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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: How do you learn to trust again?

Editor’s note: This letter was sent in from Lovefraud reader wandergirl7.

While reading through a magazine on “how to write” I came upon a phrase that completely caught my interest. “If it didn’t have to be pretty, what would you write?” Life isn’t all peaches and cream and your writing shouldn’t be either.

It is often quoted that what happens in your life, especially the incidents that cause you hurt, loss and pain, are lessons. Do things really happen for a reason? What is the reason and who is arranging the scenes?

Yes, you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time or the other way around, the right place. Luck could fall upon you. Disaster strikes! There are no simplified answers. We make mistakes and bad choices as humans. Sh*t happens!

I became a wanderer

There must be a multitude of reasons that sets a soul searching in such an unstable direction. Mine was that I ended up basically without a home and was “lost,” in pain, and completely confused.

Solitary interludes spent marveling at natural and man-made wonders encourage contentment and peace, help to give you strength as well. I feel comfort in nature. I’ve been very fortunate to experience adventures I would not trade!

On the other hand, while experiencing a freedom created by lack of material possessions, I found myself understanding so little about so much. Oh yes, myself at the top of the list. We all have our own quirks and faults. I was trying too hard to understand. Like a monk seeking the meaning of life!

His actions and words did not match

I walked, rather ran, away from betrayal! Frequently I questioned this decision though there was really only one choice if I valued myself as a person. The person I was with obviously had no respect for me though he spoke words of love and affection readily. His actions and words did not match up on many occasions and I chose to go along with the words.

I believed him

We had many very good times together and I became a part of his family and friends. I believed in what I thought we had together enough to give up my apartment and my job to be with him.

He told me all the time that I was the love of his life, the best thing that ever happened to him in his life and that what we had was a very good thing. He used to say he loved me constantly, that he wanted to marry me and have a life together. He said he would have been married to me already if he could have and wished he had met me first so as to have saved much past time with the “wrong” women. He said. “I knew there was someone out there for me!” He “said” and promised a lot of things!

Engaged and shopping for a house

He asked to get engaged and start looking for a home for us. That year he had lost where he had been living for years after the sale of a property shared from his last marriage.

He was living and working temporarily on a family ranch.

We found a place we wanted. I had said we should rent in the beginning until we saw how living together would work out, as we had both been married and divorced twice. He refused and claimed that he had always owned his own homes and would not waste money on renting. I was still renting my own apartment.

Without a thought, he accepted money given by my family for the down payment (he did not have enough) and a large sum from a close family friend as an engagement and new house gift.

I believed that it would all work out and we would have a good life!? My heart was sure of it.

 Irresponsibility after commitment

I became aware of his financial irresponsibility shortly after we made this “commitment.” I could make a list of the financial messes I “fixed” for him and one almost disaster created on my account which I had just added him to.

Honesty was not one of his good traits. Consideration for others feelings was lacking. I loved him … not knowing who he really was deep inside.

He was a fun-loving guy and very affectionate; easy to like and be with. He was the cuddly type; always held my hand and stayed close by, physically.

Was this all it took? If you are a teenager this might work for a while. He obviously knew what women like and want. Rose colored glasses came free and I put them on. That helped but the price rose to a significant cost at the end.

Gut instincts were ignored

There were times his behavior was inconsiderate and hurtful. Some of it was intentional. Gut instincts were ignored. He cheated early on. I overlooked it because he said he was ashamed and sorry and continued on with the relationship believing it was a onetime thing. He was unfaithful again. It began to occur to me that more than likely he cheated the whole time. He had some sneaky ways but excuses to cover them all.

A woman he knew for years through the family came to visit me one weekend and told me, “I wouldn’t leave him alone for very long if I were you.” She said they had many close conversations … like girlfriends.

There were signs. It seemed for him it was a lifestyle and a choice, not a mistake. There was no trust remaining.

 His sneakiness became deplorable

Apologies flowed out readily but the same actions continued. He feigned being sorry while sleeping with other women and still chasing after the one who caused the break up. His sneakiness became deplorable. Like keeping his cell phone in his truck and going outside to text and talk on it, not bringing it into the house anymore or even on rides.

He was trying to hold onto the home we owned at any cost, including more deceit. My feelings were not important. The hurt and pain and devastation he was causing me were not even a consideration to him. He didn’t care. It was done on purpose to get out of the promise of marriage. Once he started his job on the road he learned that there were a lot of willing women out there. He told me that when he was married and worked for one other company he had many opportunities to be with other women. That is how he gauges who he is?

 Relationship with a sociopath

After seeking self help through research in the following years I came to the conclusion I had been in a relationship with a sociopath; a charming deceiver and without empathy. Heartless and calloused and not capable of love, yet having the ability to role play perfectly. He admitted to me after that he didn’t believe himself capable of ever really loving anyone! How cruel was that to add such insult to injury?

There was no emotion in all his justifications and excuses. He did feel quite entitled to his behavior. He spewed out a long list of everything “I” did wrong or didn’t do right. All news to me! He had always said how good everything with us was and he was happy. I asked him how he could be so heartless. He told me he knew he’d hurt me so bad that I would never get over it and that he had made a fool of me.

Deceived

What if you realize how fragile your sense of judgment can be when you wholeheartedly want to believe something to be true? This person who professed his love and desire of marriage and a life together was not sincere. Does being intentionally deceived equal being gullible? We all want to believe love is true.

Some are instantly aware of the guises of a fluidly false tongue. Others are easily conned. I was a sponge who soaked up every word and bit of affection to the very last drop.

He has a lure he uses to gain attention from new women, telling them how abusive and mean previous women have been to him. I fell for this myself. He also used this untrue statement about me to other women. Possibly even to friends and family who did not know me well.

Last to know

Does that old adage, “the last to know,” hold true? His friends and exes were privy to his womanizing traits.

Afterwards, when the can of worms spills forth its wriggly gossip and you hear stories from numerous others who knew him; you begin to put the puzzle together.

It’s disheartening how the actions of someone found out changes to meanness! I was not permitted to question or talk about anything that occurred. Pretend it never happened and save his face for him.

Just another conquest

I then understood our relationship much better. I was just another name on the headboard … another conquest.

His was a game of winning, a game of ego. My feelings all along in the relationship were real and my love true. There were things I could have done differently, but even that wouldn’t have mattered one bit.

Choose wisely

Millions of men and women in life have fallen into the framework of similar agendas. You are responsible for who you make your bedfellow. Life isn’t always fair. I have paid for my bad choice dearly.

How do you stop living “on guard” when you feel you may fall for the same tricks? I’ve read that we form a pattern. You know you have been fooled and though the lesson has penetrated deeply, you doubt yourself still.

When the home sold I drove away with just my clothes having no idea what I was going to do. That rug was pulled out from under an imagined future in the snap of a finger. No remorse from him. There were about 3 or 4 women at that time, before the house even sold. My god I was such a fool!

Basically homeless 

Many years have been spent since looking for a home, job and grounding. Sense of security went up into thin air. I have nowhere to invite my children or family or friends to. I suppose I have been “flailing?” So far I have not been successful in repairing my life.

In my attempts I’ve packed and moved about 20 times. I’ve rented rooms, stayed with family and friends temporarily, shared communal housing, tried a position as a live in caregiver and paid for places to stay along the way, not really “living” anywhere. Basically homeless, but just not out on the streets.

Jobless

Jobs ended or there were no jobs. Money from selling the home and other belongings was dwindling. Fortunately I’ve had items to sell. Thankfully my parents welcome me back to their home again and again.

Taking photos while traveling roads and places my searching took me through become my distraction and passion. Starting a photography page was a huge positive step. I made friends and found support and encouragement there. Humor is a weapon I use against the sadness.

 Struggling to recover

It became a struggle for me to recover from. I am not the same person I had been. The Dalai Lama has a quote: “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” I did allow it to cause damage because I stayed with him until he flushed me and the relationship down the toilet.

It could very well have become the straw that broke the camel’s back. Inwardly, my feelings seemed to regress back to a childlike mentality. The emptiness and confusion where overwhelming.

I was told by a stranger I met during my travels not to judge myself by the behavior of who I was with. He was curious and questioned my solitary exploring. I told him I had chosen to be alone and why. “It wasn’t about you,” he said, “it is about his problems and issues. Don’t fall into the trap of taking blame he attempted to lay upon you. His behavior was not your fault. He was the manipulator. Compulsive cheaters and womanizers have empty souls.”

Meeting a person of similar destructive qualities will be rare, thank goodness. But how do you learn to trust again?

Not just to trust another, but to trust myself as well.




11 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: How do you learn to trust again?"

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  1. cannh says:

    Wandergirl17…

    Thanks for sharing your story. I find it interesting that many of our stories are so very similar, just the names and faces have changed. I, too, experienced what I thought was loving, caring and affection from him, but I now know it was nothing more than a mirror of me. It has been a long journey of healing, but I have learned and grown so much in the process.

    It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been apart. I moved 2000 miles away. The house we were in has now been sold and happily, someone new is living there. This was really the final closure for me in the four years I put up with this sociopath.

    Like you, I have studied and learned. I have also learned to trust myself as I now know what to look for. In many ways since moving, I feel like I simply started over….new place to live, new job, new friends….but even more importantly, a stronger, wiser more self-aware version of me. I have found that inner peace I so longed for. It took a lot of soul searching, but in the end, it is so worth it!

    Stay strong my friend and continue to learn….

    carolann



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  2. truelove says:

    Thank you for sharing. I can relate to a number of things you shared. I am currently in the same boat emotionally. How to move forward through the bitterness and hurt. Mine was an octopus when I found out about her cheating; wouldn’t let go of me. It seems she knew once I had space and time away, the fog would clear and I would see all the lies and deception. I did and I saw. I ended it about 10 times until finally I told her, “game over, you lose, move on.” This was after I knew what she was about and she was still trying to play me, reel me into her game. Its crazy how these people “get off” on deceiving and lying. Anyway thank you for sharing, I got a lot from it:)



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  3. Shelby says:

    Thank you, also. The more you share with others who have these type folks in common, all the better. I believe it takes a lot of time and education to begin healing. You ask about trusting again.
    For me, it will be important as long as I live to practice a bit more skepticism but not to the point of shutting out everyone. There are still many people on this earth who are kind and sincere, interested in your welfare. It may just be better to practice a longer period of waiting after we meet new people before we make solid commitments. I am lucky to have two childhood pals who’ve not wavered very far from who they were a long time ago. I hope you’ll be willing to continue your exploration because you seem like you are working hard on it. Bravo for you because as long as we’re trying, we sure haven’t given up! We can make decisions in our present day and for the future to help us if we are armed with some wisdom and the desire to keep on going.



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    • Mia M says:

      Waiting would not have helped in my circumstance, I knew him for several months prior to the start of our relationship and he kept up the facade the whole time. What would have helped though would have been taking to his family or friends or even his exes. His family would not speak to him because of what he had done to them and he had no friends. It also would have helped had I noticed that he made himself out to be the victim in every scenario, nothing was ever his fault. I think I got so duped in part because of his prior professional standing and all the assumptions I made about him being honest and respectable because of his former career. This experience has taught me not to defer to people just because they are doctors, lawyers, or law enforcement.



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  4. truebeliever says:

    Wandergirl7
    Thank you for putting into words what most of us have experienced in loving a socio-path. You are brave to share your experience. It was real love on our part. At least we are capable of real love. You will trust yourself eventually. My SP was my fun escape from a life that was suffocating me. After 5 years of healing, I wrote the following to put a humorous spin on my experience.
    I just finished reading this little book, The Path by Laurie Beth Jones, that my friend had recommended about your mission statement etc., so I thought I would write another version. Following Your Socio Path. Anyway, here it is….. What I learned from My Sociopath:

    Following Your Socio Path:

    *Always put yourself first
    *Always present yourself with charisma and charm
    *Ooze your sexual magnetism
    *Get what you want
    *Ignore what people think about you
    *Spend money with no worries
    *Embrace change and your gypsy soul!
    *Variety is the spice of life- have multiple sudden soul mates and love them all!
    *Love bomb others! Give praise and lavish flattery!
    *Make snap confident decisions
    *Look people in the eye-for long periods of time
    *Build trust:)
    *Live a faultless life:)
    *Pity play- it’s fun and gets immediate attention!
    *Tell great stories about only yourself, it makes life interesting
    *Get immediate answers and commitments from others
    *Receive, receive, receive…. it makes others feel needed:)
    *Build a relationship where you are the only needed person in their life.
    I wish you the best Wandergirl7! Find the life that you want and do not depend on someone else to be that for you:)You will then trust yourself and wont except anything less than what you deserve.



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  5. wandergirl7 says:

    I don’t know what to say. I am grateful for the understanding but sorry for what others have experienced that make that understanding possible. It’s hard to explain to friends and family the total confusion felt when realizing a whole relationship was actually, fake. To this day, I’m pretty mad at myself for being such a fool. Hardest part I guess is forgiving yourself?
    I remember saying to friends….I don’t know who he is. He isn’t the person I knew these many years. What happened. He has no feelings. It is like I am just nothing. One said to me. You are probably seeing the “real” person for the first time. I didn’t understand this. The confusion was mind boggling. Who was I engaged to, owned a home with, hoped for a future with and totally in love with? I couldn’t comprehend the emptiness of soul and feelings that followed his behavior. This person has since played and used other women. I heard from past mutual friends. He continues his games. New ones are as oblivious as I was. Sad. They are such con artists. They are amazingly deceitful. I have learned to trust my intuition. Thank you so much for the thoughtful responses. I hope good things for you all.



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  6. David01 says:

    wandergirl17,

    I suggest you be very careful about who you talk to about your experiences. Psychopaths/sociopaths train their victims to reveal everything about themselves because they use the information about you to continue the manipulation.

    This becomes a ‘habit’ and often causes problems later when the victim sometimes reveals more than they should. It is particularly nasty when the listener is another psychopath and takes advantage of the person all over again. (This is one of the mechanisms by which people get caught time and time again by manipulators.)

    Learning about mind control and how it works, and particularly how the techniqies were used against you, will go a long way to undoing some of the erroneous ideas still in place, for example, it was your decision to be in the relationship, you allowed it to continue, that you are a fool, and so on.

    Until people understand the mechanisms of mind control, they often continue to have problems with jobs, relationships, trusting, blaming themselves and all sorts of things.

    And well done for writing here. It takes a lot of courage!

    Regards.



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  7. Mia M says:

    Very nicely written. I was pretty sure we were dating the same man as everything you quoted was identical to the approach used by my ex. How to learn to trust again has been my number one question also. I cannot tell you the answer but I can tell you what has been working for me. Having to defend myself against this snake has made me a lot stronger. I think the hardest part was having to accept the very uncomfortable fact that I had been a victim. I do not like the vulnerability that the word “victim” implies. Initially, I wanted to take 100% of the blame for allowing this predator in my life and the consequences that followed. Rather than allowing me to move on, taking the full blame gave me a false sense of control and kept me stuck. Like a rape victim blaming her short skirt for the assault and using the faulty logic that “if I never wear another short skirt this will never happen to me again.” I had to accept that I had been a victim in order to transition to survivor. There are sharks in the water and we cannot always protect ourselves, sometimes we will be victimized. It is a lousy thing to have to accept but it is the truth. Car accidents, cancer, and sociopaths….bad stuff happens, sometimes we survive and sometimes we do not. We could build a bunker and isolate on the side of a mountain but who wins if this becomes our life? I refuse to let this man crush my spirit, yes, he got me, he played me, and I fell for all his lies. Talking to his prior victims helped me and them to feel less stupid, we were all strong intelligent women and we all fell for his lies. I have lost a great deal as a result and some things that were very precious to me, none of them material possessions, may be lost for good. What I have that he will never have are family, friends and colleagues that still trust and believe in me. I also have the capacity to love, cherish and protect myself and others.

    I am learning to trust again by connecting with old friends who I know are safe, by venturing out in the world in small ways, by engaging with people who are not likely to be predators, such as retirees and young people. I am volunteering in places that do not require me to talk about myself or my life. It helps to just be an observer for awhile. Finding balance in nature is also wonderful but it does not fix the trust issue. Only venturing forth within community does that. I do not know if I will ever date again, I do not have any inclination to do so yet and I am okay with that. I still look at people, mostly men, in the supermarket and wonder if they are safe but it is lessening and sometimes it is no longer my first thought but an afterthought. It feels really good to notice that I have spent time out in public and not been worried about my safety. They are little milestones but they mark my separation from this man and from the damage he tried to do to me.

    I love this website because of the courage and the hope in the stories and comments. Thank you for sharing your journey, I found tremendous solidarity in knowing that I was not alone.



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  8. salvation2012 says:

    People who havent been through this personally, cannot understand it. They try to apply normal rules and ask questions about did you try this or that? Things that might work with normal people just do not work with these spaths.



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  9. mcmjuly says:

    wandergirl, the only thing I can offer is to let you know you are not alone in the things you went through. There is not one thing in your writing I have not also experienced. It actually helps me to know I’m not alone in being totally, profoundly and deeply changed by my marriage to a psychopath.
    It’s been over 6 years since he walked out on me, feeling it was his right to dismantle my life and walk away. I can assure you I do not pine for him or anything like that; the thought of him makes me ill…however I have not dated (and don’t intend to) since our divorce. I had to go on full disability after losing several jobs after he left. Like you, I’ve moved and “stayed” with people around a dozen times since then.
    Even with the gloom, I do make a consciousenscious effort to learn and read about self-awareness and I do strive to try and get some glimmer of the woman I once was back.
    His “timing” when it came to when he came into and then walked away from my life, in my opinion, was extremely detrimental to me. I was 47 when he walked (living with another woman within days), and just hitting menopause. MY menopause was INSANE, I believe, because of the emotional turmoil that had come to define every part of me. Anyone who has been through this will probably understand, that it is quite difficult to face starting from scratch when you’re 50 years old.
    I often felt he erased all the years of my life that I spent “paying my dues” and “working my way up.” It was all gone.
    My heart goes out to you sister and when I go to bed tonight….I will say a little prayer for you. Hang in there.



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