How to recover from the ruin of a sociopath

Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

Last week, I posted correspondence from Arlene, who, after 23 years of marriage, was discarded by her husband and has lost her connections to her children. Arlene said she was so devastated that she just wanted her life to end.

Several Lovefraud readers posted comments of understanding and encouragement for Arlene. Another reader sent an e-mail, describing the steps she took to recover after she had been similarly dumped by her husband. I thought her suggestions were so helpful that I asked permission to post the e-mail, which she graciously granted.

Advice from a reader

Here it is:

Arlene…. I was where you are when I was 40. My husband who I loved and adored and truly admired, left me without warning after 12 years of marriage for another woman. All I had ever heard from anyone was what a wonderful wife I was, what a great mother I was (not only to our children, but to his two daughters). I was devastated, depressed, anxious, scared, fearful of anything and everything, and could barely function. I will not recite all the cruel things he did and said (but he did tell me “you will just have to get over it,” which is still unbelievable to me), but I will share with you how I got well.

FIRST, I went to counseling and made sure the therapist knew about the pathology involved with being a spouse of one of these evil creatures. Even when it seemed to do little good, I kept going and going and eventually, it did help. I sought the help of my doctor, took antidepressants for six months and stayed on Xanax for about a year for the anxiety. The medications were a bridge to emotional healing and stability.

Next, I volunteered wherever and whenever I was needed. I know that may sound impossible to do (and believe me I did NOT want to do it), but the more I volunteered, the more I forgot about my own issues and I slowly developed a grateful heart for what I DID still have. I worked at church, in my neighborhood, as a pro bono attorney, at my children’s schools and a domestic abuse hotline. I still now do all that volunteer work and would not stop for anything.

I counseled with my priest. I was taught how to forgive (and yes, it is a VERY long process and I am still working on it) and finally understood that in forgiving HIM, I was healing ME. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I asked God to bring me peace and to let me know how much he loved me and he did.

Let me also say…. I did some stupid things early on…I drank too much alcohol (I was self medicating and was depressed and did not KNOW I was depressed as I never had been before). I dated too early as I was so lonely, I DENIED that I was hurt and I did not let myself “feel.” When I did finally “feel,” I wanted to die too. I asked God at night to just not let me wake in the morning. He had other things in store for me. Beautiful things.

I promise you, there is going to be a wonderful life for you after the devastation this man caused. You are NOT the problem, he WAS. WAS is the key word here. Take a class, get a job doing ANYTHING if you don’t work already…. do yoga (that helped me too!) and stay active. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you LOVE YOU, you are perfect the way you are (and you are, I assure you) and that you ARE LOVED and that you are worthy of love.

I survived and you will too. My very best, stay sweet, stay loving and start with little steps towards the best life you are going to ever have experienced!

What works for you?

We all have our own paths towards healing. Mine involved a good therapist and allowing myself to feel the pain. By feeling it, I was eventually free of it. I was also in contact with at least one of the other women that my ex-husband scammed, and eventually more of them. It was helpful to know that I was not alone.

Have you recovered from a run-in with a sociopath? Or are you on the road to recovery? Please post a comment describing what helps your healing.

Those of us who have been there are the “wounded healers.” Our experience can aid those who are just beginning the recovery process.

Comment on this article

33 Comments on "How to recover from the ruin of a sociopath"

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Thankyou so much you. I read both of your last two comments and I think you give wonderful advice.

Yes I believe I do have the strength thankyou for having faith in me.I guess I feel as if the people I have held closest to my heart have failed me. A man they barely know they seem to believe his lies over me someone they have known for years.or there are the people who know truth about him but are too scared to say anything. I understand how the spath works and how easy it is to fall under their spell. So with that I can find forgiveness. But its still heartbreaking to realise my ‘friends’ even start to question me or doubt me and No one has actually stood up to defend me. People that I have been there for through there hardships dont seem to be around in mine. Its not that I fear being alone because I its just the realisation that not only has a man I was once loved so dearly has betrayed so has some of my dearest friends.

I have two beautiful children and although some days I dont want to face the world anymore I still get up and face the reality of my life and I try to just focus on my kids.

Thanks again
God bless

Hi Sam
You are very kind; and, I really appreciate what you said. Thank you.

It is hard when someone who said they loved us and who we did love — it is very hard when they have not been faithful and have been not committed. Betrayal is the worst cut.

Man is fickle. And, we know that spaths are only in it for themselves. They are the definition of selfishness and unfaithfulness.

In bitter hindsight, we realize that they were not man enough to be a man. They deceived us about who they were and what they could truly offer. We believed them. That is not evil to trust someone. The evil is on them for not being genuine and honest. For pretending.

It is really disappointing too when people who we thought were our friends, who we thought knew us and loved us for ourselves, turn their backs on us and walk away, when they listen to lies about us and don’t remember who we have been.

Actually, it says way more about them, then anything. And, even though it hurts, we need to acknowledge what we are seeing. It speaks to a lack of character on their part.

We want real friends, true friends, faithful friends. Good friends are actually few and far between. Most are just convenience friends or slightly more than acquaintances. Circumstances tend to reveal who and what they are. And, when they aren’t there for us anymore, it is best to let them go. Otherwise we are compromising ourselves.

We have to stay true to ourselves at all costs. I think that is why we get in so deep in bad relationships because we let our boundaries be crossed, until we have few or none. When that happens, who are we?

People-pleasing to keep relationships undermines who we are. If people stay with the spath for people-pleasing, then that is a serious compromise. Eventually, they will come to regret it. The same goes for friendships. To thine own self be true.

Why didn’t your friends come and ask you about things and find out the truth? Why not give you the benefit of the doubt? You would have done so much for them. It is nothing more, nothing less than selfishness and shallowness on their part.

We have to hang onto what we have that is good and let the rest go. You have two beautiful children and that gives you a very good and noble purpose to be the best you can be and to be there for them. Loving them will enlarge your heart and give your peace.

Be your own best friend. You know you. Love yourself, if no one else recognizes your worth. Believe in yourself and don’t judge yourself or your worth by the here-today, gone-tomorrow fickleness of mankind. They are poor judges for sure.

I don’t know if you are a believer, but God loves you with an everlasting love. His love is perfect and unconditional. And, He is on your side. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. He is the definition of love and faithfulness. He is closer than a brother, too. We never have to feel lonely.

God bless you and Hugs…


Your words are very powerful and have touched me deeply. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.Yes I most definately am a believer.Thankyou so very much.

Hugs to you also. 🙂

Yes Donna

Thankyou I know this site has Saved me many ways!


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