“So You’re Telling Me That My Husband Is A Sociopath?” The Night I Made A Deal With Dr Hannibal Lecter

So, what happens when you suddenly discover that the person who has been sharing your life is actually a stranger? Worse than that, they turn out to be a person who has deliberately deceived and manipulated you with surgeon-like precision. Wrapping you in a web of deceit — delivered so skillfully and carefully that you’ve welcomed the silken threads as they tighten around you. Freely allowing yourself to be wrapped in the cocoon being made by your soul mate. It’s only once you have morphed in to an emotional mush of confusion and fear that you realize you are trapped. And by then, of course, it’s too late — and your mate is off to the next willing victim.

I know, of course, that so many of you will identify with this experience. After only one week as part of the Lovefraud team, I have been amazed by the responses I have been receiving. I can feel the support that resonates among the community here, and I am delighted to be a part of it. I am not happy, of course, that so many of us are joined together here because we have suffered at the hands of another — but I know that together we can heal… no, I know that we are healing. After all, we’re here aren’t we?

If you’re anything like me, you won’t have come in to contact with the terminology ”˜sociopath’ until it happened to you. For my part, I had never even heard the word. It created an earth-shattering jolt in my consciousness when a dear friend of mine shared her opinion that the man I had called my soul mate was in fact a sociopath.

So for my second post I thought I’d share what happened to me when the truth suddenly dawned on me, because that moment marked the beginning of my healing.

It was nearing midnight on Thursday 9th July 2009. It was a typically warm summer’s night that found me in my bed at home in France, distractedly checking through my emails on the iPhone for the umpteenth time. Anything to try and quieten my mind and bring me back to normality. I was mentally and physically exhausted but my tortured mind and aching soul refused to let me sleep.  No matter how much I tried to rationalize the past ten weeks, or how much I attempted to make sense of the situation, I simply couldn’t find any answers. Peace seemed a very distant memory as I continued to search for clues. What had happened? Where had I gone so wrong? What had prompted my beloved husband of 10 years to lie to me for so long? Why did he need to create so many other lives? What had I done to make him stop loving me? How had I missed the signs? What could I have done differently? The questions circled, round and round my head like the mythological embittered Harpies — snatching at my rising fears, cackling at my confusion, their cruel wings fanning the flames of despair that threatened to engulf my soul.

I am a motivational coach and leadership trainer, known for my ability to quickly get to the heart of the issue. I am employed for my skills in reading and understanding people, so how had I been so blind to my husband? We were a team, we worked together, lived together, loved together and had spent nearly every day and night in each other’s company since the day we met — and I loved him totally; heart, body and soul. Only the year before we had celebrated our ten-year anniversary together, and just a few weeks before Christmas we’d spent his 40th birthday together on the beaches of a beautiful Caribbean health spa. Our life together, as I thought, was perfect!

And yet now, here I was, alone with my son in the beautiful French farmhouse we had lovingly restored over the past 6 years, betrayed and deserted by the person I truly believed was my soul mate, left alone to deal with the enormity of the emotional and financial wreckage caused by my husband’s double life. It had all happened so suddenly — the chance email just three months earlier that led me on a trail of discovery to uncover the horrifying truth that I was married to a stranger. Cold, hard, black and white proof that my idyllic life was in fact a total sham — and the equally cold hard fact that my husband had simply vanished out of our lives the second he knew he’d been rumbled, leaving my son and I to deal with the fall-out. Disappeared without a trace just as quickly as he’d arrived in our lives more than ten years earlier.

Around and around the questions turned in my head. The Harpies I had named “Who” “What” “Where” “When” and “How” mocking my stupidity, berating my gullibility, and piercing ever more deeply in to my already broken heart.

And then I saw it. It was an email out of the blue from an old friend Mandy, which naturally pricked my interest. It was a kind and thoughtful message of support, the contents of which seemed harmless — the very same email that had me shaking to the core just a short while later as I explored the following words:

“”¦Interestingly, you may or may not know that I am doing my masters degree in forensic psychology at the moment, and recently have done loads of work on sociopaths.  Lets put it this way – he shows all the signs – in retrospect of course!  So in fairness, he was highly skilled at fooling everyone.  In fact, not just skilled – it was natural to him.  Therefore, who would have known?  He has no conscience.  And before long, he will find another place for himself, and will never feel any remorse, because he doesn’t know how to”¦”

Sociopath was a term I had not come across before and so, after a quick scan for more information on the internet, I discovered that a sociopath is also known as a psychopath. My brows furrowed as disbelief and comprehension entered my head at the same time. So I asked the question out loud to see if it made a difference: “You mean to tell me that my husband is actually a PSYCHOPATH?” Chills ran through my body, my mouth went dry, and the Harpies were suddenly very still and very quiet.

Random images of famous psychopaths came flooding in to my head — Norman Bates from Psycho, Peter Sutcliffe the Yorkshire Ripper, America’s Ted Bundy and Heath Ledger as The Joker — the absurdity of the idea prompting nervous laughter to erupt from deep within me. And then silence again as I truly began to consider the enormity of this new information. The room was still. My mind was quiet. My heart started thumping loudly in my chest. Holding the iPhone in my left hand, and hugging myself with my right arm, I read yet another ”˜checklist’ for sociopathy and realized with absolute clarity that my ex’s behaviours actually ticked each and every one of the boxes — to a tee. I shuddered, forcing myself to breathe, and blinking wildly, hoping that I had somehow misinterpreted the information.

And that was the precise moment when the archetypal psychopath, Dr Hannibal Lecter made his sudden and unwelcome appearance in my mind — crystal clear and standing just a few feet away from me in the corner of my bedroom. Sucking air through his teeth and smacking his lips, he held me hypnotized with his ice-cold beguiling stare, clearly enjoying my confusion as I quietly considered the overwhelming evidence that my estranged husband, the man I had loved with all my heart and soul, was in fact a text-book psychopath.

“But surely I’d know if I was in the company of someone like that?” I reasoned to myself, the dank smell of Hannibal’s cell now beginning to permeate my senses, his chains rattling my imagination. “I’m an executive business coach! I’ve been working in the field of personal development for over 13 years! I’m wise to the ways of different personalities and what makes people tick!” I tried to rationalise, becoming more aware that my bewilderment was arousing the curiosity of my uninvited guest.

I was hooked. And as I read further, uncovering facts, examples of typical traits, and stories from other victims of a sociopathic relationship, I was gradually coming to the horrifying comprehension that my friend’s prognosis was correct. In equal measures of horror and relief, I also began to understand that I was not alone. That there were literally thousands of women with stories just like mine — many of which I found on this very site. Intelligent, professional, and successful women who had willingly succumbed, fallen in love, followed their dreams and been thwarted by the malevolent charms of the skilled and charismatic sociopath.

As we all now know, these people are predominantly men. Charming, witty and attentive — the life and soul of the party. Men who can sweep you off your feet, make you believe that you are the most precious person in the world. Men who let you dare to dream that all your dreams have come true and convince you that you’ve found your true soul mate. Men who make you feel that anything is possible, and encourage you to live life to the full. Men who slowly and deliberately bleed you dry, suck out your soul and leave you for dead, without even a backwards glance — but by the time you realize this, of course, it’s too late. Much too late.

Suddenly I began to see things from a different angle. Suddenly things started to make sense. Dr Lecter faded safely back in to the darkness of my imagination, as I began to replace his image with strangely comforting feelings of relief. Because it was finally dawning on me that the experience I was living, my own personal living nightmare, was not something I could have foretold. So I was not to blame for what had happened — there was nothing more I could have done. In fact, I’d had a lucky escape.

This marked the beginning of my journey towards understanding what had happened to me. How I’d found myself in such a horrific and unimaginable mess. After three long months, April’s hurricane of discovery that had all but broken me in its relentless force to destroy all that I had believed in, gradually started to loosen its grip in light of this new information.

At the same time I also realized, with frightening clarity, that in order to truly comprehend what had happened, to come to terms with how I had come to find myself in such a horrendous situation, I was going to have to embark on a journey of self-discovery. I would need to find out more about what had happened to other people. Understand the true meaning behind the word sociopath, or psychopath. Recognise the traits within myself that allowed me to be the perfect target — dig deeply in to my own psyche and explore my own choices in life.  Examine how I’d got here, what I’d believed about myself and others and my own deeply held personal values. And, most importantly, to find my strength and finally to heal.

My years of experience in personal development told me it was not going to be an easy journey. Some of the deeply buried feelings and experiences of my past would need to be re-examined. I would need to dredge through parts of my life I thought I’d already dealt with. Old scars I thought I’d healed would need to be re-opened and treated anew. It would be painful. It would mean re-visiting old chapters of my life. Re-living the hurts of the past in order to truly understand what was going on.

And I would also need to venture in to the depths of this murky world that I was just beginning to discover. I would likely need to stand in the shoes of these soulless people I now knew existed for real, and who live and work among us. Because unless I could comprehend the workings of a sociopath, I would neither be able to heal nor protect myself in the future.

I was alerted to the sounds of Dr Lecter once again shuffling around in the back of my mind, his interest clearly intensified by my growing fear at what lay ahead. And I heard a barely perceptible laugh — or was it a cackle — coming from the darkest corners of my imagination. The unpalatable solution hit me like a steam train, and I understood at that moment that he would need to become an ally in my journey; for who better than the archetypal sociopath, Dr Hannibal Lecter himself to help me understand the twisted workings in the mind of a psychopath?

“If I help you, Melanie, it will be “turns” with us too. Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no?”

His perfect and calculated logic slithered towards me, the words and the consequences of what I was about to do sending shivers through my body. I would need to let Hannibal Lecter inside my head if ever I was going to become free. It was the only way to regain my sanity and claim my life back. And, surely, this couldn’t be any worse than the real life experiences I had already survived?

So I nodded my silent agreement and the deal was done. I would allow the specter of Hannibal to steer me as I unravel the past and make sense of my pain. A smug sneer crept across Dr Lecter’s face, as he pulled himself upright and acknowledged my consent “Brave Melanie. You will tell me when those lambs stop screaming, won’t you?”

So this was the beginning of my recovery. I started preparing for my own personal voyage of soul-searching, education, self-questioning and personal discoveries right through to the eventual victory I knew was waiting for me. I’d have to return to the innocence I once knew, and in returning there I knew I’d have to face some ugly and painful memories. I’d have to rearrange them to make sense of what had happened, and to ensure that I would never again be taken in by anyone whose sole intention was to hurt me.

Hannibal fixed me with his steely stare, the rest of his face shrouded in shadows as he slowly wound his fingers around the bars in his cell.

“Clearly this new assignment is not your choice” he hissed “rather I suppose it is a part of the bargain but you accepted it Melanie. Your job is ultimately to craft my doom. So I am not sure how well I should wish you but I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun. So let’s start at the beginning — tell me everything you know”

With that his image once again faded away, and I felt that I had just made a deal with the devil. But at the same time, I knew that my journey to freedom had begun.


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290 Comments on "“So You’re Telling Me That My Husband Is A Sociopath?” The Night I Made A Deal With Dr Hannibal Lecter"

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Imlivingithelp, I am so glad that you are moving into the resolved stage – that you’re going to take back what’s yours.

I want to offer you a strong word of caution: do the very best that you can to AVOID telling people about what you’re going through, right now. You are very, very raw and speaking from a state of emotional distress and we often come off as hypersensitive when we’re in this state of being so danged raw. Additionally, giving information about yourself to ANYONE outside of an attorney and your individual counseling therapist (or, very best friend that “gets it”) opens a gate of vulnerability. The spath that you’re ridding yourself of is not the only one out there, and they’re not all going to be romantically-minded.

There are people who ask how we’re doing that do so out of courtesy. There are people who ask how we’re doing out of a true sense of concern. Then, there are people who ask because they exist solely for drama/trauma. Finally, there are those people who ask so that they can detect our vulnerabilities and exploit them to their advantages. Today, when someone asks how I’m doing, I answer, “I’m okay. I don’t want to talk about the details.” And, I don’t let them take me there. I had to do that several times, today, and I used to be the kind of person that just poured it all out. Not anymore.

If you can connect with a support group, that would be a wonderful thing for you to engage in. I wish there were something like that where I am – for crying out loud, there’s probably a 60% rate of domestic violence/abuse in this county, and there’s nothing available for long-term healing.

Brightest blessings

I agree I have so many friends mutral ones with this spath. I only have 2 people I can trust right b.f. and my boss.. im scared to go on f.b. so I wont im being pretty secretive right now and walls r up. I really dont know who to trust as far as my friends. I think some are enablers and others spys some im sure are good people.. but when im out and feel secure enough I will be pulling the weeds out. some of my friends I feel r ok. but just dont really want anyone to know.. till IM ready.. if they r my true friends they will understand…why I dissapeared for awhile and not let them know..

truthspeaks I was thinking that today.. as much as I been isolated because of the spath for 5 months now… due to his saying just me and u baby no outside infuences…and I believed this mlarky… meening no outside contact…flippin control I trust NO ONE… sad..but …no one told me life was easy… and really I need to find ME..

Ok creeped out…im going to have to leave sooner then I thought.. this spath has no flippin space boundries…feeling great for my second day and he drop off work trash in front of my house..see even though he dont live here and his name is on this house he feels after all this HELL he has put me through he can just pick up certin thing like he lives here… I think he was hoping to see my face.. I dont think he saw me because I just got off the phone with my b.f. because she was concerned on how I was doing..have not got a hold of her since I was at the police station.. and I was done.. im packing my stuff up this weekend looking for a storage unit. and then preparing my escape from this madness… I WILL NOT BOUNCE…I MUST NOT SEE his face..not good for my brain right now im very verable right now realizing I have stckhome sny. I want to love myself not go baxkwards.. I jumped right on this blog for my mind of recovery….this blog has helped me so much in the past couple of days I really could use the support..

ugggg its killing me inside..over20 years of brainwash madness and spath behavior…my heart is pounding and my mind is mad… why oh why cant we just click a button and make this pain go away… im not even sure what this pain is…aceptence he will be always a spath? regret I ever met him? my whole life a scam? thinking he loved me beleiving it heart and soul? my whole life with him was a big lie…idk…it hurts… or the fact I cant save him…im just sad.. knowing what a spath is now knowing what damage of stockhome sny.. what is it…help…need words of wisom…

imlivingithelp, The information that Truthspeak gave to you is invaluable, as you know. And, although we are all connecting through cyber space, rather than physically, I truly believe that this is the best support group that any of us could ever ask for. So great that you are out for the good of yourself, now and seeing things so clearly. Yes, it is extremely painful, indescribable at times, but believe me when I tell you, that you WILL get to the other side if you keep working at it. Allow the pain and anger to flow from your veins. Keep releasing the toxins. Recovery from spath is an arduous journey, but you WILL get through it! Stay strong and determined. Sending Hugs ((((imlivingit)))) and prayers your way!! Much love to you~

Imlivingithelp, I want to share something about personal anxiety with regard to abusive exspaths, especially after we’ve been with them for a number of years: we have been conditioned to live in a state of high anxiety and fear.

Although human beings DO recover from this type of emotional and physical trauma, it is really beyond our ability to learn how to recover and manage our traumas on our own. That’s why we talk to other people who don’t necessarily need to know what’s happened – we’re looking for support, encouragement, and HELP. We are simply not equipped with the tools and techniques, Imlivingithelp.

The reason that I posted the National Domestic Violence website was precisely for this reason: we cannot do this alone. Even men and women who HAVE gotten out and “recovered” on their own typically do not “heal,” if that makes sense. They take their traumas with them and are, for the rest of their lives, defined by those traumas. They get out of the situation, but they choose another abuser before they’re even on their healing paths, and the cycle continues.

I strongly urge you to visit to get some assistance in your area. If you had a leaking roof, you would call a roofer. If you had a broken arm, you would call an orthopedic surgeon. If your car needs repair, you call a mechanic. If you have emotional damage caused by the deliberate actions of another person, you call a counseling therapist professional that “gets it.” A good, strong counselor that “gets it” can give us tools and techniques to secure our recovery and healing processes. They will HEAR us and SEE what made us so attractive to spath abusers, to begin with – and, it’s not just because we were physically attractive, either. Our “qualities” were used against us and made into vulnerabilities. And, that only happened because we didn’t understand boundaries from the beginning.

Again, that website is:

Brightest protective blessings to you

thank you shane and truthspeaks. thank u for your support and wisdom to help others out there with this.. I have used the info truthspeaks… as much as I enjoy not enjoying this particular… my mind…and my health…but after talking on here and helps so much… I know I cant do this alone without talking to a counselor about my problems…and one who knows fully about spaths and stockholme sny. I hope and pray that the emotional rollarcoaster will end.. and ive been catching myself with brain fart ideas… like im superwomen and can do this all myself…ive everyday tell myself that good morning this is your life today.. time to be happy..time to live..i find this makes my day a little better knowing that im working on getting back what was mine…that no one should of ever took….

I have just ended a 4 year crazy relationship and I am reading these blogs and wonder if I’m looking for an excuse for the craziness, or was it me? Or is he in fact a sociopath? So many of the symptoms are similar, but some are not…. or maybe I can’t see them? I sometimes feel I myself began to display the same type of things and I’m very confused… All I know is that I never felt this way before I met him and feel totally manipulated and out of control… could someone help set me straight if I share my story? I’m fully prepared to take blame here for the “psychopath” he thought I was, but I want to be as straight up as possible. Maybe I am a psychopath…I certainly feel like one after this crazy ride….

I have been in a terrible relationship for 4 years that started as an affair on his long time girlfriend who just had his baby and were living together. We had worked together and became friends and he claimed to be “unhappy in his current situation” so we talked a lot at first yada yada we ended up starting an intimate relationship. A very highly charged sexual relationship for about the 1st 6 months we would have sex every day many times 2-3 times/day whenever we could squeeze it in. He was TOTALLY lying to his GF about where he was etc….I understand I was making a moral error but he CONSTANTLY told me that he and her were not happy and just living with each other for the child. And that’s how I justified it…or was that a manipulation? The love and intense attention he gave me with texts, phone calls, of course made me fall madly in love with him.

For the next year this continued, I’d constantly end it as he wasn’t making initiatives to leave his “unhappy situation” and he’d CONSTANTLY come back with promises and plans for us to be a couple. I totally bought into it. He promised EVERY day that he was leaving her and that they were totally done he just didn’t want to “hurt her” or risk having her leave town with the child to move back home to where her family was. It got SO stressful and SO intense that one night I SNAPPED and wrote her an email and told her EVERYTHING!! After speaking with her and we exchanged stories we realized he was TOTALLY lying to me, and obviously to her. His idea of “them just living together for the child” was COMPLETELY inaccurate.

We didn’t speak for 7 days and I was 100% sure I would never have to see or talk to him again. One evening, I received a phone call from his GF. They were fighting about what happened and she wanted some answers as he was trying DESPERATELY to salvage something with her. Telling her I was crazy and the reason he stayed with me because I was threatening to hurt myself or he and his family??? TOTALLY FALSE!!

He was thrown out on the street by her and who does he call? Me. Shows up on my doorstep looking for a place to stay. I’m not sure why I let him back in. He bawled all night saying things like “this is all my father’s fault” etc…. also threatening to end his own life….

I took off to LA for 2 months during my summer break. During that time I moved on, stabled myself, felt normal again, and even dated a few people…. the last week I was there he wanted to come down to visit. I allowed this believing that he had changed by the convincing things he said. Of course we had a great week and I felt intense love. We decided to try when I returned.

It has been a year since that time…the last year as a “real” couple has been where I have seen these behaviors. All the while I wanted out and I’d even pick ridiculous fights but he’d ALWAYS manipulate me back…The emotional turmoil got bad….he was CONSTANTLY jealous and would often bring up the summer when I dated other people as “cheating on him” and when I would bring up the affair he’d justifiy it by saying “you did it too in the summer with those 2 people you dated” He was OBSESSED with what I did during the yr of the affair and hacked my facebook, email, looking for anything. He found a few notes from various people in my life that I had an ABSOLUTE right to speak to as HE wasn’t leaving his situation.

Things in the past 6 months have been crazy for me. I feel I went crazy. I found he was pushing me away more and it was MY fault and I became obsessed with trying to prove who I am and that I’m a good person. He would ignore my phone calls, yell at me, and I’d fight my way back…like I was obsessed… then he’d call me a crazy stalker and that the only reason he’d take me back was so I wouldn’t kill myself?? The sad thing is is that sometimes it got so bad I wanted to! I became a full out alcoholic to deal with the pain and made some stupid decisions like reaching out to his ex etc. All to PROVE that I am faithful, trustworthy, and would make a great partner. In the end, I ended up looking like a pathetic loser chasing him and he not wanting anything to do with me….saying “don’t ever text me again” etc…I walk away confused and feeling like a crazy person.

My friends and family say I’m NOT crazy and these are not my regular patterns. They all have heard my story(he always said that I told it wrong and didn’t tell them how crazy I was) but they say he was displaying sociopathic behavior. Signs I noticed that compare to what I’ve read:
1. no morals in terms of relationships (hurt his ex, and I’m sure cheated on me) but doesn’t display that with his relationships with people in his life.
2. HUGE ego. Always wants me to praise him. Talks about all the women he’s slept with etc.
3. Aggressive (always refers to himself as an alpha male) very intense during sex and displays almost a creepy stare of intensity
4. Had a huge criminal past as a teen(was in a latino gang etc)
5. His dad was physically abusive to his mom and he blames a lot of himself on this
6. He’s hot and cold. One minute he hates me the next he loves me.
7. He blames everyone for his problems. Its always my fault and he NEVER apologizes.
8. Of course the CONSTANT LYING (in the end he was trying to screw another girl while we were still hanging on….he claims he still stayed w me because he “cared” and was afraid I’d hurt myself and wouldn’t stop texting….which was true(the texting part) but lied many times about that
9.During sex he would say weird things like “tell me you love me” “tell me I’m the only one” etc
10. He’s late often, SO disorganized, buys objects (Like 2 motorcycles he can’t afford) never uses them.

Writing this I realize how nuts it all sounds but all I can say is that I was in LOVE with him and was forcing things to change that I just couldn’t…and I couldn’t figure out why he had no remorse, had an idea of me that he COULD NOT change, and I became obsessed with proving to him who I was… The part where I’m stuck is that he wasn’t abusive verbally or physically. He was very nice to me, he’s very nice to others and people like him a lot and he is respected… He also is a very good and responsible father… so those things don’t match up. I’m stuck, I’m hurt, I can’t make sense of this all. Any thoughts would be appreciated…and if its me its me I can accept that…I just need to sort it out to start over.


Serenity12, see my answer on the other thread.

ps serenity12, even Ted Bundy the serial killer wasn’t a “bad guy” most of the time, people liked him, he was a “great friend”—when he wasn’t killing women.

Even the worst psychopath can “play nice” when they want to. Learn about psychopaths.

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