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The Sociopath Creates a Dream

If you’ve been romanced by a sociopath, you know how remarkable it can be. In the first moments—the courting phase. In the time when you felt more desirable and more perfectly matched than ever before in your life.

The time you fell in love.

I wrote about my own sociopathic romance in The Other Side of Charm. And it was really hard for me after fifteen years of bad to go back to the good. It was more than hard. I cried a lot while writing about my early days with my ex, holing myself up in my house during any spare moment to write and to cry into the loneliness.

And even though I’ve written it all out by now, I still cry if I talk about it. If someone asks what it was like. I cry because it was a captivating experience.

It was my biggest young experience of love.

And it was meaningless.

Yes, that makes me cry.

Because my heart was captivated by a disguise. Everything I was wholeheartedly believing and investing myself in was a big, empty sham. My experience of feeling loved didn’t come from someone who felt it. And long after he took off his mask, I kept myself believing that it was who he truly was.

That need to believe did a lot of damage.

But it still happens to me today.

It happens by accident. It happens all the time. Because I still have to see him regularly—we have children together. And even though he’s trying hard behind the scenes to devastate me for going on two decades now, he’s smart enough to behave well in public. Which sometimes makes me question myself.

Today, for example. I’m standing at a track meet, filming and shooting photos of my son’s jumps. My ex walks up beside me and asks how he’s doing. He comes in close beside me to look at my phone. I respond pleasantly and show him the video because I can see our son watching us and he really wants us to get along. So I smile and share photos and then find myself instantly jumping to the idea that maybe we actually could get along. Because in that moment, we’re getting along. And I make it bigger than it really is because I need to believe that there’s hope for peace.

Back to reality.

The reality is that I received multiple angry emails from Mr. Getalong earlier in the day that were both degrading and untrue, and I also had a call from my attorney this afternoon about an email he received from my ex. In it, my ex claimed that I was interfering with his custody case because I wouldn’t communicate with the psychologist who’s doing our assessments. Truth be told, I’ve called the psychologist six times and can trace it on my records. And he’s the one who hasn’t called—the psychologist complained about it himself.

Back to reality, again.

This game of “I’ll accuse you of what I’m doing” is common among sociopaths, but it still catches me off guard at times. I have to remind myself not to get caught up in his stories even more often than I have to remind myself not to believe that he can be decent to me just because he’s acting like it for a moment.

Someone recently described it to me as being like a cobweb. That when you’re regularly dealing with another person’s mental illness or personality disorder, their condition can be webby. It can stick to you. Imagine walking through a cobweb and then trying to get it all off, right down to the last strand.

It’s hard to do.

It’s hard to get the cobwebs off.

It’s hard to stay on the outside of their chaos.

It’s hard to give up the dream.

It’s hard to believe that a person is dangerous if they’re talking about family life while hugging people and laughing a good, deep laugh.

It’s hard to understand how a person could be warm and nice to you while taking everything you have.

It’s hard to admit that it feels shameful and lonely to realize you weren’t actually loved when you thought you felt it.

Because we want to be loved, not duped.

We want to be wanted for who we are.

Or at the very least, we want to get along. To believe that tomorrow can be better.

That the attacks can and will end. We want to believe they’ll end.

And that’s a beautifully human thing—a critical survival skill.

But on the flip side, it can make it hard to let go of the dream.

A challenge.

To think about how all this may fit into your own life, I challenge you to consider how believing in goodness (sometimes against all evidence) can be both a positive strength and a self-defeating weakness. When is it a strength for you? When does it hold you back? And do you see any patterns?

If you’re dealing with a sociopath, clear vision can easily be clouded. How to you keep things in focus? Do you have strong skills in this area, or do you need more support?

More than anything, I challenge you to live your own safe life. Free from sociopathy and filled with your own real dreams.



109 Comments on "The Sociopath Creates a Dream"

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  1. Stargazer says:

    HopingToHeal, I was only involved with the sociopath (for whom I found this site) for 3 months in 2008. It took me a year to recover. But I grew up with narcissistic/sociopathic parents. I began the healing path 30 years ago when I went to my first 10-day meditation retreat. It was life-changing for me. I’ve been on the healing path ever since. I think it was because of all the healing I’d already done that I was able to get out of the relationship with the sociopath so quickly.



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  2. Sage says:

    Thank You for all of your comments. I still feel very angry. I hate that he will just get away with all this, and continue to hurt others.
    But I am trying to take care of ME and move on with my life. I am going to put my safety first.
    I am a bit nervous because I don’t really know what he would do if I out him anyway.

    For now i am gong to print everything out, incase I ever need it in the future.
    I will only talk to people if they ask me.
    If anyone contacts me, I will tell them the truth.
    I think that is the best course to take for now.
    Because if someone comes to me, it means they already have some doubt and concern about him.
    The others probably wouldn’t believe me anyway.
    It is all sinking in, and I am very thankful to be able to have all of you to share my experience with.
    Friends don’t want to hear about this anymore, so I feel I have to heal all by myself sometimes.
    I just hope I don’t run in to him around town. I am going to distance myself form people who consider him a friend.
    But I still feel like at some point he is going to try to play me again.
    I’m still very shaky, litterally shaky, and nervous.
    Like post traumatic stress i guess.
    My therapist is trying to help me.
    I don’t want to be a victim, but I am still not clear on how to be a survivor, if he gets away with it all, and is able to continue the allusion in my community.
    This is the thing I am still stuck on.
    I just don’t feel very empowered if he gets away with it all.
    It’s like I know he is dangerous, but I can’t warn anyone. There are other innocent people who will get hurt. Maybe even get AIDS. It just feels so wrong to just do nothing.
    I want to contact a lawyer and at least try to see if anyone is trying to write a new laws in this area.
    Or create some legal way to warn people.
    After all we did create that for pediifiles.
    I know for sure he is a sex addict, my therapist says it is hard to know for sure if he is a sociopath, because the behavior of serious sex addicts is very similar.
    I think he is both. A sociopath, with a serious sex addiction, and also pot, and alchohol too.
    Sorry for all the typos, I am just too upset to spell check right now!
    Thanks for all your support.
    I’m going to try and focus on my work for the rest of the day, and
    take deep breaths, and eat healthy food and go for a nice walk.
    Thank you,
    Sage



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    • HanaleiMoon says:

      Sage, what you’ve written here is very powerful. The details of everyone’s situation are different, and I have felt most of the things you’ve felt here at one time or another in this journey of healing. One in particular you wrote defines the first year plus for me: Friends don’t want to hear about this anymore, so I feel I have to heal all by myself sometimes. I felt it was a very lonely road. I have always been a sharer, someone who wants to talk, talk, talk things out with others. This healing process taught me to rely more on myself and realize that people weren’t in my shoes, couldn’t understand my shoes, and had little to offer…even the ones who wanted to listen. Over time you will find you will want to talk about it less. As you understand (and accept) what happened to you, you will be able to let more things go and move on.

      Your post helped me today. I’m in a transition phase and I thought I was ready and could handle it like a piece of cake. It’s proving WAY harder than I imagined, and I’ve fallen back into my old, bad habits…wanting to talk it out over and over with people who are not in my shoes, obsessively thinking about it and I’ve worked myself up into a frenzy of discomfort and fearfulness. I am my own worst enemy. After three years of having no choice, I am now in a position to make my own choices and am terrified of making the wrong one. The first one I’ve made feels all wrong and I’m afraid that if I go back on it, people will be angry or disappointed with me. I was a secure and confident person in life before this experience, and need to rebuild the damage that was done. I look back and say to myself, remember how you felt after the discard? Like you couldn’t go on? And you did…and found ways to heal. It took time. It took patience. There were setbacks but there was also steady progress. Someday soon I will look back on this current difficult time and be able to say the same thing.



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  3. salvation2012 says:

    I’m 2 years out of having been with the “dream” for 5 years. The love bombing as it’s called, was incredible. Hours upon hours of non sexual seduction leading to an evening of sexual adventures, some of which I will never repeat (and don’t know how I succumbed to them in the first place).

    My regular battle currently comes in the form of believing in my choices, and differentiating between normal bickering and red flag signs. Bc nobody really wants to hear any my struggle anymore, I just ponder to myself … A lot.

    I find that I get “retraumatized” by present day situations that throw me off balance. There a was anime period when my kids sibling rivalry would send me into a panic and I would retreat into my room not being able to be round their back and forth… Fortunately that passed, but wow, it showed me how little tolerance I have outside of a smoothly flowing routine.

    I enjoyed seeing your experience in words as it shows we aren’t alone in our struggles even if we feel we are…



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  4. Stargazer says:

    Salvation2012, what you are experiencing is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is very common after being traumatized by a sociopath for 5 years. Feel free to talk about it all you want here. This is a good place to do that.



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  5. shelby333 says:

    As I read this article it brought back memories of my ex in the fact that I had never had anyone talk to me like he did. I felt, for the first time in my life, someone had accepted me for me. We broke up for the 3rd and final time 2 1/2 years ago. I’d like to flatter myself that he has tried to reach me or contact me and that I was able to fend him off and maintain no contact. But he has not tried at all. As if I have been erased out of his life. I have not recovered and I am despondent at my lack of being able to move on. So this has become less about him and more about me. Pathetic isn’t it.



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    • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

      No it’s not pathetic, hon. I was erased out of his life too. I have nothing. Nothing. He’s already with another victim. I sit alone,no car even, and I’m just sumone that he used to know.
      But u know what? He’s the pathetic one. I survived him. I have strength down to my toes I didn’t know I had. I am a wonderful, warm, witty woman with a heart of gold. His loss. My world can come back now. My brain can function instead of simply getting thru the constant hurt…trying to cope with cognitive dissonance.
      It’s not happening as fast as I’d like either. BUT it will! And when it does, look out lol



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      • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

        Dear Warm Witty woman with a heart of GOLD.
        I love your post. I wish there was a Like Button.
        You are someone that he was incapable of knowing, totally his loss. Brings to mind what I told my ex: “That I didn’t have to pursue revenge, because He’d do it FOR me, just by being himself.” Seems to me that’s what happened to your ex too. He wants gold but he is not capable of finding it, not ever. hehehe. What a loser he is and always will be.



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        • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

          Today I realized I can stop calling myself stupid for believing his complete fantasy.
          It is not my fault.
          I am not stupid. I am loving, compassionate, kind, warm-hearted.
          BIG
          HUGE
          DIFFERENCE
          I am not even naive; in fact, quite cynical. But I wasnt too stupid. I was loving him. And now I know, he never existed.
          Alot of the ptsd we go thru is pure grief due to LOSS. The loss of a dream of a life and the loss of the person that never even WAS.



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          • HanaleiMoon says:

            “I was loving him”.

            So profound, ain’t.

            Today, I was watching a video about the creator of the Mutts comic, Patrick McDonnell. And when he bent over a drawing, the side of his face looked exactly like my ex…and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of love. I haven’t seen him in almost 3 years and have NO feelings that are good about him at this point, but I was blown back in my chair with the feeling and thought to myself, wow, I really loved him.

            Proof that I am NORMAL! This site, and all of you are truly a blessing.

        • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

          And my babydaddy spath is his own worst revenge too. I just walked away from that and let him self-destruct. I was the only stabilizing influence in his life. He has been in a psych ward or two, since. I don’t think he could be a serial killer but he’s right up there with the nutso spaths.
          The NPD I was with is much more capable and sexy and great in bed, lovebomber extraordinaire yadayadayada. He will stay coupled with a continuing string of women until he dies.
          But he’ll never know love; he can not love.
          I win 🙂



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    • SER says:

      Shelby…I could have almost written your post. I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is because I feel just like you. I am here if you need to talk more as I understand your pain.



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    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      shelby333
      No it’s not pathetic. It’s NORMAL!

      Celebrate that you are NORMAL, able to want an emotional connection to another person and willing to reciprocate acceptance. (the sad part is that a PREDATOR conned you, baiting you with NORMAL desires and implying that he was normal too. But… he wasn’t.) Your NORMAL got used to harm you. That’s what sociopaths are good at. Your next step, when you are ready to take it, is to reclaim your beautiful NORMAL.

      It is also NORMAL for it to be extremely difficult to move. That’s because UNIQUELY, relationships with sociopaths tend to render their victim with PTSD. In short, you are traumatized and stuck in fight or flight (FROZEN in protection mode).

      I am not going to tell you to stop kicking yourself for finding out that you are NORMAL (something spaths will NEVER be). But I will tell you that when you realize that you don’t want to feel despondent anymore, you will NATURALLY (b/c you are NORMAL) make different choices. (Am thinking that’s why you posted, b/c you are NATURALLY moving to that direction.)

      I admit I had NO HELP. I did not know about LF and had no computer. So when I finally said that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I had to find help via library books. I read that you can’t think two thoughts at the same time. MY problem is that I’d dream nightmares of my ex’s abuse and rejection discard. So I felt like there was no escape. But…

      I learned from a book to sit before sleeping and think on a phrase of a PICTURE that described what I wanted. Thinking of the PICTURE while saying the phrase is important because our subconscious thinks in pictures. I’d say, “I walk in flower woodlands” and imagine the pic. I used this phrase and image to replace thinking of him. I wanted it more than I wanted him. After about two weeks, I stopped dreaming of him. And funnily enough, it came true. I took a trip, a walking trip where I hiked through woodlands in bloom.

      You’d say “two weeks before you stopped thinking of him every waking moment and all night in your dreams??!!” And I’d agree with you that yes, that’s a long time but I had been stuck for THREE YEARS. Once I got unstuck, it was faster and easier to replace bad thoughts with ones I had CHOSEN.

      Not saying my weirdo solution is for everyone. But am saying, you know what works for you. Adapt it or make up your own. That is, when you are ready. Do it when YOU decide that YOU want more than how you are feeling now… because the beautiful fact is… you can change and heal. A sociopath can not, they are zombies doomed to wander and destroy, never to build beauty and love… even if we have to rebuild it one phrase/one picture at time, we are ABLE.

      He will NEVER be so able.



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      • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

        I think this is a great therapy. To replace thots that pop into our mind or take over our mind, with thots of what would be so wonderful to be reality. Somewhere we are calm and happy and restful. And relaxed. Reminds of something Steven Stosny would say in his book.
        Retrain Your Brain. That’s basically the jist of his book.
        It’s the only way to survive the abuser. To erase him. He never saw the light of day only, he only lived in our wistful minds.



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    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      p.s. shelby333
      The reason I said, “when you are ready…” is because you were traumatized by a creature devoid of their humanity, one of the most heinous attacks that can happen to a person’s psyche. You are frozen because, like a NORMAL person, you went into protect mode. When you feel safe, you will be ready to stop feeling despondent, etc.

      I was alone. No family. No friends. My ex had isolated me completely. He did not allow me any support, nobody was allowed to be my friend unless they were loyal to him above all.

      So… I did what I could to comfort myself. I got a Gund bear, big, soft, huggable. I got a lap blanket made of soft velour. My pillowcase is 600 thread count. I would take baths in lavender, surrounded by candles and piano music (no lyrics, I couldn’t handle words then). I’d cry and HUG MYSELF because there was no one else. That’s how I got to a place of feeling SAFE, where I began researching how to recover.

      At the time, I thought I was pathetic. Same answer as Your though. NO. You, and me, are NOT pathetic. We are capable of feeling. We are Capable of unlimited possibilities, (Eventually). But… HE, my ex, your sociopath, is NOT CAPABLE of NORMAL human connection.

      Even if you think it’s a little thing, give yourself credit, because you are FAR beyond, FAR evolved above the cold, calloused, unfeeling monster that he is.



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      • HanaleiMoon says:

        NotWhatHeSaidofMe, what you’ve written touched me. Like you, I was completely alone. I had my kitty, and he kept me going. After about a year, I adopted a kitten and the little cuddlebug changed my home the minute I sat her down on the floor. She kept me going. I cherished the few hugs I did get, from my hairdresser, etc.

        Shelby and ain’t, I was erased out of my ex’s life too…and three years later I am so grateful for that because I know exactly how dangerous he is. When I heard he was getting married, I had a fleeting thought of “why her and not me” before I was horrified and realized I was the LUCKY one.

        In the beginning I thought I was totally pathetic, and over time I thought that less and less. I know now I wasn’t, and neither are any of us. We are NORMAL, we are SURVIVORS and even though the road is long, rocky, lonely and we often take two steps forward and three steps back, we are better off with our kitties, Gund bears, or whatever HEALTHY ways we find comfort and nurturing for ourselves. High five to us all.



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        • aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

          I know why her and not me…*I* was nothing special, just another in a long list of victims. So when she soon starts to doubt reality, she’ll start the long process of disentangling herself from him. Even as she gets more and more mired in him.
          I literally escaped, I now believe. He is a LIAR to the core.
          And will never be anything but.



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          • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

            But don’t you see? Ain’t? YOU ARE SPECIAL. By virtue of having the ability to LOVE, you are capable of everything good. The sociopath, is only capable of destruction.

            Ain’t it kinda funny… HanaleiMoon… all…?!
            When I was growing up, I was neglected. Turns out to have been the best thing that a violent, pedophile family could have done for me. Then my now ex husband smeared me and erased me. Again, his discard turned out to be the BEST thing that he did.

            I am aware now, of covert and overt abusers. Of shame versus guilt, of those with capacity to love and of those who are unable to connect with love to anyone.

            I could sit and do NOTHING, and still be more evolved than my ex, b/c I have the capacity for love, empathy, remorse.

            It’s a SCAM to say we are pathetic, or needy, or weak… a scam definition that comes from one who NEVER is truthful, the sociopath. Sheesh. Talk about projection. LOL!

          • HanaleiMoon says:

            NotWhatHeSaidofMe, YES, it is a scam! And also a scam from those who have a vested interest in keeping us weak.

            We are the strongest of the strong. And even in my weakest moments, I knew that at heart.

          • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

            Can’t help but smile HanaleiMoon.
            You knew the truth at heart… at heart because… you have one!

            I am SO glad to not have been “like them” (my birth family) and SO glad I was rejected because I was not “like him”… my ex.

            🙂

  6. shelby333 says:

    Thank you for the responses of support. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone. I am trying to remain hopeful that one day his face will not cross my mind.



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  7. HopingToHeal says:

    I’m so thankful for the supportive community here on LF. It’s encouraging to read successes, but also, to see that even the people who have successfully trudged through the process, still have moments of weakness or despair. It helps me see that two steps forward then three steps back may be normal in the healing process sometimes. I appreciate everyone’s honesty!



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  8. Synergy says:

    This is an old thread, but I just found it. Donna, I just watched your short Lesson 8, “Love Bombing.” And you are so beautiful and such a powerful speaker, in your gentle way. THANK YOU for your videos — this is the first one I’ve seen. Will watch more of them. Anyway, about Love Bombing. I was glad you mentioned that Love Bombing is often the first stage of brainwashing, and that it’s something cults do to lure people in. I also think it’s what certain powerful evangelical churches do — and TV Evangelists — do. (More about evangelicals that are The TV Evangelists rake in the dough from their gullible fans. The churches recruit people who (not all of their recruits of course) are in some sort of dire life circumstances. I’ve seen it happen in the mental health community, i.e. people who have severe and persistent mental illness. These people are lured into churches by Love Bombing, then told how to vote. These same churches evangelize in prisons. When the prisoner is released, she or he then moves from prison ministry services into the “real life” church of the same religion. Then they, too, are told how to vote. I was invited to one of these churches one time, and went. I experienced the love bombing. This particular church was run by the men. The man who preached talked about how women and children must obey — him! The word “obey” is common in such religions, as in “we must obey” God, i.e. whatever the person speaking claims God has spoken to him or her. I’ve had a lot of experience in such forms of religion, not just that particular church. Of course, not all evangelical churches are like this at all! One of my best friends is an evangelical. I’m not. She doesn’t try to sway or pressure me. She just lives her beautiful and loving life. Also, there’s the A.R.M.S. movement — Abuse Recovery Ministry and Service, armsonline.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/AbuseRecovery/ I attended some of their training group meetings, also fundraising luncheons. This organization knows more and shares more than any other abuse recovery groups I’ve ever tried. Another thing I love about ARMS is that they are actively working to teach evangelical ministers about women’s rights in their marriage and destroy the concept that women are there to “obey” and “submit to” their husbands. All the ARMS recovery groups are facilitated by women who have lived with abuse. In the group I was in, which was led by an evangelical woman, there were people of all faiths or none.



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