phoenix, PTSD, recovery, psychopath, sociopath, awareness, dating a sociopath, divorcing a narcissist, Paula Carrasquillo, Paula Renee Carrasquillo, Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

phoenixSo you want to know what I mean when I say I was in a toxic relationship with a sociopath and why it took me so long to leave and why I speak of the need to heal from it?

Okay. Here goes:

Imagine meeting the most charming, independent and interesting fellow who seems to love everything about you. He showers you with love, affection and attention. He likes everything that you like. You share the exact same dreams and hopes for the future. He seems like your perfect match and “too good to be true.”

Within a few short months of meeting (but well after you have become emotionally invested in him), this “great guy” begins to devalue you, seemingly out of the blue.

He tells you that you should dress better, stop drinking so much, be a better parent, look into finding work that suits your skills, consider dropping some of your friends who have no purpose and to stop being so selfish.

These are all things that you recognize could be holding you back and are even some you have seriously considered changing about yourself before, but why does he have to be so cruel and harsh in his assessments and judgments?

You let him know his words hurt. But instead of backing off with the criticisms, he pumps up the volume and frequency of them. He seems to get pleasure in knowing he’s hurting you.

Every attempt at change you make and everything you do or say comes with belittling reactions from him. It hurts. His words hurt. And being hurt sucks away all of your motivation to make any of the changes he proposes you make. And because of the emotional investment you made and the “taste” of the good man you thought he was, you keep holding out hope that his poor opinion of you and his bad behavior is fleeting, and he’ll soon see the error in his heartless ways.

But it continues. Each time you protest to his hateful remarks and threaten to leave, he  immediately apologizes and promises never to do it again. The good guy persona appears briefly, always and inevitably replaced by the ugly head of his monster side.

This causes you great confusion and despair.

“What happened to that loving and caring guy I first met? He MUST be in there somewhere. I can’t just walk away even though he’s hurting me. Imagine how much I would hurt him if I left? He just doesn’t understand that he’s really hurting me. Poor thing. I can’t just leave him. He’s so lost.”

But then his despicable nature becomes harder and harder for him to hide. His “good guy” mask is chipping away and disintegrating completely right before your eyes.

And because all of your hope has washed away with his mask, you start letting him know more and more how you feel about what he says and does that hurts you and others.

What’s his reaction? To point a blaming finger back at you. YOU are why he does what he does, and it’s YOUR fault that you can’t handle the truth.

He’s partially right. You are to blame for why he behaves and hurts you. But not for the reasons he proposes.

He claims you’re weak and mentally ill. Wow! You’re floored. After all, you simply tried to explain to him that what he did wasn’t nice or what he’s thinking about another person might not be 100% accurate. You never once said he was sick or mentally ill for behaving and saying those things. Why would he claim you were sick and mentally ill unless you were sick and mentally ill?

So you ponder that idea: “Am I sick and mentally ill? No one would suggest such a thing unless I were, right?”

But because you aren’t sick and mentally ill, you become sick and mentally ill trying to uncover issues to prove you are sick and mentally ill. At the same time, you’re trying to make sense of the actions and behaviors of a man who you have yet to realize lacks empathy and remorse.

You go crazy wondering what you did to cause someone to react to you in such ugly and hateful ways.

And this is where your ability to empathize, be compassionate, and exercise your conscience works against you. You are dealing with a sociopath who lacks all of those things but is able to manipulate and control you because you have them!!!

Do you see the irony and silliness in this toxic situation?

You do see it! You finally do! And you realize it can’t and won’t stop unless you exit the ride. But you might not have the right words to explain what you feel. That’s okay. There is no time to explain. More than likely you’re going on what your gut has been trying to tell you all along, that something is f*cking, stinkin’ rotten in Denmark.

You finally listen and are able to start seeing and accepting him for what he is. You begin to see the reality that he can’t change and that you are absolutely unwilling to give up your freedom and your will in order to please him. You have yourself to make happy. He’s a grown man. Let him deal with himself, alone. You’ve had it!

So you no longer make excuses for him, to yourself or to others. He’s never given you that courtesy, so why give it to him.

You leave him. Who would want this in their lives:

He’s a racist, sexist, misogynistic douche bag to the nth degree. You realize that all of those nasty, derogatory comments he’s made in the past about you and everyone else were because he really believes them to be true. They weren’t comments made by someone who cares if he hurts someone or not.

“Wow! Even the squirrels in Maryland are black.”

“Your boyfriend lost his leg? How can you date someone who is only half a man?”

“Why would you order coffee before I’ve even finished my meal, you selfish whore?”

“I put those Amish framers to work! Good thing they don’t know the real value of their efforts.”

“I told her at the entrance to the theater that she looked like a cream puff in that dress. It’s not my problem she dislikes me. The truth is the truth.”

“So my mom nearly dropped my niece and my brother screamed at my mom calling her a clumsy fat pig! Hehe! Can you believe it? You should have seen my Mother’s face! I don’t know what she was thinking carrying my niece that way.”

“You knew I was like this when you first met me.”

And there’s the rub.

Yes. I knew he was a little on the egotistical side. I thought he was like that because he was young (35) and his mother hadn’t taught him any better. (Sorry moms. It’s always easier to blame you.)

The part I didn’t know, however, is the part about him being without a conscience and lacking the ability to empathize.

It’s our conscience and our empathy that has allowed us, non-sociopaths, to grow and change and become better and more understanding people as we live our lives. We make the false assumption that everyone we meet has both empathy and a conscience. That’s where we fail ourselves and cause ourselves undue suffering when we cross paths with a sociopath.

Mr. and Ms. Sociopath are incapable of growing and changing and evolving into respectable and caring human beings, people we would all be proud to call our partners or friends in life.

Does that make me sad for sociopaths? No. I am detached from feeling anything for them.

What it makes me is incredibly thankful and proud of myself for having the strength and courage to face my own demons in order to wipe away the false demons a sociopath created and tried planting inside of me.

I certainly have my faults. But none that can’t be recognized and fixed with a little hard work and lots of empathy and help from my conscience.

Today, I dictate my own thoughts. No longer does another try to control how I see myself. That’s freedom. And we all deserve it and can reach it.


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abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Forgiveness, Friends, Health, Kids, Lessons, Love, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, NPD, Peace, Psychopaths, PTSD, Sociopaths, Spirituality
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Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. I had not seen this post, am dealing with my custody war with The Monster. Yes, this was my prince too. I have come to the conclusion, if it’s too good to be true, it’s NOT! No one is perfect, not even my dad, (he forgot my birthday for Christ sakes, he’s old lol). I hurt for my children only, because of his hatred of me, he withdrawals any form of affection or love, (if he’s even capable). For me, regardless of what he or anyone else is doing, they are my children and I will do anything to be with them, protect them, him not quite so much. What has worked for me, I document everything. I don’t engage in lengthy emails or text conversations about anything. I follow our court order. When he breaks it I file contempt with the police, send it to DA office. I don’t go to court with out anything I can’t prove. You have to find what works for you, I don’t tell him what I am going to do, or my friends. I just do it, I don’t trust anyone. The Monster, he charms everyone, still. 😔 From what I have read, (lots of books) family court is looking for patterns, so I am trying to show how he systematically cycles through women. I can’t walk in there with my bartender/bar maid self and say he’s a Narcissistic Sociopath, it’s me they will commit!! Lol!


  2. Wow Paula! You really said it well. That’s exactly how it was for me. And you’re right. They loose in the end because we end up healthier by the end while they are just as unhealthy if not more so.


  3. When my Ex Pathological Narcissistic and I separated, a good friend said to me, “I won’t blame him 100% but your husband had a heavy hand at chipping away at your self-esteem.” She’s right, he did and I allowed him too. Now that I am FREE(!) from my Ex PN, (thanks to you and my therapist) sooooooooooo many things from my past are rising to the surface — red flags I refused to acknowledge. For example: Did I ever tell you that while we were married he wrote a nasty letter to my mother telling her what a horrible person she is? My mother stopped speaking to me because she thought I was behind the letter. When I told her I had nothing to do with it she was relieved. So how did I find out about the letter? I had found it on our external drive, a drive we used to backup our files when I was looking for my resume. This happened back in 2004 or 2005. Had I been of sound mind (and not verbally beaten down) I would have, should have, walked out the door and never looked back. Had I done that to him, he would have divorced me on the spot. In fact, I said that to him and he agreed that he would have left me, had I done something like that to him!

    When I think back to all the shit I put up with I shake my head wondering how I could have allowed someone to treat me so poorly.


    • I think you saw the “red flags” as something other than warnings. You saw them as an opportunity to assist and nurture a fellow human being.

      When I was younger, I was more selfish and would have seen the “red flags” as something that needed to be remedied on HIS end before he could be in a relationship. I would have left him immediately as a younger, more selfish person.

      But with age, comes patience and our interest in helping people with “red flags.” Our desire to help them to see their “red flags” as barriers to their growth is what gets us into trouble. If we mention a “red flag” behavior, we are bashed and all of our flaws are splashed about and used as fodder. Why? Because these fools can dish out shit about others but can’t take the truth about themselves. We, on the other hand, take criticisms of ourselves to heart and work to change our behavior. Why would we want to continue hurting someone if they say we do? We try immediately to fix ourselves while theses fools laugh and snicker at us.

      But it’s US who gets the last laugh, because we end up fixing ourselves to the point that nothing they say or do to us, no matter what past mistakes we made that they try to use against us and no matter how much they cry foul, we remain untouched, unaffected and detached by the venom they spew.

      We go on living freely while they remain fixated on controlling everyone and everything within their reach. What a sad and pathetic life to live!! No one wants THAT in their life for long. I have and will always have zero pity for these fools. They lose out on so much. XOXO


    • Well said. I already feel 100% better now that my Ex is no longer in my life. I am seeing things so much more clearly now. There is true freedom in clarity. Hindsight truly is 20/20.


  4. I want to thank you for this blog. I have been in a “relationship” (if you can call if that) for nearly 2 years with a man just like this. He treated me so wonderful at first and made me feel like I was special and beautiful (which I am!!!!). But it didn’t take long for him to do all of the things you are describing here. For a moment I thought I had something wrong with me…I almost even got talked into taking anti depressants and seeing a psychologist because he had me believing I was the one who was messed up. It took me a long time to finally realize he only wanted me around so he could step on me and have me build him up, stroke his ego, tell him how wonderful, handsome, talented he was. All the while he put me down. I’m just thankful I got out before I ended up with a kid with this man. I feel for all of you moms (or dads) out there that are dealing with that. I know without a doubt this man would have used the court system against me to try and take out child if we had. And he is such a charmer it probably would have worked. Thank you for confirming what I feared and knew in my gut! It was like I was reading our relationship from beginning to end.


  5. The problem is, he has my daughter (s).


    • I wish I had something encouraging to write for you, Katherine. Too many children end up being forced to be with the abusive parent. I do not understand Family Court. I’m so sorry.


  6. Excellent post! So many of the quotes he said to you are exactly what my ex would say. I cannot count how many times I was called a “weak woman” and “a piece of work” when I called him out on hurting my feelings.

    I am still in the middle of it. I left a little over two years ago and the custody battle rages on. Some days I feel like I am hanging by a thread. It has been tough, but once I was out of the fog of the relationship, it was so clear what I had put up with all those years. Some days it feels like it will never end and that is a huge fear of mine. But at least I am out from under his thumb and have freedom in my house now.

    Thanks for your inspiration!



    • Thank you, DS. Most of us know something is wrong and because we aren’t certain, we stay too long. Glad you are out and closer to being completely free! 🙂


  7. Expressing empathy is PART of the empathy, is it not? If you see someone crying, you go to them, whether or not you have the perfect thing to say. When you have empathy, you can’t not use it or express it! You are right. I guess I’ve been with him too long, that I still think I can believe him and that I think I am the one at fault – just like you say in your post.


  8. “lacking the ability to empathize” – I told my husband that he seemed to lack empathy and compassion. He said that he cares very much but that he doesn’t know how to express it Do I believe this?


    • His answer is loaded. He is making the false assumption that a person has the ability to turn empathy on and off or to USE it in some way. Empathy is instinctual and natural…if you have it. Only someone who has no idea what empathy is would answer in the way he answered you. I even have a hard time, on occasion, not empathizing with the sociopath from my past. The instinct is to use it, not to NOT use it and then wonder how to express it.


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