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Following the ex on Facebook inhibits emotional recovery

Here’s more proof that total No Contact is the way to recovery. A new study finds that continuing to follow a former romantic partner on Facebook after breaking up makes it harder to move on. Read:

Study: Stalking your ex on Facebook is bad for you, on ZDNet.com.

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.


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279 Comments on "Following the ex on Facebook inhibits emotional recovery"

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Donna, THANK you for posting this invaluable article.

Spaths COUNT on misinformation and blowing things out of proportion, in Real Life. Using social media to further damage is a given. They are counting on their targets to check up on them.

I mentioned this on another thread, but I finally deleted my FB profile. It’s a narcissist’s playground and I don’t buy the bullshit about reconnecting, etc. I’ve “reconnected” with ONE person via FaceTube, and nobody that has insisted that they would miss me when I left has made an effort to contact me, personally. They post their pictures, their outings, their whereabouts at a tavern, and their personal injuries. But, they never ask me if I’m recovering.

I don’t WANT to know about the exspath. The day that I unzipped his nastybag was the day that he ceased to exist as someone of importance to me. I “knew” it, academically. It just took me a few weeks to “get it” about what he’d actually done.

NO CONTACT means just that. None. Nada. And, not in any form – checking profiles or third party contact is STILL contact.

Again, thank you for posting this VERY important article.

Brightest blessings

I’m glad to see some real DATA and articles for the general public about what WE KNOW is the ONLY WAY to really totally “get over it.” I know there are some people here who are FORCED to have contact with their ex because of “co-parenting” and I also know just HOW MUCH IT HURTS THOSE PARENTS AND THEIR KIDS.

When many people first come out of te relation-shit they seem obscessed with knowiing what is going on…is the new person in the X’s life making them happy etc.

Those of us who are FORCED to deal with the spaths have nothing but triggers from doing so. Even as far along as I am in my own healing, this upcoming parole hearing, and going over all the stuff again…and again…and contacting people and telling them “my story” to get them to help me or write letters to the parole board is wearing on my nerves. I’m “making it” but it does take a toll even on me.

Sometimes even now when I am telling this whole sordid story to someone new,, like I just did this past week to a nice lady at Parents of Murdered Children, I broke down and cried….having contact even THINKING too much about it all can be counter productive to healing.

I hope that thhe “new” people here on LF who are still trying to keep up with what is going on in the life of the spath unless there is danger and they MUST or unless the courts make them, I strongly suggest you don’t “back door stalk” them, even on FB.

God bless.

OxD, it’s such a temptation to “check up” on the spath AND their new targets – I’ve made lame attempts to find out information, but it has always come at a serious emotional price.

I was trying to find out information about the exspath’s retirement and, through hours of searching, discovered the roster of employees where he works. Like an adolescent busybody, I looked down the roster and discovered that his plaything was a coworker that he had met in his office, some years ago.

Now, this may all seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but this knowledge cut me to the core. While the exspath was telling me what he thought I wanted to hear, he was also busy juggling his affair with this coworker. It was something that I already “knew,” to an extent: he had relieved me of my personal finances through coercion and forgeries, and he had engaged in a thoroughly repulsive series of extramarital sexual encounters. This was really all I needed to “know.” Knowing more about this whole situation didn’t alter any of the facts, nor did it pay any of the bills that he left me with, nor did it satisfy the mortgage that he ran out on, nor did it pay for my prescribed medications. “Knowing more” about the exspath and his activities did nothing but harm me more, and it was a self-inflicted harm that I did to myself.

It’s been over a year since I discovered what the exspath was, and nearly a year since he left me holding the proverbial bag. Am I still tempted to check up on what he’s doing? Sure, I am. But, I have a tool in my belt that shuts that temptation down, post haste. That is the simple fact that he is a childish, foolish, irresponsible, lying, deceptive twerp that has no ability to provide anything meaningful, even to himself. Whammo……the temptation evaporates, and I breathe a sigh of relief.

And, this whole social networking thing…..people post their photos, the fact that there was corn in their waste, and that they’re “sad today.” When do these people EVER post a direct personal comment on MY page that encourages or “validates” my very existence? When? Uh…..never.

I actually felt much better after I deleted my FB page. Yeah, it’s also a temptation to check up on those people that were “friends” to see if they actually even notice that I’m gone, but who cares in the long run? They certainly don’t, and I have a whole lot more important things to do than to see who’s drinking a Mojito at the local tavern.

It’s all about choices and choosing to set boundaries for myself. I don’t need to know because it’s unimportant in my recovery.

OxD, you’re one heck of an inspiration and recalling your experiences always is a keen reminder of how courage and resolve can take even the most horrific experiences and turn them into growth and healing. Whenever I start feeling REALLY sorry for myself, I think about your experiences (along with so many others’) and it puts things into perspective for me

Brightest blessings

Truthy, the thing we must keep in mind is what Dr. Viktor Frankl wrote in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” after he got out of the Nazi prison camp with NOTHING left except his life. Family all gone. Home and career gone, friends gone…EVERYTHING gone….Yet, he found meaning.

He said that pain is like a gas. It can be “big” or “small” but it expands or contracts to fit the space it is in. So ALL pain is total pain. Even a baby dropping his passie cries like he has lost the world. He FEELS like he has lost the world. Of course we know he hasn’t but HE FEELS LIKE HE HAS.

Same thing with our losses, they are TOTAL, they are PAINFULLY TOTAL…even if they are “minor” in the grand scheme of things.

So there is no need to feel that your pain is less than my pain, because it wasn’t/isn’t—it is all TOTAL PAIN and LOSS.

But we can realize that like the baby losing his passie—IT AIN’T THE END OF THE FREAKING WORLD!

I would think this is a no-brainer, not just for a sociopath but anyone you are breaking ties with. I think if you are on FB, the temptation is always there to check on exes or someone you have a crush on. That’s why I just say no to FB.

Star, to those of us along a ways in our healing it IS A NO BRAINER…but to people just starting out, still wondering “was it ME?” those people don’t yet know that NO CONTACT is the best way, and that NO contact means no “back door stalking” no allowing mutual “friends” to give you information about them, no contact means NO CONTACT, ZIP, ZERO, NADA, NONE!

Of course it’s a no brainer. But sometimes when we are in the throes of things, we just want to grasp whatever we can even if it means “stalking Facebook.” It’s extremely hard to let go and we all know this.

I wasn’t trying to be condescending in my comment. FB is a temptation for anyone, no matter where they are at in their healing. There are people I honestly don’t want to see or hear from, but when I’ve reactivated my FB account, they pop up as “recommended friends”, and it’s upset me. I think having such a public life takes away so much of your control over who contacts you and who you see and hear about. Even just seeing certain people’s image on FB is traumatizing. I tried FB for a short while but found way more negatives than positives.

My comment wasn’t targeted at anyone. I was just being general. I am sorry if it was taken that way. No one usually replies to me anymore on here anyway. Just trying to live my life…

No, louise, I wasn’t offended at all – it had just occurred to me that someone might take my comment as condescending because I said it was a no-brainer. I just wanted to clarify that the internet makes it very easy to cyberstalk an ex and it’s tempting for all of us, not just those in early stages of recovery. I’ve googled all my exes over the years, and fortunately none of them seemed to have a FB account, including the spath. I don’t even google him anymore because I really don’t want to know.

Yes sireee: met x online and from there opened a whole
new meaning of the words like ‘liar’; psychopath; ‘user’…
The whole depths of hell itself came with that first ‘hello’.

From that point on it was like trying to get rid of a
cockroach infestation. True: there was a period of
time I didn’t feel that way. A time that I bought into
the whole entire abusive relationship that “I” allowed
to continue because I felt FREAKING SORRY for someone.
Imagine that. No. I don’t deserve the abuse and won’t
stand for any more of it. The blinders are completely off now.

It is true that I implemented NC for the sixth time in 13 years.
THIS TIME I absolutely MEANT it and had back up to prove my
point. With the exception of cyberstalking and telephone
stalking, it has been ‘relatively’ quiet, going on six months.
I don’t believe the quiet. It keeps me on edge. As most of you know,
“IT” was sighted in my town a week or so ago.
There is NO reason for “IT” to be here.
NONE.

I saw it two days in a row through the peephole
and never opened the door. There is nothing left to say.
GO AWAY.

During the initial ‘break up’ stage, where the bottom of my
life felt like it was falling into a dark, deep tunnel – yes, I
followed him online. It isn’t worth it. The more and more
I researched, the more I realized I didn’t want to know
anymore anyways. It just doesn’t matter anymore.

THEY ARE what they are.
THEY WILL ALWAYS be what they are.
THAT IS THEIR CHOICE.

We can’t save them but we CAN save ourselves.
Like a ‘deej-deej’, ‘smack – snap out of it’ moment.

I don’t care what “IT” does anymore as long as it
it is away from me. I want to know and/or hear
NOTHING. The state of upset we have all come
through: that in itself was a calculated outcome.

If that doesn’t make you ‘snap out of it’,
I don’t know what will. Realizing that the
pain and anguish and upset we have all
been through, was a part of the intent.

I have a ‘private’ FB account.
I approve/disapprove/invite who “I” want.
There are settings for that.

NC means just that.
NC. Absolute and complete.
Unless you commit yourself to that,
you will be always leaving yourself open
to become ‘prey’ all over again. And, it
never changes, it just goes on and on,
UNTIL you stop it.

“I” don’t want to be cyberstalked.
I do not subscribe to cyberstalking.
I HAVE subscribed to background checks, arrest records
and court records, before though. Anything that is important
to me and MY SURVIVAL: oh yes, definitely.

The rose colored glasses are off.

Louise, I am sorry that you feel that you are being ignored on LF. I don’t think it is anyone’s intention to shun you.

Not every post is replied to…but there are so many people posting on LF that it would be impossible for anyone to reply to everyone.

I have done my best since I came to LF to “welcome” new posters, because I know I have posted on other blogs and had people “post around me” never “welcoming” or in come cases even noticing me. It was like a Clique of some sort on those blogs.

One of the things I like about LF is that the “welcome” to new posters that I started has become a TRADITION here. I used to have more time to read and post here and I tried to make everyone feel that someone cared what they thought. Fortunately it is not just up to ME alone, as there are so many people here who respond to the posts of others.

If you have felt slighted, I am truly sorry.

Yes, people DO “cyber stalk” the X’s to find out what they are up to and it is a BIG temptation, especially in the early stages of letting go, but like the article says, it does delay healing when we do it.

Some peop-le who are in danger from their X HAVE to find out what is going on with them, or if they co-parent with the X they must have contact, but even then, I recommend that the contacts be limited to the LEAST AMOUNT that is possible under the circumstances. I have NO way to find out anything about what my son Patrick is up to since in prison he has no FB account and I have no one I can trust that is in contact with him to give me information….but even protesting his parole and contacting those that knew his victim and also my attorney, and the media people I am trying to contact is stress inducing. The parole hearing won’t be for nearly another year, but I have to prepare for it and get my stuff in to the attorney by May.

Then I have to WAIT to find out what “set off” he gets (number of years before he can go back to the parole board) or if he is actually going to GET OUT! If and when he gets out, then my danger level goes up even more. Since if he does get out he will be on parole for the length of his life, then I am going to have to deal with his parole officer and hope that the officer(s) will take my danger seriously.

Louise, people do respond to you – perhaps, you’re in a funk, right now. I get like that, sometimes, but I try not to take it personally. Sometimes, these boards fly and comments, remarks, and insight are missed unintentionally.

OxD, the loss of my passie was total pain, I agree! LOL!!!! It felt like the end of the universe, but the earth still spun on her axis and that fact sort of kept me from spiraling into an eternal pity-party. I think my irritation still remains because there will be no consequences for what the exspath did. I’m not talking about his veiled necrophilia or his BDSM games. He won’t face a single discomfort for having forged over 75K in personal checks from my individual account. That’s a fact, and it just doesn’t seem possible that someone can commit a series of documented crimes and walk away from them.

I’ll sort out my emotional recovery, in due time. I think that I’m moving forward, but I’m pretty harsh on myself, so I really need to practice relaxing a bit.

I can’t imagine Patrick ever having a peaceful, “free” day for the rest of his life. My personal feeling is that parole officers are overwhelmed and burned-out, just like social services case workers are. I don’t know how well parole works, but I’ve seen at least one person break every rule of her parole without a problem. She lived in a home where there was copious alcohol as well as firearms, and nobody was ever the wiser.

Justice is an ideal, but I don’t believe that it’s a predictable fact.

Brightest blessings

Stargazer, many things in life are “no-brainers,” and people still do what they do.

Like I’ve posted, before, technology has its benefits, indeed. But, we now live in a culture where nearly every person is carrying a device that connects them with people that are not physically next to them. This device can alert them to the need to pick up a gallon of milk, or it can deliver a message of ultimate tragedy. This device also has the ability to “connect” the user with people who are a world away that they haven’t seen or heard from in decades, and barely any of those “connections” really give two shits about their personal life, whatsoever. Relationships are begun, maintained, and ended using this device, and FaceBook is just one of hundreds of applications that have confused TRUE human “connections” with face-to-face interactions with “LIKE” options.

For people who were born before the technological explosion, it may be a no-brainer because we maintained personal “connections” through direct human interaction. For people who were born and raised with technology as the nanny and absentee parents, it’s not as simple as a “no-brainer.” It’s an addiction, it’s a dependency, and it’s very, very hard to explain to these generations that there is far more to human interactions and “connetions” than accepting a “friend request.”

Brightest blessings

Yeah, people did respond to me in the past, but I didn’t post on here for a long time. Like Athena, I was out trying to heal. Maybe it seems like I wasn’t being responded to just because I hadn’t been around for awhile. OK, gotta go walk and it’s nippy outside.

Louise

I saw your name come up – this is my second time logging in, in as few days – happy to see you are still here. Well, not really 🙂 but you know what I mean. LOL!

So you took a haitus too? Have you recovered any? I have been indulging in books and whatnot and building a life. There was a time that I couldn’t go more than 4 or 5 hours without leaning on LF for support. I am doing much better.

Unfortunately, my spath has resurfaced. I see him for what he is, and have no fantasies any more. Working on shutting him out.

Hugs to you, XOXOX.

Athena

(PS Oxy thank you for the warm welcome back, I have missed you and your wisdom and insights and I really do think you’re an amazing woman, you’ve helped more people than you can ever possibly realize. XOXOXOXOXOX).

Thanks, Athena, I know for a fact that LF saved MY sanity during tat horrible “summer of chaos” when I sat in my RV parked on a friend’s place, hiding out from my family and from the man that Patrick sent to kill me…with my family protecting him from ME. LOL

It was ONLY after his arrest and the arrest of my DIL that he was also screwing that my egg donor and my son C realized that THEY had also been “had”—in a very public way.

Not that it changed the fact I can’t trust either my egg donor or son C…though for a WHILE I thought I could, but you know, I have found that people who sit on the “fence” and KNOW that someone is trying to hurt you and then do nothing, or even HELP the person who is trying to hurt you….I think that they can’t be trusted the next time there is a “problem”

There is an old saying that this kind of person is a “fair weather friend” and they are only your friend if things are going well.

LF has given me major insights and support and if I am able to pass that on to someone else who when they first come here feels like they can’t make it, then I am all for that. That is why I am still here going on 6 years now.

Athena:

Yeah, I have recovered some and I never thought I would. I feel like it was an earthquake and now I am dealing with the aftershocks. Having NC does help so much in the healing process. It hurts at the same time, but…

Yours keeps coming back to you. Mine doesn’t have any feelings for me at all to even do that. They say that when spaths are done, they are DONE. Well, mine is DONE. I am no longer any use to him whatsoever and that hurts. So yours still wants to toy with you I guess, but I am glad you are learning how to shut him out. After so many times, what’s the point? You know what the outcome will be once again. Take care.

Truthspeak,

It IS an addiction. Though I was born in 1960, many of friends my age and older have succumbed to the addiction. I don’t think age or generation have much to do with it. I’m a bit of an internet addict myself, but I have fortunately just said no to FB and also to the cell phone addiction (I don’t own a cell phone). It’s not healthy to be connected to everyone on the planet every minute of the day. I have friends who will answer their cell phones no matter what they are doing or with whom any time of day or night, even if they are on a call with someone else. This behavior appears nuts to me. I just don’t get it. I value my privacy my space, and my quiet time, and I enjoy exercising my choice of when to return a call. I just don’t feel the need to be in contact every minute of the day. Also, if I’m on the phone with someone, I consider it rude to keep them waiting while I take another call unless it’s some important call I am expecting and I let them know upfront. The age of technology to me is not an excuse for people to be addicted or to be inconsiderate. There are still a few who can just say no.

The reason I say “no-brainer” is because I think people who track their exes on FB know it’s not good for them. It’s the same as driving past the ex’s house, only it’s easier to do. It’s just that if you are on FB, the temptation is sometimes irresistible to look someone up.

Stargazer, they may “know” that it’s going to be a bad idea to check profiles, but they “feel” that they “need” to know. I suspect that the victims are hoping that they’ll read how wrong the spath was and how sorry they were for what they did – that they MISS their victims. False “validation,” is what they’re searching for, and they don’t know that’s what’s motivating them. We simply don’t talk about these deep, dark, psychological things with most people because, on the surface, it all seems irrelevant unless it’s a noticable issue.

As for me, I’m a ’60’s kid, too, and I really miss the days of imagination and self-entertainment. I will say that I’m “addicted” to a couple of sites (like LoveFraud), and I check in, frequently. But, I feel that it’s a healthy use of the internet because, without this site (specifically, THIS site), I cannot imagine where I would be, today.

And, internet dating is, FOR ME, absolutely dangerous.

I am 100% with OxD that I have to observe someone in their natural surroundings to determine precisely who and what they are.

Brightest blessings

Truthy, I also spend a bit of time on this and my reptile site, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing either. 🙂 Do you really think all spath victims are looking for validation of some sort? I think it’s just an addiction to pain and drama sometimes, like looking at a trainwreck. You know you’re gonna see something you don’t want to see, some evidence that he’s moved on to a new romance. This is usually what I’m expecting when I’m looking for an ex on FB – I want to see if he’s married or who he’s dating. It has never occurred to me that he would advertise on FB that he’s gotten his due karma. Usually people don’t post negative stuff on FB. I wouldn’t expect my exspath to get on FB and talk about how he was in prison or had a dishonorable discharge from the army. But anyway, I give people credit that deep down they know what they need to do, but they don’t do it because that’s part of the addiction to the spath, seeing what he’s up to, etc. Just a way of maintaining contact while making it appear to him like there’s no contact.

I totally understand about your fear of internet dating given how many predators there are on dating sites. After doing it for many years, I have never had a truly bad or dangerous experience on a dating site, so I don’t have that fear. However, I much prefer to meet someone in person anyway and have that face-to-face contact. Trying to find a good match from a one-dimensional profile for me is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I’m having much better luck just going dancing.

Stargazer, yeah, I do think that victims are looking for a false validation in conjunction with feeding their addiction to spath drama/trauma. If THEY hurt so badly, then the spath MUST have some sense of the harm that they’ve caused. The problem for these people is that they likely don’t yet understand what they’ve been dealing with and, more to the point, that the spath never cared, to begin with. The addiction aspect is interesting because, once the phone is turned off and the FB page deleted, there really IS a withdrawal process. Whom that withdrawal might center around isn’t the point. Technology has made it very, very easy to remain “connected” without any personal effort, at all. They use the word, “connect,” as if choosing the “accept” option for “friend requests” creates some sort of bond.

People surely use internet profiles to post negativity, even if it’s simply by way of “I’m sad.” What I noticed about this was that people who felt the need for attention would post random remarks like that and, suddenly, half the people on their “friends” list would respond with some sort of attempt to lift their spirits. It’s a narcissist’s playground, IMHO. Some of the people who were on my list of friends had hundreds on their own lists, and I never recall having any of those people actually make a random, personal post, unprompted, on my page – ever.

For me, I’m just trying to recover and the social networks offer nothing for me in the way of assistance. I’ve got a furnace that needs to be replaced – it’s too dangerous to light and the damage is too great to repair. My hot-water heater went, last week. And, I don’t have a safe propane hookup to use the stove that the exspath found on the side of the road. None of these people know or care about my current situation, and I’m not interested in whether or not they “like” Tide detergent or WalMart! LMAO!!!!!

Brightest blessings

Wow, truthy, it’s hard for me to imagine having the time or the desire to post about my daily emotions on the worldwide web. I am such a private person.

And yes, you’re right, the person who is grieving over a spath may not yet realize what they were dealing with and still project human feelings onto them. When you really get what you are dealing with, you wouldn’t want to waste a precious moment of your time on a spath anymore. At least I didn’t. Once I figured it out, I was completely done. If I wanted to, I could probably still call his old platoon sergeant (she and I became friends at one point) to find out whatever happened to him. But honestly, I just don’t care. I don’t want to know.

Again, I think this advice of staying off FB is good no matter who you are breaking up with. FB has destroyed so many relationships and has prevented so many people from moving on. I know I could easily “stalk” my salsa crush guy on FB. He has an account – I’ve seen his picture there. But I refuse to go into his profile and account. I figure if there is something he wants me to know about him, he’ll tell me. That is the old-fashioned way of getting to know someone, and I think it’s much healthier. It IS an addiction, and the point of an addiction is that it helps us avoid dealing with our own pain.

I guess this makes me feel like “what’s wrong with me?” I KNOW what he is…I KNOW what he has done…I KNOW he never cared for me and I still want to KNOW what’s going on his life…why?? I do NOT want him back, I really don’t, but I still feel this obsession to know what is going on his life…what is he doing?…is he still scamming other women?…is he still living at home? I don’t know…I guess it’s just the residual feelings I am having. I trust that it will all leave me in due time.

Another after thought…I guess it’s because the bottom line is I loved him. Plain and simple. He didn’t love me, but I loved him and when we love someone, we want to know what’s going on in their lives, don’t we?

I don’t think it’s about love, Louise. If it’s a residue of love you would just hope they’re having a happy life.

I think it’s a residue of the addiction to the drama they brought in our lives as well as them. You’d be amazed though how easy it becomes though if the addiction has eased to not check once you block it all. These people occupied our mind, body and soul for close to 100% during the relationshit. It’s simply not something you can switch off with a fingersnap. Shutting them out of our physical life is the first step. I think that people compensate this by keeping online tabs. However, just like we decided to go NC in a physical way almost pure rationally, against our addiction desires, it’s also best to go NC in other ways too not soon after, because in a way I think it keeps a minor part of the addiction fix going.

darwinsmom:

I agree. It’s just tough. Time heals all wounds.

Loise, I had a 7 year long, on again-off again trauma-bonded relationship that I just could not shake. I realized it was addictive, and I knew it was bad for me, and I knew I wanted it over. I would end it, and then the cycle would repeat. I didn’t use face-book, but the behavior was the same. I used mutual friends to keep in touch….to keep the door just slightly open, so I could keep tabs on him…and, of course, he did the same thing…it’s like a drip, drip, drip of the addictive substance, and keeps the addiction going.
I think, this desire to keep tabs, comes from a residual glimmer of makignant hope…..that the jerk will change, or that he has changed, or that he misses me, and realizes the error of his ways…This time it will be different, kind of thinking. It may also be that we want to get a glimpse of the truth, that he hasn’t changed, that he’s still a jerk and that he isn’t treating the new girl-friend any better then he treated us…all pretty justifiable desires, but, the truth is, it hurts, more than it helps. It fuels the addictive process and the dramatrauma….keeps the cycle going. The only way to stop it is to suffer through the with-drawl of cold-turkey. You may obsess, and ruminate, feel sad and heart-broken, feel angry, and wretched, but all that passes away, eventually. The trick is to get through it without giving into the addiction.
I have been out of that relationship for 6 years. I have not entered into another relationship, and have had about 2 dates. I rarely think about that BF anymore, and find that now, if I run into a mutual friend who fill’s me in on what he’s doing, It doesn’t cause any emotional energy, at all. In fact, his SIL, and Neice came in the restaraunt to eat last night, and told me that he is about to be homeless again. My response? I just smiled, looked her in the eyes and said, “He’ll be okay…he’ll just find another woman.”
Apparently he had asked them if he could pitch a tent in their back-yard. LOL. Nope. They never change.

Louise, I honestly don’t think you have really wrapped your mind around what he is. Once you do that, even if your heart and your emotions tell keep you attached, your mind will tell you it’s completely useless to stay in any kind of contact whatsoever. What would be the point? Yes, he has more victims, yes, he is probably playing someone else. Why do you want to see it? Do you think he will somehow change or have remorse? Or that he is different with the next person? If you are still thinking this, you still have some denial and have not completely wrapped your mind around what he is. The vampire already took a big chunk of your life? Why give him one more second of it? This is how I felt when I went NC. Once I knew for certain it was not workable, I knew I would never want anything to do with him again. It took my emotions a little while to catch up with my head. It was a mental decision. Eventually, my heart followed and I moved on. It took a long time, but it happened more quickly once I stopped googling him and trying to find out what happened to him. I really didn’t care. All I cared about was that he was out of my life and wouldn’t likely reappear.

Star, in my experience, even when you fully accept who or what the spath is and have wrapped your mind around it, there still is a compulsive urge to keep tabs. The addiction to these people creates a compulsion: originally to be with them, talk with them, touch them… and when there is nothing else to watch them.

It’s a bit like Monk who has this compulsive urge to touch every pole on his path. It feels easier short term to give in to that residue compulsion, than it does to ignore it. It requires energy for the one feeling the urge not to give in to it… independently of what they think and know of the object.

Yeah, I understand the compulsion. My ex that I lived with many years ago who hurt me very badly……when I moved out, I lived only a few miles away. I would still occasionally drive past his house even years later to see if his cars were there. This was before the days of FB. Thank god FB wasn’t around then.

I think to recover, your mind and your will have to be stronger than the addiction.

darwinsmom, kim, Star:

Love this conversation. I am going to respond and have so much to say, but don’t have the time right now. I will be back later this evening or tonight to share my thoughts. Thank you all!

Louise, I just wanted to add that there is more to it than just being strong and staying off FB, etc. That is not enough. If you do the inner child work, you will begin to break the addiction. There is a reason we get addicted and can’t let go. It’s because there is pain inside and unmet needs, and we have not accessed it. Sometimes we just want to avoid it, and sometimes we don’t know how to access it. It drives us to obsess about people or activities that are maybe not good for us. You don’t need to stay stuck in the addiction forever. You can proactively do things to break it. Doing the inner child work is the best way I know to clear the pain. That’s really all I have to offer at the moment. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone through many break-ups with guys, some of them from being dumped. The point of moving on usually was when I could feel that last bit of pain. Accessing the pain is always the turning point to moving forward. There is a difference between real pain and the pain of obsession, which is basically an avoidance of pain.

I think healing involves a roadmap so you know where you are going and what you are trying to do. If you are still obsessing over someone after a really long time has gone by, you may be “stuck” and need some help getting “unstuck”. This is how I regard my healing process anyway. The help is usually in the form of looking at something inside. Sometimes I can access the repressed feelings by myself through meditation. Sometimes it takes a very skilled professional. But there *should* be movement. I don’t consider it normal to spend year after year obsessing over someone. If this is the case, there is something going on besides it just taking a long time to heal. New, healthy positive experiences should be replacing the old memories and helping you to forget and move on. But you cannot allow these things into your life until you make room for them by clearing out the old pain that is buried in there.

Just knowing you are “stuck” can be very enlightening. Knowing you are stuck is different from saying, “Will I ever get over this? Will I ever feel better? I am a mess.” It is saying you are bigger than the stuck feelings. Just realizing this in and of itself will raise your consciousness, which is what needs to happen in order to heal. If you know you are stuck (but that you *can* get unstuck with the right help), you can now ask the universe for help in getting unstuck. Then be open to the form it arrives in.

kim:

Thank you for sharing your story about that addictive romance. I agree about the glimmer of malignant hope. I have it, but then I tell myself no…stop. I am aware and talk to myself a lot…trying to talk myself out of my feelings. I think what you described as far as trying to stop it is actually what the spath did. I believe he saw it as something that could go on and on if we both let it, but he wasn’t going to let it anymore and so he actually did me a favor by stopping it. I think I have gone through great pains to also end it. I didn’t contact him for seven whole months at one point so I can control myself when I really want to and really concentrate on it. So in essence, I have gone cold turkey more than once, but this last time is the LAST time. There is no going back. It just was what it was and it was over a long time ago, but we both kept it going for whatever reasons. Him because he thought I was going to report him so I believe he kept me on the line and I am still angry about that. And me just because I had so many feelings for him. It is amazing how much better I really am doing compared to a year ago or geez, two years ago…HA…I was a MESS then. So there is testament to the fact that time does help. It just does. I mean, what else can we do? Especially when we come to the realization of what it really was all about. And what it was all about was us being scammed and them doing the scamming. It was all a game. I am so very glad to hear you have blissful indifference to that old boyfriend now. That’s funny about him pitching a tent…haha. I know I will get there. I truly don’t feel the same way about him as I did say a year ago or even six months ago…something has changed and I think the change is just the beginning of the indifference that is coming. I also have had about two dates in the past almost three years. Not sure when that will really change, but it will if I’m meant to meet someone. Thanks again for your post to me.

darwinsmom:

Yep, that is so true. I love how you put it as far as wanting to be with them, talk to them, touch them…and when there is nothing else, watch them (from afar)…OMG YES! I felt like if I didn’t do all those things I was going to die…literally die. I am pretty much past that now. Not 100% completely, but way on my way. I haven’t seen him in 15 months so that’s a pretty long time. Haven’t talked to him either…only texts of trying to get closure which it originally looked like he was going to give me, but then of course, did not. So I have made my own closure.

Stargazer:

Let me say first before anything else…I don’t look up the spath on Facebook. He has a blank profile so there is nothing to stalk. He has had a skeleton profile for over two years. I admit I would if there was anything there to stalk, but there is not other than he has one lone friend now who I believe is the woman he was supposedly in love with in Puerto Rico who is NOW living in our city. So there is nothing there to check. Other than me turning up at a bar he frequents (which I don’t do!!), there is no way for me to know anything about him unless someone from where he still works (where I use to work) brings up something about him and tells me. And no, I will not go no contact with a lot of these people because a lot of them are good, true friends to me. I am not going to get rid of them because of him…that would be horrible. Now…there are a few people who I don’t talk to now because of him, but they were never real close friends to begin with. So, now that we have all that out of the way…

To your point about why keep in contact after knowing what he is…I don’t keep in contact anymore. I stopped it awhile ago. I guess one of the reasons I kept it going as long as I did is because I didn’t want to give up…I didn’t want to be a quitter. I say that because I quit my job because of him and he knew it. I gave up everything because of him so I think he saw me as a quitter. I thought if I gave up on him loving me, that is what he would have expected…wanting me to give up and I didn’t want to do that, but like you said above, it got to the place of being what’s the point?? It came to be not a point of giving up, but a point of being smart. And also to address your point above, I can’t see it. I can’t see anything he does. Yes, he probably is still scamming someone and I think it’s the poor Puerto Rican woman who moved here to be with him. Is he still married? I have no idea. Is he separated and with her? I have no idea. But if he is, I have no doubt that he will not change and will do the same things to her that he has done to me and all the rest of his victims.

I KNOW I am or was stuck. Trust me. So I am enlightened in that way. I am not blind to that. It very well may be that there are other hidden things that I don’t realize that made me obsess about him, but I do have one question. If that is the case, why him?? Why didn’t I obsess over some other guy? Why did I barely even date in 20 years and then he came along and he was what I always wanted? I guess that’s where I don’t understand. I would think if I was trying to reach unmet needs, this would have been a pattern…man after man, but that is not the case with me. I am also not addicted to other things like alcohol, drugs or smoking. I hate to admit it, but I think it was just him. Something about him. BUT…I am willing to explore the possibility of healing the inner child…so how do I do this? Do I have to be hypnotized? Because I don’t want to do that…haha! 🙂

Louise, that’s a good question you ask – why him? I don’t know the answer. I also have no other addictions (unless you count the internet addiction), but I’ve had several guys in my life I’ve obsessed about in an addictive way. Meditation is the best way I know to do the inner work. But it’s easier said than done. I learned how to meditate at a Buddhist retreat many years ago, and I did it for weeks/months at a time, so it became a permanent practice when I was in my 20’s. Most people don’t have the inclination, the time, or the discipline to do something like that, but if they did, it could possibly cut through years of therapy. Another way to do it is finding a very skilled therapist, hypnotist, or NLP practitioner. They are not cheap either. If you are ready and in a space to be regressed, you can go back to the cause of your addiction and fix it. It can happen very quickly if you’re ready and motivated. If this is not in your budget, I recommend at least reading some of Eckhart Tolle’s books. I can’t recall if you are a fan of his or not. If you are in a place to hear his message, it can activate the healing process for you. It will raise your consciousness just to read his writings. I’m sure there are many other books that will do the same thing. I get that effect when I read anything by Chogyam Trungpa, who was a Buddhist teacher. But not everyone relates to the Buddhist teachings.

I’ve been doing inner child work for many years, but it’s not always easy to do on my own, especially in dealing with the very early years. Recently, all the fears of rejection started surfacing along with my new social life, and I knew I needed help. A close friend gifted me $300 to use for some sort of therapy. And as if by fate, that same week, another friend mentioned a hypnotist that is recognized as one of the best in town. He does a series of sessions for $300. I had a gut feeling it would help and it did. You need to go with your gut about what feels right to you. But when you do clear the childhood issues (or they can even come from past lives), your life will dramatically improve.

For my 3 sessions, I chose to remove the blocks to having a healthy and happy relationship in my life. Since I completed the third session, I suddenly am having a lot of attention from men, and they have all been very kind to me. It’s like some portal has opened or something. I am meeting men my age and really enjoying and appreciating them. I feel I am attracting men who are appropriate for me to date. If you recall, a year ago I was ready to move to Costa Rica because “there were no men here.” I was addicted to the drama with my rock star neighbor (remember him?) and it tormented me that he lives next door. NOW, he and I have become close friends, and we hang out together all the time. I never thought this would happen. He takes me out to dinner, calls me for advice about his life, and stays in touch with me throughout the week. My attitude toward men and relationships has completely changed, and I feel I am much closer to attracting one than I’ve ever been. I believe it’s just a matter of time now. Of course there’s my salsa crush who is the man I truly believe I’m going to marry. But he’s not ready yet. So while I’m waiting, I’m just out there dating and open to someone who IS ready.

I got off on a tangent and I’m sorry about that.

I guess no contact means NO CONTACT. Something like FB is providing supply to “things”. They count on us checking on that, just to hurt our souls even further and just to be the ARROGANT bastards they are…then deny and lie to add major f*cking insult to injury. I have a 19 year old neighbor with a baby and I know for a fact her bf that is also my neighbor is a THING…i can see it in those reptilian eyes and also everything he has done to her like cheating, beating her, taking her money…just normal things that THINGS do. I try to explain to her what THINGS are, but it takes too much energy. She follows his FB and just the other day, she came over crying about how she saw messages of him and his wife that he was supposed to divorce, canoodling….and new pics of some new hot item he is seeing (all within 2 days of her tatooing his name on her back in a tramp stamp). And I am too damned embarassed of telling her how he cornered me and exposed himself to me when he knocked on the door to bum a cigarette. (choke, spit, gag) Makes me sick. Especially energy absorbed in warning others what they are dealing with, like pulling out Dr. Hare’s book and showing then lovefraud.com. I just wish there was like a star trek “beam me up” device to educate them totally without spending hours of explaining what they are dealing with. I’m freaking TIRED of pointing out “THINGS”.

full-fledged no contact.
all the way no contact.
no cheating. no peeking.
no emails, texts, phone calls.

nothing.
just silence.
over and done.

NO CONTACT means just that: NO contact.
It’s the only thing that really works.

It is like kicking an addiction and committing
yourself to the process. YOU MUST TAKE that
first step in order for the healing and newness
of life to overtake you.

In that NC you will find yourself.

I agree Back_. No ONE could have said it better, except maybe Ox (snicker…smooch smooch). But it makes me ill that I MUST maintain contact with my daughter somehow in some form or fashion so that social services won’t interfere with the custody of my son. Right now they think I just ABANDONED her. FU*kers say she isn’t doing well in the facility, yet say that I have some part in not working with her therapy and reunification. I have even emailed social services links to here…..they are clueless zombies. She has them all fooled that she is REALLy gotten better this time. Almost month 3 with no contact. But FUUUU****k, I gotta go put on one of the masks that one of the THINGS in my life dropped and pony up and go pretend like I am making an effort.

Tdpprocessing1, is your daughter still a legal minor? If not, what she does are her own choices.

As for this neighbor, why are you even allowing such a toxic situation invade your life when you have enough on your own plate to manage? Yeah, I would feel badly for her and her baby, but I sure as heck wouldn’t get involved with someone who is clearly choosing a very, very damaging path.

It may be a good option to consider counseling therapy for yourself, if you’re not already involved. Having a spath child comes with a whole host of issues, especially when he/she attempts to play games with non-spath family members. My eldest son was diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder Cluster B, and he has such a strong trauma-bond with my younger son that it’s incomprehensible. The older son still tries to maintain contact through my younger son, and I give him NOTHING to give to the spath sibling.

Spath children can be extremely destructive because they use their parent’s sense of family to the Nth Degree in their mainpulations and games.

Yes – No Contact means none, of ANY sort. Even Third Party contact when people deliver messages and updates. NONE. And, the way to put the brakes on THAT little tactic is to firmly state, “I don’t want to know what he/she is doing, and I won’t entertain any discussion of him/her. That’s FINAL.” What is the Third Party going to do??? NOT LIKE ME??? Disapprove of me? ROTFLMAO!!! I hope so! Then, they’ll move on to another dramarama and get the hell out of MY life.

Brightest blessings

Louise, you didn’t obsess over someone else like the last one because the last one made you believe that you were The One. Well, if you were The One, how could he have done the things that he did???

When we are entangled with spaths, we cannot see that they’re mirroring our own desires or wants, and that they are chameleons that have the ability to alter their superficial appearance to suit each individual. When we finally discover their betrayals, we believe that those betrayals were a result of OUR failures to please THEM. Hence, Stargazer’s very apt reference to our wounded “inner child.”

For whatever reason, the spath was able to hone in on an issue or vulnerability and exploit it to meet his needs. Once those “needs” were met, Louise was discarded. And, it HURT because the discard somehow fell onto YOUR shoulders. Either by direct accusation, or proxy, YOU were blamed for HIS choices, right? THIS is why we obsess.

“Darling, darling….I’ve changed to suit you, now. I’ve cut ties with everyone that I know and I’m emotionally invested in you. I’ve put ALL of my trust and feelings into YOUR hands. Will you validate me, now? Will you love me, now? I’ve done what you asked. I’ve given you money, changed my appearance, and put everything into YOUR hands. WHY won’t you love me?”

That’s what our psyche goes through when we are entangled with spaths. And, that’s why we become obsessed with them, IMHO. We’ve done everything that they’ve asked us to. Why don’t they love us as much as we’ve clearly loved them? Yepper….it stinks.

Brightest supportive blessings

Star:

Thanks for the reply. I will look into this healing…thanks. 🙂

Oh, and to clarify, Louse…..I was “The One,” too. I was called “soulmate” and every other endearment, and I totally believed what the exspath was telling me. After all, I wouldn’t make such statements unless I truly “loved” someone, so why would someone that I care about NOT make the same claims if they didn’t “love” me as much as they said that they did?

It’s all a part of that cog/diss, and I hated it. Wrapping my head around the absolute fact that, “I love you,” held as much water as a paper bag took a lot of painful time. So, be good to yourself, dear one. We’re all here on this site because we believed the illusion, just as you did.

Brightest blessings and big hugs

Truthspeak:

Thanks for the explanation. You know, I posted this a long, long time ago long before you were on this blog so I will write it again. Something very interesting the spath said to me. He said to me and I quote, “I don’t know anything about you.” Get it??? He was trying to do exactly what you were describing above, but I was not feeding him anything. I confused him. I was not like other women just spewing all my hopes and dreams so he really had nothing to scam me with. He couldn’t mirror my desires and wants because I didn’t let him know what they were. I think THAT is why he left so early…seriously. I did not fit his script (those are actually words of a therapist I saw only twice). She said there was something about me that didn’t fit his “script.” He even told me months later down the road that I was mysterious. Sooooo, I was not and am not the typical woman. BUT…I do admit that there was “something” he saw…some vulnerability and he worked on what he could. I believe it was just my sweetness. OW helped out on that one…she told him I was “sweet.” Oh, great…thanks a lot for that one, OW!!! She just gave him fuel. He thought (and I guess thought correctly) that if I was sweet, he could swindle me. Sweet yes, but not so forthcoming and telling him everything about me. I told him nothing. He also told me that same night that he was “different.” I will never forget that. I think he was trying to tell me what he was. Isn’t that crazy?

Also, that’s not really true about someone else not making me feel like I was the one. Other men have made me think that…I just didn’t feel it for them. They felt like I was the one, but I didn’t feel they were.

I appreciate you taking the time to post to me. If there is anything else you think of, please type away! I like taking in all the advice and trying to figure out where it fits in with what happened to me.

Truthspeak:

We posted over each other and I just read your second post.

I know, I get it. In hindsight, mine only said what he did to get what he wanted. The first go around was for sex and the second time it was to keep me from reporting him. He is the perfect example of what Donna said in her 10 thing spaths want. In Number 1…Sex…she mentions how they want sex, but yet they are not slaves to their urges. They will use sex as the tool to get other things they want and that’s exactly what he did. The second time around there was no sex (looking back, thank God for that), but he always dangled it above my head. It was manipulation big time.

Yep, the cog/diss is absolutely horrible and the biggest thing I have struggled with. That alone is what has made me ruminate for over two years now, but it is waning. Thank God. There will be an end to this misery.

FB can be a good thing, I have met new people and carried over friendships from myspace, I have warm friendships with people all over the world, like anything you have to monitor and set boundaries, 1 of my FB friends was the one to say, “you need to look up sociopath” THAT changed my entire world. I used to stalk like a crazy woman on the internet, I found a lot of “stuff” that hurt but at least I knew the truth then, after enough stalking and triggering from looking at the ex’s page, I now can proudly say I rarely do, the ex owes me thousands of $$$$ so I keep an eye out………..I know I will probably NEVER be repaid but…….. I have de-activated my fb page from time to time, to much media coming at me really triggers me when I am at a low point, I have found out who my friends are, hence I have a very small amount of friends, I know they care, most dont understand but they try to be patient and comforting, I would be lost without them!! As for the groups, was in a few, I find now being anonymous is better for me!! and Yes all the pictures, updates, what people had for breakfast lunch and dinner and everything they do in between riles me, it just shows me all types of mankind, for the most part I my “likes” are for animals, the planet and optimistic messages!!! Yes I am hooked on FB but now it’s a good thing!

Louise,

Why him? After all those years of singlehood… I had a relationship of 5.5 years from my 19 until 24 (the first man I ever slept with), then a very long distance one for 0.5 a year with the biggest love of my life when I was 27 (the third man I ever slept with). After that NADA, no relationship at all for a decade! In that decade I did date, had one-night stands, friends with benefits, but nothing ever led to anything: either they weren’t interested in anything serious, or I was closed up with commitment angst and shared NADA about my emotional inner life and dreams. There were a very few guys I started to crush on or sometimes thought ‘maybe I could fall in love with him’, but usually by then it was over. And then came the spath.

And the attraction was very VERY hard to resist. At first I didn’t like him and told myself to stay clear of him. But circumstances threw me together too often irregardless and I put a huge x-mark on my forehead by challenging him. I picked up on his spathhood from the get go I’m sure, but I didn’t know what a spath was and I was curious, studying him. Within a matter of days the attraction flared like nothing else.

I had no commitment issues anymore, he had none either (well faked the opposite), for once I did not have to struggle through the painful initial period of “he likes me, he likes me not”, and he was so much like me: highly extraverted, easy going, adventurous, and the magnetism was exhilerating. I didn’t know these traits were pathological though: as in extreme extraversion, irresponsible, reckless and using sex to make me bond.

Louise, have you read “Women who love psychopaths” yet? If you haven’t it is one of the best reads I can advize you to answer your question “Why him?”

darwinsmom:

No, I have not yet read, “Women who Love Psychopaths.” I have read many of the other books recommended on here, but not that one. I need to get it!! If it can answer “why him,” I need it. Thank you so much.

Louise,
it seems as if you are very reserved and not the type to attract attention from spaths, usually.

So it’s possible that you hadn’t encountered one before, at least not one that took notice of you and targeted you.

What happens to me when I meet a spath who targets me, is that I instantly trauma bond. I like them because I know they are dangerous and that is a survival mechanism human beings who are helpless use to not get killed by spaths.

It’s possible that you became trauma bonded to him because you sensed that he was dangerous and you needed to survive. The fact that you kept yourself a closed book, sort of indicates that. That is what I do too.

When it comes to spaths, I can’t really trust my emotions to steer me correctly because of my trauma bond tendency. That’s why I need to be able to spot them by the red flags. It’s easy now. In fact, one red flag is my attraction to them.

And they always seem to target me. I rarely slide under a spath’s radar. I’m not sure why that is.

My advice to you is to get to know yourself better. Also, learn the red flags so that you can spot them, they are everywhere, so it’s not hard to find a spath. Then observe yourself and your own response to them. This could reveal a lot about youself to you.

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