By May 23, 2011 Read More →

Getting over the relationship that didn’t exist

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader:

How do I process a relationship that had so many lies in it that I don’t know really with whom I was involved?

I miss the person I thought I knew so much, but at the same time, he was involved with someone else, and others, since at least last June. I thought he had had one affair—but not anything to the extent that it looks like now.

How do I process a relationship I never had? Was he lying the whole time acting out the “I love you’s”, the romantic comments, and the idea that we should be together? Is it all an act?

Most of us are reading and posting on Lovefraud because we were intensely, callously, brutally deceived in a relationship with a sociopath. The betrayal was so deep, and so profound, that all we can say is that the person we thought we knew, the relationship we thought we had, didn’t exist.

Much has been written here on Lovefraud about the different aspects of recovery. But in response to this reader’s e-mail, I’ll review some of the key points.

Understanding sociopaths and “love”

Sociopaths do not feel empathy for other human beings. Therefore, they do not have the ability to love as we understand it. There is no emotional connection, no true caring for the target of their “affections.”

What is going on when sociopaths say, “I love you?” They are not all the same, so there is a range of explanations for what they mean.

At the clueless end of the range, sociopaths may view the target as attractive arm candy, or may like the attention they receive from the target, or may enjoy sex with the target. Sociopaths may label as “love” whatever it is they feel with the target. So, “I love you,” means, “I like how I look when you’re with me,” or, “I like the fact that you’re showering me with attention,” or, “I like having sex with you.”

At the sinister end of the range, sociopaths know they are cold-hearted predators and view their targets the way cats view mice. These sociopaths play with their targets for awhile, then, when they tire of the game, abandon them, leaving the targets battered and gasping. Or, some sociopaths will go in for the kill, usually figuratively, but sometimes literally.

The reader asked, “Is it all an act?” Often, the answer is yes.

Accepting reality

The sociopath may have painted a picture of an exquisite future of unending togetherness and bliss.  Or, the sociopath may have latched on to our own nurturing instincts, and convinced us that they can only survive with our caring and support. Then the mask slips, the story unravels, and we learn that everything we believed was a lie.

We must accept this reality. We must believe our own eyes and recognize the truth.

This may be really difficult. We thought we were working towards our dream. We made important life decisions based on what we were told. We may have spent a lot of money—maybe all of our money—at the behest of the sociopath.

We don’t want to believe that it was all a cruel mirage. We argue with ourselves—there must be some other explanation, some other reason. We may say, “I must have misunderstood; no one can be that heartless.”

Yes, sociopaths are that heartless.

The reasons they are heartless do not matter. Yes, in some cases they have had bad parents and a terrible childhood. But as an adult, they are not going to change. They are what they are, and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can begin to recover.

Time and permission to recover

The psychological and emotional damage that we suffer because of our entanglements with sociopaths is often extensive. We may experience anxiety, depression, guilt, self-hatred, and perhaps even post traumatic stress disorder.

Some of us are so angry with ourselves for falling for the scam that we punish ourselves by blocking our own recovery. We say we will never trust again; never love again.

Please do not feel this way. If you never recover, giving up on trust and love, the sociopath will have truly won. Deny him or her that victory. Give yourself permission to recover.

Recovering from this damage is not an event; it’s a process. Readers often ask, “How long will it take?” The answer: It will take as long as it takes.

We may need to move forward in several directions at once, but it’s okay to move forward slowly. Some steps to take:

  • Protecting our physical safety, if the sociopath has made threats, and what remains of our financial assets.
  • Taking care of our physical health—eating right, getting enough exercise and sleep, avoiding alcohol and other substances.
  • Finding a way to release the pent-up anger and pain within us, without showing it to the sociopath, because that will backfire.
  • Rebuilding relationships with family members and friends that were damaged because of the sociopath.
  • Letting moments of joy, no matter how small, into our lives. Joy expands, so the more we can let in, the more it will grow and the better we will feel.

The Lovefraud Blog has many more articles that focus on how to recover from the sociopathic entanglement. You’ll find them in the following category:

Healing from a sociopath

Believe in yourself. You can do this. You can get past the experience. You may have lost your innocence, but in the end, you’ll gain invaluable wisdom.


There has been some wierd stuff going on here and judging by the dreams I had last night of big fires in my yard while I was on the phone with OXY, people lighting tons of candles outside, small children standing in my driveway with police, wanting to report cracks in the road, flaming trees flying across my yard and me chasing flames wildly running and throwing my body on them to put them out and people cruising around my street in halloween costumes……
I’m guessing a dream specialist may suggest it’s time to take a break from LF. 🙂

I hope you all figure it out…..safely!
Take care and until later…….

LL: Writing a book would mean having to re-live it all over again. I am still in the midst of trying to get it out of my life. I find myself keeping myself from situations where I am reminded of the horrible past almost five years of my life. I come here and share with all of you because as I am doing so, it is healing me, as well as reaching your ears.

The experience I have been through is unlike any I have ever encountered and it continues on, even if only mostly psycologically, within. THAT is the true mark of a psycopath, when they have come to possess your thoughts and you can’t make them go away.

Thanks, LL for your kinds words regarding my writing. It is my greatest desire in this life to speak to ears who listen. Who WANT to listen. I am not the most intelligent person nor educated on the planet but the experience I have just come through and still, in a lot of ways, AM coming through, makes me want to throw out all those red flags for everyone else. It’s the least I can do –

Taking a very bad situation and turning it into something good and sending it back out in the world. That is our responsibility. Collectively increasing and growing the good. LOOK AT US! We are stuck in that same dark hole and they are not even anywhere near us at the moment!

The same place change starts, resolution starts and the same place resolution starts is where peace begins.

Nobody could ever understand what it is I have been through. It is darker than any nightmare imaginable.


Darn, ErinB, what in the world did I have to do with your night mare? 🙂 I admit I had to copy you and get my very own bear, but gosh, I didn’t mean to invade your dreams! I didn’t realize I was that powerful! LOL 🙂

I have no idea why some people are feeling attacked or getting their panties in a wad or about what….I’m not even sure WHO is getting their panties in a wad. And as far as my opinion goes, the whole thing just sounds like a bunch of 10 year olds in the bathroom trying to start some drama. I’m out of the drama, too, but not going to let any amount of drama run me off, and I hope it won’t you either EB…your voice of reason for those that are seeking support is an important part of LF…we miss you when you are gone or too busy to post for sure!

Dear Duped,

There may come a time when you don’t have to relive it to write it down….and, again, there may not come that time, but if it does you will know.

In the meantime, you are right, the most important thing is your own healing now and doing whatever it takes to do that is what your responsibility is. Sounds to me like your head is on pretty straight and level. (((hugs))))


I understand that, I can read. The only reason I asked was becuz I wanted to share photos of my animals,no other reason. I have a very clear picture of a couple people in here and I wouldnt want them on my fb as a friend.


I simply asked a question. Did you read my whole post before you attacked me? I doubt ya did. I give NO authority over my life to anyone but God.
Why are you so angry EB? You seem to have some of the same characteristics of my spath. To fast to rage.
If ya cant post to me in a civil manner then leave me alone. I didnt attack you,please never do it to me again.

your desire to share a photo brings up a very good topic, thank you.

I have recently read that most cellphones that take pictures and many other types of cameras also, will embed geo-location data into each picture taken. This data is transferred along with the picture so that you can know the location of the place where the picture was taken. There are ways to strip the data or prevent the camera from recording the latitude and longitude, but you need to make sure you’ve done that because the default is set to record location. Be vigilient about your privacy, especially in regards to pictures. They say pictures are worth a thousand words….even more so now in the age of technology.

EB has posted warning people about facebook before. She is adamant that people are too free with their information on Facebook and it will often come back to bite them. I agree with her. I DO NOT use face book. In my opinion, it’s a way to expose yourself to drama and spaths (same thing).

I don’t believe EB was attacking you, her choice of words, I believe were meant to convey the seriousness of using FB when you are under attack by spath. It’s like leaving the door open at night while you sleep. Please be careful.

my phone is secure. I use the pay as ya go . I dont use bluetooth. I dont use any apps of any kind,not even on my laptop. This is why I asked about fb,it is secure. My phone isnt very sophisticated at all. It is just a basic phone. If ya pull the battery out after each use ya cant be tracked. Any incoming calls will go to voicemail.


I wasnt going to say anything but I feel I must. Somewhere in your healing journey I think you have forgotten how raw we newbies are and how our guts are still hanging loose outside of us. Your brash condesending attitude is just nasty. You act like a bully. Please remember how it felt to you at first. You want all of us newbies to run a marathon and we are still trying to learn to crawl.
Please go back to having compassion. I understand the connection some of you have. I think it is great that you have found friends you can trust,but do not ever attack me or anyone else in here for asking what I see as a simple question. Shame on you.

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