Why Family Support Disappears When You Divorce a Narcissist
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By Lorilyn Bridges, Guest Author - August 18, 2017

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The stuff a Covert Narcissist is capable of during a divorce would shock anyone (it even shocked me). But, I needed my family to understand what I was going through. 

 

I Love my family… especially my sister. She is 7+ years older than me and due to the plethora of dysfunctional issues both of my parents possessed I’d say she kinda raised me.

We’re completely opposite in many ways, which varies from height and hair color to our outlook on life. I tend to take more risks and she tends to have more common sense. I believe everything’s always going to work out, while she tends to clearly see the reasons why it won’t.

And Hot Damn, she’s usually right.

I distinctly remember the conversation we had back in 1985 when I told her I was marrying my college boyfriend of 6 months.  

Her simple reply was… “Do. Not. Marry. Him!”

Of course, she went onto defend her opinion in great detail, but I had made up my mind.

I could have argued with her, but deep down she knew the real reason why I was getting married. Our parents had some pretty old-fashioned rules:

1. We couldn’t “go away” to college. If we were going to go to college at all, we had to attend a college in our hometown and live at home.

2. We had to live at home until we got married.

My sister had gotten married in 1979, leaving me to live ALONE with my parents.

Therefore, there was no further discussion and my sister did not cry tears of joy on my wedding day.

To be completely honest, there were a bunch of red flags that said, “Do. Not Marry Him,” but I ignored them all. I believed with all my heart that if I worked hard enough, I could heal all his issues. I wanted to be the best wife and mother I could be and I was excited to start that chapter of my life.  After all, I had survived a very challenging upbringing. I could certainly handle a couple red flags.

But, after 23 years of trying my very best, those frickin red flags could no longer be ignored. So, when my husband asked for a divorce, I finally raised my white flag. And by that time, I was so emotionally and physically exhausted I barely had the strength to lift it.

The funny thing is, my sister didn’t say, “I told you so.” Quite the contrary. She couldn’t understand why we were getting divorced. Even when I told her my soon-to-be Ex had been involved with another woman (actually women) whom he’d been spending time with on business trips she seemed genuinely surprised about the divorce.

I really can’t blame her. Many people responded similarly to our divorce. You see, sometimes when you’re in a really bad marriage, you hide it behind closed doors and only show a picture perfect marriage (produced with a generous amount of smoke and mirrors).  

And I’ll let you in on 4 little secrets I learned from copious amounts of therapy following my divorce:

1. When you’re married to a Covert Narcissist that picture-perfect marriage is very, very convincing to the untrained eye.

2. Your divorce from a Covert Narcissist will best be described as “High Conflict”.

3. The destruction and abuse you and your children suffer at the hands of your Ex will be comparable to a level 5 Hurricane.

4. There are very few people who will understand any of this.

Therefore, I couldn’t really blame my sister for her lack of understanding and support because she had absolutely no reference point for what I was going through. Not only had she never experienced divorce (let alone a High Conflict one) she happened to be married to a great guy.  She had the intelligence and good fortune to marry the polar opposite of a Covert Narcissist.

So, when I would tell my family about my Ex’s parental alienation, financial strangulation, emotional abuse, psychological abuse and abuse of our Family Court System these things were so foreign to them, they simply couldn’t believe it.  

The stuff a Covert Narcissist is capable of during a divorce would shock anyone (it even shocked me). But, I needed my family to understand what I was going though. I felt like my divorce was killing me and I desperately needed their understanding and support.

The bad news is my divorce was over 8 years ago, and my Ex’s abuse still continues with a vengeance.

The good news is his abuse has consistently gone on for so long, my family has finally become educated on his Covert Narcissistic disorder.  My sister and her husband completely understand what my children and I continue to endure and they are our greatest supporters. And that is kind of a happy ending!

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