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Recovery from a sociopath

How to attract a new relationship after the sociopath

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at Longwood Gardens in February, 2017.

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at Longwood Gardens in February, 2017.

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader:

I have a question for you. I’ve been divorced for 3 years now from my ex-husband who had a porn addiction. I’ve tried the Internet dating sites on and off since, and have had nothing but bad experiences. What do you suggest I do/ how do I go about finding someone? I am really lonely and would like to have a man in my life. However, I’m so afraid of attracting the wrong kind still. If you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

If you’ve had a run-in with a sociopath, before attempting to date again, you must first heal yourself. If you’re feeling lonely and afraid, it is an indication that you are not yet healed.

Identifying and recovering from psychological abuse

Healing from Hidden_72dpiBook Review: Healing from Hidden Abuse, by Shannon Thomas, LCSW

Review by Donna Andersen

Mind games — everyone who has tangled with a sociopath, psychopath, narcissist or other exploiter knows them. The sociopath makes a statement, and then denies ever saying the words. You call out the sociopath’s bad behavior, and it’s all turned around on you. And the lies — well, the objective of lies is to poison your perceptions.

The more formal term for this destructive behavior is psychological abuse. And now there’s a book that explains exactly what psychological abuse is, why perpetrators engage in it, and the steps of recovery.

Healing from Hidden Abuse —A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse, was written by Shannon Thomas, LCSW. It’s the first book I’ve seen that specifically addresses the mind games played by disordered individuals.

For Valentine’s Day: 8 differences between sociopathic “love” and real love

Terry Kelly and Donna Andersen at the theater.

Terry Kelly and Donna Andersen at the theater.

Yes, there is love after the sociopath.

I divorced my sociopathic ex-husband, James Montgomery, in 2000. A little more than a year later, I met Terry Kelly. We dated for a few years, got to know each other, and then married.

Terry and I just celebrated our 12th anniversary. I can honestly say that I am as happy and in love as I was on our wedding day.

What’s different about love with a normal, caring person, and “love” with a sociopath? Just about everything.

1.  Real love is peaceful

I don’t have the stress, drama and doubt that I felt while married to the sociopath. Instead, with Terry, I feel calm and content.

2. Real love is supportive

My sociopathic ex-husband was demanding — and indifferent to how his demands affected me. Now when I need help, caring, or just someone to talk to, my husband is there.

Identifying sociopathic behavior is easy; giving advice is hard

sad and stressed womanJust about every day, Lovefraud receives e-mail from readers who are looking for answers about confusing, contradictory and abusive behavior exhibited by people in their lives. The new readers don’t understand what they are dealing with; they just tell, either in a few paragraphs or lengthy compositions, their stories. The e-mails describe some or many of the following behaviors:

  • Pathological lying
  • Pity plays
  • Shallow emotions
  • Devalue and discard
  • Cheating or promiscuity
  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • Controlling demands
  • Financial irresponsibility
  • Manipulation of children
  • Broken promises
  • Claims of “you made me do it”
  • Pleas of “I’ll never do it again”

The readers ask, “Am I involved with a sociopath?”

For those of us who now know what sociopathic behavior looks like, it is apparent that the answer is yes—or that at least the readers are describing sociopathic traits.

After the sociopath, learning to trust again

Pensive woman

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A Lovefraud reader posted the following comment awhile back:

I just have one question for everyone here. Does anyone trust people after these sick people did what they did to us? Unfortunately for me … I have run across a few of these sickos but NONE like my ex. Whoever I meet now I’m thinking to myself, who is this person really? Do they have a secret life like the Scott Petersons and Ted Bundys of this world? I don’t let my children out of my sight and I’m already training my kids and they all know the signs of a sociopath especially my girls. I feel like I’m in a prison sometimes in my mind as I try so hard but just can’t trust anyone.

If our emotions are triggered, there’s more pain to process

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader—we’ll call her Sally:

It’s been almost four years since I left my ex psychopath. He almost had me take my own life through guilt, when it was him lying, cheating, committing fraud, you name it—a textbook case.

The reason I write to you today, however, is I am so sad and disappointed in myself yet again. Four years and I thought I was over the damage done by the psychopath so I stepped out of my comfort zone to contact an old friend I had not seen since before the psychopath came into my life.

I made a decision to visit my male friend and we had a nice time. When I returned I started analysing the situation. Was my friend just after one thing? He had made a few small promises that had not come through (generally that wouldn’t bother me too much). I felt like it was happening all over again. I felt cheated, lied to and manipulated by such minor matters.

New Year’s Resolutions for Recovering from a Sociopath

free-fireworks-image-11 cropIf you’re in the process of leaving behind a sociopath, or even just contemplating leaving a sociopath, here are New Year’s resolutions to help you accomplish your goal and get on the path to healing in 2017.

Resolution #1: NO CONTACT!!!!

Do not have any contact with the sociopath. Nothing! Nada! Zilch! Zero! This is the most important first step you can take.

No Contact is how you escape the sociopath’s magnetic pull. It enables the fog in your head to dissipate, so you can clearly see this person for what he or she is — a predator, parasite, or both. No Contact enables you to find your strength and take back your power.

When you implement No Contact, you do not see or talk to the sociopath. You do not send emails or text messages. You do not even snoop on their Facebook page.

For the holidays, give yourself the gift of honoring your experience

christmas_gift_300x200How do you get through the season of joy and hope when a lying, destructive, individual has wreaked havoc in your life?

First, be gentle with yourself. You are a normal, caring, person. Perhaps you wanted to love and be loved, as all normal people do. Perhaps you felt sorry for the individual and wanted to help. Your intentions were honorable, but the exploiter took advantage of your humanity.

Second, honor your experience. What does that mean? It means accepting that it happened. Much of the pain and confusion of tangling with a sociopath comes from not wanting to believe that these individuals are what they are, and they do what they do. Accepting that yes, they exist, and yes, you were targeted, sets the stage for moving forward.

Groups — a key to healing from a sociopath

Mary Ann GlynnBy Mary Ann Glynn, LCSW, CHT

 Most of you who have been involved with a sociopath have been to therapists either with your partner or individually. Therapy is critical to healing from the PTSD of these relationships from control, abuse, manipulation and deceit, and hopefully you have found a therapist who knows techniques for helping PTSD.

There is also the rebuilding of self and the grief of loss that therapy can help with, not to mention the potential stressful impact of divorce on yourself and any children. It would be fortunate if your therapist understands the type of relationship you’ve been in and the person you were with. This is all necessary and important, but there’s a critical piece missing to healing.

Workshop: Leaving and recovering from cultic groups and relationships

Cult turn right

(Photo by Kevin Dooley)

Both sociopaths and cult leaders engage in mind control. In fact, in many of the worst cases we hear about at Lovefraud, the relationships in which the targets have truly lost themselves, are actually cults. But these cults have only two members — the leader and the target.

If you’ve been involved in a mind control relationship, you have a brainwashed family member who cannot escape another’s grip (in fact, doesn’t even want to escape), you may be interested in an upcoming workshop.

Leaving and recovering from cultic groups and relationships: A workshop for families and former members

Presented by the International Cultic Studies Association
October 15 and 16, 2016
Hollywood, California

The workshop will cover:

  • Overview of joining, leaving, and recovery
  • Why people leave groups and why they stay
  • Recovery needs of former members
  • Trance and triggers