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

Jinx! 

Jinx. If I didn’t believe it possible before, I sort of do now. It’s like every time I feel confident…every time I write about good things and focus on good things….keeping my head above water, so to speak, bam! Something happens to really pull me under. I have tried asking why. That does not help because I can find no answer. It only seems to make me feel worse. I am so very human. I make mistakes and have erred. But I keep coming back to “why.” I behave kindly, because I want to, it’s genuine. I’m generous in all the ways I can be. I love fiercely. I’m loyal. So why? Why are these things happening? 

Not two minutes after I posted what I did yesterday, I learned from my daughter that her father has mentioned when my oldest graduates in a few months, if he is offered a job in FL (we live in OH), there’s a real possibility he will take it and move. Now, knowing him for the last 23 years, I can say with certainty, he has already put this plan in motion but like always, he is lying and posing things as “a possibility.” I know he is planning this for sure. It explains all the added trips to FL. He has been interviewing within the company, I am sure of it. And letting the company pay for that part. Smart man? Dumb man? Both. And he asked if the kids want to go with him. His girlfriend lives there. So it begs the question: why? And how? How can this be possible? How can he do what he did and feel any justification for asking his children to move away? And live with the woman he lied and cheated with for years? I’ve said that I wished he would just move away but now that the possibility is here, I’m frozen with fear. Because the allure of sunny skies and beaches to three teens? And if they don’t move with him,  the thought of being forced by the courts to make them spend every summer, Christmas and spring break away from me? And I’d have to help fund these trips? It makes me feel like puking. I can’t openly vent to them because it’s not appropriate to tell a child you will feel like dying if they leave you. I will never guilt or manipulate my children into making the choice I want for them. 

 And yes, it’s confirmed this woman is planning my daughter’s graduation party. Complete with a theme she is choosing, no input from my daughter. Even my ex has stated this woman is going a little over the top. Ha? But again, I can’t wish for it to be a fiasco because my daughter will suffer. It is her special time and she deserves to feel special and be happy. But there is a small part of me that hopes my ex and his girlfriend have a huge fight about tthis and the fact that they are both idiots and selfish narcissists explodes in their faces. I said a long time ago that if they ended up together for good, they’d kill each other. Because an affair must be exciting and new. Keeping secrets and sneaking around? And it’s part time, with several states seperating them? If they lived together, the romance over whose turn it is to clean the toilet, clear the dinner dishes? Hell! Who is gonna cook? I am human so I try not to think like this but it’s hard. The thought of them realizing the two marriages and combined 6 children’s lives they’ve forever changed? I hope that happens. And they end up alone and lonely. 

So what’s a girl to do? Sit and wait. And wait. And see this is why he is stalling the divorce. Because if it finalizes now, he will need to go back to court and pay more money to revise the shared parenting plan that is currently written out. I can see through all of this. But legally, there is not a damn thing I can do. So I sit. I wait. I pray. He is making good on his promises to take everything away from me that I love, as punishment for not agreeing to stay married to his abusive ass, while he continued to have affairs and lie about money. 

I’m afraid to talk about a man I am seeing. He is wonderful and learning how to support me through this nightmare, one he can’t understand because it’s so foreign to him. And it’s impossible for me to explain because how can I when I barely understand it myself? I’m afraid to jinx things. So that’s all I’m going to say. 

I had my moment last night. I melted down. I sobbed and cried and asked why. And now I’m stronger. Now I’m praying that my kids will see what’s happening and make the choices that best benefit them. Not me. Not their father. But themselves. 

But fuck. Seriously?!  

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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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Thanksgiving Blessings

Wow. This day is harder than I thought it would be. Just knowing it’s the last Thanksgiving we will all be together as the family we have all known for 18 plus years, it’s a little hard. My heart hurts. 

But I’ll remember all I have to be grateful for. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this. ❤️

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A Generous Offer?

I think not. I’m not selfish. Entitled. Spoiled or greedy. I’m not. I like living light. I like being thrify. But I don’t like being cheated.

I learned through looking carefully into our finances, just how little I knew all these years. I trusted him. I let myself become lazy. I did so much that letting him handle our finances seemed like a great trade-off. I trusted him. I was wrong.

I discovered he makes approximately $31,000 more annually than I was led to believe. His 401k is handsome. His contributions to it are much. I’ve been living off so little all these years, not understanding the real reason why.

During dissolution discussions, we talked about finances and alimony and child support. Last night, he made me what he called, “a generous offer.” He would like to give me $600 a month. For everything. He makes nearly six times that, twice a month, I learned.  He does not agree I am entitled to half his 401k but will give it to me. Half the house?  He said no way. But he plans to keep it and sell down the road, keeping all the money from the sale. It’s his house. He bought it.  He said things I can not believe. I’m no longer productive to him. It’s his money. I’m going to live with my mother and won’t have to pay rent or utilities. I don’t need much money. I can get my own job. His list of reasons went on and on. He believed each and every one and tried to get me to believe them as well. I did not. I was firm. I explained my stance as briefly as possible because I knew I was debating with a narcissist who is not capable of a normal thought process. I was correct. And because he felt I was going after his money and he felt uncomfortable, he did what I suspected he would eventually: the threatend to take my kids from me and tell the courts I’m crazy and an unfit mother. I told him to go ahead. He tried coming to me later to be nice. I was friendly but not warm. No more hugging me. No more. This is the same man, who I learned makes what he does per month, and he takes money from his elderly parents. And I’m the crazy one?

So now. I continue moving forward. Hiring my own attorney and filing for divorce rather than dissolution is the route I must take. I must stay smart and always a few steps ahead of him. He has zero respect or love for me. He made that very clear last night. If I ever had any lingering doubts as to if this marriage ending is the right thing to do? They are so long gone now.

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Keep Showing Me How Little You Value Me, Asshat. 

So, I just had my biweekly dissolution meeting with him. He actually stated he doesn’t want to sell the home. I asked how he planned to keep it, because there’s no way he can afford the mortgage payment plus pay me spousal and child support. He actually had the balls to look me in the eye and say that because I’m moving in with my mother and will live rent and utility free, and I’m seeking employment, he should not have to pay me spousal support. Or at least not very much at all. I asked him when he got divorced the first time, and moved in with his parents, would he have liked it if his job told him they were going to pay him less because he did not need as much money to live off of? He said it’s different because he is actually working for the company and is productive. He is producing results for them. He is valuable to them. WTF.  We ended the meeting right then. What a fucking piece of shit. An asshat. A narcissistic loser. A heartless bastard. He truly believes my worth is far far far less than his. He truly believes that he owes me nothing, after 18 years. I’ve got some serious thinking to do here. If I go after my own attorney too early, he will not permit me to take the kids three counties away. I’m obviously in no state of mind to solve any issues right now. 

Today has been a very bad day. I also learned my cancer is back and surgery is scheduled for Monday the 16th of November. Thank God I’m still covered under his insurance. But I want to owe him NOTHING. I HATE WHERE I AM IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW.  And I have not been able to complete my online assessment for the job I’m trying to get due to so many technical issues that the help desk where the assessment was created can’t even help me. 

I quit today. 

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Silence Is Golden

Today I began an intensive job search, and research into possibly taking some classes to refresh old skills and acquire new ones. This was all done in the town where I plan to relocate, about three counties away from where we currently reside. 

In therapy a few weeks ago, my husband stated that he was fine with me moving that far away. He told the therapist he understood why I wanted to move there and that he would never try to stop me from relocating there with the kids. It made sense, he said. That’s where my mother is. That’s where I have a lot of friends and a lot of support. The therapist had explained, by law, in the state of Ohio, custody issues state the relocating parent can not take the children more than one county away. I was visibly upset to learn this, but he reassured the therapist he would never prevent me from moving to this three county-away place. He said he’d sign anything right there to prove his noble intent. The therapist let him know nothing like that done in her office would hold up in court. He reassured her that he meant it. It was his word. And then the other day, privately, he told me if I go after a divorce, get a separate attorney and fight him in any way, he would not permit me to take the kids three counties away. 

This. This is the gaslighting I deal with on a regular basis. This is the stress I endure. These are the battles I privately fight. This is why I must think EVERY DECISION through more thoroughly than the average person and have multiple backup plans. This is the crazy-making that tests me daily. 

But I am stronger. I will play along, for now.  I am stronger, forever. Even when I don’t feel stronger, I am stronger. 

Driving home tonight after an exhausting day of filling out online job applications and reading countless job descriptions I would love to apply for but am not qualified for, I was discouraged. Disappointed. Feeling defeated. But I used the 90 minute drive to  center myself. To shake it off. And instead of walking in the door looking sad and defeated, I smiled. I said hello. He asked how the day went. I said “fine,” in as chipper of a voice as I could muster. I gave him less than the bare minimum details of my day. I could see it bothered him. He NEEDED to know if I got a job. If I had any leads. I said nothing to let him know what happened. Nothing. Then I excused myself to go change clothes and I dove right back into my work of cleaning and organizing and packing. I was listening to music and working at a good pace when he came downstairs and asked if I needed any help. I said “no thank you,” again, in a chipper voice. I held up a few articles of clothing that used to belong to our kids, when they were toddlers. I tossed a pair of Polo shorts to him and exclaimed with amazement that our son used to be that small!  I was smiling. He looked at them and grunted something I could not make out but I did not ask him to repeat. I really did not care what he had to say.  I just asked him to toss them in the donate pile. He went upstairs. 

I am writing this now, and in an hour from now, he and I will sit down and work for no more than an hour on our dissolution paperwork. And I will sit there and smile and be pleasant. And I will watch him like a hawk as he tries to manipulate me into stealing what is half mine after building a life with him for over 18 years. I will not allow this. I will smile and let him think he is winning but I will be preparing to get my own attorney at the first sign of him screwing me over, yet again. And I will figure out what to do about revising my plan to move three counties away if he refuses to allow it. 

I will do all this and smile because I am strong. Him? He is an asshole. He will wind up living a lonely shallow life. I won’t smile about that but I will smile because I am strong. 

And my golden silence will show him I am strong. (I might smile because I’m enjoying watching him squirm with uncertainty for a change). 

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