Tag Archives: narcissist

The Bizarre Ramblings

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Sometimes I have a hard time understanding how my X actually holds himself together in court.  I know where his mind is and it frightens me.  Somehow, he is able to pull it together and “appear” to be a normal, functioning person.

It has been so long that we’ve had any sort of email communication that I forgot how truly bizarre he can be.  Unfortunately, his visitations will begin again this weekend.  10am-4pm Saturday and again on Sunday from 10am-4pm.  The Sunday time conflicts with our church times so I sent an email asking to change the time by one hour.

My email:

Dear X,  On Sunday mornings, the girls and I attend church from 9:00am until 10:30am.  I propose that we shift the Sunday visitation schedule to 11am-5pm (versus 10am-4pm) which would allow me to bring the girls to the designated pick-up location.  If you’d like to shift Saturday and Sunday to this (11am-5pm) time, I am fine with that to be consistent. -Tina

His response:

Tina,  I am not sure about this. Up until you moved in with your new husband, the girls were attending (XYZ Church) in (insert town here) which they greatly enjoyed.  Then you changed to a bible church in (another town) and didn’t even tell me.  – The X

It left me feeling like I just entered the Twilight Zone.  My husband?  I changed churches?  When did these things happen???

For starters, I am not even engaged let alone married.  I have been attending the same church for three years now– in fact, I’ve never even been to another church during my entire adult life.  I am left scratching my head.

This is a delusional man who the courts feel is competent to be around my children.

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$24,958.99 in Arrears

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There is a looming court date in January.  This one doesn’t cause me stress– it’s a date put on the calendar by my X to lower his “current” child support amount.  This is not my battle to fight nor do I care too.  I leave everything between him and the local Child Support Services office.

The long and short of it all: he lost another job.  I should clarify what I mean by “current” child support amount.  Technically, there is no current amount nor has there been since May.  There is a past-due amount that keeps accumulating each month.  In 2010, he hid income by failing to mention large bonuses that he had from his employer.  These issues were addressed in court last year and now he is in arrears.

The past due amount currently sits at $24,958.99

He lives in a luxury condo in San Francisco paying two-thousand dollars per month for a single bedroom.  He always has new clothing, shoes and carries a Blackberry yet he has never asked if the girls need school clothing, groceries or if I need help with their health insurance.  It’s been difficult for me to understand how a man can do this.

I recently read an article by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. in The Legacy of Distorted Love .  Here is an exert from the article which sums up the current issue at hand:

Their entitlement needs get in the way of fairly dividing property and money and in the end they do not think of what is best for the child or children. They think about what is best for them. 

His goal is to hurt me by finding ways to beat the system and to avoid paying child support.  He will inevitably find jobs under the table or borrow money from friends and family.  He really isn’t hurting me.  He’s only hurting his daughters.  In the end, we will be fine and I will make things work just like I always do.
In all honesty, it’s been quite empowering to discover that I can make it without his financial support.

A Huge Thank You

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I started this blog at the end of October 2011– I’ve been working forwards, backwards and sideways to tell my story— to paint the entire picture.  I still have pieces to fill in…in less than 8 weeks, I’ve received over 9,000 hits on my blog.

I’ve received emails and messages from women who have laughed and cried while reading my story.  Women who thanked me because they felt so alone and had no idea that “this” was happening to other people.  In the very beginning, I would have loved to connect with one other person in the world who could tell me that “everything was going to be okay”.  There were so many times that I doubted that.

Today I was accepted as an “Expert” on About.Com and through my research on this topic, I am healing more than I ever thought possible.  Today, I came across an article called, “Staying Sane While Divorcing a Narcissist” and it covered so many things that baffled me before I truly understood narcissism.

These are the characteristics of a Narcissist that rang true in my X husband (taken from Cathy Meyer’s Article)- not one item…but ALL seventeen:

  • Has a need for admiration,
  • A need to be right,
  • A need to be seen as the good guy,
  • A need to criticize when you don’t meet their need,
  • Is charismatic and successful,
  • Lacks the ability to feel remorse,
  • Has no conscience,
  • Has a tremendous need to control you and the situation,
  • Have values are situational…if you believe infidelity is wrong, so do they,
  • Uses a facade of caring and understanding to manipulate,
  • Is emotionally unavailable,
  • Nothing is ever their fault,
  • Hangs onto resentment,
  • Has a grandiose sense of self,
  • Feels misunderstood,
  • Is not interested in solving marital problems, it is their way or the highway,
  • Is envious of other’s success,

Here are some of the things which caused me to have “Ah ha!” moments in the article:

1. When divorcing a narcissist, Dr. Bansckick says, “he completely dismisses any of your needs, or all the years of devotion and mutual companionship that you had built together.

During our marriage, and prior to my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and having children, I worked between 60-100 hours per week on our businesses.  Sometimes I stopped work at 3am for a 30 minutes cat nap only to wake up and put in another full day.  I did anything and everything to keep our companies thriving.  If you ask him today what I contributed– he would answer nothing and take credit for everything.   In his mind, I stayed on the couch eating potato chips and watching television which is the farthest thing from the truth.

2. A narcissist finds it hard to accept that his influence in your life is over. Whether they file for the divorce or you, the narcissist will attempt to remain in control of his influence over your life. If you have children with this person they will work over-time at attempting to control how child support is spent, how child visitation is handled and every other aspect of the co-parenting relationship.

My X doesn’t view child support as his responsibility in the care of our children– he views it as a way to control me.  Mentally, I’ve recently shifted the way I view his support (which is currently $25,000 in arrears) and it has allowed me to break free from that control.  I am strong and I am capable of providing the basics for my children.  We will have to sacrifice the “extras” such as ballet lessons, gymnastic lessons and other fun treats but they have a well-rounded life and we will be okay.  He doesn’t have control over me and that is a good feeling.

3. Examine your role in the ongoing conflict. The healthier you are emotionally the more success you will have in dealing with the narcissist. You are giving into the narcissists attempt to manipulate every time you respond to him.  

This is something that I came to terms with over the recent year.  He is welcome to send a long, attacking rant by email but it is my choice to read them or not.  I usually skim over it and respond to the valid questions.  I’ve come to view his insane emails as just that– sometimes I just shake my head.  Usually, I respond to the required questions with simple, unemotional responses.  He doesn’t deserve emotion from me nor will he generate it.  I know that’s what he wants and I won’t give in.

4. Deal with the reality of the situation. The world of the narcissist is made up of fantasy, nothing is real, all is a expression of their need to be someone they are not. It is imperative you see the narcissist for who he/she really is and not for whom you wish he/she was.  

This is the thing that I need to constantly remind myself of.  It’s difficult but the reality is- I can’t hold him to my standards.  If I expect him to act in a rational, healthy matter— I am setting myself up for failure.  It just isn’t possible because he is NOT a healthy, rational person.

5. You can’t teach or expect the narcissist to ever respect your boundaries. You can, however refuse to allow the narcissist to cross your boundaries and cause you undue stress during the divorce process. This is done by you controlling what behaviors you will and will not allow.

This is a prime example of the past weekend’s visitation fiasco.  My X interpreted the new visitation orders the way that he wanted them to read because they way they are written gave him even less control and more restrictions.  I made an exception this time but also made it clear that in the future, I would follow the orders exactly as they are stated.

I end this (LONG!) post with a thank-you to Cathy Meyer for an article that resonated with me on every possible level.  I also thank you for reading my blog and for the amazing comments and emails that I have been receiving.

In Gratitude— Tina

Re-Claiming my Identity

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My divorce took an eternity from start to finish.

From the time we separated until the day the paperwork was stamped and signed by the judge– it was approximately 2 years, 8 months, 12 days and 34 minutes.  Who’s counting?  I am.  From the time he legally filed for divorce, it was 2 years and 2 months from start to finish.  Regardless of which date you focus on…it’s a long time.

Our custody battle took that long.

It took that long for me to finally show his true colors to the courts.

We didn’t have things to fight over.  We lost everything when our financial world collapsed.  The things that we held onto were lost when he invaded my  home ( Lying in Wait ) and stripped me of everything.  In a way, it was a blessing.  It was a cleansing and a chance to start over.  I didn’t have “things” to remind me of the past.  In some ways, he did me a favor.  He got what was so important to him: things.

I got what was so important to me: the chance to walk away from a pretend world and reclaim my identity.  The nice couches, furniture and art was all symbolic of a fake and empty existence.  I am not fake and I am not empty.

I devoted yesterday to re-claiming my identity.

To sum it up: I spent all day at the DMV, the Social Security office and the bank.  I’m not a fan of sitting around and waiting so it took a lot of personal motivation to walk in, take a number, sit and wait.  And then wait more.  And more.

I walked out of the DMV with a piece of paper that made me feel even more empowered then I could have imagined.  I left the Social Security Office with my true identity back.  I ordered shiny new checks from the bank with MY name on them.  The name that I was born with and the name that I was meant to have for the rest of my life.

Last night, I went to sleep as “Tina Marie Swithin“.

Cheers to small victories that mean a lot to me personally.

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.

Facebook and Social Media in Divorce Court

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I started hearing from people that “X” was adding them as friends on Facebook.  Any attractive female who lived in the state of California was a potential “friend” (or victim) to him.  One mom stopped me as I dropped my daughter off at preschool and said, “It is so bizarre, your ex-husband keeps trying to add me on Facebook”.  Some friends added him just to keep me informed on what he was doing because they knew about our current situation.

My Private Detective Hat:  What is a girl to do other than put on her private detective hat.  Over the course of our court trials, I had access to his Facebook account through two different friends’ pages.  At different times, I actually had their log-in information and could sign in to monitor things.  He was so persistent in his communication with one attractive friend that he invited her to an event every other day– he painted a picture of his uber appealing world (he owned homes, businesses, cars, etc yet failed to mention we had lost all of these things).  She kept up communication with him for my benefit and eventually, things got so uncomfortable for her that she closed her account and re-opened a more private one.

“X” was supposed to have the girls for his normal visitation at 9am on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

I awoke to a text message at 8:12am– less than an hour before pick-up time.  The text message told me to check my email and that he was “sorry” that he needed to cancel.  The email cited work-related reasons.  He went on to say that he had a series of reports that he had to finish by Monday morning.  He would be fired if he didn’t finish these.  He made sure to get in his normal “digs” by saying that I was dependent on his income to survive and that I should be grateful that he was taking this weekend to buckle down on work, etc.  Luckily, by now these digs were predictable and pathetic to me.

With access to his Facebook account, I was actually able to see that he wasn’t working.  He was actively pursuing an expensive wine tasting excursion with my friend in Napa, a 50-mile bike ride, bowling and a night at the local dueling piano bar.  His online profile stated the following, “I won’t hesitate to drop everything for the promise of a great time with someone who I enjoy“.    That was the most truthful thing that’s left his mouth in years.  He will even drop a weekend with his own daughters.

The end result of his failures to show up for visitation were always a mixture of feelings.

  • Sadness because he let my daughters down (again).
  • Happiness that I wouldn’t have to worry about the girls safety and well-being all weekend.
  • Frustration because my plans would have to be rescheduled or cancelled at the very last minute– work assignments, dates with Glenn or plans with friends.
  • Disappointment because I kept holding out hope that he would eventually pull it together and put the children before himself.

Can Facebook be used to prove character in divorce court?  Absolutely.

Always on Guard

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I received an unusual email from “X” with an offer to take the girls on Valentine’s Day weekend– he wanted to switch weekends with me.  He said, “I’m happy to take them so that you and Glenn can have a weekend away”. I knew something was up.

1. He has never said a nice thing about Glenn and in fact, constantly makes digs about him being older than me.  The reality– Glenn is nine years older.  That’s it.

2. He has never offered anything nice or kind in his life– at least not in the ten years that I’ve known him.  His “offers” always have something to do with his needs or gains.

I declined stating that we didn’t have plans and would be home.  He got frustrated and the truth came out– he had plans.  He said that his work was sending him out of state and that he was unable to keep his normal visitation.  He needed to switch weekends with me.  I didn’t have plans so I agreed to switch.

The power of Facebook and Social Media— his Facebook page showed him snowboarding in Utah all weekend.  Not the work trip that he had cited.

Why the need for lies?  Someone once told me that if you tell one lie, you need to tell at least 20 more to cover the initial lie.  I know this to be truth.  Had he just told me that he needed to switch weekends, I would have gladly done it.  Instead, it was a slew of lies– 1. He was offering to help us have a romantic Valentine’s Day…then he had an out-of-state work assignment…then he publicly posts Facebook photos of himself enjoying a weekend in Utah.

The lies are constant and unnecessary.

The truth is rarely utilized.

The result: I am always on guard.