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Releasing the pain inflicted by a sociopath

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.



88 Comments on "Releasing the pain inflicted by a sociopath"

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  1. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Darwin’s mom,

    Well, I’m 64, be 65 later this year, and all my old injuries have arthritis an you know how that goes, but Am getting as much exercise as these old bones will tolerate, to keep up bone strength and muscle tone, which is good for someone my age, actually. I had good physical heredity so that helps of course. Just packed on the pounds “comfort eating”—-mowing grass with a push mower, 1 hour and 20 minutes yesterday and will do that much again today, pulling brush from tree trimming, and walking quite a bit….standing more and sitting less…eating my food as unprocessed as possible, oat groats, etc. and lots and lots of low calorie veggies; carrots, green beans, etc.

    Relearning about cooking —doing it without salt—and reading labels to find “hidden salt” in things and eliminating those things.
    Cooking pretty much from “scratch” and eating as many things that are “natural” as possible. I raise my own meat so it is grass fed rather than corn fed and therefore higher in Omegas and lower in the saturated fats than commercial meats.

    Put those ciggies down GIRL!!!!! You can do it! If necessary get you some nicotine replacement and use it for a short time. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I finally quit. I still get the urges from time to time….as much now as when I first quit…but I resist them for ME and they soon pass. Should have done it decades ago. But glad that I did finally quit. My chronic cough also almost immediately quit too and lung function tests showed I actually have pretty good lung function for someone who is a) this old and b) a big time smoker, so got lucky with my genetics again.



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  2. darwinsmom says:

    Sounds like the best dietary habbits you can have, Oxy!!!

    Used to be vegetarian for years. But doing 5 meals a day on a bodyweight workout program, made that too hard to make sure I’d get the needed protein. So, after a decade, I’m eating meat again.

    I should put the smokes down again. I was so proud of myself over it. And actually it was pretty easy. I did smoke a puff of pot once in a while when the puffing urge became too much. And I puffed from 1 cigar spread across a month time. It was stupid. I wanted to buy myself a cigar to puff from a little on my birthday. Bt they didn’t have a good large one, so ended up buying a pack of small cigars. So, while I haven’t touched a ciggie yet, I’m smoking small cigars now. Ugh.

    I need to quit them soon again, to have good lungs for the Andes in another 2 months! I quit in September because my doctor told me I was at the starting stage of chronic bronchitis.

    I guess, I picked the habbit up again, because I felt everything was failing around me: fiance, the knee, the extreme budgeting…. 🙁



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  3. Ox Drover says:

    YOu can do it Darwin’s mom, I know you can….just get some of the nicotine replacements, I used the lozenges rather than the gum as it seemed to “hold” me better, then I tapered off until I got where I could do with out them.

    My chronic bronchitis is not apparent any more, I seldom cough and having had even a cold since I quit smoking…and lowered the stress levels. I’ve only been on the really good diet since October, but that is 7 months now, so my weight loss is SLOW for sure, and I’ve been at a stand still on wt loss for aobut 6 or 8 weeks now, so need to increase the exercise more and decrease the food more.

    I’ve had some medication changes and that may be why I am craving carbs more….and giving in…but it is fruits and nuts mostly, but still more calories than I need to lose weight with, so got to cut it out.

    The sodium was the biggie, and I CRAVED salt and ate way too much salt my entire life, now foods taste much better without the salt masking the real flavors and even my son is getting used to much much less salt in his foods as I cook the same for him as for me most of the time and he has to add salt if he wants more, he is adding much less and getting to like the food as well.

    I felt deprived when I first started the low sodium diet, but now am seeing it as a challenge to recreate my favorite meals low sodium, or even essentially salt free! Now I don’t feel “deprived” but see it as being CREATIVE instead. Just a change of attitude.



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  4. darwinsmom says:

    Actually, I did it cold turkey in September, and puffed pot (1-3 puffs) a night for not even two weeks. So I can do it cold turkey. It was easy, cause I was so motivated. So, finding the motivation within me… being able to start exercising again, will probably do the trick. Being able to get on that Inca trail without heaving and puffing halfway up, will help as well.

    Yeah, your taste buds adjust to the strength and flavour of food. Before I was vegetarian, I never understood why vegetarians make faces and point at their plate and say “there was meat in that dish!!!”. But once you adapt to a diet where you don’t eat meat anymore and then after a long while end up having some bbq meat sauce on your salad, it’s like the taste buds explode. Meat flavour is very strong. That’s why at first vegetarian meals seem so bland. They are if you’re going for soy-meat, a spoon of veggies and a big spoon of carbs. The diet works well though, if you make mixed plates of litte pieces of different tastes of it: a cheese with a strong flavour, different fruits, with different varieties of salads, and some burned nuts, a good vineagre… and it becomes a feast.

    I imagine it’s the same for saltless food.

    The 5 meals a day ends up being creative too, and I actually end up using all the food I have in the fridge. Open the fridge and look what is in there, grab a small piece of frozen meat (not even able to see what it is) and just mix it up.

    But yesterday and today it was spagetti, using the vegetables I had. Very satisfying. Couldn’t eat much of it though. Felt stuffed after a couple of bites.

    Another advantage with break up (or falling in love)… natural diet. Lost 4 kgs of the 15 I gained since September.



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  5. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Darwin’s mom,

    Yea, I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks at least….and I am the queen of the one-dish meal…and I cook ahead as well…so actually don’t cook every day. I cook my oat groats a week at a time and just microwave them warm in the mornings…saves time. Then I have developed some “milk shakes” that I make in the blender with 2 cups of skim milk and some flavorings that are filling and low calorie and help hydrate me as well. Then have a nice dinner with 4 ounces of my grass fed beef, veggies and some low salt bread or crackers. Then snacks of fruit and nuts. Sometimes I eat meat and veggies for lunch too, or tuna, but I try not to eat too much tuna because of mercury….My meat is actually only about 1% fat and I have trimmed off any visible fat, so actually am eating very low fat, and high fiber as I add flax meal to oat groats in the morning, and make some muffins sometimes with the oat groats and oat flower, with flax meal added in.

    Occasionally I will make a lower calorie cake like for a special occasion, like my son’s B-day, but try to stay away from too much white flour….use whole grain corn meal I grind myself and make corn bread, keep eggs to a minimum but what I use are organic free range duck eggs. Lots of green beans, green peas, carrots, peppers, some beans and rice, and tomatoes and garlic in everything. LOL

    Have some great casserole meals that are low calorie, low sodium, and even have no sodium baking powder and no sodium baking soda, and all kinds of spices that are NO sodium. Have the sodium down to 500-750 most days and do most cooking from scratch. Use crock pot a lot too, especially in the summer and am working on making different breads with whole wheat and oat flours (in a machine) and keeping sodium low on that too.

    Am finding that a good diet, along with exercise is upping my moods as well, that and getting outside more in the sun light. I’ve always tended to have seasonal affect disorder (winter time depression) and sunlight makes a big difference in how I feel emotionally. My doctor who is a really young sweet, and very smart doctor who works in the clinic I worked in when I was doing rural health care (I’m a retired nurse practitioner) is amazed at how I ahve become so OCD about my health. She said she had never seen a “primary care provider who was a compliant patient before!” LOL But you know, I’ve preached good nutrition and self care all my life to others, now it is time for me to PRACTICE IT if I want to keep my health into my “golden years” and so it is do it or die!



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  6. pollyannanomore says:

    Hi Oxy and Darwin’s Mom
    Sounds like you two have made some major changes in diet since your spath encounters… I have too. When I was with him my diet fell to crap – it ended up consisting of mainly toast, crackers, takeout and junk. I’d try to get healthy food going in the house, but the effort was just too hard to fight against him. And when you’re crying or upset most days, it’s easy to see you don’t have energy or motivation to source and cook healthy foods. So I’m pretty deficient and that’s my reason for not doing HCG … much as though I’d like the easy ride, I think my system is just too fragile at the moment. I’ve got quite a bit of hair falling out – apparently this is caused by the iron and vit b12 deficiency so I’m hoping it slows down soon or I’ll be bald lol!

    I’ve been reading a fair whack about inflammation lately and how it is the foundation of lots of disease – particularly relevant to me as I have inflammation in shoulder muscles causing severe pain. Apparently 52% of each meal needs to be raw … cooked food sets up an automatic inflammatory reaction, but raw food doesn’t. So if you eat half raw it kind of fools the body into thinking the rest of the meal will be raw too and the inflammatory process doesn’t set up.

    I find it tough to cook living alone – I prefer to cook for two 🙁 And the dog and cat just don’t count! I’m also the queen of one pot meals … really have developed a romance with my crockpot (aka slow cooker) lately … of course it means identical meals for several nights but after a long day at work I can’t be bothered to do much more than heat something 🙂



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  7. panther says:

    Oh beautiful! Punching pillows might work, but I will check out that link for other ideas too.

    I definitely need to do this. YEARS of pain is right, building.

    And it worked for you? Then I am going to try it too, if you say it worked.



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