Saturday, December 29, 2012

Life on the Other Side: A Love Story

I am funded by a federal agency and need to take trips at least once a year to meet grant requirements. While on a trip two and a half years ago, I met Jason. Jason was in the same city as part of his job requirements, coincidentally he was not staying at the hotel where his colleagues were staying and was therefore interacting with my coworkers during the hotel happy hour; I walked by. With the difficulties between Peter and me being the centerpiece of my life, I was not interested in any part of “happy;” I was miserable and distrustful of everyone and wanted to politely greet my friends and have some quiet, non-drama time, in my room. But during the pleasantries Jason inquired as to who I worked for and asked for an introduction, so I was introduced as Dr. Walton, director of my state’s program, which intrigued Jason. A group of about a dozen of us talked for hours and I learned he taught mountaineering and survival in a remote location. Considering we all work in the area of violence prevention, I, at one point directed the conversation toward the question “if you had a terminal illness and were in the last days of life what would you do?” Answers included to right some wrongs, go places…the regular….Jason responded “I would want to free fall into the middle of Mecca during Ramadan with a man-pack-nuc (a back pack size nuclear device), because it would be nice to play by their rules.” I probably should have guessed what he really did at that point, but non-the-less, I was now intrigued.

At lunch the next day, our conversation continued, but more toward our difficulties with our soon to be x spouses. He was currently living at his “school house” in a closet sized room; I couldn’t get my spouse out of the house and had been advised to not leave myself (this is seen as abandonment). Though we lived 4 thousand miles apart our chemistry was so intense there was just a sense between us that we would somehow be together. That first “happy” hour was the happiest hour I’d had for decades.

We parted several days later, and knowing I’d be heading back into chronic and acute drama, chaos and fear, all without his protection, I deleted his number and messages and thought I’d never talk to him again. After a few weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking about Jason so I checked my cell phone bill and called him. It was so comforting hearing his voice; we had an immediate understanding for each other, going through the same difficulties with our soon to be x spouses. If anything happened my first thought was to tell Jason, and he thought the same. We helped each other day after day struggling through the worst times in both of our lives. We would go back and forth helping each other defend against a legal labyrinth of accusations our soon to be x spouses would throw at us, extremely similar, like they were reading from the same play book.

They are both still obsessed to this day: they despise us; “sacrificed” to be with us, because all others were better; and found nothing to love about us, even so they continue to try and ensnare us; anything to keep communication going. Their desire to control and hurt us, years later, is still as intense and as strong as the grip of eagle’s talons. This is in and of itself quite a bond and at first I thought we clung to each other, thousands of miles away, because of our common anguish, but as time went on I realized our relationship was much more than that. I honestly don’t think I would’ve had the strength to fight the court battles I did without Jason; the Walton’s are too strong a force when crossed. So when I learn of a women, or men, fearful to leave, I understand, it’s nearly impossible to get away from a sociopath, especially at the beginning when you still believe you are worthless, fear the unknown and people in general, and have no sense of who you are.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

They are everywhere and do the same things over and over again...

Justin Lee Collins arriving at St Albans Crown Court Mr Collins denies he harassed his girlfriend Anna Larke

TV presenter Justin Lee Collins forced his girlfriend to recount her past sexual experiences for a graphic notebook dossier, a court has heard.

Mr Collins, 38, denies harassing Anna Larke, of Pirton, Hertfordshire, causing her fear of violence.

St Albans Crown Court heard Mr Collins had a "prurient" interest in her previous relationships, which he "used against her in arguments and assaults".

It is alleged he verbally abused and physically assaulted her, last year.

Mr Collins, star of Channel 4's Friday Night Project, recently appeared in the West End musical Rock of Ages.

The jury heard that to "control" Ms Larke, also 38, he forced her to close her Facebook, Twitter and email accounts once he had read messages.

Start Quote

[Mr Collins] once told her she was riddled with sexually-transmitted diseases”
End Quote Peter Shaw QC Prosecutor
'Campaign of abuse'
In an interview with police, Ms Larke described her nine months of "emotional, verbal and physical abuse" at the hands of the "man I loved".

"It has destroyed my life," she said. "I have no confidence. I don't want to go out anymore."

Mr Collins is said to have asked her who she was texting or phoning, insisted she did not sleep with her back against him and made her get rid of DVDs which featured actors she might find attractive.

Prosecutor Peter Shaw said Mr Collins began a "campaign of abuse" and asked questions about Ms Larke's sexual history and wrote "done" in the notepad when he was satisfied with an answer.

Mr Collins once told her she was "riddled with sexually-transmitted diseases", the court heard.

Explaining the star's controlling nature, Ms Larke said: "He wanted a full sexual history of me. He wanted all the details and wanted to write it all down.

"He wanted to know every single person I had slept with or had an encounter with. He said it was for clarity so he could get to grips with my past.

"I felt absolutely horrible and disgusted. I was really scared. I thought I was going to lose him. He said: 'If you don't do it you will lose me'. All the time he brought stuff up from the past. I shouldn't have done it.
'Screaming for help'
"Every aspect of my life had to be open for him to dissect. I had to account for what I had been doing."

The Bristol-born comic, from High Park Road, Kew, London, pleads not guilty to a charge of harassment by causing Ms Larke fear of violence between January and August last year.

The couple had a nine-month relationship from November 2010, during which Ms Larke struggled with alcoholism, the court heard.

Mr Collins would lose his temper and hit her in the face, pulled her hair and "would at times threaten to put her in hospital unless she shut up", the court heard.

Ms Larke screamed so loudly after Mr Collins grabbed her hair, pulled her to the floor and spat on her in a hotel room that staff came to check on them, Mr Shaw said.

On another occasion, in May last year, she was "forced to flee the flat, screaming for help", when he accused her of infidelity and slapped her, the jury was told.

A recording was played to the court of Ms Larke on her mobile phone, in which Mr Collins apparently called her a slag and accused her of having unprotected sex with many men.

Mr Shaw said Ms Larke told police she had made the recording in case she ever needed reminding of why the relationship ended.

"He accused me of fancying other men," she said in the police interview.

"He had such a temper on him... My self-esteem couldn't have been lower."

When questioned by police, Mr Collins said Ms Larke had wanted to detail her sexual history for therapeutic reasons and said she had self-harmed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lost Children

            When people, after hearing my daughters don't speak to me (if they don't judge me), flippantly say, "Oh your daughters will be back, it will just take some time," I know they mean well, but it doesn't help.  They may never come back; I may never speak to them again. Why would that be a sure thing? As it is right now, they've seen my beaten face, seen me mistreated by their father, even stated that they will not be with a man that treats them like their dad treated me. They saw he was not affectionate, loving or romantic, rarely worked, didn't show emotion other than anger once and a while, and lived with a 28 year old for 3 months while I was pregnant with a fourth child. And...he has still convinced them to have nothing to do with me. He convinced me to not only stay with him, but provide for him. I allowed him to live a life of luxury without even kindness toward me. They saw this and have accepted that I am 100% in the wrong and he is 100% the victim. They are unnaturally, intensely angry with me...there is no rationality no communication at all. Why not just a lunch so it's not like a death? Why not? What is it that prevents this?

      We cannot understand the mind of a sociopath and their influence because we cannot imagine manipulating our own flesh and blood (or anyone), to the point of damaging thier well-being; just to hurt someone who "rejected them." It's simply not healthy for a child, of any age to be completely cut off from a parent. I recieved work information today about trends to get children out of foster care and back into their homes and with their parents citing research that this is the best for them. Yet these heartless individuals decide to do anything they can to keep children away from the other parent. To fight it is to reach into a dark void and come back with nothing because there is no appealing to empathy; no common ground. And, I am not alone in these devastating realizations...far from it...      
      F: One thought on what to look for in relationships, in trying to avoid the same pain for our children, is spotting the DRAMA. There will always be relationship drama EARLY in those boyfriends(or girlfriends). The fights are gut wrenching for the healthier of the two and common for the sick one. That's a part of controlling everything from situations... to emotions... to timing but healthy people don't recognize it; just like someone speaking a completely foreign language can be saying something really awful and we don't even have a concept of the the abuser 'speaks' that foreign language of control and the non-controlling one doesn't 'hear' what's really being said/done.
      About the issue of being separated from our children, by the abuser, is a tough one for me. It just hit me last night that I have now been separated from my oldest child's life almost as long as I was allowed to be her mother. Typing these words still cuts through my heart. My chest is hurting as I sit here. She is celebrating her 26 birthday on the 12th of this Christmas month but moved out of my house when she was 14 and into the toxic home of my ex and his alcoholic then-wife #2. It's almost too much to bear. I really don't know if I have the answers....still. The children of these unions seem to be a toss up. The more children of that relationship; the more likely at least one will believe the lies. Is is genetic? Could it be that child is more like the abuser? Will they ever come to some understanding of both sides. When we look at the horrible truth that the abuser never seems to 'get it' we then have to look at the gut wrenching possibility that our very flesh and blood child=that we adore and would die for- may never get it either. I am now 12 years into this almost total alienation from my firstborn daughter's life. As a married adult, she has somehow shut out this entire part of her family, baby sister, grandparents and even full sister at times. I don't get it and maybe never will. I have to pray for her and love her from a distance.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Anonymous Responses, cont...

I need to add to "the signs while dating" in my last post because I forgot probably the most important signs: anger and disrespect for females.
1)      While we dated Peter was known for fighting. His senior picture revealed a black eye from a fight the previous night. He was quick to get that angry. He didn’t get angry at me until after we were married, but while we dated he was an overall angry person. There was a picture hanging over a hole in the wall in the Walton home, which is a great example of how his parents handled him. They overlooked EVERYTHING. Peter and his brothers did whatever they wanted; their parenting style was that they would figure it out in the end. After we were married and had our first daughter (we were both still in college) Peter chose to play intramural hockey. I was standing at the sidelines with my daughter in my arms and Peter began to disagree with a friend on the opposing team. Soon Peter was beating him and he was much smaller than Peter. Several people had to calm him down and he was banned from intramurals. We always had holes in walls etc. in our homes. Peter also mistreated animals at a very young age. I’m not going to talk about what he told me he did to pets. We knew each other as children and Peter had a reputation, as young as preteen, of being dangerous, mysterious and a bully.
2)      Peter disrespected his mother. He talked to her in a demeaning and belittling way. None of the Walton men respected her, they thought she was dumb and interrupted her, embarrassed, when she tried to join in the conversation at the dinner table.
C:I am overwhelmed by your response!  Overwhelmed!  I am coming to the realization that the boyfriend in high school was a sociopath!  OMG!  I knew he was controlling, I knew that he made my friend circle super small even forcing me to choose between my best friend and him, he was violent (but I would say, he doesn't hit me just walls, flipping over his sister's swing set).  OMG!  I just can't believe it! 
When I went through counseling a few years ago, my therapist said that he was abusive and I said no.  Still after all these years and having a great guy like Sean I still didn't think so.  She argued and said he was and I should thank God that he dumped me.  He did the dump me, take me back, get a new girlfriend, take me back, etc.  Wow! 
At a wedding a few years ago my aunt was commenting on how wonderful Sean is to me and for me.  She said, "Remember Ben? I always thought he was so controlling and wasn't right for you".  She was one of my favorite aunts and never said anything because she didn't say unkind things about people but she knew!!  This is all connecting right now for me!  Thank you!!
D: I by no means am a trained professional.  I also can't be sure that this person is a sociopath but there is definitely something wrong with the person I am thinking about.  I think that "he" in this circumstance you explained believes that it is reality!  I think that it starts as a lie in his head but he works it over and over in his mind until it becomes reality.  He also gets others to believe his reality further confirming this lie, in his mind.  It's so frustrating!  It's like talking to a brick wall!!  LIke I said, I'm not sure he is a sociopath but he is definitely narcissistic and has some sort of mental illness.
I was wondering, and maybe you will address this in your blog, did Peter have affairs (I think you said he did).  If yes, did he stalk and abuse his other ladies?  Also why do your girls believe what he says is true?  As a woman, how can they tolerate their mother being abused?  Just some questions I have had as I've read along with your blog.  I appreciate so much what you have shared!
Me: I always knew narcissism ran in the Walton family, but it wasn't until I wanted out that I realized it was way beyond that. In your case, what you're looking for is being a victim all the time, no ability to empathize and being miserable. Yes, a brick wall, they cannot hear anything especially anything negative about themselves.
Yes, Peter, father Walton throughout, Jack many, an Uncle long term and throughout…
My's the biggest heartbreak. The Waltons all distort anything I try. If I don't talk to them, I’m neglecting them, if I do, I'm harassing them...Peter, and all of them, have made me out to be such an awful person and that's the only messages they are hearing, they both seem fairly isolated still and they aren't hearing my voice at all. For instance, in parenting your husband might say "listen to your mother, or don't talk to you mother that way," in my case if I tried to discipline he would say nothing or "we all know your mother doesn't know what she's doing so you go ahead (much like how his mother was treated by his father),” or outright make fun of me and laugh together. He also talked about “my mental illness” all the time with them. So over time they didn't think much of me at all. The oldest surprises me because she and I were always very close; the middle Peter continues to have an inappropriate relationship's very hard to not be able to do anything about it. They grew up with this man and he presented as the calm, together parent, with all the answers, and they don't know differently. Just like me when we started to date. I think it will take them crossing him and him treating them like he did me. Until then Warren and I pray for them and talk about them. It's sad for him because he misses them and doesn't understand why they hate me so much. He says they will never love me.
E: I am currently divorcing and trying to co-parent with a sociopath. I supported him for the past 3 years while he refused to get a job and I still did all the things at home that a stay at home mom would even though he was there all day. Then when I finally filed for divorce he tried to portray me as mentally unstable, an alcoholic and him as an involved stay at home dad. Luckily both my girls and the judge so through him. Thanks for your post and keep reaching for the light, I promise its there!
Me: I have often wondered what he did all day? Have you figured it out? I have suspected watching television....
Do you have any suggestions about "co-parenting?" I'm so happy to hear your girls saw through him. At least I haven't lost my son. In emails responding to my blog I find it's about half and half in regard to custody; a lot of sad stories about losing small children and adult children. I hope he will move on every day. If not for my son, I would never speak to him again.
E: Co-parenting with a sociopath is kind of an ironic term. Our family therapist suggested I read the Sociopath Next Door and Without Conscience just to get a better understanding of what I am dealing with. It is a careful dance for sure. I just make sure the kids are ok and have a cell phone so they can call me anytime when he starts acting crazy and I have to log every detail of mine and his interactions incase we have to go back to court. He already has a new victim (i mean girlfriend) so that has taken some of the focus off harassing me. I just have to resign myself to the fact that the cost of leaving him is having to deal with his games for the next 8 years or until the girls finally have had enough and tell him they don't want to see him anymore--which could very well happen. Maybe I will write a book when I finally get it figured out!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Anonymous Responses

I will start to post some responses to my question yesterday. I’ll post a few at a time. If you didn’t get an email response from me please continue to check my blog, I may have responded in the blog (or added with more time to think) and not by email. I’ll also post some older comments so that those reading and identifying may find further validation. Also I was thinking… those of you that have also lost children through a sociopath’s systematic, manipulative parent alienation could take this blog (and other similar blog authors) and use us, as a united voice, to validate your story with your older children. I hope maybe, together, we will be stronger and louder so the people that unintentionally wreck our lives, and our children’s lives, because they believe a sociopath, will finally hear the real victims.
[Dear Daughters, who I miss so much, if I were not telling the truth why would so many people find their way to my blog and find hope, understanding and validation? Why would our stories be so similar if they weren’t true? I could not make these stories up.]
Thank you for your comments; they have meant so much.
A: A friend pointed me in the direction of your blog today and I just wanted to tell you...thank you.
I am sitting here in tears as I read the things you are writing...because you are writing about MY life experiences. I truly can relate to every single thing you have written so far...and this is the first time in my life that I have heard from someone else who has to deal with it. It brings me to a place of huge anxiety (I too have diagnosed PTSD...) but also is a huge comfort to know that I'm not alone.
I really just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and your struggles...because nobody else seems to get it. I'm just supposed to get over it and not let it affect me in their eyes. It's a constant battle. We have a son together. And we have joint custody...sort of...just enough to give him zero responsibility and all of the control he wants to have over my life.
Me: It is very scary dealing with these people...VERY!! You have made my day and encourage me to continue what I'm doing. I want to provide support for people like us in so many ways..I wish I could do this full time. There are so many of us and so afraid to talk, and maybe embarrassed, if we can even figure out what is going on...
A: A few years ago I had a "nervous breakdown" of sorts. I started therapy, was out of work for several months while trying out several different medications. The psychiatrist I saw (not my counselor) told me I had PTSD and severe depressive and anxiety disorder. The PTSD was a result of many things...childhood and forward. I apparently fit a profile of a victim quite well...which I hate and I am trying hard to change. And of course, my ex likes to throw that entire experience in my face whenever he can. I'm not on any medications now but still battle the anxiety and depression constantly. I have Tourette Syndrome too...which only complicates my situation. There are days when I would probably not get out of bed if it were not for my son.
Me: I have a theory that sociopaths seek us out. There is so little information out there, don't you think? And with all of our stories so similar you would think there would be by now...
I'm thinking of starting an on-line support group; as soon as I have some time...
A: There is almost no information out there. And nobody is willing to point their fingers and call someone a sociopath, but they are everywhere. I have huge trust issues with people now, and mostly do not trust myself to be a stronger, wiser person "next time." Hence, I have not had any serious relationships since our breakup...which is going on over 5 years now! I would rather be alone than in a relationship where I am vulnerable again. And I see myself still the way he wanted me to see myself. I hate that he still controls my life in that way. It is a slooowww process. I'm getting there. And I'm not unhappy by any means...I try to find joy in what I have right health and my career and my son. I have much to be thankful for.
Me: We do have a lot to be thankful for! A good friend of mine is still trying to get away and has been for years. He is a pastor and the entire community is against her.
Well said "I see myself still the way he wanted me to see myself" very well said. What a battle to change our self image!!! I fight it every day.
I have thankfully found someone, and after him telling me hundreds of times "I am not your X husand" and continually affirming me, I am taking the risk to love and trust. Night and day difference between relationships, to say the very least.
B: Maybe this is something to write about, I don't know....But how do I protect my two daughters from marrying someone like Peter?  Did you parents see him as a "good Christian boy"?  A "pastor's son" so he must be amazing!  How will I recognize the signs of my girls dating someone like that?  How do I approach them about it?
Just thoughts I was having today.  :)   I almost ended up with a person like this too.  Thankfully he broke up with me for something better!  Otherwise I would have followed his abusive ass around for years!
Me: Firstly, you and your husband seem to be on the same team so you'll be united in seeing and dealing with any issues. Stick together and parent together :) I've heard that from professionals. And if the boy is too good to be true, he most likely is.
There was much less out there when I was 15 and met Peter and he and his family were good at pretending!! I have to give my family a big break because I was relentless in my defense of Peter and he was too good to be true. He wasn't true at all; he was veneer.
My parents, brothers, sisters-in-laws are heartbroken and angry that they were also taken in by Peter from the beginning. They didn’t see it at the time because we protect them, defend them and are always trying to help them. There are signs from the very beginning that are subtle but there.
1)      They are unusually attentive and aware of everything you do. They want to be with you as much as possible and begin to become involved in what you are involved in ( I will blog about my college experience with Peter and how he maneuvered his way into all aspects of my life). This may seen flattering, but its control.
2)      Extremely Jealous when you spend time with other people, same sex or opposite. Again, this may seem flattering, but its control. And yet they talk about attributes of the opposite sex and almost make you chase after perfection. They will give you just enough compliments to keep you around, but keep you unsettled at the same time. As teenagers this physical insecurity is a particularly sensitive area. They cheat on you from the very beginning. Whatever they can get away with. Also, to keep you on edge they flippantly break up with you, and devestate you, and then just when you've moved on, they are back.
3)      Your circle of friends starts to shrink and keeps shrinking the longer you date. *I think this is the biggest red flag*
4)      They try to lock you down with some sort of formal commitment. For example: marriage, pregnancy, geography (a move). My oldest daughter started dating a sociopath and he was talking marriage (and his family) in her junior year in high school. Also he would constantly comment on actresses. One night he “playfully” tripped her and then laughed…She is no longer with him, thankfully. Trying to get her away from him was probably the worst we ever fought as mother and daughter (I made a lot of mistakes).
5)      They highlight any family problems, mental illness or physical illness and make themselves “your healer,” “protector,” “get you away from problems.”
6)      They seem to have a private agenda, a drama, that makes them needy.
7)      Start to tell you what to wear or to cut your hair/grow it out, I think to see how far they can go..

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Question for Those Who Have Delt with a Sociopath

We can't know the mind of a sociopath because it is such an unnatural way to think and behave. So I pose this question, in an effort to understand the mind of a sociopath, to those who have delt with one. Marriage to one reveals the most because in trying to get away the deepest darkness is revealed, but there are other relationships to sociopaths that might also shed light.

Do you think that, as they outright lie and distort reality, they truly convince themselves that what they are saying is the truth? That they say it so passionately and with such certainty that they begin to really believe what they are saying?


Over time do they test certain phrases and behaviors and learn that they can push buttons with various people to get what they want? Do they knowingly manipulate; they pull a string and the marionettes move exactly as they've dictated? 

If you do not want to respond publically please email me at: and I will post your response anonymously. If you have not dealt with a sociopath and simply find it interesting and have an opinion please do not hesitate to comment.