How to recognize and recover from the sociopaths – narcissists in your life › Forums › Lovefraud Community Forum – General › The obvious things we see but dismiss.
April 16, 2021 at 8:03 am #65675
My story is a long one in which I have had to battle with shame and guilt as well as grief, confusion, fantasy, brainwashing and everything else which comes with a toxic mix, one which involves both parties already being in committed partnerships. I make no excuses for myself except that I spent my life with someone who always put me down, was never there for me emotionally,he was even jealous of the attention I took away from him in the impending death of my best friend ‘ My mother’ whilst I tended to her needs. This is where my life changed, when it was totally consumed by the person who I was convinced was the man I was fated to meet, the man who within weeks had made himself the exact replica of me. I remember the first time he looked at me, eyes black like saucers and I actually heard a click, the hairs on my skin spiked and made me freeze.
You read about it in fairy tales don’t you,the ones we read and watch from being young, but no one ever warns you that those feelings can sometimes be a warning. No one tells you when you don’t feel right that you should run, and when you’re in a place where you feel alone and someone is right beside you every chance they get, never giving you a moment to breath, subtly likening themselves to your own personality in every way whilst you are vulnerable, and telling you and giving you everything you felt you always needed, it is so difficult to explain even to yourself that you have to walk away. There were many times I was propositioned and always always ran it was against my morals and beliefs, but not this time. This time within weeks I was embroiled in a dynamic from which I couldn’t escape. The Knight in his quiet, humble, insecure but sometimes cocky and aloof armour morphed himself into me and me into him. I still can’t write the full story, I’m only just coming out of it and after so much manipulation and gaslighting and searching for answers am coming to terms with what kept me hooked.
There were many things from the very beginning which I saw but chose to ignore because I was already beaten down and so desperately in love with what I thought was love that I clung to it like my life.
For now though I am taking my time writing all the things for myself which should have smacked me awake and stopped me from the confusion and heartbreak which followed.
April 16, 2021 at 1:23 pm #65676
Don’t beat yourself up over not seeing it.
The signs are really only obvious if you are familiar with personality disorders, manipulation strategies, and predatory behavior. What normal person would be aware of that? You only learn that stuff the hard way.
Normal people are trusting and give people the benefit of the doubt. So unless you’re very street smart or have prior experience with manipulative people you won’t see the signs when they try to con you.
If you cheated on your partner/spouse that is a very serious issue though and I am glad you are taking responsibility and feeling remorse.
April 16, 2021 at 4:11 pm #65680Donna AndersenKeymaster
laylabelle – Kudos to you for beginning to tell your story. It sounds like you went from one abuser to another – which, unfortunately, is very common. Because you were so poorly treated by the first partner, the second guy looked like Prince Charming. You were vulnerable. He took advantage.
I am struck by your description of your physical symptoms – the hairs on your skin spiked, and you froze. That was your intuition warning you of a predator. Unfortunately, we are not taught to listen to our intuition. I made a video about this – you might like it:
I hope you are away from both of them. The longer you are away, the better you will feel.
April 17, 2021 at 7:01 am #65682
Thank you both,
I watched the video and found it very helpful.
I’m away but not fully with my emotions. I’ve only ever had those physical feelings three times in my life, two of them were only slight acquaintances but both ended up in prison for serious offences. The third, I confused with deep attraction, that is because my guard was down and I allowed him into my personal space. I think my first hint that something was off was when he, after getting close, hinted that he needed money to fix his car (so that he could travel to see me more).
I ignored the hint.
April 17, 2021 at 5:04 pm #65684
Your description of your ex sociopath/ narcissist reminded me so much of my experience with my ex. He was vulnerable and somewhat insecure, yet he also could be cocky and arrogant. I used to ask him how he managed to get his head through the door when his arrogant, full of himself side would come through. I could relate to the vulnerable side and I believe that was the draw for me because we had so many great conversations that formed an emotional bond for me. That was the most difficult piece to let go of and quite honestly what I still miss to this day. After about a year and a half into our relationship he also asked me for money- $500 to be exact saying he messed up and needed my help. I now believe it was to pay for an ignition lock after reinstating his drivers license in the wake of one of his multiple DUI’s. I did not “loan” him the money and he responded with “sometimes I ask questions to see what someone’s response will be. It gives me a better idea of their character.” Translation- if you “loaned” me the money I’d get the sense you were good for more if I asked. In other words, managing down my expectations with him being able to con me into that “loan” and much more.
I too look back and think of all of the things I initially dismissed, yet I now realize it is so much easier to see without the constant chaos and word salad they create. Take away the chaos and clarity becomes crystal clear.
Wishing you all the best in your journey. Things do get better and it becomes so much easier with NC.
April 18, 2021 at 6:32 am #65685
It was 500 he said he needed too,there were a few other times I had the hint which I always ignored. But I gave him gifts for birthdays etc, and was foolish enough to top up his phone because (he wouldn’t be able to contact me otherwise).I never once had a gift from him but passed it off believing that his time was more precious.
April 18, 2021 at 10:03 am #65687
Laylabelle- Funny, there are so many similarities in sociopathic narcissists. There were many times my ex hinted at the need for money too and I would dismiss it or try to steer the conversation another way. He was a veteran and was always talking about his VA “settlement” being right around the corner and he would talk of his impatience with how slow the government moved. He knew my financial picture was a stable one as I owned my own home, paid my bills on time and basically followed the rules of law, yet he would talk about buying me a new car and all I would need to do was pick out the color. He thought stuff like that impressed me when in fact all I cared about was him. We were in a long distance relationship separated by about 450 miles, so I would always send care packages. I liked to cook and bake and he loved to eat so he enjoyed my care packages with cookies, bars and the like. I always acknowledged birthdays and holidays and he seemed touched by my cards especially on Veterans Day, yet I could count on one hand the few cards he sent my way.
I felt I got to know him as a decent person when he displayed his vulnerability, yet I now realize it was all fake …….he mirrored me and what he thought I wanted to hear. There were times I should have paid more attention like when he told me he got bored easily…..hence his numerous failed relationships and/ or marriages after a couple of short years. He always blamed it on the women in his life or the fact that he was young and wanted that kind of life, but now that he was older he claimed to have “matured.” I thought I could be the one to turn things around ……..the joke was on me- I was one of many that he could treat anyway he wanted to and then circle back after a period of time. I used to think I was “special” because he always seemed to circle back. In the end I told him I would not allow him to treat me this way anymore and I ended all communication blocking his number. I still miss his vulnerability and the great conversations we had during those times, yet I know if I contacted him the hamster wheel of chaos would start all over again and be twice as hard to walk away from.
The lesson learned is when they tell you who they are believe them and when your gut is telling you things are not quite right listen to it. It amazes me how similar their traits are. Sociopaths/ narcissists could be one and the same person. I try to focus on the good people in my life who truly care about me and I know they would never consider treating me the way my ex did. They are not looking to take advantage of me in any way……they love me unconditionally and that is the way any healthy relationship should be.
April 18, 2021 at 11:20 am #65691
Wow yes the vulnerability, If I ever asked where he’d been after a week of nothing from him (usually all day and night on the phone), he would tell me a story of how his estranged daughter’ of 25 years’ had been on his mind, thought he ought to contact her before it was too late, I’d give all the loving advice of how to deal with it etc. He’d cry, wrap his arms around me, tell me how much he loved me and could trust me with anything. Only later recalling the conversation would I think, hang on a minute, I asked where you’d been, thinking about someone doesn’t keep you away!Then I’d ask a few weeks later about said daughter and he’d say ‘ Oh I decided not to bother she doesn’t even know me. There were lots of these scenarios, oh and if I told him anything about my life, friends, anything, on his next visit he would verbally share his adventures exactly the same as I had told him last time, same words, same order, same format. Anything which made him laugh, he would tell the same story completely oblivious that it had been me who told him.
The last encounters were of him crying because he had a serious work matter going on and deep depression, then after not hearing from him for a month all of a sudden he was a completely different person all smiles and excited about new employment, Ah I thought, that will be why he can’t use his phone for a month then whilst I can see he’s been on other media platforms! Jekyll and Hyde comes to mind.
April 18, 2021 at 1:05 pm #65693
Oh yes, the Jekyll and Hyde is a perfect description. My ex would go missing for a week or two with no phone calls (typically we talked numerous times during the week with most calls initiated by him). He had all kinds of excuses from supposedly personal business to a family crisis. It seemed he gloated about younger half siblings looking up to him for his wisdom and advice so in his words, “he had to be there for them.” Then there were always the numerous and convenient family funerals…..he would say, “family comes first,” yet he always wanted to confirm he was a priority in my life.
If we had a disagreement, he would go missing for a week or better almost as if to punish me. Constant frustration, always second guessing myself, and chaos and confusion to keep me off track. Sometimes he came back with an excuse and other times he would come back as if he never was gone.
Normal people do not treat people like this. Sociopaths, on the other hand, love the attention from multiple sources and have an extreme need to have their ego stroked. No amount of love will ever satisfy them. This is where I feel their insecurities come into play. They are not secure in their own skin just being who they are, so the need to manufacture and project a life they will never aspire to is like living in never, never land! My ex had me believing we would have a great life together all the while stringing me along. I’m certain the miles between us made it very easy for him to have multiple relationships ensuring he would never be alone with his sick, insecure self.
This site has been so helpful and supportive during my recovery and weaker moments. If anything it is reassuring to know I am not going crazy.
April 18, 2021 at 2:50 pm #65694
Laylabelle- When you mentioned your sociopath had been estranged from his daughter, that is a signal that is telling. My ex had 5 children with 4 different women. He was briefly married to three of the women marrying them only after they found out they were pregnant. He did not marry the mother of his 5th child because he was leaving the state of CA to return to his home state in the Midwest to care for his mother who had dementia. Each of these marriages ended after a brief two years with cheating going on during at least one or two of the marriages if not all. His first child, a son lived near his home state and the other 4 children who are now young adults remained in CA.
His first child supposedly established a relationship with him and forgave him for not being there for most of his life. The other children in CA have no relationship with him even though one of the boys was named after him following his family name of Blank Blank Blank the III. I imagine that was my ex’s ego at it’s best when they came to choosing the name.
There was one incident early on when my ex said he was flying to CA for his daughter’s graduation. Of course that made him look like a stand-up father. The details of his flight were sketchy at best so when I decided to call him thinking he was still in CA when in fact he was not, his conversation was just like it was another day. When I said, “I thought you went to CA” his response was, “how do you know I didn’t go?” It was bizarre to say the least and that should have been a clue ahead of the many lies he would eventually tell.
The red flags were blazing as he revealed all of this to me, yet by then I was too deep in to see it all for what it was. Now I ask, how can someone walk away from 4 children and never look back? Easy, this is what they do- no emotions, no feelings, no guilt. I think his first born son is a saint to be able to forgive, yet I think somewhat like us he is duped into a false sense of a relationship, something he’s desperately wanted his entire life growing up. My ex is selfish enough to know he does not want to be alone as he ages, so his son is his perfect victim.
At any rate, why I did not correlate his lack of commitment to his kids or their mothers is something I continuously ask myself. This is where I am so opposite of him. My son and his family are everything to me and are surely not worth risking losing by replacing them with my ex. I truly feel my ex was almost envious of the close relationship I have with my son and his family.
Lots of lessons to learn after the facts for sure!
April 18, 2021 at 5:16 pm #65695
I think they must have a secret ‘How to Spath’ code book.
He told me how his daughter was taken away from him by her mother aged 3, actually cried it all out to me. I found out that he discarded her and gave up his access to her when he conned his next woman into leaving her husband and she got pregnant.
They say you have to have a good memory to tell lies but I think mine actually had a list of lies and excuses somewhere, I kept thousands of texts from him because I’d get exactly the same excuse for not seeing me. Word for word, he had the same family member visit every few months, the particular visitor fell and broke his leg every time he visited, twice a year for three years running. Then he told me that he’d been busy fixing something on his car and felt proud because he’d never done it before, four years running, fixed the same piece of kit for the first time! I lost count of the hospital trips. Illnesses. Emergencies,dramas and pity plays, got exactly the same text every time he got a cold, Infection etc and I mean an exact copy word for word description like he’d kept it for when he needed it. I would get photos that he’d already sent weeks earlier, forgot who he sent it to, I can’t believe how addicted I was to the same messages every morning and the same one last thing at night. It wasn’t until I showed a trusted friend who said ‘do you not see how boring this is?’ That I started to take notice, that and the fact that he’d stopped even asking anything about me.
April 18, 2021 at 6:39 pm #65699
It is an addiction pure and simple. I thought my ex spoke from his heart. Much, much later I now know that was his mode of operation- to reel me in, love bomb me, get me addicted to his early morning phone calls and then manage down my expectations as everything he had regularly done disappeared. Then it turned into blaming me for expecting too much, being overly sensitive, even telling me to get a life. Normal people do not behave this way and once we are in it we cannot even recognize ourselves anymore and don’t know which end is up.
My saving grace was making the decision to tell him I will not allow him to treat me this way any longer. I told him when you leave a pot on the stove unattended it either evaporates or boils over. He pleaded and promised to call me and said he does not take no for an answer. That’s where I took my power back by telling him it is not his decision. With that NC was put into place and that is that. Do I still think of him? It goes without saying. I was foolish enough to think I mattered, but wise enough to see that nothing would ever change.
I agree, they have multiple excuses to pull out whenever it is convenient. What they don’t realize, in part because they love to hear themselves talk, is these same old excuses pop up time and time again. They don’t even realize how laughable they are. As I’ve said time and time again, normal people do not behave like this and these sociopaths highjack every normal emotion we have.
April 19, 2021 at 1:09 am #65700
Hi Funluv, yes the love bombing is so confusing because it really does feel like they love you.
My ex actually kept up love bombing me all throughout the marriage, not just initially. For all those years he kept showering me with attention, flowers, expensive gifts, thoughtful gifts etc. Really made me feel very loved. But of course it was fake love.
Was thinking the other day that their love bombing is similar to a predator grooming a child for abuse. They will be super nice to the child, give them attention, give them candy and gifts, buy them things. So the child will naturally think this person is amazing and genuinely cares about the child and can be trusted. That is a natural human reaction. And the predator then uses that trust to abuse the child.
Same way sociopaths groom their partners with attention and gifts and fake love. Earning their partners trust and love so they can use and abuse them later. It’s the same predatory strategy.
April 19, 2021 at 7:59 am #65701
I would agree with that analogy, sept4. As we continue to beat ourselves up for not seeing the sociopaths tactics we have to remember it is our human nature to trust and be open to most people that come our way. So often you hear therapists tell victims of abuse that it was never their fault. We too as victims of sociopaths need to be reminded of this as well. Otherwise we spin out of control asking ourselves what we could have done differently or how we could have made the situation better……”if I was not so accusatory, if I was more understanding, if I loved him more…….maybe he would not have treated me this way”
When in fact it was never about what we could have done better. From the beginning the sociopath was a train-wreck plotting and scheming to highjack our human nature.
Fortunately for most of us we do find clarity, however it typically is not until the chaos from the sociopath is removed from our lives once and for all. Unfortunately, we are their collateral left to pick up the pieces and mend ourselves as they continuously move on to their next victim. In hindsight we must realize we will have a better life and be wiser from the experience. They are the sad and predictable scum of society lacking both integrity and character and never being able to possess any genuine emotions.
April 19, 2021 at 11:43 am #65702
Funluv yes very well said.
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