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3 steps to leave a sociopath and start healing

It’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel on the road of life. To lose consciousness under the seeming weight of sorrows, trials and tribulations pounding you into the dirt. To forget to open your eyes to the wonders passing by. Everyday living has a numbing effect on reality. However, if you’re in relationship with someone who resembles the label of a sociopath, psychopath, narcissistic personality disordered or any other disorderly letter of the alphabet, it’s even easier to forget who you are and where you’re going. Staying awake drifts from your mind as you are drained by the numbing effect of his abuse. The deeper your drift, the further waking up races from possibility.

When we’re in an abusive relationship, we’ll do a lot to avoid waking up, including sleep walking our way through each passing day. But, sleep walking can be deadly. One day can lead to one year which can roll into a decade. Decades pass and you wind up living life on the edge of consciousness, one eye on the door waiting to see what comes in. The other eye is searching for an exit sign, hoping for an opening where it’s the right time, right day, right place to step away, step free, get going away from his abuse. If you are in a relationship where your reasons for staying revolve around slamming doors, fear rising and freedom vanishing, it’s time to wake up and ask yourself, What am I doing?

Yes, it’s hard to leave. Yes, there are 101 reasons why you can’t do it. But, whether you do it today, or do it in a year, the children who keep you there, the financial stress that holds you back, the fear that keeps you shaking, will still be there. Excuses endure. An abuser endures too.

An abuser will do everything he can to make you believe it’s all your fault. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince you that you cannot leave him. Don’t believe him. He’s lying. It’s imperative you face the truth. Prince charming has turned into the prince of darkness. It isn’t some ‘other guy’ hitting you. It’s him. The man you fell in love with. The one who promised to love you ’til death do us part.’ He just forgot to mention, he took the ‘death part’ really seriously. Remember, you didn’t create the monster raging in front of your eyes. And you are powerless to stop him being who he is. Your power lives in stopping his abuse in your life by stepping away from the source of your pain. His abuse.

To end abuse, you must wake-up to its reality

Waking up from abuse isn’t easy. But then, sleep-walking through life is no way to live free of abuse.

Being in an abusive relationship isn’t easy, either, nor is leaving. This isn’t about what’s easy. It’s about what is right. For you. For your children. For your future. It would be nice to keep believing that he has all your answers. It’s just not true. Nobody, regardless of what the abuser says, has your answers. You do. Nobody has the right to tell you where to go, when to go, where to sit, what to wear, what to say. Nobody has the right to tell you who you are. Abusers assume the right and we assume they’re right under the weight of their abuse.

Facing the truth that we have the power to change the abuse in our life, but not the abuser, can be terrifying. It puts us at the centre of our existence, and after having lived so long on the periphery of our lives, it’s frightening to wake-up and claim centre stage. Yet, it’s imperative that we wake up to the truth. It could be a decision between life and death.

Wake-up and make a difference in your life

There is a way to wake-up from the nightmare of abuse and live the life of your dreams. Here are some steps you can take to make a difference in your own life and let go of the difference abuse is making in keeping you stuck in the living nightmare of someone else’s crazy-making antics.

Step 1 No More Lies

Stop and really listen to yourself. Are you afraid? Are you repeating all the bad things he says about you again and again in your head? Are you frightened of speaking up, speaking out, standing up for yourself? If you answered yes, then it’s time to quit lying to yourself and everyone else. What he’s doing is wrong. It isn’t normal. Quit trying to justify his bad behaviour. Quit making you the reason he hits you. You’re not. Quit being the victim of his abuse. When the voices of self-doubt rise up, remind yourself, those are his words speaking, not my truth. Find your own truth. Let go of his lies.

Recently I was working with a woman who had finally left an abusive marriage after 16 years. A single mother of four children, two of them with serious health issues, she struggled with the responsibility of accepting, in staying for those 16 years, she had made choices that affected her life and her children’s lives. But I was a victim, she said.

I’m with Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear). The first time someone hits me, I’m a victim. The second time, I’ve made a choice to be there. With that first hit he gave me a clear indication of all that he was capable of. In staying, I chose to ignore the warning. I chose to make a decision based on escalating anger, behaviours that I knew were out of whack with ‘normal’. Behaviours that scared me. I stayed because I was too afraid to leave.

The woman and I talked about her fears of being accountable in having chosen to stay.

“But that means I asked for it,” she said.

“No.” I replied. “It means you made a choice to believe the unbelievable after he hit you once. You chose to believe, he’d never do it again, thus making it acceptable he’d done it once. At no time, however, does it mean you deserved it. No one deserves abuse. No one deserves to be hit or screamed at or called names. That behaviour is not about who we are, it’s about who they are and what we’re willing to accept. You never deserved to be hit, and you never asked for it. You chose to stay. When we accept responsibility for our choices, we empower ourselves to make different choices.”

That is the gift and power of no more lies. We quit denying our role in staying and applaud ourselves by having the courage to leave.

Step 2 Let go of someday thinking and never say never

Let go of someday thinking and never say never. There is no such time as someday and never never happens. Listen to what you’re saying. Do you think in someday terms? Do you say to yourself, “Someday I’m just going to get up, pick up the kids and walk out of here. I don’t care if I have a penny to my name, if I don’t have a job. I don’t care what the neighbours think or what he says, someday I’m not going to take this anymore.”

A woman I worked with decided one day that she had had enough. Eleven years into the relationship she woke up one morning and realized, he was never going to change. He liked things just the way they were. She packed up her twins, ran to a shelter and has never looked back.

Three years later she says, “I didn’t have any money when I was with him and I didn’t have any money when I left. Nothing was different the day I packed up except I let go of thinking about someday and did it now. My life is way better than it ever was with him. I still don’t have much money, but I’m not being abused. And without his angry outbursts and unpredictable behaviour, I am able to make plans, go back to school, get a job, take care of my twins. I have way more energy and I know I’m going to be okay. I didn’t know that when I was with him.”

He isn’t going to change. He doesn’t have to. And all the wishful thinking in the world will not make it happen someday.

Give it up. Let it go. Shake it out and quit planning on someday. Start planning on the date when you get free. Set a date. A timeline. A target. Plan. If you fear for your life in leaving, don’t tell him anything about your plans. Just do it. There is no such time as someday and never never happens.

Step 3: Find help

We suffer abuse alone – except for our children of course. They’re part of it too but we try not to think of that very often when we’re rationalizing staying for their sake. Mostly, however, we suffer abuse alone, especially in our heads.

We repeat again and again what he said, what he did, what we didn’t do. We talk about if only I had… We think about, one day, maybe. And then we suffer silently in our heads.

To leave, you need help. Get it. Don’t make excuses. Don’t say, but he’ll find out. He’ll know I’m up to something. Be as secretive and cautious as you must, but get help.

After I was released from the living hell I endured for 4 years 9 months with the abusive man who went to jail and is no longer in my life, I realized, he knew I wouldn’t lie to him. He knew I couldn’t lie to him. I believed he was omnipotent. I believed he knew everything I did and said.

He made sure to paint the picture in such a way, I believed he did. Sometimes, he’d phone and ask, “Is there something you need to tell me?”

“I love you,” I’d quickly reply.

“I’m serious. Is there something you need to tell me?”

I’d rack my brain. “No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” my voice more hesitant.

“You know I hate liars. You know I need to trust you completely.”

I’d pause and look back over my day frantically searching for a transgression. Oh no! I’d had lunch with a male friend from work. How did he know? Quietly, I’d tell him the truth. And then I’d apologize. I’d hang up and wonder, how did he know?

He didn’t. He was just really good at making me feel guilty for doing nothing wrong.

I needed help. I never looked for it. Every time I thought about leaving, of contacting someone for help, I’d remind myself of all the lies he’d told me. My phones were tapped. Men were listening in. Watching me. Tailing me. Taking pictures of me unawares. I’d remember the times he phoned and told me he liked the dress I was wearing that day. How did he know? I hadn’t told him and hadn’t seen him. He didn’t have to see me. He didn’t have to know the actual dress. As long as he kept me guessing, I’d never wake up to the realization he’d never actually described the dress I was wearing, just said he’d liked it.

I never went for help. Never reached out. Never asked. I almost died. And through it all, I never gave up my magical thinking that one day, someone, somewhere would make it all stop. Make it all go away. Make him love me again. Make him be Prince Charming again. Make me okay. Maybe even, make him forgive me for having caused so much trouble in his life.

It never happened. I knew what was happening to me was wrong, but I could never face the truth. In running from the truth, I ran into his lies and believed I was the cause of his bad behaviour. I was just the recipient. I was never responsible for his lies. Just my own when I quit believing the truth of what was happening to me, and bought into the lies he told me. His bad behaviour could never stop as long as I stayed with him.

Ask for help. Get informed. Google ‘how to leave an abusive relationship’. There’s lots of ideas and help online. Make sure you look up what to do to erase your Internet footprints. Make sure you keep yourself safe. And DO IT. You have to take the steps to get free. No one else can do it for you.

Leaving him isn’t easy. Healing takes time, but healing cannot begin until you get free. Whether you do it today, tomorrow or five years down the road, healing will always take time, but it can’t begin until that moment in time when you close the door behind you and leave him and his abuse in the past.

Do it and start healing.

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142 Comments on "3 steps to leave a sociopath and start healing"

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  1. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Desert flower,

    Sigh, I feel so sorry for you having to ahve contact with this man. Does he know where you work and live? (are you in the US?)

    I also wonder if it is worth it to try to even get child support? Would you be better off to let him off the hook for child support completely IN EXCHANGE FOR HIM HAVING NO CONTACT WITH YOU OR THE KIDS? You are I am sure having to fight for every dollar of child support as it is, so if you are not in desperate need of the money, think about the “selling out” for peace. It might be worth your life. God bless you. Hang in there.

    PS Welcome to LoveFraud BTW.

  2. desert flower says:

    Hi Oxy, he does nit know where I live (that I know of) and many times offered to give up rights to the xhildren if he didn’t have to pay. Problem is, in the US, or at least in my west coast state the children would have to be adopted by my new husband. This has been thought about and considered, but then what’s to stop the x from contacting the kids direct, on Facebook and such? We know sociopaths don’t honor commitments, laws or wishes of another, do his signing away of rights would only relieve him of financial responsibility and not guarantee that he disappears.

  3. mysalvation says:

    Wow, did I need to read this… today, right now. Thanks to Donna for referring me to this blog. Im 2 1/2 months post last violent attack from my spath husband. My hip is still slightly askew and bruised, and my spine is in pain every day. I blamed myself for a long time.

    This article helped put in perspective what I am facing and to what lengths he will go to. Im starting to think he would rather both of us lose all our money than to have to admit he committed a crime in attacking me for which he has been convicted criminally (and I also have criminal and civil protective orders). I spent all my money on the house and him. He keeps filing motions and counter claims and racking up false allegations which increase costs alot. If he doesnt stop his abuse of me via the legal system he is going to end up paying the lawyers all his money and in his mind that is justified… if there isnt anything left then I get nothing back, and THAT would make him “happy” although Im not certain he knows what being genuinely happy feels like. That is the warped thinking I am dealing with from him right now.

    Im having great difficulty with accepting it was never real, the way regular people experience real. My feelings were very real and when it was good it was the best, when it was bad, it was the worst, but then the countless days in between when you didnt know who was going to walk through the door. Would he say hello to me today, nope. Would he scan the house to make sure it was perfect, usually. Would he withhold more intimacy if 1 bed was not made right, yup.

    These 3 steps should be tremendously helpful at this particular point in time. Thanks for posting it!

  4. Ox Drover says:

    Dear MySalvation,

    Welcome to LoveFraud! Keep on reading, and reading and READING! It is important to read the things you need to hear over and over….and there is support here, you are NOT ALONE. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY EITHER! LOL

    This place has been the salvation of myself and many other people and can help you dig yourself out of the pits you have lived in for so long.

    NO CONTACT is the only way to survive, and thrive…and you will! God bless (((hugs))) and again, welcome.

  5. serenity12 says:

    I have just ended a 4 year crazy relationship and I am reading these blogs and wonder if I’m looking for an excuse for the craziness, or was it me? Or is he in fact a sociopath? So many of the symptoms are similar, but some are not…. or maybe I can’t see them? I sometimes feel I myself began to display the same type of things and I’m very confused… All I know is that I never felt this way before I met him and feel totally manipulated and out of control… could someone help set me straight if I share my story? I’m fully prepared to take blame here for the “psychopath” he thought I was, but I want to be as straight up as possible. Maybe I am a psychopath…I certainly feel like one after this crazy ride….

    I have been in a terrible relationship for 4 years that started as an affair on his long time girlfriend who just had his baby and were living together. We had worked together and became friends and he claimed to be “unhappy in his current situation” so we talked a lot at first yada yada we ended up starting an intimate relationship. A very highly charged sexual relationship for about the 1st 6 months we would have sex every day many times 2-3 times/day whenever we could squeeze it in. He was TOTALLY lying to his GF about where he was etc….I understand I was making a moral error but he CONSTANTLY told me that he and her were not happy and just living with each other for the child. And that’s how I justified it…or was that a manipulation? The love and intense attention he gave me with texts, phone calls, of course made me fall madly in love with him.

    For the next year this continued, I’d constantly end it as he wasn’t making initiatives to leave his “unhappy situation” and he’d CONSTANTLY come back with promises and plans for us to be a couple. I totally bought into it. He promised EVERY day that he was leaving her and that they were totally done he just didn’t want to “hurt her” or risk having her leave town with the child to move back home to where her family was. It got SO stressful and SO intense that one night I SNAPPED and wrote her an email and told her EVERYTHING!! After speaking with her and we exchanged stories we realized he was TOTALLY lying to me, and obviously to her. His idea of “them just living together for the child” was COMPLETELY inaccurate.

    We didn’t speak for 7 days and I was 100% sure I would never have to see or talk to him again. One evening, I received a phone call from his GF. They were fighting about what happened and she wanted some answers as he was trying DESPERATELY to salvage something with her. Telling her I was crazy and the reason he stayed with me because I was threatening to hurt myself or he and his family??? TOTALLY FALSE!!

    He was thrown out on the street by her and who does he call? Me. Shows up on my doorstep looking for a place to stay. I’m not sure why I let him back in. He bawled all night saying things like “this is all my father’s fault” etc…. also threatening to end his own life….

    I took off to LA for 2 months during my summer break. During that time I moved on, stabled myself, felt normal again, and even dated a few people…. the last week I was there he wanted to come down to visit. I allowed this believing that he had changed by the convincing things he said. Of course we had a great week and I felt intense love. We decided to try when I returned.

    It has been a year since that time…the last year as a “real” couple has been where I have seen these behaviors. All the while I wanted out and I’d even pick ridiculous fights but he’d ALWAYS manipulate me back…The emotional turmoil got bad….he was CONSTANTLY jealous and would often bring up the summer when I dated other people as “cheating on him” and when I would bring up the affair he’d justifiy it by saying “you did it too in the summer with those 2 people you dated” He was OBSESSED with what I did during the yr of the affair and hacked my facebook, email, looking for anything. He found a few notes from various people in my life that I had an ABSOLUTE right to speak to as HE wasn’t leaving his situation.

    Things in the past 6 months have been crazy for me. I feel I went crazy. I found he was pushing me away more and it was MY fault and I became obsessed with trying to prove who I am and that I’m a good person. He would ignore my phone calls, yell at me, and I’d fight my way back…like I was obsessed… then he’d call me a crazy stalker and that the only reason he’d take me back was so I wouldn’t kill myself?? The sad thing is is that sometimes it got so bad I wanted to! I became a full out alcoholic to deal with the pain and made some stupid decisions like reaching out to his ex etc. All to PROVE that I am faithful, trustworthy, and would make a great partner. In the end, I ended up looking like a pathetic loser chasing him and he not wanting anything to do with me….saying “don’t ever text me again” etc…I walk away confused and feeling like a crazy person.

    My friends and family say I’m NOT crazy and these are not my regular patterns. They all have heard my story(he always said that I told it wrong and didn’t tell them how crazy I was) but they say he was displaying sociopathic behavior. Signs I noticed that compare to what I’ve read:
    1. no morals in terms of relationships (hurt his ex, and I’m sure cheated on me) but doesn’t display that with his relationships with people in his life.
    2. HUGE ego. Always wants me to praise him. Talks about all the women he’s slept with etc.
    3. Aggressive (always refers to himself as an alpha male) very intense during sex and displays almost a creepy stare of intensity
    4. Had a huge criminal past as a teen(was in a latino gang etc)
    5. His dad was physically abusive to his mom and he blames a lot of himself on this
    6. He’s hot and cold. One minute he hates me the next he loves me.
    7. He blames everyone for his problems. Its always my fault and he NEVER apologizes.
    8. Of course the CONSTANT LYING (in the end he was trying to screw another girl while we were still hanging on….he claims he still stayed w me because he “cared” and was afraid I’d hurt myself and wouldn’t stop texting….which was true(the texting part) but lied many times about that
    9.During sex he would say weird things like “tell me you love me” “tell me I’m the only one” etc
    10. He’s late often, SO disorganized, buys objects (Like 2 motorcycles he can’t afford) never uses them.

    Writing this I realize how nuts it all sounds but all I can say is that I was in LOVE with him and was forcing things to change that I just couldn’t…and I couldn’t figure out why he had no remorse, had an idea of me that he COULD NOT change, and I became obsessed with proving to him who I was… The part where I’m stuck is that he wasn’t abusive verbally or physically. He was very nice to me, he’s very nice to others and people like him a lot and he is respected… He also is a very good and responsible father… so those things don’t match up. I’m stuck, I’m hurt, I can’t make sense of this all. Any thoughts would be appreciated…and if its me its me I can accept that…I just need to sort it out to start over.

    Thanks

  6. skylar says:

    Serenity,
    you don’t have to post your story 3 times, someone WILL respond with just one post. Me, for example. You can delete the others if you want.

    You had me voting “spath” when you wrote, “an affair on his long time girlfriend who just had his baby and were living together.”

    He lies and cheats, the rest is just par for the course.

    They do make us feel and act crazy, just like them! They do this because they want us to become like them: sick.

    You will get better the longer you stay away from him.

    The one thing I would say that you need to do, is check your moral compass. You knew he was with someone else. You knew it was wrong to deceive her. But you did it anyway. If you want to avoid running into another situation like that, you need to make sure you have morals and integrity. Any chip in that armor and you will be prey to another spath.

    That said, I’m sorry for the pain you’ve been through. I hope that you will heal and that you will learn and gain from the experience. For me, my spath encounter(s) have allowed me to grow beyond anything I’d ever imagined. So have hope, you will get through this and heal, hopefully stronger than ever.

  7. serenity12 says:

    Skylar, lol I am a virgin blogger so I didn’t know the rules….I’ll delete the others thanks.

    Thanks for the response. I realize I was making excuses for myself and justifying for too long. Thanks for the reality check in the fact that I have to fix myself in order not to attract more.

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