Lovefraud just published a Spath Tale in which a reader, “simpleme56,” describes her terrible experience of multiple betrayals. Here’s how she begins her story:
I came from an abusive childhood, an abusive marriage, and worked hard for over thirty years to heal, to educate myself to be able to understand the dynamics of my abuser and move forward in my life.
Believing she finally found an incredible man, she left the abusive marriage, but quickly learned, to her horror, that the new man was another abuser. If you haven’t read her story yet, I invite you to do so:
Back and forth, from the abusive husband to the sociopathic boyfriend
It seems so disheartening. Simpleme56 worked hard to understand what had happened, and educate herself about the dynamics of abuse. She cautiously observed the new man for a year before making the leap. Yet she was blindsided.
Why? My guess is that even though she understood, cognitively, her abusive childhood and marriage, the emotions of grief, betrayal and disappointment were still buried within her.
An abusive childhood is the core reason why many people find themselves targeted by sociopaths. Children who have abusive parents are trapped. They can’t escape, so they have to figure out a way to survive. Talking back or crying often makes the abuse worse, so they learn to bottle up all their pain inside them.
Children don’t have the skills to deal with powerful emotions, so many kids internalize them. The feelings stay within, festering for years.
Through her education, Simpleme56 probably realized that the abuse she endured as a child led to her marrying an abuser. But the pain of her past both the childhood abuse and the marriage was still within her. So she was vulnerable to another abuser.
Emotional pain is, by definition, emotional. You can’t cure emotional pain through intellectual analysis. Understanding why you are in pain is not the same as releasing the pain.
That’s why there is often a silver lining to the cloud of being targeted by a sociopath. Here it is: The experience of being abused by a sociopath is so awful that you can no longer ignore your emotional pain. All the internal structures that you built over the years to contain the grief and betrayal collapse, and the pain comes pouring out.
You cry. You wail. You curl up on the floor. You hit punching bags in anger.
As you allow yourself to feel the pain of the most recent sociopath, you can also clearly feel how the pain is linked to all the previous abuse that you endured. The hidden trauma also rises to the surface of your awareness and is released.
With that, comes healing.
Opportunity for personal recovery
The abuse of yet another sociopath offers you the opportunity to do the deep personal work of recovery. This is not pretty I recommend allowing yourself to experience the emotions either alone or with a trusted therapist. (Definitely do NOT allow the sociopath to see this pain. It will be like throwing red meat to a tiger.)
The recovery process will take time. Emotion will rise to surface and you’ll release it. You’ll be okay for awhile. Then, perhaps because of some trigger, more emotion will rise to the surface. This will continue until layers and layers of betrayal are dissipated.
It’s hard work, but worth it. Because the more you release, the lighter your heart will feel. And that’s the objective.
Here’s the great truth of the experience of being targeted by a sociopath: Real recovery occurs not your mind, but in your heart.
It hurts. It hurts so bad. Not only to know that everything was a lie and the betrayal that comes with that. But to think – wow – I genuinely thought he loved me too. And to realize that it was ALL FAKE. I finally felt like I figured out what true love was. That I not only felt more love than I’ve ever felt toward another human, but that someone could love me that much too. I came from an abusive childhood and was in another relationship with a man for 8 years that wasn’t your typical abusive relationship. But it was – he was living a double life. Pretending to be single and talk ing to girls on the internet, getting girls numbers when he was going out, saying he was hanging with “friends” but he was hanging with girls, etc. Whenever I confronted him, he would make me out to be crazy, etc. What’s crazy is that even after 8 years of this and holding on because I “loved” him, I did not feel as devastated as I did with my most recent psychopathic/narcissist relationship. That relationship that lasted for a little over a year was literally the BEST and WORST time of my life. No matter how much I tell myself he wasn’t good for me, he didn’t make me feel good anymore, I was thinking I had schizophrenia (which I do have C-PTSD from childhood, but that’s beside the point), he never cared about my feelings (which was SO different than he appeared at the beginning). I’m only giving some of the story here – too much to tell and i don’t have a lot of time. I just wanted to comment on the fact that the PAIN I feel towards losing him/never really having him, receiving that LOVE/never receiving that LOVE is unbearable. I meant it when I said that being with him was the BEST and WORST time of my life. The worst time was me trying to get it back to the BEST time. He would sometimes show me that idealization stage – well he knew how to keep me hooked. I HATE HIM (but not really) but no I do. Ugh. In about two months of NC and yet he still dominates my thoughts. Even though I know I don’t want anything to do with him. My friends do not realize why this is so hard to get over. It wasn’t a normal end to the relationship. We broke up and I was left broken and thinking everything was my fault (from his manipulation and because I am a codependent who always thought I was a bad person, I was wrong, and that everything that was so good (funny that he was the “good thing”) in my life, I ruined, etc. So I allowed him back in my life after the initial 3 months of no contact and then he wrecked me again for three months. Tellling me he missed me, showing me affection, and then withdrawing it. Telling me “time will tell” (referring to us getting back together) but then getting mad at me when I would bring up the fact that we might get back together (although I didn’t say anything about this often, because we were just “friends” and I had the filter on – “will this upset him if i say this?” “if I do that?” “If i tell him how i feel” etc). UGHGHGH – basically – please share some inspirational stories about getting over the pain of this FAKE LOVE and how it helped you find true love with someone that actually CARES about you. I’ll definitely be posting on here more often. Thank you for reading my somewhat lengthy and a little jumbled post.
iHATEhim – I am so sorry for what you are going through, and yes it HURTS. It hurts terribly. But by feeling the hurt, you are processing it, and that is exactly what needs to happen.
Your story is a CLASSIC example of exactly what I am talking about – abusive childhood, abusive previous relationship. Make no mistake – the prior relationship was also exploitative. It sounds to me like you’ve been involved with two sociopaths in a row, in addition to whatever you endured in your childhood.
Please allow yourself to cry. To feel the pain. That is how you let it go. No, it is not fun. It is not pretty. Your friends probably won’t get it, so you should do it privately. When I went through it, the only witness was my dog, and it really scared him. (But when I stopped crying, he would lick my face to comfort me.)
This will take time. The pain is caused by the collapse of the internal structures you built to keep it all contained. You want to get rid of the structures, because they are the same structures that keep real love out.
I assure you, you can get through this, and life will be much better on the other side. I did find my true love right after I finally released all of my attachments to the sociopath. That is the benefit of going through the process.
Thank you for such a thoughtful and personable response. I know what you mean about your dog being scared about your crying! They are so intuitive and they hate seeing you hurt and depressed.
You’re right. I am also trying to work on loving myself (which I have NEVER loved myself. I am not a mean person, unless you’re counting how I treat myself :/ – i mean how could I when I didn’t feel genuine love or at least love that didn’t come with abuse that was my fault). I am also learning to be assertive. So that people do not walk all over me, use me, or that I allow myself to be in any kind of relationship where my needs are not being met.
I’m sure we will have many more communications!
Thank you for your comment!