Healing in the Aftermath

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Healing in the aftermath of the psychopath

Healing in the Aftermath of the Psychopath

The illustration by Walter Crane is of Red Riding Hood being rescued from the Big Bad Wolf. I think it’s safe to say that for most of us, this isn’t going to happen. Once the “relationship” with the psychopath ends, we must rescue ourselves.

We may feel that we have to find our own road to healing because many in our lives (friends, family, therapists) don’t understand the devastation we’ve been through. Even we may not understand at first. We just know we’re devastated; we know something happened to us that was out of the ordinary, far beyond a relationship gone bad.

Since what we’re dealing with is not the end of a regular relationship, no advice about healing after a breakup will help. We were victimized by predators who only pretended to establish a romantic relationship so they could manipulate and abuse us. But because this looked like a romantic relationship from the outside, it’s hard for people to see beyond that. Even some victims don’t see the truth, and are left believing they lost the love of their lives through some fault of their own.

None of us was “on the lookout for someone as brutal as a psychopath to systematically dismantle” the way we see ourselves, as author Sandra L. Brown put it. We never expected the person who claimed to love us was really out to destroy our self-worth, self-validation and self-esteem through cruel and methodical emotional manipulation. But that’s the true, abbreviated story of what happened, all details aside. No wonder victims don’t get the support they need; this scenario simply isn’t comprehensible to a normal person.

What a victim needs is validation. Brown says “It is pathology websites, books and programs that help women heal when they find their validation in other stories, research, books, forums, and organizations designed to respond to pathological love relationships.  The validation you are seeking comes from others who have been through it.” From the article, “Recovering Without Validation.”

At this point, please read about emotional rape. Knowing what happened and understanding it is vital to your healing. “The Emotional Rape Syndrome,” a book by Michael Fox, PhD., provides deep understanding and focuses on healing.

In the aftermath, victims describe being unable to trust, feeling extremely vulnerable, experiencing rage, having obsessive thoughts, lost self-esteem, fear, anxiety, the use of alcohol or drugs, physical illness, and irrational and extreme behavior such as total isolation and withdrawal or even suicidal thoughts or actions.

Help is necessary, and there is help and support for you out there, but you need to be determined to find it. Recovery is an active process that you need to take part in. In doing so, you demonstrate to yourself that you have faith that you will heal. In believing that you will recover and in knowing that you will find understanding and compassion if you look for it, you become your own source of help and support. In helping yourself, you will realize the psychopath never really damaged your faith in yourself, your hope for your life or your belief in your self-worth. 

There is understanding and support in books and websites, in reading about and talking with women online who have been through the same trauma, and in an empathetic therapist or support group led by a professional (See sources of help in the sidebar in the “healing in the aftermath” section). 

“Women Who Love Psychopaths” by Sandra L. Brown, M.A., is a helpful book that examines risk factors, relationship dynamics, aftermath symptoms and prevention. This book can help you understand what happened and how it happened, and offer ideas for recovery.

Challenges for the victim of a psychopath include:

  • Finding help and support;
  • Recovering from intense stress;
  • Recovering from harm to your psyche, heart and soul;
  • Dealing with challenges to your ability to trust others and yourself;
  • Experiencing cognitive dissonance, a key element that can stand in the way of healing, which I’ll talk about next; and
  • The fact that you’re not only dealing with recovery from serious trauma, you’re also dealing with the loss of the person you loved. This piece of the puzzle is often neglected or diminished because the psychopath only pretended to love, but it is another important key to healing. Remember, the psychopath established an intense relationship during the idealization phase; without that, the manipulation and abuse could never have happened. While it’s true the man you loved never really existed, your love for him was real, and that love deserves and needs your acknowledgement, approval and compassion before you can let it go. 

After the relationship is over, the victim may appear to be mentally ill to others due to the emotional manipulation and psychological torture she endured, according to Brown. She can be incorrectly diagnosed as paranoid, delusional, neurotic, or as having borderline personality disorder. In fact, she may have chronic stress disorder or PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), major depression, panic disorder or an anxiety disorder. It’s imperative to get yourself to a licensed counselor who is familiar with abusive relationships.

A powerful aid in your recovery may be to “reconcile with harm.” The concept is explained in detail this article by Nancy A. Stanlick, “Reconciling with Harm: An Alternative to Forgiveness and Revenge.”  It’s a useful mindset for times when “…forgiveness, revenge, and traditional reconciliation may be impossible, inappropriate, or morally undesirable.”

Resolving cognitive dissonance is vital to healing. Just understanding it can be a big help. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological defense mechanism commonly experienced during and after involvement with a psychopath. It’s a form of denial we experience when the truth about something is too painful to comprehend doesn’t fit anywhere into our expectations about life.

In cognitive dissonance, we hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time. In our situation with the psychopath, those two beliefs are often as follows:

  1. The psychopath loves us
  2. The psychopath is deceiving us, lying to us, manipulating us and harming us.

Cognitive dissonance starts in the devaluation stage, when the psychopath is no longer as interested in you as a victim and so isn’t making much of an effort to keep his mask on. His lies, manipulation and abuse start to come to the surface of your consciousness, but it’s too painful to take. You still long for the love of the idealization phase, so you go in and out of denial.

According to Claudia Moscovici of PsychopathyAwareness, “Cognitive dissonance happens in those cases where there’s an unbridgeable contradiction between a dire reality and an increasingly implausible fantasy which, once fully revealed, would be so painful to accept, that you’d rather cling to parts of the fantasy than confront that sad reality and move on.” Remember that the dichotomous psychopath is still making intermittent appearances as who he was in the beginning of the relationship.

Sandra Brown writes in “Women Who Love Psychopaths” that cognitive dissonance is extremely strong in a psychopath’s victim because we’ve actually had “two different RELATIONSHIPS with the good/bad dichotomous psychopath.” She goes on to say that “each one of these relationships has required a different belief system in order to remain in it. These belief systems begin to battle each other increasing the intrusive thoughts and the cognitive dissonance, each feeding each other.”

Brown describes the victim as being unable to stay on the same page about who he is, which creates a “ping-pong” effect in her mind where conflicting thoughts (he’s good/he’s bad) constantly pop up but never resolve anything. She is usually having behavioral inconsistencies too, such as saying she won’t see him but then seeing him anyway.

Brown says, “Since she was in a relationship with both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, cognitive dissonance completely makes sense.” Yes, it sure does.

Cognitive dissonance begins to resolve when a victim finally accepts that she was involved in a pathological relationship with a very disordered person, and it can resolve completely when she finally really gets that the “good” psychopath was merely a fake persona.

Pursue healing as a goal. Find the people and the things that help you. If something doesn’t work, don’t give up — try something else.

Psychology Today has series on healing after a pathological relationship, written by Brown. It’s called “Living the Gentle Life.” The series teaches “How to develop a life style that helps you heal emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and sexually.”

Good luck on your healing journey.

Is there anything not mentioned here that’s helping in your recovery? Let others know by leaving a comment.

© 2012 – 2013 ‘Psychopaths and Love’ All Rights Reserved
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36 thoughts on “Healing in the Aftermath

  1. If you don’t do research you will always be clueless the damage will always stay with you in some way you got to learn about what happened as much as possisble to get a good understanding of it, example the more you learn a subject the better you will get. I’m sure there isn’t a magical wand to instanstly make us perfect, but as it so rightly says above you’ve got to understand accept and believe again. Its cruel what happens to the victims but forgiving what happened could be a big step forward. I’ve been with one and it was defo the worst thing that has happened to me. But imagine how they must feel there whole life they will just do that over and over just think if you had to think like them to have fun it must be hard for them so there the real victims. No wonder a lot of them have harmed themselves at some point or over. Anybody who has been a victim should leave a cooment or something maybe start a hub yourself. If I had read some of these articles sooner to when I was left to rot in hell I wouldn’t of tried to take my own life etc etc. Make others feel like there normal because I went mad well so I thought anyway and I’m sure others have done too. Let’s all stick together you know like a family were all in the same boat. Let’s raise awareness.

  2. Honestly, I think I am still in shock. And withdrawal. I could never have understood what I am going through without your dead aim insights, so thank you. My journey started because I thought my husband was gay! I was so messed up, I had no idea how to explain his behavior (now I know it was the devaluing stage). It is all so sick. I feel sick. He abruptly discarded me, the lack of respect is UNBELIEVABLE-has now become so sexually deviant that my mind can’t even comprehend it. He is involved with a 65 yr old woman who he met through some “swapping” type website. He didn’t work for 3 yrs, yet the man had over 200 contacts in his phone! I was so dumb……. And, he struggled profusely with impotence, that I never suspected…….Perhaps that is his goal, to prove some sort of sexual prowess……it’s just sick. Again, I feel sick. Anyway, moving forward with NCEA and trying to get divorced ASAP. Really hard though. The good days (strong) and the bad days (despair). I am lonely. You’re right, the friends don’t get it. Think I’m crazy for calling it a psychopathic nightmare. They don’t want to believe this can happen. They think I am being dramatic or some sort of borderline. So, thank you for doing this for us. And, thanks for letting me post. God bless to everyone out there going through this.

    • Unfortunately, anyone who hasn’t been through it or who isn’t Drs. Babiak/ Hare or someone like them will never understand. Yet it’s important to feel and be understood…so that’s another hard part of the whole crazy thing we have to deal with. “Think I’m crazy for calling it a psychopathic nightmare.” I know that all too well. Know that you can get through it without their support (but also know that some of your relationships might end because of it). There’s a saying that a big trauma in life can “re-write our address book.” It’s so true, I’m sorry to say.

      It’s not uncommon for victims to be mis-diagnosed with borderline and other things like that. It is actually PTSD, in many cases. In time it will pass, *as long as you keep after the truth (*the truth about what happened to you, so you can understand that it wasn’t at all what he or she wanted you to believe*).

      I’m very familiar with the good days…and the bad days. Just keep moving forward anyway as best you can. Learn everything you can to avoid being victimized by another one in the future.

      Best Wishes to you.

    • I totally understand!! I read the words of people in these blogs and can see my own life nightmare. Friends don’t understand. He even referred to me as Jodi Arias! He kept googling borderline personality and tried to make me believe all that I could see from the Mr Hyde was my imagination!!! I’m giving this information to my therapist this week bc he most likely just sees me as a person of verbal abuse.

  3. Back in May of 2005, my son, who was in his early 40′s, became involved with a woman we will call Laura. She charmed him. He and I had always been very close. He is the youngest of my four children. He was an ideal man: honest, with a religious background, hard worker and had everything that made him a good man. He is very successful career wise. He had been divorced for a few years and had a house full of room mates in a house that he owned.

    Slowly I noticed that his roommates were leaving. One just didn’t want to leave. I had to sell my home as I was no longer able to pay the taxes and in July I moved into his place until I could decide where I wanted to live. To my surprise Laura moved in a week before I was due to arrive. Before Laura moved in, my son had called me to speak to the roommate who did not want to leave as he didn’t think Laura was a good person and didn’t want to leave my son with her. I was called by my son to please verify that I was indeed coming to stay. The roommate agreed to leave. There was a strange tone to my son’s voice as well as the request. I brushed it off. To make a long story shorter:
    Within one day I was given a set of rules regarding my kitchen use and within 10 days, through email, I was asked to leave the house. From the time I arrived, I was not able to spend one minute alone with him. If we decided to go to the store, she insisted to go along. I told my son that Laura was very strange and acted rude toward me when my son was not present. I didn’t think she treated my son well either. Laura wanted me out as I was interfering with the control she wanted over my son. I had no idea how much control she had already. I could have sworn that the first and only meal I had with them, my son fell into a trance. I thought he might be playing or joking around. He had dropped his head, turned toward her and stared at her through the whole meal. Never, said a word. I ate my dinner and went to my room.

    Today my son has turned over his finances to her.
    He tells me the church is a cult.
    He takes on a different personality when he talks to me.
    Parts of his memory seem to be missing.
    I fear that he might commit a crime if she asked him to do so.
    She uses hypnosis and has books on her shelf about mind control.
    He was a conservative and is now a Socialist person.
    He used to be the executor of my estate, but asked to be removed.
    We used to have great conversations, now not so.
    He didn’t want a dog, but now has one. She always gets what she wants and always has to right.

    She has destroyed everything that is good in my son childhood and replaced it with seedy memories of me.

    I am the only family member that is aware of these changes in him. He appears to be amiable around all the rest. He lives three hours away from his brother and sisters. I live two states away, and I feel very responsible for this condition. It wasn’t until I left my home state to find a more affordable residence that I realized how devastated he was must have felt. He called me a few times to tell me he was being asked to do things that were against the way he was raised. He did not go into detail. I told him to put her out of his house. He said he couldn’t do that, but he felt that she would drive him crazy. He told me she had no friends or family. That was a lie. It was true she had no friends but she did have family and even shared with me the first time I met her that her father had molested her. At that time I told my son that she was damaged and not a good person to get involved. Our family didn’t and still does not like her, but no one but me said or says anything about it to him. I think they did him a disservice.

    Now 2013, my son married her two years ago. He didn’t want to do that, but said he could not stop it. None of our family was invited. He accepted that blame also and said he didn’t was a big wedding. However, Laura invited all her family and friends. My son knew it was wrong, but said he cold not stop it. He told us he didn’t want to have a big wedding. However, our family was fairly close and we decided to not make big waves. We did not know who she really was

    I have been to two lawyers, one psychologist, one mental health group and spoken to one psychiatrist. The lawyers say that unless he comes to see them, they cannot help. They also said that without physical abuse, showing mental abuse is hard to prove. The psychologist said she could not help because she did not deal in personality disorders, and I think a dual personality is a disorder. Once again he would have to come in for help on his own. The mental health group told me that my son is in for a very long healing process, if he would ever begin and recommended a very large teaching hospital. The term brain washing was used here.

    They have taken out a large insurance policy and this frightens me.

    Laura is a sociopath/psychopath and I fear my son will commit suicide or lose his whole sense of reality. I am now feeling like I could lose my own sense of stability. My son is in my thoughts 24/7. I had a ray of hope a week ago. I called my son on his cell on Sunday morning. He picked up the phone and his voice appeared normal. He was doing the wash. We talked about football and I told him I missed him and loved him very much. He told me the same. I think Laura was out of the house.

    I do not know how to help him. Where would a person in my position begin to end this abuse and stop the transformation happening before my very eyes?

    I fear that Laura also has access to drugs as she told my son when they first met that she takes meds of ADD.

    Has anyone faced this situation?? Sorry this is so long. This is the first time I have attempted to write my thoughts.

    • First, I’m sorry your son — and you! — are caught in this situation. I can clearly sense your pain at watching it happen and yet being unable to help, despite your efforts.

      Mental abuse/ manipulation is hard to prove, especially if the victim appears to “choose” to stay in the situation. This woman is a master manipulator who has been able to take control of your son and hijack his mind and his life. And you have been very seriously affected, too.

      I wish I knew what to tell you to do! Your description brings to mind a need for an “intervention,” like those sometimes done with people who are in a cult or addicted to drugs. But although *we* know his situation is on par with those things, I have no idea who would support such a thing. I mention it only because I understand what you’re talking about and I hear your desperation to help your son.

      Keep looking for a way you can help your son, but realize that maybe you won’t be able to do anything about it.

      Hopefully she will leave him, or he will surprise you one day and leave her first.

      I just did a search and found that Lovefraud has a list of legal and mental health professionals who at least claim to deal with the victims of these “relationships.” Maybe an expert in this field is necessary and will be able to advise you.


      Also, you may want to find a therapist for yourself to help you deal with this. You say it’s on your mind 24/7, and while that’s completely understandable, this kind of stress is not good for your mental or physical health.

      Good luck and best wishes to you and your son. Please let me know what happens.

  4. I am the mother of a psychopath. His younger brother and I have been his victims for over 30ty years. As a Mom I gave my all and then some. I believed until this last year that if I always protected and loved him and was a perfect Mom that I could save him. He almost destroyed me and his brother. I worry everyday about the emotional harm he is doing to others. The hardest part and the beginning of recovery is when you are seeing the reality and danger when the psychopath takes the mask completely off and then you dare tell some things you know trying to protect your other son, daughter in law and grandchildren from being further victimized. Then when you survive and you have to face a lot of reality about the psychopath you know to really really fear him. You have puzzle pieces that suddenly click in place. The best contact is no contact. It is also hard to have the burden of knowing just how dangerous and intelligent he is. I will survive everything only because I understand. Your website is so dead on it just made my hair stand on end. Knowledge is power and to understand means no longer being a victim. I am no longer blind and faced a lot of truths but now live with how scary a person who is a true psychopath really is. Still better than continuing as his victim.

    • It sounds as if you have accepted a hard truth about your own son. That must be a very hard thing for a mother to do. I hope you and his younger brother will do well and stay safe. There is probably nothing you can do about his emotional harm to others, so just take care of yourself as best you can. Best wishes.

  5. I am numb. I am in the second time around, with another one. Just recently, he blindsided me, turned cold and cruel, and I haven’t heard from him in a week. I have not tried to contact him, and I am trying to stay strong. Need help!!!

    • Don’t *try* not to contact him — just don’t contact him. Unless you want to waste your life in a relationship with him. Instead, make up your mind not to date anyone until you re-build your self-worth and self-respect, which are probably in short supply right now. Make a priority of learning as much as you can about how to avoid this scenario in the future. And learn all you can about yourself — because when someone who wants to victimize you knows your needs and motivations better than you do, you’re in big trouble.

      Best of luck to you.

  6. I am doing better. It has been months since I left him. Yes I think I still have come cognitive dissociance. What I dont get is that I used to be a food lover but now I have totally lost all my appetite, my hair are falling, I have lost weight and I look older. I am not depressed. Why is this happening to me?

    • Are you sure you’re not depressed? It wouldn’t be surprising if you were, after all. Please read this article, “Could You Be Depressed and Not Know It?”

      Your symptoms could also point to a serious physical problem, so you must go to see a doctor.

      Best wishes to you.

  7. Falling for a psychopath . ruined my life I don’t want to go out side .I don’t want to be with my friends I still live in a fantasy world. My family is going crazy my behaviour is un ordinary .

    • I’m sorry you’re going through this. You’re in the worse of it now, but you will make it through. There are many of us who have. Maybe a counselor could help — is that a possibility? Best wishes to you.

  8. There are an equal amount of female psycopaths out there as male ones. Females tend to fly under society’s radar as they are less likely to commit criminal offences, just moral ones. I have 2 children with a female psycho which she has used as tools to dismantle my live and my soul and greatly enjoyed herself in the process. This enjoyment of cruelty is the hard fact to come to terms with and baffles us all.

    Born as the product of a gang rape on a retarded woman she was adopted and created a nightmare for her new parents. The new mother went insane and the father had to throw his pyschopathic daughter out at 16. During school life 2 of her ‘friends’ commited suicide. She loves to create ‘bad’ situations and watch them unfold, pitting one against another or usually many against one individual. Softly spoken and very feminine and charming she is highly manipulative of men and woman and totally without remorse and dishonest to the core. It’s all about control. They enjoy ‘being the cause’ and ‘having and an effect’ whether it’s making you laugh or cry.

    A great tip for spotting psychopaths is the way they muddle words up especially in ‘sayings’. Eg Running around like a legless chicken. Conversations with a pycho can be disjointed, rapidly changing topics. They often say a sentence that contradicts itself. They talk a lot with excessive hand movements.

    They are very good at creating a good impression of themselves and portraying their victim as the real culprit. This is what really gets me. I’ve been in hell and evrybody thinks I’m the monster………..except a few who have had experience themselves.

    • Yes, there are just as many female psychopaths as there are male…and maybe more, if you look at the relatively new theory that female psychopaths present differently, and maybe they’ve been misdiagnosed as having borderline personality disorder. When I started writing this blog, I knew nothing about females so I just stuck with what I had experienced. But now I see that many men are victims as well.

      To think of this woman using your children to “dismantle” your life and your soul is sickening. Yours is a heartbreaking story. You really have been through hell, and I hope she is out of your life. I wish you and your children all the best.

  9. Hi. I had a relationship with a psychopath for 3 and a half years. During the first 6 months I thought if met my soul mate. Then he revealed his true self and was violent would go drinking for days and cheated on me. Would always come back to me and tell me it wouldn’t happen again, just wanted somewhere to live. Told me he loved me then would treat me with indifference and I would believe it was my fault. 6 weeks ago he met another woman and moved in with her immediately. Within 2 weeks he was violent to her and contacted me again. He told me he loved me again. I thought he was my soul mate. Then we had row. He was still living with the other woman. He then got stabbed by his friend. I told his new girlfriend to be very careful but she didn’t believe me just believed his lies. I am a very strong person and do not want him back but sometimes I miss him so much it’s so conflicting. I know I’ll get through this but his family live a mile down the road and he’s there every weekend. It’s so difficult. I can’t explain it to anyone as every one that knows him dislikes him and thinks I’m crazy for ever loving him. Reading your website had helped me a lot to reconcile my feelings. Thank you so much for all the info here. It had set me on the road to recovery, I just wish his new victim had listened to me and saved herself the heartache that she will experience

    • Unfortunately, his new victim will believe him just as you did so there is nothing more you can do as far as that goes. I understand you are feeling conflicted, but please act upon the feelings that put your own well-being first, OK? I’m glad the website has helped you. Take care of yourself.

  10. I want to thank you for doing this site. Things finally make sense. I was in a relationship with a one of these sick people. It was always my fault. And my address book has been changed. Not many get it. Its so hard to loose someone you actually thought you loved and at the same time realize it was never real. I ended up going to jail, loosing a big chunk of savings to defend myself, lost close relationships due to depression and some of my own self respect. A good chuck of time….Im still healing. I do have hope that Im on the right path. Thank you again. This will help me in the right direction.

    • I’m so glad you feel this will help and I wish you the best. You’ve been through some very tough times, and I hope life will change for the better in a big way!

  11. Thankyou so much for the incredible words that are written here . They speak volumes and resonate deeply with the very painful and baffling experience I am currently enduring- having been dropped ( dumped ) from a great height, by someone who can only possibly be described as a Sociopath . The healing and relief I feel has made a profound difference, so many thanks. Thank Goodness for the internet too !

    • You’re so welcome. Thank you for letting me know this helped you. Best wishes to you.

      And yes thank goodness for the internet!

  12. First of all, I would like to thank you so much for this post. It pretty much took all the thoughts I had about my situation and organized them into column form. I had never heard of cognitive dissonance but that term and the definition hit the nail on the head of what I have been feeling/thinking.

    I started dating a sociopath a little more than two years ago, the summer when I was 18 and she was 17. We met through a mutual friend, and she rushed the relationship while I wanted to take it slow. For the longest time I considered that one of the best summers of my life because of how euphoric she made it all out to be. I stopped hanging out with pretty much all of my friends, and started neglecting my family, all the while just spending more and more time with her.

    Then I started college at a university about an hour and a half away from where I live, and she started her senior year of high school. What I didn’t know was she had already reeled me in. Things were fine at first, we thought we could make it work for a year until she graduated. But everything changed about midway through the semester. She became distant, and never wanted to talk anymore. But I had been home to see her every damn weekend and most Wednesdays we met inbetween to eat and do other things. She blamed me for our relationship being so awful. She said it was my fault we were so far apart because I went to a school an hour and a half away, when there was a community college I could be going to about 30 minutes from where she lived. I tried to explain to her I made the decision to go there months before I even met her. She didn’t care.

    Then I would finally make it home for the weekend and things would be fine. Until Sunday night. When it was time for me to leave she would cry and pitch fits, not letting me leave until 1 AM or later, with an hour and a half drive to my dorm and an 8 AM class. She didn’t care. It was all about her.

    Then her crying and sobbing on Sunday nights got worse. She began to start fights and try to leave me over stupid things, but because she knew how much I cared for her she knew I wouldn’t leave until I “fixed things”, which involved sitting there telling her how amazing she was and how ugly, stupid, and annoying any girl I had ever been with in my past was.

    During the week, all I did was lay in my dorm and wait for her to call. I pretty much had 2 friends my whole freshman year of college: my roommate and my cousin who lived in the area. This was strange for me because in high school I was a very sociable person. (I played varsity football, basketball, and baseball, and received an academic scholarship to the university I attend). She completely changed who I was. I hated myself but I loved her. I had no idea that there were people like her in the world. (A small fun fact: there were 34 weekends in the two semesters I dated her while I was at school. I went home to see her all but 2 of those. That’s over 140 miles round trip 32 times.)

    My dad finally intervened the summer after my freshman year. He told me he would kick me out and never help me out financially again unless I ended it with her. I knew he was right, but I just couldn’t explain the hurt of when I tried to leave her and he and the rest of my friends and family just could NOT understand. I finally left her, butLook.. I was gonna go easy on you not to hurt your feelings, but… I’m only going to get….. this one chance. I went into a rampant alcoholic stage, only at the age of 19. Things started to get better and I started getting off the bottle until (at this point it had been about four months since I had talked to/seen her) we got back in contact. A stupid and life changing mistake that was.

    We dated in secret until February of this year, until I found a strong core of new friends who helped me end it. She had actually taken an attempt at my life, which just totally blew my mind. I realized she was mentally sick and unhealable. I told my dad of our secrecy and he was pretty pissed, but understood. I was finally done with her for good.

    Until she came to me a month later with a signed piece of paper from a doctor saying she was 2 months pregnant. “I thought you said you were on the pill!! What the hell?! How did this happen?” “I lied.”
    Such a simple, yet life changing statement.

    My daughter is almost a month old now. I am still not with her, and she is engaged to some other poor soul now. We are about to start an extreme custody battle. I feel like I’ve been through the hell of a lifetime, but the hell has only just began. It’s just so much to handle, yet I do my best to stay positive. How can I deal with all this? And by the way, I’m 20 now and still in college. So I’m cursed to make that Godforsaken drive every other weekend to see my little girl, with the sociopath who changed my life.

    Pretty much all I have to say about this post is that it helped me realize that I really f***ing need professional help. I can’t stop doing drugs and I’m going to ruin my daughter’s life. Thank you so much again for the little push I needed in the right direction. You make have just saved me.

    • “She completely changed who I was. I hated myself but I loved her.” This sums it up well, Nelson. I am astounded that you’ve gone through all of this at such a young age. You’re aware now of what she is and that will help you in the times to come.

      I’m so happy I’ve given you a little push in the right direction. You definitely need some professional guidance to deal with this, both psychological and legal, if possible. Those are things that will help you deal with this.

      And remember this: You can deal with it and let it consume you and live in a rage, or you can deal with it without those things (or with much less, at least). There’s a lot of peace in accepting a situation that you can’t change. You might want to consider taking the Landmark Forum workshop; it’s quite good for achieving this aim.

      There’s a website that might be of help: http://onemomsbattle.com/ Also, see the resources in the sidebar of my blog under “Dealing with a violent partner/ex.”

      Best of luck to you and to your little daughter.

  13. What an amazing blog, the words on these pages have given more relief and answers to the pain I have felt and the mystery of the appalling and baffling behaviour of my Ex than anything I have found so far. Thankyou to the Author, for the wonderful service that your in valuable work is providing.

  14. Thank you so much for this. I originally read your blog 2months ago, as healing progresses with no contact, withdrawl and continual fog lifting and truth revealed–I have felt quite vulnerable. It has been quite frustrating as I shop for appropriate counselor– how misunderstood I am– I am so grateful that I can direct people to this site and then they get it! Also, one counselor ( I am also a counselor/wounded healer) tried to suggest I was borderline–after one brief meeting– I was completely miffed— but realize there is much ignorance even among counselors– I knew nothing about this until I experienced it. I meet with 5 different counselors as you must be cautious and find the right fit. I think I may have finally found one but will go slow– and have been finding 12 step meetings amazing source of support and healing– but your site is very well organized and has helped me sort through the craziness and disorganization of my body, mind, emotions and spirit — so I can rescue, recover and move forward with truth and no contact. THANK YOU

    • Thank you for letting me know! I’m so glad the site is helping you, and I’m happy you may have found the right counselor. It’s true, not too many know about any of this and I have to wonder why. Borderline is a common misdiagnosis given to traumatized victims, btw.

      I’m happy to know that you’re sending others close to you to this site to help them to understand what happened to you. I also find it amusing in a way, since I could not convince one friend to look at this site — my own website! — to help them to understand. I wrote the post, “Helping a freind who’s been traumatized by a psychopath” just for them. Needless to say, I’m making new friends.

  15. Thank you. I have been looking for help and answers. I was with my ex for 3 yrs. Recently ended. We met I thought he was amazing. Good looking charming and romantic. I moved in with him 3mnths into the relationship, crazy but I didn’t think so at the time. Cracks then started to appear. The women he had been with, collection of underwear he kept from his conquests. The porn. The lies and the cheating in which he had denied. Everytime I thought it was me with the problem. He used my past my insecurities against me. Tried to leave but would have the police called on me. I felt like I was going mad. He took me away from my family and friends. Im still on my own with my three children. Two of which are his. They are both babies. I wont allow him to see
    Them. If he can hurt me he will them. It was a hard choice but he is not good. I feel no self worth left. I felt ugly and worthless. Now im trying to heal but no one seems to understand. There are no groups where other people have gone through it. I can’t find any. So instead I read up I try and find answers. This is the worst thing that has happened to me. He tells people I have a personality disorder. I dont. I have been through hell and struggling to get through it. Its so hard to heal. Did I do the right thing for him to have no contact with our children? How long will it take to heal? He never loved me not really. I feel I have been raped. Why does no one understand? I want to heal and be happy again. …x

    • I may not have any answers, but know that my heart goes out to you, Rani.

      Some resources which might help you:






      Best wishes

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