divorcing a control freak

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

divorcing a control freak

 

I had never considered my husband a control freak. But as we were ending our marriage, I saw his need to control blossom into something ugly.

At that point, I reflected back over our marriage (for the millionth time?) and realized it had been there all along. I think I had largely overlooked it because I just wanted to get along.

Plus there were other hurtful behaviors that actually trumped this one.

Our divorce kicked off with some controlling behavior. What I had hoped would be a dissolution upgraded to a divorce when my husband sent the Sheriff to our home to serve me with divorce papers.

In those papers were restraining orders. He was trying to prevent me from accepting a job in my hometown. It was the best job opportunity that I could’ve received at that time. Many years ago, we had jointly decided that he would financially support our family while I basically stayed home with our four children.

But when the divorce started, he shut down all of my access to our finances. Then he tried to block my ability to provide for myself and the children. I was in an impossible spot, and needed solutions. Eventually, I came up with six strategies to handle divorcing a control freak.

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

1. Limit his opportunities to control. I created an email account just for him and refused to communicate with him in any other way. I informed him that I would no longer speak with him in person, nor would I answer his texts. If he needed to give me information quickly (maybe running late to pick up the kids), he could text someone in my support system and they would immediately let me know. The email account was actually my attorney’s idea. It limited my ex’s ability to control me and made a permanent record out of everything he said.

Along that same vein…

2. Create witnesses. After I made an email account just for him, I realized I could improve upon the idea even further. I made sure he knew that I would not be reading his emails. The people who supported me took turns reading emails from my ex. They only passed along the information that I actually needed to know, usually details about the kids.

I was never made aware of the drama, threats or speeches. My ex was intensely upset about this, but I stuck with it. I cannot even express how much stress this lifted from me. And yes, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have such a wonderful support system!

3. Move, if you can. This was a tricky situation because my attorney and I decided that I would drop all of the kids off at their father’s new place, and then I’d move to my hometown. Their father had never wanted to be involved in parenting, and I knew that among other issues, the children would get really upset by his parenting and personality.

Within two weeks, all four of the children had found a way to move out of their dad’s home. Thankfully, the courts later interviewed all of them and allowed the children to move so they could live with me. The kids had been so understanding, but this calculated risk frightened me and filled me with guilt. The move was for a job opportunity and creating a better life for the kids and me. But it also ended up playing a significant role in my healing and creating boundaries. I believe it saved me.

4. Document. It felt like I would be stooping so low to record or videotape my ex, even though he was consistently doing that to me. But one day he called the police on me because our son rode the school bus to where his Pappaw was instead of where his father lived.

Once the officer understood how upset the children were, he explained that it could really help the kids and me if I were to record them being forced to visit their dad. Once my ex understood that I would be openly recording, he backed off on forcing visits. (Disclaimer: If children can be/feel healthy in their relationships with BOTH parents, I believe this is best. I don’t want to sound anti-dad. I’ve met some men that are amazing dads!)

5. Neutral territory. Two of our children visit with their father, and whenever we exchanged the children I insisted that we do so in a very public location. I had noticed that my ex’s controlling behavior was always bolder when we were at our homes or another private place. I’m very lucky because my father usually offers to do pick-ups/drop-offs. Pappaw has clocked in some major hours driving the 90-minute trek to my ex’s house with some very precious cargo.

6. My life is no longer his business. I stopped posting on social media for a few years. When I returned, I thinned down my friend count to remove anyone who was also a friend of my ex’s. As far as I know, the children feel pretty protective of me and never mention me or details of my life to their dad. He has tried to come into my home to use the bathroom, but I’m not comfortable with this (there is a nice Subway and gas station just two blocks away). In the past, he has gone through my belongings, and he’s been known to take pictures. I believe the less he knows about me, the less opportunity he has to control me.

There are almost always better ways to handle relationship issues than with control and force. Where’s the finesse, patience, compromise, and understanding? We have the right to be treated with respect. Plus, when we do stand up for ourselves, the other person has an opportunity to self-correct – if they are able. If they are allowed to treat us unfairly, they aren’t going to have an impetus to change. But if this best-case scenario doesn’t work out, and they still remain control-freaks, at least you’ve established some healthy boundaries for yourself.

The post 6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome: Could This Be You?

Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

 

Narcissists are masters of disguise and narcissistic abuse is a form of thought control, it’s emotional manipulation of another person into handing over their mind and will, and thus their thoughts, desires for the narcissist’s personal gain.

A woman suffering from narcissistic abuse syndrome is often disconnected from her own emotional pain. She tends to obsess over her own failures after years of buying into the flaws her narcissistic partner identified in her.

Her mind is often spinning, preoccupied with trying to sort the confusion — the effects of the use of tactics such as gaslighting and word salad on her mind, with intent to distort her reality and impose his own — seeking an explanation for why the narcissist is so miserable, why he treats her the way he does, why he’s so insecure, why they cannot communicate, why he still doesn’t “get” what she’s trying to tell him, and so on.

In other words, what the victim of narcissistic abuse syndrome feels and thinks about herself, life and the narcissist, in most areas, mirrors to some or greater extent what the narcissist wants her to think, believe, feel.

Not every woman involved with a narcissist will suffer from narcissistic abuse syndrome. Those who are in long-term marriages or relationships are more apt to suffer the repercussions of the narcissist’s attempts at controlling, gaslighting and manipulation.

The result of being on the end of narcissistic abuse is the development of PTSD like symptoms. Some of the symptoms of narcissistic abuse syndrome are as follows.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Cognitive

  • confusion
  • nightmares
  • uncertainty
  • hypervigilance
  • suspiciousness
  • intrusive images
  • poor problem solving
  • poor abstract thinking
  • poor attention/ decisions
  • poor concentration memory
  • disorientation of time, place or person
  • heightened or lowered alertness
  • increased or decreased awareness of surroundings

Behavioral

  • withdrawal
  • antisocial acts
  • inability to rest
  • intensified pacing
  • change in social interactions
  • loss or increase of appetite
  • hyperalert to environment
  • increased alcohol consumption
  • change in usual communications

Emotional

  • fear
  • guilt
  • grief
  • panic
  • denial
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • irritability
  • depression
  • intense anger
  • apprehension
  • emotional shock
  • emotional outbursts
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • loss of emotional control
  • inappropriate emotional response

The end result of a relationship with a narcissist is a slow, insidious, breaking down of the self-esteem of his victims until there’s next to nothing left, at which point, the narcissist will frequently throw his partner out in order to look for someone new and full of life to make his next target. Leaving his victim an emotional wreck wondering what she did to destroy their once “perfect” relationship.

Victims are not only spouses. They can be coworkers, employees, children, or friends of narcissists. When the narcissist is the victim’s mother or father, it’s a difficult spot to be in, as most children (even grown children) find it almost impossible to leave the relationship. And the abuse continues for years.

If you think that you or someone that you love is struggling with narcissistic abuse syndrome, it’s important that you seek help. Not only should you make a conscious effort to put the narcissist out of the picture, but you should seek some treatment from a certified professional trained in treating PTSD.

4 Ways to Deal with Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Educate Yourself

Learn all you can about narcissistic abuse. Don’t learn all you can about the narcissist. Knowing what makes him tick, won’t undo the damage he has done. Focus on the symptoms you’re experiencing and the tools you need to utilize to help you heal.

Respect Your Boundaries

The key to setting boundaries with a narcissist is to stick to them. You will want to communicate clearly and directly each time. If you make a mistake and find that you “lose it” or say something wrong, just keep practicing and be accountable for your behavior.

Assert Yourself

Know what you want and fight for what you want. Don’t engage in power struggles with your narcissist. In fact, don’t engage with your narcissist at all. The best way to be assertive with a narcissist is to go completely no contact.

Get Help

Get support, seek therapy, and figure out how to move forward with your life without the narcissist partner involved. You don’t need to stick it out with him; it’s your life, and they don’t own it.

Prioritize your own happiness and sanity. In many cases, you might not have a choice, so when you do – get out, now.

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Personality Traits That Attract a Narcissist

What Personality Traits are Narcissists Attracted To?

Personality Traits That Attract a Narcissist

 

I’m going to say that narcissists are attracted to everything they aren’t. If you want to feel wealthy you dress well, act superior and surround yourself with wealthy people. You may not have money in the bank, but your lifestyle says WEALTHY.

We all know there are certain traits missing in the narcissist’s makeup. The narcissist knows this also so, he is going to be attracted to those who, as he needs, make him look good. The narcissist is an empty shell but, they are intelligent enough to know that if they are going to appear likable and become socially accepted, they must attach themselves to someone whose skirt tails they can ride.

Personality Traits That Attract a Narcissist:

  • Intelligence.
  • Being empathetic and compassionate.
  • Having humanitarian interests.
  • Showing heart.
  • Able to express empathy and compassion.
  • High moral compass.
  • Sincerity, warm-heartedness and inner beauty.
  • Being genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of others.
  • Emotional maturity.
  • Friendliness and a love for life. Positive mental attitude.
  • Spirit- an open and happy spirit.
  • Success and achievements.
  • Hierarchy or societal place on the ‘social ladder.’
  • Resources- materialistic blessings or achievements.
  • Unique talents, gifts, and abilities.
  • A genuine care for others, animals and the world.
  • Shyness and insecurities.
  • Someone easily shapeable.
  • Inner beauty.
  • External beauty and someone they can ‘show off.’

You’ll notice, grouped in with those traits is, shyness, insecurities and easily shapeable. That’s the key, they want someone who appears to have it all together on the surface but struggles with self-esteem issues, codependency issues and will to change to please the narcissist. They want a woman to reflect well upon them, but they also want one they can manipulate.

I remember being constantly complimented by my ex because of my volunteer work, my looks, my chosen career, and my love of animals. On the other hand, he was very interested in family of origin issues I dealt with and how those had impacted me.

I made the mistake of confusing his interest with caring and concern. I know now that what he was doing was arming himself with ammunition to use when we got to the manipulation phase of our relationship. Feigning interest in issues you find difficult to deal with is all part of the manipulation game they play.

How Does a Woman Keep from Being the Victim of a Narcissist?

Below are some questions you need to ask yourself. Protecting yourself from a narcissist has a lot to do with how secure your boundaries are and how much bad behavior you’ll accept in a relationship.

Have you ever ended a relationship because the other person was too selfish? 

Or, do you make excuses and blame yourself for not giving enough in the relationship?

Do you have clear boundaries that you enforce about what types of behaviors you will or will not tolerate from a romantic partner?

If a relationship began wonderfully, but quickly goes downhill, do you stay in it hoping that it will improve?

Does being “in love” trump being treated well?

Do you put up with being devalued?

Do you make excuses for the other person’s bad behavior? They don’t really mean it. They had a hard day.

If the person’s behavior turns abusive do you leave immediately?

If you answered yes to any of these questions or, you’re unsure how you would respond in the situation, you’re exactly the type of woman a narcissist is attracted to. You’re the woman who will hold on when she should have let go. You’re the woman who’ll find herself trying to recover from narcissistic abuse and wondering what the hell happened to that wonderful man she fell in love with.

Don’t be that woman!

Bottom Line:

If you find yourself in a relationship with a man who makes you feel uncomfortable or regularly manipulates you into doing things you don’t want to do, he is probably not right for you. Whether he is a narcissist or not, it’s imperative to learn to trust your gut and not accept bad behavior regardless of how you feel about a man. That is what will keep you from ever becoming the victim of a narcissist.

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5 Reasons a Passive Aggressive Man’s Love Comes With a Big Price Tag

5 Reasons a Passive Aggressive Man’s Love Comes With a Big Price Tag

Passive Aggressive Man Mask.jpg

If you were married to him, you know what I’m talking about. If you have divorced a passive aggressive you SURELY know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t, be on the look-out because chances are you will cross paths with a passive aggressive man.

Who is the passive aggressive man? He is that guy who avoids responsibility and conflict through passivity and withdrawal. He is the “Nice Guy” who reels you in with his adoration and once you are in the game he turns the tables so quickly your head will swim until you decide to take a hike.

But what is passive aggressive behavior and how do you recognize passive aggressive men?

5 Reasons the Passive Aggressive Man’s Love Comes With a Big Price Tag

He…

Withholds to Punish: He says one thing but means another. Sure, he wants to go to a movie. He even appears to enjoy himself until later that night when he rejects you sexually. You see, he didn’t want to go to a movie but, his passivity would not allow him to own it. His fear of conflict means punishing you in covert ways for something you “made” him do. What better way to punish than withholding something he knows you want?

Fears Conflict: He will do anything to keep from arguing with you. He has been taught that anger is unacceptable. Well, expressing anger in an open, honest way is unacceptable and is not something you will get from this guy. What you will get is a relationship with a man who avoids solving relationship problems, avoids taking responsibility for problems in the relationship and most importantly avoids making an intimate connection with you.

Why? A passive aggressive man will always choose to avoid conflict because he has come to experience conflict or disagreement as terrifying. He may have a great desire to connect with you emotionally but they don’t have the tools required for them to do so. For this reason, the retreat from those they love because of their fear that something will go wrong or they will be rejected.

In other words, they forfeit a relationship they long for, out of fear and, basically cause their worst fear to come true. Not only do they break your heart, they break their own heart by constantly giving up on relationships. When your passive aggressive husband starts avoiding conflict, it’s the beginning of the end of his emotional attachment to you and the relationship.

Plays The Victim: This poor guy can’t win for losing; not in his mind anyway. He will not show for a dinner date but find it unreasonable that you are upset. It is, after all, his bosses fault for making him work late. He could have picked his cell phone up and called but calling isn’t nearly as pleasurable as letting you sit and wait. You waiting on him gets his angries out at you.

He gets to punish you and blame his boss…he is off the hook, a “good guy” who is the victim of an unreasonable woman AND boss who both expect too much from him.

How does the passive aggressive benefit by playing the victim? When they play the “poor me” card it elicits other’s sympathy and offers of help. He enjoys being noticed and validated in such a way. Being a victim is also a great excuse for not confronting difficult life issues…avoiding conflict, again.

If he is viewing himself as a victim he can remain passive and not be held responsible for his bad behavior. This enables him to shift responsibility for his own misery off onto you.

As long as he is holding onto the victim role he puts himself in a low-risk, take no chances position. It’s all your fault since it’s your fault you should be the one to fix the problem! He is off the hook.

Is Forgetful: He forgets birthdays, anniversaries, anything important to you will be forgotten by him. My ex used to forget he needed something from me until the last minute.  If there was a social event related to his work, I would get notice the day before. I spent a lot of time running around trying to prepare for something in a few hours that would normally take days.

Is Afraid of You: They want you but they don’t want to become attached to you. He is in a constant battle with himself to pursue you then distance himself from you.  According to Scott Wetlzer, author of Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man: Coping with Hidden Aggression – From the Bedroom to the Boardroom.

The passive aggressive man is “unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn’t depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit. Relationships can become battlegrounds, where he can only claim victory if he denies his need for your support.”

You have a lot of anger toward the passive aggressive man you are involved with. You just can’t figure out exactly what you are angry about. He is sweet, kind and loving. He never argues, does exactly what you wish. There must be something wrong with you or such a good man would want to have sex with you, remember your birthday, put effort into solving the problems in the relationship or just show up on time every once in a while.

And that is the trap women who are involved with passive aggressive men fall into, they become responsible for all that is wrong in the relationship. He keeps you hanging in by doing for you when he doesn’t want to, by never arguing, by being such a nice guy. All those puzzling behaviors that send the opposite message that the other negative behaviors send.

That is why they call it “crazy-making” behavior. The passive aggressive man is very good at appearing to be calm, cool and collected while you are going off the deep end. It isn’t his intent to frustrate, offend or cause you to feel guilty. He truly does only want to help.

The only issue, the kind of help he has to offer comes with a price. He has expectations he is unable to openly express and when you don’t meet those expectations you get resentment and covert punishment. And, you should never expect your expectations to be met, not even when you’ve expressed them in a clear, easy to understand fashion.

Want a relationship with a passive aggressive man to last? Become a mind reader and keep your expectations low.

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relationship with a narcissist

15 Rights You’ll Give Up In a Relationship With a Narcissist

relationship with a narcissist

 

The following is a list of basic rights that should always be present in any relationship, but are missing in a relationship with a narcissist.

What you will get in a relationship with a narcissist, however, is emotional abuse. That’s what narcissists do; they emotionally abuse others to get their needs met.

Victims of emotional abuse are unsure if their experience can be justifiably defined as emotional abuse. Simply put, emotional abuse can be defined as any kind of behavior that is meant to subjugate or control another person by using humiliation, fear, and verbal assaults.

It can be as obvious as constant criticism and verbal abuse or as subtle as manipulation, intimidations, and consistently being impossible to please. It works as a form of brainwashing, tearing away at a person’s levels of self-confidence, self-worth, their trust in their perceptions, and their general sense of self. It can be done through belittling, constant berating, or intimidation. Sometimes, it can be hidden and disguised as advice, teaching, or guidance.

If you have experienced emotional abuse from a narcissist, it is okay for you to feel like you deserve better. It’s also okay to not know what better is, or what you deserve.

The following list is not only rights you give up in a relationship with a narcissist, but they are also rights you’ll have when in a healthy relationship.

15 Rights You’ll Give Up in a Relationship With a Narcissist

1. The right to receive emotional support.

2. The right to make your own choices without fear of judgment or criticism.

3. The right to feel as though your partner has nothing but good intentions towards you.

4. The right to receive encouragement from your partner.

5. The right to not fear rage or any other form of angry outburst from your partner.

6. The right to not fear your partner blaming you or accusing you of things.

7. The right to be called only names that you approve of.

8. The right to have your own views and opinions, even if they differ from your partner’s.

9. The right to be asked to do things instead of ordered by your partner.

10. The right to not fear physical threats or emotional harm from your partner.

11. The right to receive concise answers that deliver clear information on any matter that is of any legitimate concern of yours.

12. The right to feel as though your personal experiences and the things that you feel are real and valid.

13. The right to feel heard by your partner and communicated with on a polite and equal level.

14. The right to resolve any conflicts and receive a genuine apology for jokes that hurt or offend you.

15. The right to feel as though your hobbies, interests, and work are respected.

It is common for those who’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist to have a warped view of what they deserve from a relationship. If you believe you deserve negative treatment, you’re more likely to find yourself in a position where you’ll end up in another emotionally abusive relationship.

The list above should cement, in your mind and heart what you are deserving of in a relationship. Your road to recovery from narcissistic abuse begins with how you feel about yourself.

Do you believe you are worthy of better treatment?

Do you believe you are worthy of value and respect?

Do you treat yourself kindly and desire the same from others?

If you answered yes to those questions, with the list above and the knowledge that you deserve better, you’re well on your road to recovery.

If those questions tripped you up, if you aren’t in a healthy place as far as self-esteem, I’ve gifted you a list of what you deserve, not only from yourself but a relationship partner. Now, take that list and go get to work on healing your damaged self-esteem.

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narcissistic ex-husband

4 Things To Keep In Mind When Dealing With a Narcissistic Ex-Husband

narcissistic ex-husband

 

Marriage is meant to be a beautiful thing experienced between two individuals who care for and support one another as equals. It is a rarity for someone to be dealing with a genuinely narcissistic individual as a life partner, but these situations do exist.

There are times when even after the divorce has been finalized, the other partner still has to deal with their narcissistic ex-husband for one reason or another.

These reasons can include having mutual friends or even having children with each other. Regardless of why there are ways that you can keep your distance and deal with having to face your narcissistic ex-husband once in a while for reasons that are out of your control.

How to Deal With a Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Keep Everyone Involved in Mind

Even if you were not married, there was still a “divorce” of sorts that took place between you and your now ex-partner. When two individuals decide to part ways, especially if they were together for a long period of time, it is generally more than just the two of them that are affected.

If you do not maintain boundaries for yourself, if you have children together, then this type of boundary-stepping can also affect the dynamic there. Being raised by a narcissist does its own kind of damage.

Maintain Your Personal Boundaries

By coming to the understanding that you have experienced a real separation for a purpose, it can become easier to deal with the definitive ending of your relationship with a narcissistic individual. Sometimes narcissistic individuals will try to hang on to some semblance of a relationship with their ex-spouses, even after the separation. If this is allowed to happen, then the relationship between them continues in a dysfunctional and unhealthy way.

Many narcissists like the idea of having multiple wives, in a sense. One to take care of their emotional needs and another to take care of their physical demands at home. Being firm with your ex-husband and setting boundaries between you can help to prevent this type of inappropriate “sister wife” situation from forming.

Personal Safety is Key

If you do not feel safe in your own home, then there are steps you can take to reestablish your sense of personal safety. Let’s say that you live in a home that you shared with your narcissistic ex-husband for many years. Perhaps he knows the home and the area like the back of his hand and you no longer feel comfortable living in the area, now that you have divorced.

Whether you have a restraining order on your ex-husband or not, there is no reason why you should have to live in a state of constantly looking over your shoulder. You can either choose to move to a new home or you can invest in something like a high-tech smart security system to protect yourself.

Remember That It’s Your Life

While you may have to interact with your narcissistic ex-husband, unless they are court-ordered to maintain a certain distance from you, that does not mean that you have to deal with them in any way outside of the necessary interactions. If you have to speak to your ex, due to matters having to do with your children or business-related manners, there is no reason to give in to any of their expectations on what they want from you beyond these short interactions.

Being polite and civil is different than spilling all of your most intimate information. You do not have to answer any of their personal questions if you do not feel comfortable in doing so. Since you are split up, there is no longer any reason why you should have to answer any questions they may have on your whereabouts, who you are seeing, and what you have been doing without them around.

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

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why does the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuse others

Why Does The Narcissist Emotionally And Psychologically Abuse Others?

why does the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuse others

 

I’ve researched narcissism for years. Have worked with narcissistic clients and those who’ve been harmed by a narcissist. There is one thing they all want to know, “why am I this way, or, why is he that way?”

Why does the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuse others?

If you’ve ever suffered narcissistic abuse, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to understand what makes a narcissist tick. Why they behave the way they do, why did you fall prey to your narcissist?

If we’ve been hurt by someone we love it’s only natural to want to find understanding in what happened. We believe that if we can only understand our pain will lessen.

So, whether you’re a therapist, researcher or victim, there is an interest in knowing why the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses.

There are many theories. Probably as many theories about why the narcissist is narcissistic as there are people wondering why.

Some of the possible reasons’ the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses others:

  • They were abused as a child.
  • They were emotionally abandoned by their mothers as a child.
  • They were abandoned by their fathers as a child.
  • They suffer from a form of attachment disorder.
  • Their needs weren’t met as a child.
  • They weren’t shown love as a child, as a result, never learned how to love.
  • They weren’t taught how to love themselves as a child.
  • They were raised to believe that they are better than others.

Here is what I’ve determined: It doesn’t matter why the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses others.

The why, I’m definitely sure has to do with family of origin issues and the reasons may be as varied as the damage done in a particular narcissist’s family.

If you’re ever going to understand why your narcissist abused you, the answer more than likely lies in his family history. You’ll get a better understanding of what happened to you by understanding what happened to him as a child.

But, again, why does it matter?

Why spend the time and energy on trying to figure him out when your time it is better spent on healing and moving forward with your life?

I can tell you from experience that no amount of understanding is going to lessen your pain. Once I fully understood my ex’s behaviors and actions, my pain was still there. Nothing was going to take care of the emotional pain I felt after years of abuse and losing someone I loved except TIME.

I also exhausted myself and put more focus into trying to figure him out than I did taking care of myself. The deeper I dug into information online and his family history the more I became entangled with him and we were divorced!

When I thought about the stories I’d heard about his mother and his absent father the more empathy I felt for a man who was trying to destroy me via the family court system. That isn’t when you want to feel empathy for someone!

Narcissistic men attach themselves to empathetic, kind, and caring women. We’re an easy target during the dating period, marriage and even during the divorce process. Our tender hearts can hold us back from doing what needs to be done when divorcing a narcissist…fight fire with fire!

I remember my neighbor telling me about seeing my ex in the grocery store shortly after he’d left home. Her words, “he looks like the walking wounded,” wounded me. I instantly wanted to bring him home, take care of him and fix him.

I wanted to excuse his behavior, just as I’d done during the marriage and make excuses for him instead of setting boundaries WITH him instead of taking care of myself.

If you’re like me and have dealt with or, you’re now dealing with understanding why the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses, I’m sure you’ve made excuses for them also.

  • “He had a rough childhood.”
  • “He had a terrible mom who never loved him.”
  • “He had an absent father and craves love and attention that he didn’t get in childhood.”
  • “He is wounded, so he is lashing out at me from a place of pain.”
  • “He is afraid to be vulnerable with me because he is afraid of abandonment.”
  • “The stress of years of damage has caused him to snap.”
  • “If I had a second chance, I could love all that damage out of him.”

After he left, I made the same excuses for his deplorable treatment of me that I had made during the marriage. Such excuses on my part not only kept me emotionally tied to him but also kept me from moving toward healing from what he had done to me.

Not all people who were abused grow into abusers. I was in bed one night, ruminating on him and his behavior when it hit me…I didn’t have a perfect childhood, but I CHOOSE not to abuse others.

My father was an alcoholic. My mother enabled his alcoholism. I was sexually abused as a child by a family friend. I experienced a tremendous amount of trauma as a child. You know what I did about it, I got therapy! I learned to deal with my childhood to keep it from impacting others negatively.

I lay there and thought to myself, “Hell compared to my childhood he led a pretty cushy life.” That’s when I realized exactly why narcissists abuse emotionally and psychologically others.

Because they can!

They have free will. No one is holding a gun to their heads and making them abuse those closest to them. They know right from wrong. I had witnessed my ex doing the right thing many, many, many times during our marriage.

With certainty, I finally knew he was mistreating our children and me because he was making the choice to mistreat us. It was within his power to treat us civilly and respectfully; he was choosing not to.

I talked with my therapist about my thoughts and his response was, “emotional problems are no excuse for bad behavior.” And he was right. I didn’t have to make excuses for my ex, I no longer felt the desire to understand why he did the things he did. I was ready to focus on myself and recovering from the abuse.

Narcissists emotionally and psychologically abuse because they are bullies. They destroy women, families, and children and cause grave harm because they are bullies. Bullies with bad childhoods but it isn’t my job or your job to fix a bully who doesn’t want to be fixed or feel he needs to be fixed.

You are not responsible for their actions. You are not responsible for their feelings. You are not responsible for their actions. You are not here to take abuse from them or anyone else and that’s what your quest to “understand” is causing…more abuse for you.

When we let go of the need to understand and figure out “why,” we let go of the narcissist and begin to heal. Are you ready to let go? Are you ready to heal?

The post Why Does The Narcissist Emotionally And Psychologically Abuse Others? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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What Happens To Men Who Defy Divorce Court Orders? NOTHING!

divorce court order

What Happens To Men Who Defy Divorce Court Orders? NOTHING!

Over the years, I’ve spoken to many women whose ex-husbands were defying divorce court orders to pay child support. What most of them have learned when they take their ex back to court for contempt is that judges rarely throw a deadbeat in jail. They threaten to do so, but in my opinion, it isn’t often that a judge will follow through on a threat.

Not enforcing a court order undermines a woman’s ability to care for her children. For some reason though, a judge seems more concerned with how being jailed will negatively affect a deadbeat father. It isn’t only child support orders that aren’t enforced — in the Family Court System, it’s any order.

In September of 2014, my former husband and I finally went back to court on the post-majority expense issue and another issue having to do with housing. My ex was ordered to pay 93% of our son’s college expenses. He angered the judge by behaving arrogantly so the judge retaliated by slamming him with 93% of the expenses. However, with grants and scholarships, my former husband would have only had to pay a couple of thousand dollars a year. It wasn’t like the man was going to go broke helping his son with college expenses.

The judge also ordered him to follow through on the agreement he had made with me for housing dating back to September of 2010. The judge did something that I thought was very odd. He read into the court record what he had ordered and then he told both lawyers to get together and come to an agreement on how the order would be worded. Once the lawyers had come to an agreement, the judge would write the order and sign it.

My lawyer immediately contacted my ex-husband’s lawyer trying to come to an agreement on the wording. That wasn’t an easy task. When a man has been ordered to pay and do things he doesn’t want to do, his lawyer will drag his feet because the last thing he wants is an order signed by a judge.

I had a son in college who wasn’t getting any help from his father with his expenses and the housing issue was hanging over my head. I was constantly stressed over not knowing from one day to the next if I was going to lose my home. Nine months later, I was still stressed out.

Finally, after motions by my lawyer and threats from the judge, we had an agreement on the wording. In July 2015, the judge signed an order, nearly ten months to the day after we had gone to court. It was an order that my former husband never had any intention of following in the first place.

Shortly after leaving the marriage, my ex developed a sense of entitlement. Having children to care for emotionally and financially no longer fit into his agenda. He did the least he could do as far as supporting them and obstinately refused to do more even though it had been court-ordered. What he has done to them emotionally would cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand up.

He scoffed at the July 2015 court order just as he had all the other court orders. He was court-ordered to sign mortgage documents on a substitute home for his children. Instead, he went out within days of getting the order and signed mortgage documents for a home he was building for himself. It was a blatant snub and he got away with it.

I took him back to court for contempt of court…once again. The judge yelled at him and threatened to throw him and his lawyer in jail that day. The judge ruled from the bench in February of 2016 telling my ex that he had 60 days to comply with the original decree of divorce, which had been written in September 2010 or he would go to jail.

My ex never saw the inside of a jail and never will because judges don’t enforce court orders. To hell with those annoying written laws, the laws that mandate a judge punish someone for defying court orders. It’s those unwritten laws that determine what really happens when defiance occurs and nine times out of ten, nothing happens.

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Maddie’s Story: How I Fell In Love With a Narcissist

fell in love with a narcissist

I fell in love with a narcissist and lived to regret it.

 

The night we met, the moment I saw him, I wanted to get to know him. He didn’t make a move, though. Every time I smiled at him, he smiled back. I caught him looking at me several times but, that was as far as it got.

Connie and I left and went to another local bar. We sat at a table with friends and were talking. Within a few minutes, I looked up and saw HIM and his friends walk in and sit down. They sat next to an empty table. Connie and I got up, went out the back exit and back in through the main entrance. We sat at that empty table next to where he and his friends were sitting.

I was determined to have at least a conversation with him and, where there is a will, there is a way. I was determined to make it happen. You have no idea how many times I’ve asked myself since that night why I didn’t just let it slide. If wishes were horses, this beggar would be riding a damn fast one!

When we sat down next to his table, he felt the movement and turned to look. He saw me and a HUGE smile swept across his face. With that smile, he sealed the deal and I welcomed him in with no awareness of what that would mean for our children and me.

He was easy to fall in love with. He dropped a love bomb on me that no woman could have resisted. Unless, of course, she didn’t care for dimples and blue eyes.

What do I mean by love bomb, think flattering comments, tokens of affection, or love notes on the mirror, kitchen table, or windshield, or, flowers sent to my workplace. He pulled out all the stops. Within a month I couldn’t imagine life without him. I was full throttle in love.

What were some things he did to reel me in?

He was a jeans and T-shirt guy. I liked my men buttoned down. He went out and purchased 6 Izod buttoned-down shirts.

At least twice a week he would drop by work to take me to lunch.

Every time we got in his car he would reach over and buckle my seatbelt.

If I left his apartment in the middle of the night to go home, he’d give me time enough to get home and call to make sure I was there and safe.

He told me I was beautiful but not often enough that it would sound manipulative or cheesy.

He loved my friends and family. He genuinely appeared to enjoy their company and was always willing to spend time with them.

He shared his life with me. I didn’t have to dig for information about him, he readily volunteered it. He entertained me with stories of growing up with 8 brothers. He shared with me what it was like living in a mining community in Alaska and fishing for Salmon on a big fishing boat. He had led a life of adventure. I was a small town girl whose head was turned by phrases like, “I’ll take you there sometime.”

We planned our first sleepover, and he picked me up and took me to a local department store. He purchased new sheets, pillows, and a comforter and duvet. “Only the best for my girl,” he said. Imagine that? He wasn’t just thinking about getting in my pants. He wanted me to feel comfortable and cozy while he was in my pants. That’s the kind of shit that will make a girl swoon.

Two of my favorite things back then were Dr. Pepper and Snickers candy bars. On Valentine’s Day, he gave me a dozen roses and a gift basket with a dozen Dr. Peppers and a dozen Snicker’s bars. Imagine that, he had been paying enough attention that he knew my favorite soft drink and candy bar.

If I liked Chinese food, so did he. If I like riding Rollercoasters, so did he. He liked EVERYTHING I liked. I like romantic comedies, guess what, so did he. I loved John Grisham books, low and behold, so did he. I bet if I’d told him I like Herpes he’d have done whatever he needed to gift me some Herpes.

His father and brother came to town to visit him. He insisted I be part of all their plans.

He marked his calendar down to my birthday and made sure I knew that he was going to make it special. He told me I deserved to feel special, and “you just wait, your birthday is going to be something else.” And, he was right, he pulled out all the stops.

He was the most caring and giving lover I’d ever had. His focus was on satisfying me and making me feel cared for during sex. It was true lovemaking. Or, it was to me anyway.

He was like a fantasy, a gift of a man.

A man I had never imagined. You can’t fathom that kind of attention, affection, and love. Thoughts of a man like him didn’t lurk in the shadows of my mind because I had no idea such a man was possible. I felt like a 4-year-old who’d been given permission to eat a bowl of sugar.

We dated for a year. A year filled with comfort when he held my hand and feelings of security when he would verbally include me in his future plans. As an adult child of an alcoholic father, he gave me everything I’d ever craved. And then I became pregnant.

That’s when I was devalued, got my first taste of what it’s like to be on the wrong end of a Narcissist

To be continued.

Maddie’s Story Part I

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Why It’s Hard To Leave a Narcissist

leave a narcissist

 

When we fall in love, it’s natural to become attached and form a romantic bond. But once in love with a narcissist, it’s not easy to leave, despite the abuse. Although you’re unhappy, you may be ambivalent about leaving because you still love your partner, have young children, lack resources, and/or enjoy lifestyle benefits.

Outsiders often question why you stay, or urge you to, “Just leave.” Those words can feel humiliating because you also think you should. You may want to leave, but feel stuck, and don’t understand why. This is because there are deeper reasons that keep you bonded unlike in other relationships.

Why it’s Hard to Leave a Narcissist

Narcissists, especially, can be exceedingly charming, interesting, and enlivening to be around. Initially, they and other abusers may treat you with kindness and warmth, or even love bomb you. Of course, you want to be with them forever and easily become dependent on their attention and validation. Once you’re hooked and they feel secure, they aren’t motivated to be nice to you. Their charming traits fade or disappear and are replaced or intermixed with varying degrees of coldness, criticism, demands, and narcissistic abuse. (See “Narcissus and Echo:  The Heartbreak of Relationships with Narcissists.)

You’re hopeful and accommodating and keep trying to win back their loving attention. Meanwhile, your self-esteem and independence are undermined daily. You may be gaslighted and begin doubting your own perceptions due to blame and lies. When you object, you’re attacked, intimidated, or confused by manipulation. Over time, you attempt to avoid conflict and become more deferential.  As denial and cognitive dissonance grow, you do and allow things you wouldn’t have imagined when you first met. Your shame increases as your self-esteem declines. You wonder what happened to the happy, self-respecting, confident person you once were.

Research confirms that it’s common for victims to attach to their abuser, particularly when there’s intermittent positive reinforcement. You may be trauma-bonded, meaning that after being subjected to prolonged belittling and control, you’ve become childlike and addicted to any sign of approval from your abuser. This is referred to as Stockholm Syndrome, named for hostages who developed positive feelings for their captors.

You’re especially susceptible to this if the relationship dynamics are repeating a pattern you experienced with a distant, abusive, absent, or withholding parent. The trauma bond with your partner outweighs the negative aspects of the relationship. Studies show that victims of physical abuse on average don’t leave until after the seventh incident of violence. They not only fear retaliation, but also the loss of the emotional connection with their partner, which can feel worse than the abuse.

Additionally, codependents, who are usually preyed upon by narcissists and abusers, often feel trapped and find it hard to leave any relationship. They can be loyal to a fault due to their codependency.

After You Leave a Narcissist

Narcissists and abusers are basically codependent. (See “Narcissists are Codependent, too.”) If you distance yourself from them, they do what it takes to pull you back in, because they don’t want to be abandoned. Narcissists want to keep you interested to feed their ego and supply their needs (“narcissistic supply”). Being left is a major humiliation and blow to their fragile self. They will attempt to stop you with kindness and charm, blame and guilt-trips, threats and punishment, or neediness, promises, or pleas―whatever it takes to control you so that they “win.”

If you succeed in leaving a narcissist, they usually continue their games to exert power over you that compensates for their hidden insecurities. They may gossip and slander you to family and friends, hoover you to suck you back into the relationship (like a vacuum cleaner). They show up on your social media, try to make you jealous with photos of them having fun with someone else, talk to your friends and relatives, text or call you, promise to reform, express guilt and love, ask for help, or “accidentally” appear in your neighborhood or usual haunts.

They don’t want to be forgotten but keep you waiting and hoping. Just when you think you’ve moved on, you’re reeled back in. This may reflect their intentional spacing of contacts. Even if they don’t want to be with you, they may not want you to let go or be with anyone else. The fact that you respond to them may give them enough satisfaction. When they contact you, remember that they’re incapable of giving you what you need.

You might feel guilty or tell yourself that your ex really still loves you and that you’re special to him or her. Who wouldn’t want to think that? You’re vulnerable to forgetting all the pain you had and why you left. (See “Why and How Narcissists Play Games.”) If you resist their attention, it fuels their ambition. But once you fall into their trap and they feel in control, they’ll return to their old cold and abusive ways. Only consistent, firm boundaries will protect you and disincentivize them.

How to Leave a Narcissist

As long as you’re under their spell an abuser has control over you. In order to become empowered, you need to educate yourself. Come out of denial to see reality for what it is. Information is power. Read up on narcissism and abuse on my website. If you’re unsure whether you want to leave, take the steps in Dealing with a Narcissist to improve your relationship and evaluate whether it’s salvageable. Regardless of your decision, it’s important for your own mental health to redeem your autonomy and self-esteem. Take these steps:

  1. Find a support group, including a therapist, 12-Step group, like Codependents Anonymous (CoDA), and sympathetic friends―not ones who bash your spouse or judge you for staying.
  2. Become more autonomous. Create a life aside from your relationship that includes friends, hobbies, work, and other interests. Whether you stay or leave, you need a fulfilling life to supplement or replace your relationship.
  3. Build your Self-Esteem. Learn to value yourself and honor your needs and feelings. Develop trust in your perceptions and overcome self-doubt and guilt.
  4. Learn How to be Assertive and set boundaries.
  5. Learn how to nurture yourself. This is a life skill and also insulates you from abuse. See “12 Tips to Self-Love and Compassion.” Get the Self-Love Meditation.
  6. Identify the abuser’s defenses and your triggers. Detach from them. On my website, get “14 Tips for Letting Go.”
  7. If you’re physically threatened or harmed, immediately seek shelter. Physical abuse repeats itself. Read about the cycle of violence and actions to take.
  8. Don’t make empty threats. When you decide to leave, be certain you’re ready to end the relationship and not be lured back.
  9. If you decide to leave, find an experienced lawyer who is a family law specialist. Mediation is not a good option when there is a history of abuse. See “Do’s and Don’t’s of Divorce.”
  10. Whether you leave or are left, allow yourself time to grieve, build resilience, and recover from the breakup.
  11. Maintain strict no contact, or only minimally necessary, impersonal contact that’s required for co-parenting in accordance with a formal custody-visitation agreement.

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