Editor’s note: The following story was sent to Lovefraud by a man whom we’ll call “Anthony.” He believes his ex-wife is a sociopath. This is part 3 of 4. The story refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
The Incompetent Therapist
After several years of scratching my head and trying to deal with my wife’s odd behavior, and trying to deal with an obvious dysfunctional relationship with her highly manipulative teenage daughter, I finally sought the help of a therapist. At this point in the “relationship,” I had put many of the pieces together. I still did not know about sociopaths\psychopaths, or how these people behave and what tools they use to manipulate and control others, but I knew that the things that I experienced in my “relationship” were seriously dysfunctional. I still did not know the depth of deception, but I knew that something was very wrong, and had been since the very beginning of this “relationship.”
My official motivation for seeking this therapist was to get help with the family dynamics relating to my wife’s 19 year old daughter, who still lived at home. This was the official reason, but I also was looking for help with trying to resolve the relationship, and to make sense of what I had been experiencing. I knew that I was not crazy, yet I was made to feel like I was. I knew what I saw in my wife’s behavior, and I knew how dysfunctional it was, in spite of the complete denial on her part. In short, I had all of the pieces of the puzzle there in front of me, and needed someone who was knowledgeable to help me make sense of it all. I was a mess from the emotional and mental abuse that I had endured over the past 3 years, but did not realize that fact at the time.
I found a therapist close to my wife’s office, and the first thing that I asked the therapist was how long she was practicing. I was relieved to learn that she had been practicing for over 15 years. She seemed to understand my frustration with my situation at home, but most of what I shared was concerning the way that I felt in the house because of my wife’s relationship with her daughter, and how her daughter’s level of maturity and inability to function as an adult (she was almost 19) was causing problems for me and my ”relationship” with her mother.
During our first few sessions with this therapist, I explained the very odd behavior of my wife. I still did not know about personality disorders, and how they manifest in the disordered’s behavior, but I explained perfectly the situations that should have signaled red flags to a therapist that was trained and familiar with the weird behaviors of the disordered. I explained what I now know was projection, projective identification, and covert abuse through mind games, “duping delight, and gaslighting.
To this day, I cannot understand how any therapist who has studied and has experience, could not have seen the light of what was happening to me, but this one did not. I have read that this is unfortunately not uncommon today in the counseling world. This therapist met with my wife after seeing me for a few times, and then saw us together for 5 or 6 times afterward. I am not sure what my wife told her when she saw her without me, but this therapist ended up thinking that I was the problem, and completely missed what was really happening in our relationship. Never, not once, did she even suggest that I might be dealing with a disordered individual. After spending the past year and a half studying this problem, I just cannot believe that “professionals” could be so clueless, but sadly, my story with this is not uncommon. Many others, even people like Dr. Robert Hare (the pioneer of the study of psychopathy, and the creator of the Psychopathy Checklist) have been taken in by these people. It’s just incredible to me, but considering how skilled they are, coupled with how foreign “they” are to normal human beings, it’s not too hard to believe. This is why I am convinced that the only way to fight against this problem is to increase awareness, making “them” not quite as foreign as they otherwise would be. I know there were signs that I saw early on, but just did not recognize them, and every story that I have read says the exact same thing. How many stories might have changed had we known about this disorder, and how it manifests in their behavior and relations?
I initially explained in detail the strange behavior that I saw with my wife. I did not understand it as I do today, and I knew basically nothing of sociopaths or psychopaths, but I explained to this therapist the interactions with my wife when I knew that she was accusing me, completely without any merit, of things that I totally suspected her of actually doing and thinking. I had come to question these things, to myself, because of behavior that I observed over long periods of time. In other words, there was merit to my thoughts, good reasons to doubt and question, yet the very things that I had begun to question in her, she was accusing me of doing, and completely without reason. This was one of the most bizarre things that I experienced with this sick woman.
These interactions happened on several occasions that I can remember. Probably 4 or 5 different times, and about different things. These instances were very puzzling to me, and I brought them to the therapist’s attention, because of this. I did not know what they actually were, but any therapist with a level of competence should have been able to recognize what was happening, or at least what may have been happening. This one did not at all. She seemed only interested in scheduling the next billable hour.
In addition to the projections, I must have shown signs of emotional distress from the trauma of this “relationship,” and the mental and emotional abuse that I endured. I am sure that I was, at this point, so emotionally beat up, that I must have showed serious signs of distress. I know now that this is a normal response to emotional abuse, or any abuse, for that matter, but I did not even understand that I had been abused at the time. I knew something was very wrong, but that was all I understood. My emotional state should have been a clue to the trauma, and taken together with what I had clearly explained to the therapist about the bizarre behavior of my wife, she should have clued into the fact that I may be dealing with a highly deceitful, manipulative, and abusive person. I showed all of the signs, and there was plenty of information to indicate what was happening to me, but this therapist completely missed it. I do not know exactly what she thought, but she obviously thought that the problem was not my wife or her behavior.
The end result was that I left this therapist’s office feeling even worse about my situation, and feeling even more confused and hopeless than before. She discounted everything that I told her was happening to me, and everything that I suspected my wife of doing. I know that this image that my wife projected was very different than who she really was, but I got absolutely no help from this trained and experienced therapist, who should have been able to spot at least some of what was happening. This woman was supposed to help me, yet all she did was further my frustration and deepen the hurt out of her own incompetence.
Light Shined on the Darkness
It was about the time when I started seeking counseling that I had reached a point where I could no longer exist in my “relationship” with my head in the sand. I had been noting all of the red flags that indicated that my wife was not what she portrayed. These went all the way back to the first week or so in our relationship, and were really all over the place. I had started carefully paying attention to her whereabouts, watching her call logs, watching her internet usage, her facebook usage, and any other area that I could to rationalize what I was sensing in the “relationship” and to resolve the cognitive dissonance. There was something very wrong beneath the surface, and I felt this from the very beginning. I remember noting the first red flag, when she did not take that phone call on Saturday evening from her “friend” Chris from work. I remember letting it go, wanting it to be just me and some insecurity that I may have had, but telling myself that, if it is something like what I felt it was, the truth will come out. The sad thing is that I continued in the relationship with this in the back of my mind, and always watching for more red flags. I continued to give my heart and soul to this woman, even as more and more red flags piled up. I gave, and gave, and gave. I loved her deeply, and continually rationalized away what I saw and felt.
Anyway, about the time that I began to seek counseling, I had reached a point where I knew that what I had sensed all along was either actually happening, or I was out of my mind. I felt in my gut that she was cheating, there were signs all over the place that this was happening, but this just did not fit what she put out there as her image. She was very careful at crafting an image that did not fit what I felt was happening. This created the cognitive dissonance that I dealt with for the entire 3 years that I was with this woman.
I had watched her carefully, and there was no time for her to be cheating with anybody. She did not go out with friends, take trips, stay away from the house for any time worth speaking of. I even tracked her via GPS. She went where she was supposed to go, and came home when she was supposed to come home. Still, through all of this watching, the signs did not go away that she was cheating. There were relational signs, physical signs, and there were just too many things that did not quite add up. On the surface, things appeared to be what they were supposed to be, but I had reached the point where I knew that things were not as they seemed. I learned that she lied to me about other things in the past, I caught her on several occasions hiding other things from me, and lying about other issues around the house, and I saw the strange behavior that she often exhibited, so I had finally reached the point where I was willing to go to whatever length I needed to resolve this.
The only two options left were” 1: I was crazy, and completely out of touch with reality. Or 2: My wife was cheating with someone at work, and only at work. The latter still did not make sense to me, but I had eliminated all other possibilities. I had to learn the truth. I knew I was completely sane, but still, I kept seeing the woman that I thought she was, and the woman that she worked so hard to convince me that she was. It was a strange place to be, but I knew at this point that my entire life with the “perfect” woman, and who I thought I would grow old loving, was probably not true at all.
Confrontation: The Fog Intensifies
Once I finally reached the point where I eliminated all other possibilities, I obtained crystal clear, irrefutable proof that my wife was having sex during the workday, and right under the other workers’ noses. Because of all of the signs over our entire “relationship,” I knew what I would find. As hard as it was to discover that what my gut was telling me all this time was actually true, I was not too shocked when I did indeed find it, yet I still did not realize what I was dealing with in her. I was still seeing her as someone basically like me: a normal human being, capable of genuine love, and basically good. I thought that this would be the point where we could finally have the relationship that we were supposed to have. I guess I was an emotional wreck, and anyone in that place may have made the same mistakes, but I decided to confront her. I just could not take it any longer, and Valentine’s day was the next day. The thought of her celebrating with him at work made me want to puke. She had come home from work with new jewelry on occasions in the past, and I just could not stand another holiday like we were, especially the love holiday. I am ashamed to admit it, but I honestly thought that she would own it, because I knew what was happening, when it was happening, and that it had been happening likely since we first met. I thought that, since I was offering mercy, forgiveness, and the willingness to rebuild a relationship free of this deception and deceit, that she surely would accept and be so very glad that she was married to such a wonderful man. I could rescue her and show her what real love is.
If I didn’t have the word “idiot” tattooed on my forehead before this point in my “relationship,” I surely earned it that night.
I will never forget what I saw in her when I confronted her. She denied completely what was happening, and she played stupid for a few seconds when I gave the married piece of shit’s name that she was doing this with, then said, “I just met him last month when he took over our group as supervisor.” She was completely caught off guard, and I’m sure she was blown away that I actually knew, considering how well they hid it for so long. It was happening right under the other employees’ noses, and they thought if they can get away with that, how would a wife or a husband ever find out?
As I pressed her insisting that this was not a hunch, but rather that I KNEW it was happening (which was absolutely true), her eyes changed, and her face changed. The closest thing that I could use to describe it was the way people change in movies about exorcism. Her eyes became large and deep black, and her mouth was a little twisted. I took me back for a second. I recognized it as demonic and evil, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I was stunned that I saw this from this woman that I had loved and doted on for the past three years. It was incredible what she looked like, and I could see the evil all over her. It was like she was a totally different person, and she said some very nasty things. This was something that I absolutely did not expect, and it really caught me off guard. Her entire persona changed that night, and after she calmed down from that night, she still seemed like a completely different person. It was like she flipped a switch, and she completely changed the way that she talked to me, and the things that she said.
I kept every email that she ever sent to me, both before, and after this event. Not only did her communication change through the things that she said to me, but her sentence structure changed, and the words that she used changed as well. It was like she was a completely different person. There was never any resemblance of the woman that I thought I knew for the past 3 years. She was never to be seen again. She was not real. The real woman was the one that I met that night when I confronted her with the ugly truth. This was completely baffling to me, until I learned what I was actually dealing with.
When I confronted her, I thought she would react in a completely different way. I was still looking at my mess as if I were dealing with someone like me: a normal, loving person. Although I had solid proof, she still denied it, and what’s more is that she called me crazy, evil, and did everything that she could to smear my name and discredit me to our neighbors in an attempt to explain what had happened.
Again, I knew nothing about what I was really dealing with, so this just crushed me. I was near suicide, and completely devastated that this was happening. Unless you go through this, you cannot imaging the depth of pain at the end of one of these “relationships.” You realize that EVERYTHING that you genuinely bonded with and cared about was a joke and a game to the other person. It meant absolutely nothing to them. I meant nothing to her at all. This is more painful than anything, and completely devastating. It drives many people over the edge. It is much greater than a normal breakup, but rather the end of an incredibly dysfunctional relationship built on and around abuse, and the victim’s unknown addiction to the abuser.
For the abused, it is just about the end of the whole world, and a pain that is indescribable. I lost over 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I was destroyed. For the disordered abuser, it is merely a mild inconvenience of having to move, and having to protect their façade through another smear campaign. They do not have the ability to bond to anyone, so they feel absolutely no loss. They feel no attachment to other people, and they can only fake their way through their “relationships.” It’s all a game to them. My entire life with this woman was completely false. Nothing was real at all.
I met with her a few weeks after the confrontation and her leaving, and I expressed to her how much of a wreck I was because of this. My pants literally fell off of me while buttoned up. When I showed her this, she retorted with something like, “me too.” I looked at her, and she had not dropped a single pound that I could see. Her little belly was just as it had always been. I remember thinking, “This woman really is a lunatic,…a true nut case!”