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Truth and lies: After the sociopath is gone.

Someone asked me the other day if there was anything anyone could have done that would have made a difference in what eventually happened when I was with the sociopath who is no longer in my life.

Interesting question.

Had I been forced into a program that made me aware of what was happening within me while I was with him, would you have gone down so far, they asked?

Don’t know.

I do remember the craziness in my head while I was trying to justify his actions to myself, and pulling away from my friends as they tried to pull me into reality. We’ve talked a lot about how they felt so helpless watching me disappear before their eyes in my attempt to become invisible. They wanted so desperately to help me. And I wanted to be so far beyond their help because I could not bear their pain added to mine.

In retrospect, at the time, everything was so wrong within me, that I simply could not hear anything outside of the howling inside my head. Their love hurt because I didn’t believe I was deserving of it.

Today though, it is the love of my daughters, my family and my friends that has helped me heal. Their love has given me the strength and courage to trust, have faith and believe in me. Their love has reconnected me with my divine truth, love is limitless and I am connected to the circle of our love because I am alive.

About the only thing that would have changed the course of history at the time, would have been for them to perform an ‘intervention’. Lock me away somewhere for a couple of weeks, where I received professional treatment to unhook his unholy tentacles wrapped around my mind. But who knows what would have happened when I was released?

Back then, I was pretty sick. I didn’t know about No Contact. And I definitely didn’t know about sociopaths and abuse.

Today, I do.

Since receiving the miracle of my life when he was arrested May 21, 2003, my healing has been a journey of discovery of me.

In those first critical moments of freedom, I did not ask why, why, why. I accepted I got my life back. It was a miracle. It was up to me to treat it with respect.

For me, that is the greatest gift I gave myself. To not ask ‘why did he do what he did?’ but rather, ‘what happened to me?’. Where did I go? How did I get so lost?

In those first heady days of freedom I focused on understanding sociopathy and narcissism so that I could learn as much as I could about what had happened to me. I learned about the behaviours, the red flags, etc. But I didn’t waste my energy trying to understand him. He is the lie. That’s all I need to know to heal.

When I write, He is the lie. That is true for me.

From hello to good-bye. I love you to I hate you. You’re beautiful to you’re ugly.

It was all a lie.

And I have no room in my life today for lies.

When friends or my family ask, but what about this, or what about that, I tell them. It was all a lie. There was no truth in him.

If I spend my time trying to figure out fact from fiction, all I am doing is trying to prove — I wasn’t so stupid. See, this was true. That’s why I fell in love with him.

Truth is. I fell in love with him because I believed his lie.

When I discovered the truth, I was so enmeshed in his lie, I couldn’t find the truth in me. And so I sank.

He did a lot of horrible, terrorizing things to ensure I stayed hooked into his lies.

In accepting the truth, that what he did was based on lies, I am able to accept that the hooks are also lies — and in that truth comes the power to let them go.

I still have moments though! Every so often he’ll sneak up into the back pockets of my mind and settle in for a little visit.

That’s when I have to turn up for me and say, go away. There is nothing in you I believe in. Everything in me I do.

And when the tears and fears and sorrow become too great, I simply breathe, look up into the sky and see once again the limitless possibilities of my life today.

And in that action of looking up, I surrender and fall once again, in love.

Was he my addiction? He manifested for me all that was out of harmony within me. He played the discordant note that set my psyche ajar and tilted my world so completely I almost slid off the edge.

In accepting him as the catalyst of my opening into myself, I let go of the need to remember him in love or hatred. As a catalyst, he exploded when I stepped into the light of my life and freedom to be all of me.

I can no longer look to him, however, as the reason for my angst. He is gone. If I am in angst, it is because I am off-balance and reacting to a circumstance or situation in fear. So, I breathe and in that breath my memory is triggered. I am who I am, beauty and the beast, joy and sorrow, fear and love — and in that breath, I move into love so that my fear becomes just a memory of something I knew or didn’t know to be true for me today. Back then, I feared the past. I feared the future. Today I fear neither. I cannot change one nanosecond of what happened and the future will only be revealed through my courage and beauty and truth today to live without fear that the future will simply be a repetition of the past. Doesn’t have to be.

In fact, in the choices I make today, the past will never be my future because I make choices that honour and support me on my journey in freedom.

That’s the gift of freedom today.


Posted in: M.L. Gallagher

18 Comments on "Truth and lies: After the sociopath is gone."

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  1. khatalyst says:

    Thank you, M.L., as always for your insight. This column was so on point that it ruffled some interior feathers. I had to take a few days to think about it.

    Now, three and a half years after I threw him out, well into my healing, when I feel like I’m stronger and more centered than anytime in my life, I still find myself focusing on him when I’m stressed or life throws me a curve ball. “You did this to me,” I think. Or “I wouldn’t be like this, if not for you.”

    About a year after he was gone, I was returning to an interstate highway after stopping for gas, and accidentally took an on-ramp going in the wrong direction. As I realized what I’d done, I also realized that it was my own simple mistake, the first time in many years that I hadn’t made some kind of “wrong turn” because half my mind was taken up with grief, anger and anxiety about him. He had nothing to do with this one. I had done it all by myself.

    But that was a little practical thing. What I mostly lived with after him was the crippling sense that there was something wrong with me, that I couldn’t trust myself anymore. So many things I once took for granted were gone, and not just my confidence in myself. Though I fought it, I had absorbed his words that I was too old, too fat, too disorganized, too hopelessly incompetent for anyone to love me again. I was afraid in my work, that I would fall apart in a crunch, that my emotional instability would repel my clients. The list went on and on.

    And when these feelings hit, they somehow came with his ghost. I could feel him around me, sometimes doing the “bad” thing of criticizing and sneering at me, something doing the “good” thing of being charming and interested and helpful. I would start to talk with him, argue with him, try to understand why he had been like that, try to make him understand me, try to figure out if he had been a bad person, or if I had just failed to rise to the occasion.

    In all of it, he was the cause and the cure for my misery, as he had been for that awful five years. Even though I’d thrown him out and told him never to come back, never to contact me again in any way, part of me believed that if I could just change enough, he would love me and we could live happily ever after. Strange as it sounds, I think in those first years of recovery, I was doing it for love of him, trying to learn to be more self-interested, more disciplined, more committed to my own dreams, so I could be more like him. (Which was pretty silly on the face of it, because anyone like him wouldn’t have had anything to do with him.)

    I wrote through my recovery. Wrote and wrote and wrote for ten or more hours a day, as I lived with these feelings and tried to understand what had happened to me. Part of what I wrote was letters to him. In those three years, I wrote nearly a thousand letters to him. Most of them unsent, but a good proportion sent to a hotmail address. I didn’t expect him to read them and couldn’t see any reason why he would. They were “therapy” writing. I said in each letter not to write me back. But he was the cause of all this, I said, and I needed to talk directly to him to work it out.

    And maybe, I hoped against hope, there was something in him that would profit from understanding what he’d left behind. And what it took me to get over it. I wasn’t the only one he’d left emotionally damaged. His girlfriend before me was even worse off, years later, eating Xanax and anti-depressants, barely able to make a decision on her own. His comment about her was that he “didn’t understand. She was more fun when I met her.”

    It took a long time before I realized that I always wrote him when I started to feel afraid about my life and myself. When work became to demanding, or I couldn’t figure out how to overcome some challenge, or I was afraid that I’d never find my way back to who I used to be. I began to think of him in a different way. Not as the handsome, seductive monster who’d destroyed my self-esteem and plundered my life, but as a kind of avatar, a symbol for something in myself that already broken and afraid when I met him, and just waiting for a chance to come up to the surface and demand attention.

    That complicated thought helped a lot. Instead of throwing myself over and over against the Teflon wall of his coldness, lack of understanding, and inability to love, I turned back into myself to understand where this voice of self-suspicion and despair came from. It’s not that he didn’t matter, but that he was in my life for a reason. I had found him and welcomed him, because there was something in me that needed to be healed. Now I needed to dig in and find the real source of that pain, when I really learned to feel like that, and see if I couldn’t repair it.

    I did that work, partly alone and partly with a therapist when it got too hard to do alone, because I am an incest survivor. He specialized in incest survivors or survivors of other serious family abuse. We’re perfect for him. We have no boundaries and romantically hope that somehow we will recover our “real selves,” the ones we were supposed to be, before great traumas occurred in our families of origin. He is perfect for us, suggesting that if we change our looks, our emotional responses, our way of life, we will be the superwoman he demands for a life partner. But of course, we need to be loved to pull that off. And he withholds love and anything like it, until we meet his standards. We fall apart.

    After all the work I’ve done, I sometimes forget, when anxiety comes to fragment my concentration with its high-pitched static, that this is not about him. That it’s about me, facing the challenges of taking care of myself alone, owning my own life, living with the possibility of making my own mistakes because I’m not perfect. This is what I’ve learned how to do, since he’s gone. There is no “other me” or other life waiting for me, if I can just get back to who I used to be. There is my life, and it’s not so bad. I am good at my work. I have my caring friends and beloved dogs. I have a nice home and an absurd number of possessions I bought to comfort myself in my shopaholic phase. (At least it wasn’t booze or heroin.)

    It’s just a little scary sometimes. Since I’ve given up trying to be Miss Perfect, I’ve discovered that the world is full of people struggling with their own challenges, living through good and bad times.

    So I thank you, M.L., for reminding me that it’s not about him, it was never about him. It’s about me. And being human. Taking what I learned about myself and how much I cherish my life, and moving on. I love your writing, and am proud of us all, as we use this experience to become better at being ourselves.



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  2. Khatalyst,

    What a beautiful, profound and inspiring post. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, your journey and your beauty.

    I am proud to be a part of your journey and to have you along on mine.

    M.L.



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  3. DUPED2006 says:

    I am grateful for a place like this because survivng a relationship with a P is not over even when they are gone. It has been recent and Im going through the slander & smear phase. My “friends” wont speak to me and when they do it is very cold & distant trying to be hurtful. Whatever I say or do they will just go running up to him and tell him all, how the heck do these people obtain such devotion?!

    I met my P when in High School and thought he was the best. To make that story short we were great friends he proposed when we were 22 years old back then I said no cause he was married with a small child. We met again last year in 2006 and we got together ( divorced) and though I did not want to live with no one we ended living together. I was in the process of buying a home and then one day he got extremely violent and offensive toward my 3 year old so I took my kid to his grandparents house and waited until I got my home.

    I had rented my place and was living with him at his parents house so I thought I had done the best. While we were living together he tried to choke me twice, smacked me and tried to beat me with a hammer…I was desperate to buy my house and leave and take my kid with me. During this time I got pregnant and told him about it. My period came down visiting my sister and no matter what I said he held abortion against me. Funny he encouraged me to do something yet after knowing about it he uses it as a weapon to slander me in all places. I used to visit a therapist cause of a mild depresion and that too he uses and makes it look like I am some really crazed up person. Almost a year ago he almost got me locked up using this piece of information and I almost fell for it. We were at the police station and he was suposed to file a report on some other woman about stalking and there I was sitting by him and it turned out that he was making it out on me.

    I forgave him cause I had the gut feeling I was pregnant and yes I was. Everytime it got worst. He used a friend of mine by turning her to my “spy friend” and all that time they would phone each other behind my back and she would tell him everything! They would play little stupid mind games I did catch up however I was waiting to catch them red handed and I did. I had tried to get him out of my house plenty of times cause I suspected he was bringing other women to my house, not to mention all the financial burden was upon me. I had decided that the only way to beat him was to feel exactly what he felt for me nothing!! I let reason overshadow my feelings and then all was clear I was able to anticipate many of his moves. I got him into therapy through a religious church leader and he labeled things just the way they were Domestic Violence. I went to therapy with him and he convinced the therapist that it was me that I didnt want my own child so upon my therapist recomendation I took him home and then all hell broke loose he got furious.

    It came to the point that I had no choice than to call the police and with the help of some neighbors the police got him out. Since then he has called child protective services on me, taken me to court claiming my so called insanity and all sorts of wierd accusations. The funny thing is that many of these friends saw me bruised, hurt and these very friends are under some wierd spell that they for some odd reason are against me and favor him. I have honestly gotten to the conclusion that I am alone in this battle that no matter what I do even though he is not here anymore it is just the same, yet this sense of freedom is all worth it.

    I have seen how these people Ps get there ways and they will make you believe the unbelievable up until the point where you begin to question your own sanity. So I feel great here cause It is great to feel understood.



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  4. curls says:

    ” I love you to I hate you. You’re beautiful to you’re ugly.”

    My therapist has taught me that the contradictions, are what the abuser uses to create the hooks. They create a world of questionmarks — of questioning what’s true. In doing so, you are no longer asking who’s in charge, and in that moment they slip in as an authority.

    They keep creating the teetering and indecision… I’m beautiful, or am I ugly… “they aren’t causing this question, no they aren’t.” Yet they are. And while asking, you don’t notice that they’ve moved your insides (belief in what you are) to the outsides (a question someone must answer and that includes someones outside yourself who might have valid opinions.)

    Once they’ve disconnected you from yourself … they become the external that is authority.

    … and the rest is history… and is how abuse enters and sits in one’s world.

    A person knows to look for those who’ve views don’t match our own, and views that do. We don’t look for those who are creating doubts in our own ability to know our ourselves. …then to use those doubts to come in and rescue us (by telling us we ARE beautiful, but only HE/SHe knows this strongly enough to rescue us from that quandary of indecision and self-doubt.)



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    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      curls
      (drums) badading! (snare drum, cymbal)
      Thank you for explaining the one. two. punch.
      And then the rescue.

      They are masters at manipulation.

      “I love you”: ba da!
      “Nobody likes you once they know you”: DING!
      “She’s only nice to you as a favor for me.”: Clash!!
      (quietly leave the party asap)



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      • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

        sorry. edit button broken?
        this was a real example of my life married to a sociopath. his words. my humiliation.



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        • curls says:

          NWHSOM – or “You are who you know you are” (I’ll give you this as a nickname).

          Yes, that sounds so very typical.
          It’s hard to spot.

          It happens before you even feel any pain.
          The pain is later when they know they’ve already set up up.

          From the other page — I was just thinking I didn’t say — your post made such a difference for me. I was able to make a connection in my own story that I needed as a result.

          :).



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  5. curls – thank you for advising me about the edit function. I’ll look into it.



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