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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Recovering from a Sociopathic “friend” and business partner

Editor’s note: The following post was written by the Lovefraud reader “Brielle.”  Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

Three years ago I left someone whom I only recently understood displays all the classic symptoms of being a sociopath. I’m writing this now to help other people who have had a close relationship, but not a romantic relationship, with a sociopath. It is still just as devastating when you have made the person the centre of your world.

Young, vulnerable, and naive; the perfect target

I was very young when I met her, emotionally vulnerable and naïve. To me she seemed so clever and charismatic. She offered me love, seemingly solutions to my lack of self respect, and she seemed to know everything I didn’t. I had just started being a full time member of a spiritual group, but felt inadequate. She seemed so much more clued and seemed to have connections with the hierarchy. She also gave me the attention I craved.

I wasn’t the only one. There was a group of  young people who became entangled with this person. We respected her. Looked up to her. I didn’t have a lot of money, but those who did became encouraged by this person to give money towards a visionary project. This was done without the knowledge of the people leading the group, because this person subtly encouraged us to distrust them. She would share their deficiencies and failings with us in how they had dealt with her. And yet they still seemed to trust her.

Intertwined in the deceit

I spent a huge amount of time involved in running a spiritual project with her, which on the surface, was hugely successful. Everywhere we went, people were impressed by her and flocked around her. I felt good that I was so trusted by her. Then when she moved to a remote area, some people followed her. I followed her after a couple of years.

It gradually emerged that she wasn’t spending this money on what she had promised. She invested it in properties to be developed, which then took ages to sell. The spiritual leaders started to become aware of what she was doing and remonstrated her, but she insisted she was coming from the best of motivations. I always believed her. I developed an emotional dependency on her, even though she was always demanding. Many times she was emotionally belittling of me, and angry, and sometimes she got violent.

I think this dependency came from a time when I became convinced that I had been a victim of sexual abuse from a close relative. She disclosed that she had too. I spent some time with her to “heal” after I had had what I thought was a flash back. Looking back, the option that there was any other explanation was never explored. It created a rift in my self belief, which made me increasingly dependant on her. Others couldn’t understand why I accepted the way she talked to me or behaved towards me.

In the end, most of the others left. I had too much investment, despite the increasing pain I experienced in our relationship, which I blamed on my own weaknesses. She would always blame me for everything. She made me doubt myself.  She built herself up as knowing everything about other people, me, the world. She made herself out to have psychic abilities and to have a hotline to divine  power.  She was so convinced of her own specialness; she thought she was better than all the other spiritual leaders and was convinced that eventually  she would replace them and that they were all blinkered.  She would try convince others who visited us of this.

The visitors became less and less as people were advised not to visit us. I tried leaving a couple of times when I couldn’t cope with her behaviour, but I didn’t have any backup of friends or connections, so in the end always returned to her. I lied to people for her, did fraudulent activity to cover up her debt and dealt with all the business activity, even taking another job when the business was failing to support us.

Dedicated , dependent, and depressed

I was entirely isolated. I couldn’t talk to anyone in the group because I didn’t want to betray her. I couldn’t talk to family for the same reason. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t have any connection with the people I worked with. I was paralysed, sunk in depression, barely functioning. It was only gradually, when I made connections with a couple of people through the internet, that I started to regain some sort of self belief.  They liked me, they seemed to think that I was a good person. I had stopped believing in myself entirely.

Then came a day when I finally had to make a decision. She had already been violent a couple of times; hitting me on the head with something heavy or sharp, I ended up in hospital the first time. This day, she wanted me to find something for her, and I couldn’t find it. She threatened me that if I didn’t find it by the next day I would have to pay for it out of my wages; she had used my bank card before and I knew she would. I was looking after her, cooking and cleaning; she was always “ill” and stayed in her room, but she came to my room, which I couldn’t lock, and tried to come in. I stopped her and she hit me. She had been lying to me recently, though denied it.  I finally saw that there was something not consistent in her; she looked deranged, mentally ill. I realised that if I stayed, she would always take my money; I would never escape her or have the funds to live on my own.

Meticulous escape plan but no place to go

Somehow, I meticulously planned my escape. I packed everything of mine; took nothing belonging to her or the business. I took everything of mine off the computer and deleted it. I tied everything up. I worked all night. I had nowhere to go. I phoned women’s shelters, but there was no place. I couldn’t think of where to go. I moved everything out of my room to a neutral place without her knowing. In the morning, I left what she would need and a note. She heard me, and I somehow had to act through it, knowing I was leaving. In the end, I remembered an old friend who had helped me before, and she took me in.

It wasn’t over then though, she called me repeatedly on my mobile phone, but I didn’t respond. I intuitively knew that this was it, no more going back. But later on, I found she had used my bank card details to empty my account. I was desperate. I called the bank and tried, using her details to move the money back into my account.  I failed, but I ended up having to go through a disciplinary process at work and nearly losing my job. As it was, because I was always giving her money, and properties that were later repossessed went in my name, my credit was awful.

Healing journey

Since leaving, I have rebuilt my life. The spiritual group has been absolutely supportive and there for me, and my online friends also really helped.  I am now trying to help others with the methods of meditation and understanding that have helped me. However, the pain has recently re-emerged because the fear of her was so deep that I think I shelved a lot of it as I couldn’t deal with it.

I have been considering what has helped so far on the journey.

  1. Absolute cut-off; I didn’t respond to her pleas for reconciliation.
  2. Sticking to the truth. I told people that I trusted the absolute truth of what had happened, which freed me from the burden of it. I also had to tell strangers at work, so they understood what I was going through and why I had acted in the way I did, but that was therapeutic in a way.
  3. Being legally clear. When being pursued by bailiffs for a debt she had put in my name, I gave her a time frame to sort it out, and when she didn’t, I told them all about her and how she had been operating. I also had to tell the bank about the card fraud. I didn’t feel I wanted to do either, but she clearly wasn’t bothered about dumping on me so I didn’t have any responsibility to look after her.
  4. Getting support. The friend I moved in with made a good suggestion of going to see a doctor and that was a great move. He was very good and saw how stressed I was; he signed me off from work for over a month, which gave me the time I needed to move to a new place and start to recover. He also had a very good suggestion of writing a diary, not for self analysis but for just writing down what I did each day. It was great to ground myself and help to come to terms with what was happening.
  5. Having friends. My friend I moved in with was a great support, and I owe her a lot for that. Also I spoke to my online friends on the phone who helped to keep me grounded and have faith in myself. Later on, I reconnected with good friends in the spiritual group who have also been a great support.
  6. Having spiritual support. Despite all that had happened, having a spiritual belief and strength was the one thing that kept me going and helped me emerge again as a whole person.

Taking the power back

I see now that I gave this person a huge amount of power in my life. I feared her, but I also desired her love and support. I wanted the “specialness” that she made me feel. Now I know I am special, without her. I don’t need her. In fact, she fed off of me. She needed me. And after I left, she lost the business. She totally lost the support, or any trust, of the spiritual group, and is still committing fraud. She has no power. She has nothing, and I have everything. She cannot hurt me. Everything she told me was a lie. She is weak. And the only strength she has is the charming illusion she can sometimes spin, but even that is not what it was, and people can see through it.

I am still dealing with the kernel of fear and pain I have inside me, but I know with time and love it will go and this writing is a way of facing that and letting it go.

So it is not just romantic relationships that sociopaths exist in. Any relationship where he or she can manipulate, lie, and cheat, is open to exploitation. If you recognise yourself in any of this, please talk to someone, get support, leave and don’t look back.


13 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: Recovering from a Sociopathic “friend” and business partner"

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  1. blossom4th says:

    Brielle,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!And Welcome to LoveFraud!

    No matter whether the relationship with spath is romantic,business or spiritual,the MO is usually the same.

    I was amazed as I read your story….the way you calmly prepared to leave,as well as during your relationship with this person,becoming dependent on her.It reminds me so much of my own story.The first time I left my husband,I did exactly the same thing….preparing to leave without him ever realizing what I was doing!In fact he nearly had a heart attack when the police arrived to escort me and he realized I was ready to go!

    I also became dependent upon my husband.Little by little,he destroyed my confidence,isolated me,controlled the money.He was “too ill” to care for himself,so I became his caregiver.The fact that our relationship had not included romance for 20 yrs,made it more of a platonic relationship even though we were married.And yes,he used spirituality against me,too.

    But since leaving him the 2nd time,I went NC and have remained so 107 days so far.I sought counseling this time,and have also been coming to LoveFraud regularly.I’ve learned what he is,and I won’t ever go back to him again!



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  2. truth1 says:

    Many thanks to all for your comments, just to clarify, I had registered as this name, but I forget to tell Donna when I emailed her this story, so she gave the story the name Brielle. however, as I had referenced some details my story in a post I made last week on Love Fraud as this user name, I didnt want to cause any confusion, so would prefer to continue as this name.

    Truthspeak, many thanks for your comments. I have been enormously helped by good friends and by my spiritual path. I think you are right in saying that there is a romance of sorts… we get sucked in by their charm, whether its a leader or a friend or family member, we want to believe in them, and I have to come to understand that in my case, my belief in them substituted for my extreme lack of belief in myself. I used them as a benchmark because I didnt want to trust myself.

    Thanks Radar_on , and yes the misuse of spirituality in this way is awful because it cant be proved and so easy for them to impress and use spiritual truths in the wrong way to suit their manipulation and cover up their lies.

    Speakout, I know what you mean, actually interestingly enough, I only realised that this person was a sociopath when talking to a friend about her experience with the boss who hounded her out of a company where she had a good job. The experience left her devestated. When she was talking about them, I suddenly thought, hey! this sounds familiar! its been a relief to realise the pattern and know I am not alone 🙂 thanks

    Ox drover, many thanks for your welcome. And yes, I agree that these personality traits can be found in all genders, relationship types, occupations and social strata. and it’s taken me this long to find out about it! I think having gone through this experience; even though it was hellish, I find I am stronger and have more insight and self belief, empathy and understanding, and i thank God for that every day 🙂

    LPMarie13 thanks for your welcome and your good wishes 🙂

    Skylar; I agree totally with what you say about the money; I found from so many other people after I left that she had asked them for money, I found she had done lots of things I was unaware of and I thought I was in her full confidence.. more fool me! I think the thing with money is about control.. they equate money with control and so they want to grasp it and swindle others out of it.

    Blossom4th; you are right about the MO. I was amazed myself, looking back, I really dont know how I did it.. I think I just knew I had to go and I was running on adrenaline, I chose flight to fight! So glad you got out.. really, and well done you 🙂 the funny thing was, I had been tidying stuff up a couple of days before I decided to go.. it was like I subconsciously knew it was time, which was unusual for me as I was so depressed I couldnt cope with housework. The “illness” thing fooled me for ages.. I’m still not sure how much was real. Well done you, and I am sure you wont go back, I found once I had left and managed to maintain NC and realised really for the first time what was happening, then there was no going back.

    Thanks again, and all the best to all.



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  3. newlife43 says:

    Truth1:

    How amazing is it that you wrote my story exactly, as if you were living in my head! Only the ex-spath was male for me. The money, the control, the demeaning, the isolating, the betrayal, the lies, the lies, the lies and on and on…

    You are well out of that relationship, as we all are. I am now working on ME and trying to educate myself so that I can never have it happen again, but still get out and function in the world. I wish us both luck with our healing.



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  4. newlife43 says:

    From Truth1’s post:

    “and I have to come to understand that in my case, my belief in them substituted for my extreme lack of belief in myself. I used them as a benchmark because I didnt want to trust myself. ”

    Thank you for writing that. It brought tears to my eyes, so I know that is an issue I have and I will use EFT to tap this belief I have about myself (or should I say my LACK of belief in myself) away.

    “Even though it was so easy to believe in him and it’s so hard to believe in myself, I deeply & completely love and accept myself anyway, and I totally forgive myself for believing this. ”

    I will keep re-phrasing this until I get to whatever my core issue is, until it is gone and I no longer believe it. So that it will no longer affect me. I know this started in my childhood. The only way I can trust others is if I first learn to trust myself again.

    Thanks again for your story.



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