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By | February 5, 2014 56 Comments

Recovering from the Lingering Effects of a Sociopath

by Quinn Pierce quinn pierce blog

One of my least favorite activities is walking through the women’s fragrance department at the mall.  I always reach the other side of the store trying to hold my breath while fighting the impending headache and dizziness that always follows.  By the time I get home, I feel as though every area of my environment has been saturated; the scent lingers on my clothes, in my car, in my hair”¦

It is with similar annoyance that I recognize the clinging traces of my ex-husband’s sociopathic behaviors in my own responses to current situations.  For instance, throughout my relationship, my ex-husband often criticized or attacked my decisions and actions that were independent of his input.  Through this continued act of devaluing my voice, second guessing myself became second-nature.

Far-reaching Effects of Abuse

For me, the most difficult part of healing after my marriage to a sociopath is realizing just how many areas of my life were affected by his abuse and manipulation.  It isn’t so much that I am disappointed with myself, but rather, that he still has any influence in my life at all.

Especially when I think my behavior is simply a reflection of my unique personality, only to find, it’s really a post-traumatic response to an otherwise normal situation.  I recently discovered this, again, while deciding what to buy a friend for her birthday.  Knowing the person’s likes and dislikes well, I still managed to talk myself out of almost everything I looked at.

Post-traumatic Responses

This is typical of me.  I often become overwhelmed when faced with choices that will affect other people, even if it’s something meant to be a nice gesture or simple gift.  That day, within minutes, my heart rate increased, my stomach twisted, and my face became flushed.  By the time I returned home, I was exhausted.  At least I was able to decide on a present for my friend first.  Sometimes, I leave without making a decision, returning home exhausted, none-the-less.

And that’s truly frustrating, feeling as though I haven’t accomplished anything, yet feeling as though I have run a marathon.  It’s the constant internal battles that take place, draining my energy, leaving me with a sense of inner chaos that can’t easily be described.  I could probably list dozens of examples in less than a minute of how my ex-husband’s responses kept me off-balance and challenged my decisions.  One situation in particular, however, will always stand out against the rest, and that is because his reaction was so unexpected, that I still see the images replay like a scene from a movie.

It’s the Thought That Counts, Right?

It was the first time I was truly excited about a birthday gift I had picked out for him.  I spent months before his birthday making sure everything was just right, and I was sure it was something so unique and thoughtful that he would love it.  The day of his birthday, we had dinner with some friends and I gave him his present in front of the small group.  He seemed happy, but I could sense he was not as thrilled as I thought he’d be.

The gift had a customized label as an added touch, and I remember one of our friends read the label, but changed the words in a joking way.  We all laughed, including him, as it was a harmless joke, and it was nothing out of the ordinary for this very entertaining group of friends.

As soon as we got in the car, I felt the mood shift.  I tried to ignore the sudden chill, but I could feel my anxiety beginning to increase before we reached the end of the driveway.  My ex-husband didn’t say anything to indicate he was upset, but the non-verbal clues were glaringly obvious: the clenched jaw, narrowed eyes, tensed muscles- all indications that he was not happy.

An Explosive Reaction

The next day, some small incident, I can’t even remember what it was, set him on one of his tantrums.  He began storming around the house yelling and banging things.  Shortly after he began his tirade, he grabbed his present from the night before and began berating me for such a thoughtless gift that I obviously thought was such a joke.  He was accusing me of embarrassing him on purpose, ruining his birthday, and on and on.  To my horror, he threw the gift against the deck outside and I heard the unforgettable, distinct sound of glass shattering as I watched the contents run down the railing, mimicking what felt like the blood draining from my body.

For years, I couldn’t figure out what went so terribly wrong that day.  How could it be that after all the time, care, and effort I put in to finding and creating the perfect gift for him, my ex-husband believed my intention was to hurt him and embarrass him in front of our friends.  Of course, that was my reaction before I knew what a sociopath was, let alone that I was married to one.

Criticism is Never Allowed

Knowing what I do now, I find his reaction to be not at all unusual for him.  First of all, it wouldn’t matter to him how much time I spent working on his gift or how sincere my intent, the only thing that mattered was the reaction of our friends that night.  And even though the laughter was not aimed at him directly, being a sociopath, he interpreted the joke as criticism and a personal attack.  What’s more, it was an attack by me, since I was responsible for the gift.  The only thing worse than ignoring a sociopath is embarrassing a sociopath.

My ex-husband is an attention seeking, praise craving, drama creating individual.  He is eager to criticize others, but the slightest indication that he is being criticized in any way is like waging a war.  I played two roles in his life: ally or enemy- until my divorce, at which point I was cast in the role of enemy for eternity.  That night, I quickly transformed from ally to enemy at the first hint of laughter.

Impossible to Predict His Reaction

For all the years of my marriage, this was a key element to his behavior, but one that left me navigating a sea of unpredictability and anxiety.  How could I predict the reactions of others in every situation?  Aside from that, it was nearly impossible to try to figure out what would make him happy, since he was merely mimicking those around him and rarely revealing anything sincere or genuine about himself.

I learned in those tumultuous years that my efforts were easily discounted, and my choices were easily ridiculed.  Many times, when my ex-husband deferred the decision-making to me, it was a set-up of sorts.  He either wanted to ensure that he could not be responsible for a decision that was made, or he wanted to be able to blame me for the decision, even if he supported it at the time.

No matter the situation, making decisions became a panic-induced activity for me.  I knew that most of my choices would receive a reprimand of some sort; it was like constantly being spritzed with a disapproval-scented perfume.

Of course, I am much healthier since ending my relationship with a sociopath, but there are days when I still feel like I need to take an exceptionally long shower.


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Quinn – your insight is so appreciated. I am sure many people feel exactly as you do, and your ability to put the experience into words will help others recognize what they went through.

Imara

I’m so sorry you still struggle with that Quinn….My daughter who has strong traits from her father but has made conscious choices to be good told me a long time ago that when I experience those feelings I should immediately think of him, put my three middle fingers up and ask him to “Read between the lines”…. I do it often and it grounds me to the place where I realize that he is not in my life and not my problem any more. Heck if you have no problems with it put just the middle finger up!!!
The point is that there are many triggers….I remind myself often that those triggers are the effects of whiplash that we suffer after so many years of tolerating and hiding abuse.
Fortunately for me my ex was very covert….oh I paid for perceived wrongs, but never with open rage….Its our darned big hearts that allowed us to be victimized….but he can [email protected]#$%$# himself….Im proud of my big heart and am keeping it!!!!

Imara

It takes so little to trigger us though!!! that constant feeling of “You’re not good enough” is what I battle with. We need constant positive strong people around us. That can be our biggest shield against all the negativity.

Dave

Quinn,

Sorry to hear, cause I too kinda feel that way. Most of the decisions were always hers as she would rarely include me in on anything (form of control as well as making me feel incapable) Even with the business when I would suggest something or tell her that something needed to be a certain way (cause I had exp in this field she did not) she would fight me on it, she would fight me on where to put furniture when re-arranging the house, always had to be her way or the highway, if we did try it where I suggested she would look at it and say “I don’t like this,,or this isn’t gonna work there”

After our son was born I saved up money and bought her a 500 dollar white gold mothers ring with our 3 birthstones in it, she snuck behind me one day while I had my savings account brought up and got angry saying “I thought you said you had saved 1k dollars?” To which I said, yes I did and your wearing half of it on your finger. To this day she rarely wore that ring always stating that it made her finger break out in the shower from soap being trapped in it, I kept saying why don’t you take it off then before the shower and her excuse everytime was “ill lose it” The ring stayed in her purse unless I kept saying something about it then she would wear it for maybe a week, made me feel really lousy.

For the period that I was a stay home dad I had no income and she complained that I wasn’t getting her things for her b-day, so one year I sold a couple of my expensive knives I had ordered online at a cutlery shop, I got her an expensive bottle of her fav whiskey, roses, a card, and a speedway gas card, she was thankful and happy until the next day she asked where I got the money to do this, I didn’t want to say and she insisted, when I told her she became enraged and berated me telling me how pathetic I was for having to pawn off items to buy her something, talk about feeling low!!!

This past year while I was running her business she did not get me anything for my birthday, she didn’t even say happy b day to my face it was sent in an email,,2 months later for her b day I spent half my paycheck taking her to a nice steakhouse, several days later an argument ensued and I brought this up she said that I never get her anything why should she, to which I said last time I did get you something you totally bashed me, and even though you didn’t get me anything this year I still spent half my check on you and got us a babysitter and your still running your mouth.

Quinn I too second guess myself a lot now, she has made me feel less than a man, like a child that cant take care of himself or family, and that I cant make decisions or the ones I do are wrong. I would say the best way to get over this is to make more and more decisions to build up confidence.

Imara

Its so hurtful that they use something loving and giving as a well selected gift to use against us to hurt our feelings!!!
I had the same experience…. got him a perfect personal gift for our 25th wedding anniversary. Took it, said it was nice, put it away in the study and it never saw the light od day again. I had spent hours taking a perfect picture of our dream home….It looked beautiful!!!! Soon after I realized that forget the gift but 34 years were shoveled and discarded so very cruelly!!!
Of course my bad penny has come rolling into my life again..love bombing with great pizzzas!!!! AS long as it’s long distance love bombing I’m ok with that!!!
My worry is that he will show up at my doorstep one day…He happens to be a coward so I’m not worried about physical violence….just that he will make a scene if I do not allow entry. I may dodge that bullet though because I am moving by the end of this month into MY own home in a different state!!!!
Finally seeing light at the end of my tunnel….Older wiser and hopefully still have a lot of giving back to do!!!

Jenniferjojo

I jut found this site and it is such a relief. I just realized that my husband of 12 years was a sociopath and it really helps me understand the crazy dynamic I was living with. As feeling, emotional individuals we were caught up trying to fix things, improve ourselves and figure out how to navigate these often abusive relationships. Only to find out out it was all a mirage. I dont think anyone can really understand this unless it has happened to them. My friends, although they are great, just say move on and good riddens. The effects are lingering. Its not that easy. I agree that it was our big hearts that may have made this worse for us. Next time lets give our hearts away again but to the right people. lastly. I dont need the three fingers, just one is fine! Hard to deal with this anger and Im hoping I can learn to let it go. Years of being duped and lied to and made to feel guilty about things that were not real…..yikes. The list of things that he did are numerous and beyond normal behavior, including affairs with friends, hookers, strippers, devaluing all my own plans and talents, putting down all my friendships, and frequenting the strip club while I was recovering from a mastectomy due to breast cancer, and more! Glad I found this site.

Jenniferjojo – Welcome to Lovefraud. I’m so sorry for your experience, but you will find that here everyone knows what you’re talking about.

Out of There

Thank you for your insightful story. It sounds so much like mine. My hardest thing while I was married to the spath, was never ever knowing how he was going to react. I, also, tried so hard to do what I though pleased him, but I never seemed to get it right.

I,too, was strong, successful, and a confident woman with a good job, home and money in the bank. After 17 long years, I was very unsure of myself, second-guessed all of my decision, including things like buying gifts just like you said. I was even unsure of what he would like for dinner, always unsure if there would be complaints about what I cooked.

My marriage was filled with drama drama and more drama, lies, manipulation, and deceit.

I am now remarried to a wonderful man, who is everything m ex isn’t. I still have moments that haunt me about my ex, as he continues to stalk me. I probably have at least one nightmare a week about the ex and I wake up yelling or crying. I am forever grateful that God got me out and gave me a second chance at a wonderful life.

You will also have that wonderful life too. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

eggshellsnomore

“Many times, when my ex-husband deferred the decision-making to me, it was a set-up of sorts. He either wanted to ensure that he could not be responsible for a decision that was made, or he wanted to be able to blame me for the decision, even if he supported it at the time.” Quinn, this is so true! We remodeled our house,and my ex-husband, who always had to control every little detail about everything ( even what bedspread I put on the bed) suddenly started forcing me to make important decisions about the remodel or deal with the contractor myself. I can remember being forced to call the contractor and “put him is his place” when I really felt like he had done no wrong. This was all done so that he could later blame me when things didn’t work out, or make me look difficult to the men working on our house and make him look like the good guy. Never mind he was the one constantly complaining about everything they did and threatening to sue or fire them! He never said a word to them, he made me do it! When the job was done, he joked around with the contractor, shook his hand, and handed him the final check like they were good friends. Just weeks earlier he was refusing to pay them an installment and made me tell them they were not getting their money unless they did every little thing he wanted. Every time we traveled to see his family, he would intentionally pick a fight on the plane or right after we arrived. I later realized he did this so that he could portray me as moody, difficult and unfriendly. He loved telling me how his entire family wondered what was wrong with me. He would later gain his family’s support when I wasn’t doing what he wanted or when I finally left him; after all I was just that crazy, bitchy woman that he tried so hard to make happy!!! It always blows my mind when I read someone else’s story and see my own relationship in it. My marriage to a sociopath was almost text book based on the stories I read here, especially yours, Quinn.

Dave

eggshells,

“Every time we traveled to see his family, he would intentionally pick a fight on the plane or right after we arrived”

Mine did that as well, even sometimes with my own family while driving to go see them, would act upset or moody pick a fight in the car, then act normal in front of my family while I was pissed off and seemingly to others being a jerk to her. My sons 8th b-day party was at chucky cheese in November now get this,,,it was all her family there, my mother was sick and my dad was getting ready to have brain surgery, I sat at the table when they did happy b-day and the cake then some people walked off, so I walked around and played some games to win my son some tickets to get him a prize, my ex seen this and called everyone back over but me to start opening presents, when I seen this I got over there quickly but they were done already, I was extremely pissed off as I was positive she did that on purpose to make me look bad and selfish, and when I confronted her about it, her stepmother stuck her nose in it and started defending her which made me look even worse cause her stepmom thought I was being hard on her. The last 2 thanksgivings she has picked fights with me then refused to take me to her parents which then makes me look bad that I must have done something horrible to her for her to not want me to participate in thanksgiving. The first time I called her stepmom to apologize for not being there and that is wasn’t personal but my wife was upset and didn’t want me going, this pissed off the wife that I called and told her this and she basically told her stepmother to not speak to me anymore about “us”

It is so frustrating when they do this, then you get portrayed as the bad guy and you just want to scream from a rooftop that this is total shenanigans and the other person is the real bad guy.

Dave

oh and edit,

The night before thanksgiving 2013 she asked if I was going the next day, I said yes why wouldn’t I be,,she said well its not like your talking to me right now (cause I was upset over something she did and she called me a whiner when I said it hurt my feelings) the next morning she tried to do something I was supposed to do but I told her I would do in a day or two cause I had hurt my back slipping on ice at work the day before, she wouldn’t stop doing the chore even though I went outside and stated for her to stop that I would take care of it before she needed the truck on sunday, but she did it anyway, then came in the house all pissed off slamming doors and stomping around to which I said “let me guess you don’t want me going to thanksgiving now” and she said “no I don’t, I don’t want you ruining my holiday or my families” She got back that night without the kids her parents kept them, a day and half later she out of blue dresses sexy and sleeps with me like nothing ever happened, I should have never obliged that time until she spoke of the problem and apologized but we all know these people don’t apologize and when they do its not sincere. Instead of talking about what she did wrong, she would wait a couple days then just have sex like we never even got in a fight, but if I did something wrong, oh we had to talk (which usually wound up in shouting matches) I will never forget the time early last year I attempted to pull her routine on her, 3 days of silent treatment I hopped in the bed one night and tried to initiate make up sex and she said “whys it gotta be sex david”? I said you do it all the time, she said “no I don’t I have no clue what your talking about” (gaslighting)

You know I used to always ask why women would stay with a man that beat them, yet when in my situation no matter what that woman did I stayed even after friends and family were telling me I was being played/manipulated/used/not treated as an equal/to leave her/shes crazy/they wouldn’t tolerate that behavior ect ect…I often sat and wondered why in the hell do I tolerate this??

Imara

They all seem to resonate within a very limited bandwidth!!!! That’s why all our stories seem to be perpetrated by the same person!!! My ex also picked those arguments to make me look like the wicked witch with my in-laws….. and of course poor him….woe is him!!!!! Don’t know if I should laugh or cry at this one!!!! they are all cowards…like Donna says, ” wasted lives”.

the phoenix

Reading the article, then thru the comments… I see so much of my spath in the words of everyone else. Yep. He’s textbook. Always has been, always will be.

kaya48

Thank you Quinn for again reminding me what my life was like. The similarities are so obvious. I too was to be blamed for any decision I made. I used to break out in sweat and my face was flushed when he was around. I never felt “good enough or pretty enough ” to be his wife. I was always very careful to act the “right way ” so he would not get mad at me later and throw a temper tantrum. To this day I remember when his car broke down and my 12 year old son and I were cussed out and yelled at. We had absolutely nothing to do with it but here we were sitting crying hysterically. Looking back I realize now how unhealthy this relationship was. To this day I regret not removing myself and my son out of it sooner. But that does not change anything. I am finally free. Free of his insults, his lying and cheating , his belittling and his selfishness. My divorce is far from over but I am so proud of myself for not even looking at him at the last court hearing. I try to remember what shirt he wore. I cannot even remember the color of it. Because he was nothing to me. Nothing at all and that shows that God has healed my heart. And it sure feels great 🙂

HKS

As I have just found this site today, and been reading for hours now, I am thankful and relieved and mortified and saddened to have aha moments with each post that I read. I identify with each and every one of you and am crying and so overwhelmed by my emotions right now at the discovery that I have been in a mindbending, heartwrenching, and damaging relationship with a sociopath for the last 3 years and with continued reading, I realize that most of my relationships in life so far have been with spaths. I am a 43 yr old female. I realize at this moment I have a lot of healing to do and learning how not to repeat my choices and learn to have healthy relationships. I also am going to need to cut any ties with this person and I feel anxiety about it. This is all so overwhelming and new. I am thankful to learn that the scope of discord I have been experiencing is due to being with a person with a known condition. Everything is making sense and becoming clear now that all the things he said to make me doubt myself and feel insecure, were not because they were true…it was his sickness. Wow I have been so affected…spritually,emotionally,and physically,and financially.He caused damage in all of these areas. At this time I need to take a break from all this reading. I’m exhausted. Id like to ask for your help in the form of prayers and thoughts filled with positive energy that I will break clean and start healing and climb out of these negative states that I find myself in. Hopefully now armed with this new knoweldge and understanding, I can resist any further pain and manipulation by him or any future person, but right now…HIM
Thank you all for sharing because you have helped me today even though I do feel scared and don’t know exactly how I’m going to do this.

kaya48

This is exactly how I felt when I discovered this website. With every article and comment I realized how bad my 20 year marriage really was. Like I said it was an illusion that was so addictive that I could not break free from. I was devalued and eventually discarded and now I know that everything happens for a reason and sometimes you don’t see it right away. The most important lesson I learned was that cutting off all contact with the evil person is the only way to healing and recovery. It stopped all my tears and agony and allowed me to focus on myself. After a few months of no contact I could see through the fog and everything seemed clear to me. All the blaming and belittling had nothing to do with me. It was a way for my husband to justify his selfish actions. Once I was at this point I hired an aggressive attorney , I filed for divorce and I never regretted this for one second. This has been a nightmare but I still remain strong. Nothing compares to the pain of the past 20 years. You will see that after the pain there is only happiness and peace. I know because I have been there.

HKS – welcome to Lovefraud. I’m so sorry for your experience, but glad that Lovefraud has helped you identify what’s been going on.

Sending you healing energy –
Donna

janetj

I came to realize that my husband COULD NOT RECEIVE MY GIFTS IN ANY FORM – not only presents, but he could not receive my love or my help. I can’t tell you how many thoughtful gifts went into the back of his closet. Symbolic, don’t you think?

Plus, he would often get furious at me when I tried to help him (around the house, talking through a problem on his mind, whatever.) I realized he often got angry at me shortly after receiving a gift.

What an ass.

HanaleiMoon

Quinn, like others here, you have reminded me of what my life was like too. One time, I had received a windfall of money and decided to use part of it on a very extravagant, once in a lifetime trip for us. I let him know that I was planning it for his birthday and that it would be a surprise. He seemed onboard. He knew that I was having a ball planning it, so in retrospect that would have been enough for him to ruin it for me. It was a trip to a place we had never been, but was similar in location and activities to other trips we had taken and enjoyed (as much as possible with him) so I knew it would be a success. During the planning he hinted that the next trip would be “on him” to an exotic location we had talked about for years. The day we left I was so excited! He was not. He complained about everything on the way from the seats on the planes to the inconvenience of the gates when we had to switch planes. He actually berated me for not choosing the connecting flight better, so it would have been at a closer gate! When I pointed out that of course you have no idea what gates the planes will be at when you book the flights, he just glared at me for talking back. I have a video I took of him in the last airport where I am so excited asking him questions about where he thinks we are going and he is slouched back in his chair, expressionless and grunting responses while his eyes dart around everywhere but at me. I watched this video after he discarded me and it told a tale I had never been able to see when I had been in the relationship.
The trip was a disaster. He complained about everything, all the time. He was cruel, and I locked myself in the bathroom more than once crying in paradise because of it. I had planned a special outing on his actual birthday, and in an attempt to make him “happy”, spilled the beans on it two days early. He had a complete meltdown, accusing me of being thoughtless and cruel to HIM, scheduling something that was so self serving to me, all the while knowing that it was something he hated and in fact, would make him physically ill. As this was something we had done in the past in another location and had had fun, this blindsided me. He kept at it for hours, accusing me of intentionally scheduling something that would make him sick when I full well knew it would, and I kept saying I had no idea, I had no idea, which I didn’t. To put an end to it, and of course I didn’t want to ever be thoughtless, I cancelled the outing and thankfully was able to get a refund. I never said one word about it after that, but he kept up, then adding the accusation that I was pouting because I didn’t get to go on the outing that I had wanted for myself, but presented as a gift to him. All I had done was cancel it and not said another word, and went on to other activities. I remember feeling like I was losing my mind.
After the trip, it didn’t stop. For the next 9 months (until he discarded me), he brought it up off and on, poking me with comments about how that was supposed to be HIS birthday trip, yet I did nothing to make it special for him…wasn’t nice enough, sexy enough, thoughtful enough. I knew I had been all of those and more, yet I tortured myself, wondering what I could have done better. I have often thought what a great time I would have had had I gone by myself, instead of with a spoiled child who spent most of his time there slumped in front of the tv. He never so much as even said thank you.
And the next trip that was going to be “on him”? Well of course that never happened, since he was not about to spend money taking me on a trip where I wouldn’t appreciate a thing and complain the whole time. Those were his exact words – projection at its finest! Of course, I’m sure by then he already had the discard planned.
When I met him, he bitterly complained that he and his ex-wife never went on trips because she was no fun and in the end, actually encouraged him to go on his own while she stayed home. Of course that got my sympathy and made me want to make our trips good for him! Much later I learned from his adult son that his mother had told him that early on, he ruined every trip they had gone on so she just decided to not put herself in that situation anymore. Her quote was “if he saw that anyone was having fun, he’d have to put a stop to it”.
Along these same lines, there were times we had something planned (always planned activities with tickets purchased) that we ended up not being able to attend because he threw a tantrum hours before the event, but he always made it my fault. I KNEW I hadn’t done anything wrong. Once he did this on the day of one very long planned and costly event and screamed at me, telling me that he had noticed that I pulled this crap every time it was something that I knew that he wanted to go to (as opposed to something I had chosen) so that I could prevent him from going and ruin it for him. I had a moment of clarity then (of course it didn’t last), because the morning had been great and I was dressed and ready to go with a smile on my face and he hadn’t even bothered to get ready. He KNEW he had no intention of going and of blaming it on me, making some accusation up out of nothing so he could make me feel terrible. Which of course I did.
I am thankful that these memories no longer send me into days or weeks of rumination over what it all meant and what I had done wrong. I know the score now, but I also have the lingering effects of years of this insanity on my current life. I am able to recognize it for what it is now, but I think back to my life before I met him and think of how blissfully calm and untroubled my mind was. I actually mentioned that to him once and his answer? The prior men in my life didn’t love me and care about me the way he did because they didn’t bother to correct me when I was so obviously messed up.
Thanks for the opportunity to share here in this safe place.

Dave

wow moon,

That’s crazy!! I didn’t have lots of trips like that with mine, only one where we went to tenessee from ohio for a week, and she acted miserable half the time, then on the way home said something nasty about my father, the 3 of us were on a pier fishing while his wife was at the cabin, and he said he didn’t know what he would do without her and how much he loved her, on the way home my wife said “I cant believe I heard your dad say that” the way she said it suggested she thought he was lying, or she thought he treated his wife bad , which she has said several times.

But wow for you all those trips and money only to be ruined, I cant imagine that happening over and over. They really do have a way of making you feel like you did wrong, then you get to the point where you feel crazy cause your reality is so distorted.

kaya48

Dave
Yes the crazy making experience was the worst. My reality was so distorted. I did not know what to believe or not anymore. Of course if I didn’t believe his outrageous lies, I was labeled “mentally ill” by him. It takes a long time to really get out of this nightmare. But once I was on my own, cut of all contact and focused on myself, things improved. I took his “torture toy” away and that was me. He was not able to get a reaction out of me. To this day he does and will not understand why his only son wants nothing to do with him. My son said “anyone who inflicts so much pain on his mother, is not worthy to talk to or care about.” He is so right, why would we let evil back into our lifes?

Dave

yeah kaya,

when my common sense would kick in and I knew she was up to no good, she would find a way to either blame me for her actions, or down play it like she did nothing wrong, leaving me sitting there scratching my head while friends and family were like “are you nuts, shes having her cake and eating it to, she is playing you and you know it”

But they didn’t know what its like with people like this, they really do screw your head up badly. I don’t think we so much get addicted to the abuse, I hate arguing and confrontations, I think I was addicted to “what it could be” and thinking I could do something that would fix it and I would have what I longed for, hence why I would always go back, many a time accepting most of the blame on myself, just so I could try and make the change that would fix the family, while she sat back and made no compromises. ONE time she attempted to, and she said “ill try david but I cant promise anything” wow that’s a great compromise huh? Even on times where she would try and keep me if I was going to leave she still would not apologize or say “hon im sorry, I didn’t know you fealt this way, I will try to compromise with you because I love you” she would still find a way to subtly blame me in order to defend her actions so I would not want to leave thinking that I caused the problem.

Her mother is the same way, is it any wonder why those two cannot get along? She is 37 years old and has now gone through to spats of not speaking to her mother at all, one for 7 years, one now dating back to 2008, both of them are the same and refuse to contact each other. I don’t think ive gone longer than a week without contact with a parent after a fight with them lol.

onmyown

Ah, yes. The ruined gifts I can relate to. The ex-spath and I were together for only one Christmas, thank the heavens. I had my son bring home shirts for spath from a store in South Carolina – couldn’t buy them in retail stores here in Ohio. One shirt he ripped a hole the first time he wore it on Christmas Day. I was horrified, but it was no big deal for him. Just a shirt, who cares.

I put together an Easter basket for him because he loves candy. He started out refusing all of it and I was heartbroken. It didn’t make any sense. He started pawing through it and picked out a couple of things to keep, and I remember standing there awestruck at his uncommon weirdness. Then he decided he wanted the whole thing and kept it with a grudging, mumbled “thanks”. (It was full of some really good candy and he’s a greedy creep.) In return, he tried to pass off the Easter basket full of candy that his mother gave him – as a gift he purchased for me.

I never knew any other person who could twist the good feelings I get from gift giving to make me feel like $hit for doing it.

aintgonnatakeitnomore

Quinn, we were married to clones lol
That is SOOOOO him. He couldn’t even come up with new “selfish things” I did to continue the tirade about so he’d replay the same months & months old “misdeeds” i’d committed (Im a quick learner lol). ANY little thing was an excuse to F.L.I.P out and then start on all the offenses I’d dared to commit. It bored the f**k out of me actually. I think it’s becuz i’d know that once again, nothing wud get resolved and he’d just get to act like the ass he is. in front of the kids. again. BORING.
i had cried at first, but learned thats wat he wanted, so forget that. tried yelling back but that induced his name-calling, which nauseated me, so no-go on that either.
there was no winning, just enduring a psychotic break.
I need to shower for about a decade straight to rinse off that stink of the npd/bpd/sick asshole.

kaya48

Wow that sounds like my soon to be ex. He absolutely got pleasure out of seeing me crying. He always threatened me with “I will leave you “. You are right it did get boring. Even when he called me names. His favorite statement was “I think you need help,you are mentally unstable”. I used to beg him to love, I used to beg him not to leave me till the day when he actually left for the mistress. And still the lies continued. Until the day I filed for divorce. I was done. Something told me to put an end to it . Nobody will disrespect and abuse me the way he did. I finally stood up for myself and my son. 20 years of those lies and betrayals were enough. And you are right the “smell of evilness” is gone.

HanaleiMoon

Ugh, in my case, the “I think you need help, you are mentally unstable” comment always came after he did or said something so outrageous and kept picking at me with it that I became hysterical. Then there was the soft, head shaking threat…if you don’t get on medication I don’t think I can stay in this relationship. (Along with a comment about how much meds had helped his ex wife, lol.)
I usually spent my entire weekend at his house from Friday night until I left for work on Monday morning (a technique to get me to neglect my own home and life) but once in awhile, he’d give in and come to my house on a Saturday afternoon and spend the night. 9 times out of 10 before Sunday morning was over (but always after he had had sex and I’d cooked him a wonderful breakfast) he would pick a fight out of nowhere and reduce me to a crying, pleading, nervous wreck trying to make things right. (I literally didn’t recognize myself in these times – I had never felt or acted that way before and never have since.) Then he would storm out in disgust, saying why did he keep coming here for this treatment. Then he would not contact me for a day or two. At first, I used to obsess over what I might have done wrong and how I could do better. (He would almost preen himself when I tried to make it up to him.) Later, I realized I had done nothing wrong and would go about my day. Much, much later, I recognized the pattern and realized that he would “offer” to come to my place when he had another woman scheduled for Sunday afternoon and wanted me out of the way. As I get farther and farther away from the situation, the more it sickens me that these people use us like toys for their amusement and don’t have one molecule of humanity to care that they are destroying us. Evil, evil, evil. I haven’t laid eyes on him since he discarded me and sometimes I think if I did I would go insane. Hopefully indifference will kick in at some point.

Vision

Hi All”

Been reading here all posts:

Quinn: Hit it on the head again….how horrible to be treated like you were him….imagine him gaslighting you that way….
But it takes time to rewire our brains to understand how wonderful we are in so many ways and to trust our gut instinct even when it comes to purchasing a gift for a loved one/friend…..

I actually found my “old self” so to speak. The woman I used to be came back to me….I found me again….and my vision I kept in front of me was just me….the me I was before he came along but the me that now had the wisdom to not trust everyone and the me that I know I could trust…..

I found that I could now have the freedom to be myself again. It is wonderful!!….I am sorry you had such a horrific time…I didn’t live with my sp so I didn’t have the daily trauma you had and it must have been so hard…I have read other of your posts….

but you give us courage to change!!

Kaya48: You sure have been doing really well. I have not had much time of late to comment but have been reading and I am so happy for you and your progress!!…isn’t it great to not care in the way we did….we care now for us and for our child/children and it feels wonderful….

Hugs all around!!

Moving On

Here was my favorite gift to him:
I got so sick of buying things he hated so I told him for his birthday I would get him anything he wanted just let me know. He said he wanted to go fishing alone. Fine, let me know how much it costs and I’ll let you go. Before I knew it he gathered up all his brothers and booked a Lake cruise and fishing expedition. He split the costs with his brothers and went. I really was confused because one minute he wanted to be alone and the next…not (and of course he denied saying he wanted to be alone)
Then he promptly forgot that I offered this to him because the next year he turned to me and asked, “What did you get me for my birthday last year? Oh yeah, nothing!”
I had a blank moment because I really didn’t get him anything, he did it himself. So I just coldly turned to him and said, “You’re right, you just went fishing with your family and left me out”
lol
What a weed

Vision

Moving On:

So typical of their lovely personality isn’t it? He totally made it like it was his idea forgetting you in any of the plans especially when you were the one to suggest this….your story of the gift is just so true of their ratty and selfish sick minds…

When first married to a malignant narcissist, I bought him a Russian styled winter hat that was perfect for Chicago winters in the city when what they call the Hawk comes blowing through the streets….plus he bragged about his Russian side of the family all the time……He opened the box, laughed and promptly took the box and receipt and walked out of the house and returned it and kept the money. I decided to never buy him another gift…

My ex sp: Example: Got him dress shirts and ties for a new job and he loved it ….and new wallet and they were all by his favorite designer….but in 5 years of me helping him out etc, I never got a gift except a pair of slippers…LOL

The difference between us and them: A dear Aunt of mine was getting older so she gave me some of her wardrobe that she thought was just beautiful….I was the size of her clothes from back then. She was so wonderful that I decided to wear the clothes to a family gathering were friends would also be. I wore the out of style skirt and top, totally not my style or color. I wore the pumps that were clearly unmatched although she thought they matched together with the “outfit”…my daughter thought it odd and when I explained why I was doing this she just stared at me and then hugged me..

At the family thing, my family and friends stared at me and one in particular couldn’t believe me wearing the clothes. But when my Aunt came in and saw me, she let out a huge howl and told everyone she gave me the “outfit” and she got it in Hawaii and look how beautiful it is on her…Then the looks and tears came from those around us….It was a gift to her….

mcmjuly

Vision, your post reminds of something I read once which said a sure sign of a sociopath is that they are terrible gift givers (meaning, you’ll probably never be WOW’ed by a gift they give to you)!
My ex fit this to a tee!

blueeyes66

Hi Moving On – It was helpful reading about your story. It was my birthday again this year, the last two years were nightmares and this one started out the same, even though he is no longer living in the same house, we are still in a relationship (its been hard to get him totally out of my life – work in progress.) He came over the morning of my birthday and told me he was mad at me because I was sitting outside – probably talking to my “boyfriend-imaginary one of course)and that I didn’t run in and greet him right away. So he once again started with the negative drama on my birthday (even after begging me to stay in town so he could celebrate it with me – he should have said so he could sabatage it for me.) So he continued to yell at me, call me names and I finally asked him to leave, so in a pissed off, name calling rage he stormed out of the driveway, telling me never to call him again – in which I said I wouldn’t, thinking okay this is it… long story short, I spent the morning crying than felt better after seeing all the happy birthday wishes posted to my fb -I pulled myself together and went about my day… well to my surprise, my husband (who by the way is married to someone else and never told me till I confronted him with the marriage cert and he said – oh she died in a car accident – which I futher investigated and she is still alive.) called me and said he didn’t want to fight and wanted to bring me my bday present. well, he got me roses, a big card and two funky electrically charged multi-colored lights from a garage sale that when he gave them to me in this big box, he told be – okay be careful, there is a puppy in there… I got you a puppy… I was very confused as I really couldn’t afford to care for a puppy since I have no job and he doesn’t give me money to help out- even though I supported him for almost 2 years… So I opened the box and it was candy and these two funky lights!! Anyway, I totally relate as he always ruins my birthday (V-day is even worse!)doesn’t get me anything, not even cards, says he did, but didn’t have a chance to fill it out, even has given me new cards still in the wrapper and says, here is your card… this year was really no different, with all the name calling and anger drama… all I can think of is that I pray by next year he won’t be in my life at all. At least from all the information I find on this site – thank you and thanks to all who post their stories – I now know that it wasn’t me and that I am not crazy..

kaya48

Thank you Vision. Yes I am doing so much better since I started posting in June of last year . I did find myself again also and even though some things are out of my control I remain strong. Like when I saw him in court along with his attorney (strangely he picked a female attorney while he was always anti female). I felt absolutely nothing when I saw his hateful face full of anger and bitterness. He sure did not look happy or healthy despite his huge supply of his “minions”. Maybe after all sex and admiration does not make him happy. I really don’t care because my son and I are fine. We feel like we “cleaned” up our life’s and got rid of evilness. Everything in life happens for a reason. And I still to this day believe that God took him away so I can have peace. Because of my addiction to him I would have never left on my own. Thank you all for your great support . 🙂

Vision

Kaya48 I am so glad to be your friend and I am so happy for you!!! You have come such a long way from when you began and I remember your post from the start….real progress.I too used to think I would never get out of my bond with the ex sp and even asked God to fix it for me….and yes, the final straw just made it so easy to say goodbye after he told me he loved me but didn’t want a relationship after 5 years….so easy to say OK good luck and good bye….. It is soooooo gooood to get past them and their ignorance isn’t it?? All my best and will be talking to you soon enough again here!!

mcmjuly

Uggggghhhhh Lingering effects….I know this concept all too well.

My sister posted an event on facebook today that was related to our family’s 120th family reunion this summer. The event page was adorned with a 10 year old photo from the same event…a photo which depicted my ex-path standing there in the back row among 100 of my family members. I was standing in front of him. I looked great, skinny, looked like I was having a great time….and I feel as though my life is frozen in time right there….

For all intents and purposes that was right around the last time in my life I knew joy and happiness. It was shortly after I was first married and still very unaware of the fate that was to follow. Over 6 years since the path walked, and about 4 since I’ve had any contact at all, but still I feel as though I just a shred of the person I once was. I want to find myself again, and I am trying as much as I can. I read, I am in therapy, I try to remain spiritual and connected to my higher power (holy spirit), but it is damn hard.

There is a reason so many people are trying to educate others about the perils associated with a marriage/relationship with a psychopath….when they say it can wreak havoc of a complete and permanent nature on your life….BELIEVE IT! I am living proof. I really sometimes doubt I will ever know the “pre-psychopath” me again…

HanaleiMoon

I can really identify with how you feel mcmjuly. When I see past photos of me and I look so happy and content, and then look in the mirror…ugh. I understand that some of what I see is colored by how I feel inside, but even allowing for that, I look beat up. Meanwhile, the ex sparkles because he has a new wife to contribute to the household income, he is “retired” and spends hours at the gym and treats himself like a king. Meanwhile, my life has been torn apart and I’ve borne the brunt of the financial fiasco he caused, which means covering his responsibility, or else my credit will be ruined. Nice.

I’m not sure we will ever be the pre-psychopath people we were, but I’m hoping we will be different but better. Fingers crossed.

mcmjuly

Thanks Moon (I meant to tell you before, but I’m connected to the “moon” term as well….I have an Etsy shop called MoonInspired…check it out sometime).

I feel what you are saying and I am hoping right along with you. I will never stop trying. Like Quinn says in the article, it makes me so angry that his influence still finds a way to manifest negativity in my life today.

I feel like (because of the picture thing) I had a bad day today. The grief process we go through is just like the process someone who has been through an extreme trauma/death or catastrophic loss goes through. It is not one bit different. We have good days and we have bad days. We recover when we can string enough good days together to make the bad day just a little more bearable. Smiles and warm wishes to you my friend.

HanaleiMoon

I’ll check out your Etsy shop!
I’m going through a tough patch because the house we co-own is in escrow and he’s being an ass right down to the wire. All the communication is through attorneys but he is making it as difficult as possible. It’s been bringing up a lot of bad memories to the surface…what should be an exciting time is just fraught with tension (as if selling a house isn’t tension enough). I just need to power through these next few weeks and this last, terrible connection will be cut. Yippee!!

mcmjuly

My prayers are with you Moon….you can do it…just hold on and persevere! Good Luck.

hope52

Mcmjuly, I am sorry for your pain.

I was reading one of my many books about disorder and came across this quote I would like to share with you.

“Anything we truly accept, changes us.” Eckhardt Tolle

I wish you peace.

kaya48

I know exactly what you mean. I am still recovering from the 20 years nightmare. Therapy and my faith has helped me a lot but I still find myself searching for the “why” sometimes. It has gotten much less from before. Yes he caused me financial devastation, he caused my son and I to lose the marital home. He was not “satisfied” until he took every material asset away from us. He would throw obstacles in my way that are just outrageous and ridiculous. By him being a police officer he thought he had the “absolute” power over everything. We are still in the midst of this ugly divorce. What I have learned is that he can take material things away from me, but I am still a person full of love, empathy and joy. He can never take this away from me. I don’t focus on the past anymore because that’s gone. Nothing can change the past. I focus on the present. The future is unknown and I just find happiness in other things now. I have the love of my son who is doing great in college. Who makes me proud to be his mother every day. He cut of all contact with him. Since he is not a minor his choice is his. He says he does not have a father anymore. Because a “real Dad” would never inflict do much pain and sorrow to the mother of his child. There are consequences for every action in life and that’s one of them.
I am sure things will improve for all of us here. It takes a very long time to think in a “healthy ” way again. For the past 20 plus years I was told I was a “crazy psycho bitch”. I never knew it was his way to justify cheating, affairs and betrayals. I know now. And I thank his little co worker every day for saving my life, for taking him away from me and for becoming his new victim. 🙂

mcmjuly

Good for you Kaya….my prayers are with you and your son for future success. And I really hope I never get pulled over by your ex…sounds like he would be the cop from “hell”….lol!

kaya48

Thank you vision for all your support. Thank you mcmjuly for making me laugh. Yes, when I reached the final straw to say good bye, it was difficult but at the same time very liberating to me. Honestly I don’t miss his nasty, snooty remarks, sarcastic stabs. I also think I came a long way since I was thrown away like garbage. And I don’t look back anymore. It’s over and done with. I think the last straw was when he left the family and told our son that it was because I was mentally ill. All while he was going on cruises with his mistress. He was such a liar and deceiver. And when I caught him lying to my child, that is when I put an end to it all and filed for divorce. Thanks to all of you for being my friends. I know I will survive this nasty divorce with the help of my attorney and with the values that I never lost in the past two decades.

Dave

Well, court was a waste of time yesterday, the freaking judge didn’t show up and they wouldn’t let me get another judge, had to continue it to the 25th. After I had to drive 100 miles to get there, borrow money for gas and borrow a car, pick a friend up whos a witness and waste his time too. To make matters worse, after the 25th I have to go back march 4th for child support.

I honestly wish we had something that could erase memories, I cant take much more of this insanity.

Happy V day to everyone, I know most or all of us here don’t have someone special to enjoy it with, but I guess enjoy it as much as you can.

kaya48

Happy Valentines Day,
Dave, please don’t give up hope. I am dealing with the court system also. I could not do it without my attorney. I still have faith in justice system. I don’t have to worry about child support and visitation. Bit even without those worries it is a nightmare. But there is always hope. I try to stay positive and look at the “good” things in life. Even just seeing a sunset over the ocean (luckily I live on the coast) makes me happy. Just the fact that I have not cried in more than 8 months is proof that there is joy and happiness after all this. I wish you all the best.

Dave

thanks kaya,

haven’t given up hope, just too much to deal with right now, and its overwhelming me, and I don’t have money for an attorney, so im representing myself.

mcmjuly

Dave, I saw a really cute valentine on facebook. It was a big red heart with the words: “I think, therefore, I’m single.” You better believe it was my status update!

aintgonnatakeitnomore

ROFL
i sumtimes think i will 4ever be single now
and its only been 4 mos since i left lol
i keep thinking tho…and thinking keeps me going “no thanx, next?” and i see no real men in the line anywhere :p

aintgonnatakeitnomore

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the very loving, thoughtful, kind, deserving ppl on here!!! ~hugs~
May we live with joy from now till death do we part from this earth.
🙂 <3<3<3

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