For many of us, when we finally disengage from the sociopath, our lives are in shambles. We aren’t just trying to recover from a broken heart due to the sociopath’s unconscionable betrayal. We may also need to recover from financial devastation, ruined relationships with family and friends, lost jobs, lost businesses, lost homes, stress-related illness and the aftershocks of psychological manipulation.
No wonder we feel like zombies. Where do we start? How do we rebuild our lives?
In the beginning, our focus is rightfully on crisis management. We make sure we have shelter, food, financial support. We must find solutions for the basic issues of survival.
Eventually, the crisis abates. We may not be living as we want to live, but we’re not starving. If we’re attempting to co-parent with the sociopath, it may still be infuriating, but at least we’re catching on to the game.
At this point, it is important to remember to live.
Doing what we enjoy
Even though our lives are still a mess, and we still have many problems to solve, we need to save a little bit of time, energy and resources to do things that we enjoy.
The tendency is to think that we have to put our lives on hold until all of our problems are solved. We believe that we can’t spare a few minutes to go for a walk. We can’t spend any money for a cup of coffee at what used to be our favorite café. We can’t talk to our old friends until we have good news to report.
This type of thinking will actually hinder our progress. Continuing to focus on what is damaged, lost or missing in our lives will keep us in a rut, and make it difficult to move forward.
We need to allow ourselves pleasures, even if they are small: sitting outside on a sunny day, watching a favorite movie, calling an old friend on the phone. The idea is to experience moments of joy however we can. The more joy we can allow into our lives, the faster our frame of mind will improve. And with a better frame of mind, we can find long-term solutions to all the issues we face.
Something that happened to us
Here’s the key concept: The experience of being betrayed by a sociopath is not who we are. The experience is something that happened to us.
I’ve written many articles in which I stress the importance of making a decision to recover from the sociopath, to find the places where we feel vulnerable and heal them.
There are two parts to the recovery: Processing the emotional pain, and allowing joy into our lives. They go hand-in-hand. As you release the betrayal and disappointment, you’ll feel a void. Fill the void with moments of joy.
Don’t deny yourself opportunities for joy and pleasure. They are important for your recovery.