The New Year brings you a great opportunity to change your life for better health and well-being. In preparation for a better life, consider how recovering from loving a sociopath/psychopath is like recovering from addiction. Since the New Year is an opportunity, let’s take the time to focus on recovery.
A good friend of mine is struggling with substance addiction. This addiction is very similar to what many of you face because my friend was highly functioning before the addiction which started at mid-life. Before the addiction, he functioned well and was very productive. There is no obvious reason for my friend to be now at the verge of death from stimulants.
When we recently discussed his addiction, I asked my friend to consider what goes through his mind at the moment he decides that the best thing for him to do with his time is to use speed. I admitted being baffled about why he would make that choice. There are so many other ways he could spend his time and he knows that. He said, “When I don’t use, I feel great”¦ Then I use”¦I am an addict.”
Although I am generally in favor of people identifying their problems, in this case, “I am an addict” seemed like a quick excuse used to avoid really taking responsibility for his choices. After some reflection he did say to me, “You are right, it feels like a compulsion, but I guess it is a choice.”
Maybe you face a similar struggle. Instead of battling addiction, you are battling the love you feel for a sociopath. Just like my friend, even though you feel a compulsion to call the sociopath, you too have a choice to make. You can either choose to spend your time doing things that will bring you health and wellness or you can choose to spend time with that sociopath/psychopath.
During our talk, my friend reflected that he feels empty and bored at the time he chooses to use. The speed is a quick fix for the emptiness and boredom.
Many of you go about your lives just fine, then you end up home alone one day with nothing to do. Feeling bored, it suddenly occurs to you that your best choice is to call that sociopath. At the moment of boredom and emptiness all the pain the person caused you is not accessible to your consciousness. All you think about is the fun you had together. This fun is a marked contrast to the boredom and emptiness you feel in the moment. Since you feel sentimental, you think it is OK to make that call.
If you are waiting to feel repulsion for the sociopath before you disengage, you may be waiting for a very long time. The pleasant memories may always be tied to the love you feel which will be activated when you slow down and give yourself time to think. You have to make a conscious decision to make better choices for yourself. This decision has to be independent of however you feel in the moment. The decision to break away and remain free is a leap of faith in the belief that your future can be better “sociopath free.”
OK so how did you get to this place where you decide your best option is to choose to be with a sociopath/psychopath?
Just like my friend with speed addiction, during the relationship, you gave up on many of the activities that used to be meaningful to you. Also like my friend, you left friends, family members and hobbies behind. Maybe you also now surround yourself with other very dysfunctional people.
Getting free means choosing to spend your time in healthier ways; it means connecting with the love you feel for the friends and family members you abandoned when you chose the sociopath. You have to reconnect to the “you” that existed before this relationship.
You also have to admit that it is very selfish for you to hold on to your love for the sociopath. You likely have people who are counting on you to be a friend, parent or devoted family member. You can’t be there for others who need you as long as you hold on to the sociopath. Stopping then, means thinking of those other people. You do have a duty to them, much more than you have a duty to the sociopath.
You might benefit from combining all your New Year’s resolutions into one: Resolve to live a life of greater physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.
Make a commitment to fill your boredom and emptiness with activities that will build you up and make you healthy. If you are overweight, the CDC says you need an hour of exercise each day. There is a world out there full of fascinating possibilities, you can find them if you try.
Now I’d like to introduce you to a couple of friends who have brought joy, meaning and healing to my family. Each day when we walk and play with our dogs, the dysfunction brought into our lives by a psychopath feels very far away.
Use the comment section below to make your own lists of things you can do in the New Year, rather than wasting your time and precious life energy with a sociopath.
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