People sometimes suggest that by staying with the man who abused me, I somehow deserve what he did to me. I often wonder if these people would take the same attitude with a person who had been a hostage or prisoner of war. I lived for four years in survival mode, because a sociopath controlled my every move with threats and would destroy any life I tried to create. During much of this time I was incapable of making decisions due to suffering so much psychological trauma on a daily basis. I admit I was blinded by love and did not understand for a long time the depth of his psychological disturbance I made excuses for his behavior, because I loved him and hoped that with enough stability he would eventually come to grips with his issues. I openly admit that I made a lot of mistakes, but it was faith in these bizarre, serendipitous coincidences that formed the basis of my dedication to this man and fueled my belief that he would eventually see the light and get help for his problems. For instance, he and his son, and I and my daughter have birthdays on the 12, 14, 15, and 16 of October, we each have a brother named Vince Smith, his sister’s and my daughter’s middle name are the same as well as his Grandpa and my son, also names you don’t necessarily hear every day. Now these sorts of magical things I used to consider “love notes” from the universe have all turned gray. I now acknowledge these occurrences with suspicion while those around me marvel. I got away from him as soon as I had a plan, the strength, and some support and even then, I was completely unprepared and barely able to cope, there are many obstacles you may face along the way.
A sociopath will isolate their victim by causing problems in the victim’s other relationships. Those people eventually make judgments about the value of your character based on interacting with you while you are suffering the effects of dealing with a madman running your life, so you will not likely have a support system left if you have spent a significant amount of time with this person. People who claim to be “good” and act like they are befriending you will steal your stuff and mock you when they find out that you have been previously victimized. What sort of people steal from a single mother? They are everywhere; you are probably friends with one of them on Facebook. Wolves who often disguise themselves as sheep, sociopaths can sniff out prey, if you confide your pain to them; they will latch on and victimize you further.
You can expect to be refused employment because potential employers do not want to deal with the “what ifs” involving a stalker. In other words – you probably will not be able to provide for your children. You will be forced to rely on public assistance where you will be scrutinized and judged, while your paperwork is constantly being messed up and misdirected. You can also expect to be completely responsible for all the needs of your emotionally damaged children, while you, yourself are trying to recover from possibly debilitating mental illness from having your life threatened. Also, you cannot expect family and friends to be any more support to your fatherless children than they are to you.
Making new friends is nearly impossible. Often new people inquiring about your life can cause additional trauma, answering any question honestly can result in a person making a lot of judgments about your character adding to the already crushing amounts of self-doubt and shame being carried from being abused. Anyone who is kind and tough enough to hang with you will likely be harassed by your stalker. The narcissist who abused me is a very jealous man. When we were together, he would disparage people who were kind to me and speak negatively about them, if I said anything to defend these people in any way; he would accuse me of having sex with them. It is truly ho-hum typical behavior of this sort of predator. If I, confirmed, denied, changed the subject, pointed out the logical fallacy, or ran for cover, it didn’t matter, he would argue the point further. I have had my life threatened and been thrown out of my own house, because I wouldn’t speak ill of others. Often, he would go back to those people and claim that I said those negative things about them.
He lies to people about me and has done things to “gaslight” me in order to make me look crazy. Well, I will be the first one to admit my head is not right. Being tortured and abused for 4 years will take its toll on a person. He said that he could treat me as bad as he wanted and it wouldn’t matter, I was damaged goods before he showed up so no one would believe me. People in prison are treated better than I was. I lived under the constant threat that he might lose his temper and hurt me or my children during arguments over things that didn’t even happen. A baby crying could set him off, and we had two. He would curse me and criticize my parenting and not lift a finger to help with the girls while he refused to work and took every dime I could scrounge together to hang out at the coffee shop. Even when times were “good” and we had managed to have a peaceful day, he would look across the campfire at night and tell me in the calmest voice. “You know I will never let you go, you can try to get away, but I will never let you get far and if you try, it will be the end of you.” Even though I am no longer with him, I am still afraid of what he will do to me next, limiting my ability to function each day.
All the years we were together I was not allowed to make any decision for myself, if I did, and things worked out for me, even when he was living with me, he would quickly step in to wreck it. Whenever I would try to leave him, he would immediately go about sabotaging any life I tried to establish. My ex has called places I was working, or landlords from whom I was trying to rent a house in order to spread lies and gossip about me. When I was left devastated he would step in and say he would make things right, only to control my every move with threats and manipulation. Pregnancy was coerced under the pretense that we would be a family, not that he would allow me to use contraceptives without being psychologically tortured for it, but probably not less than I was forced to suffer while he cursed the babies in my womb, insisting that they were not his and he would kill us if it didn’t look like him and if it did, I would never see my baby again. He screamed at me like that weekly while I was pregnant causing deep psychological scars on me and my children. He also married another woman while I was pregnant with our second daughter, two weeks later he told me he made a mistake and we had to fix it. His “wife” then tried to kill herself…
When I tell people that he is a dangerous man, and why, they tell me they do not want to hear about my “drama”. This isn’t my drama. I did not choose this for my life. I fell in love with a man who is severely mentally ill. He has done his best control and destroys everything I do because he is jealous and has hateful predatory tendencies at his core. The last time I checked, sociopaths are society’s problem and my children and I have paid dearly because no one would address my pleas for help. All the people who scratch their heads in wonder why a woman stays with a man who abuses them: it is because they cannot find a better option to survive, in fact, death often seems like a better option than living, which leaves me wondering how many suicides could actually be chalked up to domestic abuse as well.
A person posing as a friend once suggested I liked that he would be so obsessed with me that he can’t let me go. As if, I could get some perverse enjoyment that the man I fell in love with is too psychologically damaged to even be a father to his children. I have given everything I have in hope that this man would figure it out how to be honest, tell the truth, be real, and actually love something beyond pleasing his flesh and ego, but he won’t. If he had made any progress at all towards being a better person, he would give me back the stuff that he stole from me, and do something to take responsibility and support the children that he fathered. He complains that I keep him from his kids, but he won’t bother to attend the classes the Judge ordered him to go to after taking notice that he has anger problems. He doesn’t want to go because he knows that professionals are trained to spot sociopath behavior and since his disguise is shallow, they will see right through him.
He has suffered no consequence for jumping from woman to woman, leaving them pregnant, or in the mental hospital, and their life in shambles. He is charming and the most convincing liar you will ever meet. He currently lives in a neighboring town, partying without a care in the world, providing marijuana to all the young “hipsters” while his children live in poverty. They all cry “bully” at me because I tell the truth and expose his maniacal behavior. They want to believe he is the injured, misunderstood, but on the edge of greatness soul he pretends to be. His dreams of grandeur are immense. He is sure that he is destined to be a great cult leader, but he can’t pick up his own trash and the only truth that passed over his lips (which was on a daily basis I admit) was the size and consistency of his shit everything else he ever spoke was also the size and consistency of his shit. Sorry to spoil the illusion people, but he doesn’t care to be any deeper than the toilet he didn’t always flush.
Recovery from abuse requires that society lift the burden of the stigma placed on women who fall in love with men who are too damaged to love themselves. I am not a victim any more than a soldier who has been a prisoner of war and I deserve the same respect and compassion. I resent pity thrown my way as much as I resent that I am treated with incredulity when trying to relate my experience. I fell completely in love with another human; I understand that is rare these days, but I do not think that is sufficient reason to condemn me for whatever reason his tainted mind conjures to justify his barbaric behavior. People who have witnessed the destruction he caused in a fit of rage and could not possibly deny what he has done to me and my children is wrong, still condemn me for speaking out against his behavior. No one wants to believe that he made my life as horrifying as it was. Beyond that, there are even those who he has convinced I deserved it, and helped him to steal what little I had left to take care of my daughters. One of these heartless thugs said he had no problem telling my 9 year old daughter that our abuser gets to keep her possessions, her wii, videos, and carpet from her room. Behaving as pathetic little puppets fighting another grown man’s battle (against a bunch of little girls) manipulated by their own unresolved “mommy” issues, they lapped up lies of a misogynist womanizer like the lap dogs he’s trained them to be. More pawns in his game to take whatever he can get.
What he did to me and my life is inexcusable and inhumane. I want to make note that if this behavior goes unchecked, if men are allowed to do this to women just because they can, soon there will not be functioning compassionate people on this earth, because domination, violence, and the mental illness it unleashes is a disease that spreads quickly and consumes your will to live, it affects every other relationship you have. It is at the core of addiction because drugs and alcohol are the easiest escape from the pain of its stifling grasp. Studies have proven that having a mother who is depressed creates adverse effects on a person that can last the rest of their life. To stop the spread of domestic violence and mental illness, it is up to individuals as well as society as a whole to tell these men, “You don’t get to treat women this way.”