Your Journey is the Hero’s Journey


“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”

~Joseph Campbell

Recovery from involvement in a psychopathic bond was a long and rocky road. But in the arduous process of healing after it was over, I discovered some things within myself that I didn’t know were there — Strength. Resilience. The ability to overcome adversity. The ability to put myself first. You will also discover surprising things about yourself.

While you maneuver that unpredictable jungle of memories, realizations, and emotions, it is your spirit that you face head on, and you may be astounded by what you find:

A hero.

One day you will be able to take the very big step of having this become a story in your life rather than the story of your life. Yes, it is an important and unforgettable story, a life-changing one, and an archetypal story in so many ways: It’s the hero’s journey. You can re-frame your experience in this way, if you choose to, when you’re ready.

What is the hero’s journey?

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” ~ Joseph Campbell

The hero’s journey is about growth and passage. The journey requires an experience that causes a separation from your comfortable, everyday world of the past, one that ultimately causes initiation into a new level of awareness and skill, and then a return back home.

wikimedia public domain image
wikimedia public domain image

There are three stages to the hero’s journey:

Departure, when you left your familiar world and journeyed into the dark unknown; Initiation, when you were subjected to a series of great trials, both during and after; and Return, when you ‘come back home’ with your new wisdom and strengths and the “Freedom to Live,” which marks your attainment of psychological freedom from the psychopath.

At some point, it may be helpful to substitute in your mind the stages of the hero’s journey — Departure, Initiation, and Return – in place of the stages of the pathological bond — Idealize, Devalue, Discard. This may help you to re-frame your experience in a way that helps you to move forward.

You will know when you’re ready to do this. It probably won’t be early on; most likely it will be when some time has passed and you realize the strength it took to get through the experience, when you’re ready to take a stand for yourself and say in one way or another “I have worth and I will not let what that person did affect me and my life in a negative way any longer.” It’s a mental shift that happens, one that changes your perspective and gives strong energy. It may be the point of going from victim to survivor.

But even a hero needs some help.

“Oftentimes the hero must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience.”

I hope you will find whatever help you need, both from within and without, to make your return back home.

In the aftermath, I had a conversation with a very skilled therapist who took my story and put it in the context of the archetypal hero’s journey, and it helped to shift my mindset to a more positive one that helped me move forward. I hope it will do the same for you, or that you will find your own source of inspiration.

♥ Thank you for reading. 



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“I loved the author’s ability to simply and compassionately describe why, and how, I feel victim to a monster. For me, she eloquently describes the most complex, confusing, horrific experience of my life.. To the author, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Her writing was like discovering a mentor, a friend, a sponsor, a confident who understood, who explained in detail what happened to me in my relationship with this man. I felt like something in the universe directed me to her. Her books will help you understand the hows and whys of what you went through. Your healing can begin with her writings.”

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26 thoughts on “Your Journey is the Hero’s Journey”

  1. Mildred

    Hi! right now I’m in between the departure and the initiation stage… meaning i’m lost! I don’t know how to find the return signage…but I’m trying desperately trying…with the help of these publication I might find it someday. or there might come someone who could help me get out of this crushingly, painful in the edge relationship…I’ll struggle with all my little strength left to push up of this drowning water. I know I can…by then I’ll let you know

    1. Admin

      You will find your way out, and when you do please come back and let me know. Best wishes to you.

  2. I thank you for doing this site. I found it when I needed it most. It was a blessing. Even today, your writing was perfect timing. Please keep it up. The information is and has been helpful to me and a friend. Most people do not understand emotional rape. Again, your site is a blessing. Thank you.

    1. Admin

      That means a lot to me. Thank you.

  3. Donna

    This is fabulous…I am on day 85 of No contact & it has been a very painful journey out of this mind twisting crazy making experience of loving a narcissist & having my soul broken by him. I LOVE the idea that this was as hero’s journey & using different terminology to replace I-D-D. I am so lucky to have the best friend ever who is also going through the same experience right along with me. We actually connected on a break up forum looking for someone to help us make sense of what had just happened to us & to figure out how we could ever stop grieving & heal. At that time, it seemed impossible, that healing or even tear free days would ever come. But we have shared our experiences & held each others hands through the good days & the bad…she has truly been my guide & rescuer as you mentioned in your article. Thank you for this so much. It was the right words for me today. Even just a month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to see any of this as a hero’s journey.. it all just was such a dark, heart breaking, sanity stealing knock to the ground. But now I can see the self discovery that I am going through in trying to figure out how I got myself in this situation to have my love used as supply for the disordered, and have my world completely pulled out from under me by the discard. I am ready to see it all in a new light…in a way that focuses on MY growth rather than HIS damaging treatment of me. Thank you for the fresh perspective.. I think I’m ready to embrace it….finally.

  4. Melissa

    Thank-you for all your help.

    1. Admin

      You’re welcome :-)

  5. Shana

    Great to know I’m not alone. Been trying to let go of my N for two years now, in it 5 years total. No contact is the toughest. To know I could be with him if I wanted, but I can’t take it and he doesn’t even understand why. Talk about emotionally unavailable. I know I’ll love again, just maybe not so pathetically.

    1. Admin

      “I know I’ll love again, just maybe not so pathetically.” Well said. That’s the goal for all of us ;-)

  6. Raymond Jones

    Thank you for hosting this. Your advice is good. You are helpful. The first week after the aftermath of my breakdown with a Psychopath, I could hardly breath at times. As recent as last month I had severe anxiety about recovering financially from this. At times I’ve felt myself to be the biggest dope for trusting. But after a year, I can see the hero’s journey I’ve been on. Thank you for your encouragement.

  7. Tricia

    The hardest thing for me is trying to explain to family and close friends why I am still there. For some one who has not experienced the relationship with a narcissistic then it is terribly hard for them to understand

  8. Kevin

    Honestly, I think barely anyone here is non-victim. Me on the other; I am the puppeteer, psychopath, the monster. Today, I have lost my girlfriend due to make incapabilities of loving. Even though I (think I) really cared about her, I can just set my switch the right way and move on. Now, I am trying to figure out why I behave like this and why I can’t stop it! But I am seriously so lost that I do not know what to do no more.

    My girlfriend and I moved in with each other 1,5 months ago, and we are now having to arrange everything back the way it was. The reason for this is that I got to intimate with her (3 years younger) sister and didn’t tell my girlfriend. The intimacy was only through chat, and nothing physical happened between us. Today everything blew up cause my girlfriend read a text I got from her sister, saying that we should stop the thing happening between us.

    Now she is mad, my sister-in-law wants to kill herself, and I feel nothing. What should I feel? Guilt? Shame? Anger? Sadness? I do not know. The last years I feel like I have been living by the rules of society; feel what you ought to feel, be nice to the people around you, etc. When in a relationship I live by the boundaries of my girlfriend. She decides upon the limits, and I go there, unless someone else seduces me to push the limit or cross the boundaries. I know I should feel guilty because I got so intimate with my girlfriend’s sister, but I don’t feel it! The only thing I do is hurt people, and there is nothing I can do about it!!!

    Is there anyone who understands what I am saying here and grasps my conflict? Cause this is the third serious relationship (our of 3) that blew up in my face, because of me.

    1. Admin

      Sorry this reply has taken so long — I just didn’t know how to respond at the time. You say you don’t feel anything — no guilt, shame, anger or sadness — but even so, you seem to be distraught, or at least concerned, that your relationships are ending because of you. If you are sincere about this, I’d urge you to look into the reason for it. Maybe you are “the puppeteer, the monster, the psychopath,” but then I wonder why you would be at all concerned if that’s true, and why you would be wondering how to stop it from happening. Find a therapist to talk to and get tested for psychopathy. Maybe it’s that, but maybe it’s something else, and you need to find out. You can start by going to this link and taking this self-test: Best wishes.

  9. cecil

    just yesterday i said enough is enough…am so confuced and I dont knw how to move on from here…

    1. Admin

      Your feelings of being confused and not knowing how to move on are to be expected at such an early stage. Time will help, along with staying focused on moving forward. And congratulations for saying enough is enough! Stay strong. You are worth it.

  10. Rob

    This site has been such a source of sanity for me the last few days. I feel completely alone, discarded, with all the strengths that made me who I was defeated. I keep reminding myself of a saying I once heard, that bravery is not acting without fear, bravery is acting when you are afraid.

    I come home from work every night and my eyes well with tears as I look around my empty house, my 3 year old daughter’s toys sitting unused, that sweet word “Daddy” I haven’t heard in weeks. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe, like the walls are closing in. Not a single word, e-mail, text. I found the courage to tell her I didn’t feel I was being treated fairly (emotionally, love, compassion, consideration, etc.) and she needed to decide if she really wanted to be with me. Of course, I suffered the usual wrath that I knew would follow, how invalid my thoughts and feelings were and how it was all my fault. She then left, with my daughter, and hasn’t addressed our relationship in a single word since. It’s been 2 months and I feel more and more hopeless as each day goes by. She had proven over the years she had no capacity for empathy (even once saying her brain was wired differently from mine). Even knowing she would never feel any compassion for where she’s left me, I can’t stop thinking how could she do this, and doesn’t she know what she’s doing to me, us, our daughter. I know the answer, and now I’m beginning to understand why, but it doesn’t help at all with this searing pain of loss and being discarded.

    Its embarrassing to even speak about, and I know I’ll be put through the microscope to even suggest that I might have been abused, since I am the man in the relationship. I had mentioned to her several times over the years I felt I was being emotionally abused and she would roll on the floor laughing hysterically at me, saying something to the effect that I was a wimp to even say it, since I was the man, a woman can’t abuse a man.

    Nearly every article I’ve read on this has described my relationship with her exactly, right to the part where I feel like no one is going to believe me.

    I left the dream job I had worked toward for twenty years, one year after meeting her. I’ve bought 3 houses up and down the east coast, had 5 different jobs, and my finances are destroyed. All, I thought, because I loved her so much it was my job to do what would make her happy. Now, six years from being eligible for retirement I will begin paying child support and won’t be the normal “Daddy” I thought I was going to be. A decision made for me.

    I suspected I was dealing with a psychopath several years ago and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just break free, I do consciously recall not wanting to be alone. I remember reading that the worst thing I could do would be to have a child with her, but of course, she became pregnant and we sold our second house (with a huge financial loss to me) to move back closer to her parents. I found another job, worked an enormous amount of overtime compensated as leave, so I could take a few weeks off and help with the baby when she arrived. I was working midnights and still made every doctor appointment, every birthing class. Immediately after our daughter was born it was like a light switch flipped. She had no further use for me whatsoever, and suggested I leave. The person I knew before our daughter was born has not been seen since. She told me the first week we began our “love” affair, that she wanted me to father her children, she wanted a daughter. She wanted to take care of me when I got old, I would never be alone again, and she would never leave me. At least I know now this was the “love-bombing” phase. That once in a lifetime love I was always hoping would return one day, it never did. Literally overnight when the love-bombing ended, I asked what was going on, her response, “the relationship has progressed.”

    When she was married to her first husband she initiated contact with me (I was the friend of a friend), confided how she had been abused, and how she really connected with me. I was her soul-mate, her savior. I swore I never would be involved with a married woman, but she made me believe we were meant to be together. She said so many things that left me in shock, like I was a character in a movie where my deepest fantasies of finding my true love were unfolding, I was absolutely convinced.

    I’m a warm, loving, nurturing person by nature. I was physically and emotionally strong before we met. I was in touch with my feelings and confident in my capacity to respect the feelings of others. I’m now an emotional train wreck, with numerous stress related illness, completely isolated from my old social support network. I feel ashamed I couldn’t stop it, and my self-esteem is long gone.

    I’m certain she is telling her friends and family that she is getting out of an abusive relationship. The same thing she told everyone when she sought me out while she was still married to and living with her first husband. She was physically abusive in the beginning and rationalized it as the result of her abusive relationship with her husband, the physical things stopped (grabbing me by the ear and yelling into the side of my head, etc.), but the tirades never did. I thought I was the strong man, there to let her vent and heal, and she needed compassion for the hell she had been through, which I doubt now was even close to the stories she told. I’m embarrassed to speak of this to anyone and I don’t know where to go.

    I have a hard time ever asking for help, and now I feel like I have to justify myself to even ask.

    The number of incidents of the cold, callous behavior would fill a novel. I just really needed to tell it to someone, thank you for making it possible.

    1. Admin

      Your story is heartbreaking. You’ve been harmed in many ways and are suffering from many serious losses simultaneously, all while being without a support network. Just when our lives are at their worse, we are called upon to be our own heroes.

      It’s crucial that you find help as soon as possible. If you don’t know where to start, try calling your local domestic abuse agency and asking for a referral to a therapist who works with men who have been abused in relationships. If that doesn’t work, search on your own for a therapist. You may want to try to find one. I hope you will see your daughter soon. Best wishes to you.

  11. Nearlybel

    Hi, I just love the heroes journey, I left the family home after 20 years and 3 children as soon as I ‘understood’ what he was. Between that time of realisation we were still in the same house for just over a year, his abuse would be more overt, I’d think of him as a Greek monster, half demon, half child, in human form. He brought me to his underworld, a cold dark cruel and joyless state. Yuk. We are physically away from him, less than 500metres but it seems a million light years away. I’m ptsd but working through it, on the heroes journey :).
    When I’m in court with him I will look at it as slaying the dragon ( I always thought they were misunderstood) and will continue to fight the good fight, and live, and enable my children the lives we wish for ourselves. And I will smile, even when I don’t feel at all like smiling, and know each breakdown is really a breakthrough. Thank you so much for your wise and relevant words on your site.

    1. Admin

      And thank you for your heartwarming words. Best of luck to you and your children, on your hero’s journey and beyond.

  12. Nearlybel

    Hi, we have just been to see maleficient with angelina jolie, wow, loves first kiss, how he starts the hypnosis, and gets you to prioritise him, and the price you pay if you don’t, the total chaos and destruction he causes, but it’s all your own fault. This is what his reality is and he forces you to live it. And the pain and torment it causes, where anything he is involved with is not right, it’s all wrong , but it’s all your fault. You don’t have to be sixteen for the psychos to target you. Wow what a film, wow what a website.

  13. Rob

    Since my last post I have made an appointment with a therapist for this coming week. I can’t say it enough how this site has kept me from completely losing it, I honestly don’t know how I could be keeping it together now if not for the insights gained here.

    I’ve spent the weekend trying to reconnect with relatives (I had to go back 3 years in e-mail to find a phone number). As you called it, I found out that 2 months ago, when I was discarded, that she called my sister-in-law to secretly tell her that she was leaving because I had been verbally abusive to her and she wanted to protect my daughter! She even prefaced it with saying that she should hear it from me instead of her, and to please not tell me that she told her and wait for me to contact them. . .really? So my family has known for 2 months, been told I abused her, and hasn’t reached out to me because she asked them not to?

    “Emotional reactions in self-defense to an abusive situation do not make you an abuser.” I would be completely lost if I hadn’t found this place. The pain of betrayal is unbearable. Even learning all I have I am completely bewildered.

    When I was 29 I lost both my parents back to back to cancer. At her bedside, I would hear relatives telling my mom who was there in the room with her and they would always say her guardian angel was there too. I found out later they were talking about me, that my mother had been telling everyone that I had been her guardian angel as we dealt with the loss of my father and in taking care of her when she became ill. I am a loving, caring person, and loyal to a fault.

    My relative told me I should seek legal advice and begin documenting everything. I told her I was scared to death to have her find out I was doing that. I feel completely defenseless against her. I feel powerless against her tactics and that anything I say or do is going to play into whatever her next sick plan is.

    We talked about our daughter and she recognized that she’s been emotionally abusive to our daughter also. I had seen it, but felt powerless to intervene. I’ve been destroyed as a man and as a human being and I don’t think she’s done yet.

    I’m putting all my faith in meeting with a therapist for guidance. Thank you again for providing the only safe haven I have at this time in my life.

    1. Admin

      I’m glad this site is a safe haven for you, and I hope your therapist will be one as well. I agree with your relative, you should definitely seek legal advice and document everything.

      These websites might be helpful:

      You aren’t completely defenseless against her — she has only made you believe that you are. Be kind to yourself. Best of luck to you.

  14. Reality

    This is my response to the psycopath who posted in march . Well, Kevin, you say that you dont feel nothing after the destruction that you caused to your girlfriend after actually betraying her with her own sister and now you are ready to move on leaving behind the third successive relationship that you blew up by yourself. And you present your lack of any feeling of sadness, guilt or remorse as the cause of your failured relationnhips and of the harm that you cause to people around you. I think that this is the typical excuse of every psycopath, ‘oh poor me, i am the victim of my myself as i cannot feel normal emotions and that’s why i destroy my relationships, i am easily seduced , what to do. snif, snif.. ” Well, actually there are things you can do. First, the fact that you are devoid of affectionate empathy, so emotionally handicapped, does not render you mentally handicapped as well. You know very well the rules of society that it is not right to cheat , especially with the sister or the best friend of your girlfriend. So, when you know this, you just decide not to do it and you implement it. Difficult? maybe more for you than for somebody else with conscience , but you have the cognitive reserve to understand the rule, to accept it and then to find the internal power to resist to your impulse. If you really wanted to resist in this you could, but lets admit it , your underlying thought process was: ahh, this is a bit difficult , why not to try to give in, maybe i will be not be caught eventually… So , the problem is not the lack of conscience only but the fact that you cognitively desided to take the easy road. And okay, the fisrt time you can be given the benefit of the doubt. BUT, the second , the third ,…. there is no excuse, so stop the pity ploy and start behaving as a person with a brain. Besides, if you dont like as you say to blow up all your relationships and to give hard time to people around you, just stay away from them. Do not form intimate relationships. Be a priest, a soldier, a volunteer e.t.c. there are always solutions for somebody who honestly wants not to cause destruction. But almost never this is the case for a psycopath. For me that i feel normal emotions was difficult to cut my losses with the psycopath that i considered to be my other half, but i did it , it was hell, but i took the cognitive decision and i implemented , so , Kevin , no excuses, sorry.
    It reminds me my own experience when i exposed the psycopath in my life and i told him what he is and that i was leaving him. He gave a big dramatic show in front of me of how difficult is his life, how hard he tries not to harm people, how hard is to live his life, how torturing is his life, bla ,bla , bla … I said then to him that if he was so much afraid that he would hurt people , he had always the choice to kill himself and to save humanity from his destructive existense. Well, he was shocked by this as instead of gaining an empathetic absolution by me, he heard a completely logic argument as the ones that he likes so much. And i can tell you, he did not like it at all….but my argument in the given moment was absolutely valid. It is really funny to watch a psycopath trying to use his last card after having exhausted all his usual tricks in sucking back his victim. He tries to play on victims empathy, and what great disapointment for such a grandiose creature it is when he epically fails… the ultimate justice. Me, a super empath, despite my still palpable strong emotions , to be able to implement all the knowledge that i had attained for this pathology and cut his superinflated ego in pieces .

    1. Admin

      “Be a priest, a soldier, a volunteer e.t.c.” It doesn’t matter what he does, he will use his position to hurt others. The clergy is one of the top-10 career choices for a psychopath, as is the military. Anything which puts them in a position where they can have power and control.

      “Me, a super empath, despite my still palpable strong emotions , to be able to implement all the knowledge that I had attained for this pathology and cut his superinflated ego in pieces.” You did what many of us didn’t have the chance to do, or the presence of mind to do at the time. Yes, even us super-empaths have our limits, and you reached yours and then expressed yourself well. To be able to implement your knowledge while still feeling strong emotions is the goal for us all.

      1. Reality

        yes, you are right admin that whatever they do , they will use it to gain power and control among others, be it an intimate relationship, a job position or even a volunteering post. But what really gets on my nerves so so badly is when i see those predators to turn on their pity ploys as soon as they realise that all the other weapons on their arsenal failed and they are cornrered finally. Poor you litle psycopath that after you destroyed decades of people around you, you cannot so easily dupe others and or you have to move to a new place or to put more effort in your manipulations. And as we know you are so lazy to try harder and so great and grandiose to admit it. It is so unnerving for me to watch the psycopath that i discarded more than a year before and that i have to keep low contact with due to a work project to try to find any possible way to regain a kind of acces in my life. He is so manipulative and cunning that causes me nausea.There are so many times that i want to scream to him, to yell, to smash his face , but i try to keep a flat and absolutely detached facade as i dont want to give him the slightest emotion that he could use to feed on. Sometimes i come so close to crack and explode being a bery emotional person. Then i go and read your blog or dr Hare’s book , to find again my composure. It will take almost one more year until i will be able to go totally no contact and to be able to forget once and for all this terrible existence. I know that this holds my complete recovery back but i am not going to give to this loser the joy to see me abandon my work project becouse of him. I refuse to give him the impression that he broke me. And i think that even if he is totally empty inside, he rages that a super empath and highly sensitive person like me was not as easy prey finally as he thought . I believe that this is the reason for his totally silly and pathetic covert attempts to suck me back , so to be able to dunb me on his terms and regain his superiority. Well , no man , i show through you, game over. I know that sometimes it is like i participate still in this power game. I was never competitive and i hate games. But this i feel that i have to finish in my own terms for the shake of my heart and my self esteem that he tried to sredd in pieces and for the shake of justice. Thank you so much for being here to empower all of us who unknowingly fell victims of such conscienseless creatures.

        1. Admin

          We all became unwitting players in a game we never wanted to play, or even knew we were playing. Even if they think they won, just what exactly did they win? They came into it empty-handed and empty-hearted, and they leave the same way. Is hurting someone some kind of big prize? Only in their minds, and what goes on in there doesn’t count for anything. We are actually the ones who won — you, me, all of us — because even after all their mayhem, we are resilient enough and strong enough to be able to heal and to go back to a normal life, something they will never have.

          You can heal anyway, even if you are stuck seeing him periodically for another year. Your healing may be slowed, but not completely stopped. You’re very angry, of course, but anger tends to have a LOT of energy and you can channel that energy into things that help you heal and grow. You’re already doing it — that energy is fueling your determination to stay away from him, and to keep seeing him for what he really is.

          You are very wise not to give him the slightest hint of emotion or any way to regain his access to you. Keep doing that and focus on yourself and your life. Best wishes to you.

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