Katherine’s story: Surviving pathological and intimate partner abuse


BETHESDA, Maryland, October 11, 2014 — Katherine* is a survivor of pathological and intimate partner abuse living, working as a nurse and recovering in The United States.

Before getting together with Scott, I was happy, trusting, confident and joyful. During the relationship, I was confused, distrustful and anxious. Now that it is over, I feel depressed, lonely, violated and still confused. It sucks.

I met Scott at work. He is a doctor; I am a nurse. (I’ve now discovered through research that these professions are quite typical for pathological relationships). I knew him for three years before we started dating.

He was married during those three years, but always came to work with a woe-is-me attitude, which made me feel sorry for him. He seemed so unhappy. He was very quiet and humble and rarely talked about his personal life. He seemed introverted but was quite witty and would make me laugh. He was also very handsome, too, at the age of 49.

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He always complimented me on what I was wearing or my hairstyle. One day, he confided that he had been living apart from his wife for six months. After he told me this, we went on a coffee date. He told me he had a “couple” of affairs during their 25-year marriage and that she could not forgive him.

He and I started dating, my big mistake. You see, I trusted him, because 1) I had worked with him for three years; 2) he was a good, kind doctor; 3) everyone at work loved him; and, most importantly, 4) he told me the truth about having affairs on his wife, which I found admirable.

Stupid me.

The manipulations started almost immediately. I would later call him the “MM” for master manipulator. After the first few months, I found out that he had been in therapy once a week for about six years and was very leery of this. He would say he was “getting there” in therapy. Then he said he had been in a sexual addiction program for excessive masturbation. He said his wife would only have sex with him once every three months. I thought the fact that he was in a program was very weird, but rationalized that masturbation was not that bad.

He was constantly telling me how attractive I was and always complimenting me on my clothes, bringing me coffee at work, buying me little gifts, sending me flowers and saying he only wanted to be with me.

Over time, I saw he had no friends. Not one. I also saw that his three sons did not talk to him. He would try to contract them almost constantly, but they would never return his calls, emails, texts, etc. He was extremely passive and would agree with everything I said and go along with whatever I wanted to do. I spilled my guts to him, and he always smiled and agreed. His passiveness would later turn to something else; I am not even sure what it was.

He held things against me for months or even a year and then spew his venom. He told me I would not make a good partner in life and take care of him, because I did not go with him to the vet when the cat got hit by a car a year earlier. (Yes, I was extremely upset and could not handle it. It was the one time I needed him and a year later he holds it against me? I had no idea he was thinking that.)

He would also mention that I had not touched him the week before when we were watching a movie. I thought to myself, “What? Really?” He told me he needed me to touch him in the car when he was driving. I already did that, but nothing I did ever seemed enough. No matter how much I told him I loved him, he never seemed to believe it and was always whining for more of this or that.

He was very intense sexually and could not keep his hands off me, demanding eye contact. He finally divorced his wife about one and a half years into our relationship. One day, he simply mentioned the divorce and said it was finalized a few months earlier. I could not believe he had not told me sooner.

He was always flirtatious with other nurses at work too, but in a very subtle way with little compliments here and there. He always feigned ignorance when we had problems and said, “I don’t understand what’s going on here” if I complained. I must have heard it 100 times.

READ ALSO: Irene’s abuse story: “When I told him I was pregnant, he wanted me to abort it.”

If we had a problem, he cried when we went to restaurants in front of everyone, making me look like a real bitch and getting everyone to feel sorry for him. He let me pay for a lot of things even though he was making the big bucks and I was a single mom working two jobs.

He often “forgot” about plans we made. He was very needy and had no life for himself outside of work and trying to be with me 24/7. He seemed emotionally unstable and said his dad never loved him. He constantly said things like, “You’re too good for me” and “I’m not good enough for you” and “I’m trying to be man enough for you” and “What’s a girl like you doing with a guy like me?”

He would also say he was worthless and seemed to have no self-esteem even though he was an anesthesiologist. This turned me off badly, to say the least, but he would not stop saying these things, even after I asked him to stop.

Two and a half years into the relationship, he asked me to start spending the night with him and leave my daughter home alone. This was upsetting to me, so we broke up. Within weeks he was with another woman he met online. I was so jealous and could not believe he was with someone so soon. I wanted him back. We got back together. Then I found out he was watching porn and taking cialis every time we had sex. I had no idea.

I believe as soon as he realized I was “on” to him, he started tearing me down and projecting himself onto me. He told me I had problems and needed to go to therapy. He called me bipolar, told me I was hurting my child and said I was vicious and selfish. All the while, telling me how much he loved me and would never cheat on me.

He was always calm, cool and collected and it made me look like the crazy one, because I was so upset all the time and feeling confused. He was constantly whining in a little boy voice about needing more sex. I started to dread sleeping with him, because he would be on me all night long, and I would not get any sleep.

His neediness was suffocating me. We broke up again. He immediately started dating another nurse. I also found out he had asked out yet another nurse that I worked with directly. I decided to contact his ex-wife, who was willing to talk to me.

She told me she had found out that he had affairs their whole marriage and that he had sexual relations with hundreds of women, not just a couple like he told me. Prostitutes, massage parlors, porn, underage girls at the Mexican border, swingers clubs, nurses – you name it. This is why he was in a sexual addiction program and not because of the excessive masturbation story that he told me.

His ex-wife told me a lot of stories about the things he did. She said he is a compulsive liar.

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Even though he had the new nurse girlfriend, he was still stalking me at work. He watched me constantly, coming in on his days off, watching me, complimenting me on what I was wearing and whispering things to me. When I would ask him what he said, he would deny he said anything.

I had to quit my job to get away from him. It was so frustrating working there, because everyone loves him and has no idea what he is really like. It has been five months since I quit and have not seen him since.

Intellectually, I know I did the right thing. He was going to make my life a living hell. Emotionally, I still feel abused and violated and lonely. He did a number on me, and I am trying to get myself back. Not sure if that will ever happen. I do not know for certain if he is sociopath or psychopath, but he sure has multiple issues.

I look back and see clearly how he devalued me:

  • He told I was “hurting my child” when my daughter and I had a once-a-year scuffle. Meanwhile, none of his three children talk to him.
  • After he told me that he thought I was bipolar, I agreed to go to counseling, but he never made the appointment.
  • I tried to make him happy by giving into his demands; but no matter how hard I tried to please him, he was never happy and would continue to whine in a little boy voice about what he was not getting from me.
  • I would try to see his point of view; but to tell you the truth, the things he said and did were bizarre and I found myself trying to normalize his behavior which upset me even more.

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  • I was deep in cognitive dissonance. My intuition warned me, there were plenty of red flags, but I minimized all of it. It really bothered me, as my intuition and core values were telling me that there was something not right about him.
  • The more I ignored my gut, the worse things got. On one hand, I felt like I loved him; on the other hand, I knew this guy was capable of horrible things. I felt like he had a hidden life, and I knew he would hurt me really badly.
  • I contemplate suicide and thought about other ways of harming myself and him. I started smoking and stopped exercising, even though I had just run a marathon.

My biggest challenge since leaving the relationship has been trying to find joy in life again. I have remained alone and feel very lonely. I feel like a victim and am mad at myself the most for tolerating his behavior for so long. I should have gotten out within months of the relationship’s start.

To heal, I have been doing a ton of reading. It is like I am reading about him in the books. I thought reading would give me some understanding, but it really has not. I mean, I see it clearly now, but it still hurts.

Despite this, the best advice I can offer to anyone dealing with something similar is to start reading about abusers. Also, learn to trust your intuition and act on it, because it is always right. Is this really how you want to live your life? Is this all there is? Your love it not going to make them better.

These pathological and emotional abusers are good. I do not know how they do it. It seems innate to them. I suppose it is a mixture of genetics and having been abused. They are pathological. You can not change them.

Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.

*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.

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