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Stolen Time

By:  Linda Hartoonian Almas, M.S. Ed

Last year, I re-connected via social media, with a childhood friend who I had not seen in years.  As mothers with children of similar ages, we had a lot to catch up on.  As we did, I learned that she has two children who are suffering from a misunderstood and often misdiagnosed disorder.

She is a wonderfully positive person, who freely discusses her children’s struggles, in hopes of educating others about the issue.  She advocates fiercely for them, yet seems to successfully strike a balance between speaking on their behalf and encouraging their independence.

The same, only different

Over time, as I learned more, I found that I identified with her emotions regarding her family’s concerns.  Her situation is riddled with various highs and lows.  Some days bring serious hurdles to jump, along with grave disappointments, while others bring great pride and immense joy.  She and her family see many great successes, but these successes are punctuated with frequent challenges.

While psychopathy is not on her radar and we are dealing with two very different issues, it occurred to me that we share some very similar feelings regarding the paths we are on.  One day, while beaming with pride regarding her children’s recent achievements, she pointed out how they rose above their health concerns, accomplishing things that many other parents would simply take for granted.

She said that her children were thriving, in spite of the large number of days that their particular illness had “stolen” from them.  I noted that this was not the first time that she had used such terminology.  She realizes that no matter how well things go, she cannot change that her children have been “robbed” of certain normal life experiences.

My revelation

Her simple statement brought about a “light bulb moment” for me and really got me thinking.  Isn’t that how most of us feel about our experiences with psychopathy or the individuals with psychopathic traits who have touched our lives?

They may have literally stolen many things from us, but most importantly, they did, effectively, “steal” portions of our lives.  When we attach a unit of measure to what we endured, even if only in terms of thievery, it helps quantify our experiences.

It allows us to make sense of our lost time and gives us something tangible to take away from our experiences.  It also gives us a reference point from which we are able to spring forward.

Prior to her statement, I had not thought in such terms.  However, she was right.  Again, I identified with what she was saying.

Wasted time

How many days, weeks, months, or years did we spend trying to work with the individuals in our lives with psychopathic features?  The chances are good that now that we know what we were up against, our responses would be, “too many.”  No actions on our parts could have increased our odds.

What I feel I lost from my brush with psychopathy is almost immeasurable.  Yet, at the same time, so is what I gained.

Stolen time

In terms of stolen time, what exactly gets taken from us, as these relationships run their course?  While there are numerous constants, some specifics may depend on the types of relationships we experienced.

A psychopathic parent will affect us differently than a psychopathic romantic partner.  Nonetheless, the behaviors may be similar and just as abusive and devastating.  Also, each carry the potential for long term harm.  However, we tend to lose different pieces of our innocence, depending on the natures of our associations.

Regardless, we must accept that, while some forms of these relationships did exist, they were not the ones we thought we were having.  Our involvements were based on love, caring, and genuine emotion.  Little, if any, of that actually occurred on their ends, even if it appeared to for a time.  For them, the associations were lies.  Because of this, we were unable to take any meaningful actions.  Nothing was real.  Stolen time.

What about significant life events that we were shortchanged on in our experiences with psychopaths?  In life, we encounter many emotionally charged moments, such as the births of children or the deaths of loved ones.  We tend to experience a variety of feelings when something special or significant occurs.

Psychopathic individuals, however, do not experience these emotions in the same ways that we do.  Therefore, their reactions tend to be quite different from ours.  We may feel great joy or pain, they may feel next to nothing out of the ordinary.  We may have tried to share our feelings, victories, or defeats, hoping that they could “feel” along with us.  They could not.  Rather, anger and rage at our attempts ensued.

In spite of our desires, we were forced to walk the emotional experiences alone.  Their muted or non-existent affects left us feeling empty and disappointed.  Their rages left us upset and confused.  Stolen emotions.  Stolen relationships.

Worse yet, often, the experiences we have with these individuals are so damaging that we try to eliminate them from our memories completely.  Unfortunately, along with forgetting the bad they inflicted, we sometimes lose portions of the good we encountered with others who surrounded us.  Stolen memories.

There are numerous other ways they violate us and take from us, as well.  The above are only a few examples.

Truths acknowledged

Unfortunately, if we were involved with psychopathic individuals, the truth is that portions of our lives may have been stolen by the disorder.  While we may be able to recover the financial or material losses psychopaths create, some of our losses are not tangible items that we can take back.  To some extent, we may always have to live with the trappings of these experiences.

As a result, it is important to own the losses.  No one likes feeling robbed of special or irreplaceable pieces of our lives.  We deserved more than mechanical and insincere responses, if we got any at all.

However, again, our knowledge and understanding can set us free.  We must acknowledge any pain, so that we can leave it behind.  It is not worth hanging on to.

Rising and conquering

That is not to say that we can or should try to erase what we lived.  We should, however, work to thrive.  We can do this, not only in spite of our experiences, but because of them.  Sometimes, I feel like it took such an experience for me to reach my potential.  I know what I learned has caused me to push myself to attempt and achieve things I never otherwise would have.

We can find goodness amongst the setbacks, by using the wisdom that our experiences gave us.

We can surround ourselves with loving people, who truly share our values and treat us well, rather than embrace disordered imposters.  In fact, we may come to the point of being able to thank our imposters for showing us what it was like to live “half alive.”  Without that education, we may not have been able  to recognize “full-on” living.  We can come to know calm, regarldess of what they may do.

After taking hits and having pieces of our lives “stolen,” we can recover and have and be more than we ever imagined.

Like my friend, who will never be able to alter the realities surrounding her children’s challenges, we cannot change what was.  We can, however, conquer what will be; each of us, in our own ways.



108 Comments on "Stolen Time"

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  1. Truthspeak says:

    Well, Louise, it would have to be a personal decision. I’m of the belief that, if there’s a legal way to make an spath pay, go for it. But, the downside to this is that a corporate attorney is going to turn the tables, quite effectively, and say, “Well, you’re an adult. You made a choice…..” and everything else. The problem with this is that YOU know what actually happened, and YOU were victimized, and corporate attorneys will have an opportunity to RE-victimize you in any legal action. Having said that, it would not be a bad idea to talk to a recommended attorney in a consultation about this possibility.

    I’ve spent my share of time in Civil, Criminal, and Family Courts, and I am only able to “speak” about my personal experiences. From what I’ve experienced, none of these Courts are interested in justice, or what I would consider “justice” to be. But, your experience might be 180 degrees from my own.

    Brightest blessings!



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  2. Louise says:

    Truthspeak:

    I totally understand what you are saying, but my case likely would never go to court. The company would probably just settle out of court. I did get a good recommendation for an attorney who I never contacted. One huge problem I would face is the company is sooooo big in my city that any attorney would be hard pressed to take on the case. On the other hand, they might if they realize they will get a settlement.

    I am so torn about what to do. I just don’t want him to get away with it. That gnaws at me…how can I let him get away with what he did to not only me, but other women?? This is WHY he keeps getting away with it…everyone is too afraid to do anything about it…we are enablers and I don’t want to be an enabler.



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  3. Louise says:

    Truthspeak:

    I also get what you are saying about how an attorney could turn it around on me and say I was an adult and chose to be with him, etc., but my company actually has policies in place that forbids this kind of thing…he could be fired for what he did whether I was a willing participant or not. Yes, I made a choice to go with him, but he used his power over me and they would see that instantly.



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  4. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Dear Truthspeak: Hope this day finds you well and doing
    alright. I am doing just fine for a change. Nice and quiet;
    just the way I like it. There shall be NO MORE intrusions.
    Not into MY WORLD. I think I have made myself VERY
    explicit. Least it seems that way.

    But, you know: the ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’
    part of all this takes some time getting used to.

    Oh yes, the ‘growing up’ process.
    I thought my ’emotional learning days’ were over,
    a long time ago. Know what I mean? All this having
    to ‘change’ from a comfortable and firm life which I
    had already built for myself – prior to all this, well,
    trying to put it all back together isn’t going to happen.
    I realize that now. I have been trying too hard to
    GET BACK what I had before and it’s never going to
    happen. I am someone DIFFERENT now. Changed by
    the whole experience. I must work with what I have
    NOW and not what I had then.

    But, like you say: “It is what it is.”
    We can choose to recover from this or stay stuck.
    I am not wasting what life I have left on this monster.
    I just am not.

    hahaha: too ornery just like me, I kind of have it
    figured. lol Right: even if it’s a lifelong recovery;
    exactly.

    The minute I banished this demon from my life,
    the only way was UP. Know what I mean?

    Love and blessings, Truthspeak…

    Dupey



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  5. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Why aren’t I making more noise and being “IT’s”
    third strike?

    I have enough evidence to surely put him away
    for the rest of his life. Why aren’t I doing that?

    Because THAT legal action would take center
    stage in my life. It would only consume MORE
    of me and that is what they like.

    I won’t give it the satisfaction of THAT MUCH
    attention, unless my hand is forced. However,
    although I could consume him and his life, for
    the rest of his life, financially and/or freedom-wise,
    that was my deal: ‘stay away forever or I will…”
    And, I mean every word.

    I refuse to allow this to consume my life,
    in any way whatsoever. THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT.

    Justification, for me, isn’t as important as my sanity.
    I am rebuilding a solid, firm, foundation, for my golden years,
    now, and I am not going to have it blasted apart by legal action,
    UNLESS FORCED from this point onward.

    My pride isn’t as important to me as is my sanity.
    We each have to sort through what is real for us
    and make our decisions accordingly, as to what
    best ‘fits’ us and our ideas of justification..

    It’s a matter dealt with inside, in the heart.
    Based upon what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.
    I am not saying I won’t ever have him in court.
    Perhaps he shall force me to, at some point or
    another, but it will be in a defensive position.

    Why aren’t I pressing charges? Hm?
    Perhaps the spath has been back-spathed for a change….
    “IT” is probably wondering how that happened…. lol

    Dupey



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  6. Eralyn says:

    Louise,

    I have been in forced litigation in family court that has consumed my life. During that time I was following a complaint I filed with a regulatory board against a licensed psychologist who injected themself in our case fraudulently and when I originally wrote that complaint we were at the begginning. It was originally filed 8/09 and the guys license was revoked 4/12! I appeared at each hearing for this man as I found out more and more this man had done wrong and I been threatened etc. I was in the debths of this my case being run around by the courts and motions and petitions.

    I, too, struggle with all of the financial loss and the continued harrassment over the years and the intentional destruction these people did to our lives. I help people get restitution my whole business career and put them back where they were best I can. This destruction and the legality or illegality of it burdens me every day. I have ammunition to go for a law suit against this fraudulent letter written by this crazy fraudulent man on behalf of another fraudulent man with government money backing them through churches! (false teachings)

    Like back from the edge says, it’s so difficult to engulf yourself back in the trenches with the enemy instead of getting on with your life, it must be a personal decision. I didn’t fight for child support originally and raised my daughter with none for over a decade and have lost my income from this fight. Do I do it for my daughter as she no longer has any future money or assets that I built? I hate the decision is based on two lives and not just my own as it seems to complicate things for me. So you must decide I think of your own accord. Get on and cut your losses or see if an attorney will take it pro-bono, that’s what I am considering as I feel that will be a better case. Then you have to think about what it will take from you and what it will give back.

    Dupey, sounds like she’s got a trump card to help keep the spath away but if he forces her hand she’ll use it. That’s a bit different to me. JMHO….



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  7. Ox Drover says:

    Finding attorneys to pro bono is like looking for a needle in a LARRRRRGE HAY STACK….hard to find.

    I have found an honest one though, that refuses to represent P’s and turns down their business and he gave me a REASONABLE rate, not the $300 per hour or more that most charge. However I do as MUCH of the scut work as I can and that helps keep down his costs I am sure.

    And keep in mind, when you are suing if there is not a large fund of money to pay a judgment it doesn’t matter if you get an award for 10 zillion bucks, if there is no money to play it you are screwed anyway, so no lawyer is going to sue some poor person even on a contingency basis because there’s no money at the end of the rainbow. Sorry Charlie!



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  8. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Earlyn: I have a whole entire case against “IT”.
    For attempted murder, with intent.
    Death threats galore. I would love
    to sue him for damages for all the
    horrid ugly things he has done to me.
    Perhaps for part of my medical bills?

    I am and have made a conscious choice
    to for-go any litigation, at this point, because
    I want to be left alone more.

    To open any cause of action against “IT”,
    at this point, would only prolong and further
    the torture and torment, the way I see it.
    It would INFLICT something back into my
    life I am desperately trying to FORGET.

    I have ‘some’ life left and I will be damned if
    “IT” is going to suck it up in a court of law.
    That would only add one more injury to the insult.

    Make no mistake about it….
    It is much MORE than just a ‘trump’ card…

    I could put “IT” away for the rest of “IT’s” life…
    Louise knows me…
    She knows what I am talking about…

    JMHO



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  9. Back_from_the_edge says:

    Ox is right.
    Slim to none chances of reaping any financial gain.
    We will be labeled the ‘jilted, lying psycho ex lover’.

    However, it all depends on your point of view regarding
    justification. It depends on each individual as much as
    it does the situation. Sometimes it’s not about the money
    at all but about re-establishing a persons sense of self worth.

    Although I know my ppath CAN afford it, NOW,
    I don’t want ‘blood money’, which is all he has.
    It’s not even his to begin with.

    The greater justification, in my mind, is walking away,
    holding my head up high and meaning every single word
    I have said up to this point. Make no mistake about that.
    The one thing “IT” wants the most is “ME”. And, that is
    just not going to ever happen. NC; finale! Fini`!

    The one thing they hate the WORST is losing your attention.
    Trust me, I know.

    I could have perpetuated and/or reciprocated the stalking…
    I could have kept the ‘fires burning’ by hauling it into court;
    instead, I WANTED IT TO KNOW WHO IT WAS MESSING WITH.
    Make no mistake about it. “IT” always thought “IT” had the
    control and power over “ME”? Well, “WHO” has the power NOW?

    You can’t get THAT in any court of law.

    I will have NO hesitancy in putting someone who used
    to be my BEST FRIEND behind bars. Absolutely NONE.
    He is a danger to society.



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