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“Will I ever be the same” (Part 2)

A syndrome called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect victims of sociopaths. The trauma of losing love, friends, family, possessions and of enduring psychological/physical abuse is the cause of this disorder. To fight the symptoms of PTSD, it is helpful to understand the symptoms and how they relate to loss and trauma.

As I read through the current literature on PTSD, I quickly discovered that there is a fair amount of controversy regarding this disorder. We can actually learn about the disorder by listening to the arguments. The first question on which there is much disagreement is, “What trauma is severe enough to cause PTSD?” There were several editorials by experts disparaging the fact that everything from giving birth to a healthy baby to a boss yelling at an employee is now said to cause PTSD. Most experts are in favor of reserving this diagnosis for people who have suffered truly unusual life experiences, like kidnapping, rape, war, 911, etc.

The problem is that many people do experience severe stress reactions to difficult life circumstances. It remains to be determined what we should call these reactions.
Those of us healing from our relationship with a sociopath often vacillate between accepting the trauma and minimizing it. Thus, the argument about what kinds of trauma are severe enough to cause PTSD has a direct effect on us. The argument can leave us feeling weak, like we should be able to get over this. After all it wasn’t as bad as 911, Iraq or Katrina—or was it?

The second question is “what symptoms constitute PTSD?” The following table shows the most common symptoms seen in a group of 103 British men and women diagnosed by psychiatrists with PTSD (Current Medical Research Opinion, 2003):

Symptom Frequency (n=103)
Insomnia 98 (95%)
Anxiety at reminder cues 96 (93%)
Intrusive thoughts, images, sounds, sensations 94 (91%)
Irritability 93 (91%)
Poor concentration 93 (91%)
Diminished interest in significant activities 88 (85%)
Recurrent dreams of trauma 86 (83%)
Avoidance of activities or places associated with the trauma 85 (83%)
Foreshortening of expectations about the future 80 (78%)
Detachment from others 78 (76%)
Avoidance of thinking or conversing about the trauma 75 (73%)
Poor appetite 69 (67%)
Hypervigilance 55 (53%)
Startle reactions 46 (45%)
Acting or feeling as if the event was recurring 37 (31%)
Inability to recall parts of trauma (amnesia) 19 (18%)

I put up this table because I thought that a number of you would also endorse these symptoms. Notice that “acting or feeling as if the event was recurring” was really not that common. But similar symptoms, like “Intrusive thoughts, images sounds and sensations,” were very common. Amnesia was also uncommon. Startle reactions were only seen in half of the subjects.

A feeling of a foreshortened future is a particularly debilitating symptom because it impairs a person’s ability to plan for the future and leads to a sense of hopelessness. I will expand on this further, but I strongly believe this feeling of a foreshortened future has to do less with our thoughts about our past, and more with our thoughts about our present.

As I look at this list of symptoms, I am struck by the fact that many, many of those writing into Lovefraud complain of these symptoms, particularly nightmares. There is something special about having had emotional involvement with an aggressor that seems to produce nightmares. Since so many have all of the most common symptoms, I think it has to be that the trauma of life with a sociopath is severe enough to cause this disorder in many people.

Here’s where defining exactly what trauma is gets sticky. Rachael Yehuda, Ph.D., said in a recent article published on MedScape, “One of the things that biology has taught us is that PTSD represents a type of a response to trauma, but not the only type of response. It is a response that seems to be about the failure to consolidate a memory in such a way as to be able to be recalled without distress.” Well, this is precisely the definition that is too broad. I personally have a lot of memories that I experience or re-experience with distress. Yet these memories are not accompanied by the list of symptoms in the table above.

For me what made the experience traumatic was the truly life course-changing nature of the trauma. The answer to the question, “Will I ever be the same?” for me defines trauma significant enough to cause PTSD. The trauma that causes this disorder redefines us in a way that is different from other emotionally significant experiences. This trauma strikes at the core of our identity.

The final controversy surrounds the treatment of PTSD. Interestingly, there is no question that medications (SSRIs, particularly Zoloft) are very helpful. The problem is though that when a person goes to a physician and receives a medication, he/she is by definition “sick.” Assumption of a “sick role” or “victim identity” is one of the many factors that slow recovery from PTSD.

Many therapists are of the belief that “debriefing” or retelling the story is necessary for recovery. One group of researchers reviewed the studies on debriefing and concluded that there is no scientific evidence that it prevents PTSD. Instead, the evidence points to post-trauma factors like social support and “additional life stress” being most important.

How can we put this all together? Considering last week’s post, those who experience trauma serious enough to have stress hormone overdose as manifested by dissociation, are likely to also develop PTSD. An examination of the symptoms of PTSD reveals that at the core of the disorder is the fact that the person really doesn’t believe in his/her heart that the trauma has ended. PTSD is about ONGOING, not past, trauma. For those of us whose lives were assaulted by a sociopath, there is ongoing stress. The stress is the social isolation, financial ruin, and threatened further losses long after the relationship has ended. Those who recover from this without PTSD work hard to put the trauma behind them in every way.

Putting the trauma behind you does not mean you can’t take medication to help with the process. It does mean facing those bills, former friends, and other personal issues you want to avoid. Remember AVOIDANCE STRENGTHENS FEAR.

Above all, stop the ongoing trauma by ending contact with the sociopath. Do not assume a sick role, instead, work to stay healthy. Fight to be the person you want to be. Don’t allow this single experience to define you. Make living for today the place you love to be. As Louise Gallagher says in her recent post, “This is, in many ways, the greatest challenge of recovery — to accept the past is simply the route I took to get to where I am today, a place I love to be. The past cannot be changed. It cannot be altered. It cannot be made ‘better.’ It can only be accepted so that it, and I, may rest in peace with what was, eager to accept what is true in my life today.”


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637 Comments on "“Will I ever be the same” (Part 2)"

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I think people who have children with sociopaths are in a tough situation because they have experienced a lot of trauma having been in a relationship with that person, but they continue to experience trauma ongoingly because they can not end contact. I have four children with my ex. I do my best to limit my communication with him. I know it is not good to use the children to communicate, but we do. I only communicate in writing via US mail. I do not talk to him in person, by phone or email. His written communication to me is much more civil now that he knows it can be used in court, but he continues to be hateful and angry toward me on a daily basis through the children. I have no doubt that this will continue until all my children move out of my house…and even then, I will probably still hear comments and lies thrown my way. I am currently using medication to help me deal with the stress of all this. I went to counseling for two years prior to leaving my husband, and then six years after that. After eight years, I came to realize that my ex did different versions of the same bad behavior over and over and over. I felt I was hearing the same advice over and over. I stopped going partly because I am so busy, but here it is 4:03 am and instead of sleeping, I am typing on this blog.

I think the courts will only give help to the children and spouses of sociopaths that act criminally. Families of sociopaths that do not break the law will be left to do the best they can to deal with these people. They will probably even receive less support because the sociopath will lie and do what he needs to do to get what he/she wants. They will totally confuse and mislead the court. The best way to probably help these families is through educating family counselors, police and lawyers about sociopaths so that these support people recognize the acts of a sociopath and give appropriate advice.

I have not visited this site in a few weeks, so I have to catch up with Dr. Leedom’s columns and the posted comments.

I am wondering why professionals call PTSD a “disorder” when it seems like a perfectly understandable reaction to people and situations that overload someone’s capacity to manage life! Why don’t they just call it PTS? I think some professionals do a disservice to clients/patients by insinuating through labels and medication that life’s difficulties are illnesses and healing is about achieving a theoretical norm that exists only in textbooks. “Life is hard.” If an individual remains feeling “traumatized”, it implies something is “wrong” with them.

Do the different personality types play a role in how people handle and recover from trauma? I’m thinking of the Myers-Briggs classifications. Would a “feeler” have a harder time than a “thinker” and are professionals trained to consider this?

People can have the rug pulled out by a traumatic situation, whether it is an unexpected event or an ongoing relationship. I have noticed my deepest struggles surface when I feel overwhelmed and powerless. I deal with it by asking myself “what action can I take about this”. Then I do something, anything, to set things in motion, even if it is something not seemingly related to the overwhelming situation. I tell myself that feeling powerless is an illusion even though the feelings are real.

My experience is that finding supportive people is the hardest part of all. Some of that has to do with the art of listening to another.

I appreciate Dr. Leedom’s columns very much. I read all I can about this subject and narcissism. I am learning a lot!

I for one have experienced many of the symptoms that you have listed.
Insomnia…. I cannot begin to tell you how many nights I have laid in my bed and cried thinking about the good and the bad of that relationship, or have woke in the middle of the night to find myself unable to go back to sleep… thinking, hurting, missing, agonizing…..

Anxiety….. Everyday….especially when I find myself in places that her and I frequented, or hearing music that we listened to, or seeing something on TV that we had watched.

Irritability… I’m sure of it, lacK of sleep, poor self image, daily reminders of her.

Diminished interest in significant activities ….. Yes… It’s like I lost my spark.. the things I used to enjoy, now seem laborious… The thought is..”Why bother”

Recurrent dreams of trauma…This is the worst. When my wife did four years ago, I had maybe 4 dreams about her .. all in the first year. Since my crazy left a year ago, I have had perhaps 12 dreams.. all horrible and frightening. Mostly it involves her being cruel towards me, but there have been some bad ones where she is either trying to strangle me, or that I have killed her. When I had those dreams early on, I was on prozaic. I quickly weaned myself off of that and those violent dreams stopped.

Avoidance of activities or places associated with the trauma… Yes, I avoid restaurants or places where we used to frequent. I find myself very angry about that, because even though her life moved on, I cannot, or the pain of those memories cause so much anxiety, that it’s not worth it to me to try to do the things that I once enjoyed doing with her.

Foreshortening of expectations about the future….. Yes, and I’m ashamed of this.. I am a Christian, and live my life following Him and trying to live according to his plan, but I fight daily with the feeling of diminished hope for my future… I wonder if I will ever be totally “normal” again and will I ever feel peace and joy. When we are in rebellion, when we are not on the path God wants us to be on, that is when we miss the joy, the peace, and the abundance this life can
offer. That is when we are missing the blessings of God in our life. So, I feel like I am rebelling against my Heavenly Father, since I cannot let go of my troubled past, and look to the future that He has in store for me. My past has broken me so deeply, that I do not feel worthy, and thus the future looks grim.. I pray about this everyday, and find comfort at times, but it is always short lived. again… I loath this aspect, because it once again give her control and power.. even now .. a year since her abandonment of me and my son.

Detachment from others…. Yes, there are times( when I am in a bad place) when I do not want to see my friends or family… They are concerned for me, but they simply do not understand. The pit that I dwell in seems to them a place that I prefer… I have alienated myself from some because they are tired of hearing about my trauma, or if it is obvious that I am sad and or depressed. One can look into my eyes and see where my heart lies. This whole thing.. the year long relationship, the abandonment, the year since of mental anguish, the realization that she is a sociopath, the regurgitation of the relationship with the knowledge that she is what she is… all of it is surreal, and I am shocked that this has become what it has become… a living entity.. a chasm that has eaten away at my soul, and I feel so very powerless to stop it… funny thing.. a week ago, I felt much better, a couple of days ago, I plummeted with no real reason… Two steps forward, two steps back… Does anyone else feel this? Does it make sense that a year long relationship with a sociopath takes over a year to get over? Could it be that with that trauma and the fact that I lost my wife only four years ago to death, make this understandable? I thought I was doing better, but I have found myself nearly in tears most everyday like in the begining a year ago.

Hey Southernman,
My relationship with the Psycho was about 7 months long. I’ve been free of him for six months now with no contact at all. I am much better, but I do think about him every day. He pops into my mind for whatever reason and I snuff him out as quickly as possible.

I no longer miss him. I guess I miss how I felt inside. I am also AMAZED that this happened to me. It’s not the same as having had a love affair and breaking up with a normal person. I am amazed at the personality disorder this person had. Everyone on this site knows what I mean. It seems impossible to believe these people exist. No one understands but those who have been intimate with a Psycho.

Even though I don’t blame myself, and I don’t want anything to do with this person ever again, I still can’t believe the experience happened.

Ultimately, I can’t believe that a person can treat a lover the way this Psycho did. It’s hard for me to believe that someone is capable of that kind of malicious beneath the radar behavior.

They are reprehensible people. Anger helps me stay strong. THEY DO NOT CARE about us and the more and the longer we miss them the bigger saps we are (to them).
This fact keeps me angry and keeps me from caring about this person ever again.

Look forward. Replace their memory with the vision of someone else who is current in your life or of friends and family. Be proud of your recovery and of yourself.

Dr. Lianne,

Thank you for explaining the criteria of a disorder. I see what you are saying about the practical implications. I didn’t think about that!

I agree about not having immunity from trauma.

I went through Katrina. My home was standing after the storm, yet I am still restoring my property even after all these months. I personally know at least two dozen people who lost everything. They didn’t even have a pair of socks left after it was over. Everyone is worn out and my friends all look at least 15 years older. I am amazed at their courage and resiliency. Riding along the Mississippi Gulf Coast after the storm, or through the neighborhoods of New Orleans was, and still is, gut wrenching.

What relates to your columns about sociopaths, has been dealing with dishonest contractors and insurance companies. Many of us have spent a lot of time on “the contractor from hell” web site, when we weren’t looking for a good attorney!

Taking care of yourself following a trauma is so important. I also started watching the Food Channel after we had t.v. restored (which was months!)! Interesting that we both did that! I became interested in serious cooking too. I thought perhaps the reason might be that it is creative and it is also cheerful. Like all creative activities, you take something and make something else out of it. It opens possibility. I think that activates being creative in other area of our lives which is empowering. When your world comes crashing down around you, staying in touch with some glimmer of hope and possibility becomes so important. Creativity can be an exercise in faith in ourselves when we are at our lowest.

I don’t think people can compare traumas, or feel that some are less severe and they should be over it. How someone deals with it is so individual and depends on so many variables. A man down the road attempted suicide after Katrina. Another elderly lady in New Orleans set up a washtub in her yard, picked through the rubble daily, and washed the muck off every cherished thing she found. Then one day she gathered her treasures and left. I know people who cannot get over leaving pets at home when they evacuated before the storm, and the pets died. They still cry every time they talk about it. Trauma can take many forms and we cannot judge the intensity of someone’s experience or loss.

Though my current trauma took the form of Katrina and Katrina contractors, I understand about the personal relationship trauma that goes with becoming involved with a sociopath. I’ve been through that too!

To answer the question “will I ever be the same”. My answer is ” NO!”, I don’t think I will ever be the same. I have learned too much. My challenge is struggling not to get physically run down. I am taking a supplement for adrenal fatigue. It helps.

Please keep teaching us, Dr. Liane.

To Southernman429: I know exactly how you feel because so many of things you are saying are so real and how I feel. The longer you have been married is the worse I believe because you have so memories. I know what it is like to try to get better and the feeling that it will never get better. The only thing I can say it is not your fault and that it is trauma. Validation of trauma I though would make it better. It has not for me since he took my children and financially ruined me. I pray daily for a future. But I feel completely dead. I have tried new things but found I was only distracti ng myself from the trauma which never goes away. Medication did not help and therapy validated but I seem to not move forward. I thi nk because it was so long and so many dreams to share with my children whom I do not see nor share their lives with and watching now how he destroys their lives. The past is the past but they are also are building blocks for the future. So you can’t forget if you are human and that feeling of love that you shared is wiped out. To be normal again no I think the trauma that I suffer from will not go away. Maybe if I had been younger and formed a new family it may have been differant for me. This is differant than a death because the people we love are still alive and yet you have really know one to share the pain of the recovery and friends and families are tired of it. Maybe if I found someone who was very understanding and could share that pain in an intimate way and grow new in a relationship it would lessen. Because sociopaths destroy us in our intimacy and rob us of our innocense then walk away and the standard line to them is “just move on”. Well that doesn’t work if you are truly human in our cases because we are dealing with a sociopath.
I sympathize with you. Please don’t feel that you are not living the life that God wants you to because I think He understands. Sometimes the way to God is in our suffering and not the peace we think we should have. I don’t know..but maybe if I get to heaven I will find out. Hang in there.

Dr. Liane,
My contractors have been here everyday for the last two weeks and probably have at least another week of work. I am so tired when they leave in the evening I cannot think!

In answer to your question……. An M.D. prescribed DHEA after testing (unconjugated DHEA blood test). I cannot take it, however, because it runs up my blood pressure. I am in my early sixties. Now I am taking a nutritional formula with no animal cortex. I does seem to help. I have a vegetable juicer and I always feel better when I juice.

My heart goes out to everyone on this forum in the midst of these painful and difficult struggles. Taking care of oneself through these dark times is critical to recovery. It is hard when we lack support from family an friends and cannot muster much comfort from within either. We do have to find the strength to be our own best friend sometimes.

I know from my own life experience that finding and building strength in one area of our being can spill over into other aspects of our lives. One positive thing can lead to another even though that progress may be slow. Feeling well physically seems to be so important for me. It helps me cope better.

I have just gotten discarded from a five year relationship with one of these men….it has been horrific. I am sure I am suffering from PTSD and Depression. I just cannot think HOW I could be the same again. This man is the coldest person I could ever imagine and at the end I was made aware of things I did not know…the callousness is astounding. I’m not even sure anymore that I want to go on like this.

I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck and am still laying in the road!

I lost my financial stability, my home, my mental, emotional and physcial health I have at least TWO surgeries to face this month coming and maybe three. AND my DS is graduating high school with ALL my family coming for that. I just don’t think I can COPE with all this. My home is a disaster area when I used to keep it especially welcoming and “homey” now I”m ashamed to have my DS have company here. I don’t have company because the one thing I didn’t list that he stole was all my friends! AND he went on a marvellous smear campaign….no one speaks to ME now as if I did something. I can’t even get an email response.

This is by far the MOST devastating experience I have ever had with anyone…and that is saying something.

I DID NOT have a “history” of this type of relationship and in fact was married to a decent man for 18 years before this. We just grew apart over time and while that was sad we remained friends….NOTHING Like this! NOTHING could be like this and I had NO IDEA that there were people out there such as this man is.

I feel as if he stole my life and waltzed off with the life I used to have!!

I just cannot figure out my way out of this dark place I am in.

I am 61 and 20 years away from a long imprisoned marriage to Mr Mean. (20 years)I have a good life, successful career, good church but the dreams and memories still haunt me. Is it unusual for PtSD to last 20 years? I take cymbalta and before that celexia. I have tried to weene off and control moods with positive thinking and prayer but within a week I fall into depression. He is dead and it isnt fair that these annoying experiences haunt me. I really don’t dwell on them. I stay so busy I nerly drop with exhaustion sometimes.

I’m 58 and still have PTSD that can be triggered relating back to an attempted rape when I was 20. If a setting resembles that one, I’m right back in the moment, quite against my will, with my heart pounding, etc. It doesn’t happen very often so I just shrug my shoulders and get on with life. I think there are new eye movement treatments EMRD??? I’m forgetting the initials! But anyway, the treatments help with old traumas that you recall while your eyes follow certain movements. Done with a therapist.

Southerman,

If you are out there… check our your comments oh so long ago. It sounds like you are doing better based on your recent comments.

Anyway, once again, I related a lot to your thoughts.

I always feel silly saying that I have symptoms of PTSD.. like it sounds like drama..but I do have a physical reasction that always follows a distressing thought. I have a friend that wants to help me with this using something called Emotional Freedom Technique. I will give it a shot and see what happens.

:o)

Dear Carolyn,

My Dad has had some symptoms related to PTSD and his Doctor told him it was related to being a Vietnam Vet. Apparently many vets have had this turn up late in life. So, I think it is quite possible to have PTSD last quite a long time until one feels totally resolved about what happened.

That’s my uneduacted guess. Let’s see what the Dr. says.

:o)

Mrose and Carolyn,
Being involved with a sociopath can leave you completely traumatized and devastated. I feel it is important to know what kind of person you were dealing with and know that it is not your fault. Realize that you were exploited and this is NOT NORMAL. It sounds trite, but just knowing the truth will help you in your healing.

It was a very short relationship with a P that brought me to this site. However, I was involved with an emotionally unavailable man for 3 years who probably had some P tendencies as well. The way I was discarded for another woman while we were living together also left me feeling like I’d been hit by a mack truck. When I finally got a letter of “apology” from him, he mentioned that the woman he left me for played him, and it was the first time he had ever loved a woman. Can you imagine how that made me feel? It was as if he backed up the truck and ran me over again. That relationship ended 7 years ago, and it is not until now that I am learning I am not to blame for what happened in that relationship–that he is personality disordered. For years, I wondered what was wrong with me. Now I know that whoever he ends up with will go through the same hell I went through. With the latest sociopath, who I believe is a true sociopath, I was lucky enough to figure out something was very wrong after 2-1/2 months and get out. This happened last July, and I still have some PTSD symptoms from that as well. I am amazed at the extent of damage these types can do to normal, empathic people.

20 years is a long time to spend in the company of such an evil person. So is 5 years for that matter. These years and memories become a part of your history, thoughts, and memories. I know there are special techniques for dealing with all of these painful memories–EMDR, NLP, and other forms of trauma work. I have not tried very much of it, but it might be worth looking into if the PTSD symptoms are persistent.

They weasle in upside down , while they are learning your needs , They hold the Mirror perfectly still so you only see What you want to see! There is no reward for their energy and cunning , just a fleeting pridefull delite when they twist the Knife ! You and me Are as important as Butts ! But we take it Personally because we Bond to someone we think we love ! I still Love Him but there is no value in love for Him! LOVE JJ

It’s true, Indi. I was reading a chapter in “How to Spot a Dangerous Man”. I got to the chapter on emotional predators, and my jaw dropped. This chapter could have been written about me and my S. They have a psychic sense for picking women from abusive backgrounds, who grew up without a father, or who have unmet emotional needs. How they know this is beyond me. Mine targeted me from a website about reptiles (as many people here know). At the time, I was probably the most popular person on the site and made many friends there. He noticed this right away and must have decided that the legendary Stargazer would be a good conquest. However, I don’t know how he figured out about my background because I rarely talk about it there. I don’t come off as lonely or needy; I really just goof around over there and help others with their snake health problems. And yet he knew. Their knack for seeking out this type of victim is uncanny.

Stargazer,

I don’t know that they can sense us as good victims from a picture or totally unrelated profile such as a Snake site but I think once we start to engage, we get hooked quickly. There are women that told Bad Man to F-Off right from the get go. There are women who said they sensed something was off very early.. then there was me that ignored all the bad feelings and red flags because he used his magic words.. the words I wanted to hear. After that, I would tolerate nearly anything. Sad to admitt but I have to be truthful with myself. His behavior was intolerable very early on in the relationship.

These days, I love to watch women who stand up for themselves and tell people where to go when it’s necessary. I sail and there is a fun lady that doesn’t take any crap from the guys. Sometimes, when I hear her put a guy in his place, I think to myself… why didn’t I think about that? I watch and I learn.

the biggest thing I have learned from the Bad Man is… well, I think I will write about that later. :o)

Alohatraveler:

“…then there was me that ignored all the bad feelings and red flags because he used his magic words.. the words I wanted to hear. After that, I would tolerate nearly anything. Sad to admit but I have to be truthful with myself. His behavior was intolerable very early on in the relationship.”

You summed up relationship with S perfectly. I remember relatively early on in our relationship he said “This is the first relationship I’ve been in where there’s been communication.” Those were the magic words for me.

Of course, that was the last time we communicated about anything. And as you read in my article, S’s behavior to me was intolerable very early on in our relationship.

I’m still learning to stand up for myself and draw my lines in the sand. Deconditioning myself from being a people pleaser and reconditioning myself to assign value to myself are ongoing processes.

Look forward to reading what the biggest thing you learned from the Bad Man.

Hey guys,
My S’s behaviors made me a little uncomfortable at the beginning, but I didn’t regard them as red flags. I thought maybe he was just lonely, coming on to me so strong. As soon as I told him I was only interested in friendship, he apologized and backed off and behaved only as a friend. He didn’t try to hug me or anything and didn’t make any inappropriate comments. The transformation was amazing. He just said he enjoyed spending time around me, and I enjoyed his company too. He would send me an email after we’d spend time together telling me how much he enjoyed the time and that I am a “wonderful, intelligent, and yes, beautiful” person. I didn’t see that as a problem. I thought for once I’d found a really sweet guy that I wouldn’t go through an act of Congress to get his attention. It was a few weeks later when all the games started. But I didn’t understand them as games till the final discard. That’s when it all became clear what had happened.

For me, the confusion was partly having been overprotected. I had a wonderful father and awsome big brothers who treated women respectfully and at worse perhaps overprotected them, but I honestly had no clue anyone could be so decietful and mean spirited. It was the late “60s” when little info was out there and the general attitude was that “people don’t air dirty laundry.”

My X was a pathalogical lier and did everything he could to get me back for finally leaving him. First, he tried to turn our children against me with lies, then he told them they were not really his legitimate kids, I was a cheat, etc. Then when nothing worked he turned hostile toward to them to hurt me.

This is the clencher; My adult children were planning a wopper of a birthday party for my 60th, and he died the day before the birthday and party. They were notified that they needed to go to Reno to hear the will. Party was canciled and they attended his funeral and attended the meeting, only to learn that he had left all his life innsurance to his latest mail-order wife #6 and left his blood children unremembered. I sware, he picked that day to die on purpose LOL

Caroln A Silvers: I had a father who loved his wife (my mom) and his children unconditionally.

I am so grateful to be born into his family.

Peace … and remember these great memories of your Dad … for they are the true men that are worth everything in the world … not the shameful selfishness of our EXs.

Carolyn, is that not the ultimate selfish act! He made people miserable when he was alive and even in his death too. They are just such horrible people.

Dear Carolyn,

They use ANY way they can to hurt those people that refuse to be their victims—a lack of a bequest is one of those ways, it seems to be the last thrust. My P-bio-father was quite wealthy, but He hated me so badly that Iknew he would not leave me a dime, unless it was designated as to be used to “buy enough rope to hang herself” so I wasn’t expecting any thing, and had not seen him im 40+ years. However, I was contacted, sent a copy of the will, and estate etc. and out of his four children, three of us were not even mentioned by name, but were referred to as “my other children” and all was left to his youngest son (my half brother) and then he said “and they know why.”

I wasn’t in the least disappointed that he left me nothing, and in fact, reliazed that if he had left me $10 million I would NOT HAVE WANTED IT. That seems strange really, even to me, because for years I had visualized hiring an attorney and challening the will that I knew would have left me nothing (sort of like the young Anna Nichole Smith challenged her 90 yr old husband’s will and ended up getting several millions of dollars). But I also realized that I had no desire for that either. He was not important to me any more, and neither was the money. Not because I am rich and couldn’t use a few million, but because I DON’T WANT ANYTHING (even money) CONNECTED TO HIM.

I realized something about myself in the process too, and that I had finally seen that everything about him was “fake” and was “evil” and that even included his money. If he had left me money (fat chance!) I would have donated it to some cause that he would have hated, and not spent a dime on myself. LIke shelters for abused women in his home town. LOL

Your X leaving his money to his “mail order bride” (or him having a mail order bride) is typical, and when my father’s 6th or 7th wife whom he moved into his home as an “employee” when she was 15, and he was still married to the previous wife, got a divorce several years later and took him for quite a few millions, I was actually glad for her because (1) SHE EARNED EVERY DIME OF IT and (2) SHE DESERVED IT. All of his wives previous to that got out with their LIVES and not much else and that included my mother.

I don’t believe that just because someone sired or gave birth to me I am “entitled” to a bequest in their will or any of their property. To me, a bequest is a “gift,” not an “entitlement.” I think though, from the way that you wrote the above, that your children thought that they were going to get something from him, but that is one of the things “they” do—rip the rug out from under your expectations and usually at THE MOST INCONVENIENT TIME.

I do hope that your children are not bitter about him and/or who got his money. I would “guarentee” that poor woman EARNED every dime of whatever she got. She too was a victim, and if she was a “mail order bride” from some foreign country, she probably was DESPERATE to get out of there for anywhere or any one.

Many of these “mail order brides” (I have known a few) get “picked” by psychopaths precisely, I think, BECAUSE they have no or few other options and the Ps can have TOTAL CONTROL over them. They are essentially legal SLAVES who are so “hungry” that they will sell themselves into “bondage” in exchange for a place to live. Having spent considerable time in third-world countries and known the living conditions there, I have a great deal of empathy for some of these women.

God bless you and your children, at least the P is GONE physically, and I hope you and your children can heal emotionally from having had this EVIL man in your lives. Peace.

PTSD? It’s been 15 months since I was assaulted, eight months since the court date, seven months since he and I weren’t in an official relationship (I’d realized he’d been cheating), and two weeks since I last spent the night with him, my favorite lunatic.

I don’t sleep normally anymore.
I still burst into tears at having to listen to raised voices – anyone, anywhere!
I’ve lost interest in my usual activities.
I’ve lost 18 lbs in the last two months – 33 since I left him.
I tried to return to work a couple of weeks ago and kept crying.
I’m a bit jumpy
I’ve cried for most of the 15 months since the assault (until I got here).
I don’t or didn’t remember parts of that night

But the last two weeks here have done wonders for me.
I knew I wasn’t crazy.
I knew it wasn’t something I did or didn’t do…
But, I didn’t know what HAD happened.

I’m off the anti-depressants since I’ve come here.
I’m eating, perhaps a bit too much even.
I don’t know about my career, he may have gotten that, but so what.
I even slept in my bed twice in the last week – for the first time in months.
I feel better knowing, and being able to shine a light on the monster under the bed makes it much easier to understand.

Dear Pb,

Welcome back to sanity! The healing road is rough, uphill, and filled with pot holes, but the journey does get easier as you go along. I strongly suggest that you get some therapy and possibly some medication for the PTSD. I had severe PTSD with almost all of the above mentioned symptoms to the point I was totally non functional, but with medications and therapy I have come a lonnnnng way since then.

The thing I found MOST helpful was “rapid eye movement therapy” from a licensed psychlogist and it is specifically for some of the PTSD symptoms. It isn’t as readily available as BCT or “talk therapy” but I find that it is much more effective and it doesn’t go on forever either. In only a few months I improved markedly with once a week therapy for 50 minutes.

I’m still not “perfect” but my life is functional again. I have a LIFE and I have some joy and peace in my life now that weren’t there before the rapid eye movement therapy. Google it and see what you think. For me it did help (I am a retired registered family nurse practitioner (with considerable mental health experience as well)

I’m glad you are here, this blog is one of the, if not THE BEST places on the internet with more good solid information and great support from the bloggers here.

You know, I’ve always said I don’t mind shoveling s**t – as long as it’s fresh s**t and I have a good shovel.
I guess I should be careful what I wish for, eh?
I am most certainly not gonna stand here endlessly digging the same pile over and over with a teaspoon.
I’m thankful that it was a quick trip to hell and back – as horrible as it was.
And seriously, I don’t know what would have become of me had I not found this site. I can’t stand to not understand. I have, at the very core of my being, a very strong sense of what is right and wrong, of justice. And, it was killing me to not understand what the hell changed so fast. I knew that whatever happened was plain old wrong and not fair.
I obsessed forever, re-read my journals, checked dates with his cell bills (a significant number of our bad nights were preceded by phone calls to a couple of women. The man would cry on their shoulders and come home to take it out on me)…It was funny to note that I had called him “psycho” a number of times – but only because he kept calling his ex and I psychos’. I was joking initially.
All the signs were there. I just didn’t recognize them for what they were.

Red Flags – things that just didn’t feel right, right away:

Self-importance/Insecurity – he used his job as validation, wears supplier t-shirts/jackets while not at work so that folks will know what he does for a living. He’d brag about how much money he made, or how much money he’d spent on his ex-wife and daughter. He loaned folks money all over the place, or donate his services to his church (but he never attended). He’d give you the shirt off his back. Lack of confidence? We can deal with that, right?

Disrespectful – Publicly trashing his ex-wife, calling her “psycho” in front of folks at work or play (he was smearing his wife). I thought the poor guy just needed to vent for a while and excused it.

A Tendency to Snap at work/Perfectionist – Both are considered good characteristics in his job.

His house was too clean – need I say more? I was delighted to see a fellow as clean as I – NEVER AGAIN!

No sense of the appropriate or boundaries – socially, sexually, or financially. He was a devilish child in some ways and I admit it was attractive, but not for long.

Rush to involvement – very confusing. I thought he was crazy about me.

He was always busy – If he had to be still, he had to be drinking, having sex, or be asleep. His house was very clean.

Lavish attention, purchases, and gifts – food, clothing for his daughter, activities and trips, a set of kitchen cabinets for my rental suite, a bathroom, or mortgage payments for someone else.

Impulsive/need for instant gratification – “I want what I want and I want it now” mentality, or his daughter or I would say we like something, and he would want to go buy it.

Overindulgence of his daughter – to confuse her as to what love is, secure her loyalty, to control her, and to appear a doting father to everyone else.

Lack of real friends – No one ever visited. Who wants to visit a nasty drunk, especially in his own home where he’s likely to behave even worse than he behaves in public.

He spoke in double negatives – I know it sounds petty, but it bothered me when he said things like, “I don’t got no”, “I seen…”, or “I don’t want to do that no more”. I thought I was being judgmental and chided myself, but really, it indicated a lack of ability and respect for communication.

Inexcusable Behavior:

Showing up drunk on our first date – I accepted his excuse of being nervous because he hadn’t asked a woman out “in over 20 years”

Drinking while driving – I didn’t know how to approach it and I didn’t want to argue, but it made me uncomfortable.

Humiliating me in public or in front of the few visitors we had – I stopped dating him twice over this. He cried, begged, and said he was testing me.

Insane jealousy

“Testing” me with his drinking

Trashing his ex-wife in front of, and to, his daughter – he has no respect for a childs right to be a child and to love both parents. It’s about what he wants or needs, not his daughter.

Involving his daughter in our arguments – repeatedly. He was telling me to get out one night because I dared to mention that I had let him vent about his ex-wife for months…Well, as soon as I said her name he began yelling for me to get out. The phone rang and it was my “best friends” step-daughter asking to speak to S’s daughter.
He yelled into the phone “She can’t come to the phone because she’s crying because [I] won’t leave.”
I couldn’t believe he would involve two children in his rant. His daughter was already in tears. I had tried to not get into it with him, but he wouldn’t stop. And, then he says that to an eight year old girl. I realize now it was the early stages of his smear campaign. She likely repeated that to my best friend after hanging up the phone.

Spying on me – he would go home and turn off the motion sensor lights and spy on me when we were visiting at the neighbours. He would call me constantly while at work.

Reading my journals – he said it was an accident that he opened two folders with my name on them.

The drunken black-outs

Harassing me for months – I was so stressed out from having to watch my words, explain myself or why I did things the way I did – it was awful. I was scared to speak half the time.

Running me out of our home, for months, because it was his house; he’d tell me to go spend the night somewhere else if I said something he didn’t like.

Assaulting me – He tells everyone that I attacked him and that he only admitted guilt in court because he “had to” (assuming he tells folks he admitted guilt at all. I’m sure he doesn’t tell folks he’s on probation).

Things I simply wasn’t aware of:

Isolating Me – He asked me to stop working, move in, and fired his nanny and cleaner. He said I “shouldn’t have to work” and he wanted to “take care” of me. I was financially dependant on him and no longer working. My social circle had consisted of folks from work.

Cheating – He wasn’t a looker, and he worshipped me…I had no idea what he was up to until he started acting strange. Even then, that was the night of the assault, and it still took me months to figure it out.

Projection – Abusive, cheating, lying, psycho, not normal, a freak, troubled…my life’s gonna “suck”, I must really like to be “alone”, I don’t know what “reality” is – all things he accused me of but were in fact his issues.

Rush to involvement – I had no idea this was a sign of an abuser; to get you involved before you can figure out what it is you’re dealing with.

The Smear Campaign/Pity Ploy – This is what he’d done to his ex-wife, and had begun with me, at work and in our social circle. He had alienated my best friend by the time he assaulted me.

Carolyn: I understand. I use many techniques, but I am also dealing with intrusive thoughts, startle, etc., etc.
I have researched one type of therapy that may help, and if you can I encourage you to explore it. Neurotherapy or “brain-training” is used to help with ADD/ADHD, chronic depression, and PTSD. You may find a practitioner in your area, but please research it. If I had the money, that’s what I’d be doing!

Carolyn: Ox-D mentions eye-movement therapy. There’s also a variation of this that uses gentle “buzzer” stimulation to the hands in alternating signals. The idea is that the cross-stimulation helps with getting the stored and highly charged memories out so the emotional charge can be removed. It has been shown to be effective with rape victims and war veterans.
I believe that the neurotherapy offers even more potential to “smooth out those old ruts of repetitive thinking” and lay down some new, healthier thought patterns.

Hello PB:
Good for you that you can recognize all those patterns. And you KNOW that they are dysfunctional, and YOU are not the problem!

For this holiday season, give yourself the gift of forgiveness and freedom. Celebrate your strength and intelligence in your choice to break away from the craziness and abuse.

I would recommend that be cautious about Neurotherapy and research it as Rune suggested because the evidence is not there to prove it is effective over the long term:

Neurotherapy—also called neurofeedback and EEG neurofeedback—is a form of behavior modification that uses electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback technology to increase voluntary control over the amplitude and pattern of various brain wave frequencies. Proponents claim that modifying brain wave patterns is effective against anxiety reactions, mood disorders, substance abuse, attention deficit disorders and various other mental and emotional problems. Research shows that brain wave activity can be altered through various forms of biofeedback. However, a comprehensive review has concluded that none of these claims is supported by well-designed studies.

Lohr JM and others. Neurotherapy does not qualify as an empirically supported behavioral treatment for psychological disorders. The Behavior Therapist, 24, 97-104, 2001.

Kline JP and others. A cacophony in the brainwaves: A critical appraisal of neurotherapy for ADHD. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, Vol 1, No.1, Spring/Summer 2002.

As always, “buyer beware.” But I understand that part of the challenge of empirically proving the effectiveness of neurotherapy is that ANYTHING that helps us to gain control over our thoughts is effective — and in the studies, people in the control groups were also learning techniques to address their thought patterns, so they were also gaining help.

I have some more recent studies, but thank you for the references. I know that there has been controversy in this area, but I also know of people who have experienced permanent change with the help of neurotherapy.

I have had PTSD since a child (as a result of “mild” molestation by my favoriate maternal uncle).

I spent 5 years in therapy and went the whole route of recommendations for someone who was molested. During the course of my therapy, one “route of treatment” I found most helpful, COUPLED with talk therapy, was holotropic breathwork. I did several sessions over 2 years and it enabled me to work through all the issues of abuse without any medication AND a wonderful counselor.

Today, I still periodically have bouts when my PTSD comes back — I was taught “skills” to deal with it: deep breathing, rest, good food, no alcohol, exercise. Only twice, since I have gotten older (I’m now 52) have I had to take medication. I took Xanax for two short periods of time, when the symptoms were more than I good deal with and keep working at my job. I’m a senior litigation paralegal.

Greentrees:

You might look at comments under “Entanglements with Sociopaths.” Ox-D describes the benefits she found with EMDR.

Your breathwork sounds like a clinical variation on “pranayoga” — Indian breathing techniques that are used for health and shifting of consciousness.

I think we should catalogue these techniques that have helped!

Rune:

I employ “pranayoga” on a regular basis to maintain good emotional health and reduce stress — three part breathing — also, alternate nostril breathing. Holotropic breathwork is much more powerful and must be done only with someone who is licensed. It is a process developed by Stansilov Grof. You can google it and find out much.

I’m, unfortunately or fortunate, as the case may be, aware that my childhood history to this day has an affect on my “choice or vulnerability” with regard to male companions — but I have learned after all these years that even with the pain, hurt, and confusion — wisdom takes root — and I don’t stay in the “hole” as long…SMILE — and I climb out stronger, more enlightened, gentler and kinder — and I pick better the next time around. However, this was my first entanglement with a sociopath and it really threw me for a loop.

I will see if I can find the comment you reference.

Thank you.

For the last two years I have been in a relationship with a scoiopath. I met him when I was on an extended stay, in another province. He was 13 years older than me, said all the right things…he stole, lied, comprimised my sexual health when he lied about having a vasectomy…he cheated on me numerous times, did drugs behind my back…I took him back several times…sometimes months would go by…but I would still take him back.

He was charged by the police after assaulting me and I still went back after a 3 month break…why because I felt lonely. I am proud to write it has been almost six months since I have seen him…he contats me sporadically, confesses his dying love…. tells me he knows I was his last chance at living a clean honest life…leaves msgs on my ansering machine when he knows I won’t be home. I have been in contact with other woman who have been in relationships with him, and they have helped me get through this…I have also helped a young girl who was frauded by him…I have contacted the police, every employer he has, as he steals, jumps from job to job. The worst part of it all is I feel like noone beleives me unless they have experiences his sociopathic ways. He fits into the profile exactly. He slips through the legal system…he gets great jobs…but he usually screws things up in the end. I still can’t wrap mny head around it, and i’m borderline obsessed with my life over the last two years…how will I heal, how will I put this horrible experience in the back of my brain forever?

Good evening. My sociopath stole from me and stalked me online. The police were sympathetic, but really of no help. I’ve always had anxiety disorders, with agoraphobia, but it got much worse when the stalking started.
My ex-p stated online that ‘karma was going to get me, and I’m going to make sure it happens!!!’ The police didn’t think that this was a threat. He called my elderly neighbor who lives across the street and kept track of my comings and goings until she let me know he was contacting her. I let her know that he was a’nut’, and not to tell him anything! Poor dear..she was so upset and confused. She asked me if I was still addicted to painkillers. Ha! I kicked him out because of his alcohol and oxy abuse!
I developed PTSD along with dealing with menopause. I started losing my hair, gained weight even though I didn’t eat much, and was afraid to go outside…even to bring my garbage to the curb. I drew my blinds, and slept constantly. Oh all people, my ex-husband came to my rescue. Without asking for anything in return, he started bringing me to the doctors, went grocery shopping, and stayed over (on the couch) so I could sleep without waking up in a panic. We are still great friends.
After 1 year and 3 months…my hair has grown back, I have lost the weight, and I am finally feeling hopeful again.
The bad part is the HATE I still feel towards this man! I was brought up Christain, and hate was not part of that upbringing. I hope he suffers greatly. I am STILL healing from this bastard.

Oh, about the ‘startle response’…I still jump when when the phone rings or someone knocks on the door. My therapists are helping me with this. Funny..he went to the same associates that I see…they pinned him as a sociopath after I kicked him out.

I wish someone here will respond to me. I feel like my writings don’t mean very much.

I guess I’m too….in your face. Thanks anyway.

Well, I’m off to watch some t.v. I’ve posted here before, and it’s like when i was trying to convince the police that I was being harmed. Too little…too late.

nomorenomore,
Welcome to LF although I am sorry for the circumstances that brought you here.
Sometimes nights are “slow” here and not alot of people are on. I am sorry that no one spoke to you sooner.
No one likes to feel ignored 🙁

There is alot of good reading material here and I suggest that you read some of the articles. Don’t even worry about reading the comments underneath them for the time being. Kind of focus on the articles. Lots of information to take in.
They cover many different stages of recovery as well.

Sometimes the “night owls” come later during the night and are posting. (if you check back later) I was just checking before I went to bed and saw that you had posted.

hi guys, i’ve been off the site for quite some time and can’t find alot of people i know anymore but i know someone can help with this stupid question that is burning in my mind. Its a stupid question i know but im very perplexed for a good explaination . I’ve remained loyal to the s for well over 7 years and for at least the lst 6 he has been impotent. Now im goin g around wondering what the hell i was thinking all that time . It wasnt as if he made up for it in other areas either, he was horrible to me and cheated all along so im left thinking i must have been an idiot to have sacrificed from age of 43 to 49 without sex bt it was what i was used to and that dam insane loyalty crap kept me from moving on. Anyway thanks for letting me vent as the hindsite i’ve been having lately isn’t a pretty sight at all. Im thinking you idiot all the time lately. love kindheart

who is it that has the frying pan as i wish they would bonk me in the head for being celibate all these years as im hitting 50 this next year and dam im mad for wasting so much of you know what on that loser. kindheart

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