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By | January 24, 2013 374 Comments

Forgiveness

If the wounds are too fresh and the thought of forgiving the person who abused and upset you hurts too much, honor that.  There is no shame in not being ready.  It is normal and everyone’s timeline is different.  Close the article for the time being or read it for nothing more than future reference, with no pressure or expectations.  Allow yourself to feel all that you do, the pain included, with as much passion and purpose as possible.  After a while, come back to it.  Examine what you have gained, rather than concentrate on what you have lost, even if what you have lost is significant.  The hope is that your personal growth is also significant and that the positive things you come to learn about yourself are far greater.  Believe it or not, the day may come when you are not only able to forgive, but thank the person who brought you here, but that is all in time…

Forgiveness can be a tough subject to broach when the ones we are considering forgiving are the psychopaths who harmed us.  Eventually, however, we should try to find a way to do it.

Why we should forgive

Resentment and anger eat away at us.  Even though we may have been seriously wronged by the psychopaths who crossed our paths, holding on to those feelings hurts us, not them.  Nelson Mandela once said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”  While it seems like an easy enough concept to grasp, putting it into practice may prove more challenging.  While in the midst of the anger, confusion, and disbelief that almost always accompanies our brushes with psychopathy, it’s tough to imagine forgiving the person who tried to hurt us.  But forgiveness is a funny thing.  The reason it must occur has less to do with our wrong-doers, and more to do with us.  Forgiving helps us heal.

What does the process look like?

This will not come easy or fast.  In fact, it would be wrong to rush it.  We must honor each of the stages of the grief process in order to fully heal.  But eventually, we have to let go of any remaining ill feelings so that we can grow and move forward.  The psychopaths’ acts may have been truly horrible, so we need not excuse them, but we can learn not to allow them to damage us further.  As long as we are caught in negative feelings, our offenders are still winning.  Hopefully, we can come to the place where we re-empower ourselves and re-gain control of our lives.

Forgiveness does not need to mean forgetting.  We should not forget what happened to us or behave as if it never occurred.  Rather, we should remember what we went through so that we don’t allow the evil back in or repeat our pasts with others in the future.  Further, we need not expect anything from those who did us harm.  In cases such as ours, they either enjoyed what they did or to us or were merely using us for their own “advancement.”  There are no sincere apologies coming from them….ever, so do not look for one.  This is about us and our peace and we can do this without seeing them or exchanging any words.  For once, it is actually all about us.

What we come to feel      

Recently, someone new to the struggle asked me how I feel about what happened to me and how I feel about the person in my situation.  I had to think for a moment, but finally decided that I feel “nothingness.”  Where I was once consumed with emotion, I now see this person as a void.  It is almost like a chapter of my life that did not exist, in spite of the fact that it was extremely significant.

I know that the situation was real and awful.  I care about and acknowledge what occurred, as the storm I weathered hit with a tsunami-like force.  However, I lived, learned, and somehow, grew.  I think I became a better person along the way, as a result.  Without the experience, I don’t think I would have realized that I was only living half alive, realizing only a portion of my potential.  I would not have known the strength I was capable of, without this test.

I believe that when we no longer allow them control over us, we come to feel “even” again.  At that point, what once existed as love, hate, anger, and sadness disappears, becoming “nothingness.”  We come to see our perpetrators as insignificant, even if their acts were not.  It is then that we can forgive because what was, no longer matters.

We can move toward the future for ourselves and those we care about.  For the first time, probably in a long time, the psychopath takes a permanent back seat, regardless of any residual antics.  It takes time and the road is long, but eventually, we can release the demons and thrive.  The rewards will come.  They may not be concrete or quantifiable, but we will begin to recognize them when we feel them.


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rochelle

I don’t hate my ex husband. I hate the condition he suffers from. Forgive? No…not there yet. I would love to be able to see this person as a ‘void’. Am hoping what they say about karma is true.

mandie

My sperm donor is a (still, in his late 80s) sadistic monster. I’ve tried to forgive him, even thought I had. Then realized for me it isn’t possible until, perhaps, the flashbacks stop, the trauma heals. At least more than at this point in my life. And even then I doubt I can forgive or that forgiveness is even the way for me, personally, to go…

And I don’t know that I’ll forgive the (dead) ex-spath either. He acted with such overwhelming malice, such intent to harm, for years. But I do need to find another way to go forward; just one that doesn’t require forgiving the unforgivable. (that said, dead ex-spath doesn’t occupy much of my thoughts these days, so in that sense he is diminished and grows fainter as time goes by)

Truthspeak

Forgiveness is often a topic of discussion with regard to recovery along with “hate” and anger.

I don’t “hate” the exspath – I despise what he IS. I don’t “hate” the disorder – I despise that sociopathy is a part of the human condition. I am not “obligated” to forgive the exspath to continue in recovery. Forgiveness is for ME – I’m “obligated” to forgive myself for having made the grave error of trusting him.

Mandie, if you haven’t done it, it may be a really positive option to engage in strong counseling therapy with someone that “gets it.” I post this, frequently, but it’s true: human beings are simply not equipped to process the damages caused by a sociopathic human being, on their own. This site is an example of a virtual community that is in recovery from their collective experiences. We gather together, here, to work through this, and it is a LIFEsaver for me, personally. But, I needed face-to-face interaction with someone who could help me identify what I had experienced, and to help me learn HOW I had been so easily targeted.

Recovery requires time, hard work, and patience. We’re ALL going to be okay, in due time.

Brightest blessings

strongawoman

Linda, I also feel “nothingness” …..great word!

However, for me, feeling nothing doesn’t equate with forgiveness….. I certainly haven’t made a conscious decision to forgive him. I think I’ve accepted it…..I don’t suffer from the same emotional trauma I once did but how do you forgive?

Truthspeak

Linda, I believe that discussion on forgiveness is very important to strong recovery, and I appreciate this article, very much.

I’ve typed this, before, but for many people the concept of “forgiveness” has some roots in religious / spiritual doctrines that may (or, may not) be flawed. For many, “forgiveness” is an allowance – a free pass – a sort of “what-you-did-was-wrong-but-it’s-okay-because-I-forgive-you” type of mandate, and this is NOT what “forgiveness” is all about, IMHO.

I think my take on what “forgiveness” really and truly is for me, personally, is acceptance. I have to accept my experiences for what they were, and make the choice to learn from them and, as you mentioned, actually FEEL a sense of gratitude for the lessons learned. Now, this doesn’t mean that I deserved my experiences, or that I WANTED them, or that I liked the classroom, by any stretch of the imagination! But, what it means to me (again, personally) is that there are personal issues that I need to address in order to grow and evolve as I should have, long ago.

So, forgiveness (again, personally) doesn’t mean that what the person did was okay. But, important changes came about as a result of these experiences. And, most of these changes are positive, though they may be uncomfortable during the process.

And, GOSH, but it does take some time, doesn’t it?! (tapping watch) I want to be over and done with all of this processing, YESTERDAY, and it just doesn’t happen like that.

Again, thank you for this discussion.

Brightest blessings

hi Linda,
Maybe a better word (or words) is letting go of resentment.

When I was a kid, I resented having to get up early and go to school. It was freezing outside. I had to wear a short skirt as part of my school uniform. It sucked.

Of course, now I see that it was important for my education and my well being. (except for that stupid skirt, but we complained enough that they finally let us wear pants a few years later.)

I think that the spath lessons, as painful as they were, are invaluable to our growth. There is NO WAY that I was going to learn that lesson any other way. These lessons were hard, frightening and they were dangerous. We are lucky we survived. We’ve proved ourselves and we continue to prove ourselves every day by staying alive and continuing to grow.

I’m not saying that I’m totally without resentment yet, but I can imagine a time and place, somewhere in the future, where I will be able to look back and see it like I see the experiences of my youth, with wisdom and insight, and maybe even gratitude — sometimes.

As far as the spaths themselves, well the only appropriate feeling toward evil, is revulsion.

Ox Drover

Linda, I have come to believe that “forgiveness” is getting the BITTERNESS out of our hearts, but it is NOT restoring trust or giving them a free pass to do it again.

As a child I was taught that forgiveness had to include restoration of a relationship with someone I knew had no remorse for what they had done in the past or likely would continue to do in the future. I.e. “forgiveness was pretending it didn’t happen”—I had a real bad time trying to reconcile this emotionally and spiritually.

Now that I no longer believe my egg donor has a direct pipe line to God and that her words=God’s words, I have no problem believing that I do NOT have to restore a relationship with an abuser to be pleasing to God. Wonderfully liberating concept.

It IS HOWEVER a continual battle to keep that bitterness out of my heart. It isn’t just a “one and done” thing because it CAN CREEP BACK if I allow it.

NO CONTACT helps to keep the bitterness out of my heart, but like lately when I have been working on Patrick’s parole protest, the “back door” contact has caused a emotional melt down, bitterness to creep back into my heart and pain. The wish that my egg donor would see the light and quit fighting me, quit putting my life in danger.

I work on the bitterness daily, but sometimes it gets the better of me.

fightingtoforgive

As my screen name depicts…

I am about 2 years out of the “living situation” with the spath..and probably close to a year of NO CONTACT. I completely understand exactly what you say about it being a void, like it never happened…though knowing full well that it did. The reality is…it was NEVER what we thought it was or wished it to be…no matter how good it was in the beginning…NONE OF IT WAS REAL. It was a diabolically manifested brain-wash..and someone else robbing us of our right to choose. Had any of us KNOWN what we were getting into BEFOREHAND…I am sure that none of us would have gone there. We fall in love with who they make themselves out to be…however, the REAL them is poles away from the portrayal. So yeah…I get exactly what you are saying.

I remember once saying to him “There is NOTHING special about you if ANYONE can HAVE YOU.” This holds so true in my outlook today. And I DID prove to myself how resilient and resourceful, and independent I am when not under the influence of such darkness.

I’ve been single ever since, haven’t even dated anyone…and I am not the least bit interested at this stage of my healing. Right now, I am getting MYSELF right, so that I don’t inadvertently drag an innocent person into my unresolved issues OR even worse, invite the same fate into my life once again.

Have I forgiven him…I would say yes. I haven’t forgotten. BUT…I am still waiting for my front row seat to witness his Karma. It has nothing to do with revenge…it’s all about the justice.

desert flower

It’s ironic how I came upon this article this am. I have been out of a relationship with my spath ex for over 8 years. I have been through years of custody battles in which the courts have taken the steps to protect the children, and he has not had visits in years. Actually the only time I see him is when we are in court. Like some posters have said, I find myself trying to anticipate his next crazy move or scheme. “Grey rock” and no contact have been my sanity saver. So…I have had an ongoing fight to get support for the children. It’s been less than two months since he took me to court to modify and the support has already stopped. I called the child support office and they offered that he had numerous aliases and social security numbers. My point is that after time passes, I think I have forgiven him, more for myself than for him, but then I learn something new about him that is corrupt. Learning he goes to great lengths to hide from paying support to the children makes me sick! I gave this man half of my adult life. Even without sharing visitation, he manages to torment me through the courts. I have been to court hearings 38 times since beginning divorce proceedings in 2004. He hasn’t contacted us since mid last year…until today, after i read this article on forgiveness. The text he sent caused my heart to beat hard and fast and I was afraid to read it. It’s like I was afraid he could see the reaction through my phone. The text was insignificant, I didn’t respond.

But i can’t help but wonder what he has up his sleeve, why he decided to contact me, today. Did he just leave the courthouse from filing on me again? Is he trying to get a reaction to his not paying the support? I get to where I forgive, then he reminds me that it’s not safe to.

Ox Drover

Desert flower, if I may interject a bit of my perspective….

The Biblical story of “Joseph and the coat of many colors” gave me some insight into what I believe forgiveness is and what it is NOT.

Joseph’s brothers as you may recall sold him into slavery in Egypt and actually decades passed when he went from Slave and ten prisoner then to being #2 guy in the entire kingdom and is brothers show up in Egypt begging to buy grain during a horrible famine.

The Bible speaks about Joseph realizing prior to seeing his brothers that he ad essentially forgiven them, and that there was a big purpose in him being in Egypt….but when his brothers show up, even though he was no longer BITTER toward them he did NOT REVEAL himself to them. Instead he had them accused of thefts they did not commit….and when I was a kid I wondered why if Joseph was such a godly man he would take such revenge on his brothers….only as an adult did I realize he was TESTING his brothers to see what kind of men they had become in the decades since he had last seen them. Were they still the mean selfish men that had made their father think him dead and eaten by wild beasts? Or had they developed some remorse.

Over the course of a year or two he kept testing his brothers until he saw that they had repented, that they now would sacrifice their own freedom to protect their father from more grief by losing his last son Benjamin (Joseph’s only full brother)

THEN and only then did Joseph reveal himself to his brothers. He saw that they had changed. So, what I got out of this is that forgiveness has nothing to do with restoring TRUST or association with someone.

It is difficult when we can’t have full NO CONTACT because we get wounded again, but it helps to have as little to do with them as possible. Keep working at it. The nirvana of indifference is the goal, but it is hard to reach and maintain.

raggedy ann

I remember a politician invoking the example of John Paul II — I think it was during the Clinton Impeachment proceedings (?). JPII forgave the man who shot him, and then left the guy in prison and didn’t dispute that he belongs there.

I can forgive anyone for being a loser or defective or troubled, but absolution for choices or damage done is a different matter. Many factors: has the harm been fixed? Has the person stopped doing the harm? Has he or she acknowledged they did something wrong? Are they laughing all the way to the bank or living in humbled circumstances now? All of this affects my reaction to them.

I also believe it’s possible to fail to forgive, or fail to absolve, without “dwelling”. I may decide I was mistaken about that someday, though.

Louise

fightingtoforgive:

You said it all perfectly. Especially when you told him that he wasn’t special if anyone could have him. Reminds me that I told spath that not anyone could have me…that I hadn’t given myself to anyone the way I had him…there were many things I did with him that I hadn’t done with anyone else. I threw my pearls before swine. If nothing else though, he does realize this because I made sure he knew it. He never made amends about it, but at least I made it known.

I haven’t dated at all either and it’s been three years and for the exact reasons you said. It’s like you were reading my mind when you posted this today…thank you.

creampuff

Oxy….I just have to tell you…..you are my hero!! You have more insight into these people than ANYONE !!! God certainly has blessed you with a gift. The words you choose, the wisdom in those words, and the love that comes through is such a blessing to so many of us here. Your term of “the nirvana of indifference” and explaining to us the difference in forgiveness and reconciliation has touched me so deeply. I tortured myself for decades as a Christian thinking I should forgive and embrace every human being no matter what..but the way you explain it with the story of Joseph and in your own personal journey…it was like handing me a gift. I know I am a good person on the inside and I really did try with my 2 Spath daughters, but I had to let them go. I don’t do anything harmful to them and I really do hope they can find happiness. For decades I blamed myself for all their self inflicted miseries. I don’t want to ramble here, just to say to you….Thank you friend…I felt like Jesus was speaking to me through you …telling me “it’s o.k.I know your heart”. I am so sorry you are having old bitter feelings come up in your own situation. My hope is that this will be resolved for you soon and you will find peace. I cannot imagine the things you have faced in your life……hugs….!!!

Radar_On

Fightingtoforgive, really appreciate your post above! What you said is exactly how i feel, and have felt for over two years. The spath hasbeen gone for over 3 month now, but dont know if i can ever reconcile what happened to me, to forgiveness. He is gone, but his “residue” is still in my head!!!!!!!! Im working on not becoming angrier, and bitter, some days are worse than others. Some days are ok, but just working on trying to regain some sense of normalcy? Dont recall what that feels like anymore. Guess we just have to take each day as it comes. Again, appreciate your post! Best wishes to all!

Radar_On

To a certain degree, i suppose it would be easier for me to “forgive” the spath if there were a legit “reason” for his behavior. Drug addiction, alcohol, chemical imbalance, you name it. But this dirt-bag, pisa shit, vermin sucking, maggot bottom-feeder, that would cut anybodys throat to get what he wants…knew exactly WTF he was doing; and he did it wearing a suit, and carrying a Bible. Yeah, he even pimped out God. Gna be a looooooog time, if i ever reconcile that………

Ox Drover

Creampuff,

Your words of sweetness make my heart joyful, and to feel like I have made someone else’s journey a bit easier gives me ease.

I am truly not anyone’s Christian example, I fall so far short of what I know I want to be….but I think of King David who was quite a sinful man,, a murderer in fact, and yet he was referred to as “a man after God’s own heart”—not because he was GOOD, because he was FAR from good, but when his sins were pointed out to him, HE REPENTED AND TRIED TO DO BETTER….King Saul on the other hand was more like a psychopath, when his sins were pointed out, he tried to get around acknowledging them, and in fact, got worse.

Reconciliation is NOT the same as forgiveness in my way of thinking. The Apostle paul in fact said “If thy brother offend thee, go to him privately and if that doesn’t work, take witnesses, and if that doesn’t work, go to the church (community) and if that doesn’t work, to TREAT THEM AS A HEATHEN, not even to eat with them.” (paraphrased)

NOW if that does not describe NC I do not know what does. NOT EVEN TO EAT WITH THEM. Shun them in other words.

It used to be in churches here in the South at least and I imagine in other places too, if a person “openly” lived a sinful life the churches brought them up on charges so to speak, or even tossed them out or “shunned” them. Some few denominations do today. While I know that “shunning” can be used as abuse, and especially by psychopaths, it also amounts to NC.

After my small congregation of “Christians” turned their collective backs on me when my son and his pedophile buddy were trying to kill me, I ended up “disfellowshiping” the entire congregation. I will not have anything to do with any of them to this day. They CHOSE the Trojan Horse and my egg donor over me, and most of them had known me for my entire life. I can forgive them but not reconcile with them because they have shown no remorse.

I thank you Creampuff for your vote of confidence. You’ve got a “hard row to hoe” with your husband’s passive aggressive and mean behavior toward you. Living in a WAR ZONE is a horrible spot to be in and I know it is not easy.

Your going NC with your daughter and step daughter was the only course open to you and still emotionally survive. God bless. (((hugs))) and my prayers.

Truthspeak

Radar_On, I don’t know if this will be of any help, or not, but I’m going to type it in the event that it does.

You mentioned that it might be an easier goal to get to the point of “forgiveness” if there were some explanation, and you gave a good list of examples. First, let’s consider a new or altered term to refer to this process because “forgiveness” has a very “Divine Mandate” attached where most people are concerned. I don’t know about you, but my system of beliefs have been proven to be false, and I’ll just use this term: Forward Momentum.

The explanation for Forward Momentum is that sociopathy is a part of the Human Condition. It has always existed, and it always will. “It is what it is.” Sometimes, the “need” for explanations becomes an obsession, and this is very true in my situation. I finally came to the ugly, cold, hard fact that sociopaths simply “ARE.” They are what they are, they do what they do, and all of the research, all of the publications, all of the data, and all of the rhetoric will never, ever ALTER this fact.

My emotional self wants (and, demanded) answers. Well, that emotional self is a whining, kicking, screaming child that cannot always have what she wants. The pragmatic self is the grown-up that has learned how to separate the emotions from the facts. The facts aren’t always pleasant, easy, simple, or kind, but they ARE always indisputable.

So……Forward Momentum. And, I’m looking at making some FM for my own recovery, too. It’s coming – I can smell it in the air just like you can smell rain coming. It’s out there, and I’m feeling the tingle of recovery the closer it gets.

Brightest and most encouraging blessings

Truthspeak

OxD…..”the nirvana of indifference” I am going to write that on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge.

In fact, that’s going to be an added mantra for me. “Nirvana of Indifference.” Yes….it sounds incredible.

Brightest blessings

Radar_On

Thank you, Tspeak for your input. Appreciate it, as well as all the good posts. We are all in different stages of recovering, and i know many things (wounds) are still fresh right now. I seem to be bouncing back and forth in the Stages of grief…especially the anger. Again, thank you. Need to go to the library to print off some of articles and posts. I only have my phone now, but i do get to read the articles! Best wishes to you!

neveragainIhope

Hello again. As usual I find your posts validating and inspiring. But still, I am so sad, resenting and yet missing my spath. I’m in a new relationship now and am afraid I am indeed dragging him — he’s not a spath — through my unresolved pain. I don’t adore him the way I did my spath. I’m not in love with him either; my admiration and enjoyment of him seem to be fading.

But I still enjoy his company and would be lonely without him; and now I also fear hurting him if I were to leave him. I fear myself to be using him the way my spath used me. My lack of interest makes him pursue me even more ardently which makes me feel guilty. I do want a relationship, but I keep choosing men I can’t love, since the spath left me two years ago. Only the spath felt right, and he was so cruel when he left me and revealed how his constant, (love-bombing) words of love were lies and he had only been using me all along. Sometimes I sadly imagine he was only a spath for me — his new woman seems to inspire genuine devotion from him, while I was just a “way station” meeting his needs until he met someone he really loved. Having that thought makes me feel even more worthless. It makes me hope he hurts her so I’ll know it was his pathology that ruined our relationship, not my failures as a person and a woman. She did work hard to seduce him away from me, so I feel anger toward her as well. I have wishful fantasies of the two of them suffering horribly. It tortures me that they are so in love with each other, and he apparently treats her well, and I seem unable to find love again.

I’ve been in a few relationships since, and each lasts a few months and ends when I realize I can’t love this new man, even though he believes he loves me and wants to share his life with me. So I break if off. And then I wonder if I keep choosing men I don’t really want, because they are safer, can’t hurt me as much as spath did. Maybe I need a few years alone to recover — but life is short, and I’m not young anymore. Have any of you struggled with these feelings?

Ox Drover

neveragain,

Being with “someone” when you want some ONE is difficult, and there was a time in my life when I was divorced and I didn’t want to be alone and I dated a man I couldn’t love for 4 years, telling him all the time it would never NEVER be “forever” with the two of us and at the end of the 4 years I left him (we did not live together but were a pair) and it broke his heart and I have felt GUILTY ever since. I would never do that again. I did NOT mean to hurt him, but he kept hoping if he were nice enough to me I would love him the way he wanted me to. He was a good man, just not the man for me, but I should NOT I think have gone on knowing how he felt.

Time ALONE to work on yourself without worrying about a relationship which can be distracting from working on what we really NEED TO WORK ON can be a good thing. You might think about that and maybe even see about some counseling. Good luck.

neveragainIhope

Oxy, Thank you for your words. I agree with you, of course. The problem is, when I am alone I am just so dreadfully lonely. I want to date, have the companionship, etc. And at first, these men seem right for me, each one has. I tell myself the little nagging doubts or the little ways they aren’t right for me are inevitable — nobody would be perfect (unless he was a spath pretending to be perfect for me). I tell myself maybe this new man will turn out to be right one for me. Sigh.

Sorry if I sound like I’m justifying my dysfunctions. Also, I am already in therapy. A new therapist wise to the ways of spaths might be more helpful though. Oh well, time for me to go home and take care of my teenaged kids. Thanks!

Ox Drover

Neveragain, I understand the “lonely” believe me I do….after my husband died I was terribly lonely and hooked up with the first passing psychopath. I had ALWAYS had a man in my life since age 17 or 18, but I am now very CONTENT with myself, not lonely, though I am alone…if a good relationship came along I might be interested but I am not desperate for companionship or sex any more…I have friends and family and myself and my dog…and mostly I am CONTENT with myself.

Fighting to Forgive: in reference to your front row seat to his Karma, just a few days ago I asked the same: when does what goes around comes around, when does what you give out you get back? when does Karma bite you in the ass?

It was Truthspeak who answered me:
karma will come around. You (and I) may not SEE it or ever know about it, but it’s not our purpose in this lifetime to see that karma comes around and slaps the spath(s) in the face with a rotten salmon. It just isn’t.

We can’t always see justice or even expect closure.

It is a difficult concept to grasp – this karma concept, but…..forgiveness is for me. I forgive myself for continuing to try, even when he didn’t deserve my efforts. I forgive myself for believing the best in him, even when he deliberately inflicted pain and a mean spirit upon me – and knew exactly what he was doing. I don’t ever need to concern myself with forgiving him – those are all HIS problems now. That’s really what going NO CONTACT taught me. He never gets a chance to hurt me again.

Oxy, I smiled at your biblical reference. When spath would come home and PICK a fight with me out of the blue, at first I would wait until all the kids were in bed, and privately say – I feel really hurt by (fill in) please don’t treat me that way. Then the kids would get to noticing and say things like, “Dad is so negative, or he’s in a really bad mood, or even he is not very nice (all WITNESS). Then it got to the point he would get home and PICK and I would say, “I will not allow you to sit down and eat the food that I have spent my time preparing. If you have no more respect for me than that you cannot benefit from the things that I do. Git! Scram!”
And he would get in the car, drive away and get dinner (probably with his mistress) Lol!

Truthspeak

NeverAgainIHope, with all due respect, perhaps it’s too soon in your recovery to be invovled in another romantic relationship, yet.

When I left the first exspath, I was frightened, raw, suffering PSTD, and dealing with an adolescent who would later develop into a sociopath, himself. I had developed a system of erroneous and self-damaging beliefs that I NEEDED a partner in order to feel whole, validated, accepted, appreciated, loved, and all of the other positive things that never existed even before I married the first abusive exspath. Lo, and behold! I was targeted by ANOTHER spath that was not physically or sexually abusive to me, and I was so vulnerable that I fell for the whole illusion.

It’s going to take me YEARS of recovery before I can ever entertain the idea of a dinner date because I know that my personal vulnerabilities were the in-roads for ALL spaths that have come in and out of my life. I no longer NEED validation from others because I can provide that to myself, BY myself.

Romantic love is a concept that, in its essence, is kind, beautiful, and fulfilling. In reality, romantic love is a dicey gamble where the words, “I’ll NEVER ___” generate a pact that is based upon a concept, and not common sense or fact.

I would gently urge you to consider some strong counseling therapy to help you process your spath entanglement before getting deeply involved with someone else, just yet. This is NOT meant to suggest that the person that you’re involved with, now, is disordered or that the relationship is going to collapse, but this is an indisputable fact: any personal issues that I’m carrying forward from past expderiences is going to affect EVERY relationship unless I get myself sorted out. This means every relationship: romantic, platonic, business, client/service provider, etc.

You’ll be fine, in due time.

Brightest blessings

Truthspeak

Honestkindgiver, I think the concept of karma is a healthy supplement to forgiveness for me, personally.

This only applies to me, but I’m going to throw it out there just in case it helps someone else: karma is Universal Justice that is the catalyst for true “Forgiveness.” I have chosen to believe that there is a balance in the Universe that has been created by God (IMHO) because all things cycle and recycle. Stars, planets, and galaxies are formed and die. Some are sucked into black holes to be jettisoned out as particulate matter that is re-purposed into forming new stars, planets, and galaxies. Even earthbound nature is in a mysterious synch as to what flowers, fruits, and plants are provided during specific breeding and birthing times of animal species. Life isn’t just what I see around me, but it’s also an unseen energy that I cannot touch, smell, see, or identify.

People who do “bad things” cannot move through their lives inflicting the heinous damages that they do without there being SOME kind of consequence. The husband or wife that is a serial philanderer is going to end up cheating with the “wrong” person and either pick up STD’s, or wind up getting physically or financially destroyed. The child molester who has spent a lifetime targeting, abusing, and destroying the lives of children will, eventually, succumb to some sort of “justice,” whether it’s in a courtroom or on an interstate in the grill of a Peterbilt truck. The financial advisor that embezzles millions from investors will, eventually experience Universal Justice in the form of a lengthy prison sentence or a former client that takes revenge in the form of murder. The examples could go on, forever, since there are ten million ways to harm another human being, deliberately.

Karma is that which we cannot explain, predict, or cause to happen, ourselves. And, this (again, applying to me, ONLY) is what allows me to crack that door open to “forgiveness” an inch at a time. Will I ever be able to get the Forward Momentum door open, entierly? I don’t know, I can’t say, and I’m not going to attempt to predict this. But, what I CAN say is that I’ve taken the “emotion” out of this concept and I’m viewing it as a pragmatic step for my personal recovery.

I dunno if that helps, one iota. And, it’s a deep, deep discussion that is very, very important regardless of anyone’s religious or spiritual beliefs. This isn’t about what “God” expects us to do in order to enter Heaven. It’s about what will help us, in the long run, to achieve what we aspire to.

Brightest blessings

desert flower

Hi Oxy,

Thank you for your perspective yesterday. From reading your posts for a couple of years now I know I aspire to be at the place you are in relation to this person I once knew and made a family wth.

Not so funny but after receiving the first communication from him in many, many months, (yesterday) when I used to hear from him weekly, it caused me to have a bad dream last night,in which I was pregnant with more of his children. I was thankful that the alarm had woken me up before the birth. I woke up thankful I was no longer in the relationship, thats for sure. I am remarried to a woderful, supporting, loving example of a man now, my children love and respect this man much more than the did their father.

I have made alot of progress, as I used to wish him dead, now I don’t care much about what is going on in his life. I wish no harm to him, but I do believe in Karma like the topic has turned to, and I really prefer not to see when its his turn to pay up. I think his also shows major progress in my growth, not to enjoy the feeling of getting even with him.

I just with the anxiety from hearing from him, even a simple text, would not affect my heart beat and dreams like it does.

I’m so thankful for this site.

Ox Drover

Desert flower,

I am glad to know that your life has taken a turn for the better and that you have a partner to love and help raise your children.

There are days though, Flower, that I also have bad dreams, or ruminate and have trouble stopping thinking about my P son, especially when I have had some sort of “back door” contact with or about him. So that may happen soometimes and I guess we just have to endure it til it quits. HAviing kids with him may keep you from totally blockiing communication but as much as you can keep it short and only about the kids.

the sisterhood

Oxy,
I have always loved your quote the “Nirvana of Indifference”. I strive for that every single day.

I think the word “forgiveness” is such a loaded idea because it means so many things to so many people. I personally cringe when I hear it because, as some of you have stated, it implies that you are alright with what has happened.

I have to say that you don’t have to forgive a person that has been violent to you, emotionally, sexually or physically. I do believe the key, as I think Truthspeak said, is forgiving yourself for all of the shame you carry and all of the pain you feel.

I had a woman whom I respect who knows about my situation say to me, “You know, you really need to forgive him.” That made me so sick to my stomach because I think people who say those statements have this idea of “Just let it go” in a way that is excusatory of the bad behavior.

I don’t think most people understand what true forgiveness is. Again, as some of you have stated, it is about the acceptance that the past cannot be changed and we must, therefore, move on with our lives.

Now, with saying all of this, maybe I’m just not there yet, 17 years after the fact. There is a deep rooted part of me that wants justice for the ills that were done to me and redemption for my reputation that was destroyed so maliciously. And I know these feelings stem from primal wounds from childhood, but I just can’t shake the idea that this POS will get my forgiveness. If I’m really honest, NO HE WON’T… EVER!! If that makes me a horrible Christian than I guess that’s something I need to work on, but it just doesn’t feel right, yet.

I can, however, move on and as Oxy says, “Get the bitterness out of my heart.” I think this is where my journey is at the moment. And I’m O.K. with it.

Laura19

NeveragainIhope,

I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in feeling rather tortured by your ex-spath’s new relationship. I am experiencing the same thing. My ex did not reveal that he had lied to me, though. I found that out accidentally. Still, this new girl is staying with him because, even though she knows he lied to her about cheating on her with me (and me with her), and he lied to her about his first wife, it doesn’t really matter to her because she’s staying with him. She’s convinced that she’s different and that she knows the “real” him and that he’s completely in love with her. I’ve had the same feelings as you…that he lied to me so much more (which he did, he made up so much about his background in order to mirror me), that he only treated ME so terribly by cheating on me with so many women, that he has been so much better to every other woman in his life…

HOWEVER, I have enough evidence from my own experience of him and information from the new woman to know that he IS a sociopath. And because I know that this is true–I really believe it in my soul–then that means that he WILL hurt the new woman, that he does NOT love her, because he cannot love ANYONE. So, if you know that your ex is a spath, then take solace in the fact that he will NEVER be good to anyone. They are empty, soulless, disgusting people who don’t know how–and don’t want–to truly connect with any other person. What a sad, pathetic way to live.

Best wishes in your current relationship. It’s only been about two months for me since the spath cut me off, so I will not be dating again for quite a while. But I am not one to judge when someone else is ready to do that, so I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do.

the sisterhood

NevergainIhope,

You sound so much like me. I was really stuck with the pain of feeling like my ex-spath really does love his wife and that I was the only one he treated so horribly. I even posted about those feelings a few weeks ago.

What I realized since then, is that I can’ t focus on the relationship my ex-spath has with his wife. It leads me down a vicious spiral. I have no idea what the truth is about their marriage.

I only have my experience with him as a reference. For me, he was a sociopath. He was extremely cunning and covert in his emotional abuse. And the slander of me that he engaged in all the while professing to love me is what sticks with me the most. I am healing from the pain I endured with him and I cannot get involved with how he is is with others. He is most likely charming and wonderful to most outsiders. I never would have pegged him for the monster he was to me. I say, “God bless his wife.” She will be dealing with him, even if she’s in denial or not aware of the truth of how he treated me.

I can look back now and be very grateful I didn’t marry him. I know what he is and that’s all that matters.

Your wounds are real. The abuse you endured is real. Know this and it will lead to your healing. All other relationships your ex-spath has are irrelevant. I know it’s hard to see that now. It takes time.

Blessings and healing to you.

kmillercats

NeveragainIhope

I was a discarded one but, during the relationship it was stressful all the time. No matter how much I miss him I have to ask myself, “Did I really want to live like that? The lies, the suspicion.” He had 2 other relationships during the time I was with him. Before I met him he had been engaged to a woman for 5 years. She was exactly what he wanted. Made him look good. I finally talked to her and she said he had tried for the first 2 years. She had no idea what he was. Then the lies started and things started falling apart. She was a real keeper but, he still couldn’t keep it together. She left and he stalked her for a year. She now knows he’s a spath. I asked her how long it took her to realize it. She said, “5 years”. The mask always slips at some point.

Ox Drover

Sister, that quote about the “nirvana of indifference” was not original I don’t think, I think I read it somewhere, but yea, it is a great one.

Getting the bitterness out of our hearts is about HEALING US. I think it was Desmond TuTu who said something along the line of “Hate (or bitterness) is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die” or something along that line and it is so true.

I have no doubt that forgiving (getting the bitterness out of our hearts) our enemies, and even the command in the Bible to pray for those who persecute you are NOT about what is good for the other person, the abuser, but is about what is good for US.

I don’t find a single command in the New Testament that is not beneficial to the person who follows it. Thou shalt not kill. Thous shalt not commit adultery, don’t be a glutton, don’t be a drunk, give to the poor, don’t steal, as much as it depends on you, get along with your neighbor and on and on. Not one command that is not a guide to a good way to live…and then I must assume that the command to forgive others must be for my good as well. But what does “forgive” mean? For that I have to go to examples and St. Paul says how to try to talk to the person who as abused you (a brother, in essence someone close to you) if that doesn’t work, try witnesses, and then if that doesn’t work, take it to the church (the community) and if that didn’t work, don’t even eat with the person, I think that means NC, and also the example of Joseph and how he tested his brothers before restoring a RELATIONSHIP with them.

Now, these are only MY interpretations of what I think the Bible teaches, but my egg donor crammed down my throat that “forgiveness” meant that you RESTORED RELATIONSHIP with these people no matter if they had repented or not. Funny thing though that she foisted this belief of “forgiveness” on to me, but she would hold a grudge for decades, and she never got the bitterness against my sperm donor for cheating on her.

I think each of us must search our own souls and hearts and come to our own conclusions about what we need to do to HEAL OURSELVES, own own hearts and spirits from the damages done by those who hurt us. I just do not want to spend my days as a bitter old woman.

creampuff

Such wise words from everyone….Oxy…you used a word in your reply to me….shunning…..it really struck me because that is the very word my step spath daughter ALWAYS uses when referring to me….she LOVES to throw that word around….I guess that’s their translation for NC. When I hear people say things like “we should forgive them” when referring to mass shooters, serial killers, child molesters, etc. it makes me sick to my stomach as well. I always viewed forgiveness as something you ASK for. Sociopaths will never ask for forgiveness (unless it serves a purpose for THEM) because they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. Right now my Spath step daughter is trying to get her father to do her dirty work against me by using scripture and throwing around the forgiveness word…it’s so funny because she wants to use scripture against me when she continues to break commandments every day…it always reminds me of the Devil tempting Jesus….trying to take truth and turn it into something dark and ugly…I am about to print out the “Nirvana of Indifference” and hang it on my fridge! Keep those nuggets of gold coming Oxy !!

Ox Drover

Dear Creampuff,

Read that story about Joseph and his brothers….you will see a perfect example of “forgiveness” (getting the bitterness out of his heart against his brothers) but he did NOT TRUST THEM until he saw they had changed.

Not allowing yourself to harbor bitterness is good for YOU. It doesn’t effect the evil doer, but it keeps YOU from being bitter and unhappy. I call that forgiveness…but it does NOT mean that you reestablish a relationship with these people. Yea, “shunning” is another word for NC, and in some ways it may have a negative connotation. But don’t let that throw you, and don’t let them twist scripture. My egg donor did the same thing, to try to get me to put up with horrible behavior from her brother Uncle Monster and I refused. But now I see it was her attempt at control.

My “control” is NC, shunning if you will, of a woman who lies, a woman who enables her murdering grandson.

Barb

Forgiveness is elusive. With me…it comes and goes. Yes, I feel sorry for this girl who was so hateful…and yes, her upbringing was no joke. But total forgiveness may never come, at least in my case. She said too many demeaning things (and words hurt more than physical blows and can last forever). She was devoid of compassion but could “fake it”.

I have since worked with women just like her…and on a job, where you can’t get away from it, it is truly horrendous.

Women have an intolerance for any woman much better looking than they are. Is is innate? Apparently. Can jealousy be controlled? I believe it can…and she made a choice to be jealous and hateful.

Delores

The word forgive is so ridiculous that I do not even use it anymore.

Firstly, to forgive an ongoing evil is to condone it. A psychopath is an ongoing evil so it cannot be forgiven without condoning it. It can be released from my attention when it is not active in my life and I can even feel sorry for it. But I will never condone it so I can never forgive it. When it is active in my life I must act to remove it in any way that is necessary.

Secondly, who do we think we are anyway to give or deny forgiveness to anyone. Does forgiving mean to stop judging? It is not our right to judge in the first place. Forgiveness of others is not our responsibility nor is judging. We can learn the facts, come to conclusions, protect ourselves and others, then we can let go of the damaging emotions but that is not forgiving. We can each only forgive ourselves. The rest is up to a higher power.

And finally, “Forgive the sinner but not the sin.” How silly is that? They are inseparable until the sin has stopped and the lesson learned. Only the sinner himself knows that and it may not be until he dies.

So let us just say, let go of our resentment, go on with our lives in peace and joy and leave the psychopath to deal with his own forgiveness.

Ox Drover

Betsy, you saiid

So let us just say, let go of our resentment, go on with our lives in peace and joy

To me, “forgiveness” IS as you said getting that resentment (bitterness) out of my heart…it is not to condone anything that was done, or to forget it, or to pretend it didn’t happen, or to restore a relationship or any trust of any kind. My egg donor tried to get me to believe if I did not do all of the restoring trust, forgetting and pretending it never happened etc. but I finally realized that I am NOT going to hell because I don’t subscribe to the egg donor’s definition of “forgiveness” but have my own definition now, which is very much like your last sentence of your post.

Babs94540

I guess this really depends on how one defines “forgiveness”.

Me personally, the more “Old Testament” version of forgiveness resonates more fully with me.

That definition of “forgiveness” is more like a transaction and requires the two parties involved to make a conscious agreement with each other. The perpetrator must actually *ask you* to forgive him or her, express true remorse, promise to not do the offensive thing again, and offer you some kind of atonement. Then, its up to you to grant your forgiveness, or not.

If you do grant forgiveness, then you are agreeing to put the incident or the issue behind you, which means agreeing to not keep bringing it up all the time. Thus, my definition of a forgiveness “transaction” implies a certain willingness to trust the individual again.

So, that’s a pretty specific definition. It works for me.

Outside of that definition, I agree that its healthier to simply “let go” or “detach” from someone who has harmed you but is unrepentant, and walk away, without hanging onto feeling a need for revenge. “Detachment” is just becoming indifferent to the perp. I have felt a sense of peace and healing, just from detaching.

My perp never asked me for my forgiveness, so, per my definition of /conception of forgiveness, granting it to her wasn’t an option for me. Had she asked, I might have granted my forgiveness. Probably, I would have.

But, she died without asking, so, I am making do with “detaching.”

Its working for me.

Forgiveness can be a really touchy subject when you’ve been hurt deeply;nobody but you can understand the pain….nobody but you and God.

But if you want to feel joy and all those other positive feelings again,you need to forgive; “let go of that heavy burden you’ve been carrying”-whether or not the spath asks for forgiveness.

Oxy,that was EXCELLENT that you brought up the examples of David and Saul!Although David committed serious sins,he SHOWED HEART-FELT REPENTANCE,whereas Saul showed murderous jealousy in the way tried to kill David,even forcing him to become a fugitive.

Forgiving a person does not mean you condone what they’ve done,or that you will start trusting them again or even enter into a relationship with them again.But for your your own health and happiness,(and for those who believe in God) your relationship with God, you “let go and move on with life”

hope52

Forgiveness. How many times have I tossed this word around in my head? Thousands of times.

The Bible teaches us to forgive our brother, “seven times seven”….I dont know. I have been away from my spath for two years and divorced five months. I have another 7 months to go to a full year of NO CONTACT.

I did write him a letter. I told him what he was and the harm he had done to me and my children. I also told him that apparently he had committed a lifetime of harm to other women and his last wife and child. I told him that someday he would be “judged” for those deeds.

Although many told me not to send the three page letter, I did anyway. It lifted a huge amount of sorrow off my shoulders and slowly I am forgiving MYSELF.

You see, I think we must forgive ourselves and then perhaps the psychopath.

I look forward to the day of my “nirvana of indifference.”

yeah, nirvana…cant wait!

Delores

Oxy and anyone else who has family issues,

I cringe everytime you say egg donor because I feel like my daughter feels that way about me. I do call her father the sperm donor but I was a good mother. I know I was the best mother I could be because I was determined not to pass on the abuse I was raised with. And I did not. I am sure I made mistakes and divorce was hard on the children but I decided it was in their best interest after agonizing over it for years. And then I put up with him for 35 more years for my children.

She always said we never got along but I never saw it. I thought it was just teenage banter that she held onto or normal mother daughter issues. How was I to know, my mother got cancer when I was 14 and died when I was 18. But I guess she was right. We are like oil and water now and we do not mix or understand each other at all. Maybe it is because I was abused and needy and she was not abused and is selfish or spoiled. Maybe I needed my children too much even though I did not play the martyr that my mother did. I worked hard to have a life of my own and not complain and do what was right.

All I ever wanted was family, a loving family like I had for a few years in spite of abuse, sickness and losing my mother to soon. That is why I married the sperm donor. I thought we would have that…he knew how to suck me in and then raped and humiliated me on our wedddin night. I was instantly a nonperson and his possession.

Can you explain how your mother and my daughter can do this? If they are not psychopaths, what is wrong with them that they are so closed, unaproachable and can cut us off like we are psychopaths in defense of the real psychopath? I am hoping you can explain some more to me.

I do not understand minions even though I have read about them. I see the logic of being the one who he does not hurt and threfore bing special. I know they can be brainwashed by the psychopath too because I have been there. You have helped me so much with your wisdom and practicallity and yet I am still confused.

How did my lovely happy daughter turn into this shrew at age 40 who suddenly despises me and will not talk to me? Is it because I told her the truth about her father and extracated him from my life? I had to for my own sanity. How can they act just like a psychopath and not be one because I know she is not. Talk about unforgiving, she is so closed she is like a zombie to me but she seems the perfect angel to everyone on the outside.

jeannie812

I’ll still talk about that asshole Jim, even though I have less and less to say. The only anger I feel is his day in court. I just won’t hire contractors, just let my house rot away, cause if I need to take a contractor to court… the judge might remember me.

My last name is the same name as the District Attorney of this small county. Even though we are not related.

jeannie812

To BetsyBugs,

My kids from my husband have a problem with me. My husband disrespected me all through the marriage. He dumped on me and cheated on me, and refused to help out with the kids while he laid on couch bitching at me to become a better mother. My kids believed him. They believed his lies. He got the kids affection with his false promises. He broke these promises (as quickly as he made them) by blaming it on me. The kids believed him.

They still believe him.

There is nothing I can do about it. I can only give my love and hope that it’s enough.

Ox Drover

Betsy, my Maternal DNA donor did not EARN the title “mother” by nurturing me unless “control” could be called nurturing. I didn’t realize just how controlled I was because I thought that’s the way it is supposed to be. I would from time to time rebel and stand up to her but i t never lasted….not until this time, not until the ULTIMATE betrayal. The sneer iin her voice, the telling me afterward “let’s just pretend it never happened”

That’s kind of like If I burned down your house because I was angry at you and you came to me and wanted to “discuss” this so maybe we could reconcile and I said to you “let’s just pretend none of this happened and start over.” OMG can you SEE why Ii call her the egg donor?

I’m sorry your daughter disrespects you, it sounds to me like she is an apple that didn’t fall far from the paternal tree. She seems to enjoy hurting you buy hurting her children as well. That’s a shame but it is a fact you have to accept. That is HOW SHE IS, SHE IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE. She has total control over the kids and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE, there are lots of folks here on LF who have children who are psychopaths, or are married to psychopaths that cause them to not be able to enjoy their grandkids and are powerless to do a darned thing about it.

When I first came to LF in 2007 it was mainly about romantic relationships, but now there are people with ALL KINDS of relationshits—kids, parents, siblings, neighbors, x friends, x lovers, x spouses, you name it. All across the entire relation-shit spectrum.

We hurt because we love them, but you know, even that is diminishing with my son Patrick and as far as the egg donor goes, I no longer feel a pressing need for her company any more. I no longer miss her. I don’t hate her though she frustrates me.

I hope that makes some sense, Betsy. It just takes time and effort to work through the grief and continues to take some effort to maintain it when you do get to acceptance.

Delores

Thank you, Oxy, I am trying to work through it but it is devestating, as I am sure you know. I do get the sneer in her voice and the concept of the final betrayal (taking away the grandchildren). I just cannot comprehend the degree of hate involved. It is not like the unfeeling psychopath, it feels like pure contempt and hatred of me. Psychopaths do not even hate do they?

I fear she feels that I controlled her and I am to blame but while she may have felt controlled she was allowed to make all of her own decisions whether I agreed with them at first or not. She still is making all of her own decisions the latest simply being that she just does not want me in her life anymore.

I hope I can survive the time and effort involved. I am awaiting the Nirvana of indifference.

Ox Drover

Betsybugs,

Of COURSE they HATE, I think it is their favorite emotion. My son Patrick hates me with a white hot hate that would see him kill me, but he would want me to see the bullet coming.

Betsy reaching te Nirvana of indifference is not going to be quick or easy.

First you will have to wrap your INTELLECT AROUND IT, but then your emotions. Not an easy thing to do, to grasp that someone can UNJUSTLY HATE YOU SO MUCH.

First: There is NOTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE TO HAVE PREVENTED THIS. Believe that.

Secondly: THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE IT, believe that.

Thirdly; YOU CAN STILL HAVE A GOOD LIFE even though 1 and 2 are true.

darwinsmom

Betsy,

Spaths and psychopaths’ only deeply felt emotions are cold hatred and utter contempt. I think that on the one hand they feel contempt for us for not being as cold and hard and calculated as they are. And yet on the other hand they envy us for feeling and experiencing life in a way they know they never can, and they hate us for for it because we remind them everyday that they can’t feel, can’t bond, etc. can’t be deeply happy and marveled. It is why they so love to corrupt us and make us miserable. Because while we hurt and are in mysery, at least we’re not happy. Then they can go on feeling contempt for us, and feeling better and special and a winner: they may not know happiness, but they can’t be miserable either.

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