How to recover from dating a sociopath

A guide for healing and recovery

When the truth comes to light of the crazy life that you have been living with a sociopath, when the lying, cheating, betrayal, deception comes out, you are left feeling massively confused and so very hurt, it is the ultimate betrayal.

The person that you loved, that you shared everything with has used you, for what they could get. No doubt at the end, there will be endless:

  • Strives for contact – abusive emails and abusive texts 
  • Attempts at personal contact
  • Lies told about you and smear campaigns against you
  • Hacks into your privacy like emails and social networking sites

Your head is already reeling from everything that you have been through. Additionally, there is now intense ‘punishment‘ for establishing no contact. For ignoring them, and trying to get on with your life.

This isn’t easy. This is no normal break up. This time you are breaking up with someone who has lied to you, betrayed, and used you. You may be in debt, you might have lost your job, or even lost your home. You have probably isolated yourself from people who were close to you, or maybe they gave up and walked away.

Picking up the pieces of your life when this has happened, can be difficult. You would think, by the behaviour of the sociopath, that they would be glad to get rid of you? After all, they have treated you so badly. The point is, that they treat you this way because they can. So why will they now not go away?

When you have been controlled, manipulated, and abused in this way for a considerable time, when what you thought was real, actually isn’t real. Nothing you thought was true, actually was. When you were used as supply simply for someone else’s entertainment, you can be left in a fog and feeling massively confused.

Because of this, you need a plan to recover. You have been so used to being controlled, that spending time on you, and your recovery, is the best investment that you can do right now.


  • Establish No Contact and stick to it
  • Focus on you
  • Try to catch up with old friends that you were isolated from
  • Remove everything related to your ex, put them in a box, and put them away, photos, keepsakes, letters, cards. Anything at all. Put it away out of sight.
  • Stay away from things that remind you of your ex, do not sit moping, listening to music that reminds you of him, or anything else, sat in memory of him. Get up, get out, and do something.
  • Take one day at a  time
  • Read as much as you can, and reach out to others who have been/are going through same thing
  • Try to do one thing every day that will make you smile. Put a post it note up to remind you
  • Stick with the present, today, don’t let your mind wander back to what has happened, focus on right now, it is all that you have control over
  • Do NOT contact your ex, or respond to empty promises from him – block him
  • Write a list of EVERYTHING you have in your life that you are grateful for
  • Write a list of all the reasons that you are better off without him
  • Write a list of what you want to attract into your life – focus (it could be anything)
  • Keep a diary so that you can track your recovery. Writing is therapeutic 
  • Make sure that you eat properly, and get enough sleep
  • Treat yourself, and love yourself, like you would a best friend who is low, down and needs support
  • Try not to focus on the past. Stay with the present. Do not focus on being a victim. Focus on being a survivor, and how you can use this experience to  your benefit. Look FORWARDS not BACKWARDS
  • Do NOT be afraid of being alone, learn to value your own company, for now. Focus on healing and loving yourself. 

Take it one day at a time, and try not to panic (if you have lost your job, your home, friends, your finances, or all of this) DON’T panic!

Find someone you can trust. If you cannot trust anyone because of what has happened. Then go easy on yourself and treat yourself like your own best friend!!! – even this is therapeutic

You WILL recover from this. It is important not to throw yourself into another relationship before you are healed, as you risk meeting another one. Focus on you. And most importantly, learn to love you. Focus all of your love on you, because you are special. You are worth it, and YOU deserve YOUR time!!

If you are reading this, and you have recovered, is there anything else that you can think of which is good for recovery? Please add your comments, anon comments are welcome!! :)

Words ©

130 thoughts on “How to recover from dating a sociopath”

  1. O my word….I’ve just realised last night that my second husband is definitely a sociopath…and I’m devastated! This has now been going on for 5 years….and I am completely in love with the man I married (the lie) and I HATE the emotionally abusive one that just doesn’t want to go away anymore (the truth).. I have absolutely NO idea how to start to try and get my life and my self-worth back…I have never been so unhappy…I soooo wish he could stay the man I’m in love with…BUT I know it’s all a lie…..I just need to try and get my brain to accept this… :-(
    How to start a new life….????

  2. One year ago I hit bottom and for the 3rd time I finally ended a 20 year marriage to a sociopath.
    Everything I just read on this blog over the past 3 days has signaled all the red flags I needed to recognize the truth. I haven’t been able to move forward with my life before now.
    I believed that my husband loved me soooo much in the beginning and he was my Soulmate who described his sol purpose on Earth was to ‘be my protector’.
    I felt so responsible for his happiness and for allowing him to fulfill his purpose.
    I ignored all the red flags and became his source as I witnessed him betray and abandon his and my family members and friends over the years. I knew that if I crossed him I would be discarded just as easily but chose to beleive I was ‘ the only person who he ever loved’.
    Once he found his next victim he made it so unbearable for me to stay in a relationship with him that I finally called it off.
    I put myself through hell over the past year not knowing who I was dealing with because I truly loved him and still wanted the relationship I deserved to have but could never have with him.
    I am so grateful to have found this blog and realize that I was waiting for the impossible.
    The truth has set me free
    Now the true healing can begin!
    Thank you!

  3. I was married to a “sociopath” or so my opinion and therapist opinions suggest. I have an intj personality. I think constantly. So for a very long time I was very disappointed in myself and I hated myself for what I allowed to happen because I sensed something was wrong with his emotions from the beginning. What I mean is, his words didn’t reach his eyes, his reactions and actions were text book reactions to human emotions but they didn’t seem real. He was in love with himself. I think he mistook me as a fellow sociopath at first. He described to his mother finding someone like himself. I read that intj’s are often mistaken for sociopaths because our emotions don’t show easily. (I’ve been screamed at by other girls for being unfeeling before… I was only trying to suggest a solution to the complaint) Anyway, I always had a low self esteem (I’m my harshest critic) I grew into confidence later but my time with this sociopath I had esteem issues. Also, I want to add that I grew up with a highly intelligent bi-polar sibling and another sibling who has Dravet Syndrome (a developmental disability in the epilepsy family) so I started out making friends and dating allowing a lot of wiggle room for strange behavior because abnormalities were kind of normal for me growing up. So I excused a LOT of abnormal behavior for him while we were together.

    Before I met him I had a list. (Intj’s often plan out their lives… Anyway I’m aware plans don’t always happen but anyway I had a list) The list contained negotiables and non negotiables for my future husband. Plain and clear. I was raised Christian I wanted someone who was Christian as well but not excessively judgemental. Someone who had logic and goodness in him. Also on my list was someone who would accept that should anything ever happen to my parents that we’d take in my developmentally disabled sibling. He had to be taller than me of course… Anyway, he was everything on the list to the t. Gradually he changed after we married he started isolating me from people. Toward the end I wasn’t allowed to be around friends who got divorced or my mother because he claimed I was too emotional after seeing them… intj remember? I started questioning my well thought out list… he was everything but then I was worth a group of his friends who were all atheist and he was claiming to be atheist and he told them to be careful what they say around me because I’m “super religious”. I questioned him on it, he said he never told me he was religious… He went to premarital counseling with my pastor and we had a religious ceremony??? Also on my list was to want children. He didn’t want children… Anyway, a lot of these things may not sound like a big deal but what bothers me is the lie… The claim he never said it. My husband now, yeah sure things change but we discuss it, like adults. Oh, I should also mention I happen to have type one diabetes and during our arguments (my ex and my) I would suddenly get separated from my insulin for hours upon hours also all of my money went toward insulin, food, gas and my car. I believed we were right on cash (but he made way more than what I knew about, oh and we didn’t have an account together I was an “authorized” user unknowingly and I was putting my earnings in that account. Thankfully I followed my mother’s suggestion of keeping a side account with some money because thankfully that’s how I survived) anyway, I would go grocery shopping and the food would disappear in a matter of days, every last trace. I’d go to work far away, so I cut into gas and insulin money. Eventually, I wound up going to work 7am-7pm no food my schedule changed a bit so I went 8-5 no food or scrounging for crackers then break at home then I’d go to college 7-10 and when I got home if he was in a good mood and I was in his good graces he’d get me fast food. I went from a size 12 to a size 4 during that time (in less than 8 months). My a1c was very bad (who knew it could go up without eating) Anyway, a lot of my thinking abilities were non existent during this time, I was in survival mode. After getting married I finally had insurance and I was put on the insulin pump. (Ding ding ding… constant flow of insulin.. finally) all of a sudden logic came back. He had this habit of telling me that I was imagining things, things never happened, he was embarrassed about something I said, etc. A lot was manipulation, I was paranoid about the bi polar family history so I’m sure he used it to his advantage to say things never happened. I walked around thinking I was literally crazy. But then suddenly logic came back and “if I’m crazy, I should see a psychologist or a psychiatrist and get help” I told him I was seeing a therapist about my past. After listening to everything, the professional showed my the circle of behavior and informed me if I tried defending myself I might get attacked physically. I didn’t want to believe her because I wanted to focus on the “Christian” thing and focus on proactive things for the marriage. Anyway after setting some boundaries for him he attacked me,dragged me, slammed me down and spit in my face. I lost 8 toenails. It’s been almost 5 years since. The big toenails haven’t grown back and I had to get 5 surgeries for the damage done to my types.

    Shortly after the attack, I made up an excuse of babysitting my sister and I went to my mother’s friends house (who was a police detective at the time) I told him everything, (my ex happens to be a police officer and I was terrified to leave him but he also told me about a lot of rules that aren’t true, etc. And threatened to have his officer buddies drag me out of our home when I was out of line) anyway, I was sent to the department where they tried to do a phone sting but it was unsuccessful. (He didn’t answer) the next day I got a temporary restraining order and a police escort happened a few days later to get my belongings out. An OIM was filed but there wasn’t enough evidence to do anything. When toenails are damaged it takes months for them to fall off and during the time of the attack they were painted blue so I had no clue they were damaged.

    Also during the week I stayed with him after attacking me I didn’t sleep one night. The last night I stayed with him he went down to the gun safe, dialed the code for the safe, opened it, closed it, walked upstairs, opened the door, I sat up asked him what was going on, he said nothing and that he was messing with the air conditioning (the air conditioning doesn’t beep). He did this over and over and over. I was beyond terrified. Also a few days prior he cleaned his assault rifle. During dinner he commanded me to look at the site, he pointed the barrel at my face, I was looking down the barrel. He kept commanding me to look at the sight and asked if I could see it. I kept telling him yes I see the sight. I was never so terrified in my life.

    So anyway, this type of person does not like being caught or losing control. To this day I’m terrified he will murder me. I have all sorts of security devices to ensure my safety because I have seen him follow me and watch me from afar on multiple occasions. So my advise to anyone involved with this sort of person is to run as far away as possible. Don’t give any sort of clue you’re leaving just go. It’s not worth your life. Also, when you start dating someone, if they mention that all of their exes left town and you can never meet them… that’s a huge red flag.

    Please be safe… everyone.

    1. Omg thank you for sharing your story. I am pleased you are safe. This is exactly what they do. Mirror you to be what you want. Play with your mind, take everything they can from you and then some more so that you are left with nothing. Do you have ptsd now as well? From the gun incident? I am sorry that this has happened to you.

  4. Wow, just read all of this. One year ago I left a person who I believe was a sociopath. I am still in the “how could someone treat another person like this” stage. My ex had a 2 year affair, then we went to counseling, only to find out that the affair never ended. I went back 4 times!!! Apparently the affair partner was being told a story as well, they were told that I was still in the house because I could not afford to get on my own, it was crazy. I was told that asking them to make a decision was like asking them to cut off their right or left arm. geez…. Anyway, I ended the relationship. The affair partner and I are now friends, lots of talks, discovered lots of lies, lies from the very beginning. My ex is with another person, they had a commitment ceremony 6 months after I moved out. This blog was helpful. I have had such a hard time getting over this. I am very bitter about my retirement money and the years going poof. Rebuilding when you are 55 is not fun. For the past months I kept looking at cards, pictures, and thinking about the fun times we had. I kept thinking “what happened”? this person loved me. I now realize it was the con, the being exactly what I wanted, being the perfect person. It was exactly as described here. It is good to know that I am not the only one that could be taken by someone like this. So, what do I do now? My gut feeling is to warn the new person. But that person is convinced that I am some horrible person that did horrible things and took advantage of my ex. How could I get them to believe the truth? I now realize that my ex had no friends from their past. That should be a give away. But I didnt see it. So to anyone reading this. What are your thoughts about me trying to warn the new person? I am struggling with this and feel guilty for lettingn them walk into the trap.

    1. Hi Deb, I am sure that there are millions of victims around the world. If each one goes through how many victims? Just think how many of them there are?

      Yes, you are right, in terms of what you are thinking, yes it was a con. If you tried to warn the new person, she wouldn’t believe you, simply as he has already covered that ground, and already said that you are crazy and how he was so hard done by, if you tell her, it is doubtful that she would believe you, and likely it would cement their bond further. As he had already warned her, and then he looks more desirable than he actually is. You cant get her to see the truth, this is something that she will have to learn for herself. Please don’t feel guilty for her, as bad as that sounds, it would only keep the game going with him, which is what he wants. Try to focus your energy onto you.

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