In reading the book, The Sociopath Next Door I’m reminded of a very significant time for me…at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012, that brought the end of a (at the risk of being cliche) tumultuous affair. There really isn’t any other word that describes it so well.
Note: I wrote this post quite some time ago and don’t remember the trigger that reminded me of what I’ve written here in this post. But I get reminded a lot when I read. I don’t think my ex AP (affair partner) was a sociopath but he certainly did fit a lot of traits for a narcissist.
I used him as much as he used me.
I was looking for someone to rescue me and I thought he could. This wasn’t conscious, at least not while I was actively engaging. I lied to myself that I loved him.
I was addicted. So hooked and wanted to change him and his behavior to fit my happiness. I was very obviously out of control of the whole situation. The only way to gain it was to walk away and stay away.
But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Every time I tried, I missed him so much I felt like I was missing one of my own limbs.
The affair was an escape from my own life. I hadn’t been doing much with myself and thought it would add excitement for me to get in touch. I looked at one of his photos and (narcisstically) thought, “He looks so unhappy.”
I hoped my reaching out would lead to other things and was even cock-sure it would, since we’d had an affair before. In fact, I fell into the same trap within myself thinking that I could be that special person who could make him happy.
I was foolish. I was wrong and I had no business with someone else’s man. He swore she’d cheated on him a number of times and he was done. He’d decided on that before I’d reached out. But the fact remains I hadn’t known that and reached out just the same.
After the break up, I read so much, in order to do more escaping and to hopefully explain what is wrong with him, to help with the pain. To put my mind at ease. I know there was/is plenty wrong with me, starting with my values, at the very least, confused about my values, going after a married man. That being said though, it was certainly a joint effort.
The break up felt like being hit by a freight train. So I had this overwhelming need to figure him out. I thought that if I could fit him into some mental illness box, I would get relief. I read one book that turned on a bright light bulb and I foolishly thought I would be OK after that.
But the drinking to numb continued. Smoking weed when I got the chance also didn’t stop. At least not for a while. I wish I could remember now how long it was, before I couldn’t get drunk anymore, no matter how much I drank and smoking pot couldn’t cover up the searing pain anymore. But it finally happened. And I was trapped, with myself, with the pain.
So then I started to read to figure me out.
And as I read, I came across information about disorders and thought that I had all of them or at least parts of them.
It gets so bad that I periodically isolate. I feel a lot of shame for one thing. But also I’ve discovered that I don’t know too much about who I am. Getting romantically/sexually involved with a married man isn’t something I ever want to do again, even if he is in the midst of a divorce.
I was too wrapped up in immediate gratification when I got involved with him and not thinking about anything or anyone else.
He incidentally got that divorce. But he is married again…two years after our break up and he’d moved in with her (into her house) just a few months after he’d broken up with me just before Thanksgiving 2011.
He came back before the finale though, before he moved in with her that is. Told me he and she had broken up. I’d been aware that he was dating her at the time we’d broken up originally. But I was hell bent on winning him back somehow.
In fact I’d been the one to text him after the new year (2012) and beg to see him. And he did come to see me.
That day he told me, because I wasn’t working and we were no longer in our twenties, things couldn’t possibly work out. He also told me he couldn’t have a healthy relationship until his divorce was final.
Apparently that ‘healthy relationship’ announcement was brought on by his new girl friend’s jealousy, it turns out, because his stbx at the time had posted something on Facebook to make the new girl think he was still fucking the stbx. And now he was also telling me that I wasn’t so crazy for getting jealous before about the same kinda shit. Guess he needed a gauge of yet another woman to see if my emotions were normal.
I didn’t want to accept what he was telling me…that it was hopeless for us. And he drove away, leaving me with the hope that I would be hearing from him again pretty soon. But honestly, I had the feeling that it was the last time I’d see him and that he’d told me that “we can keep talking” just to appease me and get me out of his car.
A week later I got a text: “You know how I feel about you, but she was there when I got home from seeing you that night. She invited me to move in with her and I’m going to accept. This is my chance to stop working so much. You know how I hate working 60 hours a week. You will always have a piece of my soul. Au Revoir my love.”
I had to go back into the letters I’d written after the break up. Letters I wrote while feeling that searing pain and realized that some things escaped my memory. Letters I’d never send. The gist is here, in this post. But at the same time, there is a bit more.
It opens up some wounds and I see how he played me and gave me false hope at some points near the end. I see the danger of the possibility of more cognitive dissonance and ruminating, because of the hope I found in his words at the time.
We broke up in November, 2011. He went off and dated L. And then after some time I’d texted him and asked if I could see him. He said no, not at this time.
I let a bit more time go by and I texted him one day and said, “Do I seriously have to live my life without you?”
He sent a text back telling me, “I don’t want to live without you either but I need to get my shit together.”
That actually made me feel better. Maybe it didn’t work out with L because he was thinking too much about me.
These texts were exchanged before his final visit, btw, in case you’ve gotten confused.
And then during that final visit, his words and body language were completely different. Had he changed his mind in between or had he simply been sending a text of least resistance?
What I think happened though is that the two of them did break up but she’d made contact after he’d texted me that sweet little message. He told her that he couldn’t have a relationship until divorced, so felt free enough to come see me when I requested.
But when seeing me, perhaps realized all the issues between us and maybe was even thinking about and comparing me to L. I don’t know. I do know he was preoccupied though and looking back at some of the things he did, it seems as though he knew that was his last visit with me. Stopping to hug me a few times as we walked a trail near my house and then petting my cat a whole lot longer than he ever did before.
So maybe she was there when he got back from seeing me. But maybe she’d asked him before he came to see me and hadn’t been sure of his decision until after he’d seen me.
Four years later though, it no longer matters. But it still makes me sad. The whole situation was sad because all people involved are/were lonely sad people.