Editor’s note: The following article was written by the Lovefraud reader “Adelade.”
When I was trying to process the facts about my eldest son, I sought counseling therapy. This was on the heels of having been stalked and harassed by a would-be business partner. At that time, I was what is termed today as a “hot mess.” I was attempting to run a commercial art business and was in such a state of hypervigilance and fear-based anxiety that I was unable to function.
The counselor was cursory with my issues and ended my treatment after the insurance-allotted number of sessions. I didn’t feel that I had accomplished any work with her, though she did allow me to rant and rave about my experiences. This was about the same time that I found LoveFraud after typing into the Google search, “my son is a sociopath.” I clicked on the first link that came up and it took me to Donna’s site with a number of responses from OxDrover. Finally, at long last, I was reading common sense about a subject (one of many) that was tearing me apart.
Visiting this site for almost 2 years prepared me for the nastiest discovery of my life and my subsequent divorce. Without the information that I learned on this site, I would not have had the courage, knowledge, and fortitude to end a nearly 13 year marriage to a financial predator.
Immediately after the exspath left the marital home, I sought counseling therapy by calling my local domestic violence hotline. I had attacked the exspath in a violent rage after confronting him with hard proof that he had been engaging in violent and extremely deviant extramarital sexual activities, and was most likely going with his extramarital partner to expensive BDSM event gatherings in Philadelphia.
It was his final denial of what he truly is that sent me into a rage that I had never known possible for myself. “It’s just mind games! Mind games!” was his shrill and frantic explanation of the email that I had discovered, earlier that morning. In those scant seconds, my entire marriage to this individual was brought to a pinpoint of excruciating clarity: the whole marriage had been a series of “mind games.” A curtain of red fell over my eyes, and I lost my mind.
The next morning, I contacted my local domestic violence hotline and begged for a list of counselors, nearby. The person who had attacked the exspath was out of character with whom I believed myself to be. I needed to know how and why I had dissolved into a raging animal and how to prevent such an event from ever happening, again.
The intake volunteer was very patient, kind, and calm as I bawled out the events of the previous day. She gave me a list of names, and I called my insurance provider to see if any of the names were on their list of approved service providers. I made an appointment with the first person on the list, and spent the next week in a sort of desperate and tearful waking nightmare it had to be a nightmare and I just wanted someone to wake me up.
Once I began my sessions, I learned a number of new terms that helped me to identify my own personal issues, what the exspath was, and a very safe, secure, and encouraging place to begin my recovery. Without previous exposure to this site and the help of an incredibly astute professional therapist, I honestly believe that I would have ended my own life, especially after I discovered the depths of the financial fraud that the exspath had perpetrated, right beneath my nose.
Straight away, my counselor began to ask hard and uncomfortable questions specifically, about my childhood experiences. I wanted to lie, I really did. I didn’t want to tell the brutal truths about my childhood, but I knew (intuitively and cognizently) that I would only be lying to myself if I chose not to be brutally truthful and honest. I needed help, and I was not going to find any help unless I spoke truthfully.
Since that fateful day in September of 2011 when I discovered that the exspath had entertained the most disturbing and violent sexual interests imaginable, I’ve been on a journey of recovery. I’ve had many horrific experiences since that time and lost many, many things that I will never recover. But I recovered my “Self,” and there is no price that can be placed upon the value of my soul.
The point of this recollection is that nothing under the sun prepares a human being for the carnages of a sociopathic entanglement. I’ve written this in countless responses, but I feel that this point needs reiteration again, and again, and again, ad infinitum. Human beings are not equipped to process the experiences of a sociopathic entanglements. We simply aren’t.
We are equipped to process and recover from a host of human tragedies and natural disasters, from the loss of an infant to SIDS, to picking through the rubble of our homes in the wake of a Category 3 hurricane. We can point to a physician’s report and tell others, “See that? That’s why my baby passed away in his sleep.” At that point, we will typically experience compassion, sympathy, and understanding from other human beings. We can point to a tree that has crushed our dwelling and say, “See that? That destroyed my home.” We will likely experience an outpouring of support and help from friends and neighbors. We can point at a police report and say, “See that? This person committed a random act of violence against me and will spend years in prison.” Upon this, we will most likely experience sympathetic outrage and compassion.
When human beings extracate themselves from a sociopathic relationship or environment, what is there that we can point at to explain our spiral into depression, despair, anxiety, fear, and hypervigilance?
I could point at my checkbook and say, “See that? He forged my signature and stole over 75K, outright.” When I used this example as an explanation for what had been done to me, there was no compassion or understanding outside of other people who had experienced their own sociopathic entanglements. I was often met with the response of, “Well, why didn’t you know what he was doing?” When I explained that I had discovered that my spouse had been living a sexually violent double-life, people would respond with, “Oh, that’s terrible. I’m going to order lunch. Did you want something, too?”
I needed compassion, understanding, and encouragement to help me heal and recover from my experiences, and none of those needs were met by people who were unfamiliar with what sociopaths are, what personality disorders are, or the types of damages that these people wreak upon their target victims.
We are not crazy
Engaging in counseling therapy with a professional that “gets it” about the ravages of sociopathy does not mean, under any circumstance, that we are crazy, insane, or disordered ourselves. Actively seeking the assistance of a trained, knowledgeable, and strong professional counselor means that we are taking control of our destinies we are making an active choice to heal ourselves and not allow the actions of a disordered person to define us for the rest of our lives. We are acknowledging that we do not have all of the answers, that we have lost control of our individual realities, and are courageous enough to seek the help of someone who has the tools and techniques to help us recover.
My counselor helped me to identify specific damage, core-issues, and faulty beliefs that left the door to my soul wide open for any human being to barge through. Some of these people were simply ignorant and toxic, while others were full-blown sociopaths and psychopaths. And, identifying these things led me to realize, accept, and process a number of personal issues that I have the choice to work on, or not, for the rest of my life, to protect myself and to keep reaching for a physical, emotional, and spiritual balance.
Emergence from denial
Strong counseling therapy is not a comfortable endeavor, by any stretch of the imagination. Truths, facts, and acceptance are typically painful and, for some, humiliating, until we can associate the truths and facts with a frame of reference that relieves us of shame, blame, and “unworthiness.” The research, disclosure, and hard work can be grueling and, on occasion, grievous.
But, here’s the upside to all of the discomfort and hard work: emergence from that crysalis of denial and false beliefs into a world of truth, fact, and emotional confidence. I’m no longer fearful that people won’t “like” me if I speak up about inappropriate behaviors, or simply cut toxic people out of my life. I am no longer a needy human being who is so depserate for approval that I will avoid the Tango of Truth. I can call a spade what it is without fear of rejection, dismissal, disapproval, abandonment, or humiliation, because I no longer require another person’s approval, even from my own children. Toxic is out across the boards.
I have a long, long way to go on this journey. Some days, my path is clear and easily trod, and other days, that path is obscured and I trip, stumble, and fall. But, I’m on this path, for good and for all. Without strong counseling therapy, I would not have found the courage to forgive myself for my own foibles and even take the first step on my Healing Path. Without this site and the help of my counselor, I would not have had the courage to shut down a bogus marriage, and realize, recognize, accept and celebrate the fact that I did not deserve what had been done to me, and that I never, ever need to settle for less that what I deserve from anyone.
Not one of us, regardless of our training or our education, has all of the answers. Recovering from the carnage of a sociopath with the help of a trained and knowledgeable professional counseling therapist is one of the most powerful choices that I ever made during my entire lifetime.
The best way to find a counseling therapist that “gets it” is to contact thehotline.org for a list of resources in your area. If you are living outside of the U.S., your own locality has a domestic violence hotline. Call the number and ask for a list of counselors. Make an appointment. And, leave the term of “sociopath” outside the door and let the therapist hear, listen, and observe.
Realize that there remains a tiny, flickering spark that the sociopath was unable to smother out of existence that spark will fan back into a brilliant light with courage, reslove, and a willingness to accept. The counselor will assist in processing the truths, facts, and tortured feelings so that boundaries, across the boards, will no longer be something to fear.
There is no shame in telling a car mechanic that you cannot replace the universal joint on your vehicle. Why are we so ashamed to reach out when we do not have the ability to process our experiences, on our own?
I’m grateful, today. More grateful that I’ve felt in a very long time. I still have my moments of fear, doubt, and shame, and those moments are “allowed.” But, I have learned enough to know that my heartbreak, despair, and horrific experiences are not enough to stop Mother Earth from spinning on her axis and that I am a worthy, love-able, and valued piece of the human puzzle. For me, it’s all about becoming an integral and healthy part of this Universe that matters, rather than “what he did to me.”