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By February 13, 2008 54 Comments Read More →

BodyMind

Last week I asked whether there might be physical consequences to life with a psychopath. Judging from the many and fascinating reader responses it seems that many people suspect that these relationships have indeed affected their health. Boldily pains, chronic anxiety, eating disorders, weight fluctuations, difficulties with sleep, headaches – all these and more either started or worsened at the time of the relationships. Some ailments straight away resolved themselves when the relationship ended, others linger.

Before I give a brief conceptualisation of a linkage between life events and physical health I must clarify terms. I am not talking here about hypochondria, imagining and and worrying about being ill. I am talking about psychosomatics, a term which has become confused for some to mean, ‘it’s all in your mind.’ Psychosomatic ailments are real ailments. A migraine headache, even if it has a psychological element, has real constriction of blood vessels, real pain, real vomiting, real response to medication – it is not imagined. As you’ll see below, to me it makes no sense to speak of something being only in the mind.

A personal example

Since childhood I suffered from migraine headaches. There is probably some genetic disposition at work – my mother and her sister were both migrainous. There were some physical things that seemed to make my migraines more likely – bright light, dehydration. However, there was also something psychological at work. How do I know? First, while I usually got three of four migraines a year, one year I was migrainous during each weekly session of a class I was teaching – too much of a coincidence. Second, although my migraines weren’t an actual topic during my therapy when I trained as a psychotherapist, somehow my migraines stopped then. Therapy is not all I was doing. I was seeing a chiropractor, doing Pilates, improving my diet, writing.

What happened? In short here’s what I’ve come to. For me migraines were in part the consequence of unexpressed anger. (During the course I was teaching I was angry about something but did nothing about it because one doesn’t get angry with one’s students, right?). Somehow the combination of psychotherapy and other activities untied that particular emotional/physical knot for me and since then it has not been necessary for me to have a migraine. Now if I feel a fluttering in my left temple I say to myself, “There’s something (emotional) going on”, and that redirection of attention seems to be enough.

I’m not suggesting anyone’s else’s journey will go the same way as mine did. In fact I know that’s most unlikely. Each person needs to work out their own – preferably multi-pronged – approach. NB Please do not take this a recommendation to eschew regular medical treatment; when I say ‘multipronged’ I mean tackle the matter from several angles including, of course, medical science.

Psychesoma, MindBody

Body-mind medicine is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you are interested see this review of a recent book on the field’s history.

Here are some notions on psychosomatics from Dr. Brian Broom (see also here and here):

What are some of the assumptions then, of MindBody healing?

  • Body and mind are inextricably involved with each other, indeed they cannot be separated.
  • Mind elements are important in developing, triggering and perpetuating disease.
  • Mind elements also play a role in wellness and protection from disease.
  • Sometimes there needs to be a pure focus on the body as the best approach to illness, while at other times a pure focus on the mind is more important.
  • In many situations, however, a combined approach is likely to give the best outcome for the patient.
  • It is important to attend to ”˜mind’ in all patients, even in what is normally regarded as ”˜physical’ illness. Attending to mind implies many elements including: respect for the patient’s ”˜illness experience’; listening for the meaning of illness; understanding the individual’s model of illness; regard for the role of trauma; attention to family, relationship, societal, cultural, and spiritual forces promoting illness or healing; regard for the influence of sociological factors such as poverty, unemployment, and loss of identity; and the role of biomedicine in rendering mind aspects invisible.

Chronic stress
Life with a psychopath provides great and ongoing inner tension and may also inhibit the ways that tension can be relieved. While it’s neither the whole story nor everyone’s story, it makes sense to me that there may be a lot more bottling up in a relationship with a psychopath than normal and what has been bottled up may well have consequences.

We are beings who, it seems, will make manifest what’s going on inside, whether we do it through action, emotions, expression, or bodily symptoms.

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Next week I will describe one simple method that has been scientifically shown to improve some ‘physical’ ailments which have a psychological component. In the meantime, what have you found that helps?


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54 Comments on "BodyMind"

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Dr Steve,
Thank you so much for raising these topics. Your articles and the subsequent posts are very helpful to many of us. A relationship with a P is like dealing with an alien from another planet and we have physical and mental problems that we’ve never experienced before. The worst thing is that no-one can see emotional and physchological trauma. To our friends and family we look and sound the same. It’s impossible to explain.

Things that have helped me are Zoloft which I started 2 months ago . I tried Paxil before but it was not so good. Now, I still have anxiety but am not in the black depression. This in turn has made it easier to DO more things which diverts my mind from thinking so much about the past. The increase in physical activity also relieves that feeling of panic. I have started meditation and I am getting better letting thoughts wash over me rather than dwelling on things.
Swallow

Hi Dr. Steve,

I just started Therapy which I hope will help me to release the last residue of anxiousness. I was disappointed that the therapist wanted to start talking about meds right way. That’s not my thing and I don’t have anxiety attacks daily or even weekly.

I know I need to get out more. I really have to force myself. Anyway, glad you are addressing this topic.

I have been living in a state of constant anxiety for fear of what is coming down the pipeline next. I am in a custody battle for my son and as my wife has pointed out, she will do anything to fight me. I have found that exercise has been my best medicine. Sometimes I have to force myself to get out and not be consumed by the past and constantly trying to figure things out. I pray a lot and find expressing myself through writing helps too.

I have found that good friends, ALANON (helps me to focus on ME), therapy, this site, medication, and acupuncture…

…an open mind, an open heart, meditation, and regularly asking God for his guidance and support (connection to a force–love, if you will–a connection with the rest of the world)…eating well, lots of water, and physical activity. Writing and creativity helps my body/mind and spirit.
My family, home, and a faith in the unknown…are also keys as well. Forgiveness/letting go of some sort as well.

I could not live without any of the things I’ve mentioned above…

Thanks DrSteve…and to the rest of you…

I can attest to depletion of health due to living with a sociopath.
Within my 2yr. 3 month “marriage” (I liken it more to human sufferage one could experience as a crashing aircraft makes it’s final descent) I developed some acute and re-occuring sicknesses I had never even heard of before.

I developed reoccuring stomatitis. I developed thrush. My allergies which had been slight and seasonal in the past became terrible and I began taking allergy injections. I started getting recurring sinus infections that I couldn’t “kick”. I had always been one to need 8 hours of sleep and about 10 months into the “marriage” to date I can function fine on 5 to 6 hours. Simply put, I can’t sleep well. I experienced incredible anxiety. At the time I served my sociopathic ex divorce papers I was having some horrific nightmares which carried on for about a month after she was removed from my home by the court. I felt like my brain had been wrung out, and saying I was mentally exhausted is a grave understatement.

It’s been been 1 year and 34 days since she has left my home.
Not a case of stomatitis or thrush since, and my allergies are much better. I still can’t sleep well and suffer from bouts of anxiety, but I attribute it to the stress of being in family court litigation since divorcing her because I have a son and daughter by her.

I have custody and residency and decision making of my children and I am constantly under the attack of her lying, deceptive, manipulative schemes to deceive professionals (her attorney, the gaurdian et litem, counselors ~ anyone who she can manipulate) to join the attack to gain her custody of my son and daughter.

I place my trust in God. I pray. He is my refuge. He’s restored my health and my thinking process after all the brainwashing I’ve been subjected to. I’ve seen his miracles in my case and in the courtroom proceedings. He is sustaining me and my children.

I have been in a relationship with a man for over two years, and I’m not sure if he ‘qualifies’ as a sociopath, or is ‘simply’ an alcoholic with a shed load of baggage (anger, depressive tendancies etc).

In keeping with the countless other Lovefraud bloggers, I too got swept away by the initial euphoria of falling head over heels with a man who I thought was ‘the one’, but 7-8 months in when serious cracks started to appear in the relationship, I had some interesting physical manifestations, brought on by stress of being around him – these include sinus problems, urinary tract infections and a frequent sense of exhaustion and gasping for air.

For you fellow bloggers who may have these or other physical manifestations of a stressful relationship, I suggest that you look at Louise Hay’s “Fit for Life” book. Louise’s philosophy is that our ailments usually represent what is happening with us at an emotional and mental level – examples of this being:

Sinus problems – somebody ‘getting up your nose’
Urinary tract problems – somebody ‘P***ing you off’
breathing problems – somebody suffocating you
leg/feet problems – a fear of taking a step forward in life…

For most ailments, Louise gives positive affirmations for the reader to repeat constantly to themselves, so as to shift things on on a sub-concious level – I have found these helpful, but have also focused on getting exercise & fresh air (endorphins and quality time out to think!!), and also trying to eat a nourishing and balanced diet… While my belief is that there is no silver bullet for getting over the hurt and trauma of a bad relationship, I believe we increase and hasten our chances of coming out the other side by trying to take the best care possible of our bodies and minds!

Interested in Dr. Steve’s perspective on the above!

Regards, TusNua (meaning a ‘New Start’ in Gaelic!)

I have lost 62 pounds, my hair is falling out, I get headaches, have night mares, anxiety attacks, & feelings of utter fear & sheer terror if anyone who even resembles him is in my line of vision. I live in constant fear, & get 3-4 hours sleep a night. This must be my punishment for being so stupid & trusting.

As a retired Registered Nurse Practitioner, in my practice in family medicine in rural areas, I saw countless patients who are “proof” that there is no division between mind and body, they are one. If the body is “sick” the mind dosn’t work well and vice versa.

Stress releases hormones that are beneficial in the short term (fight or flight) but those same chemicals in the long term are toxic to the immune system. With an immune system not up to “snuff” 100% you be come vulnerable to many diseases and other distress.

After years of stress that was “off the top of the scale” from multiple attacks of multiple Ps within my family, my own health began to deteriorate like a bobsled doing down hill, picking up speed as it went.

Change of any kind, even positive change is “stressful” but when you have constant threats to your mind and body, and have no time in between to reach eqilibrium the toxic situations can take a ghastly toll on health in all aspects, mental and physical (though they are one in my mind)

Depression, infection, injuries from lack of concentration, confusion, short term memory loss, allergies, autoimmune syndromes, chronic pain from muscle tension, etc. etc. “You name it”

Essentially, victims of destructive narcissists and psychopaths suffer the same degree of distress that victims of prisoner of war camps did/do. The body cannot be “healed” (restored to health) separate from the mental, emotional and spritual wellness, in my opinion, and I think there is sufficient medical research to back this up.

Sometimes this distress of the mind makes permanent changes in the chemical structure of the brain (much as addictive chemicals and drugs do) and requires medications to help restore it to optimim functioning. I have accepted the fact that I may never be able to stop taking antidpressant medication.

IN order to help restore my health, I have set a program for myself to restore sleep patterns and exercise to restrengthen my physical body which suffered a devestating series of sickness. I keep “stress” of any kind to a minimum, making peace and calm the biggest part of my day.

The Ns and Ps are totally out of my physical life (NC) and I make an effort to make them EMOTIONALLY and MENTALLY out of my life as well. I don’t dwell on them or their behaviors.

I stay totally away from irritating or frustrating people. I am fortunate that I no longer hold down a job, or have to deal with a P co-parent. I no longer have the need to provide nurture to a child who is also a victim of this kind of stress, so my situation is such that I can focus ENTIRELY on my own healing and peace.

I also firmly believe that the SPIRITUAL aspect of restoring health is very important. I am a Christian, but whatever a person’s belief, the spiritual aspect cannot be ignored in my opinon.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” was a victim of the Nazi death camps and survived. His spiritual and emotional concepts that there is “meaning in suffering” has been very healing for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has been a long term or traumatic victim of a psychopathic relationship.

He says “it is not the physical pain which hurts the most (and this applies to adults as much as punnished children); it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.”

Dr. Frankl is also the author of the commonly heard phrase “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior” and he quotes Lessing as “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose.”

My constant, years long, living with multiple violent psychpaths within my outwardly seeming “normal” family definitely caused me to “lose my reason” and to accept their gaslighting assessment that I was the “crazy” one.

To Sstiles 54 I say, You are not being punished for being “stupid and trusting,” any more than Dr. Frankl was being punished by some cosmic force when he was put into the Nazi concentration camps because he was Jewish.

I can’t say “why” we (and not others) have been the victims of Ps, “Bad things happen to good people” to use a trite but true phrase. Finding meaning and growth in our experiences, even if that meaning and growth is only to help others overcome the terrors that we have experienced is something positive. God bless all the survivors.

For years my hair has been falling out, and just four months ago when my P moved out, it stopped. I find my hands shake a lot, and I am extra sensitive to noise due to all the stress I have been faced with. I, too, am taking an anti-depressant and it is helping me get through all the pain.

It is so true that the mental agony is so much worse than physical pain. You look normal on the outside, but inside you feel like you are dying. One day, everything you thought to be true is suddenly not, and it turns your mind and life upside down.

I am looking forward to next week’s post about rumination, because that is something that is difficult for me to stop. I have been told by my therapist to picture a huge stop sign in my head when I start to have these thoughts that won’t go away. I find that helps, but only if I work really hard at it.

None of us that have been victims are stupid, we are only trusting human beings who would never think of people we love to hurt us so.

Thank you OxDrover for a beautiful post. And thank you everyone who has posted here. I, too, have lost the weight (one good thing that has come out of all of this) and the sleep.

My appetite has returned and I am finally doing better in the sleep department. At first I couldn’t sleep at all. I’d just lie in bed and think. Think think think. My mind constantly whirling. Looking for a way in, looking for a way out. Looking for answers I never could find.

Then, out of utter exhaustion, I went through a period where I would blessedly fall asleep. Sweet relief. But only for two or three hours. Then I’d wake up and start thinking again. I couldn’t shut my mind off.

Now I’m sleeping better. Five or six hours on average. But I still often wake in the night and start thinking, or wake early in the morning and start thinking.

This has always been one of my weaknesses, my tendency to brood. Intellectually, I know it gets me nowhere, in fact it always makes me feel worse. But, still, it’s so hard for me to break the cycle.

I feel as though I have to go back and reprocess the past nineteen years. But how can I reconcile so many years of being completely deceived with what really happened? I try to get on with my life, but I keep tripping over memories.

This past weekend I had company and we went for a walk on the local bike path. I hadn’t been on that path for more than a year. Oh my God, so many memories. My husband and I spent many hours there while I trained for my first marathon. We ran together or he rode beside me on his bike, handing me water bottles, urging me on.

We took our daughter there from the time she was a newborn. I have pictures of my husband carrying her in a backpack. We took her there in her stroller. We took her on her scooter, we took her on her bike.

And all the time this man of my dreams (nightmare more like it) was leading a double life. There was life as I saw it, the happy charade, and then there was reality, life behind the veil. And now the veil is ripped, I see behind it, and what I see is so ghastly.

Just this morning I was brooding about how, ever since my husband began his affair with K, he’d call me countless times whenever I’d go by myself “down the hill.” (We live in the mountains.)

He’d tell me to call him when I got down the hill. He’d call me an hour or so later. He’d call me again in the afternoon, and then in the evening; he was worried for my safety and he missed me so much.

When I went to my mom’s (always at least an overnight visit) he’d call me frequently on my cell phone and at least one time each evening on her house phone. I never wondered why he did that. I was just so pleased to hear his loving voice.

And now all I can think of is how he was only calling to, a), dupe me into believing he loved me and missed me and/or, b), make sure where I was.

Reality. It sucks. It’s an effing bitter pill to swallow to know that I was so thoroughly duped. I so thoroughly believed him, believed in him. Everyone did. Well, of course, not K, but then again she was duped in her own way. She never knew of all the other “other” women. No. I’m sure she was convinced that she was his one and only true love and that he was her Prince Charming, her destiny, her life.

Not that I feel sorry for her. Not at all. She absolutely deserves the man she deceived her own spouse and children to be with.

But that’s small consolation to me. I can’t seem to find any real consolation. I’m often jolted awake in the morning by some vivid memory. Then I’ll ponder what really went down.

And when that happens all I want to do is curl under the covers and make it go away. But I can’t. I’m awake and the thinking process has begun.

I know I need to stop. I am only giving him more of my time. I am only keeping myself down.

But it’s so hard. Especially in the morning. In the evening, it’s easy. I think I’ll get up the next day and do this or do that, I will go to church, or exercise, or get together with a friend. And then I wake in the morning and it’s all too much effort. Life feels so dreary. It’s all I can do to claw myself out of bed to make an appearance before my daughter leaves for school.

Not that she cares. She’d rather I stay in bed actually. She says she doesn’t even like to be around me; I’m a reminder of the family she’s lost. Seeing me makes her think about her own pain. She’d rather lose herself in her 17-year-old activities and count the days until she goes away to college. To start a new life. To not have to think about me being lonely and alone or her father doing God knows what and how he has destroyed his family and doesn’t even care.

I don’t know how to help her. I don’t think I can. She doesn’t want to talk at all about her father. If I even allude to him she says, “Stop, Mom!”

She wants me to file for divorce, she wants me to get a restraining order. She wants to never see him again, ever, in her life.

She’s lost, I’m lost, we’re both lost, and I think the best way to help her is to set an example of overcoming this adversity myself.

But it is so hard.

I have started occasionally–and I know I need to do it every day–writing the minute I wake up in the morning. Now matter the time, no matter if it’s still dark, I need to grab my computer and just write away.

I did this several years ago as a writing exercise. I got the idea out an old book by Dorothea Brande. I did it as a way to improve my writing, but ultimately it helped my psyche. During that time, which lasted several months, I was virtually anxiety and depression-free. It was amazing. I was able to handle anything with equanimity. Things that would have normally caused me distress, hardly fazed me.

But it took a lot of discipline. Every single morning, religiously, so tired, dragging myself out of bed to sit at the computer. One eye barely open, typing, typing, making tons of mistakes.

The technique is that you start writing immediately, while your mind is still halfway between sleep and consciousness, and do not let your hand (or fingers) stop moving. Even if you can’t think of anything to say, you keep writing anyway. You can write, “I can’t think of anything to say.” Whatever. Over and over if need be until you think of something else to write. The thing is, write without stopping. Doesn’t have to make sense, doesn’t have to be good. No self-consciousness, no critique of what you say or how you say it as you go along.

When I do it now I do it for at least ten minutes. Years ago I would do it for a half hour, but now that amount of time seems too onerous to me, so I set a more reachable goal. Often once I start, I go beyond the ten minutes anyway.

I find this exercise helpful in more than one way. First, it gets me out of that early morning *strong* tendency to ruminate. Second, it helps get those emotions out. This morning, by the time I finished writing, I was sobbing. And, third, it helps the creative process overall, which helps me feel more positive about myself and my future.

As far as physical symptoms go, I have suffered from psoriasis since I was 32 (I’m 55 now). But my symptoms definitely got worse after my husband moved in with me (when I was 36). I never attributed that to him, because of course I thought he was the love of my life, but now I wonder if at an unconscious level my body was trying to tell me something.

What’s strange is ever since he left, one of my most intractable patches has started to clear up. I’m afraid to hope the improvement will be permanent and afraid that by mentioning it I will jinx it, but there you are. Maybe the body has a wisdom of its own.

A couple people have mentioned having to force themselves to get out. For me, this is a big challenge. To make a commitment to get out and do something and then not be dissuaded by my feelings. One of the slogans in Al-Anon that I need to say to myself more is “Feelings are not facts.” When I’m feeling crappy, I can’t imagine not feeling crappy, so I think why bother doing anything and so I don’t when, truth is, whenever I do force myself to get out I almost invariably end up feeling better.

That serenity prayer says it all. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I’m starting to realize that this is not going to come easy and so I need to make decisions and plans and then act in spite of all the negativity my brain can come up with.

Its the betrayal of trust which is very hurtful. I myself always had a bit of trouble trusting people, but men in general. My ex seemed a decent bloke, infact everyone who passed by commented on what a decent bloke he was. With him, I really pushed the boat out on trusting, when he said he was tired and couldnt meet, I didnt press him and I didnt make any demands. Went with the flow and sometimes I thought some of his statements and action were weird.

I too am not stupid and whilst I knew that the things he was doing were odd, i didnt know what game he was up to. Our relationship did become cat and mouse, because I tried to track him to find out what he was up to.

He sent me a txt saying he adored, loved and ‘cherised’ me – not a bad statement from a man who frequently cancelled arrangements, cancelled xmas arrangements, cancelled meal together arrangements, didnt want sex or intimacy, was unobtainable on his mobile phone and to my 8 txts he sent me 1 txt when he felt like it!

Our logic tells us they are not worth brooding over, but the unexpected part is the ruminating part, which I have unexpectedly been left with, sometimes I feel like I have been infected.

Within a few months of his mask coming totally off *dropped the act* my thyroid totally shut down, I developed PTSD and depression and worse than that my son also developed depression, OCD and panic disorder…I am positive it was due to the horrible stress and circumstances we lived in. Prior to this sociopath comiing into our lives neither of us had any of these problems…worst of all there is no law against being so emotionally, verbally, psychologically and financially abusive that you literally and almost quite deliberately push someone to suicide and illness. They know what they are doing…and in fact will find some way despite all evidence to the contrary to blame you for it all.

sstiles54 says:
I have lost 62 pounds, my hair is falling out, I get headaches, have night mares, anxiety attacks, & feelings of utter fear & sheer terror if anyone who even resembles him is in my line of vision. I live in constant fear, & get 3-4 hours sleep a night. This must be my punishment for being so stupid & trusting.~~

I don’t know you, but I doubt very seriously you are stupid. Trusting, yes and I have to admit I have felt the EXACT same way you described above. I have more physical ailments than I even want to go into and they don’t seem to be getting a whole lot better since I left my ex over a year ago. Mainly because I am forced to have regular contact with him because of the children we have together. What I have been through since meeting him (13 years ago) has been nothing less than horrific. I have beat myself up over the fact that I had so much going for me and am a smart, well-educated woman – how could I have been SO stupid as to fall for him tricks and games?

It’s taken alot of research to understand that we are NOT alone and we are not stupid. My situation is finally starting to ease up a little since our divorce is final, but he never ceases the attempts to bring me back into his world of madness. Do some research and quit beating yourself up over the mistake you made. Just try to focus on getting yourself well and moving forward, not back. I think therapy or support groups are a great way to do that. You will find you are not alone by any means and that you are not stupid.

Chances are, you are a wonderful, giving person and that is why you were targeted to begin with. If you ever need to bounce some stuff off me, I am more than happy to listen. I’m still working through alot of issues myself and it would be so nice to talk to someone who has gone through the same thing.

Dear Gillian,

I hear such pain and loss in your post, and many if not most of us have experienced some or all of the things you talk about. You also sound clinically depressed to me, the things you describe are exactly the way I felt after my husbnd’s death, and also after the years of multiple P attacks pre and post loss of my husband (and my biggest supporter). I have lived in a nest of vipers worse than a rattlesnake filled pit.

The physical and emotional pain and the inability to cope with so much was devestating—I strongly suggest that you get professional help from a counselor and psychiatrist for both yourelf and your daughter if she will go.

You did not deserve this hell on earth and believe me these conartists can manipulate people a lot smarter than the people we see on these forums and believe me also that not many of thepeopole on these forums are very “dumb” in any sense of the word. These people (Ps) have the “science” of manipulation down pat.

Some of them can make you think that black is white, and convince you that the moon is made of green cheese. You are not alone, we have all believed the lie, and believed the “mask of sanity” that they are so good at presenting.

The only thing you have REALLY lost is your “fantasy” man, who never existed, you only believed he did…that is I think someof the hardest concepts to get through our heads is that what we thought was real was NOT. It was like a counterfit lottery ticket, totally worthless. A hologram, or as one poster said a “Hollow-gram” of a human.

In a way it is almost like a sci-fi movie, where the “bad aliens” look like humans but they are not—Ps are the same way, they are not “human” as far as emotions and souls are concerned, they are totally without the normal ability to love. They use and manipulate people.

Your pain is REAL, your LOSS is real, but you can live through this. Read, learn, post, and think seriously about getting some professional help and/or medication. Mood is very depenbdent on brain chemicals and the stress we endure along with the grief of our losses changes the chemical composition of the brain so that it does not produce the “right” mix of chemicals any more. I a a retired registered nurse practitioner and believe me, I cannot function well at all without my medication. It isn’t a shame to need medicine for diabetes which is a chemical imbalance in the body, and neither is it a shame to need medication for depression and excess grief and emotional pain.

You have been traumatized, and your daughter has been traumatized–just as if he had broken bones, he has broken your spirit and your hearts, but you can heal. God bless you and your daughter and give you comfort in your hours of sorrow.

I thought I may add a few thoughts to ponder for anyone who is still in the “heart of the storm” and cannot even begin to see the way out. When I ended the “marriage” with my sociopath I was totally mentally depleted. I wanted to die. For a few days I couldn’t walk ~ my legs wouldn’t support me. I did not understand what had happened or what was happening to me. I learned later that I was suffering from PTSD and severly depressed. I was put on an anti-depressant drug, but it actually caused me to feel disoriented. For a time, I was in no condition to even properly care for my children (aged 2, and a newborn) and managed only with the support of family and friends.

I lost trust totally in everyone except my mother and father. That’s horrible yet honest to say because I have a number of very close friends who I knew I could always count on and trust.
I had short periods of uncontrollable crying daily for a couple months and they came and went like clockwork several times a day. These actually made me feel better than any prescription.

I do believe in Christ. I did and do place my trust in him, and I highly recommend finding a Bible and reading the Psalms. Psalms 91 is a good one to begin with. I began to find solace, and for me this was my turning point to start healing and begin the process to “get back on my feet” so to speak.

I was led to a wonderful counselor who has helped me deal with many issues of what I have experienced. Counseling was a must for me. I focus on my children’s needs and care. I have an herb garden that I tend to daily after my daily responsibilities are done. It rewards me with a cup of tea evening, and works incredibly well as therapy for me. In the winter I cut and split firewood which suffices for excercise & lack of gardening and I keep my bird feeders tended.

I am still living a day at a time. I am not to the point of planning ahead into the near future yet, mainly because of ongoing family court litigation.

Looking back to a little over a year ago, I would never dreamt that I would be recovered to the point that I am today. I praise my Lord for that. Hopefully most people can get on with their lives and never have to see the sociopath again. However, when children are involved as in my case, I am learning that in dealing with a sociopath, no matter what the challenge is that lie ahead after getting away from the ultimate abuser is to never, never, never give up for the sake of the children!!!

sstiles,

my heart goes out to you. I get the whole losing hair and lack of sleep thing. Most nights I’m ok now, but for awhile there the night terrors were insane and it got to the point where I cried before going to bed because I was so afraid of having a night terror episode. Now know it was PTSD, this “lucid dreaming” where everything seems real but isn’t…just like the relationship in waking hours! I didn’t lose weight – I gained it, practically overnight, and some days initially I could barely talk without short-circuiting mentally, crying all the time…it was like once the reality hit like a ton of bricks I questioned every facet of reality. Still can’t sleep anywhere but here without pacing and stressing, particularly if my car isn’t somewhere I can get to it or if I’ve been drinking and can’t drive myself home.

And then I woke up one day to find my windshield smashed in my driveway after a peculiar online encounter with the P. Of course, I knew he did it, amongst other things to terrorize me.

It’s punishment, all right, but it’s NOT from anything larger than the vindictive, evil P/S/N guy. Not a greater judgment call from the Universe. And I promise you, it does abate, eventually.

My plan is to never, ever again lay eyes on the P, avoiding him at all costs. Think it’ll be pretty simple. He knows I know what he is and the most damaging thing to him would be public exposure of the disorder. He also knows I’ll play fair in all things and not expose him without cause or provocation.

At this point in the journey for me, he is becoming prologue of the past…a short-story in the middle of a long, otherwise happy life…a blip in the rearview mirror that, while somehow shaping parts of me, never touched the larger narrative of who I am. And I’m content to keep him there, a cautionary tale, suspended in time like a fossil in amber.

The chemical changes that go on in our brain as a result of the contact with the Ps causes many things that are labeled such as PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, etc. the whole list of things.

These chemical changes have effects on both our thinking and our feeling as well as on our bodies. They are not just things that we can “get over” or ignore any more than diabetes is just a “sugar problem.”

You can’t “control” diabetes with just positive thoughts, talk therapy, or many times just eating right, but you must have a combination of “self help” and “medical care.”

Most things that are “medical” like diabetes also effect our feelings and thinking as well. My late huband was type II diabetes and I could tell when his sugar was “off” because he was CRANKY. He felt bad physically, and he was also feeling bad emotionally from his blood sugar being high or low.

Just “talking” about his crankiness would not have “fixed” the problem, it required taking care of the “whole man”—-medication and self management. Just “understanding” why he was cranky wouldn’t have fixed it.

His diabetes caused some depression with him as well. So we also treated the depression as well as the diabetes and with antidepressant medication in addition to the improved treatment for the diabetes improved both the diabetes and the depression, as since he was not so depressed, he tended to eat better, exercise more, etc. which make the diabetes more controlled.

Since his traumatic death in a plane crash (I was there on the ground at the time) here on our small airport and farm, I have taken antidepressant medication, and believe me I am not one to “want to take pills” but I also, as a medical professional, realize that the chemical changes in my brain are likely permanent and I will probably always have to take antidepressant medication.

In concert with a psychiatrist I have optimized the dose at the lowest effective one for me. I have also had therapy and continue to have, as well as “self care” and learning about PTSD and other results. I am concentrating on my sleep cycle, exercise, etc. and healing from the several severe infections I have had due to the decrease in the effectiveness of my immune system, and the year-long violent attacks of several Ps within my family. NC helps, and with a “wholistic” approach, support of medication, the people who do love me, and my strong determination to “heal” I am “making progress” but also realize too, that just like if I had had a close encounter with a lion, there will be some scars remaining that may be “sensitive” for a long time and be reminders of my escape.

I do know that “trauma” of whatever kind, does leave us changed from what we might have been prior to the event(s) that percipitated the trauma.

Just as a young man who has been in violent combat and has seen his friends die beside him will never totally be the same as he was before he went to war, though he may eventually go on to lead a satisfying and productive life, there will always be memories of that trauma. There are also young men that the violence and trauma of warfare will leave in a state that precludes them ever living a satisfying and productive life.

I don’t know what makes one person “heal” and another “not heal”–I wish I did, or anyone had a “formula” that could fix the effects of trauma upon our minds and bodies.

My mother had a saying that was “the same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay”—to indicate that under identical conditions two substances will react differently. I think this applies well to the effects of trauma upon the human body, mind and soul. Two people can go through identical experiences and will react differently depending upon what they are “made of” and previous life experiences.

As a medical professional, I reacted differently to seeing my husband’s trauma from the firey plane crash, than the other bystanders, and I had a medical point of reference that they didn’t have. Yet, even with the “training” in trauma and emergency rescue, as his wife, it effected me differently than it effected the “professional” part of me.

As Dr. Viktor Frankl said in his book, “A normal response to an abnormal situation would be abnormal.” (He was quoting someone else but I can’t remember who) That’s another thing that is frustrating is that my memory which has always been so good is not functioning as it did previously. It is one of the biggest frustrations from the effects of the traumas of the crash and the Ps. I have “diddly” for short term memory right now—and almost total word finding difficulty for most names. Yet, I still scored on a recently administerd IQ test actually higher than I have previously. Doesn’t “make sense” in some levels, but it did reassure me that I am not “retarded” now.

Knowing intellectually that these “problems” we have “physically,” “mentally,” “emotionally” and “spiritually” and even “intellectually” are caused by the trauma and the chemical changes within our mind and bodies helps to me to keep me from “blaming” my problems on my own “weakness.”

But “recovery” to me means that medication, self-help, and whatever is necessary to “heal” my mind/body is what I need to focus on. TAKING CARE OF MYSELF and focusing on that entirely until I am able to function as well as I would like.

Mecical professionals sometimes don’t take as good a care of themselves as they do their patients. It is difficult for me to be on the “wrong side of the clipboard” but I realize too, that I MUST take care of myself as well as I would want a patient taken care of.

Thank you Dr. Steve for this excellent reminder that indeed the Mind and Body are not separate. How the medical establishment and then the public came to accept this way of looking at health (particularly in the West), is really mind boggling. It goes against all intuitive knowledge and compartmentalizes health. This to me, is an UNhealthy approach.

OxDrover – Thank you. Your posts are very helpful and knowledgeable.

These things you listed: Depression, infection, injuries from lack of concentration, confusion, short term memory loss, allergies, autoimmune syndromes, chronic pain from muscle tension, etc. etc. “You name it”

I had or have every one of them.

Here’s a list of what’s going on with my body AFTER the sociopath and with PTSD:

constant overwhelming fatigue
sleep disturbance
nightmares
constant anxiety
headaches
severe muscle tension
hyper startle reflex
gastro-intestinal and digestion problems
inflamed allergies/sinus problems
constant skin eruptions/hives
severely limited attention span (inability to concentrate)
short term memory loss
spaciness (“spacing out” mentally)
significantly high clumsiness (accidents – ie. dropping things, bumping/walking into things, burning myself while cooking)
impaired cognitive ability and loss of memory (ie. in the middle of a sentence and then get stuck and can’t think of a simple word I’m trying to remember; I try to make a simple point or tell a short story and I suddenly get “stuck” and confused)

ALL of the above were present when I was with the sociopath.

Aside from the sleep disturbances, NONE of them were present BEFORE the sociopath.

As well as all of the above, I also lost a lot of weight due to the inordinate CONSTANT STRESS and CRAZY-MAKING.

Oxy quotes Dr. Viktor Frankl:

He says “it is not the physical pain which hurts the most (and this applies to adults as much as punnished children); it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.”

YES. It is also a form a torture and personal terrorism. I’d like to tell people who have no clue what it’s like, “Imagine being in love with someone and then they suddenly turn into the BAD cop AND the GOOD cop and they never let you leave that interrogation room. THAT’S what it’s like living with a sociopath. You know they have devised these ways of breaking people’s minds for a reason – BECAUSE THEY WORK. If you have bonded and are connected to someone who then turns the tables on you and uses ALL of the SPIRIT CRUSHING techniques on you, it WILL destroy YOU eventually.

Anyway, that’s enough of my soap box for one post! 🙂

Oxy – I am very interested in these permanent chemical changes that you mention. Can you recommend any good sources to read about this?

Also, I have another question that I’d like to ask the LoveFraud community, which is what brought me to this article by Dr. Steve. Has anyone had any beneficial experience with holistic or new age types of healing treatments? – for example energy healing or reiki? Or even other things that have worked. I’d love to hear what has worked for you and if you can name resources.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

lightsaber – your description of ‘torture and personal terrorism’ is VERY good. I think it could be used well by survivors of domestic violence in general to describe, ‘why we stayed’.

best,
one step

thank you very much one_step!

My computer froze and I had to log back in. I am copying and pasting your list. I don’t know what some of things you listed are, but I will look them all up 🙂

one/joy_step_at_a_time

you are welcome! if you have any questions after your research, just ask.

🙂

Will do 🙂 I am going to do some research on the suggestions in your list and I’ll get back to you.

I love incense and I’m all out. I need to find some good stuff and that can only be found in special stores. The cheap ganeesh sticks in discount and grocery stores are horrible.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

I have incence from tibet – pure and wonderful, used in meditation gompas (halls). You need traditional meditation/ puja/ healing incense, not the cheap stuff that is made in india for export. Are there buddhist groups in your city? They are a good source.

There are, yes. I’m going to have a look where I can get the good stuff. I live in a large city, so I’m sure I can find it somewhere.

I am doing some reading about color and light therapy (chromatherapy) right now, while browsing some of your other suggestions as well.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

this stuff is interesting to me, haven’t gone deep into it though:
http://www.life-enthusiast.com/twilight/research_emoto.htm

I think about using transparencies like mylar and printing buddhas on them and putting them on the window; printing the word love on the same and taping it on the windows…other positive words, and images that have years of cumulative positive vibrations associated with them.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

this stuff is interesting to me, haven’t gone deep into it though:
masaru emoto

I think about using transparencies like mylar and printing buddhas on them and putting them on the window; printing the word love on the same and taping it on the windows…other positive words, and images that have years of cumulative positive vibrations associated with them.

Great idea one step!! I like that a lot.

Many ideas a floating around for me now with the color and light, as well as other positive healing things like the aromatherapy.

I like reading positive self affirmations also.

I just made this list up for myself with the aid of a bunch of web sites and my own ideas thrown in:

I am intelligent.

I am lovable.

I am worthy of all of life’s riches.

I have faith and a deep belief in myself.

I am full of joy.

I am pursuing my life’s purpose.

My spirit is radiant.

I am strong and secure.

I have inner resources.

I have the power to realize my goals.

I am valuable.

I am beautiful.

I stand firmly in my belief in myself.

I respect myself.

I take care of myself.

I am confident in my abilities.

I dissolve all obstacles to having complete self confidence.

I choose to be happy.

I am courageous.

I deserve to succeed.

I forgive myself.

I have inner peace.

I take action.

I discover new aspects of my self-confidence daily.

I like myself.

I recognize my talents and abilities.

I honor my spirit and self.

I am worthy of love and friendship.

I accept myself completely.

I have a solid sense of identity.

I find deep inner peace with myself as I am.

I say positive things about myself.

I am a kind, caring and decent person.

I am an interesting person.

Every day, I am getting better and better.

I love and approve of myself aside from my accomplishments.

I value and honor myself as I am.

I am filled with vitality.

I take care of my body’s needs.

I love and respect my body.

I fill my mind with positive and nourishing thoughts.

I am a wonderful person.

I deserve health, energy and calmness.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

these stood out for me in your list:
I have faith and a deep belief in myself.
I discover new aspects of my self-confidence daily.
I am filled with vitality.
I deserve health, energy and calmness.

i love these two twinned with one another:
I have inner peace.
I take action.

and this i started to learn through meditation:
My spirit is radiant.

when my landlord asked what colour to pain t me place before i moved in (they were renovating) i said, white. i dind’t have the time to choose. but, being a dufus contracotr – knew about a week later that everything would be painted that horrid cafe au lait that was popular in the 80’s. and so it was. and daaaark countertops int he kitchen. sigh.

i CRAVE colour. bright intense colour – yellow orche, red, and turquise and sky blue ceilings, and deep sagey greens in calm cool bedrooms……………..i love the caribbean sea, and the south of spain.

ahhh caribbean sea and turquoise…so nice 🙂

I picked and chose from a whole lot of affirmations. Whatever resonated for me and didn’t include ANY negatives, even if it said about letting go of the past. At this point in time, for me at least I find PRESENT tense strong affirmations work the best.

I like the twinning of inner peace and action as well.

I take action also stood out for me. It’s very powerful.

I have studied color theory with my art background and work in a design related field, so I hear ya when you talk about color in your environment. It makes a HUGE difference and it does affect our emotions, as does light (which is what color really is). I know exactly what you’re talking about with that ‘apartment beige’ ICK. Sometimes it’s the most horrible pale peachy-yellowy off-white skin tone (if you’re caucasion LOL) paint color. blech. Flat white is bad as well. I’ve got a list of worst colors believe me! haha

I like saturated, vibrant colors as well, but there has to be harmony. I can’t abide a circus tent interior. hmmm makes me think that’s what I felt like I was living in with the spathole. Circus music soundtrack would have fit with him. hehe

one/joy_step_at_a_time

circus soundtrack – hallucinogenic, swirling taking one off balance. one of the most chilling movie scenes (well, movies) I have ever seen is dennis hopper with his laughing gas in blue velvet….and as soon as I wrote this first sentence that image popped right into my mind.

i like the fundamental difference between light and pigment – black is the absence of light, or the presence of all pigment. matter vs. wave

oooh that’s so cool – your specific background – I have been wanting to learn that aspect for years

I have to get ready to go out. I’m going out for the night for the first time in AGES!! (well actually like an evening out as opposed to going to the supermarket for cereal LOL). I’m going to see Sherlock Holmes and then for Buffalo wings 🙂

oh p.s. geez my attention span is horrible…YES to Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet!! OMG that is SO fitting. CRRRRRReEEEEPyyyyyyy

I like this edit function as well 🙂

one/joy_step_at_a_time

have an wonderful night wielder of sabers!

we’ll talk more again.

one step

one/joy_step_at_a_time

🙂

Thanks for reminding me of the powerful connection between mind and body. I think that my body “knew” that I was not safe with the man I was living with. In February I started to get pains in my legs which over the next five months spread to my whole body. It was painful to be touched. Curiously, my ex partner started his affair at the same time. My body would not let me lie down beside him. It hurt too much. Of course, I was too far into denial to allow the thought of an affair into my conscious awareness but my body knew. Immediately.
He is gone and my body no longer hurts all over. However, the years of stress took a big toll on my body. He was so masterful at lying, and slippery sliding all over my life and finances. At a very deep level I knew that too but could not face the catastrophe of knowing fully.
I started to grind my teeth at night until I was at risk of losing a few of them. I overate. I withdrew from people, job, joy and life. He seemed to need all my energy and more.

Sometimes I get to missing the good times even though the price was too high. It must be an aberration of brain chemistry. Now I know that I don’t have the energy to be superwoman for him. I don’t want that role again ever.

Here’s a list of what’s going on with my body AFTER the sociopath and with PTSD:

constant overwhelming fatigue
sleep disturbance
nightmares
constant anxiety
headaches
severe muscle tension
hyper startle reflex
gastro-intestinal and digestion problems
inflamed allergies/sinus problems
constant skin eruptions/hives
severely limited attention span (inability to concentrate)
short term memory loss
spaciness (“spacing out” mentally)
significantly high clumsiness (accidents ”“ ie. dropping things, bumping/walking into things, burning myself while cooking)
impaired cognitive ability and loss of memory (ie. in the middle of a sentence and then get stuck and can’t think of a simple word I’m trying to remember; I try to make a simple point or tell a short story and I suddenly get “stuck” and confused)

ALL of the above were present when I was with the sociopath.

Thanks for the above. I had the same reaction to the psychopath I lived with. Unfortunately, Those things did not disappear and I continue to have PTSD to the point where I am unable to work. This is five years later.
However, I do feel better and I have hope again.

Congrats, Sea Storm, you understand.

I’m so happy for your escape from the devil.

Sea Storm,

Welcome to LoveFraud.

Many of us have PTSD, and the stress of the trauma does change your brain’s functioning both physically and chemically, but you are not “broken” just different…some of the symptoms will stay with you, some get better and some will go away. My PTSD started big time when my husband was killed in an accident, but I realize I have had some of the symptoms for years from previous P-encounters.

Don’t despair, just work on the problems and your life situation etc one at a time, and cut out the people and situations in your life that are stress causing, and you will slowly build peace back into your life.

I have two stages in my life…before the plane crash and after the plane crash.

Don’t push yourself too hard, just be GOOD TO yourself and take things slowly. The key is BE GOOD TO YOURSELF. Glad you are at LoveFraud. God bless.

Sea Storm –

Sounds like you might also need to get checked out for Fibromyalgia.

Although many PTSD symptoms can “cross over” with Fibro symptoms (I am lucky enough to have been diagnosed with BOTH, as are several others here on the blog) (sarcasm intended), some of what you describe points to a separate Fibro diagnosis.

Of course, some of this depends on how long you have been out of the situation and where you are at in your recovery.

Welcome; rest here 🙂

Sea Storm,

It sounds really weird, but I think my knee cartilege got broken partly because of the relationship. I had quit smoking and started to exercise… at first everything went well… but after a month I had overstretched my ankles, and needed to take a rest for a week. When I restarted soon after I had an issue with my left knee. This was around the same time he was back in Nicaragua, without his sister, after his father died, and he started to neglect me, meanwhile looking for a new long term victim. When I had let it rest long enough and just thought it was stiffness and did a zumba exercise, I fell through my knee the next day when getting up. The doctor thought it was my meniscus, so I had an echo but no sign of tears in my meniscus… he did see some water in the knee which might be a sign of an infection and perhaps something amiss with teh cartiledge. An MRI was in order. I had the MRI and the specialist said it wasn’t the cartiledge, but must be the meniscus. So time for an operation.

Now all this testing and research took several months. In these months he didn’t just cheat on me with one night stands, but long affairs where tried to make the woman hooked on him and take my role instead. By the time I had the MRI he was getting his hooks in the victim who ended up replacing me.

I wouldn’t hear from him for over a week. It was even becoming immensely difficult to catch him on the phone. Eventually I had him on the phone at 3am in the night, while I had to get in the hospital the next morning at 7am. And he was so callous when I mentioned it, that I realized consciously it was over.

I had the operation the next morning. Turned out to be the cartilege after all. I had to walk on crutches and stay home for 2 weeks. I did call him again to make up for my anger the night before my operation. He discarded me a week after the operation.

Now, I do think I might have overdone the exercising to begin with… but I think I did, because it was the sole thing I felt still in control over in my life. And I felt a need to assertm myself. Exercise was one of those means. It coincided with neglect which crippled me physically and mentally. It’s even possible that all the stress from the relationship might have had its effect on my cartilege, making it more prone to injury in the first place.

But I don’t think it’s a coincidence that bleak period of utter loneliness coincided with the knee, and that he cut himself out of my life at the same time the broken cartilege had been cut out of my knee.

Just what I needed after a sleepless night ruminating. for validation and understanding.

Me too

Gillian

This has always been one of my weaknesses, my tendency to brood. Intellectually, I know it gets me nowhere, in fact it always makes me feel worse. But, still, it’s so hard for me to break the cycle.

I feel as though I have to go back and reprocess the past nineteen years. But how can I reconcile so many years of being completely deceived with what really happened? I try to get on with my life, but I keep tripping over memories.

And all the time this man of my dreams (nightmare more like it) was leading a double life. There was life as I saw it, the happy charade, and then there was reality, life behind the veil. And now the veil is ripped, I see behind it, and what I see is so ghastly.

But it’s so hard. Especially in the morning. In the evening, it’s easy. I think I’ll get up the next day and do this or do that, I will go to church, or exercise, or get together with a friend. And then I wake in the morning and it’s all too much effort. Life feels so dreary. It’s all I can do to claw myself out of bed to make an appearance before my daughter leaves for school.

lightsaber

Here’s a list of what’s going on with my body AFTER the sociopath and with PTSD:

constant overwhelming fatigue
sleep disturbance
nightmares
constant anxiety
severe muscle tension
hyper startle reflex
gastro-intestinal and digestion problems
severely limited attention span (inability to concentrate)
short term memory loss
spaciness (“spacing out” mentally)
significantly high clumsiness (accidents ”“ ie. dropping things, bumping/walking into things, burning myself while cooking)
impaired cognitive ability and loss of memory (ie. in the middle of a sentence and then get stuck and can’t think of a simple word I’m trying to remember; I try to make a simple point or tell a short story and I suddenly get “stuck” and confused)

YES. It is also a form a torture and personal terrorism. I’d like to tell people who have no clue what it’s like, “Imagine being in love with someone and then they suddenly turn into the BAD cop AND the GOOD cop and they never let you leave that interrogation room. THAT’S what it’s like living with a sociopath. You know they have devised these ways of breaking people’s minds for a reason ”“ BECAUSE THEY WORK. If you have bonded and are connected to someone who then turns the tables on you and uses ALL of the SPIRIT CRUSHING techniques on you, it WILL destroy YOU eventually.

Seastorm

ALL of the above were present when I was with the sociopath.

Aside from the sleep disturbances, NONE of them were present BEFORE the sociopath.

As well as all of the above, I also lost a lot of weight due to the inordinate CONSTANT STRESS and CRAZY-MAKING

Thanks for the above. I had the same reaction to the psychopath I lived with. Unfortunately, Those things did not disappear and I continue to have PTSD to the point where I am unable to work. This is five years later.
However, I do feel better and I have hope again.

Replace a few details with hidden life with incest fantasies and peodaphile fantasies regarding our daughters and 22 years to process.

And that’s me. So tired of it and his legacy.

littlewhite horse,

High thee to a physician and a psychiatrist, get a complete physical and mental checkup and get some medication for your problems.

I have had fibro for 20+ years, diagnosed in 1989 actually, and just “toughed out” the pain until recently and it became so bad I could not sleep and was awakened 10+ times a night with PAIN….didn’t want to take narcotics so was put recently on Lyrica and am still adjusting the dose, but there is NO PAIN. For the first time in my memory, I do NOT hurt (except for the acute injury to my ankle from last Friday the Thirteenth where I dropped something on it) going to the ortho doctor today.

I absolutely suggest to everyone that you get a physical exam to make sure you don’t have a thyroid problem or other problem making you feel bad.

Stress can have a bad effect on your body and mind so get some professional diagnosis and help. If you are low income or no insurance check around in your area some areas have Title 19 mental health clinics for low income that are sliding scale or even free…some states the Health Department will do a complete female and STD check for free and pap smears as well. There are also programs for free mammograms so check out those. Don’t just think that your local doctor’s office is the only avenue to medical or mental health care.

If you are unable to work because of the PTSD Social security disability does cover this, but you must get it diagnosed by a professional before they will accept it and figure about 2 years from the time you apply (and you can retroactively apply) and you most likely will have to get an attorney but the law limits the amount of the money they can get from you to about $5,000 (20?% of your back pay from the time you apply to the time you get it.) Unless you are at death’s door most of the time you can’t get SSD without an attorney. If possible get one that specializes in that.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Keep your stress low by cutting out everyone in your life who is stressful, take care of yourself by doing things that are good for you, healthy eating, stop unhealthy habits (I quit smoking and if I can anyone can!) exercise and eat right. Get your finances in order and your life in order one day at a time…don’t push….just do that day’s tasks and let the next day take care of itself.

Crawl til you can walk, walk til you can run and then JUMP AND SCREAM TOWANDA!!!!! I’M FREE!!!!!

littlewhitehorse –

“So tired of it and his legacy.”

I know. x. I hear you and I feel you sister – me too.

Just when things seemed at an end (well, in many ways they were/still are) and I had been feeling better physically for several months and had started back at work on a graduated return-to-work program and had enrolled to study next year and was making all kinds of optimistic plans for MY future….the Fibro comes back with a vengeance.

The PTSD is way better than it used to be – when he killed my hen 7 weeks ago, it came and got me for a few days but I have settled right back down now; to the point where, when confronting the guy who was breaking into my car at 11 o’clock last Wednesday night, I was really quite calm and in control. After the initial fright and the unhinged call to the police, I stabilised to the point where I didn’t even feel scared of him anymore (probably should have though…LOL)

But the pain and fatigue and the rashes and the headaches I have at the moment are threatening to take the shine off my “brand new day” a bit…GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

I have kicked the spath to the kerb (long ago and never looked back once I had decided enough was enough) but his legacy – my illness and the resulting restrictions it places on me – remain as a daily reminder.

We just have to keep whistling and smiling though; eventually, we will overcome (or at the very least, learn to successfully manage) any lingering issues we have as a result of having been spathed. In the meantime, we need to remember that the hardest and the longest part of our journey is behind us – we have all come so very, very far. Hold that tight sweetheart and it will help to get you through this next bit. xx

little whitehorse and aussiegirl,

You two are in my prayers (along with other LF-ers). You’ve had a HARD road to travel. I feel badly for you, wanting you both to have some relief. Peace.

Hi Oxy, Aussiegirl and bluejay.

Just wrote a long post and it disappeared into cyberspace and I am so tired after a sleepless night therefore I will keep this brief.

Oxy-I live in Scotland therefore medical treatment is free. I have a psychiatrist and she has recomended that I get a full physical as I am also menopausal.

I feel so sorry for those of us who struggle to get medical care where they live.

Aussiegirl–you always seem to rescue me by validating my crazy experience. I too lost a beloved pet and brakes failed in my car. I know it was him.

For four and a half years I have found it difficult to get believed. The only proof that I had for my psychiatrist was his stalking and she saw it herself. After I threw him out he parked his car outside my home from 7am to 5.30pm 5 days a week whilst he got a lift to work. Didn’ t help my PTSD.

This week I dug out 5 months of emails that I had written to him even though we shared the same home. Communication had stopped abruptly when he turned unexpectdley into a molester, rapist and sadistic torturer.

Although all from me you can clearly hear the anguish as I protest that I am not our daughters and he is not my son as he raped me. I am pleading for him to stop.

Also-opening this page this morning-I didn’t even need to write. My experience was all written by others before me. I will be printing this off and giving it all to my psychiatrist next week. I just feel I can rest now from trying to prove it was all real despite being bizarre.

Spaths do this to other people too.

I have been reading Lovefraud for four years now-but it only recently I have started to join in. I am a bit rusty at socialising as I have become a bit of a hermit–anxiety and agorophobia related.

It is helping because it is not a story you can share with the outside world as I need to protect my kids from harmful gossip.

This week–I have been processing like crazy since digging out the emails. I was always too scared before in case I couldn’t handle them.

And I am tired–but somehow I think it is a good tired as I am now free at last from the strain of protecting my kids from my ex H molester P because I don’t need to PROVE IT anymore.

Four and a half year brick wall is crumbling.

Perhaps I can now let go and start to heal.

Thank you for accepting me into the community. I am aware that I know all of you and have established trust over the four and a half years and that I am just new to you.

Yeah-I think it’s a good tired, I’ve been battling the authorities for a long time. In one week. Synchronisity.

Take care. Love yous to bits

LWH

xxx

littlewhitehorse,

I admire you because you’re still standing, having not been demolished by the evil one. Our spath is in jail (in another state). I am hoping that he can remain there for a while longer. It is nice NOT having him around. Mental and emotional stability is returning to me (for which I am grateful). We all have something in us that causes us to withstand the assaults against us. Hopefully, the angels are standing around us, guarding and protecting us while we recover from the chaos that has been thrown our way. Peace.

Hi Bluejay

When I got him out and ran for help I felt that I had escaped from a concentration camp. I was so numb both psychologically and emotionally that I felt autistisic. My head and body felt completely disconnected from each other and I was totally detatched.

They pulled me from the brink of a stress breakdown which would have hospitilised me.

I could barely speak and all I could repeat over and over the threat to my children.

Aussiegirl Is right. I have come along way. I thought I was so damaged that I was a gonner. But my kids and animals kept me going. They depended on me.

I redecocorated my home all over, This kept me busy as I had so much adrenaline and fear pumping through me. I hardey knew what I wasdoing.

But it turned out nice and it reassured the kids that we were not at rock bottom poverty wise-even though we were. No rainy day money saved. I thought my marriage was sound.

If anyone had told me that Iwould be sitting here writing and that my head had connected to my body again–I wouldn’t have believed them.

I am so glad you are gettng peace and yes Ireally think that I have a guardian angel.

Financialy I seem to get by and Ithink someone is up therepaving the way until I heal.

Aussigirl–You are right-I have come quite far but still a ways to go.

Sorry about the typos. Everytime I try to correct it cancels out the letter before. I need to wait until my son wakens to fix it.

Take care all

And thank for listening
xxx

When I initially read this article I thought about how my life was in complete chaos and it truly affected my body and mind. Then I sat back and realized that I wasn’t the only one, I have four children that range from 13 to 4 years old. My oldest has been tremendously affected by this. During the time I had this person in my life, in our life my son experienced overwhelming headaches, chest pains, dizziness, and nervousness. I always felt it affected my kids to a certain degree but as I relive the last two years in my head it was turmoil for all.

Littlewhitehorse,
you are a kindred spirit because of your experience.
As I used to say, “welcome to the worst club of the best people.” It doesn’t matter how long you’ve posted or read, you are still one of us.

As the community grows and shifts, the “personality” changes a bit, that’s true. But for the most part I have observed, I think correctly, that most people here are more sensitive and conscientious than the average joe. It’s our strength and our weakness. It’s why spaths targeted us.

So part of being here is trying to shore up our defenses on that front. How do we make our loving, compassionate nature less vulnerable without losing it?

I think, the answer is to somehow turn that love and compassion on ourselves. It’s hard.

Anyone who has advice I’d love to hear it.

Hi Skylar

For me -I watch signs that I am being triggered e.g my pity.

If it seems iffy then I am off as I have really serious trust issues.

I take my time in offering my services as I observe what they are wearing and how they are acting. I just stay quiet. If I think it is genuine then I will offer a solution. If I am in doubt I just say ‘I can’t help you’ or remain quiet.

I usually look for win win solutions, but in saying that I think I will pass on any future romantic relationships-just companionship and friendship.

Just play my cards close to my chest until I feel safe, which could be a long time.

Take care

xxx

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