Today I would like to reach out to everyone here on this site. I have been deeply touched by your comments and on-going conversations, and I feel so much of the pain and confusion that many of you are still experiencing. Your stories resonate so strongly with me on numerous levels – because I’ve been there too. I know how it feels. I ache for each and every one of you who is currently going through the heartbreak and insanity. And I’m here to tell you, today, that it WILL get better. You WILL come through – particularly with the help and support of sites like this – and there WILL come a time when you can look back at where you are now, recognize all you have achieved and give yourself a huge great pat on the back. I know this road is painful. I know it’s fraught with dangers. I also know from my own experience that it’s a road that leads to someplace better than I could possibly have imagined back then. So, in my opinion, it’s a hugely valuable journey – although there were certainly moments when it didn’t feel that way!
When I first discovered the extent of my soul mate’s betrayals, I honestly thought that I would die from the pain. It was excruciating. Not just emotional, but physical as well – I’m quite sure that I actually felt and heard the sinews snapping as my heart ripped in two. The days were horrific and the nights were torturous – nightmares haunted my sleep, and when I awoke I found myself still caught in the murderous grip of a ghastly and terrifying dream. But there was no escape. For this was no dream. It was my reality. And, like it or not, I had to deal with it.
Why Had This Happened To Me?
No matter where I went, no matter what I did, no matter who I talked with, I could not get away from the daily torture that had suddenly become my reality. I admit that there were times when the pain was so bad that I actually considered the alternative to living. I have never been so desperate – and I have never felt so alone. And the worst part of it was that nobody seemed to understand what had happened – least of all me. I had given everything to my husband, and I loved him with all of my heart, all of my soul, and with every nerve cell and fiber of my being. Where had I gone so wrong? Why did the man I loved treat me so badly? How could I have been so blind?
The questions ran round and round my head – taunting me, poking at my wounds and eating away at my confidence. Yes, I judged myself over and over again, much more harshly than even the meanest jury – and it hurt. It hurt like hell. People would tell me with the best of intentions that things go wrong in even the best marriages. They assured me that I would eventually pull through. They promised that I would heal and they even dared to venture that one day I would find love again. But I couldn’t hear them – I wouldn’t hear them. I convinced myself that mine was no ordinary marriage. I told myself that I had been lucky enough to find true love – and stupid enough to ruin it. That my husband was one in a million. That I’d never ever feel so safe and so loved ever again. Oh yes, my mind did a really good job on me in the beginning!
For me, the turning point came some ten weeks after he vanished from my life the evening I discovered his betrayals, when an old friend emailed me with the suggestion that my estranged husband was in fact a sociopath. I was in bed at the time, another restless night, bloodshot puffy eyes and the heavy heart that had become my constant companion. The email had arrived on my iPhone – I had never heard the word sociopath before and I started to get curious. I quickly found Dr Hare’s checklist and my eyes widened as I ticked off just about every point. A few minutes later I found the Lovefraud website, and was both horrified and relieved to find out that I was not alone. As I read the countless stories from people, just like me, who had also been lured and conned by a heartless sociopath, I started to believe that perhaps I could wake up from my living nightmare. Knowing that it was not me who had been stupid, realizing that I had been a deliberate target, and understanding that I had found a place where people shared my experiences and empathized with my pain, I took my first faltering steps on the slow road to recovery.
It’s Personal Now
I’m not saying that it was easy – far from it in fact. But from that moment I decided to keep focused on the fact that I had not been dealing with a ‘normal’ person. I distanced myself from the last connecting emotions that were binding me to him, and concentrated instead on my own feelings. I knew in that moment that in order to heal myself, I would need to confront my own emotional patterns – many of which were still subconscious. I would need to venture in to the parts of me that I had locked up and hidden away. To open up old scars I thought had healed long ago – and to take a long honest look at who I was and how I had become such an attractive target.
From that moment on I became a friend to myself. The self-berating stopped – as did the vulture-like questions that had circled me for so many weeks. No more did I question why this had happened or what I had done to deserve such a cruel betrayal. Instead I focused on how I could move myself through the pain and re-claim my life. In a very short time I even dared to start considering what sort of life I’d like to create for myself – going in to great detail about how I would feel once I’d achieved it. I didn’t think about how it might happen or what I might need to do – nope, I just focused on how I would like to feel. I even managed a laugh when I realized just how divorced my chosen feelings were from the ones I was currently experiencing!
That was when I realized that, against all my best intentions, I alone had been keeping myself a prisoner in my misery. Yes, you read it right – the gatekeeper, the warden was not him at all… it was ME. Because I’d kept on torturing myself long after he had gone.
So I had a choice. To support myself through what I knew was going to be a difficult journey, or to keep asking myself hurtful questions that only served to keep me stuck in my suffering. I chose the first option.
Dealing With The Practicalities
At that time I was absolutely penniless. I had closed our business, I had no work and to top it all I was strapped up in a full leg-brace because I’d had an accident and torn the cruciate ligament in my left knee. I couldn’t drive, I could hardly walk, and I had no idea how on earth I was going to survive – let alone support my son. But I focused on the things I knew that I could do – and one of the first things was to re-claim my home. I threw out anything and everything that reminded me of him, and I put up all the photographs and ornaments that I’d hidden away because he hadn’t liked them. I hobbled around the village and collected fruit from the trees, teaching myself how to make jams and chutneys that I knew I could give to friends for Christmas presents. I kept firmly focused on the idea that I was taking control of my life – of who I was and of how I chose to live – and my internal mantra became “everything I need is already within me” so that, even though the bills were coming thick and fast, I refused to be overwhelmed. I kept on top of my finances by selling everything I didn’t need on Ebay – it’s really quite amazing what some people will buy! It’s true that one person’s rubbish is gold to another – thank goodness!
All the time that I was doing the practical stuff, I also went deeply in to my emotional healing. I read and re-read all my self-development books (Louise L Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” being a particularly old and trusted favorite), I scoured the internet for positive stories, and I learned all I could about sociopathy. I devoured stories that inspired me – personal, honest accounts from people who had overcome difficulties, as well as stories from people who had been through a similar set of experiences as my own. I chose my friends, and only spent time with people who energized me, refusing to deal with the mood-hoovers who threatened to sap my positivity and bring me down. I ate healthily and I made sure to get out and about as often as I could – I became quite the expert at shuffling along on my crutches!
It was by no means straight forward, and I fell at many hurdles along the way. But I remained focused and determined – and always gave myself credit for even the tiniest of steps. And slowly, slowly I started to heal. I was open, honest and gentle with myself at every step of the way. When, some days, I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, I would stay there. No guilt, no beat-up, just the acknowledgement that my body was telling me to rest. When I felt overcome with emotion, I would let it happen. Never again was I going to stay quiet or bottle up painful feelings that just needed to come out. So, yes, there were times when I encouraged myself to shout, sob and wail until I was exhausted. Times when I let myself sink in to the pain and hurt – knowing that each time I did so another part of me would heal.
And it worked.
Slowly slowly I began to re-connect with myself. Little by little I started to re-claim my life and bit-by-bit I once again dared to start dreaming. I began to like the reflection I saw in the mirror, and I made sure every day to be thankful for all the good things that were around me – even if on the bad days the only thing I could find to be grateful for was the fact I was still breathing! I stuck loads of messages of support around my home – some from friends, as well as messages to myself. Everywhere I looked there were reminders that I AM ok, that I AM loved and that I AM surrounded by friends who care. In the process I lost some friends, made some new ones, and deepened connections with many old friends who happened to re-appear in my life. I blessed the daily miracles that were helping to transform my life and I re-awakened my belief in magic.
Where I Am Now
Today, two and a half years on from that soul-defining evening when I discovered the truth, I am chuffed to bits to tell you that my life now is better than I could ever have imagined. My business is once again up and running (better and more profitable than ever it was when I ran it with my ex!), I have lost 25lbs in weight (the fat is just melting away), I am authoring here on this site, I have just landed a book deal with an international publisher, and my social life is richer than it’s ever been before. I am happy, content, safe and hugely excited for the future.
So I’m here to tell you that you CAN make it through. If I can do it, then you can too. I’m here as living proof that the human soul is stronger than we think – and that we CAN heal, no matter how devastating or overwhelming the damage might seem at the time. As I said, I experienced many moments when I thought it would be better to die – and, in a way, I suppose I have ‘died’. Because when I look back now at the person I was when I was trapped in such a toxic relationship, I simply cannot recognize myself. And now, as I review the journey I’ve taken since then, I am filled with pride and love for myself for achieving so much. Yes, maybe the old me died – but it’s been worth it, because now I am living in paradise, and I know the best is yet to come!
I hope this has been helpful – I would be happy to answer any questions so please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With much love and blessings to all.