I subscribe to a service through which reporters who are looking for information for their stories can find sources. Not long ago, a reporter posted the following query:
A reporter at a national publication is writing about the hell of heartbreak and is looking for people to interview who have experienced a romantic breakup or divorce and who have creative/unusual advice on how to get through the day-to-day emotional turmoil of it. If you’ve been through a breakup (as an adult), how did you deal with the emotional pain, especially in the very beginning? How did you distract yourself from your heartache? How did you keep yourself from calling or texting your former beloved? What advice would you give to someone else in the middle of a heartbreak?
Most of us are here on Lovefraud because we experienced the most devastating, heartrending breakups of all—those involving sociopaths.
Ours were not run-of-the-mill relationships where the ending was, “he’s just not into you.” Ours were not situations in which two people “just grew apart.” Ours were false relationships from the very beginning, in which we were targeted, exploited and betrayed.
Advice? Yes, I have advice.
First of all, if you were involved with a sociopath, NORMAL ADVICE DOESN’T WORK. Even though self-help gurus have sold millions of books, and even if your friends have been through many, many relationships, unless they, too, have been targeted by sociopaths, THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT.
So, the first bit of advice is DON’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T GET IT.
Back to positive advice. What is the one thing you need to understand if you’ve been involved with a sociopath? IT’S NOT YOU!
Oh, the sociopath certainly told you that you were the problem, told you that you had problems, and even blamed you for his or her atrocious behavior. But that was all part of the manipulation. Sociopaths intentionally make you doubt yourself. Sometimes it’s to make you malleable so they can take advantage of you, sometimes it’s just for their own entertainment. If you’re feeling nuts, you are having a rational reaction to an insane situation, and your ex is the one causing the insanity.
Next you need to know that the relationship NEVER WOULD HAVE WORKED. Although sociopaths lavishly proclaim their love, they’re lying. Sociopaths are incapable of love. But they have learned that if they mouth the words “I love you,” they can get what they want. And what they want is to exploit you.
If you’ve been involved with someone like this, there is nothing you could have done differently. Nothing would have made the situation better. The sociopath cannot be satisfied, and cannot change.
So how should you view your experience? DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Yes, really. The fact that you were mistreated had nothing to do with you or your behavior. It had everything to do with the fact that you were involved with a cruel, heartless sociopath.
If your ex didn’t do it to you, he or she would have done it to someone else. Why? Because that’s what they do.
Finally, YOU CAN RECOVER, BUT IT WILL TAKE TIME. This is not a normal breakup. It wasn’t only your heart that was broken. It was also your view of the world.
Give yourself time and permission to heal. Surround yourself with people who truly care about you, and embark on a program of NO CONTACT with the sociopath. Even though you pine for the individual, understand that you fell in love with a mirage, and what you’re feeling is residual addiction to the relationship.
Do not call. Do not text. Do not send email. The stronger your commitment to NO CONTACT, the faster you will mend.
Take positive steps. Find joy and happiness anywhere you can, and let them seep into the empty hole that was your heart. Eventually, your heart will fill up and you can try again—with much more wisdom than you had before.