Posts

when leaving a narcissist

5 Mistakes I Made When Leaving a Narcissist & How You Can Avoid Them

when leaving a narcissist

 

Whatever mistakes, miscalculations, or bad decisions there are to be made in leaving a narcissist, I made them.

After sixteen years with a man whom I’d built a life with, had children with, and thought I knew, I made the naïve assumption that I could predict what ending our life together and getting divorced would look like. I counted on his promises of the past to stay true in the future.

Even during the last few years of the marriage when I had to deal more with the evil Mr. Hyde than the good Dr. Jekyll, even after uncovering his double life that revealed his predatory nature for girls less than half his age, I still relied on our shared history as a couple to see me through.

My greatest error arose from my inability to wrap my head around the fact that there are people in this world who lack any sense of empathy, decency, or integrity, and who will stand back with a smirk on their face, holding a bucket of water that they have no intention of using while watching those who love them the most burn in pain.

Believing this to be an exaggeration and that no one could possibly be guilty of purposely inflicting pain on their own loved ones is the first mistake I made. Then it was a downward spiral of my shattered expectations as I learned the hard way that, yes, there are people in this world who will not only smile as they watch you fall and suffer, but will spin the story to such a point that they’ll say you deserved it.

Those people are called narcissists.

And if you’re involved with one, wanting to leave or in the process of leaving one, here are the top five mistakes to avoid. Doing so certainly won’t erase the pain of separation or divorce but will definitely lessen it if your eyes are wide open since then you won’t risk the heartbreak from bombshells that every narcissist is capable of dropping.

5 Mistakes I Made When Leaving a Narcissist

Mistake #1: Believing a narcissist will be a good person and play fair

Every phone call, every email I got from my attorney left me in a state of shock and awe upon hearing what my ex was attempting to get away with or accusing me of. Since I believed what my ex told me prior to filing for divorce, such as that he would make sure our kids and I would be taken care of financially and I wouldn’t have to worry, each realization of what he was actually up to left me reeling as if I’d been sucker-punched that landed me on the floor, of which I couldn’t get up from during the entire divorce process.

How to avoid my mistake?

See them for who they really are and not who you always wanted them to be. Drop the illusions you still carry, such as that they’ll change or they’d never hurt you. No need to be cynical, but crucial to be prepared. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Mistake #2: Choosing any lawyer to represent you

Because of the fragile emotional state I was in at the time and my desperation to get the divorce over with, I did not vet my lawyer. I did not ask any questions and trusted that he would do a good job of representing me. I assumed (because he was a lawyer) that he would know the difference between fair and unfair, that he would hold my ex accountable in disclosing assets, and would advocate for me and my children to his best ability.

My lawyer always talked a big game when we were planning how to respond to my ex’s obvious skirting of the law and the abuse he still inflicted (such as cyberstalking me, stealing my identity, and hacking into my emails), then at the last minute would pull away from any previous plan and encourage me to settle.

His strategy-switching gave me whiplash. And it always coincided with running through another big retainer I’d paid, which disappeared quickly when I was being charged even if I only spoke to his legal secretary for two minutes on the phone (she called once to ask my address, which I gave and then we hung up, for which I was charged a quarter-hour of my attorney’s rate: $75).

How to avoid my mistake?

Interview attorneys. Ask them if they have experience in high-conflict divorces with abusive personalities. Ask them if they know how a narcissist operates. Go with your gut and don’t be pressured into hiring a lawyer you don’t feel completely safe with or whose methods you question. Remember, a lawyer has the ability to make or break you in a divorce. Make sure you choose wisely.

Mistake #3: Letting your emotions make decisions for you

It is a fact that women tend to look at divorce from an emotional perspective. And why wouldn’t we? When we’re heartbroken or disillusioned or escaping abuse, we can’t help but be emotional about our lives as we knew them ending, sometimes going down in a huge ball of flames. However, in general, men look at divorce from a business standpoint and remove emotion from the process (not all men, of course).

And men who are true narcissists take it even further – to them, it’s war. You’re the enemy. And therefore, you must be defeated. Because I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by my pain, and unable to truly begin any healing process while still in the midst of the divorce, I couldn’t make those important decisions for my future since I was unable to see even the day after the next through my tears. Meanwhile, a narcissist lacking any empathy or compassion, to begin with, will exploit the weakness of another and chalk it up to the necessities of war.

How to avoid my mistake?

Given the fact that most men, especially fathers, come out far better off financially after divorce than women, who tend to see their incomes drop by over a third, it’s imperative that those emotions are put aside for the time it takes to legally separate. Cry, cuss, and rage all you want (if only I had a dollar for every f-bomb I dropped during my divorce) but leave your heart out of it and use only your mind when figuring out those details that will determine how you’ll fare long after those divorce papers are signed.

Mistake #4: Giving in and saying Uncle when you’re too tired to go on

Narcissists are like wolves (no offense to actual wolves who act only out of instinct and not out of any innate desire to persecute those who do them wrong). Their success depends on their ability to exhaust you and wear you down to the point where you stop running, lose your strength, and eventually surrender.

Because I didn’t have a good lawyer to encourage me not to waive my rights or what I was entitled to, I quickly became so drained that I lost all my nerve and gusto to stand up for myself. I gave up and gave in, and because of that I’m still experiencing the effects financially all these years later.

How to avoid my mistake?

Understand that a narcissist is trying to wear you down on purpose so that you’ll give up and give in. Trust me when I say that once you’ve recovered and regained your strength later down the line, you’ll regret it if you do throw your hands up during the divorce and give up in any way whatsoever.

Mistake #5: Underestimating how low a narcissist will go.

Check. Double check. I underestimated my ex to such an extent that I paid for it severely not only with my financial well-being but my emotional health as well since every time I was knocked to the ground by the things he would say or do, eventually I just stayed there huddled up in a ball waiting for the next blow.

How to avoid my mistake?

Think of the lowest possible thing that someone could do to another. Got it in your head? Good, because a narcissist will go lower. So brace yourself and gird those loins for this moment to come.

I wish I could tell you that today I have zero regrets for the mistakes I made when I left (escaped is more like it) and filed for divorce from a narcissist. However, since I’m still paying for those mistakes today it’s hard to not beat myself up every so often.

But then I remind myself lovingly and patiently that I didn’t know. I barely knew anything about narcissists at the time let alone what divorcing one would be like. And I didn’t know how to choose a lawyer. Nor did I feel empowered to stand up for me after so many years of being emotionally beaten down. So when I start kicking my own ass about “what I should have done instead,” I remind myself how far I’ve come despite all the difficulty and trauma of my past.

As Michelangelo said at the ripe old age of 87, “I am still learning.”

And I hope by sharing my own lessons, you are still learning too.

The post 5 Mistakes I Made When Leaving a Narcissist & How You Can Avoid Them appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

common mistakes in child custody cases

5 Common Mistakes Made In Child Custody Cases

common mistakes in child custody cases

 

Getting a divorce can be a taxing and tenuous task for all parties involved but can be even more so when your child is involved. When the couple split up in a divorce with a child, the issue of child custody comes up.

Child custody cases resolve who will take care, custody, and control of the child. This can be assigned to one or both parents. A parent with custody of a child takes care of their upbringing, education, place of living, and even scheduling time with the other parent if necessary.

However, no matter how your divorce case plays out, there are many mistakes you can make that can affect your custody case over your child. If you are dealing with a divorce or custody case and need a divorce lawyer, contact us at Simonetti & Associates to help represent you.

Common Mistakes in Custody Cases:

When in a custody case, you would want to do everything you can to achieve a favorable outcome. However, there are some mistakes that you can make that will sabotage your chances of a good outcome from your child custody case.

If you are looking for quality representation to help you in your custody case, finding the right divorce lawyer can make or break your case. Some critical mistakes made in custody cases include:

  • Getting too emotional– Losing your cool, yelling, threatening, or any other signs of violence can be used in the case against you and ruin custody rights you may have been able to get otherwise.
  • Abusing Social Media– Openly criticizing your spouse or bad-mouthing them on social media platforms will reflect poorly on yourself, and can be used against your case in court.
  • Forgetting to put your child first– The court will always prioritize what is best for the child over everything else, and you should do the same. Even if you do not like the other parent, if it would be best for your child to get some time with them then you should consider the options. Or if you want to move to another area, but doing so would harm the child’s life in some way, you may want to reconsider.
  • Manipulating the child– manipulating your children against the other parent will only make it more difficult for them to cope with the situation, which will impact your chances of a beneficial custody case.
  • Not working with a former spouse where you can– Divorces aren’t always easy or pleasant, but outright refusing to work with a spouse can reflect negatively on your abilities as a parent. No matter how you feel about your former spouse, you should try to be open about working with them to create the best possible solution for your child.

Why a Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Divorce cases can become complicated and emotional and can be very taxing on your day to day life while in one. But to get favorable custody, you should try to be calm, reasonable, and responsible. Working to assure the best possible future for your child is the goal of custody court, and should be yours as well.

A divorce is never an easy circumstance to face in life. Not only are you parting ways with someone who you once loved deeply, but you must face an assortment of issues that go along with divorce, such as custody battles.

During this deeply stressful time, it can be difficult to make important decisions with a clear head. That is why the help of a divorce lawyer is critical in helping you win your case and facilitate all important matters regarding your divorce. Take the time to find the best representation for your case so that you can walk away knowing that you did everything you could to reach a proper settlement.

The post 5 Common Mistakes Made In Child Custody Cases appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

retirement after divorce

Retirement After Divorce: I’m 60, Still Single And Made BIG Mistakes

retirement after divorce

I wrote an article earlier about being a single mom 20 years later and how one can survive, called “15 Insights from a Veteran Single Mom” that was posted on this site in January.

I wrote it because I wasn’t seeing that kind of perspective and wanted to share with others that are new to the journey, with a message that you can indeed survive.

You can even thrive as well.

But it may cost you as it has me.

My article was mostly from an emotional perspective. But what about the business of “your life” after divorce and the kids are grown? What does the other side look like from a financial perspective?

I have seen some good articles related to financial advice on “new single mothers”. But, I have yet to find anything that speaks to single mothers who have given it all to raising a family alone and who now find themselves in a very precarious position financially; 20 years down the road.

An article on guilt would have served me well in the early days and throughout my single motherhood.

I felt guilty for being the reason my husband left. Or so I thought I was anyway.

I felt that it was my job to make sure that my children never felt left out. Never went without and always felt like all the other kids in school whose parents were together.

I live in a community where there really are very few single parents. My kids pointed that out a lot to me.

My ex-husband gave me $328.00 per child each month. That was the court allotted amount. I had a 4-week-old infant when I started this journey, and I have to say that $328 didn’t go very far towards formula and diapers alone.

So, in order to keep up with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” Jones, I sacrificed a lot financially. I sacrificed as I tried to keep up with everyone and everything which living in Southern California expected of me.

I sacrificed myself, literally. I wouldn’t realize it until many years later.

There have been many times on this journey that I vowed to change my name back to my maiden name. I hated having the same last name as the woman my ex-husband cheated with and then married. I was not proud to have that name anyway.

But my kids were really against me doing it. They didn’t want to have a different last name than me. When the time came that they were old enough and no longer cared, I started to research the process.

I was required to show my decree of divorce. My brother who is a Superior Court Judge advised me as well. Because when the divorce became final, I was in the thick of raising an 18-month-old and a 6-year-old, I was kind of busy. I couldn’t find my documents anywhere.

My brother was able to help me. In the documents package that I received from him was an additional paper that stated that I had signed off on my ex-husband’s retirement.

I almost fainted dead away when I read it. I didn’t remember ever doing this. When we sold our home and we were in the final escrow, I received a call from the escrow officer. She said that my husband would not sign the escrow papers and ran out of the office.

Panic consumed me.

I was buying a house and selling a house and escrow was scheduled to close for both properties on the same day. This was going to cause a domino effect. I called him and he said he wanted the retirement accounts.

He would not sign the escrow documents unless I signed them over.

At the time, I thought he meant the IRA’s. I said, “If I agree to this will you get out of my life forever?” He said yes. My naivete would cost me more than I could ever have imagined now that I am 60 years old.

So here I am now. Twenty years later. In reading the articles on this site, I realized how much I would have loved to have known about DivorceMoms.com much sooner into my divorce.

So, here is what I have to say to you all as I literally sit here learning in real-time.

Retirement After Divorce: How To Get Ready

Credit Cards!

I hate them and you will too! Don’t use them unless it’s an emergency. Keep two and that’s it. They are your emergency fund and should only be used as such.

Your heartstrings will tug at you and your Catholic guilt will get the best of you, so leave them home when you are at Target with the kids!

You will be a hostage to yourself! All the toys and stuff you bought them will end up at Goodwill! I promise you!

Budget, Budget, Budget!

And stick to it! Again, I found that the guilt I had made me do stupid things and spend money foolishly on toys, dinners out, and things they and I didn’t need. All done in the name of guilt and keeping up with The Jones.

You want to feel normal. You want to feel like you are in the club of intact complete families. So, you push your budget to fit in.

I’m here to tell you that you will regret it if you don’t stay inside your own lines. Who cares what everyone else is doing? They really don’t. It’s all on you and your guilt issues! So, Stop!

Get Rid of the Cape!

Get rid of your Super Woman Cape altogether. It may fit you now, but it’s when you are 60, it’s too darn tight! So, chuck it now! You are a Super Woman on your own merit by the mere fact that you are raising a family solo.

You are your own Caped Crusader and you most definitely are your kids! They love you and need you and want you all without your trying to be everything to everyone.

Just be their everything! Give the cape to the Salvation Army and don’t look back!

If I was speaking to my younger, confused self I would tell that poor girl to calm down. I would assure her that she was good enough and didn’t have to spend money on stuff that will eventually end up on the curb for pick up.

I would tell her to stop all that. I would tell her that if people really loved her, they didn’t need her to “keep up” with them. And if they did expect that, they never really did care in the first place.

And lastly, I would tell her to love herself so much by saving money, any money and put it into her retirement and teach her children that the real value in life isn’t by having things. It is by loving each other. Period.

But as I speak to myself today, I just start each day as I step further into a time of traditional retirement age and say “Breath. Just Breath.”

The post Retirement After Divorce: I’m 60, Still Single And Made BIG Mistakes appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

3 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When it Comes to the Cost of Divorce

3 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When it Comes to the Cost of Divorce

When a family goes through a divorce, they often become anxious over the costs associated with the process. This is understandable, given that they are going to have to maintain two households on the same incomes that previously supported one. Fortunately, there are some things all parties involved can do to keep their costs down […]

The post 3 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When it Comes to the Cost of Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>