Editor’s Note: The Lovefraud reader “PressEject” has written several insightful Letters to Lovefraud about his involvements with sociopathic men. You can read them here:
As a bisexual person, PressEject was most recently romantically involved with a woman who also turned out to be disordered. In this post, he compares the two experiences.
There was absolutely NOTHING in her emails that asked me to find with her (together) some kind of understanding or resolution. Instead it was like she was writing the script for everything, forgetting another person might have a view different than hers. I let her write it, I stepped back. I was not being asked for anything, so no hard feelings in not responding luckily (other than the overall regret and unease from falling into this sticky web.)
As someone with a bisexual past, I am now a person who has dated both a male S and a female S. I can tell you that their (non-gender reliant) destructive qualities and personality traits have some remarkable similarities:
1. They both got upset if they didn’t get what THEY want.
2. They both played “the victim” if something was held from them that they wanted.
3. They both tried to use guilt (or gaslighting) to make me do something they wanted.
4. They both had “back up” plans in case I “didn’t work out.” He kept his secret, I remembered his behavior and then asked her if she had a “back up plan” and (surprise!) she said as a matter of fact “yes!” (ouch!)
5. Both would become aggressively frustrated when their views were challenged. (I learned to challenge them the second time around!!)
6. Both “excelled at marketing themselves.” Both were fairly fearless in social settings.
7. I am the one who was blamed for any problems, not them. Could not be criticized.
8. Both were capable of very SHORT-TERM regret. (deceptive practice that I was able to keep my guard up against the second time around.)
9. Lack of real empathy, some amount of fake or obvious empathy that could be gained by them when it was explained to them but not forthcoming if left to their own devices (which was most of the time!)
10. Neither showed any sense of guilt when exposed for their hurtful insensitivity or selfishness.
11. Mixed signals… running from very hot (passionate sexually) to complete cold, left in the dust, see you later.
12. There was an eery void “behind the mask,” both revealed what I consider to be unconscious deficits of self-esteem. In time, these were revealed (his were more hidden but could be characterized by a “shy, humble” view of himself contrary to his predatory conquests, hers came out in logically chaotic emails when she wasn’t getting something from me). Oddly, they would spew this out from time to time but neither seemed to be aware of how it caused them to act, so in this sense it seems like an unconscious awareness they always carry.
13. Both were impulsive in the moment, decisions were made quickly almost randomly.
14. Both broke off the relationship suddenly and without warning!
15. Both would from time to time obsess over something they had no power over that caused them stress.
16. Neither seemed concerned if I was ever hungry or thirsty. If they were, then I might be also.
17. When any kind of problem was presented to them it was met with a quarrelsome and defensive posture, neither were willing to work productively to solve a problem with me together. Since they didn’t see anything as broken, there was nothing offered to fix it.
18. Both showed a need to control conversations and social settings. Both often relied on an “outgoing” and “larger than life” personality to achieve this.
19. No real or deep thought-out values. During my second experience, I attempted to find out what was behind multiple opinions (often self righteous opinions held against others) and why these were formed. I found very little under that shell. Instead, to avoid any real thought effort, the questions might be easily turned around and handed back to me.
20. Both would announce, not discuss, both would tell, not ask.
21. Both eventually would reveal they were on the lookout for something “better” and not wanting to settle.
22. Both regard relationships as interchangeable. If I don’t meet their needs, someone else will.
23. Both expressed that they often felt misunderstood. (I wonder why!)
24. Both could at times easily discuss THEIR feelings but never mine.
25. A pervasive sense of humor they both shared was found at other people’s misfortunes.
26. Both gave me odd little presents at the beginning. I believe these to be impulsive purchases, not much real thought went into them it felt like.
27. The lavish flattery… I was to star in a pin-up calendar, I was the smartest guy ever, so accomplished, the best they had ever had!! (uh, how many have you had!!??)
28. Both indifferent about core qualities of healthy relationships: real love, caring, commitment, loyalty.
I started that list last week as I tried to gain my sanity back… It helped!! Perhaps it would be helpful to share with others.
I am still in “relationship recovery” it seems. I learned about three and half years ago I have a blind spot for this kind of behavior. The Lovefraud site helped change my life! I have a developing awareness now that I have a weakness (or blind spot) that I am working on in mistakenly letting relationships propel quickly past emotional involvement right into physical intimacy. With the “S” this can happen easily I now know.
I will be working harder to be careful, to value myself more and not act as impulsively as these predators. I will also pray. I sense that I have suffered with low self-esteem for a long time in my life, luckily, I have a tool to help me out of this. It is love. I know it has to be love and less fear running my life. Love from inside me to build me up, to help me express this in healthy ways. I am determined now more than ever to keep on this path. I will feel less empty and I will keep growing.