Note from Tina: I normally feature one story per week but my book is taking much of my free time so I’ve increased the “Many Faces” posts a bit. I love hearing stories from others and I am actively accepting stories right now. This particular story is a great example of a true Narcissist- I love you, I hate you, you are the most beautiful woman on Earth, you are the ugliest woman on Earth….all in one week. What’s wrong? You can’t keep up? Is your head spinning? They are all the same and I connected with this woman on many points.
One Mom’s Battle has many faces and its my honor to share them with you. My healing comes from sharing my story and from hearing your stories. There is power in numbers and our numbers are growing. It is my hope that this little “village” will be one strong voice which provides education to our court system and most importantly, brings change to our Family Court System.
One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: Here is Face #18
Hi Tina. I’ve started and deleted my ‘Many Faces’ submission, struggling to condense my story into something understandable and less than 900 words, when the reality is that I still don’t quite understand it myself, and can talk until I’m blue in the face and still have more to tell.
In a nutshell, my ex-husband financially ruined us while maintaining his lifestyle, but it’s my fault (if you ask him, that is). I wasn’t aware of any financial difficulties until the day the bank came to repossess our house. I began digging through financial records in secret as he ‘fixed the bank’s mistake’ and discovered hidden credit cards, cashed out life insurance policies, empty retirement and savings funds, and after years of verbal abuse, the line in the sand finally happened: three emptied college savings plans.
That line in the sand, once crossed, unleashed a man that I had no idea existed. I knew he lied, knew he struggled with maintaining an image, knew he would rather buy himself $900 glasses while our children wore too-small winter coats and I struggled to pay for Christmas, and knew that he had flashes of rage. I didn’t know he would enlist the help of his CPA and office manager to hide money. That he would be caught lying after a year of Collaborative Divorce negotiations, forcing me to hire a new attorney and begin the (expensive and exhausting) process again. I didn’t know he would, during the two and a half years it took to finalize the divorce, tell anyone that would listen that I cheated on him (forgetting the part that we were separated and in the divorce process when I began dating). He would wave his ring at me and tell me that any dating that occurs before a divorce is finalized constitutes an affair. He now tells people that the (wonderful) man I married and I cheated with one another.
I didn’t realize that he would vacillate between begging me to reconcile and how wonderful, beautiful, amazing I am if I would just give him another chance to what he would spout when I refused: I need plastic surgery, I have bad skin, bad fashion sense, am boring, uneducated, unmotivated, don’t work hard enough (or work TOO much), am a bad mother and an all-around awful person. Our divorce has been final for two years, and as recently as last week he texted, unprompted, to let me know he finds me pathetic. In the past six months he has suggested I kill myself, blamed our childrens’ ADHD and anxiety disorders on my ‘rushing’ into marriage, calls my husband names, then emails to suggest we work on getting along better ‘for the sake of the children’.
He texts our children and tells them to ask me for extra time though I have told him numerous times that we are following the decree. He encourages them to keep secrets and has been reprimanded multiple times by our parenting facilitator, yet continues. He contacts my family, contacts our childrens’ friends parents, contacts my husband’s ex-wife to disparage us, then accuses me of ‘running a PR campaign’ when people stop listening. He truly believes his own version of reality. From one day to the next I don’t know if he’ll be saccharine and cooperative or bullying and manipulative. I try to not ride that roller coaster with him, though it has taken years of practice (but that’s another 900 words).
He stopped paying child support when I remarried, and in a few weeks we are going to court to enforce our decree and hold him accountable for the 62 violations that have occurred since finalization. There is a very good chance he will wear an orange jumpsuit when leaving the courtroom. I take no joy or pleasure in this, and have an inner mantra on repeat that reassures me this was caused by him, not me. I am not the bad guy. I am protecting our children. I did not make these choices.
My ex is a diagnosed narcissist who feels the diagnosis is wrong and that I am the narcissist. He blames me for the dissolution of our marriage and the choices I ‘forced’ him to make financially (though I was completely unaware). He blames me for our childrens’ mental health issues (though biology is uncontrollable, and he is diagnosed OCD and anxiety/depression). He blames me for our inability to effectively co-parent (though he name calls, disparages and belittles me). He blames me for the financial hardships he now faces (though his extravagant lifestyle hasn’t changed).
I, on the other hand, would like to thank myself (and my excellent therapist). I was strong enough to realize what that line in the sand was when it happened, and despite the exhausting barrage I endured during the divorce process, clung to every moment of clarity like a lifeline, focusing on the reaffirming actions he would inevitably repeat that helped solidify my decision. My therapist encouraged me to realize that financial infidelity is just as destructive and deceitful as physical infidelity, which gave me the permission I needed to walk away.
The most difficult part, for me, has been guilt. I feel guilty that I got out, but my kids still endure. Only now I’m not there to protect and buffer them…they are on their own. I hope that, in the end, what I gained by getting out and providing a home that they are in for the majority of their time overrules their exposure to a selfish and deceitful narcissist.
I hope they see what a functional marriage is supposed to look like, that my husband and I are best friends and truly love to spend time together. I hope they see that they are worthy of the same adoration, happiness and respect, and are not afraid to take the steps necessary to create a life like this for themselves, no matter what.
Please submit your story (less than 900 words) to Tina@thePRdiva.com- I welcome all stories from Narcissistic survivors. If you are divorcing a narcissist then I want to hear from you.
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