Editor’s note: The following post was written by the Lovefraud reader “Winifred.”
He was her hero. I am his hero. Who will be my hero?
I attended my first meeting last week for Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA). I am an adult child of an alcoholic mother, but not an alcoholic myself … thank God!
I am telling you this because one of the main characteristics of an ACOA is the compelling feeling we have to always pick relationships where someone needs us to rescue them!
When my husband and I got together in 2004, I asked him why he married a sociopath (his ex-wife) and he stated that, “She needed a knight in shining armor, and needed to be rescued.” It has been nine years, and I finally see the light. He rescued her, and I continue to rescue him from her … but … who will rescue me?
Looking back, I now realize that for years I got an adrenaline rush off of the hundreds of times I came to his rescue by heading her off at the pass and stopping her madness! I now realize that the PTSD he suffers from their past relationship (whether he realizes it or not) has made him like a “deer in the headlights” when it comes to realizing or seeing her as she really is, and what she is going to throw our way next! He would not be in one piece today if I hadn’t come along … she would have devoured all of him! To this day she still has a power over him that he can’t see! I am not here to toot my own horn, just to help someone else recognize this before I did.
I love my husband, and we have a strong relationship, but we have endured a living hell for almost 10 years now: over 74K in lawyer bills, two children now 22 and 17 that treat their father like their “mother” and father have taught them to treat him, and the aftermath of what is left of our spirits.
I have realized that because they remained with her (one still does), and they have been alienated from their father for years (as his punishment for leaving her) , they have no minds of their own. He has allowed them over the years to treat him horribly, without respect, and he parents out of guilt (big mistake)!
Nearing the end
I have rescued him emotionally, financially, physically, etc. Now that we are nearing the last 16 months of our financial ties to her (child support), and things have begun to taper off, we are both exhausted and have lost a big part of ourselves during all of the struggle.
This experience has changed me forever, as I’m sure it has my husband. It has changed us individually and as a couple. We have lost a part of who we were and are during the battles, lies and struggles to maintain some kind of “normalcy”! It has made me wiser, but it also made me resentful and bitter.
I have spent all of my adult life rescuing people, and now I am realizing that I barely have the energy to rescue myself. It takes tremendous strength and fortitude to survive a relationship with a sociopath!
I know my husband has the ability to be my hero on occasion, because he was hers, but I have never seen that side of him. There have been a few occasions when I really needed him to speak up for me with the lawyers, his ex, the kids etc. … and he has not done so. His excuse is that “she feeds on drama,” which is so true, but I need this from him! One of the most damaging times in our marriage was when her attorney was lying and bashing me in court in front of our newly hired attorney (#4) and he sat there and said nothing. Later he explained that “I could have spoke up for myself,” but that would have not had the impact that it would have had if he had opened his mouth and spoken up! He takes my strengths and assumes I am always his rock and that I don’t need a rock myself.
I know we both feel like we have been caught out at sea in a horrific storm in a 16-ft. aluminum boat without oars. We are very tired of the constant struggles and drama she lives for; we have lost a part of ourselves in all of the hell. I have noticed we don’t laugh or smile as much, not only with each other, but in any scenario. We need to regroup and learn to stop and smell the roses again.
I must find a way
I have to find a way to deal with the resentment I have for my husband, (the lack of his heroism) has made me many times feel unloved. I am 51 and he is 63, and I feel at times that by the time this drama ends with her (it will end when we are no longer paying child support), that it may be too late to really enjoy our lives together. We are both getting older, and we are both tired and worn. We have nothing left financially, and I have never had a vacation. I feel that by the time the drama ends with her, we will be a shell of ourselves … I cannot let that happen; I won’t let her take that from us!
I know that many readers out there are experiencing the same feelings, spouses of people that were previously married to or involved with sociopaths. They are not the only ones that suffer … because we love them, we suffer too! I have developed a greater inner survival instinct with all of this … and the insight that comes with it is surreal.
I know that I must become my own hero as I have had to do many, many times in the past as a child and adult. It would just be nice and mean so much if my husband could find the strength and will to be my hero for a change … I sure could use one now! I don’t regret getting married to my husband; I just regret the constant role of having to pull US up from the shadows!
I sometimes wonder if and when I will run out of strength and insight? I feel as if “our time” is finally coming, and I don’t know if we will have enough left in us to pull ourselves together and enjoy life. It would devastate me to think that we managed to make it through the storm, but now we don’t have enough fortitude left to enjoy what the future holds! I will have to dig deep inside myself to find normalcy once again!