Note from Tina: There are many faces to this battle and I am currently featuring a total of six different people who are all affected by narcissism. Some are divorcing a narcissist, some share custody with a narcissist, one is a man who is affected by his ex-wife’s personality disorder and one is an amazing young woman who is away at college but still feeling the effects of her father’s narcissism. While we are all different, we share the same story—the same trials and tribulations. There are many faces to this battle and I am happy to share them with you. -Tina
“Emily’s Story” ~ Blog 6
Growing up, I remember hearing that marriage was hard work. This was a message that I took to heart and I knew that divorce would never be an option for me. Making a marriage work was simply a matter of trying hard enough. The problem is that nobody ever tells you how much work is too much work.
My marriage to Craig was constant work and it was exhausting. I went to bed most nights feeling hopeless then woke up the next morning with new resolve. I was on a mission to create a happy marriage and a healthy family for my children and nothing was going to stop me.
I left no stone unturned in my search for ways to fix my marriage. Craig and I went to counseling together and I saw a counselor separately. My counselor told me that Craig’s violence would not change. I remember her saying, “Violent people will always react to stress with violence and life is full of stress.” But, of course, she didn’t know my husband like I did. I had an endless supply of hope for Craig and the person I knew that he could be.
When counseling didn’t give me the answers I needed, I broadened my search. I read countless relationship books and articles. I Googled things like “Why do men lie?” and “Men who are selfish.” I thought that if I could understand Craig’s behavior, I could fix the problem. Craig and I went to a weekend retreat for troubled marriages. I even tried backing off of all of my efforts and just praying for Craig. I loved Craig and I believed that he loved me. I told myself that I had to be patient and wait out the rough patch; surely things would get better soon.
Craig would go along with all of my efforts in order to appease me and to look like the “good guy” but there was never any substance behind any of it for him. I tried desperately to get him to care about our family but, as I learned, you can’t make someone care. To say that Craig didn’t “get” what being a father and a husband meant is an understatement.
In the end, I was exhausted and out of hope. I had to accept that Craig would never change. In fact, despite all of my efforts, his behavior was escalating. I had to choose to either accept the reality of life with him or leave. After weighing my options carefully, I told Craig that I was moving out with our children. He never once asked me to stay.
Bio: First and foremost, I am a mother to my two beautiful girls. I come from a large Catholic family of 6 children which includes my 3 sisters and 2 brothers. My parents have a stable, loving marriage and my family is very close and supportive. I make a point of saying this because I believe that anyone can end up in an abusive relationship. I grew up believing in the goodness of others and had never really experienced any major disappointments in life, until I met Craig. I am currently in the beginning stages of divorcing Craig, but I have been here before. Craig has left us a total of 3 times and I have allowed him to “suck me back in” with his empty claims of remorse and short-lived promises of change. He is (was) very good at making me question myself. After Craig’s lies and violence toward me continued throughout my pregnancy with our second daughter, I knew that our marriage consisted of only one healthy party and I was done. Although leaving for good was the hardest thing I have ever done, I will never again look back.
Click the link to purchase Tina’s new book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle.” You will find insight, red flag reflections and strategies on how to survive (and thrive!) while divorcing of co-parenting with a narcissist. Tired of panicking at the site of a new email from the narcissist in your inbox? Learn how to decode the emails and see them for what they are. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.