The Divorce Mediation

The day of my divorce mediation (six months ago), I was a bundle of nerves. I anticipated a big waste of time. I had to drive six hours that day, three hours there and back with my Dad, my rock. When I walked into the door, I had little to no expectations. I figured that my narcissist would want to draw out our divorce as long as humanly possible. I could not have been prepared for what was about to happen. We never saw each other at the mediation, we were in separate rooms the whole time. So, I never even caught a glimpse of him, which I was thankful for. In that room, my attorney explained that if we did not come to an agreement and wanted to let a judge decide our marital asset split, that it could be six months till we even got a court date! That was a scary thought for me because I was anxious to end this and move on with my life. I was exhausted of the unknown, I was terrified of what the narcissist had up his sleeve. Up till that point, he would threaten to call his attorney over the smallest detail, thus racking up MY attorney fees that I was responsible for paying for.

To my surprise, we reached an agreement that day. It was not what I felt was totally fair, but I was thankful to get it over with, plus I was going to be getting something from the mediation, which is better than nothing. I contemplated at the signing of our settlement agreement…why? Why is he coming to any agreement when he said that he wanted to go to court at one point after I filed for divorce? I thought that maybe the reason he was unusually agreeable was because he wanted to marry his Ukrainian live in au pair/girlfriend. Maybe that was it? I thought I may have some bargaining power because of that possibility.

Anyways, the moment the papers were signed, my attorney said I should leave first and my ex would be cued to leave after I had gotten to my car. So we would not have to undergo the hurtful, awkward moments of the end of our relationship when it was still raw. So, when dad and I got to my car, we drove away and my heart was racing because I really did not want to accidentally run into my narcissist. Then when the coast was clear, we had a very long drive back home. My Dad and I sat in silence for the most of the ride.

The past 5 hours of the mediation were echoing through my mind. Then I had a vision of my ex, walking out of the mediation building, alone… to his car. I pictured him, driving alone…back to his house, feeling defeated and depleted. I remember feeling overwhelming guilt and shame at that moment. I felt terrible that our relationship had come to this. I felt that even though he was a horrible husband, and abusive in many ways, I felt terrible that my leaving him would cause him any hurt or pain. I felt responsible at that moment for any distress and I couldn’t help but to burst into tears. I never want anyone that I care for or use to care for to suffer, even if they do bring it on themselves. I can’t explain it any other way than that I am an empath.

However, I did not know it yet, but the reality of the situation was so far left of anything that I could have pictured. Because five months later, I find out that at that time, end of December 2016, my narcissist went home to his two months pregnant girlfriend, happy that he stuck it to me.

So, in reality, I was wasting more of my time feeling sorry for my narcissist ex-husband. I was making the common mistake of thinking that he had any human-like emotion. Here I was feeling bad that he was sad and alone, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. One of my work colleges made the comment about my ex in saying that, “He has plenty of empathy…for himself.” That is so true. Narcissists care only about themselves, the fact that we empaths ever put them first is the biggest mistake of all.

We must remember that narcissists are not normal, they are hardwired to look out for number one, they don’t care about you. My narcissist left the mediation happy, he was thrilled because he already had secured his next victim, the 25 year old Ukrainian that he had knocked up in order to trap her so she can serve up his narcissistic supply. Knowing all of this now makes me sad, not because he did this, but that I feel bad for ever feeling bad about leaving him in the first place.

Image is everything to the Narcissist

Narcissists are extremely aware of their outward appearances as well as their supply’s appearance. They are overly sensitive to how others view them. They want to be perceived a certain way at all times, usually powerful, successful, and attractive. My narcissist ex-husband (we are divorced now) was so finicky about what he would wear, that it was laughable. He would fret about his clothes all the time, however, it was comical because he would usually be torn between two similar pairs of khaki pants and Ralph Lauren polo shirts. I would try to be sympathetic, but then it would get ridiculous and I would think, “Just pick one, throw it on and be done with it already!” But I could never actually say that or else he would be insulted and make me suffer his wrath.

Before I met my narcissist, I had been known to run out of the house with no make-up, my hair in a messy bun, and a pair of baggy sweatpants on to run an impromptu errand. I didn’t intentionally try to look like shit, but it happened sometimes, and I didn’t feel bad about it! However, that all changed after I married my narcissist. He always had something to say regarding my clothing choices. This was especially the case when we were going out in public, however, even the inside of our own home was not off limits.
If we were going out to dinner, he would want me to get really dressed up every time, even though I would be more comfortable with the type of crowd just wearing jeans. Honestly, who dresses up to go to casual restaurants? He would rather we be more dressed up than under-dressed. I like to look nice too, but there was never a let down, I had to be on the mark at all times. It became exhausting.

Even in our own home, he controlled the clothes I wore. There were so many arguments over me wearing my juicy couture sweatpants. Don’t get me wrong, he liked when I wore them, but I dare not wear them around anyone else. Whenever we were set to have housework done, or a plumber or painter scheduled to come to the house, my narc would tell me that I needed to put on some other pants because my sweatpants were “too revealing.” At first, I laughed at him because I didn’t think that he could actually be serious! I mean, my other pants fit much tighter and were more revealing than my juicy pants. What the hell? Well, that was the standard rule, I couldn’t go to the store or even go running in those pants according to his standards. It was ludicrous!  If I protested, he would then accuse me of wanting to be provocative in order to attract other men. How could I win an argument with a person whose mind was twisted enough to even think those kinds of thoughts? You cannot argue with crazy.

Then every Christmas we would get into huge arguments over what we were going to wear for the family photo Christmas card. He would make nasty comments when I would make suggestions on what we could wear. Regrettably, one time I dared to suggest that we could do what most people do and have a casual Christmas photo where we all wore jeans and he hit the roof! He said that “We weren’t white trash, but knows that I would rather look like that.” He intended to cut to my core with his nasty comments, scaring me silent.  Then the photos would have everyone looking awkward and nervous because of the tense environment he created during the photo-shoot. So every time I look at a past Christmas photo, I remember the fight that ensued before taking the photo. It is sad.  That was also the case for most of our family photos.  I look at past photo albums and see so many great pictures but all I remember about that day was the fight that took place over some stupid thing the narcissist was unhappy about.  It is a shame really. Narcissists are superior at sucking the joy from your life. They make everything about them.

Also, my narcissist would insult me if he thought I was not dressed appropriately to see his family. He would first make a hint, saying, “Oh, you are wearing that?” Then if I chose not to regard his hint, he would then skip being settle and would ask me to change. I once made the mistake of standing my ground and saying that I liked what I was wearing and he got insulted and irritated in a split second and said that “I looked like a hippie and he couldn’t understand why I would not want to try to even look nice for his family.” I was so upset to hear his comment, because I was wearing one of my favorite knit sweaters from free people and believed that I did look great, but he hated my boho style.

So, even the mundane decisions of what clothing choices you make could be propelled into an argument in the wild world of a narcissistic relationship. It was too much for me, every day was a struggle to get by peacefully. What a person chooses to wear should be their choice, not anyone else’s. At the time, I thought that placating him was just a compromise, but when a compromise turns into something that takes your free-will to a place of no, then it is not a compromise. This was yet another warning sign that I was in a controlling narcissistic relationship.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Narcissists are extremely concerned about outward appearances. They want to portray a certain image to the world, and if they don’t think you measure up to the image that they want to project, they will make sure you conform. Since the moment I left my narcissist and have moved on, I live each day on my terms. Now, even the smallest decisions I make give me great happiness.  I am free to be me, with no apologies. After I left, one of the first things I did was to get a family photo taken of me with my two children, and guess what??? We all wore jeans! Those photos are the best ones we ever had taken together because both of my children and I were relaxed and happy and full of hope for the future!

Narcissists treat you like a child

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking that “I cannot wait until I grow up because then I can make my own decisions without always being told what to do!” Well, now that I am a woman in my mid thirties, you would think I had been living the childhood dream of ultimate freedom. However, up until one year ago, I was not. I finally put my finger on it! My narcissist treated me like a child at all times. He continuously questioned my choices, making me overly cautious and dependent upon his opinions. I felt like he knew better, not just because he persistently said that he did, but also because I was always wrong in his eyes. When narcissists continuously abuse you to think that you cannot even make the smallest decisions without their input, your confidence and sense of self is stripped away and your inner voice becomes childlike.

When I was married to my narcissist, I lived in a state of constant frustration. I was frustrated at not being heard, I was frustrated at never being right, I was frustrated that I could not make a normal, healthy choice about my life without his “permission.” He had overwhelming control over every aspect of my life. I even had to ask him for his consent to visit my parents, or go to the store, or even to the bathroom. If I didn’t, and I started to walk out of the room, he would shout at me “Where are you going Mommy?” Then I would get irritated after being so micromanaged in every instance that I wanted to scream!

The reason that the narcissist treats you like a child is because s/he is threatened by you. You outshine them in every way and they know it deep down because narcissists have low self esteem despite the fact that most display an overabundance of confidence. It is just for show. The narcissist chose you to be their victim because they thought that you were a valuable asset to their image. They were so impressed by your amazing qualities, they wanted to capture you and bottle you up in order to keep you all to themselves. Then they chip away at all those qualities that drew them to you in the first place because they are intimidated by you. You are their property now.

Looking back, I still remember the sick, sinking feeling I endured when I knew my narcissist was displeased with me. Which was a daily occurrence. I felt like a child who was in trouble with it’s parent and was awaiting the punishment that was sure to follow. I wouldn’t treat my own two children like he treated me, I respect and trust my children and love them for the wonderful individuals that they are. That is how love should be, unwavering and forgiving. It is sad but true, if you are involved in a toxic narcissistic relationship, get out! They will suffocate your soul and reduce you to a fraction of yourself.

Boom goes the Dynamite!

Tonight I picked up my children from spending another whirlwind weekend with their father. After giving them their baths, my son dropped a bombshell on me. Out of the blue he said, “Irena is pregnant! It’s a boy, his name is Michael!” My reaction was of such shock and amazement that I couldn’t help but to laugh and smile and exclaim, “Really? Oh my goodness that is amazing!” I did not know what else to say. Partly because I had known that this would happen since the moment that my narcissist told me one month after I left him, that he was bringing a 25 year old Ukrainian “au pair” to live with him full time while he had visitation of the children for only two weekends a month.

So what I am trying to say is that I am not surprised by any means, but vindicated. This makes sense now as to why he settled our divorce as quickly as he did, because according to the math, she was pregnant even before our mediation. My ex actually took my son and daughter into the doctor’s office to witness the ultrasound!  I am not sad, or even pissed off, to be honest. But I do feel sorry for the children because in the midst of their excitement of having a baby brother, they do not realize that they are standing on the edge of the cliff of abandonment by their father. They truly have no idea that their Daddy, who they look up to at this age, already has done this twice before.

The first time, my narcissist was 16 years old, made a boo boo while he was a senior in high school and knocked up his girlfriend, who he later abandoned so that he could enter the Navy. He blamed everyone but himself for his accident. He said that “she got pregnant on purpose to keep him from going to West Point.” Then he said that it was his parents fault because they “should have warned him not to trust a girl to take her birth control.” Really? Are you kidding me? It is his own fault that he couldn’t keep his cock in his pants in yet he actually believes it was everyone else that screwed up! Well, that little baby boy, “JJ” grew up without knowing what really happened, as he was taken on by his mother’s new husband and lived in a happy home for the most part. The child even went as far as to change his last name from my narcissist’s to his mother’s maiden name when he turned 18. That was a real slap in the face to my narc. As I feel it was justified, but I could not express that to him.

The second time, a decade later, my narcissist met a girl named Jill, married her quickly then he spent three years in Japan as a flight surgeon while he paid for her to go to college back in the States. I think that this is the only reason their marriage survived during those several years, but when he came back, they mysteriously separated. I say mysteriously because he could never give me an acceptable, or believable reason. However, he said that when they tried to reconcile, she ended up pregnant “to try to keep him.” He said he filed for divorce after that, because “he couldn’t trust her.” Anyways, baby Sarah came into the world right before their divorce, then he had strained relations with that little girl, till he eventually cut her out of his life when she turned 4 years old. I met him during that time, I only got to be around sweet little Sarah a few months and really fell in love with her! I always encouraged him to keep up the visitation but he said that Jill was poisoning Sarah against him and that it was a lost cause and that we should just move to where his “dream job” was in Michigan. Sarah lived in Pennsylvania, and we were in Ohio which meant the visitation was already long distance and a strain on Sarah anyways. We were planning on marrying and he was determined to “start over” and have “our own children.” So, this is a pretty good preview of what is destined to happen to my children. He has his “new fresh start” with Irena, and when he gets bored, he will dump our children and blame me somehow for it.

Initially my reaction of the news that his new girlfriend was pregnant was of hilarity and exoneration. However, now I can’t help but feel sick at the thought that a person can really do that to someone. I gave seven years of my life, love, labor and trust to him. But I just had the shocking realization that none of that ever counted for anything. He never respected me, he never was proud of me. He merely used me to serve his needs, he never cared for me. I now have the confirmation that he most certainly cheated on me through the duration of our marriage, and it is a disturbing realization. I truly hoped that he had more class than that. But that is a narcissist for you!

Now, I know what everyone reading this is wondering, “Why in the hell would this woman girl marry this guy in the first place?” It’s bad right? I know! But you must understand, that I did not know all of this before I married him. We met and married within a span of seven months. I didn’t take the much needed time to learn about this man that I was intent on spending the rest of my life with. I leaped before I looked. Maybe a part of me didn’t want to really see. All of these distorted pieces of his past came out slowly bit by bit. Then when it was too late, the picture of his horribly disfigured puzzle came into view. I was 27 when I met him, I was coming out of law school weary after dating a bunch of immature boys and he seemed like he was an established, professional man. That appealed to me I am not going to lie. But what he portrayed himself to be in all other matters couldn’t be further from the truth. So all I ask is that you don’t judge me too harshly. I was conned, as all of you were. But what it has taught me is a valuable lesson, not to trust too blindly. Make whoever you are dating, or spending time with prove to you that they are worthy of you.

Narcissists are Extremely and Unreasonably Jealous

I have always tried extra hard to make my Narcissist feel like he was the most important person in my life. He told me at the beginning of our relationship that his ex had cheated on him which made me feel really bad for him. Because of him “playing the victim card” I always felt like that was his way of one upping me and the reason he was so suspicious of me. I reasoned that maybe his heart was wounded so badly that he was incapable of trusting anyone. I thought that his controlling behavior and suspicious nature would cool off the longer we were together. But that was not the case. As it turns out, I don’t think his ex ever did cheat on him. I now know that narcissists play the victim so that they get you to feel sorry for them, making it easier for them to manipulate you.

This is a very common move in the narcissist’s playbook. They then accuse you of being insensitive of their feelings. However, they never once stop to consider your feelings along the way. It is always about them. I would beg and plead for him to trust me and not be so suspicious when my cell phone would ring when we were together. If it was a wrong number he would interrogate me. “Who was that?“ “Why were they calling you?” I would then go as far as to Google the phone number and show him that it was a telemarketer. I was a nervous wreck when he bought me a new phone and new number and it turned out to be a previous number of some party girl who got calls from at 2 am from drunk guys at a club. They would ask for Shanikwa or someone. Then my narcissist would he would get mad at me, as if it was my fault!

I never will forget when my narcissist told me to dump every male acquaintance on facebook before our marriage, he even made me cut ties with my gay best friend. He said that it wasn’t who he wanted his future wife to be socializing with. The sad truth was that he didn’t want me to hang out with ANYONE other than him. Even my own family were enemies in his eyes. He saw my Mother as a threat because we are extremely close. He would make jabs at her on the rare occasions when we did get together. He did it in a sly, sneaky way that my Mom would later ask me why he said those odd things and I would shamelessly try to make excuses for him. I would say that maybe she misunderstood him, or that maybe he didn’t mean to offend. But she was onto him.

My narcissist was so jealous of anyone who took any of my attention that even just the act of sitting next to my Mom on the couch when the only other seat in the room was a comfy recliner where he had to sit, caused a serious fight. Later that night, my narcissist was dark and broody and confronted me as to why I would not ask my Mom to move so that he could sit next to me on the couch? He said, “your Mom should know that your husband would want to sit next to his wife.” I looked at him like he was bloody insane! At the time, we were living three hours away from my family and were back for one weekend visiting them at their house, I didn’t think anything of it when I sat next to her and not him. I wanted to be able to visit and talk with her. So from that moment on, any future visit at my parents house was ruined for me. I never knew what he would find to get mad about. I always had to put him first, so that he didn’t feel “neglected.” It was exhausting. I couldn’t enjoy the visit because it would create tons of arguments between us, so eventually it was easier to just not visit them. He couldn’t comprehend that I would want to visit with any of my family, because whenever we would visit his family, he would sit with a baby on his lap, avoiding his whole family and would make ME entertain them. He didn’t know what it meant to be close to his family, although he would swear up and down that he was “very close” to them. Liar.

So, if your partner keeps close tabs on you, vies for your constant attention, and puts down your family and friends in an attempt to steer you away from wanting to spend time with them, be forewarned!  It is a toxic relationship that will NEVER get better.  The narcissist is out to destroy you, he or she will burn everyone and everything you care about down to mere ashes.

Finally on the outside, looking in…

In case some of you are wondering why I used a photo I took of some gothic looking windows on my homepage, it was a decision based on my personal memories of being trapped inside a narcissistic relationship. I am recently divorced now, but when I was married to my narcissist, I spent many moments looking out of the windows at the sky and the trees and wonder what life would be like if I left. What would life be like if he was not a part of it anymore? How would I feel? He was such a fixture in all areas of my life that I couldn’t really see my life without him and his abuse. I could not wrap my head around a life without torment. I was staring off into the unknown.

But in those moments, standing on the inside looking out the window, I felt like Rapunzle trapped inside the tower. I was not permitted to do things on my own away from him. I had to ask “permission” to go see my own parents! He kept me on a tight leash to say the least. He used the excuse that he needed me to take care of the house, the children, etc so that I would not be able to venture out too long. I only got my hair done two times a year and if I was gone too long, he would text and call and act perturbed that I was still gone. When I walked back through the door, he would be agitated that he had to watch the children and would throw a fit and make me feel guilty that I had ever left. Meanwhile, the whole time getting my hair done I could not enjoy it because I was filled with worry that he was getting more upset by the second.

I once asked him if it would be OK if I went on a weekend girlfriend’s getaway someday. A wave of insolence washed over his expression at the very mention of it. He said, that he doesn’t go away with his friends, so why should I get to go away with mine? Well, he did not even have friends to go away with anyways, so that was a moot point.
That was the sneaky tactic he used during arguments. He claimed that he did not do this or that, therefore, I could not either. How can you argue with that approach?

I will never forget the loneliness that consumed me when I was with my narcissist. Despite the fact that he ingrained himself into every facet of my life, I was alone. He was emotionally absent. I never felt supported or encouraged in any of my endeavors. Even baking a birthday cake for the kids was a challenge. I enjoy being creative, so it is fun putting lots of effort into making fabulous cakes for my kids. Last year, I made a pirate ship for my son that had every detail accounted for, even little fondant molded cannons. I even made a fondant unicorn sculpture for my daughter one year. I love spending time on the details, as I equate that with love. However, my narcissist would always get grouchy and resentful when I devoted any time to making the kids cakes because that meant that was time I was not giving to him. I would ask my narcissist to keep an eye on the children so that I could concentrate in the kitchen. He would ho and hum and tell me that it wasn’t his job to do that because he “was not a babysitter.” Then he would ask me why I needed to go to all that work and that I should “just go buy them a dairy queen ice cream cake or something.” He always acted irritated and mad as hell each birthday that I would ask him to be helpful in any way. It usually ended up with me trying to frost a cake with a child attached to my leg because he wouldn’t try to even keep them occupied. So, I learned that if I wanted to enjoy the process in any way, I would spend time during the day (when he was at work) for a week before the party sculpting the details out of fondant so that I could attach them at the last minute so that it did not infringe on “his time.”

Being married to a narcissist is all consuming. Standing on the inside looking out of the window I could not imagine how my life could be if unencumbered by him. All I could see was a tangle, but now that I am safely outside the window, looking back in, I can see how hopeless I felt. I had no joy left inside, I was depleted and exhausted in every way. Just after I left him, a friend of mine asked me “Are you excited?” At that moment, I was confused at the question and just replied that I was terrified. I felt that something inside me was dying, how could I be excited about it? But now after nine months have passed since that question, I can honestly answer, “Yes! I am excited and hopeful, happy, and grateful that I listened to my gut and my family that I was in a terrible situation. I suffered the death of a life that I had hoped that I would have, but now I have a new chance at a life full of new beginnings. I look forward to each new day and what amazing possibilities that could come my way.

Dealing with the Loneliness after Leaving a Narcissist

You can’t live with them, so you have to leave them. But it doesn’t make the hurt any easier to bare. Making the choice to leave is not as simple as people think. Toxic relationships alter a victim’s belief system to such an extent that they have great difficulty identifying their true feelings about their reality. At the start, I felt like there was a hole inside my soul. Once the anguish of living with him began to outweigh my fear of leaving, I had no choice but to run. Months after I left, I remember feeling in no way ready for another relationship, however, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something. I felt sad, lonely and lost. I yearned for an understanding of why I was feeling so depleted inside.

How could I be sad about the end of the relationship when he was so awful to me? Then I realized that this is what happens after a toxic narcissistic relationship ends. When you are so used to having someone beside you, abusive or not, you still can’t help but remember the times that were good. Because during the relationship, you were conditioned to think that it would get better. The roller coaster relationship of ups and downs, good and bad, perpetuated this futile belief. But it is important to keep it in perspective, never forget the hurtful things they have done to you. Hold on tight, because that nasty side was the truest side to that person.

I would never even consider going back to him. But it is understandable how the victim cannot help but be mournful of how their situation ended up. I slowly came to realize that I was not sad about him, but I was sad for what happened to me, because I allowed it to happen. I was embarrassed that I refused to see the truth sooner.  I was disappointed in myself that I failed to stand up for my beliefs and my family earlier.  I felt resentful of the seven years of my youth that I had given to him. I was greatly distressed by the loss of our family unit, the lost trust and love that I had placed in him, and the loss of the future that I had always dreamed that I would have.  It has all gone up in smoke now.

These feelings all added up to why I felt so miserable in the early days after leaving my narcissist. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights and there was nothing that I could do to stop the bright lights of sorrow from striking full force. That is only natural. When the wounds are fresh, the pain is real. However, with each and every day that has passed, I become more confident and grateful that I saw my situation for what hell it was and drew up the strength to leave. Better now than never, I really would have been sad if I had wasted anymore time on him. Come hell or high water, I am so thankful that I saved myself and my children from such an abusive man. It has not been easy, but I rather face the unknown possibility of potential happiness and greatness, than stay stuck in a perpetual cycle of emotional torment.

Narcissists Cannot Stand You Having Friends

A narcissist is greedy in all facets of life. He or she must have complete access to all of your love, your time, your money and your attention. He or she feels immediately threatened if you were to try to maintain control over any of these aspects of your own life. In my case, he had all of the money tied up in investment properties, I didn’t work because we agreed I would stay home with the kids. He never added me to the checking account and I had no ability to use a debit card to even get cash back at a grocery store. All purchases I made were by a credit card that he permitted me to use. Then each and every night, he perused the credit card purchases online, he justified doing so “to make sure there were no fraudulent purchases.” However, now I can see that he was just keeping track of every move I made. This is a clear example of financial abuse, he figured that since he made all the money, he could determine how it was spent. I knew better than to argue, because of his irritated answers in the past when I would question his reasons for keeping me off the checking account.

A narcissist is greedy with your time. They must have all of it. If you go somewhere, they want to go. If they have to go to a work function, they want you to go along too. They are afraid you might get away if they leave you to yourself for any length of time. I hardly ever was permitted to go anywhere alone. If I left the house, he made me take the kids, a 3 and 5 year old, how much fun is that? It was so hard to take little ones anywhere, that it was easier for me to just stay home. He did most of the grocery shopping. He knew that it would frustrate me to the point of just hunkering down and not even trying to go anywhere. Then he would proclaim, “I am not a babysitter, I don’t want to stay home and watch the kids while you go out with your friends or visit your family.” The narcissist must have you all to himself. He or she cannot stand the thought of you having a life that doesn’t involve them somehow.

One of the many instances showing how limiting my narcissist was happened when we moved to a new town and I had a 2 ½ year old and a 6 month old baby girl. I had barely seen the light of day because I had been breast feeding my daughter for those first 6 months and hadn’t slept much, not to mention getting to socialize with anybody but my narcissist. One day, when we were at the park together, I ran into a woman who had a little boy the sane age as my son and I hit it off with her, despite the fact that my narcissist was there with me. It was so refreshing to talk to another human being and I would catch glimpses of how life should be, lighthearted and understood. She knew what I was going through with motherhood and we bonded. Then she asked me if I wanted to get away from the house and go for a walk around the neighborhood one evening and she would bring along another mommy friend of hers. It was going to be a nice stress relieving “girls walk.” Immediately, asked my hubby if it was “OK with him” and he hesitated and said “yes, but don’t be too long, I am on call tonight.” I was overjoyed that my leash was lengthened for a moment. I thought for an instance that maybe my husband was “lightening up” and that maybe I would be aloud to have friends that he wouldn’t be jealous of.

Well, I would soon be disappointed again. The evening my friends met to walk, we roamed a bit further than I felt comfortable with because I remember the warning my narcissist gave me, but I was outnumbered. The girls wanted to keep walking a bit farther and I was having a great time just getting a bit of time away for myself, which I felt that I deserved after never getting any help with the kids. I was back maybe 15 minutes later that I had hoped, and all hell broke loose when I walked through the door.

When I entered the house, I saw my narcissist sitting in the armchair with a sleeping baby in his arms. He had a scornful look on his face. Next, I witnessed my two year old little boy sitting on the couch, with a book in his lap sleeping in the upright position.  Suddenly, a chill went through me, I knew in that instant that I was in trouble. In our house, the narcissist always read to the two year old before bed, he could have easily done so here, instead of letting our son sit on the couch to fall asleep. It did not matter so much at that point that I was not there for the bedtime routine (for the first time ever), however, the narcissist wanted to set the stage and create a show for me to make it seem like I “shirked my duties as a wife and mother.” I asked him why he did not just read to our boy and put him to bed, but he said that it wasn’t his job and that I “should have been here and not out with my friends.” He went on to say that I “disappointed our son and him as well.” He made me feel like a terrible mother when in fact, I had not done one thing for myself in those first 2 ½ years!  The tension in the house was unbearable for the rest of the evening, he wanted to teach me a lesson.  The narcissist could have put the sleeping baby in her crib, and have read to our little boy and put him to bed, but no, he laid in wait, like a malicious spider just waiting to entangle me in his sick web of madness.

From that moment on, I turned down future invites for evening walks and any event that would “infringe” upon my narcissist’s time because after all, my world had to revolve around him to avoid run-ins like this one. Looking back, his emotional abuse of me is so apparent, but at the time, I felt that I didn’t deserve to do things for myself. He always turned it around on me to make me look like I was selfish or ungrateful when in fact, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. It was awful to live with the narcissist, a living nightmare in fact. I am so very thankful that it is in my past now, and I must never forget the torment and abuses I suffered at his hand so that I will never fall prey to an unobtrusive spider ever again.

A Change of Perspective

Looking back at how I survived those 7 years married to a narcissist, I realize that I now am utilizing a piece of myself that I dared not do when I was with him. Now that I am removed from the horrible abuse, I am using my own perspective. The whole time I was with my narcissist, I learned to view everything through HIS perspective, HIS eyes, HIS mind. He taught me that his perspective was the only one that mattered in our relationship, and that mine was no longer relevant or even in existence.

It was earth shattering the moment that I realized that I had adopted such a warped vision of how my life with him was playing out. He made me believe that I was the problem, and that I didn’t “respect or appreciate him” when all I ever did was bend over backwards to please him. But my hard work was in vain because nothing was ever good enough.

Before I diagnosed my ex husband as being a full fledged narcissist, I used to think that he just didn’t understand women. I believed that since he grew up with 3 brothers and no sisters, he was lacking in the compassion towards a female’s mindset. But that turns out to not be the case at all. The issue is that since he is a narcissist, he has no empathy, no compassion, no real appreciation for the views of anyone other than his own. He only has contempt for all else, especially his supply, me.

Now that I have left my narcissist, I only look through his perspective when I want to prepare myself for his next swing at me. Many times, I know what he is going to do or say before he does it. But the difference now is, I believe in myself, I know I am not to blame. I am stronger and smarter than he could ever know. And I will never let my own perspective become overshadowed by him nor any other man ever again!

How to Leave a Narcissist?

It is a terrifying yet defining moment when you discover that the person you have loved, trusted, and confided in, is actually a controlling, selfish, emotionally empty narcissist. Then you find yourself scouring the internet for answers. I know I did. I became obsessed with arming myself with as much information about narcissistic personality disorder as possible to better understand what I was up against. It was horrendous to realize that he never actually loved me, but just used me to serve up his narcissistic supply. Then, once I understood that he could never change, I braced myself for the upcoming fight.

Leaving any relationship is never easy, but leaving a narcissist is even harder. I used to believe it noble to end a relationship with someone to their face. However, leaving a narcissist can cause a tremendous backlash. Narcissists do not handle rejection well and cannot abide being challenged in any manor. They lash out at the slightest perceived insult or injury and are known for disproportionate reactions to events. Therefore, the act of leaving a narcissist triggers a huge wound to their ego, it is unthinkable to them that you would ever chose to leave them. If you feel that you are in danger, you must find a way to get out of the precarious situation as safely and as quickly as possible. For me, I boiled it to The Seven P’s.

1- Plan your escape carefully. I officially decided to leave my husband when he flipped on the lights at 6:30 am and hovered over me while I lay naked under the covers in bed, curled up in the fetal position. He then proceeded to give me the same “ultimatum” he had used in the past to get me to cower. In his booming and intimidating voice, he told me that he was tired of me be being sad about how he interacted with my parents over the Easter weekend, which also happened to be my birthday. He informed me that if I wanted to continue to act sad, that I can just leave with the kids and move in with my parents and he would file for divorce. (The incident that precipitated his reaction happened two days before, where my parents drove 3 hours to visit us for the holiday/birthday weekend and my narcissist picked a fight with them after a dinner that I had just spent 3 hours to cook. It was nonsense really, my parents thought it would be nice to take me to get Dairy Queen blizzards for all of us for an after dinner treat. But my narcissist did not want to stay home with the kids for the 20 minutes it would have taken to bring it back, and he flipped out! My parents were stymied by his overreaction and asked him why he was so upset? My dad tried to talk it out with him, but then my narcissist continued to say that they were bad grandparents and told them that I was “unaccomplished little girl.” My parents didn’t know what to do and knew that they did not want to argue in front of the children, so they decided to leave and drive 3 hours back to their home thus missing my birthday and Easter the following day.) I was devastated, horrified and embarrassed. I pleaded with my husband to apologize to them but he refused and claimed that they were picking a fight with him, which is insane. He was smug when they left, there was a glimpse of happiness on his face.

I knew that this interaction would change everything, the cat was out of the bag. My parents would see how he really was and I couldn’t cover it up anymore. I knew that if I stayed with him, it would not only kill me but kill my parents with sorrow over watching their daughter fade away. So, when he turned on those lights two mornings later and gave me that ultimatum that I was to either let go of my feelings of sadness and just be the “happy wife he wanted” or I could just take the children with me and go live with my parents and he would have papers drawn up for our divorce. You see, I had no choice but to leave that miserable, intimidating, despicable shell of a human being. I chose life. The next step is crucial in leaving a narcissist.

2- Prepare Make your preparations thoughtfully. Mental and as well as physical preparation are very important. First, you need to be in the right state of mind to be okay with the life changing decisions you are about to act on. Leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most difficult things you will have to do. But you can do it, I did. My preparations involved booking a moving truck to be picked up when he was out of town, and asking my parents and friends to help me with the move. I also had to meet in secret with a divorce attorney to understand the implications of taking our children with me and to initiate the divorce process. I had one month before his week long trip that I knew I could make my escape safely. I knew if I would have told him that day he gave me the ultimatum that I did want a divorce, he would have flipped out and who knows what would have happened. I did not want to find out. So I used that entire month to make lists of what I needed to do before I left. I was advised by my lawyer to photocopy important legal documents, mortgages, bank statements, car statements, retirement documents. Etc. I complied, but couldn’t help but feel terrible in doing so, with all of the terrible things he had done to me, I still felt vile to be sneaky, but then I realized that it was not just for me I was doing this, but to protect my children and I will not apologize for that.

3 & 4- Placate & Prevent arguments during the final stages- Before I made my escape, I had a month to co-exist with my narcissist. I intended to do so as cautiously and peacefully as possible because the events leading up to my deciding to leave him did not make the living situation very comfortable. He was quick to argue with me over anything he perceived a challenge to his authority. However, I suddenly realized that if I engaged in any more arguments with him, it could easily escalate into me needing to vacate that day and I knew that if I had to, all my planning would be for nothing. Therefore, I needed to go along with the program to please him and make him feel like he was the all mighty unchallenged one. I laid in wait for the moment when he would be gone on his trip and I could then safely make my move out of the house.

5- Patience I kept my eye on the end goal. Every time he made me feel bad, I would turn the other cheek. I felt that he was always trying to goad me into an argument, so I would pretend that I wasn’t bothered by what he was saying. I knew that I would be free from him if I could just stay calm and play my cards right. Patience is a very crucial element of the escape. You know what I am talking about if you have ever seen the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy.” That movie always makes me quiver when I see how her horrid husband abuses her and accuses her of cheating. This movie hits a little too close to home for me and was definitely of an inspiration for me when I was enduring that last month with my narcissistic husband. Each morning that came during that final month I was mentally counting down till I was far away from him. I felt like I was holding my breath for 30 days and nights.

6- Prioritize what you must take and what you must let go of. It is almost impossible to take everything with you, if you must leave the home. If you are lucky enough to own the house yourself, I guess you could change the locks and wait for the fireworks to begin. In my case, we shared the home, but I knew I needed to get as far away from him as possible for my safety and my children. So, I only took what was mine before the marriage, and anything that I knew he would not want or miss.

7- Pretend to be dominated- My narcissist had been trying to completely alienate me from my loving, giving family these past seven years and he really thought that he accomplished it that day. But what he didn’t know was that I was stronger and smarter than he took me for.  I knew that it was an asset and a strength to be underestimated.  He really believed that he had broken me, but I have something inside of me that he doesn’t: true love of myself, real empathy and a sturdy resilience.  But by me pretending to play the part of the obedient, doe-eyed devoted spouse, he felt secure in his dominance and it gave me more opportunities to accomplish my great escape.

So there you have it.  These seven P’s allowed me to make my way to freedom from my narcissist.  I know they could be helpful to your escape.  Everyone’s situation is different I know, in yet there are so many similarities in narcissistic relationships. When I saw how unreasonable and nasty he could be to my parents, who had given us their love and support since day one, it was as if the final veil had dropped and I saw him for the monster that he really was and always will be.  The bell had been tolling for a long time, I could no longer ignore it’s ringing.  It was the last straw, the definitive answer to the question that had been eating away at me. I could no longer see what I wanted to see in him, I had to see the awful truth of what was in front of me.

Half a year has passed since I packed up that truck and left. It has not been easy, but I am so thankful that I made the decision to make my escape.