When the sociopath was arrested and I awoke to the devastation around me, I was overwhelmed with one, undeniable truth. I was alive.
I didn’t think it was possible. Hadn’t believed it would happen. I had spent so long in those final months wanting to die, wishing I could, thinking of ways to make it happen and waiting for him to make it happen, I couldn’t believe I actually was alive.
Yet, I was.
How could that be? What was I supposed to do with this unexpected gift of a lifetime?
In Jackie Nink Pflug’s book, Miles to Go Before I Sleep, her survivor’s story of being shot in the head by terrorists and left for dead when the plane she was on from Athens to Cairo was hijacked, she writes that she was happy to have gone through the hijacking . It is an inspiring story of overcoming the odds, and persevering in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as a learning disability she now has because of the damage from the gunshot to her brain.
And yet, in spite of all she went through, in spite of sitting for hours on a plane parked at the end of a runway waiting for the hijackers to come and get her and kill her, she is grateful for that experience.
I know what she means.
In the aftermath of the relationship with the sociopath, five years after waking up from the nightmare of his abuse, I am grateful for the experience. It has taught me more than I ever could have known about myself, about my weaknesses and more importantly, about my strengths. It has taught me the value of love, of turning up for myself, of becoming all I’m meant to be. It has taught me that life begins outside my comfort zone. That I cannot heal or change what I will not acknowledge. And, it has taught me that I am 100% accountable for my experience. It’s up to me to live my life fearlessly in the light of this moment, right now. It is the only moment I’ve got to get real and be real with where I’m at and who I am, because who I am is enough. I do enough. I am enough. I’m good enough.
For me, that experience was the springboard that launched me into my personal growth and development today. That trauma led me away from limiting beliefs where I was the victim of my thinking that mired me in the fear of never being good enough – without a man, without the right outfit, without the right car or job title or address.
Sure, before the sociopath walked through the door my life was okay. I was on the path to self-awareness, working every day to be a ‘better me’. I meditated, was in therapy. Had two divorces under my belt (the first one which I seldom counted as I was only 22 and it lasted only 13 months). I had two amazing daughters. An ex-husband (the father of my daughters) with whom I was still friends. I had a great career. A home. A bank account and savings. I had nice things. On many levels I had it ‘all’. But, I always felt there was something missing. Something wasn’t quite right in Oz. And that something was, love. The true love of a man. Love of the happily ever after variety.
I was ripe for the pickings when the sociopath rode in and swept me off my feet. I had just ended a relationship of three years after finally giving up on trying to weather the storms of my lover’s unpredictable mood swings and depressions. I had loved, truly madly deeply. I knew I was capable of doing it again. And so, when the sociopath fed me his lies of love everlasting, I fell gracefully and gratefully into his arms, swooning with relief that at last my ship had come in, my Prince Charming had arrived. Here was a love worth waiting for. Here was my dream of happily ever after come true.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know and what I didn’t know almost killed me.
There’s a lot I didn’t know about sociopathy and about the sociopath I fell in love with. And, there was a lot I didn’t know about me. It would take that relationship to awaken me to the truth of what I didn’t know about myself. Like, how to stand up for me, my needs, my wants, my desires. Or, how to stand rooted in my light, grounded by my values, principles, beliefs and not get pulled into the vortex of someone else’s bad behaviour because I was too scared to set my boundaries. Before the sociopath, I didn’t know how to be me without the fear of losing the one I loved because I never felt good enough just the way I am.
The sociopath had his game. He played it well.
And in the end, he lost.
Somewhere out there, he’s still playing his game. It’s what he does. It’s all he can do. Maybe someday he’ll awaken to the truth. Maybe not. He is no longer my responsibility. I am.
I’ve been blessed. I no longer have to play his game. I no longer have to play any game. I get to live my life, right now, as if it’s the most precious and wondrous life I’ve got – because it is.
Once upon a time I fell in love with a sociopath. I didn’t know how far I’d fall from grace when I fell into his arms. In having landed on this side of my reality today, I’m grateful for the journey that brought me here. Reality is, I can’t change what happened even if I wanted to. Accepting that journey as the gift that gave me the freedom to step into the wonder and joy of being me, makes a difference in my life today.
I cannot change or heal what I do not acknowledge. When Prince Charming rode in and swept me off my feet, I fell hard upon the road of life because I was searching for a shortcut to happiness. I didn’t trust myself to create the life of my dreams. I didn’t trust myself with my own happiness.
In healing, I have been given the gift to grow and learn and expand beyond the limiting beliefs of my past so that today I can dance with joy in the light of knowing the truth of who I am – I am a wondrous woman of worth living this one wild and passionate life for all she’s worth. I am blessed to be me. Blessed to have lived the past so that I can be free to live today without fear of ever having to fear again that I am not good enough to love, to be love, to be in love with who I am, exactly the way I am today.