By | July 24, 2012 75 Comments

Real Love After The Sociopath

I don’t remember the number of times that my friends warned me not to shut down after it all happened. How many times they’d ask me not to lose myself. To avoid becoming bitter and lonely. To stay open, despite my pain.

“With what you’ve been through you have every right to never trust anyone again” they’d say “but please don’t let this experience change you from being the loving bubbly person that you are — time will heal. Stay open”

Yes, I am very lucky indeed to have such wise and loving friends. I count my blessings and am grateful for such levels of support — particularly during the early days after discovering the truth.  At the time I thought they were referring to my ability to trust another romantic relationship. That was ok, because I was always ready with an answer. My well-rehearsed response would be along the lines of “It’s ok, because I know that my feelings were real, even if his were not — and I know for a fact that I experienced true love. So if I felt that with an empty soul, then when one day I find a real person, surely the experience will be ten times better?”

The thing is, though, I have discovered that real love has very little to do with me finding another person. That ”˜closing off’ does not just mean closing to the world and people that surround me. That yes, staying open is entirely to do with trusting and loving”¦. But loving who, exactly? And how”¦?

Rock And A Hard Place

As for all of us here, I’ve survived some pretty grueling experiences. My personal healing journey after the sociopath involved re-examining some of the old traumas that I thought I’d already dealt with. Re-opening the sealed emotions that were still hidden away, despite my honest belief that there was nothing left to discover. But there was. And to this day, there continues to be more.

There was a time when, to be frank, I was way too scared of going to some of the darker places that lay within me. Because I knew that re-discovery meant opening old scars and digging around in the old hurts. It was going to be painful, and I didn’t know whether I had the courage to go there — to really go there and find out what was within. To deal with ”˜whatever it was’ once and for all, so that I could be free and done with it. It was an almighty ask of myself — and there were many times that I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the task I knew lay ahead. I became frightened that if I went to the places that were beckoning me, I might never find my way back out. That I’d die from the pain, or perhaps be held prisoner for the rest of eternity.

On the other hand, I knew that if I didn’t go there, then I was doomed to stay stuck in the living nightmare that had become my life. And that, by comparison, was far too great a hurt to live with. So, caught between a rock and a hard place, I felt pushed to the limit. I had to make a choice. And I made the choice to dive right in, hoping and praying that by facing my fears I would come out the other end.

Having made the commitment I discovered that in actual fact the pain was never ”˜too much to bear’ and neither was I held prisoner. Quite the contrary. Looking back now, I imagine the journey as a daily trek in to a dark mine. Each day hollowing out more rock, my body and determination becoming stronger as I continued to work. The job, by default, therefore becoming easier as I continued scraping away, emerging at the end of each day with a filthy face and a dirty great smile.

Reflections And Sunshine

And you know what? I never did reach any impasse. I never did find any really ”˜bad’ thing hidden there. But I did find something. Something that I had never  in a million years imagined would be hidden there! Because underneath all the dark rocks and dirt, I found a diamond. I found myself.

I said earlier, I had honestly believed that I’d already uncovered and dealt with the emotional damage of my past. Because of that I believed that there was nothing left to discover. On top of that, I now realize that I had believed for many years that even if there was any discovering left to be done, it could only possibly be more of the ”˜bad stuff’ that I’d hidden away so many years earlier. It didn’t even occur to me that there might be good stuff to discover – DOH! And now I am thoroughly reveling in finding new stuff within — because I’ve finally tapped in to the real love that lies within me. And ever since the first tentative connection was made, it has continued to build. On a daily basis I am finding more ways to love and appreciate myself for who I am — yep, I’ve lived with ”˜me’ for close to five decades, but it feels like I’ve only recently started to know myself.

I am constantly chuckling at the reflections of this process of unfolding that are now occurring on nearly a daily basis. Just at the weekend, for example, I noticed a stone building by the river on a route that I’ve taken countless times over the nine years I have lived in my village. But I had never before taken any notice of the building. On Sunday I not only saw it, I went to explore. There I discovered the most beautiful ”˜lavoir’ (a covered area where the locals used to do their washing in years gone by) that had clearly been standing there for many lifetimes. There it was, an exquisite example of beauty and history right on my doorstep. Yet for so long it had simply been invisible to me.

As for my fear of becoming captive to the strength of the pain within? I now realize that I have been living my life as a prisoner for longer than I care to remember. The journey to cleanse my memories, my emotions, and my soul has ultimately proven to be my salvation.

So, for the journey, and for the real love that I am now feeling, I am once again inclined to thank my ex-husband, and all those who have done me harm over the years. I can’t begin to understand their intentions when they were being so cruel, but it doesn’t matter any more. What they did doesn’t matter any more either. Because whether it was intended or not, and whether because or in spite of their actions towards me, I have managed to find myself and re-connect to real love. The real love that was and always has been deep within me.

It turns out that it was not the ”˜bad stuff’ I was afraid of — it was the love. Not the darkness, but the light. Through diving in and facing my deepest fears, I have discovered the truth that it was no-one and no-thing that had been holding the real love back from me. In actual fact I had become my own jail-keeper. I had been holding myself prisoner over so many years. Even through years of forgiveness and self-development work, I had still been hiding my light under a bushel.  It was me who’d denied myself the love and the light. I was the one who had closed myself off.

So, since I was the one who had locked the door I was also the one who could open it and let in the sunshine. And as I continue to let the sunshine in, the sunshine continues to grow within me. And as the light grows within me, so my life fills with more and more love.

It was here all along. It always has been. I just didn’t know it. But now I do know it — and I also know that others share the same light. Like me, though, many are yet to discover their own brilliance. It’s there. And I’m here as living testimony that, no matter how impossible it may seem at times, there is indeed real love after the pain.

With deepest love to all. Thank you.

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Mel – thank you so much for this wonderful post. It is so true. We are all, always, enough. We who are not disordered have love within us, and when we find it and connect to it, everything gets better!


Thank you for what you have expressed! This is exactly what is happening to me, at this moment and I am reveling in it, ecstatically. It was as if I had this instantanious revalation of sorts. I no longer need approval, validation, or that of the like, from anyone outside of myself. I don’t need to know that others believe me, understand me, etc. It has all lifted. I am trying to figure out if this occurance may be coming from reading a book that I have been submerged in, or if several components of my healing process have brought me to this place. It is amazing and freeing, and a place of utter peace and personal empowerment. Like the finale to my process….

Ox Drover

Wonderful post, Mel, and that REAL LOVE for OURSELVES is what we must acomplish before we can again find real love with someone else.

One of my cousins was heart broken the other day, the woman he had been dating and fell in love with had two-timed him with a man she was going with as well who was an abusive alcoholic and my cousin was heart broken. He knew that she was from an alcoholic dysfunctional family and had a “history” of abusive relationships, and he had come from an abusive family and had a history of people being abusive to him, and he had hoped that they could “heal each other”—-unfortunately that’s not how it works. We must learn to love ourselves before we can fully have a functional relationship with someone else, another person who also is healthy and loving themselves.

The most important thing we can do IMHO is to love ourselves truly and totally, warts and all!

Great article, thanks for your input to LoveFraud!


Ox Drover, What you have stated is so true. I’m sorry about what has happened to your cousin. I hope his heart heals quickly.


I just wanted you to know, I made an account on this site just so I could comment on this. I can’t get over the fact that this was posted TODAY…just as I was beginning to research sociopathic behavior because of my ex. I broke up with him 8 months ago after he cheated on me, and I still am not “over” anything… I now understand that I enjoyed the mental & verbal abuse. I was so invested in him. I thought I loved him… The more I learn and research, the more eerily true it all is. Everything fits. All of it. The worst part is that I am 18.. and I am now afraid of a relationship ever again. This post helped me more than you know, even though it will take a long time to heal. I don’t know how to get over him. I don’t know where to go from here. The whole breakup was messy and I had to block him from my phone and Facebook. I since unblocked him on Facebook because I thought he was the “unknown user” spamming me and I wanted to check. Now I wonder if I should’ve left it be. I am scared. I am scared he will follow me to college or ask my friends about me. I’m afraid he will do something terrible to me. I have my own anxiety & panic issues, along with minor depression. I believe he knew that and fed on it. Therefore, I’m a wreck even 8 months later. I just need help. This site is the best I’ve found thus far….. I hope to learn more. Thank you.

I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced that.
Yes, he fed on your anxieties. They show on your face and spaths read faces like we read books. They feel nothing, no empathy, in response to your facial expressions except, they feel powerful because they can manipulate you.

You are a sensitive person and contrary to what spaths like to think, it is NOT a weakness. It is a strength.

But we don’t have to show our powers all the time. Be like Clark Kent, don’t tell anyone about your super powers. Don’t give people your emotions until you’ve learned that you can trust them.

Don’t be afraid. Spaths rely on us to ALLOW them to hurt us. If we don’t feed them our emotions, they slither away, confused.

I’m so glad that you learned this early in life. Don’t worry about love, there is plenty of time to get there. You need to first learn about yourself. I wish I had known what you know at age 18. Woulda saved me 25 years of hell on earth.

hugs to you!


This is an in inspiring article, and one that I wish I was able to identify with.

I have no intention of ever developing a love-based relationship, again. I have friends that I “love,” and so forth, but the very idea of myself involved with someone on a romantic level makes me absolutely nauseous.

I know that there are healthy relationships out there – but, not for me.


Mel, I hope someday my wife can go through this exercise and free herself from it all, and learn to love herself. she is coming slowly back to herself (and me) from the net of pschyco boy! I see so much strength in her. and yet i can see things in her past that she cannot yet recognize. thanks to all of you who have shown me that a person does not have to remain in the net forever! It was horrifying to see his power over her and liberating to see her strength become the shovel of sorts that dug her out.

may love find you all!


Beautiful post, Mel!

It’s the road I chose in a dream almost 11 years ago, cose to Christmass. Yes, it was about loving someone else unconditionally, but ultimately it was what I needed to choose in order not to close the light on myself.

The dream was on an airport, where I had arrived and was ‘picked up’ by a man who presented himself harsher and more rational than he actualy was. I fell in love in reality and thought we were meant to be together, but instead he only picked me up from one plane to drop me off at the gate of another plane. I was devestated when I realized I had to depart without him and say goodbye to him. Gosh and that narrow, hallway/corridor tube that led to the plane’s door was old, and dirty, and looked utterly depressing. And everyone who stepped into that tunnel because they thought this was what they were supposed to do also looked so depressed, turned inwards, never looking up at the environment around them.

It was time to go, and he wanted to give me a kiss and for a moment I was literally struck with blindness. I even opened my eyes physically for real then, in order to see, but couldn’t. Everything was black. But he moment I was kissed, I could see again, and I noticed this enormously broad white tiled gate hall behind him. The white tiles were shining with brilliance from the sunlight pouring in from the windows… the walls were windows. There was NOBODY walking there. It was empty. And yet I realized this hallway would lead me straight to the same plane. I always saw it as the path of LOVE in a spiritual sense – religious people could see it as God’s love.

Once I could see it, I did the ‘crazy’ choice of the heart, rather than the mind. I took that path, straight to the open garage door at the end where I’d be on the tarmak of the airport and catch my plane that. However, this man I loved who told me to get on another plane stood between me and that path. So, I put my hands on his chest and pushed him along with me. So, this choice for myself did include taking him along on it.

And though of course this man had hurt me deeply by saying it would never work out months before I had that dream, and it left scars and I went a long road as single for 8 years and I had trust issues with men and their commitments and standing by their feelings, which ultimately led me to the spath’s trap… that choice of the spiritual love path I took back then also in a way protected me.

Why do I feel and think that? Well, Whether I had chosen the depressing ‘forget about him’ narrow corridor or that spiritual love path, I would have been scarred anyhow and would have made a mess of it anyhow in the years after. I have enough information on two other men I was involved with somehow (though not bonded) who probably are spaths, at the very least abusive (not to me, never got that involved, but to the partners they had after me). So, I was bound to get involved with a spath irregardless of my choice at the turn of the century.

But the choice I made had its protective impact. First of all it set me on a path to date lots of men and get a more realistic view on both sexual and romantic interactions. A couple of days ago I came across some diary writings I had done of the period before I met this man that forced me to choose for spiritual love. I read it and was absolutely amazed on how my mind worked when it came to men. I’d analyse any movement, any look, any avoidance of looking in some romantic context, wondering what they were thinking of me, etc… At the very least a lot of it belonged in fantasy land and showed no understanding on how feelings grow with people, not even myself. I simply cannot recognize that young woman with who I am today anymore. I’m still undecided whether I’ll throw it away or not. The sole reason for keeping it would be because it also contains stories of my best friends. Had I got involved with a spath in that period I’d have been a total doormat for years and years and years. Instead I met a man who was rightfully scared of my experience of love (like in a modern fairytale) and harshly woke me up from it by his decisive rejection, and instead put me on a different path (the different plane) to find out reality for myself and all by myself.

By the time I met the spath I didn’t think anymore as I did ten years before that. He still conned me, but I didn’t believe in romantic fairytales anymore. And while he bonded me, he did not evoke such strong feelings in me as the man of my past who had rejected me. The spath did his damage, but not as much as he thought he could. All in all I was well enough grounded that I kept pushing him to be responsible for himself until I eventually I stopped helping him, which is when he actively started to look for someone else to do it for him. I didn’t like what was going on, it hurt, but I did not start to enable him again either. And the moment he discarded me, I instantly knew I never deserved it and could see him exactly for what he was.

It protected me in a third way: Once I realized the spath was a spath, I did not have the feeling I could never love again nor that I would never be loved again. I felt love for myself and others, including this man of my past still – before, during and after. That part of me was left unhurt and untouched.

The 4th manner in which that spiritual love path protected me was how I kept the connection to this man of the past. He was a major source of inspirition in changing my life around to being more fulfilling, even though I was single. But all that I lived and experienced through that inspiration was my treasure chest to fight the addictive bond and the fake good memories of the spath. The treasure chest of happy memories helped me to silence the addiction , since they were all the evidence I needed to positively prove that I could be happy without the spath.

This self-love is like a boomerang to me. It gives you the ability to see that if you let others free what kind of ‘love’ you are dealing with: either it is like a boomerang and returns, or it was just a stick to try and beat you with.


I suspect that you will encounter eerie similarities in relationships after enduring this that at least for a while may cause you to recoil from good people. but take the time to study and learn that the bad ones can be rooted out and the best way to discern between them is to watch what they do instead of listening to what they say. also watch for actions that have no return. the disordered do not do for no self gain. they only do for others if there is something in it for them. dont be afraid to do lots of checking up on past history. there is a lot of good in humanity, we just need to keep our eyes open, be patient, and know before we hand over our hearts.


Muziklvr101, I am so sorry that you had your experiences, but I am grateful that you have had the strength and resolve to see what truly was and educate yourself at age 18. My dear god, if I were only 18 with the experience that I have, now!

You have your entire life ahead of you, Muzik….you have an opportunity to educate yourself, academically, spiritually, emotionally, and in every way and the time that you lost with the ex is just a drop in the proverbial bucket of your life.

No, you’re not “over it,” yet….of course not. It takes time to recover….sometimes, we never completey recover from long-term spath entanglements. But, take absolute delight in this fact: you did not enter into a legal, binding contract of marriage, nor did you produce an offspring with the ex that would have tied you to him for the rest of your life, in some way.

Oh, if I could only reach out and hug you tight! Learn about yourself from your experiences, my dear. Learn how valuable you are in this vast Universe, and that you never, EVER (caps are emphasis, not yelling) need to allow anyone to treat you badly because you feel the need to be loved, accepted, or approved of. You have the ability to provide all of these most important “Self-isms” to yourself. When the “right one” does come along, you won’t be compelled to compromise any of your personal values to gain his acceptance, approval, or love. They will all just be an adendum to your own self-assurance and self-confidence.

Brightest, brightest blessings…….


I have a question for those who are in a relationship again… I wonder how it was to ‘fall in love’ again, and if it was significantly different than before. I’m asking because I’m experiencing a strange calmness about it. If people were to ask me if I’m in love at this moment I’d say, “Yes”, and yet it has never felt this peaceful before. It’s like nothing changed internally at all. I’m not distracted. I can focus on my life and what needs to be done fine. I don’t feel happier, nor anxious. I’m not daydreaming, fantasising. I don’t need attention from him, and don’t feel pressured into giving it either. I’m not complaining. I actually like it a lot. But I’m wondering whether I’m the sole person who experiences being in love after the spath in this way?


Your very wise thoughts are echoed in a book I just read, “Fidelity” by the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Han. He says that true love can only occur when we have true love and understanding of ourselves. Then we can extend that to someone else. Knowing ourselves requires the courage to go inside and face all of the fear, pain, anxiety, discomfort, and unresolved emotions lurking within ourselves. I have several friends who say to me, ‘I cannot meditate. I’ve tried, but I have ADD.” It’s very unfortunate that they will never experience the depths of what causes them to constantly seek entertainment and distraction and prevent them from sitting quietly and looking inside.

For me, I am finding the answers to all my suffering with men in really opening up to my own pain. It is very freeing to take responsibility for my own happiness and not expect someone else to make me happy. I am starting to attract some very happy and joyful people into my life, and the connections are wonderful. But when those people are not around, I don’t feel unhappy. Last night I was dancing with such a man – not the world’s greatest dancer. We are both learning and beginners in salsa. But he was so filled with joy and excitement that it was very contagious, and dancing with him just multiplied my joy. I was still feeling happy when I woke up this morning and danced in my Zumba class, letting the teacher’s enthusiasm raise my energy level, too. Just last week, I was in a very dark place, having some fearful thoughts about someone, and this caused me a lot of pain and shut down – a catastophic fear that seems to be a pattern in my life with men – something that’s always been like a big dark shadow hanging over me, jealousy and the perceived threat of other women. I sat down, went inside, and faced the fear head on for once. I found that I there was a lot of past hurt that I’d never felt before. Because I’d never felt it and was not even aware of its existence, I allowed men to treat me in ways that didn’t feel good. And then I’d get angry and direct my anger toward them as if they were in charge of my happiness. It felt good to take back the control over my own feelings of happiness and unhappiness. I never realized before that this was possible – I was just caught up one unconscious relationship after another. That was not real love. I was amazed at how easy it was to do. I have always had this image of my healing of core issues somewhat of a huge mountain I had to climb, and no amount of therapy would ever be enough. In reality, all it took was a few minutes of complete mindfulness, being in the present moment with what I was truly feeling. I’m still working with this pain. I have not completely cleared it yet. But I feel like I at least have an understanding of what to do. I have a roadmap.

I am amazed that doing this kind of meditation and going inside to actually face things – instead of distracting myself – has brought more joy and more energy into my life. I don’t know what the future holds, but I feel like I have a set of tools for my own happiness, no matter what happens.



I understand that feeling! That’s what I mean with my question about ‘being in love’ and yet not being a bit phazed about it. I don’t feel this man is the basis of my happiness at all. I am fond of him, he can make me smile and feel excited, but my happiness and joy comes from within and has everything to do with myself and not him. It’s not his responsibility at all to make me happy, though I’m sure he wishes me to be; likewise I don’t feel it’s my responsibility at all to make him happy, though I wish him to be happy.

I realized this even more when I read that diary writing of mine of more than 13 years ago, when I was in my mid 20s. Back then I tried to find out anything I could, wondered what the guy was thinking when I was near and when not. Did a guy think of me as much as I thought of them, basically was what preoccupied my mind. And each thing they said or how they moved was important and to be deciphered as if it was doublespeak or something. Oh gosh and some of these man I had these obsessive crush thoughts about… It all jumped out to me how they didn’t care, nor thought of me. I was only of interest when I gave them attention. One even showed red-flag tells, such as ‘warning’ me with ‘I’m dangerous’. A lot of that type of thinking had been burned and grown out of me over time and with experience; but when I was in love I’d get partl in that state again; and certainly the spath lured me back into deciphering doublespeak.

But now I don’t have that at all. None of it.



You should write. You are an inspiration and so eloquent. When you guna put pen to paper and write an article?

Hope you’re feeling better?

Hugs from your friend, SW


Strongawoman….thank you. There are a couple of articles floating around.

I’m okay – not great, but okay.

Brightest blessings



Brightest blessings? ……may they be bestowed upon you. You’re ok? It’s a start. The only way is up now. First stop LF….next stop the world. I think we would be friends in real life, my friend. I like your style.

Yihaaaaaahh. towanda

kim frederick

Dar’smom, It sounds lovely. No, I haven’t experienced being in love and being at peace in the aftermath. I haven’t been involved with anyone in almost 6 years, but if ever I do, I would aspire to what you describe.
It is not only getting involved with another toxic charactor that scares me, it is my own tendancy to re-act to a relationship in my old trauma bonding ways…to obsess and try to second guess and loose myself and my hard-won peace of mind to the crazy’s.

Maybe one day, but for now, I’m content. I’m very happy for you, though. 🙂

I fall in love easily I guess. It’s easy for me to love people, not matter what. That used to be a problem but now it’s not. Things are definitely different with my new BF, but it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. I’m no longer dictated to by my emotions. I see all his good and bad points clearly. The cog/diss comes on and I can SEE the cog/diss.

I have to say something though. My spath, a few months before I left him, when he was being particularly cruel to me, out of the blue said, “It’s not my job to make you happy, you know.”

I never said it was. I don’t know where the fuck that came from.
I never accused or demanded anything from that slime bucket. Not a thing. I let him do whatever he wanted and just sat back and watched. Yes, I was miserable but I never said a thing, FOR A DECADE OR MORE. (caps for emphasis)

So what was the point? He was trying to mess with my head. Spaths will do that. If it possibly occurred to me that I was unhappy because of him, I was supposed to now feel guilty because I expected him to make me happy?! no. it didn’t work.

Granted, I didn’t know what he was, but I knew he was cruel, I just didn’t know why.

My point: it’s not cut and dried. our relationships ARE supposed to make us happy. Otherwise, WHY THE FUCK HAVE THEM? (Caps are yelling) No, the other person is not RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR HAPPINESS (Caps for emphasis), but they aren’t supposed to make you miserable and they shouldn’t be dead weight either.

Here is something I emailed to a friend today:

The answer is to see how spaths operate and how WE operate and how when the two dynamics are working together, you have a problem.

It’s why Girard says (paraphrased) “there is no such thing as an individual. There are interdividuals.” So that when two or more people come together, (physically, or in essence) a new “person” exists for that time. It is the dynamics of the relationship/t that define the interdividual. We need to see people as relationship/ts to understand psychopathy.

or even to understand humanity. It’s why I study Girard’s work. He explains that better than anyone.



Exactly…I was anxious a couple of weeks ago. I had that itchy feeling (like sprigtime feeling) that kinda made me wanna fall in love, and I thought ‘oh my, here we’ll go again’… I saw myself as if standing on a cliff and the rollercoaster into the ravine. I actually lingered on that spot for a while already, undecided. Until I felt that I could either go backwards or just have faith in myself that I’d land on my two feet (like a cat does). So I took a step forward, and as soon as I did, I learned that whole cliff, rollercoaster thing was but a very well drawn tromp l’oeil. There just isn’t a cliff, nor a rollercoaster, nor a ravine… I was grounded and am still grounded.


I do get what you’re saying about the ‘relationships aren’t supposed to make us unhappy, but happy, even if the other person is not responsible for our happiness and vice versa. As I said, I am happy and I do feel passion and joy and enjoy this man being in my life. I’m just not on a rollercoaster of extreme heights and lows. It’s comparable to friendship: they contribute to my happiness, don’t make me miserable, and aren’t rollercoasters either… except I don’t feel passion for my friends. The only reason I can call it being in love is because aside from friendship I also feel passion.

I’ve always seen a relationship as a third entity… to me it was a bridge, with the two people being the pillars the bridge rests on. And I was always capable of having a good sturdy bridge with friends, but the romantic bridges tended to be a mess, because the other piller was either not a pillar to rely on or because I constructed either something too lofty as I was ungrounded or something too rigid out of fear it would break otherwise.

I guess the best way to describe it is that I feel love and passion and caring but without a rollercoaster and certainly no dramarama. It’s just that I used to think that passion was the rollercoaster… and I’m just experiencing they are not the same thing at all.


Strongawoman, thank you for the vote of confidence. It’s a lot of “self-talk,” right now, but believing that I’m okay will make it so, in due time. 🙂

Skylar, Kim, & Darwinsmom, I will never allow myself to entertain a romantic relationship, again. I have so much to fix that was so desperately broken – those beliefs and fantasies about love have been proven to be erroneous. So…..I guess I need to learn how to love me, for a change. I think that I will be very protective of that, once it finally blossoms, and no amount of expenditure will be spent on someone else. If that makes any sense, I would be amazed.

Brightest blessings



Honestly, your new relationship sounds really healthy and happy! I have never experienced a romantic relationship without those ups and downs. I don’t think I am ready for it yet, but I have a roadmap, and I understand how it happens and where the real source of love lies. What an inspiration you are!


Darwinsmom, “healthy” is the operative word, and it’s wonderful that you are experiencing this! Sincerely, that you have the experiences under your emotional belt to recognize healthy from toxic is fantastic. You’re able to make good decisions based upon “fact” and not “feelings” is tremendous power. Wonderful…..simply wonderful.




It does make sense, but I think you may be too hard on yourself. Up until a couple of weeks ago I thought that ‘being in love’ = ‘obsessive fantasising about the illusional’… exactly because that’s what I turned out to be doing with both good guys as well as bad guys. I was VERY reluctant to take that step of being in love… until I realized it was keeping me stationary in life, and I remained stationary until I had gathered enough courage to tip my toe in the water so to speak. But once I did, no obsession, no fantasising, no aircastles plague me at all.

My best friend (the one with that guy in her life who makes me vomit) asked me what I would do in such and such possible future situation with the man… I was frowning as I was trying to imagine this (and had a hard time imagining it, not because of him or myself, just because I totally accept that I have no idea what the future may be at all). I looked at her and replied, “I guess I’d have a lengthy and healthy conversation with him.” I can’t think or imagine things beyond that statement, except that it will take time and space and peace.

I can only conclude that all those false beliefs, that romantic movie-taught shit and getting ahead with myself in lalala-fantasy-world have been cured out of me, and with just one proper way to do it: loving myself, validating myself and say ‘wait, I have to give this time and space and peace and feel and see what I really want and think of this.’

I understand you are thinking, “I was always such a romantic fool in the past and see where it got me”, and I understand why you are thinking that romantic relationships and romantic foolishness are intrinsically entwined with each other. But then you’re not acknowledging the fact either that you are going through a very dramatic change. The way you look at people now and yourself and your own needs and responsibilities is probably 180° different than what it used to be.

I can totally understand why you would say, ‘not now, I’m only committed to myself right now.’ That’s exactly how I felt until a few weeks ago. And actually, I’m still committed to myself. I don’t feel committed to him yet. I’m just starting to explore this feeling of passion within me without it being a rollercoaster. I am being very gently and patient with myself, which is loving myself, by sticking in more than just my big toe in the water. I’m not going to just suddenly dive into it, and fortunately he’s not calling me chicken nor daring me to dive.

All I’m trying to say is (a) keep learning to love yourself and be committed to yourself (b) yes, you had illusional beliefs about romance, but they are not your beliefs anymore (c) do not exclude the possibility of a romantic relationship in your future either. (d) when an opportunity blossoms you keep still doing (a) and find out that the old way of thinking does not apply to you anymore.

As for the relationship itself – at the moment it’s a friendship where feelings have been expressed mutually, with me not making any further commitment that in time I may want to physically move beyond friendship. I haven’t made any further commitment and I cannot think beyond that at present.


Guys, if you feel so inclined to read a book that is not about spaths, this book called “Fidelity” by Thich Nhat Han is a very short read and really excellent discussion about what true love really is. I borrowed it from the library and read it in a few hours. (That was a welcome switch after just finishing Stephen King’s The Stand, which was 1439 pages!). Anyway, he talks a lot about sensual desire and what happens when it’s not balanced with emotional and spiritual connection. Really a good read.


A really good book about loving yourself with exercises that help you come up with examples in your personal life of genuine love and centering yourself and discover your own feelings is ‘Truly Loving Yourself’. Don’t know the author out of my head, and I already moved that book to my new apartment, though I’m not yet living there. And a quick search on the internet didn’t help either. I’ll take a look tomorrow when I stop by there for a next set of boxes to empty. I do know that she had an abusive childhood and past relationships.

The first exercise made me weep, not of sadness or pity, but because it helped me realize exactly who actually cared for me… so it was because of overwhelming gratitude. It was a list of questions I had to answer about my childhood and about my adult life, such as who cheered when I did some sport activity, who read me stories, who hugged me when I was sad, etc… It made me realize that most love and genuine caring needs no more than friendship, and that friendship is the basis for any loving relationship.


Darwinsmom, the interesting thing about the “friendship” aspect is that I believed(or, was led to believe) that the exspath and I were “friends,” first.

Right now, I’m emphatic about not entertaining a partnership simply because I’m not okay, yet. Maybe, I’ll get to the point where I am, but even then, it’ll be my choice whether to let someone else in, again, or not. And, as far as I can see, there’s no benefit of having a partner – this is strictly applicable to me, and nobody else. Like I said to someone, recently, “I need a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” And, I mean it.

Now, this is not to say that I don’t like men. I have many men friends and mentors that I respect and whose company I enjoy. But, the romantic involvement isn’t for me, possibly forever. And, that’s okay.

I’m thrilled when others have found a peaceful and healthy relationship. I know that they exist and are successful. I don’t feel a sense of envy, anymore, because “it is what it is,” so to speak. And, I’m okay with this.

As far as the mad passion goes, I’m getting long in the tooth for that kind of nonsense, so it’s cute, but unrealistic for me, personally. 😀

Brightest blessings!


Even friendship need time to be built, Truthspeak. Lovebomb friendships (communicating all the time, spending most of their time together, and share very intimate information shortly after the acquaintance) are as suspect as lovebombing romances. And real friendships do not need often affirmative reminders of how close and alike you are. (Actually one of my best friend is totally not alike to me)

I used to have a few of such lovebombing friends, but almost all ended with me going no contact after they crossed too many boundaries (not spath issues, but other issues). The ones that lasted and are real are those where we catch up every several weeks or months. I may worry sometimes about my close friends, but I never have to pity them and rarely need to help them out, and if I do, they find it important to make a gesture in due time in return. What they need the most of me is a listening ear as well as that they wish to listen to my stories. So basically the friendship proves itself in time and actions and behaviour, where two people just grow toward each other in a friendly way very gradually. First they are an acquaintance, then a better acquaintance, then a good acquaintance (regular friend), and one day you discover they are one of your closest friends.

It is not something they made me believe them to be, or even needed to make me believe about them.


Darwinsmom, I agree with you about how healthy friendships develop and remain. And, even in platonic relationships, I am having to be very, very, VERY cautious.

Although it’s a strange space for me to be in, given my past tolerances, etc., it’s becoming a more empowering feeling – I have choices instead of false mandates. I can choose to allow someone in for all of the “right” reasons, or push them away for the “right” reasons.

At first, this space was intolerable to me – to not trust and to be dubious of everyone. Before, I had trusted everyone and all to my detriment. Now, it’s becoming slightly less uncomfortable. I’m growing accustomed to these dubious feelings, and detaching until such time as trust is proven has become appropriate, even though I don’t much “like” it, yet.

It’ll all sort itself out, in due time. It’s almost a year since I had my first suspicions, and I’m still feeling as if I have emotional road-rash. Very raw.

Brightst blessings


Yes, we have a right to choose whom we let to be closer and who can not or even we avoid. And there’s no necessity to even defend or explain it to those who show spath red flags.

Most of my clean-up after the spath has been only with regards to acquaintances really. Just last night I blocked someone from fb. He never personally treated me ill in any way, and he was an ‘acquaintance with benefits’ for a few years, about 6-8 years ago. His ex-girlfriend told me couple of years ago not to trust him, that he was a compulsive liar. A little over a year ago he became friends with me over facebook, and sometimes chats, sometimes to get a drink, introduce me to his new girlfriend… but it always remained superficial, and of his initiation only.Two weeks ago he asked me for advice whether he should go to the funeral of his ex-gfs father or not. Told him not to. Mentioned it to a regular friend of mine at the bar she works now (our old time decade long favourite one to meet up community friends), and she’s good friends with the ex-gf and revealed he’d been stalking the ex-gf for 3 years. Ever since I was considering defriending him, but wondering how to do it without raising drama and questions.

I had a chance to talk to the ex-gf herself yesterday night. She was shocked how he even had found out about her father’s death. Gave me some info on how he stalked her, some of his lies and how he had lived on her money for a while. How he of course made her out to be the crazy one needing therapy to his new girlfriend. And yes part of his lies, meant that at some point he lied to me too once we were mere acquaintances. I came home and this time realized I could perfectly avoid him contacting me in the future, simply by blocking him instead of defriending him. And that’s what I did.

It first starts out as doubting your past opinions about people, but becomes confidence in your present opinions about people. Yes, everyone is back up on the list for re-evaluation, but the evaluations for people you are just getting to know as well as those you already knew are healthy, well thought out and funded with background info. And for me at least those that pass the re-evaluation, passed it well.


Darwinsmom, social “networks” are a hotbed of stalking and harassment, and it’s great that you simply did this guy away without any fuss.

Yeah….the defensive mode is, for me, one of long-term conditioning. First, during my childhood, then with the first exspath, then with the second one, and everything in between.

Maybe, that’s what is so “uncomfortable” to me during this part of my recovery. I am so accustomed to defending myself for good and bad choices/decisions, that it’s alien to me to NOT be in this frantic mode of defensive explanations. I don’t HAVE to defend myself (CAPS, of course, are simply for emphasis and not to be construed as online shouting), not anymore.

Although it’s somewhat “uncomfortable,” it’s also a weird sort of thrill associated with the non-defense thing. It’s not so much a posture as an awakening (?) that I am not required to explain myself to anyone or defend my actions when I know – I am cognizant – that I’ve made decisions that are sound, even if they’re not perfect.

Good discussion, here. And, I’m so glad that you’re not enmeshed with that FB person. One less moron to manage!

Brightest blessings


Truthspeak, not having to defend yourself sounds to me like you are starting to accept yourself and maybe letting go of the need for validation from others. I have been watching when I get into defensive mode to see which part of my ego was triggered. It’s an interesting process and one which, I believe, leads to freedom.

kim frederick

So, so true. The minute we flip into defense mode, they have us! I’m trying to understand why that is so….I guess, because it requires, ENERGY, and it is an effort to convince THEM, that we are really ok….this actually shows them that WE DOUBT OURSELVES, and value their opinion of us more than we value our own KNOWLEDGE that we are ok. If WE really believed we were ok, we could shrug our shoulders and say, “ok. Sorry you feel that way. See ya.” In therapy, I pretty much learned how to do just that.
And it is empowering…and it throws the cog-dis right back on the blame shifter…they are taken totaly off gaurd…they are not used to that. It takes the wind right out of their sail, so to speak….they are left shaking their heads, up to their eye-balls in a WTF moment.
Their is no energy to zap, and the encounter is effectively nipped at the bud.



It’s a tough process letting go of this (self)imposed ‘must explain myself, defend myself’… I have noticed though the past half year, that especially in situations where it’s absolutely normal to give consequences without explanation (in front of the classroom) that it had a much better more effective result, and that actually NOBODY questioned me at all about it.

In contrast, as soon as if I try to explain my reasons for a decision, then it becomes more difficult to convince anyone else.

It’s as if the act of defending yourself, certainly pre-emptively, makes people doubt you more and that it makes them think there must be reasons why you feel you need to defend yourself, and that if you feel you must defend yourself, you therefore must doubt your own decision. Defending yourself has the opposite effect.

So, I conscously avoid or stop doing it at all for what seem total reasonable decisions to me. Yes, its an awakening. It starts with realizing for yourself you don’t need to explain that particular action and decision for yourself, because circumstances speak for themselves. And you end up learning that it actually has the effect that nobody questions you at all.

I must admit this was the first instance where I had to decide amost based purely on hearsay, because this acquaintance never really wronged me personally. But he was of little consequence to me, and I felt uncomfortable about chatting with him over the months, including sometimes pretending I wasn’t at the puter at all. But I can see how he could use me in order to render himself a believable mask to others and try to get info on other acquaintances of mine. While I don’t know his ex-gf well, some of her good friends are my regular friends, and I do not want to be unwittingly used to pentetrate my own approved social network for his cyber stalking. Besides, how silly is it to keep someone as a friend on facebook and must pretend you’re not at the puter, while they have no importance in your life whatsoever… I realized how stupid that was, and I don’t need to take his feelings into account at all. That’s what gave me the idea of blocking him. When he’s fb blocked he can’t find my profile on facebook, cannot even check who I am friends with, and will not notice at first that I cut him out of the periferie.

kim frederick

Being put on the defensive, is an automatic power-play. You are immediatly the under-dog, begging the ONE in authority to accept that you are worthy. It takes the focus off the blamer, criticiser, finger pointer, spath…what-ever, and shifts the focus onto you. Spaths and narcissists are masters at this. They will goad you into a response, if they can, and the best thing you can do is remind yourself that you have a right to hold your toungue. No one has a right to demand a response from you.
You maintain your own bubble and no-one zaps your precious energy.


This discussion fall’s right in line with what the Marine did to me. Sure, he wasnt out to murder me. I think it was more of a uncontrolable reaction to his rage and perhaps a gesture on his part to let me know he dissaprove’s of me. It put’s me on the defensive and like Kim said if I told the lady or anybody else for that matter what he did I would come off as crazy. Like I have a motive, I dont, I have nothing to gain and everything to lose. But still he is in control, I have to keep my mouth shut or find a new job..
This has triggered memories of how the xspath bf operated.
I am even wondering if ya’ll believe me….why is it so important to be believed when we know what happened?

kim frederick

Hen’s, his slime is working over-time…WE BELIEVE YOU.
He’s a F’ing creep and he tried to intimidate you, by coming staight at you in a car, with a look of rage on his face. Then he establishes the WTF inside you, by telling her how appreciative he is for all that you do, knowing she will be happy to pass that on to you, and you are left swimming in the cog-dis, even to the point of wondering whether we believe you. It’s text-book gas-lighting, Hen’s, so stop doubting yourself. YOU know what happened.


Thank you Kim. I am going for a swim to wash off the slime and get in a better frame of mind. Thank you .


Hens, I think it’s so important to us exactly because we are without doubt social beings. While we are individuals, being human also means to socially interact and implies social acceptance. I think that in order to feel human in our deepest being we need social acceptance of other humans. No matter how individualistic we may be, no matter how much we may believe in ourselves and love ourselves it’s part of our natural programming to want social, or at least in part, acceptance of ourselves, which includes our experiences.

The first time I went to Mexico, which was just a week at Mexico City, I fell in love with Latin America, Mexico particularly. That was ’98. I kept coming back and over the years hated more and more to return to Belgium. In my culture nobody says hello to you on the street. Nobody smiles, nods their head or wishes you a goodday. One could say it’s because of hte cold and rain most of the time. But even on gay days in the summer with the son out and all of Belgium sits outside on a terrace bar at some square or corner people will hardly ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EXISTENCE (emphasis only). If you do look people in the eye, smile and say hello to them, you get a weird look back as if you must be some nutter. Only 1 out of 10 will actually smile back (after initial surprise) and walk the next 100 yards with a grin on their face. Personally I think it’s because we grew to be a very reserved people in public because we’ve been trampled over by foreign armies ever since Caesar had his conquering eye on us. From around 50BC until 1945 did we have one foreign boss after the other. That’s 2000 years. It’s safer to remain unnoticed. Once you do enter a bar, or a shop and certainly once you’re introduced we open up, and when we invite someone into our home we can be very warm people. And when we invite someone it is 100% sincere. We never invite someone out of politeness.

Once I went to Latin America the first noticeable difference is that everybody talks to you, greets you, smiles at you… It doesn’t matter whether they’ll get to know you, whether you’re beautiful or having a bad hair day, young or old , caucasian or hispanic. It took me several years to realize that I liked it so much exactly because it gave a feeling of basic recognition of my humanity, whereas at home on the street I would feel like an unseen ghost. It helped me to make my peace with Belgian street attitude once I understood why Belgians treat unknown people on the street like ghost.

Anyhow, this gave me the idea how basic it is for me and generally most people to feel socially accepted as a human being. And the more socioally inclined a person is (that is the more of an empath) the more it’s in our basic programming.

So, I do think it’s a lifelong exercise to remind ourselves that we don’t need to defend ourselves, don’t need to explain ourselves, have the right to decide and judge based on what we experienced even if nobody else would believe it, etc… It does get easier, but every time again we’ll have to overcome the natural inclination of feeling guilty and explain why we would cut someone of out of our social world, in other words deny them their humanity – the worst thing people can ever do to us.


Darwin, Thank you for that, yep I do feel like i have been denied my humanity time and time again. Just when I am feeling human someone come’s along and slime’s me again..let’s move to Mexico ~!


Let’s! I know the perfect city to go to! San Cristobal de las Casas when it’s hurricane season, and I also know a perfect beach where all you need is a hammock and snorkeling gear when it’s hurricane safe. 😉 Aside from Zapatistas no trouble, no drug wars… although undoubtedly there will be some spaths there too.


I am praying for you to realize hens that you are stronger inside than all the ugliness coming at you. How do I know this? Because I hear you and read you. It has been coming at me too. We must protect and defend ourselves.

I am so sorry this has happened to you.
Ugliness has happened to me too and it still tries
to get inside my mind and my emotions and rot me away,
from the inside out. This is truly a battle we can’t afford
to let the ‘demons’ win and we won’t and must not.

I will be praying for you hens.
I am so sorry but FLICK THAT PIGEON POOP
off your shoulder and tell that ass to get a grip.




Hens, I totally believe you. He sounds crazy. Also sounds like this has triggered something deeper. All kinds of questions come to mind that you can ask yourself to process this event. Why do you feel you need to work in a toxic environment (why is it you feel you cannot do better?); Why exactly are you having the feelings you’re having and/or why are you taking his behaviors personally? These are just some roads to go down as you’re processing, questions that come to my mind – you may have different questions. If I were in your shoes, I would probably be asking myself why I am unable to let go of this event. But I know you are not me. It took me a long time to get to a point where events like this were just a blip in my day.

Ox Drover

Darwins mom,

If someone will treat others badly they will treat YOU badly. That is the thing we must keep in mind when we are assessing a person’s moral compass. If they steal from X they will steal from Y, if they abuse A they will abuse B when it suits them.

Cutting out people from your INNER CIRCLE who are not the kind of people morally that you want to associate with is VERY IMPORTANT, and KEEPING others away from that INNER CIRCLE who are not candidates for being inside it is important as well. Blocking, defriending or whatever you have to do to keep them at arm’s length is important.

WE now know what a TOXIC person is—whether they are a psychopath, a narcissist, a criminal or ex criminal or whatever, we know that they are TOXIC and we need to avoid them.

You did goo GF! TOWANDA for you. You saw a problem and you fixed it, he is not going to get inside your INNER CIRCLE and you don’t have to defend that to anyone. You did RIGHT and RIGHT is always GOOD.


star, you hit some good points there, why do I put up with? well I have my reason’s..but change is always good.
The Lady’s sister just called me to rant about the lady and the marine and I spilled the bean’s to her..I asked for her confidence but we will see what happens..chit may hit de fan…


Hens, I remember a transition period in my life when prior to it, I would have a lot of these situations happen. Some were big, and some were small. They involved co-workers, roommates, and bosses. I would spend hours ruminating and processing the anger. The mountain of issues seemed insurmountable. There came a point – and it wasn’t very long ago – that these situations started to get less and less frequent, and they would pass very quickly. For instance, the guy who tried to run me off the freeway, or a jealous, defensive co-worker who always likes to pick fights or trying to bring me down. There came a point where I felt like I could graciously just deflect these situations or let go of them very quickly, in the same way that if you are in a tub full of hot water, you just stand up and get out.

I cannot pinpoint one singular thing that made a difference. It was a combination of processing out the things that got triggered in some cases, and also creating some anchors in my life that made me happy and upped the endorphin levels – things to look forward to. Zumba and salsa dancing have done that for me lately. So when a negative thing like that happens, I can brush it off quickly because I look forward to going out dancing later that night.

You know that poem called Autobiography in 5 short chapters? The first 3 chapters involve falling in a deep dark hole and taking less and less time to get out. The 4th chapter involves stepping around the hole so you don’t fall in. The 5th chapter is about walking down a different street altogether. I am somewhere between the 3rd and 5th chapters of my life. I still occasionally fall in holes (getting caught in others’ negativity and drama) but I’m able to get out immediately. I wish this for you, too, in whatever way you get there. You are a kind and gentle person who ALWAYS deserves great happiness.


And the other thing (hens) is that it is probably good for you to speak your truth to the lady’s sister. You may or may not get validation, but sometimes just giving yourself permission to speak the truth can be very healing.


Oh, I so agree with you Ox:

“If someone will treat others badly they will treat you badly..etc.” Absolutely yes!

I absolutely believe that is true.
A person’s ‘history’ speaks volumes.

They abuse everyone.
Nobody is immune.
And it’s usually those closest that bear the full brunt of their dysfunctional personalities. You have to look at it from a different perspective if you want to survive it or it will eat you alive. Of course, it’s meant to eat you alive….

The constant thoughts and ruminating: that was intended to. Yes, we know what a TOXIC person is now. No matter what label we give them and they MUST be cut out of our inner circle. There is no other way.

I am hoping and praying for you hens.
Take good care of YOU and screw the rest. Hm?



Star, I do feel better after venting to the sister. Not sure if she believed me or not, she just said ” oh he is a horrible driver and cant see worth a flip ‘..I didnt go into length about it like i have here..but the thing is, this is not the first slime from the marine, they just seem to be getting more and more obvious and cohert. Yes Star I can let negative things slide off my back, I try to avoid drama and toxic situations..goodness I have cut so many people out of my life there only a handfull left,,and now the marine is trying to sabotage my relationship with my client. I will simmer down and be prepared for him next time and that may be 6 months or a year or maybe never….thanks star..

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