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By May 12, 2014 Read More →

Getting back on track after the ruin of a sociopath

A Lovefraud reader who posts as “LadyA” sent Lovefraud the following email.

I’ve spent a lot time thinking about my experience with my spath, and how it affected me and the people around me. I have read article after article, story after story. I now fully understand what spaths do and how they do it but I didn’t understand why I don’t feel any better about it. What was I missing?

When I left my spath it was a fairly dramatic experience. He had just been sentenced to serve jail time on the weekends for an obstruction of justice charge. My mom flew into town and in one swoop we packed up everything we could get in the car and left the province to go back to my hometown. I had to quit my job over email and send a goodbye text to all my friends.

I am thankful every day for what my mom did for me. I sure wasn’t happy about it at the time but I knew I needed out and this was my chance. What I didn’t know is how much moving back to my hometown would affect me emotionally. I had originally planned on only being back for six months. Just long enough for him to move on and get me out of mind, but it has now been just over three years and I still haven’t moved back. I got settled in a new job, new friends, and a new relationship. Even after all of this I haven’t been able to figure out why I’m not happy. Until three days ago.

Pride. I was proud of myself for the life that I had built. I moved 1200 km’s away from home right after high school to a big city. I was on the fast track to a strong career in a competitive field. I had a brand new car, paid all my bills on time, and was saving to buy a house. I was independent, reliable, strong, caring, and had a really great outlook on the world. Not many people can say that at 22.

All of that was ruined by a six-month “whirlwind romance.” I’m no longer proud of myself. I feel like I have failed because I came back home with my “tail between my legs” to my mommy… I no longer have a new car because it was repossessed as soon as I got back here. I am jaded, I don’t trust people easily, and I am no longer as strong as the face I put on the outside. I’ve gained weight because deep down I just don’t care anymore. My career is now on a plateau due to the location where I live. I don’t have one reason to be proud of myself right now.

How do I get my pride back when I know what happened? I want to feel proud of myself for my life but I just have zero idea where to start. I’ve thought about moving away again, but I don’t really know if that’s the answer. How can I be proud of what has happened in my life? I’m really honestly just so ashamed.

Donna Andersen responds

Dear LadyA,

I am so sorry about your encounter with a sociopath. The good news is that you can recover.

Right now, however, it does not seem that way. Why? I can see two reasons.

The first is that betrayal by a sociopath is a huge emotional injury. In the beginning of your email you said that, after all your reading, you now “fully understand what spaths do and how they do it,” but you don’t feel any better.

Understanding sociopaths is a critical first step to recovery. But understanding is an intellectual process, something that you do with your mind. The wound you experienced is also emotional. It needs to be dealt with emotionally.

How do you do that? You allow yourself to feel the pain of the injury.

This means letting yourself cry. Letting yourself scream and wail. Letting yourself experience anger — I’m sure there is anger — perhaps by working it out on a punching bag.

This isn’t pretty, and you probably want to do it privately, because other people often have difficulty being around this. Or, you may have a good therapist who can help you.

One way or another, any bottled up emotion you have within you needs to come out.

Underestimated the injury

Next you wrote that you identified the reason that you’re not happy as “pride.” But it seems like you are regarding pride as something bad, like one of the seven deadly sins.

You had every reason to be proud, because your pride was based on your achievement. And the sociopath took this away from you.

Here is what I think has happened: You have underestimated the scale of the injury, and the severity of the betrayal.

LadyA, you were building a life for yourself. You went out on your own; you started building a career; you were moving forward.

And some manipulative, deceitful parasite, who did something bad enough to end up in jail, ruined it for you.

Not only did he cost you money and hurt your career, he corrupted your outlook on life. You’re jaded; you don’t trust; you don’t care. You are not the young person you once were — all because of the sociopath.

Recognize that this was not a normal breakup — after all, you had to flee your home, job and friends.

Your life was shattered. Your psyche was deflated. This is a massive shock to your system. It’s no wonder that you are still struggling.

Drain the emotion

So what do you do? In my opinion, you do exactly what I suggested earlier — allow yourself to feel the pain — now knowing that the pain is bigger than you originally thought.

So you cry. You stomp. You imagine him standing in front of you and yell at him. (Do not, however, attempt to confront him in person. This would be counterproductive.)

The idea is to drain off the negative emotion.

As you drain the emotion, a void will be created within you. It’s very important to fill that void with joy.

This may sound preposterous to you, like you have no reason to be joyful. But don’t look at the totality of your life right how.

Do any small thing that makes you happy: Go for a walk. Play with your pets. Have lunch with a friend. Listen to music.

Your recovery may require many rounds of draining off the negative and replacing it with positive. But with time, you’ll find that your entire outlook will change, and you’ll be able to get back on track.

Importantly, with the wisdom you gained through this experience, you’ll never fall for a sociopath again.

 



9,037 Comments on "Getting back on track after the ruin of a sociopath"

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  1. Remembertoforget says:

    keepingOn,

    I don’t bother thinking about going anymore. I can’t talk about it to anyone, they don’t get it really, and I know for them I should probably be over it by now.

    I agree that there are Narcissists EVERYWHERE. I believe they are common, or maybe just around where I live, Metropolitan area…?

    I guess it’s temporary, I read that it will be over and we will officially not care anymore.

    I had a solid 2 weeks, and although I am well, I’ve been bothered by some memories this week, or triggers.

    I hop you are doing ok, and taking steps needed through this hopefully temporary existence.

    • KeepingOn says:

      Remember,

      I do think like that they are everywhere. I don’t feel safe. I’m noticing how many toxic people have been in my life. This is not easy.

      I’ve read and read but it still seems people stay in their ex’s hold. I refuse to be that woman. How do we break free and not care? Time and healing hopefully.

      Bright side is you went two whole weeks. How long has it been for you to get to this point? I’m sorry you were triggered. Not a fun experience.

      • KeepingOn says:

        I’ve been tying from my phone and making mistakes everywhere! I DON’T Like that they are EVERYWHERE!!

        I read they are more common in the US. Lucky me.

      • Remembertoforget says:

        KO,
        Not sure what triggered me, a narc at work was being nasty for 2 days, also it’s been since the first week in May that I have gone FULL NC, by deleting my email address.

        Just had some memories creep up about all the covert stuff, and his whole con game, and how some believe it, that’s why they are with him I guess.

        Just more realizations.
        Just a fake a phony, everything he did had a motive behind it.

  2. janedoe says:

    Amille
    Do you think that is his game plan? He wants you to see him with his wife/gf?
    Do you think maybe his purpose of trying to get you to speak is so you can see her?
    He really is a piece of work, that would be the icing on the cake especially since he’s been trying to convince you she stalks him.
    Don’t go to the BBQ chances are they both are there or the friend who contacted you is trying to get info to pass along to your ex. Or perhaps now you’re not with the ex could he be persuing you?

    • Amille22 says:

      In the emails I received, my ex was all about wanting me to come to his house to prove I’m wrong about his wife/that he is living with someone. I don’t know Jane, maybe I’m reading too much into it but it was almost as if he was insisting I show up.

      I deleted that email and the email account so I can’t tell you the exact words….like I said it is just my feeling.

      Given he is a Narcissist, what better fun than to see me humiliated by his wife answering the door;and her in pain?

      This friend is married… So I don’t think he is pursuing me. .not that being married appears to mean much with these people. But why would he now? He hadn’t seen me in 3 years!

      No Blue, not going to respond. I do not want him to have my new number..besides, I deleted his profile on my phone and I don’t remember his number…..I’m staying as far away as possible.

  3. Remembertoforget says:

    Ame22, Jan7,

    And just like my ex best friend who is severely disordered, is emailing 3-4 people “looking for me” rambling on about her needing surgeries and how I just disappeared! what??!

    If she really was looking for me, all she has to do is call my job, I answer the phone. Duhh.

    She is crying victim for attention.

    We ended our friendship, she was my 3rd number change.

    NC FOREVER!

    • Amille22 says:

      I remember you posting about her…. Is she still “looking for you?”

      Ugh on 3 phone changes….once was a pain….

  4. Remembertoforget says:

    Ame22,

    This week has been quiet, but see these people will try and get other people to talk to you, or get pitty even though they were the abuser.

    This girl wants attention and pity and she screwed me over.

    She knows where I work and live. Funny, the people all hadn’t heard from me, and they didn’t respond to her. She is looney.

    • Amille22 says:

      Remember, she sounds off.

      Thank you for the warnings about them using other people. I am definitely on guard now.

      I hope this woman stays away from you!

    • NoMoreWool says:

      I ran into a mutual acquaintance. The acquaintance was aware that the sociopath and I were divorced. It was the same old story of how much the sociopath “loves” me and wants me back and the advice the acquaintance had, until I informed the acquaintance of a couple of the abusive behaviors during the final break. Judging by the look on the acquaintance’s face, the sociopath had never let on that there was any fault besides mine for the breakup. I told the acquaintance after someone does A and B to you, there is no going back. I ended the conversation with a wish for the sociopath to do well in life, just without me. (Social niceties and proof that I am not the crazed vengeful person the sociopath’s smear campaign would make me out to be) The really telling thing is the look of shock on people’s faces when they meet and interact with me and I am sane and normal. Just how much shock is what tells me how far in the sociopath’s clutches they are.

      • Jan7 says:

        NoMoreWool, good for you telling the whole truth!!! You have planted the seed in the minds of these people to really watch the sociopaths behavior…they too will see his mask slip.

        These sociopaths expect us to remain silent even after we leave them…the good news for any future victims…we do not remain silent…we have found our voice again!! Powerful moments!!!

        • Remembertoforget says:

          Nomore,

          Excellent doings.

          If I run into a situation like that I plan on nicely and calmly doing the same thing. I will not sit quiet protecting his nice-guy persona.

          🙂

          • NoMoreWool says:

            “Nice” and “calm” are the key elements. If you have prepared yourself for accidental encounters it is easier to remain calm. Getting worked up just feeds into the crazy image of you from the smear campaign.

      • KeepingOn says:

        NMW,

        Your post hit home. I’ve thought long and hard about how I’d deal with mutual people. You handled yours with dignity and grace. I feel inspired. Inspired if I can keep my sh*t together when that time comes.

        It reminds me of an acquaintance I ran into a couple of months ago I had with my ex. He became close friends witb her after we broke up. I greeted her with kindness and my impression was she was shocked at how normal I seemed. It was like she didn’t expect me to be nice and grounded. I didn’t speak a word of him.

        Thank you for sharing this.

        • NoMoreWool says:

          “I didn’t speak a word of him.”
          I don’t mention the sociopath to mutual acquaintances unless they bring it up. When I talk of the sociopath, I am careful to stay as positive as possible unless the acquaintance gets into any specifics. Then I will calmly and matter-of-factly give just enough factual details to convey why getting back together is NOT a possibility.

          The “A” and “B” I mentioned above were just enough details for the situation. I did not go into the days-long odyssey of abuse I endured before I left. I am not out to alienate the sociopath’s friends, the sociopath will do that given enough time. Too much information, while factual, may make me seem to be as crazy as the sociopath portrays (seriously though, you can’t make up stuff like what the sociopath did to me).

  5. Remembertoforget says:

    NWHS,

    God Bless you and thank you for sharing that.

    🙂

    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      Remembertoforget
      Sorry for my wordiness! Obviously I still have a residual issue of thinking I have to completely explain or else I will be judged as “wrong”.

      Thank you for noticing me. Sometimes I post my heartfelt soul rendering and there’s no response. I have to fight that old feeling that the reason for no response is I’m not worthy of a response.

      See… even though I’ve processed enormous abuse, I do still work on echoing evil messages to myself. They aren’t true. They are just examples of abusive messages from a sociopath. We all fight to weed out the poison!

      I will say the murders of good people pursuing their connection to GOD really affected me. I saw photos of them, saw the purity of their souls in those photos, and the loss of such good souls is a huge blow to all they would have loved. So I am back to looking for validation that we can prevail against evil. LF is an encouraging place to find that.

      • neveragain51 says:

        This is to NWHS specifically, although it is meant for all of us. You said that you sometimes didn’t feel worthy if there were no specific responses after you have written from your soul; like you did not deserve a response. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. You ARE worthy and deserve to be noticed.

        Speaking only for myself, I do not get on this site everyday anymore. And I think that is a sign of progressing health. Rather than reading about spaths and spending every waking moment thinking about the past abuse, I am filling my days with joy. I love to sew, and I have not been able to do it for several months now, as I had a cast on my arm from fingers to shoulder. I wake up now, excited to fill the days’ errands and get back to my sewing. I am far from being healed from the abuse, but it is becoming less and less with something else to look forward to every day. So if you are not getting personal responses as quickly as you had hoped, please do not take it personally. We are all here for you, all day and every day. You are loved. It might just take me a couple of days to get back personally….

        • janedoe says:

          Never again
          I think it’s a fantastic sign that other things preoccupy your mind.
          I too feel the same and often don’t get a chance to look at a
          Post until much later in day or even the next day.
          I value each and every one here and try to make it part of my day.
          It is definitely a good sign that other hobbies or chores or interests are filling our minds…that’s a big step towards healing
          I have had times in the past where something would obsess my thoughts for months at a time. The only time I felt as though I’d broken the obsessive pattern is when something enjoyable started replacing those thoughts, as for yourself and sewing…it’s a big jump to a better place
          Kudos 🙂

      • AnnettePK says:

        I often read posts that I find helpful, moving, that I relate to personally, and/or I am moved to pray for the poster; but I don’t always respond unless I feel I have something to add.

      • janedoe says:

        NWHSOM
        I agree with never again….
        Everyone who posts here is in the same boat, we all look to each other for guidance and valued advice.
        In the last 10 months it is because of YOU and many others that I have gotten to where I am
        You are never unheard and everything that each and every one here that has spoken, is also heard loud and clear. Sometimes I too, write specific things that don’t get answers to, and I wonder, I hope
        I didn’t offend or go unnoticed. I think also the posts get lost and mixed up and sometimes hard to find, in my case sometimes it’s like this.
        I do still come on daily either to read or respond. Sometimes days go and I haven’t said anything but each bit of advice goes straight to my heart and am so thankful for this place and for YOU NWHSOM.
        Maybe the feeling of being unnoticed or unheard stems back to our poison relationship. Whatever was said by US meant nothing to them and whatever THEY said to us meant nothing to them…we were discarded and treated poorly. this is so traumatic that we feel we are unheard or unworthy by ppl because of them..I know it has left me feeling this way often.

  6. kaya48 says:

    Not
    I so much seems elf on your “story”. I went through the same evilness . And I am still here.

    Going through my journal I kept thoughout the divorce process I found these tips here :

    1. Understand and accept why the divorce happened. Accept why you were discarded . Accept that it was not your fault , no matter what he or other people say . Never accept any responsibility for his cheating , lying , abusing .

    2. Imagine s happy future WITHOUT the narcissist /sociopath in your life.

    3. Imagine a “funeral ” for the old marriage / relationship .

    4. Focus on yourself ONLY .

    5. Decide you will not be intimidated , even through court proceedings. You are paying your attorney to “shield and protect ” you from his crazy accusations.

    6. Pretend you are doing better.

    7. Develop spirituality .

    The end result in my case was :
    Now , I can do whatever I like without the need to keep another person happy. I no longer devote my precious time trying to keep HIM happy. Compromises are no longer necessary .

    My goal was to feel INDIFFERENCE , the opposite of love. Not sad, not angry , not anything at all .
    Today I no longer have to “act as if ” because I have become indifferent.

    • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

      kaya48
      I think Donna needs to write a new book, filled with wisdom from those who’ve passed through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and gotten to the other side. It’s nice to have markers of progress, and know that there really is “an other side” of misery. The book could be filled with one/two lines of wisdom, just as you list above.

      And like you, I USED to pretend things were fine. I did it because I got tired of crying. Crying didn’t purge a damn thing for me. There was TOO BIG a burden to cry about.

      But YOu are right… I don’t have to pretend anymore. And most of the time, I forget because I am too busy living an authentic and enriching life.

      I am not indifferent to my ex, I should let go of my current feelings, revulsion that I let such a slimeball touch me back in the days when I thought our intimacy was sacred. He wasn’t sacred, he was hedonistic and I had NO CLUE. I did eventually try to keep my ex entertained because if I didn’t, he’d go find someone who would and I’d feel so crushed and depressed that it didn’t occur to me that I was worth being treated with regard, I thought of myself as a failure for not keeping my husband “happy” and therefore it was okay to cheat and abuse me. CRAZYMAKING THINKING! Not any more! Truth and Love is my focus now.

      I don’t have to act as if I’m not bothered or as if I am happy. I am quite content, joyfilled, and following my philosophy that LOVE is the ONLY thing that matters in the end.

      Thank you for your post, I enjoy reading your responses.

  7. Remembertoforget says:

    Not,

    Ah ha…you certainly are Not what he said of you.

    I thank you kind ones for being here and sharing and baring your souls for the good of others.

    We all help each other.

    I do pray and hope that we can prevail against evil.

  8. kaya48 says:

    Not
    Thanks again for your great comment. As always I appreciate your wisdom. You have come so far. Your and others here are true inspirations for me. Over 2 years ago I was devastated and sad, angry and felt defeated . Reading everyone’s story here , struggle and recovery gave me hope and strength and most important it introduced me to start no contact. Until then , even though I was already discarded Snd abondened by my ex, I was in denial , I had false hope of reconciliation with him, I was still living the illusion . Many things I discovered opened my eyes and let me think with my brain and not with my heart.
    I now know that my ex had many women on the side , he had a complete secret life while trying to declare me mentlally ill. While portraying me as a crazy wife. For that I will never forgive him. For subjecting his only child to the abuse and lies he inflicted on us.
    I will indifferent about him because I don’t care what he does. If he messes with me I will let my attorney respond. He will never get anything but silence from me.

  9. kaya48 says:

    Men who cheat and leave their wives and children because they are selfish, usually fail to realize that there will be consequences…and that the fall-out will continue until the day they die, just as acid rain continues to erode the strong substances on which it falls.
    One day the bill arrives and must be paid.
    THERE IS A PRICE TO PAY FOR A HAPPINESS ACHIEVED AT THE COST OF INFLICTING TERRIBLE HURT ON YOUR SPOUSE.
    Adultery is a sin against God. These evil creatures have decided that fulfilling their desire is more important than the vows they took. Their hate for their spouse is bigger than the love for their children.

    Satan and one third of the angels could not stay loyal and faithful to God for the long run, and look what happened to all of them… they all got cast out of heaven with no chance of ever being able to make it back again.

    God will personally watch us as to how we handle the sanctity of our marriage, how we treat our spouse and children, and if we will be tempted to stray and cheat behind our spouses back.

    The gamble and risk is simply not worth it.