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ASK DR. LEEDOM: FAQ #1 “Why is this so hard for us mentally?”

The question victims of sociopaths most frequently ask is, “Why am I having such a hard time getting beyond this?” I am going to give an answer, but I’m afraid that since the answer is intellectual and not emotional, it may not feel complete or satisfactory. This is how a reader phrased this question:

It’s interesting because it seems like a lot of members on the board (myself included) have mentioned how difficult it is to get rid of thoughts of their sociopath. They seem to haunt us even after they have left our lives. As if the damage and destruction was not enough, they continue to be a part of our lives through our minds.

We have to acknowledge that this question is not only asked by victims of sociopathy. Many people who have suffered the loss of a significant intimate relationship ruminate for a long time. As far as I know there are no studies directly comparing victims of sociopaths to widows/widowers and divorced people. The presence of depression definitely increases this rumination in divorced and widowed people. It is highly recommended that people who have suffered loss, and who have sleep and appetite disturbance with excessive preoccupation be considered for antidepressants.

Many things contribute to the depression that is experienced after a relationship with a sociopath. Depression is learned helplessness. Sociopaths increase helplessness in victims by their exploitive care-taking behavior that is disguised as love. I personally experienced at least two examples of this. While I was pregnant, my former husband drove me to work, saying he was concerned about me. Effectively, I didn’t drive or go any where alone for nearly a year. He also ordered lunch for me everyday. These small things add up and increase reliance on the sociopath. Then, when the sociopath is gone, victims have to regain their autonomy.

At the beginning of a relationship, sociopaths determine what a victim’s most sacred dreams are. They then proceed to convince the victim that they are the answer to those dreams. Victims often feel that the sociopath is their dream come true, not realizing that they told the sociopath their dreams and the sociopath then used the information to deceive. No one wants to give up his/her most sacred dream. Sociopaths know this and count on it. This fact makes victims enter a state of denial in order to preserve the illusion that these dreams have come true. When that state of denial is finally broken, depression sets in. The depression is about a feeling of hopelessness that the things wanted most in life will never be achieved.

In addition to depression, anxiety greatly affects adjustment to the loss of a relationship. In the wake of a relationship with a sociopath, victims are often left with financial problems, fear of the IRS and police, no friends and severed family ties. It is no wonder there is massive anxiety here! Our minds are preprogrammed to seek relief from anxiety through our love relationships. Because of this preprogramming, anxiety will increase thoughts of the sociopath. One Lovefraud reader stated recently, “I am learning that if I can reduce the anxiety which is the most uncomfortable thing to live with, then I can focus on moving forward.” The anxiety experienced during the relationship with the sociopath also enhances the psychological bond. I have discussed this in previous posts.

The bottom line is that in order to even begin to recover, you have to overcome depression and anxiety. If you are not able to do this alone please get help. With all the advances in medicine there is no reason to suffer. Also realize that you cannot overcome anxiety and depression without taking care of yourself. Stop smoking, eat a healthy diet, do not drink alcohol. Alcohol will weaken your coping and interfere with your sleep. You also need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. You also need to find good social support. Social support is the best natural treatment of anxiety there is.



250 Comments on "ASK DR. LEEDOM: FAQ #1 “Why is this so hard for us mentally?”"

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  1. behind_blue_eyes says:

    OMG. No two words better describe what happened to me than “betrayal-bonding.” I put much trust in Jamie that was traumatically shattered.

    I will get the book.

    Thanks.

  2. tobehappy says:

    Behind blue eyes…

    THAT book pretty much cured me of PTSD. I realized WHY I was so obsessed with thinking of him ….It was NOT because I loved him. I was the one who broke up with him.

    Its DEFINITELY an early feeling….Once I read that book and then THE POWER OF NOW…and joined the gym…I was moving forward so fast!

    I felt like a million dollars! And stronger than ever.

    I started focusing on ME ME ME!

    It was miraculous.

    And, after reading Alice Millers articles …I actually feel sorry for these socios. They are miserable deep down. Of course, not enough to want them in my life! I want HEALTHY people in my life who are secure and happy. Insecure people will always hurt you. And, socios live on fear and run and are really angry little insecure people.

    I have insecurities, but I have raised my self esteem more than ever in the last few months. I consider myself a SURVIVOR now. I WAS a victim as a child…and as an adult.
    NO more……As Leona Lewis sings…..”Just want to be happy”.

    And, I am.

  3. silvermoon says:

    Hi 2b!

    How’s it going??

  4. Matt says:

    Re: “The Betrayal Bond”

    This is a great book. It helped me to see that my “conditioning” to being receptive to abuse and all the other mistreatment handed down by a long string of people, culminating in my S-ex, began at the hands of a malignant N mother and S father. The problem was, after reading “The Betrayal Bond” was that I still didn’t understand how my parents were able to take such complete and total control over my life.

    Control is the operative word. You have to understand how you let people control you. And let me tell you, you have to be conditioned to allow people to control you. To figure out how that happened, and in my opinion it can often be traced to our upbringing, I recommend “If You Had Controlling Parents” by Dan Neuharth. In the book he breaks down the kinds of control parents can exercise over their kids. At the start of the book he asks you to answer 67 questions. I answered yes to 65 out of the 67. My parents basically exercised every kind of control over me. After that book I understood why I felt like a marionette whose strings were pulled by two martinets.

    Of course, I read “Controlling Parents” way before I read “Betrayal Bond”. It was the latter book that finally helped me understand why I continued to allow myself to be abused by the people in my life.

    Control leads to betrayal leads to control leads to betrayal. And on and on and on.

    Bottom line, read both books. Both will help you to understand and learn to prevent what took place in your life.

  5. tobehappy says:

    Hi Matt…

    Funny, I just recommended that book to someone on another thread! Betrayal Bond is so healing. We need to understand and unravel the confusion to heal.

    Once I did the exercises, it was totally enlightening to why I made the choices in who to let into my life…friends, boyfriends…husband. I was so confused before I read this book, among other feelings…hurt, angry, betrayal.

    Now I just had some sadness that people don’t realize that they were abused and were victims and then they abuse their children and then the cycle goes on and on.

    I’m glad I broke it by divorcing the father of my children. He was abusing me and then the children. I was not going to put my children through the abuse I lived through in my life.

    Yes, they feel the neglect of him not being part of their lives, but they understand that he is disordered. I taught them about abuse and why some people make the choice to become the monster that they cannot beat.

    Thank you for the book suggestion.

  6. tobehappy says:

    Hi Silvermoon!

    I’m doing great. How are you? …..
    I’ve had a crazy two weeks…did my NY film documentary on my life! Watch out for it…we might air it on tv! lol!!!

    My daughter has had me running to NY for auditions for film and modelling jobs. Its always an adventure.

    I am back to the gym …car repair kept me away for 5 days! I’m on my special diet program in the gym and I am back to working out.

    I’m still waiting to go into mediation with my house and hopefully I will be able to stay here.

    I’m still in therapy, individual and group and reading alot about life and people and spiritual books too. I learned to meditate and its helping alot.

    I did get a trigger … a text from the xbf. He sent me one on April 18 and now one last Friday….

    He said “OMG I still miss you and love you so much and I am so sorry”

    I had some different reactions to this…

    First..shock.
    Then, sadness….feeling love for him and that he is stupid to screw things up.
    Then anger….even though I was the one who ended it…he zapped me in the end.

    I didn’t respond, because it would open up communication. But, I did answer him in my head for a few days…asking questions….telling him off…..etc…

    I am not ready to speak with him and I feel that he doesn’t deserve me in his life..not even a text …after how he treated me. I don’t want to deal with disordered people anymore. No matter what I text him…it will make him happy to get my attention and I don’t think he deserves a wonderful woman like me in his life!!!!

    So, I’m taking care of ME. If he died, I’d live on….and find a healthy person to love and to love me…eventually.

    Right now I am bettering myself in any way that I could. Exercise is the best!!! I’m addicted to my gym!!!

    Lots of nice people there too!

  7. silvermoon says:

    YAY YOU!

    I’m working my *.* off and getting ready to move and, and and looking for any one of a half dozen possible miracles with the company I’m helping to start.

    Looks like my insult will complete its legal process before mid summer. Goodness its slow.

    Power Of NOW is AWESOME, so is Betrayal Bond. And so is just bein’ here.

    Glad things are well with you:)

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