Editor’s note: The following article was written by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “Adelade.”
Holiday seasons are looming on the horizon. For those of us who are in recovery, this time of year can be very depressing, or very liberating. For those who are still embedded in the World of Spath, the holiday season can be more desperate than any other time of the year.
Before escaping sociopathic entanglements, the Holiday Season is a time of withhold/reward, predictable outcomes, and ruined expectations. “Perhaps, this year will be better. Perhaps, he/she will make the changes and save the relationship.” Well, if the spath isn’t engaging in withhold/reward, they’re engaging in situational love bombing. If we are pliable to what the spath wants, the children will have presents to open, family members will be invited to celebrate, friends will be allowed to visit, and all will be well with the world. We only have to bargain with the spath to achieve a peaceful, loving, and happy Season.
The predicted outcomes are a result that we have previously experienced routine disappointments, and we know (on an academic level) that there is no bargaining with the spath that will assure that our children, family, friends, and selves will experience any of these desired outcomes. Events will be canceled or unattended. Friends will be uncomfortable in our environments and stay only a short time, or not even drop by. Family members will either attend our gatherings with dread, or not at all. And, we will be left feeling empty, robbed, devalued, and dismissed.
End of the entanglement
Once we have exited the spath entanglement, the Holiday Season might be an opportunity to throw the biggest Pity Party of the year, or it could be an opportunity to construct new traditions and emotional freedoms that previously didn’t exist. Think about how many milestones, important events, and holidays went by without notice. This year could be the best year of our lifetimes – we have the opportunity to celebrate in our own ways, using our own creativity, and actually feel the freedom from the emotional bondage and torment that the socipathic dynamics generated. Then, again … we could indulge ourselves in self-pity and drive away every person that would enjoy our company. Why regret an illusion that’s finally exposed? What good does it do to ruminate over a system of false beliefs? Weren’t those beliefs proven false? What more could there be to celebrate than truth?
Sure, it’s sad that the spath(s) took so much away from us. But, we can’t rebuild that illusion no matter what we use to try. What they said, what they did, and what they’re doing are important to us only as examples of what we never will allow, again.
My important events were dismissed
In my situation with the exspath, my birthdays, my graduation (with honors), my business grand opening, holidays, and important creative events were all dismissed. And, when I use the word “dismissed,” I mean to say that the exspath would give a cursory nod in my general direction, but preparations, celebrations, and acknowledgement of my accomplishments were never made. When I was honored with a scholarship, I received my award in a campus ceremony, alone. When I graduated with a 4.0 GPA, I walked onto the stage to receive my certificate, alone. After my graduation, there was no card. There was no celebratory dinner or family gathering. My birthdays would come and go with a Hallmark card — I would pick out my own gift and purchase my own birthday cake. Holidays were barely acknowledged and my elaborate holiday meals were complimented, but not appreciated. The last several years of my marriage to the second exspath were spent in abject dismissal — Adelade was rendered unimportant, inconsequential, and nonexistent by overt and subtle dismissals.
So, this year, I don’t have to experience the predictable disappointments. Regardless of my financial issues, I am free of any obligation to see to the needs of anyone else. I am free of the dismissal and invalidation. I am free to celebrate this freedom to be myself in any way that I choose to. I can prepare dishes that I want to prepare and not have to concern myself with whether the exspath will even appreciate the monumental effort that goes into producing a holiday meal. This year is all about me. This year has the potential to be all about you, as well. Make it happen for yourself. Take this time to grasp onto yourself for validation and appreciation. Recognize that this will be all about you and no longer all about what he/she did or is doing.
May this year be the most emotionally empowering one yet. May this year be the year when we discover our incredible strengths and recognize our vulnerabilities. May this be the year that we finally claim our Selves and set aside the fear of rejection, dismissal, and abandonment and place boulders of strength, courage, resolve, and wisdom as the foundation blocks of our newfound boundaries. This year is The Year Of Recovery for me. May it also be The Year Of Recovery for you.