At the age of 23, Karla Homulka was arrested, along with her husband, Paul Bernardo, for the murders of 3 women. Homulka agreed to testify against her husband, who orchestrated the abduction, rape and murders, in exchange for a 12-year sentence.
Later police found video tapes of the crimes that were hidden in the couple’s residence, which showed Homulka as an active participant in the rapes and abuse of the 3 victims. The public was outraged at the 12 year deal she received, and they referred to the light sentence as the “The Deal with the Devil.”
The outrage stemmed from Homulka’s demeanor in the tapes, where she is seen smiling and enjoying the sexual encounters with the victims. Most believe that she deserved the same life sentence that her husband received.
It was well documented that Homulka’s husband physically abused his her. On many occasions she was taken to hospital with her face and body covered in bruises. She claimed that she was also one of his victims. She described herself upon meeting Bernardo, as a 17-year-old with no self-esteem, who was desperate to be loved and terrified that he would leave her. She claimed to have been the recipient of constant beatings and rapes. Prior to their marriage Bernardo was responsible for a dozen rapes and was given the nickname the Scarborough Rapist.
Upon her release in 2005, Homulka gave an interview, in which she stated, that while in prison she underwent counseling, as well as, many rehabilitation and self-improvement classes and realized that while with Bernardo, she suffered from Battered Wife Syndrome, she said she felt powerless and was terrified of displeasing her former spouse, because she knew she would ‘get it.’ She said that she smiled and participated in the assaults because she knew he would assault her as well, if she did not look convincing on film. To this day her participation and sentence remain controversial.
Krista met Tom online and they had a whirlwind romance. They moved in together in less than 3 months and seemed to be very happy. Tom always had several businesses on the go and never seemed to be at a loss for cash. His friends, jokingly, referred to him as, ‘a shady used car salesman. ‘ He was a slick, smooth-talking, charmer and he swept Krista off her feet. It wasn’t long before Tom bought a brand new house and moved Krista in. She couldn’t believe that at the age of 40 true love had finally found her.
It wasn’t long before their house of cards started to cave in. One of Tom’s money-making ideas was to set up a pornographic website. With Krista’s knowledge, he along with a professional photographer would auditioning girls for photo shoots and movies. Krista didn’t have any reason not to trust Tom. She went out of her way to make sure that Tom was satisfied sexually.
At the end of every work day she would perform oral sex on Tom. They experimented sexually and had three ways, with other women whenever Tom requested it. Even though Krista did not enjoy any of their sexual exploits she faithfully gave into his urges, so that he would be sexually satisfied at home and not look elsewhere.
From the outside things looked to be going great for the couple, that is, until the day Krista’s laptop stopped working. She needed to get an email out to her employees, so she went into Tom’s office and logged into his computer.
What she found on his desktop were dozens of videos of Tom having sexual encounters with the women on his website. The videos were date-stamped, so she knew they had occurred during their relationship. Krista naturally was very emotional when she confronted Tom, he tried to deflect his behavior back at her and when that didn’t work his behavior became physical.
Years after the relationship, Krista recalled being so afraid that he would leave her, that she performed these sex acts that she absolutely detested, that were way out of her comfort zone, to please him and make him happy. She felt so foolish for abandoning herself during that time and she vowed never to make the same mistake again.
When low self-esteem meets a crippling need to be loved, you have a recipe for disaster. Many Codependents harbor the belief that they have to do more, be more and give more, just to be loved. When you hold that core belief that you aren’t good enough and you’ve been starved for attention and affection throughout your childhood, you can get very confused by what real love looks like and you mistake control and manipulation as the real thing.
You will find a lot of Codependents going way out of their comfort zone sexually, as we illustrated here, but you’ll also find them making bad financial decisions, such as loaning or giving vast sums of money or their resources away to their love interests. They place their partners happiness above their own, they place their partners interests above theirs – they give all, on the unspoken promise that they will get the relationship and the love they want, in return. However, when you’re involved with an emotional manipulator, things never work out in your favor. Your needs and interests will never be a consideration of theirs and they lack the ability to understand the concept behind reciprocity, loyalty and compromise.
Even though the Codependent is doing all the giving, what is really going on here, in a twisted sense, is a play for control. The underlying belief of the Codependent is that if I give you way more than is humanly expected, you will be beholden to me and realize that I am indispensable and so you will have to stay with me, because no one else can, or will, give you what I can.
Thoughts to steer by:
- If just you, all by yourself, isn’t enough to sustain a relationship, nothing you give ever will – end it.
- If you are being asked to do something that it is beyond your comfort zone, don’t do it. It doesn’t mean don’t experiment or be adventurous, if that is what you want, but know where you line is and don’t cross it.
- If you feel antsy about loaning money or giving away something you value to your partner, trust that instinct and don’t do it.
- If you can’t afford to lose it – don’t give it.
- If it will harm you in anyway, at any level, don’t do it
- If it doesn’t mesh with your morals, views, beliefs or sense of decency, walk away.
- If your relationship is contingent upon you giving something or giving up something, then the price is too high and you let it go.
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I can relate to all these comments, as well as the article. I’m not co-dependent but was still seduced out of a stable and happy life by a domineering narcissistic abuser. I’m still dealing with deprogramming my brain of all the lies. I’m also dealing with the very complicated grief of missing him. I willingly allowed him to construct a fictional image of him as being a wonderful person. I clung to this story by my teeth!!
In fact not just sexually and financially, it was in every way. I actually found him boring but pretended to be interested, was welcoming to his friends the likes of who I would never have had contact with in the past. Babysat his kids while he was oh so tired he had to lie down with my computer and arrange dates with other women. Now I think about it, I can hardly believe that was me! I suppose being married to a narc for 25 years set me up for the Super Narc that followed and I was just so classic
Its disturbing what codependency can lead to. I used to think it was one of the more benign personality and emotional disorders because the intent of most codependents is to take care of others and do good. But over a long life (I’m 59) of many bad and confusing choices I can see all the damage I have caused and created, not just in myself but in my son. I watched my mother do SO much damage trying to find love. She was so toxic and had no clue because her generation pretty much trained women to be codependent. Really, we are trained to be malleable and prey and to be easily manipulated. My father was someone very manipulative and damaging at the level of sociopathy or psychopathy or something. Enid, I can so relate because I met my mirror image of my father at 48 and “fell in love” so irrevocably that I moved out of state to be with my dream man. Ironically — and thank God! — he was the catalyst to finally understand my father. When I read about pathological narcissism I suddenly understood a long and very confusing relationship that has impacted every aspect of my life and self-image. You do so much good, Savannah. It can’t be easy writing about this stuff week after week but I find I really need the repetition because I am rewiring a badly wired psyche. I have now been single since my last live-in N lover for five years and it has been a slow, sometimes grueling, journey through how I got formed into this person who self-sabotages, chooses predators, and has sexually and emotionally debased myself to get love. But its a specific kind of love. I repeat the confusing, conditional, cruel and mind-bending love I received from my father. Its what “turns me on.” Its my type. So hard to face and own and change. As weird as it sounds, because I had such a cunning and cruel father, I can relate to that woman who became a killer out of the need for love. I feel like an evil seed got planted in me by an evil father and it takes lots of courage, self-awareness and vigilance to choose differently. Thank you as always.
Thankyou for this very timely post Savannah. Sadly this describes me to a tee and I am pleased to say that I have managed to stay no -`contact with my last lifelong archetype (cluster B just like my dad) for nearly one month after a two year roller coaster, where I allowed myself to be manipulated financially, emotionally, sexually. I am embarassed to admit that I am 61.
The thing is, it was right in front of me, but I wouldn’t accept it as I was so charmed by his smooth talk & sorry for his health issues that he was obsessed with. I was warned by a lady in the group where I met him that he would ‘chew me up and spit me out” he even presented me with a written list of conditions that he required including the question “would I be resentful at the loss of my income if I had to give up my job to care for him?”; ” Would I agree to sex three times a week on his viagra schedule,( including oral sex.’) & he insisted I had a Brazilian as he found body hair disgusting. would I agree to pay for half the electricity when I visited him” this was after only 6 months together. I have a long list of other ways I sold myself out.
Enid you shouldn’t be embarassed because this has happened to you at 61…it’s not age dependent…It’s experience/life dependent. I also think there’s nothing wrong with naivety as long as we’re in loving hands. However, it’s rare when we are truly in loving hands, so often our naivity is a tool for others advancement. It’s when we are no longer advancing their egos and in my case, abandoned and left to the wolves…aha, that’s when we learn the hard way. Don’t think of having sold yourself out, (I understand if you do) but try to flip the coin to a more positive side and think, well, I’m not exactly proud of myself but what a lot I’ve learnt! And that you can be proud of, you have and they never will.
I am guilty of going out of my comfort zone sexually and financially. Never again! Lesson well and truly learnt thanks in part to you Savanah.