How to recognize and recover from the sociopaths – narcissists in your life › Forums › Lovefraud Community Forum – General › The Prince Charming Mask
September 11, 2020 at 2:48 pm #63870
The Prince Charming Mask is one of the hardest things to come to terms with!
The man you fell for likely presented himself as:
– extremely charming and charismatic
– head over heels in love with you
– spoiling you with gifts, trips, money, support, favors
– amazing feeling of connection, the love of your life, your twin flame, your soulmate
– wanted to move forward very quickly, move in together quickly, marry quickly
After the relationship progresses and the mask comes off it’s very hard to accept his true character:
– takes money or possessions from you
– isolates you from friends and family
– tries to destroy your self esteem
– threatens you
– uses you
– abuses you
– no remorse, shame, guilt, morals, conscience, soul
– possible criminal
– actually doesn’t love you at all
These two Jekyl/Hyde personalities are so contradictory that they are very hard to wrap your mind around. In psychology terms they create “cognitive dissonance” (two conflicting views).
But you can reconcile these personalities and find congruency once you understand the purpose of the mask. It’s to con you and reel you in as a victim. Because if he showed his true self from the start you would have never dated him!
September 12, 2020 at 9:53 am #63875Donna AndersenKeymaster
Sept4 – You are absolutely right. Many people struggle to understand how someone who was so wonderful becomes so evil. The key is to realize that the Prince Charming personna was an act. A charade designed to seduce you. The evil cheating liar is the real person.
September 12, 2020 at 3:29 pm #63877
Sadly yes. It is hard for many people to accept. You want to cling to the idea that that person is still in essence a good person, and that there is an excuse for his bad behavior.
But sadly that is not true. He is just not a good person. It is only an act.
September 13, 2020 at 1:45 am #63879almostfree40Participant
I got married on February 2nd 2019. My first marriage at 38 years old. I rushed it because I wanted to start a family before it was too late. Robert new this and promised me a future and a family. He promised so many things. I met him at church and he asked me out. I found out he did 7 years in prison and this concerned me but he assured me that this was his past and that God had changed him. He was not that person anymore. He never really was clear about why he went in. I still don’t really know for sure. He was very charming and I had been desperately waiting for the “right” guy for years so I could start a family. I just really wanted to believe him. Despite his disturbing past he was everything I had been waiting for. We were married less than a year later.
Well fast forward to after the wedding and things fell apart extremely quickly. He is the exact opposite of who he said he was. I won’t go into details now because you already know. The last year and a half of my life has been complete hell and I didn’t understand what was happening. I finally mustered the courage to get away from him because I just had to. I thought I was going crazy. I told him I was just going to visit family for a week but I actually got a one way ticket to MN where I grew up. This was back in May. I remember walking into my mom’s house with my suitcase and just collapsing in her arms, sobbing. I didn’t realize what the past year had done to me. I was a shell of a person and emotionally and financially depleted. He took everything from me. Even my dreams of having children because shortly after the wedding he said he changed his mind and didn’t want them anymore.
I am FINALLY home. I am safe.
When I got here in May I did not have a clue what a psychopath was. I actually thought we would eventually work things out and I started paying for therapy sessions for each of us separately in hopes we could eventually do marriage counseling together and reconcile. Recently, I had a weird feeling in my guts and guessed his passwords for Facebook and Google. I now know that he has a major porn addiction and more specifically “young skinny teen xxx” kind of porn and this has been going on the whole time we’ve been married. Robert and I have not had sex since a month after our wedding. We have had no sexual intimacy whatsoever since then and it has been devastating and so confusing for me to deal with. He told me he loved me but just had low testosterone. So much for that theory. After finding the porn I found a note on his Facebook messenger where his buddy says, “Dude, go pork your wife” and his response is “ish too fat”. Then why did he marry me if he thinks I’m gross?!! So he has never even really been attracted to me. And by the way I am a 5 foot 6 inch tall female and I look good for 40! I guess he wants a 115 pound teenager. I am SO shocked to uncover this. He is a total pig! How did I not know? What else has he been lying about?
The lies I’ve uncovered over the past few weeks have set me on a desperate search for truth. I had to figure out how he could be so cruel to the woman who has given him everything! How did I fall for this?! On my quest for answers I came across this website and read a few articles and the realization of what I am dealing with literally dropped me to my knees. I married a Psychopath! My husband is a fraud and has completely used me, manipulated me and conned me. I can’t work on a fantasy marriage! What we had was never real! I canceled his therapy appointments. He can pay for them himself if he wants. I am now mourning the loss of a man who doesn’t even exist and it totally knocks the wind out of me. It is so hard to accept. I am so scared but now that my eyes are open, I am slowly taking my power back. So glad I found truth after drowning in lies for the past 2 years.
September 13, 2020 at 2:06 am #63880
I’m so sorry that happened to you. Good for you for getting away and now educating yourself on what is wrong with him!
And thankfully you did not have a child with him before you found out. The child would have been severely emotionally damaged by him. Or worse, he could manipulate the child to become like him.
My own case has many similarities to yours. My ex was also a felon who has done prison time. I too believed that people change and are rehabilitated and should get a second chance.
We also were married less than a year after meeting. Moving quickly is typical for these disordered people because they want to rush trapping you before you see their true colors.
My ex was also cheating with many women (hookers and strippers) with a very different body type from mine. In my case he thought I was too skinny and used to criticize my body for that. And the women he cheated with were very voluptuous.
As to therapy we did go to marital counseling but that does not work at all with these types. They just lie and put on a show. In fact taking these guys to therapy is actually dangerous. Because it is an EDUCATION for them on what kind of behavior is expected by normal people. So therapy actually teaches them to be even more manipulative and sociopathic because they gain a deeper understanding of how to behave to con normal people.
September 22, 2020 at 1:33 pm #63917nospParticipant
To that list of how the disordered first present themselves especially in a romantic/sexual relationship context I would add:
-excessive / non-stop communication, especially if the relationship starts online / virtually or in a long-distance fashion.
If you do texting, there will be dozens to hundreds of these per day, if not there will be lots of phone calls, emails & other types of messages (think Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct messages or DMs, etc)
Thank goodness I made the disordered guy I dealt with go slow, he was infuriated with me (too bad) but I suspect he was also strangely turned on, I don’t think most women (or men, I suspect he’s confused about his sexual orientation &/or a sex addict who isn’t that picky about people approaching him) he encounters are willing to stand up for themselves & stand up to him, but I’m not most women.
The biggest red flag I saw but didn’t know how to interpret was the words he used initially were all what most people fantasize about hearing from a prospective partner, but they come at you too fast, too frequent & the sincere depth of feeling that should go with them is likely lacking. It’s a bear when your preferred love language is words (look up the Gary Chapman 5 Love Languages), you have to be extra-careful around people you don’t know who might con you by saying what you want to hear (& be careful what you say online that they could look up & parrot back to you).
That Love Fraud documentary on Showtime has a younger woman who worked at the Krab Kingz restaurant in Wichita named Tammy (Episode 2, about 27 minutes in, Tammy was apparently Smith’s choice for the replacement girlfriend for Karla, whom Smith basically lured away from Karla’s husband Jim so he can get his hands on the money from Jim’s 401(k) to start the Crab Kingz restaurant in Wichita). Tammy’s experience of Smith very closely resembled my experience with a disordered guy, the big difference was my contact with the disordered guy who came into my life was all virtual (online & over the phone) & long-distance (while Tammy had a 3 day in person marathon ‘relationship’.
So of course there were lots of calls & emails from him fast, they all seemed to say the right things, if I was thinking rationally, the words seemed appealing, but to me it felt weird, odd, creepy & confusing, especially the timing. I asked my friends of both genders & all kinds of ages for advice but unfortunately none of them were experts in disordered people, but they did agree that it was odd & confusing to them as well & to the women older than me, they were suspicious. Why so fast with the ‘loving feelings declarations’ from so far away?
There was an ‘I want to marry you’ comment (semi-joking / semi-sincere) in my second phone call from him (day 2), he had a supposed intense interest in something I do as a hobby that most men find esoteric & off-putting (astrology & New Age spiritual practices). Ostensibly he reached out to me because he wanted to teach me his (ripped-off) version of Qi Gong breathing he gave a slightly different name to it & claimed to have invented the method. Little did he know I had a book on Qi Gong that had the same exercises in it that I had never done but I remembered flipping through before I ever met him & all that he taught me is conventional Qi Gong breathing & even the endurance exercises to reinforce it sounded like they came straight out of this book.
He’s a martial artist & an actor with minor celebrity status, at the time I ‘virtually met’ him, he was working on a somewhat successful Amazon web series & I got to have the unique experience of hearing him rage not only about being fired / let go from it (his contract was not renewed for the 4th & final season) but also from the grudge he still held ~25 years later for helping choreograph some martial arts fight displays for an international press tour promoting a movie he acted in that he didn’t get to go on, he was still seething that the director & the actor who played the hero got to go around the world on the studio’s dime, but he, the villain, was wrongly left behind. He literally raged over the phone for *longer* than the run time of the movie (the movie is based on a dumb violent video arcade game in which I have zero interest, I hadn’t ever seen the movie at that point & only knew a little about the game because male friends of mine from college had played it, after his rant I watched the movie & was utterly bored & unimpressed, my tastes run to documentaries, British comedies & historical dramas these days, PBS & BBC fare). But yeah, that was weird too.
Good thing I could hold the phone receiver out from my ear & had a book on hand to skim through while he ranted about the injustices done him throughout his career (poor baby). He was so caught up in himself, he had no idea I wasn’t listening to the tirade. When his voice finally got quieter, I began listening again, but I took his yelling to mean that expressing anger verbally was okay in the relationship. My parents sometimes yelled at each other (not for over an hour at a time though) so that didn’t bother me all that much. I prefer calm rational discussion, but wasn’t totally freaked out by anything other than how long he kept up his yelling.
Of course months later when I lost my cool & raged at him for about the same length of time over the phone over his mounting unaddressed laundry list of awfulnesses towards me (the disordered are good at this), his family & others, well, I got told I needed ‘anger management’ therapy or classes. I already didn’t like how extremely negatively I reacted to him, I had already done some research online into my situation (I guessed he might be a narcissist) & reached out to some online therapists & they said they thought as I was telling them about the craziness that he was probably Cluster-B disordered (one guessed sociopath, one said he could be narcissistic, borderline, sociopathic or psychopathic) & luckily both thought I should get him out of my life.
Bless them, they were both right, though I have had the rare experience of getting to let a disordered person have all the crap I endured back verbally, I yelled & went over the top with my anger, strangely he never hung up on me (now I know that my extreme negativity fueled / excited him, normal people won’t take such intense verbal abuse from other people for so long & in utter silence, they would hang up when they reached their limits) & I continued until I was not only literally physically exhausted from my grievances, but I felt like if whatever was between us ended then, it would be a *blessing*.
Somehow, he didn’t try to get even with or get ‘one up’ on me. I’m just super lucky he didn’t come after me in person. I’m not surprised that ~10 years ago he pled ‘no contest’ to a domestic violence / abuse charge filed by a then-girlfriend in Hawaii.
Other than an occasional hang-up call which might be him or his long estranged wife (I told his wife, she has my contact information & she had a right to know, as near as I know they’re still married & she’s still at great risk from him harming her with whatever he gets up to, I would never tolerate what she does even if it got me hurt or killed or infected with an STI, but I guess I’m either more resilient or more stubborn than she is). I have run a risk assessment on him (Gavin DeBecker has a site online where you can see how much risk you are at from someone like this for abuse or violence or killing), there is a possibility, though not a strong one, of him retaliating physically but one of the ways I protect myself is by telling my story to others. Two of his cast mates from the Amazon web series know, so does a male writer-showrunner friend of mine from college (he’s now less likely to get hired for certain kinds of work, my college friend is a real ally of the #MeToo movement), so do all my other close friends, several of my acquaintances, a distant but good acquaintance of mine who was a domestic violence victim whose life became the basis for a book & then a movie about the Wonderland murders, she is a newly minted social worker & advocates for ending sex trafficking & helping domestic violence victims.
This disordered guy has no idea of all the people I know in my social network who could make his life not worth living if he tried something, he couldn’t be bothered to figure out who my friends & other contacts are when I was still in contact with him & that would be his downfall.
Anyway, the disordered have to work fast, they’re going to screw up, either because emotionally they can’t keep up the ‘soul mate’ facade and/or they need to get something from you (money, jewelry, property, credit, a place to live, transportation, help, advice, caregiving/nursing, affection, fascination, ego strokes or something else) F-A-S-T fast.
Slow them down, ask questions, check in with your feelings, check in with others & see if they too find this person’s behaviors confusing. And consider going 100% no contact as soon as possible. Also like the women in the Love Fraud documentary on Showtime, do not let secrecy or shame silence you. Band together with others who have dealt with the disordered & stand up for yourselves.
September 22, 2020 at 2:16 pm #63919
Nosp yes that initial strategy of overwhelming their target with messaging, expressions of “love”, attention, gifts etc is called love bombing.
Love bombing is a very effective strategy for them because of course every woman wants to be loved. So they use that normal desire to manipulate you into thinking they actually love you and want a future with you.
But of course it’s all fake. It’s just a “love” trap to use you. What horrible people they are who aim to use the normal genuine human need for love and affection as a vulnerability to target for their selfish needs.
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