LETTER TO LOVEFRAUD: I lived in denial

Editor’s note: The following story was written by a Lovefraud reader whom we’ll call “Alyce.”

When is it possible to forgive myself?

I met a very charismatic man who was lecturing at a local dog boarding kennel. Over the course of a year I attended training, and I watched him help many people. He quoted science books and talked about papers he had written at university. We became friends, me asking for advice and he was always obliging beyond anyone else I met. I was quite attracted to him, but happy to keep that attraction to myself.

Then he declared one day he was attracted to me. I suppose I was flattered. A romance began and we moved far too quickly. Before I knew it we were living together. I brought with me to the relationship my three pet dogs and quite a bit of money. He owned very little an old car and a breeding program of shepherd dogs for detection dog contracts I was told. He appeared kind to all the dog owners at training. Very sexually forward with me, a bit different to anyone I had ever knew. But he spoke to me in a way that was palatable to me. He promised fidelity and honesty. The love of animals, like me. Playful. I thought everything was good.

Deals with myself

Then I started making deals with myself. Discounting his behaviour drinking binges to ‘cope with his commitment to dogs,’ his mood swings. Cruelty to dogs. Slowly I started loosing friends. They slipped away and I didn’t even notice it. He dominated my life in every aspect. Every person that was lost was more space for him. I kept hearing little ‘bends on the truth.’ They were repeated so much it was like a chant I began to believe.

I had previously been in the jewelry industry. He told me he had trained as a jeweler, so I funded a jeweler business we could both work out. We moved to a new country town as he had made so many enemies where we lived. Everyone else’s fault of course. I accepted very explanation.

Beating animals

Dogs would go missing. Heart attacks. Snake bites. He beat chickens and turkeys to death for ‘misbehaving’. He would choke a dog for misbehaving. He said to me to ‘mind my own fucking business’ if I ever challenged his ways. His temper got worse over the course of our relationship. He would be nice one minute, turn around and be pure evil the next. Staring straight at me, egging me on to challenge him. He would ‘set me up.’ Make me say something insignificant, or do something totally innocent, then days later play it against me. Hours of lecturing me until I was exhausted. This was my life. Trying to not make him angry. Trying not to get ‘set up’ and suffer the consequences. He killed many family pets too many to recall.

I turned a blind eye

I took no phone calls myself. He monitored every call that came into the house. Work became my sanctuary to some degree as I actually had contact with customers he couldn’t interfere with.

We were slowly going broke keeping him in all his business ideas. Leap frogging from one brainstorm to another. Instead of just working hard at the shop, he was always chasing something bigger. He spent so much time on the Internet, we lost customers due to his arrogance. We were slowly sinking and he was oblivious too busy flirting with women in the dog world, but I turned a blind eye to it all.

I always knew deep down inside he was seducing women. But I lived in denial. One day one a mutual friend started to pursue him. I discovered correspondence between them of a sexual nature. That proof left me stunned. I was at the point where I was exhausted by him and our relationship. I confronted him. He went wild. My life went into slow motion and I froze. I ask myself a million times, why didn’t I run? Call police?

But I took everything he did to me. I have been raped and so emotionally tortured. He threatened to kill me if I told anyone. He smirked and stared the whole time. Through every torment, as right throughout our relationship, his eyes would twinkle with delight when I showed any emotional pain.

He left me

He eventually left me for that mutual friend. I uncovered emails that unfortunately showed me that he, along with this female friend, had been plotting for him to leave me, and how much money and property he would get.

The day he left was the day I was freed. I had lived a life so controlled in every way. I was distraught. I knew I was free, but I didn’t know what to do with that freedom. After he left he bombarded me with text messages asking me to write down how I felt. I was so distraught about being left to run a home (lived on a property with over 500 birds that needed feeding every day, and 11 dogs) and a business, I didn’t have the time to write my feelings to anyone. So made up my mind never to communicate with him again. He went wild. Bombarding my email and phone with filthy hateful messages. I changed phone numbers, changed email addresses, and blocked him everywhere.

I spent the first 14 months post relationship under the weight of all his lies, and I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why. I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress. I lost a huge amount of weight, I couldn’t eat, the nightmares where shocking.

Discovering the truth

I discovered this man I was once in a relationship with had been to jail on at least one occasion, and had been in mental insitiutes at least twice. Only education he ever had was up to high school. All lies ”¦

Today he owns more dogs than ever. He has access to guns. He is still contacting himself with the academic world. He apparently has a website with all his ‘credentials’ I have never looked at any of it.

I am two and a half years away from that relationship. I have been through court proceedings as he made claim against the business and me financially. I am free of him now. I have attended loads of counseling. I never wanted the past to own my future. I have worked hard at freeing myself from the past. I struggle with the guilt and shame of losing most of my assets to this con man. I am riddled with guilt why I never stood up to him in regards to what he did to pets.

I am now rebuilding my life bit by bit. I am not close to anyone, but I still have my pet dogs and they have shown loyalty and trust which has been a comfort. I have a new career in a great work place. Many friends have come back into my life post relationship. I can’t say I am back in one piece emotionally, but every day, bit by bit, I am putting my life back together.

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Text message from my alcoholic friend today: “I lost my mind temporarily. Thank you 4 being the voice of reason. I love you.” He was about to do something truly stupid.

And later: A message that he talked to some people putting pressure on him, driving him to this irrationality (along with the alcohol), and urged patience. One of these people is a famous athlete.

And I did that. Wow.

And yet….
Easy to get off on the buzz of being helpful, but isn’t that what we spath-victims do? We keep looking for that piece of cheese behind the same door. We get to feel good about ourselves.

Today, I feel good about myself anyway. Just for being me, and for being honest. Not one step in a dishonest direction, against others OR myself. This is what I feel, this is what I think, this is what I want you to do. What is that old t-shirt saying? I’m OK, “because God don’t make no junk!”

Feeling good about myself because I did something, got some kind of kudo, won some kind of battle against evil — it’s all dishonest, a kind of story I tell myself. It’s like a hall of mirrors, where I fall in love with my reflection in someone else’s eyes because they fell in love with me, and in turn because they fell in love with their own beefed-up self-image in my eyes. Narcissism reflecting narcissism reflecting narcissism. A stupid party where we all go to tell others how great they are, and hear it from them.

No wonder we get bitch-slapped around.

I could just be helpful and put more grace and possibility in the world, without the story about how good I am because I did that. I can feel good instead because I am emotionally sober, facing each day with confidence because I see clearly without stories. As long as I have reality on my side, without distortions, I am invincible.

Alcohol is the opposite of honesty: A distortion of reality.

It doesn’t matter if this person is alcoholic or playing games or whatever. I know where I stand. No games. Honesty. Integrity. Straight up, no chaser.

Yeah, Blossom4th, I don’t *need* a man. I *want* to love one, and one to love me, but that’s a different frequency.

So relieved you were able to “see beyond the line of bull” he was feeding you!First they put you up high on a pedestal so that they can watch you fall while they sit back and laugh!(“If she was so naive to believe the things I told her,she DESERVES to fall!”)

When a woman doesn’t *need* a man,and is complete,she is more likely to be attractive to other people.And when the time is right,love will happen.And….it will be real love if she avoids the red flags!

Trusting someone is not naive; being willing to change one’s mind, however, is a sign of being present. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to keep trusting them, if you trusted them once.

I’ve been gone a while, considering this “relationship” on my own, just watching from a detached place.

Soon enough, a couple of spaths, a man and a woman, got ahold of him out where he is. Spaths often work through other people, and lonely alcoholics are great for this. Actually, I think they already had him, and I was just a little speed bump in their scheme.

I had an argument with him a week or two ago. I told him I couldn’t support his Lone-Ranger plan to help certain innocent people in legal trouble until I knew the details, and so far he was just giving me tantalizing hints. I actually work for the rival he’s trying to take off the case, a true licensed professional, and my loyalty is there. Until I know details.

Oh, he couldn’t explain, he was just so “tired.” And he couldn’t talk on the phone. And by the way, his hotel room was broken into the previous night, but don’t worry about it. And could he just call me tomorrow? (He didn’t.) His head was just about to hit the pillow, and it was almost midnight. I was so unreasonable! Nobody asks James Bond to explain how his day went!

Today the female spath got careless and e-mailed me, on a separate matter, never mind, typical spath stuff and “can we talk about it?”. (No.) She says my unreasonableness with her happened . . . she said . . . here it comes . . .

#right after my crazy relationship guy “angered” me.#

How did she know? Unless (1) he told her about it, or (2) she was right there with him, next pillow over, when I called.

Hilarious! Like, “Hi, I’m sleeping with your man now and spying on your conversations, but I want you to stop picking on me.”

It’s going to get him nowhere, and I truly feel sad for him. She’ll leave him in the ditch like she left the rest of them. But there’s nothing I can do when a grown man walks right into a shit-storm like that.

But I feel so . . . deflated. Like a flat tire. A physical feeling in my body. Saying something is the same as saying nothing. I’m guilty.

It’s like their m.o. is to leave pots boiling all over the place, forget about them, but odds are that just enough of them call back to make enough fun for a day or two. And with some, enough time will pass that they can say, “Gee, long time no see, where’ve you been?” — as if nothing happened.

Blossom: I love the definition of “grey rocking.” My spath even looks like an old grey rock….lumpy head (from plenty of bar fights) and all! That emotional detachment is THE best choices.

Sistersister: I really appreciated what you had written about wanting to help people all of the time, solve their problems, and feel that high of “finding the cheese.” This is something I have struggled with all of my life…always ready with the right advice or suggestion…and able to drop my life to fix another person’s with a moment’s notice and without a moment’s hesitation. When we are finally so sick and the ones who need some help, that cheese turns moldy pretty quick. Glad you are finding the strength to detach yourself from his drama circle as time goes by.

Wow, yeah, well said. Maybe our addiction to saving the world is as much a part of the problem as others’ repeated exploitation of it. Acknowledged.

And I am finding I remember vividly — was you who said it? — that bit about putting a person on a pedestal only to pull the rug out from under them later. They create a touchstone to the past, but we all do. We look back to that moment we met and the music played, in healthy relationships. But in this case it goes all sour pretty quick. Another case of “finding the cheese” and becoming a slave to the stimulus-response. The gratification becomes more sparse over time, with longer intervals between the good parts.

It’s Blossom who talked about the pedestal. I can’t speak for her, but I think she is talking about a dynamic narcissistic sociopaths live where they feel shame and know who they are part of the time and then live an illusion the rest of the time. They need for their victims to be perfect in order to feel THEY are worthwhile humans…and then they just can’t keep it up and they go into a part of them that creates an illusion of who they want/think they are.

The best thing for victims is when “the cheese stands alone.”

Interesting about the pedestal thing. I just had a conversation with another friend who is familiar with this female spath, and she told a pedestal story, about being the greatest thing since sliced bread when she met her, only to be ignored for the rest of the weekend’s conference from the moment the spath noticed someone she knew coming through the door.

I love the metaphor she used. Did you ever read “Fear of Flying”? My friend called her first 15 minutes with our fem-spath the 15-minute “zipless f–.” It was hilarious! It did have me remembering that English dude from the novel, the one who calls his prey “ducks” as he runs away with her across Europe in a zippy little sports car. He’s a spath, definitely, ca. 1970.

There’s even a part of the book where he throw her some nonsense about losing your identity to be liberated, and she says something like, “And here I was repeating my own name the whole time, so as not to forget it.” Yeah, girl, hang onto your brain, write it down: Name, Rank, Serial Number, in case you can’t remember who you are anymore.

Hi sistersister,
I just read your story above;so now I understand the betrayal you were talking about in another post.”Chaos-making”,that’s what I call it!

This “chaos-making” is what I lived in for yrs,causing me to doubt my thoughts and abilities.I’m so glad you saw through it so quickly!

The pedestal thing.I wasn’t the victim of that ploy,in our family~our eldest daughter was.She was my husband’s favorite;in fact he had named her after his maternal grandmother.She could do no wrong in his eyes.When it came to priveleges,she got them.The fact that she was so ill only played it up more.But then when she was around 17 yrs old she began rebelling against her father and thus in his eyes,she FELL FROM THE PEDESTAL SHE WAS ON.Had he never put her there,and had he been a loving father,he would have done everything in his power to work things out.In a way,I feel the way he treated our girls was just another way to make me suffer.

Thank you for putting a good phrase on it, Blossom. “Chaos Making” is exactly what it is. Their drama, problems (usually self created), and needs come first and it is always chaotic as the truth unravels day-to-day. I am going to remember that phrase when dealing with the spath and refuse to get involved in his “chaos making” behaviors. Sometimes someone needs to fall down and have to pick themselves up. If they don’t feel the consequences of their actions, why would they stop? I am tired of helping others out of the chaos making they have chosen. Thank you for that phrase.

Living in denial to yourself is bad; making excuses for the spath to others is just plain sick. Worse of all, consciously, knowingly, lying to others about incontrovertible things (his job, his car, his possessions, his etc.) and believing your own lies is complete victory for the spath; –I know, I did it.

you DID NOT live in denial and it WAS NOT your fault!

never blame yourself! NEVER!

sociopaths have a way of making you feel guilty directly or indirectly…..you feel guilty because you’re a good person, because you have conscience…but you are NOT GUILTY!

I know I’m reading this quite awhile after it was written, but man can I ever relate to some of this, especially with the animals. My ex portrayed herself as a master dog groomer and a behaviorist, claimed to be one class away from a bachelors in animal science. Claimed to have been in charge of several large animal rescues throughout her life. (Lol, later found out one rescue she was just volunteering at and being allowed to live in a room in the barn b/c she was homeless after an ex figured out her game and kicked her out, the other rescue she worked at as a part time grooming assistant, NOT as a vet tech and fundraiser…lies lies lies…) She was a hoarder, no doubt, bringing in dogs without my permission, sometimes despite me directly saying NOT to. She was never physically violent with them but I’ve come to realize and and am trying to accept since I’ve left her just how horribly negligent she was with them, especially with their health care, and sometimes even I think intentionally trying to make them sick and even kill them either to guilt me into coming back or to get back at me. I found out she fed a dog brownies (like two pans full) to make her sick so she would look like she was failing (she was an old dog) and it would be justified to euthanize her, and she wanted me to come to the vet with her to do this (I had recently moved out). It sickens me to think that baby should probably still be alive today- there had been nothing wrong with her prior to this. Also I have one dog which was mine prior to knowing my ex, she’s an old girl now and diabetic and blind. When she got sick and was first diagnosed as diabetic and we were adjusting to having a dog rapidly losing her sight and now being insulin dependent, my ex threw a fit. She and her ex before me (who I had allowed to move into MY house b/c she was now “just a friend” and was otherwise homeless…and b/c I’m a fool…) they wanted me to have her euthanized. There was no reason to. She was adjusting and it took a bit, but she is now so well-adjusted to her disability and so healthy! When I finally forced my ex to let me take my dog on outings to improve her mood (which it did) and then I canceled the vet appt to put her down, my ex then started making up symptoms that I am positive my dog never had (now I live alone and I’ve never ONCE seen any of these in her, but I was working so much and they were with her during the day so I believed them at the time). Then my ex started saying my dog’s symptoms meant she needed increased insulin (and she was the vet tech, right??? ugh…) so she kept increasing and increasing her insulin…after I moved out and continued her insulin at the same level my ex told me they were giving her, she started to get sick, and then nearly died- started seizing and when I took her to the dog ER her blood sugar was in the 20s!!! (She had been giving my dog twice as much insulin as she needs!) Then I contacted my ex (who was still living in MY house, refusing to leave, I had to move out) and she of course had packed my stuff for me when I moved and did NOT pack my dog’s glucometer, so I texted her saying I needed it right away b/c my dog’s sugar was completely messed up, and she first just played games and wouldn’t say if she knew where it was or not, then said she didn’t have it. Lies…there’s nowhere else it would be but in MY HOUSE where it always was. And she wouldn’t let me come to my own house to look for it. That was the last time I ever contacted her. We had other dogs we lost due to lack of vaccines- lost several dogs to parvo, which is just unacceptable. No excuse for that, and it is the most horrible death for those poor babies. I would even offer her the money to go out and get their vaccines at the local farm store while I was at work, and she just wouldn’t. Laziness. Nothing more than laziness. She’d say she was going to, and not do it. Or lie about when their last shot was and say they didn’t need the next shot yet. And these were with puppies I specifically did NOT want in my house b/c we couldn’t afford them, two different litters at two different times. She even adopted out unvaccinated pups that she knew were exposed to parvo in our house, and then sat and ignored her cell phone when these puppies were DYING and the people she gave them to were calling over and over desperate for help and not knowing what to do, b/c she gave them to people who also didn’t have the means to care for them. This has been one of the hardest things to reconcile…this monster who hid behind a mask of this great dog rescuer (and everyone still views her as such) when she used them as tools to manipulate me and others, and she took them in but expected me and all her other little slaves to be the ones to care for them and support them. And then she tried very hard to keep them from me when I moved out- I got out with just a few, and they were ones she didn’t really want. She told others she would have every one of the rest of the dogs euthanized before she’d let me have another. Her animal lover mask is part of what I fell in love with, and she was so amazingly convincing at wearing that mask. So much so that I still question myself and have trouble accepting that she did so many horrible things.

The good news is that now that I’m on my own with dogs she cannot touch, I am a pro at their care. They are one of the very few things that give my life meaning right now, and I’m seeing so much improvement in their health and behavior with her negative energy out of the picture. It’s truly amazing and it makes me really proud of myself as a dog mom. I’m really doing well with them, even with special needs dogs in the pack. I am working on making emergency packs for each dog, they are up to date on shots, I’m working on spays and dentals, I do their grooming, I do their toenails (which is NOT an easy feat with this group of brats lol), their potty training is improving, they are AMAZING little creatures, their environment is clean and safe. They are under so much better care with me by myself than they ever were with her and her chaos. When I told her I was leaving her she repeatedly told me if I moved out my dogs would suffer, I’d ruin their lives, even told me they would die! She did nothing but use them to torture and manipulate me. Joke’s on her. We are all better off without her. My only regret is the other dogs I left behind, that she wouldn’t let me take. They break my heart everyday.

Way to go! I’m sure your doggies will be forever grateful that you saved them from life with the sociopath.

I have been trying to think of the EXACT word to define what I have the biggest problem with that my ex has done behind my back repeatedly during our marriage. It’s the thing about sabotage. It really upsets me because it’s lies that are hurting me and our so and they make no since.
I like giving credit where credit is due. I don’t expect people to sing my praises, but if I did a good job, I just like knowing it was noticed, even if only one person whispers it to me or says it on a sticky note. The whole world doesn’t have to be told.
I have Multiple Sclerosis and it has been EXTREMELY hard to do any kind of housework, especially with no help hooped up on stimulants which was the only help I did have. So when I learned that he was telling mutual friends things how all I did was sit around and do nothing all day was very hurtful. He offered no proof of this since there was never a dirty dish, messy room or piles of laundry needing to be washed. I even found ways where I didn’t need to use chemicals to clean sinks, bath tubs or windows. He never praised either of us for anything we would accomplish. I remember him demanding my son get all A’s on his report card or he was nothing. All A report card from a child with learning disabilities. Who does that!? Right in front of my ex, I told my son, it’s not impossible, but that is a little too demanding and we would accept his best. The damage was already done. He knew he couldn’t please his father and he would never be able to. He was damaged.

Well now he is at it again and this time, he is telling people (women who he’s cheating with) that we are still married. Well, I plan to go to where I moved from to get my papers and show these women we are divorced and I have no plans to get back with him. I’ve had too many health issues where he is concerned and the new one has caused me to loose weight where I had previously gained weight. I have had to completely change how I eat and I barely get any kind of restful sleep. It’s scarry. I’m back to thinking he might tske my life.

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