I started this blog at the end of October 2011– I’ve been working forwards, backwards and sideways to tell my story— to paint the entire picture. I still have pieces to fill in…in less than 8 weeks, I’ve received over 9,000 hits on my blog.
I’ve received emails and messages from women who have laughed and cried while reading my story. Women who thanked me because they felt so alone and had no idea that “this” was happening to other people. In the very beginning, I would have loved to connect with one other person in the world who could tell me that “everything was going to be okay”. There were so many times that I doubted that.
Today I was accepted as an “Expert” on About.Com and through my research on this topic, I am healing more than I ever thought possible. Today, I came across an article called, “Staying Sane While Divorcing a Narcissist” and it covered so many things that baffled me before I truly understood narcissism.
These are the characteristics of a Narcissist that rang true in my X husband (taken from Cathy Meyer’s Article)- not one item…but ALL seventeen:
- Has a need for admiration,
- A need to be right,
- A need to be seen as the good guy,
- A need to criticize when you don’t meet their need,
- Is charismatic and successful,
- Lacks the ability to feel remorse,
- Has no conscience,
- Has a tremendous need to control you and the situation,
- Have values are situational…if you believe infidelity is wrong, so do they,
- Uses a facade of caring and understanding to manipulate,
- Is emotionally unavailable,
- Nothing is ever their fault,
- Hangs onto resentment,
- Has a grandiose sense of self,
- Feels misunderstood,
- Is not interested in solving marital problems, it is their way or the highway,
- Is envious of other’s success,
Here are some of the things which caused me to have “Ah ha!” moments in the article:
1. When divorcing a narcissist, Dr. Bansckick says, “he completely dismisses any of your needs, or all the years of devotion and mutual companionship that you had built together.
During our marriage, and prior to my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and having children, I worked between 60-100 hours per week on our businesses. Sometimes I stopped work at 3am for a 30 minutes cat nap only to wake up and put in another full day. I did anything and everything to keep our companies thriving. If you ask him today what I contributed– he would answer nothing and take credit for everything. In his mind, I stayed on the couch eating potato chips and watching television which is the farthest thing from the truth.
2. A narcissist finds it hard to accept that his influence in your life is over. Whether they file for the divorce or you, the narcissist will attempt to remain in control of his influence over your life. If you have children with this person they will work over-time at attempting to control how child support is spent, how child visitation is handled and every other aspect of the co-parenting relationship.
My X doesn’t view child support as his responsibility in the care of our children– he views it as a way to control me. Mentally, I’ve recently shifted the way I view his support (which is currently $25,000 in arrears) and it has allowed me to break free from that control. I am strong and I am capable of providing the basics for my children. We will have to sacrifice the “extras” such as ballet lessons, gymnastic lessons and other fun treats but they have a well-rounded life and we will be okay. He doesn’t have control over me and that is a good feeling.
3. Examine your role in the ongoing conflict. The healthier you are emotionally the more success you will have in dealing with the narcissist. You are giving into the narcissists attempt to manipulate every time you respond to him.
This is something that I came to terms with over the recent year. He is welcome to send a long, attacking rant by email but it is my choice to read them or not. I usually skim over it and respond to the valid questions. I’ve come to view his insane emails as just that– sometimes I just shake my head. Usually, I respond to the required questions with simple, unemotional responses. He doesn’t deserve emotion from me nor will he generate it. I know that’s what he wants and I won’t give in.
4. Deal with the reality of the situation. The world of the narcissist is made up of fantasy, nothing is real, all is a expression of their need to be someone they are not. It is imperative you see the narcissist for who he/she really is and not for whom you wish he/she was.
This is the thing that I need to constantly remind myself of. It’s difficult but the reality is- I can’t hold him to my standards. If I expect him to act in a rational, healthy matter— I am setting myself up for failure. It just isn’t possible because he is NOT a healthy, rational person.
5. You can’t teach or expect the narcissist to ever respect your boundaries. You can, however refuse to allow the narcissist to cross your boundaries and cause you undue stress during the divorce process. This is done by you controlling what behaviors you will and will not allow.
This is a prime example of the past weekend’s visitation fiasco. My X interpreted the new visitation orders the way that he wanted them to read because they way they are written gave him even less control and more restrictions. I made an exception this time but also made it clear that in the future, I would follow the orders exactly as they are stated.
I end this (LONG!) post with a thank-you to Cathy Meyer for an article that resonated with me on every possible level. I also thank you for reading my blog and for the amazing comments and emails that I have been receiving.
In Gratitude— Tina
One Mom’s Battle: Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), Custody Evaluators, therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2009, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother, (Tina Swithin), navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth. Tina’s battle spanned from 2009 – 2014 during which time she acted as her own attorney. Ultimately, Tina was successful in protecting her daughters and her family has enjoyed complete peace since October 2014 when a Family Court commissioner called her ex-husband a “sociopath” and revoked his parenting time in a final custody order.
Tina Swithin: Divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon (print, Kindle or audio format). Each year, Tina offers life-changing weekends of camaraderie and healing at the Lemonade Power Retreat. Tina also offers one-on-one coaching services and a private, secure forum called, The Lemonade Club, for those enduring high-conflict custody battles.