When the pain caused by a sociopath doesn’t stop

Almost three years ago, Lovefraud published the story of a man from the UK whom I called Tom. Tom’s wife left him for another man, took their children, had him arrested on false charges nine times and wiped him out financially. Here is the original story:

UK man says sociopath stole his life

Now, three years later, Tom still hasn’t seen his children. His ex-wife and her new husband, who also sounds like a sociopath, have removed the children from the UK. They live in France, at a small town near the Swiss border. “My heart bleeds every minute for the loss,” he writes. “It is a living bereavement and a nightmare from which I may never awake.”

I asked Tom if he was taking care of himself. Here’s his reply:

I have taken care of myself and for the most part I am okay. Some days are worse than others. I do have my very depressed and painful days ”¦ but I close my eyes, dream of days and memories of long ago, sleep and they pass.

I have to deal with my health and look after my parents. My mother phones me and cries about her grandson all the time. She has post-traumatic difficulties and says she cannot connect with her other grandchildren because of what she feels for my son. She feels a deep loss and is constantly worried about the kids. Every open discussion starts with them [opening the scar] and ends with them.

I am holding my own and my health has deteriorated but I am stable. I hold my family in the balance on many fronts. I am keeping it together but the pain is immense at times.

I am working and seem to have bounced back somewhat to where I used to be”¦ the years have been tearful, painful and costly. I don’t think that I will every really recover.

Releasing the pain

How do you cope when there is no resolution in sight?

I asked Tom about how he is taking care of himself because that may be, for the time being, all he can do. Emotional pain weakens us and makes it difficult to continue the battle. So somehow, Tom needs to alleviate the pain, even though his circumstances have not changed.

This seems counterintuitive—how can he feel better when his children are still kept away from him? The solution is to deal with the pain directly. Pain can be processed and released, even when the source of the pain has not changed.

Pain comes from wanting things to be different. The solution is to accept what is, for the time being, reality. This does not mean giving up hope. It does not mean quitting the legal battle. But it does mean letting go of the internal upset that keeps us trapped, and makes us ill.

How do we do that? We allow ourselves to feel the pain and grief at our loss. This is best done privately, or perhaps with a skilled counselor. We allow ourselves to cry, moan with the anguish, perhaps pound pillows in our anger. We continue until we feel a release, and then we stop.

Tom will probably have to do this many times—the well of his pain and grief is deep. But each time grief is released, it makes room for healing. And from a place of healing, it is possible to find the internal resources to continue the battle.

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431 Comments on "When the pain caused by a sociopath doesn’t stop"

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Hello everyone,
I haven’t posted in nearly a month, but I just wanted to give you an update.

If you recall, my ex-soc was showing up at my church and almost everyone recommended me to go to another church for a while. I have done this a few times. however, I am not able to avoid my chuch completely. About once a month i have a commitment to be there for reading of scriptures and/or lay ministry. Since my post, i have had to do this twice, and he was not present either time. The first time, i didn’t care whether he was there or not – felt strong that day, very empowered and was actually hoping he might there; the second time i was more concerned and not feeling as strong, so was relieved when he wasn’t there.

At any rate, I am feeling much better about this situation, however i think i will continue to be vigilant about going there. For example, if i go and see his car in the lot, i might just keep driving and head to my alternate chuch. i guess i’ll play it by ear and see how i’m feeling that day.

Here’s something that happened last night….
A weeknight Bible Study is something I enjoy at my church and last night was the first class of the year. Since these are smaller gatherings with a social aspect to it, i was really hoping that he would not show up. he has not done these before, so i have no idea how aware of or interested he is in what my church offers, aside from sunday worship. anyway, i was on my way over last night and i wanted to get there early to get a comfortable seat since my back has been very painful lately. well, just as i’m making a turn onto the street where my church is located, I AM CERTAIN that his car was approaching from the opposite direction, before i made my turn. It was just getting dark, but the car color, make and license plate style all indicated that it was him, since i rarely see any other cars like his on the road. believe me, i would know based on the amount of anxiety i felt when i see things that remind me of him…LOL. But last night since headlights were shining in my eyes, and this all happened in a split second, it was hard to make out much more than that. But this car DID NOT make the turn.

To be honest, I was really freaked out after that. Even if he WERE heading to the class, I doubt that he is sharp enough to have recognized my car under these conditions. What’s more, I doubt that seeing me would have deterred him from attending the class if that’s where he was heading. No, he was definitely going somewhere else, but where? Maybe over to my house, since this is the route he usually took, but that would surprise me because other than showing up at my church, he has NOT stalked me in any way. I just thought it was so freaky that I would see him at a time when he was foremost on my mind.

So that’s about it. I just wanted to bring you all up to date and tell you about my close encounter.

Thanks for reading,

Dear james,

Good for you! Glad you are doing better at least.

The feeling you had by thinking you saw his car we call a “trigger” and it is NORMAL to feel that way, maybe for quite some time, but hang in there, he will find new “feeding grounds” is my guess. Just TAKE CARE OF YOU!

I am worse than ever. Sometimes I think that being in a relationship with a Sociopath can be like cancer. Other bad things in life I have gotten over and been able to work through. Two and a half years later and I’m still destroyed. In fact, I’m worse with time. So, really, tomorrow I think I could also say that I am worse than ever and it will be true. I know that doesn’t leave a lot of hope and optimism for tomorrow, but it’s really how I feel. I was optimistic about my recovery for so long. I have worked so hard at getting better. I have paid so much money in therapy. After all of that, I can honestly say that I’m worse. I can’t stand this pain. It physically hurts. I should be getting better!

Anyway, I was wanting to reach out for support and post on here, but the way the forum is set up, didn’t really know where to post about the pain I’m feelings. Then, this thread was one of the first ones that popped up at the top of the page when I came onto the site here.

So, I understand the pain. I understand not taking care of myself. I feel that all of the pleasure and happiness have been drained from me. I have been living with this for so long and I wonder if I will ever be happy again. He’s out of my life. I have no contact. I’m in group therapy and individual therapy. I’ve read many books about this. I exercise when I’m stressed. I try to do little things for myself (when I am trying very hard to feel better) that used to make me happy and it doesn’t work anymore. Nothing works.

I’m out of ideas on how to feel like a normal person again or to like myself at all. I can barely look in the mirror long enough to brush my hair, wash my face and brush my teeth. I hate myself now and before the Sociopath, I had really good self-esteem. Will I feel ruined forever? I really feel as though my whole life is completely ruined. It’s really bad today.

Just post anywhere you want. we all do it.
I’m so sorry to hear how you feel. Same here. some days are better and some worse, but I can’t say that I have stopped hurting. everyday is about him. everyday is about the sociopaths that have hurt me. I can’t seem to get past that loss because it seems to be a reminder that something is wrong with me. And I know that there is. There is no doubt about it, it was caused by the original sociopaths, my parents. But I watch them because I live with them now. I also know their history and the histories of most of the P’s in my family. They were devalued by their own parents. But their response was to work, work, work and make money – they were raised during the depression. The more their feelings are hurt the more they move their bodies into work and they are in their 70’s!
I sit here, reading, reading, reading. I let them do all the work.
Their solution has helped them have all the things they wanted, but they continued the cycle and now their children are sick and pathetic and mostly broke. I was in the clutches of a P who wanted to kill me and my sister still is. My brother is an alcoholic leach and my other sister has a horrible N husband. My parents are so ashamed, but they just keep working harder and harder. Only when I push the emotional boundaries have they cracked for a moment and given in to their emotions. I’ve told them much of what I know about N’s. They get it – partially, but accepting responsibiltiy for their bad parenting is very difficult. They also can’t see any blame on their own parents. They consider them saintly. MY GRANDPARENTS WERE HORRIBLE P’S.

My mother blames my father’s parents, and vice versa. They were all the same: child beating P’s.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that we are all the walking wounded. P’s included. We each handle it the best we can. But P’s just victimize others and continue the cycle. My parents didn’t stop to feel their pain and analyze it, so they created more P’s and P-supplies. So at least you aren’t a P.

My friend told me I just had to resign myself to the fact that the world sucks then I would be better.

You and I expected more and we are profoundly disappointed. We seem to have broken our bootstraps, so we don’t have anything to pull ourselves up by. I think I know what to do – focus on something, anything – but can’t seem to do it for very long.

Chocolate helps my mental state a little bit, but -as if my life didn’t suck enough – I’M ALLERGIC TO CHOCOLATE!

Dear Jill,

((((Jill))))) I am so glad that you came here, and you can post ANYWHERE about anything you are feeling, on any thread. Sometimes just “saying” it with the typed words helps in itself.

You are doing the things you need to do, and I know it sounds trite, but it will TAKE TIME as you have been so deeply wounded, scared, afraid, terrorized for your baby’s life, and so on….if you weren’t a “basket” case, you would not be NORMAL. We ALL either are or were basket cases at one point or two in time with this thing, sometimes for years until we started sorting it out. You can’t get over a complete devestation and terrorizing n a few months or a few weeks, it takes what you are doing ONE DAY AT A TIME. I too thought I never would be happy agaibn, never would feel joy again, but i do.

Focus on ONE thing that brings you joy, one even TINY thing that you appreciate and see the beauty in. Focus o nthat one thing and “breathe” in the JOY for just a moment.

A couple of years ago there were some wild flowers blooming out behind my house (I live in the woods) just little TINY blue wild flowers with these little yellow dots and in the mornings I would get up and look out and see them. Just them being there was a joy. It was about the only joy I could experience then, but it helped so much.

I also sat down and made a list of my blessings because in all my pain I forgot the WONDERFUL blessings I DO have….simple things.

BLESSING: I have good teeth and dont’ have a toothache.

BLESSING: I have a roof over my head at night.

BLESSING: I have enough food to eat.

BLESSING: I have two wonderful sons.

BLESSING:______________________ (fill in the blanks)

I know that sounds trite, but it does help to look at the positive side of things. Pain makes us focus on what we don’t have, and we have MUCH MORE THAN WE LACK.

Keep coming here and blogging Jill, rant if you want to, scream if you need to, cuss if you need to—let it all hang out! We are HERE FOR YOU, and we’ve most of us been where you are, where we are so far down in the hole we can’t even see if there is an opening at the top of it. (((Hugs)))) and my prayers for you and your baby! Love, Oxy

Great advice Oxy. Jill, if what you have been doing hasn’t been working, maybe take an entirely different approach. Read the blog on No Contact begins in my head. “Working through it” hasn’t worked for you. So concentrate on small blessings and go NC in your head. Maybe allow yourself one hour a day on love fraud, or one hour a week in therapy.

But try a radically different approach which is DENIAL (LOL)and MINIMIZATION…all the BAD things we did to stay hooked on the P. Use those tools to get rid of him. Say to yourself that you refuse to give one more minute (with those exceptions) to thinking about him, about P’s, about the past. Pretend you have amnesia. Start over. Look for the small blessing Oxy is talking about. Make yourself fall asleep each night by counting all the things you can think to be thankful for. You aren’t in a war zone. You aren’t hungry. You aren’t hooked on drugs. You know how to read. You have internet access. etc etc. Try to “right size” what happened. It is over. It is done. 15 years from now it will be hard to remember the details (if you go NC in your head). If it won’t matter in 15 years, you can make it not matter now.

Look at Elizabeth Smart. She had, as I understand it, one or two therapy sessions, that’s it! Her mom told her, that man stole all this time from you, don’t let him have a minute more.

Once, after I had been badly physically attacked and couldn’t seem to get over it, my minister told me “Pretend everything is all right and pretty soon it will be.” Well, I thought that was dumb advice but I took it. 6 months later I was getting married to a wonderful man and bursting with joy. I started out just sitting in a rocking chair, rocking and crying all day. But I followed his advice and it worked.

So if working on problems doesn’t work, try blocking the whole thing!! Some antidepressants might help. But I got better as a teen without them. This time I needed them. But I’m off them now and life feels very good.

One friend who does undercover work had just one problem on top of another. She used an analogy that I’m sure others have used. She just pictured herself at the bottom of a deep hole in the earth. And each lot of crap thrown on her, she just shook it off, and stood on it to get her higher out of the hole. Until after so much crap had been thrown at her, she was finally free, out of the hole.

That is making lemonade out of lemons.

That is what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

That is count your blessings and don’t let anyone get you down or keep you down.

It can help as analogy in your mind of how to get stronger and stronger no matter what happens.

I don’t agree it is always true, but it is OFTEN true that we attract what we focus on, or that what we focus on expands. So start focusing on what is good, and maybe soon that will be mostly what you see.

I felt my self- concept go in the toilet too. I was having panic attacks, I couldn’t eat, I lost so much weight my doctor said it was getting serious. I was told I needed to take time off work.

But now I have a renewed marriage with lots of happiness and a new job that I love. Things can and will get better again and you will be stronger than ever before.

I still have a little PTSD, but that is all.

There was this poor donkey, it was sick, and its owner decided it wasnt worth the price of a bullet. So, he threw it in to an old, empty well. Then he started to shovel earth over it.
The clever donkey, each time the earth fell in,, tamped it down with his hooves, and made a step with each load of earth. Slowly, he was able to climb out of the well. using the earth steps he had made.He waited till nightfall, then climbed out, and made his escape.
Some children found him, took him home, and the childrens parents nursed him back to health, and kept him as a companion for their kids.
This is what were all doing, turning obstacles into stepping stones, and soon well be free! God bless us all! Gem XXGod is just waiting to give us all a second chance at happiness, but WE have to take the first step!

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