Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following story from a reader in Belgium, whom we’ll call “Enora.” Read Part 1.
Starting the business was very expensive. We went to the bank for a loan, but he wasn’t able to get one, as he was blacklisted by every bank in the country. I had to cosign a loan so that he was able to pay for his debts to the bank. Now that problem was dealt with, we were able to start a business being equal shareholders and equally responsible for everything.
I told him that this was something that we would work for until our retirement and that in a year, he couldn’t change his mind or be fed up with it. He agreed, but he kept expressing his doubts about me. He felt that I didn’t have what it takes to make our business thrive and I didn’t have it in me to work that hard.
I had opened Pandora’s box. On our opening day, the restaurant was packed. We opened at 9 a.m. I was 6 months pregnant and walked (ran) all day long, taking up orders and serving people. At 3 a.m. the next morning I couldn’t work anymore. My back and my feet were killing me. He closed our business two hours later and came to our bedroom. He woke me up, ranting and raving that he had been right all along: I was a lazy bitch. The next day, customers told me how impressed they were that I had worked for 18 hours on end while being 6 months pregnant.
Horrible to staff
He was horrible to our staff and cruel to me. He enjoyed humiliating me in front of everyone. He had this sadistic grin on his face whenever he hurt me. Everyday, and sometimes several times a day, he called me into the kitchen and started yelling at me. The waitresses had to close to kitchen door so that people in the restaurant wouldn’t hear it, but they did.
As a boss, he was a tyrant. He felt that he had power over our staff and he abused it. One day for example, he had noticed that a waitress had forgotten to close the jar of our homemade biscuits. In the evening, he scattered the cookies all over the kitchen floor. In the morning he made her pick them up. It was humiliating.
He started drinking alcohol at 9 a.m. and this made him even more vicious and cruel. While I was working, he often sneered at me to get out, because I had no idea what I was doing.
He had decided to take care of the financial side of the business and he had even put a lock on the office door, so that I couldn’t get in to look at bank statements and invoices. When the restaurant had closed, he left and came back the next morning, just in time for opening. My due date was coming closer and one night I called him up several times. He didn’t answer. Only recently I learned who the woman was he was sleeping with at that time. In fact, there were several. He also slept with one of my waitresses.
Daughter was born
The night before my daughter was born, he arrived so drunk that he threw up in the sink. The next morning he hadn’t sobered up and he had to take me to the hospital to deliver my baby. When we were in the elevator, he started calling me names, saying that he wouldn’t have it that my family was going to visit me all of the time. He wanted to spend quality time with me and our newborn. In fact, I was in labour for only 4 hours and he didn’t stay with me for that long.
When I came home from hospital, my daughter had cramps and cried all night. I hadn’t slept at all. When he woke up, he smiled and said that he had heard the baby and that he knew I hadn’t had any sleep. He basically stated that I was on my own in taking care of our baby.
Things took a turn for the worst. He was now going out, taking vast sums of money from the till. He was in charge of everything and he wanted me to feel that. He kept changing his mind about everything: opening hours, staff he wanted to employ or fire, our menu. At one point, he wanted me not to take the children to daycare and stay at home with them all day. So now he tried to physically isolate me.
During this period of time, I virtually had no contact with anyone and I had no money. He had put locks on all our storage rooms, accusing me that I was stealing from the business. Only he and the waitress had keys.
He threw some money at me, saying: “Go and buy some milk and bread to feed your children.” There was not enough to buy food for myself. When I hadn’t eaten for 3 days, I sneaked into the kitchen, trying to get some food. He came in and yelled that I had to put it back, since this was not my food, it was the property of the business. In the end I went to my mother and she gave me some food.
By this time, he and my family were virtually at war. He said that we could never have a good relationship until I cut my family out of my life. I refused which made him even more furious.
Everyday I woke up worrying about what he would do next. I was living in an atmosphere of terror. But I had made these decisions and I saw no way out: we had two children and I didn’t want my children to be from a broken home. And we had a business and I had signed everything. Needless to say that loan I had to cosign was paid off by me. He had told me that he wasn’t going to make the monthly payments anymore and that the bank would come knocking at my door. Again, when he said this, he had this demonic smile on his face. He enjoyed making me suffer.
I felt that he had made it his mission to make me miserable. Several times, I asked him what I had done to him to make him treat me like that. I felt he hated me.
I had no idea that people could be so evil.
Said I couldn’t work hard
He had told everyone that I wasn’t fit for the job: I couldn’t work that hard, it was all too much for me. And he said it in a way that people believed him: talking as if he cared about me and making it seem that he was unable to help me. He said that he had to put up with it, because I couldn’t help myself, I had mental problems. In fact, he portrayed himself as the victim of the situation.
And he was constantly lying about everything, even about things that do not matter. I told him that I knew he was lying and that to keep on lying doesn’t make it more true. I started to think that whenever he was talking, it was all lies.
He would hide in the restaurant to listen in on my conversations. Sometimes he suddenly came out of his hiding place so I knew that even my private conversations were not private anymore. Especially when he heard I was having a good conversation with somebody, he turned up, saying: “So now you’re talking to that person. How two-faced you are. You always say that you can’t stand them.” He said this with the other person present. And again, it wasn’t true.
Next: Leaving the sociopath