The thing about sociopaths is that they look like us, talk like us, live among us, and pass for us. Except they're not us.
Devon says she's not a kid, but she was completely blindsided by a guy she calls "Psycho Boy."
They met when she was newly divorced, after 12 years of marriage, alone for the first time in her life. "I was like fresh bait to him."
Psycho Boy was a neighbor who had stopped by to introduce himself and offer any assistance she might need while she was moving in.
"He was charming, funny, and outgoing. He took me on romantic dates, bought me flowers, jewelry, all in the first three months. We were soul mates! Also, the sex was out of this world. He was like a knight in shining armor until that armor slowly — oh so slowly — began to chip away. By then it was too late, I was hooked, in love and addicted."
There were red flags, of course, that Devon ignored. The first was that PB was 49 and lived with his mother. He told her his mother was elderly and infirm, couldn't live alone and didn't want to go to an assisted living facility.
The truth? At one time PB's mother had been hospitalized and told there was little chance of recovery. She was sent to a nursing home. While she was there, he obtained power-of-attorney and completely wiped her out financially. He stole over $200,000 from his mother and gambled it away. But his mother got better and came home. PB told Devon he helped his mother with her bills, but his mother was actually supporting him.
"I didn't find out until years later," says Devon.
There was another red flag. PB would disappear for long stretches of time. He would tell Devon he was working and lost track of time. But he was very vague about where he worked and what he did.
The truth? "He didn't work. He was at the track gambling away money he had stolen from his mother and anyone else he could con, including me. He would borrow tools from friends and they would mysteriously disappear. I now assume he hocked them."
And another red flag. He had child support issues and was estranged from his children. His ex-wife was suing him. He told Devon his ex was crazy and had turned their children against him.
The truth? "His kids had grown tired of his broken promises. It wasn't until he was actually arrested for non-payment of child support that I realized he'd been lying. And I had actually loaned him money to get caught up on his child support."
There were countless other red flags that Devon chose to ignore. "It got to a point that if we went out to dinner it was understood I'd pay. And there were always scenes over the food or the service.
"I bought Christmas and birthday gifts for him to give to his children, grandchildren, and mother. Every vacation we took cost me more than I'd anticipated. I'd give him cash to pay for things and he'd pocket it and use a credit card he'd stolen from his mother instead. Then I'd have to pay his mother when she got her credit card bill."
More about Devon and Psycho Boy in the next column ...
Have you ever been involved with a sociopath? Send your tale, along with your questions and rants to [email protected] check out my ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."
Photo credit: Keoni Cabral