Editor’s note: Here is Part 2 of yesterday’s article, “Almost everything under the sun happened to me, and I’m fine,” written by a reader who posts as “Jen.”
Okay, so I had a crappy childhood, but I survived it. I came out of it okay. I have had what I now think might have been sociopaths in my life from time to time as friends, lovers, or family. At the time, I had no clue what they were, but I did know they were screwed up. I quickly rid parasites from my life after I figured out they were just out to use people. I was strong, and I was no way going to be surrounded by meanness.
So, 2 years after my divorce, I ran into an ex from 20 years prior. I was down in the dumps when I met him again. I had lost my wonderful job and my big fat paycheck. I had plans and dreams that were about to come true. Everything came crashing down on me, and I moved back to my hometown. (Stupid economy!) I got a small apartment for my kids, my golden retriever, and I. I was getting unemployment, but we were barely scraping by. I decided to suck up my pride and go see if the state would help me out with food stamps. I was humiliated, as I do not like taking anything from anyone.
This is where I ran into him, again. At the food stamp office. I should have known better. We started talking, and he said he was just trying to get back on his feet from his break up with his ex. He told me he had done some pretty amazing stuff in the years (now I think it was all bs), and I told him some of my experiences. I also told him I was writing a book, and he said he was doing the same. I sucked up my shyness and I gave him my number. He looked different, cleaner, and more mature than I remembered him. He was also very good looking. How could I judge him? I was getting food stamps myself!
He called a couple of days later, and said he wanted to hang out. He sounded embarrassed when he told me he was broke. I said it was okay, and we could hang out at my place. We got along great! He said he had quit drinking (he drank a lot when we were younger), and at that point in his life he only had a beer here and there. That was fine with me as I wasn’t much of a drinker. He worked, and he exercised all the time. He told me everything I wanted to hear. Maybe, at that time, he wasn’t lying, but it was short lived.
Into the trap
I fell into his trap. I was sucked in and lost. He would tell me how wonderful I was, and how much he loved me. I was rather curious as to why he never had any money to his name (not even a dollar). He was supposed to be working, and he lived with his mom (just staying there for a few months to get on his feet, again). He told me he had to help his mom out, since she was having a hard time with money. He had a car sitting in her driveway, but it was broken. I wondered why he couldn’t get it fixed. I blew these questions off in my mind. I was trying to be understanding, since life had just kicked me in the butt.
Finally, I said that I loved him back. It was right before he was going out of town with his father for Thanksgiving. When he came back he seemed different. He was colder and not as considerate of me anymore. His family suddenly started talking about his ex nonstop. He never said anything about her, and he looked uncomfortable. I guess he would get into huge fights with them over her, but they didn’t care or respect his wishes to keep her out of his and my lives. It was really weird, and I was uncomfortable.
My boyfriend, whom I was beginning to fall head over heals for, suddenly started drinking a lot. He lost his job, and was completely broke, still living at mom’s. I figured it was the stress from being broke, unemployed, and 41 living at his mom’s house. I felt terrible for this ‘poor’ soul. I wanted to help, but I didn’t have much money, either. I was starting my old company back up that my father had left barely running, as a division of his company, while I lived out of state. It was a moneymaker, but his current employees ran it into the ground. So, I was scraping by, as it was. I had my boyfriend work with me a few times, and I paid him very well. He just seemed to spend his money on beer and give it to his mother. He told me how he was depressed, and needed a full time job. I found him jobs left and right, but now I think he didn’t even call. (I was blind at the time.)
Finally, I felt like I should do something to really help this guy. I told myself we all need a little help once in a while in life, and I could help him. I asked my brother to hire him on full time with his company. I fixed his car myself. I also got it insured and registered. My lease on my apartment was up, and I asked him if he wanted to get a place with me. He said yes.
He had me rent this beautiful townhouse with a lovely yard for my dog. Then the day before we were due to move in, he tells me he doesn’t think he is ready for a relationship. I had paid them all their money, and just signed a year’s lease, in my name only. I knew I couldn’t afford the rent on my own. I don’t even think I could speak when he told me that. The next day, he changed his tune, but he only moved in some of his clothes. I complained that he wasn’t really living there after a few weeks of him not really having any of his stuff there. So, he went to his mom’s and grabbed two things to hang on the wall. Gee…
Life was hell. He was mean to me, every day. Up and down and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t figure out what happened to the man I fell in love with. He started going to his mom’s every day after work, and he would spend at least two nights a week there. He complained that he didn’t want to pay rent, because ‘he deserved a Harley’ to ride. His drinking was getting out of control, as was his behavior. I was just turning into a puddle. Nothing I said or did made anything better. In fact, it only seemed to get worse. He seemed intelligent before, and now there was no logic or reason with him at all.
The ex-girlfriend was becoming a never-ending problem, as well. His sister decided to be best friends with her, after she said such cruel things about this woman. I found out his ex was trying to get him back, and his family was pushing him towards it. He really didn’t want her, but I didn’t know this at the time as he rarely spoke of her. They liked her better than me. She partied, did coke, and paid for all their partying. She was a nurse and made a lot of money (so they said). They said she would be rich someday. Also, she is a Navajo Indian, and he is a Sioux. I am white. They are racist. Big problem that I was unaware of.
It was all just drama that I was not used to. I was shocked by the things these people did and said. I had no clue at the time that his mom and sister were narcissists, but I did know his brother and nephew were psychopaths (the scary criminal kind). The things I’ve seen these people do is unbelievable, and it would take me 100 pages just to summarize it.
Needless to say, he moved out after 2 1/2 months, and I got stuck with rent I couldn’t afford. He got drunk and lost his job with my brother after 3 months of working there. I think it was the last straw for me. I was shattered. It was a horrible year!
I fell into a short and temporary deep depression. I am sure I wasn’t the best of mothers, walking around in a daze. I don’t remember much, and I don’t know why. My teenage son picked up some of the slack for me with my daughter. He could see something was wrong, but he didn’t know what. I remember wanting nothing more than to die. I wanted to kill myself, and it was all I could think of. I told my boyfriend something was wrong, and I was worried because I was having thoughts of suicide. He didn’t care. I asked my mom for help, and told her what I was feeling. I knew at that time that my brain was just reacting to being under too much stress for too long. I knew I needed help. No one cared or was there. I couldn’t afford therapy. The mental abuse and money situation was just weighing on me too much, and I finally broke all the way. It had gone on for too long.
The day I had picked to be the end of me came. I had plenty of life insurance for my kids, and I couldn’t see how I was any benefit to anyone. I felt like a failure in every way.
I was going to go to the mountains by myself, and I would make it look like an accident. I had it all planned out, and I looked forward to it. Then the sweetest little face came bouncing at me, and said, “Mommy, I love you. Where are you going? Can I come?” I woke up in that instant.
I felt so guilty and awful for what I was about to do. How could I leave this innocent sweet child without any parents? She loved me so, and I was being horrible and selfish in my way of thinking. How could I do that to my son as well? It would have crushed their little souls. Besides, I am the girl who has always loved life. My only fear is death. After we die, how will we hold hands, or give our babies a kiss and hugs? I like the physical aspects of love and life, so how could I be willing to leave this?
I grew angry as my eyes started to open. How was it possible to twist me around so bad inside? He was just one man, and I grew up around people like him. His family reminded me of my father’s family (which I was sheltered from, for the most part). I knew better. I tried to leave him then, but I think I was still weak. This man was 41, drunk, refused to work, and living with his mother! Ewwww! AND yet, he still sucked me in, again! I felt sorry for him. How pathetic?
I did grow much stronger and rather quickly. His lies and mean stuff he pulled weren’t working anymore. He seemed more frustrated, and he got meaner. I would dump him, and he would come back. Or I would dump him, and then feel so horrible inside that I went back to him. I thought I loved him, but I know love is a two way street. It wasn’t love, but some sick twisted need. He created that need in me, but it was up to me to get rid of it.
My resentment grew and grew, until about the last month or so. Then my love started being replaced by disgust. I started to see him for what he was—stupid, boring, pathetic, and a leech. I had no respect for him. A small piece of me felt bad and loved him still, but I knew it was the beginning of the end that I looked forward to.
I knew I had to emotionally break free while I was with him. Otherwise, I would have forgotten the bad (like I like to do) and only remembered the good in him. I would have never been able to be free. I know me, and I know there are only 2 surefire ways to make me turn my feelings off like a lightning bolt. The first is to do or say mean things to my children, and the second is to hit me. He has never done either of these.
Well, he must have sensed my planned escape from him. He suddenly got very nice and sweet again, but I waited. I knew he’d do something horribly cruel to me in no time at all. Besides, I just had to tell myself that he is now a 42-year-old man, who lives with his mother and brother, refuses to work, and never does anything for anyone. Valentine’s Day was coming, and he has never gotten me a gift for anything, ever. He spent all of his money on beer last Saturday, and then he promptly started an insane fight over nothing. He dumped me for Valentine’s Day, just like I knew he would. Of course, he blamed me. Technically, I did the dumping, as I didn’t want to be treated so horrible, but I know his games. It was all his doing.
I feel like it was the best Valentine’s Day gift I could have ever received from him: My freedom and my sanity. I cried a little last night, but not over him. I was sad I had put myself in this situation and wasted my time and energy. I feel strong and I am done in my heart and head with him. I had already felt this way for a while, but must have needed a little more convincing.
I am getting back to the person I used to be, and my heart doesn’t hurt anymore. I am angry and baffled at how this one man wrecked me so badly. I went through so much as a child, and it never affected me like this.
I do know what is wrong with me, though. I have helped people throughout my life, as I have been through the school of hard knocks. Some of them have been con artists or mentally ill, and some really needed it. I need to work on my need to heal the world of its sufferings. It is me that needs more healing, and instead of doing that, I set out to save us all. Ha ha, I know it’s not possible. I am too trusting and too loving, and I think I will work on whom not to trust and love. There are a lot of cruel people in this world, but I don’t think that should stop us from caring about the ones who really need our love and trust.
I will not let this man jade me, just as I didn’t let my childhood experiences jade me. If I do, they win. I will still love, trust, and respect others, but I will be a lot more selective especially with the lower life ones. I can run from the educated ones, but the lower life dummies get my sympathies every time. “It’s not their fault life was so hard for them.” Well, it was hard for me too, but I don’t use people, treat them like objects, lie, and I’m not mean. So, boo hoo!