By Donna Andersen
When you’ve been betrayed by a sociopath, it can feel like you and your entire world have collapsed. You are in so much anguish, and your life is such a mess, that you feel like you’re so far into the pit that you can’t see the top of the hole, let alone daylight.
And then, it gets worse.
You find out that not only have you been cheated on, but your partner was patronizing hookers. And credit cards have been taken out in your name and spent to the limit — without your knowledge. And all your friends and family have been told that you’re mentally unbalanced, so when you reach out for help, nobody believes you.
As you look at the wreckage of your life, you don’t see how you can ever feel better. But I promise you, true emotional recovery from the sociopath is possible.
Parallel paths forward
After the sociopath, there are two paths forward. One is dealing with all the practical matters of rebuilding your life. This includes getting away from the abuser and going No Contact. It includes getting on your feet financially, finding new living arrangements, filing for divorce, arranging for childcare, looking for a new job, getting medical treatment — whatever is necessary for you to pick up the pieces.
The other path forward is your emotional recovery. This means acknowledging that your heart is broken. In fact, your heart may have been broken before you encountered this particular sociopath. You commit to attending to your emotional wounds — maybe for the first time in your life.
What’s important to understand about the two parallel paths is that you can walk them both at the same time. You don’t have to wait until after the divorce, or after the abuser is convicted, or after your money is straightened out, to begin your true emotional recovery from the sociopath.
In fact, the two paths support each other. Dealing with the practical issues helps your emotional healing. And progress in your emotional healing helps you to see solutions for rebuilding your life.
Understanding is only the first step
You certainly need your life situation to be stabilized. But plenty of people go back to work, or pay off the debts, or raise the kids, and vow never to allow anyone get close to them ever again. That isn’t life; it’s existence. And it means that the sociopath is still winning, because you are not living the life you deserve.
After you realized that you encountered a sociopath, you may have read everything you could find on exploitative personality disorders, trying to understand what happened. This is important — you need to know that human predators live among us.
You may have also examined yourself, perhaps with the help of a therapist, to understand why you were vulnerable to this person. You may have figured out that other people who caused you harm were sociopaths. Maybe even your mother or father, or both, were disordered, and your dysfunctional childhood set you up for further exploitation later in life.
So now, you may know why you feel anxious, or angry, or shamed, or lonely, or sad, or whatever. But here’s a key point: Understanding why you feel bad doesn’t make you feel better. Intellectual understanding is an important first step. But to feel better, your painful emotions must be addressed.
True recovery from the sociopath means being able to open your heart again. How can you do this?
You process your emotional wounds. You acknowledge you’ve been hurt. You allow yourself to feel the deep pain of your experiences, without turning away from it. As you do this, an amazing thing happens — the pain dissipates, and you feel relief.
The silver lining
When I do personal consultations, I frequently tell people that there is a silver lining to the experience with a sociopath. Here it is: The experience is so painful that you have no choice but to deal with it.
You can no longer lock all the pain from this experience, and the prior pain that made you vulnerable to the experience, into an internal closet. Because of the sociopath, the door bursts open and the pain comes flooding out.
And this becomes your opportunity for deep and lasting healing.
My experience with recovery
I went through this exact process in my own recovery from my socicopathic ex-husband’s betrayal. I worked with an energy healer — luckily, I already had a relationship with her before my marriage. I’d made some progress. Even so, my ex-husband’s betrayal unearthed layers and layers of negative emotion that needed resolution.
As I remembered particular experiences, the emotional disturbances attached to them came into my awareness. I experienced this as an energetic heaviness that was located in my body. It could be in my face, heart, back, legs. I allowed myself to feel the heaviness, without trying to squash it. The heaviness would slowly move to another part of my body on its way out. Eventually, it dissipated — and with that, the painful emotion was gone. I felt lighter.
I describe the process in detail in my first book, Love Fraud — How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. The more pain I released, the more my heart was healed.
True emotional recovery from the sociopath
I’ve said many times in my Lovefraud blog posts and videos that true emotional recovery from the sociopath comes from allowing yourself to feel and then release your emotional pain. Multiple people have asked me if I could help them do this. Now, I offer this service.
The process starts with a body scan. Your emotional wounds are always located somewhere in your body. By feeling your body from the inside, it’s possible to identify where you are holding emotional pain.
We’re all connected energetically, so I tune into your experience and feel the emotional energy along with you. Together, we bring awareness to your emotions without judgment. If you experience a strong reaction — like crying — I hold space for you. We allow the emotional pain to exist in awareness, and after some minutes pass, it dissolves.
We’re all carrying around layers and layers of pain, and healing it is a process. A particular incident and its energetic heaviness comes to our awareness, we release it from our bodies, and we feel better. Then another situation comes to our awareness, and we release it as well. The more we can release, the better we feel.
If you would like to know more about how I assist with true emotional recovery from the sociopath, here’s more information:
Deep Emotional Release with Donna Andersen