Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Are these sociopthic traits? (warning VERY long)(118 Posts)
Apologies this is SO long but I'm still struggling to move on from this a year on.
I got with my ex back in 2010. At the time I was 41, he was 3 years younger. I have no children and it is biologically impossible for me to have my own. My only option is complicated IVF with egg donors. Ex knew this right from the start.
He is a highly educated, successful man. Very successful in his field. He was also the most charming, decent man I had ever met (or so I thought, as did everyone else, including family and friends). There were a couple of things that maybe I should have paid more attention to but you know what it is like in the first throes of a relationship! eg whilst he was very sociable with colleagues during the working day, he didn't have any friends that he socialised with out of work, he was actually quite 'against' it, he used to say that he only needed that one person (me at the time) in his life. I could also tell he was never that keen on socialising with my friends.
Later on I also found out a couple of things about the way he had been with exes that I didn't think was nice/not normal behaviour. Eg he has only ever properly lived with one girl, years go when he left Uni, they bought a house together. To cut a long story short he finished the relationship by accepting a job miles away without even telling her. That night he told her he had got this job, she said 'but I can't leave my job and move?' he just replied 'yes I know.' That was his way of ending the relationship! Now I know you'll be thinking what an idiot I was to stay but it's easy to think that now in hindsight, at the time I said 'that's awful' but he said yes but you don't know what she was like blah blah blah.
He was so 'anal' about everyone else having 'manners' and 'behaving properly' etc eg if a driver dared not to thank him for letting them out at a junction there would be big lights flashing at them performance. Or if someone dared forget to thank him if he held a door open he would be like 'wow' in a big loud voice after them. Sometimes I would be on tenterhooks when out with him willing people to say 'thank you' etc!
He was out with another girlfriend once who I think was a bit of a maybe 'high maintenance' girl, liked going to the 'in bars' which was so the opposite of him. Anyway they were out one night and she had ordered a G&T, she was having banter with the barman about why would you have a gordons when you could have a bombay sapphire. He obviously thought this was a bit 'poncy' so when the barman asked him what he wanted he said 'G&T and gordons is fine.' And I can hear the patronising voice he will have said it in, just ridiculed his girlfriend in front of someone.
He was also very strong on the view that all contact with exes/exes family should be broken. I can remember being left an Xmas present by an exe's mum (which obviously I didn't ask for and hadn't heard from her in months) - well he didn't like that at all and said that if it had been him he would have handed it back (which I thought was the height of rudeness, the exes mother was lovely and had never done anything bad to me!). He got in quite a sulk bout it.
I know these all sound like really silly little things but I'm just trying to paint a picture of him. He was so anal about morals/values etc but I have since come to realise that they don't apply to himself.
Anyway back to me and him. After 1 1/2 years I sold my house and we moved into his. It was a big Victorian house, a huge renovation project, which I willingly took on with him and put months and months of hard labour into. We also decided to embark on IVF. Very complicated and expensive because of egg donors etc. We had the first cycle in August 2012, it failed, we were both devastated. We had the second cycle in Nov/Dec 2012. We got the results 6 days before Xmas, failed again.
Over the next 3 days he turned into the most cold, unsupportive character I have ever met, we hardly spoke. It was unbelievable. To cut a very long story short the outcome was that 3 days before Xmas he announced that actually things weren't right anymore and that was that! 3 days before Xmas and I was left homeless, devastated, with a body full of raging IVF drugs. He spouted on stuff about how all we'd been doing is the house and IVF, we'd stopped living and he'd fallen out of love with us! Looking back I think cheeky f***er - I put all that work (not to mention money) into your house and I get that thrown back at me like that.
He also owes me several thousand pounds, which I doubt I will ever see. He will have convinced himself that he doesn't owe it.
I have never seen him since that day (22/12/12) and haven't had any correspondence with him since last January. My dad got involved (my parents were distraught to see the state I was in) and sent him a letter (very polite I might add but just telling him what he though about his behaviour). He text my dad spouting on about how he had one side of story, fair point but he then went on to lie about how we had been 'constantly arguing' (complete and utter rubbish, and I have prove to show this wasn't how the relationship was), how he had lost everything, how I just wanted a child (that makes me livid as I told him a million times that being with the right person was more important than having a child and that is absolutely how I feel) but that he had just loved me etc etc
My family and friends that knew him were in total and utter shock (as I still am!). He sent a couple of emails last January that came across as so sanctimonious, how he had done brave thing, and how he'd been trying to help me achieve my dream (the ivf/children - cheeky f***er!) blah blah blah
Anyway, I am far from over it a year on. Whilst the logical part of me says I'm so better off out of that, I can't forget the wonderful years we did spend together, where he was the ultimate gentleman to me.
Some people have suggested to me that he displays sociopathic behaviour in the way he just switched off and moved on. He doesn't meet many of the signs of a sociopath eg no money worries, would never be in trouble with law etc but I think he is lacking in the empathy department.
The first time I met his mum (who now hates me) she said a weird thing to me - something like 'don't you think he's a weird one, when he goes off into his own world and I'll be saying what's wrong?'' She then quickly followed it up with 'but I think he's wonderful.' I remember thinking you're a bit odd, what a thing to say!
Do you think this sounds anything like sociopathic behaviour or am I just looking for reasons other than he just fell out of love with me (which is just so hard to accept given his behaviour up until that point). It is so hard to reconcile, to anyone that meets him they think he is this wonderful, absolutely charming person, they would never see the darker side underneath.
You resurrected this old thread just to say that??
that's horrendous. Well rid
A doctor of psychology no less! Very successful
Thank you garlic. Do you know the best bit, new woman is a psychologist! X
... and, of course, a 'much younger' partner should be easier to manipulate. Poor woman.
Well, it's had far-reaching effects but at least I won't fall for another sociopath! I didn't have Mumsnet then; it was a good, strong resource when I came here, some years after imploding. Keep posting, morley, whenever you need to
Thanks garlic I really appreciate the response as I am struggling at the mo, feel like I'm back to square one (when it all finished)
I was managing because my mind had put him in this box where he's this screwed up person that no one would ever be with. But the reality is he is now living with a gorgeous, successful, much younger woman. In my mind they'll live happily ever after and I was imagining everything about him! I'm not thinking straight
Am so sorry to hear what you went through, I really am. I hope you are now in a much better place
I've spent years dissecting my marriages (yes, I did it twice ) to sociopathic types, and I'm not going to do it again. Suffice to say you have my absolute sympathy, morley. There's one thing you mentioned - most of us do it - about wondering if he'll find the right woman who can make it work like you couldn't, blah blah. Despite the fact that this doesn't matter, a wrong relationship is a wrong relationship ... they cut such deep holes in our hearts & psyche, that painful thought remains just where he wanted it to remain.
XH2, I would say, is probably a psychopath. Cruel; machiavellian. No surprise he met the love of his life before we'd even sorted out the split (and were still shagging.) She adored him. Married as soon as the nisi came through, beautiful children, very successful business, perfect life. I don't 'search' him (I did for a while) but recently came across a Facebook photo of them all together: smiling, lovely; I thought bloody hell, don't tell me he's actually managed it! You know the comments people usually post underneath - you look beautiful, what a lovely family, just how I remember you all last summer, and so forth? There was none of that. Just comment after comment saying Wow! You all look so happy! Just that: wow, happy. You know what this says, don't you? He's doing it to her, and to those adorable children, and nobody's ever seen them happy.
You are so well out, morley.
when you are feeling down just think of all the bad things about him.
From what you say, he won't change and she will have all that to come.
thank Gettingmeback you sound like you work in counselling or something similar?
I love the 'an arsehole is just an arsehole and doesn't need further explanation.' Love that, am going to keep repeating that!
It's funny you say that about the healthy thought process as that is exactly what I said to my counsellor last night. I said that I am actually glad I will never fathom his behaviour because I wouldn't ever want to posses the mind that could.
Had an unexpected heart to heart with my dad yesterday. He said he had noticed little things that he didn't think was quite right in his behaviour. He said what he did at the end, and how he did it, is the sort of behaviour you would expect from a childish teenager not a grown adult who was in a very serious relationship. He said in all the people he'd worked with/met in his life (and that's a lot) he had never witnessed such cruelty in a person. I know he's trying to make me feel better but I need to keep remembering all this and trying to believe I am better off without him.
It's just so hard - the new woman he is with is young, gorgeous, successful and looks totally normal. So I torture myself with thoughts of 'there's nothing wrong with him, it was just you and they will now have a wonderful life together.'
When you say make sure the counsellor is experienced in such issues, how do I find out exactly? I am seeing one but I would like to know if I am seeing someone that is best suited to me
Thanks for your post
Morley it was a huge post! But you definitely needed to write it. I work with women in abusive relationships and it is natural to look for a label to try and help understand the unexplainable. Every day I hear labels from confused and traumatised women like aspergers, narcissist, sociopath, psychopath etc. There are often elements of all of these but being an abusive and controlling person is not a diagnosable mental disorder. An arsehole is just an arsehole and doesn't need further explanation. You should think about what the other posters have said and access counselling to help you understand why you can't let go of trying to work it out. Make sure it is a counsellor who is experienced in the issues and it won't take long before your constant attempts to psycho analyse him are a distant memory and a good laugh! And i always say to women if you don't understand his behaviour, think yourself lucky because it means you have healthy thought processes. BTW have been through donor myself and the pain of this is a separate issue albeit got tied up in it because he is a man child fuckwit
so... I wrote to him a couple of weeks about the outstanding money. Unsurprisingly, no response.
I went on directory enquiries to check he is still registered at that address. He is.....together with the woman he is now living with. She is someone that started work where he does in May last year...oh and also 14 years younger than me.
So whilst I have been having the shittiest year ever he has been falling in love and now living with someone else. I will just be the 'mistake' in his past
Why does this kill me after so long? Feel like I've been punched in the stomach and back to square 1
Thanks AmIatwat (the answer is no by the way!)
I really do appreciate the time you are taking to message me. I am definitely making progress with telling myself things like that. The thing that helps most is I ask myself what would I say if he knocked on my door tomorrow pleading for us to get back together. The answer is a resounding no! So I am trying to use that as motivation to move forward and stop obsessing about it. The clouds are definitely lifting.
Oh and I have hair appointment on Saturday so may well just try something different
Please tell yourself this: He is the biggest loser, not you!
From now on make it your mission to be the person you want to be. Immerse yourself in the company of confident ,positive people. Try to explore different avenues be it bars, dance classes or whatever. Change your hairstyle, buy the dress you love but cannot ever imagine wearing yourself, in short pleasure yourself. The more we like ourselves the better the outcome of future friendships.
You will never get the answers you crave. This bloke sold you a dream and then dashed it because that's how he gets his thrills.
Your stronger and wiser now; you've had a very lucky escape indeed.
My own experience echoes a lot of what you have experienced. The healing process was painful, but when the clouds eventually lifted I was able to learn to be a little less trusting but have had a few ( if not long term) relationships since. OK so they didn't pan out, but I wasn't left bereft, there was no bitterness, just acceptance that it wasn't meant to be. In fact a lot of my old dates/boyfriends are still in touch.
When you are fully healed and ready to move on, you will meet someone decent, who is normal, not perfect, but loves you for who you are.
Thanks creamandsugar - there are indeed lots of wise and kind people on here. It was my friend that has children that suggested I post on here and I'm very glad I did. I think it is a brilliant site to get support and different views from (I don't care what that stupid Katie Hopkins says!).
Thanks for reading....it must have taken you a while! x
Hey, me again,finally got time to read the others replies. A lot of wise and kind people here :-)
By the way, that bit about in the busy bar doesn't sound Petty at all!! And fair play u for pointing out his rudeness!!
I had to write this post if only to be the 100th message on this thread, yay! (sorry very childish!)
Sauce - you sound very strong, good for you. If there is one good thing to come out of these experiences I think it is that, eventually, it makes you stronger. I expect his poor wife has actually suffered the same unfortunately. I hope you have peace in your life now.
Just been to the counsellor, I think the sessions with her are going to help me, fingers crossed anyway
morley he married very quickly after me - there was some overlap! Instead of feeling upset I felt sorry for her and have hoped that she possessed the magic ingredient that would inspire him to be kind and reasonable. Judging by the way he spoke about his previous GFs I know none of us were good enough!
Anyway - it certainly bought about a sea change in me. I toughened up and mumsnet list of red flags would have helped shorten that relationship considerably!
It's not just one thing they do - it's the continuous drip drip.
..unlike me, who can't even spell 'field!'
HelenHen - no don't apologise (I can be too sensitive sometimes!). I didn't think you were having go honestly, I was just trying to think if maybe I was coming across like that.
How funny - I actually say that too after people if you hold a door open and they don't say thanks (I think I've said it on here somewhere), those exact words! I very much like manners too (which was all part of why I was attracted to him at first) but it was the very arrogant way in which he said/did it. It is so hard me to explain in writing but it was just over the top. We were in a pub once and he was on a downer about something, anyway it was obvious we were getting ready to leave and a lady came and stood nearby to take our table when we'd gone. She wasn't rude or anything, I've done that myself before in crowded restaurants. When we were walking away she kind of laughed and joked 'sorry didn't mean to jump in your grave' or something similar, he just said in a dead arrogant, serious voice 'yeah looks like it' and walked off. She was left just staring after him. Which then caused a row because I said 'why were you so rude to that woman?'
Argh - I'm going to stop trying to put examples in writing as I've just read that back and again it sounds so petty! Anyway, these little things weren't the key thing for me, it was how he was at the end, which was absolutely chilling.
Yes he is very intelligent. Very successful in his filed, doctorate etc.
Thanks for taking time to reply to me xx
Sorry morley, didn't mean to sound like I'm having a go! Yes he sounds odd at worst! Perhaps he's writing a thread somewhere on a men's forum asking for advice on why he can't keep a good woman?
Ftr... I always shout 'you're welcome' after people who don't say thank you for holding doors. Some people just like manners! I really can't imagine that makes me a sociopath though
You say he's well educated, etc. Is he super intelligent? I have a couple of relatives in mensa but they have zero social skills. I've always had an idea that sometimes it's like a very mild form of autism!
sauceforthegander - you poor thing! That sounds horrendous.
I think there are varying degrees of people that behave like this - like you say there are 'aspects' that are the same.
It's so hard to put down in writing isn't it. I can't convey properly how I felt or sometimes when I put down what he did it sounds so petty reading it back. Like the 'manners' thing - at first I thought Oh how lovely, been brought up 'properly' and was an old fashioned gent. But then because he was so anal about it he ended up looking the knob in public. If we were out shopping and he held doors open (which I have to admit he did do all the time) I would be willing that person to say thankyou. It was embarrassing if they didn't and he would stand there and shout 'wow' (in a patronising tone) after them, I just used to think 'Oh just let it go sometimes!'
I hope you're OK now and happy with your life.
Thank you girls
Meesh - you're right, when I'm being honest with myself I know it would have been worse to end up spending life with him. Don't apologise for being harsh, it is what's needed! Thanks you
HelenHen - thanks for your post. Sorry if I have come across as thinking I'm perfect. Believe me I am FAR from perfect. I haven't read back through the thread but am racking my brains to think of where I may have 'cut' people off like that? The only ones that come to mind are where I said I didn't think it was out of order for my dad to write a letter and one where I thought someone had misunderstood what I'd said about keeping in touch with exes. But I certainly wasn't implying I was perfect by just disagreeing with those points. Everyone else's 'criticsims' (wrong word but you know what I mean) about how I m dealing with this I totally agree with (which is why I'm seeking help with it). I'm not trying to say I was in the right, which is why I started the thread to ask is there something 'odd' here or is it just me and I am merely just struggling to accept the truth? Anyway I apologise if this is how I have come across, it's definitely not how I feel, things come across differently sometimes when written down don't they. And yes, as I have hinted at, mourning the end of the IVF is a key feature in this.
LineRunner - thanks, unfortunately being too hard on myself/lack of self confidence is something I have been criticised for over the years. Am trying to think differently
Join the discussion
Please login first.