REGISTER | LOGIN
By | January 16, 2008 227 Comments

The psychopath’s bewildering ways of talking

A reader says: “I kept wondering what was going on in his head. I could never follow his thinking. I think he might have been into alcohol and drugs and that in itself messes the brain, and along with his other personality disorders, sure makes for a confusing relationship.”

The thinking patterns of the psychopath are indeed weird. It seems there are biological and intentional reasons for this. In others words, he is unable to think very logically PLUS he intends to mislead. No wonder he is hard to follow!

Below I list several factors which together make the psychopath a most bamboozling character.

The odd speech of psychopaths
The psychopath makes “frequent use of contradictory and logically inconsistent statements”, says Robert Hare in ‘Without conscience.’ E.g. “A man serving time for armed robbery replied to the testimony of an eyewitness, “He’s lying. I wasn’t there. I should have blown his fucking head off.” It is as if, says Hare, they have “difficulty monitoring their own speech”.

Psychopaths may also construct strange words: ‘unconscientious’ for unconscious’, ‘antidotes’ for ‘anecdotes’. Perhaps there is something about the brain of the psychopath that contributes to his odd speech.

Drug and alcohol abuse
With their poor ability to tolerate frustration and their high need for stimulation (same thing?), the psychopath is likely to abuse drugs and alcohol which obviously affects the ability to think. Chronic abuse damages the brain.

But, as M.L. Gallagher recently writes, he speaks in riddles purposely too.

The intention to deceive
This doesn’t need much elaboration here. The psychopath wants to get something. He may simply take it by force. Otherwise he will use his cunning to fool the other person. (Interestingly, the illogicality of his arguments doesn’t stop him successfully conning one person after another.)

Logical fallacies
Most of us use logical fallacies when we argue or try to persuade. Some of these are errors in our own thinking, some are conscious manipulations. Just accentuating a different word can make all the difference: “Mom said that we musn’t throw stones at the windows” (i.e. she didn’t say anything about hitting them with a tennis racket).

We can fully expect that the psychopath, with his flawed thinking plus his intention to deceive, will use every logical fallacy in the book. Bear with me for a couple of paragraphs.

Take the example the logical fallacy, the ‘ad hominem argument’. It has two types, circumstantial and abusive. In the circumstantial ad hominem argument the circumstances of the other are confronted instead of the evidence: “Of course you don’t accept that it’s OK to be a loan-shark. You’re a Christian and Christ drove the money lenders out of the temple.” (But that’s irrelevant; if I was Jewish what would your defense be then?)

In the abusive ad hominem argument the opponent is attacked instead of their argument: “You criticise me for loan-sharking, but three years ago you were arrested for drunk driving.” (What does that have to do with loan-sharking?)

Paramoralism
But the psychopath uses fallacies with an evil twist. Whenever possible he’ll use a logical fallacy as a paramoralism. In other words, he won’t use a fallacy only to win a point but also use it moralistically in order to corrode the other’s moral thinking.

How would a psychopath argue ad hominem? Several readers have mentioned precisely this example: “What kind of Christian are you to accuse me of this?” (Again, the other’s Christianity is irrelevant to the topic at hand.) Can you see the difference? Unlike the examples above where the opponent’s Christianity is used to score a point or bring the argument to an end, here the other is being denounced as a bad Christian. An open-minded person is likely to say to themselves, “Maybe he’s right. Perhaps I’m the bad one here.”

Perhaps you have an example to share of the bewildering speech of a psychopath?

—————–
For glimpse into the wacky thought-processes of the narcissist see this article.


227
Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of

After confronting the sociopath about his HIV status, he says, “I dont think I’ve ever done anything to intentionally or unintentionally hurt you. You know that’s not me. You know who I am.”

Or how about, “I’ve done nothing to damage you or me, and our relationship wasn’t a big ole pack of lies. We were honest and truthful and we honored each other. I plan to keep honoring you while we’re not together……..”

And finally, this is the biggest one….and quite a mind fuck: “Words are meaningless, get tested, verify the facts.”

How’s that for bewilderment, manipulation, and riddling.

jules

i recently watched a movie called match point, its main male character is i feel a sociopath. the funny thing is i watched it with my ex who is a sociopath. at the end of the movie the bad guy the s path gets away with the worst things, its not a good ending really to an other wise good movie. when i said to my ex that wasnt a good ending. he replied he thought it was good that bad guy won and got away with everything and it was a good ending. go firgure, i think he said that cause he was just like him. in fact watching the movie he must of seen parts of his own personality in the main character the sociopath. anyway it s funny cause by saying it was a good ending, he reavealed how warped his own mind and mental state really is to me without even realising it. if you have had a n experience with a sociopath watch this movie it will remind you how bad and deceptive these people are and how they will lie cheat and do anything to get what they want in life. despite the bad ending. anyone with normal moral reasoning will think it is a bad ending that is not the sociopaths though they will think how clever and good the bad guy is like my ex did while watching this movie.

YES! He’d say the strangest things. His emails were even stranger. The words he’d use to sound “oh so clever” were close to the word needed…but just not quite right. He’d also construct some weird sentences like “stimulate my gray matter in ways to please me,” instead of intellectually stimulating or “makes me think.” He’d also email in partial thoughts/sentences. He didn’t TALK like that, but he’d type out some out-there/vague stuff. He was (and is) always trying to sound like he’s an educated genius, he falls short and boy does he get testy when he’s told he sounds like an idiot! LOL (He boasts of an MBA when he actually has a GED. For the record, I never believed the MBA deal.)

There were many times the only thing I was left with was, “huh? What the heck does THAT mean?” He liked to keep me off-balance- that way I couldn’t SEE what he was really up to. I think he was using drugs the whole time- I didn’t know about it, but I’m sure if there were drugs, I’m sure I paid for them. As more things come to light, he’s been known to have a drug problem, off and on, for most of his life.

alohatraveler

When I said the Bad Man’s behavior had reached a level of unforgivable, he mentioned something about even Jesus can forgive his behavior. He did, at times, imply a parallel between himself and Jesus. Since he was an ordained Minister, I suspect that was where these references came from… but it didn’t go un-noticed.

When we first started dating and I wanted to wait to be intimate he said, “How come all the bad boys get sex but the good guys have to wait?!” His most recent ad said he was looking for a “Nun/Wife/Whore.” Honestly, I don’t know what it wrong with this man. Why doesn’t he know that NO ONE would respond to that? I mean he is manipulative and exploitive, cruel, grandiose, refers to himself as “special”, sexual addicted. He wants a “nun” one day and a transexual the next day. I think he has escalated so much since we were together… and he was really bad then but he just seems like he is spinning out of control! The tag line of his most recent ad is “Can you get real and care?” He implies all the time that no one is caring. He used that hook on me… when he was acting over the top psycho and then he would accuse me of being uncaring.

Sometimes I just feel sick.

jules

in regards to the above mentioned intention to decieve in this article. i would like to say who invented the mobile phone, it must have been a sociopath cause this is the best tool for them to use to decieve lie and cheat on poor unsuspecting victims. how easy is it to lie over a mobile ph about where you are or what you are doing, my ex sociopath did use his mobile ph to inflict pain on me this way. its so easy for them to be totaly secretive about things and mislead you. and with privacy laws again the victims are grid locked you cant check phone bills or records to confirm you suspicions its like you are the criminal if you try to do this. and if you can get hold of their phone bill and try to read it just see how the s path reacts likely a fit of rage and then make you feel guilty for trying to read it cause you dont trust them. sometimes it seems like modern technology and society is a gainst the victims of the s path . when all your trying to do is prove to your self and others what they have done or are doing. and protect yourself from being mislead, calling other woman ,stringing people along and lying about where they are and what they are doing the list is endless how this tool the mobile ph is the s paths best friend. mobile phs make it all too easy for sociopaths in my opinion . does any one else feel the same .

jules

me too. aloha traveler, when i first met and started seeing the sociopath, i said i didnt want to have sex straight away that i think sex is for people in love and we werent at that stage yet. and he replied that makes me want you even more. he would act so innocent he even told me he hadnt had much sexual experience which i thought odd cause he had been engaged and lived with his fiance. but later i found out his strange words in the begining were just a ploy to make me think wow what a great good person this guy is. i later learned sex means a lot to him in fact i think he is addicted to having sex with anyone who will wether there is a connection or not he admitted to me once after we broke up that he thinks it is ok to have sex and just be friends with someone as long as they are both consenting adults and then of course he doesnt tell any of the other girls he is sleeping with about it. all word games and very confusing. i also think he forgets alot of things he has said to me in the past especially the very strange things. or maybe he just thinks they are normal things to say.

amr

After we broke up but were still in contact, and after he had been through several other promises / storylines which never materialised about paying me back the money he owed me, my sociopath simultaneously claimed to have cancer AND was begging me to guarantee a loan for him so that he could buy a new vehicle and pay me back with the proceeds

In almost alternate sentences he was arguing (a) that he was to be pitied as the cancer surgery would mean he would be unable to work for at least 3 months, and (b) that I “knew” he had fantastic work prospects and would easily be able to repay the loan, if only I would guarantee it.

When I pointed out the discrepancy, his only response was to call me a “smartarse”.

“he admitted to me once after we broke up that he thinks it is ok to have sex and just be friends with someone as long as they are both consenting adults”

This probable doesn’t count for much, coming from me but… isn’t that how the majority of men think, sociopath or not? Granted, sociopaths are more prone to sexual promiscuity but they surely don’t own it.

SecretMonster

jules

yeh the first part of that statement is true i guess most men are like that, but if you read the other half, then he doesnt tell all the other girls he is sleeping with at the same time. and the fact that he and most sociopaths will have sex with any willing person wether they have feelings for them or are attracted to them the way normal people are makes them different and more sick than most men i would say.

Benzthere

In one of his attempts to reconcile (my PI had provided me information on three women he’d been involved with while we’d been together), I provided him with proof positive of his womanizing and their names and his “backed into the corner” response was, “Though things we do sometimes anger others, they don’t change something as deep as love for another human being.”

jules

yeh right how pathetic, did he think saying that would make it ok that he did it anyway, how bizarre. i hope you did not accept his behaviour. anyway they cant love another human being that is the whole problem, and we need to realise this asap. they cant love the way we do they are not capable his brain is different to ours. and that is a fact ask the doctors on this site . thanks for your coment though it rings true with things that happened to me too.

Beverly

Hi Jules. Yes my ex had 13 mobile phones, probably one for each woman! I agree my ex hid behind his mobile. The perfect screening device. At one point I refused to converse by text – I have learned alot since then.

James

Communication with a psychopath is no easy task. Just trying to work out the lies and half/truths is hard enough. But about the cell phone. My ex psychopath needed a cell phone, like a addict needing a fix. They can’t go without one! I for one never like cell phones and now have another reason not too.

stunned

The Psychopath I had the misfortune of being married to/living with for 15 years had been diagnosed as a child with a condition that I had never heard of before, which seems to correlate with this article. Several years ago, I began to dig around a bit for info once I recognized the possible correlation.

The condition he was diagnosed with at the age of 5:
Dysphonic Aphasia

-Dysphonia: Speech disorder attributable to a disorder of phonation, a disorder of oral speech

Aphasia: Partial or total loss of the ability to articulate ideas or comprehend spoken or written language

His condition is EXTREMELY apparent-it was not “outgrown” once he became adult. When I met him for the very first time, I was struck by how difficult it was for me to understand his speech-I continually had to ask him to repeat what he had just said. After having been around him for a length of time, my ear/brain had adjusted to the point where I was able to automatically interpret his speech but it took that period of adjusting/familiarizing.

And I was always reminded that the condition existed when we were in a social situation when he was speaking to a stranger-they had the same initial reaction I had, constantly having to ask him to repeat himself.

When he writes, it is as described in this article. Odd sentence structure, bizarre use of wording, twisted non-logic and/or circular logic, non-sequiters, complete word salad.

-Stunned

findingmyselfagain

When I first started seeing mine – after we’d been dating awhile he kept putting me off to have sex. He would always stop when we started getting in that direction and say he didnt want to do that yet because I was too special. I was different than he’d been with before and he wanted to wait and treat it with great respect and good timing. So for a long while we didnt have sex, because he was putting me on a pedestal and wanting to keep special every stage. WELL meanwhile, I know the truth now… that he was still sleepinig with his ex girlfriend for a good year of our beginnings… while telling me that I was all this and all that… we were the ONE for each other. What a head game that was and what a blow to find out how special I really “wasnt!”.

The cell phone – yes – everyone has them now but one comment he made in the beginning was referring to someone else but that that was the beauty of cell phones, you could be anywhere and say you were somewhere else.

He also said many words not quite right. A letter or two off. Like instead of something being worthwhile- he says worthwild. Lots of those type things. What is that to do with Sociopaths? I dont understand the tie.

gillian

My psychopath husband has used every trick listed and then some.

The one I became aware of first, actually started noticing this years ago, is he would say something, and then, if I challenged him on it, he’d either say he did not say that or did not mean that. Very crazy-making, until I finally realized–and this took years since he was such a convincing liar–that I didn’t mis-hear him at all (funny how I never had that problem with anyone else), and that yes he did say that and yes he did mean that.

Now that I’m on to him (like SecretMonster, he never thought he’d get caught; and were it not for him making one tactical error he would have made it to his grave unexposed)–I see all kinds of verbal gyrations. Just recently I’ve caught him contradicting himself like the man in Robert Hare’s example. The stream of contradictions is astonishing.

It’s as if he believes that reality is the last thing he said. Doesn’t matter what he said moments before. *This* is reality now. If you’ve got a problem with that then he feels “hopeless that he’ll ever be trusted,” or frustrated because you’re trying to get him “bogged down with minutia.”

He knows how to put a person on the defensive and if that doesn’t work he always has his temper to fall back on. That’ll shut a person up real quick.

And he definitely knows how to do the ad hominem attack. Kind of a perverse appeal to virtue. Several weeks ago, when I realized he is again seeing the woman he’s had his most recent long term affair with, he told me: ” You like to think of yourself as a fair-minded person. Well, if you’re so fair-minded you at least ought to consider that I might be innocent!”

(Of course he’s guilty as hell.)

A couple weeks ago, I found a report written up by the mechanic who put new tires on my car back in October. According to the report my front rotors and brake pads were completely shot. My socio husband had to have known this–he is a car person and talked at length to the mechanic–and when I accused him of deliberately withholding this info from me (as a convenient way of dealing with some of his problems, like paying spousal support and potentially being exposed to all for what he really is) he went through a series of classic psychopathic responses.

First he accused me of being paranoid and sick in the head. When I told him my thoughts were completely rational for someone who is married to a sociopath, he hung up. Five minutes later he called me four times in a row–way overboard for him. I didn’t answer but he left me two messages in which he changed his tone, pleading almost, saying “Come on, you know I’d never hurt you or our daughter. I just want the best for you and to take care of you, blah blah blah.”

Later in the day he went for the pity play. Said he’s working his ass off, wanting to drink again, he’s not eating right, he’s not sleeping right. Poor thing.

Then when I told him I called Pepboys and that they had told me that they ALWAYS tell the customer when they find repairs that need to be done–especially if it has anything to do with the brakes–he tried to discredit them.

They’re idiots, they’re incompetent, he’s fed up with them and they messed up another of his cars.

His responses only confirmed my suspicions.

jules

finding my self again, yes we too did not have sex in the begining for a long time mainly cause i wasnt sure i wanted to be with him that way. and he too kept saying how special i was and that made him want me more, that i wanted to wait. he would say ive never met any one like u i dont meet people like you. then one night when we were in bed he started to cry really ball and when i asked whats wrong he said no one had ever treated him this way as nice as i did. he was embarassed at crying and i felt awful, i felt this was a genuine moment from him like he had never been loved i think that is what he meant he was very sad at that moment. maybe now it was just an act who knows but it did not seem it at the time. later on when we broke up he cried again and told me he lies all the time, i was confronting about most of the lies at that moment, when i said why do you lie he just said because im scared, of what i said he said of people finding out the truth. whatever that meant, he seemed very upsest at this moment too. but i think he was just upset cause i knew what he was really like and he was losing me. maybe in begining when i made him wait for sex he too was sleeping with sonmeone else. on another topic the cell phones i heard a story of a sociopath who stole his girlfriends phone and was using it to call other woman and do other evil things as they do . this lady could not find her phone for weeks then later when he was exposed, she found the phone hidden under her bed with the unpaid bills he had racked up and said he would pay but didnt. as well as all this the guy ruined her bussiness as she let him do the banking, big mistake . ouch it hurts even just to write it. my sociopath was too addicted to his cell phone and just before we broke up he mysteriously got a new phone so go figure. im sure he lied throughout our relationship about so many texts coming in while i was there with him and calls always saying its my mate or whatever. at that time i had blind trust. one night in bed his phone went off and we read the message, it was from his ex fiance telling him she was pregnant and that they should get 2 gether and have a coffee, and blatantly he told me it was a wrong number and he did not know this person. that he wasnt in touch with his ex anymore i was furious and confused by this as you can imangine. i later found out from phone bills he was lying and he called her first thing next morning on the way to work this for me was one of the first wake up calls red flags we hadnt been together that long at that stage. he begged me not to leave i forg ave him and we stayed to gethr i made a message to her saying he doesnt want anything to do with her anymore no contact, he was with me when i sent it. by the way it was not his baby. also one tiem we were trying to find a number of his aunt in his phone scrolling through the contacts i saw all these girls names not many guys it was early in our relationship and i thought thats weird that a guy has so many female friends in his phone book. also he was very guarded about his phone when we were at home he either locked it or turned it off i later found out he was doing most calling while at work. just amazing what they do to us isnt it.

tryingtorecover

gillian,

He sounds just like my almost ex husband. He’d always say I misunderstood him or he didn’t say that or he didn’t mean it or “I don’t know why I said it. I didn’t mean anything by it. I just said it.”

When I was figuring out what he was, I caught him in a lie. I didn’t tell him I knew. I waited until it came up again and he told me a different version of the story. I said that wasn’t what he said happened originally. He then asked me what he had told me. I told him and he then combined the two stories into one saying I had it wrong. (The two versions were about what happened at a restaurant while he was telling his “friend” he couldn’t see her outside of work.) The thing is he never went to a restaurant. He didn’t know it, but I had gotten his “friend’s” address. I drove by her house and our car was in the driveway.

Memories came flooding back to me when he asked me what he had said the first time and then combined the two stories. All the times I had said to him (over 18 years) “I thought you said” and he would combine the lies or say ” No, I said blah blah blah.”

Whenever I would call him on anything, which unfortunately wasn’t often, he’d say “You know I’m not like that. You know I’m not calculating.” I’d always end up feeling like there was something wrong with me because I KNEW he wasn’t like that and how could I think such a thing. Even though this particular time I’m thinking of he had admitted to lying, BUT it was because he was desperate and was just trying to take care of me and our son. He sold leased equipment and didn’t tell me until he had no choice because he couldn’t make the payments. I then made sure the payments were made by getting money from my mom. I wish so much I would have let him go to jail.

I also cannot tell you how many times I heard- they’re idiots, they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re lying, and nobody cares about anybody anymore.

The pity play- so many of them. One was (Keep in mind he left my son and me with nothing except what was in our rental house and even took the car when he moved in with his girlfriend. He had bought a Harley by this time too. I also had to file for relief to get child support.) I’M so sorry. I can’t sleep. I think about it 24 hrs. a day. I just want to be able to talk to you and talk about our son, etc. Can’t we work things out ourselves because if we have to go back to mediation my lawyer is going to make you come back down here. If you take too much money from me it’s not gong to be good for any of us because I’m not going to be able to live. If I can’t afford a place to live (he lives in his gf’s house) then I’ll lose my job and won’t be able to give you anything.

I guess a better example would have been when he told me he knew he destroyed my life and our son’s, BUT he destroyed his life and lost his family too. He hoped every time he pulled someone over and went to the window, they had a gun and would shoot him. And every time he goes to a door he hopes they have a knife and kill him. When the pity play wouldn’t work he would become angry and intimidate me.

A couple weeks after him wanting to die, he showed up for visitation in a Volvo and was staying in a chalet with his girlfriend.

EnnLondon

Oh God yeah just that term ‘lots of female friends’ makes me cringe, as he made me feel bad/provincial objecting to them. Lots of them were married and had children. Lots of them were unattractive. He gets to choose from so many women but he’ll spend loads of time with unattractive ones. It looked like a ‘quality’ at first!

Gillan: What was the ‘tactical error’ that made you realise he’d been lying? I’m interested to know what everyone’s ‘moment of truth’ was.

gillian

tryingtorecover,

I wonder if yours and mine are identical twins separated at birth.

Yeah, when I started to figure everything out, my husband kept saying he wanted to blow his brains out or drive off a cliff. He knew that was a dandy way to manipulate me because I would always go into a panic and wonder: What if he actually did that? I knew I would blame myself and never be able to live with myself if he did.

I’m beyond that now, thank God. A few months ago my son (31) came home for a visit and listened to a voicemail my psycho husband had just left, in which he threated to kill himself. I asked what should I do? Should I call him? Check on him? What?

My son, and one of my daughters, the one who still lives at home both advised me to ignore him. “He’s only manipulating you,” they said.

I finally broke down and called him an hour later. He asked if I had tried to call him before, I said no, he said because he would have missed my call. He said he had left the house where he was staying to go kill himself but decided to stop at a gas station and buy some cigarettes first.

While there, he ran into a downtrodden character who he was able to help. Like an angel from heaven! So he decided he had reason to live.

gillian

EnnLondon,

I just read your question about the tactical error. It will take me a while to write a response and I don’t have the time now, but will do so later.

EnnLondon,
My moment of truth was when I read a love letter from him (that wasn’t to me), explaining how much he hated me and loved her, that she was the only one for him….”She” was my 15yo daughter.

It took a few months of re-running the “film” of my life through my head to realize that he lied about EVERYTHING and speaks in opposites. Quite literally. Like, “I love you:” really meant “You mean nothing to me but I love your paycheck because I don’t have to work and yet I have enough money to date”; “I’m working alot” meant: “I’m stealing everything that isn’t nailed down until my employer figures it out and fires me”; “I’ve gotten tired of my boss’s crap, he’s an idiot”: means “I got caught stealing and got fired, again”; “I would never cheat on you:” means I cheat on you so much I really don’t see how I have time to bother to talk to you except that I love your paycheck…..” EVERYTHING he says is a lie, except his name… although I’ve heard he’s using an alias from time to time lately. So now, even that isn’t true.

My mom likes to refer to it as “off-balance.” He kept me so off-balance that I was too busy trying to right myself and clean up his messes that I couldn’t see what was going on. It was months before I could make any kind of decisions- I hadn’t heard my own voice in my head for so long, I had trouble understanding me!

And gillian, I like that “funny how I never had that problem with anyone else.” It’s so true, but we’re so busy swimming in lies, a concept that simple just doesn’t surface. Hindsight’s a beach, isn’t it? 🙂

Fran

Before I left my husband, I was in counseling, and my counselor had me keep notes of events…because I would always forget details of what happened. I was looking through them for examples of “bewildering” ways of talking. I found this one example. My five year old son put on his daddy’s work clothes and was “acting” like daddy. As he was acting, he started verbally insulting me, immitating what how he heard his dad talk to me….”Hey, studid idiot…do this” “Your fat, lazy ass wouldn’t know how to do that”. I pointed this out to my ex….that it was sad that his five year old son would portray his father like that. My ex then started acting like a mean, evil witch the way a five year old might do it. I ignored him, and he said, “Oh it’s not so funny when he immitates you, is it?” I said, “He’s not immitating me, you are, and once again you are putting me down.”

jules

ennlondon. yes lots of female friends and i use the word friends loosely here. he liked single mothers apparently easy to rescue them i guess, and the one girl he had a relationship with after he left me was well not that attractive to be polite and a large girl too in fact very unfemanine looking, almost the complete opposite to me in fact which is a bit strange now i think of it, cause he isa very vain and into apearences and attractive people and the funny thing was she was bright and studying phsycology of all things he and her were opposites, he liked to go out and she liked to stay home so he used to just go out without her at night. a friend who went to school with her told me she was a bit crazy at school however and told everyone her father was molesting her. i also think he has a friend who is large and has trouble attracting men she is also a very loud person im sure he sleeps with her casualy, im sure she has feelings for him but he he just uses her for sex. i msure he lied to me about her too while we were together and after. i asked him once a fter we split if he sleeps with her and he flew into a rage and would not talk to me for sometime after. now to me when you meet a guy with lots of female friends something is not right. he also used to say the most hurtful things then turn around after when i asked him about it and say i dont know why i said that or i didnt mean it. and he even said to me once i dont do one night stands, this made me laugh no he doesnt he keeps them going for longer than one night. also i n regards to the speech thing mine had other funny problems dont know if related to the sociopathic side of things but, he always slept very well even when all the bad stuff between us was happening and i struggled to sleep due to the stress he was putting on me, but he had this thing where his legs would jolt about in bed while he slept, he didnt wake but it kept me awake i think its called restless leg syndrome, i made him go to the doctors and get something for it cause it annoyed me so much. also he would fidget with his legs while relaxing with me on the lounge almost like he couldnt sit still sometimes. and this one i found strange but didnt notice it till we moved in together but when eating he made funny little grunting noises almost like a baby does while feeding i found that very unusual, it was subtle but after a while you really noticed it i ve never seen that in anyone before. now he sounds like a total freak but this is true and when i started to notice these things and his other bad behaviour towards me i was really thinking it was something deeply wrong in his brain causing these strange little things he did. also for a grown man he would get so engrossed in t.v even really boring stuff like cartoons and bad sitcoms he really enjoyed them and everyone else is like why are u watching that crap but he was engrossed like a child is when watching kids stuff. now i think all these things were red falgs but it took a while for me to put it all together.even with the eating noises i would be embarassed if it was me but he was like oblivious to it like it wasnt even happening but if i could hear it he must of too. maybe its like some developmental thing when they are growing up, who knows any doctors on here know anything about these,i would love to know as it is so strange. also i remember one day when we were i thought in love we were talking about baby names for girls as a relative of mine had just had a baby, and he came up with some funny ones, one name he said i think that name is sexy, and i thought we are talking a bout a new born who relates that to sexy how weird to say that. i later found out the names all of them he suggested as nice names were females he knew and probably slept with or was sleeping with. when i found out i was pretty upset but i never said anything as it was a long while after when i found this out and i think he forgott that conversation he seemed to forgett a lot of conversations even important ones. once he said to me when he called me after he broke up with a girl that they had been apart for three weeks, then later in another conversation he told me they spent christmas together, whch would mean he rang me a bout 3 days after they broke up. this was after telling me he did not want to see me again even as friends mind you. then when i questioned him on it he said oh did i well our relationship was very rocky on and off all the time i must of lost track of time, yeh right. so much seems to happen with them in a short space of time, like more than normal relationships somethings are even hard to remember cause there is so much. you start telling one thing and others come to mind in fact i could write a whole book about all the stuff that happened.

Beverly

Hi Jules, They have immature sides, Yes my ‘ex’ used to watch cartoons like a kid. One day he showed me some porno cartoons on his phone and I was really shocked because they were like the kind of teenage toilet humour, really crass and childish but even more shocking that he actually found them really funny.

Another weird thing he did. Somewhere we went, there was an unattractive woman who would openly make eyes at him. He sat down next to her, broke wind (without me knowing) and then asked me to change places with him, so that she gave me the most dirty looks thinking I had broken wind – he though this was highly funny. I looked at him and thought – what IS he doing.

jules

yes very child like, like they didnt grow up over the age of 13 or under even. i know some pretty mature 13 year olds. another thing he liked was horror movies the really uncomfortable ones that no girls really want to watch he liked them! he also blatantly stared at other girls if he thought they were good looking even when we were togethr i think he thought i did not notice this but did all the time but it was like he just did it without noticing he did it himself, like a normal thing to do when your partner is there, i know most guys have the occasional look but when you there with them most dont. and i am fairly attractive in fact men look at me a bit too. and if he saw someone staring he would get totally mad a bout it on our first date this guy at another table kept staring at me and he was going to go over there and punch the guy i mean for real not just saying it. even when we broke up, he left me by the way we were having a coffee and this young guy was looking at me and he went right off he better not do that again i will kill him he said. i am like well why did you leave me then. confusing like, a posession thing. but a lot of things he was child like. once he came to visit me he had love bites all over his arms and a few scratches from some girl i supose he even wore a singlet to make sure i seen them , when i asked who put them there he said they were bruises from his mates wrestling him. i mean its like teenager stuff who does that. when i met his mum for the first time they had a weird relationship, she would not call him for ages then when she saw him she was all over him like a rash. well we went to dinner with her id never met her before and she was very odd she totally ignored me most the night and sat there talking to her son my s path. anyway i was getting a bit annoyed she made no effort to make me feel part of the family like most parents would. anyway he was like a little kid talking away to his mum an didnt even try and include me in any conversation it was a terible night for me. i thought this was immature any other guy would include you in some way to make you comfortable any of my previous boyfriends would have. when i asked him about it he blamed me of course it was all my fault. but the t.v thing he would get so involved with silly shows it was like you werent even in the room at all. at work yeh i worked at the same place, he would hang around all the girls like a little school boy chatting and flirting and i am like we are at work cant you just do your work and be professional. the work thing caused a lot of fights the woman at work would tell me stuff about him flirting with them and he would deny it and lie about it i found stuff out later on.

jules

I JUST REMEMBERED THIS ONE IF I EVER QUESTONED HIM AOBUT A LIE HE TOLD ME EVEN WHEN I KNEW THE TRUTH, HE WOULD FLY INTO ONE OF HIS RAGES I MEAN REAL ANGER AND SAY, IF I TELL YOU SOMETHING YOU SHOULD BELEVE ME. THEN HED BE MAD AT ME FOR A LONG TIME FOR EVEN ASKING HIM WHATEVER I DID. OR IF HE GOT ANGRY AND I SAID WHY ARE YOU SO AGRESSIVE WITH ME, HED SAY I M JUST TIRED. THATS A GOOD ONE OWNDER IF I SAID THAT TO HIM ONE DAY IF I SAY SOMETHING YOU SHOULD JUST BELIEVE ME, ID LIKE TO SEE HIS REACTION AND HIS FACE IF I SAID THAT. TURN THE TABLES AND USE HIS EXACT WORDS.

jules

I JUST REMEMBERED THIS ONE IF I EVER QUESTONED HIM ABOUT A LIE HE TOLD ME EVEN WHEN I KNEW THE TRUTH, HE WOULD FLY INTO ONE OF HIS RAGES I MEAN REAL ANGER AND SAY, IF I TELL YOU SOMETHING YOU SHOULD BELIEVE ME. THEN HED BE MAD AT ME FOR A LONG TIME FOR EVEN ASKING HIM WHATEVER I DID. OR IF HE GOT ANGRY AND I SAID WHY ARE YOU SO AGRESSIVE WITH ME, HED SAY I M JUST TIRED. THATS A GOOD ONE WONDER IF I SAID THAT TO HIM ONE DAY, IF I SAY SOMETHING YOU SHOULD JUST BELIEVE ME ID LIKE TO SEE HIS REACTION AND HIS FACE IF I SAID THAT. TURN THE TABLES AND USE HIS EXACT WORDS.

findingmyselfagain

The tv thing happened for mine too. It wasnt silly kid shows but he would watch tons of Jerry Springer! And tape them all and catch up on it. I dont know if Jerry Springer is on everywhere for you all to know what it is but its a one hour show about real people being interviewed about some horrible cheating or lying or freaky stuff going on in their life. The people are usually very crazy, completely inappropriate, women trying to claw and fight other women, men doing all kinds of horrible things in the treatment of women — its over the top with pyscho. He watches ALL of them.

On the other side of the coin, he also watches this channel that has boring lifelike movies about regular people either in love, or with an illness or a problem child or a good or bad relationship etc… very dull – he says he watches just to see how people are in life. Now I know he LEARNS from it – learns how to fake his way through conversations with people, relationships, etc… and appear NORMAL. Its his training manual for how to look like he is a normal feeling person. Must be where all his lines come from to women or to me.

In the first year of our relationship he would always try to convince me to include another woman in sex. Or want to choke me a little or do the tie-up thing, or listen to me on the phone with a sex-line, etc. I always said no, I have no interest in that –until I guess he got it that I would not do things that didnt feel comfortable to me. So now that I know more, I figure he had these other women to provide entertainment where I would not. I was his stable comfortable person that he spent every single weekend with me at my house…the weeknights were for getting all his other excitement. And to think I was buying into to all his claims of how he finally found in me what he really wanted. “Its never been so good for him.” Of course-he got his way from everyone.

Oh and he never would use protection. Dumb on my part big-time. I asked him once why and didnt he worry he’d catch something from someone in life. He got mad, silent and said no. Looked away like we will not be discussing this again. Thank God – I believe I am still healthy after two risky years with him. Im interested how others have experienced this with them.

Beverly

HI Findingmyselfagain. Yea, just like you have described, my ex didnt use protection either and it shocked me that he just wasnt bothered.

He was into S & M and its just not my thing – and I used to say to him, if I dont do it for you, will you get it somewhere else? I cant remember his reply – I could never remember what he said as his replies were always so vague. He was suggesting stuff to me that I wasnt sure about. I knew why he came round my apartment, after he got the politeness over with, he would suggest using computer to watch porn for a few hours – he must have thought I was daft! He used to ‘regulate sex’. When I first met him I was determined not to sleep with him quickly and I didnt, but oddly he never came onto me which I thought was strange. Then he was off sex for three months and I thought he didnt fancy me and teased me quite alot and he held back, in the way that there was never an emotional exchange it was very mechanical and basically it was totally unsatisfying and very mechanical – he refused to give me foreplay at all – because he didnt really want to invest in the relationship.

I did spot all the red flags, the inconsistencies between what he was saying and his action, but at the time he either dismissed it, came up with a reasonable explanation. I didnt take his explanations for gospel and I checked it out on the internet or with friends. At the time I just didnt understand what it was about – I do understand now though!

What amazes me is how he seems to have no shortage of women – but none of them have stayed with him up till now – so what he is doing is fast tracking round different women to try and pick the right one to fit him. That is why when he started acting up and I raised concern he punished me for mentioning anything. I couldnt understand it at the time – I believe in free speech in a relationship – he would basically dump me for a week or so to make me suffer. He said to me once, ‘if you keep your mouth shut – we will be fine’!

I was on his case, a part of me thought, if I just hang back and let him do what he wants he will show his true colours – which he did, so in that way, I am glad I saw it sooner rather than later, when things may be more permanent.

change06

Unbelievable!! My Socio would say the exact same thing..Keep my mouth shut and we would be fine! As far as sex….in the begining it was odd that he always wanted to cuddle…then he would regulate sex. I would think he is a young guy that should want sex all the time…especially from a more than willing participant. Now I know he was probably getting it elsewhere. He also would skip the condums (well I did too). He made a comment to me when I had a concern, that he uses them on others just not always with me. I thought it was a joke at the time and now realize that was truth- Suprising! He made various comments that I thought were jokes but he was actually telling me straight out truths. Anyway after a solid two month break away (I should have stayed away!!) The sex was better, sexier than ever!!! I was loving it. He had said to me “Ya know, sex is not the problem with us, we need to communicate better, You have to try harder.” All i was doing was trying in the relationship…the same ways we all do. Amazing
Vindictive…Well, as of my last episode with him..Gave him money, he would blow off any plans we had and avoid me to repay (I suppose). Anyway, when I finally put my foot down He got angry, hung up the phone and he has not called or taken any of my calls…angry, silly or nice. Knowing that it is driving me crazy (I bet). Silence can be deadly!!!
I wonder something though, Findyour/Bev or anyone..He has had no contact with me, I am doing my best at this point as well. Im thinking if he had his brother call me (asking if he was here), a guy friend of his/mine call and see what I am doing the next two weekends and I saw him drive by my development (no reason for him to be around). I wonder If he is lurking, waiting until HE is ready to try and slither his way back? He twists everything- so in his mind, I made him angry so he justifies fuckin me over. Here I go again, trying to figure out what he is doing/thinking! Oh gosh!!

Beverly

Change06. Yea money seems to hit a sensitive spot with them. My ex had all sorts of money ‘issues’ going on and despite working, he ran out of money exceedingly quickly. His outgoings were extremely small, as others on this site, he had very few possessions, no car, no driving license, no passport and a rented room which was kind of squalid.

I have spent thousands of hours thinking about him, trying to work out what happened, researching him etc. Presumably that is part of the game, that we become totally absorbed in that person, even when they have gone. It feels like they still have control over our minds. But we can crowd them out. I have started to become busy in sorting out my own life, so that thoughts of him are ‘relegated to the back shelf’. Just trying to work out what they may be doing or thinking means that you are still attached and that is just a huge waste of mental energy which could be better spent. But I have done all that myself and it is starting to wear thin on my now. They are not our ruler, they are not omnipotent, and when I sort through the facts from the fantasy I seem them in a different light which makes detaching from them all the more easy.

If I could sum up my time with this man – it would be that he wanted to control every aspect of the relationship and me in it. Deep down there must be a lurking fear that prevents them from giving control to another?

He had to be dominant at all times and if I crossed him, he would punish me by distancing and ambivalence (no anger (control), no physical punishment) he would withdraw and go and s..g someone else – behind my back – not only to get one over me, but to teach me a lesson (in his mind).

Their behaviour, their twisted words, their lies, their vampirish behaviour, their cruelty, must be the extreme form of hanging onto control?

The one thing they never do – is to be upfront about who they are and what they are up to!

Shocking to ‘think’ you know and love someone, you care for them and it is all a pretense to them – they are fraudulent and pranksters at the worst level.

findingmyselfagain

change06:
I have reached the point of done about 4 major times in our 2 years. Varying degrees of me being fed up with lies found out or “other women” issues. Each time we go thru the same cycle – he ignores me for awhile, then slowly starts with a bit of reaching out to me and then it gets more and more. I think the initial ignoring is “punishment” for having taken control and putting your foot down. He ignores you until you breakdown and give the control back. This would be by you contacting him. Then he has won.
For me, this time I am working VERY hard to not give him the control back. The hard part is we are 2 sided relationship. One is full of lies and cheating and manipulating. The other we are very good friends, lovers and very comfortable partners. He likes it when I dont put attention on the lying side of things – then we go along beautifully and a relationship anyone would yearn for. We used to laugh that we’d get comments ALL THE TIME when out and about, about how happy we looked and what a great couple we made! If they (and I) only knew!! ha!
So therefore its hard for me to abstain from calling at times because I miss the friendship in a sick sort of way. This time I have the help of this site, 10 times more help to me than going to counseling was. I am on a mission to never dial that phone again. Count yourself lucky while he ignores you ~ try to build up your strength to stay out of that relationship if it is what you know in your gut that it is.

Fran

I think this story also shows how psychopaths can use language to confuse and point the finger at someone else. My ex use to impulsively bite and pinch us in an annoying and sometimes hurtful way. One day my son, who was five at the time, was sitting next to him on the couch. He had his knees pulled up to him. His knee has a scab from a recent cut. My ex impulsively bent down and bit his cut…causing it to bleed. My son started to cry and asked his dad why he had hurt him, my ex replied, “I bit you because you don’t love me. If you loved me you wouldn’t cry, and you are crying and so I know you don’t love me.” Isn’t that crazy reasoning. He bit him before he cried, but because he cried, he said he knew his son did not love him and so bit him. So crazy.

Beverly

To Findingmyselfagain. What you describe is partly what kept me hooked into the relationship. When things were going good, we were like good friends, very comfortable with each other. But I have thought about this and I realise that even when things were good, I was still not totally comfortable in myself, I was suspicious of him, I was anxious, waiting for the next bit of drama. I had a narcissistic father, I knew how to be around him and how not to rock the boat -in a sense I could not be my true self. But because we have put so much into the relationship, we HOPE that those good times remain. The downside is that we put up with the other side of it, as you say. But bearing in mind that the relationship is not based from a genuine standpoint to start with, it will always be badly out of balance and we as the caring side of the partnership will always suffer the most. In the long run, the cumulative effects of being eroded and being in a roller coaster relationship will take their toll. Even if the good times are very good and the bad times very bad – it is a dysfunctional relationship.

The test of a genuine relationship, is also what happens during the not so good times and how the other person copes with conflict etc and what respect is maintained by the other person. Liars and cheats will always rot the foundation of a potentially good relationship. Honesty and trust are part of the ‘good glue’ that keeps relationships together. Lies, deception, betrayal, false promises (which I had in abundance) are corrosive and harmful. The balance of control, respect, transparence (honesty) and trust in a relationship, I think are really important.

jules

finding my self a gain. yes mine liked the jerry springer show too and others like that . he also liked any shows that had a lot of sex or men sleeping around with lots of woman in them he loved the show nip tuck, dont know if you have it there im in australia. also a show called californication where the main character sleeps with heeps of woman and there is a lot of sex shown. in fact i think he lives his life thinkin he is one of those guys in these shows. with the condoms thing when we were together he never used one not often i think maybe once or twice i was on the contrceptive pill any way so only if i went off it did he use something. he said in the start of our relationship that i was the only woman he had met he had ever thought about wanting a child with. then once when we had just broken up i had a pregnancy scare and he was devestated scared out of his wits that i would have a baby and trap him that way, but i played him, and said i dont expect you to do anything cause i can do it all my self i am strong. and he was really worried the main thing he worried about was the money side of it and that he would have lost his freedom. then later when we were not together he would come over as a friend and try nd have sex with me but he would make out it was me wanting it not him that he was justgoing along with what i wanted. he started using comdoms then which was a big give away he was sleeping around.a nyway this is personal but, he would not put the condom on straight away and would enter me first before putting it on which sort of defeats the whole purpose of not catching anything i thought. then he would put it on . i said to him if you have been with someone else you better put it on first straight away . thinking about it all after i was like is he that stupid, or just not worried about catching anything. then it came to me he did not care if he or i caught anything he just didnt want to get pregnant. anyway the sex thing stopped cause i am not into having sex with someone who says we are just friends, and now i know what he is like. also while we were still sleeping together but not in arelationship he never asked if i had been with anyone else. like he didnt care or just didnt even think i was capable of being with someone other than him. at that stage i was just talking about the sex was not good very emotionless no affection. then i think it was always like that he was just acting the rest of the time when i thought it was really good anyway. . i also think he damages things of mine when he visits also when i have my back turned like once he came over and i had these new expensive sunglasses a male friend had bought me. then a week later i noticed they had a big scratch on them i think he did it. also i got new phone and i visited him just after that i noticed the back of the phone was all bent out of shape and doesnt fit right now im sure he jumpd on my phone or something when i went to the bathroom or something. i never asked him cause i cant prove anything .

change06

Yes, Yes, Yes, EVERYTHING that is mentioned about a good foundation rings loudly true! Of course I had none of it. Hooked in by complete lies that I believed and truths that I thought were lies. As far as friends…he didnt know how to be a good friend. At one point he lived with his mother (across the street from me) and he couldnt even be a good neighbor! So glad I moved. It was so easy for him then…When he pulled one of his shananagans I was right there for him to walk over and sweet talk me back or his sick family jumped in to help. Living across the street made me more insane. I became a captive in my own home and a spy, always peering out the window. My socio favorite tv show was OZ (men in prison) always intensively watching. Getting more tips cause he was possibly going back to jail, and I can only imagine what his other reasons were. Loved his porn too!

findingmyselfagain

The tv thing seems to be a very common thread… shows to teach them how to act or shows to act out what they enjoy doing most. My S also loved Sopranos..he would watch episodes over and over again. Had his tv set to record every one and it never mattered how many times he saw it. I am not much for tv, but a good movie yes. So I rented all six seasons over a period of time and watched them. Granted, it was very good but now I see why. Tony Soprano had a loving, faithful, wife at home – she kinda knew of his cheating but still stayed true. Took care of his every need. Then he had his cycles of sex and relationships on the side. Paid for things for them but there was no expectations other than sex. I see now that it is exactly to a T, what he wanted with me. I was to be the loving stable one to cook and share daily regular life with, he paid for everything just like Tony did for his wife.. I had a “perfect” little setup and he got to have the normalcy and contended home life. Then on the side Tony would go thru all kinds of slutty women. Exactly the life my guy lives. He idolizes Tony Soprano is what the obsession was.
Everything about them is toxic isnt it. Not a piece of normal reality in them. I cant wait till the day I feel nothing for him. How do they get into your soul so deep when you know what a toxin they are???

change06

findmyself- Mine loved the Sopranos as well. He believed it all! I am feeling like you….Cant wait till the day I feel nothing for him. I repeat thoughts of seeing him, when I am feeling, looking and doing good. Seeing him and feeling nothing or just repulsed! Today is a down day for me, I am struggling to be strong and yet again trying to figure things out. I go up and then go down with my emotions of it all. It saddens me that it has to be this way. That HE has to be this way and he really cant help it. I feel sorry for him, I am angry with him, I am so very upset and hurt about it all. It is toxic in so many ways. I remember once him telling me that the relationship is a roller coaster….but just like a roller coaster you may be scared and get a bit quezy but you get back on and ride again. It is true, and I did..again and again. Right before our last break he also told me in one of his nasty moods that he predicts that I will go through this another year. A week later he got mad at me and hasnt been in touch since. I dont know if he is done with me or it is part of the game. I do know that I NEED TO BE DONE with HIM! Being on this website has put me on another plane and with working on myself I am truly trying to be done even if he is not.

distraught

My former sociopath loves the Sopranos and all things mob related. He seemed to spend a large amount of time watching TV and movies like The Departed. He also liked internet porn. He would always say he had gotten 2-3 hours of sleep a night, but strangely never had a few moments to communicate with me. He would go for days without answering my e-mails, completely cutting off the communication between us. When I would finally see him, he would act as if everything was totally fine and normal. He considered himself a sociopath and told me so! I spent a lot of time trying to talk him out of it! How could he be a sociopath when he was obviously so introspective! How could I be so naive?

findingmyselfagain

I saw on mine’s computer sometimes -his history would be full of mysexmatch.com and craigslist categories like relationships with “no strings attached” ads…. and tons of porn sites. In the beginning before I started getting so turned off by his cheating and his actions.. we had tons of sex and I couldnt figure out why he needed all these sites. Also the cheating.. as much as we were active with it.. why need more.. how in the heck did he have the energy for more? He told me once he looked at porn sites cuz he’d been married for so long that now in the dating world again he needed to see what was acceptable and to get more up with the times on dating and sex. He didnt want anyone but me of course. LOL

change06

LOL…WOW, Dis- Mine as well loved the porn, never got any sleep, or too much…so he said. Sleeping was his excuse many a days and nights when he didnt answer a call, or make any and basically cut off communication. I told my socio..that I thought he was one. He just used it to excuse himself.
Findmyself-Caugt him on match.com with the interest of what he was looking for– ANY all the way down the list!-He didnt care who it was! When confronted he said his family told him to put himself on the site because he just moved back into town from FL. Mind you he was living there with an older wealthy woman for a year. I hate/love putting these puzzle pieces together.

gillian

EnnLondon,

Over the past nine months I have been on an amazing–and brutal–journey of discovery that would never have happened had it not been for my husband’s one and only tactical error.

But first, a little background. (Proof-reading now, I see I’ve actually written a lot. Sorry for the long post. Once I started, though…) Since the middle of 2003, DH (damn husband), an ER nurse, has been having an affair with a woman (also married) he met at work. He was planning on leaving me for this woman (who I’ll refer to as “K”) June of last year, after a visit from his parents who live out of state. (He wanted to keep the facade going for them.) By that time, K had already thrown her husband out, filed for divorce, in fact had obtained a totally trumped-up restraining order against her husband, keeping him away not just from her, but from their 14 year old daughter too. (Nice, huh?)

DH’s plan was to make up some bogus reason for leaving. Of course. For 18 years he had convinced me and everyone else that he adored me, that he was an utterly devoted husband and family man. No, he would never admit the truth; he’d leave under false pretenses (as he’d done to every woman he’d been with before, I’ve discovered). He’d provoke an argument and say he needed some time alone. Then he’d never come back.

That would have happened. And I would never have known the real reason for his leaving had it not been for several wild flukes (which I now see as miracles) and his one tactical error.

First fluke–and it was a biggy–one afternoon in December 2005, two people DH worked with dropped in on us for a visit. They had not been invited; they just happened to be in our area. In the almost three years DH had worked at that particular hospital, this was only the second time anyone from his work had even been to our house.

While these people were over, they asked DH why we weren’t going to the ER Christmas party that night.

“Christmas party?” I said to DH. “You never told me there was a Christmas party tonight.”

DH said, oh, he hadn’t told me because he didn’t want to go as there might be a**holes at the party. “So you don’t sit with them,” I said. Then he said he didn’t want to go in case people got sloshed and made fools of themselves.

“What are you talking about?” I said. “That’s half the entertainment!” (Which was true; other parties we’d been to got boring when the company drunks left.)

I changed the subject because the conversation was turning into an argument and I didn’t want to make our guests uncomfortable. I was suspicious, though, because I knew DH was lying, so that night, after he was in bed, for only the second or third time in all the years we’d been together, I went through his wallet, which I never would have done had those people not come over that day.

And that’s when I discovered the one piece of evidence that ultimately led to every other discovery I made.

What I found was a white rectangular peel-off label (the kind hospitals use to print patient info on for charts, lab orders, etc.) on which DH had written the name of a hospital in the middle, an area and phone number on top, and a four-digit number on the bottom.

I don’t know why I took the label out of his wallet. I didn’t know who or what it was for. It wasn’t obviously suspicious. But for some reason, in spite of the fact that his wallet bulged with many other business cards and phone numbers, I sensed this one thing might be significant. So I removed it from his wallet, peeled it from its backing, stuck it on a sheet of notebook paper, hid it somewhere, and then immediately proceeded to forget what the label said and where I had put it.

I didn’t forget about the Christmas party though, and a couple months later I asked DH about it again. This time he came up with a new explanation. Said he didn’t want to take me to the party in case some other woman acted like they had something going on.

“Why would a woman do that?” I asked.

You never know what goes on in some women’s heads, he said, and, besides, he added, women throw themselves at him all the time. That last part was somewhat true–he is extremely good looking and, of course, very charming–so I accepted–uneasily and again for just a time–his new story.

A couple months later I broached the subject again. This time, under increasing pressure, he admitted that nine months prior to the Christmas party, one of his co-workers had gotten drunk at a social event and had told K’s husband that “everyone at work thinks [DH] is f#*@ing your wife.”

I was stunned. I said I knew sometimes rumors can be unfounded but often there is some truth to them. Rumors don’t usually start over nothing.

Oh, but in this case they did, DH said. The guy that started the rumor is an idiot, he’s a troublemaker, he’s just jealous because he couldn’t get any action if he wanted to.

But the rumor wasn’t just that this guy thought they he and K having sex; it was that *everyone* at work thought they were having sex. So I asked DH why would everyone think that? Did he like K? Did he flirt with her? What had he done to make people think they were having an affair?

DH said no, no, no, nothing; he never liked K at all. He couldn’t stand her. She’s obnoxious, she’s crass, she’s phony, a bitch. She’s not cute but thinks she’s all that.

And then he said that K didn’t even work at the hospital anymore. “She doesn’t?” I asked. “Where does she work?”

DH said he didn’t know.

“You don’t know?” I said. “You mean to tell me that someone started this rumor, someone told K’s husband about it, he confronted you at work, and she quit her job because of all this, and you don’t know where she works? I find that hard to believe.”

“I don’t know because I don’t care,” DH said, but when I kept pressing he admitted he thought she might work at a hospital near where she lives.

“Where does she live?”

“I don’t know. I think maybe in [name of town on the label I found in his wallet],” he said.

By that time I had forgotten what that label said, forgotten even where I had put it so, for the time being, I let it go.

But a few weeks later, while organizing some papers, I came across that number again. [Town where she lives] Hospital, it said. In capital letters. Husband’s handwriting. I called the number. Punched in the four digit number when asked for the extension. “Recovery Room!” someone answered. “Could I speak to K?” I asked. “Just a minute,” they said.

Amazingly, and I’m embarrassed to admit this, when I confronted my husband with this he was still actually able to convince me he was innocent. First he said that K’s best friend in the ER gave him K’s work number and he only took it to be polite. I asked why he didn’t throw it away. He said he should have, he meant to, it must have slipped his mind and without thinking he put the number in his wallet.

Then he called a co-worker from the ER and this woman vouched for him completely. She said that the guy who told K’s husband the rumor is, in fact, an idiot and that she knows my husband absolutely adores me. All he talks about is Jill, Jill, Jill. And talks nonstop about his children. She wouldn’t lie to me either, she said, because she’s been in that position and she knows how much it hurts. “You’re one of the lucky ones,” she said.

And I knew she meant it. She meant every word, although now I also realize that she was only being exploited. To DH, she was just another pawn in his giant chess game of life.

But at the time I took her word. I had no hard proof of DH’s guilt and, besides, it felt far less painful that way.

Last April, though, I finally came to my senses. I was cleaning out my purse when I came across that number again (I had stuck it inside a zipper pocket). And here’s another fluke. This was on the very day (I later found out thanks to the internet) that K filed for divorce from her husband.

Finding that number again started me thinking: I’ll bet the one friend I’d confided in didn’t believe me when I told her DH hadn’t cheated. I started looked at things more objectively, as if through someone else’s eyes. I started asking more questions; started digging; turned into a regular Columbo. Spent literally hundreds of hours investigating. I ended up uncovering tons of evidence–most of it circumstantial, naturally–of what can only be described as staggering duplicity–not just of this one affair but almost an entire marriage of his living a double life: two other long-term affairs, countless other conquests and flings, some even concurrent with K, times he called as many as four different women in one night. It’s unbelievable, really.

And I would never have known a thing had it not been for his one tactical error. Of putting that phone number in his wallet. I’m sure DH never dreamt I would ever find out who it was for.

He thought he was so clever. He thought I’d never know anything. Between him and K–she must be a P too–they had devised such elaborate schemes: secret signals, taking sick days off work and subsequently “misplacing” paycheck stubs that would have revealed the deception; using a go-between; she had a blocked phone number; him calling me frequently to check on my whereabouts (especially when she was at our house) and to make me think he was missing me. I believed it too. Everyone did. My phone would ring and I would scamper to the phone. “I love you baby!” he’d say. “Can’t wait for you to come home.”

EnnLondon

Gillian,

Thanks for explaining – I’m always interested to know how things ‘slotted into place’ for others. I can’t imagine how you must feel. How strange though that you focussed on that bit of paper. Don’t you almost feel sometimes that the subconscious takes over and guides us towards what’s important?

I hope you at least feel more peaceful now. It does sounds as if he and K might have been made for each other (hiss). How long did he do his ‘I’m going to jump off a cliff’ thing for? What did he expect to achieve with that?

findingmyselfagain

gillian – wow you have been through the ringer, poor girl. I also have to say that I hate how they turn us into detectives and make us end up poking around in things. I was so not that way until I met my S. Their secretive ways make you start looking and the more you keep finding, the more you cant stop looking for more! I think at some point you cant believe what you are actually seeing so not only are you out to prove that they are skunks, but you also need more and more proof to yourself that this is actually going on. I guess I choose to be naive half the time, as I just dont get how they can create such horrible tales of innocence and yet be living this double life, guilt free. Its pathetic.

gillian

findingmyselfagain,

Yes, you keep looking for more because what you discover is so unbelievable, plus they keep lying and denying and gaslighting, so then you’re trying to prove it’s not all in your head. I think that’s almost the worst of it. Well, one of the worsts of it. Several months ago I started having panic attacks about where I had put my keys. I would set them down somewhere then forget where had I put them. (My mind was so distracted at the time; I was hardly ever “in the moment”) I would think: where are my keys? and feel a sudden sense of panic that wouldn’t resolve until I found them. As soon as I’d find my keys I’d tell myself to keep track of them and pay attention to where I put them. It was very strange.

Then one evening I was talking to DH on the phone and he went into his: What if you’re wrong? routine. Almost immediately, that feeling of panic welled up inside of me because, well, what if I was wrong? That would mean there was something seriously wrong with my mind. I felt that terror in the pit of my stomach and I realized that he was making me question my own thought processes and it was this fear that underlied my panic over my keys.

Once I realized that I was able to relax about the keys. There was nothing wrong with my thinking and my keys weren’t going to disappear into thin air.

And yes, I was not a distrustful person before either. Of course my husband exploited that. And exploited my trustworthiness. If I said I was somewhere that was where I was. If I said I was doing something that was what I was doing. In his case, he spoke the truth only if it suited his purpose.

Back in June, just a couple weeks before he moved out, DH said something very interesting and surprisingly insightful. He said: “To a liar the truth sounds the same as a lie.”

gillian

Correction; what he said is: “To a liar the truth IS the same as a lie.”

gillian

EnnLondon,

Yes, it is strange that I focused on that bit of paper. I’ve always been a skeptical person, very logical and analytical. It’s almost as if–just weeks before DH was set to just up and leave–my subconscious or maybe even some supernatural force grabbed hold of me, saying Do this! Look at that! Pay attention! Listen to your intuition! So many times during this whole process, I have discovered things intuitively, which would then be confirmed by a strange reaction–usually brooding or stunned silence–on my husband’s part.

Last April, when I came across that phone number and started asking questions again, DH started talking about driving off a cliff or blowing his brains out. It was a way to control me, to get me to shut up. And it did for a time.

A week or two later I questioned DH again. I thought of it as his one last chance to admit to an affair that at the time I assumed was singular and past tense. And that I would forgive him for–after he fell into my arms remorseful and sobbing (yeah right).

And, again, he denied it. I said I could forgive an affair but I could not forgive lying and I knew he was lying so I was leaving. As soon as I left he threatened to kill himself again. He called my cell phone, I ignored it, I listened to his voicemail, he said he was going to drive off a cliff (we live in the mountains so cliffs aren’t hard to find), I told myself to ignore him, couldn’t, called him back and we met at a park where he lied to me some more until I finally gave up and went to my mom’s for a few days.

While at my mom’s, one afternoon I drove to the beach. I parked on a bluff overlooking the ocean. I pulled out that piece of paper. I stared at it and I could almost hear a voice whispering to look carefully at what was written. “There’s a clue here. Just look.”

So I sat in my car patiently, waiting. And all of a sudden I realized two things. One, the last explanation my husband had given (he’d changed the details several times) for how he came to have that number had to be false. He had said K’s best friend had scrolled it up for him on her cell phone. “Oh yes, I remember it now,” he said, even holding out an imaginary cell phone and pushing imaginary buttons to demonstrate.

But if K’s friend had scrolled the number up on her cell phone, the extension wouldn’t have been displayed, only the area code and phone number.

Two, I realized DH must have called that number because off at an angle, to the right of the words “[name of town] HOSP,” he had scribbled the words “Valley hospital.” Kind of like an afterthought, a clarification absentmindedly written while on the phone.

When I got back to my mom’s I called the number and sure enough they answered the phone: “[name of town] Valley Medical Center.” Then I noticed that those added words appeared to have been written in a slightly different color of blue ink. Using a magnifying glass, and under a bright light, I verified this. He had used a different pen! So he definitely had called the number.

When I confronted DH with my findings, he stopped denying he had called K. Instead, he started inventing various reasons for why. Which only led to more questions and me making more discoveries. Lots more discoveries.

The last nine months have been a trip through hell for me, but lately I’ve been able to start letting go of my obsession and have actually been feeling some happiness.

I think the turning point for me was when, last month, I finally got it that everything with DH is a manipulation. Everything. Like John Mayer says, the giving up’s the hardest part. But once I did that, everything got easier and now I’m starting to feel a peace that several months ago I never would have thought possible.

Send this to a friend