Last week, I posted Letters to Lovefraud: Who we used to be, written by the reader who posts as “Panther.” She called herself a “new survivor,” having just left the sociopath and gone “No Contact” less than a month ago. She wrote:
Through reading various Lovefraud articles, I’ve realized that the veterans have so much invaluable advice to offer. However, at times I wonder how the voice of a survivor sounded right after the break. The reason this matters to me is because the veterans seem so much stronger than I feel right now. I cannot help but wonder, as I read through their wise words, if they have something I don’t have, which enabled them to get over this.
To Panther and other Lovefraud newbies: The only difference between you and the veterans is time. We’ve been on the healing journey longer than you have.
I left my sociopathic ex-husband in February of 1999. That was more than 12 years ago! I’ll tell you what I was like when the wounds were raw. Here’s what I wrote on page 287 of my book, Love Fraud How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. In this part, I’m describing my state of mind, and state of being, when I discovered the treachery of my ex-husband:
James Montgomery proclaimed his love to me—just as he had proclaimed his love to 20 or 30 other women who had discretionary income and access to credit. I was just another pawn in a long line of women who heard the words “I love you” and believed them.
Why had this happened to me? All I ever wanted was what everyone wants—companionship, happiness, love. I was a good, considerate person. I worked hard. I treated people fairly. I did not deserve to be so exploited.
I paced up and down the hallway, my thoughts tumbling over each other, building into a mountain of pain and confusion. I leaned my back against the wall and slid to the floor, talking to myself. I felt like I should cry, but I could not. My dog, Beau, worriedly licked my face.
I was angry. I was outraged. Yet all I felt was numbness. I decided to call my therapist, Elaine Anderson. Luckily, she was available to do a session with me right then, over the phone.
I lay on the bed in my spare room, the meditation room, and told Elaine what I had found in James’ papers: Correspondence to his business associates that was full of lies. Letters from women asking for their money back. Stock certificates made out to many of these women. Proof that the corporation issuing the stock certificates was defunct.
The dam within me began to crack, and then it burst. I cried. I groaned. I choked. Emotional pain rose from deep within me to the surface of my awareness, like pus rising from a deep infection. Painful energy traveled to various parts of my body—my hands, my eyes, my heart. My hands clenched. I struggled to breathe.
I don’t know how long it went on. But slowly, the pain dissipated.
That was the beginning of my journey to recovery. I spent many, many hours curled up on the floor, crying. I also spent many hours envisioning my ex-husband’s face on a pillow and pounding it with my fists, pounding until I collapsed. I spent many hours with my therapist, coaxing the anger and bitterness out of my emotions and out of my soul.
The betrayal of the sociopath creates deep, deep pools of pain and disappointment within us. To recover and regain ourselves, we have to drain those pools. It takes time.
And then, as we drain them, we find more pain and disappointment in the pools, left over from injuries that we experienced before the sociopath. In fact, it was those injuries that made us vulnerable to the sociopath in the first place. Those emotions must also be drained.
Healing doesn’t just happen—we have to make a conscious decision to face all of the negativity head on. If we don’t make the decision to heal, if we just try to put the experience of the sociopath behind us without dealing with the pain—well, then it was all a waste, we didn’t learn anything, and we’re likely to repeat it by finding another sociopath.
Recovery is possible, but it takes time and commitment. Here the words I said to myself time and time again: “Just keep going.”
So to all of you who are just starting out, just keep going. I promise you, you can overcome, you can recover, and you can find peace.