You’ve finally figured out what is wrong with an individual who has taken advantage of you, abused you, perhaps even assaulted you. Reading Lovefraud, you realize that he or she is a sociopath.
Now, you’re an emotional wreck. You’ve been profoundly betrayed. You’re justifiably angry. Plus, the sociopath has caused you real problems. Perhaps all your money is gone. Or you’re in a vicious child custody battle. You’ve lost your job, your savings or your home. You suffer from anxiety, depression or PTSD. You feel so far down that you don’t even know which direction is up.
You are outraged by the sociopath’s actions. You are further outraged that after this individual bulldozed through your life, he or she seems to be facing absolutely no consequences. The predator has simply moved on to a new target, leaving you in a heap of ashes.
You want your life back. You want to sociopath to be accountable for the destruction he or she caused. And you want to make sure he or she never does this to another human being. But the predator turns on the charm, or plays the victim, or convinces everyone that you are mentally unstable. No one seems to be able to help you. In fact, no one even understands what you’re talking about.
It’s infuriating. If you were honest with yourself, you’d have to admit that you really want revenge.
“Living well is the best revenge”
This proverb was recorded by the English poet George Herbert in 1651. Perhaps whoever originally said it hundreds of years ago knew about sociopaths.
Right now, with your life in tatters, you probably feel like “living well” is an impossible dream. But you can start working towards that goal immediately—and stick it to the sociopath in the process.
The sociopath’s prime objective in life is power and control. If you deny the sociopath power and control over you, you take away what he or she wants most.
The power and control that the sociopath exerts is primarily over your thoughts and emotions. You can break that power and control, and it doesn’t even have to cost you any money. The first step, of course, is No Contact. We talk about No Contact all the time on Lovefraud, but if you need a refresher course on how to do it, read:
It’s true that No Contact is difficult in many cases, such as if you share children with the sociopath, or you work together. In these situations, you need to get to Emotional No Contact. That means you detach emotionally; you do not allow him or her to upset you. There are caveats to this as well, because sociopaths are capable of atrocious behavior that really pushes your buttons. In these cases, you certainly deserve to be upset—just don’t let the sociopath see it.
Remember, they want power and control. If they see that they have triggered you, they know that they still have power and control over you.
The key, therefore, is to focus on healing yourself and improving your life. It will take time. It will require processing the pain, disappointment and anger of the betrayal. But if you decide to recover, you can do it. For more on this, read:
This does not mean that the sociopath should get away with what happened. But if you want to hold the sociopath accountable, you need to do it from a position of strength. Working on your own recovery is the best way to develop the strength.
“Revenge is a dish best served cold”
The source of this statement is also unclear—it was first translated from French to English in 1846, but apparently was already a proverb by then.
It’s not a good idea to consciously go out to seek revenge. (Another proverb attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius states, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”) But as time goes by and you build your inner strength, you may suddenly find yourself faced with an opportunity to hold the sociopath accountable.
The sociopath, of course, will continue a life of destruction. Eventually, he or she may target the wrong person or seriously break the law, and someone may contact you to find out what you know about this disordered individual. Then, in a calm and collected manner, you can describe your experience, provide evidence that proves a pattern of behavior, and contribute to some type of justice—whether it’s getting the individual prosecuted, exposed in the media, or just ruining his or her efforts with yet another potential victim.
Revenge may be possible, but probably not right away. So focus on your first priority, which is healing your own life. Then, be patient. By releasing the pain and upset of your betrayal, you’ll be ready when an opportunity arrives for justice.
To you, justice will be sweet revenge.
Lovefraud originally posted this article on August 20, 2012.