Editor’s note: The following essay was submitted by Lovefraud reader “Presseject.” This is part two of his story. Part one was posted yesterday.
About two weeks after I confronted my S, there was a very dark day in which I was cut to pieces. I am okay now recalling it, but at that time, and for many weeks afterwards, it was like a knife in the heart. I would like to share a bit further with you the silver lining to this part of the story and how that relates to the good work you have done with the site. You see, it went like this:
I had my S visit and stay with me for my birthday weekend. He presented me with fun gifts and a card that included the words signed with “tons of love.” We had been dating for over six months at that point. (This included all the fun, spontaneous “impulsive” trips and arrangements including our visits to Miami, Key West, Palm Beach, Washington DC, New York City, Toronto, and London Ont.) But… while he was staying with me that last visit on my birthday, I happened to glance over at his laptop and saw a heading in his email program on a received email from what I thought was a dating website. So naturally I questioned it and I was told it was no one he knew, that sometimes he visited the site but wasn’t meeting anyone. A real nice birthday surprise!
After he went back, I found the site, having memorized the name of it in the email heading. To find his profile, I had to create one for myself. Once I did this, I saw he was very active at the site, logging in each day and the profile was marked as “looking for a relationship and/or one-on-one.” This left a sinking feeling in me. I thought we had a relationship, so again I needed to let him know it didn’t sit well with me. To do this though took even greater strength. I remember turning to God in prayer at that point to ask for that strength to find and face the truth, whatever it might be. And this was actually the beginning of my new relationship with God. Together with God’s help I knew I was going to get to the truth (I am still in this quest and I will continue this prayer) but little did I know it would turn my world inside out and leave me without the dream of love and feeling something others have described as being emotionally raped.
The day I after I spoke with him about my feelings about the site and his profile which he said calmly he’d “take into consideration,” he sent three typical friendly emails, pictures of himself with family, links to fun websites, nothing out of the ordinary. That evening though, he called and said it was over. He was going to try to find someone closer to where he lived possibly. He said he couldn’t explain me to his family although oddly, a few months prior, he had introduced me affectionately to each and every one of them! I was stunned and expressed my shock, especially after all the birthday gifts and words of love shared the week before. That sinking feeling was the Titanic going down then. To be discarded so quickly without much of a sound reason was baffling and horrible all at the same time.
Somehow I had the sense (when all seemed like chaos and NO sense) to google “personality disorder” along with the word “relationship” about a week after that. It led to the various sites on narcissism that seemed to give hints at what had just happened. (I learned to do searches excluding the words “Sam,” “Vaknin” and “Malignant” after a while). A close friend soon suggested the idea of a sociopath to me. (I still very much like the description one visitor has offered at Lovefraud of a “sociopath parading as a narcissist”) and it was the descriptions of a sociopath I found at Lovefraud that fit so well with my experience of the shock I had experienced of being “discarded.” But somehow, unlike many of the stories I had been reading, I hadn’t sensed that I had been completely “devalued.” (Discarded yes, but devalued?) That maybe my S was not such an S after all. (Later on I would read many entries in the site about those of us who are left wanting to still find hope in these kinds of situations, the appropriate and helpful reference to the Stockholm syndrome in particular). So I was, at that point, very hurt, very confused and still hopeful that love might still triumph. After all, I had never met someone so “nice” and fun to be with (at the beginning of course) and even after the hurt, it then still seemed worth “fixing.” (Part of me now thinks that having that kind sweet hope alive probably serves to help to cushion the extreme shock of what is plainly a hurtful and illogical abandonment.)
So I rose to the occasion, and again called on God to help back me up. It was at that two week time period after his “gotta go now” quick ending of our relationship that I sent one very kind and considerate email suggesting that perhaps that there had been a misunderstanding, that it seemed a shame to throw away all the fun and passionate friendship we had been enjoying so intently. In return, the next day, I received the most caustic, illogical, insulting and degrading note I have ever read from anyone. All I can say is THANK GOD I had found the Lovefraud.com site the week prior because as this horrible dark experience took such a sinister turn, I knew from reading your site enough to know that part of the equation, (the part that was missing) was the “devalued” part. I had been discarded the week before with not much of an explanation. And sure enough, I then had it in full force in front of me, the “devaluing” part, seething with vile and cold inequity.
His heartless letter was filled with twisted statements about my body that he thought revolted him (odd, since throughout the entire six months I was told over and over how desirable I was!) The rest of it was illogical too, the reasoning seemed childish, trivial and hurtful. But it set me free actually. I had prayed to God for strength and understanding. I had found this, God had indeed helped me to find the tools of understanding and knowledge through your site from experts and through the words of other survivors you have helped. Through reading your site, I was somewhat “protected” when this insane letter was received having been somewhat warned about how a sociopath might behave. It was the most startling realization, painful of course yet on the other hand, all the “pieces” of the puzzle now fit. I really can’t imagine how much worse the pain would have been without the good information I had found at Lovefruad.com. Thank you again for being there! Although it was one of the most damaging emotional things I have ever experienced, Lovefraud has been a real part of the silver lining in getting through this storm. The other part I guess is me… I did the hard part of walking through this and caring for myself enough to get my sanity back.
I can tell you this much too; as others have noted here, friends, ministers, group therapy and other places I have turned to did not quite provide the kind of human compassionate understanding I needed to help me through this over the last three months. I was going through days in which I was strong with my new understandings. Other days I was left trying to find even a shred of what my heart had been or felt like. I knew “no contact” was the only option even though I would still get urges to write and send things (new feelings of forgiveness, anger, or needing justice still surface from time to time.) Learning these kinds of individuals cannot change was also helpful. Over time, the hurt I experienced was less and less about my personal shortcomings (through his hurtful words that I had mistakenly held up against myself only adding fuel to his fire he started). Lovefraud helped initially for me to learn some basics about the behaviors (how to identify a sociopath, etc) \and then went even further to help me regain myself again, to learn this could be the start of a whole new positive change for me and my approach to relationships (which I also learned has been punctuated by somewhat similar encounters although nothing as awful as this last one). I am resolved now to keep seeking the truth in others and in myself. I won’t be so quick to be attracted to those with effortless charm and fearless impulsiveness or selfish motives, no matter how “successful” they might be in other areas of their lives. I have learned about my old pattern of picking out this kind of “successful” person from a crowd. I have learned about my own impulsiveness and (controlling) need to be a caretaker to someone emotionally unavailable. It can work in the short run but not for anything more substantial… like love.
That is where I am heading now, towards love, a shared love, and with luck I will find this. Lovefraud has helped and this is why I have taken time to write here, to express continued gratefulness for all those who make this site so helpful. My words are here for God too, as a prayer to share with Him my gratefulness during this recovery period, for His help and the strength he has given me to rise above the chaos with new insights and compassion for myself. To experience how I am able to take responsibility too for my own welfare, to be an active and (still) loving part in this process. God answered my prayer and I believe He will also answer others who ask and pray. (A higher power can do this, however you come to see this and whatever names you choose to use for it)…
To go one step further, my words here are also a prayer for those that are also, at this very moment, trying hard through very difficult times to find their own understanding and strength. I hope you find it and I hope you are also able to set yourself free from all that is cruel, careless and hurtful. (Please read all you can about this kind of disorder, it really helps to get past the hurt from being left in the dark.) We each have this power within us, it is up to each of us to find it and put it to good use!