By | April 14, 2017 25 Comments

Getting over the relationship that didn’t exist

Unhappy-couple-breaking-up sizedLovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader:

How do I process a relationship that had so many lies in it that I don’t know really with whom I was involved?

I miss the person I thought I knew so much, but at the same time, he was involved with someone else, and others, since at least last June. I thought he had had one affair—but not anything to the extent that it looks like now.

How do I process a relationship I never had? Was he lying the whole time acting out the “I love you’s”, the romantic comments, and the idea that we should be together? Is it all an act?

Most of us are reading and posting on Lovefraud because we were intensely, callously, brutally deceived in a relationship with a sociopath. The betrayal was so deep, and so profound, that all we can say is that the person we thought we knew, the relationship we thought we had, didn’t exist.

Much has been written here on Lovefraud about the different aspects of recovery. But in response to this reader’s e-mail, I’ll review some of the key points.

Understanding sociopaths and “love”

Sociopaths do not feel empathy for other human beings. Therefore, they do not have the ability to love as we understand it. There is no emotional connection, no true caring for the target of their “affections.”

What is going on when sociopaths say, “I love you?” They are not all the same, so there is a range of explanations for what they mean.

At the clueless end of the range, sociopaths may view the target as attractive arm candy, or may like the attention they receive from the target, or may enjoy sex with the target. Sociopaths may label as “love” whatever it is they feel with the target. So, “I love you,” means, “I like how I look when you’re with me,” or, “I like the fact that you’re showering me with attention,” or, “I like having sex with you.”

At the sinister end of the range, sociopaths know they are cold-hearted predators and view their targets the way cats view mice. These sociopaths play with their targets for awhile, then, when they tire of the game, abandon them, leaving the targets battered and gasping. Or, some sociopaths will go in for the kill, usually figuratively, but sometimes literally.

The reader asked, “Is it all an act?” Often, the answer is yes.

Accepting reality

The sociopath may have painted a picture of an exquisite future of unending togetherness and bliss. Or, the sociopath may have latched on to our own nurturing instincts, and convinced us that they can only survive with our caring and support. Then the mask slips, the story unravels, and we learn that everything we believed was a lie.

We must accept this reality. We must believe our own eyes and recognize the truth.

This may be really difficult. We thought we were working towards our dream. We made important life decisions based on what we were told. We may have spent a lot of money—maybe all of our money—at the behest of the sociopath.

We don’t want to believe that it was all a cruel mirage. We argue with ourselves—there must be some other explanation, some other reason. We may say, “I must have misunderstood; no one can be that heartless.”

Yes, sociopaths are that heartless.

The reasons they are heartless do not matter. Yes, in some cases they have had bad parents and a terrible childhood. But as an adult, they are not going to change. They are what they are, and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can begin to recover.

Time and permission to recover

The psychological and emotional damage that we suffer because of our entanglements with sociopaths is often extensive. We may experience anxiety, depression, guilt, self-hatred, and perhaps even post traumatic stress disorder.

Some of us are so angry with ourselves for falling for the scam that we punish ourselves by blocking our own recovery. We say we will never trust again; never love again.

Please do not feel this way. If you never recover, giving up on trust and love, the sociopath will have truly won. Deny him or her that victory. Give yourself permission to recover.

Recovering from this damage is not an event; it’s a process. Readers often ask, “How long will it take?” The answer: It will take as long as it takes.

We may need to move forward in several directions at once, but it’s okay to move forward slowly. Some steps to take:

  • Protecting our physical safety, if the sociopath has made threats, and what remains of our financial assets.
  • Taking care of our physical health—eating right, getting enough exercise and sleep, avoiding alcohol and other substances.
  • Finding a way to release the pent-up anger and pain within us, without showing it to the sociopath, because that will backfire.
  • Rebuilding relationships with family members and friends that were damaged because of the sociopath.
  • Letting moments of joy, no matter how small, into our lives. Joy expands, so the more we can let in, the more it will grow and the better we will feel.

The Lovefraud Blog has many more articles that focus on how to recover from the sociopathic entanglement. You’ll find them in the following category:

Recovery from a sociopath

Believe in yourself. You can do this. You can get past the experience. You may have lost your innocence, but in the end, you’ll gain invaluable wisdom.

Lovefraud originally posted this article on May 23, 2011.

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Rising Phoenix

This is me to a tee. I came to this forum last year asking for help, but was manipulated and tricked into believing his manipulations of love and commitment once again. Now, a year later, I am alone, battered, humiliated, dealing with an STI that he gave me after cheating, and feeling like the biggest idiot alive. After I actually had proof (for once) that he cheated, he agreed to therapy. One week later we went to therapy after spending what I thought was a great week with him working hard to make up for his transgression. On the ride home, he tells me that he is not in love with me anymore and hasn’t been for a long time, even though he told the therapist how much he loved me. I packed up everything I had and went back to my home in the city. I didn’t answer his calls or texts for 4 days, but finally gave in when he said how much he missed me. Shortly after, he is wearing the wedding ring I bought him again and playing the “I’m your fiancé” game again. He said he was taking a 6 week personal protection gig in Chile and would be moving in for good when he got back. He also got a supposed storage building to keep his stuff while he was gone saying that he didn’t have the time to bring it to our new home, and he didn’t want to burden me with trying to unpack everything by myself. He emailed the first week and said he was going to be setting up internet at the hotel where he and the guys were staying, but technology was tricky where he was. Again, I fell for it. Over a month later, and after hearing not one word from him (3rd time in 4 years he’d done this crap), I called the US Embassy in Chile worried out of my mind that something had happened to him. I got a message from the Embassy that no such person had crossed into Chile with any kind of id, military or passport. He is retired special forces, so I asked them to check that as well. I sent him an email to confront him of his lies and he begins emailing with a million I’m sorry’s, and telling me it was an undercover military op that Chile did not know about. By then, of course, since he thought I was ending things, he took another mission”..this time in Canada. He even sent pictures of where he was, which I searched online for and found out they were fake from 2 different camping websites in Canada. Of course, another story to cover that”.”I’m not allowed to say where I really am baby”. Right! But still, I somehow fell for it again. He talked to me regularly for a while, then sporadically, then finally he was going through customs in late November. He started texting again saying he needed to spend some time with his son in Florida before he came back home for good. He talked about marriage and how happy we were going to be. Then, as time came closer to Christmas he said that his dad was ill again so he was bringing his son with him to see his dad and would take him back home, then return a week later. I saw him 2 times in 10 days. More excuses about his sugar being high and feeling like crap about what he had to do in his missions. He goes back to Florida and for 2 weeks, nothing. Then, conveniently, he is in a combat ptsd group and doing EMDR therapy, so he still can’t come home. Since January, I found much and now again, he has disappeared because I asked for a solid date home and said he could not keep disappearing from communication for days or a week at a time. This is all compounded by the fact that he eased and tricked his way into getting me into the BDSM world so he could “mark” me, which was supposed to be a reminder of how he owned and loved me. Yes, I know, I really screwed the pooch here. I trusted a man who used the guise of BDSM to beat me into submission (including a tattoo of ownership in a very private area), while leaving painful, horrible bruises all over my body. I ask myself how I fell so far from who I was, to who he brain-washed me to be.
I have been grieving for over 2 weeks since my telling him I just could not do it anymore. I am so angry and hurt that my gut knew, but I continued to hold onto such an abusive relationship with hope. But, in the last 2 weeks, I have blocked him from all communication (that I have information on anyway), and have begun researching the information I need to work with legislators here in my state to make what he and others like him are doing a Class B Felony, Sexual Assault by Fraud. I am seeking justice in a way that will not embarrass or humiliate me to my profession, and not taking any chances of possibly being ’taken out’ by my socio ex.
While I know this is going to be a very long and difficult road, I will work tirelessly to help women and men who have been victimized by these sociopathic predators, their abusers. I’m trying desperately to use my anger and pain to create positive change, but some days are much more difficult than others. I’m starting a petition to gain support for new legislation to protect people from dangerous predators like this man.
I hope you can all forgive me for leaving the safety of this group last year by falling for his act again.


Folks participating on this site don’t blame you. We understand some of what you experienced. If you haven’t completely forgiven yourself, consider that you were deceived, manipulated, conned, and lied to. It sounds like you did a good job of getting away from him and keeping yourself safe once you clearly understood he is a liar and a fake. I admire your plans to make changes in the system to help and protect others. Are you familiar with J. M. Short’s work in that area?

Unless you have corroborating proof from a reliable source that your ex is retired special forces, it is likely he is lying about that, which is illegal – Military Imposter/Stolen Valor

You have experienced a profound loss to grieve. Maintaining No Contact is the best thing you can do for yourself. You will feel better sooner and have a good life interacting with people who care about your well being and who deserve to relate to you.

Rising Phoenix

So sorry for the late reply. Between the storms and going through being sad one minute and bursting into tears, to being angry the next and feeling stupid for caring at all, it has been daunting.

Thank you for your kind words and support. I feel like a yo-yo at the moment. I do not know for certain that he was in fact, special forces, but he is retired military. I have been with him on base picking up prescriptions, and have seen his paperwork (DD-214) for his retirement. He was at the EOD School when he retired but the special forces story could be just that, a story.

It appears that everything was a story, a lie, a game and I was just the target. It is difficult to understand my grief as it makes no sense. I am grieving a man and a relationship that was never real. How do I wrap my head around it?

I’m spending as much time as I can researching JM Short, Judith Herman, M.D., and more so I can work on legislation to make what he did to me (and numerous others) a crime. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but it seems to be the only solace I can find lately.


It’s good to hear from you. You sound strong and like you’re doing a good job of working towards recovery and taking care of yourself.

I felt some of what you describe – as though my grief made no sense because my marriage was all a lie, and feeling stupid for loving a fake person. A wise friend of mine said, “You loved the man he said he was,” which helped me. I eventually came to understand that we have experienced real losses, in addition to experiencing betrayal. The love he told you he felt for you, the promises he made to you, the relationship you thought you had were real things in your life. Losing them is a real loss to be grieved. Being betrayed is unbelievably painful; it is normal to feel anger at the one who betrayed our trust. There is nothing wrong with you for loving and bonding in a relationship – those are wonderful traits that work very well in a relationship with a good person who loves and values you.

Rising Phoenix

Thank you so much! I needed to hear that I was not so damaged that there was nothing left, even though that is how I feel (especially with the STI). You are right, the relationship I thought I had was real to me even if it was not for him. I’m so sorry for all you have been through as well, and I appreciate you being here, for me and for all the other women who are facing issues like mine and some far worse.


Ive been conversing with the mother of my ex’s first son. We talk about whT hes doing what ges done how we dont understand and how it is adfecting her son who is acting lie the father he sees only once a week. Ifinally left paul with our 12 year old son and got a place for just the 2 of us 3 months ago…i just needed to share this bit of the conversation somewhere to the outside world…its only a few years of the 16 year lie i lived with him. A snippet of the betrayal is told,but its so disturbimg anf overwhelming i couldnt keep it to my self…..
“I have found and kept about 10 emails since about 2012. Where paul paul has lied about me to his bosses his work mates etc..its fucking astounding!!!y..i apparently had cancer and was really bad..recovery was bad too  his work mates would ask how i was going in emails…he suffered from cancer too,  a different year to colleagues sent him emails about places to try different recoveries etc! !..but, and i quote ” theres nothing that cancer can   that briony hasn’t done  to me already, haha..”  He has told work that  I’ve disappeared for long periods of time with no contact over the years leaving him as a single dad…haha… with 2 ..yes 2 fu time  kids and a full time job!!! He cant find me, i just do a dissapearing act coz im a shit mum and a shit person obviously … see,  to quote him again ”  can’t get a hold of briony again…so much for shared custody “…what story has he told that makes everyone in his  work life think that paul, on top of his full time job…had full custody of thomas and justice.., i was missing…what about caroline did she disappear too. Or maybe he didnt tell people how many people he’d deliberately gotten pregnant while having no intention of them  being a real  family maybe i had two kids with him and deserted them all  .oh the sympathy he mustve recieved at work… …”  but then 1 email says  ive been flying to jakarta to sell my art for 2 weeks at a time so he is stuck with two kids again
….all this and he is pursuing  women at work while  keeping the pursuit strong with old work colleagues from other jobs & having, dinners ,lunches, social outings with groups of people he hid from me…he wouldnt even admit he had a female boss or co worker to me when i had the paper work in front of his face. he fucks the receptionist too and tells me they have left his work place when years later his friends tells a story about her at work  and paul has emails about requested meeting times in offices he hS accepted … one year when supposedly together hes fucking 2 or three of a group of female work  colleagues at then bringing them home for me to help train. I find he has looked them up on face book. Is invited and  goes to their birthdays…after work parties… He said a fat girl asked advice about workout so he helped her coz had been picked on dimped etc…i said mustve been a few good conversations to get to that. But how means and its good to help her…she wasnt fat she workouts all the ttime only dates people who are in relatio ships or only want flings and  advertises this on the internet. he then said she invited him to her birthday but he had no intention of going….he also (and this is the best one ) was asked to look her up on facebook and become friends…but he couldnt find her…i did,  in his searches of him finding her !?!?! some of his lies are ridiculously unbelievable , but he still denies the truth 100%  when facts are right there!
.. ive never, not 1nce been told about any thing like making a few friends having driks with them catching up for food. Being invited to parties..his work life is another seperate paul altogether  even with the emails ive seen he denies it all . He Conversed through work emails like  they were friends with benefits at more than one work place  …coz paul is a PENETRATION TESTER haha  how many conversations has he started using that line god just imagine….  and  he had actually moved back into the house telling me with only a  weeks notice.. (after throwing me across the lounge room.. into the shower
.. Threatening me physically abusing me emotionally… using Controlling tactics    all because he wanted to be hone  and he said  there was nothing i could do about it!!!  …..Theres no limit to any of it not the lies the manipulation the deceit the betrayal .. every aspect !!!!  HE IS A LIE  AN EMPTY SHELL REALLY wtf!!! 
I would have enough and say its over..he’d sleep in toms room for a few nights  but act likes nothing wrong. once i woke up and he was lying in bed next to me when I’d said the day before ” we are not together i dont want to sleep with you i dont want you to even touch me!” Who does that?!?!  He doesnt experience reall love its a word he uses to tie people emotionally to him … like his lack of empathy…they hold on for how it makes them look and feel in public…what pleasrue they get ot of it….ive always just been pauls fuck a good fuck apparently he can’t give up so is willing g to put ip with me getting pregnant etc..even moves in with me eventually…
All for sex……what does even  one say to that realiseation…he fucks multiple women at a time …making them all fall in love with him by saying and acting like they alone are his whole world. Just for  sex…so so  sad.

Well ..ive never known real love and ive never been in love with anyony one coz i  loved  someone who didnt exist. The person i see i front of me who hurt me in so many ways is definitely not the paul i got to know over the years and fell in love with..
 So hey at least at can still have a shot at my first real love if i want one day. He didnt take that away ?”

Rising Phoenix

I am so sorry for all you have been through, and I understand exactly what you are saying. When you talk about the multiple women at a time, making them all fall in love with him by saying and acting like they alone are his whole world, just for sex… took the words right out of my mouth! It is amazing that people like this can actually exist in a sane world, but then again, nothing about their world is what I would consider a sane world. They will never understand us or our pain, and we will never understand their sociopathic ways and lack of empathy to anyone. And….you are right, he did not take your ability to find real love, like mine did. I hope you are safe, well, and find the most amazing true love of your life with someone who deserves a beautiful and amazing woman like you!


My husband recently had a brief (one month) emotional affair with a coworker. D-day for us was February 9, 2017. Based on something that I saw in one of his emails to her, I am satisfied that I stopped things before it got sexual, though it was definitely heading that way.

The more I hear about her and the events leading up to D-day, the more I think she’s a sociopath who was targeting him. Of course, this does not absolve him of his responsibility and he knows that. She apparently would not take no for an answer, even though he repeatedly told her he loved me and what she was suggesting was wrong. His words: “I knew it was wrong and I told her so. She shot down every one of my concerns.”

It all began with my husband telling a few coworkers in the lunchroom about trips we had taken in the summer of 2016. On one of these trips, I accepted two trophies for a sports competition. She seemed to like the things he said, or the way he talked about us, or something, because very shortly thereafter she started to seek him out at work.

She began with love bombing and mirroring. She said he was interesting. She loved the sound of his voice. He was a snappy dresser. She liked the same kind of music he did. (Although, when I questioned him later, I asked if she could truly converse about the alternative music he likes, or if she just agreed with him when he talked it. He turned beet red and said all she ever did was nod her head and smile.)

Bless his little manheart, he was too dumb to see her for what she was. Constant flattery feels good when you’re getting older. She was in his office all the time. On his phone. Despite telling him how nice he dressed, she attempted to steer him into dressing skater boy style. (He’s in his mid-fifties.)

They apparently fought with each other even as they were trying to get together. He hated her endless attempts to change how he dressed and his hairstyle, but that wasn’t enough to prevent him from making out with her behind a closed office door during lunch.

So what kept him hanging around? The flattery and compliments. He said they were like a drug for him. He couldn’t wait to get to work to see what she’d say next. Yes, he was willing to deep-six our thirty plus years together for shallow compliments out of the mouth of a sociopath.

In hindsight, I saw a few oddities in his behavior one month prior to D-Day (January 2017), but nothing red-flaggish. He was home on time every night. He was attentive. Normal amounts of sex and cuddling. I think that’s what blows my mind the most about this whole thing. There were no real clues.

Anyway, I intercepted a damning email the evening of February 9, 2017. I also caught him sending her a gift for Valentine’s Day, which is when I blew the relationship up. He was contrite, actually on his knees at one point, sobbing, with his arms wrapped around my legs, begging me to forgive him.

We went at each other like mad badgers for two days before I made him call her and tell her it was over. He did as I asked with me present: “I told you this was a bad idea. I told you it was wrong, and you just wouldn’t listen to me, would you?”

My husband found out his coworkers had been talking about their closed (and locked) door meetings for weeks. He was quite embarrassed. The OW was terrified of losing her job. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. She is not taking the breakup well. I don’t know whether to be amused or terrified.
Her tactics to win him back change depending on her mood. Cold-eyed stares. Threats and insults. The silent treatment. Yesterday, she tried love-bombing again, but he ignored her. Apparently, she has a vein in the center of her forehead that throbs when she’s angry. It’s been throbbing a lot the last four weeks or so. My husband says he’ll go to her supervisor if she escalates things, but he’d have to grow a pair first.

I am struck by the fact that she doesn’t seem to understand that she can’t make him like her. She can’t make him want her. She doesn’t seem to understand that “what they had” is over. She told him, “I don’t like to be ignored. I don’t like to be dismissed. And I don’t like being swept under the carpet.” Shades of Fatal Attraction, right?

Now that he sees what she is, he wonders how he got sucked in. I wonder the same thing. We are working things out, I guess. I don’t know if I’ll ever trust him again. I don’t even know if I still love him, but his remorse, his attempts to make things right with me, seem sincere.

We’ll see.


I am sorry this happened to you. Emotional or otherwise, an affair is a deep betrayal and causes unbelievable pain.

It may be beneficial for you to focus on your husband’s behavior and his relationship with you, rather than on the object of his emotional fling and whether she is or isn’t a sociopath.

You might consider that you have only heard his account of what he and she did and didn’t do and say. He may have omitted things that you may consider important. He may not be describing her behaviors and what he said to her completely accurately.

Consider that he gave her a valentine’s gift, exchanged emails, he spent significant amounts of time interacting with her behind a locked door, he told her about his taste in music, he allowed her in his office all the time and allowed her to use his phone, etc.

Consider that he exhibited remorse and attempted to make things right after you caught him.

Consider whether you are comfortable in a marriage where you find yourself ‘making him call her and tell her it’s over,” to a man you believe needs to “grow a pair.”

Whatever she does or does not understand really does not have anything to do with your husband’s choice of behavior, past nor future. It sounds like he talked to you about her in detail, which takes the focus off of his choices and his behavior.

It is wise of you to consider whether you can ever trust him and whether you love him. His choice to break his marriage vows is a serious betrayal of your love and trust.

You may want to consider counseling individually, and maybe one day later on as a couple. There may be many good things about your marriage and your husband, so that it is worth saving. A good counselor can help one organize one’s thoughts and draw conclusions, and can lead to changes that will strengthen a marriage. It sounds like you don’t respect him now. Was respect for him lacking before his fling? It would take work to regain, or establish, respect for one another.


wisernow, as I read your story I was thinking the exact same thing as Annette said. Your husband is the one who seriously betrayed you. It’s true sociopaths can be very charming and seductive and will stop at nothing to target a romantic interest. However, since 4% or so of the population are sociopathic, chances are most married people will run across someone like this sooner or later. It’s a good opportunity to find out what made him vulnerable to seduction in the first place. Maybe working through all these emotions will make your marriage stronger.


I was married to an airline captain that like all NPDers promised me a beautiful & blissful life. He was actually quite good at hiding behind that mask until we bought a home together and married. Don’t get me wrong there were plenty of red flags but I was more interested in the beautifully crafted fantasy/lie life he painted so eloquently. He said he didn’t want any secrets bt us and wanted to know about every boyfriend/lover I had ever had and my experiences with them. He wanted to know why they worked or didn’t work. He wanted to know intimate details about my family history. He wanted to know about my children and their father. It appeared at first to be genuine interest but it soon became a competition and then in the end I was a slut. He wanted sex all the time. Every day and night for hours on end. He wanted me to organism over and over but he never would. He destroyed my relationship with my youngest daughter and tried, unsuccessfully, to do the same with my oldest daughter. He said it was him or her. He said horrible devaluing things about his 2nd ex wife not only to me but his own children. Everything he said about her I finally realized he was describing himself to me. By then it was too late to get away easily. My parents noticed there was something very off about him.. I played recorded audios of him raging and exploding for my parents. At that point my parents were afraid for the safety of me and my daughter. He spoke ill of his family members and yet when he was with him he was charming & accommodating. Once we left he would have outbursts in the car about them punching to dashboard and the steering wheel. I was terrified. He would verbally and emotionally abuse/attack his youngest son on a regular basis. His son didn’t want to come over anymore unless I was home. Actually he came over more when his dad was out of town. Once my family was aware of his behavior private detectives were put on his trail and it was discovered that he was covorting with several other forms of supply. Unfortunately I have to admit that I tried to keep things going but it was obvious this just wasn’t working well. Every time we’d go out he say he forgot his wallet. I paid for the wedding and the honeymoon. I paid for a great deal more as well. The devaluing insults and the highs and the lows were confusing but I knew I had to break away from it. I moved out of the master suite and moved into another part of the house that I was able to lock him out of. I had my own entrance so I could avoid running into him. Counseling with them is useless. They act like choir boys in counseling and turn the blame & shame on you. I wish I had been able to find a counselor who was very well seasoned in NPD but by now I know it wouldn’t have made any difference. They don’t want to change and will always be superior to you. You just have to remove yourself from them. My divorce took a year and I was able to get him out of the house. I finally got him to agree to sell the house. I had the locks changed and I myself moved out to another area entirely. He made it extremely difficult to sell the house and verbally attacked the buyers at the closing. I refused to be there. When he finally got around to retrieving his belongings from the house, all of which had been sitting in the garage for a year, he attacked the private detective I had posted there to inventory everything he took so he couldn’t take me back to court claiming some of his things were missing. Recovery from the NPD is a long and difficult road. It’s been 3 years for me now. I moved to another state. Sadly I do have CPTSD, anxiety attacks and nightmares. Recovery from this is easier said than done. I just haven’t been able to find a therapist that has any long standing experience with this to help me with recovery. I now understand narcissism and the sociopath but I don’t know how to help myself to recovery. If anyone can help me with this I’d be grateful. Good luck to all of you.


Your experience sounds beyond horrible, what a nightmare. How long were you together? Do you have any children together? Have you had any contact with him in the three years since you got away from him?

It sounds like you feel like the symptoms of PTSD that you are experiencing are not resolving as much as would be expected in three years. Do you feel 100% safe from him now? Is it possible that there is something that continues to threaten your safety? Do you fear that he might still try to harm you? If you have legitimate ongoing fear of harm, you are still experiencing ongoing trauma. You might consider if your anxiety is based on a subconscious awareness of his ongoing dangerousness to you. The Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker is a good book that may prompt you to consider details of your own situation.

It sounds like your ex resisted your choice to leave him and made things as difficult for you as he could. It sounds like he was fixated on fighting you. Could he be stalking you or spying on you? Does he know where you live and work? Could he be spying on your internet and email use? Could he be obsessed enough to try to harm you in some way? If he is required to pay alimony he may have a motive. Could he have been poisoning you in some way when you were still together and caused some of your health problems? I don’t know if any of this applies in your situation, but it may be worth considering if your anxiety is based on a legitimate subconscious fear of his motive and ability to harm you. It may be worth considering if your recovery from PTSD is blocked because you are not safe and are still experiencing trauma.


Hi LostnFraud, wow what a nightmare you dealt with. You should be so proud of yourself for all the steps you took to get this narcissist sociopath out of your life. You have done amazing things once you saw the true sign of him. Pat yourself on the back. Locking yourself into another part of the house was a huge step out of your relationship. I hope you recognize all the great decisions you made during this hellish time.

One thing that really stands out in your post is your statement:

“Sadly I do have CPTSD, anxiety attacks and nightmares.”

I think one of the major missing links to healing from domestic abuse is healing the body specifically the adrenal glands.

The adrenal glands regulate the body’s blood pressure, blood sugar, cortisol & adrenaline levels and over 50 hormones.

THE ARE A HUGE DEAL but often over looked by most doctors these days as the root issue of PTSD, anxiety, depression, anxiety attacks and sleep issues.

When the body is in continual stress (such as a toxic relationship) the adrenal glands work over time causing adrenal fatigue. Once the adrenal glands are fatigue symptoms will appear such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, sleep issues, memory loss etc etc. It’s a long list.

I was lucky enough to have been directed by a friend to a doctor who is familiar with adrenal fatigue. Within hours of taking a Rx of progesterone hormone and adrenal fatigue victims my anxiety was literally half…and within months my anxiety was gone. I

Look at sites like DrLam. com and Adrenal fatigue. org (my doctor gave me this sites vitamins) also google the words “adrenal fatigue”. Both of these doctors have books on the subject and their sites have lots of info

Google also “Dr Amen depression you tube

Look at a Endorchrinologist doctor to test you for hormonal imbalance, vitamin & mineral deficiency, cortisol test.

ALso google “Mia Lundin hormonal imbalance you tube” (about sleep issues)

It’s not all in your “mind” some of it has to do with you body still stressed out from the hell you endured.

How do you heal your adrenal glands?

It can take up to 6 months to two years to heal your adrenal glands.

Eat a good clean diet lots of veggies

No alcohol or drugs (until they are healed) obviously if you are on Dr Rx drugs you need to talk it over with you doctor.

Plenty of rest & relaxation

No excess exercise (many professional athletes end up with adrenal fatigue)

Donna Anderson of Lovefraud here as a consolation program for a small fee where you can talk with her on the phone. This might help you. Look under the “Contact tab” at the top.

Wishing you all the best, Take care

(note: have zero affiliation with the sites I posted above other then reading & using some of the vitamins given to me by my doctor)


ps There was a book that Donna of LF posted about a Pilots wife who’s husband was a sociopath. That might help you also. Cant find the name but if you send a message to Donna she’ll be able to give you the book title.


Here is the book title: The Secret Life of Captain X: My Life with a Psychopath Pilot

I think this is the authors site: Psychopath survivor. com (???).

If you do a search here on love fraud you might find more info. Not sure if the book will help but if you do decide to read it, it might fill in some of the gaps you were wondering about while he was away on trips.


Here is a list of symptoms of Adrenal fatigue from Dr Lam. com site:

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome can present itself in association with any of the following signs, symptoms, or conditions. Because there is no definitive laboratory test for this potentially debilitation condition, always be the alert if you have any significantly number of the following symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue.

Not everyone has all of the conditions or symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue listed below. The number varies from person to person, but if you take a step back and look from afar, they collectively paint a picture of a body under threat. The higher the prevalence or intensity of the items listed below, the higher the chances that you may have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.

Characteristic Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
Waking up in the middle of the night for no reason
Heart palpitations at night or when stressed
Consistently low blood pressure
Low libido and lack of sex drive
Low thyroid function, often despite thyroid medications
Feeling of hypoglycemia though laboratory values are normal
Depression, often unresolved after anti-depressants
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Uterine fibroids
Fibrocystic breast disease
Hair falling off for no reason
Irritable under stress
Panic attacks
Feeling “wired” and unable to relax
Feeling of adrenaline rushes in the body
Foggy thinking
Inability to handle stress
Waking up feeling tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep
Feeling tired in the afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 pm
Inability to take in simple carbohydrates
Needing coffee to get going in the morning and throughout the day
Coffee, tea or energy drinks triggering adrenaline rush and adrenal crashes
Feeling tired between 9:00 and 10:00 PM, but still finding it hard to go to bed
Craving for fatty food and food high in protein
Craving for salty food such as potato chips
Dry skin more than usual
Unexplained hair loss that is diffuse
Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
Chemical sensitivities to paint, fingernail polish, plastics
Electromagnetic force sensitivity, including cell phone and computer monitors
Delayed food sensitivities, especially to dairy and gluten
Unable to get pregnant, requiring IVF
Post partum fatigue and depression
Recurrent miscarriages during first trimester
Abdominal fat accumulation for no apparent reason
Temperature intolerance, especially to heat or sunlight
Dysmenorrhea advancing to amenorrhea
Premature Menopause
Constipation for no apparent reason
Joint pain of unknown origin
Muscle mass loss
Muscle pain of unknown reason
Cold hands and feet
Premature aging skin
Inability to concentrate or focus
Psoriasis of no known reason
Gastritis despite normal gastroscopy
Low back pain with no history of trauma and normal examination
Dizziness for no known cause
Fructose mal-absorption
Chronic Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
Numbness and tingling in extremities bilaterally
Recurrent mouth sores
Shortness of breath even though breathing is fine
Presence of ovarian cyst
Cancer as a result of estrogen dominance is one of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Breast cancer associated with estrogen dominance
Grave’s disease
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Legs that feel heavy at times
Dark circles under eyes that do not go away with rest
Loss of healthy facial skin tone color
Body feeling tense all over and unable to relax
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia
Irritable Bowl Syndrome, with more constipation than diarrhea
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome unimproved with medicine
Fibromyalgia unresolved after conventional help
Systemic Candida that gets worse when under stress
Electrolyte imbalance despite normal laboratory values
Irregular menstrual cycle that “stops and goes”
Lyme Disease but unable to fully recover after medication or intolerance to drugs
H. Pylori infection in the past and was told resolved but never feel the same since
Heavy metal and mineral toxicity may mimic Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome


Jan7 thank you for all of the information. I’m going to try and find the book. I did, finally, see a Dr for adrenal, thyroid & hormone issues. When I was living with the Captain I lost a tremendous amount of weight and had chronic diarrhea. I remember one day I had picked up my step son to go the the movies and when we got out of the car and he saw me he said, “oh my God you’ve lost more weight!” One evening at dinner he confessed that he was afraid that he was becoming like his father. He said he was being short tempered and cruel to his friends. I purchased and gave him books on narcissism. He read them in earnest and wanted to discuss them. He recorded the Captain’s explosive verbal attacks and played it for his mother. She said she wouldn’t get involved. I think she knew how lucky she was to be rid of him and realized she had to maintain minimal contact. Additionally he told her to parent her way in her house & he would parent his way in his house. When we first got together he had been sending her emails that admittedly I did type for him. The emails were about her not interfering with his new life and not to contact him unless it was an emergency regarding the children. At times the emails were rather severe and I cautioned him to either not say certain things at all or to re phrase. When his oldest son asked about the emails the Captain told him I had written them. Yes, I did type them as he paced back and forth dictating to me but I certainly did not author them. The lies, deceit and manipulation only grew worse with time. He thought he had my family fooled. During one of their visits he cornered my mother and told her my daughter had to move out of the house. That she was old enough to be out on her own and that she was not contributing to the household. He wanted her to pay him in cash to live there. So I decided to have her pay the utilitties and her groceries. He became very angry and started yelling at me, “How does that benefit me? What do I get out of it?” I owned half of the house. Paid cash for my half. I told him she could live in my half of the house. He retorted with, “I want to be able to walk around my house naked & I can’t do that.” I asked him if he walked around the house naked when he was with his ex and the boys. He said he did when the boys were at school and his ex was at work. He said my daughter was always home. I told him she had a job and was going to school and that at those times he had the opportunity to be naked. Of course he always had an argument. I would comment to him that he always had his book of excuses and reasoning for his selfishness. After a fashion I started to behave like him and then ask him how he liked the taste of his own poison. Once I felt I had made my point I just stopped contact with him. As I said earlier I locked him out of my space and life. By the time I got myself to a Dr she said she couldn’t believe I hadn’t been to the ER after getting my labs back. Since moving to another state I haven’t found an alternative Dr yet. My concern is that even with the hormone pellets and progest, thyroid Rx and adrenal support my body still hurts. Loss of muscle mass has been great and joints are very painful. I wake up with my body very tense and I still have fatigue. I tried exercise but was unable to do it. I would collapse for days afterward. While I was with the Captain I lost 40 pounds but now I’ve gained it all back but not in a good way. I still can’t drive and often am confused and disoriented. I really want my life back but it just isn’t happening. Memory is better but not great by any measure. I do not handle stress at all well, have anxiety attacks and palpitations. The list goes on. I wish I knew how to overcome the C-PTSD. Therapists say to stop telling the story and re-living it. That’s the best they can do? The neuro psych prescribes meds and says to get with a good therapist and a support group but has no recommendations. I find this deplorable & inexcusable from so called professionals in their field. There has to be a way out. I’ve tried EMDR for about 4 months once a week. It helped clear out some things but not enough. I ask myself, “not enough of what?” What is it and how do I overcome it? I’ve read HD Tudor’s work and although that helps you understand the disorder it doesn’t help the healing. Again, thank you for the huge effort in getting information to me.


Lostnfraud, a true nightmare you lived. So glad you & your children escaped. With regards to your daughter, your ex knew that she could expose him to the world so he was trying to not only isolate you to control you but use triangulation against you & your oldest. Very sad for both your & your daughter.

My ex did the same thing in the car. If I asked him nicely to “slow down” he would speed up & weave in and out of traffic. One of the last times I was with him, I asked him to slow down because we were driving down a mountain pass with ice on the road. His response was to speed up at times to 100 mph and when we hit ice and started to slid I was thinking rapidly what was the best means to not get killed when the car rolled. So crazy that I stayed but not long after this I escaped. That is what they want…they want us to be terrified so they have control over us.

Look into the book; Eat to live by Dr Joel Fuhrman.

Also google Eat to live PBS and maybe Dr Joel Fuhrman PBS.

His methods work to restore your body depleted vitamin & minerals and will give you your energy back. He has a website and helps people all over the world. You dont have to go to his office he can work with you over the phone. He is a good guy & practices what he preaches. When I went to him he charged $500 and looking back it was well worth it. It seemed every expensive but I was desperate to get my health back. He was recommended by my Internal medicine doctor. At the time I could not even get out of bed and like you my memory was shot. I could not even remember that I had the phone in my hand let alone where I set the phone down in the house. This is what stress does to the body. This is what sociopath do to their victims long term all intentionally to have control over us.

Donna Anderson here at love fraud has written several post about “Tapping” for your anxiety. Do a search on the top about tapping. Several people have written in to say it really does work. Donna Anderson not to long ago posted a post that the “Tapping” company was having free “tapping” work shop over the net. She posted the info. Maybe it will help you also.

I’m truly sorry that you were sucked into this con artist sociopath dysfunctional world. It’s so hard to believe that he made it to a top level of an airline without being flagged as a sociopath. I have friends that work as pilots for the airline and they started out on commuters & took psychological written testing to get hired to weed out these types (so we thought). So scary that he is given the authority position in the cockpit and over the co pilot & the flight attendance too. He must be a nightmare to go on trips with.

As for the emails to his ex wife. That is what sociopaths do…they suck everyone in so unsuspecting then turn around & blame the innocent person like yourself. I think you are correct, his ex wife knew to follow the “low contact rule” with regards to her son. But it’s really ashame that she let her son walk into the lions den with her ex husband. Thank goodness you were in the home & were so kind to the son so at least he had some normalcy there and had a good person to guide him to what is narcissism. You were a positive impact on his young life. You should be very proud of yourself for how you treated their son.

It’s so hard to find a good therapist. Donna Anderson here at Lovefraud did a questionnaire not to long ago asking for input about this very subject. Like you state dont ever go to couples therapy with a sociopath. My ex twisted everything around with lies so I looked like the crazy one. I told our counselor day one when she met with us separately that he was going to manipulate her….she stated “he cant manipulate me”…guess what = he manipulated her!! It’s so crazy looking back that I was actually trying to “save” our marriage when I was completely exhausted & wanted him out of my life. The sociopath know how to keep you tied to them.

If you look in the right column on the “blog” page I reposted the book review of “The Secret Life of Captain X: My Life with a Psychopath Pilot” for you to read.

take care,


My marriage was rocky and I made a new friend who understood me completely. He asked me so many questions about myself, things even my husband had never asked. I received constant messages and visits and he told me all about his unhappy marriage. He was charming, funny and said everything I wanted to hear. He loved me and wanted to be with me. The constant eye contact and tactile presence. Once I left my husband he moved quickly. We were only together a while when he told me the good news that he had started seeing someone else. Another friend of his. And he was leaving his wife for her. He wanted to tell me his good news first because I was his favourite person. Since then we’ve bern together again. He says he knows I can’t say no to him. The sex is very rough and leaves me bruised. He seems to like this. I’ve been invited out with him and his girlfriend. He knows I won’t tell her anything. He is still with his wife but his girlfriend thinks they will be together openly soon. I feel like I am having my nose rubbed in it. He made me feel so important and showered me with attention but just like a switch went off I now only see him when he wants something. He has made me feel worthless. I thought he was my best friend and I shared everything with him but now he is like a different person. One who seems to delight in making me feel bad and putting me in uncomfortable situations. On top of my marriage breakdown I feel like he took advantage for sport

Rising Phoenix

I am so very sorry this happened to you. I would ask if we have the same sociopath in our lives, but it appears that most sociopaths exhibit very similar, if not identical, behavior patterns. The only difference between your situation and mine is that he never admitted that he was really married, and the only reason he admitted having an affair was because I found all her things in his house. I know it may be hard, but in my opinion, you must break all contact completely. The situation you are in is terrible and again, I am so sorry. The game predators play is one very similar to a cult leader or white collar criminal. They can wear any mask that suits them based on their particular situation. For your own sanity, health, and well-being, please get away from this man. I don’t want to see you or anyone else go through what I did for 4 1/2 years. You are NOT worthless, but I do understand the feeling as I’ve been through it. You can get away from him, you can make a change. You are strong and beautiful, even if you do not believe that right now. Keep telling yourself that you are strong and beautiful. The things we continually reinforce in our lives, good and bad, can lead us down a positive or negative path, but you are here and you are worthy! You can do this!


Thanks so much for this article. I recently got involved with a girl 3 weeks ago that seemed so cool and interesting, but kind of emotionally unavailable. She told me of her economic hard times and the kids she has to support. I fell for it hook, line and sinker and my wallet is a lot lighter now.

I didn’t see it at the time but there were lies left and right. Lies on top of lies that even when you confronted her with the truth to her lie she’d lie more. Wow had no idea I was dealing with a sociopath, I thought I was just an idiot.

Rising Phoenix

I am very sorry you have been affected by this female sociopath. You are far from an idiot! You are a kind and compassionate man who chose to trust someone, who at the time, seemed to be genuine. Try to remember that sociopaths are experts at deceit, trickery, and fraud. This is how they make their living (in many cases). I was taken for well over $30,000.00 and believed my socio-ex over and over again. Through much research, I found that my socio-ex is violating the Stolen Valor Act on top of many other infractions, so please believe in yourself and do not let this woman change the kind and generous person you are!

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