being single one

being single oneWhen I was in the relationship with the sociopath, he would often compare other couples to us, especially in the honeymoon stage.

He would say things like, “I find it sad that people have never experienced what we have experienced. Look at them. They obviously don’t love each other the way we love each other.”

Heck, I didn’t know how to respond.

I never liked comparing myself to anyone, and I especially didn’t think comparing coupledom was a healthy exercise. Instead of disagreeing with the sociopath (because we all know where that simple act of free will gets us), I would just say something like, “Yeah, I can’t imagine.”

To me, that was an honest statement, because I couldn’t imagine imagining what was going on inside of another and especially another relationship. It just wasn’t fair for me to judge, not even on an intellectual level (and I vomit at the idea of using the words “sociopath” and “intellectual” in the same post).

The sociopath also liked comparing me to his past girlfriends and fiancees. I didn’t like this either.

Sure, it was flattering to be referred to with superlatives: the most and the best and the prettiest or the smartest. But I know that no woman is any of those things and can’t be to any 1 person.

I grew up with 5 sisters. I love and respect the uniqueness of women and know that we all have many quirks and idiosyncrasies that define us. Our childhood, our education, our settings and background only tell part of the story of us. Knowing our dreams and hopes is harder to know. And it’s the impossibility of getting inside of our dreams and hopes that makes defining any of us (even the celebrities on the cover of People Magazine) as being the most or the best wrong in my opinion.

How in the world is it possible for anyone to be The Best or The One and Only?!?!

And I think it’s this superlative talk from our past that causes many victims and survivors to become desperate for that next perfect love affair.

That’s the sociopath talking in your ear, remember?

There is no perfect love affair other than the love affair we have with ourselves. I believe falling in love with who we are and what we can accomplish and with our potential is the necessary step before we attempt to look for a new boyfriend/girlfriend or future husband/girlfriend.

I know, for many, you feel defeated because you see or have heard about your ex’s new and “amazing!” relationship.

You know it won’t last, right? Why does your heart sink when you hear him say, “I am the happiest I have ever been.” So what? Remember when he said that to you about you and him?

If he can be happier than he claims he was with you, he must be walking around pissing all over himself or something, ’cause he was “super-duper” and “jumping on couches” happy with you. Can you even imagine a happier person than that? (I can’t unless I imagine his head exploding and fireworks are shooting from all of his orifices.)

We know the narcissist/sociopath is incapable of a long-term relationship. So stop worrying about what he’s doing. He’s doing it. Period. His life sucked before you, and it will suck after you. Who cares if he appears and seems happy today. You know he isn’t and you know it won’t last. He’ll screw it up just like he screwed up all of his past relationships with women who deserve so much better than him. (I have a few e-mails from women who came before and after me that validates it all for me. I’m sure many of you do, too.)

He WILL fail. Why? Because he hates being alone. He hates being who he is because he doesn’t even know who he is outside of what he has: a car, a home…a car, a home. (See? Not much, huh?)

Focus on you before you focus on re-capturing what you think you had with the sociopath.

If we can’t be happy alone, how do we expect to magically be happy with another?

The equation for a relationship is easy: 1 + 1 = 2. But what makes up those lonely 1s will define the whole 2.

Love yourself before you try loving another. It’s only fair to you and to the person you invite into your life next. Embrace your “single” status. It means you are strong and capable of standing alone and being you. And when you love yourself completely, the chances of allowing another to devalue your worth like the sociopath did are slim to none!

Namaste! ~Paula

(Image source: Being Single Is Not A Death Sentence. Embrace It.)

Category:
abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Forgiveness, Health, Humor, Lessons, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality
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Join the conversation! 31 Comments

  1. Paula, this comment got my attention:” I never liked comparing myself to anyone, ”
    Oh my. One night we were out eating sushi and we saw another very nice lady and my ex n said ” I wish I could be just like her” That threw me for a loop. What 45 year old woman wishes she could be just like someone else. The ex n knew nothing about the back story about this lady. The lady was pretty and rich. But what about the back story. Those parts of our lives that no one knows. I know of other pretty and rich women whose husbands cheat on them and their daughters are the town sluts. Would my ex n want to be just like them?

    And Paula, my ex n was bikram yoga hot. Hot, hot, hot. (no pun intended but it just works) Would love to have a conversation with you about Somatic Ns and Yoga. My ex n was always saying ” look at my abs, and my arms, look how hot I am” In the end she ran off with her yoga instructor. Poor guy. He has no idea what he is getting into.

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    • All they see is the material “advantages” of being other people. Really sad and shallow. And although my first yoga love was with Bikram yoga, I no longer practice it due to the allegations of rape and abuse against the man. I wasn’t able to reconcile what he did while in the “hot room.” I kept hearing the script and seeing his face and getting really anxious. I spent the last 8 months in hatha/vinyasa yoga teacher training and have been exposed to more sides of the yoga community that are not very yoga-like. We definitely need to talk!! Hehe!

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  2. Henley, I greatly respect your opinion, but highly disagree. Martha Stout makes VERY CLEAR that sociopaths are without conscience. To assume that there is any empathy or conscience ‘suppressed’ is dangerous for the many survivors and the general public at large, who are exposed to them, as well as have been traumatized by them.

    I have done interviews with self professed, diagnosed sociopaths. They ENJOY their disorder, duping and gaming others. they do not understand why we feel any empathy at all or are troubled by their LACK of it. They know exactly what they’re doing and their lack of conscience and empathy is the reasons they can so easily dupe, wound and harm others. I don’t buy into that portion of the movie in which I think you’re referring too. Fishead? Yea, no way. Secondly, have you watched “I, Psychopath” about Sam Vaknin’s journey into diagnosis as a psychopath, while he claimed to be merely a narcissist? Very interesting.

    We can split hairs over the disorders or try to find some ‘comfort’ in that some of those that are within the Cluster B are somehow ‘suppressed’, have low empathy and are capable of love, and reformation. Here’s the deal, they’re not.

    My therapist has worked with sociopaths. For about a session or two. they cannot tolerate the idea that they would need to ‘work’ in effort to show empathy to others, as well as anything else that measures on the ‘human scale with love, and care.

    It’s my opinion, after a lifetime of psychopaths, who were anywhere from low on the spectrum to high on the spectrum that there is no empathy. No conscience. But they do better if we believe that they do, because then even the garden variety can get away with it and walk amongst us in society hoping for their change.

    I know you mean well and there are parts of your post that I agree with, but this is one I definitely part ways with the suggestion that there is empathy or conscience suppressed. That isn’t possible, Henley. There are times where conscience ‘sleeps’ as is discussed in the Stouts book in that those who are blindly obedient to authority, even if it causes pain to others, but that is far different than those who show a consistent lack of empathy and lack of conscience.

    I think there are an abundance of survivors who have been devastated by sociopaths that would disagree with your theory and personally, I would encourage them to do so. Their ex partners were not capable of conscience or empathy and it’s blogs like this and thousands more that prove the destruction that they leave behind and their inability to ‘heal’, as well as a survivors determination to educate the public about what a truly dangerous, destructive disorder this is in those who lack conscience. Peace.

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    • I do not disagree with what you have written other than this, there is confusion between the terms psychopath and sociopath. I believe what you are referring to as a sociopath is actually a psychopath. Martha Stout does not make this distinction. I however believe it is important to make.

      I’m sorry if I come off as argumentative. It is not my intent to offend.

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    • Henley, you haven’t offended me at all.. It’s not the first time I’ve had discussions in splitting hairs with the disorders. It’s always an interesting one and we all have reasons that we believe as we do. Sometimes we are aware of it, at other times we are not, but I always appreciate someone who is willing to engage in the discussion.

      You are right that Martha Stout does not make this distinction because one does not exist between a psychopath having a lack of conscience and a sociopath ‘suppressed’ The distinction is merely one of genetic versus environmental cause.

      There are adult children who grow up to be sociopaths, psychopaths, narcisssists, then there are others, as a result of trauma and/or genetics who are borderline, bipolar, depressive, PTSD, anxiety, etc.

      A lack of empathy and conscience is the dividing line. Sociopaths fit well into this category.

      My son is a psychopath, Henley. But some believe his diagnosis to be more sociopathic. The only reason i disagree with the sociopathic label is because psychopathy is genetic in my family. But the outcome is still the same. My son has no empathy, no conscience. Accepting that has been very difficult, but nonetheless important in my ability to live in peace about it, as well as support other survivors and validate their experiences when they come to me with a child like this.

      I think you make an excellent point that there are toxic folks out there who are not of the Cluster B, lacking in conscience variety. Some are suffering from other issues, like addiction or some other mental health problem or are just plain assholes unhealed. I’ve met plenty of those survivors too. Often, conscience is suppressed when dealing with an addiction. It’s when the addiction is stopped that we begin to see the empathic side.

      A lack of empathy and of conscience is a pattern of behavior that is consistent over time. It does not change. only the victims and the sociopaths persona’s do. It’s really important to remember that the disorders are those of extremes. This is why they are referred to as the ‘dramatic/erratic of disorders.

      I think Dr. Stout was right not to make that kind of distinction, given her experience with hundreds of survivors, as well as sociopaths themselves.

      Henley, I don’t know whether or not you are a survivor? But I want you to know that although I do not agree with your theory, I greatly appreciate you bringing this forward for discussion as there are many important elements that are critical in pointing out. One of them, again, is that not everyone is like this. There are a lot, but it’s not everyone. Survivors often go through a ‘everyone is a spath’ stage. That’s very normal, but in reality, the disorders are trivialized in a dangerous way when we begin to apply these labels to people who are not deserving of them.

      Thank you for the conversation.

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    • THEABILITYTOLOVE,

      First, I am so sorry to hear about your son. I cannot imagine the pain it must have caused in your life. Second, I am also a survivor. There have been so many psychopaths in my life, I cannot count them all. Each has left their scars. You are absolutely right, it doesn’t matter if its genetic or environment, you have to protect yourself the best way you can.

      Thank you so much for the conversation.

      HH

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  3. Henley,

    I admire and greatly respect the work of Robert Hare. Have you read the Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout? Excellent read and someone who knows sociopaths and has worked with their victims for over 25 years.

    First, if we were to limit a ‘diagnosis’ of any of the Cluster B to a professional checklist and to professional diagnosis as the mode of validation, no one would receive help, nor would any victim be able to validate themselves and the absolute destruction left behind in their lives if we were to rely upon a diagnosis for our partner to validate our experiences. That’s nonsense and it’s dangerous, both to potential victims that need to be educated about the disorders, as well as those recovering from exposure to them.

    I disagree with the sociopath having a modicum at all of feeling and that there is ‘something there’. There isn’t. These are not ‘proto psychopaths’. They are not capable of any empathy, remorse, or guilt. If this were true, we’d have sociopaths lining up to receive help through therapeutic means. The differences between sociopaths and psychopaths is that psychopathy is theoretically genetic, while sociopathy is a CLUSTER B disorder that results from childhood trauma. Once this is set in childhood, it cannot be reversed, Sociopathy is not curable.

    Those without conscience can be quite obvious when one is an observer of human behavior due to lack of empathy and a constant play for pity through exploitation, manipulation and pathological lying.

    Sociopaths are not capable of feeling and there is NOTHING there.

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    • Yes, I have read Martha Stout’s work and have found it to be the first useful tool in understanding what I have been dealing with.
      I agree with you that Hare’s checklist is useless for the average person. For one, no one in the general public has access to it and two, if we’re pulling out the checklist, we already know the answer.
      My point wasn’t that we should get a diagnosis for the abusers in our relationships before we take action. It was to draw a contrast between those we know are psychopaths beyond a shadow of a doubt, and those who are not. My point is this: not everyone who harms us is a psychopath. They may behave like a psychopath, it may be best for us to treat them like a psychopath, but they are not. These people can be called sociopaths. Clive Boddy in his book, “Corporate Psychopaths” offers this as a definition of sociopaths, “Sociopaths is thus an anti-social orientation which results from an environment al, socio-cultural, and familial factors which are modified by an individual’s personality.” I suppose Tony Soprano of HBO fame would be better classified as a sociopath as compared to a psychopath given his episodes of fainting and anxiety (he is in therapy during the series). I could be wrong about that, I couldn’t stand to watch more than a couple of episodes.
      My point is that sociopaths are not the same as psychopaths. Sociopaths DO have empathy although it may be suppressed. They may also have a conscience although that conscience may be distorted by the social norms of the particular group they belong to. I believe this is a very important distinction to make.
      Respectfully, I must disagree with you on what the DSM IV has to say about Cluster B disorders. For Antisocial Personality Disorder it does not define psychopath as theoretically genetic and sociopath as the result of incurable childhood trauma. In fact, it doesn’t make much distinction between antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy or sociopathy. However, maybe I’m missing something. I too am not perfct.

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  4. Really loved this.

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  5. Oh Boy, I really loved this post!! I never thought about the fact he once said you were all it etc etc. So, why care he finds someone else and says that? Haha…I just realised how simple it is..Lol Thanks for the reminder.. Great post….Hugs Paula xx

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  6. […] When Our Self-Worth is Defined by Our Relationship Status (No Thanks to the Sociopath). […]

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  7. I grew up under brutal comparisons, It’s crazy horrible! I almost puked the day the mother said to me that she has a good man like my Hubby.

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  8. Paula,

    I think there was miscommunication. I don’t feel nor think that way at all.

    I saw your response on my blog and I then read your post. I simply meant that I was being repetitious in responding to your post, after you having responded to mine. 🙂

    No worries on my end.

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  9. ” I imagine his head exploding and fireworks are shooting from all of his orifices”—thank you for this image Paula I will so use it next time I am mediating and clearing away the negativity from the ex-narc. Great Post–just what I needed to read–not so much because of the narc but just in general needed a bit of uplifting.

    🙂

    ivonne

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  10. Paula,

    It seems if I post contradictory to what you’ve written, that I’m somehow being provoking. You’ve already seen my post today and responded.

    Sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, however you wish to label them all have one in thing in common and that is a lack of conscience.

    If you’ve not read “The Sociopath Next Door” i would suggest it. Martha Stout goes into detail about what it is to be without conscience.

    These people are incapable of misery. In fact, many of them are rather proud of their disorder. This has played out many times for me in conversations with self professed and diagnosed sociopaths. They’ve written to me and to have interviews with them, while exchanging emails has been tremendously insightful.

    They do not care about anything or anyone. Life is about the GAME. What they can ‘win’ and what they can’t ‘win’. And if they can’t win, their entire landscape is about how to dupe, manipulate, deceive to get it. They do not feel anything for those who they are with. The biggest revelation for me with these people is that they can’t understand US. They cannot understand why we are so ‘bothered’ by ‘trivial’ things like love and care. They really think that way. These people are not capable of feeling, only THINKING. We can’t outsmart them, we can’t get justice, we can’t think we’ll ever be vindictive enough to cause them problems. They don’t believe they have any, but more so, they don’t have the ITCH of conscience to FEEL anger, that something is wrong, that they’ve hurt someone, but they’re very good at convincing those with empathy through exploitation of their empathy and PITY that they feel this way or that. One of the things that amuses me now is how Narcissists are thought of as ‘insecure’ Now think about that for a minute. ….

    It makes no sense. It’s a play for pity, because narcissists are NOT insecure. They lack conscience and empathy too, this is why they are of the Cluster B of disorders. Their emotional landscape is static, like that of a radio. That’s how i perceive it. There is NOTHING THERE. We provide the excuses justification AND the emotions FOR THEM because we can’t believe anyone could be so evil.

    Why is this so hard to believe when that’s what you were targeted for? Someone to take their ‘evil’ out on?

    They are not miserable. They are not happy or unhappy. They feel no remorse, regret or one ounce of guilt.

    Accepting that is the hardest part of recovery before we let go of them and begin to work on ourselves, because the pain is so devastating and the duping so thorough, the shame so deep, we WANT, neigh HAVE to believe that they are suffering.

    But they aren’t. And they never will. Just like that one sociopath said to me,”I don’t understand YOU’. They think our ability to love is stupid.That we’re weak, like lambs. The only purpose our empathy serves for them, is for the win, to get what they want.

    When the game is over, they simply move on to find another player.

    that’s there is to it.

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    • I’m sorry but I posted this before I read your post. Often, because our subject matter overlaps, it might seem like my posts are a direct reaction to one of yours. A few posts ago that was true and I even told you it was the case. My posts are a reaction to myself and my experience, not you Ability to Love even if your posts sometimes inspire mine. 🙂

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    • That is exactly it—the acceptance that everything they said to you, all the niceties and the compliments were only said to control or win over you. It is the hardest thing to accept—to understand that there are really people out there with a lack of remorse or any feelings of empathy. I am over-emotional—it is so hard to understand anyone who does NOT feel real emotions such as guilt or love. But, it’s true—once the acknowledgement of the truth comes out, that indeed, I was used, it makes it a tiny bit easier to let go, to walk away. It hurts, but it is easier to walk away knowing I am leaving behind really nothing at all. I am leaving behind nonsense.

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    • Here’s a problem. Robert Hare, Author of “Without Conscience” writes about his history of working with psychopaths. He even developed the psychopathy checklist to help his team determine who was a psychopath. He states that the checklist should only be used by experienced, trained psychologist because making the determination of who is a psychopath and who is not is very difficult. So the question becomes, who are these other people who mimic the psychopath so well? Are they not just as destructive? Every bit as evil? It would appear the only difference between the two is that the psychopath does not have empathy while the other, to a lesser degree does. Could it be the proto-emotions of the sociopath is more confusing to us than that of the cold hearted psychopath. We base our hope on the slavation for the sociopath because we know there is something there. Maybe it is only when the evil is so great or the abuse so devastating that we turn away and leave, ripping our hearts out in the process.

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    • Funny you should mention this. I was watching the movie “Clueless” last night. I always loved this movie because 1) it’s a modern take on the classic novel Emma, and 2) it illustrates perfectly how the teenage mind evolves from one of self-centeredness/narcissistic-like to one of more caring and empathic. The main character Cher has an ongoing inner dialogue. Her inner dialogue is her conscience. Her inner dialogue is the voice she listens to most when trying to understand her affect on others and all of her relationships.

      There’s a scene near the end that I especially like: Cher is sitting in a classroom having an inner dialogue describing the people around her, students and teachers. It’s evident that she isn’t pathological because she is putting herself in the shoes of others. It’s her last struggle to fight her old self into becoming a new and better self. A non-pathological teenager’s rite of passage into adulthood, in my opinion.

      Teenagers are stubborn. But no matter how hard we fight the urge to grow, our conscience doesn’t allow us to remain stuck in our selfish and narcissistic behavior and thinking patterns. I believe it’s impossible for someone with a conscience to NOT be guided by their conscience even if they try acting conscienceless. You can’t turn off the conscience even if you try. Our conscience will always give us away no matter how hard we try pretending to be psychopathic or sociopathic.

      Being conscienceless is easy to detect if you know what you’re looking for. It’s subtle word choices and expressions and reactions that give the sociopath away. You know when you get struck by a sociopath, even if you don’t know to call that person a sociopath. Your brain immediately enters a state of cognitive dissonance, another feeling that non-pathologicals can’t fake or imitate.

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    • I believe there is a fundamental difference between a sociopath and psychopath. Psychopaths have no empathy. A sociopath may have under developed empathy, emotions or conscience. It is a matter of socialization. What we are taught by families, groups, gangs, etc. In many ways, I believe sociopaths are harder to detect and rid ourselves of. More horrifying, it also opens the door to the possibility that we too, under the right circumstances, may become sociopathic.

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    • I don’t believe a person with a conscience and a high-level of empathy can seriously turn into a sociopath. The only thing I will consider is that victims of sociopaths, especially those in intimate partnerships, run the risk of becoming “like” the sociopath due to the high degree of control and loss of free will. The sociopath is the puppet master and the victim is the puppet that willfully accepts and goes along with the sociopath’s demands, thus making the victim SEEM sociopathic, too. As for a person freely becoming a sociopath because they think t would be cool or beneficial somehow, to me, that’s on the same level of a person being born a male desiring to be female or visa versa. Serious operations must occur and hormones and pills ingested for a sex change to take effect. A conscience change? That would require some serious medical finagling, too, I suspect. As far as there being a difference between a sociopath and a psychopath, I honestly do not care. They both cause harm and they both won’t change. Lacking or being limited in one’s capacity to empathize is a pointless thing to determine and measure. I’m not interested in rehabilitating the un-rehabilitatable. I’d rather help those who have been affected by another’s lack and absence of empathy and conscience.

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  11. I knew not to jump right back into a relationship after leaving donkey. At first, it was to avoid infidelity charges, but then it was so that I could rediscover myself, know myself again, become confident in my strength again, and so much more. I’m still single. I’m usually ok with that (the night of the snake was not one of those nights). Now I know I am ready to get back to dating after this summer, and knowing that I am A-OK whether or not I find that special someone is going to make all the difference, I just know it.
    Donkey, on the other hand, is engaged to his new victim. Instead of being all poor, lonely, single me about it, I’m not going there. I feel sorry for her, first, and I know his abusing her will strengthen my case against him, second. I hate that her suffering is going to be to my advantage, but it is.

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    • That’s incredible but not surprising news, Melanie. I’m glad it’s not devastating for you. You have your kids all summer!!!

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    • It’s not as devistating as I thought it would be. I feel more for her than I do for myself. The hardest part is reconciling that the abuse she will suffer will be good for me. It makes me feel horrible.
      The engagement happened fast, as is typical to these monsters. Now they have all summer together to plan their Autumn wedding…and she’ll have til death do they part to plan her escape.

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    • Even if you warned her, she’d have to experience it for herself to believe it and understand. Don’t feel guilty for feeling relief at her expense. But I understand and have been there. 🙂

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    • I know she can’t hear the warning, which is why I posted my letter to my blog rather than sending it to her. I needed to write it and get it out, but there’s no sense in sending it along. He’s in his “impress her” costume. After the wedding, the angle wings will be replaced by the devil horns.

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  12. I remember feeling uncomfortable and actually disagreeing with my ex N in the early stages of our relationship because he kept saying I was “perfect just the way I was” and he “had no expectations”. For one thing no one is perfect and by the time you are in your 40’s you should have figured out that the first few months both parties are still on their best behaviour and with time and life’s ups and downs you get to see the real deal. I knew I couldn’t live up to the label of “perfect”. And just him saying I was perfect was an expectation. Everyone has expectations of some sort. I realize now he was telling me to not have any expectations of him and if I stayed just the way I was with no problems of my own, if I never got a cold, never got angry; never asked questions, never questioned his lies, never turned him down for anything, and didn’t expect honesty, faithfulness, respect or commitment I was perfect.
    And he used to say I had a warped sense of reality! Haha
    I quite like me thank you but perfect is not something I strive for.

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  13. Reblogged this on Joshua Stone's Bloggy-Blog and commented:
    Your abusive ex’s life sucked before you, and it will continue to suck after you. Well said!

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