Editor’s note: Lovefraud received this letter from a reader who we’ll call “Abigail.”
I grew up very sheltered in an ultra-religious family; I had no knowledge whatsoever about deceitful liars. I should have — because my also very innocent and trusting mother was misled by one man like that, who deceived her, promising her marriage, just to end up getting her pregnant (with me) and then leave her and us for good. My family, however, preferred to deal with this issue by keeping it as much secret as possible, so unfortunately I couldn’t learn from my mother’s mistakes.
I have been sheltered in a “glass box” all my life; my family tried to keep me away from inappropriate relationships and people. In the meantime, however, my family was also very unhealthy, being very respectable on the surface with many nasty buried skeletons beneath. I have been lonely, suffering from the emotionally abusive and hypocritical atmosphere at home, and the lack of father figure. My family was even jealous of my female friends.
I never had interest in boys my age. Somehow, I was always looking for a man I could look up on, almost like looking up at a father. Truthfully, grown men used to notice me, too, by the time I was 12-13 because of being naturally curvy on certain areas. I — totally innocently — flirted with them, looking for no sexual relationship but approval, acceptance and love above all.
My best friend’s uncle
I remember when I was 13, my best friend’s old uncle started to inappropriately touch me, trying to seduce me into sexual relationship privately at his own home, but being so naive and innocent about all sexual matters, I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that I was enjoying the situation and felt thrilled about it — some unknown pride crept into my life, where I felt I finally had the ability to gain affection from people.
Thankfully my family discovered it before it was too late and that put and end to it, including my friendship with my best friend. I don’t even know how I managed to avoid exploiting sexual relationships through my high school years, but actually loving to study and excel at school might have had something to do with it.
Sorry for the long intro — I wanted to explain what background I am coming from.
I was still a “kid” at heart at age 20, longing for a “Dad” to look up to, when I met Mr. Charmer, completely coincidentally. The attraction was mutual and immediately overpowering. He was all I have ever fantasised about: tall, dark, handsome, masculine, enchanting — with the eyes and voice of a snake charmer — mesmerizing from head to toe. I was hooked. He was very affectionate, extremely romantic and caring — and I was in heaven.
He didn’t live very close to me, so in between being able to meet, we kept in touch online/over the phone. It felt like we hit it off right away and he seemed like everything I’d ever hoped for. I told him very early on that I was a virgin and I wanted to stay that way until I met that special someone who will be my husband. I thought I must have sounded like a weirdo for him, but much to my surprise, he was extremely relieved about it, and voiced admiration about my strong morals in this crazy world.
I knew he had many girlfriends before (with his Greek god-like looks, I wasn’t surprised at all, plus I always found experienced men “thrilling,” so I didn’t care) but he made it very clear that he was tired of girls that play with his emotions and he’d been disappointed a lot. All he wanted was a serious relationship with me, who was a very good and faithful person with a touch of wildness in my heart. He admired my looks, too, and seemingly everything about me. He was a great listener and a great support when I felt I needed his sympathy and “protection” when things went bad at home or I felt insecure. All said and done, I adored him. I idolized him. He seemed to really enjoy it — which I noticed, but gave him excuses for being a little vain — who wouldn’t be with his inner and outer qualities, after all?
Mask starts to slip
Months after meeting, and after lots of romantic talks and intense romantic involvement, we started to talk about marriage. It was like a dream come true. I was walking on clouds and so was he, seemingly. Unfortunately, at this point I started to have some serious doubts and nagging questions about him. I don’t know when the “mask” started to crack, perhaps when I first started to discover (and experience) his extreme mood swings. Then he started to be less affectionate and more demeaning. He even started to lie and when he was called out on that, somehow it turned out to be my fault.
He claimed how much stress I caused to him, and how hurt he was that I didn’t trust him while he was so loved by everyone else; I didn’t even deserve him. He started to criticize me and “naturally” I never questioned the validity of his words. He was experienced, I clearly wasn’t — I believed he knew much better, he must have been right, after all, I was so young compared to him (he was 10 years older).
Begging myself to leave
Nevertheless, my bad gut feeling started to grow by the day. I often felt so hurt, so heartbroken and lonely. I remember writing in my journal about him — practically begging myself to wake up from this dream that was about to turn into a nightmare. Yet every single time when I started to feel strongly about running from him, he charmed himself back to my heart. I often chose to close my eyes and turn the other way, since I was really afraid to lose him and the emotional investment, engagement and so forth.
I also learnt to be afraid of him by then, not that he ever hurt me physically, but his anger outbursts and our arguments were extremely exhausting and I wanted to avoid them at all costs. I knew I wasn’t perfect (he let me know over and over in case I’d forgotten) and I thought to myself: “Well, he’s not perfect either, after all, but just as much as he sticks with me even though I am imperfect, so will I.” I am a very faithful person and I always took pride in that.
Now he wants sex
In the meantime, somehow, he lost his appreciation for my virginity. He now became demeaning about it, and he heavily worked on me to give in to have sex before we got married. He achieved it by a lot of erotic talk and I have to admit I was really not immune to this at all. I was bouncing over the walls from the (sexual) frustration by then, and the pressure and fear of letting him down and making him angry with me. I needed to prove to him that I was able to keep him and satisfy his needs, because I am “good enough of a woman” for him. So I gave in.
On that special day I found him to be a little too ADHD and hyper, but I thought it was just excitement on his end. He seemed to “burst at seams” with an almost unnatural excitement, he was grabbing me, suddenly pushing me up against his car in public, circling around me like a lion that’s about to eat its prey, staring at me with predatory eyes, licking his lips — it was unnatural. It was a turn-on too, of course, to experience such a wild and demanding and overpowering and sizzling masculinity, all directed at me. But it still made me feel very uncomfortable. I even started to wonder if this was such a good idea, and I contemplated telling him, somehow, to wait, but I couldn’t work up the courage for that.
No affection or love
Once in his room, Mr. Charmer was gone. I didn’t notice it right away — it was a very exciting and “sacred” moment for me, and I didn’t think of anything bad right away when he started to “make me” please him in all kinds of ways. It felt degrading and without love, so I got a little confused and eventually, scared — he had no affection, love or gentleness for me at all.
After me pleasing him for a while, he immediately wanted to have sex, which I tried to stop, realizing that this is just too much for me, being extremely confused and hurt because I felt all of a sudden as if he didn’t care for me romantically at all. I stopped him and he withdrew, became extremely cold, emotionless, and his anger started to build up. I was scared. I tried to calm him with hugs and kisses, tried to explain that this is not what we talked about, but he told me to make up my mind to decide what I want, if I want him at all or not. I tried to explain that I did want him, but this was not how it was planned, so much without love and gentleness.
Brutal and animalistic
Well, he made up his mind that we would have sex anyway. I will spare you from the details of this torturous, horrible experience. Multiple times I asked him to stop; he didn’t care, he did it anyway. It was as brutal and animalistic and unbearably painful as anyone can imagine. He would also make me do things to him for his pleasure, and he didn’t take “no” for an answer. He didn’t look at me or touch me, he was lost in his own world where he dominated and he was the best lover, probably, because after he was done he asked me if it was indeed great and what I liked best.
I wanted to vomit. I was frozen, emotionless, torn apart physically and emotionally, in an extreme amount of pain with severe bleeding. I felt like a slave with “her master.” Reality became surreal and I flat out didn’t even know who I was anymore. This torture went on for the whole weekend. I had the “physical” ability to leave him, since he never locked/bonded me, but I did not have the emotional/spiritual ability to leave, if that makes sense at all.
I still “loved” him, I was extremely hurt and scared, I had nowhere to go really (not physically but emotionally … he was my everything and now that this idol was torn, I really felt like there was nowhere else in the world where I could go anyway.) I immediately felt extremely bonded to him physically, even though this made me nauseated. (I knew nothing of betrayal/traumatic bonding back then.) I realized by then that this is all that he wanted from me, and all his love was fake. He even told me that he’d teach me how to please a man, because I was young and I needed to have fun and skills. Yet I still believed somewhere inside that if I was willing and obedient, then somehow I could regain his love for me.
Dumped and isolated
All said and done, after these tragic days/nights, it didn’t take long for him to dump me. Better to say, he really didn’t dump me, he just stopped talking to me. I had to provoke it and kept calling him, etc. to try to make sense of all that has happened, to try to come to terms. I couldn’t let him go. I didn’t want to. In a sick way, I couldn’t imagine that I could ever live without him. My religious beliefs also made me feel very guilty; I felt dirty, shameless and like a “slut.” Some of my — also religious — friends (once they figured out that I had sex with him) also treated me that way, so I became completely isolated. This isolation made me feel bonded with him even more, because of what we’d shared in the past. and because of the physical connection that was a very strong bonding power for me, despite of the torturous and brutal nature of it.
After a month or so of such a weird “relationship,” he decided to not to pick up the phone anymore, nor answer back, throwing me into a hysterical crying fit for days. I begged him to return, even though deep inside, I wanted him to be gone as if he never existed. But I couldn’t live without him and the “security” that he represented to me.
I don’t remember those weeks afterwards; it was all a blur. I have no idea how I survived, especially that I haven’t told anybody about this at all. I was so lonely, so extremely lonely with this burden to bear alone, while having to try to pretend that all is well in my world. We had one final talk about a month later, where I tried to be civil (so did he) but it turned into a nasty argument immediately when I tried to call him out on all that happened. He claimed nothing happened and he did nothing to me that I didn’t want, and if I ever tried to find him or talk about it, he’d kill me. He also called me dirty wh*re and it was like a final punch on my heart. I was now “dead.”
How many months passed when I tried to repress, forget, pretend that I was okay, hide the real reason why we broke up, and so forth … I don’t know. The human mind is awesome. Half a year later, I really believed that I was all better, despite the nightmares about being chased and raped, panic attacks and so forth.
Thought I recovered
Years passed, I finally never even thought of him and I thought I recovered fully. I got married (to my “real” prince who is an amazing, wonderful, supportive man), had a family, lived happily. Of course I’ve always experienced problems (nightmares, panic attacks, snapping at people, all kinds of aches and pains, unexplained fears, depression, lack of true enjoyment of sex) but despite of all of that I was still very happy because I was very much loved and safe and appreciated.
A major traumatic event the past few months, however, triggered a complete outbreak of reliving my memories for first time in my life. My husband — who only knew a little bit about all that happened — finally heard what truly happened and I am working on opening up more and more. Details flood my mind, and some days it feels like I am going crazy.
The most twisted and sickening detail — my unnatural, nauseating “bonding” to this man — finally came up, and I was able to admit that this trauma didn’t go away at all just because I hid it. I was scared of it, feeling extremely dirty – until finally I got my hands on some reading material (Women Who Love Psychopaths, etc.) and it dawned on me finally what was going on.
He was the perfect example of a psychopath narcissist, such a frighteningly perfect example. As much as it was a relief to finally understand that what happened wasn’t my fault and failure as a woman, it became unbearable for another reason. For so many years I believed that I must have meant something to him, even if he was a jerk, he still must have loved me at some point. The realization that I was nothing but narcissistic supply, an object to use and throw away — that is ripped another hole in my chest.
My feelings were so true to him, and that was the only thing that made me feel better for years. I was not a slut; I loved him! But how could I love him if I didn’t even know who he was? I will never have an explanation, an apology, or any type of closure! He betrayed me on such a level, not only physically but more so emotionally and spiritually, given that he was my everything and I trusted him with my very life as if he was my father — and he used me and threw me away, walked away without a second thought, just like my father left me.
A new chapter
I have major trust issues. My husband does not deserve for me not to trust him and rely on him because he is awesome, and now he suffers too. My relationship with God suffered a lot because I even lost my trust in Him to some extent. I don’t have a lot of friends and I can count on one hand how many people I trust. Yet I have a hard time trying to not to be naive and not proving my “worth” to everyone. I get depressed and hurt when people don’t see me for who I really am, even if I don’t let them close so they can get to know me at all.
It’s a new chapter of my life now. After 10 years I am finally starting to deal with the aftermath. It’s going to be hard and I realize it won’t go from one day to another. I now have hope that it will get better, because I am now not afraid to take a good look at what happened and admit that I was a victim of emotional and physical rape and violence. To experience it from somebody whom I trusted and loved so much is devastating. To realize that I am not alone, that there are many of us suffering from the aftermath of psychopaths, is very redeeming, however tragic it is. Next step will be counseling. Being able to open up and talk to strangers is a good first step to practice so I don’t chicken out talking to somebody in person!!