By | June 5, 2012 13 Comments

Diamonds After All – Discovering Self-Worth After The Sociopath

This week I’d like to start off with another quote. As with many phrases I’ve come to value, it was sent to me by a good friend when I was going through one of my darker periods. Even today it still makes me smile:

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure”

 It’s particularly relevant to me this week because I’m discovering all manner of riches around me at the moment. In most cases, treasures that have been hidden away from view and that are only now coming to the surface. I’ve been doing a little DIY at home you see. It’s all part of my process to reclaim my space. Making my home my own home, arranging my space and my stuff the way I like to have everything arranged. It’s both cathartic and enlightening — because I’m discovering more and more that little needed to be changed or replaced in order to bring my home to life. In actual fact, it has been many of the ”˜old’ things that are now bringing me immense pleasure that I could not have imagined just a short while ago.

The Table

Allow me to explain by giving you a specific example. Outside my kitchen, I have a long wooden table. Over the years it has witnessed countless gatherings with friends and family — parties, barbeques, merriment, tears, heavy discussions and light-hearted banter. It has also seen my son and his friends develop from children to young adults — the Lego and Monopoly having been usurped by late night conversations and music with food and wine. Added to that it has been there throughout the twists and turns of my warped marriage — in actual fact, the table was one of the first things that we made together when we first moved to France. Crafted from a solid iron base, laid with long planks of wood we picked out from a local supplier, I still remember sanding each one, and then lovingly coating them with varnish before finally attaching them to the base.

For a number of months, now, it’s been niggling at me. It’s one of those pieces of furniture that holds a number of memories — and one, therefore, that was most certainly on my ”˜should it stay or should it go’ list! It was made at least eight ago, and time and the elements had turned it a rather unattractive grey-brown colour. Peeling at the edges, with distinct patches of extreme water and weather damage, it really didn’t look very good at all. But, as I kept reminding myself, I had nothing else. So it would have to do. Until, that is, I decided to do something about it.

So, Saturday morning found me dressed in old clothes, outside in the garden with sanding machine in hand. It was decision time. Either this table was going to shape up, or it was going to end up on the fire.

And that, quite often, is similar to the kind of things I would say to myself during the early weeks and months after I discovered the truth about my situation. Sad, lonely, in shock, and desperately trying to make sense of what was happening, I would reach a point where I knew I had to give myself a shake. It was either that, or end up sinking further in to the pit of despair, where recovery and salvation would be even harder to achieve. I’m not saying it was easy — in actual fact, it was often so difficult that I was highly tempted to stay wallowing in self-pity. And sometimes I allowed myself to do just that — but just for as long as was necessary for me to honestly acknowledge the emotions so that then I could move forward; and by moving forward each time after first accepting the ”˜bad stuff’ I found I felt more cleansed and determined to keep going.

Accepting The Imperfections

Back to my table. As I stood there, sanding away at the grime and fatigue that had become part of the furniture, I began to remember how much I actually enjoy working with wood. As the machine whirred around, doing its’ work, I began to look more lovingly at the stains, the bumps, and the cracks that bore testament to a life of service. I began to relax more in to the process, finding it cathartic both on a physical and spiritual level. Here I was, being covered in sawdust, but with the biggest smile on my face. Swooshing the machine backwards and forwards, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the kitchen window — instantly reminding myself of my own lumps and bumps that I have gradually learned to love. Looking back to the table I noticed that underneath the grimy surface, the wood underneath was in perfect condition. Better, in actual fact, than I had remembered it to be”¦. Aaahhh”¦. I felt the obvious parallel with my own life. And smiled some more.

Because I’ve found that despite everything that has happened, the real true person that I am underneath, is brighter stronger and more loving than I can ever remember being before. Maybe it’s the same as the diamond process — perhaps the pressure and stress made me that way? Or”¦ as I prefer to think”¦ perhaps I was always like that, but could never really accept it for myself.

Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” — how wonderful is that as a philosophy for life? I remember how often in the early days, I would cry myself to sleep, full of sadness and anger about what had happened to me. “Haven’t I already endured enough?” I’d wail in silent agony, clutching a pillow for comfort until the sobs subsided and I fell in to exhausted sleep. It’s only now, after taking countless small steps until those times are now just a distant memory, that I can appreciate the true value of those words. How might it have been had I been able to foster gratitude and forgiveness from the start? Well, to be honest, I really don’t know — and frankly, it doesn’t matter. What I do know is that the healing path I chose to take worked for me; I know that the strength of dark emotions helped me to eventually propel me towards the lighter side of life; I know that by intentionally searching for the gift in every situation, I have been able to work through the pain and fears to reconnect with who I really am. And through this process, I’ve discovered that underneath it all I am indeed a diamond. I’ve also discovered the gobsmacking truth that I always have been — as, I believe, are all of us here.

As for my table? Well, after careful sanding and re-fixing to the iron stand, I gave it three good coats of teak oil — and now it gleams more brightly than ever before. The colours and nuances in the wood are simply glorious, and it stands with pride, surrounded by four equally old but perfectly suited wooden chairs, that just seem to set it off beautifully. Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but sometimes I’m sure I can see it smiling with contentment and joy”¦?

To finish this post, I would like to share an inspirational poem that I have often referred to — and have regularly shared with friends and clients alike. It’s from a great site that has numerous poems like this — here’s the link if you’re interested  The author of this particular one is unknown, but to me it sings of the beauty and ability that lies within each and every one of us. Today I’d like to share it here with you, because I believe with all my heart that you are already diamonds, shining through the darkness.

I Believe You Can Accomplish Anything You Choose


If you could see through my eyes,

I wonder what you’d be feeling right now,

Because I can see you standing

As you really are —


Powerful, sensitive, determined, and gracious.

I can see you achieving everything you choose to achieve.

I can see you being exactly who and what you want to be.

Look through my eyes for an instant,


And you’ll see yourself

Conquering all limitations.

Look through my eyes,

And see who you really are


And what you are capable of.

You can accomplish anything —

I know you can.


With love and blessings — have a good week 🙂  Mel xxx


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Ox Drover

Great article Mel!

The patina of bumps and bruises, cuts and slashes that tell the tale of a piece of furniture’s life do not always make it a piece of waste, but make it instead, something to cherish.

My home is filled with older furniture that has the patina of life about it…yet glows with a luster of love and wax. You couldn’t give me NEW furniture for free…I would much rather have the rich deep patina of age than the shiny “new.”

Things that have weathered life I think are much more beautiful than things that have no history, no experience.

The experiences of life may give us some patina… but i t is also what makes us who and what we are. Unique. Precious.


Mel, once again – beautifully eloquent, poignant, and hopeful. Thank you for this is something I needed, today.

I truly look forward to the day when I can claim a space as my own and feel contentment and accomplishment in spite of my experiences, and BECAUSE of them. To be a stonger, wiser, and better human being will be such a gift – a gem for my soul, indeed.

Brightest blessings

So glad you quoted Eleanor Roosevelt – she is my personal heroine. I believe as long as you are breathing you have the capability to overcome any damage wrought by a spath.


Beautiful post Mel. And thank you for sharing the poem – it is lovely. It will hit the refrigerator later today. 🙂

In a post on another thread (Jurassic Park) Erin talked about why her boundaries were not as strong as they could be – that childhood issues did not allow her to develop better boundaries. I am sure that is true for many people – it certainly is for me. And this is why I am grateful to the N that destroyed me.

After many not great relationship choices I entered a marriage where I was gas-lighted to such a degree I was to become suicidal. I walked around shaking & actually sought medical help in my mid-thirties for what I feared was early onset Parkinson’s as I could not hold a cup of coffee still due to the tremendous stress I was experiencing at the hands of my husband.

I finally chose divorce over death and left my husband. I ended up salving my wounds in the arms of a malignant narcissist.

Yay me!

While many people who know me well and care about me watched in horror – ever greater destruction occurred. Those same people to this day do not know why I say I would choose the N over my ex-h again but there are two reasons and your post brought this to mind.

1) My ex-h did such a good job of looking like the good guy – his public mask and private face without the mask were so out of sync – everyone we knew would hear from him how I was so wonderful, good wife, good mother, excellent business woman. At home his cruelty was the other end of the spectrum. And no one could understand why I was so miserable when such a good guy obviously loved me so very much. (Ha)…. But with the N – many people who knew him had already come to the conclusion the man was a raging A$$… and so when he brought me into the circle of his life I was the only one who did not know for a time – and when I began to awake people around me supported the conclusion that he was nuts/sick/evil – not me. His own mother encouraged me to leave him.

For once my inner experience matched the outer world and for the first time in a long time I did not feel crazy. Yes, I felt crazy with grief and suffering and wanting it to be different as he had really been a balm (due to love bombing me) in the beginning to the wounds inflicted by my ex-husband… But the greater relief as it imploded was that realization that I was not crazy – he is an evil, lying s-o-b… It was so freeing on so many levels.

The 2nd reason follows the first – the destruction to my emotional world view and sense of self was so thorough, so complete – I had clung to the belief that he was going to be the one to heal all the wounds from a life filled with emotional and physical abuse beginning at a very early age – and he was so beyond horrible – I actually had police protection due to death threats etc … That like a forest fire the destroys all before it – I have been forced to strip myself down to bare wood and begin the refinishing process all over again in middle life.

And the greatest discovery is the my healing is within my power. That no one outside me can fix what is hurt and broken… I get to do that. It is so empowering – no longer am I at the mercy of others. I found out all I need to give myself permission to leave bad situations/people and I do not have to change myself, twist into a pretzel or wait for the tormenter to wake up and realize what they are doing. In fact they already know what they are doing and are relishing in their power – power I have given away. All it takes is for me to reclaim my power by making healthier choices.

To this day – I am still shocked by how much people I look up to – respect and admire – seem to love me. The simple kindness of others is like diving into cool pond after working your way up on a trail on a hot and dusty hike… Restoration.
There is new life blossoming everywhere around me even today a few years after leaving the insanity behind.

The ongoing delight I take in realizing – IT IS NOT ABOUT ME – that is -> other people’s behavior is about them – NOT ME, cannot be measured.

I hope you enjoy making and sharing many new and happy memories around the beautiful table you have made. It is such a welcoming vision…


I want to thank LF for all the help you’ve given me in getting educated about these demons out there. They are everywhere. This morning was a good morning, until my crazy landlord came charging in, turning on all the lights,. yelling something crazy. I went out of body thinking this isn’t really happening is it? I mean I was in my office in the back end of the apt and kept hearing this ranting voice getting closer and closer and I wasn’t even dressed yet! I said get out of here! He left. I got dressed went outside and told him to never, ever under any circumstances come into my apt ever again. He started yelling something that he needed a key to the basement. Well, hello, if you’re the landlord shouldn’t you have the key? I came back in terribly upset, feeling completely violated in every sense of the world. I called the police and they said it is breaking and entering, so I filed a complaint. This is the 3rd time this nut has done this, LF has given me the courage to quit playing mrs.nice and staying quiet to outrageous, violating behavior. I think he’s a spath, he’s always given me the creeps. The cops said even if I wasn’t here, and he came in it would still be breaking and entering-breaking the law. Thanks for listening. I am feeling raw, upset, shaky and vulnerable today, but so proud that I’m following through with this.

Ox Drover

Dear The doorisclosed,

Welcome to lovefraud and TOWANDA for you!!!! Good for you for filing a police report and standing up for yourself!

If he does it again, scream at the top of your voice “help! Rape!!!!” then file a police report and file a law suit against him!

No, we do not have to take bad behavior lying down. I’m glad you are gaining courage! Again, welcome!


Thank you for your support. It really helps at a time like this.


I am so thankful to have found this sight. I recently (3months ago) finally ended a 3 yr relationship with what my therapist says sounds like a sociopath. Somehow during those 3 yrs he managed to control every aspect of my life including my wardrobe, job, finances, friends and even the amount of time I spend with my children.(I am divorced from my kids dad)
The break up ended quite badly with a violent attack ,a police report and finally I’ve been awarded a 2 year order of protection from the courts. I’ve been in a state of severe depression since I left him. I am in the process of filing for bankruptcy since he managed to rack up $50,000 on my credit cards. When I met him I had NO debt and excellent credit,a good job with a 401k, which is now gone, a modest home and some good friends. These things which I was proud of and held dear are all gone.
My x-sociopath was unable to connect with me on a sexual level. He claimed it was because he loved me so much that sex felt to him like he was degrading me. He claimed that he loved me as much as he loves his kids which made sex to him feel incestuous. This information from him didn’t come easy. I tried to communicate with him and each time it only lead to him yelling at me and calling me “dramatic”. He said everything was great and that I was ungrateful for the life which he provided me.
Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My bf told me right from the day I was diagnosed that I’d need to find other people to support me because he wasn’t able to attend any appointments at Dr.offices or hospitals. He claimed they just “did something to him” and he couldn’t handle it.
This was my final red flag. I wound up in therapy explaining to my therapist how our relationship was. I told her how he was not interested in sex, that he admitted that he never even thinks about it or never has sexual dreams. I explained how he talked me into letting him handle the finances and how I was never given the passwords for any of my credit cards. When I’d ask he’d tell me that it hurt his feelings that I asked. He said he felt like I didn’t trust him.
Anyway, during my mastectomy, Mark began stealing my pain medicine. I blamed his drug addiction on our relationship issues. I truly felt that once he got off the drugs that our relationship would be fine…I mean, he did give me a ring 2 Christmas’s ago and promised that we’d be together forever although once I started planning the wedding, he totally backed off and said he wasn’t ready yet. The promises he made to add me to his will and to change his life insurance policy beneficiary never happened.
It was the worst feeling ever when I realized what was happening. That I’d been manipulated out of all my $$, credit, job and happiness. I was suicidal.
I’m now trying to pick up the pieces. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to accept and my life hasn’t been easy. I’ve lost a child due to a heart defect, suffered a brain tumor, a sad divorce which scarred my 2 children and now this….
I really need some support if anyone is able…Thanks for listening.


Kirby, eeewwwwww. “Incestuous?” I feel I’m going to be sick!

Thank GOODNESS you’re out!


Ox Drover

Dear Kirby,

I am so glad you found LoveFraud, there is llearning and support here…and I am so sorry that you NEEDED to find LF.
Knowledge is pOwer and there is plenty to learn about psychopaths. I’m glad that you have a therapist that gets it about them.

YOu are a caring and empathetic person and they neither care nor have empathy which is why they pick on us to use as prey. It is difficult learning that nothing they said is true, they are total liars. He was ONLY using you for a victim, he never loved you or cared about you. You were conned, used, abused, lied to, and manipulated.

I like that line about “I am so hurt you would ask” (for your passwords) LOL Yea, right. If he had nothing to hide he would gladly have shared them.

Again, Kirby, welcome to LoveFraud. God bless.


I am so happy to see people going through this hell and not only living to talk about it, but talking about living again. I feel so so so dumb for staying with an abusive narcissist as long as I did (he also made the whole world think he loved me so much, while he cheated on me, hit on my friends and even came onto my daughter eventually). I feel like maybe I will regain my sanity. Thank you!



Wonderful find in this wonderful mine called, Blossom. I hope Kirby is OK and in remission. I love how you find the perfect articles to bring to the present.

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