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.”
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,