names have been changed and or omitted in this post
"So I'm at work and sitting in the employee cafeteria with a co-worker having lunch. She has her back to the window that looks out into the hallway but I'm facing it. We're chatting and I'm eating lasagna. I glance up because I see someone through the window stop in the hallway and point toward me like 'Oh, found her'... " I explained and taking a bite of my quesadilla paused "So I'm like all confused looking up at him with this puzzled look like 'why is he pointing at me? Am I in trouble? What did I do?' "
He nods and laughs prompting me to continue.
"Then the door opens and two more managers are standing there laughing because apparently they've been looking for me and of course found me where else... eating!" I giggled.
He roared with laughter and threw his head back appreciatively "I would imagine they are wondering how you are always eating! They probably think you have a tapeworm!"
I laughed "Well... it was my lunch time but I'm hungry! I can't help that I'm hungry all the time!" I smiled.
He laughed and shook his head "Don't worry about it... they obviously have a sense of humor... I think it's hilarious."
"Some people keep files in their desk. I keep treats. You never know when you might need a snack." I grinned.
"How was your birthday?" He asked with a smile.
"It was good.... my mom took us all out to lunch. It was really sweet of her. My sister had cookies delivered at work for me." I grinned.
He studied me intently "But no guy?" He asked with twinkling eyes.
I shrugged my shoulders "Nah... no guy. I'm on the dating sites but not using them much... I missed a couple possible connections because I'm busy... I’m married to work right now.” I trailed off as I picked at my pico de gallo with a fork “I have a very specific type and if he doesn't match it I'm not attracted to them." I murmured.
He laughed "Oh, I know! " He emphasized with exaggeration and teasing. Yet I knew deep down he likely still felt the sting. I somewhat internally winced. Ugh. We had been down this road before... all I wanted was friendship... he had wanted more.
"I think I scare men." I smiled.
"Hah!" He chuckled "What are they? Scared of a great woman?" He asked.
"Probably my ex and all his psycho court drama." I replied "Or maybe they're afraid of being written about... go on a date at your own risk.” I grinned.
"Well, then they aren't for you." He pointed out... "A guy that really cares about you isn't going to be scared off by him. In fact, he'll protect you all he can."
We sat in semi awkward silence until he broke it "How's the blog these days?" He asked curiously steering the conversation to a new subject.
"Good. Eventually I'm going to hang up the blog. Then write my book and finish it with however all this craziness ends in a few years. Get it published." I told him... "Plus, I want to branch out. Maybe write a book of love poetry or something."
"You should." He affirmed with encouragement "Speaking of him.... how is he?" He asked referring to my ex.
I took a sip of my ice water and grimaced “Well, burnt really. Apparently he had an issue starting the gas grill a couple weeks ago and caught fire... “ I shook my head and clicked my tongue with a tsk tsk sound “He was all wrapped up like a mummy my daughter said. She said his wife did nothing while he danced around all lit up like a bonfire.”
He stared at me “You’re kidding, right?” He demanded.
I shook my head and grinned “I couldn’t make this poo up. It’s for real. Oh heck, it’s something new every week. Apparently he and his wife Georgina took the kids to Tennessee for Thanksgiving. My daughter said they fought during the whole trip and made it miserable. Guess it was like a wagon on a bumpy road...” I grimaced.
“Man... “ He shook his head and threw back the last gulp of his iced tea and chewed on some ice.
“He told our daughter to stop sharing what goes on at his house. I found that interesting... what does he have to hide?” I murmured.
A narcissist will go to any length to make his or her new relationship work... or more accurately APPEAR to work. The truth is... the new relationship usually has a quicker demise behind closed doors than the relationship they had with you. They are now dealing with the added stress of a blended family which is no easy task on a couple, even a healthy one... probably why the divorce rate is high amongst second marriages... the couple could maybe survive even thrive sans children but throw in the blended kids, conflicting parenting in divided loyalties that are often at play creating issues and you have a receipt for disaster.
The individual who is personality disordered wants to hide a lot... wants to hide what their next move is through the family court system in the seemingly never ending custody battles.... wants to hide their cheating on their new spouse, wants to hide their money troubles, wants to hide their less than stellar parenting, their generally sketchy behaviors and yes, even any issues cropping up in their new marriage. They want you to believe that everything is seamlessly flawless in their new life they've taken up and you are now as discarded and forgotten as last years dirty rotting newspaper. They try so hard to hide any flaws and blemishes and when your child finally goes to their grandmother and says "Daddy and Georgina are fighting all the time..." your child is met with a reply of "All married people fight sometimes. It's normal." You bristle because you don't want your child to believe for a second any of this nonsensical new way of life is "normal" and find your ex mother in law to be at best an enabler but know deep down beneath the surface she's much more toxic than that.
Being married to a narc and divorcing them is much like being strapped to a chair watching a movie that keeps twisting and turning... you know your situation is not going well but you keep going... pumped on adrenaline and fear and yes, even hope thank you Jesus. You keep getting thrown boomerangs like in a carnival show and shudder as the orchestrator of the chaos keeps throwing them as you attempt to catch them one by one... failing miserable and feeling nothing but internal panic that at times shows itself as an almost comical expression on your face because you’re waffling between the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. All the while wondering if you’re really the bad person this person says you are... who swore at one time to have loved you that is now stating you to be pure utter misery they've cut themselves free from. It’s like viewing the movie Gone Girl for the first time and feeling your jaw hit the floor in complete shock watching it all unravel... shock that anyone could behave that way. As you attempt to come to terms with how nonchalant and destructive Nick acts you must later wrestle with how Amy behaves. As you initially watch it you empathize with Amy... if you’ve been pooed on like she's been you don’t blame her one bit as she drives away in her little white car... likely you’re cheering her on. You’re in it with her, in it for Nick to pay and pay bigtime... you sit there on the edge of your seat marveling at the balls she has and how she makes it all appear so easy. Then later you sit in horror as she kills the guy she merely used to help her out and then after all that actually goes back to Nick. If it had ended how we wanted she'd have never lost her money and instead lived happily ever after successfully hidden from the world with a whole new identity and sorry cheating Nick would have been thrown in the clinker for her supposed murder. But that's when the ending is disappointing and we are left wondering what the heck happened for everything to have gone so darn wrong.
We undoubtedly don't want to be left scratching our heads at the end of our story wondering what the hell happened... we know a narc will never give up. We may at times hope and pray our kids hurry up and turn eighteen so we can semi escape this hell already and in that same prayer mid-way feel guilty for wanting to fast forward our child's life, namely childhood because it's just not right. None of what has happened to you or them should have happened... when we meet someone we have no idea that they are hiding who they truly are. We have no idea they are secretly laughing at how gullible and naïve we are to believe those three little words of "I love you" they whisper in our ear. We have no idea that the relationship we are about to enter is going to be oh so temporary like those tiny tattoos that children apply at school carnivals and wash off the next day. We have no idea that when we say "I do" a narc is really silently saying "I don't". We have no clue that the family court system is so corrupt and inept in handling parental alienation cases and suddenly our world is now bombarded with all these new terms like "sociopath", "ad litem", "love-bombing", "post traumatic stress disorder" and more. We never could have imagined ten years ago we would be where we are standing right now... it almost feels surreal and like we need to be pinched awake.
Narcs hold many secrets in their world they live in... we uncover them slowly through this challenging and often dark process of divorce and personal recovery often all the while still being a steady source of support for our children or trying to fight for them in the ongoing custody battle process. I can tell you several things I have learned in this process that are no secret once you've been doing this awhile. First and foremost, take care of yourself. You cannot expect to have the clarity and energy to make it if you're not practicing basic self care. Two, don't give up. It's easy to want to throw in the towel but remain determined to have a good relationship with your child. Just because it's severed right now doesn't mean that it's for forever... it may take time but it's worth the wait. Three, this kind of ties back into one... we all know that sleep, eating right and exercise is important but we can take it one step further with continued healing... finding joy again. Try dabbling in some of your old hobbies or try new ones... journal or start a blog about your experiences... find time for friends and laughter; some of my most important healing that has happened and my combating depression has been found in laughing with friends... those moments and the structure of a job to get up and go to everyday will help keep you on track when everything else seems to be falling apart. Four, don't let yourself feel like you have to be on anyone's timeline but your own.... you don't have to hurry up and meet someone new, you don't have to meet what's their name that a co-worker set you up with, you don't have to sign up for a dating site unless you totally feel okay with it. You can be on one and just peek at it every six months. You don't have to do anything that doesn't sit well with you or doesn't feel to be the right time. It's no secret that getting divorced is like jumping off a cliff.... and hoping to land on your feet... this couldn't be truer with divorcing a narcissistic sociopath.... but along your way you're going to meet some new people... some amazing new folks who will open your eyes to the goodness in people again... you're going to meet those that completely uproot your world in a good way, cast away your cynicism and that make you believe you are truly blessed despite standing in the eye of the storm... that is true grace, power and strength.