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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: It did not feel right, but I dismissed my discomfort

Editor’s note: The following story was submitted by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “Greenfern.” It is a classic story of sociopathic seduction.

When I first met the S, I was very young, 22, and in a pretty bad spot. I come from a broken, abusive family and I have been pretty much on my own since 16. I was managing by putting myself through college, working full time, step by step. A year before I met the S, I was hit by a car and the recovery from that sent me into a depression and hardship. I had no family support or insurance, so I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and tried not falling behind. I felt alone and struggling, but managed. I feel like I was a strong young person considering the circumstances.

Then the S appeared in my life. He was my TA at school. As it turns out he later told me that he had been observing me for over a year, but I was acting “stand offish” and “unapproachable” so he had difficulties getting to know me. So I guess when I hit the bottom after my accident I have become more approachable in his eyes and he pursued me.

Constant care and attention

He courted me very intensely, I felt off guard, like a deer in the headlight. He came across as this very dignified, old fashioned (he was only 28) gentleman with strong interest in my background. He kept asking if I needed help in my school work and brought me sandwiches and kept coming and coming at me. I felt strange, but I was flattered by the constant care and attention. Inside myself I felt weird, it did not feel right. But then I dismissed my own discomfort. I told myself “maybe I just need to relax and accept the attention and kindness”. I think at the time I have isolated myself from people and had little trust in myself being liked for who I was.

I told myself that maybe it was time to open up to people and receive. The problem with this was that I made the wrong choice of person to open up to.

He kept pursuing me harder, showering me with gifts and sweet little notes. He even branded my name into his arm. That should have been a big red flag. In fact when he showed me my name burned into his skin, I felt physically ill to my stomach and had a rising panic within me.

He wanted to hang out at all times. I felt like I had no time to myself at all. I kept telling him that I needed to do stuff on my own, but he replied to that by asking if he could come over after I do that thing. He wore me down with persistence and I did not say no. I did not know how to say no.

Phony clowns and bozos

Before I knew it, we were hanging out all the time. He told me about his problems with his parents, he made preachy speeches about the phoniness and hypocrisy of the world. He told me that now it’s us against the world and to “f the phony clowns and bozos of the world.” He convinced me to let him shave my head for a home movie. He told me that I was a mess and he will take care of me. He had me help him with his projects, including these films where he dressed me up as a boy wearing leg braces. He would pretty much decide when to eat and sleep. Many times I wanted to sleep at night, but he was asking for more.

In the same time he put me on this special pedestal, told me that I was the one for him and that I made him a better man. He said I was very special, he loved me, I was his best friend. He said we were meant for each other. He always asked if I was “the one” for him. I just could not say yes. I think this made him angry, but he would not say.

Completely suffocated

We moved in together, I have cut off my friends and social life. The S and I were doing EVERYTHING together. I felt completely suffocated, yet I could not even be clear to myself as to what was wrong exactly. I would have crying spells and could not put in words what was wrong. He delivered these little pep-talks about being strong and not caring about what the world says.

He took over many things in the household. Even though I was perfectly capable of doing those things, I have always managed previous to meeting the S. When I would do these things, he always made me feel like he could do them better; he would take them out of my hand. Slowly but surely he would be doing all these “favors” then make me feel like I owed him. He got mad at me because I did not say “I love you” enough in response to his million “I love yous” during the week. I did not love him. I dreamed of some miracle happening, so I could get away out of the relationship. I fantasies of him just going away. The idea of me ending the relationship filled me with dread, dread to his response. I felt like I owed to him to stay with him. He always said “I saved you, you were a mess when I met you” then following it up with “I love you”.

He would go through the garbage to see what I was doing on my day off and I am pretty sure he was monitoring me, even though I have no proof. He grew marijuana and collected toy guns in his special room. He also hoarded his own urine in soda bottles. According to him, he was too busy with his projects to go to the bathroom. Gradually he has become too busy with his art projects to have time for me. He stopped initiating sex. When I wanted to talk to him about the sex issue, he shot it down with “sex is WAAAAY over-rated” or “what do you want me to do about it?”

I wanted to feel the way he made me feel in the beginning, but I did not understand why he took me off the pedestal. In the beginning he would want to have sex multiple times a day, but now he did not even want to hear about it at all. I did not understand what happened.

More and more criticism

At this time he started criticize me on small things. For instance on my grammar. English is not my first language, so I felt sensitive to the issue. He said I was sloppy in my language.

Then more and more criticism has arrived, and he has become more and more withdrawn, physically and emotionally. He refused to have any discussions about the relationship. He said I was the one who had a problem with the relationship. He also told me that his friends were surprised that he did not have a younger and prettier girlfriend.

I think what was the beginning of the end is that I got a good job that I liked, made me feel good. I think it really gave me confidence to stand up for myself more. I started pointing out some of his BS, yet I was not feeling strong enough to break up with him, even though I wanted to.

Bringing home a drunken girl>/p>

On our 7th year anniversary night he told me he would be home by 8 pm, so we could spend some time together. He came home at 4 am with a drunk girl, laughing. The girl was one of his students. He was offended that I thought that there was anything weird about the situation. I was livid. I felt like my world collapsed. He showed up with flowers the next day.

Then not much after that, we had a Thanksgiving party where he acted like a total ass. Then he broke up with me the next day.

He was was unfazed and calm. He combed through all of our stuff to make sure he took everything he felt a right to. He went about with complete calmness, purchasing new bedsheets for his new place. Completely cold. He told me that he was now seeing a therapist and he thinks he is pretty depressed. For the last 3 years I was BEGGING him to see a therapist. He would not even talk about it. But I think this was just an act. Later I found out that he was cheating on me for the last year and a half with the woman he married not much after we split up.

I have been in therapy for a while now. I realize that those years I lived in a complete lie and I chose to be blind to it. My task is to recognize that blind spot and protect myself from Sociopaths like him. In a work in progress.

Please if you are out there involved with a sociopath, trust your intuition!


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280 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: It did not feel right, but I dismissed my discomfort"

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Henry, you’re welcome. No, I DEFINITELY don’t have any lingering affection for the S, any affectionate feelings for him were dead shortly after I started NC. The feelings of disgust and anger that replaced the affection lasted just about as long as the relationship had, but now when I think of him I really don’t have much of an emotional response at all. I’ll admit though, if I see any pictures of him I have the same response as I do when I see cat puke on my floor, just ew.

I am fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Unfortunately, I have difficulty determining what is socially appropriate behavior. I tend to err on the side of caution and just smile and go along with everything and that’s when I get into trouble because people just walk right over my boundaries and I don’t say anything. I have kind of a delayed reaction in social situations, I never know the right thing to say until later after I’ve dissected the conversation. I’m always asking myself questions so I can try to figure out where I stand on things before the situation comes up, so I might have a real response.

Rune, thank you, I am well. Well, yesterday I had a bit of a breakdown at work because I’ve been taking on too many responsibilities that I shouldn’t have to do, but I stopped crying and went to my supervisor and we talked about solutions and drew some lines so I’m feeling much better now. I’m still working on my boundaries. Really, it’s like Oxy described in her “Are We There Yet?” post, you never reach a point where you declare you’re “Healed” and stop working on yourself. I consider myself recovered from my encounter with the S (with some scars), but I had a lot of issues that left me vulnerable to the S in the first place. Codependency, non-existant boundaries, abandonment issues, an underdeveloped sense of self; I’ve worked through some of these, but it’s really more like learning how to play a musical instrument, you learn the theory, then you have to keep practicing until it becomes routine. The stronger your sense of self, the harder it is for someone to manipulate you away from it.

Dear Midnight and All,

I was reading a neat little book that I bought several years ago written by a woman physician called “Crones Don’t Whine” about becoming a “crone” (WISE OLDER WOMAN) and the 13 things about wise older women that make them unique and wiser than we were at a younger age.

Actually ALL of the things should hae been practiced at an earlier age, but we usually don’t—we are too afraid of being laughed at, scorned, etc for our INDIVIDUALITY.

One of the things was NOT BEING AFRAID TO OFFEND.

Thomas Payne said “He who dare not offend, cannot be honest.”

I have come to the conclusion that if I offend by being honest, too bad! Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have to use some TACT in SOME situations, BUT….I will NOT BE DISHONEST FOR THE SAKE OF “BEING NICE” if the situation calls for it.

Another thing the book mentions is to disengage ourselves from the “superfiscial” people in our lives and to concentrate on more time and higher quality with those we love and who love us. This little book has about ALL of the advice we give here to HEAL and move on. It is of course more superfiscial, but there are some DEEP DEEP THOUGHTS HERE.

It is about us loving ourselves as we are, not grieving over our lost youth, but to be JUICY WOMEN in the last third of our lives, worried less about how we “look” and “what people think of us” and DANCING TO OUR OWN DRUMMER!

To me the last third of my life (if I live to age 90) is happier, freer and MORE HONEST than the first two-thirds ever were.

Sure, my figure is no longer hour glass, and gravity has taken its toll and there are wrinkles and laugh lines in my face, and sun spots from baking in the African veld when I didn’ t know about age spots or fear them. I see my grandmother’s face when I look in the mirror and men no longer whistle at me when I walk down the street, but SO WHAT?!!! I am freer to be ME and I am becoming the kind of CRONE that can dance to her own music, march to her own drummer and experience a JOY I NEVER KNEW WAS POSSIBLE. Life is no longer a CONTINUAL anxiety about offending others or not enabling them enough! I am ENABLING ME!!!! Taking on my own responsibilities and giving “you” (the universal you) yours back to take care of as YOU see fit. I don’t own them any more!

“He who dare not offend, cannot be honest.”

That is so true. It’s one of the things I’m working on personally, I have A LOT of trouble with it. I’m guilty of the whole, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s bad enough that my close friends have figured out that if they tell me something and I don’t really respond it means I don’t approve. People who don’t really know me well will often assume I agree with them since I don’t say anything, especially those with N traits.

My husband is a very confident person and has no issue speaking his mind. I used to try to apologize to people if what he said hurt their feelings, but I’ve stopped doing it, partly because he’s gotten better about using tact, partly because he is right to truthfully speak his mind, and partly because I’ve stopped taking responsibility for his actions.

I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum and done things my own way, never had a problem with that. I wear what I want to wear, don’t wear makeup unless I feel like wearing it for myself. Although I’ll admit, when I started my current job I went through a period of intense paranoia about how people saw me. I had to apply for a security clearance and suddenly it actually mattered what the neighbors thought of me. I started second-guessing everything I did and wondering if they would think I was “normal” enough to grant my clearance. I’ve been at my job for almost five years now and I’ve finally relaxed again.

In general, I figure if my teeth aren’t straight enough for you to like me, I don’t need to know you. If you never find out how incredibly nice and compassionate I am because you’re scared off by the heavy metal I listen to, or the mostly black clothes I wear, or the tattoo, it’s your loss.

I’m looking at the preview they have of the book on amazon, I might have to pick it up when I get some spare cash. I want to be a crone, even if I’m only turning thirty this year.

Oxy-you be the “crone”, I’ll be the “curmudgeon”.

http://www.concentric.net/~marlowe/curdef.shtml

“What is a Curmudgeon anyway?
A curmudgeon’s reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They’re neither warped nor evil at heart. They don’t hate mankind, just mankind’s absurdities. They’re just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor. . . . . . They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment. . . . . . Nature, having failed to equip them with a servicable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.
Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can’t compromise their standards and can’t manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.
Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor.”
– JON WINOKUR

Well, I can live with that…Oxy & Jim, Crone & Curmudgeon…there’s a tune in the background…”we belong to a mu-tu-al admiration so-ci-et-eee….

I take liberties….not presuming to know your impression of me….but it’s all fun!

Dear Jim,

I just “proposed marriage” to you on another thread(assuming that Henry will let me out of our “engagement”) and you wonder what I think of you!!! LOL ROTFLMAO I think YOU ROCK, BROTHER!!!!

Crumdgeon is one of my ‘FAVORITE’ WORDS!!! I love it. I have always been a female crumudgeon to some extent! I love it!!!!

Becoming a crone, acknowledging my cronehood is liberating for me. I have to some extent violated my egg donor’s cry for “WHAT would the neighbors think” (most of them actually don’t give a rat’s behind even if they notice I’m different!)

Yea, Midnight, I dress in my OWN STYLE (though I did make concessions to “normalcy” when I was working in a clinical setting).

Hey, any 62 year old woman who rides a big black jack ass named FAT ASS can’t be all bad, right!?!!!! It amuses me to be ME and if people think I am eccentric or crazy, that is okay. Actually you have to be RICH to be “eccentric,” poor folks are CRAZY! I am rich in happiness, have a great place to live, and very little disposable cash now that our economy is crashing around our ears, but no debt, so I am at least STABLE and not about to lose my home or my ride! Hay is cheap and if I have to ride Fat to town, so be it! The trip will be fun!

Here are some chapter titles in the Crones Don’t Whhine book by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D.

Crones don’t white
Crones are juicy (not dried up)
Crones have green thumbs
crones trust what they know in their bones
crones meditate in their fashion
crones are fierce about what matters to them
crones chose the path with heart
crones speak the truth with compassion
Crones listen to their bodies
crones improvise
crones don’t grovel !!!!!!!!!! Star this one!!!!
Crones laugh
Crones savor the good in their lives

Part three of the books is:

Exceptional men can be crones

Crones together can change the world!

Now if that isn’t EVERYTHING we “preach” here at LF I don’t know what is. The book is small and concise, but well written and SO RELEVANT TO OUR HEALING PATH!

Yes, Crones can be ANY AGE, ANY SEX, color, national origin, religion or faith! I wish I had become a CRONE AT 18! But unfortunately, we have to have some milage and experience under our belts to do that! TOWANDA!!!!! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. POWER TO THE CRONES AND CRUMDGEONS! TOWANDA AGAIN!!!!

Seems to me we’re putting together a different Big Book that we’ll have to stock in the LF camp store.

I heard a commercial on the radio the other day, I’m not even sure what it was for, but some guy rang this lady’s doorbell and asked if he could plug his toaster in to make waffles, and the woman said, “but what would the neighbors think?” and it irritated me. I was like, what does that have to do with anything, if you want to let some strange guy in to plug in his toaster it’s none of their business. Kind of funny.

Midnight: When I read about your meltdown yesterday, I thought of a blog I read on Tuesday about the aftereffects of emotional trauma. It was one of the most effective descriptions I’ve read of the sorts of issues I also struggle with. I wonder what you think of this:

http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com/

Scroll down to Tuesday’s post.

I think it’s pretty accurate, although I don’t think my meltdown yesterday had to do with the S-inflicted trauma. Yesterday was more of a combination of PMS and too much stuff that shouldn’t be my responsibility being dumped on me all at once. I know, because I felt ok again once the extra tasks were reassigned.

When I look at the trauma inflicted by the S I have kind of a “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” dilemma. I had lots of issues before the S, but he was definitely the catalyst for a full-blown trauma like they described in the article. It was a PTSD kind of reaction for a couple years. During that time I had episodes of major depression, I’d bottle things up until I exploded, screaming and throwing things, I was anxious and obsessive, I had to drop out of one of my classes because I got so far behind, I was a mess. But, I’m not sure if the S-inflicted trauma damaged my brain, or if it was already damaged.

Three years ago, I was having some other health issues and during the medical tests they ran, the Dr’s found out I have a tumor on my pituitary gland, a 19 mm macroadenoma. No idea how long it’s been there, the symptoms that led to it’s discovery had started almost three years prior to that, but after some more medical tests at Johns Hopkins and a bunch of research I’ve done since then I think some of my issues with depression are linked to it. I’m on medication to treat the hormonal effects of the tumor, it’s a dopamine agonist, and one of the things I noticed after taking the medication for awhile is that the Dysthymia I used to have is gone, not just under control like it had been with therapy, the chemicals in my brain are different. Even before the S, I never had happy days, I had ok days, and I had dark days. Sometimes the darkness would just descend with no trigger, I’d be just doing something and suddenly my heart felt really heavy and a sense of doom would settle over me. I cried several times a week if not daily. This was my normal life. I learned to work through it and smile all the time so no one asked questions. After recovering from the trauma of the S-encounter things went back to how they had been, ok days and gloomy days, but I managed to get more ok days after the therapeutic work I had done. But now I feel like a “normal” person, I very rarely cry and when I do it’s for something that makes sense, I used to cry if someone ate the last slice of cheese, I’m actually happy more often than I’m down, really happy, I’m not faking smiles. When something embarassing happens, or someone yells at me, I keep expecting the downward spiral of doom in my chest, but it doesn’t happen, I react in the moment, and everything goes back to being ok.

So, yes, I do think encounters with an S often bring on a PTSD reaction, but I’m not sure if the faulty wiring in our brains is a result of the S-encounter, or if faulty wiring leads us to the S-encounter.

Henry, to answer your question, the S told me on our second “date” that he was married, but that it was in name only. He said his “ex wife” as he called her was living in a separate apartment and that they were waiting for the medical army discharge to come through to file the divorce papers. This was supposed to happen THAT WEEK. It had something to do with benefits for their daughter. However, the week got extended into 2 months of it dragging on. Then the S finally told me the discharge AND divorce had gotten filed. I believed him. It turned out to be a lie, along with the whole saga about his head injury. This was last July. It is now February of the following year, and to my knowledge, there has been no discharge or divorce. Everything he’d told me, including his “ex wife” living apart, turned out to be a story.

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