I have not seen my psychopath in 2 1/2 years. It’s been a long road to recovery, and perhaps like the AA philosophy of once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. However, one does move from victim to survivor. With deep introspection, one learns how one was vulnerable in the first place. Though the outcome, if one is fortunate, brings insight and strength, it’s a journey I would not wish on anyone.
When one encounters a psychopath, one gets lied to, used, abused, cursed, belittled, and in the worse cases, possibly even murdered. It’s a battle for one’s soul. The lies are so Himalayan, reality becomes a fog. The relationship so toxic, one is ready to strap on the strait-jacket. Then comes the “aha!” moment, when the pieces begin to fit together in a coherent pattern. One stays mired in denial until the pain of something cataclysmic pushes one back into reality.
At that point, the victim begins to read and learn about psychopaths. It’s now a fashionable topic. Many books, many documentaries, many movies, many blogs, many articles — and many forums for recovery. It’s the latter I want to address briefly.
Not all forums are created equal. Look for the profit motive. Is a forum tied to a book and vice versa? Do some math on the number of forum members and the cost of the book, and notice the request for donations. Such forums may not have your best interest at heart. In fact, they may impede your healing, or traumatize you again. If they are making a profit off of your suffering, they are not serving your best welfare.
If you have joined a forum, and things don’t quite feel right, pause and give it some thought. Are you required to adhere to a particular “party-line?” Are certain members bullied for inexplicable or petty reasons? Is there a hierarchy where the moderators must be bowed to? These are a few signs of a toxic environment.
One well-known forum forbids any discussion of what made the victim vulnerable in the first place. Words like “co-dependency” are verboten. This is a stilted injunction against “blaming the victim.” Now, rightly so, no victim should feel shamed or blamed. The tactics used by psychopaths are akin to psychological warfare. But to move from victim to survivor, one must eventually ask, “What was my Achilles heel that got me into this mess?” That is NOT blaming the victim; it’s called learning from mistakes. Yes, it is painful to shine the mirror on oneself, but it is part of what makes you stronger and less vulnerable in the future.
Any forum that limits how you go about your own healing in the way you need to is an impediment. You can re-hash your story till the cows come home, and have all sorts of theoretical discussions about psychopaths, but if you are precluded from thinking for yourself, you are in a toxic environment.
A healthy forum will give you support as you go through the stages of denial to understanding to acceptance, and then you are ready to move forward. You’ll have one step forward, two steps back, which will eventually become two steps forward, one step back, which will eventually lead to healing, and you won’t need to be a part of the forum any more. The purpose of the forum should be to help you and gently guide you so that you come to that point where you don’t need it any more.
Here are a couple of blogs on a similar topic:
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