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Life is different than I wished, but now I accept what is

By Ox Drover

I’ve been on the “Road to Healing” for a couple of years now, working on getting over the worst of the grief of my losses. According to the author of Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome, Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T, the greatest loss known to human kind is loss by deception. I have surely suffered PTSD from the extreme losses by deception that I have suffered.

Ms. Huffer outlines eight steps to recovery for her LAS (Legal Abuse Syndrome), which she shows as caused by the legal abuse that our unfair judicial system heaps upon the heads of those already abused by others. Her eight steps for recovery are basically the recovery from the grief of our losses that we all go through in our attempts to recover.

“Health,” though, according to my education in nursing school, is not a “state of being” that is absolute, but a point on a continuum from Illness to Health. Recovery, I think, too, is a point on a continuum that goes from “Utter Devastation to Recovery.” I have passed the midpoint on that continuum from the point of “utter devastation” from which I found myself after the death of my husband and the coordinated and serial attacks of the psychopaths in my life. I now find myself reaching a point on the Road to Healing/Recovery where I have reached the milestone of Acceptance of WHAT IS, and no longer pine and grieve over WHAT I WISH WAS.

I am no longer feeling the acute pain of grief, I am no longer angry at my abusers, I no longer want to do them harm, in fact, I can actually pray for them with a sincere heart. I don’t trust them at all, of course, nor would I break no contact with them, but the worst of the horrible emotions I felt upon discovering their betrayal are no longer afflicting me. I am closer to Healing and Recovery than I am to the Utter Devastation.

Now what will my life be?

I look in the mirror, and the wrinkles are still there. I get on the scale and the numbers haven’t dropped any. I look at my checkbook, and I’m down a great deal of money from when I started all this journey. I look at the newspapers and the economy is still in the pits. Saturday night comes and there is no one knocking on my door asking me out.

So, how is my life different now than it was when I was feeling the acute grief of the devastation? The facts haven’t changed at all. My attitude about “what is” has changed. I am no longer depressed about the people I have “lost” and I am no longer depressed about the things I have lost. I am accepting of these losses as real. I am accepting that it hurt to lose these things that I thought were mine, or the things that were mine.

I no longer hinge my self respect upon what these formerly significant others think of me. I no longer blame myself. I am able to place the blame where it belongs, on those that hurt me.

I was able to tell my story (debrief) to people who believed IN ME. I processed through the grieving; the denial, the anger, the sadness, the bargaining, and on to acceptance. I worked through my obsession with what had happened in my life. I learned to appropriately place blame where it belonged, and to deshame myself for allowing what happened to happen. I realize that I was conned, in some cases, for a very long time, by people I trusted. I learned that because I am a good and trusting person, I tended to trust others who I thought, wrongly as it turned out, were trustworthy.

I have learned to reframe what happened in light of what I have learned. I have learned that some of the things I “learned” as a child as “truths” are actually untrue.

Because I have gone through these processes in grief and recovery, I am empowered, and realize that I have the new knowledge of new truths that are grounded in reality. I can accept a reality that isn’t what I wish it was, but I can accept it for what it is. The fact that “life is not fair” is a truth. I was treated unfairly, but that no longer defines who I am. I am getting closer and closer each day to Recovery and Healing in spite of what has happened. In fact, because of what has happened to me, I am a stronger, wiser and more knowledgeable person.

Recovery is an exclusive road reserved for the brave who have faced and processed their pain. Debriefing was the first step. Recovery is the last step, which becomes a lifestyle of skilled problem solving. The veteran now meets and solves problems with honed wisdom, courage, and tools. (Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome, Huffer, Karin.)


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48 Comments on "Life is different than I wished, but now I accept what is"

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neworld: Hi. I know what you mean, I care about everyone on the site, I came on tonight to see what’s happening with my friends!!

Joy: Great question, I hope someone can answer it… I wish I could! I went from one unhealthy relationship to another one, so I’m not in a position at this time to give advice, but I am interested in seeing the replies you get! 🙂

Joy You sound so happy and optomistic when speaking about this new guy, healthy, consistant, calm, he makes you smile and laugh, your at ease and comfortable just being you. Then you speak of your X as someone that was so evil and unhealthy. Your dreams of him are reminders of all that he was not. I dont think we get closure, ‘they’ will never grasp what you want them to know, it is futile. I think a new guy like you describe is the best medicine for getting over a toxic relationship, just enjoy being you again, and just think of the life lesson you have been through, live and learn or learn and live……….

Joy – my interactions with SPs have been with “friends,” not partners, so my response might not be as helpful as some others’. I don’t know whether I just lucked out with my sweet husband or whether some self-protective part of me made the right choice. But after getting targeted in an amazingly Machiavellian way by a major SP, and used and discarded (when I finally wised up and refused to play the role of their scapegoat/whipping boy) by an antisocial couple in that toxic circle, I came to the conclusion that the low self-esteem I’ve struggled with since childhood made me vulnerable. Others have mentioned, in other posts and in books, that SPs seem to have some sort of sixth sense in picking up on people’s vulnerabilities. I think I was too willing to let others’ opinions of and feelings about me substitute for my own. Since getting so brutally slammed by these individuals, I’ve made it my primary focus to heal my feelings of poor self-worth and then hopefully, I wouldn’t attract or be attractive to antisocials. It’s probably too soon to say whether it’s working as pervasively as I hope, but as I indicated in my post above, these efforts sure seem to be making a difference in every aspect of my life.

I think it is also very helpful to be well-acquainted with SPs’ MOs, patterns, tricks, and false fronts. I don’t think that would have helped me with the major SP, he was so patient, calculating, and sneaky, but it certainly would have helped me with that toxic couple.

Unfortunately, my ability to trust both other people and my own judgment has been shaken deeply, but on the other hand, maybe that’s not a bad thing, given how naive I’ve been for most of my life. In one of the books I’m reading (I think *Women Who Love Psychopaths*), it talks about how targets are often people who trust blindly and don’t require new people in our lives to earn our trust. I don’t believe I’ll be making that mistake again. I am constantly on the alert for red flags now. Hopefully, that vigilance will relax at some point in my life, but for now, I’m grateful for the knowledge of the red flags.

I think Henry is right, we will never get closure from the people who hurt us in this way. They don’t understand or care that they devastated us. They’ll never apologize, they’ll never say, yes, I was wrong, they’ll never even say, yes, I was half of the equation for things going bad. I think it is very hard for people who are not sociopaths to accept or understand this. Reading about these individuals’ traits, history, and personality structure has helped me to see that the only closure I’m going to get is to not care about them, not care what they think about me, and for me to not even think about them (eventually; not there yet myself).

At any rate, it is my belief that by treating ourselves the way our ex-toxes treated us in the beginning, but with sincerity instead of guile, we can reverse the magnet inside of us that attracts these people to us and us to them – we can repel them and find them equally repellant, see through their phony BS, lies, and manipulations (I was amazed when a therapist I went to see about the major SP, who knows this guy professionally – which made me hesitant about going to him in the first place – stopped me halfway through my story and said, “He’s a sociopath. I could see that right away.” So, some people can perceive this pathology from the get-go.). And as some other insightful people on this site have pointed out, we can then see the charm in people who might initially seem boring – break ourselves of the habit of finding predators exciting and appealing. LearnTheLesson had a wonderful analogy about picking through apples and finding some that are bad. She simply doesn’t select those and doesn’t mourn them. I’ve been extending that analogy in my life in order to strengthen my resolve and healing – e.g., if I step on a piece of gum and it gets on my shoe, when I manage to get it off, I don’t mourn the loss of the gum and wish I had it back. Or hope the gum will admit to having done something foul. I just watch where I step more carefully. But I can still enjoy walking.

Dear Joy..

I gave myself the closure. I answered my questions to him…myself. I was brutally honest with myself. For, I knew all of the answers. I know what it was, what we had and what happend. A toxic relationship. A deceitful story. Stolen money. A bad man for me in my life. For the longest time I thought I needed him to validate me…to “comeclean”…to “apologize”.. to “give me closure” – when in essence I finally realized he would just give me more lies, and say things he thought I wanted to hear. I just gave myself the closure because I can trust myself again that what I felt and believed and found out was the reality of us, was the truth – he was a bad person for me in my life who I chose to love – and ultimately made bad choices for my well being after the red flags flew – that was my closure.

Going forward, trust yourself…dont ever fall into a fantasy of sorts…let the new people in your life earn your trust — dont blindly give it away — react to red flags — know the red flags — never make excuses for them — just make a promise to yourself to trust your instincts , your gut…and walk away when you are treated wrongly or feel you are being taken advantage of.

It really is all about not letting others ever be in the position to have us second guessing ourselves or sweep us off our feet to the extent that they are our prince charming… decisions should be made based on what is best for us — not for others (in terms of their selfishness or neediness) they are responsible for themselves — we are responsible for ourselves and our decisions — we have to learn to make wise decisions based on our own lives – not based on dreams or fantasies! REALITY!!!

I got (for a while anyway) where I could spot the BPDs by their “love bombing” and I called it “upon MEETING, THEY START “making application” to be your BEST FRIEND.

So when someone says “You are my BEST friend” I stand back and look, especially if it is someone I have just met, or not really interacted much with. In a love relationship it could be a declaration the first week (or at least early in the relationship) of “you are my soul mate.”

I HAVE met one or two people that we just “instantly” clicked and these people are still my friends 20 years later….but it had to do with the fact we liked exactly the same things, were both of about the same educational level, IQ, financial status, and other things we had in common, including a MORAL COMPASS pointed in the same direction. They never made any atttempts to use me, or me them. Even when these people move away or I did, we have maintained the relationships closely over many years and many miles. I am not sure why I “clicked” with these people early on, but we did and it was a mutual thing.

My X-BF (the P) and I had “clicked” when we met 10 yrs before in our living history group, but he was married and I kept the relationship at arm’s length (though looking back now, I think he was looking for an affair then with me) but when I was vulnerable after the death of my husband and he was “foot loose” after his wife caught him cheating and kicked him out—I was the perfect “volunteer” victim to his charm.

Looking now at people, I tend to be very careful and cautious around people who “come on too strong” at first….as a big YELLOW flag! Once I see the yellow flag, I then start to be very cautious that red ones don’t pop up. So far when I have seen yellow flags, probably 50% of the time they change color to Red flags before too long.

I am also, now, seeing RED flags in acquaintences that I had ignored before…I knew they were there but just didn’t interact with these people enough to make it worth while enough to take ACTION, but now I DO take action at the FIRST sign of a red flag, and at the least move away from these people quietly and don’t give them the chance to interact any more closely with me.

Joy, glad things are going well for you.

Thanks guys, I know that I will never get the closure that I seek. That is half the fun for him, but wonder when I will stop longing for it. In waking hours, he is not so much there anymore, but at night when I’m asleep, he creeps in unawares. I guess the greater meaning of the dream is that I might have hopes to love again. Not right now but maybe one day. My boat guy was the only normal friend that I had in childhood. Always solid from a very traditional family. Successful and driven at a young age. Very introspective and at peace with himself. Doesn’t feel the need to fill every silent moment with words. He did make a point of stating that stability is important to him and that he is exactly the same as I remember in every way that is important. He knows that I’m lonely and vulnerable now and he didn’t try to take advantage of that which I appreciated immensely. Maybe someday a romantic gesture would be nice but for now the hugs and flirting will suffice. Thanks for all your responses. I love this place and those who frequent it with their support, understanding, and wisdom. I’m going back in a few weeks to see my friends and boat man again. My daughter wants to move there, and I’m considering being a dual resident. I miss home and my friends. And it would be nice to be totally removed from the Sp’s world. Don’t have an action plan yet but still strongly considering a partial move.

The latest man to woe me didn’t get far! I will never know if he was a p or not ( I am convinced he is), but the truth is NO-ONE has a chance to get anywhere near me at present. I have always had years between each relationship on my own (with just my kids)…(three to six years), only to end up with yet another p. But it has only been6 months since the last p.
Now I have more insight, I was never without a p in my life as both my older two children are! ( They have a different father to the youngest).
So this “poor” psychopath didn’t even get his first chance to humiliate me! Although I think he had a good try in the three weeks i knew him. His last text to me was “der”!
I was rapt to hear that ox-driver is sixty two. Now I don’t feel I have wasted my life so much. If ox driver can feel that way at sixty two, then maybe I am in with a chance too.
Thankyou Jim from Indy…your humour helped soften my hardened heart.

OxDrover….same here. Click with some fast, but both usually don’t say so or proclaim it in the same way a con does. Good advice from you.

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