Virtually every victim of narcissistic abuse that I have counseled found out that their lover had one, two, and often three secret lives. Usually men, typically sexually involved with several women at a time, none of whom know anything about the others' existence. The sociopath carefully structures these separate worlds, crafting the web of lies, immune to the risks and guilt that others would normally feel.
The abusive narcissist smoothly compartmentalizes these lives, creating different False Selves who act differently with each lover. In fact, for the sociopath, lying is a way of life much like religion is for others.
Think about famous examples of double lives (all abusive narcissists/sociopaths): 7th Heaven dad Stephen Collins, Bill Cosby, Bernie Madoff, Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer), Ted Bundy, TV evangelist Jim Bakker, Arnold Schwarenegger, John F. Kennedy, Anthony Weiner, Jesse James, Kobe Bryant.....I could go on and on.
Here are the signs that your partner is leading a double life:
- His time away from you is unaccounted for or strangely confusing. Traveling for work, working late, overtime, running errands, last minute obligations all can combine to paint a picture of someone whose splitting his time between two worlds. One serial rapist and serial killer told his wife he'd leave at night to take photographs around the city,
- He bans you from the garage, basement, his desk, or his computer. He may not want you to discover the proof of his double life evidenced by emails, credit card statements, cell phone bills, or hidden objects.
- He lies. This is obvious, but you would be surprised how many people forgive liars. One lie is too many. More than one is pathologic.
- His sexual patterns are confusing. He may suddenly become impotent or have a voracious appetite for porn. Or he may be impotent with you yet masturbate to violent porn. Degrading, violent sex is often an indication that something frigtening lies beneath.
- He keeps secrets. There are few good uses for a disposible cell phone particularly when that person already has a legitimate cell phone account. Same thing goes for secret credit cards. He may even have a secret family.
- Your family and friends don't like him. Take him home at the beginning of your relationship and see what your friends and family say. While you are in the Idealization stage, their sociopath detectors will be working better than yours.
- You find strange items. Women's panties between the couch cushions. A disposable cellphone. A disguise. An inordinate or inexplicable amount of money. All bluffed through as misunderstandings or completely reasonable.
- Incongruity. You notice strange objects. Odd smells, He becomes angry for no apparent reason. John Wayne Gacy's wife lived in their house for years with the smell of rotting corpses, explained by her husband as the result of dead mice.
- Detail confusion. Can't remember your birthday or whether you went to Maui? He's confusing you with someone else.
- Criminal activity. Seemingly petty crime can be a big red flag. Theft by deception is another word for a con. White collar crime like fraud, financial crimes, and assault are common. Multiple DUI's and anything beyond are signals to walk away.
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