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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: 30 years married to a sociopath

Editor’s note: The following article was sent by the reader who posts as Opal Rose.

July 24, 2012, was my 30th wedding anniversary. I found the Lovefraud web site in August 2009 after finding a directory on my computer put there by my husband while his computer was being repaired. Unbelievable and worse than I could have ever imagined — porn, violence-against-women-porn, sex dating sites for college age women, e-mails to specific responders to ads. The dude was busy. A frantic visit to my workplace Employee Assistance Program gave me the concept of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” but subsequent searches led me to the checklist for “Sociopath.” I distinctly remember my jaw dropping when I read that checklist. Bingo!! Learning about sociopaths reframed my entire life since I had a sociopath mother. I did confront him, but he got more verbally violent than I’ve ever seen him and physically threatening and I backed off. He loves his mask.

I’ve learned so much the past 3 years and taken practical steps to take care of myself. But I’m still struggling about staying in the marriage. Not sure if there is a good answer. I like what someone posted from “The Road Less Travelled” on the Lovefraud blog: “sound mental and emotional health depends on a constant dedication to reality at all costs.” It’s hard staying focused on that important piece of advice. I’ve set up a separate bank account and filled it to capacity. I’ve started requiring him to pay half of all bills all the time (so weird that I never “noticed” I paid all the bills and made every single house payment — talk about denial). I’ve stopped trying so hard and I’m getting as much sleep as I need with no guilt about feeling exhausted – that’s really different for me. I’ve started taking days off from work when he is at work so I can have the house to myself (without him there doing his constant tirades). I’m downsizing belongings, donating extra furniture, working to get some of my cats re-homed together and sold an extra car. I suppose it’s good he has not noticed. This babe is busy.

I’ve faced that he has had self-serving affairs the entire time I’ve been with him. I found out that he would set up dates whenever I was out of town our entire marriage. A rather tough betrayal for me to face since I work in public health (environmental health) and go to underserved areas once or twice a year, not fun business trips. He married me for my stable supply of money, for the façade of decency, for a mother figure from whom he feels entitled to have constant entertainment and financial support. I would say for sex, but he never was able to be sexual without lots of porn, S&M fantasies and his version of “talking dirty.” His explanation was that every married woman knew to expect “this type of treatment” from their husbands. He once set me up with a therapist so I could get “straightened out.” I realize his definition of being “straightened out” meant that I would enjoy aberrant sex and abusive sex. Now I also know that he would have continued escalating no matter what I accepted.

So, I “get it,” I know what happened, I know how I got here. But I’m still here with him. I remember going No Contact with my mother after my father passed way when I was 32 years old. It was a bitter separation, but I counted my blessings so many times after going NC as it saved me from the ravages of her subsequent behavior. But, I’m having trouble with making that same decision now. I’m 57 years old. I would have to give him half of my substantial retirement whenever I finish my 30 years of service (7.5 years to go). I’m petrified at the smear campaign I know he would do if I have him leave. He is a respected professional — clinical psychologist — isn’t that great? I have no children, which is bitter-sweet (bitter because I wanted a family, sweet because I don’t have that added heartache of potential child abuse). He was almost giddy when on 2 separate occasions I lost children prior to birth and then he acted like it never even happened. It makes me crazy when he is so solicitous of families and children, even though I know his interest is faked.

I guess I need to work on the Trauma Bond. But it’s more than that. I have to be in this locale until I retire. It’s about fear of harassment. Fear of substantial financial loss. Fear of being caged until I can leave the area. But 32 years with a sociopathic mother and now 30 years with a sociopathic / exploitative husband, I think it’s enough. I pray for guidance and to get away from the extended nightmare.

Lately I find myself dreaming the hours away, trying to imagine a good life. I don’t know if this is a phase and somehow useful, or if this is not best for me. I’m thinking it’s an escape from the intense cognitive dissonance. How can my mother have been so pretty, so charming, so “religious” and so abusive? How can my husband be so glib, so popular, so confident and so mean? My solution for now is to continue laying the groundwork for leaving and doing all the practical things which could enable me to make a decision when I’m ready. That feels like the best I can do right now. Somehow staying busy with the process of “getting ready” helps so much, although I know it’s not the final important step.

So — Happy Anniversary. Thirty years married to a disordered person. Please send sympathy cards. ;-0


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28 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: 30 years married to a sociopath"

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Dear Opal Rose,

I actually laughed out loud when I read what he does for a living. Your story though, makes me want to weep.

Let me ask you though, you say you don’t want to give him half of your retirement or half the house, what do you think will happen if you stay with him? He will have half the house, half the money AND he is going to be there to make you miserable.

What do you have to gain by waiting?

I realize that waiting may sound like the answer, but I think you are by your downsizing and your keeping money in a separate bank account etc, you are working up to kicking him out.

Oh, I would suggest that you keep your “stash” of money in cash or travelers checks rather than in a bank, because if you do split you will have to disclose your accounts.

Good luck, and I hope that you can find a life for yourself away from that sort of abuse. God bless.

Opal Rose. Towanda!!! I stayed with my X six years after learning he was a sexually addicted Narcissist, because I was trauma bonded and scared to death of leaving. I was in therapy and a 12 step program which was my saving grace. A male friend of mine, also in the program, told me that I needed to have a plan, and to put all my focus and energy into that plan. It took six years, but when the time was ripe, so was I. I think that you are making a plan and I congratulate you. Rest assured that when the time is right you’ll make your move…I just know it.

In the mean-time, stop dreaming and keep staring reality square in the face. Dreaming wastes energy that could be better utilized in the formation of your plan.

Opal Rose……hugs to you!!!!!!

The retirement, house, all of the trappings can be rebuilt. Your soul cannot, if it’s damaged, too much more.

Let it go…..hide cash like Oxy suggested, begin putting stuff away in safe deposit boxes or shoe boxes. But, whatever you do, get the hell out. You deserve better. You do.

Brightest blessings to you!!!!

Opal Rose,

I always feel like I haven’t much in common with someone who’s stayed with a sociopath for many years. My longest relationship was only 3 years, and the relationship with the sociopath was only about 3 months. So when I read these stories, I often feel like I’m cut out of a different mold than a lot of people here. But there is something about these stories that I resonate with, especially recently, and I think the thing that connects us all.

I’ve had men hurt me to a much lesser extent than many of the people here. And I’ve left men for much lesser things than what many people have put up with for years. I know I am a survivor and would rather be alone than put up with abuse and blatant forms of disrespect. But the one thing that has gotten in my way of attracting loving relationships is my inability to really deeply feel the hurt that the many betrayals have caused me. If I could put my finger on the one reason why a person will stick around in a bad relationship, it is this: They haven’t really deeply felt the pain of the the betrayal. They may still be in denial, imagining that deep down their mate really loves them or could love them. OR they may feel it like a dull ache that never goes away but gets temporarily relieved when their mate does something kind. I have had both of these experiences. It is only now, 10 years after a pretty nasty break-up with a man I believed once to be the love of my life, that I am feeling the depths of pain his neglect and betrayal caused me. I was unable to express my feelings toward him at the time because I really was not feeling them deeply. He didn’t understand that his behaviors were hurting me because I didn’t know how to show the hurt. This hurt got touched again and again with future short-term relationships and affairs. But I never got to the bottom of it. I believe that when we finally reach into the well of the deep pain of abandonment we have, we can finally say, “enough” and be honest about what we will and will not put up with. We can show our honest feelings to our friends and lovers and gauge whether they can empathize with our feelings or not. (A sociopath will not). The man I broke up with 10 years ago that I spoke of told me that I really didn’t know who I was. And he was completely right. I sat around and called him a bastard for many years, and to a certain extent, it is so. But also, the few times I was able to truly express my feelings to him in a clear manner, he “got” it. Problem was I can probably count on one hand all the times in a 3-year relationship that I did that. He, as a man, was very mental and not in touch with his feminine side, so he wasn’t going to be the warm fuzzy touchy-feely man I needed. We both had some issues. But in the end, I can only look at my own behavior patterns. Why did I allow him to disrespect me for so long? And finally, many years later, I have my answer. Because I just couldn’t wrap my awareness around the pain. It was too big. I spent so many years running from it, trying to drown it in new relationships or activities, blaming it on others. Granted, it is not just the pain he triggered. It’s the pain of all the abandonments in my early life that I never resolved. I am 51 and just starting to really face the deeper layers of pain.

To me, this work and this realization is essential in order to create a loving relationship with another human being. You absolutely need to know yourself and create that loving relationship with yourself.

I trust that since you have found this site, you are on your way to your own healing journey, and I wish you the very best on your path.

Dear Opal Rose,

Thank you for your post. I’m sorry that you have had such a painful experience with a sociopath, but I am glad you are here in the right place to write about how you feel and receive some support.

I, too, had to face the reality of horrendous betrayal and face the fact that there was something going on within me that would allow me to stay with a person who mistreated and used me so badly. It’s a painful process, one I continue to struggle with.

And, part of the struggle is the loss of the material things I have worked so hard for. To me, my home was the ultimate symbol of stability and one of my hardest earned and cherished possessions. In the end, though, I was tired of living with one eye constantly over my shoulder. I do have a child with Spathy, and she had a lot to do with my ultimate decision to flee out of state. It has been difficult, but I feel like in the long run, although I am facing financial loss and have to rebuild much of the life I worked so hard to create for myself, I am finding more value in myself and my life’s experiences. It’s easy to say in a moment of emotional stability, such as I am experiencing right now. I have times where I am so angry with both him and myself. But I hang on to hope that by leaving a bad situation with him as a constant threat, my financial loss is buying me personal safety and freedom.

I have an aquaintance that left a horrible man several years back and had to pay him a substantial pay out that left her needing to leave the house she loved and seriously modify her lifestyle. She, too, needs to pay him half of her hard earned retirement. But in the end, after she left him, she looked so much happier and even remarried!

We never know what the future holds for us… That is, unless we stay with the Spathy farker. Then, we pretty much know the outcome will be ugly, or at best, far less than we deserve as decent human beings.

It is a tough road that you are on, no doubt. I sincerely wish you all of the best. I KNOW you deserve better than what Spathy can give…

Opal Rose,
I admire you for your dedication to reality. And also for taking things slow, not jumping into drama.

You’ve done all the right things, educated yourself on the problem and preparing to exit with grace. I also agree that you need to have cash stashed, rather than in bank accounts.

Which brings up a couple of questions: Do you have somewhere to put the cash? Do you have friends you can trust? Please don’t answer the first question, just in case you are ever traced to this website.

I ask about the friends because you have tried to prepare financially but what about emotionally? You don’t want to be isolated. Furthermore, I would also prepare legally. Talk to a lawyer now and start figuring out how to protect your assets. A lawyer cannot advise you to prepare cash because all assets must be disclosed in a divorce settlement. If they find that you hid assets, you will lose them all. But the same goes for him. Make sure you are tracking his assets. Spaths prepare for the long con. Mine sure did.

Finding out the laws in your state is important too because if you can prove affairs, it might help you. You can start collecting evidence now.

You are so lucky you didn’t have children with him. But I know how sad that is too. That was my situation as well.

I guess the last thing to consider is whether you could be conned again. Did you learn everything you needed to know from this spath? Are you impervious to love bombing and cog/dis?

Sometimes, we stay because we feel there is more to learn from the experience. In my case, I realized he was evil but didn’t know about spaths. So I tried to stay a few more months to prepare and to observe. As it turned out, I had to run when he threatened me and my gut told me he would kill me. My gut was right but it didn’t know HOW.

Lots more was revealed by leaving than if I had stayed. By removing myself from the environment I realized he had been poisoning my food. And I met a man who explained spaths to me.

So expect upheaval and revelations when you leave him. Spaths don’t like being abandoned. He will begin a new tactic of attack and bizarre behavior.

I hope you dot your i’s and cross your t’s then get out soon.
Do like Katie Holmes did on Tom Cruise. She’s my hero!

Opal Rose, my marriage ended when I discovered that the exspath was engaging in violent, deviant sexual fantasies and, quite likely, activities. I knew that it was over upon this one discovery, as I could not tolerate the types of deviancies that he had been compartmentalizing since his high school years. All evidence suggested (screamed, actually) that he had been involved with someone else in these violent interests that included genital torture and mutiliation, gang-rape, murder, veiled necrophilia, and extreme bondage and sado-masochism.

The separation was forced when I attacked him in a fit of rage after he had spent weeks denying that he had done anything more than “fantasize” about gatherings with random people and I found evidence that directly indicated otherwise.

Since that time, I discovered financial frauds that exceed the Federal guideline for criminal prosecution, although he will never be charged, quite likely, or face consequences. In less than 3 years, he was able to covertly relieve me of nearly $250,000 from one individual account, and another $50,000 in estate payments through coersion and forgery.

When you are ready, I will strongly, strongly urge that you have cash set aside – cash, cash, cash, NOT (caps are to emphasize and not to be interpreted as online yelling) checks, credit cards, or anything else that’s traceable. I will also strongly urge that you consult with a Divorce Specialist and a counseling therapist.

The Divorce Specialist is far more schooled in very, very tough cases which typically turn out to be the situation when exiting from a sociopath – abusive, or not. They will advise you on what you are entitled to, how your case will be likely arbitrated and negotiated, and they will work to represent you in the best way possible.

The counseling therapist is for various positive reasons, but the main two are: 1) assist you in your exit and the emotional aftermath, and 2) provide professional documenation of the carnage for any purposes that your attorney needs. When you require documentation from your counseling therapist, ask for a “narrative” and not a diagnosis, PLEASE. A narrative gets to the point, and a diagnosis is written in psychspeak that attorneys really don’t know, themselves, even though they’ve heard the terminology, before.

As Skylar so wisely pointed out, it is an imperative to know as much as you can about the Laws in your State. What I can say from personal experience is that 30 years will entitle you to alimony for life, 1/2 of his retirement (he can buy you out, or negotiate something), and half of all jointly-owned marital properties (real estate, vehicles, etc.). This is if you live in a no-fault State. Only 2-3 States do not abide by “no-fault.”

Then….I agree with building your network of support. Doing this is going to be difficult in every way. You’ll be breaking old habits, etc., and exiting such a situation of 30 years is going to be tough. But, it’s also going to liberate you from the chains of cruelty and neglect. You’ll finally have the opportunity to sing like nobody is listening, and dance as if nobody’s watching. You will find you, at long last.

“Opal Rose” is such a beautiful choice of ID….take that beauty, save it, and run with it. You are so priceless in this vast Universe – nobody can replace you. When you’re ready, you will do this for you – for Opal Rose.

My brightest and most supportive blessings to you

Dear Opal Rose,
Hello and I would like to say congratulations! I choose empathy over sympathy, however. It is, IMhumble opinion, never too late. It’s never too late to realise you deserve better. As Oxy has often reminded us, it starts off about them and finishes being about us. I watched a film last night,”The Women” with Meg Ryan. She was in crisis, husband had had an affair, her relationship with her daughter was troubled and a woman she met at a retreat asked her “What do you want, what about you?”
I know it’s Hollywood but I thought yep, how many people put others before themselves all their life? We are so busy putting everyone first, thinking it will get better. And it doesn’t.

I’m going to be 50 in a couple of months. I “got away” from my ex husband only to walk straight into the hands of someone much worse. I lost my health for a while, nearly lost my children and got into debt. I know I’m lucky in so many ways. I support myself but my pension is not worth having as I started teaching late. So yeh, sometimes I think what’s going to happen when I can’t work anymore. I’m a terrible one for the “what ifs!!”

I can honestly say that I would not change my life now.I’m on my own, no partner or significant other and I love the peace. I love independence. I love freedom of thought and freedom of whatever I want to do, I can do it.

You sound like a gutsy lady, OpalRose. You’ve been through so much.
What do you want, what about you?

Here’s hoping you get what you so richly deserve. I think peace and quiet and that still small voice of sanity is preferable to living with or engaging with a toxic person. Ever.

Good luck. Sending you strength from SW.

Opal Rose, I didn’t really clarify the reason for the history of my marital end. The point that I recounted this was that I did not use a calm mind to end the marriage, properly. I allowed myself to fall into a depth of fear that I have never known, in my life: fear of being unable to make it on my own, fear of losing everything (before I found out that I actually had), fear, fear, fear…..that fear worked into rage. I was a beaten animal cornered in a cage, and I saw no way out.

Don’t let it happen that way for you, Opal Rose. When you are ready, take this bull by the legal horns, help your attorney and counselor wrestle it down, and become whom you were always meant to be.

Brightest blessings

Dear Opal Rose,

I am so sorry for what you are dealing with. You’ve come to the right place, people here understand.

Like you, I was married for 30 years. It’s been 3 years since I discovered who I was really married to and have now been divorced for a year and a half. I understand your concerns and they are all valid however I agree with others that you’ll have even less if you stay. It’s taken me a long time to separate my perceived reality from the truth. I believe this is where your struggle currently is. Thirty years cannot be undone that quickly. Mine liked his mask too and continues to wear it for everyone. My discovery happened suddenly. I instantly went from him hugging me and saying I love you each day to barely acknowledging that I’m a person. He moved on as quickly as you stated your husband moved on from the two children you lost. They don’t like to take care of anyone.

You have probably been experiencing many “aha” moments which will continue for awhile. It’s the realization of the little “tells” that were there but when viewed from the perspective of a person without a personality disorder it’s incongruous with what we perceive so we dismiss it. I’ve been amazed and in shock over how many “little” things I dismissed over the years. This is where you are now. You are sorting it out.

I agree with Oxy, hide cash. Anything in the bank must be claimed in the divorce proceedings. Also, get the best attorney you can afford. Mine kept saying “I thought we were going to do a collaborative divorce?” Well, I don’t deal with the devil so I retained my own attorney and had to fight for what I have. Socios/psychopaths/narcissists – they truly do not care about anyone…..doesn’t matter how long we’ve been married to these people without a soul. They don’t have a social conscience and feel they owe you nothing. I am confident that one day his inner rage will boil over at the wrong time and others will know who he is.

Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and I believe eventually you will reach that conclusion. You are already taking the steps.

Last but not least, document everything you possibly can.

My best to you Opal. It’s a difficult road but a survivable one. Save yourself. The option to stay with them isn’t any more real than the marriage was. Mine was cheating on me right from the very beginning. Thirty two years if I count the courtship.

Many positive thoughts going out to you.

~New

Among the many wonderful suggestions on how to prepare yourself for leaving I want to add one or two more…

Some people can withdraw funds from their retirement in advance – yes there can be a penalty but it might be smart to see about transferring some of that out of his clutches as a 25% withdrawal penalty is still less than 50% for him…
Maybe go gambling a few times and explain the missing money that way – keep a few receipts to show the money spent and your “losses”… You can say with a straight face that your misery in your marriage made you do it!

Secondly – If you plan to do this over a few years (as you said 7.5 more to go) I suggest you find a way to choose a place where he won’t be able to follow you and a place you want to live and build a new life… find a new hometown and take several more “business trips” to this place and begin to establish a friendships there. Do not tell him where you are going on these trips. Maybe even complain about them… Tell no one what you are up to or only those who know what a B’tard he is and who will protect you. Find a DV organization if need be to help you. They know what to do. Do not tell anyone even the attorney about the cash you tuck away. You may decide not to wait the 7.5 years if you can get an early leave and the attorney should be able to help you set up whatever the retirement income is so that you get funds without him being able to know where you are.

A friend of mine helped a woman once – in fact a small woman’s group at their church did. The husband was considered a fine upstanding man locally by all – but the women in this small group knew how she suffered and that he would kill her if she left and ruined his mask. Over the course of many many months they devised a plan. She started to bring home 1-2 empty plastic/rubber storage containers and fill them up with clothes and things she wanted to take with her but could not do all at once. When he asked about the containers she said she had decided they needed more space in the closets so she was rotating her clothes by season etc… And slowly but surely she filled up those tubs with her valuables and clothing and she would go to the church group and one woman started to store the containers for her. Eventually the day came she was ready to make her escape and her belongings had been transferred to a new secret location that only one woman knew. She was picked up with the last tubs and slipped away to a new life.

The pastor of the church was called by the husband and he came to these women and told them he knew they had somehow helped and admonished them for not “supporting the woman in staying in her marriage”… And for helping her escape her abusive ex. Almost every single one of them left that church.

Regarding the smear campaign they’ve been known to run, despite my ex doing this there are people who not only don’t believe him but also see that I was at great risk. Some have verbalized it to me (things like OMG I am SO relieved to hear your voice and/or see you) but I’ve kept quiet because to do otherwise would put them at risk. Sociopathic rage is very ugly and sometimes it boils over in public, even if it’s only visible for a few seconds.

Stargazer, your response to Opal Rose really resonates with me. I too had never acknowledged the deep down pain while I was in the relationship with my ex spath and for many years afterward. I too was numb to the deep pain. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I had my breakthrough. That breakthrough showed me that my pain was from a mulititude of abandonments and abuses I had endured. I feel confident now that I am on the healing path because I have acknowledge that terrible, unbearable pain. I still find it incredibly sad what we humans can emotionally do to one another. I am glad I face the truth of this fact and no longer live and love in a haze of numbness.

Opal Rose, I think that you already have all of the answers in your heart. You know what you need to do. I am so very glad that you found LF to help your with you journey. I wish you strength and faith in yourself.

Much Love to you.

The Sisterhood, it is, indeed, sad what humans are capable of and willing to do for their own entertainment and personal gain. Although I am no longer “surprised” at what humans do, I am always dismayed and horrified, but not “surprised.”

Opal Rose, I agree that you already know what you need to. You probably sense that remaining another week, let alone nother 7 years, will be far more harmful than beneficial. You’ll take steps when you’re ready.

Brightest blessings

Stargazer and all,

Me to Star, me too. I really get what you are experiencing, and it is the same for me. I finally got to the place (in my heart, my life, my emotional maturity) to FEEL the pain, all of it. Bit by bit. Once I truly accepted that betrayal and abandonment were festering inside me, and could feel the pain of those deep wounds….well, the world opened up. I could learn to respect myself. Finally.

Opal Rose….I commend you. Don’t stop with your plan. Follow it through. I have a feeling you will find your way OUT and AWAY from him.

Love to all,
Slim

Yeah, we can intellectualize about the healing process all we want, but in the end, we need to just feel our feelings. Then we can truly begin to have an authentic relationship, first with ourselves and then with others. This is only possible when you feel emotionally safe. And you can’t feel emotionally safe if you have toxic people in your life. They will sabotage your healing.

I was with my sociopathic ex for 28 years. It was another 18 months before I realised what he was. The last three years have been hard and sometimes it’s discouraging when I realise that it will take me the rest of my life to recover from this. But my biggest problems are financial, so I say if you will be able to manage on your own – and it sounds as if your plans are already well advanced – cut your losses, get out and live that good life for real, not just in your head.

Opal Rose, with him showing such intense delight at your miscarriages I have to wonder if he fed you something to provoke them.

number one. get a counselor who can defend/certify your sanity.
number two get one of the best lawyers in your area, sociopathic knowlege preferred if not, a shark who wins.
someone who won’t sell you out to him too, mine did…
but get out. you might not live to retirement if you don’t.
and why the heck can’t you go after his retirement? huh? still under the thumb aren’t you? or does he not have any? financially insolvent type?
??
find witnesses/allies, get out.
good luck too.

OH MY I have been married to a Psychopath for 35 years! I have 2 adult children that I raised as he was never around, always out with friends drinking and getting into bar fights. He put the fear of god into me by beating me so bad one night, sitting on top of me and on my hands when I tried to defend blows to my face, then he smashed my head over and over on cement floor and punched my face repeatlingly, no one dared get him off me as they knew his violence well before I did that nightt and I ended up with concussion and then 5 years later Cluster headaches. I never went to ER but should of as my face was swollen the next day and I could not open my mouth and I had to work the next day caring for a elderly women in her home, I also did not call police or make report, but what was the real eye opener was when he told me the next day ” you deserved it and should of kept your mouth shut” When I threatened to leave him with our 2 small children he threatened to hunt me down “You can run but can never hide from me” and if he ever caught me with another man ” Kill you” He did what ever he wanted when he wanted and how dare I ask where he was and with who when gone for 3 days, which he usually would argue with me for excuse to leave or stress cause him to leave , it was always my fault that he left! Then he would return like nothing happened and everything was hunky dory?? He lies continually and is 2 people one face to friends and strangers and the other nasty face to me and our kids who he does not care how he mistreats or ignores or made to feel insignificant. He has also raped me and expected sex when ever he wanted or “I will get it elsewhere” Never allowing the time after giving birth or prior to birth to follow doctors instructions not to have sex! He took it anyways . What ever I wanted I never got even though I made more $$ than he did as a RN. My life with this man has been a lie a falsehood a fake and I know it know and I have so much shit on him that when I ever get medically well and finally leave him he will leave this marriage bare assed or have to commit suicide because the shit I have on him what he has done to me for years and luckily I was able to finally lose shame and tell of it but only a sliver of what he has done to me in this post as what he has done is so ugly and vile and such betrayal … I hope no one ever tolerates a psychopath as they do not ever love as they are incapable of empathy and only cause illness and destruction to anyone that tries to love them. They are the greatest manipulators, I am 10 years younger than my husband so ? do not know if that had something to do with why I put up with the abuse but feel my dysfunctional childhood with a alcoholic father and mother who hated his drinking and would fight with him and he would take off and leave and seeing my father as a child with another women drive by the house .. and then my brother in law molesting me at age 12 to almost 17 and my sister taking him back and today in denial and blaming me and her manipulation of other family members telling them I was after her husband, his father was a sexual predator. I know what i need to do and writing this to say the women of 30 years is not alone in her marriage of decades to a psychopath.

Opal, it was great to read your post. It mirrored my own situation in many respects accept that I have been married 35 yrs and had two children both now grown. They both had ADHD like my husband except my son appears to have a heart. However he married an Alcoholic and has become one too. My husband’s family is almost 90% alcoholics and some form of homosexuality. Odd but my husband doesn’t drink but does have sexual addiction. He is diabetic with ED now and thankfully can’t abuse me that way anymore. Both my kids went through many problems during their teen yrs. My daughter had a child at 15, a girl and has had many relationships with men who abused, had addictions and were violent. She had two more children both boys after marrying her fifth addict/Bipolar man. I feel for my granddaughter however she is a mother to her mother and doesn’t realize it. She defends her mother like I defended my husband to my family etc. He treated the whole world better than me who he treated worse than a dog. Both my children were sexually molested by my husbands 1st son to his 1st wife. My stepson is also bisexual but has never told his wife. That is my husband’s job to fill her in but he hasn’t so far. So between the history of being a molester and having his own story of Broke back Mountain, I can only imagine what is going on in my stepson’s family. We don’t communicate because we only found out after the wedding when our children who didn’t attend told us about the history.
I have made the same decision you have. But it is a matter of playing the same game they play. Act concerned. I don’t wish him any harm but I really can’t tolerate him being around me anymore. I have developed FM/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and it will be very difficult to leave. But I will truly try to be fair with him even though our whole marriage has been about his wants and desires. I thought I was being a good wife when I gave up my personhood to devote my life to pleasing him as any good Christian woman would. However it was never enough as you can understand. I am aware that many friends will desert me and that will be sad but they haven’t a clue about what my life has been like. I should be in a mental institution. My daughter who has become a real scam artist herself wants to have me committed. I think that’s because she is taking advantage of her father so she can live with us for free till she can get a place of her own. I think she is trying to take my place. She is defending her father and physically abusing me which he gets great pleasure from. But I am showing him how she is taking advantage of him and he is confused which as you know is throwing him off his game. My grandsons are showing signs of extreme behavior and I desperately want to help them and their half sister. But that will have to wait till I am in a safe place. Your right, I love when he goes away for the weekend to hunt, it leaves me free and relaxed. But I am not ready to turn less than I deserve over to him. I paid his child support, I paid for his hunting property, and I paid for everything his little heart desired. I even paid more for his hunting equipment than he paid for my engagement ring. My son doesn’t have a clue because he resents me for being the parent when my husband wouldn’t and my daughter resents me because I’m in her way in getting what she wants. Sad but my Eyes are open. Life is not a Rose Garden but that’s okay. I believe that there is a God who made the ultimate sacrifice of his son for my sins and I’m looking forward to eternity with him. PTL he chose me to understand and accept. Keep us informed of how things are progressing. God Bless your plan. He doesn’t want his saints to suffer without cause.

Mine was a 24 yr marriage. One yr ago, I learned of the cheating. Don’t believe it when people say you Had to know something, I knew Nothing! And — I was thorough about checking his computer history, etc. He was just smart enough to do it all at work or at his friend’s office. Mostly, his friend (a narcissist) booked prostitutes for him. He confessed it all to me, when he got caught, but he claimed he had a sex addiction, and desperately wanted to be healed. He entered 6 mons of SA therapy, and still wasn’t doing some things that I thought he should. But combine that with endless declarations of love and devotion, joy at our future, etc. And– our two young teen boys, whom Ex claimed to love with endless devotion. I would have done anything to keep our family intact, and I did. But he finally bailed after 10 months of counselling. What a blessing!! Our counselor told me the very next day, that I needed to realize he is a Spath. I had No Clue!!! Looking back, educated now, of course I see signs. But none of my family knew, either. Only this counselor, and Ex’s brother, Got It. He told me he loved me 6-10 times a day for 24 years, we had a great, normal sex life—he just molded himself to be my perfect person. I thought he was the best husband ever. So clueless is entirely possible. We even spent hours a day together, and (I thought) had a very intimate emotional bond.

He tried to reconcile at the 3 month mark, suddenly pouring out these ridiculous love professions…..and when I didn’t respond (in fact, told him it was not possible, but I would agree to pray about it)….he ran back to the placeholder girlfriend he’d put in place 9 days after leaving. So 2 hrs after a crazy love text, he wrote, “Oh, changed my mind. God has told me you should be free, you’ve done all you can. I’m going back to Lisa.” I literally LOL for 10 minutes. I had so much peace when he started the reconciliation mess, ’cause I knew then, that I had Boundaries, and could handle it, and I did. This seemed to help me turn a healing corner.

Why am I telling you all this? Just wanted you to know that long-term life with an Spath, and not knowing it, is entirely possible for a very sane woman. I asked my counselor today, H O W could I not have known? And he stressed how many lies I’ve now seen him tell—-and he was lying to me like that for 24 years. I can also feel good about how devoted I was to him…. too devoted, clearly, but at least I know my heart was in the right place. Ours was a happy, peaceful marriage. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why he suddenly started going downhill so badly. It was a sudden change. Lots of financial stress probably affected it. Any other experience with a Spath who lived a fairly steady life (there was cheating of course, that I never knew)….who then spiralled dramatically out of control?

Oh my – so many posts and wonderful feedback – thank you !!

Wow – what a revelation – feeling the pain – wrapping my mind around the abandonment and betrayal. I cannot even come close to doing that – so there is the wound that needs my attention. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this clearly before.

And the practical suggestions – cash and legal / emotional assistance. He did get a big inheritance from his mother and I could negotiate to give him all that if I can have all my retirement. I’ll start thinking about where I want to go and live – that’s an awesome idea !!

Thanks so much for helping me think straight and for all the cyber hugs and for clarifying my next priority – me and my carried pain.

I’m recovering in so many ways – all my life I was praised when I “handled” tough things and slammed when I needed some me time and quiet time. It was all for their convenience – not for taking care of me as one of their family. I’m seeing more and more clearly. This community is priceless – bless you all – readers and posters alike.

Opal (my favorite aunt’s name) Rose (my name)

Divorced from Gaslighter

Opal Rose:

1) If he still has a big chunk of the inheritance, consider divorcing him BEFORE he runs through it and it can no longer be used as a bargaining chip to hang on to your pension.

2) ELAINE – “Early Legal Advice is Never Expensive”. Ask lots of people who the best divorce attorneys are in your town. When you start hearing the same two or three names over and over, make appointments with those two or three people.

3) Visit the local divorce court a few times when your husband is out of town. How many different judges hear divorce cases? Get a feel for their personalities, what annoys them, etc. Remember that angry, bitter, vindictive people NEVER win in a divorce or custody case in front of a judge. You want to present yourself as a person who just finally couldn’t take the cheating anymore, and wants to move on to a new life, and hopes that ex-hubby will be happier, too, eventually. Ex will try to paint you as “crazy” person who exaggerates, etc. Just stick to your script as a nice person who wants to move on in life.

4) Lots of Spaths and others enjoy the divorce process, as it makes them the center of attention. This is especially true if he can run up huge legal bills for you, while his own bills are paid by his family, or by his new girlfriend, etc.

5) Check his assets through a private detective. Don’t take his word that he has no retirement account, etc. When he is out of town, photograph his gun collection, stamp collection, toy train collection, write down serial numbers, etc., and if possible, get the collection appraised by someone that you know for certain is NOT somebody your husband does business with.

6) Get back in touch with old friends, pick up old hobbies and interests that you left behind during your marriage, etc.

7) Get your teeth fixed, any other health issues addressed. If you always wanted a certain china pattern or a set of silverware or piece of jewelry, buy it now and store it away from your home.

8) If your car is old, buy new one and pay off quickly, and keep it well maintained. Generally, each of you will keep the car you customarily drove, and will be responsible for the associated car payments remaining.

9) Remember how fortunate you really are: most people on this board have been left with nothing but gigantic debts when their relationship ended. You actually have assets, and since you haven’t mentioned poor health, I’m assuming that your health is okay.

10) I’m not sure that he is entitled to 50% of your retirement if the pension was not fully vested at the time of the separation. It will depend on your jurisdiction. In any case, life is short, and I would not advise you to wait 7.5 years to get rid of this man.

11) Don’t tell your relatives that you plan to leave until very close to the time that you will be leaving. Lots of people can’t keep a secret, and many people can’t hide their emotions. Your husband may be able to tell by the look on your sister’s face that she knows something, etc. You don’t want him filing for divorce before you have all of your ducks in a row.

12) Avoid divorcing prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas. February is a good month to initiate a divorce.

13) Don’t buy a new house until the divorce settlement is completely finalized, as the purchase will call into question the truthfulness of the financial declarations you will have made. In other words, you don’t want to have to explain where the downpayment and closing costs came from.

14) Don’t use your home computer or cellphone to contact attorneys or to post on this website, etc. Use the public library, the church, the local school, work, etc.

15) Make sure that bank statements and charges for the safe deposit box go to a post office box somewhere, and not to your home. Keep the safe deposit box key and the post office box key in a box of “old junk” full of old keys and odds and ends. Do not put them on your key ring.

16) Make sure that you have copies of all of your old tax returns and other paperwork that your lawyer will need. Having to subpoena the records after the separation can cause your legal bills to skyrocket. Document everything now, when it is easy and free.

17) Pack up and remove anything in the house that has sentimental value to you. Do it gradually over a period of months as you tell him that you are de-cluttering to re-organize the closets. Even if he has no interest in your photo albums, home movies, Christmas ornaments, etc., he may “accidentally” destroy them or throw them away during the separation. “Sell” any heirlooms that you have and put them in a storage unit in another city.

18) If you have joint credit cards, be sure to discuss how to handle them with your attorney at the earliest opportunity.

19) 7.5 years of walking on eggshells and waiting for the storm to break is too long for anybody. I would advise you to set a goal of being away from him by February. It sounds as though you have accomplished a lot of tasks already, and you have already realized that the “relationship” is unsalvageable. Keep plugging away, and keep us posted.

Opal Rose, it’s scary, it sure is. But, you have MANY factors in your favor. The length of the marriage, being one. The fact that you can support yourself and that you have a career, is second. The rest of it…..you’ll start when you’re ready.

I can only say that being left with nothing and having to consider a homeless shelter is NOT the way that I would recommend going. PLEASE….don’t wait until all of that inheritance is gone. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and there is nothing more devastating that not having anything to negotiate with.

Brightest blessings of strength, fortitude, and self-worth to you

Opal Rose,
Congratulations! Now you have your own personal website to get the best of help from all of us survivors who have lived through the turmoil, suffered the oppression, tolerated the abuse, so that any time your escape gets rough or dicey ….. Support and help is just a blog away. Same with your divorce process… Lots of help and support. The freedom to get to be your true self is unbelievable.
Bless you and take good care of yourself
HKG

His profession makes my head spin.
There are people out there whos brains are seriously wrong with no fault to themselves. Give yourself a pat on the back for finally being able to see it. These people are sick…so sick.
And…don’t put put your money in a bank account.
Glad you found this sight.

Elizabethbrooks, I wonder if you still come to LF….
My ex and my 28 years of being together sound exactly like yours!!
I did not know.
He had affairs in different countries while he travelled for work.
It was only after he got caught that I saw the mask slip….Could not excuse any of that stuff away, but it amazes me how much of his behaviour I could excuse away with “he’s working”. Its almost uncanny how far he pushed my buttons…just enough that I did not feel controlled or overtly abused but enough that he ALWAYS got his way!!! After the mask slipped though it was all textbook.

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