BETHESDA, Maryland, October 20, 2014 — Teresa* is a survivor of domestic violence and pathological abuse living, raising her son and healing in The United States.
I met Sam shortly after I had moved back to my home state. I was in a bad place and sought comfort in his simplicity. When we first began dating, he was living in a sober house after being released from an in-patient treatment center. I was always attracted to men who had a rough past and but who were making attempts to better themselves. I never saw the rehab as a threat. By contrast, I saw it as a personal strength.
Within a few months of dating, we moved into an apartment together. Within two months of moving in together, he began drinking again. Six months later, I was pregnant with our son. Now, six years later, he is still relapsing with drugs and alcohol.
We separated about two years ago and made multiple attempts to “work it out”. Although he never changed, I always wanted the family to work. Unfortunately, he was so destructive and controlling that I began to feel broken down more and more over time. He frequently went back to an ex girlfriend when things between us went sour. It was his fall-back victim. He always had someone lined up. I separated from him two weeks ago and am swearing him off for good now that I see how sociopathic he really is. I now see him as his disorder and not the loving, charming guy I thought him to be. It was all fantasy.
When the relationship began, Sam often sent me flowers ‒ for no particular reason or special occasion ‒ to school when I was in college. He tried to be the man of the house and proclaimed his worth by helping fix stuff. He kept the finances secret and often told me,”It’s being taken care of.” Unfortunately, he was hiding a cocaine addiction and blowing thousands of dollars a week on it. We were broke.
I could not maintain a job, because he “worked late” or was out getting drunk. As a result of his unreliability, my employment reliability was slim to none because my first priority was the well-being our infant son. I soon began feeling the walls closing in on me and was physically and emotionally trapped. I finally had enough and kicked him out two years ago, and he has yet to get his life in order.
I came from an abusive home as a child but persevered despite my past. Sam was able to see my weaknesses, knew I did not have family to back me up and left me dependant on him for everything. He was able to control my every move.
I arranged for us to go to couple’s counseling. Even then, he would show up drunk or not at all. I also tried to enroll him in an AA program, but he never went. He always believed that I was the problem and that I never helped him.
Sam did not like that I had a life outside of him. He often got upset with me for going out with friends or volunteering. He got upset if I was not, at all times, interacting with his interests in mind. I began feeling guilty, as if maybe I was being selfish and not paying enough attention to him.
I contemplated suicide. I thought many times about how much easier it would be to end my life. I wanted him dead too. He had an overdose last year and nearly died. I think back many times to how life would be if he had actually died.
Today, I am in college pursuing a second degree, as he always claimed that I could not have done the first one without him. I volunteer and am a contributing member of my community. I play three different sports and stay active with the health and safety of my son. I am using this as a way to better my life.
My biggest challenge since the end of the relationship has been letting go of the friendship Sam and I made over the past six years.
I am a massage therapist by trade and have decided to get back to the roots of my being and involve myself in holistic health again. I have also removed other toxic people from my life and am strengthening my totem.
The best advice I can offer to others is to trust yourself. Know the sociopathic characteristics. If someone would have told me years ago that he was a sociopath, I would have invested the time to investigate. Instead, I always thought of him as a great guy with some bad demons, and I wanted to help him become a better person, a better dad, a better worker, etc. Now is the time to empower myself and not give him any form of control over me. My family needs to disconnect from him as well.
There is so much more that I want to address. I would love to contribute more of my story. I have always wanted to write a book of my own, as many people have told me my life story is too obscure to be real at times—many great experiences and many losses and much despair.
I also struggle with a son who has a sensory integration disorder (SID), which I believe could have been genetically inherited from his father. I struggled for years trying to understand why my son acts the way he does. SID is still somewhat unknown in the medical profession.
I am not sure how I have managed to be where I am today. I feel I have been blessed with the strength and that a higher power is protecting me even when I feel I have nothing left. I want to use this experience to my advantage. I think I have a great story and would like to look into writing a book myself.
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.