Brushes with Sociopaths

I don’t know if my ex is a sociopath.

One of my lawyers (a right-wing ex-Marine from Alabama) said he was one. And he’s not inclined to hyperbole. On the other hand, a shrink I saw at the time said, purely on my descriptions of my situation, that he was more likely a Borderline or NPD, because he was so volatile. He freaked out, he stressed. That shrink spent 20 years working in the Pennsylvania prison systems and he knew from sociopaths. He said sociopaths are cool cucumbers. They do audacious things and they don’t stress. They have no “adaptive anxiety” in shrink parlance. Still another shrink (the marriage counselor) said he was “deeply hostile to women” and pegged him as an NPD.

Does it matter? He’s extremely fucked up. And predatory. And I’m glad I’m far the hell away from him.

Spending any time untangling that skein of fuckupedness to determine where he falls in the DSM manual is pretty pointless to me now. I’ve filed him under Bad Person, and that’s that.

But I got to thinking recently about my brushes with sociopaths and creepy people in general, and how our gut tells us things we often fail to listen to at our peril. I’m a much bigger believer in trusting my gut these days.

On my first date with my ex, it was a lovely spring day and we were at an outdoor market having coffee. He was on full sparkle setting. But at one point he shared something about his ex-wife and he kind of teared up, got “emotional” — in a flash it went through my brain that this was artificial. Inappropriate. Scripted? Whatever it was it was weird. There was no build up to it, like with normal people. I think he was testing me, to see how I reacted to his cues. Would I be empathetic to his distress? (I was of course, I’m chumpy. I carry tissues in my purse.) And then, as quick as that mawkishness appeared, it disappeared, and he was back to being jokey, and charming.

My GUT was weirded out. But I ignored it. He was so interesting in so many other ways. So keen. So intense to pursue me (that’s flattering). He’d traveled and had funny stories. He said he read (he did not). He worked on nuclear submarines once. (True.) I let the “big picture” crowd out the flash of gut instinct.

But much later, when I was married to him, and his true self was revealed — the abusive, serial cheater — that ability to turn “emotions” ON and OFF freaked me out. His complete disconnect from my distress, the horror of what he’d done, the people he’d hurt — were absurdly off. I joke here about cheater sociopaths who on DDay step over your sobbing body and wonder about making a Hot Pocket. That was exactly what he was like.

That bizarre disconnect — having reactions wildly inappropriate to a situation — made me recall an experience I had as a graduate student in London, when I met a real life sociopath. Dirk Coetzee of South Africa. Coetzee was a leader of death squads during apartheid. At that time — 1990, the South African government was vehemently denying that there were death squads, but a guy on death row (a black man, of course), fingered Coetzee as the leader of a squadron and he fled the country.

Coetzee, like all sociopaths, was a keen opportunist. Three years before democracy came to South Africa, he could see which way the winds were shifting. So he became a whistleblower. He told a journalist, before he skipped town, all about his activities. Then — this is REALLY weird — he came under the protection of the ANC (the African National Congress) in exile in London — the very people he’d been jauntily blowing up. The ANC then took him on a bit of a junket to news agencies going “SEE?! We’re not crazy! Death squads EXIST! Listen to this idiot!”

I was working as a researcher at a broadcast news network, and one of my co-workers, knowing of my interest in South Africa, invited me to go to the interview.

I will never forget it. We were in a small room, the producer and myself sitting across a table from Coetzee, his black henchman (whose name I don’t remember), and a couple of their ANC handlers. The ANC acted like Coetzee was an organ monkey. Coetzee on the other hand was sparkly and ingratiating. He clearly LOVED the attention.

He began over the next hour to gleefully describe exactly how he killed people — and he’d killed scores.

I remember him describing the killing of Griffiths Mxenge, an anti-apartheid lawyer, whose throat was slit and he was stabbed 40 times on his front porch, and the body later dumped in a soccer field. He remembered all sorts of details of the killings — even the license plate numbers on cars he put bombs in.

And the entire time he was relating these horrors, his tone was “aren’t I a clever boy?!” and “you’ll never guess what I did next!” but then he’d catch himself and cluck, “Oh, but now I see the error of my ways. That was all wrong. I’m ANC now. Amandla!” But those “admissions” were infrequent. Mostly he just really enjoyed describing to us how clever he was and how creatively he murdered activists. He smiled a lot.

In contrast — his henchman — who participated in many of these killings — looked tortured. Like one of those writhing figures in hell. His head was in his hands, he recoiled at the details, looked sickened. Ashamed. Terrified. He’d done horrible things and now he would face justice.

The two men stood in such relief against each other. I remember thinking of Coetzee, OMG, this guy is a psychopath. A total freak.

And then I didn’t think of Dirk Coetzee for many years again until after DDay, when my then husband’s demeanor was completely disconnected from the reality of what he’d done. The dead eyes. The smiling in the wrong places. The fucking GLEE. And then the “admissions” of wrong doing. I see the error of my ways. That was all wrong. I’m reconciled now.

Long after I’d divorced him, and I was moving to Texas with my now husband, I had to go through a custody trial. How’s this for a nightmare? Batshit crazy first husband asks serial cheater second husband to testify against me in court — what a “bad” mother I am. My husband (a lawyer) says the cheater (also a lawyer) would never do anything so stupid. To put his abusive, cheating history on public record. He was out of state, couldn’t be subpoenaed. He’d have to volunteer. But no, he shows up. Just for the pleasure of fucking with me.

On the stand, he’s asked about his multiple infidelities, and he admits to them. About duping me, defrauding me, about his long-standing mistress, fathering her kid (he doesn’t deny it, he artfully says “Well, Tracy thinks that.”).

But I had saved all my correspondence with my attorney — where he had threatened me, that if I left him, he was going to join forces with my ex and take my son away from me. How he’d make good on all those custody battles threats — he’d testify against me. And now it was years later — and he was doing exactly that.

So the judge asked him “Did you threaten her?”

And he pauses and smiles this HUGE, shit eating smile and drawls “I might’ve said that.” Like it was a joke, and aren’t we all in on this little joke?

The judge’s eyes popped and he dismissed all the testimony — and later handed my son’s father his ass with his ruling. (Less visitation, everything I asked for, plus he made him pay 20% of all travel expenses — something I had not asked for.)

Total nightmare.

And all of it could’ve been averted if I had just listened to my gut one spring day years ago. There’s something off with this guy.

Comments

  1. says

    That’s some crazy shit. Like they need a lobotomy or electronic shock therapy crazy shit. And I know exactly what you mean by they ” step over your sobbing body and wonder about making a Hot Pocket.” I’ve experienced that myself. Disassociation and lack of empathy at its finest.

    I posted a blog last night about how do you know if your ex is a horrible person or if it’s just your broken heart predjudice? I think in your case you can be pretty sure in both cases about what kind of people are ex’s were.

    http://dowehavetotellthekids.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-do-you-know.html

  2. DuckLinerUpper says

    I hear you on the importance of listening to your gut instinct. If I had listened to my gut early on when dating my narc-STBX, I would have broke it off long ago.

    Here’s the reason I didn’t listen – I had gut feelings about *every* guy I’d dated before him as well. There was something a little unsettling, at one time or another, and so I stopped the relationships. When I got around to dating my STBX, I figured “Well, no one’s perfect. If I keep breaking up with guys over these gut feelings, I’ll never be able to get married and have kids, and be able to accept love. I must be being too picky.” And so I went ahead, not listening to my gut. Boy, do I ever wish I would have listened. Because listening would have saved me a whole mess of trouble that I’m in now (and my children). In retrospect, my gut was right all of those times. I wasn’t being too picky, I was being accurate, and should have waited for a better guy in my life.

    My STBX also had weird emotional reactions around dday. He was proud of his mistress/sexual conquest, and was bragging about it to his cousin and our neighbor. Yep, that hurt. Before dday, there were similar times when he would do hurtful things, and then be seemingly oblivious to the carnage he had caused. I would be devastated, yet he was hungry for dinner, with a smile on his face. It was so weird. It went beyond him being detached. I think he got energy from the conflict and seeing me hurt. Sadistic, technically. I am getting the creeps just thinking about it.

    • says

      I totally get that. Mine enjoyed seeing me hurt too. That’s classic NPD — they feel central. Powerful.

      Per gut feelings — always listen. I don’t think we get gut fear with everyone, even after being burned. I did not have those feelings with my husband. He made me feel secure. His words and his actions aligned.

      Early on with my ex, I experienced this weird phenomenon, where after he left, I’d be nebulously angry with him. Off balance. But I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was that I was reacting to. Then he’d appear and be charming, total sparkles, and I’d think boy, I was overreacting, things are fine. And then he’d leave… and I’d feel those creeping doubts about him again.

      And then I spackled. Chumps spackle. It’s what we do.

      I never had to smother little voices with my husband. Part of healing from this is listening to that gut, discerning good from bad.

      • DuckLinerUpper says

        “I experienced this weird phenomenon, where after he left, I’d be nebulously angry with him. Off balance. But I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was that I was reacting to.”

        Yes, I had that experience, too. I was hurt and angry with him, but couldn’t pin it on any one interaction. I think it was a lack of actual emotion/attachment on his part, plus the all the other bad behavior. Because I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so bothered with him, I spackled, too, and shoved it under the rug. But I think my subconscious has been screaming at me for a long time about this. No wonder I’ve been so emotionally drained.

        • Nord says

          Strange thing is that when I look back at different times in our relationship when I was feeling like something was off but couldn’t put my finger on it or when he behaved in certain ways I now see that this is when he was cheating. It’s incredible to see the pattern that emerged again and again and I was just not seeing it. But then, it never occurred to me that my husband would be having affairs on a somewhat regular basis for years. So if I had listened to my gut and actually thought why I was feeling like something wasn’t right I would have ended the charade of a marriage many, many years ago. And at least one kid wouldn’t have existed.

    • Erika says

      The BRAGGING. OMG, I could never put my finger on it. He was at my house to talk to me about the fact that he had “chosen” me….. then he went on and on about being her date and meeting her family at her gay uncle’s birthday party and how much they liked each other and the gay uncle and the X just totally hit it off and the uncle thought he was just the bees knees AND how she wanted him to move in straight away and how he must be the most “normal” and “down to earth” experience she ever had….. and this super hot electrician that was working on her job with him just thought he was the funniest person on the planet.

      I could never put my finger on it – I was dying inside and he was going on and on about how everybody wanted him and thought he was so special….. he was BRAGGING. That a guy like him, was so rare and special in this day and age and women in general just loved him…… his stock was “trading really hight” God, I was just so clueless – I knew it made me vaguely uncomfortable from the beginning – I mean who talks about themselves like that…… I didn’t know why, in the face of something so obvious, I couldn’t make the connection and call it what it was.

      Still freaks me out. I freak myself out. And therein lies the problem with ever getting involved with someone again. don’t know how that gets ironed out.

      • Cindy says

        Erika, the bragging was so incessant!! I know exactly what you mean – I thought I was married to Gandhi, he was so perfect, and everyone else, including the psychiatrist who tested him in the Navy was so very wrong about his NPD and other mental health issues. I remember being very insulted by that diagnosis at that time…how could anyone think Dick-hole was THAT guy? It wasn’t until the second time he was tested a few years later (after his first affair) that I began to think maybe the professionals were on to something. but, I turned a blind eye for the sake of my family, the kids. I also remember being vaguely weirded out about his “perfection”, but, didn’t listen to my better, inner self. Never again will I allow myself to be that stupid! Life is too short to be bamboozled by anyone who thinks his own shit smells like freshly washed laundry or lilacs in the spring!

        • GladIt'sOver says

          LOL, “shit smells like freshly washed laundry”!
          My ex actually describes himself as someone who makes everyone’s life better who comes in contact with him. Despite being an unemployed actor with no parts beyond background work, being bankrupt, having lost his house to foreclosure, living in his sister’s spare bedroom and driving a car that is 17 years old, he calls himself a motivational speaker and has written a book about how inspirational he is. I kid you not. He paid $5000 to have this book printed. He wrote about how he “always knew he was destined to be famous” and about how he pays people to pretend to recognize him in public and make a big scene asking for his autograph.

          He’s always gushing about how he follows his dreams, changes lives, and “walks the rainbow of balance” whatever that means. The scary thing is, he has a huge number of “fans” fooled, people delusional like his is, or just gullible enough to buy his brand of sparkly bullshit. He has over 5,000 “friends” on Facebook eating up his shit every day.

          • Kelly says

            Ooooo Glad, I think your ex is probably my ex’s role model. My ex is an inspirational speaker, consultant and business coach. He had all these canned corny phrases I thought were inauthentic and insincere sounding, but he thought were brilliant. “Walking the rainbow of balance…”–do all psychopaths talk in tongues??

          • mag says

            “rainbow of balance”
            that’s when I piss*d myself LOL,
            and the strategy to pay for autographs!!! oh man, need to sell it of to my STBXH,
            he is in MLM and wants to motivate millions!!!.
            And yes, he has no money, no work, no place to stay, no friends and no family now…
            Hopefully he can fool some delusional idiots to follow him on FB

      • Valentine says

        ‘he was BRAGGING. That a guy like him, was so rare and special in this day and age and women in general just loved him……’

        OMG YES. That and the he ‘chose’ me thing. Like I was SO LUCKY to have him as my boyfriend/fiance/husband. I thought it was being confident. And why wasn’t I more like that?

        Later, after he had begun the affair, he was so COLD and calculating. No emotions at all. He would just sit there and react so woodenly. I laughed hysterically when someone told me that he had mentioned to them that when women found out he was ‘on the market again’ they would be flocking to him for his attention. I laughed because, instead, he knocked up the other woman and married her 4 months after our divorce was final.

        I would imagine that he has cheated on her as well. I completely believe my ex is NPD. Totally.

    • Anne says

      DuckLinerUpper,

      How creepy and disturbing, your last paragraph brought back vivid memories of my last 3 months with my ex. They really do enjoy seeing you in pain and draw their energy from your agony. For that matter, when I think about certain events, my whole marriage was that way. They suck the life out of you and you slowly fade :(

      Glad to be without him!!! :)

  3. nomar says

    Scary to think of how we bump against these people so often in everyday life–or even have children with them! “Cool as a cucumber” certainly describes my cheating ex: for example, flying to Las Vegas to hook up with someone she met on the Internet then calling me and our sons every night she’s gone telling us all about her day visiting a college friend in Portland, Oregon. And similar stuff. For 22 years. Who is capable of this stuff, even for a day? How their heads don’t explode from the stress and the guilt and even the complexity of it all is beyond me.

    But I do think it’s easier to shed a sociopath once their cheating is exposed. My ex showed virtually no remorse at all. No tears about her cheating, and only a very few over the idea that she was being identified as a cheater (poor *her!*) The chumps who get the tsunamis of fake remorse have a much harder time of it, playing as it does on our over-developed need to forgive and never, ever quit. For that reason, as odd as it may sound, if I had to be cheated on, I’m glad it was with a sociopath.

    • says

      So it’s not just my ex that showed no remorse… I thought he was an original. He actually did send me a text that said “I’m sorry for destroying everything but I don’t think you will ever admit that you put conditions on our marriage that caused it to fail.” Like what? My conditions were he was faithful. Translation – he’s sorry that I MADE him destroy everything. Okay, that’s a wrap.

      • nomar says

        Kay, classic blame-shifting. But it shows a special kind of self-centeredness for him to not even be able to finish a *single sentence* of apology before jumping to how it’s really your fault. What an ass.

        I got the blame-shifting as well. “You’re so independent that you didn’t need all of me,” for instance. Also that I must have (based on her Internet research) some kind of personality disorder (contrary to why two years of post-infidelity counseling indicated). And so on. Yes, that kind of thing really makes it easier to see that there’s no love left to save.

        • BarristerBelle says

          ohh, the blame-shifting b.s. indeed. Like you, nomar, I wasn’t “needy” enough and was apparently “too good, too competent, too successful” and my personal favorite: “I wish you had a drinking problem or something really wrong with you so I wouldn’t be the only fuck-up here.”

          Definitely saw some whack-job rage, too: One of the craziest things I ever witnessed from him was right after another D-Day, when I saw a text from dingbat OW on his phone after we’d just gotten home from dinner with his grandmother. I called dingbat up from his phone, right then and there, and then found allllll kinds of photos and emails saved on there (all during the time when he was “committed to saving our marriage” and “didn’t want to lose me”, blah blah blah).

          And what did he do? HE threw the biggest hissy-fit I’d ever seen: threw the patio furniture into the pool, screamed at ME for “invading his privacy” and “ruining everything”, jumped into the pool with his suit and shoes on, and refused to come up as that meant he’d have to talk to me. Later, he went back into the house and HID from me. I eventually found him curled up in a sleeping bag on the floor in an upstairs bedroom, eyes shut tight and hands over his ears, ignoring me right in front of his face and refusing to answer me. Then, with his legs still in the sleeping bag, he bunny-hopped his way to the stairs and slid down the stairs on his butt – exactly like a toddler. And in the midst of my anger – I said to myself – “Holy shit, he’s a f-ing 5 year old. He literally has the mental capacity of a f-ing 5 year old right now.” Thankfully, that was the last of the D-Days and that’s when I stepped AWAY from the crazy.

          These people are emotionally stunted mental midgets. He would lie directly to my face, act cold and detached when suspicions arose – telling me that my concerns “are NOT his problem” and he “will not stand to be cross-examined” by me (both of us are attorneys), but when the shit hit the fan and he couldn’t possibly wriggle his way out of being caught red-handed? He’s nothing more than a screaming, bratty toddler.

          • Tallula says

            OMG, I just peed. This was like when I got on his facebook account and found about about WHO the OW was and his fishing for what to get her for christmas from her sister. All while he was “trying not to see her”. I promptly walked in our bedroom, grabbed some clothes and walked to my car. “Have fun with the kids, I know who whoreface his and I hope she enjoys the awesome sunglasses you plan on buying her.” Found out later from her husband that it was a ring he settled on. Barf. So he flips out “I HATE YOU!!! You always do this, look through my stuff!! This is the problem, this is why it will never work!!” Yeah, I always look through your stuff, which is why you were able to fuck around for 8 years of marriage without me knowing. Yep. It’s ME and my TRUST ISSUES! Shit, I AM the problem. Then, when he realised I was taking off and leaving him with our 2 & 3 year old. “NO NO, I’m leaving. You can’t, I AM!!!!” Good thing I run faster. Our neighbors must have thought we were nuts….

            Or 5 minutes into counciling when I was asked what I would need for him to do to stay in our home. I responded by saying that he would need to put his phone off vibrate, give me his phone bills, FB passwords… he interupts “I’ve been honest with you our whole marriage…” and the councilor’s eyes bugged out of her head “No, you have lied to this woman your entire marriage. That is what you have done.” He jumps up “I’m a private person, I need privacy, if this is why we get divorced then so be it” and ran out of the room. I turned to her and said “Still think we can work this out…”

            • BarristerBelle says

              Tallulah – totally. He totally flipped out whenever he felt I invaded his privacy. The invasions, of course, took little to no effort on my part: “Umm, so hey hubby – why on earth would dingbat OW tag you in photo on facebook with her? And why is she still your secretary? I thought you fired her.” Or the time when he congratulated “his wife” on his facebook page and one of his ex-girlfriends posted afterwards, “Wife? I thought you two were separated?”

              He had the audacity to scream like a banshee at ME and wag his finger in my face about how he “REFUSED to live his life like that” and that he was rightfully-damned entitled to HIS private thoughts and emails, and “I don’t see how we can save our marriage if I can’t have any privacy.”

              That idiot actually thought he had a valid, reasonable argument against me there and was putting. his. foot. down. That whole notion *totally* made sense in that walnut-sized brain of his.

              • Tallula says

                They are nuts. Why I love my councilor? She’s both our individual councilor, but we did 2 joint sessions. One was when I told him to move the frick out. I love her though. When he was going all crazy about privacy, she interupted him “You said that you wanted to rebuild trust. This is how you do it. People with nothing to hide, have nothing to hide. Privacy ended for you when you started sleeping with other woman behind your wife’s back.” BAM! Then he ran away, stomping, slamming doors. I swear, just like you I saw a toddler. Hell, my 2 year old has more mature tantrums. And I didn’t even want to try, I just wanted to tell him to get out. He was the one who was all “I want to move forward, I want to fix what I broke…”

                The other day he was like “When my lease is up next month, I should move back in to help for the end of the pregnacy and the baby.” I suggested we schedule a meeting with the councilor to discuss or send me an email. “I don’t want to meet with her. You two gang up on me.” I said “Really? Are we bullying you?” Him, sheepish look.

              • Tallula says

                Oh, wait….Talking about facebook. He wouldn’t defriend OW. Anywho, he friended some woman and I asked who she was. He said a nurse at his grandma’s nursing home. I said “Was this the nurse who was flirting with you and you were considering banging, which helped you come to the conclusion that you are messed up to be considering adding a 2nd OW to your sitch that led you to confess all your affairs to me while I was changing our 2 year olds diaper?” silence. “GOD YOU REMEMBER EVER LITTLE THING I SAY!!!!!!!” Hangs up. Defriends me. Hehehe. 2 hours later, friend requests me, 5 voice mails begging my forgiveness. When a week later I tell him I will only refriend this once, he defriends me again I’m done he says “Facebook causes so many problems for us.” Yes, yes indeed. Facebook stuck you dick in other woman. Freaking facebook. And yes, I said that.

              • Yoder says

                Exact response from h. He would not allow me to handle his cell phone, lap top, nothing. When I ask him how much he had in his banking account he said it was none of my business. When I brought that up during a session with his shrink, she said, “You didn’t think it was a wife’s business to know how much money you (us as a couple) have to live on? Doc was dumbfounded. By this time I had already shafted the OW on a big goose chase, sent her husband 55 emails and texts that had been sent between h and the OW, so OW was history by this time and I mean GONE. So what I was doing, was beginning to build a base of support, from his shrink to his family and friends.

              • kb says

                Wow!

                Well, the privacy thing is interesting. Before OW, STBXH did share passwords. He had an excel spreadsheet that he’d keep updated, and loaded the spreadsheet up to google docs, and shared the doc with me.

                Yep. I can’t see that spreadsheet anymore. I think he’s changed his password probably a half a dozen times over the past 6 months since my Dday. He has to know that I know, but he is either in extreme denial or he thinks he’s so clever that I’m merely suspicious.

          • Kelly says

            OMG Barrister, that is hilarious, your description of him in his sleeping bag sliding down the steps, I’m still laughing in my office (I’m a lawyer too). Also, his complaining that you’re “too competent” and he wishes you had a drinking problem??? Absolutely fucking priceless. Seriously, toddlers everywhere should object!! He’s giving them a bad rap.

            • BarristerBelle says

              Kelly – as a fellow attorney, you’ll love this then —

              Once we separated — He got a public smackdown from the state bar for fraudulent and misleading advertisements –> he’s angry with me for being “too competent”; He ran his practice into the ground and was strongly encouraged to go to AA by several authorities –> “I wish you had a drinking problem”; He owes ridiculous amounts of back taxes (plus all those sums he “forgot” to withhold from dingbat’s paycheck) –> tells me he’s thinking about applying for a legal job at the Dept. of Revenue.

              Clearly, Freud would’ve had a FIELD DAY with him.

              The karma of it all is even better – he got evicted from his office, shiny sports car got repossessed, dingbat OW (who was sooo excited at her first gig as a paralegal) had to get a new non-legal job, and he’s now relying on her minimum wage to barely scrape by. And he actually expected ME to feel sorry for him when he told me he’d hocked his beloved sparkly Rolex… boo effin hoo, dude.

              • Kelly says

                Oh BB, you are one of the lucky ones. You got to see karma visited upon him in real time. Applying for a job at the Department of Revenue…. Jeez these guys are delusional. Sorry, I just started laughing hysterically again thinking of his sleeping bag incident, seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!

          • Bud says

            Holy crap they are all crazy! WW Whines about needing privacy, saying “Don’t tell anyone”, “No you can’t look at my phone or my email” etc. etc. They really are crazy………

            By the Way calling him a 5 yr old might be a bit of a stretch. I was thinking 2 or 3 yr old. Talk about a Kodak moment.

            • Nord says

              STBX remains furious that I’ve told people what I discovered (serial cheating). Apparently I’ve ruined his reputation. He doesn’t seem to see that he did it all on his own. I just refuse to protect him any longer or lie about what happened.

          • dani says

            Barrister… this is actually the funniest thing I have read in a long time! Sorry, if that is totally insensitive. What a whack-job!!!!! Yay for stepping away from the crazy!

            • BarristerBelle says

              No, not insensitive at all. I think once it all reached that apex of insanity, even I couldn’t convince myself that this was something I *wanted* to salvage, let alone be able to salvage.

              CL’s own story and her wonderful birthday post about her dear husband and how life gets better was (and still is!) a massive motivator for me. And she is sooooo right. Even though I’m only a couple of months out from getting my official divorce decree, it’s astounding to realize how much BETTER life is without 200 lbs of lying, cheating, worthless dead weight hanging on to my coattails.

              when people hear that I’m divorced and start that “awwww, I’m so sorry to hear that” response, I cut them off and correct them: “Hell no, don’t be sorry for me. I got away from the crazy. Dodged a big ol’ bullet and I’m doing just fine.”

              • Tallula says

                Love it!! I keep telling myself this. But the thought of doing all this with a newborn and a 2 and 4 year old does freak me out a smidge. Not that he ever helped out really. Not that I want him, just that I’ll be over here, knee deep in sleep deprivation and diapers…

                But that pity face, oh man. My mom was all drunked up giving me that face and I can barely stand it anymore. She’s not drunk often, ha. We threw them a surprise anniversary part this past weekend. Then I could tell which friends she drunkenly told…the “look”. Oh, geez.

              • JamesR says

                BB, I use the 200 lb analogy too… Although I refer to divorcing the EW as having a 200lb TUMOR removed from my life!! haha!

                Yeah, it’s not really nice, but neither is looking for an affair on a Married Dating site………

                And it really does feel like I’ve been liberated from a sickness.

        • Toni says

          I finally got my only “I’m sorry” 2 1/2 months after the fact when he found out the main OW had done drugs before she met him, not only “with him- she lied”. I think I was supposed to offer sympathy and beg him to come back………? WTWTWTF?

      • Tallula says

        I mean, really. Putting that kind of condition on a marriage is really terrible. I did the same thing. Such an expecations, that faithfulness is. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

      • GladIt'sOver says

        I got a similar text from the ex. He wrote that he was “sorry for blaming you for things.” He did not specify which “things” he was so SORRY for blaming me for, but considering HE HAD HUNDREDS of sexual encounters outside the marriage, devastated us financially and dumped me while sitting in a coffee shop, there would be a lot to choose from. Of course, the apology was false anyway. Notice he didn’t apologize for anything he DID, just for BLAMING ME for his own actions.

        I’ve heard he now tells people our marriage failed because I reneged on a deal to work full time and support him while he followed his dream of becoming an actor. Believe me, there was no such deal ever.

        • says

          His dream of becoming an actor? I’m sorry but if someone said that to me I would have to laugh right in front of his fricking face. Honestly.

      • Rebecca (chumpsNYC@gmail.com) says

        My STBX has NEVER admitted anything, in spite of credit card and bank statements, co-workers, doormen and even her telling me they had an affair for years.
        Just says it is none of anyone’s business, especially mine.
        Just keeps saying that to everyone.
        Everyone except me just says OK and keeps on going.

      • Laurel says

        To the X

        there is no *but*… bozo. You needed to stop with “sorry for destroying everything.” beginning. middle and end.

        apology accepted. no fuck off!

        You lied and cheated and betrayed my fucking trust. Sorry if those “conditions” were too harsh for you, but you did promise to honor all of them in front of 150 of our closest friends and family— and God.

        remember?

        unlikely.

    • Kelly says

      Nomar, same with my ex. Never thought about being thankful for a sociopath, but you’re right. No remorse, no pretend tears, no pretense of R. I found him out, and he was GONE. It was horrible, stunning, but in a way at least the cut was clean. So much better than the torment I see some of our co-chumps suffering.

      • Tallula says

        Yeah, as someone who’s husband is not an actual sociopath and still “isn’t giving up on us”…yeah… I’d rather have someone who just cut and run. Although, thanks to all the reading I’ve done here I do know how to feed him enough kibbles so that when we do start the D proceedings he won’t be such an asshat. I hope. And maybe my H really does see what a craphole he is, and will just let me ride off into the sunset. On my unicorn, of course…

        • Kelly says

          T- I’ve posted about this before but I seriously read articles on how to manipulate a narcissist, and got advice from one of my partners that had extensive business dealings with a narc. It was stunningly effective. My ex wanted to be a hero if only to himself, and I had to act like I was broken up about losing him, didn’t know how I’d make it without him, needed his “help” getting through all of this, etc. Anyone who knows me would know that was an act, but he obviously did not know me after 25 years of marriage. That, along with occasional threats that I would expose his deranged sexual lifestyle in a fault divorce proceeding and to his business clients, delivered in a tearful and hysterical fashion, was a 1-2 punch that worked against him.

          • Tallula says

            Yeah, Kelly! It was you that got my brain spinning on this. Especially once he started showing actual remorse. My instinct is to say “Kiss it! You are a sick fuck.” Instead, I listened, thanked him for admitting that. Said that I love him and wish him all the happiness in the world and wish we could be together, but blah, blah. tears, blah. Hey, he feels shitty right now, lets see how shitty when he sees the check he is going to have to write me every month. I will throw out a few threats of exposure. I have the nurse at his grandma’s nursey home in my back pocket. Call the home, get her fired, tell sisters…Yeah. I’m gonna work this to my advantage.

          • says

            I’m glad it worked for you! The best advice I got was somewhat contrary — go on the offensive. They don’t expect it. They always, always underestimate other people.

            • Tallula says

              I have all that ready too. Since we can’t divorce until I birth #3, I have each strategy at the ready. I keep gathering intel. He has NO IDEA that I am doing any of it.

  4. Arnold says

    Nomar’s story reminded me of a case I handled. It was a worker’s compensation case involving a guy who had a legit back injury. He had returned to work and all was going well. But, one day, he was found hanging in his garge with a suicide note pinned to his shirt. He had simply told his wife that she could keep all their possession and to take care of the kids.
    Shortly after he was found dead, his wife filed a work comp claim for dependency benefits. She claimed he had been depressed ddue to back pain and this led to his suicide. In our state, that would be a legit claim if she could prove it.
    However, during discovery, the real reason for his suicide came out: His wife had lied to him and claimed to be in Texas visiting a friend. But, she , stupidly, called home from California (caller ID) one night. This led him to find out that she had gone there with their neighbor, a man.
    Long story short, he killed himself over the cheating(she moved in with the neighbor and witnesses said she and her affair partner would drive their snowmobiles onto his property and taunt him.
    This woman had the gall to try to profit over her having caused the suicide.
    I had recently discovered my own sociopathic or NPD wife’s affair and I was hot to try this case. My bosss, apparently, thought I was too invested and handed it off to outside counsel.
    That attorney settled with her and paid her 60,000. Not surprisingly, that attorney, himself, was cheating on his dying wife(cancer, like Elizabeth Edwards) wit a nuts woman Worker’s Comp judge. And, my boss, the claims manager, was also cheating for years on his wife.

    • nomar says

      Arnold, what gall. To have no remorse under *those* circumstances truly sounds like a sociopath’s involved.

      Talk about insurance and cheating, I remember one the scariest moments of my life was when I realized shortly after my second D-day that my then-wife was capable of *anything*, and I had a million dollar insurance policy on my life with her as the sole beneficiary. YIKES!!! I immediately sent an email to my insurance agent, with cc’s to every member of my family as well as my STBX, explaining the my wife was having an affair and I intended to change the beneficiary of my policy immediately to my minor children, with my parents as trustees.

      • Kelly says

        Nomar, same here. In addition to immediately changing beneficiaries, I told my ex that I had a discussion with our District Attorney that if anything happened to me, he should go right after my ex.

  5. Tallula says

    Hilariously enough, my husband JUST wondered aloud to me during dropoff friday if he a sociopath. I said “you might just be.” He’s had an “awakening” of sorts 3 weeks ago. As far as coming to me, admitting everything. All this sick. All the woman. Took all the blame. Not only was it not my fault, but I was an amazing wife and person who didn’t desrve any of this. It was shocking, actually. And I’ve been waiting ever since for him to snap back into “But you drove me to all the other woman…are you hungry? I want a pizza. Let’s have sex. what? Why not? You don’t find me attractive anymore? ” He is showing up for the kids more, walks around like he’s totally depressed. I have to say, it’s nice not to want to punch him in his smiling face…since he looks so sad. Makes me happy. Hehehe.

    The only problem is the teeny, tiny, 1% hope it has given me. Then I look at my swollen belly and the texts I took pics of between him and the 2 OW he is currently banging and I think…yeah. NOPE! Even if he does the work and miraculously changes, I’m out. Thanks for the 3 beautiful kids, have fun on the singles scene, buddy.

    • Kelly says

      Tallulah, honey be very very careful. The odds are extremely high that he has not changed and this is still yet another game. And I know how much I longed for my ex to look over his shoulder and be sorry, and if he had ever done that (he never did), I would have been completely vulnerable. Be strong!!

      • Tallula says

        I hear you, I DO!!! We aren’t even entertaining reconciliation. He isn’t claiming he can or will try to be faithful. He flat out said something is wrong with him and he may never be capable of it. I agreed. But, even IF..emphasis on the HELL NO!… he turned himself around and never cheated again, our ship has sailed. I’ll never trust him. I won’t live like that.

        It both sucks and is awesome that he has taken this attitude. We’ll see if it lasts. I’m still NC execpt with kid drop offs. Soon we will have to discuss things with the baby due in August. But I do know that this is over.

  6. Kelly says

    “I joke here about cheater sociopaths who on DDay step over your sobbing body and wonder about making a Hot Pocket. That was exactly what he was like.” First of all CL, as usual, you make me laugh out loud in my office! Thanks!!

    Second, as usual, I want to scream YES THAT’S IT (but I held that back in order not to terrify my secretary). But oh my goodness, yes, the “cold dead eyes” on D-day as he sat there calmly admitting he had conducted serial affairs with co-workers I thought were our family friends, sometimes group sex, unprotected, for 17 years (sometimes in our home with our children and me sleeping upstairs, I guess just for the thrill of it). He convinced the children and me that these women were family friends, and sometimes needed to stay over our house for business. We believed him. That must have amused them a lot.

    Anyhow, as I sat there staring into the cold dead eyes of the man I realized was my betrayer, the thought suddenly came to me that he looked strikingly like Scott Peterson (the asswipe that killed his pregnant wife Laci), and I became afraid of a man that for 25 years professed to absolutely love and adore me. Where had he gone??? How did he disappear in literally the blink of an eye?? I stumbled upstairs and vomited. And then called my estate attorney to make sure he was immediately taken off as my life insurance beneficiary. And yes, the GLEE he seemed to be feeling after his revelations, it was surreal. He smiled and mocked me when I was wandering around the house in a daze and unable to formulate a sentence. When I finally got it together to tell him to get out and that I would be filing for a divorce, he smiled and skittered out, elated, while I blindly felt my way into the shower to sob. He has shown no emotion, not one tear, not even one fake tear, since that day. He has no family, not me, not our 3 children, he does not speak to his brother his only living relative, but he simply does not care. He has himself, the heroic figure in his one-man play, and that is all he needs (along with his AP’s and new AP’s).

    And yes, I look back and clearly see that my ex was only pretending to have emotions. He never cared when I cried, he never had a filter or limit on how nasty he could be when we fought. Somehow we got through 25 years of marriage without me seeing that he did not have any insight in himself, no ability for introspection. His emotion was “off” too though I could not put my finger on it. My ex is a public speaker and by all acclaims a pretty good one. Yet I hated to watch him speak, it made me want to climb the walls, I just felt so uncomfortable, there was something inauthentic. There were times when he acted so adoring, but I would think to myself, “what if he is just pretending that, and he actually hates us and is disgusted with us (his family)?” And of course, 14 years ago when I was pregnant with our youngest child, I suddenly had a gut feeling that he was cheating on me with the two AP’s he admitted to last year, but he convinced me I was crazy and that he simply adored me, and I ultimately believed him.

    Personally I sort of think of these personality disorders as a continuum, not separate categories. My ex did show intense anger and frustration about things like the house being clean (go figure, that’s gotta be Freudian), but was and is otherwise cold as ice and completely unrattled. When the husband of one of his AP’s called my ex to confront him about the 17 year affair with his wife under our noses, my ex answered the phone, spoke calmly and politely, and simply refused to discuss the situation, telling him “you’ll have to speak to your wife.” The AP’s husband is Army ROTC and 6’6″ and at least 250 pounds, and was at that time awaiting DNA paternity testing on his 12-year old son. Yet my ex was cool. as. a. cucumber. No shame, no angst, no fear. My ex has completely deserted his children, and is perfectly fine with that. In his mind, he is all he needs. It is now all about him, all the time, the person he cares most about in the world.

    So is this trying to untangle the skeins of fuckedupedness? I guess, but it is fascinating if you can distance yourself from the horrific devastation and mind blowing treachery. Before D-Day one year ago, I would never have believed that anyone could be so deceitful, so manipulative, so evil. Now I know. And I will never never never again fail to trust my instincts.

    • says

      Why do I wish Mr. Army ROTC squashed your ex like a roach? Not very meh of me.

      I think it’s a gift that he’s gone and is leaving you alone. Seriously — as painful as that is for your kids — thank GOD he’s not still finding you of use and fucking with you to be sadistic.

      A shrink (Dr. Irene actually, of the web site of the same name) told me that after NPDs are exposed, they will NOT sparkle for you again. You’ve seen behind the mask. You are of no use. Unless they think they can keep manipulating you, then they’ll turn the sparkle setting back on. But you called him out — you know the real him — so he flees. I was told that’s pretty typical, sadly.

      • Arnold says

        Ah, good old Dr Irene. I bagan posting on her site(Trubble’s Catbox) back in 2005, before I discovered my XW serial cheating.
        I go back and look at the posts. I had googled “emotional abuse” and found the site.
        I described my then wife repeatedly dousing me with cold water when I showered. How she once called me over for a hug, and doused me when I was fully clothed with a freezing glass of water she had hidden behind her back.
        I described how we were playing scrabble one night and , out of the blue, when spelling the word “penis”, she felt she had to use the word in a sentence to convince me it was a real word. She chose ” Penis. My husband has no penis.”
        I described how she would lie about having said stuff. How she bounced thousands of $$ in checks. All types of stuff.
        I was one of the few males on the site, but the women rallied and told me she was an abuser. It was a long time ago, now.
        But that site was a lifesaver and the beginning of my education into personality disorders and infielity.

        • GladIt'sOver says

          Wow, Arnold, that is horrendous abuse. God, some of these people are absolutely evil. I believe that NPD/sociopaths are the basis for the idea of demons and what the bible calls wicked men. Or maybe they aren’t the basis for the idea, but are literally demons.

          • Arnold says

            Yes, thanks for confirming.
            The amazing thing about abuse like this is how one doubts what it is. I mean, seriously, like the frog in boiling water deal, it amps up, gradually.

            • Toni says

              Frogs+ hot water + spackle = ME! I am so sorry Arnold. What can I say, I have tissues in my purse too…….

  7. GladIt'sOver says

    My ex has bragged about his ability to cry and appear sad whenever he wants to. Ugh, during our bogus reconciliation, we were in this marriage restoration group, and the ex stood up to announce how terrible he felt about breaking our vows and he was going right home to watch our wedding video and remind himself of what he had almost lost. Fake tears dripping down his cheeks as he gave this dramatic announcement. Just a couple weeks later, he told me he saw “no reason to work on the marriage, because I wouldn’t accept him if he didn’t have a job anyway.” He was constantly telling me that he had already forgiven himself, and I had better forgive him soon or the reconciliation wouldn’t last.

    He was still cheating during that reconciliation, and the only reason he even wanted to stay married was to get out of paying support and have me work full time and financially support him.

  8. says

    The night I met my STBX, I thought he was arrogant. Apparently I found that appealing…
    For years, I told people of my first impression, in a joking way. But now I think about how that one impression, that one little word, was so incredibly significant. SHOULD have been significant. I missed the point.
    Got it now though!

    • anotherErica says

      I thought when my husband (then boyfriend) would act conceited it was in a joking kind of way. Because it didn’t come out all the time and he did seem willing to laugh about it. The opposite of a self-deprecating sense of humor if you will. Can that even be a thing?!?

      What the hell was wrong with me?? Others would call him full of himself and stuff every once in a while and I took it with a grain of salt. Ugh.

      • Kelly says

        Erica, my ex used to always say “It’s all about me,” and my kids and I would laugh, thinking it was just silly and humorous, and inside family joke. Sure he was a little self centered, but he really loved us….right???? Others thought he was an arrogant underachiever but we knew better. Ugh is right, how did I not see?

  9. debdenchis says

    What the fuck…my STBX is a lawyer too… These people whose jobs are based on people “telling the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God”. I don’t get it. Wonder what percentage of lawyers cheat on their spouses? He has lied so much no one knows when he says anything if it is true or not. Captain Fantastic doesn’t eat Hot Pockets, but he did tell me I might as well have spread the other women’s legs for him to screw them. Also bragged that the current mistress has 8 or 9 orgasms when they are together ( he rarely, if ever, gave me one). But his cheating for 17 years was my fault…really.

    • Valentine says

      Sugar, if Captain Fantastic believes that his current squeeze has ‘8 or 9 orgasms’ then he is the one being jacked. Doubt she has more than one (if that). My ex would always ask me how many times I came when we were together. I didn’t want to break his fragile ego by saying zero so I would pull a number outta my ass. I know it was wrong but, honestly, I never got why it was so important to him to know.

      But Hey, what did I know, I thought he was my ‘soul-mate’ too. Boy did I have my head up my ass then.

  10. Scotty says

    Our gut intuition is by far our best tool for avoiding these people. But if it’s your first encounter with one romantically, that Narc-Sparkle (Narkle?) is impossible to resist when you don’t recognize what’s happening to you. The undivided attention, love-bombing, validation, fulfillment of the “soul-mate” fantasy…it’s intoxicating. Looking back there were more flags fairly early in my relationship with the XW than outside the UN building…but spackle I did. I just needed to work harder to make her happy! She loved the phrase “Happy wife, Happy Life!” PUKE.

    • Arnold says

      Yep. Until you learn about this stuff, the NPDs are really good at drawing you in. I think I can spot them, now, however.
      And, there are a shitload more than the 2% alleged to be out there.

      • Kelly says

        The unfortunate thing about our new extra-sensory narcissist detection ability is that we now have to also live with the knowledge that evil does indeed walk the earth.

        • Arnold says

          Yes. It is like I just know too much , now. That is why it was hard to be vulnerable again. I am forever changed by this knowledge. My GF is so patient with me.

  11. Yoder says

    The part of your comment regarding the “interview,” reminds me of the scene in Silence of the Lambs when Jody foster interviews Hannibal Lecter in prison. Creepy and scary do not seem to describe it. So glad your court appearance ended positively. That first ex appears to be certifiable. What a nightmare, so glad is now in the past and your new life is on track.

    • says

      Thanks. He never ate any fava beans that I’m aware of. But he was a disordered creep. Both exes really. (This is how I win the chump award.) Thanks for the kind regards — life is good now!

  12. Arnold says

    For guys dea;ing with the disordered woman, it is tough. Society seems to be lagging behind in accepting that there are abusive, disordered women among us and that they seem to be as prevalent as the male version.
    Just look at how female sexual predators are sentenced. The double standard says a lot.

  13. Tictoc says

    Wow. This hits home a little too hard.

    My STBXH had the “dead eyes” too. Two weeks after discovering what was supposedly a ONS, I found the credit card records that suggested it was a long-term affair. I sat across from him, records in hand, asking very calmly if this had been going on for months. “Yes,” he said, and that was all. I doubled over, the wind knocked out of me, face screwed up, and was only able to squeak out, “You son of a bitch,” through gasps and tears. He just stared at me. No expression. None. Didn’t even have the decency to look away.

    I remember returning to our home after staying away for a couple of weeks after DDay. I hadn’t eaten or slept. I was unkempt and pale. He looked at me and said, “You look like you’re going to die,” in a wondering, curious way, like I was a science experiment. Again, no compassion or shame. He was like an alien considering, “Huh, so this is how humans react.” He, of course, looked hale and hearty.

    The day he left me for good he insisted he wasn’t leaving me for his mistress. I insisted he was. “No,” he said, and then a creepy, slow smile appeared on his face. “She’s… stubborn.” And I saw it then, I saw that he was relishing the chase, the conquest, the ego boost, and I was just an obstacle. As far as I know, he succeeded, and they’ve been together for a couple of years now (three, if you want to count the overlap). Mazel tov.

    • Kelly says

      Oh Tictoc, that brought tears to my eyes. Your comment about his distant curiosity, like you were a science experiment, and his “creepy, slow smile.” I am definitely not feeling Meh today, in fact my blood is boiling. Back to praying for karma for these bastards.

    • Nord says

      Oh brother, the creepy smile, like a little kid who is gettinga way with something. STBX, when I asked if people at work knew (this was after I threw him out) he said, with a smug smile ‘I think they’re starting to suspect’. And he was so damned proud. It really knocked me over because I realised it was all about the game and he loved that people at work were thinking it was ‘just one of those things that they couldn’t control’ and had no idea that the final OW was the last in a rather long list. It really creeped me out at the time.

  14. Toni says

    Wow what stories!

    I think some of the reality is starting to fade on me. At first I read about 20 books on N’s NPD, P’s you name it. At many different times I said to myself AHA! That’s it. Then they began to all blur together. Now I just think he is Majorly FUCKED UP.

    There is definitely something seriously missing – I too experienced the dead eyes, fake tears, rages which scared me, even knowing if he fought fair against me he didn’t have a chance..when he flew off the handle for some really minor thing he scared the hell out of me. I grew up in a bar and don’t scare easy either, but I really was afraid I was going to die in a car accident either from his road rage or “entitled” way of driving….as a matter of fact come to think of it, except when we traveled far where he could speed I don’t think I was even IN the same car with him more than 10 times in the last 2 years.

    But above all, it was the fact that he would endanger my freedom by bringing seriously shady women into my life – that did it for me. 3 of them are in jail for drugs right now- INCLUDING the whore that wrote the anon letter to my job AND the woman the letter was written about – WTF??? Don’t know whether to laugh or cry over that situation..so instead I go and do yoga on the beach. He IS NOT taking that away from me…no matter what his diagnosis. Can I hear an Amen?!

    • AFA says

      OMG, the “…entitled way of driving…” don’t I know what you mean. And yes, Amen! I recently completely shifted my focus and now it is pointing at …me (kids are out of the house, so I can afford it :). I have discovered yoga (in a gym, no beach close by here, but still feels good), started spending a little extra on things that make me happy, and am thriving at work.

  15. Anybee says

    This phrase really struck me:

    The “complete disconnect from my distress, the horror of what he’d done, the people he’d hurt — were absurdly off.”

    This is exactly how my wife was. Totally disconnected from my distress. She had an affair for a year, told the guy “I love you more and more every day” in email, and yet would look me straight in the eye and say “It was really just a friendship. We grew up in the same area, we have a lot in common.”

    She takes no notice of the distress this has put our kids in. One was so stressed, she has been pulling her hair out. Literally. She had bald spots about the size of baseballs on her head. I wanted to take her to therapy, and the crazy lady’s response? “You shouldn’t run to a therapist every time you have a problem.”

    So yeah, thanks for saying that — disconnected from distress, oblivious to the hurt she caused.

    • Tallula says

      OMG, terrible. Abosolutely terrible. I know my husband would actually have a problem with that. Crying and tantrums…not so much. That is how my 4 year old has been dealing. So I told my husband I was concerned and looking at ways to help him express his feelings. At drop off he goes “I don’t think he is really that sad. I think he is manipulating you.” :crickets: It’s not like the kid was all :tears: “I miss my daddy, can I have ice cream?” Jesus.

    • says

      I’m so sorry — hope you’re away from her, or in the process. Get the kiddos some counseling if you can. They need to realize that this shit isn’t normal.

    • Arnold says

      Narcs seem to hate therapists. Big mystery, eh?
      When i started going, toward the end, I was warned “don’t you dare talk about me.”
      Okay, your an abusive, cheating, sadistic asshole and i am not supposed to tell anyone or seek support, right?
      They isolate their victims. They wear you down with constant criticism. The worst is not necessarily the rages/ attacks. It is the subtle stuff, the eye rolling, the put downs, the rejection of affection and the silent treatments. That stuff makes you wonder if you are exaggerating things in your mind. And, of course there is the gaslighting.
      I distinctly remember being somewhat euphoric upon discovering my XW’s cheating.
      When the PI called me at 2 in the morning and had her busted, I was elated that i had not lost my mind as she was claiming. I knew, on some level, that this was my ticket out of hell and that now, others would understand why i divorced her.
      Try explaining that your wife constantly belittles you, consatnt silent treatments and financial abuse as the reason for divorce and folks dismiss it. But, most folks seem to understand that cheating is a bright line reason for getting out.

      • Toni says

        Mine was pissed because “everyone knows now”. And nobody noticed you driving around with them in your truck on a 2×4 island for months you DUMB F___?!

        He just didn’t want everyone to know I threw his ass out!

      • DuckLinerUpper says

        Arnold, I had the same reaction at dday – I was partially relieved because his admittance of cheating showed me that I wasn’t crazy. And his cheating was my ticket OUT. The eye-rolling wasn’t a reason to leave. The other myriad of bad behavior would not have, on their own, been largely understood as deal-breakers. (they actually were, but you have to live with a narc to understand it!). But the cheating was an obvious one, a game-changer, one that even his family would not condone. And they would understand me leaving. Finally, a sigh of relief in all of the pain. Also, my Christian side also saw this as my ticket out, since the Bible says we don’t have to put up with cheating. We are free to go!

        • Yoder says

          DuckLinerupper, You just put so simply what I have not been able to communicate. Odd moments of unusual behavior over a very long span of time (35 years) just did not justify splitting the sheets, but cheating WAS. Have not yet left but he knows I am going and understands why. Thank you for stating this so clearly.

        • Arnold says

          The thing about the really proficient abusers is that they leave little evidence. O, sure, there was the occasional outburst, the check bouncing, the 50 bikinis she bought in two or three months etc.
          But, in general, it is how they treat you. The contempt, the belittling, the condescencion and derision etc. All done behind closed doors. All done subtly.
          I have seen it referred to as ‘ambient abuse”.
          In many ways it is much harder to deal with, as you question whether you are just being overly sensitive(and , believe me, that is what the abuser will tell you).
          Doused by freezing cold water a few times while showering( falls in the tub or cardiac arrest , anyone?)- Hell, you have no sense of humor. Told you are “like a woman” or “my husband has no penis”? Wtf, you are way oversensitive.
          No, I could not have explained what it was really like. Thnak God for the infidelity.

          • Yoder says

            I think of h’s bizarre statements as bomb shells, shock value. He would say something outregous, see my negative reaction and then say, “I was just kidding.”

            Riiiight.

            • Arnold says

              I have a few really egrgious things that were done, that I harken back to whenever I have doubts. It helps as people coming out of one of these relationships seem to doubt themselves and their roles, a lot.
              I played a role. I tolerated this stuff much too long in an effort to keep the family together. In retrospect, the kids and I would have been less damaged had I jettisoned my XWs sooner.

    • Toni says

      Anybee
      Can’t think of a thing to say
      ((Hugs to you)) and ((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))) to all of the poor children.
      I am sure (now) that mine abandoned both of his almost grown up children when they were very small. Of course it was their Fing Psycho Mothers fault though… Right?

    • says

      Anybee, I can relate! I discovered in January my 14 year old was cutting. I booked her a counseling appointment and she was willing to go. Shithead and I had to both sign consent to have her go and he refused!!!! Said he didn’t want her to use counseling as a crutch, and besides, it was all just normal teenaged girl stuff. Refused to believe that any of her issues might relate to him and his situation.

  16. nomar says

    I’ve been struck by how many of the stories posted on this thread are a mixture of disturbing and hilarious, like the adventures of a bumbling serial killer. Say, a movie about Jeffrey Dahmer as played by Will Farrell. Or, in the case of my ex-wife, Aileen Wuornos played by Sarah Silverman.

    Hey, anybody got the email address for the Coen Brothers?

    • Kelly says

      Nomar, I read this earlier tonight and started laughing hysterically, oh you are so right! Bumbling serial killers, Dahmer played by Will Farrell…

  17. AFA says

    The very first time I met my husband, I remember thinking – what an arrogant, rude, self-centered person that is with no respect for anyone or anything. Then I got blindsided by the sparkle, pursuit, attention. I knew who I was getting involved with. I just thought he would change because he loved me. How naive

  18. KayEeElle says

    On DDay, experienced the coldness and absolutely NO remorse on his part. He looked indignant that I even asked what he was up to. He admitted the tramp he was seeing had bedded the husband of another woman and then defended her to me and our counselor. You see, she wasn’t a whore she was just lonely!

    He is a sick fuck! I know now that all of the “friends” he would come home with stories about were women he had sex with! He gushed about how pretty his friend “Bibi” was. He had sex with her. Who does this? WHO? He knew he bedded these women and deliberately, coldly, sickeningly came home telling me stories about their lives.

    Our children are adults and are fully aware of what kind of man their father ISN’T! His relationship with them has been altered. Of course, this is my fault for finally revealing why I have been unhappy for so many years. Well, gee what would they think of their father if he had treated their mother with respect and didn’t lose a career position as a result of him treating his work like a singles bar? One of us is crazy!

  19. KayEeElle says

    Oh and as far as instincts go, I will never brush mine aside again! EVER! The first time I laid eyes on my XH, I thought to myself “What a sleazy looking motherfucker!” He was absolutely repugnant to me. He just looked like he would lay down with anything and was just the epitome of SLEAZY! Pimps have more honor than him!

    Stupid me got to talking to him and convinced myself I was wrong about him. Boy, could I have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had just continued to see him as he truly was!

    • Toni says

      KEE,

      That is the EXACT word I’ve been missing – indignant (rhymes with me – ignorant) That was his go to tone, look, belittling reason for at least 10 out of 12 years of this for me.

      I knew in my heart, but did not want to know because I loved him.

      “Stupid me got to talking to him and convinced myself I was wrong ”

      Nice to meet you.

  20. David says

    Malclom Gladwell’s book, “Blink,” has some good observation about trusting your gut and not letting your brain talk you out of your gut feelings.

    • says

      That’s on my list o’ things to read. I did read something in the New Yorker I think it was about it — how we decide things quite immediately. Listen to those spidey senses…

      • David says

        Gladwell, if I remember right, cites the case of a young woman about to enter her apartment. Her hands were full of grocery bags. Suddenly this guy comes up and offers to help her. Her gut, her Spider-Sense, goes off, saying, “Wait. This is weird.” But then her brain does an override, “Don’t be too suspicious. Don’t be judgemental.” In this case (again, if I’m remembering right), the woman is abused. She survives, but she recalls how her head overrode her gut instinct.

        Gladwell says that our gut instinct is really just many small observations that we are making unconsciously, and that we should listen to those reactions. Anyway, Chumps are probably vulnerable to this nice-person-brain-override.

        CL, do you know your comic books? Your reference to Spider-Sense is priceless (as is all of your writing).

        Your Fan,

        Chump Son

  21. SanityRegained says

    I had spoken with the X quite a lot over the phone for work issues before I actually met him.The first time I saw him my first reaction ” he is a weak man , his jaw is that of a very weak man”

    Then as I got talking, I dismissed my first gut feel as stupid ,thinking one should not judge a man by his jawline !!!!!

    Boy, was I right!!!!

    He is, can’t even call him a serial cheater , a multi time cheater, because serial means one after the other, in a series.This man, not only faked a separation and forged divorce filings , while having a regular married life,but was having sex with any and every woman who was available and when not, there were always hookers.

    So, there was the marriage, there was me who thought he was separated and filed for divorce(how he managed that is a post for some other time ), couple of other women, mostly married, a couple more he was grooming, few whom he was sexting and then the hookers.

    Once I realized something was off, constant requests for truth got me only declarations of undying love and a ring until I hacked into his mailbox and found the sordid saga.

    Now, I am going to trust my instincts completely where jawlines go !!!!!

    Blink is bang on.Gladwell gets it.

    • Moving on @51 says

      I’m half way through the new Dr,phil book ” Life Code” and it’ exactly about how to scan, detect and protect yourself from these predatory – type people. It’s got some good info and techniques they use to first get info about you and then use it against you. I feel a bit paranoid reading it …. So sad we have to be vigilant but they’re definitely out there and among us all!

      • DuckLinerUpper says

        I’m going to read that book as well. All of the points Dr Phil talks about describe my STBXH. It really, really gave me the creeps to see this, and to think that I put up with it for so long. All I want now is to figure out how to divorce him without him going on a campaign to ruin my life (and our children, who has feelings for when it is convenient for him).

      • Toni says

        I was listening to him on OWN the other night, I ran into it while channel surfing and I was like “Holy Sh!!” this is exactly what CL has been talking about and here it is on Oprah? If it wasn’t so late I was going to post about it here but I was too sleepy. Maybe this WILL become more of an issue, I sure would LOVE to see some payback for these bitches/bastards!

  22. DuckLinerUpper says

    I’m seeing a trend that Facebook often plays a role in discovery. Even though it can be painful to find out details of an affair on FB, I’m glad we have it. Because narcs can hardly help themselves on it. They must post and “brag” about everything, friend their mistresses, and other giveaways.

    My husbandisn’t on FB much, but his OW was BIG on social media of all kinds (FB, Twitter, etc.) and right after Dday I looked at her publicly-available social media pages and low and behold, she had posted about a whole slew of their meetups. So I had dates, times, and descriptions to confirm the long-term affair. These were dates that my husband had already told me about earlier, except he said they were with guy friends. BUSTED. The OW even took a picture of their shadows and posted it on FB (she couldn’t actually take a picture of their faces becuase she was married, too, and didn’t want her husband to find out). And she posted her cell numbers, too, so I knew when he was texting her, despite him trying to tell me he was just texting a buddy from work (WTH, I can see her phone number!!!!). BUSTED again.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to share that even though I’ve spent many hours sobbing in front of a Facebook page with the knowledge of the affair, I am ultimately grateful for FB because it sure was an eye-opener for me. It helped me see the long-term devestation and thus gave me the courage to leave.

    • Yoder says

      DuckLinerupper, I so agree with you regarding the spontaneous information available with social media. H’s OW texted him asked why he was upset with her because she wanted to tell some of their “mutual” friends that the two of them were seeing each other. After all, if he was going to leave me in a few months anyway, why not?

      You talk about a total dingbat, she was. With two idiots involved and both involved in social media, I got what I needed to figure out how to get rid of her and then him. Yes, at first I was devastated, angry, hurt, gut wrenched, all the emotions we’ve talked about openly because of CL allowing us to vent, get it out and put it behind us so we can move on with our lives, but now I am arming myself with the social media evidence and will use it as it is needed. I see a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an on coming train. I hope.

    • Nord says

      Shadow picture? OH brother. STBX took one of those with OW after I kicked him out and he had that as his screensaver on his phone. The kids told me and were grossed out.

  23. Nord says

    I don’t know if STBX is a sociopath but I do know he’s an asshole. What makes me suspect that he’s a sociopath is the weird head games he played. I didn’t see them as such at the time but now, looking back, I can see that he started them early. When we met we were having sex all the time all over the place. Then one day I made a move on him and he told me to let him initiate for a change, thus making me feel like I was always taking the lead…which I wasn’t. I think it was fairly even…or mutual, as it were.

    Then we were on a trip with family and he was being an idiot. I didn’t call him out on it because his whole family was there and I didn’t want to make a scene. So I got very quiet and just kept it in until we got home. His response was that I was rude to his family by not ‘being fun’ after he had been a complete tool. The stories are endless when I think about it. He would set things up so that I would get pissed and then when I inevitably got pissed he would act like the victim of my anger.

    I see him playing this shit out with current OW and she’s probably also confused as to why he does what he does. I would say that form what I hear she is reacting to his shit in the same confused manner I did. I would warn her but it’s kind of fun watching somebody who knowingly helped hurt my children heading into what is sure to be enormous hurt for her at some point. He’s playing the same games and she’s going along with it but I would bet my last bit of cash on her gut screaming like mad and her pushing it away, spackling like mad, actually helping him explain away his bullshit.

    I take back my first statement. I do think he’s a sociopath, or at least very, very disordered.

    • Arnold says

      What you describe, Nord, seem to be common, based on my reading. The disordered seem to be very adept at provoking a normally even keeled person into anger.Then, when you finally react, fire back etc, they play victim.
      It is very confusing as , often, you feel shame over having fired back. it plays right into their hands in making you doubt yourself and whether it isyou with the problem.
      I realized that once or twice, I sort of lost it and fired right back. There was extreme provocation and I had had enough.Nonetheless, I wondered if it was me that was the abuser after that.

      • Nord says

        Yes, I spent a lot of time wondering about my behaviour, which wasn’t always great in these situations. I would get so frustrated and enraged trying to explain to him why certain things he was doing were not right…stuff that any normal person would have no problem understanding…and he would somehow turn it around on me. Or, if I was particularly good at explaining it he would apologise eventually and say ‘ok, I didn’t realise that upset you so much. I’ll do better’. And I would be mollified until the next thing happened. It was a vicious circle and I couldn’t see what was happening. Yes, the dropping of a frog into cold water and slowly boiling it to death. Because it didn’t start out that way but it slowly got worse over the years but I was so conditioned to his shit that I just dealt with it. And he did still sparkle at times so there was that as well.

        • Laurel says

          yeah… the ol’ intermittent reinforcement— and the set up.

          The other day, I was looking for some recordings of my son on youtube which are posted under wasband’s channel… and right at the top. Right at the top was a SUBSCRIPTION taken out one month ago to:

          Incredibly Hot Women, with some freak, bleached, inflated vapidity falling out of her barely there tank top…

          nice. Now everyone looking for my son’s music will know that his father is a dirty old man. I did write him to take that shit down and for God’s sake put it on a private channel!

  24. Jennifer says

    The complete coldness of his demeanor when he announced the end of our marriage was terrifying to me. His eyes, which had always been warm and readable, were comletely blank and dead. I thought he was on smoething (and he may have been). I couldn’t understand how someone could be so unfeelingly cruel to the person he had spent 20years with – happily, I thought. The real bizarro twist to this is that he informed me that he no longer loved me, no longer wanted to be married, didn’t owe me anything simply because we shared a history (and 3 kids) while we were at fucking Disney World on a family trip…and he was texting the whore the whole time right in front of the kids and I. I had to listen to people in costumes telling me to have a magical day while I was crying and vomiting in every bathroom in the Magic Kingdom. I will never look at Mickey the same.

    • Kelly says

      Jeez Jennifer, I am so sorry. I think in terms of monstrousness your ex takes the cake (so to speak). That is absolutely mind blowing. I remember in the weeks following my D-Day I half seriously wondered if my then- husband had a brain tumor, his behavior seemed so cold and bizarre, so completely different than the man I had been married to for 25 years and the father of my 3 children. What happens to these people??

    • Laurel says

      what a fucking sadistic freak! I’m so, so sorry that monster did that to you!

      I will pray, pray, pray that he gets a bad case of penile cancer. If you don’t already know, its caused by the HPV they give to us, but usually don’t have any symptoms whatsoever. You know… how they always put in their ads? D&D free? what a fucking (not very funny) joke that is!

      should stand for Disordered and Delusional. (not free)

      Honey, he IS dead. This is so sad.

  25. Lyn says

    My husband didn’t seem totally oblivious to my suffering, but he seemed confused by it. He actually went to a counselor a few times and told me very little of what was discussed. But he did tell me after one session that he asked the counselor why he felt so upset when he saw me crying, or my son who was upset about the divorce. He seemed to have no real concept of what empathy is, and feeling bad about causing other people to suffer was confusing to him. He told me his counselor said “Well, you’re either very manipulative or very compassionate.” My husband decided he was compassionate. Good Lord. He cried and cried over a period of weeks and acted like should feel sorry for him for having to leave me, like he had no control over what he was doing. The bizarre contradictions in his communications were so confusing and crazy making! There is definitely some sort of emotional disconnect there. I do remember him coming home from work early in his career as a professor at a major university. He told me he’d figured out how to get anyone to do anything he wanted. He told me “You just have to act like you care.” I remember shaking my head and saying “No, you need to REALLY care.” I’m not sure he was capable.

  26. nwrain says

    Ugh…Mark Sanford won. Did anyone read the piece in Time this week (I read it at work, just sayin..) by Joel Klein?

    “Neither Jenny nor Mark Sanford will talk on the record about each other, because they don’t want to make this any worse on than it already is on their children. And even if they did, it’s impossible to know what goes on in a broken marriage, and way less a broken political marriage.”

    Mr. Klein suffers from the ” there must have been more going on in that marriage to make the spouse cheat” belief.

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