Tag Archives: narcissism

One Mom’s Battle has Many Faces

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I am one face in this battle but there are many, many more.

I have come to realize that this isn’t just my story – it’s the story of many, many women (and men) who have been affected by narcissistic personality disorder or other personality disordersDivorcing a narcissist isn’t for the weak yet by the time you get to the point of finally wanting to leave your narcissist, you are usually beaten down and to the point that you don’t think you can continue for another day.  That is the point in time where you have to dig deep inside and find the courage and the strength to take a stand.  You need to dig deep in your closet for the battle gear (you know that dark corner where you throw the jeans that no longer fit?).  Sometimes it takes a big of digging but I promise you that you will find the courage if you look hard enough.

My journal has turned into your journal.  So many of my readers have shared stories with me that make me question if I was unknowingly living in a polygamist marriage.  Usually, I don’t put anything past my X but somehow, I don’t think he was keeping up a double life in both the UK and China.  Joking aside, this personality disorder affects so many people.  If the stats are true and 4% of the population are Narcissists, that leaves a lot of us in the aftermath of the storm.  There is power in numbers.  A lot of my healing has come from hearing your stories and feeling less alone.

One of my friends said that she is going to write a book called, “Narcissism for Dummies” and the first (and only page) would say, “RUN“!  Hindsight really is 20-20.  I was almost two years into my battle before I realized that Narcissism was to blame for the chaos that had ensued over the past ten years of my life.  Prior to that, I was clueless.  I would watch him lie, steal, cheat and manipulate with a smile on his face.  I would question my sanity.  How can he open his mouth and lie like that?  Who does that?  I now have the answer: Narcissists do.

As I’ve said before, I don’t want to be seen as a victim.  I don’t want you to be seen as a victim because your story is my story.  My story is your story.  I have the privilege of authoring the next chapter of my life and you have the ability to write your next chapter.  Is it going to be a chapter where you are the victim or is it going to be the chapter where the victim finds her (his) voice and stands up to the bully?   Narcissists are the same as bullies– they have low self esteems yet portray themselves to be powerful and bigger than life.  I want to be that awesome kid on the playground who finally stands up to the bully and sets boundaries.

Cheers to setting boundaries and finding your voice!  -Tina

PS Thank you for all of your comments and emails.  I can’t tell you how inspiring it is for me to hear from you— some days I am encouraged to keep writing based on a simple message from my readers.

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A Twisted Mind

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His mind is as twisted as a tornado.

Monday night, the X called to talk to the girls.  Immediately he dove into his strange manipulations.  My youngest daughter got on the phone and this is exactly what he said, “Hi _____, remember when we were at the children’s museum together yesterday?

“Yeeesss”, she answers.

“Do you remember when you wouldn’t let daddy go and you were holding onto me?”, he asks.

“Yes”, she answers.

“Daddy had to drive all the way back to San Francisco.  I’m far away now….”.  and on and on.  The conversation was so bizarre that as I listened to him talk, I wondered two things: who was sitting next to him that he was trying to impress?  The second option,  was he was recording the conversation?  The entire conversation was manipulative and bizarre.  It was hard to listen to and uncomfortable to watch my daughters obvious discomfort.

Tonight, he calls back.  My youngest daughter has been running a fever for the past 24-hours and doesn’t feel well.  She answers the phone and he starts off by saying, “Hi _____.  I miss you.”

Silence from her.  She just stares at the phone.

“Do you miss Daddy?”

“Yes”, she answers uncomfortably.

“No you remember when you didn’t want daddy to leave and drive back to San Francisco?”, he asks.

She stares at the phone without answering.

At that point, I picked up the phone and walking into the garage.  I explained that there are boundaries and that he can’t continue with these questions that make the girls so uncomfortable.  I came back into the house and explained that daddy could call back in a little while.  At that point, I sent him the following message:

Me: X- you are absolutely welcome to call the girls.  I have never prevented that.  There are boundaries and I will not allow you to emotionally manipulate the girls.  You are welcome to call back if you can refrain from that type of behavior. 

X: I’ll be reporting your interruption.  In every phone call precisely Tina. You lied in court about what happened at church. I never uttered Parental Alienation Syndrome. I said ‘ PAS’. This is my church too. I took the girls there every weekend you were out partying. I never sped away.  You have endlessly lied in court. I am going to prove you have Lupus not MS. You lie about your income. You lied about your rent.

Me: They will be awake until 8pm. You are welcome to call back however, you are not allowed to put them on the spot and continue with the bizarre questions that you were asking (her). She was visibly uncomfortable.

X: You should not be listening in to every phone call. She (Daughter) was hugging me and she said ”i won’t let you go. I am going to steal you from San Francisco.   The supervisor had to tell her to let go. You don’t have any clue what your selfish, money hungry behavior is doing to OUR daughters not YOUR daughter.

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Unless you’ve actually experienced a Narcissist in your life, you may be scratching your head right now.  The entire experience makes you question yourself and your sanity.  If you have experienced one then these text messages or emails from a Narcissist then you understand every line of it.  Prior to understanding this disorder, I felt the need to respond and defend myself against everything that he said.

My instincts would be to remind him that he did speed out of the parking lot with the girls in the car.  I would want to tell him that I’ve never lied in court.  I’m not money hungry- I’ve supported my daughters without regular help from him since last June.  I would normally rush to contact my doctor for a form that says I do have Multiple Sclerosis and not Lupus….and on and on.  Now that I am not his victim, I don’t feel the need to do that.  To me, his messages show a very disturbed person with a distorted version of reality that he actually may believe.  The phone call to my daughters and the text messages show nothing but a twisted mind.

He can continue in his ramblings and bizarre behavior and he will be met with the boundaries that I will continue to place in his path.

I will not be his victim nor will I let him victimize or manipulate the girls.

 

 

Court on Wednesday

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Sometime time really seems to fly by.  The past few weeks have gone too fast.

I had a small victory in January when the judge revoked my X’s visitation rights pending the “next” hearing.  The time has come– the next hearing is right in front of me.  It’s on Wednesday.

Prior to January, my X’s visitation had been every other weekend (no overnights).  Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.  I normally go through a roller coaster of emotions in between visits.  The roller coaster goes something like this:

1. Monday morning after a visitation weekend: huge relief.  My girls are home.  They are safe.  I usually feel emotionally drained by the time they are back in my car.

2. The week after a visit: Normalcy.  Routine.  Happiness.  Laughter.

3. The week before a visit: Anxiety (me).  Fear and uncertainty because the next visit is right around the corner.

4. The days prior to the visit: More anxiety. The stress of worrying about what damage he can inflict on my daughters in a short window of time.

5. The visits: A total of 12 hours in a weekend and an amazing amount of damage that can be done in that small amount of time.  Hitting my daughter, driving them without a license, taping photos of me on his fireplace mantel or calling me “T-Rex“.  I am haunted weekly by the visits and the emotional scars that my daughters receive at his hand.

6.  Repeat.

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I begin to mentally prepare for yet another court date.  I am asking for a reduction in visits and I am requesting supervised visits.  I am angry and I am tired of the ups and downs.  I am tired of worrying about my daughters.  I am praying that the courts will put my daughters’ best interests first.

Long Term Damage

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I was over at the “Divorce” section of the Huffington Post and came across an article by Melani Robinson titled, “Why I could still kill him“.

Our stories are similar — a horrible divorce with a selfish, twisted ex-husband and a court system that finally saw through him.  Her story gave me hope and also made me sad.

It gave me hope that my own “monster” would finally fade off into the distance and stop harming my daughters.  I am coming to terms that “he is who he is”.  This isn’t just divorce craziness.  This is his craziness.  This is a man who is so miserable and selfish on the inside that he can never and will never put his daughters first.  That is our reality- mine and the girls’.

It made me sad because the author is still dealing with the ramifications of her monster years later.  Her daughters are in their 20’s and are still affected by this selfish man and his actions.  He didn’t change.  He found a new family and a new life where he could carry on the facade that he is a good person.  They see through him yet there is still pain.

I want to believe that I can enrich my daughters’ lives so much that they don’t feel this pain as adults.  That is a big weight to carry.

I am still searching for that bubble to place them in for protection.

Going to Battle for my Daughters: Court Tomorrow

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I sit here watching my little “Peach” while she plays at the park.  I am working on my laptop and she is pushing the merry-go-round.  She yelled over her shoulder, “Love you, Mom” and my heart melted.   Tears filled my eyes which seems to be a reoccurring issue this morning.

I have so many mixed emotions right now.  I feel like tomorrow could be the day that I get what I’ve been asking for: supervised visitation.

I picked up a statement this morning from my daughter’s therapist and was overwhelmed with emotions.  I knew the basis of what she was going to say but to actually read it in writing…well…it hurt.  Badly.

I felt physically ill when I read it.  She spoke of the confusion and anxiety that my daughter expressed while talking about her father hitting her and the photo of me that is covered in blue taped at his home.  She addressed the issue of her father berating me in her presence and the effect it is having on her.

She is a six-year old little girl who should be consumed with how fast she can push the merry-go-round yet she is carrying burdens that only an adult is equipped to deal with.

Why do I have mixed emotions?  In my naive heart of hearts, I have always held out hope that he would pull himself together.  That he would hit rock bottom and realize what he has done.  That he would see the two amazing little girls in front of him and choose to do the right thing.  I hoped that he would stop seeing them as possessions.

I hoped that he would be their dad.

I’ve lost that hope.  I don’t think that he is healthy enough to be a dad and I don’t hold out the hope that he can in the future.  I have to let all of that go.  Some parts of the anger and hatred is slowly turning to pity for him– that he is too mentally damaged to see what he is doing and what he has done in the past few years.

I received a card from my church this morning.  I had asked them to pray for me after last week’s service on forgiveness.  The card said, “May you always have the courage to set boundaries and do whatever it takes to protect your daughters.  God will give you great strength and boldness.”   I needed to hear that message today above all others.  Fighting to protect my daughters is what I am supposed to do–it’s my job is as their mother.

Last night I stayed up late completing my court declaration and I filed all of the paperwork this morning.  In that paperwork, I have spoken from my heart– not out of anger or hatred but as a mother who is doing what she is supposed to do.

Now, it is in the hands of the court and God.

Please say a prayer…send good thoughts…sprinkle pixie dust or whatever you feel comfortable with.

We could use it right now.

Narcissism

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Today I found an article that could have been written about my marriage and divorce.  It was titled, “Help!  I am Divorcing a Narcissist” .  I actually researched the author on Twitter to learn more.  I felt like there was someone out there who summed up the past ten years.  It really hit me hard.

In 2008, when I was first considering leaving him…I went to a therapist.  He refused to go at the time.  She (the therapist) wasn’t a PHd and therefore, he was smarter than she was.  I sat down with her for 1.5 hours and spilled my guts– I told her everything…about the triathlons, the lack of feelings/empathy, the manipulations and lies, how he used people and had no regard for anyone but himself.  I told her about his shady business practices and the fraudulent things I was discovering about his business dealings.  I told her about the demeaning nature in which he spoke to me and the control factor.  I begged her to help me save my marriage.  I was willing to do ANYTHING.

She calmly got up and walked across the room without saying a word.  She came back carrying a book.  She opened it and flipped through to the part she was looking for and handed it to me with a finger pointing at the words, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder“.  I glanced over it- overwhelmed.  I looked up at her and felt hopeful- after all, if we had a soft diagnosis…we could solve the problem.  She then went on to say that if in fact this was the case, there was no cure.  You either accept it and live with it or you leave.

I was angry.  How DARE she imply this without even meeting him.  I had never heard the term before and now I wanted to research everything related to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).   In September of 2008, my aunt, who works in the mental health profession went to work to find a PHd who would work with us.  By this point, he had agreed to go to therapy.  We found a PHd who met with us weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) for about six months.  The Psychologist suggested that he undergo testing for Bi-Polar Disorder and NPD– both of which he suspected.  That was the end of our marriage therapy and our marriage.

He called the Doctor and stated that our marriage was beyond repair and ended counseling.

***Note: Obviously, “He” has never been diagnosed nor am I diagnosing him.  This is a series of events which  I lived and an article that I connected with on a deep level.  I felt like it could have been written about my journey.

It Was a Blessing in Disguise

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The IRS saga continued for almost 6 months.  We were forced to hire a top-notch accounting firm to represent us and thankfully, we had an IRS auditor who had worked in the same industry (magazine publishing) and understood our books.  A six month battle with the IRS cost us $20,000 in accounting fees to the firm that represented us.  Luckily, the accounting firm was able to prove that the IRS was wrong.  In the end, we owed $383 to the IRS and $20,000 to the accountants.

There was a period of time when I was so incredibly angry with my X husband.  If he had he just addressed the issue and cleared it up when the problem first presented itself, it would have never escalated to the point of our assets being frozen.  I was angry because he felt he was more powerful than the IRS and he ignored their letters, calls and notices.  He was above the IRS.  In that six month period, we lost everything: our home, our cars and both of our businesses.

In that time, I saw my X husband’s true colors.  I watched him borrow money that he knew he couldn’t pay back.  I watched him write checks for thousands of dollars that he knew would bounce.  I watched him hand employees their paychecks knowing that they wouldn’t clear.  I personally watched him manipulate and lie to people.  Many times, I learned of the lies after the fact.  Months after the IRS fiasco was over, I learned that he had conned his little brother (Brother C) out of $90,000.  This particular brother, a sweet, caring college student has carried the ramifications of his older brother’s actions.  His car was repossessed, his credit ruined and his life turned upside down.

Those are the things that I struggle to come to terms with.  The innocent people who fell victim to my X.  The people who found themselves in the path of destruction.  I feel guilt for defending him on so many occasions– I am not the only victim to his narcissistic ways.  Some people lost $500 and others lost thousands.  There seems to be no recourse for his actions.

What good could possibly come from this situation?  What “blessings” could come from this nightmare?  I recently heard something in church that stuck with me.  My pastor was describing life as a needlepoint.  When you are looking at it from one side, you see a bunch of knots, chaos and tangled strings.  Once in a while, you even get pricked by the needle.  It is hard to understand that anything beautiful could possibly come from the mess.  If you turn the artwork over, you see the finished product.  It makes sense.  The good news is that you are welcome to flip it over at anytime and appreciate the artwork of life.

That particular analogy is how I have chosen to view this particular trial in my life.  At the time, I lived in fear every day.  How would we pay the electric bill?  How would I put enough gas in the car to get my children to preschool?  My main fear; how would we make the health insurance payment every month for my Multiple Sclerosis treatment?  Without treatment, my arms go numb and become useless.  It was a horrible cycle because stress is the worst thing for my condition yet it was unavoidable.  At the time, I didn’t understand what good could come from this.  I questioned my faith and I felt sorry for myself.

Our house went into foreclosure and while we probably could have stayed there free of charge until the banks bolted down the doors; I couldn’t do it.  Mentally, I needed to be free of this fake life.  My X was furious.  He was still wanting to live this pretend life.  He wanted to stay in the home for as long as possible– he claimed we could stay there a year.  I spoke to our marital counselor.  He agreed with me– it needed to end.  I found a rental home and I packed our belongings.

As I packed our things, I had a lot of time to think.  I was moving out regardless of what he thought.  I was standing up for myself and putting my foot down.  I wasn’t going to live under his thumb any longer.  I wasn’t going to live a fake life.  I wanted a real life with real friends.  It was empowering.  I found my voice and I stood up to him.  The message was: we are leaving and you are welcome to join us if you choose.

We moved into a rental house in January of 2009 and our marriage ended the next month.

Someday, I will send the IRS a thank-you card for allowing me to live a life based on things that matter most: love, gratitude, kindness and being real.  While I couldn’t see it “in the moment” (or for three years after the moment)…I see it now and it makes sense.  I can flip that needlepoint over and I choose to dwell on the picture rather than the tangled strings.