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How do I forgive myself for staying in this relationship?

Lovefraud recently received the following email:

I suspected that my ex boyfriend was a sociopath, but your website confirmed it. I always thought that sociopaths were murderers like Ted Bundy or Casey Anthony, but I realize now that the vast majority lead “normal” lives (whatever that means).

I’m a divorced mom with a precious little daughter. My ex boyfriend was the first man I dated after a long and abusive marriage to an alcoholic. I was with my ex boyfriend a little over 2 years, although he exhibited signs of sociopathic (or what I considered narcissistic) behavior, including chronic infidelity, pathological lying, a grandiose sense of self, a total lack of empathy (particularly towards his five children whom he rarely saw), a lack of responsibility, impulsivity, etc. You get the picture.

Fortunately, he didn’t bilk me out of money, but, unfortunately, he completely drained me emotionally to the point where I feel like I will never be able to find or love a truly good, healthy man. I am a strong woman, though, and I know this feeling will subside over time. ”¨”¨After reading through your website, I’m 100% positive I will never see or speak to my ex boyfriend again.

The last time I saw him, he told me he was going on a secret mission trip and that he could not talk to me for at least two weeks, but that he would spend the holidays with me. I threw him out of my apartment that night, but I continued to email him while he was away on his important, “James Bond” business trip. To make a long story short, I found out that he was with another woman in a foreign country. I was not surprised by this discovery and, perhaps, it is a blessing in disguise that I found out. It strengthened my resolve to have no contact with him, as your website suggests.

My question to you is how do I forgive myself for staying in this relationship so long even though I routinely saw the signs of his sociopathic behavior? Most importantly, how do I forgive myself for putting my daughter in harm’s way by being with this creep? Finally, would it be best if I stayed away from dating for a period of time so that I can clear my brain of this whole ordeal?

I’ll address the reader’s questions one at a time.

How do I forgive myself?

We cannot blame ourselves for what we didn’t know. And all of us who have been targeted didn’t know about sociopaths, about what they really are and how they really behave.

Here’s what we all believed that is not true:

  • Everybody wants to be loved.
  • There is good in everyone.
  • Sociopaths are all deranged serial killers.

Here’s what none of us knew:

  • Some people pursue romantic relationships not for love, but for exploitation.
  • Sociopaths can look us right in the eye, tell us how much they love us, and be lying.
  • Sociopaths listen to us carefully not because they’re interested, but to figure out how to hook us.
  • There are people who have no inner core—they change their personalities to reflect what they perceive we want.
  • Sociopaths are motivated not by love, but by power and control.
  • Sociopaths hijack the human bonding process.

This last point is very important. Sociopaths deceive us into falling in love with them. As we fall in love, all of the biological processes that Nature created in order to ensure the survival of the human race kick in.

When we love someone, we form a psychological bond with the person, so that we feel a compulsion to be with him or her. This bond is linked to chemical and structural changes in the brain that are much like the changes associated with addiction. So we feel an irresistible pull to keep the relationship going. This is why we stay.

Here’s another thing we don’t know: Sociopaths do not form these psychological bonds the way the rest of us do. But they’re good at faking it. So while we are legitimately falling in love, they are pretending to fall in love, and they are fabulous actors.  In reality, they are only using us.

How do I forgive myself for putting my daughter in harm’s way?

You forgive yourself because of all the reasons stated above. But with your daughter, you take the next step. You teach her, in age-appropriate ways, that there are bad people in the world. There are people who lie, who cannot be trusted, and she must stay away from them.

You also teach her to trust her instincts. Our instincts will usually tell us when someone is bad news. But we’ve long been conditioned to override our gut feelings, to give people the benefit of the doubt, to wait for “proof” before ending a relationship.

Nature set up our biology to encourage us to stay with our partners. But Nature also set up our biology to warn us when predators approached. Make no mistake— a sociopath is a predator. So if someone makes us feel cautious, afraid or creeped out, we must honor that and run away.

Would it be best if I stayed away from dating?

Absolutely yes!!! You must give yourself time to heal.

Remember, sociopaths are experts at finding our vulnerabilities. If you are still feeling injured in any way because of your experience with the ex-boyfriend, you are a walking target for another sociopath. Many, many readers have told me that they escaped an abusive relationship, found someone who seemed to be the answer to their prayers, and the new lover turned out to be worse than the previous one.

You must make a decision to recover. Face what happened. Allow yourself to grieve and get the negative emotions out of your system. As you put your emotional and psychological health back together, eventually you’ll find a new relationship without even trying.

The answer is always within. Heal yourself, and the rest will fall into place.



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35 Comments on "How do I forgive myself for staying in this relationship?"

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Donna, thank you SO much for this article and my heart goes out to the person who sent this gut-wrenching email.

The grieving emailer wrote: “…I feel like I will never be able to find or love a truly good, healthy man.” This is one of the false beliefs that women MUST begin teaching their daughters that we are complete and whole within our own selves and are not obligated to “find or love” someone in order to BE complete and whole. We are VALID because we exist and we need not seek the false validation of being attached to someone as if they are a vital biological appendage.

Donna is 1000% spot-on: dating isn’t a goal to be working towards. Identifying and healing the inner self is the primary objective. “Looking” about for another partner is only an attempt to avoid being “alone.” Being alone – without the demands or obligations required by another human being – is NOT the end of the world. It does not mean that we are unloved, unloveable, unworthy, undeserving, or invalidated. It simply means that WE CHOOSE based upon facts, reasonable expectations, and strict boundaries. And, those vital core-values cannot be supported by anyone other than ourselves.

To the emailer, I would like to convey that you are worthy and deserving of the best that Life has to offer, and so is your daughter. Read Donna’s words in reponse to your grief, and take time to process those strong words of wisdom and power. Keep coming back. Post, respond, and vent. And, empower yourself with your own strengths and qualities that make you unique in this vast Universe.

Brightest and most supportive blessings

Healing is a slow process, but forgiving yourself is absolutely essential in order for healing to take place. I stayed with the abuser for 12 years, and had three children with him. During the courtship (which was really an entrapment) I ignored my gut (like Donna says, this is common) and I rationalized the red flags I saw away because I simply had no frame of reference in which to evaluate his antisocial behaviors. Nothing in my life had prepared me for the fact that men (and some women) do these things. There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “For lack of knowledge, my people perish.” Lack of knowledge leads us to trust those who are not trustworthy. Our society does not teach us to spot and avoid these monsters, and many of us suffer because of it.

Anyway, I’ve been blaming myself, and tormenting myself with guilt and shame over trusting that monster for a long time, but finally I am starting to see that healing is contingent upon forgiving myself, and forgiving myself is a choice I have to make.

This recent article helped me on this journey of forgiving myself so much. Reading here frequently helps me tremendously. Glad you found us and hope we can help you forgive yourself and heal.

http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2013/02/03/letters-to-lovefraud-not-my-sociopath/

Forgiving myself was I think harder than any other part of the healiing process…but one thing I have learned about “forgiveness” whether it iis forgiving them (quit being bitter toward them) or forgiving myself (quit beating myself over the head for being stoooopid) is not a “one and done” thiing but a CONTINUING PROCESS.

Just as the “GRIEF PROCESS” iis a long, up and down, back and forth process so is “forgiving ourselves”

I would advise the e mail writer to focus on HERSELF AND HER DAUGHTER’S lives and health and not worry at this time about getting to a point where it is “okay to date”

The “needyness” of feeling like you are incomplete without a man (or woman) in our lives is what makes us I think more vulnerable to the NEXT psychopath who comes along and “love bombs us”

I would advise this e mailer to READ and learn and take 1-2 or even 3 years before she even thinks about dating. The DAMAGE done to our minds, brains and spirits is a SERIOUS and difficult thiing to recover from. Just liike a case of CANCER it takes TIME to recover….and the “chemo” takes a toll on us as we heal.

And this applies to guys, too.
I felt humiliated, tricked, drained and betrayed from the experience with my ex-gf.

As you wrote: “When we love someone, we form a psychological bond with the person, so that we feel a compulsion to be with him or her.”

Right on.

I was told that I was needy, nosy, childish, insecure, etc for wanting or asking for anything beyond the gf’s ‘program’ or, for asking anything whenever she disappeared or acted strangely. Of course, this alternated with affection or acts of generosity. Classic ‘Projection’ by her with resulting Cognitive Dissonance. Thus, I was continuously ‘off balance,’ and left feeling the same way: that I will never find a ‘good, healthy,’ woman.

Thanks Donna for posting this story emailed to you from a reader.It could have been me;except for the fact that my daughters are grown now.

I had the same questions;the same difficulty with forgiving myself.But,all of the above have been resolved since becoming a regular reader of lovefraud and gaining the knowledge I needed.It was like a hand helping me out of a deep dark pit!

As for being alone….it has given me time to find myself again and heal.That means so much to me! I don’t miss ANYTHING about the days when I was still with my husband.

Fixerupper, I just “lost” my response in the Great Beyond Of Cyberspace.

It does, indeed, apply to men and the problem that I see with the male in recovery is that there is this huge STIGMA associated with surviving “bad women.” Females are “expected” to be emotional and “more apt” to react while men, on the other hand, are “expected” to remain stoic and rock-solid. Well, this just isn’t so.

Neither in family nor in formal education are we taught that we do not NEED someone ELSE to validate us – that we have the power to validate our own selves and provide our own emotional needs. And, for those of us who were raised in dysfunctional environments, we’re caused to feel all the more “needy” for validation and acceptance from outside of ourselves.

I have no delusions about “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right.” I have no belief in the existence of “soulmates,” anymore. My vulnerabilities and issues were so pronounced that the first dipshit that came along and truly lovebombed me was IN. That will never, ever happen, again. I don’t need anyone to tell me that I have value or importance, anymore. I know that I do. And, so does everyone else who is recovering! But, my typing that won’t make it “true” in anyone else’s mind. Each one of us has to learn, re-learn, and re-re-learn how to validate our OWN needs, first, before even considering allowing another person access to that level of control, ever again.

Fixerupper, I don’t believe that you’re aware of how far you’ve come down your Healing Path. You’re typing words in reference to YOU and YOUR healing, now – and, I hope that you become aware of this.

Brightest blessings

Blossom4th, awesome……..I don’t miss one single thing about the exspath. Not one.

Every day, I’m learning something new about myself, my resolve, my courage, and everything else. I’m taking and making steps that I never thought I could, and they are based upon me and my goals and NOT some fraudulent buffoon’s tantrums. Oh, my independence is hard-won, and I’ll be dammed before I ever allow anyone access to my Self, again.

Brightest blessings

TOWANDA!

Blossom4th……….TOWANDA, inDEED!!!!! ;-D

Dating:
Knowing my feelings after the spath… has become a benchmark to measure my recovery. One of those feelings was that I NEVER wanted to be close to anyone ever again, NO relationships.

But what I learned was how I got it WRONG. I had a little laundry list in my head when I was “that age”, the age of looking for the “one”. NOW, I realize I had it backwards. I now start with enjoying/appreciating the person, looking for character, and making no excuses for LACK of character. I look for a certain morality, not what he says but HOW he is.

When I was able to meet someone and not jump into romance mode FIRST, that’s when I knew I was mature enough/recovered enough/emotionally healthy enough for what may come my way. B/c DATING is NOT what comes first in a relationship.

ps I don’t know who said it, but I read someone’s post that she wouldn’t be able to fully get over her spath until she met someone new to replace him. PLEASE, that mindset is the invitation for a new spath! Danger Danger Will Robinson! Grow your emotional healing so that you stand on your own, completely healed.

I’m so thankful that this letter made it on the site! I have spent a fair bit of time mulling this over and wasn’t sure how to process it.

Thanks so much Donna!

One thing that I have been trying to figure out/process lately is the relationships that were hurt as a result of my relationship with the spath. Am I able to forgive myself for hurting other people?

A short tidbit of my story- To end things with the spath I had to leave the city and move back to my hometown. This naturally put distance between myself and my friends. 2 years later we have mostly grown apart (except for a few) so much that we don’t really talk. Just friends enough to keep up with each other on Facebook kind of thing.

I had 2 friends in particular who tried so hard to try and get me to end things with him, gave me proof (which I disregarded because it was old stuff from years before we were together and I believed that he had turned a new leaf) and I tossed their help aside and stayed with him. They took it really hard. I didn’t know it at the time but they had decided that our friendship was over because I didn’t take their council seriously. After I found this out I was very upset that 2 people who I considered good friends would toss out years of friendship because I had my “love blinders” on and didn’t want to believe that the spath was a bad man. Another point that they had made was that they didn’t believe me when I explained some of the things that were happening. They felt like I was leaving stuff out to make my situation with him seem better than it was. Which sure, of course I was doing that. I didn’t want all my dirty laundry spread around. I spent days typing out what happened from start to finish in the relationship, hoping that once everything was out on the table that they would understand what happened and forgive me for putting their council to the side. After I sent it to them I never received a response.

I have had a really tough time processing that over the last couple weeks. I just don’t think they really understand what a spath can do to you, why you don’t leave them even though everyone is screaming at you to do it. It hurts that they don’t believe what I went through behind closed doors. It is also hurtful that I poured out all my feelings and things that I have kept secret, and not even receive a response from them.

I’m at the point now where it has been three weeks since I sent the email & I have not received a response. I’m not too sure what to do at this point. Do I email them both again? I feel like I need some kind of closure.

LadyA, I’m so sorry to read of your experiences and I’m grateful that you found your way to LoveFraud. Welcome.

Spaths and friends……..that’s a tough subject and one that resonates with me, personally. Unless someone has experienced a spath, themselves, they will NEVER “get it” about how complete the carnages are. From personal to spiritual to employment…..it covers all aspects of our lives.

If you’ve made a sincere effort to apologize to these people and they haven’t responded, let them go, as hard as it sounds. Sometimes, it takes a person a while to digest information, and they are either trying to process what you shared, or they have already cut their losses, as so many do.

One important thing to keep in mind is that we tend to defend ourselves and feel obligated to “explain” what happened to us. Some people will “get it.” Others will have concern for a short time. Still, others will absorb the drama/trauma and thrive on our miseries. We are NOT obligated to “explain” or “defend” ourselves, anymore. We can simply tell someone, “It was bad, and I’d rather not discuss it,” and draw that boundary line, immediately, without risk. Anyone who doesn’t honor that boundary does not have good intentions.

We stop defending and explaining ourselves because we EXPECT for others to understand and have compassion. When that proves to be a false belief, it IS hurtful. So, we just don’t “go there” with people who don’t understand.

There are billions of human beings in this world, and nobody is worth risking our recovery for, no matter how long the friendship lasted. A “true” friend is supportive and encouraging. False friends belittle and degrade.

Brightest blessings

LadyA
You’ve had a lot to process. When I read your post, it seems like you are blaming them, that somehow they are failing you. Your friends experienced rejection by you. Give them time to process, take the time for your own healing, and then try again. Your headspace will be different, andso will theirs. I’m saying this to be direct, not to be harsh. I hope you understand YOU need to give yourself grace, and then you will be able to give it to others.

Best,
Katy

Dear Lady A,

It is unfortunate but your story is not unique…many of us have lost friends because of the psychopaths…the “reasons” may be different but the collateral “fall out” of friends because of our relationship with the Ps is a fact of life.

You did what you could to apologize for the lack of trust in their judgment, and that is all you can do. Say you are sorry and if they refuse to accept your apology, and that is their right to feel that way, then there is nothing you can do. It is just another consequence that you have had to go through because of your choice to stay with him.

We all make choices and some of them are not good ones….and there are consequences to those choices. Losing your friends is a painful one.

I am glad you found your way here though, READ and READ and learn about the psychopaths and learn about how to heal yourself. It takes time and work, but you can recover…and be stronger, wiser, smarter and better able to make better choices. God bless and again, welcome to LF

Lady A,
they sound like really good friends. I wish I had had someone who cared as much for me, but not even my parents would tell me what they knew.

If I were you, I would try again to apologize. Make sure that your apology doesn’t have any excuses involved. I’ve had people “apologize” to me like this, “I only did it because of my PTSD.” or “I was treated badly all my life, so I treated you badly.” or “Because I was with a spath I have learned some bad habits and people just don’t understand me.” or whatever.

I don’t accept those types of “apologies”.

A true apology expresses remorse. It would sound like this, “You were right, I was wrong, I wish I could make it up to you. If you’ll forgive me, I will be a better person.” (that’s a generic example)

Later on, after you’ve made amends, the friends might be interested in hearing more about what you went through and why you made the mistakes you made.

If you’ve already tried taking full responsibility and they still don’t accept your apology, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at your “friends”, maybe they aren’t as nice as you thought. Sometimes, our experience with the spath reveals the true nature of our friends and families.

Lady A, I think Skylar is right on, but if you don’t get a response from the second attempt…then I’d give it up and just move on. There are friends in our lives that may not be there for our entire lives, that’s just the way life is. (((hugs))))

LadyA:

Since you’ve been in a spath relationship, you certainly understand what others have been through. So let me pose a few questions to you…

I was with the ex-spath for 8 years…4 times as long as you were. Would you forgive me for being 4 times as “blind” as you were?

I have TWO daughters. That is twice as many as you have. Would you forgive me for exposing them to that vile excuse for a human being?

He did bilk me out of thousands and thousands of dollars. He put my very life in a financial tailspin. Do you forgive me for that, even though it didn’t happen to you?

I didn’t look to start dating again. I joined an organization where I could volunteer, so I could feel like I had some value and worth as a human being again. But I met someone who is good and kind and responsible and ethical. All the things I want in a partner. And I am as a bored as I can be with him. Would you forgive me for not being attracted to a normal man, and instead I am still craving the excitement, drama and trauma? WTF is wrong with me?!!

Because I have to forgive myself or I will off myself. Which would be the most selfish thing I could do to the others in my life. And it’s hard sometimes, but I work through it and hang on by my fingernails until it passes. I am not alone (even though I have never felt more alone in my life right now) but just because I think something doesn’t make it true.

And guess what? Even if you are having a hard time forgiving yourself, I FORGIVE YOU! Because I was there, I know just what you went through and I understand. So at least one person in this world forgives you.

It’s a start. Now it’s your turn.

LadyA… I just have to ask. Did your ex-boyfriend spend significant time in Maui? and Montana? When you said “5 children he rarely sees” I just had to ask.

Aloha

The Bad Man was so bad… I am sure that someone else that dated him as popped up here at some point but I don’t read enough these days to catch it.

:O) I have healed tremendously from my Bad Man days.

8 years and counting!!!

Alooooooohhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa

Congrats to you! Aloha!

You are an inspiration to all of us here. Thanks for dropping by and letting us know that there is hope for us all.

Hi dear Emailer,
I can realate to your story fully and if not more so. I was married to my spath for 15years, and during those 15 years he sexually molested my daughter, who was nine at the time from my first marriage. We separated, but the addiction was there. His fake apologies and worst of all, his soppy speech of “I’v given my life to the Lord. I was possessed by demons, so please give me another chance” had me hook, line and sinker. To make matters worse, our ministers of the church and the attorney felt that he was a first time offender and deserved a 2nd chance. So the marriage continued for another 8 years and another child.
I wasnt able to go to church or get close to God because I was such a bad mother.
However, saying that, my daughter and I are inseparable and extremely close. She knew that she needed his love and approval as much as I did, because her biological father wanted nothing to do with her. We were both trapped by this monster and only when he tried strangling me did I manage to say, NO MORE!
Nearly 4 years later, we have filed criminal charges and we’re waiting to get a court date. But not all was bad, it has made us both stronger – what cannot kill you, makes you stronger, and more powerful. Yes, more powerful, because suddenly you know what he is – a SPATH – but the beauty is HE DOESN’T know you know. This not only gives you power, but the help of this site and the tips from all my friends here, I’ve realised:
1. No contact is essential and no conflict
2. The grey rock – as soon as you seem so boring, he loses interest
3. Grieve – this is most important, becuase its the most difficult – because as Donna says, we are grieving for someone who wasn’t.
4. If all of us who have been targeted by spaths, saw it, knew it and totally understood it, we would be SKILLFULLY CLEVER ENOUGH TO BE CONSIDERED A SPATH OURSELVES.
5. Whoever your Higher being is that you believe in, start believing again and allow God back into your life to make you whole. He didn’t make junk, he loves you and your daughter. Watch closely, as He transforms these bad things into Good for both of you.

Blessings and hang in there.
Shell

Shell:

That is such a good point:

4. If all of us who have been targeted by spaths, saw it, knew it and totally understood it, we would be SKILLFULLY CLEVER ENOUGH TO BE CONSIDERED A SPATH OURSELVES.

If I learn nothing else from this experience, it’s that I am NOT a spath, because I didn’t realize what was happening to me. He was an alcoholic, so I kept putting down his bad behavior to that addiction. But something still didn’t seem right to me. Alcoholism never really explained all of it and I was still bewildered on a daily basis.

I did take a page out of his book at the very end and became like him so that I could testify against him. Meaning that I put any emotions aside that I had for him and became as cold inside as he was. He was prosecuted and put in jail. There was an enormous amount of satisfaction watching him being taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs, while he was staring at me the whole time with a “deer in the headlights” look on his face, stumbling out of the room, led by the jailer. I stared right back and then slowly turned my head away, and haven’t seen him since. Towanda!!

Now all I have to do to have total revenge against this monster is to live well! And I’m gonna!

Shell, thank God you and your daughter are no longer under the same roof as this criminal. Peace and love to you, may you see justice done x

Check out this article about gaslighting. Explains it very well. Never mentions sociopaths though. Why is that?

http://theweek.com/article/index/239659/what-is-gaslighting

Newlife that is a great article on Gaslighting and explains it well, but the reason sociopaths are not mentioned is that the media as a whole seems to think only serial killers are socio/psycho-paths.

Shell, I hope he goes to prison, but I also wish peace and calm for you and your daughter. God bless.

“sociopaths hijack the human bonding process”…..

Words for thought in the most profound way. A sociopath undermines our capacity to love and exploits that capacity so that we begin to stretch way past our own instinctive boundaries.

Gaslighting is something that put me in therapy for the last 3 years. The guilt that I put my family in danger because someone rerouted my instinct circuitry to their own benefit, is still very hard to live with.

The important thing to hang on to, to remember, and by reading from all of us, is that eventually your instincts return and you do begin to trust them.

You can never gain back what was stolen. For many of us, financial and emotional ruin are devastating, but we can return to the land of the living.

Teach your children well, their parents hell. My daughter was badly abused right under my nose, and I live with that every single day of my life. I work very hard to show her that women can be strong, they can recover and go on to live healthy normal lives. Thats all I can give, plus my love and understanding that we lived through an emotional holocaust and that I support her endeavors to walk free.

Sociopaths come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, just like we do. They are not big hulking monsters with an “S” tattooed in their foreheads. Their ability to integrate into the social/family framework and destroy it often happens quite simply because they “appear” like us.

When the grief process begins its often confusing. We make ourselves guilty for grieving for something or someone who really didn’t exist. But if you start at square one, and move through the levels of grief, just allow it to happen, it can be a very cleansing experience.

You must hang on, and move forward. Have hope in your heart and never let anyone crush that hope again. People here will help you. They saved me and it was the only place I felt comfortable even discussing it. There are still members of my family that have no idea what occurred under this roof for ten years, and would judge me harshly because they think I would be at fault. Its a shame really, because the terror, the horror, and the fear that we lived are not easily understood.

Get up, plant your two feet on the ground, lift your head and hold it as high as you can, take a deep breath, and slowly move forward.

Hurt Terribly

HurtTerribly, I’m so sorry to read of your painful recovery and experiences. Without identifying my own shame-core, I probably would have ended my own life, at some point, and that is simply NOT an option.

The shame is something that I’ve chosen to abandon, finally. Did I make bad choices and decisions? Heck, yeah, I did! But, I did NOT “deserve” to be swindled, defrauded, used, and left for dead. Nope, I did not deserve that. Today, I stare Ole Mr. Shame in the face and present my middle finger. That goes for his cousin, Mr. Blame, too. I don’t need anyone else’s approval or acceptance, anymore. If they don’t “get it” about what I experienced, then they can fugoff and be on their merry ways. I don’t (and, WON’T) waste my energy on anyone else’s perceptions. I require my own attention and my recovery is of the utmost priority.

Yours is too, Terribly – time for a LF ID change, too. “TerrificallyRecovering” seems more appropriate, right? You’re precious and priceless in this vast Universe. Your experiences will not be what defines you. Your strength, reslilence, and courage will be what defines you.

Brightest and most supportive blessings

Great post Donna. You do so much for us people who have encountered a sociopath in our lives. I am 6 years past a 7 year relationship with one. It was a life-changing relationship. I didn’t change until I hurt so much that I had to. Now I never want to go back to that kind of relationship and I think I have the tools (gained through counseling, insight, and your blog,) to spot the wrong kind of person. My problem was I thought the whole world was made up of people who thought like I did. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Beware the exciting, fast-talking, over complimentary types and go for the ones who don’t make you cry and second-guess yourself over and over.

Thanks Truthspeak. Im glad you are all here, it does lift each of us up. I think TerrficallyRecovering sounds wonderful and true. Thats a good feeling in itself, I so appreciate the support, and am here to give anyone else a lift that needs it.

Every day we walk the walk. Its so hard to fathom in the beginning that you are simply stringing one foot in front of the other, and then in time, you begin to see you followed the path to freedom.

If I have nothing the rest of my life, I have my freedom, I will never be threatened, gaslighted, beaten, stolen from, again – and not on any level. I filed my divorce papers this week. It feels so good to reclaim all of me. But, it took a long, long time. I feel weather beaten, sort of like old rough leather inside, but leather softens and remains supple with proper care: light, love, and positivity.

Thank you again.

Hello to Donna Anderson,

I am a fairly new user to L.F., and I am so grateful for this forum and all the unconditional love and kindness that I have found here. I want to thank you for giving us all a place to become aware of what has happened to us and how to heal. So much of what I have learned here has helped me formulate a plan of going forward…I have found a therapist, have a solid NC rule, I am journaling my angst, stopped talking about it to those I love n love me… but don’t understand, talk only with those that affirm my experience and are supportive of me, will not date and understand now why I am having such a hard time moving on and still missed my spath long past the point where it made sense to want and still love him. I know exactly how the woman above feels. I really felt brainwashed.

I did not realize that my ex BF was possibly a spath until I found this site and began to read. He has fit the mo of a spath to a letter and I fit the mo of a fairly perfect victim. I was kind, caring, vulnerable, honest and generous with my time and love when I met him. Had the type of background that made me susceptible to his wiles and deceit.

The period of time during which I made my first attempts to leave him, lasted over a month, and I felt like a pig-pong ball. He convinced me to stay at my first attempt, but the treatment became worse and the certainty that he was involved with other women became even more clear…as did his lack of real love for me.

The lying never stopped. He told me he still loved me even after he had moved on completely with a new victim. I know that there were soooo many red flags and find it amazing that I stayed in this relationship as long as I did…tolerating so much , ignoring my instincts and allowing direspect on a level that shocks me when I think of it now.

I know that I played a big part in this, not walking at the first or second flag that came, there were so many….I also know this is due to abuse in my background and a dearly departed Father who was most certainly a spath. I know that this lesson will teach me more about myself than spath’s…in the long run.

I suspect I am a ways off from forgiving myself completely for what I took into my life and heart, but what I am grateful to you and the users on this site for is the kind way that you lay the responsibility at the Spath’s feet and not mine. I have had well meaning freinds tell me “you did this to yourself”…that made me feel spiritually canniballistic. I totally believed them too b/c I see their point….I opened up my life to a sick person, and said , “come on in !”

But the truth is that he was sooo manipulative and poured a hypnotic like affection and flattery into me , saturating me with what I thought was love. Thx for helping give me some peace to validate that I am not responsible for a predator seeking me out and systematically decieving me, devalueing me and using me like a toy.

Love and light to you for what you have given us all …a safe to get concious and to heal.

Bluemosaic

Bluemosaic, it takes time to get to specific milestones on our individual Healing Paths. Time, patience, hard work, personal epiphanies, and a great deal of “acceptance.” So, as you move forward on your own Healing Path, be kind to yourself – give yourself the kindness that you are worthy and deserving of.

Brightest blessings

Truthspeak, Thx for the reminder to be kind to myself. I do fear the size of the mountain of healing that I now see I face. I so wish I had never met this man…but as I have read here, it will make me wiser…someday, and more whole and in the know of what a spath is so I never do this again. I am also grateful he did not marry me…(turned out to be the only nice thing he ever did for me)….though he withheld marriage only b/c I had nothing left to give him, that he wanted. I thank God for his rejection.

Bluemosaic

Bluemosaic, the saying goes like this: if wishes were fishes, nobody would go hungry. My personal belief is that I had to experience what I did in order to address some very serious issues. No…..oh, HELL no……I did not “like” any aspect of the experiences. But, they happened, I am working on recovering, and I’m actually grateful for the lessons, though they were dearly bought.

The “mountain” of healing can be overwhelming if we view it in its entirety. Sure, it’s a tremendous climb! But, if we set up base camps, we move from one milestone to the next without staring up at the summit and causing ourselves to feel discouraged. Each milestone is its OWN summit.

So, yes……you are deserving and worthy of self-kindness and self-love. And, “self-love” is NOT the kind that we were led to believe that it was: vanity, arrogance, etc. Self-love is unconditional and each of us is worthy and deserving of this.

Brightest blessings

One day at a time, Bluemosaic. Small steps, one foot in front of the other to begin with. Healing takes time and patience. You will get there.

I don’t berate myself any more and although being grateful for the exp would be an exaggeration, I don’t regret it. I have learnt so much about myself. I’m so much happier in my own skin these days. I don’t need a man to complete me.
I was so desperate for love, I virtually threw myself at him.

Keep going Blue. Stay strong

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