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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Partners in an unhealthy dance

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following article from a woman who posts as Willow888.

I recently started to work through the awful morass of feelings that follow an interaction with a disordered person. These people are such deceptive and expert manipulators they can apparently draw in even the healthiest of partners, partly because their behavior is beyond normal imagining and experience. Just as we’re taught to drive a car defensively, to suppose that every other driver is asleep at the wheel, we could still get taken unawares by a driver who aims at us head on, deliberately. That we wouldn’t necessarily be ready for. Information about toxic relationships often mentions typical victims as having codependent tendencies, but given that so many of us wrongly assume that pretty much anyone we meet who seems normal comes from the same emotional planet as we do”¦ feels empathy, doesn’t mean to deceive and harm others, is “doing their best—¦ and that we all have needs and desires, which at some point in our lives might be going unmet, we can all be vulnerable sometime, somewhere. But I can only speak for myself and it does take two to tango, so what about my side of it?

Looking around me and at myself, I wonder if partners in an unhealthy dance are often drawn to each other by a subconscious pull of the same root pain, lying still unresolved in the Shadowland of their psyches. Like dark magnetic stuff pulling us together, maybe this is partly why these encounters can be so hard to resist even if our intuition is calling out to us to run, fast”¦ If our Shadow hasn’t yet been drawn fully into the light, it will call and call again to be worked out. So what does my Shadow contain and why and how was it drawn to this other’s?

I come from a very dysfunctional family, with unhealthy narcissism and codependence running around the house like escaped, but unmentionable tigers. Abandoned too in a way, I was the one who was expected to take care of myself, to put my feelings and needs aside in order to adapt and be sensitive to the more demanding needs of others. Silenced if I questioned and fed weird distortions of the truth to keep me silent. Behavior that seemed so unloving, or downright abusive was, I was told, an expression of love, deep, very deep down. Everyone was doing their best and it was my job to be understanding and empathic of others’ feelings, needs and struggles. If I failed at this, I was accused of being the overly demanding one. Not a great garden in which to grow a healthy ability to take care of myself, to trust my inner sense of truth, my intuition. I was being trained to invalidate it.

Sacrificing myself

Big surprise — the partners who drew me the strongest seemed to offer ”¦ well, nothing actually, but I was sure that “potentially” there was, deep down, a great love story to be found there. It was as though each time someone came along offering a basket that was quite, quite empty, if not clearly containing some pretty nasty stuff, I saw it as potentially full of wonderful things, if only I would sacrifice myself enough to the basket-bearer to get them to let me in. As programmed, I was pretty good at seeming terribly strong and self-sufficient, needing nobody to take care of me, and of course, since I didn’t feel allowed to ask, hardly anyone ever did. The men I was with made good use of both my weakness and my strength. On the outside I seemed powerful, accomplished in my work as an artist, determined, responsible and doggedly persevering. The destructive effects of my programming were hidden from others, expressed inward through depression and self-destructive behavior, such as in my “choice” of partners.

But over the years I worked on all this, became more aware, learned to say no to empty or nasty baskets and embarked on a path of re-learning who I was, letting go of the constant outward perseverance and struggle that also now made no sense, and finding some quieter happiness on my own. Maybe I’d continue on my own but that would be ok. Then along came the masked one, seeming to offer a tangibly fuller basket than any I’d ever dreamed of. At last! Perhaps a lovely reward for all the work I’d done on myself and arriving at just the right time! Given my barren past experiences I could be perhaps forgiven for being so easily blindsided by someone who appeared to be so different. And in our culture, so littered with dysfunction and unawareness, it’s not hard to see how even healthier people than myself can be taken in by figures so expert at presenting an ideal, albeit completely false front.

Intuition

But, as with so many stories like this that I’ve read, I did, right at the start, see and hear warning signs, felt something not quite right. My intuition, at first, was absolutely on the game, saying nope, stop, turn around, this is actually a burning building you’re looking at, do not enter!!! After some correspondence, phone conversations, a first meeting, and receipt of a huge bunch of roses, I even told the masked one that I would not come any closer to him because of things he’d said; “I’ve been with many wonderful women but they were never quite right ”¦ If you can reason at all about love then you’re not ready for it” blah blah blah. He sounded immature and unconscious. I added that I was sorry and disappointed but that he should look elsewhere. But I was disappointed, even for the loss of our initial dialogue about other things such as art, infused with his apparent intelligence, cultivation, sensibility, his discerning — or was it just flattering — appreciation of my work”¦ I missed it and wrote once more to thank him for the conversations, and to apologize again for not being able to go any further.

Deadly deed that was. He replied, expressing pain and anger at having his character so severely judged, told me how sad it was that past experience had made me so defensive”¦ He was hurt. Voila! That was it. As content as I was in my solitude, there were still yearnings for a kind of companionship I’d never known that the dialogue had reawakened. And maybe more importantly, he’d already got a good read on my character and knew how to trigger my empathy, sympathy and tendency to second-guess myself. So I opened myself to the whole dreadful thing right there, leaving my intuition behind like a discarded toy.

Staying in the dance

This done and eventually “deciding” to trust him, to see him in the light he wanted to be seen, to believe his fake creation, I became effectively a sleepwalker. He’d been so entirely right; in order to be ready for his kind of “love,” I had to be brain-dead. Any other odd stuff that came, contradictions, doubts causing further alarms, were twisted not only by him, but by me as well, into a somehow positive shape so that I could stay in the dance. Still, I tried hard, I thought, not to relinquish all ground gained in my long road to a healthier self, speaking up when he started to show less considerate behavior. But his seeming ability to discuss things in an open way only strengthened my growing conviction that here was a most extraordinary man. Ah, but what I didn’t even notice at the time was that it was me who wound up apologizing, promising to change something about my behavior, asking his patience for my slowness in trusting him completely. (Where are the emoticons for cringing and head shaking?)

Given my background, the only reason I was so thrilled with these talks was that he was willing to have them at all. I’d never before known a man capable of actually participating, non-violently, in such discussions. Even after all my learning, my standards were still so very low, my self-esteem still so ready to abdicate itself at the offering of a few crumbs. This abuse was so subtle; it went right over my sleepwalker’s head. Masked one must have had a good laugh at my earnest efforts to send him packing at first, to then guard some self-respect and boundaries along the way, and the ease with which he could manipulate me into backing down to offer him my neck instead. It wasn’t until his real, destructive drives in the tango became too blatant to be blind to, that I woke up. But by then the heartbreaking, shattering damage had already been done. I had met him on my way to becoming more whole, but I surely left in pieces. I suspect this was his ultimate goal, conscious or not, from beginning to end.

I could go on and on about the various twists and turns of the sick maze but all that really matters is one thing. Over and above all the famous red flags I now know to look for in predators like these, I must remember to never, EVER, shut down my intuition again. All the rest of my sleepwalking came from that one simple act. In betraying my wisest self, I allowed him to vamp on in and do his horrible thing. Why do so many other stories about this kind of interaction sound so like mine? It seems our intuition is the first thing to fall in almost every case, but we too help enormously to knock it down.

Awareness

Here then, for me, are some of the whys and wherefores of these dangerous entanglements where one fragile psyche destroys outwards in a desperate grasp at power, while the other struggles to have enough power to self-protect and self-respect. The fragility in both comes from damage done long ago. If both partners could become aware of this in time, the encounter could possibly be a chance at healing and resolution for both. It’s an invitation to transformative growth, sitting there in the guise of a dreadful interaction. But if awareness comes, it’s usually only to the “victim,” forced to it by the devastation they are very consciously feeling, as opposed to the aggressor who seems to feel nothing at all. The predator’s main defense against feeling pain is to remain cut off and divorced from their or anyone else’s emotions and so fiercely fixed are they in this that awareness is unlikely ever to cross their threshold.

I did figure out some of what had been going on in this terrible tango before reaching the point of completely abandoning it — and of recognizing it as a scam. I tried to express, explain, point out how working through this destructive stage could be a doorway to something healthy, creative, wonderful. But my masked one’s answer told me I was just wasting my time. He said that there is at the core of us all a fort intérieur that will defend itself to the death against change. Yes indeed; a fort is a locked stronghold, with an army ready to attack all comers that might threaten it. Clearly this was true for him, but if we all had one of these for a core self, none of us would ever be able to make choices about our actions, learn, grow or evolve in our lives.

Descriptions of NPD, APD, etc., speak of extreme rigidity; behavior and personality fused — or you could say, confused — personalities defined by behavior composed almost entirely of defense mechanisms. Lost or buried is any core self, experienced as distinct from its actions and so able to conceive of choices and change. These people act as they do because they need to, they must. Thus behavior is bewildering, attempts at negotiation futile, discussions confusing, appeals to them to question reacted to as criticism; they must protect their position at any cost, a cost they are well defended from feeling, let alone any empathy for others that pay it instead.

The only happy ending

Perhaps this too is one reason why this type of interaction is so unbelievably hard to recover from for us others involved. Being human isn’t a polite tea party. Having all suffered somewhere along the line, we come to the exchange with our own scars, but we leave with them torn open, as well as the terrible burden of the masked one’s denied Shadow projected onto us. (Recalls Peter Pan, the boy who’d lost his shadow and couldn’t grow up.) I can only be happy that I didn’t allow this dance to go on for very long. Short as it was, though, I have never experienced an aftermath as painful.

We have also, through this experience, maybe caught a glimpse of that door to powerful growth if only both partners were open to it, but are forced to realize that all of the pain and any road to better awareness have to be travelled solo. We know now, too, that we were alone in the entire story. A creative dance a deux with this person isn’t possible and never was. This isn’t a Hollywood movie where they suddenly wake up, ignited by epiphanies that transform them into mature, loving human beings and they come running to meet us like that scene in Gone With the Wind; he’s fought his war and now can come home. Neither is our attempt to understand both sides of the dance to excuse or condone their behavior, nor yet to flagellate ourselves, but to learn and grow through it. It’ll be the only happy ending we can redeem from the tale. So here I am now, blogging away, to examine how I was an accomplice in all this. It does help, writing out loud, and maybe it’ll help someone else along the way…



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34 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Partners in an unhealthy dance"

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Bookmarked!! Thank you, thank you for your article. I for one, gained immediate confirmation on knowing that I was invalidated as a child and that I, myself was personally abandoned. (I thought it was just an Italian upbringing?) I completely did not exisist but for showing to be well -groomed and well-mannered and to above all, make sure I was in compliance to whatever the raging NPD mother needed.
I woke up this morning reviewing past relationships attempting to see if they were just addicts, N traits/cultural differences, or NPD and Psychopath…because none of them compared to this level of inhumaness with the “P” that took me to deaths door. The twisting, me ending up apologizing (and I was the rebel growing up, always attempting to prove my point, usually getting beaten by my mother for doing so, programmed not to voice my thoughts or feelings) Initially with the NPD/P, I would be appalled at the words he was saying/calling/labeling me..it hurt so much and I would express this and repeatedly ask him to stop and I couldnt believe I would even allow another “conversation” with him again. Then he would do the triangulation and I had to be able to “take” or handle what he was saying, what he was twisting and psychologically defending him to say to myself, he doesnt really mean those things directly to me, that is just how he expresses himself to everyone…if I was going to be with him, I needed to adjust (lower) myself to get past the ugly words and wait for those perfect words of admiration, his discernment of my loyality and love and talents and to feed my narcissim and fantasy life and dreams that in fact he loved me as he pictured it to me…Ugh!!
Today, I woke up sad, regretting, fearful, missing the occupied time I had with him – someone I despise and mad at myself for having this secret desire for him/the lie deep deep inside that I have to fight against rising and to keep it in line with reality..knowing that because of all the dysfunction in my life is the reason I was so willing to look over the truth….and your article was the first thing I read this morning…OK, I am back on to face the world today, go take care of myself the best way I can today and to begin being kind to myself before I fell back into that pity party that He loved seeing me in…I choose to be free in me, in God and in Love today…
I do think you could write a book the way you express yourself with such ability to get directly to the point without losing yourself in translation from emotion to words…I think that LF should have a television show whether it be a reality tv show or a drama with all the victim characters and therapist and doctors etc so that exposure on psychopaths is made more available and without being labeled crazy and to show that the damage done is not just labeled as domestic violence..With your writing abilities and the way you remember experiences and can identify the feelings and the spoken/exchanged words, you should write the scripts…
Thank you for your post. As you can see, I was touched and grateful for same.

Willow888, thank you so very much. What a beautifully written post. You’ve expressed so much of what we all feel but are unable to convey.

alivetoday, I can relate to the Italian upbringing. My P dragged me by my ear to make amends with my father in the name of “familia” even though I made a firm (apparently wishy-washy in the end) decision not to do so. That is one of the many things that I regret allowing him to talk me into against my better judgment; because instead of having the ultimate demise of the relationship unfold on my terms, my father was then able to get the upper hand and completely turn around the circumstances so that I ended up looking like the bad person.

After months of no contact, I received the following e-mail from P last week:

“Are you Ok? I have had the most horrible dreams and feelings. Please just let me know you are OK. I have made many mistakes but losing you was by far the worst. I hope you are doing well.
Still in love.”

He’s just so sweet and concerned, isn’t he? No. Without Lovefraud and all the other work I’ve done on myself, I would have been so easily pulled back in. Now I know this e-mail is manipulation. Now I know that the bad feelings and horrible dreams are because I’m actually happier today than I’ve been in many, many years. Now I know that for someone as calculating and disgusting as he is to call his behavior “mistakes” is unconscionable. A year ago, this e-mail would have made me melt. Today, it makes my blood boil at the NERVE this creature has, which made responding to it in no way, shape, or form so very easy. He will NEVER get the satisfaction or privilege of hearing from me or anything about myself or my life ever again. And I’m proud that I am now able to recognize the transparency of his tactics now and forever, which is why his nickname became Captain Obvious in the months before I was finally able to end it once and for all.

Thank you again, Donna, and everyone that posts their stories and feelings in this forum. I truly believe I’d still be stuck in the abyss of the world I lived in for five long and agonizing years if not for Lovefraud and books I’ve read and other sites I’ve come across that made me understand unequivocally that I’m far from being alone on this journey to recovery.

Survivor3……good for you!!!!! Good for you…..honestly.

Hugs to you!

Willow, Thanks so much for this article. I agree that these magnetic relationships are no fluke. They are numinious and powerrful, because, as you said, they spring from the uncounscious woundedness of the two individuals involved. My X hub and I seemed to have found a match made in heaven. He had been on his own, in the Navy for ten years, and wanted to settle down. I was looking for a strong and stable provider. I was 22 with two small children, and no real job skills.
Like you, I had the same sort of childhood experience, almost to the letter. I had no strong sense of identity, and was quite accustomed to taking a back seat to others needs, and desires. I had spent most of my adolescence alone, in a family that all seemed to be avoiding one-another. They had an agenda for themselves, but I was simply waiting for them….well, hub took over where they left off…his career let his ego shine nicely. In the mean-time, I was feeling like a dingy dish cloth. I felt that he had totally abandoned me and our marriage, on an emotional level, and I was dog tired of the pining away, and long suffering desires going unmet.
I got some treatment for co-dependancy and joined another 12 step group. After 6 months I started working on a college degree. I was “finding myself”. But, probably the most damaging thing he could have done, was to punish me for that. (In a covert way, of course.) He fell in love with someone else. As soon as I quit mirroring him, and hurting about him, but turned my attention onto myself, he felt threatened and devalued…he needed new supply.
I can’t tell you how devistating that was. It took a long time to put the peices back together.
An old, but good book on the subject is “The Dance of Intimacy>”
Loved your take on it. Thanks.
Alive today, about a television series: Remember Sex and the City? We could call ours, P ex and the Pity. HA.

Survivor3, your comment is encouraging and so hopeful for “consistency “in knowing, without retreating to any fantasy of any kind to be detached completely from the “P”. You sound like you are at a great place. Thanks for the sharing of the bs email:)

I also was thinking about the Italians (and I hate to admit that I watch this, but it is out of analysis that I continue to watch, maybe) on Desperate Housewives of NJ..It is not obvious to anyone else that Teresa’s husband is a prime example of someone with NPD (i’m sure there is much much evidence off screen) and possibly a “P”…I think this is why she looks like the crazy drama queen on the show…I think she is a victim and is so unaware of what is really happening to her. I think she displaces and projects her pain and anger..I believe she has a vested interest in her relationship and because of the financial rewards and having 4 children is blind sighted to the truth but each other wife or husband in the show has touched or expressed a truth about her regarding what is living with a disordered person…But they are all unaware of what the completed puzzle looks like…They all say, they are hoping the old Teresa will return…My radar for “P”is up everywhere I turn and looking for who is disordered, who is healthy, who just has behavioral issues…but i feel so strongly that Teresa’s husband is disordered that I think there should be a show and education on what is taking place….I know she is clueless to the reality, I know she is in pain and she thinks there is a relationship when there is not…he doesnt care…he is not connected, he is cruel…she looks at him bewildered but in seconds dismisses it and becomes the submissive wife she thinks she is suppose to be to him..His word is the word and the final right word….Cant Dr. Drew help her….

Please dont laugh at this comment because I have been thinking about this relating it to my experience..This may just be where it is coming from and not true to anyone else’s reality but mine. However, if anyone watches this “stuff”, please share your thoughts…I know I cant save the world from evil but when it is right in your face for the world to see..
Even if Teresa cant see it, cant this be used as an example? Much like the song that was just posted by Joshua…

Kim, That is so funny! Sex in the City came to my mind when I was writing that….That is the funniest – perfect name! LOL..thanks I needed a good laugh:)

Thank you, truthspeak and alivetoday, for your words of encouragement. I was tempted to respond to the e-mail, but only inasmuch as to tell him to $&*% off. But then I realized that any response at all is so satisfying to him no matter whether positive or negative. The worst thing I can do, in his twisted mind, is ignore him, which he equates to rejection. And if you want to affect a P in the very worst way, make them feel as though they’re being rejected.

But what I realized more than anything else in terms of the strength I’ve regained within myself is that I’m truly not trying to play games anymore, which you easily get sucked into doing with these monsters while you remain involved with them, when it comes to steadfastly maintaining no contact with him.

I will forever in no way be remotely interested in anything he’s doing, anything he has to say, anything he falsely feigns that he’s feeling, I don’t care who he’s with, what he’s doing with them, or anything whatsoever about his life. I cannot be concerned about whatever victim he’s preying upon now. I warned one and was able to convince her to run for the hills, and I’m satisfied with that.

Becoming consumed with trying to warn everyone he tries to victimize in the future deprives me of the joy I deserve to have in my life. His existence disgusts me, the way he continues to operate is so obvious to me that all I could do when I received that e-mail is laugh. That feels very much like a victory to me. The next one will be when he shows up on my doorstep and I call the police instead of succumbing to his begging and pleading through the crocodile tears.

Willow,
very nice writing. This may be the best article on the blog!
It covers the gamut of the experience and explores how spath behavior is their way of dealing with the pain they refuse to feel. So they make us feel it. Then we walk away, with not only our own shadow but theirs as well.

Your story has many parallels to mine.
My dysfunctional family’s unhealthy narcissism and codependence ran around the house like wild billy goats.

And I tried to break it off with my spath early on too, only to cry for days on HIS shoulder and he cried fake tears on mine, both unable to let go.

You are right about the rigidity. My spath told me, “I never wanted to grow up.”

It’s hard not to feel compassion for them once you know that they are just a walking bundle of defense mechanisms. Unfortunately, they are addicted to getting sympathy and those defense mechanisms are akin to nuclear missiles with a hair trigger.

I’m glad you escaped. Never ignore your intuition again. It’s always right.

P.S. Alivetoday, regarding Joe and Teresa Gorga, I think they’re equally screwed up. I think Teresa is so jealous of her brother’s wife and their life together that she just cannot control herself. There is some incredibly strange behavior that she exhibits towards her brother that has absolutely nothing to do with Joe Gorga. Frankly, I think everyone on that show, or any of the Housewives shows for that matter, are screwed up in some form or fashion. It’s like watching a train wreck that you just can’t take your eyes off of. But I think Spencer and Heidi from The Hills win the dysfunction award hands down. And Scott Disick from The Kardashians is textbook P. I have to say he does seem to have changed for the better to a degree, although I still believe he’ll always be dangerous.

And now I hang my head in shame having admitted that I actually watch these shows!!!

Survivor3, thanks for your response!

Remembering now, that I too did say to myself that Teresa is very possessive of her brother almost like she was his wife..her expectations of him are definitely overboard…

I hang my head with you admitting that I actually press the remote to the saga of bs……I do read ALL the time too!!..good stuff:)

THANK you for this amazingly insightful and soul-searching article.

I agree: Real Life isn’t a movie, script, or play. It’s “real” and it’s painful, sometimes. Sometimes, it’s deadly.

This, I suppose, is what it all boils down to: how we emerge from our experiences. Am I going to roll over and suffer the endless loop of emotional death, or am I going to flip off the exspath, tilt my chin up, and whisk on off to the horizon? I do not – DO NOT – want to give in and give up. There’s too much for me to discover and REdiscover. I want to laugh with complete abandon and joy. I want to watch the sun rise and set with renewed wonder. I want to hear the sound of birds and a baby’s laughter and feel warmth, again.

What a great article – thank you for posting it. Brightest blessings.

Willow, hello.

What an eloquent post you have written. I have read and saved this piece to read and read again. You have encapsulated my experience of the utter devastation I have felt at the hands of another disordered individual.
But you have given me hope that I will overcome.

Thank you

Kindest regards,
SW

Dear Willow888, appreciate your very insightful post, and YES, it has helped someone along the way. I am very new to this wonderful site, and unfortunately can only log on here when “the evil” spath is at work. I have uncovered things in recent months, stories and excuses, that did’nt add up, nor make sense. Having accessed our “phone records” in February 2012, and running down some of the endless “odd” numbers, only then, did the full fury of what he has been doing, (and is currently doing), hit me without mercy. We have been married since April 2010, ( LOLOL! We “met” at CHURCH!!!!!)but “dated” him a year before we got married. I am still trying to come to terms with everything that has happened, (and is happening), and honestly, sometimes it is too hard to digest. Also what really hit me was your comment about the “ignoring the intuition” that you mentioned. So for now, till I can figure out an exit, safely…(he has a CCW permit, and there are firearms in the house) I have to play the game…as a matter of survival. Very unfortunately, I lost my job last year, and have been un-employed ever since. As a 52 yr. old female, the prospects look grim, especially in my area of the U.S. Thank you for your post, Willow. I will get back on here when I can. Bless you ALL!

Yesterday, I happened upon a quote. It said: “If you can fake sincerity, you can fake just about ANYTHING” Ohhhhhhh, how I wish I would have seen that 3 yrs. ago. Ahhh, another lesson learned.

Appearances are of four kinds, according to the ancient Phrygian philosopher Epictetus:

1) Things are, and they appear to be;
2) Things are, and do not appear to be;

3) Things are not, yet appear to be.
4) Things neither are nor appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man’s task… I came across this one several years ago, too bad I let this one slip from my senses. However, NEVER AGAIN. 🙂

Willow888,
WOW, after reading the first few sentences of your post I could hear my heart beating, word for word you described my life, from childhood to present.
Sure I am damaged good’s, so I over looked the ‘ something’s not right ‘ as he was also damaged, with hope’s that the two of us could take ourselves somewhere we had never been, become one and live happily ever after.
I think we have refered to these relationship’s as gasoline and fire. But it was always onesided from the beginng, that was my dream and desire, his was just to use and twist me inside out and enjoy the fireworks. Knowing all the while he would exit at his convience.
Yes, I have learned so much about myself, I have become very happy and content living life alone and single. I will not ever pursue my dreams with someone else, I can live them on my own.
I am to damaged to even comtemplate a relationship, but I will always dream of the one I never had.

hens:

What you just posted sounds just like me 🙂 🙁

Louise, You and me are unanimous~!

hens:

Love you…

ditto 🙂

hens:

🙂

Radar on:
nice name.
Welcome to LF, glad you’re finding the light. I’m also very glad that you are taking security measures. There’s no point in waking a sleeping monster. Set yourself up for safety first.

log on when you safely can, there is a lot of wisdom here that can help keep you safe. And lots of people who understand, too.

Willow

What an elegant, honest post. Thank you for writing.

This piece stuck out for me in particular:

“I was the one who was expected to take care of myself, to put my feelings and needs aside in order to adapt and be sensitive to the more demanding needs of others. Silenced if I questioned and fed weird distortions of the truth to keep me silent”

For years I have recognized that my mother was a selfish, angry, abusive, lying “N” who was, unfortunately, seething with envy of me. And while I didn’t see it when I was younger, I sure see it now, and I have severed my ties with her.

What I am only seeing NOW is that my father had skin in the game too. When my mother was raging against me, I’d go running to my father, who told me to develop a thick skin, not over react, and to not rock the boat. He said, “you’re too sensitive, Athena. And just make her happy.”
And he stayed with her, for 20 years, while she abused me.
I became anorexic and almost died. He taught me to shove aside my feelings, focus on making somebody ELSE happy.
That is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

As a child, I worried about him getting hurt or dying,….if something happened to him, what on earth would I do if I was left alone with my mother?

That’s WRONG too. The child was protecting the parent?
All screwed up.

So no wonder when my LESSON (spath) came into my life I had no sense of boundaries, and I thought by MY behavior I could make others happy.

SCREWED UP.

Athena

Willow,

Thank you for your post. As i read it…I kept thinking..that’s me, that’s me!!

Food for though and healing.

bless you!

Sunflower

I don’t know your story – if you are so inclined, you may want to write about what happened to you and just get it out there. I did that when I came to this site back in 2009. I am STILL working on learning the LESSON of my sociopath.

And while you haven’t shared the details of your story on here, i will say this. You’re on a site about sociopaths. It wasn’t his KINDNESS that prompted you to search for and find this site. Most survivors experience something called cognititve disonnance (referred to as cog/dis) with our spath experiences. That is, we get confused. The sociopath PRESENTS themselves as good/kind/loving. They wear a mask. The reality BEHIND THAT is evil. We fall in love with the mask but figure out later that they are really just trying to HURT US. It is sooo very hard to keep that straight. Our memories trick us. Which was real? The good that we fell in love with? Or the evil that stabbed me in the back? Many days I struggle too. Even today, I was remembering when he told me I was one of the most important people in his life. I felt so loved. Then, of course, he ignored me for a week, and went to see another woman.

Please, go back and read all the articles on here. There are tons of articles to read and learn from.

Hugs

Athena

Athena, My story is the same as all of yours, but somewhat different in some details. I think “Spaths” are like cars. You can have the same brand, same engine, inventory etc, but they all feels different to drive. I never said he showed me any kindness. He did try to hurt me yes he did. I was strickly speaking from a spiritual view and the view of the pattern. It do not include feelings or good or bad. BUT in the lesson, there was a key and he shocked me into reality. I never ment he did it in a nice way. If he wasn’t the one to give it, it would have been another one. He is not my first “spath”- I have a pattern in meeting such guys. Yes, I’ve been reading daily for a year now and I even mailed Donna. Yes, I’m in therapy so I am doing much much better, but as I said, for every string of new information I get I view the relationship differently and sometimes it really confuses me. Yes he did gaslight me and that still has power over me. I can read all your articles over and over again, but it will only last for a day and I am back to my rollercoster. I do however read every night so I can go to sleep reminded it was him and not me. So in an human perspective, yes he won, he managed to destroy me utterly. I am not american, so it might be a language barrier for me to fully explain what I mean. Anyhow, thank you for your kind advice.

Sunflower: welcome. I am sorry you have been so deeply injured. I am glad you are here. This is a good, safe, warm, place of healing. You need to come here as often as you can. It almost replaces actually going to therapy. Therapy is only once a week and here, we are open 24/7.

I understand you perfectly. I don’t think there are any language barriers, whatsoever. Stay with us, be with us, whenever you want and you will always be welcome here.

I have found massive and great healing here.
Oh yes, Athena is absolutely right: you MUST read some of the articles here, if you haven’t already. I was at a loss to figure this all out, when it happened to me. We had been ‘friends’ for 10 years and not once did that mask slip until the past five years. Suddenly, what used to be my friend became a demon straight from the depths of hell, itself.

Yes, you are right…spaths are like cars. Every car is unique, just as we are unique. Cars are like that too.

I THOUGHT I was being shown kindness but it was only a ploy to get close to me and he wishes me nothing but ill will, to this day. He is obsessed with me and I don’t know why. In the midst of all of this, I had a near fatal heart attack and two subsequent heart surgeries that saved my life. I now have a permanent, serious, sudden cardiac death syndrome to deal with, which means I could just keel over any moment, at any time. And on top of that, he cut my heart out and ate it in front of me, laughing and still stalking me. Possession? Perhaps. Whatever it was, I don’t want it around me any more. It’s ugly and it has about sucked my soul away from me. I was ‘targeted’ and I know of many others in his ‘herd’. Too bad Oprah isn’t on television here, in the States, anymore…..they/we could all meet there!

Yes, I know about that ‘rollercoaster’ ride…
Don’t feel alone, Sunflower…you aren’t. There are more of us, ‘survivors’, all the time because I think the kindnesses of the world has become too harsh and un accepting, too many values and morals have fallen and slipped in the pursuit of greed and not caring for others. Stand true to yourself and remember who you are. It’s the only real light in the dark that will see us through.

Blessings to you ~ Dupey

I just learned of this site/blog a couple days ago. The more I read, the ‘better’ I feel. Not that I feel better about the controlling, stalking, harassing, demeaning abuse I live with daily but that others have lived it and survived.

It’s really hard for me to not explain myself in depth to him (part of his controlling – constant detailed questions knowing Im quite talkative) but I’m trying. I keep hearing ‘no contact’ but we have 2 kids together so I can’t cut him out completely. I have changed my cell phone number, blocked all of his known email addresses from my emails and have to screen my calls at work. I have full custody of our kids until the divorce is final and the courts reevaluate things but he certainly is helping my case!! Just Thursday he brought the kids home at 830 a night, not fed and dirty as could be (mind you the are 2 and 4). He then drove by twice while i had a friend and her two kids over and sent several emails (to an account I set up strictly for him to use to discuss visitation). It started a huge fight and he’s demanding I go out of my way to meet him somewhere so he can pick up the kids in public. It sounds minor and petty but it’s more of his controlling games he plays. He doesn’t like that I said no and is telling me it’s all my fault that he can’t see the kids … And on and on it goes. The police in my little town know me so I do sleep a little better. It’s been a rough couple of days for me and I know he would be thrilled to know he made me this way but other than talking about the kids and when/where he can pick them up, I haven’t told him anything. Tomorrow I have to see him, if he shows up. It terrifies me. I hate this feeling and wonder if it’ll ever go away…..

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks again. Facebook used to occupy my free time. I now have you!!! And you are much more helpful!

As I read these posts I can’t help but to smile. In keep reading words that I’ve used for 1.5 years now especially being a pawn in his game. Until now I thought I was alone. This site has given me strength, albeit small right now, it has to start from somewhere.

Thank you Willow for your post!

It is somehow comforting that I am not alone; I can so relate to your words. As Hens mentioned HIS upbringing as being described very aptly, it described my upbringing too, weird somehow, as we for sure live in completely different parts of the world with completely different backgrounds, and though so superimposable. From infancy to now it is almost word for word describing my “inner landscape” to a T; the “Italian” upbringing, the powerplay, the feeling of being silenced, alone at a moment in life one should not be forced to feel this way.

The burden to bear all responsibility for the unspeakable, incomprehensible, irresponsible, that is not our duty at all, as it is the ultimate impossibility, a sure recipe for the complete failure in life.

The discovery of the reason for which I had to cut off brutally every feeling at a very young age for not being destroyed by them. Food for thought! Really cathartic and therapeutic! Thanks again!! ((((Hugs))))

Kurtzie3: Welcome to Love Fraud. I am happy to hear that our ugly stories are helping you find the ‘light’ and making you feel better. I have been here a little while now and I can tell you that I have found HEALING amongst these articles and on this site.

I am sorry for the things you are coming through and I know that with children it has got to be very tough. I understand you. So completely. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Right, you are in a very ‘tricky’ situation because having children with one of these ‘beings’ changes the whole ball game! I can so relate. Just remember: you have full custody of the children right now. Make sure you document and keep logs. They will help you further on down the road. What were they doing that the kids came home so dirty?

I am so glad that the police in your area know you and you may want to let them know that you are coming through a difficult time and would appreciate the ‘extra look out’ during this time. Do NOT hesitate to go to them for any concerns, that is what they are there for. Make sure you and the kids are safe above all else.

It WILL eventually subside. It will. You have to stand your ground and mean what you say. You have to SHOW that you mean what you say and if it takes court involvement, so be it. Your top priority is making sure that you and your children are SAFE, emotionally and physically. And, I would do whatever that took to protect and defend that.

🙂 —-> Happy to know we are more helpful than Facebook. YAY!!!!! DEFINITELY. This is a place where you can find answers and learn to heal. Happy we could make you smile a bit. A pawn is exactly what we were/are to them.

You aren’t alone Kurtzie3…not for one moment. You now have all of us on your team. You keep coming here and we will be here waiting, 24/7…got it?

YOU DO HAVE THE STRENGTH TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS.
You can have some of ours too…xxoo

Please keep posting…we are here to help each other…
We all have been through the same things.

Dupey

Divorced from Gaslighter

Radar On: Be super careful about using the “family” computer to read Love Fraud, or to search for divorce-related information. Many S & Ps are inveterate snoopers, as they want to be in control of everything, and when a relationship ends, it is critical to them to always be the Dumper and not the Dumpee. At a minimum, make sure that you clear the “History” on your computer each and every time you use it, and be sure to turn it off in advance of your husband’s arrival so that it will be “cold” when he gets home.

If there is a public library near you, you might want to spend a couple of afternoons there a week and use their computers for divorce-related on-line business, and you can look at books in the library on divorce without checking them out (which leaves an electronic record.)

Find out from a women’s shelter or from Legal Aid what resources might be available to you. If you cannot find a job where you are now, consider moving to an area that has a short waiting list for HUD housing vouchers. You do NOT have to live in the ghetto to get government housing benefits, and in fact, small towns in the heartland often have much shorter waiting lists.

If there is any possibility that you might qualify for disability, apply for that, too.

Don’t make any divorce related phone calls from your home or cell phone, and don’t do or say anything to let him know that you are “on” to him.

Good luck to you!

I know the “P” didnt hide who he was, he really didnt as I look back with the memories flooding through me these days. I cant believe that I still cant totally accept that it is what it is..A disordered person, a manipulative, calculated criminal mind and sex addict etc etc…..I am angry at myself for a multitude of reasons but most of all for not truly facing what I apparently want to still defend as real……I know what he is, I know the damage he did to me but for some reason, I am angrier with myself than him. I see the truth but I am not really connecting A to B. There is no way or reason that I should still think he is a normal human being…
I seemed to have slipped back into a more obsessive state and I guess this is from all the memories but with the heartache of having to face the truth and why I didnt protect myself…
I dont want him to occupy any more of my mind.

The good part is that I am not in a place of desperation or would I ever have contact with him again. I also realize that I can not help his present and future victims.

I just started reading The Seducer and even though it is a novel, i get sick to my stomach with recognition of this character and I am just at the beginning of the book…

Well, I just want to say Hello to all…

Hello,
I’m so glad this post has been of any little help to others. I too was so deeply angry with myself at first and the process of writing helped me find some self-forgiveness.
On we go on the healing road…!
Much love to all

Willow, I’ve been sick with pneumonia and some how missed your article, but read it just now and am very appreciative of the article and your slant on how we are victimized. Thank you for this very insightful article.

Sharing our stories I think is helpful to us in healing, and helpful to others as well. It is a win-win situation. Holding things inside is a lose-lose situation for ourselves and for others as well.

I know that I felt so ALONE in my wound licking and terror, in my pain, but knowing I was not alone in the dark abyss was wonderfully healing. It shone a light on the circumstances, and on the horrible gaping wounds as well…but until a doctor shines a bright light on a wound to assess the depth and width of the wound, s/he cannot even start to stitch it together again. The bright light is necessary. Sharing our stories is that bright light I think. Thank you again for sharing your story!

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