this post contains some language
When we get divorced we initially have no idea of the realities of a whole new world we are entering… as we find our way step by step… (sometimes crawling) through the yucky phase of the initial filing, divorce process and just post finalization, we learn so much. We learn that even though we may have thought life would never be good again we were wrong… and yet in that we also learn that it's OUR life… and the choices we make our ours to make, we affirm they are the right ones for our life and to not subscribe to what other's think of those choices. Stand tall knowing you are making important decisions and making them well… you may have been make to second guess yourself but this is your chance to take life by the reins and decide the direction you wish to go… however much outcry from the pip squeak section.
1. Being divorced brings all sorts of judgment. Sometimes when people find out I had zero conversation with my ex about splitting up and instead merely went and filed for divorce without so much as a word and had him served upon finding evidence of his infidelity people stare with their mouths gaping open. They are shocked and sometimes look at me like: "Who ARE you? Who DOES that?" But at the end of the day you make the decisions that are best for you. Sometimes people cheat on you never believing that you will truly leave. They feel as though they are in the driver's seat and have all decision making when it comes to the outcome of the relationship. When I was married I had already told my ex that if he ever cheated I would divorce him. For some reason people sometimes think you're merely blowing hot air. The day we were sitting in BoomerJacks and having a lunch of burgers and fries the big screen tv flashed to a news segment of Tony Parker and Eva Longoria getting divorced due to Tony cheating. In that moment I verbalized I'd do the same thing; divorce him. He chose not to believe it and that he wouldn't get caught. Fast forward three years to now after filing, if I had it to do over again I would make the same decision. And in light of what happened the day he was served I would have had his belongings removed from the home, had the locks changed and an officer present. Hindsight is 20/20.
2. People think you're not happy because you're single. As soon as you verbalize you're divorced usually two questions are asked. One, they want to know why or how your marriage ended. Two, they want to know if you're dating anyone. If you're not dating they look at you like you must be some kind of weirdo. If you are, they look like Christmas was just delivered and get starry eyed and smile like "Awwww… that's good. Just want you to be happy." Umm… okay? I never said I was unhappy? While you're sharing a bed with someone I have mine to myself. While you're having to ask your spouse permission to go on a girl's trip I'm just going. While you're playing the age old question game of "What do you want for dinner?" I'm eating out of a carton of Ben n Jerry's at 9p.m. at night after just waking up from a nap. I don't know about you… but that all makes me pretty freaking happy.
3. You get accused of being a man-hater. Ah, fun times. People are funny about divorce… they can decide that you hate men because you divorced yours and "couldn't work through it" when they cheated. Or they see you enjoying being single maybe a little too much in their opinion and decide that you must have an issue. Or like me you write a blog about your experiences and they find out about it (google) and decide or at least question if you are a man hater. I've had this happen with a few guys now. In everyday social interactions men are great… as I've found… a little conversation with them can be enjoyable. That also doesn't automatically equate that they are marriage material or healthy (same goes for women). Like I told one guy months back when he said my blog seemed a little man-hating:
"I don't have a problem with men. Just assholes."
4. They question why you changed your name back to your maiden one or why you didn't. I kept my married name because quite frankly despite him being a cheater the mere thought of going back to my maiden name was even worse due to my dad and I would have applied for a whole new last name (can you do that?!) before resorting to that. Some people like their maiden name and go back to it; for some it's a name that they are happy with. Others decide to keep their married name so their name is the same as their kids. Each person has to make the decision that is best for them and at the end of the day it's really not anyone's business.
5. People may automatically think you must be a selfish, uncompromising, unloving person. They may believe that there is something "wrong" with you because it didn't last or because YOU couldn't "make it work." Nothing could be further from the truth though. The thing is… it takes TWO people who WANT to be married to make it work, who are fully invested in the relationship and are both givers. They have to want to make it succeed by their actions on a daily basis. If they are absent, working, traveling and have their face stuck to a phone and are not engaged they are married to their job. There is simply no way a marriage can be successful if one person is doing all the work and trying to keep it afloat on their own. Ultimately, each person must choose to die to self each and everyday to nurture their marriage.
6. They think you're after their spouse. The give you the eagle eye at events, parties, yes even at the school Meet the Teacher when they realize you are sans a ring on your left hand. They guard their other half like you're a vulture after prey… prey you don't even want. You look at them like they must be delusional because you have been married… and you know reality as it is… he (or she) likely has a host of icky habits you wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole and you're not attracted to their spouse to begin with. You silently chuckle with amusement to yourself as they whisk their spouse away and give you a glare.
7. People believe you must not have given your spouse sex. The judgment of: "Well clearly he wasn't getting it from you so that's why he went elsewhere" I think this happens a lot for women specifically who have been cheated on by their husbands. Oftentimes people may think if we were cheated on we must not have been taking care of our spouse in the bedroom. (Granted, that may happen but it's never an excuse to cheat; try counseling and if all else fails divorce first). But that blanket assumption couldn't be further from the truth… maybe they were fully invested in the relationship physically but their spouse was selfish from day one and cheated. Regardless, at the end of the day we can't control our spouse. That's a lesson in divorce we learn. We believe we know someone and if they choose to behave differently once we say "I do" they certainly have that power however devastating and unfortunate.
8. People question why you don't have custody of your child. There is probably nothing more that I hate than having to have the conversation of why I don't have custody or even see my son. That conversation is painful and another stark reminder when I have to verbalize it. Yet it's a necessary conversation to have. People need to know the situation they may be choosing to enter into and the background behind it. Usually the conversation goes well… people hear of the manipulation that occurred and the defining turning point in our mother son relationship that eventually led to the estrangement between us. Most people are sympathetic and realize that we only have so much control… we can only do so much to positively influence our children by setting rules, boundaries, etc and if the other parent isn't supportive and instead is actually undermining our authority there is almost little to nothing we can do. They realize we must be patient and hope for eventual change, for the child's eyes to be opened to the truth further down the road and the other parent's behavior to be exposed… hoping that reconciliation of some sort can take place. If you've endured the struggles of co-parenting, child custody woes and even alienation/dv by proxy etc… I know having to explain it to someone you just met can be daunting. It's not the most pleasant of conversations to have… I usually end up getting visibly shaky because it's upsetting to discuss… but at the end of the day you are strong, you are enduring something that will hopefully change for the better one day. You are not less than or an awful parent because you could't turn a train wreck situation around… only God can do that… keeping praying, keep hoping, keep your faith.
In the end you know all the in's and out's of your marriage, your ex and your situation… you know that you went in it with the intention of it being forever. Don't beat yourself up, don't listen to the ones who let judgments spew from their lips or give you withering glances. Don't subscribe to the nonsensical belief that life can't and isn't so much better… you have come out the other side, happier, healthier and rebuilding the life YOU WANT. People come and go, things change and yet you have to be content with who you are and the reflection staring back at you in the mirror. So cling to the truth… if the marriage was great you'd still be in it… if it was love you wouldn't have been called ugly names and been hit, if it was healthy for your kids they wouldn't be going back and forth from one house to the other. You are stronger for what you've been through… never forget for a moment that you are not defined by the fact you are divorced. You are someone worthy of a life filled with support and love not condemnation and shame.
Alanis Morissette sang the song "Ironic" and with those lyrics we see the irony of how often life turns out… whether it's having rain on your wedding day or worse never flying and and dying the next day… life can be filled with irony. It's ironic when we find ourselves laying on the floor of disarray in the aftermath of loving someone who really didn't love us at all… we gave our all; we gave too much of ourselves at the cost of losing ourselves. In loving someone who merely saw us as someone to elevate themselves… the end result is us having complied with them and their aspirations, them achieving everything they ever wanted and us painfully realizing we were just along for the ride… awakening to the irony that now we must rebuild from the very bottom; not only our own dreams but ourselves.
One of the many ironies that comes with a narcissist is related to obedience… isn't it ironic how a narcissist wants complete and total obedience toward them, especially their spouse and children yet they have little to no regard in being obedient to God.
The narcissistic sociopath rebukes obedience.
When we obey God we are submitting to Him, to his authority and therefore being pruned much like a shrub that otherwise tends to go astray. As Christians we obey God because we choose to… (not out of duty or guilt) because we wish to honor Him; because it gives us joy, inner calm and we can rest in peace of mind knowing He wants what is best for us. When we obey God begrudgingly we are not doing it with love but out of a moral obligation which leads us to following mere rules and regulations. Following rules out of duty is not truly loving Him and engaging in an authentic relationship rooted in love. Yes, God wants us to obey His commandments… He also wants us to have a deep connection with Him, to not worry about pleasing Him because we fear He won't love us… and instead to just love Him. He's already proven how much He loves us… how deep and far reaching His love flows because He sent His only son to die for us and our sins. We obey because of the awe of His great love for us. Because when we love Him… natural obedience begins to flow out of us like a river.
Obeying God should let us live a life of freedom, not seeming restriction.
As Christians we should be joyous in obeying Him, not feeling punished or controlled.
The irony is when it comes to a narcissistic sociopath they have no need for authority. They believe they are who they are due to their intelligence, their own abilities, their talent and hard work. They scoff at the idea of needing God and live a life of prideful arrogance unwilling to submit to Him. They rule over their household, their spouse and children expecting them to "fall in line" and comply because they believe they know better than anyone else including God.
2 Timothy 3:1-9 New International Version (NIV)
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires.7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
The narcissistic sociopath is one who chronically chooses not to follow God's commandments… He or she covets what they don't or cannot have whether it be a material item, a goal, position of authority or power or even a person… perhaps they have their eye on someone that they know would elevate them (narcissistic supply) within the community and make them look even better… whether it be of a romantic nature or simply a new connection in their career. The narc is one who loves themselves versus others, despising those who are good and sees them as foolish weak-minded ones beneath he or she. They follow any and all carnal pleasures they wish to pursue and commit adultery at whim without any hesitation or sorrowful repentance toward their spouse, children or God. Their self pride waves loud and proud like a giant flag on their shoulder for all the world to see… they brag about their accomplishments, their home, their work, their connections and their car. They lie incessantly and feel no regret doing so… in fact, the narc actually believe it's others fault for them having to "lie and cheat" … because if their spouse were holding up their end of the bargain and being all that they were supposed to be; the quintessential perfect partner, they reason they wouldn't have had to lie and cheat to begin with… hence resenting their spouse. Narcissists don't wish to be pruned and would never ask God to chisel and transform them to His liking… instead they rebuke criticism no matter how constructive, well meaning and loving… eliciting a narcissistic rage that comes out with a nasty vengeance.
As Dr. Tony Evans, founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, former chaplain of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and present chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks recently posted on Facebook… "There is a lot of confusion today between the connection of obedience to blessing. Many believers assume that if they are obedient to God, they ought to deserve a tangible reward. We live in a rewards-based culture and that mentality has drifted into the Christian worldview in many ways. However, based on Scripture -- many people were worse off in the tangible world when they obeyed. After all, Jesus' obedience led Him to a cross. It is only when we align our understanding of obedience with God's overarching sovereign hand of purpose (and even pruning) that we will be able to approach and go through our detours with dignity rather than doubt."
What he is saying is true… we see so many living for Him and yet not living easier lives… if not harder lives. We often witness with a narcissist that they appear to fly through life without a worry due to their ability to get whatever they want derived from manipulation, money, charm, lies, love-bombing, etc. Yet… the truth is we are told we will face many trials and tribulations in this world. Our testimony will be greater with obedience.
New International Version
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Anyone who has been linked to a narcissistic sociopath knows that to try to positively influence them, to get them to change, to try to reason with them or hope and pray they see the light and realize that there is an authority greater than them has likely and understandably felt an inordinate amount of frustration. At the end of the day we come to the conclusion that the personality disordered one is not capable of submitting to anyone else's plans other than his or her own. But we don't have to remain chained to their ways… we can release them and the sin that they bring into our lives through their depravity. We can push onward, keep going, cling to our faith and embrace peace. We may have been linked to someone who had a prideful nature and always believed they had the final say on everything… but we know that's simply not true. God knows the truth and has the final say; He sees how they behave both publicly, privately and the condition of their heart. The irony is the narc tries to abuse you privately but God knows behind the scenes how you've been treated and yes, even how the toxic one treats Him.
1 John 2:3–6
We can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone says: "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him. That's how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (NLT)
names have been omitted in this post
"So how have things been?" My therapist smiled at me,
wearing pretty summer hues of white and yellow.
I smiled back "It's been good."
"So… are you seeing anyone?" She asked, her eyes twinkling.
"No, I'm not… the guy I was seeing… the one who lived an hour away?… He is a sweetheart. I really can't say enough great things." I told her and she nodded to prompt me to continue, "He made me a casserole… from scratch, a breakfast casserole, a recipe that had been in his family for generations. Just really thoughtful. Probably the sweetest thing a guy has done for me. He offered to help me build a fire pit in the backyard, something I've wanted to do but we never got to it. Things were going well but it turned out his divorce wasn't finalized and it was just too complicated. I decided to let him get things in order." I told her, "And then…someone else came along but um, no… it didn't work out."
She tilted her head "How so? What happened?" She asked.
I took a deep breath and exhaled, "You know… I always thought men liked solving problems and they liked helping. Well, at least if they're interested in a woman and wanting to pursue her I guess they do." I clarified. "He said he was interested and said all the right things yet didn't want to help. I really needed some help. I had a lot on my plate with my job and getting something new launched with the blog… plus the yard desperately needed attention. I broke down and asked for help which isn't easy for me to do." I grimaced and she nodded with a knowing look. "I had discontinued the yard service and bought a mower. I've never mowed before. I don't mind doing it," I emphasized… "I just wanted some direction on getting started. So he tells me no because he has his child. Which baffled me. Because it wouldn't have been an issue, the child is five. And he was off work the day I asked, we'd actually gone to lunch. Yet it was okay for me to watch his child so he could go on an appointment. I don't mind doing nice things, I enjoy it but I began to feel like I was the only one doing the giving." I explained.
She nodded "Hmmmm, I see. Yes, he certainly could have taken the time to show you what to do. And not that you needed him to but many men would have offered to do it for you. Part of a man being interested in you is being an active partner and helping. And if he's not doing that now… he certainly won't do it when married." She pointed out. "Did you say something to him about it?"
"I told him I was disappointed by it." I admitted "He wasn't understanding… instead in so many words he said I was being irrational. Um, no… I've been on that crazy train and I'm very familiar with the routine. I guess he thought I was expecting too much. Then he said he wasn't going to get into an argument with me. I guess for him that means shut it down and wait for me to come to my senses." I smirked… "I came to my senses alright… I won't be bothering him again."
She shook her head "Well… you had a right to be disappointed. I'm sorry that happened and there is nothing wrong with wanting an active partner." She sighed… "Did you get everything for the yard that you need?" She asked with concern.
I nodded and smiled "Oh yeah, I bought a push mower. I got a great deal, it was on clearance and it's a good workout. It was a piece of cake to do the yard. The guys at Home Depot and the gas station helped me on my questions. It all turned out fine."
If someone is making you believe (or at least attempting) that what you're asking for is irrational when in a normal and sane world what you're asking for is perfectly normal and rational… you have the makings of a toxic relationship on your hands… and you may be linked to a narcissist or sociopath.
Nothing a narcissist
does is normal when
it comes to relationships.
And trying to hold them (man or woman) accountable for their actions or lack thereof
will quite possibly send you over the edge into complete and utter frustration,
maybe even despair.
If you're an empath… a person who is often preyed upon by a personality disordered individual you are likely also an extremely conscientious person… always if not almost always doing the "right thing" and adhering to the basic laws of moral decency. More than likely you're the one who dutifully puts their shopping cart back where it goes in the parking lot corral, more than likely you're the one who uses their pleases and thank you's and lets the one who didn't realize that three traffic lanes are now downgrading to one extremely long and slow lane to cut in front of you because, hey, you've been there and know what that's like. More than likely you're the one who can put themselves into someone else's shoes and feel what they are going through… or at least imagine it. More than likely you are someone who tears up at the sentimental and sweet, maybe you are especially touched by the kindness of others and want to be a blessing to them simply because one would like to think were all in this together.
But not so fast… you may live your life that way… but not everyone does.
So while you're living life as you see fit… as humans should behave…
You meet someone and suddenly find yourself having to EXPLAIN very simple and basic human kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, empathy etc to them. You find yourself reeling in shock that you are actually having this conversation with them(!)… that yes, you are having to explain to them like a kindergartner how to behave with kindness and thoughtfulness… how to give and how to behave in a relationship. You scratch your head wondering what kind of twilight zone you have just entered because who behaves this way? And yet amazingly they have the ability to make it out like you're high maintenance, asking for too much and being "irrational" or that you must be on your period, or that they will call you after you've "calmed down" and come to your senses. Um, no, no, no.
You didn't ask for anything out of the ordinary.
You asked for them to behave like a normal human being.
You asked for basic decency and a giving spirit.
You asked for kindness and simply a reciprocity of
how you live your life… and not in the sense of
keeping score but just desiring what you offer
to others… because you know a relationship
to be successful
is made up of two givers…
that if one person is taking it will never work…
someone who has a selfish heart can never love
the one with a generous one… and the one who
gives will continue to do so like putting
deposits into a bank account that
always, always comes up short.
www.gracepowerstrength.com - 2016