If you have ever found yourself in any kind of relationship with a narcissist, you might find yourself asking “what could possibly be worse than dealing with this???” Unfortunately, the answer to that is finally leaving them. Throughout the course of the time you spent with this person, you were made to feel like a nobody – you weren’t worth the time and effort, they never listened to you, they treated you as if you were invisible. So you found the strength to walk away, and now what happens? You are getting endless texts and messages begging you not to leave. They tell you how much they love you and that they can’t live without you. They tell you what a great person you are and how unfair they have been to you. They tell you everything they think you want to hear, because they don’t want to lose you. Now take the “you” off of that last sentence, and what are you left with? “THEY DON’T WANT TO LOSE.” After dealing with their manipulation tactics for so long, many of us are able to see what they are doing for what it actually is – they are scrambling because they are seeing the shift in dynamics. They see that they are losing their power and control over you, and this is causing them to panic. They aren’t worried about losing you as a person – they are worried about losing their source of energy. How dare you decide to live a fulfilling, happy life without allowing them to feed off the misery they were once able to cause you? They will starve!
I haven’t been with my ex for a looooong time now. He still hasn’t tired of the manipulation and mind-games. All we have left to do is sit down with our lawyers to sign off on paperwork and our divorce will be final. But what does he do? Continually finds reasons to push back the date of the meeting, buying himself more time to try reeling me back in. Multiple times every day he sends me texts saying how much he loves me and the kids (who he hasn’t even called in five weeks now). He tries to entice me into staying by suggesting we go on vacations or to concerts together (which we NEVER did during our marriage, EVER). The dates of the concerts/vacations always conveniently coincide with the next scheduled meeting, thus meaning if I accepted these (insane) offers we would have to cancel, prolonging the divorce even further…sneaky, isn’t he?? When I decline the offers he immediately flips into punishment mode by refusing to help with the kids financially or telling me how much he hates me or accusing me of dating other guys. Then ten minutes later I will get a message saying he loves me again. The same crazy-making scenarios that drove me away from the marriage have not only carried on throughout the entire divorce process, but they have become much more frequent, outright, and volatile. The only good thing that has come out of these behaviors is that I can now say not only have I completely fallen out of love with this man, but I am repulsed by him. And that makes it easier for me to keep pushing on – I am more determined than ever to get him out of my life once and for all, and I will never question whether or not I did the right thing by leaving him. The tactics he has tried to pull me back in have had the exact opposite effect and have only pushed me farther away.
To anyone in the middle of this disaster that is divorcing a narcissist, don’t give up. Don’t back down. You are so close to the finish line, even though some days you may not feel like it. Nothing is worth sacrificing your happiness, especially a man who will just continue to make you suffer and thrive off of it. If possible, have as little contact as you can (this can be difficult if you have children together, but if you explain the situation to your lawyer and document all the harassment they will help you). Trying to talk to the narcissist or rationalize with them will only make you feel crazy – and it’s their crazy you will be feeling. Protect yourself and your mental health by not allowing them to cross the firm boundaries you have set. Refuse to engage. It will not be easy (due to their relentless efforts) but taking the steps to secure your own peace of mind will be empowering.
We are almost there. It is going to be over with soon. Just hang on, hold your head high, and do what makes your soul happy. Dance and sing. Be with those friends you didn’t get to spend time with for so long. Create something artistic. Indulge yourself. Immerse yourself in the little things that make your heart sing that were denied to you for so long. You are more than worth it.