Recovering from dating a sociopath
Last year, I broke up with a guy who I thought was amazing, but turned out to check every box on Dr.
Hare’s checklist, a tool commonly used to diagnose sociopathy.
It was only after I left that I came to terms that my charismatic free-spirited significant other was hiding a lot of dark secrets, and using a smorgasbord of gaslighting, manipulation, and lies to keep me from learning the truth. In the time we spent together I got an incredible picture of what an abuser’s brain looks like (hint: he’s not the feminist he claims to be). What actions could I take to shake off the extended period of lies and confusions and regain my sense of self?
Needless to say, confronting my ex and having the traditional “we’re breaking up” conversation was out of the question. If you think you might have dated a sociopath and are currently trying to heal, here’s what worked for me.
“But then when I'm done, I'll discard it as easily as if it were a newspaper, shaking my head at how the ink has stained my fingers gray.”For a while, the knowledge that I had been discarded made me feel incredibly embarrassed about all the thoughtful gifts, video greetings, and intimate texts I sent him — until I realized I was acting exactly how a sane person in love acts.It wasn’t my fault that he simply wasn’t worth my affections or that I got hurt.As a friend reminded me, you wouldn’t blame yourself if you parked your car on the street and it got broken into. The only thing you have done wrong is offer kindness to someone who didn’t deserve it. (Ugh.) Trying to talk it out with the sociopath will just reveal he’s “won” by making you emotionally wounded (which as we established in point number one is OK — you have emotions), and ultimately make you feel about as fulfilled as yelling at a brick wall. Or even better (and safer), pour your heart out into a written letter — then destroy it by any means necessary.Not being able to see into the future is not a character flaw. Tear it up, burn it, fling it into the sea — whatever makes you feel most removed from all the emotional gunk.Are you craving the last word, to get the other person to admit their wrongs, or closure? No desire to talk it out with your Socio but still feeling all the feelings?
Try the same exercise, but address a letter to each one of your feelings instead.