Beware The Men or Women Behaving Badly
You can’t fix a Psychopath.
You can’t fix a Sociopath.
You can’t fix a Narcissist.
But you can fix yourself.
Let me start this by saying that I am not a doctor. Nothing I am about to say has anything to do with actual clinical diagnoses. I can only tell my story (and of course just my side) and let you decide for yourself and gain whatever insight you can.
I dated this guy. We will call him S. He was someone from my past who I needed to date in order to either live happily ever after with or move on from. I could not seriously consider dating someone else having the “what if” question always swirling around in my brain. I knew it would not be fair to that other person. I fancied S as the love of my life, the one who got away. And supposedly he felt the same way.
I reached out to him when I was very angry with my ex-husband, about a month before my divorce was final. S had been divorced twice and I felt that he had probably gone through the deep anger I was feeling. So one night, a couple of glasses of wine in, I texted him. I had not spoken to him in a long time. I remember he had called me in March (I did not answer or return the call) and I was reaching out in December. He texted me back and was supportive and kind, if not somewhat standoffish.
He did not remain standoffish for long. Soon we were texting regularly. That lasted for probably a month and then we started talking on the phone. That lasted for another month until my divorce was final. Then we made plans to see each other. He lived within driving distance, but not every day driving distance. One thing to point out is that I am and have always been close to his family. Over the years, I have tried to avoid being at his parents’ when he was there, but our paths crossed a few times. So, my children know his mom and sister and nephews, though they had never met him.
I will admit that I liked the distance a little. I had been single less than a year and a half. I was still finding my bearings. I was still establishing a routine with my kids, and my daughter was going through issues with her father, so I was trying to be her rock. My ex and I share 50/50 custody, so that proved to be difficult at times. But S turned into my rock, the person I turned to when I needed someone. And he liked it that way. He needed to be needed. In fact, in the beginning, he would lament that I was too independent. I remember him pouting when I told him it was important to me to be able to stand on my own without a man. I know now that he did not like that because independence hinders control. The distance was not a positive to me because I was trying to date anyone else, I was not. In fact, we broke up in April and I have not had another boyfriend.
Besides the distance, my job required me to travel for work quite a bit. Often on the weeks I did not have the kids, I was on the road. At first, that was fine. He liked my schedule and flexibility, but soon he wanted me to stay in my hotel room in the evenings. He did not want me to go out with coworkers for dinner or drinks. He was particularly leery of one of my male coworkers who had been a good friend of mine for a long time. The truth of the matter for me is that if I wanted to be with someone else, I would have been. I wanted to be with only him. But he got in my head. I tried to be respectful of his wishes. I isolated myself even more than I already did naturally. And I should not have. The more I gave in, the less it was enough. I told him I would stop speaking to my friend, and unless it was work related, I did. I really jeopardized my friendship, but this man was supposed to be the one, so I thought I was protecting my relationship. I wanted him to be comfortable.
I ignored red flags, or explained them away:
- Every woman he has ever been with was at fault somehow for their breakup. And there were some nasty breakups in there.
- He projected his behavior onto me. Because he would cheat, he accused me of doing it.
- He had a drug problem. But that was not his fault either.
- He was very charming, very charming. But he could turn ice cold.
- And when he did turn ice cold it was always somehow my fault.
- When I was with him, I found myself vying for his time. I always went to him.
- He was very sexually depraved.
- He was intensely focused on his looks and attention from others.
- He was loved by acquaintances, and avoided by those closest to him.
The funny thing is that he eventually broke up with me. But he didn’t end it cleanly. He wanted me to chase after him. He accused me of cheating on him with the friend I had cut out of my life. He told me to find evidence that I didn’t or it was over. He called me names, belittled me, screamed and yelled, and made me feel very small. Outwardly, I did not run to him, but I texted him. I wrote him letters, and I took his calls. I let him keep me on the hook, when in reality I did nothing to deserve that.
He eventually killed my feelings for him when I lost my job. I reached out to him, I missed having a rock, and he chose that time to tell me he was seeing someone new. It was designed to kick me while I was down, but if you asked him if it was, he would turn that around to his somehow being the victim.
This is the part where I may lose you, but bear with me. A couple of months after we broke up, I watched that Netflix movie about Ted Bundy, you know the one with that cutie Zac Efron. It was so eerie watching it. So many of the behaviors S exhibited I saw staring back at me on the screen. At that point I reached out to one of his ex-wives and learned some very disturbing things. I will not write them here, but suffice it to say the reason for that is because they are very very serious allegations. However, she gave me details that I know to be true. And I know them to be true, because he exhibited the same behaviors with me.
Let me tell you what I had to do to fix me, as the quote suggests.
- I had to block all avenues of communication.
- I had to remind myself daily of the bad things, and maybe more than daily.
- I had to seek counseling.
- I had to remember who I was, not who he said I was.
- I had to remember what I deserved.
- I had to take my power back.
- And lastly, I had to remember that I was not alone. I read somewhere that 1 in 10 people have a personality disorder as classified by the quote at the beginning. That is significant.
Be careful, be confident. Do not let someone get inside your head unless you know they have your best interest at heart.
Stronger Than Yesterday,