Trapped By the Fairy Tale Romance

Illustration by Warwick Goble to Beauty and th...

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Narcissists and sociopaths come into your life suddenly, like a tsunami, promising great things, but devastating your life.

The narcissistic sociopath in my life was my ex-husband who returned after an 18 year absence and turned my world upside down.

This particular narcissistic psychopath trapped me because I was vulnerable to the dream of happy every after fairy tale romance. At first it was a fairy tale. For the first year, I was walking on air. The man I’d always considered to be ‘the one’ had returned to me.

I’d left him when our daughter was a baby and, at the time, had not recognized my young husband’s mental illness. Instead, I had blamed his problems on his drug use. The story my daughter grew up with involved an absent father who was a wonderful man, an artist, the love of my life, who had run in with the wrong crowd and become addicted to drugs. I promised her that if he ever got his life together, then he’d find us and we could be reunited.

Two decades, this man returned. He tracked us down, sent cards and presents and claimed to be drug free. The first gift he sent our daughter (who had no memory of him) was a pair of diamond earrings! (How’s that for flashy?) He even began sending both of us gifts of cash.

He proceeded to trick his mother, members of his own family, my daughter, my sons (from a different husband), my elderly father, my neighbors, close friends and my 92-year-old aunt, into believing that he was clean and sober,(with the exception of a few beers on the weekends.)

Well, he swept us all  off our feet. We all believed in this miracle. I rearranged my life, family time and work schedule to spend weekends with him once a month or more. The relationship was everything I had ever wanted. My own dear sweet love, returned, sober and so completely responsive to my every need. We spent several hours on the day talking. His voice woke me every morning for over two  years.

We quickly became lovers again and planned to spend the rest of our lives together just as soon as my younger children had graduated from high school. We went so far as to discuss with his mother the possibility of building a small cabin on her land to care for her when she grew elderly.

After year one, I began seeing red flags, which I ignored. I would not consider that the bliss  with him, which included  fantastic sex, was anything less than  perfect.

I made excuses for the red flags. I thought I would change him. I thought I would teach him how to be better. I began enabling him in the same ways I had when we were teenagers.

Over time, his true self began leaking out of his mask. It became apparent that he was still getting high. Then I began to suspect he was still dealing. As it turned out, instead of a few beers on the weekends, he drank plenty every single night, with no exceptions. For the first year, he never drank in my presence, and by the end, it was a regular battle with me asking, can’t you not drink the one weekend I come down? And then, of course, to rationalize what was happening, I began to drink with him.

Two years into the relationship, I believed that his problems were based on chemical dependency and that he was heading towards ‘the bottom’ from which he would seek substance abuse treatment. . I believed that I could not leave him this time because I had left him once before, and that morally, I had to stand by him, and prove my love.

I wanted my daughter to witness me standing by her father and leading him to counseling and sobriety. I believed that love, this deep intense feeling between us all these years, would conquer all.

Nearly three years in, it all fell apart. I could no longer deny that he was dealing drugs to support his own habit. It was clear that he was still dealing with the same crowd of degenerates from twenty years before. It was clear that he’d lied to me about just everything. When I confronted him with this, and asked him why he’d lied to me, he wouldn’t respond. He’d just pop another pill, or light another joint.

Finally, it exploded. I found out that all the while I’d been rescheduling my life to be with him, neglecting my work, my family, my garden, my pets, that he’d been sleeping with another woman for over a year. His justification for this was that he didn’t want to tell me because he was afraid our daughter would get mad at him. (Which, of course, she did.)

Everyone, his mother, my father, our daughter, my friends, was completely shocked when the story of his betrayal came to light. Even more shocking was his complete indifference. Within a couple of days, he mailed all my stuff back in a box.

I spent the next year unraveling all the lies he’d told me over the course of three years. He told me so many lies that I could write a book just listing them.

It is clear that when he came into contact with me again, he became intrigued and wanted to start a relationship with me again. I guess he thought that he could lie to me and others about his drug use and get away with it because I lived out-of-state. Honestly, I don’t know what to think. His own words are probably best.

When I spoke to him after finding out about his other girlfriend (He refused to speak to me for over a month, but finally did) and asked, “How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me?” His response was simple, “Well, you and I got back together and that was grand for a while, but after a few months, you started bugging me just like you did twenty years ago.”

This is a 43-year-old man’s explanation for destroying my life and my trust, and his justification for starting up a new sexual relationship without informing me.

My ‘bugging him’ was enough of a sin to justify his lying, cheating, and manipulative deception. By ‘bugging him’ I guess he meant that I was asking him too many questions about his drinking and his drugs. I don’t know, because he never explained it, and we did not speak again. He was done with me. He  hung up the phone, after berating me for driving him away by ‘being controlling.”

“I’m controlling?” I asked in disbelief. “You’ve been sleeping with another woman for eighteen months and I had no idea and I”M the one who’s CONTROLLING?’

He had no answer, or no interest in me anymore. Not surprisingly, his new girlfriend drinks with him, and she also knows nothing about his background so it’s likely that he’s been able to hide his drug use and dealing from her as he met her at work, where he is Mr. Hard Working Guy Who is a Gentleman.

So, that’s my story. Beware of longing for that fairy tale ending.

Maybe it’s out there for a few of us, but for most of us, it’s a trap. Keep your eyes wide open, proceed slowly in a new relationship, even if it is a lover from years before, and don’t ignore ANY red flags.



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