When you break up with a sociopath, it is usual to experience bereavement. This is because the person that you fell in love with, was just a lie. Everything was a lie. You were sold something which didn’t exist.
It is common at the end of a lot of relationships to go through the five stages of bereavement, but this is especially true for the person who has been dating the sociopath. You had fallen in love with the image of a person and the illusion you were sold.You fell in love with lies, and a charismatic mask. Now that you know the truth, there is nothing that can bring that person that you love back. You experience what feels like a death. It feels like bereavement.
What are the five stages of grief?
1. Denial and Isolation
1.Denial and Isolation
You might have gone through denial many times, whilst still in the relationship. You might have known what was going on, or had suspicions, but you denied this to yourself. (and likely the sociopath denied also), denial was easier to face than the truth. This is what can cause confusion. When the relationship ends, facing the truth, that the person that you were in love with didn’t actually exist and that you were being sold something that was about as real as the Emperors new clothes, can be a difficult pill to swallow. When we are in denial, we:
Make excuses for the behaviour – trying to justify it in your own mind
You probably would have experienced isolation whilst in the relationship, as the sociopath is controlling, and could have taken you away from people close to you. Additionally after the break up, you might feel that other people wouldn’t understand the crazy that you have just been through which adds to the isolation.
Your sense of trust has been diminished, and this makes you feel isolated. When there is a true bereavement, there are others there for you. At the end of a relationship that others perceive as ‘bad’…. you can feel isolated and on your own. The person that you were in love with, really didn’t exist. It was all a lie.
Another defence mechanism is anger. You feel angry at what has happened to you. You feel angry that you have been lied to and cheated. You might think about revenge, you might feel disdain and hatred for the sociopath. You feel angry for what has been done to you, and the lack of respect for your own welfare.
Anger is a good defence mechanism, it protects you from pain, and during the time of anger towards another, you do not feel the anger at yourself. You are projecting your hurt and your pain back to your abuser.
Coming out of anger, the pain becomes overwhelming. Reality is coming closer. No longer are you protected by the pain of anger. You are feeling what has happened, and are reflecting that feeling towards yourself. Not feeling so angry, you are no longer protected from the pain.
To rid yourself of the pain, you try to bargain with your abuser. Will they change? Is there a reason for this behaviour? If you do x x x can they do x x x ? To make things better.
You are bargaining with both your abuser and yourself. You don’t want this pain, you don’t want this bereavement either, you want back the illusion of the person that you were sold. But no matter how much you want it, you realise that was all it was – illusion.
As the reality is starting to sink in, you begin to feel depressed. You are no longer in denial, you can see clearly what has happened to you. You feel used, and abused. You sink into depression. At this point, there is a sense of loss, but by now, you have been learning what has happened to you. You feel depressed and hurt, and withdraw into yourself. You want the pain to go away, and try to understand what has happened to you. You might have disturbed sleep patterns, difficulties with eating regularly. You will likely withdraw yourself from the life you led before, and have difficulty with trusting others.
You are no longer using defence mechanisms to protect yourself. Instead, you are feeling your pain. It hurts. You want the pain to go away.
The final stage of bereavement is acceptance. Whilst there is no definitive order to the other stages, they can come and go, in different stages. Acceptance is always the final stage.
When you have reached acceptance, you understand what has happened to you. Perhaps you have found some spiritual meaning to why?
Now you are in possession of the truth. You are no longer searching for answers. You are no longer deluded or confused, as you were in the first stage. You see the truth for what it is. No longer do you feel angry, either at your abuser, or yourself. You just accept, that what has happened, has happened.
You realise that there is no point in bargaining, because the person that you thought they were has gone. Now, you are moving out of depression, and are accepting. You feel pity for your abuser. Whilst you might not agree with what has happened to you, you accept it, and you let go.
In the final stage, there is no bitterness. When you have reached the final stage of acceptance. You have let go. The abuser is no longer attached to you. You might go through the first four stages many times, when you have reached acceptance, you have finally healed.
We are all different – but for me, personally, when I can let go, and be thankful for the lesson that it has taught me, this is where I am fully healed. When I can think of the person without feeling any emotion at all. Not anger, love hatred. Just neutral. In fact, for me, when I can let go with love, is when I am truly over it and at the final stage of healing – acceptance, healing, and freedom!!! In the final stage, you stop loving the sociopath – and you start truly loving you.