A young woman who posts on Lovefraud as “Butterfly” first contacted me in August. She had recognized that her boyfriend was disordered. She also realized that her father was disordered, which set her up to tolerate the lying, cheating boyfriend.
We exchanged emails several times over the last few months. She asked excellent questions, and I made two “Letters to Lovefraud” videos to answer them, which are included in this post.
With her permission, I’ve reproduced our email exchange. Her experience illustrates the confusing and painful experience of a disordered parent — and how it affected her own relationship choices. And you won’t believe what she discovered in the end. It was the last straw.
BUTTERFLY: I’m discovering that my biological father is a sociopath. As a result I ended up dating a sociopath. How does a person like me who hasn’t seen a good example of a healthy relationship know how to pick out and avoid a sociopath? After all they all start off great. My biological father told me that in order for a man to love me I must lose some weight first. That’s rude considering I’m an average sized woman.
LOVEFRAUD: I’m glad you are recognizing that your father is disordered. I would suggest two things – learn to recognize the warning signs of a sociopath – they’re described in detail in my book, “Red Flags of Love Fraud – 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath.” I would also suggest that you work on your personal healing.
We are starting a new YouTube series called “Letters to Lovefraud.” I’d like to answer your questions in more detail in a video. May I read your letter?
BUTTERFLY: Yes I give you permission to read my letter. Is the YouTube channel up now? Thanks for the advice. I’m working on my personal healing through therapy. However, it’s a struggle because my father is still in my life tearing me down. I know I’m an adult now but I struggle with the guilt of walking away. I struggled the same exact way with my ex, which is why he brought me down to nothing.
LOVEFRAUD: The key to healing is no contact. When you get away from your father and stay away, your recovery will begin.
BUTTERFLY: I forgot to add that I’m 24 and I don’t live with my father but I’m on his health insurance and he uses this to control me. I also have younger siblings under the age of 18. My sister is 16 from one woman and my brother is 7 from another. I know their mothers but my father made it clear that I can’t have a relationship with my siblings unless it’s through him.
He has a Jekyll and Hyde personality. I never know what I’m going to get when I talk to him. The thing that sucks is that I’m in college so I sort of have to be on his insurance, I can’t afford my own. He has such high expectations for me that they are unrealistic. I’m a pre-medicine student with a 3.8 GPA and that is still not enough for him.
My ex boyfriend is a sociopath, at one point I used to live with him and because of him I almost lost my ability to continue in school. My credit is shot and I’m still paying bills that he caused. He was talking about our future and then next thing you know he discarded me like a used napkin.
Most of the details of my ex are in my posts as Butterfly. I’m stuck on what to do with my father because I don’t want to date another man like him. I definitely have to work on my self-esteem but it seems impossible when I have my dad constantly tearing me down.
LOVEFRAUD: Have you looked into Obamacare? You may be able to get insurance really cheaply. It may be worth finding a way to pay for your own insurance, rather than dealing with your father.
BUTTERFLY: That’s a good idea! I will check in to it. He made threats that he’s going to take me off his insurance because I “disrespect” him. He calls it disrespectful because I was trying to explain to him that the insurance made a mistake and was sending him a check. He was talking completely over me and then started screaming as I was explaining while yelling he didn’t understand. He was calling me a sad excuse for an adult and completely attacked my character.
So I told him until he could talk to me in a civil manner I’m hanging up. Then I hung up.
So after I hung up he was blowing up my phone with texts insulting me. To make it so bad if I were to call him, he would completely forget this happened.
My whole life he’s put me down but I just can’t take it anymore! I’ve been told several times that I’m a disappointment and a failure. I’m not sure how I’m a failure. He also told me I was a distraction to his business. Since I discovered Lovefraud, it real helped me discover that he is indeed a narcissist and sociopath, and that was why I put up with my ex with similar behavior. Do you think if I cut my father out of my life, I would be able to find a healthy loving relationship? I just don’t know what that looks like so it feels like a fairy tale.
LOVEFRAUD: Everything you describe is typical of a sociopathic parent attempting to humiliate their child. Cutting your father out of your life would be a big first step towards true recovery. I will address how you can heal in the video.
My ex misses me
BUTTERFLY: I know we’ve talked about my ex before. My ex boyfriend has been writing me messages on Instagram saying that he misses me and loves me and he changed. I’m still close with his mom so I confided in her. She told me that I should give him a second chance even if it’s just as friends.
So I drove down to see him just as a friend. When I went to see him I discovered that he moved a female into our apartment and he’s dating a woman in the Bahamas. The whole time I was with him he rubbed in my face that his life got so much better without me and that he’s having sex with a lot of females behind the new woman’s back and that he’s technically single until she comes to the country to see him. She has family here so she comes every few months. He was bragging about their sex life.
I was moving on with my life and he contacted me. Why did he feel the need to contact me if he already moved on? What’s the purpose of him rubbing his new life in my face? If he’s truly happy then wouldn’t he just be focused on his new life instead of humiliating me?
LOVEFRAUD: He is a sociopath and he does not miss you at all. His objective is to hurt you. Unfortunately, his mother gave you really bad advice. You should have No Contact with him. Do not talk to him ever again. Block all his messages. The best thing you can do is get him out of your life. You should also cut off contact with his mother. Nothing good came come from either of them.
As always, you ask great questions. May I use your letter for another video?
BUTTERFLY: Thanks so much. And yes you may use my question for the video. He also kissed me at the end of the day. I pushed him off of me.
BUTTERFLY: Good morning, I don’t know if you remember the story I told you about my father snapping at me for no reason and sending harassing texts after I hung up on him. Well, he is acting like nothing happened! He bought me a plane ticket to come see him during Thanksgiving. After he attacked me on the phone I told him to cancel the flight because I’m not coming to visit since he can’t even respect me over the phone.
Well now he sent me a text saying “I really would like to see you here during Thanksgiving. We are finalizing the menu now. Please reach out to your sister to get additional details.”
First of all I already told him I wasn’t coming, and second of all, if I were part of the Thanksgiving plans, why wasn’t I included in the menu planning? I hate that he talks to me like I’m his client “reach out to your sister for additional details.”
Anyway I’m scared to respond to that message because I don’t want to be bombarded with harassing texts and calls. My father feels as if I owe him. Everyone keeps telling me to go to avoid his reaction (accept for my mom) but I don’t want to be abused. What are your thoughts?
Btw I confided in my sister about his treatment towards me and she admitted he treats me like crap and I get the worst. She then told me that he said, “even if she were a grocery store worker, he will still love her”.
Meanwhile I’m in school to become a doctor and all he does is belittle me and then he said if I have a kid before I become a doctor forget about him loving me. Why do I get conditional love while my sister gets unconditional love? Her grades aren’t nearly as good as mine, but yet I’m supposedly heading towards failure.
LOVEFRAUD: What you are describing is very typical sociopathic manipulation from your father. They typically decide one child is the “golden child” and the other is the scapegoat. Apparently, you are the scapegoat.
The less you see your father, the better off you will be. And the less you talk to him, the better off you will be. He will never change. If you can move on in your life without him, it will be best. Also, be careful of what you say to other family members, because he may pump them for information.
BUTTERFLY: Will do. How do I go about getting out of the trip? He won’t take no for an answer. I know that I’m an adult now and that I have no obligation to get on the plane. However, my uncle told me that skipping the dinner will lead to consequences. Also what do I do about the feelings of guilt? I feel guilty but I’m not sure why since he’s so horrible to me. Is this normal?
LOVEFRAUD: Everything you are experiencing is normal for someone in your situation, including the feelings of guilt. Sociopaths cultivate that.
What are the consequences of not going? Is your father still supporting you financially? If so, maybe it’s not time to break things off, and you may need to play the game a bit longer. Just know that you are playing a game, and eventually, you will break free.
BUTTERFLY: The consequences are him talking bad about me to other family members to make it seem like I’m hurting and disrespecting him. Like my grandma, for example, believes everything he says. Another consequence is him harassing me. Another consequence is being kicked off his insurance (his insurance is my secondary insurance).
LOVEFRAUD: He will always do those things. They don’t quit. Many people have had to walk away from family members. Perhaps you don’t want to do that now, but maybe in the future you’ll have to decide what you want.
Father turns on the charm
BUTTERFLY: I told my father once again that I wasn’t coming to visit for Thanksgiving after receiving emails about the flight and texts messages from him. He finally cancelled the flight and then said “That’s Fine, you have been credited 219 dollars so you have a year to fly anywhere, love your father”.
I am confused because this is out of the ordinary for my father. Usually if I let him down he would chew me up and spit me out. Could he have been this calm because of the fact that it was all done in email instead of over the phone? I know that narcissists do not like being exposed. Or could he be changing?
It’s confusing because sometimes he’s nice and sometimes he’s really mean. I never know what I am going to get. Anyway, his nice response made me feel guilty for cancelling. I only cancelled because of the abuse I was getting over the phone all year.
LOVEFRAUD: I assure you, he did not change. He is just trying a different tactic. Sometimes they pretend to be nice – this is usually just before they do something nasty.
The ex boyfriend again
BUTTERFLY: I finally blocked my ex off of social media and I blocked his mom as well. However, on Instagram even if I unfollow him, he can still follow me.
Right away when I unfollowed him, he noticed and then texted me. I didn’t respond and I blocked him off my phone. This happened about a month ago.
Just last week I posted a video of a chemistry experiment that we did in school. He liked the video. My question is, why is he still following me on Instagram when he knows that I unfollowed him? This is the same guy that humiliated me to my face when I drove to see him. He knew that he hurt me so he feels like he’s won.
Since he got what he wanted (which is to humiliate me) wouldn’t he finally leave me alone?
Btw I finally got out of that Thanksgiving trip with my narcissist father. He was surprisingly nice about it. I’m shocked.
LOVEFRAUD: They just love the game. The key is for you not to respond – ever.
More texts from father
BUTTERFLY: Thanksgiving was great because I got out of the trip into seeing my narcissistic father. However, he went completely all day without saying happy thanksgiving.
That night he sent me a text of their thanksgiving dinner spread out on the table and he said “wish you could have been here, we miss you”. Although this sounds nice it’s passive aggressive. My father really did that because he wanted me to feel guilty for going to thanksgiving dinner.
It didn’t work. I am more annoyed because he never apologized for what he’s done and he’s really acting like I’m the one with the problem. He’s acting like nothing happened. He’s acting like he never belittled me or anything. He’s acting like I cancelled on him for no reason even though I didn’t show up because of the consequences of his actions. It just irks me!
Do you think I’m overreacting, or is this real? I’m having a hard time sorting out reality because he does weird things and then denies it and makes it seem like I’m crazy. He gives sob stories to my grandmother and uncles, telling them that he loves me so much but I mistreat him, when it’s the other way around!
Today, he sent me a text out of the blue saying “he loves me and wants me to succeed and when he gets in the position to help me, he will help me through school and that he’s proud of me.”
He hasn’t helped me at all in college. This is the same mess I’ve been hearing since I was a kid! In fact, I already have a bachelors degree and now I’m in the post bacc for pre-medicine.
A few months ago he told me I was a disappointment, distraction to his business, a sorry excuse for an adult and irresponsible. It’s like he doesn’t remember saying these things at all so now all of a sudden he’s proud?
I have struggled to put my own self through college and I still am struggling. I can potentially be homeless in a couple of weeks because I have to move out of a room for rent because the lady is selling her property. I’m looking for a job but have no luck.
You would think he would help me since he knows I’m going to school. Even sending me 50 dollars for groceries would help me, but he can’t even do that! So how does this man love care and wants me to succeed when he’s consistently belittling me and not supporting me, not even morally? It’s always some excuse.
I didn’t ask him for anything and he randomly comes out of the blue saying he will help me in the future. Yeah right! He promised he would help me in college when I was in high school and didn’t want to do crap! Is it normal for me to be angry when I hear from him?
LOVEFRAUD: You are not overreacting. Your father’s behavior continues to be classic sociopathic manipulation. Everything that you describe is how disordered parents treat their children. It is all manipulation. The more you can move forward without him, the better off you will be.
The insurance check
BUTTERFLY: I just received horrible news today and I wanted to share with you. You are welcomed to share this story on your site or YouTube.
Back in July my dad called me yelling at me because he received a letter from a law firm threatening to sue me for $360. I was in complete shock because I thought I had paid all my bills and if I didn’t get a bill it’s usually because my bill was completely covered by my two insurances.
Anyway I called the law firm and asked who was suing me? They gave me the name of the collection agency. So I contacted the collection agency and asked why I was being sued because I never received any statements and when I asked my father about the statements he denied seeing them. It turns out that they were sending statements for that bill for 2 years!
So I asked for the doctor’s office number because again it was 2 years ago. So when I spoke with the doctor’s office, they told me my original balance was $1,360. I was shocked because I had a primary and secondary insurance so my balance should never be that high. The doctors told me they didn’t get the payment from the primary insurance so I needed to call them.
I called the insurance company and I was on the phone with them for hours. They told me they thought they didn’t send the check for $1226.70. So they said they were going to reissue the check.
I thought it was all taken care of until I saw it on my credit today. So I called the insurance agency and asked if they sent the check they told me no because it turns out my dad cashed the check 2 years ago and spent it. So now I’m getting sued for something that wasn’t my fault.
It’s sad that my own father would steal from me. It’s more hurtful that he would steal from me than me actually having to pay the money back. To make matters worse, he was texting me sweet stuff yesterday, but meanwhile this whole time he knew he stole from me.
This is my final straw. I hate to cut him off because he’s my dad but I’ve had enough.
I forgot to add that when I asked him about the check over the summer he denied ever seeing the check, which is the reason I called the insurance as well. Then he told me I was a shitty adult, irresponsible and a distraction to his business. From that point on until now I always wondered why he was so defensive.
It turns out he was scared I was going to uncover the truth. I learned that narcissists don’t like to be exposed. He shows no remorse or anything! To make it so bad I told my sister about it and she took his side. Of course she would, because she’s the golden child.
LOVEFRAUD: What a jerk your father is. I am so sorry, but you are making the right decision.