BETHESDA, Maryland, October 10, 2014 — Jake* is a survivor of drug addiction and sociopath abuse living and recovering in The United States.
My name is Jake and my story is not for the faint of heart (as with anyone who has been in a toxic relationship with a sociopath). My story involves addiction, therefore is painful to talk about, but in writing this story I believe I will find healing so I can move on with my life. If I can help even one person with my story, then all of this was worth it.
I had been in a 12-step program for addiction and had been clean and sober for 8 years when I met Sean. He was a lot younger than I was, but I saw a lot of my personality and my qualities in him (or so I thought). At that time, he asked me to be his sponsor, which I accepted. I also got him a job where I worked. Shortly after, he relapsed, lost his job and stopped calling me. He eventually went to treatment, we reunited and I continued my role as sponsor. About 90 days afterwards, he once again fell off the radar and left town with his roommate from treatment where I later found out he had relapsed in treatment.
Months went by before I had heard from Sean again. He asked me to pick him up from the airport; I did. We reunited, and he seemed interested in more than just a friendship. He knew I had just come out of a long-term relationship of 10 years with someone who cheated on me and was looking for something, although I didn’t know what at the time.
Sean made me feel young and vibrant. It was refreshing. Shortly after, I had noticed needle marks on his arms. He told me that he had diabetes and used insulin twice a day, which I believed.
I continued on my journey of recovery. I owned a two-bedroom home, had everything I wanted, two beautiful cats and the perfect job. I truly loved my life and the people in it and was respected by everyone. Sean saw how well I was doing and used it to his advantage by asking if he could borrow money for this and that (drugs I later found out).
Being the trusting person I am, I believed it all. He proceeded to tell me he “had feelings” for me, texted me all the time and always gave me compliments. I believed it all. There came a point he told me that the person he was living with was his “sugar daddy” and that he was a prostitute to support his habit. I felt so sorry for him and wanted to help, so I allowed him to move in with me so he could get his life back together.
On the first night, I caught him shooting up in my bathroom and told him he had to leave. It was immediate that he started crying and threatened suicide. I felt sorry for him and allowed him to stay with the agreement that he would not bring drugs or needles into my home and that he would stop prostituting himself and find a real job.
He never found a real job and continued to do what he does best – sit on the couch and watch TV. He continued to use drugs and try to hide it but I was going to be The One who did not give up on him.
I worried about him all the time, and he knew that and used that worry as manipulation to get what he wanted. He began using sex as a tool of manipulation. At the time, I did not know the difference between sex and love.
He began asking me to drive him places to get his drugs, which I did on numerous occasions. Although I was not using drugs at the time, I was vicariously living through him. He thought that by asking the same question over and over that he would get a different response, which he usually did just to shut him up. He was the only person in my life I had a hard time saying no to him.
His former “lover” contacted me on Facebook one day and he shared a link called “Profile of a Sociopath” and this is what it said:
- Glibness/superficial charm
- Manipulative and cunning
- Grandiose sense of self
- Pathological lying
- Lack of remorse, shame or guilt
- Shallow emotions
- Incapacity for love
- Need for stimulation
- Callousness/lack of empathy
- Poor behavioral controls/impulsive nature
- Early behavior problems/juvenile delinquency
- Promiscuous sexual behavior/infidelity
- Lack of realistic life plan/parasitic lifestyle
- Criminal or entrepreneurial versatility
- Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
- Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
- Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
- Conventional appearance
- Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
- Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life
- Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim’s affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
- Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
- Incapable of real human attachment to another
- Unable to feel remorse or guilt
- Narcissism, grandiosity (self-importance not based on achievements)
- May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
This hit me like a ton of bricks right in the face. Every word described him. I remember a couple of times, jokingly I call him a psychopath and one time I called him evil. Both times he took huge offense to each comment, so I believe on some level he knows who and what he is.
You see, Sean is a very handsome and charming person. He has one of those personalities that you become drawn to. His personality is addictive, and he feels he is “God’s gift” to the human race. I realized this but continued in my insanity in denial about what I had read and felt in my heart. I did not want to believe it. During that time of constant worry, I lost 30 pounds, while Sean acted like he was doing me a favor for making me worry.
One day in May of 2012, the “nod” of seeing him high looked too good, and I wanted to feel what he felt. I wanted to share in that part of his life, so I decided to pick up his drug of choice, injecting opiates. Keep in mind that I had never stuck a needle in my arm in my life. My drug of choice up to that point was cocaine, which brought me to my knees 8 years prior to this.
Once I told him I wanted to get high, he became almost happy that I asked him and was happy to shoot me up for the first time. Sean only showed emotion when he was high (probably because he is a sociopath), but since he was giving me the love and attention that I thought he was giving me and I thought I needed, it became my goal to keep us both high.
I blamed myself for relapsing. Now I was no better than him, and I could not help him anymore. I became my own worst enemy and afraid to be alone.
He continued to prostitute himself; I hated watching him leave. I would sit at home and worry about him, but it was almost like he enjoyed doing it. It made me miserable, because I loved him and knew the worst thing that I had done was deciding to pick up again after 8 years clean and sober. I found myself exactly where Sean wanted me all along.
He talked ill of all his old friends, my friends and even my family. I became further isolated from everyone in my life. Sean and drugs became my life.
We eventually started working together, “scheming” if you will. We came up with elaborate plans and schemes to get money from his clients. We became partners in crime, and he brought out the very worst part of me and my disease. We robbed, stole and cheated. My job became less important, although I had just taken a promotion, I was more concerned about Sean.
Then I discovered the aspects of being physically addicted to substances, something that I had never experienced. That was sheer hell. The cold sweats, lack of sleep, vomiting and more vomiting. Sean was deathly afraid of getting sick that he thought it was easier to stay high or use a drug called suboxone to quit, so he would always make these promises that he would quit tomorrow.
Well, tomorrow came, and he never would quit, even if he did have something to help him with the withdrawals. He was just feeding me lies all along.
One day he asked me to physically chain him in the house, so he could not leave to get high, which I agreed to all in the name of helping him. He was out of the chains the next day getting high. I kicked him out of my house on three occasions, but he would always cry and threaten suicide each time to gain my sympathy.
After several months of pure hell, I became suicidal and asked Sean to inject me with bleach. He loaded the needle with bleach and had it at my arm ready to inject. At that point, I now believe divine intervention pulled my arm away and my life was spared. Just the fact that he would be willing to kill me was devastating to me. It was up until this point that I had such a false sense of loyalty to Sean. He made me feel needed and wanted, granted, for all the wrong reasons. The reasons were his own selfish motives.
After the suicidal attempt, I stayed with him and started pawning everything of value to keep us high. I was still afraid of losing him. Insanity at its purest definition.
I began stealing from my job, and it got to the depths of despair. I eventually lost my job for theft and was ordered to pay restitution to my employer leaving me with no money to survive. Sean was taken to detox at this point and I was left alone, penniless, jobless, suicidal, friendless, foodless and hopeless. This was my darkest hour of my life. I could not have reached any lower (or so I thought).
When I was to receive my final paycheck, which was very little due to the restitution payment, Sean was at my door that morning. He had checked himself out of detox. I was so angry and disappointed. He begged me to spend the last money I had on getting high. And I did, of course.
Sean had officially sucked me dry. I had nothing left.
I decided the best thing to do would be move back home with my parents, so I had three yard sales selling everything I owned with every intention of using that money to help get home. Instead, I spent it all on drugs once again.
It got so bad that I started walking into department stores and running out with appliances. On September 17, 2012, I was arrested for trying to steal a 54” TV out of Sears and was sent to jail. It was at this point I was begging for the police to shoot me in the head and remember one replying, “You aren’t worth the bullet”. That cut me to the core. That was my last day using drugs. The arrest I now know was divine intervention. There would have been no way I would have been able to leave Sean plus stay clean and sober had that not happened.
After being released from jail, my sponsor asked a treatment center if they would take me under a scholarship being I had no money or insurance. They agreed. I then went to detox and to treatment on September 21, 2012. This is my sobriety date.
While in treatment, I grieved the loss of Sean and grieved the loss of drugs. I realized later that Sean was my drug, and he was actually a symptom of the underlying root of addiction. I had held on some kind of distorted hope that Sean and I would get clean and sober and be reunited. It’s funny to look back on that now and wonder how I could have even thought that.
I made it through treatment and considered it a gift from God. I got as much out of it as I possibly could although my head was still fogged with my “love and loyalty” to Sean. For some reason, I still believed I was all that he had and that he needed me to help him even after all the hell I had been through with this man.
After graduating from treatment, I moved home with my parents, a very humbling experience for a 42-year-old man. I also got a job making $8.50 an hour, also humbling. I started going to AA meetings and heard two people in particular speak about Al-Anon meetings. I thought it could not hurt. I had nothing to lose. I felt so depressed, lonely, sad, hurt, and most of all, I felt damaged and broken. How could a 42-year-old man lose everything because of what he allowed someone to do to him? What in me allowed myself to abandon myself all in the name of love?
It all reeked of co-dependency, but I had no idea what that really meant until I read Melody Beattie’s book, Co-dependent No More, a book that changed my life.
In January, I lost my cat of 18 years to cancer. It seems that I had nothing left, until that point being reminded that gratitude is the key. I have parents that love and support me, I have a job and my freedom, although I am now on probation for my criminal activity. I have a higher power in my life that keeps me clean and sober and I have love.
In February, I went to my first Al-Anon meeting. I cried through the whole meeting. I was the only guy there. These amazing women made me feel so welcome and shared what happened with them and what it is like now. That period I cried all the time. I continued to grieve and grieve. I allowed myself to grieve and not beat myself up (well for the most part). There is a book in Al-Anon called “Opening our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses”. This book has changed my whole perception about what has happened. It really is about transforming our losses. I even grieve over the part of myself that allowed myself to be treated so poorly by another.
Since that first Al-Anon meeting, my life has changed. It has not been all rainbows and unicorns. I have spoken with Sean on occasion. I have fed into the insanity that my head creates when I think of him. I have checked to see if he is okay. The difference today is it is not an obsession anymore. I love myself more. I realized that I fell in love with an illusion, an illusion created by a drug addicted sociopath.
Today, I can detach with some kind of goodness. Love? I’m not there yet, but at least it is not hate. When I detach with hate, I really have not detached at all. I am still holding on. I think there should be a Sean Anonymous meeting with all the lives he has destroyed and shattered, but that’s for another story. Who knows?
Last week, I lost my other cat of 18 years to cancer. The losses keep coming, but I am grateful that both of my “children” got to see me clean and sober again and help me when I so desperately needed it. Today, I am taking this opportunity my higher power has given me to work on myself by working and living the 12 steps. This story is actually a part of my fourth step work, and I am grateful. I have a long way to go, yet. I am building my self-esteem by doing things that are healthy and good for me. I am working on forgiveness of myself and of Sean, and I have faith that will come with time.
For anyone that suspects that they have fallen in love with a sociopath, look at the signs and trust your instincts, your gut. It never steers you wrong. The best advice I can give anyone that feels this way is to run for your life. Get away and do not look back. Do not answer the texts, the calls or the door. Eventually, they will get the hint and move on to their next victim. That is their M.O. Do not do what I did and lose everything, including health. My health will never be the same. I have lost 60 pounds and have stomach problems for life.
This really is a matter of life and death, no matter your age, race, sexual identity, religion or lack of religion. Sociopaths are everywhere, where you least expect them to be, and they really are human leeches.
I hope this story helps someone. I wrote it from my heart, and I wish you the same grace and mercy that God has shown me on my journey. The journey from head to heart may be the longest journey we will ever take, but it is well worth it. God Bless.
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.