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Recover from the sociopath by experiencing beauty

Donna Andersen at Longwood Gardens
Donna Andersen at Longwood Gardens

What, you’re probably wondering, is that pattern behind me? The gigantic, voluptuous red curves on a field of green?

They’re apples. Thousands of red and green apples. The apples are floating in a few inches of water on the floor of the indoor conservatory of Longwood Gardens.

The display is breathtaking. It is beauty for the sake of beauty. And it is incredibly healing.

Terry and I recently treated ourselves to a couple of days off.  We took a trip not far and one of the places we visited was Longwood Gardens.

Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was founded by Pierre DuPont of DuPont company fame in 1906. The conservatory in which I am standing in the photo opened in 1921. Longwood Gardens now covers more than 1,000 acres, all dedicated to formal gardens, horticulture and natural beauty.

Every year, Longwood Gardens creates a magnificent Christmas display. We saw hundreds of poinsettias of many different varieties. We saw beds of cyclamen and amaryllis. We saw beautifully decorated Christmas trees. And then, when it became dark, we walked outside amid the many tall trees decorated with thousands of twinkling lights.

As we walked around, I couldn’t help but notice that I felt great.

Feeling bad

An involvement with a sociopath makes us feel terrible. At one point or another, we probably experience every possible negative emotion anger, hatred, rage, betrayal, self-loathing, powerlessness, fear, resentment, etc., etc., etc.

We certainly have reason to feel all these painful emotions. We were deceived, manipulated and exploited.

But after awhile, feeling bad simply becomes exhausting. We all deserve a break, a respite from the internal upheaval.

Two-part healing

I’ve written in many articles that an important way to release the pain caused by the sociopath is to allow ourselves to feel it. Crying is good. Stomping our feet is good.

But there is a second part to the process. Releasing the negative energy creates an internal void. To complete the healing, we need to fill the void with joy.

One way to do that is to experience beauty. Choose any experience that appeals to you gardens, art, music, natural landscapes, animals, wildlife. Go to a place where you can find your favorite type of beauty. Then soak up the experience.

Please be careful not to let your mind drift to the sociopath. If you’ve left a sociopath who you mistakenly thought was your “soul mate,” don’t think about how you wish someone was with you to share the experience. The beauty is for you, not for someone else.

At this time of year, beautiful Christmas displays are everywhere. If you’ve been involved with a sociopath who had a talent for ruining the holidays, don’t let the memory intrude on your own experience. Focus on the wonder of whatever you’re seeing or hearing.

Somewhere inside you there is a spark of the real you. Nourish that spark, and it will grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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38 Comments on "Recover from the sociopath by experiencing beauty"

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ifellforapsycho – welcome to LoveFraud. As Donna mentioned, it’s a club we didn’t want to join….but find ourselves here nonetheless.

I, too, am in my 50s…so I understand what you’re saying. You’d think this is something we wouldn’t experience at this time in our lives, but we did. I have recovered from my experience and am here to say you will recover from yours, too.

You situation is so new right now….it’ll take time. Share your stories here and talk with those who understand. These breakups are heart-wrenching for all of us. But allow yourself the time. You may take one step forward, two steps back…but you will work through this.

For me, it took quite some time to heal. I simply didn’t understand what happened…but I talked, read, journaled, cried….and did it over many times…but I finally got it. It made sense and I grew to become emotionally strong again.

We’re in your corner and here to help!

Stay strong my friend….

carolann

Carolann, Thank you for your kind words. I am focusing on my spirituality as my first step. Deep down I ‘knew’ something was wrong and during the relationship I did a lot of writing about it. There were many dramas… some serious, most ridiculous. He is someone who is unable to participate in any conversation that requires honesty and would run off every time. Thankfully he had somewhere to run to… his own home, miles away! We did get on very well, but there was always one issue that lurked in the background… namely his friend (more about that later …maybe. I threw him out again, on 28th Dec. but this issue/friend has been there since the beginning of the relationship. And it got to the point when I realised that the psycho was playing us both…. in order to maintain both relationships and his own face. He hid the fact we were together because his friend was jealous.I’m putting it simply here, but it was a situation that drove me to DISTRACTION!

It caused many many rows and culminated in my being attacked (bitten on the chest… scarred)… involving police last summer. The 28th was just the last straw to a nasty situation. Difficult and painful as it was to acknowledge…the fact psycho couldn’t have cared less about my pain or confusion showed me in no uncertain terms that he was not boyfriend let alone friend material. I found that the most difficult thing to get my head around. The fact someone is telling you they love you, want to marry you and move into your home… and then be perfectly able to see you in pain…..especially when they could fix things…was mind-blowing.

In a way the fact that I went through the same issue with him, time and time again.. made it easier to make the final break. It was as though I’d been looking for proof, over and over again…doubting my own intuition.. kidding myself really. I wanted to be in a relationship.. and I wanted to be in a relationship with him. If I’m honest there is still a small part of me that still does. But when I get that feeling I remind myself that it was never ‘real’…. and his stated lack of empathy and compassion would always be a problem. I KNOW he has/had the potential do a lot of damage to my mind, body and soul… but I haven’t come this far in life to be destroyed by what is basically one screwed up individual.

Tomorrow I may feel less confident, but for now I feel strong in my decision…powerful even. I know he will contact me again as though nothing has happened…he calls it ‘moving on’…I call it denial. But even if I do weaken and speak to him…. I also know there is no going back..and I have many memories to support that.
Thanks Carolann and all at Lovefraud. I know I will need your support over the coming weeks/months…. but knowing I can be open and honest without fear of judgement is just brilliant.
Thank you

Ifellforapsycho…

I, too, am very spiritual which has helped me immensely through this process. There is a path for all of us and something to be learned from what’s happened. To me, it no longer was about who the spath was, but who I was, and why I let this happen.

I realize now who I am and have become much stronger in my own convictions. I know what I want and what I need. I’ve also realized that I deserve far more than what was being offered to me….and you do, too.

For a long time I still wanted the relationship I had also…but he wasn’t who he projected to be. What I really wanted was the feeling I had with him…the actual mirroring of who I was. In looking from the outside in, I can see clearly now. And the same goes for you.

You can come out of this feeling whole again…emotionally stronger and even wiser. I know I did!

As always, stay strong my friend. We’re here to help!

carolann

Carolann thank you very much for your words of encouragement. You are totally right when you talk about how being spiritual helps. I know my experience is nothing compared to the sad and distressing experiences of many of the people here, but one thing I have going for me is that I am a quick learner and a survivor. I only had just over 15 months of the deceit. I was lucky, and although scarred physically I know I am stronger than I have ever been. I KNOW I deserve better… and I shall have better. One thing about the psycho… he was the first person in my life that made me feel I could be myself…whoever that was!! I will never take that away from the experience. But the very fact I was able to be myself meant that I would never take the crap for long…. I think he knew that.

Right now, I am feeling strong and powerful epecially after he sent me a text letting me know he would never be coming back to my flat again (hooraaay!!) and that if I wanted to see him I would have to go to his flat (never!!). So that’s great! Then to cap it all he sent a text asking if I could lend him £10!!! As if!! I ignored that message. He’s only been gone since Saturday last, but it feels like months…Just brilliant.

With each day I grow stronger. Thank you for your support.
Blessings

Donna,

This is a truly uplifting post and to read it brought tears of joy to my eyes and overwhelming feelings of relief at getting past the horror movie of the psychopath.

It’s these enriching moments that we can build on and which allow our inner creative solutions to bubble up to the surface and become our own beautiful contributions to the collections of humanity.

We can even use the kooks as a tool to create the sense of urgency to be better, faster, as we recover from their abuse and fill our days, creating the unique goods and services that were unable to be produced and laid dormant while we were busy fighting the fires of the hellion psychopaths.

No sense looking back and feeling sad about what never really was; it’s a new year and another beautiful day to dream it all perfect once again! And then, to Live the Dream!

Be blest, everyone!!

Hi,

It is a new year.

Last year was the first christmas that I spent without my sons, this year is the year that I got the chance at life. I feel like I got a mulligan on life. A do over. Not everyone gets that chance, and I am excited for the first time in 24 years.

I am free. The blessing of being able to wake up and choose my own path excites me every day. I have a long way to go to get over the damages and the destruction that my x has caused, but I also have the gift of life again.

My x won a lot of his wars he set out to wage against me. He got the house, community, and my sons.

He did not get me. My sons will return. When they do they will not see the weak afraid mother they used to know. They will see the strong confident woman that I found again. She is back and her soul is healing one minute at a time.

Yup, this is a good year. We all have blessings, we all have gifts. We all are strong.

I thank god for letting me have this chAnce

soulsister, your post is powerful and uplifting. You have done so well…. really. Now all you have to do is enjoy the whole of the rest of your life in the safe knowledge that you are a good person and deserve the best. The Truth always comes out… and your sons will love you more than you even more when it does.

Blessings and goodwill to you this year.

I fell,

Welcome. There is so much to learn here at LF. So many really good archived articles. I found they provided me strength when I started to doubt what I had been through. Especially in the first year, I had a hard time holding onto my own reality of what happened. And it would worsen if I heard any news of The Abuser.

Try to completely disconnect, go cold-turkey, and NEVER communicate with him, or anyone who would like to share things about him with you.

I found this was very helpful in detoxing from all the lies I had swallowed, and that other’s continued to want me to believe.

Be prepared for his minions to continue to adore him, and believe he is perfectly fine. And remember what you KNOW about him. This website was infinitely helpful for me in that regard.

Slim

You’re right Slim, when you talk about his minions adoring him! That was something that really p****d me off knowing psycho was lying about me to this one idiot, someone he called ‘fool’, and worse for me… allowing this idiot to say things about me that should never have been allowed. I received abusive texts from him recently and called the Police. I chose to have it dealt with by a telephone/warning as I know this idiot is a woman-hater and I feared for my own safety. But the lack of response from psycho was the last straw for me. It was scary to realise I was with such a two-faced liar…. but as the idiot saga had been going on for over a year…. it was quite simple in the end to just call it a day. I have lost all respect for psycho. His lack of morals is a major problem for me. I’m lucky because all my friends know exactly what he is… and are certainly not cheer-leading us back together!
Thank u for your comments and encouragement Slim.

How interesting you mentioned “minions”. That’s exactly how my soon to be ex was. He had his “minions” everywhere. At work they called him “captain America “. He was a lying, cheating loser. When he received text messages, pictures and emails from his various minions, he hid them. When I finally exposed him in his web of lies he left the family. After almost 20 years. I was told I was a crazy psycho bitch and he did not love me anymore. He told me those awful things in front of my 18 year old son. I am at a good point in my life now after almost 9 months of no contact. Still to this day he wonders why his only child wants nothing to do with him. He is in such denial he cannot even see the pain and hurt he caused his family. Us, who loved him unconditionally and who was always here for him. Through years of military deployments, overseas moves, separations and just on a daily base. I understand now that he was incapable for loving us because he is so full of hate and anger. I am thankful left that cruel world of his. When I filed for divorce this huge weight lifted of my shoulders. I have my sanity and my piece back. He lost everything and I gained everything. I am glad his 20 something co worker took my place. Everyone here stay strong, enforce the no contact and you will have so many happy days coming to you 🙂

Kaya, your details are VERY similar to mine. Mine left a 24-yr marriage after he was exposed…. well, in truth, I ended it after he went into his (umpteenth) strange rage, but he immediately leaped into a party-man lifestyle. The minion detail caught my eye, because my Abuser strangely had Minions too. My Abuser was very tall (semi-pro basketball player), startlingly handsome, yet he always had a male friend who was exactly this: short, bald, unattractive, bad teeth, glasses, and usually charming with good social skills, which Abuser lacked. As I looked back thru the years, he always had one of these. I am learning that several of them helped him cheat. Very odd… and he once told me something about his first Minion—and I suspect they may have had a homosexual experience together. His was a very conservative TX old-school family, and homosexuality was highly scorned….so this could have contributed?? to his psycho development??

At any rate… he actually had voiced, on occasion, that he didn’t think he knew what love was. I was deeply in love and we had a super-close family life. He flooded me with love, devotion, affection, but was cheating the entire time. Apparently had sex with anyone he felt like, at any time. Apparently never had a long affair. It was not until the day after I ended the marriage that I “got” that he was a sociopath. Our counselor told me. From there, healing came quickly for me, because I had read extensively on sociopaths a few years earlier, when I realized a girl friend was one. It was like a light bulb moment, but my Abuser had hidden it extremely well. Not one of my family or friends had a clue either, and my parents often commented on how sweet he was to live with. We got along great for 24 years. However, he shot downhill. I ended up with a Dom Viol Protection Order and he was arrested for violating it several times. He lost all custody (PRAISE the Lord!) and he learned to leave us alone from being jailed. I had exercised No Contact from the beginning (thanks to sources like LoveFraud) and that is a beautiful gift you give yourself! I love to hear your clarity and peace. Here is my question, for Kaya, and anyone else who can help: I am 1 year and 8 months out from the split and N/C. I was doing great for a long time, but at this point now, we are all suffering… my sons and I. We are just at a down point, struggling more than we did. We went thru very extreme drama for many months (lived in safe houses, etc.) and we still have a legal battle left—the financial part. But custody is settled and great. Sons want nothing to do with him—they could see clearly how off-balance he is. So we should be good, but are kind of down, and still grasping for a Family. We still have not been able to put back together a Family feeling…all 3 of us agree. We are generally happy, but there is such a hole in our home and in our lives, with no Dad here. None of us want the Abuser back, nor ever have. But teen boys really need a male, and we have none. Does anyone have suggestions for me, of how to heal us and put us back into a family feeling? I think we all feel peace, but there is such pain in my sons. Oh, I should mention that my Dad (an absolute saint of a man) had really filled that hole for us, but he died suddenly this year, just one year into this mess. So we suffered that extreme blow, in addition….and it seems like nothing is filling that “male” hole we have. I know I should be able to somehow fill this hole….but how? Anyone with experience to help? Also, I am now beginning to feel really lonely at times. Short times, not overriding or overwhelming, but just lonely for that life partner that I had. I have lots of love and support from siblings and friends. I do not feel ready to date, nor do I feel that is right for us yet. So I’m okay with that. But why do we feel this hole? Thanks for your patience with this long request.

Elizabeth, my story is very similar to yours. My soon to be ex was also very handsome and at times I wondered if he had a gay tendency. Many people complimented me about having such a good looking husband. Little did they know. I have a teenage son also, well he is in college now. When we were first discarded like garbage I was very worried about my sons relationship to his “father”. But he never missed him at all. He cut of all contact just like me and he is completely ok with it. He lives with me, has perfect grades as an engeneering major in college and is just a happy person. To be honest he is so much more outgoing and social than he was before. Because we always lived on eggshells and we were never “good enough” for his standards. He often told my son about not being athletic, calling him fat and dumb. He always wished for a “high school football star” son but instead his son turned out to graduate top 5 percent because he focused on academics. So this again wasn’t good enough. I hope your children will see the real truth about their father. It helped my son a lot to know that his father wasn’t real, he was fake, lying and deceiving. My soon to be ex never realized how much pain he caused when my son discovered the “nude picture ” exchange with the coworker, just a few older than my son. This was on our shared home computer . My son said “mom, how could I ever respect him again?” I sure did not know how to answer this. I think your children should be old enough to clearly see your ex who he is. Then they can decide if they want to be a part of this “crazy” life .my son made his decision. I never asked him to take sides but he knew not to choose the evil side . I want to mention that our faith had guided us through this disaster and it keeps us strong even though we were thrown in “deep water”. We will remain “above the waves” even when our feet will fail .

Thank you so much for all your encouragement in a very difficult time of my life. I did not believe that it would ever get better back then. But you were right, things have dramatically improved. It’s a great feeling of freedom and peace. Again,thank you from the bottom of my heart. This website is a tremendous help.

Kaya,

I also like the term ‘sock-puppets’ for these enablers. I recently broke contact (I know! But I thought he moved back, and I wanted to see if it was true…to be prepared). He has sock-puppets coming out of his ears!

It was interesting after 6 years of no contact to look at his face, read his blog, and see his admirers. It wasn’t upsetting. It was sometimes funny. But, most clearly, it was clarifying. He is up to his lies, full force. It was validating. On the down side it has made me re-hash some feelings and thoughts. But they aren’t derailing me. Good news: he is not in my town.

The reason I bring this up is you talked about the ex’s ‘denial’. What I had a kind of intuited from looking at his online self-promotion, as I looked through the 50 or so web-hits I got from googling the Creep, was that he was NOT in denial.

I think these deeply disordered people believe their own lies too. I think they know when they ‘tell a lie’, but I don’t know if they are capable of discerning the depth of their self-lies. This indicates a pathological level of delusion, about themselves. So, denial then becomes an unneccesary defense mechanism. There is simply nothing to be in denial about so long as a person believes they are above guilt and contrition.

This person I knew poses as a deeply spiritual person, who is trying to elevate consciousness through dance/movement. His FB photos are taken in front of exotic shrines and temples, where he bows to the ocean, and looks deeply into the camera, as if he is in a meditative state. It is very convincing. He believes it. Others’ totally believe it. And, from a safe distance, it feels good to believe it.

He doesn’t talk about how sorry he is for all the money he owes to so many people, the sexually transmitted diseases he passes on, the betrayals of trust he has perpetrated on his intimates, the lack of support for his grown dtr, the broken marriages he has facilitated, the physical abuse he sees as ‘sexual’ intensity. None of this shows one iota.

I think they believe in their own image (narcissism), and even more so the more they can get others’ to believe it too. No need for denial with so little insight into themselves.

Hi Slimone and Kaya.
Kaya, I wanted to say how happy I am to see how much you have grown and learned in such a short period of time. I remember your early posts here at Lovefraud. Your pain and your anger were eating you. Those were the normal, natural responses to the betrayal that you were experiencing, and my heart went out to you. You should be proud of your progress and happy at least for your level of awareness that will serve you and help to protect you and your son.
Slimone, I really enjoy your comments and perspectives on things. So much of this post grabbed me and got me thinking. So many of the things you mention; the self promotion, the admirers, the lies and self delusion, the deceptive spiritual facade, and everything else you mentioned is to me tied in with their grandiosity and their haughtiness. Think about the power that they have attained. Imagine someone that is highly intelligent, if not necessarily in the secular sense or formally educated, but able to easily manipulate, influence, and to some degree control others, including some who are brilliant. If we look at ourselves and can imagine removing any traces of the deeply internalized mechanisms that we just automatically employ that prevent us from doing things to harm or exploit others, and then think about what you could be able to do or accomplish. If you honestly look at all the implications of removing those constraints, the power that you would have would be dramatically increased. Think about morals and ethics. Think about how fluidly and smoothly these ones can lie, cheat, betray, ect., and then just shift the lines of ethics, morality, even reality to suit their immediate needs or situations. Then those of us who actually live by and embrace those codes of ethics and morality are left hemorrhaging and balled up in the fetal position while they straighten their hair and go off to spin( lie) this latest encounter into something useful to them. What they are actually doing is setting themselves up as gods. False gods to be sure. Narcissistic supply is tantamount to worship. Those sock puppets you described (hilarious by the way!) are the adoring worshipers, though they are massively deluded and therefore easily manipulated and useful to their god. It’s amazing how much power and influence these false gods can have when they feign to worship another, “posing as a deeply spiritual person”. In reality they will only appear to abide by the tenants of whatever “faith” they have chosen as it suits or serves Them. Subjection to a higher power or authority is unacceptable to this godlike one, though in order to procure praise, adulation, pity or any other kind of “worship” for Themselves, they can probably feign it better than you or I could ever really do it. In the pathological confidence of a cluster b self reflection in order to adjust or modify thinking or behaviors is only done in the context of how it will serve them best to adjust or adapt to future encounters. Guilt and contrition are only abstract ideologies that they have studied in order to employ whatever strategies are useful to them to procure or retain power, praise, and more glory. Twisted and vile. I think I need a shower. Lol

Yes you are absolutely right. They believe their own lies. How else would they justify those horrible actions. I am truly amazed how well I am doing in midst of very ugly divorce proceedings. I am calm, very pulled together and I treat it like a bad business deal. There are no more emotions coming from me. I don’t even look at him. I let my attorney handle all of it. My soon to be ex might have done a good job destroying my self esteem but I have my self respect and my sanity. And with time my self esteem will recover. I know I am not old, fat and boring with short hair. He only said those ugly things because he cannot love or respect anyone. I don’t even think he likes himself. He often told me I should be thanking him for having such a handsome husband that I owe him that he is married to me. I don’t think back often anymore. There are no good memories except my beautiful, smart son. I made sure he would be raised to become a compassionate, caring, honest young man. And now at the age of 19 he is everything I ever hoped he would be. We are both thankful there is no more chaos, lies and betrayals anymore. We are a good team and I know we will come out stronger than ever. In the end my soon tobr ex is the real loser. He must live with that for the rest of his life. But I am sue he can justify it somehow .

Kaya,

I am happy for you that you are starting to feel renewed. I can really relate to your relief at being away from your ex. When I reached that point, of gratitude for him being out of my life, and someone else’s problem; that was a big turning point for me.

I love what you say about how your self-respect and sanity are intact, in spite of your self-esteem having taken a beating. Finding our self-respect is a crucial part of re-enacting healthy boundaries, and enforcing them. Good on you!

I will say that since looking at the pages and pages of self-promotion of the Loser, I have been thinking about him more than I care to. So, it is triggering…even after 6 years. No bad feelings about myself. Just thoughts about what happened. So, staying no contact is truly the best thing any of us can do to heal. And staying no contact as much as we can, if we know we and our kids are safe.

You know, all of us (likely) hope that these types will be exposed, and get what’s coming to them. But the truth is many of them will never pay a price that any of us would deem adequate.

Lots of them walk away, unscathed. And, though many of them won’t be ‘winners’ in the normal sense,ie. loving partner, secure work, comfy housing, close friends, etc… they won’t register the loss. They only experience these things as props, and they don’t signify for these types the deeper success (honesty, intimacy, integrity) that they signify for the rest of us.

I find that is something I still wish for, despite my intellectual understanding of this, and even though I have emotionally let go to the reality of what it means to be ‘disordered’. I still fantasize that they will one day WAKE UP, and feel the full brunt of their perpetrations.

That would be, in my opinion, the only adequate price for them to pay. And that will never happen.

Slim

Wow, well said, both of you, Kaya and Slim, and helpful! Mine also suddenly “bashed” me when we split…had been ultra-praising before. Their words mean nothing, they are like robots to me… or machines. I also find that even looking at a FB page that shows a photo of him brings negative emotions, if only anger at what he took from us. So it’s best to avoid everything. I have a relative who watches the pages to see if there’s anything we need to know for legal strategy or safety. And I can stay away from it that way.

Thank you slimone for your great explanations. As always I find them very helpful and encouraging. I understand more now how these creatures exist. It took me more than 20 years to realize that this entire marriage and so called “family” was not real. Like I was in a fog of illusions. It is amazing how I can see it so clear now that nothing about this marriage was “normal”. I was so devastated at first when he told me that “I did not meet his standards anylonger” because I was 20 years older than when he first met me. Funny how he was also 20 years older now. When this younger co worker became a “part” of our “family, he portrayed me as a psycho bitch and he had to leave.
And yes, staying angry and bitter, is so exhausting. I am done with it. I don’t waste one second wondering what he is up to anymore because I simply don’t care. When I found this website and enforced the no contact, that is when my healing and recovery began. Because he cannot get a reaction out of me anymore. But he sure is trying through my son. So we both just ignore him. I always thought that we don’t deserve this . The truth is he does not deserve us. And we can be fine on our own. Life is beautiful and the future looks bright and full of happiness. Because we survived those 20 years and we are still standing strong.

Kaya, everything you said in this last paragraph is so powerful, true, and helpful. My BF had gone thru a divorce from a narcissist, and she assured me that I would not care what Abuser is doing….I found that hard to believe in those first weeks, but it truly came, and faster than I expected. He really died to me, the day I learned he was a sociopath, because the guy I’d been in love with was a mirage. He never existed. Hilariously, in court last month for perm custody (which he lost utterly), he claimed that I am just extremely hurt, and that’s why I had him arrested repeatedly. He also claimed that his kids don’t want him because I didn’t do what I was supposed to do—-explain away his bad behavior. He actually said this clearly on the stand: She should have fixed those scary incidents for the kids.. all she had to do was tell the boys, “Dad’s just upset” (when we were rushed to safe houses by detectives). The judge looked at him like he was crazy. Umm, he is.

Also, his atty asked him, “In fact, you’d really like to be back in contact with her and have a relationship with her again, wouldn’t you?” Abuser said, “Yes! Absolutely! We both need to have compassion. This is about the kids.” Yet they both knew I’d just extended the Dom Viol Protection Order for years. !!!

Isn’t it interesting with what kind of lies they come up with in court. They still believe they are the victim. My soon to be ex repeatedly told my 19 year old son that he had to leave because I was mentally ill. This was while he was on a cruise with his co worker/mistress. They will not take any responsibilities for their sinful actions, ever. My therapist told me that they lack any compassion, remorse or empathy. It was difficult for me to comprehend this but now it makes so much sense to me. The day he was served with divorce papers he sent an email saying “If you think I am coming back by filing divorce papers you are wrong.” He was so vain and arrogant that he believed that I wanted him back. How much clearer can I make it ? He still believed we missed him.
That’s great that you won permanent custody if your children. Luckily there is no minor children issue in my divorce. But I am ready for the “battle of my life”. Bring it on , is my new motto. Can’t get much worse than the 20 years in hell.

Hi Elizabeth-

A couple of comments ago, you’d mentioned that you and your children were suffering more, now that some of the battle is behind you. And you expressed concerns about them not having their Dad around any longer.

Unfortunately, parents are not replaceable. And just as they would grieve his loss if he died or became incapacitated, they, and you, will go through the steps of grieving that are consistent with such a loss. The Dad they trusted and revered is gone. No matter what they think of the man who stepped into his body, the soul they attributed to him no longer exists. It is obvious that you all suffered a violent incident, and probably more than one. That violence was a form of betrayal, and made your children feel abandoned by him.

When someone dies, the end is finite, and all we can do is grieve and get past it. But when the person continues to live, it is extremely difficult to remain committed to a grieving process. Afterall, the likeness of him is just a phone call away.

The best you can do for your children is to help them understand the mindset of sociopaths. Sometimes, it takes a good therapist to help that along. And for a young boy who just lost his Dad, if that person were male, (but knowledgeable) all the better.

Keep in mind that Borderline Personality Disorder manifests in people who fear abandonment, in addition to other characteristics. So the best you can do for your children is to make them keenly aware that they are wonderful, special people and that he is simply incapable of being the parent they expect and want him to be. It’s not their fault.

When you are going through the throws of chaos or stress, your focused mindset can propel you along, and even bond you more closely with your children. But once the immediate stress is relieved, the real grieving process sets in.

Just like having to begin grieving after the funeral guests are gone, your children are now having to face the reality of life without Dad.

So here are some things that might help you pull your kids through this….. As a family, you could get involved in some type of charitable work. Young guy things- (sorry to be sexist but we need to deal with reality here), how ’bout Habitats for Humanity or helping out at a neighboring soup kitchen. There is nothing better than helping others to make us feel better about ourselves and rebuild self esteem.

Another positive activity could be athletics. And the fact that they’ll have a male coach could be helpful, as long as you’re careful about how testosterone-laced they are. Pumping up their endorfins through vigorous exercise will give them a positive sense of self. Embrace whatever activity achieves this for them.

Nurturing and parental warmth help build the oxytocin receptors in a child’s brain. Sounds like your children are a bit older than this early development milestone, but warm interaction with them is the best counter-measure to what they’ve gone through. That doesn’t mean be a push-over. It just means that when the answer is “no” try to say it with as much kindness and love as possible.

All those things that you do for your kids, you also need to do them for YOU! Be good to yourself. Expect to have the bad days mixed with the good. Soon you’ll realize that the good ones outnumber the bad. And a little later, you’ll begin to wonder where the bad ones went. And we’re all here to help you through until that happens!

Joyce

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