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I've been trying to heal from what I now know was a relationship with a narcissist/psychopath. I always made it look to everyone else that I was over the top happy with him. So in love!!! However, I didn't tell them that I cried myself to sleep most nights after receiving the silent treatment most of the day or mulling over the blows to my self esteem I took throughout the day from insults and his anger and yelling. I was 3 states away. It was easy for me lie for us. Say how perfect things were, but only because I was embarrassed to say otherwise. So now I'm back with my family. They're not helping much with support because they assume it was just a normal kinda breakup. While I was creating this perfect relationship world for them, I was sabotaging my own future support system. Feeling alone right now with this. No one will believe me since I always said how great things were. Does anyone else understand?

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True psychopaths/sociopaths are a tiny portion of the population. How do you know?

 

I was reading a book called "Why Does He Do That?" I thought it was rather interesting, because it talks about all these myths about abusive men(as the book is essentially about abusive men), like they must be mentally ill...In fact, only a smaller percentage of them are. It's their values/belief system that is jacked.

 

Do you have friends or a therapist? What is the rest of your support network like?

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There is no such thing as a 'normal' breakup. I've never heard of a pleasant breakup. I would imagine your family/friends wouldn't treat it any differently if you disclosed the whole truth...which you can at anytime you want. Breakups are awful and whatever support they're offering would probably be the same if they knew otherwise...what would you like them to do/say that they're not doing/saying?

This is a valuable lesson of not betraying yourself in the future...you put a lot of energy into what you think was deceiving them when you were really deceiving yourself....why was it important for you that they think you had a great relationship? Why couldn't you be honest all along? What was to gain by telling them things that weren't true?

Those would be some good things to explore in therapy or with a support group. The most important thing to come out of any breakup is what we learn about ourselves. Labeling him as abusive or whatever doesn't serve you. Learning why you disguised the relationship when you were actually miserable is a HUGE and important, valuable thing to learn about yourself. Focus on that.

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Those are more descriptive words than a clinical diagnosis. I don't have insurance, so a therapist isn't an option at the moment. I've just been trying to make sense of it all and reading everything I can find that comes close to what I was going through. I do know that he moved in on me very quickly. My knight in shining armor. Said all the right things. Promised me the world. Everything snowballed quickly... Then things went bad just as fast. Treated me as if my feelings weren't important. Said things to make me question motives of other people. Basically a "trust no one" attitude. I was all of a sudden not doing anything right. Criticized for everything all the time. He threw a small compliment every so often to set me back on track. His anger built up and he told me that all I did was aggravate his anger and that was my fault. Saying I had to know that I was wrong. He would be hateful and disrespectful and it broke me down into an emotional nightmare mess. I have the guilt in my own mind that I should've been stronger to be able to handle his words/actions better. His cold stare, cold words, etc. shattered the dream he and I built from in the first place. I questioned my own abilities. Maybe I was the one that was crazy?! Because, after all, I could barely handle my own emotions and he was able to be distant and cold. I was ready to leave one time prior to the final time, but he was very apologetic and I thought he was sincere. Only to return to the same cold and critical person he was. He just wanted to secure me for more of his emotional supply. For a short time anyway. He got bored fast. He would say hateful things and would sit and watch me cry and just get more mad and tell me that I was just too sensitive. I was pretty confident when we met. I've never been one to tolerate a man treating a woman poorly and at the time it was happening to me, I was in some kind of dream world or denial that it could happen to me. All I could focus on was this dream life that we planned together. I kept my eye on the better prize. Besides, he was just a little stressed... Right? No... This had happened to him before. He had 2 previous divorces. He told me that they were just b*tches who left him. I never questioned it. He was such a great guy. How could anyone leave such a great, loving, supportive and sensitive man?! I sure did find out the hard way. He told me he was a piece of sh*t and I guess that was his "out" at the end because he did tell me that. How messed up. I packed up and left. Unable to take anymore of the pounding of my emotions on a brick wall. Now I've become non existent to him. He's the "victim" of just another b*tch who left him. I've learned through my studying that he didn't have the capacity to love. I was just his emotional supply until he could find another supply. It's been eye opening and scary and very alone. The only support I really have are some online resources. I'm trying to gain my self worth and self esteem back, but it's been so so difficult.

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Hey I suggest you browse on the web, find several therapists in your area and email them asking if they can give you a discount. I strongly recommend it to you, even if you feel you can't afford it. Perhaps spend less money on other things? or even lend from a friend. You need it.

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I disagree. I think it does serve a person. I don't see it as establishing "perpetrator" vs. "victim" roles, but rather calling it out for what it is.

 

Self-focus is very, VERY important! But I think we tend to idealize what "self" should look like after a relationship that is toxic. In an ideal world, we would immediately look at ourselves and ask, "What was my role here?" The mind is so muddled at this point that it is not actually a realistic immediate goal, rather one left reserved for the future. People involved in dysfunctional relationships tend to lose site of many things including who they are, who they were, who they will be. There's so much crazy making going on that getting back in touch with oneself tends to be a gradual process.

 

If you have ever been involved in a toxic dynamic, then you understand how important it is to be heard. You understand the niggling self-doubts and the fact that you're pretty sure your self-esteem got flushed down the toilet. And that it's a process to work through these feelings and properly assign each person's accountability in the correct slots.

 

So, yes. I do think it serves a purpose in helping a person sort.

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Thank you, Cheetarah. I really do appreciate that because the healing process IS different. As far as telling everyone I was fine while in the relationship; it's that protective role you take for the person you care about. Nobody likes to admit that something they truly believed in was a sham. I did try to be happy, but it was to no avail because I was always kept in a state of uncertainty. What this does to people is pretty devastating. Learning to trust myself again. Learning to know my self worth again. I'm well aware of the mistakes I made in the relationship as he made them apparent always. I'm not just labeling someone to serve myself. I'm trying to make sense of it and am realizing that I loved the idea of what I thought we could have. There is no delusion I'm dealing with. This is all very real. People assuming I'm crazy is another byproduct of it all. I've read it. I get it. I'm working through it all and was looking more toward people who know what this is actually like and can offer tips on that level. It's really easy to criticize something you don't understand.

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I disagree. I think it does serve a person. I don't see it as establishing "perpetrator" vs. "victim" roles, but rather calling it out for what it is.

.... And that it's a process to work through these feelings and properly assign each person's accountability in the correct slots.

.

 

I agree that its part of the process of healing ...finding out what went wrong, where, what you 'missed' or might have looked out for better ...but labeling someone as a 'psychopath/sociopath/narcissist' etc takes the focus off yourself and puts it on someone else. Trust me, I've been part of toxic relationships and have labeled them all and only after all of that, brought the attention back to myself. After I spent weeks reading about the other person I thought it was a shame I didn't spend that same time and energy on myself. I spent hours in therapy talking about 'them' instead of me. In hindsight, I wish I had spent less time on what they were (real, imagined or otherwise) and more time on why I would spend that much time and energy outside of myself.

Believe me, I'm not criticizing the OP...I've done it before and would do it again without a doubt. It helps to know what a certain type of person's motives might be and why they do what they do...it helps a lot! I would just advise spending equal amounts of time discovering your own motivations...ie why she felt the need to be dishonest with her friends/family, why she thinks they would me more/less supportive of different levels of heartache, why she stayed with him while he made her feel so poorly, etc.

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I left out the sadness I was feeling because I was far away from them and didn't want them to worry. I didn't want them to criticize my decisions. I know why. That's not some huge mystery I need to figure out. I wanted them to see him as the perfect person I idealized him as in the beginning. God forbid be wrong... That was my mistake. I got that. I am trying to focus on myself, but part of it is also trying to understand the entire devalue/discard process that killed my self worth. Discovering what is going on with me led me to find out what/who he is.

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Well, I do disagree with assigning a label of mental illness on a person. You just don't know that. But you can know if someone mistreated you, with certainty. And that's important to distinguish.

 

Figuring out why you let them? Eh...That's a toughie. I think that's much like a flower in that there are many petals to peel back and examine, all these layers.

 

I do understand what you are saying about talking about "them". I think it is normal and appropriate for that to happen in the raw and fresh days, but important to take care not to let it turn into psychoanalyzing or looking for ways to "fix". It's why I found the book so eye-opening because it's not like that. It's very simplistic and works hard to dispel those myths that people hold onto that ALSO make them feel 'stuck' and dedicated to this other person's emotional well-being and growth(examples, that they were abused as a child, they hate women, alcohol problems, etc). Because let's face it, this happens to a lot of people and often it is a core reason that they could possibly be drawn to that sort of dynamic to begin with.

 

If you knew me on here, you'd know I'm pretty obsessed with being introspective. But I realize at times it's been to my detriment and I've taken stuff on that didn't belong to me. I definitely don't think you are criticizing savi! Just sharing a perspective.

 

I left out the sadness I was feeling because I was far away from them and didn't want them to worry. I didn't want them to criticize my decisions. I know why. That's not some huge mystery I need to figure out. I wanted them to see him as the perfect person I idealized him as in the beginning. God forbid be wrong... That was my mistake. I got that. I am trying to focus on myself, but part of it is also trying to understand the entire devalue/discard process that killed my self worth. Discovering what is going on with me led me to find out what/who he is.

 

That makes lots of sense. We tend to feel like the person we select is also an extension of our values/beliefs. It hurts to think that we did not make the right choice, or that we had blinders on, or whatever else is going on. So we try to work to fix or placate the situation and protect our egos at the same time. The more of a perfectionist you are, the harder it stings.

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I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. I'm not looking for someone to coddle me or feel sorry for me. I'm just reaching out for resources. Your opinions are appreciated and I'm taking out of it all what I feel is useful and actually pertains to my issue. So thanks.

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Why I let him do that? Maybe that was the part of me that thought one day he would realize how much I meant to him and would stop acting that way? Trying to be optimistic and also afraid that I would never find another connection like we had in the future? Lots of reasons there. None of them good, but it's what happened. I never tried to change him, but I did try to remind him that I loved him even when he was being rude/disrespectful. I did, however, tell him that I will not be spoken to the way he did. I did stand up for myself at the end. I did leave because I couldn't take it anymore from him, so it wasn't because I didn't love the guy. In some sick way, I still do and I need to squash that.

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i agree that authentic psychopaths are rare to come by, however huge portion of population both male and female can be safely labeled as secondary psychopaths. I'm talking about regular people who were raised and conditioned in a way that results in desensitization. This form of psychopathy is a product of society. Lack of compassion in early childhood, all the be tough, be strong, show no weakness type of talk often creates people who end up believing they are bigger then life itself, some of us were even told that we indeed are bigger then life. While i agree that we are bigger then life, i don't think we are bigger then other people we share life/planet with. There is difference between psychopaths and psychopathic personality. Some people might not like to throw that word out there so easily but it's just a question of terminology and personal choice of words.

 

OP you don't need more then one close friend to talk to really. Not everybody needs to know what you've been through, honestly that can be exhausting as well. You need to heal from breaking up just like everybody else. Focus on yourself and try to figure out what were you trying to protect with this lie.

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Why I let him do that? Maybe that was the part of me that thought one day he would realize how much I meant to him and would stop acting that way? Trying to be optimistic and also afraid that I would never find another connection like we had in the future? Lots of reasons there. None of them good, but it's what happened. I never tried to change him, but I did try to remind him that I loved him even when he was being rude/disrespectful. I did, however, tell him that I will not be spoken to the way he did. I did stand up for myself at the end. I did leave because I couldn't take it anymore from him, so it wasn't because I didn't love the guy. In some sick way, I still do and I need to squash that.

 

I have definitely "been there". I read and read and read and read about this last guy I dated. Really the only thing we can have control over and change in the end is ourselves....so its great to read about all that...you'll see various red flags more easily next time and understand better what it IS you're looking for and realize sooner when someone doesn't fit that mold.

You are not alone...everything you're doing and feeling is normal. With my ex husband I had a lot of people say "I thought you were so happy!" and I realized I went somewhat out of my way to give that impression. Its normal.

*hugs*

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Thanks everyone. I'm 38, but this is my first broken heart since I was a teenager... Pathetic huh? I was married previously for a long time and that was a mutual agreement split, so I never had to face this kind of situation until now.

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I can so closely identify with what you have described. I found myself nodding in agreement to so much that you have said - not wanting to admit it's a sham. Always making excuses for my guy's behaviour, always being kept in a state of uncertainty. It IS truly devastating and so painful to experience. I have been in a relationship for over 2 years with a guy who pursued me with emotional declarations of his deep love for me, never felt this way before, wanted to marry me, would be so proud to be seen with me. Two years on and our relationship has not progressed any further than from where we began. His parents marriage was an unhappy one marked by weeks of silent treatment from his mother to his father or constant bickering, which he has said he feels has affected him more than he realised. He has said he is terrified of commitment. I assumed this meant he wanted to be free to play the field but he always says he's not interested in other women, is just scared of someone else 'dictating' his life to him. He was divorced over 20 years ago from his first wife and has had one serious relationship since where he says the woman was a and a tart and messed him around. This has also left him with difficulties trusting. He has unbelievably inconsistent moods so I never know where I stand. He has ended our relationship several times for a week or so over bizarre issues, but we miss each other and talk and it starts up again - but once things are good he doesn't want to talk about what sparked the last problem off. Just buries his head in the sand until the next time. So it is hard to learn from the mistakes, I feel like I am the one putting in all the effort and trying to help us to communicate better. He has thanked me several times for standing by him as he knows he's rubbish at relationships. We have both said that we have never felt this way for anyone before, there is something very strong. He is so loving when he feels like it but what really struck a chord in an earlier posting of yours Amy was your description of the cold, hard stare. I know that feeling. It is so confusing for me because literally one day he can be telling me that I've no idea how much he loves me and the next seeing that cold face, his eyes boring right into me while he tells me to go. We don't live together, though he was the one giving me ultimatums right at the start to move in by such a time. He frequently plays the push/pull game - so I am constantly unsure as to where I stand. Having said how proud he'd be if I was his girlfriend, at the start, two years on and he still goes out pretty much every Saturday night and has never taken me with him to meet the same bunch he mixes with. He often rings me when gets home saying how much he missed me, talked about me all evening - bores everyone talking about me......yet still won't take me with him. He knows how much this upsets me and how abnormal I say it is yet refuses to talk about it, doesn't even give me a reason as to why he won't take me - closest I've got to an explanation is that it is his domain. I respect that people need to do their own thing and not live in each others' pockets - but to never do it?! He's going through a push me away phase lately, hardly having time to see me, a couple of hours one or two evenings a week. staying over once a week - used to be 3 or 4 times. I don't want to bombard him with him questions, where is he at, what's he thinking etc, try to give him space as he obviously finds the whole idea of 'commitment' much harder than me to handle - but flip between trying to be laid back and feeling really angry at being played and made a fool of by him. I so often feel I am wasting my life giving him time and space, believing all his promises when he may never intend to keep any of them. Worse, I often feel that clearly he goes out without me to see if there is anyone better that he could be with. He always tells me someone chatted him up, eyed him up etc etc - but he wasn't interested. Then gets cross when I seem insecure and suspicious. He is self emp

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When you try to clinically label a person in retrospect, it doesn't always help with healing all the time. Right now, the important thing to do is call your local women's shelter and see if they have free counseling for abuse survivors. I was able to get sessions with someone who was an intern and she was great. You don't have to tell your family, and its free. You also need to learn how to recognize in yourself your contribution to the relationship. You didn't deserve abuse. But what can you do to recognize potential abusers in the future and how can you bolster your self esteem and get it back?

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@alwayshope - as much as I've been through with my situation, please don't put yourself through this. When I walked away, it wasn't from my lack of love towards him, but my realization that he clearly didn't love or respect me the same. It's been entirely more difficult for that very reason. Someone who doesn't appreciate you now needs to feel your absence. It could go one of two ways. He can either realize what he needs to do to keep you (by you creating clear boundaries that you hold your ground on) OR he will go his own way. Either way, you'll find your answer. My guy chose to walk away forever and that's his choice. It just tells me that he doesn't see my worth and likely never will. I wanted so badly for him to pop back in and say "whoa, I'm sorry. Let's work this out". I wasn't a part of his plan. And he's not a part of mine which has been another blow to my self esteem and ego, but I have to just move myself forward. I'm scared to death I'll never have the kind of wonderful connection we had (at first) with anyone else, but I know that mindset only will hold me back from allowing anyone else to prove that otherwise. I'm working on that. Baby steps all the way. Please realize your time is so precious and you're worth more than what he's doing to you. He's a man-child. You're a capable and loving woman who is being taken advantage of like so many of let them do to us. We have a choice. You have a choice. Do what's right for you. My ex's line of emotional fluff got me in hook line and sinker. That's all it was is fluff and guys know which women will believe it all and they prey on those types of women for a reason. I've exhausted myself emotionally and now can feel it physically as well. It's because I stayed on that hamster wheel. I was running in place for someone who never had any intention on a life with me like he originally said. He was just lonely at the time and then I became too real for him to handle. It's been a living hell. Men like that can't be honest with us because they're not honest with themselves. I thought I found a diamond in the rough. He was AMAZING in every way in the beginning. When I started living with him, the mask came off and there I was. Feeling betrayed and led into nothing more than an elaborate lie that he went so far with that it still blows my mind. I'll never understand that. I fell for him fast. Too fast. Never again. He didn't deserve me, but he sure had me and in a lot of ways still does because the letting go process has me paralyzed right now. I'm finding things about myself now that I need to work on. The more I find out about myself, the more I understand him as well. It's been a byproduct of self discovery. So... All this being said... Please please please take what self respect and pride you have and save yourself.

 

@abitbroken - I will look into what resources I can find. I appreciate the lead there. As far as a clinical definition, maybe I should've said he had those tendencies and traits. When I researched why I wasn't progressing at the rate I thought I would or should, I saw relationship types that can cause that and that's where I found those terms. I should've been more clear on that. I'm not an expert in that area, but I'm an expert in what I'm going through because I'm living it everyday. I'm sitting at 7 weeks out and from what I've seen, it could take much longer. I'm trying to be patient with myself, but here's the thing... When someone is in physical pain, we try to move away from what's causing it. Like standing in fire, but with my current state, I feel like the fire is following me and is still engulfing me. I'm not choosing to stay there. I'm being proactive in learning steps to take to get back to a good place. Right now, though. The pain of the loss of what I now know wasn't real to him, the rejection, my lowered self esteem, my codependency from it all and just the addiction to another person is just the short list of all I'm fighting through. Ugh!!!

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