Moving Forward Through Pain~ Healing After a Relationship with a Cluster B Personality


English: Om healing circle Polski: Krąg om healing

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Those of us who are recovering from a relationship with a man or woman with a Cluster B Type personality disorder such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Anti Social Personality Disorder/Psychopathy/Sociopathy(ASPD) face a long and challenging healing phase in our lives.

We encounter many troubling aspects of dealing with the aftermath of these relationships. First, the ending of these relationships is nearly always dramatic and often unforeseen. My relationship with a man with Anti Social Personality disorder ended within an hour, when I realized that he was both sleeping with another woman and living a secret life involving addiction and criminal behavior. For women and men escaping relationships with psychopaths, the ending can be not only dramatic but violent. (I watched ‘Fatal Attraction‘ for the first time last night and the final bathtub scene is burned into my retinas this morning.)

Sudden dramatic and possibly violent endings of relationships are traumatic. For anyone with a past history of childhood abuse or spousal abuse, such an event  may trigger past trauma. Many people experience shock after the ending of these relationship. In one hour, you believe yourself to be happily involved with the love of your life and in the next, you discover that he is a pathological liar and that you don’t even know who he really is, inside.

When my relationship ended, it sent me into a state of shock which lasted three days. Being in shock was shocking. My friends wouldn’t let me drive after I made the discoveries. “You’re in shock” they said, “You’re not driving home. Leave your car here.”

For me, being in shock meant that I could not eat, slept fitfully and was terrified of being alone. I kept reliving the memory of my discovery over again, and kept replaying the memory in my mindbecause I was sure that I’d made a mistake and that none of these awful things were true. (They couldn’t be true, because he and I were soul mates!)

My discovery happened eighteen months ago. It’s been an extremely long journey back, and I am still not finished yet. I am fighting to rediscover who i was before I entered into this fatally flawed relationship. Every day is a healing  journey and I am trusting myself to find the right path and to live day by day.

Here are some things which have helped me during this difficult time:

1) Reaching out to friends and family for support

2) Seeking a professional therapists help the very first week it happened, and continuing to receive counseling while processing the shock and  grief

3) Allowing myself to grieve for the person I though I was in love with

4) Familiarizing myself with Elizabeth Kubler RossGrief Stages and the Extended Grief Cycle

5) Throwing away everything related to my ex

6) Cutting off all communication with him completely

7) Making a promise to myself that I never need to see him or talk to him again

8) Writing this blog and keeping a journal of private thoughts and dreams

9) Taking good care of myself by eating well

10) Reading the Blogs of other people who are also on paths of healing and who have experienced these types of relationships

Namaste,

Ixchel

10 thoughts on “Moving Forward Through Pain~ Healing After a Relationship with a Cluster B Personality

  1. Pingback: As promised, quite some time ago…Who are the “You”, you remember? « My journey of healing from psychological abuse

  2. It is shocking. I sympathize with you completely. To be honest though, it never occurred to me that someone would be going through traumatic shock because of ‘betrayal.’ When my mind felt as though it had split in two pieces, I had good people around me who held me together. Like you, I reached out for support. I’m not one to hide in my closet until feeling better. ha! I SHARE my misery!

    Your list is excellent. I can add two things to your list.

    1-Read books that are NOT romantic. Even spiritual books make it hard to ‘end’ the pathological relationship. Any books that were for the general audience like Dr. Phil’s “relationship matters”, got me all tangled up and confused about who was responsible for what. I had to stick with heavy duty material about pathology (personality disorders) and books on codependency.

    2-I stared an Abuse Notebook with my wedding picture on the cover. Inside, I wrote down everything horrifying that happened in our marriage. Then when my brain would trick me into “magical thinking’, I could counter those thoughts with the truth. It helped me stay sane and avoid getting hurt again.

    Hugs,
    CZ

    • Yes, you are exactly right. The shock which comes from the betrayal trauma of this type of break up is like having your mind split into two pieces.

      Thanks for the additions to the list.

      For me, it was not romantic books which I needed to avoid; it was romantic movies. Even now, 18 months later, I cannot watch any type of romantic movie or television show.

      I love the idea of your abuse notebook. I started something similar about nine months into the process, where I just made a list entitled,
      “Things I Hate About Him…” I was surprised how long the list turned out to be, and yes, I turn to it when I start to fall into ‘magical thinking’.

      Thanks
      Ixchel

  3. I am a family violence and DV survivor, officially divorced just over 6 months now from my alcoholic, emotionally and physically abusive ex-husband of 13 years. While finalizing my divorce, during which my ex-husband sucessfully turned every member of my own immediate family (and several “friends”) against me, I began dating another man, whom I slowly began to realize also fell into the Cluster B spectrum. After 7 months into that relationship, I broke off with him, but I was nearly sucked back into his web of deceit 3 1/2 months later . Fortunately, the final missing pieces of the puzzle of his lies and betrayal finally fell into place for me before I ended up back in his arms for another round of Hell on Earth. I finally cut off all contact with him just over 1 month ago. Unfortunately, I still must remain in contact with my Cluster B ex-husband regarding matters involving our children.

    My entire life has been spent being raised by or involved in close relationships with Cluster Bs, and while I believe I have finally eliminated the worst of them from my life as much as possible, I continue to encounter others with these traits. For over 20 months now, I have battled with heavy bouts of depression and anxiety. More recently, I have withdrawn considerably from social circles, and I’ve withdrawn completely from dating. I am experiencing tremendous difficulty with trusting other people, and even with trusting my own perceptions. I have been dismayed and frustrated with my seeming inability to overcome my grief and disillusionment, and I am left wondering if I will ever within my lifetime experience anything that resembles a “normal”, peaceful existence, let alone a healthy relationship. The only thing that gets me through each day is knowing that I am the only parent and family member that my minor children can count on for genuine love, nurturing, emotional and financial support. They, too, are suffering.

    No one, not even my therapist, seems to have an answer as to how long it might take me to get to “the other side” of this nightmare. It seems never-ending. I know I will scream bloody Hell if one more well-meaning person tells me to “just focus on the positive things I have or want in my life”. Right now, I am voraciously reading every written work I can access on Antisocial Personality Disorder, having long since familiarized myself with substance abuser, DV perp and Narcissistic Personal Disorder characteristics. If there is a God, which I’m beginning to doubt in earnest for the first time in my life, my most fervent prayer to Her is to spare me from having to familiarize myself with “red flags” for yet one more Cluster B diagnosis.

    • Thank you for your comment. You have certainly suffered a great deal but hopefully the worst is behind you. As you become more educated about these types of men, you will be able to keep yourself safe from them. Soon, you will have the red flags memorized. Education is the key and one good thing is that public awareness about Cluster B Types and the havoc they wreak on families, relationships and society is becoming more well known.

      First, you are not alone. Most of us who experience the falling out of a relationship with a pathological individual have our lives fall apart, either emotionally, financially, socially, family related, or all of the above. Because these types of people are charming and charismatic liars, it is typical for them to create more chaos by painting their victim as the ‘bad guy’. It’s all a game to them; they are very good at deception and making up stories to make themselves look good. It’s all about their own self justification.

      Most of the people you know will not understand what you are going through. The pain and confusion you are experiencing can only be understood by someone who has gone through a similar situation with a Cluster B type personality. A close friend of my family was quite upset at how long I was taking to ‘get over it,’ and expressed her opinion to everyone, which was not helpful. I have been told to ‘get over it’ over and over again, which is one of the reasons that I created this blog, to give me an outlet to just vent about it.

      It sounds like you are with a therapist, which is very good. I am not a mental health professional, but I would advise anyone going through the aftermath of a pathological relationship to see a therapist during the healing process. I would not have survived my experience without the very skilled therapist whom I see weekly.

      There are no magic bullets to make things better, and there is no timeline for healing. I have found that writing has helped, and I’ve also started an oil paining class which is very healing. Remember to take very good care of yourself and to be gentle and patient with yourself always as you have been through a very traumatic experience.

      I have found reading the blogs of others and pathology related websites to be incredibly helpful. I don’t think that I could have made it without reading the stories of others who have. (Here is a list of my favorite helpful spots to visit.)

      Namaste,

      Ixchel

      #1 Blog on Recovering from relationship with narcissist: Narcissistic Continuum: http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/

      #1 Blog on Recovering from relationship with psychopath: Psychopathy Awareness: http://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com/

      Narcissistic Abuse Recovery runboard (chat forum) For survivors of a relationship with a Narcissist or Psychopath: http://bnarcissisticabuserecovery.runboard.com/

      Book List “The Best Books to Understand and Recover from a Psychopath” http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Best-Books-Understand-Recover-Psychopath/413

      Anything by Sandra Brown, MA (Author, Women Who Love Psychopaths)- a website affiliated with Sandra Brown is “The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education” : http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com/

      • Thank you so much for your blog. I have been in a relationship with a anti-social personality for about 13 yrs. The pain he could dish out and then charm me back is indescribable. For years I have put up with this. And it was like a light bulb one day went off and I said, this man is sick. I had taken a psychology course about a year ago and relized so many of the syptoms of anti-social personality fit him to a t. Now, I am no psychologist but from all the literature I have read as of late I believe in my heart this is his problem. From 1999 until 2004 he left me a total of 17 times. You probably think I am crazy to have stayed. He always came back with in a week or so and we had a newborn. I followed him into addiction in 2002. He ended up in prison in Aug 2004. My life finally had a chance to go somewhere. He did make strides to complete his GED and other certifications while incarcerated. I finally divorced him in 2008. I remarried incidently to a man who was no better ( go figure) now divorced. As soon as he was released I fell back into the spell. I have been on this rollercoaster again now for 18 months with my 11 yr old daughter. I have gone over and over in my head the causes and reasons. I may not be a doctor but I know enough now to know he is sick. I know that this is not going away. And I know no matter how many things he uses against me to justify himself its all part of his con/game. He feels no remorse and he has no conscience. I cant begin to understand and I give up trying. My only salvation this moment is praying and saying God help me and READING, READING, READING about this disorder, to keep my veiw fresh and alive.

        • From my experience, only time and staying away from him, will help. Also, therapy with a really good professional. Best of luck! I first met this man in my life when I was 18. I have spent most of my life away from him. It is the best way for me. There is no way to live a normal healthy life with a pathological liar and manipulator.

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