By October 6, 2016 7 Comments Read More →

Once You’re Hooked, Sociopaths Ignore and Criticize


Husband Liar SociopathEvery week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.

Chapter 25/26:  Last week, I skipped a chapter. When someone pointed out the oversight, I backtracked and added it to last week’s post.

Chapter 27 is so long, half of it appears below and the second half will appear next week.

Chapter 27: Nightmare On Elm Street (part A)

While Paul worked in Connecticut and the kids and I were still in New York, I barely saw him, although we talked on the phone in the evening when we could and saw each other on alternating weekends. On those weekends, he proudly showed me all the expensive light fixtures, granite countertops, hardwood floors, and other items for the new house. From the decisions he had made, it was clear that he regarded the house as his not ours. If I did not like something or if I felt he was spending too much money, he either ignored me, told me the decision had already been made, or accused me of having bad taste. I never won. I gave up. If he wanted black pedestal sinks for the bathroom, he was going to get black pedestal sinks for the bathroom. I wanted a counter so I would have a place to put my toothbrush and toothpaste and storage space below. He thought counters didn’t look upscale and classy enough. His objective was appearance, appearance, appearance. Mine contained a large dose of convenience, convenience, convenience. But, just like everything else in Paul’s dream house, getting impractical black pedestal sinks was nonnegotiable.

I overheard him talking to our builder, confirming the pedestal sinks he had selected. Paul joked that he was getting them because he wanted to be sure that his bathroom would never be cluttered with “his wife’s stuff.” What stuff? A toothbrush, toothpaste, and a hairbrush? I didn’t even wear makeup anymore. According to Paul, that would have made me look whorish. Heaven forbid that anyone, including me, regard me as attractive.

Paul’s treatment of me became increasingly contemptuous and dismissive. If I shared with him that the purging of no-longer-needed possessions, organizing, and packing was hard and emotionally draining at times, he said I was just a complainer. He and Anne-Marie were the only ones who were really working hard. His whole demeanor changed as he spoke of her—his eyes became almost dreamy, the muscles in his face relaxed, and his tone softened. Anne-Marie worked around the clock side-by-side with Paul. Anne-Marie was brilliant. Anne-Marie had a valuable perspective on any business issue. Anne-Marie was willing to jump in and do anything for Paul. Anne-Marie never complained.

I didn’t get it. Anne-Marie was neither attractive nor charming. She was smart and hardworking, but I had graduated near the top of my MBA class at Yale, even ahead of Paul; how much smarter than me could she be? Paul never talked to me about business, and he certainly never solicited my opinion about critical decisions.

No matter how much the gap between Paul’s treatment of me and his regard for Anne-Marie grew, I could not bring myself to think that he was having an affair with her—not even when Paul told me that the company rented an apartment near their office so Anne-Marie would have a place to stay on those evenings when she and Paul worked ‘til the wee hours of the morning. Not honorable, honest Paul, not the man who bristled at any inkling from anyone else of dishonestly or lack of integrity.

Our New York house closed in mid-July. With tears in my eyes, I said good-bye to my home, my neighborhood, and my friends. It was difficult. Even though our builder had promised that our new house in Connecticut would be ready for a July closing, it was clear to me that we would be lucky to be in the new house by Thanksgiving. As Paul insisted that we would close “next month,” then “next month,” and then “next month,” he refused to rent an apartment or house. Instead, Jessica, Daniel, and I moved in with Paul in his extended stay hotel. It would have been fine for a week or so. We were there for almost five months.

Paul often returned from work well after midnight. When he did come back earlier, he had nothing positive to say. He would ignore me, snap at me about some trivial issue, or criticize me for the slightest thing. I tried often to reach out to connect with him about something, anything. But if I tried to talk to him about his day, he rebuffed me and disparaged me for sticking my nose into his business. What did I know about his business? I wasn’t a part of it. He reminded me of that often.

I was not trying to pry but to stimulate conversation. I enjoyed talking about business issues, too, not to mention the fact that our financial future was riding on the success of Paul’s venture. If I tried to talk to Paul about the kids, he couldn’t believe that I didn’t see how tired he was. Why couldn’t I just respect how exhausted he was and leave him alone? He missed Halloween night with Daniel and Jessica. He missed Jessica’s sixth birthday celebration. Just too busy. Had to work. I understood, right? On the few occasions he did join us for dinner, he brought his laptop to the table, clicking away on the keyboard and checking emails while the kids and I ate. He would feign not being hungry. I think it was just a nonverbal way of communicating to me how little the kids and I mattered. Message received!

Living in a tight space, away from family and friends, ignored, dismissed, or criticized on a daily basis by Paul wore on me. When I was talking to my mother on the phone one day, I dissolved into tears. Throughout my life, I had not been someone who cried easily, except perhaps when my dog died or when my grandparents passed. A friend of mine had become clinically depressed following business school. While I supported her as a friend and I understood depression intellectually, I had never experienced anything like it personally, not even in my post-partum months. I always viewed problems in life as challenges that I was confident I could tackle. But now? One teary day followed another. What was happening to me? I had long daily phone conversations with my mother, trying constantly to make sense of Paul’s latest slight, criticism, or “setup,” in which it seemed he was looking for excuses to accuse me of being selfish, inconsiderate, controlling, or incompetent. Nothing I said could convince him that my motives were not suspect or that my judgment was sound. I found myself pouring a glass of wine at the end of each day, anticipating it longingly just to take the edge off. Prior to that, I was a virtual teetotaler, only drinking wine or champagne on special occasions—perhaps, at the most, seven glasses of wine or champagne a year. Now I drank that much in one week, week after week.

Frequent crying, increases in alcohol consumption, and feeling sad and anxious are signs of depression. I wasn’t depressed though, I reasoned. I only felt sad, scared, unworthy, and constantly apologetic around Paul. Once away from Paul, perhaps to visit my parents in Vermont, my normal confidence and feelings of self-worth and hopefulness rebounded. They evaporated the moment I reentered Paul’s world.

I told myself that it was just an exceptionally stressful time in our lives and that I needed to be strong, not sweat the small stuff, focus on what was important—my kids and my marriage—and soldier on. Paul had started a new business, we had moved, we were living in cramped quarters, we were building a house, and our income had been decimated. It was a stressful time, but it would pass. I was not depressed; it was just that my life was depressing. I needed to make some changes, and if I did, the tears would stop. Hopefully, moving into the new house would be a step in a positive direction.

We moved into the house in late November. I had almost no help from Paul emptying boxes and setting up the house. I had no close friends yet who could lend a hand. My ability to service my previous clients waned. Most of my work was concentrated on three major clients. I lost one of them due to my unavailability.

Start from the beginning:

Chapter 1

Go to previous chapter:

Chapter 26


Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.

7 Comments on "Once You’re Hooked, Sociopaths Ignore and Criticize"

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  1. Bev says:

    This is so so sad…

    The feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and depression that only surfaces when around ‘that person’.

    Once away from ‘that person’ and around normal people, we feel like our happy old selves again.

    Wow. How long are we supposed to live that way? It feels so awful to constantly feel that way…

    Report this comment

    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      It’s only recently that I had another epiphany (I’ve had several from marriage to a sociopath).

      My family of origin is very sociopathic. I think my mom was borderline, my pathetic pity play father was a pedo, several siblings are def sociopaths.

      So why didn’t I realize sooner that I had developed ways to deal with these people and developed coping skills.

      The biggest coping skill I developed was, instead of being able to ask for comfort when stressed or insecure or anxious, I am EXTREMELY nurturing/caretaking and EXTREMELY responsible. In other words, I GAVE when I NEEDED. That’s how I met my need for comfort and connection. And I learned to NEVER ask for it for myself, I just GAVE it instead. The more stressed, the more I gave.

      So… no surprise I was a perfect victim for a sociopath. Whenever I feel awful, I go look for some way to give. In fact, this is what we lonely sad people are encouraged to do, that instead of feeling bad, we are encouraged to go volunteer. That’s a wonderful thing to do, to volunteer, but it doesn’t heal the hole in our emotional reality.

      I liked your post b/c it reflects how I feel, you describe the feelings that result when being around “that person”, all the sociopaths in my life trigger those feelings, of sadness, hopelessness, depression, anxiety…. and no comfort or security or approval or even simple companionship.

      No wonder I am such an introvert. I learned not to look for connection with others, but with my books and from being a type of voyeur, watching other people receive it when I give it to them, knowing I will never have it for myself.

      Maybe with this new epiphany, I can partner with myself and find am emotionally healthy way to fill this NORMAL need that everyone has. B/c being a health services giver helped me to forget that I was abandoned, unloved, no comfort… forget until I am alone, esp on holidays, my birthday, mothers day, etc….
      ps It also hurts to realize that when I thought I was being “good”, it was b/c I was trying to fill a need, which leaves me feeling selfish, bad, narcissistic and even more worthless, than even the good I tried to do wasn’t enough b/c it came from a place of lack, not a place of abundance. 🙁

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      • Bev says:

        Wow. So well said NotWhatHeSaidofMe.

        I have also become an unintended introvert thanks to SON being a SP. This is not the real me, but someone that I have become in order to not have to reveal HIM to anyone.

        Report this comment

        • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

          My nervous system is such that I am an introvert, but the extent to HOW thick my shell has grown to be is in direct correlation to how much shame I have endured. I grew a thick shell to with draw into b/c of the ENORMOUS SHAME that was dumped on me, and with my nervous system, my defense was to make myself as small as possible, to be the tiniest target. When I stopped feeling shame for my father being a pedo (I realized it was NOT MY SHAME, it was HIS), then I found a way out of other shame traps. B/c that’s what SHAME is, a trap set by the perpetrator.

          I look forward to the day when those sociopaths are hoisted on their own petard.

          In the meanwhile, it is my observation that my ex husbands minions expected ME to tolerate that which they would NEVER tolerate for themselves. I was blamed/shamed for why he lied/scammed/cheated, only a very few said HE was responsible for his moral choices. And even fewer said that he did this to EVERY woman he dated, and to EVERY person he conducted a business deal.

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          • Bev says:

            You say something excellent about the shame that we carry…but it is not our shame to carry. Also, that shame drives us inside ourselves…to hide from the world. To not enjoy this life that we have.

            I know all about the image that THEY project and how some others in our and THEIR lives simply cannot believe and see what we have seen and do see.

            We often seem like the unstable ones. I have learned not to tell anyone too much, lest I sound unstable. It’s a very heavy burden for me to carry.

        • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

          I forgot to emphasize that my ex did not do this with EVERYONE, he lied/scammed/cheated with everyone he had personal ongoing relationships.

          That’s how he maintained his image, and used his good reputation to trap new victims over the years…. b/c for all those who didn’t have a vested interest in a relationship with my ex, they were NOT affected by his lowlife ways, and his good ole boy, aw shucks handsome face is very appealing.

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