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How can I control my thoughts?

We recently received the following letter that expresses very well what many victims tell us they feel. Although I have written on this subject before, this week I would like to share new insights on healing and recovery.

I spent two years in a relationship with an antisocial psychopath. In the last four months, since I last saw him, I have built a new life, I get on with my life, I am successful in my job, I am a good mother, I am comfortable in my own skin, and, for the first time in my life, am content to live a single life.

This sounds like a success story, but in every minute that my mind is not occupied by the routine of daily life, I am totally consumed by thoughts of my “ex”. Most of these thoughts revolve around the things he did and said. As we all know – the words and actions of these people are almost always opposite. After all, someone who “loves you more than anything……wants to be with you more than anything…….wants to marry you….is 100% committed to buying a house with you”, doesn’t hit you, trip you up, get on top of you with is hands round your neck, spit on you, and leave you to pay $4,000 a month for a house you moved into a month before (just to mention a few of the nightmare scenarios).

I need help with two things in particular:

– Every morning now, for over a year (since he left me paying for the house, a day after my dad died and my ex said, “you should be glad he’s dead”), I have woken up, and the very first thing that enters my mind is him. I am totally emotionally exhausted. I dread going to sleep at night. How can I stop this? It is worse, in some ways, than the abuse itself. I have considered going to a hypnotherapist, but am scared that, like medication, there could be “side-effects”. What should I do?

– My ex and I had an amazing sex life. I know this is common with psychopaths, and losing this I can live with. What I can’t live with is remembering how we were together in bed, in a very deep emotional way. We could lie there for hours, just stroking each other, massaging each other, “grooming” each other. When we fell asleep we would move through our three positions every night, all the time touching and stroking until we fell asleep. I can’t get that out of my head, and I miss it so much. I can read over and over again that, “it wasn’t real”, but it doesn’t remove the fact that it happened, and the feeling was real. How do I disconnect that amazing feeling from the person who gave it to me?

I really need help. Being so completely unable to control my thoughts is killing me, and though I can keep thoughts of him out of my mind when I’m totally busy, I can’t be busy all the time as I’d be exhausted!

I hope you have some insight, and thank you for your help.

First let’s repeat the basics. You cannot heal mentally without also addressing your physical health. Our friend is wise to be concerned about her state of exhaustion. It is important to eat healthy foods and get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Also consider taking a daily multivitamin with minerals like calcium. Please limit alcohol and do not use street drugs.

It is very common for victims to respond to the financial and other life stress by feeling like they have to be energized and vigilant. This feeling that we have to be “on alert” is magnified by what our friend describes in her letter. The minute we slow down, we experience “the thoughts.” In fact, hypervigilance is noted to be a symptom of PTSD.

For many victims the hypervigilance comes naturally at first due to stress hormones. But, since this feeling of energy and alertness becomes a habit, victims want to maintain it. To do so over the long run they turn to caffeine.

Excessive consumption of caffeine (more than about 120mg/day) leads to insomnia, anxiety and depression. It is not difficult to overconsume caffeine since a Starbucks’ Grande has over 300mg.*

Many victims are afraid to cut down on the caffeine because they fear that if they are not super-alert they can’t keep going, and the thoughts will come back. Victims are also afraid to fall asleep because they fear being attacked in the night.

So how do you end the vicious cycle? How do you stop wanting to be on alert? First, you have to convince yourself that it is necessary to slow down and you have to have a means of coping with your fear/anxiety. Acceptance is an important ingredient here. Unfortunately, we have to accept that we are going to feel pain, fear and anxiety. That is a normal and even necessary part of this process. We often spend too much energy trying to fight the pain, fear and anxiety. A good therapist will tell you that tolerating these is an important part of recovery.

It is OK to let yourself feel it. I can say that to you because I say it to myself.

Apart from tolerance, coping by using relaxation techniques, exercise, psychotherapy and friendship is important. I recommend Stress Management for Dummies. I use that book to teach therapy students about stress management. Everything you need to know is in there and it is an inexpensive book.

About sleep- if you don’t sleep well you will be too tired to heal and you will be even more likely to need caffeine. Please discuss these alternatives with your physician, but I will mention two over-the-counter sleep aids that are considered safe in the short term that is why you can get them without a prescription. I believe Melatonin is the best option because of few side effects. Diphenhydramine is another option found in over-the-counter sleep aids. Be aware that this medicine causes weird anxiety reactions in some people and can cause you to want to eat at night. Since it dries out your mouth, it can also be bad for your teeth if you don’t brush well before bed.

Now I will specifically address the good and bad memories. In many experiments researchers have shown that good and bad memories are part of separate brain circuits. When people are in a good mood they have better access to “good memories.” When they are in a bad mood they have better access to “bad memories.” That is why the more you fight the pain and the fear, the more you will only remember the good part of that sociopath you were involved with. The good experiences you had with him/her are stored in a different brain circuit from the bad experiences you had.

The more you tolerate the pain, the more integrated your recollections will be because you will have emotional access to both the good and the bad at the same time. It is best not to try to over-control your thoughts, let them flow. Manage the pain and anxiety with relaxation techniques.

I also officially give you permission to enjoy the good memories you have. Those memories don’t have to cause you to try to go back. They are there as a record of your very real life experiences. The fact that you may have enjoyed some of the time you spent with a sociopath is O.K. and doesn’t mean you are a bad or stupid person.

Having said all this, it can take many years to get beyond all these symptoms. 4 months is a very short period of time, though it seems like an eternity when you are suffering. I am glad to see our friend is fighting, questioning and seeking. As for many of us, the well being of a child will be enhanced by her healing.

Please know that your children are aware of and observe your struggles. How you handle memories, pain/fear and anxiety can set a good example for them.

*Click here to check out the caffeine content of beverages.


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403 Comments on "How can I control my thoughts?"

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Dr. Leedom,

From the e-mail I receive, I know that many people really struggle with the thoughts about the sociopath who was in their life. Thank you so much for this information. The part about the memories being stored in different parts of the brain is fascinating.

“I can read over and over again that, “it wasn’t real”, but it doesn’t remove the fact that it happened, and the feeling was real. How do I disconnect that amazing feeling from the person who gave it to me?”

yes, it happened. yes, it felt real…and good.
i really get this. the s/p/n i was involved with for over 20 years was amazing in bed, and the affection was incredible. the romantic ‘connection’ we had was the stuff of dreams. but, he didn’t so much ‘give’ me these feelings as ‘create’ them. it ‘felt’ real, but it wasn’t. i know the quandary of trying to understand this.
after i threw him out, i was FURIOUS that everyone kept telling me ‘it wasn’t real.’ how DARE they assume to know what i felt. it was definitely real. and at first, i refused to let go of that.
but … with a capital ‘B’ …. there’s a difference between understanding this concept intellectually, and accepting it emotionally. and that just takes time.
four months is a very short time to sort out all of the conflicts and lies and gaslighting and deceit that has been heaped on those of us who were caught in the web. the more distance you put between you and the Lie through NC, the more you will be able to see and viscerally understand how it really wasn’t real. it’s not because you didn’t actually FEEL what you felt. it’s just that he didn’t actually have any of it to give. s/he was just being a great actor, into the scene, excellent work … cut.
it’s what they do. they are masters of deceit. they are all showmanship. they know that they can’t get what they want unless they are at the top of the game.
i know how hard it is to ‘get’ it, when you are still attached to the dream. again, it takes distance and time to see the whole picture with an objective eye.
be good to yourself. come to LF often. it saved my life and as angry as i was at the mere suggestion that ‘it wasn’t real’ …. once you get it, a huge sense of freedom rains down. you weren’t crazy, but s/he sure the hell was!
you, too, will get there.

I was so freaked out and “of the ground” with fright after my experience with A real psychopath I had to make tape recorded speeches to myself before I could sleep.

lies and pretend devotion are the things that sent me “into Orbit” staring at the wall, feeling miserable, not able to sleep, then when I did I was having nightmares.

I bought a cheap tape recorder and some 90 minute tape. I started talking to myself. Describing what I had been through, interspersed with visualisations encouraging relaxation, a feeling of safety and numerous beautiful prayers, meditations, calling forth all kinds of protection from angels to Karma Police!! I bathed myself in white light and tried to calm myslef down.
Without fail I fall asleep before the tape has ended, it just clicks off when its finished….I still do it. I have about 30 custom made tapes for the whole experience…It’s saved me sleepless nights. I believe inside each of us we know the words that we need to hear and intead of waiting for them from someone else…say em to yourself NOW. TONIGHT. And sink into restful oblivion.

This is a great article. I was married to two p’s ….the last one over twenty years. My dreams still attack me and I have been gone from my x for 18 months. Hardly a day goes by I don’t have memories….after all I was married to him for a long time and had a child/grandchild by him. So…for me…the only thing that works is not to fight the memories but to refute them with reality of what is now. I just allow the memories and dreams [cannot deny them anyway] and then talk myself into the reality of the now. Sort of like remembering your children when they were small kids/babies. It has its nice points….but it’s just memories now and they are these grown adults. It works for me. There is a sadness…..but it’s not overwhelming…if I do it this way. The hardest part is: what I wish could have been and understanding that family is not the most important thing to them like it is to me. I bring in the reality of them…that they are selfish people whose most important thing is themselves.

Though I had taught the “grief process” to many patients myself, I went to a grief class after my husband died, and one thing stuck in my mind that the counselor said.

“You cant go around the pain, under the pain, over the pain, you MUST GO THROUGH THE PAIN.”

Trying to AVOID the pain by NOT feeling it isn’t going to get us on the OTHER SIDE OF IT.

I envision this “pain” as being trapped inside a thin ring of fire—the ONLY way out is to JUMP THROUGH THE FLAMES, it will be painful, but standing inside the ring of fire, is just as painful in that we “cook to death” a little at a time, and in the end, we STILL MUST JUMP THROUGH THE FLAMES or roast! so the longer we delay facing and “jumping through” the fires of our pain, the worse off we are.

The anxiety of trying to figure out some OTHER WAY OUT rather than jumping through the pain is to me worse than the “fire” of the pain itself. I wasted a lot of my life standing inside that “ring of fire” trying to figure a way out other than going through it, and in the end, I realized that going through it, feeling it, wasn’t nearly as bad as the many years I spent inside that oven, roasting one day at a time.

Oxy: yep, for me, if I deal with the pain one step at a time, I can slowly put each part to rest. Does not mean I forget it…but, I’ve experienced it, dealt with it and can live with it. Sort of like when you have done your best with a situation, so far as it depends on you….you are at peace with it. These people do not give you closure you have to make/find your own by knowing that you gave your best….it was not perfect….but your best and.. beyond that ….we do not have.

To the reader that wrote in for this article…

I am sure you have already been told that your obsessing thoughts are part of the healing process. They do subside in time.

I wrote an article last year about how to deal with the longing moments that won’t seem to go away. I hope it will help you.
I did this exercise for myself and it helped me.

http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2008/08/26/a-list-for-leaving-the-sociopath-behind/

A few years ago, I was pretty obsessively reading here at LoveFraud but it was well worth the investment in time.

Give yourself time. The longing, even for the “good” times is gone for me. I am still recovering but there are stages in recovery and I am well beyond thinking about lounging in bed with the Bad Man. But.. I was stuck there for awhile. Don’t feel bad. We all have been there in one way or another.

I finally hired a therapist to help me get over some hurdles in my healing. Consider doing that if you can.. and if not…. LoveFraud is an amazing healing community. You will find support and respite here.

Take care.

Thank you very much for this wonderful article.

Wow, I am experiencing the same things. When I am not busy I am thinking about my ex. I have considered hypnotherapy but I don’t believe in it. I just know that I am tired of thinking about him. I just can’t believe how much better my life is without him but I still miss the companionship. I am scared to death to date. I am scared about what is out there. If I run into another S I just may go crazy…lol. But seriously I am well aware of the red flags.

I think that the “mulling over” period is really important in our recovery. I know that I also had conflicting memories. My ex was very smart in some ways and he provided valuable insights into my life. When he was paying attention to me and/or including me in positive ways, we had some amazing adventures that really enriched my life. And when he was in the mood to please me, the sex was beyond my wildest dreams.

That said, I also had to deal with the conflicting memories. The sure knowledge that he had deliberately manipulated my feelings to exploit me for money. The fact that he knowingly hurt me in ways that I never imagined any human being would ever treat another one. That he involved me in disgusting and unethical schemes, and overcame my qualms with emotional blackmail and by undermining my self-esteem. And that, at base, he never really cared about me, except as a source who could be used to please himself, advance his ambitions, and make himself feel like a big man.

Resolving these conflicting memories took a long time. And during that time, several people observed that I was obsessively thinking about him. I don’t disagree. But I was in process, and I wasn’t finished with it. A lot of people, including my therapist, suggested that I should make an effort to divert my thoughts into happier paths. And I think that may work for some people, but I was living with confusion and pain, and I needed to sort this out.

It’s very hard for feeling people, especially people who believe in the Golden Rule or who believe that love can cure anything, to grasp the reality of a close encounter with an unfeeling predator. It’s hard to understand that someone will work to make you feel good in order to keep you where he wants you. Or will enjoy affection with you, because it feels good to him, but without any ability or intent to really care about your wellbeing (beyond what’s necessary to give him what he wants). We’re entering foreign territory here.

When we finally get it, we get past the denial that he was really that bad or the bargaining idea that we might have done something to change the relationship. And we move gradually into understanding that we were targeted and used for someone else’s objectives with no real concern for what happens to us in the long run. It’s a gradual awareness, because it takes time for our brains to absorb the information. It’s common to start to get angry at the same time that we’re still arguing with ourselves about what happened.

All this is normal. We are simply unprepared. And the new knowledge is something we really don’t want for a number of reasons. Not least of which is that it makes the world a dangerous place. But fortunately, when we finally get it, it starts a new period of recovery when we get truly angry. And that’s when we really begin to heal.

If I could give the writer of that letter one piece of guidance, it would be to stop trying to fight the “mulling” process and start looking at it. Asking yourself what you’re looking for in these thoughts, and examining the conflicts and what they mean. This is all about a dilemma of belief. Do I believe this, or do I believe that? Looking at these memories, giving yourself the time you need to shake them out and figure out what the truth is, is a gift you give yourself. You’re learning in one of the hardest classrooms of your life. But the lesson when it arrives will change your life in good ways.

Just give it time.

To the original asker of this question about controlling our thoughts. I can say, after two years of NC and awakening to what sociopathy, narcissism, personality disorders are, I am just beginning to go through extended periods of having a restful mind. And it really was something that I ‘lived with’, because there was, for me, no way out.

If I am correctly understanding Dr. Leedom, then I agree that the only way to get to the other side of these thoughts is to take the very best care of yourself you can, and go through this part of the process. There hasn’t been, for me, any magic bullet to alleviate the thinking part of it. But, that said, finding my way to a good night of sleep, practicing yoga, meditation, refocusing my attention (even if it is a billion times a day); and just ‘watching’ the thoughts and feelings that accompany them, and then letting them go. These relaxation tools helped me with the experience.

As well I journaled, went to therapy, talked with a couple loving friends (till I was blue in the face), did other ‘process’ work (like Aloha’s list of badman traits), saw aura readers, had massage, cried buckets of tears, and took my vitamins. I also experiemented with a little too much alcohol, a short stint of antidepressants, and some xanax (which for me created too much rebound anxiety…I ended up liking Calms/melatonin/and betime tea…).

It seems to me, MHO, that this ‘obesessive’ thinking relates to or is wound up in the grieving process. Without our even knowing it we will go back and forth from denial to bargaining, to anger and depression. Obsessive thinking always comes up for me during any of these ‘phases’. The only phase that doesn’t bring up so much rehashing, missing, rewriting, and the associated feelings is acceptance.

For me the thoughts have slowed down since I began to cycle through acceptance. Acceptance feels calmer, softer, and quieter than the other parts of grief. Thing is it doesn’t appear to respond to our desire to ‘get there’, but comes when the other parts of grief are becoming fulfilled.

How exactly I ended up *finally* experiencing at least some level of acceptance is still kind of a mystery to me. But it does feel like I really just ‘hung on’ and did what I could to stay strong, soft, open, and willing while my spirit/body/mind did what it naturally does. Heal.

This blogsite has been immeasurably important in my holding on through all of this. Still is.

I hope it can be for you too. There is lots to learn here, lots to read, and lots of understanding and support.

Love to you….

Thank you for this blog.

I was very much in the obsessive thinking stage for longer than I want to admit. At least 18 months after the last time I spoke to him, two years after I last saw him, and probably 8 months leading up to that!!! Why it stopped I don’t know. Perhaps I finally got bored, finally realized the futility of going over and over the past, finally realizing I wasn’t even remembering everything correctly, when I would go and read old emails.

Part of it was coming to grips with the thinks Kathy lists above, realizing how evil he was.

In retrospect, though, I think I would have been better off using the “stop” techniques described here at LF in http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2009/09/16/after-the-sociopath-is-gone-no-contact-begins-in-my-head/.

I don’t know, but I think so. God, I wasted 20-30 hours a week ruminating. When it is that extreme, I think a person needs to start setting limits. I wish I had.

But whatever, I’m finally past that!!!

Slim, thank you for such an inspiring post!

JAH, thanks to you too!! 🙂

JAH, 20-30 hours a week!?
is that all?
i’m on it 24/7.
I can tell that even when I’m doing something else, I’m still ruminating with about 90% of my brain, because 10% doesn’t do anything else very well. It’s hard to read or enjoy anything without intrusive thoughts. Even my date last night was all about the P. Seriously, that was sad.

BUT, on the bright side: last night for the first time, I didn’t dream about the P! I had nice dreams about my friend. I’m hoping that it will be the beginning of the end.

On the other hand, the revelations of all that I learned are so huge and life-transforming (it’s like finding out that ALIENS HAVE LANDED), that really, it changes how you see everything else from now on. It has colored every aspect of my life, so the only way to stop obsessing on it is to fully integrate it with the rest of my world view, make it my own – not something alien, and move on.

Moving on could mean many things. But for now, it means I continue to find meaning in the things I experienced when I was with the P. It was my LIFE, 25 years of my time on earth, that he took, and I have the right to take it back by finding meaning and value in it and then using that value to make my life better than it would have been 25 years ago.

I can also say, that LF has made that possible like nothing else has. Seeing how these “things” have affected so many people helps so much to give it perspective.

I think the obsessive thinking is our way of taking contol, (or trying to) of a situation that we have NO contol over. We are totally confused by the abusers inconsistancys; they make No sense. WE believe that by applying the laws of logic, we can GET IT. We are still trrying to understand them like we would understand a normal person, but these disordered THINGS are not normal, they are OTHER in the most profound sense of the word. There is no making sense of them!!!

I don’t think you can hurry the process though. I think it’s
necisisary and important. I think it is part of the greiving process, as Slimone noted. Having said that, I do think it’s possible to get stuck in it. After only a few months, I wouldn’t consider myself or anyone else stuck. Good God the FOG hasn’t even cleared yet.

Be patient with yourself, perhaps set a limit to the time you allow yourself to obsess at bed-time, say 30 minutes, then start repeating a mantra to yourself, or repeat a prayer, or a poem, of the lyrics to a song……….

I used to repeat the (well, damn, don’t even remember the number) but it was the psalm;

The Lord is my shepard, I shalt not want……….
over and over again ’til I went to sleep….
Peace and take it one day at a time.

Why do I just sit at home on saturday nite? I want to go out, I want to meet someone,but the thot of going out and Iget all anxious. I tell myself I know I wont meet nothing but trash so I just stay home, rent movies, putter around the house. Over a year and a half now of no contact – but I dont want to see him, this is more than depression – I am not depressed..just feel old and vulnerable..its like if I go out they will all know I am another one of his victims and laugh and snicker.

I like this saying:

When you take the “L” out of “Lover”, all that’s left is “Over. I always tried to figure what the “L” stood for, though, maybe, “lie”.

What is it in us that finally allows us to hear the fat lady singing? My fat lady was singing for a really long time, but I had my fingers in my ears. She was singing when he broke my rib, stole the rent money, seperated me from my support system and family, when I lost my home….but my superior intellect and empathetic nature kept my fingers firmly planted in my ears.

I can tell you now that the fat lady’s singing. And thank God I can hear her!!

Obsessive thinking is the beginning of hearing her. It’s not a bad thing, but a blessing.

I can hear that fat lady all the way over hear in okla. will she ever shut up and leave us alone?

Henry, I feel the same way. It’s just easier to stay at home, and frankly, I don’t know if I’m capable of a good relationship, or if I’d know a good man if I tripped over one.

I’m not really depressed, just resigned.

Frankly I am not sure if I am capable of a relationship either, but some times I just want to get layed, it’s been too long .

henry, I’m doing the same thing. I have to get up at 5am, so have to be asleep by 10pm, this job will be over in a few weeks… then what am I going to do? Have you ever tried meetup.com? I found a couple of groups, for me it is just women who get together for a movie, or dinner, a hike, karoke… it’s ok, a good way to get out of the house, I don’t like going out by myself, I feel even more alone when I go out, does that make sense?

If I go somewhere by myself… like a popular shopping area or something in the afternoon, I feel even more alone, and I can’t wait to race back to the house. I did go to a movie by myself today, at 2pm, that wasn’t too bad.

yes yes yes – makes sense..it’s a 45 minute drive to any decent club and then the drive back – excuses excuses – I am just going toooooooooooooo make myself do it some weekend, hear some good loud music – be around a large group of homos for a nite instead of sitting hear feeling sorry for myself, and who knows there mite be a prince charming waiting on me…

Henry, I know what you mean, but you should try to take it slow, when you meet someone. Just make friends and then see if you click. That way, even if you don’t have “chemistry”, you’ll still have made a friend. Otherwise, you’ll end up feeling like used toilet paper. – I don’t know, it’s not like I’ve been out there a lot in the last 25 years. It just seems like the wise thing to do. Everyone’s different though.
Sometimes I feel like just getting laid too, but decided it was too risky.

if I take it much slower it will be too late…

skylar, your friend that you watched the movie with last night sounds so sweet… to listen to you talk about the P… good friends are hard to find!

Henry, LOL, I mean take it slow after you meet them.
SC, yes, he is sweet, but then he has had a thing for me for since I met him about 10 years ago. It might be just physical, on his part, I really don’t know.

What the heck do I know? I’m obviously attracted to P’s!
I’m seriously still thinking about the P in a very “romantic” way even though we haven’t had sex for 15 years.

The truth is that I’m very attracted to a person’s mind, much more so than to their body. (though a good looking face/body is not a turn off or anything). So I have to ask myself – WTF? how can a P’s mind be attractive to me? Well, they do hypnotize you that’s for sure, but I feel like I’m still seeing him as a poor damaged little boy.

Perhaps I have to go all the way and “bond” with my friend. Get some of that oxytocin chemical going. I know some people don’t approve, but there might be something to that “friends with benefits” thing.

skylar: i’m also fascinated by a p’s mind. why? because they are like shiny disco balls. you can’t understand how they say what they say, or do what they do, or think the way they think, yet they make it all make sense in a very exciting way. i always used to say that i envied the way the ex-s/p/n “walked in the world” — seemingly fearless, completely comfortable in his skin, assured and charming; things i could never really be.
i was watching the Showtime show Dexter today, the main protagonist is a psychopath. he said, ”… normal people don’t stand a chance.”

Skylar….20-30 hours devoted to reading, journaling. But yes, whenever my brain wasn’t busy with something else, it went there. I think setting limits is GOOD. I wasn’t able, or I thought it was good to “think it all out”. Maybe it was, but ultimately, you have to make the decision to go NC in your head, as the blog post I referred to said.

LIG, my sister told me about that show, but I haven’t seen it. Is it good? Is the protaganist a “true” P, like the ones we have? I mean, I know that his father has directed him to use his P abilities to do “good” instead of “evil” but, how true to form is that show? I mean, we know P’s hate authority and we know that they are child like and predicatable for those of us who know what they are. So, how does he have “super-powers”?

I have to watch this show, what time/date is it on and which channel?

It’s been 15 months of NC for me and I still have recurring knee-jerk reactions from those events that are preventing me from having a total normal relationship without feeling I’m going to wind up hurt again. I’ve been out on many dates and hooked up with a great guy for 8 months and I panicked and became clingy. ..even though we did take things slow. I should have opened more to him about the past but I was embarassed and ashamed to admit to him what I allowed a sociopath to take me for my money, a car and almost my home. I didn’t want to show him I was vunerable and weak.

We split up over a month ago and I explained that I’m working on overcoming the past events in my life that causes me to be insecure. I’m really working on me. I hope he will come back into my life. We are emailing and texting now everyday and plan to meet up in the near future.

I find that Reiki massages are good therapy, reading, etc. but like the rest of you, miss the intimacy of the physical embrace with someone you love.

Henry: Get back out there. I know it’s hard. It was hard for me at first too but I pushed myself out that door thinking I had nothing to lose. I was down-trodden when I first started dating again. Didn’t know who I was. Had no clue what to wear, etc. I joined match.com and none of my dates were bad ones. Some were just for one night dates of talk and I had no chemistry with but it felt great. All these guys asked for a second date and then it was my choice who I wanted to see. You’ll be surprised! Just do it!! Match.com also has guys looking for guys… You can see if they have jobs and what they do for a living, etc.

Skylar:
You crack me up with the friends with benefits thing. Take is slow girl. Let it build up. Keep us posted.

JAH,
I’m trying to go NC but my brain won’t let me.
I have video equipment but my skills are very poor, in my opinion so I should be spending more time reading and practicing with my equipment, but I can’t concentrate. all the equipment was stuff I bought for my xP because he demanded it. When I left I took it. Now when I’m trying to learn video skills, I think: what would the P do? so fricken sad. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I have an ingrained habit of thinking: what would the P do/think/say? He was my other half for 25 years. this sucks so much.

He really did seem to have the world as his oyster. Now I know that he really didn’t, that it was all an act. So between working out ways to destroy his self-image and feeling sorry for him, I just don’t have the brain capacity for anything else!

Hi WonderWoman:
How’s it going?
Well, I’m not a prude or even old fashioned or anything. But I do understand that sex can have a positive or a negative effect on your psyche and I don’t want to make things worse than they are. When I was a teenager, I had many friends with benefits -probably due to lack of boundaries and parental emotional abuse. Nothing bothered me, (I thought). 25 years later, I’m not that person anymore, I don’t want to end up feeling worse than I do now. But then, I don’t want to bury myself in fear either. It’s hard to judge the future.

skylar: i thought ‘dexter’ was pretty good. he said and did a lot of P things; but unlike real P’s perhaps, he has a window into how sick he is. at one point he looks in to an empty box and says, ”just like me. completely empty.” he is capable of having a relationship with a woman without being harsh with her because ”she’s the only woman i know who is as damaged as me.” he is capable of honing in on people’s motives and weaknesses with P-like accuracy. he’s fairly anti-social; keeps to himself. because of his upbringing with a father who was a cop and saw his p tendencies when he was a boy, he was mentored into releasing his negative P energy (he has a penchant for blood — he’s a forensic blood spatter expert for the PD) only on those whose death would benefit the greater good. it’s a pretty interesting premise, and the voice-over style (dexter’s unspoken observations and thoughts) does give a pretty interesting look into a mind that has no conscience.
i got it on netflix … i don’t have cable. watched the first season. it definitely held my interest, and had me chuckling and being incensed at the same time.

Oh Hi Sky Kent:
Just sitting home on a rainy Saturday night. LIG and I are from the Northeast and it’s cold. I’m missing my ex..not the Sociopath…the good guy green eyes. We’ve been texting and emailing today so maybe we’ll hook up again. So glad to see you have a new love interest. It’s nice to have a warm body for the winter..lol! Just that everytime I try a new relationship, the Sociopath events cause me to be insecure and let me tell you…the guys smell it a mile away. I still have shuddering memories of the ex-Soc. He was so verbally, physically and emotionally abusive. I wonder why God allows these evil entities to walk amongst us. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we didn’t have to wonder who is a good person and who is a bad person? Couldn’t God put a visible mark on evil people…like maybe a big green “X” on their foreheads? Life would be so much easier.

LIG:
I don’t have cable and don’t watch regular TV. I’d like to watch Dexter…I heard about the show. Does Netflix cost any money?

I think I must be really f–kedup. The creep was only here 3 years, adding the two years I knew him before that plus 18 months no contact makes 6 years this non human thing has been in my head. I have had lot’s of people in and out of my life and I have no left over energy in my head from them. Even my N mother does not camp in my head the way he does. I dont want the user back – not at all – I just want him to go away – leave me alone – let me be.

Hi Henry,

You need an outlet….a diversion. The creep still has control of your life as long as he’s in your mind. I know it’s not easy. I’m telling you I like the Reiki massages because they are free and healing hands touch you and you can release your mind from everything during it. I also volunteered to help in the community. I am scheduled to rake leaves for the elderly in November and looking into volunteering at the animal shelter where they need people to walk dogs and to play with them. And don’t forget to sign up for match.com.

Henry,
Did you ever think of moving? Maybe being in new surroundings other than being in the home that reminds you of him may be the change you need. I know the housing market isn’t the greatest right now but just a thought.

Hi I wonder I know you are right. And I do have a fairly active life, work , family etc. And my oh my how I have learned so much about me during this Life Lesson – good and bad..I am so embarrassed that Mike occupies my mind so. This is the only place I can vent..thanks all.

Everyone,
there is an asian guy in LA who wrote a book called Esoteric acupuncture. He has a clinic there. From what I’ve read, it seems like this could be a key to getting us back to normal. He developed his theories which join chakra alignment with acupuncture. I wish I was in LA and could afford it. so far I can only afford community acupuncture and it really does stabilize my emotions. If any of you are out there, check it out.

Henry,
There aer people who love you. There are people that you love (your family.) Thank God I also have my family. I have 4 sisters…3 of whom I am close to and can say anything to, also my mom and dad to talk to and a very nice neighbor. And this blog site. Let me tell you a personal story about me. Long, long ago I was married. It was a 10 year relationship that fell apart. He wasn’t a S but not a very nice person so I left. Do you know I stayed alone/celibate for an entire 5 years??? My choice. I wanted to be my own person again and make sure I was capable and ready for a relationship. So, looking back, I think, Geez, why did I wait 5 years? Was it really necessary? “Time” is only in our heads. After the Sociopath split I knew I would never go back so I only took out 8 months healing time before re-connecting with people.

Skylar,
I looked it up and there is a place in Jersey but I can’t afford that. Did you try a Reiki massage? It’s free. The massages focus on the chakras.

Iwonder – I dont think that would help – he really doesnt occupy my home at all anymore, I had it long before he came and have pretty much removed all triggers, inside and out. I will be ok soon, if I concider where I was a year ago and where I am now, then I know a year from now he will be gone, I have every anticpation that I will someday be free of this “mind virus’ – thanxs tho guess I am having another pity party for one – it is good to see you Iwonder you sound so very good…I am volunteering at a Thankgiving Dinner for the homeless and needy – HOMELESS AND NEEDY!!!! OH MY hope I dont bring them all home with me…i seem to have a thing about the homeless and needy…

Henry – That is so funny!! Don’t invite all the homeless to your home…they may never leave! LOL! And you are right, we are both in a better place today than last year. I remember all the pain we were feeling last year. The reason I mentioned the match dating site is because you can see what kind of job the guys have and if they are looking for a long term relationship or just to date once in awhile. Check it out! Also, I should suggest to get some books on meditation that help to focus on the positive.

Hi everyone,
I’ve been busy dealing with a pending foreclosure and playing chicken with Citimortgage, which is about the most sociopathic organization I have every experienced. I am risking ruining my credit for a shot at some decent terms on my mortgage and an incentive to stay in my little condo. Wish me luck on this. I’m pretty scared, but if I don’t do something different, I will still be stuck in the same situation in 5 years.

Henry,
You are not f**cked up and it makes me sad for you to say that about yourself. You are a sweetheart with a heart of gold. You have your issues like everyone does but you deserve to be happy. I agree that you should get back out there and be around people. But it seems there aren’t many venues there except the clubs. Those usually involve drinking, alcoholics, and sociopaths. Aren’t there any other organizations you can join? I am taking the test for Mensa in a few weeks. If I pass the test I will have a new social group who can at least maybe challenge me at Scrabble, if nothing else. This is a start for me. But there are so many different ways to get out there and meet people. Just people, not necessarily romantic interests. Regular friends who have friends that they could introduce you to. I went to a free financial workshop a few weeks ago. I made a new female friend there that I’ve been hanging out with. It’s been really nice. I had a neighbor down visiting for several hours today. I’m starting to feel like I actually have a life. I don’t have any really deep or extremely close friendships. This is something I need to work at. But I’ve been very social, which is good for me.

Skylar, friends with benefits are highly overrated IMO. I tried that with my young friend from SF. It turned out to be very bittersweet. I think as long as you have no illusions going in, it can be great. But I get the feeling that you want something more than that, as I did, and then you will get hurt. I have no regrets–I took a risk. But I learned a very important lesson–what I want and what I don’t want. Watching a guy pull away emotionally after sex is really NOT what I want. It hurts, and it is just unfulfilling.

Wonder woman, I hope you give yourself all the time and space you need to heal. If green eyes is a real friend, he will be supportive of that, but you have to know to ask for it and not put your fears and insecurities on him. I don’t think it’s a problem having some fears and insecurities in a relationship but it’s hard (at least for me) to know which men can handle it and won’t run away. I sometimes go for the non-committal types, like the young guy, and then I get hurt. I feel bad for being insecure. But it’s just part of life. None of us are perfect. The important thing is that we recognize it and are trying to work through it. I beat myself up for a long time for showing fear and insecurity to the boy. In retrospect I realized it really doesn’t much matter because he was not someone I could get involved with anyway. Age difference aside, he was not looking for a committed relationship, and he was quite upfront about that. Anyway, I’m rambling, and I’m sorry. But I don’t think it’s a bad idea to deliberately swear off dating for a while and just work on yourself. In fact, when I was doing that, I actually felt empowered telling men that. I still tell them that I am more interested in developing friendships than “dating”. I just cannot put the cart before the horse. If you are getting involved with someone before becoming friends, it’s probably based on chemistry. And that gets people in trouble sometimes.

Hi Superstar!

Geez you are up late too. Nah, green eyes is a commitment guy. He knows I’m working on me right now trying to overcome the past. I’m even surprised we’ve been emailing and texting. I’m going to leave him be for awhile and work on me. But we are going to hook up in the future…that’s a guarantee. We are planning something a few weeks from now. And I’ve been off the dating site and also told 2 different guys this week I am not interested in dating anyone right now so I’m on the right track.

Oh Star, I’m also alone in the small condo and have been looking for work for 3 months and am past due on my mortgage which I will catch up on next week but I don’t know how much longer this can go on without a job. I have some irons in the fire and hopefully I’ll have good news next week. Thank God my sisters have been wiring me money to help with the bills so my credit doesn’t get too bad.

I guess it was reading the topic on this thread that got me too thinking too much tonite. Hi Star it is good too see some of my friends from the past on here tonite, we have all progressed so much. I have always been kind of a loner, a homebody, and had really become content with that before the imposter took over my life. There are aspects of what he pretended to be that I enjoyed and miss. But they are becoming less and less..I guess I could get me one of them blow up dolls – it would prolly have more to talk about than the X ever did anywho..

Henry, I’m homeless and needy. See you at thanksgiving! 🙂

Star, how’s it going?
I really don’t know what I want. Or at least, I’m not sure I would recognize it. He has to be very intelligent (BTW, cool that you are taking the Mensa test – that might be just the place to find your soul mate!), good enough looking or at least in shape, and I guess he has to be good with conversation. I would love it if there was really good chemistry, but I haven’t quite gotten that far yet.

This friend is so cool that he lets me talk about the P and listens. I don’t really have to worry about him hurting my feelings. He seems to be everything perfect, but it’s really me that’s not perfect. Too much P-baggage. But I’m going to try my hardest to move on and just offer him the emotions that I have. Most guys don’t really have a problem with superficial relationships so it should work out.

talking to the X was like hearing an echo – does that make any sense?

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