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After the sociopath is gone: Loving another. That was then. This is now.

It is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do after having loved, The Lie. To love again without fear of the past repeating itself. To love without fear of making a mistake. Without fear of being hurt.

And yet, we yearn for love. For connection. For that special someone to spend away the hours, sharing in good times and bad. To whisper sweet nothings in the night, to hold and to be held, to laugh with, cry with and even have sex with.

But no, our tender hearts cry out, I can’t do it. I won’t. I’ll never love again. Too risky. Too intimate. Too much.

Or, before our broken hearts even have a chance to stop bleeding, we race out and find another, searching for that special someone to make us feel so special we forget all about the blood dripping from our wounds with every beat of our aching hearts.

We are relational beings.

When I was released from that relationship from hell, I knew I wasn’t healthy enough to date. I knew I was very broken and so I made a commitment with myself to not date for a minimum of a year. I knew that I had to give myself that time to get comfortable with myself again. To heal the tender spots. To soothe my wounded soul and strengthen my sorry ego.

And, underneath my practical approach to what I needed to do to heal was the absolute truth. I was absolutely terrified of getting close to a man. I was terrified I’d vomit all over his leather jacket because it happened to have the same smell as the one I’d given ‘Him whose name I could not speak’ our first Christmas together. Or, I was terrified I’d break down crying in a restaurant just because my date happened to order the same meal ‘He’ had ordered the night he’d proposed to me. Or what if, while sitting in a movie, my date reached across to take my hand and I wasn’t expecting it and I got all scared and accidentally slapped him in the face and made such a scene I got up and ran out of the theatre and we were sitting in the middle of the row and everybody had to get up and let me out and I’d feel like such a fool and when I got outside I kept running because, well, I was such a loser!

Seeing as my psyche was pretty caught up in some pretty serious fortune telling of the negative kind about weird and wacky things that would happen if I dated, it seemed wisest to not date – at least until such time as I could look at a man across a table and not want to hurl my plate at him just because he preferred his steak rare. Doesn’t he know? Eating steak rare is a red flag suggesting he was out for blood! A vampire of the sociopathic kind!

And so, the year became two, and then three. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to date. It was just, even after I’d gotten over my fear of pending dating disasters with every dinner invitation; every time I went out on a date I couldn’t figure out how much of the sordid tale I should tell. Do I warn him I’ve got some serious trust issues about men on the first date? Do I tell him I’m hyper-vigilant when it comes to his behaviour? What about the ‘three times, you’re out’ rule? How much do I tell and when?

It seemed easier to not date than to try to figure out the ins and outs of dating etiquette after the sociopath is gone. And so, I created a story of my satisfaction with my single status, laughingly telling anyone who listened that I liked my life better without a man.

Reality is; we are relational beings. For the vast majority of us, the desire for intimacy, the yearning to be in relation with someone special, is part of our human condition.

Challenge is; looking at my track record up to and including ‘Him whose name I do not speak’, I wasn’t sure how to be in relationship without my patterns leading to the ‘new love’ becoming the ‘ex’, regardless of what a true prince he was.

History does not repeat itself – unless I make it happen.

And then I met C.C.. I met him through business. Oh oh. I met the sociopath through business too. Strike one. He was a friend of a friend. So was ‘Him whose name…’ Strike two.

What am I doing? My mind shrieked. Am I repeating history? Two similarities right off the bat. Not good.

C.C. even liked cars. Oh no. ‘He’ liked cars too. Had lots of them. The difference with C.C. was, he liked cars but they weren’t his life. He drove an old antique Mercedes that he’d lovingly restored. And that was his only car. Okay. Only one car. It’s old. We’re okay.

The real difference though between ‘Him…’ and C.C. was evident from the very first time I met him. C.C. didn’t flirt. He didn’t come on to me or even try to convince me to go out with him on our first encounter. And he never ignored my ‘No’.

In fact, when we met he was just coming out of a marriage of twenty years and wasn’t looking to date. We’d have lunch or coffee and talk about life and living and I’d share what I’d learned in my growing through the pain of having loved, The Lie, and he’d share his love of his kids and his sorrow at having ‘failed’ as a husband.

It wasn’t until after about a year of a casual friendship that he asked me on a date, or, as I insisted we call it, an ‘undate’. “We’re not going out,” I told him. “We’re simply spending some time together to share in the company of someone we enjoy who happens to be of the opposite sex.” And pretty sexy to boot – I didn’t tell him!

Two years later, C.C. and I live in a home we bought together. We continue to deepen our intimacy and to strengthen our commitment to each other. We still have ups and downs. Moments when I think, “Someone to cuddle in bed just isn’t worth this!” But, reality is, my responsibility in our ups and downs are 100% my doing. And his accountability is 100% his doing. I am willing to work on my 100% and I am willing to let him be responsible for his.

And that’s the difference between then and now.

I’m not looking for C.C. to fix me, change me, improve me. And, I’m not looking to fix, change or improve him.

What I’m looking for is a relationship where I can be accountable for myself 100% of the time, and be confident that even when I’m acting out, even when I’m not hearing him or seeing him or behaving in a loving way, our love is not the issue. It’s my behaviour that’s at fault, or needs changing or evaluating and realigning. It’s not ‘me’. It’s what I’m doing, or how I’m reacting to what’s happening that’s the issue.

True Confessions.

Recently, I came front and centre with my 100% accountability factor. It started with C.C. phoning late in the afternoon to cancel on plans we’d made for that evening. “My partner and I need to meet to go over a crisis situation. Sorry hon. Can’t be avoided. I’ll be home as soon as I’m done,” he said.

Now, ‘Him whose name I do not speak’ did that kind of thing all the time. Plans made. Cancelled. Promises broken. Disappearances that lasted for days. Turmoil and mystery. Empty promise after empty promise.

My psyche went on full alert. The past was triggered and I boarded its runaway train.

Know that voice in your head that just won’t shut up? After hanging up the phone, ‘that voice’ revved up into high gear.
“You know he’s lying,” the sibilant hiss of that voice raced through my mind, skirting in and out of the shadows. Beguiling. Seductive. Destructive. “He’s lying. He’s not meeting a business associate. He’s got a date with someone else. He’s conning you.”

Now, let’s be clear. I had no real reason to doubt him. C.C. has never not phoned when he’s promised to phone. Never not appeared, on time, when he’s promised to appear. Perhaps it was I was tired. I’d been out of sorts about all kinds of things in the previous week, including issues with my eldest daughter and her father, who was being who he’d always been, an emotionally distant man but not a sociopath.

Normally, in my post sociopath awareness, I can quieten ‘that voice’ with a good dose of loving care. “You’re just scared, Louise. That was then. This is now. C.C. is not Him… C.C. has never done anything to cause you to doubt him.”

Alas, on this night, the furies were about and I unhooked their cage and released them.

I got in my car. Yup. I got in my car and drove to where I knew C.C.’ meeting was to be. ‘If I just see his car there, then I’ll know he didn’t lie.’ I told myself. ‘I need to do this to give me peace of mind.’ ‘There’s nothing wrong with being suspicious. After all I’ve been through, why wouldn’t I be suspicious?’

And the justifications carried on, and on and on as I drove closer and closer to my date with the furies. Tears streamed from my eyes. I played a CD filled with songs of love betrayed just to fuel my pain and my feelings of self-loathing. I cried and I cried. I drove and I drove. With every block closer to my destination, the voice of reason receded further and further from my reality.

“You know this is wrong, Louise,” the voice of reason admonished.

‘That voice’ snarled back. “Bug off. She has to do this. It’s your fault anyway. If you’d just kept her from falling in love with him I wouldn’t have to step in and protect her!’

I’d like to say I came to my senses before I got to my destination. But I didn’t. His car was there. He hadn’t lied. I turned around and headed home.

I have nothing to fear but myself.

I hated what I’d done that night. Hated that I had given in to fear and talked myself into behaving in a way that undermined my higher good.

It was a great lesson. In the end, I discovered the truth about what I was doing. It wasn’t that I couldn’t trust C.C.. It was that I didn’t trust myself enough to do the right thing. I was letting myself down by giving into my fears. I will wilfully behaving in a distrustful way. I was being untrustworthy and undermining our relationship.

Regardless of whether C.C. was or wasn’t where he’d said he’d be, I had let my fears control me. I had let myself react without giving care to what I was creating in my life. Harmony or discord? The choice was always mine. That night I chose discord.

It was several months before I told C.C. what I’d done. I knew that had I told him that night, while I was still feeling off-centered and out of control, he would not have been able to hear me speak of what had compelled me to act in such a foolish and distasteful way. He would only have heard the bare facts – I hadn’t trusted him enough to believe him.

Trust is a big issue for C.C.. We’ve discussed it many times. He needs to know he is trusted in order to trust.

My big issue is safety. I need to feel safe to know I am safe. My behaviour that night had nothing to do with C.C. and everything to do with what was going on in my head. I wasn’t safe within me.

Intimacy can do that to me. In having come through those years of abuse and healing, I know I am okay. But, as I get closer to another human being, along with the joy of knowing I am loved, I am loveable, I am enough, the fears of never being good enough, or of being made to look like a fool, also awaken.

It’s up to me to tame them with ample doses of self-love and liberal dollops of truth and honesty, accountability and authenticity.

When I did tell him about my ride with the furies raging in my head, I ensured I began the conversation with a statement of how much I love him. In the end, he heard me say, “What I did had everything to do with me and my issues around intimacy. It had nothing to do with you and your trustworthiness.” And in his hearing me from where I was at, intimacy deepened, love survived.

We’ve weathered that storm. Climbed different mountains, crossed other seas. And through it all, I am learning that loving another is a journey of discovery. It is a voyage of wonder where I get to let go of holding someone else accountable for how I’m feeling, how I’m acting and what I’m thinking.

To be in relationship with another requires that I first and always hold true to my relationship with my self. To act out is to act against my values, beliefs and principles. To act in love is to embrace all that is wondrous, miraculous and Divine in me.

I am responsible for me. It is my responsibility to act in my higher good, and to not let myself down on the side of doing the wrong thing. Love requires my attention. I deserve my loving care. And love deserves I turn up, pay attention, speak my truth and stay unattached to the outcome. And when I do, love blossoms and I am safe within me.



283 Comments on "After the sociopath is gone: Loving another. That was then. This is now."

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  1. nolarn2bcop says:

    eb-I’m really thinking about it after my unemployment hearing. I miss my old Hospital. If I HAVE to be a nurse for a little while longer than I would much rather do it there. Their police academy is way better than the one here too. I am just really about to go serious NC with this thing next door!



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  2. shanmoo says:

    HELP PLEASE! I AM DEVASTATED, HAVE JUST MADE A HUGE MISTAKE and lost the most wonderful man, mistake made by allowing those furies to come out and also get acted on.

    I broke up with my last sociopath over 2 years ago (been in a few abusive relationships). Until the end of last year I had met a few guys, but there was nothing that lasted more than a few weeks. I just kept falling out with them. One I managed to stay friends with, he was really sweet, but with all of them it was as if I was looking to find problems. The slightest thing and I would feel “put off” them.

    Anyway a lot has happened this year as I got quite ill in January, its still ongoing and thats another story, but I decided to give up on the idea of ever meeting anyone. I had been through so much with hospitals etc, I had (and still have) a depression, my self esteem dropped again, and I just thought that it would be too difficult for someone to be together with me.

    Then suddenly out of the blue I ended up in a relationship. How it started : Basically I had got a new phone number and sent it on to a load of people including “Mr T” who I kinda knew, he had asked me out on dates before but I just kept putting it off. Anyway he asked me where had I been and I explained I hadnt been well etc etc, and he asked if I would like to go out sometime. OK fine, I was a little shocked but didnt hear any more until a few days later when he just called up and said that he had taken his kids to the fairground and would I like to join them. Well I could have put it off, in a way I wanted to, but on the other hand I thought why dont I take a chance. We had a lovely day together and I must admit that by the time I came home I was in love with him. He is a lovely lovely person, and a great dad, and I just fell in love with him that day.

    So a relationship started…. and everything has been going really well, there have been some issues which has nothing to do with sociopaths rather his way of living and ideas about life but it seemed they were getting sorted out. He has been a huge support to me around my illness etc even sitting all night at the hospital with me. He has been an absolute rock to me.

    However, due these things going on in my life – its in a crisis due to the ill health and all the consequence of that – my mood and self esteem started to seriously go downhill about 2 weeks ago after an admission to hospital and other problems.

    I am living abroad from where I was born and grew up. Its been a struggle to stay here since getting ill, but Mr T has has kept me going and I wanted to have a new start here with him. However its been so tough for me these last weeks that at the weekend I had to tell him, that if it couldnt get better I would have to go back to my own country as I couldnt survive. The thought made me feel sick and it was obviously upsetting for him. But I told him, its the absolute last option.

    Later Sunday he decided to lend me his old mobile phone because mine is broken. Well you know what. There had been some words and tears between us when we were first together because he had not been completely truthful to me about a girl he had had a short relationship with. He had told me when we first met up that he hadnt been with anyone in a year or so, then later admitted that actually there had been someone 3 months before me which didnt work out at all however they stayed friends and talked. He said he hadnt told me at the start as it was an embarrassing attempt at a relationship and they also worked together and assumed Id get jealous about it.

    AS SOON AS I GOT THAT PHONE IN MY HAND, I DECIDED THAT I NEEDED TO CHECK UP ON WHAT HAD GONE ON WITH THIS GIRL BEFORE ME. WHAT A MUPPET. So of course I found messages, only sent ones from him to her, over a period of about 3 months including just before he met up with me.

    SO I GOT IT IN MY HEAD THAT HE HAD LIED TO ME ABOUT HER EVEN MORE AND THAT HE ONLY MET UP WITH ME BECAUSE THE OTHER ONE DIDNT WORK OUT, THAT I WAS 2ND BEST ETC ETC. I got myself all upset and hurt and rang and messaged him about this girl/messages and told him he was a liar and I wanted him to leave me alone.

    The fact is he told this other girl about me and stopped their text chat. He has been the most fantastic boyfriend
    HE HAS TOLD ME HE LOVED ME SO MUCH HE COULD NOT LOVE ME MORE and he is the biggest support I LOVE HIM SO MUCH but NO I could only focus on those stupid sent messages and be angry and hurt and tell him where to get off.

    So of course he gets hurt and I got text messages from him telling me how it was the most ridiculous thing he ever had experienced, that he was sick of me being negative, that he felt misused and taken advantage of, he had given me his heart and I had chosen to do this.He didnt want to see or speak to me right now, but hoped that we could be friends in the future.

    I have had a breakdown over what has happened. He was so good that he came over last night and was crying but he has told me he cannot be with me as he cannot have that I do that again.

    It is only today that I have been able to now look back at what happened on Sunday. This is my self diagnosis. That I am so used to being treat like rubbish in a relationship, being cheated on, lied to, emotionally abused, that I just expect it to happen, that all men lie and have another agenda. At the weekend I was feeling so low and my self esteem so low, it was as if I wanted to go looking for that information, to confirm to myself that Im not worthy of anything other than being lied to, It was as if I needed to hurt myself. And I sure did that, and Mr T too. I AM SO USED TO BEING TRODDEN ON, THAT IT FELT WRONG TO NOT BE and I had to make some DRAMA, JUST TO FEEL AT HOME :O(.

    So me and Mr T have been talking, but the relationship is gone. I dont blame him. I am just so devastated. He was the most wonderful person. He wants us to stay friends and see each other in the week and at weekends but Ive told him I cant as it would just prolong the pain. I was almost suicidal last night over everything.

    Do you think there is any hope. I had no idea that I hadnt completely dealt with my issues from previous abusive relationships. I really thought that after 2 years I was ok.

    Thanks everyone, I really hope someone can reply as Im heartbroken.

    Shanmoo



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  3. libelle says:

    Dear Shanmoo,
    it sounds horrible, the whole story. First of all, calm down. You and him are still alive, nobody has been hurt physically, and you too can still communicate.

    The no-brainer: being suicidal means there IS hope left (“Hope” that suicide will make things better…) The one without any hope even gives up the idea of suicide. And once you got THIS, you can also stay alive and live in “good hope” to see for yourself what life has to offer “as a supplement”.

    Lesson Nr one: never lend to anybody or accept from anybody the cellphone, the toothbrush or the inkpen (spouse as well). No good.

    Lesson Nr 2: when it hurts, there is something wrong.

    Lesson Nr 3: considering your string of relationships you had after the break up 2 years ago it is in mho far too early to any relationship, you need probably far more time (your subconscious gave you maybe a hint in that direction because of the fact you could not trust your friend).

    Lesson Nr 4: even “absolute rocks” in one’s lives can turn into heaps of sand and crumble in dire weather. Then you have to swim, and I am confident you will find sure firm ground under your feet again, as you have called upon the rescue team at LF! You already know where the lifeline is to be found.

    Lesson Nr 5: committed relationships grow with obstacles. You cannot change the winds when you sail but you can adjust setting the sails to get to your port. And trust issues are usually heavy winds. Sometimes it is good tactics to take off alll the canvas to wait for better weather, and then discuss with yourself first and then with the crew whether or not to persue the preplanned journey.

    But the most important is to stay captain of your own ship!!!

    I wish you all the best!



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  4. skylar says:

    Shanmoo,
    this relationship is not the end all and be all of your life, despite the fact that it feels like it.

    You don’t sound ready for a relationship.

    First of all, he did lie. That is a red flag. Then he blames you for being suspicious. strike 2. Yes, you are, BUT HE DID LIE.

    You are not ready for a relationship with a liar. You have your health on your plate right now.

    Here’s a secret: your hormones are messing with you right now. You are feeling everything intensely because relationships create oxytocin and other “feel-good” hormones in you. While they are still flooding your bloodstream, you can’t make decisions or even SEE reality. It will take a few months of NC before you will be “sane” again. Then, re-evaluate.



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