Being married to someone with a personality disorder is like beating your head against a cement wall. You experience the pain but feel immobilized to do anything about it. In fact, you start to believe that the emotional beating you are taking is all your fault.
Every day you spend with someone who is psychologically manipulative causes you to doubt yourself more and more until you reach the point of asking yourself “I have a good life, a home, car, job, kids. Why am I so unhappy all of the time?” The answer is because you are being emotionally abused.
If you are thinking about leaving your personality disordered spouse but are afraid, and that is completely normal, just think about this:
If he has this much power over your psyche and you are an intelligent adult, what kind of damage will he be able to do to your children? Leaving him will be the hardest thing you will ever do. It may destroy you financially, socially, and contribute to depression and anxiety, but all of that will subside eventually. You will become strong, proud of yourself, and a great role model to your children. You will be teaching them how they should be treated and how they should treat others when they grow up.
When you leave you should expect the common issues with divorce, but because your spouse is a narcissistic, antisocial, or borderline personality you will have the added stressors of the following issues. Having said that, it can be done, it has been done, and you can do it if you stay strong!
6 Things to Expect When Divorcing Someone With a Personality Disorder
1. He WON’T Leave! He will not make it easy for you. He will not accept or agree with the split so that will mean he will not give in and do the decent thing by allowing you to stay in the matrimonial home. You must make plans to leave. This means you need to be careful of when you tell him you want a divorce. Make sure you can vacate the home within days of the announcement. If you don’t and you have to stay, it could get dangerous.
2. You Will Most Likely NEVER Get Closure. He will live the rest of his life without apologizing or accepting any responsibility whatsoever for his part in the marital problems. Apologizing means he is acknowledging his negative behaviors, remember that he does not believe he has behaved badly.
3. Shifted Blame. “If you didn’t want a divorce everything would be fine.” You will be blamed by him for ruining the family because remember, he didn’t do anything wrong. After the divorce, he will probably pick up or continue self-destructive behavior like drinking, drug use, gambling, or serial dating. Again, he will blame this on you because he believes the divorce is not his fault. He will believe his continued bad choices are because you left him.
4. False Accusations. “You must be cheating…why else would you want to leave?” Again, he is at fault for nothing. He may pit his family and friends against you, even spreading lies about you. He will strive to turn the table and make himself the victim, not you.
5. He Will Drag out The Divorce. This is to drain you financially through continued court and attorney costs. Most likely he will be able to afford this process and know that you can’t. This may cause you to give up some of the things you want (like the house, furniture, money, etc.) because you will just want it over as fast as possible. It will be hard but leave it anyway. Continued torture is not worth material goods.
6. It Will be Tempting to go Back…DON’T!!! You will be close to giving in and going back, loneliness, financial loss, and guilt could easily take over, but resist. It will take some time, some say five years, to stabilize emotionally and financially, but stay strong. You will make it. Use your faith, family, and friends. Your decision was based on keeping yourself (and children if you have any) safe and peaceful. Stay true to your decision, it is the right thing to do. Lastly, if you are co-parenting, be prepared because he will move on before you do. He isn’t incapable of being alone because he needs someone to blame his faults on. If he remarries, the new spouse will be prioritized ahead of his children.