How long does it take to recover from a sociopath?

Woman-in-depression-300x200Most of you who come to Lovefraud are here because you suspect, or have concluded, that your partner is a sociopath.

You are shocked, traumatized, betrayed, disappointed, angry.

You may know, on an intellectual level, that you need to end the relationship, but you may find it hard to take the steps to do it.

Or, you have already ended the relationship and are working to maintain No Contact with the individual, even as he or she pleads, cries or threatens, trying to draw you back into the web.

Whatever your circumstances, you feel terrible. Your emotions range from grief to sadness to disappointment to fear to anger to hatred. Internally, you’re a churning hot mess, and you want an answer to the question:

How long am I going to feel like this?

Recovery from any breakup is hard

Any time a relationship ends, recovery can be painful and difficult. You feel bad, and you don’t want to feel bad.

Jennifer Kromberg, PsyD, wrote a short article on identifying five fallacies that people often believe after a relationship has ended. They are:

  • Myth #1: If the breakup was for the best, you shouldn’t be sad
  • Myth #2: If your ex was a jerk, you won’t miss him
  • Myth #3: If you miss him, it means you should be together
  • Myth #4: You need to stop being sad and get over it
  • Myth #5: Getting over it will happen quickly

The psychologist explains why these ideas are not true. Please read what she says:

5 myths of recovery after your break up, on

Now, consider this: The psychologist is addressing relationship breakups involving normal people, not sociopaths. If you’ve been involved with a sociopath, the situation is magnified.

The mega-relationship with a sociopath

Everything about being romantically involved with a sociopath is more intense. You’ve probably experienced many of the following:

  • Relentless pursuit the sociopath was amazingly persistent in trying to get something going with you.
  • Love bombing the sociopath showered you with affection and attention, quickly proclaiming his or her love.
  • Making your dreams come true the sociopath promised everything you wanted, and painted a glistening picture of your lives together.
  • 24/7 contact he or she always wanted to know where you were and what you were doing. You believed he or she was totally smitten with you.
  • Soul mate you have so much in common that the sociopath seemed to be exactly the person you’ve been waiting for all your life.
  • Unbelievable sex Your physical relationship was the best you’ve ever had, at least in the beginning.
  • Pity play the sociopath said or did things to make you feel sorry for him or her.
  • Sleep deprivation the sociopath never slept, and wanted you to be awake too. Sleep deprivation made you more susceptible to the sociopath.
  • Financial exploitation the sociopath convinced you to give money or pay expenses, to the point where your financial situation is jeopardized.
  • Fear and anxiety the sociopath did things that made you feel afraid and anxious. He or she may have threatened to leave the relationship or even cause you harm.

Experiences like these, both positive and negative, make your involvement with the sociopath into a mega-relationship. Compared to other people you’ve been with, the highs are so much higher and the lows are so much lower.

What does this mean when you break up? There is more to recover from.

Links to other painful experiences

Sociopaths hook us by targeting our vulnerabilities. They ask questions to find out where we’ve been hurt and disappointed in life, and then promise to make the pain go away.

This isn’t what happens, of course. Sociopaths create more pain.

But there is a gift buried in the experience of a relationship with a sociopath, and here it is:

The relationship with the sociopath is so awful, and the breakup so painful, that you can no longer ignore previous betrayals that made you vulnerable to the sociopath in the first place.

Recovering from the relationship with the sociopath is an opportunity for total recovery. It is a time when all those buried emotional disappointments burst into your awareness whether you like it or not.

You are presented with the chance to release not only your feelings about what the sociopath did, but your feelings about other people and events in your past as well. By working through all of the emotion, you can become truly healthy, and never susceptible to a sociopath again.

Take all the time you need

So, how long will your recovery take? As the psychologist stated in the article, it will take as long as it takes.

And given that ending it with a sociopath is not a normal breakup, recovery will probably take more time than if you’d been involved with someone who wasn’t disordered.

You will feel bad for awhile. It’s just something you’ll need to slog through.

So be tender and compassionate towards yourself. Know that you are doing a lot of work towards your personal growth.

To help the process along, allow yourself to experience moments of joy wherever you can find them. Do anything that makes you happy, from taking a walk in the park to watching a good movie to treating yourself to a giant chocolate chip cookie.

You may feel like you’re in a dark place now, but I promise you that it will get better. Hang in there. Believe in yourself. Take this time to work on your complete recovery, and eventually your life will become more than you have ever imagined it could be.




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50 Comments on "How long does it take to recover from a sociopath?"

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She’s not worth one more moment of your agony; she’s just laughing it off. Forget her a.s.a.p.


I was sorry to read your story, it does indeed sound like you have been exploited by a manipulative person, in a ruthless and callous manner. These people are…parasites they live off of others kindness, whether that be love or money.

I know it will be difficult, but you have to concentrate on yourself now, making sure you eat and sleep as well as you can. All my best wishes

Thank you, felix.

I’ve needed to “vent” about all this. But, I hope you are doing well, also. What stage are you in with your situation? I know what you mean when you said the “discard was blunt and surgical” and I’m sorry you had to deal with that….Was that long ago?


The first discard happened in Oct 14 and was brutal, 24 house previously she’d declare eternal love, and then the end game began. I didn’t know what was happening. Very callous and cruel. I was unaware of the stages of abuse, and was gas lighted into believing that I was responsible for the break down of the affair.

I knew then that this hadn’t been like any prior relationship I’d been in, so I started googling, and discovered the ‘otherworld’, that she may be a sociopath.

At the time I was consumed by black horror; in July, seven weeks after we began I knew there was something desperately wrong with her, and I was mulling over what I had gotten into and how I could get out. I didn’t even verbalise leaving her, she knew. She picked up on it and responded that she would kill herself if I left her. That episode went on for five hours, very tough and very draining. I was scared she meant it, so I stayed.

But after the discard in October, I realised the suicidal threat was just emotional blackmail, which made me feel even worse.

I went no contact, though she tried to breach it due to us working in the same company. She smeared me to people and made life miserable in the office.

Getting into to work everyday became a Herculean effort on my part. I spoke with a counsellor, who never flat out labelled my ex, but instead referred to her as disturbed. At this time I wasnt sure that my ex was a sociopath, I was still in the fog, still taking some responsibility for the failure of the relationship.

In early December she made overtures of friendship, which I now realise is the worst thing that can happen post discard with a sociopath. We talked and and said that she was considering councelling, was looking for charity work and essentially portraying herself to me as a person showing insight. A second episode of love bombing and I was back in, sort off. We’d enjoy Christmas, I said, but on 1 jan we’d sit down and discuss the craziness of the last year

The sit down didn’t materialise, she began to withdraw, and to devalue. She went missing for 24 and when I got in contact with her, she’d stayed at some guys house doing cocaine. Im pretty sure this guy was the ‘new supply’ back in Oct. I shut the door then. I told her she would never be part of my life again.

She’s tried to reel me in many times since then, and has got no response. Work has been hell, she’s smeared and vilified me to any one she can. She spent four weeks solidly trying to evoke an emotional response from me. Then she accumulated a gang, in work, and had them mob me. I consider her the most dangerous person I have ever met.

I have come to terms with what she is. She is a sociopath, I am sure of this. Normal people with a conscience, they don’t behave in this way. Normal people don’t try to destroy other people. It looks like I may have to find another job, cause even though she has a new target, she’ll never forgt that I bolted the door. They may discard you, but when you come to your senses…you eventually reject every single thing about them.


Hope the job hunt is going well….Or, maybe she won’t be working there much longer? Mine loves to jump from job to job until she wrings out EVERY drop she can use an innocent person for, then moves on.

Yes, it’s important to know, as my doctor pointed out, psycho/socios get a “high” from the torment they cause us and the control OF us which is why we go “no contact”. Be sure to go and STAY “no contact” as I have for the last 7 months and 7 days. I don’t have ANY desire to EVER hear another word about her unless it’s her obituary.

You don’t have ANY responsibility for the “failure” of the relationship. I’m sure you fully realize that, now. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure the smearing and vilifying at work. I know just what that is like.

I did NOTHING BUT go out of my way to help this person financially and treat her with respect and she still had to lie about me for her own psychopathic amusement. She constantly posts those sappy little sayings about “honesty” on her FB page with pictures of footprints in the sand on a beach…..that will say “just be honest”…..I KNOW it gives her a “thrill” and a “high” because she KNOWS she is the POLAR opposite of it and the fact that she has 1000 “friends” who will see & believe it.

You and I can do 1000 times better. And we will.

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