Many of you know me from my book, Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned. Through writing the book and including chapters on Lovefraud, I’ve tried to share the insights I paid such a high price to obtain. For almost twenty years, I was married to someone I now believe is a sociopath. My corrosive, confusing marriage, the toxic divorce, and the ongoing, financially and emotionally punitive post-divorce aftershocks redefined my life in ways I never imagined. I had to understand how my life got so derailed, how my confidence was decimated, and how my identity was almost destroyed. Through my book, I wanted to share what I’d learned in case it could be useful to others.
I’ve been heartened that many who’ve read the book have found it beneficial as they also search for answers and healing. Yet, I also wanted to try to reach people like “me” and “you” before our unwitting and destructive relationships with a sociopath. Why didn’t we know about such people? Why didn’t we know how prevalent they are? Why didn’t we know about the strategies and tactics they use and why they work so well? Was there something that made us especially good targets that had nothing to do with intelligence or education?
Using Little Red Riding Hood as a metaphor for a relationship with a sociopath, this new short book, Narcissists, SOCIOPATHS & Wolves: Lessons From Little Red Riding Hood, highlights the prevalence of sociopaths and why, just like in Little Red Riding Hood, even when we cross paths with a “wolf,” we and others around us (like the nearby woodcutters in the fairy tale) don’t see what is right in front of us—that the wolf is a wolf and that wolves are dangerous. In addition, the book includes some painful realizations that I only came to after writing Husband, Liar, Sociopath—that wolves have insatiable appetites—they are always in need of “fuel” and that I am like Little Red Riding Hood in many ways. I was trained by my family not to recognize the wolves in the world. I was trained to be vulnerable. Why? Because as I’ve continued to heal and understand, I’ve come to the conclusion that my father was a narcissist, and I had been trained to be willing narcissistic fuel.
When I’ve mentioned this realization to others close to our family, many validate my perceptions and note that it saddened them that it took me so long to understand this. My mother was empathetic and selfless, and sacrificed so much for her relationship with my father, and I was taught to do the same. Why did it take me decades to see this? Perhaps because the realization that a parent loves you, not for yourself, but only for what you can supply to him or her is brutally painful, and because the question, “What can I do and how can I change so someone I love will love me back?” gets woven into the very fabric of your being. You just don’t know how to be any other way.
I needed to understand this so that I would no longer be ruled by it. I wish I had understood the reality of “me” and my family dynamic decades ago. It might have made me aware of my own vulnerabilities to the wolves in the world who would profess to love me.
So that my own painful experience may prevent others from traveling the same road, the final chapter of the new book lists subtle warning signs that you might be in a relationship with a sociopath. I hope it will be a useful supplement to Donna’s very helpful, empirically-based list of Red Flags of Lovefraud. My list is based on my personal experience of the symptoms of being in a long-term relationship with a sociopath. From personal experience, the on-going warning signs can differ from the initial warning signs.
(Click on the picture of the cover for the link to the eBook on Amazon.)