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By | August 17, 2009 73 Comments

Joey Buttafuoco, his libel lawsuit, and the truth

Joey Buttafuoco and his attorney held a press conference last week to announce their intention to file a lawsuit against Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Mary Jo, of course, just came out with her book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull—Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know. The first words in the book are, “Joey Buttafuoco is a sociopath.” Joey believes he has been defamed.

If Joey proceeds with the lawsuit, he will probably claim libel. Libel is publishing an untruth about another person that harms the person, or harms his or her reputation. (Libel is the written or broadcast form of defamation. Slander is oral defamation.)

Generally, two main defenses are available in a libel case. First is the truth. The truth is an absolute defense against a claim of libel.

Second is if the person claiming to be defamed is a public figure. When a public figure attempts to claim libel, he or she must prove “actual malice,” meaning that the person being sued knew the statement was false and published it anyway.

Let’s look at how both of these defenses could apply in the Buttafuoco case.

Public figure

A lawyer could probably argue that Joey Buttafuoco is a public figure, especially as it relates to everything that happened in this case. After 16-year-old Amy Fisher shot Mary Jo in the face, and with the ensuing media circus, Joey became a minor celebrity. Here’s how Joey tried to capitalize on his celebrity:

  • In 2002, Joey participated in Fox Network’s Celebrity Boxing.
  • In 2006, Joey and Amy Fisher were reunited at the Lingerie Bowl.
  • In 2007, a reality show producer suggested that Joey and Amy Fisher were “reunited,—”possibly hoping for a TV deal.
  • Joey also appeared in six movies: Cul-de-Sac, Finding Forrester, The Underground Comedy Movie, Mafia Movie Madness, Skin Walker and Operation Repo: The Movie.

Definition of a sociopath

But let’s look at the prime defense in libel cases: the truth. Here, it would be helpful to see exactly what was said at the press conference announcing the lawsuit.

Joey’s attorney, Stacie Halpern, of Halpern and Halpern, Winnetka, California, either does not understand what the term “sociopath” means, or he’s positioning the case to argue the definition. He says, “Sociopath, in our society, is deemed to be somebody that is somewhat of a monster, somebody you would not want to be in a room with by yourself, somebody that you would not trust with any of your goods.”

The clinical definition of a sociopath does not include the word “monster.” When most professionals use the term “sociopath,” they are referring to someone who has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Here is the definition of antisocial personality disorder according to The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV):

A person can be diagnosed as antisocial if since age 15 he or she has shown a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others. The person must have indicated at least three of the following:

  • Failure to conform to lawful social norms
  • Deceitfulness
  • Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
  • Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicted by repeated physical fights or assaults
  • Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  • Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
  • Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent about having hurt, mistreated or stolen from another.

Joey Buttafuoco’s behavior

Does Joey fit the bill? Here’s Joey’s public record:

  • When Mary Jo got shot, Joey first denied that he was having an affair with Amy Fisher and accused the cops of lying. He was later convicted of statutory rape and served four months in jail.
  • In 1995, he was charged with soliciting a prostitute. He pleaded no contest, was fined and placed on two years probation.
  • In 2004, he pleaded guilty to auto insurance fraud. He was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation.
  • In 2005, he was charged with illegal possession of ammunition. He served almost four months in jail.

Mary Jo relates more incidents in her book that would also indicate sociopathic traits:

  • When Mary Jo was nine months pregnant and riding in a car with Joey, he was pulled over by a cop, and as the officer approached the car, Joey stepped on the gas and took off. When the cops caught him again, Joey wanted Mary Jo to lie and tell them she was going into labor.
  • Joey developed a serious cocaine habit and signed their home over to his dealer.
  • Joey took out a $60,000 loan to buy a cigarette boat without consulting his wife. Years later, when he couldn’t make the payments and couldn’t sell the boat, he solved the problem by declaring bankruptcy—again without telling his wife.

In my opinion, a professional looking at Joey Buttafuoco’s lifetime pattern of behavior would probably conclude that he has antisocial personality disorder.

Common usage of “sociopath”

But perhaps Halpern intends to argue that in common usage, people associate the word “sociopath” with a deranged serial killer. And because of the general misunderstanding of what the term actually means, calling Joey Buttafuoco a sociopath is libelous.

This, of course, is the misconception that most of us had before we tangled with one of these disordered individuals. And that is exactly the reason why Mary Jo Buttafuoco wrote the book—to bring attention to what this disorder actually is, and how many millions of sociopaths are out there, causing untold pain to the people around them.

For those of us who have lived with sociopaths of our very own, it’s easy to recognize Joey’s behavior patterns in Mary Jo’s book—now that we know what to look for. But all of us were once ignorant, which was why we didn’t recognize the warning signs, and didn’t get out of our own relationships quickly. Some of us were in relationships with these predators for 10, 20, 30, even 40 years before we realized the truth—our partner was a sociopath.

It took Mary Jo 17 years to figure it out—and it was her son who first recognized the actual issue. Then, like many of us, she researched the term, saw the list of characteristics, and finally knew what she’d been dealing with for so long.

Message getting through

Like many of us, once Mary Jo realized there was an explanation for her ex-husband’s bizarre behavior, she felt she had a message to deliver about what a sociopath was and how sociopaths behaved. But this woman had something that most of us don’t have: a well-known name and media connections. Mary Jo already spent a lot of time in the spotlight. Now she’s in the spotlight again, educating people about this personality disorder.

“I realized that people need to know about this,” she said in an interview on PR.com. “That’s the point of drudging it all up and re-living it, and going out there. It’s more that there’s a message there that needs to be delivered. I was with a sociopath my whole life and I didn’t know it.”

Mary Jo’s message is getting through. Lovefraud received the following e-mail two days ago:

I was just listening to the news and heard Mary Buttafuoco say that Joey was a sociopath. Well, I Googled sociopath to find out the characteristics and found that I had been married to one for fourteen years. This was truly an epiphany. For fourteen years I thought that I was the one going crazy.

Thank you, Mary Jo, for bringing much-needed illumination to this topic that for so long has been shrouded in misunderstanding.

Joey Buttafuoco has not yet filed his lawsuit, and perhaps he never will. A judge and jury may very well find that Mary Jo spoke the truth.

Getting It Through My Thick Skull is available in the Lovefraud Store.


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Twice Betrayed

It is a real awakening when we do finally figure out what we are dealing with in these males. I know I began to search about ten years ago for an answer before I finally was able to walk out of the 28 year marriage. I did not find a lot of info available then and the counselors always screamed: “CODEPENDENT!”. And my family agreed. My older daughter from my first marriage was very verbal about my being the primary one with the problem. After I was able to divorce this man last year I have since found out she was having an affair with him the entire marriage! Thankfully I found the book from this blog: Women Who Love Psychopaths. I cannot begin to tell you how much of a mind saver it has been and still is for me. I keep this book on my night stand and when I let my mind begin to question all this: I pick it up and validate my understanding. BTW: this daughter is from my first marriage and I now also realize he was a psychopath so I am afraid my daughter is one also. I am prone to them as I was raised in a home with a psychopathic older brother. See…my coping skills were already in place for these two hubs to hone into. Not to mention my self esteem was broken by my brother at an early age. I am a successful person, attractive and well liked but no matter how hard I tried with all these males in my life nothing was of value. What they do to the females in their lives is beyond evil! Thankfully I am no longer involved with any of them and sadly this does include my older daughter. It does break my heart to be alienated from her but for my health and welfare I must keep my distance. It’s just too toxic. Thank you Dr. Brown and Dr. Leedom for your mind/life saving book!!!!

melissae

Ummm, Is Mary Jo a licensed doctor or is this her opinion? Check out the libel lawsuit that Howard K. Stern filed against Rita Cosby that has been allowed by a judge to proceed with a 60 million dollar claim. He’s no angel either, but he has a strong case according the judge who just passed the ruling. All I’ve tried to do is point out the law. I’m no favoring one side or another. Just showing the law. Mary Jo could have written a memoir, but she chose to go with an “angle” the she needs to tell the world about sociopaths. Going that route, with zero credentials to backup her claim (i.e a diploma that has a medical seal) is shaky ground in a courtroom.

ANewLily

Melissae, I am going to repeat again — the members of this site are excited that the word, sociopath, is finally getting out into the public domain and education about its meaning will begin to be understood.

Point out the “law” all you want, but most, if not all, of us members have been badly bitten by the “law” which does not understand the dangerous nature of sociopaths — even if they don’t “murder” anyone.

In my own case, my Ex tried to kill me — (presumably so he wouldn’t have to share assets with me in a divorce). Unfortunately, my state has a “no fault” divorce policy so the physical abuse wasn’t even allowed to be a factor.

A lot of sociopaths are not only bullies but cowards. I would predict that Joey may not even file his suit against her. He has a lot to lose.

C0l0rad0

I waited for MJB’s book with bated breath. And then I read it in two days. She seems like such a lovely woman who only wants to help the rest of us involved with sociopaths. Even though I figured it out already and got rid of mine, it helps to know a kindred spirit took the time and talent to write about one of them. Most of our notes would look the same. She is truly a brave soul to have endured, along with her children, the likes of JB. We are all very aware of why JB filed this lawsuit. It will never hold up in court. May the best man win and Joey it just ain’t you! Sincerely, small town Wisconsin.

Ox Drover

We had a jerk like Joey here in our small county years ago who sued for slander and WON–but the jury also knew what a jerk he was so his “AWARD” for “damaages” was ONE DOLLAR!!! In my opinion that is worse than losing! I think Joey is just blowing hot air, which he is good at. he is a skank of the lowest sort! I hope he brings on teh law suit, it will make headlines and SELL THE FIRE OUT OF HER BOOK!!!

I hope it goes to court cause I am sure it will be televised and what GREAT educations for all the people who will be watching. BRING IT ON BOY-O prove what a sociopath you are to the world and educate a lot of people!!!

GO MARYJO!!!!!

ANewLily

Oxy, you helped me change my mind. Thanks. I, too, hope Joey has the “courage” to file that suit! More exposure to the truth about sociopaths. Hurrah!

slimone

Wonderful synopsis Donna!

THANK-YOU Mary Jo. Thank-you a million times for your courage and willingness to write this book, and bring the message of sociopathy forward.

geminigirl

NewLily, I guess Im stuck! I just got a new email from Donna, formally introducing you to me,{so that we may be allowed to swop email addresses} Then, I got your email, with your e.address. I immediately sent you an email, asking you for your postal address, and I sent one back to back to donna, thanking her, and telling her youd emailed me.
BOTH my email to you and the one to her bounced straight back! Now what? I will have to try again later. I dont know how this happened!!Help!!
Hugs, Gem.XX

neveragain

This is not THE Howard Stern I was thinking of! http://www.usmagazine.com/howard_k_stern_3

Not much of a public figure and he’s questioning the veracity. Very different circumstances.

Thanks Donna for a GREAT summary!

Jen2008

“melissae says:
Ummm,……” ………………….Okay guys I’m PSYCHIC!!! How come I “knew” that since there was a new thread having to do with Mary Jo Buttafuoco that I would find “you know who” here, although they post on NO other topics besides Mary Jo/Joey that I have seen. I’m hanging out my shingle! Welcome back Melissa–I was so afraid it was something I said on the other thread that made you say you were going away (even though you clearly did not) 🙂

Donna, I found a site that went into the “public” figure definition and how a person can be a limited public figure (even just due to alot of publicity about something even if they have not sought out the publicity). Since that applies to Joey, in addition, to him literally seeking out publicity (television appearances/movies etc.) I think he will easily be proven to be a public figure, which brings the “malice” factor in.

I believe Joey’s attorney (and firm) are testing the waters as to public opinion, plus attempting to see how they do at influencing/swaying opinion with posts on blogs and book reviews etc. before deciding whether to file that lawsuit. (hi, Melissa). –Jenn

neveragain

I’m going to quote ErinB. here, cause I love what she wrote:
LF Friends~
This is a good lesson on how to deal with toxic persons.
SSSShhhhhhhhhh.
Rise above and do not engage. They go away. We just need to wait them out.
If we are ’no fun’ to play with”..they will move on to someone who is.
Remember, they live in an advesarial world, they know how to debate and challenge, scratch and claw. They will continue to respond to every ’challenge’ given them”..it’s what they do.
If the ’mirror’ doesn’t speak back, they will continue, digressing further, until they hit nerves and provoke a response.
If no response is provoked, they get bored and move along to where others will engage them.
We must look ’inside’ ourselves and be aware of our ’insticts’ to respond and engage.
If we wish to remain in ’control’ over ourselves and consequently any S that crosses our path —. define them as insignificant in our world and bat them off our shoulders like a flea. Do not let them in.
There is a lesson in every step we take.
xxoo

ANewLily

Gemini, I sent another email from a different browser. Since you received my first one, I can’t imagine why you can’t reply to me.

We are persisters, though, aren’t we?! LOL We’ll try until something works.

I don’t think the difficulty is an international one. I get emails to and from my “adopted” Lebanese son who now lives in Cairo!

geminigirl

Dearest newLily, Can you now send me your POSTAL address,[plus your name,} from the First browser,{as I got that one?} That way, Ill have your street address, and can then post your package to you!
{{{HUgs}} gemXX

geminigirl

Thank you so much NewLily! I have your postal address now! Tell me, what date will you be back home from the funeral? My guess is that the parcl will take at least a week to get to you, so do you think it will be OK if I post it today? {TUesday, 18th Aug.}.
Many Thanks-have a great trip!
Love and Hugs,
Geminigirl.XX

ANewLily

Gorgeous Gem, just on my way to bed and popped in and found your question. I will be back here next Saturday, the 22nd.

How many hours are you ahead of me? It’s 10:45 p.m. and still Monday. the 17th. I think you can mail it anytime actually. Mail delivery can be exceedingly slow here sometimes, though. We laugh and blame the “manana” culture! (Which isn’t all that bad, really!)

What kind thing can I do for you in return for your kindness to me?

I hope people are praying for me — just packing has almost stripped me of strength tonight. BUT, I will be there! I am able to go there! I’m praising the Lord full time for that!

ANewLily

But, I am fighting the urge to pity Melissae if she is indeed Joey’s current wife. It makes sense because she may be parroting words that Joey has fed her. I think we all have heard those kinds of “accusations” from our “bad men.”

Anyway, I hope she doesn’t burn too many bridges here. She may become enlightened as we all have and NEED to be here with us to get rid of our bitternesses and anger and to learn, heal and grow in healthy ways.

Prayers and blessings to all of you while I’m gone.

My grief is deeper than I ever imagined it would be — it is for my other sister, too. Talked to her tonight about flight plans and we both shared that all through the days since we heard the news we keep saying in unbelief to ourselves– M. L. is gone! M.L is gone!

geminigirl

Dearest newLily,I will post the package tomorrow, it will be the 19th August here.Its at the moment 5 pm on the 18th Aug.
Im going to try again to email you at your e address, before you go. Please dont be sad for your sister, she s NOT gone just in a different body, a body of light! Just imagine no more aches and pains! Ability to travel anywhere thru telepathy! Time travel at will! I really dont believe in death, its a bit, I think, like the caterpillar becomes a Butterfly. It has forgotten what caterpillarness feels like!Im sure she will be with you in spirit, looking down on you all, and smiling.!! So, dont be sad.
Much Love,
gem.{{HUGS}}By the way, there is NO NEED to do anything for me, except be your lovely self! Love also to Dear Tilly, Oxy,Kathy, and all of you AWESOME wonderful guys and dolls on LF!!!

Trla

20 years ago I married a man and immediately after the vows were taken, his true intentions were starting to show. I left him 5 times in a 2 month period. During that time, I sought out a therapist to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. Since he had me convinced that I was the one with the problems. At one point, my husband was included in the therapy. My therapist told me, “Get out of this marriage, he is a sociopath!” I took her warning seriously. (How many therapists will tell you emphatically to get out of a marriage?) I didn’t fully understand what a sociopath was, but I knew enough to know that what I was experiencing was not normal! Then, stupid me…yes, stupid me. Turned around and let another one into my life. I have come to the conclusion that I am a sociopath-magnet. I have learned that my personality is the root to this problem. On occasion I do blame myself for my stupidities, but at least NOW I KNOW how to prevent another one from entering my life! Mary Jo is the voice to millions of “people” that need to get the message that “they are not crazy” and “what a sociopath truly is”.

Ox Drover

Dear Tria,

I definitely agree about MaryJo.

Many of us are psychopathic magnets, and that is the twist, we have to fix ourselves so that we no longer allow them to stick to us when one spots us and starts in for the connection. We must learn to spot them early on before we are hooked.

Fixing my own polarization now attracts less dysfunctional people I think, and when one comes around, I have not bonded to them and when I spot the red flags, I boot them to the curb immediately. I listen to my gut and validate my own assessments of people’s behavior (rather than what they say) and bingo, another one bites the dust!

Trust with me now is EARNED and BEHAVIOR is OBSERVED and noticed—many people can “talk a good game” but if you watch what they DO it soon becomes clear WHAT they are. I admit that some of them are GOOD at hoodwinking people, but we know the score now.

In a recent encounter with one, I listened to the pity play and teh projection of blame for all their problems on to me, and it was almost like watching a play that I had read the script for:

NO suprises, the plot was “the usual one” and I knew all the lines, and the ONLY thing different was the actor was pretty poor at delivery and I was not moved by the performance. I did not connect or feel pity for their trumped up ploy, I did not accept the blame they tried to place on me for their situation. I didn’t REACT emotionally with much besides INDIFFERENCE, I didn’t yell, or justifiy, argue, defend or explain. (J.A.D.E.) just stated the facts straight on.

Setting boundaries and not falling for the hooks they throw out and not becoming defensive or accepting the blame they throw out, or feeling sorry for their “pity party” or trying to fix their problems, but turning them back to them rather than trying to take them on to our own backs is a good and a powerful feeling!!!

TOWANDA FOR ME!!!!

peggywhoever

Oxy:

You are always so wise in your dissection of issues…I love your statement, “I hope he brings on the law suit, it will make headlines and SELL THE FIRE OUT OF HER BOOK!!!”

I have jokingly referred to myself as a “Psycho Magnet” for some time now…kidded my friends that I might as well have it tattoed across my forehead. Fortunately, like you Oxy, I do have the “one red flag and you’re out” rule, yes, kicking them to the curb.

Peggy

melissae

HI JENN!!!!

🙂
I can’t stand you and your cheeriness!!! Have a wonderful bowl of sunshine today!!!!!

Love, your pal, Melissa!!! :):):) 😉

Tood

Hi to all,

It seems to me that it would be fairly easy to prove Joey Buttafuoco a “public figure.” And there’s certainly precedent for making psychological assessments of public figures in popular nonfiction books. For example, Justin A. Frank wrote a book called “Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President,” that covers the same sort of psychological profiling. As far as I know, no lawsuits were filed.

Can’t wait to read this book.

catherine

I am delighted that Mary Jo shared her story and what she learned but, perhaps we should consider doing what Robert Hare documents in his book, Snakes in Suits – When Psychopaths Go To Work. On page 270, Dr. Hare tells us to avoid labeling anyone a psychopath because we are not qualified to do that. It is enough to say that a person may have traits that are similar to the traits the define psychopathy. I followed his advice in the book I will publish in October.

ErinBrock

LF community of loving, caring friends….
Just out of curiosity……and to provoke some thoughts on the topic….
I am aware an alcoholic can be diagnosed as an alcoholic…..a drug addict diagnosed as a drug addict…..but mostly ‘get help’ on their own (sometimes court ordered)…..through various resources.
You hear people say, My ex was an alcoholic……ARE THEY DIAGNOSED…..or do we hear, my husband is a diagnosed alcoholic…..NEVER! A certifiable alcoholic…..NEVER…..
It’s public perception…..No one ever questions whether someone is a dry drunk or recovering alcoholic, or practicing alcoholic, or currently in treatment….do they???…..
NOW….knowing an S will not get help on their own,(because YOU have the problem, it’s not ME), hence rarely being diagnosed unless, in a court ordered situation mostly….
So…..aside from the obvious…..(hopefully)…..
I am curious, legally/morally and societally……what is the difference between ‘proving’ or showing someone an alcoholic vs Sociopath….?
It sure seems acceptable to refer to someone an alcoholic in the media…..doesn’t it?
WHY NOT SOCIOPATH THEN?????
Just a thought provoking question?

newlife08

ErinB,

I think it is because the public associates the word SOCIOPATH with murder, rape, high crime and chaos.

They do not associate it with everyday people whom we have as friends, date, marry or are our family.

I purchased Bill Eddy’s book -SPLITTING- Divorcing a NArcissist and it even discourages bringing up personalities disorders to the court regarding a spouse. He recommends stucking to the behaviors themselves rather than use a lable because the courts are NOT educated in and do not even want to HEAR the words Narcissist, Sociopath, Borderline etc.

I never knew these terms myself and only found out through counseling on my own. For years my sisters have claimed my mom has issues – I just thought that’s the way she is.

Sure enough, after threatening suicide in the hospital they evaluated her and came back of a diagnosis of Borderline personality with strong Narcissistic traits. I didn’t even research it then – just thought OK – it has a name now.

My N/S husband’s behavior has always been passive-aggressive, selfish, secretive and the last 6 years have been over the top. But my mother set me up for ODD, SELFISH behavior and my dad set me up for keeping the peace.

This past year, when I discussed Narcissism with his sister, she agreed that he had issues and was not healthy. She knows the history of his cheating, lying and some behaviors. None of us knew about all the other women , inter sites he was on and sites to get sex for married cheaters. I know this is not normal – and akk this secret life really sent me over the edge. I am still trying to deal with it. Add to that his financial deceit – and it leads my counselor into explaining to me what a Sociopath is. I truly wish I could have an official diagnosis on him – and my counselor is an expert. But I wish he could diagnose him in person – somehow I think it would make it sink in more for me.

When I mentioned the word Sociopath to his sister – well that was our last conversation – after 22 years and the last 10 being close as sisters.

No one wants to hear the truth – and I credit Mary Jo for what she is doing – I hope she makes millions on the book.

I wish we could put it in school libraries. I wish we educated our teens on personality disorders as well as sex and family life.

Somehow , someway – I want to be part of it when it happens.

My first husband passed away in March at 54 fron Scirosis of the liver – and his family has a hard time accepting he drank himself to death because he only drank beer. This is what broke us up 27 years ago – and I loved him – but he drank, we fought, he cheated and it was over.

And now – my 2nd husband I thought was the answer to my destiny – geez , I went into the fire with this one. His contempt and devaluing of me is overwhelming – so much so even his friends are waking up to the truth.

Matt

newlife08:

“His contempt and devaluing of me is overwhelming – so much so even his friends are waking up to the truth.” You are lucky to have the external validation.

The fact that my S still has so many people buffaloed frustrates me on some level. I can’t believe that he’s such a good actor. I’m going to have to wait for the criminal justice system to telegraph a good loud clear message to all his true believers when he is sent back to the iron bar hotel.

newlife08

Hey Matt,

How are you , Hon ???? Yes, it is really disturbing me that only a couple have figured him out. As I said, his family has gone into total protective mode of him and i guess themselves.

It has really kind of shot me down into a pretty depressive mood lately. Usually I can keep truckin forward but I hbave been spending too many vacations days laying in bed. And i am mad at myself. Too many seasons of summer have gone by that he has ruined – although i hoped every year it would be different.

I am so weary of this battle – why couldn’t he just divorce and move on – why the manipulations and torture even now?

Tell me , Matt, what things in your new relationship are sooo different that mark your new interest “Healthy”, normal, etc.

I don’t think I know what a healthy relationship would feel like. Counselor says it is a place where a couple discusses, debates, compromises, considers the other persons feeling etc.

I have been so busy giving and could never win anything much back for myself. I thought I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough , skinny enough -you know the drill. I do know I am smart, high functioning and a good cook, wife and mom. But he would say I yelled too much, was never in a good mood, didn’t know how to let things go and just have fun………….
yet he enjoyed all the benefit of dumping everything on me that had to be done.

Matt

newlife08:

You basically described my life — the endless giving and never getting for myself. The never being good enough. And whereas you were mommy to the world, I was daddy to the world. Growing up in a crazy household with an S father and N mother, both of whom were alcoholics condtioned me early on.

I think your counselor has part of what makes a healthy relationship. Someone on this site, a long time ago (I printed this one out and carry it in my wallet), said that his counselor said that the recipe for a healthy relationship was (1) start with two healthy individuals; (2) add fun things and laughter; (3) make sure you have a hefty helping of positive reinforcement, and (4) great sex gets you through times of garbled communication. I’ve got to say that I agree with your counselor and this blogger. My new guy and I are doing/experiencing both what your counselor and the blogger have talkied about.

However, for me, there are two other key requirements. First, the guy I’ve been seeing treats me with respect. Even if we disagree about something, I never feel he comes at me with anything other than respect. He doesn’t make me feel stupid if I don’t know something. He doesn’t denigrate me if we disagree. Respect makes such a difference in a relationship, I’ve learned.

Second, and this is the biggie for me — he is genuinely kind. Kindness. I didn’t know it growing up. The lack of kindness in my life made me act with far too much kindness to people who didn’t deserve it. S’s lack of kindness toward me was staggering, but, I continued to tolerate it because I was conditioned to keep the peace at any cost. And because I didn’t expect any better.

It’s funny, because I read a poll on MSN.com awhile back, in which they polled people who had been divorced and asked them what they were looking for in the person they chose to form a relationship with after the divorce. Number one on the list was kindness. For both men and women. At the time I read that I was in the midst of S’s crazymaking behavior and I didn’t get what the people who were polled were talking about. With this guy I’ve experienced genuine kindness first hand. And I, too, put kindness at the top of the list. His kindness toward me makes me want to be a better man for him.

Anyhow, pal, these are my just my random thoughts on the topic of what makes my new relationship work for me and make me realize that while things are still fairly new, that it is a healthy relationship.

As for the lying in bed on the days off, I wouldn’t beat myself up too badly for that. Quite frankly, you’re exhausted from 20+ years of S’s nonsense and his current behavior which at times I find mind-boggling. Your body is telling you it needs rest. I didn’t understand that. Even after the hell of my break-up with S last November, I still kept pushing myself forward. I kept moving right through losing my job. Still, I didn’t stop. I dove right into outplacement. And then my health broke and I had no choice but to stay in bed. You’ve got the vacation days, so you’re allowed to take some mental health days now and then to regroup.

I also could relate to how you’re angry at yourself about the number of summers he ruined and how you hoped it would be different. This weekend my new guy and I went away to Rehoboth Beach. It was always a place I loved going to as a kid and through college and had great memories of. Last year I took S there twice. And he ruined each trip. Hell, he ruined the whole summer. But, on that trip, his attitude sucked. He withheld sex. He spent money (primarily mine) recklessly. I don’t even think I got a thank you for either trip.

This weekend I made nice new summer memories to erase those horrible memories from last year. I had a nice time with somebody who had never been there and appreicated my suggestion that we go. I had a nice time that he generously made the travel arrangements and treated me to it. And oh yes, we had a lot of laughs and really good sex — and there was no garbled communication that we needs great sex to get us through!

newlife08

Matt,

I am truly happy for you….you have offered so much “kindness” to me over these months , I will never forget it.

One of my friends has a summer home near Rehoboth Beach – I hear Ocean City is just an awesome place. I will get the kids there too eventually. My girlfriend says the shopping is outrageous – she practically buys all her Christmas gifts there.

You struck a chord with the word “kindness”. I never really thought I was asking for much and looking back I do think I mishandles the confrontations when they arose. I was so deprived emotionally that when the real disagreements came or the selfishness was so obvious – well I either withdrew or attacked – and he held this against me – still does. He does not see the impact of his detachment, lack of truly loving me – , lack of care – of “KINDNESS” . I remember missing him during the day and telling him I couldn’t wait to get home …for private time. But , as soon as I got in the door – there he was – all showered, in a towel , ready and waiting – and I just got off the GSP traffic and needed to wind down. See, he was ready for sex and I was ready for a nice night – make dinner together, have a drink, clean up together and then sex. But he wanted the sex and I got turned off because I knew that after the sex I would be the one to get up and STILL have to make dinner , clean up by myself and he would go to sleep. I regret these times – wish I NEVER gave him anything to bitvh about. But that’s not possible- I wasn’t perfectin his drama – and when i did become PERFECT – he said it was too late – he didn’t want it anymore.

I always felt like you did – great sex can often get you through anything – and we did have great sex – but to him it was SEX and for me – well I thought it was bonding , that he desired ME – and no one else. Come to find out – there were a few somebody elses. Do you think he’s a sex addict as well as a N/S ????

This weekend he took son to Wildwood for a couple days- although he has no money for support. You know my d-15 does not see him and barely talks to him. Well, he did call her and leave messages to call him but she didn’t. So he never told her he was planning a few days at the shore and he would like her to come. His style is ” You didn’t call me – so you didn’t get to go” I think he could have been more grown up and really asked her outright to join him – Kindness – that he really loves her and misses her – and wanted her to go. So he has alienated her even further.

And….. to top it off he couldn’t just be with son. He joined his sister and her family – son says it was OK but this is also a long standing pattern of his . He can’t be alone in a one on one atmosphere – unless it is with one of his other women. I wish he had just devoted the time to my son – alone. Not that family was a bad thing – but I know him – my son was not his top priority. He didn’t even get to the boardwalk. But he was smart enough to stay in the place we always stayed as a family – he knew my son has missed going there.

Or he could have stayed at the shore house. He drove by – didn’t even get out and walk around . He had the NERVE to tell my son I needed to get to the weeds!!!! Son told him at 10 yrs old – “Mommy busts her ass every time she comes down here. Why don’t you spend the $160.00 for the guy to come spray and there won’t be any weeds.”

Daddy’s answer – “I can’t afford that!!!” B#@l SH%# !!!

I hate who N is and has become – how he has revealed himself to me.

I hate what he has done and continues to do to all of us .

I pray I see God’s justice – and sooner than later !!!!

Stay well my friend – for a quick weekend – Ocean City, NJ is quite a nice little town too. Exit 30 on GSP .

Matt

newlife08:

Ocean City is also nice. When I was a kid, Rehoboth was a little town. Ocean Blvd has become the outlet mall capital of the world — great shopping — but the downtown next to the ocean is still typical small town — the arcade, the boardwalk and all that.

When you said you regret those times — that you wish you had never given him anything to bitch about, the fact of the matter is that dealing with these nonhuman vehicles of discord is like being on a loaded quiz show. Their questions defy answering. So, no matter what you did, you were never going to win with him.

I didn’t even recognize myself by the time I drove S off. No matter what I did, no matter where I took him, no matter how much I spent, it was never right, good enough or appreciated. I just about snapped after 15 months. I don’t know how you made it as long as you did.

I do think I need to qualify my great sex comment. For me, great sex has an emotional component. I’m one of those people that if there isn’t an emotional connection, the mechanics — no matter how good they are — just doesn’t do it. So, I agree with your statement — that you viewed it as a bonding experience, but to him it was just mechanics.

Your point about how you viewed coming home — that you looked forward to having a drink together, making dinner together, cleaning up together, and then going to bed rang really true to me. If I made dinner, S had a real knack of showing up just when everything was done. There was never any “us” time in the process. My new guy likes being “domestic.” We tend to reciprocate for each other on that front or do things like make dinner together. It is really nice.

The fact that your S dumped everything on you and you snapped back doesn’t surprise me. Any sane person who get angry over (1) always having to do all the work and (2) never having their preferences listened to. You made it clear to him repeatedly how you wanted the evening to progress. He never listened to you and repeatedly greeted you at the door showered and rarin’ to go.

As for his treatment of your daughter — he’s behaving like a total juvenile ass. If he gave a damn about her he would realize she’s hurting and reach out. Instead, he is making this all about him. Vintage S.

Your son gets bonus points for his comeback to S. 10 years old and he comes out with a statement like that. The kid is going to go far in life.

Haven’t ever tried Ocean City, NJ. Have made it to Gunniston State Beach once, however. It was very nice. My day, there with S, however, was not.

We’ll have to meet for a drink one of these days and celebrate/mourn our turning 52 this year.

newlife08

Matt,

will do – but I am a year ahead of you

53 will be me in Nov – so I will have to buy!!!!!!

Matt

newlife08:

Honey, after 33 we’re all thirty-through. No counting for any of us. That’s why they make birthday candles shaped like question marks!

hens

I am fifty- through. 🙂

Tilly

Twice betrayed:
I really identified with your story. Thankyou for sharing it . I t helped me today.
Matt:
My last contact when i split with my ex p was November too. I think I have gone full boar since then..just working and uni and not taking any time out. I think i have just hit the wall: 3 and a bit months off November. Like you did way back when you stayed in bed etc.
Yeah, I’ve just hit the wall.

ErinBrock

Tilly…..
Ya better watch it, cuz some walls hit back!
🙂
Take a break, take a rest and tackle it all when your well rested…..avoid any emotional ANYTHING…..at this point…..
IT”S TILLY TIME!!!!!!!!
XXOO

blueskies

STOP!….. TILLY TIME! (now I am doing the MC hammer dance…do, do,do ,do,do-do, do-do, cant touch this!…:)

I agree with Erin, if your body is telling you you are spent then rest, because you need it. DONT see it as a set back or feel guilty, see it as part of your healing process. Tilly you have been through a lot. I am not surprised you need to recharge.xxxx Make sure your bills are paid, your work is done and make some space for you, even if it IS space to mope or cry,or lie catatonic staring at the ceiling…as long as you come out the other end…better if its sleeping, reading, meditating, eating fruit and walking in pretty places though:)xx
Big Loves xx

ErinBrock

YOU CRACK ME UP!!!! The visual alone is priceless!

Ox Drover

Dear Newlife,

I’m so glad your daughter doesn’t call him. I wouldn’t encourage her to go on an all expense paid trip to “heaven” with him, if I remember correctly, this is the daugher he offered to teach to “drive”—I wouldn’t want him NEAR HER, and I think she is wise beyond her years if she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him.

Good for your son, he seems to be getting it already by watching the ACTIONS of the two of you. Dr. Leedom’s post on how to “free” some one we love from the clutches of th eP is good advice for how to deal with the relationship and I think by letting your son draw his OWN conclusions from watching what you do and your X does is starting to work. She had some good advice in that article. With my own son and his P-GF then wife, I didn’t SAY a lot but I let my disapproval be known and it only caused her to have a tighter grip on him.

I know it must be terribly frustrating to be in the position you are, but I hear strength and recovery in your posts since you came here on LF, keep on keeping on. you are in my prayers.

Skippy

Hey, Tilly–

I haven’t been posting, just reading whenever I get the chance but I just wanted to say that I also went through a period where I was unbelievably tired and sleepy. I seemed to need about 16 hours of sleep a day. I made an appointment with my health care provider to make sure there wasn’t anything physically wrong and there wasn’t. I think Blueskies is right, it’s part of the healing process. I tried to fight the sleepiness but didn’t get very far; finally I gave in and slept as much as I wanted. It actually did seem to help and now I’ve got more energy. So hang in there and take good care of yourself.

blueskies

Tilly – following on from what the lovely Skippy here said,I hope you dont mind if I put ANOTHER two pence in:) I have felt the same kind of exhaustion, like I have wanted to sleep forever, not possible with little one, I have felt, and feel, just moving about the house, like a 90 year old!. about a two weeks ago I started taking daily doses of St.Johns Wort and Evening Primrose oil(max rec daily dose for adults, check with your pharmacist), and have noticed a gradual but marked change in my mood and my energy levels… I dont know if its psychosomatic or is actually having a physical effect but its working for me, so I thought I’d mention it to you, might be worth a try along with a good relax and looking after Tilly:)xxx

newlife08

OXY,

SO GLAD TO SEE YOUR REPKY THIS MORNING. I have been in the depressed sleep mode- just addressing this with the counselor. I need to break out of it and don’t want medication to do it.

I agree – my D for 15 is very astute I am learning just through our family experience. My son CRAVES his dad – doesn’t get enough when he is with him so the craving just increases and continues. I want to save them both from further damage but I know I can only do so much.

I haven’t been able to pray much lately – some kind of block. I have had a hard time accepting God will not fix this .

So your prayers are much appreciated – I know God hears them. I just don’t understand His ways.

I just want the divorce over – tired of limbo.
And I wait for the time the N/S gets tired of us and leaves us alone.

Today, it looks like he is away with the OW next door .

And my kids have to see this – hurts beyond words they pick up on his whereabouts and hers. It should not be in their face even this much. So hurtful for my daughter to think he is away with her and her daughter of the same age.

Bizarre – unwordly really !!!!

and Bless Mary Jo – don’t care if her motive was money – hope she makes millions as long as it gets peoples attention!!!

Bless you too OXY, for the way you share , welcome and mother everyone here. Nurturing is so important to the wounded.

Ox Drover

Dear Newlife,

Let me give you my OPINION here (as a retired medical professional) Saying you have a “sleep problem” and “depression” and you dont’ want medication to help it is like saying “I HAVE A BROKEN LEG, BUT I WANT IT TO HEAL ITSELF, I DON’T WANT A CAST.”

The PTSD (and I will bet you have it just because of percentages of us who do) and depression are CHEMICAL CHANGES in your brain. Go back and read or reread some of Dr. Leedom’s posts on this and other scientific studies. IT CHANGES YOUR BRAIN, and medication does HELP.

As for God “fixing” this—if you believe and pray, I believe he does, BUT IN HIS TIME, AND HIS WAY, and it took me a LONG time to understand that. What “bad” thing that happens today may actually be the OPENING OF THE DOOR to something WONDERFUL in the future. I can LOOK BACK and see that now even with my p-X-DIL attacking my son, if that had not happened as it did, he would have stayed with her forever. If I had not been D&D’d by my egg donor the DIL would not have been so bold, if the Trojan horse had not been here to kill me, I would not have fled and she would not have had the affair with him, and so on. It was like dominoes knocking one another over, so many “bad” and “disappointing” things that did happen, were the ultimate cause of the good things that I have NOW.

Whatever you do try to believe that and work like it all depended on YOU, and pray like it all depends on God….and yes, sometimes it is hard to pray, and sometimes we feel like Job, but if necessary write down a prayer, just something simple, like “God, I know YOU CARE and I don’t even know what I NEED but I know and trust and believe you will provide it.” (“All things work together FOR GOOD to those that love the Lord”) and just read it aloud. I did that and it helped me, when I prayed for the Ps even I did NOT mean it in my heart and I know God knew I didn’t but before long, believe it or not, it helped get the bitterness out of my heart, it made ME feel better. But whatever works for YOU is what is important, those are just suggestions. I know that each of us ahs our own take on spirituality and the effects of prayer, but in all NewLife, my relationship with God, as a loving father, and creator of the universe is very comforting. Before all this, I felt like He was a big Psychopath just sitting up there waiting to catch us “doing wrong” just like my Egg donor. Now I do not feel that way and it is very comforting to me.

Looking back now, at how far I have come, and knowing I will always want to grow more and be a better more loving person, I realize that I am actually happier now than I think I hve ever been. Peaceful, too. (((hugs))))

newlife08

Dear Oxy,

Maybe if the divorce was final, and I could move from this house and knew where I stood financially – then the healing process would come easier.

This livng next door to OW is a nightmare. This is the 4th week I have been off this summer and so is she. I have lived here 21 years and this never happened. It is as if my N/SH TOLD her to take off the same weeks to torture me. I was so looking forward to being in my yard and getting my yard work done. But I just can’t be out there when she is around.

Yesterday and today I could not get rid of the foreboding feeling in my stomach -unsettling .

Today it was worse. She left yesterday sometime and never came home last night. NSH never called yesterday which is unusual – and he didn’t call son today. My gut got even worse. We had to head to the phone store today so I called him to ask what time he was picking up son tonight – he said he wasn’t picking him up. He had to work . So I asked if he wanted him tomorrow – no – he has to work. I don’t think so.

So he asked if he could take son Saturday and I said no – it’s my weekend. He gives no notice about tonight and expects the weekend?

So, I gotta believe he is away with her. Now I know this is not my concern but he is 6 weeks behind in child support and owes me for extras – but he has time to take his SKANK WHORE away ?????? And he thinks me and especially my d15 can’t put it together????

Even my son knows when he doesn’t answer the phone something is up – and he hasn’t answered sons calls all day.

If he’s working then his 2 worktrucks would not be in the driveway.

I just wish the court would recognize the cons they pull and put them in their place !!!!!!!

I was good to him OXY and now he is my enemy – it’s my sanity or his …

neveragain

When they get back, wash your car with this song blaring away. 🙂 Just kidding, but this is the attitude!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdxRS_GyBbM

(Since you’ve been gone…lyrics here: http://www.lyricstop.com/s/sinceyouvebeengone-kellyclarkson.html)

It would be a nightmare for me too. I’m so sorry you are having to deal with that.

Hire a really handsome dude to keep coming over to your house shirtless. How much could it cost in this economy?

JUST KIDDING!!!! The only cure is to stop caring. Hard to do. I put up stop signs, I had a rubberband on my wrist to snap myself, uggh……

Next door….UGHHHHHHHH

Ox Drover

Dear NewLife,

I hear you about how upset you are over this, and I am sure many people would also be upset over this. YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER HIM/THEM OR IT—however, you DO CONTROL HOW YOU REACT TO IT.

Yes, life is not fair. he has treated you miserably and is trying to “get your goat” AND YOU ARE LETTING HIM.

THIS CAN ONLY HURT YOU IF YOU ALLOW IT. As long as YOU CARE he can go on torturing you—the ONLY thing you CAN CONTROL IS YOUR REACTION.

Change your mind set!! Instead of being upset and angry about seeing her, GO WORK IN YOUR YARD AND WHEN YOU SEE OR HEAR HER—-SAY TO YOURSELF:

“How pitiful she must be to enjoy hurting others.

“She has to endure him, and doesn’t knwo what is in store for her and I KNOW HOW HE WILL EVENTUALLY TREAT HER.”

“Even though he has a wonderful son, he is unable to love him or feel love from him. How horrible that must be.”

“How empty his life must be if the only joy he gets is trying to torture me.”

“I am stronger than this, I will NOT let this get to me. I can over come this, I don’t have to wait until the divorce is over, because I know he will keep on even then TRYING to torture me, but I will NOT ALLOW IT.”

Say these things even if you don’t feel or mean them,. but eventually you WILL come to feel and mean them. You CAN take control of your reactions, but you cannot control how he acts or she acts.

Just keep in mind that he IS NO PRIZE CATCH, and you are better off without him.

How he behaves is his SHAME not yours. Hang tough!!! (((hugs))) and my prayers for you to over come this!!!!

Skippy

Oxy – you are such a gem. So many of the things you have to say resonate so deeply for me. Thank you.

And NewLife – I can’t even imagine how exceptionally painful this must be for you. It sounds execrable (a word I almost never use, but it seems appropriate here; it comes from late Middle English, and it means that the situation involves a curse). Oxy is so right, though, the cursed one is your soon-to-be ex-S and that deeply misguided neighbor (though it might feel like you right now). It is so bewildering to be so good to someone only to have them trash you and become your enemy. So unjust. But WE are capable of love and goodness. And you have lots of people rooting for you. And I do believe that this makes a real difference in how things turn out in the end. The middle can be very very hard, though. Sending prayers and hope.

ErinBrock

Newlife:
Oxy nailed it…..I couldn’t have said it better…..
I will add:
Get your butt out in your garden and work away…..Do not ever let others dictate when/how/where you find your peace and enjoyment…..
Furthermore, I suggest you offer her a big-genuine (okay you can muster it) smile as she drives in and a neighborly HELLO.
That’s it……
It will freak her out…….you will not be hiding, you will not duck behind the bush…..you will CLAIM YOUR LAND and own it! Own your freedom to do what you want.
By overcoming the anxiety she had controlled you with…..you will take the power back! It will empower you further and further.
Now, Im not suggesting you bake her a casserole…….just a simple smile and hello……
Look…she ain’t moving, nor are you…….YOU can’t change this….I’ve said it before…..OWN IT GIRL! Put the anxiety on her…. each time she drives in, she will wonder if she is the one that has to duck under the bush hiding from YOU!
Besides……she’s the one in your past hell now…..YOU KNOW WHERE SHE IS HEADING IN THIS RELATIONSHIT!!!!
HA-Jokes on them!
Stir up your strength……YOU CAN DO IT!!!
xxoo

Tilly

Thankyou guys,
i have taken a week off work, but I can’t take it off uni. Still, it seems to make a big difference, so THANKYOUUUUUU!!!!!xoxoxoxo Is skippy from Oz? lol!

Tilly

P.S. I am not allowed to take st johns wort because im on an anti depressant ( mild/light dose).

ErinBrock

Oh yeah…..SUNBATHE NAKED IF YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE……And the cute dude with the 12 pack (and I ain’t talken beer)……I second the motion to bring him over for a bit of car washing fun…….!!!!!!!

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