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After the sociopath is gone: The ABCs of healing the past

The past. We’ve all got one. All stumbled over its inevitable lumps and bumps, highways and by-ways leading to nowhere. It’s something we can’t get out of living without. It’s the thing that makes our lives what they are today.

It’s also the thing that can keep us from living our lives today for all we’re worth.

We can’t get rid of the past. Nor should we want to. What we can do is lighten its load and shorten its shadow on our life today by following these three simple ABC’s to living freely in what Joseph Campbell calls, ‘the rapture of now’.

A. Acknowledge the reality of what is. Acknowledge your patterns of behaviour that created your reality today.
B. Be accountable for your role in creating it. Be accountable for your responsibility in taking charge of it.
C. Commit to changing what you can, and have the courage to let go of the rest. Commit to doing whatever it takes to create more of what you want in your life today and let go of what doesn’t work anymore.

Now, I’m not saying it’s ‘easy-peasy’. But, as long as you are willing to be scrupulously honest with yourself, and the world around you, about what’s really going on in your life today that is limiting you from living the life of your dreams, the past will give up its haunting and you will be free to create beauty in your life today.

Take my relationship with the man who abused me. When I met him, I wanted desperately to believe he was Prince Charming. I wanted to be rescued. Of course, at the time, I wasn’t willing to admit any of that. In fact, I went out of my way to present myself as super self-sufficient and independent. A real with it and together woman; mother, daughter, sister, entrepreneur, friend and volunteer extraordinaire. You name it, I was into it and doing it as if I was the only one capable of making it happen.

Reality was, I had been faking my way through life for quite some time. Endlessly looking for someone ‘out there’ to love me. It was a pattern that with careful self-examination was pretty evident throughout my relationships with men. I had searched for my meaning in some man’s embrace. I had always looked for who I was in the adoring eyes of someone looking back to me.

Once I was able to acknowledge my pattern of looking for my meaning in some man’s arms, I could start working on loving myself – exactly the way I was. In the case of who I was at the end of that abusive relationship, I could love myself in all my broken down, beaten up and battered pain. I could love myself as a woman who had been lied to and cheated and manipulated and I could love myself as a woman who had lied and cheated and manipulated to keep the abuser in my life. I could love myself as a woman who had been abused. In loving myself as I was, I started the journey of turning up for me, in all my pain and sorrow, without fear of having to deny the truth of who I was at the end of that relationship.

In facing my reality of who I was at the end of that relationship, and the many things I had done to hurt the ones I love, I became accountable for my role in causing myself and them pain. By being 100% accountable for my lies, my deceit, and even my desertion of the two most important people in my life, my daughters, I gave myself the grace of being courageous. In acknowledging I was courageous enough to face the truth, I began to teach myself how to turn up for me, no matter the weather. And in turning up for myself, I began to love myself more and more each day.

As I turned up for me, without trying to deflect reality or disown my own accountability in what I had done to cause those I love pain, I was given a gift I never could have imagined – forgiveness. In acknowledging to my daughters that I had harmed them, that I had deserted them and caused them pain, we were able to face the truth, and heal from what was real, rather than trying to pretend that I had nothing to do with what had happened to me. Reality was, he did what he did. I did what I did. Didn’t matter to them that I was frightened and scared and abused. What mattered was, I left them. I lied to them. I deceived them. They couldn’t heal until I got real with what I had done.

To heal, I had to commit myself to living up to my higher good. Thinking about him, talking about what he’d done, fixating on his abuse was not creating more of what I wanted in my life. I had to let go of focusing on him. Let go of wondering about ‘why’ he did what he did and simply learn to accept, he did what he did because he could. Didn’t mean I was stupid. Didn’t mean I deserved his abuse, or was only worthy of his lies. It simply meant I’d been abused. I couldn’t change one iota of what had happened in the past and so, I had to quit judging myself against the measure of his abuse, and start holding myself accountable against the yardstick of my healing in the moment of now.

What do I want?

One of the most vital questions I asked myself was “What do I want more of in my life?” In the beginning of my healing journey, it was pretty easy to know what I didn’t want: I didn’t want pain. Abuse. Lies and deceit. I didn’t want him.

But what did I really want? After years of listening to him telling me what I wanted, needed, was, could have or be, it was a mighty task to uncover my own needs and desires. To get there, I had to dig deep into my psyche, had to block out the voices of self-derision and self-doubt and listen to my higher goodness calling. I wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted peace of mind. Serenity. Love. Forgiveness. I wanted to reclaim my relationship with my daughters. To help them heal and to heal myself. I wanted to reclaim my life, the good parts of it, the parts where I was a magnificent human being on the journey of her lifetime.
To do that, I had to be willing to let go of the things that held me back from being all I am meant to be. I had to let go of negative self-talk, of self-defeating games and holding myself in the victim’s role through blame and shame and guilt. I had been abused. I did not have to abuse myself through self-hatred. I needed to nurture myself back to wellness through loving myself for all I am worth.

In my commitment to always working towards my higher good, always choosing harmony over discord, tranquility over anger, my healing path became a joyous journey into self-love.

Today, my life is more than I ever could have imagined, even before the abuser rode in on his great white charger and swept me off my feet. Today, my feet are firmly planted in the reality of my life in freedom. That place where I am free to acknowledge my power without fear that I am not enough. I am enough. Exactly the way I am in this moment, living it up in the rapture of now, free to be all I ever imagined, all I ever want to be. Because today, the past does not determine who I am. I do. The past is simply the path I took to get to this place where I know, I’m worth loving. I am worthy.

The past is not the story of my life unfolding today. It is simply a story about a woman who had the courage to find herself in the darkness and illuminate her path into living in the lightness of being free.



43 Comments on "After the sociopath is gone: The ABCs of healing the past"

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  1. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Truthspeak: I can’t tell you how many melt downs I have had in the past five years. I felt the same way, like throwing myself in front of a bus and have said so many times to my therapist.

    Healing is a slow progession, it’s not an event that hits us, like a magic wand over the head, but it’s a slow progession, step by step. Once we are done going through all of the ‘proofs’ in our own minds, then we can start reprocessing it differently. Seeing it from a clearer and more profound perspective. I am not saying it’s easy, at all. This journey has taken me a long time – I still have a ways to go, setting good, strong, clear, definitive, boundaries is probably my weakest point. It’s difficult realizing that you just HAVE to curb your kindnesses unless we want to be a ‘victim’ over and over again.

    I frankly prefer being a ‘survivor’ over being a ‘victim’. I stopped being a ‘victim’ the moment I realized I was being made a ‘victim’. Hm?

    Life, I know, seems so hodge-podged and upside down and inside out. It’s like standing on the edge of a deep, canyon, feeling like you are going to fall off. But, remember, you are NOT going to fall off. And, if you get pushed off, you turn into a butterfly and fly right back and land on “ITS” shoulder…hahahahaha

    Triggers: I keep myself away from them whenever possible. It’s the only way to fly. Sure, I see it increasing my PTSD a little but it is making me LESS depressed that trying to understand it or deal with it. Denial? Nah. Not really…shock. One of those moments that goes in skylars “WTF BUCKET”. Hm?

    Yes, Louise, this journey, it takes unspeakable strength and determination. It’s as if we are fighting for our very lives and souls and in a way, we are. Everything we ever believed in has been dashed by one sick person….

    We are the stronger though, don’t you guys ever forget that, because WE are the ones searching for the answers. Ppaths and Spaths do not care to even LOOK for the answers. They have no inner reflection like we do. They have used that to all but destroy us because they couldn’t stand it that someone was actually stronger than them and stood up to them…users; all of them.

    It just keeps on getting better and better inside, every day that goes by. The more time and space and distance I put between me and “THE SAGA OF IT”, the more my soul is growing and flourishing, so don’t anyone give up hope. Keep striving and keep on keeping on…hm?

    Be nice to yourselves, ONE TIME, every day.
    Once a day, do something that is nice to you.
    Forgetting and forsaking everything else…
    tomorrow do two and don’t stop, just keep going…
    sooner or later you end up back at yourself.

    That is where “I” am trying to get to…
    Back at myself. Where I started, only wiser..

    Dupey



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  2. Truthspeak says:

    Dupey…..thank you so much for the encouragement. I like your example of turning into a butterfly! Poetic, soothing, and encouraging – thank you VERY much.

    Yeah….it’s a process, alright! But, I’ll be JUST fine, in due time.

    HUGS



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  3. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Truthspeak: always be encouraged, Dearheart.
    WE are those butterflies. Hm?

    I loved him and cared about him. Yes.
    But the way it turned out, I MUST love and care about MYSELF more. If I hadn’t of, “IT” would have destroyed me in every sense of the word. Literally.

    When you are forced to look at it like that, no matter what your heart tells you, you MUST follow your head. Right?

    If you go out on the town and you drink too much and you wake up the next day just feeling absolutely horrible; like you have a foot for a head (hahahahah) when you are sick, you say: “OMG: I am never going to do THAT again!” Right? Eventually, sooner or later, you are going to stop over-indulging because you are sick and tired of that rotten feeling it leaves you with; right? NEVER AGAIN am I going to batter myself like that, with that ‘liquid poison’.

    Well, spaths and ppaths are sort of like liquor.
    Intoxicating and they have had their whole lives to hone their skills and be the way they are. There is no changing them. I am a very strong person and I promised myself I would hang onto him no matter what it took, to see him to that spot in his life where he was alright. In the process, he tried to harm me, murder me and threatened me. There was never any need for that response from him. That is proof to me that all the lies he told were just that, LIES. I was an ‘opportunity’ for “IT” and although he didn’t rob me blind, like I know he has tried to do to others along the way, he stole my soul and almost my life. Seriously.

    I am absolutely CERTAIN that you are going to be just fine, Truthspeak, I can hear it in your resolve and if you need someone to listen, I am always around. I understand what you are coming through and I am so sorry you have to. My heart aches for you because I know right where you are with this and you are so close….you will make it. Just keep telling yourself that there is sunshine on the other side of those clouds…because, after all I have been through, I really have to admit that:

    THERE IS SUNSHINE BEHIND THOSE CLOUDS.

    Hugs back…YOU HANG IN THERE; hear me?
    You are going to make it just fine through the storm.

    Dupey



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  4. Truthspeak says:

    Dupey, thank you SO much for your strong supportive words of encouragement, seriously. Your tenacity and honest sharing have been a tremendous help to me, as everyone else’s words of truth, honesty, and suppot.

    We’re all going to be okay. When one is falling, the whole gang reaches out to grab the elbow. This community of support is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced outside of some 12-Step groups that I loved.

    I learn from each and every survivor. Sometimes, I haven’t sorted out HOW to apply what they’ve shared, but I eventually figure out how it does.

    It’s like I tell my students: I learn as much from THEM as they do from ME. Each human being has something to offer, and I appreciate this in my heart of hearts.

    Hugs and high-fives, Dupey!



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  5. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Truthspeak: You are MORE than welcome. We have ALL been riding in this same KAYAK; haven’t we? I think we had been handed a short oar, though; ahahahahaha Dang Blasted KAYAK rentals, anyways…

    😛

    We ARE all going to end up being okay.
    That is the whole thing about stress: we do it over and over again, worry and worry and fret and fret and you know what? LIFE ALWAYS TURNS OUT ON ITS OWN TERMS ANYWAYS, no matter what we do, so sometimes we can cut a lot of the crap out by deeming what is truly important and what is not.

    I have a very short life span now and I am not wasting it on this nonsense. I just am not. I am sorry that is a sick person and it took me a long time to find out that it’s okay if I turn my back on someone who tried to kill me. HELLO!
    Know what I mean? The COG DISS was tremendous!!!!!!

    My professionals have recently told me that because of “IT” is why I had my heart attack. Imagine that. HE ALMOST TOOK MY LIFE FROM ME AND THAT WAS ONLY ONE OF MANY OTHER WAYS. If that isn’t resolve enough, I don’t know what is. All the rest can be worked out in my own mind, in my own way and on my own time; right?

    Yes, I have learned from every survivor, here, as well. I have read so much and EVERYONE has had a piece in the blocks I have been putting together for my life, whatever of it is left.

    Do I miss him? I miss the lies that I mistook for reality.
    I don’t miss the threats nor the ugliness nor verbal abuse. I don’t miss the disrespect and the vileness. The constant stalking. That isn’t me. That, to me, is unacceptable and always will be unacceptable. Did I love him? Yes. Deeply. And, just like that, suddenly, I was thrown from a cliff, without reason, rhyme, nor remorse because I was not tolerating it anymore.

    I have learned so much from you and all the others.
    Thanks Donna for giving us this place to gather and to help pull one another up, along the way….I am eternally grateful.

    Dupey



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  6. PattiAnn says:

    Well, it has been two months since I discovered that I was living with a narcissist and sociopath, and got rid of him. I’ve read alot of articles, to try to understand the motivations of this type of mental illness and why I was targeted. I’ve learned that they often target the strong, confident and compassionate types of women, and I believe that is because its alot more challenging to try to break them down, more of a sense of achievement for them if they believe they have taken away everything that the woman has built for herself. Alot of the confusion has been cleared up for me now. I still have to work on my own sense of confidence, in terms of feeling I can detect a pathological lier in the future. But what I am doing now is celebrating the person that I am, and will not change my greatest qualities, even if I can be seen as a target, and that is compassion, kindness, strength, independence and self-confidence. I think we should all celebrate these common traits that we share, in recovering from this experience. Love who we are and just be cautious in who we select to care for in the future. Let’s celebrate just how amazing we truly are!!



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  7. Ox Drover says:

    Yea, PattiAnn, TOWANDA!!! Keep on learning and keep on celebrating! I also suggest that if you have not read Donna’s book, “The Red Flags” you should do so. Learning to spot these people BEFORE we become entangled with them is very important.

    These “red flags” also apply to ANY relationship we have not just romantic ones as well, so realize that there are potential psychopaths in any kind of relationship.



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