I’m addicted to him

Editor’s note: The following was posted as a comment by the Lovefraud reader “Zootowngirl.” She eloquently expressed ideas that many other readers can certainly understand.

I read the articles and comments posted on and I see my life, or parts of it, described over and over again. I see things my ex did (or didn’t do) written in the words of other people. I see myself in their stories. Often I find myself thinking, “Thank God my experience wasn’t that bad or that long,” and other times I nod my head in silent, humiliated understanding that comes with first hand knowledge of the horror stories people share.

My ex has the most beautiful soul. He is kind and compassionate and loving. He is the most thrilling person I’ve ever known. Until he’s not. When he’s upset or inconvenienced or, God forbid, angry, he turns into someone cold and hostile. His comments are scathing, filled with razor sharp words that open veins in my heart and leave me gasping at the pain. He is a master at flaying open my emotions and then disavowing any responsibility or ill intent. He used to tell me that I didn’t understand what he meant, that I was hysterical, or that I twisted his meaning for my own passive aggressive purposes. Maybe I was passive aggressive. Never mind the “maybe.” I was passive aggressive. That’s what happens when I can’t ask for what I need without being rejected or ridiculed or told that I am selfish for expecting something from him. I’d like to blame him for it but I’m the boss of me. I’m the one who made the choice to be passive aggressive. I have to own that. And I have to own that I still don’t fully fathom the impact he’s had on me.

I’m an addict.

I’m addicted to him.

I’m addicted to the way I feel when I’m with him the good, not the bad, though sometimes I believe I would accept the bad in order to also have the good. Maybe, possibly, if I’m just good enough and try hard enough and all the stars are aligned then maybe I’ll get some of the good. He’s so misunderstood, you see? He tells me so and so I have to believe that I’m just not giving him enough credit or being fair or being realistic. And he has ”legitimate excuses” for everything he does or doesn’t do. He was depressed. Then there was the physical pain: his elbow, his back, his guts. Then there was the dizziness that came and went, sometimes confining him to bed with the remote and sometimes miraculously disappearing just when something entertaining was planned. Then there was the encroachment of his privacy after we had to get roommates in order to help pay the rent because we only had my disability income to live on and all the money left to me by my father was gone at last. Then there were the accusations of flirting and disloyalty on my part that made him sad and sent him back into that depression. Then there was the day he called me a “stupid f*cking c*nt” and told me that he “deserved better from the woman who supposedly loved him.” Except I wasn’t supposed to internalize those words because he was just processing his thoughts about the anger he’d felt over something trivial and thought he could share that processing with me. But he didn’t explain that he was recalling his thoughts or just processing them and wondering why he’d thought and felt those things. He just said the words aloud and left me to sit with them for 2 weeks and then, when I finally broke down in tears over them said, “What?! Oh God! I was just describing what I felt at the time! Not what I think of you!” and the logic of that escaped me because the words had had 2 weeks to sit inside of me, carving themselves into my cells. Eight months later, they still echo in my head almost every hour of every day. But I’m not allowed to be hurt or be upset by them because, of course, they’re not true. He was just processing his feelings. I’m supposed to be glad he did that, right? That’s what women want, right? A man who will process his feelings with her.

I’m addicted to the memory of him when he was in a good mood and loved me.

I’m addicted to the energy and space he took up in every place we were together.

I was addicted to the constant texting and phone calls that happened before we lived together and the roller coaster drama of trying to prove that he should choose me and not that other woman because she’s a liar and a cheat while I’m faithful and devoted and loyal and dedicated no matter what he does or says or what promises he broke in the 3 years before we lived together.

I was addicted to proving that I’m good enough and that I can accept and forgive and love him unconditionally while he spent time trying to decide between us, despite having gone back on his assurance that he was going to give her up and come be with me a half dozen times or more.

I was addicted to putting him back together after she chewed him up and spit him out and to being his best friend while he agonized over how much she hurt him and to being the woman he turned at last to because he suddenly realized that I’m the right choice and I’m the perfect person for him.

I was addicted to riding out his struggle with commitment and his inability to plan for the future because so many other women have hurt him and left him and devastated him.

I was addicted to proving to him that I’ll stand by him always, no matter the hardship, no matter the tests he throws my way, no matter the pain he causes.

I was addicted to martyring myself to his cause, to being the true blue girl in his life.

I’m addicted to him the way a child is perversely compelled to continuing to love the father that abused her and the mother that abandoned her, always going back for more, always desperate to prove she is worthy of their love because she thinks that if she just loves well enough or loves the right way then love won’t continue to hurt her the way it does now.

I’m addicted to continuing to send messages to his phone from my email. He makes unfair statements and I get angry and find myself glad that I broke up with him and just when I start to think I did the right thing he lifts me up with loving words and apologies and I sob over the fact that I’m the horrible person who “destroyed his life”

I’m addicted to the way he says, “It was my fault for not loving you well enough baby,” as if somehow that love will seep into me from the computer screen and make it possible for me to trust myself again ”¦ after so many do-overs and so many 2nd chances that the idea of it only being a “second” chance is laughable. More like a 30th or 40th chance.

I’m addicted to being able to tell him exactly how much pain he caused me without any immediate consequence and watching his apologies and regret appear in my chat window ”¦ knowing that he’ll manage to turn things around so they become guilt trips rather than accountability ”¦ and praying that it won’t happen because that might be a sign from God that he’s sincerely sorry and things would be different this time. This 41st second chance.

I’m addicted to apologizing ”¦ to feeling guilty ”¦ to punishing myself ”¦ to hating myself for ending our relationship ”¦ for ending my dream ”¦ so that he’ll understand that I really did love him. I just have to love him from a distance now because I can’t live in a home where both of us hate me. It’s painful enough that I hate myself for not being good enough for him, that I hate my inadequacy and my inability to live up to even his most basic expectations.

I’m addicted to reminding myself that he almost punched me in the face once, to reminding myself that that is reason enough to have left him. And I’m addicted to being angry at him because he says, “But I didn’t actually hit you!” I’m angry at him for that because it’s the lamest response I can think of to an act of aggression that could have turned into an act of violence. And I’m angry because I’m addicted to telling myself, “It could have been worse. So many people have it so much worse. Just let it go. He didn’t actually hit you.”

I’m addicted to trying to take less responsibility for the way my life turned out ”¦ to blaming him for what hurts me. And I’m addicted to being angry at myself for the way my life turned out ”¦ and angry at myself for blaming him for what hurts me. I’m addicted to that anger because I’m accountable for myself and my life and for what I allow ”¦ and no matter how much I felt like I loved him ”¦ I was supposed to love myself first and best and I didn’t.

I’m addicted to my new reality ”¦ the reality in which nothing seems right without that drama and chaos even though this calm, quiet, peaceful life is healthier and safer and more trustworthy. Even though this life is beautiful. And I’m angry at myself for this particular addiction more than anything else.

That’s how I know I’m an addict. I’m a co-dependent, enabling, door mat of an addict.

Because when I say that I miss the way I felt when I was with him ”¦ I know that’s my addiction doing the talking.

Because when I’m honest with myself I can say that most days I felt desperate to prove to him that I was worthy of his notice.

Most days I felt like a piece of worthless garbage.

Most days I felt like I was a stupid f*cking c*nt and that he deserved better than me.

And that may not be entirely his fault ”¦ because I participated.

But most days I felt incapable of being anything other than that worthless piece of garbage and I don’t know how someone who “supposedly” loved me could not see that there was something wrong.

I know I’m an addict ”¦ because I was willingly living on scraps ”¦”¦ and I was starving ”¦ and it was killing me ”¦ and I miss that feeling of dying.

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389 Comments on "I’m addicted to him"

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Zootown: I think it is perfectly acceptable to admit you were a victim. Victims have to work hard to become survivors, but there is nothing wrong with being in the victim stage as long as necessary in my opinion. Too many people revictimize victims by trying force us to act like we don’t feel and that is wrong for our hearts and minds.

Serenity: I promise you she will be you in a few weeks, months, years…however long he/she stay together. When I divorced my first husband, I read an ancient proverb and I will never forget it. It is as follows:

One tear crossed paths with another tear. The first tear asked the second tear, “Where did you come from?” The second tear answered, “I am coming from a woman whose man has left her. Where are you coming from?” The first tear answered, “I am coming from the woman who got him?”

Their M.O. is the same in every relationship. The only variance may be to pretend to like something with the new person that you didn’t like because she does. They are chameleons. They cause many different tears in many different people. But, THEY are always the reason for those tears.

Thanks that makes a lot of sense and I’ll keep repeating that to myself….he told me everyday even to the bitter end that it was ME who was the liar, cheater, manipulator and I KNEW that wasn’t the case but when people start to tell you something enough you start to believe it…I spent too long proving to him I was a good person and I’m learning now through uncovering his lies that he was accusing me of what HE was guilty of…Its SO FRICKEN SICK!! It hurts!! He was SO angry with ME in the end after all HE did wrong(I’m assuming this was the discarding phase) and kept saying “I will learn from this relationship and never repeat my mistakes” it made me feel terrible:(

When I uncover things, mine becomes indignant and loudly proclaims that I am a SNOOP for finding out. I used to try to talk to him like he is normal. Now I know he isn’t. The person who finds out isn’t in the wrong.

Even when I do the wrong thing, I know I am the one responsible for that choice. That is the difference between us and them. We feel bad about it if we made a mistake. They relish in the ownership and playing with many people and breaking the rules. They enjoy the game of it, like pitting the last one, the current one, and the next one against each other when all of us are not the problem, the one making his/her choice to play games is wrong. Not the people who find out about it. Mine goes from charm to smarm to rejection. I went through about 18 months of trying to find the cure when there is no cure.

Lately, I just tell him that he is very transparent and is no different than any other person doing, or having done, the things he does. I tell him that there are hundreds of books that describe his personality and M.O. EXACTLY and that there are a million of him. I believe the estimate is that there are about 4 million of them, and I think that is low when we look at the variations of having no conscience.

I make it super clear to him that he is not special or unique in his raging, name calling, or lying. He is simply doing the same thing others just like him are doing every day to manipulate and control others. They really hate that. The fact that when we know them and we gain enough knowledge, we “read” them pretty well most of the time.

Now, when mine says something nice out of the blue, I say, “What do you want? You can just ask for it, but you will have to accept that the answer may be no.” He slumps out of the room. When he says something cruel, I say, “Go away” and he slumps out of the room. I rarely even bother to “explain” anything to him anymore. He knows I know. It has taken away a lot of his power. That, and the fact, that he is old and sick and has run out of money to burn and chickadees to smarm.

Are you still in contact with him? I’m thinking there’s a child involved? That must be hard. At least we weren’t married and had no children so I can “walk away” as everyone says…its not that easy. The memories HAUNT me! I’ve been reading a lot about PTSD and neuroplastisity.

Lol I agree he HATES hearing about the knowledge I have surrounding his SO predictable behavior!!

Not “with” him as a relationship. Allowing him to live in a separate room on my property for money. No children and no marriage. A previous boyfriend who was always a spath, but I didn’t know everything he was up to then, and still got rid of him because I got tired of his withdrawal of support when I needed him during a traumatic experience at work.

Then, flash forward many years and I needed money so asked him if he wanted to move back in. He’s worse. He’s ill and in the hospital right now. I am in the process of deciding if it is worth the money to let him come back or dump him on the VA.

He pays me a lot this time. This time, I have leverage and my price was high. I have had sociopath strangers live here and I have had him and he usually comes out on top by comparison. I live in a little hillbilly town I can’t wait to move out of when my home is paid off and the pickens are slim when it comes to tenants.

He leaves me alone if I leave him alone. At first, three years ago when he came back into my life, I was told all of the same BS we are all told. Oh, how he had missed me. Oh how he loved me. He was different now. Blah-Blah-Blah. I believed some of it, but not all. He thought I believed it, though. The month he moved in, he turned into Mr. Hyde. It was a shock, but not enough to stop taking his money to live here.

At first, I tried to “talk it out” and we all know how that ends. For the last few months, I have separated myself from him more and more. He can’t get into my place. Heck, he can’t walk without a walker now. He becomes more and more harmless with age and I need to eat so here we are.

The books I am reading, the articles here, the sharing here are all helping me figure out what to do and how I will do it. I guess I am lucky because I honestly don’t love him any more. Seeing that he is a cookie cutout of all of the other spaths by informing myself has helped. He certainly isn’t unique or special. But he wants to live here and I need the inflated rent I charge him. He owes everybody money and wants to be “off the radar” so again, I have leverage here.

I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I know I won’t be taken for a ride financially. He took me for one last ride emotionally, but that is over for me. This time, he hooked me with money. I need that more than I need love right now.

I hear what this person is saying. For a time, we have to play a role and cooperate in our own exploitation in order to be in an ongoing relationship with a sociopath. We have to deny reality. We have to believe their concocted stories over our own gut. I think many women I know who have been with this personality type have simply lost themselves somehow.

I’ve read that some abuse victims become addicted to the cycle of being abused and then experiencing the abuser’s remorse or guilt (at least the display of these emotions). They are being wounded all the while anticipating the soothing apologies, promises, tears, and declarations of love that will come later. It’s a very destructive and life-wasting cycle.

But humans become addicted to all kinds of things: drugs, work, people, relationships. You name it. I think we (people stuck in relationships with sociopaths and people like them) must have this kind of awakening to get up and get out of dysfunctional relationships. We shield ourselves from reality so we can hang onto the good feelings we get from a person who has probably spent their entire life reading people and manipulating people. They are experts, if not by study by instinct.

My ex-boyfriend wasn’t a particularly intelligent or eloquent guy but he was a predator, like an animal, he could sense vulnerability in people. He just kept pressing for his agenda no matter what. I started out thinking I was being loved. In the end, I realized I was being devoured.

Zootowngirl, try and relax a little. These intrusive distressing thoughts are a hallmark ofPTSD as of course you will be aware. Your very awareness of your symptoms and the clarity with which you describe your trauma suggests you are not losing your mind, despite the trauma this toxic individual has brought about in your life. Try and remember that he ends and you begin. The feeling that you are fused is an illusion brought on by trauma bonding. Read all you can find on that subject, go easy on yourself and take good care today.

Zootowngirl: I hope no one here has made you feel any different than we all feel. Your lists, dreams, feeling, PTSD and Depression…I have the same ones.

I brought up an article yesterday about writing because I found that writing in a journal when I woke up helped me get it out for a long time. Read every book you can find that appeals to you. They don’t have to be about spaths, but there are some good ones out there. I have also found the books about “The Highly Sensitive Person” very helpful as well as books by Judith Orloff and intuition.

You are getting better just by coming here, reading articles, and writing your thoughts and feelings. Even feeling horrible, crying, mind racing, feeling like you can’t get out of bed are truly “normal” after dealing with these people and thinking they were/are capable of loving others. Read. Become addicted to reading books for you. Become addicted to realistic love and rid yourself of the fantasies we are fed that make us targets for these people. And write. Get addicted to writing.

Every morning for almost 40 years, I don’t feel I can possibly get up. I was moved to a terrible place where I did not fit in as a teen and terrible things have happened to me ever since. Now, I have bought the Jon Kabat-Zinn books and CDs on Mindfulness and almost every time I wake up, I let myself ruminate for a few minutes and then I grab my MP3 player which I keep next to me in my bedroom and I listen to at least one section of a Kabat-Zinn CD to get my mind centered. His “Mindfulness for Depression” which comes with a CD is THE best book I have found for Depression. Keep working. Your thoughts and feelings of despair you have posted are work and you continue working at this. Getting a quarter inch better is still getting better. I know. For years I couldn’t see that I was working at getting better I felt so terrible. I could no longer cry by myself. Then, a year later I could cry by myself. I had worked hard to get there. All of your despair and sharing it here IS work. So keep up the good work.

I have that book and cd fight. The first time I did the body scan exercise I realised my body had been tense for many months. The relief was so great, just to feel relaxed. Kabat Zinn does good work.

Hi Tea Light: Yes, he does. I have read so much for decades and I was so happy to have found his stuff. My favorite thing about him is that he does such a good job of reminding me that my mind is gong to wander like crazy and that is just fine. I still get benefit from his CDs nearly every time I listen to one…even if my mind will wander. There is nothing like having a calm, steady voice like his to listen to any time of the day or night. His insight into Depression is the best I have read.

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