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Letter to Lovefraud: Is his goal to break me?

Editor’s Note: This Letter to Lovefraud is from a Lovefraud Reader whom we’ll call  “Aubree.” Names have been changed.

I recently got out of a two year relationship with a person who I believe is a sociopath, or at the very least an extremely vengeful borderline. When we first got together, he told me that he used to have a habit of going to bars, finding the prettiest and most confident-looking woman there, and proceeding to go up to her and start picking on her and making fun of her for something that he suspected she might be insecure about. For example, if he saw a girl who was beautiful but wasn’t stick-thin, he’d go up to her and start making snide remarks about her weight. He said he enjoyed doing this because he got pleasure out of “knocking these women down off their high horse.”

Of course, it shocked me that he would do something like that, but he brushed it off and swore it was in the past, saying that he wouldn’t dream of doing it again. He was also a huge jokester – typical life-of-the-party type of personality – and some part of me wanted to believe he was just telling me stories, exaggerating. Looking back, however, I should have heeded that red flag. Over time, he started to take little shots and digs at me, designed to put me down or make me feel unsure of myself. He went from worshiping the ground I walked on to cutting me down. Every time he did this, I called him out on it, and he said he respected that because I “didn’t take his crap.” But every now and then, there was another backhanded remark coming my way. I often got the sense that he secretly HATED me. Sometimes I’d wake up in the morning and he’d be in bed next to me, just STARING at me. But it wasn’t a loving, warm, doting stare. It was an icy, CREEPY stare. It’s like there were daggers flying out of his eyes and straight at me.

In addition, every time something good happened to me – like my choosing to go back to school or getting a new car – I would always sense this underlying contempt and rage coming from him, like a seething resentment. I knew in my gut that he didn’t want me to be happy or to thrive – even though he would swear up and down that my happiness and success were TOP priority to him – but I couldn’t wrap my head around why he would be so malicious and hateful towards me. I didn’t want it to make sense.

There is much, much more that went on in this relationship – typical idealize/devalue/discard, complete with love-bombing, I could write much more – but I wanted to write you because I’m wondering if my sociopath’s motivation for getting into a relationship with me was purely to destroy me as a person, to “knock me off my high horse” like he tried to do to those other women? He never took any money from me or anything like that, and never used me for anything physical (I was more into sex than he was). All he ever said to me in the beginning of our relationship was that I “had a light about me” and that I had a happiness that he didn’t have. I’m wondering if it was for this reason that he targeted me, so that he could whittle away my confidence, shame me and eventually break me down? In other words, so that he could “win” by stripping me of what made me, me? It seems so foolish to me that someone would want to steal another person’s happiness or positive traits or destroy their confidence, but I can’t think of any other motivation in his case. He always had to be the center of attention and was constantly complaining that I was the “better looking of the two of us” and the “smarter one” (he had never gone to school and was working an aimless job not fit for a man his age). It’s like he didn’t want the spotlight to be on me, ever. He really seemed like a bona fide misogynist to me.

I know you have a wealth of information on sociopaths and you’ve read so many first-hand accounts, so I’d love to hear any thoughts or insight you have on my situation.

Thanks,
“Aubree”

Donna Andersen responds

Aubree,

Yes, it is certainly possible that this man’s only motivation was exactly as you stated – to destroy you.

Sociopaths engage in romantic relationships for exploitation. Usually, they exert power and control in order to obtain money, sex, a place to live, domestic services, or some other obvious advantage.

But with some sociopaths, the exploitation takes a more sinister form. They exert power and control simply to entertain themselves. They enjoy the idea of being a puppet master. They manipulate you for the fun of it.

You may remember the movie Dangerous Liaisons, starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer. In this story, seduction was a game, with the objective of ruining people’s reputations and breaking their hearts.

Well, some sociopaths engage in this game. People have told me how they were pursued and pursued, and when they finally fell in love, the sociopath simply dumped them.

In other cases, breaking off a relationship isn’t enough for a sociopath. He or she also wants to grind the former partner into the dirt.

It’s truly difficult to comprehend just how heartless these people can be. All we can really do is accept that there are people for whom relationships are nothing but a sick game, and learn to recognize and avoid them.

 


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23 Comments on "Letter to Lovefraud: Is his goal to break me?"

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One of my ex Sociopaths was by far the exact opposite of me. He was NOTHING he claimed to be. Yet I stayed and had built my self esteem to a decent level. ( always suffered from low self esteem) I have been told I’m very “Beautiful ” and more. And this man was not handsome at all. But he always found one flaw every time I saw him. It got so rough I asked him ” why do you always find something wrong no matter what I do?” His words to me were, ” I won’t tell you your perfect like all the others because I don’t blow smoke up your … He would go as far as make me go to the ladies room without my pocketbook. He knew I would touch up when we were out. As well as he made it a point to catch me off guard if I didn’t feel I looked good ( if I was in casual clothes and no makeup) he then would force me to go places that I normally would never go without being “pulled together” he liked it when I was not confident it seemed. But he would mask it by saying ” you only should look pretty for me & I like you plain.”
I automatically felt horrible about my self and found I tried harder to be “Perfect” for him , but I was never.
he passed away. ( making the sick bond easier to break) and when I look back at pictures of me I see that I almost never looked better! Yet he was slowly tearing me down mentally and from the inside .
I’m guessing it was to keep me. But he’s gone so I’ll never know the real truth. But my gut tells me I am correct.
It seems in the end my self esteem has been horrible! I wonder if I will ever feel ok? No matter how much I learn and know it’s not me, I feel so horrible and broken.

As I read different people’s accounts of their involvement with a spath, I cannot get over how many different forms the manipulation takes…but one thing is for certain, the underlying motive is exactly the same. This story struck me, as it reminds me of an actual conversation I had with mine…I said “do you just sit around every waking minute of your day trying to figure out ways to do shit behind my back that will hurt me worse than the last time?” (you must know, to my FACE, he appeared to LOVE everything about me) his reply: “Well, if you don’t know about it, then it really isn’t hurting you,(insert name here) now is it.” Responses like THIS one literally made me LAUGH out loud in his face. Can you REALLY be serious right now, I would think—and there were many of them. I got to the point where I was pretty good at “trapping” him…in other words, I would think very long and hard before I would confront or question him..and have every base covered..and I could tell that this was something that he was NOT accustomed to. But this is when all of these “out of the realm of reality” comments would spew from his mouth..but he would add to it a dash of EVIL contempt in the tone of his voice, as if that was going to divert my attention away from his obvious ignorance and lack of a believable explanation. As far as motive, mine’s was to control and destroy..absolutely..for nothing more than the satisfaction. It’s a hard thing to wrap your head around for sure for those of us who have that tie between our head and our heart. To be honest, their “behavior” is the least of my worries…Their propensities are what scare the crap out of me. Mine is half a country away from me and I am relieved that he is not my problem anymore…and of course, he went chasing after another target…started as a long-distance thing with occasional travel back and forth..and then, he sold everything he had and went to move in with her. From what I hear, he has been employed by someone in her family…IMAGINE THAT!! Oh boy..my heart goes out to her.

Divorced from Gaslighter

To the original poster, known as “Aubree”:

Be careful not to let your light shine too brightly. In every academic situation, and in every place of employment with more than a couple of dozen employees, there will be at least one person who gets his/her kicks by picking a victim and destroying their career.

I had a bad situation develop while I was in graduate school, and one of the professors actually explained to me that I had almost certainly been picked out for abuse because I was too cheerful and smiled too much, and it led some people to believe that they could screw me over and get away with. And she was right. They did screw me over and get away with it.

Over the years, any number of people have told me that their college had at least one total jerk teaching a required pre-med science class (biology, chemistry, physics) who took deep pleasure in making sure that the students who were pre-med got a C in his class or worse in order to destroy their chances of attending medical school. Usually, but not always, the professors doing this had failed to get into medical school themselves.

I wish that someone had told me how the world worked when I was 18. You are much better off having “work colleagues” than in trying to have “friendships” at the office. The more people know about your personal life, the more trouble they can make for you if they want to.

Divorced from Gaslighter said:”I had a bad situation develop while I was in graduate school, and one of the professors actually explained to me that I had almost certainly been picked out for abuse because I was too cheerful and smiled too much”

In trying to make sense of what happened to me,that seems to ‘hit the nail on the head’!It describes my disposition to a T.Beyond the first few yrs of marriage(including childbearing;3 daughters in quick sucession),there was no intimacy or affection shown.In fact,as time went on,he isolated me from my family and friends,either by moving or acting so annoying that it stressed them out to be around him.It was deliberate on his part.

Communication has always meant alot to me,and he knew it.The last 4 yrs we were together,he was either on the computer or turned his face towards the wall.My spirit was crushed and broken.I knew it wasn’t depression though.Because the moment someone he WANTED to talk to called or stopped by,HE CAME ALIVE!HE WAS DELIBERATELY CRUSHING ME!

He did totally isolate me before I left him.I was only allowed to leave our apt to wash laundry or check the mail.No talking to neighbors without his approval.Then he’d give me 10 MINUTES.

WHEN I WAS CHOKING ON MY FOOD,HE HAD THE AUDACITY TO CALL ME DRAMA QUEEN OVER & OVER!But he made no effort to help me!That is when I came to my senses!

Blossom
Wow I feel so bad what he did to you. I experienced the same. When my son and I were talking “too much” it annoyed him. He hated it when I talked to neighbors. He would not go with me when I took the dogs for a walk because he would rather stay back and look at porn or in the mirror. He loved looking at himself . Yes he tried to isolate me also. I am a person who is social and smiles a lot. He hated it. Life is good without him. I don’t miss him anymore and I am so glad I listened to my attorney and filed for divorce. No one deserves to be treated like he treated me and my son.

I was always instructed to “look down” to never acknowledge any other man EVER . I had suffered horrible repercussions of being stranded several times and sexually assaulted before he broke me of just being “me” I was a social butterfly before my ex. And he tore me down by breaking me to only pay him attention. And when I did ad hear to his orders, he would say” why are you holding your head down!” ” your so stupid!” So I had to feel him out and walk on eggshells. Until he did break me of all the things he did not like about me, there were always more but I learned fast not to upset him!
When I was under his full control. Because that’s how he said “I should learn to act right when with him.”
Broken: he started saying to people I was his “Dog” that I do what he says. I was nothing more than ” His Dog” I was so confused and hurt and humiliated!
That was my Sociopath Love for a year ! ( and during our 1 of over 50 break ups) I met who I thought was going to save me. He turned out to be a worse sociopath in a short time, who finished with his version of breaking me! The second died. ( although he had a different breaking APROCH ) I had two of the worst monsters breaking me within a little over a years time . This makes my putting back the pieces twice as hard!

I don’t know what a troll is so maybe I am one. But I have not been diagnosed as a sociopath (Doubt I could be)and, point one, is that there is no one on this site that can do that.
My user name is “Viewpoint” because it is accurate: I’m giving a viewpoint. I am not a victim of anything but rather a co-colluder of the miseries to fall upon me for 13 year chaotic and miserable marriage. It wouldn’t have been a marriage or 13 years if I had admitted “This is too weird, too unpleasant or too embarrassing”. If you need a diagnosis and one extreme to get out, you’re bound to spend more of your time trying to figure the other one out rather than asking yourself “Why am I really doing this relationship when it’s no fun, it’s labor, it’s confusing or it’s actually hurting me?”
How we all usually get into an unfitting relationship is for the attentions fawned on us and we attach pretty quickly to that. Sound silly that we do this? You bet until we all admit that our frenzy to attach stems from something of us, whatever that might be. Whomever the guy was that you took up with (or I did), was a guy that others passed by with a “Thanks but No thanks”. Our frenzy did us a big disservice. And we have to know what that is really about and that it really is irrational. The dude wasn’t the last man standing, he was just available and attentive.
IMO, we do convenient and grandiose thinking with the red flags. We allow for the excuses in their dicey pasts, we give their “talk” credence when we do know that talk is just talk and we do tend to see, in the throes of the passion, a specialness that will dissolve all demons evidenced by prior history. That is what we do and that is on us.
I don’t see in Aubree’s story anything much more than Aubree attaching to a ne’er do well. (I’m using Aubree’s story as an example. I’m not singling her out…She is not to be shamed for naivete; that’s an innocent thing even though dangerous) The boyfriend was bound to get jealous and jealous people are most often than not, hurtful people.
Again using Aubree as example,if Aubree needs the BF to be a sociopath, she might miss the point that she is going to need more from a partner than he absent any diagnosis. She needs a partner with gumption, goals, focus, respect, strong/healthy ties to family and friends, sound thinking, easy temperament, etc. etc.
Tolstoy put it this way:”Happy families are alike;each unhappy family is unhappy in it’s own way”. Sociopaths don’t have a corner market on bringing pain,struggle, depletion to our lives… There are lots of ways to bring those on us to bear. I am 60 years old, so I’ve seen a lot of other ways to misery. I’d also say that I feel for the generation of women that Aubree is in: A lot more boys than men in generations coming up. You gals have to be so much more protective of your hearts/lives.
However, even as brutal as this sound opine sounds, every person has some explaining to do to themselves about keeping company with someone that offends them and their sensibilities. And spending time on diagnosing is about dancing around personal responsibility. No one on this site was living in a penal colony conscribed to entertain the offensive. We just didn’t get gone promptly enough.
Abbri, you are right about some knucklehead ex-spouses probably praying/plotting each morning to bring us unhappiness… However, I was speaking about Aubree’s boyfriend, who was not her ex at the time. He might have woke up feeling sour for his resentment and reacting but plotting/planning is just too paranoid for my blood. resenting her

I’m not seeing the “troll” aspect you are talking about, Abbri. I think Viewpoint is talking about personal responsibility which we all ultimately need to take if our lives are to work out.

In the beginning when I was in shock, the label sociopath really explained a lot to me. I had never observed the kinds of crazy-making behaviors I’d seen with this guy, and it helped me inoculate myself against more of the same. However, I’d already made the break from him before I learned what a sociopath was. Just as Viewpoint says, I asked myself if these types of behaviors and drama were something I wanted to deal with. I vehemently answered NO. This is something we all need to do. I read a lot about dating because I’m out there doing it. I read that it’s good to have a list of questions to ask yourself about a man you are dating. These questions are highly personal but they can be something like, “Is this someone I’d feel proud to bring around my family and friends? Is this someone who is capable of loving me as much/more than himself?” Etc. When we don’t know what we want, we take whatever comes along. For me, the man MUST be successful in his life, honest, supportive, and drama-free. He must be kind and generous and treat people with respect. (I have other requirements too, but this is a short list). If we are very romantic (or lonely), we try to fantasize the “not right” person into the right one. We make excuses and fill in the gaps with our imagination. Voice of experience. As Viewpoint states, this is on US. It is up to us to make healthy, good choices. I’ll be the first person to admit I’ve made some terrible choices, and sometimes I can’t tell because my fears of rejection and abandonment have stopped relationships dead in their tracks before they even started.

This site is about sociopaths – what they are, how to recognize them, how to get away from the, and how to protect ourselves from them, and how to heal. GOOD information. But we must be careful not to fall into the trap of focusing on them and how they hurt us for the rest of our lives. This will keep the resentment alive. This is how we become bitter. The bitterness manifests in physical symptoms because it weakens our immune system. At some point, we stand up and say, “Okay, what was my part in this? How was I vulnerable? Where did I get hooked?” “How can I get unhooked?” “What will it take for me to recover?” “What do I need to do to get the anger out of me?” Emphasis on the *I*. We work on these things ardently and we change. We focus on ourselves and not endlessly ruminate on what the other person did, should, or could do. We are the only ones we can have control over. We can’t change or control someone else. If someone doesn’t love us, we cannot make them suddenly love us. And we certainly don’t have to give them the power to destroy us.

I have often gotten on here “You haven’t been married to a sociopath for 25 years, so you don’t know what it’s like.” True, I haven’t. But I could have on a few occasions if I hadn’t gotten out in time. Some people have given years of their lives to a sociopath (or other disordered person) before they wake up. It gets harder and harder to get over it the more you have invested. But it is still on you to decide when you’re done, why and how you allowed it to happen, and how you are going to spend the next 25 years of your life. I didn’t give 25 years of my life to a sociopath, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand how it could happen. I have spent at least 25 years in other dysfunctional behaviors and relationships (or lack thereof), and none of it was fun for me.

I think Viewpoint’s observations are excellent whether or not you are dealing with a sociopath. And if you heed the advice, you will spath-proof your life as a byproduct.

“Act right when I was with him”. That’s exactly what I was told by my husband. I was not invited to any military or other function because he said “I would not act right”. Also I wasn’t pretty or thin enough to go. I did not look good next to him. I still sometimes question how I key him disrespect me like that and even stayed for 20 years. That part I will never understand. He has a young girlfriend/co worker now. I guess she looks good next to him with her long blond hair. How shallow this evil creatures are? How can they exist and breathe this air?

Great insight from these posts! My three years of research has shown me that YES these men want to tear us apart! Why? One of the reasons is that they enjoy watching others suffer AND it fills a void in their life. You see one of the most common traits of ALL psychopaths is BOREDOM. They move from target to target because of their insatiable need for excitement and DRAMA.

Their brains are messed up both genetically AND from environmental experiences, so they have quite a challenge processing words and feelings. This is NOT an excuse, but an explanation of why ALL of them are so much alike. It’s like why all ducks quack, right?

I cannot stress enough how important it is to educate yourself about personality disorders AND other forms of mental health issues.

My 24 year old daughter now recognizes that her friend is bi-polar and how she needs to get him OUT of her life. The ability to recognize these mood disorders and personality disorders is the key to a more successful relationships in life.

Over the next 20 years I think we will see more conversations about these issues and more acceptance that it is an important part of our education.

Some of what you say in this story very much happened to me. The underlying resentment, seething whenever I did anything to improve myself. When he met me I was confident and happy, and was just loving life. The lovebombing, taking digs, he was a jokester too and always the party guy. He swore he supported me in all that I did. I had a business within the first weeks caused havoc and chaos and terrorised me. Then would support me again only to try and pull it all to pieces. This sort of behaviour continued until finally I had to close it down. Anything that I did to improve myself was met with disdain. It seemed whenever I was getting on top of things or felt good about myself he would get violent, angry and start his abuse. For the longest time it was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. Thank you for this story as I feel it’s put another piece into the puzzle. So sorry you went through this,it is terrifying to think these people are out there with only one thought in mind but to destroy someone else by any means possible.

Actually that’s all it is a search and destroy mission, I feel I really do have the whole picture for the first time…it really has hit home. That’s really hard to take in.

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