Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part TWO: Advice for identifying and dealing with a sociopath
I’m sorry this has taken so long to write. The previous post took a hell of a lot out of me emotionally; it led to a week of panic attacks and a rather violent nightmare. Once again, there will be some candid insights that you may not be comfortable reading.
First few dates/ getting to know them
Don’t be so open about yourself; don’t let your date know everything. It’s a hard thing to do, I’m sure… You’re learning things about each other and if you’re anything like me; you’ll want to be truthful.
Don’t text every day. This may be a routine s/he sets up and it’s set up for the final stages when they’re moving on to a new victim (horrible word, but as this whole relationship will be built up to make it look like YOU’RE to blame, OWN that word)
Don’t open up a conversation about previous relationships, especially if you were badly treated (*waves* this isn’t my first sociopath); they’ll use it against you.
When it progresses
Have an open and frank conversation about what the relationship if you feel it’s progressing (Dick’s profile said ‘l’m looking for casual relationships’- yes, the plural should have given it away. However, meeting him, he was giving off a vibe of anti-casual. In hindsight, he engineered it that way. All other women were ‘friends’ from work he was having dinner with, when he spent weekends with them; he was going to spend time with his dad. These were not lies either… omissions, I should not feel like it’s cheating. By comparison, I was communicating with Bob a little time before I met Dick. Bob was very clear and open about it being casual. Most people looking for casual will set that early on)
If you’re sexually active, ensure you BOTH get what you need. Hint: alarm bells if the first time he is due to stay over you’re on your period and he still intends to come. It’s a set up to ensure you become the ‘selfless lover’ in his stack of girls. It’ll seem sweet and that he just wants to look after you, but believe me he’s only after his own end here.
Don’t compromise your wants for his; especially if there is no return. I agreed to no children, no marriage and him sleeping with many women. He gave nothing but challenges in return.
If you suspect
Talk to people, your friends; you are compromised and your voice will be going ‘but he’s so lovely; you’re just being paranoid’. And, I cannot STRESS this enough LISTEN TO THEM. Don’t be like me and tell him because you know what comes next?! This man (or woman), will sow seeds of doubt and convince you that the reason you’re not working is because people know about ‘us’. You’ll shut down and lie to your friends. Go on, tell yourself you wouldn’t do that! Before Dick, I’d have said the same.
If you start getting ‘that’s not what I said’, ‘I didn’t mean it that way’ or the Dick classic ‘I was drunk, you can’t hold it against me’ it’s time to get out. This is gaslighting (look it up) and it will destroy you to your core; he’ll use these phrases with such confidence that you will start to doubt yourself.
When you know
Get out! Get out! Get out! When you get that momentary strength to block his number; do it. You’ll have that break up feeling and want to make things right. Don’t… just run with that feeling and let him go.
Music is your friend- Taylor Swift (Yes, Tay Tay) has become my girl. Whatever your music, keep it on, keep it loud… it’ll blast your memories. It’s important, so important that you distract yourself.
Personal one for me- don’t reach out to the ex of the ex. It’ll stop you from moving on and chances are he’s lied to her. (Yep, I reached out. It was stupid; but I wanted a survivor who understood. She didn’t. I’ve got to admit though, I’ve been feeling so much better since I blocked her on twitter, having discovered her co-blogger who I’d not even spoken to had blocked me and I was gaining the passive aggressive silent treatment. To be fair, I’d started to feel guilty for feeling this pain; she was with him longer. I felt bad for dating him so soon after they split, but I didn’t know until a good few months in)
Even if he blocks you, block him back. He’ll come crawling back when you least suspect it and you’ll be right back where you started.
If you’re feeling vulnerable; avoid alcohol at all costs. It will make you weak and you could do things you regret.
Pinterest- this is a double-edged sword; it’s a vast wealth of information that will help you understand that what happened to you, however, your ‘suggested’ pins do soon become filled with ‘how to recognise a sociopath’ if you’re not careful.
Do not allow anything you love to be taken away from you. Don’t avoid places or watching things because you associate them with him; I guarantee he doesn’t think twice about taking him to somewhere you considered special to the both of you (NY Fold and Prince Charles Cinema. Hell, Dick took me to Jamie’s Italian to inform me that he could never see me again because he’d ‘fallen in love’ with his crush from ten years’ previous and it reminded him how little he liked me now. He dumped me in my favourite restaurant. He also showed Leon, my favourite film, to one of his conquests after a conversation we had about it being one of my favourite films.
Don’t expect it to be a normal breakup; you may even suffer PTSD. You are grieving the loss of a relationship, the ‘death’ of a person that never existed and most importantly, the pain of knowing you were duped.
Personal one for me- Have a crush on someone. They’re sweet, they’re safe and they ease the pain, even if it’s just a little. It’s not perfect, but having those little butterflies for a beautiful man out of my league have given me a little bit of a boost. Knowing I have no chance helps keep me grounded and prevent me from making an ass of myself.
Remember- You are amazing, wonderful and better than the treatment you accepted. He will never know the love you gave him, he’ll never feel it. However, you will find someone who will love you, cherish you and, most importantly, the perfect person will be your equal.