The End of the Road

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.

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The One-Track Mind

The majority of decent (dare I say “normal”) human beings are driven by a complex mixture of emotion and necessity. We do the things we do for the good of not only ourselves, but of those we love. We work because we need to support our children/families and want to contribute to society. We play because we need balance and want to see the smiles on our kids faces. We love because we crave emotional intimacy and have a responsibility to teach our children compassion, empathy, and acceptance. These things all come naturally to us – we do not do them because we have a hidden agenda or ulterior motives. We aren’t calculating some master plan here – we are genuinely living and loving because it feels right.

Bring on the narcissists…. Narcissists lack the ability to feel true emotions and are therefore driven by the need for power and control. Whether it’s in the workplace or their own home, their decisions are based on what is best for them – how they can achieve status over those around them. And when their master plans backfire (as they often do when their masks slip and they are seen for what they really are), things can get ugly. When this happens, it will be the fault of everyone around them, of course.

Over six years ago, my ex took a job out of state. In a matter of weeks, it was as if he had developed amnesia, completely forgetting he had left a wife and three children behind. He stopped visiting, stopped calling, stopped caring altogether – his only focus was impressing his boss, climbing that ladder at work, making the big money. Troubles at home? He couldn’t be bothered to pull his head out of his boss’s ass long enough to help resolve them. The kids missed their dad? Well, he couldn’t take a week off to see them or he may not get that supervisor position. His only concern was work and putting in the hours to prove he was the best worker, to achieve a higher status than his coworkers, to be the most valuable to his boss.

In the meantime, I was doing everything myself. I was taking care of three kids, a big house and it’s maintenance, doing the yard work, the grocery shopping, making sure the bills were paid, helping the kids with their homework and meeting with their teachers, making sure everyone was happy and healthy, while writing my first novel. I was even wasting my time trying to defend his actions, assuring the kids their dad still loved them, he just had other “obligations”. I think that was the most exhausting part of it all – convincing them of something I myself no longer believed.

After four years of this nonsense, I was over it. He had proven to me that we were no longer a priority and we would never be able to compete with the power-trip he got from being a “boss”. The minute I told him I’d had enough, the switch flipped. Me leaving him??? No way, that couldn’t happen. Not because he loved me and wanted to save our marriage, but because he had no idea how to proceed in life without controlling my every move and decision. In an instant, his focus switched from his job (where he had already established his power) to me (where he was losing his power).

When narcissists feel you are slipping through their fingers and are no longer willing to be their puppets, they employ a little tactic known as “love-bombing.” They will send relentless messages proclaiming their “love” for you, full of insincere (nauseatingly fake) apologies, begging you to give them another chance. And another. And another…. My ex has been in the love-bombing stage for so long that it is almost laughable. All those words and not a hint of action to back them up. Thankfully, I’m a fairly intelligent individual and I see what he is doing for what it really is – trying to regain control. Not happening.

While he has been so encompassed in trying to get me back under his thumb, he has seemed to completely forget about the three things he should be focusing on – the children. While he drunk-texts me almost daily in a pathetic attempt to reel me back in, he hasn’t seen his own kids in nearly six months. He has been “too busy”. He will give every excuse in the book for why he has so sickeningly neglected his parenting duties, but what it boils down to is this – they are pawns, and at this point in the game they can’t help him win. Several months ago, I made it clear to him that he was more than welcome to come home (to what is now my home) and spend time with the children, but I would not be present. I would be staying with friends in the event he were under my roof. In his mind, spending time with his kids no longer meant weaseling his way back into my life – it meant giving me a few days of freedom to do as I pleased without the responsibility of Mom-ing. If he came to see the kids, he would have no control over what I did during that time. And to him, it wasn’t worth it.

So, here we are. Six months of no contact with his children. I’m curious as to how he is going to try to turn this into my fault when he finally comes to the realization that those divorce papers were real and he has no chance of ever regaining an inch of control over me. I know the kids are going to be his next love-bombing victims. Maybe if he can somehow regain control over them, it will trickle down to me in some way? (I can guarantee it won’t!)

The point of this rambling post is this: when dealing with a narcissist (or, more importantly, when attempting to break free from one) it is sooooo very important to educate yourself in order to be immune to their games and realize what their true intentions are. Know that “I love you” means “I need to be your puppet master,” and decide if you’re willing to play that part. Find the courage to leave them in the dust, wallowing in their own self-created misery that is not your responsibility to fix.

Be your own person. Create your own happiness. Live and love and work and play because you are driven by healthy emotions and the desire to achieve your goals. Never be a puppet. Cut the strings and do your own dance. You are more than worth it.

SAY HELLO!!!

When I started my blog a few weeks ago, I intended for it to be a type of therapeutic journal that may have a couple of followers who are going through similar situations, most likely people I know from Minnesota. I never thought it would be reaching people in Sweden, India, Japan, Australia, Greece…this is so cool!!!

If you are reading this, where are you from? How did you come across my blog? Say hello!

Almost Got Had

Well, today pretty much sucked. Even after all the lessons I’ve learned the hard way and vows to never play my ex’s mind-games again, I fell for it. Slap me, somebody.

This is a little long and complicated – bare with me.

So, the house my children and I live in is in my husband and his father’s names. My husband hasn’t made a mortgage payment since I first consulted a divorce attorney in February. A letter was sent to our address from a law firm regarding the past-due house payments. After a few unanswered messages to my ex, I put the letter in his parents mailbox. (Since I am not on the loan, the mortgage company isn’t allowed to discuss anything with me – I have tried to call and set up a payment plan, with no success.)

Last night at around 9:30 my ex sent me a text saying he and his dad had talked and figured out what to do about the house. Of course, I asked what they decided – it would be nice to know if I need to start packing and looking for a new place. He didn’t answer me, because he likes to keep me guessing on pins and needles. Needless to say, his plan worked and I lost almost an entire night of sleep worrying about where the kids and I will live.

Then this morning rolls around and he finally decides to answer me ( he had gone to drink with his buddies that live downstairs from him last night, which is why he says he didn’t answer me – priorities, right?).

Well, this is what he and his dad “figured out” – his dad will catch up our house payments, but he wants to know what the status is of our relationship first. Also, he wants my ex to move back in with us and find a job in our hometown. Not only that, but he wants my ex to come back now. Like, today. He offered to take care of our bills until my ex finds work.

If you’re having trouble getting this straight like I was at first, let me lay it out for you like my best friend did for me: they are basically using my home as blackmail to get me to throw out the divorce papers. If I stay and let my ex move back in and give it yet another try, the kids get to keep the home they’ve grown up in. If I say no, they will most likely put it on the market.

Is this real life?!?!?!?

I spent my entire day in a total panic. After all the years I begged him to move back, he wants to do it now??? He’s going to just up and quit his job, so if I leave he won’t have to pay child support???

And then something occurred to me – I was being played. Again. So I decided to test him. I sent him a text saying his dad was right, and not only that but there’s an emergency with his oldest son so he should definitely come home as soon as he possibly can.

His response? He can’t come home – they start a huge job on Saturday that will last until fall and he has too much to do to come home before it starts. So there’s that. Acting like things are going to change so he can suck me back in, just to take back everything he had said only hours later. So he was telling me everything he thought I wanted to hear (I’m going to move home, I’m going to see the kids more, blah, blah) and the minute I actually held him to what he was saying, he backtracked. And then he stopped talking to me.

Narcissists don’t care what kind of attention they’re getting, as long as they’re getting it. They will do and say just about anything to sneak back into your life.

Whatever happens, I plan to start looking for a place that will belong to just me. And the kids, of course. You can’t give a narcissist anything they can use to hold over your head, or they will use it against you.

Another lesson learned, I guess. He will go as low as using blackmail to get me to stay, even using his parents in his game now. Just when I think he can’t go any lower, he always surprises me.

Today was crap, but now I know what I need to do.

Never underestimate a narcissist – when they appear to be helping, they more than likely have an ulterior motive. Always be aware.

No More Chances

If your relationship with a narcissistic partner went anything like mine, you found yourself wasting far too much time trying to not only explain your feelings, but also trying to get the narcissist to understand. Or maybe even to care about the way you felt (haha). You would send endless texts baring your soul, suggesting ways to fix the relationship, attempting to address all the issues that needed to be discussed. You would send links to articles you felt could be beneficial to your relationship. You tried to coax them into couples therapy. You tried everything, talking until you were blue in the face, frantic to find a solution to fix this relationship.

In response, your narcissist would stonewall you (my ex’s #1 personal favorite), gaslight you, minimize your feelings, completely dismiss what you said and instead comment on the weather… Their apathy would infuriate you and their control tactics would cause you to question your sanity. The narcissist is loving all the energy and power they are getting out of seeing your misery.

Everything I stated above is why I will never miss my ex. Ever.

A few days ago, he sent me a message asking “When did you become so unhappy with us?” I wanted to throw my phone.

Instead, I laughed. I laughed hard.

Now that I can see his behaviors and tactics for what they are, this was a pathetic attempt at roping me back into the cycle of abuse. “Oh, I never realized you were so unhappy. Let me fix this” probably could have sucked me back in at one point in time, but not anymore.

Now I am in a place where I can call him out on his bullshit. When did I become so unhappy?!?!?Are you kidding me?!?!? If he honestly doesn’t know the answer to that (which I can guarantee he does), then he must be a complete idiot. By asking me that question, he is telling me that he has never listened to one thing I have said in the past few years. That he didn’t read the articles I sent him. That he was ignoring all my attempts at fixing things.

And you know what? Nothing has changed. If I were to fall for this, it would be the same thing. The same issues would still exist, as would his refusal to address any of them.

The more you educate yourself on the tactics of narcissists, the more you can protect yourself from the manipulation.

Do not fall for it.

Remember, you deserve better than that.

Getting Over the Mind Games

Last night was exhausting. My ex decided to get wasted and send me a barrage of text messages implying that he was going to kill himself. He has pulled this crap with me multiple times in the past and it would always end with me listing off all the reasons he is a great person (haha) and how much it would devastate the kids and I to lose him.

Not this time.

You see, I’m too mentally exhausted to engage in his games anymore. I can’t tell him he is a wonderful person and we need him around without vomiting in my mouth a little. I’m not going to stroke his ego and feed him a bunch of lies to stop him from whatever he may (but won’t) do.

So I sent him the number to the Suicide Prevention Hotline and told him that I hope he gets help for the kids sake, but there is nothing else I can do to help him anymore. He sent me one last text saying “F### it!!!!” and I went to bed, no response to him.

This morning I received a text saying “You’re crazy if you think I’m going to kill myself. BYE!!!”

Wow. Now that is one perfect example of gaslighting. He’s going to threaten suicide and then call me crazy?!? See, he’s angry now that I didn’t fall into his trap. He is pissed that I didn’t react in the same way I used to, he didn’t get that ego stroke he was searching for. And since I’m the one who didn’t fall for it, I’m the “bad guy” now.

I know the day is coming where he will find a replacement for me and start sucking the life from some new girl, and then he will no longer have any use for the kids and I. And as sorry as I feel for this unsuspecting victim, I wish she would hurry up and take the focus off me. I want peace in my life, and even from 500 miles away my ex can still find ways to make me miserable.

So here’s to you, “Dirk” – GO THE EFF AWAY, WE DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU!!!!!!