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Divorce and Narcissism

divorce book, ann bradleyDivorce and Narcissism are a difficult combination. A narcissist in divorce will test your strength. Be prepared.

Divorce is never good –  but take a narcissist/verbal/emotional abuser and his lawyer and you have a situation that can turn quickly into an explosive battle. You can be hit with increasingly intense abuse. The legal system can be a very effective battering tool when divorce and narcissism are combined.

Learn how to navigate these waters. Be prepared.  If you have not yet begun the process of divorce protect yourself by careful planning. One woman asked if people listened about the importance of planning. I told her some do and some don’t.

She said, “Tell them I am the poster child for not planning and it isn’t good.”

Before You Begin To Divorce A Narcissist

This is a dangerous time.  In times of danger the best thing to do is prepare.Men are used to doing battle.  Women are not. But men are easy prey for emptying their bank account by greedy lawyers. I wrote in my book about divorce:

The first thing my husband’s attorney asked him was “Shall I hit her over the head with a 2×4?”  There  is such pathology in this that we must be aware, vigilant, and prepared. The legal system is adversarial and full of men and women with tremendous needs for power.

We are dealing with narcissists who are already damaged and primed to do battle.

They are masters at deception and projection. Gaslighting is their forte. You need financial assets to protect yourself and your children. Narcissism can be very expensive. Keep quiet. Plan without running to everyone and telling them you are divorcing. Interview attorneys and make a plan before you tell your spouse what you are doing. The moment you do, you have lost some power.

The verbal abuser becomes enraged when faced with a partner who has found the power to leave and feels justified in his behavior. He or she may want to punish you and this can go on for a very long time.

Often the abuser who sees he is losing control will escalate the methods of control and abuse. The lies will be bolder and he may manipulate with more intensity. He has a fierce need to regain power and control. Continued use of the legal system may now be available to him.He will deplete assets to pay attorneys to continue the battle ad nauseum. With the psychopathology of the narcissist you are in for a long battle.They have tunnel vision when you have become the designated enemy.

PLANNING is CRITICAL!

If you have a lot of money, your tactics will be somewhat different than that of one with lesser money. But everyone has something to protect. There will be no mercy shown by your narcissist during this time. His sense of entitlement is boundless  and you will be maligned and disparaged and anything, any crumb you get will be too much for you. In his mind, you are worthless, you deserve nothing.

Are You The Victim Of A Liar? This Cut To The Chase Guide Is For YOU

Plan. Plan. Plan. Today, that means be careful with social media. Here’s how attorneys use it in divorce:

Social Media Divorce Evidence

Make sure you have access to all the family funds and accounts. Unless it is an inheritance or there is a prenup, family money belongs to both of you. If you are not on title of the house, make sure you do this.

Get a support group of therapists, friends, family members. Make sure therapists understand narcissism and can testify in  your behalf in court.

If the therapist is good but resists the words narcissist and narcissism, call it emotional and verbal abuse.

Document everything. Do all this quietly and thoughtfully or you will enrage the narcissist.

Do not discuss impending divorce. This gives him time to drain the bank accounts, change documents. When you hire a lawyer, do not tell your spouse immediately.  Tell the lawyer your situation.  Ask if they can handle tough cases. Make sure you interview several lawyers.  Ask who the “pit bull” lawyers are so you can interview them. That way, even if you do not hire them, neither can  your spouse.

Negotiate the retainer.  Most family law attorneys overcharge. Try and find one that gives you some breathing space in terms of how  they charge.  The more prepared, calm and efficient you are, the more the attorney will respect you.  Emotion and long stories are not liked by attorneys. They are busy, they want cut to the chase information – are there custody issues?  is there property to be divided? how much? what problems do you foresee?

Planning is never so important as in divorce. Get your ducks in order and do all you can and be prepared before you announce you want a divorce.

If that’s too late, then begin getting support group together. It is never too late to hire evaluators or therapists for your side. If custody will be an issue, be prepared that he will try to alienate your child from you with brainwashing. Learn as much as you can before you divorce.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Ann Bradley

83 Comments

  1. I agree with Ms. Cherelle, great article with hitting the nail on the head. I’ve been divorced for four years and the hatred and attempts at manipulation continue from mine.

    Dealing with a narcissist in divorce;
    My best advice and experience for someone in a divorce or still dealing with a narcissist ex-spouse is to NOT ENGAGE. They will do anything to drag you in or manipulate your feelings and thought processes. I found that the most painful thing to a narcissist is being IGNORED. Even when the lies start flying, IGNORE IT. Think about getting hit with a bat by a professional baseball player, that’s what it feels like to a narcissist when you ignore them. Comments will be made that will be hurtful, untruthful, and foremost demeaning. No matter what you do or how much want to be amicable, just forget it. With the lack of control that they no longer have of you, they hate you, and consider you their utmost enemy. Work on DETACHING from their world. Get it in your head, that they will NEVER change no matter what you do. All they want is for you to be continue to be their HOSTAGE.

    Keep in mind, that even though their persona displays a hardcore tough exterior, they are truly weak people on the inside. For the most part in a divorce & post divorce, they will utilize their attorneys to attempt to regain control, and bully you to continue their abuse.

    Lawyers & your settlement;
    Your MSA (Marital Settlement Agreement) will be you future bible. It is one of the strongest binding contracts in the world. It will take and act of God to change it once its signed by a judge. DO NOT sign the MSA with language you cannot live with, even if you have to be the bad guy. The narcissist will pick it apart to find items that they can control and abuse you with later. Even when your divorce is over, it’s not over to them (especially with kids).

    From the start, do not allow the lawyers to fight with each other. They don’t care and aren’t really fighting, its called posturing so they get your money. All the other rubbish that normally happens before the MSA is just a phony process to get to the same thing that’s gonna happen, a settlement sit down. Insist on proceeding with a settlement from the start and don’t back down from it. Its not going to be easy, but it will save a lot of money and emotion.

    Take back your identity of who you are.

    Enjoy,
    Mr. Nice Guy

    • Mr. Nice Guy is correct. I worked in Family Law. Pleeeease find every nasty attorney and interview them Don’t HIRE THEM–just INTERVIEW them or someone in their firm. Your ex cannot hire them then–it would be a conflict of interest, unethical and punishable by the lawyers board of professional responsibility. Also, attorney’s do EXACTLY as Mr. NIce Guy says, they “Churn the File”–which means they charge and argue and charge just to settle, but THEY make money at a handsome hourly rate. I once worked on a case where the attorney’s were fueling a fight over who got the seven dollar “CandyLand” game. Be proactive. Keep track of the time you talk with your attorney–so many “guess” at the length of a conversation. DO NOT use your lawyer as a therapist. It is way too expensive and they have no training!! You attorney is a business relationship. Nothing more. Use it that way.

      DO NOT ENGAGE with the ex, as the article says. That is easier said than done, but get help and learn how to disengage. I learned this, I did it, and it WORKED!

  2. Great advise, my daughter has gone through this and since the ex has remarried a lawyer and they are now driving her mad with their using the child to control and abuse. It is now going through the courts and they play the ‘she’s mental’ card. Amazing that her mental health is intact after all the years with this man. Only advice is if you see a narcissist run like hell.

    • I agree with you Run like Hell . I hear this is getting more and more common these days. I am glad I raised my sons upstate NY…in the mountains. down to earth guys. My husband and I were raised like that. My brother whom I do not talk to that often was and is a narcissts. He went through a lot of women. He had a great business spent all his money on impressing woman, buying expensive jewelry, Rolex watches. Cars houses etc..NOW LOL LOL….he is sweeping in a grocery store and bagging food. He is losing his hair and his testesterone. LOL….I pray for him but no sympathy. A lot of women has ran from him Fast…Good girls…

  3. My son married a Narcissist. She was spoiled as a child very bad from her mother’s side of the family. She has siblings but they were ignored. Anything she wanted she got. Her mother belittled her husband in front of her so she had no respect for men. Now 31 she is out of my son’s house. They are separted and trying for joint custody. She is the most obnoxious person I have ever met. She has shown me and my husband no respect. It is all about her. Forget the child and my son. I did not like her from the start, the goodness and Christianity in me tried to love her and her family. BUT I can not. She told me she should not have married my son. She should have married a richer man. She is physically a phoney with 3000.00 breast implants. Was wearing fake eyelashes. Phoney nails. 125.00 hair styles. over a thousand dollars of clothes.
    165.00 sunglasses..She had a good job making megamoney..too bad she got layed off..too bad baby. She is living with a psychotic ex alcoholic that had her daughter taken away from her. The both of them are Narcissits. I pray my son finds a real live woman that loves him for what he is. I do not feel bad because my son is strong and I have a beautiful Grandaughter

  4. I have been married to a narcissist for 4 years now. Before we got married he was a in knight in shining armor. He was so loving, helpful, empathic, respectful, and so much fun. As soon as we got married it all changed immediately. I guess now that he knew he had handcuffs on me he didn’t feel the need to act anymore. I started noticing something strange about certain things he would say, his viewpoint, his behaviors. How I would just simply disagree with him on something and he would rage and break things. How we would be love birds have a marital argument and then to him we were complete enemies. He showed no mercy on me when he would cheat or do something really hurtful. I would find out about it and confront him and he would rage against me as if I had done something to him! I couldn’t believe it! I always felt something was totally off about him so I started looking things up and I ran into narcissism and have read all about it. Since then it has gotten a lot worse. I see it in everything he does. The pain I feel is so deep and he doesn’t care. I eventually made the mistake of telling him I want a divorce. Since we are separated and haven’t lived with each other in years we have nothing to fight over. I even filed no-fault irreconciilble differences just so we won’t have to fight anything. All i want is my children but he continues to see this as a battle to be won…but what is the reward? My reward is the divorce itself. I tell him all the time that I am not trying to make him look bad that I am just trying to be happy. I cannot deal with his constant cheating, lying, and emotional abuse. He thinks of anything he can to try and tear me apart in court and make me look bad. He always talks about having the upperhand and such. He tells me it is so unfair that I get to get child support when I am the one who will have the children. He has even asked me will I still help him get on his feet. huh? After reading about NPD I see through everything that he does…even when he says something sweet and loving he sounds like the devil the day he deceived eve. It never sounds like he means it. He always tries to punish and hurt me for being mad at him for his abuse. He acts as if I am the one who is out of line for my ignorance and inconsideratness of his disorder. How dare I not be understanding to the fact that he needs all of these other women to make him feel better about himself? How dare I disagree with him or voice any concerns? How dare me?!!!! Its quite pathetic. I really would like to know how to get out of this marriage without having to deal this is rages and abuse. I wonder should I tell him I called it off and that I still want to be with him until court day? At this point I will manipulate, lie and deceive HIM to avoid going through his abuse and drama. Its like a game of whose high and whose low, whose superior over the other one and who has the most control or the upperhand. These things don’t even concern me but I am tired of being hurt and anxious because he feels the need to try and hurt be to feel like he has the upperhand. ARG somebody break these handcuffs!!!!!! I warn anybody he is reading this and thinks they are dealing with a N or feels confident and can’t leave to LEAVE!!!! You are not loved, cared about, respected, or even human to these individuals. You are just an intrument to be used in anyway to make them feel superior, godlike, loved, like, etc. They are feeding off of your soul. Draining the self-esteem out of you so they can use it for a while…

    • Omg. This is my life you are describing,but mine has been physically abusive and it has been escalating he even gave me a huge shiner in front of his parents whom are professional people. My spouse makes great money and when it comes down to the fact that we should divorce his only concern is me taking his$$$$$$ he is not worried about not seeing is two very young children he only says how ungrateful I should be that we can afford stuff. He is not that controlling because I don’t do anything at all ever I’m am a introvert and he his a way far out extrovert he turns everything into what he wants to do go exc…I just quit asking to do what I want cause he just puts a spin on it to find something he can fit in for himself
      I did have have arrested once but fearing he would close out our checking (he has done this before) I asked judge to drop charges. Which was stupid because I got the shiner 5 months later. My issue is his parents make a fair amount and funny enough they are very intrusive in our life & he has a brother who was A GOLDEN CHILD that they paid for college and didn’t have to help with family business. They wouldn’t even co-sign a loan for him and we was a decent kid & actually worked for his dad after school and most weekends My spouse always complained on how unfairly he was treated which I can attest to (my spouse was very over weight as a teen) my spouse lost weight and is making more$$$ than is golden brother now and a huge switch was flipped his dad calls every day and asks EVERYTHING. Even what we had for dinner where did we go? Why didn’t we answer the phone? (If we happen to miss his call) and…..my spouse puts up with that. If his dad needed help at the business my husband would put off our plans. My boys are so spoiled my their lavish gifts (apparently that is how that family shows love). They had the boys for a overnight visit & my 5 yo mentions he likes bat man so the night night they stayed at my parents. We go to pick them up in the car and low and behold. His parents drove 30 miles to buy car and 20 miles to drop off a matchbox car. Funny thing was they called my spouse just a few house before and we told them we had to pick up the boys and we would stop in quick on way home to let them give it to them…. But just couldn’t wait. & my NH didn’t say a word it drives me so crazy when I Ask questions he is so mean but he bows down to his parents who treated him like crap growing up.

      Sidebar….I have to laugh at the last statement because my if my spouse were to read this I SWEAR TO GOD. He would make a correction on the mileage and see nothing else that wrong. It’s all me being overly sensitive.

  5. All I can say after reading the comments is WOW! It is simply amazing how all narcissist are EXACTLY alike. I feel as if we have all been with the same person.

    I am not divorcing a narcissist, but I have ended a 10 year relationship with a narcissist and it is pure hell. We do have one child together and if it were not for my child I would be but a mere memory to this person because I would have left the relationship and the area even sooner and would have never tolerated any of his emotional abuse, temper tantrums and control. While I did not know what emotional abuse was because I had never experienced it in any other relationship, I always knew his behavior was not right and had know idea there was a pathology to it and how insidious it was. I saw a checklist on a show and he was a textbook example of a narcissist and that is when I began to see the light and gained a better understanding of what and who I was dealing with and began to take action. I definitely agree with Mr. Nice Guy with the advice not to engage the narcissist and have found this to be my greatest weapon. His hatred, insults and delusional accusations against me, mean nothing to me, because his opinion of me holds no weight whatsoever in my life at this point, so therefore nothing he says penetrates me. He can call me every name in the book and it means nothing to me, I give his words no power and that has allowed me to maintain my sanity, because otherwise he would have the power to push my buttons when he feels like it. I believe that once you realize what and who you are dealing with, you must imagine yourself in a real battle, because this person is indeed your mortal enemy and what is at stake is your happiness, your peace and serenity, and your sanity. Fight for it, because they want it and do not want you to have any of it, although it does belong to you, that’s how selfish they are.. They do not feel that you deserve to have your own happiness, if they even see a semblence of happiness coming from you, they want that too. My ex used to turn the music off or change the station, in the car when I would start to enjoy a song, that’s how little happiness he wanted me to have.

    Plan, strategize, and be covert about everything. No warrior in a battle would ever let their enemy know their strategies or give them the exact time of an attack. I am doing so much work in the background and my ex does not know anything about it. The same reserve I used when I sat and listened to his insults, and temper tantrums is the same reserve I use now, I simply keep my mouth shut about everything and plan to be free of him. We thankfully do not live together anymore, but when we do have contact because of our child and he finds a way to always get some insults in, I ignore him and do not engage him and keep quiet and that is how I approaching everything concerning him. I won’t give him the satisfaction because that only keeps me on his level and I know for a fact that I am no where near on the same level that he is on. I am proud of myself for the strength I have developed having to go through this obstacle in life. I see me as strong and him as weak and because of that I know I will not only survive but THRIVE!

    • You are an inspiration. I am in the same situation and it is so hard. It hurts so much. Thanks for sharing.

      • Wish I had read this article before separating and then divorcing my narcissist ex-husband. I also experienced the wonderful person who treated me like a princess, and interacted with my son beautifully. Immediately after getting married, on our honeymoon, things began to change. Scary thing is… I stayed in this controlling relationship for 9 years much to the despair of my young son from a previous marriage. It always appeared that he was fair, but in reality he controlled all of the money, his power over me, because he had his own business and I did not sign on the account. With the support of my therapist and family I finally decided to move forward with the divorce. He is a financial planner, very savvy when it comes to money. I made the huge mistake of thinking he would do “the right thing”, as I had heard him tell so many people to do. His clients included my family members, friends I had before our relationship, and new close friends; so I never thought he would be so ruthless. It has been 4 years, my battle in court has been a joke. Anyone getting divorced, there is
        ABSOLUTELY no justice in family law. Like Christie Brinkley says, she just wants to go on with her life. Fortunately I never had children with this person, but he was terrible to my son. I recently saw something on the news about a women whose husband was convicted of sexually assaulting her, is serving time for the crime, but because she made more money than him, she has to pay him spousal support after he is released.
        This is SO wrong. My ex-husband had the money to go after me and I had nothing. In the end Mr. Financial Planner, (he calls himself The Plan Man), took both of our homes, 3 out of 4 cars, all the furniture in the home he ran his business out of, came and took the patio furniture I took when I moved out of our home. And at the very end, because I did not have enough money to go to trial, and I was so beaten down and exhausted, I even gave him my refrigerator AND I delivered it! Four years later and now I am being pursued by the IRS for our last tax return. BUT I no longer live in that oppressive environment with that selfish, controlling person. So sad it has taken so long to move forward. But it will happen!!

        • So sorry to hear this story. One suggestion I have, which I used, was to get the help of an Ombudsman for your IRS issues. You can google this and find out about who they are and what they can do to help you with the tax situation. There is no cost and they are not agents, which is good – they actually have a different kind of power. You get one through the IRS but they do not work for them. You are on the other side of the divorce – don’t look back. Enjoy the journey forward! Best, Ann

      • Thank you Bella, that means alot. It is indeed hard to leave a narcissist, but in my opinion once you have “seen the light” so to speak, it is even harder to stay with a narcissist. I would often ask myself, would I allow a complete stranger to treat me this way and of course the answer was no, so I began to accept the fact that essentially I already was dealing with a stranger anyway with the narcissist. Every time he pulled a new stunt, I could not believe what I was hearing and seeing, it was always as if I didn’t know him and who he was, so to me he became like a stranger. I know many women who stay in bad and/or abusive relationships and most often the reason for staying is “Because I love him” and now I cannot help but to ask even if under my breath, “But do you love yourself?” I realized I love me waaay more than I loved him and because I do love me, I wanted, needed and deserved better.

        • I was with my narcissist husband for almost two years before we got married but I wish I didn’t ignore the RED FLAGS from the beginning – the unhealthy attachment to his cell phone and the extreme mood swings from being loving and attentive in the beginning to critical/verbally abusive and moody three months in. You waste so much time and energy trying to get that guy back that you met when you eventually realize he does not even exist! I just found out three weeks ago that he has been cheating on me since a month after we got married and two months after I had a miscarriage. I suspected he’s been cheating on me since the day we met but never pursued it until now. The other woman told me the truth – which is sad that I had to hear it from her. I found the strength to file for divorce and kick him out. What gets me through the day is that the man I met in the beginning of our relationship is an image – not a real person. I found out new things about him every day – the man I thought I knew so well is a complete stranger to me who had a very secret life. I’m glad I’m getting out but know that this road to the divorce being finalized is going to be very bumpy. I stopped responding to him – no contact rule – it has been working so far. The woman he was cheating on me with has already left him and he already has a new one. I didn’t realize how sick and mentally messed up he is!!

        • Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! You truly are an inspiration to me! I aspire to be as strong as you are. I am currently going through a divorce with a narcissist. I did not even realize what one is until by soon- to-be ex called me a sociopath. I did further research on this and found that he fits the profile perfectly! I knew I had rocked his world when he told me that if I did not change the way he needed me to change for him, he would leave me, and I told him that I liked who I was faults and all and he would have to accept me just the way I am. He then continued on the destructive path of trying to destroy me, emotionally and financially. I am hoping that when this divorce is all over, I will be a survivor.

  6. Thank you so much for writing this and to everyone else for their comments. I just saw Christie Brinkley do an interview on The Today Show about divorcing a narcissist. Until then, I though I was the only one going through this. Of course, we all share situations, so it is good to remind ourselves and each other that we are not alone. I used “the bad one” as my name because that is how he portrays me to everyone. If I claim that, then I am being “the victim”. If I fight, I’m “crazy”. So, I agree about nor engaging. The problem is that it is almost impossible not to engage when we coparent. Christie Brinkley said that her ex always pulls something when she has something good happen in her life. They are relentless in their vendetta. It is easy to get caught in the web. One key, I believe, is to try to stay calm and remain clear on what is real and what we are reacting to – ie when they are pushing our buttons. It is exhausting emotionally, and has even affected my health. They know that this “soft” abuse is difficult to litigate. You can check out an article I wrote right after our divorce on abuse in affluent communities.

    • And thank you for writing and sharing your link. It provides a much needed perspective and a line to getting help. I encourage anyone reading this who feels there is no hope, to read it. Yes, coparenting can be misery that goes on and on. It is necessary to put it in perspective, focus on the goal and and as you wisely said, remain clear on what is real and what we are reacting to. Thanks much for writing and making a difference. Best, Ann

    • I only last night ran into this webpage and had a serious “Ah-ha” moment, realizing that these descriptions are exactly what I’m dealing with! I have been going through a divorce for almost three long, grueling years. We have a 12 year old daughter together. I have never been through such hell in my life. He uses anything he can to manipulate and control every situation, even if it’s to the detriment of our daughter! Sometimes I feel like the craziest person in the world because everything I say and do is flipped around and used against me. I am lucky to make it to work so that I can provide for my daughter and I, but other than that I’m pretty much a recluse. I feel like I can’t deal with anything else. Luckily I have found a therapist who specializes in domestic abuse and will begin to see her soon. Please tell me this gets better!

      • It does get better because you realize you are not crazy, but a victim. Please read this page: http://www.narcissisticabuse.com/victim/

        The use of language by a narcissist can indeed be crazy making. During my divorce I used to pretend I was wearing teflon clothes to let my husband’s abuse fall off me. Eventually I got to the point of saying to myself, “Oh, here comes the word salad.” and tune him out. But it isn’t easy to hear the manipulative words and be a scapegoat. Always, always remember, they are the problem, not you and learn to control your emotions so you can not be the bait. They love your emotional reaction. Don’t give it. Please do read the link above. You WILL get through this. I promise. Ann

      • I’m sorry for what you are going through but it sounds all too familiar. The best advice I have for you or anyone who is separating from a N is to get out a specific intervention order or a AVO as they are called hear in Australia. What I mean by specific is that (as it was in my case) I endured a year of relentless email manipulation though my N was very careful not to be abusive you could read between the lines. Although I already had an intervention order because of our daughter he was able to continue to communicate via text or email to discuss issues about her which he abused by just mentioning her in the first paragraph of pages of emails.
        Even though I did not engage in responding to the emails and texts and went to the police a multitude of time nothing was ever done. He continued to bombard me daily until I went to court and asked that he was not allowed to discuss (in the text of emails) anything that did not pertain to exact topics about our daughter eg health, pickup etc. After explaining to the judge that my husband was a N and showed him the numerous email he realised I was being emotionally abused and took out a two year specific intervention out.
        Since this has been done I have been able to move on and concentrate all my energy on myself and my daughter and not the constant taunting.

  7. I just finished reading the comments above-I cannot believe the similarities that all narcissists have. I met my husband at a very young, impressionable age (13 years old) and he was my first and only boyfriend. He was great to me-until we married the year I graduated high school. Honest, it wasn’t 2 weeks after we married that he turned like a pit bull. It was “all of a sudden” my friends were bad influences…no good for me-but, unfortunately, I allowed him to control me. After our first son was born, he got crazy…I wasn’t allowed to work, he would take my car keys to work with him, he would take the phone with him…he would flip out and break our belongings if he got mad about something. I remember countless times he would break furniture or put his hand through windows when he was mad about something-it was awful. It was always ME who made him do those things. There wasn’t a wall in our house that didn’t have pictures or long mirrors up just to conceal the holes in the walls where he would bash them in. It was always, and continues to be, he’s the victim-why did I make him do those things? I would just let him go out, for weekends at a time, knowing he was with other women, just to have peace. I was lost-I had no self worth, isolated from my family—I had nowhere to turn. When our second son was born, he was disappointed that he wasn’t a girl, so he never really accepted him into his life-he wanted one of each, but we weren’t given that-so he chose to ignore the second child altogether. He completely controlled me-the finances, the decision making, even the grocery shopping-I wasn’t allowed to go to the market to grocery shop. My paychecks went in the joint account, to which I was given a $25 allowance per week to keep for me. I wasn’t allowed to see what was in the bank-it wasn’t my business-just be grateful your bills are paid-he paid everything. I should be grateful he is with such an ugly, fat person because without him, I wouldn’t have anything. The stories I could tell you, would blow your mind. It was New Year’s Eve, 1997, that my husband had another couple over for the evening to celebrate. I didnt drink, never did, I was the designated driver, so that was another use for me to be around. The other couple, to whom HER husband was another abusive person, caused a huge scene, stormed out of the house and left-which now left me there alone with my husband and kids…not good. My husband was a mess-drunk and being verbally abusive but finally went to bed. My oldest son was 6 and my youngest was 2 at the time. My son looked up at me and said, “mommy, can we please leave? Lets move to Florida-far away from daddy….”. That was it-I realized that I couldn’t live this life anymore so I planned my escape. In February 1998 I moved out of the house, with just the two boys and the clothes on our backs and never looked back. He wouldn’t let us have any of our belongings (they all mysteriously burned up in our garage which caught fire, on what day? our anniversary)…He forced my sons out of their daycare as the caretaker refused to deal with him anymore—refused to pay child support for over a year-wouldnt carry us on his health care-wouldn’t give me one of the 3 cars we had in the driveway, forget about the house—hahahaha…no, nothing. I went in front of the judge and told him I wanted nothing, not a thing, just get me out of this marriage. My husband made the mistake of saying where my lawyer could hear that he would NEVER grant me a divorce, he would fight over the salt and pepper shakers…so my lawyer told the judge and asked the judge to make him pay for the entire divorce if he didnt grant it, so he did…thank goodness. I went on to obtain two degrees and educate myself so I could be successful and raise my children without having to depend on anyone for help, to which I am proud to say my oldest son is graduating from college in May with his double bachelors in education and the other is finishing his junior year in high school this June, both honors students. Please know their dad did everything he could, and still does, to belittle his children as well-they are never happy unless they are benefitting in some way. So please realize it doesnt end with a divorce with a narcissit…he made that 15 years of my life a living hell—from the time with him to even now, 15 years AFTER we divorced, he still torments me whenever he gets the chance…drags me into court for nothing…gets things ordered just to do it then doesn’t follow through—just to have some kind of control-he belittles me and his kids-the boys have a very limited relationship with him because he is so self centered and hurtful—-it is all about him. My ex even went as far as posting on my son’s facebook a post that said, “stop bragging about how much fun your having off in college-I dont need you rubbing it in” can you imagine? A parent who is jealous of his own children? Please note he isnt paying one red cent towards this child’s education, mind you. On his 21st birthday, went right to court to have his obligation to pay child support stopped so he didnt have to assist with his son any longer. He never remarried; nobody would ever tolerate his behavior—yes, he has had relationships, mostly with women half his age and easily controlled (like I was) I hear even most of his immediate family has given up on him. He never participated with the kids growing up-if he didnt control it, he wanted no part of it. Never underestimate a narcissist – they never change, not 15 years after the divorce—-still the same person—just such hate in their hearts…I cried yesterday when I saw the interview with Christy Brinkley—I know what she means, to just want peace from the person….good luck to all who encounter one—run, run for your life, because if you dont, they will try to drain you of any life you have-they are not happy unless you are less successful than they are.

    Best wishes-
    Tam

    • Thanks for this incredible tale of your move from victim to conqueror. It is quite moving and heartfelt. I had to laugh at the comment about the salt and pepper shakers – it resonates with my own experience about wicker baskets – but also is a window into the world of the narcissist both sad and frightening. Your comeback to empowerment through education is one I hear at times – congratulations on this. Others find a way back in other ways – the important thing is reclaiming that life for yourself and moving on. Best, Ann

    • Tam, I feel like we were married to the same man!

      My story mirrors yours in so many ways and you are right-even years later (it’s been 14 years since the divorce and we were together 7+ years before that)it doesn’t change.

      He’s managed to use parental alienation and bribery to get our 16 year old daughter to agree to live with him because he didn’t want to pay child support for her. He treats our 19 yr old son like crap because he could never bribe him into leaving and going to live with him so even now he belittles him about so much.

      It’s sad that Narcissists are so selfish they will hurt their children for so many years. I’m so proud of all you’ve accomplished and I know how hard it is. After those 6 years of abuse and him not allowing me to see friends, go to college, have any access to finances, etc., it took 9 years after the divorce for me to stand up to the continued attacks from him and to take my life back. I got my degree, a great job, my own home and car, and stopped letting him continue to manipulate me-it infuriated him and led to the issues with our daughter but I still have to believe it was the best thing to do. You can’t win against a Narcissist so you have to disengage and enjoy your life despite their hatred. Best of luck!

      • Congratulations to you for standing up to the abuse by engaging your strengths. What a great role model for your children – as well as others around you. You weathered your experience with grace and courage. Best, Ann

  8. IGNORE. Mr. Nice Guy is correct. Ns will stop at nothing to get you. When the things that used to work no longer do, they will try something else. They will keep on trying, and things will get more and more outlandish and crazy. The accusations they make against you can be sooo hurtful, and beware anything you shared in your past will now be used against you. If you shared you were abused as a child, something at one time they were so sympathetic to (and they never were, they just pretended to be), they will now use that against you. “Oh, I understand why you are doing this. You were abused as a child, so you think it’s okay to hurt your own child. I understand. Let me help you get better so you can stop hurting your child” All this, of course, when you aren’t hurting your child. Whatever vulnerabilites you showed in the past, they will exploit when you get the courage to leave them. IGNORE no matter how difficult it is. This is important for two reasons – #1 – it drives them CRAZY, and #2, when and if you DO react, it gives them fuel to say YOU are the crazy one. My ex did this so many times and I’m ashamed of how many times I fell for it. He cheated repeatedly (always blaming me, he was sorry, but I was just so mean to him, he just needed a woman to be nice to him. I gained too much weight when I was pregnant and didn’t take care of myself, so what is a guy like him supposed to do? Don’t I realize how lucky I am to have him when hot women are always hitting on him? It went on and on…..) When I finally reacted and yelled at him, he recorded it and then went to the police, claiming I also hit him. It was insane. I’ve since learned to just IGNORE and it has helped me tremendously. My heart goes out to anyone in this situation. It’s been 5 years since I left, and I am sad to say it has not gotten any better. He’s angrier now than he was 5 years ago. I, however, am much better. I’ve built a great support system, have a great lawyer, and found strength I never thought I had. But I wasn’t able to get to this place until I learned to IGNORE.

    • Thank you for reminding us of the value of the IGNORE button. It is underused and under-appreciated for its intrinsic value in accomplishing the goal of freedom from the victimization of the narcissist. You used it wisely and your message is a good one – thanks for sharing it. Others need to hear what works and I’m happy you brought this up. Best, Ann

  9. I too divorced an “N” and what a ride. It was a nightmare and still continues to this day. He uses his lawyer to make my life hell. He cares not of the $ wasted on ridiculous antics- only that he’s taking away from my quality of life and my bank account. We have 2 kids together and both of them are getting older and able to see more for themselves. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I believe it’s my freedom to live my life as I choose. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. It has been a hard road and at times I felt like I was never going to be free. He has said horrible things to the kids to berate me and make me look inadequate in their eyes. But ya know what? It hurts at first, sure but the kids see through positive actions and reinforcements on my behalf that no matter what- things will always be good and safe here with mom. Their dad can say whatever he wants about me but he will never take away the safe,happy, and secure environment I have created. Now, I get to close the door and he can never come in. That’s what pisses him off the most and that’s what I’ve gained. Freedom.

    • That’s exactly how I feel and where I am at now as well, he is not even welcomed in my home. Gone are the days when I felt obligated to make nice for his sake. I could not care less if he is offended. I don’t even want his energy in my home, because now IF we are around each other because of our child, I cannot wait to be rid of him and get away from him. I have all but removed myself from my child’s relationship with him, I do not protect him anymore and I do not make up excuses for him like I used to if he doesn’t follow through on something he promised to our child, I’m letting him reveal himself to our child for the person he really is.

      • Fighter: You have described my relationship with my ex ‘N’ to a tea. I now treat anything to do with him like a business transaction, I too have stopped covering for him with our daughter (on advice from a divorce counselor) he used my love and maternal instinct for our child against me (I always tried to shelter her) but I found once I stepped away and said no, he had to step up or she would see the real him which he could not cope with.

    • Hi,
      I read your comment and wanted to touch base. I have been married to a narcissist for 15 years. We have two kids, 8 and 10. I have thought endlessly about leaving him. However, I worry about what he will do to our kids when he has them to himself. They already know what he can be like and how he can turn on them suddently…so what will they do without me there to protect them when he gets some form of custody? This is my biggest worry…them having to fend for themselves without my help. Isn’t this too much to ask of childrren? I know it’s a lot to ask of me to too to continue living this way…trust me, if I had it my way I would have left him a long time ago. Trying to do the right thing for everyone, especially those most vulnerable. But am I doing the wrong thing in the process? Thanks.

  10. Give Him Nothing
    In terms of any type of reaction.
    Everything that comes out of his mouth is a manipulation.
    Everything has an agenda.
    It may not make any sense to us, but somewhere down the line the agenda will become clear.
    Trust Nothing he says.
    I am going on 8 years divorced – 2 children – he has become like a science project.
    Whatever he tells the kids – there is a reason – I try to figure it out ahead of time so I can spot the oncoming zinger that I know is out there, circling, waiting to strike.
    It cushions the blow if you can spot it coming.
    Knowledge is power.

  11. I’m four years out from leaving and subsequently divorcing an incredibly abusive narcissist I was married to for 25 years. I wish I had known this type of support was out there at the time. It has been incredibly hard – and everything that is said in these prior posts are so true. I look forward to the day we don’t have to communicate about college tuition, alimony, the sale of an underwater house. My advice is to IGNORE him. Keep yourself SAFE. LOVE your children and provide emotional security for them. Don’t get lured into endless negotiations over all the things he wants to continue to control. BREAK THE CYCLE OF ABUSE. But most importantly, BE PROUD of yourself for making the break, choosing to live an authentic life. It does get better.

    • My narcissist left me–I think I no longer was any use to him. I’m pretty sure that my job was to produce and raise kids. Once they went off to school & I went through menopause (fat, no libido, and so forth), he was done with me.
      Leaving me had to be MY fault, so he could walk off feeling good about himself, and as though he were the victim, and as though he’d done nothing wrong.

      So thank you for this comment. I too have been married for 25+ years and am having the WORST time coming to grips with the idea that I have lived for that number of years with a man–whom I loved & built my life around–who now loathes and hates me (he makes faces of rage at me!). That for all these years he has done nothing but manipulate and bully me. Sometimes subtly, sometimes right out in the open by making fun of me, blaming me, making odd attempts to “punish” me for stuff he thinks I did wrong. In between he was charming and a lot of fun, so I tended to overlook the difficult bits. I’d never heard of this personality type, never experienced it, and certainly have NEVER been the object of such hatred and contempt.
      I’m scared to death. I know he will escalate during the divorce. I know he will be ruthless. I have no income, so $$ and fear and worry for my kids will all be used against me.
      And I’m scared for my (older) kids. They too are reeling. He will manipulate them, and emotionally abuse them—anything that makes him feel good about himself, or spares his feelings, he will do, even hurt his kids.
      How I wish I had understood earlier.

  12. I am very happy to hear i am not alone. I divorced a narcissist and here we are 3 years later and he is still going strong with lawyers trying to take the kids from me. What i need some help with is this, i am always always shocked at the lies and antics this man pulls to destroy me, why cant he just let me be? He does something, usually with a lawyer or putting my kids in the middle, and i let it get to me! I feel like i can never relax and let my guard down because as soon as i do, he strikes again!

    • While you may not be able to let your guard down it is important to get in control of your emotions so you feel better. One thing I did that stopped my anxious moments immediately was to file a bar complaint against opposing counsel. While he was being investigated all bad actions stopped. He was deferential to me, did nothing for my husband, and it was a joy to watch him under the microscope. Find something that you have control over and it won’t make you feel so helpless. This feeling of power will translate to your feelings and behavior. It works – try it. Best, Ann

    • Thank all of you so much. I have been married for 35 years!!!! I have lived with a narcissist the entire time. I have been miserable the entire time. We have three grown children. I sought out counseling on and off for the entire marriage. Finally in 2000 my husband agreed to go with me to counseling. The very wise therapist, after meeting with him, shared with me that I was married to a narccisist. He was alway dissatified with me as a mother, wife, and sexual partner. He was unemotional to me and our children. He had told me in the beginning of our relationship that he always “worked every situation to his advantage.” I now know how true those words were and are. About four years ago he went online and put an ad out to have a dicreet fling. He met with one of the women and I found out about it. He blamed it all on me. I did not love him the way he loved me and he had to have meaningful conversation with someone who understood him. He always said I was crazy and I believed him and took all of the blame. He wanted the world to see him as a devoted husband, father, and christian. As things escalated in the past four years he tried to alienate me from our children, my family and friends. We own a business together and we hardly ever went to work. I am ashamed to say that I have done horrible things in an effort to save the marriage. He would encourage “lovingly” for me to share my soul, only to use everything against me. I even wrote a letter taking all of the blame that was never sent to family and friends. He brought the letter to court. He always provided and supplied materially to maintain control. He is now buying our youngest son who has turned against me. I left 6 times only to be sweet talked in to coming back. This too has all been used against me. He ordered me to send him sexually explicit tex messages to provide stimulation to him and he saved them and used them against me in court. Finally after two years of him pushing for us to have sex together with other people I said absolutely NO. It was that day that he told me not to come home. He wanted to give me nothing. I have wonderful friends who have taken me in. The alchohol abuse has been horrific. He came home one night and pushed me out of bed on the floor. After when abuse charges had been filed he used tex messages to say it was during rough sex. He spent 25K on trying to rub my nose in a lie. Narcissists will stop at nothing. I loved him and kept believing that it would change and that it was all my fault. NOW I KNOW THE TRUTH. He tells everyone that I am a liar. He actually lied under oath and admitted it to me. I told a therapist once that what I wanted in life was PEACE. Interesting that Christe Brinkley wants the same thing. I may walk away with nothing, but I have everything. Being FREE of someone with NPD is the greatest gift of all. I agree with all of you. Stop engaging. It took me a long time but I now understand. I will no longer be his Narcissitic Supply. My codependancy has ended. When you have time listen to a song by Whitney Houston “I didn’t know my own strength”, it really helps!!!! My heart and best wishes go out to all of you.

      • Thank you for this heartfelt message. I know I speak for many when I say it will make a difference to those who need to hear the words from one who has been there and acknowledged, recognized and felt by all. Best wishes, Ann

      • Reading your comments has really helped me this morning. I was literally dumped two months ago by what was identified by the therapist as a narcissict boyfriend. I was so cautious but ONCE I began to trust then everthing slowly began to change. And this is someone that I had known for 30 years on my Church. He broke up with me one weekend and was blatantly with someone else the next weekend. And just got married to her two days ago. Whats really hard that she was a friend to me and I thought he was my soulmate. I have problema believing that there is someone so evil as he was in this world. T’he betrayal and abuse endured during the relationship have far reaching effects. I will listen to the song you suggested.

        • Evelyn, you have been traumatized. Take good care of yourself and realize there is a gift in here: you found out what he is really made of before he could do more damage. Realize also that the friend who betrayed you is now the one with the problem, not you. You may be feeling the sting of betrayal now but her problems have only just begun. Be happy it was she, not you. that married into this pathology. Best, Ann

        • Evelyn- Congratulations! You are the fortunate one to be out of this relationship. Your former friend and soulmate is now trapped in a terrible situation. Pray for her and, maybe even be a friend to her when her life comes crashing down. She was fooled by this narcissist as you were, and as I was by my former wife. They are charming and deceitful. Be very thankful you are out and free. You won’t have 20+ years of misery like I had in marriage to a narcissist. Now, be very careful that you don’t get fooled again.

      • Thank you.
        Thank you.
        Boy, have you just summed up my life.
        I’ve been feeling crazy, but now I am beginning to see that I’m not.

  13. I would also STRONGLY suggest to anyone with child custody issues to use the ourfamilywizard.com website for communication. Our judge ordered us to use it, and it’s been a lifesaver. I’ve recommended it to others who’ve requsted it be a part of their custody orders as well. My order states we are ONLY to communicate via this website. My ex tries and tries to engage me in conversation whenever we cross paths, but I absolutely refuse to speak to him. I liteally pretend as if I am deaf and I don’t hear him. If he sends me a text message, I reply “please communicat with me via the OFW website” Prior to having this as part of our order, he’d try to engage me in conversation and then go to court and say that I said things I never said, or that he tried to engage in reasonable conversation with me and I yelled and did whatever else……. it has become clear now to our judge that this is not a “it takes two to tango” case, as the communication thorugh the website clearly shows differently. Also, if possible have exchanges occur at school, (one parent drops off, the other picks up, therefore you don’t have to see each other) and on non school days, or if your child is not yet in school, have them occur at a police station. Receiving party has to arrive 10 minutes before exchange and wait in lobby. Exchange occurs in lobby and party dropping off waits ten minutes before leaving. Sounds extreme, but it works. My ex previously followed me home after I picked my daugher up from him, got in front of me, turned around and took a picture with his cellphone, texted me and said “stop following me or I will go to the police” I dropped my daughter off at my sister’s house and immediately went back to the police station where sure enough, he’d just filed a police report stating I was following him. I gave the police my side of the story and left. At another exchange, I went to take my daughter from him, he held onto her, and wouldn’t let go. When I tugged at her, he screamed at the top of his lungs “OH MY GOD!!! DID YOU JUST RIP HER FROM MY ARMS??” Then followed me to my car asking why I was abusing our daughter. After this, he filed a motion citing these two instances and asking for custody. It backfired on him and the judge agreed to my request for the police station lobby exchange. He protested and the judge asked him why he wouldn’t agreee, it was the perfect solution since he claimed I was so crazy at exchanges and this protected everyone. Ns will stop at nothing to “get” something on you, so protect yourself in all ways possible. These are two things you can ask for up front that are easy to do, any maybe will spare you a court date or two.

    • Wow at the whole following you home, taking a picture of you and claiming YOU were following HIM, just wow! Thanks for the tips and insight.

    • Mom who learned to ignore. Your story is complet Déjà vu sounds like you had a great Family Judge my judge was not at all understanding and did not bother to read my documents, thankfully the court appointed physiologist saw straight through him and read all the medical reports on his past behavour and she mad all the right recommondations, otherwise I would have been screwed.

    • I’m in a constant battle over child custody with my narcisstic ex husband. He has charmed the guardian ad litum and she seems to be taking his side. My oldest son has already broken ties with his father and refuses contact. He wrote a statement of all the abuse and crazy things his dad did yet I am in a new battle over my oldest son that started over two years ago and is not finished. He lied on social media about me and has a whole group of strangers ready to want to hang me. My question is why don’t judges seem aware of this narcisstic behavior and the signs? I’m hoping the judge in my case will, or at least believe my oldest son, who has even said he tried to get him to put visine in my drink. My ex is trying to say that my son is troubled and manipulated by me, of course, but he is a straight A student and once he got away from his dad, is finally happy again.

      • It’s tough, but not impossible to prevail. Remain drama free and unemotional. Learn what it is the court and their people (GAL, e.g) like to hear. Don’t diagnose your husband in front of or to the court. They don’t like lay diagnosticians. “Sometimes my husband can be a jerk, or difficult.” can go a lot further than anything else. Tell the GAL every child needs two parents (this is what they want to hear or you are accused of Parental Alienation) but you just would like to ask her help in getting him to tone it down a bit as the kids are getting embarrassed. Make this relevant – you get the gist – you need to placate as well as educate. Do it with forethought and a calm demeanor. Get online and look at the classes these court related people need to take and use the outline in your own talks with them. You can outfox them! Plan, think, take your time, research, don’t use your kid as the messenger – well, not too much. This is frowned upon too. Best to you, Ann

  14. Thanks so much to everyone who has left a comment here, and to Ms Bradley for this website, and the wonderful information. It REALLY helps to know that I am not crazy!
    My ex – we have been divorced since 2001, and it still goes on and on. Last year I got a restraining order for verbal harrassment, which of course only made him attack me more – I am still afraid of him after all these years. Afraid of the retaliation if I would ever actually file a police report when he attacks me in some manner. Our daughter is 14, and in the past 4 years – He uses her as an excuse to attack me, because that is the only contact that I have with him. He has been an mostly absent Dad seeing our daughter only a few times a month. My daughter loves me, but she is not above manipulating things with her Dad to get what she wants (even his attention). If I get angry with my Daughter – and send her to her room for example – She calls her Dad who then calls the police on me. There are lots of examples like this – it has been THE WORST – I know all about his narcisstic behaviour and can predict his reaction. But it has been so painful for me – that my daughter knows what her dad will do to me, and yet to get her way, she ‘tells’ on me if I give her a punishment (like being grounded), or if I tell her ‘No, you cant do that” like go to the mall, etc. She even hates her dad too, most of the time – but He pays attention to her when she is angry with me. The thing about a Narcisstic relationship – besides the crazy abuse – It is a loss of personal power, and feeling that you have no control over your life, because you never know what is around the corner.

  15. I’ve written you recently regarding your Victim sight and was very impressed and happy you answered me right away. Unfortunately, my daughter’s narcissist abuser has hired a shark of a lawyer (woman), and almost daily my daughter receives letters from the lawyer with threats (they call them offers), the narcissist sends her e-mails at work and text messages her endlessly. This narcissist has spent most of his time on all the social networks, however we live in a no-fault state. He has taught their six-year-old how to use an i-phone and video games to distraction so when my daughter and we have him we are patient and do our best to get him to the park, play ball, be with other kids, etc. to show him there is more to life than just those games. My grandson has also told me he has three mommies! I told him he has only one mommy and that is my daughter. This narcissist is demanding fifty-percent parenting time (which they are in a trial period ). This is upsetting to all of us to think a person with such controlling, etc., ways would have a beautiful child fifty percent of the time. And, this narcissist is acting cockier all the time saying the child is happier with his parents not together. Daddy-dearest goes away on trips and brings back gifts for the child, and when he speaks to the child he should get the Academy Award for Best Actor in the category of “Father.” Oh, my son, my son, etc. He (the narcissist) also uses Christianity to hide behind. The Lord wants him to do this; look what good I’ve done, the Lord has spoken to me and this is the path I must take. At one point a short time ago, my daughter weakened mainly because of the child and tried to reconcile, the narcissist told her he had moved on and made a flowery speech leaving his ring behind. Two days later she found out why he moved on – another woman. Of course, another victim. We have told her NOT to engage with this man except for the child, and she did. Well, the narcisist got her right where he wanted her. And, he was merciless. Told her he could use the “reconciliation” against her in court, BUT his heart told him not to. Told her she always put the child before him while they were married, etc., etc., etc. I knew he was jealous of the child when he was born. NOW he wants to take this beautiful child away from his mother for 50 percent of the time. This child has special needs which my daughter has provided for him from the beginning. This man is cruel. Also, he has told everyone he can that it is my daughter who wants this divorce even though they have a young child and all he ever wanted was for the marriage to work. Reality check here: He was always giving my daughter ultimatums, so the last one she chose to get a divorce (at this point she was getting over being physically ill). He agreed to file jointly, but then opted to not go that route thereby making her the petitioner. There isn’t room here nor will I waste anymore space on this person except to say that he even had my husband and I fooled for quite a long time. He’s tried his nasty control on us, but we won’t be a part of any it and ignore him, so when he can he says untruthful things about us – and we treated him like a son for 18 years. I know you’ve heard it all, Ann, but if you have any suggestions, they’d be appreciated. How do we (my daughter, husband, me) handle any future contact before/after divorce with this narcissist. The narcissist wants to be “friends” and have everything amicable; at one point even said he wanted me to still cook him meals. True, but at least I can laugh at that. As I said before, my husband and I have no communication with him. It is my daughter who is very concerned because of the child. Thanks again, Betty

    • Hi Betty,

      This is a most difficult time. I understand your daughter is emotional but the one thing she must do right now is keep her emotions under control so he doesn’t come across looking like the most normal thing on the planet when he isn’t. If your daughter is seeing custody evaluators or has to talk to them learn what they want to hear. They do not want her to tell them he is a narcissist or has any other personality disorder. They know she isn’t qualified to diagnose and will think she is a revengeful wife of a concerned spouse and she’s trying for control. He’ll come across looking good. She needs to say things such as, “Yes, children need both parents.” Show a willingness to co-parent. THEN, if you have something negative to say it will be much better received. But even then, keep it moderate at best. The courts do not like complaining parents. They think it shows the other in a better light. No, this isn’t fair. Don’t expect fair. This is a great book for times like this – written by an attorney about divorcing a spouse with a personality disorder – SPLITTING by Wm. Eddy

      Also, try googling protective parents and divorce. See what you can come up with.

      It wouldn’t hurt to do a little games playing yourself – go ahead and spoil your grandchild a bit here. Nothing wrong with leveling the playing field. You may have to play some games to not get kicked out and on the sidelines. If he isn’t playing fair, all bets are off. Nothing illegal with the judicial or legal system – I never advocate that, just a little bit of making yourselves look like the fun people too as he is doing. Your daughter needs all the help she can get, and being overly strict right now with grandchild may not help. Let him have fun, laugh, enjoy life and feel comfortable. This will go a long way. Best, Ann

      • Thank you once again, Ann. I guess none of us in this particular situation are expecting fair which is what scares me. I am passing this information on to my daughter immediately. Also, will check out the book you suggested. And, we will continue to have fun with and enjoy our grandchild!!!!! Wish you the best with your work and your life!!! Betty

        • Hi Betty,

          I bought and read the book mentioned above, Splitting, and it was a life-saver! I also suggest “Divorce Poison” by Richard Warshak, a great asset to preserve the remains of my sanity, and more importantly, to help the kids survive this hell. I have used the saying “actions speak louder than words” with success, countering her negative words with fun times.
          Good times are not “spoiling” and the best fun is free: playing Frisbee, enjoying the outdoors, public libraries… If possible your daughter should have good times with her son in public, with witnesses who can later testify she’s a good Mom. If you can, use digital camcorders to film them having fun, nothing hurts Ns more than material evidence to disprove the lies.

          Your daughter is SOOO lucky to have you ! Good luck!

  16. I was just reading all the blogs and its so ironic…if only they fought for their marriage like they do in divorce. Such jerks

  17. Just reading this makes me sick to my stomach. My husband of nearly eight years and I are currently about to undergo a divorce. The things others are saying are hitting home and I don’t even know what to do. I initiated the divorce because of the emotional and verbal abuse, and because the less I responded to it the more enraged and physical he became. Never to the point of hitting me, of course. He is in law enforcement, and is the head of the criminal justice department at the local college, and he knows what that would do for his career. But he continues to make sure I know that he is trained in defense, and throws things (sometimes at me, but he always “misses on purpose”) to make a point. We have a beautiful 3 year old daughter, and I just want her to be safe and happy, and emotionally taken care of. He has never really been involved in her life, unless it was to make himself look good in front of others. He knows how to put us both through hoops, make us perform so that he looks good. He is well-educated, intelligent, and is a very respected man in our small community.
    I am still currently living in his house, although it’s in the guest bedroom. Tomorrow I will be forced to move in my daughter’s room, as he has a male roommate (one of his students) moving in. I can’t find anything available that I can afford, and I live over an hour and a half away from my family. He moved me here, and slowly ostracized me to the point that I have only one person I can call a close friend. I have nowhere to go. I have very little in savings. I don’t know what to do. He is so accusing, threatening, and he is spreading lies about me – anything he can do to make it look to others like he is completely blameless. He always has to look good to everyone else. Always.
    I try to quit emotionally responding to his abuse, but that only makes it worse. When I do respond, he feels vindicated. Neither are healthy for me. There is no escape, because even when I’m able to leave he will still have me under his thumb. I am terrified that he is going to try to take my daughter away from me, and he logistically could. We are going to try joint custody, and he has agreed to that, but has told me that if I can’t provide for my daughter when she’s with me, then he will take her. He has the money, the power, the support (his family moved to this area to be close to him). I have nothing. I feel so lost right now.
    Sorry, this is all over the place – scattered – like my brain, I’m sure. I keep clinging to the hope that eventually this HAS to work itself out. I keep telling myself once I move out, things will get better. But I’m scared they won’t.
    I don’t want to seem like a victim here. I’m not a victim. I have had my hand in pushing him to his limits. I have allowed him to treat me the way he has. And, I have drawn the line and said “this is enough.” But still…I’m scared.
    It’s nice to vent :)

    • You have rights. Look up your state family code and learn them. Why do you have to move out? Is this your house too? But remember this – a marriage is first and foremost an economic unit in the eyes of the law. You have rights to financial security from that partnership, just as if Hewlett and Packard was breaking up. You are taking his word for everything. I don’t know what state you live in, but there are protections under the law. FIND THEM and USE THEM. You have a right to safety and finances. He is conning you. Finances are not the only consideration in custody. Don’t let him dictate how the legal system works. If you don’t know how to do all this research, get some help. Start with your state and look on some lawyer’s sites. They often give away lots of good information (family lawyer sites). They have sections on custody, money, etc as it pertains to your state – this is important. Must be your state.)

      Calm down so you can do this. It is really important to be calm and proactive. Keep researching. There are answers. Yes, law enforcement people can be big controllers/abusers. Take good care. Ann

      • Thank you for your response. I’m moving because I can’t afford the place we live now. I’m going to talk to a lawyer today. I’m going to have to find a way to make something work financially, because I can’t put myself through this craziness on an indefinite basis. Last night I was told I was a terrible mom, because I wanted to get divorced, and told me he would never sign a divorce paper and I would have to take him to court. So apparently I have no choice but to do this the hard way, as much as I didn’t want to. I swear, this is WAR, and I wish I had been better prepared. I thought he was going to just let me walk away and admit it was over…I was WRONG. He refused to let me sleep last night, coming into the room I now share with my daughter, and telling me I couldn’t go to sleep until we discussed this. It was midnight before he finally left me alone, even though I continually told him I would not talk to him right then. But what he is doing isn’t “abuse”, nor is he being “controlling”, he is legitimately concerned about the psychological effect divorce is going to have on our daughter. He’s so convincing sometimes. I am not entirely sure what proper boundaries even are anymore, because he never respects mine, ever. Talking to a lawyer soon. Hopefully I can get something resolved quickly, because I can’t take another night like last night anytime soon.

        • I know it feels like war. But if you go to battle, you will lose. It will be much easier on you and your daughter to learn to disengage. And get help from professionals! The only way I was able to protect my children was by involving professionals. Since it is clearly acrimonous divorce, the courts want to protect the children. See if you have a right to a parent coordinator. they are social workers who will work with your family during and after divorce. In my case, they were able to see that my ex had NPD and protected me from charges of alienation and who knows what else. A good therapist/social worker will be able to see through the manipulation and lies. Just a suggestion – don’t know if you will be able to involve one if your child’s father doesn’t agree to it. Mine only did because he was sure I was the one who was alienating the children.

          I wish you well. Take good care of yourself – that is how you will get through this. And you will get through it.

  18. Reading all these posts, I can see I did a few things right when planning to leave my ex, but am still doing a few things wrong. Everything said in these posts has happened to me. Nice treatment until the ring was on, the sudden change, the emotional detachment from the kids, my plummeting self-esteem. Yes, the similarities are freaky.

    Though I knew our marriage was bad, I had not defined him as an N while I was quietly preparing for the day when I would leave, and maybe that’s good because I might have been too scared to leave. I never said I wanted a divorce, even though he said it many times, usually in a drunken rage. I quietly funneled cash into a secret savings account, got a very reliable car, paid it off, consulted with a divorce attorney on legal issues. I never quit my job the way he wanted me to so that I could stay home with the kids, thus never lost my independence. If I had been really smart, I would have made sure our joint money was used to buy things to help me out later, like my own life insurance policy, jewelry that I then could have left with friends to sell later, new sheets and towels that I could have stored away from the house, so that when I did start over, I wouldn’t be starting from inside of a hole.

    When the end came, in dramatic fashion (he was arrested for trying to choke me), I was at least a little prepared. I should have gone immediately to the courts and barred him from the house with a motion for exclusive use and possession of our home, but I felt sorry for him and was afraid of him. So I moved into the apartment I had rented (I signed the lease without telling him about it, which was smart, but I never should have left my home) and in the 2 weeks the courts gave me to move my things out of the house, I took every important document or financial record with me. I should have taken every single thing of value, every thing I wanted, but I didn’t, and I’ve been fighting with him for 2 years to divide our things up fairly. But as these posts tell us, fair is not a word known to them. I have not done a good job ignoring him, he still pushes my buttons, I still fall for the temporary moments of niceness and rationality, that are inevitably followed by mean, spiteful behavior. But, I got out…I am alive…our kids are doing mostly ok. It’s massively depressing to realize that even after the divorce, whenever that comes, even after I get my money out of him, he won’t be gone from my life. It’s amazing how much damage someone can inflict even when communication is limited to text and email (a very smart thing that I worked hard to achieve, because everything he says is documented). To think that I can never shut him out entirely….ugh…

    Beyond that, I worry about the bad impact he has had on our children, who they will become, what kind of relationship skills they will have. And yet, as my friends tell me, I’ve given them an important gift just by leaving and rejecting the world he tried to create. As I try to steer myself through this process, I look for various posts from people in similar situations and I regain my sanity. I just hope that one day my life will look different.

    • You did a lot right. Congratulations on your planning skills and thank you for sharing other tips on things you might have done. You will never know who has benefitted from your information. Be aware that time can make a difference with some narcissists and you are not necessarily doomed to his abuse for life. Glad you are finding pathways back to sanity. Rumination can be self destructive – think of those thoughts as planes circling the airport. Then say to yourself, “Time to land the planes.” And you’ve arrived at a new, safer, place without him, where things get better. Best to you, Ann

  19. Married 20 yrs to a narcisstic sociopath and didn’t know it until the last 2 yrs when I discovered he had numerous affairs and one in particular for 11 yrs of our marriage. I didn’t even know what a NS was until I sought therapy, support groups and victim’s advocate.

    My husband was so desperate to avoid being exposed he put a loaded 9mm to my head and threatened to shoot me, then choked me. Only by the grace of God did I survive, he went to jail for less than 24 hrs and then the nightmare really started.

    After 2 years in the courts, I got the final decree but it still hasn’t stopped. Letters, emails where he goes back and forth with my emotions, tel ling me how sorry he is for what he put me through and then the next communication, he threatens me financially and takes absolutely no responsibility for what happened. I too was moved to another state away from family and friends and fell like it was completely planned by him. I have since left that state and put my things in storage and am living with my 82 yr old mother, my suitcase and my dog. I am humiliated, no self-esteem, no trust in anyone including myself and petrified of moving on with a new life out of fear of what he will try next. He is determined to destroy me physically (through cancelling my healthcare) and financially. I am still paying my attorney to fight each and every firey dart he throws my way. My sense of good judgment went out the window when I discovered who I was really married to – how could I not have seen all the signs??? I want to run and hide in the mountains somewhere and rid myself of all ways of his communicating with me, but is that the right thing to do? I have stopped responding to emails, now he writes letters to me. I got rid of my cell phone to stop the texting. I did get a 2 year restraining order on him but have avoided reporting him violating it because I just don’t want to deal with him anymore in the court system that failed me on the gun arrest. He got a slap on the hand and only charged with misd. harrassment, 2 yr probation, 6 mths suspended jail sentence. I just don’t know how to escape him from even 1000 miles away.

    • You can look at how far you’ve come, how much you have survived, how much you have accomplished as your own advocate, and how powerful you must seem to him for him to still come after you. With all that, feel proud and good about yourself. Use that strength to understand that you can go on and you must go on. I can understand that you are traumatized and everything is harder in that condition. One thing I found that is critical is feeling well physically. You can doctor yourself. Take vitamins, eat well, sleep much, take walks, find strengthening herbs, research how to strengthen your immune system – be your own spa director, medical coordinator, mental health expert. Make the decision you are the most important person on the planet for the next month and make everything you do be all about you. This is not being selfish. This is being smart. You can’t function and make decisions from a place of feeling unwell. You’d be surprised how much you can do for yourself if you try.

      Having that as a foundation you might realize as a victim you have no reason to feel humiliated. You didn’t see the signs? SO WHAT? You are normal and that’s what normal is like! We are not given an instruction book to see abnormal. We assume things good because we do good, we are good, and we act accordingly.

      Did you read my page on being a victim? http://www.narcissisticabuse.com/is-it-wrong-to-be-a-victim/ Please do so. You are going to be ok if you see that you have done everything right, and all you could do. You are tired and that makes everything seem catastrophic when it isn’t. The worst is over. If you let him control your moves he is in charge and clearly he is not. He may not have gotten the punishment he should have but he was arrested and he does have a record. I would report his violations so there is a record of it. Do you have a local support group? Local attorney?

      Please understand that his letter writing campaign is the act of a desperate man. You are a victim of a criminal – do not think poorly of yourself, but of him. Transfer your negatives about yourself to him where it belongs. You will be able to move on. It takes time and taking care of yourself. Look up PTSD and also post traumatic growth. Please go to the victim page – you deserve to understand how ok you are and why you need to do for yourself so you can make the right decisions moving forward. You have come far – I know I speak for many when I say, “we are all proud of you”. Best, Ann

  20. It has taken me 41 years of being married to a narcissist to discover what he was and is. I’ve been through stress related high blood pressure and breast cancer as a result of those years. I even stayed when he told me it would be cheaper for me to die than to pay for my health insurance deductibles. And still I stayed… I stayed even after I found out about “her” visiting his “business” garage behind our house while I was IN the house recouping from CHEMO. I stayed after finding out the thousands of dollars he has spent on her… and finally, FINALLY I took a picture of them walking across a medical center parking lot, RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY CAR, and they did not see me… I finally left.

    Now I am in the process of divorcing him… and unfortunately, I did not know about narcissism until a about a month ago… so all my “reactions” have been wrong. Hopefully, I have not “screwed” myself as a result… from here on out… IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE! And thank you ALL for the informative posts!!!

    donna

    • PS….. Melanie, your life sounds a lot like mine, except I when I decided to go see my lawyer (for the 3rd time) I hid the shotgun mine kept under his bed because someone had stolen from him…

  21. After reading several posts I must emphasize: disengage, ignore. Documentable Contact only for kids business. Email once per week only. Ignore the rest.

    Any request beyond that is for their benefit and to damage you.

    I will not speak or acknowledge my ex and it works. No contact removes a source of power…the power to lie about what you say and the truth about what they are. Abusers deserve no contact..don’t give it for ANY reason. These people are out to destroy, never forget that. They have no benevolent motives.
    My ex’s family now want us to have conversations (“for the kids sake”) . They have labeled me as bitter. I am not, just smarter.

  22. I wish I knew then what I know now. 12 years ago I had 2 children a 3 year old and an infant. After starting therapy for depression and getting on the new drug called Paxil, I found the guts to tell him I wanted a divorce.

    As his wife and previously girlfriend all through college he had for years convinced me that I was stupid and undesirable and was unable to make any rational decisions about anything. So once the legal separation was under way I was blind sided by losing our house and primary custody of our 2 children to him. I was so devastated that I wanted to die. He egged me on to commit suicide by saying the children were better off to be raised by him and my ‘craziness’ as their mother would damage them.

    Here I am 12 years later- I pay 750.00 a month in child support, he is remarried to coworker he was having his affair with (and helped her to get custody of her children as well.) The head games with me never went away as time went on even though to me it appeared he has everything. He won! But he seemed to want to torture me. I feel sorry for is new wife. He has a way of putting you down but make you think it was your own low self esteem. She had a tummy tuck surgery at age 44 and she was already a size 8. I know it was because of him. Anyway so here I am, I live only 5 miles down the road.

    I am still alone but trying to make it everyday and to be here for my kids any way I can. I’m thankful that my parents are Christians and helped me to trust God for strength and forgiveness. Now that my kids are getting older they are seeing what a fraud he is. I keep my mouth shut and wait. I have learned unsurmountable patience the hard way.

    • I think your kids will be there for you in the near future and you will have the peace and calm you so well deserve. Thank you for sharing this information with us. It will be like a ripple in a pond and help so many others. The patience you are learning is a good thing – the price was high and you should not have had to pay though. But it is worth it nonetheless. Best to you and the children, Ann

  23. I’m on the other side of a divorce with children. After reading all the stories here, I realize, once again, how lucky I was in our divorce. We were married 23 years after I decided to leave. I had no idea he had NPD at the time. I was just tired of being miserable. I saw a therapist to get clear on whether or not to work on the marriage or to leave. After 2 visits, she told me that she rarely recommended this to anyone, but after talking with me, she recommended I divorce. This is what I needed to hear, so I started making plans (before telling him). He had a porn addiction and my oldest daughter (13 at the time) had talked of suicide. I took her to a therapist and called this therapist when I was sure I was going to leave. I asked if the porn was a problem since he was on the computer every night until around 3am. She said not unless he was looking at children. Well, I went looking and he was. It was horrifying. I had 2 daughters – 13 and 11 years old – the age he was looking at.

    So I made my plan. I told him me and the girls were going to my sister’s house which was 1000 miles away. I put them on the plane and stayed an extra day. That day while he was at work, I took the computer for evidence and to find out exactly what was going on. Then I called him and asked him to meet me at a restaurant (public place as my therapist recommended). I told him what I found on the computer and that I had possession of the computer and that I wanted him to move out. I then went to my sister’s to meet my children. I didn’t want them at home when all this was going on because I knew it would be crazy. We stayed gone for 3 weeks, during which time I couldn’t get him to commit to move out. He kept stalling with these “reasonable” sounding excuses. I still was manipulated by him and felt sorry for him. But I listened to my therapist and let her guide me. I don’t think I could have followed through without her! I had lived with this man for 23 years.

    Anyway, I finally moved out with the girls. I didn’t allow the children to spend the night with him. He agreed to that because I had the computer and he was afraid of going to jail. To make a VERY long story short, we saw a sex addiction therapist together which ultimately made me realize he would never take responsibility for his actions. I got custody of the children and public visitation with no overnights for him. He was claiming parent alienation, so we had a social worker who specialized in reunification (my oldest daughter wasn’t seeing him). After the divorce, she became our parent coordinator. My oldest daughter was seeing a therapist – she wanted to – and I required my youngest to see one as long as she was having visitation with her father. It seems like a lot with all the therapists and social workers involved but it was what got us through. We ultimately moved across the country because things just weren’t going well. I think he was really “working” my younger daughter during visitation and keeping things stirred up. We ended up in court to modify visitation after we moved and the girls had to come and talk to the judge. He was claiming alienation (he’s an attorney but represented himself) but presented no evidence. The judge, a woman, ended up eliminating any visitation schedule and ruled that visitation would be when both parties agreed. That gave me the right to determine when visitation would happen.

    I have never withheld visitation from the girls and have encouraged the girls to see their father, but only if they are comfortable. When we moved, they both started communicating with him but when he filed for full custody and contempt (he counter filed my motion to modify visitation). They were so angry they stopped emailing him again. I believe they need to learn how to have some kind of relationship with him, but it HAS to be on their terms.

    Bottom line – I am so grateful I had some kind of leverage to be able to protect my children. I am also grateful for the help we got from professionals – therapists, social workers, and even our attorneys in the initial divorce. They collaborated on many case together and amazingly kept us out of court the first go round! Through my therapist and parent coordinator, I learned to stand firmly in reality and saw him for what he was. And I learned how to disengage. We only communicate via email or txt. A plus is that if you are in a legal battle with them, all their craziness is in writing!

    Best of luck to you all. 5, 10 years ago, I would have never imagined what I have been through today. And there were many times when I really didn’t think I would get through it. But I did…

    • Amazing story. I rarely see anyone do everything so absolutely right in exiting a marriage fraught with as much potential danger for years of high conflict litigation as you did. Thank you so much for sharing this story of how to leave: planning, support, strategy, calm in the face of a destructive partner, handling the kids so well to minimize harm, etc. You are a role model for every woman in the same situation and what you have shared will be so meaningful to so many. You deserve all the peace you earned for you and the kids. Best, Ann

  24. I was married to a narcissist for 3 years. We have been divorced for a year and I still feel like we’re married at times.

    I don’t understand why I still have to endure the abuse. We have a daughter together. She will be 3 next week and I feel like I can’t protect her. After the divorce he didn’t see her for 5 months then called out of the blue wanting to see her. All of the games started again.

    I have recently started to ignore again. Remembering how I had to do it before, I thought it was over but I’m quickly realizing it has only just begun. My question is, how do we protect our children?! I lose a lot of sleep over this and have cried many tears. He hadn’t had her alone yet but I know he has the right to visitation and I can’t keep her from him forever. What am I suppose to do? I feel helpless! He doesn’t want her, he just knows the only way to hurt me is through her. She’s my heart and I am so scared for her. My anxiety and panic attacks have been in full force since he popped back up.

  25. Thanks for being a voice to this issue. In the past 9 years, I’ve been through 2 custody battles (because I had the audacity to file for child support) it was 2 years ago, during the 2nd court battle that I began research ‘personality types’. I found that he fit to a T the profile of a spath. I thought these people were serial killers. I had no idea that they caused such destruction in everyday lives. That they tear their families to shred. Manipulate and alienate their children…

    I was foolish enough to think that a court of law would protect me and my son. Instead, I was crucified, beaten bloody and left for dead with my son ripped from my arms and handed over to the most evil, vile man I’d ever met.

    Thanks again for being a voice. It was forums like this that brought me awareness.

    • And thank you for adding your voice and your story. It’s important people are made aware of what you learned the hard way regarding the role of the legal system when trying to divorce from the personality disordered. Best to you and your son on journeys from this day forward. Ann

      • Good lord! I was kind of hoping I was the only woman that had to deal with all of this. I am however glad to put a name to my someday to be exs personality. This situation is emotionally draining and challenging. I am taking away after having read all of the posts that I need to IGNORE among other things. I’m only 90 days in to my divorce/custody and have had to defend myself every day, and still have yet to get a realistic word in on behalf of myself, and my son who is having a great time with his ‘suddenly dad’. I wish that these horrible narcissists could be held more easily accountable for the destruction they cause. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

  26. I was divorced by my narcissistic husband after 15 years together and 10years 1 month married. I asked him to stop the chronic use of marijuana, habitual pornography, and get a stable job or he can go live with his mother. Instead, he divorced me, collected alimony of $985.00/mo AND & $1716/mo in child support because i made money.

    My children were 11 and 13 at the time and are now 15 and 17 and the court system has given them the “choice” as to where they want to live and my son started selling his ps3 and jewelry i bought him for marijuanna, dropped out of wrestling, so i had him put into a rehab treatment and he never came home. Now my ex is entitled to more money because he is brainwashing/pitting my successful, bright son against me. The same happened to my daughter when she was his age except she was sneaking out, stole my car with a friend, stole makeup from savemart while with me, and hit me told her her dad was not here to save her and that there are consquences in life to pay. She was free to go live with him and his girlfriend and was treated as my “victim” as he was.

    My concern is that the courts are enabling this nrcisistic father to further damage and control me and my children by not giving them their birthday cards, blocking my phone number from my daughters phone…but not my son’s, why? i dont know. previous court ordered therapy between me and my 14 year old daughter who is now 17, resulted in him and his mom and girlfriend showing up at the therapists office with a letter to the therapist to read PRIOR to me and my daughter meeting and the therapist excused our session stating my daughter had “rights” and that they were not going to force therapy. Why did it take a letter from him and his mom? why didnt my daughter just tell the therapist herself? He was even able to manipulate the therapist!!
    The current court order states the kids are to see me every other weekend from friday to sunday and if they wish not to visit, they are to text or call me. I have not heard from them in 4 months because after the first month i emailed him and his attorney (i am pro per cuz im broke now) asking why i havnt heard from them which produced a text from both kids at the same time stating “Leave us alone” we are happy here and we will call you when we want to see you.

    I am tired, emotionally and financially drained, i just checked out a facilty for severe depression and now am recieving disability. I havnt got my first check yet, don’t know how im gonna live, but not hearing from my kids for months has taken its toll on me;( I have no family as they are all messed up struggling with their own addictions and i fought to get outta there!! I have a great career as an RN but he met me when I was 23 going to school. He wants nothing more than to destroy me , my career, and is extremely jealous and insecure of himself and doesnt care about my children not having their mother (and a damn good one) in their life or not!
    So last week, I filed a court custody modification to review the current order and i am requesting MANDATED court ordered mother-child counseling at this point to repair our relationship. My daughter calls me from a friends phone and i have to text her from my email because he has blocked number from me. I believe she and I will rebuild ok, but i am concerned about my son. He is sooo angry with me still about having arrested and placing him in rehab. His dad is reinforcing the illusion that MOM IS TO BLAME and time will tell as he matures how he responds.

    These articles have empowered me and have given me strength i knew i had but since i am in therapy myself, my psychiatrist is trying like hell to put a label on ME and now i know its just depression after the rollercoaster I’ve been on!!
    happy new year to you all in 2013 and God Bless

    • Therapists are often so easily conned by the personality disordered. Sad fact, but true.

      Sometimes it takes a few years to reconnect with the kids after the damage done by the narcissistic parent and the courts. I do hope it works with your daughter and eventually with your son. Relax and rebuild your strength and life right now. Easier said than done I know. But you are important and you have given much. Take care of you for now. Many times I see the kids come around, it really does happen. Happy New Year. Best, Ann

  27. Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. I just ‘celebrated’ my 25th wedding anniversary and my 50th birthday and my Decree Nisi. I wish there was a way of warning people before they get in too deep with these sociopaths.

    I knew my husband was controlling, but thought I could manage him. It wasn’t too bad until he was turning 50, and then the occasional abuse became almost constant. He seemed to feel he needed to change me and therefore threaten and punish me at every opportunity. After 5 years of debilitating treatment, I found out about an affair, and that helped me to decide to leave. He ended the affair and agreed to attend counselling to stop me from leaving. He couldn’t take being forced to answer the questioning about his treatment of me, so only attended 2 sessions. There were a few last straw moments and then I moved out.

    I now can shut the door and have peace, not be kept awake for him to talk at me about how everything is my fault. I am much happier already. He is lying, forging my signature, hiding money, and trying to deny custody. The divorce is not going easily, he wants everything and argues about how I should not be entitled even to my own pension. I know I cannot trust him on anything, and it is hard to anticipate what he will do next. I have to try to think like him, which does not come naturally. Patience seems to go a long way, as long as I can keep calm, he makes mistakes out of his own cockiness and underestimation of me. I hope I will not get too screwed on the settlement, but wait and see.

    • Your patience will be of great help. They do make mistakes from their cockiness and sense of entitlement and you can build on those lies and mistakes when they arise. You sound grounded and on your way to a better, happier future. Best, Ann

      • I have been living with a young man with NPD. Over the course of a 11 year relationship he has brow beaten me to the point of no return for me. The first year he was my night in shining armour but little did I know I was living with the DEVIL. I have encountered numerous events that have torn away my confidence, self esteem, my health has deteriorated with 2 bouts of cancer and no support. When I say no SUPPORT, I truly mean that in every sense of the word. I was left alone at home for 18 hr days because ” He has a job and he has to work”….NO concern or passion for my needs. If I ask for consideration I am given 1000 things and reasons why I am not deserving of his care. He has huge power and control issues and rants and raves so much over the 11 years that my friends will not come around. After 11 years he refuses to meet my family and has made many false promises to me regarding trips etc. The first 5 years I took us on trips,although he made more money than me. When the time came for him to return the favour I was not worthy of a trip from him. I have tried several times to walk away from fights and went for a drive only to come home to all my things sitting on a deck outside and refusing to give me furniture that I brought into the relationship. He demands money from me and indicates very clearly that the house we live in is ” HIS HOUSE” and I will not get any settlement from him. He has removed me from his medical plan which automatically takes me out of the Life Insurance Plan which I was insured for $150,000CDN. My drugs are costing me $200/month now. He has taken tires off a car that we shared because he purchased it and didn’t want me using it. I had to go buy another vehicle and to him it is a piece of garbage but it is 3 yrs old and quite nice. My kids aged 22 and 28 have nothing to do with him and refuse to come to the house.
        He calls his 73 yr old mother everytime we argue and invites her to come and see me crying and upset. He blames the arguments on me and refuses to say anything to him because she has raised this dragon and has never dealth with his behavioural issues from a child. He has told more lies and stories about me and tells me that everyone is the community hate me and think that I am a loser. His extended family do not speak to me. He has people watching the house while I am home. They report to him if a strange car is in the driveway. I have tried several times to leave to no avail because financially I can’t afford ANYTHING. I have no money at all. He makes $143,000/yr.
        The sleepless nights and the arguments to prove that I am the blame for everything has taken its toll on me tremendously. Most recently I made an attempt on my life but was resuscitated. I am at the end of my rope and need this all to end.

        • Taking your life is not the answer. Taking control of the abuse, thefts, and other crimes is. I know you are worn out. So, here’s what I think you should do. I think you need to go to the police, the district attorney or legal aid and tell them you are in danger. Do not stop at resistance. Find help and support and use it. You need it and you deserve it. Plan, plan, plan. Strategize. Do not tell details not germane to your story. Find a way of contextualizing the abuse so you are believed and not shined on. Practice a good opening sentence that gets attention and have evidence to back it up. You can do this. I know you can. Feel the injustice and make it right by using the system. It isn’t always easy, I know that. But it is possible. Keep going. You’re worth it and we do care. Best, Ann

    • I have just celebrated my 50th birthday too, and divorce and a new job all in the space of 6 months after finally getting rid of my horrible narcissist husband. I knew a long time ago things were not right in our relationship but did not see it all culminating for one reason, I’d never had a long-term relationship before my marriage so nothing to compare it to.
      But he was always out of work, I’d have to be the breadwinner, then he’d get good jobs but I never got any money. He moved me every 4-5 years (firstly from my country I was born) so I’d lose contact with family and friends. He would never let me develop my talents and it was a very unhappy marriage. I never heard of NPD until after I filed for divorce. He just turned. He lied in all the legal papers, I was stunned, pathological lies, about ownership or property, income, fake illnesses – everything, so I googled “husband lies during divorce” and wow I found out about NPD and read my life online.
      It took 3 years, thousands of dollars with lawyers and a total stalemate and in the end I had to take him to court, agree to all his terms, then borrow $200,000 from my family to buy out my ex from our house (even though divorced he would not leave) and then just one day (planned ahead) locked him out when he went off to work. Since then has tipped off the Tax office that I falsely claimed benefits (not true of course!)which they believe so they are chasing me for thousands of pounds whilst I get no financial support for my children from my ex.
      What breaks my heart most is I am free, and one day I accidently met his new girlfriend hurriedly leaving his house as I dropped off my son. She was just like I used to be, vunerable, nervous, lacking confidence and I thought POOR YOU – RUN!!!

      • And while the new girlfriend is to be pitied, you my friend have the wisdom and smarts to live a beautiful new beginning. Difficult? At times for sure. Worth it? Oh yes. Welcome to the other side! best, Ann

  28. WoW!
    To finally realize I was married to a Narcissit and there are others like Me/ Well, I just have to say ; “Hurray!”
    I met my X-Hubby at age 16, he was age 26. Big Mistake! The entire relationship was hidden from my parents for at least a year.
    My Mom worked afternoons and my Dad was retired on Psychological Disability. My Dad was in my home physically only.
    I was on a one-way path to self-destruction (this was in 1976) I met my X and thought he was a God!
    I spent 35 years with him, he molded,brainwashed,manipulated,intimidated,terrorized,threatened and coerced Me from the start. I tryed to leave him once but I did not want to stay back home with my parents, so I forgave him and went back to him. I always held on to a thread of hope that he would change.
    When I finally decided to make my big break, I left with nothing, just my dog and a cpl of suitcases.
    My family and friends helped Me. I had no money and no where to go. My family decided that they were in fear of their lives and opted to put me in a shelter for abused women, I called my best-friend from childhod/life and she and her husband took Me and my dog in.
    My Mom payed for my divorce and she told my X not to try and see Me because he might get shot.

  29. I am sorry for all those out here dealing with this. I am going through a horrible divorce and have come to realize my husband is a total narcissist. He has done everything to destroy me.

    In the beginning–like all of them–he treated me great. That lasted until we moved in together. They he lied, was abusive, and distant. He blamed it all on his first wife and then later on me. He never takes responsibility for anything. He also gets very upset if anyone disagrees with him. I got sick–multiple chemical sensitivity and electrosensitivity–about 10 motnhs ago. When I told him that the wifi and cell phones made me sick–he beagn a camapign against me to say taht I am crazy. Because of my severe sensitivities, I sleep in a faraday canopy to block out the things that cause my headaches and sleep disruption. He has called child protective services on me, was physically abuse and when the police came, heconvinced them thta I was crazy! He convinced CPS that I am endangering my children. He convinced his lawyer that I am a nut. I am a regular devoted mom who has dveloped environmental sensitivites and just happen to be married to a narcissist. He took my medical conditions nd has totaly turned it around to make me crazy. The scarey thins is–he is succeeding. He is actually getting people to take his side in this matter. I have been a great mother and a devoted motehr for 11 years to my children. Now hw is trying to playthe ‘great dad’ and is taking them to places that I cannot go becasue Icannot tolerate the wifi in thosw places. If the court doesn’t see through his bull shi* and give him custody–they caring, taking them places, and any interest will stop and the kids will be set infront of the tv or videogames and that will be it. He doesn’t care at all about he kids except for the show of it. How do I protect meyself? How do I find a lawyer who understands this situation? How can I protect myself and my reputation? He is the abusive peorson who is cheating and looks at porn–I am the devoted mom eho teaches the kids about hte bible and does everything for themm–and somehow he is the ‘good guy’? How does that work? Can anybody help me?

    • So sorry for your illness. Of course it is real and you need to find groups online that deal with your conditions. Being called crazy for conditions like this is nothing new, but you need to prepare for it. Be calm. Be upfront. “Yes, I am chemically sensitive. This is all it is, and nothing about me as a mother has changed.” “I am handling it just fine and my doctor agrees with me. This is not an issue.” Be direct, calm, and act in charge. I would not bring up teaching the bible to the kids – that is a controversial statement. You don’t know how others feel about it. Deal with the porn only in a mild mannered way – porn is the biggest attraction on the internet. You have no idea who watches it – your judge? therapists? You can get it in in a nice way – for example, if you are with a court ordered evaluator say, “All kids need a dad, I want mine to be with theirs. All I ask is he does not bring up the porn on the computer while the kids are there.” Look reasonable.

      This is so common what is going on in your life. Horrible, yes. Don’t devolve into a drama mama no matter how much you want to do so. Of course you are upset and angry. But learn some techniques to relax – try EFT – worked wonders for my anxiety. It was developed by someone from the engineering department at Stanford and is now used in veterans hospitals for PTSD. It works quickly – you can find easy do it yourself lessons online.

      Calm. THat’s the operative word here. No matter how bad it gets – and I am not minimizing what is going on = remain calm. Calm even helps your illness. And for that – consider genetic mutations. Look up Nancy Mullan, MD of Burbank, CA. Every Tuesday evening she holds a free phone seminar. Methylation mutations are being considered the basis for what you have. AND being controlled and reversed.

      No matter what happens, the more control you are of yourself, the better you will be and so will the kids. Do look up groups online for environmental illness and find doctors that can support you. Remember – Americans with Disability Act! Use it if you have to – don’t be discriminated against.

      Best, Ann

  30. Thank you everyone for posting all of your experiences. I agree – they are all alike. I will keep this short but plan on returning to the site.

    I was married to a N for 17 years before I filed for divorce. Two years later and we still are not finalized. I think the worst part of reading all of this is that my soon-to-ex told me BEFORE we were married that he had been diagnosed with Narcissitic Personality Disorder after his first wife filed for divorced. He said that he didn’t believe it was accurate – he was in the military and HAD to believe he was the best at everything because others’ lives were in his control.

    Everything was fine for the first few years … children, jobs, etc. Then he left his state job to start his own business. He didn’t like working for others after he retired. In the military he was the 1st or 2nd in command. He definitely didn’t like it when a woman was promoted over him. After 10 years of our own businees and a HUGE debt, I finally started to say enough was enough. No more loans – either be successful in the business or give it up.

    As my therapist (our therapist actually)told me – he will NEVER give up the business as long as he continues to get recognition for it (articles, name on menu, interviews, consults). So very true. The final straw was when he became overly agressive with one of our sons and threw him across the floor. An older son texted me about what happened and I told them to get to a safe place.

    That was the start of the hell I have been going through. We tried to reconcile but he didn’t trust me and was very controlling. It was to the point where I was not even supposed to contact my parents or my sister. He had to “fix me” first – I blew up at that and he tried to back track and say “fix us” – he would tell everyone that I was being hormonal. He would write me letters telling me how disappointed in me he was – I wasn’t doing a good enough job raising our 4 sons and working in the business. I was letting the business go and letting myself go. To read his letters, you would think that I had turned into a total slob! Well, life is tough – I was on the road 3-4 days a week with our business and had 4 boys all between the ages of 4-12 when he really started to tell me how little I was doing. After I filed a second EPO on him and left the house at midnight with the boys while he was drunk out of his mind, I came back to the house after the sheriff deputies told him that he had to leave and found notes ALL OVER the house stating “YOU WANT WAR – GAME ON.” I remember clearly telling our therapist after he stormed out of counseling one night that the reason I was hesitant to file for divorce was that I was not ready for his hatred. Well, he has proven true on that and he won’t even engage in any type of normal non-confrontational communication with me since I filed. So many of the comments are nearly identical to what I have gone through. One of his lies … he refuses to cooperate with the child support. Instead of using direct deposit, he will try to walk it to my mail box and put it in, even if I am standing on the front porch. Well, I told him not to go near the mailbox and bring the check to me. That got twisted around when he told my lawyer that I stood on the porch and screamed at the kids to take the check and throw it on the ground and make their chicken s**t dad pick it up and bring it to me. Unbelievable! I am learning to disengage – it is hard. There are so many lies that he tells people it just infuriates me. Seeing everyone say the same thing though and telling us to “Not react, don’t engage” is really helpful.

    I have written more than I planned on but I just want to say thanks for this site and thank you everyone for sharing. Stand tall, stand proud … and stand on your own!

  31. I just divorced a narcissist. It was a long hard marriage, and a long hard divorce. I set four new records with my attorney (who has been practicing for 42 years). 1) The longest divorce. 2) The most complicated divorce. 3)The most expensive divorce, and 4) The only female client he ever had that didn’t cry during the divorce proceedings. Number 4 is my victory. Amen. It’s over!!! Wherever you are at in the process, keep the faith. Abide by the no contact rule, it is the only part that kept me sane and him miserable. I would type my “response” texts and hold on to them for a day, it was easier to put things into perspective by waiting and then just simply delete. I made a game, my own narcissist decoder. When he would say,”I really miss you, my girlfriend is not like having my wife of 32 years”, I would decode it as “I like it much better when I had both a wife AND a girlfriend”. It became humorous and kept things real for me, always remembering that he was just gamey!

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