Lovefraud received the following email from a woman whom we’ll call “Peggy Sue.”
I feel hopeless. I’m a target for sociopaths, or I’m addicted to them. My ex-fiancé was one. I was with him 7 years and was abused every way possible. I was so confused with the lies and double life. He said I was crazy and I went on tons of medication and was completely isolated.
I finally was able to leave after 7 years with the help of police, only to move back to my dads with nothing and to start all over. A month later fell in love with another sociopath. My friends and family think I’m gonna end up dead by him or killing myself.
I have been to therapy they all just say move out and leave. I can’t — that’s the problem. If I leave I always come back, like I’m addicted to sociopath men. If I finally get to the point of leaving, I just meet and love the next sociopathic man.
My life is passing me by. I’m depressed, lost, confused. Please help. Is there any hope for me?
Yes, Peggy Sue, you can turn this around. The key is to focus on your own healing.
Addiction and the brain
In another article, I explained why involvements with sociopaths are so addictive. The article includes a video of Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, explaining how romantic love affects the brain. You can read the article here:
Here’s another article written by Dr. Liane Leedom on the same topic:
Okay, so addiction to a sociopathic relationship is a known psychological phenomenon. It causes changes in the brain. It causes you to feel compelled to stay involved with destructive individuals.
To overcome this addiction, you need to focus on your own healing. Here are the steps to take.
1. No Contact
First, you need to break away from the current sociopath. That means no contact with him or her.
- No phone calls
- No text messages
- No emails
- No in-person meetings
- No visits to his or her Facebook page
Take all necessary steps to prevent the person from contacting you. Block phone calls and email. Don’t let anyone who knows the individual tell you what he or she is doing or saying.
Establishing No Contact can be difficult. Why? Because you’re addicted! So, just like anyone who is trying to break an addiction to smoking, drugs, alcohol or anything else, take it one day at a time. Promise yourself not to contact the person today, and get through the day. Do the same thing tomorrow. And the same thing the next day.
This advice assumes that you were in a dating relationship and you can walk away. You don’t have to have contact because of kids, working together, or some other unavoidable involvement. But even if you can’t totally block interaction, you need to strive for emotional No Contact. That means you want to get to the point that the person simply does not matter to you.
Just like an alcoholic trying to get off of booze, you need to stick with the program. I’ve heard from many Lovefraud readers who felt they were “strong enough” to interact with the sociopath, only to find that any contact sent them into a tailspin.
The longer you stay away, the stronger you’ll get. But if you break the No Contact rule, you may need to start rebuilding yourself all over again.
2. Do not date
If you are ending up with a succession of sociopaths, it means there is pain or vulnerability within you that attracts them. And of course you are wounded — you’ve been involved with sociopaths!
So, for the time being, do not date. At all. Do not join an online dating site. Do not let a well-meaning friend fix you up. Do not go places where the primary activity is looking for someone to pick up. Give yourself a breather.
This does not mean you should isolate yourself. On the contrary, fill your life with family, friends and activities that you enjoy. Keep yourself busy. Earn a certificate or degree that will help your career. Do volunteer work. Fill your life with fun and supportive people—even if they aren’t dates.
3. Heal the vulnerabilities
The secret to finding a good relationship is to become whole and healthy yourself. This doesn’t just happen it requires effort on your part. I urge you to commit yourself to healing the vulnerabilities.
This means looking at your actual experiences, not sweeping them under the carpet. It means acknowledging that you were injured, and figuring out how to move past the injury.
You may need assistance to do this. Use whatever method works for you — psychological counseling, self-help programs, prayer or meditation, peer groups such as Lovefraud. Just be sure that anyone you ask to help you understands what it’s like to be targeted by a sociopath, or at least believes you when you tell them what happened.
It can be scary and painful to face your experiences, but it’s worth it. The process may take time, because sociopaths don’t just cause one injury, they inflict a multitude of lies, manipulations and betrayals, and you’ll need to excavate many of them. Please be patient and gentle with yourself.
The good news is that once you process your emotions and release them, you are free of them. In time, with the vulnerabilities healed, you’ll feel much more happy and peaceful. And your hard-won wisdom about the behavior of sociopaths, even if another one does show up — there are so many of them in the world that it is certainly possible — you’ll quickly spot him or her, and have the strength to get away.
Focus on building a happy and joyful life for yourself, even if you are temporarily unattached to a partner. If you do, the right person will come along, and you’ll be ready.
Lovefraud originally posted this article on July 8, 2013.