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By December 25, 2015 6 Comments Read More →

Cancer at Christmas — Living in a Sociopath’s World

When Things Were

I used to be so good at taking care of things like decorating my house for Christmas with shades of red, green and gold, carefully outlining dark corners with beautiful, gleaming lights to create that wonderful, cozy ambiance of a home filled with love and joy—the way it should feel at Christmas time.

There were carefully thought out, warm meals prepared, music filling the crisp air, homemade Christmas sweets to grab on the way out the door, and soft, warm blankets on every couch for that last minute snuggle.  I would intentionally direct my energies towards evoking wonder with my family and daughter every day of December.

Denial of Darkness

I lived in my own reality of denial as the darkness passed me in the halls of that beautiful home.  I filled myself with good things and the light in my life would overshadow the darkness.  Yet as strong as the light was in my life, little by little the darkness chipped away at my spirit.

After 10 years being exposed to a sociopath, I finally realized that I had lost my way.  He took and sucked so much life, leaving me dry and bare.  Now I struggle to even care about those little things I was so passionate about.  Along with a sociopath divorce battle, I lost my business—which means my paycheck, my home, my cars, my way of life, and my health.  However it was all worth it, because I won full custody of my daugther.

Sociopaths Are Like Cancer

Being in a relationship with a sociopath is like having cancer.  I started to feel sick.  My body started to shudder with the intense stress he put me under.  I started to get physically sick—a lot, not realizing my body was reacting to the emotional and psychological abuse he was inflicting on me.

Slowly he chipped away pieces of me with his deception and manipulation.  The cancer grew inside me, but I was unaware of the damage and havoc is was causing to my being. I would go to counseling to try to figure out what was wrong with the relationship.  I just couldn’t put my finger on what was going on.

The counseling was like chemotherapy.  It put a band-aid on the disease.  When I would stop the chemotherapy, I would start to feel better.  Then I would move along in life and try to rebuild myself.

There were moments of remission where life seemed okay.  There were thoughts that the cancer wouldn’t return.  But it did.  He did.  His promises of doing things different, never … happened.  The bizarre occurrences and unmasked outbursts in behavior continued to leave me baffled and confused.

The cancer would continue to grow, and it would grow stronger.  As strong as I was, it began to encompass and take over every area of my life.  I couldn’t be an involved friend anymore, I couldn’t reach out to others in my ministry at my church, I couldn’t pour into the relationships in my family, I couldn’t make it to my dance teaching on time—he made me late, I lost interest in all the things I loved, and most of all I was so angry and on edge, I couldn’t be the Mom I wanted to be to my daughter.

He kept me in such a state of distress at every moment he was in my life, I just couldn’t function as me anymore.  At this point, the cancer was fatal unless I removed it from my life.

Living in Their World

My life will be forever changed, living in a sociopath’s world.  Is it a bad thing?  Yes, but then, maybe not.  The short encounters I continue to have with my sociopath, quickly remind me of his ability to cause destruction in whatever comes across his path.  But then it also gives me a chance to stand up for myself.

I heard once that someone is strong when they stand up for themselves, but someone is stronger when they stand up for everyone else. How could I ever help anyone, if I can’t help myself?

My world is different, riding on the ups and downs of living in a sociopath’s world.  I had to experience his wrath and lies and unpredictability, but I DON’T have to make myself susceptible to it.  I can have a plan; I can make my own life and not allow him to make my life for me.

So yes, there still is cancer at Christmas for me, but the cancer isn’t attached to me anymore.  The cancer is far off, contained in his little area which are called MY BOUNDARIES, and he sits there and waits.  He waits for me to cave into his wishes.  He is scheming and planning. He is glaring.  The constant battle to outlast him still goes on.

Out of all that has been lost, much has been gained.  Maybe things look different this year, but life is good and it can be good if we chose it to be.

So this year I don’t have a home of my own, but I’m glad I have a home.  I don’t have a lot of what I had, but then I don’t have a lot of what I had.  I made a trade and it was a good trade.  I suppose I am just glad I got the tree up and for this year, that is enough.



6 Comments on "Cancer at Christmas — Living in a Sociopath’s World"

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  1. becomingstrong says:

    Great metaphor-cancer-to sum up life with a sociopath. Yes all the things that me me would stripped away, until I couldn’t even enjoy the most basic of pleasures. Like you, my friendships suffered (how could you be a good friend when you can’t even listen properly-your mind in constant confusion), I wasn’t the mother I wanted to be (how could I be when most of my children looked at me with resentment), I couldn’t be the person I was destined to be, I guarded my secrets and those of “my” loved ones so the sociopath wouldn’t have canon fodder to use against me (a favorite line of attack would be to attack those who loved me). I was living in enemy camp. Christmas for me was usually the one day I wouldn’t draw is ire. It was the day I would be his complete slave and I was rewarded for my efforts in that day. I began to hate Christmas and the “slave” I was. The beautiful Christmases of my life and the traditions I tried to carry forward became a perverse reminder of my role-slave. This year, no more if the narc scrutinizing me. This year it was my Christmas too. This year I initiated myself as a full member of what remains of my family and it was beautiful. Merry Christmas and thank you.



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  2. becomingstrong says:

    Edited for typos
    Great metaphor-cancer-to sum up life with a sociopath. Yes all the things that made me me were slowly stripped away, until I couldn’t even enjoy the most basic of pleasures. Like you, my friendships suffered (how could you be a good friend when you can’t even listen properly-your mind in constant confusion), I wasn’t the mother I wanted to be (how could I be when most of my children looked at me with resentment), I couldn’t be the person I was destined to be, I guarded my secrets and those of “my” loved ones so the sociopath wouldn’t have canon fodder to use against me (a favorite line of attack would be to attack those who loved me). I was living in enemy camp. Christmas for me was usually the one day I wouldn’t draw his ire. It was the day I would be his complete slave, cooking, cleaning, playing Santa and allowing him to take full credit. I was rewarded for my efforts on that day. I began to hate Christmas and the “slave” I was. The beautiful Christmases of my life and the traditions I tried to carry forward became a perverse reminder of my role-slave. This year, no more of the narc scrutinizing me and be doing double time trying to prove my worthiness. This year it was my Christmas too. This year I initiated myself as a full member of what remains of my family and it was beautiful. Merry Christmas and thank you.



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  3. Bev says:

    I wish you all the best.

    Thank you for this post. It will help to make us all feel better, too!

    Cheers 🙂



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  4. Rosie Jackson says:

    It’s true! I always said ex was a cancer and that’s not just his astrological sign. Staying with him was akin to the cigarettes that I continued smoking even though I knew that they were bad for me. I’ve been trying to cut him out of my life completely but, just like cancer, he keeps coming back in the most evil, insidious ways. I’m hoping that by next Christmas I’ll be completely “cancer free”. Unfortunately my form of cancer is highly “contagious” to other victims so I just have to pray to God and trust my “surgeons” to heal me and to prevent the spread of this truly nefarious disease.
    May you all find yourselves in a safe and HEALTHY place and may you have a wonderful Christmas, this year and in all the years to come.
    God bless!



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  5. IAfraud says:

    Peace In Chaos,

    Describing life with a psychopath/sociopath is very difficult. People who haven’t lived it just can’t fully understand. It’s interesting that some of us compare it to an illness like cancer. It’s the closest thing that people can relate to.

    My description is that it’s like I have terminal cancer that is in remission, but when it comes back it will be deadly for me.

    Success can be your best revenge. Live life as normally as possible and take it one day at a time.

    Let him be the a##hole is another great piece of advice. Don’t give him anything that he can use against you. The false accusations these people come up with are actually laughable at times they are so ridiculous.

    Know you are not alone and you can do this. As time goes on life gets better if you stay strong and never give up.



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  6. justlikeyou says:

    The holidays always were the worst . I would begin dreading them a month prior. I don’t have that dread anymore. Healing is a struggle. But for now just the faith that someday it won’t hurt so bad, let that be enough. For today, it’s enough.



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