By | April 24, 2012 13 Comments

Three Years After The Psychopath

This weekend marked an anniversary for me. It was three years to the day since I discovered the trail of emails that was to lead me to the truth about my ”˜soul mate’ of ten years. Three years since my entire world shattered round me, leaving me lost and alone to deal with the ugly, frightening truth.

I remember so clearly the evening I found the black and white proof that my marriage was nothing but a sham. Reading one email after another, I remember literally holding my throat and gasping for air. Pushing down my nearly overwhelming desire to be sick, and doing my best to control the shaking in my legs while my heart pumped in my mouth.

I got through those first few days on pure adrenalin. I would not — could not — give in. I knew I had to stay strong and fight — both for myself and for my son. At that time I had absolutely no comprehension about the magnitude of the war that I was facing. I knew, of course, that my heart was broken and that life would never be the same again — but I did not understand just how far “hell and back” really was, nor how perilous the terrain. And in many ways I’m grateful for that.

Surviving The Aftermath

In many ways I’m thankful that I fell back on what surely is the most basic of all instincts — that of survival. I thank my lucky stars that I learned to focus on keeping myself together rather than contemplating the enormous emotional, financial, professional and spiritual carnage that had been steadily eroding my life while I blindly carried on giving love and support. Nurturing the very person who was cold-bloodedly using our “relationship” to fuel his own sordid existence — at my expense.

It has been one heck of a battle. Not with him because, as you know, I have neither seen nor spoken with him since the night I discovered the truth. Thank goodness he’d been in another country while I was sat at home in France. As soon as he knew he’d been rumbled, he quite literally disappeared. No explanation. No question. No contact. No nothing. Gone. No, my battle has not been with him as such… the battle has been with the world in general — and myself in particular.

Over the three years since that night, I’ve had to pull myself literally out of the pit of ruin and damnation. I’d been told I would lose my home, leaving my son and I on the streets with nothing but a pile of debts. I’d also been told that it would take years of expensive court battles to secure a divorce. On top of that, I also had to deal with the on-going insinuations from professionals that I must be “missing something up top” in order to let myself get in to such a ridiculously dangerous and hopeless situation “But madam” sneered a credit controller from the mortgage company, who just a few days before my discovery were about to sign an order to repossess the property “surely you must have realised something was wrong? We wrote you numerous letters telling you about the situation”¦.”

“Yes!” I wanted to scream “and I never saw any of them because they were being hidden from me!”  But, of course, I realised that any kind of response like that would merely provide further ”˜evidence’ that I had lost the plot. So instead I learned how to remain calm, focused, and unwavering in explaining that no, I hadn’t understood what was going on. That yes, now I was in full possession of the facts and was keen to clear up the mess. That I’d like to understand what I could do, and that yes, I could absolutely promise that any agreed payment terms would be upheld — despite the existing bad payment records (and despite having no idea how in the world I was going to be able keep my promise).

It was excruciating. So many of the seemingly tiny steps of progress would involve a ridiculously huge amount of personal control and calm — when all I really felt like doing was crying out and collapsing in a heap.

I remember the silent howls that raged inside as I bit my lips and took yet another deep breath “Why can’t you see? When is somebody going to support me? What is stopping you from realising the truth and helping me?”

But of course I couldn’t do that. Instead I used the hurt and anger to propel me forwards. Gritting my teeth and giving myself countless pep talks, I slowly came to realise that”¦ in actual fact”¦. I didn’t need other people to understand or sympathise with my situation. Well, not in the way I had originally thought I did, in any case.

Acknowledging The Small Steps

No, as I built my self-support muscles I found that I could deal better with each new piece of information. Every time I achieved the smallest of achievements, I would pat myself on the back, or say something out loud to myself until the phrase “well done Mel” gradually settled itself as a regular in my verbal library! The more I did that, the more confidant I became that I would be able to come through — despite the vast array of information and so-called expert advise that kept insisting to the contrary.

My thoughts (and self-questions) gradually changed form. Gone was “why can’t you see the truth!” to be replaced by “I know what happened, that’s what is important. And it doesn’t matter whether or not you can understand — I don’t judge you either way”. Equally, thoughts of “I just can’t go on” were slowly substituted with “Bring it on — you’re messing with the wrong woman here!” But rather than being simply the war-cry of adrenalin-fuelled defiance from the first few days and weeks, it slowly became a solid declaration of the fact about who I really was. Who I had become, and (most importantly) who I always had been.

And as more battles presented themselves, I started to enjoy the continual cycle of personal growth while I slowly woke up to the truth that actually, I can do this. I am already enough. I always have been. I realised that I no longer needed validation from anyone else — because here I was, finally standing strong and proud by myself and for myself. Stepping up, speaking up and forging ahead became my spiritual and emotional work-out, and through the process I have become fit, strong and confident.

It hasn’t been easy. And I’m now facing some physical fall-out (no results from the biopsy as yet, but I’m feeling confident I can deal with the verdict, whatever it is) which, quite honestly, doesn’t surprise me when I step back and consider the full picture. I think it’s safe to say I’ve made it — I’ve passed go and collected £200 to boot. It’s been one heck of a journey and it’s no wonder that my body is now protesting — or perhaps just cleansing old patterns? No matter. I’m confident that this is another opportunity to learn more and live with more joy.

Would I choose to do it all again”¦.? Never in a million years. And I while the prize is one I shall cherish forever, I would never wish my journey on anyone else. Ever.

What I will happily share, though, are all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Because I do believe it’s possible for people to learn from the experiences of others”¦. My challenge is simply how to get the messages across in ways that are meaningful, useful and relevant. Hhhhmmmmmmm”¦.. now that keeps me thinking 🙂

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Ox Drover

Congratulations, Mel, on this anniversary. Thanks for sharing it with us. “You’ve come a long way, Baby” to quote the old Virginia slims cigarette ads from years ago to advertize their “slim” and “sexy” smokes! LOL Things ARE different now. Yep. there were lessons there in the experience, but NO! I would not choose to repeat the experience, and I’d pass on NEEDING those lessons if I could. Now that I’ve got the lessons (for the most part I think) I am glad it is essentially over.

Again, thanks for your article and again Congratulations!


I will quote you, because you took the words out of my mouth “Well done Mel”

GREAT NEWS on the biopsy – CELEBRATE

One thing – you need to cross this off your list because you are already doing a wonderful job of it – “My challenge is simply how to get the messages across in ways that are meaningful, useful and relevant.”

Thank you for all your wonderful articles.

Mel – than you so much for sharing your journey – and l’m very glad that the medical worries are cleared up.

Ox Drover

Mel, we posted over each other, so I didn’t know your results were clear when I posted to you, a DOUBLE TOWANDA and a DOUBLE CONGRATULATIONS to you for that news! Have a good night’s sleep tonight!


Mel, what a bright light, today! Congratulations on the clean bill of health! Reading your articles is a tremendous help and I’m looking forward to where I hope to be in the next year. Your truthful, honest sharing provides a comfort to know that there IS light at the end of the dark tunnel. There IS reason to force myself over the next pothole in my path. There IS going to be a much better life if I just believe it and make it happen. Thanks, again, for your sharing.

Brightest blessings to you!


Great news, Mel!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats!!!!


Mel, wonderful news! Congratulations!!!!! And a big hug over the atlantic!


Congrats on the clean bill of health and your 3 years of NC. You are more than a survivor, you are an inspiration. ((hugs))


Hi Mel, congratulations on all that you have achieved!

Guys, Can i please ask what does TOWANDA mean?



By the way, I think Mel is from Australia?

Oxy can describe it better, but TOWANDA is just like a battle cry…like a victory. It was in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes I think?


Mel, I re-read this excellent article, and I almost broke out into a sweat because you are describing what COULD have been my situation with the exception of where I am on my healing path.

I am grateful for this article. Grateful to be alive as I honestly believe that the exspath would SURELY have seen that I was demised rather than be exposed and be required to actually PAY anything in a divorce. I have very much to be grateful for in spite of the challenges – in SPITE of them, dammit!

Mel – brightest and most congratulatory blessings to you, once again.

Missymooz, “TOWANDA” refers to the female war-cry in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” A MUST-SEE!! “Towanda!” can be translated into : you GO, girl; Rock On, Woman!; and, (best of all) FARK YOU, jackass!!!!!

Now, I’m feeling a mischevious grin – something I haven’t felt for a good while! Thanks, Mel and Missy! 😀



Wonderful piece! And my thoughts with you on the next leg of your journey!

Yes, I remember the day. Funny how there is a specific event in all of our stories where the “hoise of cards” falls down.

It forced us to immediately see things that were true. Generally not a pleasant event, but a needed one.

I wanted to buy into that bubble that he created around us. And I did. And then it burst.

The experience of having it pop was shattering from inside to out. And it took a long time to get back to where I wasn’t so uncertain of who I am or anyone around me. Until I could stop talking about it and start focusing on other things that were more immediately important.

Its two years later. And the distance from that time is pretty amazing. Then, I thought I would never be functional again. Now, I find the memories much more vague and whatever they were, today is here and to full to dredge them up.

Life goes on. And so do we.

The road on recovery from these is really hard and the challenges are inside us, invisible and hard to explain or to be understood. I am as glad to read your story as I am sad that any of of us ever had one to tell.


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