How I learned what a sociopath was
Lovefraud: How to recognize and recover from sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists and other abusers › Forums › Is my partner a sociopath, narcissist, psychopath or some other type of exploiter? › How I learned what a sociopath was
June 26, 2016 at 10:51 am #22717
I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to share my story once again in case it can help anyone. In my case I dated a guy for about 3 months only. But it was 3 devastating months, especially when I saw the bizarre games he was playing.
I met him on an internet forum for people who have or like boa constrictors. He happened to live about an hour away from me. I was a frequent poster on the forum and became very popular. A number of people had expressed interest in meeting me. Some were single men. Some of the forum members I eventually met and became friends with. Some are still my friends 8 years later. But this guy showered me with interest immediately that seemed inappropriate to the casual nature of our contact – I was helping him to navigate the site. I think we had one phone call where I was explaining to him how to post photos. The next thing I knew he was planning to visit me and my two snakes and asking me how I likes his picture (which seemed odd). When he arrived at my door – a new friend I was looking forward to visiting with – he inappropriately hugged me as though we had been long lost friends. It was…odd. But he was tall, clean shaven, 10 years younger, an ex-Iraqi vet still living on the base, and very very sweet, like the boy next door. We had a great visit. We photographed each other handling my very tame snakes, even taking them outside for a great photo shoot. One of the photos I still use today as a profile pic on FB and various other places.
He complimented me on things no guy has ever complimented me on – my taste in home decor, the delicious Caesar salad that was “the best he’d ever had….” Okay, the salad was pretty good but dang, it was just a salad. He stayed to watch a movie and tried to get closer and closer to me. Later he kept moving into my personal space trying to touch me. I found this very odd, even stalkerish. That was my 6th sense telling me something wasn’t right. But I didn’t know what a sociopath was. So I convinced myself that this guy was a refreshing change of pace from all the aloof and unavailable men I had been dating over the past several years. I had mentioned to him how I was saving up for my snakes’ permanent enclosures. They would be large and expensive. He mentioned how someday he hopes to buy me those cages. Odd behavior for a first meeting.
He came up again one day to spend the day with me. We visited a cat shelter (my idea), then drove an hour north to visit my friends and possibly go for a hike. He was the perfect date and the perfect gentleman. My friends loved him. They told me later how he had taken them aside to tell them I was “the one”. (Insert eerie romantic music here).
It was on this date – date two that felt like date six – where he told me (predictably now in retrospect) that he was still technically married but was separated from his wife and they were living separately. He also told me he had been injured in the Iraqi war and was waiting for both a divorce and a medical discharge from the army. Those things were coming “any day now”. Being one who absolutely will not date a married man, I told him I would wait till his divorce became final to get involved with him, but until then we could be friends.
As many of you know who have fallen for sociopathic charm, the waiting period for our romance to blossom was the next date. He was so seductive. He began telling me what a great lover he was (which was odd) and how that was one of the reasons his wife married him. He told me this while we were helping another friend of mine fix up a rental house to get ready for sale. My friend paid us both for our time. Mr. Sociopath helped him rip carpet out of 4 upstairs bedrooms and stomp it down in the giant dumpster. My friend really liked this guy. He was the best one I ever dated, according to this friend.
A week of waiting for s’path’s divorce and medical discharge to become final turned into two weeks, then three. I waited patiently but I was already hooked. He would always drive the hour up to see me and then drive us on some cool date. We went to the reptile show that summer and had a great time. We took photos of each other handling giant Burmese pythons. I still have those photos somewhere in my computer. I really believed I had found the love of my life. He was so attentive and adoring. So different from the guys I was used to. He was already talking about marriage and spending his life with me. It was all happening so fast but I took him on his word.
Then….one night he was supposed to call. He never called. He explained to me that the army had called him for some sort of brain testing for his alleged head injury. It was a believable story. But then it happened again. The next time he had “lost his phone” or dropped it in the toilet or some such. We were supposed to go to a concert together the following week. I was concerned that the army would detain him with tests and he wouldn’t be able to go. The night before the concert, he drove up and surprised me. He gave me the two tickets, which he had purchased, and told me he wouldn’t be able to go – army stuff. I was crushed. I went with a neighbor.
After that, he admitted to me that his “ex wife” as he called her was required by the army to move back in with him and their young toddler. I was crushed, but he insisted it would all be over soon, and then we could be together forever. I remember the moment when my heart sank, but I was too hooked to walk away, so I lowered my standards and agreed to stay connected to this obviously married man. I still took him on his word about the divorce and medical discharge. I never saw any signs of a head injury but he showed me all these pills he took for his alleged headaches. At the same time, certain things weren’t adding up. He told me he would avoid certain forum members who had ripped me off. But then I saw that he had befriended them. When I confronted him, he said it was a glitch in the computer. There were a few similar instances. Something was not adding up….
Then something else odd happened. We had a date planned one Friday. He was supposed to drive up to see me. He never showed up! When I finally got through to him several days later, he told me how he couldn’t call or answer the phone because he was in the hospital. The army apparently wanted to probe his brain to see what kind of injury he had, and his “ex wife” was in the room so he couldn’t call. It was a fantastical story. But he told it in such a way that it seemed believable. Deep down, my heart was sinking. But I wanted to believe. I had to. The alternate was unthinkable. I had never dated a pathological liar before, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt – his no show and no calls were due to his traumatic brain injury and all the hoops the army was making him jump through.
After a few months of this back and forth over the divorce and medical discharge, I decided to go away by myself to think about things. I did not want to wait for a married man, and I wasn’t sure this guy was on the level. I went camping for 3 days. When I returned, ready to end the relationship, he had blown up my voice mail with 25 calls!! He had professed his love and told me that the medical discharge and divorce FINALLY happened. I believed him. We made plans for him to come up the next day with his young daughter to hang out with me at the pool. I couldn’t wait to introduce him to my friends in the neighborhood….
Well, you probably see where this is going. He never showed up. No call. No show. But he spent that morning on the reptile forum posting pictures of his new snakes, which I knew nothing about. I tried to contact him. No response. A few days later, I got the most bizarre email from him. He said he doesn’t know why he didn’t show up. He has no excuse. And he figured I wouldn’t want anything to do with him anymore. (He got THAT right).
In a great show of strength on my part, I replied that not only did I never want to hear from him anymore but that if I ever even saw him on the reptile forum again, I would report him to his platoon sergeant. I guess adultery is a big crime in the army. His response was to go online and post more snake photos with his daughter and himself. That was when a friend pointed something out to me. ON HIS LEFT RING FINGER WAS A WEDDING RING. He never wore one with me. But there it was.
I didn’t understand what I was seeing. I was incredulous that this whole thing could have been a game. I didn’t want to believe it. So I had one of my internet friends from the forum call him and 3-way me in. He didn’t know I was listening on the other line. He poured out his sob story to her of how much he loves me and how depressed he is because the army won’t give him a medical discharge or a divorce (as if the army was responsible for the divorce!). My friend asked him about the wedding ring. Without skipping a beat, he said, “that’s not my wedding ring!” She believed him! After he hung up, she told me how much he loved me. When I told her he had lied to her THREE times on the phone, she became infuriated, as I was now.
I sent him one more very angry email. But this time it was returned. He had blocked ME! It was finally done. But not until his last ditch attempt to try and win me back. I went to another reptile show, with one of my friends who had met him earlier. He was there with his young daughter carrying her on his shoulders. He was very tall, so they were visible anywhere in the room. Though he never spoke to me and I ignored him, he followed me around and came up very close behind me as if to smell my hair (!). My friend jabbed his crotch with a snake hook. After that, he left. I never saw him again. The snake hook incident was hilarious. We laughed about that for a long time because the hook got snagged in his zipper for a few minutes. “Player gets hooked.” LOL But at home I cried and sought counseling. I still loved him and thought maybe he still loved me, too. It took a conversation with an intuitive counselor to realize that what he did was a power play. Love had nothing to do with it. I finally started to see the truth. I still did not know what a sociopath was until a few weeks later. I was telling my pet sitter the entire story, looking for any kind of reassurance that I had done the right thing by breaking contact. When I got the end of the story, her eyes got very big and she started shaking. She told me to go to the internet and look up “seductive sociopath”. That’s how I found Lovefraud. I educated myself here. The site saved my life. The story does have an ending. That will be the topic of another post.
June 26, 2016 at 11:16 am #22718
In the aftermath of this bizarre relationship replete with lies, games, and gaslighting, I was devastated far beyond what should have been normal for a 3-month affair. It took many years to understand the vulnerabilities I had that made me fall for this and to begin to heal them, which is an ongoing process. But for a time, I was suicidal.
I kept my word to him, and I called the platoon sergeant. Fortunately, she knew what a sociopath was because she herself had dated one. She was very supportive of me and even invited me to a special army awards dinner in my town. I went. He wasn’t there thankfully. I also spoke with his commanding officer. The officer asked me how this guy was able to walk or drive. He had been telling them for 2 years that he was so injured he had no feeling from the waist down!!! I didn’t know whether to laugh or beat the crap out of him with a baseball bat. I told the commanding officer that we had had sex a total of three times and he performed just fine. He drove us around for several hours in a big SUV (which he denied he had), and that he had helped my friend remodel a house. The spath denied it all. But he was a stupid person. He’d forgotten that I had pictures and witnesses. I sent the army the photos of spath standing up and holding the giant burmese python around his shoulders. I also had a pic of him with his daughter up on his shoulders. Not only that, but several of my friends were willing to testify that there was nothing wrong with his physical health. This spath had gone to incredible lengths for TWO YEARS to fake a limp, a facial tic, and headaches. There was nothing wrong with him. He just wanted a lifetime pension for himself, his wife (who by the way he was never planning to divorce) and their daughter. Wow! It was very gratifying when the army personnel came to my door in full uniform and took my statement. They also did it with three of my friends who had met him. My one friend had a copy of the check he had written to pay spath for remodel work. It was perfect and it nailed him. At one point, the platoon sergeant called me to ask me if I was sure about giving a statement, because now the spath was threatening suicide. In a second show of strength, I said yes.
Though he didn’t come back to forum and I never heard from him again, I wanted to find out if he was ever found guilty of fraud. But the army wouldn’t tell me anything. So on the advice of a fraud attorney here at LF, I wrote a letter to my senator. The senator’s office looked into it and wrote me back saying that the spath had been found guilty of fraud and adultery and “appropriately punished”. I never found out how he was punished. I don’t really care.
It took me a year to get over him. He did try to come back to the forum at one point, but my forum friends drove him off. They all knew the story and stood behind me.
I will deal with my aftermath and what it took for me to recover in a separate post.
June 26, 2016 at 11:26 am #22719
This will be my last post regarding this story. I wanted to share my healing process for anyone who can benefit from it.
Shortly after the break-up, I was so devastated I was suicidal. I was no stranger to depression, but this was acute. During that time, something very synchronous happened. I have no explanation for it except to say that there are some things that happen in the universe for reasons we cannot understand.
I had a favorite Indian restaurant I frequented for the lunch buffet. It was a nurturing place for me. I usually went alone. One day I went for lunch per usual. There was a guy sitting in the booth next to me dressed in all white. I overheard him telling the waitress that there was a very powerful Hindu master visiting. She was down the street giving blessings. Curious, I asked him about her and where to see her. He told me to dress in all white and go to the church down the street. I would write down a question or something I needed help with and hand it to her. I would stand in line with all of her devotees for my brief private audience with her. I had nothing to lose. I was desperate. So I did it. She was supposed to embody the Divine Mother. I don’t even recall her name, but there are several of these gurus who pass through the big cities giving blessings (called darshan). When I finally arrived at her feet, she looked at me and touched me with a peacock feather (or some such). I broke down sobbing. I sobbed for a long time, apologizing. She said it was okay to bring my pain to the Mother. Then she gave me a small baggie filled with ashes. She told me to put some under my tongue every night before I went to bed. I got out to my car and continued to sob for another hour. Every day for a month, until the ashes ran out, I put these ashes under my tongue. And every time, I could feel her presence lifting the negative and pain out of my body. The acute crisis was gone. It took me a year to complete the healing over the spath. And it is a lifelong journey to heal my borderline tendencies that made me vulnerable in the first place. But I am now in a (mostly) healthy relationship with a very kind man.
I hope this story can be of help to anyone trying to figure out if who they are dating is a sociopath. There are classic telltale signs. Mine exhibited nearly every one of them, though I did not know what they were at the time.
August 27, 2016 at 12:08 am #23374
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. You sound like a very cool and strong person. There was some justice in the outcome of your situation, although you suffered a lot. Loved the snake hook in the crotch!
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