LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Mother as sociopath

Editor’s note: The following email was sent by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “OpalRose.”

I’m not a good writer, but I’ve learned so much the past 3 years from Love Fraud that I decided to write about my “Long Night’s Journey into Day” about emerging from childhood with a sociopathic mother.

My first experience of something amiss that stuck with me was probably pre-school when she had a full-blown temper tantrum that I brought her too many envelopes. She had asked for “a few envelopes” and I had brought 7 — she even counted them out and screamed that I should know that “a few” means 3. So much for my ability to read minds. She insisted that “if we really loved her, she wouldn’t have to ask for anything, we should just know.” She was always writing letters and letters and letters and could not keep enough envelopes in stock.

Fast forward to her death in 2003 and the little black book with over 100 addresses and receiving really weird condolence letters from many, many people who were “heavily involved” with writing sexual content back and forth with her over the years. Yes — I burned everything — very cathartic. Now I know that sociopathic people can follow a pattern of multiple affairs of all types concurrently. Thank you LF for that information.

The sexual pattern unfortunately extended to me her daughter and my older brother; that is until she began a heavily involved emotional (maybe more) affair with a young mother who moved into the house behind ours. I was 14 at the time and it confused me tremendously as to what she was up to, even spending the night claiming that the young mother of 3 was afraid when her husband was out of town (yes — I worry that she probably molested the little ones). The 2 women would spend time harassing me about everything personal — my hair, my gangly teenage body, my teeth in braces. I had no idea what to do about it, so I remained cheerful and never complained. This was my first experience of devalue / discard.

The only times she was “nice” to me were at church and when I was a good line on HER resume. I never once saw her express a single real emotion. Good report cards were never celebrated, after school activities were banned even though she did not want to spend any time with me, she gave my clothes away to other people at the drop of a hat, she would go into “charm mode” when anyone called or stopped by, she wanted me to be “outgoing and entertaining” whenever we interacted (like a movie script), she was thoroughly bored every night that she was home, she hated being home at all, she harped about her days as a young beautiful thing who charmed everyone and broke all the hearts (dating married men and jilting her fiancé for my father whom she married after 2 weeks of “love at first sight”). Wow — exhausting stuff.

One-year experiment

At age 19, I was still living at home attending a community college as a conscious decision to protect my by then disabled father, my brother long gone (good for him). Somehow I decided to run an “experiment” and do everything she wanted for 1 full year (except for the deviant sex stuff — she wanted me to flirt with men and women of all kinds and help her meet them — uh NO). The young mother had moved away with her 3 children so I guess I was the “best game in town” and she came back to me with her demands. By this time, she was in her mid-50’s, but nothing ever slowed her down. That year, I took her to every social outing, store shopping (working nights to fund her purchases — all of them frivolous), kept her completely supplied and entertained. At the end of the year, I looked back and saw the bottomless pit that she was and stopped everything. I was burned out and she was still demanding, still restless, still pushing for extra sex of all kinds (while going to church like she was a saint for caring for a disabled husband). Endless supply — pattern of a sociopath – thank you LF for that sharing that insight.

Once I stopped everything – what next ? You got it — extreme measures to bring me “back into line.” Physical abuse, using every acquaintance to harass me, phone calls, lectures from the minister (all lies), and of course holding my father’s safety over me as a very effective threat. So I stayed and I stayed and I stayed until 27 years old when I deliberately married someone she hated and moved out of state. My father’s older sister later moved in with them and it was a big relief for me for his safety. She was an awesome geriatric nurse and she remained living in the house until he died. Thank you Auntie !! Of course she moved out immediately after his death.

Peer group

I ended up way across country and participated in an informal peer counseling therapy group for women who had “issues with their mothers.” Nobody knew me there and that was very freeing. Wow — open sharing and nothing was sacred. Did that ever open up my deepest wounds for peers to see and I learned the phrase “reality check.” That group with all its foibles started my journey out of darkness. LF is right — you see much more clearly when you are away from the toxic environment.

We noticed similar patterns in all our childhood homes: the financial drains, the sexual abuse, the incessant gossip as weapons (gaslighting), the no real emotion phenomenon, the restlessness, the sexual appetites that knew no boundaries, the falling asleep instantly at night (like turning off a switch), the instant mood changes when visitors arrived and left, the masks they wore, everything was there. We would meet for 2 hours every week and then go to a nearby small outdoor eatery where we would talk for hours and hours on end. There was a young man who worked there who joined us and opened up completely about his journey. We had no way to organize our experiences around “sociopath,” but wow — we were awesome together. So much gratitude for that time in my life. I could say anything I wanted — anything and there was nothing but validation. Pure healing balm. Quality listeners — right ?? A whole nest of them !! Like the LF site.

Love bombing

During my 3 year stint in that healing place, my father passed away. I went home for the funeral and spent 2 weeks in hell with my mother as you can imagine. I “escaped” (literally) back to my new home and then guess what started ?? Love Bombing !!! I had never experienced the amount of flirting, presents in the mail, phone messages about how amazing a person I was, yada, yada, yada from MY MOTHER. Totally weird and I totally ignored it. Next came the police visits with her claiming I had stolen things from her house, phone calls from “concerned” religious ministers whom she had recruited in my new town, registered letters containing blank paper just to get a “registered receipt” sent to her, really ugly letters from relatives claiming I had “abandoned this poor widow.” What a blessing that I had my group to give me constant reality checks and I was never in danger of succumbing to her antics.

I instinctively went No Contact and it worked for me !! I learned to have papers ready for the police about her accusations and got to know them on first name basis so that when someone tried to break into my home while I was there alone, the police were there right away. I suspect she was behind the break-in attempt as it was a group of people who were more bent on intimidating me with screaming threats and name calling (some of which could have only come from her), although I don’t know what might have happened if they had successfully gotten hold of me physically. The most important piece that kept me safe and sane was permission to have my feelings in the moment which my peer group provided me. I was never fooled by her or successfully manipulated by her again. I was never within a 1000 mile radius of her again (conscious decision). Yes, I was extraordinarily lucky to be able to make the decision to be physically unavailable to her.

Careful with my brother

When she passed away in 2003 and I traveled to attend her funeral, I was “ready” for the snide remarks towards me, I was ready for the claims I had severely disappointed my parents (meaning my mother), I was ready for all of it and it definitely came. I also saw my older brother for the first time in years and got really clear that he had gone back and forth under pressure and had yet to begin recovery. He still struggles I think because he does not see that it is NOT his fault and actually had nothing to do with him. That 1-year experiment when I catered to the majority of her supply needs cured me of thinking I could change her in any way. He never got to have that lesson and cannot understand when I talk about my recovery journey. For now, he is fragile and I am careful with him. We did have an amazing moment — in the movie, “The Savages,” the brother and sister were making care decisions for a parent who had been abusive. During one conversation, they said, “we are taking better care of him than he ever did of us.” My brother and I had that moment — wow — what a load off our shoulders when we realized we are separate souls from hers and that we are okay — not without our nightmares and recovery issues — but our souls are okay. We did make sure her needs were met as she aged, although we both knew enough to stay away for our personal safety and to avoid police involvement from false accusations.

Grounding my experience

I came to LF because of a current relationship issue and here is where I have begun to completely ground all I have learned, with ways to organize my thoughts and experiences, with blogs from peers (oh how I value all my peers), with reminders that I have more work to do and a path that I am determined will continue forward. My best medicines ?? Quality listeners, plenty of sleep (still recovering from years of sleep deprivation and hypervigilance issues) and reality checks (it was always about keeping the supply coming).

When I started writing this, I had no idea I would end up on a positive note — I usually don’t write at all — so this is way cool. Thanks for being here.

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58 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Mother as sociopath"

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One Fathom,
welcome to your new life.
Finally understanding that you’ve been under the influence of a psychopath is like turning your world upside down and shaking it violently. Lots of things are gonna fall out.

Then things get better. slowly. in ways you’d never expect.

I still can’t really talk about how I feel about my parents. It’s what has me stuck. Congratulations to you for your courage.

Dear OneFathom, I wish you all the courage and strength in the world to take care of yourself and fight for your absolute right to live a peaceful, content and abuse free future. There are people here at LF who truly care, and will be here for you to help with support, encouragement, guidance. Just ask. Peace and love to you on your road to recovery x

Good Morning OneFathom – your latest post sounds wonderful – reconnecting with your father is great !! Finding therapists – great !! Being able to go “gray rock” while on the phone with your mother – great !! Skylar has taught us about “gray rock” – so look at her posts on that. It really helps.

“Dissociative Disorder” – I’ve had it explained to me as a way that my younger self learned to shield from the intense anxiety and emotions. It’s a spacey feeling and I cannot think straight or follow simple instructions. I’m not present with what is going on around me. I find now that it kicks in whenever I’ve had an intensive session of writing or blogging about my experiences with sociopaths. I can only do so much and then I’m in La La Land for awhile. What it tells me is that I need to take things slowly – one step at a time. If you like, let me know what this is like for you.

It helps to know that those of us who have spent extended time with sociopaths need more time to recover – so take your time. I’m 57 years old and I grieve and grieve and grieve about the childhood that never was. And yes – it is a huge relief to KNOW that it was NOT us – big change in paradigm. Congratulations and Stay with Us.

I have to go to work now – have a good day – Love and Prayers

OneFathom, adult children of socipaths have a very, very hard row to hoe, if they are even able to pick up the tools to start. What you (and, many, many others) have experienced as a child pretty much formed your own views of yourself. And, the first hurdle is realizing that you didn’t CHOOSE this for yourself. You’re not responsible for what was done, (or, NOT done) and addressing that lost, frightened, damaged “inner child” is best done with a strong counseling therapist. I chose that option, personally, because I was not equipped to manage my experiences. I just wasn’t.

Grief is going to be overwhelming, at times, OneFathom. It’s a visceral expression that transcends every aspect of the “Self.” From spiritual, to emotional, to physical, grieving is a profound experience and takes a long, long time to process, especially when childhood traumas are triggered.

Gentle hugs and brightest blessings

Onefathom, I know it will be difficult for your dad, and frankly he should have told you this long ago, but many times that generation thinks it is best not to. In reality you have a RIGHT to know the truth about your mother.

I realize now the TRUTH about mine and she is NOT the sweet little old lady she pretends to be but a conviving manipulative lying enabler of my psychopathic murdering son. It doesn’t matter what other people think about her or me, I KNOW THE TRUTHH and I will NOT have anything to do with her.

You also are NOT OBLIGATED BY GOD OR MAN to have anything to do with your mother if you don’t want to. You can turn your back on the abuser, just like you would turn your back on a husband who abused you like that or a stranger that abused you. You are not obligated to care for your ABUSER.

The dementia will strip her ability to keep up a “mask” but from what you told me of the way she treated you as a child, she didn’t mask much of her dislike of you back then. A parent OWES a child care and nurturing, an adult child owes a parent NOTHING….and especially if the parent has been abusive.

I strongly suggest you go no contact with her, and get yourself into some counseling. Going NO contact with my own maternal DNA donor and not dealing with her abuse and drama saved my sanity and my life. She tells her friends and anyone else who will listen how abusive Ii am to her and how neglectful. Let them believe what they want, I no longer care. I realize now she NEVER LOVED ME, and I owe her nothing.

OxD, spot-on. And, going N/C with family members (especially parents) brings a specific type of grief, I believe.

OneFathom, this is one of the most difficult of all sociopathic entanglements: family members who are “disordered.” We have been taught to believe that we are obligated to be loyal, trusting, loving, and accepting of our blood-relatives because “blood is thicker than water.” It may be thicker, but that only means that it needs a little more water to dilute and wash away. If a person is toxic, they are toxic whether they are mother, father, sister, brother, or our own offspring. They intend to cause harm. They DID cause harm. And, they will continue to deliberately harm their “blood kin” for as long as they are allowed and able to. They do it because they CAN.

OxD is 100% spot-on that no adult child owes their parent loyalty or ANYthing if that parent is toxic.

Brightest blessings of comfort

Truthy, I can testify that going NC with blood relatives IS VERY DIFFICULT…I’mm not sure if going NC with my kids was more difficult than with my egg donor. With the P sperm donor, after he raped me, it was not difficult to go NC with him–with egg donor, she is not a full fledged P, but she is very disordered/dysfunctional and NC is necessary. With son C, he also is not a P, but he is not trustworthy as far as I am concerned and the last time he lied to me was THE LAST TIME…doesn’t matter about what, or how “serious” the lie was, IT WAS A LIE and he KNEW THAT A LIE WOULD BE THE END OF OUR RELATIONSHIP…we communicate ONLY about his brother’s parole. That’s all the “relationship” we have. I cannot and will not TRUST a liar. He turned his back on me when he knew that his brother and my egg donor were trying to run me out of my home, and he failed to warn me when he knew that the Trojan horse psychopath was using my credit cards and had taken control of my phone account and he DID NOT WARN ME ABOUT THIS. He later apologized after they tried to KILL HIM, but I made the mistake of thinking he had repented of his former behavior and I could trust him again. Welllllll, DUH? He lied again> Over “nothing” really, but it was a broken agreement he had made with me–and I expect people who make agreements with me to live up to them. If not, there needs to be a GOOD REASON why not.

I heard yesterday from some people he goes to church with that he got married a month or two ago….I had not heard it from him. LOL And if he married the girl I think he did, he didn’t get a prize, but if she knew some things about him that I know she would not have married him (she is very very religious in a fundamental group) but I won’t tell her…she can find it out for herself or not as the case may be. He is on his own and I don’t wish him ill, but at the same time, I’m not afraid of him, he won’t come to my house and steal from me or hunt me down to hurt me, but at the same time, I don’t want anything to do with him.

I WISH I could have a relationship with him, I actually love him, but I do NOT LIKE him, or trust him, and without those two things, you can’t have a relationship with someone. It is obvious to me that a relationship with me is NOT something he values very much or he would not have treated me this way his entire adult life…lies and deception, taking his brother’s part UNTIL the brother’s minion tried to kill him, THEN he saw what his brother was but it still didn’t make him have any more respect for me…

His new “family” doesn’t know the history of his lack of a moral compass, instead they only know that I “abused him” LOL So let them believe what they like…eventually they will find out that his moral compass doesn’t always point north.

OxD, right – people are going to choose to believe what they will, and trying to “warn” anyone about the disordered only ends up making us look like “bitter and vengeful” people.

I would love to have a strong, healthy relationship with both of my sons, but I won’t do it because of a false sense of duty or misplaced love. I love the infant that I birthed, but I do not like the man that my eldest became – he is wholly toxic.

Moral compass……yes, I can identify with that.

Brightest blessings

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