Grieving the person you thought they were

Aside from the stalking, bombardment of communication, and lies about you, as well as other losses, one of the most difficult things to come to terms with at the end of the relationship with a sociopath, is grieving the loss of the person that 

you thought they were. 


A sociopath throughout the relationship, has lived a life of deceit. of manipulating you into thinking that they were someone that they were not.

At the end of the relationship, you can feel a sense of loss, as you realise that person that you were with, didn’t actually exist. It was all  fake, all a lie. You had been manipulated, conned, and deceived.

It is quite common to want back the person who you thought you were in love with. Unlike other abusers with other personality disorders, the sociopath is often openly helpful, and to your face can appear kind (that is until he loses control of anything and the narcissist rage occurs).

You struggle within yourself, how can this be? You long for the support of the loving supportive partner, but they doesn’t exist anymore.

This, can be absolutely devastating. With a normal break up, you know what you are breaking up with. You know that you have rowed, and maybe the relationship had came to an end. But the ending with the sociopath is entirely different. For a number of reasons

  • Your mind has been played with, you have been lied to deceived
  • The person you were in love with does not really exist
  • You likely are suffering other losses and humiliation
  • The relationship with the sociopath does not end painlessly
  • It makes you question everything? Was anything true?

You might try to reach out to the sociopath to take away this pain. The sociopath will either

  • Ignore you
  • Play further games
  • Deflect and blame everything onto you, it was all your fault and all your shortcomings

The only thing that can help with this, is time. With understanding and knowledge. By reading everything that you can, and understanding everything that you can. Knowledge is power.

Realising that the person behind the mask is different to the man that you thought you were in love with, is alarming and confusing. More than likely you suspected that this was the case for a while, when things didn’t add up, and you were lied to further, and manipulated some more.

At the end of the relationship with the sociopath, you grieve not only the end of the relationship,  but also  realising that the man you were in love with, never even existed.

It’s as heartbreaking as discovering that Santa is not real as a kid….. once you know…. there is nothing you can ever do to change the truth. The man that you were in love with, just like Santa, can never be real again. It was all just an illusion.

Words ©

32 thoughts on “Grieving the person you thought they were”

  1. Do you have any tips for staying strong and not sending that text?? (That will likely be ignored)

  2. What a great article 🙂
    Reading this is euphoric as I revisit the occurrences of my relationship with ‘the sociopath’.
    In one sense, it’s comforting knowing that I AM not alone in this matter…
    However, there is a sense of belittlement & I almost want to say, ‘betrayal’ the God would have people in the world that can actual violate every form of reasoning & care. Literally ‘NO CONNECTION!’
    As I become more aware of ‘the sociopath’, I get chills as recalling moments over the past 18 years that I thought were so real, so sincere (and there are many of them)…To know now that they were all lies!

    1. I know…. i think there are some things that they mean at the time. But what they mean at the time, is usually for what they can get. As long as they get what they want, and they maintain control; they are happy.

      What changes – is when they feel they are losing control, or facing loss of supply then the person changes… and you get a different reaction. But… if you were there for 18 years, I don’t have to tell you.

  3. She moved out 5 years ago yet at the time, I knew nothing about ‘the sociopath’…all I knew was there seen to be something wrong with this seemingly wonderful & promising relationship.
    Next thing you know, I AM patching holes that come out of nowhere & of course, she knows nothing about anything I ask her.
    Why is the bank account off?
    What happened to the car?
    Why did you get fired?
    Why did my insurance policy lapse?
    Where are my files?
    Where were you?
    Why didn’t you call?

    For years this went on & I would have never known or even thought that ‘she’ was behind ‘all of the above’…smiling the whole time why she destroys my life piece by piece.

    I have been depressed, started suffering panic attacks while driving to the point that I have become literally isolated from the world…

    It has been 3 months of ‘no contact’ & your site is soooo helpful at this stage.
    I AM processing a lot of ‘what happened’ yet I AM determined & excited about ‘recovering & moving on!’ 🙂

    Thanks again for your dedication to ‘awareness’ of ‘the sociopathic disorder’ & unveiling ‘light’ a dark place! 🙂

    1. Thank you ak and welcome to the site. It’s horrible when your world has been turned upside down by someone who is spiteful. I understand what you are saying have been there too.

  4. Nothing about him was the truth, he was never in the military ( I wore his Navy Seal ring on my chain every day). He said he had millions in a bank account in trust. Showed me the statement which I found out later was forged. He told me he was 38 and 5’11 when he was actually turning 40 and was 5’9. he told me he had 2 daughters on our first date and I found out he had a son with a stripper 8 months into the relationship. He signed a contract to buy a 550,000 house right in front of me and 2 realtors said he was paying cash and a week before the closing he backed out( which later I found out he gave them a 50,000 check on a closed account. They didn’t press charges because they called the bank first. The list of lies goes on and on. This man lived with me 12 months out of 15 months of our relationship everyday he acted everyday was fake! I try to get the people closet to me to please realize whats that’s like I was sharing a life with someone who was using me for whatever he could get. I’m 8 months out and he has never contacted me after I confronted him he’s gone on to new supply and I’m doing better than expected but oh God there are still times I just can’t believe that this whole relationship was fake! I know I will never be with this distorted man but I’m still stuck in this stage.

    1. Oh gosh Antonette, I can relate to you. How shocking and devastating that EVERYTHING was a lie. Nothing was true. Absolutely everything was bullshit.

      Afterwards I felt so stupid. I just wondered how anybody could possibly do such a thing.

      They can…. as they have no conscience, and once they go on the bender of the lie, it grows and grows and grows….. until they begin to believe the lies that they are telling. The become the lie 😦

      1. Positivgirl i was with my ex husband for 22 years total of 25 years since I was fifteen we ended because he had a midlife crisis I don’t hate him even though we don’t speak the sociopath was the second man I have ever loved and even though my professional is back to normal, my friends and family have been there for me and I have kept myself busy and am starting to be happy with where my life is headed there has not been a day since the discard that I have not thought of him good or bad. He was never physically abusive, never called me names, never raised his voice to me , told me he loved me all the time! He took advantage of me financially , he was supposed to pay the rent and always had an excuse,went on vacation and then his card didn’t work didn’t pay me back. Sexually he was great the first 5 months then he just stopped and when I talked to him about it he just stopped initiating and withheld affection. Never kept his word and I broke it off 5 times knowing something was wrong bur I always called him back I need help getting past this stage, is there something else I could be doing?

      2. Hi antoinette, learning about what has happened to you, and talking to other people who really understand how this is to experience, can be really useful.

        I found that there were different stages, and it was a bit like a bereavement. It can be difficult as you grieve the person that you ‘thought’ you were with.

        Also that sense of ‘perfection’ can be quite difficult to let go of. I can relate to all that you say, as I was there too, and experienced many similar things to you. So a lot of posts that are written on this site, you might really be able to relate to, as they were written about my own experiences.

      3. I can def relate. 😥 The hardest part for me is mourning the loss of the man I “thought” I married. Only that man never existed. He was a fake. The mask fell off. He could not keep up or should I say measure up to that person he made me believe he was. 10.5 yrs of marriage, lots of tears and heartbreak and tons of prayers, I’m realizing now I have no idea who this man I’m married to is. I’m so confused, hurt, mad, don’t know what to do or where to turn. I am out of work, no money, no where to go…. I’m stuck here. My daughters adore him. Think he hung the moon. He is their step dad. They don’t see what I see or live what I live! They believe him over me. He is that good at what he does. How do you deal with ppl like him???

  5. I cannot write much at the moment, but your blog has helped move me from denial to grieving. While grieving hurts so much, denial is no place to be, or not for long. So call that progress.

    Still hard to believe the person I thought the world of, and was ready to give everything I have to, was in reality not a nice person at all. I must count my blessings, I had a lucky escape. Once she moved in with me, sparks started to fly for no reason I could see, but I knew this behaviour must be a pattern that began long before me. I refused to fight with her and I think I denied her a source of pleasure. I was no fun. I remember once she was swearing in the bedroom, and generally I would try to win her back in most arguments, but I told her very clearly that I would never, ever stay with a woman who would swear in bed, it was non-negotiable for me and actually, I’d never had it happen before and I’ve had enough experience of these things. And standing up that one time, while it silenced and shamed her then (probably only because she had never had a response like that), made her think it was time to move on and find a fresh victim. I believe she’s re-warming some old ones she had in the fridge right now…

    Some day, hopefully soon, I’ll be able to take the good things from this and move on. I’m amazed how hard I was hit, I think because I didn’t know it was happening to me, though people around me warned me. Hey those Thomas Sheridan videos really worked for me. No Contact!

    Thanks to all esp. the blogger-in-charge. And please excuse my silly pseudonym!

  6. I know this is an old thread but for me it’s an oasis in the desert. I just ended my relationship with my sociopath on New Year’s Eve. We were together just short of a year. Now I’m realizing it was all a lie. We were planning to get married. We had even looked at rings. We were trying to have a baby and he always seemed so excited whenever we thought we had conceived. He had even integrated me into his children’s lives from his previous marriage. Every thing you said in your article is true. It’s like you were there. I knew his stories were not adding up. But I loved him so much I forced myself to believe him. After a while he stopped even trying to make the lies good. He would just tell me any thing and I’d better believe it without question or suffer his irrational yelling if I dared question him. Even when he was caught in a lie he would verbally attack me for “investigating” or “checking behind him” to see if what he said was true. It was like, “How dare you not believe me when I’m lying to you!”
    I’m completely devastated and humiliated. I now know for certain that he was cheating on me and lying to me pretty much from the beginning. I’m educated and a professional and I feel like such a fool for letting this con artist destroy me.
    I’m so very thankful for my friends. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to survive this. I’ve ended relationships before but I’ve never felt Hell like this before at the end of a relationship. I ended a 7 year relationship that was nowhere close to being this painful.
    The worst part is that I’m still in love with the person he pretended to be and it’s so hard to accept that this person never existed.

    1. I know. It is tough. Many people give it another go as they miss the ‘nice’ person so much. The outcome is always the same. If he was being nice. He wanted something. If he was being nice he was using. Manipulating deceiving. It isnt you. He has been like this before and will repeat the same pattern again. Over and over.

    2. I’m in the exactly situation and hurts too much, specially because I miss him lots. Just wanted to say you are not alone. Good luck

    3. I understand how you feel. I always thought I was really smart. After being married for 25 years to someone I believe it is a sociopath. I thought I was pretty strong until I was “attacked” by a worst one. Yes. I feel I was attacked. From the beginning with the love bombing until the end with lies upon lies and the verbal abuse followed by romantic messages followed by cheating. The incredible part is that I feel I was in a fog. Like I could not think clearly. I believe they work with the devil. They come to destroy and suck ohr souls. With prayer and this blog I am regaining myself back. I am also in therapy. For us Christians claim the blood of Jesus to cover us and rebuke this attack. You were attacked. You got out. Don’t let him take your dignity. I was with one for 25 years. I survived. This second one less than 6 months. Now healing and hoping to finally thru therapy and faith figure out my vulnerability so to fix it and be able to find a real man. All the best to you. And don’t you feel guilty. You are a survivor.

    1. It takes time. It won’t happen overnight. They deliberately create dependence and addiction and you need to go through the withdrawal period, and work through the mental abuse that he has done to you. You won’t be able to do this, while he is still in your life.

  7. Such a powerful statement, “The person you were in love with can never be real again. It was all just an illusion.” sent chills down my body when reality is so hard to accept right now.

    1. Hugs Melissa. It is a horrible feeling isn’t it when you first discover the truth. I so wanted it not to be true, and to return to living innocent again. Once you know, you never can. This post was written in 2013. (I think), one of the earlier posts on the site. At that time he was still around, and lurked around another 3 years. I could never see him the same again. It was broken.

      1. Positivagirl,
        Thank you for your post. I found it @3am and my jaws dropped!!! I was engaged over a year. He lives in a different state, I was about to move across the damn country to be with him then 4 days before my flight he just disappeared!!! He block my number, wouldn’t respond or answer. Completely vanish out of my life!!! That was a month ago…….still dont know what happened, never heard from him. He went ghost on me like I never existed, like we never plan a future together. He abandoned & discarded me like I was a piece of trash. I was so confused & dumbfounded but mostly hurt. The pain & heartach can be unbearable sometimes…..but the not knowing WTF just happened is worst. Not one single word from him….not even a f**k you. He just disappeared. Such a cruel evil way to end a relationship…..Your post help answer alot of questions. Thank you so much!!

  8. I was married to a sociopath for 23 years. I ended it and went no contact–it was hard after so long, but also the emotional part of the relationship had long been over, so in some ways it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I had shut down my emotions in order to cope, and this took a lot of personal recovery time. I was single 5 years and did a lot of grieving and also work on myself, as there are sociopaths all over my family. Thought I was ready to date again. Almost all the men I met were sociopaths/narcissists. Finally I met one who I thought was different, seemed kind. After three years of dating it turns out he is just a different kind of sociopath, so it took me awhile to recognize the signs. Yesterday I ended it. I’m so grateful for the internet–as I re-read websites that I used 8 years ago, I see how much progress I’ve made and where my weaknesses still lie. I’m still hoping to meet a man who is truly nice, kind, and treats me well, but I have to admit that it is hard to find them once you hit your 50s. In my experience, most of the divorced men (and maybe women) aren’t very emotionally healthy, and it’s hard to trust again and again.

    1. I just woke up and had the most astounding, disturbing insight. I met him on a dating website, one where you answer questions and are matched up with people according to compatibility. I answered over 100 questions to make sure the match would be based on a lot of data, I didn’t look at anyone who answered just a few questions, and I analyzed what they posted on their site before I talked to them–in short, I did a lot to protect myself from another sociopath. The man I have been dating turned up as a 96% match with me. So from the beginning, my guard was lowered–I had data to support my feelings for this man, and when he said things like, “Wow, I feel the same way!,” I didn’t question him. He told me he was a single dad, and off we went on the relationship. It was hard to believe the red flags because we were statistically so perfect for each other. I was sure he wasn’t mirroring me, like my ex-husband did. But this morning I realized that the only way two people could be such an almost perfect match is if he created his dating profile and answered the questions to entrap exactly the kind of woman he wanted. He wanted someone like me, and I imagine he was astounded that there was someone out there who was *exactly* (96%) the kind of woman he wanted to prey on. He wouldn’t have answered those questions that way if he had answered them honestly for himself–I know that because after 3 years I know how he should have answered the questions. My brain vs. intuition were in such a turmoil because I had proof we were soul mates and yet all the sociopath problems I had with my ex-husband kept happening. It turns out that he is married with two children. The only way I finally recognized that he was a sociopath is because his wife got breast cancer and his mask slipped.

  9. Thank you for your post. I found it @3am and my jaws dropped!!! I was engaged over a year. He lives in a different state, I was about to move across the damn country to be with him then 4 days before my flight he just disappeared!!! He block my number, wouldn’t respond or answer. Completely vanish out of my life!!! That was a month ago…….still dont know what happened, never heard from him. He went ghost on me like I never existed, like we never plan a future together. He abandoned & discarded me like I was a piece of trash. I was so confused & dumbfounded but mostly hurt. The pain & heartach can be unbearable sometimes…..but the not knowing WTF just happened is worst. Not one single word from him….not even a f**k you. He just disappeared. Such a cruel evil way to end a relationship…..Your post help answer alot of questions. Thank you so much!!

  10. This site has opened my eyes quite a bit. I met her in September 2009 and she was friends with my sister. She was at my sister’s birthday party WITH her ex boyfriend but I for some reason wasn’t put off by that. We dated for a month or so before she broke it off, then came back in January the following year. She always loved the attention from men and I again, for some reason got a kick out of it. I was warned by everyone but I didn’t listen and ended up getting engaged to her only to find out she’d slept with a couple of guys. I was devastated as I’d just asked her to marry me and I forgave her and ended up getting her pregnant. Trapped. Caught her texting another ex just after Christmas 2013 and again she lied about then had me arrested, which obviously was absolute bullshit but I was released NFA. Got back together end of January 2014 only for her to end it again in April. Made me feel like I needed her to be happy and spent 4 months desperate to win her back. I then gave up start of August and by the middle she came back. This time however I find that she’s been sending revealing pictures of herself to someone which she again lied about and told me she had sent them to her other phone… Even though I know this is obviously a complete lie, I so badly wanted to be with her again that I just accepted it and got back together with her. Things improved for the last few years until November 2018 when she decided again that she didn’t want it anymore. I was devastated and crushed as I couldn’t agree with her decision, not could I accept it. It’s clear now that she is an emotionally unavailable, narcissistic sociopath, is that a thing?

    I’m trying to hate her but I have two children with her and built a life with her. How do you let go when you don’t want to but know you have to?

    1. Hi Steve,

      That is a good question. It is about the heart catching up with what the mind already knows. The truth is, you aren’t the abusive one, so you love, and want to be loved. But it sounds like she isn’t capable.

      I don’t think a Narcissistic soociopath exists. They are two different personality types. A sociopath can also be narcissistic, but this is mostly hidden. They can come across as very normal. Only they are pathological liars. A narcissist you see who they are. She might also be histrionic personality Disorder or Borderline personality disorder.

      But who she is, isn’t so important. As the important thing is how it makes you feel. In your heart you want what anyone would want, a happy family life with the person that you love. Only how can you, if this person is disordered. Actually I think I am going to write my next post on this topic. As you hit a key point. I know that there is a man who has followed my work for a long time, who now has a child with the person, and feels similar to you. The other thing when you have children, is if you leave, how would she treat the children, and the stress of that. So it isn’t easy at all. Would she use the children to hurt you play games with you? Would she allow access? Only you can make the decision for yourself. I will write my next post on leaving a person that you are still in love with, but who is toxic for you.

  11. Totally correct! I have arrived at this conclusion after my ex abruptly cut off all contact. He had said we were true soulmates but never shared anything personal with me. He had to call all the shots in the relationship. Down to when we met. When I pressed for more openness, he started to lose it. I tried to end it, but he got very needy. I tell myself that the man I thought I loved did not exist except by lies. It makes me feel sad but I can move on with a better understanding of what I will tolerate going forward.

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