Struggling with Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse

I have not been as diligent about writing my thoughts lately. On some days, it is still a struggle. I miss my daughter terribly and really hurts my heart how things ended up. It seems that it is not uncommon for children to make a decision to move in with the other parent. In this situation though, it was not because he was the better parent, or that I was not a good parent. I believe my daughter made a decision based on what was easiest for her teenage needs.

To catch you up from previous posts, my ex-husband is an abusive man and spent years threatening, harassing, manipulating the situation and our daughter. When our daughter was 17 1/2, he sues for custody. Doesn’t talk to us first and suggest she come live with him. No, that would be too easy. Instead, we get served with papers. He just didn’t want to pay child support for another 1 1/2 years. My ex spent years trying to get my daughter to want to live with him. He took advantage of some rebellious and difficult teenage years.

My daughter believes she came up with this decision to live with him all by herself, but I know that is not true. My ex-husband is a snake, sneaky and subtle in his methods. My daughter doesn’t really understand that the difficulty was that he would never allow me to move on with my life. He spent years working against me every step of the way. Countering every thing we were doing to make life difficult. My ex-husband also tells our daughter lies and twisted versions of the truth. The only thing that explains his bizarre behavior is books about abusive men and narcissistic personality disorder.

For exes who are experiencing difficulty moving forward or letting go of the past, it’s a common response to not want the former partner to be happy. There can be a sense of wanting to punish the old partner for things they may or may not have done in the relationship. 

— Rachel Stapleton, PLLC, mental health therapist

It does not do any good to think about the would’ve… should’ve… could’ve… because you cannot go back and change the past. Obviously knowing what I know now, it would have been better to not let him know I was pregnant. However, there was no way I could have realized that it was signing up for years of harassment, threats, and that he would flat out work against me every stop of the way. I am pretty sure my ex-husband exhibits characteristics of a narcissist and there is no such thing as co-parenting with someone like that.

The two words Narcissist and Co-Parenting cannot coexist in a relationship.

Every description I have ever read about Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) seems to describe him perfectly. My ex-husband also had issues with drinking too much and he often became belligerent when drunk. However, here are some statements about narcissist that really describe my ex-husband.

  • Grandiose, over-inflated sense of self
  • Believes he is special or brilliant
  • Super entitled
  • Requires continuous admiration
  • Lacking in empathy
  • Shows extreme arrogance
  • Interpersonally exploitative

What are my issues? It is people, places, and things. Allowing other people’s behavior to affect how I feel. It has improved after spending years of working on myself through self-help programs like Alanon, Domestic Abuse Counseling, self-help books, and years of therapy has helped me so much.

Oftentimes, I struggle with my own personal decision to continue that relationship. I knew that relationship had problems within the first two years, but I just wasn’t strong enough to leave and stay gone. I just do not understand why he didn’t just move on and leave me alone. Earlier today I found a quote that seemed to fit. Ironic, to hear my ex-husband tell this tale, he would say I was the one who wouldn’t leave him alone. It is interesting to hear the stories he used to weave with our daughter. The challenges is children have young and impressionable minds. They need more time and life experiences to fully comprehend what they witnessed. Understanding my ex-husband’s personality problems has been difficult for me to understand and comprehend. How in the world would a child get it or even a young adult for that matter.

In the past year, I have barely heard from my ex-husband or his wife. It has been such a relief to not get their attacking emails or hearing my daughter repeat what they said about me. My daughter isn’t here with us and it wasn’t supposed to end up that way. She said the other day, “We get along so much better now that I don’t live with you.” My ex-husband had told her repeatedly that mothers and daughters don’t get along. My ex was continuously putting it in her head that we were too strict, too controlling, and we were awful parents. I can only imagine the things he said that I don’t know. How much of his influence and manipulation affected this situation?

What would life have been like without any involvement from my ex-husband for all those years? Would I have suffered with less anxiety? What would my daughter have turned out if she hadn’t had someone manipulating her and twisting her head up all the time? It can’t be health or good for a child to go back and forth between two houses with environment with opposite extremes. Does it make you grow up differently? Maybe she wouldn’t have been sad not knowing her father, but it seems like it would have been healthier for both of us.

Just makes me wonder, if you removed the abusive ex-husband from the equation, life couldn’t have been worse? Perhaps he made me a stronger person and maybe a better mother? Maybe I wouldn’t have built my own business or gained the skills to work at a prominent company? Obviously I wouldn’t have met my current husband. Right now, more time and distance is required to see the good that came out of this hell. I am praying my daughter will benefit from this somehow.

Life is more peaceful today and I am trying to focus on that positive fact. However, the price seems bittersweet.

 

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