Lovefraud recently heard from Janine in Florida. Here is what she wrote:
In May it will be two years since I realized my ex-husband was a sociopath and every day I deal with the psychological nightmare that he has given me. I try so hard not to think about the destruction he has done to me…but every day it is there. Destroyed period.
How can one put this behind them?? Yes I have moved on with my life but every day in my mind what he did to me is there and will be in my brain forever. I have been told to forgive him and I do in a way because I realize how sick he is but it is still there!
Taken, abused, used, destroyed as a woman, as a human being and of course him shoving everything down my throat. Defaming my character, slandering me and doing his best to destroy my life. That is the hardest part, the man I helped the most in my life to live his dreams became my nightmare…I will carry this with me until my dying day.
Sociopaths charm their way into our lives, destroy us, and then leave. They go on their merry ways, and we are left with emotional train wrecks. Anger, shock, betrayal, disbelief, disappointment, sadness, shame, fear, grief, hatred, rage—all adding up to incredible pain. What are we to do with it?
I believe we must allow ourselves to feel it.
Facing the Fire
In 1993, I attended a workshop given by John Lee, author of Facing the Fire: Experiencing and Expressing Anger Appropriately. Lee talks about anger as a physical sensation that gets stuck in the body. Many of us walk around carrying decades of anger—childhood anger at our parents, anger from adolescent taunts, anger from previous husbands or wives. Unless we do something about it, the anger of the past stays there, affecting our present.
Anger builds into rage. Rage builds into numbness.
John Lee’s book offers techniques for dealing with our anger. Many of us try to intellectualize our anger away. This doesn’t work. Anger is a physical emotion that needs to be physically released. The idea is to do it without hurting other people or domestic animals. Lee suggests pounding pillows, twisting towels, stomping on the ground and breaking old cups and saucers into trash cans. We have to keep doing it until we experience a release.
To learn more on these ideas, read an interview with John Lee.
Experiencing the pain
When I finally learned that my ex-husband was a con man, that he had fathered a child with another woman during our marriage, that the $227,000 he took from me was gone, I had extreme anger—and all of those other negative emotions—adding up to incredible pain.
Luckily, I had employed John Lee’s techniques before—I tried them all, and found that punching pillows worked best for me. I also had a therapist who guided me in experiencing my pain. Because that is what needed to happen.
The pain had to come out, and the way to do it was physically. This meant punching pillows until I collapsed. It meant crying—deep, loud wails. It meant telling my ex-husband, emphatically, exactly how I felt—even though he wasn’t there to hear it.
Make no mistake, this is not pretty. It is best done in privacy, or with a skilled therapist. And it takes a long time, because there are layers and layers of pain—you dig one out, and another one surfaces.
But it works. I can honestly say that the pain is gone—not only the pain of the sociopath, but the pain I was carrying around beforehand that enabled me to fall for his lies.
I have recovered. I am happily remarried to a wonderful man. And I am peaceful.