I am an avid reader on Facebook of a support group for men and women with children who are divorcing or are living the aftermath of a divorce from a spouse with narcissistic personality disorder. Because the general public has such little awareness of the destructive pathology of those with NPD and they can be so crafty and subtle in their maneuvers that without support these poor people can lose all sense of reality and even be destroyed. That is often the intent of the narc, as the web site calls them. The hunger for ongoing drama, the desire to punish the ex-spouse for leaving them (plotting and acting out revenge can go on until the children turn 18), the need to torment and feel empowered in a twisted way by ignoring court orders and refusing to pay child support, the lies convincingly spoken about their ex to anyone who will listen: the children, family members, friends, employers, guardian ad litems, judges (perjury isn’t a crime in Family Court), to try to discredit them and ruin their lives never fades in intensity and doesn’t die down. They believe they are right and must win at all costs. A win for many of them is leaving their former spouse homeless, jobless, penniless, physically sick, preferably with a stress-related degenerative disease that will end in death, and losing permanent custody of their children with no visitation. It is a scorched earth policy.
People on this site are at various stages of wisdom in coping with and countering the narc’s tactics. Those with greater understanding guide and advise those who are just entering the fray. Living with someone with NPD for years leaves the spouse brainwashed into believing they have no identity and no rights, and the years of powerlessness make them too paralyzed to make decisions. They have learned to tolerate the intolerable. One story of a mother just beginning her journey out of this madness happened during the Christmas holidays. She and her husband had agreed to divorce but had not yet told the children. The husband had in quick order found a girlfriend and was staying with her every night but continued to use the marital residence as his home base. The first Saturday in December the family decorated the tree. The wife wanted one last “happy” Christmas together as a family for the sake of the children. However the husband left early for a date with his girlfriend at a downtown hotel. In despair and anguish the wife poured her heart out on the web site. In one day here were some of the responses that flowed in:
While he is out change the locks and garage door password.
Adultery is a crime in some states.
Plan your escape. Copy all important documents, save money, duplicate car keys, pack clothes away for you and the children, inform close friends of your plans, and finally get to a domestic violence shelter.
Don’t think your kids don’t know what is going on. Children are perceptive. By staying in a destructive environment you are teaching them that this is normal.
Although the advice was different the running theme was you deserve better, grow a backbone, and develop a fighting spirit for the sake of your own self respect and the future of your children. All of this erodes away while living with a crazy maker who is bent on manipulating until we exist in fog of delusion. Others have to remind us of who we are and what the truth is. If you are immersed in this deathstyle I add my voice in telling you that you deserve better. If you must leave quickly here is the web site for the domestic violence shelter in the Dayton area: http://www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=elLVJiP8H&b=59174