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.

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