By | January 26, 2012 33 Comments

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: See, smell, taste, hear and feel freedom

Editor’s note: The following essay was submitted by a Lovefraud reader, who has discovered that she can find healing from her encounter with a sociopath through writing.

Awakened Senses

By Nancy Voelker

I see ”¦ a field as I drive through the countryside. We had a picnic and laid looking at clouds, bodies entwined.

I smell ”¦ smoke from a chimney. His arms were wrapped around me as music played softly and we watched the flames dance.

I taste ”¦ butter on my finger as I make dinner in my quiet kitchen. We spent an afternoon boiling lobsters and gorging ourselves. Kissing butter off our chins.

I hear ”¦ a song playing as I wander through the bookstore alone. He grabbed me and twirled me, laughing, to that song as he held me close.

I touch ”¦ my lips as I wash my face. When he kissed me, I thought my heart would burst.

I feel ”¦ memories. Longing. Bittersweet.


I see ”¦ His eyes narrow as he glares at me across the room if I talk to any man at the party.
Porn he forgot to erase on my computer.
Charges on my credit cards he forgot to mention.
Texts to strange numbers.

I smell ”¦ strange perfume on his clothes.

I smell a rat.

I taste ”¦ something sour in my mouth as I uncover lie after lie.

I hear ”¦ his insults, put downs, curses at me for being me.
I hear his fake laugh as everyone smiles.
I hear everyone say what a great guy he is.

I feel ”¦ the ache from him pulling my hair.  I touch the bruises on my arms, my eye.
I feel the tears on my cheeks.


I see ”¦ the tears welling in his eyes”¦again.

I smell ”¦ the flowers he got me”¦again.

I taste ”¦ the wonderful breakfast he cooked for me in bed”¦again.

I hear ”¦ him begging for forgiveness. His pleading. Threats of suicide. His promises”¦again.

I feel ”¦ his warm hug as he wraps his arms tight around me. I feel his wet face and warm breath against my neck as he starts to seduce me.
I feel confused.
I feel hope”¦again.


I see ”¦ black, angry eyes I don’t recognize coming at me.

I smell ”¦ his rancid breath from too much alcohol, cigarettes, and anger churning in him, as he leans in my face.

I taste ”¦ blood on my swollen, cut lips from a shoe being jammed in my mouth.  I taste more blood dripping down from my nose after being smashed into the floor.  I taste bitter pills forced down my throat.

I hear ”¦ him say, “swallow.”
I hear him calmly whisper that he is going to kill me.  That he is going to wrap my body in a sheet and bury me where no one will find me.

I feel ”¦ his hands tighten for the third time around my throat and squeeze.


I see ”¦ my house for the last time as my friend burns out of the driveway. I see the horror in her eyes.

I smell ”¦ him on me.

I taste ”¦ fear.

I hear ”¦ my phone ring as he tries to find me.

I feel ”¦ numb.


I can’t see ”¦ I’ve cried so much. I start to see faces everywhere that show judgment, pity, avoidance.
I see emptiness in my eyes.

I smell. Period.  I haven’t showered in days.

I taste ”¦ cardboard whenever I try to eat. I taste wine. And too much, I taste vomit.

I hear ”¦ the ticking of the clock. I hear laughter from backyard barbecues as I try to walk and get fresh air”¦ only to hear the clock ticking as I fall back in bed. I hear my heart breaking.

I feel ”¦ everything. Then nothing. Then everything. The bad everything. I feel like dying. I feel the sleeping pill kicking in.


I see ”¦ my face and body healing. I see peace returning to my eyes and to those that love me and stuck by me. I see people willing to help me heal.

I smell ”¦ my favorite perfume that he didn’t like. I smell my new puppies’ breath.

I taste ”¦ my mom’s homemade soup. Pizza with a friend. The last sweet remnant of rich, dark chocolate.

I hear ”¦ stories and encouragement from women like me. I hear beautiful music in yoga. I hear myself laughing again, a little more each day.

I feel ”¦ God, who never left me. I feel the hugs from wonderful people helping me through this. I feel my arms wrapped around myself.  I feel my strength slowly returning”¦


I see ”¦ the many people he has hurt and scammed, now through different eyes.

I smell ”¦ the truth surfacing.

I taste ”¦ validation.

I hear ”¦ sadly, that he has a new victim, but I don’t know where she is to warn her.  I hope she can see, taste, hear, and feel my words or words like these that will make her run or change her life before her light is dimmed by his darkness.

I feel ”¦ his time will run out.


For myself, I now see, smell, taste, hear and feel my freedom every day.


© 2011 Nancy Voelker. May not be reproduced without the permission of the author.











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Ox Drover

Nancy, that is amazing! I have seldom seen or read anything that tells the story more clearly than this article above….or is it a poem? Whatever it is, it is the TRUTH!!! Thank you for sharing this with us here at LF! God bless and I’m glad you are FREE!!!!



The single most powerful thing I have read in a very long time.

Thank you so much. I hope all the LF readers that are currently questioning whether or not to remain in a toxic relationship read this very carefully. You did a beautiful job!!!

sharing the journey

Some things I read on LF. I call food for the soul. This is one of them


Ox Drover

LWH, and like “food” some of them are very satisfying…and we can digest them fully!

New Beginning

Nancy, that is such a poignant piece. It captures life with (and without) a psychopath so well and in such a concise manner.

Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Be well.


sharing the journey

Damn tootin’ Oxy

Nothing like that sweet smell of recovery and healing



I have been reading your posts and blog for A year now before I had the courage to share. Thank you everyone. Your responses made me cry. The support you all give and the healing in such a wonderful group is amazing.


Congratulations on your awakening from the nightmare Nancy.

sharing the journey

Hi New

How are you keeping? Did you go to the support group?


donna dixon

Truly precise, Nancy! Thanks for stating it so simply!!! You are an amazing woman to have made it through!!! Congrats!!!

New Beginning

Hello, LWH –

The support group started last night however upon arrival I found a dimly lit parking lot that was not directly adjacent to where I was going and the area was desolate. Since I have PTSD, panic set in at the sight of it so I just went home.

This morning I emailed the director about it. She said others had expressed the same concern so at least I don’t feel like I’m being overly paranoid. I’m on a list for a future session, possibly at this same place but during the summer so it’s light out when I go in. Was told someone can escort me to my vehicle afterward……but then I don’t KNOW that person so not sure that is a viable option. Also am going to research groups that meet during the day. Life isn’t what it used to be but am grateful to still have my life.

How have you been, LWH?


I want you all to know that I am lucky in the sense that he ran and I never had to see him again. The police didn’t catch him in time. But I think that is a blessing in a way. The curse is that I still look over my shoulder. He has continued to pocket dial me every few months. And his mother sends me ecards…I NEVER respond. Finally found a plan for my phone that can block his number. Its worth the extra $5.oo a month. How long do you recover from PTSD?

sharing the journey

I know NB

PTSD affects me too. I go to my mum’s for dinner every Friday night and without fail I take a panic attack as the time to go home approaches.

I don’t know if it is the dark nights or not–but it just overwhelms me.

It is only a short journey and I take a taxi home–but no matter I still take the attack.

I keep going to my mum’s on this night because I am so stubborn. I am determined to beat it. But it has been going on for a year now with no let up.

It is so annoying–but like you–I am starting to become grateful that I am alive.

That loss of trust in innocent people must surely come back. I know what you meant by the escort. That’s the same feeling I get about the taxi driver. I am so scared he will sense my vulnerability and do something to me.

Over active imagination.

Keep well


sharing the journey


I suppose we are just like anyone else that has a physical disability.

We learn to manage and accomodate our illness.




Dear LWH,
My heart goes out to you and yes I totally relate. Trust is and will be a major issue as well for a long time. But its better to have walls up to let down than to start with no walls at all!


I wonder if there is much difference. Change is difficult either way.

PD’s are defined as being a rigid way of thinking which makes us attempt to use the same solutions over and over, even when they no longer work for us. It’s like a habit that’s hard to kick. Being inflexible can keep us stuck in a rut.

Whether we lack boundaries or are overly defensive, both are rigid ways of being that don’t allow for flexibility based on the situation.

New Beginning


Although the Friday night dinners are a struggle because of the method of transportation, there is so much benefit to spending time with your Mom which is probably why you continue the tradition. Time with your Mom is very precious. She won’t be here forever. I coped better with the spath aftermath when my Mom was still living even though she had dementia and I wasn’t able to talk about it with her. At least there was a place where I was totally loved and that my love was also appreciated.

I’ve reached the conclusion that I will never be completely rid of the PTSD. As you stated, we learn to live with it and manage it in under certain circumstances. The taxi ride would cause me a great deal of stress of too. Any situation where I am not in control of my surroundings is problematic. I will think of you on Fridays, LWH and will be sending many positive thoughts your way. I used to share dinner with my Mom every Saturday evening. I miss her so much.


PTSD is a very long road. I will never be the same however there was a time when I was unable walk in a parking lot at high noon so I’ve come a long way. As LWH stated, it’s something we learn to live with and work on building up a tolerance for certain things such as LWH does with her weekly taxi ride to her Mom’s. Are you dealing with PTSD also?

Be well.


Edit: LWH, I also believe it is like a physical disability. When mine kicks in I freeze – and for a couple of years it was exactly that, it took all I had to be able to physically move enough to feed the cat. So glad I don’t deal with it at that level any longer.

sharing the journey


I have had PTSD for four and a half years now. Since I drove him out.

It is a lot better as I only get triggered a few times a week whereas before it felt like I was always on full red alert.

My ex was a big bully and trampled my bounderies. I am getting them back though and I think by the time I am finished they will be even stronger than before.

So sorry that yours left you with the ‘look over the shoulder feeling’. That should be reserved for criminals-not innocents like us.

Take care



sharing the journey


Yes time with my mum is precious. We both say that the best thing that came out of the spath experience was that we found each other. I NC’d my mum 20 years ago because she was an abusive alcaholic.

Now that she has been sober for 19 years–she is the loving and very wise mum of my childhood.

We are both very alike, which is quite amazing since I did not have much to do with her since I was eleven.

When I ran for my life–it was her that I ran to. I didn’t know how it would turn out. She believed and supported me from day one.

She is a walking miracle and so so kind.

So as always–good came from bad.

When my ptsd kicks in it feel like I am suffocating and that this time I am not going to recover. I too am resigning myself to the fact that it may be a lifetime problem.

I am just so into self responsibility that it frustrates me to lose this control over myself.



New Beginning

LWH, you brought tears to my eyes with how you and your Mom have reunited. She must be so very grateful to have you back in her life. A sparkling diamond hidden in the mine of darkness.

Ah yes, the feeling of suffocating. I experience that as well. Recovering from an episode requires time home alone….sometimes days of not going out. Am getting a little better with that in recent months, I hope the progress continues. Like you, I am just relieved to not be on high alert 24/7.

LWH, enjoy dinner with your Mum tomorrow! 🙂

sharing the journey

Och thanks NB

It is a good ending. Perhaps not with who I thought it would be with. But good.

Thanks for listening NB–I feel soothed by this conversation.

Take good care of yourself-I will be listening for your progress for inspiration.


New Beginning

Likewise here, LWH. 🙂


Very beautiful poem!

sharing the journey


Forgot to mention. But it was knowing that you were working through your mum’s belongings and memories that made me ask how you were keeping. Got lost in translation.

I know how much you missed her.


New Beginning


Thank you for thinking of me. (((hug)))


Beautiful!!! Brings joy, tears and hope to the heart!! Great job Nancy! I jump for joy everytime I read about another soul healing here on LF!!


thank you for sharing this nancy. in the many times in my life i’ve been in counseling, i learned that writing was one of them ost helpful things i could do for myself, and for you to share it, and know so manypeople here understand how you feel, thats got to be validating and a good feeling.


Gulp, that pretty much says it all. I will come back and read this often.


A wonderful post
See, smell taste, hear and feel freedom!
Healing, Happiness, Joy?!
All things I am finding on my new path since I struck out alone just after xmas. I have found a new life alone, I am starting to feel a whole person again, my confidence has returned, people are talking to me, I make decisions, and do things on a sudden impulse, instead of always planning. I still have pangs, when I see him at the club, I feel lonely sometimes and yes I do still love him in a strange way. But I could never go back.

I endured my last xmas with my ex- he is not on par with what most of you have encountered, but the most self-centered egotistical controlling person.
I realized too slowly, that life revolved around him and his needs. He even claimed the credit for my achievements (degree, job, everything!). Nothing I did was good enough, I couldn’t even buy my own jewelry. He made me feel that nothing was mine, even my orgasms were only for his pleasure. My need to change things had been growing and then I found LF last year. The stories of healing and sadness, fear and recovery, gave me strength.
After xmas I told him I was leaving him. The resulting discussions only confirmed my decision. None of his arguments were about me or my needs- everything he said was still about him ”“ how would he cope, what would people think of him, that I couldn’t live without him, I’d never find such a good lover, companion, playmate, I would be lost without him, I’d regret it and come back to him. It was hard to survive the onslaught about how life revolved around him and I did begin to doubt that I would survive.

Even after I moved out he sent messages and emails, badgering me, wanting to meet, go out, have meals, plan future dates.
He wanted to resolve our relationship, which I realize means he wants me to crawl back to him.

I am realizing how much I was controlled by him, how he dictated how I lived and what I did without me knowing. It is scary doing things alone sometimes, but I am finding that I can!
He still niggles and pushes, but now I recognize that every friendly email or suggestion to meet is an attempt to control and persuade me to go back to him.

Freedom is hard won, despite the occasional loneliness, despite the pangs of love I will not give up and go back. I have tasted happiness and healing. I know it won’t stay so good, but it is a promising start.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences


I’m glad to hear that you have moved away from your spath and that you can see through his lies and know the truth is that he only wants to control you.

I’m very impressed because it often takes a long time to accept that. They are such convincing liars sometimes.

It sounds to me like your success is based on how much you value yourself and your freedom. Congratulations on that.


Skylar, thank you
I didn’t realise how much I acceepted until I wrote the words on the blog. but it hasn’t been as easy as i wrote. Some days I am terrified of the present, and can’t contemplate the future. Sometimes I just want him back because then at least I had someone else taking notice of me (even if for the wrong reasons). Every moment I find pleasure in the flowers, the sky, satisfaction in doing something for me, gives me the strength for when I feel down, or to refuse when he sends a special gift and invitation for dinner….
Not there yet, but one day


I just want to comment that yesterday at a local store I ran into my ex-sociopath and his girlfriend. My ex has gained so much weight and grown a beard and mustache and his girlfriend (I feel sorry for her) is a SPITTING image of his ex wife that he cheated on. I saw them get into her car (very nice luxury car) and he was driving – this is the same stuff he did with me – my car – my gas. This guy should be held responsible for all the lies and heartache he has caused so many women. He is a sociopath. He is a pathological liar. He uses women. I honestly do not know if he is even working. I hope this woman gets wise to his ways – but as his sister-in-law told me once, he is a good liar – it even took me years to get away and thank the gods that I am FREE.

Ox Drover

Czarinamom, Congratulations, you are the winner!

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