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Struggling with a break up with a Sociopath

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #295173

    Jade
    Participant

    Hi there

     

    I’ve never posted anything like this before but have seen so many positive and inspiring words from other to those in need I thought it could help.

    I’ve recently split (3 weeks ago) from somebody who I believe was probably emotionally abusive.. but I’m still unsure. He is in the Marines and I’m usually such a strong person so im mad at myself for allowing this to happen. Some background..

    I’m now 31 and met him on a tinder date a year ago. After alot of previous relationships of me not being happy and not always finding them attractive physically towards the end I honestly thought this was the one. I fancied him like crazy he was strong and could look after me, he was funny, and seemed to be crazy into me.

    We had a pretty whirlwind romance and went on holiday after a month. Which was amazing. I’m usually so withdrawn and struggle to let people in so I really thought this was it. We moved in together after 6 months as I was moving anyway and he was always staying at my house so I thought what the hell, and took a leap of faith.

    It was obvious that cracks began to appear very early on in the relationship and his true colours became evident, but I was so blinded by love and stupidity that I couldn’t see and probably chose to ignore it. The first incident was on the way to visit his mum for the first time and he ignored me for half of the journey because I’d made a comment he didnt like. This completely devastated me and I couldn’t stop crying even though I knew I needed to be tough. I spent the weekend feeling like he didnt want me anymore and then he put his arm around me and welcomed me back into him. This I believe is where the cycle started. I was so overwhelmed and happy to be wanted by him again that I brushed it off as my fault. Because I’ shouldn’t have said that comment

    We had numerous arguments with me ending up emotionally drained. Christmas was spent with his family and again I did or said something he didnt like so I was shunned for Christmas day. Which again devastated me. I couldnt understand how a man I loved and who was supposed to love me could make me feel so knowingly alone.

    I ended up feeling trapped in the relationship and lonely. I was constantly walking on eggshells in case I said or did something he didnt like and he would leave or shun me again. I tried constantly to talk to him about these things and be rational but he was constantly putting me down and saying it was me. All me. And that I was overly sensitive and emotional. I ended up feeling like a shell of my former self and who would want me? I’m a complete mess and all I do is cry. He even told me that I wouldn’t be a good mother because I couldnt handle it.

    There is so so much more and the deeper i look the more i find but I think what it comes down to is that he made me believe everything was constantly my fault. Instead of looking at us as a couple. He constantly told me I would emotionally blackmail him with my tears. And then one day he just upped and left.

     

    I understand that I was in a toxic relationship and I really believe that he only cares for himself. When I look back I cannot remember a single thing he said to me that was nice, unless there was some kind of agenda. He also told me one day that Hitler was right to kill the Jews. And even though this shocked me and I knew it was bad I chose to ignore it

    I feel like hes done me a massive favour by leaving but I’m struggling so much. Even though I understand he doesn’t care about anyone but himself I still feel hurt and betrayed and in some RIDICULOUS part of my brain I think I want him back. I’m attracted to him vulnerability and after a grown military man breaks down in from of you crying it’s really hard to not feel attached in a nurturing  sort of way.  Since the break up hes said things about it being all my fault and some other horrible things aswell. I feel trapped in my own head trying to work out WHY all of the time.. but I know it was bad

     

    Any advice or similar stories would be really helpful. I feel really lost and finding it hard to stay afloat. I’m so worried about my self esteem and also worried that I wont ever find anyone else as he kept telling me

     

    Thanks

     

    Jade x

    #295191

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jade:

    It is interesting that the “first incident was on the way to visit his mum for the first time”- I am guessing he had/ has a troubled relationship with his mother and he got distressed on the way to her.

    “Christmas was spent with his family and again I did or said something he didn’t like so I was shunned for Christmas day”-

    – it is common that adult children suppress their anger at their parents while unleashing it somehow on others, a girlfriend, in this case.

    Regardless of what I suspect to be a troubled relationship with his mother/ parents as likely to be the cause of his mistreatment of you, it is what it is and you can’t get into his brain and fix the damage that was done to him. All you can do is remove yourself from him so that he doesn’t damage you any more than he already has.

    When you saw him cry, his vulnerability that you mentioned, that is the child in him that was hurt by his mother/ parents. You want to help that child inside him, to nurture that child because obviously he is hurting so much (“after a grown military man breaks down in front of you crying it’s really hard to not feel attracted in a nurturing sort of way”).

    Unfortunately that child is locked inside the man that he has become. Every person, no matter how cruel, has that good little child locked inside, hurting, crying for help. But you can’t help that child, can’t free that child, the adult holding that child captive will not let you.

    And if you stay and try to help that child, the man holding the child locked in, will lock you in too, hold you captive too, walking on eggshells, just like he has already done.

    anita

    #295225

    Mark
    Participant

    Jade,

    This will give you the opportunity to look at yourself, your upbringing, your past relationships in order to understand why you are still wanting some sort of connection/relationship with such an emotionally abusive, gaslighting, controlling man.

    Is this a pattern for you to be in relationship with such men?  What was your father like?  Was he emotionally distant?  Was one of your parents emotionally manipulative?  Withholding their affection from you?  Did they turn things around and blamed you for things that they have done to you?

    If you don’t want to continue to be attracted to such men, I suggest you examine yourself with a therapist so you can address the core beliefs and unconscious attraction you have for people who are not healthy for you.

    Mark

    #295229

    erin
    Participant

    I learned a few key phrases when I was in my healing process:

    – Complex PTSD from Narcissistic Abuse

    (I did a lot of therapy, but in truth, it was 4hrs of yoga every day for a month that most helped with PTSD symptoms)

    – Love Bombing.

    Did it appear too good to be true at the beginning? It probably was.

    – Psychiatric Injury.

    My brain was injured, I received an injury, so instead of “internalizing my mental pain as – myself” I had to externalize it as an injury that needed care.

    – Distraction = good!

    Ruminating? Go take a dance class, watch funny videos, call a friend, anything to take your mind off.

    #295233

    Jenna
    Participant

    Hi Jade!

    I too am going through a break up with someone I think is a sociopath. He was in the Army and has PTSD. I feel like you described exactly what I’ve gone through. It was a complete roller coaster of emotions from beginning until now. I have to warn you, he will probably come back and please do whatever you can to stay away from him. I broke it completely off last Sunday. He had broken up with me months ago out of the blue, just bailed. I have been in relationships and dumped before but this hurt worse than any break up I’ve ever had. It felt like I had nothing, I felt completely empty. I was ghosted. How could someone be so cruel, especially when you’ve given them your best? Just like your situation, I don’t remember him really saying anything nice to me. Who misses that?! So fast forward a month later…he starts messaging me that he misses me… I fall back in the trap..a little. I knew who he was at this point but I still saw that hurting child, like Anita said (She’s so good!). I had to finally let him go because I realized I was basing my worth on his acceptance of me. I am a whole person how could I let myself feel so low because a person who has absolutely no respect or real love for me abandons me? They get in your head and take you over. I feel your pain. You are worth so much more than that. Him leaving you has nothing to do with your worth and value. This is just another mind game, he will put you down awhile because he’s a selfish jerk and when he’s had his little freedom come back and love bomb you and repeat the dumb game over and over. Sociopaths think they are so smart, be smarter. When he comes crying back..as I guarantee you he will, don’t buy it. Stay strong! You got this!<3

     

    #295237

    Jade
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    Thank you so much for replying.

    You are absolutely right about all of this. I knew he had issues with his mum as she walked out on him and her family because of an abusive relationship with his father when he was a teenager. So I’ve always known this.

    It’s just so difficult. I just dont understand how he can believe and say the things that he has. It’s a completely warped view of the world and I know I couldn’t change that. I’m just really guilty of trying to understand people when I fact I guess I never really will.

     

    I think this will help me to let go

     

    Thank you so much again for taking the time to reply

    #295245

    Jade
    Participant

    I am completely overwhelmed that all of you replied.

     

    Mark I think you are right and I am attracted to ‘broken’ men. I want to nurture everyone and look after them so I guess that’s why I’m attracted to them. His mum seemed to support his behaviour towards me I guess maybe because she didnt want to lose her son. But it annoys me because I feel she went through a similar experience with his dad and has actually alluded to being aware of this.

     

    Thank you so much Erin.  Those terms will help. I think it really was too good to be true in the beginning and the funny thing is my family and friends all saw through it. They supported me and the relationship but could see it all really and hoped it would end.

     

    Thanks Jenna. Your similar experience helps. He also had PTSD and all I wanted to do was help him, it was so heartbreaking. I know I’m better off without him but the thing I beat myself up about the most is that I let it happen and I’m still letting it affect me. He still tried to control the relationship after he left.. I think because I agreed to the break up.. and refused to collect his stuff for weeks. Saying he would get it when he wanted to and If I touched it then I’d see what happens. Hes subsequently told me that wasnt a threat .. he was threatening me with legal action! Which I feel is just as bad.

    I I felt like I was going to be ok the first few weeks. I felt like I was worth more and hes a selfish petulant child trapped in a mans body but I’ve had contact with him the last couple of days. I know I’m so stupid! I’m deciding to change careers and become a teacher and felt strong and motivated to do this but hes made negative comments to me about it and I’m stupid enough to have listened. It’s set me back a bit and I’m again analysing the situation and my confidence has been knocked. I’m now thinking again that hes right and maybe I cant do this. I cant be a teacher. I know it’s stupid and I shouldn’t let it affect be but I feel like a shell of my former self. Before him I was confident and self assured and knew what I wanted and what I deserved. Its just been gradually sapped out of me over the last year.

     

    Anyway. Thank you again so much for all of your support. I know time is the best healer

    #295247

    Jade
    Participant

    I know I will get over this and see it as a learning experience but I’m still struggling with so many emotions. Negative ones towards myself and also hurt betrayal confusion embarrassment and shame. Shame is the biggest. I’m so ashamed I let myself be treated that way for so long and so embarrassed people could see what was going on

    #295269

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jade:

    You are welcome.

    This is the story you shared: before this man- you had “a lot of previous relationships of me not being happy”, and you were “usually so withdrawn and struggle to let people in”. At 30 you met this man on tinder. He appeared “strong and could look after me”, he was funny and seemed “crazy into me”.

    After a month of meeting him the two of you went on a holiday together and after six months he moved into your place. One time on the way to visit his mother you made a comment he didn’t like and he ignored you for half the journey. You cried a lot and felt that he didn’t want you anymore until he “put his arm around me and welcomed me back into him”. You were greatly relieved and figured that his withdrawal was your fault because you made a comment you shouldn’t have made. Again at Christmas, spent with his family, he withdrew from you again, “I was shunned for Christmas day”.

    You “tried constantly to talk to him about these things and be rational but he was constantly putting me down and saying it was me. All me… he made me believe everything was constantly my fault”.

    He also told you “that I was overly sensitive and emotional… He constantly told me I would emotionally blackmail him with my tears”.

    He also told you that you “wouldn’t be a good mother” or a teacher.

    I have a few questions because I would like to understand better, and if you have a similar interest, maybe you will answer these and we can continue to communicate:

    1. What was the comment you made on the way to visit his mother that first time?

    2. You wrote: “We had numerous arguments with me ending up emotionally drained”- what are the kind of things you said to him when you argued with him, or did during those arguments that drained you?

    3. You wrote: “I feel like a shell of my former self. Before him I was confident and self assured and knew what I wanted and what I deserved. Its just been gradually sapped out of me over the last year”.

    Before the last year, before you met him, you had “a lot of previous relationships of me not being happy” and you were “usually withdrawn and struggle to let people in… I am attracted to ‘broken’ men” – this doesn’t read like “confident and self assured and knew what I wanted and what I deserved” to me. What do you think?

    anita

     

     

     

     

    #295283

    Jenna
    Participant

    Jade,

    You’re welcome:) Please don’t blame yourself. You are aware now. Do whatever it takes to become a teacher! Teach and care for actual children instead of a man-child..much more rewarding path;) Oh and listening to podcasts really help me with ruminating thoughts. ‘My Favorite Murder’ is my ..favorite podcast. I sound like a psychopath recommending that LOL but it’s good. It reminds me that it could have ended a lot worse. Whenever I feel really bad all I have to do is listen to some of those stories..yikes:(

    Yes, you fell for it but you’re wiser now!

    #295309

    Mark
    Participant

    Jade

    I’m curious about your thoughts on my response.

    Mark

    #295369

    Jade
    Participant

    Dear Mark

    I am generally attracted more to men that are generally harder to get or have a hard exterior. I think when I see their vulnerable side it makes it rewarding for me.. so for example my ex hardly smiled but when he did it completely lit me up and I knew it was genuine.

    My father was absent in my life until I was 14. I never thought it affected me that much as I was close to my mother and grandmother. My mum worked alot whilst I was little and I can remember always wanting her attention but never being able to get it. I wasnt really ever blamed as a child, I remember my mum being really fair and not blaming me for accidents etc.

    Ive been on antidepressants since I was 18. I’m now 31, and have been struggling with anxiety and worry for a while now, which I’m currently getting help for (CBT). Relationships throughout my life have notoriously exaggerated these symptoms of anxiety and depression .

    To be honest, I know I probably have  alot of deep seated issues. I think that’s pretty evident as I struggle to develop and maintain relationships sometimes, but I really dont know where to start looking!

    Jade

    #295403

    Mark
    Participant

    Jade,

    So without a father, you were desiring some sort of father figure unconsciously plus not having any parental involvement/attention this only amplified your craving for attention.  You have not shared what you are working on specifically with your CBT treatment.  When you mentioned that you may have more deep seated issues, what do you think that may be?

    You were attracted to a man (i.e. a father figure substitute) who has played you into liking/loving him and then distancing himself from you.  You have had parents who have distance themselves from you so hence that pattern fits from your upbringing.

    He has gaslighted you when you bring up things that he has done to disrespect you and put you down but blamed you.  This may have originated from your grandmother who was in your life.

    My point is that those dysfunctional, bad-for-you men you are attracted to are from the blueprint set by your upbringing.

    The need to rescue men may come from your strategy to keep them in your life even though they are distancing themselves from you.  You could not do that for your mother or father but subconsciously you are doing that for those men/this man.

    Does any of this make sense?

    Mark

     

    #295409

    Jade
    Participant

    Mark

    Thanks for exploring that with me. I think some of things you say may be absolutely right. About my dad and wanting love from my mum. She was a really young mum and struggled a bit financially, she was also always looking for love so alot of different parental figures came into my life and then left. Some of which I was pleased about and some I was sad to see leave. I feel that she was always looking for love from other people instead of getting it from me. But I dont blame her for this. I’ve come to terms with it as I’ve got older and only feel sorry for her and compassionate.

    Ii remember feeling a lot of guilt from my childhood. From early as I can remember. I think I felt guilty that I put such a burden on m mum financially and she was always so tired from working all of the time. I’m not sure how that would transpire into my current every day life. I still feel guilty about everything.
    <p style=”text-align: center;”>My mum also had a lot of relationships and we moved a lot because of this. I’m completely aware that I long for a stable relationship and security and sometimes I stay in dysfunctional relationships longer than I should because I dont want to be like her. I’m always trying to just make it work no matter what and I’m a massive dreamer sometimes.</p>
    I have even guilty of being too nice and doing too much for men in relationships and I understand this sometimes doesn’t do me any good. But is this really such a bad thing to want to make someone happy? I like the way it makes me feel. I hope to meetsomebody one day who will appreciate everything I do and want to do nice things in return.

     

    Like I said, I’m really not sure about my deep seated issues. I know there’s definitely something not quite right but I’m just really unsure as to what it is. I think after CBT I’ll try some other therapy to maybe explore this. What would you recommend?

     

    Jade

     

     

    #295621

    Mark
    Participant

    Jade,

    You ask if it is a bad thing to make someone happy?  I believe that was what you tried with your mother.  The question is not whether it is right or wrong to make someone happy but how to choose a partner who can be in a mutually respectful and loving relationship with you?

    This comes from discernment, respecting yourself, setting boundaries and not tolerating bad behavior.

    I assume you are working with a therapist with your CBT.  What specifically are you working on with that?

    Mark

     

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