reasons a narcissist ruins the holidays

5 Reasons a Narcissist Ruins the Holidays

reasons a narcissist ruins the holidays

 

If you’re divorced from a narcissist, you know that a narcissist can be a bit glitchy, or more glitchy around the holidays. Why? Because they’re entitled to all the attention. How dare Santa or Jesus or gift giving or their own children take the spotlight off them.

MY ex was the glue that held our family together. Especially during the holidays. He LOVED the holidays because he could string lights on the house, bake cookies with the kids, chop down the tallest tree on the Christmas tree farm and receive all the kudos.

He went out of his way to make our holidays exceptional. It wasn’t about wanting us to have a great holiday, though, it was about him looking good during the holidays. And man, alive could he make himself look loving, caring, empathetic and full of the holiday spirit.

It was all an act that came to a stop once we divorced. Divorce forced him into having to embrace the needs of others. His children and their needs and my needs.

We needed him to follow holiday visitation schedules, behave himself at school holiday pageants and act as if he cared about the feelings of others. That didn’t go over well.

The first Christmas after we divorced, he figured out a way to dodge the “giving” spirit and remain the center of attention. He flew to his parent’s home. A home he hadn’t visited in years or expressed an interest in visiting.

He had a GREAT Christmas. His parents fawned over him, his siblings came from far and wide to spend time with him, he went out with old high school friends and even went to Christmas Eve church services with his Mom so she could show him off.

He had promised the kids he’d call them Christmas day, but the call never came. He was so enthralled in all the attention he was getting that he forgot his kids of Christmas day.

His mother was so thrilled about, “Johnny” putting lights on her house for the first time in decades. Good Lord!

Since that first post-divorce Christmas things haven’t gone well for him. Since he can no longer be the center of attention in a positive way, he works overtime trying to be the center of attention in a negative way.

If he isn’t arguing with me about holiday visitation, he doesn’t show up at all for holiday visitation. If he isn’t making demands of how our kids should accept and embrace his mistress (the woman he left us for) during the holidays, he’s berating them for putting ornaments in the wrong spot on his magnificent Christmas tree.

The Grinch has nothing on my ex during the holidays!

Why does he have such a hard time and work overtime trying to ruin our holiday? See below.

5 Reasons a Narcissist Ruins the Holidays

1. They Lack Empathy:

One of my favorite things about Christmas is watching the faces of my kids as they open their gifts. I also like giving things to people that I know they wouldn’t dare splurge on for themselves. It brings me a great deal of joy to make other people happy.

When you lack the empathy chip, there is no joy in giving or making others happy. It’s not a behavior narcissist attach any significance to. To them, it seems like a monumental waste of time and money and they feel incredibly put out to have to suffer through such an occasion with people they have no investment in.

The disappearing narcissist doesn’t care that it’s the holidays and that they have hurt their children deeply. These thoughts don’t resonate with them.

When an activity is all about someone else, like a birthday, a promotion, or a graduation, a narcissist will find no value in celebrating another’s achievements or joy (unless of course, they could obtain supply through proxy).

Instead, it will activate feelings of jealousy and envy. Because someone else is being put on that proverbial pedestal and getting the attention that should be theirs, a narcissist will find those encounters intolerable and will seek to avoid them at all costs or ruin them for others.

2. Good Attention, Bad Attention, It’s All Good:

If it can’t be all about them, where they and everyone else gets to bask in their glorious essence, then they will get attention another way and that’s by being an ornery cuss.

If they can get you to feel responsible for their moods, so that you are jumping through hoops they set up to keep their foul mood from infecting your holiday, they’ll like that even more. If it’s not all about them in a good way, they’ll make it all about them in a bad way. Either/Or it makes no difference.

3. They Don’t Do Intimacy, Responsibility or Obligation:

Sharing special occasions breeds the kind of intimacy that a narcissist just can’t handle. It creates expectations that a narcissist doesn’t want you or anyone else to have. With those expectations, comes a responsibility to behave as if they care about what’s best for others.

It means getting closer, which they cannot allow. Their anxiety always gets the better of them, so they’d just as well leave their kids hanging, or start a fight with you, so they don’t have to deal with the anxiety they feel over not being center of attention.

This anxiety makes them incredibly unreliable. When it’s upon them, their primary goal is to alleviate it, which usually means shutting people out or making them miserable. Their anxiety paired with their lack of empathy is a holiday recipe for disaster.

4. They’ve Found Alternate Narcissistic Supply:

I’ve had many clients tell me they’ve had solid plans for the holidays with their narcissists and then find themselves stood up, or on the receiving end of a text, canceling at the last minute. The next thing they know, they see pictures on social media of the narcissist spending the holidays with someone else. They’re devastated and asking – “WTH?”

A good rule of thumb is to always remember that new supply always trumps old supply. A new lover trumps their kids and their kid’s (old supply) needs regardless of what time of the year it is.

New supply turns on the narcissist’s laser focus and obsessive attention. There is no way old supply can compete. It doesn’t mean they’re better – it means they’re newer/unconquered.

So, if your kids get that text on Christmas day, after they’ve made plans and are excited about spending the day with their Dad, this is likely what’s happened.

5. Misery is Their Default Setting:

Miserable people create miserable energy and environments everywhere they go. They are dark people, who project their feelings onto other people. Ruining another’s joy is like a trophy for them. It makes them feel important and powerful.

If they believe the holidays are foolish and irrelevant, they don’t care that they mean something to you. Your opinions are usually irrelevant unless of course, you carry the same opinion as they do.

Only seriously disturbed and twisted people ruin events for other people and suck the joy out of life.

Hoping or expecting a narcissist to go against their nature causes suffering. Know what you’re dealing with, understand the behavior and NEVER expect them to play a role in making the holidays a time of joy and giving.

Love your children, make their holiday experience wonderful and don’t let your narcissistic ex and his behavior dim your spirit.

The post 5 Reasons a Narcissist Ruins the Holidays appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

Maddie’s Story: How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

 

In part one and part two of my story, I discuss how I no longer feel responsible for his behavior and, how I found it so easy to fall in love with him. Today I want to discuss how my covert narcissist destroyed our children.

I guess I should say, nearly destroyed because, thankfully, for them, I was always there to guide them through the damage he did to them. Even with my guidance and love, the damage is there and will last their entire lifetime.

There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.

It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.

I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.

How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

  • He made the decision to divorce without a discussion with me. One day he was there, the next he was gone. Here is how he told our children before he ever told me. He went to our older son’s school and checked him out of school. He told our son, to not ask him any questions, to get in the car and he would explain after they picked up our younger son. He then went to our younger son’s school and checked him out. Once they were all in the car, the boys in the backseat, he turned, looked at them and said, “Your Mom and I are getting divorced. I’m leaving and never coming home.” Needless to say, our sons became very emotional. They thought they came from a happy home and family. He had just dropped a bomb on them. They begged and pleaded for an explanation, but he refused to look at or respond to their questions and evident distress. He pulled up into the driveway or our home and told them to get out. He left them standing in the driveway, crying with our youngest who was six at the time, writhing on the ground.

 

  • He didn’t see the children for a month after that and when he did, he was only interested in spending time with our youngest. When our oldest son, asked him why he never invited him to visit his father told him, “because I have a deeper bond with your little brother. “I think I love him more than I love you.” I told him he couldn’t take one without taking both, that I would not allow him to ignore the needs of our older son. So, he began visiting with both boys. The problem? Both boys had questions about why he left, why he was doing what he was doing. He refused to answer their questions or allow them to ask questions. He said, “I won’t have my time with you marred by unpleasant conversation.”

 

  • Our oldest eventually stopped going on visitations with him and requested his Dad join him in therapy to work through their “relationship issues.” His Dad refused therapy together but said he would see our son’s therapist on his own when he had time. When asked by our son why he didn’t want to go with him, he responded with, “I don’t owe you anything, not my time, not my feelings, NOTHING.” That’s when our oldest son gave up on his father.

 

  • It’s been 14 years since he’s had a conversation or spent any time with our oldest son. My ex has a DIL and granddaughter that he has never met and, given his actions must not have an interest in meeting. He also has a grown son who is in therapy to deal with the damage done by a father who abandoned him.

 

  • My ex continued to visit with our youngest son. He saw him once a month. No phone calls, email or contact between those once a month visits. Our younger son would email and text him, but he never got a response. He asked his Dad to call on Tuesday nights to help him study for spelling tests. His father refused. He asked his Dad to help him build a car for the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby, his father refused.

 

  • Three years after our divorce my ex became seriously involved in a relationship with a woman who had an older daughter. That is when he completely cut off our younger son. He had no communication or face-to-face contact with your youngest or oldest sons for six years.

 

  • When our younger son was 16, he had a psychotic break. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-Polar Disorder. His medical records state “Psychosis due to parental abandonment.” According to the Psychiatrist our son needed his father. The Psychiatrist called my ex and my ex told him that there was nothing he could do to help. That what was going on was my fault, not his. How could it be his fault because he hadn’t seen the kid is six years. The psychiatrist told him that, that was exactly why our son was having issues. My ex hung up on him.

 

  • It’s been another 8 years with no contact from their father. Since the day he left the marriage he has not sent a Christmas gift, Birthday gift, attended a graduation, wedding or acknowledge the important things in their lives.

I’m happy to report that both sons are flourishing. They are stable, ethical men. Both have great careers and one has a lovely family. The majority of their day-to-day lives are lived without thought of their Dad and what he did to them.

They both, however, are in therapy. One is on medication he’ll take for the rest of his life and neither will be rid of the scars left by a covert narcissistic father who discarded them as if they were dirt on his shoes.

The Family Courts and Emotional Abuse of a Child

You can protect your child via the courts if they’re being emotionally abused. You can request a custody evaluation, get a Guardian Ad Litem for them, or a psyche evaluation. There is nothing you can do via the courts to protect a child from abandonment by a father.

Google, “Legally forcing a man to visit his children” and you’ll come up with nothing. I came up with one article that said, “visitation is a privilege, not a legal responsibility?” Since a man who abandons his children isn’t breaking any laws there is no way to hold them legally responsible for the damage done by their abandonment.

That’s why I tell other mothers who are dealing with the damage done by such fathers that it’s up to them to clean up the mess to the best of their ability. It’s up to all us mothers who’ve watched a narcissistic father damage his children to do our best to cushion the damage being done.

We can’t fill the hole left by an absent father. That isn’t within our power. We can let our children know that we are their “ride or die.” We can promote their emotional wellbeing by enlisting friends and relatives to show them love and support.

If you’re lucky you’ve got a brother or father who can step in and take up some of the slack and become surrogate fathers. It still won’t fill that hole left by the father but, there is never too much love and caring given to children who’ve been abandoned.

I was thinking about the Catholic church the other day and how suits can be filed by people who were molested by Priests. My hope is that one day, adults who were abandoned by a parent will have the same right to sue that parent for punitive damages. It won’t make them whole again or undo the damage but, I can think of nothing better than legally punishing a parent who skipped out on their children.

Protect your children, Mamas! You are their lifeline. You are their hope. You are all that stands between them and their narcissistic father.

The post Maddie’s Story: How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

How Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

 

Many women who are married to narcissistic husbands become fed up with the situation and decide to get a divorce. While separating and filing for divorce might bring an immediate sense of relief from the challenges of living with a narcissist, the challenges might very well continue throughout the divorce process.

Divorce is difficult enough without the complications that a spouse with a narcissistic personality disorder can bring to the table. You might face unexpected and unnecessary conflict throughout the legal process, as your spouse might repeatedly attempt to make the divorce as trying as possible for you. Even if you have been dealing with their behavior for years, it can be challenging to stand your ground and ensure that you fight for your rights in the divorce.

How Narcissistic Traits Can Create Complications

In many divorces, both spouses will recognize that – despite their differences – compromise and cooperation will save them money, time, and stress.

However, narcissistic personality traits can make it nearly impossible for your spouse to agree to compromise. Some common personality traits of narcissistic people can include:

  • Unjustified sense of entitlement
  • Inflated superiority and self-importance
  • Putting down those they believe to be inferior to them
  • Expecting constant admiration or recognition
  • Expecting others to comply with their wishes without question
  • Being unable to realize the needs or feelings of others
  • Inability to calmly handle stressful situations
  • Difficulty adapting to change
  • Constantly changing their wants and desires
  • Reacting with angry outbursts or even vengeance if they believe they are not getting what they want at the moment

Because they believe they are superior and in the right, narcissists tend to think that everyone else is in the wrong. Even if your spouse caused most of your marital problems and conflict, expect to be blamed and for them to present themselves as the victim in the situation.

To make matters worse, once your spouse starts blaming you, they will likely be unwavering in this position. They will likely start to believe this narrative themselves.

Expecting Too Much

Because your spouse might believe they are the victim of the divorce, and they might already have an inflated sense of entitlement, they likely will feel entitled to much more than their share in the outcome of your case. They might refuse to agree to a reasonable division of property, custody arrangement, or financial support order.

This might also be the case if your spouse is feeling vengeful and trying to “get back” at you by trying to take everything away from you. This fight to “get everything” can cause serious complications in your legal case.

First, divorce is always simpler and faster when spouses can reach their own agreement. Whether you can agree on the major issues on your own or through mediation, presenting the court with an agreement upfront can save the time and expense of litigation. You should not have to give up more than necessary, however, just because your spouse demands it.

If your spouse is making unreasonable demands that deprive you of property or custody rights under the law, you should stand your ground, no matter how difficult that might seem.

How the Right Divorce Lawyer Can Help in this Situation

Narcissists know how to manipulate a situation to get what they want, so it is important that you have the right divorce attorney on your side from the start of the process. An attorney can look at the situation objectively and keep reminding you of your rights and what you deserve in the divorce outcome.

An experienced lawyer will not take your spouse’s actions and words personally and can help you stay the course until your divorce is final with a fair outcome for you.

In many cases, having an attorney act as an intermediary between your soon-to-be-ex and you can give you the time and space you need to see your situation clearly. In addition, not communicating with your husband directly can prevent you from falling into the unhealthy patterns of communication that likely played a role in the demise of your marriage.

This can often facilitate reaching an out-of-court agreement, which will almost certainly save you a significant amount of time and money.

In some cases, it may be a good idea to ask your spouse to agree to a psychiatric evaluation in order to establish evidence regarding his personality disorder. This is particularly true in cases where you believe your children may be put in danger of emotional or physical harm due to his issues. An official recent diagnosis could be used as evidence in your favor when it comes to the determination of child custody.

Just because your spouse has narcissistic personality traits does not mean you should give up your rights in your divorce case. When you meet with your lawyer initially, be honest about your spouse’s personality, so your lawyer knows what they will be dealing with right from the start. They can then plan a strategy to help you obtain a successful outcome as efficiently as possible.

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stay-at-home mom

I Was a Stay-At-Home Mom: I Didn’t Regret That Until I Went Through a Divorce

stay-at-home mom

 

I started dating my high school sweetheart when I was just seventeen years old, and he was 16. Our families were friends since childhood.  Our relationship got serious rather quickly. He was the guy that checked all the boxes for the type of man I thought I was supposed to marry.

I had a ring on my finger when I was 19, and married before I even graduated college at 21 years old.  We pretty much grew up together. We were still kids trying to figure out life. Everything we had, we built from the ground up.  Nobody gave us anything that we didn’t work for.

Our relationship lasted 19 years; with two beautiful children to show for it, a custom-built home, a pretty substantial real estate portfolio, and a marriage that most people thought would last a lifetime.

Except that it didn’t. 

I was the mom that ran the household.  I worked in real estate part-time (a career that did not light me up) so that I could be there to raise our children.  I cooked all our meals, I made sure the home was clean, and I brought the kids to and from school and volunteered in the classroom.  Managing our home was my first priority.

I Was a Stay-At-Home Mom

Everything changed the minute our marriage was over.  It was as if this person I built a life with suddenly became someone I needed to protect myself from. I was dumbfounded that we instantly became strangers. I went from a life that felt safe, to thinking “what else could possibly be taken away from me?”

I am the one that asked for a divorce, but I was beaten to the punch with divorce papers.  I was suffering and processing the loss of my marriage, I wasn’t thinking that I needed to “protect” what was already mine.  I hired my own lawyer being that I was left with no other option.

My lawyer suggested I check my bank accounts to see if our funds were left untouched.  I can’t even begin to describe the feeling that washed over me when I logged into our joint bank accounts only to find that all the accounts had been closed and credit cards canceled.  To say that I felt terrified is an understatement. How did “our money” all of a sudden become “my money?”

Had I not been savvy, and blessed with the grace of God, I would have been at the mercy of a stranger, a person I was intimate with for 19 years, but none of that mattered anymore.  I was left to fend for myself, completely unsupported by my family, awaiting a court date in order to have a judge determine my fate. I still had basic survival needs.  “How do I pay for gas, groceries, the kid’s necessities, etc.?”

What came next was waking up one morning only to find my car key missing.  A car that I had been driving for a year…vanished. I was told it was a “company car” that I was no longer entitled to drive.  No warning, no conversation, just gone!

Everything changed overnight. 

I was no longer the primary caretaker of our children.  He went from running a family business fulltime to instantly becoming 50% dad, bringing and picking up the kids from school, and when he couldn’t he enlisted his family’s help during his “custodial time.” There was zero communication in raising our children.  It was your time and my time, and on my time, I will do whatever I please. Mind you it was never my intention to take the kids away, I believe children need both mom and dad in their lives. None of this was a topic of conversation, just action taken fueled by shattered pride and ego.

We were both instructed by lawyers to stay in our home until the divorce was finalized, which lasted a year.  It was excruciating. It felt outer body. I was a stranger in a home we built ourselves, a home we raised our children in, and where we hosted many family gatherings. Nothing felt comfortable anymore.  We both avoided being home when it wasn’t our custodial time. Everything was calculated and documented down to the day and the hour.  It was what I call divorce purgatory. Stuck between two worlds; life before divorce and life after divorce.

I write this in no way to place blame or to make myself out to be the victim because to be completely honest, my attorney advised me to do the exact same thing, but I didn’t want to believe that we had become these people.  I didn’t want our children to be placed in the crossfire of two people who felt the need to defend their ego and pride, but I also wasn’t going to stand around and allow someone to pull the rug out from under me.

My story is in no way unique. 

I have heard countless women in this exact predicament, especially when it comes to finances.  Begging for money in order to buy tampons. Meanwhile, their lawyer is unable to do a darn thing without getting in front of a judge, which could take months. Withholding money is financial abuse, and I don’t wish it on anyone.  I was grateful that I had other sources of income that he was unable to withhold from me in the long run, but not everyone is that lucky.

This is what many bulldog lawyers instruct their clients to do… ACT FAST, PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR ASSETS, MINIMIZE FINANCIAL LOSS, and in some cases make the other person out to be unfit and unreliable.  It’s not a lawyer’s job to do what is in the best interest of all parties involved, including the children.  Their only job is to “WIN” for the client. They have no interest in who gets burned in the process. I say this having experienced it firsthand.

I want stay at home moms to be fully aware of the possible outcomes.  If you are financially dependent on your spouse and you want out of your marriage please be aware of the situation and consult a lawyer, preferably a lawyer that isn’t out to win at all costs.  Don’t ever think to yourself that this will never happen to me, that was my first lesson. This can easily be you, too, if you are in a relationship with someone who is fueled by fear and has a bruised ego. Remember healing doesn’t happen in courtrooms, that’s your own personal journey.  Until you are in a desperate state of mind, you have no idea what you are capable of doing.

If you find yourself in this situation feel free to reach out to me for a complimentary strategy session.  Do not try and handle this alone.

Sign-up on my mailing list to get weekly content that will support you in your journey towards healing, and also get notified of my upcoming program coming out soon…Untying the Knots of Divorce.

The post I Was a Stay-At-Home Mom: I Didn’t Regret That Until I Went Through a Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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.

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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.

The post Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome: Could This Be You? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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.

The post 5 Reasons a Passive Aggressive Man’s Love Comes With a Big Price Tag appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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.

The post 15 Rights You’ll Give Up In a Relationship With a Narcissist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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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