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Holidays after the sociopath

Lovefraud recently received the following email:

It’s almost a year since I last saw my x-sociopath as a boyfriend, the real last time was in May in a court and some after.

It is hard this time of year with the Holidays around, and I have a lot of health issues and so not hearing his voice, or getting calls, has been hard—even though I know now he is liar. This time last year I did not know how much I had been scammed up til then.

Still, with all the reading I have done, and all the thinking and grieving, I just can’t understand how this person could have fooled me, or that he knew that he was doing so much wrong to me, while sometimes still saying I love you back to me after I said it.

I just loved him so much, and miss the person I thought he was so much too. I just can’t seem to understand, because I am not a sociopath, and it is still very painful.

Regardless of how we celebrate the holidays, they are a time of year during which all of our personal relationships are magnified. We have expectations about what will happen when we see the people who are important in our lives, which may or may not prove to be accurate expectations. And if we have gaping holes in our lives where healthy relationships are supposed to be, we feel the emptiness more acutely than at other times of the year.

Sociopaths and the holidays

I don’t know what sociopaths actually feel regarding the holidays, but they seem to recognize this time of year as an extraordinary opportunity for manipulation. The type of manipulation depends on where they are in the relationship lifecycle with a particular target.

If sociopaths are in the love bombing stage, they may employ the “grand gesture,” to seduce the target with over-the-top gifts and celebration.

If they’re in the maintenance stage, where the target is hooked but not yet totally drained, the sociopaths do what they have to do to keep the con going. My ex-husband, for example, always bought me at least one decent Christmas gift. He also was around for Thanksgiving and Christmas, although he was away immediately before Thanksgiving and over New Year’s. I later learned that while he told me he was handling military matters, or attending to the estate of his deceased wife on these trips, he was actually seeing other women.

If they’re in the devalue-and-discard stage, sociopaths may actively work to make the holidays miserable. Some Lovefraud readers have told me about rampages of emotional abuse, such as sociopaths saying, “Why don’t you just kill yourself—that would be a real Christmas gift for the rest of us.”

And then, if the sociopaths need a new source of supply, they may use the holidays as an excuse to reconnect with former targets, just to see if they can bleed them again.

Afterwards, coping with the loss

The Lovefraud reader who wrote the letter printed above was feeling the emptiness of not having a relationship, even though she now knows that the sociopath was lying to her. Here are my suggestions for this reader, and anyone else who is feeling home alone after getting rid of a sociopath.

First of all, remember that anything good about the relationship was an illusion. If early on, you had a magical Christmas with the individual, realize that it was all an act. The sociopath did not give you a fabulous gift, or take you on a wonderful getaway, because he or she was in love with you. The sociopath was after a prize, and was seducing you to win it.

Secondly, realize that you may never “understand” why the sociopath did what he did. The reason, as you say, is that you are not a sociopath. But you must accept what he did. Accept that sociopaths do what they do because that’s who they are; that’s what they are. They take from us because they can. They hurt us because they want to. There is no other explanation.

Finally, no matter how badly you suffered because of the sociopath, there is a gift in the situation, and that is the gift of wisdom. Now, because of your experience, you know the sociopaths are out there. You know how they behave. You know that you have vulnerabilities.

I suggest you take what you have learned, about them and you, and set a goal for the New Year—a goal of achieving real peace within you. This may require letting go of people, possessions or ideas that you never wanted to release. It also may require believing in yourself, in your inherent value and goodness—perhaps for the first time.

Yes, it may feel like a tall order, but now, as one year ends and another is about to begin, is a terrific time to take the first steps.



140 Comments on "Holidays after the sociopath"

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  1. New Beginning says:

    Dear Oxy,

    Thank you for the message that every person’s pain is “total”. It not only is useful for our own healing, it is also an awareness of pain other people in our life experience.

    I’ve found the people who really care about me do not dissect WHY I need support, they just offer their hand. Ironically, these people are not always the one’s I would have expected it from……and vice versa for those who dissect the entire situation and are judgemental. Difficult times can be a real eye opener.

    My sincere gratitude to you, Donna and all the LF bloggers. This truly is a place of healing. You have all made a difference.

    Kind regards,

    New Beginning



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  2. Ox Drover says:

    New Beginning,

    You are entirely welcome. The concept that Frankl passed on to me about the pain being total made me realize completely what we in nursing have always said “pain is what the patient says it is.”

    Since the time I first started in nursing school, there has actually been some research on physical pain that shows that there is a GENETIC determiner that determines HOW and how MUCH pain a person experiences physically, there are also some cultural things about pain also that determine the perception of the person of just if the pain is a little a bunch or a whole bunch! LOL

    As far as emotional pain I think that is also somewhat genetically and culturally determined as well, and it is not for us to judge another person’s pain, or for them to judge ours.

    It is amazing who is supportive and who is not during our periods of trauma….and those people who are supportive, who just reach out a hand, those are precious souls, so you are fortunate to have them in your life. The others, don’t worry about them…they’ll just fade out! Let them go.

    Have a happy and a healing new year! God bless.



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  3. creampuff says:

    To All Dear Newbies:
    Welcome….this is a place where no matter what country we come from or our situations…..when we sign off it’s like you leave with a hug from people who “get it”. Oxy, you do need to write a book!! I have finally done it….NO CONTACT…..and even though the cost has been high (my husband is still here, but will not really have anything to do with me) it is still so worth it. I have cut my bio spath daughter and the step spath OUT of my life. I came here about 2 years ago drowning because I saw no way out. I was in quicksand and this site offered me their hand….many hands actually….and even though my husband does not agree with me I have to do what I feel is right. Both those girls almost killed me emotionally …and now I have stood up and said….”NO MORE”….will I miss them? I will miss the fantasy of what I thought a mother-daughter relationship should be…but it wasn’t my reality….and I agree with others about how very agonizing it is to watch your child be such a horrible parent. Don’t punish yourself if for every three steps forward you take two backwards..your strength will come. There are many loving arms here reaching out to help you out of your own personal quicksand….God Bless.



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  4. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Creampuff,

    Hello sugar, I am so glad to see you and so glad that you have taken the BIG STEP of NO CONTACT. It is difficult, more than difficult in a family situation where there is one side “against” and one side “for” the psychopath.

    I know it is also painful when your husband does not support your decision and support you with it. In fact, “punishes” you for making that decision.

    The psychopaths do the “divide and conqueor” routiine so much and I can relate to that CreamPuff, you know how it has been in my family as well, but I do NOT regret the fact that I am NC with my egg donor, I too wish I had a “mother daughter” relationship the way it should be, but I don’t. I also wish I had a “mother/son” relationship with my P son Patrick and my jerk son C, but I don’t. I can’t fix that, I can’t change that, all I can do is take care of myself, put myself first and take care of ME.

    I’m glad that you have started doing that CreamPuff, I know it is hard, oh, God, I know how hard it is….and with grandchildren involved that you love as well, it has got to be doubly hard. I used to want grandchildren so much, and now I thank God every day I don’t have grandchildren that have or could be jerked away from my heart, arms and love.

    Hang in there Cream Puff, and keep on coming here, you know you are NOT alone, never will be alone,, as long as LF is here. Hugs and my prayers for you, your strength and that hopefully your husband will see the light. If he doesn’t I know you can still survive and thrive! Hang on!!!



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  5. Ox Drover says:

    Guys do not click on the above link in the post above mine…I reported it to donna. I think it is an ad.



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