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After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 5-Getting Angry

Healing from an emotional trauma or extended traumatic experience is a like a long, intimate dance with reality. Or perhaps a three-act ballet. We are on the stage of our own minds, surrounded by the props of our lives, dancing to the music of our emotions. Our memories flash on the backdrop or float around like ribbons in the air. Down below the stage, in the orchestra pit, a chorus puts words to the feelings and gives us advice drawn from our parents’ rules, our church’s rules, all the rules from the movies and books and conversations that have ever colored our thinking.

And our job is to dance our way through the acts.

The first act is named “Magic Thinking.” We stumble onto the stage, stunned, confused and in pain. Our first dance is denial — the “it doesn’t matter” dance. Our second dance is bargaining — the “maybe I can persuade whoever is in power to fix this” dance. The third and last dance before the intermission is anger.

This article is about anger.

The emotional spine

Everyone here who has gone through the angry phase knows how complex it is. We are indignant, bitter, sarcastic, outraged, waving our fiery swords of blame. We are also — finally — articulate, funny, re-asserting power over our lives. We are hell on wheels, demanding justice or retribution. We are also in transition between bargaining and letting go, so all this is tinged with hope on one side and grief on the other.

Anger really deserves a book, rather than a brief article. It is the end of the first act of our healing, because it really changes everything — our way of seeing, our thinking, our judgments, the way we move forward. Like the element of fire, it can be clarifying, but it can also be destructive. To complicate the situation further, many (if not all of us) tended to repress our anger before we entered this healing process.

So it may be helpful to discuss what anger is, where it comes from. What we call anger is part of a spectrum of reactions that originates in the oldest part of our brain. The brain stem, sometimes called the lizard brain, oversees automatic survival mechanisms like breathing, heartbeat, hunger, sleep and reproduction. It also generates powerful emotional messages related to survival.

These messages travel through increasingly sophisticated layers of our emotional and intellectual processing. One of those layers, the limbic system or mammal brain, is where we keep memories of good and bad events, and work out how to maximize pleasure and avoid pain (often through addictive strategies). The messages pass through this layer on the way to our cerebral cortex.

There in the thinking layer, we name things and organize them. We maintain concepts of community and identity (right and left brain), and we manipulate them continually to run our lives as thinking, self-aware beings. Beyond the thinking brain is the even more advanced area of the frontal cortex, which maintains our awareness of the future, interconnectivity (holistic thinking), and the “high level” views that further moderate our primitive responses into philosophic and spiritual meanings.

What our thinking brains name “anger” is actually a sensation of physical and emotional changes caused by the brain stem in reaction to perceived danger. The spectrum of those danger-related sensations roughly includes alertness, fear and anger. While our higher brain may see a purpose in separating fear and anger into different categories, our lizard brain doesn’t make those distinctions. It just keeps altering our hormones and brain chemicals for all kinds of situations, depending on its analysis of what we need to do to survive.

The point of this long digression is this: alertness-fear-anger responses are a normal part of our ability to survive. They travel “up” into our higher processing as the strong spine of our survival mechanism. There is nothing wrong with feeling them. In fact, paying attention to them is better for us in every way than ignoring our feelings (denial) or trying to delude ourselves about what is happening (bargaining).

The many forms of anger

One of the most interesting things about the English language is its many verb forms, which express various conditions of timeliness and intent. I can. I could. I could have. I would have. I might have. I should have. I will. I might. I was going to.

Those same factors of timeliness and intent can be found in the many facets of anger. Bitterness and resentment are simmering forms of anger related to past and unhealed hurts. Likewise sarcasm and passive-aggressive communications are expressions of old disappointment or despair. Frustration is a low-level form of anger, judging a circumstance or result as unsatisfactory. Contempt and disgust are more pointed feelings associated with negative judgments.

When anger turns into action, we have explosive violence, plans for future revenge and sabotage. When anger is turned on ourselves, we have depression and addictions. The judgments associated with anger foster black-and-white thinking, which can be the basis for bias and all kinds of “ism’s,” especially if the anger is old, blocked for some reason, and thus diffuse or not directed primarily at its source. This typically happens when we feel disempowered to defend ourselves.

All of that sounds pretty terrible and toxic. But, in fact, the most toxic forms of anger are the ones in which the anger is not allowed to surface. The lizard brain does not stop trying to protect us until we deal with the threat, and so we live with the brain chemicals and hormones of anger until we do.

Anger can also be healthy. The anger of Jesus toward the money changers in the temple is a model of righteous anger. In response to trauma, righteous anger is a crucial part of the healing process. Anger has these characteristics:

• Directed at the source of the problem
• Narrowly focused and dominating our thinking
• Primed for action
• Intensely aware of personal resources (internal and environmental)
• Willing to accept minor losses or injuries to win

Anger is about taking care of business. At its most primitive level, anger is what enables us to defend our lives, to kill what would kill us. In modern times, it enables us to meet aggression with aggression in order to defend ourselves or our turf. We expect to feel pain in these battles, but we are fighting to win.

However, anger also has its exhilaration, a sense of being in a moment where we claim our own destiny. For those of us who have been living through the relatively passive and self-defeating agony of denial and bargaining, anger can feel wonderful.

As it should, because anger is the expression of our deepest self, rejecting this new reality. We are finally in speaking-up mode. We are finally taking in our situation and saying, “No! I don’t want this. I don’t like it. I don’t like you for creating this in my life. I don’t like how it feels. I don’t like what I’m getting out of it. And if it doesn’t stop this instant, I want you out of my life.”

Getting over our resistance to anger

Of course, we don’t exactly say that when we’re inside the relationship. In fact, we don’t exactly think it, even when we’re out of the relationship. And why is that? Because — and this only my theory, but it seems to be born out here on LoveFraud — people who get involved with sociopaths are prone to suppress their anger, because they are afraid of it, ashamed of it, or confused about its meaning.

When faced with a painful situation, they suppress their inclination to judge the situation in terms of the pain they’re experiencing, and instead try to understand. They try to understand the other person. They try to understand the circumstances. They try to interpret their own pain through all kinds of intellectual games to make it something other than pain. To an extent, this could be described as the bargaining phase. But for most of us, this is a bargaining phase turned into a life strategy. It’s an unfinished response to a much earlier trauma that we have taken on as a way of life.

Which is very good for the sociopath, who can use it to gaslight us while s/he pursues private objectives of looting our lives for whatever seems useful or entertaining. Until we have nervous breakdowns or die, or wake up.

We can all look at the amount of time it took us to wake up, or the difficulty we’re having waking up, at evidence of how entrenched we’ve been in our avoidance of our own anger. It retrospect, it is an interesting thing to review. Why didn’t we kick them out of our lives the first time they lied or didn’t show up? Why didn’t we throw their computer out of the window when we discovered their profiles on dating sites? Why didn’t we cut off their money when we discovered they were conning us? Why didn’t we spit in their eye when they insulted us? Why didn’t we burn their clothes on the driveway the first time they were unfaithful?

Because we were too nice to do that? Well, anger is the end of being nice. It may be slow to emerge. We may have to put all the pieces together in our heads, until we decide that yes, maybe we do have the right to be angry. Yes, they were bad people. No, we didn’t deserve it. And finally, we are mad. At them.

Anger in our healing process

Anger is the last phase of magical thinking. We are very close to a realistic appraisal of reality. The only thing “magical” about it is this: no amount of outrage or force we can exert on the situation can change it. The sociopath is not going to change. We cannot change the past, or the present we are left with.

But anger has its own gifts. First and foremost is that we identify the external cause of our distress. We place our attention where it belongs at this moment — on the bad thing that happened to us and the bad person who caused it.

Second, we reconnect with our own feelings and take them seriously. This is the beginning of repairing our relationships with ourselves, which have often become warped and shriveled with self-hatred and self-distrust when we acted against our own interests in our sociopathic relationships.

Third, anger is a clarifying emotion. It gives us a laser-like incisiveness. It may not seem so when we are still struggling with disbelief or self-questioning or resentment accumulated through the course of the relationship. But once we allow ourselves to experience our outrage and develop our loathing for the behavior of the sociopath, we can dump the burden of being understanding. We can feel the full blazing awareness that runs through all the layers of brain, from survival level through our feelings through our intellect and through our eyes as we look at that contemptible excuse for a human being surrounded by the wreckage s/he creates. Finally our brains are clear.

And last, but at least as important as the rest, is the rebirth of awareness of personal power that anger brings. Anger is about power. Power to see, to decide, to change things. We straighten up again from the long cringe, and in the action-ready brain chemicals of anger, we surprise ourselves with the force of our ability and willingness to defend ourselves. We may also surprise ourselves with the violent fantasies of retribution and revenge we discover in ourselves. (Homicidal thoughts, according to my therapist, are fine as long as we don’t act on them.)

It is no wonder that, for many of us, the angry phase is when we learn to laugh again. Our laughter may be bitter when it is about them. But it can be joyous about ourselves, because we are re-emerging as powerful people.

The main thing we do with this new energy is blaming. Though our friends and family probably will not enjoy this phase (because once we start blaming, it usually doesn’t stop at the sociopath), this is very, very important. Because in blaming, we also name what we lost. When we say “you did this to me,” we are also saying, “Because of you, I lost this.”

Understanding what has changed — what we lost — finally releases us from magical thinking and brings us face to face with reality. For many of us this is an entirely new position in our personal relationships. In the next article, we’ll discuss how anger plays out in our lives.

Until then, I hope you honor your righteous anger, casting blame wherever its due. And take a moment to thank your lizard brain for being such a good friend to you.

Namaste. The healing warrior in me salutes the healing warrior in you.

Kathy


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1437 Comments on "After the sociopath: How do we heal? Part 5-Getting Angry"

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Kathleen Hawk. Amen sister! You once again have captured the essence of where my head and heart come together and express it so well in written form. No, I am not saying you are a mind reader- but you do understand. Your “own opinion” is so true. We do rationalize and try to understand the other person and veer off the realization of our own hurt and pain. I was so excepting of others “differences” and made it okay if they did something that was not “NICE”! So many excuses… Not anymore! Anger has given me power and I handle situations so so so differently. My S and others that I have removed from my life are no longer Kryptonite to my being! ’cause I am super woman, I’m super dooper (Alicia Keyes’ song) Thank you for following through with the healing process. I look forward to the next. Namaste “Healing Warrior”

I don’t know if I suppress anger, BUT I do make excuses. Go around in circles trying to figure out why? I always thought the cruelty was because they were “troubled,” confused and afraid of their TRUE emotions. I let so much abuse slide because they were supposed to be a friend- once I see someone as a friend , cruelty just can’t be happening! But it was.

I just wrote about (for my free newsletter) the magical thinking of psychopath’s targets. And I believe it is based onthis idea that there is something more there.You know- the angry young man is really sensitive.

http://holywatersalt.blogspot.com/

Dear Kathy,

Excellent post! I would also like to add too, that in my perceptions there are also other kinds of anger (like you said, it should be a BOOK or SERIES OF BOOKS) that can make us like the bull in the ring with the matidor. It can blind us.

Jesus said “be angry, and sin not” (i.e. it is okay to be angry at injustice, but don’t let it cause you to act inappropriately). He said also “do not let the sun go down upon your wrath.” Since “wrath” is a kind of anger, but the two words are not synonoms, I looked up “wrath” in the dictionary and wrath is the “blinding” kind of anger that the psychopath has, the enraged anger that eats away at your soul (if you have one) that nullifies your conscience (if you have one) and makes you head blindly into the fray, without the inhibitiions from your pre-frontal cortex. Without thinking of your own safety.

There are times, of course, when “throwing yourself into the fray” without concerns for your own safety “make sense”—like for example if you are protecting your child from a pack of wolves, or whatever, but in most circumstances when we would go “blindly” into danger and impulsively throw ourselves into a fray, we end up “losing” more than we gain.

Vengeful thoughts do light up the pleasure centers of the brain, and are from the more primitive areas of the brain, it it is our impulse control that keeps us “sane” and keeps us from picking up a gun, knife or club and going after them, even though they RICHLY deserve a “lesson.” Psychopaths don’t always have this impulse control and will give in to their basic desires of revenge.

Jesus’ admonition to “not let the sun go down upon your wrath,” says, to me, that even HE expects that we may have these wrathful feelings in some circumstances, that we may even have vengeful thoughts, but that we are not benefitted by harboring these things for days and weeks, months and years, because they are more destructive to us than they are to the people they are directed at.

We have “justifiable” anger at the people who have hurt us so much, and feeling that anger, acknowledging that anger I think is a very healing thing for us, but to “harbor” and “nurture” wrathful feelings for a long time is, in the end, harmful to us, it embitters us. Letting go of the unhealthy wrath, I think is a big milestone on the road to Healing. Feeling justifiable anger, and ACTING on that justifiable anger, but not letting it become a blinding, wrathful and self-destructive anger is also important as well.

As always, wonderful food for thought! Thanx!

Kathy:

Anger is the most beautiful emotion. I have spent a lifetime of battling depression — I am finally seeing that it is attributable to bottled up anger from growing up in a physically and emotionally abusive household, and a lifetime of trying to be the original people pleaser.

When I finally let myself get angry at the S, it was like a religious rapture. I literally felt the anger coming out of the tips of my hair. It was a gift. The gift that kept on giving.

It gave me the strength to drive off S. It gave me the strength to go after him for the money he owed. And it gave me the strength to finally take on friends and family who have treated me badly over the years.

Yeah, they don’t like it. But, each time I take a stand, each time I draw a boundary, I feel so much better. And anyone who doesn’t like it can bite me.

I don’t want to walk around angry all the time. It’s too exhausting. And since I’ve finished up my business with S, I’m about finished with my anger at him.

Not that I’m going to become a polly-anna. I now see how healthy anger is, and how it is a tool in our self-protection arsenal.

It is no longer business as usual at Matt’s house.

Matt, Well said. Anger does set us free. The S’s and manipultors of the world count on the good nature and kindness and conscientiousness of good people so that they can “win”, (whatever that means to them). Until I could get really angry at the XS, i could not let go. You are right……time to stop being angry and to let go all the way.

Anything more I learn about him is just more shit and it just makes me angrier and keeps me tied into the drama. It’s over. The anger is over. I don’t miss him and I have developed a different kind of confidence than I had before. The confidence of knowing:1. I am OK and better without him. That took time. 2. that I will not let this happen again because my boundaries are stronger than ever. 3. I can love to the fullest and will again with someone equally capable and deserving.

In order to stop the anger forgiveness is for me. So now it’s all about me. not him. he isn’t worth one more second of my time, thoughts, anger, pain or tears.

Yes, Kathleen did it again. I don’t think I’ve been in a physical fight since the fourth grade, and I was probably angry enough when I found out her lies and betrayal, after all the years of crap I took…but, snce I didn’t have that habit, I used the energy it gave me…got to the lawyer, then to the bank. She almost destroyed the kitchen when she found out I’d “frozen” all the joint accounts…any way I had to. (it was fairly distributed in the divorce agreements)

Anger carried me through…it was a good thing then. Don’t need it now, unless it’s righteous, and can be focused as energy to solve something.

I still get mad, and sad…less every day. Actually, I could use some of that energy now….it was invigorating.

Dear Matt,

GOOD FOR YOU, BROTHER!!!! That positive anger is empowering, and like KF said, at some point we can let go of it and ACCEPT the past and not carry around the bitter/anger forever. That positive anger though at the first part is energizing and forces us to confront the abuse and to set boundaries.

I find that when I am feeling “irritated” or “angry” at someone or something, it is usually because I am supressing the anger I feel at what someone has done to me, or is trying to do to me. SO it is “boundary setting time” if I am feeling big anger or “irritation” (small anger). I think EVERY TIME I feel that “feeling” it is because there is a boundary attack, or I have no boundary and need to set one.

This morning when my friend called me with this “plan” about how my sons would solve HER PROBLEM WITH HER POOR PRIOR PLANNING, I wasn’t even “irritated” and SET A BOUNDARY easily and IMMEDIATELY. I also saw an immediate solution that she had not seen to her problem, made the suggestion of who she could call on to assist her with handling it and said “thanks for calling” and hung up. VERY SATISFIED WITH MYSELF (pat pat!!!) This thing was a “non event” for me, no big deal, but that is what it takes is PRACTICIING boundary setting at every opportunity. NOT being hooked into enabling others to use you and your resources to counter their own poor planning.

I also find that if I let a “little” irritation slide, the next “little irritation” is ADDITIVE until it builds up an ATOM BOMB of anger and BOOM there is an explosion. Dr. Eric Berne called this “saving trading stamps” and pasting them into a book until you can have a “guilt free” outburst when you get “enough” stamps saved up. By handling the situation when it is a little one, you don’t get the big outbursts or the big angers. I know that is what I did with my egg donor and with my P-son and my P-XBF, I saved up the “little” hurts until they became BIG PILES OF HURTS.

One shovelfull of BS doesn’t stink too bad, so you can ignore it, but if you keep heaping shovel full after shovel full on top of another, eventually you get a DUNG HEAP that reaks to high heaven.

Thank youfor the article and subsequent posts. This is where I am! ANGER!! I want revenge and have so many, many “inappropriate” angry thoughts! I’ll be glad when this phase passes though. It takes lots of energy. He’s with someone else now and I get so angry when I think she’s getting the “best” of him. In the beginning Igot the best too. Sometimes I still wonder if I did cause any of how he treated me and THAT makes me angry. That I wouldt hink that I’m all over the map of emotions. I keep telling myself that he’s just sick, sick, sick and that’s bound to come out in this relationship too.

Oxy, Your situation is a good example of the kind of stuff that we DO need to practice and then recognize that we made a good decision around. I can recall so many little discussions and small things that happened and I would leave the situation walking on eggshells, feeling the discomfort and I don’t have that anymore. I LIKE IT!!!

Don’t get me wrong, still have days where I want so badly to see him prosecuted for the lies and the things that were a result of his disordered self…… but in the end it doesn’t take away the bad feelings and won’t correct his behavior. All we can do is get ourselves out of the entanglement by going through the anger first in order to be good to ourselves.

By the way, on Friday, I was out with a girlfriend having dinner and drinks and he showed up….. with his big trashy x stripper sporting her tattoo. It was unnerving and we were finished eating so we left anyway. It made me angry but more than that I felt gross and sick to my stomah. All I thought was ewwwwwwweeeeeeeee.

Dear KF,

Isn’t it GREAT when we don’t have to swallow our daily doses of irritation and anger and creep around on tip toes afraid we will step on an egg shell?! HOW LIBERATING IT IS! To get up in the morning and be pretty darned sure that your day isn’t going to be filled with anger–anger at others, anger at yourself for being such a panty-waist and letting people step on you.! TOWANDA!!!!!!

I haven’t heard that phrase “panty waist” in a long time. My mom used to always say that !!!! And you are correct. It feels like I have SO MUCH MORE control in my life. And I do!

keeping_faith and OxDrover:

One of the things I’ve come to realize with suppressed anger is that it goes beyond depression. The suppressed anger leads to depression, which leads to a loss of faith in your ability to acomplish anything, which leads to paralysis about addressing your problems, which leads to — a vicious circle.

By the time S got done with me, I really had reached the bottom of my emotional and self-esteem/confidence reserves. There were none.

But, somehow the anger stirred up my survival skills and I did what I had to do — drive S off. That experience must have been a wake-up call that I had to become self-sufficient in every area of my life.

Today I finally resolved the last of my new technology problems — I couldn’t get my Outlook to interface with my email. Back in the old days I would fall into the “I’m so stupid. I’m a technological moron”yada, yada, yada.

Today I got the tech geek to walk me through it step-by-step. And yes. Now my Blackberry interfaces with my notebook. And my email, calendar and contacts interface with my Outlook. It took a couple of weeks, but yes I accomplished it.

I’ve noticed that a renewed self-confidence is kicking in. I’m entering week 3 of unemployment. I’ve been busy networking, updating the CV and seeing what is out there. Yes, I know the economy is bleak. Yet, I feel strangely confident that everything is going to work out.

Not to say, I don’t have those moments where the old self doubt creeps in. But, I’m finding if I think about what is creating that, I generally find that it’s somebody else that’s pulling something on me which is creating the self doubt. And if I get justifiably angry, presto-chango, the self-doubt seems to evaporate.

51 years old and I’m finally growing up.

Realized I spoke out of context re: Henrys post last night. It was late, I was falling asleep and this aft I just recalled he said something endearing to everyone – all the while he had a crap day yesterday. I was agreeing with him and expanding on his kind words.

Kindheart, I also misread that the problem youre having with your medication is an insurance matter. I have no idea if the form in which the medication is given affects the insurance coverage (doubt it – but never know). Also, in some situations when it is medically documented that you are unable to take an alternative drug due to existing underlying medical conditions your provider can make an exception. But the Doctor has to get involved with providing a statement as such.

Oxy, I agree with you about severe mental illnesses/lost souls. I realize a chemical imbalance is exactly that and medication is a necessity to regain the “balance” in order to make the choice (along with meds )to want to begin the journey through therapy and self-help to live a more normal and balanced existence. Your step-father sounds like he was truly a gift to you and others. I bet you miss dearly. He def passed on some of his wonderful qualities to you.

Matt,

You are amazingly strong. You and I are similar in many ways. I think over achievement can be the result of supressed anger. Maybe it was my catholic upbringing that also contributed to the “rules” of being nice to everyone. I too, when I met the S, was at the bottoom of th eself esteem barrell, just separated after 22 yrs of marriage and had lost myself in my x husband my kids, my job and then the S. I do feel differently now and a little more alone. But not so lonely.

I also feel that I have an independence that I didn’t have before as well as the ability to do things that I couldn’t and didn’t do before, because of other demands and now I can do what I want BECAUSE I CAN. I don’t want to trade that for just any man. I’m not giving that power away again.

Kathy,

When I started to have enough response to insults (anger) that I wanted to start to set boundaries, I was very leery of “over reacting” and I would “bounce off my son D” my feelings, my reasons for setting the boundary and ask him if they were “reasonable” in his opinion, because I DIDN’T want to react unreasonably, but not, with a bit of practice, I have set bondaries now without a second though, just like this morning when I received an early “wake up call” from my friend. I wasn’t even really awake (it takes at least 2 cups of coffee for me to be awake and with it) and I STILL saw the problem, and found a solution (a boundary) and set it. (Pat pat!)

I didn’t even wonder or worry “is this going to ofend her?” because I did not care if she was offended….I said things “nicely” and tactfully, but FIRMLY. Formed my lips and said NO! And gosh, it is a heady feeling to do that! My training wheels are off and I don’t need at this point I think, anyone else to validate that my boundaries are “reasonable” because I can validate that myself. If someone says that my boundaries are NOT reasonable, I will discuss it with them, but as long as I am okay with the boundaries that is the maiin point for me at this point. I actively try not to be unreasonable or “nasty” with them, but reasonable and FIRM.

Kathleen –

“Sociopaths have some major failures in processing i.e. they don’t understand connection or the long-term consequences of not caring about their impact on other people” WHERE WE EXCEL AT THAT.

But Sociopaths “extraordinary power of focus, planning and execution derives from their knowledge about what they want for themselves.” WHERE WE SIMPLY DONT EXCEL AT THAT.

BUT… “It is something we can benefit from learning” –

I WAS, AND STILL AM ANGRY ABOUT THAT FACT/TRUTH. The fact that I not only lack the essential ability to be emotionally free and further was guilty each and every time of being newly angered by his Sociopathic behaviors and became quite extreme in my reactions while in the relationship. Further, giving him the ability to view me as a “crazy” person.

I did not act out on my “anger” in the healing process during the aftermath. But I sure experienced it. I credit my mother-in-law to teaching me how to settle down, think, give it a day…and figure out how to use it well. By not giving him the satisfaction of any more attention, albeit negative attention, I feel Ive matured by processing my anger reaction better.

I am angry/envious that Sociopaths have a good quality/trait. lol. It just angers me that I have to learn one of their traits in order to become a more balanced person. But I sensed that he had qualities I didnt and vice versa. Ones that we would both benefit from learning from eachother. As well as ones that we would both benefit from changing in each of our own lives.

And lastly not to confuse matters, but is it fair to say Sociopaths also abuse/manipulate the well intended benefit of asserting a boundary. As an example — when they are directly approached to be held accountable for deceiving us, cheating us, stealing from us, (or whatever the finding is du jour) they turn it all around and all of a sudden play the “This is my life, and I get to choose what I welcome into it or what I keep out of it” CARD – and the masterful manipulation continues and we are CUT OFF without explanation or a shred of remorse – and all of a sudden we are the bad or crazy one for addressing their bad treatment/choices. That angers me too.

BTW, Anger feels powerful to me, when I know its righteousness thats being abused/manipulated. Thanks Kathy.

Kathy – Is two more years enough time for you to complete and publish your book? I would like to give it to my daughter when she graduates high school. So, basically, Im just giving you notice that you have until June, 2011. Your insight is powerful. I would like to give her the added gift of the powerful knowledge that will come from your book. In the meantime I will teach her what I have learned from my journey by seeking out the knowledge and support to have the courage to look within ourselves and accept as well as apply we learn. Thank you.

Great article. Except I’m not enjoying anger very much at the moment because the things I feel angry about I also feel powerless to change. I feel like I need to hide away from society to stop finding injustices to be angry about. The anger is draining me and aging me. As soon as I let go of one thing, there is something else. Some company I bought supplements from charged a fraudulent charge on my credit card, requiring months to clear up. My HOA is refusing to take responsibility for a common line plumbing back-up, and there is nothing I can do about it that I can afford to do. The S reappeared in my peaceful internet community and spiked my blood pressure probably to dangerous levels. It seems like it’s just one thing after another in my life these days. There is always some battle I’m fighting. Antisocial neighbors, loud cell phone conversations everywhere I go……I got the lesson about anger. It’s okay to be angry. Now when can I stop being angry?

Kathy,

Oh my goodness. It was an emotional post for me. I could feel my love for my daughter and my desire to share with her all the things I didnt know and all the knowledge she/we can gain from you, your book. And the message that there is hope and healing and growth and enlightenment at the end of the process.

You are an incredibly gifted and talented writer. And your insights from your experience, journey, research and heart collectively shine through your words of knowledge and wisdom.

This could be your shining moment which perhaps began when you ended up taking that road to that little old bar to share your poetry which gave you the courage to start to trust yourself and fulfill your need to do this.

They say the only thing to fear is fear itself.. Can we add S/P/N’s to that :))) Seriously, it must be quite scary to do this – to not know the outcome or how it will be received. But remember we must do things for ourselves, especially fulfilling our own wants needs and dreams, and not worry about others!

TRUST is my goal. It was something I always thought I had within me, but really it was something I mostly gave to others — having very little of it about myself — and part of the reason I am here today. To learn to trust myself.

I encourage you to do what you have encouraged me to do – trust yourself! You can do this, boy oh boy can you do this!!!!!

Cant WAIT for the picture in the back of the book, with my LF friend Kathleen Hawk in her expensive haircut and spiffy clothes (dont dress down for that lady :))) – its your time to shine – inside and out! xoxox

Thank YOU. God bless

Cool…Kathleen’s new “Recovering from Sociopaths” book AND the book of “The Collected Poems of Kathleen Hawk, (you can pick the subtitle)”…new items available at the Lovefraud Store…and Oprah calling, too. You go girl! Works for me!

Jim (funny one) — You truly are! So Cool!

learnEDthelesson…thanks. There’s nuthin’ on 400 channels tonight I haven’t seen or want to watch. And I’m afraid to go “out there” where the predators lurk. So here I am…this is me…Sorry.

Wow, thanks for taking the time to respond so eloquently. I actually got hit with several things all at once a few weeks ago, and trying to deal with the aftermath. You’re right, it’s much bigger than the sociopath. But also, I’m just seeing a lot of the injustice and entitlement in our current society. I sometimes just feel like I beat my head against a wall trying to deal with so much lack of humanity.

Thanks for the support, Kathleen (who has now gone to bed). I do sometimes find it necessary to fight for change where it can be made. I fought for a smoking ban at the community pool a few years ago and won. I have also been very outspoken about some things at work and get taken very seriously. I’ve also made a lot of enemies by being so outspoken. I guess it’s nice to know I have a voice and can speak up, after growing up in an abusive environment where I wasn’t even allowed to say “no”. But the apathy of others just appalls me sometimes. I often feel like the lone ranger. I then wonder if it’s worth it. If no one else cares, why should I? Sorry, not an uplifting post this evening.

Kathleen Hawk what a great story about your courage and bravery in writing and reading your poetry. You are so honest and true to yourself. So sorry about your past. You are a survivor in every sense of the word. It is so crazy how we doubt and question our dreams. MaryAnn Williamson has a quote that I find befitting for you. You definitely deserve to let your light shine and inspire others to do the same!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God; your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Kathy – Perhaps sometimes meeting someone can touch your spirit and soul in ways that cause us to find greater meaning in ourselves, about ourselves as well as others. Leaving a great impact on both our souls and recovering/rebuilding ourselves/inner spirit. Something good comes from something bad – if and when you are ready to do the work.

It is such a contradiction of sorts – but in the end the potential for finding the love and trust we have been searching for – is really right in front of us.

We truly emerge when we learn to trust and love ourselves ourselves and those we choose to love. Beyond that its sharing our experiences our joys and pains with the ones who are just beginning their jourey, are in the middle of it or near the end. We are surrounded by all three at various times in our lives via family, friends, strangers!

And if theres someone to join us on our path, who can appreciate us as we appreciate them, then its an even more worthwhile journey should we wish to share it or keep it to ourselves!

Either way without fear and with an abundance of self trust and self worth.

True believer – Ive heard parts of MaryAnn Williamsons quote before, but never before in one place at one time. It is quite profound and so fitting for Kathleen Hawk this evening.

The only constant in life is change. For the first time Im really enjoying it and actively pursuing it for myself. Thank you again.

I beg to differ with what books to read or not read.

The Bible is the first book we should ALL read … at least 20 minutes per day for the rest of our lives. The Bible is where we find God’s wisdom. Period.

The reason we are in a mess today, is because big EGOs want to believe in themselves instead of how God wants us ALL to live. He gave us a blueprint to live by. That blueprint on how to live our lives is called the BIBLE.

Every ounce of wisdom is learned from the Bible.

Peace.

Kathleen – My love and happiness to you too. I felt very blessed today to be where I am and the path Im on. This LF site, has been a shock to my system, something I have to get use to. A community of people I can turn to and trust and offer the same thing to them in return. Something good from something that stopped me in my tracks, until I took control. We all are taking control of and learning to trust ourselves again or perhaps for the first time in our lives. WOW . Goodnight.

ps . DONNA – THAT “WOW” WAS FOR YOU. WOW, WHAT YOU HAVE GIVEN ALL OF US. THANKS

Wini – That is some wise advice. I shall DO that. And I also plan on reading The Starfish and The Spider. But right now I must sleep, Im actually seeing double.

Good Morning

Learnthelesson,

Loved your late night post about “something good can come out of something bad if you are ready to do the work”, the beauty of embracing change and trusting ourselves.

Being a daily visitor to LF helps me greatly in this path. Seeing that other very smart people have lived through the same spiralling hell as I with the S, helps a lot. As many have said before, it’s just near impossible to talk to anyone else about S’s – they just don’t get it – they don’t get the notion that such predators exist as well as the devastation they leave in their wake.

I also agree that the LF community is absolutely amazing – not a week goes by that I don’t mention it to someone who either has experienced “love fraud”, or is into “conscious conversation” on the topic of personal growth. Kudos to Kathy and Oxy on their inghtful and thought-provoking posts.

Despite the tremendous stock market woes we are experiencing, I wanted to share that it is heartening to see my own baby step “progresses” in 2009, and in list form as I like to put it:

1. Took control and said “enough” to the S (3 months NC)
2. Daily visiting to LF as a source of spiritual and personal nourishment
3. Embracing change
4. Beginning to trust myself
5. Laying down (slowly) the stepping stones to a new life at 48 (as to people in my life, both friends and eventual BF’s, as well as lifestyle)
6. Making a point of having God as an ally in my journey

SocioFree,
You have come a long way and it is great to see all that you have accomplished. You should feel very proud and empowered. “TOWANDA!” as Oxy says. I agree with you and Learnthelesson, this is a wonderful safe haven and something good does come out of something bad- US. If we embrace the “changes”, as you and LTL mentioned, we have an opportunity to become an even a better version of ourselves than we ever thought possible. God is our guidance and the only ally for this journey. Stay true to yourself and keep doing what you are doing! Have a Beautiful day!

Learnthelesson (love your name too!) You really have such great insight and have come a long way too. I always read your posts and find such strength in your words. Something you said in your post above really hit home with me and was, to steal from Oprah, an “Aha” moment… “LF has been a shock to your system and something you have to get used to..” I feel the same in this discovery. I have been hesitant to share my feelings and post because it is an overwhelming emotion at times. I read everything here and it is great to see the support that is so graciously given. It truly is a safe haven here and I feel that so much more. Thank you for your kind words of wisdom. Keep sharing and together we can build each other back up. Have a blessed day!

Wini, All I can say is “AMEN”. God does give us our gifts and talents and it is great to see those in written form as well. I love to read and am grateful for those talented writers who so graciously share their spiritual knowledge with us, like Kathleen Hawk, and other blessed souls. Yes,the Bible is a daily read but I do like to embrace Gods’ other creations as well.
Take Care and enjoy this day!

I haven’t posted in over a year, but read every day….

When I first posted, people were offended by my sign-on “Righteous Woman” – But Kathleen, You described where I was in my healing perfectly in your article….And why I chose my screen name.

I have been 6-months with no contact. (Even with Child Support arrears hearings now and then). I have moved, and he doesn’t know where I am, and for the first time in 24-years I know what it feels like to live in peace.

Kathleen, your article perfectly describes the emotions that the P caused, and that if you are (foolishly) in contact with the p, they try to make you feel bad for feeling, expressing or acting upon. But I deserved each and every one of those feelings….Righteous indignation, etc. The torture he caused and the way I put up with it…I deserve every single one of those feelings. They are all valid, and I am a better person for feeling and expressing them. I am free!!!

righteous woman-good to see you! Another one, like me, who read every day but didn’t post…welcome. A righteous woman filled with righteous indignation is a powerful force!
TOWANDA!

Oxy, Henry, Matt, & Jim,
Just wanted to let you all know, I just got back from another court hearing ( the continuing saga of s being in contempt of court). I think the judge has finally GOT IT, & knows the s is nothing but 50 pounds of BS in a 5 pound bag. The judge ruled this time that if the s doesn’t make the $100 a month payments, he goes to jail for 30 days. My lawyer feels that we finally have the s on the run. I hope he’s right this time. It’s only taken 19 months & 8 court hearings to get this far. Thank you guys for being there for me, & trying to hold me up. I’ve had to go alone to all my hearings, & that’s hard. The s brought the skank he had the affair with/lives with today to the hearing. I hope she’s enjoying giving her paycheck to me, since the s hasn’t worked since Oct. 2007. I think they totally deserve each other.
Namaste & hugs to you, my friends.

WEll said, Kathy!

I also found that thought I might be “down” under the pressure of the weight of the stress from the Ps I was so much a fighter and so much one to “keep on trying” to keep on “fighting” that until I REACHED UTTER DESPAIR, that I wouldn’t give up the WRONG road I was on.

In a way, I think for some of us, the harder fighters, until we get FLAT OF OUR BACKS AND UTTERLY IN DESPAIR we keep hanging on to our attempts to “fix” the P—TOO ME, THE DESPAIR SAVED MY LIFE….because until I FINALLY FELT POWERLESS TO FIX THEM, and fled for my life, I couldn’t get off the ROAD TO HELL, and get on the ROAD TO HEALING!

Your post above just gave me another AHA moment! Thank you Kathy ((((BIG HUGS))))

Dear Stiles,

Well, I know that $100 isn’t much, but at the same time, it is a VICTORY OF HUGE PROPORTIONS! for you!!!!

I am glad that the judge is “finally seeming to get it”—-What do you call a lawyer with an IQ if 50? YOUR HONOR!!!! LOL that’s the “lawyer Joke” I heard the other day and shared with Matt! We know Matt doesn’t “qualify” for being a judge, he’s too smart by 3 times! LOL More the shame. Congratulations to you for this victory!!! TOWANDA!! (BTW for those of you, I didn’ t originate this LF battle cry, Lost in Grief did. It is what the character in Fried Green Tomatoes said when she crashed her car into the car of the people who stole her parking space! It seems to resonate with us though!

Sociofree – We share just about the same progess report. With the exception being you have 4 additional weeks NC under your belt!! Great work! Its comforting to be on this journey with more and more people I can relate to and share. I was thinking about adding to the list.

7. Being able to see the gift and healing power of smiling, laughing and
finding simple joy each day. And if, at the end of each day, we find we havent smiled at least once – we try to before we close our eyes. In our 40 plus years we surely have a compilation of some funny joyous moments to be able to remember and allow us to get that smile in!

Truebeliever – PLEASE KEEP POSTING AND READING HERE. You have a wonderful way with expressing your experience, thoughts and responses too. In fact, last night I wanted to respond to Kathleen was something powerful for her, like a great quote. But instead I chose to speak from within. When I read your post to her, I was so happy, because Williamsons quote was just so fitting for that moment. Theres another quote (you will see Im not so great with them/and usual reinvent them) lol – think it was HRC who said IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD! I believe it begins with one person creating change – and a village to help make change. The LF Village has a nice ring to it!

Sstiles – I just read your post. So glad the judge finally GOT IT! All of your effort and strength of conviction is coming together. How you went to each one alone and had to deal with seeing them – is a testament to the Towanda in you! I hope you are doing something special for yourself today – the emotional journey is quite taxing – and you deserve to have a really special day today! Youre an inspiration to us that we can go after what is rightfully ours and succeed.

Off to read Kathys post right after lunch. Dont think I can squeeze it in beforehand 🙂 – but looking forward to it!

Have a free-spirited day everyone.

sstiles54:

Well praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! You won one for the good guys.

Peronally, I would have paid big money to see the look on his face when the judge told him to pay or 30 days in the pokey. We can only hope and pray the judge does send him to prison — it would keep him off the streets for at least 30 days.

I’m proud of you for sticking to your guns. This is one of those fights which, if you didn’t fight it to the end, you would kick yourself in the end.

Hello to all, Somebody, I think Oxy but maybe Kathleen, posted on a thread about those who fall by the side of the road and how you wonder about them. I have only posted a few times. I’ve never shared many details. One story is pretty much the same as the next. So many repeating events. I’m still trying to recover. Sometimes angry, sometimes apathetic, often numb and wishing it would just be over. I live in a tiny town and constantly run the risk of passing the SP if I venture out of my home. He works a job with many stores and there are only so many roads. Which I see him on often. I try to avoid direct contact. If I see his car, I avoid that store. Sometimes, I do see him, caught unaware. I never speak. He will stare and wait and then say hello. I reply hey with no emotion. To ignore him would give him power. I’ve been hospitalized a lot in the last month for an illness unrelated to him. Just trying to get my strength back has been a diversion from thoughts of him and his whore. Sorry but women who screw married men are whores no other word for them. And yes I’m still a little on the angry side. I just want all of you to know that I read all the posts and relate to them or learn from them. This is such a good place with amazing people. I’m awed by the gifts of communication that are present in each of you. Wow. I just read the explanation of TOWANDA. What does Namaste mean at the end of Kathleen’s posts.

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