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After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 10 – Forgiving

This article talks about work we do when we are ready to work on clearing the influence of betrayals from our minds and emotional systems. It is about recovering our feelings of safety in the world and moving forward to create better and happier lives. Those of us who are still battling our betrayers, still clarifying our feelings of outrage or still developing our self-defensive skills may feel outraged by the very idea of forgiving. And so they should. Forgiving is something we do “at our leisure,” later when we have the time to think about restoring our emotional systems to a pre-warzone state. Ultimately we want to be positive, creative, optimistic people — without ever forgetting the lessons we learned in our histories. This article is about what we do, when we’re ready to put it all behind us. — Kathy

“Forgiveness is a dangerous passage.” This is a quote from an unknown source on the white board on my office. It’s been there for years and every time I think about cleaning it off, I think “oh not yet.” The temptation to forgive for the wrong reasons is something I don’t want to forget.

In this tenth article of this series on recovering from traumatic relationships, we will discuss the process of forgiving. It is a bridge between the grieving/letting go and the rebuilding phases.

Why bother?

A lot of people have a lot of opinions on forgiveness. Most religious or spiritual disciplines will tell us that forgiving is essential to our spiritual health. On a more mundane level, we may we aware that our friends and supporters are losing patience with our extended healing process, or may be pressuring us to get over it. On a more personal level, we may want to reenter the world without all this emotional baggage that makes us so hyper-conscious of potential threats that we have a hard time seeing or taking advantage of opportunities for good experiences.

In my mind, the only reason to ever consider forgiving is that we want to free out minds of the residue of anger that hangs on after we grieve and let go. There are other benefits we get out of forgiveness, but the first motivation has to be to improve the “quality of life” in our own minds. It’s a matter of our relationship with ourselves.

In addition, I believe there are a few prerequisites to really forgiving anything. The most important of them is that our suffering is fading. (That doesn’t mean that we’re not still dealing with repercussions of some sort, but that the level of pain has diminished to the point where it’s less important than our desire to get over it.)

The other one is that we have the stability and presence of mind to know that we can forgive without getting back into the situation that caused us all this pain in the first place. If we’re still attracted to that situation or others like it, we’re leapfrogging ahead to forgiving before we’ve done the preliminary work of getting angry at our betrayers, developing defensive skills, and facing the fact that there are things we just cannot fix or change.

What is NOT a good reason for forgiving is some sort of social expediency, because we have to deal with our betrayers or with other people who are not sympathetic or pressuring us to get over it. There are other ways to handle that situation.

Here are some of the things we may be thinking as we approach forgiving:

• These angry or frightened feelings don’t have any place in my life anymore. I want to move on.
• I’m ready to find more interests than this bitterness
• I want to clean up my emotional system so I become more positive and optimistic
• I’m starting to remember how I felt before all this happened, and I want to recover some of that joy of life.
• This just isn’t worth the energy I’ve been giving it

But to forgive, we have to overcome one major obstacle. Fear. Forgiving is actually part of overcoming fear. But we have to face it head on too.

Fear and forgiveness

The progress of healing involves us becoming more and more real about what happened and how we feel about it. In anger, we get closer to recognizing our fear, but our reaction is to throw things at it — blame, threats, vengeance, work on fixing things so it never happens again. In grieving and letting go, we accept the specific losses that we have endured. While that is good work, it also clarifies our vulnerability to random events or to specific threats in the world. We may work on accepting that vulnerability, along with our other losses, but it doesn’t change the fact that it exists.

And so now, our increasing awareness of the costs of our vulnerability raises a new issue. How do we live with the fear?

This question makes sense of all we’ve been through to process the trauma. We may have dabbled with fear in our processing. Asking ourselves “what if” this or that. What if no one ever loves me again? What if I am really too stupid to live? But we never sat down to really look it hard in the eye.

Because fear is an extremely uncomfortable emotion. In fact, if we look at all the so-called negative emotions, including shame and guilt, and do enough digging down, we find fear at the bottom of them. Other than love, it is the most fundamental emotion. And it is the antithesis of love or connectedness. We literally can’t feel love and fear at the same time. One will overtake the other.

Fear is designed to stop everything else until it is resolved. It generates the noises of anxiety and need for immediate relief, while blocking or compromising our ability to see into the future, our ability to fully recognize and enjoy what is around us, and our ability to take the normal risks involved in forward movement in our lives. It eats up our energy in a million ways and drives us toward behaviors that are about nothing but self-protection and relief from the mental noise.

This is why facing and acknowledging the fact that we are afraid can be such a powerfully transformative thing, all by itself. It is a form of clearing away all the intermediate structures of trauma-processing and getting down to the center of it in a totally authentic way. So we are no longer lying to ourselves or pretending. So that we are no longer trying to talk ourselves into irrational ideas about being stronger or safer than we are. So that we are finally clear about the fact that the universe whacked us and we don’t know when it will whack us again. It is out of our control.

This is tough stuff, the toughest of the entire grief process, and until we are ready for it, we can’t do it. Our minds won’t let us. We will slip and slide away into denial or bargaining or anger or another round of grieving and letting go, all the things that we know made us feel better than the stage before. And that is fine. Our minds have their own wisdom, and we face this issue when we have the structural underpinning in place to do this. It’s why the healing process is progressive.

But one way or another, when we come to think about forgiving, we’re going to run into this issue. How can I safely forgive if I really don’t know when I’m going to be facing the same thing again, or something worse? Or vice versa, how can I experience my fear if I’m relaxing my angry alert and protection systems by forgiving?

This trauma was nothing compared to the first one

The experience of trauma is built into our emotional histories. In a way, every trauma we experience is a replay of the primal trauma that every child experiences, the transition from life inside the womb to life out of it. It is the fundamental “expulsion from the Garden of Eden” which transfers us from a situation where we are fed, warmed, held, connected to our source to a new situation in which we are separate and dependent for our survival on things that are out of our control.

The developmental activities of the first four years are actually about the child navigating that separation to acquire certain basic intellectual perspectives and emotional skills necessary to healthy personality formation. It is our first experience of trauma processing. It occurs both on a macro level of gradual emotional acceptance of separation from the “source” and on a detail level of dealing with separate events that trigger fear, disappointment and uncertainty. If all goes well, we maintain steady bonds with our caretakers that allow us to ease into independence, self-soothing skills and the beginnings of empathy.

So we “know” what trauma means from a very early age. One way of describing trauma is that it is an unexpected breach of the rules we took for granted. Or the rules we depended on for our survival and sense of security in the world.

A whole series of emotional reactions to this breach are reasonable and normal. All the emotional stages we discuss in trauma processing, as well as others that we have not discussed in depth, such as feelings of betrayal, rejection or shame. If we go back to the nature of the first trauma, it makes sense that we would feel offended. One day our life is one thing; the next thing it’s another. What are we supposed to think? At minimum, it would be reasonable to think we are being unreasonably screwed with.

This brings us back to the primal argument. Because who, ultimately, is screwing with us? To cut a long discussion short, our big argument is not with any one persecutor in this world, not our parents, not our selfish lovers, not with the truck that hit us. It’s with God or the universe, or however we look at the overall intelligence that organizes this place. Because clearly that big intelligence has forgotten that we were previously important enough to have the suite at the center of the universe, and for reasons not made clear, we have been demoted to just one small, helpless life form in this place full things and life forms that clearly do not recognize our centrality.

Welcome to the first time we felt the fear of being vulnerable and alone. And to the basic human challenge of living with those feelings at the same time we experience love, trust, some kind of internal dignity, and the ability to risk moving forward with our lives.

There is no human being who has not been through this. And there is not one of us who doesn’t live with this challenge on a daily basis in some part of our consciousness.

It’s important to know this, because as we move forward with dealing with our own fear, we also know that some people have found ways of managing it more effectively than others.

The cost of doing business.

We have these bodies. They have their own intelligence and they want to survive. Our spirituality has its intelligence. Our intellect has its intelligence. Our emotional system has its intelligence. (See Daniel Goleman’s books on various forms of intelligence for wonderful discussions of this topic.) They are all integrated and mutually supportive, but the body is the instrument and the house where it all plays out, and one of the body’s primary vocabulary words is fear.

We cannot get away from this, but we can decide what we’re going to do about it. And that is where forgiving comes in.

There are a lot of dictionary definitions of forgiving, but for our purposes in this article, we are going to experiment with a new one. That is, making a decision about how much energy we want give to a certain source of fear in our lives.

This is not about minimizing the damage or our struggle to get over it. It is not about condoning other people’s bad behavior or the real dangers we face in the world.

Rather it is about recognizing something about ourselves. We have done all reasonable work to identify the problem, to protect ourselves in the future, to let go of what we have discovered is now gone, and to face our fear. We know what we are afraid of. Now, we consider a decision about reclassifying the issue as something we may or may not run into, something that is (to some degree) out of our control. We begin to consider whether or not we are served by continuing to let fear of this thing drain resources that could be spent on positive forward movement.

Forgiving is not the same as denial, because we make this decision with full awareness of our losses and our future risks. It involves no forgetting. We respect all the information we have gathered, in case we need it again. We respect all the feelings we have gone through, because they are part of the truth of this experience. We just decide to start withdrawing our energy, turning off that faucet, and shifting our attention to other things.

What forgiving is and isn’t

Forgiving is a decision we make and then gradually follow through, adapting that decision to our own comfort level. It is a decision we make from a position of power over the one thing we truly have power over, our own choices. Especially that supreme choice of where we place our attention.

Forgiving is something we do, knowing that we cannot totally control fear, because our bodies have their own agendas and they will generate fear if they feel it is necessary. So it also involves a deal with our bodies that we will listen to their fear, that we will not become airy-fairy pseudo-Buddhists who try to stuff their fear because they think it’s unfashionable. But we make a deal with our bodies that it’s better for the entire organism if we manage our fear, reducing our investments in fear about things we already know about, and saving our big extravaganzas of fear and anxiety for the surprises.

Forgiving is about trust at two levels. First, trust that certain bad things will happen. We can look at this statistically, if we’re inclined. A certain fraction of people we meet will be destructive emotional cripples. A certain fraction of things we buy will turn out to be unusable junk. A certain number of conversations with our relatives will include uninvited comments about our choices, our characters or our weight. Trusting that these things will happen eliminates the surprise factor and enables us to plan around these statistical likelihoods.

Second, forgiving is also a kind of trophy we get for doing the work and coming out the other side of the trauma processing. In that sense, it is about renewed trust in ourselves and in the universe. What was once a huge deal is now fully digested and just a learning experience attached to some unpleasant memories. We are whole again and on generally good terms with the big intelligence that runs everything.

In all of this, you’ve probably noticed how little I’ve talked about the perpetrator. And I’m sure you understand why. Because this is really something between the various forms of intelligence in ourselves, and it is something between us and the big intelligence that runs everything.

But still we need to get down some practicalities too. So here is what forgiveness is NOT:

• It is not condoning or acceptance of anything we find hurtful, unethical, uncaring or anything else that is bad for us. (We may find ourselves releasing negative feelings about something, when we come to understand why it happened, but we don’t have to. This is not ultimately about them. It is whether we’re ready to move on.)

•It is not about compartmentalizing or denial. We are not “stuffing” it or pretending it never happened. We’re not trying to convince ourselves that we haven’t just been through a battle or deluding ourselves that we’re more powerful than we are. We are just gradually shifting our attention away from it, as we feel comfortable doing so. We are gradually reclaiming our interest in other things.

• It is not a reason for re-involving ourselves with people or situations that hurt us. We don’t forgive so we can jump into that pool again. The only reason we would do that is if we have evolved past the point of being hurt by what hurt us before (something that doesn’t often happen) or if the person or the situation has gone through some kind of cosmic surgery and is now something else. Remember, forgiving comes AFTER we have learned self-protection in the angry phase and let go of whatever got us into this situation. If we forgive because we want to do the same thing all over again ”¦ well, you don’t need me to tell you what you’re volunteering for.

• Likewise, it is not a social cure. If we’re forgiving because we’re embarrassed about being such a bore, or because our bad feelings are alienating our families, or because we want to get along better with people who just don’t get it, we victimizing ourselves all over again. We’re giving away our authority over our own feelings, and trying to force ourselves to feel something we don’t, in order to be accepted. If it’s really important that we not communicate the full force of the outrage or grief we’re dealing with – like in a work situation or in court — we can do that. We can selectively choose where, when and how much we share, while we continue to work through our trauma privately. The ability to do this — letting some people in and keeping others out — is good practice in developing the skills of conditional trust.

• There is no reason that we have to forgive people to their faces or even let them know about it. In fact, if we’re really ready to stop wasting energy, we probably won’t. We don’t just stop bothering with them in our heads; we stop bothering with them in real life. We avoid engagement. If we have to spend energy on some kind of mop-up or dealing with continuing drama from their side, we handle it with an eye toward ending all of it, because we want to be done with it.

Finally, forgiving is not an all-or-nothing thing. Nor is it a carved-in-stone solution. We don’t say, “Oh, I’ve decided it’s not worth caring anymore about what he (or she) did to me, and now I have to not care about the new thing he (or she) is doing to me.” It doesn’t work that way. Forgiving is a way of allocating our own resources. If new circumstances require us to grab a sword and slay a few dragons before dinner, then we do it. After we come home and shower, we can decide whether we’re ready to forgive the loss of our afternoon, or if we need to spend more time processing that little irritation.

And if we absolutely feel like we must announce our decision to forgive to the sociopath, here’s a suggested forgiveness note:

I’ve decided not to give you any more attention. I’m not going to track you down, hire a hit man or sue you for theft or mental suffering. I’ve dealt with my losses by myself. But don’t confuse this with weakness. The next time you show up, it won’t be such a pleasant or profitable experience for you. I also advise you to you grow up, for your own sake. Not everyone is as forgiving as me. As Henry the XV said to a murderous friend, “I pardon you, but I also pardon whoever kills you.”

In the next article, we begin on the wonderful topic of becoming who we want to be.

Namaste. The wise emotional accountant in me salutes the wise emotional accountant in you.

Kathy


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248 Comments on "After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 10 – Forgiving"

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Dear Kathy,

Thank you for this article. It’s where I am, but couldn’t yet put into words. I’m tied of using my energy in thoughts of the narcissist/psychopath, and I’m ready to use it to improve my life. I’d began to realize that I was keeping this connection to her in my head, and she wasn’t going away: there was Before My Degree and New Career Got Derailed by a N/P, and there was AFTER, and it’s something I had decided to make peace with, because that After is really up to me.

I wasn’t ready before because I was too angry. I needed to be angry, really rip snorting pissed off angry – it helped me find my voice, put a name to what happened, and also to what happened before in my family of origin. It was very helpful for a time but then it no longer was. I’ll use it again if I need it, but right now, I’d rather keep making peace with myself and see what I can find in life that will allow me to get on with finding my way.

Going through all this, and facing my fears, has made life pretty simple: Limited time and limited energy, so choose wisely. And at long last, that choice is about what works best for me.

What helped me tremendously was a class I took based on the book”Total Forgiveness” by R.T. Kendall. I got a lot of self power by realizing what total forgiveness is NOT: approval of what they did, excusing what they did, justifying what they did, pardoning what they did, forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. denying what they did, pretending we are not hurt. When I started to understand these principals, I was able to understand forgiveness involves choosing to keep no record of wrongs, refuse to punish, stop telling what they did to anyone who will listen, being merciful, being gracious, not being bitter,forgiving God & ourselves. Whether you believe in God or Karma or whatever, this class took a huge burden from my heart. It helped me to understand the feelings of anger & bitterness were perfectly natural, & I had a choice to let them consume me, or to learn how to come to terms with these feelings, & learn to live again. Along with all I learn here at LF, & all the kind loving people here, I was able to come to terms with how I feel, & get another couple steps down that healin’ road.

Kathy:

Many years ago, when I worked as a writer for one of the morning talk shows I was assigned an episode on forgiveness. There was an interesting organization in Wisconsin called “The International Forgiveness Institute.” Two of their key points were: (a) just because you forgive, does not mean you condone the wrong that was done to you; and (b) you cannot force forgiveness. It will come, if ever, only when you are ready.

In my own case I have found that I have gotten to the point I can forgive my parents. I now see that they were very damaged people themselves. I just don’t want to put any more energy in the time they have left on earth being angry at them. That doesn’t make their abuse any less acceptable. That doesn’t mean that I am not any less self-protective around them. What that means is that I have chosen to spend the time they have left on earth with them in a non-anger based emotional context.

The S, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. I am still justifiably angry at him, although I am finding that the anger is lessening because it is too exhausting to live like that. That said, I still have scores to settle with him. As I told one of his creditors who I sent after him “this is just about restoring some balance to the universe.” Perhaps someday I will get to the point that I can forgive him. But, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

BTW: I had emailed you my contact info through your weblink. I remember before all hell broke loose with my mother that you mentioned you were coming into the city. Have an ETA? Would love to get together for coffee — or a nice single malt scotch.

Wow, Matt I applaud you for what you are doing with your parents. I believe that you will be grateful when they are gone that you were able to “forgive” them. Forgive doesn’t mean forget…..Forgiving is just one of those things that if presented to us before we are ready, it just seems impossible to do. Because it DOES feel like to forgive someone is condoning or accepting what they have done. But it really is not that at all.

I went through this about a year before my father died. I found that in the end, had little to do with him at ALL….It was so much more about me, and after he was gone I felt so relieved that I was able to forgive him. I can’t even imagine how I might feel now, that he is gone, if I was unable to do this. My emotions when my father passed were so much easier to deal with after I had gone through the forgiveness process.

Today I am reflecting on the wedding of my oldest son on Saturday. It was a much more EMOTIONAL experience than I ever imagined it would be…..I am still very emotional and I am unsure what is triggering all of this emotion inside of me? It is so complex? Some of this emotion seems “natural” to me, my first born, ending up with his “first” love that he dated in high school. After being apart for many years and “finding” each other again and falling in love…..She is a wonderful person and I couldn’t be happier for him. The church wedding was beautiful, however I shed tears (to my dismay) during much of the wedding. Some of the tears, expected (happy tears) and some of the tears/feelings very unexpected?

My new DIL Gave me a personalized hanky that was inscribed with my name and inscribed “THANK YOU FOR RAISING YOUR SON TO BE THE MAN OF MY DREAMS”……….Well that hanky and its sentiments, I think would make any mother cry. My sweet daughter in law gave me the ultimate compliment.

However for me that “compliment” also played into my emotions of my younger son that I am raising. And for reasons I can’t really explain the complexity of my emotions on the day that really should have been ALL about my “oldest son” were all mixed up inside of me. I had so many moments on his wedding day where I could not have been more proud of him. He really is a fine young man.

My younger son who was his brothers best man had a flawless day. He was on his best behavior the entire day. His best man speech to his brother was delivered in front of 200 people with the confidence of a much older person who might have done alot of public speaking in the past. He NAILED it perfectly. It was unbelievable. He had everyone laughing in the begining and then later crying during the sentimental part.

He had asked me to print it on an index card the night before and he glanced at it & memorized it and didn’t even use the card. ALL of the rest of wedding party that had words to say to the bride and groom used their index cards! And they are also a full 10 years or more OLDER than my 16 year old son. Everyone of them was somewhat nervous, (hands shaking, clearing of the throats, eyes down etc) during their deliverance and my 16 year old was up their smiling, pausing at the right moments and giving EYE contact to the listeners. Wow I had never seen my youngest son so comfortable with an almost all adult audience. (most of whom he didn’t know,)

I was very proud of him and almost was able to question myself……What the hell am I worried about? His flawless behavior on his brothers wedding day is EXACTLY why their is no ONE in my life (as far as my friends or family) that “get it”.
I can so easily question myself when I am in the ” good moment” how his personality can be transformed from Dr Jekle to Mr Hide. And how is this even possible? And it is probably a good thing that there are a few people that recently have SEEN the other troubling side that I often see. Such as the “at risk” counscelor at school, because without someone else at least “getting it” even in much smaller doses, I swear I would have to question my sanity….Even MORE often than I do.

To any unsuspecting onlooker I had alot to be thankful for. Two fine boys. How I wish I could feel that in my heart….That he would turn out to be ok, just like his brother did….

Kathy, Lovefraud and the people who write and post here are applied daily to my heart, and the treatment is working! Chronos ate his kids at our house, too — and I finally got it that I could detest the choices my parents made while understanding that they’d grown up in just such a family, too. That’s were compassion, which is the opposite of shutting down or going grindingly bitter, came in. That stuff, as you’ve said, heals you as you choose to direct your energy to healing, and away from the constant and doomed battle for perfection.

The “me underneath” is still playing gopher : she pops her head up and shows her stuff, usually during meditation, or at moments like this, reading at Lovefraud. Then she disappears for a time. But I’m inviting her out now every day, realizing she’s always been there quietly waiting, and I honor her presence by asking anxiety to take a hike!

This is the one place in my life right now where I can talk about this stuff, which I find to be the treasure of life. NOT all that horrible stuff that happened or is happening to us, but the gifts we can share with each other and the powerful healing we can bring to our own hearts and share with the world. I’m with your sister : Thank you so much for the amazing work you’re doing here!

Witsend: People much wiser will post to you, but please accept my very best wishes, and respect for the courage you’re demonstrating in loving your scary son enough to ask the really tough questions. Allowing yourself to see painful truths about your child — it doesn’t get harder than that.

The rest of you guys : it’s each of us coming together that makes this work. I never got the real power of community ’till I came here. You guys are in my prayers, daily, and on my Things For Which I’m Thankful list at the end of each day.

“NOT all that horrible stuff that happened or is happening to us…” My intention was NOT to discount in any way anyone’s life experiences or stories!

What I’d meant to convey is that for me, the real treasure in my life has been discovering healing and learning to allow it to happen.

Kathy,
Better words could not be so eloquently spoken. I am there. My spirit knew when it was time to let go, and I did. I no longer wanted or needed to spend my precious time on HIM or the why’s, etc., ad nauseum. I was simply finished. Just this morning while playing Spider Solitaire I found myself facing a wave of deep grief over the lost 42 years. I let it wash over me, shed the tears, felt the feelings and moved on with my day, having felt much better for allowing myself to process. I once read something on the wall of my 12th step meeting hall – TRUST THE PROCESS – & – GIVE GOD TIME.
These have been helpful to me. I am on the other side, and have chosen not to continue dwelling on the past, and what HE did. I don’t need to. When I was still in bondage to the “Trauma-Bonding”, I couldn’t move past the addiction of feeding off of the mention of his name or finding reasons to obsess about him with others or just in my thoughts. That is why I have used LoveFraud to help me heal and then move on. I spent the time I needed to vent, and have not found it necessary to keep rehashing. For years I did that, and found it was a way to continue the addiction and not have to let go and do my griefwork. Without this safe place with caring people, I don’t know how I would have made it. I want to always be there for others who have traveled this path, but I believe moving on with my life is the kindest gift I can give myself.

I’m really mad at myself-after writing that I had 7 weeks NC with my S I got alot of good feedback…and the very next day I found out that I was going to lose my job due to something beyond my control, and i stupidly called him. We talked a long time..but I didn’t really feel any better-just started the thoughts and obsessing all over again. Of course he says he’s doing great and into recovery blah blah blah. The good news is he says he’s moving to utah with his wife-I hope it’s true-can’t believe anything.
Anyway-I initiated the NC and it was a very difficult undertaking-he called a couple times when I was away even though I had his # blocked…now I–at a weak moment -blew it! My computer was on the blink -I tried to get on this site first for help. The person I talked to doesn’t really understand as I thought she did, and did not try to stop me–said “Go ahead, I won’t think badly of you..” that’s not the point-I think badly of me. Today is DAY TWO. Yuk-I hate these thoughts about him-I know he’s an S-I know he’s dangerous, yet the obsession is there. Yes, I have “The Betrayal Bond” and read it regularly. HELP!

Britneyhammer:
Don’t get too hard on yourself…..these are learning times….you did it, you are learning from it. No harm, no foul….everything gained!
We have to get through the pain, to learn the lessons……remember….no pain, no gain…..that seems to be the way it is when recovering from a S.
We all have weak moments, we all have made ‘the call’….we all experience the lack of enthusiasm from the S’s reactions and hear how ‘great’ they are doing. Just remember…..he hasnt’ changed, he will not change and he will always have the same acted out relationships with anyone he preys on. The good part….IT”S NOT YOU ANYMORE!!!!!
I think it’s our mind fantasy playing with us again…..your learning, your growing…..grasp that!
Stay strong…….like the drug saying goes…apply it to your S…..JUST SAY NO…..(to your fantasy thoughts).

don’t be so hard on yourself. While they were toying with us, we had real feelings and real attachments. So, what if you slipped once? you can always go back to NC. Nothing lost. If you wish to tell the Subhuman that you apologize for interrupting his exciting life, so be it, but I think he won’t need your explanations. He probably thinks you are the crazy one anyway, so one more or less won’t make a bit of A difference. Quitting anything is hard. This one is the hardest drug to get over. I feel your pain 🙁
(wish I didn’t)

Housie:
“I believe moving on with my life is the kindest gift I can give myself.”

Wrap it up and put a big frilly bow on it…..you have done well!
Continue on your journey!
Well wishes~

Hello Britneyhammer: So, you were human. OK. Now you’ve reminded yourself why you don’t want to do that, and you know a little bit more about yourself — that you really DON’T want to call him.

I’ll bet you just forgot how really disordered he is, under that appearance of normalcy. Oh, well.

And now you know NOT to call that particular friend, the one who DOESN’T GET IT! If your ex was a normal person, then her advice might be OK, but in this situation we get far enough away from the S/Ps and then we start to second-guess ourselves, and tell ourselves that “it wasn’t so bad,” and “he couldn’t really be THAT . . .,” and then we are lulled into a false security and we think we can safely get back in contact.

Nope. No such thing as a safe relationship with an S/P. Their motivations have too much to do with enjoying the manipulation of others and causing harm to others.

So, that was just a tiny blip. It’s not like you jumped off ship in the middle of the ocean. And now you know a little bit more — like how deep the addiction is, and that you have work to do to replace him in your thoughts.

bless all of you! i work night shift and I’m printing all of your comments out so I can take it with me when I start to beat myself up. I’m going to lie down for an hour before I get ready for work and I will take your advice in as I rest as well.
Damn him! 12 years is too long for him tp be in my life. i want to move on..sometimes I wonder, is there life after the S??????????????????????
Thanks again.

I don’t know how to forgive what the S/N did to me. I was with hm for 3 years. He is younger than me and he arrived on the scene when I was vulnerable (newly divorced after a 17 yr marriage to a cheater/adulterer). He complimented me constantly, brought me roses, sent me cards, and told me he wanted to thank my ex-husband because if not for him, he wouldn’t have met me. I was sorely lacking in self esteem and confidence and he built it back for me in rapid time. He also told me he loved me after our 3rd time together. I didn’t see that as bad but rather that someone (other than my ex-husband) wanted me and only me. He asked me to marry him several times beginning around 2 months after we began dating. I never said yes but I did want to be married to him since he made me feel like no one else did. We started to talk about getting married about a year after we met but he said he wanted to be able to bring to the table what I was bringing to the table and that would take some time. I owned a home, had stable credit and a good job as a registered nurse.
He has no boundaries and likes to live life on the edge with gambling (which he tried to conceal/downplay when confronted). He was very sexually oriented and made me feel pure ecstacy. He had a poor track record for handling his time and money. He would not open bills or pay them and creditors were after him via mail and phone calls. He would get involved with shady characters making “deals” to try to make more money. He has an entrepreneurial flair and has owned a fw businesses over the last 15 years. All went bankrupt and his latest venture may also be headed in that direction as I understand.
He was kind, considerate and caring to me and my Mom (who lives with me). He would call her Mom and she treated him like a son. He was very charming to say the least and a handsome man as well. He seemed to never take anything seriously and would laugh at his poor choices and financial decisions and chalk it up to life.
He began shortly after we met to communicate online with other women. I don’t know why he did it and he told me he didn’t know why either. he is a Mormon and he was on a Mormon dating site as well as a site for Russian women that want to marry American men. He would send flirtatious messages to them all the while paying for memberships on these sites while his business was doing poorly. I found all of these emails about 15 months ater we first met and confronted him. He said it doesn’t mean anything and he was just looking and not intending to meet anyone. We were together every weekend either at my house or his apt. and he would tell me that he couldn’t possibly be with anyone elase because he’s always with me every weekend. We live in different states about 90 miles away from each other.
I met all of his extended family and he met mine as well. I spent many months in late 2007 trying to organize his business files and finances for him only to have him revert back to his previous disorganized state after I was gone. Since the beginning of 2009, I felt he was on a downward spiral andI would give him unsolicited business advice about how better to allocate money for his business and how to make wiser purchases.
In March 2009, I bought a new car and he also wanted a new car but is unable to buy one since he has zero credit and creditors would try to take any assets he has. he asked m to “buy a car” for him and h would give me 40K to do it. The car would need to be in my name since he can’t have anything in his name. His business is in his dad’s name. I said no that I wouldn’t buy a car even if he gave me the money since he would be the driver of the vehicle and I am the owner in another state. he then told me he would give me 30k to put toward my house mortgage and 10K to put on the car and finance the rest since I have excellent credit. I again said no. Approximately 3 weeks later he disappeard for 4 days. he went to Alabama to meet a girl he was communicating with on a Mormon dating site. He was engaged 2 weeks later and married her 3 weeks after that. he convinced her to move to his state with her 2 kids 9she is a widow).
I have been heartbroken and lost weight and cry all the time over the abrupt way he ended our relationship and seemed to discad me for another woman so quickly that he supposedly just met. he was callous when I asked him how he could do that after 3 years since I loved him with my whole heart and soul even though I knew he had numerous faults. I thought I could change him and make him straighten up and fly right. He told me that I wasn’t the girl he wanted to marry.

He has moved on and shows no remorse for what he did to me. I am trying to move on but it isimpossible for me to comes to terms for how he used me and discarded me so easily when I was unwilling to do something for him even though he didn’t say that was the reason.

I do not believe I can ever forget or forgive what he’s done to me as I am scarred for life.

Kathy,
In answer to your question about my taking the forgiveness class, I was driving myself crazy with all the pent up anger & bitterness in my head & heart. So many times while reading here at LF, I kept seeing the comment, “Do not let the s live rent free in your head”. That spathhole was in my head 24/7. I beat myself up constantly for being stupid enough to fall for him. I was angry at myself all the time. I just knew I had to learn how to trust & forgive myself again, so I signed up for the class at my church. I still have a stray bad thought (or nightmare) that pops into my head from time to time. It does not rule my life now.
Namaste!

“In the next article, we begin on the wonderful topic of becoming who we want to be.”

Thank you for this article and am waiting for your next one. I know these have been helpful to me when I go through my own personal healing and growth.

As for your topic and thank again from me, forgiving is part of this healing and growth we all must do but as your article states there are guidelines and some practicality to it. Just like life it’s self an issue may look simply at first but in reality it isn’t. Forgiveness I believe falls under this spectrum as well.

Donna1056

Thank you for sharing your story with us. There are many articles here at LF that can help you understand the “why’s” plus all the many members some who are vet’s (veterans) who will be able and willing to assist you in your healing..

Thanks again for sharing for each story here does help yet another one see how this can happen to anyone.

donna1056: Hi. I read your post, it sounds a lot like what happened to me (twice, d’oh!) but I loaned the guy a lot of money (oops, I mean gave)… it sounds like you helped him a lot, be proud of yourself that you did not loan him the money, that you were strong enough within yourself not to do that. If anybody ever asks me for money/help again my head is going to blow off. I hope you will read the articles here and stick with us and talk all this out, you don’t have to feel scarred for life, what kind of person can go out and get married just 3 weeks after meeting someone? A sociopath. Please please keep reading the articles and the posts, it has helped me more than anything else ever has in my life, this website has opened my eyes to myself and to the evil people out there who I never gave much thought about, in fact I don’t think I ever gave much thought about myself, but I do now!

Dear everyone,Ive just bought online a great book, its calld”the Betrayal Bond,”-by Dr. Patrick Carnes It arrived today, and I took it with me on the train into town.So far, Im finding it very good, light bulbs flashing everywhere.Its about how you can get in avery unhealthy ,sick bond with the person who abuses you, to the point where you cant break free. It gives detailed steps as to how to do it. he warns you,-its very hard to do, but to remain in a sick relationship is death to the soul and spirit. Im almost at that point with my 2 daughters, I am angry most with myself for allowing them to abuse me for over 30 years, giving and giving, getting nothing back but more pain, more abuse. I know that I now probably face the hardest thing Ive ever had to do, no contact with my older daughter at all. She is so toxic to me, I cant stand her, she has never, ever said sorry for any of the truly vile and rotten things she has done to me. She is atotal phoney. I know if I ring her, she will find a way to shift the blame onto me, or scream at me over the phone. I just cant face her anyway, and thats a good thing.The other daughter has refused to see me for almost 17 years, and the anger , pain, grief,and frustration at not seeing her 3 kids , ever,has never gone away. I still dont know what Im supposed to have done or not done. How do I ever get over this? Thank you wonderful people for all your love and support, with your help, I CAN do this!! geminigirl.

Another thing that Patrick Carnes talks about in this book, is how, apparently, small monkeys are caught in java. All the natives have to do is make small bamboo cages, with struts just wide enough for the monkey to put its hand in. In the cage is luscious fresh fruit. The monkey puts its hand throught the bars of the cage, grabs the fruit. Now, wouldnt it be logical that when its captors arrive, it simply drops the fruit, takes its hand out, and runs away?, But, it doesnt. It refuses to let go of the fruit, and so, it is captured, and taken away to be sold intocaptivity,or for pet meat. The analogy is plain, we refuse to let go of out manipulative, sick, NS, the price we pay is “being sold down the river, or death, spiritual death, maybe real death if he is a batterer.Our only hope of survival is to let go. Maybe let go of everything. And try ,with our spirits help ,and gods help, to be reborn as new free spirits. WE CAN DO IT!!

Betty, Kathy, Matt et al, Thank you! I have worked very hard to forgive and get my P/S ex-wife out of my thoughts. Unfortunately, she bought a home 1 block from me when I divorced her 3 years ago. There she lives with her 4th husband (nearly 2 decades her junior) and I must drive past her home daily. I see her and the unemployed tattoo artist / drug addict that she supports; my 19 year old step-daughter with a 30 year old boyfriend trailer trash guy with bad teeth lives there also. My 14 year old step-son has watched his mother’s drug use and trashy behavior. So, the physical closeness of the situation triggers all the bad feelings. It is like an unfolding nightmare that I am forced to watch ”“ day after day after day ”“ which become years. And it can be crushing.

No, I cannot move away – for 100’s of reasons. I would if I could. I was shocked when my ex decided to stay in our tiny community. I now understand it was part of her sickness.

Forgiveness is good – but hard when they live 275 feet away from you.
Ken

Hello all…I always think that I am well on my way toward being over and done with all the anger, but then out of the clear blue sky, he comes in full force to rain on my parade. I get really mad, not so much at myself anymore (thank goodness) but at the very idea that someone who said he loved me with all his heart could do the things he did to my family and me. Of course everyone in my family has no idea why I am not over thinking about it, and want me to just get over it. The mere mention of his name or a specific event that I suddenly recall evokes anger from the people who I think should be the most understanding. So, I have Love Fraud to listen, and you all get it. When I get an eyerolling response from the people I confide in,( and I’m sorry for what I am about to say)but I still want to hire a hitman. I think I could forgive myself were it not for that one thought. And I hate to think about needing to forgive my peeps for not getting it. Love Fraud is truly the only place I can discuss my feelings, so thank you all for that…On a lighter note, I have come up out of my cave and gotten a job as a taxi driver. Step by step, the healing process continues….love to all and I don’t mean maybe.

First, let me apologize in advance for the nature of this response; I switch from the 1st person narrative, to the 2nd person narrative, to the 3rd person narrative – in the missive below.

Christie Lee encapsulated it perfectly. You, Kathleen describe the detritus quite accurately; I realize that it is the “inner landscape” that I need to take care of. And yes, the daily triggers do not help. Like Christie Lee, it is like a sudden Tsunami or lightning bolt out of nowhere. And often, due to the small (close knit) nature of our town (population 907 people) — neighbors will remind me, often inadvertently, of the multiple traumas I experienced and the “raw” deal I got. For example, at the city hall the other day, I saw a neighbor who introduced me to his friend thusly:

“Remember I told you about the guy who’s wife went bi-polar, had a personality disorder and totally F****D her husband and family over? Well, this is that guy, this is Ken.” ”“or- “Ken, how are you? You know, to this day I still think of you as getting the rawest deal I have ever seen in my 75 years on this planet. Not only were you the best husband we ever saw ”“ but we were shocked when (your ex) lost her mind and destroyed your family” On and on ad nauseum. They all mean well; and, I do try to respond and move on to the next subject. However, they are additional triggers.

In fact, when I have taken vacations away from home – the problem(s) disappear. I just spent 12 days in Costa Rica and never gave (my personal holocaust) a second thought. Consequently, I would like to envision myself as being over the grief – and on my way to forgiveness. BTW, while all of your suggestions vis a vis the step-children are heartfelt and quite nice — they will never come to fruition. My ex made the 2 kids go incommunicado from the moment we separated. She has forbade them from speaking to me (or waving hello). She stopped them from communicating with their step-sister of 10 years (my biological daughter). Even though the “girls” are older, college, students now – my step kids know that if they attempt to communicate with me (or my daughter) the repercussions will be severe. For example, 2 ½ years ago my stepdaughter wrote me a (short) email saying how much she missed me and how she wanted to just talk. When my ex learned of this email, she:

1) Took her daughter’s car away from her and traded it for 10 pounds of marijuana (as a result my step-daughter lost her part time job as she had no way to get there).

2) Stopped contributing to the child’s college tuition. This meant that my step-daughter had to quit the main University (here in Missouri) & move back into my ex-wife’s home. She is now driven (by her 30 year old boyfriend) to her job at Quick trip. From an aspiring (pre-med) student to a job that pays $7.35 per hour.

3) My ex also made her get a new email address and set it up so that any emails from me are blocked.

10 days ago my ex- wife was driving by my home, as I waved – my step-son (now 15) waved back. My ex wife grabbed his hand, forced it down to his lap and then smacked him across the face — all while driving past me at 15 mph (in our residential area). The psychologist told my ex – “…these children are going to suffer long term consequences if you use them as pawns and deny them access to their step-father of 10 years.” Her response to the psychologist? “They are my pawns to use as I like”

Or how about this one, last Monday: I walked into a local tavern where a group of friends were all talking and eating lunch with a person I had never met heretofore, “Rusty.” Upon sitting down, my friend “Marilyn” introduced me in the following way: “Rusty, this is the guy we told you about. The one whose wife was so crazy and his divorce so ugly and difficult — that it makes yours look like child’s play.” (Rusty is going through a divorce with a “Tri-polar” woman who shot him in the shoulder with a handgun and stabbed him too). So, I have become the “gold standard” for, relationship, dysfunction. I have become that guy that will make you feel a lot better — once you hear my story. In a certain sense it is nice because, after a 10 minute conversation with me, most folks going through relationship troubles feel so much better about themselves. Usually muttering things like, “Gosh, I thought I had it bad. Mine is nothing compared to what you went through!” In fact, that is precisely what Rusty told me after we compared notes. Imagine, a guy who was shot and stabbed by his wife felt that his experience was, “Nothing compared to the hell you went through.”

Please, do not mis-understand me, I appreciate and agree with every thought you convey in your, well written, letter. I can still, seriously, say that if my ex were run over by a Mack truck and killed – that I would be totally non-plussed. AND I DO NOT LIKE TO BE THAT WAY. IT IS LIKE BEING HELD HOSTAGE IN YOUR OWN MIND. Believe me, I really, really, really do not want to be victimized over and over.

These triggers are there ”“ but I want to be bigger than that. If only I could move away”

One final analogy: Imagine a Jew that was held in a concentration camp for 5 years. He survives, only to learn that he has to construct the apartment building in which he has to live (as his home was destroyed by the Nazi’s). Not only must he build this apartment building, but 19 of his 20 neighbors are the death camp guards that he had to see every day while incarcerated. Now, imagine that he is forced to live in that apartment for the next 40 years. Knowing that the guy above him killed his parents. The guy next to him killed his children, and the guy 2 floors above raped and impregnated his wife. I feel like that Jew.
Thanks for listening and the empathy.
Ken

Blindsided: Your ex is the extreme end of the spectrum of psychopathy as you describe her, and you are making a conscious act of courage with each breath in that environment. I honor your honesty in telling your story. I am amazed that you survived the time with her, and that you survived the divorce.

We should have ways to deal with people like her, who poison the air we breathe. She is toxic for you, toxic for her children, toxic for the neighborhood, toxic for the entire town — people like this are toxic for society. And the worst of it is that we have no clear legal or societal recourse to insulate ourselves from the predations, and we have virtually no support in our recovery process.

I can relate to blindsided’s dilema and anger though my current (emphasis on current) situation is perhaps not as bad as his as I don’t see my ex-husband himself though he does harrass me by email every six months without fail. The challenge I’m having is that I brought two of his dupes to my workplace as part-time employees several years ago. At the time I considered them friends. I understand they – like most people – are taken in by his smooth stories, pity plays, and status as a respectable member of the community.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been advised by counsel and by a therapist who does “get it” to keep my mouth shut out of concern that as Oxy once put it – if you poke a sleeping tiger he’ll turn around and maul your child.” My case was fairly bizarre – as they all are – and had a novel element that I’m not comfortable discussing on a public forum. Arguably I came out well compared to how these cases all too often go. Yes, there was signficant financial, physical, emotional, social and professional harm. But I didn’t lose what matters most, and he is out of our lives. That said…I still feel absolutely furious that the wife of the bagman (my ex-husband’s enabler and business advisor) who handled the negotiations for the extortion (not a figure of speech) and a clown who occassionally does consulting for my ex-husband are around and that I no longer have the authority to get rid of them. I doubt my posting makes sense without the background details and given that I seem to be fairly inarticulate about these matters. So there may not be any words of wisdom. I have thought for some time about addressing matters with the wife of the other PDI, despite admonitions not to do so.

I will not be in a position to start looking for another job for two to three years. I guess it’s the old “I want closure” lament added to my anger at myself for having been such a doormat. I’d like to at least say “This was wrong.” I know there is no chance I’d obtain “justice”or recompense. But I might feel better for not lying down like a dog – yet again. The level of probable retaliation is the unknown. Psychopaths and their narcisistic enablers make a great team. 🙁

Leah & Blindsided: I’m not sure which of your situations I would prefer, but I’m fairly certain you would not want to trade places with me. I understand what it means to be dealing with the demolition of life as we thought it should be.

I also cannot talk to the dupes of the psychopath — his smear campaign was very effective. His actions have even alienated me from my own parents. I don’t have co-workers who have ties to the P, but I don’t have any guarantee of income, because the P ensured that he completely obliterated my business and all my assets. At some point it becomes all but impossible to start over — because you have nothing to build on.

And I truly believe that no one really understands the extreme toll that these relentless, daily, moment-by-moment reminders take on the human spirit. Four years ago, before I met the P, I had a hard road in front of me, but I was strong, creative and full of hope. Compared to then — today I feel like roadkill.

Rune, Leah, Kathy – touché’ & ditto! You folks all implied (and inferred) correctly. And no, Kathy, you are not snarky or flippant. I agree about finding the humor in all of this. I have to search very hard sometimes – but I usually find it. It is, usually, only here on LF that I (still) speak of it at such great length. To most of the “outside” world I have moved forward.

Regarding “Child Services” – and this is very important – to the “outside world” – my ex is not some raving lunatic that is drooling and smoking a bong with my step-son on the front porch. We live in a very affluent area, and, she has a job that pays well. She is quite beautiful and presents herself as if she is “regular” & “normal.”

She is smart enough and cunning enough to hide the drug dealing and every other nefarious action from authorities. When one contributor to LF wrote of her ex (a Physician) who was, “…charming and had everybody snowballed” — I screamed, “THAT IS SHERRI, EXACTLY!”

BTW, Kathy, believe me, if there was any way that I could get out of here I would. However, my situation is not so egregious that I will just walk away and live with the homeless people under a bridge. I will not give up a $400K home that I have paid a mortgage on for 15 years (today I could not give it away ”“ much less sell it for a profit). Even though (as Rune implied) her toxicity has a “karma” like pervasiveness that permeates our entire community (and seems to cast a pall over my home and life) – it is not bad enough that I will abandon the one (and only) thing that I have left after our (financially devastating) divorce.

I feel as if you folks are like family to me. I must leave work – more later.
Ken

Hi everyone,

How do you forgive when there is hurt and injustice around every corner? I thought that things were beginning to turn around for me, ( foolish idea! ) when I learned that I have two days to get my house out of foreclosure. I had a brief moment when I thought that that house would be out of foreclosure and that a couple I know would buy it. I also learned that I might be able to purchase the house I built while I was in my first marriage and was a Bed and Breakfast, if I got the equity from the house now in question.
I drove four hours to get to the home that I am trying to save, I go in and find that my soon to be ex N/P stole all of the stainless appliances and some other items from the house.
I immediately call my attorney to see what can be done. I was told by his secretary to wait there in case the sheriff needed to come out to the house. That was five hours ago. I just got home and still no call or email from the attorney.
The bad news about the house that I am trying to save (besides the missing appliances, etc. ) is that the mortgage co. should have been working with me all along and didn’t because of (Mr. N/P).
The money tied up in this house is all of the savings that I have. I am back from feeling hopeful to feeling terribly depressed and helpless. Why does he keep getting away with the things that he does. Why does he keep doing things to try destroy me when all I want is to rid of him and his toxic self. I believe that he derives great pleasure out of destroying peoples lives. I hope that one day I can get to the point that I can forgive, but right now it is difficult to even contemplate.

Kathleen,

Great essay. I’ll probably need to read this one over again to assimilate the wisdom.

I don’t know if I can emphatically say that I have forgiven the destructive, selfish people from my past. I seem to switch back and forth, from fury to indifference when contemplating my experiences with them.

Maybe I become furious because I contemplate these people altogether. As one big lump of misery dished out to me for my entire life. When I analyze them as one diabolical entity, I am angry. And disgusted. And scornful.

But I feel the fury much, much less than the indifference. But by visiting LF and reading the personal, brave stories of survivors, that righteous fury is stirred up all over again.

I don’t consider it to be detrimental to my healing to be furious with PDIs and the tremendous pain they cause their victims. I’m concentrating that fury towards the perpetrators of the sweet folks on here, not towards my own personal destructive forces.

As I said, I am indifferent most of the time regarding the PDIs I’ve been intimate with. I literally and figuratively shrug off the negative influences they’ve had on me, confronted and accepted it for what it is and moved on.

It’s true what you wrote saying..”Welcome to the first time we felt the fear of being vulnerable and alone. And to the basic human challenge of living with those feelings at the same time we experience love, trust, some kind of internal dignity, and the ability to risk moving forward with our lives.

There is no human being who has not been through this. And there is not one of us who doesn’t live with this challenge on a daily basis in some part of our consciousness.”

See, I remind myself daily, minutely that there ain’t no way I’m exclusive in living what I’ve lived or felt what I’ve felt. That there are maybe thousands of women and men who haven’t been as fortunate as I have been. That have suffered unimaginable abuse and suffering the likes of which would cause me to curl up in a little ball in the corner, terrified and so damn small.

I know it is going to take me years to finally forgive and let go of that anger, resentment, and contempt. I’m still trying to grow up, to be a mature responsible adult and it’s obvious to me, I’m just not there yet.

I look forward to seeing who I become as I seek to enrich my mind, my heart and my essential spiritual self. Maybe then I will have finally attained that profound serenity I wish for.

I’m sorry to hear about the your parents, Rune. That was my saving grace – that my family did stand by me. I believe that (family turning against him) was the final straw with the friend and colleague I had who did not make it. I guess it’s all relative. I seem to be quoting Oxy a lot 🙂 ..But I did find some value in her suggestion some time back to another LFer to look at Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel. You may also find it of interest.

I don’t want to sound like I’m poor-meing as I do realize quite well how much worse it could have been. I’m just want the mess behind me.

Ken,

Wow, I read your post about the people you know who introduce you to others while including your heartbreaking, traumatizing involvement with your x wife.

I consider their words to be incredibly insensitive to your pain. I would never callously discuss the personal, intimate details of a friend of mine or even an aquaintance, even if they gave me the OK sign. No way!

That behavior is simply inconsiderate, improper social etiquette. It also reveals lack of good breeding, imo.

It just seems so cruel to me.

Welcome jfog1.

So sorry to hear about your situation concerning your property. Something we all learn sooner or later about these type of people is how they never and please allow me to repeat that never “play fair”. Because you do have a attorney I hope some of this lost can be recapture through the courts. We have a member Matt who know about the law being a lawyer himself. Please expect the unexpectable whenever we deal with anyone that show strong sociopathic traits. Good luck and thanks again for sharing!

Thank you James.

I have read yours and so many other horror stories on the “Love Fraud” Blog, and I feel for each and every one who has written and had to deal with these monsters. I read some and I feel guilty for even writing about my own problems as they seem small compared to everyone elses.
Still, I am glad that I have people who understand to write to and vent to, because no one can understand what it is like to be victimized by an (N/P) except those of us who have had the misfortune of being the victim.
I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I am still dealing with my first husband, who was, and still is emotionally abusive to me and our grown sons. He is a substance abuser and is a (N). I had been out of that marriage for a year when I met my (N/P) husband. Between the two of them, I feel quite defeated, and I am not easily defeated! I stayed with my first husband for 24 years trying to help him, although mostly because I did not want him or his mother to be alone with the boys.
I became so depressed toward the end when I knew that he wouldn’t stop the cocaine and drinking, and then the other women, that I didn’t care if I lived or not. Somehow I managed to get the strength to get help, and after over a year, divorce was the only option. Then, I was targeted by the man who would be my next husband. Even though I know that I was targeted, it doesn’t change what is happening.
They are emotional terrorists.

My anger for me now is a monitor and a meter and something I feel at the moment. It allows me to express what I am feeling at the time. But guess what? This same anger has some deep roots. Let me explain it like this:

I get mad over some small thing like not be able to found my keys.
Then I feel/think why am I getting so annoyed over something so simple?
So I feel/think because I so stress over blank.
What can I do to lessen this stress over blank?
If I can do something then I will try too and if I can’t then I tell myself that and try to let it go for now and allow my self the freedom to deal with it later.

Okay first I had anger over something simply right?
Wrong, I was annoyed over something deeper but I wasn’t acknowledging it just yet. My anger had to be explore deeper to see the real problem and source of my irritation.

I know this is a very simple way of looking at it but it’s shows me how I must work through my anger in stages and then finally see the real problem(s) and then deal with that..

Okay now where did I put those damn keys anyway??…LOL>>

jfog1

“They are emotional terrorists.”

Couldn’t agree more and like any know terrorist cowards to the bitter end!

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