Lovefraud received the following email from a young lady whom we’ll call “Suzette.”
I’m only twenty years old & I feel like my soul has been snatched out of me. I met him in my neighborhood; we’d been acquainted for a year. He contacted me out of the blue about how hurt he was that his girlfriend cheated (Lie#1). We hung out, I was charmed & wooed and he told me he loved me, & would someday marry me because I was the one. He just didn’t know if he could handle jumping into something serious. I settled for taking it slow. He claimed he fell on hard times (Lie#2), couldn’t find a job (actually wasn’t looking) and needed a place to stay. I have a giving heart and so I felt sorry for him. He lived with me for two months, and destroyed my life. He stole from me, told people I was obsessed with him & he didn’t like me behind my back. I lost my job, & I have twenty dollars to my name behind him. While posing to be broke and homeless, he had money & somewhere to live. I finally put him out because my family began threatening to harm him. I feel numb and lost. I haven’t been outdoors in almost a month because my life is nothing anymore. I used to be a college student, but got dismissed for missing days due to my life being so disturbed. I snapped & lost my job. I no longer have any friends. I sleep most of the day. I’m in a state of shock & I don’t know how I let this happen. I feel helpless.
I am so sorry for your experience, as is everyone at Lovefraud. Please understand that this is not your fault. You were involved with a sociopath, a social predator who targeted you.
Why did he target you? I can see two reasons in your short letter. First of all, you have a good heart. He appealed to your sympathy, and you responded. Please realize that this is one of the primary tactics that sociopaths use. It’s called the “pity play.” He made you feel sorry for him in order to manipulate you. In fact, many sociopaths do exactly what that guy did—they tell you sad stories that are lies, just to achieve their objective.
The second reason you were targeted is the fact that you are going somewhere in life. You were attending college and holding down a job. Obviously, you are a go-getter, someone who wants to make something of yourself. The sociopath picked you because you are a success, and likely to become a bigger success. You had something for the sociopath to take.
Being devastated by a sociopath is always awful. However, I think that the experience is particularly bad for young people like yourself. Why? One reason is because young people are so full of hope and expectation for the future, and this terrible betrayal brings those hopes and expectations crashing down. Also, it may seem almost impossible to overcome such a setback, because you may never have done it before. Please know that you can overcome this.
I’m really glad that your family threatened this guy, even though you may be feeling guilty about it. It got the guy out of your life. But here is something for you to be aware of: He may come back. He may disappear for awhile, and then contact you again—apologizing, saying it was all his fault, he really does love you, you’re the best thing that ever happened to him, he’ll go to therapy, can you please forgive and forget?
The answer is no. Under no circumstances should you let the guy come back to you. I guarantee you, he will, sooner or later, pull the same crap all over again.
So what do you do now? How do you cope with the pain?
Honor it. Recognize that you were set up, you were deceived, and you were betrayed. You deserve to feel angry. You deserve to grieve. The vision you had of a wonderful future has been shattered. It’s going to take time to recover.
Here’s what you need to do: Make a decision to recover. You may be tempted to brush the experience under a rug, and try to move on as if it never happened. This would mean that the wound within you would fester. And such a festering wound will make you vulnerable to another sociopath in the future.
So face what happened. Feel your feelings. Allow yourself to cry. Purge the anger from your body. When I did it, I envisioned my con artist ex-husband’s face on a pillow and beat the crap out of it. Maybe that technique will work for you.
At the same time, be good to yourself. Make amends with your family and friends — they are probably just waiting for your return. If they still believe his lies—well, they weren’t very good friends, so let them go.
Know that you can recover from this. Recognize that you came across a person with a personality disorder. Millions of them live among us, so learn the warning signs. Knowing what to look for, and taking the time to heal yourself, this will never happen to you again.
And, with your eyes wide open, someday you will meet “the one,” and it will be real.