Editor’s note: The following article was submitted by a reader who writes as “Buffalo Girl.”
The boy across the street.
I remember him back in the late 70’s. My family had moved into the new neighborhood. I was 12. He was the popular 13-year-old who always hung out with the cool boys who were years older than him. And they seemed to idolize him. I remember the second day in my new catholic grammar school ”¦”¦ me, the new girl, and him already there for years. But the teachers were fed up with him. Second day of school. The head nun and a few teachers surrounded him in the hall. They were already frustrated and ganged up on him. Saying they’ve had enough and were not going to take another year of his shenanigans. He just looked back at them with a smirk and not a care in the world. It didn’t faze him. He was expelled and moved into the local public school.
Just a little crush way back then. He was intriguing. I used to see him walk out of his house, walking down the street with such confidence to wherever he was going, like he had the world in the palm of his hands. We lived on the same street for a few years. Not much contact, but after 2 block parties we did go escape together and kiss. Then I moved away. I never even thought about him much really.
Fast forward to the early’s 90’s
I was 25, in the Air Force, and had a great life. I had lived in Italy, Japan, and Georgia by that time, had quality friends, and adventure. I always insisted on being treated well by a man. I had experienced some wonderful, healthy relationships with boyfriends by that time. Life was good. Then one day, while back in Buffalo on leave, I took a walk in that old neighborhood. He walked out of his parent’s house. We hadn’t seen one another in 8 years, but we recognized each other and started talking. He suggested meeting at a local bar that night and we did. We sat at the bar for about 6 or 7 hours, drinking, talking, and laughing. It was then and there that his charismatic charm put a spell on me like never before. I was absolutely smitten. We had one more date before I left for my next duty station in Florida, then he disappeared. He didn’t call me like he said he would. I was crushed.
So after my leave I reported to my next assignment. I just couldn’t get him out of my mind, so after 6 months I did write him hoping he’d write back. I didn’t hear from him. Then about 3 months later, he did write me a letter. A few sentences saying he lost my letter and had just found it. I did make another trip to my hometown, mainly to see him. I saw him a few times, was still smitten, but after a few dates during my 10-day leave, he didn’t call me when he said he would, and left me waiting by the phone. This was before cell phones existed. Once again I was crushed. He called the next day with some excuse, and wanted to get together that day. I was upset and mad and wouldn’t see him. I told him that I was never going to see him again. He did still rent space in my head over the next few years, but I got on with life.
A few years later out of the blue, he called my father’s house asking for my phone number. So I did send him a post card with my number on it. But at the same time, I was in the beginning of a relationship that was very comfortable. So we spoke a few times, but when he mentioned that he’d like to fly down and see me, I told him that I now had a boyfriend. So that was the end of that. That same year I got married.
15 years later
An amicable divorce, retired young from the military, in my early forties, and I finished my college degree right before retirement, debt-free. Two beautiful daughters adopted internationally. One day, after all these years, curiosity got the best of me, and I called his mother and asked her to give him my phone number. He called me within the hour. His mother told me that he was living with a woman in Arizona, but he didn’t mention that until I brought it up. So we chatted, but nothing became of it.
The next year, I moved back to my hometown, which I had always wanted to do. I was bored one day and gave him a call. It turned out that he had also moved back to our hometown (alone). Due to the housing crisis, and him being in construction management, he had no other choice but to move back and network/work with people that he used to know.
That’s when it all started: The love-bombing”¦”¦ hooking me again. Going out to neighborhood bars together with jukeboxes that had the oldies music that I loved. Summer days, really fun, carefree bantering with his friends (young and old) at the bar. Everyone knew him. I was cautious at first, but it made me feel like a teenager again. Plus his friends would tell me. “He’s a great guy.” He would tell me, “You’re my last stop.” It’s interesting how he’s able to cast a spell over some of the men also ”¦”¦ Why? Because he’s such a character. The movie “Goodfellas” was a huge hit. And being around him these guys get a front row seat. He was entertaining to them. It was fun for them to watch, as long as he wasn’t dating their daughter. It’s interesting how he’s down and out, doesn’t even have a credit card, in debt (but doesn’t care), lives in a dive apartment, but at the same time ”¦”¦ very nice clothes, and some of the most well-known attorneys and successful businessmen think well of him. He has them on his speed dial. He’s so good at charming whoever he wants to charm.
He was confident, jovial, fun, carefree, and I couldn’t get enough. But there were red flags. A typical evening: We go out to eat. He always likes to sit at the bar to eat. We walked into a place. After a little while, another group of people walked in. In the group was a woman, all dressed up. She saw him and then a look of devastation came on her face. He walked up to her and said something and came back. I glanced at her and she looked so sad. He then said to me, “I’ve never dated her. She’s Psycho.” Well, she didn’t look psycho to me. She looked hurt. Even though her group had just arrived, she then disappeared. Then a few minutes later he gets a phone call. I heard a woman’s voice. He said, “Well, call me when you get into town,” and hung up. All in a day’s work for him. That following Sunday he was nowhere to be found. He didn’t return my calls until that evening and said he left his car in his partner’s truck. Strange because he always had his phone on him.
The other woman
Right before we reconnected this time, he was living with another woman for a while when he first moved back home. But she moved away to Florida for work. After a few months of me seeing him, I noticed that he was still in contact with her. If his phone rang and we were out, he would step outside to take the call. Also, when we spent the night together, the phone always rang while he was asleep.
Then he started getting aloof. He knew that he had gained my trust. We had a spat because I told him that if he’s still in contact with his old girlfriend I no longer cared to be involved. He assured me that he was never going to see her again. Then he said that the next week he’s got an out-of-town job paint job for 4 days. It didn’t make sense. Who would pay someone 50 cents a mile to drive 250 miles away and not hire locally? A few days before he was leaving, I saw that he was starting to pack, and it definitely looked like he was packing for the beach, not for a job in Upstate NY in the Fall. So I thought, well, I’ll know when he’s gone, because I’ll just drive by his partner’s house and see if his truck his still there. If it is, it’s a lie, he went to see her, and that’s the end of us.
But the night before he was going to leave, I was going crazy. I really knew where he was going. Weeks before while we were out at a bar, some nice women said hello to him and I met them. I stepped outside while they were out there and we had a conversation. They asked if I was dating him. When I told him I was they were silent and the one said, “Don’t let his negativity get you down.” Well, when he noticed us talking for a while, he whisked me away and we left. In the car, he mentioned that they were friends of his old girlfriend. I knew that one of them owned a pilates studio. So that evening before he was leaving I found her email from her website and asked her to call me, saying something doesn’t seem right with him. She emailed me back saying she’ll call me soon, that he’s a very unhealthy person, and being around him will only pull me into the same unhealthiness.
Soon she did call”¦and she said, “Something’s going on here.” I asked, “Is he going to see her?” She did call his old girlfriend when I emailed her. She said, “He’s on his way to the airport now, but Marsha (his girlfriend not her real name) is trying to get a hold of him now and stop him.”
She asked me if his old girlfriend could call me and I said yes. Marsha called me, and after she asked me a few questions, proving that I was seeing him, she told him not to get on the plane. So he was stranded at the airport after his brother had dropped him off, luggage already checked in, and he had to take a taxi home. Marsha and I were both hurt, but all he could think about was himself. Telling her I’m crazy, he’s never even kissed me. And then calling me and yelling at me on my voice mail. I wouldn’t answer his calls. Marsha and I talked a few times, thanking each other. She told me some horrendous stories about him. He once punched 2 holes in her wall. He used to tell me that she would keep him broke always wanting to go out all the time. Turns out she liked to go out just once in a while, and she always paid.
I was relieved. Even though I grew to care about him so much, it had been really toxic and I wasn’t myself. He tried to call me a few times, but I wouldn’t answer. I thanked Marsha’s friend for her help, and she told me, “Be strong. The only way to get rid of a sociopath is ignore him.”
I vaguely remembered that term from my sociology textbook, but was not real familiar with it. I then started studying everything I could about what a sociopath was. Wow!! He had every single characteristic. I devoured all of the books. “The Sociopath Next Door,” etc.
Months later, he was still on my mind, and I called him and left a message, asking him why he did that. I did that even though I knew that he was a sociopath. He called back of course, and the last year has been a downward spiral of crazy drama. I couldn’t stay away. I was addicted to who I thought he was, or who I wanted him to be. I loved those memories of the good times. At the same time, I was so mad and frustrated with myself. I knew that he was sociopath. So why was I going back? In the past I had a friend who was in an unhealthy relationship, and after a while, I would only feel anger and frustration towards her for not leaving.
In the past year, I lost myself. Our relationship pulled me into skid row. When I slept over there, he didn’t want me to move or I’d wake him up. He made me feel unwelcome to walk around his apartment. He’d say in a nasty tone, “where are you going!!?” if I just walked into the living room. His apartment felt like a jail cell. So toxic. I got bored being retired so young (early 40’s), and was offered a great 2-year temp assignment. It’s good, but I was walking around in a fog some days at work because I was involved with the insanity. I knew that I was wearing it on my face. At work, people would exchange pleasantries with me, kind people everywhere. Great place. Upper management works hard to make work fun and keep morale up. I felt like I was living a double life ”¦ the normal nice life, and then slumming in this toxic cesspool where he’d borrow money (to probably go out on a date), lie, swear all the time, have temper tantrums, etc. Our relationship consisted of me lying next to him in his dark bedroom while he watched TV, and than having 2-minute lame sex. While all the time, the phone ringing off the hook, (some other woman).
I ended it so many times but he wouldn’t let me go. I would have no contact with him for a month ”¦”¦ then return a call, he’d be at a bar, wanting to see me right away. I met him there. His cell phone ringing and he not answering it. We go to his house and there’s a bunch of stuff on his porch. Whoever he stiffed that evening because I called him had had enough and dropped off his things”¦I’m sure he called her and patched things up the next morning right after I left.
Road to recovery
But I really think I’m finally on the road to recovery right now. The Love Fraud website has helped me a lot. I also read the book, and I will re-read parts of it from time to time. When I was reading Love Fraud, I saw him in James Montgomery. And James repulsed me, so that has helped me to not return his calls. You can’t talk about this to someone who has not been through it. They only think you’re an idiot. Sometimes I wish some of the other victims on the LF forum lived close by so we could all support each other, take walks, go to yoga, happy hour, and enjoy life. Another absolutely wonderful website that helps with recovery is Alexandra Nouri’s website. http://alexandranouri.wordpress.com/
She’s also the author of “So, You’re in Love With A Narcissist.” She is absolutely hilarious, and had me laughing out loud. It’s great to be able to actually laugh at the situation once in a while.
I just have to get over feeling sorry for him because he’s a sociopath and can’t help himself. I guess I need to accept the fact that I will always care for him and worry about him, but have to stay no contact. It will be a challenge, but some days are definitely easier than others. I think it’s going to get easier. I know that I am lucky. He only got me for a few hundred dollars. I am financially secure. I feel so sorry for the women who were taken for everything”¦dealing with that as well as the horrible heartache. Donna, thank you for everything!
To everyone on this website”¦ It is so hard, but life is too short for this ”¦”¦ we all know it. Let’s stay strong!!!! NO CONTACT!!!