“You love to take broken things and make them beautiful.” What a perfectly fitting song by Ellie Holcomb. Let’s listen and remember these words on our journey of divorcing and healing from narcissism or abuse.
“I know I don’t bring a lot to the table, just little pieces of a broken heart.”
“There’s healing in Your name.”
“You say that you’ll turn my weeping into dancing, remove my sadness and cover me with joy.”
“Mediation with a Narcissist” is the post that gets the most views on my website, hands-down. I find that interesting. Mediation with a Narc is sooo very, very difficult. Note the multiple times I use “very”. I could keep going.
Since this is clearly a topic that readers are searching for information on, here is a “Part II” with additional musings and thoughts:
HAVE LOW EXPECTATIONS:
- Sorry to say that as the very first bullet point…but remember, narcissists do not negotiate well, if at all. They win. They have an all-or-nothing outlook and are too competitive and controlling to tolerate a fair outcome. They think they are smarter and more important than anyone else in the room, and they sure don’t want to be controlled by you, or your lawyer, or the mediator.
- My lawyer said that the judges in our town want couples to try mediation first, so most people schedule one day. So, depending on your judge, you might need to try mediation even if you know its not going to go well.
- A friend of mine who went through mediation had FIVE different days of mediation before they reached an agreement, and then they only came to agreement because the narc spouse had an compelling business reason for finalizing the divorce.
- In my mediation, we got almost nothing done the first day. My lawyer said the main benefit of that day was that we got my XNarc’s financial information and understood the negotiating positions.
- We got a little closer our second day of mediation, but mostly due to my agreeing on some custody provisions that have turned into a huge source of conflict. We did not reach a signed agreement that second day, even though I made an offer at the end of the day. Of course my XNarc said he needed more time to consider it. Due to Narcs excessively high need for control, I really think there was no way he was going to agree to something I had proposed in a mediation environment.
- Because of this high need for control, their need to win, and psychopathically low empathy, I just haven’t heard of mediation going well with this personality disorder. They simply do not compromise well. They think they’ve done nothing wrong and it’s really all YOUR fault, so they are entitled to a better outcome than the other party.
- In summary, be prepared with realistic expectations for your situation.
Reading this excerpt in Bancroft’s book, Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?, I just started crying. The first sentence touched me deeply. If you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, you unfortunately know what Bancroft is referring to. Words like “torn apart”, “your partners cruel side”, “nothing can ever put you back together again”, and “the pain will never go away” resonate, don’t they? I hope it’s reassuring, dear one, to know that someone can so accurately articulate the excruciating pain you feel. You are not alone.
Feeling Like You’ll Never Get Over This
“After enough times of being torn apart by your partner’s cruel side, you can come to feel like nothing could ever put you back together again, and like the pain will never go away.
But it will. You aren’t always going to feel this bad. Healing is a long process, especially when you’ve been harmed by someone you love. But the injured places do grow back together.
When I filed for divorce from my XNarc, there were apologies, but those lasted sometimes a few days, sometimes only a few hours, before the blasts and zingers would come. It was confusing at first to receive what seemed to be a heartfelt apology, only to be berated a short time later. This quote seems to help restore sanity:
“ACTIONS speak louder than words. We can apologize over and over, but if our actions don’t change the words become MEANINGLESS.”
So remember, repentance needs to be time AND stress tested. The fruit of repentance needs to be visible to all, especially you. The abuse, the control, the manipulation, the blaming, the raging – it all needs to stop. An apology, followed by unrepentant actions, is meaningless.
I’m really enjoying Lundy Bancroft’s book Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That? I wish I had read Bancroft’s books about 3 years ago. This is a person who gets what you are going through and validates your innermost feelings. There is something very healing about feeling validated on this journey.
I frequently felt like people didn’t understand the destructiveness of what I was going through as a Christian woman dealing with an abusive man. (And still go through post-divorce.) A well-meaning friend said she viewed it as a “communication issue” while another quoted scripture that “God hates divorce.” When you read Bancroft’s book, you feel validated that someone else absolutely understands the anguish and craziness you are going through due to his abusiveness.
Here is a daily excerpt from the book, titled “How Do I Make Conflicts with Him go Better?”
“You have probably noticed that I haven’t written about how you can resolve conflicts with your partner more constructively. That’s no accident. I don’t believe that a woman can make things go better with a controlling or abusive man by changing how she argues with him. Some people may say that you should bring things up with him in a very diplomatic, non-demanding manner, almost like you’re asking him a favor. Others will tell you the opposite: that you should be firm and no-nonsense with him, setting clear limits and boundaries about his behavior. You may be advised to talk just about how you feel, so that you don’t sound like you are criticizing your partner. Some people believe that you’ll reach him more successfully if you give him lots of reassurance that you love him and that you’re just trying to make your relationship go better.
I go to counseling once a week. If you have been married to an abusive man or someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), you know why. The fear, intimidation, manipulation, and crazy games they play are destructive to the feminine heart. I believe it SOOO goes against God’s desire for women. As Stacy Edridge writes, “…every woman is haunted by the question,“Do you delight in me? Will I be chosen, wanted, seen, fought for?” In the case of abusive marriages, the answer is devastatingly clear – your spouse is NOT fighting FOR you, he is fighting AGAINST you, and his intent is to harm you. It is shattering when you get out of denial and face the truth.
So at counseling last week, I was working through my anger with how my XNarc treated me.
“Come to see it as an upside-down blessing,” urged my counselor. “And accept that it may not change.”
OK, that’s really not AT ALL what I’m hoping to hear from this guy. I know from Al-Anon how important acceptance is, but to accept ongoing abuse, even after divorce, seems almost too much to bear. How long, O Lord, how long?