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LETTER TO LOVEFRAUD: He kept saying God brought us together

Editor’s note: A Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Linette” sent the following email. This article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

I had been out of a different type of abusive marriage for about a year when a friend of mine sent me an ad from one of those local singles sites that she thought I should look at. I was at work and not busy at the time so I went over to the link “just for fun.”

At the top of the list of “ads” in big bold letters was the title, “JESUS IS LORD.” “How bold!” I thought, “to be able to not be ashamed of Jesus!” In my mind I thought it was not a good idea to meet a man online, but well, I kept thinking about that post. What if I wrote him back and it could be a “friend” online to talk to about my Spiritual faith (which means more to me than anything). We talked back and forth on email several times after that and then he asked me to call him. What harm would it do I thought?

So I did and he was SO happy, OVERJOYED to hear from me! He had been praying for so long for someone like me, he said! He told me the horrible story of his wife leaving him 5 notes, one for him and 4 for the kids and moving to another state. He realized he hadn’t been perfect and he must have done something he didn’t know about, he said! After all, a man should be the “priest of his house” and he had failed to keep his marriage together. You get the idea anyway now, SO much hurt he had been through.

Love letters

Then the letters started coming, beautiful love letters like I had never seen before! We met and he had arranged to have flowers on our table on the first date! He said boldly, “I hate to interrupt but I just have to tell you how BEAUTIFUL you are!”

At first I was sort of suspicious that he came on so strong and backed off, even called off our plans to meet again, but I had bought him a birthday present and he came by to get it on the way to meet someone else he had made friends with online. He looked SO good when he came to the door and his voice sounded golden when he talked. He LOVED the present he said and would cherish it always.

Taking my chance

What was I doing? I wondered if I was “missing my chance” with this man! After all, all he had done was be wonderful, a little controlling after sending me “Linette’s calendar” complete with the next month filled up, but how romantic that was, I thought! How nice that he already KNOWS he wants to be with me, that he can’t resist me.

So, we dated a couple more times. He brought me flowers almost daily to work and took me out constantly, writing love letters that would put the most famous poet to shame. He even showed me a letter he had written called, “My prayer for a bride.” How sweet, it matched me almost perfectly! He told me of all the “signs” that God had given him to let him know “I was the ‘ONE'” and kept marveling at how blessed he was to find me! We danced every night in my apartment as I rested my head on his shoulder and fell in love. I could never meet a more wonderful man I thought.

The ring

So VERY soon, only 3 weeks after we met, he arranged a picnic in the park for my birthday and took out a beautiful ring for a present. It was my birthstone and very pretty. He said when I saw the ring box, “You didn’t think that was an engagement ring did you?” I felt foolish and said, “Oh no of course not.” Several minutes later he pulled out another box and it WAS an engagement ring.

I was SHOCKED. He said he couldn’t live without me, that we could wait as long as I wanted and he would understand if I said no, but was praying that I would say yes. On Valentine’s Day he took me to the most romantic place I had ever been to and I said, “Yes.”

I thought I LOVED this man. He kept saying how God brought us together and SHOWERED me with attention and affection, everything a woman wants to hear. We waited about 4 more months as he kept hurrying me to go ahead and do it so we could be together all the time. We got married on top of a mountain, a Bible park 2 hours away. My church that he had started attending brought a whole van load full of people, and it was a storybook wedding and honeymoon.

He didn’t have enough money to pay for the honeymoon he said but he would soon and he wanted it to be “special.” I spent the money I had gotten from my ex to buy our house since he promised he would pay it back in NO TIME. He said he made very good money, just had a run of bad luck from his divorce paying off all of HER credit cards. He took the debt because he wanted “out of it,” he said. Embarrassed, I spent almost $3,000 (almost all I had) on our honeymoon when I had planned on paying my bills off with it.

Okay, fast forward, honeymoon was FULL of promises of many more times like this, the whole rest of our life would be a “honeymoon.” I was the angel God had sent to earth to be with him, he said.

Honeymoon is over

SHORTLY after the honeymoon I found out he was pretty much impotent and also in bankruptcy. He swore it was “nothing” and that he would do whatever he could to fix it. Oh yeah, it got better. He had my income now as well and was able to buy MORE motorcycles and even a small airplane because he had plenty of time now that I took care of EVERYTHING inside and outside of the house. He wanted me to ride the motorcycle with him but I had had a bad wreck on one when he was trying to teach me. I now even look back and wonder if he was hoping something WOULD happen to me. He wouldn’t have cared, that’s for sure. I soon found that he cared nothing about ANYONE including his own 4 children.

But every time I would get upset at something he said or did and cried, he would end up apologizing. OH how he loved me and we just needed to let “God anoint our marriage and repair it.” It was always my fault, of course. He lied many times and took out loans that I knew nothing about.

Separate vacations

We soon started traveling separately on vacations because he needed that “time on the motorcycle to spend with God.” He would plan several trips a year by himself for weeks to get “out on the road with God.” I was afraid to ride now, and he put me down for it. He said he had thought I had liked motorcycles when I met him and it was my fault we didn’t take vacations together.

Much more that I could go into but this is how I “woke up.” My mother passed away one year, actually a little over a year ago. I had been spending a lot of time at the nursing home with her for the past few months, with my husband NEVER at my side. I would get home and he would be watching TV, had always gotten mad when I interrupted his television watching even during a commercial. I just cried and hurt and said goodbye to my Mom. He attended the funeral with me like a “good husband” for looks. After all, he couldn’t have people at my church thinking he was anything less than the perfect husband.

After the funeral, a girlfriend of mine was planning a trip to the beach. She said if I would to go that I would only have to pay for my meals. I jumped at the chance of a whole 7 days being out of the “bondage” of my lonely, loveless, sexless marriage. I noticed on the trip that the people who went with us were kind to me, they actually asked ME what I wanted to do and where I wanted to eat, etc. I didn’t even know how to answer. I hadn’t been asked in so long. One afternoon I was walking down the beach and it “hit” me. If I lived to be 90 like my mother had, wait if I lived 6 more MONTHS I did not want to live like I was. I made the decision right then and there. I was getting out.

Getting out

When I returned home I figured out a plan to get my things when he was at work and I told him I was going to spend the night with my sister. I sent him an email that he read at work saying I would not be back and more. I was honest and said I had realized I couldn’t live like that any longer but not unkind with my words.

That’s when the real battle began. The first site he sent me was a “quickie divorce” site. Then next one was an email on the church prayer chain asking people to pray for him, that his wife of eleven years had left him—Anonymous.

I couldn’t believe he was so uncaring that he never even asked if I could reconsider or get counseling. I would get an email one time and it would be full of CRAZY talk, accusations and put-downs and then the next one would be how he wanted to work things out fairly. He quoted a lot of scripture to make me feel guilty. It was messy but good friends of mine helped me stand my ground.

He didn’t have the money to pay a lawyer so we finally agreed on a settlement after some months of pain and threats and insults. I couldn’t do the “no contact” thing until it was all settled. But I did set limits.

He actually asked me once to meet him for a “Last Supper” at his house the night before the divorce. HUH? That’s SICK. Of course I didn’t go. He insisted on showing up at the hearing even though he didn’t really need to just to make everything uncomfortable.

Order of protection

The emails, calls and texts kept coming, likes on social media, told to my church friends and BIG displays of “brokenness” in church services were thankfully seen through by most people including my pastor. He followed me after work one day and I got up the nerve to go and seek an order of protection against him. I was afraid everywhere I went.

One time I went out to eat with a friend after church and he was sitting in a lawn chair next to my car when I returned. He said he wanted to walk our dog and that we could do it the “easy way or the hard way.” I got in my car and left, heart pounding. STILL I doubted myself. Was he the one in the right here? Had I been exaggerating how bad things were in my mind? Back and forth I went STILL trying to figure everything out.

I obtained a six-month restraining order because I had all the emails and he admitted following me that day. It runs out at the end of this month. He feared going to jail so he quit going to our church and I have not heard from him since the hearing for the order of protection. I think he fooled the judge some. He is GOOD just like other sociopaths are, at sounding truthful and getting sympathy.

Recovering

I am trying hard to recover. My Dad passed away at the first of April, a little over a year after my Mom. I feel some days as if I can’t go on. I am on an anti-depressant but for the first time in my “Christian life,” I have been doubting God, myself and almost everyone else I meet.

I know I have come a long way but I think I expect too much. Although I have friends who have been great, they don’t REALLY understand how it is to have been deceived by someone who is nothing like they seem to be, to find out their whole marriage is a lie, that that person never really existed.

Thank you Donna for all you have taught me even though you don’t know me. I was a counselor and thought I had a really healthy outlook on life and was discerning, but he TOTALLY fooled me. I am embarrassed and have a LOT of self-doubt problems now. BUT I will make it. I know that too. And I don’t regret getting away or the “no-contact” order. I urge others to follow your steps to healing, forgive themselves and GOD and move on.

 


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43 Comments on "LETTER TO LOVEFRAUD: He kept saying God brought us together"

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I commented earlier, my ex and I were both clergy. He no longer is. And he was horrific in how he incorporated religion in the abuse. By the time I left he had me literally bowing down to him and kissing his ring with other acts to follow. I was no longer serving a church and the week I finally left I had gone through 5 days of hell, because I actually stopped off and attended a worship service after a work shift without his permission. He was no longer allowing the children and I to attend worship. I cried through the whole service, because I knew what my act of defiance was going to mean once I got home.

Having said all of that. My faith and my ministry have blossomed since I left.

There is a healthy side to the faith as well. Many faith institutions are the ones that run homeless shelters and food pantries that those who are brave enough to leave rely on until they can get back on their feet. I know I did. The list of churches and individuals who helped me is quite long.

My personal faith and knowing I was surrounded by people who loved and cared for me (literally financially and materially) was all I had for a period of time. I did not even get my clothing until 3 months after I left or any other personal affects until 10 months after I left. But once I had an apartment (a religious organization helped pay the deposit and signed off on the lease) it was filled with all I needed within two weeks (down to linens and food, a washer and dryer, computer, etc). When the governor downsized all state budgets and I lost the job I had only started 3 months before, I some how managed to keep all my bills paid for the next 8 months. When I moved 100 miles away I had all the help I needed to move without paying for a moving company. I have known through this whole ordeal that I was not doing this alone.

Having said that I did give up at one point. The same day that I was turned down for unemployment benefits, because I had been a contract employee I was told point blank that I “Had kidnapped my children by taking them to the shelter with me. Due to this I would never have custody or more than visitation.” It was too much to bare for a short period of time. Thank God the lawyer who told me that was wrong, because my ex ended up being homeless for a short period of time and I got custody of the kids and some how the tide of court rulings turned after that. The divorce was only finalized completely last week and I still have custody. (Despite no longer being a minister, my ex still managed to be hired by a church. However, when he has the kids he still seldom takes them to church, I do not understand how that is?)

As painful as that point of my life was. I think it taught me a deeply spiritual lesson. To not grasp too tightly to anything. Not my job, my belongings, or even my children. When we hold lightly to things we can hold tighter to who we are and to the Spirit of God within us.

Now that I serve a church again the message I preach over and over again is that we are all broken individuals, yet God loves us anyway, in spite of it all. And out of our brokenness and the healing we receive from our faith, we are called to go out and share that message to help God’s hurting world.

To me spirituality and religion while separate entities are still very much united. Religion can often be misused, but with a deep spirituality one can help the church (temple, synagogue, mosque, shrine, etc) to accomplish marvelous ministries that heal and empower people.

Revjanice- Your statement here says it all and where I am heading finally:

“Now that I serve a church again the message I preach over and over again is that we are all broken individuals, yet God loves us anyway, in spite of it all. And out of our brokenness and the healing we receive from our faith, we are called to go out and share that message to help God’s hurting world”.

SO true and I am sure that’s what God wants me to do. I am healing one day at a time. It was really healing just to get this letter “out there”.

Rev Janice – thank you so much for your eloquent post. My experience with the sociopath was deeply spiritual, and I’ve heard the same from many other people.

Thanks for your kind words. When I read the Bible that is sincerely what I get from it. Jesus, Paul and the Old Testament both have much more to say about caring for the “widow, orphan, and outcast” than it does about the divisive things that make the news.

As a Humanist, I like the idea that all human beings deserve the right to love, dignity, and respect. That makes it easy to realize that I am an equal human being to all others and I do not deserve abuse from a sociopath or otherwise abusive person (whether secular or non-secular.). As a group of humans supporting each other with dignity, love, and respect, we can help each other cope and heal.

My ex is still coming to my church. I have not left because I don’t want him to “win”. Most everyone KNOWS by now who he truly is and have been supportive to me. He is now taking a 20 year old out to lunch almost every Sunday. He is 58 years old and telling her he is “mentoring her”. I hope that she doesn’t fall for him but I am afraid she is. She is the perfect kind of person to “target” for him. I know this girl but am afraid if I try to warn her that she’ll just go and tell him and it won’t do any good anyway. Should I warn her? Opinions?

Linette,
I think you already know the answer.You just feel the need for affirmation that it’s the correct one.

If he’s “mentoring” her,he’s been working on gaining her full trust.
If you try to warn her,it’s just going to start the bells ringing in her head and you’re right…the first thing she’ll do is tell him what you said!Unfortunately she’ll just have to learn on her own.Since you know her,be there for her when she comes to her senses.

BTW,I’ve found that one of the best programs that help one understand sociopaths is “Criminal Minds”.Another is “Flashpoint”.
another favorite of mine,which is a bit older,is “Law and Order, Criminal Intent”.All of these shows come on the ION channel.

I have never watched any of those! Thanks! While I was married, my ex wouldn’t let me watch anything I wanted to. We never watched anything but awful stuff or Lifetime movies (weird I know but he liked them, probably helped him learn more). BTW, he now has another one, a young girl he met online who was just getting out of an abusive relationship. He bragged to his family that he “rescued her”. She is very young also and my (ex) step-daughter says she looks very conservatively dressed (like Menonite) and pregnant. I just shudder that the thought of what she may have to go through. But you are right. I did know the answer and it won’t help to warn anyone. Sigh. I will definitely be looking for those shows. It’s like a whole new world of TV for me now that I have input on what I want to watch! 🙂

The few sociopaths I’ve come across in my life, including the one I dated, all used the religious mask in some way or other. I don’t fall for it, as I’m not a religious person (I am deeply spiritual but not religious). Also, when I was on the dating site, a few guys would contact me claiming I was an angel sent to them by God. This was an immediate red flag, and I suspected they were sociopaths. I’d delete those messages right away. (I do believe if you can spot the signs, you can internet date successfully).

If you want to know if a person is truly spiritual, you need to watch how they communicate and how they conduct their lives. A truly spiritual person will take responsibility for their behaviors. They will not blame God, Satan, society, or another person, and they will not have a lot of drama following them around. Anyone can cause chaos and then say “God will forgive me” or “God told me to do it.” Or “That’s what the Bible says.” This is the ultimate cop out.

We all as human beings need to learn to take responsibility for our lives. Most people are in varying stages of this. But for a sociopath, they simply do not take responsibility for anything. Their absolute confidence in their blame-shifting policies can be very alluring to a weak-minded follower.

Yes Stargazer. Unfortunately I was VERY naive at the time I met him and very vulnerable like a lot of victims of sociopaths. Even though I had been in 2 other relationships like that they all presented themselves in different ways and until I found this site I had no idea there were people who simply put forth the image they want you to see. See? Very naive. He SEEMED to interact very well with other people in his church. We switched to mine almost immediately and those people were fooled too. The biggest thing I remember that I could have done differently is wait longer to get married and get out more quickly. He SEEMED to have a great relationship with his kids and SEEMED to be very healthy in a lot of ways but he was simply a master manipulator that had done this time and time again. I AM taking charge of my life now. I am through playing the victim. I hope others learn before they have to go through it!

I agree that sociopaths often use the religious mask,because it is easy to find targets…they are very helpful and unsuspecting of the person who “acts” nice.

There are sincere and hypocritical people in every area of life.It simply takes time and effort to find out who’s who;just as we’ve had to be educated in learning the red flags of sociopaths.

Stargazer,I’m sorry,I’m not following your explanation very well
about the difference in a “religious” person and a “spiritual” person.To me they are the same.Anyone who reads the Bible knows that you will read about God,Satan,&the world(society).I agree with you that we should all take responsibility for the things we do;the decisions we make.

Blossom, I am not a Christian, and I have never read the Bible. I do believe it is possible to be deeply spiritual without being a Christian. My beliefs tend to be more Buddhist, but I don’t consider Buddhism a religion. Therefore, I would not call myself religious in the sense that others think of it.

stargazer,
I think I understand now what you’re saying.Buddhism isn’t considered a mainstream religion in that you don’t find it listed among the religions that the majority belong to (such as a Christian religion).But,sure,it’s a religion.Buddhism is something you believe in and are devoted to;that defines it as a religion.Though you may not worship in Buddhist temples,they have their temples just as mainstream religions have churches.A spiritual person considers certain things to be sacred whereas a person who claims to be religious might be hypocritical and not consider sacred things sacred at all.Do I understand correctly?

Blossom, I think Zumba and salsa dancing are more like my religion. 🙂 I don’t really know how to make a comparison between Buddhism and other organized “religions”. It has nothing to do with worship of any kind of higher being or deity. In fact, there really is no discussion about anything or anyone being separate – no discussion of good and evil, heaven and hell, for instance. Buddhism is more concerned with direct experience of life without the labels, the ego, and the mental chatter, judgments, etc. – the beliefs about who we think we are. The main technique to arrive at direct experience is a meditation practice that focuses on the breath in the present moment. The breath becomes the object of focus and is the vehicle for coming into the present moment. The Buddha was not someone to be worshiped or deified. He is just a person who discovered a path to enlightenment and wanted to teach others how he did it – through cultivating mindfulness. His teachings can be condensed into two simple words: Pay attention. This refers to mindfulness that is cultivated in meditation practice. It’s not possible to talk the talk here without walking the walk. If a person has never done any kind of meditation practice but they call themselves a Buddhist, this would not mean anything at all to me – it is just a label. On the other hand, if someone has done a lot of meditation practice, it is usually apparent in their demeanor and how they live their lives. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves. Words like “Buddhist” and “religion” wouldn’t have much meaning to someone like this. They are just living in a way that is very present. They are not trying to emulate anyone, worship anyone, or avoid hell and damnation. They are simply living in the present moment.

There are several teachers who come to mind who embody these qualities, apparent by their teachings. One is Eckhart Tolle. Another is Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, deceased. Both of their writings are very powerful to me.

We all have an ego, but we also have the capacity to step back and be something bigger than the ego, something that actually observes the ego but doesn’t identify with it. That is what I would call spiritual consciousness for lack of a more descriptive word.

I don’t really know what kind of practices they have going on in other countries or what their concept of Buddhism is over there. But the real teachings don’t have anything to do with higher beings or fancy temples. The heart of the philosophy is the meditation practice itself.

I have probably just confused you even more. 🙂

“I agree that sociopaths often use the religious mask, because it is easy to find targets”they are very helpful and unsuspecting of the person who “acts” nice”.

Blossom, for me this is it in a nutshell! He used to say I was angel sent to him from heaven and even elaborated to the point of telling the whole story of how I arrived on earth etc. Now I KNOW this doesn’t happen but I was so touched by his words. I thought he REALLY felt that way about me. Like someone also said, it’s all about ACTION and not the words. That took me longer to find out, after the “honeymoon phase”, that’s when the reality set in of what I had done. They have their hooks in you by then and you make all sort of excuses to yourself about them and in my case I believed it myself. I KNEW inside but at the same time, I am a trusting person and had no idea people could be so uncaring and consciousless.

Linette, I didn’t mean to come off as if I wasn’t naive too. I was duped, too. And I was a Masters student in Psychology at one time! I just meant that I don’t have the “hook” for someone talking about God or the Bible, because I’m not a Christian. So I can notice these things as red flags. However, a lot of people are Christians, and sociopaths use this as a tool for manipulation, claiming to be messengers of God or some such.

I also hope you didn’t take it that I was implying that you were not taking responsibility for your life. If you are like me, you were not only taking responsibility for your life, but you were also making excuses for the spath who wasn’t taking responsibility for HIS life. My meaning was that sociopaths are the exact opposite of normal people. They take NO responsibility. They make everyone else responsible. They do not ever learn in this regard, and they do not ever change. This in itself is a huge red flag.

I think the two together – talking about how religious they are and making everyone else wrong – should be a screaming banner SOCIOPATH. And in some pathological lying and that should remove all the doubt.

Thanks for explaining Stargazer. It’s hard sometimes to get across in writing exactly how you mean something and the other person understand sometimes exactly what was meant! Yes I completely agree. I wish I had known this before. Sigh. Well it’s ON with my life!!!

Did I mention I am getting married to a REAL NON-SPATH guy on Friday? 🙂 Just wondered. SO happy!

In continuation of what stargazer is saying…when it’s ALL TALK and NO ACTION-INSTANT FLAG!

Linette,
Oh yes!Spaths are so good at lovebombing!Once that honeymoon phase is over and you start getting your senses back-it’s like you can SEE CLEARLY but like a startled animal,you’re paralyzed from doing anything about it!

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