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Why did I stay with the sociopath?

I have wrestled with this question for a long time. While with him, I sometimes wondered, ‘what on earth am I doing here’? Since gaining my freedom, I have looked back on those 4 years 9 months and wondered, ‘what on earth was wrong with me that I stayed so long’?

I know there are the physiological/psychological factors that compounded my convoluted thinking causing me to believe that I was incapable of leaving him. I know these factors attributed to my inertia and the resultant trauma bonding that held me pinioned in his unholy embrace. But none of these factors explain why an intelligent, well-educated, articulate woman did what I did – before the trauma bonding, the Stockholm Syndrome, the depression, the pain.

Why did I stay?

I stayed because in the process of burying my truth beneath his lies, I turned off my inner voice of reason. I quit listening to myself telling me I had to leave, I had to get away. I gave into despair, helplessness and confusion and gave up on me. I wanted the rosy sunrise of his promises, the gilded cage of his castle in the air, the perfection of his promises of happily ever after.

I stayed because I didn’t want to take responsibility for what was happening in my life, my daughters’ lives and to me.

I stayed because it was easier to stay than to leave. It was easier to take the coward’s way out by staying locked into his machinations than to take the leap into the unknown by leaving him and his lies behind.

I stayed even though I knew he was lying. I knew he was deceiving me. I knew he was manipulating me. I knew all of this but I refused to look at the truth because to look at the truth meant having to look at me – and I was too frightened to do that.

I stayed because I was a victim and I didn’t want to admit it.

As I write this I think about those who will say – but you can’t blame yourself. You didn’t know who he was when you first met him. You went into that relationship with your arms wide open in love and expected to have your love reciprocated in equal measure.

And all of that is true.

None of it matters though when I look at the reasons for why I stayed.

I could walk into a hundred relationships with my arms wide open and still find them empty – because my arms wide-open were filled with my own empty promises that I would treat myself with love and respect, truth and honesty. My lack of clarity in my beliefs, my values, my principles trapped me in his lies because I didn’t know what I stood for.

I stayed, not because of him, but because of me. My weaknesses brought me to my knees. My weaknesses kept me locked inside the web he wove around me.

On the other side of the relationship, revelling in my freedom today, I am willing and able to stand in the naked light and love myself as I state, unequivocally, I stayed because of me.

He abused me. He lied. He deceived. He used terrifying stories to hold me silent. He manipulated my mind and smothered me with his untruths.

But I am the one who chose to believe him. To let go of reason and accept his unreasonable words and actions. Accept his unacceptable behaviour and compromise on myself – not because of who he was, but because of who I was and who I refused to be – independent, strong, uncompromising in my belief in me and what I deserved from love and life.

In my world, post sociopath, I am 100% accountable for me. Post sociopath I cannot hold him accountable for what happens to me today –Just as he is accountable for what he did, I am accountable for what I did, and what I do today.

I stayed because I did not have the courage and strength of character to stand up for me without fear.

I stayed because I believed he could make up for the past. He could make my life all better.

Today, I let him go in peace. Holding onto resentment, bitterness, anger keeps me from living the beautiful life I deserve. Today, I stay away from holding him accountable for what happened to me because I have the courage to take charge of my life today, to be 100% accountable for me today and to make choices that love and support me today.

In stepping fearlessly into my life today, I leave him behind because I know that the past is gone, today is alive and tomorrow is just a dream away. A dream that will come true as long as I walk my path with dignity, grace and ease, 100% accountable for me.



267 Comments on "Why did I stay with the sociopath?"

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  1. Rosa says:

    Come to think of it, she never cries anymore. Pity plays are not what they used to be.



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  2. blueskies says:

    Turtle Madness – ‘If you physically can not feel love, emotion, guilt, remorse, or any kind of human emotion or conscience, i guess all you are left with is to play games because what else is there to live for?’ A great statement 🙂

    It IS mind boggling for those of us or are not S/P/N’s to wrap our heads around this behaviour, I think its why we all struggle so hard to get over these encounter’s because there is no where to ‘put’ what happened, there is no unravelling and no sense that can be made.

    The s/p I knew used to tell people(randomly? – on social networking sites as well as face to face) that he was not capable of loving in the sense that everyone else does… yet use the language of love on his ‘victims’ so thickly it is overwhelming… I asked him why he did this once and he acknolwedged it was strange but said he didnt know (a complete shut down of my questions, I am sure he Does know, then as Rosa said, I had the Oscar winning wailing and crying routine… no more questions answered today!).

    I assume this ‘TRUTH’ also works well as part of his pity-play and ‘fishing’.

    The reasons for snaring someone he knows does not love are also beyond conception to non S/Ps (I think most non s/p’s, who felt that for whatever reason, they could not or were not ready to ‘love’ would struggle with maintaing even casual dates- I know I do, definately not start talking marriage or whatever) and could be anything, boredom, sex, money, attention, access to social circles whatever.

    S/P: “oh poor me I am incapable of loving ”
    Already scoped and targeted as an open caring soon to be EASY victim:
    “no! I can show you how to love! I can help you to become whole again!”….
    S/P: “BINGO!EASY PEASY! hehehe, now what can I get out of this schmuck before I get bored of it.”

    You are asking questions about this situation, but I think you already have a good grasp of what he really is, and the amazing guys here will have so much information and support for you, you have come to the right place!

    your sister is soooo lucky you are able to see what’s going on and are caring and intelligent enough to want to find out more. I should think this will be a long road for your sister and a frustrating one for you. But once again I say she is so lucky to have you.:)xx



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  3. healing the heart says:

    To all you lovely ladies,

    reading all these stories ! truly helps me… understand…..
    I am not alone.!! It also scares me, and also keeps me strong.
    so I dont fall back into the dreamland..with him… cause he is just waiting in the wings…. for me not to be angry with him.

    When I asked him simple question… would say, hum,
    I dont know, I never thought about it…. end of story.

    I asked him when he mom died… he said.. he did not remember…. !! I asked him if he loved his mom… he said..
    he did not remember his childhood.. well…. and he had no friends..
    He claimed he never loved another women other than me.
    No one could even count as a real girlfriend…

    all these red flags…. even his x girlfriend called me to clue me in… on so many things about him… we talked for 3 hours..
    I could not let him go…. he was so intoxicating… I was so in love with him… his dreams of our life together… and all his promises that never came true…. I am sure she is on this site
    still getting over him…!! she told me not to contract her for
    6 months after I have not seen him any more….
    He claimed… she was not his girlfriend for long…. she was a nightmare…! all red flags…. and I still saw him every night
    made him a wonderful dinner… and helped him out of financial problems… cause I loved doing this for him… I did it…!!
    Now, he is sitting pretty… I have having hard times financially
    and he is …. busy… !! working… and with his sons.
    I feel so stupid…. so angry… so… dizzy… !! I come to this wonderful site… many times a day… just to know.. I am not going crazy… !!



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  4. banana says:

    Doesn’t this explain it all?

    I totally understand Gallagher. It reminded me of what I wrote to Oxy in a separate thread.
    In the end, it is only us we can be responsible for.
    Yes. they are Conning, and when you first meet them they sweep you off your feet.
    My P did this to everyone of the girls he was with, I know this is mean, but I only found one of his GF’s (past and present) good-looking. (Usually I dated men who dated woman I thought were good-looking)
    The only things I and these other girls had in common were our low self worth.

    They seek us out, they know.
    He met me on myspace. I was too revealing I think. I must have mentioned I was Christian, and maybe mentioned I had recently broken up with my BF. (This is where we need to be careful, whether it’s online or in life…they are looking for weakness, right?

    I always turned away any guy who would hit on me. He wasn’t even my type. I turned him away at first because he asked me for my number. Then I read his posts…poems. Heart-felt poems. (This was the first hook)
    Looking back…he’s never wrote a poem since I met him…doesn’t even write. I think He stole them!!

    I knew it wasn’t right to date anyone after a breakup…especially this one…I was still very hurt.

    I knew it wasn’t right that I thought I was “in love” after only 4 weeks!

    I knew it wasn’t right that he bought me a phone on HIS phone plan within a week, so my Ex couldn’t contact me.

    (I f I didn’t have a kid, that is exactly what I’d have done to P)
    If I didn’t have a kid with P, I probably would not be talking to you right now because a) I’d would have been done the night P walked out into his A b) He wouldn’t need me for anything.

    I knew it wasn’t right to rush into M. I always thought, if your meant to be together you don’t need a piece of paper to keep it that way.

    I IGNORED lies that I new were LIES, Ie the sex toys I found and the porn cds.

    Late nights on the computer while I was alseep.

    All this before I got married. I knew. But I didn’t feel I was worth more than this. I REALLY didn’t I see that now…I still don’t think I am loveable. My therapist and God and I are working on it though.
    I don’t want anymore excuses as to why I cannot walk away from P or hang up on him.



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  5. ErinBrockovich says:

    Healing the heart:
    You are not stupid, you are not crazy……
    You are a woman that thought she was in a two sided relationship. You had no control over him…..we have a sort of ‘delay’ button on decoding these perps.
    You are a loving, caring person that showed it and gave of herself…….nothing wrong with that….those are valuable qualities in a healthy relationship.
    Please do not beat yourself up!!!!
    You are in a time of self reflection…..it’s painful, but necessary…you are learning about things none of us were aware of! This is good!
    Embrace the process. You will find yourself more aware, able to trust again…..BUT, from a different perspective.
    We must not lie naked in the road of life……it’s a guarentee we will get run over!!!!! (And it doesnt matter how sexy we look!) 🙂
    Trust is earned, we can’t wear it on our sleeves to be taken for free.
    This is just one of teh lessons we exit these situations with.
    There are millions of lessons…..continue down your path of self exploration……but be kind to yourself!!!!
    XXOO



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  6. healing the heart says:

    Erin :
    Thank you for your kind words….

    Gosh.. the words that roped me in.. were really some lines.
    in a way.. I still want to believe him.. still want to believe he can love… and loves me…

    I told my self.. the one who loves the most is having the most fun…. I rather be me… than him…. !!!

    Now I say…. I love my heart more than I will ever love a man who carlessly breaks it.

    From now on… I will not give my heart away… from now on..
    I will be hard to get… and never again will I treat a man like I treated this guy… ever… never ever…!!
    ( and I know how he got me to do it…what a master manipulator !) I will spot this a mile away..!!

    I never did that before… and I will never do it again.



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