Divorce and Narcissism

Safe Places & Bad Memories

There are so many details surrounding the time period leading up to and then during and after the discovery of my ex-husband’s final affair that I try to not think about. I try hard and I’ve actually made it to a point where I can get through days without thinking about it. That’s progress! I’m not thrilled with where I am in my life right now, the many changes and stresses that being a single mom has caused. My kids are wonderful, so it’s not that. It’s the financial burden and the changing everything we have known, for them for their whole lives and for me, for the past 20+ years. Change can be good, but for me it’s not, not while I’m undergoing the changes. I can’t see or feel what’s good about it. The good becomes apparent to me well after the fact. I am better off ending a marriage that was filled with deceit. I am better off being alone and lonely versus trapped in a marriage where I wasn’t alone, but I was lonely. I am better off being financially strapped rather than depending on a husband who abused me financially. (When I moved out, before I had secured a job, I was shopping for groceries with my kids and learned he shut down my credit card and transferred all our money, except for 80 cents, into a new private account, forcing me to need and be on government assistance. And forever burning into my mind and the minds of my kids, that memory of standing at the checkout with my kids and having to leave a cart full of food behind, embarrassed and humiliated). I am better off being insecure and anxious all the time, but learning to find my way out of that and building boundaries and seeing my self worth, rather than staying with a husband who berated, belittled and emotionally abused me in subtle ways that were not apparent at first. Narcissists do this. They break you down, slowly and steadily. You don’t realize what is happening at first because you were a good person before you met them, you maybe just had a few insecurities. Narcissists are skilled at honing in, like a laser beam, on those insecurities, and they lock onto the bullseye and use those insecurities to their advantage. By the time you see what they are doing, what they have done, the damage feels irreparable. What you’re left with, quite often, is the shell of the person you used to be. More insecure, more anxious, and afraid. You don’t feel seen or heard. You feel invisible and quite frankly, if you’re like me, you long for the days where you can fly under the radar because being invisible means being left alone. Why do I want to be left alone? Because while not every person who is rude or unkind or dishonest is a narcissist, the world is filled with people who see your insecurities and latch on to them. Who use you. Who are dishonest to you, to their spouses, to their bosses, even to their friends. And your distrust grows and grows and grows and the whole time it’s growing you have an internal dialog where you blame yourself and think you’re just paranoid. These narcissists stripped away your confidence and ability to make even the smallest decisions.

So I write all of this and then look back at the reason I started this blog entry. The memories that surround the abuse, the affair and the aftermath of my divorce from a narcissist…..

I have children with him. And every time they see him or talk to him, the memories come flooding back. This happens because they are damaged by what he did too. I can’t ask them to not share with me their interactions with their father. I can’t because they need a safe place. I’m that safe place. I sit here and I hear what they’re saying, because their father doesn’t listen. His lover doesn’t listen. I can’t afford to turn it off and feign listening. So I truly listen. They deserve that And in doing so, all those memories come flooding back to me. It’s hard, often, to not get upset or frustrated with my kids when they share how mad they are at this other woman but not their father. He was 1/2 the reason this final affair happened. I understand he is their father and they want him in their lives but it takes a toll on me. Pushing those memories away so I am not turned into a cold heartless monster, that much effort is exhausting. One of my kids told me she argued with the other woman over where I am in my life and that this other woman is to blame. I didn’t feel good about that. I didn’t because my kid doesn’t seem to have that same anger towards her father. I say I don’t want my kids to be angry with their father but maybe I really do? Maybe I want to feel like someone has my back? Like I have the same safe place I provide for so many people? But I say maybe because I don’t trust my emotions and thoughts most of the time. And saying I want them mad at their father seems cold and harsh. I don’t want to be cold and harsh. I just want to feel safe and be seen and heard. And I want to be mad and have someone tell me it’s ok to be mad and understand why I am mad, like I tell my kids. But I fear that I will hear, as I have countless times before, that I control my own happiness and I need to move on. I am trying and as I said way above, I have many days in a row where I feel good because I can look back and say I didn’t think about these as memories, until….bam! The kids bring it all back to me after visiting with their father. I’m out of that marriage, but I still feel trapped.

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Divorce and Narcissism

It’s Far From Being Done

Even though my divorce was finalized April 6, 2017, his influence and nasty behaviors still influence me and my kids. 

As suspected, his “hypothetical” move to Florida is becoming more of a “possibility,” as he tells the kids. They are crushed. I clean up the mess. He is mad that they are upset. I clean up the mess. 

Found razor blades in my daughter’s room today. Her sixteenth birthday. I was setting up a surprise for when she comes home from school and I found them. Several. So the fear that she is cutting is there. I need to deal with this mess. Scary. 

My oldest who still lives with this douchebag father? She is so depressed that she is ending her senior of year of high school by missing more and more classes and just not caring what happens. Her future plans for staying there and taking online college courses has changed because if he moves, she has no where to live. Another mess he is making. I clean up the mess. 

He tells my kids he deserves to be happy. His lover’s kids are younger and she can’t move here. So, dickhead? Explain again how that is NOT you choosing her and her kids over your own? He had the nerve to tell my oldest when she said he needs to start being a parent that I need to do the same because I am the one who ran out and abondoned the family. 

I do want him gone. I want him to disappear. Because even when he is here, he is absent. Absent emotionally. If he leaves, at least the kids and I can begin to build some sort of normal routine without him. While it tears at my heart that they want him to be a good father yet see he is incapable, the fact that they see it now might help save them a lifetime of begging for attention and love from someone who simply cannot give it. He is damaged and broken. My mother is this way. And I wish I had learned about her what they are learning about their father. If I had known sooner, it would have saved me much heartache. I never want my kids to choose a spouse like their father. He told me when I was leaving that I hurt him deeply by exclaiming I never wanted our daughters to marry a man even remotely close to what he was like. He stated he was a good man. He is deluded. And I stand by my wishes. 

I clean up the messes. 

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Divorce and Narcissism

We Got This

Just to be clear, I am over him. There truly is no part of me that longs to go back. Wants him back. I have no warm fuzzy feelings for him. I even think that much of the earlier memories I once thought were happy, have a different perspective. He was good. Very good. From the very beginning, he was smart and handsome and conniving and manipulative. And I saw none of it. I was so in love, with being in love and I wanted to be a mom and get married and all the things most young women dream of. But looking back on those moments, I see now how I was fooled. I see how I was gently manipulated into believing I was wrong or crazy or too sensitive. Every mean joke. Every lie he told. I believed him. And I’ve said it before, you can’t unsee certain things. You can’t unring a bell. I see who he really is and I want no part of a man who can only put himself first. A man who can spew the words “I love you” so easily, but mean no part of them. I am not angry with myself. Or even him. These days I pray for his soul, especially for the sake of my children.  And I say prayers of thanks that I was smart enough, even though it took many years, but I did it. I saw it. And a therapist told me it’s rare for a woman to see it while IN IT. I was in it and I saw. So yay me!! 

These days, I use what I saw,. Not to judge others or to compare in negative ways. I use what I went through to make me stronger. To let it define me, not that I am a victim, but that I am a survivor. 

Do I still have horrible days? Dark days? Sad days? Absolutely. But I’m human and I did suffer a tremendous amount of emotional, financial and even sexual abuse towards the end. But the bad days are getting fewer and when I’m in the midst of one, I’m learning new ways to cope. And those ways allow me to remain healthier and to come out of the downward spiral faster, and certainly before I hit the bottom. I am even able to help people around me. Ask me if I thought this would be possible a year or two ago and I would have probably gotten drunk and screamed. I’ve come so far. I am proud of myself. 

So for anyone reading this, if you might be where I was a few years ago , you will see the light. It will get better. I hated hearing those words but they are truth. Hold on. You got this. I got this. 

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Divorce and Narcissism

When The Thoughts Creep In…

Backslide? There is nothing worse than trying so hard. So very very hard, to move on and to heal, and then have people in your life who pull you backward. So far backward, you nearly feel worse off than you were at the very beginning of your leap towards getting well. It’s like going in for a follow up doctor’s appointment and thinking you are well but being told you have stage four cancer. 

And you can’t remove some of these people from your life because they are family. You are forced to live with one  because of finances. You are raising the others. And the one you aren’t related to might have issues bigger than you can handle. 

This is how people become dead inside. I see it clearly now. Emotionless. Wandering. Faking it just to keep the attention off of them.  

Whatever. 

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More Narcissistic Shenanigans 

More Narcissistic Shenanigans
Divorce still not final. Clever wording by his attorney in the final papers was caught by me. I refused to sign until changes are made. This pisses off my attorney because he wants to close this soon and get his money. If he worked properly, represented me fairly, it WOULD be over by now and he would get paid. But I am doing so much of this on my own, and with the help of a best friend. “Whatever” has become an overused word in my vocabulary. 
Asshat continues to date the woman our marriage finally crumbled over. She lives in Florida so he has made frequent trips there, which affects our shared parenting. And I just have to be flexible because while it really is hard to have my own social life, I love my kids. If I protest to all these changes? If I do, the kids will feel unwanted by both parents and that is not true. I want them. I always have. I’m just being real in that it is hard for me. I refuse the label of “victim” but it is really hard to not feel like one. Being a good wife and mother? Devoting my life? Then being shamed and humiliated and lied to and abused in the marriage. Leaving. And I’m still getting screwed. The court system there is biased and on his side. I still believe his attorney has connections there and is using those to screw me over. But again, I can’t fight an entire county without looking crazy so I just keep giving in. I want this marriage over as quickly as possible. It’s already been more than a year since I moved out and filed for divorce. 
Asshat’s most recent shenanigans? He told our oldest daughter who graduates HS this June, that “if” he had a job opportunity in Florida, she could stay in the house here and pay him rent after she graduates, or would she want to live with me? She thinks this is all hypothetical. I can’t believe she does not see what he is doing. And I’m just sitting here waiting for the shit-storm to rain down when she sees it’s not hypothetical but it’s real and it will happen. Me? I want him as far away from us as possible but not at the expense of my children’s well-being. We still have two younger children together. How will they NOT feel abandoned by him? How will they NOT feel he has chosen this woman and her two kids over them? 
It really never ends. Whatever. 

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Co-Dependency? Rescuer-Syndrome? Stop the Madness!

So I’m still trying to navigate thru this ugly divorce. So much has happened since I have blogged last, I barely have the energy to write about it. My narcissist husband continues to shock me with his cruel ways, only he has no reason to hide them from me any longer as I serve no purpose to him in making him feel good about himself. He lies to our children on a regular basis. And I fear one of my children is eerily like him. Lying to get their way. Lying and exaggerating to make themself look like a victim, because being a victim gets you leniency when you misbehave. The divorce is not scheduled to be finalized for more than a month from now, yet I am not hopeful. He is making things really difficult. I am still on food assistance from the government while I await child support payments to begin. I believe his attorney has connections in the court system that are allowing immoral and unethical actions to take place. And it’s not paranoia. Yet it’s hard to prove. So I sit here and continue to be emotionally and financially abused while he flies to see his lover on a regular basis. While she flies to my home and meets my children. While she disrespects them and then they both claim it was only a home. And then he locks my kid out of the house because she voices her disdain. But I’m told this is not illegal behavior, only immoral.

I had met someone about three months ago and was reluctant to enter a relationship. But I did. And it felt wonderful to feel special and loved. It felt wonderful to feel desired and wanted. To be accepted for who I am, and to receive some support while I am going thru such an ugly time. You see, he was recently divorced and understands what a high conflict divorce feels like. I leaned on him while I let him pamper me. My kids loved him. I adored his daughter. It was like an instant family. There was a distance in our living arrangements but we made it work. Until…..

I discovered he has a gambling addiction. And he refuses to admit he has one. I tried to help him see the problem. I wanted to help him. Fix him. Under all the dysfunction, I believed there was a good man. And I believed I was worth it. I believed that my love would be enough to help him see he could have so much love and happiness without needing a crutch. I was wrong. And while I read and tried to understand what additions truly are, and how they affect a person’s life and way of thinking, I thought my love was strong enough to overcome this. I was wrong.

My brain understands that he is sick and needs help and it’s not a reflection of me or anything I am lacking, but my heart is broken. And it makes me feel worthless. And once again, it makes me feel as though I am not worth fighting for. And sadly, it makes me want to learn why I attract these men who have major issues? It’s like I’m wearing a giant red x on my chest, advertising that I’m a rescuer. A fool. And that I am forgiving and give chances. Chances that are abused and discarded, because I am not worth it.

And I sit here reading self-help books, hiding to do this, because the mother who created me and made me this way is nearby. Always watching. Always criticizing.

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Well, That’s Grand

I have not written here for quite some time. I have been busy with the work program I am required to participate in in order to receive my government food and cash assistance benefits. And I have also been filled with so much anger and frustration that I find it hard to do much else when I do have a few free minute. I obsess. I panic. The wonderful part is when these panic attacks take over so much of me that I literally think I am having a heart attack or that I will just cease breathing right there on the spot. I need meds but I am afraid that he will use that in court and say I am not stable enough to have and raise the kids. I truly believe I am suffering from PTSD.

He has filed for custody of the kids, claiming I am abusive. He counter-filed for divorce claiming I was an awful wife…. I believe the legal jargon used was “gross neglect of duties…” Know what is gross? His dumb ass and that fact that I am weak.

I have lost friends over this . I have ruined relationships.

My daughters have allowed themselves to be manipulated by him, despite my warnings. These warnings are difficult to offer because I try hard to not speak ill of their father to them.. How can I do this?  I just try not to speak at all about him.  One day they are mad and hate him, the next day they love their lives and want to live with him.

I am a mess.

Oh, and he bought his lover a ring and my son found it. Do you think he admitted to this or accused my son of lying and diverted the conversation to him being a victim?  I will let you decide. He is lonely.  Poor thing. Lonely? Lonely is being surrounded by people but not being heard. Lonely is telling the truth and being real, putting yourself out there, yet losing friends. Lonely is being me. Lonely is having guys shower yo u with attention but as soon as you tell them you are not interested in a purely sexual relationship, they dump you as a friend.

I really have no idea what I am supposed to do.  But I am tired of hearing how strong I am. If people took the time to see me, really look at me, they would see  I am not, in fact, fine.

Friends, married males, think it is fine to speak to me in disgusting sexual ways. The non-married ones must think I am so desperate that it is ok to speak to me like I am a two cent whore.  People where I spend my “work” time to earn this cash assistance? Same. I am held to a different set of standards than so many people around me.

I do not know how much more I can take.  But I at least need to hang on until May 19th when I go to court.

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