By | April 20, 2008 88 Comments

The miracle of freedom after the sociopath is gone

I believe in miracles.

Not the rock your world, holy saints and rising apparitions kind of miracles. But rather, the light shifting, change your life, in this moment kind of miracle that takes you by the hand and guides you home. The kind of miracle that awakens you to the truth that this moment is all you’ve got. The kind of miracle that says, grab me and run with me or lose the miracle of your life forever.

I know about miracles like that. I got one on a sunny May morning five years ago when I had given myself up for dead. Well, not dead-dead, but rather, the walking breathing dead kind of living that leeches all energy from your body and leaves you without hope of ever finding a way back to the land of the living.

My miracle appeared in the form of a blue and white police car driving up and arresting the sociopath who had been lying and cheating and manipulating and abusing me for the length of our four year nine month relationship.

When first we’d met I thought his name was Prince Charming. I loved the view of the short cut to happiness he promised me and jumped onto the runaway train of his promises of happily ever after. I never expected to find myself lost in hell, in cahoots with the Prince of Darkness and praying for a miracle I didn’t believe I deserved, to set me free.

But then, that’s the funny thing about miracles. They don’t come looking for believers. They just appear, like stars in a darkened sky coming out at night. It’s not that they weren’t there all along, it’s just lost in the pit of despair, we lose sight of the miracles around us. Too frightened to open our eyes in the blinding light of day, we shut out the world and crawl into the cave of desperation, shutting ourselves off from belief and hope and possibility and even miracles.

It was a miracle the police found us. He was hiding out, trying to escape the country, and I was hiding behind the smile I’d pasted on my face, pretending to be the person he told me to be, or else. The miracle saved me from finding out what the ”˜or else’ might be.

Looking back, it was a miracle I was still alive. I had seventy-two cents in my pocket, a few clothes and my beautiful Golden Retriever, Ellie, who had travelled that rocky road beside me, faithfully keeping step to my faltering footsteps as I travelled further and further from life as I knew it.

I don’t know who said this, but I find it very powerful, “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

On that day in May, five years ago, I knew I didn’t get a miracle to live in pain and sorrow. I knew I got the miracle to live in joy. But, in the process of losing myself on the road to hell, I had become someone I didn’t recognize, someone I didn’t love. I knew I had to change. I feared I didn’t know how.

Change is always possible. Ending something that isn’t working for me requires me to change what I’m doing. When I awoke from that relationship, there was very little that was working in my life. So much was broken, so much was in disarray.

To change my life, I had to surrender my disease and embrace my ability to heal. To heal, I had to change the anger into forgiveness. The sorrow into laughter. The hatred into love. I had to let go of who I had become on that journey and fall into love with who I could become in healing by letting go of my fear of falling and learning how to fly free from the pain of the past.

And so, on that morning in May when my world changed and I began to see there was light beyond the darkness, I grabbed my miracle and set out to recover my joy. Step by step. Moment by moment. And, in the process I uncovered the greatest miracle of my life. Me.

I believe in miracles. I am one.

The question is: What do you believe in? Do you believe you’re some big cosmic experiment gone awry in one hopelessly lost human being, or a miracle of life, unique and magnificent, a shining example of the best of human being, full of possibilities, endlessly in love with the wonder and the miracle of being you?

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It has been five years for me too and everyday I live and make progress feels like a miracle!

Ox Drover

Yes, M. L. I too believe in miracles—the miracle of faith; faith in my myself, faith in the universe, faith in my God, and faith in the healing power that is within us all. That faith, that in spite of all the pain, the darkness of the pit, the lonliness of despair, remained flickering there, pulling me out of the fires of hell, that made me want to live even if I had lost everything. Faith that I saw the truth, the reality, and that if I was the only one in the world who saw it, it was still TRUE, still REALITY, and I wasn’t going to let it kill me or kill my faith.



I too am a believer in miracles and in the power of God. Even though he was sucking my energy and drawing me down into the dark pit, somehow I found the courage to get out of the relationship and stay out.



I sure do relate to so much of your words.

I think I have mastered being realistic about Sociopaths and what they are and are not capable of… and what happened and all that…. but the celebration of me hasn’t quite started yet for me.

I need to work on this. I have been putting it off for various reasons… I think the same one that sucked me into the black hole of the Bad Man… to quote the words of a song, “I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

I have to stop this. I know this is it… but it’s not what I wanted at all.


free; i can relate to what you say mine is in a new relationship and i feel bad that he is going to hurt her and lie to her ect ect. its been two months since he has been seeing her and i am just thinking what it was like two months in for he and i. the bad stuff hadnt really started to surface yet buti was feeling a bit uneasy even then. so yes it is a miracle that i am ok and have another chance at life and love but i do think about the damage he is yet to do to others he is young and has a lot of years left to do that. i am two months no contact at all and this is the first time since i met him i havent been calling or talking or seeing him, do you think he is squirming and ticking his mind over thinking what is she up to and why isnt she calling, i hope so and i hope he hates that i am not in contact. i get so much out of sharing here thank you all. there is a song out here in my country fo r the olympics its called i am ready to fly its really nice and sounds really nice the way the young girl sings it and evry time i hear it which is a lot at the moment i think it reminds me of what is happening in my life i think it is so approriate for me right now its like an angel sent that song for me at this time. does anyone know this song not sure if its only in my country.. thanks ..

The miracle isn’t mine. Atleast, not yet. I could list the things about my life, post p, that are good/better/best but they pale in comparison to the miracle that happened for my daughter. She doesn’t have to suffer through his “love” and secrets anymore. She has a chance to be healthy and whole and free from his lies and his touch.

I get my miracle if/when he is sentenced to prison for his crimes against my child. When I no longer have to literally stand guard over my children- then I can relax. Then I can be free.


I genuinely would like to know HOW you become free. Not from the psychopath, I have already done that, but from the past hurts. To move forward and like yourself again and just be ok.
I have read everything I can to get myself healed but have still not been able to really apply it. Now I pretty much live my life, “head down, mouth shut” and do not want to put myself out there for more judgement from people. My hands are shaking so bad even now as I type this. Fear I guess.
If anyone has been stuck like I have been this past year and can give me some direction, I would sure appreciate it.



It takes time. I have a long ways to go in this healing phase, but I am so much further along this month than last month. My hands, also, were shaking like crazy, but they have stopped. You have to see yourself as having value. It truly does not matter what others think of you. If you are living a genuine, good life, then who cares what others think?

I continue to have flashbacks, and break into tears out of the blue, but this is all healthy. Our minds have to slowly work out all the confusion and the pain we have been dealing with.

I know that just because I am moving forward today doesn’t mean that tomorrow I will not slide back again. But, any progress is still progress.

Do things for yourself, that you enjoy doing. Have faith that you will feel better one day, that you will move on into a better place. No one deserves to live in fear.


Free: We have many similarities in our stories, but differences also. He was run out of the country early by my husband after he found out about our relationship. I had broken off the affair just the week before.

The S had already made the plan to move, but would not tell me, even after insistent asking. He was telling everyone else about his plans, but not me, supposedly one of the most important people in his life. Right!

It is good he is not here. Not only because of me, but because many people now know who he really is and would not readily welcome him back. Plus, it keeps me from doing things I might regret as I’m still not in the loving kindness phase of the forgiveness aspect of the relationship.

The thing that is hard is that there was no closure; I was too emotional to say what I really wanted to say to the cad. Too choked up with all the stuff from him and past relationships; I needed time to sort it out. I’m still sorting.

Black days do come, triggered by conversation overheard at a party, or my own dredgings up of some memories, but each day is better and the darkness does not last as long. Even the explosions are smaller each time they occur.

As long as we have outlets in our friends, therapy, and places like this, we will all heal well over time. Unlimited strength will show up at unexpected time; it will pass.

I thank the S every day for getting me to this place; not what he does or how he lives his life, but the things I’ve done and accomplished for myself have been amazing.

It is true that any progress is progress. Laying the shovel down was the first start; hitting him in the ass with it as he left would have been better!!!

Peace to you all.


I guess I just want to have peace within myself and it just isn’t inside of me. Years ago when I was 16, I was living with an abusive boyfriend, (long story) anyway, he had hit me in the face leaving bruises. I went to my mom’s house, which should have been my house..the first thing she said was, “What did you do to deserve it?”
Now, years have past and my mom is a very good person and we have a very good relationship. That being said, to this day, that haunts me and I think a part of me still believes I deserve what I get.
For instance, a couple of years ago I became and advocate for alternatives to violence, after a year, I dropped out. My thinking was, if I can’t help myself, how in the hell can I help anyone else. Which when I first started my thinking was, I can’t help myself so maybe I can help other people. Go figure. Now I just want to be happy but I have no idea what is holding me back.
I do want with all my heart to be free from all the self destruction, I don’t want to be like this anymore
I do have good days, but more often than not, empty days and I just don’t know what to think or do. I go to work and do the things I have to, but other than that I have removed myself from everything. I used to be a people person and now I am not so much.
I guess I keep hoping every day that tomorrow will be the day I wake up and things will be just peachy. I can say I am healed, happy, healthy and present.

Ox Drover


It sounds to me as if you are clinically depressed. Both as a clinician (treating others for depression before my retirement) and as a patient, I can tell you that DEPRESSION is a chemical/hormonal imbalance in our brain that is EASILY treated with medication as a start.

Believe me, being on the “wrong side of the clipboard” and becoming a patient was VERY DIFFICULT FOR ME. But it was only accepting that the trauma (first of my husband’s death and then the P-attack) had changed my brain chemistry and that I could not just “shake this off” with talk therapy or a “strong will”—I am now only taking half the dose I did of medication at one point but I realize that without medication as well as therapy and good support, I would still be sitting in my house, like a hermit, staring at the dirty dishes in the sink, forgetting to eat, bathe, brush my teeth, or give a crap about anything that I didn’t HAVE TO DO or someone didn’t push me to do….crying or raging…alternately.

The trauma to our minds, hearts and souls has physical and chemical effects on our minds and bodies—a LONG list of not nice things—and depression is one of them. Your description of your feelings sounds very much like depression or Post traumatic stress syndrome, I strongly suggesst that you see a psychiatrist (best) or your family physician for a trial of medication AND arrange for some therapy with someone who UNDERSTANDS Ps. (some mental health professionals don’t so if your first choice doesn’t understand, MOVE ON)

The medication takes a while to work (a few weeks) and you don’t get “addicted” to it, though you may have to be on it a while, and it doesn’t make your problems “go away,” but it allows your brain to function more normally so that YOU can work on healing. Depression SAPS our will, our strength, our motivation and even our ability to think rationally.

God bless, you rperk, and (((hugs)))) for your healing. Stay here, learn more, ask questions,, make comments and take care of YOURSELF above all.


Maybe a bit depressed but medication does not work and I have been to several counselors, psychiatrists, group therapy and hearing “oh, thats too bad, and sorry to hear that” just hasn’t been to very beneficial for me.


Thank you so much Free. I cried when I read that. Years ago, someone I know had me read that exact scripture and over the years I had forgotten. I am so glad you gave that to me to remember and to read.


M.L.-Yes I can be ok with today. Yesterday I read a couple of things that really hit home for me…
“When you hit a bad day and feel weak and a failure, just remember that you had the courage to undertake this journey in the first place-a courage that all the bullies and abusers you know do not have. You are stronger than you feel and you have a strength of character that they could only dream of.”
“Not a day, not a week, not a month and not even a year will be long enough to heal. The longer that you have been the victim of abuse, the longer it will most likely take. There will be times that the process feels incredibly slow. There will be times that you get sucked back in and feel that you have failed. There will be other times that you feel utterly demoralised by what you perceive to be slow process or even no process at all. These things are normal. These feelings are normal and you are normal. To be kind to yourself means to have patience, tolerance and forgiveness towards yourself and more than anything in this process, you need to be kind to yourself.”
“There will be times that you feel as if you are taking one step forward and two steps back. This is normal. The point is not to be healed, but to ACHIEVE HEALING.”

This and all the support from all of you has made me feel like I really can do this, it just takes time. And hard work. Thanx for caring.


This may not work for you, but it’s taken me quite far in accepting a very distant past that cannot be changed. I had to accept it, first of all — look it squarely in the eye. Which, as you may agree, is difficult. These are some unpretty truths about our family members. Their denial can still send me into a tailspin. But then I have learned to accept that they are weaker than I am and they cannot face the truth. Skirt around it, yes. Allow for a nod of acknowledgment from time to time. Admit even part of it (my dad said to me a few months ago – “We know your brother chased you out the front door with a gun” and a few other things that nobody talks about anymore.

To me, his admittance of knowledge was HUGE. He wasn’t there for that one, but he was there for other things. His validation was truly important BUT — it was not necessary to my truth. Which exists without that validation, undiminished.

I’ve come to accept, over time, what happened and did not happen in that life. I am still healing from those wounds, as they do cause my eyes to start watering.

After accepting it, and integrating it (a really tough part) you have to acknowledge and GET ANGRY over it. Whether it’s past abuse, current abuse, the P’s behaviors, Family of origin, whatever. And yes, even anger at yourself for allowing it. Maybe especially that has to go out your soul’s door.

The anger part is critical. I have trouble expressing anger through the proper means. I bury it, swallow it, eat it, drink it, smoke it or laugh it away. Then it hauls up one day to bite me in the ass (and bite everyone else) and we’re all miserable.

Learn to let that anger out. Give yourself permission to be angry.

Write it all down, including the anger. Every past hurt, every last failure of someone else to acknowledge what happened to you — and validate your own experiences.

Also, take the time to clear out feelings that “you deserved” anything bad to happen. This is the point where I think therapy would help a lot of people – good therapy, not some nodding, smiling, sycophant paid listener.

We assign value to our experiences and really, at the end of life, they are just experiences – good, bad, indifferent. It’s what we do with them that matters . It’s taking the negatives of past and building, or creating, something new and positive from them: through art, or helping someone else in the same boat, or writing or any number of ways.

Even just raising my girls in a way that neither one of them became people who internalized others’ feelings about them or grew up in a violent home was a BIG VICTORY to me.

It was a creation of a life different than one I’d experienced as a child. It helped to negate what happened, put some space between me and that old life, further prove that what happened was wrong and should never be.

Whatever positives we can draw from these experiences are victories for our souls. But first, first we must come to terms with the past and our role in it, and we must get rid of the self-blame and voicelessness.

I know you can do this, too, rperk. May not look at it from where you’re sitting right now…but it didn’t look like it to me for a long time, either and probably not to many people at this site. But, here we all are at different stages of healing.


I sent a post kinda saying what you have just said that I read yesterday, but my posts keep getting lost in transit and most do not make it to the site or whatever you call it. Thank you, I do know healing takes time, I just got momentarily stuck.


Not to sound crazy, but I have went through the anger bit… quite a few times fantsizing about hog tying him naked, (he is so proud of his body) and throwing him into a biker bar with the words bikers stink or something like that painted on him. So my sense of humor is not gone…

Yes, Free…we both had childhood abuse, right? I know that’s what set-off a string of lousy choices, maimed a fair amount of self-esteem and left me still trying to recreate a rotten family of origin dynamic since early adulthood. Decided in 2001 to STOP doing that and figure it out – but it’s been on my own. I have to have therapy, but I have to be able to afford it and as a single mom even with insurance it’s hard to find any extra $$ right now.

To bold things you just type (take out the spaces)

and at the end.

Whoops, didn’t work.

It’s left carrot, then the letter “b” then right carrot. To close the italics it’s left carrot the symbol “/” then the letter “b” and then a right carrot.

I tried putting it in with spaces but all it did was BOLD.


Ox Drover

Orphan, I gave up on the bold and the italics and just “bold” it by using caps. LOL New learning and remembering rightnow is still difficult. (where DID I put those car keys? LOL)

I agree with Orphan that ANGER, and allowing us to feel that anger, IS important to the healing and resolving the GRIEF we experience of all the stuff involved with the relationship. The anger at them, the anger at ourselves for allowing it. But getting STUCK in anger mode isn’t healthy either. Getting STUCK in ANY of the “stages” will not allow us to progress.

We DO go “back and forth” from anger to sad, to anger at ourselves, at them, at the world, at God, sad, cry, pity for us, etc. and back and forth, but still WE PROGRESS—one day at a time is victory. I’ve been through all the stages 100 X each. and it seems that just when you thiink yo are “out of the woods” you go back in…and that is NORMAL TOO. It takes time (a different amount of clock time) for each of us. Accepting that what is “time” for you isn’t enough time for me, or vice versa is important too.

Really feel I’m “out of the woods” at this point. Even think that last week of hell when my friend got married and I had weepy distraught PMS over the idea I’d never marry again was part of GETTING OUT (notice the caps??!?) of the woods.

The death-throes of a dream, maybe.

I still will marry again. Just that it will be different than I thought before. And that will be ok with me, too.

PS — doesn’t mean I won’t get “stuck” again, like rperk mentions. Likely will. It is a process, and there will be good days and bad days. But I look around here, breathe in the spring air and see the sunshine and figure that if the guy I loved really existed and loved me back he would be here with me, now.

Ox Drover

Yea, Orphan, I think I am over the biggest humps and out of the thickest of the “forest” but I know that I still have some things to work on. I actually can’t believe that I haven’t had any kind of a melt down since January when I was out of town and cut down on my meds to try to make them last til I got back home for a refill. WON’T DO THAT AGAIN! LOL

It actually seems ODD to me that I haven’t shed a tear over anything except a sad movie in SO LONG! Almost like something is missing that I haven’t been upset, angry, sad, just generally cranky, pissed, etc. My emotions are not “flat” but are quite active really, I’m laughing, joking, interested in things again, etc. VERY MUCH enjoying the spring (my favorite time of year after the dull winter months). I’ve taken more interest in my animals and doing things with them (training etc) and if the darned rains will ever stop for a while (we are getting floods in this area) I’ll do even more Another BIG rain system (5 days of it) has just moved in with severe thunderstorms so guess I will be here on LF waiting it out. LOL

My only question is this: how do you stop loving that person?

Ox Drover

I’m not sure about the answer to that question, Orphan.

I don’t feel “love” for the man that is my son, though I still remember with pleasure and love the little boy he WAS before he became the MONSTER. But it’s like that child is DEAD.

I still remembeer my grandparents with fondness etc. but I’m not sure that it is the same kind of “love” I felt for them when they were alive. I still fondly remember my husband, but it isn’t exactly the same “feeling” I had for him when he was alive. Some how I have “disconnected” from the feelings I had for these people that I LOVED very much when they were alive, and remember with great tenderness and fondness…the same way I do that little “boy” that is NO LONGER ALIVE inside the body of the MAN he became.

My son C is a man, and the little boy he WAS is sitll alive inside that man’s body and bald head! He’s changed, since babyhood, obviously, but he is the SAME PERSON, if that makes any sense.

I thought I was VERY MUCH in love with the XBF-P, and I wept over that, grieved, or that, and now I don’t feel “love” for him at all. Nor hate either. He is just sort of like a character I saw in a movie once—HOW TO DO IT? I’m not sure, I think it may be like “happiness” the more we SEARCH for it, the more ellusive it is. I think happiness comes as a byproduct of doing what is good, right, etc. and maybe falling “out of love” or “falling in love” or changing our feelings for that person are also byproducts of living life with or without them.

My P son has not been a physical presence in my life since he left home at age 17, that’s 20+ yrs ago. He has been a very BIG emotional presence in my life though. The hopes and dreams I had, the 3-5 letters a week to and from him, visits to him in prison, etc. Now, I don’t even have the desire to visit him, to get a letter or to write one. He just is NOT A PRESENCE in my life any more. What happens to him isn’t a concern for me. Unless he gets out, then it would be, because I have no doubt that sooner or later he would come to find me and one of us would kill the other. I’m also prepared to do that if I had to. That may sound COLD, and maybe it IS cold, but I don’t doubt that I could do it. I imagine it would cause some emotional reprocussions just like it does for a policeman or a soldier who has to kill anyone, even to protect their own lives. Killing another person is something that none of us should have to experience. Even in the medical profession when we try to save a life and fail sometimes we have to “decompress” from the stress and loss of that failure. AT the small Rural Volunteer fire department we would have post trauma sessions when we had to do CPR or when we had to pick up a neighbor that had blown their brains out and one of us was the first to arrive. Or go to the grizzly scene of a car crash, or fight a fire that took the life of one of our friends. Just like the airplane crash for my husband, the people who responded first were my FRIENDS, and his friends, not just strangers who didn’t know him personally and could be more “objective” about the situation.

AFter the plane crash though, I realized I didn’t need to be experiencing more trauma like that, and I retired from the fire department, though I felt bad in a way about doing so as especially in hte day time when most volunteers are away in town at work, people who are HERE MOST DAYS during the day are rare and response time is slower, but though I wanted to continue to help, I knew that FOR ME, I didn’t need to continue to experience that kind of trauma over and over again, I just didn’t have the reserve strength to do it. That was also why I retired. Though in many ways I hated to, I knew that my lack of strength emotionally etc. would put me more at risk of doing something “stupid” and hurting a patient, and I couldn’t live with that if I had done it. I don’t regret retirement at all except I do miss the money sometime but living on a fixed income is do-able, and the chance of the alternative, hurting someone, isn’t an option.

Cutting out the stress of my life, even little stresses of doing just about anything that I really don’t want to do, no matter how minor seeming, is helping a great deal. My therapist is always nagging me to “get out and do more recreation” but I think that he really doesn’t get the idea that to ME–recreation is right here, spending time with my dogs, my donkeys, my son C, close friends who are frequently here, or just talking on the phone to them if we can’t get together physically IS MY RECREATION. I’ve seen the darned world, or most of it that I want to see, and I’ve seen cities and plays, and tennis matches, and the Olympics, and horse races, and they don’t appeal to me any more. Peace is within me—and my days are as full as I want them to be with lots of things.

Orphan, if my “loving that person” you still feel that you are “pining” for him, wishing he was there, etc. I think maybe as you fill up your life with REAL things and real people, the feelings you have for him will decrease and one day you will just finally notice that they aRE GONE, an d have been gone for a while.

LOL on the itals and bolds, Free. They’ll come, in time.

I do love me and my life is very full. There was this piece of him that I thought was my soulmate, even when we were apart and then even when we were together. Like just being held on the couch or sleeping in the bed together, I felt it was where I intrinsically belonged, somehow.

And it is so hard to separate that from the rest of it, or maybe I mean to integrate that with the rest of it.

Was raised to dislike the sin but love the person, and in a way that’s how I feel about him: I can’t not care about him, even when I try. I can despise whatever it is inside of him that makes him feel compelled to toy with my emotions, cat and mouse me, spin my insecurities….but I seem very much able to separate that part of him from the good parts.

It’s not upsetting at the moment, just baffling me. I used to believe that was love, you know, loving a person despite their faults. We all have faults. And that’s true, to some extent, that is what love is. It was only when it felt like having to make a choice between the two of us, who I was gonna save, that I gave up. Felt like I had to.

And that denial thing, where you go…well, what he did wasn’t so bad compared to what others have done….blah, blah, blah…and even though this is true, because he never hit me or tried to kill me, I know the dynamic between us was unhealthy for both of us.

But the love thing….well, I haven’t loved many men at all. Two, actually. Seems such a waste and such a shame, all those years and all those feelings….just poof. Where do you put them?



For me, that feeling of love for someone does not just go away, at least not easily. Otherwise, we’d be right alongside the very socios we complain about.

Even after all we’ve been through with these people, we can still feel that love. I’m not sure we have to stop loving. Why should we? It may seem contradictory to love someone who does not exist, but we love other ideas and intangible things, so why not the person we thought that person was. And, to me, the person we thought that person was is really made up of different aspects of who we want to be.

I say we don’t worry about the loving aspect–loving them would be the opposite of what they would want anyway, just so they could prove to themselves we are all terrible people and out to get them.

I believe the most important, and hardest, part is being able to move on and stop wanting them in our lives. Keep the love–love is only good. Love ourselves, love those around us, love the earth. Once I realized that I still loved the person he was when he was with me, those small moments of friendship and tenderness that I BELIEVED was real, only then did I know that I could move on and that it was okay.

I am FAR from being near closure on this, but I know that I don’t want to change what is in my heart, only what is in my head.

I hope I’m explaining myself well enough; I do have some communication problems in that I think the person I’m talking to must absolutely know what I’m talking about — ha!

” do have some communication problems in that I think the person I’m talking to must absolutely know what I’m talking about ha!

Um, are you kidding with the “ha” or something else? Because you came across perfectly clear. In speaking I do tend to ramble a bit and half-think something before saying it – so it does come out like…”huh?” But in writing am pretty clear. You seem very clear.

Love for me is something hard to dissipate, in whatever form it takes, whether friends or lovers or family or pets or whatever. I really wouldn’t want to be any other way, but I do want to protect myself, draw my boundaries with people, keep being assertive and standing up for myself in all areas of life.

My head seems really strong. It’s thinking with my heart that invariably gets me into trouble, and being feelings-driven as a human, there’s little way around that.

It’s nice to hear you say you embrace what was positive about your situation and relationship. You know, I do, too. But I forget the negatives very easily (FOO made this not just possible but inevitable.)

Thanks for providing a new way of looking at the subject!



I don’t know what a “carrot” is on the keyboard.

How do we stop loving them? I stopped when I realized and accepted what a Sociopath is and that the Bad Man is one or pretty damn close… and like ML says, when I admitted that what I loved wasn’t there. There is no man of my dreams in the Bad Man… only an illusion.. only empty words… only thoughts… only lies… only sh*t covered carrots… but nothing real at all.

It worked for me. You just might not be there yet. Letting go of the dream and embracing reality is painful. From where I sit, it looks like other people’s dreams came true so why do I have to swallow this reality pill and they don’t?! I don’t know the answer but I do know that as long as I long for a sh*t covered carrot, I will NEVER taste anything good.


Ox Drover

Aloha, you made me laugh again! “s#*t covered carrot” LOL

I always said that I was so deep in denial that if they had served “cat s#*t and told me it was candy it would have tasted sweet!” LOL

It may just be that we have to ACCEPT that there “IS NO Santa Claus, Virginia” As long as we keep longing for the illusion I don’t think we can turn loose of the “dream/fantasy/delusion” as long as we focus on “HOW GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN” or “what a WASTE” (in my case grieving about what a waste my son’s life had been versus what it COULD have been if he had had a soul and a conscience.”

But in a way, that is arrogance on my part, too–who the hell am I to tell him how to live his life? If he wants to live it in prison and doing crime–doesn’t he have a “right” to self determination just like I do? ( and the consequences that go with it) Maybe his dreams for himself aren’t what MY dreams would be, but who am I to try to impose my moral code on him? He’s an adult, he can make his choices, and if I don’t like them, I don’t have to put up with him, or worry about him. He has no obligation to me because I gave birth to him and I have NO obligation to him either, he’s an adult. What’s the big deal? I don’t like him, I dont have to associate with him. I don’t have to send money either. LOL (all this is of course some tongue in cheek, but in other ways there is also some truth in it.) LOL

My XBF-P and I were talking and I told him I would never have sex with him if he were having sex with others, and he said to me’ “We’re not married, you can’t tell ME who I can have sex with” and I said, “Yes, that is true, I am just telling you who I WILL HAVE SEX WITH AND IT IS NOT WITH SOMEONE SLEEPING WITH SOMEONE ELSE.”

Yay, you are workin’ the itals — GOOD JOB!!!! 🙂

“So whenever there was anything good, he would turn it bad, to wipe that smile off my face. “

Sadly enough, I remember this kind of experience, as well. And yet, when he was in an expansive mood, he did so much to PUT the smile on my face, on purpose.

I think as time goes by it is okay for me to remember, honor and love the good memories. They aren’t the sole domain of the other person. They are my memories too. It’s far less painful to look at some of them, particularly the night we talked of getting married and some other very wonderful nights, as good moments than as orchestrated lies.

Because, you see, the next time someone tells me that – if there is a next time – I want to have a happier frame of reference and a remote possibility of believing that person. To do so, I cannot associate this memory with a bundle of what I suspect are lies. Just can’t. You smart ladies might tell me I’m in denial, but that’s okay.

There are some sentences and thoughts that I simply cannot allow myself to view as having been said falsely — for my own heart and future’s sake.

I have to find a way to honor the very real love I felt for him in the face of doubts and uncertainty about what he really felt for me. Again, mostly for my sake, but also for the sake of 12 years of life that were spent loving him.

From 2008 and beyond, I can accept that a. whatever his truth is, I’ll likely never know it, and b. even if he did care at all, he didn’t care enough….but some of the memories I want to still treasure and the good pieces of the past.

Ox Drover


Congratulations on your CARROT! LOL I still can’t do it, so will stick with the CAPS and lots of laughter!

I get what you are saying about the “good memories,” I was in the same quandry with the P-son. I did have great memories of him as a kid up to puberty, he was a SUPER kid and I guess my PRIDE IN HIM made him my “golden child” that I had so much hope for—Pride goeth before a fall—I have looked back though to see if I “overlooked” a lot of bad behavior in him because of that pride, I even questioned his brothers to see if they knew of any bad behavior that I wasn’t aware of, and except for minor stuff they didn’t either.

So now I just “separate” the BOY and the MAN in my mind, and I enjoy the memories of the BOY but the man is NOT the same as the BOY, they are two different people in my mind. The BOY is gone, dead, vanished, no longer accessible to me, and I sure don’t like the man so it is NC with HIM.

Maybe my P-son’s childhood was the “honeymoon” stage of the P and the rest is the reality. Who knows? The reality is the Kid is gone, and the man by the same name is a MONSTER-MONSTER. (that’s Bold italics) LOL.

How come when I put in the number 8 (eight) I get a smiley face?


Lil Orphan,

I understand your need to treasure the good memories and you did spend a much longer time with your BM than I spent with my BM. Each of us has to find our own way to deal with this.

As I look back, if I am honest with myself, I don’t really have any truly good memories of BM. If I strip away the warm water, the flip-flops, tropical breezes, the adventures, everything… and I just bring it down to pure reality of the moment… it was really terrible beyond the first few dates. I was quite relaxed in the beginning but it did not take long at all for him to start pecking away at me. Even the first time he said he loved me it was when I was starting to waiver and back out because of his sketchy behavior. Therefore, I see it now as a manipulation of the moment rather than a heart felt feeling.

BM always had a mood hanging over him now that I think about it. He never fully laughed.. he never appeared completely relaxed. Okay, there is ONE moment that I will hold onto. I woke up one morning to find him sound asleep, curled like a baby, with his head on my stomach and his arm curled around me. In that moment of sleep, I believe I saw him for real… a person that needed love so bad but was not able to participate in it like he wanted to and I suspect, he didn’t know why. In those rare moments, I would ponder… what is happening here? Why can’t he stop treating me so bad?

BM was not calculating and smooth like some of the stories here and that makes me wonder about the Sociopath thing. Sometimes, I get the feeling that his outbursts were something that happened TO him and he had to go along for the ride… do you know what I mean? He loses control rather than using anger to control someone else… To me and my untrained eye, this makes me think he is an extreme Borderline Personality Disorder because his rages would last 48 – 72 hours. But you know what? It doesn’t matter any more.

All in all, there is maybe less than 30 minutes total of that relationship that I treasure. And what I treasure is the feeling I had about what I THOUGHT was happening. It was sweet to even think that love like that exists, even if it didn’t.

Back to my point… some of us will want to treasure certain times. But for me, recognizing and accepting what was not authentic about those moments with BM has helped me to let them go.

Struggling to let go in your mind is what you have been talking about a lot Lil Orphan, right? (I think it was you.) Check to see what you are replaying in your mind when you are struggling the most… just as an excercise. I do understand the loss a person would have to face if they accept that life’s sweetest moments were fake. That would be very painful. I do understand this… but if this is what keeps you captive in your mind, maybe it would help to set it free or put it away for awhile.

And of course, you can always remember that the LOVE you gave was real and that you were bing authentic in your commitment. You are a loving person with good intentions, a great big heart, and probably the patience of a Saint.

Letting go of him does not mean letting go of you… in fact, it’s quite the opposite.


I still don’t see any carrots on my key board. :o)


carrot carrot carrot


I don’t get it.


From reading, it looks like you work to help other people, youth, volenteer, ect. Have you always done that kind of work or did you start after your bad man experience?

It’s the left arrow and right arrow…called them carrots, didn’t I? Somehow I think I learned that somewhere – the greater than and lesser than symbols as carrots. LOL. Not covered in shit, although they could use a nice can of compressed air to clean them.

You are both, as always, quite wise.

Struggling to let go in your mind is what you have been talking about a lot Lil Orphan, right? (I think it was you.) Check to see what you are replaying in your mind when you are struggling the most” just as an excercise. I do understand the loss a person would have to face if they accept that life’s sweetest moments were fake. That would be very painful. I do understand this” but if this is what keeps you captive in your mind, maybe it would help to set it free or put it away for awhile.

Part of what’s stirring this up is the passage of time, feeling stronger, looking back and thinking that what he did wasn’t so bad. AND going out on these DATES for this series of articles I’m writing for the site where I freelance.

Just came back from one: handsome guy, owns his own business, ambitious, flies helicopters, freely opens his mouth and discusses all sorts of fascinating topics, is expansive, kind…

and damn…every time I have one of these I think of the P — feeling like there’s unfinished business. Feeling like I’ll never care again for anyone like I did for him. Feeling like it’s futile to keep going out on these dates, just to cry as I drive home. Bet these guys I’m meeting who tell me I’m smart and attractive and funny have no idea I’m sitting here typing in tears after they take me out.

Maybe it’s just too soon. But I learned over the intervening years between the P that if I don’t go out and date I will get to a point where I won’t even bother. That makes me more likely to be sucked-in by the next P.

I’ve NEVER dated much, on purpose, since getting divorced in 1995. Have always been hung-up on the P or seeing the P or in various stages of confusion over him.

So getting out there is good. But the way I feel afterwards is AWFUL. I want to stay home from work and just go to bed right now and keep bawling, for not feeling anything for these new guys. For everything I felt for him that now is no longer real. My heart is like squeezing in my chest and I could throw-up. Great date, huh?

It seems that if I spend any amount of time thinking how I’ve only ever loved two guys and neither of them could handle any kind of emotional closeness or figure out ways not to be abusive, physically or verbally and emotionally, I will probably toss myself off a building. Well, not really. But you know what I mean. Me, who lived and breathed the whole concept of loving someone loyally, permanently, intimately — just one person – has had utter failure. But not just failure, painful horrible love experiences. Failure is tolerable.

This crazy land of love that’s stated but not real, love that wounds you instead of heals, is like a slap in the face.

That’s why I’m holding on to the good memories, because it’s too hard to see what happened with him as false…it wasn’t false for me. Without those two experiences, I’d have none at all, except the (important but not the same) love I have for friends and family, or little kids and puppies.

And more than anything or anyone I knew, I believed in the dream of experiencing that kind of closeness with one special human being.

Maybe I can’t give that up just yet.



My career path has been a winding road and I have been through a lot. But, since leaving the Bad Man, I made the decision to pursue working in Social Services. I had about 6 months experience prior to going to the islands working with children in the Foster Care system.

Currently, I work at a group home for teenage girls and at The Children’s Shelter where children are brought while the County tries to find them a Foster Home or Group Home placement after they have been removed from their home for all kinds of reasons. I also volunteered at a Homeless Shelter for families but now with 2 jobs, I don’t have time anymore.

If you are wondering if I have always been the kind of person that has done volunteer work, the answer is no. My decision to shift my career direction and definately me time with Bad Man made me do this and it has helped to heal because it gets me out of my own head and problems.

I think I would like to work with women recovering from Domestic Violence and Abusive relationships in the future but I think it might be a little scary. I do not like scary things. Still, I have applied to go to Grad School for a Masters in Social Work and I am waiting to hear if I have been accepted for the Fall. Long term goal may be to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker which can do counseling and therapy.

I don’t think I have any gifts for therapy or anything but I have realized that I am okay with being around pain and that at the shelter, the Children gravitate to me as someone they can easily talk to or get a cuddle from.. and boy do some of them need it! Sometimes the job tears me up but I am learning how to cope better.

It’s funny but a friend of mine in college told me once, in anger, “If I am hurting, you know how to be there for me but if I am happy, you don’t know what to do.” There was some truth in that. So, I know what I need to work on but she was right… I know how to be around pain.

I am not sure how I would do in a Shelter for Battered Women. I think it would be hard to sit there and talk with a woman that is all beaten up… but I guess it’s just like LF. We share and continue to shine the light and hope that it will pierce through the FOG.



AHA! You are a kindred spirit. Nothing would send me reeling back in my mind like a date with a guy for some dang reason. Being swept off your feet for even 5 minutes casts a powerful spell on you. Once you have had that, you become convinced that anything less is no god. But, this is ths stuff of Fairytales. If I ever have a daughter, I think I will banish these stupid books from the home. They are fairytales.. hello.. FAIRIES… there are no fairies the last time I checked but don’t we buy into these as women?!

And yes, I believed in love.. deep committed, get through anything in the name of love.. LOVE. Deep bonding, keeping my word, honoring, cherishing, WORSHIPPING… L-O-V-E!

Check your definition of love and what it means to you. Is it healthy? Is it safe?

Love means something else to me now. It means SAFE.

Would l like to have someone sweep me off my feet.. yes.. and NO. I say sweep me off my feet AFTER you have done your “due diligence” as they say in business. Being swpet off your feet by someone you hardly know is unsafe for you and for them.

A very good friend told me BEFORE I moved to Maui, “You should wait AT LEAST 6 months before intimately involving your life with someone because no one can hide that they are crazy for longer than that.” GOD WAS HE RIGHT.. but I didn’t listen. Bad Man showed me who he was after the 3rd date.

I am seeing someone now but we have not even progressed to the point of saying we are dating. We have had nothing but a quick smooch and that’s it… I admitt.. it sure would be nice to have a make out. HAHA! There are times when I get antsy and I want more and there are times where I realize… this is mature. This is better. We live in a culture of instant gratification and that translates to our relationships as well and I just don’t want this anymore. And I don’t want to be with a man who can’t act like a man and have some self control and patience and treat me like a lady. BM TOTALLY pressured me for sex too fast and I gave in because he said, “Why do all the Bad Boys get sex and the good guys have to wait?!” I can’t believe I fell for that crap.

So anyway, I do understand that dating is a trigger for you.. I think it is perfect that you have this assignment because the universe is making you get out there.. which is just the right medicine for you, if you ask me!


Thanx for sharing Aloha, I know this probably wasn’t the place to ask but I was just wondering if I am ready to become an advocate again. Which by the way, you seem to be so good with people, I believe you would help so many women.


Thank you rperk. I needed that! :o)

He didn’t sweep me off my feet. That’s the unholy part of all this.

Compared to these guys I’m meeting he’s not even in their league, financially, socially, intelligence-wise….and as a human being, well who knows?

Objectively, the FACTS: He was cheating with a married person, his life was a shambles when he dragged me back into it, he was caught in several lies, nothing he “fixed” works (the brakes, toilet and ceiling he worked on are all still broken!!), he couldn’t or wouldn’t be there when the chips were down, he said crazy-making things to try and hurt me, he had no economic responsibility, he ruined every relationship he’s EVER had and has serious alcohol issues as well as denial. He wasn’t particularly smart, or decent to others. He admitted unethical behavior and a need to run every show. He embarrassed me publicly by his rage at these kids one night, for absolutely NOTHING important. He never said a nice thing about anyone else, including HIS OWN FRIENDS.

Those are the facts. These are the things I’ve observed and others have observed and discussed with me. These are all the things that led me to run like hell.

But I have this blindness, the fog or whatever, that keeps me from FEELING these things. I am intellectually aware of them as FACTS though. And have been since 2001.

Aside from interacting with him and his crazymaking, I’ve been the same solid, decent, loving person all of my life to everyone in my life. Have the same friends for forever, am always relied upon, have always been appreciated for being who I am consistently, alone or with other people.

Intellectually, all of these things are true. It was only with him that I ever acted out of character in response to what he was doing.

It’s the dream I’m mourning. It really is. Because the reality is not what he presented — from day to day it changed. Which means logically there is no REAL, consistent, reliable HIM to speak of.

I am rushing things, with all this multi-dating. It’s nice to be so appreciated by guys after the hurtful things he said and did, and it’s nice to know they’re attracted to me and that kind men exist. But until I can feel what I’ve known to be factually-supported for ten years….regardless of his “acting performance” I will probably be triggered.

Thanks, Aloha, for making me really think about it with my brains rather than my too-forgiving heart.

Six months, aloha? His was three. The very first time he verbally abused me on the phone, screaming, mocking and raging at me for not picking up the phone earlier that day was three months into seeing him again.

And yes, I believed in love.. deep committed, get through anything in the name of love.. LOVE. Deep bonding, keeping my word, honoring, cherishing, WORSHIPPING” L-O-V-E!

So do I. That’s what makes me keep going in circles over this. I had it for him, even after he showed me what he was about. That’s what converges with the FOO issues: he presented a different public face from his private, bad truth. I was used to that growing up in an abusive home, and gravitated to what was familiar — even knowing better.

Maybe that’s where the confusion about love stems from, and how I can know what I know but still feel care and concern for someone who doesn’t treat me well.


No.. he did something abusive after the third date.. not the third month. (that makes me look even more stupid doesn’t it?)

Bad Man could never hold it together longer than a few days.



I try not to blame my FOO but I have thought about some of the dynamics there and how they have influenced me. And if I am honest, I have a history of trying to make people like me that don’t treat me all that well. I have had to question myself.. why do I want to be a part of this group or that? Clearly, they are not my kind of people.

My instinct is telling me that there is something you have not accepted about what happened or that you have not integrated and that is keeping you in what we will call… informed denial. :o) I made that up just for you! I hope you don’t mind.

I lived in informed denial for quite awhile.. in fact, I moved in with BM with informed denial. I KNEW what I was getting into.

You know..I did some stupid stuff but I am willing to admitt it because I know that a lot of us are dealing with this and didn’t Donna write a great essay about looking stupid? And you know what.. I think she’s smart. We can do stupid things and still be the smart women we are. Isn’t that great?

Maybe you are refusing to really feel through what happened because it is too much to stomach. Maybe you can take a piece at a time. Take a big moment… a moment where you have some nice memory of it even though there were parts of that incident that were just horrible… and meditate on integrating the experience so that you are willing to see and feel the truth about it. Start with something small. And then move on to another one and go down your list.

These sociopathic encounters are not something we can deal with quickly. There is so much there that it is difficult to process. I ahve said this before but long after I left Maui, I would be driving in m car and suddenly remember something so aweful that BM said to me and it would land on me like an avalanche. I actually pulled my car off the road once because I couldn’t see from all the water works. He said something so offensive to my soul that I just could not cope with it when it happened.. but it had to be let go.

What do you say?

He said something so offensive to my soul that I just could not cope with it when it happened.. but it had to be let go.

What do you say?

I say this:

Have always had a hard time giving up on people I cared about, whether it was from years of better experiences, moments where they were their better selves, malignant optimism, a weird childhood, a too-soft heart (that’s what my friends say is the problem) or just the inability to give up on people. Have always been this way, even with people who were mean to me as a child. Even with bullies. If they were hurting later, I wanted to comfort them, even though they’d been mean to me and even if I socked ’em one right back on the playground.

I feel guilty admitting and writing the things I said about him, even though they happened and are true. Why? Where is that loyalty coming from? Loyal to what? And yet, I do feel bad saying anything bad about him. Yes, it’s nutty. Good hearted, but nutty.

I did do some stupid stuff, and things that made me question my own nature. But then you’ve got 98 percent of your life’s behavior that shows who you are and maybe 2 percent that confounds even you. With him, it was always that 2 percent.

He’s the only person who’s ever pushed my buttons like that, and I just want to be able to stop forgetting the bad in him or excusing it and remembering the good.

All the P and N stuff is new to me, but finding it was a revelation — either several dozen women on another board were either all dating the same guy I was OR he had a personality disorder.

Someone said the longest journey they ever took was from the heart to the brain. I need to integrate into my heart what my brain is saying and not feel bad or disloyal or feel that I’m “giving up” on him as a human being.

I understand myself in every single area of life except when it comes to him. Huge blindspot. Nobody around me understands….nobody around from years ago will even DISCUSS it with me.

They despise him and the toying with me.

All they ever say is that I’m worth 20 of him or deserve so much better and that he is beneath me, yadda, yadda, yadda. And then I’d find myself getting mad at them — the people who have consistently been wonderful human beings. including my own daughter who didn’t think he was good enough.

So, what do I think? I think I have to stop thinking about it. He was what he was, all along, and he said so himself: “smoke and mirrors, all about me, you should hate me.”

He knew he was unequipped and told me so, and that he was going to do what he did because it’s what he does.

And I will eventually heal by not poking at the scab.

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