After the sociopath is gone: From grief to falling in love.

Every other week I participate in a ‘one word’ blog carnival. This week’s word was ‘grief’.

Grief. A tiny word. Five letters. ‘i’ before ‘e’. A story of precedence. What comes before grief? Love. Friendship. Familiarity. Hope. A belief in tomorrow. A belief in another day. A better day. A different time. A time for endless hello’s to fill our day with promise. A time to love.

And then death sweeps in and robs us of that time. That moment. Those endless hellos punctuated by good-byes that do not mean, never more, but rather, until later, until we meet again, until the next time.

In death’s embrace we fall and grieve for the one who was lost, for what was lost, for time lost and never to be recaptured.

In grief there is no next time. No better time. No later. Grief consumes all time and steals all hope of a better tomorrow.


When love ends, we grieve. We grieve the passing of what could have been, should have been, might have been, if only. We search for ways to give meaning to our pain, to explain the sometimes inexplicable causes leading to loves demise. Sometimes, we talk it out. We make arrangements on how to separate, how to divide loves spoils, how to survive loves loss. We draw up agreements, outline custody and visitation arrangements. We divvy up assets and liabilities, arrange for payment. We divorce and move on with our lives, sometimes poorer but always richer in experience.

When we have loved an abuser, love cannot die. Love never existed. There was no mutual agreement to love honestly, truthfully, respectfully. There was only the abuser’s mask hiding his or her intent to deceive. There was only the lie we did not know existed.

In love’s vanishing out the door slamming behind their last words, we hang our hopes on one more chance to say, ‘good-bye’. On one more time to see their face, hear their voice, be in the presence of the love we believed to be true.

In our grief we plead for one last time. We pray, he will return. We pray, he or she, the one we loved, will come back if only to give us a chance to secure the elusive closure our empty arms yearn for. We want to say good-bye on our terms. We want to have the last word, to make them hear us, see us, feel our pain, witness our anguish. We want to know they understand the harm their passing through our lives has caused. We want them to ‘see’ how much we love in the hopes that the one we loved, the one we believed to be true, will return. We want one more chance. One more time. One more good-bye.

And so we plead with time to give us this one last chance so that we can come to terms with their good-bye. So that we can steal the time to learn to grieve on our terms.

And that is the lie we tell time. Give us a chance and we will make them hear us, just this once, so we can grieve freely.

It never happens. It can’t. Because grieving an abuser is the greatest betrayal of all. In having loved a lie, we can never grieve what never was.

With our empty arms and broken dreams, we must give into grief and mourn for the one who was lost. The woman who was abused. The woman who was lost. The woman who fell. The woman who was betrayed and who betrayed herself. We must mourn for the one we must love the most. Ourselves.

Once upon a time I loved a man who was untrue. He never really existed, though I searched for him between the lines he spoke that were all lies. Between the pages of my journal where I wrote of love ever lasting and promises of happily-ever after. I searched for him in every nook and cranny of my mind, desperately trying to make real the unreal. To make sense of the nonsense that was his passing through my life. I searched and held onto the hope that the pain, the turmoil, the sorrow was all a lie and he would turn up and be true.

It never happened. It couldn’t. He was the lie.

And in my facing the truth of his deceit, I grieved. I grieved for the dream that could never be, the love that never was. I grieved for the woman who was abused. The woman who lost herself in the arms of an abuser. I grieved for the pain she endured, the pain she caused. I grieved and cried and wished and hoped and prayed upon every star that the pain would cease, the tears would dry up and my heart would be healed. I prayed for the past to be erased. The lies to be vanished. The horror to be undone.

Nothing can undo the past. There is nothing that can be changed in yesterday.

Grieving a love that never was is part of the illusion of loving an abuser. We look for meaning in our memories and come up empty.

On either side of grief is love.

Grieving for the woman who lost herself in the arms of an abuser, set me free to fall into the arms of love.

In grieving for all that was lost, all that was forgotten on the stormy waters of his lies, I embraced all that was possible when I set myself free to sail upon the sea of love that surrounds me, sustains me, and lifts me up.

Love has no limits. Love knows no bounds. Love is my answer.

Stand in love. Grow in love. Be love.

In mourning for the one who lost herself in the arms of a man who was untrue, I found myself. I found myself and fell in love with all that I can be when I set myself free to live this one wild and precious life free to be all I am when I let go of grief and fall… in love.

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Dear Panther,

The lead vocalist is very cute – she’s my kind of girl!

Sorry to hear that you still feel so teary and beaten up – that will pass in a few months. Just “keep on truckin'” in the meantime. Besides, at your age, you still have ample time for at least three or four more “loves of your life”!

Constantine! What would I need three or four more for? I would prefer just ONE in his right mind over the whole herd.

I am truly talented at selecting crazy men, so I was thinking I should get a job as a “find the crazy person in the crowd” specialist. Just put me in a room full of them. I can tell you which one is nuts. He’ll be the one I feel an urge to talk to. (Skylar’s explanation about German Shepherds getting excited seeing another German Shepherd makes sense, since my father is a P. These wackos register as “familiar” to me.)

I also have this talent for finding the most expensive ANYTHING in a store. You could show me 50 pairs of shoes without their price tags in view. The pair I like will coincidentally be the most expensive pair.

It’s a backhanded gift, I think.


hi panther,
I can relate to your expensive shoe selection. Me too.
It seems that I always pick out the most expensive anything.

As far as picking out crazy men, THEY PICK ME. I’ll just be sitting alone at a restaurant, and they feel compelled to talk to me. I remembere one time, after such an incident, I came home exasperated. I said to spath, “what is it about me that attracts freaks?!!”

He just sat there, with no comment. Must’ve been thinking about it though.

Well, Sky, it could very well be that they do pick me, and I end up thinking it was my idea. The last spath was part of the double spath combo move, so he actually had selected me before I even knew he existed. I am a sucker for pretty eyes and eye contact, and spaths have that in excess. And testosterone. I noticed (and then researched this to learn it is true) that while I was on birth control, I was attracted to more “masculine” men, aka men with more testosterone. Ironically, I was on bc with almost every spath AND I had a coil in for the entire time during my most recent relationship with one. Within 2 months of taking the coil out, I broke up with him and went NC! It could be coincidence, but it’s an interesting coincidence, still.

It doesn’t matter who picks who, really. I was too easily made “at ease” around these types because I had been around a P male since birth. Freud would have a heyday with this, bleh.

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