Editor’s note: This essay was submitted to the Lovefraud Blog by a reader who comments as “AlohaTraveler.”
I have thought about this for a long time. I have decided I am not going to tell you my story, at least not today. I have read the stories of other contributors and even more of visitors who have just discovered this site and posted their story in the blog comments. Believe me, I understand the need to tell someone what he/she did to you and your life. You just want someone to understand, because you don’t. You don’t understand why he did what he did. But worse, you don’t understand why you let it happen or why you tolerated the intolerable far beyond reason. You don’t know why you ignored the red flags, neon signs, the sirens, and the atomic bombs going off all around you. Now you are sitting in a pile of rubble that once was your life and you don’t know what to do next. You found this website, LoveFraud, because you have been through HELL.
Welcome. Take a moment to thank God that you are here! Believe it or not, it could have been worse.
I put an end to my nightmare on July 3rd, 2005, departing Maui on a plane headed for San Francisco. (Isn’t it funny how we all can remember the exact date?) I landed in California five and a half hours later to an avalanche of abusive text messages and voice mails. “How can you do this TO ME?” he asks. Huh? Every part of my life was damaged. In debt up to my eyeballs, my psychological, spiritual, and emotional lives were in a shambles, thanks to “Pastor Jeff” also known as “Captain Jeffrey” and “Maui Merman.” (I now refer to him simply as the “Bad Man.”) I was, to put it lightly, a basket case. I must add here that I don’t blame him entirely. There were signs that something wasn’t right with him after the third date. In fact, during the 14 months we were dating, there were many, many signs. There were many things he said and did that hit me in the stomach as not quite right, but I wanted love and he seemed to love me more than my wildest dreams thought possible. I noticed but ignored the signs.
As I write this today, October 13, 2007, I am in a much better place. I have just returned from my first visit back to Maui, the scene of the crime, as I call it. On the way there, I started to feel anxious right before the plane landed. I spent the first 2 days looking left and looking right, all the while repeating the mantra, “NO CONTACT” (the title of one of the most helpful entries in the LoveFraud Blog). As it turns out, I didn’t run into the Bad Man while there. One thing that took me by surprise though was that I had a few impulses to call the Bad Man. (God, that is hard to admit!) All it took was hearing about something bad that happened to him for my compassion to be triggered. But now I have the tools to stay on track because I know what he is and how he gets to me. My compassion and kindness are like open wounds and he is a Staph infection that takes over my body. I know what triggers me, how he got to me and I know how sick it is.
I have worked hard to regain control of my life, my self respect and the respect of others that I let down with all the drama and bad decisions I made connected to this Bad Man. Now, I know what a disordered person “looks” like. That is what LoveFraud is about. It’s recognizing that your story is already here. And once you see that, you are half way to understanding. You are here to get what happened and why in the bigger picture. It’s not about the details, “he did this, he did that.” Why were you triggered by this person and how did they get you to forget all the good sense you were born with? You need to know this so that you can release yourself from the spell. Does this ring a bell for you? Did you ask yourself, “Why am I allowing this to happen to me? I don’t recognize myself. Why can’t I stop?” I had to put an ocean in between myself and the Bad Man. I left behind my island dreams so that I could put a stop to the nightmare.
I understand why you want to tell your story. I did that too. I told it to myself over and over in the car. I yelled, I ranted, “And ANOTHER THING!!! blah blah blah.” I thrashed about in bed at night, arguing with him in my head, trying to make him see that it is wrong to treat someone the way he treated me. I did this for over a year. I held onto the fantasy that somehow, I could find the right thing to say so that he would really get how bad he was and he would be sorry and then he would shower me with the “Love” that he used to hook me in the first place. (I now refer to those first two weeks of euphoria as “Relationship Crack.”) He hooked me and I was a total junkie. I got hooked because I didn’t know it was dangerous at first. I thought I had met the love of my life. But, unfortunately, he was both the most seductive and destructive person I have ever encountered.
Now the “story” is irrelevant to me, and that is why I am not telling the details. (Believe me, it’s good enough for Dateline or LifeTime television.) What a Sociopath or a Borderline or a Narcissist does will never make sense to you because you live by a different set of rules. What is important is to know these individuals when you see them so that you won’t be drawn in by the details of their stories and manipulations. And you can let go of trying to make sense of it all based on how you do things and what drives you. That path will never lead to your healing. Ask yourself, do you ever feel better when you recount the details of the nightmare over and over? I don’t. It makes me cry, gives me anxiety attacks and sleepless nights.
Educating myself and putting a name on it (Borderline, Narcissist, Sociopath) has given me more peace than anything else. Pretend you met a person that drank alcohol every day. And then you noticed that they have black-outs, and you noticed that they hide alcohol and you noticed that they are in denial about how alcohol is negatively affecting their life and then one day, you come across information that informs you that all those things added up together equals ALCOHOLISM. Now you know. Now you know and you can spot an Alcoholic when you see one. For your purposes, it really doesn’t matter what they drink, or how sad their story is or how seductive they are. What matters is, you know what they are and how much it will end up hurting you and so you cut-your-losses and run as fast as you can the other way. Nothing else matters.
That is what you are doing here. You are learning to spot a Borderline, a Narcissist, a Sociopath, when you see one. You are here to learn that these kinds of individuals are looking for a person just like you. You are here to learn that there is nothing authentic about the “love” they offer you. You are here to learn how to be cautious when you notice your compassion and kindness and your willingness to see the best in people is triggered when it really shouldn’t be … like when danger signs are flashing and sirens are blaring inside of you. You are here to learn how to have healthy boundaries and to know when they are being crossed so that you put a stop to it immediately. I like to say now figuratively: It’s noble to throw yourself in front of a bus to save the one you love, but not if they are the one driving the bus!
The things I have learned on LoveFraud have helped me to get onto a path of healing. Accepting the label that fits has helped me tremendously to let go of the fake “love” he offered. I can see that his every action was simply a manipulation to get what he wanted out of me, and that my well being and happiness were NEVER on his agenda. You can bet that these things are top priority for me now. The details of what happened don’t matter to me anymore and I don’t need to tell them.
With Warmest Aloha,
E.R. aka “AlohaTraveler”