Category Archives: Will I ever feel better? The stages of healing and recovery

The stages of healing and recovery after dating a sociopath – What to expect – a quick guide!

I have already written how at the end of the relationship with the sociopath you go through

  • Five stages of grief and the healing process
  • Grieving the person that you thought you were with

(See healing and recovery section for these posts)

It can be difficult when you are in initial stages of break up. The pain can feel overwhelming. A question that is often asked, is how long is this going to last for? Is this going to get worse? You feel awful, empty, bereft and the pain can feel overwhelming. You might be wondering how long is this pain going to last? Is this feeling forever? Will I ever recover from this? Is my life always going to be this way? You might struggle to escape, to break the cycle of addiction to the sociopath and the cycle of abuse.


A quick walk through guide to healing and recovery

Stage One – Disbelief

As you read information, and you see virtually your ex waving back at you on the pages that you read. You struggle to come to terms with the truth. Many of you would not have heard the term ‘sociopath’ or ‘psychopath’ except, perhaps thinking of mass murderers, you look back with reflection, your ex could be so ‘ nice’ ‘charming’ ‘caring’. They often seemed like the victim. Maybe you have it wrong? You struggle to believe that your ex was a sociopath. You still focus on the good times and the happy times. You constantly question is he/she a sociopath?

Stage two – The fog of confusion

In this stage, you are so confused. You don’t WANT it to be true. You want the mask of illusion the ‘nice guy/gal’ to be the real person. Accepting reality is very difficult. During this stage of healing, you constantly read information. You reach out to others. It is at this time that you are the most susceptible to being lured back in by the sociopath. Having been constantly lied to, constantly let down, you no longer know what is real, and what is fake. You struggle to adjust to your life, and to understand what is real? It can be difficult talking to others who do not understand psychopathic/sociopathic behaviour. In their mind, they think ‘what is there to miss’ what has happened to you feels so difficult to explain. You continue to read, almost hoping that you will find something which will prove that your ex isn’t a sociopath. That there is hope, and that you will and can return to the glory days.

Stage Three – Heartache, depression and sadness

As the harsh reality and the truth sinks in, you sink into a depth of depression and sadness. You realise that this is something that cannot be fixed. It cannot be changed. Your heart hurting. You feel stupid and embarassed that this has happened to you. Your focus right now is on the sociopath. You are desperate for answers. You need to understand, why? Why has this happened? Why did you deserve this? Did your ex ever love you you constantly ask yourself? What was real? Was everything a lie? You struggle to come to terms with the harsh reality. The truth hurts. It hurts bad. You are now coming out of the fog of confusion and walking into the glaring truth of reality. Your heart aches so badly for the way that you have been treated, that you could take it out and put it away in a box in a cupboard – until you feel better. You almost think that life with the sociopath was better than feeling this hurt.

Stage Four – Isolation and emptiness

The harsh reality of your life and the effects of the relationship, is now hitting you hard. Perhaps you have lost a job, lost friends, family, finances, even your home and other losses. It is hard to believe that the person that you loved with all of your heart has betrayed you. You feel empty, isolated and alone. What has happened is so crazy, it is difficult for you to explain to others. At this time you might also be in the midst of ruining and smear campaigns by the sociopath. Right now you feel an empty shell of the person that you once were. Some of you feel so bad, so empty, so alone, that you might think of ending your life (DON’T!!) ….

Stage Five – Psychological Detective

In this stage you learn enough about psychopaths, sociopaths, and behaviour disorders, to gain a qualification. You become obsessed with understanding why? You read all that you can.  Understanding about psychological behaviour becomes your latest obsession. The more that you read, the more you learn, the easier you find things. Understanding how bad and messed up your ex is, in some way – helps you to feel better. If you could you would read about it 24/7. For some reason understanding is healing. Your focus in this stage is still on the sociopath, not on you. You are still hurt, and angry. You might feel a need for justice and to expose the sociopath.

Stage Six – Acceptance, healing, recovery and focus back to you

Acceptance is always the final stage of recovery. In this stage, you start to  focus on you, and your needs. You might even be able to raise a smile, or at best a laugh. You have done well. You realise that your ex had a psychological disorder. That was not your fault. What happened and the behaviour belongs to them – not you!

In this final stage, you let go of the bad. You start to focus on the good. You accept that there is nothing that you could have done to change a thing. You realise that it was nothing to do with you,it was not your fault.  You are not stupid. In the final stage, you start to make plans for you. To rebuild your life. You are finding that the good times are outweighing the bad.

You realise the damage that has been done to you. Perhaps you are struggling to trust others. You are looking at what you have learned, and perhaps things within yourself that you want to fix. You start to make plans for your future. Slowly you begin to allow others back into your life.

In the final stage, you are not focusing on what happened, or why? You are no longer trying to understand. Your focus is back to you. You are letting go, realising that the person that you were with has a disordered mind – and feeling a sense of relief that whatever he/she is doing now – at least they are no longer doing it to YOUR life.

The final stage can feel slightly liberating. You have learned a lot and have grown. You realise that you want to not make the same mistakes in the future – or at least not date the same mistakes. You realise that you really do deserve better. For the first time, possibly in all of your life you are protecting you. Looking after you, realising that you really do deserve better.

Always focus on changing what you can – not what you can’t!!

You might be reading this, recently coming out of the relationship and are still in the early stages. The pain might feel overwhelming. The sadness, the emptiness, and the humiliation might leave you feeling absolutely devastated. You wonder how you can go on – will you ever recover?

The answer is – yes you will!!!

Remember  the following

  • Confusion is only a temporary phase – nobody stays confused forever
  • The truth no matter how painful it is to learn – the truth really will set you free (truth hurts huh)
  • EVERYBODY in the beginning goes through the fog of confusion. This is normal. You might drive people close to you, mad with your constant chopping and changing of mind about the sociopath. This is also normal too.
  • If something is hurting you – this means that you are learning and growing. Remember when you were a child, you fell over and cut your knee??… when your knee was healing it itched and itched -you wanted to scratch but if you scratched it – it would bleed and re-open the wound. This is like No contact – you might get the urge to contact, just like the urge to scratch…. but realistically all that you will do is to re-open the wound, and you will need to allow it to heal again. Don’t scratch the wound – don’t fall back on no contact. If you are struggling – if you have that itch – stop…. take some time out – read the articles on No contact…. stop bleeding. Its time for healing and recovery.
  • Take one day at a time. Realise that the longer you were in the relationship – the longer it will take to fully heal and recover.
  • That the sociopath creates an addiction to him/or her, you might get the urge to contact – don’t this will delay your healing and recovery

Focus on you, it is not wrong to be selfish. In fact after an abusive relationship, it is essential (you will be so drained you will need all of your energy for you). You can never fix somebody else, but you can fix you!

Words ©