Staying Sane While Divorcing a Narcissist/Abuser

Here are some truths and quotes that have kept me sane during my divorce. It is easy to forget the truth. It is tempting to slip into denial. My counselor said multiple times that his job was to “keep me sane during this process.”  I think he knew, much more than I could imagine, how crazy-making and difficult it would be to divorce a narcissist/verbal abuser/emotional abuser.

My narcissistic X2B would often cause me to think that I was the crazy one. He argued circles around me. He re-wrote history as we were discussing it. Then I researched and educated myself on the many games that narcissists play to keep us off balance, under their control, upset, co-dependent, and walking on eggshells. I learned to stop playing those games. I couldn’t control what he did, but I could stop my part of the insanity.  So here are some truths I remind myself:

Remember that Narcissists Lie

They lie. It’s what they do. Expect it. Don’t be so outraged when it happens. Settle yourself down. Breathe. I’ve learned to calmly yet assertively state “That is not true. The truth is…XYZ.”

Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D. quote

 

It’s a challenge because Narcissists are usually slick enough to pull it off and have others believe them. I know it is frustrating and upsetting. And it’s not right, not at all. But it’s nothing new. This is no surprise.

Remember that I am not the crazy one

Narcissist are experts at gas lighting….making you feel crazy. They often reinvent reality to suit their personal agenda. See “Narcissists Lie” above.  I remind myself that my X2B has a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It’s in the DSM-5. Remind yourself that he is sick, not you. You may have your own issues to work on, but there is a big difference between a personality disorder and normal issues and sin. Take your issues to God. Let the Holy Spirit show you where you need to confess. And remember that the narcissist/abuser is NOT your Holy Spirit.

Don’t engage. It is not worth it. 

“No contact” is great if you have no children.  But if you have kids, like I do, that is simply not doable.  So engage as little as humanly possible.  Don’t take the bait when he emails inflamatory accusations. DON’T respond. It takes a ton of self control. To be honest, this is really hard for me –  I want to fire off a brilliant and scathing response. Trust me, it’s simply not worth the fleeting smugness I feel. It feeds a spirit of contention, and it feeds his abusive need to fight and control. It becomes an exhausting waste of time. My time, and yours, is better spent in prayer or helping someone in need.

Stop explaining and defending

Most people think if they choose the right words, or just explain more clearly, the narcissist will understand. He will get it. He will change.  And sometimes the narc tells them he does understand, or he does agree. But then they are befuddled when the narc totally starts the conversation back at the beginning, making his same old point, with no regard for what they just discussed. You might wonder, “Didn’t we just have that conversation? I swear we did….” The narc will do this again and again. If you find yourself explaining, defending, or in a circular conversation, just stop. Sometimes I stop mid-sentence. Because my explanations never make a difference. Ever.

Remember that God cares about my safety and sanity.

Your safety and sanity is important. It is important to God. It is important to your kids, if you have them. So protect yourself.  Do not stay in an unsafe situation.  Do not subject yourself to unrepentant and repetitive abuse that tears you down and robs your life. You were “fearfully and wonderfully made” and Jesus wants you to “have life and have it abundantly.” I do not meet with my X2B alone anymore. It was not healthy and it always turned into an opportunity for him to isolate me, then verbally accuse and pummel me.

These were the truths that helped me stay sane while divorcing a narcissist/abuser. I hope they help you, too. Remember, this is challenging. Take a moment to pray and breathe.

Love and blessings,

Melissa

 

3 thoughts on “Staying Sane While Divorcing a Narcissist/Abuser

  1. All completely true. I believe my father has anti-social personality disorder, not narcissistic personality disorder, but there’s significant overlap. For one, I don’t think he cares what’s true. It seem with him that “the truth” is simply whatever is most convenient for him at the time. When circumstances change, he’ll baldfaced contradict himself and act as if everyone is crazy who might call him out on it. There’s an emotional scorched earth quality to this kind of abuse. God bless you, Melissa. You’re doing great. Just stand your ground, and remember, even Jesus was silent in front of his accusers at times. Just hold onto the truth, and the truth with set you free. Hang in there! *hugs*

    • Thanks so much, Audrey, for sharing your experience. I really hurt for people who are living with someone who lies and then blame shifts. It is a “scorched earth” emotional abuse. It causes so much confusion and causes one to doubt their instincts and sanity. UNTIL they educate themselves and realize the games being played or sickness inherent.

      I hope by sharing our experiences, and the truths we have learned, others will see the truth and know that they are not alone. We have been on this road before them. There is hope. And freedom. That hope and freedom is in Christ.

  2. I strongly suggest that all people going through a divorce with a narcissist find and consult with a certified divorce financial planner. Mine has helped me immeasurably and is delaying his fees until the divorce is finalized. His fees are very reasonable.

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