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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: This year, holidays without the sociopath

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.



65 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: This year, holidays without the sociopath"

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  1. lesson learned says:

    Kim,

    Wow!I haven’t posted here in awhile, but read the articles from time to time and I saw your story.

    It’s so easy for me to read someone’s experience and say what I would do, but as I’ve learned so much harder to do while IN it. I resonated with your folding like a lawn chair with his first freak out. That would be time for me to have run. These shared experiences are so important to me because I LEARN from them and I appreciate you sharing it.

    Personally, I would NOT have apologized, given his first reaction to you which was so way out of line, it wasn’t necessary.

    One of the things that’s helping me so much, is the issue of respect and boundaries. A guy that I was attracted too that worked down the street at a gas station, was also attracted to me. So one day he introduced himself and within thirty minutes had put out the pity play (his ex was a bitch, you know the story), he moved across country to get away from her (uh-huh), she was abusive, etc. This time, all I did was LISTEN and OBSERVE his behaviors. I didn’t offer any information about myself except the very basics. He said he was ready for a relationship, I made it very clear that while I was open to friendship, I was NOT ready to date. PERIOD. So the next day I go and get gas. He comes up to my window, like an excited five year old and asks me what I’m doing for the weekend, that this was his “Friday” and that he’d like to take me out. I didn’t get a chance to respond before he kept verbalizing, then pointed at me and said, “YOU NEED to give me YOUR Phone number!”

    OH REALLY??? I don’t “NEED” to do anything, asshat! Now before awareness, I would have perceived this as VERY flattering. After awareness, I saw it as controlling, but most importantly DISRESPECTFUL. 1. clearly he “forgot” about the conversation just the evening before in which I stated I was not ready to “date”. 2. He didn’t ask for my number, he DEMANDED it from me.

    That was it. I never went back. I ignore him and I don’t go into that station at all.

    Another critical element in my healing process has been observing my reactions. Mindfulness in what’s going on within. After he demanded my number, I had a feeling of being violated. My boundaries had been crossed. After I got over being angry, I was proud of myself, even if disappointed, for not allowing disrespect in my life. It isn’t worth it. I can see the long term issues that a relationship with this man would have created for me. It helped me appreciate being alone so much more, even though I really struggle with loneliness.

    Even loneliness has an underpinning for me somewhere. I see my vulnerabilities really clearly. My desire to have another relationship is really strong, and I wonder if that isn’t just human nature for all of us in wanting to be connected somehow, but I won’t do it again at the expense of all the hard work I’ve done to get here.

    I’ve also realized I’m a total spath magnet. Either that or there’s just a lot of toxic men out there. I know there are good men because some of them are my friends. I no longer obsess about why spaths are attracted to me, or toxic men because from my perspective there is more of them than not. The important thing is to be able to recognize it and walk away.

    But never again, ever, will I justify, minimize or trivialize a man’s disrespectful behavior, nor my responses to it in the past. It’s a lot of work because there is that strong element of familiarity for me in having come from a spath family. Your reaction in shut down, or not knowing how to respond on his first freak out, was something I definitely could see myself doing if I had allowed myself to be open. What a great lesson to learn.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, Kim. It has been really helpful to me.

    PS. OXY- My son is a spath. He nearly had me at recovery. He bullshitted his way through treatment. Ironically, he was one of the few in the program who skated a one year program in just eight months. There is nothing like a spath with an agenda. They don’t like confinement. Nor rules, but if they see light at the end of the tunnel, they’re angels. He almost had me believing, until the end of the program, one statement told me it was all bullshit. I went home, opened my closet, took out all of his pictures and cried. I mourned and grieved.

    Then I kicked him out. It shouldn’t be too long before he’s either back in the system or he’s dead.

    I’m as ok as I’m gonna get about it. I know I did everything I could. I know that he was brilliant, and still is, that he had all the tools to take from a great program and apply in positive ways to his life. Instead, he used it to add to his manipulative and atrocious behavior. Ironically, when I called him out on his BS, the mask was completely off.

    As a family, we all know. There is still a sadness in my heart. I’m learning to detach from it, but it’s taking some time. As long as I don’t see him, and he chooses not to come around because I know what he is and what he’s doing, I’m okay. There is some guilt about who he is and why. Detachment doesn’t mean there isn’t pain, it’s just not the devastating, put me into bed for weeks kind of pain.

    I don’t talk to many about it. Still processing the detachment. When I have, people tend to want to blame the addiction he has. For some reason, that seems easier, because most believe it can be “fixed”. That I’m being cold because I know that it can’t.

    I was blown away by therapists and court advocates alike that a kid might just be psychopathic or “conduct disordered”. The belief that every kid can make it and the addiction is blamed, without seeing the manipulative behavior during treatment, blows my mind. I begged, pleaded with the therapists early on in treatment to do something.

    I hope it’s not a bad thing to hope that my son is caught soon.

    I think the community is safer without his presence.

    What a sad thing to have to say about your child. The little boy I knew is gone.

    I don’t know this young man. At all.

    Blessings.



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  2. Truthspeak says:

    Lessonlearned, wow…..what an empowering post.

    And, I feel for the loss of your son – I’ve got one that I’ve had to grieve over, as well. No easy task, that.

    Another opportunity to type: TOWANDA!!!!!!

    Reading empowering posts like this gives me so much encouragement and inspiration to keep moving my feet forward, EVEN when they don’t want to move.

    Brightest blessings



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