Going forward, while looking back

by AlohaTraveler


Today, July 3, is a significant day for me. On this day, three years ago, I left the Bad Man. Let’s take stock of that moment in time:

  • Total cash = $700
  • Debt = at least $16,000
  • Job = None
  • Place to live, bed to sleep in, a clue = No
  • Plan = None
  • Me = A total wreck.

Between May of 2005, when I moved in with the Bad Man, and May of 2007, I have moved 10 times. This includes one move back to the islands in September 2005 and then back to California again on November 29, 2005. My car has 7,200 nautical miles on it and it shows. It looks like it’s eating itself. Cars aren’t meant to go to sea and mine crossed the ocean three times between July 3, 2005 and November 29, 2005.

Below is the Reader’s Digest version of my trials and tribulations.

Movin’ movin’ movin’

  1. Moved in with the Bad Man for one last hurrah after having been apart for 4.5 months. What was I thinking?!
  2. The great escape: Moved out from Bad Man while he was at work.
  3. Moved from one friend to another.
  4. Moved back the the islands.
  5. Moved out of the hotel and into a condo.
  6. Moved back to California again.
  7. Moved in with my employer as a live-in nanny.
  8. Moved in with friends who took care of me for four months because I was a WRECK.
  9. Moved in with another friend after four months of rest, armed with a new plan. Finally.
  10. Moved in with my dear friends, Eric and Jen. This is where I live now and have been living for over a year.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Between July 3, 2005 and May 2007, I landed and lost six jobs all for various reasons.

  1. North Shore Resort: Resigned and left Hawaii for a second time. Finally, a good choice.
  2. Internet start up: Business went under
  3. “Wellness” company: Fired by a narcissist
    (Noticed right away that the boss reminded me of the Bad Man. Shortly before she gave me the ax, I was told that it was suspect that she had narcissistic personality disorder. Upon hearing this, I had a massive anxiety attack.)
  4. Internet company: Not the right fit
  5. Live-in nanny: Not the right fit again
  6. County job: Contract ran out.

Where I am today

I have a place to call home and have been there for over a year now. Shortly after I moved in, my friends gave me an old dresser. It’s big and heavy and feels like an anchor, a welcome anchor. I unpacked my suitcases for the first time in nearly two years. That night, as I lay in bed, I stared at my “new” dresser and I cried. Since I have been here, life has finally started to stabilize for me.

My symptoms of PTSD have subsided. Occasionally, I have a strange choking, coughing sensation in my throat when I have a distressing thoughts but I don’t have anxiety attacks like I did before. I smile more. I laugh more. I sleep better. I don’t think about the Bad Man and worry if he really was the one and if it really was me that messed it all up. I fully embrace and accept that he is a pathological, not fixable, person and it has absolutely nothing to do with me.

I have two jobs now. I have been at the first one since November of last year. I have been at the second one since March of this year. They are both in the area of social services and are an extension of the county contract I did last year. I have applied for grad school for an MSW and I am waiting to hear if I have been accepted.

I have paid off over $11,000 of that original Maui debt. Keep in mind that since I have been home, I have been unemployed off and on for at least 10 months and have worked for long periods of time for just $10 an hour.

I have started to date. At times, it feels like stepping out on thin ice, but I am doing it. I have started to rejoin the activities I loved in the past, such as sailing and baking and LAUGHING!

The road leads to you

I believe we will recover at the rate equivalent to the degree that we are committed to telling ourselves the truth. Now that you are here at Lovefraud, the truth is available to you and right under your nose. Will you accept it? It’s up to you.

Whatever it is you have lost, you will eventually get one thing back if you keep trying. Life might not ever look like it did before you crossed paths with a pathological partner but if you are open, it can look better. And at the end of the road, you will find YOU, and… another road… and maybe an old dresser.

Sitting in my “Big Girl Panties” today

  • Debts = under control.
  • Jobs = more than one
  • A safe place to live, warm bed, and a plan for my life = check!
  • Me = a whole lot wiser and not a juicy pick anymore for a Bad Man.

AlohaTraveler's new old dresser.

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144 Comments on "Going forward, while looking back"

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Dear Totallylost-

I’m so happy to hear that you have a new job. It’s a wonderful distraction from the pain you feel. Having a steady income can help to ameliorate the awful depression you’ve experienced. It’s one less hardship to deal with.

I’ve read the posts that advised you to seek counseling at a low cost, and I want to point out to you that many large hospitals have mental health clinics. They will enable you to enroll for low cost or free services that even include medication, should you need it. Most will provide you with a specific practitioner so you will not feel bounced around. You will have professional help and support.

Writing down your story will give you clarity and help you move on. It will help you stop ruminating over your pain. Part of what sufferers do is cling to their memories. It’s a means to provide ourselves with validation. Unfortunately, it also gets in the way of recovery. Sometimes, writing it down gives us the ability to know we don’t need to keep the hurt ever present in our mind. We can store it in our bureau drawer and get back to it as we chose. The process of writing it down also provides clarity and enables us to keep focused on what is real.

Another plan is to limit the amount of time during each day that you will allow yourself to consider what gives you sorrow. Initially, the length of that time is less important than mastering the ability to control your thoughts. In addition, you need to add a specific length of time that you will do a specific thing that creates happiness for you. Keep in mind that betrayal has left a void of oxytocin for you, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good and loved. Make sure you do at least one thing each day to make yourself feel good…. paint your nails, go for a brisk walk or run, help out at a soup kitchen, volunteer to help at a remedial reading program at a school. You don’t have to spend money to give yourself a sense of self worth that will carry you out of your depression.

You are not only suffering from an emotional withdrawal, but also from a withdrawal of brain chemistry that produced good feelings when you were in his presence. It is that chemical attachment to him that triggers you when you’re in his proximity. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay completely away from him or reminders of him.

Wishing you a speedy recovery-

I wanted to welcome you personally,as this is actually the first time I’ve read this thread since you’ve posted.I’ve had anxiety attacks so bad that I almost lost my breath…and had a big meltdown in a grocery store!So believe me,I can understand what you’re going through!These guys mess us up so bad that we need help to find ourselves again!!! I finally had to admit that I needed to make a dr appt and get a script for an anti-depressant.
Since I’ve taken Cymbalta in the past for Fibro pain,that’s what she prescribed.Some may be able to take the med for just a short period of time,but I was married for nearly 3 decades,and can’t miss more than 1 dose!

But along with medication,I really recommend counseling.I got mine from the local Domestic Violence shelter.I wasn’t physically battered,but they also offer counseling for victims of emotional and psychological abuse.The service was free.

~~~Your Healing Matters!~~~

Thanks so much to everyone for all of the wonderful advise and encouragement. I have actually been trying to find somewhere to get counseling once again but so far have run into a lot of dead ends. I intend to keep looking because I know at this time I really need it. And yes Blossom, I too have given in and realized I really need to get to a doctor to get an anti-depressant. I think I am so depleted that my brain is just unable to function effectively or efficiently, not to mention being constantly ill and barely able to walk. It has taken a long time, but once I read about the lack of proper chemicals to function, it all made sense. Just having that knowledge was a huge relief and understanding that I was suffering from PTSD. I’M NOT CRAZY….HURRAY! Hopefully I can address all of this within the next week now that I will have an income once again.


I developed fibromyalgia in the midst of my divorce and being involved with the sociopath at the same time. I had been married for 21 years and the emotional abuse started slowly and got progressively worse. Chronic stress plays a big factor in developing fibromyalgia especially if you are predisposed to the condition. I think the body gets to a point where it can’t cope with the stress anymore and physical things happen. Unfortunately fibromyalgia doesn’t go away. If I could go back to when I first met the sociopath and had walked away I firmly believe I wouldn’t have developed the fibro. Permanent physical ailments are another BIG reason for people to learn about “common” sociopaths so they/we can avoid them.

Kmillercats: Be careful when you say your symptoms are “permanent”. Your thoughts are very powerful and if you believe your illness is permanent, it will become so. Fibromyalgia is not a disease – it is a “syndrome”. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms where the actual cause is unknown. I do know people who have overcome fibromyalgia. I have worked with a few myself as a massage therapist and have seen great improvements.

Physical symptoms are manifestations of the poison in your system from the sociopath. These disordered folk are very toxic to be around. All of that negativity has to go somewhere. You absorb it and hold it in your body. The thing you need to do is release, release, release! For me, I seek out counselors who do various forms of energy work or trauma work. The aim is to remove the toxic energy from my system so I can be restored to good health – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes just breathing clears some of it out. But at other times, I need to pound and hit things or just curl up in a ball and cry. Releasing is the key. The more you can release, the more capacity you will have for joy and happiness. I am currently working with a therapist remotely over the phone who does a form of energetic clearing called “resonance” healing or something like that. It is very effective for clearing out the root cause of deeply ingrained issues. After one hour, I feel a huge difference, not only in the area I needed help with, but in other areas of my life as well. The forms of energy work I receive – the aura cleansings, resonance work, etc. (and I myself am a Reiki practitioner and massage therapist) work very well for me. However, not everyone can relate to that, so you need to find whatever works for you. Keep looking. If one thing doesn’t fit, try something else. I must have tried easily 50 forms of therapy before I found something that really works for me; and different things have worked at different points in my healing. The mind and body are connected, so with any form of therapy you try – even talk therapy – you should start feeling some of the physical symptoms lifting too. Sometimes you just need to talk. But the limitation with talk therapy for me is that not all therapists are skilled enough to recognize a person’s defenses. It takes a very skilled therapist to be able to read between the lines.

In the early stages of recovery, you just feel like you’ve been hit by a mack truck. You just need to function and take one day at a time. Eventually, your feelings will start to thaw out, and you can begin the grieving process. It’s much harder with a sociopath because the relationship you thought you had never existed. It was all a lie. It’s very painful and difficult to wrap your mind around – that the person you thought loved you deep down never loved you. And will never love anyone. That person is not even a real person.


“… It’s much harder with a sociopath because the relationship you thought you had never existed. It was all a lie. It’s very painful and difficult to wrap your mind around ”“ that the person you thought loved you deep down never loved you. And will never love anyone. That person is not even a real person.”

This is what I found to be the most difficult part of all right after the relationship with my spath ended. I simply had no idea what just happened. When I started reading, talking and learning, it all began to make sense to me. It was still a very difficult time, but eventually I started to heal. I still find it amazing the damage these “people” can cause. But now that I’ve been away from this, it’s so much easier to look from the outside in….and to understand and move on.


I know what you mean, carolann. My relationship with the sociopath was very short lived. But it took me a long time to get over, and the devastation was so complete. When it ended, I was scratching my head saying, “WTF just happened here?” I didn’t even know who broke up with who because he basically discarded me, then told me I’d broken up with him. I never knew what a sociopath was until I was telling my pet sitter the story. Her eyes got really big, and she told me he reminded her of her ex husband. Then she told me to google “seductive sociopath.” He had every single trait. That is what led me to LF. They are all the same, right down to the limp they all seem to fake. It’s like they all went to the same school or something.

It is now over 5 years later and my life is so much happier. I am here to say you CAN and WILL get past it. Sending much love and healing to everyone here.


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