It can be very confusing when you come out of the relationship with the sociopath. Your heart tells you one thing, but your head can say quite another. It is confusing, you can love the person, but not love the abuse and the way that this behaviour made you feel about you.
What is really going on? What causes confusion?
At times of weakness your heart can feel one thing
- The love that YOU felt
- Memory of the ‘good times’
- The ‘intense’ connection that you felt
- All the things that you planned to do together, those thoughts in your head of a bright and brilliant future
- How happy you were during the good times
But your head reminds you of something else
- The hurt and the pain that you felt, when lied to, and were deceived
- Not feeling valued and how your needs were never met
- Memory of past actions that hurt you
- Knowledge and understanding that this person is a Sociopath, and can NEVER change
- Remembrance of the cycle of abuse, how the behaviour repeated in patterns, over and over
- The devastation that you felt during those times
- The false empty dreams and promises
- The significant losses that you have experienced
It can feel on a merry go round of emotions, as you switch back and forth. You read an article which shouts out to you and you feel better. Hours later, you are slumped on the sofa, and your heart is aching again.
Even if you have ended the relationship with the sociopath, it can feel as if you were the one who was dumped. You feel
- Let down
There is also a sense of ‘finality’ the same that you would feel if there were a bereavement. It is like grieving a death. The person that you once loved does not exist, and is never coming back.
You face two choices:
- Continue to be lied to and abused, knowing that this cycle of abuse that will continue
- Have no choice, but to walk away, despite the love in your heart that you might still feel
How To Separate Your Feelings From The Sociopath’s Behaviour
It is important that you separate truth from fiction. Being in the relationship with the Sociopath, there would have been much deceit, manipulation and illusion. In fact, the entire time spent with the Sociopath was likely to have been one of illusion. It was only when the mask slipped and you witnessed the Narcissistic rage, that you saw a different person. Or at any time, that you challenged the sociopath about their behaviour, or pulled them up on what you knew to be lies and deception.
For you, the victim, you are left with conflicting emotions. You know that the relationship is bad for you. You know that it will not get better, yet sometimes your heart takes you back to fantasy land.
Remember you cannot change the Sociopath – but you can change YOU!
How to separate those feelings
You need a pen and paper. It is good to write this by hand. It will also be useful for you to keep this for later when you are having a bad day. The following should help you to sort out the confusion in your mind, and to separate what is in your heart, from the Sociopaths behaviour.
If you would like to follow this exercise, you are going to use BOTH your heart and your head. The intention, is to divide those conflicting feelings. This will help you to separate truth from fiction.
Feelings in your heart – List One
The first step is to let it all out. Write a list of all the good thing. All the good times. All the happy times. All of those thoughts that randomly come into your head, and cause you pain. Everything that you can think of, write it down. This is list one.
The purpose of this exercise is to ALLOW your feelings. All of your feelings, but to put them into the appropriate place.
- He made me laugh
- We had some fun times together
- We went off on exciting adventures
- He took care of me
Reality to feelings in your heart Part One – List Two
Now I want you to add to list one. Write next to it – what was in it for your Sociopath partner?
- He made me laugh – He was seducing me for his own needs
- We had some fun times – Nearly always I was paying
- We went off on adventures – I was always with him – he kept control of me and was able to monitor me
- He took care of me – I actually didn’t need to be ‘cared for’ but he did this to control me
Write on this list, what did the sociopath get out of those situations? See it from the way that they think. How they use people for source of supply.
List Three – What your head is telling you – now you write the Sociopaths behaviour, and why this was bad for you!
You should by now be prepared for this one.
After the fantasy of the hearts and flowers in your head, to putting the same situation from the Sociopath’s perspective and WHY things were so great, we now take this one step further.
Step three. Write the sociopaths actions. This list is about the sociopaths behaviour. Again here are the examples
- He was selfish and seduced me for his own needs, using me for source of supply
- He was controlling
- He manipulated situations to keep me under control
- He stole from me
- He lied to me
I could continue with this list, but you get the picture?
List four – writing goals for YOU!
Use list one, to help you with this list. In this exercise take out the things that made you happy from list one (the product that the sociopath was selling you) this will be the part that you now feel is ‘missing’ in your own life.
- (I will skip the being taken care of – as this was a perception, that was sold to me, I didn’t really need to be taken care of) -this was control
Using the information contained in the previous lists, you write your final list
How to achieve these things (the things that made you happy) for yourself !!
- Catch up with old friends that I didn’t have time to see. Go to a comedy club, watch a funny video, see family, anything that makes you laugh, and is fun
- Plan for a holiday – book a camping trip, book to go to a festival
- Take my bike out of the garage, call up a friend and go out for a ride
Make sure that this list is SMART
- When will you do it? (time frame it)
- How will you achieve it?
- Is this realistic?
- What is your plan B if this doesn’t work (put in plan b because if you fail at plan A you might go back to the hearts and flowers delusion of the Sociopath relationship)
Why writing lists can help you!
- Writing is healing
- It helps to separate the sociopaths behaviour from your feelings
- It gives you a list of things to do
- It keeps your mind occupied
- It helps bring to focus back to You
- You start to move away from the sociopath and focusing on them, and start making POSITIVE goals for you, and the future
- It can help with creating a sense of normality. After all, did you not have fun, go on adventures, laugh before you met the sociopath? (as in my example)
Of course you did those things before you met the sociopath, as they were mirroring YOU (not the other way around)
By breaking down what has happened, and using lists to clarify your thoughts, you can help to speed up the healing time. There is no doubt that being a Sociopathic relationship can be damaging, but you can use your recovery time in a positive way.
You can do this. No matter how bad the damage is, you can do this. It will help you to recover and heal. You might not want to do this at first. It is important to grieve. You might not get as far as writing out your goals. This is OK, the intention of the exercise is to take back control of you. To separate their behaviour from your emotions.
Remember to do this successfully, you need to establish NO CONTACT which means
- Delete old phone messsages
- Delete telephone number
- Delete emails and email contact
- Block social media
- DO NOT look at their social media contact
- If you have mutual friends, maybe at least for a while, revise your friends list
Love yourself. You’re worth it!! 🙂
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