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After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 13 – Happy Emotional Independence Day

Happy Independence Day weekend. It is a lucky coincidence that this is our topic, because emotional freedom is truly about personal revolution. It is an end to collaboration with and submission to abuse. It is an end to the emotional slavery of feeling responsible for other people’s feelings and other things that are beyond our control.

Emotional freedom is something that might be difficult to imagine when we are in the first stages of healing — especially if it’s the first time we’ve ever processed an abuse-related trauma all the way through to the end. At least once, we need to go through all the stages to take a good look at patterns of denial or bargaining that made us vulnerable to abusers or tolerant of their behavior. We need to develop internal strengths — like easy access to anger and confidence in our rights to defend ourselves — that might have been suppressed before. We need to learn for ourselves that we can live through loss and letting go, and actually learn something from it.

But if we get to this point — thinking about the idea of emotional freedom and working on developing it in ourselves — we are close to the end of fully integrating this experience. Turning it into a gift rather than a disaster, and coming out of this long tunnel with our new selves in a new world.

What does respect have to do with it?

In the last article on self-love, the concept of respect was introduced. It is connected to self-love, because as we come to love, trust and believe we are entitled to care for ourselves, we develop a sense of separateness. Of boundaries. We come to realize that we have private interests, concerns and needs. They belong to us. They are our responsibility. They are also the sources of good in our lives. And we are entitled to explore them, define them for ourselves, pursue them, and plan our lives around them.

If anyone reading this finds the last paragraph triggering an emotional reaction, a feeling like you really need to get away from this article, go find something else to read here on LoveFraud, you have clear evidence of something important in yourself. Because that paragraph contradicts all the emotional training of abusive, enmeshed, victim-rescuer environments that demand loyalty, silence and compromises of identity and self-respect in order to be loved or simply survive.

The first time I ever encountered information like that, I read it over and over. The words made sense. But they didn’t compute. I had phrases popping up in my head like “easy for you to say” and “you don’t live with the demands and pressures that I do” and “I would be rejected by everyone I need to support me, if I thought like that.”

If you are having a reaction like that, I understand and respect the reality behind it. This push-back is coming from a normal strategy for survival that works. If we are willing to give up pieces of ourselves — our independence, our individuality, our ethics, our expressiveness — we can get paid for it. One of the real challenges that every person faces in life is to walk a fine line of balancing what we can do, need to do and are willing to do to fulfill our survival needs and our discretionary (but important) wants.

Where this becomes dysfunctional and self-destructive is when our sense of what we can give away — and still survive as whole people — is broken. When we have been “trained” in some excruciating and threatening situation to deny important aspects of our identity or fundamental human needs in order to get through it. When that situation is finally over, we are often left with warped ideas of relationships. But more important, our relationships with ourselves are damaged . Because it felt like a choice, even we perceived it as life or death. Some part of us holds us responsible and simply does not trust us anymore. We may live around it. We may develop all kind of strengths to compensate. But it feels as though some wires have been pulled inside of us. As though the lights have gone out in certain rooms of our mind.

This is why, for so many people, it is necessary to find a good therapist, experienced in trauma or childhood abuse, to help us untangle these situations. The “cure” is to go back and reject the deal we made. Not reject ourselves, but to reject the unfairness and inhumanity of the circumstances that forced us to do this damage to ourselves. Do it in memory, but also in our emotional systems. To identify the causes as abusive and wrong and not respectful of our normal human needs to maintain our own integrity. And to say to ourselves, and possibly the people involved, I no longer agree to this deal. I am taking myself back.

Integrity, like respect, is one of those words that many of us barely understand. We talk about integrity in terms of ethical issues, and that’s part of it. But integrity is much more than that. The world means wholeness, like “integer” means a whole number, rather than a fraction of a number. For our purposes here, we can imagine it as having all the internal “electrical” parts that we are supposed to have — all the natural emotions, open connections among the various parts of our brain, a balanced and high-functioning nervous system, vivid sensory awareness — adding up to keen animal survival instincts and the full range of sentient consciousness we have as human beings.

If something disrupts or corrupts our integrity in any way, we feel it deeply. We live with the pain of knowing something inside of us is not right. For many of us, that pain is the way we know ourselves best. But as we start to resolve these issues, to go back and reject those deals and repair ourselves, we become more conscious of something we have mutely longed for — the simple but powerful feeling of wholeness. Our integrity.

Even if we get there by incremental resolutions of the sources of pain — which is how most of us do get there — every step forward delivers a breathtaking new awareness of who we really are. It’s not that we are special exactly, although we are. Or good, although we are. But that we are. The word “I” becomes different. It’s no longer associated with any sort of battle for recognition or acceptance or love. It is awareness of some central identity that is the backbone or hub or inner seed of everything about us.

And when we grasp this, this permanent center in us, it is easier to understand the concept of respect. Because as we look around us, we realize that every living thing is also organized around something like this. We could talk about this from all sorts of angles — genes, souls, whatever — but when we find it in ourselves, we recognize it in other lives. In this we are alike, but also separate. We can relate, and we also may find that we have a great deal in common. But our identity, our integrity is our own. As theirs are theirs. Knowing this is the cornerstone of respect. The knowledge that we have boundaries, that something inside of us belongs to only us.

Having grown-up relationships with ourselves

It’s logical that we can’t have adult relationships with anyone else, if we don’t have adult relationships with ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we lose touch with our inner child. Or that we don’t experience the less “practical” states of emotion or awareness that enrich our lives.

What it does mean that is that we take our own needs seriously. That we recognize our needs as needs. Necessary. Not optional.

A whole, healthy human identity has different layers of needs. Some relate to physical survival. Others are about emotional health, intellectual development, social connection, and more. The study of human needs has interested many brilliant people. But for me, the most helpful of them has been Marshall Rosenberg, creator of non-violent communication (NVC) and the man who introduced me to the concept of emotional freedom.

NVC is based on the premise that all people have needs, and ultimately the most effective type of communication is about sharing information about our needs. Rather than going more deeply into that concept, I recommend two brief videos on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dpk5Z7GIFs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbgxFgAN7_w&NR=1. If you find this article challenging, I guarantee these videos will help you make more sense of it.

Rosenberg points out that a lot of our language is basically about power and control. That is, keeping power and control in the hands of people who have it already. There is a lot of judgment in our language, ways to make people — including ourselves — wrong. And this language serves to separate us from our needs, or minimize the idea that everyone has normal human needs. As a result, compassion becomes subjugated to “rules.” Even though we are aware of our own suffering or the difficulties faced by other people, our responses are not compassionate or questioning of their (or our) circumstances. Instead, we are trained to assume there is something wrong with them, they are bad in some way, or they have some contagious problem we should avoid.

A few examples of this are racism, elitism and ageism — ways that we “name” other people that makes it easy to blames them or judge them, without having to consider their realities and how lack of resources may be contributing to their “lower than” status or behavior. Another example of this is the Magna Carta, the foundation of English law (and U.S law by extension), which is not about human rights at all, but only a concession by the Norman king of England to honor the property rights of Norman nobles who had come from France to claim and rule English land and the “serfs” attached to it. One of the difficulties we face as victims of sociopaths is that common law incorporates very little recognition of human needs, beyond our property rights to our own bodies, and even that is limited in many ways. The rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and free speech and religious choice in the U.S. Constitution were huge advances that shook the world of absolute monarchies.

To get back to needs, here is a partial list of needs from NVC website (www.cnvc.org), which has been developed over the years by people working with this type of communication:

Connection — acceptance, affection, appreciation, consideration, mutuality, support, to understand and be understood, trust

Physical well-being — air, food, movement/exercise, rest/sleep, sexual expression, safety, shelter

Honesty — authenticity, integrity

Play — joy, humor

Peace — harmony, order

Meaning — clarity, competence, contribution, effectiveness, growth, hope, mourning, purpose, self-expression, to matter

Autonomy — choice, independence

The first time I saw this list, I was mind-blown. It never occurred to me that I was entitled to even want most of these things. At the time, I was still struggling with whether I was allowed to feel angry, because the sociopath made me feel bad. The idea that I could unapologetically pursue any of these things in my life was staggering. All of a sudden all those internalized voices with comments like “You’re getting too big for your britches” and “No one likes a crybaby” and “You have to suffer to go to heaven” and (the monster of them all) “You owe us” became more clearly what they were. Coercive “rules” to convince me to forget about my needs.

But the needs didn’t go away, because I agreed to give them up in order to stay in that family. Unmet needs continue to generate demands and feelings. All of us are familiar with the how it feels to be treated with disrespect. You can find another list of it feels when our need are met or unmet here at the NVC website. If you want good reason to start thinking about getting your needs met, you’ll find it here. In a nutshell, would you rather feel happy, confident and fulfilled, or angry, helpless and despairing? Not a hard choice.

Empathy and self-interest

Structuring our lives to meet our own needs means several things. First it makes us responsible for our own feelings, because we realize that they are generated by our needs. If our needs are not being met, it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves. This is part of survival and also integrity. It is the essence of compassion for ourselves. Thinking about our needs also helps us interpret our experiences in ways that don’t make us wrong, but simply people who trying to get their needs met, often in situations that are not particularly supportive and that force us to look elsewhere in creative ways to keep ourselves healthy and whole.

It also makes us less inclined to take responsibility for other people’s feelings. We may empathize with them. We may see that our mothers are dissatisfied with how their lives turned out or our fathers are suffering because they feel like failures. We can see they are expressing negative emotions at us, because they have unmet needs. Or trying to manipulate us, because they are trying to get their needs met. But we also see that this is their stuff. The language they use of disappointment, anger, regrets and demands is about them — their inner landscape, how they view themselves and the world — and not about us. Even when they are trying to recruit us to their reality by making it about us.

One of the ways we can define sociopathic interactions or N/S/P relationships is that someone wants us to take responsibility for fulfilling his or her needs, in ways that cause us to abandon our needs. All the love-bombing, gaslighting, guilt-tripping and various types of abuse are just strategies to obtain this result.

A reasonable question would be: if we become emotionally independent, does that mean we become just like sociopaths? If we don’t feel responsible for other people’s feelings, does that make us unfeeling monsters?

I think you already know the answer to that. Not feeling responsible is not the same as not caring. (Just as caring doesn’t mean that we are responsible.) If we choose, we can offer support in ways that don’t compromise our integrity or well-being. We may feel sorry for our sociopath’s hard luck story and sympathize, but not agree to help him murder his ex-wife. In less extreme situations, we may give our friend or family member the gift of sympathetic attention. The key is to decide what we can afford to do without compromising our primary responsibility to take care of ourselves.

For practice in emotional independence, here are possible responses to use with people who are pressuring us, complaining about our behavior, judging or naming us (“you’re always so selfish”) or using any confusing or indirect means to get their needs met through us.

“I empathize with you, but I’m not certain what you’re telling me you want from me”

“What do you need to make you feel better?”

“Is there something you want from this relationship that you’re not getting?”

You are looking for more concrete requests, so you can decide whether you can meet their needs without damage to yourself. Often, with non-sociopathic people, these discussions are very fruitful. Both sides come to understand each other better, and often find simple things they can do for each other that un-trigger the feelings of unmet needs. (“I don’t feel like you really respect me” often turns out to be nothing more serious than a request to share the dog-walking responsibilities.)

However when we’re talking to people who are cannot be honest about their feelings, needs or wants, or actually have a control-related reason for hiding these things from us, our questions may be treated like an invasion of privacy or cause an attack of criticism, more emotional acting out, or obvious dissembling.

If we choose, we can do some empathetic probing (“I hear that you’re angry, but I’m not sure what you’re asking for.”) or suggestions about what’s going on with them (“Is this about you feeling lonely?”). But if they still refuse to say anything that sounds like they are talking about their own needs (rather than talking about us) or making specific requests, so that we can make choices about what we want to do for them, we also have the choice to stop participating in their game.

We can choose that because we meeting our own need to participate in things that are meaningful, respectful and effective. (Or whatever needs are “alive” in us at that moment.)

This is just a brief introduction to emotional independence. It’s not all about self-defense. A lot of it is about being honest with ourselves about our needs, and specific with other people about what we are requesting from them. They are free to turn us down, just as we are free to do the same. But clarity is a wonderful thing.

Imagine how much different our lives would be today if we had said to our ex-S, “You’re a charming person, and I’ve enjoyed our time together. But before we go further, you should know a few things about me. I need fidelity in my sexual relationships, respect for my decisions about myself, appreciation for what I do for you and reciprocity in all financial arrangements. And I need to be able to trust you to be honest. Anything less does not meet my needs.”

Can you imagine saying this? If so, hooray for you. If not, practice in the mirror, with a warm smile on your face as you assume the other person will say, “Wow, excellent list. I’m very comfortable with all of that, and feel the same way myself. Except that I also need fun in my life. Are you down with that?” When you can do this without worrying about what other people think of you or how this makes them feel, you’ll be a lot closer to being able to manage healthy friendships and intimate relationships. The next article is will be about love.

Namaste. The happy independent spirit in me salutes the happy independent spirit in you.

Kathy


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135 Comments on "After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 13 – Happy Emotional Independence Day"

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Kathy,
Once again, you’ve spoken to my heart. This article was thought provoking, challenging and scarey. I am on the right path – just feel so friggin’ good to be on the other side with no intent of going back. I DO have something to compare this with, and that is the cult involvement with which I was a member beginning in 1971 and exiting in 1987. When I left I didn’t yet know it was a cult; only that I could no longer do it because the last 4 years the 12 step program I was involved in taught me that I had to check my motives. I realized my motives for remaining in the “church” were fear and guilt. I left with only that much knowledge. Two weeks later I saw an article in Portland regarding a seminar on cults, which piqued my curiosity so I went. While there I was given a book relating to the cult I was in. I had been taught that reading any outside material was a no-no. I kept the copy by my bedside and would fearfully read a bit at a time and put it down when I started feeling God might zap me. What transpired was that over the next few weeks I began “thawing”. It was as if my emotions were coming out of the deep freeze. The next two years were wrought with sensations of floating, depersonalization, derealization, feelings that I couldn’t keep living, anxiety, depression,etc. I eventually ended up in a support group that included survivors from Jonestown, Moonies and others. In fact, I was in the cult with the Psychopath and our children. We left the cult together in 1987 and the Psychopath left our family in 1991. When I went to Wellspring in Ohio for in-patient treatment in 1996 for residual issues, I was told that the cult “contained” the Psychopath’s madness. It still took me another 13 years to internalize that I had indeed been married to a Psychopath and what that meant. Prior to my aha moment in April, (the Psychopath and I had gotten back together in November 08 for Thanksgiving at our daughters), I began having lots of red flags regarding him. I attribute this to the fact that I had 18 years apart from him, had acquired an MSW and much counseling, with continued recovery in the 12 step program.
Where I stand now is that for about 3 1/2 weeks after I broke it off with the Psychopath, I experienced feelings of trauma of a magnitude off of the Richter scale. I lived on LOVEFRAUD. Then things slowly receeded. It was just like my cult experience, and since I had been through the whole experience, I had that to compare it with. I knew when I broke up with him that I “got” it and would never go back. It hasn’t been an option for me, nor have I ever wanted to. I feel “deprogrammed”. I realize that is an ancient term, but for lack of a better term will use it.
The issues I am faced with now are that I used my marriage to the Psychopath at 19 years of age to cover up the pain of my childhood. I am in therapy to deal with what I ran from at 19 and am now 62. My childhood involved trauma of such a magnitude that I was bordering on Dissociative Identity Disorder. Thank God for a nurturing aunt and a delightful doting 3rd grade Catholic nun – dear little Sister Mary Blanche.
I still FEEL needy, abandoned, helpless and terrified of doing life apart from someone else to be the grown-up. The difference is that I am doing it regardless of my feelings. I am making healthy choices for myself, learning who I am apart from another, saying the Serenity prayer alot and navigating the terrain sometimes quietly on tiptoe. I journal, have developed a social life, am learning to spend time alone, even if it feels horrible, doing a little volunteer work, spending time with my children and grandchildren as we are able, going to the church of my choice, grocery shopping like a big girl, having the car serviced and whatever else life presents. I don’t pretend anymore to be more brave than I feel. I just choose to do the action step and feel the uncomfortable feelings.
Kathy, thank you so very much for the love, companioning and honesty you share with us. You are a jewel!!!

Kathy,
You’re funny!!! Let me tell you, I’d rather be having dinner at June Cleaver’s house and hanging out with the “Beav” than growing. I do it kicking and screaming with claw marks on the nearest object. It’s survival of the fittest. Today I listened to a tape my counselor let me borrow by Mark Grant (who is Austrailian), on EMDR. It’s called Calm and Confident. I am not a CD person, but the pain today was a great motivator. That Austrailan voice was very soothing and I camped out at the ocean in my own living room.
Your writing landed exceptionally well, and I’ll be reviewing it prn. Sally

Kathy, Thanks for your thought provoking article. What I got out of your article was empowerment to take responsiblity for “my” feelings and comfort zone,. In doing this we are not being selfish by honoring our own wishes, and desires- instead we are freeing ourselves to have better, more honest relationships that are MUTUALLY satisfying.

I have been in several relationships, and friendships ,- even aside from the x n/p. that were so needy or drama based that I felt my only role was to “fix” their bottomless pit of needs or even worse, make (and Keep) them smiling in some way . Most of these people were miserable human beings to begin with, and I had no chance of making a dent in the frown that was permanently etched on their face or the forehead with MISERY tattoed across it.
I completely lost sight of the “purpose” for the relationship to begin with which was to MUTUALLY enjoy each others company. I can’t ever understand why in the midst of these relationships, I don’t just stop and tell the person that I can’t DO whatever they are asking or that I am not happy in the situation as it is!! It never seems to dawn on me that I have this choice!WHY is that, I wonder? I’m sure my comfort zone of avoiding conflict at all costs is a major reason. If you asked:, So how is that working out for me? You’d see a frown on MY face with a resounding – Not (working). As pointed out in this article-working on my emotional independence must be the answer.
Thanks, Kathy for pointing this out- would love to see more on this subject and on setting strong boundaries. This for me, is still a difficult subject and I find myself isolating from others due to fear of getting caught up again in the dysfunctional roller coaster.
Housie, I am so glad that your continueing your healing journey and am proud of your shopping,taking care of yourself, etc. like a “a big girl.: 😉 I feel the exact same way, as I am having to do many big girl things in my life now. Alittle scary, but I feel so proud of me every time I accomplish something that I didn’t have the confidence to do alone before! take care.. xoxo

Housie,

Since I’ve been progressively venturing out into the world doing job search, my niece tells me I’m “wearing my big girl pants”! Love it!

Kathy,

Thanks a million again! This article is incredibly helpful: I can see how my family of origin was very adept at managing me with controlling language — and I can see some wonderful ways refrain from playing the game. Which I believe will be good for all of us.

The Non-Violent Language information: that’s astounding! What an incredible way to deal with one’s self and others! At first I thought, but what about destructive people? Won’t this set me up for more abuse? Then I read your example of setting healthy limits in a romantic relationship, and I was cheering! That’d do it alright! When I can say something like that and mean it, I’ll quickly know what kind of person I’m dealing with.

This article, like the others, is a real gift.

Thank you,
Betty

Kathy,
When I first read your article, I found myself saying,Whoa-I can’t do that! It feels so selfish. I have spent my whole life being the fixer, the peace keeper, & always putting myself last. This is still a struggle for me today. I think I have made some baby steps in trying to put myself first on occasion, but it still feels so foreign to me. I have also been terrified all my life of any type of confrontations. The consequence of this aspect of myself has led me to always be the one to give in to the wants & needs of others. I somehow convinced myself that as long as the peace was kept, my needs didn’t matter. Another area I need to work on. Thank you so much for this continuing series, I am baby stepping myself along the healing path.

Kathy, Wow I’m thinking about posting your words all around my house just as I have bible verses posted on my bathroom mirror! I’m gonna really need to focus on this thread.

I think so many of us are needing to get out of our comfort zone of “keeping the peace at ALL costs.” As Kathy pointed out there IS a deep cost involved. We are negating our own emotional needs ,and sanity in alot of cases. It comes down to the fact that our actions (thru not standing up for ourselves) shows that we love the abuser more than we love ourselves. Very sad.
This causes strife and conflict internally- we are upset and tend to blame ourselves that no one has spoke up for our needs, and are angry that we aren’t being courageous or strong enough to defend those needs. So in a way we are getting abused two- fold ,by our wishes being dismissed/ignored by the other person ,and our part of not attending to our needs or standing up for ourselves. I think focusing on being good caretakers for ourselves is needed. We know and have been conditioned to take care of others, so when do we finally get the benefits of it?
take care, xoxo

Kathy…I haven’t read it yet. I will, and it probably has a lot of stuff I’ll need…is there anyplace safe out there when we’re not on Lovefraud…LOL…I’ll be back!

Thanks for the links!

Kathy,

This article is incredible (though I could honestly say that about all you have written….I love your brain and heart!).

One thing that struck me was your example of expressing needs to the S, and the effect it has on clarifying the situation, and basically putting a complete stop to it.

I have done this so many times…..in my mind!

I cannot tell you how many imagined conversations I have had where I simply state my needs and then stick by them and the N/S/P’s are revealed, and then gone in a poof.

I believe, as you alluded, that this kind of self-loving and peaceable truth-telling is powerful enough to expose those who CANNOT meet us in a place of cooperation and love.

I can see it so clearly, and try not to kick myself for not having been able to do it very well with the S (understanding as I do now that I was acting on learned compulsions and fears). In my mind every one of these conversations where I speak the truth of who I am and what I need exposes them in a second and they vanish.

I have practiced NVC with friends and had really sweet results. Making us closer and more intimate friends. And recently practiced with someone a bit more challenging, but not personality disordered, or malignant, and it was effective in creating a boundary, and a distance between us. One that I feel more comfortable with. It is interesting that it can have both effects. With those that are open and interested in cooperative interaction and mutuality it is SO wonderful and connecting.

And with those that fall elsewhere on that continuum it can create tension, but still clarity. Like in my case, some disconnection and distance, which is just as well. In either case it comes from a place of love…..of self to begin, and to others, if they can receive it.

Namaste. May we all discover and honor our needs.

Kathy, I read the article but not the comments yet. I’m off to work today. My first day back since my discharge from the hospital. I have been taking time to just take care of me. Surrounding myself with friends and relaxation. I had a wonderful time in WVA. My new guy was truly awesome. No pressures, no drama, no lovebombs. Just steady, predictable, consistent in every way. My needs were anticipated and met without me having to push or fight or beg for acknowledgment. Such a drastic change from life with the Sp ex. Mid week he will come here to meet my family and friends. We weren’t looking for this, and we have yet to define it. We are just enjoying our time together and seeing where the journey takes us. I would not have imagined all those months ago when I first came here devastated and hurt beyond belief that I would ever be found worthy of anything as I had no value. I didn’t deeply believe that, but it had been written on my heart for so long that it did resonate on many levels. Now I’m redefining myself in many ways. Finding who I am and what makes me happy is my new first job. I can finally say, me first and mean it. Not in a selfish way like others don’t matter, but just asserting my importance in the grand scheme of life. Your articles have been timely and integral to my healing. Thank you Kathy for sharing your gift and your journey with all of us. I will keep you posted on my progress, and you are all in my thoughts more often than you know. Peace and progress to all of you. Hugs.

Kathleen,

You wrote…” In the last article on self-love, the concept of respect was introduced. It is connected to self-love, because as we come to love, trust and believe we are entitled to care for ourselves, we develop a sense of separateness. Of boundaries. We come to realize that we have private interests, concerns and needs. They belong to us. They are our responsibility. They are also the sources of good in our lives. And we are entitled to explore them, define them for ourselves, pursue them, and plan our lives around them.”

Realistic and truthful. I completely accept and agree with this paragraph. As I read it, I was nodding my head in the affirmative the whole time.

I seem to be healing in leaps and bounds lately and there are not enough superlatives in the English language to express how awesomely liberating it is to finally be content and comfortable in my own unique skin.

To happily grin at my own cute quirks, idiosyncrasies, my own separate individuality. Yeah, I have flaws. Who doesn’t? But if it’s a flaw in which I consider a hindrance to psychological/spiritual growth, I work on it. If it’s my own imagined, probably mythical flaw, I shrug it off. No sense in obsessing about something that most likely does not exist anyway. Right?

I’m just too darn practical to waste one darn second of my life worrying about not being good enough. I wasted too much time on such erroneous thinking for too many years. No more, I say! I’m so done with that self destructive negativity.

I am diligent in maintaining my realistic optimistic mindset. It is not a trial, but has become effortlessly easy to be me. I like me and think I’m pretty darn cool! (ok, chill out ego, getting a bit carried away there…haha)

I wholeheartedly realize that I would not have been able to heal by myself. I needed the sources from literature written by caring psychologists, therapists, and most assuredly my beloved LoveFraud and all the beautiful peeps who share their experiences with me. And Kathleen’s most excellent essays.

I must always give credit where credit is due, not taking all of it for myself. Yeah, I took the initial step in seeking to educate myself regarding PDIs (positive choice, there) but without you peeps loving, compassionate hands and hugs I would have that priceless knowledge yet I would have been alone in my struggle for enlightenment. Now I’m solidly aware that I have never been alone. And I humbly and respectfully wish to express my sincerest gratitude to each and every one of you.

You’re awesome, phenomenal folks and don’t you dare let one living person tell you different. They are WRONG, so very wrong. I see you. I hear you. You have all touched my heart and mind in such incredible ways that I will always cherish and adore you.

Peace, Love and Joy to all….
Kimberley (aka JaneSmith)

JaneSmith,

Wow! I got big ole’ happy tears reading your post. I am not where you are, but not so far away that I don’t feel it, and recognize the wonder of the distance you have come. Thank-you for the ‘long view’ of healing, and I look forward to getting to a place where I find more ease in my self-loving.

lyj Joy,

Another possible love blooming here on the pages of Lovefraud. Matt too. So happy for your excitement and for asserting your lovely importance into the grand scheme. I get so lost in all the posts here, I have a hard time keeping track of people’s comings and goings (I have thought of a LF journal, so I can remember each person….). But I understand you have been hospitalized, and I am glad that you are out, and well…..and following a bit of bliss. Take good care.

Let us all learn to assert ourselves, properly, into this grand wonder!

So I hate to hijack the happy thread, I haven’t read anything in this thread yet, just glanced over it. For some reason I am having an especially hard day today. After several days of hardly thinking about the S I feel right now like I need a straight jacket to keep me from calling him!

It’s been two months now NC and that is the longest ever, it’s been much easier than I expected it to be. But I had a dream about him last night and all day I can’t get him out of my head. Then I went out with a friend and was reminded of him by where we went out, and I almost called him on my drive home. I don’t know what I am thinking I hate him and I know he is no good, but I’m feeling almost compelled to call him. WTF is wrong with me!!!!! So here I am, typing instead of texting. Please send me some willpower vibes and common sense!

I’ve been there, and caved! Don’t!!! It just will make you feel worse. BELIEVE ME. I think part of it is grief….the loss of the dream. When someone dies, we will forget and start to reach for the phone to call them and then it hits us….oh yeah, they are dead, I will never see them again. And it hurts. But who you thought he was is not who he was. It was a mask, a lie. Stay strong. For me, I know I had the betrayal bond thing going on, where we are addicted to something very bad for us. Start writing a list of every horrible thing he ever did to you. Read it over and over. Let anger replace longing. Let self-respect replace longing. You are in your integrity now. The shame and blame belong to him. You are an awesome person, you really are. We all are!

Dear done,

I’m not instantly on line with you, but I second what JAH said, do not call him, come here and type and scream and pound your keyboard but DO NOT CALL HIM—it is like an “addiction”and if you hang on, the craving will pass.

Walk, take la bath, jump rope, pet your dog, cuddle your pillow, read a book, sing a song, cuss and scream, but DON’T CALL HIM. ((((((HUGS))))))

Hello Done!

Ditto, ditto, ditto. DO NOT CALL OR CONTACT IN ANYWAY. You will be made to feel like total shit, and you will be more confused and angry than you are now. I absolutely know this for certain.

I understand your longing for him to be alchemically changed from old piss to a bottle of Dom. But he is just getting more rank as the minutes fly by, and old piss is toxic to anyone, not just you.

JAH is SO right. The shame and blame belong squarely on him….BUT contact and nice words WILL NOT solicit his remorse and tenderness. He has neither of these feelings in his toolbox. He only has anger, envy, resentment, fear, hate, disdain, disgust, and vengence brewing in him. And if you give him even the smallest window of opportunity he will inject you with some of these feelings.

Two months really isn’t long. I know I fought these feelings terribly. But I didn’t give in and I am SO glad I didn’t. You will be too. It is one of the ways you can begin and continue to maintain your sense of dignity and self-love.

Take good care of your heart…..

Thank you thank you, all of you, especially Oxy,just about healed, slomone. I havent weakened and called my daughter, whose 45th Birthday was on the 6th. I know you are all right, I know she will only try to “gaslight” me one more time,that Ill probably end up apologising to HER! {For what?} they get your thinking so screwed.Inow know that Nss are not normal, they are emotionally flat, they have no conscience, no feelings of remorse. Ill only end up with an “explanation” as to why she is so ill done by, and misunderstood. I have to stay strong for the sake of my sanity and my bank balance! My darling adopted adult “kids”, Roya and Abbas, are coming here to celebrate their first wedding anniversary with us this coming sunday.They are only 23 and 24, so young, full of life, faith and hope! they kiss and embrace us, and call us Mama and daddy. They are as desperate for a real family as we are.
From now on, I intend to give my love and affection to people like them, who truly appreciate us, not waste it on selfish ingrates who care less about our lives.Onwards and upwards,! Life is good, after all! Time to take care of me, get healed, and move on. We leave for our holiday in S. Africa on Monday the 13th. We will have a great time,looking forward to it! Love and light to all you great guys!!geminigirl

Thank you all for your support. I have not called although I did google him and search him on Twitter =( I know if I call I will hate myself bc even though these last two months have been hard they were also filled with a sense of relief that I hadn’t felt in years. It’s so frustrating bc just when I felt I was making progress all these feelings came back full force today seemingly out of nowhere. Just bc of a stupid dream? UHG. I am just so sick of missing him, I’m scared today bc since NC I hadn’t really wanted to call him until today, I felt almost certain that I would end up calling. That’s how it used to be before, I would know something was wrong and that I shouldn’t want to call/be with him, but I felt COMPELLED to be with him against my better judgement. I used to tell myself, ‘don’t do this’ as I was driving to his house. It scares me that the ‘out of control’ feeling is creeping back today.

I was thinking of calling and asking for the money for the stupid U2 tix he promised to pay for, or for the mattress his drunk friend ruined on his last night over. Who am I kidding, he would never pay me anyway and I thought I’d already decided I’d be better off paying for it myself than trying to squeeze water from a stone. Insanity tonight I guess.

Thus far I’ve kept control (at least the NC part) so hopefully I will feel better in the morning and the urges will pass. Until then I pre-apologize for any excessive posting that might happen tonight.

Slimone, thank you for reminding me he is old piss in a jar.
JAH, if I start that list tonight I will never sleep bc it would take me the rest of my life to finish it.
OxDrover-those hugs are what I needed thank you!

Done:

Your blogger name is “Done”, so please BE DONE WITH HIM!!

I have been where you are, and I also caved so many times. This is not the path you want to take.
This is the road to misery, heartache, and a never-ending cycle of abuse.

To call him after being in NC for 2 months (longest ever!!) is like ripping the stitches on a deep wound that has just begun to heal.

I understand your “addiction”. It will pass if you stay in No Contact. Consider this place your “rehab center”. OK?

Slimone,
Just re-read your post, and you really hit the nail on the head with that list of emotions the S harbors (anger, envy, resentment, fear, hate, disdain, disgust, and vengence) that describes him perfectly, one more I would ad would be ‘blame’. Every time I re-read your list I can see his face clearly expressing each one of these in my mind.

And Gemini, I just saw your post and thank you for reminding me of the gaslighting. I’m sure if I were to cave tonight and call I would somehow end up apologizing for God knows what. I’d probably end up apologizing to him for him cheating on me. What a despicable beings these ppl are!

Thank God for this place.

Rosa,
Thank you, I feel like you are holding me accountable. I would hate to not live up to my screen name =) And this is my rehab, I am really so thankful for all of you being here.

Kathleen,
That mirroring does sound familiar. I love the sunglasses analogy and thinking back he did mirror me. I remember him ‘sharing’ my beliefs, but then I’d see him with someone who didn’t share my morals and he’d be ‘sharing’ their perspective. He told me he could never be with (the woman he left me for) bc they didn’t share the same belief system. I bet he just told me that bc he knew I thought she was crazy and I bet he tells her that he believes all her psychic ways. For some reason I always thought he really did share my beliefs, even when I would see him acting in ways that would be inconstant with someone who actually kept the same values as me. Not sure if I never saw this before or if I just forgot about it, it seems so obvious now I can’t believe it never crossed my mind. I probably just shoved it aside with all the rest of the red flags.

Done,

So good to hear you have not called. You sound so nice and smart and aware……Kathy is right you know, they do mimick our qualities and we fall in love with our own selves in the initial phase. That is SO what we want all the time. To be ‘in love’ with ourselves.

Imagine. Anything you ‘thought’ you loved about the old piss, was REALLY you loving what he imitated by watching you. I bet you are lots of wonderful things!

And any lying, cheating, manipulating, stealing, hurting, and gaslighting you can place back behind those mirrored sunglasses he wore!

“…when we fall in love with these people, we are really falling in love with ourselves.”

I must REALLY love myself, because it took me almost 10 years to get rid of the asshole.

Maybe I should move this over to the “self-love” thread and get some therapy for myself.

Rosa,

You crack me up!

IN THE BEGINNING!

The rest is pure torture, as you know.

Slimone:

Oh, that’s right. I forgot.

Still, close to 10 years down the drain with the asshole.

A lot of people on this site want their money back, or whatever they lost in their ordeal.

I WANT MY TIME BACK!!!!

Rose,

May I ditto you on that!!!

17 YEARS AND I WANT MY TIME BACK!!!!!

I am new here so thank you all for the wisdom, this is to Done… and any one else with advice…. Its only been 6 days and we have a 12 year old son, who thinks his life is turned upside down now.. How I try to explain to him , Dad is not the same person to me that he is to you, how can I make him see this?

Im done, Done…. he wants his “stuff” but he has no place to keep it, I have to have contact with him until his “stuff” is gone, then again we have a child together…. I wonder why he cant understand why his name was not on the birth certificate, because he was with his next victim he left 3 days before… and I guess in a way its a blessing for me… he has no rights unless he goes to court, which he is a coward and has been in trouble before .. anyway Im rambaling… I just wanted to say… Thanks for all the comments and wisdom it helps a new person like me make sense…. We were seperated until my father died 3 years ago, it was my mistake that I called the jerk thought he could give me the support I needed not drain my spirit and soul… and turn me into a shell of a person…. Then my mother died… my family is mostly gone…nephews, brother sister I dont get along with… this is support that I need, I wake up crying and wonder why, how could I not see I have known him since I was a teenager. I will be 40 next week, Oh according to him I will be an overweight single mother and 40 who will want me ? I want me ! I like me! I know me! Thanks again

Rosa, James,

I want my 23 years on and off back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now must not be a good time for me to quit smoking and take yoga is it?

Well…I finally read it, Kathleen. Too bad it couldn’t have been written and read by me a year ago. I could have used the “what I want/what you want skills” then…but I can still use them everyday now…next time…and in every situation. Better late then never.

Rosa (funny and to the point as always) and James…yes, I’d like the time back, but with what I’ve learned over the years. But looking back, I look at what I didn’t know, overlooked, tolerated, and how I sabotaged myself, too.

So I take out the good (and there was a lot), let time heal the bad, look at myself…what I want, what’s fair, and what I need to do to get where I should be…for me…and anyone I find who agrees to go there with me…for them.

I still have a lot to do. And I have a new day to do it in.

It could have been worse. We’re survivors, by the virtue of the fact we’re here, have found each other, and we have a lot more help and good advice to work with…and a chance to really celebrate on the next Independence Day.

Thanks again, everybody…Lovefraud IS WORKING FOR ME!

Jim

Spirit40…LOL…I’m still actively smoking and not taking yoga. Quitting smoking is on my list. Yoga might have been there, but slipped off the page. “The List” is long…I’ve got to check off some of the really big items I’ve been NOT DOING at the top, then maybe it can get back on….

One step at a time, baby steps to start…again. Don’t rinse/repeat Jim!

The email bull s–t has begun

I cant take it anymore, i miss my family so much it hurts. i
spend alot of time alone here cryinig, thinking about alll the crap io
have done over the years ans it makes me sick to think that i always
took you for granted.
I dont know if this matters but i am going to councling by myself,
i also think that you and i should go as well as allltogether as a
family. i know thats not an instant solution butr i am willing to do
what ever it takes. i plan on going to meetings here to try and get my
sobriety back on track, but i am already doing much much better. i am
out of the woods physcally and i should be able to get a temp job at
the home depot down the street (fingers crossed). I love you and d
and our little place and the dog and everything (cept the bugs), but
that is an easy fix. now that io am sober again, i just wish you would
give it some thought. i promise you if i ever take a drink in that
house you can hit me with a bat (and keep a copy of this for leagel
reasons).
Anyway, iall i want to say is that i miss you waaay more then you
would thikn by the way we talk on the phone, just please dont do
anything drastic (like move in the next three days) and then i hope we
can at least for a minute or two, have a reasonable takeyou can do
what you want with the jeep (although i think you know that would
really really bum me out plus be dangerous for the fam), also as an
asided i am going to assume that you got the check from daddy and
managed to cash it without probs.if you give me a chance i will not
even take keys to the house, i will stay out all day everyday untill i
fdind one. i love you so much and i am sorry that we getin the
arguments that we do. please forgive me for my drunkness.

The best thing about me is you.

Spirit40:
Welcome to the overweight, 40 something, ugly and single parent club….shall we add ass as big as a house or just leave it as a cow that NO ONE would/could ever want!
Once again…..he’s wrong…..another projection……oh the inner shame and guilt they hold! It’s so ugly when it oozes out of them in this fashion….I remember mine saying he same thing. Oh, of course, this was after he said a few days earlier that he would love me at any weight…..
I’m glad to see your not buying into that……it makes you love you more when he says stupid crapioli like this……You come to a point when it very obviously a huge attempt at digging to manipulate and control you hitting the self esteem button.
OMG….you sound as if you have a pretty good handle on what you need to do.
Sounds as if you have been grieving for years and know its time….or well beyond time to take care of YOU!
I’m proud of you for that.
They attack our self esteem…..I have said many times….I should be ‘fetal in the corner’…..BUT, I”M NOT!!!!!! Far from it!
Not saying it’s easy…..oh quite contrair……but well worth getting away from the crazymaking eggshell dinners they serve up.
I too was with my ex S since young teens…..I too an early 40…..
Boy….all the promises, promises, promises…..yada, yada, yackydydackidy, blah, blah, blah….. This should be a sociopaths song…..give it a good beat and we might be on to something!
Oh…..how many times have you heard the same thing over and over through the years.
But….you know what’s going to happen if you buy into his guilt trip….youve lived it already!
I got rid of mine and the blubbering by challenging him on making good on the promises…..although I already knew and had lost hope it would ever come to fruition….at least it kept him away…..I wanted reports….he couldn’t provide. He did go see a Psychologist 3 times…..ooooohhhh! The psych called ME asking to come in….all S would do in the sessions is try and illicit info about the counselors private life! Counselor knew nothing of the S….after 3 visits…..no worries….they won’t even if they made it to 1000 visits!
I like how you phrase the post about the email…..this shows great strength on your part!
EMAIL BULLSHIT STARTS……some of us would fall for all those fantasy promises….because this is all we ever wanted.
It sounds as if you may have fallen for the promises ONCE to many times. And he’s not able to ‘show me the money’…..
Welcome, and your off to a great start girl!!!!!
Stay strong and stay in control of YOU!
XXOO

Dear Erin, Thank you so much! if I wasnt crying so much I could type a nice note back! well I will ball and type and get all wet… who cares . I want to move, I saw this cute house for rent, and I am seriously considering it cept its in the worst neighboorhood assured that its a business section so not too many people no traffic area but the house is sooo cute I just want to start over ! My mind is saying dont run away stay here and stick it out but the reminders of him and he knows where we are! The only good thing are the neighbors who I could probably get support from here… I guess I just made my choice instead of moving into a horrible neighborhood/ but cute house ,I should stay around here for if I need witness’s they are around! Thank you for all your kind words and support I really needed it !

My response to his BS email :

I think your last email was total bullshit and I do not believe for a second that you can or will change. Its the way your programmed since you were a child. The things you have told me, they way you were raised, abused, unloved….

I will not accept your lies. I do not forgive you for targeting me . You saw a good hearted loving caring person and turned her into a shell of a person, by manipulating my love for you to your advantage/s.

I will not let you abuse myself or my child.

I will not let you back into my heart that bridge has burned down.

I do not think there is help for someone like you . Maybe years of therapy …

I can recall all of the horrible things you have done and said to me and that is my strength and hope and courage. You will not do it to me ever again.

I kept taking you back, I called you because I thought I could trust you, I thought you were capable of love and being loved. But you have no true real emotions… Its all a game to you, and you have told me this yourself.

You know its a game, a game you think you can win but not this time. My eyes are open! wide open and Im not getting into it with you.

I am working on myself. You should do the same, I am not letting you move in , I am not going to counseling with you. And if and when you see David it will be supervised/mediated and trust me if that happens you wont be manipulating, and gaslighting me. Look that one up! Your not going to blame me for your horrible behaviors.

I do not forgive you. I do not beleive your empty promises are just more lies to try and sucker me back. You dont want me you want a sucker which I am not anymore! Go play your game on someone else, it wont work here.

-Do you not know I am a woman? when I think I must speak.

William Shakespeare

An email from his sister… when I told her I kicked him out…
Hi L

I don’t know what to say. I’m sure living with him is not fun and I am sorry.
I do wish you the best. I do hope he is able to see son and I
know he loves him very much.

Well, take care. J

WTF, he still has his family fooled, shouldnt they know who he is? Oh thats right he is an ALCOHOLIC

I need to stop focusing on this so much I have two weeks left of my 8 week ACE accelerated BLS (Bach lib Science) two final presentations and cant focus at all on any of my assignments…. I know what I need to do I just keep procratinating…ugghhhhhh

spirit40:

When I read your S’s email I was struck by how similar it was to emails my S would send me. Whether you realize it or not, it contains all the tactics used by sociopaths to manipulate their victims.

First, the pure pity play — I miss my family so much it hurts, yada, yada, yada. Mine would always run this when he knew I was at the end of my rope with his antics. The pity play always leads to…

Second, the “you’re right – I need therapy, AA, whatever” stop is pulled out when they know they’ve exhausted our infinite patience and now know they have to throw us a psychological bone to get us back by telling us just what we want to hear. I always got the “you’re right. I’ve been running from my problems. I”m going to call one of the therapists whose names you got me. They are going to call nobody. They are perfectly happy with themselves. You are the problem. Which leads to…

Third is what I call the “turn back” — don’t YOU do anything that I feel is dangerous for the family. Read this closely. This is where a S starts reasserting his control. And the “turn back” always leads to the…

Fourth is the “I’m still not going to make any changes in my life” — I’m going to get a TEMP job, the I’m still drinking, etc. And oh, yes — I expect you to accomodate me by continuing to support my antics, support me (because I will be quitting this shitty temp job as soon as you are back in the fold) and go right on doing whatever the hell I feel like. And now that S has laid out all HIS terms, this leads to…

Fifth — the contact from his dupes. In your case the letter from his sister — classic getting others to do his dirty work.

I agree with Kathy’s advice. Also, I want to add that his timing the most recent donnybrook doesn’t surprise me. You are facing your final 2 exams to get your BS. If you successfully complete your program this is a direct threat to his control over you and he is going into overdrive to make you fail.

Make no mistake, your success is a direct threat to your S. I can guarantee it. You will be getting a job where you make real money. YOu will be working with a group of educated people who (in his pathetic little mind) will outshine him and thus lessen his control. If his control lessens, you will start to realize that you don’t need to put up with his bullshit. And when you realize that, his days on the gravy train (aka your paycheck) are over.

So, you have to shut out all his nonsense and finish your BS. Hell or high water. If you need to take a study break every hour or two, then shove some of his crap into a bag or a box for ultimate removal. But, you have got to operate in S mode now — pure survival, all about you.

Thank you Matt, I got goose bumps! Your right! and I am grateful for the support I am receiving here… I was looking into PODS but no way am I dishing out any cash for it. I could just get a huge box and mail everything but his precious bike that he built. Of course he wants his computer and all his “private” data …. anyhow I know I need to stop procrastinating its soo hard ! Thanks for the solid advice and support. Survival mode

Kathleen Hawk

The post you wrote Done on Tuesday night hit home for me too. I need to take the focus off him and put it on me. I was the kind, caring, loving person, not him. He took my good qualities and used them for his own sick games. I promised myself that I’m going to stop feeling bad when I think of the way he treated and used me and instead focus on what I want in my life.

Astrology… something he told me is stupid… my horoscope for today

You may be in a peculiar state of mind today as you become aware of how isolated you feel, even if you have close family and friends. There are parts of your life that you choose to keep to yourself and your secrecy adds distance between you and others. But you may also be in touch with an inner strength that makes you feel good about the choices you have made. Put your quiet confidence to work by making another difficult decision that you have been postponing.

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