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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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.

What a Long, Strange Trip…

My ex and I were together for fifteen years, married for almost nine of them. When we first began dating I had about ten million awesome friends – they surrounded me at work, in my classes at UMD, on nights out, and in my free time. I was always with a friend, if not a few. Looking back now, it should have been a red flag to me that my ex had a handful of people he considered to be his friends, and he didn’t even seem to like them that much. Relationships weren’t important to him – in fact, he in general despised everyone. What he liked was money. I don’t know why this didn’t concern me more at the time.

Slowly, one by one, he found fault with nearly every one of my close friends. They were bad influences on me, they annoyed him, they were around too often, they were immature – there was always something. So when we moved in together I grew more and more isolated, as he didn’t want my friends in his house.

After a few years, I realized my only social life was at work. I would occasionally go out with my coworkers if I worked the late shift, but pretty soon that wasn’t allowed, either. When he moved to North Dakota for work and I had to stay home with the kids I realized how few friends I still had contact with, but what was I supposed to do? Call them and say “Hey, sorry I’ve been such crap for the past few years, but wanna be friends again now that my ex is gone?” People don’t understand…

I don’t even remember the last time I had a weekend away. I was never “allowed” to do girls weekends or take some time to myself. My twin girls are turning eight next month and I have never spent a weekend away from them. So, now that I am narcissist-free, I bought myself a ticket to a music festival called Revival Fest over Memorial weekend. Three days of no Mom duties listening to great music (Phil Lesh and the Grateful Dead Band!!!!!!!) and camping with awesome friends. I still can’t believe I get to go. But the anxiety and guilt I feel for taking time to myself is ridiculous.

The narcissists condition us to feel guilty when we do things for ourselves. I feel selfish for spending $200 on a ticket and leaving my kids with their (fabulous) babysitter for two nights. And I realize that this is part of my recovery, this is something I will need to learn over time is that I am worth it. I deserve a break just like the next guy.

When you leave an emotionally abusive relationship one of the things you need to do is fill yourself as full of happiness as you possibly can – do new things, meet new people, discover what gives you joy in life. All the things you did for the narcissist at one time, you are now free to do for yourself.

So get out there band have fun – discover yourself and what fills your happy-tank.

And do it guilt-free, because you deserve it.