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By | March 31, 2013 42 Comments

Acceptance: I don’t have to like the situation, but I recognize the truth of what it is

Editor’s note: The following post was written by the Lovefraud reader “Adelade.”

After the sociopathic ex left our marital home, I fell into a vortex of fear, panic, anxiety, and desperation that I had previously never even imagined to exist. At that time, I was unemployed and extremely sick from the autoimmune disorder that had laid me low years before. I was left with no income, no access to joint accounts, no computer to check said accounts, a mortgage that was being “accelerated” into foreclosure, a car loan and utilities that were all in arrears of no less than 3 months, and change in a glass jar. The financial arrears were a complete surprise I had no idea that these accounts were past due, much less that there was a foreclosure action, and I had no way to remedy any of these issues. My investment portfolio had vanished within a span of 2 1/2 years, and I had no means to support myself, in any capacity. I was taking a number of prescribed medications that left me susceptible to every invasive organism on the planet, and I was in a medically precarious state. In short, I was literally left for dead.

As I began my counseling, I wanted answers and assurances. I wanted a timetable for my recovery. I wanted a painless means to achieve healing and recovery, and I wanted all of these things, immediately. I also wanted people to feel sympathy for my experiences and what had been done to me. I wanted understanding and support. I wanted the exspath held accountable for his frauds, and I wanted justice. To say that my expectations were unreasonable would be a gross understatement. The things that I “wanted” were my damaged “inner child” throwing the greatest and most monumental temper tantrum imaginable.

Ex immune from consequences

When the filings and motions for my divorce commenced, it became glaringly clear that the exspath was virtually immune from any consequences. The bank that processed his forgeries had met its legal obligation by printing and mailing my investment statements. Any drafts that were forged should have been disputed 60 days after the statements were mailed, and the institution was not liable for whether or not I received those statements. Federal prosecutors had bigger fish to fry and wouldn’t even return my calls about filing criminal charges. My own attorney advised me that seeking a civil suit against the exspath for his forgeries would only have resulted in his bankrupting himself and never having to pay the judgment, even though it would always remain a matter of Public Record. My attorney also advised me that there are no punitive damages awarded in “no fault” divorce.

Godalmighty, and every expletive known to mankind!!!! I wanted revenge! I wanted justice! It wasn’t fair that the exspath was able to use my money for his purposes and not experience any consequences. It just wasn’t fair!

Well, I spent a lot of time ruminating and cogitating upon how unfair this whole situation was. I abandoned the home that I had helped to purchase with a substantial (tens of thousands) cash down payment, and significant upgrades because I couldn’t afford to bring all of the utilities current, and the home was so remote that I would have been stranded without heat or electricity in the dead of winter once the vehicle that I was driving was repossessed for non-payment.

No help from a friend

When I abandoned my beloved home, I rented a room from a colleague who had assured me that I would “always have a roof over (my) head,” and this turned out to be another lie, as well. His girlfriend was clearly disordered and vicious, and made the lives of my son and myself a living hell. What should have been an opportunity for focused recovery became yet another experience in sociopathy and passive/aggressive behavior, and I had nowhere else to go except a homeless shelter. That I had lost my transportation added to the anxiety because I literally had no means to get to counseling sessions, doctors’ appointments, or anywhere else without begging a ride from someone.

Lessons about control and acceptance

So, what does any of this have to do with anything other than a sad series of events? Yeah, it reads like a Lifetime Movie, but it really happened and the apathy that I experienced from friends and colleagues only compounded the frustration that the exspath was not going to experience consequences. But, the point of recollecting the facts of my experiences comes down to this: This was a series of lessons that I “needed” to learn about controland acceptance. My counselor was insightful enough to recognize this and frequently brought me back to the present and away from the obsessive thinking by simply asking, “Don’t you think that you deserve to recover?”

At first, my immediate response was, “I deserve justice!” Well, everyone in every walk of life under every circumstance “deserves” justice. But, the reality is that most human beings who have been exploited and damaged never experience justice. After a time, I “got this” concept, and I accepted the fact that “justice,” the way that I interpreted it to be, wasn’t forthcoming. But what about Karma? If justice weren’t going to be delivered, what about Karma? Again, I wanted to know about how, when, and in what manner Karma visited itself upon the exspath. And, again, I came to accept that I would most likely never “know” about Karma’s visit to the exspath. Dammit. When was I going to experience some sense of satisfaction that the exspath was suffering as he had caused me to suffer? When was it going to be my turn to clap my hands together and squeal, “Goody, goody!!!?”

“My turn” to experience the glee of another person’s suffering isn’t important anymore. It took me a long, long time to get to this point and it was no easy effort, either. I am not cut from the same type of cloth that a sociopath is, and I have taught myself that the sense of satisfaction that I might have experienced upon learning about Karma’s visit to the exspath would have only been short-lived and insufficient I would have wanted more damage and more chaos to reign down upon him. There would never have been enough to compensate for all that I have lost and suffered because of his deliberate actions.

Facing The Truth

Acceptance was the moment when I came to a personal understanding of “The Truth” as being undeniable and irrevocable. Truth is based upon fact, and facts are irrefutable. They simply are, whether or not I believe or feel that they are fair or just. Acceptance doesn’t obligate me to “like” the truths and facts, but to appreciate them for what they are with dignity and grace.

Acceptance is also an acknowledgement of my own limitations and honoring them as a part of the Human Condition, and not some perceived fault. I have control over only one thing: myself. I cannot control Family Court. I cannot control the policies of financial institutions. I cannot control the outcome of any situation, regardless of what it might be. I cannot control whether or not a friend cares about my personal suffering. I cannot control whether or not a person’s word is their bond. I cannot control anything other than my own choices, decisions, and actions. Accepting this simple fact has relieved me of many, many burdens.

Relief from burdens

One burden is not having to placate my screaming “inner child” with false assurances of justice and fairness. I can calmly and lovingly tell my “inner child” that some things are beyond our control and that it’s okay to feel upset, but let’s look at that feeling, compare it to facts, and come to a point of acceptance so that we don’t need to feel upset anymore.

Another burden that I’ve shed was shame. I no longer “feel” falsely obligated to be responsible for anyone else’s actions, choices, or decisions. I am relieved of “shame,” forever.

The burden of fear-based decision-making has been lifted, ever so slowly, and continues being lifted. This has been one of the heaviest burdens to bear for me, personally. Because fear has been the primary catalyst, my personal choices, actions, and decisions have been hurried and impulsive and based upon a system of faulty beliefs.

Moving on

Once I experienced true and honest acceptance, even my current struggles are a matter of course and nothing beyond my ability to process. Of course, my state of poverty and disability is frustrating and, many times, infuriating, especially if I let my mind take me down the path that I wouldn’t be here had it not been for the exspath. But, I cannot alter the past, and I’ve also chosen to accept this fact, too none too well, I might add. But, I can’t alter the past. So, it is what it is, and I have to work with whatever I have the best way that I can. I don’t have to like it, but I have a choice to accept it, or not. And, acceptance, by far, has been the most liberating choice, to date. Acceptance is an ongoing endeavor. I have no delusions about this being some do-it-and-done-deal. This is going to be an ongoing process for the rest of my life.

“Acceptance” is defined as recognizing a process, situation, or condition without making an attempt to debate it, reconstruct it, protest it, or run from it. I am not obligated or mandated to “like” or “love” whatever I’m choosing to “accept.” But, my choice to embrace the facts and truths for what they are allow for me to nod acknowledgement to them, and move on to the next issue.


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Angela

Wow. This has been the hot topic for me as well, though I’m in the early stages of recognition and acceptance. Just what I needed to hear and be reminded of. My only consolation is that I believe the ultimate consequences for the spath is the eternal hollowness of the soul and their existence…and that in the afterlife, karma will be their prison guard. I may be hurt, anxious, confused, scared, angry and inexplicably sad…but I’m also feeling more loved by my supporters than I ever imagined. He WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE THAT. That…is his karma.

Thank you for this eloquent and insightful post. Much love. Xoxo

Thank you Adelade for this wonderful post. Acceptance, as difficult as it is, is the first step towards truly recovering. Yes, we were wronged. Yes, we didn’t deserve what happened. But we have to move forward from the place where we are, and acceptance enables us to do it.

lovefrauded

Thank-you to everyone that has posted. I am currently in a relationship with a sociopath. It has taken me a long time to admit it. I am going to leave again tonite. I have left before and he always talks his way back. I plan on turning the phone off and will not have any contact with him. That is my only hope. Even after all I have read and everything I know somehow he is able to weasel himself back in. Please keep me in your prayers tonite that I will remain strong. One day at a time!!!
Lovefrauded

Ox Drover

Adelade, the above posts is I think about what is most important for us to do–ACCEPTANCE of what IS–thank you for writing this great article that explains it so well, and how important it is for us to reach ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance of something does NOT mean we LIKE IT, or that IT WAS A GOOD THING, just that a thing IS THE WAY IT IS.

Unfortunately kids are taught from a young age to “play nice, play fair” but as we grow we began to realize that A) there is no Easter Bunny, B)no Tooth Fairy, C) no Santa and worst of all, D) LIFE AIN’T FAIR and some people get away with treating others unfairly, or even savagely and we do not always get the “justice” we want.

Thank you for this great and very helpful article. I think it is a concept that all of us need to review from time.

strongawoman

Great article “Adelaide.” How I wished for the time I too would reach the nirvana of indifference and accept what has happened. There was a definite shift in how I processed my past but I can’t pinpoint a day or a time I came to that acceptance. All I can say is it has been the most emancipating feeling throughout this hideous process. Like you, there have been times when I thought I am never, or am I ever going to be free? I’m not free of the ramifications of the spath but the ripples are not as far reaching. My duty of care now is to myself. To protect myself as far as I can from allowing any person to use and abuse me like that ever again. Thank you “Adelaide”….you are such an asset to this blog and can I also say a huge Towanda. You came out the other side. Well done my friend 🙂

Excellent article Adelaide!Acceptance of one’s situation is essential to recovery.Because as long as one is seething with anger and revenge,they are stuck;unable to move forward and heal.But as soon as one accepts, and focuses on protecting self,healing begins!That has been my experience.

I believe there is something about the way a sociopath plans their exit way ahead of time so that they leave you in what seems to be a hopeless situation. Their main objective is isolation. My opinion is they hope to make such a disarray of your life that you will become like them.

I just wrote an article about this: http://learus.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/the-sociopath-a-social-terrorist-part-5/

Hope this helps.

Learus

lifting the veil

adelade this is profoundly written……….you have been on a huge journey of healing and growth….i truely sympatise with all you have gone through and i understand every bit of pain and suffering your heart and soul has gone through…..your an amazingly strong person and truely wise thank you for putting your words down because i can see my own journey written in your writings……

acceptance,coming to terms with what has happened in our lives….acknowledgeing what happened to us and allowing ourselves to heal is a major step in recovery……

but it is only one of the steps of recovery…recovery is a slow process….but i loved what you said adelade when you said about having grace and dignity…..that was beautiful….grace and dignity are 2 things the sociopath will never have….

may god bless you on your road to recovery and may all our steps be guided as we heal.

Sunflower

Hi Friends!

Wonderful new look on LF and a wonderful article as usual.

To me what sticks out in this article is the section about control. When I had my aha moment about control it gave me a great sence of relief. I really love how the author has pointed this out.

In my relationship, my ex accused me of being the controlling one, but the truth was, I had no control over the situation at all. I tried to control to get security and the control he had over me back, however, the realization lies in that I did try to CHANGE him into loving me. To try and CHANGE someone into something wether it’s good or bad, it is control if I like it or not.

I’ve done the same with family and friends for years. I’ve been a people pleaser, the responsible caretaker, the co-dependant, the problem fixer just TO MAKE people love me. I’ve talked friends out of making mistakes – actually taken responsibility for their actions by doing it. The truth is, it wasn’t my job to think for them.

Once I stopped this, I got a much clearer view of my relationships. First, I saw how my relationships were built out of “exchange”. I gave my time and energy into their lives hoping I would be lovable to them, they used it to get what they wanted. Still the same, I didn’t matter to them. I was a secure port for their broken souls when they needed supply.

Second, I also began to see how people depended on me. How they actually couldn’t make a desicion without me telling them what to do. They had no sence of right and wrong for them selves. What is right for me might not be right for them. However, when people depend on someone else, they have given the responsibility for their own lives to someone else. This isn’t respect or love, it is dependency. Just as I would depend on someone else, I saw the entire full circle.

Coming to accept this what really hard at first. I felt so guilty, ashamed, controlling, unworthy of love. Sometimes I questioned my own sanity. However, after I stopped with all this nonsense, I’ve had a much more quiet and dramafree life. I’ve had the time and energy to focus on me. I no longer focus on others to escape my self.

There has been reactions to this change in me. Some friends have gone, some have become closer. The ones who have gone, have been those who has tried to control me into giving them the supply they need. When that hasn’t worked, the toxicity has escalated til I finally went into no contact.

The friendships that’s grown stronger, has been in gratitude. They know that they are accepted wether or not they make mistakes, the same goes for me. I gave them the opportunity to validate themselves without any prejudice, and I got the same in return. I am responsible for me, they are responsible for themselves. I still give my opinion when someone asks me for advice, I just don’t try to CHANGE the outcome of their problems. I do not let it become my problem what they do (as long as it doesn’t affect me and my life in a negative way, then I set down boundaries and the best thing of all: they are respected).

When it comes to men, well, lets just say I’ve dodged some more spath bullet’s, making me even more confident that I will not encounter another spath relationship again.

So what can I say I’ve learned when it comes to my ex? well, what I did and didn’t do in that relationship doesn’t matter. He still would have done what he did, without any conscience.

I guess what I’m trying to say, this is how I learned to accept and let go.

Delores

Sunflower, Your exerience has proven me to be guilty as charged. I never thought I was controlling but you describe me exactly in describing yourself. Ouch! My son even told me that maybe I love my children too much and I did not get it. Thank you for the insight. At least I have the consciousness to see it, the conscience to regret it and hopefully the ability to learn from it. The only person I can change is myself. And I cannot make anyone love me. I thought I knew that…another layer of the onion. Thank you.

fightforwhatsright

This is one of the most helpful threads I have read through. Sunflower and Betsybug, I am seeing myself so much in your posts. As the eldest sister of a narcissist and his adoring fan, I was an adult at 2 years of age. I never had children. My children were the constant dramas and tragedies of my sisters and their kids and their kids kids for decades.

If something bad happened, my mother would call ME to be a parent and grandparent and great grandparent figure. She and her narcissist (my father) were too busy admiring him. In my case, I went through some serious traumas of my own and STILL kept helping with theirs while mine was pretty unimportant to them. When I finally could do no more for anyone and barely enough to keep myself alive, I might as well have been dead. I could not be used any more. I had spent decades cleaning their homes, doing their laundry, babysitting for free, and on and on. When I was practically bedridden, I suddenly realized that I had cleaned every single member of my family’s homes and not one of them had ever cleaned mine. I had done hundreds of loads of laundry when they, or their kids, were ill. No one has ever done a single load of laundry for me. When they saw that I was finally done in by my own traumatic events and also handling all of theirs, they started making up things about me and making me into a bad person for not cleaning up their messes for them. It has been devastating. I have tried to be a part of my family off and on since I got so sick. But I continue to find that the only time I am shown love is if I am doing something for one of them or making them laugh. I used to be very witty and that was another big role I played for them. I started to notice that when the whole family was together, I HAD to be funny. If I was just being, eating, feeling down or showing signs of stress, or quiet, they would all give each other a disapproving look. If I started to make jokes, someone would say, “There’s our old (insert my name here)!” and show complete love and approval. I finally found that going to family functions was too much stress and I have stopped. And they continue to tell lies about me and actually place blame on ME for being sick. My sister told me recently that she felt I deserved the physical abuse I received from the sociopath because I wasn’t myself anymore! Blood can be quite thin and cold after all.

I am quite isolated and this website helps me feel connected to other victims. My most prominent spath who is not related is still in my life to a degree. He is in the hospital right now and I have to decide if the money is worth it for him to come back and live in the other side of my duplex. It is very stressful. I have an ex-husband who helps me fix things around here. He is not a sociopath, but I think he has borderline personality disorder. I never let him know that the ex-boyfriend spath moved in to my duplex. If he knew, he would go nuts, have temper tantrums, and he isn’t the nicest guy in the world or he wouldn’t be an ex. His weapon of choice is religious abuse and name calling. Abusive, but not a spath. The spath made promises that we would be the best of friends. We like a lot of the same TV shows and he was going to be helpful around here, but he can’t fix something to save his life. I’ve done a LOT for both of them in the past. It is sad that they are the best I can do and that my family has abandoned me. I know my father and one sister are narcissists. The other sister is married to a very sinister sociopath. I am quite alone right now really. I have no one I can tell everything to except a cousin who is far away.

It’s raining today and ex-husband called and had a rage. I hung up on him. It was a relief. S-path next door will be in the hospital until at least the 12th. I should be enjoying being alone and watching old movies. Instead I’m ruminating and worrying about how I will pay next month’s bills and get things fixed without catering to these two men. I needed to make the decision to stop putting on a show for my family, but it sure does hurt. I feel like I have to put up with two abusive men to survive. I am disabled and can’t work. Thanks for reading this.

Shelley

fightforwhatsright,

My heart goes out to you and I hope you’ve been well these past days since your post.

I too have stepped back from family and ‘friends’. My role has often been similar to yours – what I give, not who I am.

I noticed this most prominently at work where in a professional role I was valued, but when I was no longer in that role the ‘friends’ faded away.

I too am at a transition space – trying to figure out what I want – at 50 – the rest of my life to be and struggling with the low confidence of past poor choices, even though at the time they seemed right.

It is an isolating time. I hope it gets better for you and me.

Shelley

fightforwhatsright

Thank you, Shelley. I am 52 and was very close to age 50 when I had to start letting my family no I could not handle any more. For almost 50 years, I thought we were all on the same page as a family and it was just that they had kids and needed more help. Instead, they aren’t like me at all. They will not help me. They are mad that I can’t help them any more. One sister continues to email me her problems and I have been answering and making suggestions because her son is terribly ill, her husband is a horrific person, and she is lost. But, after I tell her how to get started on getting things together, she reports back that she has done what I said, thanks me, and I don’t hear from her again until the next set of problems for which she needs solutions.

I still am not sure what I am going to do about letting the spath/narcissist come back after the hospital. I would prefer a working female room mate, but those are few and far between. The last nice woman I had living here just moved to my town because her sister lived here. She lived here three years and was such a nice person. But, then she moved closer to work. After that, the spath told all his lies and I thought he had changed because I didn’t know enough about them. Now, I know plenty, and if I let him come back, I hope I can just keep to myself, practice my Mindfulness, read my self help books, and just keep going. I hope you also will continue to love yourself. Thank you for the encouraging words. This website has been extremely right for me so far.

lifting the veil

Well said sunflower and beautifully written…:)

the sisterhood

Adelade, this is beautiful. I have been stuck in the ‘Justice” mode for years. So funny that you wrote about this today. It’s exactly what I needed to read.

Acceptance always leaves me feeling a little bitter. But I guess that’s the point. I need to acknowledge that feeling of bitterness and not be so hard on myself. I think I’ve been getting caught up in (or at least mis-understanding) the whole spiritual process of acceptance and thinking that it meant I was going to be at blissful peace and not feel bad or have any kind of negative feelings at all. Maybe negative feelings are a natural part of acceptance. Maybe I need to accept that I am not happy about how I was treated and that I don’t like at all that he got away with it.

But I must say, that I’ve come a long way in the four years since I’ve discovered LF and what I was dealing with. I went for years in denial of my past relationship situations or self-blame because I wasn’t educated on Personality Disorders. For me, the first step in my healing was education in this area. Then came the acceptance…which I’m still working on.

Thank you for the great insight on the next step…It helps so much.

Tea Light

thGreat to see you sunflower, always remember you were one of the first here to offer me support, your post is so reflective and indicative of your strength and determination to heal. Fantastic. Look after yourself and thanks x

sunflower,
Your post made me think about how HARD I tried to be ‘the perfect wife’.At first,it was easy~during that honeymoon period,when spath is still showering you with attention and going out of the way to show you “kindness”(little did I know it would be short-lived!).I’ll never forget the first time we set down to discuss bills.I was calm about it.He couldn’t get me to argue with him~it was actually making him frustrated!

As time went on,he let his mask slip more frequently.But the more he did,the HARDER I tried.I wanted to be loved.I wanted things to be the way they were.I thought the answer was to love him and that it would heal what ailed him.I had never heard of psychopaths/sociopaths~had no idea what I was dealing with.As the abuse became physical,I became ashamed.Fortunately it didn’t happen often.Spath was more concerned with “building a family” and trying to look respectible.Within 3 yrs,we had our 3 daughters.I nurtured them.I was ashamed of how their father treated them,for the most part.He acted as if he only valued them for helping him.They weren’t allowed to “just be kids”.Because of the ‘fog’ I was in,I wasn’t able to think clearly or act decisively,which has always been my regret.

Anyway,I am so grateful that though it took me far too long to get away from spath,I did make it out,and with counseling and this site,I am on my way to healing!

Sunflower

Tea Light:

Thank you dearest, I hope you are doing much better and that you have had a great easter:)

Blossom4th: Yes, I think it goes for the most of us in dealing with spaths.

When I was with my spath, I once did something for ME. I challenged my self into doing something I was afraid of and I did it without him. I was so happy and proud my self for managing it. He became furious and said it didn’t count because he wasn’t there to approve it. Since he didn’t see it, I was just a liar. I got the silent treatment for the rest of the day. What did I do? Well, we were at a waterland. I’m afraid of heights so I took the biggest waterslide…Lol. At the time I became ashamed for doing something he didn’t approve of… Now, when I think back, I can only laugh my a.o.

I’m so happy you are on a healing journey. Hang in there, it gets better 🙂

Lone Wolf

Sunflower

Love love your waterslide story. That took some courage. Am glad spath didn’t see to “approve”. He would only have poured cold water – lol! – over your achievement. 🙂

roger

Thank you Adelade for sharing this and showing us your inner strength.
I am encouraged to hear that ” to accept the past is also to let go of it”.

Keep moving forward and seeking that inner peace,that all of trying to find.

Delores

Thank you Adelade for such an insightful and thought provoking article. I identifed so much with all of it and especially with this comment: “To say that my expectations were unreasonable would be a gross understatement. The things that I ‘wanted’ were my damaged ‘inner child’ throwing the greatest and most monumental temper tantrum imaginable” I got out of the marriage fairly unscathed knowing only that he was incaable of love and abusive but the oter hand dropped twice.

Only later did I discovered he is a psychopath as he went through more marriages and stepchildren leaving shredded people in the aftermath. When he ran out of wives and targeted my children it undid me. My damaged innner child took me over and I became a shrew. My terror was beyond comprehension and my behavior was a total aberation, viscious and frightening. It was just what he wanted and it worked just as he planned alienating my children from me.

I devoted my life to my children along with my abused and orphaned inner child for decades. He was not around and I specifically protected all of us from him, maintaining security and having a comfortable life. I also unwittingly protected him by letting my children believe he was a good but flawed person.

You all helped me today to see how my inner child can still actually take control of me and “throw the most monumental temer tantrum imaginable.”

It almost makes me feel like a multiple personality but I know I am not by definition MPD. I know who I am. I have spent decades in therapy working on my terrified inner child but then I have this shrew. She is a part of me and both my frightened inner child and the protective parent I never had. I thought she was just me and that I could control her when and if I wanted to but the last time she took over I wanted to stop her and I could not make her stop. I told my shrink about it and he suggested more talk therapy to work on it. So I guess it is back to the trenches for me or us. This MPD idea might be a good way to look at it.

I am so tired of this life path with spath. Ha Ha, I am a poet. I sometimes wish I had drawn a different hand in life but I beleive our souls pick the hand we are delt in order to learn what we need on a spiritual level. So all I can do is follow the path as best as I can and hope to learn enough spirituality to not have to come back to this plane again.

I am blessed to have found you here on LF. We will survive and find peace. Thank you.

sunflower,
Loved your waterland story!You showed courage and since spath wasn’t there to ‘share’ your moment,it was yours alone!Keep enjoying it;keep laughing!Oh Boo Hoo Spaths! We don’t wait for approval to enjoy life!

lovefrauded,
Hoping everything goes smooth when you leave tonight.Let us know how you are.

I’m so glad you already understand the value of going and maintaing No Contact!It’s an absolute necessity for me,because all my husband has to do is start talking and it’s hypnotic.Plus I start feeling like I was wrong and maybe things can be worked out.He can be so charming until he has me back under his control.Then I could be just a dead fly on the windowsill.

stronger

Adelade, good article/ post. Acceptance is what brings peace finally because any revenge we may get will just NOT be enough for what they did to us… moving on without them is the only way to go…and yes, friends, colleagues do NOT help, and in fact, likely take advantage of our situation…. we have to accept that disappointment as well, be strong, put our chin up, trust people sparingly and move on…hugs and blessings..

fightforwhatsright,
I had to go back a page to find your post(and Shelley’s reply).I’m so glad that I did! I feel like I now know you even better!

Sadly,the situation you and Shelley described,is not uncommon.Usually one or two members of a family are the hard working and generous ones;others take them for granted…and cannot see what they’ve done wrong!

In my family,it was me(the oldest of the girls) and my sister who was next in line.Another reason she was taken for granted was because she has dyslexia and is emotionally challenged.Neither of us finished school,and both of us were disabled.Since we didn’t have to go to school or work each day (mom worked),the housework fell to us and we helped with dinner preparations and cleanup in the evenings.I used to get so tickled at the things my sister would say when she got upset with the family…she was smarter than they gave her credit for!I think it was because of caring for the family home and babysitting my youngest siblings who were young enough to be my children,that I yearned to be married and have my own home!My sister felt the same way.She did get married and has a daughter,but went through an awful divorce.

I guess we’ve all(you,Shelley,me and my sis)had a similar background.It’s sad too,when you feel you have to ‘perform’ in order to have your family’s approval! May we all find the road to recovery!

fightforwhatsright

Hi Blossom: I’m glad you’re doing better today.

I am the eldest sister also. I NEVER wanted to get married, but have twice. I could not have children because of a medical condition, but have only felt a tiny grain of grief over it a couple of times. I didn’t want to have children because I was already raising my sisters.

I met very high expectations for decades. I was moved to the South as a teen which was a devastating trauma. I had a job offer and opportunity to go back to my home state while I was in college (at the age of 39) and didn’t take the opportunity because when I talked about it, my family acted as if the world was coming to an end and one niece began crying and begging me not to leave. The woman who wanted to hire me was around our age and she told me, “If you stay for problems you’re family is having and to raise other people’s kids, you will regret it.” Oh, how right she was. But, I truly thought my family would be there for me IF I ever needed them as much as they ALWAYS needed me. My learned MO of being needed from such a young age, has made me an easy target for spaths and just plain old users including my family.

I knew I didn’t want to have children by the time I was 10, and all the peripheral family thought it such an odd statement to make. I also saw my mother with no power while my narcissistic father in the entertainment industry, ruled her by making her be perfect in every way, OR else he would make her jealous about his fans with whom he could have easily had affairs…and probably did. He is a gambling addict. I don’t consider him a sociopath, but I often wonder if they weren’t of the older generation, if he would have become one if we all hadn’t revolved around his demands. He was an abusive and cruel teaser, though. He would make fun of us and when we cried, my mother would say, “He’s just teasing” instead of telling him to shut the %#$^ up. After my sisters had children, I had to confront him multiple times that he was harming his grandchildren and that ugly teasing was not understandable to children. He stopped most of the time. He just didn’t seem to know any better. But, confronting him about harming his grandchildren usually did the trick. I was ALWAYS the one doing the confronting, though.

My trauma and desolation of being moved at the age of 16 completely changed the direction of my personality and life. Two husbands from a region where I don’t fit in with the mores has been very difficult. Why can’t we all just be equals and respect each other? No. In the South, the men are in charge and girls as young as 12 or 13 are taught to use sexual prowess as the only way to have power for a couple of decades and then they are nothing. I was born and socialized through wonderful schools into a Progressive young woman and then moved to the South. Statistics show a lot more abuse of women in children here and I have lived it. I will never marry again unless I can afford to move back to my real home. My cousin lives there and she wants to help me. But, I can’t do anything until I get this house paid off. That is why I continue to put up with an hot tempered, backwards ex-husband and the spath. To keep my house. If I won the lottery, I would leave them all behind, go to my cousin, and live where I belong how I belong. My cousin is also an eldest sister in similar situations with her family. She recently sent me an email about expectations from some family members and having to stand up for herself. I told her we need to create a club for eldest sisters and our right to say NO.

I want to reach a point where I have no need to be needed. I want to reach a point where I receive and give equal respect and there is only peace and quiet. I have spent two days now hearing nothing from either of the men in my life. They have been very nice. One in the hospital and one is in the dog house. Watching movies, reading, cooking, feeling free to be me….I want a real life someday.

fightforwhatsright,
I know EXACTLY what you’re saying about dominant men in the South!Although born in CA. while my dad was in the navy,when he retired to take care of his widowed mother in the South,I remained there until I married.Believe me,I got my stomach full!I don’t mind going back for visits,but I don’t want to live there!And yet,if my daughters were not here,I’d have no family.Most of my family lives in the South.

When a person has been taken for granted,their desire is to just sorta become invisible and find rest and peace and appreciate life as never before!It’s not being selfish-it’s healing.There’s definitely something to say for “feeling free to be yourself”!I remember how I used to look forward to spath leaving the house so that I could “breathe free”;enjoy listening to music and dance to it.But when we got back together after the first separation,he never left the house anymore….I paid BIG TIME for the 5 yrs of freedom I had enjoyed!

fightforwhatsright

Blossom: CA is where I was born and lived until I was 16! I always click with women from my home without knowing where they are from in the beginning. My last tenant before the spath was from CA and she was one of the best people I’ve ever had here. She understood when I spoke. She could speak correct English. I hated when she moved away and it made me desperate enough to let the spath come back and live here.

I call what happened to me “the Great Kidnapping of 1976.” It was horrific trauma. Mean, evil people. My grandparents and uncles (including two drug addicts and child molesters) were evilgelicals. I live in a horrible state, but won’t say the name at this time. They are quite proud of their state. It is the evil, dirty belly button under the Belt. Phonies and a ton of spaths everywhere.

I still get as homesick as I did all of those decades ago. I have had so much counseling about it, but I will never get over it. If I ever could afford to get back to my home state, which is doubtful, that probably wouldn’t be home anymore either. I don’t know if I will ever fit in anywhere ever again. My father was too narcissistic to take up back home even though he quickly admitted he hated it here. He had us all trapped in the house with nothing to do but admire him even more, though, and he got a great job. His selfishness, and my mother’s decision not to stand up to him, ruined the spirits and lives of his daughters.

My roots are southern also, but not from this state originally and I was not raised like these people. I would never have been in so many abusive situations at work and home if I had stayed in my home state. Is there a way for us to private message each other here?

fightsforwhatsright,
I don’t know if there is any way to private msg each other;I remember seeing where a couple of posters wanted to email each other,so Donna gave them permission and exchanged their email addresses.So you could contact Donna and check with her.

I was only in CA until I was 5 1/2 yrs old.I was born 15 miles from Mexico.The only fair complexioned,blonde baby in the nursery,lol!Dad didn’t want to raise his family on the navy base,so we lived in a nice subdivision.We had apricot trees in the backyard,and beautiful roses in the frontyard.CA was building up even then;so to have a picnic,we’d often have to drive 100 miles.I loved to see the sequoia trees,they were so majestic!I remember going to the beach once.We had friends who had a grape vineyard and sometimes they’d bring us grapes!But,as much as I’d like to visit CA,I doubt I’d want to live there…it’s not the same place it used to be.

I remember when I moved here,it was traumatic for me.Because I was being moved 750 miles away from my family,I was pregnant, with 2 toddlers and already having problems with spath.We hadn’t been here a month when the two car wrecks took place!The summer heat wasn’t all that different from the South,but because of there being nowhere for weather systems to move,the stagnant heat was making me very sick!I gave birth in the hottest month-August!
Winter time is a different story,it’s much colder with more precipitation than in in the South.I thought at the very least,I’d lose my toes the first winter here,lol!But now this has become home to me.

fightforwhatsright

Maybe when I’ve been around here longer, I will see if we both agree if we can share email addresses.

I was almost an adult when I was moved against my will,so a different situation. I was very much against it. What region of the US do you live in now?

I hate the heat and humidity and I hate the cold. I like 65-75 year round like home. At least I am at home emotionally at this website. That has been very helpful since I joined.

fightforwhatsright,
I live in the Midwest.The weather “leaves much to be desired”,lol!
I can’t take extreme temps;I’m like you,I could take those moderate temps year around….but I guess the cold does a favor by freezing bugs and killing germs!It’s just that I’m just now shedding my coat and boots,whereas where my family lives,there were daffodils blooming Jan 29th!

I love this site too!It has helped me to cope with the emotional pain and shock and guilt I’ve felt after living with a spath.

fightforwhatsright

When we share, we end our isolation. We find that we all have the same types of things happening/or that have happened to us and it really does help.

konnyed

Hello, 🙂

I am so glad I found this site..actually I found it as soon as my attention started to really turn on the word psychopath, not just the word, but what it really means–and , that it really meant something TO ME.

My relationship w the last Psychopath has ended over a year ago… I did good, instinctively cut all communication–for me it wasn’t hard, because I was so terrified, I had no desire to stay connected in any way…I was terrorized, and threatened, and bled out.

But I have a lot of questions now, because just quitting the contact and the relationship didn’t stop the fears–and anxiety attacks, and self punishments which are entirely new to me in this volume.

Because of what happened, I have anxiety that bad things are going to happen, and then I make them happen. As if I would do his job now, and destroy everything I love , –he had told me this is what he would do if I left.

So the questions…several other men had told me the same thru my life history: “I’ll destroy everything you love/have”. And then I get so scared of them , I actually carry this curse out myself. Any idea, or comment or similar experience with this, anyone?

I moved back to HUngary, where my parents lived, after 24 yrs in California, and a vicious self destructive spell started almost right away, and basically I destroyed most things around me, my comfort, self esteem, money, friends, fun, places to stay, and now the car too. I can have freak accidents of all sorts in unlikely series…and meet the worst and sickest people, who harm me in some way. This is not normal.

Could it be some kind of PTSD?
I am actually starting to think that my father, who is an undiagnosed Bi-polar (in my expert opinion-having several ex boyfriends from this kind, who were also psychopaths), might be a psyhopath himself–I am not sure of it…
HOw can you tell this about a father?

Anyway, I want to tell you the latest story, because it is getting a bit too creepy…I was driving my car towards the freeway–it is a regular drive for me, and was thinking how I am not having too many clients this month, and might want to take some time writing my book. To do this I’d have to contact my father, and ask for some money (it is mine, he is only keeping it for me). Then I got into the feeling how he would react…you are doing so poorly, you should be more responsible, you will end up on the street, and dragging me down like he usually does. And the next thing I notice is my air bags are all out, and the car is smoking and HAD STOPPED, and people are running around me, talking to me thru the closed window…I rear ended someone without even noticing it!! And totaled my car, lost it…I and my dog were unharmed.
Thinking back I realize that I wasn’t present at all, when this had happened!

I am wondering, what could be the personal history requirement for having psychopath relationships?

I am in a 12 step program, ACA (adult CHildren of Alcoholic and Dysfunctional Families) , and I spend a lot of time paying attention to my workings, reactions, buttons…BUt I have a feeling that in my case there might be more than regular ACA stuff–because my shares are a bit different, sometimes I feel even in aca, people will think I am crazy.

When I read on this site:
“I cannot control anything other than my own choices, decisions, and actions. Accepting this simple fact has relieved me of many, many burdens.”
I felt desperate–I cannot even control my choices–they are controlled by fear–my actions and behavior too.

Thanks for reading this, and if you have anything to tell me, ask me, or suggest, share–I would really like that!
Thanks,
-Konnyed

lifting the veil

konnyed,
so sorry to hear all you have been going through….you are very clued in and in tune with yourself and your emotions……..that is certainly a plus……
i relate very much to the fears and anxiety attacks and self punishing…these take time to pass and with coming to terms with things that have happened in your life and healing they will lessen..
my ex told me she would destroy me and i would never recover…and i believed it for a very long time……and every thought and everything in my life became what i thought………..i attracted bad to my life because thats all i thought about…….so i tried to change the way i think about things….i try to be more positive and think good thoughts,it not easy …i try to be greatful for all the good things in my life instead of thinking about all the bad things…..and i found gradually i have started to feel alittle better about life and so like attracts like…..and im attracting more positive things to mylife……its just a thought i wanted to share with you.

it sounds like you have been through so much in life….dont hurt yourself anymore by thinking bad thoughts about yourself…..you didnt deserve the things that were said to you in the past….

also sorry to hear about your car accident im glad to see you werent injured and you were ok but that was scary.it is possible to dissaciociate and step out of yourself at times in your life when you are overwhelmed and sounds like you werent even aware of what happened.

just wondering are you in councelling? not that its important..but it may help you work through all the trauma that you have been going through….i know i have found it very helpful to talk to someone and it helps me look at my life and see reasons why things happened and it helps in the healing process.

anyways konnyed i send you light and healing and hope you find the answers your looking for.

fightforwhatsright

The car accident, living with, or being controlled by, a sociopath, and many other things can cause PTSD. I have PTSD and when I am in high acceleration mode, I also start thinking that “something bad is going to happen.” I highly recommend reading Dr. Peter Levine about trauma reactions. Right now, I am reading and listening to CDs about Mindfulness (staying with the breath in the present moment)and it has been very helpful. The books and CDs are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. There are ways to get it out as time goes by. But, there is no cure for PTSD, just a continuing practice of recognizing when it is taking over and nothing bad is happening right now. You can do it with regular practice and reading about what is happening to you. So glad you found the site. I have found it very safe and helpful as I am also Agoraphobic and isolated.

Viewpoint

Dear Adelade,
You are one fine woman! I imagine that you ached while writing your brutally but exquisitely true essay. It can be almost as hard to say what is so as it is to live what is so. I think of this essay as an offering of great sacrifice for a greater good because as you said, acceptance isn’t liking a truth…So there you were spending time in the company of the unlikable just for the rest of us.
Thank you. I say that sincerely and deeply for your sacrifice within this gift. You would be my kind of company for sure because from that big truth, you have to know about all the other important truths that go into a meaningful life. I wouldn’t want to wax Pollyanna here but rather say that the substance of you is awesome to almost overshadow that struggle to live this truth 24/7 with the challenges upon you. But still, you would know what really counts and would savor it for your transcendence within the truth.
Ah! To keep company with someone like you!

Stargazer

Wow, great article. I really enjoy reading stories about people who have overcome tremendous adversity and how they were able to do it. Recognizing that it was your inner child who wanted justice and sympathy and being able to placate that need is rather profound. I was caught in anger and the need for justice with my neglectful abusive mother for many many years. When I finally let go of the need to exact justice, my life improved dramatically.

I agree with you so much about not being able to control anything but ourselves. And there is so much power in making our own choices and just KNOWING that we can choose peace. I didn’t even know I had the option of just letting go of anger. I thought it would never end until I got justice. I see now that it’s just not true. Not only is it untrue, but that attitude held me hostage for many years.

Dave

Excellent article,

Very sorry to hear another human being going through this, its so hard to get beyond the rage and depression. I commend you for facing it and getting beyond it.

I am still in the angry/resentment/sad/confused phase, I think about it constantly and my ex as we just split 3 weeks ago, 10 years of hell is a long time to just wipe away, and here I sit broke with no job, an old car that is ready to break down and not the money to fix it, while my kids are stuck with this crazy woman. I know in time I can move on,,i only wish that time had past by now.

Hope you stay the path and things continue to get better for you and your child, and that someday you meet a sane person that has great loyalty.

Stargazer

I also don’t believe it is just the luck of the draw that we meet sociopaths and stay entangled with them for years. There is something in us that makes us vulnerable, something that makes us stay at the first signs of disrespect. Our relationships – no matter how good or bad – are our own story, not the story of the bad guy (or girl), what he did, what he said, etc. They are the story of where we were at at the time, how we got involved, why we stayed, and what lessons we learned. If you can honestly examine those areas of your life, you can be much stronger for your next relationship. When you rely on the luck of the draw, you just get whoever comes along. But when you are armed with self-knowledge, you can make smarter choices. A wise friend said to me recently, “If you really know yourself, it’s easy to know who other people are.” Also, if you pay attention to Adelade’s story, she discovered her unmet needs for justice and sympathy. By holding onto those needs, she would have been miserable for the rest of her life. I see people doing this, waiting endlessly for the perpetrator to say they’re sorry and make amends, or for them to go to jail. These things rarely happen, so you can’t count on them. If we base our happiness on things that are out of our control, we are at the mercy of externals for our happiness.

It takes just as much energy to be miserable as it does to be happy. It’s just a matter of where you direct your energy.

Vision

I was always a big fan of Indiana Jones Movies….

In The Last Crusade film, a 13-year-old Indiana Jones (or Indy) is horseback riding with his Boy Scout troop in Utah when he finds a band of thugs who have found a cross belonging to Coronado. He takes it from them, hoping to give it to a museum.

After the men chase him, Indy is forced by the sheriff to forfeit the cross. Indy looks in surprise at the Cross of Coronado is handed over to the leader of the thugs. However, a member of the gang admires Indy’s gumption…..He grins at young Indy and says, “You lost today, kid. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.”..and puts his Fedora on Indy’s head…

I always remembered that line…and when things went wrong, I thought of those words and repeated that line to myself many times. It kinda made me feel tough….I even tilted my chin a bit up and outward and put my shoulders back…inhaled a deep breath and thought, “If Indy could take it so could I.”

Yeah, it sure doesn’t mean we have to like it….but that acceptance of the truth as ugly or as despondent or as despicable as it is, that acceptance is half the battle….

I wanted great revenge in the beginning….I dreamed of choking him with my bare hands….there, I said it….If we lived in Medieval times, I would have taken my entourage upon horseback and burned his fields, destroyed his home and more….

But I realized I had lost indeed…as stated above so eloquently in a grand article,…..but I didn’t have to like it….so I spat, and raved and raged and vowed revenge one day….and then after more time…. used that feeling of “not liking it” to better use.

Mental work, therapy, body work and so on…The best revenge is to live with your heart as wonderful as it ever was and your spirit more generous and your boundaries in place, and your will to be ever strong no matter….

Nah, I didn’t like it….. but I like me especially now….

PS(the sp doesn’t get it so he could never feel any “revenge” put upon him….there would always be someone to blame,etc…he/she would never feel sad or feel lonely or that he got it in the gut…you would waste your time…mine always laughed…when I told him off..laughed a big laugh….)

seekeroflight

This is good. Really really good.

NotWhatHeSaidofMe

I agree seekeroflight, this could have been written by me. Oh I’m not that good of a writer, but my feelings and my process are in this story.

I, too, was enraged at the betrayals done to me. I wanted JUSTICE. But I learned there’s no such thing as JUSTICE and if a person continues to fight that battle, to get JUSTICE, they will find years of their life Gone and still no JUSTICE. Better to redefine what I name as JUSTICE and to LIVE my life with gusto and JOY. And I learned to leave JUSTICE to GOD.

I also learned, the path to healing is through TRUTH. Sometimes the truth HURTS, REAALLY HURTS. But in the end, TRUTH serves me, TRUTH does not fail me. and the sooner I accept TRUTH, the sooner I am protected, or at least on the way to healing.

My ex got away with his “WIN”. Good for him. Let’s see how that piece of work serves him. My ex lives a small little life because he knows that he can’t leave his town, there are too many that are willing to cut his manipulations into retribution. There’s always a bigger sociopath. So he lives his little life, hiding from the townspeople so they don’t find out what he truly is, because if they did, he’d be discredited for what he said/did to me. And he’d rather live small than lose his “WIN”.

Meanwhile, I live FREE. I can make my life whatever I want. I don’t have to worry about being found out because I don’t live a world of lies. I found a new community, one where his smears don’t matter. I am a person who finds joy in life, who celebrates the happy moments in people’s lives as part of the way I earn my living. SO… JOY for me in bringing JOY to others. He took it all from me until I let go, and then I found a whole other life of JOY, something he can only take from his victims, he can never authentically live it.

So who’s the real WINNER???!!!
Yes, LF friends, we all want Justice, but sometimes there is something better. TRUTH. I can live with TRUTH, I live very well with TRUTH.

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