Richard (not his real name) profiled me as his perfect victim on an online dating site rated as a top trusted relationship provider in the USA. For many decades he had fooled friends, family, and colleagues while sexually abusing the clients that he was ethically bound to do no harm to. Richard has a long trail of soul murdered women in his pursuit of ideal love and omnipotence.
He is a charming, seducing, angelic narcissist creating misery in his wake. Narcissists tend to damage the lives of almost every person they encounter by lying, betraying, and manipulating. For Richard’s ex-wives and child their life with him was purgatory. For all he could keep hostage, it was misery, a nightmare. For some partners it must have felt like evil.
According to the DSM-IV-TR, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits in order to be diagnosed with NPD:
● shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
● grandiose sense of self-importance
● preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
● belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
● need for excessive admiration
● sense of entitlement
● takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
● lacks empathy
● often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
Narcissist are compulsive in their pursuit of narcissistic supply (awe, admiration, attention, even being feared) and projecting a loving image that is compatible with his or her false self-image. A narcissist’s projected image tends to be lovable until he or she gets tired of being nice. No longer able to manufacture adoration in their partner; being feared then becomes narcissistic supply. A victim’s emotional pain and destroyed self-esteem feeds the fantasy of being all-powerful and capable of anything.
The start of our relationship was a whirlwind romance. The chemistry appeared to be instant for both of us. We met outside a bookstore. I was sitting on a bench, when I locked eyes with him, the sexual tension was immediate. My whole body was vibrating with aliveness. He mistook my loving nativity and longing for being gullible. He underestimated my integrity and commitment for doing no harm to others. He was too good to be true and I didn’t understand that meant a nightmare. He came across as a confident, charming, attentive, professional in my field. Shortly after we were dating he started making plans and began to tell me he loved me. I was the ideal reflection of true love for his preoccupation with projecting a lovable image. He had no intention of following through on the promises he made. He had picked me to better his status and save him from financial disaster. My life had been so extraordinary as a result of my personal adversities that I believed this miracle man was possible. His insidious ability to mirror my wish-fulfillment (delusion) for a perfect man was award-winning as was the lovability of his projected image. My emotions of awe, respect, admiration, and attention were food for his narcissistic supply. He catered to my needs and wishes because he craved my reflected love and admiration. It was through my reactions that he felt an illusionary sense of self. Richard was sadly divorced from his true self and married to his image. He was an empty soul forced to use me in order to feel his existence. If I had not caught his written admission of the crimes he committed over several decades I might have become his mere instrument for gratification. He was never bothered by his history of unscrupulous behavior and the constant exploitation of his victims. Indifferent to the consequences of his actions, the damage and pain he inflicted on his partners, son, friends, clients or family. The written admission of the crimes he committed came as a result of a major life crisis which directly threatened his projected and perceived image. Life crises are typically the only times a narcissist may seek help. A girlfriend he had lived with for 10 years ended their relationship and at the same time his 16-year-old son from a previous marriage got a restraining order put in place, stating to the judge, “My father is too immature to be a parent.” In a moment of desperation, two years before we met, he wrote about his secrets in a journal. In his disorganized character style he left the journal in his library bookshelf.
Early in our relationship, after declarations of love, and before his proposal, he left his email page open on his computer. I noticed emails coming from our on-line dating site. I mentioned this to him asking if he was still looking for a match. I saw irritation cross his face as he told me he was off the dating site, but they kept sending him email. I took him at his word and let it go. Later, when he asked for my hand in marriage, I accepted. Weeks after the engagement the manipulation began for me to pay his bills. My financial solution was to sell my home and move in to his house. I reasoned that moving in was the right action to take because we were lifetime partners. I was very fortunate because the beginning of grace was being manifested. I was settled in his home when my lap top stop working and he allowed me to use his computer. Again, one evening when he was attending a men’s support group, he left his email page open. I saw communications with women from several dating sites. I did not open the messages. I was shocked, devastated, and numb. I told him what I had discovered when he came home. He exploded accusing me of bizarre intentions and accusations. We later explored the cognitive distortions that allowed him to verbally attack my character. We are both in the mental health field and empathy would have been the emotionally appropriate reaction to my discovery, especially since he professed innocence. My red flags went up. Several days later I opened the “Windows Media Center” program on his lap top to look at some pictures we had taken and the program opened his email site. There I saw several communications with women from various dating sites. One of the emails was dated after he had asked me to marry him and I opened the communication. The truth of his betrayal was revealed to me. I was so upset that I left our bed that night to sleep on the couch in his library loft. I looked through the multitude of self-help books in the shelves to see if I could find one on sexual addiction. It was then that I found a brown journal outlining his sex crimes against clients and the history of abusive treatment with women he married and partnered. After reading his disclosures I wasn’t sure what kind of person I was dealing with and feared I might be in personal danger. I decided the best action was to go back to bed and pretend I was okay. Fortunately, his place of work was at a great distance from home. He had a routine of staying overnight with friends or at work on Monday and Tuesday nights, coming home on Wednesday nights and then he was off from work on Thursdays. Monday morning I consulted with a colleague on the discovery of his crimes and then took the evidence to the police. I arranged to move all my belongings out of his house and went into hiding as the FBI Sex Crime Unit and local police evaluated the evidence. In the meantime, he didn’t know I had left until he came home on Wednesday night. The phone calls and emails began immediately. Richard did not know he was under police investigation. I did not respond to his attempts to contact me and have not spoken to him since this happen several years ago. No contact is the only way to deal with a sociopathic narcissist when you leave.
Following is one of his emails to me after I left his house and below are a few excerpts from his journal.
Please don’t believe your mind! You know about negative fear based thinking. What you saw is what you saw, but like looking at the glass you can see it as half-full or half empty. Listen to my heart. Carlos Constenada says in, The Teaching of Don Juan, “when you are at the crossroads and both roads go nowhere choose the one with HEART IN IT.” Please listen to my heart. We were beginning to plan our lives and our wedding. I want to marry you. I want to give you your ring back. I am sorry. I know I let you down. I don’t want “the ring” it’s yours, let me give it back. I have been hurt and confused by this too. Forgive me, I was wrong. I am sorry I was wrong in not protecting your mind from the painful thoughts that I betrayed you. If I would had destroyed those emails this would never have happened. I DID NOT BETRAY YOU AND NEVER WOULD. I am sorry you read those emails. I pissed you off. If you need more proof that I can be trusted, than I will give it to you. Help me help us so I can help you. You punished me enough, but let US work it out. I will go to therapy with you. I will go to groups. I want a life with you, whatever it takes. I never had the opportunity to have my hearts dream with a woman. We have the juice to have a real beautiful romantic life. Let your anger go. Let us have each other back.”
Excerpts from his journal:
I have used woman as objects and manipulated them for my own purposes. I used Linda (not her real name) as a sexual object to clean house and serve my needs, so I could read and do for myself for self serving purposes. I married Sally (not her real name) because I thought I could use her to provide for my security. We were compatible. She had more competence in business and with finances. She wanted to have a child. She was someone who would take risks.
I have been willing to use anyone. For years I would do the beach patrol and use women’s bodies to relieve my sexual narcissism. I hurt people with sex. I used clients for my needs. I used clients and I used my sexual instinct. I wanted so many women. I had sex with many clients to meet my own needs. I have used women as sexual objects to control for my own joy.
Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll. I am a bad ass risk-taking tough guy. I got my body in shape to protect myself. I live in the basic instincts. I have a persona of a hunk. To be a man meant you could endure more pain and take more risk. I was willing to challenge people and use force to get my way.
I have had a strong lust for the touch of attractive women in my life. I was not much interested in her character. I am a sex hound, a cheat, someone who has stolen when given a chance. I have an interest only in what I can get and at times I am desperate and have had to settle. I settled with Linda, Sally, Karen, and Joyce because of what they could do for me. Diane was someone I could use and she had a house.
I used my desires for sex, alcohol and pleasure to get my basic instincts met to dominate and control. “Find, Feel, F…k, Forget.”
None of Richards’s victims have come forward. Due to confidentiality laws, information could not be obtained from the clinics and hospitals he worked at over the years. Written admission of crimes is not enough to press charges or hold muster in a court of law. My hope is that this experience has stopped him from abusing anymore victims. He has been a great teacher for me and a gift to my work with violent clients.
Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to relationship abuse. And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.