Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.
Chapter 49A: Clarity And Its Consequences
A few weeks later, when we needed to inventory all of our physical assets, at my lawyers’ recommendation I invited Paul back to the house. Room by room, we agreed on the list of what we owned: furniture, outdoor grill, prints, appliances, jewelry, and so on.
“Paul,” I said, “we need to add the items you already took or that you have at your office that belong to us, as well as at your condo and other places.”
“I just took my clothes and some sports equipment, and we’re not counting that stuff, right?” (Notice that he did not answer the question.) The fact that Paul had three bikes and I had one that was fifteen years old, and that he had four pairs of skis and I only one, should have mattered, but I did not want to be petty. I still did not understand the full implications of Paul being a sociopath. I wrongly assumed that, if I was reasonable and not petty about things (such as tolerating the big disparity in the value of the sports equipment each of us had), Paul would reciprocate and be reasonable. That was and is a bad assumption when dealing with a sociopath. There is no give and take, no quid pro quo. None! That’s not how sociopath math works.
“Paul, my lawyer said we need to list anything valuable. Like we left some prints in your office back East when we moved. I listed them here.”
“No we didn’t,” Paul said in a matter-of-fact tone. “We moved everything. I think the movers stole some pictures. That’s why they’re not here.”
“Paul, they didn’t. We left them at your office in Connecticut. We even drove them there together.”
“No, I clearly recall several large paintings and prints that never made it off the moving truck,” Paul said with no hint of tension or any other “tell.” (Think about it: Of course the prints and paintings never made it off the truck, because they were never on the truck. Nice touch, Paul.)
“Paul, if you’re so sure they were stolen, why are you only bringing it up a year after we moved? It’s too late to file a claim. Besides, they’re at your office.”
“It was a hectic time, and I think I would know what’s in my office.” (Not an outright lie, but a clear mistruth.) I knew it was futile.
“Okay then, there’s nothing else of value that you have? Remember, we have to include gifts to each other, jewelry, anything.”
He shook his head. “I can’t think of anything else.”
I probed Paul, giving him every opportunity to mention items I remembered, such as the Rolex watch that he bought for himself when he made partner years before as well as the concert tickets I was sure he had taken a few weeks earlier. I had just started to realize how profoundly dishonest Paul was, and I wanted this to be a test. Finally, when Paul had been given every opportunity to ‘fess up, I asked him directly.
“What about your Rolex watch?”
“Oh yeah, I may have that. But it’s probably worth only a few dollars, right?”
“I still have the receipt. I’ll use that number. What about the concert tickets?”
“Aren’t they still here?” Paul asked. (Note the deception but not an outright lie.)
“No, they aren’t.”
“You sure? You can be really disorganized, and you’ve been pretty stressed lately.”
“Come on, Paul. You took them when you got the locksmith to let you in. I checked. They were gone then.”
“Do I have them? I’ll check.” (Notice how Paul never admitted to taking them, just that he might have them. He’s good.)
“I’m going to assume you have them and add them to the list.”
“Why? You don’t really want them, right?” he said. (Attempt at diversion.)
“That’s not the point. I’m adding them to the list, Paul.”
Lies, lies, nothing but lies. If I wanted a foolproof test of Paul’s integrity and honesty, one had just unfolded right in front of me. He was a liar and a thief. It was no more complicated than that. That realization left me eerily cold. Even more disturbing than the lies themselves was how seamlessly, easily, and calmly Paul had spun them. Like other sociopaths, he did it without a hint of apology, culpability, guilt, or remorse, even when caught red-handed. He just glossed over the lie and the theft, as if each were no more remarkable than someone noting that the sun was shining on a sunny day. As I realized he must have been lying every day I had known him, I felt a rift tear through my sense of the universe’s inherent harmony. I had been living in the presence of something—someone—very evil.
Later that day, an email arrived from Paul.
Please be advised that you are never to set foot in my company’s building or talk to any of my employees. I will consider it trespassing and take necessary legal action.
In other words, “Yes, the prints we bought together are indeed in my office in Connecticut, but you’ll never prove it. Screw you, Onna.”
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Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.