going to manufacture some bogus reason for leaving. Like wanting to be alone or some such bullshit so I wouldn’t know the real reason he was abandoning me and our daughter.

I am glad I found out the truth. I think. You know, now that I consider it more, I’m not so sure. I am glad he wasn’t able to completely dupe me though. If he had just up and left without warning, I honestly don’t know if I would have survived. OMG, it was so much to absorb as it was. Once I started on my journey of discovery, I just had to know the truth. All of it. I was relentless, I wouldn’t give up. I thought I’d rather know the truth than to go to my grave having been completely deceived.

But it sure has been painful. The fairy tale felt a lot better. Too bad it wasn’t real.

tryingtorecover

gillian,

My ex left after my mom came for a visit. He was waiting for her to get there as part of his cover up. When he told me he wanted to try some time apart, he suggested that I go stay with my mom for awhile. I refused. I found out later he had been telling people for months I was homesick and he thought when my mom came for a visit I would take our son and go back home with her.

I’m so glad I found out the truth because if I didn’t I would have no chance for recovery. Now I have the opportunity to live without abuse for the first time in my life and live the truth. No more secrets. No more protecting him.

Cheryl

I just had to comment on one woman’s question, posted here. “Should I warn his next victim?” I did and hopefully she picked up on the items that I mailed to her anonymously. I went back to the ex’s home to pick up a few things after our divorce. On the kitchen counter was one of his bank statements and written on top was her name, name of her bank and a her account number. I took the statement, made a copy as well as a copy of “20 characteristics of a Sociopath” off of the internet and mailed them to her. A few days later he called me outraged and told me he knew what I did. He does not like being exposed. I pretended that I didn’t know what he was talking about and hung up.

I would never give a man money to begin with; however, while I was married to the Sociopath for 15 months, he liked that I made my own money and was very greedy with his, almost to the point of obsession. It was always about money, money, money with him. I later realized after catching him cheating after 2 months of marriage, that he married me for my “wifey, home body disposition”.
We were in counseling after 6 months, and after 9 months of marriage, our counselor told me that I was married to a Sociopath and to start recording conversations to protect myself, because he was trying to set me up. She told me to start making plans to leave, because someone like him cannot be rehabilitated. Basically, she was telling me that I was “screwed”.

Since I have been divorced since October 07, I am now broke (spending money on lawyers, etc) to defend myself. He called the police 3 times during our marriage which led to my arrest. I left the home after he became drunk and started with verbal abuse. After I snuck out of the house and left, he put scratch marks on his face, told the police I was drunk and on pills after about an hour since I left the home. I turned my cell phone off for the night, knowing he would call me continuously. The next day I retrieved a message from the Sheriff from the night before, telling me I needed to come back to the home or there would be a warrant for my arrest. I contacted the officer (female) and she told me to meet her at the house. I did and was arrested on the spot for domestic violence. My daughter, who was living with us at the time, but not at home during the previous night’s episode, posted by bond. I called our home from jail to let her know that I needed a ride and waited until my release. I made this call to the house while the ex was at work, maybe around 2pm. I am about to be released a few hours later and I get re-arrested for trying to contact my ex. Seems he came home, looked at the caller ID, called the police again and told them I was trying to contact him. I told the re-arresting officer that I called my daugher who was living with us and that my ex was over 25 miles away at work. What I told them did not make a difference. My bond was revoked and spent the next 13 days in jail while my public defender worked on getting me out.

Long story short….I am now broke, on probation in a County I have lived in for 30 years (him, 6 years). The charges on me were dropped twice by the DA’s office, but still had to go through classes with DUI offenders because he wrote in a report that I was drunk, which I was not. I still am ordered to take Anger Management class for $300 and pay probation over $800. My business has suffered due to market conditions, but I cannot get a regular job because my background checks come up negative and I now have a ‘rap’ sheet. I live with a friend of over 20 years and cannot even help with household expenses. My car got re-possessed, but luckily share one with my daughter. I cannot believe that I am going through this at almost 50 years old! This has been the most degrading, embarassing experience of my life.

I have watched while this man gets away with everything. I even got a temp. restraining order, which he violated the night before our court date. We went to court and he brought a lawyer and the judge dismissed the order and he was never arrested. Go figure! He is a known alcoholic and the premise report shows 52 calls to our home during our marriage. He was through rehab and on many medications for bi-polar, depression, etc. All the calls to the home were made by him while drinking. All of this within a 15 month period of time.

I read in one of your blogs, how Sociopaths will use the judicial system to torture their victims. This is what happened to me and it seems there is no recourse.

Ox Drover

Dear Cheryl,

OMG, I am soooo very sorry that you have been put through this terrible wringer, bashed and beaten! If I were there now I would put my arms around you. You are such a strong woman to have even SURVIVED such trauma.

My heart goes out to you, Cheryl that you would be so punished by the legal system. It sounds like a terrible nightmare just hearing about it, I can’t even imagine sitting in jail falsely accused by the psychopath.

The upside of all this, though, is that I can HEAR YOUR STRENGTH in your post. My wish for your X is that the fleas of 1000 camels inhabit his groin! My prayers are with you, Cheryl, even though you had to endure all this, at least you are AWAY FROM HIM now, not forced to live under the same roof with such TRASH. God bless you.

hannah1922

ML::: *applause*

keeping_faith

ML,

It occurred to me as I read this that we spend so much tine, after the fact, deliberating and blaming and beating ourselves up and remembering the hurt and hanging on to the good that will never be again. I was in an almost two year relationship with this man and have now spent over a year just trying to recover and remembering and obsessing……. I kept thinking today will it take me longer to recover than it did to even attempt a relationship with him???? How bizarre is that?

Why don’t we spend more time trying to remember WHAT THEY ARE NOT?…… Where they would have failed us anyway?……. We are too conscientious sometimes, trying to make them see us for what we really are and trying to make them love us like they said they did in the beginning….. what a waste. They didn’t care then and they don’t care now. We have wasted our own time and for that we need to be responsible.

We need to take responsibility NOT BLAME. And take the responsibility for our future, not so much the past. We need to have a good guideline of what we are looking for and not deviate too far from that. At first sign of someone invading and forcing those boundaries….we rethink with GREAT caution and cut our losses earlier. NO MORE.

ML, Your message is strong. Thank you!!

pollyannanomore

I am now turning up for myself. I used to find posts like these incredibly difficult to read because I always read victim blame into them – now I see that I was not to blame for the abuse but I should have stayed strong in my morals and cut him loose a lot sooner when it became apparent to me he had a continual pattern of abusing me.

I now take my needs seriously and recognise there are many ways a man can abuse and harm a woman. When I was with him, my simple yardstick for walking was if he ever hit me. I knew if he ever hit my face I would walk – in fact I begged him to hit me on numerous occasions as have other posters so I would have a ‘reason to leave’ him. I should have honored my instincts that I was being harmed in other ways and walked much sooner than I did. I should have stopped believing his lies earlier, should have stopped looking through rose tinted glasses and should have kicked his ass to the curb where he belonged much sooner than I did. However I am not beating myself up in realising these things. I used to do that – I was the Queen of self beating back then.

It is just a recognition for the future that if someone deliberately makes me confused or evokes any sense of anxiety, fear or discomfort then they will be gone so fast from my life you will see NASA printed on their ass as they fly by. I am worthy of being loved and being treated lovingly. I now only have room in my life for good people – all the messed up ones can go get off their backsides and pay for therapy or do as I did and engage in deep reflection and research into issues from the past and how to heal them. Pity isn’t a reason to stay with someone or a reason to pour out all your love on people who don’t deserve it.

He came through my life like a train wreck and very nearly ended it. I could stop in just blaming him, but the situation with him arose because I looked for a shortcut to bliss rather than developing it for myself. I can’t live my happiness through somebody else nor can I depend on someone else to fill my heart and make me sing – only I can do those things. I turn up for myself now because I am worth it.

Many thanks ML – I love your perspective and deep introspection and understandings you share with us here.

Ox Drover

Dear Polly,

I am so glad you are here and glad you are going back and reading all the wonderful archived posts here at LF. I’m also glad that you are “getting it”—it is not your fault (BTW, I was the queen of self blame, so you can be the princess LOL)

I can tell by your posts that you are making wonderful progress in your recovery, just keep on trucking on that road to healing! It is a journey, never ends, but the going becomes very peaceful, joyous and happy when we get past that rough road that they bombed holes in for us! (((hugs))))

witsend

pollyannanomore,
You are really growing by leaps and bounds! I don’t know if you can see this in yourself but your post are full of inspiration for others.
It was a very poweful thing you said about measuring abuse. And I think many women that find themselves in abusive relationships find themselves doing the exact same things.
Saying to themselves well he hasn’t done _____ yet.

I guess the bottom line is that if we ever find ourselves having to measure abuse, it is already to the point that we should be leaving the relationship. Abuse is abuse. It can’t be measured.

eileen

Jules and Tryingtorecover
Of all the girlfriends I traced (many) not 2 look alike. It’s not looks that matters to a sociopath. I couldn’t understand until I checked an article on this site about how sociopaths choose their victims. Trusting, nurturing, financially stable, moral women. Isolation a bonus. Look it up – it explained a lot for me. I also believe sociopaths sometimes like the challenge of seducing, then enslaving women who don’t quite match the criteria. It’s very dehumanising to realise that but really, they don’t care who we are nor what we look like, as long as they think they can get what they want from us. Don’t feel jealous but sorry for their new victims and warn them if you can.

pollyannanomore

Yes it is very strange the growth that is happening while I sleep and live and breathe. I honestly feel more detached from it all than I have in a long long time. For those who are questioning whether to stay or leave … GO AHEAD AND LEAVE!!!!!! This detachment has happened in just a few miraculous weeks. Other LF regulars can probably attest to the fact that when I arrived at this site I was devastated. I was hurt, angry and full of despair about the future. This difference in me has emerged in three short weeks since he left and I’ve had VERY limited contact with him. I can’t believe the turnaround myself – I didn’t dare to hope I could ever feel better about this. Even though he had left, I thought I would continue to feel this low, despairing, disempowered feelings – I thought my time with him had destroyed me forever.

I now know that I will never ever be the same as I was before I met him – that just isn’t possible knowing what I know now. But I am recovering from his abuse. And education is what makes all the difference. Education and community with people who understand and validate my experience. That is what this site provides – it allows me to pick through the ashes of those years and understand that I did nothing wrong and there was nothing I could have done to help him or help the relationship. It also allows me to see it could have been so much worse – it could have been more years with him, physical abuse, addiction, more financial losses I couldn;t recover from.

I am so grateful for feeling better – I wanted to die for years at my lowest and still contemplated it when he left. Now I want to LIVE!!! And what sweetness that is! So if my growth provides any inspiration for others … I hope it is this – I hope someone reading this one day realises their strength is not gone for good – it has just gone underground and will return WHEN THEY LEAVE THE SPN. I hope someone is inspired to take a chance on themselves and cut these scumbags out of their life. That is what reading here gave me – the strength to leave and trust that I would be ok. That’s a huge gift and one that all the self help books, counselling, psychotherapy and family members didn’t give me. I am so grateful for Donna having the foresight to put up this site and maintain it – I am so grateful for the posters sharing their insights and experiences.

I know the journey will have more ups and downs – that is the nature of healing – some days you can cope and others you can’t. But I do know I won’t ever be in that dark despairing place again – I got my ticket out of there.

On measuring abuse – witsend you are right – any time we are measuring abuse there is a problem. We need to teach y oung women there are many ways a man can destroy them by using their own good traits against them. A punch in the face is one obvious way, but there are hundreds of other more subtle ways. And Oxy … ok you can be the Queen! I am happy with being the Princess of self beration … it’s all in the past now.I am immensely grateful for all of your supporting words … I really hope I get to meet you one day.

Hugs to everyone getting over being used by an SPN. The road is hard initially but there is hope and you will get past it. Healing is possible – even if you doubt it! I certainly did – I thought I would never get over this, but even now the memories of what he did are starting to fade and become less important. It’s my life now that counts – it’s the person I am now that matters. I will never forget the pain of this relationship but it no longer has the power to bring me to my knees – that’s some pretty good progress in a short period of time!

Ox Drover

Dear Polly,

Sweetie, it makes my heart sing to hear the power that has come to your posts, and like Witty, I am so glad that things are turning around for you today and lately! I have felt where you were when you frist came here, crazy as an out-house rat! (that’s a technical term! LOL) and boy was I ever crazy! There were ups and downs as well like you mentioned, but over all it was a journey that led to much healing and joy and peace coming back into my life—then wham! Out of the blue, I would be back in the abys sometimes.

Today was one of those days—it was both a great day and a miserable day, the pits and yet hope! I found an HONEST LAWYER, and he will help me, one way or another, and he is a sharp man, and KNOWS WHAT A PSYCHOPATH IS, and guess what ??? He read “Snakes in Suits” and knows who Bob Hare is!!!!

But just the strain of talking to him, telling this horrible story again to another person who had not heard it, and sounding like someone who is crazy as an out-house rat (there’s that technical term again) sounding like a parnanoid delusional nut case, made me realize sometimes no matter how strong we are, or think we are, we need to, as I Corinthians 10:12 says, “he that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.”

It is humbling to me to realize that no matter how much I KNOW, and how strong I think I am, when that FLOOD of adrenaline washes over my psyche, I crumble into dust, and shake and cry like I don’t know what. All my knowledge of what Ps are and all my knowledge of what to “do” flies out the window and I just weep and feel sorry for myself, throwing a pity party and then feeling guilty because I have “let it get to me” like I’ve never had this happen before. Hell, it isn’t like I am a P-virgin, I’ve been screwed by the BEST OF them!

And yet, I also wept with tears of gratitude that the attorney would help me, no matter what. Tears of gratitude that HE GETS IT! WOW, Matt, you are not the ONLY honest lawyer in the world, I know THREE now.

But I also realize that I CANNOT TALK TO THE PAROLE BOARD MYSELF, because I iam not and cannot be “emotionally detached” enough to NOT sound like a freaking bitter nasty old lady when I try to relate all this verbally.

I know why the minister didn’t believe me, now when I tried to get him to listen to me, because I DID sound like a nut case, when I tried to tell him what my egg donor and my P son had done. It isn’t about TRUTH or FACTS it is about PERCEPTION when we are trying to convince others about what our PSYCHOPATHS have done to us.

I’ve been an excellent public speaker for 30 years, but there is NO way I can do it now, not talk to these people and tell them my story, because I can’t make them believe it. I can’t
“condense” War and Peace into 100 words or less and KEEP THE PLOT understandable much less believeable.

But, even though it has been a ROUGH day, I do know, and am reassured by the fact I have an attorney that ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, will assist me through the parole process for my son and HOPEFULLY GIVE ME A CHANCE OF KEEPING THAT MONSTER IN PRISON—five years at a time for as long as he lives.

I’m going to go to bed now, and crawl into my hole and pull the hole in after me, but tomorrow WILL be a better day, and I’ll get through this.

Polly, I am so glad you are doing well… hang in there sweetie, the “bad days” will get few and far between, I’ve not really had a bad one for 6 months or so…and it used to be HOURLY! (((hugs))) and please keep me in your prayers.

Matt

OxDrover:

I’m glad you found an attorney who can help you. I know how emotional this will be for you. That said, I’ll give you a bit of advice I often give clients — going to court, going before an administrative board, it’s all a performance. You know your son will be giving the performance of his life. You need to give the performance of your life (think Lana Turner in “Where Love Has Gone” or any of her other 3 hankie weepiers like “Imitation of LIfe” of “Madame X.”

One way I tell my clients to do that is to write the whole story out. And then edit it. And read it aloud. And then edit again. Etc. over and over and over. Because your goal is to get the facts out there, with the proper degree of what I call “Humane Emotionalism.” You can’t come across as an automaton. And you can’t come across renting our garments.

A lesson I learned as a screenwriter about “Pitching” a story — boil it down to 3 sentences. 3 sentences equalled 3 acts of every movie. And they all boil down to this: You get the man up in a tree (the setup). You throw rocks at the man in the tree (the obstacles he has to overcome). And you get the man down from the tree (the conclusion/resolution/what you want).

Also, here are a few quick rules to remember for when you’re speaking. First, a person can only say 8 words on one breath. Second, a listener can only hear 6 of those words. Third, the most effective sentence in history is 2 words “Jesus, wept.”

So, write down everything that is in your heart on your computer. Then print it out — triple spaced with 2 1/2 inch margins on each side so you have plenty of room to edit. Then go through and get rid of everything that is hyper emotional and not relevant to what the message is you want to convey (in the writing biz we call it “killing your darlings). 90 percent of the first draft will be scrapped. Then go through and repeat — over and over until you are comfortable with what you want to say and all the stuff that will make you look crazy is gone.

If you need any help with this, contact Donna off-line. I’m more than happy to help, since as you know, I was both a screenwriter and a lawyer.

witsend

Oxy,
Matt has a great idea with the editing. LESS is often more. It is just so dang blasted hard knowing what is important and what is not when you first let the “flood gates” open and start writing.
And I DO think it is ok to let SOME emotion (not alot but some) flow into what you say because after all you are his mother. Better a little emotion than alot of bitterness.
I think you will do great. You have a little bit of preperation time and you can rid yourself of all that pent up emotion while your going through the process of writing stuff down.

Does the family members of the girl show up at the parole hearings? If so I would think that what they would have to say to the board would help your case as well.

Ox Drover

Dear Matt,

I didn’t know you were a screen writer. Thanks, I will have donna send my e mail to you off line. I am going to need all the help I can get.

I do have absolute confidence in this attorney, but I also know that no matter how well I seem to be doing the emotions flood over me and my tonoe of voice and everything I say makes me come across ANGRY and hostile.

The whole story is like “war and Peace” and I know we must keep it down to a couple of paragraphs and a few documents, but I don’t want to take a chance and blow it. Parole lboards do onot want to hear much, short time, get to the basics.

I think at this point, I will have the attorney speak for me.

He did also suggest that we (he) contact the victim’s family and llend them help as well. I am hoping at least that a crimiinal’s family coming there with an attorney to fight the parole (a frist in history I think) will at least raise the eyebrows of the parole board….most families who don’t want their convict out just do NOTHING, don’t hire them an attorney etc.

I do knonw my son and my egg donor’s plans though, and that is to present me as NUTS and it is just a “little family feud” “nothing important” but I think we have enough evidence to over come that.

I mainly was just suprised at how the EMOTIONS hit me between the eyes with the old “shot at and missed, chit at and hit” feeling of a major stress rush…sort of like Henry when Mike drove up the other morning without warning.

This is feeling like the interactions I had with the minister that didn’t believe me, and I guess I must ahve sounded and looked like a nut case when I was talking to him. Maybe why he didn’t believe me.

I finally calmed down, but still feel weak as a kitten after the stress load, but some rest will cure that. I was suprised though, how hard it hit me today, just the ttalking about it. The lawyer was NICE though. Very compassionate and the fact that he said “He sounds like a psychopath” gave me great confidence in him.

Tomorrow willl be another day, as Scarlette O’Harrow said, so onward and upward, I just want to get this thing done and get it ready to go when the time comes. Just one more hurdle to pass. Thanks Matt! You are a great friend! ((((Hugs)))) Love, Oxy

Louise

A comment I have about this article is not only “because he can,” but, “because we let him.”

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