Did You Marry the Wrong Mr. Right?

Did You Marry the Wrong Mr. Right?

By: Susan Deborah Schiller  

Part 1: The Perfect Prey   Part 2: 10 Red Flags You're Marrying A Sociopath   Part 3: Did You Marry the Wrong Mr. Right?    Part 4: Create Your Own Jailbreak

By sharing my story, Bethany's story, and the stories of other abuse survivors, we are breaking the power of shame. The biggest shame breaker is daring to be vulnerable by writing our stories. We break the shame off of our own lives as we untangle the deadly web of deception that enables abusers in our homes, churches, and communities.

Our goal is to create abuse-free zones one family at a time, one community at a time. Our method is storytelling.

Today, we're picking up where we left off, in part 2, with what I call "the awakening", where we break the SHAME and use it to SHINE.

We ask ourselves questions and the answers are like Light rays piercing the darkness.

Once we SEE what it is, we can take ACTION to get free.

Addiction to our abuser is the ultimate hook. It's why many of us stay or return or never leave in the first place. We are like heroine addicts, knowing it's a bad deal but craving it all the more. Sometimes we are trapped by lack of resources, lack of help, but the biggest obstacle is our own craving for that spectacular "love high" we had when we first met our pathological lover.

Keep in mind, I am not a medical professional and this post is not designed or intended to diagnose or treat anyone's problems. It's part of my own story and the steps I took to break free of an abusive relationship. I believe our stories can help "turn on the Light" and to let you know you're not alone.

What are the symptoms of a love addiction? Here are just a few diagnostic questions designed to pull back the curtain of sociopathic abuse:

Has there been subtle internal or external pressure on you to change anything about yourself or what you do, to accommodate Mr. Right?

  • For example, when my fiance and I were in college I had only 6-months of student teaching to finish before earning my bachelor's degree in Education. My dream was to be a teacher and write children's books. My fiance would not consider waiting for me to finish my degree, but insisted that we move to his home town right away, following his graduation. I downgraded my degree in order to graduate earlier.
  • Bethany Deaton's dream was to be a wife and mother, work as a professor and write books. She changed her career to "nurse" to accommodate her husband's dream of ministering in the Middle East, giving up her own dreams.
  • Feeling an urge (especially if you DESIRE to change for your boyfriend's pleasure) is a strong red flag. But it won't feel like a red flag once you're hooked. It will feel like YOU WANT to change yourself, your career, your job, your home, etc. Remember, the perfect prey is an generous giver and empathetic nurturer, by nature!

It's so hard to see the red flags. Almost all survivors of socioipathic abuse CHOOSE denial, because we are addicted to the major dopamine rushes that sociopaths, like drug dealers, dole out for us.

We CHOOSE not to see, not to hear, not to speak about the abuse. We cover for the abuser, even lying to ourselves.

Have you been paying for the bills, entertainment, travel, or have you given your boyfriend/fiance the title to any assets or put his name on your bank accounts?

  • This likely won't happen until after you're hooked, but think about it. A sociopath will appear to have valid reasons – even emotionally compelling reasons – not to pay for bills. The perfect prey is someone who is empathetic, and a sociopath's cunning is unparalleled… nearly undetectable by Christians with high levels of discernment.
  • It will seem reasonable to you – you will likely DESIRE to pay the bills – because the experience of his pleasure feels so good! You really think you're making a difference and you feel needed. He's drugged you with the pleasure of his company so powerfully that no amount of money is too much in exchange for the benefits. Until it's too late. But think about it, when you're not with him…just think about it.

It's usually very hard for survivors of pathological relationships to come out of denial. Beyond the biological, emotional, and neurological addictions, there is so much SHAME we feel!

We have to face the fact we were duped! By then, children may have come along, and being the nurturers we are, we don't want to break up our family! Add to that the compounded disappointment of our peers, many of whom will side with your abuser.

The power of toxic shame must be broken, if we are to recover from a pathological relationship. The only way is to face reality and begin to tell your story.

I encourage you to read Dr. Susan Forward's book, "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them".

In that book, Dr. Forward lists the following self-diagnostics, to help you SEE what you may have been choosing to overlook:

Ask yourself:

  • Does he insist on having control over your life, your thoughts, and your behavior?
  • Is he unrelentingly critical of you and always finding fault?
  • Does he intimidate you by yelling or by threatening to withdraw his love?
  • Does he switch from charm to anger without warning?
  • Does he devalue your opinions and feelings?
  • Does he accuse you of being too sensitive or of overreacting if you get upset when he attacks you?
  • Is he extremely jealous and possessive?
  • Does he insist that you give up something valuable and important to you to satisfy him?
  • Does he belittle your accomplishments?
  • Is he inconsiderate of your sexual needs?
  • Does he humiliate you in front of others?
  • Do you constantly tell the children to be careful so that they won't upset Daddy?
  • Do you cry a lot more than you used to?
  • Do you repress your feelings, especially your anger?
  • Do you constantly try to figure out how to get your partner's approval? Do you twist yourself into a pretzel trying to suit his ever-changing demands?
  • Have you given up interests, activities, and people that once were important to you?
  • Do you hold yourself back in your educational or vocational advancement?
  • Do you constantly excuse your partner's behavior to yourself or to others?
  • Have you let yourself go physically? Have you gained or lost a great deal of weight? Are you paying less attention to your personal appearance than you used to? Do you find excuses not to leave the house?
  • Is your life based on trying to please your partner so as to avoid his wrath or disapproval?

These questions, as Dr. Susan Forward explains, help us to begin to face reality. And that's where healing begins, in the awakening process of coming out of denial. Wisdom begins when we take knowledge and apply it to our lives.

We must take action, or we will go deeper in the hell the sociopath is creating for us.

We must do the OPPOSITE! If you want to break free you are going to do what "they" say can't be done. It's not going to cost you an arm and a leg. And you won't be dependent on anyone, which is often what happens when people counsel victims. You're going to learn how to be self-reliant and to take control out of the hands of others.

Not only are you going to break the chains of shame but you're going to be dazzling, just brilliant, dear heart.

In part four, I'm going to show you which actions will take you deeper into the labyrinth of hell and which ones will bring you up and out into the Light. It may surprise you, but I'm going to show you how you can get your life back, recover your soul, and become a champion, if you dare. While it's not an instant fix, it is an adventure into freedom and fullness. Are you ready for some Good News?

Next Chapter: Create Your Own Jailbreak

Previous Chapters: Part 1: The Perfect Prey   Part 2: 10 Red Flags You're Marrying A Sociopath   Part 3: Did You Marry the Wrong Mr. Right?    Part 4: Create Your Own Jailbreak

You may also be interested in reading: Can A Pastor Be a Sociopath? and "Why the Christian Abuser is the Worst" and "The Marriage Covenant: How We Prevent Divorce Before Saying "I Do""


My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2014 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Alice October 8, 2015 at 10:03 am

Connie, I can completely understand.  I too had a wedding but not a marriage.  Everything that is described above and in Sue's other writings aptly applied.  It was my husband who left the house after years of threatening me with divorce-almost from the beginning. I was not good enough or I was a Goddess, he loved me or I was an F-in B…(if you know what I mean).  He scapegoated me with his mother all of my marriage to him and he used God as his spiritual bypass for everything.  He had a sexual addiction to pornography, and othe things.  So I understand.  My children have suffered, but I vowed to make it right with them, and the only way to do that was to make it right with me.  

Your husband did not enter your life without God's knowledge.  For whatever reason, your husband served a purpose to teach you something, to heal from something, and to grow into something.  Out of the ashes comes beauty.  Yes, its traumatic and you find yourself not being able to trust, but when you decide that he is responsible for never allowing you to love again, he still gets the power, he still wins.  


Alice October 8, 2015 at 10:09 am

Connie, what I did to overcome is I sought out a therapist who understood trauma.  I went through years of EMDR treatment to overcome trauma.  What you went through is nothing sort of a soldier at war; therefore, requires treatment that will help resolve the trauma.  Today, my soul is healed.  My mind is healed.  I am not co-dependent.  I am healthy; therefore, I know I can move forward in my health and make the right choice in a partner, nor not, whichever I decide, but I get to choose.  How I resolve the issue is the issue and it is up to you to bring healing to the places in your heart that hurt.  I promise you, when you start to work on yoruself, your children will notice.  All it take is one person to shift and you will see them, by the grace of God, start to shift too.  Your ex-husband will see a new, stronger, person, and trust me, he won't want anything to do with you.  You will be too strong and not the "perfect prey" he is used to.  Do not be discouraged.  The power to change, to shift, to be stronger and healthier is within you…and you proved it by applying all of your energy into a marriage that did not work, so you know you have it in you.  Good luck to you.  



Susan Schiller October 8, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Excellent advice and wise words, Alice – THANK YOU so much for sharing!


Susan Schiller October 8, 2015 at 2:45 pm

You are a kindred spirit, dear Alice – thank you for sharing wise counsel and direction here! I especially love what you said about the husband serving a purpose to teach you something, to heal from something, and to grow into something. My spirit resonates with this. It’s not a common perception of what happened to us, but I share your perception – it’s a way to healing!


connie August 31, 2015 at 10:45 am

I'm thankful I found this blog because it was really encouraging.  Some of the responses however have been so DIScouraging, but I know people have different experiences with God and with their partners.  I was in full-time campus ministry when I met my husband.  I was a very young believer and we both came out of alcoholic, abusive homes.  It wasn't long before I realized my husband was two different people – at least!  I would try to talk to him about what I saw and how I felt, but I always came away apologizing.  I am very empathetic and wanted so much to love him with God's strength.  After 20 years and 4 daughters who were all in great pain, I finally separated from him, hoping and praying for reconciliation.  I couldn't even talk to him at that time.  I told him what I needed to happen and that I would never rush into a divorce.  That isn't what I wanted.  I wanted reconciliation.  He was not willing to do any work to build trust and spent most of our separation telling all our friends and church family that I was pursuing divorce and he was fighting for our marriage.  Forgiveness is healing for sure, but this man traumatized me and our children and although I know God can heal, we are still living in the fallout of my inability to move away from him and be honest with others about what was happening in our home.  I was so embarrassed and ashamed, and to tell you the truth, some of the Christian therapists I spoke to told me I needed to stay and love him to wholeness.  I was about to take my kids and leave when I met a woman through my church who said – Ask God what He wants you to do and I'll pray with you about what you hear.  I was afraid to ask, but when I did, God immediately responded and said He released me from my "marriage" and that it had never really been a marriage at all.  My husband had abandoned me from our wedding day forward.  Pretending to be in a marriage is a huge lie that many people live, I've discovered.  I believed his lies that he wanted to change and have an intimate marriage.  I failed my children and myself.  2 of my daughters are drug addicted, 2 are living with boyfriends (one of them in the same house as my exhusband) and 1 has had a baby she put up for adoption (PRAISE GOD) and another is pregnant right now.  My youngest struggles with her sexual identity and feeling abandoned most of her life.  I'm just tired of hearing people say that my faith isn't strong enough, or I didn't love my husband enough or forgive him, or whatever.  I love God and still love my husband.  I will never date or remarry because I could never trust my judgement.  I believe God will take care of me and my children, it is just very hard to see right now – AND it's been 3 years since the divorce.  It just keeps going on.  Will it ever get better?


Susan Schiller August 31, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Connie, I feel to the very depth of my being your heart and soul! 

When you prayed and said, “God immediately responded and said He released me from my “marriage” and that it had never really been a marriage at all,” I’m nodding my head, because that’s very close to what God shared with me, so many years ago. Yes, that IS God’s heart!

He used to tell me, “You had a wedding but never a marriage.” It takes TWO people to make a marriage covenant. Even God had to divorce unfaithful Israel! Look at the fallout of God’s children, as a result of His unfaithful wife.

Does it ever end? In my experience, no, but it does get bearable and the pain doe get lifted. But there is sorrow upon sorrow, as you have mentioned… going into the next generation and the next. I’m dealing with ongoing struggles in the 3rd generation now, and there are days when it’s all I can do to keep standing. We are ending this cycle of abuse and creating a new family legacy but it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.

You’re right, not many people understand. Even those who have been abused don’t understand sociopathic abuse of the religious nature. There is no more horrific abuse than a supposedly Christian marrying a godly, empathetic, willing to give her all kind of wife and abusing her with psycholocial torture, deceit, economic, and all kinds of abuse. When he harms her children, there is no greater torture. Yes, you can get away from him, but because of the children and grandchildren, unless he’s willing to part company, it’s as you’ve stated… all twisted.

Only those of us who have known this type of heart ache truly understand, in my experience, Connie. The people who have been in the deepest levels of hell have compassion for others who are imprisoned there, too. Yes, there is freedom and joy and peace… but when you go back into hell to pull someone else out – a grandchild, let’s say – it’s still hell. We bring heaven into our reality, through prayer and intimacy with God, but there is still suffering.

Jesus suffered. Jesus wept. Jesus felt sorrow. God weeps. Life is messy.

What I hate most is when a Christian tries to point blame at me or another victim of abuse… trying to tell me that I’m attracting it or drawn to it or addicted to it. Yes, there is a degree of all of that, as in normal abuse, but what is outstanding in religious sociopathic abuse is the victims I have met…. in each and every case, the victim is a beautiful soul! They are high achievers. They love peace, they are empathetic, wise, poetic, creative. They are vibrating at a high frequency! 

They have large incomes, are ambitious, and have big dreams!

Take Bethany Deaton, for example, who is dead now… http://loveyourstory.org/why-a-woman-like-bethany-deaton-is-the-perfect-prey-for-a-religious-sociopath/ – she is an example of the “Perfect Prey” for a religious sociopath. 

Connie, I did remarry… I opened my heart again… and it only got worse. I want to encourage you that it will get better and you will be able to make sound judgments, but I can’t encourage you from personal experience. My own personal experience, combined with others in my class of abuse survivors, is that we are deeply scarred. And even good men are scared away by our massive wounding.

My husband loves me, I believe, but he’s beyond his ability to cope with the combined effect of abuse that has spread throughout my children and grandchildren. He has no grid for understanding, except common sense. Men want to bring solutions, and with this type of abuse there are no rational solutions!

Therapists are only beginning to understand this level of abuse!

In some ways we truly are alone, but in reality we are never alone. Most survivors, like me, will tell you that we came out because God, Himself, led us out. See Ezekiel 34 – the Shepherd himself had to go out and find the ones like us and doctor us.

I’m grateful for every path on the journey God has set me on. I have only a tiny bit of understanding of what happened and why, but I am grateful. I am dearly loved by my Bridegroom, and for now that is enough. 

Even as I write this, I’m being called away… I barely have any time to write these days, due to the aftermath of this abuse in my family. But I keep writing. I keep listening to readers. I keep writing my own story, because this is what has helped the most!

All I can be is a witness of God’s love, even in the deepest level of hell. And if that can be a virtual hug and a means of validating you, I hope it comes across this way. I can’t give advice or counsel, but I can love from the other side of this web page. It’s love, I believe, that helps us overcome the world, because it gives us a boost of faith and it gives us hope – the greatest things that no evil can take away.

I ask God to save your family, as I know this is His heart and His promise. And I pray for good, mature friends who will carry your heart gently and wisely. From His hand, I pray you are fed from manna that never gets old but gives you refreshment and strength each day. Just keep following the Light and know that He’s in control, even when the world is spinning. Everything’s going to truly be all right!


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