How to recognize and recover from the sociopaths – narcissists in your life › Forums › Sociopaths, narcissists, psychopaths as partners › My experience with a sociopath and long road to recovery
June 8, 2019 at 11:27 am #52820
I’ve been lurking and reading here for a couple of years. Thank you all for the education and sharing of your experiences. I’ve learned a lot and, in fact, could have written many of your stories verbatim. I apologize in advance for the length of this post.
I met Bill on an online dating site in October 2013. I was struck by his quoting of a favorite author of mine in his dating profile. He was very good looking, muscular, and sexy. I never thought he would be interested in me but sent a message just to remark upon his literary reference. Before I knew what hit me, we were going strong. He was charming, loving, very intelligent, and interested in the same things I was.
I let him move into my home within 3 months and all was wonderful. Within two weeks, he was threatening to leave on a nearly weekly basis. He’d get upset over the tiniest thing and it would escalate to him screaming and ranting and verbally abusing me every time, no matter how conciliatory I was. No matter whether he was upset about something I had said or done. It made no sense to me. After his initial rage subsided, he would invariably sulk and give me the 24 hour cold shoulder. Once that was done, he’d behave as if nothing had happened. Wouldn’t talk about it even when I wanted to understand what “I had done wrong.”
When he was being “good”, things were wonderful and I thought I had found the perfect partner for me. We had some great times going camping or to the beach, working on photography together. He was fantastic company and we would sit on the deck at night and contemplate the universe and talk for hours. Sex was fabulous, as long as I didn’t ask for anything. He had fantastic stamina but would get angry and resentful if I asked him to do something like kiss my neck. He’d say, “Are you saying you don’t enjoy it?” If I tried to initiate sex, he said, “Am I on a schedule now?” I was always on his terms only. I was not allowed to ask for anything unless I wanted to be subjected to his attempts to make me feel guilty or ungrateful. So, I learned not to ask.
Shortly after we got together, I got a message from his wife. He had listed himself as ‘divorced’ on his dating profile and I had specifically questioned him on that point before we went out the first time. He promised he was divorced. He was not.
By that time I was completely head over heels in love with him and couldn’t picture my life without him. He convinced me that the marriage was over and that he had not lived with her or made love with her in two years. So, I let him stay.
I made excuses to myself for all his bad behavior. I saw the red flags and dismissed them one by one, convinced he was ‘misunderstood’, had had a ‘bad childhood’, etc, etc, etc.
During the entire time we were together, he texted with his ‘ex’ multiple times daily. WhenI confronted him over it, I was told that they were ‘just friends’ and he would never abandon her (the irony was completely lost on him). So, I had to learn to just ignore their constant chatter.
All this time, he left his phone on silent and kept everything completely locked down. Of course, if my phone was set to silent, he was convinced I was hiding something. About 6 months into our living together, a man messaged me on Facebook. He and I used to flirt a couple of years prior and he mentioned something that was said between us back then. I immediately told him that I was in a relationship and very much in love, married for all intents and purposes. He congratulated me and then made a flirty comment which I laughed off and changed the subject. Three days later, Bill found it because I’d left the message open on my tablet. I’d thought nothing of it and didn’t feel inclined to hide it. I was immediately accused of infidelity and he would not understand that I had not seen it as an important event nor felt wrong or tried to hide it. In my mind, I handled it and it was over. Sure, I should not have even answered the guy, but I offered no encouragement at all and told the guy I was involved and not interested in any sort of relationship.
That 10 minute conversation haunted me for the remainder of the three year relationship. Bill used it to berate me and treat me like a cheater. No amount of sincere apology or showing him unconditional love and desire made any difference.
He was always possessive and jealous. If I fell asleep during one of our multiple hour overnight texting sessions in the very beginning, he would accuse me of “having someone there.” After the found message incident, that all went into insane overdrive. No matter what he got upset about, it always came back to that conversation and that I was a liar. I cried and begged and tried to defend myself because I was terrified of losing the relationship, with him.
He left and went to stay with his ‘ex’ several times, then would have me come and get him after a few days. There was never any security in the relationship for me. I walked on eggshells.
He had no respect for the law. He had been in jail for assault in his early life. Had been in a lot of trouble as a kid. He wasn’t working when he came here, but claimed to be looking for work. It turned out that he had lost his license due to repeated DUIs and had walked out on his probation for same just before he came here. So, I was his chauffeur. But hey, I loved the guy. Lol
Eventually he stopped pretending to look for work. I am very well-educated but had to leave my job due to disability from fibromyalgia, so my money was very limited. And I found myself strapped due to the extra expense for his tobacco, beer, and trying to assuage his boredom by going places regularly.
We went through times of absolute happiness and harmony to the lowest lows of his screaming, ranting, accusing, and verbal and emotional abuse. Round and round the vicious cycle went.
All this continued from January 2114 until January 2016, when he finally went to work. The job was 80 miles away, and, you guessed it, I had to drive him there. I was expected to wait all day and be at the gate waiting when he walked out. I had dared to be two minutes late one day and endured 80 miles of being screamed at and accused on the way home. There was never any appreciation for the hellish days I went through doing that. I had to find places to wait; McDonald’s, Starbucks, other places I could find with free WiFi. Not long into this he began to accuse me of picking up men while he was working. As if.
I finally had enough, probably due to sheer exhaustion, and I began to stand my ground during his tantrums. This was March of 2016. He got angry because I wanted my grandkids to be able to stay at my house during their Spring break. By that point, he was making good money and we were supposed to be staying in a motel during his work week to save the drive. I suggested he get that room for a few days and let the kids enjoy staying with me at home. He got the room and then refused to come home. Within days, he was “in a relationship” with someone else. Someone who had a 30+ year career and family money. So much for me being ‘the love of his life.’
I was devastated, completely gutted that I meant no more than that to him. I was talking to a Facebook friend one day and as we shared ‘bad boyfriend stories,’ she began to ask me specific questions about him and his behavior. She was a licensed psychotherapist. At the end of her questions she hesitated then said, “Short of actually talking to him and considering the things you have said are true, I believe Bill is a textbook sociopath.”
I was stunned. And then I started researching what that meant. I came to believe she was 100% right. He ticks off all the diagnostic boxes, including conduct disorder as a child (according to things he told me himself).
I made the mistake of letting him come back twice, once the following September and once in January 2017. Each time, he came back full of promises that he had add a huge mistake by leaving me and that he wanted ‘forever’ with me. I bought it hook, line, and sinker. Each time, on the third day, he informed me that he missed his distractions (that Sugar Mama’s money provided) ofmpartying, drinking, lavish travels, etc. And she would obediently take him back.
He would contact me from time to time and I saw that as attempting to keep me on the back burner, just in case. Just like he was doing with his wife.
This past month, he showed up in my email again (Sugar Mama paid his bills and he emailed to keep her in the dark.) He started talking about things he missed here (not once did he say he missed me). I knew what he was doing, but I almost let him get his foot back in the door. I’ve grown and healed so much. I went through terrible depression for the last couple of years, my self-esteem bottomed out, and I became an almost complete hermit.
I finally decided last year that I didn’t want to live this way any longer and started seeing a therapist. She has helped me a lot.
But I have a soft spot for this man. I LOVED him and considered him family. His wife (they still haven’t divorced)let me know that Sugar Mama had caught him with someone else and had kicked him out. She warned me that he would probably be contacting me because he had no place to go. She had finally given up trying to get him back and had a new love so she’d told him he could not stay with her. And he did try to get me to take him back. He called me one day and as soon as I heard his voice for the first time in two years, I felt an intense rush of emotion and tears welled in my eyes. I knew I was in trouble. We talked for hours and it almost worked. I was toying with the idea of seeing him though I told him I would not take him back here.
But for each good memory and warm thought about him, I remembered several times when he had mistreated me or acted like a spoiled toddler. No matter how much I wanted to be with him (it IS like an addiction), I could not give up on the healing progress I have made.
I’ve come to relish living alone and am not sure I ever want to live with anyone again. I spent my entire life taking care of others and neglecting myself.
I was enjoying talking to someone who knew me like he does, but knew very well it was a very slippery slope. I could easily have said Yes to him coming back and would probably have enjoyed the heck out of him for the ‘honeymoon period.’ But then the real Bill would have re-emerges and I would have been stuck again.
He couldn’t keep up the charade or charm and made a comment referring to something being ‘suspicious’ because I had not answered his text for a couple of hours. In actuality, I had taken a nap. But it showed me he was still exactly the same. So, I let him know in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t going to see him EVER, nor would I talk to him.
I’ve blocked him on every conceivable site, blocked his phone number, blocked his email, and blocked his ex for good measure. She wanted to commiserate over him and would contact me to let me know what was going on. I don’t care what goes on with him anymore and do not need to be reminded of him.
I feel so much lighter now. I did not realize how much stress he had started causing me again until he was completely gone.
The point of this whole long thing is to let those going through it that you CAN recover. You are not stupid for falling for such a person, they are very good at their con games. Even though it may feel that you can’t live without them, I am living proof that you can not only live without their toxic presence in your life, you can thrive after they are gone. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes you go backward. But always pick yourself up and move forward, never backward. Nothing good comes from going backward. You are stronger than you think!
June 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm #52821
sylmc1027 – Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am sorry for what you endured, but glad that you have come through it and you know the truth of what he is. Yes, he is a textbook sociopath.
June 11, 2019 at 12:22 pm #52839
Thank you very much. Yes, I definitely know what he is. You would think that after three years, it would not still be such a struggle sometimes.
I do feel like I have finally overcome the wishful thinking where he is concerned. I know he won’t change and I have to stifle my naturally optimistic mindset where he is concerned. This last time particularly galled me because he never mentioned caring about me or missing me. He talked about missing things we used to do together, but nothing personal to do with me. Compounding that is my knowledge that if Sugar Mama decided to take him back, he would run to her. He didn’t deny that when I brought it up. And to add insult to injury, I was at least his third choice behind her and his ‘ex’ wife. I was last choice.
My self esteem still suffers and I don’t feel, being 61 and overweight, that I will attract a good man.
Part of that feeling comes from hateful things said to me when Bill was at his most hateful.
I am working with a therapist and I am learning to take care of ME for the first time in my adult life. Most of the time, I love my freedom and the lack of stress I have living alone with my pets.
I am definitely a work in progress and will be for some time I am sure.
Anytime regret or sadness about that lost relationship starts to sneak back in, I quickly remind myself of the very bad parts when he verbally abused me because he was displeased about some of the tiniest things possible. I remind myself that I am strong and will not live my life under the thumb of a man child. Most of all, I have to remind myself of the most bitter truth of all: I loved that man truly and with everything I had and he never truly loved me, no matter what he said. I was nothing but a means to his desired end.
But, I am strong. I survived him.
P.S. I wish I had proofread my original post before sending. The typos!! Ha ha
August 5, 2019 at 12:56 pm #53537
I am very sorry about the abuse you have endured and I am encouraged by the healing work you have done to recover. Your post is giving me the strength to confront my own dysfunctional relationship with a man who has brought me so low that I feel I am on the edge of a nervous breakdown.
After reading a lot of posts and analysis, I realise I am in love with a sociopath. I have been seeing him for 2 years now. At the start it was a casual affair, he works abroad and was back for a week or two every couple of months. We would have the most incredible sex and time together, and pretty soon I was hooked, counting the days to the next encounter. He is incredibly charming and funny and I thought, very honest because he told me about his numerous sexual encounters and how couldn’t offer me commitment but I was very special and he liked spending time with me.
I knew from the start he has had lots and lots of women in his life, but he wasn’t open about having multiple relationships running concurrently. So the seemingly honest man was lying through omission, and when confronted said he didn’t want to ‘rub my face in it’.He texts me regularly when he’s abroad saying he misses me and can’t wait to see me again.
Despite some early warning signs, this is how he drew me into a web of dependancy and hooked me emotionally: He couldn’t believe how connected we were, what good sex we have, how our interests are such an amazing fit, how beautiful/ sexy I am, etc. Quite turned my head. I became lulled into believing that perhaps I was special to him, the one who could change him from a womaniser because he just hadn’t met special wonderful me! It was very intense and he fondled me in public like a man incredibly in love making me feel so special and beloved. He seems to have an unending capacity to receive love and attention and, in the beginning gave a huge amount as well. With so much Oxytocin swirling around my body it’s been hard to spot the warning signs.
As work started to dry up abroad he started coming back for longer periods of time, sometimes for a couple of months, he would stay at my house, slowly moving in. At first I was pleased and thought perhaps this was the start of some commitment and although there were some difficult times, mostly it was lovely.
Now, two years on I am hooked and vulnerable and his behaviour has deteriorated, the atmosphere can change very suddenly and I find myself walking on eggshells. Really everything has to circle around his moods, and when frustrated can be very mean spirited. He gets incredibly upset by the smallest thing, it might be a chance remark or something so small I have no idea what’s happened. There is no shouting just a steely coldness that makes me feel panicky and rejected.
I am free to have other men in my life and although I don’t, I now know he is in two other relationships at the moment as well as having numerous random sexual encounters during his time away, he says the other women don’t mind him seeing other women suggesting that I am being very narrow minded and unrealistic about todays sexual mores. I think he feels the compartments he keeps his different relationships in are separate and therefor none of our business. Very protective of his privacy but quite careless about leaving clues lying about, friends have seen him with other women when I am away working, and so slowly I found out the true extent of him and his deceitful ways.
In the last 2 months, after coming back from 3 months away everything has changed,The veil of charm and seduction has fallen away. I suspect he is bored with me and I see a man barely in control of his tempers, frustrations, who uses sex as a tool to navigate life and manipulate women, he never apologises for any of his unreasonable behaviour, has multiple relationships on the go at any one time and excuses that by saying he never promised commitment to any of us.
He is withholding sex, constantly criticising me and because I am so addicted to this man, I am putting up with it. I can’t believe I have found myself in this position.The other day he pointed out that we are not in a relationship, just friends, it felt as if he had stabbed me. He has an amazing capacity to throw a temper tantrum about something really small that I have done, said or omitted to do or say. Luckily I have no money so that has not been an issue.
I am away for work for a couple of weeks at the moment and I will end it when we next see each other, there’s no need to have a big drama cause he won’t ever change, wont think he’s done anything wrong. He will just walk away without a backward glance, I know because he has done so before, it’s always me who cracks and begs him to come back.And of course there are the other women to distract him from any momentary flashes of remorse. I feel I have been trained like an animal, broken in by his alternating electric seduction and glacial indifference.
I am so addicted that when he is not around I feel hollowed out, half a person, lonely as I have never been before. I am in my late 50’s and feel I shall never find anyone again. My self esteem has crashed and I am distrustful of all men now. I feel very damaged.
But I also recognise this as a toxic relationship affecting my mental wellbeing and being alone (again) is better than walking on eggshells in my own home. I need to reconnect with friends and family whom I have neglected for the past two years. I will be too ashamed to tell people what’s been going on, most people really like him as he is so charming and interesting and careful not to reveal his real self. So having to put on a brave face will possibly help me?
Other than that I don’t know how to heal myself and rebuild my self esteem, perhaps counselling will help, but today sharing my story has helped and even reading it over I realise I can and will survive. Thank you for providing a platform to discuss these deeply personal traumas and I hope that all these combined experiences will help someone else escape the emotional prison that being in a relationship with a sociopath is.
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