It might be tempting to hold on. To delude yourself. You struggle with letting go. Inside your head and your heart, there are two things going on:
- Memory of the person who was kind, charismatic, caring, funny, and great company (the euphoric memory of being loved)
- The hurt and pain of rejection, betrayal, loss, deception and lies (the painful memory of being unloved and disrespected)
You want to walk away. When you do, your heart hurts. It feels final. Your heart has a battle with your head. Your heart and your head fights for supremacy, you alternate in what you want and what you feel with such regularity, those who are left in your life (if anyone), are driven insane by your constant chopping and changing of mind (this is made worse by either silence from the sociopath, or bombardment of communication)
Your mind preaches hatred and anger, telling you that you really do deserve better. Your heart focuses on the good times. This is the period of confusion. It can feel like a whirlwind, going around and around, chopping and changing your mind and your feelings.
Whilst it might feel liberating to have feelings, it can also feel alien. Remember that for a while, you were in the relationship where your thoughts were controlled, and your emotions were manipulated. Now, for the first time, coming out of the relationship, you are being allowed to truly FEEL. Yes that is right – you can now feel YOUR feelings!!! You are also in control of your own mind, and your own thoughts. This change can be painful.
It has been a while since you were able to think for yourself, to feel for yourself. And truthfully you probably don’t know how to feel? When was the last time that YOUR feelings and thoughts were important, and you were not manipulated and controlled?
Others really do not understand
Unless you have also been through a sociopathic relationship, it is very difficult for others in your life to understand. To your confiders, they listen to your stories, and simply think ‘well it was that bad, why can’t you move on?’ ‘Forget about it’. What they do not realise, is that whilst you can go through some of the worst times in your life with the sociopath, you can also go through some of the best times also (even if this is just a false illusion and façade). How can something so seemingly very good, also be so very bad? How do you explain this to other people?
Things that you need when you come out of the sociopathic relationship
- Talk through things (with someone who will not judge)
- To be heard
- To be understood (by others)
- To make sense of what has happened to you
- The truth
- Knowledge and understanding
- Hope (for the future)
You want the pain in your heart to go, and to no longer be confused. You want to understand, and for others to understand and support you too. Is this too much to ask?
There is also a sense of shame after you have dated a sociopath. The sociopath will do all that they can to leave you feeling humiliated and ashamed, and others can also jump on the bandwagon too.
What can make things worse?
- Being judged
- Feeling misunderstood
- Being told to ‘move on’
- Feeling isolated
- Self blame and punishment
What you need to do
- Be realistic with time – the longer that you were in the relationship – the longer it will take to heal
- The same goes for the level of abuse and deception, the more severe the abuse, the longer it will take to heal, be realistic about this. You won’t recover from a ten year relationship in two months. (you wouldn’t even if a healthy relationship had came to an end)
- Stay with the present. You cannot change the past, and the future hasn’t happened yet. Just focus on today – this is SO important. Just for RIGHT NOW…. stay with the present!
- Accept that you will alternate between being ruled by your heart and your head, as you work out those feelings, and the confusion caused by feeling betrayed and deceived – this can take a while, but remember, confusion does not last forever
- Spend time with people you trust
- Do not fear the silence of time alone – enjoy your space
- Play music which lifts your spirits, but NOT music which reminds you of your ex!
- Do things that celebrate you – what do YOU love to do?
- Sometimes, one of the most healing things to do, are things that you loved in childhood. There is a reason that children have simple things – drawing, art, reading, even cartoons – simple messages that can be good for your soul. Nourish your soul
- Write lists of what you want to achieve for the future
- Embrace NO CONTACT – each day – reward yourself for another day completed. Take this ONE DAY AT A TIME!!! Do not say that you will never speak to the Sociopath again, (although this is the intention), just say ‘for today’ or even for ‘this morning’ ‘this afternoon’ ‘this evening’
- Go through your clothes, have a clear out. Paint a room, move furniture around, create YOUR OWN environment.
- Put away anything related to the sociopath, put it in a box and into the attic or garage. Physically putting things away can help you to mentally put things away
- Write lists – if you have trouble in your life, from the sociopath relationship, financial, job or home loss or anything really – write lists how you can resolve these issues. It is a paper exercise, but you will feel better for doing something, at least making a plan, so will feel less helpless
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Being with a sociopath is hard work, draining, confusing, heart-breaking, it will take a while to heal and recover!
Finally – I always say this – learn to love yourself. You really are worth it