Editor’s note: The following letter was sent by Lovefraud reader; we’ll call him “Bob.” Other names and locations have also been changed.
We were living in a midwest city; she moved there for her job transfer several months before the children and I could move. She had one previous affair with a co-worker in our previous city. After I discovered the affair, she sought out the job transfer. I believe the reason being to get out of town and not have to face her co-workers and our friends once the news of the affair and our failing marriage got out. She moved to the new city ahead of me, I stayed back with the children to keep them in school and sell the house. Five months later when we all finally moved to the new city, I discovered she had been having another affair in the new town. I agreed to separate and move into an apartment before I discovered that affair. Her new man even helped me move. I held on to our marriage for a while, then I finally gave up. She kept pulling me back through manipulation, attempts to control, using the children as pawns. She was able to draw me and her other men in to do for her. She still seems to have control over some of her previous lovers.
She had a great relationship with my family up until the first affair was uncovered. She could charm anyone. But when that happened, she completely cut off communications with them. She pointed fingers at them, claimed they attacked her and said bad things about her to their friends and family. My parents were deeply hurt to see what she had done to me, and they had loved her as well. She then convinced me that they were steering me in a bad direction. She turned me against them. They knew what she was all about, but my family couldn’t convince me of it. She was successful at alienating me from my family, my support network. This is how they work.
I initiated our divorce, as she would not do it, even though she continued to see her second affair regularly. She wanted the benefits of having me around to do for her, wanted to give the perception that we divorced amicably and where able to co-parent effectively. During our divorce negotiations, she found a way to get herself terminated from her high-paying job (I had stayed home with our children for four years at that point) to avoid child support and spousal maintenance. She received a one-year severance and immediately hooked up with a childhood friend who lived across the country. She began flying to see him every other weekend, leaving the children behind with me. The two of them lobbied me to agree to move to his town as, what she termed as “a family unit”. After almost two years of the harassment to move, I gave in. After I had some time to think it over, I decided it wasn’t best to move. Not good for me, not good for the children to be uprooted again for her fantasy. I had to do decide how to tell her; I was scared of her wrath. I had not worked for six years, was beaten down, emasculated, low self esteem, and likely depressed. I was tired of the continued boundary violations, manipulation; it was a toxic relationship I had to terminate.
Where I am going is that I finally had clarity, so I sat and wrote the following email to my family (note: names and locations changed). The end result… She moved away without the children, sued me for custody and she ultimately lost. I fully believed she wanted me to move so I could continue to take care of the children while she moved on and did as she pleased. This cost us close to $300,000 jointly. It has almost broke me financially. She visits the children frequently, gets them for the summer, and continually attempts to alienate the children against me and my new wife. She did not, nor has intentions to, move back to our state to be with her children. That is very telling.
I would like to offer an apology to all of you, and thank you for your ongoing support at the same time. You have supported me throughout this personal hell that I have endured during the past several years. I am regretful that I have pushed off your support at times, suggestions and ideas as meddling at times, but I do know that it was because you care for the kids’ and my wellbeing. It was manipulation by Angie that caused me to do that, and you knew that all along. I didn’t want to be burden to any of you, or appear to be seeking sympathy or empathy.
Many things have occurred in the past several months that have finally opened my eyes to whom and what I have been dealing with in Angie. Of course, I saw this before but never acted upon it. This woman has pretty much destroyed my life, my self-esteem, my emotional and physical health. I could say that I blame myself for allowing this to happen. Yes, I could have stopped it. I now have clarity that what has become of me is a direct result of my relationship with her. I can only equate it to having a personal relationship with Satan.
I have now decided that it is now time to take back my life, take a stand, and do only what is best for me and the boys, regardless of the impact on Angie or the repercussions that I anticipate. I realize that trying to be friends with her is only detrimental to all of us. We might be friends in the future for the children’s sake when she understand and respects boundaries, but for now, that needs to wait. I now fully understand that everything she says and does is manipulation. She got this hold on me years ago, and I was always afraid to break free of it. The fear of recourse, anger, attacks, of being alone, self-sufficient, etc. was paralyzing. Her tactics are appalling, and you have witnessed this and attempted to open my eyes to it. Now I am ready take anything she throws at me and fight it off. I felt that being friends with her would be good for me and the children. But that only gives her opportunity to use, take advantage and manipulate for her needs. Every time I give an inch, she tries to take a mile. I lose sleep, have anxieties and fears over what I feel would be her reactions to me standing up to her. It has takes a terrible toll on my wellbeing, which affects the children as well. This is like breaking a bad addiction.
What has made me change my course, you ask? Working on the house to get it ready for sale, for one. Being in her presence for extended periods of times opened up opportunities for her to attempt manipulation, to use me for her needs. What I see as her inaction in attempting to find work in Texas. I am now convinced that she has no intention of finding sustainable work in TX. The move there is solely for her benefit, so she can sit on her ass, and I get the short end of the stick.
So what do I plan to do? I drafted a long letter a couple of days ago to be sent to Angie. I have attached a copy for you, just so you see where I was going with it. It is laced with personal attacks and examples of her behavior, and my demands necessary for me to consider a move to TX. I did not send that. Upon drafting that letter, I stopped into Barnes and Noble and began to read a book about manipulation (Who’s Pulling Your Strings – How to break the cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life) – recommended reading for all of you. I perused this book for 20 minutes and immediately realized the book was written about Angie, and about me. It had an immediate impact on me. Everything in the book is true to life as to how she operates, and the effect the manipulation has on its victim. It also provides very clear and good information on how to counter the manipulator. I remember after reading the book on narcissism (Why is it always about you? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism) two years ago how that held true too. This book takes it all that much further, and sheds light on how those narcissists, and other personality types, operate and crush those in their lives to succumb to their wishes and needs, and psychological impact on those victims. I also realized that the letter I drafted would have no effect on her, other than for her to attack me, and try to further manipulate me to believe I am wrong and she is not this way. Bottom line, as I had speculated before, she is a very sick woman, and no person alive could ever convince her of it.
As much as I fear the recourse, I am prepared to deal with her in a calm and controlled fashion. This may lead another of her signature emotional breakdowns, which I now fully believe her past emotional breakdowns were manipulation tactics. If she cannot control me, she has lost something valuable to her, and she cannot handle that. This might even be crippling for her. She has attempted and been successful in convincing me that others in my life have been steering me in bad direction. That I should listen to her, that she is right, and everyone else is wrong. Well, I am done listening, because I now understand the true motivation, and I understand how I combat it.
When the shit hits the fan, which will be later today, I will need your ongoing emotional support to stay the course.
Just on a side note, I have no hard feelings about Dan (her boyfriend). I almost pity him. He is a nice man and I feel he is also a poor victim of her manipulation and lies, and has no idea what he is dealing with. But it is not my responsibility to inform him of her evil ways. From what I can gather, it is her intent to move there, have him support her, and she live the life of leisure, dabbling in hobbies for income, with no regard to what I want or need. That would also result in a legal battle to collect child support.
I know this has been a very difficult period for all of you. I know it has been tough for you to watch endure this. I know what you say to me is out of love for me and the boys. She has destroyed many lives, namely mine, but crippled others as well, and does not understand that, nor does she care.
I love you all,
After sending and mulling over the email above for a few weeks, I ultimately only sent an email to my ex advising that the children and I would not be moving. Simple as that. That put the whole custody suit in motion. She ramped up job search efforts in her boyfriend’s town, bought a huge house, all to convince the children to want to move and to convince the court that she could provide for the children better than I could. Her lies in affidavits, to the parent custodian, custody evaluator, her attorneys, expert witness, friends and in court were so appalling. It was almost uncomfortable for me to watch her as my attorney ferreted out her lies under cross-examination, to see her squirm and attempt to spin in front of the judge. I have the children now, and her antics never stop.