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Love in the aftermath of a sociopathic encounter

Life continually delivers up opportunities to grow, to learn, to shift my perceptions, to experience new things, to embrace new ideas, to let go and let change happen. Since the sociopath has been gone from my life, the lessons I’ve embraced are ones that support me. They’re lessons that enrich my life with love and laughter.

I’ve been dating C.C. for four months now. Known him for three years. I know who he is. I know his values. His beliefs. I know he is true. And still, sometimes, I feel the fear of the past haunting me.

Recently, I stayed late at the office trying to clear up a project I need to have finished by the end of the month.

It was dark by the time I got home, but the house was lit and welcoming. C.C. had come over earlier to feed the dogs and when I entered he was busy hanging the toilet paper roll holder in the bathroom. The old one had fallen off some time ago and I had not gotten around to replacing it. A delicious aroma of food cooking permeated the air and on the stove a stir fry simmered. The dogs raced to the door to greet me, C.C. gave me a welcoming kiss and I had nothing to do but come in, take off my coat and sit down to a delightful dinner.

What could be more perfect? A handyman and a chef all in one waiting for my home-coming!

Some experiences are so delicious they need to be savoured slowly. After dinner I took the dogs for a walk while C.C. listened to the hockey game on the radio and then left to go play a game of his own.

Coming home to a man who is doing things for me is a unique experience. Never had that happen with the sociopath. I was always doing for him. I was always the one cramming everything in, continually taking care of what needed to be done so that he could relax, destress. unwind. To have someone do that for me is a new experience. A new sensation.

And sometimes, that can be scary.

Consciously, I know the past is not the future — unless I make it so. My subconscious, however, doesn’t always keep time with my heart beat in the moment. Sometimes, my inner voice, that beast inside who gets scared when I step out of the narrow corridors of its comfort zone, whispers disruptive comments like, “Uh. Uh. And why is he doing that? What’s he want? Don’t trust this sensation. You’ve never experienced it before. It can’t be trusted.”

Sometimes, the beast can be even more strident, blaring alerts like a submarine warning sailors about its imminent dive. “Alert! Alert! Batten down the hatches. Hang on. Get your head down. We’re going under! These waters are too dangerous.”

Sometimes, there’s a lag between what my mind perceives and my heart knows. I know that was then. I know this is now, but my subconscious is still terrified of having the past repeat itself as it perceives me to be busy daydreaming about a different future with a man. Like a soldier who has come back from war with hyper-sensitive responses to any sudden sound or noise, my senses are on hyper-alert, continuously scanning the horizon for signs of disorder and disruptive behaviours that may or may not be a precursor to danger.

I breathe.

Sometimes, things are exactly as they seem. So are people.

I have known C.C. for three years. In that time he has always been a kind, caring, thoughtful, honest and honourable man.

How I perceive him to be is how he is.

My fear is not of him. It is of me. Of trusting in myself, and my feelings. Of trusting that I am safe within me. Of knowing that no matter what in the world happens, I can trust myself to listen to my intuition, to be confident in my heartbeat and know it beats steady, sure and true because I am always safe within me.

That was then. This is now.

In the past, I did not know what I know today about me. About who I am. About how I am. My hungry heart drove me places I dared not go, but went anyway. My hungry heart kept me still when lies abounded and terror reigned. My hungry heart left me at risk of being abused.

Today, my heart is full. Today, I love myself, exactly the way I am. I accept myself, warts and all, as the perfectly awesome human being that I am, because the truth is, I am perfect in all my imperfections.

Long ago, my fear of never being enough, of never having enough, left me exposed to the attentions of those who were untrue. My fear of being unworthy set me up for the sociopath. It kept me trapped in his web of lies.

Today, my courage keeps me breathing freely as I step surely and confidently into unknown territory. My fear is the opportunity to be courageous. My courage is the gift of love I give myself when I open myself up to having all that I want, and all that I deserve in love and life and living freely.


Posted in: M.L. Gallagher

32 Comments on "Love in the aftermath of a sociopathic encounter"

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  1. alohatraveler says:

    Hello Pitanga,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I loved to see “still didn’t work” over and over.

    This is a triumph for you and all that come here to heal. You are a wonderful example of putting knowledge into ACTION! You are an example of being-out-of-denial!

    You are on the fast track to healing!

    Aloha, E.R.



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  2. jmb says:

    Thanks for that story and all the others. It really helps to have someone relate to what you are feeling–like the huge emotional damage after a relatively short time.

    Even though my relationship with this creep has been over for 6 months, and only lasted 6 months to begin with, I’m not like I was before we met.

    I have read Hare and several other good books. I had therapy and completely stopped any personal contact. I have no choice but to see him every week or two in my church group–he did catch me alone once during the last 6 months, and he immediately started trying to manipulate me–but it didn’t work.

    He can’t influence me anymore, and he seems to sense that. I am not leaving my church group–he is the one who drifted in a year ago, and he can bloody well drift out again–I am not giving up bonds with people I have trusted for over 20 years. He should leave–that is what I am praying for.

    Last week I met someone truly kind and wonderful who wants to be with me–he is truly interested in me.

    He is not pretending to be interested so he can control and use me for his own personal gain and gratification. Yet I am really struggling with those awful feelings of fear and mistrust. When he said he cared for me, my thought was, “what are you after?”

    It isn’t fair to this guy to not trust him, but I guess I’m still shell shocked from that horrible realization of the depth of deception that I was subjected to. I’m also angry all over again because the creep robbed me of ability to trust.

    My new friend doesn’t know about this horrific relationship. I keep telling myself I will get past it, but I am worried. I hope I don’t blow it with my crazy thinking (that is, sane thinking with regard to the creep but crazy for everyone else).

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    JMB



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  3. Hi JMB,

    Thanks for posting!

    Give yourself time. Give yourself the grace of patience and love to be whomever you need to be.

    For me, the ‘memories’ of then and there lurk in the here and now. It is up to me to know my feelings, my reactions, my triggers, my fears.

    If you only met this man last week, it is understandable that you do not trust — trust takes time to build between people. Trust needs to be built, established, founded on a common ground. We cannot know that common ground without spending time with someone getting to know them on our terms, to our timetable.

    With C.C., the man in my life, I celebrate my progress, and applaud myself whenever I recognize a trigger from the past and step lovingly into its pull. In those moments, I expand into my fear and let my courage draw me out.

    You’re okay jmb. What you are experiencing is normal. Natural. Give yourself the gift of time to feel what is true for you. Give yoruself the space to be true to who you are, what you want, and need to have a deeply satisfying relationship with another.

    And btw — I believe venting is extremely healthy in a safe place like this!

    ML



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  4. dorkgirl says:

    JMB,

    Mine too is active in a church group, one of the very appealing factors that sucked me in. Just a reminder to all of us that they are everywhere! The golden scissors technique mentioned above has been helpful in trying to get the loser out of your head, you might want to try it. We will all get through this, and be stronger for it :).



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  5. alohatraveler says:

    To JMB,

    I totally understand your fears about trusting and being angry that your ability to trust has been damaged. I will propose this for myself… I think my ability to trust was a bit off before I met the Bad Man. Giving all my trust so quickly to people was dangerous. I think it shows that I had unhealthy boundaries. I have a friend that is so cautious and protective of his family and I used to think that was strange. Now I see the wisdom in it.

    It’s great that you met someone that is interested in you for YOU. I have someone in my life like that too but I am taking it slow and I feel that I am building a relationship based on something real and not on my girlhood fantasies anymore.

    Anyway, that’s just my two cents. I am glad you are here “venting.” Whatever it takes… and I receive something from all of the sharing and venting that I find here. It all helps me to get more and more clear on what my lessons were and it makes me feel… not alone.

    Think about embracing the idea that you may have been changed forever by this event in your life but the new you is smarter, more mature and wiser. These are all good things.

    Lastly, my encounter was with a man who was formerly the self proclaimed “Minister of Compassion.” We should not give people our full trust because of some religious affiliation. They are just people and Sociopaths LOVE the cover of these kinds of titles because it makes even less work for them to suck people in.

    Aloha… E.R.



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