Divorcing a Narcissist: It is Prey or Pray?

Divorcing a Narcissist: It is Prey or Pray?

Gazelle 2I have never been able to watch the Discovery Channel.  I can’t even do the “one-eye peek through” while the Cheetah is chasing the Gazelle because it takes everything in me not to jump from the couch and scream, “RUN!!!!!”  Why am I discussing the graphic scenes of nature today?  Because the human-side of me is happy to report that two gazelles escaped the cheetah but sadly, one wasn’t so lucky.

Still confused, aren’t you?  Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.  I’m still scratching my head and doing the one-eye peek through.  Seth’s dating life reminds me of the Discovery Channel’s depiction of gazelles and the cheetah.

1. September 2012: I was contacted by a girl named Katie (Gazelle #1) who wanted my assistance in obtaining a restraining order for Seth’s disturbing behavior. Katie forward me each and every disturbing email and text message that Seth had sent her over the course of their two year, bi-polar relationship.  Many of the messages were drunk, angry and bizarre.  Some were of a sexual nature that literally made my skin crawl.  Katie and her friend both wrote affidavits for the court about the things that disturbed them about Seth.  When Seth found out, he went on a text-assault towards Katie and this was just one of many messages that she forwarded to me- most were obviously written while heavily intoxicated:    

“I wish you well.  But (its) your choice here. The law at every level I can engage will be involved. This is about children Katie, my daughters. Your true colors are selfish, black and empty.

My X needs to be honest about how much money her and her husband make. I wish you well. It’s sad you came into my divorce with a commissioner who sees through this. Justice will prevail. I can’t believe you sunk to that level to contact my X wife Katie. Unbelievable.  I wasted my entire day responding to the lies you gave to my X wife…a woman you never met. You’re one vindictive, selfish woman Katie. Having the ability to affect a Father’s lifelong relationship with his children. You should be ashamed of yourself. I am. How do you sleep at night?!?”

2. November 2012: Enter “Wendy” (Gazelle #2) –naïve girl from Southern California.  It seems that she had been a side project on and off during Seth’s relationship with Katie.  Some of the text messages from Katie referenced Wendy and one afternoon in November, I happened to be making photo copies of court documents in Kinkos when the door opened and in walked Seth and Wendy.  She was walking behind him and dutifully assisting him with his court paperwork.  Sadly, she reminded me of myself ten years ago.  Seth looked so nervous and we all spent 20 minutes in Kinkos together—even standing 10 feet apart in separate lines at one point.  While it was tempting to introduce myself, I didn’t.  Seth never told poor Wendy that the girl standing next to her in line was me…the evil ex wife.  Wendy probably envisioned Seth’s ex-wife as a woman with devil horns protruding through her blonde hair.

My daughters were introduced to Wendy in December and shortly after he stated to them that he was getting married soon—to “Wendy, Sharon or another pretty girl.”  Yes, he really said that.  Who says this to their daughters?  Is this the imagery that you give to your daughters?  Obviously it is—in the world of a narcissist.  Insert pretty female = instant public facade.

Wait…who’s Sharon?

3. January 2013: Sharon (Gazelle #3)- introducing Seth’s new fiance   I am safe to announce this as one of the other Gazelle’s forwarded me a set of their professional engagement photos in an effort to protect the rest of the herd.  The good news: two gazelle’s escaped and we can only sit back and do the one-eyed peek through on this one.

PS While I have used humor to write about this situation, my heart goes out to Gazelle #3.  I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone. 

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23 Responses

  1. As I read this I could only cry as my step children are now living with “Gazelle #3” you see they live with the parent who is a Narcissist, yes the courts gave the kids to this parent because she is the mother and in our state the Mother would have to commit murder to not have custody of the children. This woman not only brings men in and out of the children’s lives but she moves the men in and out more often than she changes her under garments. Sigh, I feel your pain.

  2. This alone should be heavily considered when raising little girls in today’s world! The revolving women in his life will only make a child question what relationships are meant to be when she grows up as well as what a woman’s worth is and how she is to be treated by a man. These items will weigh on the minds of our innocent growing daughters as they are also faced with other self esteem issues in the world today! It is sad to think that has pure, loving, happy, and innocent our children our and how us as mothers protect them that their own fathers will be the one’s to steal a little bit of each of these things as they mature into women.
    I am in somewhat of the early stages of custody battle (since August 2012) and just ordered your book yesterday. I look forward to receiving it and looking for ease in this battle.

  3. So sorry– It is so frustrating. I am incredibly sorry to hear this….for you and your children 🙁

  4. While I am hopeful that this means that Seth will not be bothering about you as much, I doubt it. Through my 23 year marriage I heard about how his first ex was pining for him (she found him repulsive), his ex lovers were all neurotic and needing father figures (really? Everyone he meets?), mentions each year of each anniversary that is no more, AND how he needs to find and reconnect with his 2nd ex (No proof of marriage is anywhere on that one). Of course if I did not support these delusions with him it was due to my lack of culture and understanding. Yeeeeeaahhh… I feel so bad for the gazelle that hasn’t gotten away yet. I hope she feels free to turn this way when she needs to find healing for what is about to happen to her. 0:,)

  5. I should start a separate support group for Gazelle’s 🙂 — sounds like there are a lot of them out there.

  6. Tina, I think I remember a post in which Seth was ranting to you about how much you were damaging your girls with all the supposed men coming in and out of your life. Sadly, not so ironic with a narcissist… more like expected.

  7. That poor woman. On some level given his history she must have an inkling. My x tells my children he is getting divorced all the time when he and his wife argue. As he was recently convicted of felony DV for assaulting her two children I doubt this will be the case. She will never leave and he will never change. But it is a choice she makes. At first I felt sorry for her but after years of back and forth and seeing this happen again and again (the only reason charges were not dropped by her this time was because the state picked them up and refused to let the matter drop) I no longer do. Anyone who stays is simply an enabler.

  8. Seth needs this woman for something. Like I posted on your fb page, she must have a home, or money, or good credit, or maybe she can paint a good picture of “Seth the loving husband and family man” to the courts. My Ex N hides things in his gazelle’s name so he can’t be touched. He sung her praises to the court as being a better mother, better female role model than I could ever hope to be. We all know that Narcs use people, he’s got a plan for this one. Just watch out as she is included into your daughters life and into your court room.

  9. Since we separated, I have introduced the girls to one man…the one I will marry in 7 weeks. Even with that, we took things very slowly. Glenn met the girls after seven months. Seth has introduced the girls to multiple women and others by photo…”This is daddy’s new girlfriend”….I’m sure they are impressed.

  10. I’m new to the blog and am curious how you discuss their father with your children. Popular advice is to not disparage one’s ex. But, when one’s ex is a narcissist, does this advice still apply? While I don’t want to tell my daughter that her Dad is a jerk, I feel that I do have to advise/warn her about him. He has been violent towards me (in her presence) in the past, owns guns, suffers from depression/alcoholism, therefore I’m afraid of him. None of this swayed the judge, who awarded him liberal time, unsupervised, with her. What is considered “dangerous” in the courts’ eyes? How do I fight this? Thanks, I appreciate this blog and others’ understanding and advice.

  11. My heart goes out to Gazelle #3 and all the other gazelles out there who are dating narcissist, marrying them, and were married to them. It’s important to recognize the traits of a narcissist and stop the madness for all future gazelles. And the self-esteem deficit is another thing I’d love to see replenished. I’m working on that from a dating coach perspective. Thank you, Tina, for all that you do to protect the future gazelles.

  12. I have to say that I am blown away by the story, but all the wiser by what us “ex’s of narcs” share. So many THANKS Tina.
    My narc has his own Gazelle at the moment, a seemingly nice woman– yes, naive and inexperienced — and while I have felt sad for her and feared for the hurt that will inevitably fall into her life, I believe whole-heartedly that she is the only one to figure out what is going to befall her. My focus isn’t to “educate” her, but to protect our son.
    Yes, the ex began “secretly” dating her– and including our son on these dates– within 6 weeks of meeting her. By two months into his relationship, he was telling me that she was the love of his life and “better” for our child. This guy creates his own story, his own “truth” and perpetuates it well to others. He has her eating out of his palm, but again I reiterate they are a “Gazelle” for one reason or another. And by choosing that role over really taking the time to investigate their partner and the “truth” that gets perpetually fed to them, they are in turn “feeding” the cycle.

    I will never ever get involved with a man without a professional background check again.

  13. If it helps any, I try to tackle each question my 7 year old daughter raises with three things in mind:

    1) I will not lie to my child.

    2) I will not give her age-*in*appropriate answers. I keep my answers general and bite my tongue A LOT.

    3) And this is a multi-part answer. When giving an answer to one of her questions, I try to keep in mind
    a) just because something is true, &
    b) just because my daughter is going to have to come to terms with an unpalatable realizations regarding her father’s character, does not automatically require
    c) that she gets that information from me.
    Basically, if I judge it would be inappropriate for one of my parents to tell me something about the other parent, I try to not give my daughter that message.

    My daughter’s therapist & the school guidance counselor have been invaluable in tackling some of the questions Radio Flyer Princess asks me that I do not feel I should answer–if for no other reason than I don’t trust myself to stick to those three self-imposed guidelines.

    Feel free to hunt me up on FB “Blue Eyes and Bruises” if you’d like to talk more.

  14. My ex is also engaged. He told our daughters and my mother that he will never marry her.
    He told me, “I have to keep her around because she makes me so much money – you know, like you used to.”
    I emailed him and asked, “How would you like it if one of your daughters was engaged to someone with that attitude?”
    Of course, I never received a reply – because he doesn’t care how his actions, addictions and lies affect our daughters.

  15. Yes- at this point, we’ve uncovered quite a bit about her and your instincts are right on target. She is very well known, has money, etc. Everything that is important to him.

  16. Its hard to sit by silently and watch when you know you have been in the same position and you know how it will end. I often wonder what the purpose is of someone who causes so much chaos and turmoil for others – then simply moves on to the next victim. Being married to a narcissist is like a lifelong prison sentence and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone either. Best of luck to you and your girls as the drama unfolds…

  17. Hopefully Gazelle #3 will wake up before it’s too late. I have a son who is 7 years old and my ex-narc has been through at least 3 women since our divorce last year. One was during the marriage come to find out. My son told me that he had to stay in the room with his half-sister because daddy was in his room “busy” with his girlfriend. How do I teach a boy that this is not how men treat women? How do I teach a boy that good women don’t behave like that while children are in the house? I don’t know what to tell him. I know his father doesn’t care but I have to wonder about this woman.

  18. Hi CK- I lean heavily on my daughters’ therapists to assist with these things. I don’t know how old your daughter is? My daughters are 5 and 7 — I work with them on boundaries, using their voices, etc which isn’t targeted in a way that they know we are discussing their father. They are life skills that everyone should have– more so when your father is a narcissist.

  19. Thanks, Heather and Tina, for your responses. You both mention your children see therapists. I would like our child to see one, but my ex thinks “all the issues are mine.” I struggle with co-parenting because he “over-rules” what I want. Because I am afraid of him (alcoholic, depression, guns, domestic violence), I have to develop a strategy that will not make things worse, but still protects the child.

    In my divorce trial, the Guardian ad Litem, recommended that our child, then 8, live primarily with me. The judge disregarded the GAL’s advice and ruled that our child live primarily with my ex. This in spite of uncontested evidence of his alcoholism (arrested/convicted of a DUI after causing a car accident shortly before the divorce); transcripts, spanning years, from the Domestic Violence Hotline in our town (starting with the time he strangled me in front of our then 5 yo), and years of financial exploitation. The judge awarded me $1 in alimony and required me to pay $600/mo. child support. I had been a SAHM for 8 years. For 7 years prior, I had 100% financially supported the family. I’ll never understand how the judge came to his decisions, but I haven’t lost hope that I will find a way to overturn it. Thanks for the support.

  20. My narc ex was not a legal husband, but fiance; still, I remember what it was like, seeing him go on to other women. The first gazelle was just a couple of weeks after he broke things off with me, so that was especially hard to take.

    From what she told me during and after the relationship, it was volatile and unstable. They broke up and got back together all the time. But she didn’t realize just how dysfunctional it was until they broke up for good, and her friends practically threw other guys at her for her to date instead.

    The next gazelle became his wife, especially after he got her pregnant. (So much for his boasted effectiveness of natural family planning.) I was engaged by then, so I was long over him. But the pain and anger from how he emotionally and sexually abused me during our relationship, still lingered. I also wondered how long he would stay with his wife, if he was abusing her, or if she got the “good” J. I felt sorry for her, because I met her a couple of times, and she seemed nice. But several years ago, sure enough, he divorced her.

    As for gazelles after that, I have no clue. All I know about him, I learned from his MyLife postings 6 years ago….