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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: A hard fought battle, but no regrets

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following from the reader who posts as “RobertInSeattle.”

I’ve been running into sociopaths all my life often when I least expected it. And believe me when I tell you the more I learn, the less I know!

As I’ve been delving into all of this more deeply than I ever have in the past (all because of my breakup earlier this year with my most recent sociopath encounter), it’s finally gotten me to looking much farther back into my own long history with them.

There was so little discussion and certainly few if any online support groups in years past that actually addressed sociopathy when I went through my first divorce which started back in 1989. Many of the experts were only beginning to come on board at the time. And only recently have I been reading about how many “experts” particularly male therapists continue to avoid identifying females as sociopaths, choosing instead to tag them as bipolar or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

In following so many of the current divorce and court stories that I read about on the growing number of boards and chat rooms today, I continue to see all too many of the same cycles of events that transpired in my own divorce and custody battle that started back in Florida. Except there was virtually no support or information to work with back then.

My first marriage

Looking back with new-found enlightenment, my first marriage was truly and frighteningly a textbook study in how these people move in quickly and use their charms and power to manipulate and set things up to their advantage. She moved in with me within a month or two of first dating and we got married not long after that, in part due to a problem she had gotten herself into that would have been a violation with Canadian immigration. But we did end up moving south to the States (she was an American) and in less than a year, our son was born. Four years later, we had a daughter. Five years after that on Christmas Day in 1989, after our kids had happily opened up all their Christmas presents, she simply came up and told me calmly that she had been seeing someone else and wanted a divorce. And that was that. No discussion, no emotion, nothing. I was devastated for days but it was just the beginning of a long and dark spiral into a place I could never have imagined. And it all revolved around money and control rather than the welfare of our children as I soon discovered.

Only recently did I finally realize the association of her behavior with being a sociopath: During the drawn out court drama, I had actually made a hard-fought request for court-ordered MMPI tests administered by a professional for admission as background in our final custody hearing. But the woman designated as my children’s Child Advocate was an alcoholic, divorced, man-hating spath herself who naturally sided with my ex- from the outset. Oh and I later discovered she had never even been qualified for her position in that organization (but that’s for another story). Three days before this pivotal hearing, she managed to get a copy of the tests from the psychologist and realized what was about to transpire in court. So this woman then requested an immediate ex parte hearing with the judge in our case. Without even mentioning the existence of this MMPI evaluation, she told the judge that her recommendation as the Child Advocate in the case was to hand my kids over to my ex unequivocally! Taking her word, the judge simply signed off on the order and our custody hearing was cancelled! My son called me from their mother’s place that evening just before I was about to pick them up from their weekly dinner (it was their alternate week with me). Probably the worst day of my life (and my children’s)!

And just what was in her MMPI? Short of actually calling her BPD or bipolar, the psychologist’s analysis of my ex- was that she exhibited all of the standard behaviors of people in “a certain category.” Had I known what I know now ”¦

Gaming everyone

My ex- managed to manipulate and game everyone around her friends, family, attorneys and even the system initially gaining full custody of our son and daughter. Through a lot of perseverance and help from a few close friends, we managed to completely change the entire system and process in one Florida county, and I did eventually gain full custody of my kids. But it certainly didn’t help that the Child Advocacy program and even the Court system had been infiltrated by sociopaths as well. It was quite the battle and the stuff of books and movies.

I suspect that a lot of this probably sounds familiar to many of you who are still in different stages of battling things out with your sociopath partners. So for those still in your fights, know that there is more information and support today than many of us ever had in the past. When we share our experiences openly, it’s good for everyone and cathartic for each of us. And open knowledge is probably the best way to fight these people who live among us.

Oh by the way: I have no regrets over any of this. It’s made me who I am today and my son and daughter would not have grown up to be the two wonderful adults that they have become had all of this not transpired. No regrets at all.

Robert


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20 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: A hard fought battle, but no regrets"

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Truthspeak,

You sound like you’re describing my mother. She wasn’t a drinker, but wow she had a forceful, strong personality (my grandmother too). It was her way or the highway. Due to her, I am hyper-alert to other peoples’ feelings, wanting everyone to be comfortable, etc., bending over backwards (accommodating to their moods) to make everyone happy. Also, I didn’t always like spending time with them. Brightest blessings to you to, Truthspeak.

Bluejay, in my counseling sessions, I was introduced to my “inner child” and that was the beginning of a year-long personal epiphany. Everything that I’ve done and the choices that I’ve made were based upon that damaged psyche.

My concern about myself, personally, is that this pendulum has swung way far the other way. I trust NOBODY, and I am almost mean to other people because I’m now speaking truthfuly and bluntly – sugar coating anything doesn’t accomplish much other than getting one’s tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth. I’ve become almost pathologically intolerant, and this is very, very uncharacteristic for me.

Will this ever sort of find a middle-ground? I really wonder this, because I don’t really “like” who I am, but I feel safer being truthful and blunt. Does that make any sense? I won’t seek out people to meet or spend time with because I don’t want to engage in the dance of “Are You Sincere?” I just don’t have the energy or desire to figure out whether someone’s got an agenda, or not.

Truthspeak,
In my experience it does get better. I think we all need to go through a period of just being abrasive and telling our truths – because let’s face it our truths are abrasive. But now that I have some miles under me and have given myself some time to let out some of the pent up feelings/emtions that needed to get out, and figured some sh*t out, I no longer feel the need to be so abrasive all the time (or more accurately, I’ve since developed some skills to be diplomatic when I really want to but still speak my truth at the same time).

I’m still not there, but I feel like a completely different person now. Oddly, for me that means that I now feel comfortable being abrasive at times., which is entirely new – sounds perhaps we’re coming at this from different perspectives? I don’t worry about it so much any more, and now realize that it’s not up to me to caretake someone else’s boundaries. Of course, if someone tells me to back off, I do, but I no longer spend time trying to figure out every tiny little thing that someone might be unhappy with. I’ve discovered that if I reach down and tell my own truths, some people may be offended, but others stand up and cheer.

Once that happened, (both the developing a skill of diplomatically speaking hard truths and figuring more sh*t out) I started to see people in different ways. I started to see good people again – lots of them – when for the longest time I’d started to suspect there weren’t any.

The other thing that happened is that I started to let my anger out in ‘appropriate’ amounts (rather than saying nothing or saying too much and then getting fear reactions). Well, more appropriate, at least. And I like myself a lot better. The other byproduct is my marriage is a lot better too.

Your writing is so clear and truthful (your name is a good one), I can’t help but feel that you’re almost there yourself.

Truthspeak,

Fortunately, I have people in my life who I can trust. Like you, I am careful around people in general, wanting to avoid being around abusive types. I totally “get” what you’re saying about yourself, how you interact with others. I want to be a warm, loving person, despite the _ell someone may or may not have put me through (eg. relatives, ex-h., etc.). In essence, I don’t want to change my personality, but rather make improvements to it (to help me better maneuver in life).

Annie and Bluejay, thanks for the input.

I am processing the insight that pertains to feeling like the caretaker of other people’s boundaries. That makes absolute sense to me.

I didn’t necessarily “want” to change who I was, but I am changed, by proxy. I believe that I’m still a warm and loving person, but not towards everyone. I reserve that as a something to share with people who have earned it, along with my trust.

It’s just uncomfortable for me, just yet, and I don’t want for this to develop into bitterness. Nothing terrifies me more than becoming bitter except another spath entanglement!
Brightest blessings

Robert,
a song for you written by some fellow Canadians.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g5ZaUGeFNQ

thanks for posting your story.

OMG! I’m so sorry I hadn’t checked recently on the comments already coming in on what I had submitted! All of your comments are a pleasant surprise and certainly a breath of fresh air in this journey to regain our balance. I also apologize to all of you who so kindly commented on my earlier posts that Donna has so graciously shared with each of you; I realize that proper netiquette might have been to at least post a word of thanks in the Comments section to all of you for your encouragement!

So as I’ve mentioned in this new post, it’s truly wonderful to have such support and reinforcement from all of you in different stages of your battles. It’s refreshing to know that there are kindred spirits out there on this journey who are so willing to share experiences and knowledge! Thank God for the Internet!

In discussing my latest bit of enlightenment, a dear friend pointed out to me that I did indeed play a strong role in allowing this woman into my life so quickly. So many of us are too empathetic and quick to jump right in ourselves as well, making for some often dangerous situations. So I do take responsibility for being part of the problem and realize that we all need to take a look at ourselves in the mirror from time to time and ask ourselves, “Why?”

Growing up in the family I grew up in had a profound effect on who I was and what I became over the years: An empathetic and open-hearted person who wears my heart on my sleeve. For better or worse, it’s made me who I am and I have little regret over it. Certainly by being who I am, it clearly had a direct effect on how my children survived and became the good adults they’ve turned out to be. But learning to direct my empathy a little more carefully has been a new learning experience for me, even at this later stage of my life (thus, “The more I learn, the less I know!”). I’ve finally learned that empathy is not necessarily something that anyone and everyone may be open to receiving. And of course, there are those out there who are looking for just that as a qualifier to draw you into their web of games and deceit for their own ends.

Yes, you’d think as we make our way through all these profound experiences, we’d already know better. But adjusting our own modalities is usually a lot harder than telling others what to do, isn’t it?

I constantly remind myself (and others as well) to remember what they tell you on a plane as they prepare for takeoff: “Be sure to put your oxygen mask on first before turning to help the person next to you.” How true. You’re no good to anyone else if you’re no good to yourself first.

It’s taken me such a long time to realize there’s a difference between being selfish and self-caring.

All the best to each and every one of you.
RobertinSeattle

P.S. – And I really appreciate the book and song links from my fellow Canucks, eh? 😉

Robert,
You’re very welcome. I don’t think Skylar is a Canuck, but I’d vote to make her an honorary one.

BTW, speaking of the true north, the author of that book has quite a political pedigree; her grandfather was Lester B.

Trutly

You said up thread:

“My concern about myself, personally, is that this pendulum has swung way far the other way. I trust NOBODY, and I am almost mean to other people because I’m now speaking truthfuly and bluntly ”“ sugar coating anything doesn’t accomplish much other than getting one’s tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth. I’ve become almost pathologically intolerant, and this is very, very uncharacteristic for me.”

We can be FIRM without being “mean”—the way you say something can determine whether it is an unwelcome truth, or a nasty crack.

My wonderful stepfather used to say “you can tell a girl her face would stop a clock, or you can say her face will stop time.” LOL

So HOW we say something can be POLITE and yet also FIRM.

We can set FIRM boundaries and then stick to them but in a way that is not rude (usually, there are some people who are SO pushy and disrespectfuil that you must be VERY FIRM and say NO!!!!)

Once upon a time I had a “friend” who was a thief. I knew she stole from me. She had some stuff stored out here at the farm though and was moving it out, well I told her (boundary) would you please CALL BEFORE you come out, because when we are gone we LOCK EVERYTHING UP and that way you can save yourself a trip and gas if we are not home.”

POLITE BOUNDARY.

Well, one day when son D was gone to a “family day” at his sister’s college, this lady knew he was going and she THOUGHT I would also be gone. She knew if we were both gone the place would be locked up, but there was SOMETHING she intended to steal. Know how I knew?

Well, she called and asked if I was going to be home, and I said yes, what time do you think you will get here, and she said “Oh, I’m at the gate now, but if you hadn’t been home I wouldn’t have come in.”

Yea, RIGHT! She drove 40 miles one way on the CHANCE I would be home and didn’t call until she got to the gate? LOL ROTFLMAO Yea, I believed that! Well anyway, I could tell she was TIGHT JAWED but she got one or two small boxes of stuff and left. Whatever she had intended to steal while we were gone she would ave had to have climbed over the gate or have cut the lock but I never saw her again. After that, son D and I moved everything that they owed that was stored here into an old building on the edge of the farm where they could get it without coming on to the farm.

They essentially abandoned it and when I gave them 90 days to remove the stuff because I intended to tear the building down, 6 months went by without a word from them and son D and I went in there and took what we wanted….but guess what….we found ALL KINDS OF OUR STUFF in the boxes that they had stolen. Still need to bull doze the building, but they know better than to be caught here and have not been back.

These were people who had a LOT OF FRIENDS…but they have destroyed their friendships with all but some TRASH that they have taken up since their honorable friends no longer have anything to do with them. Plus, after 20+ years of marriage they have separated, and each of them is trying to mooch off of someone….I don’t “follow” them per se as in “cyber stalking” but read about them in the newspaper from time to time for one thing or another. He just recently got arrested and it made our local paper which will publish a good cat fight or more than 2 dogs fighting on main street! LOL

OxD, thanks for the encouragement – I just don’t want to be hateful, but I’m finding that I’m far more blunt than I ever thought was possible. I don’t INTEND to be mean or hateful, but I just refuse to tolerate bullshit, anymore.

The former friends…PFFFFFFFFFFTT!!! (waving hand in dismissal) People like that end up down with the dregs, I believe.

RobertinSeattle, keep posting your experiences. The majority of readers are women, but I believe that there needs to be strong and steady discussion BY male victims ABOUT their experiences and recovery. Men really need to speak up and speak out. TOWANDA on your recovery!

Brightest blessings

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