On Monday, May 21, 2003 at 9:14 am, a miracle drove up in a blue and white police cruiser and set me free. I was in hiding with the sociopath who was trying to escape Canada into the States where he said he had money hidden. I didn’t really believe him but I didn’t care what happened to me. By that point in our 4 year 9 months relationship, I had completely given up on me and given into him. It was only a matter of time before he killed me as I had become an albatross holding him back from getting out of the country – at least that’s what he kept telling me. I know he wanted me to take my own life, but why bother? I was already the walking, breathing dead. What difference would it make if I physically died? I had given up my spirit long ago.
All hope was lost except for one tiny glimmer of light. It was a far and distant whisper. It was a memory of two amazing, awesome young women who were my daughters. At the time of my disappearance they were 16 and 15 years old. They hadn’t heard from me in 4 months since the sociopath and I had fled the province for Vancouver, BC. I’d wanted to call them so many times. To tell them just one more time that I loved them and to let them know that what had happened to me had nothing to do with my love for them – and everything to do with my loving the lie who was the sociopath. But I was too afraid. He had told me I couldn’t call and I had obeyed.
And then, two police officers walked in and took him away, and I was freed. I had seventy-two cents in my pocket, a few clothes and my trusty Golden Retriever who had steadfastly journeyed through that hell beside me.
Four years ago on May 21, 2003 at 9:14 am I was given the miracle of my life.
I am grateful.
Since that moment when life as I knew it with the sociopath ended and my life began again, I have been committed to my healing. Since that terrifying moment when they dragged him away and I sat and cried I have never spoken to him again.
In the intervening 4 years, every moment of every day I have grown. I have learned to fly. It has been four years of healing, of soaring, of embracing all that I am meant to be when I am free of abuse. Of sharing my joy, my passion, my fearless commitment to living life with no holds barred.
Monday morning, my eldest daughter called to congratulate me. She is twenty-one. A beautiful, accomplished, loving young woman. She’s just completed her diploma in theatre arts at college and is launching her career. She is learning to fly. In my daughter’s call I felt the wonder and the awesome joy of knowing that in these four years we have healed and grown closer together.
I am in awe of both my daughters. I gave them birth and because of them I am alive today. While I was with the abuser, there was a time when I desperately wanted to end my own life. And yet, there was one truth I held onto that prevented me from taking the step that would have changed my daughters lives irrevocably. That truth is a sacred trust I embraced from the moment of their conception and it is the truth I betrayed in loving the sociopath. Yet, it is also the truth I desperately clung to for fear I would drown beneath the terror and sorrow of what had become my life while I was with the abuser. That truth was and is, I love them.
In giving into the abuser I gave up on me. I let go of my light, my sense of self and gave into his lies. But I could never give up on the truth that I love my daughters. To take my own life would have meant aborting that truth with the lie of my death. And I could not, would not do that.
In healing, my love of my daughters is what carried me through those first days and weeks and months of sorting through the devastation of my life and trying to find meaning in my journey away from abuse into my life today. In loving them I knew I had to heal in order to help them heal. To help them, and myself I had to accept the present exactly the way it was without shirking from the truth of what had happened. In my acceptance of what was, I let go of what could never be, what never really was, and what never should have been. I let go of the sociopath and stepped into my power to stand in today without fear or shame holding me back from becoming all that I am meant to be. It is my love of my daughters that gave me the courage to face myself in the mirror every morning and forgive myself. I was accountable for what I’d done to hurt them — I could not change the past, but I could see it in a different light so that I could stand in the beauty of today without fear of the past becoming my future and theirs.
It is because of my daughters that I knew that to heal I had to treat myself with tender loving care every step of my journey so that I could help them heal and grow and learn and prosper.
So, when I awoke Monday morning and got the call from my daughter congratulating me on four years of healing, I cried tears of joy.
What an awesome gift. To have fallen so hard on the road of life and to have been given the opportunity to heal with those I love by my side. I am blessed.
Not just my daughters have travelled with me on this journey. My family and friends have also been there for me. They’ve reached out, given me a hand, a shoulder to lean on, an arm to support me when I’ve been too weary or frightened to step alone. They’ve helped me grow and through their love and kindness I have been rewarded with the ever-lasting gift of friendship and a chance to reclaim myself and to build a new life.
Today, my life is more than I could have imagined even before Prince Charming rode up and swept me off my feet. Today, I walk with my feet firmly planted on the ground and my mind open to the limitless possibilities of my life in freedom. As long as I stay committed to my own true self and walk without fear of stepping into someone else’s make-believe, the past will never be my future and today will always be a journey in love.
Today I know that there is no greater gift I give myself than to be open to the magnificence of my human being and to share myself lovingly and willingly with the world around me. With grace, ease and dignity I journey through each moment confident in the truth that the world is a reflection of who I am. When I am magnificent, the world is a magnificent place to be!
There is life after an encounter with a sociopath. On Saturday, I will be giving a presentation in front of 400 Victim Support Workers — police, social workers, parole officers, volunteers, prison guards. I will be speaking on my book, The Dandelion Spirit, A true life fairy tale of love, lies and letting go (www.dandelionspirit.com) and, I will be speaking about my journey from victim to victor. I am truly blessed.
It takes courage, commitment and a belief in your own self-worth to soar above the sorrow and pain of an encounter with a sociopath. It takes love. Of yourself. The wounded woman you were. The wondrous woman you are. Love of everyone and everything in your life today. Love without restraint. Without hesitation.
Love yourself for all you’re worth. Treat yourself with tender loving care. May you find yourself again in love with the wonder, beauty and magnificence of you.