When you are in the relationship with the sociopath, there is little time to focus on you and your needs. Your head space, and often physical space, has been taken up with the sociopath. It is difficult to even have time to think, you forget how to focus on you.
It can feel like a BLACK HOLE when the relationship ends. After all, somebody has been controlling you. Controlling everything about your life. You will have become used to not thinking for yourself or that if you did, you faced constant accusations of things that you haven’t done.
Whilst it is important to get answers to understand what has happened to you, you need this for closure, everybody needs answers. Reading my site and other sources of information on the net, will give you the answers that you need (you wont get them from the sociopath). It is important to take time out from learning and understanding, to focus on you.
Why it is not easy to just ‘focus on you’
As written above when you have been manipulated and controlled you move out of your natural zone to think about your own needs. You were manipulated like a puppet on a string. You stopped thinking for you, about you. You might as well have been invisible. In front of you, stood someone who was hiding behind the mask of illusion. The master manipulator, illusionist, and magician. It can be difficult to know what is real, what is true and what is a lie. When you go through this, you stop trusting yourself, stop trusting your own judgement. Stop looking out for you, and the focus is on somebody else and not on you.
Your head might feel foggy and you might experience the following
- Fear of making your own decisions and doing things for yourself (what if he/she comes back and causes trouble)
- Not really wanting the relationship to be over, and not wanting to move on (holding yourself back)
- After a long time being manipulated, controlled and emotionally abused not trusting or believing in yourself
- Being unsure what you want/think/feel, or even confusion about who you really are
- Fearing that if you make a decision, something will go wrong. Having operated in a space where if you do ‘nothing’ nothing bad will happen, for such a long time – it can be difficult to start making decisions for yourself again.
- Being hopeful, that perhaps he/she isn’t a sociopath, and will or can change
- Going back sometimes again and again only to discover that the above is a myth. If you have your fingers burned enough times, eventually your mind will catch up with what your heart already knows
It is ok to let it go. I know that this person played your ‘best friend’ but realistically would you treat your best friend the way that your sociopathic partner has treated you? It can be difficult to learn to focus on you and your life, especially at first when you are in the fog of illusion, and deception (often fuelled by the sociopaths further lies and constant promises to change, and the bright and beautiful life you were promised).
There are techniques that you can do to help you with bringing the focus back to you. It works, and I know that it works as I have done it myself, and over many years I worked with homeless people, including those leaving abusive/violent relationships, I observed results with them too. They became empowered, healed and moved on with their life in a more positive way.
The steps that you need to take
- Bring back the focus to you. Try not to focus on the sociopath. It is OK and healthy to learn all that you can for closure. But if you find more of your time is taken focusing on the sociopath, leaving no time for you and your own life, you will remain stuck. If you find yourself ‘obsessing’ try to keep yourself busy. If you can’t think of anything. Write…. just get it down on paper
- Realise that after an abusive relationship you will be in a period of healing and recovery. The sociopath deliberately creates dependence by making you addicted to him/her (I have written separately about this in another post). You therefore need to realise that you will
- Go through the 5 stages of grief and the healing process. You would likely go through this with any relationship ending, but this is especially so after a relationship with the sociopath
- Need to be realistic about the time frame for recovery. As with any relationship ending, it can take time to adjust and for your heart to mend. If you were in the relationship for a very long time, it might take some time to heal. It is not realistic to expect to heal from 20 years of healing and recovery, in a month. How long? However long you want!! It is up to you how long the healing and recovery takes.
- Remain ‘stuck’ if you focus on hatred of the sociopath. This is neither healthy or helpful for recovery. To fully recovery, you need to get to the final stage of the grief and healing and that is ‘acceptance’. When you accept, you accept that you cannot change the sociopath but you can change you!!
- Try to stay with the present as much as you can whilst healing and in recovery. The exception to this is to have old friends, family, people you trust in your life. Surround yourself with people who care about you. If the sociopath has managed to isolate you, relish time on your own. Time to take care of your own needs. Remember what silence there can be in healing. If you experience constant chatter in your mind, try to do something to change your mind. Pick up the phone, call a friend, go for a walk, start researching for something you want to do for the future.
- Remember that there are only two primary emotions – love and fear – the sociopath exploited these emotions to manipulate you and abuse you. Start to manipulate yourself. If you find yourself obsessing and hating (either yourself or the sociopath) realise that this is based on fear. So switch it around (change your thinking change your life) as soon as (if practically possible) those thoughts creep into your mind – try to do something to cheer yourself up (even if it is a walk to the park to appreciate the beauty of nature).
Most important things to do
- Write !!!! 1. Write lists -
- a) Why you miss the sociopath – what are you missing?
- b) Write all the bad things he/she did and why you are better off without him/her
- c) A list of short term goals (things you want to do, need to do) anything to rebuild you and your life – make sure that you put in one long term goal to work towards also – this will help you to focus back onto you
- Whenever you find your mind wandering – if you are feeling bad – or feeling upset – remember this is FEAR (fear of being alone, fear that what the sociopath said about you is true, fear of what will happen to you ect), it is important to switch off this negative chatter in your mind – and replace with LOVE. Do something that you love. Or write a list of things that you want to do/need to do – what do YOU want (and not the sociopath – it didn’t bring you happiness before, nothing will change)
- Start no contact and stick to it. Realise that the sociopath stuck to you like glue, this was flattering at first, but draining and suffocating later… remember this is like addiction. You need to quit what is bad for you (like quitting smoking) – and go through the withdrawal period before you feel better. But like quitting smoking if you continue to have just ‘one more puff’ it will be difficult…. make it easier for yourself – quit and stay quit. And if temptation comes your way (the sociopath strives for contact), be loyal and true to you, not the sociopath. Remember that you cannot fix the sociopath, but you can fix you
- Make sure that your goals are SMART – SPECIFIC (what do you want to achieve,, write it down), Measured (how will you know that you have achieved it?) REALISTIC (be realistic – you are not going to fly to the moon tomorrow, no matter if you really want to do this) – TIME FRAME – (set yourself a time frame to achieve this goal) – again be realistic. It is important to remember that your goal setting is SMART – by doing this you will make goals that you can achieve. Being in an abusive relationship is damaging to your self esteem – it might sound silly – but writing smart lists of goals – as many short term as you like and at least ONE long term goal) - you will rise in self esteem as tick one more goal that you have achieved off of your list
By doing the above you should start to bring back the focus to YOU. You cannot change the sociopath, but you can change you!! :)
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