Editor’s Note: Lovefraud received this story from the member who writes as “Duped.”
In hindsight, I remember questioning the little green things on the dinosaur nuggets he prepared for dinner. I was surprised he’d made the effort, in response to much nagging about not pitching in. It was late and I’d just returned from teaching an evening class. An overload to pay the bills since he quit his job. We had been arguing a lot, or rather me complaining; him not working, cleaning, taking care of the kids or pets and not making so much of an effort as to prepare a meal or help me. I had been working my full-time job teaching, overloaded for extra pay, consulting work for a publisher to generate more income, plus trying to finish my graduate degree in time to make tenure. All this and two children, one his and only a year old. And he never lifted a finger.
Until those dinosaur nuggets with the odd parsley flakes….
Less than two weeks later, he filed a false Protection From Abuse (PFA) order and attempted to have me and my eldest son thrown out of our house (the one I had built from the ground up before I met him) take me for full custody of our one year old son who’d never spent a night without me, and soak me for child support, alimony and half the marital assets (we had been married 11 months) to which he had contributed nothing!
Fortunately, he was unsuccessful. Mostly because of who I am and the life I’ve created for me and my children. In part due to some due diligence. In part, despite my hyper vigilance.
It is hyper vigilance I’d like to address. It’s a nasty side effect of PTSD. I was able to get his PFA turned around and file one against him. I was believable, he was not. I was credible, he was not. I HAD cared for my children, he HAD not. I had NOT been abusive, he HAD. This was relatively easy to demonstrate, although it didn’t feel so at the time. So, while I had him right where I needed him, I still felt panic and fear. I still believed he would be believed. Why not? I had believed him and I’m no sucker!
So, I made an urgent appointment with my doctor to have a drug test. He WAS using drugs. I was NOT. He had accused me of being a drug dealer, when in fact it was his mother who was his supplier, and I felt this burning NEED to prove myself. I got that drug test and believe it or not, they lost the sample. Right then I should have taken a breath and allowed the Universe to work its divine intervention. But NO, I couldn’t do that. I was in the throes of battle. I NEEDED every little piece that would set things right. I HAD to have that drug result to PROVE HIM WRONG. I was DRIVEN and consumed.
I had a second test run right before court and asked the doctor to fax the results to the attorney. I didn’t need to hear the results first. I knew what I had and had not done. It would be negative. And my attorney believed that too, which is why she handed over the results to his attorney without reading them herself. And that’s how I lost the battle.
The results were positive for THC, the intoxicating chemical found in Marijuana. Not possible, until I remembered those parsley flakes in the damn dinosaur chicken nuggets he had served up with a pleased little grin.
And that was when I had to face being my own worst enemy. Hyper vigilance, while once my comrade in a childhood filled with craziness, had become the enemy. No one asked for the drug test and it certainly wasn’t court ordered. I had gone full blown into trying to work every little piece and angle to save me and my children, that I’d opened a cans of worms HE HAD ANTICIPATED! He played my vigilance to his advantage and had won…the battle.
I won the war. Because I am who I am and he is who he is and I didn’t have to make that case. He made it himself, once I tuned down from hyper vigilance to due diligence. I shifted from histrionic to matriarch. My change in posture elicited a change in his. He wasn’t pulling my strings any more. He wasn’t in control any more. I was in control of myself, which gave me far more of a positive influence over the situation. And his facade was shaken, revealing his true colors.
My point is, if you have been the victim of a sociopath, it is most likely you will be and maybe still are suffering from PTSD. With that comes the nasty black cloud of hyper vigilance. It’s exhausting, unproductive and ultimately leaves one angry and disappointed with themselves and actions. If you’re in the throws of situating your life in the wake of a sick or evil person, stop and take a deep breath. Ask yourself if what you’re doing is for the right reasons, makes sense and will take you in a direction that will raise you up, not bring you down.
Are you reacting because the situation REQUIRES it? Or are you reacting because you’re DRIVEN to? I ask myself these questions with regularity and find I’m a happier, more relaxed and better focused person, mother and professional.