By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)
Someone posted one of those “signs” on my Facebook page today that everyone forwards and shares, which I call “one-sentence wisdom or humor” but this one struck me as suburb wisdom.
The past is where you learned the lesson.
The future is where you apply it.
Don’t quit in the middle.
We have all had the misfortune to learn our lessons the “hard way” in associating with a psychopath (or two), but actually I think “misfortune” may be the wrong word, because learning things “the hard way” means that we will not forget those lessons. “The burned hand never forgets the fire” is another way to say it. Maybe we have actually been fortunate to escape from the psychopath when we are still able to escape, and when our “burns” were not fatal. We read in the newspapers, on the Internet, and see on television the faces of women (and men) who did not escape with their lives from associating with a psychopath.
Now that we have escaped, I think we need to apply those lessons learned in the past, to the future. We can’t quit in the middle.
Treating the wounds
While I realize that many here on Lovefraud still have open wounds, sores that are still bleeding or weeping, that are still painful to touch. The pain caused by those wounds, by the physical, financial, and emotional wounds can be horrific. Worse, still, can be the pain of treating those wounds.
I recall my son D’s burns after the plane crash. They weren’t quite severe enough for him to be hospitalized since he had a trained medical person at home, so they sent him home with me with a car load of creams and potions with minute instructions on how to cleanse and re-bandage his burns daily.
Each day I would pre-treat him with a dose of morphine to numb the pain somewhat, though he said it didn’t actually numb the pain, just made him where he didn’t care. Then I would start the process of taking off the old dressings, exposing his wounds to the open air, then wash the burns, removing the old, dead skin, then put on the creams tenderly and carefully, and then replace the bandages which went from the tip of his fingers to his shoulders and back.
I can’t even imagine just how he must have hurt, but my own empathy for him as I treated his wounds was extremely painful to me as well. I know there were many times he wanted to just “give up” and many times I wanted to as well. Just quit! It was too painful to go on treating the wounds! (Just an aside: my son’s wounds healed successfully and unless you know where to look with a magnifying lens, there are no scars visible.)
There were times I felt the same way with my emotional wounds in life. It was just too painful, I just wanted to QUIT! Anything to stop tearing the bandages off and treating the wounds again. It was too painful.
After my husband died, I was in such emotional pain that I didn’t want to do the grieving. I didn’t want to tear those bandages off and treat those wounds of my loss. It was just too painful. So I became vulnerable to the psychopaths in my life. The new boyfriend looking for a new “respectable” wife to cheat on was not a successful way to end my pain and grief. I had quit in the middle and didn’t apply lessons I had learned in the past to the future.
Associating with psychopaths leaves us with wounds of all descriptions and levels of damage. Those wounds are difficult and painful to heal, but we must not quit in the middle. Therapy is painful. We have to tear off the scabs that keep us from being able to heal and allow new growth. Whether the therapy is from a professional or is self administered, it is painful to expose our raw inner selves to the open air of examination.
Applying what we learned
When those wounds are healed, however, we must apply those lessons learned to the future of our lives. We must watch for the RED FLAGS of disordered people in the future associations of our lives, and when we see a RED FLAG, we must HONOR that red flag by running as fast as we can away from the person(s) waving it. If not, we will be burned again … and again … and again.
Our healing processes start out in learning about the psychopaths, but they end up being about learning about ourselves as well. Learning why we were vulnerable to the psychopaths in the first place. Fixing those vulnerabilities and using the knowledge we learned from our past, to make our futures better.
Don’t quit in the middle.