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By | February 24, 2013 179 Comments

Fear-based thinking no longer runs my life

Editor’s note: The following post was written by the Lovefraud reader “Adelade.”

According to my counseling therapist, I became involved with sociopaths as a result of their motivations and their abilities to note my strengths and vulnerabilities. My vulnerabilities were formed during my childhood and manifested as a crippling condition termed, “shame core.”

This core was based upon my experiences in a dysfunctional family environment of alcoholism. For whatever reasons, I believed that I was responsible for the happiness and well-being of everyone, and I mean everyone. This false sense of responsibility prepared me for a lifetime of fear-based decisions and choices that included marrying two sociopaths in a row.

Fear is a visceral response to threat or danger. When a child feels that they are “in danger” of being cold, unloved, hungry, and dirty, the response is to do whatever they can to avoid being cold, unloved, hungry, or dirty. If a child feels “threatened” with abandonment, dismissal, humiliation, abuse, molestation, hunger, or any other negative situation, that child will do whatever they can to avoid the threats.

Childhood threats real or imagined

For me, these fears were based upon experiences that were, at the time, facts. I was neglected, dismissed, unfed, unwashed, verbally and emotionally abused, abandoned, and humiliated on a constant basis. The humiliation of being neglected fed the Abandonment Monkey. The Abandonment Monkey would then pull the tail of the Un-Love-Able Monkey who would, in turn, scream at the Humiliation Monkey. Once this cycle begins for a child, it becomes a living, breathing part of their persona unless strong steps are taken to alter the child’s core beliefs of themselves.

How that fear translated into my core beliefs of myself were that I was abandoned, humiliated, unfed, and dismissed because something that I had done (or, failed to do). That meant that I was unworthy of love, undeserving of nutrition, and that I was, in essence, a waste of human tissue.

Adult threats real or imagined

As I moved into adulthood, these core issues and beliefs became the driving force behind nearly every decision and choice that I made. From partners to college courses, my fears of abandonment and feeling unworthy caused me to make some very tragic choices. In the case of the first abusive spath spouse, I was targeted and responded to the typical spath love bombing and empty promises because the sociopath was himself a tragic figure. His childhood story was appallingly sad and he was always beneath some mystical black cloud that I believed that I could help him to escape. If I demonstrated how much I loved and believed in this tragic man, he would, in turn, love me back and never leave me because I had proven my value to him by sacrificing for him. Well, of course, this course of decision-making was catastrophic on every level for me, and the children produced from this union.

The Self Destruction Exhibit

My fears of abandonment, ridicule, and the rest are what fueled all of the monkeys in the Self Destruction Exhibit, and I remained in an environment of violent abuse because of those fears. I wasn’t worthy of a strong and healthy relationship, nor was I deserving of educating myself and discovering my own independence. The monkeys kept me tied to a co-dependency that nearly drove me to suicide.

There seemed no other way out for me. I couldn’t take care of myself because I had been caring for everyone else throughout my lifetime. Whether it was a violent husband or sick children, I took my own needs entirely off of the stove and honestly believed that this was how it was supposed to be. I honestly believed that martyring myself would, someday, result in a Supreme Reward, and it never happened.

The second marriage was fear-based, as well. I hadn’t recovered from my first disaster and I was targeted by a non-violent sociopath and bought the illusion completely.

Perceived and true threats

What I have learned about my fear-based thinking is that it can truly be rewired. I don’t have to be afraid of things that are not true threats or actual dangers. What are the present threats that I’m facing today? What identifiable dangers must I avoid today? What I might “feel” is a threat, typically isn’t, and the same is true with perceived danger.

Perceived threats / dangers:

  • Being alone means that I do not meet anyone else’s approval
  • If I don’t tolerate bad behaviors, people won’t like me
  • If I don’t give someone the benefit of the doubt, then I’m a bad person and unworthy of love
  • If I don’t give someone a second chance, then I will be abandoned and alone

True threats / dangers

  • Drunk drivers colliding with my vehicle
  • Lightning strikes nearby
  • Floods and acts of Nature
  • Random acts of human violence

The point is that what my mind created is what disabled me to the point where I refused to construct and maintain strong boundaries. I was afraid to call a spade what it was because, if someone didn’t like the truth, then they wouldn’t like me. If they didn’t like me, then I wasn’t worthy or deserving of approval toss the monkeys some more bananas and the cycle would continue. The point is that, today, it’s not so much that I no longer “care” about acceptance, approval, love, or worthiness, but that I can provide those things to myself under my own power.

If someone violates my boundaries and says or does something that is unacceptable, am I really going to continue tolerating being treated poorly out of fear that this person isn’t going to like me? Why would I even seek the approval of someone who doesn’t really care about how their actions or words make me feel? That doesn’t mean that I’m impervious to the attempts of others to force their agendas upon me that will be a constant for the rest of my life because I finally accept that there are simply bad people out there who have an agenda with everyone, not just me. But, in order for me to avoid being exploited by another sociopath, I am mandated to draw that line in the sand and, regardless of who it might be, if that line is crossed, then the association is finished.

Rewired fear-based thinking

Fear-based thinking was rewired when I finally accepted facts as they are. “Acceptance” does not mean that I am obligated to “like” the facts, by any stretch of the imagination. I often do not like the facts, one iota. It is dreadful and grievous that some things are true. It’s dreadful that there are individuals who do not have a conscience and are incapable of feeling remorse for harming others. I don’t “like” this fact, but it’s undeniable. It is appalling that people produce offspring and have no intention of raising and caring for those offspring with love, nurturing, and boundaries. I don’t “like” this fact, either, but it is indisputable.

Acceptance, approval and love — for me

Accepting facts allows for me to approach any given situation with an objective eye. Rather than running on fear, I’m beginning to experience the liberation and supremely positive benefits that boundaries provide. I finally realize and “feel” that I am not responsible for the happiness, well-being, or success of any other human being on this planet. And, I won’t accept that responsibility ever again because I like myself, I accept myself, I approve of myself, and I love myself.

Of course, the previous statement does not mean that I travel with this backpack of healthy “Self-isms” on a continuous basis. To be sure, I have set that bagful of power down, from time to time, and experienced the reanimation of fear-based thinking. But, when I recognize that I’ve done this, I look back on my Healing Path to see where I left it and go right back and pick it back up.

Grateful for everything — including my sociopathic experiences

There are too many authentic fears and threats in life without my core issues creating ones that are not based upon facts. My perceptions are constantly evolving and becoming based more and more upon facts. So, the monkeys in the Self-Destruction Exhibit are starving, and they want to scream for sustenance, but they’re slowly beginning to lose their energy. For this, I am grateful and, as odd as it may sound, that gratitude extends to my spath experiences.

Had I not experienced the painful betrayals and subsequent carnages, I would not be at this point today. I would still be making fear-based choices and decisions, and I would still be the whipping post of every disordered individual that I came into contact with. Today, my sense of gratitude is colossal and I am understanding that all things happen for “A Reason.”


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Ox Drover

Adelade, a MOST EXCELLENT ARTICLE! I can so much relate to being “responsible” for everyone else’s happiness, and putting up with bad behavior so that others would like me. Well, I no longer suffer fools gladly or abusive people at all.

Thank you very much for sharing this article. God bless.

KatyDid

One of my BIGGEST lessons in all this is something that another taught me:

NO ONE is ENTITLED to do the carp to others.

I learned I was NOT responsible for someone else’s FEELINGS, that I didn’t have to tip toe b/c someone screamed VICTIM.

I AM responsible for the consequences of my behavior, but then again for those awful moments of messing up, DECENT people allow for remorse and contrition. After all, it’s called REDEMPTION.

It was SUCH a trap being caught and blamed for not GUESSING all the possibilities of someone else’s FEELINGS and being BLAMED for guessing WRONG!!!

FREEDOM!!! It’s about seeking EMOTIONAL health!

Sunflower

What a wonderful article! I must add, that’s the way to distinguish yourself off from others. What is yours and what belongs to them. Meaning pushing back what’s not yours. When you take responsibility for someone else (because that’s what we do when we are fear driven) , it’s easily mistaken that their problems are your problems disabling others from their own responsibility for their own actions. In that, you loose your self because you’re so bizzy caring for others than your self. Also, disable your own fears and taking responsibility for your own line of thoughts means that a spath will never ever have control over you because fear is what they prey upon. Fear is what keeps one bound with them in most occations.

I’ve recently learned that once you’re no longer fear bound in toxic relationships, have taken back your own control over your self (your boundaries, what you like/want and do not like/want and you know who you really are) they become very small when they realize they no longer have no control over you. They become hysterical, playing their victim mode to reel you in. When that no longer works… you are free.

I’ve just seen how that works when I met a former (toxic) friend recently. When I understood the game she was playing I realized I had a choice and I chose to walk out on that friendship, my integrity grew in a way I have never experienced before. The sense of achievement grew on me and I understood what it means to love my self. I did not mourn the friendship, what could have been and it felt very strange. However, why mourn over something that’s toxic? I desverve better and I can walk out with my head held high.

KatyDid

A little piece of my past life:
When my daughter was in grade school, a new girl came to town and joined the class. I saw that little girl waling alone and I knew IMMEDIATELY what her life was going to be like at school. I took my daughter aside and told her, “you don’t have to be friends with her, but you don’t have the right to make her life more miserable than it already is and I’d better never see you pick on her.”

Whether I put the fear of God in her or whether my words made her step back and look with different eyes, my daughter heeded my warning and she actually ended up befriending that girl, the only friend that girl had until her parents put her in a school in the neighboring town.

You see, in our little town conformity was key. And that little girl didn’t have the clothes or the family to fit the conformity. It was a few years later when my daughter mentioned why she ended up being her friend, she said mom, “she turned out to be really smart and funny and I liked her”. But she was Never accepted in our little town b/c she didn’t have the social skills necessary to fit in. She, like me, was raised isolated and with thugs for siblings. She grew up tall and slender and yes, she became a model for a few years. But she never forgot the friendship of my daughter and hanging out at our house. And she NEVER turned into the kind of person who said, “I’m a victim and entitled to treat others badly.”

Instead, she looked for people who were like her, people with good hearts who cared and gave. She came back to our area, went to university, got her degree in chemistry and became a lab rat. Nothing exciting, but WONDERFUL b/c she is NORMAL, she LOVES, and she has a family of her own. There was NOTHING wrong with her morals, nothing wrong with her heart. She just lacked social skills and she needed time to figure it out.

It’s a life lesson. We are abused by spaths. TERRIBLE things were done to us. BUT…. we are NOT then entitled to be mean to others. How many of us ASSUMED that someone was our enemy b/c they FAILED to understand our pain? FAILED to give us what we needed? Like we were entitled and THEY were SUPPOSED to fix our NEED?

I LOVE This article! WE MUST NOT ALLOW SPATHS TO ABUSE US!! And then… WE are NOT ENTITLED to do to others what SPATHS DID TO US!!! NOTHING entitles us to demand that someone suck up and give us what the spath didn’t. What we need to do is GIVE IT TO OURSELVES, and Then, GIVE TO OTHERS, Treat others with what we did not get from the spath: Kindness, compassion, understanding. Only then are we on the other side of the tunnel, reconnected to our humanity and moving in to the light.

I saw it in an article today. “the beatings will continue until moral improves.” YES! STOP the beatings. Don’t give ANY power to SPATHS.

RE-Claim your dignity. And then go be the person who doesn’t do that CARP to others. B/c being a victim of an spath does NOT ENTITLE ANYONE to harm another. FEAR is NOT AN EXCUSE.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I heard my mother-in-law and my brother in law tell me that my former spouse (their son/bro) was mistreated by his deceased father. I had never met the father as I came into monsters life after he had already died. And yes, apparently since he was a victim of his father’s mistreatment all these years he felt entitled to mistreat and bully others – However especially just me in private but not in public Since that would ruin his image as a great guy. By the time I started really pushing back, standing up for myself, it was a little late to start developing firm boundary lines. He was particularly worse after we bore three children since my devotion to being a great mother made me more vulnerable and weak in his eyes. I definitely wanted his approval in the worst way. I worked exhaustively hard at being a better person thinking that he would like me. Only when it became so painful, was I ready to give up the intact family I had created. Monster clearly ruled me by fear. I was so afraid to make him mad I was so afraid to see him rage, thus I was responsible for keeping him happy. What a revelation that he is responsible for his own happiness. All the while I felt responsible for my happiness, his, and his mother’s. I was carrying quite a big load.
At one point the article mentions feeling dismissed. Monster was extremely skilled at dismissing me. When I would call him out on something that didn’t add up he would simply change the subject or quietly go off and do something else, making it seem petty of me to pursue- but that is how a Spath rolls.
Thank you Adelaide for this wonderful article that carries so much truth and wisdom.

KatyDid

HonestKindGiver
That was my family legacy too, and I saw it over and over. That b/c they were harmed, they felt entitled to get back at others. But sometimes people are just clumsy or thoughtless. They need us to assert boundries. They need to explain themselves. But we are NOT entitled to abuse willy nilly just b/c someone triggered abuse feelings in us.

My mother was not kind to me. Once I became an adult, I did not let her abuse me anymore but I also did not “get back at her”. I reasoned that it was NOT MY PLACE to make her life more miserable than it already was.

I taught my daughter that same lesson. That she was NOT to let anyone harm her, but SHE was NEVER to make others lives more miserable.

It’s one way I connect to my humanity. Not perfectly, but it is what I strive for, and when I make a mistake, it’s the horse I get back on to, Connecting with my humanity by treated others with DIGNITY as opposed to what my spath did, what he FELT ENTITLED to do.

My mantra became “NOT LIKE THEM”. It means more than to not allow harm to me, it ALSO means I am not entitled to harm others. I am determined to stop the family legacy.

Best, Katy

Radar_On

KatyDid, what a beautiful thing you did for your daughter, and that little girl! That befriending just may have saved her life, in a way. I always had a hard time fitting in as well. Dysfunctional family, i was a chubby, 4-eyed nerd, that was one of those little ones that was always picked on, and was always picked last on a kick-ball team. And to this day, at 52 yrs old, i feel most at ease, being alone. This is another great article!

Serenity

Really good article; and put a new perspective that I hadnt really identified before…had never thought about it in this manner. Abandonment issues are abundant with me and it was only recently that I realized that yes, I have been abandoned many times (as a child, teen, in my 20s, 30s, 40s… some in nightmarish ways others just horrifying) but ya know what … Im still alive. Disappointments will happen but when I let go of ‘looking’ to live in fear I actually ‘live’ life. Lovefraud has been essential in helping me identify potential spath encounters, and Ive been able to extract myself and gain safety, so Im very thankful.

Great article Adelade!The monkey analogy does help one visualize the evil that is taking place!And the fear does start in childhood.

My thinking has had to be ‘rewired’ too.I always felt responsible for making people feel better and happier.Thus,I fell right into the target of the spath!And he used that thinking against me ‘to the max’…to the point of even making me guess what he needed;what would make him happy-I felt tortured!But now,I feel really free,as I realize that his problems belong to him and him only….now I take care of myself!Of course,I remain a compassionate person towards deserving people.

LPMarie13

Adelade, this article is awesome and really spoke to me about my own fear based decision making. It could not have been timlier for me. I realized I was embarking on a new “friendship” with a complete a-hole based ob my need to feel accepted and approved of. This guy has no approval/acceptance to give. I was, of course, assuming something was wrong with me until yesterday when he behaved egregiously bad toward my two year old daughter, and when I confronted his inappropriate bevahior and let him know I was angry, not only was he completely remorseless, he blamed me for not being able to take a joke. This was so reminiscent of my spathy ex. Your words about boundaries and drawing the line in the sand were so helpful to me. I was actually at the a-holes house yesterday when I read your article and decided i, too, can make those decisions for myself and end an association at any point. This guy is actually a member of my reserve unit, and might feel awkward, but I will only deal with him if I absolutey have to and only regarding professional matters. I went to his church twice, which was an excellent place. Im wondering if I should alert the female pastor of the three that he was inappropriate toward my child. Im afraid of not being believed or trivialized, but I also belive its worth that risk if ut might potentially protect cgildren. Its up to them to belueve me or not. Ive only been there twice. Hes been there for years and sees ti have his nuce guy persona down pat! I see that I have grown in that I spotted the red flags in a matter of weeks this time, not years!

LPMarie13

And also, I am STILL allowing fear to influence me…. If am trivialized or not believed, so what? I am also afraid of how he would retaliate… Wresting fears doesnt mean I cant make the right decision, tho!

bluemosaic

Thx Adelade,

I am very new and still very traumatized by my run in with a spath, your article gives me hope that I will come out the other side of this…more whole…never allowing myself to end up the way I feel today. I feel so broken. Thank you for sharing, I have had a very bad day and read this to keep myself from falling deeper.

Bluemosaic

Lone Wolf

bluemosaic

I am so glad you found this super article helpful. There is lots more good stuff here! Your username seems really apposite – you may feel broken but those pieces still make up a beautiful whole when assembled!

Sending you love and light

Lone Wolf

bluemosaic

Thx Lonewolf,

I do intend to re-assemble,
light to you as well

Bluemosaic

janmc

Thank you, Adelaide, for your article! So much of what you said rang true for my experience especially how fears and the entanglements muddy boundaries. I, too, have learned what is okay. It was a tough road. So glad for your recovery.
Although I have “learned it”, I am still dealing with fear based emotions versus rational…as the core is still shaken. And mindfulness helps!
Many blessings on you, Adelaide.

Barb

Great novels and poetry have been written due to human angst. If you can find a way to “write it out”, real soul burning ‘stuff’, it can provide great relief.

Another enlightenment: too often we allow the ‘sick other’ to influence us and have us believe we are the problem. Because of this support group online we are learning to turn “auto-mode self destruct” into “other recognition” and develop new coping skills…as soon as someone says something that makes you feel bad about yourself an alarm should go off…and anything other than feeling bad should be your recourse. I will sometimes use reverse psychology, such as…”Really? I didn’t know that about myself. I will have to work on it.”

LL Mequon

Adelaide, just read this. It’s almost exactly my own story. I am the oldest of 10 children and the daughter of two narcissists. I needed (at least I thought so as a child!) to meet everyone’s needs but my own! What resonated the most with me was waiting for ” the big payoff”–where all of my efforts resulted in someone realizing how much they love me. HA!! You can guess that day never came. Just divorced my spath husband, after 26 years (28, if you count the time he dragged the divorce on…)
One of the worst things about a background like this, is that you are thrust into a role you can’t really succeed at. For example, an 8-year-old is not a good babysitter! So I have a long history of failures behind me. My self-worth was destroyed well before I became an adult. I had to try to re-parent myself, and was always playing catch-up. Finally figuring it all out at 57. Sigh .
Thank you for your excellent article. This site is a godsend.

newlife43

My vulnerabilities were formed during my childhood and manifested as a crippling condition termed, “shame core.”

For whatever reasons, I believed that I was responsible for the happiness and well-being of everyone, and I mean everyone.

I needed (at least I thought so as a child!) to meet everyone’s needs but my own! What resonated the most with me was waiting for ” the big payoff—“where all of my efforts resulted in someone realizing how much they love me. HA!! You can guess that day never came…quote from LLMequon

One of the worst things about a background like this, is that you are thrust into a role you can’t really succeed at.

WOW! This one is going to take me at least TWO days to tap through…good stuff, thank you, Adelade.

newlife43

LP Marie:

Don’t, don’t, don’t try to out him to that church. You will pay dearly for it, unless you have rock-solid proof. Just go NO contact in every way possible. But you could pray for them to God and ask HIM to expose the spath to them. Besides, you don’t know who, in that organization, is also sociopathic! Then he will get his minions to come after you also. Most important thing is your 2 year old daughter. Just get away.

ImaContender

Wow! This story could have been written by me. It is almost word fo
r word, my experience. Key terrms, incidents, and characteristics stand out.
It is surreal to think Thu has happened to me. And my life.

LL Mequon

ImaContender: It IS surreal! I have to say, I was aware that I wasn’t the only one who had this background and ended up married to a narcissist/spath. But I really didn’t realize the stories were SO similar–and the community (relatively) large. It’s been eye-opening. I almost feel like my life was the inevitable result of a formula: Narcissistic parent (2) – Love+ Unrealistic demands -Support – Boundaries = Me + Shame + Spath
Wow.

I can totally relate to this post.

I, too, was expecting that “Supreme Reward” for giving up my own needs and caring for others, and of course all I got was the booby prize instead, many times over.

Trying to win validation or approval or love from people who don’t care about us is a losing and irrational game, one we don’t even know we’re playing until something comes along that’s bad enough to jolt us awake.

Boundaries are key. When I know where my “lines in the sand” are, life is different. I’m not quite as far along as you, but I’m well on my way, getting there with a lot of work and determination and self-compassion.

Thanks for this excellent article, Adelade.

newlife43

Well, another eye-opener from the last two posts from LLMequon & Arianna.

But why am I surprised? If the spaths are all so similiar, then why am I surprised to find that WE, the LoveFraud posters/victims of spaths are all so similiar?

All people need love and support and validation. That is not what is wrong with us. What is wrong is that we are picking the WRONG people to get it from. It is as if someone expected me to be a brain-surgeon with no training whatsoever. With our backgrounds, it is inevitable that we would fail at choosing a healthy relationship vs the crap ones! Talk about unrealistic expectations.

I would be interested in knowing what the percentage of people who fit the above description in Adelade’s article post on this blog. Is it 50%? 75%? Higher?

I go to Mexico to the dentist (so much cheaper, even if I have to stay overnight on the American side!) Professionals in Mexico are very different than in US, perhaps because they are allowed to be. Recently, he told me that I have to learn how to care for myself. My response…”I don’t know how!” Everything I did, I did for and because of someone else. I have a real problem.

Thanks for pointing that out to me. (PS I am the oldest of 8 kids)

Ox Drover

Yes, New Life, there are similarities in US just as there are in THEM, not identical of course, but similar. Many of us lack appropriate BOUNDARIES, many of us have been taught as children that WE are responsible for the happiness of others and must sacrifice our needs for the needs of others (husband, kids, parents etc) Of course there are other things that make us RIPE to become VICTIMS but that’s a pretty universal start.

Of course if we FAIL at this IMPOSSIBLE TASK, (which we are bound to do) then we are shamed and abused because we are “failures” and “unworthy” of respect and love.

I think many of us here can relate to these “problems” but at the same time, I think as we are healing we are realizing we are NOT responsible for anyone else’s happiness, and we MUST LEARN to set REAL BOUNDARIES. I “thought” I was setting boundaries but I wasn’t, but I am NOW because NOW I have learned what a REAL boundary is.

I’m also learning to take care of me first. And learning that “Me first” is not a bad thing but a GOOD thing!

New Life,
I can relate to many of your posts. Taking care of other people is what makes me happy, taking care of myself doesn’t. This is a big problem because it attracts spaths.
BTW, I’m the middle kid.

I know that I had a gut feeling that the spath was dangerous since the very first time I met him. Over and over and over, I ignored the gut feeling until it became just part of the background noise and I could no longer hear it. All the spath had to do, to make me ignore my gut, was to show how much he loved me, with flowers, kisses and attention —LOTS of attention.

I think that there are people out there, the normal ones, who DO NOT ignore their gut feelings. For them, their instincts are part of who they are and their self-esteem makes them honor those instincts. (Some people call it intuition, some call it instinct.) These people are of no interest to the psychopath, he can’t get his hooks into them.

We, on the other hand, have been suppressing our instincts since childhood. We have rational minds and that is a good thing, but we are lopsided we don’t use our instinctual/right-brain as much as the left brain, so we don’t know when to run.

It’s like we’re the antelope who sees the rest of the herd running away and we stop to see what caused all this commotion. Then we get eaten.

newlife43

Skylar:

Your last line is so true. Human beings are the only animals that ignore their “instincts” whether it is due to politeness or childhood training or just thinking we misunderstood what was happening. And then we give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Or we want them to “like” us. The antelope don’t give a carp whether we like them or not, whether it is impolite to run away. And they don’t give us the benefit of the doubt…they are out of here!

When I was in my early twenties, I worked in a big building in a major metropolitan area. I had gone out to get lunch and was bringing it back and since it was lunch time, the building was pretty deserted. When I approached the elevator waiting area, a man was standing there and had just let an elevator go without getting on it. My alarm bells were ringing. I waited there with him for the next elevator and when it arrived, I got on. So did he and he stood behind me. And for the few seconds before the door closed, I kept hearing, “Get off, get off NOW!” in my head. So I did. Then SO DID HE!

I immediately went to the security guard in the lobby, briefly explained and pointed him out. He started running. I don’t know what happened after that but I knew one thing…I listened to my gut instinct. And I was safe.

I’m going to be that girl again. By golly!!

Louise

Yeah, I have always thought there was something wrong with me when it came to men even though everyone says I’m so beautiful, sweet, kind, etc…so then why can’t I seem to ever have a normal relationship? The reason being is that I am choosing unavailable men…either literally or emotionally. It will never work when they aren’t available or able to give us what we deserve.

strongawoman

Newlife, have you read the “Gift of Fear”…..it’s all about trusting our instincts and what happens when we don’t. Your story immediately made me think of a particular event that the author writes about.

To Be Free

Hi Everyone, I so can relate to this article. I should have run at the first red flag but didn’t. I am a people pleaser or peace maker, whichever you want to call it.
Even last night I had a discussion with the exBF and he talked so nice and his voice was so smooth. Even throwing in some compliments. After the conversation, I realized that the tone and smoothness of his voice was all a trap. I had one thought come to me that “maybe he isn’t so bad after all”. I quickly replaced it with the truth of remembering the lies that he has told me, the controlling nature, the emotional rollercoaster that he put me on. I had broken up with him and he still wants to keep tabs on me. I know he is already seeing someone, and I am pretty sure he started it before I got rid of him.

Ox Drover

Newlife, TOWANDA and good for you! Listen to your instincts and your gut!

To Be Free, in order TO TRULY BE FREE you must go NO CONTACT wiith him, no telephone, no Texts, no e mails, no chats and no contact with anyone who wants to talk about him, and no checking his face book page, just like he died or moved to MARS. He is gone.

At that point you can start your healiing but contact sets you back.

strongawoman

Hi Tobefree,

Best not to talk to him at all!! NC is the only way TBF!!

To Be Free

I honestly know that and I have a good friend that I had been calling when I wanted to talk to him. I had a weak moment. Sometimes I have thought I could handle talking to him but everytime I is so emotionally hard on me.

I have been reading this site almost everyday and it has helped me so much; from when I started trying to understand who he really was to when I actually told him goodbye. From what I understand, I am the only girl that has broken off with him.

I just want to be stronger.

strongawoman

TBF, it’s ok. We all make mistakes honey. But, keepin yourself in the loop with this thing is not a good idea. You are vulnerable. Mind what Ox has said to you. Give it a WIDE berth and you will get stronger. Keep engaging and he will

To Be Free

Thanks. I know you all are right because you have been there!!

Ox Drover

TBF, don’t beat yourself up about talking to him, just use it as a learning experience and don’t do it again. It is like hittiing your thumb with a hammer, when you doo it it always hurts so you learn not to do it. LOL (((Hugs)))

NewLife,
Thank God you listened to your instincts!!! You do have it in you, we all do. The problem starts when they love bomb us, then we stop listening to ourselves and start listening to them.

TBF, Good for you breaking up with him. If you are the only woman who ever did that, you can be sure he will keep after you. They don’t like to be abandoned.

Stick to your boundaries. NC, NC, NC. Remember, when a spath moves his lips, he is lying.

newlife43

To Be Free:

Mine was keeping tabs on me also, even though we had pretty much ended it. He kept calling me and wanting to come over a fix a few things. It was pretty confusing after everything we had been through. I realize now that he was keeping me as a back-up in case the new relationship went down in flames. But who knows for sure?

No contact, no contact, no contact. Not even Facebook, or talking to friends about him. It really helps your brain heal. We were all very damaged and No Contact is the only sure medicine.

To Be Free,
Congrats on your gaining knowledge of what your ex-bf is and having the strength to leave him!Having a friend to call when you are feeling weak is a good idea.But most of of us here have found that just bringing up those bad memories are enough to take away the desire to contact the person again.Still,healing does take time-and the longer you go without contact,the better chance you’ll be able to cope in the future.My story is a good example.

I left my husband once before,and stayed away for 5 yrs.But we were in contact from time to time;sometimes on a daily basis.I never called him or encouraged him.He just showed up at my house.Because we still had minor children at the time,I would busy myself with things in the kitchen or another room while he visited with them.But he always managed to get in a few words with me somehow.

Anyway,as the yrs went by,the children grew up and were out of the house.Then I had an accident which caused me to have panic attacks and I couldn’t take living alone.The only solution seemed to go back to my husband.I literally believe he made me ‘pay’ for those 5 yrs of freedom!When I got out this time,I was so sleep deprived and hardly ate;I didn’t feel very alive……A WARNING FOR ALL!

bluemosaic

Hi All,

There was a time when I had no fear in my life, I am hopeful that someday , when I heal, I will feel that way again.

To be Free; I think your call name is awesome, that is the hope here, that we can all be free from the havoc that a spath and our “inner Issues” brought into our lives. I have been on the LF blog just a couple weeks and it has taught me more about what this man really was to me and my life than the whole year plus I spent with him.

Despite how sad, angry and grief stricken I feel somedays…I know if I were still with him, I would have more fear and misery in my life than I do now.

It was so hard to stop seeing him towards the end, I cried every time we were together….but it was the best thing. NC, has put some calm back…time and distance are my freinds. I found out too, like someone mentioned above, he already had the next one in line long before I left. Instincts ignored…something I aim to unlearn.

Peace to all,

Bluemosaic

I’ve learned recently that not getting love or validation from my family — and then going out into life with an unfulfilled need for those things — made me ripe for the spath’s picking. In fact, at the end of our “relationship,” my ex-spath told me he “picked” me because I was “very vulnerable.” They have to troll to see who will respond to them, because not everyone will (and WE are becoming those people who will not respond!).

In speaking of instincts and gut feelings, I want to add something here. The “Gift of Fear” is a great book and a worthwhile read for everyone, but after I read it I read “Dangerous Instincts.” The author is a woman who was an FBI profiler with the BAU who warns that the psychopath is capable of DISARMING and BYPASSING our gut feelings and instincts.

She says this is what makes them so dangerous, and it’s why we should never rely on using those feelings as a warning.

Instead, she proposes a decision-making process she learned in the FBI, one that was created to find out if someone’s trustworthy based on, of other things, observing their character over time.

When I read it, I knew that if I had looked for SUBSTANCE behind the love-bombing and what ensued, there wouldn’t have been any at all. I believe that with knowledge of how spaths operate, combined with strong boundaries, we can keep a critical eye out for substance and character.

We can watch our own behavior, too. When we relax a boundary we swore we’d stick to, we can see it for the big red flag it is.

Not long into my healing process, I made a decision that new people in my life would have to EARN my trust. That was still so naïve! Earning trust is EXACTLY what con artists do so very well. Now, a person has to not only earn my trust, they’ve got to KEEP it. For the duration.

That’s one of my boundaries now ”“ Act untrustworthy, and it’s over. Words will not have more weight than actions have anymore, so “explaining things away” won’t work.

The conversations here have been an important part of my progress. Thanks to everyone.

Louise

Arianna:

Wow, what you said here has really hit me in the gut.

First, yes…they will troll just for a response. It is a numbers game…some will bite and some won’t. I can see so clearly now that is what the spath was doing. He would do this at work no less…literally troll the halls looking for his next victim.

SUBSTANCE, yes. I love that word. It actually is a word that triggers me though as the OW at work who was in triangulation with me told me that spath “wants and needs substance.” Really??? Really??? That just blows my mind now…he doesn’t want any such thing! He could care less about “substance.” He only uses and abuses. If he cared about “substance,” he wouldn’t be a serial cheater. UGGGHHH. Still angry.

Awesome point…if we find ourselves relaxing a boundary, that is a red flag…you bet!!! We need to stop and say whoa…what’s going on here??

Lastly, the thing about earning trust…again…YES!! Such a fantastic point because after all, didn’t the spath’s EARN our trust?? Haha, seems laughable now, but they did and they weren’t deserving of it AT ALL! So in the future, someone needs not only earn my trust, but keep it for a long time before I will give up anything to them.

Words are only words. Explaining things away…wow…that is what they do. The spath I knew could no longer “explain things away” when he was fired last week. He was always able to charm and lie and explain everything away, but he finally hit a brick wall…he could no longer charm his way out of this one and he lost it all. He so got what he deserved!

THANK YOU so much for this knowledge, Arianna…it was worth a million bucks.

To Be Free

The Lovefraud site has helped me so much. When I read these postings I think, wow, that is just like me!

I broke it off with the ex the week before Christmas and we had no communication for 4 weeks, then it slowly started back. But not on a consistant basis. Those 4 weeks like to have killed me. I am in the process of NC again. Ugh!

We were together for 2 1/2 years. Most of that time I kept a journal. I have read back through some of it and it is all over the place emotionally. I would put in there alot the fact that I just don’t understand why he acts like this, such Dr. Jeckel/Mr. Hyde. A few months before Christmas I heard something about a sociopath. I never knew anything about this before. That’s when I started my search and was amazed at what I have learned. I finally realized that I had to get away from him, once and for all!!
Thank he would never change no matter how hard I tried to make things right and please him. I was wearing me out!! He did the typical things as isolate me from family and friends, shower me with attention and then retreat, make me feel like I couldn’t do anything right, the constant lying, and the list could go on and on.

Even for a while I kept thinking that maybe he wasn’t one of those!! Haha Funny to think that now.

Like you said, Lousie, this has been worth a Million or even more!

To Be Free

Bluemosaic,
I feel where you are because we are both in the early stages of healing.
Big Hugs to you today! TBF

Thanks, Louise.

My ex- path told me many times he was a “vampire,” and only in time did I figure out what he meant: He was totally empty inside, without substance, just a predator seeking to fill that hungry void within. And what he wanted to fill it with was MY substance, but of course he couldn’t.

He’ll keep trying, though — he’ll keep moving from one victim to the next, like an addict in search of a fix he’ll never get.

Maybe this is all there is underneath all the smoke and mirrors.

mich0101

I am tryng to find a way to accept that I was stupid enough to have been involved with mine for 3 years. I wasted 3 years of my life and now I am left broken and he just moves on to the next victim without blinking an eye.

Louise

Arianna:

I was thinking about vampires just yesterday when I was thinking about being slimed. I got to thinking that being slimed was like being bit by a vampire…isn’t that what a vampire does…he has to bite the next person to then make THEM a vampire? OMG. All this transfer! I can’t take it…running away screaming…not really, but geez. If I could find a therapist who would believe all this and not think I was crazy, he/she would be worth every penny.

Ox Drover

mich, we all felt the same way, but it is learning about them and that you are NOT STUPID for being fooled by a great lliar. We all were fooled, but it is because we are able to love and care and are goood people that they target us and use us, you are good and caring, not stupid. Keep on reading here and you will see that you are not stupid and not alone. There are MDs and PhDs and others here who have experienced thee same thing…being fooled by a liar. S o keep on learning, because knowledge is power and you need to take back your power and learn how to not ever be fooled like this again. (((hugs))

mich0101

Thanks Ox. I have been doing nothing but cry for the past 2 weeks, when the reality of it all hit me. I should have seen the signs. My friends did, but I wouldn’t listen to them. Actually, I did see them, but I ignored them. It was like he had some kind of control over my emotions.

mich0101: As OxDrover said, you are not stupid; you were fooled by a great liar because you were able to love and to care. Just like the rest of us.

It’s very hard at first when reality hits. You feel broken now, but know that with time and determination you’ll realize you were wounded but whole, and you’re actually on your way to being stronger than you ever were before.

What’s that saying about taking lemons and turning them into lemonade? I think it was made for us.

mich0101

I hope so. I am not functioning much right now. My divorce didn’t even destroy me like this and he cheated on me to. With my best friend! But it was different. He did love me at one point. Was not intentional.

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