Editor’s note: A Lovefraud reader sent the following entry from her journal. “About 2 1/2 months since the sociopath revealed himself for what he was, I’m now assessing how I made myself so vulnerable in the first place,” she wrote. “Shockingly I realize I likely still am… still am as vulnerable… until I do my next needed self-work: truly healing my relationship with myself. Deeply.” The following piece represents a step in her healing.
I was thinking about whether I’d ever be able to reclaim my memories, once sweet, once preciously loving, of the past two years”¦ ever since the sociopath revealed himself for the liar and deceiver that he is via his cruel departure.
I am grateful for his departure, don’t get me wrong. But I am still in the midst of my ongoing process to try to make Meaning and sense. (I have kind of surrendered to the hopelessness of “making sense” of it all. But I will ever strive to find, make, imagine Meaning!!)
I have found a volume of meaning so far. No doubt.
However”¦. A few days ago I was thinking about what made me vulnerable in the first place. What was the “hook” that hooked me so completely, so effectively, so surely from the earliest of moments?
(I have found some journal entries from those very early moments. If I ever thought I didn’t inquire, didn’t challenge my experience, didn’t wonder about the rightness of my next steps”¦ Well I found the proof. I DID do all the questioning I’ve come to expect of myself. I DID do all the challenging of the validity of the experience — not presuming it was True just because it was Good.)
The question: What made me vulnerable? What was the hook that got me (so) hooked?
It was those aspects about me that I could not / would not accept (and note to self: still have not accepted) as “acceptable.” The things about me that I KNEW eliminated me from the hope of being truly loved, the things that were wholly unacceptable”¦ these were the juiciest of bait. (Shit. Who was catching whom?? Is the metaphor wrong, or Freudianly perfect?)
- I was becoming quite and utterly convinced that I may not have the ability, the capacity to let someone love me, to trust someone when they claimed to love me, to be able to love someone wholeheartedly. Convinced that I may be so unacceptable that there is no one who could love me.
- I knew that I was inherently unlovable ”¦ and the outward picture of that was: my (then) smoking; my housekeeping; my weight. But these were the reasons my logical mind needed as proof in order to say “see, not loveable.” Truth is ”¦ this belief exists first. Not the other way around. Note to Self: Come back to this point”¦
- When he loved me IN SPITE OF”¦ amazingly UNDIMISHED BY… these very things that I hated about myself; when he consistently stated, and effectively convinced me that these things had nothing to do with what he loved about me, that these things did NOT DIMINISH his love for me”¦
- I suddenly see that it was this that allowed the walls of resistance, of fear and of negation to fall from around my heart. This acceptance allowed me to allow Love IN! I could suddenly for the first time let someone all the way in to Who I AM!! I let him in to the most intimate places in me because he proved to me that I WAS worthy!! To self: Who did I need convincing about!?? Who do I need convincing about today?
- I let him in because he jumped over the hurdles of what I hated about myself. No need to mention that all of this “undiminished love” turned out to be merely the tool, not the truth.
MY JOB NOW:
To remove the currently, unfortunately still potent possibility of being hooked by another sociopath.
To remove these hurdles to ME LOVING MYSELF.
To accept every last ornery cranky nasty grimy part of myself as the whole loving loveable being that I am.
To finally learn what it is to LOVE MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY. Because it is only this act, this change, that will remove the BAIT from the public square. To remove the possibility of being hooked again. To be able to BELIEVE the next person that offers me love, but not have to hand over my soul in the process!
I don’t know intellectually how I will accomplish this”¦ the resistances in me can even now be heard along the fringes of my thoughts. But my desire for my life, my safety, and my desire to know love again, and truly this time, is strong enough that I think THIS will make it possible. THIS will motivate me to do the work I need to do.
I am continually amazed at the damage that is being done under the guise of love. I, too, was a slave of “love” for so many years. I got hooked with my husband at age 20 and am now 57. So basically for 37 years of my life, I lived without experiencing total freedom. But I am blessed because I finally got out. I’m one of those unfortunate woman who chooses to be kind. Not boasting, but I’ve lived in such a way, that I wanted what I did to count for something. I always wanted truth and real. I had no idea what was going to happen after the “I Do”. Had I known, I would have said maybe. I tell my girls had they known the man I met, they would have been deliriously happy with their life.
What really gets me is how ensnared we become, in trying to do it right. It’s a very subtle snare, little by little they erode our esteem and worth until they have us, enslaved. For me, I didn’t know I had any options. I truly believed I had to live this way for all of my life or till he died or I did.
Had he been a real husband to me, I never would have been so vulnerable to the man I met on the job. Some would call our friendship an affair of the heart, but I called it someone to confide in, because he was so there.
Little did I know what would happen to the information I shared with him. I had no idea that men did this kind of thing to an innocent victim. He took my broken heart and smashed it. But he didn’t totally achieve his complete agenda and I believe that was for me to divorce my husband and take care of him. He knew I was attracted to him, but through many disasters on his part, I learned. I do a lot of deep thinking and comparisons and looking behind the scenes. I want to know if what I am feeling based on his actions is right. I’ve found out more and then some. This man who proclaimed us “best buds” is a cunning, manipulative, womanizer. I’ve been told he is a drug user. Nothing worse than a 60 year old, immature man, who is an abuser of woman, drugs and goes around deceiving others for personal gain.
I am learning to forgive and actually it’s easier to forgive them than me. I feel like such a fool for falling for flattery. I had no idea so many don’t mean what they say. Cheap words. I no longer take the flattery. Even the Scriptures tells us about flattering words and I knew that. My husband treated me in such a way that I felt unlovable and this man, who is 6’4″ and very nice to look at, saw me. How could he be wrong? Proves that all that glitters isn’t gold. It’s fool’s gold. And we really can’t judge a book by the cover.
He told so many lies that I never knew when or if he was telling the truth. I think the only real truth he told me, was after the devastation of his work and him exploiting me for money, I told him he should feel guilty for what he did. He looked me right in the eye, and said he’s never done anything he needs to feel guilty for. I knew that was the truth. Everything else was a crock of bull pucky!! I invested so much emotion on them and got nothing in return. Well, I do have my beautiful daughters and if I had to pay a price to keep them safe, it was a small price to pay and I’m healing and almost there. I kind of feel like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll worry about that tomorrow but today I’ll take care of me. I’ve learned that if someone wants something from me they have to ask, and I will decide if they are worthy. I guess I’ve become much wiser, but somewhat of a cynic. But this too shall pass.
It is so funny that you chose that name. I said I felt like a Phoenix, Rising from the ashes after I left the Bad Man. Later, I found the Bad Man’s ex-wife on the Internet and she had been a recipient of a home through Habitat for Humanity and in the pictures of the completed project, she had scrawled in the wet cement, “Phoenix, Rising from the Ashes” and the Bible verse. It really struck me… and that’s when I knew that I did know her story… in my bones.
Please don’t call that man and tell him you love him anymore.
Say, “Buh-bye Bad Man.” (maybe just say it in your head)
When you think of calling him to say you love him, do something loving for yourself instead. You will get much more out of it. :o)
Love from your friends at LoveFraud.
These men do see in us an easy target. They look for our weakness, and they also look at what is best about us. Mine saw that I am very caring and loving. He crafted a story about how abused he had been in his marriage to make me feel sorry for him. Where he saw my weakness is that I am shy and that I need to be loved. He knew exactly what buttons to push to make me respond emotionally and to trust him. Before I knew it I was hanging on every word he said. He became everything to me. I was completely in love.
The hurt began to creep in. As someone said kicks to the shin. He would hurt me, then when I was sad and upset, deny it as my drama. He would also give me these “whatever” responses and walk off. He was incapable of feeling bad about the pain he caused. He would promise to talk to me, then get busy and forget. His ignoring me was very hurtful and I know he did it to be mean.
There is no way to get through to these men. It is a waste of our time to keep going back and trying to make them feel things they are incapable of. They will only continue to hurt us. As Alohatraveler said, don’t call them and tell them you love them. Do something for yourself instead. I know any reaching out to my guy will only make me fall back into the hole he created. I want out of the hole for good.
Hi to you all,
I am 1 week out of my sociopathic relationship and I cant tell you what therapy it is to read others experiences and know I’m not crazy! I have been in and out for 2 years now and I hope and pray I am out for good this time. So many things to describe what goes on in 2 yrs time but after having run into his exgirlfriend and hearing he’d been sleeping with her the 1st six months of our “wonderful and so different relationship than he’d ever had”.. and then speaking with his exwife of 22 yrs and her tragic stories, pain and long healing process —- have I begun to believe what he still so expertly covers up. One of you was right – they become a man in ways that no other man can live up to. Generous, kind, expert at making you feel so special and important, intense sex, fun, laughter. Yet all the while your gut aches and you know things arent right, truth or probably what they seem. Well without going int to details… its been 2 years of all you have described here and I partly write this as a statement to myself to Keep Out. Now I just hope he leaves me be. Or will he stalk and chase again in his charming and convincing manner. Or will he sense the finality and do vengeful things or dangerous things. I’ve never seen violence in him but nothing surprises me. Thanks for a listening ear to all of you and I hope we can all gather strength and wisdom from each other and our experiences.
I am six months out — in a new relationship — and, yet not healed. This site is so terrific. It proves that I am not crazy to have loved someone so false, so consuming.
I still miss him — and hate him — and fear him.
Therapist says trauma takes a long time to heal. I wonder if that’s what is happening or is it the fear that I’ll never be that happy again that haunts me?
Please, all, keep sharing. It helps so much.
I have been out for good over 4 months. Apart from his betrayal and infidelity during our one and a bit years together. We broke up so many times, sometimes during those short break ups he was betraying me. He put up the ultimate barrier by getting a message to me that he had met someone else. I feel sorry for her, but I am relieved that someone else is occupying him. All those times he came back after we split (and I never once asked him to come back) I thought he missed me – but I misunderstood that taking them back just increases the addictive component of the relationship. 25 years ago I had a short 6 month relationship with a bloke who left me thinking ‘what was that about???’ very sore – and I now believe he was a narcissist.
what is a beneficent sociopath i have never heard of this before but i now think that is the type of sociopath i was involved with. i read it in one of the above blogs. my s path made me feel unreal confident beautiful and extremely loved by him in the begining especially. i think as stupid as it sounds thats why i miss him still not the bad stuff but all that amazing stuff he gave out. and i am curious and would be jelous i think if he was like that with someone else in a way even though i know he will hurt her too in the end. i think that is why i wonder what he is up to now if hes with someone else ect.
He probably is with someone else and if he is, he is doing all that same stuff. The key is to recognize that you ARE all those things he said, even if you never met a guy who said all that before. (You know how guys can be doofs!) But the dangerous part is to think that when he was being “nice”… that was who he really is. And when he was being “mean” that was just the sociopath at work. All of it is part of the sociopathic mind. ALL OF IT.
Tell YOURSELF all the nice things you want to hear and affirm yourself. When you find yourself thinking about him saying all the nice things we ladies like to hear, shut it off… go to the mirror and say those things to yourself. Or find some male friends, family, uncles, Dad, any good man that you know and ask them for an affirmation. You would be surprised what people are willing to do. This works well in a retreat environment, by the way.
I did something like this a long time ago when I was going through a “there are no good men” phase. I called all the men in my life that I thought were good and gave them affirmation. One of them even cried.
Anyway, what the sociopath said about you is true… you are beautiful, wonderful, clever, blah blah blah but I think what they have is a sense of what we are unsure of in ourselves and then they feed it to us like a feast. And we get hooked. That is why you were so hungry for those words and why it hooked you so bad and why you put up with whatever it is that you put up with. I did it too.
I am not sure how I missed this wonderful essay from Donna. I am working on just this right now. Looking at MY part in all the allowing myself to be victimized by all the Ps in my life. Allowing myself to be maintained in the FOG that obscured the REALITY of what was happening.
Why I allowed “walk on me” to be tattooed on my back, and why I was the one to “apologize” when they complained that my bones were hurting their feet as they stepped on my back!
Why I CHOSE to be so blind? Why I chose to allow the abuse that I KNEW was not what I deserved.
I am applying these things to my life now, not just to dealing with the Ps in my life, but applying them to all aspects of my life and relationships…why I would feel “guilty” if I didn’t “please” everyone else in my life, why I would not set appropriate boundaries with everyone in my life.
Now, I am lookiing at myself and seeing where I need to amend my boundaries and I am doing just that WITHOUT (for the first time in my life I think) feeling guilty.
What a wonderful feeling to be able to do that! I’m still a bit “wobbly” on my new legs, but growing more steady each day. Almost ready to take off the “training wheels” to my new power. Still questioning some of the boundaries, but once I “see” each one for what it is, (not colored by the “old me”) then moving forward more confidently.
Making decisions more confidently, with less “anxiety” about each one—realizing I don’t have to be “perfect” or “always make the right decison” to be OK.
Being responsible for myself, and requiring that others be responsible for themselves—not jumping in to volunteer to be responsible for others problems. No enabling, no wanting to be enabled. Being INTER-dependent with those I love and that love me.
A year ago I never even realized how good life could be—and I haven’t changed anyone except myself. The Ps are still Ps, and the enablers are still enablers, but by changing ONLY my reactions, and my way of looking at them, I have changed my entire life. LIFE IS GOOD. PEACE is GREAT!