Tag Archives: narcissistic personality disorder

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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Obeying Orders

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As I prepare my case for upcoming court date, I needed to obtain the reports from the company who supervises my X’s visits.

There have been a total of three visits- only two hours each visit.  My fear in the beginning was that my X would put on a huge act in an effort to win the Father of the Year award.  Since the visits are only two hours in length, I didn’t anticipate that a lot could go wrong.  Being that these reports are now in the hands of the court, the girls’ attorney, my X’s possession and in my possession… it makes them public record.  Because of that, I feel comfortable talking about them in very general terms.

Apparently, I was wrong.  A lot can go wrong in a total of six hours.  It worries me that he didn’t try to put on a show as it makes me question his state of mind.

  • He was 20 minutes early to the first visit which started everything off poorly for the girls and I.  He had strict orders to arrive on time.  He had to be asked twice to leave.
  • According to the report, he ordered his favorite pizza (chicken garlic pizza) without thinking of the girls which means they barely ate anything.  They are like most children– cheese or pepperoni.
  •  He had to be reminded to not use his cell phone.
  • Late to second visit- with no explanation.
  • He sat and drank coffee while socializing with another father for 20 minutes of his two-hour visit.
  • Had to be reminded that there are no cameras when he tried to take a photo.  (This makes me so angry because I know those photos would have promptly been posted on Facebook to keep up his facade).
  • Arrived late to the third visit- with no explanation.
  • On the report, it was noted that, “Dad does not interact much with girls as they play”.
  • He brought a family member to the visit (against the rules) and then denied that they were related when asked three separate times.  This was his sister-in-law (brother A’s wife) and nephew.

Once again, it is a bag of mixed emotions.  If you were to reach in the bag, you would find sadness because my daughters deserve SO much more than this.  You would also find shock.  Even when I don’t think I could possibly be shocked anymore, I am proven wrong.  You would also find confusion.  It’s difficult to understand.  If I hadn’t seen my children for six weeks, you wouldn’t find me drinking Starbucks and socializing with an adult for 20 minutes.  You would have to peel me off of my children.  Inside my bag of emotions is also anger.  Anger because these reports show his true colors.

This isn’t about our daughters…it’s about his need to beat me in court.    It’s also about saving face with his mom who he can’t possibly disappoint.

 

Trying to Find Balance Amidst the Chaos

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It is difficult to find balance when you are operating in survival mode.  For three years, this (court battle) is all I’ve known.  In many ways, it feels like a blur.  One thing that I struggle with is trying to maintain a support system but walking the very fine line of not overwhelming those in my corner.  There is only so much “divorce talk” and “X references” that a person can handle.

Being in a high-conflict divorce is hard for most people to understand.  While divorce in general isn’t pretty, there is a difference.  Most people are mature enough and emotionally sound enough to put the needs of the children first.  When you are dealing with a narcissistic personality, all common sense and rationale goes out the window.  The healthy parent is forced into a battle zone to protect the children.  The battle leaves scars.  Most people can’t understand why two parents can’t just put their differences aside for the sake of the children.

I think back to Christie Brinkley on the Today Show and I sympathize so much with where she was in that exact moment.  I’ve been there.  How do you summarize the sheer insanity of this situation in a few sentences?  Where do you even start?  How do you brief someone on the amount of craziness that can transpire in one month let alone sum the whole thing up?  It seems never ending.  Sometimes I feel like a tennis player with the automatic ball-thrower-thingy (technical terms, I know) pitching ball after ball at me.  I can keep swinging but after a while, it gets to be too much.

The people that I love have also been beaten down by this battle and for that, I feel horrible.  No matter how much love there is, hearing about it and living it daily (or almost daily) wears everyone down.  There are good days and bad days.  There are so many people in this battle who deserve credit for being in my corner.  I appreciate them tremendously but at the same time, I wish there was a way to shelter them from the reality of it all.  It’s my life and my reality.  I hope and pray that it calms down someday– for everyone’s sake.

Compulsive Lying and Uncovering the Truth

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Lying.

It’s hard for me to understand.  It infuriates me.  I found an article on Psychology Today titled, Understanding Compulsive Liars because as much as I try to understand it, I can’t.  Ironically, the article mentioned antisocial, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders.  Shocking, right?

Excerpt from the article: Robert Reich, M.D., a New York City psychiatrist and expert in psychopathology, says compulsive lying has no official diagnosis. Instead, intentional dissimulation — not the kind associated with dementia or brain injury — is associated with a range of diagnoses, such as antisocial, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. When it comes to compulsive liars, says Charles Ford, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama Birmingham, “words seem to flow out of their mouths without them thinking about it.” Ford, the author of Lies! Lies!! Lies!!! The Psychology of Deceit, says that pathological liars may slide easily from the notion that something could have happened to the conviction that it did. When pressed, many will admit what they are saying isn’t true. 

Today I discovered that there is another lie on the table.  Now, he is backtracking to get out of his lie to the judge and the court.  He couldn’t get what he wanted from the church receptionist which was for them to say he is a member.  Now, he is twisting his story- he is actually in a Men’s Hiking Group through the church.  Yes, he is really claiming that.

Unfortunately for him, I’ve started the steps to prove this isn’t true.  For starters, the group hikes on Saturday morning at 9am and all hikes take 2-3 hours.  How is this possible if his visitations have begun at 10am for the past six months?  He lives four hours north of the hiking group and has access to some of the most amazing hikes and trails in Northern California.  I find it odd that he is driving four hours south on his off-weekends to hike with a church group.  Anyone else find this amusing?  I would too if it wasn’t my life.  I sent all of the information to the girls’ attorney this morning to prove that it isn’t true.

Yesterday I submitted 55 pages of documents to the court for our April 18th hearing.  In those documents, I provided the dates of his visits over the past six months- since our September 14th court date.  I contacted the church for the dates the girls attended Sunday School (it is all tracked in the computer) and ironically, there are only two dates they attended during his visits.  Those two dates are the days that I took them to church and he merely agreed to pick them up from church after service rather than our meeting place of Starbucks.  In six months of visits, he could of taken them to the 11am service every Sunday yet he never did.  Not once.  I would say he’s buried himself pretty deep so I got out my shovel and went to work.  To dig through the bull and uncover the truth.  That truth is held in 55-pages of court documents which will ensure the judge sees through the lies and the court can rule based on the truth.

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.

 

 

The Today Show: Narcissism has a Poster Child named Peter Cook

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Narcissism has a new poster child by the name of Peter Cook.  He has actually been diagnosed with NPD and admits that he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Those of us who are familiar with the personality disorder or have been victims of this disorder already knew this.

A few things have stirred me while watching Peter’s  interview:

1. First and foremost, I hate that Peter Cook is receiving publicity because that is what he lives for and thrives on. This is feeding his sick mind.

2. A typical narcissistic ploy is to “Muddy the Waters”.  I have seen this played out in my own case and luckily, the courts saw through it.  He is a liar so he says she is a liar to muddy the water.  She just “wants peace” so ironically, he just wants peace also.  My favorite part, he is an absolute diagnosed narcissist so (being smarter than a psychologist in his own mind) has now taken it upon himself to diagnose her as a Narcissist.  My own X has diagnosed me with Lupus because he is smarter than my doctor who graduated from Harvard.  It’s almost unbelievable.

Three words: Muddying. The. Waters.  Three more words: Typical. Narcissistic. Strategy.

3. Crocodile tears.  A narcissist doesn’t understand emotions nor do they feel emotions.  Emotions are a sign of weakness and make a Narcissist extremely uncomfortable.  ANY tears are crocodile tears to someone with NPD.  I saw this in my ow marriage when my mother died.  My X didn’t understand why I was crying.  He literally said, “You weren’t even close with her– I don’t know why you are so upset”.  It was my mother.

  • Christie Brinkley agreed to talk about her divorce (briefly) for the first time in four years.  She has remained quiet.  If Christie was a Narcissist, she would have been on every talk show airing her story and defending herself against the Peter Cook Press Machine.  She didn’t do this.  She didn’t go on the show to discuss her divorce — she went on to discuss her new show on Broadway and agreed to talk briefly about her divorce.
  • Christie Brinkley handled herself with class– because that is just who she is and has always been.  Peter Cook sees her success as a threat to him and therefore, he must rain on her parade.  It is a sickness.
  • Christie Brinkley is a true hero to all of us who have been victimized by these men.

While Narcissism has a new poster child, bullying also has a new poster child by the name of Matt Lauer.  I encourage Matt to do a segment on Divorcing a Narcissist and do the research on his own.  If one positive thing can come from this interview, I hope that it brings awareness to the public, the courts and the media.

Click here to watch Christie Brinkley on the Today Show

Click here to watch Peter Cook on the Today Show

Understanding Narcissism: Accepting Reality and Becoming Strong

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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: