Editor’s Note: In this post, another Lovefraud reader tells her story of being deceived by a sociopath.
He was an attractive, well built-man for his 47 years. When we met three years ago, I thought he was extremely handsome and charming. He was fun to be around, and seemed to crave the same physical and emotional contact as I did. He said he was not married and that he had just ended a relationship with a woman he had been dating because she was pressuring him to meet his daughters and he was not ready for that kind of intimacy.
Over a short period of time, about four weeks, he talked about his abusive mother, his time in the Navy as a SEAL and a reservist. He suffered from the same kind of distant relationship with his wife as I had with my husband. He said she had mental problems and was very abusive toward him. Our values and standards seemed very similar. A graduate of University of New Mexico, he claimed, he wanted to be a doctor at one point and had done quite well on the entrance exam. He just couldn’t afford it He seemed smart, with a great sense of humor.
He seemed very intuitive and was extremely responsive to me. I had been married for 20 years to a man who didn’t pay attention. I craved this kind of physical and emotional attention. He was loving, affectionate, generous. He loved taking me places and out to dinner (which my ex-husband refused to do). He gave me his time and did so willingly. When we weren’t together we talked for hours on the phone. He was on the road a lot working in sales and seemed to value hard work. He said he had worked three jobs at one point so that his ex-wife could stay at home with their children and so that he could afford the lifestyle they enjoyed (home on a golf course, home on a lake). I envied this as I had always worked full-time at the demand of my husband.
Says he’s in love
We saw each other a few times and within a month he called one evening and told me he was in love with me. It was sweet. He was adorable. On our next meeting, he was so romantic and attentive. At one point he asked me how I felt about people who killed other people. I was stunned but thought it must have something to do with his work as a SEAL. It was like he needed to talk about something and I wished he would just open up to me. That very next day he called me and told me he could not see me anymore because he was in love with me and his intuition from all of his abuse was telling him that he would only get hurt. I was devastated. Had I done or said something wrong? I was in the process of relocating. He knew that, but the distance did not seem unsurmountable. There was no talking to him. He refused my calls and by the end of the week he did speak to me and told me his ex-wife had had some surgery and he was going to move her into his home and was going to take care of her while she recovered. He said she was crazy but he had to do this.
About four months later, I contacted him to let him know I was settled in my new location and my divorce was moving forward. He asked if he could visit me. He missed me and wanted to reconnect. I was so happy and excited. We spent a few weekends together. It was during one of those weekends that he told me he was married and had been all along. That was the first red flag and I should have kicked him to the curb then. We were away on a very romantic weekend in a small cabin in the mountains. His weekend was filled with drama (calls from his wife and daughter). They thought he was on a hunting trip. He told me his intention was to leave his wife within the next two months and that almost everything had been ironed out because they had been separated and close to divorce previously. He had already been looking for an apartment. I asked him about the woman with whom he had a relationship and he said he had an affair with her that lasted a short time and he regretted it almost immediately. He did not love her. He was so lonely and felt so abused by his wife. I was already in love with him. It was that weekend that he told me he could easily be married to me and that he wanted me to meet his daughters.
Little boy demeanor
Mostly, he had this little boy demeanor about him. I saw the hurt in his eyes when he talked about his mother’s physical and emotional abuse. I couldn’t stand to even listen to it. I can’t even watch movies that have anything to do with abusing children. He cried when he told me the story about being tortured as a Navy SEAL. He said his captors hooked electrodes to his testicles and shocked him. He couldn’t stand to listen to the cries of his SEAL partner also being tortured along side him. When the event finally ended and they were rescued he said he had killed his captor. He explained that he believes his testicles are smaller than normal because of this torturous event. He talked about how he wanted to go to Iraq and work for Blackwater consulting. He said he had been offered the opportunity to do so because of his SEAL background. Again, that little boy quality of wanting to just run away from it all. His daughters were very demanding and he talked about some of the problems he had with them over the years. He described his older daughter has lacking a “social filter” and said his younger daughter was bi-polar. They were both adults now but still extremely demanding financially. He seemed like a good father. He could not say no to them.
In the coming months he found he was being relocated to the city where I was living. “It was fate,” as he stated. What a coincidence. We were meant to be together. He felt higher powers were bringing us together. In that time he began talking more about his life as a SEAL and how he was also working part time consulting for the NSA (National Security Agency). He said he was an explosives expert and he had helped the NSA to plan the deaths of terrorists. Little by little he gave me additional information about his “part-time job” as he called it. At one point he told me he had killed seven people. On a trip to Canada, he introduced me to a woman, whose appearance was questionable, who he said had been one of his informants. I now believe she was one of his girlfriends who he frequented in his many travels.
Meeting his daughters
He did relocate. I met his daughters. It was not easy. His oldest, now 24, would call constantly to berate him for leaving her (she was away in college and living with her fiance). She eventually told her father she hated me. On many occasions she appealed to him by saying “She doesn’t like me daddy.” She also told him she was getting married simply because she felt insecure about him leaving her. Subsequently, her marriage lasted five months. He and his daughter had what I would call an emotionally incestuous relationship. They discussed personal and sexual things that I thought were inappropriate. She physically hung on him like a lover and spoke to him as though she had ownership. It was disturbing. His younger daughter was also manipulative but in a different way.
Initially, I tolerated the drama, the emotional outbursts, the bad behavior and much disrespect from his daughters. Each time we would go away together his older daughter would call incessantly and would tell him her disapproval of our relationship. His younger daughter would call and tell him how he should have been with her instead. On one occasion his ex-wife called to tell him she had herpes and got it from using her sister’s towel (so he said). I think that maybe she called to tell him he had given her herpes, but he eventually told me she was lying about all of it simply to try to keep him from having sex with me or anyone. This was normal in his life. I can’t begin to write all of the stories and drama, cancelled trips because of the drama. I chalked it up to his divorce and the trauma of the family separation.
Calls from the NSA
There were many restricted calls on his cell phone at all hours of the night. He insisted that the calls were form a former NSA partner who was in trouble. He cried because he was not able to have contact with this man outside of official business. He decided that he was going to leave the NSA and actually went to Fort Mead one day (so he said) to be debriefed as he left this covert role. He seemed so dedicated to his work. He wore dog tags around his neck. He showed me his Navy SEAL trident pin. He gave my son a SEAL cap and t-shirts. He said he had used aliases and had traveled the world doing this work for the NSA. I asked him how this was possible while working full time and he said that some of his work was done on his own as he did his regular full-time job, but when he traveled for the NSA he just took vacation time here and there. He said his wife didn’t pay much attention and never called him when he was out of town so she never knew. He also talked about how he used a satellite phone so his wife could not see his caller ID when he called home from abroad. That was why he restricted his number on his cell phone.
He left town one day for a nine-hour trip in the car to visit his younger daughter. I spoke to him late in the afternoon and he should have been at his destination but he was not. He started crying and said he had to re-route to visit with some former NSA people. The friend who had reached out to him had been killed. He said, “If the FBI comes knocking on your door or anyone ever tells you I died of a drug overdose, don’t believe it, because I would never do that.” The stories were becoming too bizarre. I wanted to believe him but something did not seem right. The emotional outbursts and crying seemed to always come at a time when I would find later he was not truthful about something.
A few months later his older daughter started to send emails to me telling me that my children were not invited to her wedding. It caused a big argument right before his birthday. I asked him to please handle it; that it was between them. He blamed me. I had rented a house for his daughters and he and I to spend the weekend. He left me at home and went alone.
Uncovering the lies
We did eventually get back together. The next few months I uncovered that he had lied to me about his homes. He had not worked three jobs. His primary home had been given to him by an aunt. He had sold stock, which was given to him by another aunt, as a down payment on his lake home. His mother had given him money for three years after his father’s death. I also uncovered that he had not earned the salary he quoted to me. I suspect that he was embezzling from his mother as she lay dying in a nursing home. As if this was not enough.
Again, he tried to hide the truth through another emotional outburst claiming to be ill and have been throwing up blood. He apologized, bought me an engagement ring and wedding bands. We started building a home together. A month later we had completed selections for our home. He fought with me again, accusing me of sleeping with and dating other men. He disregarded me for two days. I went to his apartment to speak with him, only to find him in bed with a woman 18 years younger than he, who he picked up the night before in a biker bar. I was traumatized. He accused me of cheating and told me I drove him to this behavior.
Never a SEAL
I reached out to people at the POW Network who put me in touch with a former Navy SEAL and author, who assisted me in finding the truth. The truth was this man had served four months in the Navy before being discharged. Not only was he not a SEAL, he never worked for the NSA. No Navy SEAL has ever been a POW. His dog tags were not real, nor was his trident pin or SEAL diving watch. And all the articles of clothing he gave away and wore, could be purchased online. I confronted him with all that I had learned. He insisted that I was wrong. While having this conversation with him I noticed he had a SEAL banner hanging in his apartment. It was new. I asked him why a 50-year old man would hang a SEAL banner above his bed. He had supposedly not been a SEAL for 30 years. Then I asked him if it attracts young girls who adore his service as a SEAL as they sit on top of him in his bed.
I found used and unused needles in his apartment and in his trash. It was then that I realized the lies covered up other lies. He was abusing steroids. I tried to appeal to his sister, thinking she may get him some help. She made excuses for him. I did not understand even then what I was dealing with. I blamed myself for a long time. I tried to make sense of it all and to rationalize the bad behavior, the steroid abuse, the lies. Everything was a lure”¦his body, his stories, his lies. I don’t think he is a graduate of the university but I have not been able to verify that.
His testicles were not small from the torture he said he had suffered. They were small because he was suffering the result of steroid abuse. It’s also why he shaved his head (hair loss). At the time he was also being tested for heart, liver and kidney problems and was being treated for high blood pressure. These are all symptom of steroid abuse. This man was physically sick, but also a pathological liar. He then decided to be a bouncer at the biker bar where his new girlfriend worked. She was on welfare with three illegitimate children, had cancer and kept getting kicked out of homes and apartments because she couldn’t pay her bills (according to him). They were also “just friends” according to him, because he never wanted to take care of her or her children. Keep in mind, I have an advanced degree, a beautiful home, a responsible job. I pay my bills and I am an attractive woman for my 47 years. I could not understand any of it.
After the devastation
A year later and I am trying to heal from this devastating fraud. I believe now that he is a sociopath and I was targeted. I also believe that the drama in his life is a result of his sociopathy. I believe his older daughter is also a sociopath and that his younger daughter may be misdiagnosed as bi-polar. I met the worst possible person at the worst possible time. My head was reeling and my heart could not keep up. How did I get so wrapped up in someone like this when clearly all the red flags were there? For a period of time, I dropped my guard and my boundaries. I did it because I was lonely. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I cared deeply for this man, who had been so badly abused. In the process, I allowed him and his badly behaved adult daughters to abuse me too.
A few months ago I heard he had a heart attack. I started searching obituaries thinking that maybe he died. I searched the Internet and found his name and face on the POW Network as a man who has potential to be prosecuted for violating the Stole Valor Act of 2006. There are many men like him on this web page. The people there were extremely helpful to me and they do fantastic work. THIS is his only crime. I had contact with the woman he said he had a short affair with. I found that he met her in the same exact place he met me. He spewed the same lines. He took us to the same places for weekend trips. He told this woman he was in process of a divorce but I don’t believe he had never been separated from his wife. He had an affair with her for a year and a half”¦then one day he called and told her he was getting back together with his wife. And that was the last she heard form him. Cold and heartless, he is gone from her life.
What kind of love is that? She said that he left her often for periods of time but that he always came back. She said he treated her like a princess. She told me that she wanted to die. She lost her job, and had a DUI. The suffering is incredible. The lies are pathological. Their families cover for them. The abuse confuses otherwise emotionally healthy people. They eat away at our souls and take away our innocence and ability to love completely again.
Hit and run
They are a devastating storm that changes lives forever in the aftermath. They hit and run, never to be found guilty or to pay for the devastation, because people like this do not feel empathy and don’t understand the pain they have caused. They don’t have consciences and so they continue the devastation somewhere else. They don’t care and never did. They have become good at imitating the emotions that normal people display and truly feel. Still I try to make sense of something senseless, irrational. There are no answers, even in finding out the truth. I loved this man. I forgave him many times. He projected all his sins on to me. He called me names and verbally abused me. He left me often. He lied and cheated. And for a while, even my friends and family thought me to be the one who was insane”¦because I still loved him and forgave him and I let him back in. Still he walked away blaming me and talking badly about me. I want that loving innocence back again. I despise him, mostly for stealing that away from me.
It can happen to anyone
I have read many books, participated in blogs and message boards, have corresponded with professionals and have had therapy with a wonderful doctor who understands sociopathy and personality disorders. Still there is no logic and there is no closure. It must be found through realizing:
1. I was targeted at a vulnerable time.
2. I was targeted because of the good qualities about me.
3. He is not a good man. He is disordered and will never heal or improve.
4. He did this to others and will continue to do this.
5. My good standards will not be lowered again and I have a zero tolerance for what I have learned is the definition of abuse.
6. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME.
Abuse is not just verbal or physical. It comes in many forms. At a minimum I require respect, honesty, integrity and it must be displayed by way of actions, not words. This man was not able to follow through on anything. His actions were almost never consistent with his words. He is simply a fake, a phony, a con man, who conned me into giving him my heart, my love and almost my mind and soul. Not one thing was real about him, not his body, or his being. I don’t think I will ever forgive him and I certainly will never forget. I have, however, forgiven myself, as I have learned that this can happen to ANYONE. None of us is free from the grasp of the sociopath.