Taking the first step towards healing the trauma

The young woman buried her head into my shoulder and sobbed, right in the middle of the exhibit hall.

Last weekend, my husband, Terry Kelly, and I attended a conference for the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. We’re reaching out to colleges, hoping to bring Love Fraud and How to Avoid It to students. It’s such an important message, as the reaction of the young lady proved.

At the age of 23, she had already suffered greatly because of a sociopath.

She met the guy when she was 17, and later they lived together. The young lady had an opportunity to work at a well-paying job—earning $60,000 a year—except that the guy didn’t want her to work. He didn’t want her to be independent, out of his control. That was the agenda—control—and eventually it lead to brutal sexual assault. The guy is now in jail.

I had an opportunity to present a 10-minute sample of my program to the students who were there to book special events for their campuses. The young lady was in the audience. I ran into her later in the buffet line, and she told me that at one point, she had been living in a domestic violence shelter.

I invited her to stop by our exhibit booth to talk more. She did, and as she told me what happened, I could see that she was still traumatized, even though the relationship had ended three years earlier. I put my arm around her to hug her, and she broke down. Her body shook with sobs as the pain overwhelmed her.

I talked to her about facing it, about purging the emotional poison from her system, about how the only way out of the pain was through it. It was a process, and it would take as long as it took. But I also told her the other part of the process—letting in whatever joy she found in her life. Eventually, the balance would shift, with the joy overtaking the pain.

She understood what I was talking about, and I was grateful for the opportunity to help her.

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16 Comments on "Taking the first step towards healing the trauma"

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I liked hearing the other part of the process…such encouraging words.

thank you

Donna, sometimes just a short conversation with someone who will listen is the turning point for someone’s healing.

Sometimes we entertain angels unawares…and sometimes we ARE the angels for others. I think you were this woman’s angel and I’m glad that you were there. I hope she will come to LF and continue her journey to healing. God bless.


I wish I would have had something like this for me. I was 15 when I started dating my first love that went on for another 18 years off and on. I lived with him at 17 years old and I was still in high school. I was under his complete control not really understanding it. I went through one of the worst domestic violence incidence the night before graduation. It hurt when anyone hugged me that night. I remember it vividly. Too vividly.

I second what Oxy says above about the angels. There needs to be more of them.

Donna, I’m so grateful that someone heard you that was in dire need. There is a “code of silence” that extends to victims of predators, as well. Victims of predators experience a climate of fear-based feelings. Everything is based upon fear, and your words and facts helped someone to recognize this.

Thank you SO MUCH for your hard work, Donna. I am so grateful that you’ve turned your horrors into something so positive and empowering for so many, many people.

Brightest blessings

This is so very encouraging. I look forward to the time when the balance shifts and joy overtakes the pain. The first step in my own healing was simply having the faith that I WOULD heal. That gave me a strong foundation to move forward from. I’ve written a blog post about it that I’d love to share with others here.

Arianna, send your post to donna and she can make it into an article, or if you would rather…just post it anywhere. That’s the most wonderful thing about Love Fraud is shariing our stories. (((hugs))))

I would be thrilled to read your blog. I am learning so much from everyone on this site and continue to thank god that I am not really alone – there are others who have experienced similar and some who have experienced a lot worse than me. I feel “shielded” more and more each day from allowing my ex or any spath into my life ever again

thanks for sharing your blog post. It’s very much what I needed today. Faith that I will heal is difficult these days. My problem began with being emotionally abandoned by my parents and that hole in my heart is still there. I know this is a growth opportunity, it’s just hard to find it.

arianna, great blog! thanks for sharing.

Thank you, all of you, for your encouragement. I’m only in the baby stages of healing myself, but if I can come upon something that helped me that I can pass on to you, it helps me even more.

Skylar, I’m so glad it’s just what you needed to hear today. You WILL heal, that is for sure. It may not be easy or without a struggle, but you will, and you’ll come out stronger and more resilient than ever before.

This faith doesn’t come from anywhere except inside of you. It doesn’t have to be “divine” faith or the faith of anyone else. It was always there; it’s what enabled you to try something new or love someone new, and to love yourself when those things didn’t work out so well. This experience was extreme, but trust that your faith in yourself will be the foundation of your healing. It’s a solid ground that you can stand up on before moving to the next level.

Ox Drover, I will send my post to Donna or just post it anywhere. It is linked to my name, Arianna.

Peace to us all, may we all heal and go on to know the real love we are worthy of.

OK, so here’s my blogpost about faith and healing:

Faith that you will heal is the key to healing
Posted on December 19, 2012

When the psychopathic shit hit the proverbial fan, support was hard to find. I felt totally alone. Friends thought I was nuts; they believed I’d just had a bad relationship with a jerk and needed to “get over it.” This added immeasurably to my pain, but I was determined to find someone who could understand. I was also determined to understand what happened to me, and when I did, I began writing non-stop to fill the pages of this website with helpful information for those who have been through the hell of a relationship with a psychopath.

The first person I found who understood what happened to me was Michael Fox, PhD, author of “The Emotional Rape Syndrome.” As I read his book I knew he truly got it, and he was able to offer real help. Fox says certain things are vital to healing after emotional rape (this is what happened to most involved in a “relationship” with a psycho or sociopath).

A clear understanding of what happened is necessary, along with full participation in the healing process.

Another vital part of the foundation of healing is faith. This doesn’t necessarily mean religious faith; it refers to the simple belief that you will recover. Fox says “having faith that there is meaning and purpose to life and to suffering opens the doors to full recovery.”

It can be hard to muster up this faith just when life seems to make no sense at all after such a painful experience. You may feel more alone than you’ve ever felt and be questioning the meaning of life. But realize that this experience is a tremendous opportunity for personal growth. When you go through this struggle with the faith that you WILL heal and that there is meaning and purpose to life, you can experience a transformation that allows you to be stronger and more complete than you were before.

This idea was an important step in my healing process. I simply need my own faith my faith in myself and my life. We all have that somewhere inside us. Maybe it’s been covered over by the psychopath’s shovels-full of dung, but if you dig for it ”“ even just a little it’s there. You don’t even have to dig. Just believe it’s there, because it is.

Being non-religious, the last thing I thought I’d be writing about and relying on is faith. But faith is available to all of us. Faith in our ability to heal truly is a vital part of the healing process. If we don’t believe we will, how can we?

Right now, take a deep breath and feel the faith inside that will carry you gently to healing. Feel the faith inside of you that gives you a foundation for healing.

Thanks for sharing, Arianna, but I clicked on your name (in red) and it brought up your blog which is great! I enjoyed it and read a great deal there. You have put together a nice blog with good information as much of it as I was able to have time to read.

I like your graphics too. Very artistic.


I love your blog. Your “Red Flags of a Psychopath” floored me. When I was reading the signs, I just couldn’t believe how much the signs were EXACTLY like the one I knew. When I read “Playful,” I about died. That is the ONE word that I used to describe him. It’s the best list I have ever seen…thank you.

Thanks, Louise; I’m glad the list was a good one.

Funny but true — on the psychopath’s birthday I wrote a list of all things I loved about him…and now when I look at it, it reads as my list of “red flags of a psychopath.” :-0


That’s kind of chilling.

Arianna…….ditto what Louise typed.

All of those “qualities” were just performances. Eugh….

Brightest blessings

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