Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail. In it, I felt like I was reading a rerun of my experience.
I was involved with one of those 1 to 4% sociopaths/scammers you’ve outlined in your website.
I lost everything … Long story … you already know it … he was so charming … the love of my life … kind generous, giving, very sexy in and out of bed …
Anyways, it’s been just over 3 yrs (I was only with him 2 + yrs with a 3-month breakup period. Yep I took him back … Call me a LOSER now and hit the delete button … Wait, please don’t …) and I’m living in a mobile home park. Not any of the three properties I had on a golf course. Sold two of them and the third is heading for foreclosure. Put all the money 250K+ into a condo in Mexico and took loans out on my condo that I had paid off while I was selling new homes from ’95 -’05) the year I met him … to pay for “our dream”… live in Mexico. I had an offer letter to work for the Four Seasons (selling luxury time shares … the interviews were long and the background check very extensive … I passed) and that would help pay the mortgage on the 3,000 sq. ft. beachfront condo WE bought … none of his money till he made some payments … And my job would hopefully cover his expenses of running his dream job of being a charter captain on a boat that we would lease from the person we bought the condo from … OMG … Thanks for listening. … I need a support group to go to … but I’d rather just be one-on-one … and I’ve been to the therapists … they all (so far) just watch the clock and tell me stuff I already know.
Been extremely depressed … always suffered depression but was able to work and acquire my homes … Then, all of his promises and “deals” shot all my $$ and savings out the window … at a very high speed mind you …
How long does it take to get on with life?
My friends, which are fewer nowadays, say get over it and move on … But, I considered myself to be somewhat “street smart”… And so I continue to beat myself up for the horrific financial things I did and the mess I’m in … I know I need to accept some of the blame … but … he had the plan … didn’t know his plan … and went along with the Love sick person inside of me … finally, my ugh, prince had come … yada, yada, yada.
At the end (two weeks before our big move to start our new “fabulous” lives together … I finally confronted him about his 150K in credit card debt. I have no idea … why I didn’t run his credit before that close to our move … other than he was always paying for everything, including ALWAYS having to upgrade our flights to first class, etc … I thought he was just spoiling me … as he told me time and again … I deserved to be treated like a lady and he was going to be the one to do that … and claiming to pay off his cards monthly with his construction job.
By the way, yes he allowed me to run his credit one night when he was having one of his daily 6 Bud Lights. I’d gone to bed early … he came home beyond plastered, woke me up from a sound sleep and poured beer all over me … threw me to the ground and threatened to kill me (“Do you want me to kill you now?”) I responded two-fold. “Why are you wasting a beer?” and “No, I’d like to make it to my 43rd b-day.”
I called the police after he got up from holding me by my neck to the ground of our bedroom floor … I called a cab, as I’d already sold my sports car (as it wouldn’t have been too practical in Mexico) … stayed in a motel for 2 weeks … next day called some movers and moved all my stuff to a storage … then after two weeks in “hiding” … because I was afraid he’d go to my girlfriends homes looking for me. I stayed with a girlfriend until the tenants in my condo found a new place to move.
Sorry for rambling on … to repeat … it’s been just over 3 yrs … and I can remember everything like it was yesterday …
How long till I regain my life? I’m sure the answer is in ME … maybe a lobotomy? Please advise or let me know that I still have a life that’s worth living. I’ll be 46 in Feb … He’ll be turning 60 next yr.
This reader described in living color probably the most insidious tactic in the sociopathic arsenal: They target our dreams.
What better way to draw us in than to promise to make our deepest desires come true? How can we resist someone who wants what we want, and seemingly has the capacity to achieve it?
And how do the sociopaths know what we want? They ask us, and we tell them.
It happens early in the relationship, under the guise of “getting to know each other.” It goes something like this:
“So,” the sociopath asks, with pitch-perfect sincerity, “what do you really want in life?”
“I want a family before I get too old,” we reply. (Or, “I want to live on the beach on a tropical island.” Or, “I want to send my kids to a top college.” Or, “I want to retire while I’m still young enough to enjoy it.”)
“That’s what I want,” the sociopath replies, with a touch of feigned surprise. “We have so much in common. We must be meant for each other.”
Dreams explain one reason why the betrayal of the sociopath is so painful. Not only have they manipulated us, deceived us and stolen from us, but they used our own most treasured dreams to do it.
We have lost not only our love, money, time, home, and whatever else they have taken. We’ve lost our dreams. And that hurts.
Then, of course, comes the self-criticism. Why did we believe the sociopath? Why did we wait so long to check them out? Why didn’t we listen to people who warned us? Why didn’t we listen to ourselves?
Why? Because we wanted our dreams to come true.
It’s a brilliant tactic on the part of the predators. They use our dreams to hook us, and then because of our dreams, we don’t want to let go.
So how, as this reader asks, do you move on in life? “I’m sure the answer is in me,” she writes.
She is right. A lobotomy is not necessary, but a “pain-ectomy” is. We have real, true, genuine pain because of what the sociopath did. In my opinion, we can’t analyze away the pain, or wish it away. Pain is emotional, and the only way to release it is emotional. We have to allow ourselves to experience it.
The only way out of the pain is through it.
This isn’t pretty. In my case, I spent a lot of time crying. To get out my anger, I imagined the con man’s face in a pillow, and beat it as hard as I could. Because our dreams were damaged, the pain goes deep, and releasing it is a process. We get rid of some, and more rises to take its place.
Eventually, however, we get to the point where we’ve cried all the tears and released all the anger. We get to the point of acceptance. Something awful happened, we had a part in it, but it’s time to move on.
Then we learn something about dreams. Dreams are linked to expectations, and expectations have a down side. Sometimes, if our expectations aren’t met, we feel like we’ve failed. Or, expectations blind us to other opportunities that may come our way. Because the new opportunities do not match our expectations, we don’t even see them.
Maybe we have to give up our original dreams. But that doesn’t mean there will never be dreams again. Perhaps something better, and more fulfilling, will come along, and because we are no longer looking to make a particular dream come true, we’ll see the new opportunity.