Holidays after the sociopath

Lovefraud recently received the following email:

It’s almost a year since I last saw my x-sociopath as a boyfriend, the real last time was in May in a court and some after.

It is hard this time of year with the Holidays around, and I have a lot of health issues and so not hearing his voice, or getting calls, has been hard—even though I know now he is liar. This time last year I did not know how much I had been scammed up til then.

Still, with all the reading I have done, and all the thinking and grieving, I just can’t understand how this person could have fooled me, or that he knew that he was doing so much wrong to me, while sometimes still saying I love you back to me after I said it.

I just loved him so much, and miss the person I thought he was so much too. I just can’t seem to understand, because I am not a sociopath, and it is still very painful.

Regardless of how we celebrate the holidays, they are a time of year during which all of our personal relationships are magnified. We have expectations about what will happen when we see the people who are important in our lives, which may or may not prove to be accurate expectations. And if we have gaping holes in our lives where healthy relationships are supposed to be, we feel the emptiness more acutely than at other times of the year.

Sociopaths and the holidays

I don’t know what sociopaths actually feel regarding the holidays, but they seem to recognize this time of year as an extraordinary opportunity for manipulation. The type of manipulation depends on where they are in the relationship lifecycle with a particular target.

If sociopaths are in the love bombing stage, they may employ the “grand gesture,” to seduce the target with over-the-top gifts and celebration.

If they’re in the maintenance stage, where the target is hooked but not yet totally drained, the sociopaths do what they have to do to keep the con going. My ex-husband, for example, always bought me at least one decent Christmas gift. He also was around for Thanksgiving and Christmas, although he was away immediately before Thanksgiving and over New Year’s. I later learned that while he told me he was handling military matters, or attending to the estate of his deceased wife on these trips, he was actually seeing other women.

If they’re in the devalue-and-discard stage, sociopaths may actively work to make the holidays miserable. Some Lovefraud readers have told me about rampages of emotional abuse, such as sociopaths saying, “Why don’t you just kill yourself—that would be a real Christmas gift for the rest of us.”

And then, if the sociopaths need a new source of supply, they may use the holidays as an excuse to reconnect with former targets, just to see if they can bleed them again.

Afterwards, coping with the loss

The Lovefraud reader who wrote the letter printed above was feeling the emptiness of not having a relationship, even though she now knows that the sociopath was lying to her. Here are my suggestions for this reader, and anyone else who is feeling home alone after getting rid of a sociopath.

First of all, remember that anything good about the relationship was an illusion. If early on, you had a magical Christmas with the individual, realize that it was all an act. The sociopath did not give you a fabulous gift, or take you on a wonderful getaway, because he or she was in love with you. The sociopath was after a prize, and was seducing you to win it.

Secondly, realize that you may never “understand” why the sociopath did what he did. The reason, as you say, is that you are not a sociopath. But you must accept what he did. Accept that sociopaths do what they do because that’s who they are; that’s what they are. They take from us because they can. They hurt us because they want to. There is no other explanation.

Finally, no matter how badly you suffered because of the sociopath, there is a gift in the situation, and that is the gift of wisdom. Now, because of your experience, you know the sociopaths are out there. You know how they behave. You know that you have vulnerabilities.

I suggest you take what you have learned, about them and you, and set a goal for the New Year—a goal of achieving real peace within you. This may require letting go of people, possessions or ideas that you never wanted to release. It also may require believing in yourself, in your inherent value and goodness—perhaps for the first time.

Yes, it may feel like a tall order, but now, as one year ends and another is about to begin, is a terrific time to take the first steps.

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140 Comments on "Holidays after the sociopath"

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Sorry, I’m late coming to this post…Ox Drover, I am fascinated by you. Being new to Lovefraud, I’ve read many posts, but can only piece together your story. As important as your message is about healing and recovery, I can’t help but wonder how you get to the point where you are so strong and truly gifted in helping other victims of psychopaths. You have had many in your life, even your own son and yet you have come through it all a true inspiration for people like me.
Have you thought of or actually written a book?
Id love to know your journey. I feel sorry for myself and read your advice and feel empowered.


I am just like you. Just like every other poster here. I had the SUM TOTAL amount of pain I could bear, but I survived and I am working hard on LEARNING and GROWING from this (these) experiences. I’m glad my posts inspire you, but you know, before long you will also be telling new posters how to survive by saying “I survived.”

That is the way learning works. Knowledge passed from one “generation” to another. I’ve had the experience and gained some knowledge from it, and so I can pass it on.

The one book that helped me to realize that EVERY victim of every trauma (psychopathic or not) has TOTAL pain is the book written by Dr. Viktor Frankl, after he spent nearly 4 years in a Nazi prison camp in WWII. He lost everything he had, his family, his practice, the manuscript to his book, his home…his friends….and yet, he FOUND MEANING in what had happened to him. Before I read his book I felt sorry for myself, and then reading his book I thought “wow, how can I feel sorry for myself when he lost so much more? I should not whine” but then HE ANSWERED ME….he said that PAIN ACTS LIKE A GAS DOES. If you put a little bit of a gas inside a container, it EXPANDS to fill the entire container 100% and if you put a lot of a gas into a container, it will compress to fill the container 100% again. So like a little trauma fills us with pain, a LOT OF TRAUMA also fills us up.

Think about a baby. He drops his passie and he is totally FILLED with pain and cries his heart out. WE know his passie is not lost forever, but he feels the pain of losing his passie in his ENTIRE BEING. We are abused and lose someone we love completely and we feel the pain in our entire being, just like the baby does, but WE TOO WILL HEAL….we just have to keep that in mind.

So hang in there, you will find happiness, and peace and joy again, in fact, you will GROW and be a better and a stronger person from having experienced the things that have happened to you. Healing is a journey….so enjoy the view as you go along! God bless.

ps not sure I’ll write a book, I’ve about written one here on Love Fraud though, at least enough to fill a book! LOL

Dear Ox Drover,
Is it his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”? I just looked him up. I will definitely get his book and take your advice on reading the articles on this website before the blogs. It might sound strange, but I wanted to jump on to see if people would actually answer. I have been so alone in my recovery that I wanted human contact about what I went through with people who have gone through it and actually wanted to talk about it. I’m afraid I’ve reached my limit with talking to my mother about it. I am actually excited to have such a wealth of information at my fingertips and I know this is what I have been praying for and needing for so long.
BTW, I very strongly agree with all of your advice to victims to have NO CONTACT! I would hate to think how destroyed I would be if I had any contact at all with the psychopath these last 3 years. Its hard enough forgiving myself and healing without this thing, this parasite, this IT in my life. I know I got out just in time. Biggest step- no contact – EVER!
Thank you for your advice and for replying. I know my true healing begins now. Keep doing what you’re doing (I think this was your calling).
Love, Joy, Peace in the New Year!

Wound licker, Dr. Frankl’s book was a turning point in my healing, a BIG turning point because he made me realize that no matter how much or how little trauma we suffered, we are ALL EQUAL in that the PAIN IS TOTAL. When I came here to LF I also found that there were SMART, GOOD PEOPLE that had been traumatized and I was not alone…I wasn’t dumb or stupid or an idiot, I was just vulnerable.

I’m glad you are here, and glad all of us are here because the support that is offered here to people who are “bleeding” staunches that flow of emotional blood and allows us to heal! My eternal gratitude to Donna for this site!

Dear June,

So sorry for what you are experiencing. I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling for your daughter and the anger you feel towards your estranged husband. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you both.

Regarding business, I am also a small business owner and my ex-P spread some horrible rumors about me. Actually he was telling people that I did what HE did. You won’t lose all of your business though it could be slightly impacted in the short term. Hold your head high and be who you are. People will assess the situation and the little cracks in his facade will begin to appear. Two plus two doesn’t add up for almost all of the people the spath has regular contact with, eventually they’ll realize who is the source of the problems.

It’s impossible to escape the few who will be extremely judgemental however my response has been (without giving them any details) “please do not judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes”, spoken in a simple, matter of fact way with no anger.

You and your daughter will see each other through this nightmare.

Take care,

New Beginning

Dear Oxy,

Thank you for the message that every person’s pain is “total”. It not only is useful for our own healing, it is also an awareness of pain other people in our life experience.

I’ve found the people who really care about me do not dissect WHY I need support, they just offer their hand. Ironically, these people are not always the one’s I would have expected it from……and vice versa for those who dissect the entire situation and are judgemental. Difficult times can be a real eye opener.

My sincere gratitude to you, Donna and all the LF bloggers. This truly is a place of healing. You have all made a difference.

Kind regards,

New Beginning

New Beginning,

You are entirely welcome. The concept that Frankl passed on to me about the pain being total made me realize completely what we in nursing have always said “pain is what the patient says it is.”

Since the time I first started in nursing school, there has actually been some research on physical pain that shows that there is a GENETIC determiner that determines HOW and how MUCH pain a person experiences physically, there are also some cultural things about pain also that determine the perception of the person of just if the pain is a little a bunch or a whole bunch! LOL

As far as emotional pain I think that is also somewhat genetically and culturally determined as well, and it is not for us to judge another person’s pain, or for them to judge ours.

It is amazing who is supportive and who is not during our periods of trauma….and those people who are supportive, who just reach out a hand, those are precious souls, so you are fortunate to have them in your life. The others, don’t worry about them…they’ll just fade out! Let them go.

Have a happy and a healing new year! God bless.

To All Dear Newbies:
Welcome….this is a place where no matter what country we come from or our situations…..when we sign off it’s like you leave with a hug from people who “get it”. Oxy, you do need to write a book!! I have finally done it….NO CONTACT…..and even though the cost has been high (my husband is still here, but will not really have anything to do with me) it is still so worth it. I have cut my bio spath daughter and the step spath OUT of my life. I came here about 2 years ago drowning because I saw no way out. I was in quicksand and this site offered me their hand….many hands actually….and even though my husband does not agree with me I have to do what I feel is right. Both those girls almost killed me emotionally …and now I have stood up and said….”NO MORE”….will I miss them? I will miss the fantasy of what I thought a mother-daughter relationship should be…but it wasn’t my reality….and I agree with others about how very agonizing it is to watch your child be such a horrible parent. Don’t punish yourself if for every three steps forward you take two backwards..your strength will come. There are many loving arms here reaching out to help you out of your own personal quicksand….God Bless.

Dear Creampuff,

Hello sugar, I am so glad to see you and so glad that you have taken the BIG STEP of NO CONTACT. It is difficult, more than difficult in a family situation where there is one side “against” and one side “for” the psychopath.

I know it is also painful when your husband does not support your decision and support you with it. In fact, “punishes” you for making that decision.

The psychopaths do the “divide and conqueor” routiine so much and I can relate to that CreamPuff, you know how it has been in my family as well, but I do NOT regret the fact that I am NC with my egg donor, I too wish I had a “mother daughter” relationship the way it should be, but I don’t. I also wish I had a “mother/son” relationship with my P son Patrick and my jerk son C, but I don’t. I can’t fix that, I can’t change that, all I can do is take care of myself, put myself first and take care of ME.

I’m glad that you have started doing that CreamPuff, I know it is hard, oh, God, I know how hard it is….and with grandchildren involved that you love as well, it has got to be doubly hard. I used to want grandchildren so much, and now I thank God every day I don’t have grandchildren that have or could be jerked away from my heart, arms and love.

Hang in there Cream Puff, and keep on coming here, you know you are NOT alone, never will be alone,, as long as LF is here. Hugs and my prayers for you, your strength and that hopefully your husband will see the light. If he doesn’t I know you can still survive and thrive! Hang on!!!

Guys do not click on the above link in the post above mine…I reported it to donna. I think it is an ad.

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