Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life On the Other Side

After days of emails (pages long), I am exhausted and a little depressed. I had to leave work early yesterday and just got into bed, and today, I had too much to do so I closed my door and slept for an hour. My job requires quite a lot of concentration and focus. I was so tired, distracted and irritable I couldn't accomplish anything.

I can hardly believe I've wasted so much time affected by someone so sick. I could, if I let myself, sit and cry over so much circular negative energy....waste...of my life. I can't believe I didn't see it earlier and I can't believe I tolerated so much. I can't believe I let my daughters see my mistreatment and disrespect day after day. He offered me emptiness and shame. He did not enhance my life at all. Why didn't I think I could get away and make it on my own? Why didn't I just do it? Now I am stuck for 9 more years, dealing with destructive and damaging words, condescension, lies, distortions...stuck...with a sociopath.

Part of the healing process, I learned through court ordered DBT, is radical acceptance of where I am. Of course I am exhausted: his words are meant to tear me down, get a reaction, get me to slip up. Of course I am depressed: he's taken so much, I've lost my daughters, I fear losing my son, I anticipate what's coming next, I am a single mother providing and I need to get my work done, his words are lies and I can't get to rationality or truth.

So how do I get out of this? How do I even move with my unavoidable reality of reading and living with sheer wickedness?

 I bend down and pick up a disgusting napkin that isn't mine because why should the cleaning lady have to do it? I take the vomit soaked rug in my car (my son gets car sick) and find a bag to put it in and put it in my trunk instead of leaving it at the side of the road. I work on two things today instead of ten and tell myself it's okay over and over. I buy my son a cookie cake for school and take it in to school even though I'm exhausted and depressed and it's hard to get out of bed. I reach out to the community I've created. I breathe deeply and look at the light out of my window. I remember I'm not a prisoner in my home; his words are only words and I am not living with him. I continue to change my thoughts in order to detach my soul from negative messages imbedded deeply. And I remember that I have a note a dear friend wrote for me 9 years ago:

Samantha,
When you come to mind, I saw white. Blow in the breeze, linen white. Pure fresh white as clean sheets and think white towels white. In fact, I could smell the whiteness--fresh air, grass, linen, sunshine all mixed into the white. Purity of purpose, clarity of sight, a true and clear heart. So white that the sky and grass look bright green and true blue against it. A summer day.  

I didn't accept those words at the time because I lived with a wicked man trying to crush my spirit and blacken my soul; I thought I was a disgusting and horrible person. I am slowly accepting that I am not what I was told I was and continue to be told I am. I will chose to do good, smile even though I don't feel like it, take one minute at a time, take deep breaths, remember I have someone who truly loves me just as I am, slowly get my work done and hug my son. I'll feel better again soon....he won't win....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Will it ever end!?!?

Here is an email exchange from last week. I'm posting it because it's nice and short and get's to the shame immediately. Emails of this nature are coming most every week now.

A little background: we have established Skype twice per week. This communication came on a Skype night so it was bizzare that he would want to have a phone interaction just hours before.

Samantha,

I am attempting to reach Warren by phone. I'm sure you are eager to have me connect with him, for his sake. Is he available at this point?

Thank-you,
Peter


 My response:
Warren was ready for skype  between 830 and 9pm. I teach on Wed.
Samantha,

Perhaps you could have emailed before he was in bed. You had approximately four hours to do so. That way Warren could have talked to his father on the phone. Please consider Warren's well being, not your own.

Thank-you,
Peter

Sunday, November 18, 2012

You Might Be Married to a Sociopath If....

As you think back you cannot recall your partner ever accepting responsibility (i.e. broken relationships, jobs, financial hardship, or even a broken down car).

They tell you that you’ve ruined relationships. Upon demise of the relationship you contact old friends/family and they wonder what happened. Reality is distorted in an attempt to isolate. Isolation is key. They don’t want you to hear opposing messages; they want their voice the loudest.

If you are having a conversation and it is becoming increasingly apparent that you are right suddenly the conversation changes to something you’ve done wrong in the past. There is no admission on their part or backing down. This is impossible, we are flawed as humans; therefore, we become more and more frustrated, unable to comprehend or even understand the twisted thinking.  They will talk over you never listening much less validating; they change subjects quickly and the conversation escalates (i.e. They paint a wall red, you come home and ask “why did you paint the wall red?” they say they painted it blue though it is obviously red. They will say the wall is blue with such intensity and venom you finally give up).

They don’t need to have positive interactions just as long as you are interacting with them. They will pick a fight or antagonize just to get a reaction/response. Peter would drive me to work and say something destructive and critical just as we were pulling into the parking lot of my work, I would then be on the phone with him off and on all day trying to resolve the conflict of the morning. This happened regularly. Now that we are divorced I receive emails trying to push old buttons in an attempt to engage me, even now, 2.5 years later.

You are exhausted and depressed when you are with them.

You don’t feel happy when you are with them. Even on “date nights” I would more often end up crying or being at least upset by the end of the night than happy. Peter would, even on dates walk ahead of me, and me, looking and feeling very unloved, try to keep up in heels.

You avoid them and when you do manage to get away for even a short period of time you dread going back and even sometimes get physically ill when returning.

The only resolution to conflict is if you give in. If they are wrong the conflict could go on for years unless you give in, and only then; it’s frustrating because that’s not resolving anything. You give in to get the conflict over, falsely owning up and then that “false confession” is used against you in later conflict.

There will always be something wrong. I could take an email Peter wrote and address every point he brought up with documentation and he would find something else or counter what I had written. There is nothing you can say or do to influence a sociopath. If it seems they are absorbing something, it is manipulation, don't believe it.

This one is, in my opinion, necessary to think someone a sociopath: They are 100% the victim and can twist scenarios to such a degree that they become a false reality. They can punch you in the face and you apologize just to keep the peace.

You can’t recall the following statements: “you are making a good point,” “I’m sorry I hurt you, “what can I do to help you?” “you look great today,” “I’m so happy to be with you,” “you are such a good mother,” “why don’t you do something for yourself today.”

You will recall the following statements repeatedly: “you’ll never find anyone better than me,” “you’ll never find anyone that will put up with you the way I do,”  “I treat you better and am better than you will ever find,” “I take care of the house, I keep up your relationship up with the kids while you work all the time,” and maybe a unique one for me, “I am so much better looking for a man than you are for a women.”  

There is no intimacy in your relationship.

You do not feel loved or cherished; safe or secure. They feel more like an enemy.
As your children grow older they start to treat you like the sociopath. They slowly lose respect for you because they see you being contunually disrespected.
Judgmental and demanding to the point that you are continually walking on egg shells. For 20 years I didn’t feel like I sat down when in my own house. I was tense and edgy like I was standing all the time; always on guard and always being picked at and analyzed.

Long discussions critiquing anything from parenting, to your work, to the way you brush your teeth.

They tell you how you think and feel instead of asking. In fact, they don’t really ask questions at all because they think they know best.

There is no give and take only taking.

They threaten you if they see you might leave or are detaching emotionally. In my case, he threatened to take my children from me and expose my mental illness. The alcohol was only brought up as a problem after the divorce started; Peter actually used that systematically while interrogating me.

They seem empathetic so you reveal yourself, but it’s only to be used against you at a later time.

When you do have time to take stock of your own life you realize you’ve lost friends and are isolated. Your time is primarily spent pleasing them. They don’t like you spending time with anyone else.

Somehow birthdays, holidays and special events are ruined. They propagate some sort of drama. One Christmas Peter, who didn’t like his Brother Ben’s first wife (she was a strong female), confronted her about her being molested as a child (he thought she showed signs of this). For the rest of the holidays she did not come out of her room and the family and children were thrown into a very serious drama. Everyone believed Peter and turned against the wife; a short time later they divorced.

Events that highlight you, the victim, are sabotaged or end unless they are somehow highlighted with you. Peter was upset with me the day of my graduation for my doctorate so we had to leave early. There was not a celebration.

You can be in the depths of emotion and they look at you with a coldness that runs chills down your spine. They don’t have the ability to empathize.

There is emptiness behind their eyes. What they are saying often does not match the expression on their face and their eyes don’t show emotion except anger.

Their primary emotion is anger. Sometimes other emotions are misplaced because they are not really felt (i.e. They might be overly dramatic over something others might find to be of little importance).
                                                                  
Their emotion is displaced. Emotion is used as a tool for attention. It doesn’t matter if by doing this it lessens their respectability or natural shame, they will do anything to get attention or seek sympathy as a victim (i.e. They get overly emotional at a funeral when they don’t know the person; they see others getting attention and join in to the point of ridiculousness).

There is always something wrong.

Someone is always out to get them.

There is always drama and over exaggeration of scenarios. Everyone is talked about behind their backs. I would have to relay everything that was said at even events like a baby shower. Peter would decide when a friend of mine had wronged me and would then wage a campaign and ultimately I would lose their friendship.  

They don’t even realize that they look weird to most people. When you live your life without self-reflection or acceptance of another person’s perspective, thinking yourself better than anyone you interact with …you become displaced from the norm and just downright odd. Peter’s communications eventually emerged as “weird” to those involved in our divorce case. They just don’t see anything wrong with themselves so they perpetuate an enhanced, grandious sense of self.

When they do work, they always say they can run the business better. There is finally a confrontation or conflict so they have to leave the position or are fired. Peter was escorted to his car at one job, not even allowed a final interaction with his clients.

They don’t think about the future even if doing something in the present might hurt them in the future; It’s all about doing whatever they can to unsettle you right then. They don’t consider future finances only feeling good in that moment.

They cultivate some sort of dependency upon them. For me Peter wanted to always be involved with my work, he would then help me “draft emails” or tell me how to interact, he even started to “proof read” other materials I wrote. To justify my success during our divorce and to justify his underemployment, he said he spent all of his time propping me up and I could not have done it without him. I had needed him all along. That argument did not hold up; as I got farther away from him I became more successful bringing in more money than I ever had. Opportunities emerged with so much more time to think for myself.

They prefer you dead rather than alive. Sometimes they even state it.

They don’t build up they tear down.

You feel ashamed of yourself when you are with them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Wish my Story were Over: Happy Birthday to Me

I haven’t been able to continue writing “From the Beginning” or “My Worst Fears” because I continue to be verbally abused.  What I am going to do may seem too detailed, but with my goal being to expose these monsters so hidden among us, I think it’s best to simply cut and paste emails I have received in the last two days. What Peter has written is the equivalent of 6 single spaced pages.  It’s painful to read what he writes, but I think all the while that I will gladly absorb this in hopes that a victim of a sociopath will identify and feel a little less alone in their battle to maintain sanity. 
These words come after he has been ordered to pay child support (and of course hasn’t) and me revealing I’m taking Warren to see the new man in my life, Jason. I was going to post a series of emails about the holidays, but before I could I was being bombarded.
It ended with an email from my attorney, who I finally called:
Peter, At this point you have zero credibility with the court. This fact is readily apparent. You lost at trial on every single point. Plus no parent who has the concerns you alleged in the past or allege at this time would have moved away to another country and left their child here. So, I would suggest that you stop your threats and accept that you no longer control Samantha's every move.

This is how it started.  I wrote the following email on Thursday 11/1:
Peter,
This is to inform you that Warren and I will be traveling to Norfolk, VA next week. Jason is having emergency surgery so we will leave right after my Wednesday class 11/7 and arrive at The Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek by 2am 11/8. We will return home Saturday 11/10. I have already spoken to Warren’s principal and teacher about Warren missing school and it is perfectly fine (I didn’t have time to complete an educational enhancement request). He is allowed 10 absences for purposes like this. 

Before being bombarded by criticisms, I would like to add that Warren will get to meet many men serving actively in Special Forces, see several bases and watch current operation training. The principal thought this to be an excellent opportunity for Warren. Additionally, Jason (and his boys) will be part of Warren’s immediate family soon; he is important to us and it is important that we are there at this time.

His response was on my birthday; that makes 23 birthdays ruined. Sociopaths take from their victims so holidays, birthdays and any special day is met with some sort of chaos or intentional sabotage.

Samantha,
Once again, you are dictating Warren’s agenda without even a hint of dialogue with me.
I do not in any way agree with you taking Warren out of the state and out of the
established two-hour driving radius we agreed on nearly two years ago now. The clear
way forward here is for Warren to remain with Ben and Mary Ellen [Peter’s brother] and attend school each day of your absence….I only have time to lay out bullets, but I will be happy to clarify anything that remains unclear here.
· Warren has missed nearly 20% of his school year thus far. Half of his absences
are unexcused. You wrote that you don’t have time to complete an educational
enhancement request. Why not? If you did have conversations with Warren’s
principal and teacher I’m not at all certain I agree with your take away from the
conversations. Both Ben and Mary Ellen are teachers. They interact with many
teachers. A 20% absentee record is a concern. Warren needs to remain in school,
not miss at least two more school days (It could be more days because you have a
tendency to distort the actual length of your trips. Recall in August when you
informed me Wednesday morning at 1am of your departure that morning. I was
told you would be gone only for Labour Day weekend. Then you refused to
consider Ben making a five minute trip to pick up Warren so he could spend
time with them. You told me to stop “harassing” you while you were
“vacationing”.
· I am not at all convinced Warren’s education will be enhanced on a trip of this
nature. When you had Skype sessions with Warren from Alaska this summer you
were highly intoxicated.

 [My Skype sessions were at noon and 4pm AK time and I was working]

 It was clearly visible and it was obvious based on what you were saying and how you were saying it (I’m not confusing this with the static that exists over long distance Skype sessions). You do not need to involve Warren in your heavy drinking with Jason, who also has a drinking problem. You wrote that both you and Warren need to be with Jason during this time of his surgery. This is not true. You can’t airbrush people in and out of a
child’s family. Jason is important to you at this time. Warren’s relationship to
Jason is not your relationship to Jason. Warren doesn’t need to be present for
whatever is going on in Virginia (You claim this is emergency surgery. The
surgery is presumably a week away and 3,000 miles from Jason’s current
residence). If Jason is having a surgery, then go to Virginia and leave
Warren to take care of Warren’s business. Warren needs stability. Why do you
not take advantage of the stability that Ben and Mary Ellen can offer you, and on a
regular basis? They live five minutes from your residence.
· When I exercised my prerogative in the spring, as part of the findings of the court,
to have you establish the Skype breathalyser testing…. Do you remain unwilling to comply with the order?

[Of course this is untrue, I would go to jail if in contempt of court. This is only an attempt to have any sort of control].

· Warren doesn’t travel particularly well. What you are describing is a trip into the
middle of the night on Thursday morning, after a long day Wednesday. Then you
are suggesting coming back on Saturday. This is a difficult trip. What is your plan
if Warren begins to vomit as a result of motion sickness at around 11pm on route
to Virginia? He could alternatively be asleep in a comfortable bed in his own
room at Ben and Mary Ellen’s home, and be ready for school Thursday morning.
· Despite your attempts to create a narrative of a well put together family of five—
you, Jason, Jason’s two sons and Warren—you are doing so despite the bald
facts. Both you and Jason suffer from alcohol dependency….. Warren and I have an
unbreakable bond that you seem intend on disrupting.

[In the first psychological exam at the beginning of the divorce, it was determined that Peter had no bond with Warren despite being a stay at home dad. Sociopaths cannot bond with other humans; they are empty shells. It is a never ending treadmill of trying to form a connection. I believe this is, in part, my daughter’s unrelenting support of Peter; they are focused on trying to form a connection that is impossible. I will talk more about the inability to form an intimate bond and feelings being a mirror of others not genuine].

Maybe there is a better trajectory. Your relationship to Jason doesn’t have to include the illusion of a neatly put together family life. A rocket scientist is not necessarily a good parent; it’s not an intelligence thing. Parenting is ultimately about nurturing bonds, it’s
about relationship…I do have a degree of social intelligence. I know my children and can effectively help them navigate their way forward. A desire on your part to carve
me out of Warren’s life and transplant a false narrative does not benefit Warren.
· I don’t know what is really going on here Samantha, but consider Warren. Confirm
that Warren will go to Ben and Mary Ellen’s for the entire time you are gone. He
doesn’t need to be part of whatever is going on in Virginia. He won’t tell you that
he would prefer the stability of remaining at home with a family that cares
deeply for him. He wants to please his mother and preserve a semblance of
stability.
· Do you remember the driveway scene toward the end of Sherrybaby

This last sentence was meant to be the most hurtful and disparaging remark. Sherrybaby is a movie about a heroine addict that can’t take care of her daughter, in the end acknowledges this and asks for help. Peter implies with this statement that I need the help of his brother in raising my son because he is not here.
My response is an attempt to defend myself for the copied parent coordinator’s benefit and not Peter. Nothing I say or do affects Peter. The therapist Peter used to substantiate the mental illness allegations, initially, in the divorce proceedings, resulting in a full family psychological evaluation, has recently lost a law suit. He has severe sanctions for 3 years including weekly supervision about boundary issues.  This is his second law suit for the same reasons and I have been advised that I also could submit a complaint. I mention this to show that the only issue he now has is alcohol abuse. This is what he will focus on until he finds something else. School is an important monitoring tool in custody cases so he will use that as well. Thankfully, Warren is well above average in math and scores very well on standardized testing.  I home schooled my oldest daughter at this age and teach at the graduate level so I believe Warren is well taken care of academically.
Samantha,

We share joint custody of Warren. I am reporting to you plainly that I do not agree to Warren leaving the established two-hour driving radius to Virginia as you have planned. If you choose to go to Virginia for a reported emergency surgery this is your prerogative. Fortunately we have a wonderful alternative available in Ben and Mary Ellen, and Warren will not have to be present while Jason undergoes an emergency surgery. Certainly you will want to be available to Jason and not touring military sites.

Warren has already been taken out of school for what you have considered educational enhancement opportunities.  Warren needs to remain in school and maintain a consistent schedule.

This driving schedule is not appropriate for Warren.

The reemergence of your claim of molestation is telling. How quickly you will move to destroy people. Have you lost all sense of healthy shame?

[Yes, Warren was molested during the year-long divorce proceedings by his Walton cousin. There were pictures on a flip phone and a psychological evaluation revealed that he had received unwanted touching. I will blog about this in “My Worst Fears.”]

You didn't respond to my request to honour the Skype breathalyzer testing ordered by the court. Will you agree to honour my request? I am in no way obfuscating here. I believe fully that alcohol is a real issue in your relationship to Jason. You are actually arguing that specialized-even highly specialized-military personnel are immune from alcohol dependency? This would defy the available research, and I would have thought you would be well aware of this reality as a public health professional. Public health professionals too struggle with alcohol dependency. The suggestion that you can't find high performing people and alcoholism together is absurd.

You and Jason are free to drink yourselves into oblivion, but not with my son present. Warren needs to have the security of a home free of a dependent parent. Certainly you know children will mold behavior around this dynamic to protect a sense of stability. The conspiratorial atmosphere in your home is unnerving. The sudden announcement of this trip is unnerving.

You do agree, I hope, that it was clearly established in the court proceedings that you suffer from alcohol dependency.

[It was found that I abused alcohol while in an abusive relationship. I am no longer in an abusive relationship, but in a loving, committed and healthy relationship].

You don't suddenly move beyond dependency. This trip has emerged out of nowhere. It has been presented as if it is a forgone conclusion. I am saying I do not support the trip in any way and I have legitimate concerns over my son's wellbeing.  Again, Warren is first here. I am asking you to stop running behind your protective veil of accusation and slander. The onus is on you here. You understand the cycle of dependency, the distortions, obfuscations, twists.

I was surprised by what you wrote about grades and attendance. Apart from the myriad research that links school attendance with academic performance, I am also interested in the school functioning as a stabilizing force in Warren's life. Daily routine, daily attendance.

Warren needs to remain with Ben and Mary Ellen. Please provide the pickup details to me so I may then communicate them to Ben and Mary Ellen. I will make sure they have arranged for Warren. If you take Warrren out of our established two-hour radius I consider you to be in violation of our agreement, and at that point I am doubly concerned from a safety/security perspective. I would then act accordingly.  

[A call to my attorney and my response below, again for the benefit of the copied parent coordinator]

Peter,

Here is evidence to dispute your beliefs/claims: Warren and I are up at 6am M-F, I am at work every day by 7:50am, on Saturday I attend exercise classes, on Sundays we attend church. I have never been so successful at work, publishing more papers and presenting more research in the last year than ever before, been promoted again and have been asked to develop another class (easily documented); I flourish away from my former misery.  

Jason and I have all necessary documentation ready to go if you plan to move forward.

I chose to discontinue this dialogue, which is unproductive. I will be happy to answer any logistical questions and won’t respond to any more disparaging remarks/statements. I will send a land line number as soon as I arrive in VA with Warren.

And then my attorney ended it. The real issue is Jason and me and Warren interacting with him. My relationship is out of Peter’s control and this will cause him to act in impulsive, unproductive ways, ultimately hurting himself. It didn’t even occur to me to use social networking or blogging until Peter called social services. I attribute that idea to an active spiritual life; it has been an incredibly validating experience. I hope you see, in this post, that his obsession has not lessened in almost 2.5 years of being apart.  
Last evening I received an email at 10:36pm asking that Warren spend the day with Ben and Mary Ellen. YOU=16.