Editor’s Note: This letter to Lovefraud was submitted by Lovefraud reader “Pricer,” about his wife.
I would first like to thank you for your efforts in helping others like us cope with the aftermath of a relationship with a sociopath. I also express my condolences for you and everyone else who has suffered at the hands of such a person. I, like yourself, never knew what a sociopath even was until my divorce and I got online searching for answers. My search led me to your site and others and I want to let you know that what you are doing here is not only a good thing but the right thing as well.
I am a member on your site and just like everyone else, my story is much too long for an email. I fear that there would not be enough letters in any one alphabet to use to explain my story as a whole. I do want to inform you of something I discovered through the help of your site. You had published an article in your blog about the warning signs that you may be involved with a sociopath. I also read your book and saw many of the signs that at the time, I was not aware of. I would like to add another sign(s) if I may, that I think might be of interest to your other readers and yourself.
I was married to a woman for just under 12 years. Almost from the start, our marriage was rocky and turbulent as it seemed we could not go a week without some sort of argument. The arguments ranged from the children to what bill should be paid first.
I found that I doubted myself much throughout the marriage because I myself had a very rough upbringing complete with all the emotional and physical abuse you could cram into one childhood. I never saw what a “real” husband or father would do on a day to day basis, so much of what I did as a husband and father relied on my moral compass, which is strong, making me a very real true to life empathic.
Like many others, I led with my heart, which made it that much easier for the woman I loved to do the damage that she would eventually cause.
Something I noticed very early on in our marriage was that my ex-wife would put on a fake mask. Where I would see her true self when we were alone, she would put on a show for others.
It was almost like looking at a totally different person. This “new” person loved to be the star. She would laugh, make jokes, and be willing to do anything for others. Truth be told, this made me very upset as I wondered why she was not like this with me.
The woman I always dealt with was very cold and unnerving. She would say the meanest things to me knowing that she was hurting me. I would get upset and argue to only later come crawling back to her when I couldn’t stand the loneliness and cold shoulders any longer. This pattern continued all through our marriage and seemed to escalate when she got a job at a local hospital right before our divorce.
Failed personality test
About a year before our divorce, my ex-wife began to spend more time away from the house. She always blamed her job and her hectic schedule and like a fool, I initially believed her.
When she first accepted the job she was put on a “”conditional” status for a period of three months where she would be evaluated for her work performance and etiquette. One of the requirements was that she take a personality test.
After taking the test she was informed of the results and I came home to see her not only stressing but crying over her results. Apparently, she had failed the test and some red flags were raised. After consoling her and telling her that everything would work out, I was able to get her calmed down. What struck me as odd was that it was almost like nothing had ever happened. She just shrugged it off. I didn’t realize the impact and indication of this “test” until much later on.
After a year of her working for the hospital, it came to light that not only did she have a tryst with a doctor (who had no idea that she was married, let alone had children), she was also hanging out with friends during the times she claimed to be on shift.
Since I am in the military, my hours vary and I found it increasingly difficult to react to her various schedule changes and mishaps. While I was rushing home to pick up the children or filling in because she had to work (or so I thought), she was relaxing with friends at their house or going out to eat.
I will never forget her callous words as I told her of my disgust and anger at her actions. She always attempted to turn it back on me by saying things like, “we got married too young and she didn’t have enough time to experiment” and “I am too overbearing on her and she just needs to get out.” Gas lighting, at its finest.
Counseling made things clear
Months prior to the divorce, I broke down and demanded that we both seek counseling. At first, we attempted marriage counseling but on advice from my counselor, we sought separate counseling as I was informed that there was “a little more going on here” than I knew.For a month we both attended separate counseling sessions from different counselors until it was suggested that we conduct a double session with both of our counselors and my ex.
On the day of our session, I discussed my issues with her and the emotions as a result of her treachery. What happened after was only something out of a nightmare as my ex-wife burst out in fits of anger shouting obscenities and again, attempting to gaslight every topic on the table.
If I had to say there was a defining moment when I finally knew there was something wrong, it was the moment when I looked over at her counselor, whose mouth had dropped in shock over the display my ex-wife put on. It became apparent to me that her counselor had never seen this side of my ex-wife before, and was quite taken aback by such a show. It was then that I knew that I was not crazy, what I saw was in my marriage was real, and it was all wrong. This was not the woman I thought I had married.
Don’t be blind to the signs
There were other signs. Stories she had told me of other family members of hers that had quite literally ruined the lives of others. I remember the shock I was in after her telling me such a story and then laughing about it. I still did not realize the danger I was in. The signs were everywhere, I was just to too blind to see them.
My hope from this post is that others see that this is by far not an isolated issue and that it can happen to anyone, including a man who has over 16 years of active duty service to his country. I hope that if anyone sees signs like these that their eyes will open before it’s too late.