After the Sociopath is gone: The gift of unconditional love

A couple of months ago I had emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder. I’d been feeling discomfort for some time, but put it down to what I was eating, or simply the fact there was a lot of flu going around. And then, one Saturday morning I awoke to excruciating pain in my abdomen. I’d been having little mini-attacks off and on since Christmas, but they had only lasted a few minutes and once gone, could be ignored and even forgotten. But that last attack simply would not stop. My daughter called an ambulance and once in the hospital they told me I needed to have my gallbladder removed immediately.

After the surgery, I still wasn’t feeling up to par. I was constantly nauseous and tired. I told myself, it’s just the after-effect of the surgery. My body is ridding itself of the anesthesia and the gas they used to aid in the surgery. And then, one week after the surgery, I had another attack, this time, without a gallbladder to cause the pain.

Back in hospital, they told me there were still stones in my digestive track. Through another procedure, they divested me of as many stones as possible, and to ensure any remaining stones left my body without getting stuck in a duct, they inserted two stents at the opening to my pancreas.

I thought I’d feel better immediately, but I still felt lousy. Nauseous. Uncomfortable. Tired. After three weeks, they removed the stents and one day after the surgery, I awoke and it was like magic. I felt energized. Like my old self again!

I mention that process because it was so like what happened to me while I was with the sociopath. At first, I didn’t notice the little anxiety attacks that kept undermining my peace of mind. I didn’t notice the ebbing out of my energy, the sucking away of my calm.

As the relationship progressed from its early beginnings of ”˜perfect love’ into the terror and horror of that imperfect lie in the name of love, I began to feel continuously out of sorts. Constantly tired, and sore. At one point, every muscle in my body ached, every joint pained me. Getting out of bed in the morning was a process of rolling slowly onto my side, easing my aching body over the edge of the bed and onto the floor so that I could slowly, painfully straighten up and begin a careful walk towards the bathroom. When I walked with my dog, my fists were clenched by my sides and no amount of concentration would keep them unclenched. In my chest, there was a constant, knife-like pain that wouldn’t ebb. Breathing deeply was next to impossible, and breathing freely a distant memory long forgotten.

I told myself, it’s just a flu-bug. It’s part of ageing. It’s stress. It’s anything but a reaction to the excruciating horror of living with his evil machinations undermining my well-being.

To cope, to keep myself sane within the context of that relationship, I began to amputate more and more of my emotional self. No matter what feeling I let go of, however, errant wafts of pain would trouble my mind like phantom limbs reminding an amputee of all he’d lost. As I tumbled further and further into hell, I thought my body was rejecting me, not because of the sociopath, but rather, because I was not ‘doing it right’, not ‘being enough’ for him. If only I could be more perfect. Be more flexible. More loving. More caring. Furiously I attempted to amputate everything about me until I had left to cling to was the lie of the ”˜love’ he fed me through every weave and warp of his deceit. Without relief from the constant diet of terror that was my life with him, I began to feel like my entire being was being eaten away, cell by cell, by some mysterious, unknown disease.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I didn’t dare go to a doctor. He’d told me any attempt to seek medical help would only make the mess I’d created in his life greater. Hearing only his voice roaring in my head, I lost my ability to discern between what made sense and what was sheer stupidity. I needed help but didn’t dare reach out for it, except through him.

I never once connected my unease to his discord. I never once acknowledged that he was the cancer eating away at my peace of mind. That was a truth that was too terrifying to face and so I turned inward, futilely attempting to cauterize the continuous bleeding away of my life-force by stilling the voice of reason buried deep within my mind.

And then he was removed by the police and I awoke to the devastation of my life.

At first, I didn’t want to look at what had happened to me. I wanted to hide my head in shame and sorrow, to chastise myself for having been so stupid, so blind, so naïve. But heaping self-denigration and blame upon myself would only have continued his abuse. Just as trying to make sense of his nonsense would only have kept his abuse alive in my life, I had to learn to turn up for me in all my wounded parts without judging myself for falling to pieces. I had to begin the process of putting my humpty, dumpty self together again with tender loving care.

I had to face the truth. I had been abused. Duped. Lied to. Deceived. Manipulated. Destroyed by the man who had promised to love me ”˜til death do us part, and who had then proceeded to spin the deadly web of his deceit into my demise.

I had to learn to love myself, exactly as I was. Tto ease my pain and sorrow, woundedness and terror, I had to learn to be at peace with where I was, to accept what I had done, and to forgive myself for having gone so far from where I’d meant to be.

In acknowledging that in loving him I had given up on me, I began to heal. Within two days of his arrest, my joints quit hurting. When I walked, my hands hung comfortably by my sides. The pain in my chest evaporated. In facing the horrible truth of what had happened to me, I began to claim the emotions I had so furiously amputated in my desperate desire to pretend that what he was doing was all about love.

What he did had nothing to do with love. And what I was doing while with him had nothing to do with love either. It had everything to do with abuse.

Since being freed from that relationship almost five years ago, I have learned to turn up for me, no matter where I am, or how I’m feeling. I have learned to love myself, warts and all and to embrace the truth of who I am, even when I feel like hiding from myself.

Today I know the truth and celebrate it every moment of every day. I am a woman of worth. A woman worthy of loving herself for all she’s worth, with all she’s got. In loving myself, no matter my condition, I have given myself the gift I’ve always searched for, unconditional love.

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117 Comments on "After the Sociopath is gone: The gift of unconditional love"

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It’s so good to hear that just a month out, you’re doing better than I was/am then and now at six out.

Spaths are so good at the initial manipulation, the love bombing, the luring, the honeymoon stage…..then when the bomb drops, we’re trapped. the key I’m learning now, is to recognize the BAD that it all was TOGETHER and trying to find some way to understand that all of that stuff in the initial stages was to entrap me, not to love me. To keep in his cycles of abuse.

that is very hard. but it does put it into a better perspective.

Good for you Duped. I wish you well.


This is exactly how I felt when me & my spath broke up.
I was a mental & physical train wreck. It was like he injected all his inner ugliness into me.
Towards the end when he started deserting me for his new victim I took up with strong alcohol every night so I could sleep myself into a coma.
My entire body ached like a cancer. The minute he was gone I assessed all the damage he did to me. I was hurting emotionally but I got my health back physically pretty quick.
One month later I felt like a Spring chicken reborn. Although it took me a couple years to get over the trauma mentally, I pretty much got over the physical suffering from the abuse pretty quick and I threw out the bottle of Vodka.
I no longer needed it.

YAY for Joanie: throwing out the vodka! 🙂 We’ll celebrate with a bowl of ice cream; how’s that? 🙂

THanks LL and eb for validating my words.
I had been looking at all this from a distance, for quite a while, now with my x spath and the patterns are undeniable. I am fearful for the WORLD as long as he is out there, stalking and preying on unsuspecting women who feel sorry for him. There is no need to feel guilt nor remorse nor ‘sorry’ for a spath because, trust me, they don’t feel sorry nor guilt over you and the things they have done. It’s easier for them to get away if they make you crazy. They never want to take responsibility for themselves and when you try to approach them regarding their behavior, suddenly you are the bad guy because you mentioned it and if YOU didn’t ACT LIKE THAT, they would have NO PROBLEMS.

Yah, I have heard all the stories. Trust me.
I was the ‘good little worker bee’ who cleaned up all his messes and looked out for him while he slowly tried to kill me using my own affection for him. Now if that isn’t a mind job, you tell me what is.

Being left alone at the end of a love bombing spathic relationship is overwhelming always because they don’t want to own up to their problems or do anything about them. They prefer it when it’s all someone elses fault; if it isn’t, just spin some more lies and try to twist life to make it go the way they want it to.

I am glad Joanie you are back to health.
THanks LL for the sweet wishes….
The road to recovery is different for each of us.
We can’t gauge a proper amount of time to heal.
We all heal in our own time but I just wanted to make everyone aware, that all this torment, guilt, conscious, etc., we are experiencing after the big ditch-ola, is normal and natural for us because we are caring people.

Once you realize they are NOT caring, it kind of puts it all into some perspective. Doesn’t it? Yes, Virginia, there ARE SPATHS who walk the earth. 🙂

Let’s not let them win – let’s beat them at their own psycopath-ness by refusing to allow our lives to be tormented any longer! I know it’s easier said than done sometimes but meditation is a great tool to find you.

Always in my prayers…
You are all amazing and deserve the best life has to offer but only YOU can make that happen~ ! 😉


Duped my experience in a sociopathic marriage happened 30 years ago. I’m talking out here what happened to me because back then I didn’t have a therapist. I kinda healed on my own through time.
There’s so much I had in common with many ladies here.
I guess many of us can relate to the spath profile. I have had so many coincidences with these writer’s it’s uncanny.
So many of these stories feel like I’m writing them. I guess many of us feel that way.

Sorry you had to go it alone, Joanie. xxoo
I have been in counseling almost five years now.
The relationship ended for the fourth time just a month ago, with my making it absolutely clear there will be no more of this roadshow in my life. Period.

Yes, very revealing to come here and read and realize we aren’t alone; isn’t it? 🙂

Take care of yourself Dear Joanie….rest well.



You are an amazing and insightful woman. I can see this in your posts, yet you give honor and grace to those who have suffered as you have. What a KIND heart!

I could learn A LOT from you. I hope you continue to post. Your words resonate well with me. I understand them completely.

Joanie, your insight is invaluable as well. My mother was married to a spath, my father, for almost ten years ago about forty years ago now. These things were never spoken about. It’s amazing that you’re here! I would like to know more about your story too. It might help a little in healing what happened to my own mother. she is dead now and has been from cancer since 2004. There were things that were never resolved.

It wasn’t okay in her generation to talk about it, but I also believe she was an N in traits.


Good Morning, LL…

Thank you for your kind words. xxoo
It has been a very long road for me, climbing out of this ‘hole’ of a nightmare. I grew up as a child of a heroin addicted mother. Always drama and chaos in my life. I spent my whole life trying to AVOID a lifestyle with chaos and drama and imagine that: after just about 10 years of living single and alone, I made ONE exception and allowed this spath in. Yeah, out of the kindness of my heart. I really wasn’t ‘thrilled’ about getting into another relationship because I don’t need sex nor anyone to financially take care of me. I can and always have taken care of myself in this life, from the age of 16!!!!!

“I”, just like all of you, woman and man alike, got trapped into our respective relationships because of our kindness and caring. We LOVED the spath and thought, from the goodness of our hearts, to believe there was hope and we tried to help them, for whatever reason.

Instead of that ‘changing’ the attitude and mindset of that spath, it only empowered them further to infict a deeper, more control of you, kind of power. Once they see you ‘love them’ and ‘care’ about them, that is just like a vulture moving in on a ‘kill’. And, yes, the rabbit hole eventually leads to a ‘it’s them or me’ kind of situation.

You all might not see that: some spaths are violent and become serial killers. Other’s introvert but not many! MOST are only out for themselves and what they want in this life and are willing to do whatever it takes and if that means snuffing your life out…that is what it means.

I KNOW: FIRSTHAND this is true.
The spaths #1 consideration in this life is himself/herself. I know that is difficult to understand but it is true. STOP allowing the perpetuation of this torment.

Yah, right, perhaps I am talking to myself more than I am to all of you. Hmmm? “Stop allowing this torment to continue…” Hey, at least we all have one another. 🙂

Don’t think about the ‘love’ you THOUGHT was there.
DONT MISS THOSE LIES that we were living in at someone elses insistence. It’s like sticking your hand in the fire and saying you got burned. 🙂 Don’t stick your hand in the fire then! NO: it does NOT make you just like them to NOT CARE ABOUT IT ANYMORE.

My psycologist said to me: “Once you stop talking about it all, it will fade. Just stop talking about it and force yourself to put your thoughts elsewhere. Do something you enjoy. Just anything but spending time thinking about it.”

Sure: these are avoidance behaviors but HEALTHY avoidance behaviors. Got it? 🙂 Don’t let these horrid, unscrupulous people ruin what we have left of this Beautiful Life we are BLESSED with.

Anyone like rock & roll?
Familiar with Sixx A.M.?

Check this out:

Hope it is meaningful this morning…

Love & Blessings,


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