I received an email that shared a story of a woman who was in a damaging and destructive relationship. Having been isolated from her friends and family by the psychopath, she found herself alone and vulnerable and checked herself into the psych ward of a prominent hospital to help her understand what had happened to her. It was at this point, a friend got involved and told her about my book Danger Has A Face, in hopes that it would help her understand the abusive relationship and find a way to end it without further damaging his friend.
This is my response to his email:
“Thank you for sharing this story. I feel for your friend, as I was in a similar situation—hence the book—-and I too contemplated ending it rather than face the continual onslaught of psychological abuse. What saved me and what inevitably saves us all, is the support of someone who cares enough to step in and stand by us or stand up for us, when we are unable or unwilling to do it ourselves. And, you did that for her—thank you.
As for a support group, you were right to suggest a group for survivors of psychopaths and a therapist that specializes in work with psychopaths. These individuals may appear like us, but they are nothing like “normal” people. Handling, surviving and healing from psychopaths takes a specialized group of healers. Believe it or not, there are therapists, physicians and judges that are unable to diagnose these types of people and therefore they give advice to the victim that may be appropriate for mainstream relationship issues, but is actually counterproductive and dangerous in dealing with psychopaths. Finding the appropriate help for dealing with this particular type of abuse is the hardest part.
She may experience a prolonged healing period and it may take years to rebuild her self esteem after the damage from her prior relationship. So often these survivors suffer longer than necessary, because their family or friends find the situation so “ugly” and quite frankly unbelievable and they choose to walk away and this leaves the victim alone and isolated. Thank you for giving her good council and supporting her during this difficult time.
As much as I have tried to stay out of the “line of sight” with the psychopath I know, by keeping a low profile, moving away, changing my name and publishing the book without my friends or family’s knowledge, if I can be of assistance to your friend, I would gladly come forward to help her. Please let her know she is not alone.”