Divorcing a narcissist is brutal. You realize the person you once loved does not exist. You are an empty shell reduced to tiptoeing on egg shells for too long. The narcissist sucked you dry of everything you had to give and you wonder if you will ever trust yourself enough to love again.
You question everything about every decision you make because you have been told for months or years, you are not smart, worthy or capable of making decisions. If you ever had any self-confidence it is completely destroyed. The divorce takes years, not months. Your world is ripped apart by lies about you in court. You feel anxious, frantic. You want desperately for someone to listen, to truly listen that you are NOT the person you have been painted to be, but no one will listen.
They continue with their courtroom dance and you are left feeling crumpled, transparent and dead inside. You start to wonder who you really are, and possibly at your darkest point if it really does matter if you exist.
I felt like this a long time ago. It took years and some small miracles to even start to feel normal again. Next month will mark the sixth anniversary of finding my courage to leave Ted. June 2008 seems so long ago. (And Pastor, just to let you know, I still haven’t regretted it like you told me I would.)
The healing is such a long hard road when you are forced to co-parent with an ex who is a narcissist. The narcissist never stops trying to suck you back into their false world. It is so very important to limit communication and set boundaries because they will do everything possible to push your buttons to get a reaction to feed their supply.
Narcissists must get their validation from those closest to them. They are masters at manipulation. Everyone around them is a potential pawn, and you are no longer only a pawn, but the primary one all the other collected pawns will be used against.
This is why it is so important to limit communication to “written only” when co-parenting with a narcissist. They will gas light and project mercilessly. Researching “gaslighting” and “projecting” has helped me greatly in my healing process. Finally, there are words to explain most letters I receive from Ted.
The following is an example of the emails I receive from Ted.
The two I have printed are on the milder side for him. I still shake and feel like I am going to vomit most of the time I log on to the email I have designated only to communication with him. I have learned this might be a form of PTSD. I am working on how my body reacts to the stress he creates. This is one of the hardest things to heal.
This email came after a conversation I had on the phone with the kids. During this one conversation, Kristy asked to be allowed to go to the hospital last Saturday after her new sister was born, and Grant TOLD me on the phone that the confirmation party he wanted to attend started at noon Sunday…oh and I HAD to take him.
This conversation on the phone with the kids came AFTER they knew we had about every minute of our weekend together already planned with many activities. So, this meant Ted once again was creating another of his terrific set ups by pushing them to ask me questions over the phone. Ted loves to create situations where he wins no matter what. He either gets his way or creates a way to try to turn the kids against me.
Here is the first email:
In regards to tonight and this weekend. Kristy is really concerned that you won’t let her be here for the birth of her sister. This is really important to her as she has mentioned to you. I will give you makeup time for this. Don’t take this from her.
In regards to Grant. He has been invited to a party this weekend with his friends. I am not going to be there besides I will spend my weekend at the hospital. I am not even certain I can make Sunday morning but will do my best for Grant.
Comments about me having to give you makeup time so Grant can go to his friend’s party is ridiculous. Do I ask you for make up time when Kristy, on my weekend, goes to a friends house to spend the night? Do I deny her this and tell her to look at it from my perspective. No, its not about me and it’s not about you. I am not giving you make up time for when the kids go to be with their friends on your weekend.
You need to look at this from their perspective and not demand that they see it from your perspective. They have dealt with your perspective for 6 years.
In regards to tomorrow night. Kristy thinks she is going. Did you get an invitation to this event? This is not a family event. My invitation says to Ted and Grant. This is for a sit-down dinner and not for families. If you did not get an invitation you might want to contact them and let them know you plan on attending so they have a dinner for you. This is a mandatory school event for Grant, he must be there.
I have been dealing with Ted’s emails and refusal to follow the rules for years. I have learned I need to create strict boundaries because he will go back and forth and argue about the sky being blue and all wars being my fault and never accomplish anything. This is one of the longest responses I have written in a long time to him, but felt it was necessary since learning he told the kids to lie to me.
I have a very busy weekend of plans which include working around Grant’s Confirmation.
You told Grant and Kristy to lie to me about the combined student confirmation party which includes your nephew. You told them I would never allow them to go if I knew you and your family would be there. Pushing Grant to ask me on the phone only a few days before, then pushing him to completely disregard the original compromise I offered and demand I take him to the party at noon was disrespectful of my parenting time. In the future, if Grant would like to attend something on my weekend, especially a busy one like this one, please have him ask me in person with more notice, or there will not be a compromise. I respect your parenting time and all I ask is the same respect.
I have been asking Grant for weeks for information about rehearsal and confirmation this weekend, so I could plan our weekend around it. Upon reading your email, I called the school and asked for information concerning this weekend, since this information, like doctor appointments, was not forwarded.
Here is my offer. If you would like Grant to attend your nephew and friends’ confirmation party and let Kristy see your new baby while still in the hospital, I will end my parenting time early and have them at the exchange location at 2:00pm on Sunday with make up time on Memorial weekend. If you cannot pick them up for some reason, I have no problem with a member of your family picking them up. I can pick them up from school on Memorial Weekend and have them back to you two hours after the normal drop off time. This is a fair compromise and my only offer, I will not go back and forth about this. Please email me only whether you accept or decline by noon tomorrow.
This is the second email I received:
You convince yourself it’s me wanting all this and deny them, to hurt me. Go ahead, it’s hurting you not me. Do this to them and I don’t think they will forget what you did. Not that you will care now, someday you will.
I received the second email on Saturday night, after as Kristy declares, ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF HER LIFE!!!! (Because of the activities we were able to be a part of together.) Ted knew of the activities we had planned, and Kristy told me over and over she was fine as long as she got to see her sister at some point in the hospital. Grant understood he may miss the party, so we made backup plans for him to spend time with a friend down the street for a few hours if mom and dad weren’t able to come up with a good compromise.
The kicker to all of this? Ted’s wife was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday night, 4 days later, and had the baby Thursday morning. Ted attended the confirmation and party. He also took Grant and Kristy out of school for 3 hours in order to rush them to the hospital on Thursday. So, was all of this drama created in order to ruin our weekend? Who knows, and honestly, I really don’t care anymore. The drama was dodged and the three of us still had an awesome weekend together.