A woman I have never met writes me an email to tell me how she has just seen the documentary that was created about the journey I took through hell with a man whose lies and deceit almost killed me. It still occasionally appears on Discovery Channel and OWN and I always know when it’s been on. Someone will write to tell me they saw it. That they too have a story like mine.
Often, they will write of their misadventure and ask me, “How did you heal? How did you get over that?”
They will also, as this woman has, thank me for having had the courage to tell the story. To share it. “I don’t feel so alone,” she writes. “I am not crazy.”
It is one of the reasons I did the documentary. So that people know they are not alone. Not crazy. That there is hope, and life, after an encounter with a psychopath, or as I used to call it in the early days of my healing, a P-encounter.
Sometimes, the woman will tell me she is still in the relationship, or trying to break it off. Sometimes, it is a mother writing for her daughter’s sake, or a sister, pleading for understanding. Asking me to help them make sense of what is happening. Why won’t she leave? How do I save her?, they ask.
You must cut off all contact with the “P”. You cannot save anyone as long as the “P” is calling the shots. You are not powerful enough to combat the poison he feeds you, or the person you want to help, with every breath he takes and every word he speaks.
We must first stop the poison from entering before we can heal its effects.
There is no sense in encounters of the “P” kind. They are designed to drive the victim and those around them crazy.
“P” encounters are never about Love. They are always about Abuse.
P-encounters rob you of joy. Of your sense of worth, your self-esteem, your belief in yourself. They destroy hope. They tear apart lives, rip apart families and decimate relationships.
The damage is terminal if you stay in the relationship. Your heart will wither within your body. It will become capable of pumping only enough blood to keep you alive. But moments of joy. Moments of bliss, of seeing the sunshine and feeling the warmth on your face, of feeling alive and free, those will be transitory, fleeting, brief.
When in a relationship with a “P” you will always be connected to the umbilical cord of his lies and deceit feeding you the poison that is cutting off your blood flow, your free-thinking, your heart. He needs to keep you connected in order for him to stay alive. He will do anything to not let you go.
Fear, manipulation, terror, deceit. These are all tools of the trade for a “P”. They have spent their lives perfecting their art. They are subject matter experts in human manipulation. (and yes, women can be P’s too).
And we, their prey, whether a man, woman or child, are simply a means of keeping their art alive.
How did I heal?
By naming what happened for what it is. Abuse. By stopping all contact, even in my mind, with the ‘memories’ of a lost love. It was never real. It was only the creation of his desire to catch me in the web of his lies.
How did I heal?
By taking one step after another, every single day, and reminding myself as each step took me away from those dark and violent days, that I was not healing from a love story gone wrong. I was healing from abuse.
How did I get over it?
It was not something to get over. I wasn’t trying to climb over a fence dividing ‘those days’ from these days now. I was healing from the loss of joy, the ripping apart of all my relationships, the destruction of my dreams, my heart, my belief in my worth, my belief in magic and wonder and awe.
To heal from the loss, I had to reclaim what I had lost. And I couldn’t do it by getting ‘over him’. I had to do it by letting go of the idea of loving him and believing he was my soul mate, my perfect lover, the man of my dreams, my Prince Charming.
I had to stop all thoughts of loving him and the lies I told myself about how I had lost a beautiful love so that I could see myself without the poison of his lies holding me enthralled in the make-believe he’d created when that relationship first began.
I had to become fierce and tenacious and willing to feel the pain of the loss of myself so that I could fall in love with me. All of me. Beauty and the Beast. The abused woman. The woman who deserted her children. Who let go of her life to take that journey to happily ever after and became lost on the road to hell.
I had to fall in love with me, the woman who is caring, kind, sometimes funny (Ask my daughters. They will tell you being funny is not one of my strengths 🙂 ) Who believes in angels and sees fairies dancing on sunlit water and hears the wind whispering stories of far off places in seed pods dancing on the branches of a tree in springtime.
Who believes we are powerful beyond our wildest imaginings because, she knows with all her heart, we are magnificent human beings capable of creating a world of wonder where harmony, joy, peace and Love abounds.
That is the woman I have fallen in love with. And that is how I ‘got over’ the P-encounter.