It seems so odd. I wasn’t exactly in love with this person! But I was entirely caught up in his breath, his every sentence, his needs and desires. He charmed me into thinking it was so much more that we shared. I sensed early on he was not exactly mature in conducting a one-on-one relationship. But I assumed I could help guide him and show him how to trust and become closer. He came across as unique, at times humble and often very sweet to be with. I heard his “story” and understood how difficult it had been for him trying to feel close to others and I was honored he felt he could be close to me. The story, a true “pity ploy,” pulled me in. But I didn’t think twice. After all, didn’t I also share a similar story of having struggled to achieve deeper intimacy in my life? But the pace was quick, and it went from instant sexual attraction to having him call me almost every night. It felt wonderful but almost too good. Was I all of a sudden being looked after or being kept in a jar? Was I his focus of warm, kind attention or some kind of lab experiment, something he would slowly dissect each night, probing with questions, appearing to share a sincere interest in my life? At the time, I didn’t know to question this but instead sensed I had a man that truly thought so much of me. The compliments were lavish, his desire never hidden. I had a wealthy, accomplished, healthy, active and athletic man returning to me with an uncanny and precise regularity. I could almost sense when the phone would ring.
Six months have passed since I discovered the ugly truth to the type of love I thought I had in my life. That none of the words of love he had written on cards and in emails meant anything. That the desire for sexual passion was his highest state of consciousness, that all else was secondary, frail constructs made of echos he mimicked to sound like adult conversations, or even less substantial gestures used to form a connection based on reflecting my own personable warmth right back to me. Where was the love? Where was his piercing focus on me after he said “that was it, it’s over,” that he could not continue with me. As fast as the relationship had cemented together, it cracked apart!
Grieving, and confused
I had been idolized then tossed aside. From high in the sky with visions of perfect romantic sunsets to merely a shadow in a deep dark ditch where even the reflected glow of one last fading sunset could not reach. Something had died. I was grieving to be sure, but I was confused. The person I thought I knew wasn’t the person that left at the end. So even the death was beyond comprehension. To have this kind of trust shattered went beyond my understanding of the relationship, it pulled into question everything I had ever thought or done in my life, every action, every desire, and every hope I had ever felt was all suspect now. I didn’t know who I was anymore, my mind struggled to find something to hold onto that would be stabilizing and comforting. A friend helped me to get to church. I wept in front of friends, a priest and my even my understanding of God and His angels would also be clouded by tears.
Days went by, eventually months. I followed a rule of no contact even though at times my heart and mind demanded some kind of better explanation. I learned to let the feelings try to run through me. To let the memories play over and over if they needed to, each time running into the same dead end, deprived of justice or consolation. In support groups I went back into my childhood experiences of abuse. It took my mind off what had happened recently to me as an adult. I learned others shared similar stories, that we had at times bonded with those that would only perpetuate victimization in our adult lives as we had simply been blinded to how this all worked. The gift I was given this year was a raw new sensory awareness of how others are simply not able to love the way I had assumed everyone could. I have been left holding onto this gift, not quite sure how to use it as I still feel somewhat paralyzed from all that happened this year. But I know this is the gift I have been given, that the pain, like a birthing pain, was necessary to give me a new life.
Out of the dark ditch
In dedicating myself to recovery, I was aided greatly by much that makes up the site at Lovefraud.com. I benefited from so much that others have shared. I could start to see clearly again, and find a way out of that dark ditch. A new awareness came to me to understand that to eventually transcend the hurt, I might need to eventually think of others more than myself, but also to know I could find my own respect again for myself. Once I had reached for help and received a certain amount, I learned there were new ways to heal by sharing my own recovery with others. In this spirit, there are a few thoughts that came to me I wish to share and hope that somewhere out there, someone might read this and find some kind of benefit or comfort through this effort. Perhaps these observations will shed further light into the discussion we at Lovefraud are all a part of. In particular, I wish to share something that I have questioned for many months and now finally feel I have some better sense of, a deeper personal understanding of the reason why the pain seemed so great. I think it comes down to something very simple. (Please note, this may not apply to other peoples experiences but it seems to make sense of what I went through.)
Child in an adult body
It occurred to me, that being pulled in by a sociopath is similar to being pulled in by a charming child with needs that one would like to help. Yet we are deceived as this is a child in an adult body. In the early stages of the relationship, I received gifts from the S that seemed to come from genuine caring and adoration. Yet they were very impulsive purchases when I think back. In numerous accounts, a sociopath is described as having an underdeveloped or missing sense of empathy, and it only becomes fully realized when one is discarded abruptly. And therein lies the shock and the bewilderment. My feeling is that the S pulls us in by appealing to the child in each of us. That we too wish to be completely spontaneous and playful, like carefree children. To be free of adult responsibilities.
If we allow this fantasy to take root, we are then a captive to this, the way any addictive mind-altering drug might make us happy too. Those of us that suffered pain or abuse in our own childhoods, those of us with feelings and adult emotions will often carry some of that hurt with us over the years. Then, when we meet a childlike sociopath, seemingly free of worries and typical adult neuroses, we are able to “join in” and experience a type of childlike innocence (a trance that suspends reality) that never suspects abuse, has never felt abuse and carries no more scars of any of our abuse from the past. We are dangerously deceived in this way. We are liberated yet captive to the drug that deceives us this way.
When the drug wears off, when we are discarded, our nerve endings which only knew the childlike euphoria, along with a sexual high must then experience quite the opposite; abandonment, lost self esteem, and all the adult responsibilities we had been alleviated from temporarily. Imagine when a child is lost or left behind, that abandonment I feel is the same sad state we are in as we were simply caught up in playing a strange game with an even stranger “child” all along. We cry and hurt and feel it is unfair, and indeed it is. But we are caught by surprise, and it is this numbing and deceptive child-like trance that we are pulled into and have experienced over some time with our S that factors into how deep the hurt is when it finally arrives. It is like suffering a crash without a seat belt on. We are too innocent in our trance to think we ever needed a seat belt.
The healing process
I believe I return to the discussions here at Lovefraud because the pain I experienced was just so unusual. It is self-protective to try to understand what led us here and to hopefully prevent this from happening again. Sharing here a couple of months ago was helpful. I had struggled to make sense of it all, had put down my experience into words, and in the process, my pain was acknowledged and I felt less alone. Thank you Donna for including me. The healing process is not easy nor is it uncomplicated. I still feel some of the pain from this, but month after month, I walk with my head up a little higher. I still don’t have all the answers and am learning to accept we never will, but the healing this site alone has given me has been enormous. Hopefully the thoughts I am sharing here will be read as a part of my sincere gratitude. Thank you also for helping me to remember to use a seat belt! As always, I wish all good things for those that read and share in the site, that we each find the gift of deeper understanding and, in turn, peace from this understanding along with a new found grace in how we apply this into our lives each day.