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BOOK REVIEW: The Secret Life of Captain X

CaptainX_sizedGrowing up, she was taught that a woman’s success in life depended on a good marriage. She pursued show business instead. But still single the age of 39, she decided it was time for a change, and left the bright lights of New York City for Arizona.

There she met a dashing airline pilot, whom she described as “funny, intelligent, committed, family-oriented, successful, caring and loving.” Or, at least that’s how he presented himself in the beginning.

She fell for him. Fell hard. They married. For her that was the beginning of 22 years of confusion — which, she later realized, was psychological and emotional abuse, inflicted by a psychopathic husband.

She’s divorced now, but her husband put a clause in their divorce decree to prevent her from discussing what happened in their marriage.

But for her own healing — and as a warning to others — she wrote her story without naming names. Her book is called The Secret Life of Captain X, by “MrsXNomore.”

Long-term marriage

I’ve heard from many people — mostly women, but some men as well — who have been married to disordered partners for 10, 20, 30 years. How is this possible? How can someone stay in a dysfunctional relationship that long?

The Secret Life of Captain X explains how it happens.

In the course of telling her story, MrsXNomore describes the attention and affection she experienced early in the involvement, which was slowly replaced by indifference. She explains how events in her life didn’t feel right, but Captain X always managed to keep her in the dark, trivialize her concerns, or blame her for making a big deal out of nothing.

MrsXNomore finally learned the shocking truth of what Captain X had been doing throughout their marriage.

And, then she learned an even more devastating truth.

I don’t want to give away the story. But I can say that The Secret Life of Captain X is the first book I’ve read that addresses a behavior common to many, many psychopaths.  It’s a shocking behavior, one that leaves most of us shaking our heads, wondering how in the world they pull it off.

How it happens

The Secret Life of Captain X does a good job of explaining how someone falls into a psychopathic web, why she stays stuck there, and what is required to finally escape.

For Lovefraud readers who have endured long-term involvements with psychopaths, the book offers validation. For people who have so far been lucky enough to avoid tangling with a psychopath, it offers an important warning.

 



12 Comments on "BOOK REVIEW: The Secret Life of Captain X"

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  1. NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

    I read a different review of this book and it has a most appropriate term: “socialize psychopath”.

    I believe this term most accurately defines the kind of person most of us have found ourselves caught up in relationship with.

    I used to say, My ex was the MOST charming man that anyone has ever met. I wasn’t the only one who thought him charming, it was a very common response that I heard over and over. He is the MOST charming man EVER! (coo!)

    There are many types of genius. My ex had a highly developed social IQ. He could “get along” with college professors and corporate attorneys as comfortably as he “got along” with farmers, business owners, and also socially connected with street people and druggies and the disordered.

    In the beginning, I thought he was someone who was comfortable in his own skin, who enjoyed people and did not judge. I was wrong. He was SO judgmental that he automatically and continuously scanned people for how they would be useful to him. And without a conscience, he did this constant predatory scanning and assessment calmly, no social anxiety at all, no discomfort regarding status or danger. My ex had a way of “being” always, ALWAYS trolling.

    He was a psychopath, a being without conscience, who was extremely socially adept, so socially gifted that turned normally distant controlling elites into simpering silly minions.

    Social psychopaths.
    A Perfect term, a succinct phrase, that explains the difference between covert predators and overt predators. My ex.



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    • Mary Ann Glynn says:

      Mrs. X’s memoir really captures what it’s like to live inside the particular hell we know so well – like a prisoner of war of a captor you cannot really see or name, until that moment when the deception surfaces that is so traumatizing it changes you forever. I really like this memoir because it is the experience that most partners of psychopaths (narcissists and sociopaths are interchangeable here) have. It’s the everyday garden variety psychopath who may not be a con artist by trade. The one who may be your friendly next door neighbor who helps you out sometimes, someone at your place of worship, an outstanding member of your community. They’re the kind who want to appear conventional, who might like the image and security of a spouse and family, who may even believe at first they can be in an intimate relationship, and who need a cover for their deviant sexual and/or otherwise secret lives – where the subtle deception, gas-lighting, and crazy-making can go on for many years. Captain had the perfect job for it. Mrs. X also describes what is the most agonizing guilt-producing part of this experience to those who have children involved – parental alienation. This is not talked about enough, but I witness this in my group members and it’s incredibly heartbreaking. Mrs. X lived through and describes her experience in a distinct relatable style with chilling clarity that keeps you turning the pages. I found it very relatable and I’m sure you would, too.



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      • chickenlittle says:

        Thank you so much for the two great candid review of this book.. I have just ordered it, and will take comfort that I am not alone in this nightmare.. I am struggling in the same boat as the author only I am still stuck in the marriage. Gas lighting for the first 30 years was a big part of his grooming process, before he tried to take away your last shred of honor in your children’s eyes. My Parenting skills have been so countered and undermined at every corner. And the bizarre and twisted response to my wanting a divorce now with out expensive lawyers is I still love you and want to save the marriage!



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        • Escapefor1 says:

          That’s what mine said at first when I filed for divorce. He tried to romance me back for months. But I was not having it. After he realized that, he turned nasty. To me, and hurting the kids in some ways to get back at me and devalue me in their eyes. After the divorce, the mask was off, he did not bother even being pleasant, and he over time turned away the kids too. He still tries to communicate, but I ignore everything that does not have to do with co-parenting.



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      • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

        I am free of my ex husband but not free of his influences. While life with him was enormous emotional pain, I am back because of the loss of a relationship with my grown child. Our disconnect is, as you write so truthfully, the most agonizing guilt producing consequence of my marriage. I brought that monster into our lives and now, she is behaving like HIM.

        It sickens me, there is NO happiness or emotional security for her when she is LIKE HIM. My ex was envious of my love for my child and behind my back, he worked his damage to divide her vulnerable self from my natural mothering protection so that by the time she was adult, all she has for me is contempt. Her being this way will never bring her joy or connection or satisfaction. Being so crude and rude and mean to others is to engage in that kind of negativity that interferes with her being able to ever have a healthy emotional relationship with anyone. That realization about my daughter’s possibilities for her life breaks my heart more than any and all that my ex ever did directly to me.



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        • chickenlittle says:

          Notwhathesaidofme, I too have witnessed the transformation of turning your children into people without conscience. It seems to be the final byproduct of staying in this type of Marriage. ( so much for trying to save the marriage for the sake of your children!) I have fought a similar battle with all of my children. If you don’t get out while they are young, the children are being primed to becoming the next generations abusers. Myhusband fits the profile of a perfect social psychopath also. He can convince any one of anything. Society does not like to use the word psychopath. they prefer to use softer terms such as a type of personality disorder, but it is a prevailing reality in today’s world, and this elephant has been hiding and growing in the closet for some time.



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        • Escapefor1 says:

          Please don’t blame yourself. There is good evidence that it may be genetic. Nothing you could have done, but not have a child with him. Certainly they can model bad behavior and they can compete with us victims to alienate children. So, it can be nurture as well.

          However, unlike what Chicken Little says below, leaving sooner is no guarantee, and may be worse. I know someone who left when his daughter was 2. Ten years later, she was completely alienated from him. I think part of it is that his daughter did not have a chance to know him well enough to offset what her mother said and did. His daughter was brought up full-time by his disturbed ex-wife, who probably has a PD. He worries about what that means for his daughter every day.

          Instead, like you, I also stayed a long time “for the sake of the children”, and I divorced when they were teens. By the time it was final, they were old enough to know much more about what’s what. They both soon realized something is wrong with Daddy and they pulled away. He tried his best to alienate them from me, but it did not work. I did not have to say anything, just let his own behavior do its work. They made their own decisions.

          So, I do not think there is any one magic answer for how long to stay optimally for the kids. An argument could be made either way — less time for poor modelling and longer for an alternative better example, or staying until the kids are old enough to understand the situation and have a strong bond with the victimized parent.



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          • chickenlittle says:

            I hope you are right Escapefor1, Since I am not yet out of the throws of the situation, but working towards it.
            I have one remaining son at 13, that might stick with me. (the youngest of 4 children in my marriage) What baffles me is my husbands uncanny ability or power to persuade without conscience.
            He can so effortlessly turn the children or anyone against me, for his ulterior motives. His acting abilities have even duped my pastor to ask me, “do you know how many women would love to have their husbands love them enough to fake a heart attack for them?” So once under his spell many cannot discern the truth anymore. But your words are words of comfort, for I would only hope that in the end the ones he has duped will realize that I was always there for them.

          • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

            Whoa ChickenLittle,
            You are SO right on! I could never understand why decent community leaders would set aside their common sense and moral character so easily after a “talk” with my ex husband. My ex was SO smooth about it.

            I don’t know what he said to most people but I did stumble on an email that he wrote to his friend’s wife, talking her into going skinny dipping with him. “What’s the harm in living a little?!” he wrote. I know that she ended up going with him, she divorced her husband, and when my ex revealed that he was not going to be her grand passion, (he didn’t want her), she ended up re-marrying her husband. Proof that she would never have broken up her marriage but did so because my husband (we were married at the time) implied that she was SO WONDERFUL (he lovebombed her I’m sure).

            My ex husband was SO talented at charm that in ONE conversation, people would loan him tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, they’d turn on me, hating me without ANY contact with me, there were so many BROmances and those guys were angry with me for coming between my husband and their “friendship” and yet, those men never realized that my ex had others who though that THEY were his best, most cherished, friend.

            I might not have understood all my ex’s manipulations pointed towards his being a sociopath, but I knew it was not right or normal. I looked for answers to explain his behavior, that’s how I found LOVEFRAUD.

      • survivormom says:

        Thanks for your insight, Mary Ann. You have described my ex-husband to a “T”. We were together for 19 years, married 15 of those years. I learned he was a sexual deviant who was living a secret life since before we even met, in our 17th year together. He is attracted to prepubescent girls, which included our 7 year old daughter, who has been seriously injured from years of sadistic sexual abuse. He was awarded sole custody of our children, despite perpetrating domestic violence on me and my son, and despite my daughter’s sexual abuse allegations. I nearly gave up, but couldn’t, for the sake of my children. I’m not going away, and I pray to God that he is going to soon be exposed and pay for the three lives he’s ruined. I will buy the book to learn more. Thanks.



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      • Barb says:

        It had just hit me at the kitchen sink this morning that my Dad may have been a “Captain X”. He was never to be found at times, especially family vacations. If he loved my mother, and he claimed he did, he did not have any understanding of her needs or personality…in fact, he exploited them. True to tell, my mother had NPD, so she was no ‘joy’ either.
        It is incredibly disheartening to slowly ‘awaken’, like dead nerves unraveling while feeling and sensation return, to hideous realities of your early life.
        I don’t recall my father playing golf or tennis with anyone in his age group…he was not an adult. He never grew up totally. He played tennis with a much younger man whom he referred to as a ‘toy’. I don’t think he was kidding.
        All the shit my mother took from the marriage came running down on me…the scapegoat.
        No counselor I ever dealt with truly had a grasp on the situation.



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  2. BeckyR says:

    I, too, will buy this book. Thank you to the author…it’s empowering to find a way to circumvent the legalities which prevent our need for closure. Thank you!



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