Every 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.
In the past, I would have taken it upon myself to eliminate the tension and apologized to Paul for doing something that upset him. Not this time. Would Paul accept any responsibility for his role in the absurd encounter? I had to find out.
“Paul, I was hurt when you yelled at me about the dog,” I said when I returned.
“You were the one yelling!”
“I would really appreciate an apology,” I said, standing my ground.
“If there was something for me to apologize about, I would. But there isn’t. You lost it in the driveway and embarrassed me and then took off for an hour without telling me where you were going.”
“Paul, I don’t recall yelling.”
“You have this backwards,” Paul said.
“So I owe you an apology?”
I turned away from Paul and went to my small office, closed the door, and turned on my computer.
This had to end. I had to get stronger. I researched psychologists in the area. I left messages for three of them. Over the next few weeks, I interviewed each of them on the phone and then picked one, a woman considered to be one of the best in the area. The three-week wait for her first available appointment was unbearable. But with my new clarity, not going was not an option.
Week after week, I poured my heart out to Dr. Davis and listened to her prompts that encouraged self-reflection and new understanding. Paul’s behavior continued to be “crazy making,” dismissive, selfish, toxic, and controlling in ways I still did not fully understand. No matter how preposterous my story about Paul was, my therapy stayed focused on me and getting me emotionally stronger as well as understanding how someone like me had abdicated so much control over my life and had become so weak and beholden to another person. Getting out of this negative vortex and feeling that I deserved joy and respect in my life were a tall order, but with Dr. Davis’s help, I started to make progress. Just having someone who listened to me and did not dismiss my reality was a huge leap forward.
Still, looking back, I am incredulous that Dr. Davis, one of the most respected clinical psychologists in the New Haven area, never said, “You know, your husband may be a sociopath, and if he is a sociopath, it is all about control and manipulation. You may feel emotionally depleted and worthless, because he has engaged in behaviors to make you feel that way. This gives him more control over you and the twisted satisfaction of destroying you. Not only does he not love and respect you now, he has never loved or respected you, because sociopaths are incapable of such emotions. His insensitive behavior may not be due to sleep deprivation, stress at work, his childhood, your own imperfections, or even possible depression. Such things can be ‘fixed,’ but being a sociopath is forever.
“Sociopaths lack the capacity to care about other people. They only use people for their own purposes and discard them when they’re done. Sociopaths have no moral compass. They lie, cheat, and steal as easily as they breathe. They also take ridiculous risks and typically have an insatiable appetite for sex. This ongoing affair with Anne-Marie you have been worried about is probably just the tip of the iceberg. His sex drive is probably being satisfied in ways to which you are completely oblivious and cannot even imagine. In fact, you should get yourself tested for sexually transmitted diseases and always have protected sex with him.
“Moreover, getting away from and divorcing a sociopath can be very complicated and even emotionally and physically risky for you and the children, because it threatens the things that motivate him the most—power and control. He has complete power and control now. He will not relinquish them easily. You will need to take precautions financially, because he will never be fair to you in a divorce. Once you are no longer any use to him, he will just toss you aside and try to minimize the financial damage. Be prepared for him to use your children as pawns to hurt you emotionally as well as financially. What’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘legal’ will mean nothing to him.”
I would have liked to know that there was at least a strong possibility that Paul was a sociopath, because if I did, once I got stronger, the only logical decision would have been to leave.
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Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.