Today’s blog post will be an interlude from sharing my story. I stumbled across a brief interesting article in The Guardian — What Is Love? Made me stop and think. Did I ever really love my psychopath and did she ever really love me? Of course, the obvious answer it that I did love her, and that she did not love me. But the answer is worthy of being examined more closely.
In the beginning, I was convinced my wife-to-be loved me — she repeated it often enough and demonstrated it in many ways, red flags aside. What I didn’t know was that is was all a mask — she wasn’t showing me her true self. She used her guise to dispel my doubts, and she was a master. In fact, she knew I loved music, and picked a spot-on song with exactly the right lyrics, tone, and emotion to set me up and sang it for me. See her in action singing Adele’s Make You Feel My Love for me on one of her trips to the US to see me.
Only in hindsight can I see that there was never any love. No decent human being would treat someone they love the way she treated me. Too many lies — outrageous and endless. Too many long hours of degradation and rage, when she called me “c*nt” and every other vile epithet under the sun. The physical violence, though relatively minor compared to what some victims experience — but always the threat of more, and with me taking precautions by running to a bed & breakfast countless times at the slightest hint of trouble. Dastardly deeds so low and cruel, such as telling me, “Your dog has been destroyed.” Even the fact that she was happy to have me move across the ocean, sacrificing everything, even as a vulnerable disabled person without seeming to give any thought to what repercussions it might have. And beyond how she treated me, I saw how she treated her children, her parents, her siblings, and everyone around her. Always wreaking havoc, lying about them and to them, making accusations against them, and treating them with utter disregard for their feelings. So she seemed to love me in the beginning, but it was all a game for her — her main motivation was to use subterfuge to extract as much money from me as she could get. And that pattern escalated and continued up to the very end.
From my side, I most definitely loved her. But it was the ghost of a person I loved, the image and façade she presented up to me. The woman who had little book-learning but much native intelligence. The woman who struggled mightily to raise four children on her own, one with Down’s syndrome (I didn’t learn until much later that her children were on the “at risk” register in the UK and what went on behind closed doors. The woman who seemed childlike at times, and yet open to playful experimentation. Her stores that aroused great empathy in me — raped by as a teenager, then gang-raped in a second incident; two violently abusive husbands, one she accused of being a pedophile. I took her stories at face value, as vague and confusing as they were — when later everything I learned indicated that most of what she told me was either false or dubious. Her beautiful singing voice. Her tender touch (which later turned into games of control, especially as she served up the silent treatment for manufactured wrongs I’d done).
The article from The Guardian referenced above says:
in true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin.
This is part of what hooks us when we become prey to someone with psychopathic tendencies, and fall in love with the facade. It’s what makes the love-bombing phase so effective, why we then suffer from cognitive dissonance once the mask falls, and why it is so hard to break away. We are operating as normal human beings, and they are working from deception.
I do not love my wife now. The person she is has been exposed, and what I have seen is ugly and despicable. You cannot love someone who chooses to bring destruction by deception into the world. I don’t think I hate her. If anything, I feel sorry for her. She will never know the bonding of true love — she’s incapable of it. She is a hollow shell of a person, and cannot even experience true love for her children or their love for her. My innocence has been stripped from me, but someday, I can still experience true love.
What’s more, I have learned at least three valuable lessons:
- The necessity of loving myself, that I can love myself, and how to begin doing that.
- The God loves me as I am — something that had been foreign to me before the psychopathic encounter.
- The importance of honoring my gut instincts, setting boundaries, and understanding that my love is a gift only to be given to people who will cherish, respect and benefit from it.