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Recovery from a sociopath

Advice for dating again after the sociopath

Lovefraud received the following email from the reader who posts as “Saskgirl:”

I must say that your website is a lifesaver. It has helped me recover from a devastating relationship with a sociopath. It is amazing how many stories I read on your site and can totally identify with them. The people could be talking about the piece of garbage I was tangled up with.

I have been single for about a year and a half and have spent a lot of that time healing and working on me. I am ready to start dating (I think) but I’m afraid that it will be disastrous for me. I was so emotionally wrecked that I’m terrified of being there again. I don’t trust anyone and believe that just about every thing coming out of a man’s mouth is lies.

Forget the checklist — after the sociopath pay attention to how YOU feel in a new relationship

When you’re romantically involved with a sociopath, sooner or later your entire relationship falls apart. The level of destruction may differ, but the bottom line is the same for all of these involvements: There never was a relationship — everything you thought you had was built on lies.

You’re devastated. But if you follow Lovefraud’s advice and allow yourself sufficient time to process and recover from the experience, eventually another opportunity for romance will come your way. Still, you may feel gun shy. You were completely deceived before. How can you be sure it won’t happen again?

Video: Why we mistakenly feel guilty when we’re abused by a sociopath

When Travis Vining was a young man, his sociopathic father murdered a man — one of four people he killed — and then manipulated Travis into helping him destroy evidence. For years after that, Travis experienced guilt and emotional pain that manifested as physical illnesses.

But that is in the past. Travis has overcome the experience and now helps others recover from their entanglements with sociopaths. In his upcoming webinar he’ll explain how to do it:


Pain as motivation for escaping the sociopath

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article entitled, How to overcome your addiction to sociopaths. In it, I offered three steps for changing a pattern of falling in love with sociopaths. The steps are:

  1.  No Contact with the current sociopath
  2. Do not date anyone for the time being
  3. Heal the vulnerabilities

The real work is in the third step — healing your vulnerabilities. What I suggest sounds somewhat like the good advice that we get on many topics, like:

  • Eat your vegetables
  • Make time for regular exercise
  • Cut down on sugar, carbs and alcohol

How to overcome your addiction to sociopaths

Photo by Merelize at FreeRange Stock Photos.

Lovefraud received the following email from a woman whom we’ll call “Peggy Sue.”

I feel hopeless. I’m a target for sociopaths, or I’m addicted to them. My ex-fiancé was one. I was with him 7 years and was abused every way possible. I was so confused with the lies and double life. He said I was crazy and I went on tons of medication and was completely isolated.

I finally was able to leave after 7 years with the help of police, only to move back to my dads with nothing and to start all over. A month later fell in love with another sociopath. My friends and family think I’m gonna end up dead by him or killing myself.

After the sociopath, a man with borderline personality disorder

Photo by Alon

Editor’s Note: Lovefraud received the following email from reader Victimcindy. Donna Andersen  responds after the letter.

My first relationship, after my 18-year marriage to a sociopath, was to a borderline personality disordered (BPD) man. Do you find this common as the disordered traits are opposite in some areas?  We think we are getting something new and healthy.

Spath vs BPD: sex

My spath-ex withheld sex as power. The borderline was highly sexual. My spath-ex was charming, but lacked empathy and was emotionally unavailable. He also abused substances, was opportunistic with casual sex outside marriage and secretive.

Strategies to help recover from a break-up — at least in normal relationships

In a recent scientific paper, researchers tested three cognitive strategies to help people get over a breakup with a romantic partner. They studied 24 heartbroken people, who had been in the relationship an average of 2.5 years. All were upset, and most still loved their exes.

The recovery strategies:

  1. Negatively reappraise their ex — highlighting the ex’s negative traits.
  2. Love reappraisal — accepting feelings of love without judgment.
  3. Distraction — think about positive things unrelated to the ex.

Here were the results, according to the study authors:

  1. Negative reappraisal decreased love feelings but made participants feel unpleasant.

If your relationship and financial support are gone, services for displaced homemakers may be able to help

If you’re in dire financial straits because you’ve been abandoned, divorced or widowed, there may be resources in your community to help you.

At last month’s Battered Mothers Custody Conference, I met Nancy Howard, director of the Center for People in Transition at Rowan College in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Her social services agency assists displaced homemakers in becoming self-sufficient.

Nancy told me that displaced homemaker programs are available in all 50 states of the United States. To find them, just Google “displaced homemaker” and the name of your state.


After dating a sociopath, the advice you need for your recovery

The most telling sign that you’ve been dating a sociopath is confusion. This person claimed to love you, but after the initial whirlwind romance, treated you like dirt. Your partner would be absolutely brutal to you, and the next day, maybe even the next hour, act like nothing ever happened. He or she seemed to be proud of you, and then did nothing but criticize you.

You finally figured out that something was wrong — he or she was disordered — and you ended the involvement. And then you started to second-guess yourself — what if you made a mistake?

What do we do when sociopaths experience no consequences?

Lovefraud received the following email from a reader who posts as “Salvation2012.”

Thank you for helping me decide when I needed to cut my losses during my divorce. I did cut my “losses,” yet the total I received tallied up to a number similar, just not in all cash. Because I settled in his eyes, he told everyone I was just proving how I was the guilty one and didn’t want to risk being exposed. To the end he will deny permanently injuring me and bleeding me of money, and cheating on me (which I only later found out about the extent).

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