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By | May 22, 2014 51 Comments

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: People will never understand I am married to a sociopath

Editor’s Note: This Letter to Lovefraud was submitted by reader whom we’ll call “Juniper.”

I have been married for 22 years and have five children. I realized the first year of our marriage that I had married a “psycho” but thought I could help him with my unconditional love and support. He is completely controlling, manipulative, abusive, selfish, and has never shown empathy or compassion to me or our children. He doesn’t have relationships with his kids because he chooses not to bond with them.

I stayed with him because I believed there must be some good somewhere in him, after all, he was a born again Christian, knew almost every verse in the Bible from memory and sometimes preached on Sundays. Deep down he was a “good” man and I believed he just needed the love and support of a good woman to turn him around.

Married life was hell

Fast forward 22 years — I have lived a life of hell. He is addicted to pornography, television, food, exercise, work and every other self serving desire. His favorite pastime is yelling and lecturing the children and I about our faults. We have been to many therapists, etc. Read every book.

He would “change” just enough to give me hope and keep me around. I suspected infidelity but had no proof. He was verbally abusive to me and the children. Sometimes he was physically abusive to the kids, but very rarely (which I did put a stop to). He hated spending time with us on vacations, days off, etc. He just always wanted to do his own thing.

He has made me responsible for all our finances, everything to do with the kids, the house, etc. He basically just earns a paycheck and does whatever he wants. Of course, if there is ever a problem then he blames me — he takes no responsibility for anything. He is an extremely intelligent, successful, award winning doctor. He is respected and admired in our community.

Inappropriate touching

Last June a female patient of his accused him of inappropriately touching her. He denied it and since she is a “troubled” patient and on narcotics — it wasn’t pursued. However, they did require that all female patients to his office be chaperoned by a female nurse. I know my husband and I know, without doubt, these accusations are true. He sort of admitted it without really admitting it.

Blamed by the therapist too

I filed for divorce in February. Just today I met with our previous marriage counselor to update her on our status and see if she had any advice to help me and our children cope with this. After months of grieving and recovering and feeling stronger she has reduced me to a sobbing, insecure, blob in one hour!

She went on and on about how my co- dependent attitude just enabled my husband to continue his bad behavior. She said that if I had stood up to him years ago and given him consequences then he would have changed. Her thinking is that I let him behave badly and there was no motivation on his part to change because I would always be there for him.

It is so confusing to hear this because, part of me thinks she is right! The other part of me realizes he is a sociopath who is incapable of any compassion or love for me or the children and that nothing I did or didn’t do would change his completely self-serving attitude.

I’m married to a sociopath

This feedback from her is so hurtful. I realize some people will never understand the fact that I am married to a sociopath! But it is beyond hurtful and damaging to me that she somehow blames me for the demise of our marriage! I never believed in divorce. All I ever wanted was a happy family and children.

I will say that because my husband is a work-aholic and didn’t want to participate in raising our kids I was able to raise really wonderful kids who love others and respect others. Also, my 20, 18 and 14 year olds don’t want anything to do with dad. He has shown them his true colors and they barely know him.

I guess I am writing you because I know you get it. You know what it is like to be married to a psycho and to have some people just not “get it.” It is so hurtful to feel like I have been the strong one, the fighter, the good parent, etc., and then to have someone criticize me, blame me and make me feel like the one at fault. It just messes up your mind and emotions.

My husband has moved out and rarely contacts me or the kids. Thank God! He didn’t even ask to visit them. My younger two, ages ten and eight, wanted to see him so I made him set up visitations. I am asking for sole custody so I don’t have to deal with his controlling, manipulative behavior.

Looking for validation

I guess my goal in writing you is to have someone relate to me. Everyone sees this man as such a great guy and they think I am the one throwing in the towel for no good reason. It’s hard to be misunderstood but I am realizing that is just the way it will be with most people.

Deep down I know I did everything I could to make this work but others have seen us as a “good, Christian couple” who went to church every Sunday. I understand that from the outside looking in they would think it was this great marriage and great family. I feel like I have been perpetuating a lie. Now I have to deal with people believing I am the “bad guy” for divorcing him.

I know it will get better but, boy, does it SUCK right now!! It’s hard to not to wonder, “Could I have done more? Could I have done something different?”

 


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OpalRose

Dear Juniper – thank you for sharing your story. I am married to the same type of person – respected health professional who is extremely self-centered and addicted to porn, food, exercise. We have been to “marriage counseling” with those who do *not* get it.

I am outraged at the attitude the counselor took with you. Never go back to her – never. She has done damage at a time when you have come so far. According to the website “Sanctuary for the Abused” there is NO SUCH THING as co-dependency in an abusive relationship. You did amazing to survive and provide all the logistics for your household and raise your children.

It boggles my mind that outsiders – even when they are professionally trained outsiders such as counselors – cannot see the amount of work we do to maintain our lives in the context of sociopaths. I completely understand why you stayed and tried so hard. It’s time for you to be “delivered from evil” and I wish you strength and confidence in yourself as you go forward.

Juniper

Thank you, OpalRose, it means so much to have support and be understood!

HopingToHeal

Juniper,

What an awful experience with the counselor. I’m sorry that in one of the most despairing times of your life, she attacked you. She is certainly uninformed and ignorant to sociopathy. Who knows, your husband could have come on to her and now she’s a minion. They love to seduce those close to us or that have any impact on us. Could be so.

But, it doesn’t matter what she says. I’m in the same situation with my husband. While he was not as overtly abusive to us, he was never present and lived a double life throughout our marriage. While my behavior couldn’t have changed him, i do realize that I did allow him to continue his abuse by not acting on it immediately. One reason was that I didn’t understand what was going on. Another was that I was raising a family and wanted to keep the family unite together.

Enable is a strong word, as is co-dependant. Staying Ina marriage because of religious beliefs, finances, children or illness is NOT enabling. Actually, it is a survival. To enable, you have to participate, cover up or knowingly allow someone to be involved in destructive behavior. I hate that word! Yes, you could have left and destroyed your children’s home and security. I could have tot, but chose to stay for the reasons I mentioned. But you did not enable him! I think you did the best you could with what you knew, believed and understood.

Co-dependant is another term that offends me. When a normal person is attached to a disordered person, the normal person hangs on for the ride unaware that they even bought a ticket for the ride. The twist and turns are unexpected and life altering. I know for me, I was always just hanging on trying to get stabilized. Where there triggers that made me hang on tighter? Yes. But again, I was dealing with the beliefs of my faith about marriage, my love for him, my desire to take care of my kids. Aren’t all married couple co-dependant? It seems to me that your marriage was toxic because your husband is a Spath . No one, I mean NO ONE can understand your responses unless they have walked in your shoes!

It’s good to hear that you realize and are taking credit for the way your children have grown up. High five to you! Thank God they had a mother of character, morality and integrity to lead them to be responsible compassionate people. I don’t think a co-dependent enabler would have been strong enough to be that kind of mom. So take that credit and use it to mentally defend yourself to those who are arrogant enough to judge you. Your counselor may have been trying to help but her comments were out of line and offensive.n I wouldn’t return to her.

It’s good to hear that you are moving on with your life after the hell you live through. Truly joyful days are ahead! Please remind yourself of who you are to God, what your hearts attitude has been throughout this marriage and what a great mom you are. Don’t let the manipulation of an evil man and the ignorance of a dim witted counselor get you down. You are wise and are making great decisions.

God will get you through this! A big hug to you.

Jan7

Hopetoheal… the word ”co-dependancy” absolutely annoys me too!

I read an article that very few people are “co-dependent” that this phases is a catch all for everything and is missed used over and over….

I look back on my prior relationships and I was never “co-dependent” and with my marriage I was not co-dependent I was literally mind controlled and brain washed like a cult leader does to his followers to keep them around these tactics are not “co-demendency” they are manipulation. I did not want to date him, move in with him, marry him and I wanted to leave everyday but he had my mind so twisted up I could not think clearly to leave him.

If you are manipulated you are not given a choice…Co-dependincy is a choice = you see the truth ie the person is an alcoholic and you choose to stay but with a sociopath you are not educated on sociopathic behavior you are not given the truth and then decide to stay.

As soon as my counselor told me who my husband was = sociopath that exact moment I was done with my marriage no thinking about it that was it done, over, I had my answer to all of his craziness.

When you are lied to, mind controlled, conned and abused you don’t want to stay you want to leave the relationship but your mind is so twisted up that you can not think your way out of the relationship. This is what counselors dont get either.

Juniper

Thank you, HopingToHeal, I totally agree that he charmed the therapist – that was one of my first thoughts when she reacted to me in an attack mode. I really appreciate your support and advice!

slimone

Juniper,

I am glad you posted here, because we do understand and can totally validate your reality. It’s too bad that counselor is so ignorant and insensitive. She probably thinks she gave you a dose of ‘tough love’. I bet if she was suddenly (miraculously) made aware of how mistaken she is she would be ashamed.

This is one of the ways that spaths leave US with THEIR shame. They are so hard for other’s to ‘see’ that we are left holding the bag of shame that belongs to them. We are left to stew in our knowledge. At least at first. Over time that knowledge will become a piece of strength and wisdom and comfort. Truly. But, initially, it isolates us, and can be somewhat frustrating.

Remember: That pile of burning shame is NOT YOURS. Let it go. Let go the hurt of her misunderstanding and blame. It belongs to HIM. She is caught in the web of deceit and ignorance, like so many in the world.

Lots of folks here have connections with psychopaths that will not let go, and are tormenting them still. You may be one of the fortunate one’s who’s ex simply goes their own way. It does happen. Given most of your kids want little to do with him, and that he wants nearly nothing to do with all of them, you guys sound like you have a good chance at recovering your lives and generally moving on. I hope so.

Do what you can Juniper to let go of what ignorant people think of you or say to you. You are going to have to find that internal sureness of WHAT YOU KNOW you experienced. You could not have done a single thing to change this person. You could not have modified his behavior. The only thing you could have done is simply walk away. No amount of reasoning would have had one speck of influence. Matter of fact I think the more we talk, the more they manipulate us with our own information, needs, desires, requests, and hopes.

((hugs)) Slim

Juniper

Thanks Slimone! I love the advice about the shame. That has been one of the biggest struggles of mine. I am trying to limit my contact with him – the more I talk – the worse he gets. I just keep it short and sweet. Thank God he doesn’t really want to be part of the family and is distracted with his own selfish life. Thanks so much for being supportive.

YellowDiamond

I was involved in a serious & intimate relationship with mine on & off for 10 mos. Although your relationship was not normal “any normal person” knows things are different behind closed doors. Sociopath or no Sociopath. Everyone has a right to their opion & you have every right to ignore it. Stop caring about what others think because they do not understand. You might try to find a pshyciatrist that deals with victims of Sociopaths. Your therapist obviously doesn’t understand. You need encouragement right now. Two books that I highly recommend reading are “Betrayal Bonds” & “Why does he do that.” Extremely helpful & will give you much insight. Doing this & keeping those around that care about you, pray & pray a lot, do things that make you happy. I have been very aggressive about my recovery & have been doing all of the things mentioned above. Everyday I pray, read, keep those around that matter & appreciate me, exercise, work etc… It takes work but it is well worth it. In the end you will get your life back! Just do the work. 🙂

Juniper

THanks, YellowDiamond, I really need to hear from others who understand. I will look into the books you suggested. I totally agree I have to be aggressive in my recovery. I have been “washed up on the beach” for months and I am trying to pick myself up and start actively doing more to heal. Thanks for your advice.

NotWhatHeSaidofMe

Dear Juniper,
I had a terrible attorney but I was gifted with a terrific therapist. But it took a while to find a terrific therapist. When I did, the support was like water to a wilted desert weed. I bloomed into ME. A good therapist should empower her patient, not disempower and demoralize them. Your therapist sucks.

One of the things that my therapist helped me to discover is that I could have been PERFECT and my marriage would have still failed. Look how long your marriage lasted! Be honest, we all know it lasted that long because of YOU. YOU kept the home together. You stepped up for your children. Doctors tend to get a boost in society just b/c of the D.R. but… I’d be willing to be that his status in the community was in great part because of YOU. You took the family to church, built a life of dignity. HE could not/would not have done it.

Yes, I did make mistakes. I was blind, I wanted that picket fence dream, I didn’t face reality for a long time. And I made decisions and behaved in ways that sabotaged myself. BUT… all this is NORMAL. These are the ways NORMAL people go about trying to create the life that they choose.

Your, mine, our problem was the foundation was built with one constant wobble. A sociopath.

Could you have done something different? Something more? Of course! That’s true for all of us. There are infinite numbers of different choices we could have made.

But the greater truth is… because he’s a sociopath, the outcome would be the same.

You will see that I am right because as time goes by and you live in freedom, your choices will begin to matter more. You will actually progress in life, there’s no one to tear down your efforts, no more sociopath to keep you from succeeding. The yoke is off. No more hindsight. Your possibilities are before you. And they could NEVER have been when you were married to HIM.

ps I LOVE the other posts above. What you all write give me such strength. Bless YOU ALL.

Juniper

Thanks, NotWhatHeSaidofMe! I really can relate to all you said and it is true – there is NOTHING I could have done to change him. He doesn’t get it and he never will. I valued family and marriage and that’s why I stuck it out. He doesn’t value those things and so it never could have worked. Thanks so much for your support!

Jan7

Juniper, I am sending you huge hugs today for you hon….I am so glad you reached out to lovefraud today with your story because you are right we sadly get the hell you have been living in, your counselor does not and will never get it so FIRE her asap and find a counselor who is extremely knowledgable with narcissistic/sociopathic abuse (your local abuse center might have a good outside counselor recommendation or check with Steven Hassan of freedomofmind.com).

There was nothing more that you could have done to help this man or do to make your marriage work…or to ever change who he is = sociopath. He has a brain birth defect plain and simple. This man manipulated you into a relationship with him because you were a kind soul…he has manipulated people his whole life including your marriage counselor…these evil people know exactly how to manipulate everyone. he will manipulate the next victims into his dysfunctional game and use the same exact tactics on her as he did on you…all of his relationships will be abusive…it does not matter if the women stands up to him or not he will suppress her by mind control and brain washing to control her too….this is what uneducated counselors dont get.

I remember sitting on the marriage counselors couch the first session we went to, she asked to speak to us separately for about 10 mins each…I told her that my husband was a liar and lied about everything, never had any remorse or guilt for his horrible actions, manipulated everyone and would manipulate her too (she of course said she could not be manipulated lol), he cheated, was cunning, etc etc….after a few sessions she told me that I was to blame for the marriage problems…I was so flabbergasted by her comments that I literally could not speak but knew right then and there he had manipulated her too…..I thought to myself what the hell am I doing except tying to keep our marriage together while my husband was lying about everything, cheating, using pity play to control me, abused me etc…I now know that every word I used to describe my ex h unknown to me that day to that counselor is on the list of sociopathic traits and she never pick up on that. I was so desperate for help out of my abusive marriage but more importantly I was so brain washed that I literally needed someone to tell me to get out and show me how…that counselor fail me and I wonder how many other victims of a sociopath she has not helped because of her lack of education

I stayed another 7 years in hell…when I finally crawled out of hell I found a counselor unknown to me that knew exactly what I had endured and told me so within the first 20 mins of my first session and gave me the book Women who love psychopaths to read. That was eye opening to say the least. Because of the first counselor (marriage counselor) not being educated on domestic abuse and more importantly on sociopathic domestic abuse I stayed in hell for 7 more years…

when I think back I am so mad at that women for not being educated on domestic abuse and because of her I stayed thinking it was my fault that I was the one needing to change even though my gut was screaming I was not the problem (yes we all have issues but they are tiny compared to a sociopath’s issues). The problem is these evil people know how to mind control exactly like a cult leader does to their cult followers…if society looked at domestic abusers as cult leaders then they would get what we have endured. The fact is I saw his red flags the second I met him, I did not want to date him, move in with him, marry him, or stay married to him but he was so so masterful at getting his way he just steamed rolled over my thick personal boundaries which at the time would infuriate me but yelling or fighting would never had changed his behavior. same goes with your ex.

During my marriage I saw my ex h manipulation of me, his family, friends, co workers, the divorce court etc….I even witness him trancing or hypnotizing people in the divorce court (quite shocking to witness but a good reality that I had no chance to make my marriage work).

Things for you to look up:

gas lighting abuse

sociopath mind control

no contact rule narcissist

Know that these sociopaths use gas lighting abuse, reward and punishment, install fear & phobia’s in to the victims mind, brain wash, mind control.

The best think you can do in addiction to finding a knowledgeable counselor is to read everything you can get your hands on about his mental disorder this will open up your mind to the abuse you endured….

Aside from Donna’s books here are a few books that helped me:

Freedom of mind by Steven Hassan
Why does he do that? by Lundy Bancroft
Women who love psychopaths by Sandra Brown
Gift of Fear by gavin Debecker (google “oprah gavin debecker you tube” to watch Oprahs interview with him)
The sociopath next door by Dr Martha Stout (this one you can listen to on you tube for free just google)

Facebook support sites:

One moms battle
After narcissistic abuse (there is light life and love)

Websites:

Onemomsbattle.com
afternarcissisticabusewordpress.com
psychopathyawareness.com
psychopathfree.com

According to Steven Hassan cult/relationship expert anyone and everyone can get sucked into a sociopaths con game if they have a life change such as going off to college, moving to a new city, a divorce or relationship breakup, death in the family, new job etc etc..Why this time? because people have their guard down dealing with the life time…for me I had just moved to a new state and had a new job.

You are a good person who sadly go in the pathway of a sociopath like all of us and because of lack of education we fell victims to their con game. What did we do wrong in our relationship? 1) we were not educated prior (sadly if we had been we would have know right away) 2)Not listen to our gut the first second we met them and walked away right then and there. We did nothing else wrong. Now we must undue all the brain washing they installed in our minds…not an easy thing to do but with time you do move back towards your prior self.

You are going to come out of this hell and you will thrive!! Wishing you all the best!

Juniper

Thanks for all the advice, Jan7. I realize he has charmed and manipulated almost everyone in our circles. I have a couple friends who are supportive of me but it is hard for people to think I am not just exaggerating – he is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Completely different treatment of me and others in public. But I have comfort in knowing that I am soon to be FREE of him!! That makes me so happy I don’t care what others think!

Jan7

Hi Juniper….his friends one day will see his mask slip..they will remember what you told them about him…and they will see the truth (someday…hopefully sooner then later).

I was thinking maybe you should print all of these comment post and send them to your therapist…it’s time for her to get educated…1 in 25 people mainly men are sociopath/psychopath…there is no doubt that she has other victims of sociopathic abuse sitting on her couch who are not being told the truth about their spouse because of her lack of knowledge. (just a thought).

with regards to your freedom…that word always makes me think back to our founding fathers and the declaration of independence…they too had dealt with sociopaths because they found it so vitally important to put in the words each man has the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration of Independence that speaks volumes!!.

Definition of liberty:

right to choose: the freedom to think or act without being constrained by necessity or force

freedom: freedom from captivity or slavery

basic right: a political, social, and economic right that belongs to the citizens of a state or to all people

Best of luck for your new found FREEDOM!!!!!

Jan7

I also want to add that the new reality show TrueTori is a perfect example of a marriage counselor who is absolutely clueless about sociopathic domestic abuse and is not helping Tori Spelling out of her emotional/mental abusive marriage and way from her abusive husband…very scary to watch and very sad too. if you go to lifetime.com you can watch the past show episodes.

Sad that most therapist are not educated when a victim is desperately reaching out for help.

LL Mequon

OMG, Jan7! I said the same thing about Dean McDermott! I put it out on Twitter! I stumbled on that show by accident, though I had heard a little about her marriage on TV, or something. Did you get a load of him “disclosing” his suicide wish in therapy?! Took all the attention off of Tori and her pain over his cheating. CLASSIC spath! Now I see this stuff so clearly… And you are right–the therapist is painfully clueless!

Jan7

it really makes me sick to my stomach that her counselor does nothing to help Tori out of her abusive relationship…their counseling sessions were exactly like mine…when I watch the pain, stress and confusion Tori is under it just is heart wrenching.

stopbuggingme

It is so hard for people to understand. Just last night I had a dinner with a friend I have only known 4 years. We were talking about our ex/marriages and I stated to her, “he just wanted and wants to destroy me.” She stated back, “I don’t believe that he wants to destroy you.” She does not know my ex and I have not spoken directly about his disorder but it is a concept, like physics, that until you study it/ or in this case, live it, you only have a laymans grasp. It is really difficult for people who want to believe that people are basically good to understand this.

LL Mequon

Yes, stopbuggingme, it is really discouraging when people don’t believe us. I feel like it may be easy to miss the signs (I certainly did for a while!) but when someone TELLS you, why would you discount it?! I have had the same experience. People haven’t contradicted me to my face, but they have dropped me and continue to see HIM! In one case it’s the members of our tennis club–and he STOLE from them!

Some days I can handle this better than others. But it is a sort of life sentence when you get entangled with an spath. The fallout never seems to end. I am currently packing to move out of the house I helped design and build, and hoped to raise a loving family in. You can probably figure out how that went… And he’s likely out playing tennis. Ugh.

NotWhatHeSaidofMe

Yes StopbuggingMe and LL Mequon,
It is so demoralizing that they get away with so much because people won’t believe us. It essentially silences us. And I haven’t ever told people the really bizarre stuff he did. They are dismissing obvious stuff, they’d tell me that surely I was exaggerating.

LL Melquon,
We also built our own home. I worked like a dog because I expected to live out all my years there. My soul was in that home. I designed it. It was very hard to let it go. But my ex used it to control me and I had to take back control of myself. He thought I’d never leave him because of that house. It was my picket fence dream. But he failed to understand that he poisoned it, which is how I was able to let it go. He poisoned it, like he poisoned every good memory.

I do something kinda mean.
I wish ALL the people who thought him so wonderful a long long association with him. We know how that will end.

LL Mequon

Notwhathesaidofme,

Yep. Same story here. He thought I’d stay for the house–he actually proposed a legal separation, rather than a divorce, thinking we would just live in the house together, I guess. HA! I know now he didn’t want me to discover all of his tax and financial crimes, also.
It was hard to realize that the divorce wasn’t the end of the perfect life we had–there was NEVER any perfect life. As you say, all of our memories are tainted. I am packing to move out in a few weeks. The loss of the house means so much less to me than I thought it would. It’s just a monument to the years of stress, struggle and pain I endured to keep that picket fence dream alive in the midst of a sociopathic hurricane.

NotWhatHeSaidofMe

LL Mequon,
I had a hard time with the poisoned memories. So I went back and redid them, or rather, I did them a different way so that they were unique.

I retook photos, I ate different foods, I found new songs that make my heart sing. I found NEW special spots. All my furniture is different. I don’t cut my hair the same. All my clothes are different. I embraced new pets, new favorite colors, new traditions at the holidays.

I have new friends who don’t know him at all, they only know that I had a difficult divorce from a bad man and that I am rebuilding my life. We don’t talk about it at all. We have better things to talk about.

Funny how he told everyone that I wouldn’t let him go, while he was the one who made it so difficult to get divorced. And the settlement was all in his favor, he just didn’t get control of me anymore. I used to wonder why I was so cursed.

As time goes on, you will be counting your ever increasing blessings. That’s what I’ve realized. I am SO BLESSED.

slimone

Stopbuggingme,

I had someone try and warn me and I told him how wrong he was, and was in complete denial about the signs I was already feeling and seeing. It was still months before I felt the emotional bottom drop out of my life. After I did, I sent that man a card and apologized for doubting him.

People are so afraid of pain, that we sometimes believe if we deny then we won’t ever come to harm.

I think one of deepest misconceptions that most people hold dear is that everyone is a good person deep down. A Freudian concept, that is not true.

Stargazer

Juniper, I was verbally attacked by the very person who alerted me to the fact that the guy I was dating was a sociopath. In the first 3 weeks after the break-up (still not clear what happened because he didn’t take any responsibility for discarding me), I needed support and validation. Instead, my friend told me I was still talking about him and therefore, she couldn’t be around me any more. She really put me down for being where I was at, even though she herself had been through the same thing. She was a member of AA and gave me their AA Bible to read. She tried to tell me how messed up I was and how much I needed to follow the 12 steps. I found it insulting and disrespectful. It took me a while to forgive her. When a therapist does it, it’s reprehensible. I don’t think you have cause to report the therapist to the Department of Regulatory Agencies, because I don’t know if she did anything that was outside of their guidelines. She counseled you to the best of her knowledge, which was obviously skewed. But she caused you more harm than good. I would not go back to her.

Over the years, I have found some very bad, unkind, and dishonest therapists. For this reason, I’m very wary of them as a group. Even the ones who don’t do all of those things sometimes just are not on the same wavelength as me, and their “help” is not helpful. Hopefully, as you are further along in your own recovery, you will need less and less validation from others.

Having said all that, I believe there are things that we do need to address within ourselves that made us all vulnerable to a predator. Ultimately we do need to take responsibility for our own lives and choices. But it’s hard to see clearly what your choices were when you are brainwashed and conned. None of us knew we were being conned, and none of us knowingly signed up for that.

overthehump

Juniper I’m sad to read your story – I see so many parallel’s with my own but I’m very glad for you and your children that you are finally out of it. Don’t think it will be easy though. He may have agreed to a divorce and so far may not be interested in custody but be on your guard – that could change. Keep every email, every text, every piece of paperwork and a proper timed/dated record of any significant conversation or action. Seriously!

Regarding your therapist’s comments. I think they were harsh and probably verging on being totally unprofessional but like you, there are times when I’ve felt mildly ‘responsible’. That’s why I continue to read letters, etc on this site. Because they remind me again and again that I am not responsbile for his behaviour. No matter what I would have done – he is what he is. Just like you and many others, I thought I could change him. He always played the victim well so I believed his past had been difficult – which I now know was rubbish. I couldn’t do anything. He’s a very warped human being – I just didn’t see that for a long time. I do however believe that my putting up with his vile behaviour in a way that other women would not have done – probably hasn’t done him any favours in the long term – purely because I don’t think he will ever be able to sustain a relationship in the future but that is not my problem – nor is it yours! It is his. One of my proudest moments during our very acrimonious divorce was when I replied (to one of his very unpleasant emails in which he was trying once again to turn the onus on to myself and the children) – I wrote: “they are children – you are a 49 year old man. It really is time for you to grow up, accept the consequences of your actions and finally learn to take responsbility and stop blaming everyone else!”

Of course he did none of those things but that’s his loss.

The children want nothing to do with him and I doubt that will ever change. I wouldn’t want his future.

As to what others think about you. I know that feeling to. It used to drive me mad when he was still at home (he refused to move out) and I’d see him outside with his head hung, looking sooooo forlorn and I could hear snippets of his sad, pathetic story. He told others how the divorce came as a ‘bolt out of the blue’ – how he never saw that coming. But he forgets to tell them that he got caught out having an affair with a 29 year old woman living down our road and that even when I gave him the opportunity to still live under the same roof but as friends he still threw it all away by being abusive towards myself and our oldest child! I don’t doubt he has totally demonised me to others but I don’t care and nor should you. The people who matter most, your children, your family and close friends will know the truth!

Good luck and best wishes!

Kathleen

Even after the shock of realising it was a fake relationship and you don’t miss them anymore, the fact that people still believe his lies and think you are the crazy one is so frustrating. There was only one person would listen to me – my sister – and I showed her proof of his taking my lifesavings, proof of all the lovers he had – even emails from some of his really angry mistresses after they discovered they’d been duped, she made excuses for him. ‘Maybe he didn’t realise what he was doing.’ ‘Maybe it’s normal for him.’ and so on. He’s the typical Dr Jekyll/Nr Hyde character. So ‘shy’ and ‘quiet’ she wouldn’t believe he could be the evil monster I described. I showed her emails he’d sent me with many, many lies she knew were lies. So, there’s only me and people on here who have also suffered who believe me and not him. He is the most evil person I have ever met, constantly slandering me. Telling people I do bad things, which is actually what he is doing. But they believe him, not me. It’s easier after 5 months of NO CONTACT, but I cannot discuss him with anyone.

SER

Kathleen…I know this is really hard. It’s something I had to deal with also even if on a smaller scale. I will pray for you that this gets easier. Blessings.

Kathleen

Thank you very much. I don’t speak of him, except on here with people who have also suffered.

NotWhatHeSaidofMe

Kathleen
The most common response! “maybe he didn’t realize what he was doing.”

Believe it or not, your sister’s response is not personal against you. And it’s normal. People don’t want to be wrong. They don’t want to think that they could be easily manipulated. Look how devastated we are when we find out, and we fight the truth! They don’t have anything vested in changing their opinions.

My ex is the most gifted man I know at image management. Without a conscience, he is the most sincere at blaming, at scapegoating, at pity plays, at avoidance of accountiblity.

YOU, or I should say, ME/Myself/I was hurt, defensive, betrayed. And people’s response was to be defensive against me.

Now that I am near the end of the tunnel with my ex husband, and healed enormously, I can see how my NORMAL responses were perceived by the people that the sociopath had so subtly image managed (mindgamed and manipulated). All my ex had to do was suggest a perfectly plausible explanation, that “of course he didn’t mean it, or didn’t know.”… because no one wants to believe he did such horrid things on purpose.

Your post is a perfect example of the master manipulator who has managed his image perfectly versus the woman who is focused on the truth. The people you are trying to convince have been played by Van Cliburn and you are countering the manipulation with chopsticks.

I learned to let those battles go, and now that I am calm and able to think, I talk to those people from a different attitude, one that is much easier for them to hear. But… in the midst of battle, you need to just take care of YOU and getting what YOU need.

Their good will isn’t on that list… but you can revisit the issue later. At that time, some people will revise their opinion, and some won’t. Those that won’t have an ulterior motive and are self selecting to not be in your inner circle ever again.

ps There is a reason that movie stars and politicians have publicists, to manage their image! If you want more info, google impression management.

Kathleen

Thanks NotWhatHeSaidofMe. You really helped me get through the frustration of me telling the truth and not being believed against his lies being believed! In fact, another close relative said something like ‘How could you be so stupid. I would never ever believe him.’ But at the same time they say how nice he is. Obviously they’re confused and probably would actually fall for the lies. I’m over the attachment part – even the loss of lifesavings and 7 years of wasted time and energy, so it’s just a matter of the constant slander and him telling people he’s been victimized etc. I have NO CONTACT (5 months) with him or even 3rd parties. I find if I don’t discuss him with friends and family it helps forget as well. If anyone mentions him I change the subject so I’m doing better now. Any lies against me are only therefore discussed with people who don’t know his evil character. I just try to live well and hope one day he will be exposed for what he is by someone far less tolerant than me! Thanks again.

Linette

I have noticed one thing is that people hear stories all the time of “jerks” and verbal abuse, mental abuse and when we tell them our story they assume that he/she can’t be that bad. Since they are clueless about sociopaths, they are quick to assume there are 2 sides to every story or that we are exaggerating or whatever. Most people think sociopaths are easy to spot or murderers, at the very least in prison. That’s my experience anyway. It’s up to us though to help educate as many as we can!

Kathleen

Yes, that’s the point. They are clueless about sociopaths, as was I before and during my relationship and marriage to him. It was only after he left when my money was gone, that I started researching. Wow! It was like suddenly my eyes opened and everything fell into place. All the false accusations, doubts, obvious lies etc. I’m angry at myself for giving the benefit of all those doubts for many years when I should have trusted my instincts – I do now! But, of course, we are innocent, naïve victims of evil people and should try to console ourselves because of it. We have to realise it isn’t our fault. We were blind to the fake person’s mask and evil character. It could be very difficult to educate as many as we can, when they don’t believe the truth. We need to update the saying ‘2 sides to every story’ because that’s not the case when a sociopath targets a victim. It’s frustrating to imagine that he will target many hundreds of victims after me. I once discovered more than 150 on his phone plus all that come after as he trawls the many dating sites all day and night. He has the time. He won’t work and loves money and lots and lots of casual sex with many, many victims. He lies on his profiles. One asks ‘safe sex?’ He puts ‘yes’ – not true. He never uses a condom and goes to the sex clinic regularly. He gave me my first STI when I was 58 years’ old. It should be a serious crime.

Moving On

Just so you know I am a living example of putting down boundaries and standing up to a man who was like your spath. It doesn’t make a difference. In fact, it may make it worse. Once he knew the jig was up and could no longer manipulate me he escalated to physical violence. I never felt I deserved his ill treatment of me, it never made a difference. It has nothing to do with you, it is all about them and their agenda, you are just a bit player.

Linette

Yes! I submitted too and then when I started standing up to him he no longer had the power he needed over me and it was way worse. That’s one thing that made me see the truth and leave though!

freeenuf4me

Juniper, I think it is a testament to the good in all of us who stay an inordinate amount of time with their spaths, especially when children are involved. I was married 22 yrs before I finally left…I too, believed that if only… I loved him more,..could be a better wife, ..mother… He was a medical professional who “played with narcotics” thru the years,..he chose a life with drugs, not relationships..but ALWAYS maintained a functional appearance at work.. no one ever suspected. His older two boys have nothing to do with him,.. but my youngest, a girl…13..doesn’t see it…and she maintains her relationship with him by doing exactly as she’s told, when she visits.. he gives nothing more than alms to her, and it’s very sad that she craves this kind of attention from ANY man, let alone her father… She knows I am always here, as are her brothers, …but she defends him to the hilt, and it’s very difficult to “live and let live”…I hate to sit back and watch him manipulate her. My biggest fear is that she’ll pick some creep, just like him , and repeat the cycle…

overthehump

I totally agree. I was married 23 yrs in a relationship with my ex path for 25 years. For the first half I often blamed myself – or accepted some responsbility because he would twist and turn everything to make it seem that it was all my fault. Eventually – and mainly through seeing his behaviour with others – I slowly began to realise that it really wasn’t me – it never had been. My confidence on that matter grew and I became less pliable, which is really when our marriage started to crumble as he gradually felt his control slipping. Its also when our sex life ended. It hadn’t been very frequent prior to that but at least it existed but he never loved me – he just needed to control me and as a very sensual being I guess that was just one more way of doing that. The only reason I tolerated him for the 2nd half was the children, as I felt he was on the whole a decent father. Certainly when they were small. He was very convincing on that front but when I look back – to be honest – he wasn’t even that good a dad. It was always about keeping up a facade of decency. He would take them swimming and pick them up from school when I was working, teach them to ride a bike, etc. But at home, when no one was looking, he had very little to do with them. He never read them a book or bathed them or played or painted with them. He was always ‘busy’ at home. Another example was how when anyone else came round he would go in the back garden to smoke giving the impression he wouldn’t smoke near the children and yet as soon as we were alone….

His behaviour often verged on bullying – even his sister said that when I was re-united with her recently 15 years! Its so hard to know if I did the right thing staying with him but with everything I’ve read on here and with what I now know, I am positive if I had tried to split earlier when the kids were younger he would have fought and fought to take them away from me and god help them if that would have happened so I believe I did right by them.

As it is, at 18 and 19 they want nothing to do with him – which is good because he’s made it plain the feeling is mutual! I’m sad for them that they have ‘lost’ their dad but also relieved for them that he is out of their lives.

I hope that one day your daughter will see things as they are and break free – in the meantime all you can do is be there for her 100% – it would be a real worry to me too. (( ))

kaya48

I am so sad to read your story. It could have been mine. I too was married over 20 years and always wanted to see the good in him. I am glad you filed for divorce to put an end to it. Be very careful during divorce proceeding. I cut of all contact. Every email, message or taped phone call he can use against you in court . Especially when it is a child custody matter. Now mine was “just” a divorce without minor children. But it was ugly, one motion after motion had to be filed. From hiding financials to whatever. He made this divorce as difficult as possible. Driving up my attorney costs. He wasted marital assets on the mistress, depleted accounts, changed direct deposits and basically left me with nothing. And not just me but also his only 18 year old child.
My divorce is coming to an end with a very favorable outcome for me. Thanks to my zealous attorney who was always fighting for my legal rights, protected my emotions in court and stood up for me. Please retain the most aggressive, male attorney you can afford. Don’t go with a female lawyer. I felt that that a male attorney would not be as easily manipulated by “his so good looks”. And it was true. Ask for everything possible on the divorce.
As far as counselors. I was a little dissappointed in mine also. When we were in marriage counseling I think she made a lot of excuses for his cheating.
I am not sure if you watch the show “true tori “. I know it’s a tabloid but it shows you what a sociopath is like. Cold, no empathy , selfish and blaming his wife (the mother of his 4 children) for his cheating. Unbelievable.
Good luck. Try to stay strong for your children. I still feel for my son who had to watch me cry every day. Those days are over. Happiness and stability has returned to our lives. It just took a while and over 14000$ to my attorney. But this was the best thing I ever spent money on. Never regretted it once. 🙂

Linette

I agree about the saving EVERYTHING yourself too and keeping in mind he may be doing the same!

On the getting a lawyer, I had a fantastic female lawyer who saw straight through my ex without even meeting him. They work for YOU remember so no matter what their job is to protect you. If they don’t (male or female) then fire them.

One thing that helped me is that I knew he wanted to get the divorce FAST (which I know is not always the case) so he could go on to his next “quest”. Once he knew I was gone, he was over me. I used that to manipulate HIM to settle fairly equally. He wanted out and I wasn’t going to do that until I got my fair share! He even wanted joint custody of my dog and he never even fed it or walked it before just to keep some kind of “hold” on me. I refused and he was MAD. But he agreed finally. Sometimes they just want out!

LL Mequon

Wow, I have been on this website over a year, and I am still struck by the similarities. My ex did the same thing during our divorce: hid financials, ran up my attorney fees, etc. Because I am in a community property state I am paying half of his debt (most of which I didn’t know about!) and he got half of my pension and deferred comp. Our house just sold more than a year after the divorce (and he would not move out! Is in in-law apartment) and I will be getting about $8000–a house worth more than half a million that we lived in for 16 years!
I agree about the attorney being male. I had a VERY smart female attorney. But she just did not grasp the behaviors of a sociopath. I think she learned toward the end, but not soon enough to help me much. Of course, being in a community property state didn’t help!
Ugh. I am moving in about two weeks. I am afraid about finances, but SO glad to have some distance from this creep!

aintgonnatakeitnomore

Juniper,
An education and a license don’t mean the therapist knows what’s she’s talking about. In fact, everything’s she’s said to you…think the opposite. Claim the opposite.
You did brilliantly my dear, you survived!
She’s a stupid person for whom…
Wait for it…
Ignorance Is Bliss
And to pretend otherwise makes her a fool.
Foolish ppl and their uninformed opinions don’t count. She is, in fact, not an expert. Ignore her words. She’s an ass.
Grrrrrrrr these expert idiots make my blood boil.

Kathleen

That’s why I won’t go for therapy. It seems like everyone I know doesn’t even understand sociopathy including ‘professionals.’ I often read ‘you must go for therapy’ – I think it would most likely make me feel worse by not being believed and him coming out the victim/hero!

Kathleen

Just had an appointment with a lawyer today to make out a will. I’m separated (2+ years) and have to wait the full 5 years for obvious reasons – he would contest it, lie in court etc. The lawyer just told me she’s a divorce lawyer too. So I said ‘I don’t know how much you know about sociopathy…’ then ‘he married me for money, is promiscuous, a parasite’ she didn’t understand. See? They don’t understand. Just want money themselves but don’t even understand. Grrr. Don’t want to wait, but I have to. It’s a stupid law anyway. Wait 5 years? For what reason? It will still be the same result after I’ve waited and waited. She said I could go for unreasonable behaviour. Really? I told her he would lie, turn it around to me being the perpetrator and try for even more money.

OpalRose

I would like some help to think straight today. I thank God for leading me to this site with people who completely understand and give great advice. Thank you Donna – thank you everyone here.

I can feel the warrior in me rising up and wanting to bust him so hard. Because he has that sense of entitlement and arrogance to go with it, he leaves his cellphone with no password. It’s good that I can check what he’s up to, but this morning I saw texts that he is setting up a major sex party for today at a hotel which is nearby my workplace. Part of me wants to bust that party big time – not that I would know how or who to call or what to say. I want to pick a big fight with him – but this site has helped me see this is *not* the thing to do while I am making plans to get away from him.

Here’s the thing – the title of this article is so spot on – there are times when *I* have trouble believing I am married to a sociopath. He has been so nice to me lately – most likely because he is going through a phase of heavy partying and is getting everything to go his way. Never mind that he is paying very young prostitutes 100’s of dollars so of course he gets what he wants. I actually feel really sorry for these 18-20 year olds who are dealing with him.

I had found a house to move to, but the inspection found some expensive issues which the seller would not credit at all, so I let it go. Now I’m back to square one and even considering asking him to move out. I’m waiting until after his niece graduates from high school since he would take his drama to his family and ruin that occasion for her if I made a move either way prior to that trip. So I’m looking at July sometime to make anything happen.

Right now – this is just so hard. Hard to stay calm, hard to keep focused on logistics, hard to believe the Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde I am seeing right before my eyes. He is 60 years old and totally out of control.

Thank you so much for listening – it is priceless. I have to be at work all day knowing what he is up to. Thank you for any encouragement, support, advice. I will be away from my home computer until around 6 pm EDT just in case anyone posts back to me and I don’t reply until later.

Very best wishes to all here.

Stargazer

OpalRose, here is my advice to you for what it’s worth. If you are not normally one to go to sex parties (as I don’t think you are), then let it go. You will just be stooping to his level and keeping his base-ness in your life. You can choose to be the type of person you want to be just be behaving like that person. If you want to be the kind of person who can rise about that mess, then just do it. Trust me, in time, you will no longer even have the desire to bust him in his lowlife activities. Your energy will follow your actions. Instead, figure out how you would prefer to spend the evening. For me, it would be dancing. For others, it might be reading, meditating, going to a movie, listening to music, etc. Do what you enjoy. Focus on YOU and don’t worry about what he’s doing. He will always be doing something, and it will probably not be something you like to hear about, so you have to learn to change the station and focus on your own life. Eventually, you will become resilient to hearing about it. Water always seeks its own level. That goes for him and the people he hangs out with. You are not at that level, but if you put your energy there, you will be dragged right down to that level.

Stargazer

OpalRose (BTW, I love your username), I am working on an article about raising your energy no matter what the circumstances. I’m hoping if I write it, Donna will post it. Basically, it’s about changing the way you think about any situation in order to rise above negativity and cultivate more positive feelings.

One of the benefits of taking the time to be with yourself and cultivate your own life is that you start to see your own thought processes – yours and not what he told you to think! When you start thinking certain things, you can actually just substitute some different thoughts. It can literally change your day. And if you do it habitually, it can change your life. In the article I will give direct examples from my own life with some frustrating situations, and how I turned them around in my mind to have a blissful, peaceful day. This is why it’s important to spend some time by yourself meditating in whatever way you do that, without distracting yourself with any addictions (even the internet).

When things come up that seem to threaten your ability to raise your energy level (rising above the vileness of a sociopath’s thinking), you can look at those things and decide what to do about them. Rage can be processed. Fear and helplessness can be worked with. Even if you are numb and in shock, there is a way to mentally put a pair of parentheses around this experience so you understand it and know what to do about it. It’s very empowering.

The key is self awareness – being aware of your thoughts and the things in your life that prevent you from being the freely flowing creative being that you are meant to be.

slimone

OpalRose,

Please, please, please keep focused on your plans for the future and let go of anything that side tracks that. It is so not worth it to bust him. It will have zero effect. ZERO. And it could have monumental repercussions for you.

You have come so so far. Just keep your eyes on the future. Your future happiness, security, and peace.

I understand that knowing what he is up to is really triggering, and likely disgusts and angers you. It totally grosses me out from where I’m sitting.

AND, he just isn’t worth it. His behavoir shows how little worth he has, and how little attention (no matter what he is up to) he deserves.

No way to keep our bodies and minds from spinning. But we can HALT ourselves from taking action that will harm us.

Vent here….stay safe.

Slim

Stargazer

OpalRose, What a great story about your username. Your aunt must have been very brave to leave an abusive relationship in her 70’s. What a great role model. I enjoy hearing about people who don’t let their age stop them from doing what they want. One of my idols in an 80-year old woman who is an acrobatic salsa dancer (!)

In thinking about how all of my relationships in the past went south – even the ones with kind-hearted men – the common factor in all of them was that I didn’t really know myself. I had spent too many years protecting a fragile ego because I never really went through the appropriate developmental stages growing up. For me, spending time alone – and not just time alone, but time alone meditating and introspecting – is vital to my well-being. It helps me find my “voice”. Sometimes something happens that throws me off balance. For instance, today, I got a phone call out of the blue from an old lover with whom I had an affair many years ago. I’m still a little off balance – I seem to have had a lot of buttons pushed, and I don’t even know what they are right now. I realize now that I was always off balance with him before. But I didn’t know what to do about it. I didn’t know how to take care of myself.

Stargazer

Slim, thank you for your sincere compliment. I’ll take it. But I’m not sure what there is to envy. I still have my daily struggles, areas of defensiveness, and relationship issues. It sometimes baffles even me, though, that I often seem to be smiling and happy. I do cultivate these emotions, so that I can handle the difficult things more gracefully. As you can read in the above post, I’m a overwhelmed and off balance right now from a phone call I had today. But at least I know I’m off balance. Knowledge is power!

BTW, I always enjoy reading your posts too – so much wisdom from all that you have been through, too.

aintgonnatakeitnomore

the thing is — with ppl to be responsible for, besides urself, u have to be very careful in a culture like west africa. even here u rly do. CPS can snatch ur kids at will. and they do. ive had several friends go thru this due to homeschooling. i personally know immigrants who have also dealt with this.
the point is, in african countries its worse usually.
so tread carefully, Staying.
stay focused and u will win 🙂
ur already halfway there. u know its not u, its HIM.

aintgonnatakeitnomore

Staying”“
i waited 3 yrs for the spath to leave becuz of the kids. i totally can relate.
i would do it again. it was the best way for me.
i hope u dont have to wait 4 more weeks, let alone 4 more yrs. maybe he’ll find a new shiny to occupy him? lets hope!

HopingToHeal

stayingfocused,

I’m sorry to read your story and feel terrible for you and your children. It’s encouraging to read that you recognize what you are dealing with and are determined to break free eventually. One advantage is that you DON’T love him. Love alters our view of these situations so it is very helpful that you are not having that emotion.

I agree with Ain’t about being very careful. You must always remember that his thought process is not normal and you should always expect the unexpected. My Spath husband and I are separated and he still is able to surprise me with his twist and turns. Thank God for this website and the revelation of how these personality disordered people work.

Your and your children will be in my prayers. I look forward to hearing updates of your plan to break free. Best wishes!

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