Divorcing a narcissist is the fight of your life. While going through a divorce is not easy for anyone, when the person you are divorcing is a narcissist, it can be an absolute nightmare. The day you file the paperwork, it’s “game on”.
A Forbes article by Jeff Landers on divorcing a narcissist accurately describes what to expect. “Do not expect a narcissist spouse to be cooperative or go away quietly. During a divorce, narcissists can be manipulative and exploitive, feeling neurotically entitled to get whatever they want. Narcissists blame everyone else for their problems, and because they are so self-centered, even while bullying their spouses they often perceive themselves to be the victims. True narcissists believe they are above the law and feel that the rules do not apply to them, making them notoriously difficult to deal with. It is common during a divorce for narcissists to:
refuse to provide financial information and documents
refuse to negotiate
refuse to listen to their own lawyer
defy court orders
use the children as pawns
Because they are so competitive, narcissists love the adversarial nature of the legal system and excel at manipulating it to their advantage.”
I’ve reposted a great article on emotional abuse and the church that I found on the website A Cry for Justice. (Many thanks to Barbara and Jeff at that site for educating people on abuser’s tactics and teaching an interesting perspective on what scripture says about abuse, marriage and divorce.) In the article linked below, author Amy Widman White lists several traits of an emotionally abusive husband. She states “The key motivational factor that defines an emotionally abusive person is a deep-seated need to be in control. Because of the abuser’s insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, and distorted beliefs about women and marriage, he feels he must control his wife or lose her. The abuser will use manipulative and heavy-handed tactics to keep his wife off balance. For example, the abuser may resort to:
Will I ever feel better? Will I ever get through this? Will I ever be OK?
My friends would look at my ashen face and assure me that I would be OK, I would get to the other side, I was doing the right thing. They texted me scriptures assuring me of God’s love and protection. My dear friend, Kathy, so steadfast through these past two years as others grew weary and faded away, would PROMISE me that I would get through this as I sobbed on the phone to her. For the thousandth time.
I am healing. I am getting through this. I am laughing again. You will too, dear one. I’ve found a variety of healers on this journey from divorcing an emotionally abusive spouse (in my case, someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)). Some of the things I’ve done are no-brainers, some are a little more wacky. But I lived in CA for a season, so hang in there. As some recovery programs say, “Take what works, leave the rest behind.” Continue reading →
Divorcing a narcissist is hard work. Many of the things they do are simply to punish you, without regard to the children’s well being. It doesn’t make sense to a mom; we cannot understand why they would keep the kids the entire month of July as their extended summer visitation. It’s not good for the kids to go that long without seeing either parent. But please know, if you don’t already, that a narcissist does many things simply to manipulate and punish.
So here it is, July 2, and my children have been gone from my home for less than 24 hours, and I acutely feel the pain. They will be gone for 33 days, except for the 1 weekend that the courts say that I can have them during this stretch. For a mom who birthed these children (natural childbirth at that), wiped their bottoms, nursed them WAAAAY too long, and made their organic babyhood before that was cool, I feel like something just got wrenched from my gut. And my heart. It makes you wonder if you’ve made the right decision to divorce.
One thing I’m finally learning in life and through my work in Al-Anon is acceptance. I cannot control this. It was his choice to pick a 30 day stretch. He could have broken it up into separate chunks of time, but he didn’t. I cannot get more time with my kids this month (without letting my to-be-ex totally manipulate me, which I’m learning not to give in to just to see my kids). I’m at rock bottom. End of my rope. Nothing I can do here. Broken. Then: Acceptance.