Since I started this blog, I am realizing more and more how much we, the victims and survivors of pathological love relationships, need each other. I’m also realizing how much we need to set each other free.
From the outside looking in, most people who visit this site (and other sites like this one) can easily jump to the conclusion that we’re a bunch of crying, complaining, broken-hearted, love-sick divas who need to move on!
I get it. I really do. I understand why many choose to look at us in that light: it’s easier to see surface emotions and judge them without diving deep into the reasons behind the emotions.
Often when we read or hear of another’s pain, we end up taking on their emotions. It’s draining. That’s called empathy. Being empathetic takes lots of energy and requires an absence of ego.
We know sociopaths can’t do that. They are not able to empathize.
The rest of us can empathize to a high degree, and the beauty of our ability is that we can choose the degree to which we empathize.
What do I mean? Well, think about it. The amount of energy it takes to focus on another’s pain is draining. We know the people in our lives who drain us the most, right? More than likely, the first person that comes to mind is the sociopath with his pseudo-pain.
But there are many non-pathological people who need our attention due to real pain, and we give to them freely. We put our worries and frustrations aside in order to take on the worries and frustrations of others.
And because we are aware of the energy required to do this, we sometimes choose not to empathize. We choose not to get involved. Making that choice is tough and sometimes filled with guilt. But it’s necessary.
I am perfectly content sometimes to not get involved, especially if I have no useful skills or resources that can help someone in great pain. In those circumstances, I end up feeling more helpless and hopeless and sad, in addition to taking on the pain of the person with whom I am empathizing.
So I choose not to get involved.
It’s not easy to turn the switch from “on” to “off.” I have had to do this often over the past months with family, friends and blog followers (I apologize!) in order to protect myself and remain on track to self-awareness and recovery.
Being overly empathetic of others steals our energy needed for ourselves. It’s the catch-22 of being a healthy, non-pathological person who critiques sociopaths and psychopaths daily–I end up looking no better than the sociopaths and psychopaths I analyze and digest.
But that’s just my guilt talking. I know I’m not a sociopath or psychopath. I also know when the time has come for me to be serious about my limitations and think seriously about hanging up my current hat in order to try on a new one.
Now is one of those times.
Since late February, I have been struggling with writing about sociopaths/psychopaths. I know deep down that I can’t maintain this momentum. I just can’t. I’ve written exhaustively about my experience and observations over the past 16 months or so. With the submission of each post, I think, “This could be the last one on the subject.”
It never is. There is always something that sparks something inside of me. It could be a conversation with a friend, a question from a reader, a TV commercial I watch, a word I hear, a song I begin to hum…whatever it is, I become inspired to share one more story related to sociopaths and toxic relationships.
But I am serious this time. This really could be the last post on the subject I write, but that’s only because I have so many other wonderful things in my life on which I want to focus.
Other than the obvious need to spend more time with my family, I am also actively planning to begin yoga teacher training in the fall. Once certified in yoga, I can then become certified to teach yoga to trauma patients.
THAT is what I see as my ultimate gift and take away from my toxic relationship and the best use of my empathy and all the energy it consumes. My writing has been a stepping stone to many things: friendships, understanding, job opportunities, vision and purpose.
I’ll continue to write, but probably less and less about sociopaths and psychopaths but more and more on healing techniques and mindful approaches to self-care (which anyone could benefit regardless of past relationship horrors).
I remain dedicated to transforming this blog into a comprehensive book on the aftermath and journey to self-recovery and healing from relational harm. That goal will be primary through the end of this year. As far as writing new material, I want to focus more on writing and editing for Elephant Journal and my Washington Times Communities’ column (which could possibly go into syndication, but I need to hunker down for that to happen).
So I’m not really going anywhere. I could never leave this community. However, I realize I need to let go a little in order to free myself to explore more possibilities for life, love and laughter. The “longing” part is taken care of now, because I feel more free today than I have ever felt in my entire life. I owe a large majority of that to my blog readers and visitors. You’ve made these past months so worth it to me.
The rest is thanks to my loving husband J., my son A. and myself.
(image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/147492956518852766/)