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Hindsight is 20/20 – Post Abuse Reflections

hindsight-20-20 abuseAs you know, hindsight is 20/20 and after dealing with an abusive man for more than twenty years there are decisions I wish I could go back and change. Obviously, we are unable to go back and change anything that has happened in the past. Knowing what I know now, I realize some decisions would have been so much better for my daughter and my family. Perhaps these decisions may be of some help to someone else who is going through this today.

There is a story that happened today that prompted this blog topic. For now, here are the facts, my ex-husband is highly abusive and has been emotionally abusive to our daughter. I believe my ex-husband has Narcissist Personality Disorder. We have been divorced for over twelve years, but his constant emotional abuse, under-mining of our authority, and using our daughter as a pawn has been relentless. This situation has created a perfect storm for a teenager. She thinks I am the one who has been harassing her father for all these years and her father has done nothing wrong. My reactions have certainly not always been as good as they should have. Sometimes I handled things extremely well and sometimes I didn’t. However, this has been extremely difficult and painful and I do not know what I could have done differently while co-parenting with him.

Trust My Instincts

First, all these year ago, when I was dating my ex-husband. I would have trusted my instincts and not allowed my abusive ex to talk me out of what I was feeling. My gut instincts told me there was something very wrong with our relationship and I would allow him to talk me out of that thought. He would reply with things like; “All relationships have problems…” or “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” I should have trusted my own gut instincts that told me something was wrong and just gotten out. I should have left, never looked back, and just accepted the pain of being lonely after a breakup. That loneliness would have been temporary compared to the hell of dealing with him for more than twenty years.

Not Tell Him I Was Pregnant 

Another thought I have sometimes, how much better it would have been if I had never told him I was pregnant. I should have just moved away and went to live with family. If he had never known he had a child, it would have been better for my daughter. Dealing with an absentee parent would have been better than seventeen years of emotional and psychological abuse. They say it is better for a child to know there father than not, but in this case, it would have been better for her to not been subjected to the constant emotional abuse.

Offer No Child Support and No Custody

My ex-husband had to pay a lot in child support. Had I known that he was never going to back off and would keep emotionally abusing our daughter for all these years… it would have been better to offer him no child support in exchange for giving his rights away. Our daughter has been a tether-cord for him to continue using her as a pawn to hurt us.  My ex-husband’s constant manipulation not only affected our daughter, but it also affected my husband and his daughter. Luckily, my husband and I stayed strong throughout this hell and we came through it.

Fought the Courts to Move Out of State

Normally geographic change do not solve a problem. However, I wish I would have fought the courts to move away from this state and live closer to my family. My ex-husband immediately put a clause that prevented me from leaving the state or moving past the surrounding counties. However, his continuous abuse has been extremely destructive on our daughter and my family. It would have been better that I had moved further away and had support of my family. Plus, if she had seen him less frequently, that might have been better for her. At least there would have been bigger breaks between his manipulations.

Bought a House Further Away

When I purchased my house, it was only five minutes way from my ex-husband and that allowed easy access for him. If I had known he would never give up and go away, it would have been better to move 90 miles away from the man. It would have made it a little harder for him to have access and continue harassing as he did. Living close to my ex-husband allowed him to pick her up during the week and ever week we had to deal with the emotions of back-and-forth visitation. In the best of circumstances, going back and forth is hard enough. However, when you are co-parenting with an abusive person, this makes the transitions even harder for the child or children.

Obviously, all these thoughts are a moot point now. However, when you are dealing with a person who is abusive or has a personality disorder there may be no winning scenario. The biggest casualty here was our daughter and then myself. Sometimes I beat myself up for not being a perfect parent in an imperfect situation. Dealing with my relentless abusive ex-husband gave our family little peace.

Most blog posts say when you break up with someone with NPD, there should be a no contact rule. Any contact with a narcissist is too much contact. However, we had children together and that made no contact impossible. However, when people (like my mother) say things like “You have to have a relationship with him… you have to work with him.” Unfortunately, people with NPD don’t play fair or by any set of good co-parenting rules.

I would welcome your thoughts about this topic.

3 thoughts on “Hindsight is 20/20 – Post Abuse Reflections

  1. Wanted to say that you are not alone. I believe that there are more people that experience this then we will ever know. Whether at home, in the work pkace, in schools, wherever. Gaslight ingredients takes place when someone wants to get the control advantage. And when the person they are gaslighting is unaware of this type of behavior. Sometimes it’s subtle and other times very obvious. We do not always see this until we are away from it.
    Thank you for your continued blog and information!!
    Wishing you the best,
    -Maureen

  2. It is extremely difficult. I was in that situation with 3 children, and it was extremely stressful. I no longer talk about my ex-husband – to others or to my children. They are grown up and independent, with lives and families of their own. I know they were hurt and angry, and one of my 3 children wants nothing to do with either of her parents. I, too, beat myself up for all of it for a number of years, but you can’t undo the past, or the damage. I apologized to my children, took responsibility for my part in things, and have encouraged them to embrace their independence and to follow their dreams. They have not chosen abusive partners, and have made different choices, which is a huge relief. I have stayed single, and do not even date. I am grateful for a new life. It may not be perfect, but freedom and independence are wonderful things.

  3. I am currently trying to get divorced from a narcissist. I have 3 children with him.
    If it makes you feel better, I have filed for child support and received a total of 9 months in the last 26 months. This lack of support doesn’t stop the abuse. Abusers won’t go away. It’s the children that are the pawns, not the money. I am now also paying spousal support because he quit his decent paying job. So don’t second guess yourself on the child support. Hopefully it made your daughters life easier. He would have manipulated her regardless. In court, support has no impact on visitation or rights.
    Not telling your ex you were pregnant would not have been fair. And no doubt you are a good person because narcissists only go after the kindest most fair people. Don’t doubt yourself for being a good person.
    Lastly, my ex moved a half hour away but somehow has become great friends with my rural neighbors and stops by anytime he likes. He also drives a half hour to hunt in the field behind my house, both of which are legal. As my neighbor said when I mentioned it, you can’t tell anyone who to be friends with, or where to hunt for that matter. Again, the drive dies nothing to dissuade a narcissist.
    I’m sure you are a wonderful mother who has shown her daughter that it is unacceptable for women to be mistreated and how strong you are. In a few years she may appreciate your strength more but you have made the right decisions for you and your child.

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