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Letter to Lovefraud: Who will be my hero?

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?

Adrenaline rush

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!



6 Comments on "Letter to Lovefraud: Who will be my hero?"

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  1. Imara says:

    Winifred, your post reminds me of just how entirely tired we get when we deal with disordered people!!
    You know…the mantra that sometimes keeps me going is: one step at a time; one day at a time; The next right thing.
    Sometimes that’s all we can do! And of course pray that it all works out!



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  2. winifred says:

    Imara,
    People need to understand that even if we don’t directly marry or get involved with a sociopath, if we fall in love and marry someone who was once married too, or involved with a sociopath that we too are just as involved and affected…..especially if there are children to bind them together which will be used as nothing more than pawns.One step at a time is good advice, but realize that because a sociopath is involved as we are taking the one step at a time, we better be thinking about “their” next step so we can adjust our next step…..or we will be sorry. It is a 24/7 job!



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    • aotearoaangel says:

      Winifred
      I have a friend who is going through exactly what you are. Her lovely (but soft as a kitten) husband’s ex wife is a terrifyingly clever cruel sociopath. His children with his ex (four of them) all have many sociopathic traits and play both parents like virtuosos.
      I see my friend after only two years of marriage looking so drawn and exhausted (though they have been together for eight years). Its a constant battlefield of defeats, frustrations and pain, I see the 24/7 you talk of. Its got worse since they married. They love each other dearly and are made for each other in so many ways but the erosion is becoming serious. I worry and hurt for her, she deserves better. So does he. Its a lose/lose situation, the only way through is to cut the ties completely, but with kids involved that’s impossible.
      I used to believe real love was enough to overcome anything, but I know now that given relentless cruel pressure over time that may not be the case. I hope they make it. And I really hope you do too. I respect your strength, resilience and persistence. You deserve peace and happiness. As we say here in NZ kia kaha (stay strong)



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  3. winifred says:

    Angel,
    Thank you for your thoughts! The determination and strength we have deep inside will keep us together and grounded….otherwise she(his sociopath ex) wins…that will never happen!I have invested over 9 years keeping our heads above water and keeping two steps ahead of her…one step is never enough. I am trying to learn to live without giving her the power to control my every thought without giving her the edge…if she gets a chance…she will pounce! The time it takes to balance this feat is as exhausting as the feat itself….we have 16 months before we are financially untied to her(child support ends)in Dec. 2014! We are in the downward stretch from the years of pure hell. My advice to anyone who realizes they are beginning a relationship with someone involved anyway with a sociopath…..Run like hell! Think about yourself….realize, you don’t have to be a hero…..only for yourself!



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  4. jm_short says:

    Winifred-

    Unfortunately, when children are born into a relationship with a disordered parent, normalcy will never happen. The responsible parent will want to “be there” for the child, and the disordered parent will take every advantage of their parental instincts, concerns and conscience. The manipulation won’t stop even when child support payments end. But at least you will not be dragged back into court to pay seemingly endless legal fees.

    Although you fault your husband for not standing up for you, there is really no clear cut best-practice. Psychopaths are cunning to the extent that they will damage you no matter what you do and your husband may feel that the path of least resistance might be best. Sparring or arguing with a psychopath is a useless waste of time.

    Although I’m sure it’s difficult to separate from the slings and arrows she hurls your way, keep in mind, damaging you is only fun for her because she gets something from it. It gives her a sense of power to hurt you. Not responding is the most minimizing thing you can do. She doesn’t really care about you as a person. She only cares about you in relation to how she can line her pockets, make you look bad to her children, or get back at him.

    As far as your relationship with your husband is concerned, it sounds like you need to work on restoring some of the common interests that brought you together in the first place. Without doing so, your relationship could get swallowed into the black hole created by his prior relationship. You need to breathe life into your marriage today or tomorrow may not come.

    Try to step back from the slings and arrows by reading up on psychopathic behavior and the impact on the children so you get a good understanding of what you’re dealing with, and ask your husband to do the same. She’ll become very predictable to you and you will be less hurt by the (pardon me) crap she pulls. Then go out dancing, to the movies, biking or whatever you enjoy doing together and restore the good feelings that united you in the first place.

    Jm



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  5. one/joy_step_at_a_time says:

    Winifred,

    I would like to offer a few words of encouragement about ACOA and CODA(codependence anonymous). I have been involved with both groups in my lifetime and found them to be invaluable for dealing with the very dynamics you are talking about when you write about your marriage.

    I hope that you are able to make use of the program (and that your ‘group’ is strong) as it can definitely help you work through the issues and challenges you outlined.

    My favourite book on the subject of codependency is ‘Co-dependent No More’ by Melody Beattie. I have owned this book for literally decades and it has always been relevant to my challenges. Would like to see Beattie add a chapter about codependency and the disordered, however…



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