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Why relationships with sociopaths are so addictive

Red recycleTime and time again, when I do personal consultations, people tell me how they struggle to break away from a relationship with a sociopath.

You know the involvement is bad for you. But even when you’re not forced to interact with the sociopath you’re not married, don’t have kids with the person and don’t work together you can’t cut the cord.

Why? Because relationships with sociopaths are highly addictive.

There are psychological and biological reasons for this, which I’ll explain.

Psychological bond

Any time two human beings enter into a relationship, a psychological love bond forms.

This bond begins early in the relationship because of pleasure. In the beginning, both people are doing their best to attract and impress each other. The new involvement is fun and exciting, which creates the pleasure.

Sociopaths, of course, usually engage in love bombing. They shower you with attention and affection. They’re always calling and texting. They want to be with you all the time. The sociopath makes you feel like the most important and loved person in the world. This intensifies your pleasure.

The relationship seems to be moving ahead at warp speed, and then the sociopath does something to threaten the relationship disappears, lies, picks a fight. You were once on cloud nine, and now you suddenly feel totally deflated. This creates fear and anxiety.

Now here’s the kicker: Fear and anxiety actually strengthen the psychological love bond.

You want the relationship to go back to how wonderful it was in the beginning. So you ask the sociopath if you can talk. You try to figure out what went wrong. You may even apologize for something you didn’t do.

You get back together with the sociopath, which brings you relief and strengthens the psychological love bond again.

This becomes a pattern: Pleasure, followed by fear and anxiety, followed by relief, rinse and repeat. It becomes a vicious circle, and with each turn of the wheel, the psychological love bond gets tighter and tighter.

Here’s the next kicker: Even if you no longer feel pleasure, the psychological bond is still in place.

Pleasure is required for the bond to form. But the absence of pleasure does not break the bond.

Biological bond

There are also biological reasons why you feel so attached to the sociopath.

When you experience intimacy, the neurotransmitter oxytocin is released in your brain and bloodstream. This happens with any type of intimacy emotional sharing, hugs and especially sex.

Oxytocin is called the “cuddle chemical.” It makes you feel calm, trusting and content, and alleviates fear and anxiety. Mother Nature created oxytocin to make parents want to stay together to raise children. It is critical for the survival of the human race.

But, oxytocin also makes you want to stay with someone when you really should leave.

Feelings of love also make the brain produce dopamine. Dopamine is associated with energy, motivation and addiction. In fact, that’s why cocaine makes people feel euphoric it increases the amount of dopamine in the brain.

There’s more. Sex also causes structural changes in the brain. So if you have sex with a sociopath, your brain changes to adapt to this person. Breaking off the relationship will require undoing all the changes in your brain.

Sociopaths don’t bond

Human beings are social animals, and we need to be able to trust each other and stay together to survive. That’s why these psychological and biological changes take place.

However, sociopaths don’t bond like regular, empathic people do. Some researchers theorize that sociopathic brains don’t have the right receptors for oxytocin.

But they have learned how to pretend to be in a relationship, in order to set you up for exploitation. Sociopaths hijack the normal human bonding process.

Breaking the addiction

Because of these psychological and biological reasons, relationships with sociopaths are highly addictive. So when you want to break away from a sociopath, you need to treat it like breaking an addiction.

Here’s what this means.

First: In most cases, you’ll want to go cold turkey when breaking off the relationship. That means you tell sociopath very clearly that it’s over. Here’s what I recommend that you say, which is adapted from The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker:

I have no romantic interest in you whatsoever.

I am certain I never will.

Do not contact me ever again.

Do not give a reason for breaking up, because a reason gives a sociopath an opportunity to argue with you. You do not want to attempt to negotiate with a sociopath, because the sociopath will usually win.

Second: Once you make it clear that the involvement is over, have No Contact with the sociopath. Here’s more information:

How to implement no contact, on Lovefraud.com

Third: If you’ve ever had to overcome addiction smoking, alcohol, drugs you probably know that the standard advice is to take it one day at a time. That’s exactly what you need to do when detoxing from a sociopath.

Get through today. Then get through tomorrow. Then get through the next day. Do whatever you need to do to distract yourself from any urges to contact the person. The longer you stay away from the sociopath, the more his or her grip on you will dissipate.

If you give in and reach out to the sociopath, or answer when the sociopath contacts you, you’ll be back at square one. You’ll have to start the process all over again.

Fourth: When you’re feeling the urge to contact the sociopath, visit Lovefraud. Many, many people have told me that they do this. They read the posts and comments on Lovefraud to remind them of why they are leaving.

Like overcoming any addiction, disengaging from a sociopath takes time and willpower. But your emotions, mind, body, spirit and finances will all be healthier away from this person.

 


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196 Comments on "Why relationships with sociopaths are so addictive"

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Yes Donna. Thanks to you, I am at work and productive today after a weekend of uncentainty. I was so afraid that I would miss him and respond to his texts but I DID NOT! Afer our converstaion and understanding the reason why I was going back over and over was because of what you talked about here.
I too, like many other targets am in the medical field and understand this process of hormones and addiction.
One day at a time!
I feel so good today!

Great post Donna. After almost a year after being discarded i struggle still. I was fortunate enough to talk with you and get some suggestions. My ex is such a liar and i see now how he love bombed me. . And is doing it to his new supply

I had no trouble when it all hit me…that last year of high school. When it became evident, I dove in and ‘took over’ the conversation (over the phone). The spath (another girl) actually agreed with most of what I said. She acknowledged the jealousy and wrath she had felt. But then she went right on with the conversation as if nothing bad had ‘gone down’. She still wanted me to have her new phone number, which I pretended to write down.

I never contacted her again. Five years after the break-off, she called (and I figured it out…it was our high school fifth reunion and she was trying to find a out if I was going) but she did not get far. I cut her off, and in fact, I maneuvered her into saying, ‘You don’t have to talk to me…I’ll hang up’ (and of course that was her way of getting me to say, ‘no, let’s talk’) but my response was, ‘Why don’t you do that?’ (in other words, good idea…hang up).

At first I was not sure of how I felt…my sister reassured me that was a great response. She said, ‘She was hoping you would get all remorseful and sentimental, and turn into her puppet again.’ Good sisterly advice.

I went outside and shot a few into the basketball net…trying to figure out my emotions. As time went by, I became more and more proud of how I handled her. The master manipulator had been manipulated. Touche. Still proud of that moment.

I’m so happy to see Donna focusing on the science of relationships!

I have long held the position that when people understand the chemical mechanics of romantic addiction, it makes it easier to cut the chord. They can grasp the need to exercise will power as in going on a diet or refraining from a drink.

When we address our decisions by our “emotional”, felt responses alone, we’re reacting to the chemicals Mother Nature put in our brain to cleave us to our lover. They are a very powerful, and in the case of a relationship with a psychopath, very toxic glue.

When we drink alcohol, it makes our brain feel a certain way. Abstention makes us crave the way we felt to an even stronger degree. Unless people know the chemistry behind their craving, they are susceptible to relapse. In romantic relations, that means attempting to forgive the unforgivable and questioning our decision to leave the relationship behind.

There is yet another strong bond that forms, beyond oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. It’s called a “misatribution effect.”

When people experience trauma, their adrenaline starts pumping. Going through a traumatic event makes us bond with people we share this circumstance with. For instance, many a relationship was forged on the roller coaster at the county fair. If the couple wasn’t holding hands when they embarked, they were likely to be when the ride ended.

As you go through the roller coaster of a relationship with an offender, even though they have caused you harm, you can feel more bonded to them.

Once you recognize that the person is devoid of emotional empathy, getting away from them is the only way to regain your life. They will not change. They are wired that way. And putting yourself back onto their pathway only puts you in a position of being kicked down the road again.

Unfortunately, victims who parent with these miscreants will have a lifetime of toxic behaviors to deal with. Do everything you can to build the oxytocin receptors in your child’s brain, early-on, because they are especially at-risk for developing without emotional empathy.

And try to minimize your own personal interaction with the other parent to the greatest extent possible. When you do so, be cognizant of the chemical pulls that could cause you to feel drawn back toward their appeal. Be sure to retain sight of the harm you were dealt and live in reality. While they can exude the charm that appealed to you initially, they are toxic at their core. Stay smart.

My relationship with my 6 family psychotics began strangely different; there was never any “love bombing”. In the beginning, there was the natural sex but after that short period, I recall years of crying myself to sleep, wanting any sort of show of affection. 23 years into this marriage, it took Child Protective Services intervention before I sadly filed for divorce. This was followed by decades of working minimum wage jobs while raising my remaining 3 small boys alone. I was so proud to release them to the world as wonderful human beings (one is now even a pediatrician!) However, the sleeping genes took hold until in 2011, they threatened me with committal! My attorney (who was the only one I could turn to) laughed hysterically and advised I go NC with all of them. There was no initial love-bombing, just my integrity, devotion and faithfulness to family which blinded me to accepting the horrible truth. As my 50+ daughter said to me, “it’s a shame when principle becomes more powerful than love.” But at last, I have my integrity back and can look at “The Man In The Glass” and feel good again. No more consternation or draining thoughts, all the pieces now fit so neatly into the puzzle.

These are the posts I must read again and again. Too helpful for words. My mother was a verbal torturer and so I expected no more from the man I married. Even after many years I would obsess: “what did he mean when he said I’ was not the kind of woman he could be attracted too? ” What he meant was, I “feel disdain and contempt and it’s all your fault”. Imagine, I was addicted to rat poisoning! I actually pretended to myself that my husband was simply trying to confuse me. Is this merely addiction, or severe psychopathology on my part? Probably numbing of all that might have been called “judgement”. Thank you, Kalina

I have three children. Two, a girl and a boy, totally lack empathy. I did adopt them in infancy and wanted children very badly. My third has empathy enough for all of us! He was my biological child. Nevertheless, each came from a home rich in opportunity. I would say, they were the children of privilege. All three were perfect on the outside. Sociable, charming, popular, intellectually a bit above, but not by much, average. No alcohol or drug abuse. Only in their late teens did I discover the sociopathy in my adopted son and daughter. I have found them to be liars and deceivers and users. I do not blame myself completely. I do, however, take responsibility for not protecting them from their terribly toxic father. Father was a consistent manipulator. I know they watched for years, his subtle and not so subtle disdain for me. Pretending socially he cared for me. He showered me with gifts and celebrations. These were tokens of deceit, I later learned. Cheating for 12 years with my friend. I have broken off contact with my 2 sociopathic children. The first left me with a totally broken heart. Ten years to barely recover from the trauma of discovery and separation. Certainly, the consequences of my addiction to the pretense of a loving marriage. I believe I deserved what I got! Self deception has it’s consequences. Currently, I have severed my relationship with my daughter. She is not the kind of daughter I thought I had. I am forgiving myself and moving on. However, the insight and depth of understanding I now enjoy have offset some of the pain. My regards to you all. I hope my journey is helpful in some way. Kalina

Donna, you have written an excellent explanation of what happens to us. I hope those who are still in a destructive relationship print it out and carry it with them at all times.

Throughout a 7 year relationship, my ex discarded me on a regular basis”generally one “big” one every couple of years (over a week to over two months once) and several smaller ones a year (from a day to a few days). When the first big discard happened, I felt like I was going crazy and did and said things that were so much out of character for me I cringe to this day. I had never heard of these concepts at this time and realize now that I was acting out of pure, desperate addiction. After that time, it was always him who made the first move after the discard, using a variety of tricks from acting like there had been no discard at all to “counseling” me on how to better serve him so that it didn’t happen again. I always did what it took at make it right, accepting all the responsibility, even when I knew for sure it wasn’t me at all.

I handled the last “interim” discard differently”instead of getting on my knees, literally and metaphorically, I took a step back and said, we’ll see. His behavior became increasingly erratic and scary and I took a break by leaving town for a week and refusing to have any contact with him when I returned. He eventually wore me down with many words and promises I had been longing to hear and it was then that we moved forward toward more commitment which effective set me up for him to pull the rug out from under my entire life within less than a year.

I was the classic target – I had a successful life and was very happy and had a lot to lose. I was a kind, loving, empathetic person. I trusted that people were good. I believed that he was being honest with me. He hated, yet wanted, everything that I was, and he set out to use it, and then destroy it.

The red flags were EVERYWHERE with him, but I didn’t recognize them. I bought his stories (rough life, crazy ex wife, hard luck, whatever) and excused his bad behavior. With these monsters, the names, faces and precise words are all different, but the theme and results are identical. The education you provide here is nothing short of lifesaving.

Once we know what “something” is called, we are no longer afraid. Thanks for sharing, HanaleMoon! Kalina

I can so relate to the addiction side of this, even having told my girlfriend recently that I am addicted to my ex husband, but things are changing, I’ve started to notice how much better I feel when I’m not with him, when he’s done something that puts me back into a state of separation (we have been living apart for months but he’s tried every trick in the book to win me back)
It was only 2days ago that his eyes turned as black as coal, narrowed and he started spitting his words at me – again! This time I was able to recall all the statements he’d made, I wasn’t in the same state of confusion, just fear and needed to get away.
Today I’ve become aware of how my brain feels after 2days of clarity and freedom from the addiction. My brain doesn’t feel heavy anymore, I’m alert and calmer than I’ve been in years. I know the fight for asset splitting is still to come but I’m ready now. Removing the addiction gives you clarity but most importantly, gives you back control over your life and how you feel ★

There is probably a cumulative effect of trauma on the brain. Our personalities get worn out, like battle fatigue. I recently heard about moral wounding and it’s consequences for long term recovery. We are much more fragile inside than I imagined. I treated myself too harshly over the years, paid a heavy toll on my sanity. Please do not stay even one minute longer in a toxic relationship than you absolutely must. Time really DOES matter. The longer I stayed, the sicker I got, the harder I fell, and the longer it took for me to recover. Kalina

It’s taken me years to figure out why my dating n engagement was heaven on earth, but once married, the nasty words started, the humiliation in public n particularly in front of his adult son started. The 1st major incident to happen was whilst he was standing beside his son at a christening celebration as I was dancing he came up behind me n purrs a beer over my head accusing me of having my hand down a mans pants …. OMG…disgusting. What a total shock n blow that was. Now years of wondering what on earth did I marry. Feeling that he really only needed a blow up doll because he only thinks n cares about his needs. Mine are totally irrelevant. For the past 6 mths I have totally been aware after much research that I in fact am married to a spath. Initially I was devasted. I immediately stopped all intimacy. He no doubt thought it was temporary “again”… But no, it’s permanent. I have been organising my escape this whole time n he appears to have no clue. No doubt because he thinks he still has me hooked somehow. Sometimes I question myself as it is my comfort zone n feel fear of the unknown once I remove myself BUT the minute he opens his mouth .. Bang… There it is again. Only 2 1/2 weeks ta go. Hallejuah! I don’t know who I’ll be out there in the world but one thing is for sure.. I’m free of absolute mental chaos. I don’t believe that I could ever believe another word from his mouth so here’s hoping I can find the security within myself to stay strong long after. I will definately be regularly logging in to Lovefraud. This site has been my saviour. Thank you so much.

Icandothis, you are in a potentially dangerous time. Reading your words I recalled the day I began making plans to leave. I had a new air about, a confidence. It was notices and as I was told may have contributed to the last assault which was the worst. Just a word of caution to not act with confidence around him or any way that is different from what he is used to or he will pick up on it. He may not know what is going on, but he will be in a state of unease and spaths don’t like that feelings and will act to restore feeling of control, which they define as peace. Best of luck, I wish somebody had warnede about the danger of that period of time when you detach from him as being dangerous. I have lifelong injuries. God bless it goes a smoothly for you 🙂

Thank you so much for your reply and insight Salvation2012 🙂 I feel that you concreted what is concerning me. I am so close but my gut is telling me today that this is not going to be smooth if I don’t play this right. He is and always has been a mystery. When he blows… there is no lead up.. it’s always a shock. I had a visit today from his daughter inlaw which continues to state that she does not like him. I half believe her…. so I am cautious…. but she did repeat her words today… they were “he acts dumb but believe me, he’s a very smart man”. Omg…. back to feeling that fear again. If he was predictable…. I wouldn’t worry. He’s absolutely not predictable. If money wasn’t an option, I’d be gone. Knowing exactly what he is of late… I don’t doubt anything….. which solidifies any fear I have ever felt. Getting out of here safely is certainly a job.

Hi Icandothis,

You should be so proud of yourself”your mind has woken up & you are planning your exit. Every powerful place to be !!

Like salvation2012 states the most dangerous time in a abusive relationship is when the woman is about to leave or leaves.

For this reason I would highly recommend that you call your countries National Domestic Violence Hotline to talk with a free counselor 24/7 365 days including holidays and to get your local abuse center phone numbers in the USA the number is 800-799-SAFE they will be able to give you your local abuse center numbers. Your local abuse center has free counseling and free woman group meetings that you should go to NOW but most importantly they can help you with your “EXIT PLAN” out to this abusive relationship. Google “Domestic abuse Exit Plan”, “Dr PHil exit plan you tube”, “domestic abuse exit plan you tube” be sure to clear your computer history to stay safe.

The one of the important thing for you to do is get a restraining order prior the day you leave and have it served on the day you leave. Your local abuse center can help you with this NOW. DONT feel sorry for him about this step, protect yourself”you also need the courts to know that he is dangerous this will also help in your divorce. This will help you with a settlement more in your favor.

Once you leave and you start the divorce processes get the court to mandate a “mental evaluation” on him right from the beginning. The facebook page One moms battle can help you with this. See also Onemomsbattle. com and her books. If you dont have a facebook page/or you do open a fake email account then open a fake facebook page so that you can chat freely without your abuse or his family/friends seeing what you are posting. see also facebook page psychopath free & after narcissistic abuse.

Please remember you are NOT alone!! Keep reaching out for help. The second thing to remember is follow your gut!! Dont waver from your gut reactions”this “daughter in law” may not be trust worthy because you state you “half believe her—listen to your gut dont believe her keep your poker hand close to your chest and only tell people you trust the most, this may only be the people at your local abuse center (for now). Google “Oprah Gavin Debecker you tube” to watch their interview on listening to your gut and his book is Gift of Fear a must read for every woman.

To help now with the stress you are under you should get tested for cortisol levels, vitamin/mineral deficiency and hormonal imbalance all issues with PTSD which most woman leaving an abusive relationship have (PTSD). To find a hormonal doctor google “compounding pharmacy” with your city name then call them for a list of doctors and/or ask your friends. Getting your body balanced with also balance your thinking again from all the stress you have been under for so long. This is the missing link for healing from domestic abuse. See sites like adrenalfatigue. org take the quiz on the site/read/see symptoms list, drlam. com see symptoms list, mialundin. com read her book.

Wishing you all the best! Take care

Thank you, thank you, thank you. After getting involved with a sociopath, I have beaten myself up for months. If I’m not doing it, other people are… I knew the spath wasn’t good, but I stayed anyway. There was no sex, but when he put his arms around me at night, it seemed to be all I needed. He called it comfy. I write about it in my book, Entangled. Someone wrote a review recently that had me so depressed, I was tempted to trash the book and put it behind me. She said, The author draws some empathy for her naivete — married 30 years, she had no idea guys like this existed. But after the 50 millionth time he uses the word “comfy” like “Abracadabra” and Natalie opens her checkbook, well, I lost sympathy. First you’re a victim, then you’re a volunteer.

Thanks to you, I know there is a reason now. I’m going to group therapy because since I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve discovered (da!) I am a co-dependent. I’m working through my issues, though.

I agree that the relationships with sociopaths get addictive. I witnessed this with my own daughter. She broke off her relationship with one after 5 years only to reengage with him 2 years later. It did not end well—after another 10 plus years of enduring his cheating and lies—she had to endure a 2 year divorce battle. One would ask why a man who treated his wife with derision would battle it out in court . . . we found that the answer was CONTROL and the spotlight. For the sociopath, it’s all about controlling everyone—and to have the spotlight upon them is a bonus!

With that in mind, I have a question for Donna . . .
The closer my daughter got to the divorce, and as her EX had less and less control over her—the sociopath/Ex changed his tactic.
Since he had limited ways to torture my daughter (his Ex-wife)he began mistreating and neglecting their older daughter.
For example . . . At his home—she was forced to share her room with his adulteress’ teenaged daughter (who shows signs of being a sociopath in the making.) She was not given ANY new clothing, even after she literally outgrew everything. She would arrive after a visit there in rags—while her younger sister would come back in a new outfit each week. The older child had food allergies to gluten and dairy. If her father came for a mid-week dinner-time visit—he would bring the adulteress’ daughter, and THEY would pick the restaurant. Inevitably, it would be something like pizza or pancakes, so that they could stuff their faces, while torturing her by making her watch them eat while she got a “side salad.” While at their house, he would tempt her with doughnuts, knowing full well that eating them would cause an outbreak of her allergies.

When the little girl quite innocently revealed some of her sociopath father’s lies,and he found out— he became angry, and told the child that he”could no longer trust her!” (How do you speak about trust while lying to your child?) This threw her for a complete loop . . . she did not know what to think because of being told conflicting things. Her mother would say, “Always tell the truth.” Her father would say, “Don’t tell your mother anything!”

I believe that he is targeting his daughter with this mistreatment in an attempt to torture her mother vicariously.

So my question for Donna is . . . how often do sociopath ex-husbands torture their children in order to torment their ex-wives? How does the responsible loving parent counteract this behavior?
The child is getting old enough to begin to see the pattern of her father’s abuse, but it is difficult for her to accept because she is a normal loving person. The child is scheduled to soon begin to receive counseling again in an attempt to help her cope.

How does the normal parent help the child endure this treatment?
It is very frustrating, especially in light of the fact that the court system tends to view the parents as equals, and does not take this mistreatment into account when setting up visitation rights.
Therefore, the child is left defenseless.
Any advice would be appreciated, as I am sure that we are far from being the only family with what seems to be this “Cinderella syndrome.”
Thanks—your advice is always on target.

4mydaughter
I find your term “Cinderella Syndrome” very validating.

I grew up in an awful family. About 3rd grade, I realized I was different than ALL my siblings. I could read, think, reason, feel, was aware, could organize. I didn’t understand why we were different at that time, but it wasn’t just intelligence, it was how they acted towards others. My mother told me I was the one she wished she never had. I was an outsider, unwanted, shunned.

As the responsible child, I was the family drudge. I cleaned, I cooked (only one who didn’t burn the food). But there was no appreciation, no gratitude. They were angry with me, thought I was a show off because I DID the work.

For years I shamed myself for feeling like Cinderella. I had seen the fairytale. No I did not think myself pretty, but I loved our animals, loved taking care of them. The chores were hard, but I found pleasure in seeing accomplishment, seeing the work done. But it was a weird feeling, thinking I seemed similar to Cinderella.

But that was very much what my role was in my family. I was the scapegoat, and punished for being responsible and capable and intelligent. I tried so hard to get their approval. Nothing worked. After high school, after a Christmas where I bought all these gifts for them and instead of thank you, they complained, I left home that day, returned to my little room in the city, and focused on my job and my friends. My Cinderella days were over, until I married a sociopath.

Excellent article. It is always a bit unnerving to read an explanation with such clarity describing “my former life.” Thanks.

I am just recently out of a year and half long relationship with a narcissist, 2 weeks on thanksgiving. This website and the posts have really helped put things into a better perspective. This is my first break with him that has lasted longer then a few days. I never quite understood throughout the whole relationship, why in my head i knew i should run, and for some reason my emotions just wouldnt comply. I would leave over and over only to be reeled back with empty promises and confessions of love and false apologies. Things would be perfect for a week, 2 days, a day.. at the end it was hours.. minutes. At the end his mask started slipping more and more, he started saying things to me, that didnt make any sense. No one could possible really think or feel that way. Once while watching dexter, he told me he can relate to him so much. Ding Ding Ding.. this opened me up to weeks of researching sociopathic and narcissistic behaviors. Once i knew what he was doing to me, it made it so much easier to become cold inside and i did finally leave. But what i need to know is how do you process this? how do you accept that for that many months, years, days.. it was all fake? How can you be addicted to someone that only desires to bring you pain and suffering? how can you love someone that doesnt even hold the capacity to reciprocate your feelings? Whats wrong with me that i would allow this behavior and continue to return to it over and over again. Nagging, begging, crying, pleading, bargaining, fighting, screaming, questioning my own sanity. My family and friends thought i was losing my mind, and all for what?

lostandbroken, what you have written articulated so well how I felt during my relationship with my ex that it is like you were inside my head. I also knew in my head I should run, and my emotions wouldn’t let me. Things would be perfect for a week, 2 days, a day”at the end it was hours”minutes – that is exactly how it was for me. We were together a total of 7 years. In my case, I only left once, it was always him discarding me and then reeling me back in. After the cruelest and longest discard (almost 3 months), he appeared at my door on Thanksgiving morning 2009, just about the time I had started to feel normal again and reeled me back in with the most emotionally manipulative lies I had heard yet. Of course I didn’t know they were lies then. Allowing him back into my life set me up for a roller coaster ride that ended in a final discard that left me emotionally and financially destroyed in under 18 months.

It is eerie that you mention Dexter. I have never seen Dexter, the premise repulsed me, but he was a big fan. He told me that he had set the theme music as my ringtone on his phone. Creepy.

Joyce is exactly right that you shouldn’t beat yourself up, you did exactly what you were supposed to do. I didn’t have Lovefraud at the time of the final discard, but within a few months I was working with a therapist that told me exactly these words and more and they saved my sanity.

It has been a little over 3 years now since that final discard and although I’m still working to get my life back on track financially, socially and with my career (his destruction was very thorough), I no longer think of him, the relationship or the specifics of what happened other than in passing or for reasons of increasing and maintaining my personal strength and mental health.

You ask how you process this. The first thing is to maintain no contact. You figured it out way quicker than I did and you’re armed with great information and support. Focus on yourself and your well being. Give yourself time”then give yourself more time. If you find yourself unable to stop beating yourself up, go to a therapist for support. I promise you that even though it doesn’t seem like it (it sure didn’t to me), and the path will seem super slow or full of switchbacks, that it will get better. Spending time in normal environments with normal people, for me, is the best medicine. I spent the first 4 to 6 months after the final discard obsessively thinking about it and then I hit a wall and realized I wasn’t doing myself any good. At that point, I really started hearing my therapists words and the obsessive thinking was gradually replaced with just living my new life (tenuous as it was) and in time, I found I was processing it without making an effort to do so.

Stay strong!

Thank u so much for your response.. I’m so grateful to have a place to go that people understand what it is like. I have no one that can understand why I allowed this to happen or why I was willing to lose so much for someone thatntreated me so poorly. I guess I can understand that though because I can’t understand how I allowed this. Tomorrow is one full month of no contact… I feel free… But broken. It’s funny u mentioned the roller coaster… Because that’s how I always refered to my relationship… He always kept me anxiety ridden and on alert. Just when things looked like they were settling down finally… He would start the roller coaster all over again.
I’m thankful to hear all of these stories of people including ur self.. That found a way to move forward and break this cycle.
I’m worried I won’t ever trust anyone again.. Or worse.. That I will and this will happen with someone else.
Any advice u have or even steps u took to work through this, would be greatly appreciated. My biggest concern is that I don’t resent him.. I’m angry with myself. Im so confused and I’m guessing it’s a self defense mechanism, but I’ve already begun to shade out how bad it was.. I feel like I need to remember the negative in order to stay motivated and continue no contact.. At the same time I wish I could erase it all and pretend it wasn’t real for me the way it wasn’t real for him…

LostAndBroken-

You were behaving exactly as Mother Nature programmed you to behave. And Character Disordered jerks play into that brain chemistry.

Our neurotransmitters create the emotional bonding that keeps us attached with someone. It was not put there to cleave you to a psychopath. I doubt that Mother Nature considered that a portion of society when she formed blueprints for mankind.

You fell in love. Your reactions were driven by your brain chemistry and the code of conduct that made you feel obligated to forgive.

Predators are deceitful. We physically desire to restore the brain chemistry that makes us feel love and bonded. When bad things happen, we feel compelled to get past them and back to a “loved” state. We continue to do so over and over until we are hit over the head with a two by four and realize there is something very wrong.

Don’t beat yourself up. You did exactly what you were supposed to do. And you will be careful the next time because you now know that emotional predators exist.

Joyce

I would like to comment on the process of healing as it related to me. After fifteen years of almost “no contact”, I still rely on one simple mantra. Sharing this with you gives me great pleasure as it provides the frame of mind I now bring to all my relationships. It goes like this, “In a remarkable sweetness of mutual kindness we were inquiring amongst ourselves in the presence of the Truth”. I found this in St. Augustine’s, “confessions”. This was written in response to the immorality and decadence of the Roman Empire, around, 400A.D. Augustine urged his fellow Christians to, “wipe the dirt off and get out of the arena”. I have been quoting Augustine to myself for years. Repeating what he says and instilling a new frame of reference into my social engagement system. As many people on this site probably know, we were conditioned to be “pleaders”. Mutuality and reciprocity in living were not familiar to my brain. Instead I learned to focus on what others thought of me. I internalized the negative messages without question. I saw others the way they conditioned me to see them. No mind of my own until I learned about dignity from my research. St.Augustine was one of my teachers. I hope this comment is helpful. Thank you, Kalina.

HELP! I am in need of some support…
Just received a text from him saying “I am very sick and can I help him”.
AHHHHHH
Thats my problem fixing everyone else stuff instead of my own.
Comments please I WANT TO TEXT BACK- I HAVE BEEN ON NO CONTACT

kalina, what a great comment! “I saw others the way they conditioned me to see them” – that described me completely in my relationship with my ex – never again!

THIS is embarrassing and I am trying to use my rational mind here……. but…
the sex between myself and my narc…. was beyond anything I ever had or ever will experience. for many reasons… one being purely the fact that our bodies were a PERFECT MATCH. I am tall. he is very tall and very large. his body… amazing. OMG.

we were unbelievably intimate. He knows all about me. we talked about love during sex. we shared and did fantasies. he knows all about me in this area. he said he never wanted to be with another person again. I felt the same way.

so… he is most likely already having sex with other women… b/c that is what he did the first time he left me…again… b.c of my phone.

he had sex with about four women in one week…

then came back to me crying… that that was not what he really wanted. He LOVED me.

How do I get over the sex part? I get soooo depressed knowing I will never have sex with him again… or anyone that size…

and that he is with or will be with other women….

then again….

who cares! anyone who has sex with him will also have to deal with a sociopath. with tons of debt. lying. stonewalling. manipulating… and phone obsession. why the hell do I care about sex and why is that the most difficult part?

I guess b/c it is a way in which I bond. it’s a way humans bond.

I feel that I will never ever ever want to have sex again. I am pretty positive of it. even thinking of it makes me very very sad and even sick to my stomach.

can someone comment or help me out on this?

part of my brain is saying…. oh this is hopeless… you lost the best sex possible on this earth… you will never have sex like you did wth him again…. that’s one reason so many women were still after him… ones that he had slept with…

one part of my brain says…. get over it. a healthy relationship…. maybe with not such amazing… outer body experience sex…. would be even better. Oh… this is the worst part.

I would never hurt myself. ever. I am not suicidal…. but the pain of losing the best sex of my life…. with such a good looking man…. who knew me in and out and said he loved me all day long…. sometimes I am not so sure I can survive this…. no joke. I’d rather lose an arm or leg or 30 years of my life.

thanks for listening to me all day.

Kitty-

You didn’t lose the best sex you’ll ever have. You lost the best sex you ever HAD.

There are folks who know how to elevate our oxytocin levels during sex. They may not know it intellectually, but they know it instinctively. They are able to create a heightened sense of pleasure It doesn’t make them good people, just accomplished sexual partners.

Oxytocin raises our level of attachment to people and is produced, in abundance, during sex. It’s an especially difficult bond to break. But once you realize your attachment is a “chemical reaction,” like drinking alcohol, or taking drugs, it’s easier to put into perspective.

Once you can open yourself up to another relationship, you can experience a similar bond. They may not do everything the way he did, but there could be other experiences that you could value even more.

This guy seems like a sex addict. He has the sex game figured out pretty well and knows what stimulates a woman to keep his supply up. You can take whatever sexual performance concepts you learned from him, and put them in practice with the nice, sweet, loving, caring guy you meet. That way, he’ll really be the perfect lover.

Joyce

Kitty,
Please don’t be embarrassed by this.
I feel EXACTLY the same way.
The chemistry, the smell, the sex, amazing.
The best I ever had”but as jm-short said” apply this to another relationship, when you are ready and I’m sure that you will be just fine especially knowing for sure that he has been with other women.
I never actually “caught mine in the act” and he still proclaims that he never cheated on me.
I want so badly to believe him because as you said the thought of him being with another woman drives me crazy, that sick feeling in the stomach is known very well to me.
I had a setback this weekend and saw him” I missed having sex with him desperately. I needed my fix.
I made it very clear to him that this does not mean we were getting back together.
I know he wants to”I feel strong. I don’t feel like I am throwing all of my hard work down the drain.
I had a setback and I will go forward and stay strong. You too”. When you are ready, start dating. Now that you have had great sex with him, use all you learned from him and “apply”!!!!! that elsewhere!

Stronginthecity

We’ve all been weak, I’m still weak yet wise-up enough to know what really is going on…

I’ve been back, several times but only for dates and my fix. He still sets my alarm bells off and more often than not, I leave in a state of confusion, this I’m aware of…

Be gentle on yourself because it’s not forever, one day you’ll move on and start a whole new chapter of your life but in the meantime it’s ok to miss the illusion.

kittylover, I had the best sex of my life with my ex too. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was making sure of it – to get me hooked so he could control me with it, abuse me with it, manipulate me with it, use it against me. I opened myself up to him like I had never opened myself up to another person in my life, and he used it to destroy me.

I haven’t had sex with anyone (hell, I haven’t had coffee with anyone) since he discarded me over 3 years ago, and don’t know when I will, but I figure it will happen someday. I have enough perspective to know now that that wasn’t the best sex of my life, it was all a lie, an illusion, a manipulation, just like the rest of the relationship (which was the best of my life too). The reality is, sex with my ex could be just as awful as it was amazing, according to his whim and plans for me for that moment. They are amazing when it suits their purpose and just the opposite when it doesn’t (or their purpose is different). It wasn’t the best sex possible on this earth – they just make you think it is.

You WILL survive. Believe me, you wouldn’t rather lose an arm or a leg or 30 years of your life, even if you never have sex again with anyone but yourself.

Hannalai

Good point! If you search your history of sex with the spath then you’ll realise that half of it wasn’t that great. Thanks for the reminder! He used it to hook me back in, only when he thought he was losing me, the rest felt like it was an obligation because he was getting it with so many other people!

undertheradar, at certain points, my ex stopped wanting to do certain things sexually that had always been a part of the program. It seemed weird that he wanted it so bad before and then…I didn’t figure it out until later that it was because he was doing them with multiple others! Of course, when he “cut me off”, he always had a reason that made it my fault. I spent endless time feeling inadequate because of this, even though I knew better. (Sample comment: no one had ever brought it to my attention before because they didn’t “love” me enough. Gee thanks.)

Sex is one of their most devious manipulative tools. It was used against me in so many ways, I probably don’t even know them all.

The thought of being with him sexually grosses me out now.

Hanalai

Yep me to! I can’t believe how clever he was with his blame projection which completely undermined my self worth with his manipulative behavior….grr!

JM Short’s reply is really good information.

KittyLover, the way you feel and the things you are thinking about are normal for where you are in your experience. It’s part of processing your thoughts and clearing out your mind and part of the path of getting out from your ex’s spell.

You are half the equation in the great sex with the ex, and you take everything you have to give and the great lover you are with you where ever you go and whom ever you are with.

Also consider that you may have been hypnotized by your ex to THINK that he is better looking than he is and a better lover than he is. Psychopaths use hypnosis. My ex distorted my perception of reality in many ways. If you google search “psychopath and hypnosis” you will find a lot of good info out there; and you may recognize some of your ex’s tactics.

It took me awhile to recognize how much the ex messed with my mind on so many levels.

Kittylover

Joyce is very wise and we all benefit from her wisdom so keep sharing.

Your story is our story. My spath changed back to the perfect partner after I left and love bombed me so much that it sent my alarm bells into melt down. When I did succumb to his charms, when he convinced me to go out with him so he could plead his case, I watched everything he did and listened very VERY carefully, just so I could work it out. Sex was different that night, back to the person that hooked me in all those 14 years ago. The level of intimacy was extreme and everything I craved for 12 years of the marriage but that was a huge red flag to me! How can he just switch like that…how can he go from convincing me that I’m not worthy and mean nothing but an obligation to maintain his assets to loving me so deeply – in a heartbeat? I’ll tell you why! It’s a con! The whole marriage was a con! My spath spent so much time looking at porn that he was text book trained to give me what he knew would hook me.

Even now the spyware on his computer shows me that he’s searching how to win me back but he’s learnt to hide everything else he’s doing on it because that is all he wants me to see!
Stupid man thinks I’ll go all soft and start to feel sorry for him but because I’m watching and aware of his motivations, I’m not buying into this illusion.

Be glad he’s not trying to get you back!

You mentioned “because of my phone”.
What did you mean?

Thank you! I feel weak, he knows exactly what buttons to push.

It’s ok to feel weak right now, as long as you try to take actions that are strong. When you do it enough, your feelings will catch up. They DO know what buttons to push and not reacting to them = strong.

I changed my phone number and email addresses. In my case, I had to move. Whatever you do, you can not allow him to pull at your heartstrings.
You can do this! Stay strong!

Thank you… I will stay strong, I will not let him do this…again.

Metaphors work somehow in the unconscious. Using positive imagery’, like “superman”, except with your face as “Superwoman”, is an example. I often picture myself in a Roman era arena. I’m standing by myself, just dusting the dirt off. I’m picturing myself, determined to simply walk away. “Get yourself out of the arena”, that is my suggestion. While you are thinking and imagining yourself as strong, the chances of negative self talk is seriously diminished. You can condition yourself over time. Anxiety, positive rather than negative messages. Good luck. Kalina

thank you that is absolutely fabulous I love it. I can picture it I’m going to really work on that tonight because I’m sitting here struggling wanting to call him but I can’t I’ve worked too hard to get to this point I will not stop now thank you again

Strong-

He’s toying with you! He’s not your problem any longer. Let him find someone else to play with!

Ever quit smoking? This is quitting smoking on steroids!

Go for a walk, a movie, take a museum tour, get some exercise. Enroll in a course. Find a non-profit with a focus that fulfills you. BLOCK his contact so you never have to go through this withdrawal again!

Wishing you strength!
Joyce

Thank you Joyce.
Back to work today so that’s good.
I thought I needed some time off but all I did was lay around the house not depressed but using the excuse of I just need some rest but you’re right I really need to keep busy and focus my emotions on something else he actually sent another text saying if I didn’t stop this I was going to lose him for good I had to text back saying I would take my chances don’t text me anymore he’s blocked now thank you

Thank you—NotWhatHeSaidofMe—for your excellent reply.

It was interesting that you were the Cinderellas child in the family.
I see some similarities between what you wrote and the “Cinderella” granddaughter.
Like you—she is the kind and more sensitive soul in the family. She also clearly physically resembles her mother (the sociopath’s Ex) which may be one reason that he enjoys torturing her. (Whereas the other child resembles him.)
I don’t think this emotional abuse will end any time soon—but hope that as the child gets older she will recognize the reason as you did.

Annette & Under-

Thanks so much for the vote of confidence. It warms my heart!

Sincerely,
Joyce

Hook 101 haha I’m onto you!

My spath spent years treating me like I should feel honored to have someone like him. When I left I was convinced that he hated me and that any show of intimacy was an obligation…
The love bombing is extreme and not the character he’s proved to me that he truly is, he’ll say and do anything to win me back but he’s slipping up by doing it. He doesn’t realise that it won’t work to mimic the person he was 14 years ago when he spent 12 of those years showing me his true colours.
Last night he sent me a text saying; “wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could steal my heart and I could steal yours” UMM HELLO! You are (the spath) a specialist in the police force, tactical response gorilla, you go out for a fight and you wouldn’t even think twice about shooting someone and you’re going all lovey dovey to win me back? I’m not buying it! Just venting girls…

I am so glad that there is help out there for the targets of psychopaths. I guess I was raised to be psychopath bait, loving, trusting, honest and believing all people are good. I fell for a P and the best sex and love bombing and all he wanted was my virginity. I was drunk with his presence, his smell and sex was a “spiritual” experience. Then he dumped me. I am so grateful now and realize how he was able to intoxicate me without drugs or alcohol. I finally realized that it was never about love but conquest. On the rebound, I married another P who I did not love thinking he could not hurt me like I had been hurt by “love”. This time I was caught up in the non-sexual love bombing of being treated like a princess with feigned respect, wining and dining. He raped me on our wedding night. I was pregnant so I stayed 10 years believing we could make it work. I fought the abuse but every time I won a battle, he changed the war. I won the sex battle, I won the physical abuse battle then came the psychological battle and I almost lost the war. I did not know about psychopaths back then. I did not finally leave until he started to abuse the children. Since I was only staying for the children by that time, it made it very easy. But with children, you might never get them out of your life. He now has love bombed and brainwashed my daughter after his third wife left him. I unwittingly got caught in the triangle he created and lost my daughter. She would not let me have NC with him and accused me of not letting her see him. She was 30 years old and married, I could not keep her from seeing him and did not try. All I wanted was to have him out of my life. He used his pity ploy to invoke her to believe his lies and manipulation and turning it on me to force himself back into our lives. I finally thought I had to tell her the truth to refute his lies and finally let her see why I needed to stay away from him. It backfired and she blamed me and cut me off. I wish it had been different but at least he is finally out of my life.

Delores-

As a parent who has lost a child in a similar circumstance, my heart truly goes out to you. I know the total anguish of not being able to connect with your daughter. For me, it’s my son.

The destruction of family ties is the ultimate pain a character disordered predator can achieve.

I know there’s very little comfort anyone can provide for you. I find mine in the realization that I did the very best I could do with the knowledge and resources I had at the time. I hope you too can find peace in that awareness.

All the best-
Joyce

Delores

Oh sweetie I’m so sorry you’ve had to suffer from this monster. I can’t even begin to understand how it would feel losing a child to their manipulation as I never had children to my spath. I do see what it would be like having had step children that I raised but would and can never see through the lies….

I wish I could take all this painful history and toss it away for all of us, I wish our story could change right in this moment…

Sending hugs!

WOW!!! It is the most addictive!! Fill your lives with as MUCH AS YOU CAN. Become SO busy that you dont have time to think about them!!! In the meantime, youll meet new people and slowly become stronger.

I told my SPATH that he doesnt have the mental strength that I do…and that Id never let him “BREAK”me. Im even stronger because of him. I know life will be BETTER..because I now know how to identify these guys!! How could it possibly be worse?? Weve BEEN THROUGH HELL, ALREADY!! No way but UP from here!!!

DONT succumb to these crazy people!! Theyll DRAIN YOU OF LIFE!!!! Stand up and apply NO contact and STICK TO IT!!! If you go back, youll do exactly that… go BACKWARDS. DONT feel sorry for these people. Theyll never feel sorry for YOU!! GET ON WITH LIFE… ITS TOO SHORT TO SETTLE FOR LESS. Ive heard the best way to put it, with this disorder … The only way to win againt theses people, is to stay COMPLETELY AWAY FROM THEM!!!! ITS TRUE. DONT BE FOOLED!!!!

I started following this site a few weeks ago…I just figured out how to respond to comments and how to be notified if I get a response.. Lol.. Little slow lately..
I need support.. Tomorrow is one month with no contact. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to process a yr and a half of lies and mind games and with this site and books I’ve read, the knowledge of what he is and knowing he doesn’t just not love me, but is incapable of loving anyone… Made it easy to stay away. Until last night.. Someone had to let me know he found a new girlfriend (victim) whatever… And even knowing that he can’t love her.. Ever.. My mind is reeling… Will he treat her the way he did me? Will she be different? Will he feel something he couldn’t with me? Will he change for her? And I KNOW he can’t.. But the thoughts won’t atop. I don’t want to contact him, and nothing in me wants to relive the horrors I’ve seen with him, but the sadness, and the morbid curiosity is lingering.
Why can’t my heart just follow suit and listen to my head.. Why do I have feelings at all for a monster that showed me time and again that I meant nothing to him?
There’s a movie… Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind… Where they are able to delete memories from their past… What I wouldn’t give to have that option… To sleep one night with out reliving the night mare over and over in my dreams … To turn the corner and not have my heart stop when I see a truck that looks like his.. Or drive through town and not worry that he’s waiting somewhere.. And all the while… Somehow be concerned that someone else is enjoying the fake man I fell in love with.. Ughh I feel like I’m insane

L&B,

You are describing well the very normal feelings that I, and I am sure the other survivors on this site, can relate to. Everything you feel and struggle with is totally normal. PTSD is a normal response to abnormal experience.

Spath’s behavior is crazy-making, and normal people feel like we are going insane. You’re not crazy, we’re normal and struggling with the aftermath of having been abused badly by a disturbed and evil character.

I also experience setbacks and difficult feelings when I hear about my ex spath in some way. At first it took me by surprise, but now I can pretty much expect that it will take me three days to recover enough to be productive (ie get out of bed) and the rest of a week or longer to feel better again. My ex P has been gone 3+ years. Most of the time, it’s fine, but when I hear about him or when someone who he’s using challenges me with some of the content of his smear campaign, I get so stressed.

Victims are programmed to bond, and the spath does a lot to ‘hook’ us and to strengthen our bonding with them, so that they can control us. They don’t want to give up control even after they discard us because we are not useful to them any longer or when we become more trouble than useful to them.

It sounds like you are thinking clearly, and doing the right things for yourself especially NC. You will probably get to care less and less as the emotional bond dissipates in time and as you continue NC and to get back into living your life. Try to let your heart do this at it’s own pace. When I get frustrated and impatient with myself that just adds another layer of stress.

AnnettePK

“Frustration with the process” that was good to hear as sometimes I can’t put my finger on the reason why I’m stressed when there is so much chaos going on in my head.

Thanks 🙂

That’s the best way to describe it too. In so frustrated with myself and the amour of energy and time I invested into literally nothing. I have no desire to have any contact with him what’s so ever. I have completely seperated him from the man I loved.. To me the man I met died and there is no one left to chase. Towards the end I used to say I was in love with idea of him. I would Love and miss him so much while he wasn’t present but once he was there I couldn’t stand to look at him or hear his lies anymore. All I heard was betrayal and all I saw was pain. What kind of psychological damage allows this to continue? I’m embarrassed to hear or tell stories of our relationship because when I hear it out loud all I feel is shame.
I was reminded over the weekend of a time he held me down on a public street… Slit his wrists and smeared his blood over my face and hair and chest and when I cried he shook me screaming for me to grow up. The next day when it was obvious that he had gone too far.. He down played it saying he knew he would bleed alot because he’d been drinking and it wasn’t that serious.. That it was punishment for making him leave the bar when he wasn’t ready…
Who stays after that? Who allows that behavior to be rationalized?

lostandbroken, what you have said here couldn’t sum up any better exactly how I feel. Like you, toward the end I loved and missed him when I wasn’t with him, but when I was it was usually fraught with tension, weirdness and discomfort. During a 7 year relationship, I have many examples of situations I found myself in with him that I ask myself the same questions: Who stays after that? Who allows that behavior to be rationalized? Yet, I moved forward with buying a pricy dream home with him in another state, which meant selling my beloved little house, quitting a job I had worked for years to build a career to get into, and sunk my savings into the house. He stayed behind to sell his home and within 90 days, he had cruelly bailed from the relationship in a grand finale final discard”leaving me holding the bag financially on the house and my life in ruins. 3 1/2 years later I am still working to rebuild and have a long way to go”my frustration level is through the roof.

Enough crawled out of the woodwork in the year after the final discard that I know now that the entire relationship was a lie, that what I thought I had was carefully crafted to make me feel loved, safe and secure, and to use my therapist’s words “you didn’t know because he didn’t want you to know”. Simple as that. Through therapy, reading a lot of books and reading other’s experiences here, I know who stays and who allows the behavior to be rationalized: good people who don’t know this evil exists. I also know that we were programmed by these monsters and we were powerless to a large degree.

Afterwards, I had a chance to talk to a couple of the women he “romanced” while we were together and was curious how they escaped being sucked in. I think it was a combination of him not being ready (me being his primary target at the time) and they being more “hard nosed” than I was, and thus able to say “f you” at the first sign of an issue and walk away. Some stayed a little longer and were harmed by him. I will say that he punished every single last one of them in some way, to show them he was lord and master and they didn’t matter to him.

I know now that he was seeing multiple women (and got let go from his job due to his harassing behavior and was skewered in the press) even as we were making the offer on the house and going through escrow. I know now that he had introduced his new girlfriend to his daughters even before he discarded me.

I am a classic story. He molded me and shaped me exactly how he wanted me to be and then he used it against me.

I am frustrated because I’m not young anymore and this loss of time is a heartbreaker. I wish I was back up to speed in life – back to the kick ass person I was before he came on the scene. It’s a slow process, I feel like all I’m doing is treading water, but when I look over my shoulder, I see all the progress I’ve made. Just the thought of him makes me sick now.

They use hypnosis and hypnotic techniques, whether they know they are doing this or not. As I got farther out in time and distance, I saw how my ex P did this. He also preyed on my vulnerabilities.

They test boundaries little by little, bit by bit. It’s like the proverbial frog in the gradually heating boiling water that doesn’t jump out because it’s gradual. If I found myself being treated like the exP did in the midst of the ‘relationship’ I would have walked away immediately, but he got me trapped gradually, and he increased the crazy making abuse etc. gradually just to the point of what I would accept at every step of the way.

Consider trying to forgive yourself. You didn’t know what you didn’t know, you did your best with what you had at the time. That’s the difference between normal and spath – they know they are lying, they know they are using, they know right from wrong – they just don’t care.

AnnettePK,

You always have such helpful words of advice. I can personally say that you have helped me in more ways than you know. I wonder though, how have you been lately? How are you handling your situation lately? Are you finding peace?

Sorry if you’ve been sharing about how you’re doing and I’ve missed it. I haven’t been on this site too much lately. I’ve had to distance myself and won’t share too much — I’m just wondering about you all on here that have reached out and you came to mind today. Hope all is as well as can be for you right now.

TDS79 it’s good to see you pop up! Take care!

TDS79,
Hello and thanks for the greetings. Thanks for your questions. I hope you are doing well.

I’m a few years out and find myself over and done with the emotional attachment to the ex P. I’m glad he’s gone and glad I’m free. I am still dealing with PTSD – the farther out I get from the insanity, the more I realize how much I was damaged. I have trouble finding peace about the damage done to my son.

The worst is the smear campaign, which I keep running into unexpectedly and getting re injured – it is incredibly stressful to me. There are aspects of the situation that are very painful, really torment me. I’m struggling with some decisions about changes in my life that would be difficult to make, but might help me get away from the effects of the ex’s smear campaign. I am searching for a life path I can have peace with, but can’t make the decision one way or the other. I know this is vague, but I don’t want to get into the specific details.

Thank you for sharing, AnnettePK. I personally don’t find your post too vague, I get it now”or at least it makes sense to me. I’m filtering now. It lifts my heart knowing you share no emotional attachment anymore to your ex, which makes sense why you are able to offer others such standing advice. It hasn’t taken me long to release most of my emotional attachments to my ex. I contribute this to the fact I didn’t share more than a year with him and because he has stalked me to the degree he has. In my journey, I am starting to find the positive me again, even if it’s for only a few moments or sometimes days at a time. Regardless, I’m grateful for the glimpses. I’m now finding more clarification in my situation and when reading others posts on here.

I’m sorry you’re still not at peace, about your son and that the smear campaign continues. I can’t imagine ever being able to be at ease with constant reminders. Actually, I can. It’s just the stalking that prevents that. I’ve distanced myself too much from the smearing that is surely occurring with old friends (I don’t have to worry about family or coworkers). I feel more than blessed to have cut them out of my life. So many losses have been very painful for me though.

I just so happen to be in a positive place at this moment, which gives me so much hope for you. The first step in making changes is thinking about them, right? No matter how difficult”and you’re doing that! Our changes have to start somewhere. One step and forward moving thought at a time. I believe you will make the right moves for you and when you do, you will feel right in the path(s) you decide on, no matter how stressful they may seem. The fact that you are still in decision mode means changes aren’t right for you right now and that you may just be not ready. You may never be and that’s okay. I only say this with confidence because I find myself in many decision making/path changes these days. I’m just going with how I feel day to day and try not to put too much pressure on myself knowing where I am. I struggle with even thinking of a life path that I will ever be peaceful with. Personally, I live in an uncomfortable fear and it’s just a matter of finding the best situation where I can accept it the most. I hope I find my own peaceful path. I hope we both find our peaceful paths sooner than later.

I have a feeling that you’re already in touch with what I’m saying. It just feels good to know we’re in this together. I believe you and your words, especially in the early months, have helped me find the moments of clarity and peace I experience now. Your words stick with me and I want you to know that. I appreciate you.

TDS79,

Thank you for your thoughts; I appreciate all you’ve taken the time to write. So good that you are getting yourself back; I know exactly what you mean. Even though I’m not attached to my ex personally, I’m still dealing with the aftermath of the trauma, though it’s no longer personal about him.

I appreciate this and other sites so much; I can’t imagine what state I would be in without them. I feel for my ex P’s first ex wife – she endured 18 years with him, the discard and the smear campaign, mostly before the internet and the many good books that have been published in the last few years.

The end result of a relationship with a sociopath/psychopath/narc (whichever) creates a sense of loss. While we’re busy dealing with the loss of the illusion we fail to see the loss of our innocence or for me personally, my loss of bullet proofness, my confidence. I had, just as we all had, dreams of the life we wanted to live and most of us were in the process of achieving those dreams by working towards them…
I know that my dream has crashed and burned and that somehow I have to go out and create a new and exciting life full of new dreams that I can work towards, but my head is broken right along side of my heart. I can no longer imagine a life I want while I live the turmoil of the old and confusion of the disaster that I fell for.
I wish it was as easy as picking up a motivational book and putting it into practice, just imagine the new life into being, but I can’t even get an image in my head because I’m broken…
Keep posting people so we can heal. These words of courage give me a place to feel like I’m not alone yet able to shift from the fog one day and add back the much needed light of new and exciting beginnings that I crave for all of us.
Thanks girls, you make me feel a little bit more normal each and every time I read your posts x

undertheradar, you have put into words something I’ve been feeling lately: my head is broken right along side of my heart. Very eloquent. I too lost my bullet proofness and confidence along with my dream. It seems like these were my identity.

In my case, I have the image of my new life in my head but can’t seem to get there from here. I will figure it out, and so will you. I know we will simply because we’ve gotten this far already.

Dang the reflectiveness that the end of the year brings! For the 4th holiday season now, I’m just working to get through it intact. Two more weeks and we’ll be in the clear again.

Hanalei

Good to know that I’ll eventually get a clear image! Lol… did you find that you would fantasize to a point but it was cloudly almost? I feel like I just can’t make a decision as to what I want to do now… I keep going in several different directions with my thoughts and emotions. Some days I’m positive and determined but never for long enough to result in any significant change, or those dreadful revelations keep me chained to the past – someone will repeat something he said about me or he’ll say something to put me back into a state of confusion…

This will be my first Christmas in totally different surroundings. I’m visiting my children instead of putting on a big celebration. I’ve made so many plans to busy myself and think it’s to avoid thinking about my beautiful big house with a wonderful entertainers backyard that I had to leave.

I truly hope these holidays are the beginning of something new and exciting for us both!

Happy Christmas to you and I’m sending all my very best wishes your way x

undertheradar, I had no problem visualizing my new life”what has been a stumbling block for me was underestimating the sheer magnitude of challenges it would be to put the pieces of my life back together, since my career, financial stability and sense of safety in the world were so completely destroyed by him. Although I’ve been no contact for 3 1/2 years, I’ve only been technically free of him since February, when the home we own together was finally sold. That was when I could actually move forward – before that, I was handcuffed to the house and the financial drain.

I think once you go no contact and stick with it, you will find that your thoughts and emotions will stabilize and you will identify a direction. ANY sort of contact has the power to throw you off track”guard yourself against it!

Kalina warns against wasting spiritual and psychological resources, and I’d add to that simply time. The way I have mastered this is to remind myself all the time I wasted simply sitting in limbo trying to figure out what was gong on when he had mini-discarded me for a day or two or a week or three”while he was out living life, wining and dining women, having fun and not giving me a second thought. Every time he “came back”, I told myself, never again will I waste my time like that, but of course I did. Until the final discard. (I used to wonder why I looked like hell when it seemed the separation hadn’t fazed him in the least”oh, man!) I had months and months of horrible days, but they weren’t spent trying to figure out what was going on, they were spent taking care of myself as best I could. I’ve written here before about going out back and digging a hole and filling it in and then doing it again, because you can’t dig and think at the same time. I went to the movies. I detailed my stove more times than I can count. It staved off the thinking, thinking, thinking. Over time, it gets better.

I am missing my beautiful house this season too. But in honesty, he ruined it with his actions and so it will always hold those memories. I am certain that we will both have homes in time that we will love just as much.

Make the most of your time away in different surroundings, and strive to stay in the moment. I know you will do great!

We must stop obsessing about the past before we can start over. We have been lying to ourselves about its significance in order to avoid responsibility for our own participation in the toxic dance. No contact works best for me. Frankly, I have not dated in fifteen years, since my divorce. I believe we co- Dependents have been so brutally compromised, that healing requires complete self definition minus inputs from the opposite sex. Of course, friendships are perfectly acceptable, however, to this day I mistrust my judgement involving men. I just brought home a beautiful puppy. I’m happy giving her all the unconditional love I have to spare. Am I content? You bet I am. It’s all in the attitude and the coming to terms with our limitations. This I believe with all my heart. Kalina

Kalina-

I can relate! 2 dogs and 2 cats! They’re the best!

Joyce

Kalina

Yes I’m obsessing and I do understand that this keeps me in that energy. Im actually scared that I’ll be still playing the victim in years to come but I can’t stop it! How did you make those decisions to move to the space you are in now and stick with it? I go strong and determined one day then weak and miserable the next…

Please be confident! Getting over a war trauma requires patience and mental peace. We do not achieve emotional or psychological benefits from going over and over in our minds, “who did what to whom?”. To achieve a state of reconciliation with the past, I had to re- define my present. I made a radical change in my outlook on life. I totally changed my values. I became a kinder person myself. I am a better friend to my friends and mother to my grown son. I watch the news and cry for all those refugees who had to give up EVERYTHING. I cry for the children who walk the streets in the war torn areas of the Middle East. For the people without food, shelter, electricity, or security! And I Thank God I am an American. Our problems are self made. That was the key insight that started me on my 15 year path to recovery. Kalina

Kalina

Thanks for sharing your thoughts because they have crossed my mind. I know I have to go no contact and I also know that I don’t need to justify why but I keep putting it off…Crazy – nuts!!! You reminded me to take responsibility for the part I’m playing by allowing this drama to continue. I have to remind myself that he’s an adult and has to deal with his own karma and stop feeling sorry for him – I need to stop being his mother and protecting him from the pain… eventually he has to face the fact that it’s over between us, that the assets WILL be separated legally and then he’s got his own legal matters to face, of his own doing when he crossed the line as a police officer.

You’ve inspired me to text him and end anymore contact from today – thank you!

Happy holidays x

Under,

Ending contact is a change to your ex and a loss of control. Consider that he could be more dangerous to you now and in the weeks ahead. Keep yourself safe; they are capable of anything – not limited by conscience.

Good for you in taking this step. It sounds like you’re ready for it.

Thanks Annette! It seems that I’m getting more moments of clarity with each day of distance and I’m starting to feel taller already lol
I’ll be very aware during this time but I’ll be more scared when he’s charged in February of next year – that’s when I’ll go into hiding for a while as he has no idea of what he’s really been investigated for…

Dear undertheradar,
I totally understand your difficulty in letting go. It is the only answer to your plight. Healing is a completely new direction for you. Half measures and indecisiveness will not help you heal. As a matter of fact, you will be wasting precious spiritual and psychological resources on simply focusing on the past. I wasted years of my life in limbo, fearful of the unknown. I learned the long and hard way, that the unknown was 10 times better than what I had known. I pass to you my deepest felt sympathy for your pain. Hang in there and find the peace you deserve. Kalina

Kalina

Thanks for your wise words and kindness. It’s the strangest situation I’ve ever been emotionally involved in, like some sort of sick dream I cannot wake from? I’m constantly in a push me pull me fight for survival and it’s crazy! I know that I have a level of awareness, a guidance system with intelligence, yet I ignore it for hope that I might be wrong – WTF?
I just don’t get why I’ll ignore my ability to view this from a completely detached point with all the clarity in the world yet I argue with the logic? I know he keeps me in a constant state of confusion while LF keeps me in a state of clarity, but I allow him to undermine any determination with one phone call…
This test is my biggest EVER!
Hugs to you for listening x

Jenna23

Claps to you sweetie! 30 full days sounds like heaven to me.
Keep going and inspiring me to do the same ★

Jenna23

I wish he had a new brain before I met him then we’d both have been happy!

You’re letting go of something that never really existed, but you believed it was real because he deceived you into believing it. Not only do you have the loss of the future, you have the loss of the past – it was all a lie.

He is going to keep on doing what he has been doing. If he wanted to do differently, he would be. It’s not your responsibility. You can pray or send protective thoughts out for his past and future victims if you choose to; that can generate some positive energy.

Consider that besides what you know about, there could be other things and far worse things your ex could have done. Spaths are such liars and they have no limits to what they are capable of, just about anything is possible. I kept finding out more and more stuff about my ex; and I don’t think anything would surprise me now.

Rumination is a natural response to having been victimized by an emotional predator. It’s like a broken record repeating itself in your brain. When we wake up to reality, we recognize that our relationship was a house of cards, and we need to grieve that loss. One of the steps of grief is “bargaining.” It sounds like this: “if only I had…..” or… “if only he could see that ………”

To get past the “if only” stage, we need to focus on the fact that absolutely NOTHING you could have done, except never having involved our self with a predator in the first place, could possibly have changed the outcome.

And don’t beat yourself up for having gotten involved…. it’s your nature, and the nature of every other emotionally intact human being, to want human contact and human relationships. Now that you know there are predators out there, you’ll be more aware the next time.

Unfortunately, rumination is not forward-thinking or problem-solving thought. There are a few things you can do to get over it….

1. Over schedule yourself for a couple of weeks so your don’t have down time to think about it. You’ll get out of the habit. And the further you move away, the less prominent it will be in your brain.

2. Exercise! I know getting off the couch with the Kleenex by your side sounds like a Herculean effort for many victims, (been there, done that) but the rewards of forcing yourself to get your endorfins pumping will give you tremendous relief!

3. Be good to yourself! Get that new dress, go to the movies, get a manicure… whatever it takes to make you happy…. do it, do it, and do it again! Be your best friend! You will regain the sense that you are in control of your life and your happiness. It will give you the strength you need to block out painful thoughts that you don’t want.

4. Volunteer! Helping others is a speedy, productive way to help you feel good about yourself and put distance between you and the pain you endured.

5. Grief counseling. Yes, you are mourning, just like you would if someone you love died. The difference is that death is finite. You know the person is absolutely NOT returning. When you mourn the loss of a relationship, the other person is still out there. And you need to live in the reality of who they truly are so you can resist the temptation of seeing them as they appeared to you in the hoax they’d created. What you lament was a hoax. It wasn’t reality. Stay in reality.

I hope this helps!

My best-
Joyce

They do try to steal our lives, and it is a lot of hard work to get our lives back. You can do it.

jenna23=

How long ago did this happen? Did you file a police report?

Joyce

aintgonnatakeitnomore

Just so you know, ppl get tired of listening and seeing anyone stuck in grief of any kind. It’s not just this type. They feel it’s time to move on. Like they would know, having never grieved. Yet they still feel qualified to discern when “it’s time”.
I lost my best friend and lover, my husband, over Labor Day wkend one yr. By CHRISTMAS I was thot to be “milking it”. Christmas, for pete’s sake!
Don’t worry about other ppl. Especially ignorant ppl. Bless their ignorance. I wish I was still ignorant!

jenna23, when I asked my ex why he did certain things, he said “because I can”.

I have no idea how many women my ex cheated with while we were a couple and planning a future together. I found out about a few after he discarded me, and I’m sure it was only the tip of the iceberg. I could list many reasons that I think are the “why”, but that doesn’t help to understand it. Suffice it to say they do whatever the hell they feel like doing, whenever, wherever, whatever, with no thought or concern of the consequences, because it is all about them, and as mine said at least a hundred times, if I wasn’t happy with my position with him, there were countless women who were waiting in the wings to take my place, gladly. Yep.

Hanalei

Little did we know at the time…

My spath relied on me for all the wifely duties so he convinced me to help him present shop for Christmas as I was the one that did it for 14 years and he hasn’t got a clue what to buy his own children.
We were walking through the shopping center last week and I realised something. When we first got together 15 years ago, I was proud of my man! When women would check him out, I was like ” yeah he’s my man” and felt confident and secure. It only took a couple of years before I found myself insecure and thinking ” get your eyes of him” kinda thoughts… now, well last week, I realised my reaction to all his attention was “you’ve got no idea what you’re looking at, if you want to take a walk on the wild side then he’s all yours!” Most of these women, last week would end up looking at me to see a huge smile on my face, they knew I had seen them but they don’t know what I’m thinking… made my day! Lol

So very true that until one has lived it, one doesn’t understand. I did not understand even abusive relationships, and in retrospect I see I was callous and impatient with a couple of acquaintances who had been victimized.

As far as the ‘why’ they choose the behavior they choose, here’s a survivor’s thoughts on it. Perhaps there is something here that will help you find some answers. http://psychopathsandlove.com/real-reason-you-were-victimized-by-a-psychopath/

Jenna, How long can you take off work, if you don’t mind answering? Does your counselor have any thoughts on when you’ll be ready to get back to it? Sounds like a blessing that you can have this time off to recover. I was blessed to be able to have some down time when I was in the midst of it.

Jenna sweetie

Mine did the same but cheated at every opportunity, had a competition going with the “boys” on who could get laid on their way to work while also maintaining long standing affairs with women that didn’t know they weren’t the only one – quite clever he was at hiding his identity! The whole time he was getting sex several times a week, he also had a massive porn addiction, sometimes watching it for hours at a time up to 3 times in 24 hours = sick prick! What bought him unstuck was realising my instincts couldn’t be right with everyone else but not him so I spywar-ed his entire life. Turns out my entire 14 year marriage was a lie and I was convinced that I was in love with an illusion.

You’d think all that would have given me closure but it didn’t? He promised me he was a changed man and that I was the love of his life, I gave him 2 years to prove himself but nothing changed with his treatment towards me so I decided to end it as soon as I was “small” debt free. While I was busy getting ready to leave he was stood down from the police force on a child sex allegation. I knew immediately that he was guilty as soon as he opened his mouth to give me his side of the story – turns out she wasn’t the first…

You’d think I’d be over it but I’m not. My mind and heart still aren’t aligned – 6 months after leaving, 9 months from the offense and years of knowing about his “other” life. It takes time to heal from these monsters so be patient with yourself, be kinder to yourself than you’ve ever been to anyone else because one day I know we’ll both wake from this nightmare a lot stronger and a better person.

Hugs to you sweetie 🙂

aintgonnatakeitnomore

i am so trying to be KIND to myself. to busy myself.
its impossible.
i bought a car on Tues nite. ON THE WAY HOME it almost died. the tranny. made it back next day and they fixed it. on the way home, guess what? brought it back next day, they had to order the part. i said i need ANOTHER CAR or at LEAST a free warranty pkg. i was test driving/beta testing their FN car for them for pete’s sake. the owner will not budge. so i bring it in Sat. on the way home, guess what? this seems to be a different issue but its major. i live 50 min from the dealer. i bought it from there so i would avoid this total STRESSSSS BULLSHYT. he just needs to make this RIGHT.
im pretty sure but for the grace of God, i would not have made it home last nite. i cant get it back up there AGAIN tomorrow.
and i need to be kind to me lol
no one else will, why bother?

Aint-

Call your public advocate, the Better Business Bureau and your local news station. Check the law in your state regarding recording your conversations with the dealer. If it’s not against the law, (it’s usually not when you do so in person,) go to see him about replacing your car, and record what he says. Then take him to court if he doesn’t perform.

Bad auto dealers rip people off when they think nothing will happen to them. When they know you have a voice and will go public with the information, they will usually fix the problem.

Good luck!

Joyce

Aint

My life fell apart right along side of everything I owned, computer wouldn’t work, printer (1 yr old) stopped and a myriad of other things went wrong including my capacity to earn money, but it’s not going to beat me! I had to settle down, stop the flow of negativity and start living the advice I was receiving on these sites before things started to right themselves again. I just kept telling myself that I always land on my feet and slowly things started to appear that way again – try it, it worked for me!

As I’ve lamented ad infinitum, in addition to my life falling apart when my ex discarded me, a by-product was all my “friends” bailing like I was a sinking ship. This left me feeling terribly alone in the world and pretty damn scared about it.

I’ve also discussed how the one friend who stayed I realized was toxic and had to walk away from her over the summer.

This left precious few, but thank God, they are good and true. They are also 700 miles away.

In my solitude these past few months, I have thought a lot about how I’ve always landed on my feet, always followed by thinking “but now I’m all alone”. But I was “all alone”, really, during all those times of success, triumph and accomplishment. Sure, I had people around but they didn’t do the work, put in the effort, I did. And I still can. Sure, it’s harder now, I’m older, the economy isn’t in my favor, I’m starting from square one. But I can still do what I always did.

Yesterday I got an email from one of those old “friends”, saying gosh golly gee it’s the holidays again and I’m so, so sorry I’ve been MIA this year and blah blah blah. Last year when I got this email, I carefully wrote a comprehensive reply, showing interest in her life, asking pertinent questions and guess what? I got a reply saying she’d love to talk more but she needed to get going on her nightly walk and I didn’t hear from her again until”yesterday.

I feel no need to respond this year beyond saying nice to hear from you, happy holidays. No need to share what’s going on with me, no need to show interest in her life, no need to hope that the exchange leads to a more complete friendship.

I was doubting that I’ve made a whole lot of progress this year and this little deal shows me that indeed, I HAVE made progress. I am not a drooling, tail wagging doormat anymore. Cue the Rocky theme.

Maybe next year I won’t respond at all!

Hanalei

Some of your post made me laugh…not because of your suffering but that “oh I’m hearing ya” kind of if I don’t laugh I’ll cry, kinda way!

I do have to admit that I was MIA for several years from my friends life, towards the end, because I had isolated myself. I didn’t want to talk about the craziness with anyone for years but more importantly, I wanted to keep a very close eye on my spath. The distance I caused resulted in the lack of friends when I left and needed them the most – I started it and can’t blame anyone else for it…

Several years ago I started writing my dreams down, goals for what I wanted to achieve etc, each new year. I found that most of the little things were getting marked off the list when I sat down to do it again the next year. A little thing but powerful motivator!

Next year I’m spending time making new friends while doing the things that I love doing, getting a little adventure back into my life. I’ve joined a singles adventure group and I’m the person I was before the nightmare, with them. They will never be part of my past, a new energy is being built around my future – I’m determined to stay “light” next year and not allow negativity to drag me down – here’s hoping!

Please accept my apologies if I come across too blunt. I do speak from experience when I suggest that “no contact” ought to include thinking as well as talking or texting. Unless one develops alternative means of personal growth and individual responsibility, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors will get the best of you.
You are trying to break a bad habit. This habit has many threads, many layers, and many motives. Stopping Cold Turkey, is decisive and blocks this excessive ruminating about who did what to whom! In the end, we all just have ourselves to rely on. That is what makes of us adults with character. Be the best you can be and then ” let the chips fall where they may”. I wish my friends good will and good health and prosperity for the new year. Kalina

Kalina

I agree! These thoughts have been my thoughts but I’m broken so keep reminding me and I’ll get there eventually…
Thanks!

aintgonnatakeitnomore

i honestly believe we can not think our way out of this. its not a matter of logic. its at the emotional level. where logic and commonsense doesnt exist.
it may be God or something else that does it. but i doubt highly its in our power.

Aint

I’ve recently realised that I can’t fix it. No amount of thinking it through can fix it, there are way too many variables, way too many if’s buts or maybe’s… I just gave up because I can’t control the outcome – all I can do is learn to move on and concentrate on my self worth issues so I’m never in this position again… you are right that this is on an emotional level and I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that my head can’t remove the pain but I’m sure I can convince myself that it wasn’t me – one day…

aintgonnatakeitnomore

and that doesnt make me hopeless.
at all.
it just takes off pressure. i can not think my way out of this. in fact i cant do a damn thing, beyond getting away from him physically.

Jenna-

You are experiencing grief. One of the stages of grief is “bargaining.” Even though no one died, you are dealing with the death of the relationship. And you are mourning that loss.

Rumination is like a stuck needle on a record. It is regurgitated emotion. In order to get past it, you need to nudge the needle forward.

You can do so by forcing yourself into activities. You can also be strict with yourself about limiting the time that you indulge yourself in rumination, making it less and less every couple of days. Once you do so, you will understand that you are in control, and that you can move forward again.

Make it a point to do things you enjoy. Be good to yourself and you will begin to see that you are far better off than you were with his crazy-making.

All the best!
Joyce

Jenna

In most cases yes. They don’t like their mask revealed so keep your truths about him to yourself, unless you can take the abuse then announce it to the world! My spath is to dangerous and has the ability to bury my body in a national park that no one would find! He was a tactical policeman with a tracking dog so knows the bush too well for my liking…

You are better off concentrating on your own recovery than giving your energies to other people and causing more stress in your life.

Take care of yourself ♥

aintgonnatakeitnomore

the spath wud let his gf txt me at times, pretending to be him, saying lots of total BULLSHYT. he would be rite there.
its a sickness hon.
and it has no cure.

i thoroughly enjoyed watching his little ho destroy his life and put him in jail. she was just like him.
now i can say it was rly great. ~no shame here, no way~

Anything you feed will GROW! This is true especially with emotional pain. Who wants to let go of the pain will be the one who will GAIN! Kalina

Jenna-

Sociopaths have no conscience and therefore, no remorse.

They don’t feel the bonds of love. There is no allegiance.

Everyone in their life is an object to provide something they need, be it money, sex, cooking, caring for the house, etc.

The only thing that limits their behavior is fear of exposure or fear of consequences.

His sense of your relationship and yours were two very different things. You acted out of love, while he acted out of want, need and greed.

A sociopath is a cold reptilian. They do what they want, when they want, without any regard for who they harm.

The person you thought you shared the relationship with does not exist. Now you know what he truly was, and is.

Joyce

Where was he when the tree fell? Did he benefit financially from his sister’s death, perhaps by inheriting more from his parents’ passing? Just something worth considering,

You have mentioned a couple of times no pics of his mom in his home – is your subconscious trying to tell you something? Could he have told you something major inaccurate about his mom?

My ex P had no friends ever.

Thank you for sharing this. Consider that there could be and probably are awful things he has done and is doing that you’re not aware of. Anyone who did what he did to you, does the same to everyone if he can get away with it. A person is the same to everyone.

Your perceptions about his ex wife in court are probably accurate. He likely made his ex wife feel exactly the same as he made you feel; and likely treated her pretty much the same way he treated you.

jenna, mine used my failure to participate in a threesome (except I was supposed to find the girl and “bring her” to him) as one of the reasons he discarded me too.

After 7 years together (both in homes we owned ourselves since I wasn’t going to give up my home to live with him, joke’s on me), we bought a dream home together in a state we (make that I as it turns out) dreamed of living in. My home sold first, so I moved and was setting up the house for “us”. He visited once and was distant and became weird on the phone after that. The second time he visited, for a job interview no less, he picked a horrible fight that left me in ruins. I drove him to the airport while he verbally battered me with all that was wrong with me. He pretty much jumped out of the car at the curb at the airport and I never saw him again. This happened less than 90 days after escrow closed.

I called him several days later (a cooling off period I thought) and he continued the verbal abuse. I couldn’t handle the stress of that so tried email, where he in so many words implied that he had done his part in the relationship (the dream home) but I had failed in doing my part (bringing the girl). None of this was direct, but I knew what he was talking about. I replied in detail, being specific about the girl situation and some other things, and he countered with a scathing email telling me that I had a personality disorder, had been verbally abusing him for years, among other things.

I instinctively went no contact that day and never broke it once. Months later, both my attorney and therapist told me I had done the right thing because they felt that he had set me up – never directly writing anything that would make him look bad, but resulting in responses from me that made me look completely crazy out of context. They felt he did it purposely so that he could use the emails against me if he chose to do so, or even share them publicly, etc.

Whew.

After the initial love bombing of loving sex, sex with him was generally fraught with weirdness in some way or another. I sidestepped a lot, glossed over a lot, and excused it by accepting his (often repeated) tales about how his wife had been a cold fish and their marriage had been sexless. I thought he was just testing the waters and it was innocent, even though it was tiresome and to me, nonsense.

I now know that he was pushing me to see how far he could get me to go. I wasn’t a human being to him, but an object that could be hurt and abused in any fashion and it meant nothing to him. I also treated him very well, stocking his refrigerator with groceries so he’d have food to eat on the days I wouldn’t be there – he made more money than I did and I used my money for this! He took my natural generosity and unselfishness that would have been reciprocated in a normal relationship and exploited it. Meanwhile, he was doing everything and anything he wanted to behind my back, and when I was of no further use to him, discarded me without a second thought.

I haven’t forgotten his name yet, but it’s only been a little over 3 years since the final discard and less than a year since the house was sold and I have been free of him. I lost a lot (financially and otherwise) and I described it to someone as similar to an animal gnawing off it’s own paw to get free of a trap.

I will say though, that I was briefly married to a nut (who was likely a narcissist or sociopath) briefly about 15 years ago. Some story about him came up recently and I honestly found myself having to search my brain for his name, and it took me a minute or two to come up with it. Back when I was going through that, it took a few years to get untangled from that guy, and it consumed me. I thought I’d never stop thinking about it. But lookee here – I never think about him at all and I completely forgot his name!

jenna, the guy isn’t sorry and won’t ever give you the satisfaction, and from my experience and all I’ve read here and other places, they pretty much always blame us as they discard us – it’s like a little parting gift.

Take care of yourself and lay low. Mind your own business and your business only. Be prepared to be strong in case he has a lull, gets bored and tries to suck you back in. Hope (like I do) that he always has plenty of women at hand so he never glances back at you.

jenna, I also want to say enjoy this holiday season with your granddaughter, those you love, your pets if you have them, and yourself, knowing that you do not have to be walking on eggshells, fearful of being asked to do something that you know is harmful to you, or wonder what he is doing behind your back.

The last Christmas I was with my ex, he made sure the little pleasures were seasoned with plenty of misery and tears for me, and even “gifted” me with a mini-discard on Christmas Eve that lasted most of the day before he graciously allowed me back into his life (to cook a magnificent meal for his family). I overlooked all this to go on and buy that house with him the following spring.

This is my 4th Christmas without him and while my life isn’t perfect, I am very content knowing that I have peace in my home and no one is going to blindside me. I know I won’t be locked in the bathroom crying on the floor, apologizing for some invented wrongdoing on my part, or knocking myself out trying to attend to his every whim. I remember now, not everyone lives with craziness.

The nice, kind and considerate things you did for him are because that’s the person you are – nice, kind and considerate. You take that with you wherever you go. You always are that person and you always have that person, whether you’re sharing yourself with someone who appreciates you or whether you’re alone. You make a difference to your granddaughter, other family members, and your friends, those who appreciate you.

Would justice for you be punishment for him, and/or reparation for you? What’s punishment to him? You being hurt? No he enjoys that. You yelling at him, throwing things at him, being angry at him? No, he enjoys that. A slow torturous death? He wouldn’t like that one, but in the end good and kind people like you don’t really get satisfaction out of harming our abusers.

Recompensation to you might be for you to have a good life. “Living well is the best revenge.” The Universe/God can give you a good life, good friends, a loving husband, peace of mind. There is some justice in surviving the spath and having a good life without him.

The spath really doesn’t care because he finds new victims. My personal belief is that he won’t be allowed to harm people forever. I believe God is working out a plan and a purpose for every person. “Vengeance is Mine (God’s), I will repay” is repeated several times in the Bible. If you believe it, it is a promise that God will rightly avenge you of your enemies and will administer perfect justice at the perfect time. If we believe that concept, then we are relieved of the burden of worrying about justice. We can turn it over to God and let Him take care of it. It’s not easy, but it relieved some of the stress in my recovery.

He doesn’t apologize because he doesn’t want your forgiveness. An apology requires repentance (change). As a rule, spaths don’t change, because they already have all the information they need to make an informed choice; and their choice is to harm others, lie, betray, etc. They like what they do and the results of it. The Bible calls this attitude the ‘unpardonable sin.’ It’s unpardonable because the person doesn’t want to change and doesn’t want forgiveness.

AnnettePK
How very comforting your wise words are.

Once my divorce was final, I have recovered in leaps and bounds. I am not completely back to my pre-abuse self, the physical issues remain, but I have found my joy, my dignity, my self respect. But I have struggled with the issue of forgiveness and I decided to let it go to GOD. I have never been a revenge person, I’d rather spend my time/energy/creativity DOING something fun/wonderful rather than planning how to get even from abuse. (I had an awful and abusive family). But I did wonder how to stop my ex husband because as I observed NOTHING stops him. I also wanted people to know that I was NOT what he said of me, his smear campaign of me was particularly painful. I lost EVERYTHING, and for a while, I LOST me. I eventually realized my best “win” was that he no longer had me to kick around and harm. And considering the pleasure he found in harming me and my daughter, that was a huge loss for him.

Living well IS the best revenge, not letting EVIL win IS a type of revenge. The added benefits of joy and friends and appreciation…. frosting on the cake. It’s Way more than satisfying because as you note, there is NO such thing as Enough punishment for what my abuser did to me. Having joy and realizing he couldn’t take it from me is VERY satisfying… and happens so much now that I forget to think of him at all. Receiving joy and spreading it to others? Wow. Blessings that grow and grow.

Not,

Thank you for sharing your experience and how you dealt with it. I permanently lost some ‘friends’ and acquaintances from the still ongoing smear campaign, but I have enough real friends left, so I am able on some level to accept the losses. It is still hurtful, but recognizing and accepting that I can’t really do anything about it, helps me.

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