It’s been a rough 10 months, but a VERY rough 6 months. Realizing you fell out of love with someone you wanted to spend your life with at one point, then having them betray you in a way you wouldn’t have dreamed even for your worse enemy. Learning so much about personality disorders and how nothing in your relationship was ever real but a made up reality was a harsh lesson. These lessons are priceless, and as awful as my life has been, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Knowing about narcissism has made me sensitive to red flags and bullshit all around me. The charming, fake, “nice” person is usually not real and be on watch. It’s not just potential suitors, it is your friends spouses that make them miserable but to everyone else they’re wonderful, it’s your family members, your coworkers, bosses, acquaintances. They’re everywhere and I believe in much higher number than we would ever imagine. I think so many people have narcissistic traits, though not all are off the charts like my ex or as covert which makes him so dangerous.
Learning about this disorder really helped me navigate my separation and I hope it will help others. My separation agreement was FINALLY signed two weeks ago and I am back in the house I bought but it came at a price. I had to buy him out which was bittersweet. He put nothing into the house at the time of purchase, and he benefited from the uplift from my blood sweat and tears working my ass off and saving. It sucked, but now my home is mine and all mine and I will make the money back. The freedom to cut legal ties with him was worth it.
The house was really the easy part, difficult part was dealing with my daughter and our custody issue. On the one hand, I wanted to protect her from her narcissistic father, but on the other hand I had to look at bigger picture and what would damage her more. Narcissistic influence or no father figure. It’s easy to get caught up in our hate and feel like we’re being selfless and protecting our kids, but really we shouldn’t be making this decision for them. If we are doing that, we are no better than the crazy controlling narc. In the end, I agreed to joint physical custody for a few reasons. I never wanted my daughter to think her father didn’t love her, nor did I want her to think I prevented them from having a relationship which I am sure he will say to her anyways. I also realize that with the pattern of narcissists, especially with my husband, he will grow obsessed with something for awhile, then discard it. Unfortunately, he did this with my daughter as a baby. After he grew tired of her newness, he left all the parenting to be and barely spent anytime with her for the next few years of her life. He focused on unrealistic business ideas, a pathetic music ambition, and ways to get rich while not working and not being a good husband or present father.
When I told him I wanted to split, initially I offered him to take our daughter and allow him unlimited visitation because at the time, he had no interest in her. He interpreted it in his own reality that I would be taking her away from him because that is the kind of psycho he is. He then grew obsessed with her, even quitting his job (unbeknownst to me at the time) to be able to pick her up from daycare. Before, he had no interest in dropping her off or picking her up. He did not give her a bath or spend a weekend with her in about 1.5 years other than the occasions I travelled for work. And the days I did travel for work he guilted the shit out of me and immediately would take off as soon as I got back.
His obsession grew so much he tried to get primary custody by filing protective orders and making false claims of child abuse, trying to get what he wanted without actually paying for a lawyer. All his plans inevitably failed but were a disaster to my life and his attempts at alienation took a huge physical toll on our daughter. She started to bed wet and experience painful constipation because she refused to have bowel movements. She was too young to understand or process her father’s emotional abuse.
His bizarre and erratic behaviour prompted me to fight for primary custody, as a mother wants to protect her child against these things. Throughout it all, he never once acknowledged how he harmed her. His insane reality prompted him to blame everyone but himself and deny any wrong doing. It really was like what I experienced in our relationship amplified by 1000 because when we were still together he at least pretended to be a normal nice person. When he realized I did not want to be with him, the mask really dropped and he allowed me to see what person was hiding there all along and it definitely was not who he portrayed himself to be.
I decided to settle on shared custody as I figured he was into the fight more than my daughter’s well being, and also fighting with me also allowed him to stay in contact with me. I have read countless articles on dealing with a narcissist is you have to starve them of attention, then they will move on from you and go to another victim. I did just that. I forced all communication through a coparenting app. Stopped any physical interaction, not even allowing him to come to the door for pick ups or drop offs. My daughter is old enough to come to the door or go to a car without assistance. I was diligent on this for months, not ever allowing my emotions or his prodding for a reaction to get to me. And you know what? IT WORKED.
He used to try to send me several messages a day. I ignored anything that did not have a question or concerned our daughter. Anything that was bullying, I ignored. And anything I did answer, it was with as little words as possible. Can you pick up our daughter if I’m working late? “K”. Can we switch days? “No”. Why are you always so unreasonable? “No response”.
In the last week I noticed he has stopped sending me messages at the same frequency. I also noticed he is giving up his time with our daughter much more. Dropping her off early. Picking her up later. I am going to a wedding on the weekend I offered him time with her that day just to be fair, and he declined. I believe my intuition was right, and he will eventually grow tired of her as the fight is gone and he has probably moved on to a new victim to get a new source of narcissistic supply.
I have had many times to destroy him by abusing the legal and family law system along the way. I declined to do to him what he did to me, because I want to move on and not become a cruel person just because someone hurt me. Trauma is the only thing that can change your behaviour, a lot of people let it change them for the worse. I choose to not be that person who comes out of divorce and a failed relationship bitter and cruel. I will never be the same naive trusting person again, but I am at peace now and I learned and will continue to believe MOST people are good at heart, and search to spend time with like minded people. No toxicity allowed in my newly smudged home, but more on smudging later.