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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

129 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!

    • I have been going through a terrible custody battle for my boys with a grade A narcissist in a foreign country. He is a millionaire and I have experienced corruption and the worst aspects of human nature i have survived for the last four years. I have half custody of my boys but it’s so painful – they come home subdued, confused neglected and I can do very little. For now I have tried every avenue but he is appealing to take them away from me for the 5th time in a new appeal.

      He tried to cripple me by not paying my maintenance to. I literally pray that I will get full custody of my boys as he will show his true colours but the waiting game is very painful for me and my children. It’s been a dogface as he can use and manipulate the justice system

      • I feel your pain! I am going through the same situation. Only my ex has my family believing he is the perfect man.

        • The same has happened to me. My whole family have betrayed me, and have nothing more to do with me, as they believe my ex – a police officer can do no wrong. He vowed to destroy me, and leave me with nothing and no one, and has pretty much done that.

    • My knight in shining armor, Mr. I will take care of you, fix everything for you, protect you, etc… As soon as we got married, even after I had red flags, I still married him beause he was able to explain things away. He begged and begged for a child since he’d had none. I was 47 when I had my daughter after his mother joined in on the pressure for me to provide him a child. Once pregnant, he lost his job and didn’t work for 3 of 4 years of marriage. I worked 2 jobs, 1 was 12 hour shifts right throuh my pregnancy while he slept all day and stayed up eating and online all night. I had 8 acres of property to take care of, he couldn’t becuase of his “back.” I was exhausted and worried about losing my home. Much more occurred but the final straw was when I came to him crying worried that I was going to lose the house I’d built before meeting him, after I’d lost the original in a flood years before. I offered to sell my beloved home, if he would trade in his BMW ($900/mth payments). He refused and said “That’s all I have.” I was devastated. I went to bed crying. Hours later, I heard him on the phone to his older female friend laughing saying “She thinks I’m going to sell my car, when she sells the house, I’ll take the extra money and put it into my retirement.” I freaked out. I asked for a dissolution, he pretended to agree, meanwhile liquidated his retirement acct, and anything else, except the car, which was paid for by the time he underhandedly filed for divorce in county 2 hours away, lying about the venue. He refused to pay his auto insurance, and cell phone bills and anything for our daughter for 2 years before divorce was finalized. The judge believed his lies. I thankfully was awarded custodial parent, but was left with all the bills and to pay him $400/month for debts he incurred post filing of divorce. I had hired a GAL and psychologist. Both agreed he should only have minimal visitations, juge gave him 3 wknds/month plus 1 midweek visit against professioals advice. Psychologist diagnosed him as extreme narcissist with somatic and histrionic disorder. Judge didn’t care. I got screwed over by the court system, my ex, his attorney, and my own attorney, whom I owe $30,000 to for doing nothing. GAL stated in court that he’d placed a GPS tracker on my car, hired a PI, stalked me physically and online and continues to harass family and friends. I have now had to move out of my beautiful home to hide out. I married my high school sweetheart who has been at my side and supportive through this hell. My ex has twice falsely accused my husband of sexually abusing my 4 y/o, the 2nd time my daughter disclosed to CPS that it is actually my ex, and that he’s threatened to kill me, and works on alienating her from me in every waypossible. She never wants to see him again and calls my husband daddy. I have a protection order on her and myself, and my ex shopped for attorneys and filed for a modification hearing so he can access my daughter again. She’s scared for me, and scared to see him again. I finally was able to qualify for legal aid, hearing is this friday on 12/11 and I still haven’t heard from legal aid attorney. My daugher disclosed her story to not only CPS, but Forensics, and her counselor. I’m so scared this different judge who seems to have ADHD, is explosive, and unprofessional, will grant him some for of visitation. He has horseshoes up his butt when it comes to court, and his lies are believed! How do I make the judge see the truth!!! He’s evil!!! I’m 52 and have lost everything I worked so hard for all my life. I barely have money to buy milk, my husband works to pay for all the legal fees, and we haven’t had a single moment of peace to be happy together. Living in fear, I’m exhausted emotionally, financially, and psychologically but have to keep it together for my baby girl, and to keep my job. While he lives at home with mom and dad, paying no rent, no car payments, and they continue to provide legal financing. I can’t run away with her, I look over my shoulder all the time, I can’t move, don’t deserve this abuse, but how do I make the courts open their eyes to what he’s done to me and to my daughter just so he can get her to blame my husband. My husband has been working out of the country for this entire year, not only would he never harm my daughter, it’s logistically impossible. My husband has been cleared 2x by CPS, by GAL, and psychologist. My ex is dangerous and is a great liar. Even I didn’t like the person I was being portrayed as. How do I end all this???????????????? I’ve prayed and cried and prayed and cried. I’m not me anymore and my daughter needs me. I need someone to step in and help me somehow. I just want to cry all the time because there’s no escape from the hell he’s created for me.

      • Your story is very similar to what I went through during my divorce. I am sure you have read and read on narcissists trying to find an answer.

        My divorce took 3 long yrs and cost me $135,000.00. I feel your pain and the worst part is that the courts/the laws dont help your situation. My divorce took 3 very long yrs and it was total hell. Most people can’t and don’t understand what your going through emotionally or financially. The pressure your under trying to protect your daughter. I suspect like me that you carry a lot of guilt around.

        Please remember this….
        You didn’t know your ex was a narc because Narcissists are very good at what they do.
        I read your story and I felt like I was reading my own. No one could possibly make up the things you describe going through. I know it doesn’t help or change anything but I know what you’re going through. I believe you and my heart aches for you and your daughter.
        It’s been 8yrs sense my divorce and the best advice I can give to you, is this…….. Do not talk to your ex as much as possible. Say as little as possible when you have to communicate with him. Keep your conversationsite to YES and NO answers as much as possible. Anything you say to your ex will be twisted into things that didn’t happen. It took me a very long time to figured this out. I couldn’t afford to go to therapy but I had to make it a priority. I couldn’t count on the courts or the law to understand. I recommend finding a therapist that specializes in Narc abuse. I cannot say enough how important it is to find a therapist who is highly educated in narcissistic abuse.
        You like me have a child with your ex and this means you will have deal with him until your daughter is grown.

        Things got better with my ex when he met another woman because his entire focus wasn’t on me anymore. The woman my ex was dating was very sweet and typically this will be case for the narc. They are drawn to a specific type of person, (a codepend person). Of course his relationship this woman didn’t last and I still have to deal with his crap but I keep my conversations with him to Yes and No answers. I am always prepared for what he might do next and I will never ever trust him. I wish there was something I could do to help you. Keep your head up, stay strong and don’t let down your guard. There is so much I could tell you but it would take forever. One thing I want to share with you is this….. I thought my ex was going to kill me. I wouldn’t open my blinds in my house, I had no more money left to my name so I went to a protection facility looking for help. I was constantly looking over my shoulder in fear. When I was married to my ex he constantly threatened to do things to me.

        Finally…. One day I said ENOUGH! I couldn’t live like I was. I couldn’t let him control my life anymore. I forced myself to opened up my blinds, I stopped looking over my shoulder and started living MY life again. It happened slow but I did it.

        Don’t let him, the courts or the law control your life anymore. I am not saying break the law or your parenting plan. Just don’t allow him to control your life as much as possible. Your ex is a narc because his childhood made him that way. One or both of his parents are why he is the way he is. He is not emotionally healthy and you cannot reason with the unreasonable. His sickness is not your responsibility and he will never change.

        Please take care of yourself….. You have a daughter to raise and she needs you. The stress this man has and is causing you is greatly effecting your health and well being.

        SCREW HIM! You left an abusive relationship which takes true strength. You are stronger than you realize. Don’t allow him to control your life anymore. 🙂

        Hang in there……

        • Thanks for your life affirming story. You have done so much for so many by sharing and validating. Best to you on your wonderful journey, Ann

          • Prayers sent… I thought mine was bad. I will pray for you all every night. God bless…

        • I’m dealing with the same type of man the hardest part is we live under the same roof help!!!

        • I went though the same with my husband. He has gotten me where I don’t go anywhere but he goes as he pleases.i have tried leaving him. when i did he had me locked up for something i didnt do. then when i moved into my own house he took out a restraining order on me and the judge gave him rights to my house and tried to have me kicked out of my house.thankfully the cop who arested me know me and my husband and knew where my husband lived and that on the warrent he had me locked up for .had his address on it.so the cop got the judge to give me my house back.i bought a gun and after telling him 20 times to leave my house and the law not doing anything to him for harrassing me and threating me for months i finnally pulled a gun on him.and guess what.the law locked me up again.said i couldnt point a gun at him.and they took my guns for a few months.long story short.i had to go back with him.because the law said if they got called to my house one more time they were going to take my 2 smallest kids from me.and call dss.the cops never did help me get away from him.im still stuke liveing in hell.cause the law wont help.and i dont have no where else to go with kids.i want my own place but i know whats going to happen.either he kills me or i kill him is my only way out.ihave no family that will help me get out.im scared for my life if i keep staying here.he has took everything of mine to where i have nothing.i cant even go 1 mile to the store without him going with me.hes even got my kids school giving him rights to do things for my kids that he should not be able to do.because he is not there fatheri wish i could find help to get away.and not be scared of him hurting me or my children.i cant get out.i need someone to help me get out.with 3 kids and 3 dogs

  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.

      • Dear Shannon,
        I hope all is okay with you, I was worried when I read your post. I was in your shoes a year ago. I stayed with my husband for 20 years. Twelves years of that was for the same reason as you — for the sake of my daughter, to protect her. In the end I realized if I stayed either he would kill me or I would be pushed to killing myself… neither would protect my daughter. The only way to protect your children is to get out of the relationship. While it may be hard to understand or believe, I promise you it is the truth. Promise.

        The best thing to do is to not say a thing to him, get your finances and support system silently in place. Then, one day, just pack your bags and take the kids and go. Then cut ALL communication with him. As others have said, ignore, ignore, ignore all the taunts and lies that will be thrown at you. Don’t even reply or acknowledge. When they don’t get a reaction these Narcissists quickly move on to their next easy prey. He will find another woman to latch on to. Sorry for her, but you need to think of you and your children and your safety and peace.

        It is sad, but he won’t care about the kids. He may try and manipulate them “oh poor daddy is so lonely, I need you”, but your kids are smarter and stronger than you think. They know what kind of monster he is and will be so happy to be rid of him and won’t want to talk to him. They need to cut ALL communication with him too. Kids see the truth, often better than we do.

        The sooner you get out, the better. And then never look back….

        I wish you the best, and that you soon find peace and happiness in your life.

        Jennifer

  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

      • Must thank you for this post and all the comments. Really helps. I am also going through this. Its been 3 yrs. And my ex spouse and his “cousin” attorney, are back at it. Was a 3 yr divorce and custody battle.

        I messed up and put my faith in the system and my attorney who mislead me into waiting it out to be sure I wanted to go through with it. While I waited and tried to pretend as things were normal..my ex spouse and his attorney found out through my attorney that I was fixing to file for divorce. They found out I spoken to DHS and while I was at work I got served an ex parte order.

        I ran home and my son was gone w my ex spouse, they pulled a profile off the internet and a report of a convicted felon and stated I a mother of 4 children.Hard working and never been in any kind of trouble w the law. That lives for her children. Was going to flee state w my son and hook up w that felon. False accusations were made. I was painted into this person im not. By them both.

        Paying for my ex spouses wrong doings. I had proof of child abuse, proof of him cleaning out my account out. Proof of affairs and pornography, 11 witnesses, to losing my case over hear say and accusations, Im unfit because of religion, I stopped going to they’re” church. I have my faith in god. Just lost my faith in them..the system, and the laws…my exspouse would park in his vehicle and watch me, followed me, and have me followed, sneek up peeking in my windows before sun rise, and was caught several times. But not by the law so they couldn’t do anything tell they caught him in the act. But he also grew up in this town all family and friends w him and his cousin attorney, so my only way out was to move out of that town. So I did. But that didnt help. Just made things worse. Which lead to my house being broke into and ran sacked trying to find my evidence against him. Got so bad that I lost my job. Fell into depression and after the the courts were done and everything was lost. I moved back home 2300 miles away from them. My ex spouse aggreed to letting me have my son for the summers and closed the child support case. 3 yrs go by and when I returned my son last summer, got back home to my state, and talked to my son. He told me some disturbing things thats happening to him. Begging me to get him home w me. To please talk to his dad into letting him come home. So I did and now hes denying my visitations and no contact. I reported to DHS. They did an investigation and claimed I was retaliating, even though my son told the Case work. Case was closed and im in contempt, theres more to this story, more then I can say. my exspouse reopened the child support case. And now im being threatened if I go to that state id be arrested, and to pay a large amount of money I dont have plus a weekly high amount that they went up on… I have nothing else for them to take. i have nothing more to give. No help and no hope, I dont sleep, im afraid and worried sick for my sons well being. and theres nothing I can do to stop this, to help him or protect him. Or my self…im so stuck and lost w no hope…but I cant give up on my son. Theres gotta be something or someone ?

    • 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

    • Psychopath here. You poor empaths are like innocent children and people like me (think Catcher and Dexter) protect you. You were like us when we were small, and trust me, it’s narcissist parents every time who turn you into us. Secret tip: every psychopath was once a former empath… pushed too far by at least one specific close-range narcissist.

      Next time a narcissist crosses your path, come to us and ask for help: ask the psychopath. We know the narcissist quite well and do not play by rules. We’ll drive them to violent suicide and then your problem will be solved.

      Dexter Is Real

      • Actually most normals don’t want this as end result. They want release from the reach of the narcissist but, being rather normal, don’t wish for death by violent suicide.

      • How do I contact u? Is this a sincere post ? ( please forgive me I’m not being rude, I just j I just just nobody trust nobody. My 23 year old is still coming out with effects of this dysfunctional nightmare. I’m trying to help my 13 year old be free from the effects his dad knows the devastation and unhappiness it can destroy someone innocent that never asked to be put in the middle. I’m in the middle of a year and a half divorce. I’ve had 4 attys its gotten so bad nobody will take the case has been as a whole allegiance .

        I UNDERSTAND THIS IS MOST LIKELY OUT OF THE QUESTION, I am AWEFUL at typing. All my Friends and flip to this process for you to go to counseling because his super attorney subpoena is everything , im pro Se now against women of the best attorneys in my state . I’m due in court.
        IT WOULD BE A GREAT CASE STUDY FOR A SCHOOL. I UNDERSTAND IF U CANT HELP ME. BUT I CAN TELL YOU, I CALL, GOOGLE, anything and everything I can almost 24/7.
        I don’t want to destroy my child’s dad, I want my children to remember me as being kind .
        It’s 2:24 where I live I’m going to try and sleep.
        IS IT POSSIBLE TO SPEAK TO YOU OR POSSIBLY ANY SUGGESTIONS??
        I’ve called every state, organization , state bar , district , state attys. I’m at a loss.
        Thank you

  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!

  32. I am in the middle of a divorce with a narcissist..and I am drained. His family gives him everything and I have a fixed income and have been the sole provider for my babies. I was the sole provider. Two days after I moved in with him he “lost” his job. I have been providing since on a limited paycheck. I want this nightmare over. I miss the confident woman I used to be.

    • That confident woman is in stealth mode, waiting for the right time to emerge. Acknowledge her and nurture her and she’ll be there soon enough. Doormats have wings…yes, they do! I hope you have studied the family code for your state and can find the help you need there in case your attorney is not doing it for you. We’re rooting for you…you have a huge base of support even if it is virtual. Best, Ann

  33. i’ve been married for three months to a man that i’ve been friend with for 20+ years. we don’t have kids. when we finally decided to date, he was amazing. as soon as we got married, the verbal abuse began. it has happened too many times in a short amount of time, considering we never had any major disagreements before marriage. i refuse to ever argue back, i just keep calm and listen, attentively. anyway, i already know this will get worse and before it does, i have decided that i will just get a divorce. im glad i came across this page, because i will be certain to keep it to myself.

  34. I wish I had known all this years ago. i devoted almost 50 years to loving this man. from age 13 to 62. we were married for 18 months right out of high school, divorced for 17 years (both remarried with children) when we remarried.

    At first it was inbelievably happy but then there were issues, but never was he at fault, etc. it was me &/or my kids, never him or his kids. we were married almost 24 years when I outlived my usefulness to him. he told me he had been planning a divorce for over 2 years & I found out later he had been hiding assets from me, lying about his income, lying about a girlfriend & lying about me. I didn’t fully realize then what I was fighting against because of the shock & not knowing about narcissistic personalities & what they are capable of. bottom line, I was left with just my personal possessions, an attorney bill of thousands, no vehicle, having to find employment at 62 yrs. of age so that I could support myself, find housing, no insurance, on a prescription med that is $350+ without insurance and try to start over. because I could not afford the correct, the doc put me on a generic which turned out to be extremely toxic to me, I started acting irrationally & ended up losing my job. at that point, I had to move to my oldest son’s (out of state), & had to put all my stuff in storage. had to try & get another job. I did finally hear about a program that the manufacturer of the medicine I was to be on had for people that couldn’t afford it & was able to get back on the correct medicine. but then I had a stroke. so now, recovery time, them back to job hunting. found a crap job that lasted 6 weeks, then no job…again. don’t let anyone fool you about job hunting & age discrimination with a recent stroke ! no luck job hunting so moved again, this time back to home state, in with another son & family. finally did land a job, 12.5 hrs weekly…not enough to support myself. got 2 more part time jobs, still not enough $$$. finally made decision to take early social security which is not much since ex didn’t want me to work all those years. finally moved on my own 2 weeks ago. then this week fell on ice at work & sustained a concussion, so temporarily off work…no income. so in the last 18 months since divorce was final I have moved 4 times, been job hunting, wrong medicine, had a stroke & 9 months later, a concussion, possessions in storage over a year,

    • Hello all,

      I too have the very famous “familiar” story…. I was with my ex N for about 20 years, I began dating him at the ripe age of 22/23.. I had already had a son, and was soo happy that he was willing to play “daddy”. I must admit that I had PLENTY of RED flags such as cheating early on, but you know, he came with the pity stories “I never had a real relationship before” and I bit of course, being young and having the false vision of a family unit and him being my knight in shining armour. I experienced some if not all of the same things that have been shared here… he hid money, It came to my knowledge because he had been doing something he OBVIOUSLY thought he was about to get into trouble for so he had to disclose it! Nevertheless I stayed through all of the cheating, lying and abuse.. I mean he became extremely cold and un-emotional and what I noticed was every time he would get caught cheating and there were no consequences he just became more sneaky and then it just became “oh well” let me turn the tables and throw a fit on her.. and he did that well.. But God always seemed to make away for me to find these things out, but I continued to stay.. My rationale was that I was staying for the sake of the kids, in the beginning there were only two and years later I had two more… so ages now 24,21,13,8… so through my journey I experienced mental, physical and emotional abuse.. he was very careless with the finances, I handled the funds and the bills but he would just swipe the card with no regard! he kept us in the hole financially… so after years of threating to divorce, which were bluffs for the most part, he would reluctantly agree to go to church, counseling you name it, but they were only bandaids to keep me around to keep draining my soul….. so as I thought we were on track in 2011, I found out he was cheating on me still, his own BROTHER is the one that told on him, but again all GLORY to God, so I finally decided to file for divorce, but of course, he thought I was bluffing again, I was afraid, I tought he would blow up but I didn’t care anymore…,,we owned a home, but he wasn’t going to get out, he kept giving me the runaround so I saved my money, my oldest son and I went looking for a palce and was blessed to get it… He didn’t act up like I had expected but was still manipulative… there is a lot more to the story, but to cut it short, in the divorce decree I had asked for $200 per child at the time I had only 2 of our minor children, the other was still 16 and felt bad for his dad and wanted to live with him… He is the son that my N was able to manipulate and use as his ali…. he tried working on the younger ones but I guess he has taken a break for right now… In any case, he NEVER paid me any money from the original MSA so after about two years, I went to the court and filed for child support for the current and the arrears, his response to my motion was so ridiculous I had to hire an attorney because I knew he was going to go in the court room with a bunch of mumbo jumbo trying to make me look crazy and I know I would have flown off the handle so I needed to invest in the lawyer… But every since then he has been whining about that amount that he has to pay, so im just keeping my antennas up because I don’t trust him… he has been very quiet the past few weeks….. P.S the amount I originally asked for was $400 a month he wound up paying over $1100 a month… God is watching out for me! And he will do the same for you all…

  35. Yes, this is all too familiar and unfortunate that the family courts do not protect the victims. I’m a therapist and know personality disorders well. I’m also a victim and desperately trying to end a marriage. When I was pregnant with our second child my NPD spouse decided that his business came first and threatened to leave me with nothing if I did not agree to consign on his business venture despite my pleas for him to rein it in. The venture failed and we were sued and forced to file chapter 13.

    Again, I was mislead. I was told it would be for 6 months to reorganize the company. After six years we were the second longest case in bankruptcy history. My NPD spouse continued to run his company into the ground and all of his partnerships ended badly. We finally had to convert to a chapter 7 and lost everything including our home and my beloved farm animals. He now has the nerve to blame me for all of it saying I had many options but chose to be a co owner of his company. After another year of him burning bridges with other partners I had had enough. He got angry and texted me to get a lawyer to represent us both in a divorce. That was all I needed but I retained the attorney for myself as I knew this would be the battle of my life which it is.

    The night before our temporary hearing he had his high powered new attorney file a motion to dismiss saying we were not separated at the time of filing. To make a long story short he got away with it and turned around and filed on me all because he did not like my allegations towards him in the divorce papers.

    He ended up squatting in the home we rent while also having secured a new apartment. This forced my children and I to stay in hotels and with friends for 9 days because he refused to leave the home. He spent most of his time removing machinery and equipment he had in the garage along with other assets that I discovered he had kept out of bankruptcy. He made sure our court date was the furthest out he could get so he can build a case against me for custody . We have no parenting plan so I have to be creative in keeping the girls as he does not want to return them. I get daily threats and bullying and do not reply to any of it. I know not to engage with a NPD but it does create a lot of anxiety every time I get a notification. I plan to ask the courts to order our family wizard to help but I know that I have a long road ahead.

    He has threatened me by saying divorcing him would be worse on me than bankruptcy ever was. He suddenly has come up with money to fight me and has manipulated his employer in allowing him to work from home now. He was out of state but returned to fight me. I’m tired and afraid as I have little faith in the family court system. I worry about my two girls because he manipulates them any way he can. This personality disorder is one of the worst and after 25 years in the mental health field I have yet to see a treatment that works. Not engaging is the best but it will also trigger their insecurities so one must always be on guard. I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel in the near future but I have to keep treading water for now.

    • An incredible story. As I read it, it took me back to my darkest days of the divorce. It is so difficult I know but fighting back is a learning process and you get smarter at it as the divorce goes on, though it can wear you out. For me, filing bar complaints against opposing counsel was critical. He was as unethical as they come and to put it in writing, with evidence, for the Bar was a turning point psychologically. No drama, no emotion. Just facts. I cc:ed him on the complaint and he had to be nice to me while under investigation. Finding local help that understands what he is doing would be most beneficial. Reach out and see who you can find. And learn the family law code for your state – it has remedies for his actions but they have to be put into place to make a difference. His attorney knows them and knows you don’t. But if you do, you have leverage. Document his threats. Have a paper trail that puts you in a good light – you can respond if it makes you look good. You can do this… Best to you, Ann

  36. Reading this article and some of these comments confirms that my husband is a narcissist. I’m living such a nightmare, please pray for me as I go through the divorce process.

  37. Wow. I guess I am not alone.
    After reading all of this, I am shocked. Absolutely shocked. Here I’ve found myself wondering EVERYDAY, how could it possibly be that we as survivors have absolutely no recourse against the verbal and threatening assaults wielded at us by these people? How is it that they can text those messages to us and threaten us and there is no way of holding them accountable? How does someone who chooses to act like that, with evidence able to continue to do so with no consequence? That’s what I would I like to know.
    If I acted that way towards a stranger, I would be charged. So, why can they get away this?
    I feel laws need to be changed. This is not a case of a woman scorned, or my husband cheated on my and I need vengeance. This is scary business. This is why murderous family suicides happen. This is why children grow up to be sociopaths or worse. This is not RIGHT. Everyone deserves to have rights, but how is it that they’re rights seem to be more important than the victims rights? Once you start texting or emailing or threatening, you’ve lost your rights because you’ve sent red flags, alerts if you will that you are a violent person who has the potential for violence. And the law and police enforcement need to be taking these behaviours seriously because it seems these people are upping the anti as of late with violent acts and murderous rampages. I for one will not go quietly into that good night.
    I was married for three short years. In that time period I cannot even begin to express what happened. I’d have to write you a novel. I moved out FOUR times. I divorced when I saw the writing on the wall and I felt like I’d rather be living in hell on my own terms, than living in hell on his terms. It’s been four years and it’s just as bad as the day I left. In fact, I believe it has gotten worse. He’s actually fathered another child recently with another woman he isn’t in a relationship with and even went to the extreme of telling me that this was my wake up call to go back to him. That we could all get along like a family and that now that he had this child we were “even,” for me leaving him. It’s extremely disturbing that these behaviours are actually overlooked by law enforcement. I, even when filing a report once was told by an officer that he was NOT my lawyers secretary.
    Is it any wonder that battered woman do not want to leave their abusive partners? Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t. My plan is to try to change the laws. Who’s with me?

  38. I am late in the game for finding out what was wrong. My story is so similiar to everyone else’s. He was wonderful a Knight in Shining Armour in the beginning of the marriage. Now after 10 years I don’t even recognize him. He is a monster! Nobody does anything right but him and I am the lowest and the dumbest of them all. I am an educated articulate woman but he makes me feel like trash. He plays games with my emotions to see if he can get a rise out of me.

    When I respond by getting angry enough to cry he gets a smirk of satisfaction on his face. One of the hardest parts is that people have understanding and sympathy for victims of physical abuse but because he is so good at the illusion of “Mr. Wonderful”, he has been successful at convincing some people in our religious organization that I am the problem. I am just beginning to fight this battle for my mind and my freedom and all of these comments are very helpful. They really all are the same person.

    • Understanding is the beginning of wisdom and knowing how to handle what you are dealing with. Don’t look for perfection in yourself, give yourself credit and compassion for wherever you are here and in the future. Best to you, Ann

  39. This is a great article. Also very good advice from various people. After an ugly divorce from my husband after 20 plus years my only advice is to go no contact and let the lawyers handle everything. My ex husband is on law enforcement and he abused this on a daily base. I was labeled insane , crazy and who knows what. Heresy me for a young co worker and blamed me for the failure of the marriage. He lied and cheated and left his son and I to fend for ourselves. He cut us off financially and played his stupid mind games. “I had to leave because of you because you are so mentally ill.”

    I finally had enough. I hired an aggressive attorney and no more emotions. Throughout the process I put my faith in God and my lawyer. No, I could not hurt my ex emotionally because he is a narcissist. I hurt him where it hurt him most. Financially. I asked for alimony and all of our assets. I got both. He was so stupid to flaunt his new minion on Facebook. He wasted marital assets on cruises and gifts for her. I won big time. You cannot get revenge. Living happy and peaceful and not being in contact with my ex is “my closure,my revenge”. This ordeal has taught me stength and resilience. Strength in my weaknesses and strength to go on. Was it easy ? Absolutely not. But it was the best decision I have ever made. As for him.
    He begs for contact with his monthly alimony check. I don’t respond because I do not communicate with the devil.

  40. YOUR ALL SO SADISTIC….I MISS MY FAMILY,EVEN THO THEY ARE GREEDY AND SELFISH…..I WORKED MY ENTIRE LIFE TO PROVIDE FOR THEM ALL…..EVEN MY EX-WIFE…AND YET UNTIL THEY RETURN TO AGAIN ATTACK ME IM WILLING TO BE ME TILL I CALL MY LIFE OVER….WHICH WHO KNOWS WHEN THAT MAY HAPPEN…BUT NEVER THE LESS IM STILL WAITING TO SEE IF I WAS EVER VALUED BY ANYONE IN MY LIFE AFTER MY EX… TALKED TO THEM ABOUT ME….AS FAR AS IM CONCERNED ……..ALL WOMEMN IVE EVER KNOWN PROVED THEMSELVES AS PROSTITYUTES….I GUESS I HAVE YET TO MEET A GOOD WOMAN TODAY 🙂

  41. How typical of the perception that it’s always the male. Narcissistic is what only a male thing and domestic violence only happens to women?? Domestic violence happens to all people not a just a certain gender it happens to people male and female and worst of all children.. Such a one sided explanation all that coming from was the his or him wake up society

  42. Can anyone provide specific Divorce Agreement language to use when divorcing a narcissist? I am concerned the language my atty is using does not build enough walls around me and is not “tight” enough to protect me and our children and will not catch him clearly breaking orders? For example: we have 2 children, he uses them as pawns, and we are required (by temp order) to agree on activities we enroll them in and to split payment. “Agree” is impossible for us and means my kids miss out. Should we include a week’s deadline to respond to each other regarding requests for activities in the DA? Should he be required to provide written reason why they cannot participate in activity? How can I get him to follow through and pay his portion? Thank you!

  43. I was married to a narcissist for 8 years. In the 7th year, our son was born. We had just moved to a new house she wanted and I got her a car tried to provide anything she wanted. However, within a few months of our son’s birth, she was contacted by a previous boyfriend and she became a seemingly different person almost overnight. I became the full-time carer of our infant son. She became insulting for no particular reason and thought it was acceptable for the ex-boyfriend to keep phoning our home from abroad. She became like an teenager obsessed with this former relationship, with no thought to our child or our marriage. Several weeks later she went abroad to meet up with her ex-boyfriend, leaving me to look after our son. I was in total shock, attributing her behaviour to post-natal depression. It soon became clear that her behaviour was cruel and deliberate and I realised that the marriage was at an end. Eventually she agreed to leave the family home, but trashed the house – clothes, important business documents and treasured family photographs – before doing so. I remained carer for our son for half of every week until he was 8 years old. She remarried, someone other than the ex-boyfriend, 3 years after leaving our marriage. I made no difficulty for our son relating to the new marriage. I had an exceptionally close relationship with my son during these early years. However, when several years on I met the person who is now my wife, my ex began to make our son feel stressed. A couple of months before our wedding, which our son was looking forward to attending, she severed contact. I was forced to resort to the Court to restore contact. However, with the aid of a clever lawyer and lengthy adjournments between hearings she was able to alienate our son from me. My basic rights to school reports were upheld, but she continues to ignore these. I sent presents and cards but feel certain that he never receives these. I don’t know what she has said to him to poison him against me but he ignores me now. Although we see each other from a distance at school gatherings, we have not spoken to each other for 7 years – since he was 8. He is now 15. My ex is exceptionally manipulative and simply sees our son as an extension of herself. Her second husband does not moderate her antagonism. I now despair about ever being able to meet my son again as she is determined to ensure that he has no contact with me and appears to be succeeding. He knew and loved me until he was 8, but I wonder now whether he will ever want to see me again. I also worry about the impact of such a strident narcissist on his formation in the years since contact was severed. He used to be such a soft-hearted and kind little boy. I’d hate to think he had become hard-hearted and cruel like her.

  44. PS My ex in Court claimed falsely that she would be delighted if my son contacted me but that unfortunately he did not want to see me. She seems to have enmeshed him so successfully in her hostility that it is difficult to see how, now that he is 15, he would ever be able to break with her and be truly free to decide for himself.

    • So sorry to hear of this. It is called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). The mother (in this case,could be male) could, if she wanted, be the bridge between you and your son. Courts do not understand this simple concept and tend to believe what the alienating parent says. We don’t know what she did and can’t fight the unknowns. But you can keep the love alive with a memory book, a journal of your thoughts, letters sent and unsent, a blog dedicated to him, an ebook, a video series, a video collection of pics with music, – anything to show him the love has always been there.

      Can’t change the past but the future is longer than the past – you have years and years with him. BTW, you have no idea if she is lying about him, do you? Why would she tell the court the truth now? How about a bank account and let him know you are saving for a something for him – computer?? robot?? Tesla?? game system? It’s something to look forward to…kids (and everyone likes to look forward to something exciting in the future). Google Parental Alienation Syndrome, protective parents, etc – also father’s rights groups. That is a resource that very well might get you in contact – or at least be very helpful and supportive. Best to you and your son, Ann

  45. Thanks so much, Ann, for your words of support and practical suggestions, which I shall follow immediately. I am just hoping that as he gets older he will develop a stronger sense of self and of his own judgement. His mother is very narcissistic and has encouraged him to think that feelings for me are forbidden and contradict what she sees as an exclusive loyalty to herself. Your message has given me hope.

  46. Our daughter is in the process of divorcing her narcissistic husband. Unfortunately, he is a Guardian ad Litem (represents children in court custody and abuse cases). So he knows the system very well. He got an attorney first, filed and moved out. She in turn hired an attorney because she did not feel she could go up against two attorneys. Shortly after mediation he decided to represent himself, so his attorney fees have stopped but her’s with endless emails and now a motion continue, $3,000 in the month of January with no end in site. After reading the other posts, you can definitely see exactly what happens when he is confronted or anything negative about him is said. So much of what I read on this site fits her situation, while no physical abuse, lots of mental abuse. As mentioned in other posts as well, lots of twisting what she says or writes in a text or email. I guess I am wondering if anyone has recommendations for this situation – divorcing a narcissistic lawyer representing himself. While our daughter got her Masters’ after marriage, she was a stay at home mom for almost 8 years (2 children) and has no experience in her field. She is trying to get back in the workplace, manage a home, pay attorney fees, and deal with trying to get the divorce finalized. She is also trying to maintain being available for the two children as much as she was prior to all this. She is spread pretty thin right now, financially and emotionally. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

  47. Married 38 yrs. I learned 2 yrs ago about N…Always thought it was me! We went to counselor last month for him. The counselor stated that my “tunnel vision” on the narcissism and my depression are the main problems for us! I am 63, disabled by very limited driving ability and little income. Can I really
    leave? Can divorce lawyer get me settled in a nearby town where I can drive to grocery store and things like that? How do folks do it? How much do folks depend on their lawyer? I know what I feel I need to go but I do not know if I can get it. I know he will fight me. Thank God no small children involved! I can’t imagine how hard it must be for folks with kids.

  48. So, sitting here reading all these short stories and situations that people are in, it has started to settle with me that I married a Narc and victim mentality personality. (And that most of these stories are Narc men and not women, which I know the stats, however I’m reaching out!) My wife was raised in a very verbally, emotionally, physically, mentally abusive family. They love to manipulate people into their benefit so the person feels obligated to help. I was the knight in shining armor when we met. I thought I was the hero? I got her out of this crap situation. She didn’t seem to have a lot of these traits that people talk about. As the years progressed, things started to change though. During my college years, she would call my cell non-stop until I would have to leave class to call. I didn’t think she had a low self-esteem? She would always ask if there were girls in my classes? I didn’t think much of it at first? I was a jock in high school, I made friends easily, and had an easy going attitude. I was also an extrovert. That changed over the years as well. After meeting her family, I just thought they had a rough sitch. Everybody has baggage and dysfunction of some magnitude, right? I know I did, my dad was a belittler, I was the oldest of 3 and the only boy, so it seemed that all I did was wrong and not up to his expectations. (That has gotten better) And I turned to an addiction for my self-care and consolement and a false reality away from my pain. Which I brought into our marriage, she took advantage of that for collateral. As the years kept moving forward, friends that I had started to disappear, the friends that we had were the friends that she chose, and if they got too close she would cut them off and on to the next ones. Any guy friends that would come along, she would examine them and if they didn’t meet her quals for keeping me leashed, she would excuse them gradually with making them look bad for me. So our friends ended up being mainly her family for many years. All the drama that was produced from her family was worse than a “Days Of Our Lives” soap. It was always high school drama,”He said, she said crap.” She could never really hold a job bc she would always find something wrong with the company or someone that worked there. I ended up being the one that has always worked. Finances were never stable, it always seemed that we owed someone money or needed to borrow. Bills were never paid up and I always needed to work more. Home started to be a non safe spot bc every time I would come home, the complaining would start and I was never enough to the family bc all I ever did was work. I have too big of a heart and weakness for making my wife happy, so I just kept telling myself to buck up and keep trying to be better. When I wasn’t, she would withhold certain things, saying that she wasn’t in the mood or saying that I must not care enough bc I can’t keep our bills paid or find a better job? Thats when the emotional affairs started. And ladies, I know they can be worse than a one night stand, and being a christian, I should have known better, however I was blinded by my sin and enjoyed the positivity that came from others I wasn’t receiving from my wife. We did counseling on and off since we were married and most times the end result was me having to do the extra therapies bc I was always the one with issues. She has a very “wear the pants” personality and always bites before she barks (Part of that is from her childhood, she needed to be in control to feel safe). I was just a determined man to make things better and succeed. That is what I was taught. When kids started into the picture it started to be a bandiad session to just keep things stable. There would always seem to be something wrong with our children. Which, given, our oldest is autistic and our second has aspergers. So she would take that and run with it, trying to get every service in town and living at a lower income so ins would be state paid and limited our income a low. Some of it was needed, however, we should have both been working and providing. As the years kept going on, I noticed that she would baby the kids more so than normal, even our boys. When they would come crying, she would go no holds barred to make sure the situation was corrected to her liking. Even as they became teenagers. About a year ago we separated.

    Just a quick side note: The way I have looked at life/marriage. Its like a camera. When we get it, we are so excited to get started, we don’t read the directions thoroughly, we read the quick start guide missing some important details. As we start taking pictures, some turn out awesome, some not so good, blurry, distorted. And then we start to have opinions of who can take better pictures, and the camera starts to have issues, like sand in lens so it just doesn’t work as well. And then the camera stops working (last June) and needs to be put on the shelf for a period of time (separated since last June). I have been trying to re-read the directions and explain them to her, still she doesn’t really want to hear about them or just takes the info she wants and uses it the way she wants.
    (She ended up having an affair with a co-worker last September because she thought we were done.) I forgave her for that, I had been partially responsible for that because I wasn’t talking much to her in the beginning of the break bc of the way she would treat me, even though she was the one that asked me to leave. I also have been part of a mens group through my church and started to see how toxic our environment was and could be. So I was trying to set healthy boundaries with me and the kids.
    As we began to reconcile from the broken camera, we still didn’t learn. We were having too much fun pushing buttons on the camera, she wasn’t holding back either. And then when I realized she was trying to control with intimacy, I started to talk about moving back in and working on things to fix the camera, she shunned the idea and told me it wouldn’t be a good idea and so the separation continued. Although the co-parenting and parenting time was working very well and equally. However, she started doing things that would question her trustworthiness and honesty (We are still married). So I confronted her on it a few times, then bc she thought I was spying on her or stalking her. She made up a bunch of lies to get a restraining order and I haven’t seen my kids in almost 5 weeks. Just before that, we “had been” talking divorce, mediation, and 50/50. When the OFP was filed, that changed. The kids are now nervous to be around me, supervised visits and she has them. I filed for divorce and am currently trying to get the OFP dismissed so I can see my 3 children. I have also found that the individual she was with in Sept is now a part of her life and helping with turning my kids’ lives into an affection for him. WTF!? Well, there you have my short novel in a very long abbreviation. All I have to say is, it has been 18 years, I would give anything……ANYTHING!…..to make this work out differently and make our marriage to work, however when she restricted me from seeing the kids, that pushed it too far. So, I’m done, I’ve given so much with not much in return. I even wanted to renew our vows and start from dating again? She wouldn’t have it? Ladies, I know I have screwed up with the covenant of the vows, however I confessed and have made it a mission to hold that and protect it with great resources, friends and counseling. And been doing it for years now, successfully and sober.
    I love my wife dearly, I want nothing more than to hold her again, snuggling on the couch, watching a movie. Giving her unconditional love to make sure she is satisfied, safe and content. She has made some choices though that have questioned my trust in her, especially with our kids. And even bringing some one else in when we aren’t even legally divorced yet.
    She has been very vindictive with her actions, it doesn’t have to be this way, especially for our kids.
    Thank you for taking time to read this if you did, I’m trying to understand how to deal with this and make a bad sitch better for my kids. And move forward.

    • Hi – Read everything you say about your wife in your post and then tell us where you find her lovable. Nothing you say about her says you love her. Can you see yourself with one of the women who gives you positivity? How about seeing your future with someone else? Can you do that? Really and truly, the love seems to be gone. Try re-reading what you wrote. I think you will see that. Come back and tell us what you see …Best, Ann

  49. Dear Ann,
    Your very insightful with your observation about the love being gone. It has been gone for awhile. I guess re-reading my post I see why that it looks that way.
    To answer your question: I love my ex for so many awesome qualities she has.
    1. Great cook (I know that might be stereotypical?)
    2. A wonderful advocate for our children and their cares
    3. She is very good at telling the truth, and being stand up confident about what she believes in
    4. She is good at organizing and minimizing
    5. She is very competent when it comes to her career and setting goals and trying to accomplish those
    6. She has taught me a lot about looking from a different perspective and not just my own.
    There are lots more, those are just some. There are cons too, but I have mine that suck as well.
    I think part of our issue is that 1. We got married to quick with the wrong intentions. 2. We never had much of a relationship to begin with. 3. We both had expectations that were not achievable with both of us beating our heads together to get our way with one another. 4. She was put in an adult role very young to help raise her younger siblings while her mom was not around which helped her mature quicker, where I was always enabled by my parents and had never lived on my own and had not been very responsible with being more of a grown-up.
    She has been signed off for awhile. I’ve been trying to make her happy so she would be accepting of me, not,”You have to work more so we can pay our bills”. Or, “You need to be more of a man and not so wussy.” She would always belittle me, just like my dad would. That is where my counselor stated,”You know you married your dad?” I about crapped my pants when he said that! However, when I think deeply about it, I have always tried to prove to my dad that I am worthy of his acceptance, love, and affirmation. The same goes for my ex-wife as well. Over the last several years, I have been learning more about me and how to stand up for myself and express my emotions and feelings so that I could be heard and understood. My ex has never trusted or respected men bc they have always lied, cheated, and abused her, which sadly is me as well and I own that.
    The sad part is that the love “has” been there for many years, up until the last few years when our 2 oldest came into the teens and became more physically violent and lower functioning. That put a huge damper on our relationship, talk about not walking on eggshells? Everyday was like that because we never knew what was going to set either one of boys off and then having to restrain or possibly even medicate them. I’m not blaming them for any of this, because we our adults and knew that it was going to be difficult with our children.
    So yes, the love has gone. I guess I just thought if we started slowly from where we started when we met? There might be a chance? It’s the only relationship that we have known for 18 years, so it feels weird not to be by her. I can’t see myself with anyone else right now, and if I did I would make sure that I have my own list of things that I find value and important for a partner and not just the intimacy. My primary concern is working through this dissolution process, making sure I’m in a stable spot and making sure my kids are taken care of so they don’t feel like it’s their fault or abandoned by either one of us and no matter what they are loved.
    Thank you Ann for the insight! I’m always up for constructive criticism and learning new things to help my character. I still plan on visiting this blog to keep learning more and ways to make sure that things stay civil between my ex and myself. I think what you have done here is really helpful and thank you for it!
    PS. Sorry for making my responses sooooooooo long, you think I don’t get out much, lol! I’m just an expressive kind of guy! Who knew!?

    • Hi – Thx for writing back. If I was still doing my newsletter I’d turn an issue over to you and you could write as much as you wanted. I used to do that – let men take over an issue. Getting things out in words is good. Heck, I wrote a book!

      Thx for your kind words. Much appreciated. And I hope as you move forward you find all the qualities you want and the love you deserve. BTW – cooking is a great quality. It’s how I allowed my last partner into my life: he shopped and cooked! It won me over…so sure I can see why you like that.

      You seem to be very good at understanding what has happened. I think that brings a peace to the situation and allows forward movement. That’s good for you and I hope the best for you. Ann

  50. My divorce ended 20 Years ago. Never ever allow contingencies in your settlement. My incompetant attorney left so many loopholes and contingencies.

    I still have not collected the monies owed me and my ex has basically retained control over me, imprisoning me with the settlement for 20 years while he refuses to pay bills etc. he even declined visitation privilidges! What kind of father doesn’t want to see his own kids? I spent the next 20 years trying to resurrect a long dead career without luck. My divorce will never be over. You all know that Divorced older women are pretty much shunned by our society which revolves around couples. Doing things alone is the result. After awhile the stress wears on your adrenal system and fatigue takes over. It’s a slow death dance when you divorce a narcicisst. And it never really ever ends. And the attorneys can’t enforce anything. It’s all a very costly joke. Can you spell pre-nup? Make sure your kids get one.

    • So sorry you went through this and still are. There are legal remedies – civil and criminal as well as in family law. Back due support in California comes with 10% interest accruing. You can get a NOLO Press book with the forms in it – I think it is called Collecting Your Judgment. The law is on your side, use it. In my book I tell how I was forced to write my own appeal but in the end I won, and part of this included filing Bar complaints against the attorneys who were negligent, unethical, etc. That included mine and his.Best of luck to you.

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