I am on a constant quest to understand the disorder that has caused so much turmoil in my life for so many years. If you are married to an alcoholic, there are a multitude of resources and support services available to help. If you are married to someone who is physically abusive, there are resources available for that also. If you are married to someone with a personality disorder, there are not a lot of resources readily available. It requires digging and weeding out the good from the bad.
For starters, personality disorders are difficult to prove. Most people with personality disorders are charming, charismatic and intelligent. They are so good at manipulation that sometimes they leave you questioning your own sanity.
Educating myself on personality disorders has been empowering. The more I learn, the more power I have. It helps me to understand and accept my reality. In the beginning stages of my divorce, I didn’t have a clue what I was dealing with. No clue. I thought that these things were normal to some degree— some people have a difficult time coping with divorce and I thought my X fell into this category. I kept hearing from people that he would hit rock bottom and move on with his life. I also hoped that he would pull it together for the sake of our children. While “pulling it together for the sake of the children” is a driving factor for most people, it isn’t for a Narcissist.
Many times, I felt so alone because I knew how crazy my situation sounded. I didn’t even know the term, “High Conflict Divorce“. It’s somewhat awkward to go to coffee with a friend and say, “I started sleeping with a hammer under my pillow last night. By the way, how are you doing?”. After a while, I accepted the fact that I wasn’t dealing with a normal man who was going through a rough period of time: I was dealing with a completely unstable person who couldn’t put his children’s best interest first because there is one person who matters: him.
My turning point came when I accepted him for who he is: a narcissist. I accepted the fact that he wasn’t going to change. I became realistic. I stopped playing the victim and saying, “Can you believe he did this?”. I expected him to do the unbelievable. I didn’t expect sanity from insanity. You wouldn’t expect your pet gold fish to take an evening stroll with you and you can’t expect a narcissist to put the best interest of his daughters first. It is not possible. Period.
Once I let go of the hope that he would change, something unexpected happened: I changed. I became stronger. I became empowered. It was like playing chess. I stayed one step ahead of him mentally at all times. This man who once touted how brilliant he was didn’t seem so brilliant after all. I watched as all of his court documents came in with ramblings, misspellings and lies. I watched as he couldn’t control himself and manically rambled in emails and voice mails. All of these things further helped me to accept my reality.
Several people have recently pointed out that he sounds like he suffers from anti social personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). I agree with those people– a God-like ego and zero regard or feelings for other people. That is who I am dealing with.
Here are a few great resources if you are dealing with someone who is NPD: