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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Now I can honestly say to a victim, ‘I understand how you feel’

Editor’s note: This Lovefraud reader formerly posted under the name of “Adelle.” Her articles include “A thank you note to my sociopath” and “If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.”

In the past I have written under the name of Adelle in an effort to keep my stalker from finding me. I dated this man and lived with him for about two years; he knows one of my passions is writing. I’ve written a few articles that have been published; he knows my style so it didn’t take him long to figure out I was “Adelle.” The fact that while I was still living with him I would get my support from Lovefraud also made it easy to find my writings. He knows a lot about me; of course he does ”¦ that is what sociopaths do; they study us. They pay attention to us and learn us well, then they use it for their attack.

My name is Olga Rodriguez and I have an organization called Royalty. I mentor; encourage and empower young ladies; I speak to them about Teen Dating Abuse. Ironic that I would fall into an abusive relationship myself? I think not. This experience has prepared me and equipped me to deal with this topic of abusive relationships in a more effective way.

I would often encourage young ladies and women to tell their stories and not be ashamed; many were reluctant to share. During my presentations I would tell my niece’s story. My niece Daniela was murdered by her husband and that is why I founded my organization Royalty; in hopes of saving and changing many young girls lives through her story.

Sharing Daniela’s story was not too difficult; it did bring sadness at times but I was always able to tell her story. It has been very difficult sharing mine. One of the reasons is that I kept telling myself I should have known better! I spoke to young girls about this day in and day out. What would people think of me? People would ask why I stayed so long; they would judge me. So many things that kept me trapped in silence.

Now I can honestly say to a victim “I understand how you feel” when she is not ready or afraid to tell her story.

One of my favorite prose/poem is Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson. Mr. Nelson Mandellla recited this in his 1994 Inaugural speech.

The part I focus on today is, “And as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.”

I have found that after ending our relationship with the sociopaths; after going no contact or “seeing the light” as I like to put it, we find that our darkness turns into our light. What was meant to kill us has made us stronger and wiser (this would be after our recovery of course).

I recently shared my story with a group of young girls and to my surprise they were not judgmental. It was well received; one young lady said to me, “Hmm”¦now I believe you really understand me; you’ve been there.”

I recall when I was still in the “Storm” (relationship). I would go to the Lovefraud blog and read stories of success; people who had left their SP; people who were going No Contact and I would tell myself, “One day”¦I’m going to do it; I’m going to leave and go No Contact.”

I encourage you to tell your story here on Lovefraud; you have no idea how much it empowers and encourages others. During my relationship with the SP; I found much comfort and hope here at Lovefraud; even though at that time I would not share much, I would just read.

I know it is difficult to tell our stories; they are not your typical abusive relationship stories. A relationship with an SP is far more abusive and unbelievable. My relationships were not perfect before the SP, but by far none of my previous relationships were as abusive and damaging as the one with him (SP).

When your darkness has turned into your light ”¦

Let your light shine ”¦ because ”¦

As we let our own light shine; we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fears; our presence automatically liberates others!

Olga Rodriguez teaching girls about teen dating abuse.


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17 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Now I can honestly say to a victim, ‘I understand how you feel’"

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Dear Olga,

I am sorry to hear about your niece’s murder, the loss of a beautiful spirit to such a monster has got to be tremendous. So unnecessary.

Welcome to LoveFraud (openly). I can also relate to your posting under a screen name, I have for years posted under “OxDrover” (and yes, I did formerly own and drive a team of oxen for my living history group) but then when Aftermath radio asked me to be on their radio show to tell my story, I decided to “come out of the closet” and to use my name. I still blog under “OxDrover” here, but my articles are under my own byline of Joyce Alexander.

I too was ashamed to show that I had been involved with a psychopath, because as a registered nurse practitioner who had worked with the mentally ill and the personality disordered professionally, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN…I should NOT have been suckered into enabling my psychopathic son, Patrick, who is in prison for murder, for killing a 17 year old girl.

We were a “nice normal family”—well at least we pretended to be, because we kept the FAMILY SECRETS and HID the dysfunction, the violence, and the enabling that made our family stick together like broken pottery that had been expertly glued back together….as long as you didn’t look too closely it appeared intact. I was ASHAMED.

Finally I realized though that I had NO reason to be “ashamed” because the SHAME was NOT MINE. I was not the one who put a gun to a young girl’s head and pulled the trigger, I was not the one who robbed and stole, lied and manipulated.

Yet, when I started to “get healthy” and to refuse to continue to put up the fake front, I was the one punished by the family.

I was the one presented as broken, crazy, bad, mean, a thief, and an abuser. I assumed the shame, but no more.

Welcome to the “club” OLGA, and glad that you too are able to stand up in the light of day and say your name. Ours is not the shame if we don’t accept it. Welcome, again, and God bless.

Thank you! This journey has taught me so much; the most beneficial things I learned were about myself because that is the only thing I have control over…myself. For the longest time I had some self blame until someone said to me “You need to get clear on what really happened.” I did that; I mean I sat one day and replayed what happened from the day I met him. I am not to blame. I am clear on that; and you are right; the shame is not mine to carry. Thank you for the welcome!
YOU WROTE: “I was the one presented as the broken……….”
Well of course we look broken; angry; crazy…that is what they bring out in us….mission accomplished for them!
I read an article once that asked “How do you know when you are with the right person in a dating relationship?” Someone answered “You will know because they bring out the best in you; you are the best YOU you can ever be when in their presence”…well most of us were the WORST us when we were with the SP! So boundary time…or as we call it here NC time…I will not socialize or have anything to do with someone who brings out the worst in me!

Lookout for us after we heal; we will stand; we will no longer hide or be ashamed! By no means am I totally healed…everyday I realize I heal another part of me that I didn’t even realize was broken! Thank you OX..or should I say Joyce?
Yes my niece’s murder was a tough experience; but thank God that we can turn a tragedy into a triumph; many young girls have been saved because of her story. I get emails from young ladies that tell me things like “You came to my school a few years ago and I didn’t have the courage to tell you then but I was in an abusive relationship; I never forgot what you said and I finally got out”….ahhhh….my heart just says “Keep on going Olga”…I promised my niece at her funeral that I would not let her death be in vain and so far…so good!

Olga,

Thank you for this article and giving us a photo of yourself. You’re beautiful! I could have stayed with my spath but I chose not to, not wanting to participate in any of his craziness. Things are not perfect (they never will be). Like you, I am encouraged by the other posters who share their own tales (drawing strength from each other), relaying the message to me, “yes, you can…” (whatever it is that I need to do). In time, I do what should be done.

You are welcome bluejay. Yes in time you WILL do what needs to be done. Everyone’s experience is different; it is up to us to decide what we need to do and when we need to do it! It is with wisdom that we need to act; what works for me may not work for someone else. We examine our relationship and take action accordingly.
I read the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gaven De Becker…he says that not every one benefits from a protective order; if they did we wouldn’t have so many victims killed after obtaining a protective order. Case and Point: We analyze our situation and find what will work best for us; we know this person best…so only we know what our best plan of escape is and when the best time is. Sending blessings and prayers your way bluejay!

I’m glad you didn’t stay bluejay!

Olga,

Originally, the spath left me (almost three years ago) and I never sought to reconcile with him. Personally, I think that he was trying to teach me a lesson, figuring that I would beg to have him come back home (but it never happened). I eventually learned that he wanted to reconcile, have a family life, but I said no to that. A good friend of mine told me yesterday that I am setting a good example to my daughter, teaching her that how a person treats you matters, that just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you have to accept, tolerate abusive behavior. We can end our marriages because it’s wise to do so, good for our mental health. Peace.

bluejay:
I often speak to parents and they tell me everything they want their daughters to be; the first thing I ask them after I have listened is “Are YOU all those things?”
Your friend is right…you ARE setting a good example for your daughter! There are times when we have been made to feel as though we are not so bright or that we are stupid but like the poem “Our Deepest Fear” says: “We are powerful beyond measure”…you sound like you are doing good bluejay…and I bet you are a very wise soul!! You know…like I said earlier this experience has made me take a good look at myself; as dark as my times were in my SP relationship….I am seeing a lot of Light now…I am going back to school; something I’d always wanted to do and now finally this experience has pushed me to do it! I am off to register for the coming semester! Keep setting a good example for your daughter bluejay!

Hello Olga, it is lovely to put a face to a name. I am so sorry you and your family have had to endure the loss of a child to murder. I am in awe of people like you who take the bull by the horns – apologies to Oxy, lol – and turn tragedy into hope.

I have read your articles and your posts and I was here when it became apparent that your ex had gatecrashed the blog, so to speak. You are an inspiration ….I’m so glad you are free and able to spread the word.

Ps The poem you quoted from is one of my favourites. I am a teacher and a copy of “Our greatest fear” is stuck to my classroom door. I always think that confidence is a gift we give our children. If they’re lucky. If not, it’s so hard to acquire as an adult.

Good luck and bless you

Thank you Olga for inspiring people to speak out.
There are way more of us than we think. I testified in front of senators and judges and the chief of police stating I am a survivor of domestic violence. Speaking of my successes as a mother and professional and how I was at risk of losing it all through the family courts. I had no idea who I was testifying in front of. (long story) It was meant to be but a senator asked me a question when I finished speaking and I just thought she was some woman, she asked, “were you married to the father of your child?” I felt like someone splashed cold water in my face. I answered, “no” and felt sheer humiliation. Later I was praised in the halls for my well said speech and later I found out who I spoke in front of. It was empowering but has not as yet made a difference 3 plus years later. I did return and spoke 3 years later looking majorly haggard and testifying the family courts have destroyed my existence and the foundation my daughter had. I haven’t found the light in the darkness yet nor healed.
Thank you for helping and educating youths as I feel starting at the root of this problem is the answer.

Dear Olga,

Thanks for sharing your story of sharing your story! I can be difficult at first. I also used bits and pieces of my story in my presentations to college students. I noticed that the students perked up and tuned in more when they realized I didn’t make my presentation out of book theories.

And, at the end of one, a student approached me because she was struggling with s stalker for a year. This was the kind of stalker that she didn’t really know. He was just a customer where she worked. He brought a pink convertible and a diamond ring to her home on their “1 yr anniversary.” She was only 18 and very scared.

Anyway, the point is.. exactly what you said… sharing a real story is more powerful than a bunch of book theories.

LoveFraud has helped so many people just by showing us that we were not alone in our experiences.

Aloha

Strongawoman: Thank you; yes I recall the post where he was asking for help with editing or something. Ugh…thank God I no longer react to his actions! Yes my beautiful little niece and I were very close; she was actually born on my birthday and I miss her dearly! I have a copy of Our Greatest Fear (Some have it as Deepest) in my home; yesterday I was listening to her lectures on Youtube…I’ve never read her book “Everyday Grace” I may get it this weekend!
Eralyn: I hear you…and yes I do target our youth in hopes that they don’t become that adult who has to run to a shelter; or who is deceived or what have you! Like alohatraveler said; it is so much more powerful to share a real story than a bunch of book theories.
AalohaT: I’ve read some of your posts as well; I believe you have been putting yourself through school? I just registered today and I’m excited about going back! I was granted financial aid and I’m taking a psychology class and a criminal justice class that I;m really excited about! My major will be Juvenile Criminal Justice. Thank you guys for your support! AlohaT: I’d like to learn more about your presentations…I don’t know how you can get my email address without me posting it here; maybe Donna can give it to you.
Gotta go….presenting this afternoon at a girls church lockdown!
Blessings to all!

Olga, thank you so much for your candid article. I am so sorry for the loss of your niece – too many victims are murdered by their partners.

Many years ago, I was speaking with a woman who had lost her infant son to SIDS, and I made the error of responding, “I know how you feel.” Well, this gal corrected me in a fury – she was still so raw from her loss and had probably heard that exact same line dozens of times. She snarled, “Have you seen your own infant dead and cold? Have you had to bury your own child? Have you lost sleep for days wondering what you did that might have caused your own kid’s death? Then, I don’t think you know how I feel, at all.”

Since that day, I can only speak from my own frame of reference. If I haven’t experienced something, I try to imagine and convey my responses precisely that way: I can’t imagine that. And, I can’t.

Thank you for your strong words and courageous efforts.

Brightest blessings

Truth: Thank you; Yes too many.

Olga,
I truly appreciated your story,and your efforts to save teen girls from domestic violence.I am so sorry for your loss though.

I receive my counseling from a domestic violence shelter.They didn’t have the funding to take me in when I left my husband,since I was suffering from emotional,rather than physical abuse.But I am very grateful for their counseling,which I’ve found to be very helpful.And the Love Fraud site has been very supportive too.So,I’m healing.

How I wish there had been more education about domestic violence,personality disorders,etc when I was younger!I’m still trying to forgive myself for staying in a marriage with a narcissic socialpath too long,thinking I had no choice….but then I remember that I came from a dysfunctional family!

Lovely article, thanks. I had a friend who went through a break up a few years back. I can distinctly remember asking her if she was quite sure she still had all her marbles (I can only apologise now, I was ignorant then!). His antics were totally bizarre and as she related some of them I really was starting to wonder.. I have been “awoken” with my own recent experience and now realise that she was completely sane and no, he didn’t just have “a bit of a drug problem”!

Also interestingly, my ex knew my movements, friends etc but tried to hack into my onlline phone account to access my records. The password for that account was so simple, no numbers, capitals etc and anyone who has known me for a couple of months would have managed to guess it easily. The phone company sent me a text at 04:50 on morning containing the password and I contacted them only to be told that there had been several failed login attempts on my account… So there is a distinct limit to their interest, had he taken an iota of interest in me the person during the 2 years he had known me he would have succeeded.

Olga, ever listen to Taylor Swifts album “Red”? i think she may be telling a story there.

Sincerely
Rgc

Old high school english teacher would get pretty upset when someone said “i know how you feel”. she said the only accurate way to say it was “I can only imagine how you might feel” she said anything else would be insulting.

rgc.

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