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How to attract a new relationship after the sociopath

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at Longwood Gardens in February, 2017.

Donna Andersen and Terry Kelly at Longwood Gardens in February, 2017.

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader:

I have a question for you. I’ve been divorced for 3 years now from my ex-husband who had a porn addiction. I’ve tried the Internet dating sites on and off since, and have had nothing but bad experiences. What do you suggest I do/ how do I go about finding someone? I am really lonely and would like to have a man in my life. However, I’m so afraid of attracting the wrong kind still. If you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

If you’ve had a run-in with a sociopath, before attempting to date again, you must first heal yourself. If you’re feeling lonely and afraid, it is an indication that you are not yet healed.

I believe that circumstances and situations come into our lives as a result of our internal states. The energy and emotions that we have within us are like giant magnets, bringing us more of the same. Perhaps you’ve heard this concept described as “The Law of Attraction.” I think it’s a real phenomenon, because I’ve seen it operate in my own life, whether I liked the results or not.

Negative emotion

When sociopaths come into our lives, they bring emotional betrayal, physical assault, financial ruin, psychological manipulation, family devastation—far more trauma than any of us ever bargained for. As a result, we are crushed, afraid, angry, frightened. Often our lives are on the verge of collapse.

We are overwhelmed by negative emotion and energy, which is totally understandable. So what happens? We get more of the same.

It happened in my life, and I’ve seen it in countless Lovefraud stories. The sociopath cheats on us, and we’re in a car crash. The sociopath takes all our money, and then we lose our jobs. The sociopath ruins our marriage, and then we get cancer or some other major illness.

So what are we to do?

Feel the pain

I believe that we must get the negative emotion and energy out of our systems. And the way to do this is to allow ourselves to feel the pain.

Usually, this means crying. Of course, we’ve all probably spent hours and hours crying, and we’re tired of it. We just want to stop. But the pain caused by the sociopath goes very deep, especially if we’ve had the predator in our lives for many years—years that we stuffed our emotions, afraid to let ourselves feel what we were really feeling. It may take a long time to release the pent-up tears.

Then there’s the anger. Anger is a physical sensation—just because we know why we’re angry doesn’t make it go away. Anger needs to be released appropriately. (It does no good to confront the sociopath, and may make matters worse.) My method of choice for releasing anger is visualizing the sociopath’s face on a pillow, and then pounding the crap out of it. The idea is to do something physical—stomping the floor, twisting towels—until we feel an emotional release.

But what often happens as we work on releasing the pain caused by the sociopath is that we find more pain beneath it. This may be disappointment in previous love relationships, anger at mistreatment during our childhoods, betrayal bonds with other people who abused us.

These are the negative emotions that attracted the sociopath in the first place.

In my case, I was lonely, even desperate, when the sociopath showed up on my doorstep. During all of my 20s and 30s, I couldn’t get a relationship with a man to work. I now know that it was due to my internal state, as described above. But when I turned 40, feeling that biological clock ticking, wanting to make a connection—well, I was primed to be plucked. Attracted by my negative internal energy, the sociopath swooped in.

With the devastation wrought by the sociopath, my pain moved to the focus of my awareness. I processed it. It was all I could do.

This is not pretty, so it is best done alone (unless you’ve got a really good therapist who can be with you through it). And it will take repeated sessions. You’ll release some, and more will bubble to the surface. Just keep releasing, until you drain the well of pain.

Healthy and peaceful

Then an amazing thing happens—when you purge the negative energy, it is replaced by peace, hope and self-love.

I am here to tell you that it works. Changing my internal state, moving from desperate to peaceful, made all the difference in the world. Not long after I began feeling better, I met the man who became my husband—in a bar.

Some people say you can’t meet anyone worthwhile in a bar, but location is not the issue. The issue is your internal state. If you’re feeling positive, healthy and peaceful, an appropriate person will just show up.

My husband and I have been together for almost 16 years. We are happy. Our relationship is comfortable and easy. There are no games, only love. And our love is not a lie—it’s the real thing.

Lovefraud first published this article on Sept. 14, 2009.



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22 Comments on "How to attract a new relationship after the sociopath"

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Thank you for this.

Evidently, based on my understanding of this article, I still have layers upon layers of pain, anger, abuses to get rid of. I’ve been divorced 17 years (this year) from a psychopath. It took me a long time, to live and move about in the small town I live in, and NOT be afraid of running into him somewhere. I don’t go to grandchildren’s events, in case HE might be there (and usually is). I haven’t had any relationship in all thes years; I am still learning to like myself as I am, who I am, with NO apologies to anyone!! I do get lonely and often I am afraid; but NOT bad enough to want someone new in my life. There’s worse things than being lonely and afraid..and NO I don’t want to attract anyone else (like he was) to fill that void. I’m okay without someone.

It delights the spath, by the way, to know that we are so devastated.

They caused us to crumble and that is very powerful to the spath. It is a huge win for them. We, who are going so normally and happily through life, have seemingly been destroyed by the spath. What could be better for them than to wipe that smile right off of our faces?

How f’ed up is that? Pathetic wastes of skin that they are.

Love hearing your “success story”, Donna. I love it when women – or men – who’ve been involved in bad relationships are able to turn their life completely around. We need to hear about these particular people because they hold the key to happiness. The suggestions you made really make sense. I had been thinking about this very topic, how to be healthy and attract a healthy man. This gives me some ideas to work out the kinks, so to speak.

P. S. it is amazing how many layers of emotional garbage I have inside me that has been caused by, first, a narcissistic mother, next a narcissistic husband, and a whole string of narcissistic men, several jobs that turned a blind eye to bullying….and one particular narcissistic so-called good friend, who tried to destroy me, and just about did! It’s also amazing how my marriage to the narcissist/sociopath/sex and porn addict from the 60’s-70’s affected my life in so many, many ways. He did the thing where he turned our best friends against me, too. Telling them god-only-knows what. To this day I have no idea what he actually said, but I have a pretty good idea because I’ve been reading Lovefraud posts for a long time now. Our friends thought I was a horrible person. What I am absolutely sure of that he didn’t tell that is that he was beating the crap out of me. How convenient for him. Throughout my life, this same pattern has repeated over and over and over (but not the beatings, he was the first and only). Wow! I just had the awareness while writing this that our mother beat the crap out of us, too. Now that I understand that kind of behavior, thanks to Lovefraud and a slew of other resources, I have only just been able to get in touch with its effects on me. It feels good to be in the awareness stage even though I am still processing all of it. This stuff has such far-reaching effects on people. I’m finally feeling relatively good about it all, and know that I’m having a slow breakthrough into wholeness. <3

The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference. When you truly put the past behind you, something better comes along!

This makes a lot of sense, fsufan58. Thanks for this awareness <3

Bingo!!! Perfect post!

P.P.S. Here’s an example of how this all has such a far-reaching effect on our lives. Sharing because if it helps someone else, it could mean a breakthrough for you, too. There is a grocery store employee at a well-known natural food chain, etc who has been downright nasty to me in the checkout lines, for a long time. He is just the opposite to everyone else. I have just ignored him and tried to humor him at times. Not long ago, I avoided his lane and waited for another checker, who is my favorite there. He called out to me to come over to his lane. I ignored him and didn’t make any eye contact with him, until finally, he continued to ask me to come over to his lane. I looked at him and said “No, thank you.” and stayed where I was. He didn’t quite know how to deal with that. Later, realizing how much this had rattled me, I thought about my options. There is another one of these stores along my route to work, so on the days when this exploitative guy is at my neighborhood store, I mostly avoid it, and go to the other store. For me, taking the path of least resistance has become my chosen path and it works very well.

I think what may really help is making a list of all the characteristics you would want in a new love or relationship with the first 5 being your most important ones . I think it will help to ” reset” what for you what is normal in a relationship and if that person doesn’t have the top 5 on your list it may be a deal breaker. Perhaps by focusing on the positives and what you would like to see will attract that kind of person . I think that sometimes we get stuck in the past and Hold on to those negative feelings which will attract more negative things . We can’t attract anything good until you have respect for yourself again and decide that you deserve more .

Ahh What a wonderful photo Donna & Terry. So happy for your health Terry!!

Another great post Donna!

I think it is important that people realize there are a lot of disordered people on this planet. You must weed out the princes from the frogs.

It’s estimated that 1 in 25 people are sociopaths!!

1 in 5 have narcissistic personality disorder!

That’s 6 in 25 people…and thats just TWO personality disorders! Imagine all combined.

Look at it this way….when you sat in school classes their were 6 people narcissist/sociopaths in your class room (25 students). When you walk into a party of 25 people statistically there are at least 6 disordered people.

YOU MUST ALWAYS BE ON GUARD to avoid these people. Experts believe that we meet a sociopath EVERYDAY! Whether in the deli line, at a party, in passing, at work.

Experts also believe that we have one in our circle of friends & family (& co workers)

It’s none stop trying to avoid these evil people.

The book The gift of fear by Gavin Debecker is excellent at remind us to listen to our gut alarm. Google “Oprah Gavin Debecker you tube” to watch their interview on this book.

To the person that wrote the letter to Donna, Have you thought about adopting a cat or dog to fight your loneliness? They are wonderful companions & you dont come home to an empty home. It takes time to heal & once you do you wont feel lonely anymore.

I am sorry to hear about your difficult and painful marriage and dating experiences. Please don’t give up hope of finding a great man as there is an answer. After a life time of attracting narcissists and a sociopath, I have finally overcome this addiction and now only attract loving and caring people into my life. I met a sociopath who hurt me very deeply. Each time he hurt me I used Emotional Freedom Technique and Matrix Reimprinting to heal that as well as my underlying childhood wounds which acted as magnets to keep attracting that type of person to me. This work has transformed my whole life and I have never felt as good as I do now. I now feel free for the first time in my life. I now spend my time on Skype helping to set other people around the world free of attracting this behavior to them.

Donna,
Thank you so much for your touching post and I am so happy that you found true happiness and love with Terry. I have been reading your website since 2011; a year after I was divorced from my husband of 26 years. At that time I was drowning in confusion, self doubt and devastation…I just couldn’t comprehend what happened to this idealic marriage. I came to your website looking for answers…and I found them.

Fast forward two years and I was on a senior dating site and thought I had met a wonderful, honest man. That relationship went off and on for 2 1/2 years. I again ignored all the red flags because I believed he really was terminally ill; and was divorced. Even when I found out he was still married but living in a different state; I tried to remain friends because I genuinely thought he was a good person. WRONG. I have purged girlfriends from my life for being dishonest. Why in the world would I keep a self admitted liar in my life as a friend and think he was now being honest?!!

I felt compelled to comment here because something you said really resonated with me….WHEN YOU PURGE THE NEGATIVE ENERGY, IT IS REPLACED BY PEACE, HOPE AND SELF LOVE.

About 8 months ago; I was led to CoDA (Codependents Anonymous). It wasn’t until I started working on the Steps that I came to realize what part I had played in attracting all these Spaths/Narcs in my life. I guess I always believed I could change them and everyone has good in them. How wrong I was; you cannot fix someone that is broken…even myself; until I fixed myself I knew I would never be happy and attract the relationship I deserved and so desperately longed for.

I am happy to say that today I feel at peace within myself and am dating a man that I initially kept on the back burner because he seemed “BORING” (i.e. None of that crazy love struck emotion as I have had in the past).
This man is a good, solid human being and each time we are with or away from one another I just feel this peacefulness and ease…. he means what he says and his actions match his words. There is no gaslighting, love bombing and triangulation. Calm and peacefulness has replaced Mind F’ing.

Thank you so much for the devotion you put into LoveFraud. If it hadn’t been for you I believe I may never have found my way to a happy, healthy life. I still read your site almost daily and each story I hear still resonates with me and triggers something from my past…the only difference today is that it no longer consumes me..but it does remind me of how far I have come. NO CONTACT was a huge help in leading me on my way to recovery…and reading new posts each day was and still is comfort that none of us are alone in our journey.

Please help me deal with my ex husband who is a narcissist. We unfortunately have 50/50 custody and he is making my life a living hell. Our daughter is not even 2 years old yet. I have zero family in the state we live in and he has a support system to help him. Help! Any advice please.

cassandrajk23, I’m sorry you are going thru hell right now.

Check out the site One moms battle. com…you are not alone. one moms battle deals with child custody & divorce court issues.

Also see their Facebook page. If you are going to chat on their Facebook page I suggest that you open a fake email account then a fake Facebook page & set the privacy settings so that you can chat freely without your ex or his friends or family seeing what you are chatting about.

If you go up to the top right of Lovefraud you can do a search on One moms battle & see what Donna Anderson (love fraud site creator) has written about One moms battle. Also Donna & Tina Swiften created a video (Tina is One moms battle site creator). Their Facebook page has over 30,000 members who are in the same boat as you = dealing with a narcissist.

Hugs to you.

Wishing you all the best.

Take care.

Teresa,
Not sure if you will receive this follow up to your comment but if so, can you please explain the healing techniques you use over Skype?
Congrats to Donna and to all who have taken this heart wrenching experience and have become better for it (and met someone better!) I left my spath 90 days ago and am cycling through extreme anger at him followed immediately by even worse anger at myself for being so stupid and ignoring so many signs and giving him all my money, ruining my credit,..allowing him to treat me that way for so long and then all this anger becomes a pity party for myself and what I am left with what I gave up how my life was going well and in two years I lost everything. I have full custody of our infant daughter since he has legal issues and a major problem with drugs so I don’t think he can ever have custody but I also know he will never chip in a dime for her support . After all the stories I have read on here it may be a good thing he cannot be in her life esp since he can’t hold down a job so who am I fooling that he would pay support? I hate that I was successful and reasonably confident and decent self esteem and a good person and because of the latter I am now a single mom having to file bankruptcy and start to rebuild all over again. I liquidated my 401k accounts for this asshole! I still cannot imagine ever trusting again and if I am honest with myself I can’t imagine having another lover he was that good even though I now know it meant nothing to him like I thought it did. I have read so many articles on spath abuse I know for sure he is a spath but some times I cling to a small hoPE that he isn’t and has changed and it was the drugs that made him act that way. I know that is wrong but I guess all the name calling he did along with the fact that I so easily gave him everything until I had nothing left makes me think I am a fat stupid bitch and deserve this hell and deserve nothing better than him. I find myself calling myself those names all the time and I do not want my daughter to hear it so its just on replay in my head or sometimes I explode when she is not around and yell and scream and destroy paperwork or anything else trivial (since I was forced to move back in with my parents I of course cannot destroy their stuff nor would I). And I know everytime I sob or rage or fall into a dark sullen mood where everything is wrong or can’t get out of bed all day or over eat or worst of all, wish he was somehow normal and that I could make it work, I know everytime I do these things he is winning. Even if he is 1000 miles away and can’t see me cry or yell or throw a tantrum like a child, he has won and is loving every second knowing he destroyed me and all my hopes and dreams. I do try to think positive and am going to try again tomorrow after reading this article and thinking about the law of attraction. Besides depression I have major anxiety and am always tired no matter how much sleep I have gotten. I read on this website about the adrenal issues the abuse can cause and before my two years with spath I was married to a verbal abuser for 12 years although his abuse and control issues are nothing compared to what the spath did to me.I just get so mad at how unfair it all is which is so childish but true. I am working on being mindful and staying in the present moment because I know the damage is done amd dwelling on it helps no one except HIM and I will be damned if I help him anymore than I already have! I hope to be like Donna and use this to become a better person and learn the lessons I am supposed to and even trust and love again. I just have such a long way to go and it feels like this is my new life from now on, anger sadness rage depression anxiety and regret regret regret ! Thanks for listening.

Excellent post, Donna, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. I sometimes forget how simply being present can be so elusive and yet be the answer to healing – I look for ways to avoid feeling: eating, the internet, obsessing over my home decor, etc. To simply just sit and feel is a life-changing gift. Even a few moments of mindfulness can have a big impact. I am reading Alan Watts’ book, “The Wisdom of Insecurity”. The book is a page-by-page reminder to just be present. ECkhart Tolle’s readings have a similar effect on me, as well. Often I don’t know what I’m feeling. I find myself processing non-verbal feelings from early childhood. I’m amazed at how easily the feelings come up when I am just experiencing them without trying to judge or quantify them. And as you said, the more healing I do, the healthier the people I attract into my life.

I remember some of the early dharma talks from some of the Buddhist retreats I’ve done. I recall the teacher saying that every moment of mindfulness is like putting money into a savings account. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.

I found a new relationship but now he has backed off, he may be scared of entrapment. I will go about my life and see what happens.

Psychologist Pat Allen says to require continuity, exclusivity and longeity. I won’t take him back.

It takes time to trust someone new.

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