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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: I loved the person he was pretending to be.

Editor’s note: This story was received from a reader who goes by the name of “Elegy.”

I married a sociopath. Like most of them, he came off charming and wonderful at first. We met at church. Looking back, I realize there were many red flags … but what I told myself was that you can’t dismiss someone just because they’re not perfect. Everyone has flaws, and he was only twenty-five. Hey, young guys (and girls) can sometimes do stupid things. Let them know what’s bothering you about it and hope things change.

And things did change. He would apologize. He gave me the “I had no idea” line, or the “I’m so sorry, it will never happen again” line, and it actually seemed as if it wouldn’t.

So we got married. Too fast, obviously, or I would have found him out eventually… but we had a deployment hanging over our heads. Both of us. Would we come back alive? Would only one of us? It makes me sick to think so now, but I guess I loved the person he was pretending to be, and I didn’t want to lose him.

So we rushed. We got married.

Deployment was postponed.

He started to be himself more often, and I got worried. It was still nothing all that major, so I thought, you know … I don’t want to be one of those people who gives up on a marriage because it gets a little rocky. And that’s a good way to be … unless you’re married to a sociopath.

Satisfactorily trapped

I got pregnant. He decided I was satisfactorily trapped.

He dropped all his masks, and life turned into a living hell.

For a long time I was determined to stay. I was afraid that, if we divorced, he would get either full or joint custody. If we stayed married, he had no excuse to be alone with our daughter. I could protect her.

But just when I thought it was as bad as it was going to get, he would get worse. I went to a marriage counselor who opened my eyes to (Strunk and White forgive me) the fact that my husband was abusive. She did not diagnose him as a sociopath, unfortunately, but I’m positive he is one. There’s no other explanation. He fits the profile exactly.

Out on leave

When I left the Army to have and take care of my baby, I went home. The distance gave me perspective. I realized just how horrible a person he had been, and when he came out on leave, he was still less than endearing. I would ask him to buy diapers, and he would tell my father the ATM was out of order to con him into buying them. He would then buy things for himself. He was avoiding buying things for the baby in order to have more money for himself.

I kept the bedroom door locked because I was afraid of what he might do if I didn’t. I didn’t want the constant pouting, the arguments … the threats. Back home, he regularly told me he was going to use these knives I bought him (when I thought he was sane) to skin me. During the visit, he told me I’d better be nice to him or he’d shank me with the spade in the back yard. Thank God my mother heard that one through the window.

When I nursed the baby on the couch, he would hang over my shoulder and do things to keep her awake. When my mother told him to quit, to give me some space, he flung himself across the couch like a four-year-old having a temper tantrum and became silent. When she left the room, he stood up and dropped a pillow onto the couch next to the now sleeping baby to wake her up. When she woke up, he smiled at me, and said, “Well that sucks, doesn’t it?”

Checking for power

He left. He called only when he wanted money, but what he said was he was getting depressed, he wanted to see the baby, he didn’t know if I still loved him — he was checking to see if he still had any power over me. Then he would drop his hints: how much bonus money do you still have from the Army? The car is breaking down.

Well, he had recently opened a new bank account so he could funnel everything from our joint account into it (thank God I still had my separate account, or I’d have had nothing).

So I told him:

“I don’t have any money. I’ve had to use it all buying diapers, diaper ointment, clothes, toys, teething rings. Paying bills.”

“You shouldn’t have done that,” was his only response.

“What else could I do? Someone was taking all the money and putting it where I couldn’t get to it.”

Silence from the sociopath.

I checked his phone records and bank records (for the account I still had access to) after the call. His mention of bills had troubled me for some reason. Turned out he had two phones now, and he was using one of them to call divorce attorneys.

Filed for divorce

I called the state he was in to check if any divorces had been filed under our names. They hadn’t.

Next time he called, I played it sweet and innocent, determined not to let him get wind of what I was doing — for my own protection.

Then I filed for divorce.

He forced my hand, but in the end, I suppose it was for the best. I could stay with him, but as financially abusive as he is, I would have ended up getting a job and leaving the baby, and he would have either abused, kidnapped or killed her. Then I would get to go to jail for not divorcing him.

Still, I am terrified he will get partial custody. I’m asking that the court make him undergo psychiatric testing, but he is, like the others, a good actor. The counselor who saw us originally actually said he seemed “highly intelligent, willing to change,” and that “he genuinely seemed to care for me.”

And that was after I had told her about the threats to skin me, which, the sociopath said, were a joke I was too uptight to understand.

I don’t know what I’ll do if he gets custody of any kind, unless I am there to supervise … and I don’t even know if one parent is allowed to supervise the others visitation, or if it has to be some stranger — in which case I will go out of my mind with worry anyway.

I’m praying that all will go well, because that’s all I can do.

Even my attorney seems to be on his side. He cuts me down and cuts me off when we speak. You don’t need a protective order, he says. The man is still states away, he says. You’re going to have to prove he’s dangerous to the child to take away his custody rights, he says, and when I asked him how I’m supposed to prove that when abusers are never abusive around witnesses, he shrugs. When I asked him what exactly I had to prove to get what I needed, he says, you’re a paralegal, look it up.

Yes, he’s been very helpful. Very understanding. Worse still, his paralegals are all students, and seem to have no idea what they’re doing. I can never get the same one twice, and when one calls me, she never leaves her name.

Poetry

I’ve written a poem about my dilemma, about how someone always has to fall down the well (or be abused by their sociopath mother or father) before the well is sealed (or thrown in jail). I’d like to share it with you:

That well is always there
In the corner of her mind
Where the shades are halfway drawn
And her memories wander
Blind

It had hurt her
Very badly
Broke an arm
A leg
A hand
But
There was no laying blame on wells
And so
The well to this day stands

And she knows one day
The baby
Will take a slip and fall
But the man who holds the hammer
Remains heedless
To her call
He tells her not to worry
Not to worry
Not at all

“My judgment, my dear lady
Is infallible as God
I know just what I’m doing
So don’t spare
Another
Thought.”

And although her bones still ache
Along fault lines from days of old
And although that well is hateful
She can only do as told

And it happened
While she worked
That the baby slipped and fell
Down the mouth-like deep dark tunnel
Of that hateful back yard well

And the man who held the hammer
Takes the woman off to jail
“If that well had been so hateful
Was there no one you could tell?”



17 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: I loved the person he was pretending to be."

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  1. witsend says:

    Petra60,

    You have a gift. A way with words. Your story is very painful yet you are very articulate in the way you tell it. I think you should write a book. Or at least a short story. And I’m serious.

    If I had to go to court for anything I would want YOU to represent me.

    The thing about the court system is that you have about 5 minutes to really plead your case in front of the judge and if you can’t articulate such as yourself…… Getting this stuff accross to your own lawyer sometimes is difficult if not impossible.

    You said something that really got to me today, especially.

    You said: The question that kept circling around in my head: “If he is a sociopath – why is it that he can be nice to other people?”

    Earlier today I was talking to a good friend of mine. She had mentioned something about my son that she had not told me before. About a year ago, something had fallen out of her pick up truck in the middle of the road while driving. She had to stop and retrieve it. And my son just happened to be skating boarding down this road. He stopped and went over to her to see if she needed any help.

    I so seldom see kindness in him.
    This story brought tears to my eyes…..Because all I could wonder about all day was how can I be even thinking that my son has S/P/N tendancys if he can show an act of kindness like this? I have been beating myself up all day….

    The thing that is and continues to be confusing for me is that because my son is young and “growing into” these tendancys I don’t see the “mask” slip as people here describe it. He rarely shows “the good boy” side at home. He has no reason to be nice to me or even suck up to me (like teens sometimes do) if he really wants something. Because he feels entitled to it.

    WHAT I do see is this in reverse. I see the mask sometimes “go on” when he is out in the real world. Because this is so confusing to me, I ALWAYS want to think I am mistaken.
    Well after all, he is MY SON. So I do WANT to be mistaken. And yet when I look at the big picture, what is going on with him as a whole (rather than just here at home) ….It is pretty chilling. When I see how quickly things have escalated. When I really look at the big picture….The Dr Jekle and Mr Hide personality, I am back to being terrified again.

    I think your story will help many people on here.



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  2. sstiles54 says:

    Petra60,
    I was raised to believe that good deeds get rewarded & bad deeds get punished. In dealing with an s & the “legal” system, nothing could be farther from the truth. The saying “justice is blind” certainly applies!



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  3. Petra60 says:

    Isabell – your blog brought back all those memories of how my ex would do the exact opposite from what I wanted. When I wanted our baby – he arranged an abortion…when I didn’t want children – he wanted four. I wanted my tubes tied after two children – he refused to sign the papers (I was only a “dependent” in the military and couldn’t do anything without his permission). There were big decisions and small ones…he always did the opposite. I learned not to tell him what I wanted…and like you – I had to figure out how to protect myself. I write down everything…never throw anything away…always try to stay one step ahead. I hate all the paperwork and the second guessing…but, I am feeling empowered and prepared.

    My ex loves litigation and knows how the system works (he fought his sisters in court over a million dollar estate and managed to waste most of it on attorney fees).

    He called one of my former attorneys and told him that I am writing graffiti all over his “Hummer” and that I am handing out leaflets accusing him of being a wife abuser. The attorney called me and told me to stop doing that. I was shocked.

    Every time my ex came up with more lies – I felt betrayed and humiliated – I couldn’t comprehend how or why this was happening. He was wearing me down. I was not equipped to deal with this evil person. My brain did not have the capacity to translate his former declarations of love and devotion into pure and utter hatred.

    I read all the books on the subject…it still didn’t make sense. My therapist was wonderfully supportive – and she helped me through the worst of times – but, she had not experienced life with a sociopath first hand and often didn’t know what I was talking about. Friends wanted to help but, didn’t know how. Then, I found Lovefraud blogs. I have been reading them for a couple of years without writing myself. Not only did they give me courage, but, they always put things back into perspective when I wanted to give up. I practiced “Cognitive Behavior Therapy” (distracted myself as soon as thoughts of him entered my head). I meditated…painted…taught classes…shopped…played tennis with little Wii’s…visited friends…read Lovefraud blogs…started writing a book…but, life was only peaceful as long as HE wanted it to be. Even when I thought I was in control of my life – he would be plotting and scheming how to take me down. I didn’t want to be a coward or a victim any longer. I didn’t want to stoop down to his level. I didn’t want to be one of those wives who were out for revenge. I didn’t want to turn bitter and hateful.
    But, it was hard to hold on to my integrity in the middle of covert attacks. It was and still is uncanny of what he thinks of. Mostly – it’s pathetic.

    He has taken me to court twice – and has lost twice. But, he has not given up. Once again – I find myself incredulous at his tenacity. He snubs his nose at the judge because he is convinced that he is above the law.

    Witsend – first of all – thank you for the compliments. I have been wanting to write a book since I was ten years old. Have been doing all the research and have written rough drafts for a book that will hopefully help women make informed decisions about living and/or divorcing a sociopath/abuser.
    Secondly – I can empathize with you about your son. One of my sons has inherited the genes or has adopted his Dad’s behavior. It breaks my heart when I think about him and how he is hell bent on ruining his life. He treats women with disdain…and me worse. He has made my life miserable. I kept bailing him out because I thought he was worth saving…but, he has gone over to the dark side. The last time I saw him I realized that he found as much joy in my pain as his father. There was not a flicker of empathy or sympathy in his eyes when I started crying. He is a pathological liar…a user…a cheater. He blames everyone and everything for whatever mess he gets himself into.

    I have decided to take myself out of harm’s way. Ten minutes with my sons – and my body starts hurting (I have fibromyalgia and Trigeminal Neuralgia). I am a human being who deserves to be treated with respect – and whoever can’t abide by my rules – they need to stay away. There is one thing I learned: We teach people how to treat us. I used to speak up – but, always let them back into my house and into my life. They knew how it worked and are now totally surprised that I am not the kind and loving doormat I used to be. I changed. It was hard. Every day I tell myself: “Petra – you made it through another day – and you are O.K.”

    Instead of spending money on my boys or others – I spend it on myself. Instead of wasting time trying to explain myself – I write. Instead of crying – I laugh. Instead of thinking about “what if” – I accept what I have. Don’t misunderstand – it hurts a lot and there are moments when the tears run down my cheeks – involuntarily. I used to feel sorry for myself – but, now, I wipe them away and turn on my dancing music. And I dance.



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  4. henry says:

    Petra60 I have been reading your post and when you said “I dance” I smiled real big thank you..



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  5. Isabell says:

    Petra60…

    I agree with Witsend, publication is calling your name.

    “And I dance.” Hmmmm… I love this. Thank you.



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  6. Isabell says:

    Happiness is ours for the making.

    It doesn’t matter if we experience
    episodes of the emotional black hole.

    I doesn’t matter if the “entitled”
    reposessed our joy.

    What matters is our decision to
    thrive through it all.

    As with all recovery programs,
    Healing is a daily excercise.

    Healig requires a community
    of safe people with similar
    experiences.

    When I was at the point of wanting to end my life
    I realized my kids were watching.

    In spite of the emptiness I felt,
    I had to give them hope.

    So, I began telling them on the way to school,
    “Something spectacular is headed our way.”

    Then I would get excited with major enthusiasm,
    And ask, “Hey, guess what?…”
    They inquire, of course..
    The I’d tell them…
    “Something spectacular is headed our way,
    And, it’s almost here.”

    Which soon became,
    “Something spectacular is headed our way,
    And, guess what? Its happening all around us
    We just don’t notice it yet.”

    Soon, the kids were telling me of the often overlook mini miricles that they witnessed in each day…

    Re-directing their focus to the blessings, mini miricles, and spectacular happenings vs their sense of feeling abandoned, and their character assasinated, gave them a confidence to thrive, because something spectacular was happening in their life, they just didn’t know what it is, yet.



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  7. blueskies says:

    Petra:) I loved the last paragraph in your post of the 20th @ 9.10 🙂
    I feel I have turned a corner in my healing, or life, over the past few weeks and I can pinpoint exactly when it clicked( it was on here actually:)x Life has changed shape for me, I know this sounds odd but it even ‘smells’ different… like it used to when it was good. I went through a mental ‘eject’ process I think, and literally let the hidiousness of the last year and my childhood drift off into the sunset. these things that have happend are no longer my fights, my chains, my problems… these types of people are no longer my concern… I do not accept them into my life… whoever they are. I still have the usual life peskies but they are mine and mine alone and that is okay:)xx



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  8. Petra60 says:

    Thanks for the comments. I feel as if everyone here has touched my life with beautiful, heartfelt words. Thank you Elegy for your emotional poem; sstiles for your empathy; henry for your smile; blueskies for your positive attitude; Isabell for your entusiasm;witsend for your compliments; OxDrover for her great advice; shabbychic,polly, missy and breckgirl for their experience…

    Words are powerful tools – they can hurt or heal – they can get us stuck in misery or move us forward – they can lift our spirits or make us depressed. I don’t believe that we always have the choice to feel great or act strong – but, instead of blaming others we need to learn to own those feelings. If you sit real still and let the thoughts come…if you concentrate on your breath – if you are honest with yourself and answer the tough questions “Why am I really angry?” “Why am I so upset?” “What will I gain from this?” “Is it worth the energy”?
    Do I want him/her have this kind of power over me?

    There are no easy answers – but, if you make time to listen – solutions will manifest themselves. And while you are sitting down (when no one is watching:) smile. It will make you feel better instantaneously.

    Have a peaceful day – wherever you are.



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