Editor’s note: A Lovefraud reader who posts as “Uhlen47” sent in her story.
Discovering your website was, in many ways, a godsend. I am 59 years old, and I have not had a relationship for 11 years. Why? Because the last relationship I had was with a sociopath, and I have been too frightened to enter into another because I don’t trust my judgment.
My mother was/is a sociopath with whom I no longer have a relationship. She abused me as a child, mentally, emotionally, and physically. My only gratitude to her is that she provided food, clothing and shelter, but she provided these probably because too much negative social stigma was attached to not providing it, and my grandparents would have had a legitimate reason to snatch us (my sister, brother and me) away from her. She is the type of sociopath who held a job, was socially adept (being a union representative and beloved by co-workers and union activists), and financially responsible. But she abused her children horribly. And she even abused lovers who eventually left her.
I married my mother when I was 18 years old. He was charming, worldly, sophisticated, supposedly educated, and sexy. I married him because I wanted to escape from my mother’s house, and because I did not know what else to do with my life. I had tried attending community college, but I had to work two jobs, pay rent to my mother, and go to classes. When I needed $11 for books, my mother would not give me the money.
So I married a Vietnam vet and functional alcoholic, who promised to love, honor and obey, who cherished me and lavished attention on me, who was in a bad marriage at the time and needed to get away from his horrible wife, who had a darling 3-year-old whom his wife wanted to take from him. He was the perfect, charming, charismatic and sexy victim. We dated for almost a year before we got married. He never, not once, exhibited any aggression or negativity toward me. If there were signs, and I’m sure there were, I was too young and inexperienced to notice them.
My grandparents paid for our wedding, and we were married in my hometown in Texas. The night of our wedding, he slapped me, slapped me hard, slapped me several times, and made me strip in front of him after he slapped me. After hitting and verbally humiliating me, we had “make up” sex.
I learned that I was about 6 weeks pregnant shortly after we got married. I had the baby, a daughter, and was thrilled to have someone to love. I didn’t work. I had no car. And my husband made sure that we always lived far enough out in a suburb with little or no access to public transportation. So I had very little contact with the outside world. I was, by and large, a prisoner who only got a reprieve when and how he wanted me to have it.
However, he worked and was regularly sleeping with other women. Once I contracted trichomoniasis, a common STD. When I told him that we both needed treatment, he accused ME of sleeping around. Truth is, I was too terrified of him to even think about cheating.
Did I mention that he also physically abused our daughter? I still have horrible flashes of him holding her down and spanking her when she was barely old enough to walk, for some unknown slight. I have not forgiven myself for that. I have not forgiven myself for the enraged helplessness I felt at seeing him do that to my baby.
After slapping me around one night, and spanking my daughter, I issued him an ultimatum. I told him that if he ever violently touched either of us again, I would leave him. He did not touch either of us in violence for one year. Six months of that year were spent with me attending a business college, learning how to type, file and do shorthand. I was preparing to leave him, just in case.
I got a job as a “stenographer” with the State of Texas. Not long after, “just in case” arrived. He accused me of some slight, slapped me around, grabbed me by the neck and started choking me. I had to plead for my life. I believe he accused me of cheating, because I had stopped having sex with him and had moved into the spare bedroom.
I went to work the next day and gave my notice. My supervisor, who was a lawyer, wanted to prosecute my husband. I just wanted to leave. Two weeks later, while he was out cheating, I packed two suitcases, and was driven to the airport by a co-worker. I was finally free, or so I thought. Plus, I had to get away quickly before he discovered that I was pregnant. There was no way I was going to bring another child of his into the world.
I returned to California and moved in with my sister. He followed me out to California. He persuaded me to come and talk with him in an apartment he had rented. I went, like an idiot, and he threatened to kill me if I left the room. I waited until he got drunk and passed out. Then I left him forever. And, I got an abortion.
Did I mention that my babysitter followed him, while he followed me? She asked me to meet with me, and I agreed. She confessed that she had been sleeping with Chris for several months, and was in love with him. I told her she was welcome to take him, and that he was all hers.
At age 48, after countless boyfriends and another marriage, I was again single. I met a man at my daughter’s wedding. He was tall, charming, drank a bit too much, and was an actual Ugandan prince! I was so awed by his bloodline (which was real) and by his charm, sophistication and artistic talent. He was an actual artist who actually sold his paintings. He also elicited an enormous amount of sympathy from me: His parents had met in London while in college. His mother got pregnant, and gave him away to an orphanage. When his grandmother discovered that, she went to London and claimed him. Because of the shame surrounding the pregnancy, his grandmother raised him. His parents never had anything to do with him. I wanted to give him the love he missed as a child. I felt so much sorrow for him that I cried for him.
Lies and the biggest lie
He never mentally or physically abused me, but he lied from the very beginning. He lied about being single (he was married, but separated). He lied about his ability to sell his paintings (he did sell them, but never saw a cent of the money; his paintings were barter for his room and board). His only income was state general assistance, or welfare for adults.
The biggest lie was his lie of omission. He was HIV+ and did not tell me. When he told me, he pretended that he had just found out. This was about two months into the relationship. We had used protection, but as we know, protection can leak, tear or burst. At the same time, he was trying to sleaze and con me into sending him to Uganda for a visit. For me, this was absolutely ludicrous. I lived somewhat comfortably, but I still lived on a teacher’s salary.
How else was he emotionally abusive? I had to always drive. He had no car, and wanted to be drunk, so he never drove. I also paid for gas on our excursions. He cooked for me one night at my apartment, and took home the food that wasn’t cooked (this really shocked me — to see him take a roast out of my freezer and take it home with him). He never bought me anything — not even a drink. If I got sick, he stayed away and offered no comfort to me at all. He just took from me: emotional support, mental support, physical comfort, sex, companionship. He took from me and offered nothing in kind in return.
I broke it off with him when I insisted on going to his doctor’s appointment with him, and learning from his physician (while he was present in the room) that he had been HIV+ for at least 10-15 years. He was diagnosed shortly after coming to this country, before HIV tests were routinely given to immigrants.
This experience and relationship, though short in duration (it didn’t even last six months), had a lasting impact on me. Someone was actually willing to take my life for his own means. There was no remorse or guilt on his part — a true sociopath. I was shocked to learn that there was a man out there willing to take my life. And, I reasoned, if there was one, there would be others. This man called me one year later and wanted to be “friends.” I rightly thought he was crazy and asked him never to call me again.
I have been afraid of being in a relationship since then. However, I need to really, really heal from my past and have a real adult relationship with a man. I really want that and I need a way to get it. I sometimes fear that it is too late for me, particularly since I am now 59 years old, and way past my prime.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story.