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.
Chapter 42: Writer’s Block
For a month, my work on this book stalled at this juncture. Yes, I had been distracted by the upcoming holidays, “life,” and Paul’s continual efforts to hurt me emotionally and drain my remaining assets through ongoing post-divorce litigation. I could also use the excuse that a seemingly inconsequential event that was a metaphor for my years with Paul (trying hard yet set up to fail miserably) triggered weeks of fighting back depression, anxiety, sleepless nights, a sense of helplessness, wanting to do nothing but watch TV, just doing the minimum of driving Daniel to and from school, preparing meals, and taking Mr. Wrinkles on walks. But I am guessing that the real reason for my writer’s block was that I wanted to be able to time travel and send my “now” self back to my “then” self, who was growing stronger and starting to formulate an exit strategy. I wanted to scream out to her across time to “Stay on the path no matter what and no matter who Paul pretends to be.” But I could not time travel. My still weak “then” self would have to make the best decisions she could, still unaware of Paul’s true character and motivation. She would have to make even more mistakes, including some very big ones.
This is why I regret that my well-regarded therapist never focused on who or what Paul might really be. Unfortunately, most psychologists are not trained to even posit the question. Was he emotionally abusive? Clearly, he was, but I had been the puppet to a master puppeteer for so long that I did not see it or frame it that way. I never even asked the question. I wasn’t a battered wife. That happened to other people, not me. I wish my therapist had broached that topic. Was I feeling so depressed, devoid of self-confidence, and emotionally and physically drained because I was in a long-term relationship with a sociopath who was constantly undermining me and trying to control me? Yes, but my therapist did not even pose the question. No one in my life did, including me. We didn’t even know to ask. Most people don’t.
Even so, I am grateful to my therapist for helping me regain some of my former self and strength, but without asking the above questions, I was likely to make bad decisions once I got stronger. If I was feeling so weak and depleted due to some unresolved issues in my past or flaws in my character (not because Paul was an abusive, controlling, manipulative sociopath), once I started getting stronger, perhaps developing a happier and healthier life with Paul would be possible. If, however, Paul was truly abusive and/or a sociopath, traits that often go together, then, even if I regained some strength, the only logical way to channel that strength would be to leave Paul as soon as possible. It made a difference who and what Paul really was and is, not just who I was and am and want to be.
At the point I decided I wanted a Toyota and was researching how to get one for the best price, a few data points must have been worrying Paul. I had been in therapy for over a year and was getting stronger emotionally. I had started thinking about my career and financial future, and I was starting to explore options by interviewing with companies. No longer was I Paul’s pit bull with the kids. I was starting to be “me” again. I had even met with a divorce lawyer to gain information on the divorce laws in Connecticut so I would not be immobilized by fear and ignorance. Paul did not know about that last part—at least I did not think he did.
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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.