Love exists as the most omnipotent and beautiful force in the universe. However, it also has the potential to be the very essence of pain. Its exquisite and overwhelming power can lift you up one minute – and then eradicate your entire being with no warning. This delicate paradox both consciously and subconsciously dictates our every move, as like all living beings, we are on an eternal quest for unconditional love.
For as long as I can remember, I have been enamored with the idea of falling in love and consequently, idealized someone who I thought would complete me, and cause all of the fear, pain and sadness from my entire heart to dissipate from the soul.
I had a gaping hole in my heart from the loss of my grandmother, who was my primary caregiver as a child, best friend, and the most amazing conduit of unconditional pure love that I have known. When I was thirty years old, I lost the other love of my life – my father. After their deaths, I habitually jumped in head first to romantic relationships, desperately trying to distract myself from the pain and fill the void in my life with something that created the façade of unconditional love.
Unlike maternal and paternal love, however, romantic love is an intoxicating force and therefore, can be a very dangerous and blinding one. I began to understand this when I encountered the manifestation of evil in human form, disguised as my protective and charming lover. This relationship was to become the most intensely chaotic, unnerving, anxiety-ridden, addictive, obsessive/compulsive, dangerous version of love that I had ever encountered. It hypnotized and controlled me, as if I was a lifeless, pathetic puppet with no purpose other than to serve and be enslaved. I could not break away from this dynamic of sadism intertwined with pleasure until I was forced to protect the sanctity of my soul.
This relationship was the epitome of love in my deluded mind, as I received an infinite supply of love, attention, affection, compassion, emotional, intellectual and spiritual depth that was comprised of the most soul penetrating emotions that dwell in the soul. The intoxicated and trance-like state that I was in was so compelling that I ignored the blatant signs of an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship and disregarded the red flag behavior that this person exhibited. The dysfunctional union felt like the greatest love of my life and the center of my universe; a place where I never felt more free…although ironically, I was actually being imprisoned and disconnected from myself and God
I never in my wildest dreams imagined that the love we shared had the capacity to turn into a battlefield of soul-penetrating wounds and despicable acts of moral depravity. But I loved this beautiful, tortured soul. Although I did not realize it at the time, the pain he inflicted fueled his existence, allowing him to exert control and feel the only emotion he was capable of feeling: pain. Many times I knew in my heart that I should have walked away and showed an ounce of self-respect. But the cycle of pain was like a drug that excited every molecule of my being, even though my soul was slowly dying and I was ceasing to exist, except to serve my sociopathic lover. I was addicted to the notion of curing him of his suffering and extinguishing the demons that haunted his heart and robbed his soul. I believed that if I loved him just a little bit more, at the expense of another piece of my soul, that we could conquer the world, overcome any obstacles, and live in pure bliss because nothing else mattered. There was nothing outside of this soul-mate connection that held my attention. This was all I needed to survive and be happy. Nothing else mattered.
After four tumultuous and beautiful years, the fantasy world that I was living in came to a screeching halt, when we were on a romantic weekend in NYC. I truly believed that this would be the time that he would finally propose to me, but instead, he left me alone in the hotel room to engage in a clandestine expedition with prostitutes. We were having so much fun on this trip. I would not have anticipated this in my worst nightmare. This unconscionable and maliciously cruel act was a direct reflection of his own compulsive and destructive sexual urges, and I was an innocent bystander, as well as a co-dependent enabler. I was feeding the monster despite the signs warning me not to!
At first, life without this man felt like the most torturous, cruel and unusual punishment that a human could possibly endure. I fantasized about suicide and the relief that it would yield to be free from this unbearable, suffocating inhumane pain that dominated every cell of my body and what was left of my diminished soul. Months went by and the pain still enslaved me; I was tortured by nightmares of my former lover and obsessive thoughts; my mind was a battlefield of psychological warfare. How could this the love of my life turn into a demonic, sadistic cruel monster in a mere moment? How could this be real? Did evil like this really exist and if so, why would this darkness destroy the unconditional love that I exhibited so proudly and willingly? That love gave my life a divine purpose and even if it was only a façade, and a fraudulent and choreographed manipulation of love, it felt so real and genuine; it felt infinite.
Those feelings were not meant to be suppressed, buried, forgotten, or locked up forever in a dark place in the soul. The power of those feelings and the magnanimous strength of the masochistic relationship became a messenger to me from the universe, and a desperate request from my higher self to embrace the pain, and allow it to be the very thing which would set me free. The beautiful thing about pain is that when it diminishes and ceases to enslave the mind, body and soul, a magnificent strength is born that heals and transforms; pain is empowering and necessary for human evolution. It breeds compassion, empathy, and deep gratitude for the moments that are devoid of pain. Without pain, there would be no self-improvement, evolution or even love. There is no life or beauty in the absence of pain.
What I learned from that horrific experience has forever changed me. The sadistic nature of his behavior forced me to truly dig deep into myself and examine why I was abandoning myself and neglecting my divine being for the sake of someone who received pleasure from inflicting pain and robbing me of my soul energy. I learned that I was a pathological co-dependent, who based my emotional state on the happiness of the people around me. I maintained the erroneous belief system that love was measured by external acceptance and that any deviation from it would be selfish and result in guilt, shame and punishment.
I now know that a co-dependent is borne from exposure to a narcissistic parent, or a parent who suffered from emotional instability and is unable to educate the child on how to practice self love. The child is taught that the concept of self only exists to provide for the needs of others. It can also develop from a too-close relationship with a parent that can rise to the level of emotional incest, which handicaps the child and stifles growth, development and autonomy, hindering the process of becoming an independent adult.
Based on this intensely enmeshed parental relationship, the child is taught that love is defined by abandonment of self for the sake of pleasing others. If the child sets boundaries from the manipulative narcissistic parent, they are made to feel guilt and shame. Therefore, the child essentially becomes a slave to the emotional needs of others, and is on an eternal quest to please everyone; something that is impossible to do – and they develop co-dependent tendencies that carry over to all of their future relationships.
In a romantic scenario, the codependent feels enslaved in a life of energy depletion. All of their energy is devoted to raising the emotional state of the narcissist, who is unable to generate any internal energy or change. Power only comes from victimizing the codependent, who is willing to acquiesce to the person who is perpetually miserable. This flawed system, based on illusory thoughts and a distorted template of love, only perpetuates a state of oppression and psychological warfare for both disordered individuals.
As I realized that I was deeply entrenched in a codependent cycle, I became fascinated with learning everything that I could about its formation, how to break the cycle and how the magnetic compulsion was created. I believe it is my mission to educate as many people as possible about this toxic and abusive addictive cycle. If my story can help one person’s pain and suffering to be alleviated, then I have bestowed a gift upon humanity by bringing it one step closer to eradicating sociopathy and the dark triad of personality and character disorders.
That horrific day in NYC that marked the death of my relationship resulted in my re-birth and the beginning of the most beautiful journey and transformation of my soul. I love the woman that I am today, because I am strong, resilient and I realize that I loved myself enough to discard my abuser, the man who triggered the unhealed parts of myself, Ironically, he became my greatest teacher in life. The moral of this tragic love story is that through the most gruesome, horrifying and soul-shattering experiences in which the self is completely lost, it can be born again, into a much more robust force of nature that can compel you to a new level of awareness and happiness.
He was the dark, the light, the devil, the angel, the conduit to God and to my experience of unconditional love in its purest form. I was so desperately and painfully in love with this man when I walked away from him and it was the hardest thing I have ever done but it was done to teach us both how to live, love, suffer, die, be reborn and love forever. No matter what he it did, it was not done to me and I was not a victim. I was a lover and gave my entire soul, heart and life to this person. It destroyed me, shattered the psyche, dismantled my sense of reality and I would do it all over again.