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By November 19, 2015 56 Comments Read More →

When You “Lose Yourself” Due To A Sociopath, Recovery Is Hard–Really Hard

Tsunami

If I hear one more reporter or talk show host ask a victim of partner abuse, “Why did you stay?” and not really listen to the answer or not try to understand the psychology of how emotional, psychological, financial, and/or physical abuse can rewire your brain and murder your soul, I will scream.

I want to scream because I don’t think the interviewer is really looking for an answer.

We Are Strong, They Were Weak

Instead, it’s as if the questioner is seeking to label the victim as “weak” and “not like us.” This creates a sense that the victim is different, and that perceived difference creates the comforting illusion that it could never happen to us or someone like us.  After all:

  • We are strong, they were weak,
  • We are savvy, they were naïve,
  • We are smart, they were stupid,
  • We are self-assured, they had no self-respect.

But this is wrong, false, naïve, and downright irresponsible.

It can happen to almost anyone, and our only defense against it is accepting this inconvenient reality and being alert to the signs that someone with whom we are emotionally involved might be a sociopath—a sociopath who will blind us with love and the fulfillment of our dreams while leading us down the road toward self-destruction.

Emotional Erosion

Sociopaths are real and frighteningly common. They will present themselves as Prince Charming, poison us slowly, transform into the devil, and then feed on our souls, all the while making us feel so emotionally weak and confused that we stay on the “What am I doing wrong?” treadmill, unknowingly sowing the seeds of our own destruction.

If you haven’t experienced the emotional and psychological erosion at the hands of a master puppeteer, it’s probably hard to comprehend how profoundly your life can be altered by living with such subtle but chronic toxicity. Your strength is sapped, your confidence in your ability to perceive, decide, or “be” is all but gone. You cannot will it back to life with overused clichés like:

  • “Buck up,”
  • “Get back on the horse,”
  • “Get on with your life,”
  • “Don’t give him power over you,” or
  • “Just think—GIRL POWER.”

I Was No Longer “Me”

Your strength is not hidden in a box that you simply have to discover and reopen.

Even if you find the box and pull back the lid, it will be all but empty. Confidence and strength have to be remade, rebuilt, and coaxed back to life from all that is left—dust. There is no quick fix once you are so depleted. The road back is long and hard.

Over the years of consistent and discretely worded criticism that devalued my many roles (e.g., mother, wife, professional) and being gaslighted, I was no longer “me.”

How does one “just get over” that?

Drowning in Despair

To capture what it feels like to be so broken, so no longer “me,” so engulfed in despair, I wrote the following passage for an early draft of my book Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned (available via Amazon.com).  Although I didn’t include this passage in the book’s final version, it captures how I felt in an already depleted state, when my ex waged constant emotional, psychological and financial attacks, not to mention making veiled threats to my physical safety during our separation.

For all of us who’ve been told to “just reframe it,”  “just be glad he’s out of your life now,” “just get over it,” “just be you again,” we all know you can’t just snap your fingers and make everything right when you feel like this”¦

The Tusnami Strikes

 As I contemplated the total sham and betrayal of my past, “Paul’s” emotional assault that was my present, and the financial wasteland that might lie ahead, it was as if a rogue wave swelled above me.

I braced myself as it crashed down, pounding me into submission, almost smothering me with its force, and pulling me down, down, down into a dark lonely sea of despair.  I wanted some other worldly force to rise up and stop the wave.  Where is Poseidon when you need him?

Once triggered, the gigantic wave was unyielding, and Poseidon mere myth.  Some days, the hopelessness knew no bounds, and I fought to breathe.  I feared the despair would never end, leaving me trapped forever in a desolate sea of gloom and hopelessness.

A  Spark Of Life

But, there was still a tiny part of my psyche and my soul that had not been obliterated by Paul.

That faint flicker of “me” wanted to live and held on with surprising ferocity.  Still, the crushing wave of blackness visited frequently.  I knew I could not stop it, so I found another solution.  I learned to surrender to its power and to accept the searing emotional pain it brought.

I held onto the belief that if I did not panic, the despair would pass…eventually.   Eventually I would break through the darkness.  Eventually I would feel warmth and light.  Perhaps one day I would even experience hope again.  Who knows how many days, weeks, or months or even years that might take?

No matter how massive the wave of despair, no matter how long it held me under, I had only one job—not to drown.

Find Support From Those Who “Get It”

When the world as you know it has shattered, your confidence in yourself has evaporated, you realize all that you thought was true was a lie, and when your  physical safety is precarious, how on earth do you just “get over it.” Moreover, being told to “just get over it,” made me feel even worse—as if everyone else in the world could do just that.  Hence, I must be uniquely weak in my inability to do so.

No matter how well intentioned the advice was, it was not helpful—not at all.  Seek support from those who truly understand, from those who have lived it, from those who will help you start healing by listening to your story and validating your experience.

(Identifying names, places, events and characteristics of “Paul” and others I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect their and my identity.)

 



Comment on this article

56 Comments on "When You “Lose Yourself” Due To A Sociopath, Recovery Is Hard–Really Hard"

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Well written! People don’t understand that these relationships aren’t “normal”. I hear all the time to let it go and try to forget about it but it isn’t that simple.

It is not at all simple. They embed themselves into every aspect of you life. Not simple breaking free. Well it hasn’t
Been simple for me.

Really fantastic post.

Find that person or people who BELIEVE you and VALIDATE you. It is, I think, IMPERATIVE.

It gives me such relief to read this post. Narc abuse is a very lonely place. No one has a clue and to explain makes you look like a nut. I wish I could find a real group of people to talk with that have been tbrough it.

Hello Lovemylife3,

You’ve found a group here on this site. It has been extremely helpful for me to read articles and other people’s accounts and know I’m not alone. I do know exactly how you feel though. I was in a relationship with a spath for almost two years. I ended it nearly four years ago but still find myself wanting to explain what it was like and why I was, still am, devastated. I feel a need to have others understand what I went through and what I’m going through now. The “I knew he was no good from the start” comments only make a person feel worse and in someway at fault for the entire situation. It is a hard row to hoe but I believe there will come a day when I can say I am healed and free to be me again.

thank you for your post. gosh i hope my time of healing is shorter rather than longer. i want to be done with this.

Dear O.N.Ward, you write so beautifully. I envy that you have been able to turn your experience into something that can help others in such a big way.

No one can ever know what it is like to be in this kind of relationship unless they have been there. Even after a 3-month relationship with a sociopath, I was suicidally depressed for a month or two – maybe longer, I cannot remember now as it’s been a while. Even to be suicidally depressed for 2 days is a very scary situation. Even after only 3 months of dating him, I reached a place so dark that I wasn’t sure I’d recover. I took a risk and went to an event with a spiritual Hindu guru passing through town. She gave me a blessing, and this started the process of releasing my pain. I sobbed for an hour. She gave me some ashes to put on my tongue every night before I went to bed. They lasted for about a month, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t feel her energy pulling the negativity out of my body every time I did it. I think many forms of spiritual healing, prayer, and energy work (Reiki, etc.) can do the same thing. I don’t know how I would have crossed the threshhold to wellness without it.

I also fortunately found a few people in the beginning who knew what a sociopath was and knew he was one. This validation helped me to remain no contact with him. I think it’s a setback to tell your story randomly to people who have never experienced a sociopath. It is a setup for invalidation.

I wish you ongoing health and healing.

Star

im so sorry. i was suicidally depressed my self for a minute. especially the first time around. god bless us all.

Hello everyone. i am new to this site. so glad to have found everyone here. i find myself in the fetal position today. im telling myself its becuse it froze outside last night and its much to cold to get up yet. hell its 11 o’clock and its not all that cold really.
i have been researching serial cheating boy friends for about a month now. i wondered onto info on Narcisissts. it was then that i began having the ah ha moments. the sick feeling that everyone was living my life. how could everyone know my boyfriend ?
i bought a book that ive been reading ” when love is a lie”.
OMG ! what a horrible life for the author. very similiar but different from mine.
my life has been pretty bad but not nearly as bad as hers. my N if he is truly a N was not physically abusive or as openly agressive.
i am searching. i am on my knees begging. i am trying to figure all this out as much as i can and move on. hopefully to a better place. i want a peaceful happy pllace. i want a good and happy life.
heres my story. ill try to be brief.
Ive been with Robert for 5 years now. well 5 years on and off. during this time he has left me at least 3 times for the same woman. they get together for awhile then they break up, he comes back and then like the shark she is, she returns to hunt again. i think they are one in the same person really. im not sure who hunts who only that i am left in a depressed heap, crying non stop,beging him not to go, or to please come back.
our relationship has always been about him. it has always been on his terms. what he likes what he does not. where he goes who he sees, if and when he comes home or keeps his promises.
when i met him he was down and out. near suicidal. he said he was dying. he had had some health challenges and the wife he loved more than anything had left him.
he was the sweetest man. he was so funny, so charming, so grateful for me. we did everything together. we finnished each other sentences. i fell head over heels. of couce when he needed someone to sign for a new truck it was me. and yes i pay the tolls and the insurance also. i bought groceries and his clothes and helped to keep his electric on. we had a five year plan. we were going to be successful and then retire some where wonderful. then
out of the blue one day a year and one half in he tells me he has feelings for some one else. how could that be possible ? how could he have time to be with someone else. he was with me.
I know things haddent been going well for a couple of months but that was because my dad died, my brother was dx with cancer and my grand son had a brain tumor.
he said that i was too depressed. that i needed to work things out. he would be around of cource but he couldnt stand seeing me so depressed. we tlked every dsy but i didnt see him every day like before.
i thought he was giving me space to work things out. turns out he had moved on. he had begun seeing this other woman.
eventually he cut me out of his life. he moved her in. for 8 months i did not see him. he would drop off the truck payment when i wasnt home.
then out of the blue he begann texting me. we started seeing each other. and then we started seeing each other every day and then he moved in with me.
fast forward a year and a half. i can feel the distance growing again. the feeling that something is wrong. the honeymoon period is over, he gets harder and harder to talk to. i check his phone he has been seeing some young girl we both know and she says she is pregnant. OMG i am devastated. he is so sorry. it was only one time. he does not care for her. she is crazy. its not his child because he is sterile. i support him in this. get him tested to see if he is sterile. i pay for this. we limp on. he is so sorry. we a re happy for about a minute.
then i find out he is till talking to this girl. he is helping her move. he is helping her ? i thought she was a crazy stalker why would he be helping her? things are still not right. i look on his ipad. he is placing personal ads. he is texting these sex crazed womwn. he may even be meeting up with them. he is also on line porn sites. OMG who is this man ?
he lies. he makes excuses, its always something i did or didnt do that cause this behavior. he leaves for days, he blocks me from his phone, he ignores m desperate texts and emails. he returns home again. i try as hard as i can to do what ever i can to bring back my wonderful guy. and once in awhile he is back. but it doesnt last and again i look in his phone and my nightmare is back. she is back. he is seeing her and cheating on me. but wait. there is another one. he is seeing her too. he is cheating on me with the other woman, and cheating on the other woman with the new woman. hell he was hitting on the shoe shine girl from a few night ago to come out to his ranch to shine up his saddles. WHO IS THIS MAN ?
bringing this to his conclusion we had an arguement. he used that to leave our home. he has been gone a week. he has moved in with the other woman. all his things are still here. i saw the wedding rings she is asking for on his email. how is this possible. he still lives here for intents and purposes.
i am alone, abandoned, sick at heat, depressed, helpless hopeless. i am addicted to this man. i still love him. my god am i crazy ? how could i still love this horrible man. he is a N right ? couldnt be a mistake ? he only cares for himself right ? there is no saving this right ? we cant even be friends right ? I AM SO DESPERATE. I AM SO LOST. WHAT DO I DO NOW ? HOW DO I MOVE ON ? WILL ANYTHING EVER GET BETTER ? HELP ANYONE !
i have never done this before but im alone trying to figure out how to move on. 🙁

NO MISTAKE, you poor thing. GET out and STAY AWAY from him.

Of course he is an N, and likely an SP as well.

NO man cheats like that and does not have a personality disorder. People like him LOVE people like you (not real love, just superficial) because you are so warm, emotional, accepting, and wonderful. All good qualities, unless you are dealing with a person like Robert.

Be strong, and you will get out of this without too much damage.

Cheers 🙂

OMG so fast ! I needed fast. I cannot stop crying. I cannot breathe. I am devastated.
I am a very intelligent kind forgiving loving woman. How did this happen to me ? You would never believe how wonderful this man is. Or pretends to be. I have never been happier/sadder in my whole life. I Thot we were made in heaven. I had no idea these people existed. I just thought he was confused. I thought it would just take time. I have been so good to him and he never cared ? He will never miss me ? He will never be sorry ? How completely horrible. I was hoping I blundered on to a site where things appeared to be similar. That somehow he was just confused. I’ve been brought to my knees. I was once a strong woman with a back bone. I feel like a sniveling idiot.

You are a very intelligent kind woman…EXACTLY what a guy like Robert looks for…and NEEDS.

Oh, I indeed believe that he could pretend to be SO wonderful. Only he really isn’t, is he? I believe because my son is a SP who has driven and still is driving his ex CRAZY. She thought that she knew who he was and had two children with him! She thought they were soul mates…made in heaven, as you say.

I’ll bet he had some hard luck stories for you when you first met. My son sure snowed my lovely soon to be ex daughter in law.

You don’t feel it now, but you still ARE a strong woman! Don’t forget that. You were just DUPED by what you thought was perfection. You will be fine and this will make you EVEN STRONGER! That is great news!! You are FREE!

Dear emtuoba, you are not alone what you have described is so familiar to me the nonstop crying, I went through the same ordeal for a year and a half while I was dating a guy that initially couldn’t get enough of me he texted and called me once every couple of hours wanted to see me at any opportunity, he was funny,kind,tall,handsome, talented,witty, had a boyish charm to him and he was highly sexual.After a few months he started acting cold and pulling away I wanted to breakup but couldn’t hoping he would but he kept me around. you mentioned being forgiving, intelligent and kind, that is how my friends describe me. I always thought of myself as being a very strong person due to the nature of my profession being a trauma registered nurse, but after the encounter I had with Ken/devil I was a different person that was foreign even to me.you mentioned “I have been so good to him and he never cared ? He will never miss me ? He will never be sorry ? How completely horrible” the same questions I have been asking myself for the past seven months after he broke up with me. I am going to finish with what you also mentioned that resonates with me.” How did this happen to me ? You would never believe how wonderful this man is. Or pretends to be. I have never been happier/sadder in my whole life.I had no idea these people existed”

thank you. hahahahah i also am a regestered nurse. house sup actually at a psch hospital. think i would have seen it sooner.
like i said he is most charming. i feel hook line and sinker. so many of the stories i have read here could be my story. so very many things are the exact same. i hope you are well. i decieded to take some medication. light weight stuff just to get over the hump. big decision for me i dont take asprin. i wear a mask 5 months out of the year rather than tke a flu shot. ive also made an appointment to see momeone professionally. im going to attack my addiction to this man from every angle. i want it ti be done and over. ive got to get him gone. i want it to be over. i want my life bsck and i want to be happy again,

OMG,emtuoba, you won’t believe this but his new target is a psychologist that was going for her doctorate degree. I am sure now that these emotional vampires know who to pick.You sound just like me this is sooooo amazing unbelievable I don’t even take a Aspirin and refuse to get flu shots. We sound so much alike that is uncanny.I was so stressed because of this toxic relationship that had to be hospitalized for atrial fibrillation I told my cardiologist the situation and he put me on Ativan prn .While I was still seeing him I saw 6 psychotherapist which none of them helped. I tell you what is helping me NO CONTACT and thank god he is not contacting me , sites like this and books about real people having to go through what we are going through.The addiction is the hard part but it’s getting better I don’t crave him as much as before give yourself time it’s not easy. what I do that is very helpful is reminding myself how awful he was, he cheated,lied, never cared,was selfish he took and I gave was aloof at the end. I was spending the whole time we were together he was always broke that is what he kept telling me. The last thing you said I keep telling myself everyday exact same words.” i want my life back and i want to be happy again,”. It gets better with time be patient with yourself.

Well Vash here’s hoping our new year is the very best ever. I’m going to try the therapist thing. I’m trying this new Med. I will not continue with either thing once I get both my feet firmly planted. I’ve wasted 5 years. I do not intend to prolong and be wasting one minute more. I’m done. My brain knows I’m done. Once the bleeding from my heart stops I will place One foot In Front of the other and walk myself to a happier life without him/ them in it.

Thanks emtuoba, I am hoping the same.

Oh, and you said your life was not as bad as the author’s? It sounds like it has been pretty bad, to me.

You deserve the best! Go get it!!

You deserve so much more than this guy. You deserve someone who won’t make your relationship “all about him”, who will care that he is hurting you and stop doing things that hurt you. Who won’t be wonderful only when you’re supporting him and he gets all the care and attention. You deserve a partner who will have a partnership with you and who will be there for you when you are in need. Instead, you were there for him when he needed you, and then when you were the one in need (and things couldn’t be all about him for once) he bailed and found someone else with energy he could use instead.

You deserve to have someone who will support you when you’re struggling, not just soak up your money and energy.

They are exploiters, and they can happen to anyone.

Yes!!

🙂

Thank you. Learning that. Hope he just does what he has promised to do. Get the truck insurance etc out of my name. Clear out all his stuff & turn my garage back into a garage and not his man cave. Hopefully there is some goodness and integrity in his black heart. He has left very expensive things here. I’m sure he will return for those things.

thank you. i know you are right

im so sorry. i was suicidally depressed my self for a minute. especially the first time around. god bless us all.
Thank you.

Emtuoba-

You hit the nail on the head when you said, “I’m addicted to this man.” You are actually physically addicted to him.

The sense of love you feel for a person is created by the chemistry in your brain. If you drank alcohol, or took drugs, your brain would feel a certain way from your doing so. When you have a romantic relationship with someone, while you don’t perform a physical act to ingest the mind altering substance, your brain manufactures it on its own. There are neuropeptides such as oxytocin and hormones such as dopamine and serotonin that get stirred by the sound, the site, the touch and feel of the person you are attracted to. Yes, attraction is “chemistry.”

Mother Nature gave you that brain chemistry to couple you so you could raise your offspring as two united parents. Sociopaths know how to raise your bonding chemistry to get you and keep you hooked. It’s like a toxic glue.

If you were trying to free yourself from alcohol by abstinence, the tug of taking a drink would reach monumental proportions. And the same is true when you try to separate from a lover. That is why you kept going back to him, even when you knew he was not being decent toward you.

The guy you were with had moments with you in which he stirred your chemistry and addicted you. Once he knew you were addicted, he could do basically anything he wanted to do because the concept of losing him would make you even more demonstrative of your love. What you have described about him is the behavior of a sex addict.

Just as you would need to exercise immense self control to will yourself away from alcohol, you will need to exercise that type of self control to get him out of your life and rebuild your world. Recognizing that what you face is an addiction can help you understand what you need to do. You know he is a beast. Now you need to know how to recover yourself and rebuild yourself.

What he did to you is not who you are. You are you, and a separate and apart person from him. Your hopes and dreams were tied up with this man, and he did not deserve for you to be. He was unworthy.

The good news is that you know you can be a loving, devoted mate to someone….. and now that you know sociopaths exist, you’ll be better at spotting the signs before you get swept away again.

Every reply I receive is a gift. Every bit of information I receive is changing how I feel and how I think. I have my moments believe me when the panic attacks bring me to a dark place but they are less now. The fear, pain, frustration and anger come and go. I have moments of peace and enjoyment now. MOMENTS ! My mind is not constantly on the WHY ? Will he come back again ? Where is he ? Is he with her ? Bla Bla Bla Bla. I actually have moments of sanity since finding the site, and knowing that I’m not crazy. I am not in this alone. Maybe because he did this same thing almost identically 2 years ago. Almost to the day 2 years ago. I’m moving faster toward starting over. I’m starting to feel numbness. I’m KNOWING that he is not who he pretended to be. I’m KNOWING what I thought we had was never real. The KNOWING is changing the dynamics this time. ( just now I got a wave of fear and nausea, it sneaks up on me)
It’s a process for sure. One of the most painful things I have ever been through. I’m sure there’s more pain waiting. But this time I feel a little stronger. This time I know it’s not me. This time I know I’m not crazy.
Yes I think your right about the sex addict. And he is a recovering drug addict. Well years ago.
Thank you.

That is exactly what happened to me, emtouba.

This site helped me to realize, work out, and finally accept that my son is a SP.

Like, you, I went back and forth…thinking that perhaps I was wrong and was just expecting too much from him.

Keep reading and absorbing. That is how you will conquer this! It is so freeing!!

Gosh. It must be doubly awful if it is your son. oh how heart breaking. how can you have no contact with your son. how incredibly sad for you. makes my issues pale in comparison to yours.

Our issues are all the same in badmess.

Yes, it is almost off the charts hard to have no contact with my son. My own son. That’s what he always says. Guilt words to make me do what he wants.

It does not work any more, because I figured him out, and then, just like you he BLOCKED me and said he wanted no contact. Funny thing is, it lasted just over a week…and he popped up again, texting two pics of his children to us (my husband and myself). Not because family means something to him, but because he KNOWS that it means something to US. I set him straight with a text back saying his games won’t work and that he should MEAN it when he says he wants no contact. And, to stop mind f**king us. THEN I PROMPTLY BLOCKED HIM!

Yes, it is hard, but I have to remain strong and have NO CONTACT.

So far so good.

BADNESS, I meant! Sorry for the typo…

god bless you and your husband. i deeply feel your pain…… wishing you every blessing possible from the universe.

And I feel your pain.

Cheers, and thank you as well. We all help each other here.

learning so much here. it rings a bell when somone else comments on his actions. its not me being angry, hurt or resentful. its other people validating how i feel. and what i have been thinking. i knew something was all wrong but just couldnt put a finger on it. and Robert has a way of making things all my fault. Funny things are always all about him everything,,and anything that goes wrong is all my fault. Nothing has ever been his fault. this is the second time he has just walked away. everything fine one day and the next pick a fight and leave because i said something or did something he did not like. he blocked my phone. wont return my texts, pretty much walked out of my house and our life and into a new house and new life.
think my dad was a N. ive become codependent since child hood most likely. i have a brother ans sister and they also are long suffering in their relationships. we learned from our mom that if you make your bed you must lay in it.
like i said he did this before. i think im bouncing back faster this time around. at least i have not been obsessive compulsively calling texting or emailing. finding out more about personality disorders sure is helping also. truely i was blaming myself for not being enough. we did have fun. well when we were having fun. it just hasnt been much fun this past 6 months. just a roller coaster ride, of very good times and then very bad times.
any way thank you so much. theres a lot of good info here. im so glad to have found everyone. thank you

Reminds me the following, which is making the Facebook rounds….

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

I think it is at its worst when your COUNSELOR implies that you should ‘get over it’. I quit my cognitive behavioral therapy because my counselor compared me to other people whom she said, ‘could and did get over it’. She suggested psychodynamic therapy as she ‘could not help me’. But then she said, ‘I will see you next week???’

I posted three bad reviews about her online. Felt bad about it for awhile, but no…the public should be warned about inadequate and downright dangerous therapists…and I have seen several others in my time.

One was so dangerous my brother (who saw the same therapist as me) ended up in a maximum security state hospital for 8 years!!! After seeing this therapist!!!

Watch out for bad therapists, and always ask them what they know about sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists…they better give you a damn good synopsis of their insight and knowledge…or please…DO NOT see anyone who does not fully understand what psychopathology is.

Barb, you are so right about this. I’m lucky to have found a great therapist. If it hadn’t been for her I would not have known what i was dealing with. I knew pathological liar but SOciopath I didn’t know what i know now because every time i heard that term I automatically thought about the famous serial killers. But when i explained in detail about the guy i was seeing she flat out said his behavior SCREAMS SOCIOPATH… Lies, anger issues, issues with the law, cheating, irresponsible, SELFISH, etc. She even told me some experiences she’s had with what she believed to be sociopaths. She hasn’t had that many because they’d rather stay FAR away from therapists for fear that their true sociopathic selves will be revealed. The few she has seen never stuck with the sessions because they felt as if she wasn’t helping or that nothing was wrong with them. Once she reveals who they are they never come back. I thought this was interesting since it was similar to how my guy disappeared which was right after i uncovered the lies!

Therapists that understand that you were emotionally raped and raped by fraud are likely to be helpful. So starting with therapists that deal with rape victims is a good beginning, but only if they understand that being tricked into sex is a form of sexual assault.

Once you’ve got a firm grip on the fact that you’ve been scammed by a sociopath, you may have all the help you need to rebuild your life. If you continue to ruminate over the issue, it’s your brain chemistry working to keep you stuck, even though your brain sees reality. At that point, you may need cognitive therapy to design steps to keep your brain from going back there.

Therapists are human. Some have a hefty dose of emotional empathy, and some don’t. You need to find those that do. The same is true of your support system. Some of your family and friends will relate to the harm you feel. Others won’t. It’s a telling sign about their character. It will enable you to pick your friends wisely going forward in your life.

Joyce

AGREE! It is critical to your healing. Since most of us are shocked by the reality of there really being psychopaths in our home, it is natural to find a therapist ASAP. “We” started in marriage counseling, then upon discovering he’s a Sex Addict I went to a source that for all I *knew* was a credible one. This was a curriculum based therapy, intensives, phone sessions, web interfacing with the director and groups. How do you *know* what therapy to steer away from when you have never encountered anything like this in your life? The very reason to find a therapist who is qualified to help you get through this! Because from a distance, we don’t grasp people like this really do exist until we are emotionally and personally involved. I think of the times Ive heard people casually referencing a catch all “he’s crazy, psycho”, and then think of others that are gripping “I never knew people like this existed, my life is forever changed, the nausea, pain, trauma, why don’t people believe me, gaslighting, dismissing…all the raw things we experience along the road of not *knowing* what just happened in our lives. Fast forward, the agony and pain of trying to decipher through the first Therapist of almost a year and getting nowhere. Getting worse, more confusion, not partner sensitive, not calling it out “meet them where they are” kind of mindset. There were a few more to get through, but the process became quicker to identify “this kind of therapy or that kind of therapy, or is this therapy at all”??? All this to say, talk to other victims before you embark on a journey of therapy that ends up being more psychological torture. At the onset we are so numb, and experiencing major shock, it’s not the best benchmark to work from for research. Understandable and logically so. It’s not synomous with researching gluten free, DIY painting methods, best way to market your talent, which Co-pay, etc. It’s NOTHING like what most of us have ever researched…or have on speed dial.

Madeline-

100% on the money!

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