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How do you explain why you stayed with a sociopath?

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Editor’s note: The following was written by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “Seekeroflight.”

How do you explain why you stayed
To someone who saw how badly she treated you
How exhausted you were
Stressed
How do you admit that you saw the monster early on
And yet you stayed
Because the monster was willing to lie
To save face
To threaten, intimidate
How do you explain that you chose to stay
With a monster who shouted, as she kicked your friend out,
Shouted to the cops and half the neighborhood
That he was a “faggot and has AIDS”
He doesn’t…but it doesn’t matter
You aren’t that kind of person
How do you admit that you stayed
With a monster who said
At the dining room table
That she had people she could call
To gang rape that little girl and show her a lesson
A teenage girl
You aren’t that kind of person
How do you explain how many times
You had to beg her not to drive by that house
Of a former friend who made her mad
Day after day,
Night after night, hurling insults out the window
You aren’t that kind of person
The threats that she could set a house on fire
And nobody would ever know
The comments that she had proof she never hit her ex
If she had started even once,
She couldn’t have stopped, she said
And that ex would be dead
How do you explain that you stayed
With someone who hired others
To break into vacant homes and steal things
As they all ridiculed you as you protested
For being the good little Christian
How do you explain that you believed her
The military stories
Still having contacts at the Pentagon
With ways to destroy your whole life
At the snap of her fingers
How do you explain that you stayed
Even with the things you cannot mention
That shocked you, terrified you
How do you explain
That the woman whose lectures
Pushed you to hug the passenger side door
Afraid to move
Too afraid to even open your mouth
As you prayed she’d just hit you and be done
Surely that would be better than the words
That this woman also sometimes made you feel safe
And loved
…as she told you nobody else loved you
Told you what they said about you
Behind your back
Told you how dangerous the world was
You, you naive, sheltered little girl
Reminded you to stay away from other gay people
Because most of them are predators
Bad people
Isn’t that what you learned growing up?
She was older
She was smarter
And you, don’t you know you wouldn’t make it
On your own?
You should be grateful
Your college degree?
Meaningless.
Your religion?
Laughable.
The religious beliefs you were aspiring to?
A girl like you would never get it anyway
So don’t even bother
Your family’s ethnicity?
The butt of her jokes.
How disappointing it was for her to
Get an Amish girl
Who couldn’t cook or clean right
How your ethnicity became a synonym
For dumb
“Oh yeah, she did that because she’s Amish”
How these jokes were told to everyone in public
And in private you were reminded how you didn’t
Fulfill her “librarian” fantasies
You failed
In everything
But insults were
“Just a joke”
So stop being so sensitive, alright?
How do you explain the time in bed
When she put her hands on you
In a way that was rough, unwanted, hurtful
To punish you for a perceived slight
And you weren’t sure which was worse…
Your shock and fear
Or your guilt
How do you explain the time
In the emergency room, as they put in an IV
And it hurt her, and she cried out, made a scene
And grabbed your hair…and pulled, and pulled
You didn’t understand, why not squeeze your hand?
Your arm? It was outstretched to her
You started to wonder if she would
Pull that hair right out of your head
You already knew…
Avoid the questioning looks of the nurses
Avoid making any expression at all
There are the bad things people already know about
Then there is this stuff, and more
How do you explain your fear
That if people really knew
They would hate you
What kind of person stays with someone like that?
Even loves someone like that?
How do you explain how the fear you felt
Makes you hate yourself
For being a coward
I mean, it’s not like she hit you
Or held a gun to your head
The two guns that she had illegally
And liked to show off at every opportunity
The guns she liked to wave around
To intimidate grown men in your dining room
I mean, it’s not like she is some serial killer
Like the ones on TV that she obsessed over
The shows she made you watch for hours
Every
Day
All night long, despite your protests, your nightmares
As she compared herself to the villains and glorified them
All part of her psychological torture
Along with the sleep deprivation
And gaslighting
But she never hit you…
How do you explain the conflict
As she acted like a great humanitarian
Helping strangers
Rescuing dogs
Bad people don’t do that
How do you explain the horror you felt
As you realized her good deeds to others
Was her way of enslaving them
Debts they could never, ever repay to her liking
As she neglected the dogs
And you tried to make up the difference
But it was too much
The image of dying puppies seared into your brain
A reminder of how you always failed
At fixing the messes she created
How do you explain the guilt you feel for lying
Outright, and by omission
About how your relationship really was?
And yet it wasn’t all lies…
How do you explain the good times?
The happy moments?
That you now have to remind yourself
We’re completely false and fake?
How do you explain the guilt you feel
Just being associated with such evil
That you couldn’t stop her from hurting others
Like her evil melted off her
And onto you
As you try to hide it
Under smiles and makeup
Can’t wash it out of your pores
And you can’t just move on
And you can’t just put her out of your mind
Because you were trained methodically
For years
To make her all you thought about
How do you explain how much you still
Need to break your silence
And struggle to do so
As shame traps you
Afraid to leave your house sometimes
A prisoner of your mind
How do you explain how much
You want to beg every person you love
Not to hate you
Because some days you hate you
More than you could ever explain?



13 Comments on "How do you explain why you stayed with a sociopath?"

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  1. Very poignant. Thank you Seekeroflight for sharing. Please know that you probably stayed because you were human, and could not comprehend that she was really doing what she was doing.



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  2. Bev says:

    Thank you for the post.

    Much appreciated.

    🙂



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  3. Redwald says:

    If you need an explanation, you might start with “cognitive dissonance”! Among other things…



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  4. stopbuggingme says:

    Thank you. Your poem explains that it can not be explained. Same with me.



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  5. jm_short says:

    It’s time for people to get a grip on the reality of brain chemistry. We all have it. And when we are romantically involved with people, it acts as a glue to keep us in the relationship. When those people harm us, it still acts as glue- only toxic glue. It does not discriminate because of the person’s behavior. If it did, no one would remain coupled and our offspring would not get the nurture they need in order to develop.

    It is imperative for law enforcement and society to understand how and why it works. People remain with horrible abusers because they are addicted to them in much the same way they would be addicted to a drug or alcohol. And the bad behavior of your significant other can throw you into a “betrayal Bond” that causes you to cling to people even more tightly when they harm you.

    Romantic love is an addiction. That’s why we stay.



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    • satya says:

      That’s the chemical explanation, and there’s also the psychological and spiritual explanation. On the conscious level, a caring person won’t give up on a person or relationship merely because there’s a few bumps (especially in the beginning when the spath is still wearing a mask and there are only minor incongruencies). They typically slowly get you used to more and more abuse. When they think they are losing you, they turn up the charm. You are thinking oh good, it’s back to normal and they are thinking “what an idiot, here They go again complaining, ok idiot, I love you soulmate blah blah blah. It’s not just passive chemistry, it is completely on purpose. Also, soneone with a religious background especially Christianity is taught not to give up on people, even if they are bad. By bad I mean evil.



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      • seekeroflight says:

        satya…

        thank you. While I understand that there is a chemical addiction component, which may be more or less of a factor for different people, there was so so much more to it in my situation. The romantic part of our relationship was so long gone by the time I got out…any chemical factor in the last years had much more to do with mind control than romance at that point. The factors that continued to influence me staying at the end? Fear, obligation, guilt, etc. Despite not legally being married, to me this was a divorce and that was not something I was OK with. I feared she would try to destroy my entire life. In the end, her attempts to do so were far worse than I had imagined possible.



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  6. terrijo says:

    Wow, thank you for your time to write, your attention to detail, and the honesty and open-mindedness to share all this pain and vulnerability. I am saddened to hear your confusion disillusion and hurt. Many of us have been in the same place. Different details. I grew up, carrying on as a child and teen in a terrifying “home”, walking on eggshells, numbed out to the chaos, as a means to cope. All of us kids disassociated in one form or the other. It is no surprise to me that my first ‘steady’ in high school would slap my face. No surprise that my first live-in was either a sociopath, or a very sick and disturbed narcissist. Pushing me down the stairs, and hours later, crying, and asking me to marry him. Why did I stay? Well….. low self-worth, delusional ‘hoping for the best’, used to living with secrets, high tolerance for abuse, high ability to disaasociate and/or numb out (emotional spiritual physical) pain and abuse. All of the above. It can and does get better. Slowly, with perseverance and patience with ourselves. All the best to you, keep on trucking



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  7. HanaleiMoon says:

    Seekeroflight, you are very brave and eloquent in your writing and so many lines speak directly to me. No one here would hate you if they knew, because all of us have been, more or less, in the same place. The best words I have ever heard were when my therapist said “there is nothing wrong with you”. There’s nothing wrong with you either. I wish you the best!



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  8. nokarma says:

    Well Seekeroflight thank you for sharing ….very well done
    ,,,as u are see the reasons u stayed are more complex than u ever realized and with time many things will start to make more “sense”…even thougth I would add this is not about logical sense making, if you see it in those terms, coming to a conclusion will not work.

    I have trouble with people talking about love and love addiction as if it is a disease, real love has wonderfully healing nurturing steady and empathetic qualities,,,so do not fear love or having loving attachment, and that often happens after a socio attachment, sadly.

    Only when u fall in love with a socio there is only love and attachment on one side and they mimic it on the other. Power and manipulation is their goal and once they see you love them & they know this ….bc they will be setting up small tests that u pass with flying colors, in hopes of showing them how worthy you are.

    Then they are empowered and it then …..all the changes to a weird form of an abusive power attachment & manipulative attachment trauma, that becomes demeaning and abusive that then some how gets continued to be called “love” when it needs to get redefined as EMOITIONAL and some times physical abuse, so what’s love got to do with it? Nothing.

    ,,,,That is where the confusion comes in and you ask our self how could I stay so long?
    Hope? …u had hope that it would get better, that they would learn, do different …that they would see u for you & love you etc.

    Attachment bonds are strong for people who are able to attach,,,sometimes these socios are your only support bc often times we come from families where there was similar abuse that we are trying to get away from and they called that love too ,,,

    so life is not easy and there are no perfect relational situations but there are situations where one can feel safe and truly accepted not demeaned, ridiculed and destroyed …

    Do not beat your self up as to why you stayed!!!! Lucky… you survived and are out now.

    A better question to ask your self….. How is it that you had the strength to see the truth with all those lies and mind controlling games and how is it that you were able to leave??? Mind control is just that… control of your mind and by definition is impossible to beat and you did !! SUPER

    Think to Hitler Germany why did people mindlessly submit? The prisoners out number their captors?

    ,,,in many other societies people cant separate from their socios due to political, financial or cultural restrictions and they are doomed to be abused till their abuser dies ….or they do and often times people search for that escape when they feel there is no other way out…sadly…when we are in a loving relationship we do not look or expect to find evil ….

    I feel that you will never be blinded by anything like this again ,,,,know that people posting on here have been through hell and back & now we see it for what it is ,,,

    Again the better questions to ask yourself and that we all need to ask our selves is ….How it is you were able to get out as soon as you did? Congratulation’s on your escape and on bringing light to your blind spot that has now by your own observations …ceased to exists.

    Love and much more light for you on your future path.



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  9. Brigitte Knowles says:

    Sometimes we stay because, much like a deer in the headlights, we have a reaction that paralyses us until we feel that what happened was okay, we did not die, we can continue to live, at least for that day, one day at a time. Then it happens again, another stab at your essence, your being. Again you freeze and stand still waiting until it passes because by this time, the tenth or seventieth time, it is only about survival, making it through like the other times, waiting until the lion sleeps. One day it is too late because instead of running until you can’t go further, you stayed too long. That is when you become another trophy for the predator. The only good part about it is that all the hurting and pain stops. Angels don’t feel pain.



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