Letting go of the unnatural shame in the aftermath of sociopath abuse

Sociopaths/Psychopaths/Narcissists are not mentally ill. They are not sick. On the contrary, these individuals are disordered. Disorders can’t be treated with therapy, medication, or other treatments. Sociopaths can’t be made non-disordered.

Sociopathy is a disorder, a condition, a state of being. To the sociopath, their state of being is natural–controlling others, manipulating every situation, pretending to be good and just, mirroring the behaviors of those they covet and want to become–these behaviors are their normal.

Their state of normal behavior is abnormal to the rest of us, the non-disordered. We do not seek or find pleasure and satisfaction in controlling others. We do not enjoy manipulating people to like us. We do not like being fake or insincere. We find grandiose gestures of importance in others repulsive. We are always questioning if we are being true to ourselves and if we are being fair to those we love. We are accountable.

Sociopaths are not accountable. Sociopaths do not care how they affect others as long as others do not question them. The sociopath abhors when we, the non-disordered, refuse to be controlled and manipulated and start asking questions like, “Why did you do that? It doesn’t seem right or natural.” When asked these questions, the sociopath’s disordered “balance” becomes imbalanced. When out-of-balance, the sociopath’s mask slips, he rages, he projects, he shames and blames. More importantly, when we start asking our questions, that’s when the sociopath immediately labels us mentally ill and sick. The sociopath’s default is to demean, minimize, and unfairly dismiss all of our questions instead of considering our criticism and looking within themselves for the answers.

(Perhaps sociopaths do peek at the answer inside of them and sharing the answer frightens the sociopath too much. The answer is so base and primordial. Sociopaths do not want that label! The answer to any questions is always, “Because I don’t care. That’s why I say and do those things.” Answering us in such a way would result in exactly what the sociopath fears the most: abandonment and excommunication.)

Remember this. Only a disordered person will have as their default the need to label you as sick or ill just for questioning and refusing to be oppressed.

Non-disordered and non-mentally ill people do not do that.

Instead, when our behavior is questioned, we immediately feel shame and engage our empathy to understand how we hurt someone, how we can fix it so we don’t hurt them again, and then, despite changing, continue to carry around the guilt and shame.

This is a deadly trait when in a relationship with a sociopath. We know this to be true, because we repeatedly adjusted and changed our behavior and personality to fit into the disordered world of the sociopath’s. The longer we stayed, the more we became and behaved like the sociopath and the more our shame grew and festered.

To undo this insidious assault on our natural state of being takes time and the strength to accept that we did what we did and behaved as we behaved while under the sociopath’s spell because we truly believed we were changing in order to please the one we loved. We truly believed we were somehow sick, ill, and disordered.

We weren’t. We aren’t. And we can undo the damage as long as we learn to let go of the shame and blame that keeps us from reaching our joy. Letting go of that unnatural shame and blame is necessary, but it’s a frightening prospect. Once we release it, however, we soon realize that the shame we were holding onto in relationship to the sociopath was misguided shame and blame, and our body, mind, and spirit are not and have never been served by holding onto it.

Let go of the misguided shame. Keep telling yourself it is misguided and is only holding you back and keeping you from experiencing true joy and true happiness.


More on finding fault with the Sociopath’s Family


Yesterday’s post about mothers of sociopaths garnered lots of reaction on this blog and on the Facebook page dedicated to my book, Escaping the Boy.

First, I think it’s wonderful that everyone is sharing their specific experiences and reactions. Doing this allows all of us a greater chance of finding a story that relates to our own, which, in turn, will serve to validate us further and aid us in our healing and recovery.

One thing I did not mention about blame and fault: they are built on the same psychological premise as reward and praise.

The same way we as mothers and fathers can’t take the credit for our children when they do well and succeed, we can’t feel emotionally responsible for our children’s failures.

Do you blame your parents for your mistakes? Do you give them all the credit when you have done exceptionally well in the past?

I doubt it.

The first thing we do as healthy people with healthy egos is thank ourselves or punish ourselves when we succeed and fail.

So why would we blame the parents of a sociopath or narcissist for how they treat others?

Certainly, nurture plays a heavy hand in who and what we become. As parents, all we can do is model care, trust and love in hopes our children will become loving and forgiving adults.

However, nurturing, good and bad, only has so much impact on a person. We are each born as individual humans with the potential to mold and create ourselves in any way we choose.

It really comes down to individual choice: we can continue being a jerk or a good person or we can choose to be something else.

Once we mature, we have the ability to step back, reflect and compare our moral code against society’s and against individuals we admire regardless of our upbringing.

Each of us has the power to be better and do better. We can change!

Sociopaths do not have that power. They are not wired with the ability to step back outside of their material selves and reflect on their core.

And even non-sociopaths, people who remain immersed in toxic relationships, do not have that power.

Think back to how you were in the toxic relationship.

>>Were you able to discern between the fake and the real?

>>Were you able to logically and clearly dissect the chaos and mind games playing out in every scenario?

>>Did you have full and complete control over your own thoughts and actions?

>>Did you love and respect yourself and your ability to solve problems and set personal boundaries?

Being free from the influence of a sociopath and other pathological types is essential for healing and recovery.

The only people who are to blame for inflicting pain upon you and your children and other loved ones are those people who directly inflicted that pain.

If it was your ex and his entire family, then it’s fair to blame them individually.

Give them back the burden you’ve been carrying, even if it’s just a mental and emotional burden you are tossing aside.

But we cannot blame the dead parents or care givers who were once a part of a sociopath’s life. We can’t blame the brothers or sisters we never met.

The full accountability lies with those who inflicted the harm directly, not by proxy.

I love my son and give him lots of love and understanding. My wish is that he grows up to be a man HE can be proud of being.

His success or lack of success will soon have no bearing on whether I was or wasn’t a good parent.

The power to be kind, empathetic, loving and forgiving lies 100% within him.

If your ex is a part of a pathological and toxic family unit, he/she had a choice a long time ago to become a positive influence. Not every person within a toxic family is pathological or destined to become pathological.

But the longer and deeper the delusions run, the less likely the cycle will ever end.

I have met many people through this page who were raised by pathological mothers and/fathers and are not sick themselves. They are good, honest and giving people.

So I wholeheartedly believe the fault lies solely on the abusive person’s shoulders. Not the mother’s, the father’s, the foster parents’ or adoptive parents’.

Those people as individuals may be jerks and assholes, too. They may have been shitty parents and care givers.

But it’s the choice of the individual to continue to be hateful and harmful to victims/survivors who modeled love and honor but, in the end, failed to make an impact.

It’s no more the parent’s fault than it was your fault that the sociopath remains diabolical and unable to change.


© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications.

Perspective – The upside to having lived in hell with a Sociopath

20130426-110343.jpgBefore the sociopath, I always feared criticism. I tried so desperately to be perfect and not to offend people intentionally or otherwise.

(Of course, there were people who got under my skin that I didn’t like. I rarely held back letting those people know I disliked them.)

But I always worried about what my close family and friends and co-workers thought of me. I wanted to be seen as a good person in their eyes. I didn’t want to offend my loved ones. I wanted them to be proud of me.

When any of them criticised me, I would get easily hurt. When I got easily hurt, I would do one of two things: 1) become ashamed and run away or 2) get mad and runaway. Sometimes I became ashamed and mad.

I was not good at accepting healthy criticism from people who loved me. I hated the fact I would get upset with them for pointing out one of my personal failings.

I was never really angry with them, though. I was more angry with myself for having done something against them that would make them ashamed of me.

In walks the sociopath. Within a few months of the relationship starting, everything I did was shameful to him.

From past relationships and old friends I still valued to how I disciplined my son or neglected to discipline my son — these were all areas in which I was shamed by the sociopath.

Needless to say, I felt ashamed of myself the majority of my relationship with him. I felt like I was worthless and that I honestly needed to change everything about myself in order to be worthy of anyone’s love and attention, especially the sociopath’s.

Once I was finally out of the relationship and able to focus on my behavior outside of the sociopath, I recognized more clearly that, yes, I had some work to do, but not nearly as much work as the sociopath had me brainwashed into thinking.

The work I had to do involved letting go of being and trying to be so damn perfect for everyone else. Once I let go of that (which took me over 18 months from the time I left the sociopath), I could relax and not worry so much about what others thought of me.

And you know what? I have discovered that when I am not worried about screwing up, I don’t screw up as much!

When we go from one extreme to the next, we are able to add perspective to our lives and live more gently and carefully.

The sociopath was an EXTREME shamer and blamer. Absolutely nothing I did was or could ever be good enough. There was always shame and blame connected to my actions. EVERY action.

It didn’t matter if I drank too much or quit drinking all together, I would be shamed.

  • If I drank, I was a poor excuse for a mother and not a good girlfriend.
  • If I didn’t drink, I better think about why I was such a bad mother and poor girlfriend now that I was sober.
  • If I exercised, I was doing it for someone else other than the sociopath.
  • If I didn’t exercise, I was taking time away from my relationship with the sociopath.
  • If I called my mother, I was a whining baby who couldn’t handle my own problems without mommy’s help.
  • If I didn’t call my mother, I was avoiding my responsibilities.

(Where the fuck does a person go when stuck in this mess!?!)

The only place to go is outside of it. Otherwise, you remain stuck, miserable and always wondering why you are such a failure.

You are not a failure! You might not be perfect, but who is?

We each make bad choices and don’t always say the right thing in every situation. Sometimes we hurt people’s feelings without realizing it.

All we can do when these things happen is apologize and recognize that a mistake was made, fix it but move on.

If we allow ourselves to marinate in shame and blame, we never grow from the act or circumstance that caused the shame and blame.

And the only thing worse than self-blame and self-shame, is being subjected to the shame and blame of a pathological person like the sociopath.

You are human. Embrace your humanity. Be gentle with yourself even when you screw up, and good people will be gentle with you, too.


Related articles – Letting Go of Perfect. ~Paula Carrasquillo for Elephant Journal

How the narcissistic sociopath twists the truth in his favor

narcissistic sociopath as the ultimate liarNarcissistic sociopaths (like the boy in my story) are most concerned with how they are perceived by EVERYONE. Narcissists must SEEM perfect, impenetrable, impervious to pain, emotionless, and unaffected. To them, SEEMING this way makes others want to be them. How do they perfect this illusion? Through lying. But even their lies aren’t categorized as lies in the delusional minds of a sociopath. Their lies are “their truth.” They succeed in twisting the reality of a situation with a barrage of twisted information (mixed with a hint of truth to make it seem believable).

The boy had zero successful intimate relationships. His marriage failed; his many engagements failed; any attempts at having children failed. Why did all of these things fail? Well, if you were to ask the boy, nothing failed. It’s how he wanted it. It worked out just as he hoped. After all, if he admitted to failure, he was exposing HIS weaknesses. He doesn’t want anyone to think he has weaknesses. He’d be admitting to being as vulnerable as any ordinary human being. Ordinary? He can’t have that! He’s super-human, remember?!

Failed relationship story #1

Why did his marriage to his cousin only last six months? According to the sociopath, he didn’t want to get married in the first place. It was all his family’s idea. They pushed him to bring her to the United States on a fiancée visa. He “fell out of love” with her as soon as she moved in before the marriage. He waited until the 6 month visa was nearly expired before saying his vows. And only did it, as he says, to “save” her from the poor conditions of her home country. He didn’t even have sex on his wedding night. He didn’t even pay for the wedding license. His mom foot the bill for everything. He just went along with everything everyone else wanted, because he cared so much about “not hurting her.” (Yeah, right!!!)

Why do I not believe a single word of his wedding story? Because the boy never did anything anyone asked or wanted him to do unless it was his idea. He passed along his version of the story of his marriage to SEEM like he sacrificed a part of himself to save his cousin. He painted a picture of a person with a heart and a person who would “take one for the team!” (The “team” being his twisted family.) He wanted me to think he was capable of thinking of another before thinking of himself. (But I know now that he married her because, as I have written, these types can’t stand to be alone!)

Failed relationship story #2

Why did his relationship with his fiancée end before a wedding? According to the sociopath, he never proposed to her in the first place. He just went along (again!) with what the woman in his life wanted. He wanted her to stop nagging him. If she thought he wanted to marry her, it would end the nagging and crying because, according to the boy, she was at that I-need-to-be-married-before-I’m-30 stage of panic. He “allowed” her to move in with him. (He never asked her. She just showed up with her stuff one day.) He “allowed” her to have a ring. He “allowed” her to think he wanted to marry her. His words. His controlling language which I missed initially. (Shame on me!) He claims he never got down on bended knee to propose. She must have misinterpreted things as a proposal when he took her to a jeweler and asked the jeweler to design a ring. (Silly girl!! How could ANYONE EVER misinterpret a trip to the jewelry store as a proposal!!???)

Uninvited by him to live with him and wearing an engagement ring that really wasn’t an engagement ring, his fiancée was seriously delusional, according to the boy. It was her own fault she didn’t comply with his needs and got depressed and became unattractive to him and caused the relationship to end. He claims the relationship was over months before he ever kicked her out. She just didn’t choose to believe it was over. And he cared too much about “not hurting her” to kick her out too soon.

The reality is, he didn’t want to hurt himself. He didn’t kick her out until he was certain she wouldn’t take her dog (a dog he became attached because dogs are easily controlled) or sue him for all the money she had already invested in pre-wedding preparation. (Because he’s just a con man, in relationships and business.)

These are just a couple of the many tales the boy told to twist the truth and divert all blame away from him and onto “them.” According to the sociopath, he helped those women understand themselves and their flaws. He liked pointing out their mental flaws and weaknesses. As he liked claiming, they were in the dark about themselves before they met him and experienced his honest approach to relationships. He helped THEM understand their dysfunction because he “cared so much!” (After all, he is so incredibly healthy, don’t you know, and only a healthy person can point out another’s dysfunctions.)

But the only dysfunctional person is him. He’s fooling himself. Narcissists fool themselves (and their counselors). They play sick jokes on themselves everyday. It’s sad. The one statement he got right is that those women (including myself) ARE happier because of him, but not because of the reasons his delusional mind believes. We are happier because we experienced what a shit person is like and now know how to avoid them. We have moved on to healthy and fulfilling relationships with real men, real people, people with normal and healthy minds.

But he’ll NEVER understand that, because his mind isn’t normal or complete. His mind is a ball of dysfunction and chaos and blame, blame, blame. It’s always someone else’s fault. (He always cared too much. She always let him down.)

His dark and twisted heart will keep him moving forward to the next victim who will soon become another person he blames and shames. The new relationship will start out like a fairytale (like they ALL did) but end in a black cloud of abuse, control, and deception. The cycle never ends for these types. It never ends. No one can save them from it, not even themselves.

DARVO ~ it’s not an 80’s band

light bulb momentDARVO is the acronym for the standard abuser protocol: Deny, Attack and Reverse roles of Victim and Offender, which is exactly what I suspect the boy does to explain away my book and this blog.

I am quite positive that my Sociopathic X has used my blog and book as tools to prove he is the victim and that I am just a bitter ex-girlfriend. I’m sure of it. I believe he has directed his most recent girlfriends (and his few remaining friends and family) to read my blog in order to prove how crazy I am.

First, of course he adamantly denies that anything that he said or did to me was abuse. He brushes it off as normal relationship quarrel-type episodes that “Paula has now blown out a proportion because she is bipolar and has multiple personality disorder.” (I wish I could see him saying this shit with a straight face. He must do it pretty convincingly.)

Once he convinces them of this, he proceeds to tell them that he’s the one who has suffered and had to seek counseling for my abuse, hence the role reversal of the abuse protocol. To further convince them of this and to provide more proof of my delusional mind and a solid reason for why he can’t move on and have a healthy relationship, he directs them to my websites and blog. And the scary part is that they believe him, at least at first. Why? Because they are trapped in his web, spun to perfection during the first phase of his sociopathic seduction.

In predictable narcissistic sociopath fashion, he spends the first part of his relationship idolizing his victim. This is the phase where he seems sympathetic and like the first man she has ever known to be sensitive and interested in really understanding her feelings. She reveals everything about her past, present, and future, and he responds with how “amazing and inspiring and unbelievable you are! You make me so proud to say you’re my girlfriend.”

That phase doesn’t last long for this Sociopath. Soon, he begins to use his girlfriend’s secrets and values against her. He gaslights her, accuses her of not caring about him when she disagrees with something seemingly insignificant, demands that she stop doing things she’s always enjoyed doing because it takes away from his time (even though he calls it “our” time), continuously uses the phrase “if you loved me like you say you love me then you wouldn’t [fill in the blank],” and succeeds in driving her to the edge of believing she’s going nuts.

Fortunately, even though she dismissed my blog as the ramblings of a crazy bitch months or weeks before, she returns to my writings. That’s when she looks at them objectively, and the light bulb goes off. She rethinks this sicko’s motives and jumps ship.

(At least this is my hope. Don’t fall victim to his DARVO attempts. Leave while you can. He’s only going to get worse, and it’s only going to get harder and harder to escape. He once told me that he had a gut feeling that he would never have children. I hope to God his gut is correct.)

%d bloggers like this: