The Tale of a Sociopath

I read an article this morning that announced plans to give jail time to people who emotionally abuse their spouses.

About bloody time.

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When I was at University I became involved with someone who turned out to be a sociopath. He never laid a finger on me – he attempted to on one occasion but after pinning him up against a wall and telling him in no uncertain terms that certain appendages would be removed if he went anywhere near me again from that point on he stayed well away…

I met A through a friend, during quite a low point in my life. He wasn’t my type at all physically, and he was quite effeminate, but he was nice to me and always seemed to say the right thing at the right time. We seemed to have so much in common, he made me laugh and he would arrive at my room in the Halls of Residence that I was staying at with something nice to eat for dinner and DVD’s to watch. We shared really personal experiences and talked about our hopes and ambitions. He confided in me Β (something that he claimed he had never shared with anyone else) that his stepfather had abused him, and that his real father was his mother’s gay best friend, who I had met several times. I cried, but I was honoured that he chose to share something so personal with me. I thought I could trust him.

It wasn’t long before I moved into a house with him, along with a few other females who were my close friends. This was the point where things started to change. A started to find faults with my housemates and began complaining about them all the time. He would find situations to ‘defend’ me, claiming that they were insulting me and taking advantage of me. He started to cause fights with them, making it very awkward for me as I always seemed to be stuck in the middle. Very soon, the atmosphere was unbearable, and so we moved out into our own house. I felt so grown up – I planned how we were going to decorate everything and set about creating a ‘home.’ We even got a cat.

The thing about emotional abuse is that it isn’t possible to see it happening – it’s something that creeps up slowly into life over a period of time in a way that suggests it has always been there. Looking back, I think that it began immediately after we moved in together, but it was when we got our own house that things started to escalate. He started complaining about the standard of my washing up, then my ‘lack’ of housework around the house. My whistling started to annoy him – I remember him screaming ‘Will you stop f*cking whistling, you’re driving me insane!’ when I was pottering around one day. I spent too long in the bath. I was irritating. I talked too much. I was stupid. I ate crisps too loudly… It went on and on.

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My friends started to become more and more distant, and finally they admitted that they hated him. I was angry with them, demanding to know why. After many awkward glances between them, one of them admitted that she had slept with him not long after we got together. I was devastated, but after much arguing in which A denied everything, he and I just carried on as though nothing happened. My self confidence was shot, I was a poor student in a dire financial situation and I had nowhere else to go.

For a large amount of the time, he seemed pretty emotionless. One emotion, however, that would always flare up was anger. He became very ‘protective.’ He hated me leaving the house without him, and the only time where there wouldn’t be an issue was when I attended my lectures. He started to kick up a huge fuss if I wanted to go to the pub after class, and if I went without telling him I could guarantee there would be an argument waiting for me when I arrived home. His biggest annoyance was the fact that my best friend was (and still is) male. He hated him, to the point where he tried locking the doors to prevent me from leaving to meet him, and even changed a few digits of my friend’s phone number to stop me from calling or texting him.

Eventually, his parents bought him a house, and we moved in. The house was beautiful, but I didn’t live, I existed. He cheated on me twice more, which he vehemently denied but I didn’t want to leave because by this point he was what I knew, and he had started working in a brilliantly paid job, while I survived on my bus fare to get to university. The abuse continued, but it had become such a part of daily life I accepted it and worse still, didn’t really notice it as being a problem. I worried about him – he had quite a large mole on his chest that he went for tests at the doctors. He told me it was the early stages of cancer.

It took a single weekend toΒ change everything…

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

105 thoughts on “The Tale of a Sociopath

  1. wow, that’s scary, and great of you for sharing!
    I hope you don’t mind me asking, but him finding out about the cancer- how did it change everything? Did this somehow open your eyes? Did you stay or go? Did he change towards you?
    I have often thought about this kind of situation- how easy it might be to fall into a pit and not notice it? It’s truly scary. At the same time trying to stay “normal” and not becoming too controlling so this wouldn’t happen to the person again?!
    That’s OK if you don’t want to/can’t answer!

  2. I dated an emotional abuser many years ago when I was still living in my home country.

    We moved in together very quickly – after only 2 months because he said he was being kicked out of his place and I had a (tiny) 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment of my own.
    We upgraded after about a year or so to a bigger place, and that’s where I began paying his phone bill, petrol bill and most of the rent because I earned more than he did.

    Slowly things began to change but I was not noticing them. I’m not much of a cook, but each time I tried I would be shouted at and told how I’m always doing it wrong. I had to call him every evening to let him know that I was leaving work and if I was not home within a reasonable time frame I would get a tongue lashing when I walked in the door (forget the “traffic” excuse!) One night I had a work event to attend so I came home, changed and left. He followed me to make sure that I wasn’t lying!

    It was during this time also that I started losing friends, especially of the male variety. He even went so far as to delete my (male) cousin’s phone number from my phone because he has the same name as my (then) best friend, regardless of the fact that he lives in a different country.

    One night his anger got the better of him and he hit the wall in an argument – the wall right next to my head.

    It wasn’t long after this that I was talking to my sister and something that she said made the penny drop. I went home that evening and told him that he had one week to make me love him again.
    Within 3 days I was packing my stuff and moved out.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. I was with someone sort of like that, my first love. I was miserable most of the time but I loved him so much, I could imagine myself without him. And then he left me. Going through that made me who I am today. The way I dealt with people after that was so different, it almost wasn’t me. It took me a while to start to trust anyone. My husband had to work really hard before I let him in. It’s tough going through something this painful, but it does give you a much deeper appreciation for everything good.

    I look forward to your next post!

  4. I don’t think people understand the true damage a few “simple” words can say. That old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, is a load of rubbish. Words do hurt. No matter how much we deny it, one wrong comment can ruin your whole day no matter how much of a happy, positive person you are. WORDS HURT! I was in a relationship which was very volatile and at times, hostile. I don’t speak much about that because as far as I am concerned it is my distant past and my blog is only 18 months old but I feel a memory lane post coming. This was an interesting post Suzie81speaks. Well done x

  5. Horrible, horrible things come from words. I hope you only hear beautiful things from The bloke πŸ™‚

    Well okay, it can’t all be beautiful but it can be constructive and safe!

      • As I tell my husband “when you no longer argue with your significant other that means you no longer have a passion for them” so we argue daily πŸ˜‰

      • Haha! We don’t really argue, we’ve probably had one or two major bust ups in the entire time we’ve lived together, but we know the way each other works and it seems to work quite well.

  6. Thanks for sharing, sounds like a terrible time but at the same time its a well written post and though it sounds bad of me considering the subject matter you’ve left me looking forward to the next instalment….

  7. Suzie,
    Congrats again on sharing about the new UK laws and relating it to your life and our lives through an interesting narrative. When would women get up and give a few words of emotional abuse back ? Most of the emotional abusers are cowards with no confidence at all in themselves.

  8. I had a “best friend” like this. She actually managed to convince me to break up with my children’s father… I had no idea what was going on at the time, but now I look at all the emails I kept from that time it’s as plain as day. It’s scary that there are people like this out there. If they can be stopped somehow, all the better.
    Thanks for sharing this, Suzie. Hopefully your story will help someone else who is dealing with a similar situation. Looking forward to the next post.

    • Thanks Linda! I was lucky in that I had one or two close friends who stuck with me, but nobody ever pointed out what was going on, I think because I would have defended him…

  9. Wow, that is really interesting that they are going to try and put jail time to emotional abusers. I’m all for it, I just don’t see how it works. Unfortunately we cannot take pictures of the damage like we can with physical abuse.

    As for the abuse you endured, I am so very sorry you went through that. And when I say went that is me being hopeful that you still aren’t. I look forward to part 2.

    • Thank you! I agree about the evidence that needs to be presented – how can someone prove that they have been abused when the abuse is emotional – it is one persons word against another…

      • Yep, definitely sounds like it was be a they said you said (I try to refrain from using the more traditional “he said she said” phrase.) situation.

  10. Jesus Suzie thank God you escaped. Honestly I’ve known people keep these sick things up for years …….. read my last post ——- a true form of abuse and willingly accepted.

    • I just did, and commented… It’s so tough when people don’t want to listen, but as someone who was on the other side it’s not something that you want to hear, even if you know it’s true…

    • Rachael — I am going to follow your blog, and am interested to first read the blog you referenced in your comment above. What is the title of it? Thank you.

      • I got to your blog. What is the title of the post about your experience with a sociopath that you mentioned on Suzie81 Speaks. Thanks.

      • I understand the anger, having dealt with sociopathic brother and others. I hope that writing about it released some of your anger and helped you start to heal. Love and Light to you.

  11. Thank you for this. My brother was a sociopath. He had 3 wives leave him; 3 marriages in a period of 29 years. He and I were estranged. I always thought that he was just mean and a misogynist. For the most part, I was okay with our estrangement, which I initiated, but there was always a little part of me that felt bad because he was my brother and shouldn’t family accept each other. When he died last September, I started seeing information about sociopathy and recognized him all the way. I am sorry that he didn’t see the light before he died. I lost touch with all his wives after their divorce, but got in touch with them to tell them he died, and I see how they all became stronger once they left him. It’s insidious. They alternate between charming and cruel, and you start to think you’re crazy. I am glad you saw the light. I can’t wait to read what your breaking point was.

    • Thanks so much for sharing such a personal story… It must have been quite difficult at times. I have been estranged from my youngest sibling because of her aggression and anger, but thankfully she has seen the light and we are slowly rebuilding our relationship. You’re absolutely right about being charming and cruel… Perfect explanation!

  12. My daughter dated someone like this for seven years. Even after nursing him back to health after a horrific motorbike accident, he cheated on her, stole her money, and mentally abused her. Way behind us now, but I’ll never forget the pain and misery he caused. Mental scars aren’t visible, but they never heal.

  13. I seem to be a magnet for abusive men. With the exception of my current boyfriend, all of them have had this evil inside of them. From the time I was 16. My ex husband got so mad at me, he choked me from behind (coward) while I was giving our son a bath. My first boyfriend after him was a control FREAK. I lost many friends because of him. He manipulated them and told them things to discourage them from calling me. They all came back once he was out of the picture of course. Then we have the cake topper. The true sociopath. The one who lies so often, he believes himself. The one who waits until your back is turned to kick you with a steel toed boot in your failing kidney, and slam your arm in the door of your vehicle as you reach in to grab your phone to call the police. Where does all this anger come from? Why such a need for control?! I am me. You cannot change me. If you don’t like me… carry on. I don’t need someone to complete me; I am already whole. If you’d like to share this journey with me, we can walk hand in hand, but you will not be better than, or above me. We will be equals. If you cannot do this, we are not meant to be together. So glad to hear things are changing for you. I wish they’d apply the same rules/laws in the US as well. Mental, physical, emotional abuse… it all does damage; sometimes irreparable. And these monsters just move along to their next victim. I sincerely hope that weekend opened your eyes, and you got out of there.

      • Never been better! The man I am with now treats me as though I am a flower. I LOVE it. It’s so foreign, and I’m far from a flower, but it feels great. Very Happy.

  14. I cannot wait for part 2, you ended this with quite a cliffhanger! Emotional abuse is one of the worst because it creeps up on you slowly and destroys you over time making it almost impossible to leave. I’ve been through 3 years of emotional abuse myself, you can read it on my blog it’s called “The best decision of my life” πŸ™‚

  15. Heard someone the other day say, “You are not your past. You are the experiences and knowledge gleaned from it.” You having successfully exited this type of relationship leaves you stronger than when you went in.

    I was working on this pro bono women’s abuse awareness campaign last year and the research is devastating. 3 out of 5 women will fall victim to an abusive relationship at some point in their lives. Some never get out.

    Glad you’re still with us. Nice post.

  16. It’s good that they’re taking those steps, but it’s going to be an awfully difficult thing to prove, I think.

  17. My best friend had a relationship with a charismatic, emotionally manipulative and similarly controlling sociopath. He hated me and convinced told her she must having an affair with me as she liked me better than him. I’m so glad you found the strength to get away from him Suzie. Men like that see a confident well-rounded women and want to attain her as if they own her and then control her until all of that confidence is gone.

    • Wow – my ex was obsessed with my male friends but never accused me of cheating with my female friends… He just hating me having friends full stop! Thanks very much!

  18. It’s quite hard to tell a narcissist from a sociopath but there are differences. And not all narcissists have NPD. So some are fixable, just not many πŸ™‚

    My narcissist never tried to control my going out. In face he encouraged me to have friends and go out. It’s just that he would then use that as a “quid pro quo” to do whatever he wanted without considering my feelings. And he would passive aggressively sulk if I had more of a social life than he wanted me to have.

    He always knew what was best for everyone and expected me to agree that what I said I wanted wasn’t really what I wanted. He still does that occasionally but now he pulls himself up and realises.

    The result (especially when he was worst during the affair) was that I wouldn’t do anything without his approval. I wouldn’t buy a bookshelf or get the kids hair cut or decide what to cook for dinner because I didn’t want to get the sigh treatment and why didn’t I see it his way, after the event.

    Luckily he doesn’t actually have NPD so he’s getting better. But his ex-mistress is a sociopath, nice pair huh? She just has absolutely no conscience about the affair at all, thinks she was the victim because he didn’t leave me (or I him). She hates most of all being treated like she doesn’t exist which is exactly what we do and what you must do with a sociopath.

    Have you read “the sociopath next door” by Martha stout or “confessions of a sociopath” written by a diagnosed sociopath?

  19. Pingback: The Tale of a Sociopath Part 2 | Suzie81 Speaks

  20. Reading your story, it was almost as though I’d written it myself. There was so much that I could identify with. But I’m one of the lucky ones. I put up with my ex’s rubbish for around 18 months before I told him just where he could shove it – best thing I ever did!

    But my confidence was left in tatters and it took me a while to build myself back up. Eventually I did and I went back to being the girl I was before he came along. I started dating a friend who later became my husband and I’ve never looked back.

    My biggest regret is that I stayed with the loser for as long as I did – but I did so in the hope that things would get better but of course it never did. My advice to any woman in a similar situation would be to listen to the voice inside your head. We all know what’s acceptable and unacceptable, and we know how we’re supposed to be treated. The problem is with the abuser not us – no matter how much they might make us feel like it’s our fault.

    • I can absolutely relate to everything that you said in your comment… Why did I wait so long? Hindsight and life experience is a wonderful thing. I’m glad that you are happy and settled now…

      • Thank you! I’ve read the final part of your story and I’m glad that you got the closure you needed – and that he got his well-deserved comeuppance. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  21. Pingback: The Tale of a Sociopath Part 3 | Suzie81 Speaks

  22. Well written. I can relate. I am a survivor of domestic violence. I know emotional abuse very well. I am also an advocate and peer counselor. Many people do not recognize any other abuse but physical and sexual. Emotional/psychological abuse is so damaging and can be life long whether in or out of the relationship and can ruin other relationships before they start [even friendships]. I will be talking about domestic violence on my blog. Keep writing, get it out there.

    I am new to WordPress so forgive me if my comments are long.

    • Thanks so much for your comment – I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been through that. I’ve found that blogging is a brilliant way to try to deal with things that I have experienced, particularly as others will have experienced the same and can offer advice and support. Welcome to WordPress!

  23. What a brilliantly honest piece. Though it wasn’t to this extent, I can very much relate to being demeaned and socially isolated. Thank you for having the courage to both leave and write this! You will help many in the same situation, I have no doubt.

  24. Dear Suzie,

    You should be so proud to put that to paper! I have recently decided to start writing about my personal experiences too however I perhaps am not as brave as you since i am hesitating terribly. I can relate to your story in so many ways that I hope you read my blog ( I would suggest in a few weeks as wine will need to consumed to pluck the courage ). I feel deeply for you as this experience is not something you just walk from without letting it imprint on your daily life thereafter. Stay strong and most importantly, stay you and true to you always.

    Alex

    • What a lovely comment – thank you! Make sure that you feel comfortable with what you are writing and that your information is kept private – it will stop you from worrying later…

  25. Reblogged this on theladymznita and commented:
    I feel that everyone should look at this and begin to examine who you are as well as others around you and yours take consideration in that as easy as it is to have this knowledge do you know if someone feels this way about you but because of the fear of disappointment or other such feelings this information is not discussed and help for understanding is not sought after. Before condemning consider.

  26. Pingback: The Tale of a Sociopath | Politics Detroit Gal

  27. Reading this very much inspired me to write about my own experience with domestic violence. I was the victim of a violent and narccisistic sociopath who not only wrecked me emotionally, but also stole my identity and left me homeless. I have been picking up the pieces over the last few months and speaking of my experience openly to raise awareness.

    I was pointed this way thanks to the Daily Post’s Community Pool and I am so glad I found this. It really spoke to me. Check out my own site, if you will, namely this: http://alanjryland.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/gay-interrupted-perspectives-and-paradigms-from-a-homeless-writer-on-a-life-no-longer-in-stasis/

  28. Alanjryland has beaten me to it – I was just going to point you towards the post that he’s linked to above and to this one http://alanjryland.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/healing-is-difficult-a-gay-mans-experience-with-domestic-violence-part-3-of-3/comment-page-1/#comment-170 One of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. It reads like a real life Pinter play, with cruelty being meted out drop by disguised drop.

    I really hope his words find a large audience.

  29. This is so sad, but I’m so glad you got out of the relationship. It’s hard to see when we’re caught up in situations like this, because we’re in the middle of it. Emotional abuse destroys someone over time, and it’s harder to spot right away. It’s just as devastating and damaging as physical abuse.

  30. The way you write is distinct. I felt every moment of the story. Surprisingly, I did not get a feel that Mr A was right or he was wrong. I just like this post and I do not want to be judgmental. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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  34. You’re a very smart girl to have figured this out before years went by and this jerk would have ground you down into seeming nothingness. I have been there and done that. Took me much longer to get out…with my life. Follow that “gut” feeling. Never make a square peg fit into a round hole. Never set out to ‘make do for now’ with anyone. They either are right for you, or they just aren’t. Good for you.

    • Thanks so much! Hindsight is a wonderful thing – it took my mother 23 years to divorce my father, who was very similar, and Im grateful that I experienced a similar relationship because it taught me never to accept anything like it ever again…

  35. This really helped my understanding, having never experienced this personally. Thanks for sharing. I wondered how people could allow themselves to be in a destructive relationship but I can see how things could slowly increase and feel normal. I’m glad the UK are taking steps to deal with it.

    #sundayblogshare

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