By | February 14, 2010 252 Comments

A Valentine to you: Yes, after the sociopath, you can love again

Not long ago, Lovefraud received the following note from a reader:

Your articles have given me a lot of peace and the ability to see good in life again, though I’ll never go back into the mainstream of society because of the abuse and betrayal I’ve experienced. It’s sad that the vision and understanding one achieves after being victimized by a sociopath prevents you from ever being able to get close to anyone again. I’m working through that though, so I just take it one step at a time. Maybe you could write some more about that?

Yes, dear readers, we do need to take recovery one step at a time. But know that we can go back to the mainstream of society. We can recover to the point of allowing ourselves to open to love again.

For each of us, the experience of the sociopath was probably the most traumatic of our lives. The betrayal shakes us to our souls. But sometimes what gets shaken loose is the negative beliefs that enabled us to fall for the sociopath in the first place. Beliefs like “I’m not good enough.” “Nobody loves me.” “There’s something wrong with me.”

Those were my beliefs. They were buried deep in my psyche, hidden by my brains, writing talent and management ability. But my ex-husband, James Montgomery, plowed through my life, crushing the structures I’d built to present myself to the world—like my career, bank account and credit rating. With the structures gone, I came face to face with the beliefs.

The beliefs were wrong. It was the sociopathic upheaval that enabled me to realize that and let them go.

How did I do it? Quite honestly, it was painful. I cried. I raged. I released layers and layers of negative emotion. And finally, on April 19, 2001, I gave up the battle to make my ex pay me back.

Nine days later I met Terry Kelly. We dated. We fell in love. We married.

Friday was our fifth wedding anniversary. We still love each other as we did when our romance was new and fresh. Today, we exchanged mushy Valentines.

These have been the happiest years of my life. We enjoy each other’s company. We comfort each other in times of stress. We support each other in everything—in fact, without Terry, there would be no Lovefraud.

So yes, there can be life and love after the sociopath.

Please do not give up on life because of the terrible experience. If you do, then the predator will truly have won.

Instead, give yourself time and permission to heal. Find the blind spot within you that made it difficult for you to see the sociopath’s agenda. Recognize that you are now educated about this personality disorder, and you won’t be fooled again. Trust your intuition.

When we’re in the midst of the pain and trauma, it is difficult to believe that life can turn around. But we really do need to believe it, and allow ourselves to move, day by day, toward our own healing. Because healing can bring us love.

Donna and Terry at Phillies game.

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at a soggy Phillies baseball game in August, 2009.

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I am so happy to hear this.

My first V-Day physically alone, but certainly not emotionally…I was always disappointed that any gesture by the spath was last minute and hastily thrown together…if at all…if it was not observed by others, it didn’t seem to exist. I made all the plans and he “went along with it” IF he felt like it. Any gifts I did receive were later destroyed when I angered him., I got the “I bought it, I can take it away”. I barely have anything left he gave me. I did always get the mushy cards that said the right things, but they were just words, never actions to back them up.

Now that I think of it, cards out the blue were always a warning sign of something wrong…I came to dread those cards as that meant I was to expose a lie just days later…every time.

I want something “real”, I want words AND actions, I want LOVE!

I so look forward to the day I love again…

Ox Drover

Dear Donna,

Thanks for much for the valentine! For all you (and Terry) have done for the rest of us, for LF and everything you have done to reach out to others.

I am so happy for you, and for Terry too, he is a fortunate man and I am glad that you have each other. ((((hugs)))) to you both and much gratitude!


Thanks for the inspiration!
Thank you also for having the foresight and determination to develop and keep LF alive.
I think you are aware of how valuable LF has been to so many victims turning to survivors!
Thank you to Terry also for being the support and bones behind LF.
I am so very hopeful that life will turn around…..and Love can enter at some point.
The beauty is….My heart is open to love and trust! This is all the hope I need for my future.
If I spend the rest of my life single…..(I don’t want to say alone)….that will be fine too…..because I have a lot to offer the world and we will see where this journey takes me!

Congratulations on a happy 5 years with Terry……and Happy Valentines day to the both of you!!!

Now go…..cuddle up!

And a big Happy Valentines day to all my cherished LF support of friends….this is a wonderful community to be a part of and I feel the love every day I pop in.
I feel like every day is LF Valentines day……
Do something nice for yourselves!!!
It’s all about US now!




This website has been, and continues to be, so many things for me: security blanket, slap up side the head, warm bath, inspiration, release, and complete ‘aha’ moments. I deeply appreciate the energy you put in to maintaining this site, and I am (really!) overjoyed by your success in life and love.

Thank-you for your generosity, inspiration, hard-work, and perseverance!


Aww, what a sweet and thoughtful Valentine’s Day post, Donna.

I can state, with absolute assurance, that yes, each of us can and will “reenter mainstream society” after much beneficial education, soul searching, calibrating our priorities, getting in solid tune with our beloved intuitions, and simply learning to love and trust ourselves.

Hey, I go outside quite often. I chat and giggle and gently flirt with anyone, even puppy dogs, cats and squirrels…haha.

I truly enjoy being me and spreading joy around like it’s sparkly fairy dust, shining in the air.

The general public is awesome. Yeah, you might come across a weirdo or two while the mingling is transpiring, but I would kindly suggest to just walk away. With your back straight and your head up high, firmly dedicated to preserving your safety and sanity.

Works for me and I am not the exception. I’m an ordinary gal just living my life to the fullest!

Peace, Love and Joy…


Donna –

Thank you for sharing the good that CAN come from the bad…we do have to believe and we do have to keep going forward and believing in our better days ahead!

I wrote this on Saturday as a contribution to One-Steps Valentine Blog…I thought I would share it on both sites –

What Valentines Day Means To Me:

Its a day to remind me to check in on MYSELF and my loved ones (the ones who love me)

Its a day to make sure I am remembering to love myself, take care of myself, protect myself, respect myself, pamper myself… not depend on another to do this for me! 🙂

Its a day to give thanks to the ones that I love — and who love me too…

Family, friends, pets, and those who have passed on …

Valentines Day reminds me that if I dont love myself, I truly am unable to love others going forward and I want to let other like-minded people in again!!!

In order to love myself I must embrace all the healthy and unhealthy choices Ive made…and learn from BOTH… as well as process that…

In the past Ive been the recipient of others unhealthy choices – who only think of themselves and dont think or care how their choices affect those around them.

They are selfish and toxic, there is no day of the year that they are welcome in my life. I recognize they do not bring or offer love/respect to me or anyone..

Today I carry no blame no shame and no guilt… for I WISH TO LIVE – BE ALIVE AND FREE-SPIRITED AGAIN, and again, and again… (with boundaries)….

This Valentines Day reminds me to make sure I love/respect myself the most I can – so I dont open doors on a personal level to people who dont or cant love/respect themselves — because those people can never love/respect anyone else.

My wish today is that all of us at LF spend today embracing Valentines Day in a new light – the way we should have embraced it all along – a day to love yourself, who you are, what you offer and bring to the world. A day off from thinking about the toxic person/people in your life. A day to do something special for yourself. (Henry – a great day for me and you to LET GO) as well as everyone else who wishes to do so…. what a great day for a new beginning!

ps. If I were with a toxic person still on this Valentines Day — I would likely be alone, not acknowledged for my beauty and grace and I probably would not be loving myself.

We are the lucky ones….we can love ourselves and feel the beauty and gift of life and love again. Some people are unable to. Not us! WE CAN RECLAIM THAT!!!!!

I choose to celebrate this Valentines Day with the greatest love of all — the love I have inside of me – for myself and my children and my friends and family in my life…

What does Valentines Day mean to you? How will you CHOOSE to celebrate it this year?

Happy Valentines Day LoveFraud Survivors!!! xoxo LTL


This is a special place, with special people, I am thankful I found it and thankful for the inspiration and change it has given me. LTL – you are so right…Donna thank you..


Still waiting but thanks for this…

Aloha…… Elise

Ox Drover

Dear LTL, thanks for that valentine!

You are sooo worth the wait, Aloha! The man who is fortunate enough to love you must be a very special man cause if he isn’t good enough for you, there will be a possee out to get him and he won’t live through the gauntlett he has to run! Starting with me and my skillets—one in each hand! (((Hugs))))


Skillets… I love it! You and your farm animals… what a site. I just love it.

Ox Drover

Yea with all the weather we’ve had it’s been really nasty out, today was rain and cold, and still ice on the ground. Going to be below freezing tonight so the outside dogs get to come in before bedtime, my son D’s “Black mouthed Curr” dog smells like a HOUND DOG, boy does she ever. Washing doesn’t help either it is just that “hound dog smell” so she gets to go in a crate, and my Border Collie doesn’t smell much better so he gets to go in the bathroom so he doesn’t pollute the carpet in the rest of the house with his nasty smell! He did have 6 new “grandpuppies” born a couple of days ago though, that makes nearly a hundred “grandpuppies” that I know about! The inside cat who thinks she rules the world and the little inside dog feel invaded and jealous…yea, it’s a ZOO around here sometimes but they keep us belly laughing with their antics! Watching the little dog and the cat wrestling on the floor, each sooo careful not to hurt the other one, but appearing to really “fight” is a hoot! I think if I couldn’t have any other animals I’d have to have a gold fish at least! Or one of Star’s snakes, only a tiny one in a big glass cage, not to handle! Just something breathing to watch if nothing else.

I love my skillets, too, they are great to cook in and great weapons too! Great non-stick surfaces if you take care of them and some of mine are at least 100 years old, going through to the 5th generation of cooks when I am gone. Even as many folks here on LF as I have “boinked” they are still in one piece! LOL


Now I am imagining lightening bolts coming off your skillets as you wave them… what with all the bad weather… ya know.


thanks, donna, for all your hard work in keeping this site going and growing. it most likely saved my life.


Dear Donna,
So many times I have come to LF to learn, seek solace and share. I’ve read so much on here and had so much help from you and others on here. I know this site was started because of YOUR pain and you took that pain and did something magnificent with it. You started LF. Thank God you did! Your story, which I’ve read in depth, your journey and where you are today gives me much hope for the future. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I can even see it on some days! 🙂

My Valentine’s Day gift yesterday was to myself. I spent yesterday recounting all of the GOOD things in my life, the very special people who have loved/ and still love me and thankfulness those people are or have been in my life.

I had a very profound moment in which the world stopped, or so it seemed, and I could see through the confusion and chaos, the messes I’m still cleaning up and slogging through… and I saw ME, a wonderful human being, a perfectly imperfect person made in the eyes of a loving God. I am here for a reason, a good one. God doesn’t make mistakes with any of us. We survivors are a special lot. I don’t think anyone comes to value the true meaning of self-love and the REAL love of others such as we do. I’ll never be perfect (perfect is boring!), but I’ll keep striving to be the best ME I can be. If you ask God for validation that things will get better, He gives it to you. It was a wonderful moment, suspended in time, that showed me what was to come and that I can get through anything.

I agree with lostingrief, this site has pretty much saved my life as well. I’ve been able to write my way through so many rough times and there’s always someone here who “gets it”. Wherever I am at any given point in time, someone on LF has been there before me and understands. That’s such a gift!

Thank you again, Donna!


Wow…. I haven’t been on here in quite a while and haven’t posted anything on here in just as long…..

Like my friend Aloha, finding love again hasn’t happened yet for me either..but…when that gift does come my way.. I will be ready. I saw it written above and I have said it many times myself… Good does come from bad… that is if you let it. My s-path adventure beagn nearly 5 years ago now and ended a year later… what a difference a year makes…. my story is like all the others, so I won’t re-hash it … and like everybody else, I was left beat-up and kicked to the curb…It was nine months (and a nervous breakdown later) after she slithered out of my life that I found lovefraud and it simply blew me away when I read all of those traits, read the stories, then read the blogs…..I simply could not get enough information about adult personality disorders and with everything I read… over and over it all fit together… I had been dupped, conned, abused, devalued then thrown away….Like many here, I went through many stages in my healing..anger, denial at times, self-pity, disbelief, PTSS…and for the most part… a hopelessness… the pain just would not go away…my self esteem and my pride were severely damaged and even though I intellectually knew that it wasn’t about me, I felt worthlessness about myself….This was not me… I had never felt this way about myself before…the trauma of it all had affected me deep within my psyche.

For the next few years, I worked very hard on me..trying to figure out the how’s and why’s about me and why this event in my life seemed to stop me in my tracks. Slowly, in time I began to heal… I began to recapture the essence of myself and I did fall in love again…with myself…with the beauty of my own heart.

It’s been four years now since I was involved with a sociopath, and the journey has been a long hard road to say the least…. but I can look back and see a lot of good that came from my journey and during that time, I grew spiritually and emotionally… and I became a stronger person because of it all….but I think the most important thing… the most beautiful thing that came from this whole ride was… my capacity for love grew and my wisdom and knowledge of just what real love is went to a new, higher level….

Today, I am thankful… I love myself and I love my life…. God used the sociopath (she was the perfect instrument) to bring me closer to Him and closer to being the man He always intended for me to be….and that makes me very, very happy.

“I am strong because I am weak

I am beautiful because I know my flaws

I am a lover because I’m a fighter

I am fearless because I have been afraid

I am wise because I have been foolish

And I can laugh because I’ve known sadness.”

Love to all..



southerman – Dr. Leedom has posted that they need more responses from those of us who were involved with femail spaths for the lovefraud survey.

there is a link on the ‘How does ODD relate to sociopathy?’ thread.


Send a southernman a note on his blog.


hi aloha – i am not on myspace, so i will hope he comes back here.


Dear Donna and all Members of LF, just so grateful for this site and realize it is a process , all of life . I spent 1 valentines in rehab 6 years ago, best decision of my life then quite a few waiting for the s to appreciate me , then recently took a detour with another guy and lost a little more trust but im learning and yes im still hurt over many men and decisions i’ve made but i know now that im worth so much more so if im meant to be alone anothe r 8 years than so be it. Im finally starting to get where the self love comes in first and it’s nice just to do what i want when i want to . There are so many things i’d like (Job, nice man) but i have what i need and i know nothing or nobody can truly make me happy it has to come within so im letting God take care of this part, handing it over to him when i can. There is a song called “Little Wonders” and i picked it as mine in the Trauma program by Rob Thomas as it’s really the little things in life that really matter and ther is a line that says “it’s the heart that really matters in the end” and that is what we’ve all learned the hard way, if someone doesn’t have a heart , we can’t give them ours. Anyway that song just makes me grateful and i wish everyone a great Valentine s Day. love kindheart



I will send Southernman a note on Myspace.


Ive just completed the survey of people who have been involvd witha female sociopath, the problem is that it only givesa time span of the disorder showing itself from 1 month to one year. My daughter didnt start to manifest these sociopath tendencies till she was 16. There was no place to put this, so I had to include it in another space. best, Love, Gem.XX


I am so grateful for this site. I literally don’t know if I would survive at this point without it. It has taught me so much. Valentines Day is a painful day for most people because it is supposed to be about love. Being with an spath is anything but. When I felt bad about not being with someone I love this Valentine’s Day, I realized that it was never that way with him. There wasn’t a single occasion after he “won” me that he ever gave me a card, a flower, a single sign that he cared because he didn’t have to, he knew he had hooked me and didn’t feel anything about it anyway. There were always the words but never substance behind the words. I remind myself of that. Someday maybe I will find someone who can feel or have real feelings period. I hope so. It gives me hope that someone has seen their way through this time, that the feeling of being kicked in the heart and stomach will pass. The pain is still too raw for me to believe that real love is possible but hope springs eternal.



Thank you for beautiful gift you have given me….and us all with LF, and your Valentine message of love. It’s so inspiring and hopeful to see that you can have a loving, sane, healthy relationship after the S.

You both look sooooo happy.




Foget the Romeos and Jullietts…..think of Valentine’s day as a day of giving all that love to your self, give yourself the roses, the chocolates the fine dinner, the cards and substance….because you are worth it!!!!!!

I know your pain. For the 3 1/2 years I was in the relationship with the S, he allways broke up with me in the weeks before V day, and I allways spent it alone, no cards, flowers nothing. I allways came to find out later that he was with other women….and like an idiot I ended getting sucked back in.

This year he was going in that path of devaluating, lying and cheating again, but I ended the sick relationship for the last time in January, just as he was telling me that he was traveling (yet again aorund V day) to visit his daughter in another state.

I have had NC, but just found out that he lied to me about his travel plans and he is in fact traveling to Europe on a trip he was going to take me on originally…most likely with another woman. I feel betrayed all over again! sick with pain and anger!

But….I decided to be my own valentine, love, nurture and accept me as I am, and so I treated myself to flowers, chocolates, and accepted an invitation to a dinner dance were I went by myself and had a great time.

The greatest gift I gave mysel is shutting the doors to my heart forever more to this sick induvidual
I am learning to love my self as I woudl want others to love me. and this feelf freeing.


SouthernMan – I am sure you will have no problems attracting Miss Right some day soon – you’re gorgeous!

And your home is … wow – takes my breath away. In fact – I am voting that you host the inaugral LoveFraud convention – I can truly see us all doing Tai Chi at sunrise on that beeee eautiful deck! Some stunning workmanship there. If you tell me you did it yourself … well that will be it – I’ll be hopping a plane to claim you for myself 😛

It’s good to take that time out after the P – I have been more than two yrs now single and it’s the first time I’ve ever consciously thought about what I would like to find in a partner – every other time I would just meet someone and we’d get on and go from there. This time I am thinking about values and disposition and outlook – what’s inside is the truly important part. I am also finding lots to value inside myself that I had forgotten about.

To all of us finding lovers that are worthy of our giving 🙂
Happy V Day everyone!


Great post, Donna! Yes! Yes! Yes! I found the love of my life and am now happily married to the most caring man I’ve ever known! I’m so glad that I found a good therapist and LF that helped me learn to better recognize the red flags or otherwise I might have fallen for the same type of man again. Now, that I’m with a “normal” man, it’s SO easy for me to see just how messed up my life was when I was with the S. Sometimes, I feel that my current husband is my reward for enduring all those years with the S. It was a rough road to travel but well worth the educational experience that allowed me to understand why I was such an easy target and the changes that I needed to make in myself to not allow myself to continue to be targeted by these people! I think our recovery depends so much on education and TIME. We have to allow ourselves time to absorb these personality disorders and time to heal and love ourselves again…then we’re able to make better choices, free to be ourselves and to trust and love again.


Three years ago, I woke up to the hideous reality that my life was infested with spaths and narcissists, – including my superiors at work, a housemate, my ‘best friend’, two out of my five brothers, and female colleagues who ‘specialize’ in hating and targeting women for public shame. It took a trip through hell with an narcissist lover and an spath stalker to open my eyes to this, and to shake me out of the self-hatred that had brought me to that relationship… and to all of the unhealthy relationships.

Both of my parents were/are narcissists, and I had learned to hide my physical beauty, talents, intelligence and goodness from a very early age (including from myself). I learned to define ‘good’ as whatever a spath or a narcissist wanted from me, to endure abuse with a smile or silent compliance, and the only real love I had ever known had come from my pets. There, I said it.

Now I’m 40, I’ve sent all of the spaths and narcissists packing, including my parents and two brothers. Of course, the minute I caught on to them and stopped giving what they wanted, they destroyed my career with smear campaigns and sabotage, which ruined my finances, friendships with people who have no idea how spaths operate, etc. My family is fractured too (obviously).

I’ve lost everything I ever worked for, and still have to deal with some vestiges of a life once given to evil incarnate. But, I am also building on the blessings of a life that’s been cleaned out from the roots, and realigned with the priorities that bring me closer to God, and all of the good things in life.

The Valentine’s Day posts here mean a lot to me, because they reinforce my hope that I can find a mainstream life, and fill it with people who are right for me. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Sometimes the worst part of waking up to what I have is being alone in the knowledge, being surrounded by people who don’t get it, who don’t have to get it, and who keep helping the spaths unwittingly.

But it’s all right, because now I’m getting myself what I need to feel okay, learning how to find some peace, making good progress on that, and, for the first time in my life, I had a real Valentine’s Day date this year. We had a really great time, too. So, I’m taking it as a good sign, and want to mention it in case it gives anyone else some hope.

I wish everyone here the best, and hope that, in time, all of our pain brings us to the health, peace and happiness that we earned by acting on all that we’ve learned. Thank you again for sharing your experiences.


Yes, you can find love again after your S/P/N-ex.

Two Valentine’s Day ago, my S-ex was steadily escalating his abusive behavior (the D&D had begun New Year’s Eve). I remember how I sent a dozen long-steam Oceana roses to his office (ka-ching), took him out to dinner at One If By Land, Two If By Sea (a very romantic restaurant here in NYC) (ka-ching, ka-ching) and bought him a piece of bling (ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching).

His response? Indifference at best. My response? I opened my finacial and emotional taps even further “to win back that wonderful man I fell in love with”.

Finally I sent that avaricious piece of sewage packing in November of tha year.

This Valentine’s Day? I’ve been seeing a wonderful man for the last 8 months. We spent the holiday(s) weekend together — Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. We went out to dinner at a very nice restaurant. The gift giving was minimal. His appreciation for what I did was genuine.

Ain’t love grand?

Ox Drover

Dear Psyche,

TOWANDA and GOOD FOR YOU! Isn’t it amazing that one day we do wake up and see that we have been born into a nest of vipers and we thought sllithering and biting and poison was the way to live.

Remember the story of the “Ugly Duckling”—I think some of us are just humans who were “hatched” by a nest of vipers, and it takes us a while to realize where we are and what we are. Cleaning house includes getting rid of our “family” and in many cases most or all of our “friends” as well, and they do NOT go “quietly into the night” but kick and scream and bite and do their best to hurt us for kicking them out of our lives.

We are their source of supply and they don’t easily let it go, because then they have to find new supply, new victims, and they have worked so hard to keep us down.

I am proud of you and proud FOR you! KEEP ON GROWING!



I came from a home with an S father, malignant N (and probably S) mother and one out of two of my brothers is an S/conman.

Like you, I learned to operate in the shadows. In words that are indelibly burned on my brain, I can still hear my mother saying “your father always said your brother’s good looks and athletic prowess came from his side of the family and your brains came from mine. Obviously he was wrong about you.”

Yes, that wonderful family dynamic primed me for the S-ex which entered my life.

Friends of mine still laugh about last summer — a group of us were in a bar (including my boyfriend). Some guy was passing by and he said something to me. I didn’t hear and asked him to repeat it. He said it again. I still didn’t hear. Finally one of my friends said “He said you’re a very handsome man.” My boyfriend added (“You’re supposed to say thank you”).

It’s funny because I was so conditioned to never think of myself that way. I am finding, as I weed the Cluster-Bs out of my life that my perception of myself is steadily changing. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time before the Cluster-Bs destroyed me, to see what I could accomplish with some positive reinforcement.

Of course, there’s no going back. But, I am determined to make my remaining years on earth the best they can be.

Good luck in your journey.


Psyche – THANKYOU SO MUCH for posting that! I am in such a hole with things at the moment – it’s really lifted me!:) The layers and layers of realisation that come with the fall out from a run in with a sociopath makes me short circuit.:( Its so wonderful to hear something so clearly put from someone who went through it and came out the other side. I second the TOWANDA! I think I’m going to print it out…

Oxy – I am sorry I havent replied to your responses on my other posts (and LTL and kathy) I think my brain capsized just talking and thinking about it all… thankyou all for your support and I hope I canbe as much to you some timexxx

(This has made me think of a question, I wonder what it was about ‘the’ sociopath that ‘woke us up’. A lot of us describe living in the nest of vipers for years…)


Donna – THANKYOU so much for this Valentine xxx hope is so important to hang on to.x That if you just keep trucking you will one day feel ‘good enough’ (with or without a partner!). The picture is beautiful. Cant help but smile and feel a little bit lighter looking at it:)x


My ex (while we were together) told me he didn’t believe in Valentines day, right after he saw that I’d bought him a present. I don’t imagine he would have told me that little fact during the honeymoon phase!

Donna Anderson I just read about your experience with J.M, oh my goodness, all I can say is congratulations on your happiness!


Aeylah, You go girl! Darn it, I had typed this all out and somehow lost it, I will try to remember what I was saying!lol
I love the way you celebrated V.Day- chocolate, flowers, the works- It is all about YOU- and the healthy reflection you have about where you are at in your life. We should all have your attitude.
You said ..the best gift you gave yourself was closing your hearts door forever on the sick individual.. AMEN sista! I can soo relate to you, jelltogether, midlife- and others comments.
I had same experiences- whenever the S did ANYTHING remotely nice or special for me, he had to announce it like it was a 5 oclock BREAKING NEWS story. It WASNT real to him if he didnt have a captivating audience. He always said he wanted to be an actor- BAHAHHAHA, seriously, when was he NOT ? My greatest gift to me is when I chose not to PLAY THE FOOL anymore- move on, SHOW OVER. 😉

Southernman- I love your post. Thank you for sharing the fact that thru your experience with the S- you were able to get closer to God. I found this to be very true. God is consistently putting my broken pieces together, making the pieces of the puzzle come together.
I feel that in order to grow up spiritually, and help others, we have to daily “refill our cup” so to speak by putting back “in” what the world/media tries to take away from us. I have to continue to study, read, hear His word, etc to filter out all the junk that is out there! best wishes to all of you..


southern man has an amazing soundtrack on his blog. listened to it for hours yesterday.


Blueskies –

Good to see your posts! Was thinking about you …glad you are hanging in there!

What “woke me up” – was I had reached my personal limit…I could no longer deny , look away, pretend, live in a fantasy that this person had my best interest in mind… my ‘sleeping spirit and soul” awakened and said enough…. time to get this toxic person out of your heart and HEAD and get on with the life youve been given — dont let it be taken away by another.


Great post and picture, Donna! Gives us hope for a future.


I can totally relate to slimone, who said, “This website has been, and continues to be, so many things for me: security blanket, slap up side the head, warm bath, inspiration, release, and complete ’aha’ moments. I deeply appreciate the energy you put in to maintaining this site, and I am (really!) overjoyed by your success in life and love.” I could not have said it better myself.

After 3 years, 5 months and 1 day I am in a relationship. I have had serious and severe trust issues, and great trepidation, but I am “in like” and believe I could be heading towards “in love”. I have learned to have boundaries and am very alert to red flags. Also, I must learn to trust a romantic partner 100%…not even 99.9% will suffice. Communication is a key to understanding and growth.

Much happiness and success to everyone here. It has been a long journey towards health, healing, forgiveness…and love.

Thank you, Donna. And also a special thanks to OxDrover and AlohaTraveler.



Hi, Ox Drover and Blueskies – thank you so much for appreciating my post. Blueskies, if you’ve found your way here, I just know you’re going to find your way out of hell, too. Btw, the thing about my sociopath that got me to wake up – well, there was one thing I loved more than anything in this world, my cat. Even if I didn’t love myself, I loved my cat, and he hurt my cat with his carelessness. That did it. He had hurt ME a thousand times before, and it hadn’t opened my eyes one bit. The second I realized he had put his selfishness before my cat , I was DONE with him. It sounds crazy . . . and it probably is. In any case, it worked, and it got me on the path to liberation. Unfortunately my cat died because of his involvement. That broke my heart to a million pieces. That’s what got me to want to live a better life, to be able to protect myself and everything I care about better.

Matt, do you ever look back at old pictures of yourself, and see that you were really gorgeous, and hate that you felt like Ox Drover’s Ugly-Duckling anyway, at the time the pic was taken? I feel a dull, flat grief at all the years I spent feeling ugly, worthless, uncomfortable and awkward, when I was really beautiful the whole time.

I think back to those times when I was hurt the most, and I’ve started giving ‘gifts’ to the younger, still-wounded versions of myself. I picture myself on horribly sad days in my youth, and ask myself – what did I need from my parents that I didn’t get that day? Then I find a way to give that to myself now, as if I’m giving it to one of my mini-me’s (me at different stages of my young life). I think of my mini-me’s as my children that I’ve rescued, and relate to them in my imagination this way. It’s helping heal some of those old wounds, I do feel more cared-for, and it reinforces the idea that I’m no longer hoping my parents will come around, set things right, and heal those wounds for me. Sometimes I also visualize my mini-me’s throwing buckets of water on the people who hurt me, making them dissolve into nothing like the Wicked Witch of the West. The rest of the time, like you, I am fiercely determined to live my remaining years to the fullest, to appreciate and build on every bit of goodness that comes my way.

Ox Drover

Dear Peggy, so glad to see your handle up theere again and you posting! I’ve missed you girl!

Thanks to Peggy and Psyche for those sweet words! Psyche, I know what you mean…I look back at the photos of my younger days and I was a KNOCK OUT but I didn’t see that then, I felt ugly and unloveable, fortunately I was able to find a wonderful husband who did love me and we had 20 years of a great friendship and then 20 years of a good marriage! I sure as heck miss that support, but I’ve got a big load of wonderful memories! I also have some great memories of my step-father and he was trying very hard to give me what I needed as a child, but my egg donor’s louder voice was overshadowing his quieter but loving one. But NOW I can go back in my memory and bring out those memories and give them to myself as a wonderful GIFT when I need an uplifting feeling! I have quieted the voice of the HARPY and am listening to the softer melodies of the loving people—-it took a long time, but I am able to use and resue those wonderful memories.

Even though The face in the mirror now resembles my grandmother more than it does that beautiful young woman, I know that like my grandmother, even though sometimes I feel like the princess who kissed a frog, and instead of turning him into a prince, it turned me into an apple-doll-face old woman, none the less my HEART AND SOUL is still young and a lot prettier than it ever was! And, I am, even with my down times from time to time, I am happier!


I think the defining moment for me- when I “woke” up out of the zombie, brain dead state that I was in with the P, was the weekend I returned home from the hospital- I had been put to sleep, under anesthesia.

The P- chose to take his children (my step children at the time) to a hotel to swim, and play rather than take care of me in our home(mine actually) that weekend.
My moment of clarity hit me like a ton of bricks- I told myself thru the fog of anesthesia- you are being abused, lied to, stolen from, degraded, , etc etc. HE DOSENT LOVE YOU. WHY the FREAK ARE YOU ALLOWING This big bastard (sorry) to LIVE HERE??Whats in it for me??? –THE FIRST TIME I had ever questioned what was the benefit for me. An ahh haa moment..
I woke up from the dream-…He was NOT a knight in shining armor, riding up on a white horse- Heck, a white horse???
I could of sold that! He brought nothin, ecsept his suitcase and his sorry a**, and thats ALL he would leave with!

Now I view that weekend as my personal INDEPENDENCE DAY! I took back my POWER and my life.. From there, I have slowly walked forward in life..
It actually took being put to sleep to “wake” me up, But THANK GOD it happened after 3 yrs of being trauma bonded to the soul thief.



“Matt, do you ever look back at old pictures of yourself, and see that you were really gorgeous, and hate that you felt like Ox Drover’s Ugly-Duckling anyway, at the time the pic was taken? I feel a dull, flat grief at all the years I spent feeling ugly, worthless, uncomfortable and awkward, when I was really beautiful the whole time. ”

Psyche, I sure do. I look at those photos and think “Damn. I really was handsome.” But, I look at my eyes and I see all the insecurity in them. Insecurity about my looks. Insecurity about my smarts. Insecurity about my future. Insecurty about the next explosion on the horizon at my parents (and there was always one looming in that macadamia ranch). I was always so inside my head or busy trying to read the every changing winds in that house, that I couldn’t see what was staring me in the face.

It’s funny, in a way, but at the age of 52 I actually am starting to feel like I’m finally coming into my own. I have a circle of friends who I know are actually friends and not vampires who are just attaching themselves to me for their own needs. I’m in a healthy, loving relationship with a man who thinks I hung the moon. Things are starting to look up on the employment front — I’m hoping for good news on something I’ve interviewed for in the next couple of weeks. I finally feel like I’m not running away from something, but am moving toward something.

Oh, yes. And those brothers of mine who were held up as such paragons of virtue (and good looks, etc)? Both have aged far less well than I have. 🙂


Aeylah & Sabrina,
I so hear what you are both saying. Spent years thinking that there was something wrong with me. Spent years supporting his a**. Spent years buying the gifts to “make him happy” Now that I have been hit with all those realizations a gift was given to me. Funnily enough the day after Valentine’s Day, I had an old friend contact me by email. We haven’t seen each other in years but I got the most wonderful email telling me what a beautiful person I was and how could I have not known that all these years. It made me feel great but sad at the same time. Sad only because I didn’t know that about myself. I had let my spath take that away from me. But now I feel so much better knowing that there are people out there who care about me and think the world of me. I feel good knowing that people here understand what I have gone through and welcome me. And I feel good that I won’t let someone take that from me again.
There were times in the past weeks where I was wavering on NC I admit but now I don’t have the desire to ever enter into another relationship with someone who doesn’t value me. I have no wish to speak to someone who can’t treat me with love and kindness, or doesn’t want to respect me or my feelings. I have no desire to spend time with someone who just wants to take from me. Every day from now on I will love me and know that I am worth everything to me.



Awsome! you are giving yourself the gift of love and kindness and respect. You are worth it! and your friends think so too.

…. remember, stay strong, NC, NC, NC…..(I tell myself the same thing)


I am glad to hear that there is hope on down the road for me perhaps. I have always had a couragous nature…perhaps naive? Now I am just plain scared inside to trust someone with my heart. I feel that my defenses have been stripped away and I am standing alone and unprotected. Guess I just haven’t given it enough time. Try not to get angry about all of this. Doesn’t seem fair at all that I am alone and the monster is moving on finding new victims. Valentines Day I shared with myself and my son. He has been a lifesavor. Actually he is the reason I finally stopped the maddness. For his sake at first and then I saw that it was for my sake as well. I really hate this scared inside feeling…not my way at all.


Your post touched me because I remember clearly when I KNEW and felt my ex spath was exactly what he was. I had someone ask me a simple question, “What are YOU getting out of this?” That simple. And it tripped a trigger that sent off a ton of “aha” moments and while it hurt, there was also freedom. I left him. I flew all the way across the country and had a year of freedom before he showed up again on my doorstep. Prior to that, I had had(and still do) a heart condition and while I was down completely with that, he proceeded to keep doing exactly what he had always done, cheat, use drugs and take the money I had in savings. I lost everything. He didn’t care. He told the world he was so “upset” about how sick I was. That was such BS! The picture he gave to the world was one of a caring, loving man who would do anything for me.
Today, he is truly gone and each day I have NC with him, I’m that much better. I like the term “soul thief” because that’s exactly what mine took from me.
I think that sometimes God puts us in certain situations so that we DO wake up to the reality of what we are living with and then gives us the courage to do what we have to do. I know that’s what happened in my case.

amyc, I believe there is hope for all of us. I know that for myself I’m not ready yet for another relationship and to have one right now would just end up being a complete mess. I DO believe there is someone meant for me, but right now I’m working on all the things you talked about, by defenses, my walls, my fears of being hurt like that again, ME. I’m worth a good relationship in my life and I know it will happen, just not right now. YOU also deserve the same. Funny you should mention your son. I spent Valentine’s Day with mine and it was perfectly OK with me. My son has been my lifesaver as well. Bless his sweet little heart.
Bless yours as well-Cat


I visited your myspace. WOW! one-step is right. The music is wonderful and it’s incredibly inspirational. There is so much on there to take in and it’s all good. Thank you for sharing!


Thank you Cat.. and also to the others for all of your kind comments to my ministry of encouragement over at Myspace… I have in fact, several of you there as my friends….My journey through healing included tapping into my creative side to get the pain out.. to try and see the good in me…and in doing so, God used me to help others… I am always humbled by that. The myspace thing is a platform in which I can create and blog… it is me expressing my journey through life and as Aloha wrote on her myspace “I am learning as I go”… I always loved that Aloha…smiles… are not we all doing just that?…. learning, growing, loving, forgiving……These are the things I take from my journey through darkness from the sociopath….. redirecting the hurt, pain, anger and rejection into something beautiful and everlasting………it is truly the gift we give ourselves.

Here are a couple of videos I created over the past few years to go with some of my older blogs over at the myspace…
Once Upon A Time…. My testimony and you will see that the sociopath (unnamed) led to my conversion.

Be Here Now….My healing video…in the beginning…you will see all the feelings you have felt about yourself after the sociopath… the end is where you can be if you begin to learn how to love yourself once again.





Thank you Donna I just read your article!

You ARE the greatest! Happy post Valentine’s Day


I know that it doesn’t seem fair that you are alone on “love day” and that the spath can be with someone. I felt the same way on that day but remember their journey is just beginning with that horrible person. They may “love them” as you did but think of it this way, you are on the up escalator and they are on the down side. Pity them. You are a wonderful person and don’t lose sight of that on your ride on the escalator to real happiness without the spath.

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